Would you like coffee while you wait?

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This advert is from a book published in Australia, in 1884. Doesn’t time fly?

It certainly  has for me, oops it’s been a long gap since my last review, in the lead up to food review #37 – which is still being written, btw.

What’s been happening? Lots! I’ve had some culinary history and foodie research on my plate which I will share with you soon.

Meanwhile, why don’t you take a moment to sit back and imagine – wherever you live – what might have been placed on your table to eat back in the 1880’s?

Below is an contemporary representation of the interior rooms of a row of old houses in Sydney’s The Rocks area – at Foundation Park. The stonework shows the actual layout of some of the rooms, which had a low ceiling height.

What to drink with your food? Spirits like rum were more available due to the lack of refrigeration for beer in the early days of colonial settlement.

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© Awia Markey – remains of buildings in Foundations Park, along Gloucester Walk

My next cafe review – of a contemporary venue – will be posted in a few weeks time. Thanks for your patience. Until then, bon appetit!

Pimp My Plate #36 – GIRDLERS, Dee Why, NSW

Breakfast, brunch, or lunch reviews where the main plate is $20 or less.

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You say heatwave? I say it’s another excuse for a beach café review…

As I sit opposite the bold blue sky meets ocean horizon of Dee Why beach, the words laid-back and lucky best describe the ambience of GIRDLERS cafe.

The mood is laid-back and no fuss – customers wear bikinis, shorts, or loose summery garments. Dee Why, located on Sydney’s northern beaches, is more a local hangout than a tourist spot like Manly or Bondi. There’s a community vibe and because it’s school summer holidays, lots of young tanned bodies are wearing as little as possible.

GIRDLERS sits on a prime corner location facing the beach, so you can watch the waves and visually crowd-surf a parade of beachgoers from your table.

Their vision is SIMPLE. HONEST. FOOD. Because it’s a heatwave outside of 38°C/100.4°F that is exactly the kind of food I feel like.

I read the menu and GIRDLERS’ vision: ‘There’s a spot at the South end of Dee Why we like to call our own. It’s a place where the people are real, where you can kick back and take your time, a place where you can always count on a great coffee, a clear view of the ocean and the smell of good things cooking.’

Every workplace should have this view – magic.

Tables are scrubbed-back distressed wood, enamelware plates, and the brick wall features a hippy-lace decal, and an interesting vintage photo I forgot to ask about. There’s an easy ambience, and a faded-summer-sun softness to the decor.

As I said it’s REALLY HOT. I claim the table directly under the furiously rotating ceiling fan because it IS THAT HOT.

I choose pancakes for lunch, but first I order a Sweet Cheeks ($9) – a mix of watermelon, apple, cucumber, lime and raspberry juice. It’s cold and super-refreshing. There’s also Kombucha on tap and Kombucha Spritz, fresh juices, super smoothies, and milkshakes.

My plate of gluten and dairy free Pancake Revolution ($19) arrives – coconut and banana pancakes with seasonal berries, homemade Goodtella (a Nutella substitute), vanilla coconut yoghurt, and a generous sprinkle of crushed pistachio nuts. And organic maple syrup. Yum!

It’s incredibly filling and perfect for a not-too-heavy but satisfying lunch.

Another menu temptation is Goat On the Orchard ($16) – organic rye sourdough toast with Danish goat’s feta, fresh peaches, raspberries, and organic activated nut spread, drizzled with Hinterland Honey.

There are egg dishes, and Glow Bowls ($18) based around tofu or haloumi cheese, with kale, quinoa, roasted field mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and cauliflower sauce. Another reason to go back.

GIRDLERS is a space to kick-back and inhale beach air, smell the coffee, and ponder whether afterwards to sit in the shade of the pine trees with a book, take a long walk along the beach, swim, or wander down to the rock pools and explore. So many choices and all of them designed by Nature to kiss your spirits and extend that state of relaxation.

If you’re wondering about the name – GIRDLERS is so close to the word Grinders, isn’t it?  –  the café is named after local and ex-football player Ryan Girdler and his wife, Katja.

Once a run-down juice bar, husband and wife team Ryan and Katja and their friend Sebastian have created a café with a mindset committed to healthy deliciousness. Before or after the beach, this is the place to park your beach bum.

