Fun filled weekend – The Forage

After hours of eating at the AAA BBQ festival, my friend and I decided to go up the car park at the Little National Hotel located in Barton and check out Hustle and Scout before eating again at The Forage. She had been to The Forage previously when it was last held at the Kingston Old Bus Depot and said that The Forage this time was much bigger and had much more variety of food stalls. It looked like they upped their food game.

We had to be careful how much we ate because I still had my heart set on dinner somewhere specific even after the days events. Please note that more friends joined us so we didn’t eat all this between just the two of us.

Starting from the top left (clockwise):

Miss Van’s fried chicken wings garlic and sriracha marinade  ($8.00). This was a fabulous way to start the event. The chicken wings didn’t take long to be served and they were hot and crispy with lots of flavour. I hope they eventually add this permanently to their Westside menu.

Yang’s Malaysian food truck chicken wings with mamee noodles and slaw ($8.00?). The chicken didn’t taste as good as Miss Van’s but we all really enjoyed the slaw and loved the addition of the mamee noodles.

Yang’s Malaysian food truck Roti canai with chicken curry. I loved the flaky buttery texture of the roti and the delicious curry didn’t make it soggy even when you’re a slow eater.

B St. Bakery white chocolate mudcake with raspberries, white chocolate ganache and vanilla buttercream. TimmyC ran off somewhere and came back with this slice cake, I thought it would be too rich but I could have easily eaten the whole piece of cake myself. Everything was just sweet enough and it had a great dense texture while looking beautiful.

54 Benjamin’s house made peach and lime soda ($5.00). Eating and shopping can be hard work, so a refreshing drink was a must and this was perfect!

Dream cuisine short bread ($3.00 a piece). I had a ‘sample piece’ knowing it was going to be delicious and it was! The crumbly short bread texture had a great buttery taste with a subtle salt finish leaving you wanting more. Unfortunately TimmyC ate most of my short bread, dammit I should have bought more!The new location was nice and spacious but not knowing the Barton area well, it was harder to find parking. Everyone looked like they really enjoyed themselves and the weather had cooled to a nice temperature by the time we got there. I wonder if they will keep the event here?This had to be the saddest thing about the event, when Get Lucky sold out of ice cream sandwiches before I got there. 😦I always thought the timing of the event was odd but now they have changed the time to 3pm – 8pm which at least covers a meal time (previously it was 2pm -7pm). I really enjoy the Forage and Hustle and Scout as it pairs two of my favourite things: food and shopping. I hope they only get bigger and better from here.

Tuesday eats, Sunday treats

I have had this idea when I first started my blog however many years ago and I have finally gotten around to writing it.

When I stayed with TimmyC’s family for a few years, his Mum thought it was ridiculous that there were so many able bodied people in the house yet she was cooking every night of the week. That’s when the concept of designated cooking was born.

We were all to choose one night of the week and cook dinner for the family. TimmyC and I chose Tuesdays as we were most likely to be home, his Dad chose Sundays, his brother flipped somewhere between Thursdays and Saturdays but we were never home to try his cooking and his Mum filled in the gaps. Fast forward a few years later, TimmyC and I had moved out but we kept with the tradition of Tuesday night dinners, his family would come over for dinner and they would bring dessert and we would go over on Sunday nights and it would be our turn to bring dessert. Hence the name: Tuesday eats, Sunday treats.

We have been cooking Tuesday dinners for over 7 years now and we attempt to mix it up a little, trying new things when we feel adventurous but now if I’m documenting Tuesday and Sundays maybe I’ll up the ante a bit more. It feels like we are on one of those cooking shows where they cook a meal in a time limit, TimmyC and I both work full time so dinner has to be made with less than 1.5hrs prep for 6-8 people (one could argue I could prep things the night before but we just aren’t that organised), two of which are vegetarian. I’m not vegetarian myself but I feel that just ‘omitting the meat’ doesn’t make the best vegetarian meal so I usually go out of my way to make another dish which is vegetarian friendly. When we come home, it looks like an Ajax commercial where we are frantically trying to prepare the meal, clear the dining table and set it for dinner guests.

When we first started cooking together, I remember yelling at TimmyC a lot. His cooking experience was limited and he would do silly things like walk around with a sieve full of icing sugar without anything underneath. Seven years later, we have both found our groove and work cohesively in the kitchen, cleaning up as we go (it’s the easiest way to do it) but I am still ‘head chef’ as TimmyC usually doesn’t know what we cooking until on the night, where as I have thought about the weather, what is in season, what vegetarian option would be equivalent and the most efficient order to do things in.


Tuesday eats

What better way to start than with last night’s Tuesday’s dinner (yes I’m posting this late). I’m still not feeling 100% so I chose the easy option of pasta bake as I had ample pasta, cheese and vegetables. Even at the age of 30 I have to ‘hide’ extra vegetables in my meal so I won’t notice it and this is definitely one meal that you can do that with. I usually make my own sauce but while I was at the shops buying a roast chicken I grabbed some pre-made pasta bake sauces as well *gasp*.

