I love potatoes; Friday Mash included

The statement “I love potatoes” came up in a discussion over Wednesday night-dinner and it wasn’t even me who spoke those three words, although I emphatically agree. The statement was said with an infinite amount of gusto and it was clear that there was a deep-seated passion behind it. Roger told me that his standout ways to eat potatoes were gratin style baked with cream and cheese, roasted new potatoes and good old-fashioned chips. The discussion rolled on and all four of us ended up pitching in as we excitedly spoke best ways and bad ways to eat the basic spud. Was a pontiac better than a desiree to roast and what’s the best way to get some crisp?

As the winter chills made their entry in Sydney this week I cooked a traditional Shepherd’s Pie with a piled heap of mash on top and revelled in the comfort and satisfied feeling one gets when eating the humble potato. And not just a winter staple but an all season food, I recall chowing down a jacket potato cooked over campfire at Cooma last year, soaking up the creamy sauce of a gratin my sister cooked for me and I unashamedly admit that I am the aunty who takes a chip off my nephew’s plate if his meal arrives before mine!

So I put it to you; how do you eat your potatoes? And have you tasted a bit of Friday Mash as this is not just some Friday pub special but top nosh mash in my books.

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 6:08 am  Comments (1)  
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I love my dumplings fresh with a part vinegar and soy sauce on the side

It was during a hurried Tuesday lunch special that I tried the two-week old Bamboo on Reservoir Street, Surry Hills. Notified by my friend Maz to try it out given it is literally a local and I do walk past it everyday on my way to work, it seemed a no brainer. And then there is my number one love of dumplings which gets me everytime. I love my dumplings steaming hot, fresh and not gluggy. A tell-tale sign of their prior steaming is when they arrive in a steamed round box and when the lid is taken off, it’s such a lovely surprise. I love to dip my dumpling lightly into a combination of soy sauce and vinegar so it’s not doused but enriched by the salt and tartiness of the sauces. More often than not, I usually then burn the insides of my mouth in a rush to eat my dumpling due to the spurting soup trapped inside. But it is so worth it.

Back to Bamboo; tucked away at the back of a corner pub it is decorated in a rustic old-Beijing fashion with different coloured wooden bird cages hanging from the ceiling and a lone push bike. Signs inform the eater that Bamboo believes “everyone has nice dumplings” and there is an assortment of shared tables pre-set with plates and chopsticks and local workers are starting to crowd the place as more people swing by to try the new kid on the block.

Bamboo is not a no-Go but only go there if you need a quick bite and dumplings don’t rate high on your list of food loves. Unfortunately for me, it was borderline gweilo, the Northern Chinese (where xiaolongbao dumplings hail from) flavours were not distinct enough and I think the sauce that the dumplings and grilled salmon came with was simply soy. And when you’re stacking this place up against Din Tai Fung which is a ten minute walk away, it doesn’t come close even in the price factor. I think I could have done better to go to Ho’s Dim Sim Kitchen on Pitt Street, buy my own dumplings, heat them up and eat them. It was worth trying but next…?

Bamboo @ Corner of Commonwealth and Reservoir Streets, Surry Hills Sydney 2010

Ho’s Dim Sim Kitchen @ 429A Pitt Street, Sydney 2000

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 8:35 am  Comments (1)  
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In Tasmania – a RED home away from home

The other day someone asked me what my highlight was after my recent honeymoon in Tasmania. Some people might say Cradle Mountain or Wineglass Bay and I guess the Bay of Fires would get quite a bit of recognition given its World Heritage status.

For me there were a couple such as cruising around Tassie in the hired Audi Cabriolet Convertible; top down, hair blowing. Another highlight was the fresh and high quality of food. Top of the list however was staying at Red Feather Inn, located in Hadspen which is 15 minutes drive outside of Launceston.

I had discovered Red Feather Inn through one of my google searches and immediately fell in love with the cute details throughout the website and had trouble deciding on which room to eventually book. I got terribly excited from reading about their cooking classes and was disheartened to find that the dates of their classes didn’t match with the dates I would be there. Nevertheless I looked forward to discovering what Red Feather Inn was like in reality.

Slightly perturbed that the location Hadspen was not coming up in the Audi’s navigation system, my man and I soon found it not too far from Perth and off a main highway. Driving through the quiet town, the inn came into view by its corner sandstone cottage and recognisable red duck on the sign. From the first step we took at Red Feather Inn, my man and I were entranced and in awe of no stone unturned and no detail left unchecked.

Jess and Lydia met us at the door and Lydia introduced herself as the owner. Surrounding us were beautiful pieces of furniture and art collected over the years by Lydia that I secretly wished I owned myself, fresh apples and the smell of something in the oven and the whole place literally felt like I had come home. And not just any home mind you, but a home of utmost creature comforts like a bottle of chilled champagne waiting in the room for us honeymooners and Molton Brown bubble bath which I definitely soaked in. The second night’s highlight was a home-cooked meal made by Jess’ husband Lee. Sat around the central table with another house guest, the three of us were spoiled with home made papardelle with fresh rabbit ragu, a warm and oozing chocolate fondant pud and copious amounts of red wine.

We left Red Feather Inn thinking two immediate thoughts. Wow and when will we be back? Me thinks quite soon!

Red Feather Inn @ 42 Main Street, Hadspen Tasmania 7290

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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