Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Gingerbread Cheesecake

Ingredients:

125g Melted Butter
220g Gingersnap biscuits
80g Granita Biscuits
750g Cream Cheese
300g Sour Cream
150g Caster sugar
3 tsp Ground ginger
1.5 tsp mixed spice
Caramel topping
4 Eggs

To decorate:
Mini gingerbread men
Rock candy
Caramel wafers


Method:

Pre Heat Oven on a low 150c
Grease and line a spring form circular baking tin and line with baking paper.
In a processor, pulse down your biscuits to a fine crumb. 
Add melted butter and mix well together.

Press biscuit mix on the base of baking tin and make a wall around the sides.
Place tin in fridge to set.

Clean your processor and combine cream cheese, sour cream and sugar to a smooth consistency.
Add in your dry spices and blend in eggs 1 at a time.

Remove tin from fridge. Pour in 1/2 your cheese cake mix and swirl in some caramel topping.
Pour in remaining mix and repeat process with topping.

Place cake into pre heated oven for 1 hour.
When finished, slightly open oven door and leave to cool inside oven.

To serve, top your cheesecake with mini gingerbread men. You can also finish it in your own style with popping candy rocks, chocolate or wafers.

Enjoy.


Bakers note: to make lining of a baking tray easier, rinse your baking paper under cold water to soften it. It becomes more flexible and easier to line trays.

Have a Pleasant Day

There's nothing to be said when you find a location that is quaint and peaceful, and for those that struggle in the morning it's always a blessing in disguise when you stumble upon it.

John Gorilla Cafe is tucked in the back streets of Brunswick west and although a popular choice with the locals, it remains to be a charming and relaxing.

I enjoy the places where they are the perfect balance of busy, not over crowded but continues to have full tables inside and out. People aren't sitting of laps of the unknown and you can't hear the conversations of others.

Walking through the doors you are greeted by staff from a high counter filled with daily baked goods. Now I say high because I'm a shorty, for others it's probably just regular size. Anyway........

Seating can be chosen from street, to inside or out back in the courtyard (my choice every time).

The menu speaks simplistic flavours but each dish is packed of bold flavours making for an astonishing breakfast.

On my first visit I had the pleasure of eating the fritters of corn and jalapeño served with coriander salsa and relish, adding a slather of salty bacon enhances the enjoyment of a very huge breakfast that you need to defeat.


On the second time around were the beautiful picture perfect Brioche French Toast with fresh blood oranges, lime zest, toasted coconut and a ball of black sesame ice cream. Finish it with the glorious golden syrup and be whisked away to happiness.

Between each of my visits the service quality has been sublime, packed with consistent check ins and also the random conversations.

Coffee is of medium blend and great quality every time. Grab a take away coffee and get creative as you design the next take away coffee lid as you wait. Leaving for fun daily randomness, which is always good for personal amusements.

It is easy to relax as time goes by at John Gorilla and am so pleased to have it so close by to me.


John Gorilla
49 Pearson Street
Brunswick West
9005 8680

John Gorilla Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Monday, 4 January 2016

Salted Caramel Pretzel Biscuit



Ingredients:
2 cups Self-raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
200 g softened salted butter
4 table spoons golden syrup
mini pretzels


Method:

Pre heat your oven to 180c

Cream together sugar and butter

Continue to blend and add syrup. Combined until mix if fluffy

Add in flour and mix until well combined.

On a flat baking tray, place small balls of the mix, spreading them out on the tray to allow for expanding.

Press a pretzel into the centre of the ball, flattening the mix slightly

Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Leave in for 20 minutes if you prefer a darker and crisper biscuit.

Remove from oven and cool on tray.

Serve with a cup of tea, and enjoy.


Bakers note: if you prefer a bitter less sweet taste, use a dark brown sugar instead of a light.



Monday, 7 December 2015

Don't be Rude

There comes a time in your life where all you want to eat are burgers. Delicious juicy meat patties with glorious goodness of fresh lettuce tomato and oozy melting cheese, squished together between a bun.

