Independant Foodie reviews from Melbourne

Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmers Market February 28, 2010

Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 11:48 am

I  am a strong advocate for Farmers markets, and will cause car accidents to suddenly stop on the road for a farmers market, honesty box or potato seller on the side of the road.

With quality and range decreasing in supermarkets, and the possibility of Genetic Modification in vegetables available in the supermarket, I am trying to do more and more shopping at farmers markets.

2 weeks ago we went down to Collingwood Children’s Farm Market to do some shopping, and I was particularly surprised by the sheer range of veg and meat available, as well as the number of people here supporting the farmers directly and taking advantage of fresh food.

Collingwood Farmers Market occurs every 2nd Saturday of each month from 8am. It costs a gold coin to get in, and costs $2 to park in the car park. We arrived about 8:15am and not only was the carpark almost filled, but there were people everywhere! Some of the items we wanted to buy were already sold out!

Walking in the front door was the most amazingly healthy looking fig tree, unfortunately it wasn’t yet ripe, and so I couldn’t slyly pick any!


The range of the produce available is amazing at this market… Fruit and Veg (with DIRT on it, like it should have!) with lots of heirloom varieties including French Breakfast Radishes, Gem squash, amazing zucchini’s and mixed bunches of coloured carrots and radishes!


Zucchini of all colours, sizes and even with those yummy flowers!

Gem Squash


There was even smoked garlic at the market!


This guy had amazing olive sourdough rolls

Just like carrots should be – DIRTY!

Kohl Robi – strange vegie, but i have never dared to try it yet… Apparently it is part of the cabbage family, and comes in white or purple!


.A rainbow of Radishes from Daylesford Organics

Meat stalls were also in abundance, fantastic free range pork from the King Valley as Beef and Mutton available!

I was so pleased with my haul!!!

Radishes in many colours, amazing bread, Pink fir apple potatoes, huge leeks, Beef and Olive Sausages (which were AMAZING), Mutton topside, Pork Schnitzels, and yummy cheese for us to add to risotto’s and pasta’s if it lasted that long!




I highly recommend this market and the other farmers markets around.

Check out Victorian Farmers Markets for more information about this and many other farmers markets!

Also – i now have a recommendation site set up for my picks on both Amazon UK and USA! Check them out here:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Thanks all!



I am a cookbook whore. I will readily admit it, but cookbooks are so expensive! February 27, 2010

Filed under: Cookbooks,Shopping! — foodiefile @ 5:55 pm
Tags: ,

I am going to share a secret with you all – as much as it is easy to go down to Borders or your local independent bookstore, you may be paying more than twice you could find on the internet! So i am going to share a weekly update with you all of where the best bargains are.

I check weekly for the best deals, specials of cookbooks that have, or are about to be released so i can afford to buy more!!

An example for you all.

The Bourke Street Bakery cookbook I reviewed for you all a couple of weeks ago is priced at $72.95. Although you may be able to also buy it for $69.95 at other book stores.

If you currently ordered it from it would cost ₤12.50! As it is a new release in the uk, it is 50% off! Without postage, but with our strong exchange rate it would cost only $22.00 plus postage! And if you buy a few, the postage isn’t all that much! Even if you just got that book, it would be likely only about $35.00, and last time I ordered on Thursday, and my books arrived on the following Monday!

So, What I will now do is list off some of my favourite items at the moment that I have recently bought, but also my wish list.

  • River Cottage Everyday
  • I love Hugh from River Cottage, I have all of his DVD’s as well as most of his cookbooks. This new edition is a lovely read with some fantastic salads, easy meals, and some beautiful photography. Not as academic as some of his other books, but a lovely easy read.. If and when it is available here in Australia it would be about $65.00. Just click on the book and snatch it for only ₤12.50!

    • James Martin France (DVD)

    I heart France. Last year i watched the season “James Martin’s Brittany” and missed a few episodes… I was gutted as i wish I had the money to be able to travel and move to France at the best of times. This 3 DVD set was a Christmas edition with recipe cards and features his seasons “Brittany” and also “Champagne”. A great price at ₤12.99 reduced from ₤25.99! 50% off and the DVDs are region 0, not region 2! Note, this is a fun journey, but isn’t brilliantly produced – it feels real and normal! Click the cover to see more.

    • The Fat Duck Cookbook

    A beautiful book of gastro porn… This book is magnificent and amazing to perve at, even if you would never ever cook anything out of it, the technique, the photo’s, the food, all is amazing!

