Saturday, December 5, 2015

Barilla pasta recipe: Orecchiette with prawns, broccoli and Sundried Tomato Pesto

What do you normally do on Christmas day? I normally return to the family home I grew up in for
Christmas and my mum would usually be the one cooking up a big Christmas lunch feast or starting the BBQ as my siblings, closest aunts, uncles and cousins gather around the table to catch-up on events that happen during the year. There is guilt sometimes though as despite the enjoyment factor my mother derives from cooking for the whole family on Christmas day, and with her usual hospitality of never insisting anyone bring anything for her, I do feel obliged to lend a hand by cooking a dish and taking it with me to ease the burden. If you want to cook a dish that's easy to do and delicious, then try this Barilla pasta dish. It's pretty quick to whip up. There probably be enough so that you have leftovers the following days so you can take a break from the kitchen, which probably is ideal as most shops are on holidays.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Soul Origin | Instagram as Currency for Lunch on 12 November Martin Place, Sydney

I recently popped into Soul Origin in The Wintergarden in Sydney and tried their wide range of healthy and delicious lunch options, which is great for office workers like me with back to back meetings, loads of paperwork to get through the day and who just wants a good selection of healthy options to take on the run to keep me going for the rest of the afternoon.

This week, on Thursday 12 November 2016 in Martin Place between 10.30am and 2.30pm Soul Origin is giving away over 2000 Salads in Martin Place in return for an Instagram post of their giant edible billboard (which I’ve been promised will look amazing). Yes, you can use your Instagram post as currency to get your lunch in Martin Place this Thursday. So ensure just bring your phone, your work colleagues and head on over there for lunch. Make sure your phone is charged!

Thanks to Soul Origin manager, John at The Wintergarden, Sydney, here is a delicious selection from Soul Origin and what is available and what I tried. Coffee is good too. John told me they use St Ali's coffee beans from Melbourne.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hugos Manly

I crave the perfect pizza ... particularly after my recent experience in Sydney on the judging panel for Australia’s best pizza as part of the World Pizza Championships at Fine Foods Australia 2015 or perhaps it's a better and more informed appreciation of it. A pizza is not as simple as it appears.

At Hugos Manly their pizzas are visually arresting and generous in size. If I was blindfolded so as not to be tempted and quick to judge by the visual feast, the crust is thin, crispy, with a crunch of perfection. The flavours in this chilli prawn, roasted capsicum, tomato and salsa verde pizza interact energetically. And just as well the portions are finite otherwise you won’t know when to stop eating it.

My friend and I sat on the bench area facing Manly Beach which was stunning. This was a perfect weekend waterfront pizza dining experience for lunch. Crispy polenta chips with truffled parmesan tomatoes, and Sicilian olives, buffalo mozzarella & balsamic were delicious sides.

And what about dessert? The praise for the Sticky Date Pudding elegantly draped with butterscotch sauce was unanimous. While the dessert sounded sugary enough to make one's teeth ache, strangely enough it was only moderately sweet. Loved it.

I might also add there is a reason why Hugos Manly won the Best Pizza Restaurant & Catering Award 2015. Need I say more? Hats off.
Manly Wharf, East Esplanade - Manly
02 8116 8555
Instagram: @hugosmanly

Monday, November 2, 2015

Why we used Sydney's Catering Project

If you asked me a few years ago about using catering for work functions, I probably would have said our in-house kitchen in our firm would appear to be operating just fine. But in house kitchens in professional services firms are not restaurants trying to bring in new customers, new business and probably are under less pressure to strive for innovation in food craft and do something different like the competitive restaurant industry. Food we are provided with where we are working in the office with no breaks are usually the same: for lunchtime training sessions it’s usually chicken, ham and salad sandwiches, with juices that have way too much sugar content; morning or afternoon tea are usually mainstream supermarket biscuits; birthdays or any other major life celebrations sugar filled cakes or doughnuts are usually ordered, which I generally don’t eat; and client meetings or big events like Federal Budget that promises late nights and early mornings are usually the same type of plated food or buffet of modern Australian cuisine, and nothing too flashy. The food prepared in house is usually fairly predictable.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Langham Sydney Michelin Star and Burnt Film Experience

