Melbourne Series – Queen Victoria Markets

——-29/10/2011——-

I always manage to make to time visit the Queen Victoria Market when I’m in town, more specifically the cake shop and borek stand @ the QVM! I love the colour and taste of their bubblegum flavour macaron that I haven’t seen anywhere else and Timmy likes the Turkish delight one.

We bought 4 for $10.50

Bubblegum: it’s as beautiful as it is delicious and the flavour and is spot on!

Tiramisu: very strong coffee flavour though I did find a patch of chocolate filling in my last bite.

Turkish delight: if you love Turkish delight, you’ll love this! It’s incredible when a macaron filling mimics another sweet so similarly but with such a different texture it makes your was think twice.

Salted caramel: Okay, not one of the better ones that I’ve had.

Usually afterwards I need a savoury snack, so I head to the adjacent stall where they make fresh hot boreks on the premises. A lamb borek- fresh, hot and slightly chili- YUM!

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Melbourne Series – Cacao Green

——-28/10/2011——-

Saturday night

Dessert time! Last time I was in Melbourne this store wasn’t opened yet. It came highly recommended because of their all natural, organic and fairtrade products, oh and its supposed to be very delicious too 

From the website:

“Unlike other branded products that often contain artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, or excessive calories from sugar or fat, our frozen yogurt is made with natural ingredients, non-fat, and contains nutrients and probiotics that are good for your health. We want to share the best tasting healthy non-fat fruity yogurt with you.”

Besides frozen yoghurt there is also waffles!

There are many frozen yoghurt flavours including chocolate, italian orginal and french strawberry (seasonal). You can add different fruits, nuts and toppings to your frozen yoghurt.

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Melbourne Series – Noodle Kingdom

——-28/10/2011——-

Saturday night

With so many places to eat in Melbourne, I find it very hard to choose. One of our friends said that they knew a place that had dumplings, close to the theatre and was very reasonably priced. He didn’t need to say anything more, he had me at dumplings 

Hand made noodles made on premises.

Despite the name, we were there for another reason. DUMPLINGS!

Pork buns

Xiao long bao

Fried dumplings- pork and chives

Boiled dumplings- pork and chives

Even after eating so many dumplings, we had to at least try some hand made noodles (before ordering more dumplings). 

Chicken with hand made noodles- I can’t remember the exact name of this dish, but I’ve described the jist of it. It was very very hot, you could tell it was fresh noodles though.

I only took a photo of each type of dish, but I didn’t let you know how many plates we ordered of each  (with no dumpling was left standing) and it still only came to less than $15 per person! Bargain!

Don’t expect table cloths and chandeliers, but if you’re going to give me delicious dumplings and serve huge bowls of noodles (I saw other tables order this) at good prices, I won’t complain. 

Venue: Noodle Kingdom

Address: CBD, 175 Russell St, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 96542828


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Melbourne Series – macarons at Ala folie

——-28/10/2011——-

While we were waiting at the airport, Timmy asks me if I had planned out all the meals for the weekend. Quite the opposite in fact! I had planned nothing, no ‘out of the way’ bakeries (which I did in Sydney) or go searching for tucked away ramen places (which I have done previously in Melbourne), this time I was just going with the flow. But as it turns out, you can’t turn a corner without finding somewhere with macarons in Melbourne CBD. Just like fashion trends, food also has an ‘in’ thing, a few years ago it was cupcakes (which I gladly followed and made hundreds of) and now it’s macarons (which I have gladly followed and eaten hundreds of).

After checking into the hotel, we go for a little stroll and we loose ourselves amongst the cute lane ways and arcades filled with cafes and boutique stores. We walk past Ganache chocolate, the Lindt cafe and Haighs all within a few metres of each other, then we finally find ourselves in the Royal arcade with our noses pressed up against the glass of a cute stand alone stall of Ala folie.

