Monday, 17 March 2014

The New - Taxi Kitchen

What: Taxi Kitchen
Where: Level 1 Transport Hotel, Federation Square, Cnr. Swanston & Flinders Streets

Another year, another Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. As always, my favorite thing to do is enjoy the restaurant express lunches (2 courses, Glass of Wine for only $40).

It just so happened that my booking at Taxi Kitchen (formerly Taxi Dining Room) was on their second day after re-opening from renovations. And I have to say - they did a great job. Here is what we ate:


Seared salmon, with warm sea lettuce & zucchini salad

Chargrilled spatchcock with wombok, and nashi pear salad


Lemon meringue pie – frozen like Nan’s

Mini doughnuts with caramelised milk jam

My Review = Delicious


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A Cold Summer Dinner

In case you have been living under a rock, Melbourne has been experiencing a record breaking heat wave. This can create many challenges to a party-thrower: "is it too hot for an outside picnic or BBQ?", "can I really serve just salad for dinner?", "its too hot to use the oven, what are my options for a dinner party?"

But alas - do not fear - Lush is hear with a solution - see my recipes below for the perfect stay at home (in the AirCon) dinner party.

MAIN - Cold Chicken in Curried Cream (serves 6-10)

 A family favorite of ours - tasty, spicy and served cold.
 PLEASE NOTE - this dish must be prepared the day prior.

The Chicken

  • 1.5kg skinless chicken breasts (cut into medium sized tenderloins)
    • Poached gently at a simmer on the stove-top in a thin stock consisting of:
      • Chicken Stock Powder 
      • Salt/Pepper 
      • Garlic Powder 
      • Curry Powder 
      • Mild Smoked Paprika 
      • Turmeric 
      • Cumin Powder 
      • Lemon Oil (or zest will substitute)
    • Poach until just done and tender. (do not overcook or will be tough).
    • Let cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours in half the cooking liquid (add ice to expedite)

The Sauce

  • Whilst the chicken is cooling in the fridge, you can start to prepare the curried cream sauce:
  • First in a saucepan, saute until translucent and soft:
    •  3 Tbl vegetable oil
    • 2 medium onions, roughly diced
  •  Once soft, add: 
    • 1 Tbl curry powder (cook for a further one minute)
  •  Remove from heat, and add
    • ¼ cup tomato sauce
    • 1 Tbl apricot jam
    • 1 Tbl  mango chutney
  •  Once completely cool - fold in:
    •  ½ cup oil mayonnaise
    •  ½ cup cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks

 Finishing it off

  • Drain the chicken pieces
  • Layer in a casserole dish (alternating layers of Sauce/Chicken) 
  • Ensure all chicken is covered 
  • Then Refrigerated overnight



SIDE - Turkish Spoon Salad (serves 6-10)


  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 lemon - juiced + 1 tsp zest
  • 1 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red chilli (finely grated)
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 bunch mint (finely chopped)
  • 2 punnets cherry tomatoes
  • 2 yellow capsicums (bell peppers)
  • 2 Lebanese cucumber
  • 3 whole pomegranates
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios


  1. Combine the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, oil and chilli in bowl
  2. Add the parsley and mint to the same bowl and refrigerate to marinate for 15 minutes
  3. Meanwhile, Finely dice (into peanut sized pieces):
    1. Cherry tomatoes - each needs to be cut into sixths (or use whole tomatoes but remove seeds)
    2. Cucumber - with the seeds removed
    3. Capsicums - also with the seeds removed
  4. Combine with the remaining ingredients (i.e add vegetables to sauce/herbs).
  5. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes - this will allow the flavours to infuse perfectly.
  6. Once marinated -  drain in a sieve to remove any excess juices that has accumulated.
  7. Season to taste with salt & pepper.



It can be unwise to serve wine or sparkling on extremely hot day - therefore I would stick to beer or non-alcoholic beverages.

Enjoy the AirCon and your cold feast.

Monday, 3 February 2014

25 minute Ice Cream Layer Cake

In an attempt to save space, money and trees I have cancelled my food magazine subscriptions and gone through my 5 (!!) years of magazine - tearing out recipes I liked. As a result, I have nothing lightweight to flick through on our endless hot summer nights. Giving into temptation, I bought my first ever Taste magazine. Full of quick, easy hot weather meals this may become a regular purchase.

This isn't an advert for Taste, so I won't wax lyrical, except to give them credit for this recipe. It's so simple and it only takes 25 minutes. Although not the cheapest option, if you ever need a quick, cooling dessert that can be instantly made larger or smaller this is the one for you. As always I have a few changes and tips that are strongly recommended. 