    Here in Australia it is rabidly expensive to buy. The normal edition is $102.95 and the “Big” edition is $395!! But fear no more – you can have your gastro porn cheaper! The Fat duck is priced at a modest ₤24.50 (AUD$42 approx) and the “Big” edition is ₤90.66 (approx AUD$154.00)!! Follow the links by clicking the books!

    1. A new release – the new Gordon Ramsay – Gordon’s Escape!

    I got this last week and sat there reading the book with urges to cook every single dish in the book! It features 100 recipes from Gordon Ramsay’s trip to India that was screened in the UK last month (I have seen it, and I actually loved it, although generally Gordon Ramsay generally pisses me off.. i can find him irritating.) The photos in this book are amazing, as are the recipes… Below find the link for both the book, and the DVD set of the series as released in the UK. When the book is released, it has a RRP in Australia of $65.00, but buy it now from the UK for only ₤12.49!

    1. Last one for this batch – A new Jamie Oliver!!

    In his latest edition “Jamie does…”, Jamie Oliver explores Marrakesh, Athens, Venice, Andalucia, Stockholm and the Midi Pyrenees region of France… I love his books for everyday meals and options, and this book is a pre-order… Delivery would be on 15th April, however it only costs ₤16.12 at the moment, and receive it 2 days after release!

    If there is anything you are ever seeking, and want some help, send me an email at > and I will see if I can help you out!!!

    Happy cooking and reading all, and if you want, check out my store at amazon of my picks at Foodiefile’s picks!



    What would possess someone reared vegetarian to open the most meaty restaurant in Melbourne. February 17, 2010

    Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 8:35 pm
    Tags: , ,

    A couple of weeks ago a group of us visited La Luna Bistro in Carlton, and it has taken me 2 weeks to get down off foodie high. I’ll be clear – this place is my favourite restaurant in Melbourne right now and it will take a lot for me to find a new favourite.

    To start – we arrived early… I like to relax before a big meal, have a glass of wine and wait for my other diners to arrive… But we arrived 45 minutes early to a restaurant without a bar… All i can say we were welcomed with very welcome arms by Adrian’s team and this was the opening to a beautiful evening.

    We started with a bottle of a French white called Ormarine Sur Lies from Langedoc– A grape varietal call Picpoul de Pinet which, from my understanding, is not grown in Australia – a kind of mix between a Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, it was perfect for the meal that followed, and we didn’t change to anything else until coffee after dessert! (If you want to hunt some down, Randall’s in Albert Park and Hawthorn stock it, as well as the non-Sur Lies version.

    Well entrees … Even though the menu at La Luna doesn’t have a multitude of choices for each course, I found it a little difficult to choose. My partner and I eventually decided to share an entree of the House made cured meats. A lovely mix of textures and flavours with the usual bits and pieces – Cornichons, olives and some lovely pickled pears. A great size for a sharing plate.

    My friends…. well… Julie had a little middle eastern spiced lamb pie (a recipe featured in Adrian’s book – Meat) and it was delicious, lots of pine nuts, with spicy and sweet flavours…

    Pip had the Pickled Octopus, which was small and dainty, but apparently a perfect size, and Amanda and Julia had the Soufflé – which was one of the most amazing soft cheesy lumps of goodness I have tried for a VERY long time… you can always tell a true foodie table by the number of time each fork is passed across the table!


    Before arriving i had decided that although there was duck on the menu – a firm favourite, i was going to have the crackling wrapped loin of pork… Well… Although it is another featured recipe in Adrian’s cookbook Meat, it was an amazing dish, and I was so pleased I had ordered it – the crackling was perfect and crisp, the mash was perfect, and the slaw – light and green…

    I just wish I could have fitted in 2 main courses and also had the duck. Perfectly cooked duck breast and leg (so much duck! There was plenty to share) and other dishes on the table included Bull Boar sausages, Porterhouse steak cooked perfectly and a slow braised beef ragu gnocchi.




    I was however, severely disappointed with the sides we ordered with our main. The spinach we ordered, whilst it was good spinach – it was just spinach and the sweet beets – i was expecting heirloom beets in rainbow colours, and we received normal beetroot that tasted far too much like tinned beetroot that had been heated up. I didn’t even photograph them.

    The service was exemplary through the entire meal; the wait staff who looked after us had personality, which I appreciate as I cannot stand distant staff – from working too long in restaurants myself.
    Well, dessert time came… Since Kendall and I had shared the entree, we decided to share the small dessert tasting plate – a lovely brulee, rum and raisin and berry ice creams and the richest most moist brownie ever – an awesome choice!