Talent of burger in Melbourne is a big thing right now, and the competitive structure of making the best burger is underway.

In recent events one of Melbourne's top 10 burger joints just so happened to open it's doors just only a few blocks away, and this is dangerous.

Rude Boy Burger located in Brunswick West and Brother to the siding cafe LoLo & Wren is sure becoming a staple in the local area, with gatherings of burger go getters from 6pm. Believe me the crowds are a good sign when it comes to eating a good burger, I have started eating dinner at 5:30 so I can get in before the others.

With Burgers such as the Onion Supreme, Wagyu burger topped with caramelised onion, golden onion rings, rocket, dripping melted cheese all in a soft seeded bun is mouth watering and gorgeous to eat.

Attempt the Big Popper and you will be having an explosive time with the monstrous creation of a juicy wagyu patty with jalapeño poppers, lettuce, tomato, pickle, cheese and onion finished with a chimichurri sauce.

There's no better way to compliment your burgers than to grab some of those loaded fries and finish it all off with a good old Milkshake.


On our first time there the Cubano fries stood out with it's slow cooked pork, mustard, pickles, chorizo, cheese sauce and may.

The Ghetto Fries. Loaded with jalapeño, cheese sauce, avocado and chipotle relish, also a great choice.

Golden fries smothered in amazing flavour combinations is one to share with a friend. To have a serve on your own with a burger will only make you explode. They are a meal in themselves.

Milkshakes vary from visits with the choices of the old fashioned Tim Tam slam to a strawberry cheesecake or a vanilla slice.

When I also say tim tam, cheese cake or vanilla slice, I am legit. Fill that blender with what seems to be a packet of  tim tams and and finish it off with a splash of milk and by golly me it turns into liquid gold.

At Rude Boy the service is far from Rude. It is polite and efficient serving you as fast as they can and still smile when under the pump.

Dine in or take those buns of heaven away, their will be no disappointment here. My fingers are crossed for Home delivery.... Wink Wink.

It's a good thing these guys are listed in the top 10 of Melbourne's best burgers, because they are droolingly delicious.


Rude Boy Burger
482 Albion Street
Brunswick West
9386 4302

Rude Boy Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Food is our common ground

It always starts with a coffee, and as I write this I'm thinking 'man I speak a lot about coffee and must look like a complete idiot in a shop making the perfect picture of what I drink'. But do you know what..... I don't mind looking like one of those people.

I love escaping and what could be something that is boring to some can really mean a lot to the other. When I write, I have to say it's like I've eaten the meal twice.

I remember the hints of salt and the textures and the smells drift past.  The roasts of the coffee and the sweetness of the desserts.

I've recently had the adventure of dining at Fitzroy's Stagger Lee's. A quaint corner cafe that is rich in style with it's deep wooden tables and with eclectic touches of design.

A BBQ Beef Brisket toasty would always be a good option here with it's beer onions, cheese fondue,  Luscious golden fried egg and the side of dill pickles and mustard.

It's one for a man who loves their meet and the vinegar sensations of the pickles. Think of  the combinations of sweet onions, rich yolk from the egg immerse into the delicate brisket meet. Add a serve of crunchy golden wedges on the side and you have what is to be a perfect combination of flavour.

For something rich and unique to the area would be the Chilled Spanner Crab and Prawn trifle.

A refreshing dish for a hot summers day with it's spiced tomato sauce, avocado and herb greens, prawn bisque and served with a fresh cucumber salad and flat bread.

I rich and silky trifle of big bold flavours of the see and married with fresh avocado and spiced tomato. Possibly not one for those who have just started eating seafood. It is a very powerful dish.

Spread the trifle over your crisp flat breads and add a slice of your fresh cucumber and it explodes the taste of joy in your mouth. Although I could not finish it as it was so rich, it was still a pleasure to eat and was really refreshing.

