May 30, 2010

Toasted flour fettuccine carbonara and The Apple iPad

Restaurant: Grossi Florentino (Victoria)

Recipe from Gourmet Traveller website (link)

2010 Rating: Number 31, 2 Stars

Lately I've been getting cravings for good old pasta, so I thought I would give this Guy Grossi recipe a try, results will be posted very shortly.

On a complete side track I thought I would take this opportunity to let you in on a little secret. My dear Daz is a little bit nuts. Ok, maybe not a little bit nuts, but more of a sad tragic tech gadget geek. On Friday the new apple iPad was released in Australia, and Daz was one of the tragics that lined up overnight at Chadstone Shopping center to get an opportunity to buy the iPhone on steroids. To be honest, I'm extremely proud of him. He wanted to line up just to experience the whole situation, from the exhaustive and countless hours of waiting, to the screaming and hype coming from the apple staff. From what he told me, it sounded like he had an awesome night, filled with plenty of laughter. I wanted to share one of his many stories.


At about 2 in the morning 3 people started walking towards the group. One of the guys in the line asked if they were there for the launch of the new iPad. They said they weren't, but they lived nearby and were often at Chadstone. They told the group that they were "freegans" and only ate stuff they could source for free. So they were there to dumpster dive in the area behind Aldi. They walked off and returned about 30 minutes later carrying a massive box filled with a huge leg of lamb, a brand new frying pan, some muffins and loads of veggies. The freegans were really excited about the muffins and were trying to convince the boys to go and grab some for themselves. Luckily, despite being tired and probably hungry they thought eating muffins that have come from the bin is probably not a good idea. Later in the night, the group tried to bribe one of the security guards to let the into the center, first they tried money......that didnt work, so then they offered chocolate chip least a dozen. The security guard declined their offer.


Later in the day we found out that Myer had the iPad on sell as well. Someone told me they were telling people in the apple line that Myer had stock, no line and were offering free muffins to all their patrons. I just wonder where their stock of muffins came from, I hope they weren't chocolate chip.

For anyone who is interested, here's a video of the boys in the early hours of the morning as seen on channel seven. Daz is the blonde in the red top, he's only in it for a split second......yay it's his 15 nanoseconds of fame.

Now, back to the food!!

Toasted flour fettuccine “carbonara”

Serves 4
Cooking Time Prep time 35 mins, cook 15 mins (plus resting and cooling)


4 eggs
100 gm butter, coarsely chopped
8 slices prosciutto (about 150 gm), sliced lengthways into ribbons
100 gm pecorino, finely grated, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

To serve: thinly shaved black truffle (optional)

Toasted flour fettuccine
330 gm durum semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
165 gm unbleached plain flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten

1. For toasted flour fettuccine, heat a large frying pan over medium heat, scatter half the durum semolina flour evenly over the base and stir frequently until golden (3-5 minutes), set aside to cool. Combine toasted flour, remaining durum semolina flour, plain flour, eggs and 150ml water in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix until smooth and silky (15-20 minutes). Wrap dough in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 1 hour. Divide dough into 4 pieces and, working with one piece at a time, feed through a pasta machine, starting with rollers at widest setting. Fold in half lengthways, feed through again, then repeat, reducing settings notch by notch until dough is translucent and 2mm thick. Cut using the fettuccine attachment, dust with semolina, set aside and repeat with remaining dough.

2. Bring a deep-sided frying pan of water to a simmer over low-medium heat. Crack each egg into a saucer, swirl water gently, add eggs one at a time and poach until cooked to your liking (3 minutes for soft poached), drain, set aside and keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat, add prosciutto and cook until opaque (1-2 minutes). Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente (1-2 minutes). Drain pasta, add to prosciutto with pecorino, parsley and 1 tbsp pasta water, stir gently to combine and season to taste. Divide pasta among four bowls, top each with a poached egg, scatter over extra pecorino and truffle, if using, and serve immediately.

May 22, 2010

The Zumbo Post

Ever since reading Belle's Zumbo conquests on her blog Ooh look, I've been totally consumed with wanted to try some pastries from that wacky guy Adriano Zumbo. His appearances on MasterChef last year did nothing but make my obsession grow. So last month when Miss Coco LV went to Sydney for a much needed break I asked for one thing and one thing unhealthy amount of Zumbo cakes to be brought back for my consumption only. I was bitterly disappointed when she informed me that I must share my stash with Daz, this whole partnership thing doesn't sit well with me sometimes.

adriano zumbo box

When Miss Coco LV came over to visit and drop of the much anticipated pastries I barely said hello before I dove in and opened the pretty little white box. I instantly squealed when I saw the passionfruit tart, of all the things I wanted to try, this was at the top of my list. I did mention to Miss Coco LV to go along to the Balmain store early, as most of the more interesting cakes sell out fast, she didn't get the chance to go in the morning so only made it along in the afternoon. No matter, she could only bring back stuff that didn't need refrigeration and I got my tart anyway, so what do I care? Just a word of warning - I probably don't have the names correct or any of the info for them, so apologies in advance!

adriano zumbo goodies

Enough chit chat, onto the sugar madness!

