Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Unblogged Files: May

So it's nearly June already!  Where did the time go?  In addition to the yogurt party, lunch at Embrasse, and our fab weekend away in the Yarra Valley, there was all of this!

At the start of the month, I had a lovely lunch with my parents at Cafe Vue Heide.  We had the two-course menu du jour (two courses for $35, three courses for $45).

I particularly liked the Heide garden salad with spanner crab (top left in the picture below), but the mains were no slouch.  The grilled Mark Eather Fish of the Day with Heide Garden roasted potatoes (centre) came with cute little waffle chips on top, and the David Blackmore braised beef with ginger and coconut on pomme mousseline (bottom right) was a decadent plate of slow-cooked, tender beefy goodness.

To be safe, we'd booked a table, but this meant we were locked into the menu du jour. Whilst we definitely enjoyed our lunch, I must admit that we were looking enviously at the big sandwiches, burgers and wraps being served to other guests.  Apparently if you just rock up you can order from the normal cafe menu - we'll be trying this next time!

Sandra and I had a weekend away in the Mornington Peninsula, visiting restaurants, markets, and food producers in the region.  (Disclosure: this was a complimentary media trip to promote the region).  It was two days chock-full of fabulous food!  Posts from this trip are coming up soon, but for now I'd like to show you one of my favourite dishes from the weekend: stuffed quail leg with, cinnamon gnocchi, dried grape juice and a deep-fried quail egg, at the Terminus Restaurant in the Flinders Hotel.  Yum!


And speaking of exciting invitations, this month I was invited to come and visit the Charlie's Cookies factory.  (Dream come true, did you say?)  It was so interesting to see cookie baking on a big scale, and even better, I got to taste some choc chip cookies fresh out of the oven!  (Again, full blog post to come.)
Chocolate chip cookies at Charlie's Cookie Factory

We got a Nespresso Machine this month. (I bought it as an early birthday present for Sandra, after she tried the machine at the Mornington Peninsula accommodation and really liked it!)  At first, I wasn't too convinced of the need for it, but now that we've had it for a few weeks, I love it!  The coffee tastes good, it's so easy to use and it's pretty much impossible to stuff it up.  (So important for home coffee makers, I think).

Nespresso machine

Nespresso latte

This does mean, though, that with the new Nespresso machine, our existing coffee appliances, and a very generous joint birthday gift that some good friends gave us last week, we now have FIVE different coffee makers at home. FIVE!  (Six if you count the KitchenAid espresso machine at my parents' house).  And I rarely drink more than one a day, hehe.

Mid-month we went to see Prince in concert (squeeeeeeeeeee!). Needless to say, he was brilliant! He sang Mountains! And I was just amazed that a fifty-three year old man could dance for three hours in high-heeled boots. So amazing.

Prince concert
Prior to the concert we needed sustenance, which came in the form of dumplings and spring onion pancakes, at Dumpling World (608 Collins Street).  They were pretty good, and the busy restaurant is a welcome addition to this otherwise pretty lacklustre part of town.

Top: Dumplings in hot and sour soup
Bottom: Spring onion pancakes

Another noteworthy eat was South of Johnston, on Oxford street in Collingwood.  I caught up with my friend Kristine here for a midweek lunch - the coffee was good, and I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch of lamb wrapped in filo with pesto, served with a stuffed capsicum.

Lamb in filo
Due to the dire parking situation on Oxford street (and our almost complete lack of coinage), we moved down the street to Proud Mary for our second course (heh) and to continue chatting.  (You can read about my previous visit to Proud Mary here).  Obviously the coffee there is excellent, but my favourite thing here is the carrot cake.  It's moist, with nice pieces of sultanas and walnuts inside, and a generous splodge of cream cheese icing on top.  It's fantastic, and I happily visit Proud Mary just for their carrot cake! It's on the pricey side, at $5.50 for a jumbo muffin-sized cake, but it's so good!

