November 28, 2009

Results - Chocolate chantilly with raspberry-poached rhubarb

chocolate chantilly3

Do you like chocolate? How much do you like chocolate? I like chocolate, but this dessert was too much cocoa even for me!! The recipe calls for close to 300 grams of 70% cocoa chocolate. After eating one serve of this dessert I filled my chocolate cravings for a week! Dont get me wrong, its tasted divine, but I really thought that the chocolate could have used a little sweetness, and dare I say, a little bit of milk solids. This dessert is one for the adults, rich, intense and very wicked, I enjoyed it with a glass of Nobel one. If I was to make this recipe again, which I'm sure I will, I will be adding a little milk chocolate to try to cut the richness of the cocoa.

chocolate chantilly2

I was a little nervous when making this dessert. I have a basic understanding of physics and don't remember the lesson where they taught us if you whisk chocolate and water together it forms a chocolate mousse, I must have been on a sickie that day or something. I tentatively added the water to the solid chocolate and waited for it to melt. I don't know what I thought would happen, I was imagining an unshaken Milo with solid bits of chocolate floating on the top. But I ended up with a silky, rich looking chocolate mixture.

smooth chocolate

The next step involved putting the silky chocolate into an iced water bath and whisking until your arm falls off. About 2 minutes into the whisking I wished my old hand held mixer didn't die. I never thought I would ever reach that realization, but here I was wishing that my trusty old friend was still around. I was a disbeliever, I thought surely this wont work and I'll have to guzzle half a liter of chocolate Chinese torture or the new Adkins diet?! But it worked!! It was a little like whipping cream, you whisk and whisk, and nothing seems to be happening, and then all of a sudden...BAM! frothy cream! I let out a little whimper of joy....remember I was hand whisking....and then moved onto the next step.

whipped chocolate

Every other aspect of the dish was so incredibly simple. I used frozen raspberries to make the raspberry and rhubarb juice, and used fresh raspberry's for the presentation. I think the raspberry poached rhubarb was the best component of the whole thing. The rhubarb was so soft and it managed to soak all the raspberry flavor into its flesh. It was delicious! I'm going to make a huge batch of the rhubarb and eat it spooned over some cold custard...YUM!

beofre cooking

Raspberry, sugar and rhubarb skin ready to cook

after cooking

Hey presto! Liquid gold!

I must say one thing abut this dish that I don't often say about other recipes, it was a very pretty dessert. The gorgeous plump raspberries sitting on top of the frothy dark and handsome chocolate, finished off with the rose coloured nectar, you can't help but swoon once it is presented in front of you, ready to be devoured.
chocolate chantilly1

chocolate chantilly4

November 24, 2009

Chocolate chantilly with raspberry-poached rhubarb

Restaurant: Marque (NSW)
Recipe from Chef Mark Best (Appeared on Gourmet Traveller Website and September 2009 issue)
2010 Rating: 2nd, 3 Stars

What do you do when you have a craving for chocolate but you know you shouldn't eat any? I look at chocolate recipes. I know its a form of torture, but if I close my eyes and concentrate really hard I can almost taste it. And there's no calories involved! Yesterday, on a particularly bad chocolate craving day I went looking for chocolate creation ideas and happened to come across this recipe for chocolate chantilly by Mark Best from Marque. The recipe quickly drew my attention, whisked chocolate with water?? I've never done that before, I have to give it a go myself. The recipe isnt strictly a restaurant creation, but its intriguing enough to give it a go!

So here is the recipe, results will be following soon!

Chocolate chantilly with raspberry-poached rhubarb

Serves 6

Cooking Time Prep time 20 mins, cook 1 hr (plus chilling)


270 gm dark couverture chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
100 gm (about 1 punnet) raspberries, to serve (see note)

Raspberry-poached rhubarb

1 bunch rhubarb with thick stalks (about 450gm)
200 gm (about 2 punnets) raspberries (see note)
250 gm caster sugar


1. Combine chocolate and 230ml water in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and well combined (3-4 minutes). Place bowl over a bowl of iced water and whisk steadily until chocolate thickens and increases in volume (4-5 minutes). Refrigerate, covered, until required.

2. Meanwhile, for raspberry-poached rhubarb, trim leaves and white ends from rhubarb (discard). Wash well, dry, then peel each stalk with a vegetable peeler. Place peelings in a large heatproof bowl with raspberries and sugar (reserve stalks). Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place over a saucepan of simmering water until a red juice forms (40-45 minutes).