RATED: Pimped by pancakes!  FOOD: 4/5
VALUE: 4/5   VENUE ATMOS: 100% Laid back
VIBE:  Beachside
GIRDLERS – 7-8 The Strand, Dee Why, NSW
7 days. M-S: 6.30am-5pm SUN: 7am-5pm

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Pimp My Plate #35 – Fika Swedish Kitchen, Manly, NSW

Breakfast, brunch, or lunch reviews where the main plate is $20 or less

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Swedish meatballs would be the obvious choice wouldn’t it?

FIKA serves breakfast and lunch, but when I arrived at 12 noon with a sizeable appetite it wasn’t me who ordered the meatballs, but the Swedish family at the next table. 

Fika is a Swedish word that translates as ‘taking a break for coffee and a bite to eat’ but FIKA SWEDISH KITCHEN offers more, both in food quality and ambience.

With the temperature pushing above 37° celcius I was very thirsty, so the first menu items to catch my eye were the drink illustrations for an ODD GLEN, a CORNELIUS, and a PAPPA JOJJE – $10 each.

I chose the CORNELIUS: gin, elderflower, and cucumber, and I was rewarded. Almost as cool and hydrating as eating a whole cucumber while standing under a cool shower, but of course it tasted far superior and I could sit down.

Other beverages include bottles of Julmust ($10). Julmust is a Swedish soft drink that’s described as tasting somewhere between a root beer and a coke.

Julmust was invented by Swede Harry Roberts as a non-alcoholic alternative to drinking beer around Christmas, which is when it’s most commonly available in stores. Its name translates to Christmas (Jul) and Juice (must) which is what you call the not yet fermented juice from fruit meant for wine or cider production.

What’s the difference between Swedish meatballs and Italian meatballs? Swedish meatballs are served with a creamy gravy sauce, graybee daybee, made from cream or sour cream. It does depend on who you ask, as to whether the inclusion of allspice in the meat mixture is essential or not.

Although both styles of meatballs can include a beef and pork mixture, Italian meatballs often contain parmesan cheese. The sauce is tomato-based, and flavoured with black pepper and garlic.

FIKA serves theirs in a creamy sauce with lingonberry jam (also known as mountain cranberries) with pickled cucumbers and potato mash. The Swedish speaking trio sitting at the next table ordered them and they seemed happy.

I quickly noticed that about a quarter of the cafe patrons were either speaking Swedish, or speaking English with Swedish accents. As did most of the staff.

I chose the pan-fried Rainbow Trout ($18) served w crunchy cauliflower florets, beetroot, cauliflower puree, green peas and dusted w fennel pollen and dill.

It would be accurate to say I’ve never heard of fennel pollen – bee pollen yes – is it a thing? It’s all about sex, because by definition, pollen are the male sex cells in plants. In flowering plants, pollen is produced in thin filaments in the flower called stamens which is then blown through the air. So there you have it.

Served in a bowl, my rainbow trout was cooked beautifully, with a thin and crispy skin, and the fish tender and moist. I could cut through both with my butter knife. Fresh, clean, flavours that were especially hydrating on such a hot day.

Just reading the word trifle makes my mouth water, so even though my meal of trout was satisfying and sufficient, I had to order the one on the menu. Whether you call it research, or call it piggish, is your call.

My Ragnar’s Trife ($9) consisted of sweet layers of custard, raspberry and rhubarb compote, and birch water and elderflower jelly, with crumbled gingerbread.

Wickedly sweet, crunchy, and delicious. I’ve tried birch water before – it comes from the birch tree and it’s a very naturally refreshing drink. As a jelly it’s even more delicious.

My flat white coffee had good body and flavour. I could have happily sat there all day, attempting to learn Swedish from the children’s books on offer, and sipping another CORNELIUS or three. FIKA seats approximately 25+ people, and there was now a queue of people waiting so I left and took a walk along Manly beachfront instead.

I’d like to go back to FIKA for breakfast and try their ÅLANDSPANNKAKA – semolina pancake, traditional recipe from our friends on the Åland islands served w cream and homemade jam.

A Swedish breakfast, then hit the beach – fantastisk!

