Tag Archives: sydney

Recipe 1: Yes it’s finally here a recipe on my blog

So it’s taken me awhile…2 years in the making but finally there is a recipe on my blog. Stop the applause…please…please…ok it’s just me clapping. Also known as a self-high five. Lame I know but hey it’s my blog. I thought for my first recipe on this blog I would do one dear to my heart. I grew up on this and it’s a beautiful memory (still happens so it’s also my reality). My dad comes home from work to a plate of hummus with carrots and celery lovingly prepared by my mum. The feminists out there might burn their bras over this BUT take it for what it is…a woman who loves her man. Without any further adieu….Mother Mary’s famous hummus recipe.

1 can of chickpeas (my mum uses dried chickpeas and soaks them overnight but I don’t have the patience)
1/4 cup lemon juice (taste to see if you want to add more)
1/4 cup hulled tahini (to save you from confusion in the health food aisle of Coles or Woolworths)
2 large garlic cloves minced (taste to see if you want to add more…the Khouri family way is
extra garlicky)
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
2 tbs Olive oil
2 to 3 tbs water (depending on consistency)
Dash of paprika

1. Combine the tahini and lemon juice in the food processor for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process for another 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl again.
2. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and salt to the food processor with the tahini and lemon juice mixture. Process for 30 seconds. Scrapes sides of bowl. Process for another 30 seconds.
3. Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid and then rinse well with water. For a smoother consistency remove the skins from the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas to the food processor. Process half the chickpea quantity at a time and process for a minute or two until thick and smooth.
3. Most likely the hummus will be too thick or have tiny pieces of chickpeas still so add two or three tablespoons of water until a smooth consistency.
4. To serve – spread on plate, squirt olive oil and sprinkle paprika or cumin.

Now all the above is not my mother’s recipe. Why? Because after years of practice she has mastered hummus and it is all by taste. I recommend getting the teaspoon out and tasting as you go to learn your garlic and lemon juice threshold. Mine is very high because garlic is almost in everything I ate growing up (still is) and with ample lemons thanks to the trees in the backyard I can handle sour. Now that I have moved to Sydney I miss having lemon trees. I am hoping to make a new friend in Sydney solely for the reason they have a lemon tree in their backyard.

So finally there is a recipe on my blog! Thank you for your patience. Now the image is below is what I prepared earlier. That was my first attempt when I accidentally forgot I was one person and made my hummus with 3 cans instead of the one. Also you might be worried about all those chickpeas and let’s face it the gas and bloating effect from it. Here is my mother Mary’s secret (not so secret because I’m about to tell you) to prevent this…cumin. Yes this powerful spice will aid in the chickpea digestion so put a generous teaspoon or sprinkle extra cumin over the hummus. You’ll thank me (my mum) later. Enjoy or as my family would say…sahtain.

Finally my mum' s famous hummus recipe!

Finally my mum’ s famous hummus recipe!

Treat 67: I can’t believe it’s been 2 months since my last treat!

It’s blogging time finally. Sorry for the delay in treats but I have a decent excuse. I just packed my bags and moved to the other side of the country. So the treats will take on a different flavour. You’ll hear me rave or rant about restaurants in my new home town of Sydney. In terms of ranting…price might not be one of them. I had brunch the other day including coffee…set me back $15. That’s double in Perth. Happy hour with half price drinks besides Carnegies on a Wednesday then you are dreaming. Besides eating out I’ll also post recipes (I actually mean it this time). My mum is an amazing cook but me I cook like my teta (grandma). I’m always in a rush. My problem is I cook when I’m hungry so I’ll eat along the way or rush so I can eat it sooner. However by living at home I became complacent. To quote a wise man (Hugh Jackman)…you can either stay complacent or grow. I decided to grow, not in height though that would be handy but in cooking ability and independence. For example, hummus is a staple of my house but not once did I attempt it. Why? Because my mum does an amazing job. When she tried to teach me it was in one ear and out the other. But I gave it a go and besides making too much (you only need one can not three for one person to last you a week). I made enough for a small army. So another challenge is cooking for one because I’m naturally engrained to cook bulk. Now I will use this post to talk food and not just update you on my life. Let’s talk one of my fave meals of the day…brunch. I alluded to it earlier when I was having my usual rant about Perth prices. My first brunch in Sydney was at Cowbell 808 in Surry Hills. I initially wanted to go to Bourke Street Bakery but at 11.30 on a Sunday I had no chance with the line bending around the corner. As you know I don’t wait (see Treat 44) My friend Patrick recommended Cowbell for its bacon ice cream…yep you heard right. How was it? Well I couldn’t tell you because they took it off the menu. I almost threw a tantrum like the 2 year old next to me. She too was obviously upset about the lack of bacon ice cream. Instead I got an egg and bacon wrap, which was delicious! The relish that went with yum! It was an alternative version of a bacon and egg roll…I was impressed. Their version of shashuka also looked a stand out. I say looked because I was eye dropping the table next to me. It was a couple on a date and the girl got the bigger meal. I was proud of her. My friend Alisha opted for the traditional scrambled eggs on toast. Just a couple negatives…table numbers were a bit disorganised. There were three table 13s, which became 13 1/2 and 13 3/4 by the end of it. The food was slow to come out but in Cowbell’s defence the place was heaving. We were lucky to get a table straight away. All in all this was a fine introduction to the Sydney brunch scene. I’ll continue searching high and low for the best brunch in Sydney. Tuck Shop and Sayers jointly took out the title in Perth. So watch this space…

Good news…I have upgraded to an iPhone 5. No more dark and blurry photos.
Bad news…I’m so out of touch that I forgot to take a photo.

