I think I may have found my favourite bar in Sydney. Love Tilly Devine, a shout out to the rambunctious Brothel Madame of the same name, who painted Sydney's crustier suburbs red with obscene language, whoring, offensive behaviour and fighting back in ye olde days.
Considering Madame Tilly's behaviour, It's only natural that this 40-seater hole in the wall sprung up out of a disused pub cellar, tucked away in a back lane behind the flashy car dealerships and glittering Prussia Royalty store of William Street. It's everything you could ever want in a wine bar; you can sit at the bar, teetering on rickety stools and chowing down on clever bar snacks to match a stellar, 300 bottle wine list, or you can tuck yourself away in a dark corner and get up to all kinds of naughty mischief, a glass of slightly fizzy French cider in hand.
The service is as immaculate as the food. Our bottle of rosé is brought over, introduced with gusto and poured with precision by bespectacled co-owner Matt Swieboda (ex. Quay, Pier & Est.), the Burrawong duck liver pate is as light, creamy and smooth as I could ever hope.
The large 23-litre glass container of what is labelled 'natural wine' sitting on the counter is explained by Swieboda as a conglomerate of grapes from regions stretching from the Barossa to Margaret River. 'Spring Twenty10 red' it's coined, and is unfiltered, preservative, acid and tannin free (definitely no fish or egg particles here), a layer of olive oil on top keeps it fighting fresh. Wine is poured by the pint and comes served in a vintage milk jar. It's a spicy and short, middle bodied red, and not all bad!
A short wander from the CBD, it's more than worth the stroll while the weather holds out, if you can't cipher through the book-heavy wine list, ask for a recommendation, you won't be disappointed.
The term rustic is a funny one. It's used to reclaim something when you can't bear to point out that it's a little rough around the edges.
This pie for example, the crust isn't neatly crimped or latticed, and the fruit? higgeldy-piggeldy at the best of times, but it's rustic. It could belong on a thick and knotted wooden table in a country cottage in the woods where nobody cares for pastry cutters or crimped edges.
This sour cream pastry? Winner! It's light and extremely flaky. I think I may have rolled it a bit thin on one edge though, because a huge puddle of strawberry-rhubarb juice spilled out of the galette and baked into a sticky pink toffee, which actually wasn't such a bad thing, but it would be best to keep all that goodness inside the crust. The custard powder thickens all those juices up to form a perfectly jelly-ish consistency that holds everything together.
It's jammy, sweet and delicious.
Run, don't walk!
Rhubarb & Strawberry Galette:
Good Living, Nov 9, 2010
200g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
250g plain flour
125g sour cream
6 rhubarb stalks sliced into 2-3cm pieces
500g strawberries, hulled and quartered
3/4 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons custard powder
grated zest of 1 lemon
To make the pastry, pulse the butter and flour together in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs, add the sour cream and pulse to combine. Pour the mixture into a bowl and bring it together into a ball with your hands, trying not to handle it too much or it will become tough. Wrap it in cling-wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour.
Meanwhile, mix rhubarb, strawberries, castor sugar, custard power and the lemon zest together in a bowl and stir to coat. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a circle shape about 5mm thick and 35cm across, place on a tray lined with baking paper and pour the fruit mixture into the middle of the pastry, carefully fold the pastry around the edges of the fruit leaving about a 5cm edge. Brush with egg and bake in the oven until golden, about 45-50 minutes. Serve with cream or sweetened marscapone.
Remember the Kitchen Tea? Well when I was wandering around the shoebox sized isles of Victoria's Basement and chose out the pink popsicle moulds for to give to Lucy, I grabbed a box for me too. Mum used to make fruit juice popsicles for us when we were two years old running nude under the sprinkler.
I can remember it so clearly, we had this ridiculously awesome wading pool and a slip'n'slide, all the implements of a what-do-you-mean-drought? summer. Ahhh the 90's, the serious good ol' days.
Now that we only sometimes no longer run around nude under the sprinkler, and I don't think you are allowed slip'n'slides anymore, the popsicle is all we have left of our childhood summers. Blend up your favourite red fruits, add some mint and some juice and get licking, I had one for breakfast, and I think I might tomorrow as well.
straight from the horse's mouth
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup hulled strawberries
1 cup chopped up watermelon
a few mint leaves
1/2 cup guava juice
Blend all ingredients together in a blender, fill up popsicle moulds, leaving about 2cm at the top (as they expand while freezing) and leave in the freezer for a minimum of four hours, or preferably overnight. If you are finding it a bit hard to remove them from their moulds, run them under hot water for a few seconds and they should slide out easily enough.
If you have been hanging around this blog for long enough, (nearly up to my 100th post!) you will have noticed a chocolate obsession hanging in the air. In case you missed anything, here are a few past recipes to inspire you over the weekend. Click on the links and you will be directed to the recipe.
I'd never actually heard of a Kitchen Tea before Mum told me we were throwing one for her god daughter, Lucy, who is getting married in December.
Now, I can most accurately describe a Kitchen Tea as a baby shower... for your newly-wed kitchen.
