Recent Recipes

Ravioli with Pumpkin & Mustard Sauce

Comments (2) | Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sorry folks, not mid - week cooking from me this week. I've been a bit busy finishing up with my old job, preparing to get ready for the next (I'm a little be nervous to be honest, but hopefully I will fit in, if not I can bake them all cakes and buy their love =P ).

Instead I give you a recipe from my boyfriend who whipped up this recipe one night with lots of leftovers he had lying around the house. It was an absolute taste sensation and could easily be adapted for a vegetarian palate.There is something about the mustard sauce that brings an added depth to the sauce, you won't be able to stop at one serve!

Ravioli with Pumpkin & Mustard Sauce
By Nerdy Rob

Pumpkin (Approx 80g per person)
Olive oil (non virgin)
Heinz Honey Mustard Sauce
1 Smoked Chicken Breasts per person
1 Rashes of middle bacon per person (not too trimmed)
A handful of Rocket
A little bit of parsley

1. First, start off by cutting everything up. You want the pumpkin into smallish wedges. Doesn’t have to be neat since they will be mashed off anyway, but we want them to cook evenly. Bacon and Smoked chicken into bit size pieces.

2. Next, get the pumpkin cooking. I used the microwave (a bowl with a little water and a microwave slotted lid). You want the pumpkin very soft. Mashable soft. While the pumpkin is going along nicely in the microwave get your pan ready. Heat it up a little and chuck in your bacon. You want to render off the fat a little and also get some color on the bacon.

3. Once the pumpkin is done in the microwave, take it out and drain off the liquid. Add some salt and pepper and toss in bowl. Now, add in into the pan. Add some olive oil. Probably about a tablespoon and get mashing. Doesn’t have to be smooth, just saucy. Continue cooking off the pumpkin a little till the color darkens a little. Next, start adding in the Honey Mustard. Just a little at a time. Keep stirring it. You want to end up with a very thick sauce, or a runny mash, depending on how you think. Next, add in the smoked chicken and toss around to warm it through. Remember, smoked chicken is already cooked, so if you over cook it, it will turn to crap. Turn it off and let it rest.

4. Next, cook your pasta. I did beef tortellini’s, but I think spinach and ricotta would have gone a lot better. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and put it back in the pot. Add some olive oil. Just to coat the pasta. Next, add in your rocket and parsley into the sauce and just give it a stir around. Next, add a little bit of the sauce into the pasta and stir. Continue this until you have a little left to put on top of your pasta. Service it up and eat.

Alternative Suggestions:

If I had them I would have added pine nuts as well. This can be done when you are cooking off the bacon or at the very end as a garnish.

Also, this can easily be made into a vegetarian friendly dish. Obviously, take out the meat. Possibly add some chick peas to give it more body. Though, lessen the pumpkin off by a little.

In my opinion, this has real potential. Just from that base concept of pumpkin, mustard and rocket. Play around with it to suit your tastes!

Thanks to Nerdy Rob for this recipe.

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Eating Out: The Abyssinian

Comments (3) | Thursday, September 18, 2008

It was time for my friends and I to try another international cuisine. This time around we made the bold decision to channel our inner African and treat our taste buds to Ethiopian food.

When I think of Ethiopian food, I imagine getting a package from World Vision with a bunch of seedlings for me to plant to grow my own crops!... Luckily this was no the case when we were presented with a very thorough menu at Abyssinian.

The size of the restaurant was fairly cosy, with some people seated at normal tables and others, like us were seated at more traditional settings, a small round communial table with small chairs and smaller tables around for our drinks. This posed a bit of a problem later down the track though.
Meals are served on big, round platters covered with large straw lids.

We had no idea what to order, lots of different options for both vegetarians and meat eaters, even seafood was available. The menu was packed with lots of weird and wonderful ingredients I had never heard of before. We decided to get the chef's variation platter which gave us a sample of everything on Injera bread. A better photo of what it all looked like can be found here.

The Injera bread was nothing like an Indian naan, it was more of a spongy bread that had an almost sour tang to it. It is served cold and is used to scoop up the food. Cultrey is only supplied on request, so my advice is, go with a bunch of people you know and love and hog in with your hands for the authentic experience just like we did.

This was the combination platter of meat, seafood and vegetables for 2. Generous portions, we couldn't finish it all as it was very filling. Everything is slow cooked, and to perfection. The spices and special sauces made each "dish" different from the next. Even the salad dressing was amazing!
However, as you can see, this meat platter for 2 took up the whole table and we had 1 vegetarian with us who ordered the vegetarian platter, so we had to use one of the side tables for the other platter.

This was the vegetarian platter. This picture shows the shear size of 1 Injera bread.

We even tried the Ethiopian tea, which was supplied with sugar. I ended up having to put in 2 sugars, however it went great with the food, but nothing like a green tea or Chinese tea that I would want to drink without food.

There is only 1 dessert on the menu, "cream caramel", which we didn't try as we went on the hunt for cocktails, we have a cocktail blog, please check it out and tell your friends:

Service was a little slow when we first arrived, understandable as they were very busy, however the food came out very fast. I think this is because everything is slow cooked so they just need to scoop it on the Injera bread.
Reasonably priced, great food, it's no wonder the Cheap Eats guide has classed it "best in it's class".
If you are up for something new to treat your taste buds, head over to The Abyssinian. Bookings are essential!!

The Abyssinian
277 Racecourse Road
Kensington, VIC 3031
Phone: (03) 9376 8754 or SMS: 0423 695 341
Web: www.riftvalley.com.au/index.html

Abyssinian on Urbanspoon

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Eating Out: More Brunetti Adventures (part 2)

Comments (4) | Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's the ultimate dessert destination, it's where I go to get my calorie fix. It has the best Italian coffee, and it's always is hard to find a seat to enjoy your treats.
The original and the best Brunetti is in Carlton, however there are other stores in Camberwell and Melbourne CBD.

I've been a few more times since the original post, and after seeing fellow bloggers Where's The Beef do multiple postings on Brunetti's, I decided I'd do the same. So check them out if you want more food porn to drool over.

This was a chocolate mousse with a layer of mint mousse at the bottom. So delicious and sweet, this chocoholic couldn't actually finish it. I wish I took the rest home to eat at another time, oh well! There is always next time!!

Yet another chocolate mousse, this time with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate layers with a small sponge cake at the bottom. So light and fluffy, definitely one of my favorites.

Chocolate mousse again (are you sensing a theme here?) in a chocolate shell with crushed hazelnuts. So delicious, although quite a lot of chocolate, I would recommend a glass of water after this one!

More Brunetti stories can be found here.

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Melt-and-Mix Chocolate Coconut Cake

Comments (5) | Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Last week I baked 2 cakes, but forgot to photograph one. A little annoyed, so I will have to make the other one again and photograph it for you all. The reason for 2 cakes in 1 week was birthdays at work. This chocolate and coconut one was made for our newest staff member, Emma who on her third day of work celebrated her birthday!

I needed an easy recipe that I could whip up quickly the night before in the little space of time I had between going to the gym and getting my beauty sleep.
Donna Hay to the rescue! This is from her book: Modern Classics Book 2.
It tasted like a giant brownie, my boss ended up calling it a giant muffin. So simple to make you don't even need to get the electric mixer dirty.

Melt-and-Mix Chocolate Coconut Cake
By Donna Hay

250g butter, melted
3/4 sifted cocoa powder
1 1/3 caster sugar
3 eggs
1.5 cups desiccated coconut
1.5 cups plain flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180
°C (350°F).
2. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
3. Pour into a greased 24cm (9.5 inch) round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 50 minutes.
4. Dust with cocoa or icing sugar, you can serve warm or cold with thick (double) cream.

Serves 8-10

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Eating Out: Bopha Devi

Comments (5) | Monday, September 15, 2008

My friends and I were out yet again to try another international cuisine. This time it was Cambodian food from Bopha Devi in Melbourne's Docklands.

This place was listed in the cheap eats guide, but the actual venue was very glamorous, including this amazing chandelier.

I had no idea what to expect from Cambodian food. I imagined they would probably eat rice and noodles like most of Asia but I was unsure of the flavors to expect. Would they be spicy, salty or a bit of everything?

Dining with a mix of vegetarians and meatatarians (not sure if that's a proper word but I'm going to use it), we ordered a nice spread of food to try.
We started off with some appetizers:

Pumpkin filled parcels & Pork spare ribs

The pork spare ribs were twice cooked and coated in a caramelized palm sugar sauce that was heaven for the taste buds.
Presentation was nicely done with banana leaves, and the flavours were amazing. As this was only the starters we were hanging out for main course!
The pumpkin filled parcels got a rave review, even our friend Kiran who is allergic to won-ton skins, was hoeing into them, however her lips swelled up later that night and she looked like she was channeling Angelina Jolie.

The vegetarians had these colourful delights for mains:

Char Kroeung and Saramann

Char Kroeung:
wok cooked protein of your choice with lime leaves, lemongrass, turmeric, onions, bean shoots & capsicum. Served with fresh mint, cucumber, lettuce, vermicelli noodles, sweet fish sauce & crushed nuts

Saramann: your choice of protein cooked with coconut cream, onion, broccoli flowers, five spices, lemongrass, turmeric, lime leaves and crushed peanuts served with steamed rice.

I didn't get to sample these but I heard they were both fantastic. It's hard to find a restaurant that has a good selection for both vegetarian and meat eaters.

Grilled Marinated Chicken (top) and Bai Mouan (bottom)

The grilled marinated chicken was marinated in lemongrass, tumeric and lime leaves served with steamed rice and a mixed salad. Absolutely delicious, we were fighting over this one!

