Monday, April 25, 2011

Live Below the Line

So I picked up some more work the other week and have been mercilessly busy this month juggling two jobs, a club photography gig, moving houses, netball/debating and uni assignments; and in between all the running around and stressing and very little sleep, I've been wishing for nothing more than some rest and free time. So when Easter break came along I decided to take some time out for myself over the five day long weekend and generally be hermit-like.

In an attempt to gain something positive out of my long weekend of inaction, I decided to participate in Live Below the Line this year, which is a campaign run by the Oaktree Foundation aimed at raising funds and awareness to combat extreme poverty. Every year since I've been in Year 7 I've been doing World Vision's 40 Hour Famine, and this year when I discovered this project, I realised that it seems like something I could really use this blog to help out with. Live Below the Line runs from May 16th to the 20th, when I will be spending only $2 a day on food for the five days, in order to experience what it is like for the 1.4 billion people around the world living in extreme poverty.

Considering how much money I spend on eating out on a weekly basis, I really feel privileged to be able to run this blog which really is just evidence of how much better off I am in comparison to so many other people in this world. So help break the cycle of poverty, by helping provide access to education for thousands of children. All efforts will support the Oaktree Foundation's development work and help build schools, train teachers, and provide scholarships for some of the regions the most disadvantaged students. Please sponsor me here, your donation will be tax deductible and if you don't have a credit card, please contact me for other forms of donation. I will be documenting my five days of living below the poverty line here on my food blog to further help raise awareness and encourage others to join this campaign. Thank you!

On an unrelated note, here is my lunch/some food porn for your time:

Japanese udon in shoyu miso broth with enoki mushrooms, asian greens and soft boiled egg, topped with shallots and sesame seeds

UPDATE: Live Below the Line 2011 recap with meal plan

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Naggy's Cafe & Espresso Bar, Glebe

I had emergency brunch with Zac a couple weeks ago, because there is nothing brunch cannot make better. Except for maybe food poisoning. But anyway. Naggy's Cafe & Espresso Bar in Glebe is his favourite bruncheon place, cosily decked out with a large communal table and plush red lounges, the vibe is casual and the prices are very reasonable.

Eggs Benedict, Naggy's
Eggs Benedict with bacon $13.50

I go for my typical brunch order, eggs Benedict with bacon, which arrives on a piece of toasted turkish bread. Two perfectly poached eggs with thick, bright orange runny yolks, two pieces of grilled bacon (one was slightly burnt, unfortunately), topped with Hollandaise. A little skimpy on the sauce but outstanding regardless - I think what really makes a good eggs benny is decent Hollandaise and Naggy's definitely had some decent Hollandaise.

Club Sandwich, Naggy's
Club Sandwich with beer-battered chips and salad $11.90

Zac went for his usual too, the club sandwich which comes with a serving of beer-battered chips (the best sort of chips, obviously) and salad. The sandwich involves turkey, bacon, fried egg, avocado, tomato, tomato sauce and cheese on Turkish bread, however ironically not double-decker'd. Nevertheless, I took a bite and it is indeed a delicious and very satisfying combination of flavours. I also nicked many of his chips, which were thick-cut and perfect by the way.

Club Sandwich, Naggy's
Cross-section of club sandwich

Sad news on my front was that I managed to smash my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II prime lens a few weeks ago and so sub-par food porn is now the result. Hence unfortunately, you might notice some motion-shake in the photos taken in dimmer eating places. If you want to know what happened, I had my camera mounted on a gorilla pod, but being the careless person I am, I hadn't positioned the legs equally apart, and when I walked away, the set-up over-balanced and I watched on in slow-motioned horror as my camera face-planted into my desk, snapping the lens into two pieces. I made an awful crunching sound and I very nearly shed a tear. So until I get it replaced, you must suffice with slightly blurry images and less pretty bokeh.

Iced Mocha, Naggy's
Iced Mocha $4.50

The iced mocha I had was very pleasing, but however had too much chocolate syrup for my tastes and got too sweet towards the bottom, but I understand that I am a terrible person who does not appreciate chocolate as much as the general public. Zac's espresso wore a beautiful coat of crema and looked lovely and rich, I didn't have a taste but he did approve.

Naggy's Cafe & Espresso Bar
333b Glebe Point Rd, Glebe 2037
Telephone: (02) 9566 4860

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Meet Fresh, Chinatown

I was so excited last week about my baking escapades I actually forgot to finish off all the Ramengeddon posts, however we ended our ramen day at Meet Fresh in Chinatown for Taiwanese dessert. It was glorious. I'm going to say that I'm pretty certain that this place is vegan (unless you choose to add optional creamer) because the thickeners used to make the taro balls are stated on their website to be potato and corn powder, pearls are made from tapioca and their coconut and herbal jelly are both plant-based and do not contain gelatine. I am not a vegan (take note, Aaron) but I say this out of consideration for my lame vegan friends.

Taro Balls 5, Meet Fresh
Taro Balls no. 5 (Shaved Ice, Spotted Beans, Coconut Jelly, Pearls) $5.50

Georgia and I shared the taro balls no. 5, which contains shaved ice, spotted beans, coconut jelly and pearls. The taro balls here are so good, gloriously chewy and sweet, as are the pearls. The beans and coconut jelly make fore a pleasant textural variation while the shaved ice is very refreshing (though too syrup-y sweet for my tastes).

