The Unblogged Files: January 2016

2/06/2016 08:28:00 PM

Hello hello! Welcome to my January Unblogged Files! January was a nice month - a few days of holiday over New Year's, some catchups with friends, and quite a lot of home cooking! Let's take a look.

We had a couple of family dinners out! First up was awesome Chinese food at Red Lantern (327A Doncaster Rd, Balwyn North VIC 3104). The stir fried bean shoots with duck and pork were excellent, as was the crisp roast pork (siew yoke) and the chicken ribs in salt and garlic.

Dinner at Red Lantern

One night my lovely cousin Catherine organised a family dinner with the aunties and uncles at El Habanero (342 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne, VIC 3205). This was a really nice, low-key, Mexican restaurant. I loved the tacos and the flan! They do Mexican brunch too, which sounds awesome, and I'd definitely be keen to go back and try it out.

Tacos at El Habanero: Fish, Chicken, Pork

So, speaking of which, after this dinner I got obsessed with the idea of Mexican-style breakfasts - eggs, spicy red salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, queso fresco, tortillas - that sort of thing, and over the next week I went on a Mexican cooking spree!

I started by making a big batch of carnitas (i.e. spicy pulled pork) in the slow cooker, and had a fabulous breakfast of chilaquiles. That's crispy fried tortilla pieces tossed through the carnitas, topped with a fried egg, feta, guacamole, jalapeños and coriander.

Pulled pork chilaquiles with guacamole, feta, jalapeños, coriander, red onion and a fried egg

We also did soft tacos with all the trimmings...

Tacos! With pork carnitas and nachos!

... and had a few sneaky nacho dinners.


Breakfasts! I'm still all about the avocados! Luckily the "avocado price crisis" hasn't affected me - my Barham avocado subscription meant I received my 12 avocados for January right on time at the usual price. Woohoo! (In case anyone is interested, the avocados work out at $5.75 an avocado including delivery. They're also always perfect - straight from the farm to my door means no bruises. And the current variety, the reed, are really huge!)


I also did overnight oats and yogurt with granola when I was waiting for those avocados to ripen.

Overnight oats and yogurt with fruit

And some toast and croissanty deals. (The ham and cheese croissant and the plate with asparagus and avocado were actually dinner, but they feel quite breakfasty so I'm including them as breakfasts!)

Peanut butter and honey on toast; Ham and cheese croissant; Croissant with lemon curd and matcha, Brunch leftovers

I made a couple of treat breakfasts on the weekend too. There were Smitten Kitchen's Liège waffles... (These were crunchy and doughy, like a cross between a scone and a waffle, so we called them "squaffles"!)

Liège waffles

And also my Irish buttermilk pancakes. Light and fluffy goodness!

Irish buttermilk pancakes

Work lunches were either leftovers or salads. (Lettuce, grated carrot, tomato, cucumber, avocado, with lemon juice and olive oil). Sandra made me a batch of dee-licious prawn rice paper rolls one week too, which was a nice change from my salads.

Work lunches!

I tend to eat out once a week for lunch while working.

Spicy minced pork potato noodle soup with braised egg, Dainty Sichuan Noodle Express, Emporium
Chashu Ramen, Gekkazan (350 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000)
Dumplings! New Shanghai, Emporium
Salmon Don, Gekkazan (350 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000)

And here are some homecooked lunches and dinners.

Tagliatelle bolognese
Salad with a ham and cheese roll and an iced matcha
Spaghetti bolognese
Joy the Baker's Best Chicken Dinner

Lots of German comfort food this month!

Cheese-stuffed Frikadellen with salad and potato waffle
Wieners in bread rolls
Bratwurst with potato and spinach
Fleischkäse with a fried egg and bread

Teriyaki beef with rice and veggies
Grilled salmon with brown rice and avocado
Taiwanese meat sauce on rice
Lentil dahl and channah dahl

I don't do weekend brunches on a regular basis, but I like to treat myself to cafe coffees, especially when doing errands on the weekend. Apart from my usual Plantation, I've really been enjoying the teas at Little Rogue. Their matcha and iced Sakurambo teas are awesome! Moonshine cafe and Hello Sailor in Hawthorn are both cute cafes, and after visiting both for coffee, I'd be keen to go back for a full brunch.

Top row: Plantation (Level 2, Melbourne Central, 300 La Trobe Street, Melbourne VIC 3000)
Centre Row: Plantation, Hello Sailor, Moonshine
Bottom Row: Little Rogue (12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000)

We did one proper brunch though, with my parents at Le Petit Prince (1A Mercer Road, Armadale VIC 3143). It's a nice little spot, and these mango hotcakes with sago and coconut jelly were so pretty and delicious!

Mango hotcakes with sago and coconut jelly

One morning we had friends over for a big brunch. Mimosas, bacon, eggs, sausages, avocados, croissants and more! (I'll be blogging it in full shortly). Such fun!


My friend Alaina came back from a trip to the States, and generously gifted me cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar Cafe. Wow! Best gift ever! The famous compost cookie (with coffee, pretzels and potato chips) was very intriguing and moreish, but my favourite was the blueberry and cream.

Milk Bar Cookies

And finally, we saw Queen Nigella "In Conversation" at the Town Hall! She was in town filming Masterchef and on a publicity blitz for her new book and series. Nigella was, as expected, magnificent, but unfortunately Jill Dupleix wasn't the best interviewer - she seemed overawed and wasn't good at directing the conversation. I thought this was a shame, as Jill is an established food writer in her own right. Indeed, I'd been a fan of hers for years before Nigella came on the scene. (And see my post: "Jill Dupleix's Porridge", for proof!) Oh well, it was still a good night!

Nigella and Jill Dupleix

It's February now! Plans are a couple of events, German classes are starting up again, a weekend away, and CHINESE NEW YEAR! Hooray!

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  1. I was thinking about you and the avocado prices! I felt exactly the same way when I saw Nigella with Annabel Crabb. She was clearly a fangirl and I felt like while the first 10 minutes were great, I thought it lacked direction). But everyone else seemed to like it.

  2. Whoah chilaquiles! I need this for breakfast in my life.

  3. I also went to see Nigella and agree totally re the interview. Loved hearing her talk though and it was worth standing in a queue for an hour and a half to meet her even if it was for just a second :)

  4. Everything looks delicious! I love the Liège waffles! YUM!



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