But first, a little note on my absence of late…
We started growing apart towards the end of last year, and I’ve cruelly abandoned you since Christmas. In fact, over the past several weeks I haven’t been sure if we should continue our relationship in 2013, because I’ve been questioning my commitment to you, and our future.
After much thought, I’ve decided that I do want to keep you. You’re a fun hobby to have, you’re my ‘me time’, you’ve allowed me to have some wonderful experiences, and I’m probably your biggest fan as I often cook from recipes posted here (yep, I do).
So we’re sticking together.
Going forward I may only post a couple of times a month, or maybe more, and I doubt you’ll have many readers, but that’s ok, I still love you. You’re just my little corner of the internet – my online food journal.
With (Cats) Love (and Cooking),
Chocolate honeycomb & almond ice-cream cake.
Working in Sydney’s CBD, there are countless ways I could spend my lunch hour. I could attend a gym class, run to the Opera House and back, read a book in Hyde Park… Or I could be a total lush, hop in a taxi with my work buddy, and meet our former colleague for a quick lunch near her new workplace, at 4Fourteen in Surry Hills.
So that’s exactly what I did one Thursday in late September.
4Fourteen is co-owned and run by Chefs Colin Fassnidge and Carla Jones, of Four in Hand in Paddington, and just four months after opening were awarded 1 hat in the Good Food Guide.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
That Lord of the Rings quote pops into my head when I pause the day for a moment, and realise we’re already at the start of August 2012. How did we get here so fast?! I feel like I’ve been swept through this year, and I need to press pause on the clock while I find my own feet.
The first half of this year has been so busy because, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned at least once, we moved into our apartment in March. Most other parts of my life took a backseat to the stress of exchanging contracts just days before last Christmas, waiting 3 months for settlement, finding our routine in mortgage world, and making our new place a home. But we are loving it here!
I have also been far more budget-conscious this year, and am therefore dining out less. However, I’ve still dined in some wonderful restaurants… I just haven’t blogged them. My mind has been focused on home, and I have been focused on recipe posts.
It was only after I’d looked back through my small number of blog posts this year, that I realised I’d only written one post about a restaurant. One restaurant post in six months, and that one post was about our anniversary from October last year. Shocking.
I’d like to amend this blogging oversight immediately, as I have experienced some wonderful dining out experiences lately; starting with a pork cooking class and lunch at Restaurant Atelier.
Our ‘Cottage on Mount View’, and a scene from Jazz in the Vines (bottom right)
For our first wedding anniversary Paul and I returned to the Hunter Valley, and to the restaurant where we were married. This trip was back on weekend of October 30 last year, so I am very late in posting this but it was too good to discard.
We stayed for 3 nights at Cottages on Mount View, around 15 minutes drive from the centre of Pokolbin. Mount View is accessed by high, narrow, country roads, which had me gripping to my seat in fear for the first couple of drives up and down (I’m scared of heights).
Once we were in Mount View though, the serenity was beautiful. At home we live under the sound of loud planes taking off, and trucks (which I call Optimus Prime due to the volume of their noise) rattling past our house. At Mount View there was the peace of quiet, interspersed with the tranquil sound of native birds chirping.
I love living in the city, but as I’ve said before, I love escaping to the serene Hunter.
Our itinerary was simple: arrive Friday afternoon/evening, celebrate with dinner at Muse Restaurant & Cafe on Friday night, spend Saturday at Jazz in the Vines, do whatever we felt like on Sunday (our anniversary), and return home on Monday.
This is our food story of that weekend, at Muse Restaurant & Cafe, and Muse Kitchen…
When you hear the words ‘broiler-cooked’ steak, what comes to mind? If you’re an expert in all things food you’d probably have thoughts of juicy, tender steak. But if you’re like the rest of us, you might be thinking of the similarity to the word ‘boiled’, and you might cringe.
Broiler isn’t an attractive word, but this enormous cooking device really is a wonder.
This is Chophouse Head Chef Eric Tan operating George, their affectionately named broiler. Worth a hefty $65,000 (no typos there), George the broiler is an American contraption to cook meat. George takes 40 minutes to heat up and runs at 1100 – 1400° Celsius, is fuelled by gas jets and ceramic tiles, and was the first of its kind in Australia.
What’s wrong with just using a good ol’ grill or frying pan you say? Nothing, but one taste of a broiler-cooked steak and you’ll understand its worth in a steakhouse. So what does a broiler do to cook such awesome steaks? I’ll show you…