Sunday, December 27, 2009

December goes with cream: the mango files, and Christmas

I had a nice couple of weeks staying with my family-out-of-law this month. It was interesting to experience the lead-up to Christmas in someone else's house, and the way all this pressure and anticipation of family arriving and wanting your normal existence to go on while planning for a celebration kind of.. affects the dynamics of a house and of a bunch of people.
One thing I noticed early on: what happens with the politics of mangoes up here (in Brisbane)?

Some families have traditions of gifting mangoes to each other when part of the family lives in north Queensland, and those mangoes stay in the family. A friend of mine felt proud ownership of and looked forward to eating a couple of mangoes cheap at the fruit shop when price had since gone up. The friend's housemate, from Darwin, would have put mango in everything if it were feasible and paid us to get a box of them from the markets.

During my two weeks surrounded by the things (there were three boxes ripening outside the room where I slept), I learned to like them plain, though accompanying other things is still my preference.

Christmas may or may not get a post. We shall see you soon, though...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Well well well.

It's been a busy year. My first year studying in a new field.
A fanTAStic year!

And now it's holidays. Photos will be taken, and may make their way onto this blog.
There hasn't been much cream this year, actually.

I miss the Food Co-op.
Everyone at Melbourne made fun of me for talking about Wholefoods, because I connected it in my head with Wholefoods at Monash. But no, it's the Food Co-op. So last night I made dahl, and today lunch was a regal peanut butter and salad sandwich. Peanut butter (the good stuff, please), lettuce, tomato, cucumber, beetroot - ours was canned, so I sliced it into thin discs - and a fair pile of grated carrot. And salt and pepper, that I should have put in between the tomato and cucumber.

Don't you love sandwiches?

Plans for bloggable events this summer:

Mystery items along the Great Ocean Road... hopefully some decent cake. And maybe wine?

"Mangomisu" from December's delicious. Or some version of mango trifle.

More peanut butter and salad sandwiches, when my camera battery is charged.

Oh. Also from delicious, HOMEMADE CRUMPETS!!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An old post that I just found

King Parrot at Kallista Tea Rooms in the Dandenongs. Beautiful place on Monbulk Road. This is where about a year ago, I had the most amazing 'apple teacake' in the world. But when I went there a couple of weeks ago, I had some 'blood orange and chocolate' cake that was stale and boring. Pretty sure this was an anomaly though.. might have to go back and check. I would dearly love to post the kiwi, strawberry and mascarpone tart that my Nanna got - it was incredible!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

just adoring

Last week, one of my favourite people came to visit. (No, not a peacock. They're always there.)
It was important that we go, as well as Babka and Kallista, to Montsalvat.
Good coffee have they at Montsalvat. Not to mention all of this.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

spring eating

Never mind cleaning. That's for later, when there is not quite so much to do.I didn't get to Dali. I don't really mind, at the moment.

Oh, Babka. I may not have loved your dumplings nearly a year ago, but still you have such a special place in my heart. In my mouth.
Luscious casual arrangement of green divinity!!

In case you're blind, or you'd like to blame my (admittedly not finest) photo, or it's not self explanatory for any other reason: Asparagus. Perfectly. Broad beans and fresh peas, likewise. Croutons obviously, ricotta, refreshing cos, and roasted hazelnuts. The dressing was subtle, and totally apposite.

For some reason, even though this was my first meal of the day, my appetite was haphazard and I had to eat slowly. All the longer to savour for. Oh, it was gorgeous.

And the chai at Babka = my benchmark, although Kallista Tea Rooms is pretty high. I also love the complimentary bread and butter, though being the wonderful euro place that it is, the butter is unsalted. I wonder why in Europe, unsalted butter is normal, and in Anglo countries we salt it?
Perhaps it was bastardising it, but I ate some and then sprinkled salt on my butter. I felt like it.

PS If you're an eggs and bacon for breakfast person, which I'm generally not, apparently it's pretty good. And they juice the oranges fresh. Tick.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ode to the pear

Pears are homely.
Pears are gentle.
Pears are sweet.
Pears are sensual.

