Sunday, January 28, 2007

Trout Fishing at Marysville Trout and Salmon Farm

Last Sunday while visiting the Yarra Valley (yes, again!) we thought that it would be cool to visit the Marysville Trout and Salmon Farm for a spot of fishing. After paying our $3.50 entry fee, we were originally planning on catching a Salmon. The salmon was $18kg, which doesn't sound too bad, but the guy who worked there told us that you could catch a salmon anywhere from 1kg - 4kg. We kind of feared the thought of catching a 4kg salmon, which would have cost almost $80, so we headed for the Trout ponds instead, where the fish were $11kg and significantly smaller. Now, you'd think that catching a fish at a farm would be really easy, but it actually took us 2 hours to catch a fish. If you're worried about having to kill the fish yourself, the guys there will actually kill it for you and then clean it.

The fish that we caught weighed 1kg, so we were off home to cook up our freshly caught Trout.I found quite a simple recipe in a Jamie Oliver book, which was basically lemon thyme bashed up in a mortar and pestle with some good olive oil and then rubbed all over the inside and outside of the fish. We also put some lemon and more thyme sprigs inside the fish's cavity.

We cut some thick slices of lemon and poked some bay leaves inside the lemons. I then laid the fish on top of the lemons keeping it off the tray so the fish would cook from underneath and also take on some of the lemon flavoured steam. I also parboiled some potatoes, sliced them up and then browned them in a pan with some salt and olive oil.

Throw in some nice, fresh rocket, dressed with some more lemon and olive oil and you've got just about the freshest dinner you could want and nothing could be more satisfying that knowing you caught it yourself. I'd never really had much trout before, but it was delicious, so soft and melting apart in your mouth. Not too many bones to pick out and the ones that were there were quite large.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Banana Fritters

Who doesn't love Banana Fritters!? I love them, I could eat them everyday! The crunchy battered shell, surrounding the soft, warm, sugary banana, drizzled with golden syrup and resting in the slowly melting vanilla ice cream! I love it.

Since I just bought a deep fryer, I thought I'd give my all time favourite a go. My first attempt was one from Ben and Curtis' Surfing The Menu book. This batter was made of coconut milk, which turned out quite tough and really crunchy... too crunchy. Nothing like the ones I remember eating in Footscray when I was a little kid.
My next attempt was using a beer batter. The batter was literally a cup of flour and enough beer to make a slightly thick batter. Apparently it's best to stir the batter with chop sticks and leave some lumps in there.
This batter turned out perfectly, (as you can see pictured) it was thin, it was crunchy (not too crunchy), and in case you've never had beer batter before - it tastes nothing like beer. The fizzyness of the beer helps keep it light and make it crunchy.
You could make these in a wok or saucepan if you don't have a deep fryer. Give them a shot - I love them! Just like the lady used to make in the vietnamese shop when I was little!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Napier Hotel, Fitzroy

It’s amazing how many restaurants around Fitzroy are closed on a Sunday evening! After discovering that all my favorites were closed, I thought I would try one of the famous ‘Bogan Burgers’ at The Napier Hotel. I pulled up a seat outside on a lovely Sunday arvo and hung out with The Napier’s Cricket Team who were also seated outside.
When my burger arrived, I was amazed at the amount of food on my plate- Salad, Crispy Potato Wedges and a HUGE burger in a Turkish bread bun. There was no way I was going to be able to eat this burger in one piece, so I had to cut in half. Once I cut it open, I discovered that the Bogan Burger is in fact exactly that. A total Bogan Burger. Inside is a Chicken Schnitzel, a piece of steak, a potato cake, fried eggs and more salad. WOW!
I didn’t know that that’s what a Bogan Burger actually consisted of, before ordering. How was I going to finish this? Well, I didn’t. Not only because it was huge, but because I was the worst burger I’d ever eaten! Every mouthful was a mouthful of grease!
The potato cake really didn’t work in there and the cheap chicken schnitzel had absorbed every piece of oil it was cooked in. I think I ate about half of it, mainly because I’d spent $16 on the burger, I felt I had to at least try to eat some of it. But I left feeling physically sick. I have to say, it’s one of the worst eating experiences I’ve had in this town. That will teach me not to try and eat out in Fitzroy on a Sunday!

Brandy Snaps with Vanilla Cream, Strawberries and Chocolate

This little dessert is pretty impressive for the amount of effort that goes into it.

