Things you've never dreamed of

June 22nd, 2010 by Rose


Holla, girlfriends and boyfriends!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I started a new job three months ago and it took over pretty much my entire life. I’ve avoided talking about it because I’m superstitious enough to believe that if I talk about my new job before my probation period is over, I’d get fired the next day for whatever reason. I’ve just passed my probation period so I get to say that I kind of like it. Well, it has its moments. Some of those moments even involve me not being stressed as fuck.

The downside of this craziness is that my digital camera has shitloads of photos just sitting there, congealing like yesterday’s oatmeal. I’ll get around to them eventually, but let’s start with my most recent adventure.

Read the rest of this entry »

April 11th, 2010 by Rose

Bodega Tapas Bar, Surry Hills

The SO and I were invited to a delightful dinner at Bodega Tapas Bar last Tuesday by a similarly delightful couple, Daniel and Chika. Bodega is a tiny place tucked away on a side street in Surry Hills – but its reputation is such that there is apparently a line of people outside the place most nights (they don’t accept reservations). Being a Tuesday we scored a table quite easily. Well, I say table, but they’re really seats at the long communal table in the middle of the restaurant. We were asked if we wanted our own table or if we wanted to sit in the middle table and being the social butterflies that we were, we took the communal table.

I didn’t take any photos of the place because I was a bit self conscious about taking pictures (I think my mistake was asking if I can take photos first, the dude was like “for personal use?” and I’m like “yeahhhhhhhhh” then I was a bit worried I’d look like a price comparison undercover person or something but uh this counts as personal use right?), but the restaurant is awesome. Not gonna lie, it was a bit cramped and noisy, but service was friendly and well, they’re all hot. There’s a rockabilly vibe in the place with almost everyone rocking 50s hair styles and clothing.

You know what though, I came home and looked at my collection of photos and was like, why did I even bother taking photos if it looks like I took photos of everything with my eyes closed? I’m disgusted guys, disgusted. It’s the opposite of my sentiments on actually eating there, which I’ll get to in the next paragraph.

Man I can’t ever think of a clever way to start a paragraph, so let’s get right to what we had:

Eggplant en escabeche and complimentary bread. I forgot to turn on my macro setting for this shot. What the fuck, indeed. Anyway, I can always get behind a place that gives you a crapload of delicious fluffy bread and olive oil free of charge. Wikipedia, the font of all knowledge says that an “escabeche” is a thing what’s marinated in something acidic. The eggplant was nice and slippery with a strong hint (is that an oxymoron?) of fennel.

OYSTERS. Not much to say there except OYSTERS GODDAMN. They’re $3.50 each. At first I was trying to appear demure or some shit by saying I only want one, but then everyone got two and I was like fuck it I want some goddamn oysters. So I got two, and it was double the deliciousness. The SO only had one because he is very secure about his testosterone levels.

Spiced pumpkin and feta empanadas with yoghurt sauce. It was crispy and not at all greasy. I didn’t think the yoghurt sauce was really necessary but was happily proven wrong when I slathered my bite of empanada with it.

Oh god this is just tragic. I stared at this picture in Photoshop for ages thinking, I’m never gonna salvage this piece of crap. Then I was struck with a brilliant idea – I’ll just resize it really really small and it won’t be too obvious that the picture’s shit. Obviously, it didn’t work. These are the deep fried spiced calamari with aioli. It was slightly too salty for me, but the bits of calamari are perfectly tender. Just one thing though… they gave us enough aioli for a bucket of fried calamari. I would love a bucket of it, just FYI guys.

These are called fish fingers, but they’re not the bright orange processed stuff you get in a box. From the site: “sashimi Kingfish on garlic toast with cuttlefish ceviche and mojama“. It’s a bit salty, a bit sour and a bit sweet from the onions. I’m a huge fan of this.

