Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

14
May
2008

St Ali : Welcome to Melbourne

Flat white from St Ali

Thank you to Tiger Airways for getting us to Melbourne in perhaps the most cramped and undignified manner possible. At times I felt like I should have brought my own seatbelt along, as it probably would have helped make me feel moderately comfortable about traveling in an over sized chicken coop.

What I was grateful for however, is the lovely and handsome Ben Bicknell of 5 Senses, picking us up at the airport and whisking us back to the place we were staying in South Yarra for some much needed sleep (which was nigh on impossible on the plane) and a chance to make ourselves respectable, before beginning the onslaught that was to be our time in Melbourne. First stop… St Ali.

If you haven’t heard of St Ali and you live in Melbourne, then there is something seriously wrong with you. Mark Dundon’s cafe and roasting operation has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and is consistently named in the top places to visit, and from what I can gather, rightly so.

It’s located in a quiet street in South Melbourne, seemingly away from the hustle and bustle of the city and it’s many laneways. There’s no sign out the front, but it’s completely packed. I have no idea where the people are all from but there are suits galore (and not of your Man to Man / Ed Harry / Insert cheapo guys clothes store name here, variety), happily mingling with hipsters and hippies of all persuasions. It’s a Thursday morning (I think), ok maybe lunch time.

We grab a table by the bar, unlucky not to get a seat at the big communal table, but it does make surreptitious photography more difficult.

Orders are done at the table and so I grab a couple of double flat whites to begin, with a fried egg stack and chorizo for Sharon (damn i knew i should have got that), and some house made white beans with proscuitto for me). The flat whites were superb. Cutting through the milk nicely and balanced sweetness with that chocolately body that’s so inviting for a cold Melbourne morning. The food arrived and was equally great. Though I perhaps felt a bit left out when a group of 4 businessmen all ordered the same dish of Lamb Kofta balls… decadently soaked in a tomato sauce.

Fried Eggs and Chorizo @ St Ali

Still what we had was great. The beans hearty and the proscuitto salty and delicious. I tried not to eye Sharons chorizo, but it soon got the better of me and I caved… it was great too.

Next up another round of coffees, espresso for me, short macchiato for Sharon. While waiting the barista strolled over and surprised me by saying

“Sorry, this is for you, it’s a really nice looking ristretto but too short for an espresso, so I figured I’d give it to you for free rather than waste it”.

How lovely. It was a great ristretto, syrupy and dense with a great smokiness running through it. I thought about asking about the single origin they have on each day, but I was loving the house espresso blend too much to care to be honest. The espresso which soon arrived was equally tasty. More balanced and less syrupy than the ristretto, but a well put together shot. I felt at home.

St Ali oozes so much cool there should be hazard signs out the front when you walk in. It’s just effortless. We thought to ourselves that if the rest of Melbourne was as good as this, we were in for a good time :)

Flat white from St Ali Fried Eggs and Chorizo @ St Ali House made white beans & proscuitto Counter @ St Ali inside / outside Melbournized Sorry if this was you. The King Brown was never funkier Post Ristretto 

St Ali
12-18 Yarra Place
South Melbourne
Telephone (03) 9686 2990

02
Jun
2007

Banana Jam

I need to fire my food stylist
There are times when food blogging can be a difficult thing. You get to the end of the long day at work and come home, only to find that all you have in the fridge are a can of tuna, a carrot, some limp lettuce, and piece of blue cheese that isn’t supposed to be blue. Then you have to somehow magically conjure something out of them all that would make Gordon Ramsey stop swearing and act like a normal human being for at least the time it takes him to eat it.

This is not always easy…

Then of course there are times where being a food blogger is great. Like when you get to travel interstate and/or overseas and meet up with lovely people who appreciate the food that you do, and give you delicious little presents for you to take home. Sharon and I were lucky enough to have just that happen when we met up with Deborah in Sydney last month, and had a great time trying to smuggle her delicious banana jam back into the state.

So rather than risking quarantine laws again, or having to resort to some kind of undercover espionage to secretly ferry truckloads of the stuff in, I decided it was probably time to try the recipe myself.

So the orginal recipe is right here, but for the sake of easiness and to help my non-existent ad revenue, I will reprint the details here with a few of my modifications.

