Thai Beef Salad Recipe

Recipe from: "BBQ Food for Friends" by Jane Lawson and Anessa Broadfoot

A friend of ours made this Thai Beef Salad at a recent BBQ gathering last weekend, and I couldn't help myself - asked for the recipe straight away! It is a simple yet fulfilling dish, not your typical "salad" because there is plenty of wholesome, meaty BEEF goodness and beautiful flavors throughout the salad. Perfect for any barbecues, and I know I've been posting lots of "Winter Comfort Food" lately for my Aussie readers, so here's one for my American / Canadian / International readers :)

  • 80 ml lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp grated palm sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander (cilantro) roots and stems
  • 1 stem lemon grass (white part only), finely chopped
  • 2 small red chillies, finely sliced
  • 2 x 200g beef eye fillet steaks
  • 150g mixed salad leaves
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 15g coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 7g torn mint leaves
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, halved lengthways and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  1. Mix together the lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, garlic, chopped coriander, lemon grass and chilli until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Preheat the chargrill plate to medium-high direct heat and cook the steaks for 4 minutes on each side, or until medium. Let the steaks cool, then slice them thinly across the grain.
  3. Put the salad leaves, onion, coriander leaves, mint, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl, add the beef and dressing, toss them together and serve immediately.

France-Soir's Boeuf Bourguignon Recipe

Recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine July 2010 (French Indulgence)
Prep time 30 mins, cook 3 hours 15 mins (plus resting)
Serves 4-6

I decided to give this recipe a good go because of various reasons:- 1) I'm ready to channel my inner Julia Child and attempt to cook Boeuf Bourguignon 2) I'm curious to see just how good this recipe from a renowned French restaurant in South Yarra, Melbourne "France-Soir" could be... 3) It's winter, and this dish seems like the perfect comfort food.

My husband is away this week so I don't have him as my "guinea pig" - so I've substituted him with my brother in law and his two friends. It took me the whole afternoon to prepare this dish, and even when I thought the beef was ready (as in, tender enough for my likings).. I find I've had to add an extra 10 minutes, and another extra 10 minutes until I was fully satisfied with the taste and texture. The result is pretty dang amazing and so full of flavor. Got some really positive feedback from my guinea pigs and I'm feeling quite proud of myself, so here I am now sharing this fine recipe with all of you. Enjoy :)

  • 1.5 litres red wine
  • 150 ml vegetable oil
  • 1.5 kg oyster blade steak, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 200 gm smoked bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1/4 red capsicum, finely diced
  • 25 gn plain flour, sieved
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 bouquet garni (see note)
  • 500 gm button mushrooms, halved
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • Boiled chat potatoes, tossed in butter and chopped parsley, to serve
  1. Cook wine in a saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced by two-thirds (20-25 mins). Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add beef in batches and turn occasionally until brown (3-5 mins). Remove beef and place in a shallow baking tray, set aside.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a large casserole over medium heat, add bacon, onion, celery and capsicum and sauté until tender (7-10 mins). Add beef, pan juices and flour and stir to combine (1 min). Add tomato paste and stir occasionally until colour darkens (1-2 mins), then add wine, bouquet garni and 500ml water. Bring to the simmer, reduce heat to low and cook until slightly reduced (20-25 mins), then add mushroom and carrot and cook until meat is tender (1 1/2 - 2 hours). Season to taste, discard bouquet garni and set aside in a warm place to rest (30 mins). Serve hot with boiled chat potatoes.
Note: To make bouquet garni, tie three sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, 6 sprigs fresh thyme and 3 fresh bay leaves together with kitchen string.

    Rice Congee Recipe

    Serves 2

    This simple dish brings back strong childhood memories. I remember whenever I'm sick and just don't have the appetite to eat anything "solid", my mom or dad would make me "bak moi" or "mince pork porridge" and everything will feel better. In Australia, this dish is called a "congee" therefore let's go with the flow of the western world and just run with this "congee" business, lol. I will always affectionately remember this dish as "porridge" of course, but whenever I want porridge in this country.. someone will end up bringing me a bowl of oats :)

    Anyway... here's my recipe for rice congee, I've made a chicken version, you may of course feel free to substitute chicken with little balls of mince pork instead.

