Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Best Burger in London - MEATmarket

A new city, new turf to find the best burger. Just like everywhere else in the Western World, the Americana food fad is alive and well in the Mother Country. Above the insanity of Covent Graden, littered with its backpack-clad tour groups and street buskers, is the Jubilee Market Hall, and here lies MEATmarket. Although a Saturday, there is no large queue which is good, as I feel like I've run a marathon (I'm learning that commuting a mere few miles down the road in London leaves you feeling like you've run a marathon in high heels and a mini skirt, especially if you decide to exit Covent Garden tube station via all 193 stairs). 

MEATmarket is fun looking: bold and American. The menu has some more exotic burger choices (think halloumi and chilli) however, you know the drill if you are a regular reader of my blog, I must get the cheeseburger possibly with bacon, as it's my control. 

As I pick up the burger to unwrap it, I notice how heavy it is. It's a double pattie burger, and they are fat. Don't think you can order the bacon cheeseburger because you only want something small. You can't. It will fill you up and make you order a side serving of broccolini come dinner time when you're out at the next haunt. Sigh.

The cheeseburger has the regualr parade of ingredients: beef, cheese, bacon, mustard, pickles, lettuce, mustard, hold the onions... And it is good. There are nice amounts of juice and grease and it's ugly. Ugly is always a contributing factor to a good burger. If it's ugly, you know it's all about the taste. It's not one of those vacuous, showy burgers with only looks and no flavour. For me, there isn't enough char or smoke. But aside from that, it is a solid cheeseburger with a pretty pink middle that I'd return for. Next time, I might try one of the other MEAT ventures, either MEATliquor (the original) or MEATmission (the latest).

Accompanying the burger are delicious salty fries, I enjoy how the menu makes it clear they are not chips, and a Bleached White shake (plain vanilla). Somehow a burger just feels wrong to me without these little friends to play with it. Note if you order the onion rings, they are mammoth, made from some giant Gondwanaland onions that roamed the earth millions of years ago.

Service at MEATmission is friendly, considering it's a fast-paced environment. It's nice to know there are still people who genuinely enjoy customer service. Make it your mission to get here.

MEATmarket on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's all about the berries

I have been in London for a little over two weeks now, and let me tell you, it's all about the berries. I knew it would be. Berries have stolen my heart and I cannot get enough. Their gorgeous deep hues, and their wonderfully diverse textures, from the hairy little raspberries to the smooth, waxy blueberries and the meaty strawberries... Oh berries!

Porridge with blueberry yogurt and fresh berries.  

Wimbledon final with traditional strawberries and cream. 

Fresh raspberries from Borough Market. Strolling and eating.

Monday, June 30, 2014


Taking over the community stall at the Eveleigh Markets, we members of the Country Women's Association Sydney City Branch, unleashed our jams and preserves on the masses, and with amazing results. We sold over 500 jars. Thank you to all who supported us, including Kylie Kwong, who happened to be our best customer!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Quinoa Porridge

Having only delved into the pleasures of quinoa recently, more adventures were needed; cue quinoa porridge with maple and brown sugar, recipe based on Tori Avey's.

Ideal to start a bleak winter's morning with, this rich and decadent breakfast treat will set you up with a smile and a song for the whole day. Beware of seconds though, it is almost too much deliciousness.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups milk, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped almonds

1) Rinse the quinoa in sieve under running water, as this rids it of residual bitterness.

2) In a heavy-bottomed saucepan of medium size, pour 2 cups of milk. Heat over moderate flame (woe to those who have no flame) and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Gently scrape the bottom of the pan intermittently to avoid a crust forming. Continue to stir until the milk begins to simmer. Do not raise the heat, even if you are getting impatient, as it will burn easily.

3) Once the milk is simmering, pour in the drained quinoa and salt and combine well. Allow the quinoa to come to a gentle boil. Cover the pan with a lid, leaving it askew slightly to vent. Let the quinoa cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes.

4) Next, stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. Replace the lid and and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Check and stir periodically until most of the liquid has been absorbed ad the quinoa is tender. Reduce the heat if it is getting too out of control. Add more milk if the pan becomes too dry before the quinoa is fully tender. When done, the consistency should resemble a regular oat porridge. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

5) Serve in bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a handful of chopped almonds. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Excelsior Jones

For me, Excelsior Jones was a mixed bag. Having won Best New Cafe from the SMH last year, it stood to reason things were going to be out of this world amazing. For breakfast on a Tuesday, the place is busy and the vibey, and there are some interesting choices on the menu. The minted smashed peas on toast with a poached egg is refreshing and presented beautifully. I was not expecting the peas to be cold, but oh well, you get used to it as you eat.

The mushrooms on toast are full of gorgeous earthy notes and make a hearty start to a winter's day.

The coffee is nothing special; a bit of a wet grass aftertaste. The chocolate milkshake is very cold, but nothing gourmet, very kids-syrup in flavour, but most disappointing was the hot chocolate - billed as 70% cocoa blah blah amazing, it arrives as though a kitten who once trod in chocolate had dipped her paw in the milk. Mum calls it "pathetic". She is right. So on the drinks front, Excelsior Jones does not win. 

Service is friendly enough and if you're in Ashfield and looking for a hip cafe this is probably your only shot, but for me, this is a one off trip. My heart has not been captured so no more of my dollars will be. 

Excelsior Jones on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Best Burger in Sydney - Parlour Burger

With the swathe of burger joints cropping up of late, Parlour Burger is doing something interesting, and it's called The Black Widow. I love the evocative name. I love her sultry, exotic looks, but most of all, I lover her exquisite taste. Juicy pink meat, with chipotle mayo and jalepeno chilli, she has a kick but not so much that you cannot appreciate her intricacies. The dough is coloured with vegetable carbon before baked, and it feels exciting to eat something so black. $10, a bargain. I certainly rate this outstanding burger as one of Sydney's top 5. There will be more Black Widow in me before I leave for the mother country.

The more traditional Dirty Burger (again, love the vivid imagery this name conjures) with bacon and cheesy beer sauce is also a wonderful and worthy burger. Plenty of juice and grease, but with the menu designed by highly accoladed chef Sean Connolly, one doesn't expect any dry, lacklustre burgers.

Duck fat chips were not my favourite. They reminded me of the corner fish and chip shop chips of my childhood, which was nice in some respects but I prefer a fatter, crunchier chip.

Parlour Burger on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


"There's nowhere else like London. Nothing at all, anywhere."
 Vivienne Westwood

Soon, I shall be in the thick of it all, and fully experience why. 
One month until the adventure begins.

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