Last Friday my Mum and I went into Melbourne to watch the A-League semi-final between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City. We went in early so we could have dinner. Federation Square (aka Fed Square) is one of the great meeting places in Melbourne despite being very controversial in design.
Feddish overlooks the Riverwalk and the Yarra River. It would be lovely to sit outside in Summer. We sat outside because it wasn’t very cold. It is quite protected from breezes on that level and they have heaters on nearby.
We arrived in time for Happy Hour with house wine only $6 per glass and quickly chose two meals from the Sharing section of the menu. One of my favourite dishes is Salt and Pepper Calamari with Lemon Aioli so we chose that and also Traditional Arancinni. Both dishes were very light and delicious. I can’t wait to go back there for a full meal.
We ate dinner in the Florentine Room each night. We chose a table of eight because we thought it would be a good way to meet people. On our first night there were 10 people at the table but two ladies said they would be moving after that night because they were part of a larger group that were split. They had made arrangements to sit closer to them. I was glad we would have a bit more room because it was quite squishy.
Entree – Spring rolls with plum sauce
Entree – the strangest entree we had was this salad which was just a quarter of an iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot and parsley. The combination didn’t work for me. I at least expected the lettuce to be shredded.
Main meal – Prawn parcel with lobster sauce. I loved this. There was so much flavour in the sauce especially.
Dessert – Flourless chocolate cake with cream and raspberry sauce. Very light and tasty.
Sunset through the (dirty) window. Still spectacular to watch. After I took this photo I noticed a few others taking the same photo.
Today was yum cha day again, our first for the year. This time we visited a Chinese restaurant in the south east suburbs, Fountain Gate. We have been here before but a long time ago so thought we would revisit it. They seem to have a big emphasis on pork dishes here. We have noticed over the years that yum cha restaurants tend to have a main meat or seafood ingredient. Service was pretty good although after a few times of not taking anything from the trolleys, one lady just walked straight past us without offering us a dish. They offered us a lot at the start so needed a break to get through what we had chosen. All the dishes were really nice although the spring rolls had a lot of mushrooms so I didn’t eat those.
My friend saw these Malteser Bunny Chocolate Cupcakes on Facebook and shared it. I wanted to make them for some friends that love these little Malteser bunnies that are only available at Easter (or should I say the three months leading up to Easter). I should say I was inspired by them because I didn’t follow the recipe. I have a delicious plain cupcake recipe that I love so I made that then made a basic buttercream icing with cocoa for the tops. I then put the bunnies on the cupcakes when I was ready to serve them. They were a real treat.
I found this really simple, yet so tasty, tart recipe on the internet a week or so ago and knew it would be perfect for lunch with a friend last weekend. I bought a tart case from the supermarket because I knew I wouldn’t have time to make it from scratch. I love recipes where you need to roast tomatoes or capsicums because you get so much natural flavour. And the house smells beautiful when they are cooked.
Ambrosia Restaurant in Berwick in south-east Melbourne is a favourite and go-to restaurant when we’re not sure where we want to eat. It’s mostly only known to locals (which I’m not) but a friend introduced me to it years ago and we’ve been going ever since. I won a magnum of sparkling wine there one year. Their food is excellent and so is the service.
This time I decided to order an entree-sized main meal so I could have dessert. I made my decision as soon as I saw the Affogato on the dessert menu.
Lemon pepper & sea salt calamari with lemon aioli. The lemon aioli was especially delicious.
My friend order the Eye fillet steak on mash potato with potato croquettes and mushroom sauce
In November I went to Melba’s Restaurant for the first time in a long time. They offer an upmarket buffet overlooking Melbourne’s skyline. There are so many different stations it’s hard to eat from all of them (but many give it a try). Among them are: Sushi and Seafood, Indian, Asian, Italian, Carvery, Salads, a chocolate fountain and of course the Dessert station.
I enjoyed everything I tried, especially the Naan bread that was made by the chef while you wait. I chose the one with garlic, potato and spiced lamb. It was delicious. I was too full to try the chocolate (I can’t believe I’m saying that now lol).
The restaurant is very elegant and refined. The staff very friendly and courteous and it made the dinner so much more enjoyable.
