Festival of India in Oz, Canberra


Last Saturday, the Canberra Theatre Forecourt was host to Gilles Chuyen, Bollywood dance teacher, as he lead a crowd of enthusiastic Canberrans, eager to learn a few fun dances.


The free Bollywood Workshop was part of the Festival of India in Australia.

Indian street food vendors like Shareb, Lavina and Preem, from Chilli Grill Chai in the Hamlet, Braddon…

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….offered hungry dancers classic delicacies like a wonderful Butter Chicken…


…and their Samosa Chat $10 (also available at the Hamlet).


I was very pleased to learn that Chilli Grill Chai has a permanent home on Lonsdale Street as they have such great food. I have a return visit on my wishlist!


And do look out for the other free Festival of India Canberra event on the afternoons of 2nd and 3rd October – the Pung Cholom in Commonwealth Park.



A wonderful Bangladeshi Cuisine Cooking Circle Canberra at Taste of Bangladesh, Manuka


Last Saturday Shafique and Farhana hosted Cooking Circles Canberra to an amazing introduction to Bangladeshi cuisine at their Manuka restaurant, Taste of Bangladesh.

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They lead thirty of us through the delicate flavours of Chicken Dum Biriyani, fragrant with spices of Cumin, Star Anise, Chilli, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Clove and Mace…


…along with ginger and garlic, ghee, fried  onions.


The spices were ground and mixed with yogurt to marinate the chicken which was then cooked..


…before being layed with the separately cooked rice for the final cooking, that allows the flavours to penetrate layers.


While the Dum Biriyani was cooking, Shafique showed us how to prepare the wonderfully delicious classic – Gulab Jaman.


His shortcut method is to mix a dough using milk powder and baker’s flour (softened with cream) which is rolled into balls…

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….and cooked in oil before being added to a sugar (and cinnamon stick) syrup.


Farhana told us about the traditional (lengthy) method used in Bangladesh to prepare this dessert, using paneer. When a new baby is born into a family, the new parents send this special sweet to friends and neighbours.


While we were waiting for the Dum Biriyani, Shafique also showed us an Eggplant Pakora (Beguni) entree.


He first thinly sliced the eggplant…


…then mixed it with spices – chilli, mace and garam marsala…


…and then chickpea flour and water to coat it in batter before frying it.


We were all so eager to enjoy this delicacy that no-one captured any photos whatsoever!

As the meal deliciously came together we chatted and enjoyed mango lassis and glasses of wine…


…but when the Dum Biriyani was served, perfectly matched with yogurt raita, the flavours were wonderful to savour!


And the Gulab Jaman was a perfect end to a excellent meal, with fine company and much pleasure for all the senses, discovering another lesser known world cuisine!


Taste of Bangladesh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Red Belly Citrus Blood Oranges – transforms the ordinary into something special!


Recently I was lucky enough to be sent beautiful blood oranges from Red Belly Citrus.


Bizzy Lizzy mentioned the gorgeous blood  orange and hazelnut cake recipe in Gourmet Traveller  that gives great instructions for an upside down cake garnished with candied orange slices.

Blood oranges have such a vibrant colour, they make anything special – cakes or salads.

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I decided to try my favourite rich chocolate cake with this innovative highlight.


I added some cinnamon and liquer to the mix and it was fantastic, served warm with thick whipped cream.


I planned to use some of my blood oranges for a salad, but the cake was such a hit that they all ended up in cakes!

Sharing a love of cooking, great food and an amazing venue @PialligoEstate


As I’ve mentioned before Pialligo Estate  might be Canberra’s very best dining venue.


The Garden Pavillions are perfect for a winter’s day casual meal.

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It was the perfect spot for the Canberra Food Bloggers to catch up over cookbooks on a cold Canbera Saturday. As the sleet and hail rolled in we were toasty warm enjoying Pialligo Estate’s fine wine, sampling the lunch menu and sharing our lives, joys and passions through cookbooks.