Pear with chocolate,
pear with ginger,
pear with butter and brown sugar.

Pear and vanilla.
Pear and cloves.
Pears and spices,
pears in droves.

Pear and leaves,
pear and cheese.
PEARS! you make me weak at the knees.
Pear and parmesan,
or gruyere.
Pear with squidgy camembert.
Pear and ricotta,
pear with blue.
Pear with brie,
oh stop it, you.

Pear and grog.
Pear and cream.

Pears alone.

Pear and pastry,
pear and tart!
Pear tarts are my kind of art.
Pear and almond, walnut, hazelnut,
Pear and citrus,
pear and cake.
Pear and tea.
Oh lovely pears,
how I love thee.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

tick of time

Had a look through some photos on the ordinator.Only two and a half months to go till this.
I plan to enjoy what's left of our mildish winter and beautiful spring while it lasts!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

alimentari, my dear deli

It's not really my own dear deli, though I wish it were. I don't have enough money to have a local deli, and if I did, well, I probably would just be a deli shopper-arounder. Though I do love being loyal to a place and getting to know it and the people there.

Went to Alimentari on Brunswick St this morning for breakfast. Cranky staff.
Best muesli I have had in AGES.

I didn't have my camera on me. It was 8am.
They don't have chai.

(I'm tired, this is why I'm writing in short sentences.)

So, chamomile tea and a wait for a friend, and a slight ponder on the menu. House muesli came with yoghurt and a compote of pear, rhubarb and raspberry. Semolina porridge did too, and though bircher muesli didn't say so, it also did. If I'd known, I 'd have ordered it.
Glad I didn't.

Not because it didn't look good...

Mine was DIVINE.

251 Brunswick St Fitzroy VIC 3065 - (03) 9416 2001
Open Weekdays 8am-7pm; Weekends 8am-5pm

Monday, August 3, 2009

Deathly Brisbane

Australia is known for its many dangers. Notably the naturally occurring ones, like snakes, sharks, spiders, jellyfish, waves, rocks, dingoes, kangaroos, koalas, and large expanses of land without water.
I was lucky enough to place myself in the hazard zone that is Brisbane recently.
You'd think it was a friendly place, wouldn't you? Midwinter, midtwenties, sunny.
Same goes for this chair. Looks welcoming. Wasn't.

Who planned that? Honestly. There's a big metal nose just where your head goes.

Beautiful Mt Tamborine...
...with, like Lamington National Park, the giant stinging tree. Well, these aren't stinging trees, obviously, but we saw some.
And seeing as we're on the cream blog, just as deadly, this cocktail at Sling on Boundary St, West End would have done well with some coconut cream in it.
It was like the hottest green curry you've ever tasted, in a glass. And no, the blurriness isn't that it was my third cocktail (first and only, thankyou, and I didn't even drink it, too much effort when it was so hot), it was just hard to hold the camera still for the 20 seconds or so of exposure in the night.
Flavours: Chilli. And kaffir lime infused vodka, Malibu, lime, death, and may have been topped up with lemonade. I didn't notice any sweetness, too busy dying. Everyone at the table tasted it and was completely gobsmacked.

I also hit my head on the metal supports for a car headrest, got lost in the wilderness, sugar overloaded at the Three Monkeys, sunburnt (should have gone with cream!) and my friend fell off her bike and damaged her knee, elbow and clothes.

One of the best weeks of my life.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yarra Valley Saturday

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us went day tripping out to the Yarra Valley. Again, I was largely the tour guide, which again proved to be much fun. We went to...
Helen's Hill, which I think is also known as Ingrams Rd. Some odd scents, they reminded some of us of cheese. Their chardonnay was beaut.

Yering Station, where there was a fantastic cellar door assistant telling us lots of information in a knowledgeable, passionate and still down-to-earth way, who also looked a bit like David Wenham, to the enjoyment of at least two of the girls on the trip. Oh, and some delicious wines. David Wenham guy took us through all of the 20 or so wines on the list, and then a couple that weren't! I remember really liking their rosé, and an Italian-style red: think the Sangiovese was good. And a sparkling pink that exploded in your mouth, it was fantastic.

