31 December 2011

Bloodwood: Seasonal Menu for Sharing, Newtown (27 July 2011)

416 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042
Phone: (02) 9557 7699

Bloodwood birthday bash

“On any visit to bloodwood you'll find the three chef owners, Claire, Jo and Mitch in the kitchen, hard at work bringing you a fresh seasonal menu, with an emphasis on sharing”

A friend’s birthday dinner finally gives me the chance to visit Bloodwood in Newtown. Having a table of 13 allowed us to make a reservation (at least 8 required). We thought about the choosing the banquet menu ($50 per person) to keep it simple but ended up choosing our own dishes and just getting multiple numbers to share amongst the table which worked out really well. Even though we were located downstairs in a somewhat isolated separate area close to the unisex toilets our service remained pretty attentive and friendly throughout the night. My Bloodwood Iced Tea ($18) came at a premium price like most iced tea cocktails but was certainly worth trying. The Polenta chips ($9) were done well and well enjoyed especially when combined with the gorgonzola sauce. I loved the flavoursome Grilled cuttlefish salad, cucumber and herb salad, mustard cream ($19) making it a favourite of the night for me. The Socca, chickpea pancake, zucchini, roast peppers, persian fetta, basil ($15) was tasty and an easy one to share.

King prawns and pippies xo sauce ($29) were decently sized and properly deveined. A table favourite for dessert was the Sugardaddys chocolate torte, pedro ximenez, buttermilk mousse ($12) with some actually claiming it was even better than sex I believe. The Bloodwood trifle ($12) contained some potent port wine jelly although I felt it was perhaps missing some extra creaminess to make it less dry. With initial low expectations after all the restaurant hype my night ended up being a very pleasant dining experience from which seemed to be an all female kitchen and service restaurant. The ladies certainly seemed to know how to cook and provide interesting and flavoursome dishes made with seasonal ingredients. I'd happily return to try more dishes on the menu although I've heard you need to get there early due to the walk-in policy unless you can muster a table of 8 for a pre-booking.

PROS: Interesting menu, Quality seasonal ingredients, Buzzing atmosphere, Nice cosy decor
CONS: Can get a bit noisy, Unisex toilets but they were kept clean, Parking is generally a nightmare in the area
MUST TRY: Grilled cuttlefish salad, Sugardaddys chocolate torte, Bloodwood Iced Tea, One day returning to try other menu dishes
THE DAMAGE: $737.50 for 13 people

Bloodwood mocktail ($8), Bloodwood Iced Tea - Vodka, gin, rum, mescal, Cointreau, apricot brandy and orange topped with bloodwood's organic tea syrup ($18)

2008 Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Waipara Valley, New Zealand ($12), Bloodwood mocktail of Singapore Sling style ($8)

July set menu ($50 per person)

Table water and cutlery

Lamb kibbeh, spiced almonds, romesco ($19)

Polenta chips, gorgonzola sauce ($9)

Grilled cuttlefish salad, cucumber and herb salad, mustard cream ($19)

Socca, chickpea pancake, zucchini, roast peppers, persian fetta, basil ($15)

Leaf salad, mixed leaves, croutons, crisp bresaola ($9)

Drunken salmon wrapped in bric pastry, celery sauce ($32)

Salt cod brandade, watercress, fennel, quinoa, pil pil sauce ($17)

King prawns and pippies xo sauce ($29)

Coorong angus beef brisket, kipfler potatoes, brussel sprouts ($30)

Sugardaddys chocolate torte, pedro ximenez, buttermilk mousse ($12)

Bloodwood trifle, rhubarb, pound cake, port wine jelly, quince anglaise, vanilla bean yoghurt ($12)

Downstairs private dining room


Mezzanine seating


Interesting wall feature

Bottle decor

Bill $737.50 for 13 people

Unisex toilets with old school taps

Is someone missing a door?

28 December 2011

Panama Passionfruit: Royal Randwick Fruit Market, Randwick (22 Dec 2011)

73 Belmore Road, Randwick NSW 2031

Passionate about passionfruit

Since trying the Panama Passionfruit ($1.29) from Royal Randwick Fruit Market it soon became my favourite over the normal smaller purple ones which I grew up on. I'm not sure where this version originates from but it's larger and provides more filling. I've also found it to be a bit sweeter than the normal purple variety but it could also depend on how ripe they are. I've recently seen them in Norton Street Grocer in Westfield Bondi Junction for $0.99 each or 4 for $3. I love passionfruit on vanilla ice cream or with yoghurt and a bit of honey. If anyone has further details about this variety please share the information.

