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  • Quiche Lorraine

    I constantly have chunks of leg ham in my freezer from glazed hams that I cook every few months. Quiche Lorraine is one of my favourite ways to use this up as it can really be suitable for any meal: as an indulgent breakfast, to a fancy afternoon tea, to a light dinner with side salad. Either way, this one is absolutely delicious with an unbelievably crumbly short pastry, and rich filling. While the thought of making pastry from scratch may send you running for the hills, please let me assure you its not too hard! It is quite literally flour and butter squashed together and it doesn't have to be perfect. Yes there are tips which I've included to make it easier (like rolling it out between 2 pieces of baking paper so you don't have to deal with sticking to the bench, or resting time in the fridge). At the end of the day it's still a dough so if you manage to put holes in it while transferring to the tart tin, just grab a little piece of excess dough and patch that baby up! #patchit #noonewillknow. And lets talk about tart tins while we're at it. I always buy the non stick variety so I don't have to butter it #onelessjob and with the removable base so I can pop it out easily. These are available everywhere now. Even the local supermarket has these #itcouldntbeeasier. But if after all my convincing, you're still not convinced, you can always buy the ready made short crust pastry from the freezer section of the supermarket #nojudgementhere. It wont be as flaky or crumbly, but it will get the job done and can be a handy shortcut if you don't have much time, or can't be f*cked. I get it! We ALL take shortcuts sometimes! But if you have the time and the inclination, the texture and flavour of a homemade tart shell is amazing. “Ham, eschalots and gruyere cheese are the classics for this dish, but I am all for using what you have. If you don't have eschalots (the little brown french onions), a brown onion, leek or even spring onions will work just fine. Likewise you can substitute other cheeses if you don't have gruyere. You can even leave the ham out all together to make it vegetarian, and add mushrooms if you wish. Whatever you choose to put in this quiche, just make sure to saute it well before adding to the tart shell so that all the water is already evaporated.” Quiche Lorraine an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 15 minutes + resting time Cooking time: 50 minutes Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children generously 1 1/4 Cup of Plain Flour 1/2 Cup of Butter, chilled and chopped into 2cm cubes 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt 2 Tablespoons of Ice Water 1 Cup of Leg Ham off the Bone, diced 4 Eschalots (substitute: 1 brown onion, or a bunch of spring onions, or 1 leek), finely diced 4 Eggs, whisked 300mL Thickened Cream 1 Cup of Gruyere Cheese (substitute: cheddar cheese), shredded Step 1- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, butter and salt. Using your fingers, rub the butter and toss to coat in the flour. Repeat, breaking the butter into smaller and smaller pieces until your mixture looks like fine sand. Step 2- Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time while squeezing the mixture to bring it together into a disk of pastry dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Step 3- In a frying pan, saute the ham and eschalots/onion with a generous amount of salt and pepper until soft and all water has evaporated. Allow to cool Step 4- After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to the size of your tart tin, reaching up the sides. Gently peel back 1 layer of baking paper and lay the rolled dough into the tin with the remaining baking paper facing up. Remove the other layer of baking paper and ease the dough into the crevices of the tin. Trim the overhang and use the excess for patching any holes. Place the tin back into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes. Step 5- Blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 190c. (Blind Bake: fill with a layer of baking paper and pastry weights or dry rice/chickpeas to weigh the pastry down while you cook the tart shell). Step 6- Remove from the oven and remove the pastry weights. Fill with the cooled ham and onion mixture and half of the cheese. Step 7- Whisk together the eggs and cream and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the ham, onion and cheese to the top of the tart shell. Top with the remaining cheese. Step 8- Bake at 190c for approximately 35 minutes or until the colour is golden brown and has a slight wobble in the centre. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and slicing.

  • Thai Beef Salad

    A good quality steak will make ALL the difference when cooking a Thai Beef Salad. Fresh, healthy and made in a flash, this dish is a fantastic way to serve steak while keeping it light. I've recently discovered Mr Wagyu Beef ( which is an online ordering platform specialising in premium Australian A1 Wagyu delivered directly to your door and being a wagyu lover, it was like hitting the jackpot. This is a business that supplies some of Australia's top fine dining restaurants and the export market but has pivoted to going direct to public due to the changing hospitality landscape surrounding COVID19. Lucky for us I say, because the product is magnificent. When I cooked the first steaks of my order (pan fried with a port wine jus) Mr 4yrs told me that it was the best thing I ever cooked for him and Wagyu is his favourite meal! Yes a great steak needs nothing else but a grilling and a knife and fork, but with our supply of Mr Wagyu I wanted to try a few different things to mix it up, and this Thai Beef Salad (which was actually Hubby's suggestion) was amazing I just had to share the recipe with you all. “The steak will make or break this dish. You don't need very much (around 200g, or 1 medium sized steak) so get the very best you can afford, you will really taste the difference.” Thai Beef Salad an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children with rice 2 Tablespoons of Uncooked Sticky Rice (from the Thai grocery) 2 Teaspoons of Fish Sauce 1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce 2 Teaspoons of Palm Sugar (substitute: brown sugar) Juice of 1 Lime or 2 if not very juicy 1/2 Clove of Garlic, minced 1 Teaspoon of Roasted Chilli Powder or to taste (from the Thai grocery) 1/2 Red Onion, finely sliced 1 Bunch Coriander, roughly chopped 1 Bunch Mint, leaves picked 200g Sirloin Steak (the best quality you can afford, we like Wagyu!) 2 Fresh Red Chillis, sliced Step 1- Heat the uncooked rice in a dry frying pan over medium heat until toasted to a medium golden colour. Using a motar and pestle, grind until fine and set aside. Step 2- Season the steak with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat on the BBQ or in a fry pan until your liking. For medium-rare, cook for approx. 2 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Rest while you make the dressing. Step 3- Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, palm sugar, lime juice, garlic and chilli powder in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and adjust as necessary. The leading flavours should be sour and spicy, followed by salty and sweet. Step 4- Slice the steak thinly, and toss with the ground rice, dressing, red onion, coriander and mint. Serve topped with sliced chilli.

