Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Hello Sushi.

Friday, February 28th, 2014

I am trying hard to be accepted into a group of elite. This group isn’t about money or social status. No, something far more valuable and important. FOOD. I recently met the dude in charge of Yelp (an online review website for restaurants, bars, shops and services) in Manchester and he has encouraged me to write reviews of places I eat/visit in exchange for potential free food eating opportunities. Basically if I write enough reviews of places in Manchester, I will be invited into the Yelp Elite and be invited to attend amazing food events.  It wasn’t a hard sell.

On Monday I was fortunate enough to be invited to the February Elite event as a taster of good things that could come my way. A small Japanese restaurant, Umezushi, was booked for just the Elite and we were served an amazing meal of small dishes accompanied by a range of sakes. I spent most of Monday thinking about my evening ahead and arrived full of anticipation – I was not disappointed.

The head chef, Terry, talked to us about each dish and each of the sakes we were served, moving from the lowest grade sake to the highest. Each sake had a distinctively different flavour – some far more floral than others. I think most of us voted for the first drink as the most enjoyable – a plum flavoured sake served as a kir-like cocktail with sparkling rosé wine. We all wanted more.

Cheers!

Cheers!

The food was astonishingly good. Tempura vegetables and white bait were followed by tempura seaweed with wasabi fish roe. We had fish wrapped around rice, octopus with seaweed salad, and sushi rolls. I was a little concerned about the sushi factor as a sushi eating experience that I had at primary school in 1994 has completely destroyed my ability to eat and enjoy seaweed wrapped rice. I went to Umezushi with the intention of eating and trying everything and when the sushi was presented I went in with guns blazing and a desire to enjoy what I was eating. IT WAS AMAZING! Such fantastic fresh ingredients and beautifully presented – my taste buds were overwhelmed by the wonderful flavours. I have been officially converted into a sushi eater and I am so happy about this fact. Exciting sushi eating times ahead for me!

 

Who knew that seaweed, fish roe and wasabi could taste SO GOOD?

Who knew that seaweed, fish roe and wasabi could taste SO GOOD?

Mmm.. raw fish...

Mmm.. raw fish…

The octopus was a little chewy for my liking but that seaweed salad was amazing.

The octopus was a little chewy for my liking but that seaweed salad was amazing.

I love sushi.

I love sushi.

The final sake was a rich, plummy flavour and it was served with a wonderfully dark and rich chocolate fondant. You may have learnt by now that I am a chocolate fondant snob – I know what I like and what makes for a chocolate fondant failure. I didn’t have high expectations as we were eating japanese and not in a fine dining French restaurant. So imagine my pure delight when the fondant was crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle and the perfect balance of richness and sweet. Perhaps it was the large amount of sake that I had consumed but I was a very happy girl.

Chocolate-fondanty-goodness

Chocolate-fondanty-goodness

Our evening ended with a local artist, Naomi, talking us through making origami frogs and rabbits. We all sat with our tongues poking out the sides of our mouths as we tried to work out what folds we were supposed to make next. The end result were some very cute mini-paper-animals that we all proudly took home to show our mums.

It's a rabbit!

It’s a rabbit!

It's a frog!

It’s a frog!

I hope I will be accepted into the Elite club – not just because of the free food but eating and writing about my food experiences is something that I just love doing. Food is something to celebrate and it is so wonderful to find a group of people who feel the same way as I do about experiencing new restaurants and discovering new flavours. Time to get reviewing!

Eating With Angels

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The month of May brought numerous visitors to Paris so I have had lots of opportunities to go and eat food. Always a welcome thing in my world where food rules. This month also involved four public holidays – May Day, Victory Day, Ascension Day, and ‘Next Monday’ (I am yet to discover what we are going to celebrate.) Public holidays in Paris usually mean that most shops and restaurants are closed, including my favourite restaurant in Paris, Le Jardin D’en Face. This meant I had to find a NEW place to take my friend/colleague, Brett to celebrate Jesus going to hang out with his Dad.

I previously spotted a restaurant on La Fourchette that looked nice and decided it was time to try it. Located in the 9th arrondissement, La Table des Anges (The Table of the Angels) is just up the road from my favourite café, KookaBoora and therefore couldn’t be bad. Now that I think about it, it was an appropriately named restaurant to go to considering the theme of the public holiday.

The restaurant was lovely – the very friendly but somewhat posh staff were attentive without being excessive and were very willing to translate their strangely difficult menu. Sometimes menus can be easy – other times they are written by someone who wants to use every possible ‘other’ word for chicken, just to make it tricky for innocent people like me.

