Recipe: Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)

I make variations of this salad every time I cook a Peruvian-themed meal. What makes it Peruvian? The avocado, palmitos, botija olives and the fact that is seasoned with lime juice and olive oil. Serve as a side for pretty much anything.

Ensalada de palmitos y palta (hearts of palm and avocado salad)
Yield: 4-6 servings as a side dish

Ensalada de palmitos y palta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of lettuce, leaves torn
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 3 radishes, sliced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 palmitos (hearts of palm), sliced
  • 10 black olives (preferably botija)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Prep ingredients and place in a salad bowl.
  2. Season with lime juice, olive oil and salt.

Recipe: Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)

Despite its name, this dish is a Peruvian classic. So much so that I’ve been told it’s called “huevos a la peruana” (Peruvian-style eggs) in Chile. It is basically a spin-off of the traditional Russian Olivier salad, with the addition of eggs and golf sauce. It’s always served as an entrée, usually in “menú” (affordable set menu) eateries.

Huevo a la rusa (Russian-style egg salad)
Yield: 3 servings

Huevo a la rusa

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cup peas
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (preferably homemade)
  • lettuce leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Boil or steam the eggs to your liking (I steam mine for 10 minutes). Cool down with tap water. Peel, halve and reserve.
  2. Peel, cube and steam potatoes and carrots.
  3. Blanch or steam peas.
  4. Once vegetables have cooled down, mix them with 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
  5. Mix the other tablespoon of mayonnaise with the ketchup.
  6. Arrange lettuce leaves on 3 plates, place vegetable mix on top. Top with one halved egg and the mayo/ketchup sauce.
GPO Salad Bar

Review: GPO Salad Bar (Sydney CBD)

One of my strategies to find somewhere to eat close to work is to google “salad Sydney CBD”. That’s how I found out there was a salad bar inside the GPO Cheese & Wine Room on Martin Place.

They have ready-made salads and two sizes of plates (dine in)/plastic containers (takeaway). You can choose up to 3 salads in the smaller and up to 4 in the larger. I went with the large option and chose chilli chicken, smoked salmon, roast beef and feta, and tuna nicoise. Sebastian chose the small plate, which in hindsight would have been more than enough food for me. Next time.

Salads

Salads: small ($12.95), large ($16.95)

Salads were tasty, perhaps not too exotic or creative, but not bland at all. A bit more chilli in the ones labelled as spicy would be appreciated.

GPO Salad Bar
1 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9229 7700
www.gpogrand.com/salad-bar-cheese-room-sydney
On Facebook

GPO Salad Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vim and Tonic @ Healthy Life

Review: Vim & Tonic (Sydney CBD)

A few weeks ago, when I went to Healthy Life to buy cricket flour bars (yes, cricket flour) I noticed they had a small cafe offering smoothies, ready-to-go salads served in jars, sweet treats (many of them GF and/or DF), wraps, etc.

Food

Brownies

After a couple of bad experiences with my lunch buddy Sebastian, I had my hopes set on Vim & Tonic to deliver an enjoyable, healthy feed.

Menu 2

Menu

When I first visited for breakfast, I ordered a chia pudding with rice milk, coconut nectar, raw cacao, hazelnut, desiccated coconut and berries, plus a long black. Staff were very helpful and friendly, especially the guy who helped me choose between the pudding and the granola with yoghurt. The pudding was good, tasty and not too sweet. Perhaps a few chopped nuts would make a good addition to make it more filling. Coffee was okay, and I did notice they have nut milks available for coffees and smoothies. Next time.

Vim & Tonic

Chia pudding, long black

Later that day Sebastian and I ordered a couple of salads. It was our first time eating salads out of a jar and we both agreed that even though the layers look pretty it was difficult to mix the contents, particularly the dressing, which falls to the bottom. Regardless, salads were good. Mine had lime dressing, quinoa, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, green beans, poached salmon, and kale. Sebastian’s had olive oil, Dijon mustard, white vinegar, lentils, quinoa, shaved fennel, cherry tomatoes, chicken and kale.

Salads, rolls

Chicken salad, Mojo kombucha, poached salmon salad

Chicken salad ($11.90), Mojo kombucha, poached salmon salad ($11.90)

Poached salmon salad

Poached salmon salad ($11.90)

We also shared a raw superfood brownie for dessert that was delicious, dense and moist.

