Thursday, 11 December 2014

Getting Saucey

A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to join in an event where I could meet Manu Fiedel and learn about pork....... Ummmmm who would give up that opportunity?

Brought together by Mango Australia and Murray Valley pork I was able to not only meet Manu, but to sit and get a saucey interview with him about his cu
linary world.

Murray Valley Pork is an exquisite pork supplier only delivering to five star butchers around Australia. Farming their own produce, allowing for free range, and caring for every pig.

The quality and respect that Murray Valley put into their produce is amazing, respecting each pig each day and delivering the most amazing produce that I have worked with for some time.

Pork is actually my favorite protein and I will always get excited when I find pork on a menu or when I cook with it at home.

It is a misunderstood meat which apart from cooking bacon, people often over cook where it becomes dry and tasteless. Pork is actually an exceptional meet where is can be cooked just under and it holds a succulent juicy flavour. When you get to enjoy it in this state you too will be putting more pork on your fork for the coming days.

Cooking demonstrations presented by Manu allowed us to understand how the pork should be treated and delivering mouth watering recipes where you too can easily make at home and get the exact results. It was astounding how easy flavours can be captured into the pork and how simple flavours can become so delicious.

After a full day of learning how to treat the pork and tasting each dish, believe it or not I rushed home and cooked pork for dinner, one to make sure I didn't forget and two because it was that good.

In the coming weeks I will be creating some delicious recipes using Murray Valley pork and placing the recipes here for you to enjoy as well.

I am greatful that Murray Valley respect animal welfare and care for there produce to the high quality they do, delivering to us succulent juicy and flavoursome produce. I am also greatful that my butcher is one that offer Murray Valley, serving nothing but premium cuts.

Please look under the recipes section here to grab the assortments of recipes that were displayed by Manu on the day of which could end up on your menu for this Christmas. Otherwise Keep note of the recipes as they are great for  your dinners during the week and are actually very time compatible with even the busy lifestyles that most of us have.

It was a great day to understand pork and to get to taste the flavours of Manu's cooking. Please also venture to Murray Valleys web site (http://www.murrayvalleypork.com.au/)for great pork recipes and more details about what they pride themselves in with there produce.

A big thank you to Mango Australia (http://www.thisismango.com.au/) and especially to Jess for reaching out and inviting me to this sensational day.



Friday, 28 November 2014

Beef Cheek Ragu

Ingredients:
3 Carrots, peeled and diced
3 Celery, sticks peeled and sliced
1 Onion, peeled and diced
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Butter knob
4 Beef Cheeks
200ml White wine
500ml Beef Stock
Seasoning
Oregano
Bay Leaf
Orecchiette Pasta

Method:
Combine diced carrots, celery, onion and garlic in a slow cooker and sweat down with a knob of butter. Add in Oregano, Bay leaf, salt and pepper.


Add wine, stock and Beef cheeks into the slow cooker, cover and set on high for 8 hours.


After 8 hours your Beef cheeks should be tender and starting to fall part.
Remove cheeks from slow cooker and pull the meat.
Transfer stock to a smaller saucepan and season to taste. 
I added more salt and pepper with a touch of red pepper, cumin, caraway and hot chilli spice.
Transfer cheeks to pan and reduce on low for approx 1 hour or until you have a thick sauce consistency.


Cook up the Orecchiette pasta to al dente. I chose this style of pasta to catch the sauce, but you can choose any pasta of your choice. 
Gnocchi  or semolina pasta would be my next choice.
Once the Sauce is reduced to the the right consistency and your pasta is ready, drain the pasta and place in a bowl or plate. 
Top with ragu and finish with fresh shaved parmesan.


Serve with warm fresh bread, I would not choose garlic as the flavour in the ragu is very rich and flavoursome enough.
Complete your meal with a glass of vino and enjoy.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

We celebrate to eat

It's funny how we think that the only places to eat are in local cafes or restaurants and how dependant we come to relying on apps to find the great eateries.

Well I am here to say that at Melbourne Zoo they have outstanding food facilities that you are missing out on. 

Compass Group located at Melbourne and Werribee Zoo are delivering some magnificent catering.

Recently I was honoured to attend an event where to start we were presented with flavoursome canapes of:

- Smoked fish croquettes with yuzu mayo & furikake sprinkle
- Delicate Beet tarts with creamy goat curd and cumquat marmalade
- Wagyu bresaola with horseradish creme fraiche, red sorrel nestled on a potato gaufrette
- Eggplant and pecorino fritters with minted yoghurt

Add these with a glass of champagne in the warm summer breeze, and lions roaring in the background and you have a sensational concoction to celebrate

Mains alternate but of course I got my hands into try the dish beside me, when no one was looking (you learn to be sneaky when you need to steal someone else's meal to ensure you don't miss out).

