Saturday, 15 October 2011

Fee Fi Pho Yum...

... I smell the blood of an uncooked eye fillet of beef! Inspired by my impending trip to Vietnam and at the same time pressured to lose my winter food baby, I've turned to Weight Watchers fragrant beef and rice noodle soup as my saviour. And thank the Lord - it's a winner. Never having cooked with fresh lemon grass before (awww newbie), my trusted boyfriend, who has a wealth of tv cooking show knowledge, showed me how to bruise the flavour out of it. The recipe and ingredients were incredibly simple, especially as the beef required no cooking - the raw beef was placed on top at the end and, effectively, poached in the soup. This was a delicious, fresh, super slurpy and healthy dish, which I highly recommend. Bring on Vietnam! 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

More Than We Bargained For At Kotaraya

The family and I went to Kotaraya in St Kilda to celebrate my sister's birthday, and incidentally, a Geelong victory in the AFL (yes, a slight delay has occured in the blogging). Our mood was abundant, and the food and service at Kotaraya allowed it to remain that way throughout the evening. Mum had bought coupons and as there was no limit to the number of coupons per booking we were able to use three between the six of us. The vouchers entitled us to a mixed entree, two mains, two desserts and a bottle of wine between two people. We decided to share all the meals, which was a great move as there were so many delicious options available. The service was prompt and friendly and before no time our entrees arrived. The skewers were delectable and no sooner had they arrived, we'd devoured them! One by one our mains arrived, each looking even better than the dish before (which was pretty impressive as they all looked delicious). Most of the dishes were really tasty (with particular mention going to the coconut butter prawns and sizzling Szechuan beef), but we found the nyonya chicken a little dry. The dessert options were simple - mixed berries and ice cream, but with the amount of food we'd inhaled, it was a nice finish to the meal. I'd go back for a nice, casual meal, and hopefully with a coupon in hand!

Mixed plate entree

(l-r) Singapore Style Chilli King Prawns and Special Thai Fish
Nyonya Chicken
(l-r) Sambal King Prawns and Sizzling Szechuan Beef
Coconut Butter King Prawns

Kotaraya St Kilda on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Taste Of Melbourne Festival

The Taste of Melbourne festival was a fabulous affair and a total sensory overload. From the minute we stepped through the doors of the Royal Exhibition Building with our fellow foodies, the senses were in overdrive. The building had been transformed into a market of vendors, bars and mini-restaurants. Unsure of where to start, we headed to the bar (a good a place as any!). We were given menu card's on entry, and sipping on Rekorderlig we highlighted some of the dishes we were interested in trying. As it turns out it would have been simpler to cross off the one's we weren't interested in.. We started with the carpaccio of farmed Barramundi with peas, mint and wasabi sorbet from Esposito & St Peter's. The fish was lovely and delicate and the flavours were really light so it was a nice dish to start with. 

We had a delightful dalliance with French cuisine from Libertine & Le Traiteur. Their coq au vin was juicy and delicious, and I could've happily had another serve.

We were lucky enough to be passing by the Jindi cheese tasting section at the right time and got to sample five of their cheeses with accompanying wines from Mad Dog winery. The Triple Cream Brie is my new favourite cheese - so creamy with a beautiful lingering flavour.

Next up we headed to the Stokehouse for their seared scallops with green chilli aioli and almond and celeriac remoulade. The flavours were nice but as with most of the dishes we tried, the scallops were quite cold as they'd been sitting for ages.

My favourite dish of the night was from an Italian restaurant, Mezzo - wagyu meatballs with couscous and ricotta. Their meatballs were so flavoursome and it didn't even matter they were a little cold, and the raisins added a beautiful sweetness. I will definitely be heading back to Mezzo for those meatballs!

George Calombaris's new restaurant St. Katherine's was a huge hit - it was the only place we had to line up for AND the only restaurant that served fresh, hot dishes. Their signature dish, St Katherine's fried chicken (KFC) was really punchy and served in a super cute colourful KFC bucket.

We finished the night with a couple of cocktails from Longrain Bar (which had a great party vibe) and pistachio panna cotta with caramel salted popcorn from Sarti. The lovely salty and sweet combination worked really well.

All in all it was a fantastic night and the food was really interesting and varied. I'm already looking forward to Taste of Melbourne 2012!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Spring Tuna Spaghetti

This recipe was a bit of a throw-together but it was absolutely delicious. The capers and lemon zest gave it a wonderful flavour, and the asparagus added a beautiful Spring crunch. 

1 bunch asparagus, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
1/2 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
185g tuna in spring water
1 teaspoon of capers
big handful of rocket
1 tablespoon of light double cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
zest of one lemon

1. Process onion, garlic cloves and chilli flakes
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the processed ingredients and fry for 5 minutes.
3. Bring water to the boil and add spaghetti. 
4. Add white wine, stock, capers and lemon zest to the pan and simmer. 
5. After a few minutes add the spring onions, stirring frequently. 
6. After another few minutes add the asparagus.
7. When the pasta is almost ready add the rocket, tuna and double cream to the sauce.
8. Once pasta is cooked add to the sauce, along with a quarter cup of the pasta water and the parmesan cheese. Mix pasta through so the sauce is evenly spread throughout. 
9. Eat up and enjoy!

My Thai

On Sunday I got back from an all-inclusive weekend at the snow which comprised of minimal skiing, excessive drinking and a citrus food fight. Orange-stained and feeling extremely unhealthy, a fresh, wholesome dinner was calling me. Trawling BBC Good Food's website (my fallback for any meal) I found a couple of delicious recipes and decided to use them together. I made Thai chicken cakes ( with a vermicelli noodle salad from this recipe I added about a teaspoon of cumin to the minced chicken mixture and after rolling them into cakes left them in the fridge for about half an hour. The dressing for the noodle salad didn't taste quite right so I added a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce. I was worried the chicken cakes might have been a bit dry but they were lovely. The fresh coriander brought the dish together and it was sooo good. Sorted me right out!

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Banff

Since recently relocating to St Kilda I cannot get enough of this place. The vibe is relaxed and friendly, and their happy hour is super good value - $8 jugs and $3 vinos! 

Their pizzas are delicious and student friendly (In-house pizzas are $5.50 all day Monday and Tuesday and between 12 and 5.30 Wednesday to Friday, but they're still very reasonably priced at other times. The last two occasions I was at The Banff I had the  pumpkin and gorgonzola with rocket and walnut pizza (beautiful!) and the squid with lemon, rocket and capers pizza. Both were really lovely. This place is a winner. 

Squid With Lemon, Rocket And Capers

Banff on Urbanspoon


Stalactites is a Melbourne institution and undoubtedly the best place to grab a kebab at any time of the day or night. Yep, it's 24 hours baby! It's a popular haunt with a busy, rather frenzied vibe. In an effort to reduce the queue waiting for a table a waiter offered a complimentary glass of wine for those who wanted to sit outside, in which we happily obliged. Being a poor uni student I always stick to the souvlaki - anything else and the price gets a bit ridiculous. Plus the souvlakis are amazing and HUGE! My friend went for the lamb skewers and commented on how tender the lamb was. Stalactites has a great atmosphere and it's a good place to go for a casual friendly meal. 
Tarama and Pita Bread
Lamb Skewers With Salad And Chips
Mixed Souvlaki

Stalactites on Urbanspoon