I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

July 19, 2010

Sydney Good Food and Wine Show

We're ba-ack...

For the past 3 days we have eaten our way across Sydney and now I think I'll need at least 3 days to recover!

For those of you who've never been to the GFW show, it's a great exhibition of food and food producers with opportunities to sample millions of different things and talk to the representatives of each company and find out a bit more about them and their products. You also get to do some celebrity chef spotting and even catch them in a show. We watched Mat Moran in action at the celebrity theatre and there were some great techniques and giveaways.

The exciting thing for me was that there was such a large selection of gluten free foods. There were signs everywhere alerting me to the eatability of each new tasting opportunity. Most stands even had gluten free crackers available for dipping into their product or would give me a spoon to use- you can fit more on a spoon!

There was: chocolate shooters, noodles, duck, fudge, honey, jams, smoked salmon, pork sausages, wagu burgers, olive oil of every variety, vanilla salt, rose liquor, kangaroo jerky, green tea cakes, ube icecream, apple crisps, rosellas, cupcakes, wine of every sort, pomegranate vinegar, caramelized vanilla balsamic, cheeses, bresaloa, lamb soup, biltong, lemon myrtle, wattle seeds, mousses, curries, seaweed, daiquiris, spices, and nearly anything else you could possibly imagine!
And I tried it all....well, nearly.

I love to buy the showbags as you get so many samples of different goodies for very low prices, and I always take this opportunity to renew my foodie magazine subscriptions as you get some amazing giveaways as part of the deal. The best offers were from MasterChef magazine and Delicious. With Master Chef if you got a 1yr subscription you got a free kids cooking pack worth $29.99, and with Delicious you got an apron, 2 recipe books worth $30 and $12 plus current and past magazines, and with Donna Hay you got a beautiful teatowel pack and shopping list, current and previous magazines. The list goes on and on and on.

BigJ behaved very well overall. The moaning began about lunchtime and reached a peak about 4.30pm, but we had been there since 10am, so he still collected his full complement of brownie points for the day. He is very handy for carrying my bags and if the crowd gets too excited I just stand behind him as he's so big and he clears a path for me. That's true love in action.

On Friday night after the show, we rested up for a couple of hours back at our hotel. Despite being on the go since 4.30am, we set out for dinner. As the restaurant we wanted to visit was fully booked, we headed vaguely in the direction of China Town and straight into a night market and dragon festival! Unfortunately the photos didn't turn out too well for this with the crowds, neon lights and all, but it was a very exciting and acrobatic show. I also finally got to try Dragon Beard Candy, which is a rice flour and sugar based sweet that starts off as a solid lump, but is then stretched and pulled into a ring then twisted and stretched time and time again until there are hundreds of little sweet strings to wrap around a nutty filling. Check it out on you tube if you want to see it in action.

Needing to sit down we went to a little food court underground and had some of the most delicious Asian foods I've ever tasted. I would be happy to pay $20+ for these back home in a restaurant, but they only cost about $9 for a generous serve that would do 2 people easily. Of course we had one dish each, finished up with a Cold Rock Icecream then rolled back to bed!

Saturday morning we started with a big breakfast back at the hotel. There was a fair bit gfree to choose from, but mainly cooked items that are a bit too greasy for me, but I was bought gfree toast on request. We spent the day strolling through Paddies Market, the Queen Vic building, etc. and lunchtime found us back at our little food court for more delights! This time we chose Spicy octopus with black fungus and Chilli Chicken. The octopus was nice and soft, but I'm not a huge fan of XO sauce, but the chicken.... we counted 5 types of chilli. Fresh red chilli, fresh green chilli, large dried chilli, chilli flakes and pickled scud chillis. It was absolutely delicious and I'm going to try to copy it for home! It didn't blast our heads off, but certainly made you sit up and take notice. After a relaxing stroll around the Chinese Gardens, we rolled home again to rest up before, you guessed it, going out for dinner!
This time, having cleverly booked ahead, we got a booking at 1945, a Dutch Indonesian restaurant I read about on lovely Lorraine's Blog, Not Quite Nigella. It sounded so yummy, I had to try it and it lived up to all my expectations. The menu is based around shared dishes and rice, with each dish at around $4-$6 and offering a small yummy morsel that you may or may not wish to share. The highlight dishes for us were the Lemongrass Mussels and Rendang beef. The flavours were lovely and sharp and even though we ordered about 15 dishes between us, none of the flavours ran together with the integrity of each standing alone. The staff was nice and friendly, answering my necessary gfree questions and checking with the kitchen if not sure. By the time we finished it was late, we got a tram back to the hotel and flopped into a deep slumber lulled by the roar of traffic and sirens of Sydney.

