Posts Tagged ‘Events’

Artisan baking with seeds and grains at Brasserie Bread, Banksmeadow

September 12, 2011 20 comments

Bread – I LOVE bread but have never attempted to make it at home. The thought of working with yeast just frightens me. So when I received an email from Sarah Han of Brasserie Bread asking if I would like to attend the Artisan Baking with Seeds and Grains Workshop, I couldn’t help but say yes!

The Artisan baking with seeds and grains workshop is a three hour hands-on class where participants learn how to make bread – seeded loaf, shape baguettes and dinner rolls. It also includes a tour of the Brasserie Bread’s operational bakery and ends with a tasting of the various types of organic breads with complimentary wine and cheese – YUM!

Now as the name suggests Artisan Bread: it is bread that is crafted rather than mass produced. An artisan baker is ‘a craftsperson who is trained to the highest ability to mix, ferment, shape and bake a hand crafted loaf of bread’.  Matthew Brock, Brasserie Bread Training Manager taught us how to make these wonderful bread. Step by step, we started with the Multigrain Struan, described as bringing together a soaker, biga, and a selection of grains.

The recipe on how to make this tasty bread: It’s quite tedious, there are about three steps. Starting with Biga, which is a type of pre-ferment used in Italian baking. It adds complexity to the bread’s flavour and is often used in breads which need a light, open texture with holes. Made by mixing 112g of bread flour mix (40% kialla organic stone-ground wholemeal flour, 40% Manildra bakers meal and 20% organic unbleached plain flour) with 1g of fresh yeast and approximately 85g of water at 21 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together and form a dough ‘ball’. Knead for 2 minutes, then let it rest for 5 minutes then knead again for another 1 minute, then covered and refrigerate for 8 – 12 hours.

The soaker is made from 30g of bread flour mix, 85 grains consisting of soaked sunflower seeds, linseeds, boiled grains and rolled oats, 2g of river salt and 85g of milk. The other ingredients include 7g of fresh yeast (which can be purchased from your local baker), salt and agave nectar in extra virgin olive oil to impact flavour and fat.

The final dough can be made by chopping the biga into 6 small pieces and lightly dusted with flour. Combine all the ingredients together and mix for 5 minutes. The dough will become very sticky (and gooey – my least favourite part), and it is important not to add flour, and important to work the dough by hand. Rest the dough for 5 minutes, then knead again for 1 minute to strengthen the gluten before it is placed in a bowl, covered and left for 45 minutes.

Another tedious process, which I am not very good at! Once the dough is ready, ‘shape’ it into a round-ish looking ‘ball’, roll in rolled oats and dust with wholemeal flour and prove at room temperature for 45 – 60 minutes. Matthew makes it look so easy! Clearly I had trouble and my bread looked a little ‘rustic’ – to put it nicely. Using a sharp blade, slash the dough, and place into oven (preferably onto a pre-heated stone base) and start bake at 220C, inject steam for 2 – 3 seconds, and reduce heat to 18C and finish baking for 40 – 50 minutes for at least 1 hour.

The SECOND part of the workshop involves making multigrain bread rolls, baguette a l’ancienne and pain d’epi. Unfortunately I didn’t take step by step photos as my hands were a tad dirty, but it was definitely fun! My baguettes were again ‘rustic’ looking but surprisingly it turned out ok and was quite tasty!

Whilst the bread were baking, we were taken on a tour of a bakery whilst it is in full operation.

The bread…. it smelt so divine, I was so tempted to grab them and eat it on the spot.

After all our hard work of baking, we were treated with some degustation of different types of Brasserie Bread with a selection of cheese, pepe saya butter and taramasalata.

So many bread, I was in heaven! Will definitely come back to pick up a loaf or two.

Before leaving, I did buy some pastries – croissants, snail and my favourite the fruit pastry – seriously sinful, but seriously good!

I have yet to dine at the cafe, but will not hesitate to go back!

Thanks again Sarah and Brasserie Bread for the experience. We got the recipe to make the bread, and no doubt I will try and make it soon. The family definitely enjoyed it – who doesn’t love bread right?

