Breakfast at my Aussie food hero’s


Sunday Breakfast at Bill Grangers


As it’s a leisurely long weekend here, and a leisurely Sunday breakfast is one of my favourite things, then it made me think of one of my highlights of our trip to Australia. Up there with the natural wonders of Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef, Sunday breakfast at Bills at Surry Hills was the perfect memorable end to a wonderful trip.

I’ve written many times about how much I love Bill Granger’s books, the freshness of the recipes, the idyllic looking lifestyle…I mean, I can dream. And eating at one of Bill’s restaurants (not to be confused with Bill’s, the apostrophe makes all the difference, not to mention the locations) has been on my eating bucket list for a long time.

Yes, I know there’s one in Notting Hill but not the same. And breakfast at Surry Hills was everything I hoped it would be, as there was always that fear that it might not live up to the expectation.

But it did, from the friendly service, to the way coffee was quickly with me (it was 7.30 on a Sunday morning). From the healthy looking green juice that was actually delicious, through to the pile of fluffy ricotta hot cakes. Ok, I know it’s what they are known for and not the most exciting choice on the menu, but god, it was mouthwateringly good. Talk about clouds of fluffy deliciousness.


Bills menu Surry Hills


MGG had the sweetcorn fritters, which I must track down the recipe for and replicate at home, as these were sweet, savoury and crunchy all in one. In fact, there wasn’t anything on the menu that I wouldn’t have happily ordered and worked my way through. Had to settle for ordering a second coffee instead, sadly.


Even the flowers in the ladies were beautiful
Even the flowers in the ladies were beautiful


Surry Hills looked like it would have been a great place to explore further but we had a plane to catch. I did notice the Rapha shop opposite also had a cafe, filled with very sporty looking types. I knew which side of the road I belonged on.

So, sometimes it’s good to meet your hero, tick something off your bucket list and start planning a return trip. Like I said, I can always dream.


Brilliant breakfast at Clinton St. Baking Company


I’ve written before on how much I love a good breakfast, and I think Americans do breakfast particularly well. Last year’s trip to NYC was all about Kitchenette, this year it was about Clinton St. Baking Company. We were staying just round the corner from here so there was no excuse not to visit.


Settling in for a great breakfast at Clinton Street Baking Co

So we did.


And had fantastic breakfasts each time. They are renowned for their pancakes, which I have to admit were up there amongst the best I’ve ever had, really light and fluffy. Apparently that’s down to whipping up the egg whites and adding them in separately. There’s also the small, delicious matter of the maple butter, which I can only assume is maple syrup added to clarified butter. Seriously delicious.


Banana pancakes at Clinton Street Baking Co


But it would be a missed eating opportunity to only do the pancakes. The eggs benedict got a serious thumbs up from Mother FGH, who declared them almost as good as those on Royal Caribbean Cruises, which was intended as high praise.


Eggs Benedict at Clinton Street Baking Co


The country breakfast had fabulous maple cured ham, as well as crumbly buttermilk biscuits. Of course having something like a plain scone is a bit odd to us at breakfast, but I got to like them. I had the potato pancakes one day, which I would say were like rosti, but then served with cinnamon sour cream and applesauce. Deliciously different for breakfast.


Potato pancakes at Clinton Street Baking Co


As usual with American dishes, there was always more than someone could eat, but I ended up always happy to see some of the biscuits left, as they acted as the perfect vehicle for the raspberry jam that appeared on the table. This tasted like crushed sunshine to me, just raspberries at their best, not sugary gloop. I got a postcard with the recipe on, which I am going to make and will blog about that in due course. It’s simple, quick and designed for small quantities.

I’d go back anytime to eat there, although apparently at a weekend 2 hour waits are not unusual, as I would guess it only sits about 30 people. Mondays at 8.15am were fine though. If you’re not going to NYC, then the book looked lovely too, and am tempted to add this to my bookshelves, if only to have a crack at the pancakes!


Food reflections on Hong Kong


If you follow me on Twitter, you may know I’ve been out in Hong Kong recently for work, but I did manage to squeeze in some eating, and some food orientated shopping. Here’s a just a few thing that were either good to eat, or caught my eye!


