It’s Been Awhile….

It can be an awkward moment when you try and start a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in awhile. There’s that short uncomfortable exchange of ‘how are you’s?’ and ‘what have you been up to’s?’ – even though  in this age of social networking we all know what really is up. It gets even more awkward when the last time you spoke to that person there wasn’t any suspicion on their behalf that that was most likely going to be the last time you’d be speaking with each other in awhile; that the ‘I’ll see you soon’ coming from your mouth really should have been backed up with a disclaimer of ‘don’t count on it’.

Not being one for confrontation I’d usually just skirt around the issue, act as though we’d only spoken just yesterday and tell of some half amusing anecdote like the one about that time I passed out at a friend’s apartment only to wake up in the morning with a burning need to use the bathroom and then come to the horrible realisation that bathroom access was only through her bedroom which then led me to contemplate doing my business in her kitchen sink instead (it’s ok I went on the balcony).

But alas, perhaps I do owe you my dear readers an explanation for my absence of late. It’s not that I don’t care about you all it’s just that sometimes life gets in the way of a good thing. Lack of motivation, disappointment, excessive alcohol consumption and a questioning of one’s existence had all melded into the perfect storm that was the sorry state I was in until about 20 minutes ago.

A lull can only go on for so long though, so like any good TV hero that’s gone through some major lows in their life I pick myself up as best I can and this is how I found myself in the kitchen on a cold and dreary Thursday night cooking a very soul warming dish of ‘Pan fried fish with a salad of chickpeas and roasted green friends’ (inspired by the awesome heartbreakpie).  

Ingredients  (serves 2)


  • 2 filets of any white fish of your choice
  • 1 small head of broccoli (my local had no broccoli so I just used broccolini)
  • 5 or so asparagus spears
  • Good handful of spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • 400 gm can of chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • 2 small chillis (finely sliced)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely sliced)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Extra virgin olive oil



  • Pat your fish fillets dry and if you suffer a little from OCD like me then trim off any scungy parts just so the fish looks pretty. Season well on both sides.
  • After washing your fresh ingredients (or not if you’re like my workmate) tear off the woody ends of the asparagus and cut them into 5 cm lengths and whack them on a roasting tray along with the broccoli which you would have chopped roughly into the same size.
  • Dress the asparagus and broccoli with the thyme, olive oil, lemon zest, chillis and a little dusting of the smoked paprika, and throw it under the grill for 8-10 minutes turning everything halfway.
  • While the broccoli and asparagus are in the oven, quickly sauté off the spinach in a pan with some olive oil and the finely sliced garlic.
  • Once the greens are cooked combine them all into a bowl with the chickpeas and mix well, seasoning with the juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper and a little more smoked paprika.
  • Set the salad aside and bring a pan up to heat with some olive oil (Ok if you’re like me you’ll probably whack in a whole load of butter as well). Once the pan is up to heat throw your fish in and watch in pleasure as it swims amongst all the butter. Once it’s done take it off the heat and squeeze in the other half of the lemon.
  • Get a piece of fish onto your plate as well as a reasonable amount of the salad and along with a glass of any white wine you’ll have the makings of a decent evening. It gets even more decent if you have another 1 or 2 glasses after that, although drink anymore than that and it may turn into something indecent.


So those of you who are observant enough will notice this is my second post in a row where a bottle of Arrogant Frog wine can be seen in the background. I am in no way loyal to this brand, just its pricing of $10.00 a bottle at woollies liquor, and hey if I can bring a little bit of France into my kitchen then that’s $10.00 well spent I think. Now I’m hoping by this point you’ll have forgotten about the lack of activity on this humble blog of mine and instead remember all those things that you loved coming back here for, but just in case you haven’t I promise I’ll try and make this a more regular thing*.

(Excuse the change in photography direction, I was trying to have new age fun with a vintage feel…. If you’re not a fan let me know, it may or may not effect what I do in the future).

*disclaimer: don’t count on it.  