“I don't want my restaurant to be a place where you come and eat, I want people to sit at that table and be sick with longing ... I want people to have a culinary orgasm". This was the most memorable quote from Chef Adam Jones (played by Bradley Cooper) after watching the film, Burnt now showing in cinemas around Australia. And for someone who loves fine dining, loves to photograph food, and loves watching chefs in action, I love it when dishes served make me feel this way. Having been on many different culinary journeys and adventures, my palate has been refined and getting better and better, if not fastidious at the same time, at spotting some great dishes.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Barilla Recipe: Fusilli with Seavory Blueswimmer Crab, Sundried Tomato Pesto & Zucchini Sauce

I don't cook at home as much as I like to so cooking skills, techniques and efficiency in the kitchen is probably something I could get better at. But I can follow simple instructions and so cleared my Saturday and tried a recipe by Barilla Australia's Executive Chef Andrea Tranchero, which was prepared in the lead up to the Sydney Italian Festival starting Wednesday to offer guests something different and also to showcase Barilla's delicious Sundried Tomato Pesto that can be used next time you cook pasta for lunch or dinner. Seriously, if I can do it, anybody can do it and the outcome of what you create is delicious. It's the Fusilli with Seavory Blueswimmer Crab, Sundried Tomato Pesto & Zucchini Sauce.

I also opened a bottle of beautiful Italian wine, Amorino, a Castorani wine that's full bodied, smooth and elegant given to me by Chef Dario D'Agostino and his partner Ly Nguyen whom I met in Melbourne's Long Story Short cafe. It's an excellent pairing with this pasta dish.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Sydney 2015: Red Carpet Designers

I’m not a celebrity, but I’ve worn a Red Carpet dress on a red carpet. I never anticipated a year ago that I would walk the Red Carpet at the Helpmann Awards 2015 held earlier this year to celebrate the finest in Australian talent in the performing arts industry. I love dance as a sport, as a form art and musical theatre which just so happened to lead me down this path. A case of following your passions and you just never know where it might lead to. Having experienced a high profile award ceremonies like the Helpmann and not to mention having gone through the process of the creation of a couture wedding dress from beginning to the end, I naturally was excited to see the Red Carpet Runways at Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Sydney 2015 last weekend.

What is it about Red Carpet dresses that gets me excited? A Red Carpet dress signifies you are at an important event; the dress should be a one off design; it gives your image a royal boost; the back of the dress is just as important if not more important than the front of the dress; and it show cases the designer’s finest work as they would have spent thousands of hours creating that one off piece instead of creating many pieces of ready-to-wear. But the truth be told, I like the feeling looking important and expensive once in awhile. Who doesn’t?

I recall an elderly gentleman who was part of the performing arts industry for many years came up to me and said “Few people dress for award ceremonies nowadays. In my early days, these ceremonies were royal like events. Well done for making the effort to dress the way you do.” And my response to that would be “Well done Rosalynn Win for making my dress for this event!”

This photo is courtesy of the photographer of the Helpmann Awards which is on their Facebook page. I was absolutely stoked to have worn Rosaylnn Win Haute Couture’s Red Carpet dress for the Helpmann Awards 2015. The beautiful spirit, talented and humble fashion designer, Rosalynn designed my wedding dress last year for my wedding on Hamilton Island. Dress fittings for this event brought back wonderful memories of my dress fitting sessions with Rosalynn as it wasn't simply just a dress fitting. It was an experience where we had so many good laughs and fun, where friendships develop. My matching jewels have been supplied by the wonderful wedding jewels designer
Tessarella House and makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup.

Monday, September 14, 2015

TODS: Luxurious Shoes Made for Wandering ...

“Everytime you come here, you find something new … a hidden beauty … it’s very subtle … travelling on your own you learn a lot about yourself … kind of living on the edge … I love just to walk around and find cool little corners … it may just be a place or a vibe …it’s almost like a home like you have never been to … it’s very beautiful … In Italy everyone has their own classic style, … everyone is very aware of their style …”, the lady in the American accent in the TOD’s 2015-16 Autumn Winter Campaign says.

