Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making the most of Good Food Month

Its Good Food Month and I have an excuse to go out and make a pig of myself! A bunch of us at work decided to do the "Lets do lunch" at Forty One located at Chifley Tower. We managed to book the second seating meaning we wouldn't be rushed out of the restaurant. To make things better, all the Managers were out of the office today, so we could really enjoy our lunch.

The service at Forty One was really good and attentive, but not overbearing. Drinks were offered the moment we sat down, and plates of warm and crusty sourdough bread rolls were brought out some olive oil. Now I've always been against dipping bread into olive oil. I just don't find it that tasty! Even all the gourmet olive oils at the Farmers Markets don't really cut it for me. Yes I can taste a HINT of the fruitiness/pepperiness etc etc, but it just didn't jump out at me. That is until today. The olive oil they served with the bread was like nothing I've ever had before. The fruitiness of the olive oil was unmistakable! I couldn't help myself but rip of chunks of crusty bread and dunking it into the olive oil and slowly savouring the taste!

Once we had settled in, our mains came out. For the Good Food Month, Forty one was offering a dish of Slow Cooked Ocean Trout, Sweet English Peas crushed with Prosciutto, Peccorino, Basil, Mint & Lemon.

This was unbelievable. It looked like a big slab of sashimi, but instead of the cold slipperiness I was expecting, it was warm and unbelievably melting in your mouth. All you had to do was nudge it with a knife, and it'll slide through the trout like soft butter. A nice squeeze of lemon juice went perfectly with this decadent fish. The peas had the fresh sweetness that you don't get from frozen peas and the potato cubes! Crispy and fluffy! I can't be good for you!

We also ordered a few sides of cooked spinach with flaked almonds and a green salad to share. After our meal, we ordered a few coffees and teas and relaxed before we had to go back to work. Since I had to stay back late at work last night, I ended up leaving on time even though I had a long lunch. I met up with a few friends and headed off to the Night Noodle Markets at Hyde Park for round 2.

We managed to score one of the last tables and immediately starting hitting the stands. Now I made the same mistake that I did last year. We were so early, we ended up getting the precooked cold food they had prepared earlier. The wind chill factor didn't help either. But we still had a few nice dishes to share. By the way, I'm trying out my brand spanking new lenses, so the photo quality ain't that great. I haven't fully gotten a hang of how to use it yet:

Cold and windy

Tom Yum Prawn Noodle Soup from Yai's

Thai stuff chicken wings from Sussex Thai

Prawn cakes with sweet chilli sauce from Sussex Thai

Salt and pepper calamari

Japanese Spicy pork fried rice with fried Dim Sims

We were surprisingly full by this stage and completely frozen from head to toe. We ended up giving our table to some late running friends and got out of there for something indoors.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Night Noodle Markets

I'm sitting in my room trying to defrost after freezing my butt off at the Night Noodle Markets tonight. The upside is, the food is much better than last year's disappointment. The Thai Stores are still all pushing Pad Thai and Green Curries, but there are a few unique dishes out there as well.

So after work, I trudged up to Hyde Park with my workmates where we already had a few tables saved for us. With a bottle of Brown Brothers Dolcetto and Syra wine to keep us warm, we started taking turns hitting the food stands. The usual salt and pepper calamari is a must from East Oceans, who this year is offering salt and pepper soft shell crab. But at $12 for 4 pieces, I opted for my big pile of calamari instead.

Then we got a massive heap of Singapore Char Kuay Teow, Pad Thai, Dim Sims, Prawn and Crab Claw Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki and some interesting Thai Pies. The highlight of the night for me had to be Sussex Thai's Stuffed Chicken Wings and Prawn cakes. The chicken wings had the bones removed and stuffed with a mixture of pork mince, crunchy fungus and vermicelli. The prawn cakes were super meaty and juicy! There were also plenty of Dutch chocolate and caramel fudge pancakes all round as well as some Serendipity coconut and lime ice cream. By this stage, I was stuffed like a Turkey and couldn't possibly eat anymore. It still didn't stop the group of us salivating over a massive container of grilled lamb skewers one of our friends got. Now I just need to have a hot shower to get feeling back into my body again!

Oh, incase you're wondering why there is no photos? It was hungry and it was too cold. I wasn't about to risk the food getting cold ;)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My new (not so) secret - Sushi Tei

I love how you find little gems all over the city when you least expect it. We had a lunch meeting one day that was going to provide sandwiches, but both me and my workmate was starving and wouldn't last the hour until the meeting without eating. We decided to go to Ton Ton's for a small bowl of Udon Noodle Soup to tide us over. What we didn't know, was that the food court at Chifley Plaza is under construction and Ton Ton was no longer there. As we headed back to work to search for something else, we spotted a new Japanese Restaurant that had opened. We decided to go back there the week after for our "World Safari Lunches" that happen every 3 weeks. Boy am I glad that we did.

Sushi Tei had been opened for less than a month when we first visited and not only was the service spectacular, so was the food. I forgot my camera on the first visit, but their Nabeyaki Udon is TO DIE FOR. As well as their soft shell crab maki that I order every time I am there.

Less than a week later, I was back with my friend for lunch. There are two main seating areas in the restaurant. One room has ceiling to floor windows letting in lots of light, whilst the other room is a much more cosy and romantic room with seats by the sushi train and booths. This time, we were in the booth room.

Sushi Train


Soft shell crab maki

Tempura Udon

Pheonix Roll - Fried Prawn Sushi topped with Eel topped with avocado

This was amazing. We were arguing over whether to order the fried prawn sushi, or the eel sushi, when we spotted the pheonix roll which combined the both of them! The prawns were crunchy but the eel was meltingly tender topped with a slice of creamy avocado. OMG! This was really really good!

