FOOD is fashion . FASHION is food . a VICTIM of fashionable food*

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time for Tea *

"My family gathered to share a cup of tea ~
There are gourmet treats, the house is warm and company is free!"

After a long day at work, there are few things on one's mind. As soon as I arrive home: I place my bag on table, take off my heels and settle into the nearest lounge. Tonight was somewhat different to my usual ritual, as I was pleasantly surprised to find my cousins and aunties over for tea. Although there were only five of us, we were eager to sample some beautifully packaged European treats that had been gifted to our family for Christmas.

Shortbread House of Edinburgh- Mini macadamia biscuits, Handmade in Scotland
(I am not really fond of shortbread, but there was something different about these biscuits that gained my tick of approval. Maybe it was the macadamias... or maybe it was just the idea of biscuits being handmade in Scotland.)

Lambertz Premium European Chocolate 1.3kg 
(In short, a lot of belgium chocolates!)

Kostlichkeiten premium biscuit selection
(German biscuits, made in german-sized proportions. Each biscuit was a bit too large for my liking. We ended up cutting each biscuit into quarters so we could sample more variety. The verdict? Prettier biscuits lacked in the taste department, so looks can be deceiving!)

Twinnings English Breakfast
(Classic, and always perfect with a dash of soy milk.)

Alice Walker famously noted that "Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors." 
As you can see, "Tea to my family is really a biscuit buffet." *

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mancini's ~ the local italian*

"Everyone is treated like part of the family. For a special treat for any occasion... visit, stay a while, and share the time honored tradition of a passion for food."

My local italian reminds me a lot of the atmosphere depicted in Buddy Valastro's kitchen from the television show "Cake Boss". A small family owned business, located in a quiet neighbourhood where the staff are warm and friendly. Authentic, homemade style cooking, fresh pastas and traditional woodfired pizzas are made in the old-fashioned way- baked in an italian brick oven on the premises (which somewhat resembles an igloo).

Bruschetta - Traditional Italian style bread with roma tomatoes, basil, garlic & olive oil
(This classic starter was better than the usual bruschetta at italian restaurants. Italian bread was lightly toasted on both sides to give a nice crunch with soft warm bread inside, rather than the hard bite that it is usually served.)

Wedges- Served with sour cream & sweet chilli sauce
(Quite disappointing this time because it was burnt! Although the previous times I have ordered wedges at Mancini's it was served to perfection in a nice golden brown.)

Traditional Woodfired Pizzas
(There are a generous amount of toppings, the pizza bases are not too oily or dry, and the crust is crisp.)

Pescatore- Mixed seafood, fresh garlic & parsley
BBQ Chicken- Chicken breast fillet pieces, onion, mushrooms & BBQ sauce

Fettuccini Crema Al PolloChicken, mushrooms & avocado in a pink creamy sauce
(I love this dish! A unique combination of ingredients that work very well together with the pink creamy sauce. Think of it as a modern innovative difference to the classic fettuccini boscaiola.)

Of course, pasta would not be the same without accompanying condiments of Tabasco, chilli flakes and parmesan cheese.

Secondi Piatti
Cannelloni- Spinach & ricotta served with mozzarella cheese in napoletana sauce
(Upon first glance it looked exactly like lasagne, but a cross-section view would reveal the spinach and ricotta textures inside. Quite a good alternative to lasagne because the flavours are less heavy and rich.)


As Buddy would say, "it is all about La Familglia!"*

~ ~ ~
Mancini's Restaurant
21 Burwood Road, Belfield
(02) 9742 5945
~ ~ ~

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas ~ A Family Affair*

"Family are those who will always be there and love unconditionally.
Like diamonds, they are treasures for eternity."

Coming from a family of chefs, the main celebration for any special occasion centres on the meal. The traditional repertoire of Chinese dishes as well as platters of grilled meats, salads and desserts were served. As usual, I attempt to try a small portion of each dish but would later realise that this still adds up to be quite a lot of food!

Amongst the clutter of dishes on our kitchen table, there was a sushi platter, chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, smoked turkey, braised duck, roast duck with orange pineapple molasses sauce, chinese vegetables with seafood balls, lamb chops and fresh Tasmanian cherries.

Of course, despite the excessive amount of food available, elegant plate presentation is a must because it is just as important as flavour! 

After a few hours of continuous eating (equivalent to my week's worth of food intake), the gastrolatrie marathon appeared to be over. Then I was offered something that I cannot refuse, even when my stomach is ridiculously full to the brim. My second stomach will always have room for... Dessert! This consisted of Krispy Kremes, fruit mince tarts and christmas pudding, a french coffee biscuit cake covered with thinly sliced almonds, asian fruit cake filled with taro cream, an assortment of chocolates, and Ben & Jerry's amazing ice-cream flavours (love the Chocolate fudge brownie!).


This was by far the best Christmas I have had, and I definitely ate more than my heart's content!*

Saturday, December 25, 2010

On the Night Before Christmas*

"I don't want a lot for Christmas. There's just one thing I need. I don't care about the presents. Underneath the Christmas tree. All I want for Christmas... is good food shared with good company <3"

It is an all too familiar scene for this time of the year - Crowds of people bustling in Sydney CBD, consumed by an illogical spending frenzy and last minute rush to purchase presents. Those who work fashion know that working extended hours amongst an endless stream of customers is assumed in order to prepare for the busiest time of the year. Despite having to work on Christmas Eve, the day was sweetened by festive cupcakes from the Cupcake Bakery. I spent the morning deciding which cupcake I would enjoy in my afternoon tea break, and the remainder of the day reminiscing about it's goodness. It is true that if you love your job, you will never have to work a day in your life. 

A simple invitation for dinner at C's house, intended to be a pre-celebration before going to another house party, turned out to be a pleasant surprise. While I am easily pleased, I am quite difficult to impress. Tonight, I was impressed. C had made a six course degustation menu, accompanied with wine... within two hours! The cuisine was a fusion of Modern Australian with a creative twist. 
Shelled tiger prawns with cucumber, spinach, smoked salmon in a prawn bisque
Main courses
Chicken duo- garlic chicken and cordon bleu on a bed of mashed potato drizzled with cheese sauce
 Potato egg salad with apricot glazed smoked ham

Mixed greens salad with caramelised walnuts, blue cheese and green apple
Lamb chops dusted with seasoned herbs;Roast pork with crackling and homemade apple sauce

After eating to my hearts content, what is next on the agenda? Being fashionably late to another house party where delicious food with mediterranean influences and Moët et Chandon were served. The highlight of the night being a moroccan spiced pumpkin and cous cous salad.

A big thank you for being a great host! 
P.s. Your sparkling Christmas tree (adorned with designer fashion tags) was tres chic*