Potts Point is home to numerous good quality eateries, which are no secret to the locals. Yet this Sydney suburb is often overlooked when considered by those in surrounding suburbs. Maybe this is due to the fact that you need to pass along the seedy stretch of Darlinghurst Rd through ‘the Cross’ before rounding the corner, onto Macleay St, to an area that is the polar opposite.
Fratelli Paradiso is one of the trendy restaurants nestled on the corner of Challis Ave and Macleay St. Now in its 5th year, Fratelli; meaning brother in Italian, has no relationship to the’ Fratelli Fresh’ located just up the road. It is sparsely decorated, maybe because there is little light on offer to illuminate the inside, therefore I would encourage trying to get a table outside if it is not to busy so that you can see what you are eating.
The only menu here, apart from the chalkboard inside listing today’s array of meals, is a wine menu that offers a plethora of wines by the bottle and only a handful by the glass. If you’re a red wine drinker then be prepared to get a little tipsy by having a bottle; or settle for their only red wine by the glass. An imported Sardinian birra is also available for those that love their hops.
Unless you are comfortable with going over to the chalkboard and reading above the head of grazing diners (whilst in Italian, it is easily decipherable) then the waiter has memorised it all for you and will narrate it to you with the upmost precision. Some may find that not having a written menu with the amount of choices on offer will leave them confused; however the distinct advantage is that one of the dishes will really jump out and you won’t be continually second guessing your decision as it will be the only one you can remember.
We decided on scampi with spaghetti in a chilli and tomato sauce; and a veal and beef mince tagliatelle. The scampi, as well as having some mixed in with the spaghetti, was grilled and served in its shell that when eaten fell apart in the mouth. The chilli sauce was very mild but complimented the tang that the tomato gave off. The tagliatelle came ‘al dente’ and despite the menu being Pasta heavy, certainly not one for those that are curbing their carbs, the Pasta itself was light leaving enough room for a desert. Whilst we decided against desert on this occasion the table next to us ordered the chocolate tiramisu, which in hindsight, would have topped off an enjoyable meal.
I went through a few bizarre food phases as a child, a memorable one of which was an obsession with cold rice pudding. I remember sometimes eating the full tub for dinner while watching TV on Sunday night! Here is a deliciously comforting and easy to make rice pudding using coconut for a fragrant twist!
Ingredients: (serves 4)
100g short grain rice
1 vanilla bean, cut open
1/2 cup caster sugar
400ml coconut milk
A few strawberries, washed and sliced
1. Rinse the rice, place in a saucepan with sugar, vanilla bean, coconut milk and regular milk and bring to the boil.
2. Reduce heat to very low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Remove and discard the vanilla bean, season with a pinch of salt to bring the sweetness out and set aside to cool before placing it in the fridge.
3. Serve the coconut rice at room temperature topped with fresh strawberries or shavings of fresh mango and a few sprinkles of shredded coconut.
It’s also the perfect gluten-free dessert for your next dinner party! Make sure you use short-grain rice when making rice pudding so that the texture of the grain will stays soft when cool, which is better for a creamier result!
This cider braised pork belly is pure heaven on a plate – the poaching step is all about making the meat as moist and succulent as possible, while frying it up on the day ensures the skin is crisp to perfection! Reducing the cider broth to a delicate jus works wonders to bring all the rich and earthy flavours together. It takes a bit of planning to get started the day before, but each step is super easy and the end result is truly michelin star quality!
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
4 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
500ml good-quality cider
1l fresh chicken stock
1-1.5kg piece unscored boneless pork belly
1. Heat the oven to 160C. Place onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves and thyme in an oven proof casserole. Cover with stock, cider and bring to the boil. Slide the pork into the liquid making sure it’s totally submerged, cover with a lid and place in the oven for 3 hours.
2. Once cooked leave the pork to cool for a bit in the stock. Line a flat baking tray with cling film, carefully lift the pork, get rid of any bits of veg & herbs and place it skin down onto the tray. Cover with another flat tray or dish, weigh it down with something heavy place in the fridge overnight. This step is really important to ensure the pork’s skin is perfectly clean, flat – ready to be trimmed and crisped up the next day. Strain the cooking liquid into a jug cover and place in the fridge to chill.
