The Unblogged Files: September

9/30/2012 09:15:00 PM

You know, when I sat down to write this month's Unblogged Files, I didn't think I'd have that much to write... until I started looking through my iPhone pics and realised it was one of my busiest foodie months this year! And all this is in addition to Wonderbao and my Chinese Lunch Feast. Eeep!

For Father's Day, I cooked a Jamaican-themed lunch for my dad: Jerk pork belly with spicy coleslaw and rice and peas. (The rice recipe comes from Nigella's Kitchen, the pork and coleslaw from the September 2012 issue of Delicious magazine). Dessert was a gorgeously light strawberry Swiss roll, filled with strawberry jam, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. So springtime!

Clockwise from top left: Jerk pork belly, rice & peas, spicy coleslaw, strawberry Swiss roll

I tried out the Taco Truck when it came to the CBD one weekday lunchtime.
Taco Truck
I wasn't expecting much, but the tacos were really, really good! I especially liked the fish taco - a super-fresh fish fillet, deep-fried in a light batter and with coleslaw, lime juice and poppyseed mayo. It was so good! The potato tortilla, with jalapeno ricotta and salsa verde in a crisp tortilla, was also good, but the fish taco was insane! $12 was a little pricey for two small tacos with house-made corn chips, but I really enjoyed them.
Taco plate - 2 x tacos with house-made corn chips - $12
Taco 1: FISH - slaw, lime squeeze, poppy mayo
Taco 2: POTATO - jalapeno ricotta, slaw, salsa verde (in crisp tortilla)

We went to Spice Temple twice in September for fab cocktails and spicy Chinese food - I know, addicts!! We tried heaps of different dishes, and actually, I have enough photos for a brand new blog post.. so keep your eyes peeled for that. One of my fave dishes was the caramelised pork spare ribs ($22) - big, messy, sticky, juicy: delicious.
Spice Temple's Caramelized Pork Spare Ribs - $22

We made a last minute, impromptu weekend trip to Mount Martha for some much needed chill-out time. We bought some supplies from the local IGA and hunkered down in the B&B to watch reruns of Seinfeld and mentally switch off. There was the obligatory cheese platter in front of the fireplace...
Cheese platter
...some beautiful views...
View from the Mount Martha B&B

...and of course, a crazy decadent breakfast - croissants filled with fresh strawberries and melted Lindt Cookies chocolate.

On the way home we stopped in at USA Foods in Moorabbin, where I marvelled at the sugary cereals and stocked up on tinned pumpkin.
Cereals at USA Foods
I also bought some Twinkies and Ding Dongs for the first time - I can't believe the "Best By" date is SIX YEARS IN THE FUTURE!! What on earth do they put in those cakes to make them last that long? (Also, they didn't taste very good).
Twinkie, Ding Dong

I was invited along to a blogger/media dinner at the Meatball and Wine Bar on Flinders Lane - I really liked the charcuterie, the meatballs and the aperitifs, but wasn't too keen on their Whoopie Mac desserts (a scoop of ice-cream sandwiched between two giant chewy macaron shells). For me, the highlight of the dinner were these dee-licious chicken meatballs, which had a little pop of sweetness from muscatels, served with creamy white sauce and lovely housemade pasta sheets. They were flat, wide sheets of pasta, somewhere between pappardelle and lasagne. Lovely!
Chicken meatballs (chicken, pistachio, muscatels parmesan) with creamy white sauce and 

When I had a day off work, I went for Yum Cha with the parentals at Tai Pan in Doncaster East. It was great to go on a weekday - they still had trolleys, but there was no rush to get us out of there. (On weekends they're so busy that they have THREE sessions!) My faves are the har gao (prawn dumplings), the woo kok (taro balls formed in a football shape and deep fried), and the lau sar tong yeun (sweet glutinous rice balls filled with black sesame paste and dipped in ground peanuts). Fuchsia Dunlop has a recipe for something similar in Sichuan Cookery and Every Grain of Rice, so I wanna give them a go at home!
Tai Pan Yum Cha