Salmon and Scallop paper hot pot with miso soup base

I first saw this dish on Iron Chef and was amazed that they could serve a hot pot in a sheet of paper. The secret is the flame under the paper. The soup will keep the paper moist, but the flame counteracts the moisture, therefore keeping the paper dry, and ensuring you're not going to get a lap full of hot soup when the paper burst. This was really good. The miso gave a nice sweetness to the soup when the salmon and scallops were just gently poached. The only problem was, it was so good, we had scooped all the contents out before the flame went out. That meant that the paper started catching fire and I had to put the flames out with my drink! hehe

Green tea and red bean ice cream sandwich

The total bill came to about $50, which was great value considering how much we had eaten!

After the first visit with my workmate, and hearing the stories from my second visit, my workmate decided to take me there for my birthday lunch. This would be my 3rd visit in the space of 2 weeks. Hehehe

Lunchtime crowd

Soft shell crab maki - again

Chawamushi - again

Gyoza with a chilli vinegar dipping sauce


Salmon and Scallop hotpot - again

As you could tell, I ordered the same thing again on my 3rd visit. That's because the food was so good, I really wanted my workmate to try it. This is now one of my favourite Japanese Restaurants, and one of the few where you can actually eat and stay for a chat. Most of the good Japanese restaurants tend to be little take away joints, so it's a nice change to find a really good Jap restaurant you can hang around with your friends at.

Sushi Tei is a franchise that started off in Asia and this is the first branch that is opened in Australia.

Sushi Tei
1 Chifley Square
Cnr of Elizabeth St and Hunter St

Telephone +61 2 92327288
Facsimile +61 2 92327988
*Note: Website is for Singapore Branch only. They don't have an Australian website yet

Monday, October 1, 2007

Must be Spring, because it's Fish Markets time!

My friend was visiting from interstate, and ever since our last Sydney Fish Market trip together, thats all we think about whenever we talk about meeting up. And since it was getting warmer, I thought it would be the perfect time to go back to the fish markets. It was quite windy on Saturday, but hey, thats not going to get in between me and my sashimi!

Eating with equally greedy people is the best! We couldn't decide which "Seafood platter for 2" to buy, so we got one platter from each shop! Luckily there were more than 2 of us.....

Seafood platter #1

Seafood Platter #2

I definitely preferred seafood platter #1. Their calamari rings were huge! And their fried prawns was sooooooo light and crunchy, even after 20mins of sitting in the cold wind! I also picked up about 1/2kg of sashimi, a dozen oysters with the must have Tetsuya dressing, seaweed salad, jellyfish salad, flying fish roe and 1kg of prawns.

We wayyyyyyyyyyy over ordered and I ended up taking some of the prawns and leftover sashimi home. Not wanting to eat anymore cold prawns or raw fish, I decided to spice it up a bit and turn them into side dishes for dinner.

Cripsy pan fried salt and pepper prawns

Perfectly done Teriyaki Salmon and Tuna


Not a bad effort using leftovers hey? I'm surprised the prawns turned out so well. They were slightly overcooked, but totally expected since I was cooking with cooked prawns. But they turned out so well, I'm definitely going to keep that recipe for any leftover prawns in the future. As for the teriyaki salmon and tuna, they were cooked perfectly. Just cooked and slightly pink in the centre. Took me less than 2 minutes to whip the whole dish up. And as for my Oyakodon, perfect as usual :)

Chinese Moon Festival (& the continuation of my birthday)

I had assumed that our combined dinner thing at Eastwood was the last of my birthday celebrations. Little did I know that my birthday fell on the same day as the Chinese Moon Festival this year. And since we have a family get together every year anyway, my mummy decided to turn it into a combined Chinese Moon Festival/My Birthday thing. Yay!! It's always good when my mum spends 2 days cooking for the one meal. Well, not good for her, but good for my tummy!!

Roast Pork

My Mum had roasted a MASSIVE slab of pork that barely fit into our oven. Here is just a small plate out of the massive amount of pork we had leftover!

Salt and pepper pork

These were DIVINE! Salty and spicy. My mum omitted the chilli as the young ones can't eat that spicy, but damn they were good! I certainly didn't dehydrate to death afterwards ;)

Sweet and sour pork (minus the sauce)

Here's the pork for our sweet and sour pork. We tend to keep the sauce separate to keep the batter crunchy. The downside of cooking at home is that you can't have all the dishes ready at once. So we kept the sauce separate to pour on at the last minute

Inoki mushroom wrapped in beef with oyster sauce

My mummy's Chinese take on a Japanese dish!

Beef, wild fungus, pork stomach and sugar snap pea stir fry

Squid and asparagus stir fry

Sea cucumber, fish stomach, dried oysters, dried scallops and chestnut stew

This was sooooo good! My mum had been slowly stewing this for hours. The fish stomach had slowly started to melt into the sauce, giving it a rich and gelatinous taste. The chestnut had also cooked down into the sauce making this dish so morish! I ended up just eating the sauce and boiled rice together.

Abalone slices on a bed of stir fried lettuce

Ginger and Shallot steamed Barramundi

The complete feast

Although there was only 9 dishes, there was enough to feed 20 people! We had 12 people and barely got through half of the dishes. On top of that, we had abalone soup as well.

My cousin decided to bake me a cake for my birthday since I told mum that I didn't want to buy a cake as I'm all caked out. But since its Chinese Moon festival as well, we had to have a cake of some sort.

Look how pretty!


I forgot to take photos of our home made moon cakes, but I can tell you, they were divine!!