    • 3 chicken wings
    • 1 cup of uncooked medium grain rice
    • 9 cups of water
    • 1 tbsp salt
    • A dash of pepper
    • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, freshly sliced
    • Fried onions for garnish
    • Julienne-cut peeled fresh ginger for garnish
    • Fresh parsley for garnish
    1. In a large pot, cook rice, water, chicken wings, salt, pepper and 1-inch piece of ginger for approx. 1 hour until the rice is soft and creamy.
    2. Remove the cooked chicken wings and let it cool for about 10 minutes.
    3. Break the meat (including the skin) off the chicken wing pieces and toss them back into the pot of rice congee. Mix well and serve on a bowl.
    4. Garnish with fried onions, julienne-cut ginger and fresh parsley.

        FREE Cookbook Giveaway! Ends 30th June 2010

        Kimba's World Kitchen is giving away this cookbook to ONE very lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and answer this very simple question:


        Your answer can be as short or as long as you like, but MUST be posted as a comment on this blog entry. The winner will be randomly picked by the 30th of June 2010, I will film a VIDEO of myself randomly picking the winner "live" so you all will know that no preference is given to anyone in particular.. so you don't have much time! All entries from anywhere in the world is welcomed! :)

        Number Of Pages: 256
        Format: Paperback with Flaps
        Book Description:
        Over 200 recipes for deliciously tasty quick-and-easy dishes, all made with four or fewer ingredients. This fabulous collection of tempting recipes is the ultimate cookbook for anyone who loves simple, easy-to-prepare food. Each mouthwatering recipe requires just four ingredients - discover how easy it is to produce really delicious food with the minimum of fuss. Try sophisticated, yet stress-free, dishes such as walnut and goat's cheese bruschetta, roasted peppers with halloumi and pine nuts, and chicken escalopes with lemon and Serrano ham. Indulge in outrageously simple desserts such as white chocolate and brownie torte, caramel and pecan terrine, and summer berries in sabayon glaze.

        Update: I am feeling a little bit generous, so I have decided to throw in a "bonus prize" so you are all now in the running to win these TWO fabulous books!

        Hainanese Chicken Rice Recipe

        Recipe by: Poh Ling Yeow, Runner Up MasterChef Australia 2009

        Hainanese Chicken Rice is a classic Asian favorite. Its steamed chicken has an incredibly soft, melt in your mouth, texture which leaves you wanting more each time. Served with pickled vegetables, chilli dipping sauce, ginger and spring onion dipping sauce, and chicken rice, this is a true Malaysian lunch favorite. Definitely one of MY favorites, plus it's considerably a healthier option! :)


        Steamed Chicken
        2 chicken merylands
        1 spring onion, roughly chopped
        3cm piece ginger, grated
        1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
        1 tbsp shao xing wine
        2 tbsp light soy sauce
        ½ tsp sesame oil

        Chicken Stock
        2 chicken wings
        2 chicken breasts, skin removed, roughly chopped
        1 chicken carcass
        1 cup chicken stock
        5cm piece ginger, thickly sliced
        4 spring onions, green part only, roughly chopped


        2 tbsp peanut oil
        Skin from one chicken breast
        Parson’s nose of chicken
        2 garlic cloves, grated
        2cm piece ginger, grated
        1 cup jasmine rice

        Chilli dipping sauce
        2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
        1 red banana chilli, roughly chopped
        2 tbsp caster sugar
        1 tsp white vinegar
        ½ tsp peanut oil

        Ginger and spring onion dipping sauce
        ¼ cup peanut oil
        3cm piece ginger, finely shredded
        2 spring onions, green part only, 3cm pieces, finely shredded

