Wednesday, November 30, 2011

City Food Adventures

Today is the perfect day to share a guest post with you all since I am currently travelling interstate and it's always hard to find good food in a new city. And, even as a Sydneysider, it's always good to hear about new ideas when it comes to finding great food in the fabulous city that is Sydney.

I would like to introduce you all to Kate Anderson from Delivery Hero. In this post Kate, shares her top suggestions for sampling great food in Sydney.

Ideas for finding great food in Sydney

Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to eating out or buying produce in Sydney.  If you find a restaurant you love or supermarket that's convenient, it can be easy to fall into the hole of only frequenting the same places.  However, as we  live in one of the greatest foodie cities on earth, I think it's important to keep on exploring when it comes to all things culinary.  This doesn’t have to mean trying out expensive new restaurants or only shopping at pricey organic specialist shops.  There are plenty of options out there enabling you to expand your dietary horizons and put those taste buds to work!

Here's my top 5 suggestions for sampling some great food in Sydney:

Find your own Food Adventure!
Head to your nearest Farmer's Market – There's some great fresh gourmet delicacies to be found at the local farmer's markets.  With an array of cheeses, meats and other fresh produce for sale, you're likely to find something you've not tried before, and all whilst supporting the local farmers.  Check out the markets at the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park (Wed & Sat 10am -4 pm) or at the Good Living Growers Markets, Pyrmont Bay Park (1st Saturday of the month).

Sample the best of Sydney Fish Market -  It never fails to inspire me when it comes to obtaining new seafood ideas.  Get their (very) early to see the market in it's prime.  As well as buying some freshly caught fish, you can also try out fish and chips, sushi, chilli-crab and oysters at this foodie hub.  It's not all about fish though.  There's also a gourmet shop and fruit and vegetable stalls within the market. 

David Jones Food Halls – Old school, I know- but they are the original source of inspiration when it comes to discovering great food in Sydney.  There's everything from wines, hard to find international groceries, cheeses, fancy chocolates and a juice bar.  Find them at Bondi Junction and Market Street in the city centre.

Take a Trip to Fratelli Fresh  This Italian food market and provedore is one of the main suppliers to many of Sydney's best restaurants.  Head to their converted warehouse at 7 Dank Street, Waterloo, to find the finest vegetables, cheeses and pastas amongst many other ingredients.

Check out Chinatown – There's always something new to be found in Chinatown.  With so many Asian supermarkets and such an abundance of Chinese restaurants, the whole area is a culinary adventure in itself.  Head down Friday afternoon/evening and catch the Chinatown night market too: 4 -11pm every Friday, Dixon Street Mall.  Make sure you try the Prawn and Crab Takoyaki!

Extra Idea – when you want to stay in - okay so 6 ideas! If you're feeling like sampling something new, but don't want to leave the house, there's also some great takeaway options available these days and now you can find menus online.  Have an inspired feast without having to leave the house!

Of course, if you're after a new beverage, why not follow Erin's example and sample a great new cider!

Guest Post by Kate Anderson
Image: Prawn and Crab Takoyaki by Avlxyz

Sunday, November 27, 2011

cider sunday - stassen - pear cider

Happy Sunday Dear Readers,

I hope this post finds you well this Sunday. This week, I am back up in Darwin and it's awfully hot and sticky - perfect weather for a cider or 3.

This week's cider markets itself as a unique premium Belgium cider. I wanted to feature another pear cider this week as I know how popular they are becoming.

This pale golden yellow full-bodied cider has a noticeable pear flavour with hints of tropical fruit. It also has subtle floral notes,  a strong alcohol bite and a very dry finish. It's also very foamy, which recedes slowly.

The cider is fermented using 100% juice using a vintage family recipe which was created in 1895.

Whilst here in Darwin I have stumbled across some pretty cool street art which is centered around the old Woolworths building in Knuckey Street. The entire building block has been made a canvas for street artists and it features some impressive stencils, paste ups and graffiti works.