  • Roast Pork Belly with Crackling

    Roast Pork was one of the first dishes that my mum taught me to cook, and I figured out the other day that I have been cooking this dish for over 20 years! I will admit I have called myself the Crackle Queen in the past because I just seem to get the crackling right every time. No fancy tricks here, just scoring, time and salt- and in that order- will get you beautiful results like this that the whole family will love! This was one of my favourite childhood dishes growing up and for obvious reasons. The crispy, crunchy rind, the soft, rich meat and the accompanying roast vegetables are enough to make anyone swoon. I would say that this is a pretty low maintenance dish, which is probably why I started to help out from a young age. My mum would cook the loin roast, but I much prefer the belly for the distribution of fat that keeps the meat so moist while you attack the top with high heat. “Up until recently I would have served this roast with a gravy made from the pan drippings, but lately I've been enjoying the contrasting hit of vinegar from a salsa verde to balance the richness for the meat. This of course is up to you. Even just a dollop of dijon mustard would be lovely.” In my opinion, the key to getting good crackling is time. After scoring the rind, I lay the pork belly out on a roasting tray with rack, and let it sit, uncovered in the fridge for the period of 24 hours (it doesn't have to be exactly, but you get the gist #nearenough). This really dries the rind out and prepares it to crisp up beautifully in the oven once you salt it. Roast Pork Belly with Crackling an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 5 minutes + 24 hours in the fridge Cooking time: 2 hours 40 minutes Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children with sides 1kg Piece of Pork Belly, rind scored (the butcher can do this for you, or do it yourself using a bread knife) 1 Tablespoon of Salt Step 1- If your pork belly has not been scored by the butcher, do this yourself, cutting through the rind and fat (but not the meat) with a serrated bread knife. Step 2- Using a roasting tray with a rack, lay the pork belly flat on the rack, skin side up, and place the whole thing into the fridge, uncovered and leave for 24 hours to dry out. Step 3- Preheat the oven to 200c. Season the meat underneath with salt and pepper, and rub the 1 tablespoon of salt into the skin on top, making sure to rub it into every cut. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Step 4- After the 20 minutes is up, turn the heat down to 150c and slow roast for 2 hours. Step 5- Turn on the grill in the oven and allow the rind to bubble up and crackle. Make sure the roasting tray is sitting close to the bottom of the oven, and not too close to the grill element to prevent burning. Watch this like a hawk and remove as soon as all the skin is crackled. It should take around 20 minutes. Step 6- Remove from the oven and allow to rest uncovered while you make your gravy/sauce/accompaniments. If you cover in foil, the steam will soften your crackling and make it soggy. Slice and serve with roasted or steamed vegetables.

