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Friday, March 31, 2006

Lord of the Fries

No, it's not a typo... Lord of the Fries (website isn't developed!) is a specialty "fries" shop that sells burgers too. You'll find fries covered in "international sauces" - aussie, mexican, poutine... Of interest was the Poutine; not only is this French-Canadian delicacy a whole discussion topic in itself, there was a friendly lady in line telling all within earshot about the wonders of poutine as she is from Quebec.

I just felt like sauce so "aussie" it was but now I know where to find my poutine!

Lord of the Fries
Cnr of Elizabeth and Flinders Sts,


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Template Problems

I've been trying to fix some strange format problems with my template so if you happened to visit when a mistake was being corrected, you may have seen some strange things!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Food for the tired

On 23rd Mar, I said:
What I would love right now is Welsh Rarebit. But I'm exhausted from days of running from work to other activities (namely a CD recording) and I'm too tired to cook so I'm just going to think about it.

13th Apr:
This is not just cheese on toast, this is cheese blended with milk and butter (more often with beer, the Somerset version uses cider) seasoned with mustard and spread on toast. The mixture is then grilled until it bubbles... comfort food. There are many theories about the origin of the dish's name eg the rather unflattering description of a Welshman's inability to catch a rabbit and so cheese and beer would do!

Nigella Lawson's "Somerset Rarebit"
2 English muffins (wholemeal)
150g Strong cheddar
2 tsps Soft unsalted butter
10g Flour
1/2 tsp English mustard
1 tbl Milk
3 tbl Cider

1) Toast the muffins, pre-heat your grill and grate the cheese
2) Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add flour to make a roux
3) Take the saucepan off the heat then whisk in the mustard, milk and cider
4) Placing the saucepan back on the heat, stir until you have a thick white sauce
- Nigella notes ".. don't expect to have much of it. This is a paste more than anything.."
5) Add the grated cheese and stir until it melts
6) Divide the sauce and spread over each muffin to cover
7) Place muffins under the grill, until they "blister on top and brown in spots"


Sunday, March 19, 2006

iLove Water

We have great water in Melbourne so there are some who refuse to buy bottled water. But maybe if you stick Jessica Simpson's face on a bottle, people will buy! Ahem, yes that must be the marketing they're going for. The concept appears to be "the world's first magazine on a bottle", you can even go to their site iLove and ask Miss Love your burning questions.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

SHF 17 #: Strawberry Spritz Yoghurt Muffins

Niki told me about the Sugar High Friday challenge with a theme of dairy so I thought I'd give it a go. One of my favourite cookbooks for baking is Carol Durst's "I Knew You Were Coming So I Baked a Cake" and I remembered that she had dairy suggestions.

The yoghurt muffins are really easy and this recipe is great for when you have bananas that are sitting around almost rotting away.

Yoghurt Muffins as per Carol Durst's recipe
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 lb butter
1 egg
1 banana
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 180C, grease muffin tin
1) Put flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl
2) Melt the butter in a glass bowl in the microwave and add to the dry mixture
3) Add egg, banana, yoghurt and vanilla extract
4) Mix until just incorporated
5) Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake 20-25 mins

This will make 12 muffins

1) I used low fat yoghurt by accident - I picked by flavour only so make sure you use full fat yoghurt.
2) You can vary the yoghurt flavour, I used Strawberry Spritz! This quantity is just under 1 small tub.

3) I doubled the batter and tried full size and mini muffins. Unfortunately the batter didn't rise as much as I expected so the bigger muffins are quite flat. (See photo below "Gee son, you're getting taller than me everyday.") You need to almost fill the tin up as the minimal handling of the batter means that you're not going to get a chance to get much air into the mixture.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

J Cafe

I discovered this cute Japanese cafe on Exhibition St and went back to try their "Sushi Burger". Apparently it's a "concept" only available at J's - which incidentally has a mouthful of a restaurant name! The burger in the picture is the Kani Croquet burger which is a creamy crab croquet, lettuce and mayonaise based sauce, sandwiched between 2 "buns" made of rice with a sheet of seaweed wrapped around the whole structure. It even came in a polystyrene burger box.

It doesn't matter that you can pick up a piece or roll of sushi, it was weird picking up this rice block - but it tasted really good! There was a nice balance between the croquet's crunchy outer shell and the fluffy, creamy filling, the sauce was tasty and the rice didn't fall apart! I'm keen to go back to try the other varieties and there were some interesting sounding changing burger specials - although octopus was on offer the other day and all I could think of was tendrils poking out of a burger!

