Sunday, 19 February 2012

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder

It’s currently 28 degrees in Melbourne, not quite slow-roast weather, but oh well! Having grown up in a tropical climate I got used to eating all kinds of meals whilst ignoring the suffocating heat and humidity.

This is a meal I like to make on a Sunday as you can simply put it in the oven, hours before guests come over, and then spend the afternoon relaxing.

Have a read, cook it yourself and let me know what you think. I’m unable to cook a recipe the same way twice, so would love to know what changes you make – even if it fails! 

 Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder

1.5kg deboned lamb shoulder cut into 3cm chunks (you can get your butcher to do this for you)
1 head of garlic
1 red onion
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
Dry white wine
500g bread torn into small chunks (I used ciabatta, but you can use anything is dense enough to hold its shape)
100g grated parmesan
Few sprigs of thyme or rosemary or any herb you enjoy with lamb

Heat your oven to 170°C - 180°C (mine is a gas oven so I tend to have it a bit hotter), add some oil to a roasting pan and heat it in the oven while you do your chopping.

Roughly chop the tomatoes and onion into quarters and separate the cloves of garlic (you can leave these unpeeled for now).

Mix and coat the bread with the parmesan.

Into the hot roasting pan put your lamb shoulder chunks fat side down and scattering the onion, garlic and bread on top.

Pour over a solid glug of white wine and toss all the ingredients together.

Put the tray back into the oven for 2-3 hours. Check it every now and again, add more wine if the top looks like it drying out, turn the lamb a few times to help crisp the outside.

Service with couscous or with a nice creamy mash and some green beans with flaked almonds.

Delicious with a nice Riesling (ours was Bay of Fires) or a Pinot Noir.


Blueberry Crumble Slice

Well here it is, my first blog (I’m Glutton – the recipe queen and Lush is the resident restaurant reviewer).
Summer is my favourite fruit season; I love all the berries and stone fruit. This year I took a trip up to Milawa and came across a fantastic berry farm called Blue Ox Berries (on my way to the amazing Milawa Cheese Company) where delicious blueberries were only $9 for 500g.

Of course, having bought my half a kilo of blueberries I now had to find something to do with them. After much scouring of blogs for inspiration (I wanted something pseudo healthy) I found a recipe on Farmgirl Fare and with a few tweaks of my own came up with the following...

n.b. I re-used the same bowl for each layer; just wiping it out after each, but if you wanted to make all the layers at once it would be better to have 3 decent sized bowls.

Blueberry Bonanza Recipe


Bottom Layer
2 cups wholemeal oats (not quick oats)
¾ cup spelt plain flour
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
175g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence

Middle Layer

500g fresh or frozen blueberries
½ tsp almond extract
½ white sugar
3 tbs spelt plain flour

Top Layer
1 ½ cup spelt plain flour
½ cup light brown sugar
100g butter melted


Heat the oven to 180°C. Line a lamington tray with baking paper.

For the bottom layer
Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add in the melted butter and vanilla essence and mix until combined. Line the bottom of the pan with the mix.

For the middle layer
Toss the blueberries with the almond extract and pour over the bottom layer in the pan. Combine the sugar and flour and sprinkle it over the blueberries.

For the top layer
Mix the flour, brown sugar, and butter. It should be quite a dry mix forming crumbs for a crumble. Sprinkle the crumble over the blueberry mixture.

Bake at 180°C for 30mins until golden, serve warm with ice cream or cool and have as a morning tea snack.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tea and Cake

What: Storm in a Teacup

Where: 48A Smith Street, Collingwood, Vic. 3066

Afternoon Tea: A slice of the red-velvet cake and a cup of the Royal High Tea was just what I needed after a long day, and they did not disappoint.

Review: This discretely placed café and shop is a true find. The staff know their tea inside out - from the correct water temperature, to the brewing time required. Truly a pleasure for the tea lover or beginner.

Red-velvet cake is very tricky to get right, the cream cheese icing must be fluffy and thick, and the cake must be moist, but not too wet or too dry. And it was perfect!

Royal High Tea was as described; sweet and malty, and is best had with milk. A perfect cup – you really could taste the passion they put into making it.

Can’t wait to go back and try the brownies (they looked heavenly) and other teas.


Storm in a Teacup on Urbanspoon

Breakfast with Soul

What: Marmalade and Soul

Where: 162 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North Vic 3068


Cornbeef Jaffle - A toasted jaffle sandwich, filled with baked beans and cornbeef, with a side of ‘salted egg yolk marmalade’. Tasty and filling.

Can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu.

Review: This quirky redevelopment is great, trendy but not ostentatious. The wooden spoon chandeliers are fun, the seats comfortable and practical, the décor is appropriate. Definitely a neighbourhood institution in the making, specialising in Modern British Food.

The coffee served here is decent (not quite competing with the rest of the neighbourhood's very high standards), and the desserts are all made in house (I just had to get a raspberry marshmallow takeaway – delicious).

It is soon to be open for dinner (selective nights), in addition to the existing lunch and breakfast.


Marmalade and Soul on Urbanspoon

Asian Tonight

What: Laksa Me
Where: 1/16 Liverpool Street, Melbourne CBD, VIC 3000

The Meal:
Oyster on Oyster – was definitely my favourite dish of the night. Menu description: Pacific oyster arranged on top of a grilled oyster mushroom which has been lightly cured in a lemongrass, chilli and fresh ginger dressing, partnered with julienne of green apple and finely sliced fresh herbs. AMAZING

Other dishes ordered and recommended:
  • Oyster Shots (very well balanced, and nice kick of basil)
  • Lolly Pop (vegetarian eggplant – battered and fried)
  • Thai Beef Salad (traditional, fresh, and delicious) 
  •  Laksa Lemak (how can you go to Laksa Me and not get a laksa right?) 
  •  Pad Thai (a good staple)

Review:  This delightful little modern asian restaurant, tucked in the back-streets of Melbourne, truly is worth finding. As per their website, they really do offer “Modern Asian Cuisine with influences that draw from Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, Singaporean, Vietnamese and a bit of Italian cuisines”, and they live up to their concept of “Creative, Traditional and Australian versions of Asia Pacific Cuisine"

Bring a bottle of wine (as it is BYO) – I suggest picking one up at the City Wine Shop (located at 159 Spring Street, Melbourne CBD VIC 3000).


Laksa Me on Urbanspoon