Hip hip hooray: after a protracted application/objection/vindication process, the Duchess of Spotswood's liquor licence has commenced. It kicked off on Australia Day, so Tom & I headed out west pronto to enjoy a cheeky cocktail with brunch. Rather than the Bloody Mary or one of the gin-based drinks, I chose the Pimms n' Ginge, which was vividly refreshing. Love the Duchess' (newish) shady courtyard too. For now their opening hours are unchanged, but word is they're planning to open for dinners too - hopefully by March.
I had a great time on the 17th at the Fringe Food Festival's Crash Course in Creole. It was an event hosted by my good friend Jess from Burger Mary at My Mexican Cousin, and the menu highlights included the boudin fritters, the gumbo, the po'boys and the bourbon pecan pie. Jess was in sparkling form, and the evening had a fun, convivial vibe. For a complete blog post on the dinner, see I'm So Hungree.
BBQ fans: there are whispers of Burger Mary running a Texas BBQ event with the Fringe Food Festival next month, so be sure to sign up to the FFF's mailing list via their website (or follow them on Twitter or Facebook) to stay in the loop.
I had lunch last week at The Aylesbury with Cara from Gourmet Chick (add her blog to your RSS if you don't already have it, she recently returned to live back home in Melbourne after years of living - and food blogging - in London). Our lunch reconfirmed for me that I prefer The Aylesbury's rooftop bar to its ground-floor restaurant: the 'Pig and Fig' was excellent, but both the service and the other dishes were patchy.
Highlight of BBQ lunch last Sunday to celebrate my brother Buster's visit from Sydney: pineapple and peppercorn tarte Tatin.
I am obsessed with the matcha (green tea) Kit Kats I brought back from Japan. For the uninitiated, the powdered green tea is mixed with white chocolate and they taste bloody brilliant - milky sweetness with a gentle tannic finish. The number of weird and wonderful Kit Kat flavours available in Japan is legendary (eg cheese, wasabi, lemon vinegar, cucumber, miso, soy sauce, wine, wasabi, mashed edamame). A few years ago Tummy Rumbles did a great blog post rating several of the Japanese Kit Kat flavours.
The peach pie I made for Australia Day (pictured here uncooked and topless) won a lot of friends. I used this recipe from January's Gourmet Traveller, but for the crust I went with the wonderful One Pie Dough To Rule Them All recipe from Chez Pim. Use fresh yellow clingstone peaches and be sure to sprinkle demerara sugar on top.
New cafe news: Carolina opened on Thursday at 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton North. They're serving Seven Seeds coffee and simple brunch/lunch, plus it doubles as a neighbourhood bar (open to 11pm) with a selection of craft beers, a huge courtyard and a layout/atmosphere that's reminiscent of The Alderman and Longplay.
Links of Note:
- Keke, the beautiful food blog side project of Melbourne artist Kirra Jamison.
- A great interview on The Design Files with Claire Larritt-Evans, the stylist/designer responsible for both Market Lane locations.
- Blog post by George Biron, chef at Sunnybrae Restaurant and Cooking School, writing about oocytes and the Timballo del Gattopardo (inspired by di Lampedusa's The Leopard) he used to serve at the Grace Darling Hotel in the seventies, and about the MFWF event where he'll be hosting Frank Moorhouse.
- Steve Cumper, chef at the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet, Tasmania, muses on his blog about reverse cultural snobbism in gastronomy and asks what IS authentic anyway?
- That Jess Ho gets ranty.
- Chicken group La Ionica faces a $100,000 penalty after it admitted that claims that its chickens were "free to roam" were misleading or deceptive (in court last month the Federal Court heard that each chicken had only the equivalent of an A4 page on which to roam). You can read the Federal Court's judgment here.
- I'm enjoying I Love Riesling, the wine blog written by Tom Hogan (head sommelier at Lake House).
- How cute is this little kitchen? It belongs to Carla from Easy as Vegan Pie and she has some simple tips to give your kitchen some love.
- The dubious PR tactics of yet-to-open Fitzroy cafe Stencil vis-a-vis local blog Fitzroyalty really are bizarre (read parts one, two and three on Fitzroyalty). Allegedly: a six month ban from visiting the cafe, attempted bribery and perhaps even the creation of an imposter Fitzroyalty website praising the cafe (???).
- Is What I Cooked Last Night Australia's longest running food blog? Kitchen Hand has been posting several times a month, every month SINCE NOVEMBER 2003. Kudos!