Friday, December 07, 2007

Sheila's Pudding

Finally, Summer is upon us and with the warm weather comes my favourite fruit of all, the stone fruit. Apricots, Plums, Nectarines and best of all Peaches. Normal Peaches and White Peaches, I love them so much, I could eat them all day long.
This dessert is a little strange, because it's more of a Winter comfort type of food, rather than a light, refreshing Summer dessert. Even so, if you can deal with eating a Winter dessert in Summer, this pudding is delicious.
This recipe is a Jamie Oliver remake of an old pudding, which is actually made with Apples, rather than stone fruit. The original pudding is called Eve's Pudding.
It's quite an easy recipe to put together, but if you're going to make it, do yourself a favour and make it with proper Vanilla Beans or at least Vanilla Bean paste, it makes all the difference.

6 ripe peaches or nectarines, halved and stones removed
4 heaped teaspoons unrefined sugar, like turbinado
4 tablespoons water
1 vanilla pod, scored lengthwise and seeds removed
4 1/2 ounces butter
4 1/2 ounces caster sugar

2 large free-range eggs
4 1/2 ounces self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the peaches in a saucepan with the unrefined sugar, the vanilla seeds and 4 tablespoons of water. Simmer for 5 minutes and then place into a well greased and lightly floured ovenproof dish or bowl. Beat together the butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour, mix thoroughly and spread over the peaches.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with hot custard or something cold, like vanilla ice-cream or creme fraiche.

Ricotta Hotcakes with Banana, Maple Syrup and Honeycomb Butter

I love nothing more than eating a signature dish at a famous restaurant and then finding the recipe and making it myself at home. What I love even more, is making it at home and making it better than the one I had at the restaurant.
On the weekend, I thought I'd try my hand at making my own Ricotta Hotcakes, like the ones I had at Bill's in Surry Hills.
It's amazing that Bill's has gotten so famous for such a simple recipe. To be honest, they're not all that different from regular pancakes, just slightly more dense. The Honeycomb Butter is what really makes this breakfast. Crushed up Crunchie Bars, mixed through a stick of butter. Now that's some triple by-pass creating goodness, if I've ever heard of it!
Anyway, here's the recipe for you, which is featured in Bill's Sydney Food, book.

Serving size: Serves 6


1 1/3 cups ricotta
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs, separated
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
50g butter

to serve

honeycomb butter, sliced (below)
icing sugar for dusting

Honeycomb Butter

250g unsalted butter, softened
100g sugar honeycomb, crushed with a rolling pin
2 Tbs honey


Place ricotta, milk and egg yolks in a mixing bowl and mix to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add to the ricotta mixture and mix until just combined.
Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites through batter in two batches, with a large metal spoon.
Lightly grease a large non-stick frying pan with a small portion of butter and drop 2 tablespoons of batter per hotcake into the pan (don't cook more than 3 per batch). Cook over a low to medium heat for 2 minutes, or until hotcakes have golden undersides. Turn hotcakes and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and quickly assemble the other ingredients.
Slice one banana lengthways onto a plate, stack three hotcakes on top with a slice of honeycomb butter. Dust with icing sugar.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Shape into a log on plastic wrap, roll, seal and chill in a refrigerator for 2 hours.
Store any leftover honeycomb butter in the freezer, it's great on toast.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fish Pie

I just bought the 'Delicious' 5 nights a week book, by Valli Little, which has some really interesting and easy dishes to cook mid-week. I'd never made or even tasted fish pie before and even though it was under the 'kids favourites' section, I thought I would give it a wurl.
It's not the quickest dish to put together and was well over an hour before it was ready, but it certainly was tasty. I imagine you you posh it up a bit, by adding some other types of seafood in there, maybe some Prawns, Bugtails, even Lobster if your wallet was that way inclined.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 200g boneless white fish fillets
  • 200g skinless salmon fillet, pin-boned (ask your fishmonger to do this)
  • 450ml milk
  • 750g desiree or pontiac potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs (40g) flour
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemons
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Place fish in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper and pour over 400ml milk. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes until fi sh fl akes away slightly when pressed with a fork. Remove fish, reserving milk. When cool enough to handle, fl ake fi sh into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and keep warm. Melt half the butter in a saucepan, stir in flour and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Slowly add reserved milk and continue to cook until thickened. Add fi sh, peas, parsley, egg, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  5. Mash the potato with the remaining 50ml milk and the remaining butter until smooth, then season. Pile the fish mixture into a 1 litre-capacity baking dish, spoon the mash on top and smooth with a spatula. Trace a pattern into the mash with the tines of a fork and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


To be honest, I never in my life thought I would make a Lamington from scratch. And here we are today and I have made my first batch and it probably won't be my last.
It's a bit of mucking around, dipping your little sponge cakes into the melted chocolate icing, but the finished product it's worth the effort. Your friends will be impressed to boot!