Automatic pancake maker in Hong Kong. I almost want one.


My favourite bit of hotel breakfast automated kit: push the button and out pops an American style pancake 60 seconds later. Is this what you want to put on it though:


Mabel syrup anyone?


Are there enough scrubbing brushes in your kitchen? Well, I found three more you might need.


Scrubbing brushes for every chore in your kitchen


My team always worry I might bring them back something “edible”. Lucky for them, I passed on the packets of dried octopus.


Dried Octopus to snack on anyone?


Though if you wanted a cheap lunch, look at this sushi: four California rolls for under £3 and salmon sashimi for £4.


Sushi time, Hong Kong style

But for a hot lunch, then this was my choice: pork and ginger gyoza, fried rice and a drink for £5. Freshly prepared and cooked in front of me, in a matter of minutes, at the food court at City Super, one of my fave places for a quick meal.


Pork Gyoza at City Super


I love Hong Kong, and any time there is a real pleasure. Even in 98% humidity.


At last! Ebelskiver pancakes are here!


Ebelskiver Pancake Pans now available


One of the things I’ve failed to find as the Foodie Gift Hunter until now is an Ebelskiver pan. I wrote about them in December 2009, when they were on a healthy foodie gifts list that came out of the US. And ever since then I’ve had people turn up on the blog looking for them, and I’ve been continuing to look for a UK stockist. All to no avail.

Until now.

And what do you know? Lakeland to the rescue! In case you’re not sure what you’re missing out on, an ebelskiver is a mini sphere-shaped pancake, that you can fill with sweet or savoury fillings. They’re a Danish speciality, most often served at breakfast, and definitely something to consider adding to the breakfast repertoire.

If you need some inspiration, then have a look at these recipes over on SugarMama Baking Company blog, for some great sweet options. And just to show it’s not just sweet stuff, then have a look at this one for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Ebelskivers, for a good savoury option.

So of course this is a pan that you do not necessarily need, but if you can make the room, or can make plenty of use of it, then I can imagine some very happy and tasty family breakfasts being produced from it.


What do foodies do in Spring?


There are very vague signs of Spring: mornings are lighter, if I slink off sharpish it’s still light when I leave work, and there are some small green shoots in the garden.


Green shoots are coming!


And in the kitchen all sorts of things change for me. I know that it’s Spring when I start reaching for Bill Granger cookbooks and put away Delia’s Winter Collection. I start craving different things to eat, lots of South East Asian, lots of lighter stuff. What else might be going on?

1. The casserole might be heading back into the cupboard, and the wok might be heading out more permanently. Quick, easy and full of fresh flavours!

2. The grow your own foodies will be busy prepping their fruit and veg plots, as well as working out what seeds to order in. I am really keen on Seeds of Italy, and there are some really unusual varieties of tomatoes and basil, as well as things like spelt and garlic chives. I am told I should be chitting potatoes, but misheard that the first time. If you’re not great with seeds, then order in seedlings ready to go in the ground. I like Sarah Raven and Thompson and Morgan, and I won’t tell your more green fingered friends if you don’t!

3. The pancake loving foodie will be dusting off their crepe pan ready for Shrove Tuesday. The less well co-ordinated will be looking at their ceiling and worrying. The really inept amongst us might choose an electric crepe maker!

4. The globe trotting foodie will be lured around the world to track down a huge variety of flavours. They were probably in San Francisco yesterday at the Crab Festival, and next weekend they could be at Menton in the South of France for the Lemon Festival. And you could head anywhere with a Chinatown next weekend ready for Chinese New Year.

5. Those of us with just Oyster cards will be enjoying a Parisian experience in W1, by heading to Pierre Herme’s instore patisserie at Selfridges for some truly magnificent macaroons. These are exquisite looking, and taste as good as they look. If you want to try recreating them, his book is only avaiable in French through Amazon France, although I can recommend a read of the experiences over on the He Eats blog. I particularly want to give the Salted Caramel and Apple ones a go.

So, even if more snow comes, just hang on in there, the Spring is on it’s way along with all the bounty that will bring.

Interesting shot of shoots by sciondriver over on Flickr.