Filed under Cooking, Sydney, Western Sydney

Cutting the Fat

My workmate bowled me over in the hallway today. We have this ridiculous game where we like to push each other into things, and 95% of the time it’s me doing the pushing, whether it be into a pot plant, stairways, clients or even the various managers offices. Today however, she got me good. Yes before I go on, the workmate is indeed a she and while I would never lay a hand on a female (in fact anyone in general as I see myself as a lover/ not a fighter with a little bit of George Costanza thrown in), I wouldn’t really label her a female; instead she’s more of a tank/ beast. As I write this post my shoulder is still a little sore from where she nailed me and my head’s a little bruised from where it met the wall after said nailing (get your mind out of the gutter).

This whole ordeal has made me realise that maybe I’m not leading a balanced lifestyle after all. I’ve been feeling a little weak and unfit of late and situations such as this and running out of breath after a quick minutes jog aren’t helping matters much. I tried to rectify this awhile back by exercising on a regular basis, and I can proudly say that I even completed the City 2 Surf in a respectable time. However, having done so I’ve rested on my laurels fallen back into a world of sloth and gluttony. Seems like my penchant for anything deep fried and alcoholic is coming back to haunt me.

Last night in recognition of this I prepared myself something erring a little on the healthier side. I pinched a Donna Hay recipe and bastardised it slightly, and needless to say it was pretty tasty (enough to blog about).

Dear readers I present to you my ‘Feeling guilty ‘bout my state of being white bean and friends toasties’.

Ingredients (serves 2)

whitebeantoast - ingredients

  • 400 gm of canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
  • 4 bocconcini cheese balls
  • Handful of rocket
  • 1 Chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Bread of your choice (I used pre packaged bruschetta)


whitebeantoast - method

    • Get a stick mixer out and throw in your beans, garlic and half of your lemon juice. Blitz it till you get a nice and chunky paste. Give it a taste and season it to your liking with salt and pepper. (If you don’t have a stick mixer, give it a bash on a mortar and pestle)
    • Get your parsley and throw it in to your white bean mix and give it a good stir with a fork/ spoon.
    • While you’re doing this toast your bread until it’s nice and charred.
    • To prepare the toasties, get your toast and smear with a generous portion of the white bean mix. Throw on a few rocket leaves, a few tomatoes, a slice of prosciutto and tear the bocconcini over it.
    • Simple as that and if you’re like me you’ll want to sprinkle some of the chilli over it along with a good drizzle of olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice (wow all of Jamie Oliver’s favourite things).

whitebeantoast - finished2

By this point you’ve probably realised it’s not the healthiest thing you’ve ever made and seeing as you’re just in time to catch NCIS LA on TV you might as well crack open that bottle of white you had lying around (i.e. you bought with the intent of eating with the meal) and pat yourself on the back for not having succumbed to ordering that pizza you were seriously thinking about an hour earlier. Go on… you deserve it.


Filed under Cooking, Italian, Western Sydney

Kura – Pyrmont

kura - kura

Did you know that Sydney has some secret underground tunnels? Right underneath Hyde Park, around St. James station lies a criss cross of unused tunnels that were slated for use with lines that never went into commission. Later it was used during world war II as some kind of bomb shelter or something and more recently in 2008 when Sydney was going through a drought crisis there were plans to access water in a 10km long section of tunnel for recycling purposes. Even more recently however, there’s been some kind of monster/ demon lurking in there. Nobody knows what it really is (although I suspect the government may know more then they’re letting on) as the only footage seen of it looks like some shady zombified version of an Eastern European male that was of course captured in darkness.

I found all this out the other night when I was watching ‘The Tunnel’ (don’t worry I haven’t revealed too many spoilers), which just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity is based off real footage meaning everything you see actually happened. During the course of the movie I may have been heard ragging on the film in order to lighten the mood, because secretly I may have been a little scared.

Later that night while asleep I dreamt of demons with sharp teeth,  wearing red jumpsuits breaking through my bedroom door and lunging towards me. I dreamt of them trying to claw at my face and I dreamt of myself grabbing them by the necks and pushing them out the door. I also dreamt of myself having somehow ripped off one of their legs and beating them with said leg. I woke up a little sweaty, but with a kind of relief. Relief mostly because I always thought that in these kinds of situations, my inner George Costanza would come shining through, and I’d be the first one running out the door leaving everyone else behind me. The dream suggested there was some hope for me yet.

