Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Min Lokal

Whilst I love my eggs and chai on the weekend, sometimes I hate going out for brunch.

Well I suppose it's not so much the 'hating brunch', but it's the 'hate waiting for a seat', as you never know how popular or how busy a cafe will be on the weekend. Especially if you've never been there before.

So I was hesitant to visit Min Lokal in Fitzroy, as I really don't like waiting and I've heard it's fairly popular.

Fortunately, it was a fairly cool summer morning and we sat managed to sit outside.

Min Lokal is Swedish for 'My Local', which is appropriate, as it's contently wiggled it's bottom to squeeze in between a couple of homes away from the main thoroughfare of Brunswick Street.

The menu is brief, but it did have some lovely options, although it did threaten to fly away in the gusty wind that day!

I love it when I get to have tea or my usual chai in beautiful looking, or beautifully crafted cups, like this brown number made in Italy. So shiny! The chai though was just okay for me, I would have liked a little more flavour.

It was a little too warm for baked eggs, although Min Lokal had some very seductive offers. Instead, Brad tried out the poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on roasted field mushrooms, spinach, chorizo and toasted baguette.

Wow. Gorgeous. I didn't try any of this, but I absolutely loved how it looked. So elegant!

For me, I could not go past the morcilla sausage scrambled eggs, with chilli, pine nuts and parmesan. I have continuously professed my love for black pudding, so how could I go for anything else? Really?

Sadly though, I was a bit disappointed. I found the whole thing a little bit under-seasoned and bland. I expected a bit of bang from the chilli, fattiness from the morcilla and parmesan, and earthiness from the pine nuts…but nothing really came through for me. The mushrooms were still delish though!

Maybe I should have gone with the baked eggs, since that is what is reportedly good, but that may have to wait until the weather cools down a bit. I also found it took quite a while for our order to be taken and then the food to come out, so I suppose if you're in the area and would like a long leisurely brunch, this might suit, but this visit, I was pretty hungry. Waiting was not optimal.

But maybe then, I should take the mind of a local, and sneak in on a random midweek afternoon, when hopefully I can get a table inside next time...

Min Lokal
422 George St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Sweets' Preview at Immigration Museum + Giveaway! - CLOSED!

This giveaway is now closed! Thanks for all who entered and congratulations to Brenda!

Disclaimer: I nibbled and munched my way through all the sweets, courtesy of Immigration Museum

So everyone who knows me….knows that I'm a dessert hog. Massively. There's always space for dessert with me, and I'm usually more than likely to go for seconds. I ain't a princess.

However, I think on this one occasion, a group of women from 5 different backgrounds, whipping up delicious, beautiful home made desserts….well. They bested me. I really did put up a good fight though.

(Sourced from the Immigration Museum Website)

I was invited by the Immigration Museum to attend a little preview of an upcoming 'Sweets' exhibition, showcasing 'Tastes and traditions from many cultures', which I personally think is an awesome idea. What culture doesn't have food in the heart of it's community? And sweets in particular, do tend to be rather celebratory don't they? I can certainly contest to that with all the cookies and tarts that come out around Chinese New Year time!

And whilst the exhibition will be running from March 15th for a year, the Immigration Museum will also be holding a Sweets Festival for one day during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

Um. Sweets. Festival. Awesome?

So on Monday night, I caught the train into the city with an empty stomach, ready to have my dinner of…sugar.



My brain went crazy upon looking at this spread of sweets. I really don't have words for it. And even though it was all sugar…there were some things there that really smelt amazing, so even before eating anything, I was salivating away like a mofo.

But bloggers being bloggers we took pictures of everything first.

The Immigration museum is working with women from the Indian, Mauritius, Turkish, Japanese and Italian communities to showcase their desserts. I'm really amazed that these were all home made as they were so beautifully and professionally done!

From Japan you had the refined and elegant green tea mochi and daifuku with red bean paste, floating along in their little boats. So cute!

The nerikiri were also just gorgeous, who would think that they were homemade?! A seasonal dessert, filled with smooth white bean paste, the little round shape symbolises Spring, like a blossom that's just about to bloom, whilst the flatter one symbolised Summer, with the leaf gently resting on the water. Too cute to eat. Seriously.

From Turkey, of course there was baklava, which was quite a bit lighter than the store bought, although still delightfully sweet. The woman who made the baklava was telling us stories of how she would watch her mother and grandmother make it, but was a bit disappointed her daughter hadn't picked it up yet!

The Turkish community also shared other gems I hadn't come across before, Tel Kadayiki, such an interesting texture, pretty much like light pastry noodles. Hanim gobegi, a flour biscuit with a nut pressed into the top and lokumlu kurabiye, a biscuit with a turkish delight in the middle. Um. Yum!

The Italians desserts were familiar, but still with a twist. You had the pistachio biscotti, the cannelloni and one of my favourites of the night, 'tiramisu a limone'.

Yup, a lemon tiramisu. I did initially approach this slightly sceptically, but was more than happy to be absolutely blown out of the water. The lemon tiramisu is a recipe from southern Italy, where the citrus grow heavy, in this case, the recipe came from a family relative in Naples. The version we had this time did not have alcohol, but if you wanted to be cheeky you could sneak in a little limoncello! It really is the perfect summer dessert, so light and refreshing!