Yarra Valley Dairy, where we were going to get lunch, but the dining part was downscaled from what it had previously been, so we did a quick cheese tasting, or wine for some, and moved on.

Coldstream Brewery was where we did get lunch. Their cider was delightful! Subtle, small bubbles, and almost colourless. Beautiful.
Dad and I shared some smoked trout and potato cakes with a horseradish sauce, and this pizza: Caesar salad with calamari. Crazy, and really good.Dominique Portet, a smaller winery, was really French and quaint, straight from Provence. We met the man himself, Dominique, and all had a go at throwing a boot into a barrel to win a crepe (none of us made it). Though I wasn't blown away by the wine, I adored the place anyway. And to be honest, by this point, my tastebuds had had many many winey flavours through them and probably weren't at their most.. astute.Coldstream Hills (where the top photo is from) was our last stop before heading home, and I found pretty much the same thing as at the previous place: just wasn't appreciating the wine as much. There was a nice toasty smelling chardonnay again, though.

You can find a map of Yarra Valley's cellar door places (where you can do tastings!) here.

And that night, when we all got back, I was due to head out for dinner with two friends, one of whom was visiting from Perth. It had been rather a big day, so I declined the pre-food cocktail at Murmur and the with-food wine, and not being hungry yet, ordered a salad. We were at +39, that new trendy pizza place everyone has been writing about (oh, look it up if you want, I can't be bothered), but my salad was (excepting their exceptional tiramisu) by far the best thing we got!
Radicchio, pear, parmesan, walnut, and truffle honey dressing.
It was a very good day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

gâteau de l'amie de la mamy de Clotilde

Just made le Gâteau de Mamy from my increasingly beloved C & Z book. Adorable. My camera's at my other abode, so I can't take a photo, but it's beautiful, even more than the ingredient list would lead you to predict.

Only the pear version is listed online, but I'm willing to bet it's just as delicious.
Have I ever mentioned that Chocolate and Zucchini was the first food blog I ever saw?
I was looking for, probably just googled, a recipe for zucchini cake, I think. And to my disappointment, because it wasn't the recipe and then delight, for obvious reasons, I stumbled upon Clotilde's blog.

I bought the book. It's the only thing I've ever bought online.
Everything I make from it is wonderful. It is where I discovered one or two of my favourite sandwich combinations, and that you can eat gingerbread the cake with pear without any butter and it's lovely.

Anyway, this is a sweet, friendly, buttery, melting step in my apple teacake quest.
Make it. Remember that fresh fruit means the cake will take longer to cook through, and when you tip it out, tip it onto a plate, just in case. Don't use a cake rack, especially if you ran out of space and stuck the extra apple on top of the cake, because you might lose some of it and trust me, you don't want that.
Mmmouth watering!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bakery Hopping, Part 2

Man, it's been a busy week or two.
Third stop on our bakery tour was Dench, where there was no room for us to sit down and I was the only one to buy anything, so no photos. The loaf of raisin bread I got is interesting. It's like.. densish white bread with raisins in it and a lemon scent (no spices, I'm pretty sure, and little, if any, sugar). And taste. I think it's got a lemon glaze too, and the top is rather dark, kind of burnt tasting. Having had it for breakfast a couple of times so far, I can say it takes a bit of toasting and is quite chewy.
It makes wonderful French toast with butter and cinnamon. And a chopped up pear chucked in the pan too.
I was too lazy to photograph mon pain perdu. But back on the visually documented track...

4. Loafer Bread, Scotchmer St (just across St Georges' Rd from Dench):
Sandwich, I shared it with S. Beetroot, feta, leaves, some spicy chutney. Pretty standard. Nice subtly sour bread, chewy enough but not too much.
M had a quiche that disappeared before I could get a photo, and she said it was the best one she'd ever had. Was going to buy another one for lunch the next day, but then forgot.
And the savoury brioche that I longed for (thought between the other pastries, the sandwich was more virtuous) and tasted C's. What was on it? I can hardly remember now. But I recommend.
The cakes looked lovely, too. Let me know if you go and try their chocolate beetroot cake. I've been wanting to taste chocolate and beetroot cake for quite a while. They have a big list of coffees, which I approve of (when I wanted coffee in the good old days, I never knew what to ask for. I knew people had all sorts of different coffees but didn't know what there was. So this is good) and S had her first dandelion latte, which she liked.