The food was great – fresh, well presented and tasty, although it was a bit over priced compared to similar restaurants in the area. I had a piece of grilled cod that was served with deliciously buttery vegetables. The fish was slightly undercooked and could have done with an extra minute.

Table des Anges fish

Such delicious vegetables.

My dessert, an apple and rhubarb tart tatin was well done although I have had better. The rhubarb was a nice change from the traditional tart tatin but it could have done with more fruit.

Apple tart

If there is one thing I hate it is ice cream melting on top of my dessert...

Brett tried the chocolate dessert which was mousse-cake-thing that really didn’t quite reach expectations. A shame considering I had been thinking about Le Jardin D’en Face’s chocolate cake all day… really there is no comparison.

Brett commented on how in the two restaurants we went to during his visit (we also had lunch at Les Enfants Perdu a few days before. Just wonderful…) both provided us with great service and special additions that weren’t requested or expected but that added to the overall enjoyment of the meal. At La Tables des Anges, we were treated to a free helping of freshly sliced charcuterie for an aperatif and an apple liquor at the end to ‘aid sleeping’. It is the simplicity of these offerings that just make the whole experience.

Going South

Monday, February 20th, 2012

I appear to have reached a stage in my life where everyone is getting married or at least announcing their engagement, although I am trying to ignore this fact because I am definitely not old enough for this to be happening. Gosh no. I’m practically a teenager.

I spent this past weekend in Denmark, five-ish hours south of Perth, celebrating the marriage of my friends Danielle and Ryan. The weekend was lovely as I caught up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while, drank plenty of good wine (yes, Australian wine IS good, all of you French-wine-is-the-best-snobs), and ate lots of good food. I got a bit teary eyed watching my beautiful friend, Dan, walk down the aisle and become a Mrs. It appears Paris may have made me a romantic after all.

One of the highlights of the weekend was dinner with my friends Velia and Alex at Pepper & Salt, a restaurant attached to the Mathilda’s Estate winery. The food, while priced at your now average Perth prices (i.e. ridiculous), was absolutely delicious with locally sourced ingredients and an interesting mix of flavours. I had pink snapper that was lightly battered with a hint of lemon myrtle, homemade chips and a decent salad. This satisfied my craving for fish and chips while being light and not horribly greasy.

Fish and chips from Pepper & Salt

Fancy fish and chips.

The highlight of the meal was dessert (of course). You can imagine my extreme excitement when our lovely waiter described our dessert options and said the words “Flourless, dark chocolate torte with pepper and chilli”. HOLY MOLY. It was good. It was dark, rich and the pepper made the chocolate buzz. It was served with a piece of chocolate through which were crunchy chucks of pepper. The berries served on the side had been stewed in what I presumed was port and added another dimension to the dish. I was extremely satisfied and very happy to wash it down with a rich, bold Shiraz from the Mathilda’s vineyard.

Chocolate torte

Chocolate and spice

Pepper & Salt Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Mackerel in Maine

Monday, September 12th, 2011

A very quick post just to inform you of my brilliant fishing skills. We are currently in Georgetown, Maine, visiting my second cousin and her family. The past few days have involved a fair amount of fishing as this area of the world is fishing heaven. Tom is beside himself. However, today while out on the boat we fished for mackerel and before starting Tom and I declared it was a competition to see who could catch the most (it started off as the biggest but all the fish were about the same size so it turned into quantity over quality.) Final score? Tom: Two. Marijke (my second cousin): Two. Me: Eight.

In other news, we eventually made it to the airport in New York to catch our flight (Tom got stuck in a water-clogged underground for a while) which was then delayed and then cancelled for a second time as we were sitting on the plane being told the safety instructions. The crew had clocked off the number of hours they’re allowed to do and decided to tell us when we were already on the plane. We were going to have to wait until the next day to fly but then they decided that another crew flying in on another plane could take us so we had to get off the plane, wait for the new crew to prepare the plane (again), get back on, be re-told the safety instructions and then finally it took off. We were supposed to leave New York on our original flight at 3.30pm. We actually left at midnight. We weren’t very impressed. Tomorrow we are placing a lot of hope and trust into Delta once again to deliver us back to New York in time for us to transfer airports and then fly to Paris. If they fail I will be REALLY REALLY MAD.

So hopefully next time you hear from me I will be very sleepy but in Paris, waiting for my brother to arrive.

Six Months in Paris

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I have been extremely slack with my updates lately. I have been busy working though… that in itself is a story but one for another time. Monday marked the six-month point of Tom and my stay in Paris. As I said when we reached five months, this isn’t exactly a good thing. But I have started thinking more realistically about what I can do next year and there are ways for me to stay in Paris next year – I just may not be able to work. I’m sure Tom will have a high-paying CEO job by then so he can support me. HA. I’m funny.

