October 29, 2010


Restaurant: Jacques Reymond (Vic)
Recipe from Cuisine du Temps, Jacques Reymond
2011 Rating: Number 15, 2 Stars

jacques reymond book

I'm setting myself a challenge within a challenge. I recently purchased a copy of Jacques Reymond's book, Cuisine du Temps, for two reasons really 1) He's a hot, older French guy and 2) I'm a sucker for fine dining cook books. I was sitting on the couch flipping through my new purchase deciding on which recipes I wanted to try, so I thought wouldn't it be great if I could cook a three course meal using the recipes in this book. So that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to bring you a three course meal!! Lets start with something easy and most likely extremely yummy....the Gougères. Gougères are savory choux pastry puffs and can be often filled with a multitude of ingredients. In this case they will be serve filling-less. The gougères themselves have been on the Jacques Reymond menu for over 25 years, they gotta be good if they've been on the menu for that long.

So here's the recipe and a picture of what they're supposed to look like. Fingers crossed mine will turn out similar.



250ml water
150g butter, cut into small knobs
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
200g plain/all purpose flour
5 eggs at room temperature
120g Gruyere or comte cheese, dices in 1/2cm cubes. Don't use other types of cheese or you won't get the right result. Australian Gruyere is perfectly suitable for this recipe
extra egg, beaten, for egg wash


In a large saucepan put water, butter and seasoning and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. It is very important to keep stirring so the butter mixes in with the water; that way when you add the flour the dough forms immediately and it doesn't split.

Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the flour. Combine well and keep stirring for one minutes until dough is compact and well combined. Add eggs one by one using a small mixer at a low speed, or if you do it by hand, keep the dough in the saucepan it has been cooked in. It is very important to have the dough still hot while you incorporate the eggs. Once all the eggs are incorporated, fold through the diced cheese.

Using a tablespoon, spoon onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, with a pastry brush, egg wash the tops - ensure not to let the wash drip down the sides as it will prevent them rising evenly.

Bake in a preheated fan-forced over for approximately 25 minutes at 200C or 180C convection oven.

Take out of the oven as soon as they are cooked so they will stay crispy. Gougères can be eaten straight out of the oven or reheated as required.

This recipe is for 15-18 large gougères because once you put them on the table they will disappear in no time. You can make them any size you wish, but bigger is better.

NOTE: You can also freeze raw gougères. When ready to eat, put them straight into the hot oven, do not defrost them, and allow a few more minutes of cooking time.

October 25, 2010

Tea Rooms of Yarck

Tea Rooms at Yarck
6585 Maroondah Hwy
Yarck, 3719
(03) 5773 4233

spinning cup

Do you remember when you were a kid and doing silly stuff for a laugh was the best thing that could happen to you during the day? A favorite of mine while growing up were the giant spinning cups in playgrounds, where all your mates piled into the contraption and span it until someone starting crying out for their mum or someone vomited and then everyone would have to go home. Always such fun, I tell you what isn't fun.....riding one of these when your a little older, with freakish childhood balance control gone, and with a belly full of food. That's exactly what Daz and I did after a recent meal at the Tea Rooms of Yarck.

tearooms of yarck

Yarck is a 'blink and you'll miss it' town north east of Melbourne. In our case we made the trip out to Yarck specially for lunch. I'm not sure how many people randomly stop by for lunch. Judging by the amount of people that day, a fair few made the trip out especially from Melbourne. The space is bright, clean and really welcoming. We were lucky to snag a seat right next to the window in the back area of the restaurant. So to one side we had a view across the garden, to the other we had a view of the entire restaurant, which is always pleasing for me because I get to see other people enjoying their meals and I get a chance to have a look at the dishes I don't get to try myself.

tea rooms of yarck

The Tea Rooms don't have a menu, instead the chef comes up with a list of dishes based on the season. The dishes are then written on a massive blackboard in the middle of the dining area. The Kitchen staff are well versed and can answer any question at the drop of a hat. Considering the menu changes frequently, the wait staff are a well oiled machine. As a diner you can opt for a chef's menu, which consists of a taste of almost everything on offer that day, or choose al la carte. Daz and I opted for the al la carte, purely due to portion control. We had plans to go out to dinner that night and didn't want to end up too full to eat again. What we weren't planning on were the serving sizes, truly value for money I say!!

tea rooms of yarck blackboard

On arrival we were given a big bowl of flat bread, lightly drizzled with fruity olive oil. Seriously a perfect way to kick start the appetite. The bread was really crispy and towards the end Daz and I were fighting over the last remaining pieces.

flat bread

We ordered an antipastini to share as a starter, which included three individual components!!