3. Strain juice through a fine sieve into a 2 litre-capacity wide saucepan. Do not press solids through (discard solids). Cut reserved rhubarb into 9cm lengths, add to pan and simmer over low heat until just tender (6-8 minutes). Do not boil. Transfer rhubarb and juice to a container and refrigerate until chilled (30-40 minutes). Before serving, gently toss with raspberries to combine.

4. Form six quenelles of chocolate with a large, hot spoon and place each in a serving bowl. Divide a little rhubarb and raspberry mixture among bowls, drizzle with rhubarb juice to taste and serve with extra rhubarb and raspberries to the side.

Note If fresh raspberries are unavailable, use frozen ones. Use Valrhona chocolate if available.

November 19, 2009


169 Union Road, Ascot Vale
9372 7566

ber battered chips

Are these Melbourne's best chips? Crispy, beer battered golden fat chips! I was once addicted to the chips at Flipps, they were exactly the same, fat, crispy golden and coated in a tasty batter. Not exactly sure as to what type of batter they had at Flipps, when Flipps closed I almost cried. Where was I supposed to get such delicious chips now?

cafe lomah

We've been to cafeLOMAH a few times, the atmosphere, good food and friendly service just keeps luring us back, not to mention the crystal meth chips. We tend to drop by on a weekend for a relaxed lunch. They are also opened for dinner Wednesday to Saturday, I hear they do a great curry night on Thursday, where each dish is $10. Its a great bargain too!

union street

CafeLOMAH even has a small sitting area with nice comfy couches and a fire place for those clod wintry days. I'm 99% sure the the fireplace is currently not being used considering we're going through a premature summer!

So onto the food. Daz ordered a chocolate milkshake, sometimes I wonder how old he really is!


Since we both love the chips here so much we made sure that our dishes included them as a side. You can purchase a bowl on their own, but I probably would have eaten the whole bowl to myself. I know when not to play with danger.

Daz ordered a steak sandwich. I've had this before myself and its pretty darn good. Some places really overcook their steak and you end up with a dry rubbery piece of shoe leather, but not at Lomah. Its cooked perfectly and the steak remains juicy. They also don't try to be too fancy and stack the sandwich with too much filling. That always makes it very difficult to eat. They also use sourdough bread, the champion of the bread world!

steak sandwich

inside of steak sandwich

I opted for the fish and chips. Beer battered perch fillets with fat chips and home made aioli! YUM! I asked Daz if he wanted to try my aioli and he ended up eating the whole lot! Note to self, do not share if it tastes really good! The fish was moist and not fishy at all. I suspect that the fish was fresh and not frozen, which is refreshing to see.

fish and chips

Each of the dishes came with a green salad. You need something to counter act all that chip goodness and a little leafy-ness if just the trick. Except there's one little problem......Daz seems to be allergic to anything green. Anytime he sees it he gets itchy and his mouth start to swell shut, even before he puts it in his mouth. I don't think its so much an allergy, but just a dislike for green vegetables, or vegetables all together. He once tried to convince a doctor that he didn't need to eat vegetables because he ate cow. The way he sees it is that cattle only eat grass or hay, and if he eats beef he can absorb all the grassy goodness from the meat, effectively cutting out the middle man. His doctor stared at him for a little while and just said "It doesn't quite work like that". Its actually a pretty good theory if you ignored reality!

left over salad

Left over salad for a hungry cow.

So tell us dear reader, what is your recommendation for Melbourne's/Australia's best chips?

November 15, 2009

Cupcake Fun!

Once again its time to revisit cupcake fun! Over the last month or so I've notice more cupcakes making it into our everyday world. When you're looking for it, its surprising how prevalent they actually are! So for a bit of fun and and little relaxing here are a selection of free roaming cupcakes, free of the shackles of conformity.

