Vanessa Pike-Russell 

Watching tonight's Junior Masterchef 'Mystery Box Challenge' was really enjoyable. One of the ingredients was beetroot. One of my all-time favourite vegetables. There is a photo somewhere of me eating beetroot slices by a waterfall-fed river near Eden in the Eurobodalla region as a five year old. It is one of the things I love to cook with and eat and surprise people at how versatile this root vegetable can be.

One of my favourite recipes that features beetroot is Borscht. Something that has gone out of fashion but in the 70s was THE dinner party favourite amongst my Mother and her friends. I remember the first I tasted this recipe - served cold. It was quite a taste sensation for an eight year old who had always assumed soups would be hot, or at least warm. Get out your 70s cookbooks (or google for a recipe) and give it a try yourself. Perfect for these balmy spring nights and a great appetiser.

If your children hate beetroot give them a fresh view on it with these delicious Beetroot chips. If you are having trouble convincing them to give them a try offer a sweet chilli dipping sauce made with Greek Yoghurt. Trust me - they will love it!

For a gourmand try these Crumbed Mushrooms with Roasted beetroot cubes and avocado salad that I enjoyed at the Ocean Beach Hotel and re-acquainted me with my love of beetroot. The smokey flavour from roasting helped tease out the sweetness and crispy texture had beetroot haters salivating.

Roast Beetroot, Crumbed Mushrooms and Avocado Salad


3 eggs
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (or gluten free rice crumbs)
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
salt & ground black pepper
400g medium button mushrooms, stems trimmed
olive oil, for deep frying
4 beetroots, cubed
1 avocado, seeded and sliced thinly
150g rocket or baby spinach leaves (or other salad leaf)
balsamic vinegar

Roasted Beetroot Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine the cubed beets, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 tablespoon vinegar, salt and pepper.
2. Cubes should now be placed on baking paper, arranged in a single layer so that they cook evenly.  Cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the edges have turned golden and the beetroot is tender.  Arrange in a circle around the crumbed mushroom and avocado salad as a garnish.

Crumbed Mushroom Method:

1. Whisk eggs until well combined in a shallow dish. Set aside.
2. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, chives,  salt and pepper in a separate shallow dish.
3. Dip mushrooms one at a time in the egg mix,  then coat in the breadcrumb and
cheese mixture, pressing the breadcrumbs on to secure. Repeat with
remaining mushrooms, egg and breadcrumb mixture.
3. In a hot oil, deep-fry the mushrooms, a few at a time, until crumbs are golden. Lower onto paper towel to drain away excess oil and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you repeat with the rest of the mushrooms.

Avocado Salad Method:
In a large bowl combine baby spinach, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and top with crumbed mushrooms and garnish with beetroot Tweet This
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Vanessa Pike-Russell 

Pack a picnic rug and come along to Flagstaff Hill on the second Friday of the month during daylight savings, kicking off Friday, 8 October at 5.30pm for Wollongong City Council’s new Twilight Food of the World Markets.

The twilight food markets offer a range of international cuisines for you to sample, including Turkish, Indian, Latin American and Dutch. The evening markets will be held every second Friday of every month between October 2010 to March 2011. Starting from 5.30pm and finishing at 9.30pm.

Photo: By Black Diamond Images,1Mx5skwOScThHJOGEshgYf8B4EekQIPTDj16jUZk_jPq7SMpaReG9NJU1QYEjHjeY8y3UapoOuW1mjxjeAIqjVwKAbl8HKY03X3J405Iuw-zVo0B8WYhRDJR5r2YbiPMLABg0_5B3THuW1DKf5SJ68JI

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Vanessa Pike-Russell Photography

Duck with special rice from Jasmine Restaurant, Warilla:Vanessa Pike-Russell

It was my birthday on October 17th and my husband decided to treat me to dinner at the Jasmine Restaurant in Warilla ahead of our birthday celebration at the Sydney Night Noodle Markets the next night. Not wanting to overdo it we decide upon one entrée and one main to share, with rice.

Seated in the recently renovated restaurant in George Street, Warilla we ordered a mixed entrée, a beer and a West Coast Cooler from the drinks menu. I know it is very 80s of me but that was what I used to drink when I was 18 and it always makes me smile and feel like a party.

