Phi Phi on a Plate ….

phi phi

As some of you may know I have recently featured on Virgin Australia’s new travel website and wrote a feature on where to go and what to eat on Phi Phi islands in Thailand. Check out the site, it is an fantastic source of holiday ideas or day dreaming materials. Enjoy!

After a swift departure from Phuket and a bumpy speed boat ride across the Andaman Sea, I arrived at Ko Phi Phi — a cluster of mountainous islands surrounded by water so turquoise it makes the stone itself pale in comparison.

Upon arrival, I made my way to the eastern end of Ton Sai beach for a mandatory afternoon cocktail at Sunflower Bar. Built from driftwood reclaimed after the 2004 tsunami, the bar is one of Phi Phi’s most relaxing settings and a great place in which to enjoy a Pina Colada or a game of pool while watching the sun set.

On a quest to satiate my hunger pains, I headed to the northern end of the island, where the beaches are lined with palm trees that look like they have been plucked from postcards and slung with swings and hammocks. This side of the island is home to Phi Phi’s best restaurants, and is consequently where I dined most nights.

Surrounded by ocean and covered with lush rainforest, there is no shortage of fantastic, fresh food on Phi Phi. Renowned local dish, Som Tam is testament to this, a fresh papaya salad laden with shrimp and peanuts and dressed with limes, chilli and fish sauce.

I started every meal with my favourite Thai dish, Tom Yum Goog, a tangy soup made from lemongrass and lime leafs and topped with giant king prawns. For lunch I frequently indulged in a wok-tossed thick noodles dish called Pad See Eiu, where pork and Chinese broccoli are doused with dark soy and heaped with garlic.

My dinners mainly consisted of must-try dishes like coconut milk-based Muslim curries, Gang Keow Wan and Panang Gai. These green and red curries taste so clean, fresh and aromatic they make second servings feel guilt-free. For lighter dinners I opted for plates like Plah Kah Pung Neung Manow or Larb — whole grilled fish caught that day topped with garlic, ginger and chilli; and a Thai salad made with minced meat and a generous heap of herbs.

Most chefs in Thailand are accustomed to catering for less-than-adventurous tourist palates, and as a result dishes generally come mild. I ordered everything “Thai Hot” to taste the full punch of the famous Thai chilli.

I also accompanied every meal with staple rice, egg and vegetables dish, known as Kao Phad and with drinks like Chang beer and freshly cut coconut. Coconuts can be found everywhere on the island, but for a real treat it’s hard to go past a ‘coconut blend’ — fresh coconut water and the fruit’s flesh blended with ice and served in the nut’s shell.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Winter Warmer: Slow Roasted Lamb Stew…

lamb stew

Sometimes I come home from a long day at work and enter my apartment building and smell beautiful home cooked dinners wafting through the hallways making me green with envy. But when I cook this recipe, the tables turn. This slow roasted stew smells as good as it tastes and is the perfect winter dinner. Leave your knives in the draw, this lamb will fall apart so easily, forks are all you need!

What you need:

  • 1.25kg lamb neck chops, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 brown onions – chopped roughly
  • 1kg  potatoes – peeled & sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 3 beef stock cubes 
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

What you need to do:

  • Cut chops in half. Place flour in a plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Place chops in bag and shake well to coat. Transfer chops to a plate. Reserve flour.
  • Preheat oven to 130°C. Place onions, potatoes and carrots in an ovenproof dish. Top with half the chops. Repeat layers with remaining onions, potatoes, carrots and chops.
  • Whisk reserved flour, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons cold water in a large jug until well combined. Slowly add boiling water while stirring. Add stock cubes and parsley. Stir to dissolve stock cubes.
  • Pour flour mixture over chops. Cover and cook for 4 hours or until meat tender and sauce thickened. Serve with crusty bread, rice or it is perfect all on its own.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

The foodies guide to Adelaide (and Beyond) ….

A city that boasts is history of non-convict English settlement, surrounded by crystal clear coastal waters, rolling hills covered in wines and wide country town streets with warm hospitality, there is plenty of places to find a good time and a great meal. To make things easy for you, I have picked some of the best food around time, and the state.

Queen Street Café

Queen Street is location in Adelaide’s up-and-coming, trendy suburb of Croydon which is home to great architecture, retro shops and one of the best cafes in town, Queen Street Café. Here, you can sit inside or outside, both as comfortable as the other – with large bay windows and street side tables, watching the world go by is possible at any angel. The menu is full of fresh breakfast options like avocado, lime and pepper on rye and crab omelette. It is fairly pricey for a breakfast but the quality makes up for it.

Queen Street Cafe on Urbanspoon


Red door bakery

Gone are the days when a white roll or pink finger bun would excite people – the trend of artisan and gourmet bakeries stays strong and there is no better example of this than Red Door Bakery. There are now two locations where you can find the cabinets full of sweet treats like crème brulee tarts and hazelnut scrolls to get your sugar fix. But the real shining star are the good ol’ fashioned, but a little gourmet, pies and sausage rolls. The highlights being the morrocan lamb sausage roll and the Angus beef and Coopers stout pie, both available with homemade chilli jam.

Red Door Bakery - Goodwood on Urbanspoon

Red Door Bakery on Urbanspoon


Adelaide Central Markets

No South Australian food experience is complete without a trip to the Adelaide Central Markets, or what I refer to as, foodie heaven. There are rows upon rows filled with fresh produce and flavours from around and more cheese than you can poke a cracker at. My recommendations would be Asian Gourmet for a delicious thick noodle laksa, a pizza from Adelaide’s first ever pizza bar, Lucia’s and refuel with a tea from T bar, the Prosperi-T being my favourite  (best served with warm milk and honey). Or if you’re in the market for supplies you can find the best at The Smelly Cheese Shop, the Taste of Marrakech or The Olive Tree.

