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Goodbye 2011, what a year it has been!

What a year it has been! 2010 was a fantastic year, lots of travel and lots of food! Although ‘The Mother’ and I didn’t travel as much in 2011, it was indeed ONE HELL of a year and am certainly looking forward to 2012. Where did this year go huh?

Trying to pick my top 10 dishes for 2011 was hard! So much good food and where do I start? In no particular order:

1. Suckling pig and Chocolate ice cream at Cutler and Co

Melbourne trip with the family – each course was better than the next. The highlight would have to be roast suckling pig, boudin noir, plum and kohlrabi – it was so frigging awesome that I had a mini foodgarsm!

The Chocolate ice cream sandwich, vanilla parfait and salted caramel – EPIC!

2. My ultimate meal – WHOLE SUCKLING PIG at Four in hand

oh my – went with 18 pork lovers and it was undoubtedly the BEST suckling pig I have eaten! The crispy skin, the succulent pork meat! It was just divine! Not to mention Colin’s colcannon – the best in Sydney! The food in overall in Four in Hand is excellent!

3. Best tiramisu at Italians and Sons

When I worked in Canberra for a bit, I managed to try a couple of restaurants, one being Italians and Sons and the tiramisu here is to die for! Photos are a little horrid, it was dark but you have to trust me that it was incredible!

4. TOYS collective event

I have been to a few in 2011 and the best would have to be number 7: old dogs, new tricks. Pig’s trotter stuffed with veal sweetbreads, chicken mousse, shiitake and ginger, garlic chive, pickled onions, beer mustard was divine and Tastes like Chicken, New Zealand milk-fed lamb, smoked eggplant, flatbread cooked in its own ash was TO DIE FOR!

And  chocolate, orange, and some form of German Cake. Three words – OH MY GOD! EPIC!

5. Suckling pig at Manor, Hong Kong

On my recent visit to Hong Kong I finally went to Manor and really enjoyed the suckling pig at Manor, amongst other things. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try a lot of other restaurants due to work commitments but there will always be a next time!

6.  Crispy scaled snapper at Gastro Park

I have been fortunate enough to come here twice. I haven’t written about the second time yet, but during my first visit, I had the crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato puree, calamari crackling, ink sauce – OMG! The crispy snapper, and that calamari crackling! YUM!

The second visit, we ordered the liquid butternut gnocchi and oh my – the flavours that burst in my mouth was incredible! Wanted to eat the whole thing on my own.

7. Meal at Nosawa onzen

It was a simple meal but just the whole experience is unforgetable. Not to mention the horse sashimi – different but I really did enjoy it!

8. The legendary petite fours at Restaurant Arras

The whole meal was excellent but it was the legendary petite fours that took my breath away. Wanted one of each!

9. The spicy chicken at Ayam betutu khas gilimanuk

Very ghetto, very Balinese, the spicy chicken was just incredible. The whole trip was amazing, 7 days and I tried to eat everything in the whole week!

10. Pork jowl and the famous Snow Ball at Quay restaurant

The view from Quay is outstanding, it makes the whole dining experience wonderful. The pork jowl I had was just awesome, and the most talked about nectarine snow ball – even better!

There’s a lot of pork dishes that made the list! Apologies, you all know my love for pork, so it had to be in my list. There are also some old favourites, Porteno, Bodega, Ms G’s that we keep going back too. Not to mention Four in Hand Bar – the fish and chips – one of the best in Sydney I have to say!

It’s been a big year, and 2012 will be an even bigger year – there will be a new addition to the GA family, and not to mention travels and new adventures in the coming year! It will be a HUGE YEAR and am certainly looking forward to it.

Thank you all for your support, in the mean time, I do hope you all have a FANTASTIC NEW YEARS EVE and here is to 2012 – to family, good friends, health and more food! 🙂

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Food we ate in Sri Lanka… Part 1

We ate so much that I am really not sure where to start. We consumed a LOT of curry, more than I would have liked and possibly could have ever eaten. However, it was good curry and I am glad to have tasted the different types. Thought I would say the top 3 meals we had whilst at Galle. Mind you, the top 3 were probably the most expensive we had on the trip!

In no particular order….

Our first meal in Galle, after not eating for a good 12 hours was at the Galle Fort Hotel. They have superb Sri Lankan, Asian fusion cuisine. The dinner menu which is a set dinner menu changes nightly, and if set dinners are not your cup of tea, then they do have a la carte menu, which we did try also.

That evening, they had the Sri Lankan Rice and Curry Tiffin set menu, which consisted of 4 curries and 4 vegetables (and papadams) served with Saffron and Red Rice, and a choice of espresso panna cotta, sago pudding or fresh fruit sorbet for dessert. Hubby and I were ravenous and looked forward to the feast.

We started off with some drinks, Hubby ordered the fresh coconut and lime juice – doesn’t the coconut resemble a pig? It wasn’t cold though, which was a shame but it was indeed fresh!