Full course details can be found on Brasserie Bread website.

Braisserie Bread

1737 Botany Rd

Banksmeadow 2019

Ph: 1300 966 845

Brasserie Bread on Urbanspoon

[TOYS] Collective #7: Old dogs, new tricks, Porteno

I really enjoyed the [TOYS] event earlier this year in March that I was determined to go to the next one. So when I found out they were holding another event I couldn’t say no. It was at Porteno – one of my favourite restaurant, and the theme was ‘Old Dogs, New Tricks’, chef partnerships between [TOYS] and their mentors. Huge ‘cast’ of chef, I had high expectations – love majority of the chef and well, it did not disappoint. At $220 per person, for six courses, it was expensive as hell but worth every penny! Loads of food and flowing alcohol, as each course was matched with wine and thank goodness I didn’t drive!

The event started at 6pm, I ‘dragged’ the gym enthusiast, S with me and at 6 on the dot we were there. I knew both M and Y were also attending. We started with a cocktail by Luke Ashton: New Sensation which is Laird’s applejack apple brandy, aperol, bespoke mandarin syrup and pimento dram. It was STRONG – kind of burn sensation and not great if you are thirsty – it’s one of those drinks that you drink slowly – sip by sip (well for me anyway!).

Canapes by Morgan McGlone (ex Flinders Inn, it is his last TOYS event as he is moving to New York! So cut I didn’t get to try his restaurant!) and his inspiration Mark Holmes, ferran prawn dumplings which was tortellini with prawns inside. It was tasty and I could have easily eaten half a dozen on my own.

The chilled beetroot shot I enjoyed, served cold and in a shot glass – it was smooth and went down too easily and too quickly!

Unfortunately, I didn’t try the boo-kaki and not even sure what that is! I love the layout of Gardel’s Bar which can be found above Porteno restaurant, we chatted, drank, ate canapes and after about an hour, we moved downstairs where the feast was to start!

As soon as S and I sat down, the flow of alcohol started, and well I couldn’t exactly say no (even though I am doing dry July, tonight was an exception!)

Started with trumpeter fish by Hamish Ingram (Bar H, Surry Hills) and Damian Pignolet. Such a simple and refreshing dish, the sashimi was fresh and the celery, radicchio and chervil a wonderful complement. It was the perfect start.

Red Herring, pickled stalks, mackerel, smoked pine curd by Darren Robertson (ex Tetsuyas) and Dave Pegrum (also ex Tetsuyas, then moved to Forbes and Burton and now head Chef at the Bronte Road Bistro). This was another light dish, served at room temperature, the mackerel was deliciously sour, a little slimy for some and the dollops of goats cheese gave it that extra flavour. Y didn’t enjoy this as much as M, S and I. There were mix reviews amongst the diners, but it was a definite winner for me.

Ham, cheese and eggs by Mitch Orr (Duke, Darlinghurst) and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) was probably my least favourite. I can see what Mitch was trying to do – shaped like an ‘egg’, the white layer is actually pecorino and it was strong, salty and extremely cheesy! TOO strong for my liking, I loved the ham stock, full of flavour and I have to admit, it did complement the cheese, but it was just a little too much for me. It was a love or hate dish and Y certainly enjoyed it more than the rest of us.

The truth by Thomas Lim (Duke) and Jeremy Strode (Bistrode, ex Bentley), Pig’s trotter stuffed with veal sweetbreads, chicken mousse, shiitake and ginger, garlic chive, pickled onions, beer mustard was divine! Both M and I were a little ‘nervous’ as his last dish at TOYS event wasn’t a favourite of ours but we were both pleasantly surprised.

The trotter was SO tender it just melted in my mouth. The beer mustard excellent and pickled onions a wonderful complement and I really couldn’t get enough of it. Could have definitely eaten another serving!

Tastes like Chicken by Joel Humphries and Nick Wong (Bodega, Surry Hills) and Ben Milgate, Elvis Abrahanowicz (Porteno, Surry Hills), New Zealand milk-fed lamb, smoked eggplant, flatbread cooked in its own ash was TO DIE FOR!

