Adriano Zumbo’s Australia Day pop-up

One of my favourite memories of childhood in Australia was the occasional pastry treat from the school tuckshop.

I don’t think that the same pastries are available in today’s healthy school canteens. Instead of yoghurt and carrot sticks with hummus, back in my day our tuckshop was stocked with deliciousness in the form of beloved Australian treats like finger buns (a sweet, sultana-dotted bun topped with pink icing, preferably slathered with butter inside), lamingtons (cubes of soft sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and rolled through desiccated coconut), and custard tarts (with the mandatory sprinkle of nutmeg).

Zumbo Australia Day popup

For Australia Day, select Adriano Zumbo stores have turned into Fluffy’s Aussie Bakery popups. Zumbo has given our favourite treats his own twist. Gone is the bright yellow, firm custard of the vanilla slices of yesterday, and hello creamy, proper vanilla custard ($6).

Adriano Zumbo Australia Day popup - vanilla slice

There are also a few twists on the traditional lamington, including a double chocolate lamington and a salted caramel one, which was more like a cube of caramel mud cake with caramel fudge rather than the light as air sponge that I remember ($4).

Adriano Zumbo Australia Day popup - salted caramel lamington

There are also other goodies such as neenish tarts, cream buns, pavlova, jam rolls, and hamburger pies. Fluffy’s Aussie Bakery popup is at Zumbo’s Rozelle and Waverley patisseries until Australia Day, the 26th of January.

Adriano Zumbo Fluffy's Aussie Bakery popup

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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Taste testing at Eveleigh Farmers’ Markets

Like any good foodie city, Sydney has loads of great farmers’ and growers’ markets that pop up all over the place on the weekend. One of the most popular is the Eveleigh Farmers’ Market, which is on every Saturday morning from 8am.

In the past, this part of Eveleigh was a huge railyard, where Sydney’s suburban trains went to sleep at night. All the big sheds are still around, with most of them being converted to exhibition and conference facilities. This bustling little market stands still in the original rustic, style compared to the other shiny, renovated buildings around it.eveleigh marketseveleigh markets

There are lots of stalls selling a rainbow of fresh veggies and fruit, pastries and bread, colourful blooms, olive oils, cheeses, and even whole lambs. I couldn’t help but linger at the Eumundi Smokehouse stall to ogle at all their fresh and smoked sausages. The owner has been driving down from Eumundi, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, to the markets in Sydney every week for something like 15 years!  That’s dedication.eveleigh marketseveleigh marketseveleigh marketsOne of the things that the markets is known for is the pork buns at the Billy Kwong stall.  We catch a glimpse of chef Kylie Kwong manning the bun steamers, and wait patiently with scores of others for our steamed buns, topped with a dollop of scarlet red chilli sauce. The pork was sweet and very tender, and the bun itself was also sweet and soft. This meant that it felt like we were eating bite after bite of soft, sweet mush. Not bad, but probably a bit overrated.eveleigh markets pork bun

A much more successful tasting was a delicious steak sandwich, from which stall I forget now, as well as the cut of steak. I must have blissed out in beefy goodness. The steak was juicy and tender, with a lovely beefy flavour. The stall owners were also more than happy to load up my sandwich with more sweet, caramelised onions on request.eveleigh markets steak sandwichUnfortunately for us, we were on the motorbikes heading down to Wollongong for a day ride, which meant we weren’t able to stock up on goodies.  Oh well, an excuse to go back again another time!

 

Cronuts – the new pastry craze

Sydney is a long way from New York, where Dominique Ansel started the cronut craze. His bakery in Soho has pastry fiends queuing at dawn for a sample of the half-croissant, half-donut creation.

A few high profile outlets here in Australia have brought out their own interpretations, including Adriano Zumbo’s zonut and Movida’s dossant. Although I’ve been curious about the hype, I clearly wasn’t curious enough to make a special effort to try either of these.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I stumbled across cronuts at Pierre’s Patisserie & Cafe in Turramurra.

I first tried their cronut a few weeks back and, in an instant, I was in bliss. Layers of light, flaky, crisp, golden pastry, with a creamy, vanilla custard sandwiched in the middle, dusted with icing sugar – as soon as the White Russian arrived at the cafe, I demanded he get one straight away because, damn, he didn’t know what he was missing!

