26 September 2009

Carman's Muesli Bites: Hunger Savers (14 Sept 2009)


Bite-Sized Hunger Savers

Thanks to a competition run by Jenius I was lucky enough to win a set of Carman's Muesli Bites to try. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE free stuff — my middle name is free (or it should be anyway). I've noticed these on the supermarket shelves and it looks like Carman's is really embracing the social media platform by providing samples to food bloggers I follow like A Table for Two, Chocolatesuze, Fig and Cherry, Citrus and Candy and Jenius. One thing is for certain, whether it's right or wrong, is if you give food to a food blogger, it's very hard for them to resist photographing it and blogging about it — it's perhaps our passion and weak spot. It's sometimes hard to be objective if you receive something for free because your also trying to the gracious about it as well. I find the size of these muesli bars convenient when you're in need of a quick snack which isn't too heavy. They've saved me a few times now at work when I've had a few meetings in a row and can't quite get to lunch as well as a light afternoon pick me up snack. Even though they're not mind blowingly tasty I feel like I'm eating something reasonably healthy. Being Australian made and owned has got to be a good thing too.

Victor Churchill: Gourmet Butchery, Woollahra (12 Sept 2009)

132 Queen St Woollahra NSW 2025

The Theatre of Butchery

So now I know where carnivores go to feast and vegetarians fear to tread. After reading Not Quite Nigella's post about this new gourmet butchery which has only be opened for about 3 weeks since 24 August 2009 I felt intrigued to check it out. The staff were very friendly and informative and obliging for me taking photos around the shop which had so many curious customers checking out the produce. For those who don't like cooking there are so many gourmet meaty options already prepared and ready to cook like the Lamb Loins with Spinach and Feta ($35.99/kg), Spring Lamb Navarin ($24.50) and Spatchcocks with Proscuitto ($12 each). Wagyu fans will find prices ranging from the Wagyu Beef Patties for $3 each up to the David Blackmore's Full Blood Wagyu for $169.99/kg. They also catered for the sweet tooth with the Chocolate Mousse with Candied Orange on display under the cameras for $7.40 each. Watching the skillful butchers behind the glass was like a theatre show as they chopped, sliced, dissected and prepared customers orders and produce for the displays — you've seen open kitchens, well now experience an open butchery.

Other visits to Victor Churchill:
10 June 2011 - Basic Beef Butchery Class
12 Sept 2009 - Checking out the butchery

Meat in Motion

Victor Churchill on Urbanspoon

20 September 2009

Jones the Grocer: Cheese Room, Woollahra (12 Sept 2009)

68 Moncur Street, Woollahra Sydney NSW, 2025

Cheesy Cravings

There's something special about visiting a fully stocked cheese room, if you like cheese of course. Not only does it usually smell wonderfully decadent but it makes me feel like I'm taking my senses to a little trip overseas because there's so many International cheeses on offer I've never tried. It's a lot more expensive than your local supermarket brands but if your only paying small amounts it can be an affordable splurge to try something different. Jones the Grocer has quite a large dedicated cheese room which is climate controlled and friendly staff to advise and help you cut your preferred slice of heaven. I usually prefer a good triple cream type of brie, a sharp tasty aged hard cheese and a mild blue which isn't too strong on the nose. If cheese if not your thing then there's plenty of other gourmet temptations on offer in the store.

Other stores for cheese:
Formaggi Ocello (13 Feb 2010)
Jones the Grocer (12 Sept 2009)
Simon Johnson (27 June 2009)

Gorgonzola Piccante $69 per kg

Fougerus $79 per kg

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Jones the Grocer on Urbanspoon

Cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh: Italian, Waterloo (12 Sept 2009)

7 Danks Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

All things Italian

I think the Buffalo Mozzarella with Truss Tomatoes at Cafe Sopra is probably one of the most Italian dishes I've ever seen — it's basically the Italian flag colours beautifully stacked. When I ordered it I thought it would be quite a boring salad ie how good can cheese and tomato be right, but everything tasted so fresh and it was substantial enough in size to share. When I first visited Cafe Sopra I saw another table order the Arancini which were stacked up like a pyramid and thought to myself, now that would make a cool food photo — unfortunately my dish was served flat today but nevertheless they were bite sized pieces of tastiness. The affogato was a hit again and I think will be a must have each time I visit. The glasses of Italian house wine were very reasonable at only $3.50 each and pleasant on the palate — I'm assuming they were low alcohol wines.

On my last blog post I received a comment that highly recommended me to try the Banoffie Pie. Cafe Sopra seem to spell as 'Banoffie' although most people I think spell it as 'Banoffee' — did you know it's an abbreviation of Banana and Toffee, I actually didn't know this at the time. The well presented large slice of cake looked great and I noticed the fresh slices of banana throughout the cream topping. Such a simple idea of ingredients which seems to work together so well. Unfortunately the base of the cake was definitely too hard, probably due to the crust and cake being refrigerated, so trying to cut pieces with a spoon was embarassingly loud when the spoon kept hitting the plate when it broke through — I felt like I needed a steak knife to cut the base. It was very much like the moment when Masterchef judges were sampling the Adriano Zumbo Chocolate Mousse Cake prepared by Julie in the pressure test challenge. I'm assuming it's not actually supposed to be that hard to slice?

Other visits to Cafe Sopra:
12 Sept 2009 - Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Arancini, Affogato, Banoffie Pie.
22 Aug 2009 - Osso Buco, Frittata, Roast Pork Panini, Vitello Tonnato, Witof Salad, Hot Chips, Affogato, Coffee.

Buffalo mozzarella with truss tomatoes $18

Arancini with Taleggio, olives and salad cream $18

Affogato $6.50

Banoffie Pie
Banoffie Pie $12.50

Side shot

Close shot

Base shot

Rosso Sangiovese, Bianco Trebbiano $3.50 each

Revisited 7 April 2012
Campari and fresh orange juice ($10.45) — a good 'Hair of the Dog' starter

Pancakes with lemon curd and strawberries ($15.95) — nice flavours and lemon curd inside works well in the dish

Almond & Maple Granola with Rockmelon and yoghurt ($15.95) — crunchy and toasty

Crispy bacon ($9.35) — could perhaps be even crispier but was tasty and not too salty

Frittata with goats curd and basil ($15.95) — nice flavours, toast maybe a little hard to cut, would prefer thicker style as well

Torte banoffee ($15.95) — nice flavours but crumble base too thick and hard to cut through with spoon, would prefer a much thinner base

Video of attempts to eat banoffee with a spoon

Affogato ($7.15) — good flavour but would prefer more ice cream

Seating at 9.30 am on a long weekend Easter Saturday

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