Flavours we chose (@ $3.00 a pop)

Jasmin and white chocolate- tasted like a delicious jasmin tea infused filling

Dulce de leche- tasted like a wafer biscuit, a bit dry

Vanilla- you could see all the vanilla bean speckles- YUM!

Caramel- it was nice, but not the nicest I’ve had

Raspberry- not very memorable

Maestral – a real catch (of the day)!

——-09/11/2011——-

I was told by some of my foodie friends- 1). I have to go to Maestral in Weston Creek 2). I would have to book if I wanted to get into Maestral 3). I HAVE to order the seafood stew which is one of their specialties (and the veal medallions are also highly recommended). 2 out of the 3 ain’t too bad right?

From the website: 

“At Maestral you can enjoy the best of authentic Croatian Mediterranean cuisine – the taste of the Adriatic. With a cuisine influenced from around the Mediterranean, fresh seafood dishes and char-grilled prime fillet steaks, you are sure to enjoy your visit to Maestral.”

Antipasto platehome smoked prosciutto and pork neck, cheese, bread sticks and olives.

Specials board- mmmmm what to order? Everything sounds delicious.

Maestral seafood platter for 2Catch of the day (blue eye cod), oysters, lightly fried potatoes, soft shell crab, jumbo prawns, scampi, fresh garlic aioli and a fresh garden salad ($90.00). 

Despite all the recommendations I was given, I had a craving for fresh seafood so there was nothing better to order than a seafood platter! Everything was delicious- the oysters and prawns were fresh, the potatoes were very addictive and the scampi was very sweet. 

Although my friend and I said that we were really full after eating the seafood platter, we had apparently set aside another stomach for dessert.

My friend being spoilt for choice with Croatian cakes at home didn’t want anything on the dessert menu but crepes! She asked for the crepes ($10.00) to be rolled not folded and requested if they had home-made jam (they had apricot). I just looked at the waitress with a confused look and just asked for the same, she knows what she’s doing.

I liked the crispy edges but I don’t know if I could finish both crepes next time, they are pretty filling.

I would definitely come here again for my seafood cravings, it is the best seafood I’ve had in a while in Canberra. There are still so many things I’d like to try on the menu plus “I HAVE to try the seafood stew”. 

Venue: Maestral

Address: 13 Ternerry St, Weston, ACT 2611

Phone: (02) 6287 3930

Website: http://maestral.com.au/

Maestral on Urbanspoon

Thanksgiving special

Thanksgiving didn’t really mean anything to me except that my favourite American shows were on hiatus for a week and there were black Friday and cyber Monday sales that followed, so this year my boss invited me over for a ‘real American thanksgiving’.

The table is is set, decorated nicely and ready to go!

What’s an American dinner without some corn syrup.

I have a thing for gorgeous cutlery and matching crockery *excited squeal* 

I was talking to the Americans about some Thanksgiving meals, it’s apparently not unheard of to have a ‘snickers salad’ or marshmallow fluff on top of yams or marshmallow fluff on top of anything really! How bizarre!

The turkey– so I’ve never bought or cooked a turkey before. This baby was an unfrozen bird which was left cooking for 3hrs on the BBQ and would set you back $120. The meat was very moist and juicy.

With all the trimmings

Unstuffed stuffing- mmmm this was really nice

And more importantly- the gravy!

Thanksgiving dinner is served! Assorted dinner rolls, turkey, gravy, stuffing, fluffy mashed potato, cranberry sauce, yams with pecans and asparagus.

Like the main (and the cutlery) wasn’t fabulous enough. They also had time to make 3 separate desserts- pumpkin pie (cold), pecan pie (warm) and cherry and apricot crumble (warm). Mmmm I’ve discovered I love me some pumpkin pie! YUM!  
  

