Monday, 2 March 2009


So this is a Bacon, Rocket, Avocado & Tomato with EGG Sandwich which I pulled together awhile back; made more perfect by a good dusting of grinded black pepper on top. Once assembled, eat up. It's definitely one of the easiest and tastiest things to make with some very simple ingredients. (For a healthier alternative, substitute white bread with grain bread and choose a leaner cut of bacon). Enjoy!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

waqu @ pacific highway, crows nest

We were originally thinking of doing a Valentine's Day double date at Waqu but after seeing that the price had inflated on the day from it's usual $55 for a 5 course menu, we ended up heading over there on a Black Friday. I almost fell out of my seat at work and rolled around on the floor in laughter when Em goes to P, 'Make sure you book early in case they tell you that Friday's full and that "Why don't you try our Valentine's Day menu on Saturday?"' Fortunately, we were lucky and got our Friday booking.

It's hard to miss Waqu - it's just opposite New Orleans Cafe at the intersection. There's parking at the Woolworths carpark but if you're intending on a longer dinner, you're better off driving around the side streets and look for all day free parking. We ended up finding a spot a couple of streets away - it's a bit of a walk but if you're having a degustation dinner, it actually isn't too bad.

Course 1: Amuse (Spicy soft shell crab taco, asparagus flan with prosciutto creme, sliced wagyu beef rolls). You're encouraged to eat the taco with your hands and arguably, the taco is the best out of the three.
Me & Em.
Course 2: Sashimi (Ocean trout and kingfish sashimi carpaccio, lemon mustard soy sauce, ume-shu jelly). The jelly was interesting, the sashimi not as fresh as we would like and disappointingly, the heavy taste of mustard seemed to be hiding the fact that the sashimi was not very fresh.
Course 3: Entree - choose from a selection of 3. I went for the Roasted Duck Udon (Roasted duck, ina-niwa udon noodles, steamed seasonal vegetables, sweet soy sauce). I love duck!
J goes for the Grilled Kingfish (soy and mirin marinated kingfish fillet, lime ginger sauce, dashi braised white radish). J wasn't a big fan of this one - the kingfish was overcooked and dry.
P chooses the Scallop Galett (lightly fired steamed scallop cake, sauted prawns and shimeji mushroom, edamame bean sauce). We had fun trying to work out what the red strands were. I ended up asking the waitress and now I've completely forgotton what it was!
Course 4: Main - again, choose from a selection of 3. I went for the Spatchcock (Cooked two ways; grilled and confit, yukari mashed potato, daikon and mizuna salad, barley-miso vinaigrette). P had this one too and was very amused that he was ordering 'the cock'.
J goes for the Beef Tenderloin Steak (red wine sauce, slow cooked potato, shiitake mushroom, cha-mame beans). I recommend this one - it is so tasty!
Course 5: Dessert. Dessert was chocolate cake, Ice Cream and a Green Tea Panacotta. Loved the combination and could eat serves and serves of this.
P shows us one of his many tricks.
All smile!

It was a reasonably speedy degustation - as soon as one course was cleared, the next course would arrive quite promptly. They made sure that everyone at the table had finished before they cleared (which I think is very polite and shows courtesy to a table). The atmosphere was pleasant (it was full house that night but the noise level was manageable - I love the way their tables are laid out - it leaves plenty of space between tables so that you're not listening to next table's conversations; I really hate that). 

And yes, definitely a bargain on a normal day. Not so sure about the more expensive menu on Valentine's Day (even if it does have an extra course). And FYI: their autumn degustation menu is out for those that are keen.

the ultimate greek salad

I've never been a big fan of greek salad (largely the olives) but will nonetheless eat it if it's in front of me. Surprisingly, it ended up being the recipe that I chose to bring to Jo's dinner get together. She'd asked if I could bring a salad and well, being quite the Nigella addict at the moment, my first point of call was flick through 'Forever Summer' and pull out this recipe. And well, I had a block of feta in the fridge and it seemed like I had most of the other ingredients that the recipe required.

This recipe substitutes cucumber with fennel. Nigella claims that the usual cucumber causes this salad to become a soggy mess - the fennel was interesting; it was crisp although I can't say that I'm most fond of the taste, I still prefer cucumber. 
The red onions were left to soak in the olive oil dressing for about 2 hours in the fridge. And Nigella is absolutely right, after about 2 hours, the red onion has lost it's sharpness and is much easier on the palate.

The three of us that were at dinner gobbled our way through the salad. I don't think any of us had a preference for Greek salad (again the olives) but the recipe itself seems to work wonders - once all the flavours are combined, you seem to just eat it all together. Anyway, adding this one to my tried and tested recipes; definitely one to make again.