Harvested, Sydney

Did you know that $8-10 billion worth of edible food is wasted each year by Australian households alone? That is twice the amount of foreign aid Australia gives!

In fact:

  • Australians throw away 20% of groceries
  • Australia produces enough food for 60 million people annually, yet 2 million go hungry
  • Every day, 1 million Australian kids do not get breakfast or dinner

The list goes on.

OzHarvest is a non-profit organisation that has been rescuing surplus food meant for the bin for over 10 years and distributes it to 600 charities nationally. It is the only organisation in Australia who performs this work, and has converted over 10,780 tonnes of food destined for the landfill, into over 32,340,498 meals to date.

ozharvestToday, OzHarvest launched their pop-up cafe ‘Harvested’, which makes delicious meals out of rescued food for the public.

1431402559923Owl and myself have been supporters of OzHarvest for many a year now and were super keen to check the cafe out.

Today’s menu consisted of:

12 May 15 MenuAt only $15, you can choose as many dishes as you like from a menu that changes daily, depending on what they have managed to rescue. Dish size depends on the number of people on your table as all dishes are made for sharing (except for soup dishes). The following dish sizes were for two (Owl and me).

House-made pide + smoked aubergine labnehHouse-made pide with smoked aubergine labneh
The pide was soft with a slight bite to it, like when you use some spelt flour. The labneh was smooth, creamy and was gloriously smokey with garlicky undertones.
Zuchinni fritters, dill sauce +herbsZucchini fritters with dill sauce and herbs
This dish stole the limelight. It was pillowy soft on the inside and lightly crunchy on the outside. It felt like eating soft-shelled crab and went beautifully with the yoghurt-dill sauce. The herb salad had crisp cucumbers, fresh mint, spring onion and parsley dressed in some sort of lemony buttery sauce that lifted the fritters beautifully. I would go back just to eat $15 worth of this dish…
Slow-cooked lamb, braised white bean + pickled radish12-hour slow-cooked lamb, braised with bean and pickled radish
This dish drew you in with its promise of warmth and comfort, and it did not disappoint. The beans were creamy and nicely balanced (not too salty like some places), and the lamb was braised to perfection. It was soft enough to portion with a butter knife and yet was distinctively and intensely flavourful. I was quite enamoured by the cute little pickled radish which added colour, texture and also cut through the rich lamb and beans beautifully.
Charred veggies, yoghurt + sesame spiceAs an after-thought, Owl and I asked for a dish of the ‘Charred veggies with yoghurt and sesame spice‘. Although very pleasant and not cooked to mush, it pretty much tasted like charred veggies with yoghurt and dukkah. I did notice the cleverly added bits of roasted kale which added to the nuttiness of the dish. The beetroot also added beautiful pink swirls to the dish, enhancing it’s visual appeal even during consumption.

By the end, both Owl and I were comfortably full and completely satisfied, which means the portion sizes were good as we are both ‘healthy eaters’ (ahem). I was half wishing that they had a dessert dish but then remembered it was $2 coffee day at Antidote and did not mind so much  😉 1431402395454

The glass-walled restaurant was sunny, relaxed and friendly; with passion exuding out of all the volunteer waiters and waitresses there. Ronni Kahn, the founder of OzHarvest, was there to greet all the guests and make sure everything ran smoothly (which it did!). Everything was just beautiful and a big kudos to everyone who made this project such a success. Keep up the good work, guys!

Harvested is only open for lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11.30am – 2.30pm. No bookings taken so hurry – they are said to be closing at the end of July 2015.

If you cannot make it, fret not. Baraka, another pop-up restaurant from the founder of Chic Pea has opened in the same place and will donate part of its proceeds to OzHarvest. It opens for dinner Thurs-Sat from 6pm. Bookings will be taken.

#harvestedMore than the novelty and delicious food, it is important that we continue to support events like this to educate, create awareness and enhance sustainability. As Jeff Sachs said, “We face, therefore, a moral crisis, not a material crisis. We face a problem not of means but of ends. As Aristotle might have said, we have the techne (the technological know-how) but not yet the phronesis (the moral wisdom) to choose survival over death. We are trapped by an indifference that ironically has been magnified by America’s exaggerated defense of liberty at the expense of virtue.”