    Other desserts included pannacotta with fresh figs, that was so cute and an amazing Portuguese custard pudding, that tasted like a not-so sweet bread pudding and it was a beautiful dish to finish – I highly recommend it!



    All in all, a lovely evening with amazing service that didn’t cost the earth, and we were all so full! The portions were a fantastic size and we are going back to try them for the “Restaurant Express” at the food festival (we are also trying Taxi)
    Adrian’s cookbook “MEAT” can also be bought at Books for Cooks and all good bookstores. He has another one in the making a little birdie told me, and I cannot wait to own it!

    La Luna Bistro
    320 Rathdowne Street
    Carlton VIC
    03 9349 4888

    p.s. apologies that some of the photo’s are not as good as they should be – we had some trouble with light on the night…


    Poh’s Kitchen this week! February 16, 2010

    Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 3:56 pm

    I am having panty puddles…. David Thompson of “Thai Food” (the pink bible) and “Thai Street Food” (the cookbook that is made for giants) is the special guest on Poh’s Kitchen this week!

    Tune into ABC1 at 6:30pm for some thai food envy – a show I am VERY looking forward to!

    Posts coming this week:

    La Luna Bistro (I am finally over my foodie come down…)
    Collingwood Childrens Farm and
    another Cookbook review….


    Here comes the rain again… February 11, 2010

    Filed under: Restaurant Reviews — foodiefile @ 7:03 pm

    I must say that I am very happy with the rain in Melbourne tonight, and I thought it was time for my next international destination, England, in respect to the wetness outside.

    While there were some meals I wanted to take photo’s of and couldn’t (lunch at the house of lords for one – it wasn’t marvellous, but being in the same room as some very important, slight effeminate bishop from the church of England, surrounded by lords (I am related to one, and that’s how I was there, but that is another story). The food was average and quite unspectacular – but this summed up England for me.

    It amazed me that London appears to be obsessed with the pre-packaged EVERYTHING! I suppose it is great for the young professional on the go to be able to stop at Marks and Spencers on his way home to pick up a vac sealed “Roast Lamb and Vegies for one” but it means that people missout on the amazing experience of food, and of cooking and, most importantly, the importance of fresh, seasonal food in their diet.

    Everything I saw in my first couple of days was pre-packaged or in a bag that was sealed, suffocating the food. Don’t get me wrong – one of my favourite items was a Tesco’s Crayfish Sandwich on rye – Not crayfish like we are used to admittedly, tiny small freshwater ones from farms in Holland, but admittedly, they were delicious! Just not local.

    Well… I finally decided to visit Borough market. Although on Market Kitchen on the Food Channel on Foxtel makes Borough Market look big – it isn’t. If you know the size of Queen Vic market – it’s about the size of the deli section as a whole, with maybe half the butcher’s area – but that is it…

    But the food….

    Roll on the photos!!!

    I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the “FAGOTS” for my own use… Small English sausages dried and shrivelled like a… well… they’re sausages


    Well… the cheese. Whilst there was some amazing blue, my particular favourite was this Italian man selling his cow’s milk cheese from Italy – he ages and soaks it in Merlot which gives the most beautiful little sugar-like crystals in the hard cheddar – a marvel of cheese but i would never get it through customs!

    It was winter, and it was frigidly cold – mulled juices were perfect – I tried the Lemon, Ginger and ginseng – it was lovely!


    I would love to have a store devoted to Bacon at the queen vic — Wild Boar Streaky with eggs every Sunday morning!




    Another amazing experience I had was in the town of York. One of the original Walled cities (and I am going to include some photo’s here that are not food – please forgive me, and if you want, just skip them…)


    York Minster.


    Medievil aged streets are everywhere, and these building jut out making you think that after 400 years they are going to fall.

    We only took a day trip to York – but i wanted to stay so much longer, it was a beautiful city – the architecture, the water, the wall, and a small pub built in the 1600’s that served a giant Yorkshire pudding with veggies (the most amazing roast potatoes I have ever had I think) including peas, your choice of Cumberland sausages (my choice and the photo) or a range of roasts of the day.

    The only let down was that the Yorkshire pudding, which was about 9-10 inches across, was originally frozen and then baked for our dish, but with the gravy souping the veg and sausages, they were amazing and the ultimate stodge food!


