Category Archives: weekends

Bakery Crawl

regret nothing

A bakery crawl, like a pub crawl, is just that; no regrets. A friend of mine and I took it upon ourselves to visit two vegan bakeries in Melbourne. Our first stop was at ‘Mr Nice Guys’ down on Union St, Ascot Vale. They say when finding a good place to eat, always go where there are lots of people. Mr Nice Guys was no exception. The place was packed! Walking in here was like walking into a playground of vegan awesomeness. Every awesome, crazy and almost unbelievable creation in this place is vegan.

In their glistening cake cabinet they have vegan cakes and cupcakes such as the ‘unicorn milkshake’, the ‘coffee and doughnuts’ cupcake, the ‘popcorn mudslide’ and the to-die-for ‘bronut’ (brownie-doughnut!). Closer to the counter they have an array of vegan pastries, such as their ‘potato, rosemary and bechamel danish’ and their ‘choc chip custard danish’ pastries. They have vegan biscuits and pies, they do amazing milkshakes and good coffee. My friend and I shared a vegan croissant and a pretzel ‘hotdog’ (also vegan). The croissant was soft and flaky and the pretzel dog was everything a pretezel should be; ‘tasty, salty goodness!’. The shop has cute tables and chairs both inside and out, with teapots as sugar bowls and a bowl of water by their sign out front for doggo. Mr Nice Guys is allergy friendly and stocks gluten free and soy free options as well. Well worth the trip, much recommended and would do again! Good brunch spot!

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After that we took the hour long drive from Ascotvale, down to Daniel’s Doughnuts, in Springvale. Daniel’s does both vegan and non vegan doughnuts. Again, the place was packed. The line inside the shop itself was at least three people deep and outside it was at least 10 meters out the door! It was well worth the wait though. I got a vegan jam doughnut and a vegan Oreo doughnut. My friend got the salted caramel and a cinnamon. Once you’ve eaten there, you can see why people flock to it. Their doughnuts are so light, fluffy and indulgent. We sat in the sun at their tables outside and devoured them. They were so good, I was tempted to line up in that epic line again. They’re open 24 hours (unbelievable right?). While Spring Vale is a fair hike for most of us (unless you’re lucky enough to live close by) Daniel’s Doughnuts would make for the perfect, late-night drive.

Broo Lager, Soerrento, Victoria – Salt and Pepper Beer Batter Seafood Basket made with Sorrento’s Broo Lager with Guacamole

I tried out Sorrento’s craft brew Broo Lager last night. It was on special at the local bottle-o and I’d heard good things. I spent the rest of the night chilling out, streaming episodes of Ugly Americans and 2 Broke Girls, (a guilty pleasure) on YouTube and drinking said brew. You know when you have something that just epitomizes what it’s supposed to be? This beer does this. You drink it and and you think, ‘I don’t know how, in words, to pin down what beer is, but this is what beer is’. Craft beers at the moment seem to be becoming increasingly more complicated, experimental and brewers are crossing over styles, sometimes multiple times. While I applaud this, think this expansion of beer and its palate is truly wonderful and some stellar beers have been created as a result, it’s also refreshing to know that true classics are still valued, appreciated and are being made. Their website, Broo Beer (click on that if you want to find out more) proudly states that this beer is Australian owned, which  I think is pretty good, especially on the back of the recent announcement that yet another Australian brew – Mountain Goat – has just been sold to an international company, in this case, Asahi Breweries. But enough of this ramble. I woke up to find I’d fallen asleep with three quarters of a beer left. Rather than let good beer go to waste I decided to make a beer batter seafood basket (also to procrastinate and put off doing planning for work next term…). So here’s the recipe.

You need:

The Batter

  • 3/4 bottle of Broo Lager (or any good quality beer, about 280-285mL)
  • a good handful or two of plain flour in a bowl seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (I used Lauke Crusty White Bread Flour, but all purpose plain flour will do)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard

Using  a whisk, gradually add beer to flour until you have a batter the consistency of a pancake batter. Beat in mustard and leave to rest.

The Seafood

  • 1 clean squid tube cut into rings
  • 1 fillet of Trevalley fish or any other firm white fish (e.g. Flake, Whiting e.c.t.) cut into roughly 5 by 3cm chunks.