Herbal Jelly 5, Meet Fresh
Herbal Jelly no. 5 (Spotted Beans, Coconut Jelly, Pearls) $5.50

Fieldhouse and Shalia shared the herbal jelly no. 5, with spotted beans, coconut jelly and pearls. I'm not a huge fan of herbal jelly myself (bad childhood memories of my mother force-feeding me guilingao) but it is pleasantly sweet without the ginseng flavour being over-bearing. You can also add self-serve creamer to any of the desserts. We ate everything despite being unbelievably stuffed after already haven eaten four bowls of ramen prior. It was that good.

Herbal Jelly 5 with creamer, Meet Fresh
Adding creamer

Herbal Jelly No. 4, Meet Fresh
Herbal Jelly No. 4 with taro balls $7.50

Meet Fresh
13 Goulburn St Haymarket, 2000
Telephone: (02) 8339 1031

Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk

I'm on a bit of a baking spree, last week I decided I was craving cookies and so this is the result. Big fat chewy cookies that were crunchy on the bottom yet still soft and crumbly. I don't have much of a sweet tooth to be honest and these were actually a little too sugary for my taste, so next time I'm going to cut out half the sugar and the chocolate (please don't crucify me when I tell you I'm not a fan of chocolate). For everyone else, these rules should not apply. Original recipe from here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • 180 g butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 395 g sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 250 g dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy, then beat in sweetened condensed milk
  3. Stir in flour, then dark chocolate chips, mix well
  4. Roll heaped tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls, place on oven trays and press down gently
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until golden
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies

I failed to space my cookies apart enough, not anticipating how much they'd rise and they ended up squashing up to each other in the oven, resulting in some straight edges. Nevertheless, still d. Cookies and cold milk, how perfect.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blueberry Apple Crumble

Frozen Blueberries
Frozen Blueberries

So I found a box of frozen blueberries in my freezer and decided to make a crumble. Lacking in butter, I made a vegan (albeit less awesome tasting) version of the dessert (which was really my lunch and dinner). I don't follow recipes and don't own measuring utensils so everything I make is a little haphazard, but this turned out alright.

Blueberries and Apples
Simmering blueberries and apple slices

The blueberries where simmered on the stove with a thinly sliced apple and sugar before being topped with a crumbled mixture of margarine (olive spread?), plain flour, oats and sugar and baked at 270°C until the top was golden. I usually like it served with cream or ice-cream, miam miam. And I'm not even a dessert person.

Blueberry Apple Crumble
Blueberry Apple Crumble

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gumshara Ramen, Haymarket

It's almost been two weeks since I last posted and I apologise for leaving you hanging near the end of Ramengeddon, I was terribly inundated by uni and (procrastinating) my essays, I couldn't find time to post but all is done and dusted now, thank god! So yes this is the unofficial end to my Sydney Ramen Safari, finally arriving home at last to Gumshara Ramen, hidden away in Eating World food court in Chinatown. Home, sweet home. Home is where the heart is. Actually I don't think any cliched proverb can even come close to describing my obsessive love for the tonkotsu here. So if you're a vegan (aka Myles, Maitland) you might want to stop reading here because I am about to go on a carnivorous meat-lovin' rampage.

Tonkostu Ramen $9.50 and soft-boiled seasoned egg $1.50

Collagen therapy. Liquid pork injection. Cha-su heaven. Googie egg perfection. Ramen romance in a bowl. If eating pork released endorphins, then I reckon after a bowl of this business, there would be no need for anti-depressants. It might not be the prettiest picture, but everything about the tonkotsu ramen here is as close to perfection as I have ever experienced.

The cha-su is the best I've had anywhere, extremely flavoursome, tender and juicy, streaked with ribbons of fat. The egg is a perfect googie every time, soy-cured and soft boiled to perfection, whites set and the yolk amazingly soft and creamy. The noodles are thick and chewy, coated in the broth... and oh god, the brothSo thick and opaque it is basically liquid pork, the ladle virtually floats upon it and if you leave it sitting for awhile a skin will form. But the lovely thick and salty pork bone broth is what warms my inside better than any drop of alcohol ever will. Some might find the richness overwhelming, and there is a lighter, thinner Hakata soup available as an option, but none of that for me. I dive into collagen-laden tonkotsu and emerge with sticky lips and satisfied.

All toppings $6.50

We also ordered a all toppings bowl, which comes with six slices of cha-su, pickled cabbage, a sheet of nori and a seasoned soft-boiled egg. Self-serve condiments include sesame seeds, chilli flakes, pickled garlic and picked ginger.

Fieldhouse reconstructed a mini bowl of ramen from her share

As if the regular tonkotsu isn't salty enough for me, my usual order at Gumshara is the garlic tonkotsu ramen, which is even saltier version of the tonkotsu broth, with a strong garlic flavour. I then top off this all off with a generous amount of pickled garlic. Definitely not first date material... but it's better than making out anyway.

Gumshara Ramen_garlic tonkotsu
Garlic Tonkotsu Ramen $10.50

Gumshara Ramen
Eating World Harbour Plaza, Shop 209
25-29 Dixon St Haymarket, 2000

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