    Poh’s kitchen – my first impression February 10, 2010

    Filed under: TV — foodiefile @ 7:28 pm

    Now i love Poh… I wanted her to win Masterchef Australia, but i remembered that the person who comes second in many reality TV shows tends to be the more successful, and I wish her success over any monetary bonus that a TV show could buy…

    I have been anxious for Poh’s kitchen to start – expecting asian cooking (and that is about it) with her great sense of style and individuality. How wrong I was… (I am watching the show for the second time on iview as we speak)

    Poh’s first episode included french chef  Emmanuel Mollois cooking croissant from scratch, almond croissant with poh’s experimental style of an amazing “sponge” style cake with oil and coconut milk!!!

    The cake looked amazing! The only downside of the show – i have always thought poh wore a little too much makeup.. She looked a little tranny-mess with a large amount of blush…

    Whilst the formula was very “cook and the chef” with small interludes and video grabs, the show was engaging and gave a strong sense of what makes Poh tick… Her sense of history, with her sense of her own.. I will be at home at 6:30pm every Wednesday sitting with anticipation to see what she pulls out next in her quest for her own special sense of fusion food… Poh is imaginary and definately presents difference to our growing Food TV Scene… I cannot wait for her cookbooks!

    If you want to see the recipes, and want to know more, check out the website for Poh’s kitchen at


    Memories of a colder climate… February 8, 2010

    Filed under: Shopping!,Travel — foodiefile @ 7:44 pm
    Tags: ,

    I live in a house without air conditioning… a frightful experience in high summer in Melbourne… and I am a winter kid.. i love my gloves, i love my scarves, i love my jumpers, and due to my love of food, i like to cover my hair ridden body as much as i can…

    The heat in Melbourne is causing me to dream of a time when i was in a colder climate – January last year i spent a week in cold, frost ridden paris – a marvelous experience that I would live in 5 seconds again…

    So, i decided to share some food from Paris… No generic sights of Paris, no Eiffel tower, No Louvre, just fantastic food, and note – none of these photo’s have been adjusted – the Colours are natural, and it makes me realise that fresh food here in Australia is either less ridden in chemicals, or just not as good!

    Please ignore the cowering Australian lady in the foreground, this street market was just around the corner from the Arc Du Triomphe – not on the usual tourist trail (there was a big fist fight on the train on the way here, to which the cowering Australian lady in the foreground was a little un-trusting of where this “experimental” tourist was taking her, but worth EVERY second…. and you will see why…

    I don’t think i have ever seen Rotisserie chooks out in the street before – the smell was…. alluring to say the least…

    Clementine’s became my new favorite fruit… how could they not when they are so beautifully wrapped individually… not to mention they taste AMAZING!!! They are a member of the mandarin family, but are a little more like an orange, are intensely sweet and pip-less… i wish i could get them here….. am trying to source a tree so i can grow my own!!

    If you think these scallops look three times larger than those available here in Australia, you would be correct!

    A little bit of HOOF anyone?

    Freshly made Paella – amazing looking AND smelling

    The prawns at the back were about 5 times the size of the biggest Aussie prawns i have seen… and that many Sea Urchins!

    Not just oysters, but a choice of 4 varieties…

    One of my favourite dishes is either Terrine or Pate en Crout. Nothing here disappointed!




    There was the most amazing array of bakers, cheese shops and grocers, and EVERYTHING not only looked rabidly expensive, but as fresh as fresh… and despite what Australian bakers tell you – French baguette’s taste SO much better!

    The strangest looking Zuchinni / Courgette’s i have ever seen!



    and now onto some shopping porn… I really want to watch Trish Deseine’s “Trish’s Paris Kitchen” again just to get puddles about the shops in Paris… well here are some…

    Oh the chocolate, and I am not normally a fan of pink, but THE PINK!!! This is Fauchon – one of the most exclusive and expensive food shops in Paris… you can visit them too at




    I must admit i did buy some things from Fauchon – the most incredible Wasabi Moutarde, and some phenomonal Duck Liver Pate – i still have one tiny tin left, and am savouring it for a special occasion…


    If you think these meringue’s look like the size of a small cat – you would be correct!


    I miss the food of Paris, and I am sure that provincial france is even better, but its a matter of saving pennies – France was one of the most expensive places I have ever been – Even a flat white was costing AUD$9.00 while we were there!

    But I recommend to anyone to visit – it was an amazing experience – and the coffee (versus London and Ireland) was bloody marvelous… Keep tunes for London and England next…..