antipastini platter

First we had the frittata, fluffy egg filled with broad beans, carrots and onions, served with radicchio leaves and Parma ham. So delicious!

vegetable fritatta

Octopus ragout, served with seared veal and tuna mayonnaise. The octopus was so tender, before it even hit your tongue the flesh was already falling apart. It was so saucy and not even a hint of fishy-ness. The veal was such a delight, matching it to the tuna mayo was just a stroke of genius. I wish I could have had a man sized portion of this dish.

octopus ragout veal_tuna mayo

As soon as we walked into the room there were plates of terrine laid out waiting to be carved and served. So I was extremely pleased to see that a slice was incorporated into the antipastini. It was pork terrine, with pieces of pistachios speckled throughout, served with some simple veggies and a beetroot salad. It was all delicious. I wish I could make a terrine that good.

pork terrine

We also receive a bowl of warm fluffy bread, with another smaller bowl of fruity olive oil. Just perfect to soak up all that ragout!

bread and olive oil

We also ordered another dish as a starter. Crudo di pesce, served with Kingfish and fennel tartare, watercress salad, yarra valley salmon roe. I can't remember which fish it was exactly, I'm assuming it was tuna, I should have written it down. The kingfish tarte was fantastic, tiny cubes of kingfish and fennel with a huge dollop of salmon roe on top. Surprisingly the salmon roe wasn't as salty as I had expected, so it added a nice balance to the entire dish.

fish carpaccio

For mains I decided to have the spaghettini granchio e bottarga, spaghetti with huge chunks of blue swimmer crab, chili, orange zest and sun dried mullet roe. This was delicious!!!!! Most times when you order a crab pasta there's very little crab meat to be seen. But not in this case, there was almost more crab than pasta. Both the pasta and crab were perfectly cooked, the sun dried mullet roe added a nice hint of salt and the chili just brought the whole thing together. Nothing better than a good old hit of heat.

crab and chili pasta

Daz ordered the Rollo de maiale. There was no way in hell Daz wasn't going to order this when the waiter described it as "suckling pig de-boned and stuffed with more suckling pig". It was the saddle stuffed with the leg from the pig, along with herbs, breadcrumbs and nuts. It also came with some roasted potatoes. The pig itself was so fantastic, still so juicy and tender, with the outer skin crispy and delicious. The potatoes had begun to soak up some of the juices which made them impossible to avoid. My only issue was that the potatoes were inconsistent, some were cooked well, while others were still undercooked. Not a massive deal.

Suckling pig roll

By this stage of the meal we were chockers. I contemplated not having dessert, but what was the point coming all the way out here without sampling the sweets. This is where Daz and I had a disagreement, I wanted to order the bomolini - small Italian doughnuts, while he wanted the gratinata - apple blackcurrant crumble. In the end Daz won, I think the promise of home made vanilla ice cream won me over. I'm glad I was swayed to the dark size, the crumble had luscious fruit topped with nuts, oats and huge pieces of crumb, not your average breadcrumb size crumbled, so when you took a bite your mouth was filled with generous amounts of each component. The ice cream was fantastic too, loads of egg yolk and vanilla bean. It was fantastic.

gratinata - apple blackcurrant crumble

I loved the Tea Rooms of Yarck. To be honest I didnt expect 'comfort food style' from them. There are only two things that I didn't like about it, firstly that I didn't pick the chefs menu and got a chance to sample more dishes, and secondly its so far away meaning a random pop by would be rare. I guess if I want a quick fix I could always pop by Da Noi in South Yarra, their sister restaurant.

Tea Rooms at Yarck on Urbanspoon

October 13, 2010

Results - Passionfruit Tart

passionfruit tart whole

I've had a terrible day, not the worst in my life, but definitely in the top ten. It kicked off with mega awful traffic, something that I've sadly become accustomed to, it just means theres more time for Daz and I to talk rubbish and perv at passers by.....my fav was when we spotted a short skirted very high heeled gorgeous babe who suddenly tripped over her heels and came very close to falling over. Sorry, I'll get back on track.

passionfruit tart slice

I took the day off today to take care of a few things for my mum, I decided that I desperately needed a coffee. But with no cash in my wallet I needed to go to the ATM. So in the pouring rain I found the ATM, or where the ATM once existed. You see it seems that the ATM had caught fired....either through foul play or spontaneous combustion and was not in any kind of working order. So my morning coffee ended up costing me an extra $2!! Stupid ATM fees. I decided to buy a berry/coconut muffin to perk my spirits and the muffin had almost no coconut in it!! More of an annoyance rather than bad luck. Then my car battery decided it had enough and died. I was stranded....the clincher is that we had recently bought a new battery and it was sitting at home in our garage. So what is a girl to do?, there was no one around to offer a jump start, I don't want to call the RACV for two reason really, I'm not a member and I had a perfectly working battery sitting in my garage. So I caught a taxi, retrieved the battery and changed it. Did I mention that it was pouring rain??