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Today, on our way up the coast, we made a pit stop at the cafe to satisfy our cronut urges. The memory of our first cronut experience had been relived many times over during the last few weeks and we could not wait to indulge in another.

Perhaps that first experience will forever remain hard to beat, kind of like your first ever kiss, but today’s cronut was not as good. The pastry was still golden and flaky, but there was a heavier, greasier taste this time.

Despite this slight disappointment, it’s still a worthwhile trip to get a taste of this latest craze.

A long lunch at Ormeggio

When I called up to book a table at Ormeggio at The Spit, the host asked me, “is this for a special occasion?”, to which I replied, “oh, just lunch!”

Winter in Sydney is nothing like the winters I experienced in London, and with the latest run of sunny weather, a lunch at Ormeggio overlooking the yachts moored at The Spit was the perfect way to spend a Sunday lunch.  A special occasion indeed!

The White Russian and I decided to treat ourselves to the 8-course emozioni degustation with matching wines ($105, or $189 with matching wines).  We had even made the journey to the restaurant by public transport so that we could indulge without guilt or danger to fellow motorists.  Before we launched into lunch, we were perusing the cocktail list for an aperitivo, and our host recommended a negroni, which is a cocktail comprising of gin, vermouth, and Campari.  The first taste was a hit of bitterness, but it had a nice, dry finish that sufficiently whetted the appetite.

negroni

ormeggio at the spit snacks

ormeggio at the spit sourdough breadLunch was a lovely slow and scenic journey through a range of flavours and cooking styles, with some leaning towards classic Italian and others more a fusion of Modern Australian.  There was octopus cooked sous vide at 85C for 4 hours, a Flinders Island wallaby buttata (or tartare), and tortelli filled with wonderfully smokey burnt eggplant.

ormeggio at the spit octopus

ormeggio at the spit wallaby

ormeggio at the spit tortelli

ormeggio at the spit risotto

ormeggio at the spit mulloway

ormeggio at the spit braised lamb

After admitting that the sourdough bread was our downfall (we just couldn’t stop after that first taste of warm, crusty bread slathered with freshly churned sour butter), we were full to the brim before the dessert courses arrived.  However, it was hard to resist them when they came out, with the carrot sponge with fennel seed ice cream being our preferred choice over the pomegranate jelly served with frozen yoghurt on a dry rye biscuit.ormeggio at the spit carrot sponge

ormeggio at the spit pomegranate yoghurt

ormeggio at the spit carrot spongeFour hours after we arrived, we rolled out of the restaurant toward the bus stop, satisfyingly full, content, and sobered up after the ratio of food to wine finally swung back in favour of the former.  The service was spot on attentive, knowledgeable, and always friendly, and made it a relaxed and enjoyable Sunday lunch.

Ormeggio at the Spit on Urbanspoon

Birthday lunch at Jonah’s, Whale Beach

I recently turned 33, spending my birthday camping in the northern beaches of Sydney.  Besides an incident with a tent pole flying out of the ground and hitting me in the forehead (massive lump ensued – thank god for beer eskies close at hand full of ice!), it was a memorable event with the White Russian taking me out for a birthday lunch at Jonah’s at Whale Beach.

We had their Sunday 3-course set menu, starting off with cocktails to celebrate the occasion, all overlooking the stunning Pacific Ocean coastline on a blue bird day.

Jonah's Whale Beach appetiser

Jonah's Whale Beach lychee and raspberry cocktail

Jonah's Whale Beach North Atlantic scallops

Jonah's Whale Beach Redgate Farm partridge

Jonah's birthday lunch

Jonah's Whale Beach Blue Eyed trevalla

Jonah's Whale Beach

Jonah's Whale Beach vanilla mille-feuille

Jonah's Whale Beach cheese platter

Jonah's Whale Beach happy birthday petit fours

My Redgate Farm partridge in particular was delicious, with deep and rich earthy flavours, and the light-as-air, flaky vanilla mille-feuille was a satisfying finish to the meal.

Jonah's on Urbanspoon