I don’t know what it is but when I think of fighting monsters and whatnot I usually think of Godzilla, and thinking of Godzilla leads me onto thinking of Japanese food; so after a night of fighting demons what better to way gain my strength back then with a steaming hot bowl of Japanese curry and rice; and this my dear readers is how I find myself at Kura.

Most people know of Kura’s other branches in Chinatown (near Market City and 1 Dixon Place), but I recently discovered their other outlet here in Pyrmont and what a little gem it is. The menu here is slightly different to the others (from what I can remember) but it’s all the better for it.

kura - tunatatakiTuna Tataki

The tuna tataki here looks good enough to get my non sushi/ sashimi loving diners into giving it a go. I’m kind of sad that they do as that means there’s that much less for me. Seems like my plan of ordering something that no-one else would like has backfired on me on this occasion. The tuna is clean and the salad bed it’s presented on provides a pleasing crunch and zinginess.

kura- deepfriedoysterDeep Fried Oysters

I love anything deep fried. There’s something so right about a food item that’s been crumbed and scorched in hot oil till it resembles something the Colonel would be proud of, no matter how wrong everyone else is telling you it is. The deep fried oysters here are one of my favourite things to eat in Sydney at the moment. I could do without the nanban sauce though and go for some Tabasco instead. Believe it or not the oysters are incredibly juicy and soft inside their coating.

kura - katsu curryChicken Katsu Curry

The Katsu curry here is one of the better ones I’ve had in Sydney and reminds me of the curry houses you find scattered around Tokyo train stations. The curry has been stewed with carrots and other veggies and the coating on the chicken is satisfyingly crunchy. The portion size itself satisfies one diner’s wish of eating something bigger than his head. The chicken itself remains tender and goes down really well with an ice cold glass of Asahi…. Or 3.

kura - asahi

If there is anything this dream has taught me is that monsters/ demons have no emotions whatsoever so there’s little point of running away or reasoning with one. It’s not like an argument at a bar where it can easily be dealt with by offering to buy the protagonist a drink or by simply blaming it on someone else; no, when faced with the supernatural its best to take your chances and tackle them head on, and when fighting the forces of evil you need to have the necessary sustenance that a few lettuce leaves and heirloom tomatoes will not help you with in this carb conscious world. Deep fried with a side of carbs is the way to go.

141 Harris Street, Pyrmont
(02) 9518 7944


Filed under Japanese, Pyrmont, Sydney, Uncategorized

Makan @ Alice’s

alices - sign

It’s been 7 years, 180000 kms, 4 sets of tyres and now you’re going away, I’ll miss you so much and I don’t know what to say, I should get over you, I’m getting something better but right now that’s not the case…

I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, just sitting there in a crowded room minding your own business; even then I knew you were the one for me. You weren’t what people would call typically stunning, but to me you couldn’t have been any more perfect. I remember thinking to myself I had to have you, that at that moment nothing else mattered until I could feel you in my arms, caress you in only a way that two beings so intertwined with each other can.

Since then we’ve shared so many experiences together. You’ve helped me grow as a man, but I feel that over time you’re putting up with my behaviour has been detrimental to your health. I’ve noticed lately you’ve been looking a little more tired, and it pains me that I can’t afford to spoil you in ways that you deserve. Perhaps this is why we’ve grown apart. Perhaps this is why I found myself getting my head turned by others. Perhaps this is why I’ve found someone else.

It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do, to look you in the eye and tell you I still love you…

I can’t do this to you anymore. You’ve been far too good to me, you deserve to be with someone who can treat you better, so today I’m letting you go.

Did I disappoint you or let you down ? Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown? Because I saw the end before we’d begun, yes I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won…

alices - tinoThere’s always be a spot in my heart reserved for you

So here I am at Makan at Alice’s in Thornleigh on a cold and dreary Thursday evening to say goodbye and enjoy one last moment together.

I’d been meaning to go to Alice’s for awhile now after hearing so many good things about it but never really found the opportunity. Now I didn’t mean for my second Friday post in a row to be about Malaysian food but when you’re going through a traumatic experience, sometimes what you really need is something you know.

alices - rotiRoti Canai + Chicken Curry – $13.80

I’m a huge fan of the roti at Mamak. Judging by the lines and the fake disdain by some people who’ve had their indie favourite brought into the mainstream, who isn’t? I don’t think I’ve had a better roti on a consistent basis even when I was in Malaysia – although that’s not saying much as my travel companion was going through a major bout of food poisoning so we were sticking to ‘safer’ foods. The roti canai at at Alice’s however is incredible. It’s crispy and breaks off into shards and the generous serving of kari ayam is nice and rich without being overburdened by coconut milk. Best roti ever? Quite possibly (although it is abit pricey).

alices - rendangBeef Rendang – $16.80

On a cold and rainy night the Beef Rendang more than hits the spot. There’s a heady smell of beef, coconut milk, lemongrass and the meat is so succulent and tender. The sauce is rich and isn’t watered down at all. Best beef rending ever? Quite possibly.

alices - assamcurryAssam curry fish – $22

Our last order is the assam curry fish and instantly I’m taken to south east asia. I can see the hustle and bustle of the hawker centres and better yet I can see a cute nondescript south east asian girl handing over an ice cold glass of beer. Unfortunately Alice’s is BYO only and I hadn’t thought of bringing anything to make the fantasy a little closer to reality. The tamarind comes through along with the heat this dish packs a slightly zingy punch – although if you’re not a fan of strong mackerel type flavours I wouldn’t recommend this. Best Assam Fish Curry ever? I can’t judge that, first time I’ve tried it.

alices - tehtarikTeh Tarik + Kopi

I walk out of the restaurant, take away in hand and I see you there just standing in the rain. Just like a scene from The Notebook you’re looking so sweetly vulnerable. Am I making the right choice? It’s far too late for this. This isn’t goodbye, this is the end.

alices - tino3

Makan @ Alice’s
262 Pennant Hills Road, (Entry on Bellevue Road) Thornleigh
(02) 9484 8288


Filed under Malaysian, Sydney, Thornleigh

A Party With Food


Costume parties. Who doesn’t love them? Well for starters… Me. Yes that’s right I’m no fan. Call me a hater or whatever else but I dread the thought of having to think of something to wear, worried that if I dress like this does it then reveal some deep seeded desire to be a superhero in tights, or if I dress like that do people then think I have some strange perversions. It’s a tricky thing this dressing up biz, go a little too far left of centre and instead of being the ‘talk of the party’ (positive tone), you’ll instead be ‘the talk of the party’ (dun dun duuun tone). Above all else I hate that by being in costume, this usually then gives people some licence to automatically act like a d*ckhead, like for example by roughing up your hair (and do you have any idea how long I spend on my hair? It’s a work of Elvis inspired art).


But… If there’s one thing I hate more then a costume party (actually there’s many things but figure of speech… keep up with me here), it’s a party pooper. The person who dresses as they would normally and comes out with the default ‘I’m dressed like me – ‘cause I’m a hero’. You know what I mean, there’s one at every party. So during this past weekend when I had the chance to attend a costume party I decided to put some effort into it. I left my inhibitions at the door (or perhaps suppressed them with a few too many bottles of beer), went ballistic with the amount of product in my hair and worked the room like the charmer I am.

Costumes and inebriation aside I was also tasked with catering the party as best I could, so here my dear readers I’d like to share my endeavours with you (excuse the picture quality, my camera went AWOL and found itself in the hands of a drunk version of me).

rochellesparty - menu

I kept the menu fun and simple and I salad aside I tried to keep everything handheld.

rochellesparty - banhmi

I made the Banh Mi by poaching some chicken breasts in coconut milk with some lemongrass, ginger, garlic and onions. After allowing it to cool I shredded it all up and put inside the baguettes with some kewpie sriracha mayo, julienned pickles carrots (all done by me – impressed?), cucumber, coriander and a liberal dash of maggi seasoning.