It's an afternoon spent sampling dainty little cakes, sipping tea from floral-patterned china cups (actually using saucers too!) and cooing over shiny new tea towels and salad bowls given as gifts for the marital kitchen.
It all felt gloriously Betty Draper, I'll take any chance to don a summer frock and some lipstick in the middle of the day and eat cupcakes for lunch.
It was also a perfect opportunity to pry open Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.
An occasion for dainty cakes calls for a dainty-minded woman, who sure as hell knows a thing or two about pretty little cakes that up the feminine factor. When Nigella breathes that 'for all floral and other artistic effects, darling, you need to start with a level base' I listen, just because she called me darling in her recipe description.
Even though Nigella makes the word gooseberry sound naughty, I have to praise her, for her fairy cakes were simple, light and luscious. Topped with a family cream cheese icing recipe and a fresh spring raspberry, they were the perfect afternoon tea indulgence (I'm starting to talk like her now too aren't I, soon I'll be plugging Twinings)
If you'll excuse me, darlings, I'm off to hot roller my hair and fluff the pillows before Don comes home.
Raspberry Fairy Cakes:
adapted from Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess'
makes 25 mini cupcakes
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
125g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Place all the ingredients except the milk in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the milk and continue mixing until combined. The batter should have, as Nigella describes, a "smooth and dropping consistency", which is rather thick. Spoon the mixture into the mini cupcake papers on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until they have risen and are golden brown on top. Check with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean, then they are ready. Cool on wire racks.
125g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
Whisk the cream cheese, butter and the lemon juice together in a medium bowl until combined and smooth. Gradually sift in the icing sugar, whisking as you go, until the icing is smooth, thick, white and glossy.
When the cakes are cool, spread the icing over the top and place a fresh raspberry in the middle.
What's with the blogosphere going mental for muffins this past week? Seriously, one in every three posts on my blog reel are muffin posts. Very odd. Well i'm not so partial to muffins as much as the average Jo Blow (where did that term originate?) so today i'm dishing up some pasta.
This recipe was an old one that I recently unearthed from a flurry of torn out magazine pages that Mum had stashed away on our cookbook shelf. Those folders never fail to spew forth something curious and long forgotten, buried under the excitement of shiny new Good Living recipes that land on our door step every Tuesday. The good ones are promptly ripped out and placed on the will make soon pile, which is just as promptly erased from memory as soon as the next Tuesday rolls around.
Although to be honest with you good people, I enjoy this endless cycle of recipe Alzheimer's because it's much more fun re-discovering a gem when you least expect it, and when you're staring slack-jawed into the fridge trying to rustle up some kind of weekday meal at short notice.
The weather is finally mild enough for us to sit and eat outside in the fading light, being slowly nibbled on by mozzies but not even giving a damn because when the mozzies come, summer comes. Do you want to know what else happens when summer comes? Syringes in the sand, that's what. It's a true story, last weekend we were about to plonk our bottoms down onto the sand, and those said bottoms nearly sat on a dirty, horrible syringe. Nearly ruined the whole day. Chuck your needles out people.
How 'bout a little less needle talk and a lot more chorizo for everyone, would that help?
Pasta with Chorizo, Lentils and Goats Curd ode to Donna Hay for this recipe (about 2 years ago)
400g Conchiglie (shell) Pasta 2 Tablespoons extra virgin live oil 2 Chorizo sausages - sliced 200g Swiss brown mushrooms - sliced 3 garlic cloves - sliced 3/4 cup dry sherry 400g canned lentils -rinsed and drained 125g goat's curd (or soft goat's cheese)
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Cook pasta in salted boiling water until aldente, drain and return to the pot and keep warm with the lid on.
Heat the oil in a large, non stick frying pan on high heat, Add the chorizo, mushroom and garlic and cook for 1-2 min until browned, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add sherry and lentils and cook for 2 mins, or until slightly reduced. Add the pasta, salt and pepper and toss to combine all ingredients. Top with goats curd and drizzle with olive oil to serve.
Does this picture look a little creepy? Give you the shpooks?
Looks a little haunted, like Baba Yaga Bony Legs could have lived here, she could have sat on that very chair...
Oh snap out of it, it's just DIP.
It's not Baba Yaga, It's Baba Ghanoush.
Baba Ghanoush adapted from The Bathers Pavilion Cookbook
3 large eggplants, rinsed
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and crushed
2 tablespoons sour cream
Sear eggplants whole on a BBQ, or over a gas stove for approx 8 minutes, until the skin in blackened and blistered on all sides and the eggplant feels soft (using a BBQ will give a fantastic smokey flavour). Let them cool for a few minutes, make an incision length ways down each eggplant and scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon. Leave to drain in a sieve over a bowl for 1/2 an hour.
Meanwhile, roast whole, un-peeled garlic cloves in an 180 degree oven for 15 minutes until soft. Squeeze the soft garlic out of the skin and add to eggplant flesh. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, add salt and extra lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle with extra paprika and serve with flat bread. Will keep in the fridge for 1 week.