One day late, we celebrated BK’s birthday at Duck & Waffle, a recommendation form my friend ZD. One of the few high rises in downtown London, we were treated to great views of the city as we met A & L in the bar for pre-dinners cocktails.
And with a menu set up for sharing we were able to try lots of different dishes…
first up, crispy pig ears, served in a brown paper bag:
Spicy Ox Cheek doughnut:
Violet Artichoke & Parmesan bread:
Wild Cornish Pollock Meatballs:
Smoked Mozzarella Salad:
and of course, the iconic duck & waffle:
Dessert, fancy French toast essentially 🙂
Everything was really good – I think the pig ears, ox tail doughnut and octopus were the top three for the table, but no bites were left behind on any plate. Happy birthday BK!
Cheers to good friends!
yep, they even have ham-flavored potato chips in Spain so of course BK had to trythem. Not terrible, but you wouldn’t need a larger bag…
an unexpected find on our tapas crawl last night, a modern take on tapas featuring molecular gastronomy. Since we were already a couple bars in we didn’t partake of all the options, but the ones we had were awesome.
First was a piece of cod being smoked on a grill. after a minute we were supposed to put the fish on the crostini which had a sweet onion puree on it. So good! Alongside was a test tube of liquid salad.
Next up was the dish that had enticed KF into the bar – a smoking rose colored shot glass with something on top – KF thought it was shrimp. It was sweetbreads. Still good and cool presentation:
Lastly BK & JF got carne while KF & I got postre. BK’s solomillo consisted of a rare pice of steak and a piece of foie alongside
Mine looked like a fried egg, but was actually a lemon cream with a passionfruit yolk and a spongecake alongside to soak it all up – yum!
Awhile ago my parents gave us a gift certificate to Hipcooks and we finally put it to use for a Moroccan cooking class – I always try to be more adventurous at cooking classes to really learn something new, and this menu looked pretty yummy. Plus we have a tagine we received for our wedding that we haven’t used yet, so we were hoping this class might inspire us a bit!
There were 12 people in the class and chores got divvy’ed up around the group – first up for everyone was picking parley leaves off their stems for our parsley salad and grinding up spices. Added to the salad later was red onion and a simply vingrette – it was good, but a lot of parsley.
Along side the parsley salad we ate Bastiya – a Moroccan spice pastry with beef and/or lamb, cinnamon, raisins and pine nuts. We made the filling, then rolled the mixture up into phyllo triangles to bake. These were yummy – it seemed weird to top a savory meat dish with some powdered sugar, but it worked!
Our main course was Tagine of chicken with melting onions, saffron, preserved lemon and green olives over cous cous. Because of the large group we could this in a giant oven-proof pan versus a traditional tagine. the saffron gave it a great color, and we used the liquid from the dish in the cous cous as well to give it extra flavor. The preserved lemons were a nice touch and BK already has a couple jars of his own stewing in one of our cabinents now that he knows how to make them 🙂
Dessert was the one item I was a bit leary about but it turned out delicious: Beet, olive oil and spice cake. Its even gluten free! You barely taste the beets and I loved all the cardamom we put in it. Alongside the cake we had Poached apricots stuffed with mascarpone and pistachio.
Delicious date night!
When Tom & Bette visited Sydney their favorite dinner was at an Italian joint, Beppi’s, which has been a Sydney Institution since 1956. For Christmas they treated us to dinner at Beppi’s and luckily the restaurant was just re-opening from their holiday break as we arrived in the city.
They sat us in the wine cellar, and kicked things off with some bruschetta and a Barbera:
Then we shared a couple appetizers: Fiori di Zucchine Ripieni con Ricotta e Funghi Porcini – Home grown Zucchini flowers with a ricotta, basil and Porcini Mushroom filling and Ravioli di Zucca – Ravioli filled with roasted pumpkin & amaretti served with burnt butter & parmesan:
The squash blossoms were nice and piping hot. The ravioli pasta was perfectly made but the filling needed a little kick.
For mains, BK got the Filetto di Vitello alla griglia con Burro Tartufato e Funghi Porcini – Veal fillet grilled and served with truffled butter, porcini mushrooms and potatoes roasted in duck fat:
while I chose one of my favorite fishes from a previous, Barramundi: Filetto di Barramundi Selvatico alla griglia con Peperonata – Barramundi Fillet grilled and served with Peperonata, mint & garlic
We also shard some cauliflower:
and finally for dessert we shared the Crespelle con Fragole liquore D’Arancio alla Fiamma $20
Crepes with strawberries & Grand Marnier flambé – fire!
A delicious way to celebrate our big vacation AND the fifth anniversary our first date 🙂 Thanks Tom & Bette!
Yesterday we did a lunchtime cooking class at the Auckland Seafood Market which was super fun.
First they gave us a glass of wine and then we watched a demo of what we would be making from renowned chef John Campbell (he was the Exec chef of the America’s Cup when the Kiwis hosted).
On the menu today was Salt & Pepper Prawns with a citrus mayo and Seafood Risotto. After the demo we were sent into the kitchen to recreate it on our own!
We got partnered up with a couple funny ladies from Tauranga, a couple hours away. They tackled the risotto while we took on the prawns. Making mayo from scratch is hard! whew, our arms were tired from whisking.
The end result of both were delicious though!
For our last dinner in NZ, we scouted the Harbor area of Auckland and picked what seemed to be a popular spot, Soul Bar and it turned out to be a good choice. Their cocktails were great and the food delish. First some bread:
Then we shared the Kingﬁsh tostada, fresh herbs, ﬁsh sauce vinaigrette, toasted peanuts:
and the South Island whitebait fritter, lemon butter sauce (more like an omlette, the most disappointing dish of the night):
Next was Grilled snapper, green papaya, coriander and mint salad, mango dressing, toasted peanuts:
Cauliﬂ ower and cumin fritters:
and our fave dish of the night, Blackened hapuku with marinated tomatoes and almond skordalia: