Foodiefile

Independant Foodie reviews from Melbourne

A Melbourne Foodie in Sydney – Part 4 – Woollahra July 18, 2010

Filed under: Places to Visit,Shopping!,Travel — foodiefile @ 4:25 pm
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Walking down the hill from Surry Hills and Paddington towards Woollahra you feel the price of everything from a coffee to a house rising sharply… From expensive Paddington to opulent Woollahra, this area offers many foodie haunts if you have money to spend…

Walking down Queen Street Simon Johnson sits on the right hand corner surrounded by expensive linen purveyors and antique stores… It is a tranquil and stylish area. This first shop restaurant I notice is Bistro Moncur – although on this trip I didn’t have the opportunity to fine there, I will definitely be visiting next time to experience some of Damien Pignolet amazing food.

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Victor Churchill has always been, from afar, THE butcher I would like to have as my own. Upon visiting the store, the format is intimidating and slightly scary, with large glass rooms with butchers cutting carcasses up like animals in cages performing for you. I understand the glass for hygiene – and you can walk in there, if you dare. This store is opulent and expensive… A fantastic spot to go for that slice of rare breed beef at $75 for a serving for 2 people, and amazing charcuterie and sausages, but this store is out of my price range…
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Around the corner from Queen Street, The Donna Hay General store presents itself as a small, visually splendid store. Although a little difficult to find, this offering is well worth the hunt.

I will be honest, I have never been a very big fan of Donna Hay – I thought she was always just a pretty girl that every desperate housewife tried to intimidate and follow her cookbooks as bibles, although I rarely found the recipes in her cookbooks to my liking. I now realise that I misunderstood Donna. She is a Food Stylist – she makes EVERYTHING look pretty – but isn’t necessarily the most accomplished chef or cook book writer – but by god – she makes things pretty!!
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Walking in the shop smells of baking cupcakes – they’re in the oven up the back! Full of fresh clean styles, I loved many things in this store. Plenty of handmade accents and vintage styles, I believe the photo’s speak for themselves.

The staff were amazing – attentive and friendly and the complete opposite of Fratelli Fresh – They offered for me to take photos if I liked and assisted me with any questions I had to ask. I thought it was really great to see that Donna – as busy as she is – obviously has a large hand in this part of her empire. Donna – if you read this – you should definitely consider a store in Melbourne – although you can purchase a limited range in David Jones Food Halls – they had nothing on this cute little store…
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Coming next — Sydney Fish Markets!!!

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I am back with a vengence! the Showgrounds Farmers Market – a Baby Barossa! May 16, 2010

Filed under: Shopping! — foodiefile @ 2:39 pm

Hello All! I know I have been away for a while, and I apologise, but the feedback from you all asking where I am has been appreciated!!! I have been busy with a promotion at work and a bit of illness, but I am back and blazing now!!!

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Ok, lets get started with a Farmers Market review! The Showgrounds Farmers market started only about a month ago now, and reminds me of the Barossa farmers market , or at least where it started from.

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Aside from being a little difficult to find due to lack of signage, the market is held in and around the Federation Hall at the Melbourne showground every Sunday from 9am until 1pm.

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The first stall we came to had the largest Rhubarb I have ever seen in my life – stalks almost a metre long and we had trouble getting the bunch into our trolley! Other large items included perfect button squash and leeks as well as great onions. Our trolley was almost filled with only $25.00 paid!

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Next was a shop selling pine mushrooms – harvested wild mushrooms, that even provided a taste of lightly sautéed mushrooms. They tasted of the forest, with a hint of pine/herb taste, and would be perfect with thyme or dill. We are having them for dinner with leek and parsley! They were big and colourful and only $6.00 a tray, or 2 for $10.00

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Although this market is not a large one, it has great potential and has some of my favourite farmers market regulars – Meredith Dairy.

Selling the usual fare of goats and sheeps milk cheese, next door is the sellers daughter with the most amazing tarts made with the Meredith product (apparently people were asking what they could do with the cheese!). We purchased our usual stock of young goats curd, and a large bucket of Fetta offcuts – although they only had sheeps fetta offcuts left.

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Organic apples and pears were plentiful, with citrus specialists alongside organic sellers. A baker was selling, and a gentleman I had not met before. His bread is traditional and homely… The Semolina Scrolls (with plump raisins, semlolina and sweet pastry) were amazing for our breakfast, and we left with my favourite loaf of the moment, a spelt sourdough. His bread looked amazing, with olive loaves, sourdough, rye… I will be trying more of this!

Other favourites were King Valley Pork (I have featured them before on my Collingwood childrens farm market page) and a REALLY good coffee cart – something important on a Sunday morning.
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I encourage everyone to support this fabulous market – its on EVERY Sunday and will grow as it becomes more popular. I spoke with the organiser regarding the lack of signage and she has been having some trouble with the City of Melbourne, which is a shame, but if we all support the market, maybe the council will finally realise that markets are the way of the future, as well as the past!

Entry is free, and the market is situated up the back of the showgrounds, near the entrance to Flemington Racecourse’s Grandstand.

