Monday, December 31, 2012

The Unblogged Files: December

Happy New Year! Here is my December's Unblogged Files: the non-Christmas edition!

I attended a blogger dinner at Captain Melville (full blogpost to come once I've visited again on my own coin and tried out more of the menu!). Highlights of the dinner were the punchy Macedon Gang Punch cocktail, with Cruzan rum, lemon juice, agave, egg white, port and Booker's fire bitters...
Macedon Gang Punch - Cruzan rum, lemon juice, agave, egg white, port and Booker's fire bitters

...and the crazy decadent salted caramel banana split with honeycomb.
Captain Melville's salted caramel banana split

One night when I really wanted a roast dinner but was too tired to cook, (yes, it happens to me sometimes) we tried the Roast Kitchen in Kew, who do a range of trad roast dinners in a retro diner-type setting. It was pretty pricey for a dinner, at $19.50 a plate, but the food was great, and they really pile up your plate! We were particularly impressed by their red wine gravy - great stuff!
Roast chicken from Roast Kitchen - $19.50

More Ottolenghi cooking!
Clockwise from top left:
Roast butternut squash (Ottolenghi) and my own yogurt/tahini sauce
Roasted Aubergine with saffron yogurt (Ottolenghi)
Meatballs with peas and lemon (Jerusalem)
Chermoula eggplant with couscous and yogurt (Jerusalem)
I've been loving the recipes in Jerusalem - I've found, despite the "coffee table book" appearance of the book, that the recipes are beautifully workable, even when adapting them to suit what I've got lying in the pantry. Examples: I adapted their lamb meatballs with broadbeans and lemon to use up some minced pork and peas that I had, and it worked wonderfully. Ditto the chermoula eggplant with bulghur and yogurt, for which I substituted couscous. Total love! I'm going to Europe next year and I cannot wait to visit their restaurants and cafes!

Speaking of fabulous cafes, we brought yet another friend to Beatrix Bakes in North Melbourne: we're slowly converting all our friends to the way of Beatrix!
Beatrix Bakes
Mega love for their Fry-Day ciabatta, with crumbed flathead and fennel quickle, and The vegetarian Rocky, with tomato, buffalo mozzarella and chopped basil pesto. Gorgeous!

Less impressive was my one and only visit to the Workers' Food Room, on Little Lonsdale Street in the city, for a weekday lunch.
Workers' Food Room

Whilst the food I ordered was pretty good, I was sneakily upsold a side salad with my Lebanese chicken pastry (the waitress made it sound like they'd forgotten my salad and asked me if I wanted them to bring it out... only to have them charge me $8.50 for that tiny bowl of broccoli salad). Gah! It doubled the cost of my lunch! So irritating! Later on Twitter they apologised - apparently I was overcharged for the side salad too, they're only meant to be $6.50. Double gah! But yeah, there are hundreds of great lunch options in the CBD, not going back there! I definitely do not recommend this place!
The Workers' Food Room on Urbanspoon

On a happier note, I was invited along to the opening day of the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, which was a big day of sugar-filled fun! Full blogpost to come, but for now I want to show you my favourite item at their cafe, which funnily enough, doesn't contain any chocolate at all! I really loved their soft fluffy waffles, with fresh berries and creamy house-made ice-cream.
Waffles at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie

Excess sugar can only be combated by excess salt (or you know, healthy eating and exercise, but y'all know I wasn't in the mood for that!!). So dinner after my visit to the chocolaterie was a Zinger Double Down at KFC. Yeah, I totally hated myself for 5 minutes, but I regret nothing!!
Zinger Double Down
And whilst we're on the KFC theme... one very hot day when I went to see a film (it was Pitch Perfect, and it wasn't very good - Bring It On for the win!), I decided to try one of those creamy Krusher drinks from KFC. Previously I'd never really seen the point, but I tried the mint choc one, and it was actually really really good! Creamy, minty, and with loads of delicious chocolate biscuit crumbs. When I Instagrammed it, loads of people told me that they love the Gaytime flavour, so I'll try that next time!
KFC Mint-Choc Krusher