So back on track to do my errands. By this stage I was in a cranky mood and when I was faced with an arrogant sales assistant, I think I kinda cracked. He pretty much only spoke in grunts and was the most unhelpful person I have ever met. So I shoved his paper work back and told him I wasn't interested. I got back in my car and bango, one of my windscreen wiper blades decided to join the battery and ATM, all gone to hopefully better places.

passionfruit tart whole from above
I had a gladwrap accident where the gladwrap stuck to the top of the tart, hence the big gaping hole. Otherwise it was a very good looking tart...hehehe

So at the end of the day, I'm slightly damp, I have grease under my fingernails, cranky and lucky that I haven't been in a car accident due to limited visibility. So of course the perfect thing would be something to sweeten my day. What better way than with a sweet little tart. The tart turned out perfectly, well as perfectly as Neil Perry intended. I made it exactly as the recipe stated, and the result was a very soft wobbly custard, creamy with a perfect crumbly pastry. The passionfruit really came through and to my surprise the overnight resting did wonders!! The sugar in the mix slowly cooks the egg, so when you pour it into the tart shell it is almost custard like in texture.

passionfruit tart slice above

I have two issues with this tart, firstly the custard was way too sweet for my liking. I'm not a massive fan of overly sugary desserts, so I would curb the quantity of sugar. Secondly, the recipe makes no mention as to what temperature the custard should be before it goes into the tart shell. Is it supposed to be straight out of the fridge? at room temperature? or what? So my cooking time was well off. I ended up cooking it for double the recommended time, and I had taken the custard out of the fridge an hour earlier. It wasn't quite fridge cold, but it was still relatively cool. In future, I will actually warm the mixture up over a double boiler so the cooking time will be quite short. I'm already planing to make a mango tart......just waiting for the mangoes to catch up with my craving.

October 10, 2010

Passionfruit Tart

Restaurant: Rockpool (NSW)
Recipe from Neil Perry (Originaly seen in Rockpool by Neil Perry)
2011 Rating: Number 2, 3 Stars

Sometimes a girl just feels like a tart. A little while ago I stumbled across a recipe for Passionfruit Tart by Neil Perry in my local paper, originally seen in Neil Perry's book - Rockpool. I thought I would give it a go, the fact that the filling needs to be made 24 hours in advance intrigued me. I noticed that the recipe that appeared in the paper didnt include the recipe for the shortcrust pastry, so I turned to the internet, hoping that I would stumble across the very Neil Perry recipe I was looking for. Luckily I found it at epicurious, and then quickly discovered that the recipe for the actual Passionfruit tart is all over the net. So here is my contributions to spreading it some more.

Will I still feel like a tart? Will the filling be eaten before it can be baked into a tart? Photos and results to follow soon!

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (found at epicurious)


250 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
75 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed
a pinch of sea salt
90 g (1 cup ) confectioner's sugar, sifted
55 ml (1/4 cup) milk
2 egg yolks


Place the flour, butter, salt, and confectioner's sugar in a food processor and process for 20 seconds. Add the milk and egg yolks and process for a further 30 seconds until a mass forms.
Turn out to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for a few moments. Flatten and form a disk. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin according to the recipe. Refrigerate until needed.

Passionfruit tart
Serves 8


9 x 55g eggs
350g castor sugar
300ml double cream (45 per cent butterfat)
350ml passionfruit juice, strained
plain flour for rolling
500g sweet shortcrust pastry
a little egg wash for glazing
icing sugar for serving


Put the passionfruit mix together the day before you wish to bake the tart (resting it in the refrigerator helps avoid splitting).

Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk.

Add the sugar and continue to whisk until well incorporated.

While stirring gently, pour in the cream. Add the passionfruit juice and continue to stir until well blended. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Spray a 26cm tart tin with Pure and Simple.

Lightly flour a bench and roll out the pastry until it is 2 cm wider than the tart case.

Roll the pastry over your rolling pin and gently ease into the tart case , pushing the sides in gently so that it takes the fluting. Rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350F).

Line the tart case with foil, place rice in the foil and bake blind for 20 minutes.

Remove the rice and foil, brush the tart shell with egg wash and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 140°C (290F). Return the tart case to the oven.

With the case sitting in the oven, carefully pour in the passionfruit custard.