        To serve
        Sliced spring onions, to serve
        3 large wombok leaves, trimmed, blanched
        ½ tbsp deep fried shallots
        2 tbsp kecap manis, to serve


          1. For steamed chicken, fill a wok half way with water, place a wire rack on top, making sure water does not touch the rack. Place a shallow bowl with the chicken pieces, on top of the rack. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl to make a marinade. Place marinade over and around the chicken. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove meat from the bones.
          2. For chicken stock, place all ingredients in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the chicken bones. Simmer over medium heat for 30-40 minutes. Strain, set aside stock.
          3. For the rice, heat peanut oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add skin and parsans nose, cook for 3-4 minutes, remove skin and parsans nose from the pan. Add garlic and ginger, cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden. Stir through rice to coat in oil, add 2 cups of chicken stock. Bring to the boil, cook partially covered 5 minutes or until holes start to appear in the surface of the rice. Cover completely with the lid and turn heat down as low as possible. Cook a further 10 minutes. Remove the pan completely from the heat and leave to stand, a further 10 minutes. Season to taste.
          4. For chilli dipping sauce, pound garlic and chilli in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir through remaining ingredients until well combined. Spoon into dipping dish, to serve.
          5. For ginger and spring onion dipping sauce, heat peanut oil in a small saucepan over high heat, place remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and carefully pour over the oil. Spoon into dipping dish, to serve.
          6. To serve, place chicken pieces in a ring mould, top with spring onion. Spoon rice on the side of plate. Line a small bowl with the wombok leaves, pour in the stock, top with deep fried shallots. Place kecap manis in dipping dish next to the other two sauces.

          Garlic & Rosemary Slow Cooked Roast Lamb

          Serves 4

          This is the best way to cook a roast lamb. The result is this tender, melt in your mouth lamb meat and crispy skin which makes you wish there was more skin around the lamb! I happen to use the lamb leg in this recipe, but if you choose to use the lamb shoulder instead, there will be more fat within the meat so it becomes even more tender. Nevertheless, this roast lamb leg is equally as tender - and there is just enough fat in and around it to create a delicious flavor. This recipe was inspired by a combination of Kylie Kwong and George Calombaris' Roast Lamb recipe in July 2010's issue of "Good Food Magazine".. but I have definitely changed it to make it simpler, and substituted oregano for rosemary instead because I can't help it, hehe. I use Rosemary EVERY TIME I cook lamb! The combination between rosemary herbs and lamb meat is just amazing - they just go so well together. Enjoy the recipe!


          2kg Boneless Lamb Leg
          5 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
          1 tbsp salt
          1 tbsp Dried Rosemary
          1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
          1 1/2 cups water
          Chopped carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, potatoes and parsnip
          1/2 tsp Dried Basil
          Salt and Pepper

          1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan forced.
          2. Mix the chopped garlic, salt, rosemary and olive oil together in a small bowl to form a paste.
          3. Rub the paste generously all over the lamb, massaging gently.
          4. Place the marinated lamb onto a roasting dish. Fill the roasting dish with water. Cover the dish with aluminium foil.
          5. Reduce heat down to 110C fan forced and place the roasting dish in the oven. Cook slowly for 4 hours.
          6. After 4 hours, increase oven heat to 180C fan forced and remove aluminium foil. Cook for 1 hour.
          7. Place the chopped carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, potatoes and parsnip onto a large, flat baking tray on a single layer. Season by sprinkling dried basil, salt and pepper. Drizzle with some olive oil.
          8. Place the veggies and potatoes in the oven to cook along with the lamb. Cook the veggies and potatoes for approx. 30 minutes - or depending on oven, until the potatoes are crunchy.
          9. Once the lamb is cooked, allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving with roast veggies and potatoes. Drizzle the lamb juices from the roasting dish all over the carved meat and potatoes. Serve also with steamed peas, corn and brocolli if desired.