I believe this is the gulag jamun (apologies if I got it mixed up!) from India, although it looked quite heavy, it really actually wasn't. It was surprisingly fluffy and hardly as dense as I suspected it to be. Whilst this was the only Indian sweet we got to have, do expect plenty more at the actual festival!

The Mauritian community I have to say, really surprised me. I had no prior knowledge of what the food, or in this case, desserts were and I am now smitten with their sweets.

The puit d'amour, hides a delightful creamy custard filling, the gateaux cocos, was like a beyond perfect coconut ice. It was so silky and not overly sweet surprisingly, and the burst of colour was so inviting!

The Napolitain's stole my heart away with their oh-so-short-shortbread, and that tiny little injection of jam sandwiched in-between, perfection. I had so many of these. Oops.

Oh my banana! The banana tart also was a favourite for me, you could smell it intensely as we eagerly hovered over it…although they were sizeable, and I only intended to have half of it...Well. Ur. Gym tomorrow I guess?

I got through all but two of the desserts (with a couple of seconds for some too). Was positively ready to roll on home...

We also had a sneak peek at some of the items that were to be on display at the exhibition!

So now I bet you're all drooling (or I hope you are! I've failed if you're not!). And you're wondering how you can get to try these sweets too.

Well you could pen all these dates in…

Sweets: tastes and traditions from many cultures Exhibition open on March 15

Sweet Dinner by Guy Grossi on Thursday 15 March from 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Sweets Festival on Sunday 18 March from 11am – 4pm



You could join my little giveaway. The Immigration museum has kindly offered a double pass to the Immigration museum (which you could very well use to go to the Sweets Festival!) and a copy of the exhibition catalogue, which will contain many of the recipes for the goodies you see above, so you can try them at home! I'm personally hoping that the lemon tiramisu recipe will be it…fingers crossed!

So how can you get your hands on these little goodies?

Easy! Two things!

First! Visit my Facebook and give me a thumbs up, if you haven't already of course! If you already love me on Facebook, I love you guys too and you get to skip one step!

Next, leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite dessert!

And you have your entry! Only one entry per person though please!

The winner will be drawn at random on the 7th of March, which gives you a little over a week. So get to it!

A few other things about the giveaway…

- Limited to Australian residents, if you're not from Melbourne, I can only provide the double pass, but not flights!

- Please do leave an active email, otherwise if I can't contact you, I will redraw and you'll miss out!

- The museum catalogue is still being worked on, so upon winning the competition, the double pass will be sent to you straight away, whilst the catalogue with the recipes will be sent around March 15th….this just means you get to get two presents in the mail. I don't know about you guys but I still get excited when I get snail mail that isn't from a corporate these days.

Immigration Museum

400 Flinders Street,

Melbourne, Victoria


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Backstreet Cafe

Hey look guys! It's Brad on a wide lens! :D

I pleasingly picked up this new lens on ebay, usually $600 in stores (or $300 on ebay stores), I snagged it for a sweet $150. And so with a new lens, a new cafe visit was due!

So Brad and I popped by to the rather new Backstreet Cafe in Fitzroy. Sister cafe of Birdman Eating…not too far away. However, this younger sister does have quite a different feel to her, she's got a little more Melbourne to her, likes wearing black and a little bit more off the beaten track, hanging out on Kerr Street.

Shooting in here wasn't easy, it was pretty dark, which is not usually so desirable for a brunch place, but I get the feeling whilst Birdman Eating has a great emphasis on baked eggs and brunch, Backstreet Cafe offers a bit of that, but looks like it'll eventually be gearing more to an evening crowd. But that's for another blog post in the future perhaps…wouldn't mind trying some of the in-house cured meats…!

Back to brunch though. Coffee and chai latte, not the most amazing chai I had, but it certainly still satisfied my weekend fix. And how cute is the teapot? I have a similar one at home, but it's only white……think I need to go buy one with patterns on it now.

Brad went for the baked eggs, Backstreet cafe, like it's older sister, still has baked egg specials, which are usually quite interesting. Out of the three options available that day, Brad got the baked eggs with lamb, eggplant and tomato. Three of my favourite ingredients? Totally win!

Served with the signature cube of butter on bread, the baked eggs were a treat. So flavoursome and delicious. Piping hot too. Loved this combination. May try it at home!

I on the other hand, needed something fairly light. Although I do love baked eggs, I had eaten a bit too much the night before. As usual.

The 'Breakfast' Caesar salad caught my eye, with baby cos, capsicum, poached eggs, cheese (I forget what sort) and maybe anchovies? I forget. Gotta love being able to get my veggie fill early on in the day! This was a really great combination, simple, but I wouldn't have thought of it on my own. (This is partially because I am a fail cook) The baby cos was beautifully crisp and fresh, the eggs poached perfectly. It was overall a very clean meal and a nice alternative to the 'big breakkie' you tend to get at lots of cafes.

So brunch was executed well and tasty, but for me, not an overly memorable experience as I didn't feel the surroundings felt....'brunchy'. And whilst the food is good, service efficient, I think it will be more interesting to see how this place does a lunch or dinner service. Another visit due perhaps...?

Backstreet Cafe

152 Kerr Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065

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