Monday, September 19, 2011

Lunch - Flying Fish

We decided to reward ourselves with a Friday lunch at Flying Fish.  Haven't been there for a while and it was such a lovely day, the idea of sitting by the harbour was irresistible!
And of course that meant a Dirty Belvedere Vodka Martini before we ordered and while we perused the menu.  The gorgeous bread rolls with two types of butter - one normal and the other with black salt, were impossible to refuse.
 I decided on the Ocean Trout (Smoked Confit of Petuna Ocean Trout with Beetroot Mousse, Puffed Quinoa, Horseradish + Beetroot infused Trout Roe).  Really perfect.
Hal ordered the River Bed (Hand Rolled Penne with slow Poached Marron Tails, Vongole, crisp School Prawns, Mud Crab and Fennel Jus).  Divine.
I then ordered Blue Eye (Roasted Blue Eye Trevalla with textures of Potato, White Anchovy & Herb Vinaigrette.    Again - perfect.
Hal ordered the Prawn Curry (Sri Lankan King Prawn Curry with Snapper Croquette, Date & Tamarind Chutney, Pickled Carrot & Parsley Mallum), even though he had had it before.  But he said it was delicious.
Of course we had to order the Flying Fish Hand Cut Chips with Chili Salt, and the Fennel, Orange & Green Olive Salad.
But then we saw this amazing looking dish on the 'Pass' but couldn't figure out what it was.  When we asked, we were told it was the Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Sherry Vinaigrette & Puffed Wild Rice.  Of course we couldn't resist.  I loved them, and I thought my Brussel Sprouts were good! 
Hal really wanted to try the desserts - as in the most 'crunchy' one, so the Poached Pears, Pain d'Epices Crumble, Rhubarb Sorbet & Poire Williams' Anglaise was recommended.  He loved it.
I settled for a cheese plate.
Peter Kuruvita and Head Chef Stephen Seckold are inspirational.  The staff were very efficient, friendly and helpful.  Highly recommended.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Whole Organic Chicken with Cajun Rub one night, Curry the next

I saw these whole Organic Chickens at the Ferry Road Markets.  They looked so lovely, plump and juicy against the prepared breast or thigh fillets en masse,  that I grabbed one.  I butterflied the chicken through the back bone, rubbed with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then rubbed in way too much of a Cajun Rub I had:
together with some freshly cracked Black Pepper, a chopped Chilli and some chopped Coriander.  I left this to marinade for a few hours.
 I then prepared some roast vegetables - I used Potato, Pumpkin, Zucchini and Carrot, with chopped organic Garlic, a handful of fresh Oregano, splashed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and seasoned with Salt and Pepper and a favourite seasoning of mine - Tridosha Salt and Pepper - Mediterano (they make several varieties but I like this one).

We then put the chicken bone side down onto the hot BBQ grill making sure to add all the marinade, and added the vegetables to the oven.
The chicken took about 45 minutes to gently cook, and the vegetables the same to end up crisp and browned.   We served with Garlic Aioli on the side. 
Very nice indeed, but way too much for two.  So the next night I made a curry with the leftover chicken.

I put chopped Coriander Root, grated fresh Ginger, chopped Organic Garlic, quartered Brown and Red Onion and tossed until the onions had sweated, then added some Chinese Rice Wine and let it almost evaporate.  I then added a tin of Massaman Curry Paste that I found in the pantry,
 together with a can of Coconut Milk, half a cup of water, sliced Bamboo Shoots, Garlic Stems, Celery, Carrot and Zucchini, and a large splash of Fish Sauce.   I added the leftover Chicken at the last minute together with some frozen Peas, put a lid on until heated through, and served sprinkled with chopped Coriander, Thai Basil leaves and some plain rice.
Really lovely.  Two meals from the same chicken!!!!  Even better - the chicken remained moist and tender even though it was virtually cooked twice.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dinner - Fish Curry Bangladeshi Style

I was inspired by a Rick Stein programme we caught a bit of the other night.  He was in Bangladesh where they cooked two different fish curries over an open fire in the middle of a dry dusty patch of land.  These gorgeous ladies in colourful saris were preparing the food, and had the chopped pieces of fish in a pot of water.  I was amused to find out the reason was purely to keep the flies off the fish!!  I'm not usually a fan of fish in a curry, but something made me want to cook one.   So we bought some beautiful fresh Red Emperor Fillets, which I chopped into fairly large chunks which I refrigerated while I prepared the other ingredients (as against soaking in water - flies not being a problem in our GC apartment).
I chopped way too many Golden Shallots - I wanted them to make the curry thick.  Although I love them, I usually avoid them, as they are a pain to peel, but we'd seen a hint that the easiest way was to put them in a bowl of water, and I must say it worked.  I also grated some fresh Ginger, chopped some fresh Organic Garlic, finely chopped some washed Coriander Roots, finely sliced one chilli, and added a finely chopped White Onion.
 I tossed all in a heavy pan with some Olive Oil and a splash of Sesame Oil.
I then added three tablespoons of Red Vindaloo Curry Powder (which was the closest curry powder I could find that had the ingredients I wanted for the taste I was after),
then some dried Curry Leaves, Ground Cumin Seeds, Ground Coriander Seeds, Ground Cardamon, 6 sliced Tomatoes and 2 large cups of water. Oh - and - three teaspoons of sugar.
 I let this simmer for quite some time, before adding quartered small eggplant.
Meanwhile we fried some Pappadams, and microwaved the rice - which makes it very light and fluffy.
I then added the fish, turned the heat down and put the lid on.
 After five minutes or so I added some of the chopped Coriander, a tablespoon of Garam Masala and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Before serving, I added the rest of the chopped Coriander.
Very nice indeed - I think I'm now converted to Fish Curry!

