Vanessa Pike-Russell
The next time you feel like some scenery, why not head down to Shellharbour, just half an hour south of Wollongong, NSW which is home to a small beachside village where there is so much to see and do. We had just watched the matinee session of the musical 'Hair' put on by the Roo Theatre and felt some indian food with a view sounded a perfect end to a very stimulating day.

The first course was Tandoori Chicken with butter naan $10.90 (half)
Tandoori Junction: Tandoori chicken by you.

The meat melted in the mouth and the marinade was spicy and full of flavour. We loved the dipping sauces and thought it was great value.
Tandoori Junction, Shellharbour: Garlic Naan
Tandoori Chicken $10.90

The second course was the restaurant's speciality, the 'Junction Platter' which was a combination of entrees which included Seekh Kebab, Fish Tikka, Chicken Tikka, and Onion Bhaji. Again the dipping sauces were a great accompaniment and there was much moaning of contentment from everyone, especially with regard to the Fish Tikka which was absolutely delicious.

Tandoori Junction: Junction platter by you.

Junction platter $16.90

Sauces platter was a wonderful surprise. The mixed pickles tasted liked it needed a little more sugar, leaning towards bitter but was very interesting. The chutney was very zingy, with ginger and mango which was a firm favourite. The cooling cucumber raita has always been something I look forward to.

A sample of the menu

Tandoori Junction, Shellharbour Village by you.

Tandoori Junction
3/13 Addison Street, Shellharbour NSW 2528

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Vanessa Pike-Russell

Lamb with rissoto

battered king prawns

Roast Lamb with asparagus, beans and mashed potato
Lamb roast with beans, asparagus and creamed potatoes with a garnish of seaweed salad and tomatoes

Children's menu: Chicken nuggets with chips, fruit and icecream for dessert
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Vanessa Pike-Russell
To celebrate our move to the house we bought we had a housewarming and invited some friends and family to a very morrocan lunch of lamb tagine with couscous, whilst the kids had chicken schnitzel burgers.

I am relatively new to tagines, having heard rave reviews for cooking with tagines (also known as tajine - a ceramic pot with dome lid and hole in lid for steam to escape) and the food named after the pot it is traditionally cooked within. Pictured on the left is Stan, an expert cook with an interest in Middle Eastern cuisine.

I decided to buy one online from when purchasing a pressure cooker when our antique one needed to be replaced.

When choosing the tagine style we went for a 35cm cooking tagine with a tribal design that makes a wonderful display when placed on the table upon a trivet or wooden board. The guests at our housewarming were most impressed with the smells as it was cooking and the final result. So impressed I wasn't able to capture some images of the presentation, which included the traditional garnish of an egg on top of the lamb, with a side serving of couscous.

I have added an excerpt from a website devoted to morrocan food, Maroque in case there are other foodies who would like to know more about tagines and how to use them. Enjoy!


What is a tagine?

Tagine is the Moroccan word that refers to both the unique glazed earthenware vessel with a distinctive conical lid and also the food prepared in it.

Traditionally used by nomads as portable ovens over charcoal braziers for making stews, usually containing meat, the tagine is used for both cooking and serving, but care should be taken to protect your table when using the tagine as a serving dish as the base will be very hot.

Cooking principles

The conical shaped lid helps preserves moisture in the food as the steam condenses on the inside of the lid. The shape of the lid also creates circulation within the dish, infusing the food with spices and flavours.

The low indirect heat produces a rich, aromatic flavour as the food slowly simmers for hours and the resulting meat becomes meltingly tender.

Most tagines involve slow simmering of less-expensive meats. Very few Moroccan tagine recipes require initial browning, making them ideal to cook in the oven.

Types of tagine

Tagines come in two types those that can be used for serving only and those used for cooking. We have an extensive selection of serving and cooking tagines.

Serving tagines

These Moroccan tagines are often highly coloured and patterned, but are not suitable for cooking and are not dishwasher safe.

Cooking tagines

Traditional Moroccan tagines: These are made in Morocco of glazed terracotta and ideally require seasoning before use. They can be used in the oven and over a low gas flame preferably with a heat diffuser. These are not dishwasher safe, please wash by hand in warm soapy water.

Other cooking tagines: We have a selection of ceramic tagines on the site in variety of colours and patterns. These are fully glazed and do not require seasoning before first use. They can be used in the oven but not on the hob, and are dishwasher safe.

Seasoning your tagine for first use

This is not essential but will remove any earthenware 'taste' and strengthen your tagine.