Steamed pork belly with warm salad of onion and shiitake mushroom. See, my experience with pork belly usually involves the crispy crackling or highly flavoured braise, so this was something very different for me. The steaming produces very silky, melt in your mouth delicate thin slices of pork. Daniel left the rind on his plate. If I wasn’t so concerned about looking like a rude arsehole I would have shamelessly asked if I can have it. If I’m trying to describe the dish by picking a passage from the well worn pages of purple prose analogies, I would liken it to your lover’s breath against your cheek as you sip a glass of wine, discussing philosophy in a buttercup-filled meadow with white doves flying overhead, while the advancing army of soul sucking robots move throu

Just as I was lulled into a trance-like bliss by the wispy carress that was the pork belly, the gutsy chorizo with sofrito paste came along and sucker punched me in the mouth. Pow, motherfucker!

I was a bit confused as to why the salad came later and not at the beginning of the meal, but it was not my place to ask such things – just to eat with relish. In hindsight it was a great way to end the savoury dishes and cleanse the palate for dessert. This was beetroot, labna, witlof and orange salad. I’ve always been kind of ehhhh when it comes to beetroot, but it was gorgeous here with the sweet oranges and tangy labna. I still can’t do witlof though, sorry. Evil little things. I ate them anyway because I’m polite.

The dude who took orders from our table said I can have dessert if I finish all my vegetables. I even ate the fucking witlof so this amazing plate was well deserved. This is the “banana split”, but like the fish fingers the name doesn’t really describe what it actually is. The plate consists of a cream flan, dulce de leche ice cream (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE), ginger biscuit (assume this is the thing on top of the flan?) and a fluffy banana puree thing. I’d eat another witlof leaf for this.

This was a dessert on their specials board so I don’t actually know what they call this. But it has a pastry thing with some sort of vanilla creamy custardy thing in it, a quince… thing and a scoop of very chocolatey ice cream. I liked the vanilla thing enormously though SO found it a little bland.

This meal (we shared three desserts between the four of us), plus beers and bottle of sparkling water came to about $60 per person. I was completely stuffed at the end of the meal and felt like I had to be rolled out of the restaurant.

Bodega Tapas Bar
216 Commonwealth St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9212 7766

March 28th, 2010 by Rose

Art, Booze and Carbs: The ABC of Happiness

Guys, I had a great weekend. Granted, most of today was spent trying to sleep off the greatness of yesterday, but even a level 7 hangover can’t dampen my spirits. Unless I puke on it (and I didn’t, hurrah for me!).

My good friends May and Cam hosted an Arty Party on Saturday as a belated housewarming. Our gorgeous hosts supplied the canvasses, oil and acrylic paints (some salvaged from Cam’s bludging fine arts days in uni) and paintbrushes while everyone else brought with them alcohol and imagination. Everyone really got into it – the room was silent as creative juices churned from brain to paper, broken only by the occasional “Who’s got the Burnt Umber?”

Of course, creativity has to be well-fed. May’s mum generously contributed baked goods for us starving artists:

Best apple pie ever, fat with chunks of spiced apple and sultanas. May said that her mum only learned how to bake recently. “Unpossible!” I said through a giant mouthful pie, clumsily spraying bits of buttery flaky crust everywhere.

May’s mum also made a zingy, creamy lemon tart. May served it with some lemon sorbet.

I’m a bit hesitant about putting everyone’s art up because I forgot to ask if it’s OK, but here’s my finished masterpiece: Read the rest of this entry »

March 21st, 2010 by Rose

Efendy, Balmain

It’s my good friend Pimento‘s birthday today! To celebrate him not looking a day over 27, 7 of us went to Efendy for brunch. None of us have actually been there before but we were all pleasantly surprised.

Efendy is placed away from the main Darling St strip (it’s more on the border between Balmain and Rozelle), so the surroundings are a bit more quiet, but the place was busy when we arrived. There is a nice courtyard area at the front but the majority voted for sitting inside because it was too hot.

My SO and I both ordered tea – he had the apple tea. It comes with a stick of cinnamon. I absolutely loved it and secretly wished I ordered it instead. It was pretty sweet, but the cinnamon helps to mellow out the sweetness so that it’s not too sickly. I had Turkish tea, which tasted like black tea. Idk if it’s supposed to just be black tea, but it comes in a cool glass so whatever.

