Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Unblogged Files: October

October. Busy. Busy busy busy! So busy I forgot to do my October round-up. Whoops! So here it is, six days late, but way longer than normal! There was lots of home cooking, a little trip to Canberra (blogposts to come!), and much more. I didn't realise I had done so much this month until I looked back through my photos and was like: WOAH.

More Fuchsia Dunlop! The delicious noodle dishes in Every Grain of Rice are fantastic for quick, last-minute, no-time-to-think dinners. (I tend to have all the ingredients in my pantry anyway).
Left: Fuchsia's emergency midnight noodles
Right: Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles 
I tried Bao Now, and wasn't particularly impressed. Whilst the iced green tea was fantastic, the buffalo chicken bao I ordered wasn't great, with the bao dough tending towards undercooked. However, they're quite cheap, so I'd happily give them a go again - perhaps it was just a once off? (I do prefer Wonderbao though!!)
Buffalo chicken bao, 

My parents went on a holiday and came back with loads of treats from Nagoya and Penang!
TREATS!

My faves were: Godiva milk chocolate with salted caramel, and Ban Heang’s tau sar pneah (a Penang specialty: flaky lard pastry with a mung bean filling - so good!!)
Clockwise from right: Tau sar pneah (Penang), Muji's Sweet Potato Cookie and Toy-shaped sponge biscuit (Nagoya)

And Muji’s Matcha Baumkuchen!
Baumkuchen
We took my friend An to The Atlantic for his birthday dinner. Apart from the delicious seafood dishes, the highlights were the fab Bluegrass Blazer cocktail, which tasted like Christmas and was ON FIRE...
Bluegrass Blazer - Woodford Reserve bourbon, Grand Marnier, cinnamon syrup, bitters and fire - $24
... and the super decadent Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich dessert, with croissant-flavoured ice-cream!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich - raspberry jelly, salty peanut and Valrhona chocolate fudge, croissant ice-cream - $21
China Family Dumpling (176 Commercial Rd Prahran, VIC 3181) was a great, cheap lunch after a day of market shopping! (Much friendlier, faster, and cheaper than nearby HuTong!) The pan-fried pork dumplings and steamed egg-custard bao were great! The Xiao Long Bao we ordered weren't the greatest - my tip is to only order the dumplings listed as "homemade", as these seem to be the better ones.

Shredded chicken with chilli; homemade fried pork dumplings; xiao long bao; egg custard bao

I did a bit of Nigella baking, this time from Nigellissima: the Italian breakfast banana bread...
Banana Bread
...and chocolate olive oil cake. I made these both on the same (week)night, actually! Both were wonderful - I loved the smoky addition of coffee in the banana bread, and the chocolate olive oil cake was incredibly moist and gorgeous!
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
We celebrated my friend Alae's birthday with copious Korean fried chicken at GAMI...
Gami Chicken
...followed by cocktails at Troika. (106 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000). The chocolate martini was my fave!
COCKTAILS!
I went to Coffeehead for brunch - the baked eggs and stuffed mushrooms that my dining companions ordered were less than impressive, but I struck gold with something from the specials board: blini with poached eggs, smoked salmon and dill hollandaise sauce. It was just amazing. If you see it on the specials board, order it immediately!
Coffeehead: blini with smoked salmon, poached eggs and dill hollandaise
We enjoyed vodka cocktails (and desserts by Pierrick Boyer!) when we were invited to the GQ Speakeasy. This event was held at the Mon Bijou penthouse and hosted by Claire Smith, Belvedere's head mixologist, and Nick Smith, Editor-in-Chief of GQ magazine, to launch the newly released Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka. Sandra took some absolutely gorgeous photos of the night, which which I've uploaded to my Facebook page - check them out here!
Cucumber Smash - 60ml Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, 4 slices cucumber, 10ml yellow chartreuse
I attended a dinner at Veloce Bar and Restaurant (disclosure, this was also an invitation), a little restaurant in South Yarra overlooking a car showroom (for real!). Whilst the restaurant itself appeared quite modest - it looks like a cafe from the outside - the food by Argentinian chef Pablo de Pasquale was very good. Standouts for me were ensalada de morcilla (crispy blood sausage, warm quinoa, sorrel & granny smith apple), and the carrillera de buey (slow braised Gippsland beef cheek with an incredibly rich mash & port jus).
ensalada de morcilla - crispy blood sausage, warm quinoa, sorrel & granny smith apple
carrillera de buey - slow braised Gippsland beef cheek with an incredibly rich mash & port jus
One day when I was home from work sick, (boooo!) my dad brought over fish congee. Yay!
Fish congee

More salted butter choc chip cookies! (David Lebovitz' recipe is amazing!) This time I actually bothered to toast the nuts (pecans and hazelnuts), adding even more deliciousness to these already outrageous cookies.

We enjoyed perfect risotti and prosecco at Merchant, before seeing the hilarious Ed Byrne live. He's my fave stand-up ever, and it's been years since he's toured here - so glad he came down for a show!
Porcini Mushroom risotto - $20
Risotto with fresh broad beans and pecorino - $18
Radichio and Cos Salad - $8
Now, in complete contrast to the cheap and cheerful China Family Dumpling, is Mr Huang Jin, the new dumpling restaurant in the Rialto building. Connected to Din Tai Fung, the dumplings are expensive ($11 for 5 at lunchtime!), but also exquisite - perfect pleats, thin skin, delicately flavoured filling. The chilli xiao long bao in particular are pretty special.
Top: Pan-fried beef dumplings - $11 for 5
Middle: Steamed pork dumplings (xiao long bao) - $11 for 5
Bottom: Duck spring rolls - $6 for 2

Chilli Xiao Long Bao - $11 for 5
And finally: Snickers ice-cream is back in the shops. We saw them one night at the supermarket, bought them, and swiftly ate them in the car before dinner! Peanuts, caramel, milk chocolate, ice-cream. Super yum town!
Snickers Ice-Cream
And that was October!

8 comments:

Cindy said...

OMG TRAVEL TREATS!

msihua said...

That so many things your parents bought for you! So Jelly!!

msihua said...

That so many things your parents bought for you! So Jelly!!

Not Quite Nigella said...

Wow, that is a load of treats! I'm in awe! :o

Nic@diningwithastud said...

That is a mega amount of food! The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is right up my street :D YUM!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

WOW i'm so jealous :) You're parents are the best! Always bringing things back for you and making you fish congee yay!!!

I'm SUPER jealous!!!

OhHH i'm interested in trying this new XLB place at the Rialto! Thanks for sharing!

thanh7580 said...

You're parents are so good to bring you so many goodies.

Agnes said...

Wow so much food. And I'm so jealous of the stuff that your parents bought you!

And, OMG, I have to go to Mr Huang Jin. The XLB look great.