Sunday. By this time, we were getting pretty full. We put off breakfast and instead wandered around The Rocks area and through some cute market stalls. By about lunchtime we were ready for breakfast though and BigJ chose a Black Angus steak and freerange egg sandwich from one of the stalls, and I found Dash, a little cafe with lots of gfree options and a strong commitment to environmental issues. I enjoyed some yummy coconut pancakes and just wished I could have fitted in the gfree turkish pide.

More wanderings, this time around Circular Quay and a ferry across to Manly just for fun.We only stopped for a Max Brennar chocolate shot served with popping candy and gummybears, before heading back to Darling Harbour and our last stop before home.
We don't travel very often, but when we visit Sydney we seem to have developed a touristy tradition of finishing up at Darling Harbour to people watch and eat oysters. We found a nice plate of Oysters Kilpatrick that had our names on them and, unconventionally pairing them with some hand cut chunky chips with smokey alioi, finished our tour of Sydney for another year.

The strangest thing I ate was ..... too hard to answer! Maybe the mungbean and sago sweet soup? that was yummy but a bit gritty at the same time, and the best thing I tasted? The mussels at $2 each and the plate of chilli chicken at huge size for $9. So just remember that price doesn't always give an indication of pleasure.

We had a wonderful time, we ate some fantastic things, I'm inspired in so many ways, we travelled by car, tram, train, monorail, taxi, foot, ferry and ferris wheel, and I just weighed myself and won't be eating for the rest of the week!

So readers, what's the strangest thing you've eaten?


  1. Oh my! I am so jealous!!!! I would love to have made it up to Sydney for the show :) What a wonderful weekend you have had!!!

  2. Ahh so glad that you had a good time here! Sounds like you packed in a whole lot of really fun stuff :D And I'm so glad that you liked 1945. We really enjoyed our meal there! :D

  3. and we didn't burn the house down while you were gone, either.

  4. My feet are sore just thinking about all that tramping around, but what fun you had girl. Lets see now, the strangest thing I've ever been served was an interpretation of what we thought was home fries in Puerto Rico and what rocked up to our table was this mush of partially dunked in the oil frozen chips till they were warm enough to melt the gallons of American (that weird orange stuff they have) - the whole dish was moulded into a bowl and then turned upside on a plate with..., you guessed more cheese and parsley on top... It was weird and way too strange to actually eat...., but we did photograph it :)
    Another great blog, the GFW show is always a winner, didn't get down this time, so great to read all about it.

  5. What a wonderful holiday! The dragon beard candy is something else, isn't it? There's very few people in the world who still make it - did you get to watch Master Au at work? Didn't get to the GFW show - so thanks for sharing! :)

  6. Thankyou Ladies, we did have a wonderful time. The restaurant was a delight- thanks for your review Lorraine, the candy was made by 2 very talented (and fast)ladies-you have to check it out on youtube.
    Anna, think I'll have nightmares just thinking about that meal and the 100patty burger Lorraine blogged about today sounds like it has the same cheese!
    Now for the show next year ladies, what about a road trip?

  7. What a brilliant foodie trip, I am super jealous of all your goodie bags!

  8. wOW What a huge day- and a great tip on the magazines!!

  9. I truly envy you now! you truly bought so many goodies at the fair! hahah now I will be waiting what will you be cooking! :)

  10. My favourite Chinese New Year food (though you sometimes find it all year round) is the Dragon Beard Candy, an ancient Chinese Emperor’s Dessert. It’s made into very sweet thin strands and sometimes filled with peanuts.
    If you’ve never tried it, you simply have to! The only place I know to find this online is http://www.geocities.jp/family_hong_kong/English/Dragon_Bread_Candy_index.htm .