I've tried their lunch bento boxes and this place puts a lot of care into ensuring even the little accompanying dish isn't the usual carelessly tossed piece of lettuce sprinkled with beansprouts. The staff are friendly and although not cheap compared to a city deli sandwich, this place is worth going to.

Question that comes to mind: according to Wikipedia, "a cafe is a type of restaurant" and "cafes usually serve coffee and snacks", whereas "a restaurant is a place where prepared food is sold to the public". So what's a cafe restaurant?

Japanese Cafe Restaurant J
167 Exhibition Street


Friday, March 10, 2006

Cheat's cookies

I really wanted to bake heart shaped cookies on Valentine's Day but because I finished work late, I didn't really have the energy to start from scratch. And you know, sometimes you start the thought of baking and you just have to go through with it... it's therapeutic!

So... I bought ready made dough. Shock, horror! I couldn't reveal the secret then and there so I said I'd blog it. I've been in the supermarket and gone, "How lazy could you be... " I still can't believe I was that lazy! :) But the product has been around for a while so people do buy it. And who can forget that scene from Clueless when Cher throws the whole roll of dough in the oven?

The result? I didn't mind the cookies too much. I bought 2 types: one was the Sara Lee double chocolate one, and I was really quite impressed with that, and the other was an M&M one (I can't remember the brand right now) and unfortunately, I found that any M&Ms on the base of the cookies got a bit burnt. The Sara Lee cookies were gooey like the store bought ones and the
M&M ones went crisp very quickly - so monitor the baking time!

As for the heart shapes, I tried doing by hand and pushing through a heart-shaped cutter but this isn't the type of cookie dough that can be shaped. Would I do it again? I think so!

Cheat's cookies
1. Select and buy cookie "roll" (usually in refridgerator aisle)
2. Bake


Friday, March 03, 2006


Inevitably there was another call for party food and this time I decided on something sweet. I had all these ideas about sugared flowers or piped icing but on the day these were baked, my trip to the supermarket was disrupted by a massive storm that hit us. So by the time I got home and dry again, I wasn't in the mood for creativity!

I ran out of flour - but I always have an extra packet in the cupboard! - and had to make a second trip to the supermarket so when I realised I had the wrong type of icing sugar, I couldn't be bothered going out again. The icing doesn't look as good as I'd like but I was assured that these were "demolished". My challenge is to post a batch that does go right!!

Oh and by the way, I found my extra flour after I finished baking. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Party food

Well we had some visitors and of course there was a supper for 70 that I roped 18 people into preparing for! So in between work, guest pick ups, other commitments... we all had to have a big think about what was quick and easy to make/bring.

My inspiration, scary to say, came from a Safeway (supermarket) catalogue - someone left it on his desk at work and I flicked through it whilst waiting for him, not a hobby read! Anyway remembering a recipe that I'd noted for its simplicity, I attempted to reproduce the chicken scrolls or "chicken thingies" as they were known when I lost ability to think during the mad round of planning.

I don't have exact quantities because you can make this when you're rushed and just want to grab stuff off the shelves! Try and do it in the morning so that you can let the spinach defrost - compared to being able to just pour hot water over the corn. You can argue that it's all going in the oven anyway but I wasn't going to tempt making the pastry soggy to begin with.

Chicken Thingies
1 Pack of puff pastry (6 sheets)
1 Kg of chicken mince
1 Small packet of frozen spinach
1 Small packet of frozen corn
Parmesan (shaved)
Parsley (optional*)

1. Defrost the spinach and corn!
2. Preheat oven to 220C
3. Mix the chicken with parsley if using
4. Take 1 sheet of puff pastry, spread some chicken along one edge
- as if you're making a sausage roll
5. Layer the corn, spinach then parmesan over the chicken
6. Now roll the pastry over the layers and make a tight roll
7. Cut up into smaller slices, bake until pastry has puffed up and is golden

Parsley (optional*) - I have to confess that I cheated because I forgot the parsley and figured there would be enough green from the spinach and enough flavour from the cheese!

I considered seasoning the chicken but the parmesan had quite a strong taste... and noone complained that it was bland! But you can see how easy it is to vary this scroll idea and try flavouring the chicken and substituting the type of cheese.

Added 2nd Mar 2006: I forgot to mention that if you use an egg glaze, the scrolls will come out golden - I didn't! Also the above quantity of chicken is supposed to be used in all 6 sheets of pastry so multiply that by say 7-8 slices per "roll" and you're getting quite a bit of finger food. You will have leftover corn because there's a lot in each packet!