Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A feel good moment

We all love to sit and relax and put on a movie from time to time, and you can't say no to movies that contain a 'Feel Good' moment.

Movies such as Ratatouille, Julie and Julia, Chef just to name a few (the list is endless) really makes you warm and yet slightly more hungry.... theres no denying it.

So you better go and pop some popcorn smother it in melted butter then mix it up with some maltesers because theres a new Culinary movie out and it will wish you had smell TV.

The hundred food journey is about a family who leave their home behind and travel to France to start a new beginning with there gastronomic flavours and put the spice in to peoples lives. A charming setting and a step into the culinary world.

Heres a story about hopes and dreams that for any food lover could picture themselves in and hoping it could be them.

As every movie does this family movie creates competition between to rivals, but includes good humour and understanding into how 2 restaurants strive to be better with there flavours and produce.

But as time passes the dedication of 1 chef stands out and brings the perfect combination of flavours and really makes you want to be there to enjoy it even more.

The true beginnings of just a cook who becomes world famous as he embarks on grand adventures through the combination of 2 cultures.

Produced by Stephen Speilburg and Oprah Winfrey, this movie truly brings out the good in the culinary world and shows how magical a combination of flavours and techniques can add to ones life.

If you are one who enjoys good culinary movies, this is one that will bring joy into your lives. After watching it made me want to get into the kitchen and create meals and experiment with flavours. If they can do it why cant you?

The Hundred Foot Journey is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Thank you to Chloe from  Mango Communications ( ) for bringing this masterpiece to me.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Asian Pork Tacos

1 small Pork Shoulder (Murray Valley)
1 ltr Vegetable stock
1 tsp Ground black pepper
1 tsp Salt (extra for crackle)
1 chopped onion
2 tbsp Soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp Shao hsing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil (plus drizzle for crackle)
1 avocado
1 carrot - greated and shredded
1/4 cabbage red - shredded
1/2 bunch coriander - torn
3 sprigs of spring onion - chopped
2 sticks of celery - finely chopped
1 red chilli - finely diced
Kepi Sesame Mayonnaise
Taco shells - hard or soft, dependant on preference

Remove skin from pork shoulder and set aside on a lined baking tray. In a slow cooker or deep pot place stock, shoulder, seasoning and chopped onion. On a medium to low heat slow cook shoulder until tender and is easy to pull apart. Estimated 6-8 hours dependant on size of shoulder.

Rub Salt and drizzle skin with sesame oil. Place skin in oven to make golden crisp crackle. Remove and allow to cool. One cool, chop into bite sized pieces - almost like a crumble

When shoulder is tender remove from stock and allow to cool. With a fork begin to sherd up the shoulder into small sizes. 

In a medium fry pan place sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine and oyster sauce and combine. Transfer shredded pork and coat evenly. Add some of the stock from slow cooking if you would like more of a runny sauce. To balance flavours add a little more oyster and rice wine to bring out more of a BBQ flavour.

In a bowl combine all fresh ingredients apart from avocado, stir through the Kepi sesame Mayonnaise.

Warm up taco shell and lay fresh slaw on the base of the shell. Top with shredded pork and finish with either diced fresh avocado or the crackle crumble.

Note: I used Murray Valley pork for this recipe, it provides great flavour and delivers a succulent and tender result every time. To find out where you can find Murray Valley produce please follow the link provided.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A feeding Frenzy

With the wonderful flavours of Chin Chin comes a quaint yet vibrant place in Richmond Kong BBQ.

Delicious Korean BBQ with a friendly and energy filled atmosphere was defiantly delivered. Greeted with large smiles from the staff and a warm welcome that followed set the mood for what was to be an exciting experience.

With drinks ordered I was brought into a true feeding frenzy where there was too many options. My excitement was through the roof, perhaps a little squeal may have come out with all the excitement.

On the short order we decided to share some smaller plates (of course) to ensure we didn't miss out on too much.

Trying a couple of buns to begin, tantalised my appetite to say the least. A bun of soft shell crab with salted duck egg relish and coriander was delicate and rich. The other was a Peanut butter salt and pepper tofu with burnt chilli mayo. A combination of sweet sour and chilli combined with a hint of satay was extraordinary and delicious.

To follow were the Hot wings with Gochujang and chipotle and Tuna tartare with yuzu koshu, red apple, pork crackling and squid ink.

Chicken wings smothered with a sweet yet spicy gochujang and chipotle was finger licking delightful. Chicken cooked to perfection and flavours bursting. Glad to have some refresher towels for after as I did need to clean up a bit.... what? they were good. I'm not guilty that sauce was smeared on my cheek, I was happy.

The Tuna tartare was succulent and refreshing. I had to slow down so that I could value the combinations of flavours more. Fresh apples with pork crackling and the yuzu koghu sauce was perfection.

Mains saw the BBQ tray, filled with pulled chicken and pork with Pork belly and beef brisket served with lettuce, pickled veg and kimchi and walnut ssamjang.

Using chemical free charcoal and sustainable  Australian wood, the meats on the platter were all tender and tasty. Each holding a variance of char flavours dependant on how they were treated.

The idea is to grab a lettuce leaf, add your choice of meat and top it off with some pickle veg and the walnut ssamjang. The flavours were impeccable and meats still so succulent you could capture stunning flavours as you created. we did also add some slaw to the side to add another field of freshness to the dish.

Sweets of course were always on the menu with an Apple and walnut tart with miso butterscotch and Japanese whisky ice cream and also the coconut sago with a passionfruit and pnapple trifle.

I enjoyed both but found the tart to be a little to sweet by /2 way. Scrumptious though but I am finding with age I am heading away from sweeter creations (I know I know, the fudge queen is saying this. I make it but rarely eat it).

The sago was light and flavoursome, a refreshing finish to a tasteful experience.

Kong BBQ is certainly delivering you some outstanding dishes within a vibrant atmosphere. Best thing is that if there full, you can organise take away - SCORE!

With a menu this good, you would want to be returning until the menu is complete.

Kong BBQ
599 Church Street
9427 1307

Kong BBQ on Urbanspoon

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 and Interview Manu Fiedel and learn about pork....... Ummmmm who would give up that opportunity?

Brought together by Mango Australia, Murray Valley pork and Highpoint Shopping Centre I was able to not only meet Manu, but to sit and get a saucey interview with him about his culinary world. I was able to get the saucey information that a lot of people want to know.

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 ( great pork recipes and more details about what they pride themselves in with there produce.

A big thank you to Mango Australia ( and especially to Jess for reaching out and inviting me to this sensational day.

To finish off, here's the Voxpop of Manu and I getting into a saucey interview. Hope you enjoy

Friday, 28 November 2014

Beef Cheek Ragu

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
Bay Leaf
Orecchiette Pasta

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

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,
9315 1060

Olive Oil & Butter on Urbanspoon