Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Defiant Duck - Review

All right, you know I love rabbity stuff so it won't surprise you to know I like ducky stuff too.  Yep, stuffed (as in toy) or pink and juicy on my plate.  So it was a no-brainer that I wanted to head to this place when I saw the name.

I don't know what I thought it would be like - kind of trendy and a bit quirky maybe. Sadly I was wrong.  Turns out it is just one big, blokey sports bar.  My fault I guess that I didn't check out their website properly.  Not that there's anything wrong with being a blokey sports bar of course!



the front of the food and drink pavilion    


Yes folks, that's what they call themselves - a food and drink pavilion.  What was I thinking?  Could I not see the writing on the wall metaphorically speaking?  And to add insult to injury, the website tells you they are located in the Gasworks precinct.  So Mr P. and I spent 10 minutes hunting for it where it was not.  Finally we saw it away in the distance across the wee park with the imposing and beautiful Gasometer still standing.



thru the looking glass i.e. Gasometer on a glorious blue sky day in Brisbane



Mr P. and I sat down and grabbed a menu.  (We know by now that table service is a thing of the past.)  The food is as you would expect for a sports bar - hearty, snacky and fried.  I chose Maryland crab cakes with fennel, cilantro (sic) and chipotle mayo.




Maryland crab cakes $12


These deep fried morsels had a lovely crunchy exterior and you could actually taste crab on the inside.  The mayo went well with it, and the pickled fennel gave it a nice tangy hit.  




a side of shoestring fries $6  


The fries came with chicken salt and aioli. (chicken salt? Not very noticeable).  As an add-on to a burger, they are just $3.00.  We were charged $3 each although we had only asked for one serve.  And sadly they were luke-warm verging on cold.  We had ordered sweet potato fries, but these came instead. The waitress was happy to change them, but we stuck with the fries in the hand etc. You know that old saying.




'The Duck' hotdog $12    


As you can see the hotdog was quite large with lots of American mustard.  Frankly waaay too much mustard.  I finally found the grilled onion shoved up one end; I wish it had been spread over the whole dog.  The actual Chicago dog itself was chewy and hard to bite into.  Not my fave dish so I left a fair whack on the plate.  




beef and bacon burger $15  



inside the burger  


This burger gets a bit of a mixed review.  Mr P. said it was juicy due to the BBQ sauce, but the meat pattie itself was so oversalted and so tough that I was very glad I wasn't eating it.  It had the weirdest texture and flavour; I can't imagine what they did to it to get it like that.  Mr P. really loved the bacon.  I tried it and yes it was smoky and delicious.  



coffee $5


It is a very large and noisy space, and when we went on a Wednesday lunchtime it was full of blokes.  I may have been the only female there.  I am perhaps sounding over-critical but the food was adequate and filling.  It is just not the place for a quiet meal for couples.  If you're interested in sports, it's a goer.  Or if you are after a quick feed and a beer, you're set.


They do lunch and dinner 7 days a week.  It is of course licensed. And BTW, they have a Josper oven which is a great thing apparently.  Oh, and an express coffee window.




looking up at the Gasworks 




3/84 Longland Street,
Newstead  QLD
Ph: 07 3252 1581




The Defiant Duck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The 3P Loaf - Pumpkin, Poppyseed And Polenta

I first made this loaf a couple of weeks ago, and it was a bit of a disaster I have to report.  I think I've said it before but I really wonder sometimes if cookbook authors and writers for food magazines actually try out their own recipes.  This loaf was a bit of a sad and sorry mess, so I have made it again and this time it turned out so much better. I even went to the trouble of buying a new square cake pan (I needed one anyway) just so I could conquer this loaf.  