Ferry Road Farmers Market at the Brickworks, Southport

We always stop here to replenish the fridge and pantry.   The challenge is to not buy too much for the time you are planning on spending here.  We usually fail!  Prime Meats are always good, Sevilo the deli is excellent, the fruit section is also excellent, as is the Spendelove Restaurant, Fleurus Florist and Reef fish market.   The coffee shop too is great and there is a Wheel and Barrow, a Tea Shop, a terrific Bakery called Flour and even a Sushi Bar.

Lunch at Oskars on the Gold Coast

On the Gold Coast for a couple of days - garden maintenance!  As we landed at midday at Coolongatta - for a change (we usually fly to Brisbane and drive down), we popped in to Oskars at Burleigh Heads for a quick lunch.   Beautiful location.
 And we actually sat at the table on the front right!
To tell you the truth, I didn't bother taking a photo of the food because even though the menu sounded good, I really didn't have great hopes.  Boy, was I surprised.  Chef/Owner Marty Kollrep and his wife Mandy are doing something right.

Hal ordered a main size of the entree Coconut Prawns, with a Curry Sauce on the side.  They looked amazing, and he said they tasted even better.  The Curry Sauce was quite sweet, but in a good way!
I ordered Balmain Bug Tails and Prawns Tempura, with finely sliced fresh Fennel in a creamy Garlic Aioli sauce.   Really light and delicious.  We also had a side salad with a Walnut Dressing, and of course - wait for it - Fries! 

Surprisingly good lunch with an amazing view.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Father's Day Lunch - Pier Restaurant - Sunday 4th September

Last minute decision to have lunch with our son for Father's Day.  We were lucky enough to get a booking at Pier in Rose Bay, a favourite of ours.  Love the view, and the food and service certainly lived up to our expectations.

Chef Greg Doyle is amazing.   The Pier was awarded Three Hats with the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2007, and Three  Stars with Australian Gourmet Traveller, as well as winning the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year in 2008 and a position in the San Pellegrino Best 100 Restaurants in the World in 2009.  However in mid 2010, Greg renounced the Three Hats and Three Stars to take the restaurant back to the diner and local community, an unprecedented move in the 25 year history of the Good Food Guide.  Having experienced both - we think his move was the right one!

I was a bit slow with the photography today, but the Sourdough Bread was irresistable.

We started with Cones of Yellow Fin Tuna (there was a choice of King Salmon, Ocean Trout or Yellow Fin Tuna) - very clever crunchy cone with finely diced Tuna and Baby Capers.

My husband then ordered the Spanner Crab Tortellini (Shellfish Consomme, Tomato, Soft Herbs) which he said was fabulous, and I had the Roasted Scallops (crispy Potato, Shimeji Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Jus Gras) - amazing.  The Mushrooms were minute and the cauliflower sliced wafer thin.  The potato was really fine (like apple peel) and super light and crunchy. 

My husband requested the fish and chips from the special Father's Day menu which he had seen, which he said was just great - the fish perfect.
Our son ordered the Rangers Valley Sirloin (Cavolo Nero, Bordelaise Glaze, Herb Butter) which he pronounced the best ever, and I had the Spanner Crab Omelette (Asian Greens, Oyster Sauce) which was so light and delicate - even though it looked a bit like a sea slug!

Did I forget to mention the delicious Fries?????

Having seen the desserts pass our table, we couldn't resist.  We ordered the Blueberry Souffle (Blueberry Sauce Blueberry Creme) - wow!  The Blueberry Sauce was gently poured into the 'smile'.
We also ordered the Kiwi Fruit Vacherin (Yoghurt Meringue, Apple Sorbet, Mint).  Really really clever, although our son wasn't too keen on the mint.
My husband requested a dish he had noticed as it passed our table, which was again part of the special Father's Day menu.  Pineapple Granita with Yoghurt Cream Meringue. 
All served with a superb Shiraz - a 1996 Peter Lehmann 'Eight Songs' from the Barossa Valley, SA.

A truly special meal.   Highly recommended.

9. 5/10