Darwin Street Art - Paste Up

Darwin Street Art - Paste Up

This piece actually says ' G'day Mate' to the left

Pairings: this cider would go wonderfully with a cheese and fruit platter featuring some brie or camembert as well as with pork sausages or perhaps some Belgium waffles...mmmm

It's alcohol content is 5.4% and a bottle (330ml) will set you back 1.4 standard drinks.

Stassen Pear Cider - Premium Belgium Cider
RRP $3.99 per 330ml bottle.
$12.99 per pack of 4.
$69.99 per case of 24.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chobani Yogurt

There's a new yogurt in town and it's name is Chobani.

Some of the several flavours available

The Company:
It is America's #1 selling yoghurt and it is now available here in Oz. It is made in the rolling hills of Central New York and was started by Hamdi Ulukaya who started his dairy business whilst actually trying to get away from it. After moving to the United States from Turkey, Hamdi enrolled in a Masters degree in Business in Albany and during his studies, couldn't help but notice how poor the quality of the yoghurt was at his local grocery store compared to that which he was used to back in Turkey.

After stumbling across a yoghurt plant that had been shut down by Kraft Foods in 2005, Hamdi bought it and enlisted the help of family friend and Master Yogurt Maker, Mustafa Dogan, who he brought out from Turkey to New York to help craft Chobani yoghurt.

As part of the company's 'Nothing But Good' philosophy, Chobani is committed to supporting local farmers surrounding it's production sites, including it's new Melbourne based plant in Dandendong. Chobani also give a portion of it's annual profits to charities worldwide through it's Shepherd's Gift Foundation, the company's charitable arm.

The Good:
What I love about it is that it has about twice the amount of protein than regular yoghurt which is great for breakfast as it keeps me feeling fuller longer. It also has five live active cultures and three probiotics which helps keep my stomach happy. I have a tub of Chobani for breakfast with some fresh fruit and it keeps me going until lunch.

Made using real fruit and wholesome milk, it is thick and creamy and its flavour rich and very moreish. If you like deli style yoghurt's then this one is definitely for you.

The yoghurt is made using only natural ingredients so you won't need to get out your dictionary or worry about what is lurking in your yoghurt. 100% natural! Yay!

It's certified Kosher and Gluten-Free.

The Bad:
For the moment you can only purchase this yoghurt in NSW. The company are hoping to expand this though so stay tuned.


  • Blueberry ( Fat Free)
  • Peach ( Fat Free)
  • Strawberry (Fat Free)
  • Vanilla ( Fat Free)
  • Mango ( 98% Fat Free)
  • Passion Fruit (98% Fat Free)
  • Pineapple ( 98% Fat Free)

The Price:
Chobani retails for $2.29/170g and is available at Woolworths' stores throughout NSW.

To find our more about Chobani yoghurt visit their website or join the other 350,000+ fans on their Facebook page by clicking here

Additional Fresh Blueberries added by me :)

The Food Mentalist received samples of Chobani yogurt to taste test and was under no obligation to blog about it - it was that GOOD it had to be shared :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Asian-Style Turkey Salad

Mention the word turkey and it instantly conjures up images of the festive season, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, Christmas & Thanksgiving. With the exception of deli meat, it's use remains largely dormant throughout the rest of the year.  Why? who knows.... but this doesn't have to be the case.

Here are a few facts about this delicious, versatile and nutritious meat.
  • Turkey is a quality lean protein-rich food
  • It is a fantastic source of vitamin B6 - one 150g serve will provide you with 40% of your recommended daily intake.
  • The darker meat on a turkey has comparable zinc and iron levels to a lamb chop and nearly as much as a lean roast beef.
  • It is low in fat, particularly saturated fat
  • There is no quality difference between frozen and fresh turkey
  • It is perfect for those of us trying to follow a healthy eating plan

Because it has a mild taste, it is able to take on so many different flavours, making it perfect for a range of cuisines. I started making this recipe early last year and it has become one of our favourite healthy meals. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Don't forget about turkey, spread the word!

