Lemon yellow leaves in Orange

There’s something so clean and crisp about country air first thing in the morning when the only thing lingering is the faint smell of smoke coming out of nearby chimneys after a fire has been smoldering all night warming up the heart of a home.
I’m in Orange this weekend, thankful to Mr ELG who has whisked me away with MM in tow for a surprise getaway.
Up and about early we stopped in at Byng St cafe; a block away from where we’re staying.
The sun is out and the leaves of the trees above are lemon yellow in colour. The bright rays are streaming over the balcony as I eat my yummy brekkie roll. It’s the perfect balance of egg, crispy bacon, Swiss cheese, rocket and tart chutney. A hot cappucino tops off the taste.
Love, love, love

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Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 12:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chiswick

I have been wanting to book a table at Chiswick since I heard it had opened on the old Pruniers site in Woollahra on Ocean Street. So this week was my second wedding anniversary with Mr ELG and Chiswick was the location of course to go to celebrate.

I lived in Centennial Park for a number of years and often drove past the low, flat, white building where Pruniers used to be located. Set a bit back from the street and surrounded by tall, elegant palm trees; it always stood out for me in amongst all of the nearby grand mansions on Ocean Street. Many months ago, I heard that Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan were building a new restaurant on the site and with their experience and combined savoir faire in the food industry, I was more than intrigued to discover what the result would be.

And on Tuesday night, I was not disappointed.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again; Sydney is fickle and rarely loyal to its restaurants. So many new ones pop up every month and barely last the distance with only a handful defying the odds. I think Chiswick will rise above and emerge as the latter. Chiswick has forged its beginnings as a “neighbourhood” restaurant with a well-stocked garden onsite providing its kitchens with crisp seasonal produce. A gorgeous fountain greets you as you walk up the pathway and into the restaurant. It’s a Tuesday night, the day after Easter Monday and at 8pm, this restaurant is booming with no signs of any looming financial crisis on its second wind. The big kitchen is open for customers to see directly in and right beside it, a long “shared” table full of chatter and laughter is busy with different patrons enjoying their food and plonk.

We are shown to our table inside the main dining room and at once given some sparkling water on request and menus to start the night. Cecilia introduces herself and urges us to take our time reading through what’s on offer from the kitchens at Chiswick. Deferring away from the traditional three course meal, Chiswick offers an alternative tying in with its table sharing notion, of small plates to share. And as I pore over the menu, I see large lamb racks being placed on the table beside me as the table of eight get ready to all dig in together. After a little bit of discussion and advice from Cecilia, Mr ELG and I order the Veal Sliders x 2, the Kingfish and Steak tartare. A Crab and pea risotto and some of the Moran family beef will follow accompanied by a plate of hand cut chips. A friend of mine had been to Chiswick only days before and on her orders the Veal Sliders were a must, not that I knew at that stage what was to come! Mr ELG also ordered a divine French wine from the Rhone region and the celebrations were off to a great start!

As we sat there chatting, I looked around the room and realised that we have become such a food-forward bunch. With cooking channels taking over our television viewing, cook books topping the best-seller lists and cooking apps taking over our iPads, everyone around me including ourselves know what we want, want the best and are happy to pay for it. And then afterwards we chat about it, share it, pin it, tweet it and the excitement continues. The Veal Sliders arrive and they are mini burgers with brioche buns, tart tomatoes and gherkins and tender veal. Super tasty that I fight to savour the taste slowly over eating it so quickly to immediately enjoy! The Kingfish is a fresh pink and the lemon aioli is like a squirt of fresh lemon on your tongue. And the Steak tartare is heaven; finely diced with an egg yolk and such a memorable marriage of flavours.

Our mains come quickly and as we share these plates too; Chiswick is living up to all expectations.

The one thing that can often let down a restaurant like Chiswick is its staff as often they are too snooty and arrogant to realise that they’re not the patron but the one serving the patron. Tonight this was not the case. All restaurants need to have a Cecilia. Someone who is knowledgeable without being pretentious, someone who loves food and loves to eat it and someone that can smile and actually have a conversation.

Never to pass up dessert and on Cecilia’s recommendations and detailed break down of the plate; I ordered the Caramelia Eclair. When it came out, and I looked at the plate, I immediately thought I was looking at a photo of the woods. On the right was a log and on the left were some Autumnal leaves. On the right was actually the Eclair with a creamy chocolate filling and on the left were slices of poached plum with roasted almonds scattered over.

Matt and Peter, your neighbourhood restaurant is a winner and I hope you are paying Cecilia well because her effort was priceless.

