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 This law was challenged and the law was repealed but as more and more people entered the waters, more people drowned due to the inability to handle the surf conditions.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.