First we have cupcakes on clothing. Actually this is something that I see quite commonly. Seems like cupcakes are doomed either to be eaten or worn. My mum and I were out looking for clothes for my little niece Sasha and we happened to come across some cute cupcake motifs.

cupcakes cothes 2

cupcakre clothes

Last week I checked my mobile usage through virgin online and surprisingly cupcakes had infiltrated there too! What do cupcakes have to do with mobile phones anyway? There she is hiding in the bottom right hand corner, quietly scheming and plotting how cupcakes will rise and one day take over the world!

virgin cupcake

Cupcakes aren't for humans only! Here I was thinking that only us humans could truly enjoy and appreciate a good cupcake. The people at Perfect Pet have tapped into the dog cupcake market and now our pets can enjoy a tasty treat too! The great thing about this cupcake is that it squeaks when you bite into it. I wish regular cupcakes could do that!

dog cupcake

On a totally un-cupcake related topic I recently went to The Alchemist Bar on Brunswick street for a few drinks with some friends. I work as a scientist to pay for my food exploits and this bar was a little quirky for me. At work I use beakers to make up all sorts of things, but at Alchemist they use them to serve water...weird! So I had to take a photo.


And if you look closely you can see connect four in the back ground. It was a great night, we drank beer and played connect four! I felt like I was 15 again!

November 10, 2009

Results - Roast Wild Barramundi with King Prawn and Fennel Salad

Barramundi with fennel and prawn salad 2

My first EPIC fail! Woo hoo! I can get it behind me and move on! For a while, every time I attempted a new restaurant recipe I though, "Is this the one that's going to end my wining streak?" There were a couple there where I though the degree of difficulty was a little higher than what I was used to, surely I'll fail there, but in the end it was the easiest recipe of all that made me come undone. I even had a video to watch and I still managed a royal muck up of it!

Barramundi with fennel and prawn salad

Lets look at the positives first. It tasted delicious! Fennel and prawn are such a great combination, The salad so impressed me that I will never eat them apart again! Except maybe in tempura prawns, garlic prawns oh cant forget prawn dumplings!...hmmm maybe every prawn dish imaginable, just take my word for tasted good. The tomato and basil salad was pretty tasty too. Who could beat the awesome power of tomato coupled with the sexy aroma of basil? It was such a spring dish, and considering the extremely warm weather we've been having around Melbourne, it was a great way to say goodbye to spring and hello to summer, a whole month early!

tomato basil salad
Basil and Tomato Salad

fennel and prawn salad
Fennel and Prawn Salad

I hear you say what went wrong?, how did you stuff it up? Well thanks very much for totally over seeing the ugliness of the dish, you're so kind. I vividly remember Michael Lambie saying in the video to be extremely careful about skin sticking to the pan and ruining the crispy skin texture. I've never really had this problem before, and I LOVE crispy fish skin so I do my best to get the money shot. But this time, I don't know what happened, I sprayed my pan with non stick oil, waited for the pan to get really hot, I even dried the barramundi skin to make sure it would turn out extra crispy. But I guess the skin gods were not on my side this day, and I suffered from bad skin even after I'd gone through puberty!

barramundi fillets

Getting the fish out of the pan was disaster number 2. I planned on presenting it the wrong way up, but some how I managed to put a big great gaping hole in the nice fish flesh. I did make two portions of this dish, and the other fish faired even worse! Poor Daz, he always gets the rejects.

chopping board full of goodies
Everything chopped up ready to go!

The last issue with the dish was more of an oversight than an error. When making the tomato basil salad I cut my tomatoes up and put them in the bowl without removing any seeds. The Dressing ended up being quite watered down by the tomato juice. So I would suggest only using the tomato flesh and try to scoop out as much of the seeds and innards as possible. I always try to make the best of a bad situation, so turned the tomato juice/left over salad into a delicious dipping sauce. I added a little extra olive oil and Daz and I dunked out bread like bread had never been dunked before! It was like a deconstructed brucchetta.

sliced fennel
Sliced fennel

Despite the few mishaps, the dish was actually very tasty. Its extremely difficult to get Daz to eat something that isn't capable of mooing, fish being one of the worst! But he really enjoyed this dish. The Barramundi has a pleasant un-fishy smell and that seemed to appeal to him. I was really shifty and didn't explain any of the components of the dish to him before he started eating, he didn't realize he had eaten fennel (his arch nemesis of the vegetable world) until he was taking his last bite. *insert evil laugh here* I have some left over fennel in the fridge, I might try my luck again and see if I can get the same results.

