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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Good Food Month: Spring Picnic

As I woke up last Sunday morning, I was mighty relieved to see the sun shining. Perfect weather for the annual Good Food Month Spring Picnic.

Spring Picnic sign

This was the first time I'd headed to the Spring Picnic, and after walking around most of Centennial Park, Saffron and I finally found the elusive Brazillian Fields (a site which doesn't exist on any of the park's onsite maps, please note, GFM organisers!).

We were there at 11.00am as the event started, which gave us plenty of time (and space!) to see the goodies on offer.

After our tantalising mouthfuls of green papaya salad at the Night Noodle Markets last Thursday, the Spice I Am stall immediately caught our attention.

Pounding green papaya salad

We couldn't resist the allure of freshly pounded green papaya salad and the friendly folk were terribly gracious about our incessant camera-clicking.

Close-up of pounding green papaya salad
Pounding shredded green papaya with dried shrimp,
garlic, chilli, beans, soy and palm sugar

Dried shrimp
Dried shrimp

Friendly I Am at Spice I Am

With our salads in hand, we explored the rest of the stalls...

Live eels
Live eels (the stall was selling smoked eel and mussels)

Pissaladiere from Tabou
Pissaladiere (anchovy and olive pizza) from Tabou.
This looked really really good.

Cooking at Qmin
Cooking parathas at Qmin

Sausage curtain at Eumundi Smokehouse
Curtain of smallgoods at Eumundi Smokehouse

Breads at the Beb Patisserie stall
Breads from the delightful Beb Patisserie

We shared a lunch (double the variety) which included:

Piadina with ricotta, rocket and walnuts
Piadina (a traditional Italian bread) filled with
ricotta, rocket and walnuts $8.00

The piadina was rolled out and filled before being cooked both sides on a grill. I found the bread a little doughy but the ricotta, rocket and walnut combo was pretty de-lish.

Paratha with lamb mince and raita
Paratha filled with lamb mince
and served with raita $5.00

Tasty and delicious. Shame that the gusty wind meant we lost a quarter of this!

Green papaya salad with fried chicken
Green papaya salad with fried chicken $9.00

Yum! I am in love with green papaya salad! This was particularly zingy without the sogginess of pre-prepared salads. I picked up a yellow bean and popped it into my mouth and realised all too late that it was a chilli--the second hottest in the world, the friendly Spice I Am chef had boasted.

On Fire I Am! As I felt my throat begin to prickle, I had to mentally reassure myself that no, my throat was not swelling up, my lungs would not lose access to fresh air, and no, I was not going to die that very minute.

Deep breaths, arms flailing, eyes widened as I repeated my mantra over and over again. Water, raita and eventually peanuts helped the pain pass. The tongue was still on fire but thankfully the throat had stopped its panic attack.

The salad was hot though. I thought I could handle a fair bit of heat, but apparently not. I still love the stuff.

Spring Picnic stalls and crowds

By 1.00pm the place was overflowing with happy picnic-ers. Kids, couples, families, foodies... everyone was here soaking up the sun on a rug with a bottle of wine.

There was talks and demonstrations happening on-stage...

Matthew Kemp with Joanna Savill
Matthew Kemp (from Restaurant Balzac) with Joanna Savill

but the call for sugar was much stronger.

Jam donut
Jam donut $1.20

Saffron took much delight in this jam donut of perfection. Despite her attempts to convert me, I remain unswayed by the allure of the jam donut. I don't like any filled donut. Pineapple glazed remain my only donut weakness. I'm calorifically grateful I am able to resist at least one type of sugary treat.

Asia's Zuccherati from Formagi Ocello
Zuccherati cannoli from Formagi Ocello $4.00

This on the other hand, was most delightful. I've been guilty of staring at these things every time I head to Pyrmont Growers Market. I've always resisted but not today.

And boy was it good. The cannoli was like a sugared donut but much lighter and not oily at all. The light ricotta filling had a hint of alcohol (we're presuming marsala) and after divvying up the thing into two, it was gobbled down in a thrice.

Asia's Own ice cream flavours
Ice cream flavours from Asia's Own

After sitting around for another hour (and bumping into Pinkcocoa and Shin-Chan and comparing notes) we had a need for an ice cream conclusion.