Perhaps Australians are not too far behind.

56 Harris Street, Pyrmont, NSW
1800 108 006

More information: SMH Good Food :: Femail :: Ozharvest


Happy Ultimate π Day!

As you know, today is Ultimate Pi Day because, according to the American system of writing dates, it is 3.14.15 and ultimate π was technically achieved at 9:26:35. For all of us that follow the “normal” (lol) system, I think we don’t really get to celebrate it until the 3rd of January 4159 but like that’s ever gonna happen so I’ll take this one for now. Owl and I always try to celebrate pi day with some pie but Dinky Di’s was on the wrong corner from Antidote coffee so we just had pizza (also called pie in America … Yes to them everything is pie) and watched a movie. π We like to use Lebanese bread as the pizza base because it gets crunchy on the rim yet stays moist where the toppings reside. It is also not so thick as to fill you up (= >π) but strong enough not to fall apart when you pick up a slice. I ran out of Sriracha so Kewpie had to do.

Hope you all had a mathematical π day, as we did (or will have for all our American and Pacific Islander readers), and Happy Ultimate Pi Day!

p.s anyone notice they were showing the Life of Pi on TV tonight? The geeks live amongst us yet!

p.p.s missed the midnight deadline by 4 min. Darn!

Easter 2012

The Darling Harbour Easter Long Weekend Hoopla Festival is on again! Owl and I had a blast there last year and wish we could attend it this year but alas, we are going away. I hear there will be an Easter parade in the Sydney CBD too!

from the Nova website: B&J ManlyOn a totally unrelated note, how awesome was Ben & Jerry’s Free Scoop Day! The Clusterfluff was the. absolute. bomb. Peanut butter ice cream with caramel chunks and marshmallow swirl? Yes please! Owl and I went back for seconds and between us also got the New York Fudge, Triple Caramel Chunk and Chocolate Therapy hehe. We also managed to steal some coffee flavoured ice cream from another comrade. They were also handing out taste testers of a banana split flavour and a lamington flavour which I thought were kind of random but then it turns out that they were flavours made up by Fitzy and Wippa from Nova.

There is also a really cute video of wildcats going nutzors over some Easter eggs at the Big Cat Rescue site; and since I’m on a roll, here is a recipe for easter bunny cake pops from the creator herself. You could just make hot cross bun ones – less work lol!

Have a great Easter, guys! Stay safe.  🙂

Jurassic Lounge – 3 weeks left!

You only have three more weeks (Tues nights) to visit Jurassic lounge it closes the 3 April 2012. Ant and I went to check it out last Tuesday and had a great time. The theme was “gangster” and “hip hop”, all round it was very entertaining and with the free drink included in the entry it was definitely worth checking out. We were pretty stoked that we had the opportunity to check out the museum at night, as well as, they awesome Wildlife Photography exhibition we usually visit each year. So even if you just go in for that, grab a free drink and browse the great photos from 2011 (they had a lot of good shots) all for $15 (drink included).

We had fun petting a diamond python, playing connect four and just enjoying the fun atmosphere. If you’re otherwise a fan of Burlesque, music or silent discos – you definitely should pop by. Doors open at 5:30pm and close at 9:30pm.

Tickets are cheaper at the door than online, so don’t miss out on a good fun night!


Isle of Ramen

Today I was reading up on Vietnamese cuisine having made bun (pronounced like a short “boon”) last night, and for some reason stumbled across a blog called Isle of Ramen which is the documentary of a person eating a different ramen everyday for lunch, and then rating them. The blog hasn’t been updated since April 2010 but I found the writing style humourous as well as descriptive enough for me to decide whether the noodle was worth trying.

Like this person, I have a vast collection of ramen noodles stashed in my work locker; all picked at random because there really is so much variety and most of the time the packet is no indication of the enjoyment factor. Once, I found an unusual instant noodle that was made of mung bean (the see-through glass noodles) seated in a Szechuan pepper soup base. I would endeavour to never buy it again if I could only remember what the packet looked like behind my steady stream of tears and numbed face.And this coming from a die-hard chilli lover! Ah, such adventures to be had with instant noodles 🙂

If Forrest Gump was asian, he would have replaced the’ box of chocolates’ with a ‘selection of instant noodles’. You just never know what you’re going to get.