rochellesparty - spammusubi

People tend to think of Spam as some gross concoction of pork by products, and it really is but in this age of trendy nose to tail eating you can’t get anymore nose to tail then Spam. You could say Spam is a little ahead of its time, the hipster of the meat world. Anyway slice it up and fry / grill it and you’ll wonder how you ever hated it. Here I did it Hawaiian style and simply put it with some sushi rice and tonkatsu sauce, all wrapped in seaweed to make a Spam Musubi.

rochellesparty - reuben

I love a good Reuben sandwich but I was too lazy to cook up a corned beef (also I didn’t want the whole place to smell of beef) so I just used some canned corned beef and turned it into an almost crispy hash. Luckily most of the people didn’t really seem to mind and these were a hit. To the corned beef I added swiss cheese, sauerkraut and some thousand island dressing.

rochellesparty - greeksalad

I was most proud of my greek salad. I simply took the best bits of what I found on the internet so it’s a simple mix of cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta, oregano, balsamic, a liberal coating of olive oil and best of all some pulled ciabatta pieces that I’d grilled off in the oven. The ciabatta just added a whole other dimension. I can thank George Calombaris for that one.

rochellesparty - antipasto

The Antipasto was a nice little filler. I just wacked on some pepperoni, mortadella, bocconcini, stuffed olives, baby roma tomatos and some chickpeas I marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and dried chilli flakes.

I also made some mini hot dogs and burgers which I didn’t manage to get any pictures of but by all accounts the burgers were pretty good (didn’t get any feedback on the hotdogs… maybe its best they don’t get a mention). I think it has something to do with my killer burger mince recipe which I’ll share with you all at a later date.

rochellesparty - cake

I didn’t do the cake, this was provided by the lovely appl3pie, but how cute does it look?

So I haven’t really changed my opinion on costume parties, I still feel all those things I said previously but I can’t say I didn’t have any fun and if you are going to act like a French shower then at least you have an alter ego to blame it on. As for who I went as? Well I’ll leave you with a pre-party teaser to figure that one out for yourself.

rochellesparty - quidditch


Filed under Cooking

Sydney Kopitiam Cafe

kopitiam - sign

On my drive to work this morning I heard this on the radio – ‘cheers to the freakin’ weekend, drink to that yay ee yay’. Now I don’t listen to music much these days, in fact I never really got past liking the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, but is it just me or is there a lot of mention of drunken debauchery in modern pop music? Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when pop music was all about wanting things that way or never breaking your heart? Anyway my grumpy old man rant doesn’t disguise the fact that I didn’t actually mind the song and it got me a little motivated to get through the day knowing that what lay ahead was a 3 day weekend. Woohoo! Thank you Beyonce.

So anyway I trust that many of you will be having a big one this weekend, and I’m fairly certain that a lot of you might end up waking up tomorrow morning (or Sunday or Monday morning) feeling a little worse for wear, swearing to yourselves that you’ll never do what you did the night before again ( I know. I’ve been there. On a weekly basis). If you do find yourself in that situation I would suggest doing what I did last Saturday and that is lining your stomachs with a big fat juicy Malaysian Hawker style meal.

Kopitiam seems to be one of those places that got left behind when the crowds started going manic for Mamak (lovely place that it is), but considering there’s never any queues here and with it being just a short stroll away it’s a pretty decent alternative (unless you’re really in need of a roti fix).

kopitiam - kwetiaw gorengKwetiaw Goreng – possibly $9.50

The Kwetiaw Goreng is the first thing to come out, and I’m glad that it is as it’s my order. There’s nothing pretty about it, it’s a jumble of flat rice noodles, bean sprouts, prawns, fishcakes and other assorted goodies but my God is it good. There’s a strong hint of wok-hei (that charcoal, smoky, breath of wok) and best of all there’s a lovely crunch provided by the hidden morsels of deep fried lard. Yes the KTG is indeed good here.

kopitiam - laksa seafoodSeafood Curry Laksa -possibly $9.50

My dining partner receives her laksa next, I believe it’s a seafood curry laksa. She comments that it looks nothing like the picture on the poster next to us, which is when I point out that the poster is a Malaysian Govt. promotional poster and has nothing to do with the restaurant. She shrugs it off as she doesn’t care as she believes it to be delicious anyway. I give it a try and it’s abit too light for my tastes. There’s a strong taste of coconut milk and not enough oomph from the spice paste.