Sponge Cake:
6 eggs
150 g (51/2 oz/2/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
200 g (7 oz/12/3 cups) self-raising flour
30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Icing:
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/4 cups) icing (confectioners') sugar
200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
15 g (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) milk
375 g (13 oz/4 cups) desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease and line the base of an 18 x 28 cm
(7 x 11 inch) tin with baking paper.

To make the cake, beat the eggs for about 5 minutes with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is thick and the sugar has dissolved. Sift in the flour and fold in lightly. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons of hot water and stir gently to combine. Pour into the tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the chocolate icing, put the sugar, dark chocolate, butter and milk in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir constantly until melted and mixed together.

Cut the sponge into 16 squares. Put the coconut in a bowl. Dip each sponge square into the chocolate icing and then in the coconut. Leave on a wire rack to dry completely before serving. Makes 16

Poached Salmon, Pea and Risoni Salad

Ok, you could possibly call me a hypocrite. First I was bagging out Bill Granger and his terrible cafe, then I was telling you how good they are. Now I'm telling you how good his cook books are. Bill's books aren't filled with the most adventurous dishes, but they are perfect for someone who's just getting into cooking or for us seasoned 'foodies' who want to eat some proper home-cooked food after a long day at the office.
This recipe is from his most recent book - Holiday, but I have also found it online here.
I'm no nutritionist, but this is a pretty healthy meal as far as I'm concerned and highlights how fast food, doesn't have to be burgers and chips. Poached salmon has got to be one of the best ways to enjoy salmon, as it's so moist, with little chance of overcooking and when cooked, it simply flakes apart for this little salad.
I didn't have any Dill as the recipe asked for, so I used some Mint in it's place. Mint goes perfectly with Peas and Salmon, so give it a go if you prefer. Such a great Spring Salad.

Monday, November 05, 2007

North Bondi Italian Food

When there's sun and you're in Sydney, where does one go? Bondi Beach of course!! After sunning myself on Australia's most famous beach for a few hours, I'd worked up quite an appetite. My friend told me that there was some great food and people watching to be had at North Bondi Italian Food. NDIF is at the opposite end of Bondi Beach from the famous Icebergs Club and lives below the North Bondi RSL club (click the link to check out the view from the RSL above).
NBIF has the best view I have ever seen from any restaurant before, it looks straight down onto the beautiful Bondi Beach, sprawled with tanned bodies from all over the world. Not only are those bodies on the beach soaking up the sun, but they're in NBIF, soaking up the atmosphere.
The place was packed when I arrived, so I was lucky to score one of the mini tables just near the front window.
A little bowl of unshelled peanuts was waiting for me on the table and another little bowl for my shells. The waiters, some of which were very italian, wore some very weird short overalls, which looked like they were supposed to be trendy, but if I had to wear them, I wouldn't be happy at all. But despite their strange attire and the busyness of the restaurant, the staff were lovely and were constantly visiting my table to make sure everything was ok and that I had enough water. They were even consistantly coming by to take away my empty peanut shells.
The menu is big and so much to choose from. I went for the Orrechiette with Ricotta, Basil and Cherry Tomato. ($26)I thought this was the perfect choice for a hot spring day, and it was. This was such a basic pasta dish, but it was so tasty and so fresh. The ricotta sauce was a little dryish, so I was glad I ordered the Rocket and Fennel Salad ($9) on the side, which kind of helped lighten up the meal.
Once I'd finished the pasta and salad, I was silly enough to look at the dessert menu. Silly because I was so full, but couldn't resist the of the North Bondi Gelato ($14).
A huge bowl of Lemon, Strawberry and Chocolate Gelato arrived on my table, with a cute little italian flag in the top. It was all so sweet, but so cold and so good. But as gorgeous as it was, there was no way I was going to finish it. I did get through at least half though.
To sum up NBIF in a word, I would say 'beautiful.' The view is beautiful, the people are beautiful and most importantly, the food is beautiful.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bills, Darlinghurst, Sydney