Oh man. Guys you gotta get your arses down here for the breakfast, it was pretty damn amazing. These were our choices:

My SO and Rachel ordered the Kiymali – “village style” minced lamb stew with eggs and tomatoes. This was absolutely delicious. I’m a huge fan of lamb, and the combination of spices and eggs made for a rich, satisfying breakfast. The serving plate they have is… interesting. It’s like a huge dinner plate with a bowl in the middle. When you first get it you’re like uh, that’s a pretty small serving innit, then you dig your fork in and the bowl goes on FOREVER. What I’m saying is, don’t worry about your serving looking small cos it isn’t.

Cam and Andrew ordered, uh, this. The menu on the Efendy website is a bit out of date so it doesn’t have a couple of the new dishes on it (and prices – everything is probably a couple of dollars more expensive that is stated on the old website menu), but this was a dish of poached eggs on top of buttered Turkish bread with haloumi, asparagus and tomato.

May and Pimento ordered the Kallavi or big breakfast – two fried eggs with grilled sucuk, merguez sausages, mushrooms and pastirma. Pimento opted for no tomatoes because he’s weird.

This was my pick, the Menemen – spiced scrambled eggs with banana peppers and tomatoes, plus a side of haloumi for an extra $6. This was delicious. It’s pretty much just eggs and vegetables but it’s very more-ish. It’s slightly spicy, the type of heat that just tickles the tastebuds so that everything tastes more intense. I thought that $6 for a side of haloumi was pretty expensive but they do give you generous slices of it and they’re fried perfectly.

Check out the giant platter of buttered Turkish bread in the middle of the table. I love this place and will be back to try out their dinner menu one day.

Because it was just after noon when we finished eating, the girls opted for alcohol for their second round of drinks. A birthday is not complete without some, even though the birthday boy didn’t have any.

Rachel and I got a delicious cocktail called Narosa – sparkling wine, pomegranate liqueur and bits of pomegranate. Not only are the pomegranate seeds delicious but they also provide the sort of entertainment devised by people with way too much time (and sparkling wine) on their hands, as we tried to get the seeds to float via the powers of bubbles in the wine. May ordered a Bloody Ayshe – vodka, tomato juice, Turkish tomato ezme (idk) and “spices”. It came with a pickled chilli on the rim. I didn’t try any of it cos I hate tomato juice, but it got a thumbs up from May.

Then we went back to my place where I surprised Pimento with a chilli chocolate orange cake (recipe from here). I need to get myself to a cake decorating class or some shit because this looks like ass, but I can guarantee that this recipe is tops – it was very fudgey and rich and the chilli in it packs just the slightest hint of heat that pairs very well with the chocolate. My mistake was to leave it in the fridge until we got home. Ideally you’d want it to be out of the fridge for an hour or so before eating, as it’s a bit dry when it’s cold.

Among a couple other things, I got Pimento this as a gag gift:

It’s gluten free, low sodium vegetarian bacon salt. It’s actually as disgusting as it sounds. It doesn’t taste like any sort of bacon I know. It tastes more like dried, ground up cocktail weiners. Blerrrghhh. I don’t recommend getting it for people you like.

79 Elliott St. (corner of Darling St.), Balmain
(02) 9810 5466

ETA: I just realised I’m using my old watermark with a www in front of the URL. FML I’m not redoing the pictures

ETA II: Heads up for food bloggers: head over to Simon’s blog to win a chance to be a guest at Efendy’s food blogger’s event! There’s going to be free samples of authentic (and I’m sure) v. tasty Turkish food.

March 16th, 2010 by Rose

Taste of Sydney, Centennial Park

I’ll be honest – I didn’t even know this was happening until Legoman offered my partner and I free tickets to Taste of Sydney. A quick Internet search later, I found out that Taste is a festival that showcases dishes, drinks and food products from Sydney’s top restaurants and various food producers (boutique and otherwise). For myself, the biggest lure of the event was the opportunity to sample the tasting menu of various fine restaurants I can’t afford. This year it was held from March 11th to March 14th at Centennial Park. My partner and I went to the Friday afternoon session to avoid big crowds. We were running late so we just grabbed a cab to get there. We had a nice conversation with the cabbie until he turned out to be racist. Awesome.

The event uses books of vouchers called “Crowns” as its currency, with the price being 1 Crown = $1. Dishes on the tasting menu costs 8, 10 or 12 Crowns.

