Recent Recipes

Salami Summit 2009 (Great Salamis Of The World Lunch)

Comments (14) | Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"A good salami should feel like the leg of a 17 year old girl" 
- Gerhard Feiner

I was lucky enough to score an invite to an "intimate" lunch with Matt Preston & Gerhard Feiner.
5 food bloggers were chosen from Melbourne, by Nuffnang. It was a great opportunity to meet Matt Preston, and learn about salamis of the world.
It was also a great setting to meet fellow bloggers, Adrian from Food Rehab, Sarah from Sarah Cooks, Penny from Jeroxie, and catch up with Rilsta from My Food Trail.

We arrived together, picked up are nametags, and waited a short while before we went up to the Tea Room at The European. This gave us all time to prepare our cameras, and get comfortable with our surroundings. We were soon brought up to meet Matt and Gerhard. We were introduced as "the bloggers", and Matt immediately started talking about blogging and twitter. It wasn't too much longer after that, that we were talking food, and where the best dim sims in Melbourne were.

We began with a few canapés whilst mingling with the other guests:

Don White Hungarian Salami, chardonnay vinegar, citrus olive oil, fresh mint and basil fire roasted capsicums in a shot glass.
Oysters with Julienne Don Chorizo, sauteed and tossed with champagne vinaigrette.

I passed on the oyster canapé as I just can't seem to swallow them, but the salami canapé was delicious! Spicy capsicum and tangy vinaigrette was just an amazing combination.

After formal photos of Matt & Gerhard with everyone, we were seated and the "Salami Summit" began.
Matt spoke for a bit about salami, and often spoke about methods and ingredients he uses when he makes his own salamis. He then introduced Gerhad, the Fleischmeister. Fleischmeister is a German word for meat maker. The Fleischmeister qualification can only be obtained in Europe. Gerhard was originally Austria, but has been in Australia for 10 years. He has been working for Don for quite some time, and when I asked him if he had a favorite salami, he couldn't put is finger on just one. Dealing with salami is like dealing with numbers for an accountant; it's just what you do every day.

After much discussion about salami, we started with our first course.I was imagining we would be sharing a platter of antipasto, but we were all served an antipasto work of art each:

Antipasto with Don White Hungarian, Don Hot Hungarian, Don Danish & Don Pepperoni

A very generous serving, we were all fairly full just after this. It was washed down nicely with a nice glass of wine too. Gerhard spoke about a salami that burns twice... once on the way in, and once on the way out. We all had trouble distinguishing, which was this one, perhaps because we are all, used to spicy foods. Who knows. All the salami was delicious; the vinegary mushrooms were my favorite from the accompanying vegetables.

After more salami discussions we were served the main course. There were two options for mains listed, fish and steak. I was hoping I would get the steak, but I figured, since I normally don't get what I want when the menu is served alternating each personI wouldn't get my hopes up.
I was so happy when I received the steak:

Angus fillet of beef with Don Chorizo & apple rosti & red wine jus
 Pan roasted barramundi with roasted beetroot & beer cream with Don Chilli Cheese Kabana chips

I did trade some steak for fish with Rilsta & Sarah and it was amazing. The beer cream was just so flavoursome, and the kabana chips were something I wouldn’t mind trying to recreate myself.

My steak was cooked just how I like it, medium rare. The apple rosti was a fantastic accompaniment, but the chorizo was substituted for pancetta, but still delicious.

Some people then left, and the rest of us were ready to tackle the hard task of dessert. With two options on the menu, I was hoping for the sticky date pudding. I got lucky, and my wish came true:

Sticky date pudding.
  Sage & honey panacotta with candied sweet potato.

Sarah was telling me how she really wanted the sticky date pudding instead of the panacotta, and the lovely waitress overheard and brought her over one. The butterscotch sauce was moorish. So thick and tasty, to go with the pudding. The pudding was served with real vanilla ice-cream, you could see the specs of vanilla. The perfect end to the Salami Summit.
We tried the panacotta Sarah was originally served, and were so relieved we weren't served it. It really wasn't my thing. It looked pretty, but give me sticky date any day!

At the end of the luncheon we all received goodie bags to take home. Filled with salamis, an apron and other random goodies.

Don't forget to check out Rilsta's review, and awesome photos. Adrian's review has videos of Gerhard & Matt talking sausage and interview with Matt. Sarah's review here, & Penny's review.
Don't forget, Celebrity Masterchef starts Wednesday 30 September & Matt's book, 'Cravat-a-licious' comes out on Thursday 1 October 2009.

Thanks again to Nuffnang & Don for a fantastic day out.

Read More......

Eating Out: Co Do

Comments (5) | Friday, September 25, 2009

You know a place is worthy of trying if Matt Preston has eaten there before.
Katie and I decided it was time we caught up on all the gossip with each, other over some pho. I asked Katie to choose the place as I was flat out and suffering from man flu; thus affecting my ability to think straight.

I picked Katie up, and we plotted our destination in the car GPS.
Like many of the restaurants on Victoria St, Richmond; they have classic 70s décor. Co Do did have freshly painted, vibrant walls, which made the place feel a little less 70s than the usual. However, mirrored walls were still a prominent feature.Not to mention the Vietnamese karaoke playing on the TV.

Katie isn’t a big fan of prawns, and I didn’t want to make her anything she didn’t like. So we started with some shredded pork rice paper rolls. The rice paper was a little bit chewier than normal, but they were pretty good, with the tasty dipping sauce.

We also shared some vegetarian spring rolls. I found the filling to be a little mushy. They tasted alright, but they weren’t as traditional as I was hoping for. I only just realised, I forgot to photograph them! So just use your imagination...

Katie got the wonton soup. Her feedback was that the broth was very tasty, and the bbq pork was delicious.

I ordered pho. I do love my pho! I got my usual order of rare beef.
The broth was pretty tasty, not as good as my usual pho haunt, but still very good. A good serving size too.

With the meal costing $14 each, we were very satisfied, and even had leftovers.
There is a VERY extensive menu. I remember flicking through numerous pages, even though I knew I was having pho. I’d go back to try other dishes.

Co do on Urbanspoon

Read More......

Eating Out: Montania

Comments (8) | Thursday, September 24, 2009

Last night, my mum’s boss took us all out for dinner. He does this from time to time, and it’s a nice way for us all to socialize and hear about any dramas happening in the office.
We have dined at many different locations, including; Carlton, St Kilda, Brighton and Richmond. However, this time we stuck a little closer to home, and hit up a local shopping centre. I had already checked out the menu online during the day, so I knew what I was ordering.

Montania has a reputation for serving South Yarra type food in the suburbs. It is a cozy, yet roomy restaurant. I would recommend booking; just to be sure you can get a table.

We ordered drinks, and mum’s boss ordered a tomato juice. He requested it be laced witht and worcestershire sauce. The waitress checked with us shortly after delivering the juice to see if it was to his liking. Little touches like this can really make you appreciate friendly staff.

Trio of Dips $11.00
Lightly toasted house made bread accompanied with our chef’s selection of dips.

We started with dips to share. We dined on; avocado, spicy capsicum and roasted eggplant. The Baba Ghanoush (roasted eggplant) was by far my favorite, followed closely by the spicy capsicum.
The bread was fresh and crisp, not oily at all.

Rib Eye Steak $28.90
A generous 350gm steak, char-grilled to your liking and coated with a red wine jus, accompanied by field mushrooms on a potato mash.

Mum’s boss went for the rib eye. He raved about how amazing the lamb shanks were, but wanted to try something different. It was beautifully presented, and cooked to his liking. A generous serve, indeed.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks $25.50
Braised with root vegetables, served over a creamy potato mash with its own sauce.

Mum and Dad ordered the lamb shanks and the seafood crepe to share. I’ve noticed Dad has become aware that if everyone ordered different dishes, it makes for great blogging. (For more food blogger facts you should know, check out Not Quite Nigella).

The shanks were divine. The meat just simply fell of the bone, and the sauce was extremely tasty. A generous portion size with two massive shanks, unlike a previous dining experience at Credo. These shanks were well worth their money.

Seafood Crêpe $29.90
Savory crepe filled with fresh seafood in a cream sauce with salad.

The seafood crepe was on the specials board, and my parents do love their seafood. Dad remarked how light and fluffy the pancake was. It looked pretty damn delicious too.

American BBQ Pork Ribs $28.00
Montanias famous BBQ ribs served with Greek salad & chips.

I went for a man’s meal; ribs.
I have been craving ribs ever since watching the Food Safari episode on USA food. Luckily, these ribs did not let me down. They were ribs on steroids! There was far more meat than bones. This was not a problem, but I had to share the last one and half ribs with the rest of the table, or else I would have become morbidly obese.
The BBQ sauce was really something special. I guess they aren’t their famous ribs just for the portion size. The chips soaked in the smoky BBQ sauce was just the icing on the cake. The salad, TOTALLY unnecessary, but I guess that what makes the dish some what healthy.
I was given a bones dish and a finger bowl, but since there was so much meat, I didn’t need to get my fingers messy; a knife and fork did the job quite well.

Strawberry Crêpes $ 11.00
Flamed in Contreau with a rich toffee sauce, garnished with a dollop of cream and crisp toffee.

Mum chose a dessert for us all to share… not that we needed more food after the main courses.
I told her she couldn’t order the crepes since she had them as part of her main meal, but she wanted to try them regardless.
WOW. They were so good! I’m glad we shared though, there is no way I could eat this on my own. Deliciously sweet with plenty of strawberries inside and outside. It’s fair to say, we were quite stuffed after this.

With fantastic staff, very generous portion sizes, mouth watering food and lovely atmosphere; it’s not wonder the people keep coming back to Montania.
You can stop for a meal, or just a coffee and cake. In the warmer months, the French doors open onto the outdoor dining area.

I’m looking forward to going back to try the other yummies on the menu.

Montania on Urbanspoon

Read More......

Wedding Yummies

Comments (4) | Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So I know I haven't been posting as much as usual. There are a few factors:
- No material due to lack of social life
- No baking due to being too busy / lazy
- Recently contracting man flu, thus feeling like I've been dying

So, I thought I'd blog about the goodie bag I received at my boss' wedding over the weekend.

The bride was gorgeous, in a white strapless number, and the groom was suave in a black suit.
It was a beautiful church service, with a very punctional bride. The bride was infact 30 minutes early, and had to circle the block to waste time!

At the end of the lovely ceremony, each guest received a goodie bag on the way out, when congratulating the lovely couple and their family. It was a total surprise, most welcome though, as most of us were hungry!

Two types of sponge cake; one coffee flavour, the other pandan flavour.
An apple juice prima, and a sweet bread roll with ham and other stuff I couldn't put my finger on. It's an Asian thing, so some of the Aussie guests might not have enjoyed it as much.

Congratulations again to Victor & Venny!

Read More......

Baci Di Dama

Comments (12) | Thursday, September 17, 2009

I finally made time to do some baking. It’s been a few weeks since I brought together the power of butter, sugar and flour to create something sweet and scrumptious.

I bought the Gourmet Traveller chocolate cookbook from a bargain book store for $6 a while ago, back when I went trekking for my first real souvlaki. The recipe for these cookies in the book pretty much sold me; chocolate + hazelnuts = awesome.

My biscuits look TOTALLY different to the picture in the book. The picture in the book shows nice little dainty, chic café looking bites, and mine turned out like chocolate ripples with a chocolaty centre. I followed the recipe to a tee, and I even rolled smaller sized balls than the dictated 1 tablespoon measurement, and I still ended up with morbidly obese looking cookies! Alas, they tasted very nice so it didn’t matter.

I was expecting more of a melt in your mouth kind of sensation when biting into these, but they were just like any other cookie, and didn’t really have that melting effect. I would make them again though, a classic combination that has never let me down.
Baci Di Dama

250g unsalted butter, softened
110g icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
250g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
105g hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and finely ground

125g dark chocolate, chopped
30g unsalted butter
75g hazelnuts, roasted, peeled and finely ground

1. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy, then add vanilla.

2. Stir together flour and cocoa and stir into butter mixture with ground hazelnuts until mixutre is well combined.

3. Take heaped tablespoons of the mixture and using your hands, roll into balls, then place on baking paper-lined oven trays and flatten slightly with your fingers.

4. Refrigerate biscuits for 2 hours or overnight, then bake at 180°C / 160°C fan-forced for 15 minutes or until firm to touch. Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the filling; melt chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then remove from heat, add ground hazelnuts and stir to combine well. Spread a little filling onto half of the cooled biscuits, then top with remining biscuits. Leave in a cool place for filling to set.

Filled biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Makes about 60, but ingredients can be halved to make fewer biscuits.
Voila! Bon Appétit!

Read More......

Eating Out: Credo

Comments (7) | Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today we took my gorgeous Grandma out for lunch since it will be her birthday on Tuesday. Whilst we could have hit up the usual local Italian restaurant, we have been there far too many times in the last few months; the thought of eating there again made me feel a bit ill.

So we headed up to the Dandenong Ranges to a restaurant I have always eyed off when driving through, Credo. Always looked a bit special from the outside, and the menu online sounded nice, so this seemed like the best option.

I called up to make a booking, as I wasn’t sure how popular it would be. I left a message, they didn’t call back so mum called up to make sure they got the booking. We arrived, and there was maybe 4 people in the restaurant, and turns out we didn’t need to book at all. The first thing we noticed though, it was very hot inside. On a 19 degree day, sure it was a bit nippy, but there were far too many heaters on, and created more of a sauna atmosphere than a cosy climate.

Credo had quite an extensive menu. I was actually surprised how many dishes there were to choose from. Breakfast is served until 4pm on Sunday, or you can order off the lunch /dinner menu.
Drinks took a while to arrive to our table as the wait staff were too busy catching up with people at the counter.

Lemon pepper and garlic prawn risotto, with snow peas, sun dried tomatoes and baby bok choy
Grandma ordered the risotto. The prawns were well hidden in the rice, but there were quite a lot, and they were huge prawns. She finished it all and didn’t complain.

Kangaroo with a pomegranate molasses, potato mash, snow peas and beetroot chips

I ordered the kangaroo as it seemed like a nice change to the usual dishes I would order. The kangaroo was overcooked, a bit dry. The pomegranate molasses was nice and tart, teamed with the sweet potato mash and beetroot chips it worked well. The mash itself was a bit bland though.

Rib eye with mashed potatoes and green beans
Dad had the rib eye and it was cooked just the way he ordered it, rare. There was mustard in his mashed potatoes, which was a nice touch.

Lamb shanks with mashed potato and wilted greens

My other choice was going to be the lamb shanks; mum ordered them so I got to have a little taste. They were alright, I was expecting more flavour from them.

As to whether I would go back or not, I’d probably have to say no. Unless it was with a group of friends that really wanted to go there. Food wasn’t the best, I much prefer The Ranges up the road.

Credo on Urbanspoon

Anyway, we went back to Grandma's house to pig out on a slice of cake:

Read More......

Weird Food Of The Month: Cat Poo Coffee

Comments (10) | Thursday, September 10, 2009

Would you pay £50 for a cup of coffee?
How about if that cup of coffee contained cat poo?

Well now at the Peter Jones department store in Sloane Square, England, you can buy a shot of expresso cat poo coffee. But me? I think I'll pass, I'm not a big coffee person anyways... or cat poo person for that matter.

"Internationally-renowned barista David Cooper created the coffee, which is a blend of Jamaican Blue Mountain and the exclusive Kopi Luwak bean. Kopi Luwak, or Civet coffee, is made from beans eaten, partly digested, and then expelled by the Indonesian civet cat.

Mr Cooper said: 'These rare coffees have been slowly hand roasted for around 12 minutes to ensure that we maximise the potential of each coffee.
'The final roast colour is quite dark to ensure that the espresso is perfect for a smooth latte or cappuccino.'

Civets, who live in the foliage of plantations across south east Asia, are said to pick the best and ripest coffee berries. Enzymes in their digestive system break down the flesh of the fruit before the animals expel the bean. Workers collect beans from the plantation floor, wash away the dung and roast them.
All proceeds from the coffee sales are to be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support."

Images and text taken from www.metro.co.uk 

So, would you drink it?

Read More......

Nepalese Meatball Curry

Comments (6) | Tuesday, September 8, 2009

For Father's Day this year I cooked dinner for my dad instead of buying him something that would sit around collecting dust or serve no purpose.

I had wanted to try this recipe for a little while now, and Mum suggested I make it for the dinner I was planning to make. Whilst making it was terrified that Dad might not eat it since it contained quite a bit of ginger and coriander, which he dislikes both. I went easy on the chilli since I know he does not like hot stuff, and I would have preferred to serve it with cous cous (which he also despises), but opted for rice just in case... I didn't want to serve him everything he hated in one meal and be disowned!

Luckily he LOVED it. I didn't tell him what was it in, until he was having the leftovers for lunch the next day, and even that didn't even put him off!
It was delicious, nice middle eastern-y style flavours with with the lamb and all the spices. I love meatballs, and this was no exception.

Nepalese Meatball Curry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
5cm piece fresh ginger, grated
750g lamb mince
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 fresh long red chilli, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons stale breadcrumbs
1/4 cup lemon juice

curry sauce:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 cloved garlic, crushed
3cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh coriander root and stem mixture
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock

1. Make curry sauce: heat oil in a large saucepan; cook onion, garlic and ginger, stirring, until onion softens. Add coriander mixture and spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add undrained tomatoes and stock, simmer, covered, 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a large frying pan; cook onion, garlic and ginger, stirring, until onion softened. Cool 10 minutes.

3. Combine the mince; whole egg and yolk, chilli, spices, coriander, breadcrumbs and onion mixture in a large bowl; roll level tablespoons of the lamb mixture into balls.

4. Heat remaining oil in same pan; cook meatballs, in batches, until browned all over.

5. Add meatballs to curry sauce; cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Stir juice into curry off the heat.

Serves 4.
 Voila! Bon Appétit!

Read More......

Costco Australia

Comments (11) | Monday, September 7, 2009

Ok, so I wanted to do a post, but I don't really have anything to blog about, so you will have to excuse the low quality iPhone photos and the lack of content.... and well I probably should have taken more photos, but I didn't expect to blog about Australia's first Costco.

This is obviously not Costco, it is a ferris wheel. Costco is built next to Melbourne's ferris wheel that was built, "buckled in the heat" / poor workmanship, and now is being dismantled.

So what is Costco?
"Costco is a membership warehouse club, dedicated to bringing our members the best possible prices on quality brand-name merchandise. We provide a wide selection of merchandise, plus the convenience of specialty departments and exclusive member services, all designed to make your shopping experience a pleasurable one.
We are confident in the quality and value of our products, and we stand behind them with our guarantee of satisfaction." - Taken from the Costco website.

So you need to pay a membership fee....to shop. But my goodness, the things you can buy at Costco will blow your freaking mind! I went with my mum, who had been to Costco in America before, and Hamish, who had also been to Costco in America but had the all important membership card.

We walk in, and there are TVs, computers, iPods & accessories, Kenwood kitchen mixers.... then we walk a little more, there are some Prada handbags, and diamond rings, and brand name watches. Apparently on the first day, they sold out of Louis Vuitton handbags!

There is a $160,000 diamond ring, should you feel the need to get it whilst you are picking up some bread and eggs.

Costco stocks well known brands, but their homebrand is known as "Kirkland". You can wonder through all the isles with your massive trolley which can fit 2 children in that top foldy downy bit. Everything from pots, office stationary, cubby houses, books, dvds, CK jeans, Tommy Hilfer polos, designer fragrance, flowers, nuts, alcohol, fresh seafood, fresh produce, freshly baked goods, platters, kayaks, laundry and toilet supplies... and the list goes on. Just remember, most of the time you will have to buy in bulk.

Beetroot anyone?
However if you have the room to store, it's a great way to shop. Just know your prices before going. Mum noticed some things were cheaper at Aldi. If you were throwing a big party, I suggest you start here!

It was good fun, looking forward to going back. I will take better photos next time I do though! Will be looking there for my cookbooks and dvds first, I could have saved $30 on a book I recently bought!
381 Footscray Road

Read More......

Even MORE Lindt Macarons

Comments (11) | Thursday, September 3, 2009

No prizes for guessing what's in this box...

Last week I was down at Chadstone shopping centre picking up my Snow Leopard upgrade for my mac, so does anyone expect me not to go to see if Lindt had macaron flavours I haven't tried? Really?

Well, all the flavours I listed that I wanted to try in my previous post about them were all available, so I scooped them up and took them home.

More pretty colours! It's almost like a pastel pallet for an artist! ... or a delicious macaron platter for tasting... I prefer the latter!

So, what did they all taste like?

Clockwise from top left: blackcurrant, coconut, rose & peach

Blackcurrant: a little tart and delicious. Reminded me a bit of the passionfruit one, full of flavour.
Coconut: very coconut-y with lots of dessicated coconut flakes. Reminds me of my mum's coconut ice.
Rose: very flowery! I thought I was eating potpourri with it's strong flowery flavour.
Peach: tasted like canned peaches, just not as healthy. Not bad, it's on the top side of the like scale.

So that somes up more of the macaron flavours available at Lindt. I am now on a self imposed macaron ban for a little while. I'm going down tomorrow to meet some friends, I might have to move to the cake section instead!

Read More......
All images and text is property of Iron Chef Shellie. These reviews are based on my opinions and experiences.
Permission must be granted before using any images or text from this website.

Feel free to contact me:
ironchefshellie [at] gmail [dot] com