From my love of fine Italian menus at restaurants to fine Italian fashion, the “Made in Italy” fashion label conjures images of elegance, sophistication, confidence, practicality, subtlety and femininity. As I watch the lady wandering the streets, it resonates ... I can see myself as the wanderer in the city streets where I too love to walk around and find cool little corners, places or vibes. I’ve lived in Sydney all my life and I am still finding those cool little corners, stopping at a few restaurants and cafes along the way.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Tea Room QVB Event: The Story of the Old Sydney Markets ...

On 5 August 2015 I delivered a speech at The Tea Room, Queen Victoria Building to about 80 guests on a moment of the history of The Queen Victoria Building. I've put my speech on the Blog as I found the my research on the history of The QVB quite fascinating and you might be interested in learning about it too. Thanks to the State Library of NSW and a book called The Sydney Markets: 1788 - 1988 that helped me with the content for my speech tonight...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Flavours of the Philippines Food Festival 2015

This is my second year at the Flavours of the Philippines Food Festival at The Grace Hotel, launched in conjunction with The Philippine Department of Tourism, Philippine Airlines. I love their food festivals, because the flavours are exotic and your tastebuds will taste things you won’t ordinarily encounter in Sydney restaurants.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

China Doll: New Dishes To Try | Woolloomooloo

The charm of dining on Finger Wharf in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo lies no less in the natural beauty than in its historic quaintness. And how many times have I had to rely on spell check for Woolloomooloo. Did you know Woolloomooloo once upon a time was the most desirable suburb in Sydney to live in, being home of judges, merchant leaders, politicians before? In the first part of the twentieth century, Woolloomooloo later became one of the most colourful and roughest suburbs. Now it is gentrified and is one of the most charming places in Sydney to dine any day of the week. In fact, the last time I was here was for a business lunch during the work week. Food eaten by the water always seems to taste better, especially on a weekend when I can dine at my own pace. I lingered over drinks and lunch over the weekend, where Sydney siders leisurely stroll along the wharf. Just as stirring to the soul and appetite are the tranquil waters of Woolloomooloo Bay. At 12pm on a Saturday it's relatively quiet but by 1pm this place is full and just buzzes with guests.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Why you should try the Langham Club Sandwich

Have you tried the Langham Club yet? Langham Club Sandwich that is. Well you ought to. Why? The Langham Club was voted the Best Club Sandwich of the year at The 2015 Gourmet Traveller Hotel Awards earlier this month, and that’s in addition to taking out New Hotel Of The Year and the 2015 Hotel Of The Year, the most awards any one hotel has received in the history of the event.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Flying Fish: A Refreshed Menu | Pyrmont

At Flying Fish, first class seafood beckons. Time … this is what you need when dining at the main restaurant of Flying Fish as an hour drop in lunch just won’t do to appreciate what this upscale, indulgent, fine dining restaurant has to offer. We leisurely strolled along Jones Bay Wharf over the long weekend watching boats in their winter covers bobbing on water as we headed towards Flying Fish located right at the end of the wharf. More often than not, I yearn for seafood and I could not ask for a better way to spend a long weekend with a fine seafood menu looking over the water on a beautiful Sydney Winter’s day.

The Governors Table New Menu | Sydney

Not many restaurants bask in the glory of being located on the site of first Government House in Australia. Located in the Museum of Sydney site on the corner of Bridge Street and Phillip Street, Circular Quay, The Governors Table Bar & Dining’s design was inspired by the history and architecture of the site, creating a hospitable space within the sandstone façade at The Museum of Sydney. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Black Velvet Sydney & my Birthday Reflections …

Today, on 3 May, I celebrate my birthday in style with this beautiful Dior inspired cake. I wont tell you how old I’ve turned but let’s just say I’m still in my 30s (just!). I always try and reflect what I’ve achieved as I turn another year older. Well this time last year, my blog was at its embryonic stage with only an inspiration and a passion. Today, my blog has a clear pulse and has come to life. I reflect on the amount of people my Blog has lead me to meet and connected with some of whom I am lucky enough to call as friends.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Baked Fish with Garlic and Coriander | Stephanie Alexander recipe

I’ve tried another one of the simple recipes from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. Tonight I cooked one of her baked fish dishes for dinner. Stephanie is right: with a piece of fresh fish, a lemon in one hand and bottle of olive oil dinner is only a few minutes away. Living on the east coast of Australia, we are lucky to have a choice, abundance and ready access to fresh fish. We all should take advantage of this. You don’t need me to tell you that eating fish is healthy for you and so easy to prepare. It’s lower in fat and calories than meat or poultry and can be a great source of omega-3s.

