Three-ish years strong and I’ve never posted a review on this ###blog, until now. A car trip in a city where everything closes early resulted an accidental visit to a nearby KFC to be enchanted by their latest offering: the KFC Zinger Pie.

In true highway fashion Five Dock KFC neighbours a McDonald’s and a petrol station, and it’s not surprising KFC is nowhere near as full as its oppressive burger-wielding counterpart. I saunter across the thick shake stained asphalt of a near empty car park and it’s the kind of place where the occasional seagull struts around despite being nowhere near the water – a la Granville station. I’m second in line behind a couple of bros placing a large order but thankfully I’m told there is one last KFC Zinger Pie left tonight – a potential prelude to ill feels, but regardless, ready for two curious yet ultimately trollish mouths. I make myself comfortable beside a bucket and mop outside as kind adolescent boys and a bluetooth clad drive-through manager stack chairs inside.

The pie is presented in a paper bag, obnoxiously declaring it’s “perfect for the HCG (Home Cricket Ground)”. The red tin base is indicitve of the Zinger flavour as opposed to the tamer Kentucky potato and gravy combo, because I guess red is the universal colour for HOT (or STOP).

To say its innards resembled vomit would be too easy, and we can do better than that. You’d be pleasantly surprised if this were a cup-a-soup; chunky chicken pieces shrouded by blandness, an acceptable phenomenon at 3pm at your godforsaken desk job, unremarkable pastry resembling what you’d expect from any other supermarket or convenience store pie. But it’s 10pm and I’m taking photos in a desolate carpark craving malnourishment. A more appropriate critique from a sober human would read more like this: a very vacant (and very abundant) gravy binds chicken bits with arrogant flecks of useless chilli. It’s so soupy, clever handwork is required to avoid being burned by gravity in more ways than one. What lingers is a sleazy aftertaste of that astringent, flavourless chilli, I’m not even sure how they did it – it’s the equivalent of a decaf coffee, you can definitely taste it but it’s not quite right, leaves you unfulfilled and questioning why? And why can I still taste this an hour later?

The whole point of these junk food reviews is to celebrate the nasty, greasy food we ashamedly thrust into our faces – and like many cliché bloggers I’m left saying I really wanted to enjoy this but sadly there’s not much to love about this pie (and I’m a fan of the Zinger enterprise), it’s basically the anaemic cousin of primary school meat pie offerings. I’m not sure whose appetite this is appeasing, besides maybe the lone gull in the car park, so I hope it enjoyed what I left behind.

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I can’t tell you why I feel it all around whenever I hear the word affogato. The mere thought of that holy combination of life giving caffeine and a dairy-based dessert gets me weak at the knees and foggy in the head. Perhaps it’s old memories of my dad pressing ice cream into latte glasses with the gaze and conviction of a man on a mission, or maybe it was that time in Italy in 2008 when I asked a friend to order me an affogato, and once I returned from a neighbouring ATM I caught her pronouncing “aff-row-JAHHHH-teee” with such gusto only to have everybody within earshot laughing so loud she refused to speak to me for a while. I’m sorry. But I still say “aff-row-JAHHHH-teee” sometimes.

Or, maybe it’s because I know how to do fake ice cream on cakes well.

Whatever the case, it was a pleasure and a privilege to bake a big cake for The Makers Society Great Bake Swap at The Hop and Grain last weekend. Assembly instructions are below in terrible animated glory, but as for the “recipe”: I used Tartine’s devil food cake recipe to bake two cakes sliced in half; the icing is Linda Lomelino’s chocolate fudge frosting with the addition of some dissolved instant coffee (replace some of the milk and add to taste) and the drippy chocolate is nothing but ganache (dark chocolate and cream) with a couple of tablespoons of glucose / corn syrup. For the fake ice cream, throw some buttercream in a bowl, freeze it, scoop out some rounds with an ice cream scoop then re-freeze them for easy stacking. I was lazy and used compound chocolate for garnishing, except the Sydney sun was merciless that day and annihilated my rustic spokes. I forgot to take some photos at home before the event (unless instagram counts) so thank you ladies for being so patient with me as I spent too long trying to take a decent photo and thank you for sharing my aff-row-jahhh-teee cake.