Anyhoo, to mark our six month moment, Tom and I went out for dinner. We spent about an hour scouring La Fourchette for a decent bargain meal and ended up picking a winner. We went to a restaurant called Le Muras, located not far from our place in the 11th arrondissement. The restaurant was in a very suburban area, surrounded by residential apartment blocks and it had a very ‘local’ vibe about it. The walls of the restaurant were painted bright red, yellow, blue and green and Tom was pleased that he got to spend the entire evening staring at a wall covered with a large image of a naked lady.

Le Muras

How French.

The owner of the restaurant welcomed us warmly and was a wonderful host for the entire evening. It was a relaxed and easy going place and clearly somewhere that people come back to regularly.

After being served complimentary homemade tapenade to nibble on while we worked out what we wanted to eat, I chose the salmon fillet while Tom couldn’t look past the words “Côte de boeuf” and “400g.” He has been missing his t-bone steaks and saw this as an appropriate opportunity to refill his system with a large slab of meat.

My salmon was delicious – perfectly cooked with a crispy skin and juicy flesh, it just melted in my mouth. It was served with what was originally described as a ‘white wine sauce’ but I think it was more butter than wine. Whatever it was, it was moorish and fatteningly awesome. The beans weren’t overcooked (MIRACLE!) and it was a light and extremely tasty dish.

Salmon

That's a good fish.

Tom was overjoyed with his beef and it fulfilled his dreams of meaty-goodness. I managed to score a bite; the meat was tender and not at all chewy like most French steaks and the pepper sauce was spicy and delicious.

Steak

That's meat.

For dessert Tom had the pannacotta with berry coulis while I chose a five-spice poached pear with home made vanilla ice cream. When I ordered the pear the owner of the restaurant informed me that it was “trés bonne” and I would have to agree. It was lightly spiced and matched perfectly with the ice cream.

Poached pear

It's (somewhat) healthy AND delicious!

Tom made “Oh wow” noises as he was eating his pannacotta, with one of the main highlights being the perfectly shaped and oh-so-sweet raspberries served on top. Berries in Europe are glorious. Yum.

Pannacotta

Look at those raspberries.

We left Le Muras feeling great – we have found another wonderful restaurant in Paris that I would happily return to. It is a great feeling when you find local restaurants that serve good food and have friendly and welcoming staff. It just shows that I haven’t completely wasted my six months here.

Sustainable Living

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

For Christmas, Tom’s dad gave us a two night stay in sustainable, eco-friendly accommodation that he had won at a sustainability fair a few months prior. With January being our last month in Perth, we  had to rush to fit it in before our departure and managed to sneak it in last weekend. One of the best yet weirdest parts about this accommodation is that it is located in South Fremantle so it was hardly a holiday far away from home.

Named the Painted Fish, it comprises three different accommodation types – two of which we sampled. The first night we stayed in a converted train carriage which had an outdoor bathroom. Yes, the toilet was outside which was fine apart from night time visits that required a torch and a thorough check for rats/spiders/cockroaches/frogs/etc. The outdoor bathroom was also located at the end of the entry pathway, so anyone who accidentally took the wrong way while looking for one of the other rooms would walk straight into our bathroom. Not really my cup of tea but as they say, new experiences are good for you and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Outdoor toilet

I guess it was somewhat private, but your legs stuck out beyond the walls when you sat down.

The second night we were in the studio which catered more for my toffee-nosed needs. a beautiful glass cottage, the studio considered of a kitchen and lounge on the lower level, bedroom on a mezzanine and an outdoor patio on the top level. It was very relaxing to sit upstairs and eat some cheese while looking out towards South Beach. We ventured back inside at night time as the one or two rats that had been building a nest in the wall cavity in the carriage the night before, also liked running up and down the tree next to the patio. I think they may have wanted to eat our cheese.

Studio

The studio lounge and kitchen area

The nature-friendly vibe of the place certainly brought out the wildlife with rats and insects living happily amongst the buildings. My personal favourite (and this isn’t sarcasm) were the frogs that were living in the large garden ponds. It was amazing! Growing up, I had motorbike frogs in my garden who would spend all summer moaning and calling to one another at night. The past few years the frogs have disappeared so I was overwhelmed with excitement as I arrived at the Painted Fish to hear the sweet sounds of motorbike engines. Tom and I went frog spotting on the second night and stood on the rocks in the middle of the pond, surrounded by groaning frogs. It was wonderful.