Cook

  • Heat 2 cm depth of vegetable oil in a deep pan until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds or a wooden skewer bubbles when dipped in.
  • dredge the squid and fish in batter, shake off excess and fry in batches, turning over after each side goes golden and crisp. (Squid takes maybe 2 minutes, fish about 3 – 4 minutes – I didn’t really time it, but keep a careful eye as the hot oil will cook the pieces through very quickly. 2- 3 minutes will leave you with lovely, tender fish)
  • drain on paper towel and place on a bed of fresh bok choy leaves.

Serve with Guacamole

  • Season a mashed avocado with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard, lime juice, 1/2 chili pounded together with a garlic clove and a pinch of salt, sweet chili sauce and some chopped coriander

Happy eating!

Breakfast Wraps

These breakky wraps that my friend and I had the other day kind of just evolved mid cook up. Originally, it was just going to be an omelette, after a big night, to tie us over until that late meal that you have, that isn’t quite lunch nor tea, but soothes the hangover none-the-less. I got up early to make tortillas, that were originally going to be for fish tacos for said meal but as I was making the omelette, I remembered some breakfast quesadillas that I’d seen at the South Melbourne market that I’d always wanted to try, but had never gotten around to doing so. The market food cravings hit hard, so I chopped up some bok-choy and giant red mustard leaves from the garden, made some guac, grated some cheese and made these instead. My friend said they were so good, he wanted another.

These involve a number of steps, so I suggest making the wraps a day or two in advance, storing in a plastic bag and softening in the pan when you’re ready to make them. **For the omelette I used Istra bacon, made locally half way between Daylesford and Musk, in Victoria. Another good quality, local product is Otway Pork. You can find this in many good delicatessens throughout Victoria. Geelong Fresh Foods is one place around here that stocks both these products. 

To put these together you need to make the tortillas, omelette, and prep the other veggies

Tortillas:

Mix 2 cups strong bread flour (I use Lauke Crusty White flour), 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil and 1/2 cup warm water in a bowl. Mix together using chopsticks to make a soft, slightly tacky dough. Knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and pliable. Place back in the bowl, put a lid over it and rest in a warm spot for half an hour.

Heat a heavy skillet or frypan on the stove over medium high heat. Take small balls of the dough, roll out thin and dry fry them, about 10 second each side until there’s bubbles and/ or light brown spots on each side. Stack them under a tea towel. (makes about 14-15 wraps). These will keep for a few days in a plastic bag.

Omelette:

Finely dice 1/2 an onion, chop 2 rashers of good quality bacon** (see note above), dice 1/2 red capsicum and finely slice about 3 mushrooms. Fry in a large pan over low to medium heat until veggies are soft and bacon has crisped up a bit. You don’t need to add much oil to the pan as the fat from the bacon will render out and cook the veggies. Beat together 5 free range eggs, turn the heat up a bit and pour into the pan, pushing the eggs around as they cook so you get a lovely, fluffy omelette. Fold omelette in half so the center bit sets, turn the heat off and transfer to a plate. Leave to cool a bit.

Chop:

  1. Finely shred some bok choy and a hot green, such as giant red mustard lettuce leaves or rocket. Place in a bowl.
  2. Grate some cheese. I used a Dutch goats cheese, but any melty cheese is good. Avoid the prepackaged shredded cheese if possible. Go for a block of something and grate, shred or slice your own.
  3. Guacamole – Mash an avocado with a squeeze of lime juice, a shake of salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or paprika, cumin powder, a drizzle of sweet chili sauce, a small handful of finely chopped coriander and if you can be bothered, a teaspoon of fresh chili and clove of garlic that’s been smashed in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt – not necessary, but so worth it.

Assemble:

  1. Warm wraps in the pan for a minute over low heat to make them easier to work with.
  2. Arrange the wraps on a board. Smear with a line of guac down the center of each wrap, place a handful of your lettuce mix on top, break up the omelette with your hands and put a few chunks on top of the lettuce and top with cheese.
  3. Roll up each side so you have a cigar shape, top with more cheese so as to seal the top shut, place wraps on trays and bake in the oven at 200*C for 10 – 15 minutes until cheese has melted and the edges have gone crispy.
  4. Happy Days!

Ginger chili pork crackling with sweet chili sauce

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The beer pictured is Western Australian brew ‘Little Creatures Bright Ale.’ We are now lucky enough to have a new Creatures Brewery right here in Geelong, Victoria. A decent drop.