RATED: My plate was pimped!  FOOD: 4.5/5   Fresh, friendly, and attention to detail
VALUE: 5/5   VENUE ATMOS: Swedish fellow diners adds äkthet (authenticity)
VIBE:  Friendly, shelves stock Swedish produce
FIKA SWEDISH KITCHEN – Shop 5B, Market Lane, Manly, NSW
Open everyday 7am-5pm (Lunch from 12 noon-4pm)

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Baked Lemon Icebox Pie – bake and chill

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After spending a day trying to escape Sydney’s heatwave, pull open your freezer drawer to this sweet and delicious ice cold pie.

Make the pie the day before you want to serve it, as it needs to cool down for an hour after baking, then it needs to freeze for at least 4 hours in your icebox or freezer. 

Recipe for Baked Lemon Icebox Pie:

You’ll need a 25 cm (9 1/2”) pie dish

18 Digestive Wholemeal biscuits (Australia), or Graham Crackers (USA)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (60g) of unsalted butter, melted
2 x 395g (14 oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
1 level dessertspoon of finely grated lemon zest from two lemons
3/4 cup (3 lemons) freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 large eggs, yolks only

Preheat your oven to 160°C (325°F).Rinse lemons and grate off the yellow zest.

In a food processor, pulse the biscuits/crackers until coarsely ground, but not a fine powder. Crumble any large pieces between your fingers.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and use a fork to mix it through the biscuit crumb mixture. Add batches to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or less, just to mix the butter through.

Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the pie dish with butter, then tap-and-press the biscuit mix firmly into the base of the pie dish. I use a pestle or the handle of a knife to gently tap it flat. Then use your fingers to firmly press the crumb mixture up the sides of the pie dish, making them at least 3 cm (1 1/4”) high.

In a medium size bowl whisk together the condensed milk and lemon juice. Separate the eggs and place the egg yolks into a large bowl.

You won’t need the egg whites for this dish, so reserve them to use for another recipe, like meringues. Add the lemon zest to the egg yolks, and beat together until egg yolks look pale and frothy.

Use a spatula to combine the condensed milk mixture with the egg mixture, then mix thoroughly using an electric handheld mixer.

Pour the mixture into the cracker-biscuit shell. Bake for 25 minutes or until the middle of the pie filling is springy. Let the pie stand for an hour, then loosely cover with plastic cling wrap and place in the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours.

When cool, place the cooled pie into a cake tin or plastic box, and wrap the top with foil, piercing several air holes into the foil to stop moisture condensation dripping onto the pie.

Remove from freezer an hour before serving so pie is cold but not frozen.

Serve with cream, ice-cream, or frozen yoghurt.

Recipe from my cookbook SOULICIOUS

 

Chicken and Groundnut Stew

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It’s already the first week of 2017, and as I didn’t get to eat any black eyed peas or collard greens at New Year I’ll have to make my own luck.

This week – recipe-wise – I’m taking a swing by Jamaica, via West Africa.

For this recipe post I’m ‘cooking the book’ and adapting a recipe from the cookbook ‘Jamaican cooking: 140 roadside and homestyle recipes’ (1997) by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

If you have a peanut allergy of any type then sadly this recipe isn’t for you.

Groundnut stew is common in much of West Africa. It originates from the Mandinka and Bambara people of Mali. In Wolof it’s called Maafe.

Recipes for the stew vary, but can include chicken, tomato, onion, garlic, cabbage, and leaf or root vegetables. Other versions include okra, corn, carrots, cinnamon, hot peppers, paprika, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, and other spices. Maafe is traditionally served with white rice, fonio or millet porridge in Mali, couscous, or fufu and sweet potatoes.

The African continent is the home of many ingredients now widely available in the African diaspora — from peanuts to yam, corn and pumpkin.

The use of peanuts in Jamaican cooking comes from a West African tradition. Most Jamaicans are familiar with the word pinda from a line in a children’s game, “Pop-si kai-si go pinda (peanut) shell.” 

You can add diced sweet potato instead of green beans to this recipe while the stew is cooking, or serve the chicken with a side of mixed greens, salad, and/or rice.

Although this recipe uses supermarket products – peanut butter and ketchup – those flavours blend together beautifully into a rich, semi-sweet sauce.

If you like you can use a whole chicken and cut it into 8 pieces yourself, but I’ve chosen to to adapt the original recipe and make the meal prep faster so I used pre-cut chicken thigh fillets and I’ve simplified the cooking style.

Chicken and Groundnut (Peanut) Stew

Makes 4 servings

6 chicken thigh fillets, skinless, each cut in half
1 small white onion, peeled, and diced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
2 1/2 cups water
2 T peanut oil
3/4 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or preferably, 1/2 a Scotch bonnet chilli seeded and minced – I couldn’t locate any scotch bonnet chillies, which add a sweet smokey heat, so I instead I used half a red habanero chilli. Be careful using fresh hot chillis and don’t touch your eyes!
A good handful of green beans, cut into pieces 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the thigh fillet pieces (keep them loosely rolled up) and cook until lightly browned on each side.

Add the chopped onion, and ginger, and stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook 3 mins more. Blend in the peanut butter, and stir in the water, salt and chilli pieces (or cayenne pepper).

Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered until the chicken for 15-20 mins, or until the chicken pieces are tender and cooked through.

If using green beans, add them half way through the cooking time.

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Serve your Groundnut stew with a side of steamed rice, vegetables, or salad.

This stew can be cooked in advance and gently reheated with a little water.

Recipe adapted from ‘Jamaican cooking: 140 roadside and homestyle recipes’ (1997) by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

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Summer sips: Sweet Iced Tea

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Being in a heatwave and south of the equator, I think Sydney qualifies as southern. And there’s nothing more ‘Southern’ and simple to make than sweet iced tea! And it’s so refreshing on a hot day.

You’ll be my sugar baby, I’ll be your sweet iced tea
You’ll be my honeysuckle . I’ll be your honey bee
-Blake Shelton’s “Honey Bee”

This recipe makes a medium-sweet tea. Everyone has a personal preference for how sweet is sweet enough. Add more sugar or honey, to taste.

You can make this tea in a saucepan at home, but if you’re in an office without a kitchen stove, use a teapot and let the teabags drawn for a full 5 minutes.

Sweet Iced Tea

Makes 7 teacups of iced tea

You’ll need:

3-cup capacity glass serving jug – glass if possible
3 cups of filtered water
2 teabags, regular black tea
¾ cup caster sugar or ½ cup of honey
7 cups of chilled water
Ice cubes, several trays
Lemon wedges
Orange wedges (optional)
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Cool the jug in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until needed.

Then, in a medium size saucepan bring the 3 cups of water to the boil. Add the teabags and keep on the boil for 1 minute.

Remove and discard tea bags. Add the sugar (or honey), stirring constantly until dissolved, then let the mixture cool down to room temperature.

Don’t place the tea mixture in the refrigerator as it will go cloud. Leave on your stove top to cool.

When cooled, pour half the sweet tea mixture into a 3-cup glass jug.

Top up with 1 ½ cups of cold water and stir well.

Add the lemon and orange wedges and mint.

Pour into individual glasses or teacups half filled with ice.
Slip a lemon wedge onto the side of the glass, and serve immediately.

(recipe from SOULICIOUS Soul Food cookbook, Awia Markey)

It’s Tom and Jerry (egg-nog) season

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Are you a fan of egg-nog?

The first time I tried egg-nog it was homemade and handed to me by a German relative-by-friendship. It was strong enough and sweet enough to blow my head off, which it did.

As years went by I forgot about egg-nog until supermarkets started rolling out pre-made versions of it around Christmas time. I tried it one year and it was awful.

Egg-nog and I parted company again.

It wasn’t until I saw an old 1940s American black and white film set during an office Christmas party that egg-nog regained my attention and I remembered celebrating that Christmas Eve sipping a cup of the homemade German version.

In the film staff at the Christmas party were drinking Tom and Jerrys – another name for egg-nog. Feeling inspired and sentimental, I did some quick research online.

There are lots of recipes for egg-nog. Most American-style recipes add bourbon – a new idea to me. After experimenting, I realized what a good idea that is.

Some recipes throw all the ingredients into a blender and hit the button, but that takes away some of the cosy ceremony of being in the moment and creating it yourself.

Forget the pre-made stuff, and make your own. You’ll thank yourself for that tiny extra bit of effort as you sip your deliciously spicy and fluffy homemade version.

How to make a Tom and Jerry

Makes 2 mugs for two people – upsize quantities as needed

3 eggs
¼ cup caster sugar
Dark rum (spiced rum if you have it)
Ground allspice
Ground cinnamon (not cinnamon sugar)
Pinch of ground cloves
2 mugs of full cream milk
Bourbon or brandy (not cognac)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two small bowls.

Beat the egg whites with an electric hand mixer until stiff.

Add the sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and mix together until the sugar has dissolved. Then add ½-1 level teaspoon (to taste) of the allspice and cinnamon, then a small pinch of ground cloves.

Slowly stir 1 ½ nips of rum into the egg yolk mixture, taking care not to let it curdle.

Then fold in the beaten egg whites. If the egg whites have started to separate, remix with the hand mixer first.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the milk to very warm but not hot, and stir in the bourbon (or brandy). Then pour the egg mixture one third of the way up each mug.

Lastly pour the warm milk into each mug, stirring constantly.

To garnish, sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.

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*** Wishing you the best for the holiday season! ***

Lime is the new white wine!

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Well, sort of.

Limeade is a refreshing summer drink that you can enjoy instead of, or between glasses of wine or beer.

And who doesn’t want a refreshing, healthy, low sugar, icy cold non-alcoholic drink full of Vitamin C that you can DIY at home?

It’s tangy citrus flavour makes it the perfect drink to serve with Mexican food.

Limes are always readily available, but are the most plentiful and full of flavour from late December to April in Australia.

Limeade makes a refreshing morning wake-up drink or, in this season of merriment and overindulgence, a hangover reviver.

I love the tang of fresh lime, so I like to drink it straight, but you can top up your glass with soda water. And if you have a sweet tooth, you can also add a little extra sugar.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves, raspberries, and slices of lime.

Limeade recipe

Makes 4 cups

1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, from about 10 limes
2 cups filtered water
A pinch of salt (I used pink Murry River salt flakes)

Sugar Syrup

½ cup sugar
1 cup filtered water

Make the sugar syrup first, by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Then remove from heat and let the syrup cool.

While the sugar syrup is cooling off, squeeze the limes.

A juicer works well, but the quickest easiest method to juice 10 limes is to use a lime squeezer. If you don’t have one – which I don’t – the next best way to crank through all those limes is to use a handheld wooden citrus reamer. What’s a reamer? See pic below.

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Combine the sugar syrup, lime juice, and water in a large jug filled with ice, and stir.

Add mint leaves and raspberries to add some colour to the jug. Chill in the fridge until cold before serving, then pour into glasses filled with ice.

Best to drink the same day, but the limeade will last a second day.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

Awia’s Kitchen: My TOP 5 Cookbooks for 2016

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How to cull down to just five, all of the cookbooks published in one year?

It’s an impossible task, so I’ll start by saying that I’ve chosen the titles on this list based on a combination of personal opinion, and the following ‘ratings method’.

Each cookbook must ….
– make me excited to get into the kitchen, like right now!
– the recipe photos must inspire, and make you dribble with desire
– include recipes that excite you, not frighten you – well, not too much
– teach new skills or at least try to
– not just be on everyone else’s bestseller or Most Popular list
– promise and deliver on flavour … and, just be downright sexy!

(in no particular order)

1. NEIGHBOURHOOD – Hetty McKinnon
(Pan MacMillan, Australia)

2. GROWN & GATHERED – Matt & Lentil
(Pan Macmillan, Australia)

3. METAMORPHOSIS OF TASTE: Atelier Crenn
(Houghton, Miffin, Harcourt)

4. ORGANUM: The Food of Peter Gilmore
(Murdoch Books, Australia)

5. THE SKILLS – Monica Galetti
(Quadrille/Hardie Grant Publishing)

 

 

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NEIGHBOURHOOD
Hetty McKinnon
ISBN: 9781743538982

What’s not to love about this foodie fairy tale? Hetty, chef at Arthur Street Kitchen in Sydney’s Surry Hills, relocates to Brooklyn, NYC, and through her cookbook, shares with us her new community of foodie friends and recipes.

NEIGHBOURHOOD follows her previous book named, COMMUNITY, and includes a selection of plant-based recipes for salads and sweets which are modern, and delicious.

McKinnon also includes some of her Brooklyn-based friends in a section at the back of the book which shows ‘what food my friends would bring on a plate’ and includes their recipes.