- Medium rare porterhouse slithers adjoined with a magnificent and bursting with flavour mini beef and leek pot pie served with heirloom carrots and dressed leaves.
- Roasted half chicken with black barley pilav, shaved baby zucchini, dill and preserved lemon with whipped pine nuts

Mains delivered a juicy and scrumptious affair. 

The porterhouse and pot pie were rich in flavour and delivered such tenderness, whilst the chicken held a slight char flavour to the skin but was light and fresh accompanied with the whipped pine nuts. 

Is it bad that I wanted to eat more or at least lick my plate clean?

An astnishing event can never be finished until dessert has been served and devoured.

Caramel Parfait wiht clear apply jelly, salted almond praline and compressed apple salad.

This dish is one to write home about, that's for sure.Sweet creamy caramel parfait matched with the freshness of the apple wasn't just a sweet sensation; it cleansed the palate and made for a happy ending.

Executive chef Dianne Kerry and her outstanding brigade delivered a magnificent affair
that added to a perfect night.

The service of the team was friendly and attentive throughout, with smiled captured from the team making it an enjoyable evening beginning to end.

To join amongst friends in celebration and to have outstanding food service added to your night and truly made it for an evening to remember.

It's a place where you can not compare to any other night, to say you had a function at the zoo will create envy amongst others wishing they were in your shoes to experience the time you enjoyed.


Compass Group
Melbourne Zoo
1 Elliott Ave
Parkville
9285-9440

Friday, 21 November 2014

The secret ingredient is L O V E

Cooking is always supposed to have the special ingredient of love, as my Nanna used to say. Homestyle cooking is always what I adventure to find when eating out at smaller venues where family is the key to making the cafe or restaurant work.

There dedication shows from that first step you through the door through to the end of the farewell, and today I have found it.

Olive oil & Butter is a family restaurant making all there delights on premises and delivering sensational meals with great service. The cafe is quaint but homely with touches of Greek heritage through out.

From the moment we stepped in front of the door to enter we were greeted with a friendly smile and welcome. Settled down with specials explained and coffee orders taken instantly.

Brunch was in order but hard to decide on what to have. Everything sounds great. So with the trust of the staff I left it in there hands to decide for me, and they impressed.

A delicious and impressive dish of the Egg & Pumpkin breakfast was delivered and gave that WOW factor. Pumpkin and goat curd fritters with kaiserfleisch (similar to brisket), smears of pumpkin puree, poached eggs, pumpkin seed romesco sauce and a soft feta foam.

Poached eggs that if you cut them the wrong way you would be wearing the golden runny yolk. Creamy pumpkin pure and warm scone like fritters was a perfect choice for me.

The other meal on order was the Olive oil & Butter Special of eggs, artisian sausage, kaiserfleisch feta mushrooms, yiyantes (Greek style baked beans), lemonates patates (lemon potatoes) and a tasty housemade relish.

A hearty Greek inspired big breakfast and one that would make for a good crowd pleaser. Everything boomed with flavour but nothing that over powered from another. Once again poached eggs cooked to perfection which I find sometimes even in the most popular cafes is hard to deliver.

Now you can't shy away from a good piece of Saganaki and here I will tell you that this  was perfection. Golden pan fried Sheep's milk feta cheese was topped with fresh lemon juice and was smooth. No squeak as I say when eating it, and I know I have discussed Saganaki before.

I hate when you get a piece of Saganaki and when eating it you feel a squeak as though you have just brushed your teeth and  you rub your finger vigorously over the top to get that squeaky clean effect.

Here I am please to announce, that it is delightful.

Cakes and pastries are at the counter to satisfy that sweet tooth or perhaps if you have guests coming over and you need something to go with that cup of tea.

Everything made on site, and kept to the Greek traditional desserts which are always a good choice.

I always felt welcome to sit and felt more important when the staff took care in packaging the cakes and pastries when we were leaving.

I always say a smile goes a long way, and today it did. I will be more than happy to return and I want to tell you that you should try Olive oil & Butter and you should take friends, so they can tell more people.

I was so happy with my find of such a small family cafe, and they should be recognised for there achievements, food and service.

Till next time, I will be enjoying my pastries with my coffee this afternoon and reminiscing the magnificent Brunch I had. It truly made my day.



Olive Oil & Butter
196 Somerville rd,
Yarraville
9315 1060

Olive Oil & Butter on Urbanspoon

Monday, 10 November 2014

Not tonight Honey

We all have a time in our lives where we cringe at the fact that after a long days work you then have to return home and cook a meal. For some of us it's always, for others it's occasional but there is no denying that there hasn't been a time where all you want to get home change into your sweats or pyjama's and slump on the couch and have delivery bring you your dinner.