You all know how much I don’t like lamb, but this was moist and deliciously tender and as M said ‘true to it’s name – tasted like chicken!’. I couldn’t help but have a couple of pieces and could have happily eaten more!

The sides – where do I start? The eggplant puree – magnificent, but it is the flatbread that’s like icing on the cake. It was just SUPERB! Seriously superb and should definitely be on the Porteno menu! M managed to sneak in an extra piece of bread from Joel! Believe it or not, for both M and I, this was a standout dish and this is coming from two girls who does not love lamb, and would avoid it like plague!

Morgs has my flavours by Adriano Zumbo (Zumbo Patisserie) and Dean Gibson – chocolate, orange, and some form of German Cake. Three words – OH MY GOD! EPIC!

The German cake is very similar to that of an Indonesian version of kue lapis and one of my favourite! So thin and soft and oh so frigging delicious. Inside, ice cream and chocolate and oh so good! The chocolate paddle pop like is actually vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate and orange peanut brittle – oh dear god, I am certain I had a foodgasm! I didn’t know which one to eat first, the cake? the ice cream? the cake? It was phenomenal and one of the BEST dessert Zumbo has done!

To end, cocktail by Simon McGoram: ‘Till the Bitter End’ – espresso liqueur and my goodness, so strong that I could only have a sip and that was it. Each course was complemented by a wine – to be honest, I can’t remember the flavours of each, by the third glass of red wine, everything tasted wonderful!

Both M and I have similar taste and for both of us, the most outstanding dish of the evening definitely the Porteno’s lamb – I had great expectations from the Porteno boys and they truly did not disappoint! It trumped over the pig’s trotter and I LOVE PORK! Second was definitely the pig’s trotter followed by the mackerel for me, and silver trumpet for M. The dessert is really on a class of its own. If I wasn’t so full, I would have definitely gone in the kitchen and asked Zumbo for another!

Glad to have met the chefs, and chatted. Give me the trotter for entree, lamb for main and German cake for dessert anytime of the week and I will be ONE SERIOUSLY HAPPY GIRL!

Definitely the BEST TOYS event thus far! It will be hard to top the next event, it was ‘fan-bloody-tastic’. Very impressed with the food, service, alcohol, EVERYTHING was just magnifique and waddled to the car exhausted but extremely satisfied!

Again thanks to the chef and Mel for organising everything.

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

[TOYS] Collective


358 Cleveland Street

Surry Hills 2010

Dedes Dessert, Dedes, Abbostford

I had the pleasure of attending a wonderful event hosted by Dedes Restaurant and Gourmet Rabbit. Thanks Denea and Dedes Restaurant for inviting me and a big thank you to Kelly Payne, Restaurant Manager for looking after us.

Dedes Restaurant is part of the Dedes Group, who also owns Flying Fish and the Deckhouse. It is located in Abbotsford, on the waterfront in the Sydney Rowing Club, and has beautiful views and perfect for wedding, birthday, and even work conference. It has been family owned for 30 years by Con and Kerrie Dedes, and the service was definitely very friendly and you can sense the family-ness in the air.

Upon arrival, we were presented with drinks – sparkling white, and as I am allergic to white, opted for something non alcoholic – lemon lime and bitters, my favourite.

It was a dessert degustation, however, we started with seafood platters – hot and cold. It is usually served separately but on this special occassion it was together. I was in awe at how big each of the platters were. Thank goodness there were nine of us that day, I don’t think we would have been able to finish it all.

The cold: marinated octopus, oysters, prawns and smoked salmon. The Sydney rock oysters from Wallis Lake were deliciously creamy and plump. Served with lemon and vinaigrette sauce it was magnificient. It was just too good to stop at one and to be honest, I had more!

The marinated octopus served with olives and feta were also wonderful, tender and full of flavour. The smoked salmon were nice, nothing special, but I do love smoked salmon. The prawns were fresh and huge and were absolutely divine!