Our first dish was Assiette‘s Sydney rock oysters with “Vietnamese dressing”, crispy deep fried shallots and baby coriander. Ohhhh man our tasting went off to a great start. The textures in this were absolutely divine. I like my oysters naked, so I was happy to find that the dressing complemented the flavour of the oysters instead of overpowering them, which I tend to find with most oyster dressings.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 16th, 2010 by Rose

Awww Yeah

I’m back, darlings. Life got in the way, then WPMU shat itself and it took me 3 minutes to load each backend pages. Pimento has generously helped me to move all my stuff to a new space with brand spanking new versions of everything, so things are now running smoothly. Nothing’s changed except that I’d gotten rid of the www in front of my URL. Ooh scandal.

Sweeties, I have SO much to tell. First, here’s a recipe for you – consider this an apology for being absent for so long.

Sambal Kicap (Sweet Soy Sauce Sambal)

I can probably dress that picture up a bit more so it doesn’t look like tar in a bowl, but trust me, it’s delicious. Sambal kicap is a delightful condiment often served with anything soupy (e.g. noodle soups), grilled seafood, fried eggplants, banana fritters – anything fried. Shit, serve it with marshmallows if that takes your fancy.

Most recipes leave the garlic and chillies raw, but the recipe where I adapted this one from says that frying them lightly first will help the sauce keep for longer in the fridge. I also like the fact that it mellows out the garlic flavour.


Two cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole
Bird’s eye chilli – amount differs according to how hardcore you are. You can also replace with bigger chillies if you’re not too keen on burning your tastebuds off. If using small chillies, leave whole. If using large, roughly chop. Both green and red chillies are fine depending on what you want that day.
Approx 1/4 cup kicap manis/sweet soy sauce. I use ABC brand kicap manis
Kalamansi/lime juice (optional)

Open all windows.

Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a small pan or wok over medium heat. Bung in the garlic and chillies. Fry until chillies start popping (explode more like) and scare the shit out of you. It didn’t take me long, probably about a minute or two? Note that frying chillies will give off fumes that make you sneeze, cough and feel unhappy.

Drain chillies and garlic on absorbent kitchen paper if you really care about the bit of oil clinging on to these things. Leave to cool.

Pound garlic and chillies together with a mortar and pestle until you get a paste*. You can add some sugar at this stage if you like your sauce sweeter (I don’t). Stir in the garlic-chilli paste with kicap manis. The kalamansi/lime juice is especially good if you’re going to use the sauce with seafood – just squeeze in a little bit at first, stir and taste. Keep adjusting the taste by adding more kicap or lime juice to taste.

*If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, chillies (chop these up a bit first) and soy sauce and use a blender to make a sauce, adding a tiny bit (like half a tsp or so) of water if you need it.

I served it alongside KK-style beef soto:

As a bonus, here’s what I had for dinner the last two nights:

Vietnamese beef stew – recipe from the amazing Wandering Chopsticks blog. Try it out, it’s seriously good. The two pictures above aren’t me trying to be artistic – I only found out that the bowl I used for both dishes was chipped so I had to crop it out.

February 12th, 2010 by Rose

About Life, Rozelle

I’ve written an entry on About Life before in my now defunct blog. Last week, the SO suggested that we have breakfast there since we usually come down there for lunch. With Pimento in tow, we walked down to Rozelle.

About Life is probably one of the more expensive places to eat around here. The menu states that they use “100% clean ingredients and as much organic as is seasonally possible”. That’s cool, I don’t mind paying a little bit more for good food. They’re also very accommodating when it comes to people’s dietary needs – there are heaps of vegetarian options (even vegan!) and there are little legends on the side of menu items for things that are vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, low fat, low sugar and low GI.

The real test however, as we all know, is in the taste.

The SO ordered the big breakfast – “including natural smokehouse bacon and chorizo, with organic eggs your style, char grilled field mushrooms and slow roasted organic roma tomatoes”. I’m an idiot because I forgot to note down the price of the meal, but it was a bit more than $15, and even more if you get the optional coffee and orange juice. It was OK. I reckon the best part of the breakfast was the giant field mushroom, it was nice and meaty and perfectly seasoned. The SO isn’t a big fan of the bacon, which was a bit too crisp for his taste and a bit bland. I think it’s because there’s less sodium in these (a good thing IMO).

