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.