Monthly Archives: April 2016

Tuna patties

These meaty-but-not-meat patties are a favourite of the vegacquarian in my life. The patties can be prepared ahead and kept in the fridge until cooking.

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500g potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced
480g tinned tuna in olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Olive oil for frying
To coat
1/2 cup plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbes

Making them
1. Peel the potatoes, boil until tender, transfer to a bowl and mash
2. Meanwhile, place the oil, onion, capsicum and a pinch of salt in a fry pan and saute on low to medium heat until softened. Add to the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and combine.  Allow to cool slightly.
3. Drain tuna well then flake and add to bowl along with egg and parsley. Combine well.
4. Divide the mixture into eight equal portions and then shape into patties. To coat, set up three bowls, one with flour, one with egg, one with breadcrumb. Coat each patty in flour, then with egg, then with bread crumbs, patting firmly after the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for at least half an hour, then fry in oil and combine with your favourite burger ingredients!

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Kensington Street Social, Chippendale

Kensington Street in Chippendale for a good while was rather derelict and abandoned. Now bought to life, the stone paved street is home to a string of unique eateries, among them Spice Alley, Automata and Bistro Gavroche.  Today we’re visiting Kensington Street Social, whose concept and menu was put together by British chef Jason Atherton.  Atherton has a number of “Socials” around the world – Pollen Street Social in London,  Aberdeen Street Social in Hong Kong, Marina Social in Dubai – you get the drift.    Now his talent has landed in Inner Sydney, and though he no longer personally presides over the hot plates, those left in his wake know what they are doing.

It was the service that let them down a little that day.  Somewhat neglected in our corner and with staff seemingly not communicating with each other (“has no one explained the menu yet?”), and the food was slowish to arrive.  And though they knew we were sharing everything, no serving cutlery was provided, other than a knife for the first dish.  Small things, early days, I’m sure it will all come good in the competitive Sydney restaurant game.

Eventually we get our hands on some cocktails. Fun, playful, clever, delicious.

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We start off with the vine tomato which comes with Vannella burrata, 25 year aged balsamic vinegar, and a size of tomato seasoning.  Absolutely gorgeous, it looks like a forbidden fruit and is a pleasure to eat.

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I love the freshness of the garden pea salad – an assemblage of snow peas, sugar snaps and pea tendrils – and keep going back for more.

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The tataki Hiramasa kingfish falls into the nondescript “nice” category and is much better done at many quality Sydney Japanese establishments.

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The spanner crab comes with a refreshing frozen cucumber gazpacho and, interestingly, rhubarb. It works.

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Next up is the crispy skin mulloway with pippies (just two so it can be plural on the menu) and baked potato.  Pleasant but standard mod Oz fare.

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The roast marron tail with curry butter on the other hand I would rather not have shared.

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For our iron hit we finish with a couple of meat dishes.  The first is a juicy wagyu rib eye,  with miso butterscotch and eggplant. The eggplant is delicious.

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And finally a modern take on the Sunday roast – lamb rack and braised shoulder, with a cauliflower couscous.

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I could have happily fit in dessert, but as I said it was pretty slow and we ran out of time. But it is indeed a pretty cool space to get social in.

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Kensington Street Social, 3 Kensington Street Chippendale, Ph
(02) 8277 8533

Kensington Street Social Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Whole roasted cauliflower

This is one of Neil Perry’s recipes that originally appeared in the weekend paper. It is great to serve as a side dish and very easy to prepare.  The first time I made it I thought it could do with more dressing, so I upped the quantities the second time, my quantities are below.  The next time I’ll also throw some lightly toasted pine nuts in for a little texture.


1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 220°C.
Lightly oil a baking dish that will fit the cauliflower and trim off the leaves. Trim the base of the stalk so it is flat and cauliflower can stand upright, then cut a cross into its base (this apparently helps it cook evenly).

Drizzle the olive oil over the top of cauliflower and sprinkle with the salt. Bake cauliflower until tender, about one hour. Check by piercing the cauliflower with a paring knife, which should go through easily.

While the cauliflower is roasting prepare the dressing.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp salted baby capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, capers, parsley and salt in a small bowl, then whisk in the olive oil.