I decided to start with the smallest items first, I figured that way my tummy wouldn't notice anything was injected into it and I could happily plod along without the risk of feeling full. Good ploy hey? So we have the macarons, Lavender (blue) and hazelnut wafer (orange). The lavender macaron was heavenly, the flavour was a big old slap in the face, really packed a punch. The hazelnut on the other hand was a mere whimper, not overly impressive. They are so pretty, I could just stare at them for hours.


Next I decided to go for something a little heavier. The chocolate fondant. It had cherry's throughout it, a pistachio crumb on top and was drenched in a sweet syrup. I really enjoyed this one. It was extremely dense and the chocolate flavour was very adult, slightly bitter which went really well with the tartness of the cherry's packed within.

chocolate fondant

Next we have the nutty professor. The nutty professor is one of my favourite movies, and to tell you the truth I couldn't stop thinking about the movie when eating this, but I'm sure that's Zumbo's whole intention. Seriously this tart was one of my favourites. There are so many types of nuts in this, pistachios, almonds, walnuts....I could go on and on, all perfectly toasted. The nuts have been tossed in a butterscotch caramel and then stuffed into a (i think) sable biscuit base. The nut to caramel ratio was just perfect. I wish I had a nutty professor as big as my face!!

nutty professor

nutty professor above

Next we have a custard prune tart. Yum, the pastry was lovely and flaky, the custard nice and soft. What I liked about this one was that it wasn't too sweet. Would be lovely to eat with a nice cup of tea.

prune tart

Last and by far my favourite was the Tarte aux fruits de la passion (Passionfruit tart). I had a taste orgasm when I ate this. I was expecting something good, and it sure did deliever. The custard is so soft and creamy, its as if the custard has been whipped rather than set, it was so airy. The golden sable biscuit base is just perfect to keep the whole thing together, helping with the fork to mouth journey. The passionfruit flavour sure does comes through and without a hint of tartness. And what can I say about the presentation, you can't help but smile when you see it, it reminds me of tropical holidays. I'm in love.

passonfruit tart

passionfriut tart above

The bad thing about this whole experience? I ate it all too quickly and there's no telling when my next Zumbo fix will be. The Essential Ingredient is hosting Adrino Zumbo on the 28th-29th of August for a couple of cooking classes, but I'm too scared to call - just in case they are already booked out and my hopes will be dashed. But I thought I would post it here just in case anyone else would like to man up and give them a call and go along for themselves.

May 17, 2010

Bar Lourinha

Dining Date: April 2010
2010 Rating: 79th, 1 Star
Chef: Matt McConnell
Location: 37 Little Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 9663 7890

For some reason Bar Lourinhã and I don’t have a good relationship with each other, I discovered this before I even stepped through the doors. We’ve attempted twice to have dinner at the hip establishment. The first time ended with Daz and I wondering the streets looking for the door, yes it was a Sunday, and yes they were closed....but I didn’t know that at the time! We ended up eating takeaway and going home depressed. On the next encounter we decided to head on down before a comedy show during the Melbourne Comedy Festival. I had left ourselves loads of time, and briefed everyone – telling them that the first person to arrive was to grab a table, or at least start waiting for a table. Somehow we got stuck in traffic. For an agonising 45 minutes we were less than 5 minutes away by foot. I contemplated parking the car in the middle of traffic, but then thought better of it when I realised my car might come in handy when getting us home. So we were stuck slowly growing more impatient and hungry, I’m not sure which of the two is worse! We finally made it to the restaurant, greeted by cold stares....and this from the staff.....not our friends! I felt terrible. I very rarely show up late, and if I do...its never by more than 5 minutes. So Daz and I sat down, looking like a pair of octogenarians after a Senior Olympics marathon. I was determined to not let the stress and embarrassment ruin my night, so I opened the menu and started to order.

