Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Vito's Espresso Bar - Restaurant Review

You may not normally think of heading to a shopping centre to get a decent lunch (well, I wouldn't) so this little trip was a bit of a surprise.  Hubby said he'd find somewhere for lunch, and after perusing local cafés online, decided that Vito's was a goer.  We had noticed this cafe before on a recent shopping expedition (not in our usual area) and after reading some good reviews, Mr P. made the big decision. 

friendly helpful staff and a cheery interior   

Mr P. and I wandered in and were promptly given a table.  The helpful, friendly staffer informed us that counter orders were the go.  Sadly this is the case just about everywhere you go these days. But aside from that quibble, the staff were all very obliging and friendly.  And at least a couple were Italian by the sound of it. Perhaps a family business?

blueberry smoothie $7  

We started with drinks, and having already overdosed on coffee, went for something a bit less dangerous.  Mr P. opted for a smoothie which was fruity and fluffy and oh so blue.  He really enjoyed it but said it was so cold it would suit a polar bear.  You know how those super cold drinks kinda burn your throat out? But in a good way.

chocolate monkey frappé  $7  

The chocolate monkey frappé - who can resist a name like that?  In it you will find banana, coffee, ice cream, chocolate and vanilla syrup. I found this a delightful drink, folks; it tasted of all those things and was icy and thick.  It went down a treat and was very filling.  Yep yep I know, the banana thing.  But I seem to cope really well with them these days :=)

Vito's fritters $18.50 + halloumi $4.50 

We both love a good fritter but they are a bit hard to find these days.  Really they should be called pancakes, but even so Mr P. was a big fan of these.  This was a colourful plate of zucchini and parmesan corn fritters with avocado, bacon, fetta, rocket and a balsamic reduction drizzled over.  He liked that they had a goodly amount of vegetables - "plenty of corn" were his words.  He found the balsamic reduction gave it a tangy hit, and was impressed with the depth of flavour.   

who killed my ultimate chicken burger? :=)  $17.50      

I loved the caramelised onion here - it tasted home/house made.  I am not usually a fan of breaded meats but this was great; there was lots of flavour and crunch and the coating was not too heavy.  Sadly the chips were a bit limp so I let Mr P. help himself.  

hand crumbed chicken with cos and caramelised onion on brioche

You can have your pick of all day breakfasts, panini, gourmet burgers, gourmet salads, pasta, and toasties.  There is also a kids' menu for the littlies.  Parking is easy, service is great and the food is flavoursome and filling, with a few surprises.  Heaps of yummy mummies and gym junkies dropped in for takeaway coffee or lunch while we were there, so this is clearly a popular local spot with good reason.

love this huge photo and the snazzy lights above the shops 

768 Stafford Rd.,
Everton Park 4053
Ph: 07 3855 8338

Vito's Espresso Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Brie Pear And Walnut Parcels

I first saw this idea on Instagram a few months ago.  There was a delectable-looking photo posted by The Bearded Bruncher, all golden and oozing honey.  Just the photo, no recipe so I have had to wing it.  We were heading to our mate Princess Pia's place later in the day so this seemed just the ticket.  And she has a much better oven than mine so they turned out beautifully.  Regular readers will know the deplorable state of my gas oven - timer-less, fan-less, rubber rim-less, non-shutting door; everything gone except the flame.

who can resist such charmers?

These little tarts are so oozy and cheesy and crunchy that you really can't go wrong. Except maybe don't say they're oozy 'cos I just checked out how to spell it and read the definition which says: 'like an infected wound with pus coming out of it".  Eek!  What a picture in my head, and probably yours.  But they are delicious anyway I can assure you.


2 tbs maple syrup

2 tbs butter

2 firm pears (or apples if you prefer), thinly sliced then chopped into small pieces

3 sheets of frozen puff pastry

100g. prosciutto or ham, snipped into small shreds

75g. walnuts, coarsely chopped

240g. Brie or Camembert, chopped into small pieces

sprinkling of thyme, fresh or dried


Grab a small frypan and throw in the maple syrup and butter 

Once the butter is melted, toss the fruit pieces into the mix

Stir it for a few minutes till the fruit softens (but not completely)

Put it aside to cool

Now grab a cup or bowl of 10.5 cm in diameter, and cut out 4 circles from each sheet of pastry so you end up with 12 rounds

Push these gently down into the lightly greased holes of a muffin tray

Place some prosciutto and nuts into each of the holes

The cheese goes on next, then sprinkle with the herbs

Bake at 185C for about 20-25 minutes till golden and melted

Run a knife around the edges and gently turn them out of the tray

You can pour a wee bit of honey over them if you wish (like The Bearded Bruncher did) but it's not really necessary


I used one fresh pear and one spiced chardonnay pear from a jar. 
This really enhanced the flavour.  You could use plums or any fave fruit you like. 


slice the pears thinly  

sautéing the pears in butter and maple syrup 

cut out the 10.5cm rounds 

squish them into a lightly greased muffin tray 

all ready to go into the holes

cheese on top

sprinkle on the thyme and bake at 185C for 20-25 mins.   

golden and crunchy on top 

grab one and eat happily

my pear doodle

Monday, 22 August 2016

Cheese Roughs

Have you read any Kate Llewellyn, folks?  She is one of my favourite Australian writers/poets.  Along with her compatriot Helen Garner, these are 2 women whose works have meant a lot to me over the years.  Kate has written a couple of books describing her life in the Blue Mountains, gardening, cooking and writing, along with her books of poetry and travel.  