To finish of your day like all people should, is with something sweet. With the Wily Wonka Waffles you can't go wrong. Decked out with caramel, sea salt chocolate, freeze dried raspberries, explosions of popping candy, soda pop jelly and honeycomb ice cream I'm sure no one would complain.

It's like the lolly shop has come to you on a plate covering golden waffles and an explosion of sweetness.

It brings joy to faces and although not a dish to have for breakfast, knowing that it is there you feel naughty thinking about it. I say do it. You only live once and yes be greedy and have it all to yourself.

It was a relaxing experience with lovely service and good food. The locals show to spend a lot of time here making it to be the one to check out.


Stagger Lee's
276 Brunswick Rd,
Fitzroy
9419 5564

Stagger Lee's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BBQ pulled pork tostaditas


This recipe was with the assistance of Murray Valley's new addition to the family. BBQ pulled pork, a delicious pre marinated pulled pork mix to make your evenings more convenient and be able to put up dinner in under 20 minutes.

Ingredients:
Murray Valley BBQ pulled pork
12- 18 Tostaditas
Fresh kale
Red Cabbage
Carrots
Spring Onion
Pear
Green Chilli
Lime juice
Acovado dressing
Tabasco sauce (for an extra kick)

Method:

In a pan, slowly heat up the pulled pork

Thinly cut the kale into thin strips and great your cabbage and carrot and place into a salad bowl

Chop your spring onions (set 1/2 aside) and chilli into small pieces as well as the pear, cutting it into small match stick sizes.

Combine to your cabbage mix.

Dress your salad mix with lime juice and avocado dressing (available in most supermarkets).

In a small fry pan, fry up the remaining spring onion until slightly crisp and charred. Set aside.

On a board, lay out your tostaditas and place small mounds of salad mix. 

Take the pulled pork off the heat and top your toastaditas.

Finish with your crisp spring onions and serve.

For additional heat serve with tabasco sauce.




Sunday, 1 November 2015

Dear Sir,

A delicate palate of stone, timber and white decor leaves for an enticing relaxed environment with it's open seating space which is bustling with Sunday morning punters.

Welcome to Sir Charles.

With a warm welcome from staff as we enter the doors we are sat and coffee ordered instantly with only moments before they are delivered.

Now coffee being delivered so fast makes me think 2 things.... the baristas are controlled and understand the deliverance of perfect coffee at a rapid pace or that these guys realise the need of getting coffee orders out fast before their Sunday morning customers get into a rage because of the lack of caffeine.

Either way I am not complaining. And to tell you the truth, I am going to say it's the first. The coffee was delicious and had a perfect balance to the blend.

What drew me to Sir Charles was the delicious menu they have on offer. It reads only mouth watering dishes that use perfect flavour combinations that would make anyone happy.

For instance this Miss Piggy dish best describes an adventure of Pork. Crispy skin milk braised pork belly served with orange and sweet potato puree, herbed Kohlrabi salad, sweet potato crisps and finished with a horseradish dressing.

Now as much as you want to lick the screen to taste this sensation, it would probably be best if you didn't. It wouldn't help you.

Luscious puree melted into the delicate sweet port belly and with a salty crackling made for a purely amazing dish, one you lick the plate for.

The other meal that was insanely impressive was the Salmon Benedict. Now you may have just read that and said really? Benedict, they are all the same, well let me tell you something...... they aren't. wWell not here anyway.

The Salmon Benedict is a creations of Panko crumbed eggs, sriarcha mayonnaise, fresh chilli and bacon served on roti bread.

This light and delicious breakfast was something that made me filled with happiness. Eggs that are soft and oozing with golden yolk as you cut through.

The lack of the standard english muffin and replaced with a crisp roti bread made a lighter choice and allowed for flavours to burst out rather than be hidden by bread.