          Edit 19/7/2010: I cooked this dish again last weekend for a group of guests with a lamb leg as well as a lamb shoulder. I must say, the lamb shoulder is a lot more tender and tasted divine! It's got a little bit more fat in the meat therefore provides a really good, tender juiciness in the meat. I would highly recommend you use this recipe for the lamb shoulder next time around! The leg is still pretty good of course, but if you prefer a bit more taste of lamb fat, shoulder is the way to go.

          To serve, I've used the Parsnip, Onion, Mushroom and Thyme recipe from this entry.

          We just served everything up on the kitchen island and got our guests to "help themselves" to the meat, gravy (using the juices from the lamb added with some flour), roast parsnip, garlic bread and green peas! It turned out to be quite a feast :)

          A Special Morning Tea for a Special Lady

          This morning, we had a fully catered morning tea spread for a very special lady at work who has decided to retire and travel around Europe and hopefully Russia, and the rest of the world! Today was her last day, and so we've organised some food to be delivered to our office by Cafe Bettina in South Melbourne. As soon as the food arrived, the office started smelling really GOOD. After all, it's not everyday that we get to be pampered with good food and I have especially told everyone not to have breakfast this morning because we will be given quite a treat.

          Our morning tea was short and sweet. We presented her with flowers, and a gift, and a massive goodbye card signed by pretty much everyone in the company from both Sydney and Melbourne. But I'm not here to talk about my colleague... I'm here mostly to show off all the FOOD!

          Check out our spread!

          Mini Ham Pizzas, Boscastle Beef Burgundy & Thai Chicken Mini Pies.

          Vegetarian Mini Pizzas & Vegetable Korma Mini Pies

          Egg & Bacon Mini Quiches - these were absolutely delicious!

          A selection of slices and Portugese Custard Tarts.

          A selection of mini (but not so mini) freshly baked muffins!

          Oven Baked "Fried" Chicken by Kokita

          Today, I'm going to tell you a little secret - the secret of my oven baked "fried" chicken. I could also post my recipe for my original deep fried chicken, but a couple of years ago I've discovered a product from the Asian section of the supermarket that changed my life. Ok maybe that's a bit of a dramatic statement - but is it really? For someone who absolutely LOVES fried chicken, won't you consider a "switch" from deep fried to oven baked a huge change for the better and healthier me? I definitely think so - so here is my secret:
          "Kokita" Fried Chicken Seasoning. The instructions at the back of the jar still recommends deep frying, but I find oven baking is just as good.

          You start off with a few chicken pieces, any part of the chicken according to your preference - I always prefer the drumsticks or the wings - but that's just me, hehe.

          To make sure you get the most out of the seasoning flavor, cut slits on the chicken.

          Make sure you rub the seasoning deep into the slits and even tuck the seasoning underneath the chicken skin. Be generous. The flavor is awesome. Bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 190C for 35 minutes.

          And you get a very tasty, almost healthy, oven baked fried chicken - Indonesian style. Serve with nasi lemak and you get to go on an incredible Asian food journey right at home, without the hassle!

          Mini Lamb Curry Cottage Pies Recipe

          Hello again! Didn't think I would blog again so soon... but I had a random inspiration today! You see, last night I actually cooked triple the portion specified in my previous recipe for the Lamb and Potato Korma... which means, I had PLENTY of leftovers! What do you do with leftover lamb curry? Well, I've already made some frozen meals with some leftover rice.. but I didn't want to just have steamed rice with all my curries... SURELY I could do something else to it! Well... partially due to my latest obsession with PIES and pastries and well, potatoes in general, I have turned my leftover lamb curry into....

          Mini Lamb Curry Cottage Pies!

          The recipe is so simple, you basically need:
          • 8 large potatoes, peeled then cut into smaller pieces, boiled and then mashed
          • 1 tbsp margarine
          • 6 tbsp milk
          • Salt and pepper for seasoning
          • Shredded tasty cheese
          Mix the potatoes with margarine, milk, salt and pepper to form a smooth mash. Divide leftover curry into ramekins and top with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of the mash and cook in pre-heated oven at 190C for approx. 10 minutes. So simple! Of course, that's assuming you've already cooked the curry from the night before of course, lol.