Snag Stand, Sydney

“A gourmet hot-dog stand? Now that’s worth having a look,” I mused. So it was a fateful day where Owl and I trekked up to Westfield in the city to try Snag Stand’s food. I had spent about an hour the night before agonising between The famous Reuben Sandwich ($13.50) from Reuben & Moore, the Hand-crafted Chilli Crab Burger from Charlie & Co.’s ($18), and Snag Stand’s ‘haute dogs’ (as they put it).

When I finally decided on SS, it took me another hour to decide between the Pork & Fennel (w/ sautéed tri-colour capsicum, balsamic glaze & shaved parmesan on a toasted brioche roll; $9.90), the Toulouse(w/ sautéed onions, rosemary mushrooms and truffle aioli on a toasted brioche roll; $10.90) or the African Boerewors option which isn’t on their menu anymore. I slept on it and emerged fully convinced that the Pork & Fennel was the way to go, and I was not disappointed. Aside from the gloriously smoky capsicum and complementary combo of the balsamic and pork, that particular hot dog was the ‘Special of the Day’ – which meant it was a dollar off at $8.90. Score!


Owl decided on the Spicy Spanish Chorizo (w/ semi sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle aioli, baby rocket, and shredded Spanish goat’s cheese on a brioche roll; $9.90). I thought that it would be too salty but we were pleasantly surprised to find that everything amalgamated well, leaving a slight tingle of spice and a satisfying savoury aftertaste. The chips were crunchy and, again, not too salty although I did regret not getting a $1 dipping sauce to go with them – the Spiracha Mayo appealed to my love for chilli.

I love the sturdy little cartons the food came in, adding to the whole ‘hot-dog stand’ feel. Fare with flare is how I would describe this unassuming place. Next time I have a hot dog craving, I wouldn’t mind checking out Stitch Bar which has hot dogs, curly fries and ice-cream sandwiches to boot! Heaven…

Snag Stand
Level 5, Westfield Sydney Food Court
Cnr Market and Castlereagh St
NSW Sydney Australia 2000

Ant’s B’day Blog

Wow! I had a blast on my birthday thanks to Owl’s astute planning. Rather than tell you what we got up to, I thought I’d just make a picture blog in (somewhat) chronological order. Too bad I missed some photos though but I’ve never been good at photo taking.

viva goaFinally got to try Viva Goa with the family. Pork belly was absolutely delicious. I love the sign – It’s so bloody different! lol. The irony is that it wasn’t that different…

flowersA little birthday surprise as I wandered down the street to meet up with Owl after work.We spent ages decorating the vase  :p  I want a dress like the colour of the tulips. So beautilful!

cookieThe choc chip cookie from Ice + Slice made it to the SMH Top 10 so us Stooges had to visit it after dinner at Khammadenu. Both were really yummy and I would so do the whole night again. Love you guys  🙂  The cookie was the size of my hand!

Zumbo goodiesAlways wanted to try Zumbo’s stuff so we finally went! They didn’t have salted popcorn and the lemon macaron tasted like a crayon  T_T  I liked the lemon curd in the sugar lip though.

chicken caeser

club sandwichSought out a less busy cafe in Balmain. Can’t go wrong with a sunny day, good cappuccino and tasty Chicken Caeser Salad!

cake!Lets make a choc fudge cake tastier by adding a layer of Nutella  (:

cake!Teehee Happy BIRTH!  😀

pressies!Some of my spoils. I think the piece de resistance is definitely the beautiful portrait Owl commissioned of the Empress Dowager by artist David Oberdorf. Thanks Owl! You’re the best.  🙂

Coming up – my birthday dinner at Kazbah involving camel kaftas and belly dancers!

– ant –

Mecca Café, Ultimo, Sydney

I started drinking coffee out of necessity during my uni years but have grown to enjoy it and often cannot function without my morning cup now. Will someone please invent an alarm clock which makes you coffee? It’s Groundhog Day and Catch-22 at the same time every morning in my bedroom. Need to get up to get my caffeine but can’t get up without my caffeine. Intravenous drip plskthx.