This is a recipe I used from Stephanie Alexander’s cookbook. I baked a fresh barramundi but you can use snapper, a popular Australian fish. I’ve done this recipe a few times now and a key tip is to make sure you use a baking dish that’s oven friendly and large enough to hold the fish because as Stephanie says lifting a whole baked fish neatly on a plate is a perilous procedure (I’ve lost the tail a few times which meant the fish was definitely not photogenic).

Fresh fish is sensational so buy it on the day you eat it. Stephanie's cookbook says you can tell fish is fresh as it should not smell, the eyes should be clear and protruding and the gills should be bright pink-red, never brown. The body should look shiny and be firm and springy when prodded.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Buttermilk Pancake Recipe by Stephanie Alexander

I don’t cook as much as I should. When I saw Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion collecting dust on my shelf after it was given to me as a gift about a year ago I thought I should put it to good use. Seems like everyone is telling me that book is their 'cooking bible'. I can see why. The book is pretty much a cookbook for non-cooks. The first thing that struck me is that the recipes are really easy to follow. The second is that there is no food photography for any of her recipes so it's really up to your imagination on what you think the end result might look like. So I thought to use my imagination, style it, and photography it on how I think one of her recipes may look (from the perspective of someone who is not a cook).

I thought to start off with something nice and simple. I’m sure anyone who spends more time in their own kitchen than I do would have taken a lot less time than I did to make her Buttermilk Pancakes. First advice in following a recipe is make sure you have all the ingredients and don't take short cuts. I thought I could do without the bi-carbonate soda in making pancakes because I didn't have any in the pantry. Nope, unless you were aiming for thin crepes and unless you have the magic touch of handling crepes to perfection make sure you have all the ingredients. Remember my end result of whatever I was cooking had to be photogenic. I'll spare you the detail of how many utensils I used and cleaned up afterwards just to make these pancakes for the Blog but let's just say the pancakes weren't made in time for breakfast but closer to lunch.

This is the end result finally, how I think Stephanie Alexander’s buttermilk pancakes with banana, berries and honey would look. The honey I used by the way is the premium organic Mudgee honey from Honey Australia.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Clubhouse Rosebery: From Turf Club to Surf Club

Did you know it was actually illegal to enter the ocean during daylight hours in Australia during the early 1900s? This law was challenged and the law was repealed but as more and more people entered the waters, more people drowned due to the inability to handle the surf conditions. Volunteers came to the rescue and in 1906 the Bondi Beach Surf Bathing Association was formed. Later on, through an amalgamation of a series of clubs, Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (SLSAA) was formed in 1922. So why am I telling you this? Well, there is a fairly new dining establishment in the heart of Rosebery in Sydney’s inner city suburbs located on the ground floor of the Surf Life Saving Australia club headquarters.

Interestingly, Rosebery was once the site of Rosebery Racecourse, which first opened as a pony track in 1906, which was as popular as Randwick Racecourse. The track became an army camp during World War II, and thereafter it became a training track used by the Sydney Turf Club.

Whilst Rosebery turf days are over, Clubhouse brings the beach charm to inner city, without the surf and beach. The restaurant and bar is styled with warm coastal colour palates, surf and beach artifacts and memorabilia, leaving the feeling of a beach metropolis to your own imagination. The casualness of the good old Australian beach life is felt here in the establishment, albeit you are some 30 minutes drive away and without the beach crowd in bikinis and flip flops you would ordinarily see at the crowded Sydney beaches like Bondi and Coogee on a weekend.

I was greeted by Julian Damjano, General Manager of Clubhouse (ex-Hugos, Goldfish) who talks me through the establishment and the menu. “There’s still more to be done” to the establishment, Julian says to me, which I took it as more fine tuning as the establishment was pretty charming and comfortable to me already. But I think the menu is pretty good with shared plates and a good wholesome variety, with dishes that reflect the taste of summer.

