Friday, March 29, 2013

Crazy Wings, Eastwood

Crazy Wings is slowly creeping towards Parramatta with the Chatswood branch closing down and reopening in Eastwood...just a mere 15 minutes by car from my house (depending on who's driving that is).

My love for Crazy Wings is no secret. I feel in love with the spicy cumin-type rub that is liberally applied to chicken wings which are then cooked over Charcoal. Yum. When I went "all free-range" last year I stopped visiting Crazy Wings as I'm pretty sure those crazy wings ain't happy wings if you know what I mean.

It's been about 18 months but WE'RE BACK! I abstain from eating the wings, but The Boy orders two original wings and tells me they are good as he remembers.  I decide to have a go at the tasty cumin-rubbed "crazy Lamb" that is crazily tasty!  There aren't as many ethical issues pertaining to lamb as there are with meat + eggs chooks (and pigs) so I don't feel too guilty lamb (though there are issues which you can read about here).

Are these happy "Crazy Prawns"? I don't know, but they were darn tasty and so crunchy that we ate the tail, shell and head plus all the succulent prawn meat that clung to the skewer. A serve or two of "Crazy Veggies" always goes down a treat, and to be honest they taste just as good as the meat skewers thanks to all the lovely seasoning they are doused in. I love Enoki Mushrooms and the are a must order every visit.

It's been a long time between crazy visits, but hopefully we'll be back soon.  I'm glad to see quite a few veggie options on the menu...perhaps an option for my life beyond "Meat Free Week"?

Crazy Wings is at Shop 1/183-185 Rowe Street, Eastwood.  Phone them on 9858-5883.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Naruone, Chinatown (Sydney)

For those of who grew up under the impression that Colonel Sanders was the KFC king pin the discovery of Korean Fried Chicken - the "other fried chicken" - is an eye-opening, life changing, mind altering, brilliant revelation.

Until I started this blog the only KFC I knew about came in a red and white striped bucket. It was "OK". As a kid I LOVED it, but as the years progressed it kinda wasn't so great anymore. It tasted more oily and less crunchy and I always felt really gross after eating it.  Bye bye KFC.  Then I heard talk from other bloggers about Korean Fried Chicken, that is addictive as crack (cocaine or pie - take your pick).

I'm told there are a few places that do REALLY GOOD Koren fried chook and Naruone, at the top end of Thai-na-town, seems to be the sweetheart of the moment.  Always up for a new (eating) experience I gathered with a group of fellow bloggers to stuff my face full of proper KFC. 

There are a few different types of KFC on offer and we start with a HUGE plate of Fried Chicken with Spring Onion ($32.00) as I've read it's "the best" here. Oh. My. God!  This chicken was INCREDIBLE! Moist + tender meat is surrounded by a super crispy batter that shatters audibly when you bite into it. The batter is so crispy that you can literally hear the crunch both inside and outside your head. I have no idea how they cook this, but we "think" the chicken may be poached in a broth that contains shallots (to keep the meat moist whilst frying) and then coated in a batter that has dried-shallots in it and double-fried. Whatever - who cares as it's AMAZING! Go to Naruone and EAT THIS NOW.

Because our new motto is "one plate of fried chicken is never enough" we order a combination plate ($33.00) that has a mix of original and sweet + spicy. The original is similar to the fried chicken with spring onions but it doesn't pack as much of a flavour (or crunch) punch.  The sweet + spicy is super sticky, really messy to eat, pretty sweet in flavour with a punch of spicy that hits you at the end of each mouthful. Others at the table loved this but I found the sweetness a bit too much for my liking.

Also on our table were a few little bowls of side-dishes collectively known as banchan. The most common of these is Kimchi (fermented cabbage with chilli) which is practically the Korean national dish - it was EVERYWHERE when I visited Korea but I never took a liking too it for some reason - but I always give it a try when it's on the table just in case I fall in love with it.