Now I probably should have done something like this, but thankfully, I sat next to S and he beautifully presented the different type of food on his plate. Thanks S!

The hot: baked barramundi, bbq prawns, salt and pepper calamari, crayfish tail, scampi, horseback prawns with hand cut chips. Now I didn’t try everything as I wanted to save room for dessert. However, my favourite would have to be the crayfish tail. Lightly coated, it was incredibly juicy and succulent, it was excellent. The Horseback prawns were deep-fried balls of prawn wrapped in bacon; it was so good that one was simply not enough. By the time I got to the salt and pepper calamari the coating was not crispy, however, they were still wonderful. The baked barramundi was flavoursome and cooked to perfection.

Yaya (owner’s mum) prepared two beautiful side dishes of green beans and chicory dressed in lemon and olive oil – all made with love. She said we couldn’t have seafood without veggies, and she was right! I think these two veggies, should be on the menu! The green beans served cold were wonderful and the chicory was excellent.

Now what we have come here for, created all by the pastry chef Jason Langthorne, ex Flying Fish. We started with strawberry crème brulee and vanilla bean shortbread matched with Moet and Chandon Brut, which I didn’t have. The creme brulee was amazingly good. It was creamy and wonderful and the shortbread a wonderful complement. I thought it lacked a little in the presentation, but the creaminess and sweetness and flavour made up for it.

The chocolate truffle dacquoise, almond praline and Turkish delight ice cream was S’s favourite. This was DIVINE! The chocolate truffle was deliciously rich, and the Turkish delight ice cream was incredible. I loved the peanut praline at the top, crunchy, gooey and so very yummy! I have to admit though, I probably couldn’t have eaten the whole thing on my own!

This lovely chocolate truffle dacquoise was matched with frangelico frappe – it complemented it well and I think should be offered as a menu option instead of dessert wine.

The flourless citrus cake, lemon semi freddo and orange caramel were a favourite amongst the diners. It had an wonderful citrus flavour, and the lemon curd in the middle was absolutely delightful.

It was matched with piccolo latte – cinque stele espresso by victtoria which I loved! Served in a shot glass, it certainly wasn’t enough.

Lastly, my dessert of the day – baked rhubarb tart, cinnamon crumble and toffee apple ice cream. I loved the presentation, it was just too pretty to eat. Sweet pastry base, the rhubarb was cooked to perfection, and topped with cinnamon crumbs – it was a winner for me!

The matching port, nv galway pipe complemented the dessert, and as much as I wanted to finish the port, I couldn’t, as I was driving.

Yaya made some homemade pumpkin pie, her own filo pastry which was very sweet of her and a nice surprise for all of us. I love pumpkin pie, and probably should have taken some home!

The petite fours definitely tipped me over the edge, I was in the upper end of full and served with peppermint tea, it was definitely the perfect way to end the wonderful sugar hit!

It was one of the best afternoons I have had in a while – dessert, good company, great conversation – what more can a girl want! I loved the matching beverages for dessert, especially the piccolo latte and the port – thanks Kelly, it was ingenious.

Many thanks again to Denea from Gourmet Rabbit and Dedes Restaurant for the sugar hit and a wonderful afternoon. It was good to have finally meet you all! I have read your blogs and was finally good to put a face behind the name. Will definitely be back for a boozie lunch!

GA dined as a guest at Dedes.

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

Dedes Restaurant

613 Great North Rd

Sydney 2046

Ph: +61 2 9712 5503

Dede's Bar & Grill Sydney Rowing Club on Urbanspoon

Masterpiece Series Dinner, Felix, Sydney

When the March into Merivale agenda came out a couple of months ago, a couple of friends suggested one of the Masterpiece Series Dinner Events by Lauren Murodch. The description says ‘Lauren Murdoch explores the art world with her culinary interpretation of some of the great masterpieces…. The art will be on the plate, from Paris to New York, and back to Sydney to uncover the art of the food’.

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew the company will be awesome! We all didn’t want matching wine with our meal, it was just too much, so the degustation with a complementary glass of Chandon upon arrival was $99pp. However, I asked if I could ask for a glass of red and red it was!