Now the different curries: starting from the top left to right – bringal moju (eggplant curry), dhall curry, mukunuwenna mallum (which is like a salad of fresh onions and tomatoes). Bottom left to right – pumpkin curry, sautéed beetroot, and cucumber and tomato sambal. My favourite was definitely the pumpkin and dhall curry. The pumpkin curry was rich in flavour with a hint of spiciness, the dhall curry offset the richness of the pumpkin curry, and mixed together, the flavours were just amazing. The eggplant curry was sweet and not what I expected at all, however, I wasn’t a huge fan of the mukunewenna mallum.

The white fish curry (bottom right) had great flavours but the fish itself was a little hard and dry for my liking. The chicken curry (top left) was tender and succulent, they gave us a generous amount of chicken! I have never had saffron rice before and I have to say, I am a huge fan! Eaten with a mix of dhall and pumpkin curry, it was incredibly delicious.

The papadams were light and crunchy and a great compliment with the curries.

For dessert, we ordered one of the sago pudding and espresso panna cotta. I have to say, the espresso panna cotta was amazingly good! I am usually not a fan of panna cotta but this one… oh my, it was soft like crème caramel, had a hint of coffee and was not too sweet, it was just perfect. It would have to be one of the best panna cotta I have eaten thus far. Hubby certainly enjoyed it – we were both fighting over it. My only gripe would be that it was served in a small Chinese tea cup – WAY TOO SMALL! The sago pudding was so so, I prefer the Asian, mango and sago dessert!

Stuffed and deliciously happy, we waddled back to our room and slept….

We had lunch one day at Amangalla hotel, this is also a 17th century town hose which has been converted into hotels – only 5 rooms apparently and it is one of the best hotels in Asia. It is also one of the most expensive hotels in the Fort, they have private cottages which start at around US$1500 a night! Hubby tried to get a reservation for one night (not the private cottage but a room) however they were fully booked!

So lunch… we started off with fresh bread and it was indeed fresh. Crunchy on the outside and fluffy / soft on the inside. With a slitter of butter, my my, how I missed fresh bread!

I wanted something non curry, so opted for the homemade pumpkin ravioli with burnt butter and sage – it had me at ‘burnt butter’. Half a dozen of medium size pumpkin ravioli were absolutely delightful.

I could have probably eaten another dozen, and as you can see, completely cleaned the plate off! It was THAT good!

Hubby wanted something light – so had the seared tuna with gotukola salad. The tuna I thought was a little dry, and I was not a fan of the gotukola salad, similar to tabouli but thought tabouli was so much better! I think my pumpkin ravioli was a winner!

Our last meal in Galle, we ate at the Fort Printers Hotel, an 18th century mansion turned printing facility – also only has five suites – antiques filled suites. By this stage, I was seriously over curry, so wanted something western for dinner.

Started off with new style sashimi – which was red snapper, ginger and sesame oil. The sashimi was fresh and the ginger and sesame oil were a great compliment.

I think Hubby was also sick of curry, so he ordered the tuna tataki which was served with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin oil. The tuna was fresh and refreshing. We both endeavored this.

We were given complimentary bread with hummus. The bread was warm and the hummus was fantastic! Such a simple but yet delightful starter.

For main, we thought we would share the chili prawns with basil and fried rice. It was very thai-like dish but absolutely delicious. The chili prawns were seriously spicy and full of flavour. The fried rice was good, it had that wok-aroma smell which I can’t seem to make but it was relatively simple.

It was a great meal to end the trip.

For breakfast, we mainly ate at the hotel – we didn’t have breakfast every day, Hubby is not your typical breakfast eater! The breakfast menu at Galle Fort Hotel, freshly cut seasonal fruit salad, tea or coffee, toast with home-made jam and a choice of eggs with grilled bacon and tomato; toasted tropical muesli with milk or yogurt; buffalo curd hot cakes with kittal honey; home-made toasted banana bread or French toast.

The first morning, we had the eggs with grilled bacon and tomato. We started off with the freshly cut seasonal fruit salad with consists of banana, mango, paw paw and pineapple. All were fresh and absolutely refreshing.

I had the poached eggs with grilled bacon and tomato – 2 poached eggs cooked to perfection with crispy bacon and grilled tomato. It was a great way to start the day!

Hubby had the scrambled eggs – I thought the scrambled eggs were a little dry but it was still pretty good.

The buffalo curd hotcakes with kittal honey was to die for! The hotcakes were similar to that of crepes, very thin and very VERY tasty! We shared this – one each and that definitely was not enough!

The banana bread was good! Thick slab of bread with real banana pieces was just tasty. Slathered with butter, it was just scrumptiously good!

We also had some mediocre meals, which I will post next. It wasn’t bad but the above were definitely the highlights!

Galle Fort Hotel

No 28, Church Street,

Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka

Ph: +94 91 223 2870

Amangalla Resort

10 Church Street

Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka

Ph: +94 91 223 3388

The Fort Printers

39 Pedlar Street

Galle Fort, Galle, Sri Lanka

Ph: +94 91 224 7977