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Category: Drinks

This Australian Food Festival is Changing the Cooking World Thumbnail
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The Ballina food and wine festival is a unique and interesting food event displaying everything that makes great cuisine, its large following has only grown over every year the event is held. Its popularity has grown so much the festival now features two separate events in two amazing locations, held in the summer months you can expect to enjoy great food and wine under the beaming sun with like-minded food enthusiasts. The range of local produce that is available to sample and purchase is unlike any other event in the region, as well as a large array of produce native to Australia, Ballina also hosts food retailers from all over the world so there will definitely be something new for you to try.

 

Location

Set in the modern, picturesque location of the Ballina Jockey club this food festival has a much more unique atmosphere than any other event out there. There is a sense of elegance around the festival with the club hosting a whole range of other prestigious events throughout the year. With long stretches of colorful and well-maintained gardens, this event is the perfect place to find a delicious new dish to sample, pair it with a glass of accompanying wine, and just relax. Where other events can overwhelm its visitors with a busy and sometimes hectic atmosphere, Ballina takes a more relaxed approach to how it is hosted.

 

Charity Support

As well as providing amazing food and wine, the Ballina festival works with a different charity organization every year, the fact that this event works so hard to provide its loyal visitors with a great festival whilst helping to raise money for charity really is commendable. As previously mentioned the Ballina also hosts a second event, the after-hours gala is hosted in order to show off a classier dining experience with live music and entertainment. As if the main festival wasn’t enough the dinner attracts an elegant clientele, with extra charity shows and a raffle with some pretty juicy prizes on offer, a large portion of the profits that are made also go towards charity.

 

Produce

The main focus of any food festival would have to be the food they offer, at Ballina there is no shortage of world cuisines for you to try. Below are just some of the types of food that are offered at this amazing event.

 

  • Mexican street food
  • Indian cuisine
  • Local Australian produce
  • Flavored Cheeses
  • Customizable Chinese noodle boxes
  • Shawarma
  • Artisan baked goods
  • Deli counter
  • Organic fruit and veg

 

That is just the tip of the iceberg and the best thing is they all offer a diverse range of foods at very reasonable prices, Ballina is very supportive of its local Australian businesses and has been inviting smaller retailers such as My Alter Ego Catering Brisbane and Australian Catering Services to come and display what great dishes they have come up with.

 

If you are someone who enjoys good food and good wine then the Ballina festival is the one for you, not only will you find a range of delicious foods but you will be morally satisfied through the fact that the event is supporting local businesses whilst helping those in need through its charity work. The food festival is really paving the way to helping smaller food retailers in getting a solid footing on the market.

 

The food industry can be very competitive and getting a strong reputation can take a lot of time, by providing opportunities to smaller businesses Ballina is contributing to the success of small businesses around the globe and paving the way for the mainstream names in the future of the food industry. The cooking world is constantly changing, from trends in what food is popular and the innovative methods in how different meals are created, Ballina food and wine showcase it all and more!

 

If you find yourself lucky enough to attend this prestigious event then really relish in the opportunity to try some new cuisines, you may not find some of the produce anywhere else so take advantage of the opportunity to try something new, support small businesses and contribute to a very noble cause.

How to Get Started in the Field of Food Review Thumbnail
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Are you someone that absolutely adores food? Not just because you enjoy eating, but because you appreciate the workmanship that goes into taking raw ingredients and making a delicious dish. If you’re someone with a real passion for food then you may be looking for a way to express your passion, without heading into the kitchen and cooking yourself. Being a food reviewer may be the best solution for you as it gives you a chance to improve and share your knowledge of food to an audience of people who want to know what you think. Understandably it can be difficult to know where to start as becoming a food reviewer isn’t exactly an easy process and there is very little promotion of it when you’re looking into what jobs you want to do in the future at an educational level. Even researching the process yourself can understandably be a confusing process and may put you off the idea altogether. But fear not, here are our tips on the right way to get started in the field of food review.

 

Planning

The first thing that you should do is outline how you are going to judge all of the dishes and restaurants that you decide to review. When it comes to food reviews it is important that you keep a consistent outline so that your reviews will be fair and equal for every place that you review. This should be done before you even start to publish any reviews as you want to keep your page as consistent as possible. Make a list of what you think is important when it comes to your food, such as presentation or quality of ingredients. Not only will this allow you to keep a consistent theme going, but it will also make writing your reviews a lot easier as you will have points to follow that will allow you to keep your writing concise and thus improve the quality of the reviews that you are releasing into the public.

 

Variety

You should also visit several different establishments before you even begin to publish any of your work and get a good idea of what to expect from a restaurant that sells quality food. Also know that your reviews extend to more than just the quality of the food, when reviewing a restaurant you should also look at what else it has to offer. This means how the staff work, what the atmosphere is like, and the attention that they put into all of the little details. That even extends to the water that they serve, you are going to be able to tell the difference between some plain old tap water and some water that has gone through an Alkaline ionized water purifier,  you should really visit several places and make notes of these little differences in order to make your reviews stand out from others of its kind. Food reviewing isn’t exactly a popular market and so you need a unique selling point for your reviews to be successful, so make sure you do all of the necessary research in order to gauge what other reviewers are doing in order to be successful.