  • Assume 1/2 ice cream sandwich per person for a normal sized slice
  • Swap the cream for ice cream to avoid that icy texture if you over freeze it
  • Make room in your freeze before starting this!
  • Swap the chocolate sauce for a pre-made one or even just melted chocolate
  • If the cream is too frozen, use the chocolate sauce to stick the toppings on
  • For extra minty-ness, add some peppermint essence to the cream once whipped
Mint Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
Serves 4-5


  • 2x 4 pack of Cadbury Ice Cream Sandwiches 
  • 300ml cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 1 pack Aero Baubles, sliced thinly length ways (into shards)
  • 2 pack Mint Crisp, cut in half
A version of Nigella's Chocolate Sauce:
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 125ml double cream
  • 2tsp of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup

  1. On a flat serving plate arrange 4 of the ice cream sandwiches
  2. Cover the top with a layer of cream about 0.5cm thick
  3. Sprinkle half the mint crisp shards on top
  4. Place the remaining ice cream sandwiches on top
  5. Top with cream and freeze for 20mins
  6. Scatter with the top with Aeros and mint crisp
  7. Drizzle the hot chocolate sauce over the top, slice and serve 


Friday, 31 January 2014

Meringue Layer Cake

We're almost one month in to 2014 and Lush and I really should have a resolution to make this a dedicated blogging year. Working in our favour is that I now have access to my own kitchen. Not that I didn't have a kitchen before, but now there is no one else to get annoyed by the mess I leave behind. Working against us is our natural ability to be consumed by the cooking and the eating and forget about the photographing and writing! Wish us luck; we will need it!

Using this kitchen freedom, I have been making an effort to cook regularly and have started hosting dinner parties again! A dinner party with friends usually involves a rich, chocolate brownie or a pudding that smells good enough to overpower the lack of any attempt (or success) at decoration and presentation. But no more!

This is my attempt a meringue layer cake that to be honest was more of a learning experience than a success. Things to remember with meringue:
  • Don't make it on a humid day (you'll notice mine is quite flat)
  • Make sure to beat your eggs well to get as much air as possible
  • Assemble the cake no more than 30 minutes before you eat it. The creme patisserie will make the meringue soft and you don't want to lose the crunchy chewiness
  • Most of all, even when it fails, it's still delicious and good friends will lie and agree with you

  • 6 egg whites (save the yolks for the creme patisserie!)
  • 300g cater sugar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 cup pecans, finely processed
  • Seasonal Berries (preferably not frozen as they will be too wet)
  • Icing sugar to dust
Creme Patisserie
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 30g unsalted good quality butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 60g unrefined caster sugar
  • 30g plain flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 140ÂșC. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper and trace the bottom of a loaf tin onto each
  2. Beat the egg whites until there are stiff peaks. Then slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, make sure to beat well after each addition. 
  3. Gently fold through the vinegar, vanilla and pecans. Making sure not to knock the air out of the eggs as you go.
  4. Divide the mix between the 3 baking trays. Stack each meringue thick to get it as chewy as possible
  5. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave the meringues in it to cool.
Creme Patisserie
  1. Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thick ribbons form when the beaters are lifted
  2. Seive the flour over the top and mix until smooth
  3. Put the milk, butter, salt and vanilla in a medium sized, non-stick saucepan.
  4. Bring the milk to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour a ladle full over the eggs. Stir quickly until smooth. Repeat until about half of the milk has been incorporated
  5. Pur the egg and milk mix into the saucepan with the remaining milk.
  6. Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for 3 minutes
  7. Cover the surface with gladwrap or baking paper so that a skin doesn't form
  1. To assemble, place one of the meringues on a flat plate and spread with a third of the creme patissiere. 
  2. Scatter a layer of berries, top with another of the meringues and repeat



Thursday, 16 January 2014

Burma Lane

What: Burma Lane
Where: 118 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when it came to Burmese food. I simply assumed it was going to be very similar to other south-east Asian cuisines. Upon investigation, I found out that the main influences in Burmese cuisine are Chinese, Indian and Thai due to Burma’s bordering neighbors, combined with a slight western influences due to colonization and trade.

What we ate:

ENTREE (shared of course)

  • Kun Sar Thi - Betel leaf w/ chicken, shallot, peanuts, green mango & Sichuan pepper
  • Crispy soft shell crab w/ dandauk salad & sour chilli (WOW)

MAINS (shared of course)

  • Pickled tea leaf salad - tea leaves, tomato, peanuts, sesame seeds, crunchy broad beans & cabbage (AMAZING)
  • Scallops & BBQ pork wok fried w/ yellow noodles, Chinese celery & coriander
  • Prawns cooked in banana leaf w/ spices & herbs

(I must admit these were not my favorite, largely due to my preference for western desserts)

  • Sago & coconut pudding w/ coconut & seasonal fruits
  • Pandan, coffee & coconut jelly with coconut sorbet 


Given the wide variety of cuisine in Melbourne generally, I don't think I would personally add Burmese to my standard rotation. But as their website states: it really is "Fresh, Vibrant and Deliciously Different!"

Give it a try - after all variety is the spice of life.
(apologies for the picture - I only remembered to take a picture once we had finished)