Published in the Inner West Independent and City News.
Cold weather brings the temptation to stay close to home. I’ve been busy enjoying the wonderful array of winter vegetables. Nutty Jerusalem artichokes, crisp parsnips, creamy cauliflower purees and caramelised baby Brussels sprouts have all made an appearance on my plate. As Perfection Fresh grower John Cranwell demonstrates, Brussels sprouts grow clustered around stalks that can reach a meter in height, crowned by billowy, loose leaves. I prefer them halved and sautéed with butter, olive oil, bacon, chilli and chestnuts; but a girl can’t live on Brussels sprouts alone, so here is some foodie inspiration that sticks close to home.
Take advantage of the chill for a spot of ice-skating right on Darling Street in Gladstone Park, Balmain during Balmain and Rozelle’s 'Christmas in July' event from Thursday 15th - Sunday 18th July. When you’ve worked up an appetite, visit one of the many local restaurants, cafes and pubs running a seasonal menu.
Pub Pork Star Leigh McDivitt at the Restaurant at 3 Weeds recently won acclaim from Australian Pork for his creative use of pig. He’s honed and refined his winning dish for their week long Christmas in July Degustation (19th – 25th July). So if Slow Cooked Pork Cheek with Pork Neck Agnolotti, Seared Scallops and Spiced Pear Purée isn’t reason enough to book a $95/head seat ($140 with matched wines), perhaps the Eggnog Bombe Alaska will be? I’m itching to try this menu myself - expect a report soon!
Talk, Eat, Learn
Australia's doyen of good food and cooking, Margaret Fulton, will be joined by Balmain’s sexiest patissier, Adriano Zumbo for a tasty evening of good conversation and sumptuous snacks. Pop on down to Balmain’s Lower Town Hall at 6pm on Sunday 11th July, 2010 to dabble in food sustainability, safety, ethical consumption, those dreadful trans fats and labelling for $20/head ($15 concession). RSVP on (02) 9818 8383.
Instead of shouting at the television during MasterChef, spend your Monday evenings pitting your food knowledge against real life foodies at The Riverview Hotel in Balmain. It’s much more fun guessing ingredients with an actual dish in your hand, so take up the $25 meal and glass of wine option for a tasty feed, and get ready for interactive questions with blind tastings! Hosted by certified Food and Wine Tragic David Myers, this is sure to be a lark! Starts this week!
I said I was keeping it local, so here’s a chance to see renowned Italian Chef, Alessandro Pavoni in Annandale! This talented Brescian can normally be found at Ormeggio at The Spit, but on Wednesday 28th July he’ll be doing a master class at the Casa Barilla Cooking School. For the bargain price of $50/head, you’ll be treated to canapés and Prosecco before being taught how to make mouth-watering dishes favouring seasonal ingredients and traditional Italian produce. There’s a rumour about generous take-home packs too… so book now on (02) 8585 3908.
Enjoy the Turkish answer to tapas – 'the Meze experience’ - with eight dishes for only $25/head on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Balmain’s Efendy. Make sure you tell them to include those tasty cheese and pastrami triangles - Pacanga Boregi – they’re my favourite!
Tour with Tom
Tom Kime, the sustainable seafood guru, is a man of many talents. Another of them is making Caramelised Black Pepper Pork and Hanoi Prawn Cakes. If you’d like Tom to guide you through the hot, salty, sweet and sour world of Vietnamese Cooking, sign up for his July 17th class ($110/head) at Rozelle’s Essential Ingredient.
Nothing warms like a curry, and I’ve worked up my own appetite, so I’m off to Ruby L’otel’s two-for-one Wednesday Curry Night. In a few short moments (it’s my local) my lucky companion and I will be digging into big bowls of comforting curry with a premium on tap beer. I can almost taste the Bengal Chicken Curry now… or will it be Massaman Beef?