(on the day)
3. Pour the braising juices (now jelly) into a saucepan and reduce down by two-thirds until thicker and syrupy.
4. Place pork on a clean board, skin-side upwards. Get a sharp knife and trim off any uneven edges so that you have a neat sheet of meat and cut into equal pieces. Heat oil in a large frying pan and reduce to medium heat. Sizzle the pork skin side down for 5 mins until the skin is perfectly crispy and flip it over for another couple of minutes until warm and browned all over.
Serve with cauliflower mash, mustard cabbage or any other earthy/wintery sides and drizzle the jus next to the pork on the plate. I also like to sprinkle a few bits of fried chorizo over it for extra texture!
Definitely give this dish a go for your next dinner party, pork belly is a very affordable cut of meat too, so no need to spend a fortune to impress!
Crispy duck is a legendary chinese classic. While the traditional way to prepare Chinese crispy duck takes forever, it’s certainly not the only way to achieve a delicious Peking style crispy duck at home. Here is a dead easy recipe to prepare the best peking style crispy duck within a couple of hours – so easy in fact that I decided to add the extra challenge of making my own pancakes…
1 whole duck 1.5 – 2kg, rinsed and dried well
3-4 tbsp salt
1-2 tbsp Chinese Five Spice
4 cm piece of ginger
3-4 spring onions
2 red chilis
275g plain flour
250ml water, just boiled
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Extra flour for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. To prepare the duck, rub it inside and out with a lot of salt and then just all over with five spice. Grate some fresh ginger to rub the cavity and place more five spice and the leftover ginger into the duck’s cavity to flavour.
2. Place duck in a tray and roast in the hot oven for 1-1½ hours, or until cooked through. Spoon regularly the excess fat over the skin to baste.
3. If you decide to make your own pancakes – now is the time start making your dough. In a large bowl, pour all of the flour and gradually add in the hot water, mixing constantly. Place the dough onto a dusted work surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes and leave it to rest for 30 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
4. Finely slice the cucumber, spring onion and chili and place on a tray.
5. Back to your dough. Dust a bit of flour over your work surface, stretch and knead the dough for another 5 minutes or until smooth. Roll it into a long sausage, and chop it into 18 equal pieces. Roll each portion back into a small ball.
6. Check your bird – if the skin isn’t quite crispy enough, turn the temperature up to 220°C. Pour the excess duck fat out of the tray and spoon a little over the duck skin to baste it one last time. Place into the hot oven for 10-20 minutes or until the skin is really crispy.
7. Back to your pancakes – the traditional method is to make two pancakes at a time. Take two of the balls, dip one side of one ball into sesame oil and place on top of the other ball. With a rolling pin, roll the 2 pancakes simultaneously into a 15 cm disk. Place the double pancake into a frying pan over gentle heat for a few minutes until dry and cooked. Allow to cool, and peel the two pancakes apart. If you’re struggling with the traditional method, just do one at a time!
8. Remove duck from the oven and leave to cool and rest for 5-10 minutes. Shred the meat off the bones using a fork or your fingers, place on a serving tray with the crispy skin. Serve the meat with warm pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and plum sauce. Et voila!
If making your own pancakes is a bit too much for you, skip steps 3, 5 & 7, buy pre-made ones and reheat in a steamer or microwave! As a gluten-free variant, make gluten free savoury pancakes with gluten-free flour, eggs, water, milk and butter!
A “Poule Au Pot” is a classic French dish originally made popular by Henri IV, whose ambition was for every family in his kingdom to be able to afford to eat this dish every Sunday. It is traditionally served with the carved poached meat and vegetables on a platter and the chicken broth in a bowl on the side, but I prefer to bring all the elements back to the pot and serve it as a hearty soup.
