Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Unblogged Files: February

February was a pretty big month for me, not least of all because I spent the first two weeks of February in Malaysia!  (Many, many blogposts to come).

Here's what the rest of my February looked like.

I made a few zillion trips to Axil Coffee Roasters... seems I haven't run out of excuses to drop in!  I've tried enough of the menu now to know that there are a couple of less-than-inspiring dishes on offer. However, it's mostly delicious, and I still think it's the best coffee in the area.

Left: Coconut, Passionfruit & White Chocolate Muffin
Right: Strawberry and Pistachio Tart
The muffin was a little dry and disappointing, whilst the strawberry and pistachio tart was a well-made example of the classic fruit-topped crème pâtissière-filled tart.

Left: Cafe Latte
Right: Bircher Muesli with kiwi/spirulina & dukkah-coated pear
Cute presentation of the muesli!

Top left: Potato hash with bacon and poached eggs
Top right: Veal ragu with gnocchi
Bottom left: Steak sandwich with potato salad
Bottom right: Pappardelle with smoked fish (trout?) and capers
The steak sandwich was huge, and served with a heavy, mayo-based potato salad, which I felt was a poor match.  The other dishes on this visit were uniformly impressive - particularly the richly flavoured, slow-cooked veal ragu.

Inspired by Axil's veal ragu, one night I made my own veal stew with herbed ricotta gnocchi.


I'll blog the meal in detail soon, but just wanted to give a brief description now.  The stew recipe comes from Cook with Jamie, (previously made here), and I adapted the gnocchi recipe from a Donna Hay recipe.  I made the stew extra soupy, and fried the gnocchi in brown butter - very rich but so delicious!

Dessert that night was Nigella's chocolate brownie bowls (from Kitchen).

I've had the special tin for ages but only just got around to making them.  They looked really cute, but were a bit lacking in the taste department, as they need to be quite firm and dry to maintain the bowl shape.  Give me a rich, gooey dark chocolate brownie any time!

Y'all will know that in February we also hosted a massive ice cream party!   And after all that sweetness, I was craving salty food.  It seemed that no-one wanted to do a KFC-run (booo!), so we went to Best Food Gallery in Box Hill for dumplings and other salty goodness.


Yes, we ordered lemon chicken (the most kwai lo of all kwai lo dishes), and I'm not ashamed!  It was deep fried and dee-licious.  The vitamin-rich garlic gai laan and the super-spicy ma-po tofu were much needed after our big sugary arvo.

I tried carbonated coffee for the first time at the South Melbourne Street Fair.  St Ali had set up a little stall at the fair, offering the carbonated coffee, mocktails with cold-drip coffee, iced coffee and regular old espresso.



Looks like coke, huh?  I must be honest and say I really didn't like the carbonated coffee.  It seemed that the carbonation process intensified the coffee's sour, fruity flavours, and I thought the combination of unsweetened coffee with the bubbles was plain weird.  It was great to try something new, but I'm definitely sticking to my usual coffees from now on!   

I also attended one of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Sidney Myer free concerts (as did the rest of Melbourne, it would appear!)


We brought a little picnic, all carried in my funky new picnic cooler-bag, complete with plastic wine glasses, plates and proper cutlery!




We brought some breads and other sweet nibbles from the Phillippa's event goody bag (sultana and orange bread, baguette, hot cross buns and biscuits), as well as some cheeses which were given to us at the Yarra Valley Dairy - the Juno and white savourine goats cheese log.  And crackers and fresh figs!

My friend Alaina brought some goodies that she bought at King & Godfree - super-hot salami, a curtain (!) of proscuitto, sun dried tomatoes and lovely marinated olives.

There were also Mrs Fields nibblers (bought by my friend Kristine), which I was super excited about. COOKIES!  You can also see my little gourmet improvisation: a fresh fig filled with goats cheese and wrapped in proscuitto.

Last weekend, we took advantage of the hot weather and made a trip to the Mornington Peninsula with some friends.  (And by the way, what's up with this week's rain?!)

We started off at Rye back beach, where the waves were a little too rough for us to swim comfortably, so we packed up and tried Sorrento back beach.  Whilst calmer than Rye, the waves were still pretty strong, but at least it was a patrolled beach.  We found a couple of calm patches and found relief from the heat in the cold water, whilst enjoying the beautiful views of the coastline. 



No trip to the beach is complete without fish and chips, and we grabbed a late lunch from Shark Shack in Rye.  It was incredibly busy that day, and we had to wait quite a while for our order, which gave me some time to ogle all their deep fryers, hehehe.


I felt really sorry for the staff in the shop - it was boiling hot in there, there were queues and queues of people, and loads of massive phone orders.  (The guy in front of us carried his order out in a crate!)  But, we got our food in the end and it was very fresh and very tasty, despite the volume of customers.

Mmm... salty and oily.  The perfect beach-day treat!


And that was my unblogged February!

March is shaping up to be a busy month for me - I've got a little trip to the Goulburn Valley coming up, as well as a couple of MFWF events, some birthdays and some family celebrations too.  Blog-wise, I'm gonna start blogging my trip to Malaysia very soon - yay! Can't wait to share my Malaysian foodie adventures with y'all!

4 comments:

JaneB said...

Love your Unblogged Files posts - it's a great way to cram a whole heap of random stuff together! I'm dying to read about your time in Malaysia and Penang - as an Aussie currently living in Penang I'm curious to see if I learn anything from your posts! :)

Sarah said...

Thanks Jane!

I have sooo many pics from Penang! We had such a good time there :) Not sure if I can show you anything new (this was my first trip back in over 8 years), but I hope you find them interesting anyway :)

hungryandfrozen said...

Gosh Sarah, where to start!
Thoughts as I went:
- a disappointing muffin which sounds that delicious would be doubly disappointing (you know, instead of a regular blueberry one or whatever)
-The presentation of that muesli is adorable!
- I really want to try making a decent veal stew, wasn't overly taken with the last one I did - it was nice, but a little flavourless.
- I really, really want an ice cream party now. Hmmm, my birthday's coming up.........

Sarah said...

Hi Laura - thanks for your comment(s)!!

I highly recommend the Jamie Oliver one (Cook with Jamie), it is cooked with white wine instead of red and is very delicious. :)

Yes yes, have an ice-cream party!! It's so much fun!