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Affogato Cake

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Good things happen when @australia invites the world’s biggest chefs and food influencers to a behemoth of a party.

An elaborate pop-up market graces a Tasmanian pier to showcase anything and everything Australia does so well – butter, venison, barra, raw milk cheese, mangos and wine. Salami is paraded and wattleseed crackers are celebrated. The MasterChef crew make a fashionably late appearance and some people beside me are losing their minds for a photo op with the holy trinity of judges.

Later that evening a coast-to-coast progressive evening begins with guests being ferried across the island. There’s lobster with kombu butter, green lipped abalone and enormous whole marron making the rounds as the sun sets amongst a dizzying smokey haze. The oysters are so good they taste exactly like the sea, if the sea was in heaven, and the wind is so chilly but nobody seems to mind because blankets and music and fire are abundant and plentiful. People are tumbling over one another at the pass of the make-shift outdoor kitchen for a glance of what’s to come, skewers and big cameras at the ready.

A stunning venue is sought out for the main meal, a culinary inappropriate one at that, but who cares – a custom dining table has been commissioned, a work of art in itself, to seat hundreds within the walls of MONA to enjoy a three-dish menu curated by Neil Perry, Peter Gilmore and Ben Shewry.

Afterwards dessert is served downstairs in nests in the trees and there’s cheese flowing and whisky flowing and really everybody is having the best time. There’s a lady dressed up as fairy floss singing opera in a bathtub of fairy floss. And I’ll agree my descriptive prose sounds like nothing more than a huge wank, but trying explain this sensory overload in words is like desperately trying to eat ice cream that’s melting through my fingers… it’s difficult and awkward, and makes me look stupid regardless of determination and real feels™.

But before all of this even happened, the nice people organising this mammoth occasion go and choose me – to report from the ground with my camera, a nobody being surrounded by the biggest somebodies in the business. Thanks a million, Australia, for the tremendous experience I’ll forever be grateful for – and while it’s usually uncouth to post event photos here I’m sure you’ll agree this is an experience worth plastering all over my corner of the internet. No words, just pictures. If you’re into gratuitous photos of lobsters, please keep scrolling.

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Every once and again I like to throw up a slew of images taken for my favourite publication, just like a big old image dump. But instead of simply uploading many JPGs I maticulously scroll through Lightroom catalogues and endure the 5 stage process of “I suck! This is good! Why am I doing this! Gosh I’m hungry. No wait, these photos are alright!“.

It’s been a year since I’ve posted Broadsheet images here and of course in an 80s sitcom coda of a life lesson, I’ve realised that, like many, I’ve found myself more interested in the people (and processes) that make the food than the food itself (I acquired a wider lens and ended up with a wider scope on my brain). If you take a look at Lately on Broadsheet and Lately on Broadsheet II you might see what I mean. Less plates, more faces. All venues pictured are listed at the end! Let’s get retrospective.

Bill'sSweet BelemSticky Chai
YellowKingston PublicSticky ChaiRuby's DinerKurtoshBrewtown NewtownBrewtown NewtownThe Affogato ShackBrewtown NewtownStanley Street MerchantsBlack Star PastryLentil as AnythingThe Grumpy BaristaThe Potting ShedThe Wild Rover212 BluStanley Street MerchantsSadhana KitchenIlli HillIlli HillThe PickleryKitchen by MikeMs G'sShort Black PantherShort Black PantherMoon ParkMoon ParkMoon ParkFlying FishFlying FishStanley Street MerchantsBatch BrewingAlfio'sAlfio'sAlfio'sLucky PickleLentil as AnythingHartsyardThe PickleryDa OrazioDa OrazioBrighton the CornerDa OrazioPepe SayaBrighton the CornerBrighton the CornerBrighton the CornerThe Grumpy BaristaRamblin Rascal TavernRamblin Rascal TavernRamblin Rascal TavernBistro PapillonScout's HonourDaisy's Milkbar212 BluIlli HillOxford TavernOxford Tavern212 BluDear Delicious212 BluHouse of CrabsDaisy's MilkbarDa OrazioRuby's DinerEfendyBonarche BurgersSingle Origin RoastersSingle Origin RoastersStanley Street MerchantsLocal Harvest CollectiveChina DinerBlack Star PastryPre-Loved RootsLucky PickleStudio NeonRising Sun WorkshopBreadfern RedfernBreadfern RedfernBreadfern RedfernBreadfern RedfernPasticceria PapaCookies + MilkPatchett's PiesPatchett's PiesKitchen by MikeBreadfern RedfernWest JuliettSadhana KitchenZeusStanley Street MerchantsBlack Star PastryShort Black PantherDa OrazioTake CoffeeThe Potting ShedIndian Spices, Groceries and SweetsBloodwoodDaisy's MilkbarHandcraft Specialty CoffeeIlli HillKo and CoMary'sJohn MontaguMary'sLove Dem ApplesLove Dem ApplesCafe 86The Grumpy BaristaChip Off the Old BlockSweet BelemFlour and StoneMary'sDaisy's Milkbar