Fill the tart right to the top with a cup or small dariole mould. Bake for 40 minutes.

Check the tart, it should be halfway set but still quite wobbly in the middle. If you take it out too soon it will not set and run when you cut it; if you leave it in too long it will set too firmly ad lose its elegance. Through experience you'll find the optimum set for the tart in your oven.

Remove the tart from the oven, balance on a cup and remove the sides. Put on a cake rack and, with a palette knife, slide the base off the tart tin.

This will allow the tart to cool and the pastry to crisp up rather than sweat.

Invert the pastry ring back onto the tart to help hold the sides in as it cools and sets. Allow to cool for 1 hour.

Carefully cut with a serrated knife and place in the middle of large white plates.

Dust with icing sugar and serve.

October 2, 2010

Birdman Eating

Trendy and me usually don't go together. I always get in on something really late and usually miss the whole period when something is cool. Case in point, I'm not on facebook and I still love my hypercolour t-shirt, hopefully the two points are not related. Birdman eating has been the hot place for eating breakfast/brunch for quite a while now, so when Noels and I were deciding on where to eat, Birdman eating crossed my mind. Considering I never do things the traditional way, we actually had dinner at Birdman and not the trendy hit breakfast thing that everyone is doing these days.

bidman eating

I was a littler surprised with Birdman Eating, it was a Friday night, the perfect dinner time buzz hour 7-8pm and yet there weren't that many people out for dinner. There is an incredible amount of places to choose from on the Smith/Gertrude street junction, so I can understand that they weren't batting people away.

The menu consists of small dishes to share. We chose a combination form the menu and the specials board. We started with Seared scallops with quince butter and crispy panchetta. The scallops with nicely seared leaving the inside still juicy and succulent, the quince butter added a little silkiness. What was a massive surprise to me was the addition of vanilla, the whole thing was accented buy this very strong sweet flavouring coming from the vanilla, it was actually quite pleasant.


Zucchini & fetta Fritters. These were yummy massive balls of zucchini goodness. Once they came out I was expecting them to be slightly overcooked, considering their dark golden colour. But once cutting them open you could clearly see they were moist and fluffy on the inside. The fetta gave the fritters a nice salty creamy flavour, and the labne on the side gave a sharp flavour bringing the whole thing together.


Spiced lamb skewers with smokey eggplant. The lamb skewers were such a yawn, but the smoky eggplant! YUM!!!! It was fantastic, smoky, creamy and just perfect. I wish we had order a massive bowl of it, we asked for some bread which arrived warm on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Just perfect to mop up all the eggplant and olive oil yumminess.

lamb skewers

Confit pork belly, pickled raddish, horseraddish yoghurt, apple cidar and vanilla syrup. I was really looking forward to this dish, however the confit pork didn't excite me. The pork was soft with a crisp skin, but nothing special. What stood out was the pickled radish, they were tangy and crunchy. I was expecting the horseradish yoghurt to be a little hot like good fresh horseradish, but sadly it was very mild. I was also disappointed with the vanilla syrup, I completely missed it. It might not have made it to the plate at all.

pork belly

After our meal we were still a little hungry so looked at the dessert menu for some inspiration. Only pannacotta's were on offer. I like me a good pannacotta, but I had one for dessert the night before so was looking for something a little more inspiring. I some how convinced Noels that we needed to go to Cutler and Co for dessert. Its only down the road and the desserts are good. Bad mistake, did I mention it was a Friday night and the perfect dinner service buzz time 7-8pm? We made it to Cutler and Co, asked if it was possible to have dessert. That was not a problem, but we would have to eat it standing up at the bar. Maybe we should have done it, we could have started a whole new craze, dessert standing at the bar........the quintessential melbournian thing to do. Our better judgement kicked in a we walked out and down Gurtrude street. I stopped in my tracks when I saw this:

french creperie now open

Perfect! French Crepes for dessert it is!! We managed to come across Breizoz French Crêperies.

french creperie

Noels had the Almond praline crepe which came filled with plenty of almond and praline bits.

crepes 1

I went for something a little more dangerous, whats life if its not filled with a little fire. I opted for the flambée Chestnut & rhum crepe. I was surprised how good it was. Filled with a generous serving of chestnut puree and absolutely doused in rum. At one point I had genuine concerns for my eyebrows.
flaming crepes

To be honest the crepes were a real highlight. I probably wont go back to Birdman Eating for dinner, but I might attempt to become a coffee hipster and go along for a double shot machiato with a dash of soy milk foam one day.

Birdman Eating on Urbanspoon

Breizoz French Creperie on Urbanspoon