Recent Recipes

Product Review: POM Wonderful

Comments (6) | Friday, October 30, 2009

When I was contacted by Linsday to see if I wanted to try POM juice I snapped up the opportunity as I had heard people talking about it, and I had seen it in the supermarket in it's sexy, curvaceous bottle.
POM can be used in cocktails, mocktails, and cooking. I didn't know this when I took the photo, but a whole range of recipes can be found on their website. Considering I don't have lots of ingredients listed in the recipes, I will be just reviewing it as a drink.
The day the shipment of POM Wonderful arrived, I got home from work, then scooted off to the gym before dinner. Mum wanted to drink it with dinner, but I wasn't letting her have her way. I hadn't had a chance to photograph it, yet have a look at any of the reading material that came with it! So she had to wait until the next night to try it.

So we sat around, each with a glass of POM in hand, and for some reason, when I get things to try out, my parents turn into the harshest of food critics. There were a few Matt Preston facial expressions going on, and with the way they were going about it, it was like we were trying a 1967 Penfold's Shiraz or something (I don't know if Penfold's made a shiraz back in 1967, it was just an example, so don't write in telling me I've got my facts wrong!)

From multiple tastings, over multiple nights, our conclusions are as follows;
  • On it's own, some of us found that it had a slight drying effect on the mouth. I have had this with other drinks I have tried in the past.
  • The drying effect can be solved by adding lemonade for a nice fizzy concoction
  • Some of us felt fizz was mandatory when consuming POM
  • The rest of us really like it on it's own
  • Dad asked me if the bottle was meant to look like pomegranates; a couple of days later, I jokingly concluded it was meant to look like a prostate since it is good for your heart and your prostate... for those of us that have a prostate! I found it hard throwing the bottle in the bin though, it was such a nice looking bottle.
  • We didn't really feel like it had a pomegranate flavour to it, but it was a nice refreshing drink with the added fizz of lemonade or lemon squash. Health benefits are always a bonus
  • I would really like to try the other flavours, like the pomegranate blueberry, pomegranate mango, and pomegranate cherry.

The POM army, waiting to attack..

Some facts about POM Wonderful:
  • It contains more antioxidants than red wine, grape juice, acai juice and even green tea.
  • In every 475ml bottle, there is no added sugar or artificial ingredients, just juice from five pomegranate varieties 
  • Primary research areas for health benefits have included the prostate and the cardiovascular system
POM Wonderful is available at most Woolworths stores, in the produce section; should you wish to try it yourself. For more information on the health benefits, recipes and other varities; check out: pomwonderful.com.au

Thanks again Lindsay for sending me out some samples to try!

Hope you all have a POM-tastic day!

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Eating Out: Espy Kitchen

Comments (8) | Thursday, October 29, 2009

On the weekend I headed to a part of town I don't frequent very often, St Kilda. The reason for me being in St Kilda was to see musician, Joshua Radin perform down at The Espy.
Given that there are no shortages of trendy cafes for all the St Kilda yuppies to have their skinny soy chai lattes with a shot of vanilla, whilst a snack sized dog sits patiently in their handbag; I wasn't really sure of anywhere good to dine. I whipped out the Cheap Eats guide and found the Espy Kitchen, which was at the venue we were going to.... convenient? I think so. 12 people on Urbanspoon had also voted, and with a rating of 100%, we knew where we were going for dinner.

Whilst walking from the carpark about 1km away from The Espy, it's hard not to notice when you are a non-smoker, the constant haze of nicotine in the air. But forgetting that, the sun was shining (thank you daylight savings) and we were close to the ocean; gorgeous.
We had tried to call up and book, but the friendly woman on the phone said the manager wanted to keep the place fairly open that night, as there was a John Farnham concert going on down the road. We wondered in, and wondered around for a few minutes and secured a table outside. Then when we went to order there was a table vacant inside, so we migrated inside.

Seafood Basket - $17.50
Battered & crumbed fish, calamari, prawns and scallops served with fries, lemon & cocktail sauce

Being near the beach, sitting around in the sun; I wanted a no fuss meal. The lamb shank risotto did sound fantastic, but I went for a simple fisherman's basket instead. I hadn't had one in quite some time, and I remember always getting them when visiting my grandparents up in the country.
This fisherman's was perfect. The chips were just the way I like them; slightly bronzed. The prawns, scallops & calamari were nice and crispy, the fish was coated in a crunchy thick batter. I managed to pull the fish out of the batter really easily. Probably a good thing because I didn't want to eat all of that batter and clog my arteries too much.

Caeser Salad With Fried Egg + Chicken -  $16.50

A caeser salad was ordered; this time with chicken! We learnt that lesson from being ripped off at the Coffee Club a couple of weeks back.
The only complaint was that there could have been more caeser dressing on the salad. It looked impressive though. Another good portion size.

There is a great variety of food on the menu, with options for vegetarians, vegans and gluten free meals clearly marked.
With lots of nice sounding things on the menu, friendly staff, a great view; I'm rather looking forward to going back for the food.

The Joshua Radin concert was fantastic... despite the fact he started playing at 11:30pm at night... standing for 3.5 hours killed my feet.

Espy Kitchen, Esplanade Hotel on Urbanspoon

I'm off to Tasmania tomorrow for 5 days of foodie adventures. I will try and post whilst I am away.. I hopefully have internet access. I know I have a backlog of posts for you all to see. Given that I will be away for:
- 5 dinners
- 4 breakfasts
- 4 lunches
- morning and afternoon teas
I will have ALOT to blog about when I come back!

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White Chocolate & Macadamia Cupcakes

Comments (22) | Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Having recently started a new job, I haven't had much time in the kitchen. So I scheduled baking time in my diary for Saturday morning. Having wanting to bake something from the new Donna Hay magazine, but finding I was missing at least 1 ingredient for every recipe I wanted to try, I thought I'd whip out another book from my ever growing library for an alternative; I was in the mood for cupcakes!

These were delicious. I chopped my macadamias rather coarsely, so the cupcakes had lots of crunch to them. I had quite a few taste testers for this recipe, but I didn't tell them the flavour. My aunty picked up that it was macadamia and white chocolate. Where as I had trouble tasting the white chocolate. This could have been because I didn't have many white chocolate chunks the the cupcakes I tried.

I adorned them with these cute buttons I picked up from Donna Hay's range at David Jones. Billy from A Table For Two asked if they were for a baby shower. They weren't on this occassion, but should one of my friends get knocked up, I'll whip up a batch for their baby shower!

White Chocolate & Macadamia Cupcakes

185g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup plain flour
125ml milk
100g white chocolate, chopped
80g macadamia nuts, chopped
ready-made icing decorations, such as buttons by Donna Hay

Royal Icing (frosting)
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan-forced. Line 12 standard muffin holes with paper cases.

2. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together with electric beaters until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flours together and fold in alternately with the milk, chocolate and macadamia.

3. Divide the mixture evenly among the cases. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of a cake. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

4. To make the royal icing, beat the icing sugar and eggs whites together for 5 minutes until white and glossy. Decorate each cake with the icing and little icing decorations.

Makes 12.

Voila! Bon App├ętit!

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Eating Out: Straits Cafe

Comments (9) | Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You know when your mum has had a really really tough day at work, when you get home and she is at the door waiting for you to arrive home to announce you are all going out for dinner... on a Tuesday. This is the kind of thing I would expect on Friday, or a Thursday; so I was quite surprised we were dining out on a Tuesday.
So I quickly ducked inside, put down all my stuff and, of course; grabbed my camera!

I had been to Straits a few times before but wasn't a fan. I didn't like the fact that they used what we started calling "plastic prawns". You know the prawns that are precooked and looked like they have been soaking in chemicals. I hadn't returned for a few years, but Mum had returned recently and was so impressed, she was looking forward to going again.

Penang Char Kueh Teow - $9.80
Malaysian Hawker-style stir fried flat noodles with prawn, squid, chinese sausage, fishcake, egg and beanshoots.

We ordered 3 dishes between the 3 of us. Penang char kueh teow arrived first, but Dad found this mild version to be too hot; and thus we ended up ordering a 4th dish to keep him happy. It was rather good, but I wanted more of a wok taste to it. This was still, one of the better ones I've had outside of Malaysia.

Curry Laksa - $9.00
Rice vermicelli and egg noodles served in a fragrant curry and coconut soup with chicken, fishcake and beancurd.

The seafood curry laksa wasn't like a normal curry laksa. It had more of a sweet taste to it. I was wondering if it was a dominant lemongrass flavour, but Mum just said it was just sweeter than we were used to. Plenty of seafood, and I still enjoyed the flavour.

Sar Hor Fun - $11.00
Fried flat rice noodles with seafood, chicken and vegetables topped with a creamy egg sauce.

The sar hor fun was the most authentic dish of the night. It had a delicious gravy and a real wok flavour. So, so, so good!

Hainanese Chicken Rice - $9.90
Boneless pieces of tender chicken steamed to perfection, served with the chef's famous chicken flavoured rice. 

The Hainanese chicken rice was the 4th dish ordered and it was just perfect. Delicious sauce, very tender chicken; I could have eaten it all.

I am looking forward to going back and trying another one of my favorite dishes; mee goreng.

Great for take away or dining in. I'm so glad that I've finally found some good Malaysian food in Melbourne. The best part about it is, it's close to home too!
There is also a Straits Cafe in Doncaster, but I cannot say if it is as good as the Studfield restaurant.

A cooking post tomorrow my fellow lovers of food!

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Eating Out: Nest

Comments (13) | Monday, October 26, 2009

So, I mentioned in my fudge post I was going to be exploring the new eateries around my new office. I walk past Nest every day on my way back to my car. It looked so cute, and I always checked out menu whilst walking past, planning on what I'd like to try.

So I headed down at about 2:45pm, when I took my 30 minute break from the stresses of the office, with plans of a brown rice salad. Sure, 2:45pm is a little late for lunch, but I was hopeful. I had to wait whilst the waitress socialized with another customer....wasting precious lunch break minutes. When I finally requested my salad of choice, she had a look in the fridge and said there was none left. I requested if there was any of the tuna, avocado and beetroot salad left. She didn't seem too enthusiastic, but offered to make me one. I accepted her offer, paid and took a seat outside.

Tuna, avocado & beetroot salad - $9.00

It wasn't until about 20 minutes later till I received my salad. Was I impressed? Hardly! Considering I was the only customer at this time.
$9 for a small bowl of canned tuna, some lettuce, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and a lemon wedge.... that took at least 20 minutes to prepare. It wasn't even really that tasty.

Well, it's fair to say, I won't be returning. Not for that price, for that service, for that portion size. I know where I want to dine out next though!

Nest Food & Drink on Urbanspoon

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Weird Food Of The Month: Food Accessories

Comments (7) | Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ok, ok; I admit, it's not technically food, but still... it's something from my own private collection for once!
My aunty, uncle and cousins recently went to Malaysia, and brought me back some food related presents! How cute is the little hamburger magnet? The scary part about Mr. Hamburger is, he smells like a sweet bun you'd most likely find at Breadtop, or a similar Asian bakery.
They also brought me back a "face bun" in the shape of a Swiss roll. It scarily also smells delicious!!

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Eating Out: The Cupcake Bakery, Melbourne Central

Comments (11) | Friday, October 23, 2009

After brunch at Brown Sugar cafe, and some adventures around the city; which included me buying a new lens for my camera, to take better blog photos... there was a need for afternoon tea. Sure we could have just gone to the Lindt Cafe again, but I didn't really want to blog yet ANOTHER Lindt experience.
We stumbled upon The Cupcake Bakery at Melbourne Central, and nearly seized up with excitment at how pretty the shop looked!

The shop is rather small, so don't expect to be able to sit down and have a coffee, unless you can get one of the seats in the corner of the shop. You can however get a coffee and a cupcake for $5!

With a nice selection of cakes on offer, it was a hard decision which ones to get. So we got a few to take home and try. Looking at the different ones on their website, I may just have to go back and try a few more.

Since I have a new lens, I took lots of photos. So folks; I give you: The cupcake line up.

Custard Tumble
Vanilla almond buttercake with vanilla custard filling, custard filled choux pastry topped with caramel and chocolate sauce.

I decided on the caramel tumble because:
a) There was only 3 left, so I thought that was a good sign
b) It looked totally different to any other cupcake in the shop
c) Why the hell not? I don't have to justify myself!!

It was quite nice too! More vanilla-y than caramel-y, but not dry at all. The choux pastry was nicely made, and not soggy. Will have to have a try at making these myself one day, since Not Quite Nigella did such a good job at it already!

Red Velvet
Red coloured chocolate cake with cream cheese buttercream and red sugar heart.

Having made red velvet cupakes myself many times, I will admit; I did not think these red velvet cupcakes were all that good. I find mine to be lighter, moister, have more of a chocolate cake flavour, and a much nicer cream cheese icing!
However, it was still a nice cupcake, but I could barely taste the chocolate OR the cream cheese; no matter how much I tried to taste both.

Choc Peppermint
Chocolate cake with aqua peppermint buttercream and chocolate shavings.

Without a doubt, the best cupcake of the selection. So chocolatey, so minty, so damn good! The mint makes it a very refreshing cupcake, and the icing wasn't too thick. As Goldilocks once said, "It's just right!".

To check out the full range, check out The Cupcake Bakery website.
I want to try; hummingbird, lemon meringue, and lemon poppyseed.

(If you can read this, and you noticed I stuffed up my measurement increments; then kudos to you! I only noticed a few hours after posting, and not saving the file I did it in. Thus, I'm not correcting it!)

Cupcake Bakery (Central Shopping Centre) on Urbanspoon

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The Marysville Patisserie: THE BEST FUDGE EVER!!

Comments (5) |

I recently started a new job in the busy Melbourne suburb of Malvern. I have been pondering if I will do a "Fabulous Fat Food Friday" segment and blog all about it, whilst I explore all the new eateries at my door step. However,  I really don't know that I want to eat out every Friday. But be sure, I will let you know if I did happen to eat out, and what I consumed!

So the reason for fudge on this Friday was that it was one of my colleague's last day, and she had always wanted to try the fudge from The Marysville Patisserie, a few doors up from our office. We walk past it every day, and there is always a flag waving 'Fresh Fudge', and a sign; 'Fresh Fudge Ahead'. They even advertise that have adult fudge.
So since it was her last day, we all indulged in some fudgy fun.

We got 4 flavours: mint, orange, double chocolate, and Baileys.

I have never really been into fudge before. It wasn't until I received free fudge on my recent trip to the Yarra Valley that I discovered what fudge was all about.
The fudge from The Marysville Patisserie will just blow your socks off! It was UNBELIEVABLY creamy, and packed full of flavour. It is, hands down; the best fudge I've ever had in my life.
My favorites were the choc-orange and the choc-mint. The worst part (for my waistline), is there are even more flavours to try!! With it being so close to work, it will be hard to avoid.

If you are wondering why it's called 'The Marysville Patisserie' and is no where near Marysville; it's because (as I have been told), their patisserie burnt down in Marysville, and they set up shop in Malvern, with no plans to go back.

The Marysville Patisserie
Glenferrie Road
Malvern VIC

Marysville Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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Eating Out: Brown Sugar Cafe

Comments (12) | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So I reviewed Brown Sugar a couple of months ago, and loved it so much, I couldn't wait to return to try the other delicious items on the menu.

Set in one of Melbourne's many secret lane ways, Brown Sugar is one of the many cosy cafes you can choose from to feed your belly.
Cafe Latte $3.50 & Mocha $3.40

I had woken up that morning craving coffee. I never, EVER crave coffee. Luckily, the coffee here was good, and satisfied my cravings. And of course the sugar at Brown Sugar Cafe, is brown!

Eggs Benedict $14.50

If you look really really closely, you will see a little bit of Turkish bread under all that ham, egg and hollandaisy saucy goodness. The only problem with this dish is that there should have been more bread for a more substantial meal! ... that was the only problem with this dish.

Bircher Muesli $9.50

I have been wanting to try bircher muesli for quite some time. Ever since seeing a recipe for it in one of Donna Hay's books; the idea of soaking oats in apple juice over night sounded rather delicious to me. I love anything apple related.
If you look closely, you will see a sun-dried tomato in the middle of the dish, that some how loaded in my muesli. I'm no rocket scientist, but I'm pretty sure sun-dried tomatoes don't belong in muesli.
HOWEVER, forgetting that, it was completely awesome. So delicious, and a good serving size for the price. The fruits on top were gorgeously sweet, and really made everything come together.

Brown Sugar Cafe is definitely one of my favorite hidden gems of Melbourne. So cosy, so reliable, SOooooooo many things on the menu I still want to try. The staff are always friendly, and more than willing to help with any requests.

Brown Sugar Cafe on Urbanspoon

Some of the cute characters I found in windows whilst wondering around the city!

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Eating Out: Pizza Espresso

Comments (10) | Monday, October 19, 2009

So Rilsta from My Food Trail, and I organised a little Melbourne blogger meet up with some of our fellow bloggers over the weekend. We invited Sarah, Penny & Adrian from the Salami Summit, and we rounded up a few other bloggers; Kat and Nicole.

Rilsta found this place on the Epicure section of The Age website. Matt Preston gave it a good review; but it was his mention of a sticky date pizza that got us really wanting to go there.

After much debate of whether we should get a few pizzas to share, or just get our own thing; we ended up just getting our own thing, and sharing with whoever wanted a taste.
I was down the end of the table that didn't order any pastas, so my review will consist soley of pizzas!

Top pizza: Salsiccia E Funghi - Medium $16.50
Bottom pizzas: Del Cornuto & Melazane E Basilico

The pizzas were okay. They definitely weren't as good as Zonzo. I found they lacked a little flavour. I really expecting more from them.

Calzone Classico

I got a calzone, as none of the pizzas on the menu really excited me; and I thought it would make for an interesting set of photos instead of just pizzas. It was also just okay.

We of course stayed for dessert:

Pacco Pizzetta - $9.50
White Chocolate & Caramel

Kat had this for dessert, whilst pretty much everyone else on the table ordered the sticky date pizza. Mr.My Food Trail also branched out, and got the tiramisu.

Sticky Date Pizza - $9.50

Well, to be honest... I was expecting some form of date involved with a sticky date pizza. Instead, it was just a pizza base, LOTS of butterscotch sauce (never a problem in my opinion) and ice-cream.

As for returning to Pizza Espresso, I don't think I will be. I know Adrian left a bit hungry and was contemplating trying the Angus burger on his way home. It was all just a bit too average for me.
Thanks to the bloggers for a good night out though, and a special thanks to Rilsta & Mr.My Food Trail for letting me be a 3rd wheel to see Julie & Julia with them!

Pizza Espresso on Urbanspoon

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