Saturday, 19 May 2018

Cooking For Gudgie 1


So I've decided that I'm going to go back to something I used to do when I first started this blog, and that's actually talk about what I cook.

I love cooking, and my Gudgie and I have an arrangement, I cook, he cleans. We're eating out less these days as well, so it makes sense, I can still have something to write about this way.  I would also like to let everyone know that cooking at home can be really inexpensive. Don't get me wrong, it can also be VERY expensive, it's all about using hints and tricks.

Wednesday night, a very simple but very tasty dinner of home-made potato and leek soup, served with a cheese and salad baguette.

The soup had been frozen from the last big batch I made, the baguette was a really yummy sourdough baguette, with avocado, mesculin mix, vine tomatoes cheese and mayo.

Approx price per person Soup $1 p.p baguette $4 p.p. total cost $5 per head

These Kievs were half price from Coles at 4 for $5. I had purchased zucchini from T-Bones for 89c a kilo, organic beans were $3 on special and the vege mash was down to $2 at Woolworths. The greens were sauteed in a frypan with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Total prep and cooking time for meal was 30 minutes, total cost per head: under $4.

Served with a zucchini muffin from the easiest and best recipe ever, (also's most popular recipe) Zucchini Slice Recipe

Saturday night binge night consisted of 2 McCains pizzas with add-ons, cornchips, home made guacamole and sour cream.

Pizza 1 was a supreme base, with my most recent and favourite discovery of Ajvar: a Middle Eastern smokey eggplant, capsicum and garlic spread/paste. It's so good! (around $8-10 for a big jar ~800g)

I also added to the pizza: mushroom, capsicum, zucchini ribbons, cheese, salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder. Garlic powder being one of my other most favourite discoveries and I rarely ever use fresh garlic at all anymore.

Pizza two was a meatlovers base to which I added mushroom and capsicum, salt, pepper and garlic powder

Avos don't cost a million dollars a piece anymore, so have been gobbling them up.

Guac recipe:

2 avos
1 tomato
1 tbs sour cream
1 small dribble sweet chili
garlic powder

Approx price per head $7.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Sono Portside

A very thoughtful gift from my best friend of a gift card for Christmas and the fact that Papa is a retired explorer now about to head off on another mission felt like a great reason for us to indulge in a delicious lunch at the beautiful Sono Restaurant at Portside Hamilton.

Sono took out the award for Best Japanese Restaurant in Australia in last years' Restaurant and Catering Awards. Having eaten there before, I knew it was well deserved.

photo courtesy of The Weekend Edition

My father visited Japan not long ago and the cuisine was one of the highlights for him. Me, I just love pretty much anything Japanese and am a fiend for good quality sashimi.

It's a scorching hot day in Brisbane, and we start with a refreshing beer. I order a Nigata Sparkling Mango Beer ($14), and papa, a Suntori Premium ($12).

The Mango beer reminds me of the fruity undertones present in many German Kristals, lots more "beery" than a Matso's and quite creamy.

Having already assessed the menu situation I pipe up immediately to suggest a Large Sashimi Platter might be in order ($55). Dad makes his choice of  Gyu Tataki (Seared Wagyu) ($18) and Scallops with Miso Mayonnaise ($23) we choose to round the meal out with Potato Salad Japanese Style ($14).

The service is impeccable here, the wait staff so pleasant , efficient and smiley.

First to come out was the Wagyu. It was delicately seared, still showing the gorgeous marbling that Wagyu is known for. I haven't raved about Wagyu in the past when I've had it as a steak, but I think that's because to truly appreciate it, it needs to be served just like this.

Accompaniments of garlic, ginger and chili all fresh and minced, finly cliced spring onion and soy to dunk. By adding combinations of each made for such a wonderful mouthful. A touch of lemon pushed it up a further gear.

Next out was the delicious potato salad and green salad.
As German's we know potato salad, and this one was deleicious...mashed, seasoned perfectly... would have as a meal on its' own.

 The large sashimi platter is stunning. Absolutely beautiful presentation and fresh, fresh fish, including but not limited to: salmon, salmon belly, tuna, kingfish, snapper and trevella.
The salmon belly was perfect, as was the regular salmon and tuna, but when fish is this fresh, you just tastes beautiful.

Our scallops with miso mayonnaise came out just after our sashimi, and the scallops were lovely, but it was the totally drinkable sauce that made this dish, we ended up saucing up everything and asking for a spoon so we could savour every last drop.

We enjoyed every bite and every moment of this lunch. It would be very easy to go overboard and order a million meals off the menu, but it would certainly rack up on the bill quickly.

I can't wait for my next visit though.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Eating Hobart Again

My Gudgeon and I visited Hobart recently. I wanted to show him the city I one day wish to live in.

I remembered how beautiful and friendly it was, I had almost forgot how good the food was down there.

I'm here to remind you.

We arrived to our North Hobart airbnb early afternoon on the Tuesday, had a couple of beers and had a little Google to see what was around. We stumbled on an amazing sounding menu from a little nearby pub called The Winston Alehouse and Eatery, a really interesting menu of modern American. We wandered down to have a look.

Painter's Cottage.
The pub itself was really lovely, an older style with a jovial crowd enjoying the daylight savings evening.

We decided on the Eggplant Parmy Burger and the Deep Fried Burrito and side of pork. With mac n cheese sticks to start, but everything to come out at the same time.