I did however really like the Kimchi Omelette. The kimchi flavour was quite mild, the element of the kimchi that stood out to me was the chili. We also ordered a Beef Hotpot, mainly as it contained a few token vegetables to offset all the chicken and all the deep-friedness.

I am completed besotted with Korean Fried Chicken. Colonel Sanders is totally dead to me now. I cannot wait to come back to Naruone one and indulge in more KFC with Spring Onions. Who wants to come with me?

Naruone is on the Lower Ground, 375 Pitt Street, Sydney. Phone them on 9261 2680.

NaruOne Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 25, 2013

Balcony Garden: Harvest Monday #19

Since I realized that you don't have to pull the whole shallot out in order to enjoy their bounty we've had a constant supply of shallots out on the balcony.  This is GREAT as often you only need one or two as a garnish and I hate buying a great big bunch of them at the store only to have most of them go unused.

Nowadays we just snip off the shallot towards the base of the plant and within a few days a new shoot is emerging.  Of course I found this out AFTER I made this dish...oh well, you live and you learn.

The Boy and I fell in love with Kecap Manis when we were in Bali last year - we'd have it on our breakfast eggs each morning (is that a really Bogan thing to do)?  Having it at home now reminds us of our wonderful holiday and when I found this recipe for Lemon + Kecap Manis Chicken on fellow blogger Eat Eat Play's website and it looked SO simple that I knew it had my lazy name all over it.

I don't exactly follow the recipe - making this as a stirfry rather than grilling the chicken in the sauce like the recipe suggests (yes, because I'm lazy and I think this way leads to less washing up for The Boy). It still tastes FANTASTIC and it's become a regular of the menu in our house.

You can view more Harvest Monday posts on Daphne's Dandelions blog.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Napoli In Bocca. Haberfield

Surely there cannot be a person on earth who doesn't like pizza? Although with the advent of crusts overly stuffed with cheese and/or hotdogs (hotdog stuffed pizza crust is an abomination I tell you) and toppings that look like the contents of a compost bin my pizza consumption has dropped off...a lot.

I prefer my pizza simple and that's why the discovery of a place like Napoli In Bocca is a godsend.  Good, simple, honest pizza - just the way the Italian's intended.

I have Megan (from Veggies and Me) to thank for introducing me to this place - she swore it's the best pizza place in Sydney and I think she  may be right (though I'm sure that statement will meet with some contention).

When we came with Megan we ordered all manner of things, but I only had eyes for one pizza upon my return - Patata - a glorsiously flavoursome pizza with a simple topping of potatoes, rosemary, mozzarella, onions and  olive oil ($19.50). The pizza is just a little bit salty which makes it like crack cocaine to me. I ate this whole thing and I would've ordered a second one if I didn't think the waiters would think I'm a pig.

Tara choose to revist the Funghi - tomato, mozzarella and mushrooms ($18.50) - another simple pizza that is perfection, proving once again that less is more.

Napoli in Bocca is at 73 Dalhousie Street, Haberfield. Phone them on 9798 4096.

Napoli in Bocca on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eden Gardens, North Ryde

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Eden Gardens is a HUGE garden centre located on the edge of the lush Lane Cove National Park in North Ryde.  For someone who loves eating, gardening and shopping for gardening "stuff" Eden Gardens in is the perfect place to while away a few hours on a lazy summer afternoon.

Before we get down to the business of gardening "stuff" The Boy and I make a pitstop at  Dragonfly Cafe...a large cafe inside Eden Gardens that has a lovely view over the gardens.

It's a super HOT day and I can't face anything other than a salad - and their "Spring Salad" ($24.00) is just the business. My salad is a refreshing mix of watermelon, feta, mint and baby spinach that is topped with poached prawns and drizzled with balsamic. At $24 it's not cheap but it sure is tasty - I've made this at home (sans prawns) a few times since as I just loved it so much.

The Boy is tougher than me in hot weather and goes for the hearty sounding Char Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($22.00). Again I don't think this meal is cheap (this isn't really the place to come for a "cheap" cafe feed) but he's pretty happy with what he's got. There are a few cheaper options on the menu but most things are upwards of $20.

