Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oodles of Noodles

Noodles at the Night Noodle Market

The Night Noodle market is one of the more accessible events of the Sydney Crave Food Festival. We went along one October Friday night for a bite to eat at one of the plethora of stalls set up in Hyde Park.

When I called this post Oodles of Noodles, I think it should have been Oodles of people. It's a pretty popular event and lots of queues across the park for the stalls that brought noodles and typical accompaniments from a wide range of countries.

There were noodles, dumplings and rice dishes from China, Japanese pancakes and noodles, as well as Malay satay, Indian and Thai curries. A melting pot of culture and cuisines!

Oodles of People
I am lucky that being a Citibank cardholder (this is not a sponsored post by the way) there was a special VIP seating area that we could use. It really made all the difference so once we'd picked up our ironically non-noodle dishes - dim sums, Peking duck pancakes and pork ribs with rice - we had a seat and table awaiting so we could tuck into our wares!

The food was typical street food and I am not really a huge fan of plastic plates and cutlery but was a fun evening out to get into the spirit of the Food festival.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Heavenly Hanuman

Hanuman Oysters
Jimmy Shu's Hanuman restaurant was one that was overwhelmingly recommended by those hearing we were heading to Darwin and for those that know us, they could have been pretty sure it would be a hit with a signature dish of oysters with a spicy sauce - our favourites all rolled in to one!

On the menu for us, as well as the signature oysters, we also had some delicious Trumpet Mushrooms, with lightly curried pork & prawn mince, and a coconut sauce, and tandoori prawns.

Rogan Josh Lamb Shanks
The Indian inspired Rogan Josh Lamb Shanks were probably the best lamb shanks I've had -l'll be trying that out when the cold weather comes again next year!  My fave Indian dish, chicken tikka masala didn't disappoint, and we left feeling very satisfied, but not satisfied that we'd done the menu justice and had to come back again for another try, this time of the Thai style dishes. For our second visit, we tasted the Meen Moolie, barramundi spiced with turmeric in a creamy coconut sauce and Cam's staple Thai favourite - Red Curry Duck. What is usually a sweet dish, was beautifully balanced with great spicy and fresh pineapple to counter balance.

Trumpet Mushrooms
We didn't even look at the dessert menu we were so full, but could quite happily come back for more another time. Just a shame Hanuman Sydney isn't on the cards.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Top End Dining

Garlic Prawn Salad

Heading out into the bush with a small Engel fridge, $20 Big W Wok and fry pan set, and a mini sharp knife challenges our foodie creative juices to come up with space efficient, easy to prepare, convenient dishes. Normally shunning prepackage, preprepared food, we gravitate to the relatively unknown when camping. Not prepackaged food like boxed macaroni cheese mind you, but the presliced stir fry veg packs and bags of salad.

Steak and Salad
Steak and salad is a staple camping repertoire. Seared med rare meat with healthy greens being a no fuss option for our first night. One of our highlight meals was a frozen pack of garlic prawns tossed through Italian leaves for a protein rich light dinner. Although frozen, the prawns tasted delicious and stayed fresh a lot longer on oiur travels than had we have bought fresh, and far superior to a canned fish option as an alternative.

Camping Kitchen Stir fry
We attempted a few stir frys, slicing our own meat to add to the pre-sliced veg pack. It was so simple to have fresh meat and crispy veg flashed in the wok and was wonderful and tasty!

Top End dining while on the road - convenient but delish to keep these two foodies happy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lime Time

I don't have green fingers - they are much more comfortable in the kitchen than in the garden. However, I do enjoy our little pots on the balcony (that my hubbie nurtures) with herbs and other edible additions to our cooking.

After a windy winter most of our flora needs a rejuvenation, but when I went out to water the other day, a somewhat lackluster shrub suddenly had a new lease of life with fresh new green branches.

I was delighted that the kaffir lime tree was flourishing again as we often pluck off a few leaves to season dishes with the subtle citrus flavour. 

We love preparing Thai food and along with coriander (which we've had less lucky growing) it goes in everything - finely sliced in larb, whizzed up in green curry sauce for a Thai chicken curry, infused in chicken coconut broth, blended in Thai fish cakes and even flavouring a kaffir lime panna cota.

With the new spring blooms, I am inspired to look out a few more kaffir lime recipes to add to the repertoire to make good use of our home grown ingredients! Any favourites you recommend?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Universal Success

Seared Scallops

Since I saw Jimmy and Claire at Universal restaurant last season of MasterChef, I've been looking for an opportunity to pay it a visit. I knew I would enjoy Christine Manfield's food style as I love spicy dishes. 

Using the excuse of a free bottle of wine, thanks to Citibank's Dining deal, we headed down a few Friday's ago to the Darlinghurst restaurant. No wonder I hadn't heard of it before MasterChef as it's in a small courtyard near not very much else!
Steamed Snapper

The whole experience was right up my alley! There was a "smart casual" feel to the restaurant with coloured lights and the buzz of light conversation, but with a fine dining presentation. What I loved about the food at Universal was that the spice complemented each dish in a different way. They also used great produce showcasing the fantastic flavour without the hype of foams and jellys of some of the more serious restaurants. This just made it a bit more relaxed and made us feel a bit more at home than when we're on our best behaviour on one off visits to "posh" restaurants!

The shared plates were perfect sized and fun for us, and perfect since there was no order envy and we got to taste quite a few things on the menu. We went for seared scallops green asparagus tempura with wasabi avocado, pork belly, steamed pink snapper wrapped in jamon with white asparagus, sichuan pepper mandarin duck, slow braised green chilli galangal wagyu beef shin.

Universal was a great success and will become a real favourite for us. Can't wait for the next excuse to dine there!
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