Raw brownie

Raw superfood brownie ($3.50)

I’ll be back soon to try one of their signature coffee-based smoothies or maybe a custom-made one with coffee and organic whey protein.

Vim & Tonic
Inside Healthy Life
143 King Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9233 8433
vimtonic.com
On Facebook

Vim & Tonic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Monster Rolls (Darlinghurst)

Right next to the awesome Mr Crackles, the once food-truck-only Monster Rolls has set up shop. Same deal here, they have slow cooked meats for their rolls… but you can have the meat with salad, too. Plus, they open until late. Win!

Monster Rolls

Monster Rolls

Slow cooked meats include Wagyu brisket, pork shoulder and lamb shoulder. You can also choose veggie balls or crumbled chicken tenderloins as your source of protein (but why would you given the other choices??!!).

Monster Rolls

Monster Rolls

The salad you normally get includes broccoli, carrot, radish, capsicum, etc. We noticed there was also coleslaw on sight and asked to have our pork shoulder with the slaw. One of my favourite combos. Both the salad and the meat (and the hot sauce on top) were pretty tasty.

Coleslaw & slow cooked pork shoulder

Monster Rolls
4/113-115 Oxford Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 8354 1417
monsterrolls.com.au

Monster Rolls Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Cross Eatery (Sydney CBD)

The healthy eating scene in the CBD is getting bigger and better. One of the newest additions is Cross Eatery, whose early reviews got my attention thanks to the words “Feather & Bone” and “kombucha on tap”. To find this place, look for the sign in the photo below.

Cross Eatery

Menu

Salads, sandwiches

I heard the coffee was good but was not my type. Not bad, just not as smooth for my South American palate.

Long black

Long black ($3.50)

As I mentioned before, they also offer kombucha on tap. Hopefully more cafes will follow this trend.

Kombucha on tap

Kombucha on tap

These guys make one of the best paleo-friendly breakfasts in the area: a Cross breakfast salad bowl with raw sprout, kale salad, probiotic cabbage, activated nuts and poached egg. I added a (generous) serve of Feather & Bone pastured raised ham and called it a meal.

Cross breakfast salad bowl, Feather & Bone ham

Cross breakfast salad bowl ($12), Feather & Bone ham ($6)

Feather & Bone pasture raised ham ($6.00)

For lunch, they have a few specials and a roast meat (I missed out on the lamb and the pork belly) with two salads. The day I visited, they had pulled beef brisket, made with Feather & Bone grass-fed beef and serve with house made pickles, which was very tasty. The serve was a bit small, FYI. I had it with broccolini, chilli, garlic & mustard dressing and burnt Brussel sprouts, citrus, walnut, and witlof.

Pulled beef brisket and two salads

Pulled beef brisket and two salads ($17.50)

This same meal can be ordered in a box to take away as in the photo below. They also do a box with two salads plus F&B ham.

Pulled beef brisket and two salads, takeaway

Pulled beef brisket and two salads, takeaway ($16)

Cross Eatery
155 Clarence Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9279 4280
info@crosseatery.com.au
www.crosseatery.com.au

Review: Pavel and Co (Sydney CBD)

I found out about Pavel and Co via my boss, who used to get his coffee there. But what really grabbed my interest was Raff’s review of the food. Particularly the word “crackling”.

The CBD eatery is big and it gets busy. Service is pretty fast, though.

Pavel and Co

There are pretty good hot sauces on every table. I reckon they should invest on fancier salt shakers to match ’em sauces.

Hot sauces, salt

Liquid caffeine came in the form of a Coke zero for Sebastian and a long black for me, which was sadly not one of my favourite brews in the area.

Coke zero, long black

Coke zero ($?), long black ($3.50)

On the food front, there are three categories: sandwiches, lunch boxes (salad + brown rice + meat), salad (+ optional meat). When you get the salad, you can choose up to 2 different types. I got the crunchy raw beetroot (beetroot, carrot, red onion, parsley, mint, walnuts, fetta) and roasted cauliflower (cauliflower, kale, pickled raisins, pepitas, parsley, mint) and added roasted pork (with crackling!). It was perfect in size and flavour.

Crunchy raw beetroot salad + roasted cauliflower salad + pork

Crunchy raw beetroot/roasted cauliflower salad ($9)
+ pork ($5.90)

Sebastian ordered the Mexican slaw (red cabbage, corn, white cabbage, carrot, red onion, jalapeño, coriander) with grilled salmon. He thought the salad needed more dressing and tanginess.