Back in February this year, I paid my first visit to one of Bill Granger's Sydney restaurants. It was Bill's in Surry Hills. My meal there was terrible, I couldn't have been more disappointed, hence my scathing review.
For some reason though, on a more recent visit to Sydney, I felt compelled to try another of Bill's restaurant's, this time the Darlinghurst version- just to see if it was all really that bad. Now, even though I had read Mellie's Review of Darlinghurst, I thought I'd pay a visit anyway.
I arrived at Bills at about 10am on a Thursday morning and was suprised to find that the place was almost empty, apart from two other tables of people. Score!
The cheerful waiteress greeted me at the door and told me that I could sit wherever I liked. I sat next to a nice big window, which had a leafy view out onto the Darlinghurst Street.
This time 'round I ordered the Ricotta Hotcakes with Banana and Honeycomb butter and a breakfast juice.
Since I was here solo on this occassion, one of the waiters were kind enough to point me towards their magazine collection for something to read, instead of blankly staring out the window.
My after about 5 minutes, my Hotcakes arrived and amazingly this time around they were infact, hot! The hot cakes were delicious. They were just light enough, with the perfect ratio of chocolate/honeycomb to butter. Being that the restaurant was so quiet, it was a relief that they got my breakfast right. I can see now why Bill's is famous for his hotcakes.
The service this time around was fast and friendly and the food was spot on.
I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but 2 days after my visit to Bill's Darlinghurst, I also visited Bill's in Woolhara. Woolhara is very different to the others. This version is set up in a courtyard of a small shopping mall on the main shopping strip and a majority of the tables are outside.
I'd suggest if you're after the real and original Bills vibe, go for the Darlinghurst option - definately the best of the three.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Homemade Baked Beans

Would you believe that I've never made or eaten Home-Made Baked Beans? I've only ever eaten those SPC things out of a Tin, which you heat up in the nuke-rowave. Aussie? Yes. Tasty? Not Really.
So, on the weekend, I found a recipe from Bill Granger's 'Everyday' book. It's not quite as quick as opening a tin, but believe me, it's much tastier and hey... everyone's into 'slow' food these days, aren't they?


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion
100g Pancetta (leave this out for a Vegie version)
1 Garlic Clove
2 Anchovies
1 Teaspoon of Finely chopped Thyme Leaves
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
2 x 400g Tins of Canellini or Butter Beans
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the Oven to 160c
Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat
Add the onion and cook, stirring for 5 - 6 minutes, or until slightly crisp.
Add the garlic, anchoviews, thyme and oregano and cook, stirring for another minute.

Add the tomatoes and 125ml of water, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for another 10 minutes.
Stir in the beans, put a lid on the casserole and bake in the oven for 30 mins. Season with Salt and Pepper.
I added chopped flat leaf parsley at the end.
Serve on some nice Crusty bread and drizzle with some Olive Oil.

Happy Birthday..... Me! Nigella's Custard Birthday Sponge

Well, this is my first post in quite a while... I've managed to go AWOL from my Blogs for about a month now...sorry guys! I blame Facebook! Ugh!
Anyway... Last week was my 29th birthday....yep... only one more to go, before the big 3 - 0!
Apparently at my work, they have a tradition of making your own birthday cake! That sucks if you ask me. What makes you feel more special on your birthday than someone having gone to the effort of making you a nice birthday cake? Oh well, so I decided to make my first Nigella Lawson cake. What other Celebrity Chef would you look to for a Birthday Cake?
This recipe was surprisingly easy and absolutely delicious. Everyone at work loved it and there were mentions that they wished it was my birthday everyday!