kopitiam - roti chanaiRoti Chanai + Kari Ayam – $7.00

We also go for a serving of roti chanai. Yes it’s not as great/ theatrical as the Mamak version but seeing as this isn’t a place that doesn’t specialise in it, I don’t mind one bit, and to be honest because its served in a flat pancake shape I find the roti to be more crispy. The curry isn’t too bad either, if a little mild.

kopitiam - satay ayamSatay Ayam – $7.00

The satay here isn’t too bad either and we go for the chicken version. The chicken is moist and smoky from the grill and there’s there’s a strong hint (okay I use this line a lot… is there another way of saying this? I’m stumped today and can’t access the other 90% of my brain) of lemongrass. My only complaints are that there’s no serving of onions to go with it and that Malaysian satay in general just isn’t as good as my beloved Indonesian Satay.

I walk out one happy customer, maybe a little too happy that I’m annoyed with myself for not having left enough room to get that pastie from Hannah’s Pies next door that I’d promised myself before I walked in Kopitiam. I hate that my eyes are bigger then my stomach.  Anyway, as Nicki Minaj says Cheers to the freakin’ weekend.

Sydney Kopitiam Cafe

594 Harris Street, Ultimo
(02) 9282 9883


Filed under Malaysian, Ultimo

P*** Easy Penne Napolitana

Sometimes after a hard day of work spending countless hours on the internet and catching up with the news all you want to do is plonk yourself at home, have a nice yet simple home cooked meal and be able to enjoy that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a rainy day. It’s such an awful moment then, when you realise that someone else has beaten you to said bottle of wine and left you with only the last remaining drops of sediment (and this is only after you’ve finished prepping all the ingredients needed for your dinner). Usually you might be smart enough to check the booze status before you even contemplate what you’re going to cook, and if there is nothing there it might be a simple case of saying f*** it I’ll just make some instant noodles, but when you’ve gone as far as I had on this supposed rainy day… well you’ve no choice but to carry on cooking.

Now, I have quite a few friends that don’t enjoy cooking which I think is quite normal however, these same people wouldn’t be able to cook even if they enjoyed it, they’re that hopeless. These are the kind of people that when making a cheese and tomato toasted sandwich cut the slices so thick that upon receiving your sandwich everything inside is still cold. So this little recipe is dedicated to them, after all if I can be inspired to cook this up in a boozeless state then I’m sure they’ll be able to manage.

Lovely readers I present to you my 15 minute, restaurant quality Penne Napolitana. (I personally vouch for it being restaurant quality, for as a foodblogger I believe I have an acute sense of taste)

Ingredients (serves 2)


  • 250 grams penne rigate
  • Roughly half a 700 ml bottle of tomato passata
  • 2x clove of garlic
  • Handful of torn basil leaves
  • 30g grated parmesan (to serve)



  1. Bring a pot of water to boil for your pasta, and while you wait finely dice your garlic cloves.
  2. In a saucepan pour a good lug of olive oil, and once brought to heat throw in your garlic.
  3. Once the garlic releases its aroma and there’s a slight turn of colour throw in your basil leaves and fry for half a minute or so.
  4. By now your water should be at full boil, so throw in your pasta and salt the water (a few pinches should be fine).
  5. Back to your saucepan throw in the passata, and bring to the boil while stirring (be mindful the sauce is quite thick so it’ll start to bubble and burst all over the joint if you leave it)
  6. At this point you can check for seasoning, and season to your taste with salt, pepper or even balsamic vinegar.
  7. Back to your pasta, and you want to stop cooking while it’s a little underdone, this may be a simple case of if the pack says 11 minutes, drain at 9. Once you’ve drained the pasta (keep inside pot) throw in a few spoonfuls of the sauce and stir on low heat for a minute or so just to keep the pasta cooking to al dente.
  8. Serve your pasta in a bowl, ladle over a spoonful of the remaining sauce and grate the parmesan over. Pour yourself a glass of wine if you’re lucky enough to have any nearby, chuck on some Jersey Shore or any slightly racist Italian American show/ movie of your choice and you’ve got the makings of a good mid-week evening.



Filed under Cooking, Italian