Whilst waiting for the food, Julian shows me the underground section, like a cave, of the establishment where functions can be held and catered for. “We actually have a hen’s night booked in with strippers and all” Julian tells me. It’s a great area of the establishment that allows for special and louder groups without disturbing other diners upstairs.

Now the food…

Can I please show you dessert first? A stampede of the senses, the tickling of the mind, the surrender to guilty pleasures. Yes #OMG, the highlight of my day. This is the 'Clubhouse Gaytime' with toffee parfait, honeycomb, caramel sauce, in honour of the Mardis Gras 2015. And for those of you who grew up on the ice cream confectionary 'Gaytime', Clubhouse's versions of Gaytime is a true reflection of the original. This dessert was so exquisite. Big applause.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

4 tips on being successful on TV camera | NIDA

I just completed an 8 week TV presenting course at NIDA. If the truth be told, I didn’t have TV presenting on my radar as a course to must do. I enrolled in Musical Theatre originally as I felt like taking dance lessons to the next level but as the course was rescheduled, I was asked if I would like to enrol into a different NIDA Open course and TV presenting was one of the suggestions. Get me to write an article for my Blog at my desk and I have no problems doing that. But ask me to get up and present on camera, public speaking and thinking on my feet in front of an audience, that unfortunately doesn’t come naturally to me. Perhaps I’m being harsh on myself as you often do when you have to critically assess what you’re good or not good at. Anyway, I braved it and said 'yes' to an 8 week TV presenting course. I thought the course would naturally complement blogging, offering potentially another means of communication of my content.

The Wintergarden Bloggers' Lunch

I love working in Sydney CBD. Being passionate about food and dining venues ensures you are very connected with Sydney, not only with what’s happening, what’s coming up, the new venues but the people you meet who you do not ordinarily encounter every day in my day job. A lunch break on a weekday is not just a ‘lunch break’ for me but an opportunity to try out a new venue, new cuisine, meet or get to know everything about the restaurant within a space of an hour. 

Photo courtesy of The Wintergarden

Friday, April 3, 2015

Food Photography from the Bowery Lane Menu

I was having lunch with a work colleague the other day at one of the establishments in the new Wintergarden complex, Bowery Lane on 1 O’Connell Street, Sydney and I introduced her to the people there and somewhat surprised she asked “How come you know the restaurant people so well?” Then it struck me, wouldn't it be an ideal world if Sydney office workers knew the people of the establishments and venues that feed them? Yes, blogging is purely a hobby but I love how I can use it to connect a community. I love how I can explain the menu, describe the size, the portions, plating, the taste, the people and share my experience even before we ordered lunch. As my work colleague put it after we had lunch at this venue, "That was such an invigorating experience!" And so it should be.

Here are some food shots I took of Bowery Lane’s menu that have been posted over the last few weeks on social media.


Buttermilk Hotcake with lemon ricotta, berries, fruit compote, edible flowers, seeds, marscapone, organic maple.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Learning never stops – TEDxSydney announces 2015 speaker program

Curiosity starts with the itch to explore. And I have that itch. A friend once said to me you have this childlike curiosity that some people lose when they become adults (probably because they get bogged down with the day to day). I read somewhere that when it comes to learning, there's a powerful "rich get richer" effect; curious kids get more return from the same effort than kids who aren’t so curious. That makes learning more satisfying for them, which in turn feeds their curiosity. Same can be said for adults. Learning never stops. This is the theme for the prestigious 2015 TEDxSydney program on Thursday 21 May 2015 at the Sydney Opera House which I’m excited to announce where 16 extraordinary Australians get ready to share their stories of learning, spreading new ideas and thinking to the rest of the world.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Les Miserables Australia | Interview with Emily Langridge (Cosette)

So long as ignorance and misery remain on this earth, the story of Les Miserables will continue to resonate in the hearts and minds of a contemporary audience.

The musical which played in Perth and Melbourne, is now coming to Sydney at the Capitol Theatre in March. The performance is based on the Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables, which literally translates to The Poor Ones or The Wretched, was first published in 1862.

Victor Hugo explains the architecture of his work as “a progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty; from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul. The hydra at the beginning, the angel at the end.”

