Monday, 21 May 2012

Fitzrovia, St Kilda (again!)

A couple of weeks ago a blogged about a brunch I had at Fitzrovia. Their menu, philosophy and decor appealed so much to me that i had to go back for a second visit, this time for dinner. The inside of the restaurant is so homely - it's like having dinner at a friend's place rather than a restaurant. Also, who doesn't like being able to look straight into the kitchen? The wait staff were very friendly and prompt at taking our orders.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Mock Duck

In 6 weeks i'm heading off to China and Hong Kong for a bit of a holiday. So, in preparation for my trip i thought i'd play around with some weird and wonderful ingredients. The first is mock duck - from a can!

I know i'm not the first person to use this, however I still found this ingredient a bit gross, especially when it plopped out of the can!

Investigating further, it seems that this mock duck is fairly harmless having quite normal ingredients - gluten, soy, oil. Nonetheless, by using this ingredient i have probably ruined my reputation of being quite a decent cook!

So, unsure of how it would taste I decided to make a stir fry, using multiple ingredients to drown out the taste/texture of the duck should it be terrible. Now I am a terrible hoarder of sauces and condiments, the pantry and fridge are full of bottles and jars from all over the world. So I grabbed a few of my favourite asian condiments - chilli bean paste, ya cai, minced ginger and soy sauce along with some garlic, broccoli, eggplant, lotus root and spring onion and got ready to stir fry!

The result wasn't too bad! The duck had a 'meaty' texture but its flavour was fine. To be honest the predominant flavour was the chilli bean paste. It still creeps me out that the duck came from a can!

Just in case any of you have a penchant for mock duck i'll post the (rough) recipe below.

Bring on the next weird ingredient! Suggestions anyone?

Sarah xx

Mock Duck Stir Fry

1 can mock duck, drained and sliced
1 small eggplant, sliced into 4cm rings then quartered
1/2 head broccoli
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 slices of lotus root, halved
1 heaped tsp minced ginger
1-2 tbsp chilli bean paste
1 tbsp ya cai
4 stalks spring onion, sliced
Soy sauce to taste

Steam eggplant and broccoli until cooked (the eggplant will take much longer than broccoli.)
Heat a wok and add oil
Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds
Add lotus root, duck, chilli bean paste and ya cai, cook for 2 minutes
Add broccoli and eggplant, cook for 3-4 minutes until everything is cooked through
Add soy sauce and spring onion, cook for 1 minute

Sunday, 13 May 2012


These little beauties are one of my favourite things to bake for a few reasons: 

1. They look so pretty!
2. There are endless possibilities regarding flavours
3. They have a reputation for being difficult to make
4. Everyone will love you for making them!

So this afternoon i was bored so i decided to whip up a batch. I probably shouldn't say whip up a batch because it did take most of the afternoon!

I thought i'd put a bit of a step by step recipe up for these because they really aren't that difficult. You just need to be precise and have patience! This is my favourite macaron recipe. It works the best for me however you do need to own digital scales, a candy thermometer, a food processor and a stand mixer. Although you can probably get away with hand beaters, the scales and thermometer really are vital so i wouldn't try this recipe without them. Additionally a piping bag will make life much easier for you!

Yong Green Food, Fitzroy

I love this place! I just wish it was a little closer to home. This was the 4th time i've visited and i was determined to try something new, rather than go with the rawsagne or the raw nachos, both of which i'd had before and loved.

Cacao Shake (L) Berry Blue (R)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Fitzrovia, St Kilda

Making the most of Melbourne's last few sunny days, we decided to head down to St Kilda for a walk and brunch. Initially the plan was Galleon, but alas all the outside seats were taken so we walked over to Fitzroy St in search of food. Thankfully we stumbled upon Fitzrovia.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ricotta Gnocchi with Romesco Sauce

A few weeks ago i raved about this romesco sauce from Taste.  So instead of making it with the spanish chickpea balls as per the recipe, i thought it would go nicely with ricotta gnocchi.  Inspired by the ricotta gnocchi my aunt made a few months ago, i set out to master ricotta gnocchi for the first time. To be honest the gnocchi were much easier to make than expected. I've made potato gnocchi many times and i found the ricotta variety to be much simpler. 

Monday, 7 May 2012

Veggie Kofta Korma

Got my blogging mojo back! It helps that i'm cooking a bit more now that i'm on holidays. This beautiful recipe is courtesy of Veggie Num Num and you can find the recipe here:

This meal was so delicious that i made it twice in the same week!

Sunday, 6 May 2012


Ever since i went to Germany and ate the amazing pretzels, i've been trying to recreate them at home. Unfortunately i've found that they aren't as simple as initially expected. The first time i made pretzels they were a disaster. They looked terrible!!!! This time things went a little smoother although i probably stretched the dough a little to far so some were too thin and therefore crunchy. 

One thing you do need when making pretzels is lye. Lye is a very alkaline substance and it gives the pretzels that awesome dark brown, chewy crust. I bought my lye as lye water from an asian grocer as it is used in asian cuisine to make noodles chewy! 

One thing i still need to perfect is the salt. I don't know what salt they use in Germany but it didn't taste as salty as my salt. I ended up picking off bits of salt as i ate my pretzel!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Vegie Moussaka

I'm getting lazy with this blogging business....

Here's a moussaka recipe that tastes even better than the original! It does take awhile to make though so it's best left for a Sunday or when you have plenty of time. It freezes well so it's worth making a big batch.

This is the un-Thermomixed version of the recipe. The filling and bechamel can both be done in a Thermomix.

Appalling photo. I swear it tastes better than it looks!