Carrot Cake - $5.50

We received another German Care Package from Sandra's folks in Germany.  I'm personally a bit indifferent to the gravy and hollandaise mixes, but I can unreservedly declare my love for those delicious Prinzen Rolle biscuits.  They're the Oreo of Germany, but much tastier!
German care package

I made a little expedition to Burch and Purchese with my parents just last week - my Dad loved it, and we ended up spending $83 in the one go!  Eep.

Here's part of our haul: honeycomb; chocolate with popcorn and honeycomb; salted caramel sauce; St. Clements and Vanilla marmalade; nine of those gold bars...

This column of deliciousness, below, is called explosive milk chocolate and raspberry, and it was fabulous!
Explosive milk chocolate and raspberry

It contains: milk choc and raspberry  mousse / exaggerated (???) raspberry cream / milk choc Sacher sponge / fresh raspberry compote / chocolate royal biscuit / raspberry marshmallow /chocolate coated pop rocks /mirror chocolate glaze.  Woah!

On Tuesday night this week, I was invited to The Langham Hotel (with a few - other - bloggers), to try out the buffet at Melba restaurant.  I'm a big fan of buffets from way back (I am Malaysian, after all), and I thought this was a great one!

Whilst there was a lot of food on offer, let me show you some of the highlights.  I loved the array of fresh seafood...

Seafood
...and the sushi stand (which included sashimi, nigiri sushi and soft shell crab hand rolls made to order!)
Sushi stand
I was very impressed by the quality of the roast duck, which was super juicy, crispy and meaty - fabulous!
Roast meats

Also excellent were the fabulous naan breads, cooked fresh to order.
Tandoor
It seems that plain, garlic, or cheese & garlic are the most popular flavours, but they make quite a range of naans (including fun ones like M&M's).  They didn't have my favourite, kashmiri naan (filled with nuts and raisins), but offered to make me a peshwari naan - filled with dried fruits and coconut and generously slathered in ghee.  It was amazing!

Peshwari Naan
Being an experienced buffet eater (hah!), I know that carbs are best avoided at buffets, but this naan was so good I practically inhaled the whole thing.  (Apparently on Wednesday nights they offer nineteen different naans! Woah!)

And of course, no hotel buffet is complete without a chocolate fountain!
Chocolate fountain
Today I stopped by the launch of the Good Food and Wine Show, held at Myer Bourke Street Mall. Luckily the weather held out - how lovely was it today?  Celebrity chefs Maggie Beer, Rick Stein, John Torode, Manu Fieldel, Miguel Maestre and Adrian Richardson participated in a cook off on the temporary stage, judged by Giaan Rooney and James Tomkins.  It was actually a lot of fun - lots of big personalities on that stage!

Here's Maggie and Rick.  (You'll remember that Maggie and I are old friends - we go way back, hehe!)
Maggie Beer & Rick Stein
I love Maggie's glasses!
Miguel Maestre and Maggie Beer
Check out this hilarious pic I got of Manu Fieldel - he just jumped right up onto the bench to give some tickets to a (slightly terrified) little girl in the audience. Bless!
John Torode & Manu Fieldel
And here are the happy winners of the cook-off: Adrian Richardson and Miguel! They sure look happy with their golden whisks!
Winning team: Adrian Richardson and Miguel Maestre
I'm off to the Good Food & Wine Show this weekend. I've never been before - any tips or suggestions to get the most out of it?  Blogger Joyce from Mel: Hot or Not suggests stretchy pants, taking a Nanna-trolley and taking public transport. Check, check and check!

And that was May! Phew! I know I say this every month, but I'm sure June will be a quieter month.  (I hope!)  I literally have no social engagements planned and am trying to keep my calendar as clear as possible... but I guess we'll see how long that lasts!

3 comments:

Michelle Chin said...

Lots of stuff going on eh...

Sophie said...

I love reading your monthly round-ups. They remind me of how much (food) you can really cram into a month :D

Sarah said...

Sophie - Thanks! Sometimes it's quite alarming when I look back over my unblogged photos each month!