  • Chicken Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce

    An (adopted) Aussie classic, Chicken Schnitzel is my go-to order if I see it on a pub or RSL menu, and topped with an obscene amount of creamy mushroom sauce, I am seldom disappointed. For me, the mushroom sauce here is the star and I usually order 2 x serves of sauce per schnitzel just so I can be sure I have enough for my meal. When cooking this dish at home, it's worth putting in the extra time and effort to make your sauce really flavourful, then you can pour over as much as you like! There are many ways to make mushroom sauce, the simplest being: frying off some mushrooms and garlic in a saucepan and stirring through some cream. This is fine and will get the job done, but for me, when I'm craving schnitzel and sauce, I want the real deal baby! #whereisthesauce The sauce in this recipe uses roasted chicken wings and the roasting tray in the same way you would make a good gravy, bringing the tray stove-top, and scraping all those lovely bits on the bottom to pack some chicken-y flavour punch. I always keep a bag of off cuts including odd chicken wings/necks in my freezer for the purpose of making sauce, so I pull from here but if you don't already do this, you can just buy 2 chicken wings from the butcher to make this sauce. “Normally I'm a big advocate for chicken thighs over chicken breast, but for this recipe, breast is best. The quick cooking in the hot oil keeps the meat moist and prevents drying out. Alternatively, if you're trying to increase your iron intake, this recipe also works fantastically with veal schnitzel.” We all know that a good pub schnitzel is best served with chips, but for my household, the creamy sauce and crumbed fried chicken is more than enough fat and carbs so I serve mine with steamed vegetables. Feel free to serve yours with chips or mashed potato! Chicken Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children with sides 2 Chicken Wings 1/2 an Onion, finely chopped 200g Mushrooms, thickly sliced 2 Cloves of Garlic, fined chopped 1 Cup of Port 500mL of Beef Stock 200mL of Cream 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce 2 Chicken Breasts, split lengthways so you have 4 thin breast fillets 1/2 Cup of Plain Flour 2 Eggs, whisked 1/2 Cup of Breadcrumbs Enough oil to shallow fry (I like Rice Bran Oil, but vegetable or canola oil will work) Step 1- Place the chicken wings into a roasting tray that can also be used on the stove, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 200c for about 15 minutes until golden brown, then turn and brown on the other side for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the roasting tray on the stove. Step 2- Over medium heat, saute the onion and mushrooms in the roasting tray with the wings until soft. Add more oil/butter if you need to. Then add the garlic and saute for a minute or so. Step 3- Deglaze the tray with the port, allow to bubble up and mostly evaporate (approx. 2 minutes). Step 4- Pour in the beef stock, cream, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and a generous amount of pepper. Stir to combine (still with the chicken wings) and bring to the boil. Turn down to a strong simmer and allow to reduce until thick and saucy. Remove the wings, taste and season with more salt if necessary. Keep warm over low heat while you cook the schnitzel. Step 5- Meanwhile prepare the schnitzel: tip the flour onto a plate or shallow dish, and repeat on a separate plate with the bread crumbs. Pour the whisked eggs into a shallow bowl. Step 6- Season the breadcrumbs generously with salt and pepper. Step 7- One by one, toss the chicken breast fillets in the flour, then coat in egg, then toss in the breadcrumbs, making sure to really press them in so they stick. Set aside and repeat until you have crumbed all the chicken. Step 8- In a large pot or frying pan, bring about 1-2cm of oil to medium heat. The oil is ready when you can drop a pinch of breadcrumbs in and they turn golden in 30 seconds. Working in batches, shallow fry the schnitzels and drain on a rack or paper towel. Step 9- Serve with mushroom sauce and with vegetables/salad of your choice.

  • Berry and Banana Smoothie Bowl

    Smoothie Bowls are a wonderful way to serve the old humble smoothie, making it thicker and into more of a meal, and topped with your favourite granola. There is an abundance of top quality fresh fruit at the moment and one way to take advantage of that is by using them in this lovely smoothie bowl. Unfortunately, as a result of the panic buying surrounding the Corona Virus, some of the supermarket shelves are looking very sad and bare, but luckily the fresh fruit and vegetables don't seem to be affected too much. You can make your own long life food out of berries in particular by simply freezing them. “You can also save fruit that is about to turn bad by popping into freezer bags and making smoothies/smoothie bowls up to one month later. Just blend straight from frozen for an icy treat.” Berry and Banana Smoothie an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 2 minutes Cooking time: NIL Makes: 2 Smoothie Bowls 2 Bananas, peeled and frozen 2 Cups of Mixed Berries (fresh or frozen) 1 Cup of Milk or Milk alternative Step 1- Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Step 2- Pour into shallow bowls and top with granola, and extra berries.

  • Banana Tarte Tatin

    Sure everyone loves an Apple Tarte Tatin, but have you ever tried its sexy cousin the Banana Tarte Tatin? Sure some people says she gives it up too easy, but I think she's amazing. Less trouble peeling, less cooking time and just as tasty, you have to give this one a go! This is a great dinner party dessert as you can make it hours in advance and it will quite happily sit on the bench just waiting for you to pop it in the oven for the final bake when your guests have finished mains #dinnerpartyexpert #notmyfirstrodeo. You can make individual tartes using large ramekins (about 12cm in diameter) or small baking dishes which I think looks more elegant, or more of a rustic presentation and make one large tarte which you can slice. The depth of the caramel is up to you. I prefer the slight bitter notes that come through when you take your caramel quite dark but if you prefer more of a sweet result, just take it to a light caramel. Do keep in mind though that the caramel will cook further when you bake it so leave some room for it to get darker. As you can see from the very short ingredients list, there isn't much that goes into this dish but the result is pretty spectacular and always impresses my guests! If you want to challenge yourself, you could make the puff pastry yourself, but for me, this recipe is all about maximum reward for minimal effort so I'll stick to the frozen variety. “What makes this such a simple recipe is that unlike the traditional apple tarte tatin, you don't have to cook the fruit in the caramel first because the bananas are already soft.” Another time saver is that it is a hell of a lot quicker and easier to peel a banana than is is an apple so prep time for this dish is halved. Banana Tarte Tatin an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Makes: 4 Tarte Tatins (in approx. 12cm baking dishes/ramekins) 4 Bananas, peeled and sliced into 2cm thickness 180g Caster Sugar 1 Tablespoon of Water 1 Sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry Vanilla Ice Cream to serve Step 1- Stir the sugar and water in a small saucepan until combined. Step 2- Place onto the stove over high heat and let bubble until a caramel colour, without stirring. I like it quite dark but, cook to your own preference. Step 3- Remove from the heat and pour evenly into 4 large ramekins. No need to pre-butter or grease the ramekins. Step 4- Allow to cool slightly before arranging the sliced bananas on top of the caramel. Step 5- Cut a circle of puff pastry to fit snugly inside the ramekin and place on top of the bananas, tucking in at the sides. You can leave the tarte tatins on the bench at this stage until you are ready to bake. Step 6- Bake at 180c for about 20 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden. Carefully flip onto plates and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