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The idea is simple, yet brilliant. Bring along some cookbooks/foodbooks that you love and any that you have loved but are ready to share to a new home.


I’m always amazed at the many ways food can connect us with people and cultures, but I’d not yet come across a cookbook chat and swap.

As I looked through the cookbooks I’d collected over many years, to bring along, I wondered why some had survived many ruthless cullings.


I realised that it’s not that they are particularly good, but rather that they represent a part of my life. I’ve moved from handwritten family recipes that started me off as a child, through a spartan low fat eating era, to discovering the world of creating events around food. I will always be thankful for that commercial cookery training that dietitians once did. And I could see that now I collect cookbooks to remind me of places where I’ve travelled.

But it was fasciating to hear everyone else tell of their lives and loves through their favourite cookbooks. We only scratched the surface…there are more conversations planned!


Together with this wonderful cookbook inspired sharing, we enjoyed a Pialligo Estate Smokehouse Platter with Peppered rump, chicken roulade & cos lettuce, jamon, washed rind cheese from the Adelaide Hills and house made dukkah, served with Pepe Saya butter and crusty bread.


Followed by Southern Spiced Pork and Pickled Melon….


and Ham Bell & Garden Salad with red wine mignonette…


..and finished with a dessert of…

..and Spanish Herbed Sheep’s Cheese with rosemary (very delicious), pears & baguette


..Persimmon Crumble with lime mascarpone (wonderful flavours)


and Chocolate Delice & coffee biscuit..


All beautifully accompanied by Pialligo Estate Riesling and Shiraz.


Pialligo Estate generously subsidised our costs by the Platters are usually $42 per person (minimum tow guests) or the set menu is $48 pp for two courses or $60 for three.

Wine by the glass is around $12.

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And we left with bags of Blood Oranges courtesy of RedBelly Citrus….to start new culinary adventures!

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Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Second look at Polo Restaurant – Peirogi Specials night, Turner


Having enjoyed my first visit to Polo at the White Eagle Club in Turner, I was back this week again for the Wednesday night specials.

The menu was a little different this time and I think it keeps changing.

The Mushroom and Cabbage or Cheese and Potato Pierogi ($10 or $14 with a wine of beer) were still on…

….but there were also Koldunai – handmade Lithuanian dumplings – pan seared with bacon and camrmelised cabbage ($13 or $17 with a drink). These were offered in Beef with Horseradish and yogurt sauce….

…but my favourite were the pork and fennel with apple and fennel slaw.

The Veal Goulash $16 looked pretty good – wrapped in potato blintz with pickled fennel/kolrabi and sour cream.

There were also good looking ricotta fritters $10….

….Kodunai – handmade sweet cheese dumplings with chooclate custard $13…

…and another dessert….

…but I think liked the savoury dishes best.

There’s a nice choice of wine or beer to go with your special and wine pours are generous.

Opinions seem to be divided about this venue and not everyone agrees with me, but I love it here! It’s so relaxed and friendly and everyone is enjoying each other’s company as they share a simple meal and a drink.

…And it is noisey in some spots. But the library is a quiet spot (though it might be a bit too quiet for some) and surprisingly the main area (with carpet) is quieter than the room next door (with a wooden floor).

A couple of other things I learnt this time are…

  1. Get there early and order quickly as the line gets long.
  2. Book by texting 0422898617. It’s  easy and you get a very quick, friendly and accomodating response.
  3. Ask for the mainroom near the kitchen or the library if you need somewhere quiet.

I’m looking forward to another visit already!

Kopernik traditional Polish restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Christmas in July – great dinner party theme for a Canberra Winter


It truly is cold in Canberra, and not so inviting to venture out to eat. But it’s the perfect time to get friends together for a Christmas in July dinner at home.

By sharing the catering and each bringing a dish or a course, it makes it easier on the host.
We did this recently with a bunch of friends and all invited someone new to introduce to the others.

I discovered new winter gems like hot green ginger wine (just add some boiling water) a quick an easy alternative to mulled wine.

Someone brought the nibbles..