          I ended up having enough to make 5 little cottage pies... and they are so delicious!

           And here's a closeup picture with some inner lamb curry goodness... perfect for a winter Sunday lunch!

          Lamb & Potato Korma Recipe

          Recipe by "Indian" Cook Book written by Harmeet Hooren-Sagoo

          This winter is quite possibly one of the coldest Australian winter I've ever experienced... not that I've experienced that many winters, this will only be my 5th year here... but the weather is cold enough to make me long for some serious comfort food. The "Korma" is one of the more milder Indian curries - but not as mild as Butter Chicken - but definitely milder than the likes of Vindaloo and Rogan Josh, etc. 

          I have to admit I've added some "special" ingredients into this recipe to make it more likeable by my Australian husband with a weaker tolerance to spices compared to Asians... aka a tablespoon of peanut butter and some brown sugar for added sweetness, but other than that, you may stick to the original recipe below! Curries are objective anyway, feel free to do whatever you want to make it according to your taste preference. My curry ended up being absolutely delicious - and I especially chose lamb instead of chicken because lamb just has quite the amazing flavour and texture. It's our favorite meat! Enjoy :)

          Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
          Cooking time: 50-55 minutes
          Marinating time: 15-20 minutes
          Serves: 4

          • 25g flaked almonds
          • 1 tsp ginger, grated
          • 1 tsp garlic, grated
          • 1 tsp white cumin seeds
          • 1 tsp ground coriander
          • 1 tsp paprika
          • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
          • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
          • 500g forequarter lamb chops, diced / chopped and bone removed
          • 2 large potatoes, diced
          • 3 tbsp oil
          • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
          • 1/2 tsp salt
          • 1 tbsp lemon juice
          • 200ml water
          • 150ml double cream
          • 1 tsp sugar
          • 2 tbsp coconut milk
          • handful fresh coriander, chopped
          • 1 tsp garam masala
          1. Roast the almonds on a baking tray in a hot oven for a few minutes. Mix the ginger, garlic, white cumin seeds, ground coriander, paprika, chilli powder with the almonds and the yoghurt.
          2. Marinate lamb in the yoghurt and spice mixture for 15-20 minutes.
          3. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and cook until golden brown.
          4. Add the marinated lamb pieces, the salt and lemon juice and cook for 5-7 minutes.
          5. Add the water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the cream.
          6. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then add the sugar, coconut milk, fresh coriander and garam masala and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
          7. Add the potatoes and let the curry simmer in the pot for a further 20 minutes until the lamb is tender and potatoes are cooked.
          8. Serve with steamed rice.

          Roast Duck Breast by Luv-A-Duck

          This is a part review, part recipe post! You see, a couple of days ago I went to the Good Food & Wine Show in Melbourne (scroll back a couple of entries and you'll see my full blog post on My Day at the Good Food and Wine Show!) and I bought a $50 sampler bag from Luv-A-Duck. Inside the cooler bag, there was a Peking Duck Pancake Kit, and packaged Duck Shanks, Duck Legs and Duck Breasts.

          So last night, I decided to cook up a quick and simple dinner using the Duck Breast. I also thought I should make the accompaniments look and taste special and plate it up beautifully to enhance our "eating experience" lol:

          To cook the duck, I melted a teaspoon of butter in a frying pan and cooked the duck (skin facing down) to get a crisp on it. Then, I transferred the duck breasts (skin facing up) onto an oven proof fish and popped it in the oven already preheated at 190C for about 7 minutes.

