Monday, 30 March 2015

Lemon, Lime and Coconut Blondies

This week everybody is baking hot cross buns (I’m guilty...) or chocolate-based Easter treats. Instead, why not try baking something else... Something sweet but also zingy and gorgeous. These blondies make a change from chocolate brownies and are ideal for the chocolate haters in your friendship circle...

Blondies (can you spot the bee hovering?)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe from Australian Good Taste magazine - July 2010.

Makes 15

Ingredients
·        250g butter
·        1 ½ cups caster sugar
·        4 eggs
·        1 ½ cups plain flour
·        1 cup desiccated coconut
·        3 teaspoons finely grated mixture of lemon and lime zest
·        1/4 cup fresh lemon and lime juice
·        Icing sugar, to dust


Method
·        Preheat oven to 180ºC or 160ºC fan-forced. Line a 20 x 30cm (base measurement) slab pan with non-stick baking paper.
·        Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and stir until mixture is thick and glossy.
·        Sift the flour over the egg mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in coconut, zest and juice. Spread over base of prepared pan.
·        Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool completely. Cut into pieces. Dust with icing sugar.


What will you be baking over Easter?


Saturday, 28 March 2015

CoffeeHead

Back in January, I visited CoffeeHead near Camberwell Station. It is a one-stop shop for all your coffee needs with a variety of coffee on the shelves to take home as well as coffee-making accessories. If you can’t make the trip to the venue, CoffeeHead also sells their wares online. The interior is spacious with some funky art work on the walls. Out the front, there is also an extensive outdoor dining area.
























WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Grilled polenta, chorizo, poached eggs, avocado and chilli jam ($17.90)
·        Super food porridge with banana, fresh berries, toasted nuts, honey and a sprinkle of bee pollen ($12.90)
·        Slow braised lamb tagine with pumpkin, dates, and chickpeas, served with couscous ($18.00)
·        Baby beetroot salad, radish, snow pea shoots, goats curd, fresh orange, mint, rocket and cashews ($15.90) 


WHAT WE ATE...
I decided to have the ‘Veggie Burrito - spinach tortilla filled with beans, rice, roast vegetables and mozzarella, with salsa, guacamole and sour cream ($16.90)’. It was a very scrumptious meal indeed. A hearty, vegetarian burrito that had wonderful Mexican flavours.

Veggie Burrito

My dining companion chose the ‘Smashed avocado, heirloom tomatoes, feta and basil on sourdough ($13.90)’ and added a side of mushrooms for $3.50. This dish was also satisfying.

Smashed Avocado

WHAT WE DRANK...
The Cascara ($5.50) from the specialty tea section of the menu (cherry tea a unique herbal tea made from the dried berries of the coffee plant) sounded exotic. There is a rotating roster of coffee blends as well as their house blend. My Latte ($3.90) was gorgeous.

Latte

SERVICE...
The service was flawless with absolutely no pretentiousness. It is definitely somewhere you could bring your whole family.




  Address: 8-10 Railway Parade Camberwell, VIC

Phone: 03 9882 6441

         


Trading Hours:
Mon - Fri: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 4.00pm

CoffeeHead on Urbanspoon


P.S. Other eateries nearby are Prospect Espresso, The Hidden Cafe and Bella Sistas Espresso... 




Friday, 27 March 2015

Weekend Away - Flinders Part 2

For dinner that night, we went to Baihmon Thai Restaurant in Flinders. Thankfully, we had booked a table as the restaurant is quite petite and many people were turned away. 








I ordered an entrée to start with which my travelling companion helped me to finish. The ‘Mixed entrée – 2 mini spring rolls, 1 curry puff, 1 fish cake, 1 prawn roll, 1 vegetable spring roll ($12.00)’ was delicious but I thought I had better share it as I wanted to be able to eat my main course!

Mixed Entree

I chose the ‘Pad Khee Mow with prawns – stir fried fresh chilli with soft flat noodles, egg, vegetables and Thai basil ($22.50)’. The dish was super spicy with a plentiful amount of large, succulent prawns. I loved the addition of Thai basil as I’m a big fan of it and use it a lot in my cooking.

Pad Khee Mow

My travelling companion opted for the ‘Spicy Thai Fried Rice with prawns – traditional Thai style fried rice with egg, vegetables and spicy sauce ($22.50)’. This also tasted fantastic. We were provided with massive serves but the food was so good that we nearly ate the lot.

Spicy Thai Fried Rice
  

Address: Shop 8, 33 Cook St, Flinders, VIC

Phone: 03 5989 0784


Trading Hours:
Thus – Sun: 4.00pm – 9.30pm

Baihmon Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon


The following morning we strolled down to the Flinders Bakehouse Café for a late breakfast. If you have sampled some of their delightful sourdough bread baked in their wood-fired oven before, then I suggest you try their café. 




