30 August 2014

Home cooking Sweet Potato in the oven (30 Aug 2014)

Simple & easy sweet potato

Cooking sweet potato in the oven is so easy even I can do it. Baking it will make it soft and sweet and can then be seasoned as you like.

Cooking instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C or around 400°F
2. Scrub and wash the sweet potato skin with water to remove any dirt
3. Pierce the skin with a fork in several spots all over
4. Place sweet potatoes on a tray or rack with foil or baking paper underneath to catch any drippings
5. Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes depending on size
6. Take out, cut in half and season with salt, pepper, butter or your favourite herbs and spices
7. The sweet potato should be soft enough to squash easily with a fork and scrap away from the skin if preferred
8. Enjoy!

Wash and scrub skin then poke with a fork all over before placing on a tray
Bake for 60 minutes at 200°C or around 400°F
Cut the cooked sweet potato in half and season or simply mash up with a fork

27 August 2014

New 'Eat on Time' app allows you to pre-order from Westfield Sydney's food precinct, CBD Sydney (21 Aug 2014)

Cnr Market & Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000

No time to queue

“Developed by Westfield Labs and currently piloting at Westfield San Francisco, Westfield Sydney is the first Australian centre to trial the app. The progressive web ordering system allows diners to pre-order and pay for their food purchases, then skip the queue when they pick up orders from 16 retailers in Westfield Sydney’s food precinct.”

Thanks to Westfield for inviting me to trial their free app ‘Eat on Time’ available for Westfield Sydney Food Precinct as a paid sponsored post. If you hate queuing, and who doesn't, then you can now preorder your meal to avoid queuing from 16 retailers located on Level 5 and 6 of Westfield Sydney. I initially tried to order via the website as I prefer to view menus on a large screen. I thought I ordered it correctly but never got an text message confirmation so when I turned up to Jones the Grocer there was unfortunately no sign of my order. Important lesson learnt, if you don’t receive an text message confirmation of your order then it hasn’t gone through. I might have done something incorrectly when trying to order or gremlins were at play that day.

My second attempt was then to use the app on my iPhone while at Jones the Grocer. This allowed me to see the process in action. Once I ordered I received a text message confirming my order and an estimate time for collection — hooray! I noticed the kitchen started preparing my burger and fries so everything looked promising. As the order was being finalised in the kitchen I received another text message saying my order was ready. It arrived at the pick up point about 1 minute before the estimated time. I ordered the Jones Burger and Fries ($22) which arrived well-packaged for takeaway, cooked to order and was a yummy and enjoyable. If you know what you want for lunch then the app will definitely save you time for those eateries which have long queues and dishes that take a bit of time to prepare.

How to Eat on Time:
1. Download Eat on Time from the App Store, or access it online via
2. Register with name, email address and securely store credit card details
3. Browse the full menu from 16 food retailers at Westfield Sydney
4. Order and pay securely
5. Receive a text message once food is ready
6. Jump straight to the counter for collection, VIP-style

Eat On Time restaurants include:
1. Mero Mero
2. Sassy’s Red
3. Thairiffic
4. Jones the Grocer
5. Din Tai Fung
6. Snag Stand
7. Sky Phoenix
8. Chat Thai
9. Becasse Bakery
10. Cod & Co
11. Charlie & Co
12. Streets of Saigon
13. Spuds n Crepes
14. Janus
15. Chinta Ria…Mood for Love
16. Dergah Grill

PROS: Saves queuing time, You can choose a pickup time, Well-designed app and website with good quality dish pictures
CONS: You'll still need to find a table once you collect your order 
MUST TRY: Jones Burger and Chips
VERDICT: For those who know what they want for lunch it will be a useful app to preorder to save time queuing, waiting and paying

Jones the Grocer Pick Up Point

Jones Burger and Chips: Premium 100% Australian wagyu patty, bacon, melted Swiss cheese, truffle mayonnaise, pickles, yellow mustard, caramelised onions, house made bun, rustic chips ($22)

Big rustic chips

My preferred area of eating which has lots of natural light

Website version — found it easy to navigate and view the menu

Mobile app version — nice design and helpful photos of the menu

Choose a pick up time very helpful
Text message confirmation of order
Text message confirmation of pick up ready
Order confirmation emailed

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Jones the Grocer on Urbanspoon

12 August 2014

Home cooking a French Bouillabaisse recipe (10 Aug 2014)

Tasty Seafood Bouillabaisse

So this is the remains of my bouillabaisse I cooked for the first time. I was hoping to have shared lots of preparation and ingredients photos, cooking stages and final dish presentation but sadly I stupidly deleted my photos before checking I had downloaded them which I thought I did — Silly Simon! What I can tell you is I based it on the simple recipe shown on Food Safari by Chef Guillaume Brahimi and it's great to watch the short video to see how it all comes together. I didn't use any saffron, orange zest, fresh thyme and Pernod because I didn't have them but it still tasted pretty good. I used Campbell's Real Stock Fish from Coles and a Bouillabaise Seafood Pack from Cleanfish Australia of Diamond Clams, Kinkawooka Mussels, Banana Prawns, Tiger Flathead cutlet, Norwegian Cod cutlet

An important lesson I learnt is if you try and blend a hot liquid in a blender with the lid firmly on it will explode on you plus all over your bench and kitchen wall — f*ck! I used a large Le Creuset casserole pot to cook and simmer the ingredients which worked a treat. Straining the blended liquid was a potentially messy exercise but well worth the process in learning how effective it is to create a flavoursome soup base. I enjoyed the final soup with store bought Coles garlic bread (the more expensive butter version and not the cheaper Smart Buy margarine one) which was great for dipping. I definitely feel more confident in cooking a bouillabaisse again. There was lots of mess made but I'll know how to do it better next time, and hopefully will keep the photos too.

06 August 2014

Naked Foods: Bulk Organic Health Foods, Bondi Junction (30 April 2014)

Shop 7, 310 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022

Bulking up on healthiness

“Naked Foods only stock the best that nature has to offer. Our range of Health Foods are 100% Organic Certified and sourced from across the globe.”

I stumbled across this store while walking around Bondi Junction and it was great to discover. You can buy as much or as little as you like and everything is certified organic. I was tempted by an extensive selection of nuts, dried fruits, grains, muesli, flour and seeds oils. The chocolate coated section was hard to pass up and they also have a nut butter schedule for cashews, peanuts, almonds and macadamias if you like your nutty spreads as pure as possible.

PROS: Bulk shopping, Extensive selection, Certified Organic, Healthy, Friendly and helpful service at the time
CONS: So tempting it's hard not to buy something
MUST TRY: Everything — especially the chocolate coated stuff
VERDICT: A great way to shop for your health foods and cuts down on unnecessary packaging. I think every suburb should have a store like this.

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Naked Foods Organic Health Foods on Urbanspoon

05 August 2014

delicious. Produce Awards 2014 at Kitchen by Mike, Rosebery (14 July 2014)

85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery NSW 2018

Great Australian produce

Packed in like sustainable, organic, biodynamic sardines the delicious Produce Awards of 2014 pulled a prestigious crowd of culinary elites, well-respected producers and passionate supporters. Taste buds were tantalized with sampling tables of B.-d Farm Paris Creek Biodynamic Organic Unsalted Butter, Cobram Estate Olive Oil, Mike’s Woodfired Sourdough Bread, Pecora Dairy Bloomy White cheese, ALTO Olives Misto Table Olives, Barham Avocados with black bean & chilli vinaigrette, Warialda Belted Galloways Pastrami with Long Lane Caper Buds, McIvor Farm Foods Leg Ham on the bone with piccalilli, Mooloolabah Tuna Company Albacore ‘Mojama’ Tuna with Tascano Olives Lemon-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Shark Bay Seafoods Ama Ebi Prawns with aioli. Kitchen By Mike also provided an abundance of tasty delights including a very yummy native wallaby with wasabi mayo. I’ve also learnt the food industry cannot live on food alone so a plentiful supply of Brown Brothers Pinot Noir Chardonnay, Brown Brothers Pinot Grigio and Tempranillo, Rocks Brewing Co Golden Ale and 666 Vodka Capi Ginger Beer cocktails were on standby to wash all the goodness down.

More photos of the event here: http://on.fb.me/1tIUIdJ
Produce Awards 2014 Finalists: http://bit.ly/1jXhEQ4
Produce Awards 2014 Winners: http://bit.ly/1oCLQOC

And the winners are:


Coorong Wild Seafood, Coorong Yellow-eye Mullet, SA (Primary)

Brilliant Food, Smoked Kingfish, NSW (Artisan)


Warialda Belted Galloways, Grass-fed Heritage Beef, Vic (Primary)

San Jose Smallgoods, Wagyu Bresaola, SA (Artisan) 


Snowy River Station, Sea Spray, Vic (Primary)

Daintree Vanilla & Spice, Ground Cinnamon, Qld (Artisan) 


The Butter Factory Myrtleford, Creme Fraiche, Vic (Primary)

Pyengana Dairy Company, Tasty Cheddar 12+ months, Tas (Artisan)


Coorong Wild Seafood, SA


Snowy River Station, Sea Spray, Vic


SAGE Farmers Market Moruya, NSW 


Barossa Valley, SA 


Dan Hunter, Brae Restaurant, Vic


Paroo Premium Kangaroo, Macro Meats, SA 


Pino's Dolce Vita Find Foods & Cooking School, NSW


Mike and Gayle Quarmby, Outback Pride Project, SA 


John Susman, Fishtales, NSW 

Blackmore Wagyu Beef, Vic 

Holy Goat Cheese La Luna, Vic

Mondo White Rocks Veal, WA

PROS: Supporting some of the best produce in Australia
CONS: No room to swing a cat
MUST TRY: Finding restaurants that use all this great produce
VERDICT: A fun-filled night of good food and well-deserved acknowledgement for fine produce

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Kitchen By Mike on Urbanspoon

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