Friday, August 31, 2012

The Unblogged Files: August

Woah, August has just flown by! There was that little Sydney trip, which I'm still in the process of blogging. Apart from that, I'm happily back to working full time after having taken a much needed and very welcome eight month break. This means I haven't been going out as much (Mama needs her beauty sleep!), but I've still been eating and cooking up a storm.

A few Nigella recipes, of course. I was very proud of this Toad in the Hole (from Kitchen). It's basically a Yorkshire pudding dough with the added deliciousness of sausages. Look how high it rose!
Toad in the Hole

Also from Kitchen, another night I made Nigella's Asian-Braised Shin of Beef with a Hot and Sour Shredded Salad, (recipe here!)
Asian-braised beef shin with a hot and sour shredded salad and chilli radishes
It was the meal I made for my parents the first time they came over to my new place and we all loved it! My mum in particular wolfed down the salad. Yay! I also made Fuchsia Dunlop's chilli radishes as a spicy-crunchy accompaniment (from her new book, Every Grain of Rice, which I can't wait to get!). 

I was invited to the "Dogustation" event at Phat Brats, which was super fun and a lot of yum! It was a degustation of hot dogs, with matching Southern Bay Brew Co. beers. My favourites were the "corn pup" (little sausages dipped in corn batter and deep fried)...
Corn Pup with Beer
 ...and the insane dessert dog: a hotdog "sundae" in a donut bun with double-choc ice-cream, toasted coconut, berry coulis, vanilla bean double cream and pistachios. Zomg! It was matched with a Metal Head Robust Porter (a dark beer) - a winning combination. I love dark beers with chocolate desserts!
Hotdog Sundae: Donut bun, double-choc ice-cream, toasted coconut, berry coulis, vanilla bean double cream and pistachios
This month I made a batch of David Lebovitz' Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, which were incredible! They're basically his ordinary chocolate chip cookies, but made with salted butter and a little extra fleur de sel. The salt really brings out all the other flavours. AMAZEBALLS! (I shared these with my new coworkers for some brownie points...or should that be "cookie points"?)
David Lebovitz' salted butter choc chip cookies

Speaking of baking cookies, I also made a batch of double-matcha matcha sablés, (from the book Okashi) which I made as a gift for the lovely Catty when she came down to Melbourne for a visit. (Full blogpost on the sablés to come!)
Matcha sablés
I passed the cookies to Cat over hotdogs at Snag Stand. (Really Sarah, more hot dogs?).

Swiss Bratwurst - grilled and served on a poppy seed roll w/ sauteed onions, house made sauerkraut & sweet Bavarian mustard

Chilli fries with cheese and beef chilli

I wasn't a huge fan of the Swiss Bratwurst, finding the overall taste a bit plain. (The Currywurst is way better!) But I have to say I liked the fact that their house made Sauerkraut had tiny bits of bacon in it. Very echt und lecker. The chilli fries were totally delicious and were surprisingly spicy.

After the hot dogs, we went to Cupcake Central, because, you know, I had to be a good host to our out-of-town visitor.
Left: Cookie dough
Right: Salted caramel
These cupcakes were both very good, but I especially loved the salted caramel! I actually love Cupcake Central's cupcakes in general - the cake part is always so moist and light, and their icings are soft, smooth and creamy, with none of that unpleasantly hard, sugary texture that you get at lesser cupcake bakeries. (And just to make it super clear, I say this totally independently, as a paying customer!)

I bought some extra cupcakes to bring home - their passionfruit flavour is insanely good, and my favourite out of all the ones that I've tried. (So far!)
Bottom to top: Devils Food Chocolate, Passionfruit, Salted Caramel, Red Velvet

A good thing about working in the city - apart from proximity to cupcake bakeries, of course - is going out for drinks in the city! As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge fan of just getting smashed with your colleagues of a Friday evening, but I've really enjoyed catching up with my lovely cousin Catherine (also a CBD-worker!) for Friday night drinks! Last week we hit up Tony Starr's Kitten Club for espresso martinis and chicken "satays". I'd never been to the Kitten Club before, but the whole vibe and menu reminded me very much of the venues I used to visit when I was twenty (back in '04) and just discovering Melbourne's bar scene. A little blast from the past!
Left: Espresso Martini
Right: Chicken Satay
Judge me all you want for the espresso martini - they taste amazing and I frikkin love them!

We visited Porgie and Mr Jones for the first time this month, a great cafe from the same people who brought you Snow Pony (Balwyn) and Friends of Mine (Richmond) - despite being crazy busy on the weekends, P&MJ's service is friendly, and the food seems to come out within a reasonable time frame. (I've only been there once on a weekend, but don't worry - I'll go back to confirm!)
Top Left: Smashed avocado with poached egg - w/ thyme-buttered mushrooms, marinated feta & torn basil on wholegrain toast - $19.90
Top Right: "Porgie Parma" - parmesan crumbed happy chicken, smoked & roasted tomato, ham hock, three cheese gratin - $21.90
Bottom Centre: Mr Jones' golden 'folded' scrambles - w/ fresh herbs & holy goat's cheese on wholegrain toast - $12.90
It's a little pricey, but that seems expected given the area, and the portions are huge! As per April's enthusiastic suggestion, I tried their house-smoked salmon, and it really is fabulous.

A little further from home - actually, right on the other end of town - is my new favourite cafe: Beatrix in North Melbourne. After drooling over their Facebook page and tweets for months, we finally visited earlier this month, and swiftly returned the next week with my parents in tow because it was that awesome. They're rightly famous for their amazing cakes, but I like their crazy-good ciabattas even better! (Full blogpost on Beatrix to come!)
Beatrix goodies: Ricotta cannoli, coconut layer cake, grapefruit chiffon cake

This month I've also been drinking heaps of bubble tea.
ChaTime Bubble Tea

I was invited on a 'behind the scenes' tour of ChaTime back in July, and was given a whole lot of vouchers to try out their range. I've finally used them all up, and tried a good cross section of their (huge and bewildering!) menu. I'm pretty sure I've figured out how the menu works and will be blogging about it shortly. In the meantime, my tip for you is to just order "Peach QQ, regular size, with ice, half sugar". So good!

Peach QQ, regular size, with ice, half sugar - $5

And that was August! For September I'm planning to take it pretty easy: a little weekend away, some lunch/dinner parties, that sort of thing. I'm so excited for spring and summer! I'm very much over the cold weather and looking forward to longer days, drinks in the sun, picnics, the beach...

8 comments:

Agnes said...

AHH I never realised you could ask for less sugar at Chatime. Good to know!

Winston said...

Wuuu wahhhh so much yumminess I can't take it! I love seeing your blog posts/IG photos of Nigella's dinner recipes on a weeknight. Really delicious and inspiring would love to try sometime. Gotta try that matcha sables recipe too. And woo-hoo for Chatime looove... BEST

Sarah said...

Agnes - I know! Ever since I found out I can't stop drinking it, hehe.

Winston - Awww thanks! Nigella recipes are the best, you have to try them! :)

xox Sarah

Iron Chef Shellie said...

ahhhh maaaaa gaaawd! I want it all, really need to try that beef shin recipe. Every time I watch her make it, it reminds me, then I forget straight away

cara waters said...

Wow you did a lot. How sweet that you made Catty some matcha cakes since she is so OBSESSED with matcha - perfect for her!

Sarah said...

Shellie - The beef shin is awesome! You have to try it! :)

Cara - Haha the matcha cookies were a little too strong for me but Catty said she liked them, lol!

xox Sarah

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That dessert hot dog looks so interesting! :o

Sarah said...

Lorraine - They've actually added it to the normal menu now in a full size!!! Something to try next time! :)