Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Delicious Magazine's Tasmanian Locavore: fooderati!



A few months ago, I had the fortune of being asked to write a travel feature for Delicious Magazine on the subject of road trips through the north east coast of Tasmania. It was a whirlwind few days: 900-odd kms, a heap of producers, natural wonders and places to stay to check out and photograph...Caroline McCredie (photographer extraordinaire) and I had our work cut out for us.

The result is a pretty beautiful looking 8 page spread in the November issue of the magazine, which you can read below. I'm lucky that Tasmania has been home for me for the past year and a half...and I'm thrilled to be able to share my picks with y'all.
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Food writer, editor, broadcaster, blogger and former Sydneysider Melissa Leong upped sticks to live in Tasmania a year ago. Keen to share the spoils of her new home, she takes us on a whirlwind tour of some of her top spots. 

With a numberplate strap line that reads ‘Explore the Possibilities’, Tasmania’s pristine environment has long been an adventurer’s paradise. Boating, camping and fishing aside, those in the know have also cottoned on to the fact that Tasmania is home to some of the world’s best produce experiences. From its berry farms and cheeses to cool-climate wines and oysters that grace the tables of the world’s top restaurants, Tasmania’s east coast offers the perfect combination of food, scenery and a bit of luxe thrown in for good measure.

From St Helens and Pyengana to Coles Bay and Swansea, it’s easy to understand why this stunning piece of coastline is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s hottest food-lover’s road trips. Here’s our pick of places to consume, punctuated with a few unmissable natural wonders where you can stretch your legs.
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Aww, shucks
Some of Australia’s best seafood comes from this pristine corner of the world, so if oysters are your thing, then Lease 65 (Shed 2, 444 Binalong Bay Rd, St Helens) will be your nirvana. These award-winning oysters can be found at high-end restaurants around the globe, but you can pick up a dozen unshucked for about $9 from the shed. Producer Craig Lockwood and his team are a fount of knowledge about cultivating these beautiful bivalves and are happy to share it.
Greener pastures
The term ‘character-filled country pub’ is no more true than at the Pub in the Paddock (250 St Columba Falls Rd, Pyengana). There’s no shortage of local characters, either, including Pinky, the ever-thirsty resident beer-swilling pig. Popular with motorbike enthusiasts and road trippers alike, the classic pub menu utilises Tassie produce, so pull up a seat and order a ‘parmi’ to go with your pint, just like the locals do.
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Dairy date


For more than a century, the Healey family have been raising dairy cattle in the serene Pyengana valley, and making cheese in the traditional style. This year, Pyengana Dairy (St Columba Falls Rd, Pyengana) took out the From the Dairy Artisan section in our Produce Awards for its 12-month-plus aged Tasty Cheddar. Lactose lovers will feel right at home at the dairy’s Holy Cow Cafe, which offers fresh-from-the-dairy malted milkshakes, house-churned ice creams and (unsurprisingly) one helluva cheese toastie.
Click here to read the rest of my picks on the Delicious website. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Carb me up

FBi Radio, October 17, 2014

It may be that I'm getting grumpier in my old age, but extremist food fads piss me off. At this stage in our evolution, with all of our technological advances and psychological discoveries how is it that we haven't gotten through our thick skulls that pretending to be a cave man, or cutting out carbs, or activating-freaking-nuts-fer-christ's-sake is ridiculous? People should just listen a little more to modern day sages like Michael Pollan and eat less, more vegetables than meat, and just be done with it.

This week's radio show is a knee jerk to paleo, I'm not going to lie. Sure, eat meat and vegetables and as few processed foods as you can, but cutting out grains and carbohydrates? EFF. OFF. This week is a celebration of bread and pasta and their magical abilities to make us feel good. So where?

Breadfern

The explosion of artisan bakeries around town is a great thing. People are discovering what real bread tastes like...and clearly they love it. So it was only a matter of time that someone with a justifiably great sense of punmenship opened a bakery in Redfern...called Breadfern. Kudos to owner Lior Manheim, for allowing this to happen. Expect a daily changing offering of four to five types of breads, from sourdough, to fruit or olive loaves. If pies and savoury pastries are you thing, there are those too, as well as sweeties in the form of almond croissants, danishes and other happiness inducing treats. 

