In late 2008, after her corporate career was put on pause thanks to the global financial crisis, Tina turned to blogging. Thus, Food, booze and shoes is light on the latter and, instead, focuses on eating out and drinking, mostly in inner-city Sydney. Three years later, Tina admits she still gets excited about discovering new bars and restaurants in her beloved Sydney.
By
April Smallwood

14 Aug 2012 - 3:23 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

In late 2008, after her corporate career was put on pause thanks to the global financial crisis, Tina turned to blogging. Thus, Food, booze and shoes is light on the latter and, instead, focuses on eating out and drinking, mostly in inner-city Sydney. Three years later, Tina admits she still gets excited about discovering new bars and restaurants in her beloved Sydney.

We chat to Tina about a memorable feast in a Malaysian hawker centre, a perfect food day, and the one ingredient she won't go near.

What would your blog followers be surprised to learn about you?
About five years ago, I spent two weeks working on a lavender farm in the Apennine Mountains of Italy. Working in exchange for board, I have some unforgettable memories of home-cooked meals and the best buffalo mozzarella cheese I’ve ever had.

Tell us about your most indulgent meal.
It might well be the one I had at a hawker centre in Penang, Malaysia. Between two, we had both chicken and beef satay with lontong (compressed rice cubes), char kway teo, grilled stingray, oyster omelette, huge grilled prawns, roast chicken, beers (a must in the humid Malaysian weather), and finished off on eis cendol with red beans in a takeaway plastic bag.

Which three dishes do you often order at restaurants but never make at home?
I adore roti canai, which apparently isn’t that hard to make, but I wouldn’t consider trying at home. Pork with crackling, especially suckling pig, is such a treat, though I’m yet to master this at home. And ice-cream and gelato.

Tell us about your pre-blog eating habits and how these have changed in the last few years.
Food now evokes memories of occasions as opposed to just being a necessity, like the time a friend announced her engagement over our favourite Spanish tapas, or the three-day restaurant splurge before I had my wisdom teeth extracted.

What would a perfect food day consist of for you?
Brekkie would be light – something like avocado on toast. Lunch would be somewhere outdoors, perhaps waterside, with lots of friends and bubbly, and the freshest seafood, bread and salads imaginable. Dinner would be some special restaurant – ideally one that serves tzatziki and eggplant dips, followed by a charcuterie selection, seared scampi sashimi, a creamy casareccia pasta, and then a juicy medium-rare grass-fed rib eye steak with a side serving of ginger and shallot mud crab. It would finish with a cheese plate, gelato and perhaps sticky dessert wine. I like variety.

What’s the one food you won’t go near?
I have issues with blood and certain types of offal. I’ve tried all sorts of blood in food – morcilla, black pudding, Chinese-style pigs' blood – and I just don’t enjoy the flavour or the texture. As for offal, the first and last time I had lamb’s brain, it was barely cooked and I did everything I could not to gag at the table of a rather classy restaurant. I managed not to, but just.

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