We started with complementary bread – I didn’t have any as I wanted to make room for the degustation that I am about to consume. However, according to S, who almost demolished the bread, it wasn’t warm but fresh and delicious. I have had the bread at Felix on my first visit and I do rememember it being tasty.

First dish, fresh red radish, whipped goats cheese, baby herbs, bread. The goats cheese was deliciously creamy and fluffy and tasted a little like cream cheese with a bit of tang. Eaten with thinly sliced and toasted fruit bread it was wonderful – it brought out a lot of flavours and richness. I wasn’t a huge fan of the red radish though – not in chunks but thinly cut was ok.

Next came, steamed asparagus with pickled quail eggs and ravigot sauce. This was probably the dish of the night for me. I love the combination of the flavours, the acidity of the sauce, the sourness and creaminess from the pickled quail eggs, it made me want more and more. The asparagus which was served at room temperature was a wonderful complement. Each mouthful was better than the next, I tried to scrape off every last bit of sauce, and almost picked up the plate and licked it off!

The first main being the seared ocean trout with anchoide, olive and parsley salad. I loved the seared ocean trout, served medium rare, it was tender and just melted in my mouth. Unfortunately, the anchovy, olive and parsley salad was a little too salty and a little ‘fishy’ for my liking. Since S thoroughly enjoyed it more than I did, I was happy to give her my share. I enjoyed the trout with just the creamy dollop of mayonnaise.

The last of the main, braised beef cheek with beetroot and horse radish cream. You can’t really see the beetroot – it was roasted and yes its supposed to be red, however, in the photo below, it looks like two ‘blobs’ of black! The braised beef cheek was incredibly tender and had an extremely strong red wine flavour which I thought was a little too powering. The beetroot and creamy horse radish cream complemented the richness of the beef. My only gripe would be there weren’t enough of the horse radish cream!

Dessert – chocolate mousse with hazelnut milk granita and caramel was sickly rich! I had two mouthfuls and could not finish the rest. The chocolate mousse sat on a bed of granita and salted caramel. I love the combination of sweet and salt together but this was too rich and too heavy for my liking. Both M and I gave our dessert to S and she devoured it all! I salute her and her stomach!

Lastly, we were presented with some tea or coffee and petite fours, which were friand with lemon icing and praline truffles.

The praline truffles was deliciously rich with hazelnut in the middle which I loved. Coated with dark chocolate, it was scrumptiously sweet and the chocolate just melted in your mouth. The friand with lemon icing was also lusciously sweet with a bit of tang. It was firm but yet fluffy – it was nice but I have never been a huge fan of friand so didn’t enjoy this as much as the others.

On the back of the menu, we ‘had’ to draw something that represented the food we just consumed. We were presented with coloured pencils. I can’t draw if my life depended on me! M and S are definitely more creative.

M’s drawing….

S’s drawing….

Apparently, we are in the draw to win a free dinner at Felix. As much as I would love to win a free dinner, I don’t think I will be winning with my artistic skills!

It was a wonderful evening with the girls. I didn’t get to try the Reuben sandwich at Felix though, which means I will definitely have to go back!

Thanks again for a lovely evening ladies. I look forward to seeing you next time.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10


2 Ash Street

Sydney 2000

Ph: +61 2 9240 3000

Felix - Bistro and Bar on Urbanspoon

Taste of Sydney 2011

Its that time of year again, Taste of Sydney. Unfortunately I didn’t go last year as I was overseas so missed out. This year I was keen to check it out to see if it was as good as the first year. I was lucky enough to receive complementary tickets from a dear friend, B – I thought I may have put our friendship to the test when I asked for more than two tickets but thankfully no. THANK YOU!

The family and I came on Saturday night, it started at 5.30pm and we were there just a little after. It wasn’t that busy when we arrived but by 7.30pm the place was busy and the queues were LONG! We had a great time, sampling some of the dishes and thought I would share some of the faveourite dishes we had.