Asian-Style Turkey Salad 
An Original Recipe by The Food Mentalist

Serves 2-3 as a Main

500g turkey mince

1/2 Chinese cabbage finely shredded
1 carrot
1 Lebanese cucumber
2-3 small red chilli's ( or more depending on your taste)
1 stick of lemongrass ( finely chopped - white part only)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
3/4 cup light chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of palm or brown sugar
3 tablespoons of sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
1/2 cup chopped or torn mint leaves
1/2 a lime juiced

a small knob of ginger finely sliced or minced ( optional)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds ( optional)

Place finely sliced cabbage in a large bowl. Cut carrot and cucumber into match sticks and toss through cabbage. If you have bought a large bunch of coriander and/or mint add a few extra leaves of each to the bowl if desired.

Thinly slice chilli's and add half to the bowl with the cabbage.

Heat sesame oil in fry pan or wok and once hot add garlic, lemongrass and remaining sliced chilli (also add ginger here if you are using it). Fry for 2-3 minutes and then add the turkey mince and stir fry for 5 minutes, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

Photo: The Food Mentalist
Add stock and bring to boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until stock is absorbed.

Combine fish sauce, soy, sugar, herbs and lime juice and stir through the turkey.

Top over cabbage, cucumber, carrot and chilli.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds ( optional)

Serve & Enjoy

Turkey Mince is available at both Coles & Woolworths as well as some independent supermarkets and butchers.

cider sunday - Monteith's crushed apple & pear cider

Happy Cider Sunday Guys!

Hope you are having a great weekend, the weather has been beautiful.

This week's cider comes from the land of the long white cloud, otherwise known as New Zealand. I chose something a little different this week as a few of you have mentioned you like pear ciders. This one is a blend of both apple and pear and it's GOOD.

NZ Yacht 'Loyal' on Sydney Harbour

This blended cider is pale, medium-bodied & lightly sparkling. It has a mid palate apple & pear taste which is crisp and very refreshing.

What I love about it is that it is made using 100% apple and pear juice rather than a syrup concentrate. As you can see the colour of this cider is quite pale, much like the Herrljunga +46. I'm beginning to think this is the sign of a good cider, although only time will tell. As far as ciders go, this one would have to be one of my favourites.

This one will taste great with mild foods, particularly paired with some delicious barbecued seafood. This cider would be perfect with a cheese platter featuring a pungent blue like St Agur or Roquefort - the salty/sweet interplay is one of my favourite pairings.

It comes in 500ml bottles and has a 4.5% alcohol content.

Montieth's Brewing Co.
Crushed Apple & Pear Cider Blend
RRP: $6.49 per 500ml or $57.99 per case
Available at Dan Murphy's and good bottle shops.

Tell me, what have you been up to this weekend?

Clear skies this weekend

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lemon Pound Cake

I made this cake recently for my Mum's birthday. I had two reasons for making it, one of which is somewhat selfish. Firstly, Mum absolutely loves lemon flavoured sweets and so this was my primary motivation for choosing this recipe. The other, was because I am on a self-induced chocolate ban until Christmas Day. Had I made a chocolate cake instead, I wouldn't have been able to sample any to make sure it was up to scratch. There was method in my madness. As for the chocolate ban, I have been (chocolate) sober now for 4 days and I'm going strong, only 41 more days to go. Wish me luck!

