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Tsar_Pushka's Profile

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Recipe organiser / app

I use a new iPhone/iPad app called RecipeTin.

I've been looking for years for an app that does exactly what you describe. Like you I have recipes in text files, as Word Docs, photos I took of magazines or books, some PDFs, same as you.

This app covers all these. It also has a browser built in that will convert any web page to a PDF and import it into the app. So you aren't "locked into" certain websites that the app supports, unlike Paprika say (tried that one too). It works brilliantly.

It's not fancy, it's very straightforward and easy to use. I think that's the whole idea behind it and it does it well.

Mar 01, 2014
Tsar_Pushka in Home Cooking

Duck tips for Sydney

Cool, thanks for the info.

Re marylands place ...Don't know the name but look up Dong Ba in Bankstown (my favourite Bankstown Viet restaurant incidentally ... try the bun bo hue, pho or anything really ... very tasty). From Dong Ba walk south on that street about 15m past the Chinese barbecue shop, past the Lebanese sweet shop and there is a little indoor alley where there is a Viet grocery, fishmonger and the butcher who sells the duck marylands).

Captain's Galley restaurant in Crisfield MD - still open?

Thanks, I found that site but can't seem to contact them. I guess they're shut.

Thanks for your help anyway.

Duck tips for Sydney

That sounds like a pretty good idea. Do you take all the fat/skin off the legs too though? To me confit isn't confit without the crispy skin. Ditto the breasts, you kinda need it to keep the lean breast meat moist when cooking and for better eating. Unless you're making a ragu or mincing the breast meat or something ...

Duck tips for Sydney

Pretty much all Asian butchers carry whole duck at good prices. So yeah Chinatown, try Market City butcher upstairs in the food court, or there is also a few up near Quay St (find Emperor's Garden BBQ and you'll see a butcher, walk a bit further up towards UTS and you'll find another near ramen shop Menya.)

If you're in the suburbs go to your closest Asian community hub depending where you are, eg. Hurstville, Ashfield, Cabramatta, Bankstown, Eastwood. Here you will find the cheapest duck in town, expect to pay maybe $12 - $15 each, depending on size. Of course quality corresponds with price (not that it's awful or anything but don't expect free range organic etc).

As an aside, if you're doing duck confit there is a Chinese butcher in Bankstown that sells only marylands and very cheap too ... maybe around $14 a kilo.

Let us know your results. I've always wanted to make duck confit but procuring the duck isn't the problem, it's procuring the fat. Gourmet shops will charge you an arm and a leg for a a cup or so, so that's not really viable. The duck seller at Eveleigh Markets told me she sometimes sells bags of raw fat at a reasonable price which you can render down to make your own liquid duck fat but she hasn't had any available the few times I went. So yeah I'd be interested to know how you get on.


Captain's Galley restaurant in Crisfield MD - still open?

Just wondering if anyone knows if the Captain's Galley restaurant in Crisfield MD is still open? I'm finding mixed answers on the interwebs. If not, are there any alternative seafood restaurants or crab houses of note in Crisfield or the area?

Thank you


Searching for Red Pepper Flakes

I think what you are after is chilli flakes. I don't know about NZ but in Aus you can get it anywhere. Are there any Indian / Pakistani groceries in Auckland? You might want to try there. Otherwise I'd try mail order online ...

Best place to buy Japanese products in Sydney?

In addition to the good suggestions here. Next to Artarmon station (quiet side) there are two smallish Japanese groceries, as well as Genki Ramen ... which sadly has plummeted in quality and is a far cry from what you would be used to in Japan.

Izakaya: There are a couple in Chinatown I've been to which are OK. Wagaya is boisterous and has OK fare, though the atmosphere is nothing like a real izakaya. More geared towards the young Asian crowd. I preferred Kasumi Izakaya on Dixon St. It's really just a restaurant but the food was a bit more authentic .. Stuff like fried salmon skin ... despite gimmicks like the waterslide somen. I'd go back just for the fried cheese mochi.

Ramen ... I'd nominate Gumshara, Menya, Zenya, Ramen-kan, Ichiban-boshi and Ryo's as the best Sydney has to offer.

Yakitori ... No real yakitori bars I'm afraid. Generally turns up as an overpriced side (like poster below pointed out) instead of the affordable boozing snack it's meant to be. Make it yourself at your next barbie instead.

Solo dining at Marque?