1 whole organic chicken, washed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 onions, chopped
2L chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 leeks, washed and sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
1) Place carrots, celery, onions, parsley and bay leaves in a large non-stick pan. Season with Salt & pepper. Place the chicken over the vegetables, pour in stock and add enough water to cover the chicken (I took the below photo before adding the extra water). Simmer on medium heat for 1.5 hour or until the chicken is soft and fully cooked through.
2) Remove the chicken from the pan leave it to cool down on the side. Bring the broth back to high heat and allow to reduce for 15 minutes. In the meantime, tear the cooked chicken into long chunks.
4) Once the broth has reduced by a third, throw the chicken back in the pan, add the leeks and simmer for another 10 minutes.
5) Remove the bay leaves and serve in warm bowls with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
For something a bit more substantial, add potatoes at the same time as the carrots and green peas as you add the leeks. This soup is delicious, nutritious and super healthy too!
This is a variation of a Quatre-quart, which is a traditional French cake from the region of Brittany. It translates to “four-quarters”, meaning 1/4 of the recipe is flour, 1/4 sugar, 1/4 butter, and 1/4 eggs. My mum’s personal twist was to add apples to it, probably to make it a bit healthier as she used to make it most weekends for us growing up…served with a glass of milk, this cake is pure comfort food and an instant burst of childhood memories!
4 large eggs
250g butter, softened
250g or 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
250g or 1 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
4 apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1 tbsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Separate the egg whites from the yolks into two bowls.
2) Whisk the egg yolks with sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick. Add the butter, vanilla essence, baking powder beating continuously. Gradually add flour and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.
3) Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm peaks form. Gently, fold stiffed egg whites into the batter.
4) Arrange some of the apple slices in neat circles on the bottom of a non stick cake pan. Chop the remaining apple slices and mix in the batter.
5) Pour batter over the apple slices and cook for an hour or until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Make sure you check as it can sometimes take a little it longer with the apples added to the mixture.
You can also try a more classic “Quatre quart” recipe, skipping the apples and replacing the vanilla essence with lemon juice.
This is a simple Nasi Goreng recipe I learned at a cooking class on my last trip to Bali.
The reason why I like it so much? Because it tastes really authentic, while a simplified version of the more complex recipes I have seen before. This means that you don’t have to get too many new spices and exotic ingredients to re-create it a home. In fact, this recipe is best improvised to use up overnight rice!
2-3 tsp vegetable oil
100g chicken, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp red chilli, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 cup steamed rice, cold
3 tbsp soy sauce
1tsp Worcester sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1tsp fish sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Small handful of coriander, chopped
2 tbsp Fried shallots
½ cup Chinese cabbage, shredded (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
1. If you’re not using left over rice, start by cooking the rice following packet instruction. Drain, cool to room temperature and place in the fridge for an hour or so. Note that it’s important to use cold cooked rice as freshly cooked rice is too soft and will absorb the oil.
2. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes or until nice and brown. Season with salt & pepper.
3. Add the shallots, garlic and toss around for a couple of minutes. Add the chili, turmeric, and spring onion and fry for another minute.
4. Add the rice, mix and toss well. Add the Soy sauce, Worcester, ketchup and fish sauce. Season to taste.
5. Garnish with fried shallots and fresh coriander.
I didn’t include shredded cabbage or eggs omelette in mine, as I was serving it as a side to my chicken sate, but definitely add it in for a more substantial stand alone dish!
This tasty and healthy dish was inspired by my recent trip to Bali. Peanut sauce is one of the most popular local speciality, served with anything ranging from meats to vegetables. Chicken sate (or satay) is a wonderful alternative to a classic chicken kebab and also the perfect exotic addition to your next barbecue session!
Ingredients: Serves 4
3 garlic cloves
25g root ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tsp each ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground white pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp tamarind paste (optional)
2 lime leaves , thinly sliced (optional)
500g chicken fillet, finely sliced
Wooden skewers, soaked in boiling water
2 tablespoons oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
200g peanuts, unsalted & dry roasted
3 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
3 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
250 ml hot water
1. Peel & finely chop shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies. Measure spices and place into a separate bowl.