Banana fritter
Banana fritter $1.50

Somehow a banana fritter leapt into our ice cream purchase. The fritter was Filipino-style, rolled in spring roll pastry and deep-fried, rather than coated in a thick batter.

Jackfruit and chai ice creams
Nangkasuy (jackfruit and cashew ice cream) and
vanilla chai tea ice cream with pistachio $3.50

I had the jackfruit ice cream which was delicious. Small bits of jackfruit and cashew were interspersed throughout, providing refreshment for the parched palate. Of course a scoop of chai ice cream had to be sampled for research purposes. The chai was warm and comforting, but I was happy with my choice which suited me better in the hot summery sun.

We heard Joanna apologising later that some of the stalls were running out of food--the queues were still horrendous at 3pm.

I picked up an orange syrup semolina cake from Beb on our way home--it was dense and citrusy, and demolished with corresponding appreciation.

Fab day out, even though I did get sunburnt. A small price to pay for a happy belly and a fond memory of a damn good papaya salad.

Jackfruit Happy picnic-ers
The Spring Picnic is held annually as part of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month.

This year's Spring Picnic was held on Sunday 9 October in the Brazillian Fields at Centennial Park.

Related GrabYourFork posts:
GFM 2007: Sugar Hit #2 at the Sofitel Wentworth
GFM 2007: Sugar Hit #1 at the InterContinental Sydney

GFM 2006: Good Living Growers' Markets
GFM 2006: Hats Off dinner at Becasse
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 3
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 2
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 1
GFM 2006: Spring Picnic
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #4 at the Sofitel Wentworth
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #3 at the Intercontinental Sydney
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #2 at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #1 at the Park Hyatt Sydney
GFM 2006: Sydney Food & Wine Fair

GFM 2005: Good Living Growers' Markets
GFM 2005: Night Noodle Markets
GFM 2005: Spring Picnic
GFM 2005: Sydney Farmers' Market
GFM 2005: Sydney Food & Wine Fair

GFM 2004: Twilight Trail: Cocktails and Sugar Hits
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 10/11/2005 11:59:00 pm


  • At 10/12/2005 8:42 am, Blogger Kelly said…

    What a great day out! Good Food Month sounds fantastic!

  • At 10/12/2005 9:17 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Looks like you had a great day. The cannoli looks divine. Yes, I too perve on them each time I go to the markets but was worried that it was oily.

    The orange syrup semolina cake was very moorish. I found it tasted better after a little refrigeration.

  • At 10/12/2005 10:15 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So yummy..! so envy..!! so much "sighing".. !

  • At 10/12/2005 11:25 am, Blogger tytty said…

    i didn't know the banana fritter was Filipino-style, thought they were just being lazy! .. thanks for the enlightenment, hee.

    hey, were you in a sleeveless black & white top? i remembered a long haired girl who sat for a while to take a pic of kemp at the cooking demo

  • At 10/12/2005 2:43 pm, Blogger ragingyoghurt said…

    hello! i am envious of your excursion, and amazed that the two of you ate all that!

    there's a place in balmain that sells a similar canoli, but the filling is ricotta and mascarpone. i prefer the other, crisp kind of shell, but that filling... i could eat spoonfuls of it straight out of a bowl.

    i suppose it resembles exactly the stuff clogging up my arteries as i type. heh.

  • At 10/12/2005 8:43 pm, Blogger FooDcrazEE said…

    guess Malaysia its too hot for this type of gathering. lovely food from all over. Great blog

  • At 10/13/2005 6:00 am, Blogger tytty said…

    actually it was because i was sitting right behind ya! *small world* so, if it was really you, i've no idea how you look like on the front. hmm, I thought sleeveless though .. were you right in front on the first bench on the left side facing the stage?

    Mark got Formagi Ocello's Cannoli once from Pyrmont (we succumb to temptation most of the time). Looking at it, you would think it's so heavy but really is quite light and satisfying in a subtle melt-in-your-mouth kind of way.

    ok, i'll shuddup now, this comment is long enough :-D

  • At 10/13/2005 6:41 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nicely done!

    I was there too and had a blast! And wasn't the cannoli fantastic? That was the highlight of my day!!!


  • At 10/14/2005 8:56 am, Blogger boo_licious said…

    Great stuff! Sounds like a foodie's paradise day out and in wonderful weather too.


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