A Vist to the Bad Chef at La Luna -Melbourne

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I was a lucky girl the other day and was taken out for dinner at La Luna, in Carlton, Melbourne.

Well, I made myself lucky. The man went here with is friends previously, and I was JEALOUS, so he had to take me.

This is the restaurant of Adrian Richardson, who Aussies might know from the T.V cooking show ‘Good Chef, Bad Chef’, shown on channel 10. Who, I admit, I have a little food crush on! This is the place to go for meat, he and his team, make their own small goods, and hang and age meat on the premises.

Please excuse the photos, the restaurant is fairly dark, and as I still feel like a bit of a douche taking photos of my food, I didn’t put my flash on, and I’ve had to edit the photos to brighten them.

I really wanted to try the chef’s feast, were the kitchen chooses for you, for $85 per person. But decided that was a little expensive and as we are ‘eating well’ probably too much food. However, after seeing the table next to us get it, we regretted it, every thing looked amazing and not too big portions, and they got to try more of the menu.

We shared the the Bacon and Onion Croquettes with Bacon Mayo. You can’t go wrong with bacon and mayo, can you? The mayonnaise had an insane savory smokiness. However, the man thought the Garlic Prawns he had at his last visit were better!

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I had the Pepper Crusted Hanger Steak with Salsa Verde. To tell you the truth I got this as a healthier choice, and wasn’t expecting it to be fantastic. But it was pretty good. It was really fresh and zingy. It was cooked perfectly medium rare, and hanger steaks have lots of flavor. The salsa verde, was fresh and piquant. It was served on a bed of wilted spinach.

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The man had  Crackling wrapped roll of roast pork, roasted vegetables, balsamic shallots. Again perfectly cooked, and the crackling was some of the best I’ve tried. The pork was topped with a really fresh shaved fennel mix, that he really enjoyed. But again be thought that the 500g Rib Eye he had last time was better!

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Then we shared a a dessert mezze plate – it was amazing and my last big sugar blow out, for awhile.

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It consisted of mini -Creme Brulee, Chocolate Brownie, Triple Choc Mousse, Raspberry Sorbet, and some other delicious homemade ice cream with a Sesame Tulle. Here it is after…

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The Brulee was awesome, and the sorbet was just yum fresh insane raspberry flavor!

The restaurants itself is quite small, with an extra seating area up stairs. As mentioned before it quite dark, with decor indicating the chefs love of meat. It could be quite romantic, however, it was very busy were there, and there was little elbow room between tables. It’s in a nice spot, with a little court yard type area adjacent, which provides a bit of a European feel.

Service is knowledgeable, friendly and efficient.

The best part? Adrian himself was there. Earlier in the meal, I saw in helping the floor staff set up extra tables. When we left he was near the cash register and asked if we enjoyed the meal, if we had enough to eat, and told us that it was ok to pick up the bone and chew on it at his restaurant. He then has a bit of chat to us about what were up to later. This was lovely, these days its fairly unusual to see these ‘celebrity’ type chefs, at their restaurants, and it was obvious that he really cares about the food and his customers!

Go there, soon. It will be pricey but worth it, EVERYTHING will be perfectly prepared!

La Luna Bistro on Urbanspoon

 

McDougall Winery – Mildura

I had the pleasure of spending a Sunday afternoon here!

On a Sunday afternoon the winery offers live music (on the afternoon it was blues artist Rusty Bonnit, lol), and a lovely setting to enjoy some drinks and simple food.

Having lived in Mildura, I felt like you are having a drink at the back of someones fruit block, it is homely, kitsch, and quirky.

Tables are outside, and a mix and match of old dinning tables. They are all under vines, which would be beautiful in summer. There are a few pot belly stoves around to keep everyone warm.

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It’s also a great place to take kids, there is an old yellow school bus to play on, a few bits of junior place equipment and a friendly dog named Sally wandering around.

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There also other old things lying around to have a look at, including cars, old farm machinery and even an old piano.

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Wines are offered by the glass or bottle, and you can get beer, spirits, soft drink as well.

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There is a small menu of shared platters and simple traditional pizzas.

The platters were generous, and the breads that can with,  were yummy!

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Pizzas were also good, with some interesting toppings such as beetroot and beef, and also the classics like Margarita and Hawaiian for the kids.

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Keep in mind this is not a restaurant, its fairly relaxed, and you go and order and pay at the bar as you go, go when you have a few hours to spend with friends.

Here is a link to there facebook page https://www.facebook.com/McDougallWines

McDougall Wines on Urbanspoon

Sunraysia Farmer’s Market

Sorry I haven’t posted anything for a while. I have had laptop and back problems!

I’m currently away in Mildura, and this is a short post about the farmers market that is ran here.

Mildura is a region in Victoria that has traditionally been associated with citrus, dried fruit and  wine production, which has grown extensively in the last 20 years or so. More recently it has become a gourmets paradise with fine restaurants, olive oil production, Murray river pink salt and beautiful boutique fruits and vegetables becoming available.

Monthly, a Farmers market is ran on the lawns opposite the river. Volunteers also put on a great breakfast full of local seasonal produce. We got the big breakfast for $12, which consisted of a poached egg, bacon, sausage, toast, orange and read roasted beetroot, greens in a bechamel sauce, fritatta and mushrooms.

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Also  on offer beautiful Robinvale estate olive oil and vinegar to add to you breakfast for free, and a selection of pink Murray river salt and homemade preserves  made by stall holders to add to you breakfast. this is a great opportunity to try some of the products available at the market.

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Also available is freshly squeezed orange juice and good coffee from the Grinders van.

