Sunday, January 18, 2009

Highlights of Melbourne

I had a wonderful time in Melbourne, its a real foodies paradise.

I spent the first few days in Mentone, a suburb just outside of the city, then we made our way along the Mornington Penisula, first to Mornington, then along to Rosebud.

Melbourne is great for the fact that a lot of the food is just awesome, but not fussy. Its very relaxed, and people dont tip much, which is sometimes reflected in the service, although I actually appreciate the more honest approach. I think I'd say the best thing is the coffee, which is absolutely outstanding. My pick was the flat white, which I guess is a latte.

Here's my adorable niece, Poppy, choosing from the menu at the Portsea Pub. She seemed to really love perusing the menus, then bashing them on the table. Shame she's not actually eating any real food yet!!

One of the most amazing experiences was our trip to French Island on the ferry. A far out amazing place. We enjoyed a delicious cheese sandwich on freshly made bread, with a pot of tea strong enough to stand a spoon in.

We also had a most delicious cream tea on a farm, with a trip to see the Koalas included. I'm glad they didnt really have safety inspections on this island as it was kind of scary in the 'tea rooms' but we were really glad we tried the delicious scones with home-made jam and cream. They were served with an iced coffee which cooled us down well.

Another fantastic foody adventure was had at heronswood, near Dromada. A spectacular garden to look around, complete with veggie gardens, and test gardens, finished off nicely with my best meal. The produce was all local, some of it even from the gardens. We polished off a delicious plate of ridge estate olives, some lovely local wine from Underground, then I enjoyed an heirloom tomato salad with basil sorbet. So refreshing! My brother had a duck salad with beets and mum had a delicious caramelized onion tart with cheese.

The highlight was probably dessert though. We had a truly intriguing pavlova, made with pink peppercorns, lemon curd, strawberries and cream. Very aussie!

Mum and I had a fun adventure in the dandegongs, hiking up 1000 steps, then getting very hungry and feeling the need for a 'pie in the sky'. The meat pies were supposedly amazing, my pastie with veggies was a bit plain, but the chips were totally worth it!

Shame I didnt take any pictures of our other adventures. Mum and I had a wonderful dinner at the Garlic Kiss, in Mornington. They had my favourite cheese, halloumi, grilled with rocket pesto and asparagus. mmmm!

We also found sour cherries at a little farm which I cooked in a pot with pork chops, then made a crumble with the rest.

I had a wonderful lunch with mum at Box Stallion Winery, and made away with a delicious rose and a spicy shiraz.

We also enjoyed two fantastic breakfasts at Ricketts Point in Beaumaris, a breezy hour's walk from my brother's house in Mentone. Thankfully it didnt rain on the baby, otherwise we'd be in terrible trouble!!

With Poppy by our side most of the time, I got to do my fair share of cooking, I had a go at a trifle, which went down very well with the family, I also tried panettone french toast, mmm. Our new year's eve supper was pretty good, I scraped together a nice risotto with smoked trout and shrimps. I also managed to turn a fajita kit into some tasty roasted veggies and tofu enchilladas! My family are fantastic as they always seem to love everything I cook!! I hope we get to hang out again sometime, its kind of hard being on three different continents.

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