  • Review of Macleay St Bistro, Potts Point

    Located at the 'Paris End' of Potts Point, Macleay St Bistro is an intimate and charming little bistro that takes me back to the simple pleasures of European holidays: sipping Champagne, eating beautiful food and of course, being fabulous! Macleay St Bistro is inspired by all things French. It is clearly evident from the food menu, to the wine list, to act of sitting on the patio of a restaurant enjoying a quiet meal and partaking in one of my favourite past-times, people watching. While we may not be in France, Potts Point does not disappoint on this front. The locals walking their designer pups and sashaying in Hermes scarves could be right at home on the streets of Paris, and together with the uplifting effervescence of champagne and the creamy finish of Merimbula oysters we are transported and excited to the point of being giddy for the meal ahead. Tonight we are dining as a foursome and all being foodies, can't resist but over-order on the starters. This turns out to be a wonderful thing as all the starters including the Oysters are simply stunning. The Escargots (while some people might be turned off) are very popular on this table, with everyone raving about these plump little beauties and the garlic and parsley butter which is actually quite heavy on the acid, a perfect counter balance to all that richness and eagerly scraped up with the slices of crisp baguette. If you haven't tried Escargots before, I urge you to please please please give them a go. And if you do, make it here because these are a beautiful example of how good they can be. Once de-shelled, the size and texture is similar to a small clam and such a shame to be missed just because of incorrect visions of garden snails. I've never met a souffle I didn't like and the French Onion version served at Macleay St Bistro could just about be my best friend. Light and airy with the sweetness and savouriness of onion, and smothered in a cream and butter sauce, it is definitely not diet food, but it is decadent as hell and perfect for sharing. I would actually love this dish to be served with a side salad and vingarette to help cut through and refresh the palate, but I won't hold that against my new best friend #BFFs #soufflegoals. The Garlic Prawns are also lovely with a hit of chilli and the light bisque keeping things fresh and exciting. It is 'choose your own adventure' style when it comes to the Steak Tartare. All the add ins and sauces are presented and you are given the opportunity to mix in exactly what you like. We opt for all the spice and acid heavy hitters and they sit gorgeously intermixed with the hand chopped steak. This kind on diner involvement and theatre is what makes meals memorable and Macleay St Bistro serves this up in spades. “I request the Chicken Liver Parfait to be added to our selection of starters and I am so glad I do because this dish is heaven on earth! I love all sorts of Pates and Parfaits but this one is divine with such a light, whipped texture, perfectly seasoned and delicious little accompaniments that both balance and enhance.'' I can't get enough of this parfait and my fellow diners agree with us all lamenting the last scrapes of airy goodness. The plate is returned to the kitchen spotlessly clean with us wiping up every last smear using the crusty baguette. The switch up of wine to a heavier red signals its time for mains with the star of the show being the Chateaubriand (Eye Fillet) with Bearnaise and sides to be shared between two. We request medium rare cooking and that is exactly what we receive and the serving size is very generous for two people. In fact all of the dishes this evening are generous portions, which is usually not the case in fine dining restaurants. I must add that the along with the more homely sized servings, we also feel right at home with the service which is both charming and knowledgeable. It is a real pleasure to be around and you can see why customers have been so loyal over the past 30 years. While I enjoy the Chateaubriand, I must say I prefer the Steak Frites which is a rib eye cooked over the grill, imparting a wonderful smokey aroma to the meat. It just adds that depth of flavour for me that sends the dish from like to love. The Pork Cutlet is not something I would usually order in a French restaurant. I would always go for the steak option, but it is a simple and fresh dish with the pork itself juicy and tender. This would be a good dish for that friend that doesn't eat steak, or someone who wants something lighter for dinner. We try a range of French classic desserts: Crepes Suzette, Creme Brulee, Profiteroles but my favourite is the Chocolate Fondant. You can taste in the deep, almost bitter aroma of the pudding that a very high quality chocolate has been used and this is really appreciated by the table. The fresh fruits and luxurious vanilla bean ice cream just top it off, filling this belly to the absolute brim. There is talk of a cheese plate and as much as I want to try their offering, I simply could not fit another thing in. If you like French food (and who doesn't, am I right?!), I am here to tell you that Macleay St Bistro is producing not only some wonderful food but an experience of service and ambiance to evoke the feeling of sitting in a little bistro in Paris. Their history of over 30 years of service is a testament to that. Macleay St Bistro 73A Macleay St, Potts Point *I dined here as a guest of Macleay St Bistro and Ompty Media but all opinions remain my own.