 

Diving In

Once you feel as though you have everything set up and you’re ready to delve into the world of reviews, you may find yourself stuck on something else, where do you publish your reviews? Setting up a website can be a long and strenuous process. First of all, you need to purchase a domain to run your review website on, which can be a process in itself. Due to the difficulties that can come with setting up your own website, a lot of people choose to use previously made sites as that is a lot more straightforward. One of the most popular options that people use is WordPress, using WordPress is an extremely straightforward process and has a lot of free options. WordPress is also very easy for your potential audience to access. However, there are some aspects of WordPress that you have to pay for and that can be off-putting to some extent. Because of this a lot of people that are just starting out choose to use social media as a platform to share their reviews. This is completely free and everyone uses social media so you are more likely to get attention and grow in popularity a lot faster when using social media. Start on somewhere like Facebook, where there are a lot of users that are more likely to share your content and so get it seen by more people.

 

Most of all it is important to stay patient, your reviews aren’t going to be shared about everywhere when you first start and so you shouldn’t take this as a sign of failure, keep going and understand that this takes time.

Great Dishes from World Cup Competing Countires Thumbnail
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The World Cup is a great event for numerous reasons, as it brings the world together to celebrate and watch the games, with each country rooting for their own team to win and partying together when they do. The tourism that it brings to the host country is undeniably huge and extremely beneficial for everyone involved. Nothing beats sitting in your local pub or bar, the atmosphere tense as everyone watches on the edge of their seats to see which team will score the winning shot, the cheers and shouts when your team scores or the shared disappointment when the opposite happens. Whilst all of these things are one benefit of the World Cup, one of the greatest things to come out of the event is the increased understanding of other countries’ cultures, as people are exposed to new music, new languages and perhaps important if you’re a food connoisseur – new food. Regardless of whether you’re watching the World Cup or just local matches from around the world, something that can easily be done now that  you can watch football online, you are likely to want to learn about these new cultures that you are exposed to. If that’s the case, then here is a list of just a few of the great dishes that can be found locally in the competing countries of the World Cup.

 

France – the winners of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, France is famous for its usually unique cuisine and dishes. One of their most famous dishes, that you are likely to have heard of is Coq au vin, and whilst you may have heard of it before, now might be the perfect time to look up a recipe and give it a try. Easy to make and with delicious flavors, you’ll be happy that you decided to explore this part of a different culture.

Croatia – the runners up of the previous World Cup, Croatia is a country whose culture and famous dishes are slightly less famous and notable, however that does not mean that they don’t have any dishes worthy enough to try. Black risotto, a dish know locally as crni rižot, is made using cuttlefish or squid, whichever you prefer and then an assortment of other ingredients that are easily found online. If you’re a fan of seafood then this is the perfect dish for you, plus it’s fun to eat as it leaves your mouth and teeth black.

Belgium – whilst Belgium didn’t make it to the finals for the World Cup, their huge success in the competition unsurprisingly caught a lot of people’s interest. If you’re one of these people and you’re looking for a delicious dish to try, look no further. One dish you could try is Stoemp, a dish that will make you never want to eat mashed potatoes again due to its superiority to the classic dish. A creamy mix of mash potatoes and a list of delicious vegetables that will leave your mouth watering, this one is perfect with a few sausages.

Russia – the host country of the 2018 World Cup, tourists flocked to each of the host cities, experiencing an entirely different culture that they were then likely to have brought back to their family and friends back home. Taking a step away from the main courses, one of Russia’s greatest dishes is one that you can have savory or sweet – Bliny is a Russian type of pancakes or what we call crepes. They are often rolled or folded with whatever filling you chose in the middle, whether that’s honey, jam or mushrooms, and salmon.

Sweden – this is a country that is hugely popular and well-known for just how nice it is, in a multitude of different categories. The people are nice, the cities are beautiful, the streets are clean, and the food is delicious. One of their most interesting dishes is the Smörgåstårta, or sandwich cake, which is self-explanatory as it is just a sandwich that looks lie a cake. Multi-layered and filled with all your favorite sandwich ingredients, like sliced meats, smoked salmon, lettuce and mayonnaise, all of which you can pick and choose or remove. This is definitely an option to try if you’re ever in the country.

5 Drinking Games For Your Next Party Thumbnail
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Drinking games are a great way to get your party started. Encouraging high levels of drinking culture in adolescence drinking games have been around for many years.  Many only require one thing and that’s booze. If not it will be household related items accessible to almost everyone. It’s a cheap and easy. Typically partaken by students, dinner party guests and cool kids drinking games are for everyone over 18. The dark side of drinking games is the stepping stone into alcoholism. It can be dangerous, but that encourages the fun. The chance you could end up paralytic on the floor or nicely buzzed. Chances are you will end up on the floor but at least you will have fun doing it.

 

1 – Flip cup

You will need: a cup, alcohol, a table, friends.