I've been working throughout the Christmas period this year, but one of the long days in my office was enlivened by a personal cookie delivery from my friend Alaina! She'd made these fab Italian Meatball Cookies with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting - they're kinda like chocolate gingerbread, heady with cloves, and studded with walnuts and chocolate chunks. So good! (If you're not all spiced out from Christmas, Google these and give them a go!)
Italian Meatball Cookies
And just to prove that I do occasionally choose healthy food, let me say that I do recommend the Tofu-Don at Tokio, and the Sushi at Sushi Monger (both next to each other in The Causeway, between Little Collins and Bourke street). Both are great, cheap options for a CBD lunch!
Large Sushi at Sushi Monger

Tofu-don at Tokio - $9.50

On that really hot Sunday last week, we stopped into Coffeehead in Camberwell for brunch, cold drip coffees and sweet, sweet airconditioning. The fruit toast was great, as were the corn fruitters, topped with smoked salmon and a perfect runny poached egg.
Clockwise from top left: yolkporn; fruit toast; corn fritters with avocado, harissa mayo, smoked salmon and a poached egg; cold drip coffee

Just the other day I whipped up a huge batch of Nigella's Chocolate Peanut Granola, from Feast. One of my faves, and I've made this, the original almond version, and the Christmassy cranberry version many many times*! (Primarily over the 2005-2006 period, it seems!)
Granola ingredients
 I love eating this stuff, especially with yogurt and berries! (See below in the new Kikki K bowls that my dad got me for Christmas!)
Granola, yogurt, berries, coffee

The last thing I wanted to share with you in this post is the froyo I had at Cacao Green this afternoon for a treat. (I think I'm getting obsessed with them, haha!) The Mango Fantasy contained mango frozen yogurt, fresh mango cubes, raspberry compote, lychees, coconut jelly and a little waffle bite. It was really good, like bubble tea in froyo-form!
Mango Illusion - $8.50
We were really surprised by how good the waffle bites were - they were served warm (we could smell them being toasted while we waited!), and were fluffily doughy within, and crispy on the outside. I hadn't thought that their waffles would be anything to write home about... but they were really good! Next time I'm just getting a whole waffle!
Fluffy crunchy waffle bite
And thanks to the yummy waffles from Cacao Green, I've decided to make waffles tomorrow morning for my first breakfast in the new year!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you're all enjoying the evening and spending it with those who mean the most to you!!

*Posts featuring Nigella's granola

6 comments:

Daisy@Nevertoosweets said...

Happy New Year Sarah :) Another month filled full of delicious some healthy and some not food :D WOO HOO That's the way life should be hehe a good balance :P

Even though I do so badly at that and usually just live off the bad stuff hahaha ~

Oh oh oh I finally made it to Beatrix Bakes and LOVED it :) and I had NO idea Nigella had a Chocolate and Peanut Granola ~ How on earth did I miss it? hehe

Hope you have a fantastic New Year and may all your wishes come true in 2013!!!

Ps. We need to catch up more!!!!

Nic@diningwithastud said...

Happy New Year Sarah! Cant wait for more deliciousness! All the best for 2013 :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I've always wanted to make that eggplant dish-it looks so delicious. Perhaps I will! :D Happy New Year Sarah!

Gemma said...

Happy New Year Sarah! I made a few things from Jerusalem before Christmas and all were great - the root vegetable slaw, the orange cake with chocolate, and the barley and feta salad. Yum. So far my only disappointment has been the lemony leek meatballs which weren't for me at all (disappointing considering they took ages to make!), think I need to make the aubergine dish next... Have a great 2013!

thanh7580 said...

I like your motto to regret nothing but I find it hard to not regret KFC as I feel so awful, physically and emotionally afterwards.

Sarah said...

Daisy - Happy New Year to you too! I'm so glad you loved Beatrix Bakes - it's soo great! Yes, let's catch up more in 2013! :)

Nic - Happy new year! Thank-you for your lovely comment!

Lorraine - You must! So gorgeous and easy! Happy New Year to you too!

Gemma - The lamb-stuffed aubergine recipe is *the best*! I hope you'll love it :)

Thanh - I don't do KFC too often, so when I do I make sure I enjoy it! Those little Wicked Wing snack boxes are pretty good as a small treat!

xox Sarah