Chiswick @ 65 Ocean Street Woollahra, NSW 2025

Published in: on April 13, 2012 at 1:07 am  Comments (1)  
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A giant’s hot cross bun

Oh and forgot to tell you about breakfast as here at ELG central, Easter is one of our most loved holidays and the three of us decided to get a head start on the hot cross bun intake. I bought this yesterday at another love; Bourke Street Bakery. Their bakers have obviously had a bit of fun in the kitchen and may have taken some inspiration from James and the Giant peach as this hot cross bun is certainly not small. It was the size of a standard dinner plate and after warming it in the oven, the waft of cinnamon and nutmeg filled my home and with some butter; breakfast was a big slice of heaven. If you’re in Sydney and love a good hot cross bun, this one doesn’t disappoint so go and grab one today!

Bourke Street Bakery @ 633 Bourke Street Surry Hills, NSW 2010

 

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 12:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday night cooking

There is something about Friday night cooking that I’m not a fan of. I just opened the fridge, then the freezer trying to rumble up some inspiration to get the juices flowing for what to cook tonight but as always there was zilch, nudder, nothing.

Someone also made a comment to me during the week that there hasn’t been a lot of go and eat posts of new places on ELG for a while and with no excuses to offer you or reports that I have been in a cave due to hibernation (wrong season!), I honestly put it down to being a mum and having a small fry on the go. After too many stares from people when MM made a small shout during entree or having a fair few people trip over the wheels of the pram even though I have tried to shove it in the corner – I admit I have become one of those mums who just prefers to be at home for meal times, where MM can scream as much as he likes and leave the staring to Mr ELG and I .

But last Friday night, I put that all to one side and braved the outside once again to try my luck at Pizza Moncur…dinner for the ELGs in the heart of Woollahra. Diagonally opposite the Woollahra hotel and next door to the well loved Big Mamas, Pizza Moncur has suburb sophistication written all over it with its black and wooden design. A lovely French waiter pointed us to a table kerbside with plenty of room for MM and his stroller to sit on the pavement. The menu had both the usuals (four cheeses) and the unusuals and between the two of us, we had one of each. Mr ELG can not go past a Quattro Formaggi although I note this one had haloumi which is on the rare side and I chose a Mediterranean style consisting of red peppers, scallops, chorizo and chili jam.

Pizzas were served on a square black slate and the base is thin with texture with extravagant amounts of topping. Both pizzas were in one word; divine. Clear tastes, hot and crisp just out of the woodfired oven and the accompanying friendly service finished off the night. There were no stares from other patrons as MM was on his best behavior and as we ate piece by piece, we noticed that the restaurant also does a roaring trade of takeaway on foot and scooters delivering boxes to the door.

Hmmm and as the clock approaches 3pm, I am still wondering what’s for dinner tonight?

Happy Friday!

Pizza Moncur @ 101 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025

Published in: on March 23, 2012 at 3:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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salt and caramel

Salt and caramel. It’s up there with the best of food marriages….lamb and rosemary, chocolate and raspberry, egg and bacon. And truth be told, it’s all I can think about it this morning and when it’s not even midday on this glorious sunny Friday and I have read the phrase “salted caramel” twice already, well I think the food gods are trying to tell me something! Correct me if I’m wrong…. 🙂

First sighting: clicking into my Flipboard app this morning on my iPad and reading the latest Polka Dot Bride blog post. Miss Polka Dot has willingly shared Baroque Bistro’s recipe of their beautiful salted caramel macarons. I stare at the recipe and the photo takes me back to October 31, 2009 to be precise. The date of our Engagement party. Mr ELG and I had a “Party in the Park” at the Column gardens in Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia. The roses were in full bloom, the hedges freshly cut and the grass was soft and green. Mr ELG and I had just come back from a Paris trip where Laduree macarons were on our agenda each day. As Laduree has no Southern Hemisphere store, Baroque Bistro had the next best macarons (I prefer the delectable taste from the Rock’s Baroque kitchens over Zumbo any day but that’s my personal preference!) and if I recall correctly, I think I picked up 250 macarons that morning struggling to hold back from nibbling on a few. Salted Caramel was one of the flavours and take my word for it or get yourself down to Baroque Bistro today; the flavour combination is exquisite and as I write this post, know I am salivating!

Second sighting: while MM is snoozing and I have a spare ten minutes between chores, I grab the latest edition of Delicious magazine; Issue 113 – March 2012. In their latest foodiefile. there’s a write up on the latest cafe on the Surry Hills scene; The Hills. As I scan the short paragraph, my eyes find their way to “salted caramel shake”. Ooooohh I think; can I get there today with MM in tow? A shake with THE marriage of flavours today of all days would go down so well, so smooth, so satisfying on this summer’s day. OH I MUST GO!

If you need me, you know where I will be….happy Friday!

Baroque Bistro @ 88 George Street (corner of Hickson Road) The Rocks, Sydney Australia 2000

The Hills @ 61 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW Australia 2010

Published in: on February 17, 2012 at 12:18 am  Comments (2)  
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the poets, a yellow teapot and dumplings

Long title but quick post….