With thanks to these guys for letting me shoot your lovely venues: Efendy, Love Dem Apples, Bonarche Burgers, Single Origin Roasters, Alfio’s, Breadfern Redfern, Studio Neon, John Montagu, Batch Brewing, Rising Sun Workshop, Stanley Street Merchants, Lucky Pickle, Black Star Pastry, Lentil as Anything, Pre-Loved Roots, Brewtown Newtown, Sadhana Kitchen, Zeus, China Diner, Local Harvest Collective, Real Food Market, Short Black Panther, Moon Park, Ms. G’s, Hartsyard, Cornersmith Picklery, Da Orazio, Flying Fish, Cafe 86, Brighton the Corner, Pepe Saya, The Grumpy Barista, The Potting Shed, Indian Groceries, Spices and Sweets, Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern, The Wild Rover, Chip Off the Old Block, Sweet Belem, Bill’s, Pasticceria Papa, Oxford Tavern, Bloodwood, Mary’s, Ruby’s Diner, Kingston Public, Bistro Papillon, Kurtosh, Cookies + Milk, Scout’s Honour, Sticky Chai, Patchett’s Pies, Yellow, Oldtown Hong Kong, Daisy’s Milkbar, Handcraft Specialty Coffee, 212 Blu, Ill Hill, Dear Delicious, Kitchen by Mike, House of Crabs, Ko and Co.

An inherently bad thing about the posting of #clientwork on this #sydneyfoodblog is that I have no means to ride in on my humble-high-horse spraying snarky and/or self-loathing anecdotes, lest I seem unprofessional. “This minestrone soup was inspired by a voyage of self discovery”, or, “be sure to add a pinch of cinnamon to this ice cream recipe; a little hint of spice alludes to all of my sadness, oh my.”

Instead, all I can offer is my repetitive notion of progress, and all that. A few months ago I was asked to take some photos for The Rocks as part of their new branding surrounding Aroma Festival (a celebration of everything coffee and chocolate) and a few other events. A select few ended up on a billboard and flying on flags across Sydney’s CBD, an obnoxious yet temporary reminder that hard work always, always pays off. Looks like all of those coffee pour photos were good for something. Living the IRL life is the IRL dream.

Anyway, started form the bloggosphere now we here. Art direction by Ed Hall at Interbrand – I’m very grateful to be part of this amazing project.

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In yet another relentless edition of I’ve had no time to cook and take photos of my glorious dinners so here are some photos I dun did elsewhere, here are just a few fried press snaps of fried fun taken for Surry Hills’ latest, Brooklyn Social. I’m not a girl, not yet a blogger.

Styled by Nathan Sullivan, please enjoy the divey, hungover, burgers-on-wood goodness below. Drown yourself in hotdogs and face plant into some ribs.

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I’ve always felt a strange affinity with one of the photos below and I was so glad to find it in the latest Broadsheet print issue this afternoon. So, guess what, I’m posting a whole lot more because #feelings.

The kitchen will always and forever be the heart of the home to me, and with a kitchen as open as this I feel the flames of Da Orazio are the most real thing I’ve ever encountered in the yoga mat wielding town of Bondi. And that’s probably why I love this photo so much, it’s a delicious Sydney juxtaposition.

