Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Oms & Noms - January/February/March

Tonight's dinner consisted solely of edible components of birthday gifts - macarons and chocolate-coated dried figs.

Not something to be done on a daily basis, but highly recommended. Anyway, due to the abnormally high levels of sugar now running through my veins, this post will probably be sparse in wit and words, and overloaded with pictures and lots of exclamations!!

1. Smörgåsbord of Desserts
I somehow got it in my head that I would create a 'smörgåsbord of desserts' for my 21st, a cornucopian collection of my favourite desserts. Challenge was duly accepted and here's the result:

 The smorgasbord consisted of the following treats, some homemade and others bought:
  • Mini cupcakes from Mister Nice Guy Cupcakes (and vegan, too!)
  • Macarons from La Belle Miette
  • Baklava from El Faiha Sweets
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Mini pavlovas with vanilla bean cream, strawberries and nectarines
  • Mars bar chocolate crackles
  • Nutella cornetti (nutella filled pastries)  
  • Cointreau-spiked fruit salad
Not something I'll be repeating again anytime soon, but thank goodness for photographs to immortalise a week's worth of hectic baking and running around.

2. Birthday Shenanigans
More cake and edible presents, including: pavlovas of the regular and chocolate varieties, a flourless orange and almond cake from Filou's, chocolate-coated dried figs, and a beautiful box of Fran's Chocolates, all the way from Seattle!

3. Chez Dre, South Melbourne
I stopped by here in February for lunch and had a lovely Dukkah-crusted chicken salad with roast sweet potato, zucchini & eggplant, herb polenta, quinoa and housemade labneh ($19).

4. Seven Seeds, Carlton
I adored the Pulled pork brioche with Vietnamese coleslaw ($14) I had here a few months back; the addition of the pickle was such a lovely touch. Alas, they'd taken it off the menu the next time I returned, so I consoled myself with their take on the Nicoise salad, a somewhat unconventional mix of sesame seed encrusted kingfish, cos, egg and tomatoes ($17).

5. Greenhouse by Joost, MFWF
This pop-up for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is one that I wish we could convert to a permanent fixture - all the talk was about the eco-friendly and sustainable design, but the food was pretty damn fine too!

I went with C on her 21st weekend, and we shared the Pumpkin, chickpea tagine, green chilli yoghurt ($22) and the Spiced chicken, quinoa, yoghurt ($25). The tagine was definitely the better dish - warming, flavoursome but not too spicy and full of contrast, thanks to the refreshing yoghurt.

Our drinks came in screw top bottles, which was amusing.

6. Passionflower, CBD
Those of you who know me well would be aware of my aversion to über Asian things. Hence my initial reluctance to walk into Passionflower, which seems to be a mecca for Asians wobbling in skyhigh heels, toting ridiculously blinged up mobile phones, orange hair and boyfriends who (weirdly) like to carry their bags...anyhow, I digress. In short, some of the offerings have a distinct Asian flavour, but there are plenty of interesting and safe options available. On a family outing, my parents shared the dessert tasting plate, while G and I each had a duo of flavours - wasabi white chocolate and red bean for G; burnt caramel and white chocolate & praline for moi!

7. Roast Blood Plums
I had friends over for dinner a few weeks back, and decided to make a Chicken, roast plum, labne and grain salad I'd spied in the March edition of the Gourmet Traveller. I was also dying to use the Le Creuset roasting dish C had bought as a birthday/housewarming gift, and this was the perfect opportunity. Twenty minutes in the oven, and magic - the roasting brought out this beautiful peppery, spiced flavour and a gorgeous colour too!

8. Hunky Dory, Port Melbourne/South Melbourne/South Yarra
This place is great if the number in your bank account is scarily close to zero, yet you're absolutely starving and the thought of McDonalds makes you physically ill. The serves are ridiculous (i.e. 'will feed you for an entire day ridiculous'), the seafood is tasty, and the salads are fresh as.

Finally, I end this post with a few tasty critters I've chanced upon in the past few months:

German quark sponge butterfly with mandarin markings
La Belle Miette caterpillar

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