Category Archives: cooking

The Aroma Festival Rocks Sydney

The Rocks Aroma Festival brings together the very best in brewers, baristas and boutique roasters from around Australia for one magical day of caffeinated delight on Sunday 24 July, 2016.

Tantalise the taste buds with more than 60 coffee and gourmet food stallholders, food trucks, latte art competitions and demonstrations, pop-up bars, performers and amazing coffee inspired specials.

Brewing industry leaders are showcasing some incredible offerings at Aroma. Melbourne brand St Ali are popping up with their Sydney outlet, Sensory Lab, to deliver a fuss free speciality coffee experience that focuses on the minimalist magic behind the perfect brew. Rocks Aroma Festival

The Rocks Aroma Festival is about celebrating coffee from every corner of the globe. Malgudi Days bring their South Indian style filter coffee made with stretched milk to the festival.  Djebena Coffees will be brewing coffee the traditional Ethiopian way, in a clay pot called a ‘djebena’.

If hot drinks aren’t your cup of tea, the Aroma Brew Bar is a pop-up bar with a difference. For one day only, the bar is serving up Mr Black artisan cold press coffee liqueur cocktails. Along with a coffee infused beer, poured especially for Aroma by the team at Endeavour Vintage Beer Co.

There’s a whole host of activities planned for when you’re not savouring a warm drop. Breville’s Latte Art Smackdown is back and sees professional baristas battle each other in a knockout competition for who can pour the prettiest cup. Those who feel they’ve got what it takes can also join in – an amateur Latte Art competition. One lucky pouring punter taking home a Breville Oracle coffee machine. People who are new to Latte art, can visit the Breville Marquee for some tips.


After the excitement of watching Australia’s best battle it out for coffee glory, wind down over a latte and relax at the smoothfm Picnic Area. The soothing sounds of classic songs will mix with the scents of roasted beans and be carried on the air through the cobblestoned laneways of The Rocks.

The festival also offers an impressive array of workshops in the two weeks leading up to the big day. Curated by the Australian Speciality Coffee Association, coffee connoisseurs can unleash their inner barista and learn tips from industry experts on key flavour profiles, how to brew great coffee at home and impress with Latte art designs.

The Rocks is one of the most envied heritage destinations in the world. The Rocks’ unique heritage is preserved and celebrated in large scale and intimate quality events, outdoor markets, and educational tours. The Rocks is a perfect blend of culture, cuisine and a myriad of experiences worth savouring. The Rocks attracts over 14 million visitors each year as an extraordinary place in Sydney that the world talks about.

Visit the for more information.

International Paella Contest in Sydney

Visitors who come to Manly in Sydney can enjoy a unique food festival on Saturday 30 May. The Oceania’s second international paella contest will experience a vibrant and memorable gastronomic journey to Spain.


Paella – (image from Flavours of Spain)

Flavours of Spain – the Australian-based catering company that provides delicious, authentic Spanish paella to different events in Australia, will host the 2nd International Spanish Paella Championships in May 2015. The competition takes place on 30 May as part and opening event for food and wine festival A Taste of Manly. The contest invites the best Australian and international chefs to cook and fight for the title of Best Paella in Oceania. The top three winners in Manly will be recognized as the best paella chefs in Oceania and then go on to compete in another internationally renowned paella festival in Spain, for the chance to be recognised worldwide as the world’s leading paella chef.

The judges are Miguel Cuevas – Paella Ambassador to Australia
Dane Richards Director, Le Bon Vivant Food Blog
Emile Gomez, Director – Nomad Distribution
Milo Elder – Food Critic for SydneySocial101

For more information contact

Kangaroo Island FEASTival 2015

Planning for the 2015 Kangaroo Island FEASTival is well underway in South Australia.

Take time out and encounter the natural bounty of earth and sea at our 8-day Kangaroo Island FEASTival. Celebrate the rich history, spirit and character of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island through a degustation of authentic dining events unique to the island.

Kangaroo Island Ligurian Honey

KI Ligurian Honey (image supplied)

This year’s Kangaroo Island FEASTival has a fantastic line up of over 20 events and staged over 7 days to give visitors more options and flexibility to see our island. Our sell-out SALife Table Surfing events have tripled, and this year we are very lucky to have Stephanie Alexander as our host chef for 2015.

Jump on board, and join a new wave of private dining adventures exclusive to FEASTival where visitors get a rare opportunity to join local island producers, farmers or home cooks in their own homes or farm for a home-cooked meal.
Book early as events book out fast due to small numbers. Heres but a selection of what is available.

Join Jolley’s Boathouse founder Belinda Hannaford for a journey through the culinary and cultural influences that inspired her life and career. From 1800 fare to the present day, this creative, high energy luncheon represents the places, food, and people that came to play.

Join the dynamic mother/daughter trio of Lindy, Cherikee and Natalie for a culinary adventure derived straight from their thriving garden at Frogs & Roses Garden Centre. Featuring heirloom herbs and vegetables and a considered selection of Kangaroo Island produce, this event allows guests to share a meal with a family whose food philosophy represents the KI way of life.

Sample the best produce Kangaroo Island has to offer, including sensational South Rock Lamb, in Kate and Andy’s rammed earth family home, situated on the oldest working farm in South Australia. Enjoy the isolation of being on a cliff top overlooking pristine, secluded, bare beaches, spectacular coastline and vibrant bushland.