Lately moving into the west side of Melbourne we were discovering a shortage on good take away venues that delivered to our door, or still be open when we actually realised that it was getting to that time of evening where we should have taken something out of the freezer about 6 hours ago.

The stumble onto Menulog was a great option that was made aware to us, and to be honest we haven't looked back. A website where they don't just deliver the multiple option of cuisine, but the service is included through till the end, and for those who have used Menulog will understand what I am talking about, but the question is do you know the in's and out of what takes place?

So let me take you on a journey through Menulog and see why this is your saving grace to those nights where dirty pots and pans won't need to become dirty and your kitchen can stay clean for another night.

By placing in your post code to start it will filter the closest restaurants trading for both delivery and pick up. Shortly to follow you can scroll through the many choices in front of you which is listed by population or if you fancy something in particular choose to list in cuisine specific.

Once you have clicked and chosen look through the menu adding your meals into the cart, or it's not what you wanted or can't find what you need scroll back and begin in another restaurant.

Some things that excite me about this is that even if the restaurant is not open, you can always pre order.... yep that's right you can order early hours of the morning if you really want and plan for that night to be either ready for your drive home or at your door for the time you arrive home.

You can identify timings for the restaurants on when trade of your restaurant is available. If it displays a yellow button, the place is closed for that time and you can put in place your pre order.

As you order through each restaurant Menulog will accumulate the total purchases from there to allow you to receive discounts on further purchases.

Once you have chosen your cuisine, scanned through the menu and added your meal to the cart, it's time for you to check out.

Pay by card, PayPal or in cash, it's your choice. Once selected you finish off your details for delivery and let the service of Menulog take over.

You receive a text message for confirmation that your order has been received as well as a confirmation through email.

From there they follow through to the restaurant, and if they haven't confirmed with Menulog you will receive a phone call directly to inform you that first the restaurant has not responded and secondly your transaction will be cancelled and returned to you promptly.


Time of delivery will vary for each restaurant and the night you have ordered, to be expected but I have to say that we have not really had much variance in delivery time which was originally estimated through text.

Of course if you have concerns through the wait period it best be easier to contact the restaurant directly.

On average as you can tell by my wonderful screen shots it takes just a few minutes to enter your order and get through to your confirmation page. I think here it was approximately 3 minutes to order, now when you call someone directly you generally have to wait on a busy Friday at least 5 to even get through. Here there is no talking or time delay, apart from yourself.

After your meal jump back onto the restaurant that you ordered and assist them with feedback., so others can review your thoughts.

Menulog will also store previous orders for you to re-order if it was the perfect meal that you want time and time again.

It is unusual for me to promote something like this I know, but it has saved me from the worst of times when the last thing you want to think about is cooking (rare for me but reality). The choices are always extensive and everything is reasonable and best of all user friendly.

Get on the page and set up your account and happy eating.

Monday, 25 August 2014

An astonishing fair

Saturday morning in Melbourne where the skies are blue, the sun is shining can only inspire every coffee and breakfast lover to roll out of bed earlier and embrace this delightful day.

With the early morning rays over head and the peaceful back streets of Fitzroy brought me to Industry Beans. I have been following them for the past few weeks on social media and every day with out fail I envy anyone who was dining and enjoying there when I wasn't. Glutenous food porn photos only edged me more and more to be a fellow patron and discover the inspirational flavours along with a silky cup of joe.

An Industry Charcuterie was a luscious serve of delicate meats with Jamon Serrano (Spanish cured ham) and Duck bacon served with Manchegro cheese croquette, Pedro Ximenez soaked prunes, tea marbled egg with a salt cured yolk and a celeriac remoulade.

What a sensational starter for grazing the morning away in the sunshine. Rich but delicate flavours of the Duck bacon blends so well with the prunes that have soaked in Pedro Ximenez which is a Spanish grape variety often used in dessert sherry. The rich molasses flavours bring the added sweetness into the combination and adds depth as a whole when enjoying it with any part of the Charcuterie plate.

The tea marbled egg with its translucent salt cured yolk is delicate but adds a separate level of flavour. With it's almost spread like ability of the creamy salted yolk it adds into the meat flavours and cuts through the sweetness of the soaked prunes. A soft balance of the Spanish Manchegro cheese made from Sheep's
milk is soft on the palate but is creamy and delicate surrounded by a golden coating.

What I loved most about this is although the colossal amounts of rich flavours surround this platter there is a fresh element, and this even shows on the side dishes. On the Charcuterie platter we had a creamy soft Celeriac remoulade which did not remove the flavours we were meant to be experiencing, it just added or blended perfectly with the combinations.