1. The new tagine needs to be submerged in water for at least 1 hour.

2. Rub the inside of the base and lid with olive oil.

3. Put in a cold oven and set temperature to 150C (gas mark 2) and leave for 2 hours.

4. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

5. When completely cool, wash in warm soapy water and dry with a clean cloth.

6. Your tagine is now ready to use.

(Source: Maroque - Use and care for a tagine, url:

Recipes and more information at the website given above. Other links can be found below

  1. Under pressure - to purchase your tagine
  2. Maroque - tagine use and care
  3. - Recipes and information
  4. Egullet - Moroccan tagine cooking
  5. Recipes4us - Tagine recipes
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Vanessa Pike-Russell

chicken schnitzel from Warilla Sporties, originally uploaded by Vanessa Pike-Russell.

Having lived in Wollongong (Keiraville and Gwynneville) since 2002, I have recently moved back to Lake Illawarra and have enjoyed revisiting restaurants, bistros and cafes from my 'old stomping grounds'. One of my favourite eating places is Warilla Sporties bistro 'Rip Tide' that has some amazing quality meals at fantastic prices.

Wednesday and Thursday Lunch

$4.50 various meals

Thursday Night


Porter House Steak, Chicken Breast or King Prawn Skewers.
FREE Ice Cream with every Kids Meal Purchase.
Friday Night
$7 steak and $6 snitzel night. Kids eat out for $2 with each paying adult

Saturday Night

2 course steak and seafood $17.50

Garlic Prawns ($7.50)

Grilled Perch

Warilla Sporties Bistro menu - taken with my N95 phone

Warilla Sporties Bistro
54 McGregor Avenue, Barrack Heights NSW 2528
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Steak with vegetables

Ceasar Salad

Ribs with salad

Moules Marinere

Mussells marinere from Imagination Restaurant, Wiseman Park Wollongong City Bowls Club

Imagine Restaurant & Function Centre
Cnr Gipps & Foleys Rds Gwynneville NSW 2500
ph: (02) 4229 7059

Photos taken with nokia95 mobile phone

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Degustation plate (dark) ($17.50)
The ultimate lindt cafe sample plate including St. Moritz cake, chocolate truffle, nut slab, delice and lindt chocolate icecream

Lindt Cafe, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour
NSW 2000 Australia

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Lobster balls with prawn meat on sugar cane sticks - Sydney Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park - part of Good Food Month

Sydney Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park - part of Good Food Month

Thai green curry mussells, Bungalo 8

Sydney Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park - part of Good Food Month
Soft-Shell Crab

Sydney Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park - part of Good Food Month
Prawn meat on sugar cane

Prawns on a stick with satay sauce - Sydney's Good Food Month - Night Noodle Markets
king prawn skewers with satay sauce

Char grilled baby octupus at Sydney's Good Food Month - Night Noodle Markets
char grilled baby octupus with salad

after five visits to Bungalo 8 they finally had some oysters. Yay!

Bungalo 8 oysters at Sydney Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park - part of Good Food Month
oysters with asian sauce topping

Sydney's Good Food Month - Night Noodle Markets

Sydney Noodle Markets, Hyde Park every October is not to be missed!

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Vanessa Pike-Russell

Tasting plate consisting of baked cauliflower custard with parmesan crisp, pressed braised pork cheek with apple chutney, pan fried dory fillet with confit cherry tomato and aubergine caviar and thai style duck salad wiith seared scallop and palm sugar dressing. ($35 including a glass of Brown Brothers wine, James Squire ale or mineral water)

essence restaurant, darling harbour, sydney nsw 2500 (seared scallop on thai duck salad)

First we sampled the thai-style duck salad with seared scallop. An amazing blend of flavours, with the duck salad's thai spices contrasting the gentle flavour of the scallop which was cooked to perfection.

Next was the pan fried dory fillet - sweet and succulent, melting in the mouth with a light buttery taste, causing everyone at our table to moan with happiness. So much flavour within the aubergine caviar which was enhanced by the fresh, sweet flavours of the tomato.

After that, A hit with the males at our table was the braised pork cheek with apple chutney. The crackle was crispy with the meat succulent, complemented by the sweet sauce.

The last portion of the sample platter was a still-warm baked cauliflower custard with parmesan crisp. All but one of the custards was perfectly made, with one person being disappointed that the custard had separated a little - causing a pool of milky water at the bottom of the cup. The flavours were gentle and soothing with the Parmesan crisp not adequate for dipping into the cup but a tasty accompaniment nonetheless.

essence restaurant, darling harbour, sydney nsw 2500 (pan fried dory)

braised pork cheek with apple chutney (braised pork cheek with apple chutney)

baked cauliflower custard with parmesan crisp (baked cauliflower custard with parmesan crisp)

We followed the sample platter with a shared plate of goats cheese tart ($16 for 4 pieces).