I’ve found another great dumpling place to go to and it’s tucked away in Top Ryde of all places! The restaurant is called The Poets and gives nothing away in its name but is situated in the alfresco area of the shopping centre is a restaurant with excellent quality Northern Chinese food at reasonable prices too. Unlike other dumpling haunts, The Poets is nicely decorated with comfortable custom made chairs, blue and white oriental cushions and has a wall entirely made out of chopsticks.

Tea was served in a stunning yellow teapot with matching tea cups which reminded me of a teapot that my mum has stashed somewhere. Note to self; must look for that and ask if I can borrow…?

And well the dumplings themselves were steaming hot, fresh and it was a lovely generous serving. MM also thought highly of them as an alternative baby food for lunch!

I told you – short and sweet.

The Poets @ Top Ryde Shopping Centre; corner Devlin and Blaxland Road Ryde 2112

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 4:03 am  Comments (1)  
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Got to getaway

That was my instruction this time last week from Mr ELG. “Let’s go away for the weekend. Can you please organise something for the three of us. I’m not fussed where but I need to get out of Sydney!!?” With the forecast set to rain, beachy destinations were out. Trawling around wineries with a 10 month old did not really whet the appetite either so the Hunter was also crossed out. So the place that was booked and in my mind, is always nicer anyway when it’s cold and rainy was Leura, in the heart of the Blue Mountains; less than 2 hours from Sydney’s chaos.

On all of our other visits to the Blue Mountains, I have never once stayed in Leura. I always pay a visit to the high street but never based myself there. Blackheath has the gorgeous Heatherton House but needs more three people to make it worthwhile and on our last visit, Mr ELG and I were without a third wheel and instead wewere with 8 of our friends in a massive house in Wentworth Falls.

Walking down the high street in Leura the first thing I see is an A-frame blackboard sporting a familiar image that I usually see up the road at the Gallery cafe in Annandale – Princess Pantry. I follow the gorgeous bunting and it leads me into a cute little store next to the post office. Below the gold crown motive on the sign reads Ladies Guild and inside I discover an assortment of handmade knitted goodies, greeting cards, bunting, tea cups and saucers and of course a great selection of the Princess Pantry range…jams, marmalades and chutneys. As I read labels of Apricot velvet jam and True Blood Orange marmalade, it is hard not to want to source some fresh scones and cream to sample the whole range!

Moving down the street I discover that the beautiful pyjama store Papinelle has opened up a store in Leura. When Mr ELG and I were courting (haha; such an old fashioned description that always makes me laugh); he treated me to some of their collection. Unlike Peter Alexander’s bright and bold prints, Papinelle quench the thirst to be truly feminine at home with their lace, cotton and soft floral collection; not forgetting the Petite Papinelles as they cater for bubs too with their oh-so-cute bloomers.

The other must visits in Leura are the numerous homeware stores and the best stationary store on the opposite side. And while we wandered around immersing ourselves in the atmosphere, well dressed ladies and gents caught up in the roaring 20s and all that Jazz passed us by as they shimmied this way and that and took part in the Charleston Challenge.

Before we went home, there was one last visit to be made…Bakehouse on Wentworth. Known for their delicious sourdough and hot pies, it’s hard to to not follow the smell of fresh bread. And on Monday morning; as the three of us bit into our freshly toasted fruit sourdough toast topped with lashings of butter – we started the week recharged after a great getaway.

Princess Pantry @ Shop 4, Post Office Arcade The Mall Leura 2780

Papinelle @ Shop 5, 152-160 Leura Mall Leura 2780

Bakehouse on Wentworth @208 The Mall Leura 2780

The Post with the most!

It’s rare for me to write a post that ticks all 3 boxes but here’s a wrap up of yesterday…

EAT – to start with…oven baked sourdough and prosecco, moving onto fresh, clean tastes in salads such as  yummy Insalata Caprese with ripe red thickly cut tomatoes and creamy mozzarella slices, tuna nicoise salad with poached eggs, bresaola with rocket and shaved pecorino, cucumber ribbon, pine nuts and ricotta and warm stuffed eggplant. Pasta was next with a bolognese penne and a seared tuna and parsley orecchiette before mains arrived of seared swordfish with tomatoes, capers and extra virgin olive oil and crispy pork belly accompanied by lemon wedges and rocket. Dessert could not be forgotten and for Mr ELG and I, this was arguably our highlight….Eton mess with dollops of cream, fresh vanilla bean and plump sweet strawberries followed by a selection of cheese; both creamy and hard with pear and crackers. A cappuccino finished me off!

LOVE – family on hand to look after MM (BIT’s new codename aka Mini Mister), sharing a table with 14 closest and dearest pals over a long Sunday summer lunch where conversation flowed, laughter was bursting at the seams, yummy food was there to be divulged and life couldn’t be sweeter.