Anyway, Owl and I were interested in checking out Mecca in Ultimo after having been voted Best Café 2011 by the SMH Café Guide. The promise of very good coffee was lure enough without it being so enticingly close to us.

Being the indecisive creature that I am, I often pick an item from the menu before I visit an eatery but despite much scouring on the internet, I could not find the menu for Mecca. Everyone mentioned the same thing: a good selection of salads, sandwiches, and your usual café array of pastries. Hmm.

We arrived at around 12pm and were surprised at how small the café was, plus it was completely packed! What little standing space they had was crowded with isolated individuals avoiding eye contact whilst waiting for their take-away. After surveying the vicinity and the menu (salads, sandwiches and 2 varieties of rather sad-looking pastries) we ordered our caps, a tuna sandwich to share, and plonked ourselves on the one communal table; shuffling the chairs a little to resemble some sort of meagre privacy.

I don’t have any pictures, although these blogs do. Some would call the décor ‘concrete chic’ but it I found it hard and cold. The surroundings rather befit the service, actually. Plus, the lack of textiles made the small enclosure rather noisy. I prefer the cosy kinds of cafes; the ones with large amounts of character. The coffees were good, to be sure, but the blend ever-so-subtly hinted at a nuttiness akin to old cigarettes which I found slightly off-putting. To each his own, I suppose.

The star of the place was definitely the tuna sandwich which contained ample amounts of leafy veggies, tomatoes, capers, tuna and mashed hard-boiled eggs. It was a tuna nicoise salad imprisoned by thinly sliced, untoasted sourdough and generously drizzled with olive oil. Half of my sandwich landed on the table much to my regret as I really could have done with more, so delicious it was!

Not being the kind of place you would linger and chat, Owl and I scooted off within half an hour of arriving. To be honest, I found the place altogether overrated and cynically mentioned to Owl the wonders of political influences and bribery. I probably would go back, but only for the sandwich, and only as one of the many avoiding eye contact and shuffling their iPods nervously.

Mecca Espresso
(02) 9280 4204
646 Harris Street, Ultimo. NSW. 2007.
Monday – Friday: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Sunday: Closed

Hoopla Festival, Darling Harbour (22-26th April 2011)

A quick  mention of the Hoopla Festival at Darling Harbour currently being run this Easter long weekend. Ant and I decided last minute to go and visit after seeing advertisements around Darling Harbour in the last few weeks. To our delight the Hoopla Festival is actually a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out, especially with the children if you’re around the area. There are lots of things going on and being Darling Harbour there are also the usual things to do – Harbourside, Cafes, Restaurants and IMAX etc. So couple the usual with the festival and you’ve got a good day’s worth of activities to keep you pretty busy!

They’ve set up a Big Top and although it looked pretty small and limited on the outside, upon entering it is quite surprising how much space there actually is inside. The Big Top can actually fit up to 450 people inside with reasonable comfort – though the seats are quite low and may not be appropriate or comfortable for elderly or persons with disability (though I’m sure they would have measures for this). The events are split up into Hoopla Day and Hoopla Night and best of all most of the events are free, but if you’re really enjoying it all and keen there are some shows that play from 6pm onwards at night and are paid ticket events (approx. $5-10).

The event has been run by the Darling Harbour Foreshore Authority for the last few years and the night is topped off at night with fireworks. The whole area is pretty packed and buzzing with life and things to do. Even though the weather is always iffy around the Easter break if you’re looking for something cheap and fun to do with the family this would be a pretty good option!


A couple of pictures of Ringside where we saw Ruby Ray and other trapeze acts and also the ZimboyZ in the Big Top (30 min show) – really good stuff and worth the lining up and wait. The things they do are pretty fun and amazing and even being a little cynical about it all I was quickly won over with the atmosphere and fun.

