Sunday, May 20, 2012
I've been bumbling around this planet for almost three decades so I'm bound to meet amazing people. One of them is Amy who is witty, well written and if I was a quarter the improviser she is ... well that would be amazing! Anyhow she recently posted on Facebook a blog named 'What's for School Lunch?' Though school lunches will never represent the best food a country has to offer, it is certainly is interesting what parents pack their children off with. Check it out.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Anyone who has travelled with me will know just how jazzed I get when I find a corn vendor at a market. There are few things nicer than a stick of sweet corn with a generous dab of butter and seasoning on a brisk winter market morning. But did you know how a-MAIZE-ing (see what I did there? I'm so punny) corn actually be? Check out these amazing heirloom corn images.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Yesterday I received a beautiful paella pan and as today is Mother's Day, I could find no better excuse than to break it with this Taste.com.au Paella recipe. To begin I prepared the following sets of ingredients (1) finely dice one brown onion, one red capsicum and one green capsicum, (2) two cups of medium grain rice, finely dice one ripe tomato and two tablespoons smoked paprika, (3) peel ten green prawns leaving heads and tails, (4) thickly diagonally slice two chorizo sausages, (5) cut two chicken thighs into 3cm pieces, (6) bring to a boil five cups of chicken stock and 1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads and (7) one cup of frozen peas.
I then popped the paella pan on a medium heat and separately cooked the chorizo, chicken and prawns until they were golden and returned them back to their bowls. I then cooked the onion, red and green capsicum mixture until soft, combined the rice, tomato and paprika mixture added the one third of the stock and continued to add stock as it was absorbed. After all the stock has been absorbed, add the peas and prawns and set aside for ten minutes for the dish to form a crust.
Then serve to your eager guests. This batch serves at least six and if you can't finish it, I strongly suspect that it will freeze well. But I'll let you know in a few days.
The other day Miss Charlotte posted on her Facebook that she had exploded with excitement upon finding Feijoas at the Queen Street Markets. In my pre-coffee state, I assumed it was some kind of Mexican cuisine and was rather surprised and thankful to find that (a) our fabulous office assistant hadn't literary exploded and (b) the Feijoa was actually an green egg shaped fruit.
The Feijoa (occasionally referred to as the pineapple guava) is a part of the myrtle family and native to the highlands of South America and widely cultivated in New Zealand. Though this flowering evergreen shrub is widely grown as a landscape plant, fruit is rarely seen outside of its cultivation area due to the fact the plant requires at least 50 hours of winter chill to fruit. If you're lucky enough to come across a Feijao seek out fruit that gives slightly when you apply a light pressure and cut it half like a Kiwi Fruit to enjoy the sweet pulp. The pulp is extremely aromatic, unique and as you inch closer to the skin an enjoyable gritty texture. If you see one, they are well worth trying and I expect to see an increase of this fruit in Queensland as an orchard has been recently established on the Sunshine Coast.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Based on a tip off from one of my lovely Twitter Followers, Spensley and I decided to head home via The Poet's Cafe, Montville. The Poet's Cafe makes a visual impact from the moment you arrive with the stained glass windows, honey toned interior walls overlooking a lush green garden. The dish above is Spensley's Poet's Egg Benedict with avocado which comprised of sourdough, roast tomato, crispy pancetta and truffled hollandise sauce. I didn't try any of this dish but eggs were bright and runny and Spensley praised the hollandise sauce's flavour.
I decided to order a rather hearty slow cooked beans with toasted sourdough, a thick lamb and fennel sausage and poached egg. This dish is not to be consumed in polite company as you'll need to balance the beans and the poached egg on your thick slice of sourdough and then pick the beans from the flavoursome sauce. The sauce had nice large chunks of cooked tomato and was creatively flavoured with star anise and cummin. Very interesting but by George it worked! While we both really enjoyed our meals, the portions were generous, I won't lie as I thought the whole experience was overpriced with a mocha or hot chocolate at $6 a pop and any additional sides adding up. So just be wary of your selections.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Address: 167 Main Street, Montville, QLD 4560.
Open: Monday - Thursday: 9am - 6pm. Friday - Saturday: 9am - 9pm. Sunday: 8.30am - 6pm.
Phone: (07) 5478 5479.
Spensley and I keep extremely full schedules but after lengthy discussions we came to the conclusion that we ought to take a holiday during the May long weekend. So after shooing out all the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern actors and patrons with a long handled broom from the Brisbane Art Theatre courtyard, we jumped into the car to Caloundra. In return for Spensley doing the driving, I offered to buy him dinner and after some research and decided to book us in for dinner at David Rayner's Thomas Corner Eatery. Thomas Corner is stylish establishment but has a relaxed atmosphere helped along by the friendly but efficient staff who quickly seated us despite running late.
We had a late lunch so we decided to start with mains. Spensley selected the papardelle with cultivated mushrooms, shallots, english spinach, pecorino, topped with a hot poached egg and dressed with olive oil and parsley. The pasta was perfected cooked and aromatic as the smell of the pecorino instantly perked up the appetite upon arrival. I was also impressed to note the inclusion of enoki in the mix. These delicate mushrooms have a wonderful crispy texture and are amazing stir fried.
While I was disappointed to learn that the rabbit was unavailable, this was quickly dissipated by the arrival of the grilled Bangalow pork chop, celeriac, apple and fennel remoulade, crackling and white wine jus. The pork was rich, fatty and tender and offset by the celeriac, apple and fennel remoulade accented by pieces of crackling.
For dessert we both selected the poached pear, chocolate sable, pistachio cream and chocolate sorbet. While we were both were expecting the pear to be warm as it was a fairly cool evening, but it was served ice cold which we believe was intentional. The chocolate sorbet was strictly for adult tastes with a rich, deep 80% dark chocolate accent and the pistachio cream bordered on savoury with pieces of roasted nuts. It was a lovely meal and it had to be as I had asked Spensley to drive an hour from Caloundra. On the way home he asked me, "did you have any concept of the distance when you made the booking?" I replied, "not really, I assumed the Sunshine Coast was all together." "I thought was much," he said. So, now I know.
Address: 1/201 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville QLD 4566.
Open: Monday - Friday: 11.30am, Saturday: 9am, Sunday: 8.30am. Breakfast/lunch/dinner.
Phone: (07) 5470 2224.
Price: Entree: $16 - $24. Mains: $29 - $35. Dessert: $3.50 - $14.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
When I was young, holidays seemed to stretch to place beyond infinity and I would almost be begging to head back to school. Fast forward to the year 2012 and sometimes time is moving so quickly that I don't know if I'm coming or going and occasionally pat myself down to ensure I am wearing pants as I run through the door.
So in these modern times, it's handy to have a few recipes that are minimal fuss but high impact. These Almond Butter Drops from the ancient ye old 'Womens Weekly Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits' are fantastic and to make them you need to take a food processor and blitz 250g of gingernut biscuits until roughly crushed and then add 90g of lightly roasted flaked almonds, 1/4 cup of coconut and 60g of chopped preserved ginger until fine. Then combine this dry mixture with 60g melted butter and 1/4 cup of golden syrup, press into your desired shape (I used a tablespoon and made them into nice dome, half spheres) and chill in the fridge on a greased tray.
Once they are firm, melt 90g of dark chocolate, dip each biscuit, top with a flaked almond and chill. Dead easy, but they'll make you look like a domestic goddess at your next social gathering. Take that Nigella! ... Actually, I don't mean that ... for all of Nigella's adjectives, I still love her. A complete wonder babe. Sigh.