Monday, 30 January 2012

Nothing better on Oz Day

Than Ikea swedish meatballs and princess cake!

Say it with me, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Creamy smoked trout pate

What a simple, easy to prepare dinner, courtesy of Jamie's Great Britain - creamy smoked trout pate.  

It's one of those recipes where you are simply putting things together, mixing the cream cheese and horseradish, some herbs and gently mixing through a flaked smoked trout fillet and spreading it on delicious croutons or melba toasts.  Not really a recipe so much.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Another great brussels sprouts recipe

There are so many people who don't care for brussels sprouts.  There are people who are confused by the plural "brussels" and "sprouts".  Then there are people like me, people on the look out for ways to convert brussels sprouts haters to brussels sprouts likers (lovers is going too far).

Enter Smitten Kitchen, a blog by Deb who cooks from a tiny kitchen in New York, and the purveyor of a delicious brussels sprouts recipe - Dijon-braised brussels sprouts.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The most beautiful oysters

Lunch at Claypots Evening Star in South Melbourne started with the most beautiful oysters! The dishes that followed, spicy mushrooms, potatoes with olive dust, galician octopus and cajun fried flathead were pretty awesome too!

Friday, 20 January 2012

(Friday Night Dinner) Kazbar

Thumbs up - reasonable prices, charming french waiter and comfy outside seating.

Thumbs down- bland mushrooms, slow service and not enough labne on the lamb pizza.

G and I shared a lamb pizza and stuffed mushrooms. The waiter was kind enough to move us to an outside table when one became available. Food took a long time to come out - especially given the restaurant was half full and most people were just drinking.

Other than the French waiter and the kiwi manager, the staff were a bit lacking in responsiveness.

Conclusion - wouldn't return.

Pudding wars

Oh, it's a tough life when you are faced with the most difficult of decisions - do I eat the pudding my grandma/mum made or the one G's dad made???

 G's Dad's pudding

Mum/grandma's pudding

The answer must be that it doesn't matter which pudding you choose - just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

(Friday Night Dinner) Elbow Room

G and I decided that it was time to actually use "the gold book" - aka the Entertainment Book.

We tore out 3 or 4 vouchers redeemable on Fitzroy St, St Kilda, and jumped on the number 16 tram. We ended up eating dinner at The Elbow Room with a complimentary main meal voucher.

G had the kangaroo steak salad, described as "medallions of pistachio crusted kangaroo fillet on a garden salad and sesame dressing" and I had the duck risotto + drinks = $45 (or $70 without the voucher).

G's kangaroo was a little lacking - certainly very small medallions, which led us to make jokes that perhaps the fillet had come from a rock wallaby, rather than a 'roo. My risotto was deliciously ducky, big pieces of tender duck and the risotto tasted like it was cooked in a duck/gamey stock - lovely and rich.

Being super glamorous, we finished up at Cold Rock - peanut butter ice cream with tim tams, raspberries and pb m&m's mixed in.

I made it (Empire Roast Chicken, that is)

After raving about this dish and then being lucky enough to receive the necessary recipe book as a Christmas gift, I had to make Empire Roast Chicken.  I assembled a number of ingredients - although I did spiced roast potatoes and made gravy from the chicken pan juices, so needed less ingredients than the recipe called for.

a gaggle of ingredients - mostly spices

the marinade that G was kind enough to make

the roasted bird

and some spiced, roasted taters

 the whole kit and caboodle

You don't need to own Jamie's Great Britain to make this recipe - Jamie has made it available online.  The gravy I made from the pan juices was heavenly, but next time I may give Jamie's version a try!  I didn't need to flake off as many burnt bits as Jamie did, perhaps my oven is not as hot as his. 

I would highly recommend this recipe - roasting a chicken is something that is super easy (but impressive) and quite comforting.  While it does take some time, most of it is "idle supervision", that is, sitting around and reading a magazine while the bird is in the oven.  Did anyone else's Mum ever tell them NEVER to leave the house with the oven on???

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Lunch date - Hoboken

I had a welcome to Melbourne lunch with a girlfriend at Hoboken in Hosier Lane. It's one of those "TC" Melbourne places that you will only find if you know where it is - thank goodness for googlemaps.