Jamaica (Australian) Banana Jam Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about one medium lime)
  • 3 1/2 cups diced very ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

How I made mine

Squeeze the lime juice into a bowl and chop the bananas into it in little chunks. I didn’t really need to worry about my bananas darkening, because they were so ripe they had darkened already. To take into account for having overripe bananas, and hence sweeter bananas, I simply reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe by about 3/4 of a cup.

So then measure the sugar and water into a pot, and stir to dissolve sugar as you bring syrup to a boil.

Once it’s just starting to boil, add banana mixture and boil over low heat for about 30 minutes or until thick. Keep stirring it all the time to stop it from sticking to the sides, and to kind of mash up the banana as you go. Along the way add the cinnamon to the mixture, adding less or more depending on how much you want this flavour coming through. The mixture will slowly start to cook down over time, and will eventually turn into a thick gooey kind of paste, which will get even gooier after it cools down.

The jam is done when a spoon scraped across bottom of pan leaves a track that closes slowly.

Once you’re done, spoon the jam into hot sterilized jars and seal. I used the thinking man’s approach and reused the jar Deb gave me in the first place, which seemed to work quite nicely. I had one whole jar full, and a another half a jar or so left over. Don’t ask my what it is in metric quantities because I have no idea, but suffice to say you could easily double the whole recipe and make a whole bunch of this if you were so inclined. Once your friends and family get a taste you will have no problems getting rid of it.

Another couple of tips are not to try and lick the spoon while you’re making this, or you will more than likely burn your tongue, just like I did. And it will not be a comical Tom and Jerry like episode where you run around with steam pouring out of your mouth looking for a bucket of water to douse your head in… It will hurt.

Well that’s about all really. It was quite a lovely recipe to make, and I’ve enjoyed it very much over toast, crumpets, english muffins, and a variety of other toast like foods. I also think it would be fantastic on a batch of fresh scones with butter and cream… So maybe I should find a good recipe for them too… Deb ? :)

Banana Jam

19
Feb
2007

Newsworthy

Poached obsession

So on a lazy Sunday morning, waking up at the crack of noon, making my lady and I some poached eggs and easing ourselves into the day the way only we can… It was a nice surprise to find this little blog mentioned in an article in The Australian. I’m not sure why I get a buzz out of seeing myself in print, it’s happened a few times now, but I guess it’s nice to get a little recognition, or at least to know that I’m not the only person reading it… which would be sad.

The Australian reads me.

So I had a call from Steve the day before to let me know that he’d come across it, and so we headed out and bought a copy to see just exactly what was there. The article is an interesting piece based on an article in the New York Times, about how food bloggers are having an impact on how restaurants and other establishments market themselves, and under what level of scrutiny they fall. It was critical in particular of US bloggers who interrogate staff on the opening night for all the information they can get, so they get their review out first.

The article then went on to talk about Melbourne food blogger Ed of Tomatom, and how he’s had positive experiences with people finding reviews of restaurants on his site, that have been largely ignored by traditional media reviewers.

So… in short, US bad, Australia good… bloggers, keep your opinions to yourselves. The bit involving me was a link at the end of the article (I tried to click it, but it went nowhere), to a page I put together that lists the top Australian food blogs by querying technorati for rankings. So a nice little spot of publicity, and a bit of excitement on an otherwise yawn worthy weekend… Still, that’s just the way we like them around here.

The excitement over, I went and made myself a coffee and in my rush to drink it, managed to spill it over the paper… from fame to coffee stain in 2 seconds… still, the coffee was great, and my latte art is reaching a stage of sloppy consistency that will no doubt have the real baristas quaking in their boots in no time, as they prepare themselves for the W.A Barista Competition.

Some days are good like that.

morning coffee

14
Aug
2006

Vanilla Bean Pancakes

Pancake stack glory

There are few quintessentially drool inspiring scenes to rival the humble pancake stack. Topped with cream, honey/mapel syrup flowing down the sides like a slow moving volcano of sweetness. It is the kind of breakfast (or dessert) that makes you feel glad you put in the effort to cook it, rather than lying in bed those few extra hours, waiting for the throbbing headache of the night before to subside.

My earliest memories of pancakes (or to be specific pikelets) was Mum cooking up big batches of them on a Saturday morning, using the top of our Kent wood fire back in NZ. It would get so hot that you could literally cook on top of it, so on would go a pan and batch after batch of pikelets would be poured, flipped, and devoured just as fast as Mum could make them.