I perused the menu before arriving and knew exactly what I wanted! My advice is to peruse the menu and have a vague idea of what you want so you are set! If you forget to print the menu, don’t fret, there will be staff in front of the gates handing out booklets. ‘Crowns’ are the currency that they use – $1 is 1 crown. Majority of the dishes are priced from 8 – 10 crowns, you can get crowns prior to arriving to the venue or at the grounds.

Now the food – I went straight to Restaurant Balzac as I have heard raving reviews about the crisp wagyu beef with wild mushroom and truffle foam (12 crowns). It was incredibly good! Tender wagyu beef spring roll – get them early as my brother, F, wanted to get more at 7pm it was ALL gone! The wild mushroom and truffle foam was to die for – rich, creamy and absolutely delicious!

I couldn’t go pass the saddle of suckling pig with baby green peas (12 crowns) – tender, mouth watering suckling pig, it was awesomely good!

My sis-in-law, O, and Mum had the seared regal king salmon with promegranate, mint and feta salad (10 crowns). It was a relatively generous serving – three skewers of salmon, which was cooked medium rare which just melted in your mouth and the salad was a wonderful complement.

My parents couldn’t go pass the organic grass fed wagyu burger from Charlie and Co (12 crowns). I didn’t like the burger the first time I had it, I thought it was a little dry, however, this time round it was surprisingly good! The meat was tender and succulent and my parents absolutely loved it.

You can purchase a side of their famous fries – truffle and parmesan cheese for an extra 6 crowns and they were magnificent!

We had a serve of the confit pork belly, squid, chorizo and chickpea (10 crowns) from Four in Hand and it was so good that my parents wanted a second serving! The second serving was infinitely better, the first serving (pictured below) was a little hard, too crispy and crunchy but the second serving, the pork belly was tender, juicy with crispy crackle – WOW! The chorizo and chickpea was a wonderful complement.

Dad couldn’t go pass the oysters with Vietnamese dressing, crispy shallots and corriander (10 crowns) from Assiette. The oysters were fresh and I loved the Vietnamese dressing.

The slow cooked shoulder of lamb with smoked potato puree and jus (12 crowns) from L’etoile tasted a little like corn beef to me. It wasn’t lamb-y but a tad salty for my liking. It was tender and just ‘ripped’ apart. Mum certainly enjoyed it.

Next seared petuna ocean trout with white curry sauce, jasmine rice and raw vegetable sambal (12 crowns) from Flying Fish was superb! The petuna ocean trout was cooked medium rare and just the way I like it. It was fantastic and the raw vegetable sambal was delicious.

I couldn’t go pass District Dining’s spicy free range lilydale chicken with lime aioli and coleslaw (10 crowns). Tender, succulent chicken with crispy coating and lime aioli – AIOLI!!!! It was divine.

For dessert, I couldn’t go pass the dark chocolate snickers (8 crowns) from Four in Hand. Generous scoop of ice cream with gooey ooey caramel sauce and crunchy praline chunks – OMG! It was SO GOOD I really wanted more! Mum and I were fighting for every single last bit!

As we were walking, Dad noticed someone carrying a lovely chocolate looking cake. I was too lazy to figure out what it was so asked the lady – amedei milk chocolate mousse with salted caramel and fresh berries (8 crowns) from Otto Ristorante and I have to say – that was one of the best chocolate mousse I have had in a long time! Dad ate more than half of this, he LOVED it! The chocolate mousse was so creamy and so smooth and in the middle – a layer of salted caramel which was just delightful! It was epic!

Delightfully full, we walked around the ground checking out the other stalls and freebies. F couldn’t help but have the spicy French lamb sausage with onions served on a sour dough roll (8 crowns). I was too full for this but F demolished this and absolutely loved it!

If you are going on Sunday, come as early as you can. We arrived at 5.30pm and by 7.30pm it was extremely busy! Some of the popular dishes did run out and the queues are a lot longer.

Taste of Sydney 2001 concludes on Sunday 13th March. If you haven’t been and still want to check it out, you can on Sunday from 12 – 5pm. See the Taste of Sydney website for more details if you want to check it out.