As we sat perusing the duck section of the menu we spotted 'Duck with Special Sauce - $14.90'.

Intrigued, I asked the friendly waitress what was in the special sauce.

"Chicken, beef and prawn", she replied.

The looks exchanged between myself and my husband mirrored our confusion. When you see 'special sauce' you imagine the ingredients to be... sauce... not two types of meat and seafood. Feeling adventurous we decided to give into our inquisitive natures.
The mixed entrée arrived quickly and with a smile. I loved the crab claw and the moist crab flesh. Hubby loves the prawn toast and together we make quick work of the entrée and dipping sauces.

When the main meal arrived with the perfectly cooked roast duck topped with chicken, beef and prawn we were pleasantly surprised and tried to identify the ingredients of the sauce. The dish was cooked to perfection with the vegetables slightly crunchy, the sauce gentle and flavoursome and combination of duck with the meats and seafood very tasty.

You cannot see the duck in this photo as it is underneath the other layers but we can attest that it was very delicious. We ascertained that there was oyster sauce, sesame oil, perhaps some fish sauce and a hint of lemongrass but to make sure we will go back and sample this dish again. Great value for money and a colourful presentation, served with a smile.

Mixed Entrée - $7.90
Duck with Special Sauce $14.90

Jasmine Restaurant
19 George St, WARILLA,
NSW, 2528
Phone: (02) 4296 1707 Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell
Another Illawarra business discovered via Vanessa from South Coast Imag is Witch's Teas

All our teas are blended using leaves, flowers, peel, berries and roots that have been organically grown and hand picked at La Luna. They are then dried and processed in the Witch’s Kitchen, blended and packaged in a variety of combinations. All our teas are loose leaf tea – no tea bags! – so they need to be served in a pot and poured using a tea strainer, or brewed in a cup or mug using an infuser. For the best tea... (Read more)

Tea Witch’s Kitchen
celestial Green Tea

Prepared in a traditional chinese style for a mild, floral, green tea. When you finish a pot of green tea you can pour more hot water over the leaves for a fresh pot, or continue to add water to the tea pot as you drink the tea. You can usually get a lot of cups from one pot of green tea.
Tea Witch’s Kitchen
celestial Nettle Tea

A bright green, herbaceous tea with a mellow flavour. Soothing and calming.
Tea Witch’s Kitchen
celestial Lemon Tea

A blend of green tea and lemon scented herbs, including lemon grass, Melissa balm, lemon verbena and lemon zest.
Tea Witch’s Kitchen
celestial Lavender Tea

A blend of green tea, English lavender flowers and orange zest yields an intensely fragrant tea.
Aromatic Black Tea Witch’s Kitchen
celestial Aromatic Black Tea

A hand-processed, Chinese-style black tea with a delicate flavour and spicy aroma.
WInter Witch’s Kitchen
celestial Winter Tea

The last harvest of the growing season, these leaves have been wok-fired as part of their processing. The resulting golden-coloured tea has a slightly sweet green tea flavour and a 'toasted' aroma.
Kirsten from Witch's Kitchen
Phone: 0410 289 539
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Vanessa Pike-Russell
One of the great resources you'll find at a Tourist Information Centre is the iMag. A tourism magazine with fun things to see and do, a directory of local businesses and a Whats On calendar of events. Several of my photos have been included in the Imag over the years including a photo taken at wineries in Gerringong and Coolangatta, Shellharbour Village, etc for the South Coast iMag.  Recently I added Vanessa Moss from iMag as a friend on Facebook and South Coast iMag on Twitter and have been keeping up to date with some of the local foodie events and new companies that she has featured. Today the feature was on South Coast Providores and the special foodie day held at Berry today (15th October, 2010).

Vanessa Moss

Vanessa Moss just been at south coast providors in berry- special 'foodie' day with local jams, oysters, bread, mushroom kits, fruit/ve, cheese, teas & more- open till 4pm! All local produce, they are in main street in berry near petrol station, tell em we sent ya!