This recipe is adapted from Bill Granger's Lemon Pound Cake recipe from his Every Day Cookbook. It makes for a delicious and dense buttery cake with a hint of lemon. It produces a cake that celebrates summer. Enjoy x

Lemon Pound Cake w/ Lemon Butter Icing
adapted from Bill Granger's recipe: Lemon Pound Cake

For cake:
250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened
250g (9oz) caster ( superfine ) sugar
2 Teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 Teaspoon natural vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean pod scraped
4 eggs
250g (9oz/2 cups) self raising flour, sifted
For lemon butter icing:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
110g (3 3/4 oz) icing sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons lemon juice ( or more depending on your personal taste - like to add 1/2 a lemon juiced and add a little extra icing sugar to even out the consistency)
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

For cake:
1. Preheat your oven to 180'C (350'F/Gas 4).
2. Grease & line the base of an 8 inch (20cm) square cake tin with baking paper ( make sure it is fairly deep).
3. Beat the butter & sugar together until pale and creamy. Then, beat in the vanilla & lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, until just combined.
4. Fold in the sifted flour in several batches until well combined.
5. Spoon into your prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer come out clean.
6. Cover loosely with foil if it begins to brown too quickly.
7. Cool for 10-15 minutes in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
8. Once cool, ice with lemon butter icing and top with extra lemon zest if desired.

For lemon butter icing:
Beat the butter with beaters until very soft and pale. Next, beat in the icing sugar , lemon juice and zest. Spread over the cake and enjoy!

Cider Sunday - Crumpton Oaks - Farmhouse Dry

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend, the weather here in Sydney is just gorgeous.

This week's cider is Crumpton Oaks - Farmhouse Dry. Most ciders on the market at the moment are in glass bottles so when I saw this one I thought it would be an interesting choice.

As you can see this cider has a richer colour than last week's Herrljunga +46 apple cider. As the name suggests, it's flavour is dry with more beer-like characteristics. Yesterday we had a few people over for lunch to celebrate my Mum's birthday and one of them actually said it tasted like a light beer and was very refreshing. Perfect for the hot weather we have been experiencing here of late.

On yesterday's menu were marinated pork ribs and salad. Cider was the perfect accompaniment.

This cider hails from the UK, the apples are actually harvested from the Crumpton Oaks farm in Malvern and the cider is produced by Aston Manor Brewery Co in Birmingham. With 5% alcohol and a fairly large can (500ml), one of these is the equivalent of 2 standard drinks. So before you start downing several cans of this one, just be mindful - especially if you have to drive.

Overall, it is a nice cider, it has a more pronounced flavour than the +46 and for those of you who enjoy a light beer, this one is for you.

Max did it tough yesterday

Pete and I are heading out for a ferry trip later today, we are just going to hop on and see where we end up. What are you up to?

Crumpton Oaks - Farmhouse Dry Apple Cider
RRP $3.99 per can
$13.99 per pack of 4
$59.99 per case of 24.
Available @ Dan Murphy's and other good bottle shops.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cider Sunday +46 Apple Cider

Anybody seeking a great tasting apple cider need look no further than Herrljunga +46 Apple Cider.

This newcomer onto the Australian scene hails from Sweden. As we head into Summer, where the days are pleasantly warm and daylight saving promotes outdoor dinner parties and BBQ's, cider is the perfect accompaniment to entertaining and enjoying the warmer weather.

I have decided that each Sunday leading into the Christmas period The Food Mentalist will feature Cider Sunday, where I will  review a new cider to help make your choice easier this Summer.

Thankfully, the market has really taken off in Australia and more and more brands have started to flood the market.Thus far, Herrljunga +46 Apple Cider is my favourite. It is really thirst quenching and I love that it tastes very natural and crisp, as if the apples have just been pressed. I have tried quite a few ciders with flavours that taste artificial and somewhat stale. This one is different, and that's probably why it is one of Sweden's leading ciders.

I like my cider with lots of ice and super cold. As you can see the colour of this cider is almost clear. It tastes natural and whilst sweet, it isn't sickly. This cider is very easy to drink.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Enjoy x

Herrljunga +46 Apple Cider.
RRP : $3.60 per bottle or $11.90 per pack of 4.
Available at good bottle shops.

Stay tuned for next week's installment of Cider Sunday.

Do you have a favourite cider?