  • Review of Bang Tang, Potts Point

    Inspired by the flavours of South East Asian classics, Bang Tang is serving up some fresh and healthy dishes with an emphasis on FLAVOUR. Their Big Bowls are where they excel: think bright and tangy salads, spicy meats, slippery noodles and fluffy rice coming together in generous serving bowls to share with a crowd or for one hungry human. I don't know if it's because I'm very proud of my heritage or what, but I seem to have a habit of sniffing out Thai people wherever I go. Speaking with one of the owners of Bang Tang, Tommy, I quickly recognise his Thai accent and we establish that he is from Chiang Mai, in the North of Thailand which is timely because I was just in Chaing Mai last week for my sisters wedding! It's always exciting to meet other Thais, particularly when dining in their restaurants because then I know I'm in for some good eating. Turns out that the chef here is ex. Sailors Thai which was one of my favourite Thai restaurants in Sydney during its 20 years of service, it was a place I would visit with my mum as a teenager and it was such a shame when they closed down, but such is the circle of life, and we are treated to new talent and restaurants to take their place such as Bang Tang. The plates at Bang Tang are inspired by popular South East Asian dishes and we can immediately see that in the mix of entrees which are promptly brought out and pretty as a picture. When I bite into the Spring Rolls, I get the flavour of Thai Money Bags, which is a nice combination of the two Thai classics and enjoyed by all. The Tuna Bomb is a croquette encasing a very smooth and creamy filling and the Vegan Gyoza with their green hue are surprisingly full of flavour even with the absence of meat and animal products. Vegans and Vegetarians are certainly well looked after at Bang Tang, with heaps of tasty options that keep even the most die-hard carnivores like me happy. The Big Bowls seem to be the specialty at Bang Tang (if they aren't, they should be), because they are fantastic. With choices such as the Bang in the Avo Bowl, filled with cold soba noodles, avocado, gingered soy egg, crust tofu, Japanese pickle, Zucchini, black sesame and the Cheeky Peanut Bowl of grilled turmeric chicken, brown rice, cucumber, bean sprout, crushed peanut & Bang Tang satay sauce, these bowls are packed full of punchy ingredients and contain all the contents of a balanced meal in a single bowl. They are quite generously portioned and enough to split between 2 if you have an entree as well. At a price point of between $17-$25, its such a great offering, especially when they taste this good. My favourite is the Duck It Up, with roasted duck breast, brown rice, homemade hoisin sauce, maple syrup, crispy tofu, pickled ginger, white sesame, basil & celery. The duck is tender and moist with the sweet and savoury sauce soaking into the nutty brown rice. Hits of pickled ginger lift the dish and refresh the palate from all those other big rich flavours. These are the types of dishes that I love because they really hit flavour-wise but are light enough so that they don't leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable afterwards. “I am transported back to childhood when I take a spoonful of the Juicy Belly Bowl. I think every South East Asian country does a version of this dish, and every Asian child would remember their mum stewing pork belly in a soy based sauce for hours and hours. My mum's had whole boiled eggs in it as well and was richer in the broth, but the version as Bang Tang still hits the spot. The pork is gelatinous perfection and simply melts in the mouth, the broth (although lighter than my mum's version) is enriched with the leached pork fat and warm with spices and the surprise for me was the rolls of rice noodle sheets in the bottom which unfurled to silky, slippery bliss.'' There's a lot to like about Bang Tang with beautiful dishes, passionate staff and a cute and casual setting; this would be great place for a first dinner date, or a late brunch/lunch after the night before. I am very impressed with the quality of the ingredients and the work and care put into each dish, especially at the very reasonable price point. This one is highly recommended folks! Bang Tang Shop 2/145 Victoria St, Potts Point *I dined here as a guest of Bang Tang but all opinions remain my own.

  • Crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Middle Eastern Flavours

    Lamb Cutlets (or "Meat Lollypops" as my kids call them) are a favourite in my house and while we love the Greek style of grilling them with lemon, garlic and oregano, I'm always looking for ways to mix things up. Searching through what I had in the fridge and pantry one night, I came up with this dish, using Middle Eastern spices in the crispy fried crumb and some of my homemade hummus as a puree/sauce. It's really delicious and a different way to serve your Aussie lamb. I pride myself on being able to throw together a meal using what I already have in the kitchen. I think that certain resourcefulness comes from my dad who, being a builder, can make most things in his shed, and certainly can fix anything. While I'm not exactly a master builder (I'm handy around the house), I like to think that I apply these skills to the kitchen. The recipe calls for palm sugar but you don't have any? Use brown sugar! The creme brulees need to be blow torched but don't have one? Chuck them under the grill! Need a bundt tin but only have a cake tin, make a mold out of foil and a can! Not to say that I haven't had any major dinner fails when cooking off the cuff, #dinnerfail most of the time it turns out really tasty and well received because its something new and different. As they say, change is as good as a holiday! Well, not quite, but we can dream! “I've never met a kid that didn't like lamb cutlets, and why wouldn't they? They are sweet and juicy and come with a built in handle. Crumbing them and shallow frying until crispy sends my texture obsessed kids over the moon. This dish is a good way to introduce children to Middle Eastern spices while keeping things familiar. If only those little morsels weren't so damn expensive!” The spices I use in this recipe are generally what I have lying around in the pantry, don't stress if you're missing one, its more about evoking a certain overall scent in the crumb. Cinnamon may seem like a strange choice to include, but I love it in a savoury application like this, it just adds that certain warmth to all those other strong and heady spices. Serving the lamb cutlets with a hummus is a nice way to continue those Middle Eastern vibes, you can make your own with my recipe here, or use store bought. Crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Middle Eastern Flavours an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children with sides 600g Lamb Cutlets 1/2 Cup of Plain Flour 2 Eggs, whisked 1/2 Cup of Breadcrumbs 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese, grated 1/4 Teaspoon of Cumin 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Coriander 1/4 Teaspoon of Paprika 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger 1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon Enough oil to shallow fry (I like Rice Bran Oil, but vegetable or canola oil will work) Step 1- Tip the flour onto a plate or shallow dish, and repeat on a separate plate with the bread crumbs. Pour the whisked eggs into a shallow bowl. Step 2- Season the breadcrumbs generously with salt and pepper, and stir through parmesan cheese and spices. Step 3- One by one, toss the lamb cutlets in the flour, then coat in egg, then toss in the breadcrumbs, making sure to really press them in so they stick. Set aside and repeat until you have crumbed all the cutlets. Step 4- In a large pot or frying pan, bring about 1-2cm of oil to medium heat. The oil is ready when you can drop a pinch of breadcrumbs in and they turn golden in 30 seconds. Working in batches, shallow fry the cutlets and drain on a rack or paper towel. Step 5- Serve on a smear of hummus and with vegetables/salad of your choice.

  • Satay Chicken with Peanut Sauce

    These tasty skewers of juicy chicken meat, marinated and grilled over a smokey coal BBQ are a perfect match to savoury peanut sauce, but it has to be made from scratch, no peanut butter here! Everything can be made ahead, making Satay Chicken the perfect dish for your next summer BBQ! Satay Chicken was always my top request for birthday parties, BBQs or just when my mum would ask what I wanted for lunch on the weekend. That poor woman must have threaded tens of thousands of chicken skewers in her life time, but hey, if they weren't so good, people wouldn't keep asking for them! My recipe is slightly different to how my mum makes her satay and peanut sauce. I have adopted more of an Indonesian style which is chunky and uses Kecap Manis whereas she sticks with the smoother and more curry based, Thai style. This dish has 2 components: the chicken which is marinated, preferably overnight and grilled, and then the peanut sauce, which is cooked over the stove. “I make my peanut sauce in large batches and freeze it in portions. It is amazing simply heated over the stove and poured over grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, or just plain old jasmine rice!” While skewers are great for a party, if you are planning on serving this as more of a plated dish, you can marinate chicken thighs (or breast if you prefer) and grill as a whole piece. It will take slightly longer to cook but you don't to fiddle around with skewers. Satay Chicken with Peanut Sauce an original recipe by Kimberley Kells Preparation time: 15 minutes + marinating time Cooking time: 15 minutes Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children with rice 600g Chicken Thigh, roughly 2cm diced (use breast if you prefer but it won't have as much flavour) 2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled 2 Coriander Roots, washed 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce 1 Tablespoon of Palm Sugar (or Brown Sugar if you don't have any) 1/2 Teaspoon of White Pepper 1/2 Teaspoon of Turmeric 150mL of Coconut Milk Bamboo Skewers, soaked in water 1 Brown Onion 2 Long Red Chillis, de-seeded if you prefer it mild 1 Lemongrass Stalk, roughly chopped 2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled 1 Lime, juiced 100g of Salted Peanuts 400mL Coconut Milk 3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce 3 Tablespoons of Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy, available at the supermarket) Step 1- Using a motar and pestle, pound the 2 cloves of the garlic and coriander root until a paste. Then stir through the fish sauce, sugar, white pepper, turmeric, and coconut milk to make the marinade. Pour over the chicken and refrigerate overnight. Step 2- Thread the pieces of marinated chicken onto the soaked skewers and grill over charcoals until the chicken is just cooked through. If you can't do this, a gas BBQ will work fine or even a frying pan, but you won't get that smokey flavour from the coals. Step 3- Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a food processor, blitz the onion, chilli, lemongrass and remaining 2 cloves of garlic to make a paste. Fry this off in a large frying pan with a little vegetable oil over medium heat until softened. Step 4- In the same food processor (I don't bother washing it out), blitz the salted peanuts to a crumb. The smoothness/chunkiness is up to you. I prefer the texture of rough sand with larger chunks throughout. Add the peanuts to the frying pan, as well as the lime, coconut milk, soy sauce and kecap manis. Simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavours develop. Taste for balance and adjust with more lime/soy/kecap manis if necessary. Step 5- Serve the satay skewers with the peanut sauce for dipping on the side. It also makes a great accompaniment to prawn crackers at the start of a meal.