I sautéed some diced carrots, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red capsicum corn kernels off the cob (basically all the vegetables I had) and garlic. I just wanted to soften the vegetables, cook the pasta, stir the sauce and vegetables through, throw it in a baking dish and top with ample cheese and throw it in the oven. That way all the oven has to do is melt the cheese because everything is already cooked and ready to go.

I would usually make another vegetarian dish but this was easy to substitute the meat for something else. I spooned enough mixture to fill a loaf dish into a bowl and threw in some diced grilled haloumi so there was a salty aspect to the dish and for the rest of the pot of pasta I stirred through some roast chicken pieces (all cooked and ready to go, all I had to do was shred the meat and eat the limbs as a perk of being in the kitchen, another aspect to make this dish ‘easy’).

The more colour the better! I also tossed in handfuls on basil that I had in the fridge, I should really stop buying it unless I have an intended use for it.Bread leaves the table as quickly as it is placed down so I usually have some sort of bread as a side. To contrast against so much carbs and heavy food, I wanted to serve dinner with a side of crispy refreshing salad. I looked up a recipe for apple and celery salad and came across one that had a tangy dressing to go with sweet apples. I also changed the dice of the apple and celery so it was matchsticks rather chunky like the pasta bake.

When we first made this dressing, I thought we would need more of it but it is rather quite strong so it only needs a light coating.I love a good golden brown cheesy top! I also added some sesame seeds for extra calcium.Dinner is served! The pasta bake sauce I used was a bit spicy and really lifted the flavours of vegetables and cheese.
Sunday treats

I get random cravings for sweet things and this week I wanted an apple tea cake with a crumble topping. It might sound really specific but I haven’t had cake like this before but it made it easy and specific to google. I used taste.com‘s recipe and accidentally whipped cold-ish butter with sugar and eggs rather than beating the eggs and sugar first and adding melted butter in. Silly me, I was multi-tasking and also making a chicken stock. It still turned out alright, I would have preferred a more moist cake but maybe it was the way I mis-read the instructions. I think I would make this again and maybe substitute some of the butter for apple sauce for a healthier option (and it might make it more moist?) and also change the crumble recipe for a more crunchy version. The apple tea cake with crumble topping was a little dry for my liking but I served it with TimmyC’s freshly made and still warm custard so you couldn’t tell.

Dyslexia rewards

I’ve been talking to my sister about stealing her T2 chai tea but my Mum for some reason thought I wanted chia seeds and therefore bought me a huge bag of it when she went to Costco. Bless her cotton socks; she dragged it all the way back on the train in her little trolley so I couldn’t refuse it.

I have zero idea of what to do with it (so any ideas would be welcome!). It wasn’t until my sister requested homemade granola for her birthday did I think to sneak some in. The chia seeds didn’t add anything taste wise but it is supposed to be very good for you. My whole house now smells like maple syrup. Yum!Chia, chai… Let’s call the whole thing off!IMG_9377

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Recipe: strawberry and baby spinach salad

You don’t win friends with salad, but you will with this one. The warmer months are upon us and what says Summer more than sweet strawberries and a refreshing light salad.

What’s in the salad? You guessed it- Strawberries and baby spinach image

Strawberry and baby spinach salad

Ingredients~

1 x 250g punnet of strawberries sliced     1 x packet of baby spinach

1/2 cup vegetable oil                                       1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup white sugar                                         1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons sesame seeds                         1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Method~

1). Toss the baby spinach and strawberries together

2). Combine all the other ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together.

3). Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving.

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It’s a simple recipe with maximum impact. It is not your usual combination and it has beautiful colours (coincidentally Christmas colours!). The only downside is that it’s not a first date food, check your teeth for seeds before smiling at everyone. 

Recipe: Armenian Nutmeg Cake

I’m not nuts for nuts, especially in my cake, so I was surprised to find my unusual addiction for a cake that a co-worker made was filled with them! I don’t usually do this but I just had to ask for the recipe!

It fills the house with the scent of beautiful nutmeg and eating it warm is truly magical. I know you’re supposed to use freshly ground nutmeg but I only had bought nutmeg powder and it still tasted pretty darn good.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake (courtesy of Annabel- thanks!)

2 cups SR flour                         1 egg

1.5 cups brown sugar                2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 

1 cup milk                                0.5 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp bicarb soda                       125 g butter or margarine

Combine sifted flour and sugar and rub in butter. Press about half of the mixture firmly into the base of a deep greased or baking-papered tin. I use an 8 inch square tin but an 8 or 9 inch round one is fine too. Dissolve soda in milk, add egg and nutmeg, beat well. Add this into remaining mixture and beat again. Then pour it onto the base already in the tin (it will be very runny).  Sprinkle with walnuts. Bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.

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!