Mac n cheese sticks were scrumptious as mac n cheese anything should be. The Parmy buger was amazing so much flavour, perfect textural combinations and great chips. The burrito comes with an array of sides, it's super crispy on the outside and the insides of rice and beans is so tasty. I love that you can add which bits and bobs from the sides as you want to.

We decide already that this is not only one of our favourite pubs ever, but this is some of the best Americana food either of us has ever tried. Also proving that this kind of food can still be fresh and crisp and not just drowning in cheese and oil.

Day two: we have coffee from what will become our favourite coffee shop, Providence Cafe. Perfect coffee every morning of our trip, and very handy being right across the street. We head off to Richmond (my favourite, and Australia's oldest bridge), Pirates Bay, Blow Hole and Devil's Kitchen then Port Arthur) I pack us ham and cheese croissants and crackers and dip to take with us. We also have a sneaky fish and chips overlooking Pirate's Bay. 

Providence Cafe

 This day happen's to be valentines day, which neither Gudge have any time for, so we have party pies, pizza and beer for dinner after our adventure. It was great.

Day 3 we start with a light breakfast of croissants, topped with spinach and feta dip, and a side salad of tomatoes and basil from our Cottages garden with some Tasmanian Camembert.

Today is our downtime day. We have a wander around the boutiques along Elizabeth Street in North Hobart then make our way into town, checking out the Waterfront, Salamanca, City Centre. We stop into another great little pub called Republic Bar and Cafe for an afternoon beer in the beer garden before a little relax at home before our dinner date.

I had reserved us a table at The Point Revolving Restaurant atop the Wrest Point Casino. I chose this particular restaurant for a few reasons. Firstly it had REALLY good reviews, I thought the views would be spectacular, I thought it might be a bit naff, (I LOVE naff), and lastly I LOVE casinos.

We start with a glass of Tassie bubbles for myself and a Beer for Gudge overlooking the water.

We then head up for our 7 pm booking. The sun had been setting around 9 pm while we had been there, so I thought it would be really nice to spend a few hours watching the change from daylight through twilight then nighttime.

We weren't disappointed with the view. 

We order a bottle of Jansz Bubbles and have bread brought to our table. It's served with locally produced Tasmanian Butter... VERY happy cows. 

Our amuse bouche is absolutely gorgeous, buttery cod wrapped in nori, served with rice, saffron cauliflower and enoki muchrooms.

I start with 3 local oysters with shallot vinaigrette, they are perfect. So fresh.

Poor Gudge doesn't eat seafood, we'll have to work on that if we do ever move to Tassie. He's missing out.

I've mentioned this many times before: I love steak tartare. I love steak and getting it in it's purest untouched form is such a delight.

The steak is just beautiful, and not overpowered by mustard, onion or capers, just flavoured and seasoned to perfection. The traditional egg yolk and capers are served as emulsions with crispy bread. One of my most enjoyable tartares yet.

Gudge orders the quail ras el hanout, barley, labneh.

The Ras el hanout is a north african spice mix, the labneh is the soothing yoghurt mix.

He loved this dish.

For my main, I order the prawns- cooked at your table, flambe, Mediterranean with eggplant caviar.

As we are ready for our main however, they tell me the prawns tonight wont be the way suggested on the menu, but in their more popular 'lemongrass curry' style, which didn't bother me initially and watching them flambe was very theatrical.

However as I began eating, I was disappointed, I didn't want curry prawns. Especially at $55! 

The waiters were very apologetic, and I felt for them, as they themselves had just been told this. But If I had known, I probably would have selected something completely different from the menu. 

A fairly mediocre main, unfortunately.

Gudge rates his main of potato gnocchi, pumpkin, pepitas and spinach very highly. I taste it: Instant food envy.

He always rules when ordering Vege mains. 

A delicious side of broccolini with truffle butter. 

We don't order dessert but get a lovely, dramatic (and complimentary) treat...

Delicious frozen, gilded chocolate coated ice cream balls, that have the table next to us gasping with delight and envy.

Our waiters were so divine, personable and friendly, the service was excellent, and the pure novelty of a 77 minute 360 degree rotation was worth the visit. Such a shame about my prawn main, but there is no way I will let that detract from a truely memorable experience.

And actually not naff at all.

We spend the rest of our evening drinking Ameretto Sours and playing roulette and have a really nice night.

It's saturday and we're off to Mona, we decide to have brekky at our favourite coffee shop before heading off. Perfect coffee as usual, and for me a fantastic toastie: poached chicken, avo and cheese on turkish. It's fantastic.

Gudgeon enjoys his avo and haloumi on sourdough very much.

After a wonderful day at Mona (you HAVE to go!), we look for a bite for dinner, we stop into Capital, who let us have a table without a reservation, dispite being booked out! I'm so glad they did, our pork belly, gorgonzola and mushroom pizza is AMAZING!

 As is our cheesy garlic bread. We probably could have fit in another pizza. it's base was perfect for me, and the toppings were a great combination and just the right amount. I also love that it has no red sause, a trend I am really moving on from.

Our last day we stop into local cafe Room For A Pony, as Providence is closed on Sundays. Even though food had a wait of 45 minutes, I'm so glad we got to try this place. It was full of happy dogs and good coffee

My three cheese on toast is the thing dreams are made of.

Gudgeon's avo and smashed feta with poached egg does the trick too.

I love you Hobart.
Be back soon.