Thanksgiving is a time to remember what we have and what we are grateful for which I think we should do more often. Now I’ll also remember it as a time that we should have a big joyous delicious dinner with friends and loved ones and I think we should do that more often too    

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

In keeping with all things German and delicious, I thought it was fitting to post this next (several months late- sorry!). A lovely German scientist bought in an awesome cheese cake for his birthday. When he cut me a piece, I spent the next 15 minutes sniffing it, it smelt oh so amazing! It was only when my office room mate threatened to eat it if I didn’t did I start digging my fork in! 

It was so delicious and had the perfect texture for a cheesecake, I just had to ask him for the recipe. He has kindly translated it and let me share it with you. He has also substituted the traditional quark for low fat Philadelphia (the version which I ate) as it is more readily available here.

I told him that he should have his birthday more often! 

  Russischer Zupfkuchen or “Russian pulling cake”                                                                             for a spring form with a diameter of 28 cm

Dough:
375 g Wheat Flour
40 g Cocoa Powder
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
200 g Sugar
Vanilla Essence
1 Egg
200 g Soft Butter

Filling:
250 g Butter
500 g Low Fat Quark/Curd Cheese (in Australia we use Low Fat Philadelphia)
200 g Sugar
Vanilla Essence
3 Eggs
40 g Vanilla Custard Powder

Preparation of dough:
Mix flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in a bowl. Then add all other ingredients and mix with dough hook, first on low setting, later on higher. (If it is way too dry and powdery, add just a teeny bit of water, but take care that it does not get moist either.) Form the dough to a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into the fridge for 30 min. Grease the bottom of the spring form with some butter. Use nearly half of the dough ball for the base of the cake and another quarter to make a wall around the sides of the spring form approximately 2 cm high.

Preparation of filling:
Warm the butter so that it is soft but not hot. Homogenize all ingredients with an egg beater in a bowl. Put the filling onto the cake base and smooth it on top.

Pluck pieces out of the remaining quarter of the dough and place them on top of the filling. Put the cake into a pre-heated oven for approximately 65 minutes, at 180°C no fan/160°C fan forced.

Thanks Alexander!  Happy belated birthday! 

Guten Appetit!

People have been talking about Zierholz premium brewery for a long time which I didn’t really take much interest as I don’t drink beer, but once they started talking about delicious German food my ears pricked up! Located out in Fyshwick, this brewery has a variety of beers on tap, locally sourced wines and best of all- pork belly!

You can get a sample paddle where there is a taster of 7x 60ml beer samples and afterwards get a half pint of your choice.

Zierholz Sharing Platter (min. 2 people) Chef’s selection of sausages, pork belly & schnitzel, accompanied by salad & mash ($22.00 p.p) Everything is delicious on this platter but the pork belly crispness seems to vary from visit to visit.
 

Fried Garlic Mushrooms with spinach & quark cheese on toasted foccacia ($14.90). I had heard about quark cheese from a German scientist at work so I wanted to try it (it’s ok, I’ve had the tasting platter before  ). It had the texture of a smooth ricotta cheese and it went really well with the balsamic, mushrooms and spinach. A great alternative if you don’t like pork or copious amounts of meat.

Sticky date pudding served warm, sticky and gooey, delicious!

Apple strudel served warm with icecream. I’m glad that we made room for dessert!

Another time we came we were able to get the ‘Banquet 1’  ( min. of 6 guest ) ($25.00 p.p) which came with garlic bread (so delicious- I know it’s just garlic bread), wedges, sausages, pork belly, schnitzel, salad and sauerkraut.

You don’t have to get the platter or mushrooms to be impressed, friends have also tried the pie of the day, steak sandwich & wedges and trio of sausages and no one has been disappointed.

Although I have been here several times, I’ve never had a pork knuckle here-next time definitely!

Pork Knuckle serve with sauerkraut, braised cabbage, mash ($26.00). Available Friday, Saturday & Sunday (subject to availability)

Opening hours:

Monday Closed

Tuesday -Wednesday 11:30am – 3:30pm (or later)

Thursday – Sunday 11:30am – 9:30pm (or later)

Zierholz Premium Brewery on Urbanspoon

Grazing

——-22/10/2011——-

You know I’ll go anywhere for food when I start heading interstate just for dinner.  