After lunch we go for a wander through the gardens - a series of large landscaped spaces that offer a nice relaxing respite from our hectic city lives. You can even pre-order a picnic basket from the cafe to eat in the gardens which I think is a lovely idea...and the garden is also home to a few chickens.

The Boy heads back to the office (I'm was on holidays so could do whatever I wanted - what a glorious feeling!) so I spend a little while checking out the seedlings on offer.  I normally grow things from seed (as it's a more cost effective way of growing your own produce) but I was VERY tempted to go home with a chilli plant as well as this amazing smelling Chocolate Mint that smelt just like an afterdinner mint when you rubbed it between your fingers. I think it would make a really nice iced tea.

Eden Gardens also has a good range of seeds on offer.  I'm thinking of growing some capsicum soon and was quite taken with their multi-coloured capsicum seeds - they'd made such a colourful looking salad. There are also lots of garden furniture type stuff for sale as well as pillows, rugs, outdoor picnic ware, nic-nacs and the like...but if you can't eat it it's not going on my balcony.

Eden Gardens and Dragonfly Cafe can be found at Corner Lane Cove and Fontenoy Roads, North Ryde. Phone them on 9491 9900.

Dragonfly Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meat Free Week + Balcony Garden: Harvest Monday #18

Today kicks off the beginning of the inaugural Meat Free Week challenge.  Starting today I'll be cutting meat completely out of my diet for a week (which is really not long at all)...and after that I'll be cutting WAY back on the amount of meat I eat.

I've signed up to Meat Free Week in order to do my bit to help raise money for the animal advocacy group Voiceless who (among other things) aim to raise awareness of the terrible, horrible, cruel and inhumane plight of animals raised in factory farms . I also hope to raise peoples awareness to the fact that we don't need to eat sooo much meat (really we don't) and about the cruel realities of factory farming!  I wrote about why I'm doing Meat Free Week a few weeks ago - check it out - and if you're so inclined you can head over here to sponsor my efforts (please and thanks).

Image from the Meat Free Week website

Back on the balcony garden and my two little tomato bushes continue to do their thing and produce lovely red, flavoursome tomatoes - albeit a little smaller than the packet says they are supposed to be.  No matter how small they're being put to good use in helping me try out some a new vegetarian recipes that might get a look in during Meat Free Week.

Did this tomato commit suicide, or do you think he was pushed? I think a Currawong threw him to his death.

As an aside I recently learned that there are two types of tomatoes, indeterminate which grow VERY tall and fruit over a long period and determinate which are more shrub like and produce all their fruit pretty much all at once.

By a stroke of sheet luck I've been growing the later, which is great as I don't think a 10ft tall tomato plant would fit on my balcony.  The downside is that most of my tomatoes have "happened" in the space of a few weeks. At one stage I had a bowl full of little tomatoes that I had no idea what to do with other than they'd be a good base for something vegetarian...but what?

My fellow food blogging friend Muppy suggested I try making Shakshuka Eggs - a middle eastern dish that uses tomatoes as the core ingredient. This coupled with the fact that I was promised it was a super easy dish to make won me over.

A quick fling with Mr Google revealed more recipes for Shakshuka Eggs than you can poke a spatula at. One thing was clear - nearly every recipe was slightly different highlighting that this is a highly personal and regional dish. I just picked the two easiest looking ones (surprise surprise) with the least ingredients and kind of made a blend of the two. The most important thing of course is to use FREE RANGE EGGS as the lives lived by chickens raised in caged-egg (and even barn raised) systems is just horrible and beyond cruel.

The dish turned out...alright but I couldn't help but compare it to the baked eggs that my favourite cafe, Circa Espresso make. Their eggs have a much more rich + spicy flavour which I think is partially due to the addition of Sujak (spicy lamb sausage). I can easily overcome this next time by adding more smoked paprika + chilli. I also spent so long photographing my finished dish that the egg yolks went hard...noooo! I also got in a bit of strife with The Boy as I used his favourite non-stick pan that I then proceeded to eat out of with a metal fork. Oops - sorry!

