2013 recap! USA ‘donut’ trip, bone marrow galore, giant wagon wheels, epic food stadiums! Been a blast guys!
Sooo like, it’s that time of year again! The annual recap! 2013 was a pretty amazing year filled with so much delicious eats! Like all the bone marrow from The Oaks, Ester, Fix St James and 4Fourteen. I’m still on the hunt for more bone marrow lickin goodness so if you know of a place in Sydney hit me up!
Of course there was that trip to the states with Helen and Lex which was all kinds of amazing. (Catch up: LA, Austin, New Orleans, NYC and Chicago) And yes we’re all still friends 😛
Dubbed the ‘donut trip’ it was entirely possible we ate enough donuts to last us a lifetime. But boy were they tasty donuts! Esp the famed cronuts!
I got to tick off a whole heaps of foods from my bucket list- In & Out cheeseburgers and animal fries, incredible Texas style BBQ, Katz’s Deli pastrami sandwich, American bacon! And American biscuits! Freaking loved Popeye’s! Funnel cake at Six Flags, Momofuku pork buns, NY pizza and buttery lobster rolls.
There was the epic crackle cup from Mr Crackles for the annual Sydney Food Bloggers picnic with 71 awesome humans.
My fav recipe of the year was making a Giant Wagon Wheel making everything from scratch- the biscuit layer, marshmallow and strawberry jam aaaand then melting a kilo of chocolate haha
Building a Giant Snack Food Stadium was pretty epic and took us about a week to build. And eat. And digest.
Best trip of the year was to Ayers Rock which was absolutely beautiful and I’d totes recommend ya’ll visit sometime. Just not in summer.
Aaaand that’s a wrap! I still have this obsession with pugs and I love how they always look so sad so don’t take it the wrong way haha wishing you guys all the best for the New Year! Thank you to each and every one of you who have dropped by and read my little corner of the universe, here’s to an amazing 2014! Love and tacos, ChocolateSuze (and Noods!)
Super Easy Christmas Tree Waffle Cones
Ok so like, I first saw the Christmas Tree Cones over here and I was all psyched to fill the waffle cone innards with cookie dough but woe the crazy heat wave that has hit Sydney! Temps have almost hit 40C out west and no way was I going to bake in that heat!
So these Christmas tree waffle cones are pretty simple, so simple it doesn’t need a recipe haha
Box of waffle cones
Sprinkles and other decorations
This part peeved me the most. I don’t know if other brands of waffle cones are flat but this lot had a weird sloped edge so I had to trim them and broke quite a few..
Nuke your chocolate in 10 sec blasts, stirring in between until chocolate has fully melted. You could use a double boiler if you want.. Drizzle chocolate down waffle cone, using knife to spread. If your chocolate is super melty wait a min or two for the chocolate to harden on the cone before decorating otherwise decorations will slide off.
It’s a Christmas tree forest!
I’m of the ‘eat ice cream in a cone but in a bowl’ persuasion.
Teehee aaaand our annual Santa photo! He looks grumpy but he’s the best and always remembers us each year. Hope you all have a safe and delicious Christmas! Love, Suze & Noods
John Montague (144 Cathedral St, Woolloomooloo) has got you covered for all your sandwich needs. This newly opened cafe is bringing the sexy back for the humble sandwich with some absolutely killer toppings.
Named after that British dude who supposedly created the sandwich back in the 1700’s, John Montagu (144 Cathedral St, Woolloomooloo) has got you covered for all your sandwich needs. This newly opened cafe is bringing the sexy back for the humble sandwich with some absolutely killer toppings.
The Mushroom Sandwich ($13) is ridiculously tasty, fat field mushrooms are used instead of the usual button mushrooms which is greatly appreciated as I find button mushrooms always go squish. There’s a schmear of garlic creme fraiche, shavings of truffled parmesan and a mountain of rocket leaves piled onto St Honore Bakery’s multigrain bread. The truffled coddled egg is $2 extra (and normally only available on the weekends) but it’s totally worth it for the oozy egg yolk centre. John Montagu sources their free range eggs from Kangaroo Island because they believe a happy chicken makes for a tasty chicken and for tasty eggs.
I’m here with Raff, who only has eyes for the Beef Cheeks Sandwich ($16), thick slices of white bread hug juicy strips of beef cheeks which have been slowly braised for 12 hours in house made veal stock until unctuously tender. Melty cheddar cheese oozes sexily over the beef cheeks and the crunch of the sauerkraut and spanish onion makes this one mighty fine sandwich.
On our second visit, Raff chooses the Petit Breakfast Board ($12), the chorizo cassoulet is just like a warm hug of happiness with its jumble of mixed beans, spicy chorizo, quinoa and amaranth.