The main thread is the story of an ex-convict Jean Valjean, who becomes a force for good in the world but cannot escape his criminal past, for the crime of stealing bread for his starving sister and her family and numerous escape attempts. Some years later, fate will lead him to crossing paths with Fantine and her daughter Cosette, the other leading characters in this production.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bowery Lane Launch Party | Sydney

Sydney locals were out in full force on 1 O’Connell Street in Sydney CBD last Thursday evening as Bowery Lane hosted its official launch party rolling out the red carpet in style. With a yellow New York cab pulled out in front and guests mobbed by paparazzi, Bowery Lane smoothly provided an evening of New York style eats, cocktails and entertainment.

Having thrown opened its doors late last year, Bowery Lane has fast become one of the CBD’s hottest new dining destinations and celebrated by inviting VIP guests to sample everything they have to offer.

Bowery Lane is named after the oldest thoroughfare in Manhattan Island, which once upon a time connected the farmlands in the outskirts of the island to the city, in what is known as Battery Park or Wall Street of New York City today. The wholesome menu is a reflection of this inspiration.

On the menu on the night included: a Suckling Pig Station (twice cooked pulled pork with a chef cutting meat onto a rustic mini roll with homemade slaw and aioli). Colourful and tasty canapés comprised of:

Asparagus wrapped wagyu bresola, truffle pecorino
Hickory smoked salmon, buckwheat blinis, crème frianche
Manchego Croquettes, harissa aioli
Lamb ribs, gremolata, burnett lime
New York Wagyu sliders
Fried Chicken Wing with pink eye mayo
Seared scallops, garlic puree, seaweed, shallot crumb
San Danielle Proscuitto, fresh fig, witlof, buffalo mozzarella
Black pepper and lime salt calamari, coriander aioli
Fried parmesan polenta, goats chevre, romesco

If anyone asks me, "Do you recommend any restaurants in the Sydney CBD?" Bowery Lane, is a name that simply rolls off the tongue… hopefully after I’ve swallowed my food.

An establishment is as much about the people behind the establishment as it is about the food served on your plate. Behind Bowery Lane lies a soul, the people behind the scenes who work endlessly and tirelessly to bring you hospitality and food quality that seeks perfection and is nothing short of first class. And one of these souls is Kaz Derbas, co-owner of Bowery Lane whom I met only 2 weeks of Bowery Lane opening and is one of those people whose quietly confident and warm personality resonates and made me feel like I had known him for years.

When I visit an establishment I love getting to know the people behind it and listening to their stories but it is only a handful where a friendship develops, where we lend each other a hand when needed. One thing I am eternally grateful for is that it was Kaz who helped me find my calling for not only the love of high quality and wholesome food but also a new found hobby of food photography, which in a short space of time has sent me on the most fulfilling journey of creativity. He gave me the opportunity (and trust) to take food photos of one of his establishment’s menu one day during the holiday season and with his perfectionist nature, some feedback which sometimes was hard but I gratefully took on board, made refinements and just kept at it. I haven’t looked back ever since.

I started somewhere at one stage and with a little help from this talented man behind Bowery Lane, I’m now showcasing my food photography of some of Bowery Lane’s amazing menu.

Kaz, Thank you for being the chocolate chip in the cookies and cream of my blogging life and helping me discover me.

Bowery Lane
1 O'Connell Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Burnt Orange | Mosman

If you have a couple of leisurely hours to spare on a weekend or weekday with a few close friends and a big appetite, then dine at Burnt Orange in Sydney’s lucrative and beautiful suburb of Mosman. I say ‘a few hours’ as you will need time to appreciate their delicious homemade style food, which has a touch of Irish in it I believe given the owner, Padraig Devin’s Irish descent; you will need time to admire the views of harbour beyond the bushlands where the sandstone cottage is nestled; time to absorb the sereneness whilst sipping tea or coffee; and time to shop at their eclectic gift and homewares store.

Burnt Orange has an interesting history. The building that houses Burnt Orange was built as the golf clubhouse for Mosman Golf Club in the 1920’s. The land around Middle Head had been of strategic military importance in World War 1 but after the war the military made little use of the land and some locals hoping to build a golf course and clubhouse on the peninsula submitted a proposal.