  • Review of Walsh Bay Crab House, Millers Point

    From the owners of the award winning, Harry's Singapore Chilli Crab Restaurant, is newcomer, Walsh Bay Crab House, serving up all the iconic favourites you may know from Harry's, now in a fine dining atmosphere, with new refined dishes, and a stunning waterside location facing Walsh Bay Wharf. The media launch of Walsh Bay Crab House (hosted by Hungry Diner) is one of the hottest tickets in town, with a veritable who's-who of the Sydney Food Blogger scene coming out to show support, and more importantly, experience the new fine dining offering from the long running, Harry's Singapore Crab. I first visited Harry's about 13 years ago with a couple of friends, one in particular who just didn't understand the concept of Singapore Chilli Crab- he said he didn't want the sauce, just lemon!! Can you imagine?!- and from there I fell in love with the dish, devouring it again and again on my trips to Singapore. Harry's does a version that rivals the hawker centres of Singapore and quite frankly, is some of the best crab eating in Sydney. Their new restaurant, Walsh Bay Crab House, in Millers Point is a modern, airy set up with wall to wall glazing to make the most of the stunning location. We are served Harry's own branded wines this evening of which the Chardonnay is a firm favourite of mine. Obviously seafood is the focus here, and by gosh do they do it well. We start the undercard of the meal with a 1-2 punch in the form of the Steamed Oysters with Ginger and Shallot, tender plump oysters bathing in a warm liquor of soy, ginger and shallot then BAM through with the right cross of Scallop on the Half Shell with XO and Vermicelli. The XO certainly packs a punch in terms of flavour with the salty bacon-y goodness such a lovely counter point to the sweet and tender scallops. I slurp mine up and the dregs from everyone else! #stayclassy The Sea Urchin steamed with egg divides the room, not for cooking technique, which is perfect, but the concept of eating sea urchin full stop. I'm a lover of the creamy, yet fresh delicate morsel from the sea whereas there were comments flying around that it smells like snorkling! Now what is the smell of snorkling? I'm not sure but that's not how I see it. What a treat to get to enjoy such a delicacy and done so well perched proudly atop of jiggly pillow of steamed egg custard. Simply divine! XO Pipis are next and I'm sad to say that I although these are nice, they don't stand up with the Golden Century version. It is a very tough benchmark to live up to, so you can't really blame the dish. The Wash Bay Signature Seafood Platter is one of the new menu items exclusive to the Millers Point location, and it's a crowd pleaser. I can see everyone absolutely loving this with a balance of hot and cold items (including scampi, lobster, blue swimmer crab, oysters and squid) with a serve of really good chips. Think McDonald's fries but cooked further to get really crispy. Its a generous serve and with a side salad, would easily feed my family of 2 adults and 2 kids. Annnnndddddd now for the MAIN EVENT! (wow seems I'm really sticking with this boxing analogy! #committment #leanin) The crab! Ahh the crab. Only the best mud crabs from Far North Queensland are used at Harry's and Walsh Bay Crab House, with co-owner Andy driving out to the domestic airport every morning to hand select the best live mud crabs, with the remaining rejects being sent onto Sydney Fish Market. It is quite the spectical seeing the live crabs in the restaurant and getting to touch and feel if you wish. We are enjoying the 3 signature preparations for this mud crab being: Singapore Chilli, Black Pepper and Garlic Butter. The Singapore Chilli crab is of course cooked perfectly, of course moreishly saucy, and of course utterly delectable. Everyone reaches for the roti and the little fried bread rolls to mop up all that beautiful sauce and all manners fly out the window, with finger licking, slurping and all manner of foodie sharing going on. This is their signature dish and boy is it a banger! “The Black Pepper Crab takes me by surprise with a giant POW to the face in the best way possible! The crab is coated in copious amounts of freshly cracked black pepper, so much that the level of spice is quite intense (it is actually more spicy than the chilli crab) but so fragrant and a gorgeous juxtaposition to the sweet, tender meat inside.'' The Garlic Butter is the most subtle out of the three, with the luscious, almost creamy butter and garlic sauce coating the tasty beast. While the other foodies are fighting over who gets the claws, I smugly take the legs. In my opinion the legs hold the sweetest, most gelatinous crab meat, and I am more than happy to do a bit of extra work to get it #teamlegs After all that spectacular crab, the other dishes just don't seem as special. Not to say that they aren't good, they are, but lets be honest, we came here to GET CRABS! #gotcrabs #iwenttoahungrydinereventandgotcrabs The Lemon Sole with Chilli Butter Sauce is slightly overcooked for me, and if that's my only criticism for the entire banquet meal, they're doing pretty fantastically! The Salted Egg Yolk King Prawns are rich and indulgent and similarly, the Wagyu Cubes in Garlic Sauce are unbelievably tender and juicy and the perfect dish for that annoying friend who doesn't eat seafood. #wecantbefriendsanymore With a harbourside setting to match the outstanding food, Walsh Bay Crab House has hit the mark! The Chilli Crab is iconic for a reason and it is plain to see why devotees have being going back to Harry's since 1982. The fine dining element here is the step up to be able to host large parties, business dinners, long lunches and special date nights. I have been converted to a Black Pepper Crab fan and I am interested to see how Harry's version stacks up against local Singapore chefs' when I fly to Singapore next week. Of course I'll have to come back to Walsh Bay Crab House just to double check as well! In the name of research people! Walsh Bay Crab House 1 Towns Place, Millers Point *I dined here as a guest of Walsh Bay Crab House and Hungry Diner but all opinions remain my own.