308 Chalmers Street, Redfern
@breadfern

ACME

Mitch Orr is very good at making pasta. He's also really good at delegating and calling girls 'shawtie', but that's another story. Back to pasta. Last week, Sydney opened a beautiful little space at the bottom of Bayswater Road in Potts Point serving up simple, modern Italian-accented food by Mitch, and we are all the better for it. Known for his epic pasta digs at pre-Pinbone Buzo, the man is back and rolling dough. The macaroni with pig's head and egg yolk is already winning hearts and the open lasagne with mushroom and sheep's curd is a study in casually layered happiness. Props also to cohorts Andy Emerson, Cam Fairbairn and Ed Loveday, who make up the A, C and E in ACME.

60 Bayswater Rd
Rushcutters Bay NSW, 2011
02) 8068 0932
weareacme.com.au

10 William Street

A favourite among restaurant industry lurkers, eastern suburb types and Italianophiles for great reason. Dan Pepperell is one of those chefs that chefs love because he knows how to create simple, tasty food free of fanfare. Instead, you can sit in this intimate Paddington backstreet gem in quiet enjoyment. All carb bases are covered here: excellent pastas,  the pizza fritta is a perfect late evening snack, but the hero here has to be the pretzel with whipped bottarga - a warm, soft pretzel served up with a plate of olive oil, bottarga garnished dipping goodness that defies you to ask for more bread to mop up what's left over. Sigh.

10 William Street
Paddington, NSW 2011
(02) 9360 3310
10williamst.com.au

Friday, 3 October 2014

good food month 2014

FBi Radio October 3, 2014

October is synonymous with several things:

Spring allergies, the first of the warm weather and of course, Good Food. The latter is of most interest as Good Food Month means a landslide of food experiences, events, happenings, dinners, lunches and parties all across this beautiful city of ours. International celebrity chefs like Yottam Ortolenghi and David Thompson will be visiting our shores and local heroes will be out in force doing what they love best: feeding people. 

Here are three things you should check out this month, and for the rest, head to sydney.goodfoodmonth.com.

Pinot Palooza

Love pinot noir? How about ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY (muhahaha) pinots? That's right folks, lovers of this noble grape can steep themselves in its delicate, tannic beauty, and maybe discover a few new things they didn't know about the varietal. Bottle Shop Concept's insane and fantastic Dan Sims will be on hand, along with many knowledgable wine makers, writers and general booze hounds, so you ought to learn a thing or two about it. 

Where: Carriageworks, Redfern
When: Monday October 6, 1pm - 6pm
Cost: $60 gets you over 150 pinot noirs for tasting
Book: cheers@bottleshopconcepts.com

A Big Fat Syrian BBQ

The beautiful sisters behind Darlinghurst's Almond Bar bring insanely delicious Syrian cuisine to the masses this October with a BBQ to rival the best of them. If you're not part of a big ethnic family, here's your chance to feel like you are. There will be music, there will be hoards of smiling people and there will be more food than you can imagine, because if it's one thing ethnic families know how to do, it's to over cater to extreme abundance. 

Where: Almond Bar 279 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst 
When: October 19, Midday - 2pm
Cost: $15
Book/enquire: almondbar@bigpond.com

Parramatta Lanes

Proving that all the action doesn't just happen in the centre of Sydney, Parramatta's lane ways will turn into a warren of vintage stalls, food markets featuring bakers, cooks, chefs, cocktail bartenders, craft beer purveyors and a heap more, from October 7 - 10. Best of all, it's FREE! 

Where: Parramatta's CBD
When: October 7-10, from 5pm - 10pm
Cost: FREE
More info, click here



Wednesday, 1 October 2014

up in da (book) club: Mr Hong!

Those of you who follow me on social media (or heaven forbid IRL) know that over the past year or so, I've been co-writing a book with chef Dan Hong, called Mr Hong. A collection of stories from childhood to date, it has been the greatest adventure working on this project with the talented folk at Murdoch Books and of course my mate Dan. The book hits shelves this week and I'm so very excited to be able finally to share this with y'all.