          While the duck was cooking, I have already pre-diced 2 potatoes and half a small sweet potato and prepped some green beans. I use the same butter from the frying pan, maybe add another teaspoon or so, cooked the potatoes first for about 5 - 7 minutes before adding the green beans into the pan. The butter should be "frothing" up the potatoes and beans by now, so I add half a tablespoon of brown sugar to give the potatoes and beans a nice, glossy texture and a sweet buttery taste. Then it's time to serve up, starting with the veggies, followed by the duck.

          You can serve the duck breast either as is, or slice them up for a different style of presentation as you can see above. To top things up, mix 1 tablespoon of Hoisin Sauce with 1 tablespoon of water so you get a more runny sauce to serve with the dish... and voila! This dish looks absolutely stunning and will not fail to impress.

          Overall, if you're afraid to cook duck from scratch (or if you're like me and really only have 30 mins each night to cook except on weekends) then Luv-A-Duck offers an amazing variety of duck products readily available from supermarkets. This is the era of the DUCK!!

          Yum Cha at Gold Leaf Chinese Restaurant, Docklands Melbourne

          Located only 10 minutes away from my workplace, it is hard to resist a Yum Cha calling on a Friday afternoon. So here's just a little bit of food porn for all you foodies out there. Unfortunately I cannot successfully name all these Yum Cha dishes... so if you can offer me some help, that would be great!

          Our first dish was a deep fried fritter thing which I believe has some prawns and possibly crabmeat.

          Next, another prawn-based dim sum, steamed with very delicious ginger broth.

          This was like an "open prawn dimsum" with fish eggs. Amazing texture and the prawn flavors definitely dominated this dish. Best eaten with the chilli sauce.

          And when you put all the dishes together, you get this... :)

          But wait, I am nowhere near done! Gotta have "Chee Cheong Fun" which is basically a steamed sticky rice roll with beef filling, also available with pork and prawn filling. The sauce that goes with it has a sweet flavor and the best thing about this dish is the sticky, firm texture. So delicious!!

          Chicken Feet!! Regular readers, you would know how much I love chicken feet... as also mentioned in one of my previous blog entries... it really is not as bad as you think! In fact, it is far from bad.. it is so tasty and soft and the bones just fall off and it is CLEAN! In fact quite possibly the cleanest part of the chicken you can eat because the thick part of the chicken feet have been removed prior to cooking it... so you cook a FRESH, previously unexposed layer of skin on the chicken feet. Amazingly goood... must try!

          I am a big fan of seafood, and seafood combined with soft egg tofu is divine!

          What a feast! :)

          Just when we thought we were getting quite full, these beef balls somehow ended on our table. One of my colleague's favorite dishes so I let him have them all while I happily struggle to finish eating TWO serves of chicken feet, yes... we ended up ordering SECONDS. Hahahahaaa.

          And finally, what an amazing finish to our Yum Cha lunch... Mango Pudding!! Soft textured but rich mango pudding served in delicious evaporated milk... what else can I say? CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK!! :)

          Gold Leaf on Urbanspoon

          My Day at the Good Food and Wine Show Melbourne Saturday, 05-06-2010

          I had a pretty good day today. First of all, I've won two tickets to go to the Good Food and Wine Show at Melbourne Exhibition Centre, and those tickets include entry to the exhibition as well as to the Celebrity Theatre session for Tobie Puttock and Matt Skinner at 3.30pm. I was quite excited! I hardly ever WIN stuff, so to win tickets to something I love.. makes it a bonus! It was very packed and there were lots of people... and you can pretty much sample most foods from most stall, and sample most wine / liqueur which could get quite dangerous considering we actually started drinking first before we had ANY food today, hehehee... but here I'd like to share my highlights of the day... :)

          This was one of the first things we saw, it's called a "Twisto" and it's basically... well, a Twisted Potato on a skewer, deepfried and available in a variety of flavours. I had the "Chicken Salt" flavor and it was soooo yummy! It was so crunchy on the outside and still had the soft potato-ey texture on the inside. Any investors out there, I would definitely encourage the franchise option because this is going to be the new "Hot Chips". Believe me, again I will say, TWISTOS ARE THE NEW HOT CHIPS. You heard it from Kimba's World Kitchen first!!