Pimento got the bacon and egg roll. This was also… OK. There are a lot of green bits. I personally don’t think green bits belong on a bacon and egg roll but well, this is About Life we’re talking about. This was also kind of expensive for some bacon, and egg and lots of green bits on a bun. What’s that? Organic? Oh, right.

This bacon and egg roll took agesss to arrive, which brings me to the service at About Life. They’re very friendly but damn bro things fall apart a little bit when it’s busy. My SO and I were nearly finished with our meals before Pimento’s arrive, even though we placed all of our orders on the one ticket.

I got the vegan breakfast – “scrambled tofu with spinach, spanish onion and roast pumpkin relish with sumac”. This was very tasty but sweet (they’ve stirred through the relish instead of having it as a side). I was actually taken aback by how sweet it was, but I was doing fine until about 2/3 of the way through when the sweetness started getting to me a little bit. The soy and linseed bread was very good so props to About Life for that.

There’s just one little thing. Protip: Don’t give away one of those little butter packets with a VEGAN breakfast. It was busy though so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and just say it’s an oversight. It’s awesome that they even have vegan options (that’s right bitches, PLURAL) on the menu. I’m not vegetarian, but I know how annoying it is to try and get vegetarian, let alone vegan stuff around here without resorting to chips and a green salad. Or a veg option that’s not just egg and cheese.

This reminds me of an anecdote: I once got the “vegetarian breakfast” from a place that shall not be named (irrelevant – the business is now closed) and found a piece of ham hock in my beans. I asked them about it and they were apologetic and said that a piece of bacon “fell” in the beans. Right. I’m pretty bloody sure that the ham hock is part of the recipe because I can tell the difference. I’m just sayin’, if you cook your stuff with bits of meat/meat-based stock/sauces, it’s not vegetarian even if you remove all the meat.

Wow that turned into a super rant. Did you know that I love to read vegan blogs in my spare time? Well, now you know.

In summary – I love the concept of About Life as a “natural food market” and appreciate the fact that the menu’s mostly organic AND caters to all sorts of dietary needs, but it’s overpriced and the service gets super slow when it’s busy.

About Life
605 Darling St., Rozelle
(02) 8755 1333

Oh and here’s a thing that I got from Bertoni Casalinga today!

It’s a ricotta cheesecake with coffee beans on top. Oh man, the first time I’ve had the ricotta cheesecake was probably one and a half years ago and I’ve been waiting for it to make a comeback all this time. Well it’s back and I got two slices. It’s really good and surprisingly light. If you’re in Balmain you should get there quicksmart and get yourself a slice before I buy the rest of it it’s all gone.

February 6th, 2010 by Rose

(Part of) Tonight’s Dinner

Look at these goddamn deep fried zucchini flowers. They’re stuffed with ricotta and goat’s cheese and chives and fancy shit your B-grade celebrity chefs get their pants wet over. You know you want to eat the shit out of these fuckers goddamn


February 6th, 2010 by Rose

Perth 2009: Northbridge

One of the things I noticed about Perth when I got back (aside from Perth women being hot and the men fug) is that everything is so goddamn expensive. Most people blame the mining boom and East Coasters migrating over as the reasons why prices on everything have gone up, and the GFC hasn’t exactly helped things either. The SO tried to buy a pint of Hoegaarden when we were there and it was like 18 fucking dollars! Granted, we were at The Garden in Leederville where there’s always going to be cashed up hipster wankers who are willing to pay that much, but still!

Despite the severely overpriced nightlife, you can always count on Northbridge – Perth’s Chinatown – for reasonably priced feeds. Here are a couple of my favourites:

Dim Sim Cafe
297 William St.
(08) 9328 9388


Previously known as Hoi’s Kitchen, Dim Sim Cafe is home of the infamous Fried Squid, also known as Crack Squid. It’s really just deep fried salt and pepper squid, but there’s just something about the spice combination that makes it really addictive. The crunchy tentacles are tossed with spring onions and green chillies with just a hint of sugar. Please sir may I have some more


Their pork and century egg congee is not too bad either. It’s generous with the pork and century egg as you can see in the picture. To be perfectly honest the other yum cha items are just slightly above average so I can’t really give any other recommendations aside from the chicken pie (the crust is to die for), but the food is cheap and the service surly, as good yum cha places should be.