For the cake

* 200 g plain flour
* 3 tbsp custard powder
* 2 tsp baking powder
* ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
* 4 eggs
* 225 g soft butter
* 200 g caster sugar
* 2 tbsp milk

For the buttercream filling

* 125 g icing sugar
* 4 tsp custard powder
* 75 g soft unsalted butter
* 1½ tsp boiling water

For the chocolate icing

* 60 ml water
* 2 tbsp golden syrup
* 125 g caster sugar
* 175 g dark chocolate
* Hundreds and thousands

For the cake

1. Make sure everything you need is at room temperature before you start. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas 4, butter and line two 20cm sandwich tins.
2. Put all the cake ingredients, apart from the milk, into a food processor. Process to a smooth batter, and then add the milk 1 tbsp at a time to make a soft dropping consistency. Divide between the two cake tins and bake for 20 minutes. The cakes will have risen and feel spookily puffy; this is because of the cornflour in the custard powder.
3. Let the tins sit on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and then turn them out on to the rack, peeling away the paper.

For the buttercream filling

1. Process the icing sugar and custard powder to get rid of any lumps, and then add the butter, processing again to make the buttercream come together. Feed the boiling water down the funnel with the motor running to make the filling easier to spread. Then sandwich the cooled sponges together with the custardy buttercream.

For the chocolate icing

1. Combine the water, syrup and sugar in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve over a low heat. Let it come to the boil and then take it of the heat.
2. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and then add to the pan, swirling it around to cover in the hot liquid. Leave to melt for a few minutes, and then whisk the icing to make it smooth and shiny. Pour over the buttercream filled cake, letting it drip down the sides, and then sprinkle generously with the hundreds and thousands before the icing sets.
3. Prong with candles, light them and sing.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Son In-Law Eggs

This is my really simplified version of Ezard's Son In-Law eggs, which he serves at Gingerboy.
Ezard serves his with a nice little salad on top, drizzled with Chilli Caramel.
My version is basically the same, but uses less ingredients and is much quicker to put together. This a nice quick little starter to an Asian style dinner party.


4 Eggs
Bunch of Coriander
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Vegetable oil for Deep Frying.


Soft boil your eggs (for about 3 - 4 minutes)
Run cold water over the eggs, so they're cool enough to handle
Peel of the shell, gently, being careful not to damage the whites of the eggs
Heat your Oil to 180c and gently deep fry your eggs until golden
Drain on absorbent paper
Cut the eggs in half and place on a plate, yolk side up. The Yolks should still be slightly runny.
Drizzle some sweet chilli sauce over the eggs and place a little mound of Coriander on the top.
Eat with your fingers, YUM!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Spaghetti with Red Mullet

Here's a fantastic recipe, which is really simple to prepare, but whacks you around the head with it's Italian flavours. It takes no time at all and is great for a quick mid-week dinner.

500g Dried Spaghetti or Linguini
5 or 6 fillets of Red Mullet, pinboned
1 Small Red Chilli (more if you like)
2 Cloves Garlic (more if you like)
Small Bunch of chopped Parsley
Olive Oil

Cook your pasta to packet instructions
In some olive oil, fry your fish fillets for about 3 - 4 minutes on the skin side and then turn over.
When you turn the fish over move them to one side of the frying pan and add a little more olive oil, add the garlic and chilli.
When the fish is cooked, start to break it up with a fork.
Drain your pasta and add to the fry pan with the fish.
Toss the fish and pasta together in the fry pan.
Season the pasta with salt and pepper and tos through chopped parsley.
Plate up and top with some good olive oil.

Serves 4

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Rose

The Rose. 309 Bay St Port Melbourne 3207

After getting on my Greek food inspired high from dining at The Press Club bar, I thought I'd continue the Greek theme. This time for my good mate's birthday, we decided to visit The Rose, in Bay St, Port Melbourne. We found The Rose in the 2007 Good Food guide, which mentions that The Rose does some of the best Greek food in town. They are right.

The Rose is an old pub, which has now been converted into a largish restaurant, but still has a pub type setup, with the big bar on the side and TV screens showing the football on a Saturday night. The restaurant was almost full, which says good things already.
The menu consisted of a large seafood selection and a wide variety of distinctly Greek flavours. We started off with Chicken livers, pan fried with fried onions, fresh oregano, garlic and lemon, served with wet fava. ($14.50) I'd never had chicken livers before... only as part of a pate. They were suprisingly soft, tender and had a slight spice flavour to them. The wet Fava was like a soft mash, which went beautifully with the livers and a squeeze of lemon topped of the flavours beautifully.

