Sydney Bar Week, 22-25 September

Sydney Bar Week is the largest cocktail, spirit, beer, wine and cider one-day event in Australia, where attendees get to meet with representatives of some of the largest alcohol trading companies in the world and attend various masterclasses and events to enhance their drink-mixing skills.

As part of Bar Week, there are also a series of dinners, tours, and themed parties around Sydney, all with a carefully selected drinks menu that’s been matched closely with the food on offer. To achieve the perfect combination of food and drink is a real art – and one that is perfected by the chefs and sommeliers who participate in Bar Week events.

I will be attending a number of Sydney Bar Week events as a guest blogger, thanks to the generosity of the event organisers. You can see me at the general Sunday afternoon Drinks Fest session, the “Get Shucked” event on the Saturday night at The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room, and the “Fashionable Drinks” event on the Monday night at the Gazebo Wine Garden.

Let me know if you’re attending, and I might see you there!

Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot PieIn the mood for something hearty and cheap? This is your answer!

Ingredients

Two chicken breast fillets (or eight chicken thigh fillets – depending what cut of meat you prefer), one large bag of frozen cubed vegetables (e.g. corn, peas, carrots), one can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken condensed soup, two sheets of frozen puff pastry. Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

  1. Take your puff pastry and frozen veggies out to defrost. Preheat the oven to approximately 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Clean and dice the chicken to approximately one centimetre cubes, approximately the size of the veggies. Brown chicken on medium heat in a large lidded saucepan.
  3. Add defrosted veggies to the pan and cook until warm through.
  4. Add can of Cream of Chicken condensed soup and half a can of water to the pan, and stir through. Let the mixture simmer until ingredients are hot and fully combined, then add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Transfer the mixture straight to a medium-sized casserole dish (leave approximately half a centimetre gap at the top).
  6. Cut puff pastry into strips, and arrange on top on the casserole dish in a criss-cross pattern. Brown with egg wash if desired.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is nice and crispy (approximately twenty minutes to half an hour) – then serve!

This should serve six people  if you dish out smaller portions with side dishes. Total cost is approximately $20AUD for puff pastry, chicken, canned soup and frozen veggies. Cheap and tasty!

Recipe: Mussels in a Thai Red Curry Soup

Mussels in Thai red curry

I picked this recipe up on my Travelicious markets tour, along with two kilos of mussels from the Sydney Fish Markets.

I’m convinced that’s actually the sign of a good food-related event, when you’re left with ideas and techniques that expand your thinking and your relationship with food.

Ingredients

Two kilos of black mussels, onion, garlic, red curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, coriander and chilli.

Method

  1. If they aren’t already, clean your mussels. This is a good Youtube video explaining how to do it.
  2. Finely dice the onion and garlic (one onion, about three or four cloves of garlic) and brown it in a large pot on medium heat. Add three large tablespoons of curry paste once the onion and garlic has browned.
  3. After a minute, add fish sauce (two tablespoons), brown sugar (one tablespoon) and coconut milk (one can). Depending how soupy you want the broth to be, you might also want to add a half cup of water as well.
  4. Add the mussels to the pot and put the lid on. They don’t all need to be submerged in the soup because the steam that will collect in the pot will cook them. Cook for approximately three to five minutes, or until all the mussels have opened up.
  5. While the mussels are cooking, chop up chilli and coriander and sprinkle it on top of each serving. Serve with a side of jasmine rice to absorb the soup.

Two kilos of mussels was enough for a filling meal for three people, and would serve four well if you had some extra sides to go with the dish. Quite quick and simple to make (approximately half an hour) and relatively cheap as well, considering that most of the ingredients you should already have in (onion, garlic, fish sauce, brown sugar), and others will only cost you about $15AUD total (mussels, curry paste, coconut milk).