First some nibbles - Spiced almonds, and I was in desperate need for a drink, so settled for the Conejitos - Millers, Cointreau, cucumber, lemon & fluff. The drink was exactly what I needed. Tangy and refreshing. The fluff was a favourite of mine, I suspect it was made from egg white, when it arrived at the table everyone ooed. After a quick pass around, very little of the conejito was left. Apologies for the photo’s, its quite dark in the bar and later in the meal I resorted to using the flash, bad move!

bar lourinha Conejitos

What I really like about Bar Lourinhã is like all other “share plate” places is that if you’re still feeling a little hungry, you can always order more. With the service so rapid at Bar Lourinhã, you don’t feel like you’re going to starve while waiting for the dish to arrive.

Here are some of the dishes we tried. Steamed mussels, with white wine, onions and lashings of olive oil. Some crusty rye bread accompanied this dish, perfect for mopping up all those juices.

bar lourinha mussels

bar lourinha bread

Yellow tail kingfish 'pancetta' & lemon oil. Extremely thin slices of king fish, which were so delicately cut that you could literally see through them. For me the lemon oil was too over powering. They managed to pack a hefty zest of lemon into the oil and to me I thought it was too much. It would have been perfect if there were only a few drops of the olive. So overall I wasn’t a huge fan of this one.

bar lourinha king fish pancetta

Smoked corn salad. Oh yum, I couldn’t get enough of this salad. It had smoked corn, coriander, potato, pea shoots, red onion and delicious olive oil. The oil coated every component in the dish with a jelly like consistency, when you put it in your mouth they all swam together like a synchronised swimming event, just delicious.

bar lourinha smoked corn salad

Spiced chickpea & spinach. This was a very satisfying dish. The chickpeas added some fibre to the meal, instantly filling us up. I’m a little biased towards this dish, I’m a big fan of chickpeas and spinach, so this was a winner for me. I especially like the lemon juice and zest, this dish would have been fantastic accompanied by something really fatty like crispy pork belly.

bar lourinha Spiced chickpea & spinach

Jumbo cous cous with grilled Moroccan lamb, and when we say jumbo we mean jumbo!! I’ve had pearl couscous before, but never jumbo. They were literally the size of small gnocchi. This was another stand out dish, the lamb was tender and spiced nicely, there was sour cream folded through giving the dish creaminess, and pistachios to add an nice crunchy texture to the chewy couscous. Personally I would have been more generous with the lamb, but I've always been greedy!

bar lourinha giant couscous salad

Wagyu 'carne cruda' & shaved horseradish. Dismal failure! I’m not scared to say it either. The horseradish was too dry. It needed to be more of a cream to bring all the meat and components on the plate together. It was literally just a hunk of chopped up raw meat, with lemon zest through it. I was really disappointed by this dish. But hey one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.

bar lourinha Wagyu 'carne cruda' & shaved horseradish

Onto dessert, Orange crema & blood orange caramel. YUMMO! This was the perfect dessert, the orange crema tasted like it was made from sour cream or buttermilk, I can’t describe it, it just had a tangy element that wasn’t citrus. The blood orange caramel was divine, refreshing and luscious. I love this. I hate that I had to share it!!

bar lourinha Orange crema & blood orange caramel

Churros & dulce de leche....all I have to say is......NEXT!!

bar lourinha Churros and dulce de leche

I can’t remember what this dessert was called, I think it was called black and white, but I could be wrong. It was a coffee jelly with a vanilla and almond sorbet. It was a perfect way to end the meal, instead of tea and coffee, have some coffee jelly. Delicious.

bar lourinha black and white

There were some clear hit and misses on the night. I’ll like to go again and try all the dished I didn’t get a chance to sample. I’m sure there would be more hits and misses, but that’s the nature of eating dinner!

May 12, 2010

Grilled Trout with Orange and Fennel Salad

Every year, through work, I buy a few fresh trout from the Australian Rainbow Trout Farm in Macclesfield. Its a fantastic distraction form work, we get to drive all the way out to the Dandenong Ranges, enjoy the last remaining sunshine of autumn and stop along the way to get some snacks from the local bakeries. Its a great day out, especially when its still counted as working!

trout salad 3

For a picnic I had made a salmon and fennel salad and ended up with a lot of unused fennel and salad, all the salmon got eaten. So I decided to simply grill the trout and pair it with a very traditional fennel and orange salad. Daz is not a fan of adding fruit to his salad, he doesn't seem to mind apple pieces and walnuts, but oranges just don't get a chance. Those poor oranges have been discriminated against for too long!! Luckily he didn't grow up in my family, where this salad was pretty common.

orange fennel pea shoot salad

Daz and I are quite lucky, in that the previous owners of our house were migrant Italians, so there are plenty of fruit and citrus trees in our back yard. I've planted quite a few herbs, so whenever I get the urge to make something, a lot of the fresh ingredients are not too far away. I'm surprised that most things in my garden are still alive, I'm a terrible gardener - you only have to ask Daz about the doomed bonsai to find that out - it lasted 3 weeks before it decided death was more appealing than being looked after by me!