Next we had the Barbecued and smoked octopus with a salad of chickpeas, herbs and oven dried tomatoes. ($15.50) The Octopus was deliciously soft and subtly smoked. I wouldn't have thought to put chickpeas with Octopus, but it worked nicely, giving a slight bit of cruch to the dish.

For mains my friend had the Red Mullet. ($?) The red Mullet was nicely pan fried. It's a great oily fish which wonderfully flavoursome and The Rose serve the fish with a nice Greek inspired warm salad.

My mains was the
Slow roasted leg of lamb with vine leaves and mustard, served with braised white beans and salsa verde ($28.50). The lamb was cooked to perfection - slightly pink in the middle and it was soft and tender. The salsa verde was great too... however I think they were a bit stingy with the amount they served with the meat.
To finish off, we shared a plate of
Greek delights – selection of baklava, filo and semolina custard, halva, Kataifi and Turkish delight (approx $15 from memory). This plate was fantastic value for money. Lots of different sweet tastes. Only problem was the Halva, which left your mouth feeling like you'd just eaten a sheet of plaster board. I've had Halva before and it was much better than this. The standout was little filo triangles, not sure what they were called, but they had a lovely sweet cheesy substance inside, which were absolutely delicio

The service at The Rose is lovely and friendly. They're not over the top, yet the waiters are always there if you need something.
If you like your Greek food, give The Rose a go. I don't know much about Greek food, but I know what I like and this place serves delicious, authentic, fresh and tasty Greek treats.

Amalfi Baked Lemons

After watching my Jamie's Italy DVD, and watching him wandering around the sun-drenched shores of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, I wanted a taste of summer for myself. So, I decided to test out a recipe I was thinking about making for a dinner party this weekend. In Italian, the dish is called limoni di amalfi cotti al forno, which basically translates to Baked Amalfi Lemons in English. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to track down any Amalfi Lemons (yeh... good luck!) but these lemons from Piedemonte's , which is about as Italian as they're going to get around here in Fitzroy!
The basic gist to this recipe is you cut a lemon in half and fill it with some yummy buffalo mozzarella and some other bits and pieces and bake it, so that it's all melted and oozy! The mozzarella takes on the flavour of the lemon and you spread it across some toasted Ciabatta.
Bloody delicious. And in case you were wondering.... no, you don't eat the lemon skin!!
Here's the recipe, which I found here for your cooking pleasure:

  • 2 large unwaxed lemons
  • 1-2 x 150g balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced into 0.5 cm / 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1 dried red chilli, crumbled

  1. Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
  2. Remove the ends of the lemons and discard them, then cut the lemons in half crossways, giving you 4 x 2.5cm/1 inch thick discs. See the picture opposite to see what I mean. Now, using a small knife, remove the lemon flesh leaving you with four hollow circles of skin. Basically, what we're going to do is flavour the mozzarella and push it inside the lemon skin so that it absorbs the lovely lemon flavour when it bakes.
  3. Now the mozzarella is obviously going to melt and ooze out when baked. In Italy, a lemon leaf is placed underneath each one to keep everything in place, but it's fine to use a square of greaseproof paper to do the same thing. So, lay a greaseproof paper square or a lemon leaf on a chopping board and place one of your lemon skin wheels on top. Cut a piece of mozzarella to fit inside, then lay a basil leaf, half an anchovy fillet and half a cherry tomato on top with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Add a little dried chilli if you like. Put another slice of mozzarella on top. The lemon skin should now be filled up.
  4. Do the same to the rest of the wheels, place them on a baking tray, and cook in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve with some hot grilled crostini. Simply scoop the mozzarella out, eat with the toast and mop up any juices. Delicious!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mushroom Risoni

This is the first time I'd ever used Risoni for anything other than putting into soup. I found a recipe when I was away on holidays in a cookbook that was at the house that I was staying at for Risoni which is made, kind of like Risotto. The cookbook was Two's Cooking but unfortunately, I didnt write down the recipe! I would love to give it to you, but it's pretty easy to make anyway.
Basically you sautee some mushrooms for about 5 -10 mins, until they're quite dry. cook some garlic in some butter and then put in your risoni, put in some chicken stock as per packet instructions and leave to simmer until cooked. Once cooked, stir in some parsley, butter and parmesan.
The risoni has such a silky texture in your mouth. It's much easier to make than risotto, you don't have to watch it and stir it constantly. It is very similar though to risotto at the end and I can see how some people could easily prefer risoni to risotto.