Asian Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Lucia's on Urbanspoon

T Bar on Urbanspoon


Star of Greece

Star of Greece could quiet possibly be the jewel in the south Australian crown of South Australian food royalty. Hugging the cliffs of port Willunga with 180 degree views of the turquoise ocean, this casual but classy beach shack is not to be estimated. The menu is impressive, paying homage to its surroundings and full of seafood and local produce. Changing seasonally it is likely every visit will be unique, to this day I still think about my roasted stuffed chicken with popcorn (strange combination that hit it out of the park!). Book ahead, this is not a destination to be missed.

Star of Greece on Urbanspoon


Burger Theory Co.

There is no doubt about it, the food truck scene in Adelaide has exploded. There are more than 30 food trucks to enjoy around town, so it is hard to know which way to go. So, let me make it easy for you – Burger Theory. The menu is short and sweet (two burgers in total), but you can’t go past the No. 2 – Crispy pancetta, onion confit and Adelaide Blue cheese sauce. A life changing burger that will leave you waiting more and perfectly accompanied with fries and truck sauce, if my taste buds serve me correctly this is a delicious blend of T-sauce and mayo…. Genius!

Burger Theory on Urbanspoon


Maggie Beers Farm Shop

Maggie Beer is the Queen of the Australian food scene and has been cooking up a storm in the Barossa Valley for many years. You can’t have a well-rounded South Australian food experience without visiting her farm shop. Here, you can stock up on artisan products or buy a premade picnic hamper with matched wines from the surrounding vineyards – it doesn’t get much better than that!

Maggie Beer's Farm Shop on Urbanspoon


Almalfi Pizzeria Restaurante

With 30 years cooking experience behind them, it is no surprise that Almalfi’s has become one of Adelaide’s favourite restaurants. With sauces, stocks, pasta and bread made fresh in-house daily, you won’t leave disappointed. The menu has all the classics and more,  their Con Pollo is a must try – rigatoni pasta teamed with pancetta, mushroom, chives, apricot, pepper in a cream sauce. Belissimo!

Amalfi Pizzeria Ristorante on Urbanspoon


Vale Inn

The McLaren Vale could be my version of heaven on earth, rolling hills covered in vines, crashing waves of the ocean nearby and most importantly, lots of beautiful food. The Vale Inn is a revamped pub that blends the old and the new seamlessly, not the mention the home to my favourite beer of all time – Vale Ale! You can expect the seasonal menu to include a variety of gastro pub food options like duck fat potatoes and pizzas with pekking duck and red currant, oysters done four ways or a share plate filled with gourmet goodies.

Vale Inn on Urbanspoon


Vintners Bar & Grill

No South Australian food experience would be complete without a trip to the famous heart of the state, The Barossa Valley. One of the best places to enjoy a meal here is the Vintners Bar & Grill which offers excellent regional food combined with local wines. Highlights include the pork and quail spring rolls and the rib of beef for two teamed with a variety of mustards and green peppercorns, and you won’t find it hard to find suitable sides to go with it. The restaurant which is set amongst a picturesque vineyard setting can be enjoyed year round with large outdoor courtyards for summer and a huge open fire in winter.
Vintners Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

P.s I travel to Adelaide often, so please let me know if you have any suggestions for me to try on my next visit!

Winter Soup – Kale, Bean & Ham Soup Recipe …

It is officially winter and incredibly cold and that means one thing… soup time. I am a long time soup lover, but find a lot can leave me hungry if they aren’t hearty enough, but his recipe its the spot – super healthy, super easy, filling, comforting and super tasty.

What you need:

  • 1/2 a red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1L of chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 50-100g of pasta (shells or spirals)
  • Big bunch of kale roughly chopped
  • 1 can of borlotti beans
  • 100-250g ham off the bone chopped finely
  • Parmesan to serve

What you need to do:

  • Heat large pan and add olive oil, onions and garlic until fragrant and soft, then add stock, tomatoes and thyme
  • Once the mixture is boiling, add the pasta, beans, ham and kale and leave on heat until the pasta has cooked
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve into bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan.


Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.




If you walk past Mamak in the morning you will think it is just another run of the mill drab Asian restaurant in Chinatown, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Come lunch or dinner time, Mamak has millions of pigs waiting patiently to taste the infamous Roti bread this Malayasian haunt has become famous (and hatted) for.

Thankfully, if you are brave enough to wait in the queue you can be entertained by the two roti chefs in the window flipping, folding, throwing and rolling roti in many different formations. Once we enjoyed the show and finally got seated it didn’t take us long to order the traditional roti with chilli sauce and a spicy lamb curry. The Roti is everything a good roti should be – warm, flaky, doughy and delicious. Despite all the hype, the real winner of the evening was the lamb curry which was light, tangy, hot and filled with fall-apart-with-a-fork lamb.

When it came to ordering dessert there wasn’t any doubt about what would be ordered… another roti but this time it was filled and fired with banana and perfectly accompanied with icecream and an iced Milo. After the curry I was no longer curious about how such a basic restaurant could be award with a prestigious hat. Do yourself a favour, wait in line, order the curry and enjoy!

The Bitter: The waiting….. waiting…. And more waiting…
The Sweet: I have had dreams about that curry… undoubtedly worth the annoying wait
The Damage: Cheap as roti chips – about $20 to leave stuffed<
Oink oink,
Truffle Pig.
Mamak on Urbanspoon