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Sydney Fishmarket and Seafood School

Sometimes when I am homesick I need to go to interesting food places to remind me that I actually live in a great city! One of those places is the Sydney fishmarket and also the fantastic Sydney Seafood School where I used to work. To be honest, the fishmarket itself really needs to be redone as it doesn't look too inviting at first - the only thing you notice is the big carpark and the birds. Remarkable however is the variety and freshness of the fish and seafood you'll get here. The cooking demonstrator of the Seafood School told us that the Sydney fishmarket is the second largest in terms of variety of seafood offered after Tokio in Japan, which is in the northern hemisphere (just a pun on the Australian obsession to always claim something in Australia is the best, biggest etc. in the southern hemisphere;-).
Who not only wants to come here to buy fish but also wants to see how it's being auctioned can book a behind the scenes tour at the fishmarket and I highly recommend it. You have to get up quite early but the insight you get is very worth it and the people working at the fishmarket are so lovely and knowledgeable.

Outside the Sydney fishmarket.

The fish for the day arrives.

Filleting station.

Scaling the fish.

Scaling the fish.

New delivery.

Oyster bar at the fishmarket.

Dutch auction at the fishmarket.

It's getting busy.

Fish for the restaurants and fishmongers.

Fish in check.

Having fun.

Fish tail.

So much fish.


Yes, I have a big chunk of that!

Tuna on ice.

Selected and tagged tuna.

Checking the order.

Wheeling off.

Even when I still lived in Germany I would always book in for a cooking class at the Sydney Seafood School whenever I was in Sydney. I still don't understand why Hamburg hasn't got its own Seafood School being known for its harbour and high appreciation of fish which also generated the not so flattering nickname "fish head" for the citizen of Hamburg. Nickname aside, fish is great to cook with but if you feel a bit overwhelmed by it enroll yourself in a class at the Sydney Seafood School. You will not also learn how to prepare wonderful dishes you'll also hear about sustainable fishing and farmed fish and you get the chance to come close to very well known Australian chefs such as Matt Moran, Mark Jensen and Christine Manfield (all also cookbook authors).

Cooking demonstration- Quick and Delicious class.

Bridget making red curry with salmon.

Have you heard of John Dory?

Always read the instructions first!

Cooking room.

Dining room.

Three dishes in 30 minutes - we are hungry.

Bridget Treloar, demonstrator at Sydney Seafood School and a former colleague, and myself.


Food run for a hungry friend

My veggie quiche without bacon and cherry-vanilla cake

My friend just gave birth to a beautiful girl and since she had her baby at home another friend organised a food run among us to cater for her lunch so she can fully recover and focus on her baby.
I hope she liked what I cooked for her :-)
She is vegetarian and I am not so coming up with ideas that are purely vegetarian are sometimes not so easy. I love to cook with veggies and we don't often eat meat but every time I looked in the fridge for inspiration I would grab some bacon or chicken stock - so wrong!
Luckily I remembered a very nice dish from a photo shoot a while ago where I cooked the food for this cookbook:
My Kitchen - Vegetarian and decided to make the filled zucchini but didn't bother hunting down the grey zucchini as stated in the book (they are not so common). I also simplified it by halving the zucchini lengthways rather than coring them as I remember from preparing them at the photo shoot that it is a bit tricky and in this case I didn't need to stick to the Middle eastern way of cooking it.

Before shot of filled zucchini w rice and currants in tomato sauce and yoghurt dip.

Ding-dong! Here I come.

This is my version of the filled zucchini from the vegetarian cookbook:
Filled Zucchini with yoghurt dip and tomato sauce

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1/4 preserved lemon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
400 g chopped tomatoes
ground coriander
6 thick Zucchini
80 g Basmati rice, cooked for 4 minutes
2 tablespoons currants
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
30 g slivered almonds, roasted
200 g Greek-style yoghurt
mint, chopped

For the tomato sauce heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion until softened then stir in half the garlic. Use only half of the onion mixture for the sauce and the other half for the rice filling. Cut away flesh from the preserved lemons, rinse rind under running water then cut very finely.
Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and preserved lemons. Let it simmer until it thickens and seasoned it with salt and ground coriander.

Half the zucchini lengthways and with a teaspoon scoop out the flesh leaving 0.5 cm on the edges. Make sure not to scoop right through to the bottom.  Discard the flesh. Mix the pre-cooked rice with currants, cinnamon, allspice, roasted almonds and the onion mixture.  Fill ½ of each Zucchini with rice pilling it up to a dome shape. Put other half zucchini on top to enclose filling. Oil a baking dish large enough to fit in all the zucchini and seal the baking dish with foil. Bake for 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180degrees, turning the zucchini halfway through baking. ( I like it when the zucchini still have a bit of bite but if you like them softer just cook them longer)

Meanwhile make the yoghurt dip. Combine yoghurt, remaining crushed garlic and mint and season with salt.
Serve zucchini with warm tomato sauce and yoghurt dip. 