Natalie Harris
Ringside Stage

For more information visit Hoopla Festival Darling Harbour

Queenstown – Places To Eat

Kia Ora! When we were planning our trip to Queenstown, NZ we couldn’t find a lot of reviews for food places in Queenstown. The only recommendations were Fergberger, Vudu Café and the elusive Joe’s Garage. There was also a mention of Patagonia Chocolates and Aggy’s Fish & Chip kiosk.

It is unusual for me to travel without planning at least 2 days worth of meals so I felt somewhat apprehensive as we approached Queenstown. Luckily we were smack in the middle of the ‘CBD’ and food was in no short supply.

Impressed by:

Les Alpes
A French restaurant which we visited for breakfast. It was an inviting and cosy place by the wharf, run (I think) by a most friendly and energetic Frenchman. Their menu looked so good and their promise of free jazz that evening so inviting that I almost went back for dinner but unfortunately was distracted by other happenings. The waffles with chestnut puree and whipped cream was absolute heaven. I really need to find a bottle of that stuff! Will definitely be back! p.s. order a ‘trim cap’ if skinny cappuccinos are your thing.

16 Church Street, Queenstown
(03) 442 6060
Open: 8.00am – late, 7 days

Best Onion Rings Ever:

Frank ‘n’ Burger
Tucked away in a little corner, it has 2 entrances and post-it notes for décor. The portions are, like all the burgers here, massive and is pleasant enough though nothing to scream about. Worth mentioning, though, are the onion rings. Large and crisped to golden brown perfection; Burger King’s onion rings look like it was churned out by some roadside wallah compared to these beauties. Never have I had such satisfying onion rings. Interestingly, this place doesn’t feature in the ubiquitous ‘Queenstown Menu Guide’.

1/66 Shotover Street, Queenstown
(02) 442 8211

Kept Checking But Never Actually Ate Here:

Slurp’s Soups
This takeaway joint is a dieter’s nightmare. Not only is everything liquid; but it’s rich, fatty, cholesterol laden liquid. The extensive list of soups take turns being on the daily menu, where about 5 or 6 are featured and get sold out very quickly. The reason I kept checking was because I wasn’t particularly interested in what they were offering on the days I popped in. By the time they were selling what I wanted (Smoked Chicken & Mushroom Minestrone), I was thoroughly tempted by the colourful display of gelatos further within the shop and bought a gelato instead from Lick’s Gelatos. I will definitely try a soup the next time I visit though!

Slurp’s Soups/Lick Dessert Bar & Espresso
40 Shotover Street, Queenstown
(03) 441 8505

Really Wanted to Try But Wasn’t Open:

The Noodle Ninja
I wanted to eat here because I love eating out of noodle boxes. It makes me feel like I’m on the set of ‘Friends’. Also, there’s an inside joke between us regarding ninjas. Also, they claim to have rickshaw deliveries by trained ninjas! We spent a good half hour looking for this place but it turns out its only open at certain times. The other half of the time the venue turns into a guitar pub or something. Very strange…. Would still love to try this place out when I return.

The Noodle Ninja (Under Monty’s)
13-14 Church ST., Queenstown
(03) 442 7685
Open Mon-Fri 11am – 4pm

So Disappointed By:

Mandarin Chinese Restaurant

Being a Sydneysider you get really spoilt for good Chinese food. We decided to try out Mandarin Chinese Restaurant by the water. Perhaps this is the standard, I’m not really sure as we only ate Chinese cuisine at this venue, but I was sorely disappointed. I ordered a medium-sized combination chow mein – I expected it to be crispy and have a good assortment of “combination” – being char siu (roasted sweet pork), some seafood, chicken and an array of vegetables. However, what came out was a plate about the length and width of DL sized envelope (regular envelope for folded A4 paper) and had noodles which were pretty much soggy. Asian greens and carrots were sparse; there were a few pieces of char siu and two prawns. It was very much smaller than what I was expecting for the money (NZ$13+). We also ordered a bowl of rice and a sizzling hot plate, which was no larger and nothing exceptional. It was fairly bland and the bowl of rice was around NZ$3 for a small bowl of two scoops. Overall, I was fairly disappointed. It also made me appreciate the quality back in Australia.

Mandarin Chinese Restaurant
65 Beach Street, Queenstown Central

– ant – & /~Owl~\