Do you know that feeling you get when you’ve eaten so much it literally pains you to sit upright, when your belt is straining against your stomach and it requires that oh so subtle quick unbelt and adjustment? That’s the feeling I get every time I eat with Sydney Food Bloggers.
We’ve gathered en-mass on a beautiful Saturday at Karen’s house to eat, eat, eat and be merry! It’s a gorgeous day and somewhat naively I’ve started it strongly with a pack of instant noodles for breakfast and a late snack from Breadtop – big mistake! I don’t know it yet, but the next couple of hours are going to resemble an episode of 24 with 4 hours of non stop eating and with me eventually collapsing into a food coma.
It’s really obvious that spring has arrived in Sydney, with most of us lazing around in Karen’s backyard enjoying the afternoon sun. This all changes the moment Lex arrives with a giant bowl full of amazingly buttery crab, its like there’s been a bomb let off in the backyard and all we can hear are yells of, ‘Where’s my camera?!‘.
Lex has prechopped all of the shells and within seconds there’s silence as we crack open our crab pieces and try to eat without dripping any of the delicious sauce on ourselves (at this point I may have sauced Karen’s dog, Orphy… a little). It’s awesome in its simplicity, butter, soy, chilli spices and crab.
Billy’s been hard at work cooking up his Malaysian Satay sticks on $6 disposable BBQs, they’re surprisingly efficient to the point of burning off the sticks within seconds on being on the grill! He’s made up some awesome signs (which I failed at getting photos of!) for our Malaysian Hawker stands and it’s set the theme for a mini Malaysian style feast. He’s served them up with a chunky peanut dipping sauce which within moments becomes the 2nd bit of food to be dropped on Orphy!
Thankfully for my arteries it’s not all meat! Karen’s provided us with a few BBQ staples of fried Noodles with Fishballs and Potato Salad, they’re a welcome addition to our plates. I’m enamored with the greenness of the Potato Salad, I usually have potato salad drowning in masses of mayonnaise but the simplicity sucks me in.
Simon’s up next with a fresh batch of Bulgogi and a tub of week old Kimchi, homemade by his mother. The Bulgogi is fresh from the grill and served simply with lettuce leaves, kimchi, rice and chilli sauce, it’s a messy delicious bite that has us licking our fingers and also sees Orphy get his third bit of marinating, Kimchi style.
There’s something about a BBQ that does something to guys…
Billy’s continuing the Malaysian theme with a fresh batch of Fried Tofu and my new favourite salad, Rojak! He’s been bugging me all morning to try find KangKung (Water Spinach) for the tofu in the asian stores around Flemington, luckily for him the owner of one of the local stores is a Malaysian woman who assures Helen that she’s lucky, not many people have KangKung!
The Rojak is at its peak, packed with all the Rojak essentials, and yes it includes bean sprouts. My favourite part is the chunks of Green Mango, which are perfectly ripe and give a great crunch to the bite with that hit of sour you know you crave. The sauce has a tiny hint of heat at the end, just enough for you to suck in your breath I find myself going back for more.
We’re having a few troubles getting the main BBQ going so Lex has commandeered control over Billy’s portable BBQs to cook up a massive serving of Ocean Trout. The plate’s only been down for a second before he announces we better be quick if we want to get some crackling. That’s right, Fish Skin Crackling! The battle is fierce that we’ve thrown away our cameras for the chance at some crackling!
Amazingly crunchy crackling aside, the fish has been seasoned generously and thrown on the grill whole with a few blood oranges to garnish, it’s delicate and cooked lightly falling apart on our forks.
Richard and I have retreated momentarily into the house for a breather, only to come back out at a run when we hear shouts of ‘Otak otak!’ What I don’t know is that my evil food blogger friends have actually already devoured the first serving without us… ¬_¬.
The Otak Otak is cooked lightly over the BBQ and opens to a flourish of steam, the meat nearly falls apart as I take a serving and it’s piping hot and burns my tongue when I eat it too quickly.
Sadly Shez and Lex need to be on their way by 5.30 so we promptly move things along by starting up with dessert! Shez has one final offering for us, Kaya Kuih – the green coconut is blindingly sweet but eaten with the sticky rice is a chewy mouthful of awesome. I manage to resist until everyone’s taken a piece before sneaking a second… and yes a third lol.
I’ve joined forces with Helen for this challenge, we’ve decided to pair up and make Chendol for the masses. Helen actually tries a homemade chendol recipe… to disastrous results and somewhat unbelievably despite scouring 5 asian grocery stores we’re unable to find any Chendol for sale. Plan B – Ice Kechang!
There’s an intense debate over what a ‘Proper’ Ice Kechang and we’ve been divided into Team Gula Melaka Vs. Team Rose Syrup. Personally I find the taste of rose syrup somewhat overpowering and prefer the thick sweetness of Gula Melaka! We’ve rocked out with copious amounts of corn, grass jelly, lychees, jackfruit, palm seeds, evaporated milk and a whole heap of shaved ice. It’s a brilliant way to end, or so I think until I remember the bag of Egg Tarts that Yas has brought…
After the Chendol Ice Kechang we find ourselves collapsed on the couches in exhaustion, it doesn’t last very long when I remember that Yas has come with a paper bag of 20 Egg Tarts. I adore egg tarts and push on past my limits! The tarts have a gorgeously burnt custard appearance and the first bite echoes with the satisfying crunch of puff pastry, complimented by egg custard. It’s saying something about my stomach that sadly I’m only able to fit in one.
Linda and Howard are late to the party but by no means have they come empty-handed! After a mere hour and some hardcore deep-frying action, we’re presented with a bowl of 3kgs of chicken wings deep-fried to perfection. There’s a lot of sore fingertips and sensitive tongues as we eat these way too quickly for our own good, I have to call defeat after 3 but it doesn’t stop me from taking a box of these home (which I promptly ate for breakfast the next day).
It’s a brilliant day that starts off with Butter Crab and ends with Wagyu steaks. Our problematic BBQ has finally started up and rewarded us with meaty deliciousness, the unpredictable nature of the coals means our cooking is a bit of a mixed bag with some steaks coming out medium rare and others overcooked to the point of liver-like texture. I’m finally tapping out after 3 pieces, no more… no more! (Sorry, at this point I couldn’t even pick up my camera anymore and subbed in a picture I took earlier)
There’s so much food and drinks that I neglected to take photos of – Phuoc‘s biscuits, Suze‘s Watermellon Keg and Karen’s Pims and Lemonade and Richard‘s seemingly endless supply of alcohol (much to the dismay of my designated driver status).
With Spring in full force I can’t wait for the next BBQ