One of the recipes mentioned in her book The Waterlily is this one for cheese roughs, which turns out to be similar to a cheese scone. She was visiting her mother one day and asking about old family faves that her mum used to make.  Kate says she kept on about these recipes until one day her mum told her she could remember what it was. Out of her mum's memory and into her oven: "snatched from the grave as my Mother would say". 

golden and gorgeous

As Kate is now in her mid 70s, I assume this recipe from her mum's repertoire must be about the same age or older:=)  Kate does not give a huge amount of instructions, so just as with the historical recipes I have been cooking lately, this one too was a bit of guesswork.  You just have to know how much cheese to put in, and how hot a hot oven is, and so on.  But I think that's part of the fun of trying these golden oldies.

Makes 24 roughs:


2 eggs

enough milk/cream to make up one cup along with the eggs

2 cups self-raising flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup of your fave tasty cheese, grated - I used parmesan and cheddar

big pinch of sea salt

paprika for sprinkling over the roughs


Break the eggs into a cup

Fill the cup with enough milk and cream (or just milk OR cream) to make up a cupful

Pour this into a large mixing bowl and add the flour

Add the cayenne and baking powder

Mix this together and now add the cheese - or like me, if you are forgetful you whack the cheese in with the flour and mix it

Roll it/pat it out to a rough rectangle of 2.5cm thick

Now cut it out so you have pieces about 2.5cm wide and 5cm long
(check my photos if your brain goes huh?)

Place them on a lightly greased and floured baking tray

And into a 220C oven for about 12 minutes or till golden on top

Now take them out and split them in half lengthwise

And back on the tray (you may need 2 trays now) and back into the oven for another few minutes (I put mine in for 5 - you know, the slow oven)

Sprinkle with paprika and eat with lots of lovely, salty butter


Don't worry about greasing and flouring the second tray - no need

You may not need the baking powder; my flour was a wee bit old so it needed the boost

You don't have to beat the eggs first; just throw the cupful of eggs and milk/cream straight into the bowl


eggs and cream (and a bit of milk)

everything in the mixing bowl  

mixing into a doughy ball

pat out the dough  

cut into small rectangles 2.5cm x 2.5cm x 5cm-approx.:=)    

looking golden and crunchy on top

now split them and back into the oven 

split and toasted in the middle   

bring out that butter!

These are very scone-like, and I think you could happily just leave them in the oven for a few extra minutes at the start without splitting them, and eat as is.  But it's fun to try something a bit new, isn't it?  And this recipe is sooo easy and quick; always a good thing.

my cheese rough dough doodle   

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A - Z Guidebook: Otago Peninsula New Zealand

can you see the seals?

A few years ago, we did a family trip to New Zealand with in-laws and nieces.  We had a cold Christmas Day in Dunedin, wrapped up in coats and scarves while another sister-in-law complained of the 40+C heat in Brisbane.  We were glad to be where we were:=)

We had booked a boat trip around the Peninsula before we got there.  On the day, it was very cold and wet and windy but we thought to heck with it, if they're still taking tourists, we'll go - and we did.  It was fabulous.  We saw seals and penguins and dolphins and albatross, along with the usual sea life.  Don't miss it if you get a chance to go.  (But take seasickness pills).

Join in with Tiffin Fiona and other adventurous bloggers sharing their travel snaps from around the globe.  This month's letter is O.

TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Potato Scones - International Scone Week 2016

What!?  International Scone Week again? Nope I can't believe this has come around so soon. There we were discussing her grandmum's scones with our friend Miss P.P. seemingly a few weeks ago and here we are again.  Where did that year go?  

This year for #ISW2016, I chose to make potato scones from a newspaper recipe dated October 1912.  I found this on TROVE, the National Library online source of just about everything.  I have been doing text corrections on TROVE for the last few years, and have come across a wealth of interesting snippets of info.  And of course, there are heaps of wonderful old-fashioned recipes.  I love the way you have to divine a fair bit of the method yourself. 

potato scones with parmesan lurking inside  

This recipe is from a newspaper called The Land (Sydney NSW:1911-1954) Friday 4 October 1912 page 14.  I had to do a wee bit of research (and calculations) to get the right amounts for the ingredients.  These scones call for 1 gill of milk.  I only just found out today that it is pronounced with a soft g like gin, not girl. And you can have U.S. gills and UK gills - different amounts of course, just to keep you on your toes. Naturally I used the UK gill.