The Press Club (Bar)

72 Flinders St, Melbourne, VIC (03) 9677 9677

It seems that calling The Press Club on a Monday for a booking for Friday lunch, is a little too late. Luckily The Press Club has a bar just next door which serves a fantastic comprehensive Modern Greek lunch selection, which is cheaper than the main room, but the food comes out of George's same great kitchen.
When we arrived, we realised we were even lucky to have managed to have booked a table in the Bar, let alone the restaurant, every table was full.
The bar is still has full table service and I think, due to the size of the bar and the fact it seats much less people than the main room, you probably get better and more personalised service and definitely much more efficient service I imagine.
We both decided to order the Rotisserie of the day (chicken), lemon potatoes, Marouli Salad, with White Bean Skordalia ($25). What can I say. This is George's version of a Greek Roast, that is done perfectly! The Chicken has been boned, roasted so that it's moist and juicy and just seasoned. The potatoes are big, soft, salty, with a hint of citrus. The Marouli Salad was made with iceberg lettuce and was big and crunchy and the Skordalia was slightly runny with no overpowering garlic taste, just a slight after flavour. Delicious!

Dessert was Greek Doughnuts with Honey and Walnuts. ($9) I've tasted these before at the nightmarket. These are cooked fresh and served hot, drizzled with sticky honey, which almost sticks to your teeth. Not too sweet or too filling.
One pleasant surprise was that when I ordered Sparkling Mineral water, the waiter kept topping up my glass, as if it was tap water, which kind of freaked me out, because all I wanted was a small bottle. I didn't really want to pay $13 for a bottle like you get charged at most posh restaurants. When the bill came, I discovered I was only charged $5. It seems they have a policy at lunchtime that you only pay $5 for your Sparkling Mineral water, per bottle. Nice one!

When I found out we couldn't get a booking for the main room, we were pretty disappointed. But after eating in the bar, we were kind of glad that we missed out, because the service, the food and the cost was all so perfect. I would head back to The Press Club bar in a second! Definately some of the nicest Greek food I have tasted.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Carrot Soup

While I'm going on the soup vibe, here is another super easy soup to keep you warm this winter. Personally, I thought with the addition of Orange Juice to the recipe, the soup would taste more like a juice. The orange works beautifully though, it adds a bit of acidity to the slightly sweet carrot. Give it a whirl!


500g Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Brown Onion
Juice from half an orange
1 Litre Chicken Stock
200g Sour Cream / Creme Freiche
Salt, Pepper to season
Parsley to Garnish


Sweat your onion and garlic until soft, without colouring
Add the carrot and saute for a few minutes
Add the stock and simmer the carrots for about 10 - 15 mins, until soft
Blitz the soup in a blender or Bamix
Stir in the Orange Juice and sour cream until dissolved.
Season to taste.
Told you it was easy!

Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Snaps

Cauliflower and Cheese are best buddies, they go hand in hand like Gravy to Potatoes. So it makes sense to serve this deliciously simple soup with some crispy Parmesan snaps. It's a great contrast in texture and a nice little garnish on the side.
I got this recipe from Two's Cooking. Unfortunately, to write it up, it's only from memory, as I don't have the recipe with me, but it's so easy to remember anyway.

Serves 2

500g Cauliflower, Florets only
1 Garlic Clove
1 Small Onion
1 Litre Chicken / Vegie Stock
1 Small Knob Butter
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Grated Parmesan

Saute garlic and onion in melted butter until soft
Add Chopped Cauliflower and cook for a few mins
Pour in Stock and simmer until Cauliflower is soft
Blitz in a food processor or with a Bamix
Season to Taste, drizzle some Olive Oil to Serve.

Parmesan Snaps:

Either oil some foil, or get some baking paper and place the grated Parmesan in rounds.
Bake at 180c until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
They will become crisp as they cool down.
Cut in half if you like, as I did and serve on the side.