A fun favorite is flip cup, a drinking game typically using an American red solo cup.

To participate:

  • get 2+ people and split into teams.
  • Set up a row of cups on the edge of the table for each team, fill will enough alcohol to shot.
  • As you race each other each member on the team must drink, successfully flip the cups a full 360 and land face down on the table.
  • The fastest team wins and the losers must drink again.

The pressure created from the alcohol fueled team game makes drinks go down much faster. It’s a quick way to get drunk, perfect for starting a party or before going out clubbing.

 

2 – Beer pong

You will need: cups, beer, a ping pong ball, a table

Classic beer pong need 2 players at a set time.

To participate:

  • Set up the cups in a triangle, 4 cups at the back moving upwards to 1 cup, similar to snooker ball formation. On opposite sides of the table.
  • Fill the cups with beer and stand behind them.
  • The aim is to bounce the ping pong ball across the table into one of the cups.
  • If a ball lands in your opponent’s cups, your opponent must drink it.
  • Once drunk the cup is removed, if several are removed reformat the cups into a smaller triangle
  • The winner removes all cups and the opponent must drink the winners remaining beer.

The aim of beer pong is to make your opponent drink more beer resulting in less accurate throws. It’s easy to learn and can be played by anyone with arms. Even though the name of the game is beer pong you can easily replace the beer with a substitute alcohol that is more palatable.

 

3 – Drunk Jenga

you will need: Jenga, alcohol, a pen

This is a more creative drinking game, involving tailored challenges created by yourself and your friends.

To participate:

  • Take a regular Jenga set and on each piece write a challenge or dare.
  • Build up the set
  • Each participant must remove a block from the tower and place it on the top of the pile using one hand
  • Each block removed the challenge or dare must be played
  • If the tower falls you finish your drink, pick up two blocks and complete the challenges

 

4 – Never have I ever

You will need: only alcohol and friends to play the never have I ever drinking game.

This is a more communicative drinking game for you and your mates.

To participate:

  • Either using prompts or your own statements, say your statements to the group and drink depending on your answer
  • For example, ‘never have I ever eaten something from the floor’ if you have, you take a drink!

The more embarrassing statements make good ice breakers at a party, gathering, dinner party or pre-drinks. It’s a quick and easy way to get to know your friends and acquaintances.

 

5 – most likely

you will need: drinks and friends

best played with friends and people you know as it tests the mutual knowledge of people’s personalities

To participate:

  • A group of you sit in a circle and each person takes turns to ask, ‘most likely’ questions
  • For example, ‘most likely to commit a crime’ as a group you point to the selected person who is most likely to.
  • The person with the majority votes drinks as many times as the votes they received.

This is a great was to bond with your friends and expose people.

 

 

Stephanie’s First Mixology Lesson – by Stephanie Yuen Thumbnail
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For us Chinese, the lunar new year is just around the corner! I guess it’s time to review the past year and make some new resolutions to embrace 2011.

Resolutions? Mine are typical: Eat healthy, exercise more, relax, live well, have fun!  Shall I say, at least 50% of the above can be achieved.

2010 review? Proud to say it was a great year for me!  I was smart enough to make some right decisions, said ‘no, thank you’ when needed to, had lots of great eats, spent valuable times with real friends, started a bilingual blog and embarked on my ‘Vancouver Cooks Asian’ cookbook project.

Oh, I also had my first mixology lesson, at Yew Restaurant & Bar inside Four Seasons Hotel!  Maybe it’s no big deal to many of you, but for someone like me who nods off after sipping only 1 oz. of  cocktail; that was my milestone!

The afternoon was spent in two parts: Learn how to make ‘Molecular Mango Ravioli’ in the shape of a sphere from Pastry Chef Wayne Kozinko and had a blast.  Thanks to Kozinko, who was smart and nice enough to come up with an easy-to-manage recipe so no one made a fool of oneself but had fun and laughter all the way.

The mixology lesson, on the other hand, didn’t go quite as easy.  The mixing part, done mostly by bartender Justin Taylor, was a piece of cake.

It’s the shaking part that required too much ‘fitness’ and even some ‘kungfu’ moves, resulting mostly in panting and sore arms.  But watching Justin showcasing the process of making a delicious drink from scratch as he explained how each element, each flavour and each step bind in together, was priceless.  I would never be able to go behind the bar and start shaking and mixing, but I now appreciate the arts and science behind each carefully measured and mastered cocktail!

For those who would like to play bartender while celebrating Lunar New Year, here is the recipe of this drink I totally indulged in that afternoon.

Maple Brule


Ingredients:


2 oz Rye Whisky
1oz lemon juice
1oz apple uice
1/2 oz maple syrup
3/4 oz pasteurized eggwhites

Garnish:
cinnamon sugar

Method:

Mix all ingredients together in cocktail shaker
Add ice and shake vigorously until foamy
Pour slowly into a coupe glass
There will be a thick layer of foam on top
Dust eggswhites with cinnamon sugar
With a small blow torch, brule the cinnamon sugar until a crisp sugar crust forms.