  • Review of Pure Thai, Northmead

    Pure Thai is an unassuming little restaurant in Northmead serving up honest and tasty Thai food. No tricks here, just all the classics we know and love, done well. Driving out to Northmead to meet my fellow diners, I find myself getting quite emotional in the car. You see its the same route as the way I used to drive to Westmead Children's Hospital, a trip that I have done many a time, taking my youngest, Mr 2yrs, to have multiple surgeries for an ongoing medical condition. While he received fantastic treatment from the amazing team at Westmead and is fine now, this drive is bringing up many memories of being a mum, terrified for her baby. All parents out there would understand that feeling when their child is sick or has a serious medical condition. Pure terror and the wish that you could take away the hurt and the risk from them and put it onto yourself. I arrive with lingering memories of sadness and worry but that soon melts away as I am greeted by the super friendly waitress at Pure Thai. I tell her that I am also Thai and can she please ask the chef for the food not to be too sweet. This is a common problem for me in Thai restaurants in Sydney. They tend to cater to an Australian palate which prefers sweeter and more mild Thai food than the fiery and sometimes aggressive flavours of the traditional food you would find in Thailand. I'm glad I do, because I am quite pleased with the balance of the dishes overall. I secretly judge my fellow diner for ordering the Salt and Pepper Squid. This is not really a Thai dish and not something I would ever order in a Thai restaurant so I put it down to her being "so Australian...". But I have to eat my words because as I steal a taste while we take snaps of the dish, the batter is light and crunchy and so flavourful with tender squid, it's fantastic! Still wouldn't really call it a Thai dish but I bet it's popular with the punters and I can see why. The Red Curry with Duck is lovely and creamy, a bit on the sweet side for me but this is meant to be a sweeter curry. The duck is roasted and is aromatically spiced on its own before being placed in the curry. The combination of the two is a wonderful match and everyone is a fan. I have to admit, I am a bad Thai because I don't like Tom Yum! #badthai #tomyumhater A very popular dish in Thailand and here in Australia, Tom Yum is a soup filled with flavours of hot chilli and sour lemongrass, usually served with prawns. I'm just not a fan. It kind of reminds of dishwashing liquid! Sorry but it's how I feel! I give this one a go anyway but its not for me. The other girls at this lunch love it though, so please ignore my opinion on this one! Next up is the Satay Chicken which is marinated and grilled, served blanketed by a creamy peanut sauce. I love it. I usually make my satay sauce more chunky and a little bit spicy whereas this one is smooth and mild, but its nicely balanced and an excellent accompaniment to the still juicy chicken. “The Drunken Noodles (aka Pad Kee Mao) gets its name from a situation some of us may find ourselves in from time to time. That, my friend, is being drunk! The story goes that when you are very drunk, your senses are comprimised, including taste so this dish is totally amped up on the chilli and pepper factor with the addition of aromatic and almost medicinal tasting Thai basil.'' The version here at Pure Thai doesn't hit the mark for me. To me, it tastes more like a Pad See Ew, its still tasty but more vanilla cousin. Don't get me wrong. It's still nice but not a Pad Kee Mao to me. I don't know if this is how they normally do it, or if they dialled down the chilli and basil because one of our diners declared herself as not too much of a chilli fan at the start of the meal. If you get a spicy version here, please let me know! My requested dish for this banquet was the Som Tum with Soft Shell Crab. Som Tum is a shredded green papaya salad which hits the more piquant flavours of Thai cuisine with big bursts of spicy chilli, acidic lime and tomato, anchored with the delicious funk of dried shrimp. I like this salad in my Thai meals because its a great counter balance to all the rich fried items and creamy curries. In my experience, westerners can find this dish challenging because it is very spicy, a different textured papaya because it is unripe, overall quite sour and has a fishy aroma. I grew up eating this so I love it but I understand how others may not enjoy it. This is the case today, with my 3 fellow dinners keen to taste but not really enjoying it. Fair enough, each to their own and more for me! #greedy Massaman curry is always a hit and I cook it myself quite often for guests because everyone loves this dish! The version here at Pure Thai is cooked perfectly. I can see and feel the investment in time they have put into this dish. The beef simply collapses under the weight of a spoon and the curry sauce is spiced well and fragrant with nice balance. I am quite impressed with the offerings at Pure Thai. Although I found one dish to be a bit of a miss, overall the balance of flavours and cooking technique was spot on for me. They tell us they do a big takeaway trade and I am not surprised, the food is good simple food, which is what we all want at the end of the day isn't it? Pure Thai 12 Kleins Rd, Northmead 2152 *I dined here as a guest of Pure Thai and Food Blogs Media but all opinions remain my own.

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