Now, the original recipe is ripped out of an old Woolies' mag - so naturally it mentions their products.  Sadly for me their pre-prepared tray of spiced pumpkin and sweet potato with maple butter didn't exist in our local Woolies, or the known Universe I imagine. But guess what I did find this weekend?  Yay, already peeled and diced pumpkin chunks in the fresh veggie section AND frozen ones too.




yep that's them in the tray    



Phew what a relief.  So now I just had to guess the quantity of maple syrup, butter and spices.  First time around, Mr P. said "where's the maple syrup?" so I upped it plus added more of the butter and spices.  I also decided to add a bit of baking powder as it is such a heavy mix, and I fried the bacon separately rather than bake it with the pumpkin and onion.    




ready for the oven - 190C for 35-40 minutes  



Makes 1 loaf:

ingredients:


400g. of pumpkin (after peeling), diced

3 tbs maple syrup

2 tbs butter

1/4 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon (or spice of your choice)

1 small brown onion (c. 75g. after peeling), finely diced 

2 tsp thyme leaves

5 rashers (c. 110g.) of shortcut bacon, chopped

1 dessertspoon olive oil for frying the bacon

2 cups self-raising flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup polenta

2 tbs poppy seeds (20g.)

80g. butter, chopped

2/3 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup tasty cheese, grated




Method:


Place the pumpkin, maple syrup, butter and spices on a baking tray

Add the onion and thyme to the tray

Toss everything together

Bake at 190C for 35-40 minutes till golden and tender

Cool slightly and give it a rough mash

Fry the bacon in the oil (while the veg. is baking) for 5-10 minutes

In a large mixing bowl, tip in the flour, baking powder, polenta and poppy seeds and whisk well

Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips till crumb-like

Stir in the buttermilk and half a cup of the grated cheese - this will take a few minutes as the mix is very heavy and stiff

Add the mashed veg. and the bacon, season well with salt and pepper and give it a good stir

Grease and line either a loaf tin or a square 20cm. baking tin with baking paper

Dollop the mixture into the tin, spread it evenly and top with the other 1/4 cup cheese

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 220C till the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean. You may need to bake for a few more minutes if using a loaf tin as it is a dense mix and will take time to cook thru

Let it rest for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack

Serve slices thickly spread with butter


Tips:


Make sure you check thoroughly with the skewer; my original loaf seemed done but was actually a doughy mess inside

If you want the pumpkin to cook faster, turn it up to 220C for a few minutes less 

Mr P. suggested I use 1/2 tsp baking powder rather than 1/4; give it a try if you want a slightly more risen loaf

Try it with half orange sweet potato instead of all pumpkin for a change

You may think I'm a bit crazy but I actually weighed the onion and bacon.  I find it a bit annoying when a recipe blithely states to use a small onion, so I checked it out online and found that the USDA says a small onion is 75g. peeled - you're welcome!




whisk the dry ingredients together   




ready to rub in the butter chunks  







add the grated cheese to the mix after rubbing in the butter   





pour in the buttermilk  





you can see how dense the mix is here 





add the veg. and bacon, stir in and season well      




flatten it out evenly in the tin  





scatter on the cheese and bake at 220C for 25-30 minutes    





golden and crispy on top   





eat it warm with lots of butter    







my butternut pumpkin doodle



BTW this is my 400th post since I started blogging 3 years ago. Who knew how many friends I would make virtually and in real life, and how much knowledge and fun would arise from it? 

Thanks everyone!


Saturday, 18 June 2016

A - Z Guidebook - Melbourne Victoria

Miss Marples Tea Room, Melbourne Victoria   



I used to love the old Miss Marple movies with Margaret Rutherford when I was a child. She was just so funny and quirky. The image they use here at the Tea Room is clearly hers, so I couldn't help but love this equally quirky building with her face plastered all over it.  

This charming Tea Room is up the road from where I lived as a child, so has many happy memories for me.  Every time we go back to Melbourne to visit friends and family, we take a drive up to the hills.  Not a fan of the food here however!  Love the building but don't eat there.  It is very popular and packed to the gunnels at all times but sadly the food is pretty average.  Never mind that, it is lovely just to walk past and take in this delightful building.



Join in with Fiona from Tiffin Bite Sized with your own travel photo and story.  We are on to the letter M this month, as  you may have guessed.





TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -



Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Rabbit Hole Café - Review

Mother's Day, nearly 2pm on a Sunday and nearly every café closing by 2:30.  It didn't look good for Mr P. and me to find lunch after visiting his mum in the nursing home.  We were zipping around the back blocks when I spotted a café hidden away in a side street.  I love anything to do with rabbits - Alice in Wonderland, The Velveteen Rabbit, Peter Rabbit, pet rabbits, and a good rabbit stew.  So this café was calling my name.  




reflection on the front window of the café  


We sat down in the outside courtyard to peruse the menu.  I decided on potato hash cakes from the all-day breakfast menu while hubby went for the halloumi burger from the all-day lunch menu.  




potato hash cakes $17   

       

These hash cakes were mashed potatoes which was a bit disappointing to me.  I had expected something a bit chunkier, or grated potato even.  They were sad to say rather bland and heavy.   On the plus side there was heaps of crispy bacon, and a herbed sour cream.





and this is just the first page of breakfast dishes  




halloumi burger on brioche bun w/- avocado, pesto, homemade relish etc. $18  



Mr P. really enjoyed his burger (he always chooses vego.)  The chips were well-seasoned and crispy, and the burger had plenty of relish - a Mr P. essential.





iced mocha $4.50 


My iced mocha was strong and very cold; perfect for a warm Brissie day.  Hubby had his usual strawberry milkshake.  We had to ask for water several times from different waitstaff.  I guess they all forgot, even though it wasn't incredibly busy.





strawb. milkshake $6.50 - slightly expensive for its size?     


The Rabbit Hole calls itself a tapas bar and restaurant doing breakfast and brunch.  You can indulge in a coffee or a glass of wine or beer and while away some time, or go all out and have a tasty meal.  





from across the road - sorry about the sun  



The café is in a charming revamped corner shop, with plenty of outdoor space.  They have a kids' menu too if this is a family outing.  You can even build your own breakfast, or indulge in an espresso martini. 

The Verdict: a pleasant place to spend some time relaxing with some tasty food and a coffee or wine.

  
5 The Corso, Seven Hills 4170
Ph: 0410 119 341




The Rabbit Hole Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
  

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Dr Who And The Chocolates of Wilston

Some readers of my Instagram account may have seen a photo of these cute little chocolates I made for a recent Trivia Night at the local school.  It is a big deal every year; everyone gets dressed up in costume and tries to outdo everyone else to win the award for best table.  Sadly our Doctor Who table didn't win, but our mates from the Addams Family did.  Yay!

I spent the morning decorating a Tardis cake and making some Dalek and Tardis chocolates.  It was a lot of fun.  So here I present my Doctor Who chocs.  It's not a recipe as such; it's just too simple for that.  Confession time: I didn't temper the chocolate first, but life is too short when you are busy getting ready to set out as the 4th Doctor.  And they looked and tasted just fine.





The Tardis and 4th Doctor






get yourself some good chocolate  



Grab yourself a decent block of chocolate - I ended up using 400g. as I made 2 lots. The mould is very deep so it took heaps of melted chocolate to fill.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 50 seconds, stir it and put it back in for a bit longer if needed.





pour the melted choc into the mould 





all ready for the freezer 



I was in a hurry 'cos I had to make another batch and time was of the essence, so into the freezer they went for an hour or so.  Then with brute strength I forced them out of the mould ready for the next batch.  I repeated the melting and pouring for the 2nd batch.





cute as a button 



I wrapped them in parchment paper and into a plastic container to be devoured by the hungry Whovians at our table.






bigger on the inside - my Tardis doodle

Thursday, 9 June 2016

In My Kitchen June 2016

Big news!  I am wearing a polar fleece in my kitchen.  So what? it's winter, some of you are saying.  But we have had an 8 months long summer here folks, so this is a blissful change.  The sky is blue and cloudless, a breeze is blowing and it is wonderfully refreshing.