Saigon Cafe
101 James St.
(08) 9227 1552


Saigon Cafe has always been my favourite place to have Vietnamese food as a poor struggling student. I revisited the restaurant with BusinessClass one night for dinner.

I ordered the combination pho:


The soup is nice and fragrant and they pack it full of beef slices and miscellaneous cow parts.

BusinessClass ordered the duck with dry noodles – check out the amount of duck they give you:


The sauce that came with the duck tastes almost like the nasty sweet and sour sauce you get in shitty Chinese restaurants, but it managed to just taste nicely sweet and went really well with the crispy duck.

Kind of honourable mention:

James St. Kitchen
109 James St.
(08) 9227 1437

I’m really just putting this here for nostalgia’s sake. I revisited James St. Kitchen with Pimento and was pretty disappointed.


I got the salt and chilli fish fillets with fried rice (it’s on the menu as chicken fillets, but you can change it to fish for an extra dollar). This was tiny and the fried rice was pre-prepared – four years ago the serving was twice this size and the fried rice was made to order. The fish was still good, though – it’s served with a heap of fried garlic so make sure you have breath mints on you.


Pimento got the crispy noodles with pork. As you can see, they burnt bits of the noodles. Not impressed guys! It was OK, taste wise.

One item of the menu never fails to disappoint, however:


It’s just strong brewed tea with sugar syrup and slices of lemon, but I reckon they source the same crack that Dim Sim Cafe use for their fried squid to put in this business because it was crazy delicious.

Note that this isn’t the last of the Perth entries, I’ve just been lazy.

January 20th, 2010 by Rose

Perth 2009: A Very Merry Christmas

This is a long overdue post, and after an emotionally draining weekend it’s good to look through happy photos.

Ever since I told BusinessClass that I was coming over to Perth for Christmas, we’ve been brainstorming themes for our Christmas lunch. BC picked up two cactus-shaped candlesticks from a church sale and suggested a Mexican themed Christmas lunch. As fate would have it, the SO was given a bottle of tequila from a Mexican friend last September. Life has a way of working itself out.


Our Christmas lunch, hosted at our humble rented apartment in Freo. Yes, we used Old Del Paso burrito kits (crumbed chicken & beef) – haters to the left plz. We also had crackers, hummus, fresh cherries, crisps, shortbread and Gran Centenario Anejo tequila. Guys, let me tell you about this tequila. It’s smooth, slightly sweet and burns like a motherfucker going down. BC and I sat away from the candles in case we’d catch on fire by breathing on them.

Christmas dinner was hosted at BC’s, where BC’s mum slaved all day over a hot stove to make the most amazing Christmas dinner I’ve ever had. Before I get to the photos, let’s have a look at BC’s pickle tree.


The story goes something like this: One day, BC walked into a Bed, Bath & Table to find a box full of pickle-shaped Christmas ornaments. The helpful salesperson said that it’s tradition in Germany to hang pickles on the Christmas tree (note: I Googled this and apparently it’s a myth). BC, naturally, bought the whole lot – she now has the dubious distinction of being the only person in the whole of WA to have bought any, let alone multiple, pickle-shaped Christmas ornaments.

This is why I love her so much.


BC’s family is big on Christmas – check out the awesome decorations on the dinner table.


Everyone gets a cracker, a present and personalised reindeer gift tag.


BC’s mum kept insisting that the dinner is just “simple” – it’s not! We had roasted parsnips, broccolini, baked stuffing, Caesar salad and of course succulent roasted turkey. Everything was delicious.


This, however, is my favourite part of the meal – single-portion Bombe Alaska with a macadamia and cherry ice cream filling. This Bombe Alaska kicks arse, takes names and for good measure punches the face of any Christmas desserts in the history of all time.

Then we sat around chatting and drinking tea. Best Christmas ever.