Vanessa Pike-Russell
I was talking to someone recently about tripe and how there is a group of people in the Illawarra and South Coast who love tripe so much they make an annual dinner event to celebrate it. I did a quick Google search and found this article about the South Coast Tripe Eaters dinner which kicks off the Illawarra Folk Festival each year. I loved the poem by Blue the Shearer and had to share it. As the daughter of someone who loves tripe I had always shuddered at the sound of the word but now that my taste buds have matured and challenging myself to be more open-minded I now freely admit that I love tripe. Strange but true. Don't judge tripe until you taste it too :)

“Tripe Eaters of the world unite.
Stand up tall and proud.
Fight the good tripe eater’s fight.
Join the swelling crowd.
Of those who eat intestines
of the masticating cow.
Get your registration form,
and fill it in right now.”
Blue the Shearer

I am definitely going to be front and centre at the Illawarra Folk Festival in 2010

More information from their website below.

"The Illawarra Folk Festival is the only festival in the world that kicks off with a fully fledged tripe eating dinner.
If you have the guts for it, Thursday Night at the Restaurant at the Bulli Showgrounds is for you. It is of course the South Coast Tripe Eaters Associations annual dinner. The delectable interior of the bovine will be on offer in two varieties; the boring old traditional white tripe and onions with the accompaniment of mashed potatoes and gourmet multicultural version to be revealed.
The meal is three courses with a traditional chilled soup and dessert as well as coffee and tea. Coopers Pale Ale, Handpicked Wines and Aussie Cider is on tap at the nearby festival bar which will also have fine wines on offer. For people who don’t eat tripe but like to hang around with people that do, then we will put on a very ordinary main course, called grey sludge so that you can enjoy the entertainment afterwards.
The entertainment will be provided by some of the world's great tripe eaters. There will be many more as performers who are at the Festival clamour to get a spot in this prestigious event.
Russell Hannah, one of the world’s great authorities on tripe eating, will as usual host the dinner. Russell has a black belt in tripe eating having amazed the audience by downing twelve helpings at the recent World Tripe Eating Championship in Sierra Leone. There is a rumour that triping is being considered by the Poms as an event in the 2112 Olympics. It’d have to be better than synchronised swimming anyway.
The cost of the night and entertainment is $20 with a weekend ticket or $25 without one. Bookings are essential. Contact Russell on 42971777 by Wed Jan 12th.
Russell Hannah,, 02) 4297 1777"

Source: llawara Folk Festival Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell
Since making my own gluten-free pasta I've decided to invest in a Cucina Pro Fresh Pasta set. I have since found them cheaper online. It pays to shop around!

Check out these great prices

CucinaPro 178 Fresh Pasta Set
CucinaPro 178 Fresh Pasta Set

Atlas Original Italian Stainless-Steel Pasta Machine
Atlas Original Italian Stainless-Steel Past...

 Fasta Pasta Microwave Cooker with Spiral Bound F.P. Cookbook
Fasta Pasta Microwave Cooker with Spiral Bound F.P. Cookbook

Norpro Ravioli Maker and Press Norpro Ravioli Maker and Press

Norpro Pasta Drying Rack  Norpro Pasta Drying Rack Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell

The Westfield Cooking Show will teach you how to pick and cook the best seasonal and fresh produce from our great range of fresh food retailers. Professional chefs will demonstrate quick and tasty meals with recipe cards available so you can try the dishes at home!

Plus don't miss your chance to meet Celebrity Chef Ed Hamalgyi, better known as 'Fast Ed' from Better Homes and Gardens. Fast Ed will be showing off his culinary skills with a special appearance on Friday 2 July.

Thursday 24 June - Sunday 27 June
Thursday 1 July - Sunday 4 July
Celebrity Chef appearance - Friday 2 July

Shows will take place from 11am until 3pm in the Fresh Food Mall daily with 15 minute demonstrations every half an hour.

Don't miss the Westfield Cooking Show and the opportunity to sample the delicious meals served up by our professional chefs.

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Vanessa Pike-Russell
One of the many restaurants a stone's throw from Shellharbour Beach to rave about is Relish on Addison.
Recently I found out that they offer  Gluten-Free options with their meals. It may pay to make a booking and specify your dietary requirements.

I'm really excited about their Chef Menu for June.

Note: All ingredients may not be listed, please advise of allergies + dietary requirements.Vegetarians & special dietary options are available on request

Shop 4, 6 Addison Street, Shellharbour Village
Phone 02 4295 5191
Fax     02 4295 4283

 Cocktail bar
Fully licensed bar
Functions available
Group bookings available

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Vanessa Pike-Russell
Really lives up to its name!
Now that it is winter and I have a cold I crave soups. My favourite soups include Laksa,  Tom Yum and Combination short soup. All of which are available at the Delicious Noodle House in George Street, Warilla.
I have tried six of their dishes now and each one was very delicious and great value for money.

Apologies for the low quality
image from my mobile phone.
Bowl below shows 1/3rd of
the container purchased.

 An image from their menu

Tom Yum Soup $10.50
Thin rice noodles, prawns, combo seafood, vegetables, Thai hot chilli

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Vanessa Pike-Russell
Growing up in Wollongong  with Italian uncles Rocco Annechini and Carlo Dressino, I spent a lot of time being surrounded by European food including Lasagne, Canneloni and Spaghetti Marinara from Pasta Fina in Wollongong. You can now buy Pasta Fina products in many delicatessens and supermarkets throughout the Illawarra but if you can do so I suggest you visit the source and visit the Pasta Fina store in Crown St, Wollongong.