(Also, when Maurice Terzini insists you take a pizza home with you, and when you finally put your feet up and ease into the cheese, and it happens to be the greatest slice to grace your face — you know it’s been a good day.)

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I arrived in Japan a month after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the catalyst of the devastating Fukushima meltdown. Despite advice from peripheral acquaintances to cancel my trip, life in Tokyo (superficially) seemed as normal as ever – operating transportation, bustling nightlife, all those good and normal things. That is until we ventured to Tsukiji market one weekend.

There was an apocalyptic feel at 9am. We were met with emptiness, a certain stillness of sparse warehouses and strewn palettes. We found a sign slathered to a grubby wall in red tape politely warning us: “Please stop visiting the market by the earthquake generation”. Our morning stroll felt increasingly intrusive as we meandered, confused, through deserted loading dock after deserted loading dock. Crates and turret trucks were poised neatly for the most part ready for a busy day of trade. A school of comical plastic tetraodontidae fish hung limp above locked roller doors – eerie to say the least. We eventually found a small pocket of stalls operating on the market’s outskirts running on skeleton staff but I could feel unrest in the air, even a sweet pug resting at my feet had the most solemn look in its eyes.

We eventually found somewhere to eat, and did so gravely (with occasional banter regarding how wonderful our breakfast was like the filthy foodies we are), and left the hushed Tsukiji market, not having experienced the bustling wonder of people and produce, but instead a rare scene at a standstill I struggle to express in words.

Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market

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Hot Chocolate

Tonight I read a horrible blog review of one of my favourite restaurants, so, I began to feel incredibly saddened on their behalf and made myself a warm beverage as a result of that #firstworld online stress. And now I’m blogging about that thing I made as a result of blog apprehension. Circle of online life. Be annoyed by internet therefore post on internet.

I’m making a stand in not referring to this as “Spicy Coconut Hot Chocolate” up there in that title box because I care not for buzzwords or SEO. Gosh, I’m so kooky and anti-blog! My recipes are so understated and cool! Plus, I have no clever anecdote today except that I reacted in a most delicious way to something that really had no bearing on my everyday life at all. Hahah, feelings. This is spicy and salty and fatty and chocolately so indulge happily, and if you happen to be in a foul mood contemplating why you can’t help but be annoyed by annoying things in the peripherals of your career like I was, relish in its lingering chilli glory and feel it all around.

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Hot Chocolate

1 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cinnamon quills
A few squares of chocolate
1/2 tsp dried chilli
Pinch of salt

1. Warm milk and coconut milk in a saucepan. Add one cinnamon quill and bring to the boil. Once hot enough, simmer until the milk is infused with cinnamon (around 15 minutes). Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until dissolved (you may need to apply more heat to finish the job). Add chilli and salt, stir to combine and pour into mugs. Float another cinnamon quill on top and down that bad thing like you just don’t care.

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ONCE UPON A TIME THIS WAS ACCEPTABLE. (You can consider this post an act of nostalgia, some thinly veiled vanity in regards to self improvement or simply some straight up lols fresh out of 2008.)

I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a bad photo or bad photographer, just a bad attitude behind said photo or photographer. Armed with a fuji point-and-shoot as I travelled the globe almost 6 years ago I’d like to think the photos you see posted below were taken with both earnest intentions and a light heart and as such I feel it’s only right to give them the attention they deserve. Let’s transport ourselves back to a time where the food you ate was not a badge of honour nor was the dish you ordered a notch on your gluttonous bed post. It was part of the ordinary everyday and taking a photo of your dinner wasn’t a thing, a fad or a taboo; you could take a casual photo of it as if it were a friend or a cute dog. Auto mode! Turn on the flash! I would use flash all the time if I could!

These images retain a certain innocence, relics of an era before the complex and ubiquitous beast that is food blogging entered our precious lives.

They’re unappetising, poorly framed and ill-considered to anybody of this day and age; it’s funny how such simple notions become so dated (and offensive), huh? They represent documentation rather than collection so please enjoy, no, celebrate, something that would now be considered “a little bit shit”. Appreciate a simpler time with me, please.

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