Monthly Archives: June 2012

Some Things I’ve Been Up To…

….and walked around some laneways and streets in Melbourne City early in the morning in the cool icy air taking snaps of things that caught my eye…

This building has always fascinated me since I was a child, it always looked so old to me.

We have alot of funky restaurants, cafes and bars hidden in our laneways in Melbourne city.  It pays to know a local so they can tell you the best places to go off the normal tourist beat.
It’s school holidays at the moment and I’ve been finding it hard to sneak time on the computer as my younger daughter has wanted me to spend time with her and be a taxi driver for her social engagements (one being the Lady Gaga concert on Wednesday night which she said was INCREDIBLE).  Tonight we made dumplings and a chicken, corn & noodle soup for dinner which was nice for a change.  Tomorrow is the first day we’ve had where we can just stay home and relax.
Talk soon.
Catherine x

Recipes From My Mothers Kitchen

I bought “Recipes From My Mothers Kitchen” when I first saw it at the Cellar Bar at Grossi Florentino.    I was having dinner there with my husband and the atmosphere was jovial after a beautiful meal and a few glasses of red.  I picked the book up, flicked through it and instantly thought I have to have this one in my cookbook collection.

Guy Grossi’s parents emigrated from northern Italy to Melbourne in 1960. While his father worked as a chef, his mother turned out the pastas, braises, soups and puddings she had learnt growing up in Verona and in Milan, which sustained the hungry family of six

It is from his mothers cooking that Guy Grossi learnt how to cook and this book is a tribute to her.  It is so personal with family stories and memories behind the food shared.  I love the cover, the way Guy’s mother is looking at him..such an elegant lady.  The book is beautifully photographed by Sharyn Cairns and styled by Glen Proebstel.
There are over 100 recipes in the book, one of my favourites tiramisu pictured below.
and delicious, silky lasagna.
It makes you think about the importance of family and making the effort to get together to share a meal and catch up.

My daughter headed off on a new adventure today where she will be away for a month on her own.  I managed to capture these pics of her sitting on her suitcase contemplating her trip before we left for the airport…

We saw her off to the airport as a family…

Here she is just about to board the plane.  Bye Emma we hope you have a wonderful time and learn lots…Can’t wait to cook some recipes from my kitchen when you come home.  Love Mum x

Catherine x

One of My Favourite Meals

One of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne is an iconic italian restaurant called Grossi Florentino owned by the Grossi family.  It has three restaurants as part of it…The Restaurant, The Grill and the Cellar Bar. I have been to The Restaurant and The Grill which are more upmarket for special occasions but frequent the Cellar Bar more regularly (more casual, don’t have to book).  I always order the same meal, veal with fontina cheese and mashed potatoes followed by their tiramisu.  The hospitality is so warm and inviting..yesterday when I went in for a coffee I noticed the waiter seemed to know everyone’s name that came through the door.  He was so friendly to me when I paid my bill, I left feeling so uplifted.  That is what real hospitality is all about and why I love the italian way of living and eating so much.

This is my recreation of the veal dish….I washed it down with a nice glass of Chianti.  Guy Grossi has just released a book “Recipes From My Mothers Kitchen” which I’ll do a review of on Monday.

“A Restaurant is the sum of many parts, like a home! It is not so much about the walls but more about the people those walls house”. ~ Guy Grossi. 

How To Make It

Buy some veal scaloppini from the butcher and have them pound it out (not to thin).  Prepare your crumbing set… first bowl: flour seasoned with salt and pepper, second bowl: whisked egg, third bowl: breadcrumbs (you can use boxed breadcrumbs, japanese panko breadcrumbs or do what I do blitz your own in the food processor with a few slices of bread then add some grated parmesan cheese and salt & pepper to this.

Place slices of fontina cheese on top of veal slices then crumb..dip in flour then egg then breadcrumbs (it can be a little tricky with the cheese but if you place the veal in the bowl and use your fingers to coat the top as you go along the process you wont have to turn it over and risk having your cheese fall off.)
Hope this makes sense!!!

When done you can refrigerate to firm up crumbs or heat some oil and butter in a pan and fry until golden brown and cooked through (you can always finish it off in the oven after you have cooked your first side.)  Serve with mashed potatoes and a lemon wedge and a spinach salad if you want to add some greenery.  Baby spinach dressed with olive oil, sea salt & pepper and a splash of balsamic, red wine or white wine vinegar.

If anybody has any questions about this one don’t hesitate to shoot me an email..I love hearing from everybody.

My 14yo daughter couldn’t wait for dinner as soon as I’d finished photographing this dish she cleaned the plate because it was so yummy.

Catherine x

Mother’s Day Plate Illustrations

Aren’t these plates gorgeous?  They’re actually water colour illustrations painted by textile/ceramic designer and illustrator Lucy King for last months issue of Real Living Magazine, where they did a feature on baking for Mothers Day.  Lucy’s blog is called The Bowerbird,  and prior to setting up her own business in 2000, she worked in England for Wedgwood as a tableware pattern designer.  Lucy also has an online shop where she sells melamine plates and cards with her  illustrations on them.  I fell in love with these water colours such a clever idea and so beautifully illustrated by Lucy.  Pop over to her blog and have a browse I promise you’ll be as inspired as I was.  Ohh and I just noticed the July issue of Real Living Magazine has just come out.