My friend and I were sitting around last night,  having a few beers when it hit that point in the night where we suddenly got the nibblies. I had a strip of pork rind that I’d cut off a roast, sitting in the fridge. I cut up a bit, fried it, whacked a bit of salt,  pepper and paprika on,  thinking that would sufficiently sooth the pangs. We got halfway through eating and realized we were so wrong! At this point, I saw the bottle of sweet chili sauce sitting in the cupboard. My only thought was ‘that would be wicked on crackling!’ I promptly cut up the rest of the rind,  made a ginger,  chili, garlic paste to go on top, and doused those pork strips in hot,  sweet,  sticky,  sour goodness!!!

You need;

Pork shoulder rind,  cut into strips, about 1cm thick

Plain oil for frying (e.g. vegetable, canola, peanut/ground nut e.c.t.)

Mix together a small chunk of ginger,  peeled and grated,  a garlic clove,  grated,  1 small chili,  finely chopped, 1/2 tsp salt,  1 tsp sugar (pound in mortar and pestle if you’ve got one. Not critical though).

Method:

Heat a layer (1/2cm or so) in a pan over medium heat until a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds. Carefully drop pork strips in,  fry for 5 minutes on one side,  then turn pieces over,  fry for another 5 or so,  until pork has just about stopped sizzling (means the moisture has fried out of it and equals crispy!). Drain pork on a brown paper bag,  whack ginger chili paste on and smother in sweet chili sauce. Happy drinking!!!

Pulled pork pizzas with Meredith Goats Cheese

Meredith marinated fresh goats cheese is The. Bomb! It’s the creme da la creme of fetta cheese, of any cheese. It’s made locally to Geelong and sold all around the world. If you haven’t tried it, do yourself a favor and seek it out, and then open the jar and eat it. It’ll be a life choice you won’t regret.

You need:

Pulled Pork – click on the ‘pulled pork’ tag (recipe in pulled pork quesadillas) for the pulled pork recipe – best to do this a day or two in advance as the pork will take all to cook.

Pizza bases

  • 2 cups of strong, white bread flour – I use Lauke Bread flour. Made in South Australia
  • 1tsp instant yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar mixed with 1 cup of warm water – leave for 10 until frothy
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable or olive oil

Method:

Mix oil and yeast mixture into the flour, in a bowl. Stir until combined and you’ve got a sticky dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 5 – 10 minutes and leave to prove for 1/2 hour to an hour in a warm spot.

Assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to around 220*C. Knock back the dough, cut into about 5-6 equal sized pieces and roll each piece out into a thin round (about 1/2cm thick). Place on oven trays.
  2. Cover each base with 1/2 tsp of tomato sauce base. **See note
  3. Spread a handful of shredded pork over each pizza, then top with torn mozzarella or your favorite cheese.
  4. Cook each pizza for around ten minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Cut into wedges and crumble some Meredith Marinated Goats Cheese. Happy days.

**For the tomato sauce base I used a mixture of 3 different tomato chutneys and chilli jams I had hanging around in the cupboard, but you could use a tomato pasta sauce, pasata, tomato paste, tomato relish, any tomato chutney or chilli jam or tomato salsa (the jarred dorito chip dip works well here). Whatever you use, a few teaspoons will be enough to cover this quantity of dough. Play with different flavors and see what you like best.

barbecued beef strips

This was done on the spur of the moment. I marinaded rump steak that had been bashed out with a meat tenderizer and cut thin on an angle in a mixture of mustard, homemade ketchup and tomato chutney, a bit of local honey, cumin powder, paprika, salt and pepper and fried on the hot plate in pork fat that I saved from the pulled pork I did the other week. The bread was home made using locally made Lauke Flour, also fried in pork fat. Healthy? Debatable. Delicious? You bet! Happy days! 🙂

Toast to the Coast, on the Moorabool Vally

 

This is a ridiculously late post for this event (inexcusably so, to be honest…) but Geelong’s Toast to the Coast wine, food and music festival happens every year over two days on the first weekend of November. (Same weekend as Melbourne Cup). Every year Geelong’s local wineries throw open their doors to the public to come and taste their fabulous wines. Guest wineries and local and regional food producers also come and lay down everything they’ve got and local musicians get on board to get one of Geelong’s biggest parties started. Toast also run a bus service to help get you there and back again and so our you can create your own hop on-hop off wine tour. And while I haven’t tried private tours are available. With the three different wine regions, Moorabool Valley, Surf Coast and Bellarine, open all weekend it’s one festival you really oughta try at least once (or more.). So I know it’s only February, and this year’s is still eight months away. But if you’re like me and already thinking about it, here’s some photo’s from last year to whet your appetite.