Friday, 28 February 2014

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese {Week 2 of the Grilled Cheese Transformation}

Pulled pork was my find of 2013. Who knew that a reasonably cheap chunk of meat, stuck in a slow-cooker for a long time bathed in sugar could be so delicious. Well, the USA actually. Nevermind, I got there eventually. So when consulting 31 grilled cheeses that are better than a boyfriend the pulled pork grilled cheese from Closet Cooking was a natural choice. I wish I had discovered Closet Cooking when I first moved to Melbourne- an absolute fount of easy recipes that can be achieved in a fairly basic kitchen.

This was an incredibly simple dinner because the slow-cooker sorts out the meat for you and then you just whack it on some bread with cheese and sauce and toast. Great for a slightly healthier alternative to takeaway if you are tired or stressed- and I was both on this occasion.
I really love my recipe for pulled pork adapted from The Londoner so I used it instead of Closet Cooking's.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


I need to tell you about my Saturday. I hope that in 5 years time I may be able to look back on this post and laugh. Hopefully it makes you feel better about your Saturday in the meantime.

A 9.5 hour shift, alone, in the Wine Shop With No Wine is predictably long, tedious and reasonably depressing. But it has advantages: plenty of time to read Gourmet Traveller or whatever wine text I am browsing at the time, time to chat to some of the nicer customers, even just the opportunity to do not terribly much for a while. Just in case my manager is reading- This is after I have made sure the shelves are stocked etc (which doesn't take long enough sadly).

What is not supposed to happen is the spontaneous explosion of a bottle of beer, suicide bomber style; taking 2 of his compatriots and a bottle of shiraz with him, splattering the shop with alcohol and glass. My initial thought when I heard the pop was that it was a drive by shooting (there have been a few pizza shops targeted recently, I though the crims might be branching out). A customer less than 1 metre away from the vengeful beer was miraculously unharmed and only lightly sprayed, astonishing given the state the rest of the stock was in. I checked the customer was OK and ushered him away from the broken glass and towards his family with the poor fella repeating "It just exploded" to all within earshot.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Which Sandwich are you? {Week 1 of the Grilled Cheese Transformation}

This is terribly important!

Go here and do the quiz "Which Sandwich Are You?" The best online quiz in history (please comment below or on Facebook which sandwich you are, because let's face it, civilisations are built on this kinda stuff).

I am very proud to say I got Grilled Cheese which according to the quiz (and to me) is:

"the best f’ing sandwich in the whole entire universe." 

To celebrate this achievement I thought I might undertake a 12 week challenge. A bit like Michelle Bridges 12 week Body Transformation .....only not. I will call it the 12 week Grilled Cheese Transformation.

Have you seen the 31 grilled cheeses that are better than a boyfriend doing the rounds on Facebook? Well I have taken my favourite 12 and each week, for 12 weeks I am going to make one and take pictures and tell you about it. Quality blog content my pretties.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Caramel Mudcake with Dark Chocolate Ganache {Recipe}

So I made this:
It was not at all as hard as I thought it was going to be so I had to tell you about it. I generally am not into cooking with lots of ingredients and multiple steps. I have lost baking confidence as a result of 12 months in a share house without a working oven followed by 2 years in a teeny tiny flat with an even teeny tinier kitchen and a crappy oven right next to my fridge, which resulted in the fridge heating up and developing a large ice tumour due to stress. It was quite a thing. Anyway, I now have a lovely big kitchen with a fully functional (and rather nice) oven so it is time to jump back on the horse. Plus, I wanted to make a Belated Bookworm Birthday cake so that called for something a bit special.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Last Jar {Review}

I discovered The Last Jar during the Melbourne Festival in 2012. It was October and the nights were still chilly. After seeing a show at the Melbourne Town Hall we dropped into the local Irish pub for some dinner. Stepping from the chilly night into the warm inviting dark-wood paneled bar with nary a tacky leprechaun to be seen, seated in a cosy corner and presented with some of the best Guinness in Melbourne- we were in love. The night only got better with amazing steaks, good music and a battered deep-fried poached egg with perfect oozy yolk that we still tell people about (it comes with the salt ling potato cake). 

We have been a number of times since, always with a fantastic experience, so when The Bookworm nominated The Last Jar for his belated birthday dinner I was enthusiastic. 

Then it got hot.

I have to admit to mild trepidation as we set out on a 35C evening (at 7pm)- but my fears were quickly allayed as we approached a sign that read "As cold as Dublin inside". 

As it turns out the dark wood interior is as soothing in the heat as it is in the cold.

The Bookworm started out with some oysters.

Monday, 10 February 2014

When tasting notes go horribly wrong

I just have to share this tasting note with you. I have typed this out exactly as it is printed:

Estival 2012- 60% Gewurtztraminer 30% Chradonnay (sic) 10% Moscato Bianco

This obscure Uruguayan blend with and added Alsacian flair denotes Uruguay's traditional winemaking style and the quality of its white wines. Its silky white tones are accentuated by tart passion fruit wrapped in pineapple skins. The floral notes continue to flourish with zucchini flowers sautèed in citrus oils, amplified with an almond cream finish, that matures in ones taste.


It might be something that was lost in translation but "silky white tones accentuated by tart passion fruit and wrapped in pineapple skins" sounds more like some sort of crazy burlesque costume than a wine. And "zucchini flowers sautèed (sic) in citrus oils amplified with an almond cream"- I'm not certain zucchini flowers need amplification, and amplification of what?

Also, they misspelled Chardonnay.

The worst part is that the tasting note actually puts people off. The label is very pretty, customers like a pretty label.....

I watch people pick it up and start to read, then put it back on the shelf. I have to be ready to intercept as soon as the bottle begins to revolve or else it is very hard to resurrect the image of this wine.

It is actually an exceptionally lovely wine, with everything you would expect from a gewurtztraminer- musk, spice and rose petals on the nose but then a surprisingly crisp palate; a little oakyness, stonefruit and citrus with stunning almost briny minerality, great acidity and a long finish (fortunately without any almond cream in sight).

If you see it in the store, you must try it, it is delicious and would be amazing with an enormous bowl of tempura seafood. And have a good chuckle at the description.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Melbourne Now

Every man on his (belated) birthday should be allowed to ride a rhinoceros. And, in Federation Square you can, until the 14th of March. 
We were there to have a brief look at Melbourne Now, a huge exhibition that runs across The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and the NGV International. The hour or so we spent at The Ian Potter Centre really only provided a taster of what is on offer. So that's what this is, a brief taste to encourage you to get down to the galleries and get your free dose of amazing local artists.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Caring Coffee {Review of Streat Cafe, Flemington}

My morning coffee helps homeless youth get their lives back on track.

How many of us can say that?

Streat is a social enterprise that kicked off in Melbourne in 2008 using it's cafes, catering kitchen and coffee roastery to train and mentor homeless and disadvantaged youth for careers in hospitality. That such a thing even exists is more than fabulous, but that the food and coffee is so damn good that you would go there anyway, is pure magic.

I have been a fan since I first moved into the area of the Flemington cafe. We always buy our ground coffee for home use from Streat and have had excellent food on the rare occasion we go out for breakfast. I decided to write this review after noticing that there weren't any recent blog posts on Urbanspoon and despite the fact that it has a 92% rating it is never as full as it should be given the quality.