Cowbell 808 on Urbanspoon

Treat 52: I am home

When I go to Sydney I feel at home. I’m a city girl at heart and I feel at ease among the frenetic pace, busy roads and huge buildings. On my December visit to Sydney I drove for the first time and I was surprised at how comfortable I was behind the wheel. There were moments of nervousness and panic especially on the narrow Parramatta roads. Then there was the time where we tried to avoid a toll on the way to Brighton Le Sands and added forty minutes to the trip. This actually has nothing to do with what I’m about to treat about, I just wanted to boast about my driving. What I did want to talk about is Home Thai restaurant on Sussex St in the Sydney CBD, which I was hinting at in the first sentence. As a frequent Sydney traveller I now have favourite dining spots including Home Thai, Marigold, Max Brenners, Wow Cow frozen yoghurt and the Winery. Ok some spots are chains but you will find me there at least once while I’m in Sydney. I first was introduced to Home Thai back in 2009 and have gone back a few times now. My first impression was how busy the place was, there was a constant line but the food service is so fast that you are sitting in no time. Another cool thing was that they took your orders from iPads, which back in 2009 was quite a novelty before everyone had them (and when I say everyone I don’t mean me because I’m a late adopter). On my recent trip in December 2012, I had just come from a Thai weekend binge in Perth (see Treat 48: Thai time). This is when I had my first papaya salad experience. However, the papaya salad in Home Thai was probably too authentic for us with the black crab leg pieces confusing the cousins and me. Do you eat them? Nat’s friend So-Fun answered this for us, yes you do. The sweet and sour combination also wasn’t as palatable as Saowanee’s Place in North Perth. It was overdosed in fish sauce. Now I’ve tried to make this tasty sweet and sour sauce and have struggled getting the right balance. So I can totally understand with the frantic pace of Home Thai that in the rush extra fish sauce contaminated the balance. Here am I complaining about my favourite Thai restaurant in Sydney, in a way it’s my way to discourage you going so that the place doesn’t get busier than it already is. The other two dishes ordered, the pad thai and the fried rice were hands down amazing. The plates were scraped clean. Packed with delicious vegetables, seafood and chicken we were in food heaven. I also remember fondly of a prawn curry dish here. I am envious of the workers in Sydney’s CBD who can go there on their lunch break. It’s definitely worth making Sydney a home just for Home Thai (another bonus is Max Brenners – I can’t wait to treat about my quirky brunch there).


Not the best papaya salad - too fishy and the crab legs scared me.

Not the best papaya salad – too fishy and the crab legs scared me.

Fried rice yummy yummy

Fried rice yummy yummy

Home Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Treat 6: Sydney food hits the spot again and again and again

I thought long and hard about this next treat and realised one treat was not enough for the number of treats I have experienced in the last 5 days in Sydney.  In the lead up to this food journey I read the Sydney Morning Herald religiously, examined their Good Food Guide, ripped pieces of newspaper out and then lost those papers and forgot to print out my list of places but still we had so much to do and eat without any of it.  Here is my number 1 tip when dining in Sydney – BOOK! Book weeks in advance, take the time to enjoy that meal at a leisurely place and feel confident that you will get good service.  So here begins the first treat at Billy Kwongs where to my absolute surprise and sheer delight I saw Chef Kylie Kwong cooking in the kitchen.  She actually was there cooking my dinner – why I was so surprised I do not know.  I think celebrity chefs sometimes become famous for their books and TV shows that you forget where they all started -in the kitchen.  So what did I expect from this restaurant with a no bookings policy (please ignore my previous advice) to line up in the rain, luckily for once in my life I was on time and was third in line before the restaurant even opened.  The restaurant is very small and you sit on small stools, which for an uncoordinated person like me wasn’t the ideal setting.  Throughout the night I dropped my chopsticks, almost toppled the table over while picking up my chopsticks, almost hit a plate out of a waiters hand while I spoke in my animated way with hands and all – so yes I found it challenging to leave their without a damage bill against my name.  Let’s get to the food – well I couldn’t read the specials, I guess Kylie has better knife skills than handwriting but no fear the waitress was used to this and explained the specials.  One of them was a crispy skin duck with tangelo sauce.  One word for you – divine!  The cinnamon flavours and burst of tangelo freshness was like a party in my mouth.  The duck was perfectly cooked and succulent – wow! It was definitely the highlight of the meal.  The vegetarian dumplings were nice but fairly pedestrian – same same to ones I’ve had in dim sum experiences except different for one word – Biodynamic.  So this word pops up a lot in Kylie’s menu, to reduce carbon footprints by using locally produced ingredients (that’s what the menu said).  However, to this day I still have no idea what biodynamic food actually means and have had no time to Google it as yet. The other dish we ordered was a plate of Asian greens and noodles but again it didn’t have that Xfactor like the duck but the noodles did have the xo factor (it had xo sauce aka hot sauce).  Overall my hat goes off to Kylie for:
A. Being in the kitchen and cooking the food.
B. For being environmentally friendly even though I may not yet appreciate what biodynamic means
C. For making the best crispy duck I have eaten.
D. For fantastic service and encouraging us not leave any polite pieces of the poached pear and awesome crunchy praline crumble dessert.
I will definitely return because I left my $3 umbrella there so I need to pick it up.  Oh and to eat the crispy duck again.

Billy Kwong on Urbanspoon