Sunday, July 30, 2006
Dinner Plan: Dinner by JD
It appears that once people realise that you keep a food blog, the expectation is that you will place high standards on all meals... even those prepared by friends! JD invited us over to his house and apparently there was panic about making everything perfect - although I think he's already a great cook anyway!
So I present to you "Dinner by JD" and suggestions of where similar recipes can be found.
Spiced pumpkin and coconut soup:
How's that for presentation? This recipe is a good start.
Steak and Horseradish Sauce, served with Potato Rosti:
I love horseradish. I haven't used this recipe but found it in Cook's Companion - ingredients are in an alphabetical listing, fortunately when I looked up "H" I didn't find horse. :) This is a wonderful recipe and reference book; I have given copies out as birthday and wedding presents. For my birthday, the lovely T bought me "Cooking & Travelling in South-West France" which is also by Stephanie Alexander. (And when I'm not so busy, I'll cook something from it!)
As it contains dill, I'd say that ideally this goes with fish. Maybe I'll experiment with other herbs for other meats and let you know.
Simple Horseradish Sauce
1 Tbl Creamed horseradish sauce*
2 Tbl Dill seeds
2 Tbl Finely chopped fresh dill leaves
120ml Sour cream
Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate until required. Makes 1/2 cup.
*If you have fresh horseradish, grate it and mix it with whipped cream and a little white-wine vinegar.
Nigella's Chocolate Cloud Cake:
Recipe can be found at Niki's. I loved this variation, the cake was served with a dark chocolate sauce and orange pieces soaked in cointreau.
Help Food for Runners!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I've now been there twice for dinner and had completely mixed experiences. The first time the service was really good and the food was ok. (You're not there for gourmet dining.) The last time... well when you're going to make a table of people shuffle around to create a gap for serving through, use it! We almost had food poured down us as the waiter shoved between two of us - in the "non-serving gap". This was weird: I thought I left my scarf at the restaurant and rang up, I was asked if I was sure I didn't leave a hat; oh that's why my scarf never wrapped around my neck?!
It's supposed to be really good for yum cha so maybe I'll test that out one day. There's a wall of Jackie Chan merchandise, I wonder how many T-shirts and jackets are sold as I know I'm not about to pay $300 for a puffy jacket! The thing is Jackie Chan apparently doesn't even have much to do with the restaurant, I think he grants naming rights and gets appearance fees in return.
I always look for the positive, there was plenty of parking at Shoppingtown!
Sunday, July 23, 2006
We'd noticed lots of restaurants opening in Melbourne Central and thought we'd go for dinner and a movie. Conveniently located next to the Hoyts cinema was Bluefire (part of the Rivers group that also runs the restaurant cruise on the Yarra amongst many other things it seems) and seeing a good sized crowd, we thought we'd venture in. The restaurant is massive because it is split into 2 sections, the Churrascaria and the more casual pizza and tapas area.
The tapas menu was inviting so we decided to try the casual dining. Unfortunately most of the seafood items (those that did sound delicious) were no longer available but as per the photo, we tried the Moroccan meatballs, the crumb fried haloumi wrapped with prosciutto and the marinated octopus (no longer paired with mussel). The capsicum sauce for the meatballs was definitely required as the meat was a little dry and the haloumi was disappointingly chewy (it squeaked against my molars!) and far too salty to be paired with the prosciutto. But the marinated octopus was tangy and tender and that saved the platter.
Considering one origin of tapas is that a slice of bread would be put on top of drinks (tapa = lid in Spanish) to stop the flies from falling in and a snack later added on top of the bread, we weren't going to fill up on "snacks" and also had some pizza. We picked the Pork & Pancetta which had smoked pork and pancetta, with an onion compote, artichoke hearts, capsicum, parmigiano and mozzarella - all "glazed with BlueFire’s herb oil and a hint of spice". Yum! Not too greasy and they put real meat on the pizza. Other combinations were also enticing, Brazilian Fiesta (chicken and jalapeno salsa), Latino Chorizo... will be back!