175g. plain flour

57g. butter

a big pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

227g. of cold, mashed potatoes

30g. extra sharp parmesan, grated - my addition to the recipe (optional)

1 egg

142 mls. of milk - you may not need all of this, or you could need more depending on the flour


Before you start the scones, bake/steam or boil 227g. of potatoes till tender

Peel them, mash them, cool completely and put aside

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl

Rub the butter in with your fingers till you have a crumb-like mix

Add the salt and the baking powder

Mix thoroughly with the mashed potatoes

Stir in the parmesan  

Beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of the milk

Add it to the mixture, and work it gently to a dough - the recipe says "using the needful quantity of milk" - i.e. enough of the milk to make it into a dough

Depending on the flour you are using, you may need a bit more or less milk.  I only used the 2 tablespoons of milk beaten in with the egg.  This is (I think) due to the fact that I was using leftover mash from dinner, which already had a goodly amount of milk and cream in it.  (Mr P. made it, and he loves his creamy mash)

Pat the mixture into a ball, then roll it out on a floured surface - you want it about 1 cm. in thickness (the dough was very soft so I used my hands to pat it out into a rectangle)

Cut out rounds 6cm. in diameter

Place them on a greased baking tray, brush with milk and bake at 220C for about 15 minutes or till golden

Serve hot and well-buttered - sounds like a good plan for Life!

flour and butter combined; now add salt and baking powder

mix the mash in thoroughly  

arty shot of the parmesan going in

cutting the eggy mix into the flour mix  

roll or pat out the soft dough   

using a scone cutter to cut out the 6cm. rounds 

brush the tops with milk

baked and golden - and yes a bit flat :=) 

Yep they came out kind of flat, more like a biscuit than a scone. Maybe I should have used self-raising flour?  Maybe they liked flat scones in them thar days?  But they were thin and cheesy, and very moreish.  Mr P. grabbed one and wolfed it down, saying "can I have another one?"  I have to tell you they disappeared in about half a day.

these didn't last long 

(BTW, just so you know, a U.S. gill is 118 mls as compared to the UK one of 142 mls.)

my scones on a Yayoi Kusama plate doodle 

Join in with Tandy from Lavender and Lime in this year's round-up of International Scones.  Everyone is welcome!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Blue Velvet Dr. Who Tardis Cake

I can take no credit for this cake recipe at all, as it is an original by Lorraine Not Quite Nigella herself.  But I did spiff it up for a recent Dr. Who themed night by turning it into a Tardis cake - well, sort of.  You can see I am not really a cake decorator, but at least it was blue!  Here is the link to her recipe which is well worth making.  

yep definitely blue

I have never had much luck with red velvet cakes in the past, either bought or made so I was really chuffed that this one was so darn delicious - very moist and chocolatey. Thanks Lorraine:=)

whisking cake flour, cocoa powder, bicarb and salt   

melting chocolate and cream together in the microwave   

creaming the butter and sugar then eggs together  

adding blue and black food gel to the buttermilk, vanilla and chocolate  

add this to the batter in 2 lots  

and watch it go a murky, curdled green   

add the flour mix in 3 lots 

Stir gently and pour/spoon into 2 x 20cm lined baking tins.  Bake for an hour and 5 @ 130C or until your skewer comes out clean. Mine took closer to 1 hour and 15-20 minutes.  (Remember that slow oven of mine whose door doesn't shut and that doesn't have much rubber strip left around the edges?)

I know folks, it looks like doggy doo or puréed kelp   

out of the oven looking quite...indescribable   

Lorraine suggests putting them in the freezer once they are completely cold if you wish to decorate them on the same day.  Yep I put mine in the freezer for a while.   It makes it so much easier to slice them in half thru their little middles.  You will end up with 4 thin, soft layers of scrumptious chocolate cake.

Now make the icing which is cream cheese and butter beaten together till smooth. Sifted icing sugar goes in next.  Vanilla, lemon juice and more colouring is sploshed in. Yay, this time I actually got it fairly blue, not dead dog green.

cream cheese and butter ready for beating 

see, it is blue:=) - after the icing sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and colouring are in 

thick and blue, glorious blue

grab your palette knife and smooth away  

my Tardis impression

After making and decorating this cake, and making Tardis/Dalek chocolates and setting up the school hall for this event, I was shattered and just thought, to heck with it!  This is as far as I go, Tardis-wise.  And it went down a treat.

Me and Mr P. in our Dr. Who gear 

look at that moist gooey cake 

Sorry about the cruddy, night-time shot.  All that matters is the delicious, moist texture and taste.  I have forgiven the red velvet cake for being a sod to make and eat, and now will worship the blue velvet cake forever:=)