November is Good Food Month in Melbourne and this is the 2nd time the Night Noodle Market has been run. It’s one of the feature events on the calendar. Held at Birrarung Marr, on the banks of the Yarra River, there are around 50 stalls run by well-known restaurants. You can wait an hour or more to get a table at some of these restaurants so just being able to walk up to a stall and try a few sample dishes is great. We got there quite late so some of the restaurants had sold out.
We only had a chance to buy one meal so we chose the dumpling from Let’s Do Yum Cha. I introduced my Mum to the pork bun. They are an acquired taste but I have grown to like them.
Shenanigans is an Irish bar in Darwin. It’s a very popular bar in a very popular street in Darwin. When we booked we were asked if we wanted a table indoors or out. It was a very hot day so we thought it would be nice to sit outside. The waitress said we could sit outside because it was getting cold so the locals were starting to sit inside. We laughed because the temperature was still in the mid 20’s all through the night.
Baked salmon with garlic butter and vegies. This is what I ate. The parmesan-crumbed salmon was perfectly cooked.
Knox O-zone is the entertainment precinct at Westfield Knox Shopping Centre in Wantirna South. One of the best restaurants is Red Salmon. A friend and I met there for dinner last week before going to see the Aussie movie Felony.
Chicken Envelope. I think the parmesan rosti was my favourite part of the meal although it was all really delicious.
Grilled chicken breast stuffed with sundried tomato/
spinach/camembert cheese served on a potato &
parmesan rosti served with basil & tomato sauce
Mountain Goat – my friend’s dinner. She love her meal too.
Slow cooked tender goat pieces cooked with tomatoes,
cinnamon, apricot, dates & exotic dry spices served
with aromatic rice & cinnamon dusted yoghurt
Last weekend my friend and I finally got to do a Spanish cooking course we first booked in January. Due to unfortunate circumstances beyond our control the course got rescheduled a couple of times. I wasn’t getting my hopes up but was really happy when the day arrived.
There were eight of us and we cooked in pairs. Each table had a single-burner stove on it and we cooked all the dishes on that stove. All the food preparation was done for us so we just needed to cook each course. We started with the Crema Catalina (Spanish version of Crème Brulee) because that had to set for an hour. Next was the crorquettas, then the pimientos and paella. Paella is one of my favourite dishes. At the end we sat at a communal table at the back of the restaurant and ate what we cooked. It was good to chat with the other ladies while we enjoyed our food. We really enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to going back to the restaurant.
Pimientos with black rice (my first time eating something cooked with squid ink)
Paella – absolutely delicious. Served with the restaurant’s secret paella spice mix.
This is a really yummy vegetarian frittata that really is full of greens. It’s also gluten-free. There is a lot of zucchini and baby spinach in it as well as chives (although I left them out because I forgot to buy them). The recipe is another one I wanted to cook from the July 2014 edition of Taste Magazine. It’s quick and easy to prepare and takes around 30 mins to cook.
Preheat your oven to 180 deg Celsius. Grease a 20cm cake pan and line with baking paper. Place spinach in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 30 seconds. Refresh. Drain, squeezing excess liquid. Coarsely chop.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in the zucchini and lemon rind for 2 mins or until zucchini is bright green. Cool.
Whisk eggs, egg whites, ricotta and parmesan in a bowl. Stir in zucchini mixture, spinach and two-thirds of the chives. Pour into pan. Bake for 25-30 mins or until set.
Combine capsicum and remaining chives in a bowl. Serve with the frittata (although I cooked the semi-dried tomatoes on the frittata).
A few days ago I wrote about my first visit to Meatballs and Sons. Today I’m showing you some photos of the interior. Walking in makes you feel like you’re walking in to someone’s home. It’s a very friendly atmosphere and the staff very helpful.
Caffé La Via has been on my friend’s and my dining list for a few months now. It’s a nice little Italian restaurant in busy Glenferrie Rd, Malvern. The décor isn’t really Italian and it was a little bit chilly inside but a nice glass of Yering Station chardonnay cured that quickly. I like eating out on Monday nights because you get to try a restaurant or café when they are not busy compared to a weekend. Some parts of Melbourne become ghost towns after 5pm on Mondays. A lot of eateries don’t open after the busy weekend which is understandable but they are missing out on an opportunity.