In the words of Murdoch Books: Eat like you never have before, with Dan Hong at the reins it will be an enjoyable ride.
Dan's appetite for rare sneakers, hip-hop and collecting cookbooks is only surpassed by his passion for food: everything from fast food to fine dining.

Growing up in the suburbs of Sydney with a food-obsessed family and a mother who fell into owning a Vietnamese restaurant by chance, Dan has gone on to become a critically acclaimed chef, working at some of the most prestigious restaurants in Australia, including Sydney's Mr Wong, Ms G's and El Loco.

Dan's potent mix of proud heritage, technical skill and boundless enthusiasm for experimenting with big, bold, fresh flavours makes his approach to food truly unique. Mr Hong is as much an exploration of Dan's colourful path through life as it is a beautifully illustrated book of one hundred scintillating recipes -- Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, as well as fusions of the three -- re-imagined and re-invigorated for a new generation of food obsessives. Feast your eyes and dig in.

Dan Hong has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants in Australia, including Tetsuya's, Marque and Bentley, and his mentors include Mark Best, Brent Savage and Thomas Johns. He has opened some of Sydney's most exciting dining destinations, including Ms G's, El Loco and Mr Wong (honoured with a hat in its first year of business at theSydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards) and most recently Papi Chulo, a smokehouse and grill at Manly Wharf, Sydney.
Mr Hong is available at all good bookstores and costs $49.99
Check out the promo video by the amazing Jason Loucas, who is also responsible for the amazing photography in the book:

just drive

FBi Radio Friday 26 September 2014


In light of this season's supporter drive being all about...well, driving, I thought we'd look at drive ins or places to go that involve driving and food. That's basically as much thought as we put into this week's Friday Delicious. Er...yeah. If you're fortunate enough to have a vintage vehicle, or access to one, jump in and cruise on down to one of these high octane numbers:

Harry's Cafe de Wheels

Even the name says it all! While not all of the Harry's franchises are drive-in-able, their outpost on the Princes Highway in Tempe has all the charm of small town American diner drive in restaurants...or as much of that charm as this little lucky country can channel. The beauty of the Harry's experience is our very own take on American diner food, with an Aussie accent. Pie floaters with peas, gravy and mash is the hero (Aka. Harry's Pie), but the hotdogs are also a totally respectable  option (go the chilli dog with cheese). Open late (11pm Sunday through Wednesday, Midnight Thursdays and 2am Fridays and Saturdays), it's the perfect late night snack date on the way home from the movies.

886-896 Princes Hwy, Tempe NSW 2044
(02) 9558 4969
Website

Torque Bar & Grill

What started out as a sales yard for motorcycles has now turned into a kustom car mecca and occasional rockabilly hang (preferably for those who own aforementioned kustom cars). Offering up diner style vibes from breakfast till late, the mammoth menu contains everything from caramelised banana pancakes to burgers and a grill firing up racks of ribs, steaks, spare parts (sides) and lubricants (gravy, bro). If you've driven a long way, the Holy Crap challenge may just be for you (we love a food challenge at FBi). It involves a 500g steak, a parmigiana, a monster burger, chips and a beer. And if you can finish it in 45 minutes, you go on the hall of fame wall and take home a t-shirt. SCORE! Channel Grease, get dressed up and check out the website for upcoming rockabilly gig dates to really get into the mood.

153-165 Parramatta Rd, Concord NSW 2137
1300 688 600
www.torquebarandgrill.com.au

Rising Sun Workshop

Ok, so this one's a bit of a tease. For the past few months, Newtown has been lucky enough to be home to semipermanent pop up, Rising Sun Workshop. Part motorcycle workshop, part cafe, part ramen mecca, it's the kind of place you just want to hang out at, regardless of whether you got there on two wheels, or four. While last weekend saw Rising Sun close its doors, all is not lost! Rumour has it that it will be returning bigger and better in just a few months, just a block or two away. The new space will encompass a bar, a bigger dining/cafe space and all the high octane action you could hope for.

Watch this space right here for all the latest as it happens: www.risingsunworkshop.com