I don't really have a recipe for the quiche as I was running out of time and just quickly threw some veggies together such as carrots, sweet corn and leek. I cooked the leek and carrots until softened then added the sweet corn. I mixed 3 eggs, sour cream and some grated cheese and chopped parsley together and seasoned it well. As I was running late and I can't stand bought shortcrust pastry I opted for puffed pastry instead to line the cake tin. The good thing, no blind baking required when you use puff pastry. I sprinkled the filling with some sunflower seeds and off it went in the hot oven until set and browned. The smell was fantastic and it was hard for me to not cut it to at least check for taste but I figured it wouldn't look so good when I delivered it to my friend :-)


Provence feature in Vital magazine

 I am very thrilled that the story I produced in Provence got published by Vital magazine in July.

As always we shot so many more photos and portrayed many more interesting foodies but there is never enough room to capture it all. I still so want to live there and I think the layout looks great. Thanks also to the fabulous photographer Carsten Eichner who was never afraid of my ideas.


Mikkels Cafe in Ottensen

Bei meinem letzten Deutschlandbesuch habe ich natuerlich auch halt in Ottensen gemacht und es hat sich tatsaechlich einiges getan. Das Cafe Mikkels ist nun da und ein richtiges Juwel. Ein liebevoll gestaltetes Cafe - shabby chic meets industrial - in dem man gerne verweilen mag. Der Kaffee ist gut und noch viel besser ist die Auswahl an kleinen Koestlichkeiten wie Mandel-Nonnettes mit Himbeeren (kannte ich bisher nur aus Frankreich) oder Mini-Linzer Toertchen. Wer es eher britisch mag, dem seien die Scones ans Herz gelegt. Danke an meine Freundin Doerthe fuer diesen Tipp und danke an Petrus, dass wir draussen sitzen konnten, obwohl es drinnen im Mikkels an einem Regentag bestimmt ganz kuschelig ist.


The best Cafe in Sydney- Mecca Espresso in Ultimo

It's no secret that Sydneysiders are obsessed with good food and coffee and that there are guides for every inch of the city. There are food guides for smart eating, for cheap eating, for fancy eating, for secret eating and of course for the best coffee source.
This year Mecca Espresso Bar in Ultimo got voted No 1 by the Sydney Morning Herald and even though I would find it hard to single out just one cafe as there are thankfully so many good ones I agree that Mecca does a very good brew. The beans are rosted on site to guarantee good quality and consistency and they use only LaMarzocco machines. I quite often stop here to get my coffee fix as I got photography classe just across the road. The coffee is always perfect and strong and especially after a few weeks in Europe I am often amazed how great coffee here is and how mediocre coffee sometimes is in parts of Europe even Italy! But that's another story.

Das Food Team des Sydney Morning Heralds war mal wieder unterwegs, um die besten Cafes der Stadt zu kueren. Ganz ehrlich, Sydney hat bereits eine unglaubliche Dichte an wunderbaren Cafes und Kafferoestereien und es ist schwer vorstellbar, dass es immer noch Raum fuer Verbesserungen gibt. Aber voila, ein relativ neues Cafe, das Mecca Expresso in Ultimo hat den ersten Platz eingenommen. Die Kaffeebohnen werden direkt in der eigenen Roesterei verarbeitet um Frische und gleichbleibende Qualitaet zu gewaehrleisten.
Mein Fotografie-Kurs ist ganz in der Naehe und damit komme ich regelmaessig in den Genuss des kraftigen Kaffees, natuerlich aus einer LaMarzocco.
Und hiermit sei gleich ein weiterer Trend beschrieben. Wer bereits alle Kochkurse in der Stadt besucht hat, moechte vielleicht mal bei einem cupping workshop von Campos Coffee Newtown mitmachen, um zu lernen wie man Kaffee richtig beurteilt. Hier wird allerdings nur schwarzer Kaffee probiert.

Spice I Am - Authentisches Thai-Resto

Fotos smh.com.au

Unter Sydneysidern ist dieser Thai schon lange kein Geheimtipp mehr. Zu gut sind die Stir-Fries, Curries und Salate, die hier angeboten werden. Die Schlange vor dem Restaurant zur Lunch- und Dinnerzeit sind laenger als die Schlangen vor den oeffentlichen Toiletten beim Oktoberfest! Fuer Spice I Am muss man allerdings schon einiges an Schaerfe vertragen koennen, die kleinen gemeinen Bird's Eye Chillies finden sich in jedem Gericht und ich rate zur Vorsicht. Vieles treibt einem unweigerlich die Traenen in die Augen und Wasser oder Bier helfen nur bedingt diese Explosion im Mund und Hals zu loeschen.
Meine Favouriten: Tom Yum Goong Soup, Pad Prik King Crispy Pork Belly oder Moo Pa, Beef Salad und Green Papaya Salad.
Mein Tipp: Beim Bestellen unbedingt eine bis zwei Portionen Reis dazu bestellen, dass hilft am besten bei Chillischauern :-)

Die Laksa und Tom Yum Soup bei Nood in Balmain sind aber auch hoellisch gut, ohne dabei hoellisch scharf zu sein. Hier gibt es auch den besten Nachtisch: sago cooked in warm coconut milk with vanilla ice cream. Die gruene Farbe ist moeglicherweise gewoehnungsbedurftig, aber bei asiatischen Desserts nicht ungewoehnlich. Der weichgekochte Sago hat komplett den Karamellgeschmack des Palmzuckers und die warme Kokosmilch aufgezogen, dazu noch einige Stuecke Kantalopemelone und eine Kugel Vanilleeis obendrauf - suess und labend!