I had food envy on my first visit after seeing people next to me eating the Salmon Sandwich ($14) and was so freaking happy I may have done a happy dance after my first bite. The house-cured salmon is phenomenal, smooth and buttery, I could probably eat an entire fish by myself. There was a schmear of dill cream cheese on the rye bread, cubes of avocado and a dollop of briny salmon roe.
Co-owner and chef Raymond Lim is a chatty bloke with an infectious smile, every time a customer walked in he immediately made them feel welcome and explained the menu before ducking back into the kitchen. He’s passionate about the quality of ingredients he uses and visits the fish markets daily to source the salmon.
The Cold drip coffee ($3.50) was the perfect caffeine jolt for the summer heat and the Elderflower and mint soda ($6) which is hand blended on the spot was super refreshing.
Baked goods are sourced from L’eclair, a Japanese patisserie in Mosman.
Ray slipped us a slice of Cheesecake on the house and it pretty much blew my mind with its creaminess and silky texture.
Freshly cut herbs
Grab a seat at the communal table and flick through some mags while you wait, this cafe is already a hit with the locals and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of Sydney’s hordes converge. They’re open during the week 7am-4pm and on the weekends 8am-4pm.
Kitchen By Mike, Roseberry. Crispy Pork Belly is the bomb! Gloriously golden crackling and juicy pork belly = win
I must be the last person in Sydney to visit this place. That’s right it’s Kitchen By Mike (1/85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery)! We weren’t too familiar with the area which is how we completed missed the entrance and luckily spotted signage for the Cannery and made our way into the warehouse-like space.
Thanks to Baz arriving early, our group of 8 managed to score a table close to the kitchen so we could ogle at the food being prepared. I really wanted to touch the pizza dough! Brekkie finishes at 11.30am and when the lunch menu switches over at 12pm a line of hungry humans starts to form. Start from the far left of the counter where there’s a chalkboard menu of what’s on offer. The menu changes daily depending on what Mike (formerly Executive Chef at Rockpool) gets at the markets. Shuffle along canteen style and pick out what you feel like eating and pay when you reach the end.
Start with a slice of in house baked sourdough bread ($3.50) which comes with a generous schmear of Pepe Saya butter. Or take home a loaf ($12) and grab a fat wheel of Pepe Saya butter ($10) or Lemon Curd, Jams, or Chutneys made on the premises daily.
The 2 meat dishes of the day were Crispy Pork Belly ($14) and the Roast Chicken ($14).
Moving onto salads, Peach, celery, raisin & pine nut; kale, chickpea, freekeh & green tahini; and cucumber, mirin & ginger ($7.50/per serve)
Aaand then the sneaky delicious sides! Wood Roasted Pumpkin, nigella seeds and coconut yoghurt ($5.50)
Scallops & black bean vinaigrette ($3.50/each)
We missed out on the Wood Fired Pizza but freshly baked Thyme & Rosemary Focaccia ($5.50) beckoned instead.
And last but not least the Ham & Cheddar; Ashed Goat’s Cheese & Onion Quiche ($9.50) and the Mustard, Cheese & Bacon Scroll ($8).
I opted for the roast chicken which was pretty darn tasty and super tender and absolutely loved the golden Dutch carrots and the dab of aioli it came with! I fell in love with the wood roasted pumpkin which tasted like caramelised deliciousness but $5 for a single slice had me wincing. And yes I chose the peach salad mainly for the fat, juicy peaches mmm gotta love summer fruits!
Noods’ plate! He went a lil nuts and may have ordered more than he should have which resulted in him freaking out when we paid (my plate + his plate + longneck of beer = $77) haha everything was so tasty though! Gloriously crispy crackle and juicy pork belly was a winner though the accompanying roast apricot was crazy sour and had us all puckering. He gave the scallop a thumbs up but of course wanted one 3 times the size haha and that pile of greenery is about 3 portions of different salads because he couldn’t decide which one to get!
Taking a break from the foods we wandered the Koskela design showroom where I promptly discovered and immediately coveted a teepee. I’m totally regretting not taking a pic of it now but I want it, I need it.
Noods happened to walk past the furniture section and found a cushion made of reindeer. For $680. Ouch. Yep some of the stuff in there is super cute but the crazy prices for some items made me not want to touch anything in case I broke it..
Couldn’t resist the Rhubarb and Berry Rock Cake ($8/slice) which was great and tasted like a cross between a pavlova and a nutty cake? Not sure if my taste buds were out of whack but I couldn’t really taste the rhubarb and instead tasted pistachio? Eh, anywhos it was delicious especially with the fresh cream and the plate was just about licked clean.
Overall I do think I’d return to Kitchen By Mike, the fresh produce really shone and while it is a tad on the exxy side if you don’t watch what you order it’s still a great place to come. I hear breakfasts are a lot more affordable buuuut waking up early enough will be hard 😛
Mercato e Cucina, Gladesville your one stop shop for all your Italian food needs! On site butchery, deli, bakery, and restaurant with the best wood fired pizzas!