There are other things in my kitchen apart from a fleeced-up blogger.  In fact, it has been a bit of a crazy month here, and I seem to have acquired a few new things.

Here we have:



chilli chocolate powder 
  

I first had this when my cousin sent it up for my birthday last year. I had to buy more when I ran out.  It has chilli and cayenne pepper in it, and it is deliciously HOT.  I like it over vanilla ice cream; the contrast between cold temp. and hot spice is delicious.
  




purple gin


Yes I know I have been splashing this image around on Instagram, but I just love the colour and the gorgeous floral aroma.  And best of all, it is local- i.e. made 2 hours away from me rather than in another country:=)





and we have barberries - tart and chewy


Our Iranian friend made us a beautiful rice dish with barberries which we loved.  I am planning to use the wonderful saffron she gave us and these barberries in a similar dish.  





then there is a new book 



This photo sorta looks like Matt and I are holding his book together don't you think?  A lot of the recipes are meant for colder climes so it may not be practical for my sub-tropical kitchen, but who cares? Don't we all love him anyway?



And then there is Gizzi.  I know almost nothing about her, but this book was on sale so I nabbed it.  You simply can't resist that Audrey Hepburn look!





Gizzi looking glamorous in her kitchen 




these speak for themselves





a very early birthday pressie to myself   


I love all sorts of vinegars and usually have several different ones on the go.  We were at a local café recently which has a provisions store also.  I saw this and it came home with me.  Delish on salads.





more macadamias


Mr P. and I did some more foraging.  I know they look a bit awful, but you need to leave them dry out for a while.  The husk then shrinks and starts to come off making it much easier to get the nut out.




Ukrainian chocolate



Mr P.'s IT person is in Ukraine.  Why, you may well ask?  He tried to get one locally but they were wildly expensive and weren't very amenable to his needs.  A friend recommended the lovely Olena, who hails from Kiev.  See the chocolate?  That's her name - Olena!  Last week we had a big package from her out of the blue, as a thank you to Mr P. for paying her a decent wage and being nice to her.  (As he is to everyone.)




a beautiful blue tumbler was in the parcel 


We loved rootling through this big box of goodies as surprises kept popping up, including this very cute earthenware pot.  It can be used for cooking apparently.




lovely little cooking pot  


Too cute to put in the oven!  It will sit nicely on my shelves looking beautiful.  I hope the lovely Olena did not spend too many of her hryvnias on this package.:=)  Yes that is a new word for me too.  I am guessing folks that you may not have known the currency of Ukraine either.




pine-scented soap  


We tend to use liquid soap in our bathroom, so I have put this in my underwear drawer to give a beautiful aroma to my smalls.  The funny thing is when I started to take off the wrapping, the soap was so greasy that I just punctured the whole thing many times (like a frenzied axe murderer) so the aroma comes out and the grease stays in.  Perhaps they still use goat's tallow and ashes like the Phoenicians?



really good Aussie olive oil  
  

Every year, or at least those years when there are olives on Patrice's farm, I buy a box of her oil.  You have to get in quick 'cos they sell like hotcakes (I think the Sydney chefs use it in their restaurants).  It is great to support Aussie farmers and to use oil that has only travelled interstate not halfway across the world.





can't wait to try this 


I had a drama with this, as some people may have seen on Instagram.  Australia Post ran over my parcel!  The lovely suppliers sent me a replacement without a quibble, unlike Aust Post.  Have you ever tried to make a complaint with them?  Don't bother, you have to sell your firstborn, AND your second born.



freebie from Josh & Sue


Josh and Sue sent me this rock salt in my replacement parcel after the terrible tragedy of being run over by Aust Post.  The parcel, not me.  Thanks guys!



this sounds intriguing


This maple sugar is apparently twice as sweet as normal sugar.  I will have to investigate further.


Well, that isn't everything that came my way this past month but I don't want you falling asleep as you try to get thru this post.


Join in with Maureen from The Orgasmic Chef in this monthly show and tell of our global kitchens.