Apple Risotto with White Sausage, Cress and Roast Onions

This dish might seem a little strange, but I can assure you, it tastes nothing less than sensational! I found the recipe for this slightly unusual dish in Geoff Lindsay's, Chow Down book. The secret to making this dish work is in the sausage. Geoff suggests in the book to purchase a 'white' sausage (a sausage made from Pork and Chicken) from Jonathan's in Smith St, Collingwood. Unfortunately, when I got to Jonathan's they were all out of White sausages, so I got the next best thing, Pork and Apple sausage. Jonathan's make all their own sausages there on site and have a great variety. It's a great butcher's, probably the best I've come across anywhere in Victoria. They really know their stuff!

Basically the recipe consists of your standard Risotto recipe, but instead of using wine, you use Dry Apple Cider. Then towards the end of cooking, you stir in 4 grated (peeled) Granny Smith apples. In case you were wondering, yes, you do put in the Parmesan. Boil your pickling onions until soft and then roast the sausages and onions for 15 minutes, until cooked. Place some risotto on the plate, cut the sausages into three, place 3 pieces of onion around the plate, top with some baby cress and you have seriously, one of the best dishes ever! It's slightly left of center, but of course Pork and Apple go perfectly together! ...and let me tell you, Jonathan's sausages are simply amazing! My Dad and I both agree that they're the best we've ever tasted and believe me, my Dad has eaten a few snags in his time!! As Molly says, "do yourself a favour" a give this dish a go, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ezard's Parmesan Oil

Ever been to Ezard's and tasted that amazing Parmesan Oil or stopped by that Olive stall in the Vic Market Deli and sampled some of Ezard's Oil there? ...and when you tasted it, did you think to yourself, "geez, I wish I had the recipe for that?" Well, wish no longer my friends, here it is!

It's so easy to make and it literally take minutes to do. I learnt this recipe from Ezard himself... he's a great teacher. Now, I don't want to mislead you here... when I say I learnt it from the man himself, he was actually on TV (fresh to be exact), not in my kitchen, weaving his magic.


1 Clove Garlic, Peeled
Some good Parmesan, including the rind, about 150g
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
Approx 150ml of Olive Oil

Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring oil gently to the boil.
Once the oil reaches boiling point, turn it off, place a lid on the saucepan and leave to infuse for about 48 hours for the best results.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Home-Cured Salmon with Scrambled Eggs and Yarra Valley Salmon Caviar

Since, I can't afford Truffles to go with my eggs, like some people can, this is about as posh as my breakfasts will ever get in my house. As much as I love food and cooking, I can't see myself spending $50 on one breakfast. I'd rather spend $40 and have the Red Duck Curry at Pearl for dinner. So, here's my posh breakfast that I came up with with left overs from my weekend Ezard Challenge.
Basically just cook your scrambled eggs, with lots of cream of course and drape your perfectly cured salmon over the top. Sprinkle with some Yarra Valley Salmon Caviar and freshly chopped Chives and Bob's your uncle! I have to say, this is one indulgent breakfast. If you've never cured your own Salmon before, give it a shot. It's so easy and it takes about 36 hours while the Salmon is resting in the fridge. Lovely!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chocolate, Mascapone, Orange and Vanilla Tart

I'd been wanting to make this tart for ages. I loved how it looked so rustic with it's lattice style pastry topping and how it's indented with chunks of chocolate. So, when I was invited over to a friend's house for lunch, I offered to bring dessert and this is what I made.

The recipe is from Jamie's Kitchen Book, but I also found it here (unfortunately in American Measurements), so I don't have to type it all up for you.
I used 80% Lindt chocolate in the mix and unfortunately I'd run out of Vanilla Beans, so I used the evil Vanilla Essence (Terrible I know, but the other flavours are so strong in this tart, that you hardly taste the vanilla anyway.)