2. Heat oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry the shallots, garlic, ginger and chillies for 1-2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water to help soften, stir in the dry spices and fry for a minute.
3. Remove the pan from the heat, let the mixture cool down, then blend to a paste and add the tamarind paste and shredded lime leaves if using. Season with salt.
4. Place chicken strips in a bowl, pour marinade over it, combine well and thread 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.
5. To prepare the peanut sauce heat the oil in a saucepan add chillies, garlic and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Add peanuts and roast for another minute.
6. Place the mixture in a food processor; add salt, sugar, hot water and process again to make a thick sauce. Add fish sauce to taste.
7. Grill on the barbecue or griddle pan for 8-10 mins or until slightly charred on both sides and cooked inside.
Serve with peanut sauce, pita bread and a fresh cucumber salad for a light summer lunch or alternatively garnish with fried shallots and serve with a side of steamed rice or Nasi Goreng for a more authentic Indonesian meal.
Dear lovely Nibblers,
You may have noticed I’ve been quiet lately and I wanted to let you know what I have been up to for the past 12 months or so…To sum it up – it was a hugely hectic but also incredible year – with a new job, a new house and a wedding in the bag!
First of all, my passion for social media and the general enthusiasm around FeelingNibblish landed me a new job last July, as Social media expert for a leading comms agency. I absolutely love it, and it’s all thanks to you, so THANK YOU!
Because big decisions in life usually happen all at once, my partner and I also decided it was time to get on the property ladder and buy our very first home together. After a few month of intense research in a volatile market, we found the one and moved in by the end of 2012. I have to say, I do miss dearly our super-large and sleek kitchen from the previous rented flat (the owner was a chef!). As you will see in upcoming posts, our current kitchen is unfortunately smaller and slightly dated, albeit with a healthy dose of character (exposed brick etc) – but the good news is that we have big renovation plans underway and once finished our new kitchen will be the perfect Nibblish kitchen!
Finally, the other big news that I would like to share with you guys is that my partner and I finally got married last month! The wedding was absolutely wonderful and you would have loved the food – it was truly Nibblish grade! Nibblish even got a mention in the groom’s speech and the menu was also named after it!
As you can see, I am still feeling as Nibblish as ever and I have truly missed you!
So stay tuned …Things are about to get very exciting around here .. and I hope YOU are going to keep in touch and have some amazing nibblish recipes on your plates again soon!
The first Din Tai Fung opened back in 1974 as a small stall in Taipei and has since grown into an international phenomenon with 47 restaurants in 10 different countries. While I may not have travelled the world enough to call it the “worlds tastiest dumpling” like chef Ken Hom did, I would certainly agree that it’s by far the tastiest dumpling joint in Sydney, even better than the popular Shanghai Tang or Marigold.
Din Tai Fung’s unique point of difference is the scientific precision applied to all the dishes made. Every dumpling pastry is delicately hand made to measure between precisely 4.8 and 5.2 grams at conception, with an exact 6cm diameter, before being stuffed and folded 18 times to weigh between 20.6 and 21.4 grams. The result – perfection every time!
Food overall is just gorgeous.The fruit juices are freshly squeezed and delicious. The zesty and silky hot & sour soup makes a perfect starter. The steamed crab meat & crab roe dumpling is delicate, juicy and flavourful. The shrimp & pork jiao zi and pork bun are to die for. My only disappointment was when I ordered the Shanghai syle drunken chicken, which I found too poached, plain and cold for my liking…although I am not sure what else I was expecting as that’s apparently was it is!
Din Tai Fung don’t take bookings, so best try and avoid peak hours if you can. I usually like to go around 11.30am on Saturday or Sunday and never wait longer than 10 minutes. The service is impeccable and fast, so once seated the food will be on the table within 5 minutes! The ambiance isn’t on the romantic side, but definitely much more pleasant than most Yum Cha places.
Overall, I would probably give it a 9/10 Nibbles!
World Square Shopping Centre
Level 1, Shop 11.04, 644 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9264 6010