Bai Mouan is a classic Cambodian style chicken rice served with shredded lettuce, sliced cucumber and a lively garlic and lemon sauce. I really wanted to order this as it seemed like some kind of signature dish from Cambodia. Our friend Tristan who doesn't like too much garlic was not a fan of this dish, but I loved it (minus the cucumber, fact for the day, cucumber gives me gas!)

Lort Char

Lort Char is rice drop noodles, wok tossed with Asian broccoli, bean sprouts and egg.
It has a lovely smokey flavour to it. Wasn't too much a fan of the egg as it was more half cooked chunks of egg from what I can remember, but the rest was delicious.
My mum usually does rice drops with mince pork or beef and oyster sauce, so it was nice to experience them cooked in a different way.

Service here was top notch, the atmosphere was great and I would highly recommend this place to anyone!

Bopha Devi
27 Rakaia Way, Docklands VIC 3008
Phone: 9600 1887
Web: www.bophadevi.com

Bopha Devi on Urbanspoon

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Eating Out: Via Veneto

Comments (4) | Sunday, September 14, 2008

It was my grandmother's birthday celebrations today so we took her down to Lygon Street. I had briefed my mum to ignore all the shop keepers that try and drag you into their restaurants until we found a place that was good, but of course she got sucked in to the 2nd restaurant we walked past she made us go in. I was not happy!!

The lady out the front said her mum was the chef and we could have our first drink and garlic bread or bruchetta for free.
My first reaction after we sat down was..."oh my god, it's quite expensive here". I've been to Lygon Street a few times and the prices were not as high as these.

The bruchetta was by far the worst I've ever had, it was essentially toast with 2 slices of unripe tomato and olive oil drizzled on top. I love bruchetta but was definitely not a fan of this one.

For my mains I had the spaghetti with home-made meat balls:

To be honest this reminded me of the sauce you get at Fasta Pasta. For a good Italian restaurant I expect a good, rich napoli sauce. This tasted very artificial, almost like it was out of a bottle. And the meat balls were sliced in half and seemed to be made of off cuts of meat. I've had better meat balls in South Melbourne. If you order meat BALLS don't cut them in half so they are half balls.

My grandma had the Fillet Minong:

It looked alright and she managed to polish it all off.

So, to be frank, I won't be returning. The portion sizes were generous, but the service was lacking especially as we were one of the 10 people in the restaurant we had to wait quite a while for our food to come out.
Flavours were not true Italian compared to some places I've experienced before. Next time I go to Lygon Street with my family I'll be calling the shots!

Via Veneto
234 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053
Phone: 03 9663 3151

Via Veneto on Urbanspoon

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Lamb Patties with Beetroot & Tzatziki

Comments (5) | Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I finally made it back into the kitchen for mid-week cooking again, last week I went out with good friends for some good food and good wine.... always a nice combination if you ask me!

So this is the recipe I actually wanted to make last week from a Woman's Weekly cookbook. I don't normally cook from this book as my Donna Hay library has been getting a workout, but I thought I'd mix it up a little.

These were so simple to make and tasted "delish".
Due to ACP taking legal action on fellow bloggers, especially one of my favorites, Not Quite Nigella, I shall not be posting the recipe in case I get a letter in the mail.

What I can tell you is, the lamb patties are a little bit more special with that addition of lemon rind, and a little bit more healthier with grated carrot.
Served on Turkish bread on a bed of cos lettuce, topped with beetroot and Tzatziki, this is a simple dinner or even lunch that everyone can enjoy.

We ate ours like burgers and it was a very messy but delicious experience.

This recipe can be found in the Woman's Weekly Complete Book of Modern Classics.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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Open Roast Pumpkin & Feta Tarts

Comments (4) | Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's been a while since I last posted hasn't it?
Sorry, I've been a bit busy, I have been offered a new job which I will start at the end of the month, so interviews and things have been keeping me busy!

So, first post for the week is these delicious pumpkin and feta pies taken from the taste website.
Iron Chef David joined me on this one as we needed some vegetarian nibbles for the Wii night we were having.

These were so simple to make, Iron Chef Rob even got involved and cut up the pumpkin for us!
The perfect meat pie alternative for your vegetarian friends.

Open Roast Pumpkin & Feta Pies
Taken from www.taste.com.au

Makes 20

350g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
2 tsp olive oil
3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs

100ml light thickened cream

100g low-fat feta, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease two 12-hole muffin pans. Place pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. drizzle with oil and season. Roast for 20 minutes or until cooked.

2. Cut 20 rounds from the pastry sheets using a 6.5cm cutter. Press into muffin holes to cover base and a little of the sides. Whisk eggs and cream together. Divide pumpkin among rounds, top with 1 teaspoon of egg mixture, then sprinkle with feta. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool slightly, then turn out.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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