As in awkwardness factor? Could be a little weird I suppose. It's a pretty formal restaurant and a fairly intimate space. Having said that, it's well regarded as a "foodie's restaurant" so I don't think a solo diner will be that out of place. If you're not self-conscious I say go for it. The food's worth it.

Sydney Farmers Markets

Great tips Phil. I agree about Eveleigh being the best for produce. Plus, you can get a hot croque madame from Bird Cow Fish to demolish as you walk around the markets. Mmmmmm

Pilu at Freshwater

Good review Phil, all sounds very tasty. Definitely one for the list. Incidentally I went to the Pilu Cafe next door once to try their "famous" suckling pig sandwich some weeks ago but was really disappointed. Lovely pork and great ingredient combo (apple, rocket, grain mustard etc) but wayyyyyy too heavy on the mayo. It was almost sickeningly rich. Maybe better shared ...

Dress Code for Sydney Restaurants (Pier, Quay)

Fair enough Phil. Not sure I completely agree with you still, but your theory is sound. Maybe as you suggested it needs an objective test : )

While we're on topic, here's an interesting read -- particularly the variety of views expressed in the responses.

How long will a brine keep?

I'm not an expert in this area so I can't comment on the preserving effects of salt in with a chicken stock, but if I were you I would simply boil the brine every two days, cool it quickly and return it to the fridge. I have done this with pure chicken stock before and it's kept for a week without problems. I assume the same should work for your brine. If you have bits of fruit and other aromatics, that's a bit problematic as you don't want to boil them (or maybe you do to get more flavour out of them!), yet you can't strain them out before boiling and return it to the brine once cool as this will reintroduce any latent bacteria on the stuff you strained out.

Dec 27, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in General Topics

Dress Code for Sydney Restaurants (Pier, Quay)

You probably should wear at least a collared shirt, though jeans to go with it are fine in my opinion. I wore a tshirt once to Tetsuya's on a night when I really just wanted to be in the clothes I like to wear and have a great meal. I didn't feel that I drew stares and whispers. Nor did I feel staff were less disposed towards me (with all due respect to PhilD's opinion). In any case there was a large crowd of young twenties in tshirts at the next table so I wasn't the only one.

I went to Rockpool back in it's three-hat glory days and there was a guy next to us in a wifebeater and shorts. That might be taking it a bit too far, but the point I guess is that really it's up to you. If you don't feel uncomfortable being a bit underdressed, go for it. Noone will say anything. That's one of the great things about dining in this city.

Bo Innovation dress code?

Oh and the haircuts in the kitchen ... Some of the rudest, most awesome hair-dos ever.

Bo Innovation dress code?

Back from Honkers and for the record, dress code in Bo isn't strict at all. The restaurant is hip, contemporary and casual, and the great staff put alot of effort into making you feel welcome and comfortable rather than creating a formal dining experience. Some tables were dressed up, others were dressed down to Tshirt and jeans like me. It's very much do what you like, mi casa su casa kinda thing.

Oh and the food was brilliant. So many surprises, intriguing flavour combinations, textures and unusual cooking methods. Theatre is as much a part of the meal as the food, and bubbling bowls of liquid nitrogen made an appearance at the table more than once over the 20-course degustation. Highly recommended as a unique HK experience.

Bo Innovation dress code?

Cool ... Thanks for the responses!

Bo Innovation dress code?

Anyone been to Bo Innovation and can tell me about the dress code and general dress standard? I'm going to be backpacking through India for four weeks prior to going to HK so I don't want to carry a set of clothes around for a month just to eat at one restaurant. Can I get away with T-shirt and jeans? I figured given Alvin Leung's look they'd be liberal ...


Fishface [Sydney]

Nice review. I've never gotten around to eating there.

Sundried tomatoes? I thought that was stricken from upmarket menus in the 90s along with avocado, iceberg lettuce, celery and other unfashionable ingredients ...

Gas Producing Foods

Jerusalem artichokes are the worst (or best, depending on how you look at it). Been living on a pot of jerusalem artichoke soup for two days and I've been going like a bagpipe.

I keep thinking about that Roald Dahl book "The BFG" and that special soda ...

Aug 14, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in General Topics

Foods you refuse to eat as leftovers?

Cold fried chicken is the bees knees. I used to sometimes buy fried chicken purely so I could stick it straight in the fridge and enjoy cold fried chicken the next day. Granted, it's not as good as hot but it's almost a different dish when cold.