Mexican slaw + grilled salmon

Mexican slaw ($9) + salmon ($5.90)

I will definitely go back when I need a feed close to work. I’m keen on trying the grass-fed beef and lamb. On that topic, I don’t get why they make an effort in sourcing grass-fed beef and lamb, and yet their pork is grain-fed.

Pavel and Co
1/222 Kent Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9146 0716
pavelandco.com.au

Pavel & Co on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Pork chops and Pardo’s-style salad

Pork chops are pork chops, no explanation required. I don’t have them often because I usually buy cheaper cuts for slow cooking but I had a sudden craving for chops that I couldn’t ignore. Mum used to serve them with rice and applesauce and, if I remember correctly, she would throw in a bit of Peruvian Russian-style salad (beetroot, potato, green beans, peas, apple, avocado, mayo) in the rare occasions she remembered we should eat vegetables, too. I was planning on making the same exact “Russian” salad to go with my chops but laziness struck and I ended with a version closer to one of the salads served in a famous Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant (Pardo’s Chicken).

I bought my chops from Melanda Park who fortunately have returned to Eveleigh Markets after a long absence. Please don’t go away again, guys.

Pork chops and Pardo’s-style salad
Yield: 4 servings

Pork chops and Pardo's-style salad

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops

Salad

  • 2 small beetroots
  • 2 small carrots
  • a handful of green beans
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 apple
  • lettuce
  • homemade mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Peel and cut beetroot and carrots in thick batons (sort of like potato chips). Steam them separately, let cool down.
  2. Trim and steam green beans, let cool down
  3. Slice apples and avocado.
  4. Tear or chop lettuce.
  5. Heat up your grill and barbecue your pork chops.
  6. Serve the veggies lined up on top of the lettuce with a big dollop of mayo on top, alongside the chops. Season and dig in.

Review: Mero Mero (Kent St, Sydney CBD)

This post will be short but not sweet. I was really excited when I saw there was a new salad place very close to my office. Even more excited when I saw long queues of hungry workers every day at lunchtime.

This place has a similar concept to Salad Works and Sumo Salad offering a variety of signature salads but also the ability to build your own.

They also have sandwiches and a few soups available, including a Peruvian spicy chicken soup that sparked my curiosity.

But it was way too hot for soup and it was a protein fasting day, so I went the salad route. I chose a bed of spinach plus roasted capsicum, roasted pumpkin, grilled eggplant, mushrooms, olives and 2 servings of avocado (extra 50 cents each), with olive oil and lemon juice as dressing. Sebastian ordered a Thai beef salad. Both salads were bland and underwhelming. I also had an okay long black ($3).

Thai beef salad ($12), custom-made salad ($9 + $1 for 2 servings of avocado)

Mero Mero (Kent St)
Tenancy 2, 222-240 Kent St
Sydney NSW 2000
meromero.com.au
On Facebook

Review: The Roast House (Sydney CBD)

I attended a full-day technical training the other day. It was free, and included morning/afternoon tea (tea/coffee plus Arnott’s biscuits and heaps of lollies), and lunch (sandwiches and fruit). Needless to say, I didn’t touch the biscuits or lollies, and was contemplating grabbing several sandwiches, ditching the bread and eating their contents along with some fruit, but realised it would be rude. Instead, I went to the Metcentre food court to see if I could get something decent to eat.

The Roast House grabbed my attention just because of the name. There were some pre-made salads (some including pasta) and the menu listed a variety of sandwiches, including chicken schnitzel.

The Roast House

I had the feeling I wouldn’t have any luck in finding a gluten-free option, but then I saw a sign in the hot food display announcing roast meat + gravy + veggies. I wanted lamb, but because there was only a little left I got some beef as well. I ordered my meal with no gravy, just salt and pepper.

The meal was huge. Veggies included steamed broccoli and carrots, plus a good-sized wedge of roasted pumpkin and a small potato. The meat was not spectacular but good enough, and the portion was big. The only thing missing was fat, next time I’ll get a block of organic butter from Woolies to round things up.

Roast meat & veggies

Roast lamb/beef + vegetables ($10)

The Roast House
Shop MG12, Metcentre
60 Margaret Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9241 7804