When my lovely friends asked me if I’d like to join them at Grazing, I jumped at the chance as I have been wanting to go for quite some time (and it had been way too long since I had last seen them). While driving through the quaint town of Gundaroo, I was intrigued by the little town, so much so that I would love to go back during the day for a browse.

The rustic charm of the building surrounded by gorgeous flowers and vines.

After bounding around from room to room to check out all the other spaces within the restaurant (I like all the different colours, multiple fireplaces and artworks in each room), I finally sat down to study the menu.

Bread-  fresh baked light rye bread with La Barre blood plum finishing vinegar and Yass olive oil ($2.00 each)

Entrees ($17.00)

Prawns- pancetta rolled prawns, white bean custard, apple slaw and parsley mayonnaise. My eyes widen as I was eating the white bean custard, I love it so much that I had to check the menu again to see what it was. Yum!

Roulade- duck and veal roulade wrapped in Kyeema vince leaves with smoked potato mousse and eggplant.

Olive raviolo- herbed pasta filled with ricotta, mixed olives and semi dried tomatoes, with wilted spinach, chives & browned butter lemon sauce.

Mains ($33.00)

Lamb- lamb cutlets and slow cooked lamb shoulder with stinging nettle, minted potatoes and spring peas, with confit tomato hollandaise. It was a weird feeling to eat stinging nettle and there is no proper way to describe it but that it melted in your mouth. And the lamb? Oh so delicious! Spectacular!

Beef- grass fed beef fillet with mustard, spinach, broad bean and tarragon crush and potato salad. I didn’t take any ‘after’ shots as there was nothing left but a little bit of sauce left on the plate. If I wasn’t with company (or surrounded by witnesses) I may have licked the plate. Amazing tender beef.

Barramundi- farmed barramundi with squid ink pasta ribbons, La Barre olive oil poached black olives, capers and wild caught octopus. Lucky for me, my friend doesn’t eat octopus, so between mouthfuls of tender beef, I had bites of soft non chewy fresh octopus. 

Desserts ($16.00)

Bavorois- delicate buttermilk bavarois with strawberries, pink peppercorn meringue, blood orange segments and consomme. I’ve eaten a lot of desserts in my time, but never one floating in a consomme (how fancy!). The bavorois was very very creamy, not too much in the way of taste but the consomme made up for that.

Bread and butter puddingrum and raisin soaked bread and butter pudding with candied walnut ice-cream and sherry poached grapes. I didn’t get to try this as I was too busy munching into my own dessert but when I looked up the plate was empty so it must have been good!

Chocolate- baked chocolate fudge terrine with frosted blueberries, espresso marshmallow and pine nut flavoured ice-cream. I was going to get this, but the mere description of a chocolate terrine made me savour for ham. Surprisingly it wasn’t too sweet and it was so delectable I almost finished off my friend’s dessert after finishing my own.  I would definitely order this next time.

This painting made me giggle.

After such a fabulous dinner with delicious food (and splendid company) where you can taste the freshness of the produce, I can easily see how this made the top 20 restaurants in the area. The staff were very friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.

I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why there were so few people in the dining room on a Saturday night when it was such an awesome restaurant, until finally when I went to the bathroom. It was beyond a door that lead to an adjoining function room where loud music was playing for a lovely wedding reception. Ooooh… That’s where all the people are.

I would love to come back out here again to try more things on the menu and maybe even come back and do a few repeats if the menu is the same.

Venue: Grazing

Address: Cork Street, Gundaroo, NSW 2620

Opening hours:     Lunch Fri- Sun and most public holidays

                                      Dinner Thurs- Sat

Phone: (02) 62368777

Entertainment book: Yes, on the gold card! Bargain!

Websitehttp://www.grazing.com.au/

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