All Photos from Real Living Magazine

You can find the recipes here , Triple Chocolate Cherry CakesBlueberry Cheesecakes with White Chocolate base, Fig & Frangipane Tart, Chocolate Coconut Hedgehog Slice and Flower Jam Drops

Catherine x

Lemon Tart

Greetings everyone, it’s freezing here and our lemon tree is bulging with lemons so am thinking up lemon dishes.  The first one that came to mind was lemon tart.  I must say the lemons smelt so fresh and citrusy as I was squeezing and zesting them after picking them from the tree.  It’s so worth having a lemon tree in your backyard or in a pot if you live in a smaller place, to be able to go and pick one off the tree if needed whilst cooking is fantastic.  By the way if making the pastry for the tart seems to much use a good frozen pastry.
The lemon tart cut like butter it was so smooth.  A lovely dessert if you’re having friends or family over.

The Recipe
125g butter, 100g icing sugar, pinch of salt, 250g plain flour
2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons milk/water

Makes one 23cm tart mould
Blitz together butter, sugar & salt in a food processor.  Then pulse in flour and egg yolks.  When mixture has come together looking like course breadcrumbs, add the cold milk or water and pulse a few times more.  Turn out onto work bench pat and gently work together to form a ball of dough.  Flatten into a disc shape, wrap it in cling-film and place in the fridge to rest of at least an hour.
Roll out pastry and line a 23cm tart tin.  Clean the pastry overhang by running a rolling pin over the top of the tart mould.  Allow tart mould to rest again, this time in the freezer for one hour. 
Bake the tart shell in a preheated 180 degree oven for around 15 minutes (because it has been
in the freezer you don’t have to blind bake it with paper and baking weights) so that it’s only lightly coloured but just cooked through.  Reduce oven to 140 degrees.
9 eggs, 350g caster sugar, 250ml lemon juice (about 5 lemons) and finely grated rind of 2 lemons
300ml double cream
Whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice and rind in an electric mixer to combine, add cream and mix to combine.  Transfer to a jug and refrigerate until froth rises (30-40 minutes), then skim froth from surface and strain mixture through a fine sieve.
Pour lemon mixture into pastry case and bake until just set and not wobbly (about 40 minutes).  Cool to room temperature and dust with icing sugar.
Recipe:  Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Jamie Oliver The Naked Chef, Filling: Gourmet Traveller
Catherine x

Queens Birthday Monday

Hi All,
This weekend was a long one to celebrate the Queens Birthday and whilst I spent Saturday running kids around to all their social engagements and Sunday helping my husband to assemble Ikea furniture, we managed to go for a beautiful drive on Monday.
We had to give my daughter a driving lesson so she drove us to the rustic suburb of Warrandyte about an hour from where I was cold but so nice to be out amongst nature.  We had pies for lunch from the bakery and had a look around a few vintage stores afterwards.  I forgot my camera so had to take some photos on my daughters iphone.  See you later in the week.  Catherine x

The Best Ham and Cheese Toastie

I’m back..I’ve been lacking some blog inspiration lately so thought it better to hold off posting until I got my mojo back.  I enrolled in Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way 2 course and it has inspired me right from the beginning.  If you’re thinking of starting a blog or need to move to the next level in your blogging journey I recommend Blogging Your Way it’s been great for me.
Lately I’ve become addicted to these toasted cheese sandwiches which I first had at Dukes Cafe here in Chapel Street, Prahran.  My daughter was interning nearby and we would go for coffee and one of these toasties before she’d start at 9am.
Photo:  Dukes
The toastie is made with good quality bread and jarlsberg cheese I buy the cheese pre sliced…so this is what you do…slice your bread, top with some ham and a couple of slices of jarlsberg and pop in the toastie machine/sandwich/panini press..don’t take it out until the cheese has melted, cut in half and enjoy the deliciousness.
This morning I stopped off at a bakery near my house which has the most beautiful baked goods and bread.  Below are cheese straws and bretzels (a cross between a pretzel and bread sprinkled with sea salt).  I find I can’t eat plastic bread much anymore I’m seeking out bread from good quality bakers more and more.  Maybe bread making might be a fun thing to try next.
Recently my husband spent a couple of weeks in the United States for work, he loved San Fransisco and amongst other things he brought home I asked him to get some Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa as I’ve heard it makes delicious chocolate muffins and cupcakes.  We can’t get it here in Australia.  The other thing we don’t have here is Anthropologie, so he went into one of the stores took some photos and bought the magazine and some beautiful citrus hand cream and soap all beautifully packaged.
Tonight I had my brother in town so had dinner with my family…this is what I left for dinner for the fam.  It’s a ragu I made from pork and veal sausages.
Seeing I was out tonight I’m doing this post late at night after coming home as I really wanted to get it published, so I’ll post the ragu recipe in the morning.  Sweet dreams everyone.  Here’s a link to the recipe Roman Pork Sausage Ragu hope you give it a try it’s delicious.
By the way has anybody had any experience making tomato relish?  I made some for the first time today and it seems to have a strong vinegary aftertaste even though I used the amount stated in the recipe.  Has anybody had this happen?  I’m hoping that taste might mellow with some time.  Next time I’ll try a new recipe.

Catherine x