5. Babka.
We waited patiently and then less so, for more than half an hour to be seated, while groups of 2 and 3 came, ate and left. Sigh.
Then we had coffee and the 4 of us shared two $7 wedges from the cake fridge, which was the right amount.

The chocolate fiends among us required that mud cake be one of the two. It was good mud cake and not overwhelmingly chocolatey. Kind of subtle. I dunno, it might have been fantastic if I'd really wanted it. As it was, I might have rathered pecan pie or a dried apricot and fig cake with some tea. Either way, mud cake was completely upstaged...Highlight of the day: caramelised pear and custard tart. My words and this photo are inadequate. Let's just say it was our favourite.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bakery Hopping, Part 1

It's been a great couple of weekends. A trip down the Great Ocean Road, and then a tour of some of the bakery cafes of Melbourne's north. And the residential streets. Anyone know what this plant is? There were a few .
Where I'm living is a residential college, but people don't necessarily stay for the whole year. Maybe days, weeks or a couple of months.. most of the residents are from overseas. Generally we're all busy during the week (some more than others: we coursework students are on holidays at the moment.) and on the weekend, well, there's the whole of Victoria to see.
Having heard complaint of a lack of bakeries in the area (compared to Germany), I wanted to show my friends Babka and Dench at least, but with limited time, when were we going to fit in all the lunches required?
Thus was born the bakery tour. Five of my favourite bakeries in an afternoon made for a very enjoyable Sunday of looking, smelling, eating, walking, sitting on the tram and of course, taking (and posing for) photos. Singing Beethoven's 5th shamelessly, to the amusement/embarrassment/annoyance of the other patrons. Whatever. We waited ages for that table, and by TART was it worth it.

Here we go.
First stop, Lygon St, opposite the cemetery. I first came here in 2002 with my aunt and very young cousin and had hot chocolate, and it was hot!, spilt on my lap, and my jeans smelt like sour milk for months. But that wasn't Filou's fault. They have beautiful breads, pastries, and especially quiches and the like. Their spinach pie, with poppy seeds on top, is really good.

Because this was our first stop of a tasting tour, it was only just after midday, we didn't want to fill up too much. So C got a mini strawberry tart, which S and I also tasted. They'd used perfect strawberries.

M said her mini white chocolate tart was good.

Aaaand northward bound.

Guess where?

But of course. No northern Melbourne bakery tour would be complete without Sugardough.
A little custard bombolono ($2.50) was different to what I'd expected. Not as sweet, not as rich. Kind of bready. Not as much filling.. the dough was actually a bit dry. I wasn't that blown away, but it was pleasant enough.
M had one of these little berry tartlet things, for which she asked for a knife and then to have it heated up. I'm not sure how much it was. It was nice, but not the best thing you can get at Sugardough.

What was really enjoyable this time, though, was S's Croque Monsieur. The mustard was yummm.. the white sauce creamy but not too much, balanced nicely by good ham.
To be continued...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Las Veganagain

It is a warm, sunny June afternoon in Melbourne, and all is well.

DELICIOUS... Las Vegan Nirvana Lentil Patty with gourmet salad.

Depending on the place, 'gourmet' is such a crap word. It's a crap word because the fact that it's used usually seems to mean the opposite of the word's supposed meaning. Like, 'we just like our meat + 3 veg, but we'll put some token other combination of ingredients on the menu and call it gourmet to please you weird hippy people who like raw spinach.'
I realise that this is a strong and somewhat angry statement blindly stereotyping any users of the word 'gourmet'.
But tell me anywhere you had a 'gourmet' pizza that was better than Bimbo's?
I guess I generally mean, if your food is good, it's good, and it will speak for itself.

But at Las Vegan, the 'gourmet' salad is different to the normal salad, and they've named it so because it's a green salad plus avocado and marinated stuff (little bit of eggplant and mushroom), oh and dried olives. Fair enough.