For the sweet tooths check out the salted caramel hot chocolate, it is scrumptious. The other to check out which I will be returning for is the Peanut butter and Jelly, coconut and peanut butter porridge served with maple cream, strawberry jell and praline only screams AMAZING!

There no hesitation that I will be back an eating my way through these dishes exploring the destiny of the perfect menu and gorgeous presentation the Sir Charles delivers.

It is with this that now my mouth is watering in the anticipation of going again, where I will finish before my mind explodes of temptation.

See you soon Sir Charles and to the readers, maybe I will see you there too.


Sir Charles
121 Johnston Street
Fitzroy
6122 0332

Sir Charles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On cloud 10

They say cloud 9 is the limit, where you feel extreme happiness and floating on air. However I think I have come across cloud 10.

Hash specialty coffee and roasters are delivering a unique theatrical adventure where you yourself can experience your very own cloud. A cloud of fairy floss that is.

Sitting delicately in a cup you gaze into the floss and pour luscious silky chocolate and watch it disappear before your eyes and creates the best hot chocolate I have had in a very long time.

Using a dark chocolate and designing the fairy floss to become the sugar component of this drink, it creates a luxurious silky hot chocolate that only makes you want more, but don't go crazy it's still intense and rich.

Dining with a friend today the chocolate was what I had heard a lot about, however their is no reason why we can't stay and enjoy a spot of lunch.

A simple but glamorous menu makes for a hard decision but the one thing that stood out to me were the croquettes. Who doesn't love a golden crumb coating with smooth delicate insides?

I know for certain I can't refuse
At Hash their croquettes were Leek and cheddar flavour that sat atop of cauliflower puree, ham hock, kale and s turmeric egg.

Golden crispy coating surrounded the smooth luscious leek and cheddar filling. The puree itself was delicate in flavours which allowed the ham hock and kale to come out and shine.
My friend in crime today chose the Crushed Avocado. Avocado finished with chilli, coriander and lime and accompanies with toasted corn arepas and cherry tomatoes. Something so simple but was told was delicious.

With light meals being offered while you indulge in other things, it leaves for a pleasant experience and able to spend time chatting the afternoon in the quieter end of Hardware street.

If you are not a chocolate fan, the coffee is also one to enjoy. Full bodied and medium strength. The crema is dark and is and easy drink to the palate.

Sure on weekends this place will be crowded of punters trying to grasp onto the newest thing on the city streets, and I laugh as I watch the staff hold back as others just like myself want to get the best photo available.

The staff are friendly and relaxed, which makes for an easy dining experience. Their is no feel of rush although they are attentive but not hovering to push you back out the door.

Will I be going back? Of course, although my friend has already bet me in returning.

She clearly couldn't wait to go again to try something new like the Grilled Banana and pecan loaf served with blueberries, milk crumb, burnt honey marscapone and whit chocolate custard.

Her response..... OMG Best decision EVER!

video

Hash Specialty coffee & Roasters
113 Hardware Street
CBD
8529 0284

Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 9 October 2015

Fattoush Salad with Falafels

Ingredients:
Falafels-
1 x 400g Chickpeas
1 x 400g Butter Beans
3 x Rashers of bacon
1 x Brown Onion
3 x Garlic cloves
3 x Eggs
1 x Rd chilli (seeds included)
8 x Semi dried Roama tomatoes
1/4 cup Plain Flour
Salt and Pepper

* Plain flour to coat, peanut oil

Fattoush-
4 x Baby Cucumbers
6 x Spring Onions
1 x Bunch Continental parsley
1 x Bunch Mint
15 x Baby Roma tomatoes/ cherry tomatoes
1 x Lemon
Mixed Green Leaves
Olive oil (garlic infused)
4 x Pita Bread rounds

* Natural yoghurt to serve

Method:
Falafels-
Combine all ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth

Once smooth, spoon mixture into dessert spoon sized rolls

On a plate combine flour and seasoning. In a small pan heat peanut oil on medium temperature.

