Saturday, January 15, 2011

A christmas shopping expedition in the CDB

Well here's the last of the pre-Christmas jaunts and then we can get stuck into 2011. What better way to break a day's serious shopping than propped up at the bar of a great foodie joint watching a couple of simple yet delicious lunches being constructed, a cold glass of ale/wine in hand.
Hardware Lane is chokers full of places to eat but keep walking (heading north) until you get to Hardware Societe - it's  much further along than I expected but definitely worth seeking out. My lunch, consisting of beautifully pan fried scallops plump and succulent  accompanied by potato roesti; a beetroot salsa; prosciutto and fresh leaves, was just what I desired. My partners slow braised lamb with yoghurt and roasted capsicums also tasty and just what he was looking forward to keep him going for afternoon of more retail trekking! Much has been written about their wonderful breakfasts too but I'll leave that for those that get up earlier than moi!
Hardware Societe
120 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
ph 9078 5992

The Hardware Societe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A little of everything please....

..... a tasting menu, such a great way to share food with friends, colleagues or family, before or after Christmas, no decisions to make just sit back and enjoy. It is no doubt easier when the diners are not too limited in their food choices, but even then establishments like Huxtable take dietary restrictions in their stride and there is something to please everyone here. A must is the jalapeno & cheddar croquettes and of course being a duck lover the roasted duck breast, soy braised daikon and sour plum was a wonderful combination of flavours and so beautifully cooked.

Despite having little capacity for dessert after so many excellent courses the young coconut marshmallow was fabulous, small, light and ever so tangy! Excellent service and helpful suggestions with interesting wines to match the plates. Talking about plates ..... I'm not convinced that dark coloured plates show food off as well as good old fashioned white but heavy pottery, stone slabs and wooden platters are certainly in vogue at the moment. (Perhaps it's a silent revolt to annoy bloggers and their incessant photo taking! lol) But whilst aesthetics is important the flavours and textures will always be my priority so I will be heading back soon to try a few more dishes and a second round of croquettes. 

I really don't want to be like the many blogs that have pic's of every dish but I had trouble deciding from all the gorgeous choices. So in case you're curious about the other dishes here, olives obviously, a kataffi pastry wrapped lamb and delightful dukkah flavoured cauliflower with harissa yoghurt - yum.
Huxtable 131 Smith St, Fitzroy 03 9419 5101
 Huxtable on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

So about that christmas pudding....

The family Christmas pudding is made as family tradition dictates, in Spring, before the days heat up - I mean who could cope with a pudding boiling away for 5 hours in the heat of summer. Lucky Melbourne’s early summer this year was kind to me even if wasn't the warm weather most were hoping for.

It seems that this ancestral culinary tradition skips a generation, from my grandmother the task became mine. And unfortunately I was only 12 when my gastronomic mentor went to the ‘big kitchen’! However I do have her original recipe and can still remember my Grandmother's puddings hanging in the cool of the covered back veranda.

Chopping and marinating kilo's of sticky dense dried fruits, grating fresh suet (the fat that surrounds beef kidney's) and remembering to buy loaves of bread in time for them to dry a little to allow for making white breadcrumbs all requires a degree of organisation so would be much better at a less hectic time but ‘that’s life’. Regardless the pudding took its rightful place, after the traditional roasted turkey, served with a Drambuie custard and a dollop of double cream.

And as you can see, a trip to buy the fruit, gave me a chance to stock up on some fabulous spices at NSM, 405 Victoria Street, Brunswick, an absolute Aladdin’s cave of bulk dried fruits, nuts and spices.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy new year with a little jingle bells to boot!

Its a brand new year and for many that means making resolutions for a new start but I'm going to attempt to deal with December 2010 first before I move on. That's because December is always full of food featured festivities and just because I didn't have the time or inclination to sit down at the keyboard doesn't mean I don't want to share, after all 'tis the season to be jolly! Yeah, that’s because everyone wants to catch up for lunch, dinner, a drink or two! So December included:
  • Yumcha
  • Single estate wines with prawns, cheese, cherries and chocolate
  • A Malaysian feast
  • Japanese delicacies - with a little too much Saki
  • An 11 course tasting menu @ Huxtable
  • A picnic at the Zoo - to be honest that was a birthday celebration (happy 1st birthday Thomas!)
  • A candlelit supper
  • Lunch in the city - in between present shopping
  • And a curried Xmas banquet (my friend refused to have a trad christmas party and insisted we all bring curry - what an amazing array we had and from many parts of the world)
all in the name of the good Saint Nick. And don't tell the family I didn't make the christmas pudding until the 20th December.