So these pancakes follow in my great tradition of never eating a proper breakfast except for the weekend. There really just isn’t enough time or patience on my part during the working week to be able to give the meal the love and attention it so richly deserves.

The recipe is a little tarted up from Mum’s original, but stays true enough to the simple home cooking philosophy.

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (I used 1 tsp of vanilla bean extract)

How I made them
Couldn’t be too much simpler really. Basically sift the dry ingredients together and mix well, then add the wet stuff. The eggs add the nice golden colour, and the vanilla bean extract adds a lovely mottled effect in the batter from the little seeds. Stir it all around and get rid of any lumps until you get a nice smooth creamy consistency.

Let the batter sit for a little while so the baking powder can do it’s magic, and then start to pour the batter into a hot buttered pan. The trick to getting nice round shapes is to always pour into the centre point of the pancake, and let the batter settle itself in the pan.

Then away you go… Watch the batter for signs of bubbles starting to appear, and you’ll know when they’re ready to flip. I highly recommend using a good flat spatula and a nonstick pan to save yourself some hassle. Once your pan is hot, it will take literally seconds for the pancakes to start bubbling… most taking a maximum of a minute or so to be completely cooked.

This is why they call them hotcakesI got a bit excited with the honey

The most important thing about pancakes as far as I’m concerned, is eating them while they’re hot.
If you have to wait to get them onto a plate, then be sure and lather generously with maple/golden syrup/honey, fresh berries, cream, ice cream… anything you can think of really…personally straight out of the pan and into the mouth is ideal, do what I do and take a mouthful of cream and honey beforehand so you’re not wasting valuable seconds while transferring them from spoon to mouth :) (Nb: this is not encouraged behaviour for polite social gatherings).

04
Aug
2006

Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs

Super Breakfast

I’ve rambled on about my love of eggs far too often on this site for it to have any effect at all anymore, but bear with me just one more time while I recount a tale of a lazy Saturday morning, and the breakfast that was.

Waking up on Saturday morning is a slow process. Normally involving numerous nearly/almost/not quite attempts to get out of bed, followed eventually by a languid roll into a standing position, where I wait the prerequisite 3 1/2 minutes for my eyes to adjust to the light. Following this I wander around looking for something to eat, and probably drink something out of the container while I wait for inspiration to strike me.

Last weekend, it struck me truly. I had it all… A carton full of fresh free range/organic/sanctified with holy water eggs, some (more than likely not free range) bacon, and a little jar of magical stuff… Black Truffle Salsa.

Black Truffle Salsa

Now, I’m not assuming anyone here knows people as nice as Deb of The Food Palate, who will willingly send you expensive condiments in exchange for home roasted coffee… But i’d suggest you find someone if at all possible. The Black Truffle Salsa is made by Tetsuya’s (maybe not personally, but definitely branded by him), and sold in gourmet stores in Sydney (I assume…help me out Deb?). It’s a mixture of Black Summer Truffles, Mushrooms, Oil, and other goodness, combined together to give the most pungent truffly smell imaginable (unless of course you own a trufflery… in which case… call me).

So after that decision was made, the rest was simple. Scrambled eggs with black truffle salsa, on top of toast, bacon, and topped with baby spinach.

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 30ml cream (or double cream if you’re feeling rich)
  • 1 teaspoon of Black Truffle Salsa
  • salt and pepper to taste

How I Made Mine
Crack your eggs into a bowl and beat them together lightly. Take a teaspoon of the black truffle salsa and mix it thoroughly through the eggs… leave it to sit a little while to let the flavour infuse more. Now over a medium to low heat, melt the butter in a pan, and when its just melted, pour the egg mixture in. Keep the heat low and gently mix the eggs around into the butter. Just as you see it start to bond together, add the cream, and stir through the eggs gently. Continue to stir for a minute or so, until its all just cooked, but still moist, then season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately onto of toast, bacon, and topped with the baby spinach.

The salsa was very strong. Even in 6 eggs, with the cream and other flavours in there as well, the taste of the truffles was still right at the forefront… A truly decadent start to the morning.

As always washed down with a beautifully textured latte from my ever loving, hard working Rancilio Silvia.

Rosetta Latte Art

Sadly, this was probably the peak of my level of activity for the entire day… but then, that’s just how I like it…