Leftover french fries on the other hand ... Binned. There is just no coming back from the dead with fries.

Aug 04, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in General Topics

Counterintuitive, but brilliant cooking techniques

I have tried #1 before and you are spot on there with the difference in results. I even did a direct comparison by dividing one hunk of sirloin (wagyu, incidentally) between two pans to compare the standard blistering hot method with the slow cook method. The slow cook was more tender, and I loved the uniform pink result. On the other hand, I disagree with Ducasse that the "carbonizing" in fast cooking ruins the steak. After all, that's the appeal of barbecueing isn't it? As long as you don't burn the crap out of it. I just think they're different approaches. (For wagyu though I felt it benefited much more from the slow cook method ... )

Aug 04, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in General Topics

Authentic Korean in Sydney

Well it depends where you live for "neighbourhood places". Though if you mean neighbourhoods that have good Korean food, a few suggestions ...

In the suburbs, Eastwood is a bit of a minor hotspot for Korean food. You'll find most of them on the east side of the railway line. Many specialise in Korean BBQ (I rate the Ttokssam Age ... Tidy, roomy, excellent service and great food). I know Strathfield also sports a number of Korean restaurants, though I have not eaten at any so can't tell you how they rate.

For the CBD, check out the southern end of Pitt St near Goulburn. Again, you have a bunch of Korean joints within stone's throw of each other. I have had a couple of really great and interesting hotpots around here, and if the 95% Korean clientele are anything to go by, it's pretty authentic.

Hope this helps!

Sydney cheap eats: Sussex Centre Food Court

I agree it's great value and fast. You need to be a bit discerning I find though, some things I've had aren't really up to scratch even for the price.

Dixon House Food Court one street west is also great. Very similar sort of thing, hidden below street level. Then there is Eating World, though they are a bit more sparse with the number of eateries. Going there today however, for Gumshara Ramen!

Eisbein / schweinshaxe help

Well I have made my schweinshaxe and I am pleased to say it was a success (mostly). I brined it for 36 hours. Then I cooked it on a simmer like torty above until the meat was tender (about 2.5 hours), although I didn't add any aromatics to the liquid. I didn't air dry mine after however, I just patted it dry with paper towels and let it sit for a ten minutes to dry itself.

I then rubbed with salt (I should've scored it but I was getting hungry) and straight into a moderate oven for about 30 minutes or so. The crackling came up a treat!! Only I burnt one side slightly because seems my oven too cooks unevenly and I was too boozed up to notice.

The meat had a pleasant ham-like saltiness (could benefit from another 12 hours in the brine methinks). It was quite juicy, tender and the fat just below the crackling was gooey and lovely -- I wish there was more of it!

Jul 14, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in Home Cooking

Are slugs edible?

And here's the video of the Slug ep .... (click Browse videos and look for "Slug special")

Gross dude ...

Jul 11, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in General Topics

Eisbein / schweinshaxe help

Yeah comparing recipes is what I have been doing but I wondered if anyone already had experience with the merits of various approaches. I will be sure to post my results.

Thanks for your reply!

Jul 11, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in Home Cooking

Eisbein / schweinshaxe help

Hi all

Looking for help on cooking perfect eisbein / schweinshaxe. I am trying to replicate the way I've had it in Munich and also here in Sydney, which has been the roasted version with crispy skin and tender, juicy, falling-off-the-bone meat. I understand this this is Bavarian schweinshaxe as opposed to the boiled version eisbein, is that correct??

Anyway for my first attempt I bought a forequarter hock, scored it and rubbed with salt, and roasted uncovered for a couple of hours on a bed of onion with some beer in the pan to baste it with. The result was somehwat dry, pretty tough meat with not much flavour.

After a bit more research I'm having another crack.I'm going to brine it this time for 24 - 48 hours. I've also read some recipes that recommend boiling as per eisbein, but then roasting it after to crisp up to make the crackling.

Anyone got tips or experience cooking great schweinshaxe??? Also, I bought a rearquarter hock this time (more meat, hopefully juicier) -- any thoughts on which end of the pig is better?

Thanks in advance

Jul 11, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in Home Cooking

Tuna, salmon, kingfish -- but where to buy other kinds of sashimi?

Thanks for the tip!! : )

Do insects taste like crustaceans?

Oh dear ... I'd have trouble getting stuck into one that big. You'd almost have to carve it at the table ...

Jun 19, 2009
Tsar_Pushka in General Topics