The Food Bloggers Battle Royale Cook Off

Let the challenge begin! Those words “Cook Off” are still ringing in my ear, and I don’t think I am ready to face those words for quite some time. When there are food involved, it is almost effortless to get a group of food bloggers together for a dinner party, but with a twist. Ellie, Linda and I thought about having a dinner party but we also wanted to have a bit of fun instead of just another pot luck, so we decided to have a cook off because there is nothing better or more evil than putting everyone’s dish on chopping block to be judged and scored. But the real challenge lies within the ingredients and how to incorporate it into our dishes with only one rule – savoury dish must use “fruit”, and dessert must use “vegetable”. But of course the food bloggers are no quitters, it really brought the competitiveness out of everyone and ready to share our culinary skills. We make food, not war. But have to say, I was traumatised for one whole month trying to come up with a dessert that uses vegetable! I had my mind set on using eggplant as the vegetable in my dessert but not until the last minute when they ruled out most of the seeded-vegetables as fruits, including eggplant! Ridiculous! So I had to add an extra component to my dessert by using purple carrot to make it qualified. Ellie kindly offered her beautiful home to be the battle royale stadium, and the kitchen was already taken over by feisty food bloggers cooking away when I arrived....

The Salt Tasting Event – William Blue Restaurant, North Sydney, NSW

How many types of salt have you tasted? For me, I would say possibly two or three, until the day I found myself surrounded by chefs, salt purveyors and food writers all in one room, slowly curing ourselves like an aged meat with 15 different kinds of salt from all over the world. Big thanks to Helen (Grab Your Fork), Simon and I are invited to the Salt Tasting event at William Blue Restaurant, hosted by Fritz Gubler from Great, Grand & Famous group and food writer David Glynn. Salt is undeniably makes all food taste great. As much as I love food that is heavily flavoured with seasonings like salt, it can be extremely lethal for a hypertension (high blood pressure) sufferer and unfortunately I am one of them. That’s why I found this event is extremely interesting and educational to learn how to be “salt wise”. The event is held as part of the preparation for the forthcoming title, The Salt Book, to be published in March this year. We arrived at the William Blue Restaurant and welcomed by Mr Gubler himself, who seems to know everyone who walk through the door, admitted that he just read my blog that morning and complimented on my food photos. *~blush~* Why thank you. A straight line of saucers with 15 different type of salts are presented at each table ready for tasting. Apart from being ‘salty’, surprisingly each type of salt has its own flavour, intensity and characteristics. Today under Gubler’s guidance, we will be pairing the salts with a variety of food and learn about using the right...

Ramen Genki, Artarmon NSW

I used to work and live in Artarmon, so I know this area pretty well. Artarmon is a small suburb tucked in between Chatswood and St Leonards. There isn’t much going on in this suburb, but a small community of Koreans and Japanese who’s been living there has turned the little walkway under the train tunnel into a mini Japan. And yes, that’s where you should be heading to. In Japan, it is not uncommon to find salarymen having meals in the tiny shops tucked away under the railway lines. This walkway in Artarmon probably the closest you can experience a little Japanese culture. There is a sushi restaurant (Sushi Ya is another reputable restaurant), a ramen noodle shop, a japanese bookshop, two japanese grocery shops, and a Japanese pottery workshop. At Genki, there is a massive life-size ramen menu board to welcome you outside the shop. I stood there and looked at the menu for a good 5 minutes, being indecisive and not sure what to order from a huge list of ramen choices. I eventually settled with the Genki lunch set, that comes with either Shio (salt) or Shoyu (soy sauce) ramen, with a side of Gyoza dumplings. (I chosen the Shoyu ramen) Then we found a table and sat down, helped ourselves with some water from the dispenser machine provided. We are so used to buying soft drink along with our meal these days which is a bad habit. Water is free, and much healthier than the sugary drink, I seriously think the water dispenser machine is the best thing a restaurant could have. The restaurant...