 Vanessa has uploaded some photos which has made me determined to find out more about the South Coast Providores range. I love tomato relish and dukkah and it is nice to know that it is a local company sourcing with local ingredients.

Founded in 2002  by Carole Ruta and Ian Grey who were frustrated that they could not find a quality conserve.  South Coast Providores are committed to creating the finest quality preserves and conserves made from local produce. They make a range of conserves and preserves including mixed berry conserve, three fruit marmalade, chilli plum sauce and  beetroot relish! (Source: South Coast Providores Facebook Fan Page)
Photos by South Coast iMag

You can find South Coast Providores at the monthly Kiama Blackbeach Markets and other foodie events.

Some research finds a page on Berry's tourism page and their listing: 

South Coast Providores - artisan producers of conserves and condiments:-

Plums/peaches/figs/rhubarb/grapes/strawberries/blackberries/wildlimes/oranges/mandarins/lemons/limes/Clementine’s/pommel’s/macadamia nuts/pecan nuts/walnuts/quince/chestnuts/wild olives/beetroot/cumquats/feijoas/tomatoes.
We are proud to work with local growers with 85% of our produce all sourced within the Shoalhaven region.
All our products are hand cut and hand made in small batches to ensure the integrity of product.
Open 10am – 5pm Thursday to Sunday during winter and extended during spring/summer Also available wholesale

I found a link to an article in about how Carole and Ian's business started. In short they met a need for great conserves and it flourished from there. Read it here

South Coast Providores

Image courtesy of Foodscape Tours

Ian Gray - Carole Ruta
Phone:  0418 690 866   Mobile:  0418 22 3464
78 Queen Street
Berry NSW 2535,6EHzhoZF_nn7DEiQZqjvfCWOPojGFK9UVylkj99lA4mMIYcK2MBrL6ysHa5HAKVLAvuyifpOY1hzq4-dxa2iccYy5sMVCM86dZ9DpRQdLL9dQPv-ByEPcuU

South Coast iMag on Twitter!/southcoastimag

Vanessa from South Coast iMag on Facebook

Article: How Carole was Jarred into Action

Berry listing for South Coast Providores 

Foodscape Tours Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell
Last week I was shopping at Stocklands Shellharbour and feeling peckish. I stopped at Gloria Jeans and spotted their gluten-free friands made with almond meal. The last time I had enjoyed a friand was from Out For Lunch at the University of Wollongong. It is great to see more cafes and retail outlets offering gluten-free options!

Do you know of a cafe or restaurant that offers gluten-free options? Please let me know.

Regards, Vanessa

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This week your favourite fresh food stores have some great specials to help you stretch your dollar further! Plus, your last chance to win a week's worth of goceries worth $150.

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When you spend $5 or more
At Bakers Delight

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Plus a FREE treat from McDonald's!

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Vanessa Pike-Russell

The Open Hearth became a Hotel in 1949 and in the 1960s
sold more beer than any other country hotel in NSW.

 A welcome addition has been the Flames Bistro and Pizza Bar.

When I travel into Warrawong Westfields and nearby European Delicatessens & Grocery stores I often visit Flames for lunch or a dinner. A nice way to unwind after visiting the busy shopping centres and stores.

Flames Bistro Welcomes our New Chef, Pizza Pete formerly of the famous Italian Bar Reggio in Sydney. We pride ourselves on fresh food cooked to order. We also provide excellent service, a great new menu and a comfortable place to enjoy your time with friends and family. Great Blackboard Specials Daily @ Flames Bistro.

Flames Bistro & Famous Pizza Bar
Take Away Pizza & Pasta Menu
Group Bookings Welcome

Current Menu last updated 30th August 2010 

Tuesday Night Special
Any Classic Pizza served with a glass of wine or middy of beer $16.00
Wednesday Night Special
 T-Bone with middy of beer or glass of wine $10.00

Thursday Night Special
Any Classic Pizza served with middy of beer or glass of wine $16.00