This was my dinner – Spinaci. It is hand-rolled gnocchi, tossed in extra virgin olive oil and garlic with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and finished off with bocconcini. I loved it. It was quite light and very tasty. Tossing it in the olive oil gave it a really nice flavour.
My friend ate the JoJo wagyu mince burger. It’s a grilled wagyu pattie served on a brioche bun, with cheese, beetroot relish, grilled pineapple and served with chips. The fat chips were made from a really nice potato and were very tasty.
Raspberry, Laurent Perrier Champagne, Peach & Lemon. Raspberry jam, lemon curd, blood peach cream, raspberry compote, white chocolate and raspberry blondie, champagne jelly, champagne and white chocolate mousse.
Green tea, Blackcurrant, Yuzu and White Chocolate.
Pistachio cake, pistachio cream, blackcurrant cream, green tea meringue, yuzu curd, vanilla & white choc mousse, white choc velvet spray, micro green tea sponge. I hadn’t heard of Yuzu before but it’s a Japanese citrus fruit. The fruit has a strong scent which can be smelled across a room.
After having dessert only at Rosetta last year for my friend’s birthday I decided I wanted to enjoy a full meal there for my birthday yesterday. Once again I walked in and fell in love with the elegant atmosphere, plush couches and chairs and wall decorations.
I’d had a look at the menu online a few weeks ago to help me choose some dishes so I had an idea of what I wanted to eat. There are a lot of courses to choose from. A lot of people have described the prices of the meals as being very expensive. While that is true of some dishes on the menu, there are a lot of reasonably-priced dishes. We had 3 courses with 2 glasses of wine each for $100 each. I love it when the waiters know who ordered each dish and don’t come to the table and ask you. And when you order a glass of wine they look up what you ordered and don’t need to ask you. Fantastic service by everyone there.
For my entree I chose Beef carpaccio, spring garlic, parmesan and baby cos lettuce. This was perfect, melt-in-your-mouth carpaccio. There was a lot of beef too which surprised. Very generous serve.
Yellowfin tuna with roast tomato, garlic and lemon. My friend’s entree. She loved it. We both had a hard time deciding which entree to try but were both really happy with our choices.
Tagliatelle with roasted tomatoes, anchovies, black olives and basil. This was perfectly cooked al dente pasta with just the right amount of tomato and olives. The anchovies were very subtle and added a nice touch to the dish.
Gnocci with braised rabbit, green olives and sage. My friend’s gnocchi. She loved it. Especially the size of the gnocchi because it wasn’t too big.
Panna cotta with fresh raspberries. My friend really liked this. Fresh raspberries go with so well with a lot of desserts.
My tiramisu. Very boozy but quite nice. Not what I would normally eat.
A few weekends ago I had a friend coming over for scrapbooking and lunch. I decided to cook a quiche but wanted to make something a little different. I couldn’t find a recipe that included the ingredients I wanted to use so I decided to make my own version.
Roasted capsicum (either roast 2 large red and/or green capsicums or buy them from the supermarket)
200g feta cheese, crumbled
150g bacon, chopped into pieces roughly 2cm squared
6 eggs, lightly beaten
milk (for mixing with eggs)
salt and pepper (to taste)
6 spring onions, chopped
Pastry flan (or you can make your own pastry)
cheddar cheese (shredded)
Lightly fry the bacon, allow to cool.
If you are roasting your capsicum, allow to cool before placing in the pastry flan.
Place all other ingredients in your flan. Pour the egg mix over and add salt and pepper to suit your taste.
Spread the cheddar cheese over the top.
Bake for 30-40 mins at 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit)
Yesterday I was one of many people that were very sad to hear that this beautiful, iconic restaurant in the beachside suburb of St Kilda had burned down on Friday night. So many people have celebrated special occasions in this fine-dining restaurant. I celebrated my 40th birthday there. It was very memorable because of the food, service and the view of Port Phillip Bay on a hot, Summer day. The building itself was a 110 year old weatherboard building that looked like a beach house. I believe the owners are going to rebuild and I look forward to going again when it reopens.