Friday, July 25, 2008

Zumbo love and tagine for breakfast

can't remember what it was called...

Every time I try to sit down with the laptop to write up a post I somehow get distracted by some other pursuit and next thing you know, there hasn't been a new post in weeks. It reminds me of a Simpsons episode [2F13] where Bart makes a collect call to Australia and gets distracted by Millhouse's offer to go downtown to smell a bakery that's caught on fire.

Milhouse: [at the window] Hey, Bart! The bakery caught fire and all of
downtown smells like cookies! Wanna go smell?
Bart: Yes...yes, I do. [leaves phone off hook]

It seems like the prevailing trend for the blog in the past few months, is a post primed with an apology from the blogger. And what do you know, here I am again saying sorry for not posting in weeks. Let me sweeten you up and buy back your affection with some pictures of food.

winter collection 2008

About the same time we were at the Good Living Markets in Pyrmont, we also stopped by every Sydney pastry-lovers mecca in Balmain. Yes, we found ourselves once again at Adriano Zumbo; his winter collection of pastries had just come out and our noses were pressed up against the window in an attempt to have a peak at what he had to offer this season. The shop was fuller than usual, and it looked like many of those in Balmain and I'm guessing around Sydney had caught wind that Mr. Zumbo had a new collection out. So just like the fashionistas do during fashion week, the pastry-hungry came out to view what sugar-fads he had conjured up.

some of Adriano's winter collection 2008

Call me a Zumbo sycophant, boot-licker, or suck-up, but I have to say that he is one of the premiere patissiers in Sydney doing fascinating and unique things with desserts. And I'm not sure if this is an exclusive news-flash, but the word on the street is that he is opening up a cafe somewhere in Balmain so people can actually sit down and savour the pastries with a coffee or tea. If you have been to the shop, you will know that all it literally is, is a glass counter and a little aisle, so there isn't much room for savouring until you get home.

And, not to give Zumbo fans any false hope, this little rumour was confirmed by one of the insiders behind the counter. So I am very excited, although at the same time gutted I won't be here for the opening. I wasn't going to camp out for the iphone's release but if I was going to be in the country, you might have seen me with a sleeping bag and newspaper somewhere in Balmain in sheer anticipation for its opening. My only hope is that it will still be around when I come back, and I don't see any reason for it not to be.

Water, Coffee, Tea

There's another reason why I love Balmain and it's these 2 words- breakfast tagine. Kazbah on Darling is another Balmain favourite of mine, especially for breakfast. I've never seen a place so coveted for breakfast other than Bill's; the trick is to either book your table or come early, breakfast on weekends goes till 3pm, but I've never seen the place empty or devoid of queues on a Saturday morning.

The breakfast tagine consists of lamb mince, sucuk, feta, spinach, capsicum, caramelised onion, tomato, eggs and a side of Turkish and pita bread for dipping and mopping up the juices. They make the tagines to order and depending on how many people are having it, it's only $17.50 per person, which is quite good considering the eggs benedict is already $16.50. So for $1 extra you can get a whole lot more.

Breakfast tagine
Breakfast tagine for 3 people, more than enough, with an average of 2.3 eggs per person.

There's no better way to spend a day than to eat your way through Darling St, there's much to be to had in terms of food and the small boutique shops are great for finding odd and quirky gifts. When confronted with the mesmerising array of goodies at Adriano Zumbo, I recommend choosing one of each flavour of macarons (they change daily) or a chocolate fondant, a rich flourless chocolate cake that is so good you wouldn't want to share.

And for Kazbah, there's no going past the breakfast tagine, although the foul medammas is also superb.

Kazbah Menu

Monday, July 07, 2008

Good Living Pyrmont Grower's Market: July 2008

Markets at Pyrmont, with the right spelling, thanks Matt

Every morning it's a fight, for
someone who counts sleeping as one of her main fortes, it not easy getting up to go to the markets early on a lazy Saturday morning. Even when I am completely aware that the rewards of going to the markets far outweigh sleeping in till midday, somehow this rationale doesn't seem sensible enough when still tucked in the confines of a toasty bed.

But this weekend was different, seeing as this Saturday would be my last opportunity to visit to the Good Living Grower's Markets at Pyrmont Bay Park before I head overseas, I mustered up just enough coherence to pry myself from the snug confines of my bed. Slowly but surely, thoughts of what spoils could be gained from an early visit to the markets, began to ease me into waking life.

Most of the usual fare and wares were on show with the exception of a new beef stand peddling their gourmet sausages (which was quite good) and from my cloudy recollection a new patisserie stall. But other than that the markets consisted of familiar faces I have now come to know at the grower's markets, although notably absent was our favourite Gympie Farm jersey cow butter people. It was quite a downer, as we had run out of their butter for months and was looking forward to purchasing a new tub to spread on my La Tartine pumpkin loaf.

But aside from that minor disappointment, the markets were nothing short of a veritable feast and after an hour and three bags full of shopping later, we knew we had to call it a day lest we suffer scoliosis of the spine from carrying the not so orthopedic friendly biodegradable eco-bags. Good for the earth, not so good on your back.

One acquisition I am particularly excited about and would happily exchange the rest of my bounty for is a Testun di Pecora con foglie di castagne from Formaggi Ocello. At $120/kilo, it's not bargain, so we only bought a tiny sliver or this cheese could easily eat up at most of our market budget. This testun di pecora is a sheep's milk cheese covered in chestnut leaves and aged for 28 months. That's over 2 years of developing it's taste and it really shows in the cheese. Now I'm no cheese expert so I won't go into the nitty-gritty, but the cheese is surprisingly flavoursome, with hints of piquancy and sweetness, compared to other pecorinos which can be bland and subtle in taste.

Come back later for a look at the this pricey little piece of dairy but for now have a look at how our morning at the markets went down.

A day at the markets...