658 Church St Richmond VIC 3121
Melbourne loves its breakfasts, brunch and Cafes.
Whilst I’m not a breakfast or brunch addict who plants his arse on a seat at one of Melbourne’s many trendy hipster Cafes after queuing up for what seems like ages in order to get into the premises, I gotta admit I like my Eggs, Bacon, Toast and Sauteed Mushrooms. My breakfast almost every weekday consists of a Kellogg’s or Uncle Toby’s breakfast cereal or else Oat Porridge with Honey. And then wham-bam-thank-you-M’am, I’m off to hop on the useless, smelly Graffit-tagged Melbourne public transport system for work.
Having heard good things from other foodbloggers that I follow, and seeing the images they uploaded onto Instagram, I decided to head to Richmond’s Top Paddock Cafe on a sunny Monday morning.
I don’t usually venture out into Richmond – either to go down Victoria St for the Vietnamese food, to check out a favorite singer at Rod Laver Arena or else to sit next to a bunch of loud obnoxious Hawthorn Hawks Supporters at the MCG – well their team is currently the reigning Premiers anyway.
Top Paddock, like many other Cafes and arty-farty-hipstery Coffee establishments within Melbourne has a pretty casual, relaxed atmosphere. None of the upper-class table-cloth snobbery of a hatted restaurant in The Age Good Food Guide, but more resemblance to the Art and Pottery Rooms during one’s High School and Primary School (Elementary School for you Americans out there) days.
Breaking with what’s usually a “Raging Cook” tradition, I shunned the Bacon and Poached Eggs with Mushrooms and Toast combo and went for something different…
I’ve never had anything for breakfast that resembles a hamburger hahahaha – unless you count the friggin’ Sausage and Egg McMuffins or Bacon & Egg McMuffin’s from the evil McDonald’s. So yeah it did feel a bit messed up eating one of these babies at 9.30am on a Monday morning.
As soon as I took my first chomp out of the Pork Belly and Fried Egg Roll, I felt the nice runny egg yolk flow around the mouth with the tangy tomato relish. The Pork Belly, whilst nicely cooked, lacked a bit of flavour – a bit more salt please? But otherwise good.
And this was washed down with a latte. Creamy, subtle bitterness… and pretty too…
Melbourne’s Cafes and breakfast and brunch spots are a dime a dozen. A cafe seems to open every two to three weeks. Given that Australia’s Mining and Manufacturing industries are in decline, it appears this is where our economy is headed… food and coffee??? As there are so many Cafe options out here in Melbourne, whilst Top Paddock is good, I prefer its sister, Two Birds One Stone out on Claremont St in South Yarra. The menus are pretty similar, but I’ll take Two Birds One Stone for accessibility. Top Paddock is also great, but it’s slightly inconvenient for me to get there, but I will go whenever I’m in the vicinity haha.
Top Paddock, a raging recommendation
Whoop-dee-do I’m back!
Where have I been the last two months? Well, just the usual, work, drinking coffee, heaps of it and trying to enjoy my life again now that I completed my Masters.
Plus I’ve been in and out of hospital for Mum. She complained of chest pains and high blood pressure so kept rushing her off to Monash Medical Centre in Clayton several times in the last couple of months. Three weeks ago was the worst – had to whisk her off to the hospital when she fainted in Springvale whilst I was picking up food for my friend’s Wedding!!! Worrying about Mum on one hand, and NOT stuffing up for my friend’s wedding celebration on the other!
Luckily Mum’s alright – the Doctors in the Cardiac Care Unit put her through an angiogram and luckily there’s nothing wrong with her heart and cardiovascular system, no stent required to be inserted into her artery/vein. Very relieved she’s OK now, definitely not her heart phew!
My friends and readers, look after yourselves, as the Victorian Hospital system is a bit of a shambles. I’ve seen firsthand the Doctors, Nurses, Clerical/Admin staff and what they go through. Underfunded, overworked! Hospital staff are the real heroes, so are Emergency services workers, not sports-stars and celebrities.