Flames Pizza Entrees

The Lot Garlic, Chilli, Oregano, Olive Oil, Fresh Sliced Tomato &  Basil $8.00

Bruschetta Plain Pizza dough, Garlic, Chilli, Oregano, Olive Oil $6.00
Garlic & Cheese Mozzarella, Oregano & Garlic $10.00
Flames Classic House Pizza Menu
All Served with Mozzarella & Napoli Sauce
Margarita Herbs, Mozzarella & Napoli $13.00
Numero Uno With One Traditional Topping $14.00
Pomodori Fresh Sliced Tomato, Basil & Herbs $14.00
Aussie Bacon & Egg $14.00
Hawaii Ham & Pineapple $14.00
BBQ Meat BBQ Sauce, Cabanossi, pepperoni & Bacon $14.00
Flames Specialty Pizza All Served with Mozzarella
Trecolure Garlic, Prosciutto, Rocket &  Dressing $16.00
Prawns Prawns, Garlic & Parsley $16.00
Seasoned Cheese Feta, Boconcinni, Parmesan & Mozzarella $16.00
Pelican Napoli, Fish, Calamari, Prawns & Garlic $18.00
Potato & Prosciutto Potato, Rosemary, Cooked Prosciutto $16.00
All $15.00 Flames House Pizza Menu All $15.00
Flames Pizza Chilli, Salami, Mushroom, Pepperoni & Capsicum
Napolitano Olives & Anchovies
Crown Street Roasted Eggplant & Capsicum, Parmesan & Garlic
Mafia Salami, Mushroom, Chilli, Anchovies & Olives
Crossroads Ham, Mushrooms, Anchovies & Olives
The Veggie Daily House Vegetables, Option Pineapple & Olives
Keira Combination of Meats &  Veggies, Option Pineapple & Olives
King Street Spinach, Parmesan, Garlic & Bocconcinni
London Salami, Artichoke, Marinated Eggplant, Pesto & Garlic
Open Hearth Pesto, Artichoke, Marinated Eggplant & Salami
Polo Chicken & Mushrooms
Add the following to create your own Pizza!
Prawns $ 4.00 Chicken: $3.00 Seafood: $5.00
Traditional Toppings $1.00 each:
Cabanossi, Pepperoni, Salami, Mushroom, Ham, Onion, Bacon,
Capsicum, Pineapple, Egg, Pesto.
Speciality Toppings $1.60 each
Sliced Tomato & Basil, Roasted Capsicum, Roasted Eggplant,
Prosciutto, Red Onions, Marinated Eggplants, Pesto,
Boconcinni, Feta, Parmesan, Artichokes or Potato.
Kids Menu All $7.00
Served with a Plate of Salad or Veggies
Traditional Fish & Chips Served with Lemon & Sea Salt
Healthy Home Crumbed Chicken Strips & Chips
Pasta with Napoli or Bolognese Sauce
Flames Sides Dishes $5.00
House Salad Ripped Green Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber & House Dressing
Bruschetta Plain Baked Pizza Dough, Garlic, Chilli, Oregano & Olive Oil
Bowl of Beer Battered Chips with Sauce of your choice!
Garlic Bread
Flames Fresh Salads $8.00
Rocket Salad Fresh Rocket Topped with Parmesan & House Dressing
Greek Salad Lettuce, Capsicum, Cucumber, Olives, Feta, Dressing
Antipasto Combination of Deli Meats, Cheeses & Vegetables
Mixed Salad
Antipasto Plates Start @ $8.00 Per Plate
Mixture of Prosciutto, Artichoke, Roasted Capsicum, Marinated Eggplant,
Roasted Eggplant, Olives, Salami, Feta cheese, Boconcinni & Anchovies.
Flames Mains Menu
Fish N Chips Battered Fish of the Day, Chips & Salad $14.00
Chicken Schnitzel Burger With Lettuce & Mayo $9.00
Chicken Combo Chicken Schnitzel & Linguini Bolognese $16.00
Following Served with Mash & Veggies or Salad & Chips
Veal Pizziola Napoli, Capers & Olives $16.00
Veal Al Funghi Cream, Wine & Mushroom $16.00
Chicken Parmagiana Oven Baked $16.00
Napoli, Cheese with Ham or Eggplant
Chicken Schnitzel Meal Served with Lemon $15.00
Eye Fillet Pepper, Diane, Mushroom or Gravy $17.00
T-Bone Steak Add $1.00 for Sauce $16.00
Linguini Napoli Napolitana Sauce $9.00
Linguini Bolognese Traditional Bolognese $10.00
Linguini Bosciola Bacon, Mushrooms & Cream $11.00
Meat Lasagne with Salad $10.00
Canelloni with Salad Ricotta, Spinich & Mushroom $10.00 
Flames Bistro & Pizza Bar Trading Hours
Open 7 Days Lunch & Dinner Take Away Pizza
Monday - Tuesday
Lunch 11.30am - 2.00pm
Dinner 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Wednesday - Thursday
Lunch 11.30am - 2.30pm
Dinner 6.00pm - 9.00pm
Friday - Sunday
Lunch 11.30am - 2.00pm
Dinner 5.30pm - 9.00pm
The Open Hearth Hotel Function Room
It doesn't matter what style of function you're hosting;
we can provide a venue to suit your needs.