Buy some store bought Brandy Snaps. Whip some cream with sugar and a vanilla bean to taste.

Remove the green leaves from some strawberries and cut them in half.

Put some of the cream on the Brandy Snaps, then top with some strawberries, the a bit more cream on top. Get some chocolate, I used some left over Cadbury from Xmas and grate over the top. Garnish with a mint leaf and you've got a great dessert which literally takes 5 minutes to put together!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Steamed Oysters in Soy Dressing with Spring Onions and Toasted Sesame Oil

I've never actually eaten an Oyster before. I had one once at The Beach restaurant in Albert Park. It was an uncooked Oyster, a rather large uncooked Oyster. The idea of Oysters back then kind of scared me, especially raw ones, but I'd heard good things, so I thought I'd give it a go. In my mouth it went, the slimy little beast. All I could think of was a mouth full of snot, disgusting I know, which is why I couldn't swallow it. As much as I tried, I just couldn't get it down, even with water. I ended up taking the Oyster out of my mouth and hiding it under some greens on my plate.

Today, I decided to pay a visit to the good people down at Sea Bounty Mussels on Gem Pier, in Williamstown for some of their Tip Top Mussels. But unfortunately, by the time I got there, they were completely sold out of their Mussels! Oh no! What would I do? I noticed that they also had freshly shucked Oysters for sale ($10 a doz) as well. So, even after my previously weak effort at consuming this apparent delicacy, I was determined to give them another go. So, off home I went with a dozen ice packed Mussels for my dinner. It's quite possible I could be going hungry tonight!

On my way home, I remembered the wonderfully fresh looking Oysters on the cover of Ezard's new book 'Lotus', so I thought I'd give those a go. Now these Oysters are actually steamed and not raw, I know I'm kind of cheating, but I'll start off slowly and lead up to the raw Oysters.

This recipe really is quite simple, it basically consists of a basic Soy dressing which includes light soy, ginger, chilli, mirin, rice wine vinegar, garlic and sugar.

The Oysters are steamed for a couple of minutes, then you drizzle them with the dressing, and garnish with some chopped coriander and spring onions. You then drizzle over some smoking hot sesame oil.. be careful, it will sizzle and spit!

After being a little hesitant at first to try these little fellas, I managed to work up the courage. Their texture I thought was like a big juicy mussel and their flavours more subtle. I have to say I liked it! The Oysters from Sea Bounty I imagine to be perfect specimens, just like their Mussels always are. You can literally taste the freshness in the Oysters! The dressing and the smoking hot oil drizzled over the top, brings out the delicate flavours of the Oysters. There. I'm over my Oyster fear and I enjoyed conquering my fear. If you're like me, a bit hesitant at trying Oysters, this is a good recipe and I'd recommend getting them from somewhere like Sea Bounty, just because you KNOW they will be as fresh as you're likely to get them anywhere in Melbourne. Next... raw mussels!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Campion and Curtis' Tiramisu Cake

I'm not a huge fan of baking, simply because I'm not that great at it, which is why you rarely see any baked goodies on my blog. I usually try and get away with making sweets that stay well away from the oven and never need to rise! I'm hoping to one day get better at baking, but until then, I'm going to stick with goodies like this Tiramisu Cake, out of Campion and Curtis' book, 'Food with Friends.'

This is seriously one of these easiest cakes you could make. It's cheap to make, takes no time at all and best of all, requires no baking! I saw that Vicious Ange also had a go at this cake ,so I thought I'd steal the recipe off her for you enjoy, thanks Ange!

Tiramisu Cake

200g dark chocolate chopped into chunks (Lindt 70% works well)
3 medium eggs, seperated
60 ml (1/4 cup) marsala
250 g mascarpone
150 g Italian sponge fingers
100 ml strong coffee
cocoa powder
cream to serve
22cm springform cake tin

Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl & set over saucepan of simmering water until melted. Beat egg yolks with marsala until pale & creamy.

Add mascarpone to beaten yolks & beat until smooth.

Add melted chocolate to mix & stir until well combined. Whip egg whites until stiff, fold into the mix.

Line springform tin with greaseproof paper. Lay half the spnge fingers in the bottom of the cake tin & drizzle with half the coffee. Pour the mascarpone mix into cake tin.

Top with remaining biscuits & drizzle with remaining coffe. Cover with glad wrap & refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight until set.To serve, remove cake carefully, dust with cocoa powder & serve with cream.