Archive for August, 2008

Taste Of Melbourne 2008

Well, what a fantastic idea


I was floating on a cloud of heaven


The Setting: The Old Exhibition Building


The Premise: The Top Restaurants in Melbourne prepare 3 taste sized dishes each ranging from $8 to $12


The Plan: The menu is released in advance, so you can plan which restaurants you want to target and which dishes you’re going to try

Then you arrive

We went on Friday night

The place was packed


Not only are there the restaurants with the tasting menu, but there are also stalls selling Olive Oil, Olives, Dukkah, Chocolate, Cakes, and so on and so forth.


You buy books of “Crowns” in books of 10 or 30, $1 = 1 Crown

It’s a clever gimmick because most people will have left over crowns.

Some of the stalls allowed you to mix and match crowns and cash (thus my purchase of Lighthouse olive oil infused with Grapefruit)


My menu went as follows


(Longrain) – Glass noodle salad with Crystal Bay pawns, chili jam, peanuts & mint

Verdict: Sold out before I got there


(The Courthouse) – Cabonade of beef with pomme puree, parsley and caper salad ($10)

Verdict: Delicious.  The beef was soft and rich, on smooth creamy mashed potato in a rich burgundy jus


(The Courthouse) – Marinated char grilled calamari, sauce vierge and watercress ($12)

Verdict: Really light, perfectly cooked hood of calamari, with a light zesty sauce.  Perfect for a picnic


(Fifteen) – Pork sausage with chili and garlic on a caponata di melanzane (a Sicilian eggplant relish) ($10)

Verdict: Hot and Tasty, the eggplant relish was a perfect accompaniment

(Note, they also offered a Rotolo, which I’ve had before – see the entry re: Fifteen)


(The Press Club) – Spring Bay mussels spankopita ($12)

Verdict: I have to say, this was the most disappointing dish of the night.  It was a great idea that just didn’t work.  The mussels were over cooked and overpowered by the shells surrounding them being stuffed with the spanakopita mixture.  They were served on a bed of warm chick peas which did not compliment the dish at all


(The Botanical) – The Botanical Wagyu Burger ($12)

Verdict: Juice, tasty with nice hot mustard that made the nostrils tingle. Very rich, so the little burger was more than enough


(The Stokehouse) – Blue swimmer crab chowder with pangrattato, chives & Spanish pepper crème fraiche ($10)

Verdict: To be honest, I was disappointed.  The flavor and texture were excellent, but it wasn’t the flavor of crab and I couldn’t find any crab in it.  It was a shame, as it suggested a crabby (in a good way) experience, which it didn’t deliver.


(The Press Club) – “Hellenic Republic” lamb souvlaki ($10)

Verdict: One of the best tastes of the night and probably the best value.  A hot fresh Turkish bread pocked with freshly grilled lamb, horseradish mayo, rocket, red onion and – a great touch – fresh fries.  Satisfying and delish

Last but not least


(Lindt) – Chocolate Cheesecake ($6)

Verdict: Rich, decadent and the final nail in the coffin.


I was so full by the end of it and I didn’t get to try a fifth of the dishes on offer

Next year I plan so save up and then go to the whole festival (Thursday through Sunday) which would allow me to try close to every dish.


What a night!


I didn’t eat till 4pm the next day, and all I could manage was a small bowl of fruit salad and a glass of water!



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Matzo-Ball Soup

The Matzo-Balls *recipe updated 12/04/2020

Makes 16 large matzo-balls (this recipe can be easily halved or doubled, depending on how many you need)


2 cups Coarse Matzo Meal
8 Eggs,
beaten with a fork
1 tbsp of Butter, melted
1 cup room
temperature Water
1/2 tsp of Ground Ginger
1/4 cup of Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley


Mix all the wet ingredients together. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add the matzo meal and ginger and herbs, stir thoroughly with a fork.

Leave to sit at room temperature for at least an hour.

Use an ice cream scoop to measure the mixture evenly.

Keep your hands wet when you’re rolling the balls
(tee hee hee, that makes me giggle)

Boil some water with 1 Tablespoon of salt in it
Bring to the boil

Add the matzo balls. As soon as the water comes back to the boil, reduce heat to the lowest temperature and simmer with the lid on for 35-40 minutes until they are cooked through.

Transfer to a hot bowl of soup and enjoy!


The Soup


3 Long Stalks of Celery (you can add some leaves too for flavour and then remove them before serving)
2 Large Carrots
1 Small Leek
1/4 pumpkin
Vegetable/Chicken Stock Cubes (or fresh if you’ve got it)

Whole sprig of parsley on the stalk
A Pinch of Salt
Loads of Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Freshly chopped parsley for garnish


Cut carrots in half and slice about 1/2cm thick
Cut celery in half and cut into cm long bits
Cut leeks in half and slice finely

Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and cut into cubes

Put into the saucepan with 2 1/2 liters of water
And add stock accordingly
Add the pinch of salt
Grind in as much pepper as you’re comfortable with

Add the sprig of parsley
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 45mins

10mins before removing the parsley sprig and serve

Transfer Matzo-Balls from the water into the soup.

Serve 1-2 matzo balls per person
With a
garnish of parsley and freshly cracked pepper

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3 cups of cooked rice
1 packet of slivered almonds
1 cup of sugar
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup of cream
1/3 cup of milk
3 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla essence
handful of sultanas


Soak a handful of sultanas in rum/port


Pre-heat oven to 180oc

In a medium/hot pan, toast the almonds
In a big bowl mix all the ingredients together

Put in oven safe bowl
(A flat casserole dish is fine –
The flatter it is, the faster it will cook through)

Bake at 180degrees for 40mins, until cooked thru and golden on top

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Apple Pancakes

Cooking Time
20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly whisked
1/3 cup milk
2 granny smith apples, peeled, grated
canola oil cooking spray
2 kiwifruit, peeled, thinly sliced
4 scoops low-fat frozen yoghurt, to serve

Combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Add egg and milk.
Whisk until smooth.
Stir in apples.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over low heat.
Spray with oil.
Pour 1/4 cup of apple mixture into pan.
Gently spread out with the back of a spoon to a 10cm round.
Cook pancakes, in batches, for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface.
Turn over.
Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with kiwifruit and frozen yoghurt.

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