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Cafe Vue at Heide Museum…Saturday 4th May

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My friend and I had planned a bit of a foodie day a while ago. We started at Cafe Vue at Heide in Bulleen and then drove to the Yarra Valley for a chocolate feast (see more about that in a future post).

Shannon Bennett has other Vue restaurants and cafes around Melbourne. Vue de Monde in the Rialto building in Melbourne’s CBD is a 5 star restaurant with a commanding view in what used to be the Observation Deck so you can imagine the view. He is one of the most famous and creative chefs in Australia and has worked with Marco Pierre White.

Cafe Vue sits in the grounds of Heide Museum in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. It is a smallish cafe with huge picture windows that overlook the entrance to the Museum of Modern Art. Theirs is a simple menu that seems to change each month. I think that’s their way of keeping on top of seasonal produce which is one of the things they most want to do. The menu might be simple but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to choose something. I asked a waitress what the soup was and she said it was a Corn Chowder with Soft Shell Crab served on a bed of Mash potato and a Baguette. That sounded delicious so I ordered that. My friend ordered Rick’s Pulled Pork Steamed Roll with house fries and a Spicy Tomato Sauce. Pulled pork is one of the trendy items on restaurant menus at the moment. My soup was served in the bowl without the corn chowder. The waitress then poured the chowder over the crab and mashed potato. It was quite a spectacle. It was delicious. Unlike some chowders it was quite thin and much easier to eat. The crab was cooked whole and made for something quite different. When the waitress was describing the soup to us she mentioned that if you don’t like whole crustaceans you won’t like this. Well that doesn’t bother me.

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Is there anything better than home-made soup?

I don’t think there is.

I’ve been making this soup for years.  There’s really no recipe for this soup.  I call it Chunky Chicken & Vegetable Soup.  It’s based on a soup my grandma made when I was a little kid.  I used to love the smell of the soup when I visted my grandparents.

Years later I asked my Mum if she knew the recipe.  She didn’t but told me some of the vegies that were included.  I then went and bought them and made the soup.  My house smelt as beautiful as my grandparents house used to smell.  Now it’s a regular addition to my winter menu.  Here’s my recipe (I never weigh the vegetables so they vary each time, often depending on the size of the vegetable):

Chicken breast (cut into strips)

pearly barley (approx 1/4 cup)                              1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

celery                                                                 potato

swede                                                                 turnip

parsnip                                                                onion

carrot                                                                  

Using either a large saucepan, stockpot or slow cooker, bring 2 litres of water to the boil.  Add pearl barley.  Chop the chicken and all the vegies and add them to the pot.  Add more water to cover the ingredients.  Add salt, pepper and mixed herbs (I use dried) to taste.  Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to a simmer.  Cover for 1 hr.  Add more water if it has dropped below the level of the vegies.  Cook for a further 30-60 mins.  Ensure that the vegies are always covered by water.ImageImage