Drizzle cauliflower with dressing and serve whole with a large serving spoon.

Il Girarrosto, Hunters Hill

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Il Girarrosto is the latest venture of Luigi Esposito, the founder of Via Napoli.  But where Via Napoli is all about the carbs, Girarrosto – the Italian word for rotisserie – is all about the protein.  In fact, other than a few bruschetta type entrees, you’ll find very little in the way of carbs on the menu.  Vegacquarians like my Marito are catered for, with a nice offering of seafood, but pure vegetarians might struggle a little.

There is also a nice offering of cheeses and charcuterie.

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The rotisseries themselves are impressive, slowly roasting beef, chicken, lamb and quail.

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Large cuts of meat and the various seafood are cooked on grill plates at the fire.

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I was a fan of the king prawns, on a bed of cherry tomatoes and some fresh chopped chilli.

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The Marito preferred the baby octopus.

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Whole snapper was nicely done, though the stuffing inside was a touch too salty.

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Our little carnivores on the other hand, polished off a 1kg rib eye which was a special on offer that night.  It was medium rare, smoky, and tasty.  I also liked the rosemary potatoes.

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The salad dressing needs some refining, I found it a bit oily and lacking flavour.

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Given meat and seafood, don’t expect the same cheap and cheerful pricing you’ll get at Via Napoli – and that’s the point as Luigi does want to bring something different to the table.

Il Girarrosto, 60 Gladesville Road Hunters Hill

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Il Girarrosto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

In My Kitchen, April 2016

Here we are in Autumn, but Sydney remains rather humid and balmy, with small bursts of cool weather a hint of what is to come.

In my kitchen this month are some delightful housewarming gifts. This stunning orchid, it looks like a lady bowing gracefully as you walk by.

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A wood carved rolling pin to make decorative pastry and biscuits – isn’t the work on it just beautiful? It is from a Polish company called Valek, I can’t wait to try it.imkapr16 (1)

Another good friend bought me this cute little sign she found at a market in Queensland; she thought it would be nice to put in the garden pointing towards the water.imkapr16 (4)

In my kitchen is some sourdough from the Noma pop up at Barangaroo which a friend generously bought for me.  It was fantastic.  There was no bread at the actual restaurant, this was a separate stall they did for a short while.imkapr16 (5)

For Easter, the boys received these chocolate Darth Vader heads  – they loved them!imkapr16 (2)

In my kitchen is a batch of silverbeet and ricotta cannelloni, I made them for the freezer stash for an easy after work meal.imkapr16 (3)

With this endless stretch of warm weather – Sydney had over thirty consecutive days of over 26 degrees and not a drop of rain – it doesn’t seem like Winter will come but it will be here before you know it. I bought these great microwave cups for soups, which are ideal to take to work for lunch. One of my favourite soups is this leek, zucchini and pea soup.imkapr16 (9)

In my kitchen is champagne melon, or “yellow watermelon” as the boys call it.  They tried it when they were little on a trip to Thailand, and one of them adores it. We don’t find it often, and never whole, always cut.imkapr16 (7)

Another Asian fruit I love are rambutans, again not something you see frequently.  I gorge on these, mangosteens and dragon fruit whenever I am travelling in Asia.imkapr16 (6)

I have officially become my grandmother.  The other day I bought a shopping trolley.  At our new place it is quite a walk from the driveway to the kitchen, and multiple time consuming trips back and forth can be required after a grocery shop.  One day after a large shop I got the Marito to bring the wheelbarrow up to the car and wheeled everything down to the door in one go.  The Marito found this very amusing.  I found it rather practical.  Anyway the shopping trolley will help, but it will also be great when we go to the fish market and the Italian deli, or any food markets.

I remember Nonna, who never learnt to drive, walking to her local shops with her trolley in tow.  Sometimes during school holidays I would go with her.  She didn’t speak any English, but the shopkeepers got to know her, and with her sunny disposition and lots of hand gestures she always got what she needed.

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I hope you are having a lovely time in your kitchen.  Thanks to Maureen from Orgasmic Chef who hosts these linkups, have a peek at kitchens around the world.