Ordering a side of black pudding in most places is just that, but here at Industry Beans they hav
e thought about is more and served it with flavours of beetroot, fresh fennel and warm roasted apple. It's here where I get excited when menu planning has gone to the next stage of really thinking about the additional flavours, that make each element a perfect combination and you aren't wondering to yourself whether it really should be there on the plate or not.

On the sweeter side of our morning with the Almond crusted French toast. Thick soft golden pieces of French toasted bedded on velvety coffee custard, baked apples and served with the combination of lemon and rhubarb curd and coffee caviar.

The tartness of the lemon and rhubarb cuts into the creamy coffee custard that is so smooth and luscious and with the baked apple quarters it gels pleasantly together. It's not long before the plate is devoured and you are left licking the plate. The coffee caviar are fresh bursts of coffee so you don't loose that flavour with having such tartness from the curds.

Coffee here is an array of varieties to awaken any palate, and go for a cold drip selection to enhance your brew knowledge and toning.

The casual atmosphere and laid back feel, goes hand in hand with the smiling team, who with out you knowing has taken your order and delivered with out feeling as though there is a wait. Meals hitting the table promptly and gracefully with out a doubt is what you are hoping for and here it delivers.

Industry Beans are delivering you a fun beginning to your day with an inspirational menu, that will make you return and purchase some fresh beans to take on your way home. The dishes are eye catching and the menu reads enticingly making you bound out of bed to get down there before the morning rush hour.



Industry Beans
Crn Fitzroy and Rose Street
Fitzroy
9417 1034

Industry Beans on Urbanspoon

Monday, 28 July 2014

I have Gormandized

Fairly new to the scene and making a significant entrance would be Ascot Food Store. A perfect possie for anyone wanting an explicit menu followed by outstanding service, all with smiles and grace.

There is nothing on this menu, that I wouldn't want to eat. Every dish is exciting within itself, and for me it's like a kid in a lolly shop who can't decide whether to get the 5 mates for 5 cents or some musk sticks.

It's not a standard affair for breakfast dishes, it's bold luscious flavours intwined together to lift and gage the love of food that everyone is on the hunt for.


Wild pine mushrooms, with parsley garlic butter on a toasted brioche, delicate pecorina and finished with a rich duck egg sets a new standard to just mushrooms on toast.

Soft toasted brioche slice soaks the juices from the grilled mushrooms, and combined with a duck egg that has a runny golden yolk, truly takes you away from your morning blues. Mix it up with a little side of pork belly instead of bacon, and you have dies and gone to heaven.

Such bold flavours from the egg and the mushrooms mixed with the butter did scare me with the intensity of richness, but it is perfectly balanced.

Fried egg with green mango salsa, peanut praline and pork belly is a succulent dish that pork lovers can not pass.

Golden scrumptious pork belly falls apart and has a sweet mouth watering crackle. Balanced with a fried whole egg and off set with a refreshing green mango salsa and the nutty substance of praline is unusual but perfect.

Although finding this dish a little dry, however the runny yolk does fix this. Ensure that all compnants are eaten together to allow for an even better experience of joy when eating. Add a side of avocado and goats cheese, if you find it still to dry.

If you have a sweet tooth, you can't go past the coconut sago pudding served with freeze dried lychees, nigella seeds and resting in a lime syrup. Perfect sago I have to say and the best way I have has it in some time. Those bursts of freeze dried lychees were awesome and a fight to the last one when sharing.  Enjoyed with a  70% hot chocolate, it's not a disappointment.

Fresh delicate flavours with hints of zest but off set with the fresh bursts of raspberries makes for a very enjoyable dish...... maybe not for breakfast as for my taste a little too sweet for a first meal of the day, but hey.....  it you have that desire for pancakes first thing you would need to go for this or the other dish that caught my sweet tooth's eye was the brioche with spiced raspberries, macadamia nuts and creme fraiche. YUUUUM!

What I loved about Ascot Food Store was the amazing attentive service. I have never in my days had so many staff if I was enjoying my meal. It may sound as though it's almost too much, but it was done so casually those who don't work in the trade wouldn't think twice about it.

The team was under the pump and everything was done briskly and they are all still smiling. No intense ringing of bells for service, not loud chatter from other waiters, no screaming of coffee orders, it was peaceful and a perfect enjoyment.

I have certainly found my new haven in my hood. And I know I will be going back, because I have to get through this amazing menu, I don't want to miss out on any dish.




Ascot Food Store
320 Ascot Vale rd
Moonee Ponds
9370 2649

Ascot Food Store on Urbanspoon