I finally had success with making a tart shell and Jamie's recipe in his book worked a treat. Rather than blind baking it with beans or rice, I just kept the pastry in the mould, in the freezer overnight and blind baked it straight from there. This stops the tart from rising too much or shrinking. Much better than I've found blind baking with beans.
Admittedly, by the time I'd finished the tart, it did take a couple of hours to put together, but it was definately worth it. My friends were very impressed at the lunch and they asked me if I could leave the leftovers behind! (I left them half... I wanted more!!)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

LKM on Ferguson

42 Ferguson Street, Williamstown VIC 3016, T: 03 9397 6798

While most people head to Williamstown to check out Nelson Place or the Beach area, if you wander down to Ferguson St, one of the main shopping strips, you'll find quite a few other little little cafes which are well worth checking out. One of my favourites is down there- LKM on Ferguson. I've been visiting this place since I was little, it used to be called "Keith's" back then. I remember sipping on Carmel Milkshakes and eating the chocolatey foam from my mum's Cappacino. More recently though, the cafe was called Lever and Kowalyk, however it seems these guys have either sold the business or simply re-named to LKM on Ferguson.
I dropped by LKM this morning to find the name had changed, but the quality of the food seems to be just as good as always. I've only ever been here for breakfast and I'm a big fan of it.
This morning I ordered the Ricotta Hotcake with Macerated Strawberries ($10). You can order an extra hotcake for $3, but unless you're really hungry, I wouldn't bother. It's quite large and it's pretty filling. These hotcakes kick Bill's Hotcakes' arse! The strawberries are deliciously soft and with just a little sourness that gets your saliva glands going. The cakes themselves are thick, soft and not too gluggy.
My mate who I was with ordered the Croque Madame, which did look very tasty, served with some sautee'd Rocket on the side. I didn't have a taste (blokes don't 'taste' each other's food when they're out for breakfast). However he did mention that he wasn't a fan of the mustard that was spread on the bottom of the bread.
The service at LKM is very friendly and always helpful. The girls always make sure to stop by occasionally and make sure everything is ok and if you need anything else and the service is always with a smile- even when busy.

So, if you're near Williamstown for breakfast or would even consider driving a little further for a quality breakky, stop by LKM on Ferguson and enjoy some (almost) seaside goodness.

Hotcakes Melbourne can be proud of.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rag Pasta with Pumpkin and Sage

This is a really great, easy pasta dish, which looks impressive and rustic all at once. It's perfect for a midweek dinner or for a vegetarian dinner party. I think the key to this recipe is to use really good instant lasagne sheets. I used Barilla and I thought they were really great. When you cook them in boiling water, they actually go quite thick.

500g lasagne sheets
50g butter
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
1kg butternut pumpkin, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (40g) grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves

Break the lasagne sheets into large pieces. Cook the lasagne in a large pan of boiling well-salted water until just tender. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid.Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a large non-stick pan, add pumpkin; cook, stirring gently, until pumpkin is just tender. Add garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Season to taste with salt and pepper.Just before serving, add cheese and sage; gently toss through pasta with the reserved cooking liquid. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese flakes, if desired.

Leek, Gorgonzola and Rosemary soup

Here's a recipe I found on the BBC UK web site the other day, which I thought was a great little twist on the original Potato and Leek Soup. I love the idea of seasoning food using cheese. Blue Cheeses are quite often salty, so they make great substitutes for salt. These can be especially handy in Risotto, Pasta and of course soup. Just be careful that the stock that you use isn't seasoned before you make the soup, because this could mean your end result is over salty. Gorgonzola is a particularly salty cheese, so add it gradually and taste as you go.

4 rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
4 medium-sized leeks, sliced2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1.2 litre /2 pints hot vegetable stock
200g/7oz gorgonzola cheese, roughly chopped
½-1 tsp Dijon mustard
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Lightly bash the rosemary sprigs with a rolling pin to help release the powerful aroma and flavour when cooking.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and stir in the potatoes and rosemary. Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 4-5 minutes. This will create some steam in the pan, preventing the potatoes from sticking to the base. Stir in the leeks and garlic, then cook for a couple of minutes until beginning to soften. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, leaving it to cook for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat, take out the rosemary sprigs and stir in the gorgonzola cheese and Dijon mustard. It doesn't matter if the cheese doesn't melt completely as you now need to place the soup into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
4. Season with salt and pepper, making sure you taste the soup first as gorgonzola is quite a salty cheese. If the consistency seems too thick, add some extra vegetable stock to loosen.
5. Serve with some fresh bread while the soup is still hot - walnut bread is really nice - or if you're not eating it straight away, gently reheat, being careful not to let it boil as this will give the soup a grainy texture.