Another reason it's TC is that there is basically one choice - red beans and rice - with your choice of additions. I chose avocado, wilted greens and meat balls. Truly delish.

I guess the saving grace of this place is that the food, though simple, is great, and the service is friendly and definitely not TC!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Mister Nice Guy Cupcakes

mmm Zombie Brains? Yes, we really ordered a cupcake that was called "zombie brains". The 2nd cake was a peanut butter cake from Mister Nice Guy cupcakes, an all vegan cupcakery, newly installed at the Prahran Markets.

Both cupcakes were very moist, bordering on too moist, as a fair amount of crumb stuck to the paper as we peeled it away. The peanut butter icing was generous and delicious, whereas the strawberry (zombie brains) icing was delicious, but certainly not generous. Looked effective, but didn't deliver enough flavour to the very chocolatey cake.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

New year, new routine

I like to eat my breakfast at work.  I like to wake up, do some exercise (at least 3 mornings per week), shower, and head to work, where my raisin toast and fruit and yoghurt is waiting.  I have been eating the same breakfast for at least 2 years and decided it was time for a change.

So while I have the benefit of being at home for a few extra days before I start a new job, I am trying out a new breakfast - The Minimalist's Wheat Berries with Sesame, Soy Sauce and Scallions.  However, I couldn't track down wheat berries, so settled for some pearl barley.

Pearl Barley is kind of irritating to cook because it's hard to tell when it's cooked - it takes anywhere from 30 to 45 mins, and there is not that much of a difference with the cooked pearl barley at either of those points in time. 

Once cooked, rinse under cold water and stir in sesame oil, soy sauce and spring onions.

I may have put on too many spring onions this time...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Kokoda fish

G and I spent a blissful 4 nights in Fiji over Christmas, staying at The Pearl in Pacific Harbour and we enjoyed a delicious dish called Koko(n)da Fish.

I found a recipe on that looks quite accurate - although I haven't tested it out yet to verify, but plan to shortly. 

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • 850g (about 4) snapper fillets, skin removed
  • 185ml (3/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green capsicum, halved, deseeded, diced
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 100ml coconut cream
  • 1 large fresh red chilli, halved, finely chopped
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 green oak leaf lettuces, stems trimmed, washed, dried


  1. Use a sharp knife to cut on either side of the centre line of bones in each snapper fillet, and discard the bones. Cut the snapper into 1cm pieces.
  2. Place the snapper and lemon juice in a large ceramic or glass bowl, and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to marinate, tossing occasionally with a wooden spoon. The fish will be white when ready.
  3. Add tomatoes, capsicum, onion, coconut cream and chilli to marinated fish, and stir gently to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Line a serving bowl with the lettuce leaves. Spoon the kokoda onto the leaves. If you like, transfer portions of the kokoda and leaves into individual serving bowls.
Not sure where we will find the fijian bread - G was quite a fan!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Christmas blessings

G and I were blessed with 3 fantastic cook books this Christmas.

And the first dish I am going to cook is Empire Roast Chicken - a curry roast chicken that I saw on a recent episode of Jamie's Great Britain.  Will report on it soon.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


I don't know what to say about this - the photo speaks for itself.

Monday, 2 January 2012

My favourite dish of 2011

Many blogs do retrospectives at the end of the year, and I believe at the end of last year I reviewed my favourite Delicious Magazine recipes of 2010. However, Delicious has suffered this year (in my opinion) and the recipes have been less good, particularly later in the year. So instead, I thought I would present my favourite restaurant dish that I discovered this year - Pumpkin in Salted Egg Yolk. G and I ate it on NYE at China Red, along with some dumplings and drank some organic raspberry lemonade and organic cola. I even ate the Shao Long Bao even though I avoid pork as much as possible - but the dumplings are just so good. We've actually introduced a number of people to this restaurant (with touch screen ordering) and to this dish in particular.

G and I discovered that the menu has recently expanded - there are a number of additions on each section of the menu and we are looking forward to trying out a few new dishes, although not the dumplings that are shaped like goldfish and stuffed with prawn...