Step back in time and immerse yourself in a bygone era. A Settlers Supper will take guests on an intimate memorable dining experience at one of the oldest buildings in Penneshaw – Seaview Lodge KI, a Seafarers boarding house built in 1860. Enjoy delicious canapés in the stunning court yard of Seaview lodge before entering the amazing period homestead for a rustic dining experience, featuring a menu reminiscent of its history.

For more details on Kangaroo Island FEASTival see here.


Mark McNamara opens Food Luddite Cooking Classes

A year after launching his Food Luddite enterprise, Mark McNamara has created a dynamic, interactive space for cooking classes in the Barossa, Australia’s premier wine region.

A widely acclaimed South Australian chef and food mentor, Mark’s focus on regional provenance and true seasonality has been his calling card long before it was fashionable. It was this philosophy that characterised his role as Executive Chef of Appellation until 2012 and saw the stylish Barossa eatery rise to be one of Australia’s leading regional restaurants.

Mark McNamara's Food Luddite cooking classes

Mark McNamara’s Food Luddite cooking classes (image supplied)

Now after more than 30 years as a professional chef, he is a self-proclaimed Food Luddite, favouring time‐honoured techniques over new technology and culinary gimmickry. The Kitchen Studio has been created to give people real food experiences and hands on cooking classes.

“At its essence it’s all about handmade food,” Mark says. “We designed the Kitchen Studio to be a warm and inviting space, the perfect place to learn new skills and sharpen old ones.” Set in the picturesque Barossa hamlet of Greenock, the Food Luddite Kitchen Studio can accommodate up to 8 people and offers cooking classes that explore a range of food traditions and cuisines.

The Food Luddite website has a complete list of cooking classes and booking capability.

Masha: A new toy in the kitchen

Sometimes some of the basic things can be luxurious, with a little extra love.  Mashed potato can be such a fundamental part of everyday meals, and adding a few extras to it to really make it more indulgent.  And lets face it butter and cream make everything taste better.

Good mashed potato can just require a little bit of arm work, with a ricer or potato masher being the usual weapon of choice. So it was with interest that I learnt about the Masha and was keen to trial it.  The marketing material says it couldn’t be easier or more convenient.  And it is true to its label!  I found it so much quicker to mash vegetables, but also the clean up was a fraction of the normal time. Just pull apart and pop in the dishwasher.

From a foodie perspective the Masha doesnt overwork the potato, avoiding the gluggy mess.  And the special Rotor Cone presses vegetables through the mesh rather than cutting it. 

To trial it I selected two kitchen basics – Paris Mash and Babaganoush.

Paris Mash
600g potatoes  (eg Desiree, Sebago, or Coliban)
200g unsalted butter (yes – 200 grams!)
200ml milk

  1.  Place the wash unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Use similar sized potatoes to ensure they cook at a similar speed. Add a teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil, then simmer for 25–30 minutes until cooked.
  2.  Drain and ensure all moisture has gone from the potatoes. They will look dry.
  3.  Peel the potatoes while warm and return to the pot.
  4.  Bring the milk to the boil.
  5.  Place the mash potato over low heat and add 50g of butter.  Using the Masha partially process.  Add 50 ml of milk and process until combined. Repeat until all of the butter and milk has been added and the mash is indulgently creamy. Season with salt to taste.
  6.  Serve immediately.

1 large eggplant
1 glove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon of cummin (dry roasted and finely ground)
salt and peper to taste

  1. Chargrill the eggplant over BBQ coals, rotating it around until the skin is completely charred, about 15-20 minutes. Roast in a moderate oven until very soft. Let the eggplant cool.
  2. Peel the eggplant, cut into chucks and put in a bowl.  Process the eggplant with the Masha until smooth.
  3. Add minced garlic and cummin to the eggplant puree. Stir in the tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. Sometimes its necessary to add more lemon juice and tahini to get the desired balance in taste. Process again with the Masha if required. Season to taste.
  4. Place in a bowl to serve and drizzle with olive oil.

Disclaimer: Masha was provided by Prep to trial for this review.

Gourmet Escape to Margaret River

Drop the name of Heston Blumental from Fat Duck, or Rene Redzepi from Noma in earshot of your local foodie and you’re sure to get their attention.

Margaret River Gourmet Escape have done just that and secured these two international foodie icons for their upcoming food and wine festival.  The Margaret River Gourmet Escape will be held on 22 to 25 November 2012, and is planned to be an annual event.

The high profile chefs, in addition to Australia’s Justin North, Kylie Kwong, Matt Stone of Greenhouse in Perth, and Dany Angove from Leewin Estate Winery in Margaret River will also be in attendance.  The Margaret River Gourmet Escape will feature masterclasses, pop-up restaurants, cooking demonstrations, and meet the winemaker sessions.

The Gourmet Village will be the centre of the festival, set in the iconic Leeuwin Estate.  It will be the heart of events with more than 100 Western Australia based premium exhibitors, local vineyards, and gourmet producers.  Naturally it will be a great opportunity to also showcase some of the sensational wines of Western Australia.

Other satellite events will include long table lunches amongst the vines, a beach barbecue hosted by a high profile chef, as well as other wine, trade and produce events throughout Margaret River.

It’s certain to be a great opportunity for foodies and wine lovers to indulge.   For more information on the Margaret River Gourmet Escape.