29/08/2010

The Toby's Fish & Egg Burger Experience

I've been told by many about the greatness of Toby's and the must try Fish & Egg burger. Feeling a need to have something deep fried for brunch we trekked to Glen Eden for a fix. Boy, was I excited when I saw this:


My journey with the Fish & Egg burger making its way on my fave crave list...

A very happy customer!

I think I polished the burger in 10 minutes...

The burger hit the spot by having a runny egg + crispy battered fish in lightly toasted buns that tasted like fried bread. These are what cravings are made of!

We were also lucky enough to have a brunch show as the aunties working at the Glen Eden branch were pretty classic! One with a moko (face tattoo) who kept calling Ell "couz" and other patrons "bro"  - it was funny to hear them gossiping too! Chur aunties!

Elliot's massive brunch which he ate quite quickly too...fish and chip plus eggs (on top, no less)!

A trip to Toby's is definitely worth it. Remember, whatever you order ask for the eggs to be runny!

19/08/2010

Wine Tasting with Yalumba @ First Glass


My first wine tasting experience with one of Elliot's favourite Australian wineries, Yalumba and it was definitely a good one!

We arrived fairly early (for once!)as Ell got the time wrong - the tasting started at 7 but he thought it was at 6. But as we are in good ol' New Zealand, we got a glass of bubbly while we waited for everyone else to arrive.
Wine tasting is serious business here, we were given a clipboard  and a wine tasting form to put our thoughts down of each wine we taste that night.

Taking us on this wine tasting journey was Jane Ferrari, Winemaker, Communications. Friendly, unpretentious, fuss-free and approachable were my first impressions of Jane. She was everything that I thought a winemaker was not (I've not met many winemakers but I always thought they would be quite wanky and pretentious due to the industry). 

She starts the tastings by giving us a history of Yalumba and who Yalumba really is. Well, actually she walked into the room and started talking about her bunions being cut off and how she had new funky cowboy boots that actually fit! Also,the tattoos that went right up her thighs *okay, it really was much funnier when she said it, you had to be there* (See this is why I thought, wow, this is definitely gonna be a fun night!)

True to form, the 12 wines that were on tasting was of exceptional quality but the ones that really sparked my tastebuds were Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2007, Shiraz Viognier 2008, Patchwork Shiraz 2008, The Scribbler Cab Shiraz 2008, The Signature Cab Shiraz 2005, The Menzies Cab Sauv 2006 and last but not least The Octavius 2005. That's 7 out of 12 wines that I liked! Let's put it this way, at the end of the night, I had trouble deciding what I wanted and we ended up with a whole box of goodies 'cos we just couldn't decide *winks*


Jane definitely has a big personality that matches her wine passion. I wanted to sum up Jane as a wine from the tasting but decided she is a blend of all the wines we tasted and no one style can define her.

Peppered with Jane's comedic persona and her Sam Neil story - it was a very good night. 

Other scenes from the tasting:

Deciding which wine(s) to purchase...

With Jane and hopefully our Jeroboam wins! *fingers crossed* Even if we didn't get that, I hope we'll still get our Yalumba beanies! Right, Jane? :)

Elliot making sure he's got his years right to drink his 1998s

If you ever get a chance to go for a tasting with Jane, go for it! It's like going for a good night out with amazing wines and a very good stand-up comedienne with many stories and experiences to share (bonus!). 

Read about Jane Ferrari's trip to Auckland here.

You know it's a good night when everyone is happy like this and everyone is a friend...

Here's to more wine tastings in the future! Cheers! xxx

6/08/2010

CookingIn: RendangTerlagi-Lagi

Who doesn't love rendang? We all have a soft spot for rendang. My fondest memories of rendang is best shared with my friends at their homes made with love by their mothers/grandmothers! 

I think Hazreen can relate to this as I think I have been to his home for the past 5 years for Hari Raya and I've always stayed for a minimum 3 hours just eating his mother and sisters' lovely cooking!*Hazreen you still owe me some recipes!*

Rendang recipes are usually passed down through generations and it's sometimes hard to get exact measurements and cooking it becomes instinctive/gut feel.

Gung ho with my Malaysian cookbook, we decided to try out the Rendang Terlagi-lagi recipe. The explanation in the book say its called that because you always ask for more hence terlagi-lagi...

The amount of shallots, dried chillies, lemongrass, garlic and ginger that goes into this = BLOODY HARD WORK!

Good ol' premium NZ beef frying in the wok which I delivered from Malaysia (yes, all my cooking utensils arrived safely too!)

Simmering in the fresh grounded ingredients for about 4 hours...

As rendang tastes better after a few days (for the flavours to settle) we finally got a taste two days after - which was our big saturday brunch. Made fresh nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut cream) with fried ikan bilis (anchovies) AND of course the runny egg...om nom nom, I say!

Yeah, so it didn't turn out like the picture in the book (which was a redder version) but it was sure damn tasty. Verdict? I give it 9 out of 10 first attempt!

The beauty of rendang? It lasts for a few weeks and I we had 3 meals with it! It gets better every time!

Happy weekend ahead everyone! xoxo

2/08/2010

Sweetbread isn't really bread...!

I was never really told or exposed to the wonders of sweetbread before this meal. Also, because the boyf has a tendency to cook things and make me eat them first before telling me what it is!

So when I was told we were gonna have sweetbread, I thought he was gonna literally make bread....



And then I saw this thing that looked like a brain...I was like "oh dear..." So course I went for the less brainy-looking one - breadcrumbed sweetbread - and surprisingly it tasted pretty good~! The non-crumbed one tasted...like...organs (specifically powdery liver)-_- I preferred the crumbed sweetbread as it was less rich and iron/metallic tasting...


*Sweetbreads or ris are culinary names for the thyroid (throat sweetbread) and the thymus (heart or stomach sweetbread), especially of the calf (ris de veau) and lamb (ris d'agneau) (although beef and pork sweetbreads are also eaten).


Looks like brains to me...don't you think so?

Accompanied with apple sauce and some fresh rocket, it wasn't so bad...

Another one of my classic favourite is cauliflower and cheese (I guessed it was made in case I didn't like the sweetbread...) Nicely baked on top and creamy inside...yummmm...oh and organic baby carrots from our vege patch! super schweeeeeeeet!

Non-meat lovers can skip this bit as the main dish was white veal. Crumbed and accompanied with lots of mushroom and fried potatoes, it was a match made in heaven...

The meat was cooked to perfection...as soon as I put it in my mouth, the tender meat and the juicy, sweet flavours gave me goosebumps!

Accompaniments...Don't ask me what the wine was like because I'm better at remembering the meal than the wines! However, I did remember that the wine was very smooth (due to the age) as the tannins have mostly settled...

I think I might need to start adding wine reviews in here as most of my meals now come with a glass or two! Well, sometimes a bottle or two! xxx

Updated: My sommelier (aka the boyf) called me a philistine as I said above that I didn't know what I was drinking. So here's what we matched our meals with: Esk Valley Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 and Vidal Wines Soler Syrah 2004. Tasting notes will rear its head once in awhile in future blogs :)