And Hetty’s friends are good cooks – who wouldn’t like to eat a slice of Rhubarb Custard Tart with a macadamia shell with raspberry ice crumbled over the top? Not you? That’s OK, I’ll eat your slice.

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GROWN & GATHERED
Matt & Lentil
ISBN: 9781743547410

‘Recipes and practical guides to grown, cook, preserve, trade, and live well.’

GROWN & GATHERED includes wholefood recipes from Matt and Lentil Pubrick’s seasonal, and regional diet.

It’s impossible not to fall in love with a book like this – or its authors Matt and Lentil. They’ve named the chapter titles in their book to convey their holistic food message: Observe. Grow. Gather. Nurture. Trade. Seek. Eat.

It’s a lovely book, and while it doesn’t aim or claim to be vegetarian, it’s chock full of plant-based recipes, as well as those using protein.

In their own words Grown & Gathered includes recipes for, “Cultured butter, feta and sourdough starter, our much asked-for long ferment gluten-free sourdough bread, sourdough pastas, sourdough crumpets, traditional fermented dill pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, and natural wine. Or try our pear and eggplant kasundi, green tomato ketchup, or home-cured and smoked bacon, and home-cured tuna.”

There’s plenty here to nurture your spirit and your palate.

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METAMORPHOSIS OF TASTE
Dominique Crenn
ISBN: 9780544444676

This is Dominique Crenn’s debut cookbook. Crenn was the first female American chef to win 2 Michelin stars for her restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.

The bird’s nest shown on the front cover is symbolic of the restaurant logo and what she calls “the conjunction of art and nature.”

In Crenn’s culinary world, it seems art, fantasy and food collide.
Her creativity is to be applauded, awarded, and rewarded.

Her recipe for ‘Walk in the Forest’ – made of burnt pine meringue, and crunchy hazelnut – looks truly Dali-esque.

While appearing minimalist her cooking is about crafting food into a work of art, but without pretention.

Crenn doesn’t expect home cooks to religiously follow her recipes – one is seven pages long. Instead, she hopes to inspire cooks to worship food and act accordingly in their own kitchen.

This is Crenn’s interpretation of fish and chips…

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With corkage at USD$50 per 750 ml at restaurant Atelier Crenn, buying the cookbook could be an economically sound investment to browse as you uncork your favourite bottle.

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ORGANUM: The Food of Peter Gilmore
ISBN: 9781743368633

Australian Peter Gilmore is the Executive Chef of Quay restaurant which overlooks Sydney Harbour, and is a short stroll from Sydney Opera House.

Quay has been included in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and cookbook ORGANUM delights in food as opera – exhibiting texture, beauty, drama, colour, and style.

Gilmore aims to create “original cuisine where texture, purity of flavour and balance is paramount” and the recipes in ORGANUM are simply stunning.

Just take a look at the creativity of execution of his recipe for Walnut Floss, Bitter Chocolate Black Pudding, Fungi below, right. Or the part art, part engineering, precision of South Australian Octopus & Agretti, below left.

A seat at Quay overlooking Sydney Harbour Opera House on New Year’s Eve will cost you AUD$1500 per person, and while it may be a little out of my reach, diners will receive a degustation menu and absolutely the best fireworks in the world.

5

THE SKILLS
Monica Galetti
ISBN: 9781849497640

Whether you’re an amateur chef, or a professional looking to refresh basic cooking skills, it’s nice to have a cache of smart, easy to follow instructions for essential kitchen fundamentals.

THE SKILLS includes how to: joint a chicken, prepare a rack of lamb, fillet fish, or make basics like sauces, mayonnaise, pasta, meringues, caramel, and soufflé, breads, and pastries.

Then it’s on to the next level, with recipes that include her popular Braised artichoke with bacon and gin; Tartare of salmon; Roast lamb with peppers and olives; and Salt caramel chocolate ganache and Apricot sabayon.

Monica Galetti was born in Samoa and raised in New Zealand and is now one of the best-known female chefs in the UK through various food-related television roles, including appearing as a judge on MasterChef (UK).

Galetti launched, and was Head Chef at restaurant Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius.

In 2017 Monica and her husband David will open a new restaurant, called Mere, in London.