The Open Hearth Hotel Beer Garden - Function Room
Party Menu: Bruschetta & Salad & Pasta & Pizza
6 plus persons @ $16.00 per head
Flames Beer Garden is available at no charge for special events. Celebrate in a relaxed atmosphere with a cocktail party, family or friends. The seating is great for functions and standing for finger food and drinks. We can arrange live music, bands or a DJ for your event if required. Our Function Menu and Liquor Packages are available upon request. Set Menus and Canapes available.

Flames Beer Garden
Flames Beer Garden is available at no charge [ free ] for functions and special events..
Office Parties - Sporting Events - Private Functions - 21st's - Group Bookings Welcome

   The Open Hearth Hotel Warrawong Pub Trading Hours
   Monday - Saturday: 7.00am – 1.00am 
    Sunday: 10 am – 10 pm  

Follow us on Twitter! 

Become a fan of our
Facebook page! 

53-57 King Street
Warrawong NSW 2502

Corner of King & Cowper Streets  

  Click on logo to view map! 

Flames Bistro & Pizza Bar Bookings 02 4276 2258
to place your order, make a reservation or function enquiry.
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Sugar Cube Belgium Waffles, Wollongong:Vanessa Pike-Russell

"The Sugar Cube’ is famous for homemade Liège Belgium waffles, cooked fresh to order. These are complimented with a range of delicious, quality toppings including fresh fruit, real maple syrup, melted Belgian chocolate, premium ice cream and homemade toffee sauce.
Also on offer; a large selection of hot & cold drinks, cakes, brownies, banana bread, toasts, cookies and ice cream! Special occasions can be catered for with platters/tiered stands featuring your choice of mini waffles, choc dipped strawberries, cake cubes etc.
The Sugar Cube takes pride in using environmentally friendly packaging. Drink cups/lids, straws, food containers, cutlery and bags are 100% biodegradable/compostable."

Today I finally made it into The Sugar Cube in Wollongong. I had asked if they had any gluten-free products they kindly created a gluten-free waffle mix and invited me in to try it. I finally made it into Wollongong and enjoyed a gluten-free waffle with strawberries and cream. Such indulgence! Named the Dragon waffle after the St George Illawarra

I also enjoyed a mocha and sat down at the cute red stools and table and enjoyed having a few moments to myself and just taking my time to enjoy my first ever gluten-free belgium waffles and a cup of Lazumba mocha coffee.

Definitely not the last time! I would love to try their Banoffee waffles. A great way to warm up on a cold, overcast day.

The service was fantastic and so friendly. Definitely worth a visit!

Conveniently located opposite WIN Sports & Entertainment Centre and within easy walking distance of Wollongong’s City Beach. Car park available at rear (shared with Chicko’s, 45 min limit, enter from Harbour Street).

The Sugar Cube Coffee & Treats
13 Crown Street
(Corner Crown & Harbour Streets)
Tel. 02 4227 3888


Mon – Thurs 7.15am to 6pm
Friday 7.15am to 10pm
Sat 8.30am to 10pm
Sun 8.30am to 6pm

Sugar Cube Belgium Waffles, Wollongong

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