There was a decent whack of oil in this meal, to be sure. Might not be able to see it under all those beautiful bright colours. Deep fried patty with oil on the salad and oil-marinated eggplant and stuff. And avocado (oh, this was some good avocado). After some initial squeamishness -squeam?- I don't feel bothered, though. It was yum. And ohh, the crispy, sweet edges of the lentil patty! aaah. It was a monster thickness, too. What can I say about the flavour and the texture? Pleasing. Very.

Me mate had the TVP Calzone with gourmet salad and a cup of the bottomless Chai. The calzone was all right, but I won't bother with them when there is so much amazing stuff on the menu.

No chai for me, but I escaped having spent a total of $10.50 for my patty with gourmet salad and a crazy muffin that seems to be chocolate, walnut and cinnamon. Had a taste of the lemon and ginger too... crunchy sugar on top, fresh ginger.

More soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


What am I doing again?

I have several assignments due soon, all in varying states of begunness. I don't know front from back anymore.
My inside out is head.

But I do know, I liked this cake.

Went to Arcadia on Gertrude St for breakfast this morning, not really hungry, and ate a savoury muffin that was good, but maybe would have made a better lunch. It was quite salty. But the texture - moist in the middle, chewier/crisper on the edges, oh the edges were gorgeous. A hint of cheese, which went nicely with the potato, rosemary, olives and capsicum. Could have done with a little bit more bits of capsicum, but it was good. Ah, I'm getting hungry thinking about it.
I remembered to take my camera, and then forgot to take it out of my bag.
No Bircher muesli on the menu, which disappointed me. Apparently the French toast was really good, but I wasn't in the mood. And the other breakfast stuff wasn't that appealing. Eggs with spinach/smoked salmon would have been nice, but again, I'm not a fan of eggs before midday, really.

The lunch stuff, however... looked good. The sandwiches looked like my kind of thing.
On the way out, I spotted this cake.
Asked what it was, for interest's sake: lemon and polenta.
Had to have.

Sorry I didn't take a picture when everything was all pretty in the cabinet.
Sorry I didn't take a picture when it was intact in its little brown paper bag.
Sorry it's all gone.

But I had to document this crumb!

So grainy, perfect amount of sweet, not that lemony. Lumps of it falling off as it came apart.

Researching. No, not cake. Uni.

What a happy word.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Okay, this isn't really about food. Because neither am I, any more. I'm widening.. er, broadening my horizons...

I love this blog. I wish it were mine. This is blog envy. Am I over a food blog phase?

Am I over a phase in my life where food was The main good thing, the only flame?
Where I had forgotten how to procrastinate, my other favourite thing?

Certainly I still enjoy reading food blogs. I just enjoy other things a lot too.

Such as Gotye. His album is going around and around in my head lately.

I'm feeling pride in my city, my country. Melbourne's cultural hipness and hapness. Fond disdain for the wankery around the arts, which is arrogant of me at 21. Self awareness of privilege too.

Thing is, I'm too lazy to take photos of food all the time. But a food blog without photos just isn't the same to read. And I have this other blog which I could switch back over to, and try to recover. Or should I just keep going at EGWC and write about a variety of things? I'll write the same old crap wherever I'm posting.

Enough of this, silly. Semantics time.

PS We had roast lamb today, with all the goods as done in our family. And steamed a plum pudding I made the other day, and ate it with custard, and of course cream.
I also may have made ginger nuts and digestive biscuits.. thankyou Matthew Evans, writing just for me, the weekend cook (I do miss the old title though. Anyone can cook).
Oh, and carrot and zucchini fritter/patty things, with cumin. They were good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

delicious ginger

This morning I went to a new place at uni whose sign for spicy, gingery chai I have been eyeing for the last couple of weeks. There was a smiling, charismatic person there with a laptop whom I sat next to with my laptop.

He had sitting in front of him a dirty mug and three-quarters of a muffin, and as we sat there tapping the people from behind the counter came over and took away his dirty mug, and smiling, he yelled something out to them as they returned to the coffee machine.