GO – Cafe Sopra above Fratelli Fresh on Danks Street, Waterloo Sydney. The private room where the Italian feast never stops.

Published in: on January 30, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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The triple cooked TURKISH TORTE

Everyone has their favourite things to cook. The recipes that just work and you can do with your eyes shut. The no-fails you can rely on at the last minute.  So when I was reading this month’s Delicious magazine and came across a photo of a beautifully decorated chocolate cake, I would never have thought that this recipe would become one of those on repeat. Primarily due to the ingredient list which are not your stock standard pantry staples with chocolate halva and pomegranate seeds on the list. But when the reaction after the first go and serving it up was silence, then seconds and even some people requesting thirds and no leftovers; all I could do was smile.

It was the beautiful photo that sealed the deal although it also initially met my other criteria in needing to be gluten-free. Sourcing the ingredients list sent me on a goose chase around Sydney finding chocolate halva at Russkis deli in Bondi and edible rose petals at Herbies in Rozelle and with Mr ELG and BIT sent out for a morning walk, the oven preheated to 170 degrees, the mix was surprisingly easy to whip up and bang together. With a Kitchenaid this recipe is a one-bowl wonder – love that!

As it baked in the oven I admit that I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out….too dry, too sweet, not sweet enough?! And after it emerged out of the oven, it definitely did not look like its photo just yet. More like a Cinderella waiting for the fairy godmother to swing on by to wave some magic. But with the magic of chocolate sauce, freshly torn mint leaves, scattered edible rose petals and pomegranate seeds; this TURKISH TORTE was the belle of the ball.

I cooked the Turkish Torte for Christmas and dressed it with cherries and Pariya Pashmak green pistachio fairy floss as well to give it an extra festive kick. And as I go to cook this recipe the third time this month (this time it’s a birthday cake), I am smiling again as I remember driving home with Mr ELG after eating the cake for the first time. We were chatting as you do, breaking down the night with our in-the-car analysis and when I asked what he thought of dessert, one word came out of his mouth. Humdinger! ” Humdinger!” I cried?!! “Yes, humdinger” he repeated, “the best ever chocolate cake”. It was my turn to smile and think I love you Mr ELG!

Published in: on December 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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the kindle, the key and Paris in a different light

I recently completed The Travel List Challenge and out of the 100 places to go before you die, I discovered I’ve already been to 27 of them. Ok, I thought – over a quarter of the way there in my 31 years of life.

A while ago now, Mr ELG and I did the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and after the memorable turns and twists of the road, we ended up at Port Fairy for the night in this gorgeous stay called Oscar’s. Bushes of lavender greeted us along the path to reception and I vividly remember the dark paneled flooring leading out to the verandah where we took breakfast the next morning which overlooked the inlet with all of its boats bobbing up and down. Over eggs and OJ, I recall having a conversation with a fellow traveler about how I could definitely come back here again to which he replied “Oh no, there are too many places to see in the world to visit them twice.”

Years later and with my new gadget in hand ~ the kindle; I am completely immersed in the book Sarah’s Key. Set mainly in Paris covering two time periods, I read about the streets of the Marais and the secrets of all the buildings. I read about Sarah and her horrific struggles during 1942 and grow fond of the character, Julia who is living a completely different life in 2004. Reading about Paris, I think of the many times I have been to the city and will continue to go back. Not using the traveler’s ethos, I have been to Paris 4 or 5 times and it was only last month that we were back there again taking BIT there for the first time. We rented out an apartment in the heart of the Marais on Rue Rambuteau giving the stroller a good run for its money as its wheels ran over and over the uneven cobblestone ground on a daily basis. Mr ELG and I love to explore the city’s arrondissements and get lost and found again and again.
Yet it was reading my new book, back home in Sydney that from afar I was seeing the city of lights in a completely different shade. Gone was the excitement and fondness I feel when I think of Paris and instead I felt sick to my stomach whilst reading a fiction piece that referenced a real-life event that took place in Paris in July, 1942. In all of my education, I had never heard or learnt of the events known as the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup and when I asked Mr ELG if he knew about it, he said it rang a bell but he could offer no further detail. Admittedly, I have never been a WWII history buff but in the way this book was describing the numbers of people taken by the French on both 16 and 17 of July, 1942 I was in disbelief and felt ashamed of my ignorance that I had no knowledge of this topic and had to learn about it from Wikipedia instead. I finished the book in a weekend and now 10 days later, it is still on my mind. And I know that when I next go to Paris and walk through the streets of the Marais, I will stop to think about the 13, 152 people taken those mornings and feel grateful to have no such worries in life as those people did during those crazy years in our history.

 

 

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 2:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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