          We finally located the Restaurant area... and it's basically an area where food was served by renowned chef's restaurants e.g. George Calombaris & Gary Mehigan from MasterChef! So yayy finally I get to taste some of their food. 

           My friend had this amazing Beef dish from Shawn Bowles. She claims it was one of the best she's ever had... and it was so tender and full of flavor. Big thumbs up.

          I had George Calombaris' Braised Chicken and Celery Fricassee. It was okay, I'm a little bit disappointed to be honest, Georgie. Not the best chicken I've ever had sorry.. the chicken was overcooked and dry, and the sauce was a bit plain and simple for me... it didn't have an explosion of flavor I really wanted :(

          However, my friend had George Calombaris' Chocolate and Walnut Tart with Salty Caramel Sauce: it was absolutely DIVINE! But it was too rich she couldn't finish it.

          I, on the other hand, had Gary Mehigan's Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Compote for dessert and it was definitely one of the best desserts I have ever had! The sauce was just MAGIC and the rhubarb, fresh and absolutely beautiful, and that panna cotta had the perfect texture and tasted AMAZING.. I was so happy with it. Easily finished it. Would have easily gone for seconds too, lol.

          Speaking of Gary, he was there at the restaurant having lunch same time we did!! So I took some sad paparazzi shots... I admit I acted a bit stalkerish, lol. It was just so cool to see him there, just walking around being normal, and had a few people approach him to say hello. But he wasn't overly celebrity-like at all, he easily mingled in the crowd which I thought was really cool. Good ol' Gary & George.. down to earth.

          Speaking of George, we also had short glimpses of his cooking presentations... :)

          The Celebrity Theatre was a lot bigger than I expected, so it was a pretty impressive set up. Our 3.30pm session features Tobie Puttock and Matt Skinner and they are two funny blokes. Quite an entertaining presentation and easy simple recipes we can easily re-create at home. These guys apparently have worked with Jamie Oliver and I think Tobie now runs Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Melbourne. Overall, it was a great finish to our day at the show!

           Actually, not quite finished yet. I wanted to highlight a few things I bought from the show, hehe. First I had the $6 sampler box of gourmet handmade pies from Boscastle. Lovely pies! I was very full by then though, so I took the pies home and let hubby devour them.

          Then I was at Lush Desserts & bought a tub of Lemon Creme & Belgian Chocolate Creme... the lemon one is so refreshing and rich, and the chocolate one is pretty much a rich chocolate mousse! You can have it on its own, or use shell pastries to make dessert tarts. Yumm... that's what I'm having for dessert right now!

          I also bought a $50 Sampler Bag from Luv-A-Duck. I love duck, couldn't resist!

          Each bag contains a selection of ready-to-roast duck products and a Peking Duck Pancake Kit... excellent stuff! They are usually a lot more expensive from Coles, so I'm quite happy :)

          I also discovered this amazing liqueur called Pama Pomegranate... drinking it now! 17% alcohol content, tastes like alcoholic ribena, mix with some soda water / lemonade and it makes a great cocktail!

          I think that's basically it! My first time at the Good Food and Wine Show and I will definitely go back next year. Just wish it wasn't so packed. I would probably choose to go on a Friday next year so most people would be at work and can't come... I also wished I was a more serious wine drinker, to enjoy the wine components of the show - wine was everywhere!! But we didn't even manage to look at all the food stalls, let alone be able to go through all the wine samples! Plus, the fact that people were everywhere meant there were queues just to get samples, queues to order food, and very slow walking to avoid walking into people. I would also recommend you bring a TROLLEY to the show to carry all the stuff you WILL end up buying... because I had to spend $30 to buy a Good Food and Wine Show trolley but I didn't really mind because it was a pretty nice trolley and I would use it again for my market shopping, etc. Overall, a FUN day out! Very tired now.. so I'll sit back and enjoy my dessert :)