Married to the job: Flaminio Fina - nobody does it his way.
Married to the job: Flaminio Fina - nobody does it his way.
Photo: Natalie Boog of SMH

 When you enter the store you can see Flaminio and his team making the product fresh or you can purchase their dried, fridge or freezer packs for eating at home or at a special event. Take the time to explore the different varieties and talk to the experts about their favourites and what each pasta is best suited for. 
One of my favourite products is their authentic Spaghetti Marinara which you just heat and eat. Delicious!

Read more about this treasure trove of foodie delights in an article by By Helen Greenwood, SMH 

Pasta Fina

63 Crown St (East End), Wollongong
NSW 2500, Australia
Phone: (02) 4228 1021
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Vanessa Pike-Russell

Tonitto Continental Cakes are a local family operated business of Port Kembla, Wollongong specialising in the production, presentation and sale of quality cakes, biscuits, pastries, pies, continental tortes, special occasion cakes and wedding cakes for over 30 years. 

I commissioned Tonitto Continental Cakes to make my wedding cake back in 1996. I've never been fond of Traditional wedding cake made with fruit cake but I love royal icing so I asked them to make a Tiramisu cake with layers of sponge, marscapone, coffee liquer and decorated with royal icing and singapore orchids. 

Tonitto Continental Cakes
169 Wentworth St, Port Kembla 
NSW 2505‎ - (02) 4275 1977

Google Map location
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Vanessa Pike-Russell

The fourth segment of my article 'A Taste for the Gong' has been published on Tourism Wollongong's site, We Love the Gong.  This entry is about 'Travelling the world within the Gong' and references some of my favourite foodie locations, shopping and restaurants

Port Kembla

Tonitto's Continental Cakes
(formerly Tonitto's Patisserie)
169 Wentworth St Port Kembla NSW 2505                        
Phone: +61 (02) 42751977


Oscar's Deli
null200 Cowper St,

Open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm;
Sat, 8am-1pm
Photo: Sahlan Hayes
TEL: 42743080
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Vanessa Pike-Russell
I love Oysters. I have since the ripe old age of 2 when my Father owned an Oyster lease up near Tin Can Bay in Queensland. We used to visit the mangrove swamp to collect the oysters, always stopping to taste some before leaving. There is nothing like eating a freshly shucked oyster minutes from plucking it from the water.

Last year I visited the Barilla Bay Oysters in Tasmania and enjoyed the same fresh oyster experience and flew back home with two dozen plump Tasmanian oysters on a flight to Sydney.

Recently I have been buying Oysters from the Shellharbour Seafood market at Stocklands Shellharbour (formerly Shellharbour Square) and whilst they have been fresh I am craving another oyster farm experience.

Soon I will be organising a Illawarra Gourmet Food Safari with BHC Promotions and a visit to the Shoalhaven River and Greenwell Point Oyster farms is high on my list of priorities. If you are interested in taking part in the Illawarra Foodie safari please email me at to be added to the newsletter.

Until then, the Shoalhaven Oyster Service has created some interesting videos about how Oysters are harvested and helpful information about storing, shucking and eating oysters. Not that I need any help with the latter! :)

29 Greenwell Point Road
Greenwell Point

Telephone: 02 4447 1290
Fax: 02 4447 1717
Mobile Phone Number: 02 4447 1717

Other Oyster Suppliers

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Vanessa Pike-Russell
Truffle Degustation night

Thursday 24th June

$140pp (or $200pp with
accompanying premium wines)
The Western Australian truffle season is just about to begin - the first batch is expected out of the ground in the first week of June. To celebrate Caveau will hold a truffle degustation on Thursday 24th June. To book, please email or telephone the restaurant on 02 4226 4855.


Egg cocotte with winter truffle

Chicken parfait with truffle butter, brioche and game jelly
Quail boudin with braised ox tongue, truffled quail egg,
sauteed kipflers and truffle emulsion

Roasted blue eye with leeks, snails, truffles and champagne veloute
Roasted veal fillet with truffle gnocchi, white
asparagus and truffle hollandaise

Truffled brie with homemade lavosh
Chocolate "truffle"

Caveau Cookery Schools   
Vacancies are available on Sundays 20th June, 12th September and 17th October.  $90pp.  Caveau are also holding an advanced class on Sunday 29th August $180pp. To book please complete the booking form which is available on our website
Winter Holiday Closure
Caveau will be closed for a short break from Sunday 4th July and will reopen on Thursday 15th July. Thank you for your custom and support. Peter and Nicola, Caveau

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Vanessa Pike-Russell
Please register your interest in a food tour around the Illawarra.

o Cheese making in Razorback , Nowra and Bowral and Reidsdale
o bread making
o cookery classes
o European delicatessens
o Asian Supermarkets and Butchers
o Gluten-Free supplies
o Fresh Produce Markets and their suppliers
o Slow Food Illawarra

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Vanessa Pike-Russell
If you see me wearing this top (or a variation of it) make sure to say hi!,white,womens,ffffff.i-love-illawarra-food-v3.jpg

You may just score yourself a sticker and a business card

Available for $2.50 from my Redbubble store

Coming soon - I Love Ilawarra Food Tours Tweet This

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