Panama Passionfruit ($1.29 each)

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Nudie: Nothing But Oranges Juice (27 Dec 2011)

Only 100% juice

Failing to find my usual Preshafruit juice in Woolworths I spotted Nudie's orange juice made with only 100% oranges so I thought I'd give it a try. You can see the pulp inside the bottle so after a 'shake it like you mean it' it was ready to drink. At first it tasted quite tart to me so it definitely didn't have any sugar added. The taste reminded me of the times when I used to freshly squeeze oranges when the oranges might not have been the most sweetest. The next day I tried it again and it seemed to have mellowed a bit so wasn't such a shock on the palate. It definitely tasted like freshly squeezed orange juice and possibly one I'll keep in mind for next time.

PROS: No concentrate, No added sugar, No additives or preservatives, Australian oranges
CONS: To be consumed within 4-5 days although I think Preshafruit juices seem to last longer once opened
MUST TRY: Doing a taste test to compare to the Preshafruit orange juice

Nudie nothing but 5 1/4 oranges juice ($1.99, 500 mL)

No added sugar, additives or perservatives

Victor Churchill: Basic Beef Butchery Class, Woollahra (10 June 2011)

132 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025

Butchering made easy

Thanks to Victor Churchill butchery for inviting me to attend their Basic Beef Butchery Class ($325 per person) which went for about 3 hours. The small and unsurprisingly all male class was led by Butcher Dave Ellis and Chef Laurent assisted. Dave taught where the popular cuts came from in a middle carcass including sirloin, fillet, rump, t-bone and ribs. We were shown how to prepare our own OP Rib which was worth $42.99 per kg. My Grass Fed Rib Eye Rack was worth $127.94 in the end which was quite a generous take home parcel. It was quite an entertaining and well-paced class and at the end we enjoyed some perfectly cooked meats with a glass of wine. It was quite a long time to be standing so I thought it would have been nice if the class ended with a sit down to relax at a table to enjoy the cooked meats with perhaps some roasted vegetables or salad. I'm not sure if I'd actually use my butchery skills again because I'm a bit of a lazy cook but it's certainly given me a insight into how much wastage there is when preparing dry age meat and hence why it costs more too. Chef Laurent did a great job in cooking the meat which was so tender and flavoursome. Definitely some of the best tasting meat I've ever had although I wish I could cook it at home just as good.

Other visits to Victor Churchill:
10 June 2011 - Basic Beef Butchery Class
12 Sept 2009 - Checking out the butchery

PROS: You'll learn how to break down the middle carcass into various popular cuts, Sampling some grass fed rib eye at the end of the class, Includes a Grass Fed Rib Eye Rack to take home
CONS: Clothes smelt like meat when I got home after the class, Be sure to eat before the class or you might go hungry like I did, Quite pricey so you'd want to be passionate about learning to cut up a carcass
MUST TRY: Remembering you can have your own private dinner party at Victor Churchill

Apron included

A few safety tips about the very sharp knifes before the class — if you drop your knife don't try and grab it

Class in the shop

It's a little freaky when a little girl stares inquisitively through the window in the middle of a butchery class

Cutting up the carcass

Final cuts of meat (left to right)
1. Whole Rump
2. Trim that can only be used as dice or mince
3. Eye fillet steak
4. Sirloin steak
5. The Chateaubriand and tail portion of the Eye fillet
6. Striploin (sirloin)

There's a fair amount of wastage when preparing a dry aged cut of meat

OP Ribs for class

Butcher knifes, string and cutting boards

Class about to prepare their OP Rib

Bones trimmed — off cuts could be minced or used in a casserole

Can cut into four ribs

Can string tie as a rack

Younger animal on left than right when there's more visible blood in the bone area — meat would be more tender too I believe

My Grass Fed Rib Eye Rack was worth $127.94

Chef Laurent cooking come tasty samples

Grass Fed Rib Eye


Drying room

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