Another the turkey breast roll with cranberry sauce and gravy and  ham as well….

….some one else teamed this with fresh green beans and roast winter vegetables.

Then there were mince pies and plum pudding with custard, cream and rum icecream….

And lastly we had Ginger biscuits and something new to me….Tim Tams dunked in port – surprisingly fantastic! (a true believer would bite off each end and suck the port through the Tim Tam).

I think it’s always worth hanging on to a few Christmas crackers, keeping some Chrissy decorations handy and freezing a few mince pies when they are in the shops….just in case you need them in July!

Turkish Tapas – the easy way


It’s always great to find an easy way to entertain at home that’s also budget friendly.

Ordering Turkish Banquets from Lyneham Turkish Pide Kebabs, is one of these opportunities where you can transform a basic take away meal into something special in just one hour.

The Family $20 Banquet includes…

2 x Dips, 1 x Bread, 2 Zucchini puffs, 2 Falafel, 2 Fetta Spring Rolls, 2 Chicken Skewers, 2 Kofte, 1 x Rice and Salad, 1 x Pide, 1 x Chips

Minimum order is two and delivery is free.

Two $20 Family banquets arrives looking like this…

1. Cut the Turkish breads in half horizontally and spread with the dips, top with the salad, assemble the top layer of bread ( or leave open) and cut into bite-sized pieces.

2. Serve any remaining bread with the remaining dips.

3. Cut the zucchini puffs, falafel and feta spring rolls into halves and serves with the tzaziki dip.

4. Take the chicken pieces off the kebab skewers and cut in half. Serve with the tzaziki dip.

5. Cut the sides into bite sized pieces and serve with dip.

6. Slice the kofta and chips into smaller pieces and stir through warmed pasta sauce. Add a tin of drained chickpeas. Serve this over the rice, sprinkled with cheese.

7. Set these dishes out and add some small soups or desserts if you have these on hand.

Turkish Pide and Kebabs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunset Drinks @pialligoestate and a foretaste of Taste of Two Regions @stantonkilleen @WinesofKV


Last night Pialligo hosted their Sunset Drinks, the third event in their ‘The Butcher, The Baker and the Merrymaker’ festive winter events series.



It was an exclusive opportunity to meet winemakers of the King Valley and Rutherglen regions and have a taste of the upcoming August Taste of Two Regions events in Canberra.


In a masterclass for readers of Her Canberra, Wendy Killeen and her daughter Natasha (the seventh generation of Stanton & Killeen wine makers) treated us to their  wonderful range of Muscats one of the only true Australian style wines.



Starting with the Rutherglen Muscat aged 2-4 years, then the Classic, aged an average of 12 years, and finally the Grand and the Rare aged 20-25+ years, we moved to richer and more viscous and luscious wines. We learnt that only the exceptional vintage grapes are used for the Grand and Rare muscats.


We noticed the raisins and rose petals characteristics and the developing complexity and silkiness. And along the way we shared in a little family history – how Norm Killeen married into the Stanton family wines started by Jack Stanton. How Norm was frugal and bought second hand barrels that turned out to have been used for rum, creating a new rum flavoured wine still requested today.

Tanya from Brown Brothers Wines introduced us to their King Valley Prosecco (a region in northern Italy but also the name of the wine as the cuttings have been brought from Italy).


Brown Brothers are market leaders in Prosecco, a wine with a fruitness – apple and pear on the nose, soft and round on the palette and an ‘approachable wine’ that matches well to seafood, fish, sushi and a soft Brie. Available in both vintage and non-vintage varieties, a few of us prefered the sweeter non-vintage.

In Canberra, this Brown Brothers Prosecco is easily available at Palace Cinema.

A wonderful and fascinating insight into the delicous world of wines! If you missed Sunet Drinks you might like to catch the Taste of Two Regions next month!

Fine Eating was a guest of the generosity of Pialligo Estate.

Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bush Tucker – growing & cooking in #Canberra with @HeidiZajac Cooking Circles


Narelle Happ is a great fan of gardens that you can eat. As a horticulturalist and garden designer she loves teaching people to grow Australian natives that not only look good, but since pre-European history, have been adding unique flavours and textures to foods.


Narelle was the guest of Canberra’s Cooking Circles this week and she shared her impressive knowledge of easy to grow natives for Canberra gardens and treated us to a bush tucker afternoon tea, created in the excellent Foodish kitchen at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets. (What an amazing resource Foodish is!)

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And, as always, the event provided a lovely opportunity to meet up with others who share a passion for good food and great company.


Narelle’s Bush Tucker Macadamia Nut Dukkah with hazelnuts, bush tomato, groud lemon myrtle, ground mountain pepper leaf and ground aniseed myrtle was excellent…..


as was the…


…Bush Tucker Tomato Chutney with eggplant and onion.

Accompanied by an exquisite Lemon myrtle tea made from the dried leaves of the plant, I think everyone decided that they needed a tree of their own. (Lemon myrtle is also great as a flavour for cheesecake, icecream and as we tasted, yogurt)….


Narelle brought along a trailer load of plants to show and tell (and sell!).

These included…


Native mint a very pretty plant when growing, and hardy.

Native cranberries, Native ginger, Edible tubers, Climbers, Wombat berry, Native sarsaparilla good for tea, Pepper bush (this would grow well in Canberra and you can use the dried berries like peppercorns or use leaves for tea).

We also sampled popcorn with lemon myrtle and macadamia and some with bush tomato native basil.

We know know that dried, ground leaves of saltbush are good for dukkah, in dishes like also frittata or saltbush lamb and is favoured by  Kylie Kwong. Along with Lemon Myrtle, this sounded like a very useful plant to grow.

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The Warigal greens grow all year round can use for dishes like a wonderful pesto….

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Very lovely also were the strawberry gum bliss balls…

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…and it was fun to make and try the Orange and Wattleseed muffins.

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Truly a gardening- food adventure that would be fascinating to explore!



Chefs of Canberra Truffle Dinner @TruffleFest @ VisitCanberra


Last week some of Canberra’s best chefs created an amazing truffle gala dinner  at the Arboretum’s Conservatory Restaurant  –  a highlight of the 2016 Canberra Region Truffle Festival featuring truffle themed dishes and Canberra wines.

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The evening commenced with canapes of truffled Belvedere shooters and truffled popcorn from Chef Janet Jeffs and the Ginger Catering Team. This was served with 2012 Mount Majura ‘The Silurian’ Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir and Kosciusko Pale Ale.


First Course was created by Chef David Revel from Rydges, Capital Hill – a beautiful looking 65 degrees egg with foie gras emulsion, pain d’epices, bronze fennel, red vein sorrel, target beetroot and shaved truffle. The accompanying wine was my favourite of the night – 2013 Lark Hill Byodinamic ‘Mr.V’ Marsanne/Rousanne/Voignier.

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Second Course came from Chef Alex O’Brien who cooks at the Boathouse. Truffle Savoy cabbage, raclette, bone marrow and herb truffle brioche with shaved truffle. Unexpectedly, it was my favourite course. This was teamed with 2014 Lerida Estate ‘Cullerin Pinot Noir’.


The next course was Chef Sean McConnell and Daniel Flatt’s, from Monster at Hotel Hotel – Wagyu rump with truffle, lardo and turnips – teamed with 2012 Freeman Secco Rondinella Corvina.


Dessert was a creation of Chef Frankie J Bodel and the Ginger Team – choux truffles, truffle custard, green peppercorns and white chocolate – along with Surveyor’s Hill Sweet Touriga.


Amanda Whitley, of HerCanberra, convened a panel of local producers who entertained us with their inspiring stories and passion for their products….

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….Jayson Mesman from the Truffle Farm Canberra, Chef David Revel of Rydges and Anne Caine from Lerida Estate.


A very lovely event and a very fun night out with tables of ten.

Well worth the $112.50pp, all inclusive cost.

Well done Canberra!