Published in the City Hub and City News.
This week I stick to the sweet stuff with cupcakes in Marrickville, scones at Westfield Sydney, vegan treats in Bondi, a lick of chocolate, and a look at Australia's new dessert bible!
Cupcakes will only be one of the tasty treats available at this year’s Marrickville Festival on Sunday 23rd October. It will take over both Marrickville and Illawarra Roads from 11am-5pm. Amongst all the multicultural food stalls, you’ll also find dancing, comedy and live music ranging from the gypsy stylings of Doc Jones to the indigenous acoustics of the Stiff Gins. Mayor of Marrickville Councillor Fiona Byrne had this to say: “Every year since 1993, the Festival has highlighted the very best of our creative community. The Festival is a celebration of our cultural diversity, and inner west residents’ willingness to come together, have fun, and enjoy a great day out.” Of course it’s not limited to just those from the local area – so make a day of it and explore everything Marrickville has to offer, from Vietnamese bread shops to excellent Asian greengrocers and supermarkets.
Scones with Cream & Jam
The in-thing these days is getting a satellite site in the Westfield Sydney development, so it should be no surprise to hear you’ll soon be able to enjoy a lavish high tea in The Victoria Room Tea Salon. Actually, to me this is one brand that really suits the idea of a luxury shopping experience - so after prowling the stores for bargains, rest your tootsies in a whimsical English-inspired tea salon. If you’re too hungry to be satisfied with dainty ribbon sandwiches or oysters and champagne, there will be more substantial dishes like seared, spice-encrusted yellowfin tuna. Savouries aside, I’m most excited by the speciality scone menu – there will be ten airy varieties of scone including white chocolate and cranberry or olive and rosemary.
Simone Bateman began her business Rubyfruit one long weekend when the cafe where her partner worked, ran out of cakes. She kindly offered to bake them one, but being vegan, she made them a vegan cake. Simone’s passion is “baking delicious vegan treats that are super indulgent and not what you would expect vegan food to look - or taste - like!" Of course the café and their customers loved it; and “it kind of snowballed from there!” These days she and her partner are cooking a range of products aimed at challenging the “misconception that a vegan lifestyle is one of deprivation and bland, unsatisfying food.” Their egg-free, dairy-free (and sometimes gluten-free) treats include cakes, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, muffins, loaves, and baked cheesecakes. They’re mostly sold wholesale at venues including Bondi’s Funky Pies, but she’ll also have a stall the 2011 Cruelty Free Festival on Sunday 30th October at Belmore Park.
Green Eggs (No Ham)
While I’m mostly about resisting pervasive American culture influences like Halloween, I’m actually not against grabbing the odd bag of Cadbury Screme Eggs (RRP $2.30/55g) at one of the deviously placed checkout boxes! Staff at my office went gaga over the gooey green goodness inside the Cadbury Dairy Milk eggs. Of course you can completely ignore my advice and take your kids trick or treating in the Eastern Suburbs on Monday 31st October. If you do, you might want to stick a leaflet in your neighbours’ letterboxes to give them a chance to mark their house with something suitably ghoulish if they wish to participate. Nothing beats a carved pumpkin Jack-O-Lantern - just sayin’.
Philippa Sibley rose to notoriety on Masterchef with a decadent dessert based on the Snickers Bar. Before this eventful television debut, she cooked at Circa, The Prince and Bistro Guillaume where her desserts were described as ‘timeless things of beauty’. She’s now released what I’m calling Australia’s new dessert bible - PS Desserts [RRP $49.95]. The first two hundred odd pages are taken up with the basics – you’ll learn her (devilishly clever) method of making puff pasty, brioche, French meringue, frangipane, crème anglais… the list goes on. If you survive this, you will turn to jellies and sorbets. Finally, when you’re tempering chocolate and turning out quenelles in your sleep, you will get to Philippa’s recipes. It’s begins with a journey through the classics, from tiramisu to bread and butter pudding, then her signature stuff. When you see her Peach Melba for Oprah don’t weep! Just remember all those clearly photographed techniques - and if you tackle her PS Snickers before me, feel free to invite me to dinner!
If you’re not up for making dessert at home, you can have a fig and almond bread & butter pudding with amaretto cream and almond brittle at An Arts Table for 1000. The dessert comes courtesy of Sydney Dance Lounge in a meal that’s accompanied by a twilight short performance by Sydney Dance Company. The gala event is on Wednesday 12th October, and will set you back $150/head for a starlight dance-and-dine adventure. It does seem oxymoronic to be writing about dancers and dining in the same sentence... but book in anyway on (02) 9285 4833.