Federation Hall – Melbourne Showgrounds,
Access from Leonards Cres off Langs Rd,
Ascot Vale, Melbourne, Victoria

http://www.melbourneshowgroundsfarmersmarket.com.au/
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The Echuca tomato festival that was, or wasn’t, part of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival. March 21, 2010

Filed under: Places to Visit,Shopping!,Travel — foodiefile @ 7:52 pm

I get excited by the prospect of a country drive on the prospect of food, wine and a little shopping. We packed the car early so we could drive via SPC at Shepparton so we left about 7am, and took the drive up.

We arrived at Echuca for the tomato festival at about midday – Its starting time. We arrived to be a little disappointed.
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The Melbourne food and wine festival website touted the event to be:

“If you’ve heard about Spain’s tomato festival you’ll have an idea of what’s planned a fun celebration of one of Australia’s largest tomato growing regions, including sugo making, the great tomato bash and a tomato target celebrity challenge. Plus an extraordinary variety of cuisine, including pork sausages handmade locally, and regional wines that will confirm what a great winegrowing region we have here on the Murray.”

Now my idea of the term “Extraordinary variety of cuisine” would need to include more than two dishes – they were a sausage or Gnocchi Napolitana. La Tomatina in Spain is a free for all and a celebration of tomato and food. Echuca’s festival consisted of 3 stands and a busker. The 3 stands included some chefs hanging out with their mates making sugo, a food stand with the afore mentioned, and three wineries selling glasses of wine for $5. The busker was ok.
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Suffice to say, we spent about 5 minutes at the festival and decided to make a move somewhere more foodie.

After a drive through some antique shops, we arrived in Heathcote.

We found a little slice of foodie heaven in Heathcote with Cellar and Store. We were warmly greeted by the wonderful staff and perused some amazing foodie items that just tempted me to part with my cash… These delicacies included Spanish olive oil torta’s – the sweet ones are wonderful on their own or with chocolate mousse, the savoury ones are amazing with cheese. There was a good range of olive oils and amazing locally made cheese boards.
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The wine store stocks some of the best local wines – the finest range of Heathcote shiraz I have found, including some wines I have not heard of. Prices vary from reasonable to expensive – but usually with wine you get what you pay for. There are always tastings available of a selection of stocked wines and the lovely lady who looked after us (I think her name was Rachael) really knew what she was talking about even though she pleaded that she didn’t know much!!

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We sat in the lovely alfresco area out the back surrounded by some lovely drought friendly plants and enjoyed a coffee and meringue. These were the finest meringue’s I have ever had – they were soft and gooey and perfectly ugly! And they take orders over the internet too!! So if you are looking for that perfect Heathcote wine – check them out!!!

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I will be back in a second to this lovely store of foodie heaven when I next pass!!!

There are, of course, different standards of wine store in Heathcote as well for you to get your Heathcote Shiraz fix – the bank is a great stop for a quaffer, and they even had 2004 Shiraz for only $10 a bottle when we visited (I had to buy a case, and am drinking some as we write!)

Cellar and Store
http://www.cellarandstore.com.au/
105 High St. Heathcote Vic 3523
Tel  03 5433 2204
Open 7 days per week 10 – 5.30

The Bank Cellar Door
http://www.bankcellardoor.com.au/
129 High St. Heathcote Vic 3523
Tel 03 5433 2662
Open 7 days per week 10 – 5.00

 

Bargain book of the week – The Hairy Bikers! March 3, 2010

Filed under: Restaurant Reviews,Shopping! — foodiefile @ 8:47 pm
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My Bargain book for this week!!!

Si and Dave (The Hairy Bikers) undertake a nationwide search for Britain’s lost recipes – those forgotten gems or secret scribbles handed down through the generations – for a landmark TV series. The Bikers send out a call-to-arms for mums, daughters and their grandmothers to unlock their private recipe archives and share with, and learn from, other mums of all races and backgrounds. This is a heart-warming and down-to-earth recipe book that takes place against beautiful British backdrops throughout the summer. Here yummy mummies, Northern matriarchs, West Indian foster mums and ladies of the manor all come together with recipes to share, tips to swap and techniques to learn, in a book that contains 112 different recipes.

I love the Hairy Bikers, they have a common charm with the ladies for two bear boys and their recipes are traditional and simple. And its available at over half price from Amazon.co.uk! only GBP8.99 reduced from GBP20.00!

Click the cover to see more!

 

A book sale round the corner March 1, 2010

Filed under: Cookbooks,Shopping! — foodiefile @ 12:21 pm
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Ok it’s time for my first post on the road!

Around the corner from my gainful place of employment is a little book shop called fly by night books. ( phone (03)94295115 ) and I have often popped my head in to see what they have foodie book wise.

Generally I am a little disappointed however I have some good news!! They have a few books everyone may like at the moment!! Both at McDonalds value meal prices but with far better quality food produced!

First is Tessa Kiros’s book “Piri Piri Starfish” priced at about $65 at borders this book is a steal at only $30!

Also on the menu is Tana Ramsay’s “Home Made” at a bargain price of only $20 for the hardback – the paperback version is $47 at borders!!! bargain!!!

The shop is on the corner of Elizabeth and A’Beckett streets, Melbourne. Happy shopping all!

Matt

 

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
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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 Amazon.co.uk 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 >foodiefile@gmail.com 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!

    Matt

     

    Memories of a colder climate… February 8, 2010

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

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    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!

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    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

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    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…

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

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    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…..

    Matt

    xoxo