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Unfortunately, it was FREEEZING when we went down ,so I didn’t get many photos of the stalls as we left after a quick lap of the market of get out of the cold. They has many stalls selling oils, preserves, baked goods, local meat and many other products.

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It’s also in a beautiful setting.

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Lily demonstrating how cold it was!

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If you find yourself in Mildura and the market is on, it’s really worth going down for a delicious breakfast and  to sample what is available locally.

Tx

White Winter Soup and a Beautiful Cookbook

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I wanted to share one of my favorite cookbooks. Its called ‘She’s leaving home’ by Monica Trapaga. Who Aussies will know as a children entertainer on the TV show Play School.

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This book is a collection of recipes  from her family and friends complied for her daughter when she moved out of home. It is a BEAUTIFUL book filled with recipes from around the globe and comfort food. It is beautifully illustrated not with pictures but the collages made from pictures, objects and materials, and photographed.

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I brought it a few years ago, so I’m not sure if its still available in stores but if you see it you should buy it! I love looking at it!

As it is winter here, I have shared one of her soup recipes. I have written the recipe as it is in the book however, I made the following change: I couldn’t get marjoram, I used lite cream instead of sour and used a hand blender to make a smoother soup and added Parmesan to serve. This is a lovely change from pumpkin or potato soups.

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Ingredients:

25g butter

2 tbs  of olive oil

2 large white onions or trimmed and washed leeks, chopped ( I used onions)

3 large parsnips, peeled and  finely diced ( I used four smaller ones)

2 cloves of garlic

pinch of sugar

3 sticks of celery, chopped

4 cups of chicken, vegetable or beef stock

2 large potatoes, chopped into small cubes

Salt and black pepper

2 tbs of fresh marjoram, plus extra to serve

sour cream to serve

1. In a large stockpot with a lid, melt the butter with the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion or leek and cook for about 10 mins to caramelize. Add the parsnips, garlic ad sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins or so.

2. Add the celery and just enough of the stock to cover the vegetables, then increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 mins, then add the potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the cauliflower, the rest of the stock and the marjoram, partially cover the pot with lid and simmer on low heat for about 2 hours.

4. Taste and season to taste, then lightly mash with a potato masher chunky texture ( as mentioned above I blitzed mine with a hand blender to make a smooth soup. Serve with some cream, chopped marjoram.

Zumbo Chocolate Mirror Cake Mix

ImageYes, I use cake mixes sometimes!

Really they are not much easier than making a cake from scratch, but some are pretty good!

In Australia, over the last couple of years two ‘celebrity chefs’ Adriano Zumbo and Donna Hay have released their own ‘premium’ cake, biscuit and slice recipes.

This is one of Zumbo’s. He is a pâtissier and is known for ‘out there’ creations and providing Australian Master Chef with some outrageous challenges.

He provides videos that are good for the recipe instructions, at http://zumbobaking.com.au/

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I cake was relatively easy to make. You have to use a water bath, which may be a little intimating for an inexperienced cook.

My cake stuck in the corners to the pan, but I think I was lazy with the greasing!

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So the chunks missing ruined the mirror effect somewhat, but as you can see the glaze is super shiny and luscious looking.

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I served the cake as part of a dessert spread at a party, soon after applying the glaze. I left it on the board, as in the picture above. However, to make it look like the box, you are supposed to let it sit  awhile and then remove to another serving plate to, get rid of the excess at the sides. It was very popular, I think because the glaze was still warm!

Tx.

Marcianos Cakes

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YUM YUM

We ordered a birthday cake from here, it was fantastic! Really good value.

The man serving us, told us the Marciano’s delight was the most popular flavor of cake.

It consists of traditional millefeuille (puff pastry) with layers of dulce de leche  and vanilla custard for the bottom half and  Vanilla sponge layered with dulce de leche(caramel), crème Chantilly and fruit for the top, them it is covered with meringue.

 

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I love this cake shop. It offers South American style cakes. On the day we ordered the birthday cake we got there around 2:30 and were starving. Unfortunately they had run out of the traditional Chilean beef empandas, so we went for a sausage roll and cheese empanada. The pastry of both was soo flaky and buttery. The sausage mixture was sweeter with a little spice compared to a standard Aussie version.

They have a large range of  sweet pastries, many filled with dulce de  leche. I’m not sure what these are called, but one that we shared cake was like a Swiss roll filled with dulce de leche instead of jam and coated with icing sugar. The other was  a sponge ball with dulce de leche in the middle, and also used as a coating and ducted with coconut. They are moreish and big, you will need to share!

Marciano's Cakes on Urbanspoon

A visit to Casa Iberica and Zeigote, Fitzroy.

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I’m planning on feeding a number of people a Mexican feast in the next couple of weeks, and needed to find somewhere in Melbourne that stocks ancho chillies, chipotle chillies in adobo, tomatillos and a few other things.

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A quick Google, led me to Casa Iberica (25 Johnston St, Fitzroy). It stocks products from Spain, well as all over South America and also continental goods. It is also a deli, where you can get small goods, rolls filled to order and sweet and savory pastries. It was awesome! I wish I had more time to explore but we were in a bit of hurry. I’m going back the day before my feast to get fresh corn tortillas, cheese and maybe, some Jarrito or Inca cola soft drinks.

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As you can see from my haul,I found all that I needed (and more), and also found Sherry Vinegar which I have been after for awhile!

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Afterwards, we had a quick lunch at Zeigote, which is a couple of doors down. I had a ‘Spicy Indian Omelet’, it was yummy. Yellow from  turmeric, and full of spice, capsicum and nicely charred onions.

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Hope your all enjoying your weekend!

Casa Iberica on Urbanspoon