We both ordered some English breakfast tea ($3.80) which was very fragrant and the perfect way to start the morning. I cannot function until I have had a cup of tea in the morning. It must be because of the English blood running through my veins...

English Breakfast Tea

We both chose the Egg and Bacon Toasted Sandwich ($8.50) for breakfast. The huge sandwich with the gorgeous bread provided us with the energy boost we needed to continue our adventures on the Mornington Peninsula. We did spy some enormous jam donuts on a nearby table which looked very tempting indeed...

Egg & Bacon Sandwich

  

Address: 60 Cook St, Flinders, VIC

Phone: 03 5989 0091



Flinders Bakehouse Cafe on Urbanspoon


On our drive home, we enjoyed some fish and chips on the beach. The beach at Mornington was very chaotic so we continued on to Mt. Eliza where we found an amazing beach with very few people. I could tell you where it is but I think I will keep that a secret...



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Weekend Away - Flinders Part 1

To make the most of this gorgeous autumn weather, we decided to take a trip down to Flinders for the weekend... We explored Red Hill on our way to Flinders and stopped by Montalto for lunch. The vineyard is the perfect setting to enjoy a leisurely lunch. The view from the Piazza Café where we dined was just breathtaking.













As we were at a winery, we ordered some wine. The 2014 Pennon Hill Moscato ($9.00) was stunning. Starting off sweet, the moscato had a dry, lingering finish.  

Moscato

Also, as I am a lover of craft beer, I tried the Montalto Ale ($7.00) - an American-style pale ale with heaps of hop aroma and balancing bitterness. I really enjoyed the fruitiness of this ale and would highly recommend it.

Ale

We shared a pizza between us. If you are really hungry, then I would suggest ordering one each. We picked the ‘Mushrooms, fetta, sage, balsamic reduction’ pizza ($17.00). The pizza matched delightfully with our drinks and had sweet undertones.

Pizza






 Address: 33 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South, VIC

Phone: 03 5989 8412




Montalto Restaurant and Winery on Urbanspoon


We explored Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm and some of the shops at Red Hill before enjoying afternoon tea at the Red Hill Epicurean. This multi-functional venue flaunts the premium local produce and wine of the region. You can dine at the Bakery/Café or The Shed which is a ‘cucina’ style restaurant. There are some very tempting goodies to purchase...



The Shed

Bakery/Cafe 

We dined in the Bakery/Café area but there were no menus so I am unsure what the prices were. My latte was lovely and worked perfectly with the cake I opted for.

Latte

We both chose an elegant looking cake that appeared to consist of a lemon poppy-seed base, a swirl of citrus curd, with a fresh raspberry on top. This cake was simply to die for! The base was crunchy and the zingy curd balanced the sweetness of the cake. The fresh raspberry was an explosion of heavenly raspberry goodness. Never will I eat inferior raspberries again! We were informed later that it was a new cake that they were trying which also happened to be gluten free.

Cake




Address: 165 Red Hill-Shoreham Rd, Red Hill, VIC 

Phone: 03 5989 4000




Red Hill Epicurean on Urbanspoon
  

Weekend Away - Flinders Part 2 coming soon...




Monday, 23 March 2015

Upcoming Event: The Peninsula Picnic

Whether your passion is food, wine or music, pack up your picnic rug and head down to the Mornington Racecourse this Sunday to enjoy The Peninsula Picnic. It is the most extensive food, wine and music experience ever created on the Mornington Peninsula, showcasing the very best local chefs, resident restaurants, and expert vignerons and vineyards.

The Peninsula Picnic is a great way to sample some amazing food from Victoria’s best restaurants. Each restaurant and chef will be creating special tasting platters for you to purchase on the day. These include Terre – Rowan Herrald, Montalto – Barry Davis, EUROPEAN – Ian Curley, DOC, Terminus at Flinders Hotel – Pierre Khodja, Pope Joan – Matt Wilkinson, Max’s at Red Hill Estate – Max Paganoni, The Long Table – Daniel Whelan, and Dee’s Kitchen – Ricky Woods.

Pair your delightful picnic fare with some wine from Mornington Peninsula’s best wineries such as Montalto, Crittenden Estate, Circe, Merricks General Wine Store, and Prancing Horse.

The Waifs, Paul Dempsey, Pierce Brothers, Tinpan Orange and Hayden Calnin will be performing on the day whilst you enjoy your gourmet picnic.

Get your tickets here...

Date: Sunday 29th March 2015

Time: 12.00pm – 7.30pm

Where: Mornington Racecourse, Corner Racecourse Road & Mornington Tyabb Road, Mornington, Victoria

Cost:
Adult: $74.00
Child (5-17 years): $12.00
Child (under 5 years): Free
MRC Member: $54.00

Image courtesy of The Peninsula Picnic


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Stagger Lee's

From the people behind Proud Mary, Stagger Lee’s is named after ‘Stagger Lee’ Shelton who became a figure of folklore after shooting Billy Lyons for stealing his Stetson hat... The café is situated on the corner of Brunswick and Victoria Street. The interior is nothing special and pretty dark towards the back of the café. As I enjoyed Proud Mary so much, I was looking forward to some delicious food...



WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Frank ’n’ Beans – saffron baked beans, smoked ham hock, chorizo, soft poached egg, herb and garlic crumb, toast ($19.50)
·        Buttermilk Fried Chicken – golden fried chicken, cauliflower rice, jalapeño and lime mayo, kimchi ($18.50)
·        Zucchini, Pine Nut and Lemon Ricotta Spaghetti with French peas, gremolata and aged pecorino ($17.00)
·        Shrooms 'n' Truffles - Pan roasted local pine mushrooms, truffled polenta, confit egg yolk, pecorino pepato, farmhouse toast ($17.50)


WHAT WE ATE...
I wanted something full of calories so I picked the ‘Stack and Billy Burger – black angus shin patty, bacon, catsup, aioli, American mustard, pickles, cheddar served with bacon croquettes and greens ($16.50)’. I found the burger to be quite boring. The American mustard dominated the other flavours so I could not taste much else. The salad was extremely salty. However, the bacon croquettes were wonderful! Golden and crunchy on the outside and soft and tasty on the inside. Thank goodness they were part of the dish...

Stack and Billy Burger

My dining companion opted for ‘The Mexican – soft shell corn tortillas, charred corn, lime and tomatillo salsa, avocado, fried eggs, crème fraiche and herbs ($17.00)’. Unfortunately, this dish was also rather plain. It lacked any wow factor.

The Mexican

WHAT WE DRANK...
Feeling like a shake to go with your meal? Grab a Caramel Pixie or a Crooks ’n’ Cream Gangsta Milkshake ($10.00). There’s also a range of alcoholic beverages available including the ‘Bucket of Blood – peppercorn vodka, red wine, Vegemite syrup, and tomato juice ($13.50)’. I decided to have coffee because of the café’s association with Proud Mary. Stagger Lee’s uses only single origin espresso and filter coffee and an EK 43 grinder which means the best extractions possible. My latte ($3.80) was extremely yummy.

Latte

SERVICE...
We had to wait a long time for our meals to arrive but the staff were very nice.



Address: 276 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC

Phone: 03 9419 5564



Trading Hours:
Mon - Fri: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Sat – Sun: 8.00am – 4.00pm

Stagger Lee's on Urbanspoon



P.S. Other eateries nearby are Madame Sousou, N2 Extreme Gelato, Vegie Bar, and Hammer and Tong... 



Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Food Smith

Delicious looking meals are displayed in the front window of The Food Smith in Hampton to entice you in... The Food Smith is a food store/café where you can pick up your dinner on your way home from work and enjoy a homemade meal without the effort. They pride themselves on the quality of their food and try to source their products locally where possible. The seating in the café is fairly limited and I would say that the focus is more food store than café.




WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
·        Toasted banana bread with banana and honey ($10.00)
·        Roast tomato and Meredith goat’s cheese on sourdough toast ($12.50)
·        Marsha’s granola with poached or fresh fruit and Schulz yoghurt ($12.50)
·        Smithy Breakfast Roll – crisp bacon, free-range egg and tomato relish ($12.50)


WHAT WE ATE...
I was going out for dinner that night so I wanted something light. I chose the ‘Savoury Muffin ($5.00)’ which arrived on a wooden board with a pat of butter. Unfortunately, they had reheated the muffin to oblivion so it collapsed into a pile of mush. It was difficult to part the muffin away from the baking paper so most of it was left behind. A very light meal indeed... The actual muffin with pumpkin and capsicum was not very exciting and needed some cheese to add flavour.

Savoury Muffin

My dining companion picked the ‘Ham and Brie Tart with salad ($12.50)’. The salad was delightful but the tart was bland.

Ham and Brie Tart

WHAT WE DRANK...
The Iced chai with ice-cream ($5.00) sounded good but it was a rainy day so I decided to have a coffee. My Latte ($3.90) made with Dukes Coffee and Schulz organic milk from Timboon tasted wonderful. Coconut sugar was offered on our table which made an interesting change.

Latte

SERVICE...
We were not sure if they provided table service or not as we did receive some table service to begin with when we ordered our coffees. In the end, I ordered the food at the counter.


Address: 486 Hampton Street, Hampton, VIC 

Phone: 03 9533 4441

           

Trading Hours:
Mon – Fri: 8.00am – 6.00pm
Sat: 8.00am – 4.00pm
Sun: 9.00am – 3.00pm

The Food Smith on Urbanspoon


P.S. Another eatery nearby is the White Rabbit...


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