I have to say that it was my favourite part of the lunch - and that is an amazing statement since I absolutely loved the scallop and dory portions of the meal. The goats cheese melted in your mouth, complemented by the pastry which was warm and flaky, the freshness of the rocket balanced out the flavours. Utterly brilliant. By the time we had enjoyed the last bite we were already planning on returning for more.

Essence Restaurant
11 Lime Street, King Street Wharf
Sydney NSW 2500

02 92903500

Monday - Friday 12pm - 3pm
Monday - Saturday 6pm until late
Sunday CLOSED Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell
So you're in Amigos Mexican Restaurant and can’t decide what to buy? Try the tapas plate- 4 tijuana toritas, 4 buffalo wings, 4 Monterey prawns, 4 battered mushies (mushrooms), olives, deep fried tortilla chips, guacamole & dipping sauce... Yumm! Enough for four people as an entree or a main meal for one. Costs $24.90
Tapas platter (Buffalo wings, Chicken tenderloin, monterey prawns, guacamole)

Need something to wash it down? Try a midorita

Other alternatives include the Gringos Plate (left) and Oaxaca plate (right)
Amigos Gringo plate- chilli con carne burrito, fiesta chicken, beef flauta, rice, salad, guacamole, sour cream & salsa. $21.90Amigos Oaxaca plate- a chicken enchilada, chilli verde, beef taquito, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, salad & rice. $19.90
Oaxaca plate- a chicken enchilada, chilli verde, beef taquito, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, salad & rice. $19.90
Gringo plate- chilli con carne burrito, fiesta chicken, beef flauta, rice, salad, guacamole, sour cream & salsa. $21.90

There are many tasty meals to choose from.

Amigos was opened in 1973 and is Australia's oldest mexican restaurant.

Amigos Mexican Restaurant

112-116 Keira St

Phone: 02 4229 8181
Fax: 02 4225 8547

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Vanessa Pike-Russell
We revisited Oriental Expression for their Yum Cha since we loved it so much last time.

Meals ordered:

  • Aromatic duck pancakes (plate of aromatic pork with pancakes (4)
  • Garlic king prawns (4 - $5.50)
  • Tempura king prawns (4 - $5.50)
  • BBQ Meat Platter (BBQ Duck and Pork - $12)
  • Vegetarian Tofu with Satay sauce (8 pieces - $5.50)
  • Scallop and vegetable dim sims (4 - $5.50)
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Aromatic Duck pancake was as delicious as it had been on Valentines Day when it was part of Peking Duck banquet.

The garlic king prawns and tempura king were delicious. I would definitely order them again. BBQ Meat platter was amazing value and would make a good starter for a group whilst they make up their mind on what to order. The pork was done in a char sui style and the duck had a delightfully crispy skin and lots of flavour.

The vegetarian tofu was creamy and silky with satay sauce which was used with other yum cha meals as well. We ended on the delicious scallop and vegetable dim sims which we had ordered last time.

A lovely yum cha experience washed down with an Iced Bubble Green Tea Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell

On October 17th, 2006 I celebrated my 35th birthday. It was quite a milestone so I decided to spend my day enjoying Taronga Park Zoo's 90 cent entry for birthday boys and girls (part of their 90th birthday celebrations) and then at night made our way to the Night Noodle Markets in Sydney's Hyde Park. It was a magical experience for me, my first night market but certainly not my last.

If you missed it, there is good news - it is on again this year and, weather and health permitting, I will be there on my birthday to once again celebrate growing older with a party environment that is intoxicating. Thousands of people coming together to sample foods from all over the world, sample beers and wine and appreciate the wonderful City of Sydney. What more could a birthday girl ask for?

Here are some photos from last year's Good Food Month, Night Noodle Markets 06

Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park


Seafood Skewers

Salt and Pepper Calimari

Yum Cha

My favourite of the night was the Japanese Okonomiyaki from Japancake

King Prawn Pancake (okonomiyaki)

King Prawn Pancake (okonomiyaki) with Oysters

Oysters au Naturale'

Yum Cha plate $18 @ Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park, Sydney

Hyde Park North
Hyde Park, Sydney

Event dates:
Monday, 8 October 5 - 9pm
Tuesday, 9 October 5 - 9pm
Wednesday, 10 October 5 - 9pm
Thursday, 11 October 5 - 9pm
Friday, 12 October 5 - 9pm
Monday, 15 October 5 - 9pm
Tuesday, 16 October 5 - 9pm
Wednesday, 17 October 5 - 9pm
Thursday, 18 October 5 - 9pm
Friday, 19 October 5 - 9pm Tweet This

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