Singapore by night
(Click on above picture for bigger panorama, wouhou!)
Last April my partner and I flew to Singapore to attend the Asian Pastry Cup, taking place during the Food & Hotel Asia exhibition. I wasn’t that excited by Singapore before getting there, as I had an image of the city being very modern, clean and westernized, but I ended up liking it a lot! Despite spending most of our time at the exhibition centre, we managed to get a hint of all the possibilities Singapore can offer, especially foodwise
Team Pastry Australia
©M.Venables 2012, All rights reserved
Some of you might know that I was overseas last April-May, namely Singapore and France, sorry it took me so long to sort all that out. I’m back now, with lots of great memories I’d like to share with you!
First and foremost, let me tell you about the Asian Pastry Cup, a competition organised by French brands Valrhôna (chocolate) and Ravifruit (fruit purees) to select the best teams from the Asia-Pacific area. The top 4 will be able to compete in the World Pastry Cup, which will be held as part of the renowned SIRHA (a huuuge fine food show) in Lyon next January.
My partner and I have been following the Australian team closely for more than a year to document their preparation and training for the Asian Pastry Cup and we flew to Singapore last April to witness this crucial step in their journey to the “Coupe du Monde”.
Bastille Day is upon us! AGAIN!
Weeks have passed so fast that I’ve only just realized I’d never posted the pictures of last year’s Bastille Day celebration we had with my girlfriends. Since I’m not doing anything this year for the 14th July (I know: what kind of a French woman am I!), I will this time stick to reminiscing on our beautiful little picnic.
My friend was in charge of bringing the red wine and the saucisson, and I was in charge of the baguettes, which I bought from Bourke Street Bakery: love their semi-sour baguettes! Then I saw the Crème Brûlée Raspberry & Vanilla Tarts and didn’t think twice about it: there was our dessert!
We then met at Formaggi Ocello in Surry Hills for this crucial step in our shopping spree. There was no way that I could leave the shop without some Comté, my favourite cheese in the whole world! We also bought and Italian soft goats cheese, Brunet, which I liked a lot the look of!
Cheeses: Brunet goats cheese and my beloved Comté
“In Tartiflette We Trust”
My mother’s Tartiflette: Before…
… and after
“In Tartiflette We Trust” is a motto that has become really popular in the last decade, and, as I later found out, it’s actually the slogan of a mountain and ski gear shop in the French Alps. You can now spot stickers and people wearing “In Tartiflette We Trust” t-shirts all over France, even beyond! I have to say, this is a motto by which I can abide!
To me, the simple mention of Tartiflette evokes winter, crisp snow, ski, holiday, flattering ski goggle tan, evenings eating and drinking your heart’s content (It’s freezing outside, you need padding!) and playing cards etc. Aaah, good times!
Chef Darren Templeman and wife Bernadette, Restaurant Manager
A few weeks back I got to attend a superb degustation dinner at Restaurant Atelier, a little cottage located in Glebe Point Road. I had heard a lot about it from my colleagues and when the opportunity of a #twEATup with the regular offenders (& new ones) came up, I jumped on it! It also happens that my boss used to run a crêpe restaurant in the very same building back in the early 80′s, so I was keen to see where it all started!
A few weeks ago I attended my first “TwEATup”, which involves sharing a meal with people met through Twitter who all have one thing in common: an obsession with food!
The TwEATup was held at Booth Street Bistro in Annandale and our jolly team of Tweeps was composed of Karen, aka VanityFare1, Chef Adam Moore, Cenk from SocialDinnerClub, MissPiggyEats and hubby “The Boy”, LeBonVivant, Gary, MyGourmetFeast, and of course, Chef Darren and Bernadette from Restaurant Atelier!
We started with a few olives and an entrée of Fried calamari ($16), with some green bean fig dip and eggplant wafers: delicious! I could have eaten the whole plate by myself but had to share with everyone (roll eyes)..!
LBV, god bless him, had brought the most amazing wines selection from his personal cellar. Every bottle he took from his magic bag was as impressive as the next! I felt very privileged, and even though my rather uneducated palate could not appreciate these wines at their full worth, I thought they were pretteeee darn good!
As I might have mentioned before, my partner is vegetarian and although he’s never tried to convert me, I have happily taken to eating vegetarian only… at home. When I’m out with friends, it’s another story though: bring on the meat I say!!
Thus after a pleasant first “Meat-Up” banquet at Bar H for Chinese New Year, I decided to renew the experience, accompanied with my friends Karen and Cenk. The Meat-up dinners were started a few years ago by Tim Elwin from Urban Food Market, and this one was going to be held at one of Rozelle’s oldest pubs, 3 Weeds. I was all the more enthusiastic as I was yet to try the Restaurant part of the pub, headed by Chef Leigh McDivitt (I’d heard a lot of good things about him!)
Meat is tastier when you know that the animal was raised in a good environment and had a good life, something that Tim Elwin always had on his mind when he set up his sustainable butchery business, Urban Food Market. Tim makes a point of only sourcing the best meat possible, raised sustainably and ethically. For this dinner, all the meat and wine came from suppliers located within 100 miles of Sydney.
At the recent Social Dinner Club Lebanese dinner at Efendy, my foodie friend Karen introduced me to Merna Taouk from Homemade Fine Foods. Merna kindly invited me to attend a Saturday “Master the Mousse” class, held at the Tempe factory she shares with fellow artisan food producers Pierre Issa, of Pepe Saya butter fame, and the duo from Pat and Stick’s Homemade Ice-Cream Co. (You can also find there the Arabic pastries Booza and free-range stocks of The Stock Merchant).
Back in December, like every year, my girlfriends and I had a meal at a nice Franchouillard restaurant for our pre-Christmas-madness catch-up. This year we decided to try Bistro Papillon, in the heart of Sydney CBD, near Wynyard Station.
Here we are, almost landing in Ho Chi Minh City (still widely called Saigon by most of the population). We have to go through a thick cloud of pollution to start seeing the city from above, it’s quite impressive!
We get a taxi to our hotel, the An An I Hotel, ideally located at the heart of the backpacking district on Bui Vien, and which was perfectly pleasant, with a huge air-conditioned room and an unbeatable view on the all the action down below. The staff were also very friendly and helpful.