Barramundi with fennel and prawn salad 3

November 6, 2009

Roast Wild Barramundi with King Prawn and Fennel Salad

Restaurant: Taxi Dining Room (VIC)
Recipe from Chef Michael Lambie (Appeared on 9am with David and Kim)
2010 Rating: 100th, 1 Star

I've been going a little crazy with the seafood lately. The last 3 restaurant recipes I've tried have all been seafood inspired. After dining at Taxi dining Room earlier this year I was inspired to find a recipe by Head Chef Michael Lambie. The Internet is my friend and I found an awesome video of Michale appearing on the 9am show with David and Kim. I cant say that I'm a avid watcher of Daivd and Kim's, mainly because I'm at work by the time their show comes on, or if I happen to be at home I'm usually still in bed....what? its my day off I can sleep until 1pm if I choose!

So I'll give it a whirl! Here's the recipe....results to come soon!

Roast Wild Barramundi with King Prawn and Fennel Salad


Serves 4

4 x 160 g portions wild barramundi
I fennel bulb shaved
¼ bunch flat leaf parsley picked and washed
8 King Prawns cooked and shelled
4 tomatoes chopped
4 shallots diced
1 garlic clove crushed
4 basil leaves shredded
8 coriander leaves shredded
Olive oil / lemon juice
Salt and pepper


Lightly season the barramundi portions with salt and pepper, Fry in hot oil for about 4 minutes until just cooked but caramelised on the skin.

Make the dressing by frying the shallot and garlic in olive oil. Add the diced tomatoes and warm through. Add the basil, coriander and lemon juice.

Mix the shaved fennel, parsley and king prawn together.
Season with lemon juice and olive oil and arrange attractively on a plate.

Spoon the tomato dressing onto the plate and top with the barramundi.

November 1, 2009

Cupcakes on Location: Sophisticakes of Melbourne

vanilla strawberry 1

If you've ever read any of my posts, you'll know that I LOVE cupcakes. I'm sure that if after my death I need an autopsy performed on me, the coroner will find a fully intact cupcake in my stomach, frosting and all! For the longest time I've wanted to eat the cupcakes at the Sunday Arts Center Market. But every time we're gone past them, Daz has ushered my away very quickly. He loves me enough that he knows that I cant control myself, and if I see cupcakes I NEED to eat them. For my health and well being its safer ton keep me away from them. But now that I have a blog, I MUST eat them, I'm not only consuming cupcakes for my own satisfaction, but its now become a vital community input, thats my story and I'm sticking to it!

vanilla strawberry

So we headed down to the Arts Center Sunday Market and discovered that the gorgeous cupcakes are made by Sophisticakes of Melbourne. The display was beautiful, dozens upon dozens of cupcakes all tucked away in their little cake stands, all yelling "pick me! pick me!". I noticed a little sign on the table stating no photography, a food bloggers worse nightmare. So Daz and I made our selection and went somewhere a little more peaceful for the photo shoot.

vanilla strawberry on location

Since we were so close to the river, we headed down to devour our cupcakes. I chose a vanilla sponge with strawberry frosting. It was light and fluffy and surprisingly not too sweet. I noticed the massive mound of frosting and my teeth started to hurt instantaneously, I was very surprised when I bite into it and discovered my fears were unwarranted. The frosting was exactly as it had promised.....strawberry flavored. It was really good, but I couldnt help compared it to Little Cupcakes. The actual cake was much better than Little Cupcakes, but the frosting fell a little short.

cookies and cream 1

Daz chose cookies and cream. He is very unimaginative when it comes to choosing cupcake flavours. Its a little frustrating. Cookies and cream cupcakes all taste the same, like cookies and cream! I guess he always chooses that flavour because he knows what hes going to get. I'm always the one who loses out though. Partners of food bloggers are always long suffering, we share almost everything we eat, so he gets half of my strawberry delight and I get half of his cookies and cream....groan! Nothing against Sophisticakes, but I'm a little over cookies and cream.

cookies and cream

From half the cupcake I had I was pretty happy though. The cake was quiet moist, and as a topping we got a FULL Oreo. Some places only put half an Oreo, or even a mini, and then there are the places that have substitutes! Shock horror!!

cookies and cream on location

It was a beautiful day so we deiced to go for a stroll. We walked past the National Gallery of Victoria and contemplated going in. While walking past we noticed glimpses of colour emanating from the moat surrounding the building. Curiously Daz and I stared into the water. After quite a bit of squinting we noticed the bottom was scattered with colourful plastic knives. Not quite Excalibur, but interesting non the less. Was it a large scale art piece? or hundreds of litters getting rid of their cutlery after dinner? I thought about it for a minute, took a quick photo and continued on our walk. But even today, I still wonder what happened to all the forks?

cutlery in the NGV water feature