Instead of serving this whole you can cook the trout in advance and then flake big chunks into the salad, great for a warm day - which I don't think we'll be seeing again for a little while.

trout salad 2

Grilled Trout with Orange and Fennel Salad
Serves 2


2 medium sized trout, gutted and cleaned
1 lemon
1 bunch of parsley
1 medium sized orange
1 small fennel bulb, sliced very thinly, include a few fronds
a few handfuls of mixed salad leaves, I like using pea shoots to add a bit of sweetness
a few tsp butter
good quality olive oil
salt and pepper


For trout

1. Rinse trout well and remove as much of the slimy outer film as possible. You can wipe them down with a bit of vinegar to remove more of the slime, but its not necessary.


2. Lay on a large grill pan, and score the skin with a sharp knife, season the inside and out side of the fish. Stuff the cavity with parsley and thinly sliced lemon. Drizzle some olive oil onto the skin and grill until skin turns golden and the eyes are opaque. Once the skin is golden add a little butter and return to grill, allow the butter to melt and crisp the skin further (optional step)

For Salad

1. Combine mixed salad leaves and sliced fennel. Segment orange and add to salad mix. Squeeze the segmented orange to extract as much of the juice as possible. Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serve on a large white plate and enjoy in the sun!

trout salad 4

May 2, 2010

Cupcake Fun!

Its time for another installment of Cupcake Fun! Where cupcakes are not just restricted to dessert, but appear in everyday life. They tempt us with their cake bottoms and sweet fluffy frosting's, and now their popping up at any given opportunity. My mission is to expose them for what they are, and make them visible for everyone to see. So without further ado, lets get straight into the cupcake sneakyness!

First we have another appearance of cupcakes in the movies. I was watching Cake, the movie...not a random banana cake, and to my surprise a mini cupcake popped into view. I dont even remember what the scene was about, but I can tell you with certainty it wasnt about cupcakes. I was a little disappointed with the had absolutely nothing to do with cake, yet another movie that lied to me - Porky's is not about roasting pig!

cake cupcakes

Next we have cupcake clothing, to be specific cupcake pajamas. Now I'm a little worried about this one. I often think about cupcakes, usually when thinking about cupcakes is inappropriate. For example, sitting in a lab meeting - talking about safety and someone asks how can we improve our safety rating - I think cupcakes. If you really think about it - cupcakes could work!! Anyways, I don't think it would be a good idea to wear cupcakes to bed, for one good reason. Daz may think the pj's are edible and take a chunk out of them in his sleep - he frequently sleep eats.

cupcake pjs

cupcakes pjs 2

Next we have cupcake fridge magnets. Yep...their cute.

fridge cupcakes

We've all heard of pasta flour, bread flour and now we have....cupcake flour!! If there's a cupcake printed on the front it means that's what you bake right??

center>cupcake flour.20

Next we have cupcakes in the kitchen. The awesome Arwen from Hoglet K recently sent me a cupcake mitten. Isn't it cute!??! As soon as I got it in the mail I had to christen it, so I made a batch of cupcakes!! In my opinion there is no better way to welcome its addition to our family.

cupcake mitten

Still staying in the kitchen, the best way to protect your clothes from wayward cupcake batter is by wearing a cupcake apron. And if your batch doesn't turn out so well you can eat the apron. No promises it will taste any good!

cupcake apron

Not only do I frequently come across cupcake stuff in my everyday goings on but now they are arriving in my mail. To celebrate a momentous birthday, recently a friend of mine sent out cupcake invitations. I promise this is not a set up and totally random, she doesn't even know I have a blog!!

front invitation cupcake

invitation cupcake

Last, and probably my favourite of all, Cupcakes are even art now! On a recent trip to Aldi, Daz and I came across this arts and craft set where you paint your own cupcakes.....why not just bake a batch of cupcakes instead!!

wooden cupcakes

My favourite of all was the warning on the back of the packet. I read it and then wondered what if that warning came with normal cupcakes! Then I read on and almost lost it when I read......"If swallowed, seek medical advice immediately and show container or this label". Imagine what a doctor would say, he takes one look at the packet and your telling me your kid ate cupcakes and is now feeling ill???

back of wooden cupcakes

cupcake caution

Well I hope you've all enjoyed this cupcake exposé, if you happen to come across any cupcakes masquerading as an everyday object - take a photo and drop me a line at thegourmetchallenge{@} For other Cupcake Fun! installments click here, here or here

this doesnt smell like cupcakes
"This doesnt smell like cupcakes at ALL!!"