Chocolates for these lovely caring, hardworking Medical Industry professions *thumbs up*
So yeah, getting the motivation to blog again. A huge backlog of coffee places and recipes to come, but at the same time I wanna not sit in front of a computer too much, as I spend heaps of time at work in front of a computer and books typing away at reports and articles hahaha zzzz…
Anyway, here’s something I made last night – inspired by a dish I saw on some foodblog reviews of The Royal Mail Dunkeld restaurant in the Grampians.
Pan Seared Rockling Fillet, Peas, Bokchoy, Spring Onion, Garlic
Ingredients: 200g Rockling Fillet, 1 Bokchoy Stalk, 1 Spring Onion Stalk, 1 Clove of Garlic, 1 Cup of Water, 2 pinches of salt, 1 Cup of Peas, 1 tablespoon of light Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon of Oyster Sauce, 1 teaspoon of Cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of canola oil, 1 pinch of sugar
1. Boil the peas for 5 minutes on high heat. Then remove and turn off the stove and drain. Pop the peas on the plate.
2. Wash the Rockling Fillet, Bokchoy Stalk, Spring Onion Stalk under water. Pat dry using a teatowel. Chop the root segments off the bokchoy and spring onion. Slice the garlic.
3. Make some 0.5cm deep cuts (vertically) into one side of the fillet. Go horizontally from left side of the fillet to the right side, making these vertical 0.5cm cuts.
4. Massage a pinch of salt into the fillet.
5. Heat up the oil in a frying pan, sear the garlic on high heat, then carefully pop on the fillet when the garlic starts to go golden and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Then remove the fillet and garlic and pop on the plate.
6. Combine 1/4 cup of water, the soy sauce, oyster sauce and cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Mix well.
7. Heat up a tablespoon of oil, put on the remainder of the garlic, and on high heat add in the bokchoy and spring onion and a sprinkle of salt. Cook the bokchoy and spring onion for roughly 3 – 5 minutes. Add in the soy sauce/oyster/sauce/cornstarch and sugar mixture and bring to a light boil for 1 minute -to 1 minute and a half.
8. Plate up…
There you have it, Pan Seared Rockling Fillet and Bokchoy and Spring Onion and Peas and Garlic…
Must. Cook. Steaaaaaaaaaaak next
Juggling the feeding of 5 people (including myself), bills, saving up for a new car and a property in a decent suburb is nuts – no holidays for the short-term.
One of the places I wanna check out is highly-regard Chef Andoni Luiz Arduriz’s Mugaritz Restaurant in Spain. The closest I’ll ever get to it, is probably Dan Hunter (an Australian Mugaritz-trained disciple – but has since left The Royal Mail Hotel in Victoria’s Grampians for a new venture).
Navigating through a few posts – I landed on a few blogs, including Petitmiamx’s, that reviewed The Royal Mail Hotel.
So I got an idea – poached chicken with bokchoy and toasted quinoa.
200g chicken breast
1 teaspoon of salt
2 pinches of pepper
2 coriander stems with leaves (sliced and diced)
1 spring onion stalk (sliced and diced)
1 stalk of bokchoy
2 tablespoons of sesame paste
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce
1 pinch of sugar
1 cup of quinoa (washed and drained)
Edible flowers for garnish (I used Violas)
1. Clean the chicken breast. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper and place into a saucepan with enough water to cover the chicken breast. Throw in the coriander, spring onion and bring to a light boil on medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and poach for 30 minutes. Remove the breast then drain, but keep the liquid in which you poached the chicken breast in.
2. Clean the bokchoy and slice vertically down the stalk so that you have a lengthy strip. Poach/blanche/whatever the bokchoy in the chicken breast and coriander, spring onion water for 45 seconds – 1 minute. Remove and drain.
5. Wash and drain the edible flowers.
6. Plate up by laying down the poached bokchoy. Smear on the sesame paste mix and pop the chicken breast on the sesame paste. Place some on some quinoa and garnish with the edible flowers.
7. And here you go… the finished product!!!
P.S. A very special thanks to Zeboy & Ms I-Hua for advice on where to get edible flowers - Damian Pike’s Store in the Prahran Market!