Gently coat falafel mix in flour and set aside. Drop a small amount of the mix into the pan with heating oil, if mix begins to fry your oil is hot enough.

Par cook falafel mix in peanut oil, until a light brown crust is formed. Place falafels on a lined baking tray, season and place in oven on 120c for 30 minutes.

Fattoush-
Wash mixed greens and place in mixing bowl

Roughly chop spring onion, mint and parsley and add to bowl

Cut tomatoes in half, and slice cucumbers to preferred size and add to mix.

To Dress, squeeze juice of 1 lemon and lightly drizzle olive oil and mix through salad.

When your falafels have 5-10 minutes left, cut pita bred into small triangles and place in oven to crisp.

To Serve:
Place some Pita bread on a a large serving plate

Top with salad mix

Place remaining pita bread and falafels around the edge of the salad

Finish with Natural Yoghurt.



* you may choose to add some lemon zest to the yoghurt to add a bit more zing to the dish.

For the Love of Coffee

I love coffee, in actual fact you could almost have me as the replacement of a chocoholic and call me a coffaholic.

The aroma of fresh roasted beans that seeps the smell of the beautiful oils, is just the beginning. Like a drug I wake up and within minutes a coffee is in my hand without remembering how it got there.

Today in our daily life we venture out to find the perfect blend of bean and the best Barista in town that can deliver on the expectations of fine coffee.

Melbourne being known for it's cafes and coffee, it is sure that each individual knows where to stop for their morning brew.

My question is however how long do you expect to wait?

I once waited 45 minutes in a busy city cafe in it's opening week just to get a bunny on my latte. Sure if you were with a group of other enthusiasts to get a bunny on their latte it wouldn't be a problem, but I was on my own. Boring and lonely.

Was it worth it you ask? Sure, the coffee was well balanced and I got pretty excited to see that bunny smiling at me. Would I do it again? NO.

I understand that the Barista has more things to think about and it's a technique that not everyone understands.

Each bean variety contains a different flavour, and to extract the oil from those beans to make the delicious crema that holds all the flavours you taste can be hard.

To ensure the deliverance of the quality is the entirety of what the consumer demands to receive.

I wonder though, and it is what I recently think most about is why can meals come out from a kitchen quicker than a coffee.

In a lot of places I visit now, you order your coffee as soon as you are seated. You peruse the menu for a good solid 5 minutes maybe longer when your with someone, and yet your meal is served to you before your coffee has hit the table.

Now I'm not discussing the cafes that place the bunny's on my lattes or the Lions in my cup. Those of course you expect to wait, you should never distract an artist.

I'm talking about the love hearts or the roses. These techniques are the beginning of every Baristas life. Some of the time it's taken that long to get the pretty pattern on the top that it comes to you tepid and the milk has started to aerate and bubble.

I'm on the foreground of service and have a team that deliver monstrous amounts of coffee everyday. I value the perfect roast and my team ensures the grind is right and deliver consistency, and on down time they get to do lion's in cups. But I feel that the importance of a consumer is to ensure the coffee is out within 3 minutes and that flavours are perfect.

Im not sure that each individual wants the art, especially when they just want a quick cuppa or don't have time to wait and get a take away. Even then you'd feel like it's taking 15 minutes.

Have we slowed the service down, by expanding these expectations onto our Barista's. The Roasters have provided Melbourne's cafes with amazing blends, all of which come with scales and automatic grinders, which and dare I say it, back in my day never existed.

Do I classify myself as a Barista? Yes. In 1999 and for many years after I spent hours behind the machine serving the cappuccino with mountains of froth, and in that time the more froth you got the better barista you were. Now not only do I feel OLD, I have developed with the trends to ensure the blend is maximised in flavour and the service is gainfully friendly. But what saddens me is that if ever I was asked if I was a Barista, I would have to say no due to the fact that I can't do art.

I have always been told by many roasters, that for a good coffee it is within the flavour of the bean. And I will always stand by that.