Whenever we make the trek from the burbs into the city we normally take Victoria Rd and I’d always been curious about the massive space in Gladesville that had been under construction since Feb. Turns out it’s Mercato e Cucina (297 Victoria Rd, Gladesville), your one stop shop for all your Italian food needs. Run by brother and sister team Vanessa and Robert Martin (previously from Il Piave in Rozelle), this place is seriously a feast for the senses. They’ve only been open for about 5 weeks now but it has been packed every time I have visited!
There’s free undercover parking so take the lift up and be greeted by the sexiest display of fruit and veg.
There’s a butcher that breaks down all the meats onsite.
And a deli section filled with meaty goodness and all the olives of the rainbow. (So bright, so vivid!)
On my first visit the restaurant had closed their kitchen between the breakfast and lunch period (11am-12pm) though drinks and pastries could be ordered and consumed at the tables. Instead we browse the take-home fridge filled with containers of soups, vacuum sealed packets of smoked fish, marinated cuts of meat and even packets of truffle mash. We bypass the rabbit lasagne and instead choose the truffle, prosciutto and mixed mushroom lasagne. It is rich, almost ridiculously so with all the mushrooms in the universe, ribbons of prosciutto and handfuls of grated cheese all blanketed in a creamy sauce with a dose of truffle oil. Not for the faint hearted!
On my second visit with Richard we rocked up on a weekday, deliberately later in the day to avoid the lunch rush and immediately zero in on the wood fired pizza selection. Out of the 19 pizzas listed, 3 are pizza biancas (ie a ‘white base’ of olive oil, herbs and salt). I have a deep love for pizza bianca as generally I find tomato sauce based pizzas overwhelm the flavour of the toppings and so the La Campagnia ($23) pizza bianca with sauteed mixed mushroom, truffle and prosciutto crudo was immediately ordered.
Upskirt shot! This pizza may be my new favourite pizza in Sydney. The pizza had a blistered, puffy edged crust and a soft but satisfyingly chewy interior. A jumble of juicy mushrooms, shavings of salty prosciutto crudo, a dash of truffle oil and just the right amount of cheese? Pizza perfection.
The Pate ($17.50) is pretty as a picture, a giant quenelle of duck, chicken & mascarpone pate with honey & chilli soaked apricots, a pickled onion salad, baby cornichons and a pile of bread sticks and flatbread. The pate is a touch on the gamey side and with a slightly grainy mouthfeel but Richard demolishes it with ease.
We couldn’t resist also ordering the White mushroom risotto with burnt butter & truffled pecorino ($28.50) which was pretty damn tasty. Plump grains with just enough bite, a whole field of mushrooms and shavings of seriously aromatic truffle pecorino.
A third visit with the boy for breakfast who of course picks the one menu item that he has no idea what it is- Grilled Cotechino ($14) which turns out to be an Italian charcuterie product, similar to salami and is so freaking awesome with the tangy tomato relish. The poached egg is a little on the solid non-gooey side but the buttery polenta potato hash more than makes up for it.
I had opted for the Homemade crumpets ($16.50) which comes with whipped ricotta, a drizzle of honey and caramelised banana. Unfortunately the crumpets were dense and stodgy and no amount of ricotta slathered on top could save them. Sadness. Service can be a bit hit and miss, some waiters were obviously new (though trying very hard!) and food seemed to take longer at breakfast than my visit at lunch but I think it’s all in the timing and hey they’re still new.
I’m not sure what’s on the dessert menu at the restaurant because both times I’ve detoured via the bakery which bakes all the bread and pastries in house and bought something purdy to take home.
The Lychee, Rose and Raspberry Macaron ($8) caught my eye because well, it’s pink. Normally I stay away from any Ispahan creations but I’ve been craving raspberries and was so relieved that I did because it was deeeelicious! The macaron shells were crisp enough to be picked up but soft enough to meld with the filling. Thumbs up.
I wasn’t as keen on the Black Forest ($7.50), while I loved the chocolate macaron, the cherry garnish and the majority of the dark chocolate layers, the last 2 layer kinda had a gelatiney bounce in the cream?
The Hazelnut Cake ($7) was a massive winner though, tasting just like a Ferrero Rocher with a crunchy daquiose layer and smooth hazelnut cream! Hands down a winner for me and I would totally love a massive cake of this!
Aaaaand grabbed a wedge or two of some Stilton, Truffle Pecorino, and Prosciutto for a late night snack. Loved the guys behind the deli, they were super patient and had heaps of suggestions for what to add to our cheese platter we were creating and snuck us some slivers to try before we committed to buying.
I’m glad Mercato e Cucina isn’t too far from where we live as it means easy access to great pizzas and cheeses!