But what I was disappointed in not being able to try was the dessert selection - I was too full, dessert stomach must have been used up! Check out this photo... no, behind the cute little cakes... that is flowing hot chocolate!! "Hot chocolate" is the "chocolate and coffee bar" offering cakes and home made ice-cream and liquer, all with a shot of hot chocolate.
What movie did we watch? Superman Returns we really enjoyed it and in fact tried to take some younger relatives (aged seven and eleven) last week. Maybe it's a generation thing, I remember growing up and watching Christopher Reeve's movies so I was looking forward to this version, but the seven year old was like "Superman? Nah, I want Click." Hmm, superman is a classic now? Ladies, Brandan Routh is easy on the eye and men, you have Kate Bosworth... although I really want to take the girl to Bluefire and feed her!!
Level 3, Melbourne Central
La Trobe St side
Friday, July 21, 2006
I recently discovered Macro which is a whole foods store. (Whole foods have been minimally processed and are not neccesarily organic.) No, I haven't suddenly turned into a health nut but I've noticed the standard of fruit and veggies at the supermarket really deteriorating. The veggies do look much healthier from Macro and my Mum always says, "You know vegetables are good when the grubs choose to eat them." (Illustrated above!)
I'm sure I'd pay much less at the market for regular produce however I haven't quite got going to the market in my routine. Actually, most of the organic vegetables are quite well priced it's the fruit that is dear so sadly I'm still getting some fruit at the supermarket! Also remember that without pesticides, things won't last as long. There's also organic meat, a dairy and deli section, lots of household things like detergents and even wine.
Macro has a cafe with plenty of healthy dishes. Imagine breakfast with free range bacon and organic eggs, fresh juices, tempeh burgers, spelt items and plenty of gluten free alternatives. Yes it all sounds very good for you! ;-) I had a magnificent tofu curry with brown rice and T had a "healthy" bacon and egg sandwhich!
Parking can be hell along Bridge Road but there is a carpark in Macro's basement (limited spaces) as well as a public one at the back of their building.
Macro Wholefoods Market - Richmond
153 Bridge Road
Labels: Food stores
Friday, July 07, 2006
I had a friend from Ireland visiting and she had never been to a winery before so I decided to take her to the Yarra Valley. My friend wanted to try some dessert wines and someone suggested "Dominique's up the road" so off we went to Dominique Portet.
Now I'm not a big rosé drinker (too many bad lolly water versions) however I tasted the Fontaine Rosé and hmmm I could drink it again! Unfortunately I didn't take notes so I can't provide you with a lovely description but the winemaker notes "The colour is crucial: subtle rose-gold - “Something inviting rather than obvious”. The palate is filled with elusive flavours of raspberry and guava, with a long savoury finish." I did take away a bottle or two so I'll sample and take notes at a later date! ;-) The winery also had a selection of cute French themed tableware for sale - good gifts!
870 Maroondah Hwy
Whilst we were in the Yarra Valley, we also lunched at the Yarra Valley Dairy - lunch being a cheese platter because the cafe is no longer. So if you're planning a day in the Valley, drop by even if it's to purchase something for home. Their Persian Fetta is brilliant crumbled over roasted pumpkin and pasta. Look up the map (Melways) it's too hard to describe how to get there!
Yarra Valley Dairy
(Melways ref: 275 C9)
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I was walking along Lygon St ("Little Italy") when I spotted this charcuterie (France in Little Italy!) and decided to wander in. On one side were shelves of Luc biscuits - "can get that elsewhere",- and walnut oil and homemade jams - "this is starting to look interesting" - then I turned around and saw the homemade sausages, pâté/rilette*, cheeses, terrines and even ready made dishes to take home. I knew I had to buy something!
*The difference, I think, is that rillete is more coarse and is cooked in fat.
I settled on cheese, pâté and of course, a baguette - Pavé d'Affinois and chicken, sage and brandy pâté to be specific. Not a diet menu but it was delicious! The cheese (literally "paving stone") is a soft cow's milk cheese similar to brie and it was oh so creamy (oops it's triple cream!) and oozed from the rind. The pâté was just as delicious... I will return.
La Parisienne Pâté
307 Lygon St
Labels: Food stores