One weeknight I made Kartoffel Pfannkuchen for dinner. These German potato pancakes go by many names: Kartoffelpuffer, Reibekuchen, and are similar to Jewish latkes. Basically they're just grated potatoes and onions, bound with an egg and a little flour and fried. (Sie mussen im Fett schwimmen!) They took ages and my home and I smelled like deep-fried for ages, but it was totally worth it. I love these!
Making Kartoffelpuffer
We had these with a creamy mushroom sauce, but I prefer these with sour cream and chives, and a little smoked salmon. In Germany these are also served as an accompaniment to soup - all good!
Kartoffel Pfannkuchen
And just to prove that it's not a neverending parade of unhealthy food... I rediscovered DonDon on Swanston Street this month. I really enjoy their SashiDon: sushi rice topped with raw salmon, pickles, ginger, two types of tofu (yeeeah!) and salad. Yum yum!
Sashidon from DonDon

I was super-excited that two awesome cookbooks arrived this month: Nigellissima and Jerusalem!
Nigellissima and Jerusalem
I've spent all my spare time voraciously reading these two gorgeous books!
Reading Nigellissima on my lunch break
The first recipe I tried from Nigellissima was the tortelloni minestrone - a hearty vegetable and pasta soup. I didn't love this one, finding it a little starchy, (especially compared to the vibrant green picture in the book), but there are heaps of enticing recipes in the book that I can't wait to try, particularly the desserts!
Tortelloni Minestrone - Nigellissima
The first recipe I tried from Jerusalem, however, was unequivocally a winner: stuffed aubergines with lamb and pine nuts. (Recipe here). Softly roasted eggplants are topped with a lamb mince mixture, studded with pine nuts, and headily flavoured with spices and tamarind. I'd planned for us to have leftovers to take to work, but it was so good we inhaled it all in the one sitting! Definitely recommend this recipe.
Stuffed aubergines with lamb and pine nuts

Yes, another visit to Beatrix in North Melbourne. We're slowly converting all our East-side friends to this North Melbourne gem! The banana, hazelnut and nut brown butter tart was just beautiful!
Beatrix goodies
This isn't food related, but still worth sharing: we went to the Scissor Sisters' concert! So amazing! I love these guys so, so very much! It was bizarre to see them at Hamer Hall - I've previously only seen orchestras there - but I have to say they totally killed it! And it was great to see them in a venue designed for music performance, rather than where I've seen them before: in a pub (Prince of Wales), sport venue (Vodaphone Arena) or giant shed (Festival Hall). Yes, let us all have a Kiki.
Scissor Sisters poster - that be some shiny red hair, Ms AnaMatronic
The next night, I attended a media dinner at Spoonbill (in The Olsen Hotel), to try out their new Spring menu. I greatly enjoyed it and will be blogging about it shortly, but for now I wanted to show you this beautiful little bunch of flowers that was used as a place setting. Too cute to function! I put the place setting on my lap for this photo: I thought it was pretty cool that it matched my dress! Hehehe.
Second shot of pretty thing on my lap

Plantation Coffee in Melbourne Central have just started doing muffins - the chocolate and raspberry ones are fantastic! Texturally they're very light and moist, but have a deep chocolatey flavour and lots of chocolate chips, countered by the sourness of the raspberries. Total yum-town!
Plantation latte & chocolate raspberry muffin
Finally, today we hosted a little PORKTOBERFEST lunch with some food blogger buddies - I baked pretzels, we had two types of cabbage, bread dumplings and a roast pork shoulder. Lecker! I'll be blogging it in detail soon, but for now: crackling.
Slow-roasted pork shoulder
Hope y'all had a great September too!!! Bring on October!

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  1. So jealous that you have the new Ottolenghi book. Those eggplants look great. This post also makes me think of how big my unblogged files are (scary!)

  2. Your last-minute B&B escape? That's the kind of thing that makes me feel twisty inside about being endlessly, endlessly single.

    On a brighter note, next time pass the Ding Dongs (ugh) by and opt for the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Yes, you can visibly see the sugar, but in such a good trashy way.

  3. wow, 6 years till use by date? I don't wanna know what is in there!! =/

    That crossiant looks insane!



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