I had a chance to catchup with the owner, Padraig Devin after lunch at Burnt Orange. The dining and retail concept was developed by Padraig working closely with Avoca's Simon Pratt. Burnt Orange stocks both imported and Australian brands. Upstairs is filled with womenswear and jewellery, children's clothing and gifts, as well as a food hall jam-packed with local artisan specialities such as Tasmanian honey and Margaret Valley relishes.

I browsed before and after lunch as I had my eye on a little black dress which I ended up purchasing and love wearing to work.

Padraig tells me Burnt Orange is more than happy to host functions of up to 70 sit down guests or up to 120 guests for a cocktail style event. It is a beautiful location for stylish events like small intimate weddings, engagement or birthday parties.

The Burnt Orange café is located on the wrap-around verandah with stunning views of Sydney Harbour round to The Heads and Manly, with breakfasts, lunches or high tea. Such lovely ambience  in beautiful Mosman

Getting there, you will need a car for convenience at it is located in the middle of parklands.

A friend and I had lunch at Burnt Orange one Sunday and here are some of my food photography of what we ate:

I call this the platter of the United Nations as you will get to taste a little of Italy, Middle East and even Ireland. Officially this is the Vegetarian grazing plate: pumpkin & feta empanada, tempura zucchini flower, beetroot arancini, organic grain salad, marinated olives and dips served with Avoca brown bread (that's Irish Soda bread). The beetroot arancini were our favourite and also the delicious grain salad with mix of quinoa, barley, corn kernels, puffed corn, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds, almond, pickled cauliflower and sliced radish.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cuckoo Callay: Don’t Go Bacon My Heart

When you hear Bacon Festival at Cuckoo Callay, you’d be foolish to think it’s anything like the traditional ‘bacon and eggs’. Dining at Cuckoo Callay is like a dream, a kookie one where chocolate coated bourbon bacon on waffles with ice cream is served. You heard me right. Ya Bacon My Crazy!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

BahBQ Brazilian Grill | Crows Nest

I went to BahBQ Brazilian Grill for dinner last night. So I found out about BahBQ - Brazilian Grill located in Crows Nest, in Sydney's Lower North Shore from a young lady who is Brazilian and knows Latin American cuisine well. The food, Cristiane told me, reminds her of how it was back home in Brazil when she had Sunday lunch with her family. Speaking with Jose, the restaurant owner, he reaffirmed that the dining experience at BahBQ Brazilian Grill replicates what Sunday lunches would be like with family in Brazil.

I didn’t really know what authentic Brazilian food was at first and it was such a pleasure to learn more about this cuisine this weekend.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Grace Hotel Chinese Lunch Menu

One of my favourite hotels and one of Sydney’s most prominent hotels with Neo-Gothic architecture with contrasting Art-Deco interiors The Grace Hotel on York Street, Sydney is hosting a new menu for a limited time only in celebration of Chinese New Year. From now to the 27 February, you can feast on their Chinese Lunch Menu. What I like about The Grace Hotel is from time to time, as you would have seen on my Blog last year, they change their menus and celebrate different cuisines from exotic cultures, sometimes flying Executive Chefs abroad to give you their authentic taste of a particular country’s cuisine. I love it!

Their lunch menu will run Monday to Friday 12pm - 2pm for a choice of one of four Chinese dishes with a beer, wine or soft drink for only $19.90 per person.

Here is what you can get from their Chinese Lunch Menu. I've tried them all and love them all.

#1  Barramundi filler with ginger and shallot soy dressing served with fragrant rice and Asian greens

Where to go to get the freshest Yum Cha food: Crown Dragon Kogarah

With Chinese New Year around the corner, and the time of year when I check my Chinese horoscope for the year ahead for a bit of fun, where is the best place in Sydney to have Yum Cha? The Crown Dragon in Kogarah has the name sake of my Chinese horoscope... apparently an auspicious animal with strength, health, harmony and good fortune...always seeking to embark on a new project to feel truly alive, not to mention impatient, intolerant to imperfection … OK, let's leave it at that (for your 2015 Chinese Horoscopes, I've put up a post on what your sign has in store for you). 

Chinese Horoscopes for 2015

For a bit of year fun, I like to look up my Chinese Horoscope every Lunar Year to see what lies ahead. What does 2015 have in store for you?