Green Tea Sponge Cake, Coconut Caviar, Dark Chocolate Flakes, Macerated Strawberries, Basil Seeds and Summer Berry Sorbet
The backlog of posts grows, and I’m trying to cut it back down. I’m going to shift back to making entrees and mains and slow down on the desserts for a while…
Green Tea Sponge Cake: 75g plain flour, 8g of baking powder, 35g of sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon of Matcha Green Tea powder.
Coconut Caviar: Coconut Caviar: 150mL of Coconut Milk, 3 teaspoons of sugar, 1 cup of tapioca pearls, 1/4 of a vanilla bean.
Macerated Strawberries: 1 punnet of Strawberries, 3 teaspoons of sugar
Weis Summer Berry Sorbet (Strawberry and Raspberries)
Dark Chocolate (flaked/shaved using a knife or grater).
1. Line a baking tin with oil and baking paper.
2. Heat the oven to 175C (350F).
3. Mix the egg and sugar with an electric mixer for roughly 10 minutes. The mixture will become thick and pale.
6. Pour the green tea cake mix into the baking tin.
7. Place the tin into the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes at 175C (350F). To check if the cake is ready, place a skewer into the cake. If it comes out sticky and green, it ain’t ready girlfriend… otherwise if it’s clean, it’s done!
8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool. Then slice the up the tasty fluffy bitch.
9. To make the coconut caviar, pour in two cups of water into a saucepan. Bring the water to a violent angry boil and throw in the tapioca pearls and boil for 5 to 8 minutes. The pearls will be clear and transparent with a little white pearl in the middle, meaning they’re ready biatch! Turn off the stove (duh!) then drain and cool.
10. Wash the strawberries and chop their arses off. Then place them in a bowl with the sugar and allow the strawberries to macerate and absorb the sugar.
11. Grate the dark chocolate.
12. Grab a couple of pinches of Basil Seeds and pop them in a bowl of water. The seeds will transform into little clear tranaparent eyes…
13. Drain the basil seeds.
14. In a saucepan on medium heat, bring the coconut milk, vanilla bean and sugar to a gentle simmer, add in the tapioca pearls and cook for 3 minutes. Presto! Here’s your coconut caviar!
15. Pop the cake pieces into a glass or bowl or plate. Place in some strawberry pieces and then drizzle on the coconut caviar followed by the dark chocolate and basil seeds. Top with Weis Summer berry Sorbet (available at Coles or Woolworths).
Until next time!
Yesterday I had a shot of Espresso coffee.
The stuff is nice and bitter and strong. Gives me a mixture of funny emotions – anxiety, stress, increased focus and some creativity.
Had some flashbacks of things I’ve eaten and places I’ve been to.
Cutler & Co, Burch & Purchese, Luxbite, Golden Fields…
… so I came up with this: Pistachio Cake, Salted Caramel, Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Ice Cream. Structured and put together like Golden Field’s Peanut Butter Parfait with Salted Caramel, Peanut and Chocolate.
Let’s get down to business shall we?
P.S. Before I begin, I must admit that the Dark Chocolate ice cream was purchased from Coles. I can’t be stuffed making my own ice cream anymore from scratch (given I don’t have an ice cream machine). If you want to, just follow my previous recipe and add melted chocolate instead of peanut butter, mix well and freeze.
A handful of pistachios, 75g plain flour, 8g of baking powder, 35g of sugar, 1 egg, 2 drops of green pandan food colouring.
Salted Caramel: 200g caster sugar, 45g butter, 50g glucose, pinch of salt.
1. Line a baking tin with oil and baking paper.
2. Heat up an oven to 175 C (350 F).
3. Mix the egg, sugar with an electric mixer for roughly minutes (should be thick and pale).
5. Use a food processor to bust the pistachios… (in my case, I crushed them with a mortar and pestle). Mix thoroughly and then pour the cake mixture into the cake tin.
6. Place in the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. To see if it’s ready, grab a skewer and poke through the cake. Remove the skewer… a clean skewer means it’s ready, a skewer covered in green goo means NOT READY dumb-dumb!
7. When the cake’s ready, turn off the oven (unless you want to burn down your house hahahaha kidding kidding) and whip out the cake.
8. To make the salted caramel, get a large saucepan, pour in the cream, sugar, glucose and stir over medium heat using a whisk. The mixture should reach 118C (if you have a thermometer for cooking) and add in the butter and salt. Turn off the stove and leave to cool.
9. Cut up the cake. Smear on the salted caramel. Sprinkle on crushed/blitzed pistachios. Then get a quennelle of dark chocolate ice cream and pop it on top of the cake, salted caramel and pistachio. The sprinkle on more crushed pistachio onto the ice cream… and devour like a hungry pig
And here’s another shot of the dish… the light today was horrible due to the grey skies so had to increase the photo’s brightness using imaging software applications…
Hope you enjoy it! Until next time folks!
It sure has been a while – I haven’t blogged at all in a while as my brother’s borrowed my laptop for exam preparations and assignments. Plus my mother has had issues with high blood pressure, fortunately she’s alright. The Victorian Public Hospital system is in such a shambles, and I really feel sorry for the Doctors and Nurses as they’re in so much stress – especially in the Emergency Department!! I rushed Mum to hospital three times due to her blood pressure going nuts and saw how horrible it is in the Emergency Section!! Anyway, back to food!
Here is a dish I read about in Anthony Bourdain’s “A Cook’s Tour: In Search Of The Perfect Meal”. It is also apparently one of highly regarded Spanish Chef Juan Mari Arzak’s favorite dishes at his favorite Pintxos Bar, Ganbara in San Sebastian, Spain.
The dish is sauteed wild mushrooms with egg yolk, however as I’m not an expert with mushrooms, I went for the safe option and got button mushrooms instead.
1 egg (keep the yolk, discard the white – don’t waste it though!)
5 mushrooms, washed and sliced
Half a teaspoon of salt.
1 diced garlic clove
Diced and sliced parsley
Diced and sliced spring onion
2 tablespoons of olive oil.
1. Wash and slice the mushrooms vertically into 0.5cm slices.
2. Heat up a small frying pan or saucepan with the olive oil on a medium-high flame.
3. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, sprinkle in the salt evenly.
4. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for another 4 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and brown.
5. Turn off the heat and pop on a lid on the the pan to keep the mushrooms warm.
6. Separate the egg yolk from the white (use the white for meringues or something – don’t waste it) and sprinkle some salt onto the yolk.
7. Place the mushrooms on a place. Sprinkle on the spring onion and parsley.
8. Place the egg yolk in the middle of the mushrooms like so…
10. Now you’re ready to devour it… pierce the egg yolk, mix with the mushrooms and enjoy!
How do you like the eggporn???
Until next time folks!!!
17 Liverpool St Melbourne 3000
Back in January this year, my brother introduced me to a new restaurant in Melbourne that specialised in Soba, Japanese buckwheat noodles.
Shimbashi Soba and Sake Bar, a little Japanese joint on Liverpool St next door to Horoki, arguably Melbourne’s first ever, and only restaurant that makes its soba noodles from scratch. Me being the noodle-obsessed-nut that I am, just had to go!
I ordered the “seiro” soba noodles. It’s very very simple at first glace. A serving of handmade from scratch buckwheat noodles, ground by a stone the traditional way, then cut, boiled and cooled to the point where it has a bit of a lovely bitey texture.
On the side, a small cup of tsuyu dipping sauce and another of fresh spring onions for garnish.
So toss in the spring onion into the tsuyu dipping sauce, expertly grab several mop-like strands of soba noodles with your chopsticks, dunk them into your dipping sauce and then shove it into your mouth and slurp the delicious buckwheat strands and repeat til you finish!
After you’ve knocked back all the noodles and gulped them down, the staff at Shimbashi give you a hot cup of water that was used to cook the soba in. What you do is pour the soba water into the remaining tsuyu dipping sauce and then drink it. Surprisingly, it was quite lovely – I expected it to be overpoweringly salty but instead the combination of hot soba water, tsuyu dipping sauce and spring onions tasted like an extremely light and subtle soy sauce broth! Beautiful!