Sunday morning we strolled down to South Beach for a swim and Friday night we went to Missy Moo’s on South Terrace for dinner. The accommodation is definitely worth considering for visiting family and friends who want somewhere relaxing to stay. Make sure they like nature, frogs and outdoor toilets first (although the studio’s toilet was indoors, but it did have big french doors that opened straight into the garden for that “outdoor toileting feel”.)

Studio garden

Ponds! Frogs! HOORAY!

Stop Me

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I am so close to entering my credit card details and clicking “Yes please” for a very unnecessary but oh-so-great purchase. A few years ago I discovered Fortune Teller Miracle Fish – red, paper-thin, plastic fish that you place on the palm of your hand. They curl or twist or do a backflip and depending on their movement your fortune is revealed. They’re BRILLIANT! And I just found a supply of them on Etsy.

What am I going to do with 50 fortune telling fish? I wouldn’t have to worry about Christmas presents this year!

Fishing Adventures.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

My boyfriend loves fishing while I am less keen. I become very girly and don’t like touching any slime-coated objects such as bait, the hook remover, the actual fish. Pathetic and weak, I know. I accept this but it won’t make me change. I like goldfish swimming around in a tank and that’s about as far as my love for the scaled creatures go. Sure, I think they’re pretty and cute but I don’t have any inner desires to catch and eat them. But on the weekend while in Pemberton, my boyfriend planned a day of “Make Jess Do Things She Wouldn’t Normally Do.” Off to the trout farm we went.

King trout

King Trout Fish Farm

Fishing

Be very very quiet – we're hunting trout

It was great fun! There is more skill to fishing at a trout farm than I expected – I thought I would catch something on my first go but it took forever! The rules of the trout farm state that you keep what you catch at $18 a kilo so there is a risk of catching too big a fish and it being a very expensive day out. I’m quite certain I caught the biggest fish in the pond.

Trout

Introducing Sparky – King of the trout

Weighing in at 1.2 kilos I was quite impressed with my catch. I was even more impressed when Tom caught two teeny tiny fish that didn’t even compare in size.

Fish

Sparky and two inferior fish

The great thing about the trout farm is that you can pay a small fee for them to prepare the fish for you to take home and cook or they will cook them for you in their restaurant. We chose the latter option for Sparky and he turned into a delicious, although slightly overcooked, lunch.

Lunch

Mmm... delicious...

It was a bit burnt, sadly, but the meat was deliciously juicy.

Fish

Mmm... juicy goodness

It was a great way to spend the afternoon as any activity ending in delicious food win my vote.

Fish bones

The end.

Back.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Greetings friends! I have returned from my adventures to the southern lands of Western Australia and the ye olde wood-milling town of Pemberton. A great weekend was had. For those of you interested, you can see my photos on my flickr site. You can even watch me catch the world’s largest trout. For those of you less interested, stay tuned because I’m sure to write about Sparky on this blog very soon.

Time For a Holiday

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

While it feels like Christmas was just yesterday, Easter is upon us already. Today is the day when poor Jesus was hung on a cross and as a result we get to eat hot cross buns and fish. Yum! Saturday is the waiting day where we all feel bad for Jesus and then Sunday is when the Easter Bunny found Jesus in a cave and helped him escape. Here in Western Australia we love our public holidays and so we make up a religious holiday called “Easter Monday” – clearly the day that Jesus settled in to life with his Dad. That’s something to celebrate. The day that I was uncertain of but keep seeing advertised on a sign outside Christ Church in Claremont is Maundy Thursday. Some googling was required to find out the meaning of this and it is the day that Jesus and his apostles sat down and had a big meal. Now if there is any day to celebrate, it is that one. The rule could be that you have to sit and eat food ALL DAY. No one will have time to work because we’ll be too busy eating. The supermarkets and food suppliers would LOVE IT. Imagine the range of Maundy foods they could produce! Fairy floss to represent Jesus’s beard. Giant chicken legs that you have to eat with your hands. The last supper scene cast in chocolate. The options are endless. Plus who wouldn’t want to celebrate Maundy Thursday when it has such a great name!

I conducted a dictionary search for the word “Maundy” and came up with nothing apart from its connection to the great day. However, “maunder” is a verb meaning “to talk in a rambling manner”. This does make me wonder about the conversation that was had at that table back in Jesus’s time and clearly the food was good, the wine was even better.

I would like to apologise if I have offended anyone with my somewhat blasphemous talk about Jesus. I may not be a religious person but I do think Jesus was a good bloke and the source of some very good jokes. And this song: