Comments (3) |
Psssst!! Just thought you should all know, Penny from Jeroxie Addictive and Consuming, is giving away 8 bottles of Cobram Estate's new Manzanillo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You should go over there and enter right away!
I was lucky enough to score a bottle from her shipment and she asked me to try out a recipe with it. I tried George's olive oil chocolate mousse.
200g Lindt 70% dark chocolate, chopped
200ml pouring cream, whipped
1/2 cup Cobram Estate Manzanillo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, thawed
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl). Set aside to cool slightly.
Combine the melted chocolate and cream in a bowl, slowly pour in olive oil, continuing to whisk until thick. Spoon into serving glasses and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until ready to serve.
Serve mousse, topped with berries.
Comments (13) | Tuesday, August 24, 2010
It was a Saturday, Hamsley and I were feeling sleep deprived from not enough sleep, yet needed to fill our day doing something productive. We decided it was finally time we went to Ikea to get our bookshelves. I wanted to try a place in Balwyn for breakfast, but once plotting it out on googlemaps, I realised I really couldn't be assed driving so much out of the way for breakfast. So we headed for Bridge Rd, Richmond, which was far more on the way to Ikea.
We walked a little and I was getting grumpy due to lack of sleep and hunger so we walked into Groove Train. I had had good experiences at another Groove Train, so I thought this place would be a winner. There were plenty of other diners in the restaurant which is often a good sign too!
Hamsley went for the old breakfast favourite, but was rather disappointed with the hollandaise sauce that covered his eggs. It was more of a yellow flavourless cream with no tang at all. It's lemon juice and vinegar that gives a good hollandaise a nice sour tang, but this chef either left them out, or used them very sparingly.
So I bet you are asking…"why didn't she get eggs benedict, instead of ordering this?"…. I like my eggs scrambled okay? I'll admit. I haven't tried them any other way, but it's the way my mum made them for me, and I'm sticking with it for now. Turns out I got more in my serve than Hamsley did with his eggs benedict, and it was cheaper! But much to my disappointment, the hollandaise was pretty much a yellow cream.
With hopes of having a nice spicy chai to go with breakfast, I was extremely disappointed to have what seemed just a warm cup of milk with a side of honey. The chai flavour was so weak, I added the whole tub of honey just to add flavour. But then my milk just tasted of honey. I didn't even finish it. It must have been the first mug of chai I've never finished.
I have been to Groove Train at Doncaster for dinner on two occasions and found the food to be fantastic. However, breakfast at the Richmond location seemed to be very lacklustre.
Comments (10) | Monday, August 23, 2010
We even made a lunch reservation for the following day without even looking at the menu. After making the booking we did flick through the menu, and it looked like it was going to be a choice of the ploughman's lunch or the steak sandwich for me.
We arrived the following day for lunch, having friendly banter with Dan, the man behind the bar that saw us twice the previous day. We were then seated, proceeded or order some beer and food to match.
I ended up getting the steak sandwich as I had seen quite a few people the day before order it. It did not disappoint. Such succulent steak, and an amazing chutney that brought everything together. How can you go wrong with bacon? Bacon makes everything taste better.
The rosemary chips were the perfect side, just full of flavour that matched perfectly with the beer.
Hamsley ordered from the specials, as the chicken dish caught his eye. He loves chicken and leek, and he absolutely loved this dish. He kept telling me how good it was, and then promptly ordered another beer after he finished, since he wasn't driving home!
This was Halle the brewery dog. She wouldn't move at all in the car park, just stood there and didn't care that cars were trying to move. She was so cute, but sadly passed away since our visit. I hope the crew down at Red Hill Brewery get another four legged friend again to great customers.
As well as beers on tap, you can also take them home. So don't go home without a take home pack!
Whilst we could have gone dessert as well, we were mighty full from lunch. Perhaps next time we will peruse the dessert menu!
Thanks again to the wonderful staff at the Red Hill Brewery for an unforgettable lunch. You provided us with such warm hospitality and comfort I think all restaurants and cafes should have!
Comments (25) | Sunday, August 22, 2010
I've jumped on the International Incident Party bandwagon started up by Penny from Jeroxie, Anh from A Food Lover's Journey and Cherrie of Sweet Cherrie Pie.
I decided to keep things simple and learn my mother's never fail recipe for lemonade scones. After a disastrous scone attempt 2 years ago with Miss A, I don't believe I've tried making them again. Mainly because there are 50,000 other things I've wanted to try instead. So the scone party was a perfect excuse to learn from my favourite cook, mother dearest.
There are only 3 ingredients you need to make amazing scones. We added dehydrated blueberries to most of the mix after making a few plain ones. They add nice pockets of flavour and juiciness you don't get with plain scones.
The results? Amazing fluffy scones that never fail! The lemonade helps to make them light, and the cream is a great substitute for butter and milk. Minimal ingredients make them perfect to make when you have last minute guest coming over too.
Check out what the other bloggers got up to:
Comments (10) | Friday, August 20, 2010
We love chicken at our place. So any variation that sounds good, and looks good in the cookbook, I flag and hope to try one day.
Bill Granger came off the bookshelf this time around, and we tried the combination of lime, paprika and honey. It was a very simple recipe to follow, and because it's baked, I could get on with more important things, like catching up on blogging whilst it baked away. The wafts from the oven did have me wishing it would hurry up cooking so we could eat!
Served with steamed white rice and Asian greens (broccolini in our case), was just a simple but tasty meal. I love the sourness of the lime, with the sweetness of the honey.
Comments (9) | Thursday, August 19, 2010
"Crafted in the French village of Biars, Bonne Maman – which translates to grandmother in French – embodies the tenderness and generosity of home cooking, bringing alive the sweet emotion of long forgotten childhood memories. Prepared using old fashioned methods and all natural ingredients, Bonne Maman is made with only the highest quality fruit. Each piece has been hand picked at their peak of ripeness and preserved naturally to achieve intense flavour and lasting freshness. "
When you think jam, you might only think "oh that's the stuff I spread on my toast or croissants". And whilst jam is fantastic to lather on carbs any time of day, there is so much more you can do with it! You can mix it with icecream or yoghurt, use it in cakes, or even make a nice sauce to accompany your favourite cut of meat.
But there are a lot of jams to choose from these days. Many with empty promises of real fruit, and less sugar. Bonne Maman consists of more than 50% real fruit, and each conserve features tasty fruit chunks for juicy sweetness and a lovely texture that comes with home made jam. The best part? Bonne Maman is free from those nasty preservatives, artificial colours and flavourings. Instead there are just four simple ingredients: pure fruit, natural sugar, lemon juice and fruit pectin. The fruit and sugar are mixed gently together until the perfect consistency is reached, then slow cooked to perfection. It is then packed into the stylish French facetted jar, which you all probably know from it's famous red and white gingham lid. All of this combined with the distinctive handwritten logo, have made Bonne Maman the most sought after conserves on any table.
Served on freshly made, light fluffy scones and topped with moderate lashing of cream, Bonne Maman raspberry conserve really came alive. It was like I had spread liquid raspberries on top of my freshly made scones.
Pancake recipe required extra milk as it was quite thick. After making these I realised my stove should have been cooking them on a medium heat, I seem to always use a high heat and wonder why they burn.
Hamsley doesn't eat oranges on their own, but exclaimed "well this is one way to get me to eat oranges!" He even requested more the next day! I'll admit, I wanted some more too, so perhaps I'll be making them again sooner rather than later.
I loved the idea of putting jam in the pancake mixture for more flavour.
For the compote:
3 large oranges
2 tablespoons Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade
For the pancake batter:
4 tablespoons melted butter, plus a little extra for the pan
½ cup buttermilk or whole milk
2 large eggs
¼ cup superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1. Cut all the peel and pith away from 2 of the oranges and cut into neat segments. Drop into a small saucepan with the marmalade. Add the pared rind from the remaining orange, cut into long fine shreds, plus the juice. Put the pan over a low heat and simmer very gently for 2-3 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the melted butter into the milk with the eggs, sugar and salt.
3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients. Whisk until completely smooth.
4. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan and brush with a little melted butter. Using a small ladle or a large basting spoon, spoon the batter into the pan, allowing one ladle per pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Small bubbles will appear on the surface of the pancakes when they are ready to flip over.
5. Stir the marmalade until smooth then drizzle 1 teaspoon over the uncooked side of each pancake before turning. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes before removing from the pan. Cover the cooked pancakes with a towel; this will prevent them from drying out.
Serve the pancakes in small stacks with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of compote on top.
More recipes can be found at: www.bonnemaman.us
There are twelve amazing conserves available in 370g jars, retailing at $4.99 (AUD). Other flavours on offer include classics like Strawberry, Apricot, Fig and Damson Plum.
Bonne Maman is available in leading independent supermarkets nationally and from September in selected Coles stores throughout Australia.
For further information visit www.menora.com.au.
Iron Chef Shellie tried Bonne Maman jam compliments of 360° Focus.
Comments (30) | Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Being a food blogger generally means lugging your camera everywhere you go, in case you eat something worth blogging about. The amount of times I've been out and forgot my camera is just disgraceful.
Having a DSLR camera with different lenses and tripod, all fit into a bag, PLUS carrying a hand bag can lead to feeling very bulky, and sometimes I find I just can't be bothered bringing my camera along. Although I always try to bring it again when food is involved! But other times, I just need a camera to shove in my handbag and not have to lug my trusty DSLR along.
For the last week, I've been lucky enough to give the new Panasonic Lumix TZ10 a spin, and it's been with me everywhere I go. It's a great travel camera, and it has a built-in GPS for easy organization of the photos. Especially if you have iPhoto like me, and you can see the locations you visited on the map. It would be great to take on holidays and pin point all the places on the map in relation to each photo. That way you'd never be like.. "uh... where were we in this photo?".
It has double hand-shake correction allowing you to take beautiful night shots at slow shutter speeds without blurring. I haven't tried taking night shots with it, but I will be in the up and coming weeks, but I noticed I was shaking a bit when taking some photos, and the shot still came out crystal clear. (Took a night shot just before posting, check it out below):
Another great thing about this compact little camera is what Panasonic like to call "Intelligent Auto" or "iA". It's great for when you don't know what setting to have the camera on, or you don't have time to fiddle faddle around. You just put it on the iA mode, aim and shoot. The camera will automatically detect and correct. It will automatically adjust the brightness of dark areas in an image, the face detection helps you to achieve clear portraits, and the intelligent scene selection selects the best settings for that particular scene.
This compact little camera records movies in HD with no loss of image quality. We were playing around making a video and plugged the SD card straight into the said of Hamsely's Panasonic Viera TV and within seconds we were viewing the video and pictures. It was all too easy.
Recording is SO easy too. With my last compact camera, when I was at a live concert, I'd have to spin the little dial and try to find video in the dark; with this camera, there is a button that just says 'record'. So to start and stop, all you have to do is press the record button. MUCH easier, and less fumbling around.
turn off your sound.
Some facts and figures for the camera nerds that are reading this: 12.1 Megapixels for great quality pictures, and a 25mm wide-angle 12x optical zoom f/3.3-4.9 LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens…allowing it to have twice the shooting area of the standard 35mm lens.
We found it really easy to switch from normal to wide screen, for those nice panoramic shots.
In fact, the menu of the camera is very easy to navigate, I never had a moment were I had to dig out the manual and figure out what to do. Playback on the large screen makes it easy to see if you didn't quite get the photograph you were after.
I don't carry around a big handbag, it's really quite small compared to most women's handbags. But I can tell you, my new camera will be living in my handbag, so I don't miss another foodie moment.
The Panasonic Lumix TZ10 retails at $650.00 AUD.
More information about the camera can be found at http://lumix.panasonic.com.au/products/Lumix/Camera/DMC-tz10
Terms and Conditions of Entry for the Panasonic Lumix TZ10 Giveaway
1. Information on how to enter and prize details form part of these conditions. Entry into this Promotion is deemed acceptance of these terms and conditions of entry.
2. The Promoter is Nuffnang Australia Pty Ltd ACN 133 905 647 of 28 St Edmonds Road, Prahran VIC 3181 ("Promoter").
3. The Promotion will be open from 12:01 am Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time (“AEDST”) on 3 August 2010 and will continue until 11:59 pm AEDST on 3 September 2010 ("Promotion Period").
4. Entry is open to all Australian residents, aged 14 years and over, other than management, employees or contractors of the Promoter and other agencies, firms or companies associated with the Promotion (including suppliers of prize), and their immediate families ("Eligible Entrants").
5. In order to enter the competition:
*Participants need to leave a comment on the Panasonic competition post published in one of the nine participating blogs (The comment must include their preferred contact method in case they win [blog URL, Twitter or E-mail Address]:
6. The winner will be the entry the judges most creative and practical by the judges.
7. The judges' decision (including any decisions as to prize distribution) is final and the Promoter will not enter into correspondence regarding the result.
8. The winner will be notified via their preferred contact method, and will be asked to provide their email and contact phone number at that time. If they do not respond to the notification within 48 hours, Nuffnang reserves the right to select another winner.
9. To claim the prize, the winner must reply to the winner notification and accept the prize within 48 hours of the blog notification, as well as indicate their preferred address for the camera to be sent. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, they will forfeit the prize, and another winner will be selected using the same judging process.
10. The results will be published on the Nuffnang Australia website, the Nuffnang Australia Facebook page and Twitter account. Nuffnang Australia and Panasonic also reserve the right to publish the results, including a photo of the winner, in the media.
11. Nuffnang Australia’s business directors, management and employees, their immediate families, their retailers, suppliers, associated comapnies and agencies are ineligible. Panasonic’s business directors, management and employees, their immediate families, their retailers, suppliers, associated companies and agencies are ineligible.
12. Nuffnang Australia reserves the right to change these terms and conditions. If any changes are made Nuffnang Australia will notify the public via its website.
This post was made possible thanks to the Panasonic Lumix TZ10 and Nuffnang.
Comments (21) | Sunday, August 15, 2010
Brioche; it's French for Crack!*
Neil and his wife Majella McKenzie, are responsible for bringing Melbourne it's very own slice of Paris. A trip to Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, will have you wanting more. If I had my way, I would have taken home one of everything available, for research purposes... of course!
Parisian has only been open for about 12 weeks, but sell 160 almond croissants and sells out of his many other moreish pastries by 3pm daily. Going through 30kgs of the finest Warrnambool butter, and 1620 free range eggs a week; you know it's bound to be good!
Neil started out as an apprentice chef at the age of 15. After many years as a restaurant chef, he started baking cakes and decorating them for friends and family, as well as learning all the great traditional country cakes from his mother-in-law. He then started making wedding cakes and cakes to supply to local cafes.
Neil was adopted, and in 2001 met his birth parents, and grandparents. It turns out his grandmother used to make intricate wedding cakes, so being in the cake business was in Neil's blood.
After selling their previous patisseries; St Germaine in Essendon and French Quarter in North Melbourne, Neil and Majella moved to Paris in 2001. Neil enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school to start the art of pastries and cakes.
They completely immersed themselves in the French culture, planning their own pastries and drawing inspiration from Neils' culinary hero, Pierre Hermé and their local Parisian community. Neil tells us they went to every French patisserie and tried the cakes. After hearing that, you'd expect him to be the size of a house, but not with the portion sizes in Paris! Neil said they asked a waiter for more cake, as the serving sizes were so small (2 bites and it's finished), and the waiter replied "You Australian's! You eat too much!" I'd be happy to go and research every French patisserie too, if anyone out there wants to fund such a trip for me.... and the liposuction at the end of the trip!
Neil also collected a massive amount of cookbooks. It took six years to perfect the brioche recipe that Parisian uses. If you ask me, it was six years well spent, as it is so good, words alone cannot describe.
Parisian has a custom made Synchro expresso machine for all you coffee lovers out there. But what really impressed me was the tiny $80 teapots the organic tea comes in. Majella an avid tea connoisseur made things perfect for tea drinkers at Parisian, from sourcing these amazing teapots, to the fine blend of organic tea leaves.
The fine china cups to drink from, then tea pots themselves that are handmade in China. The tea is steeped for 2 minutes before bringing it out to the customer, which makes it the perfect time for the customer to pour straight away. And the organic tea is amazing, and doesn't get bitter towards the end like normal tea leaves do. As a tea nut, I would like to thank Majella for going to such efforts, it does make all the difference.
Chai is also on offer, so next time it looks like I'll be having me a chai!
Neil bakes everything on site and also has an extensive made to order list of French cakes and desserts, including the notorious Croquembouche and luxurious chocolate truffle cake.