Also a special mention for these two titles:
PETAL, LEAF, SEED: Cooking with the treasures of the garden by Lia Leendertz
and
THE HEALTHY HEDONIST: 40 Naughty but Nourishing Cocktails by Nicole Herft

Pimp My Plate #34 – Native Feel Real, Manly, NSW

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A ‘summer holiday vibe’ is just a ferry ride away…

Manly Beach is only a 15 minute fast-ferry ride from Sydney business district, but it feels a world away.

Thankfully there are no commercial high rise buildings blocking the beachfront, just towering Norfolk Island pine trees.

Bare feet, board shorts, and bikinis replace suits on the streets as well as the beach so it’s easy to embrace the holiday vibe even if it’s only for a lunch hour.

When you step off the ferry at Manly Wharf you have the choice of three beaches – Manly Cove, Cabbage Tree Bay, and Manly Beach.

On your left, West Esplanade runs along Manly Cove toward Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. If you turn right along East Esplanade you’ll be walking alongside Cabbage Tree Bay, and eventually arrive at Manly Yacht Club.

To reach Manly Beach itself, walk straight ahead through The Corso.

The Corso is the central hub of Manly, with lots of retail and several large pubs, and full of tourists, buzz, and buff. The smaller laneways connecting to it offer a feast of boutique cafés and bars.

Not many people know that The Corso was named after the Via Del Corso in Rome, and was originally a water inlet flowing from the harbour to the ocean.

Did you know that Manly was originally designed as a copy of the English city of Brighton?

Back in the 1850s, English-born merchant and politician Henry Gilbert Smith had a huge influence on Manly.

Smith envisioned Manly as an antipodean version of the famous Brighton seaside resort he revered.

He also introduced beachside attractions to cater for day trippers of the era – a miniature version of Vauxhall Gardens, a Camera Obscura, boat-shaped swings, and a bath-house located at the end of West Esplanade.

How I wish the Camera Obscura was still in operation, certainly a drawcard for me!

All these years later Manly has evolved its own vibrant personality and community. It is the birthplace of Australian surfing and was one of the world’s first surfing reserves.

It now has over 100 bars, cafés, and restaurants Manly has plenty to offer locals and tourists.

But that’s enough history, let’s eat…

Wandering down East Esplanade, I found Native Feel Real tucked just around the corner in Wentworth Street.

Native Feel Real is a small café with several tables outside. You can eat-in or takeaway.

Their menu offers raw and plant-based superfoods that are mostly gluten-free, and their philosophy is serving ‘nourishing food from Mother Earth’.

The lunch menu includes a Native Bowl ($17.50) – a salad of raw, seasonal vegetables; a Raw Pizza (cooked below 44°C) topped with homemade pesto, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, sprouts and activated cashew cheese ($17.50).

Rawsome Spaghetti ($16) is made with raw zucchini spirals, homemade pesto, spinach, tomatoes and sprouts, and grated cashew parmesan cheese, and there’s also Rawsome Lasagne.

I chose the fully cooked Quinoa Risotto ($16.50) – a mix of seasonal vegetables pan fried with quinoa and coconut cream and served on a bed of mixed lettuce and topped with alfalfa sprouts and cashew cheese. Three words: It was delicious.

It’s hard to ignore the large range of raw sweets at the counter so I ordered an itsy bitsy white chocolate and berry cake ($6).

Native Feel Real is focused on raw and gluten free drinks, but has a nice arrangement with the bar next door. They have an espresso machine so you can buy a really good takeaway coffee to enjoy with your dessert.

Native Feel Real has a yummy list of power juices, and smoothies including Liver Scrubber, Be Yourself, and Mayan Warrior.

Their selection of naturopathic teas includes Green Goddess Detox, Fountain of Youth, and Golden Glow.

You’ll find lots of cafés in Manly, but I liked the peaceful and reflective vibe of this one.

Native Feel Real offers a nice yin-yang balance of healthy food and being able to hear yourself think.

Or write your own message on a post-it note, to add to the wall of café philosophy.

As things get pre-Christmas crazy in December, it’s especially nice to have a getaway from all ‘the noise’.

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RATED: Pimped!  FOOD: 4/5   Satisfies body and soul
VALUE: 4.5/5   VENUE ATMOS: Café philosophy
VIBE:  Feel real
Native Feel Real – Shop 1A, 40 East Esplanade, Manly, NSW

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