Nevermind, a good handful of homegrown parsley covered up the overcooked eggs and any scratches The Boy thinks I may have made in the pan.

You can view more Harvest Monday posts on Daphne's Dandelions blog. Visit the Meat Free Website to find out more about the campaign (and for some good reasons why we should ALL considering reducing our meat intake).

Please sponsor me for Meat Free Week here...thanks peeps.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Movida Sydney, Surry Hills

I waited TWO long years to get a chance to eat at Melbourne's darling, Movida but just mere months after one of my long held dining wishes came true Movida moved north and opened in Sydney. Typical.

It seemed remiss not to take advantage of them being virtually on my doorstep now (well, 20kms from my doorstep which is closer than Melbourne) so Miss M and I make a booking (yes, they take bookings) and headed on down for dinner.

Although I didn't want to compare my Melbourne experience with my Movida dinner in Sydney I just couldn't help it. Whilst I liked my dinner in Melbourne I didn't love it. The food was just as delicious as I'd hoped but we ordered wrongly - all little tapas dishes which meant we left hungry. I wish the waitstaff there had given us some direction.  I didn't make the mistake of ordering wrongly this time - and we had a super helpful waiter who helped us get it right.

We kick things off with a drink - I've not idea what I was drinking...I just asked from something white, cheap and not nasty. This $11 glass didn't disappoint and went down a treat - nice and "crisp".

Dinner starts off with some freshly baked crusty bread that has been dusted with sea salt and served with Spanish olive oil.  After demolishing this we start our meal with BOCADILLO DE CHORIZO - grilled chorizo and padron sandwich ($7.00 each). This is all a  fancy way of saying "slider" (aka trendy, mini-hamburger). No matter what you call it, it  really is delicious. The chorizo is perfectly spicy and the Padron (pepper) is crisp + sharp enough in flavour to cut through the fatty chorizo.

Next up we have CALABACIN - zucchini filled with Crab served with Pea and Mint Gazpacho ($9.00 each).  These were fresh + tasty little morsels though a little pricey but I guess crab meat isn't the cheapest thing to come by.  I love the CIGARILLO DE QUESO - Goat’s Curd and Quince Cigar ($5.50 each) - when we tried it in Melbourne and it didn't disappoint this time. Sweet + super crispy quince cigar wrapped around lusciously creamy goats cheese = good stuff!

We had a few meaty dishes coming up as our main so a salad was in order and  the ENSALADA DE TOMATES - Heirloom Tomato Salad with Avocado, Pickled Cauliflower and Tempura White Anchovies ($18.50) - was a perfect choice to offset our meaty mains. I especially loved the zingyness of the pickled cauliflower and fresh, natural flavour of the heirloom tomatoes. And of course, you cannot go wrong with a serve of slightly salty anchovies.

The special of the night CONEJO - rabbit stuffed with chorizo + served with glazed shallots and turnips ($24.50) was a lovely dish that was surprisingly quite delicate in flavour.  I expected the flavour of the rabbit to be fairly strong and gamy, but it was actually very mild.  I liked that the chorizo was encased in tender minced meat rather than wrapped a "piece of meat" - I think this added to the lightness of the dish. Last up is the delicious COSTILLAS - Spicy Pork Ribs on Charcoal ($35.00) - there's nothing light or delicate about these tender, meaty and slightly salty ribs. Oh boy!

There's always room for dessert when you're sharing, right? We choose the special of the night - burnt orange ice-cream served with a rich chocolate brownie that had been embedded with dulce de leche ($14.50). Yes, it was as rich and decadent as it sounds!

Movida Sydney is at 50 Holt Street, Surry Hills. Phone them on 8964-7642.

MoVida Sydney on Urbanspoon

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