Baked daily at Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie
• Croissants d'amande
• Mille Feuille
• Tartes de Frangipane de baie (Berry Frangipane Tarts)
• Tartes de fraise
• Tartes aux citrone
• Tartes aux macadamia
• Brioches mélangées de baie (Mixed Berry Brioches)
• Brioches d'abricot et d'amande (Apricot and almond brioches)
• Baked cheesecakes
• Beignets de chocolat
• Beignets de crème
• Pane au chocolats
• Egg and prosciutto brioches
• Roasted vegetable and pesto brioches
• Torsions de fromage (Cheese twists)
• Petite fours
• Escargots de choclate
• Traditional French lemon tea cakes
• Chocolate truffle cakes
• Brioche loaves
• Charlotte au Fraise (Strawberry Charlotte)
I took my mum down for the drive, and luckily Penny and her boy were down at Parisian too, so this helped us try the maximum amount of pastries possible. Here is what we ate:
The famous almond croissant! Yes, it was amazing. There is a damn good reason Neil sells out of these everyday. Infact he has trouble keeping up with demand even! Filled and topped with almond meal, the sweetness is just perfect. No almond essence is used. The croissant itself is not too flaky, it's just perfection.
Neil had told us of a batch that didn't make the cut the morning we were there. As a result, it doesn't go out to the customer, as they will know it's not right. The duds get sent home with staff.... not a bad perk!
The apricot brioche was highly recommended by Eugiena from Harvey Publicity, a frequent visitor at Parisian. It wasn't hard to see why, it was so light and full of gorgeous apricot flavour. Flaked almonds over the top just made it perfect.
I was expecting the cream filled doughnut to be heavy, but it was surprising and incredibly light, thanks to the brioche recipe! The cream was so light and silky smooth... next time I must try the chocolate one.
So light again thanks to the brioche recipe. The pain au chocolat uses couverture chocolate so that it doesn't melt, but retains it's shape whilst cooking. Like most things baked at Parisian, it is sprinkled with snow sugar not icing sugar. As icing sugar tends to melt away and disappear, snow sugar stays visible.
Mum ordered something from the fridge, and boy am I glad she did. This strawberry tart was amazing. The freshest, sweetest strawberries topped a beautiful creamy center and perfect crust.
With gorgeous French decor and a cosy setting, we lost track of time and headed into the kitchen.
Four chefs squeeze into the little kitchen at Parisian. The small kitchen means more dining space for customers. It's like they have carefully co-ordinated their movements and dance around each other. We seem to be getting in the way, so don't stay in there for too long.
I got to take home 2 of these almond croissants, fresh from the oven! Can't get fresher than that!
Apart from the huge range of sweets available, there are some of the most amazing looking sandwiches and baguettes to choose from too. Alas, next time I shall try that fantastic looking chicken ribbon sandwich.
I got some pastries to take home, the brioche savoury pizza, the roast vegetable and pesto brioche, and almond crossiants. Can i just say, savoury flavours with brioche dough..... FAN_FREAKING_TASTIC!! I only got a couple of bites, as I was a good girl and shared, but wow, I was so wanting more. I woke up wanting more... I must HAVE MORE!!
Parisian only uses gruyere and swiss cheese.
How could I not go home without macarons?!
Macarons were perfect, just like everything else; nice and chewy with crunchy shell.
Green: pistachio - best pistachio macaron i've had! Lovely almond tasting filling.
Purple: cassis - nice balance between sour and sweet as well. Flavours just pop in your mouth.Light Pink: rose - better than lindt, flowery notes do not over power.
Brown: coffee - i don't usually like coffee but the flavours are lovely. Reminds me of a really like coffee flavoured milk I once had.
Pink: strawberry- wow, fantastic strawberry flavour, taste like a very good strawberry jam and definitely uses real strawberries.
Yellow: lemon - nice tart flavour but the creamy filling mellows it out for a nice balance of sweet and sour.
All waitstaff at very helpful, and with the lovely atmosphere, it's no wonder the locals are flocking here. If only it was closer to home, I'd be going their every week myself. I'd probably become enourmous in size too... everything in moderation!
I can't wait to go back, if anyone needs a lift to the airport, a trip to Parisian is on the way!
Parisian is open from Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm and Saturday from 7am to 4pm
Iron Chef Shellie was a guest of Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie thanks to Harvey Publicity.
Thanks to Eugiena and Neil for their gracious hospitality.
Permission must be granted before using any images or text from this website.
Feel free to contact me:
ironchefshellie [at] gmail [dot] com