'Here's your change, man.' The coffee student held out more than two dollars, but had to convince him to take it, in the end winning on the grounds that the girl had charged him double for the previous thing.

I worked for a while, and he had gone, but the laptop was still there on the sunken seat. Then he came back, moved it and sat down again. I smiled, without looking up from my (very rudimentary) essay.

He had brought with him a clean mug and a steaming pot, and apologised he was going to stink the place out with ginger. I told him I was having the ginger chai, and it would do me good anyway with sinus issues.
And he poured it, and it smelled so good. It was ginger and lemongrass.
With honey, it's amazing, he told me.

My spicy chai was $4.50 with soy.

It was worth it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Las Vegan Bakery

Just went there for lunch today.

OH MY WORD it was delicious.

No, I'm not vegan, but I have increasing numbers of friends who are.

My sister went with a vegan friend of hers and told me more than once about the tofu and tempeh with satay sauce, bean shoots and salad ($8.50), which I dutifully ordered, eyeing the rest of the menu with equal longing. I wasn't sure what to expect, having had tempeh only once before at Vegie Bar (I LOVE Vegie Bar, but don't get tempeh there, at least not with the House Salad. It's as dry and boring as 7:30 on a Sunday night with no food in the house). But S1 had said this would be nothing like that.

She Was Right.

My local lunchmate ordered the Rice Balls (also $8.50), also with satay sauce, bean shoots and salad. A girl at the next table had this - I asked about it and she said it was her favourite! - and it was inevitable that one of us was going to order it.
Not everything on the menu has bean shoots, or salad, or satay sauce - in fact, some things have none of them! - but I was exceptionally glad to have all of the above.
The salad was just good old salad, but with little semi-dried olives and this fantastic dressing. I can't quite describe it. Think it had garlic?
The rice balls, 2 plump mounds of rice with a little bit of corn and stuff, encased in a sticky, sweetish batter and deep fried, were gorgeously ugly.
The satay sauce is evil, it's so good.
But I was happy with my tofu, hard on the outside, soft in the middle, and meltingly good tempeh.

The place is really cute. Run, it seems, by this funny straight-faced man.. he was serving and this helpful woman was out the back cooking (to get to the toilet you have to go through the kitchen and they tell you how to use the basin with the foot pedal). I shall check out what has been written about them when I have more time coz I want the story.

Everything is a similarly cheap price. Nothing under $5 except a muffin ($2, today only, according to the sign... they ran out while we were there. They looked great.) or a $3 all-you-can-drink cup of chai with bonsoy, but I don't even care, it's still super value for the best meal I've had in weeks, that's how pleased I am with Las Vegan.

They do takeaway, too. It's worth noting that they're only open 11-3:30, Tues-Fri.

If you're reading my blog and you don't know where Las Vegan is, I am surprised. And pleased. Don't make them too busy to fit me in, but they're on Smith St Collingwood, right near Trippy Taco and Espresso 24 or whatever it's called... between Victoria Pde and Gertrude.


Friday, April 17, 2009


go with cream, and are good for your brain. Good to know at this time of year, when assignments are due and there's reading and work to be done.
Incidentally, I read an article the other day about blueberry's lesser-known cousin, the bilberry. Apparently it can help with Raynaud's syndrome, which I hadn't realised officially existed, but which bothers me sometimes, like in winter. Perhaps baking tarts will keep the cold at bay this year.
We don't normally have blueberries, but someone at Mum's work had a relative with a berry farm who when the fires came, grabbed what they could and ran. So we were lucky enough to be able to relieve them of a kilo of blueberries... plump, sweet and bubbling with juice when you bake them in a tart and rescue it from the oven, albethey blanketed under a buttery, subtle almond filling.
I'd been eyeing off Clotilde's recipe in my beloved Chocolate & Zucchini book for some time now. Almonds, blueberries, butter and delicious shortbready pastry. What more could you want? Apart from some cream to go with it, of course.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Yes, it's been a while, that's true. But I have 2000 words due tomorrow, so what better time to blog?

A lot has happened since last I wrote.. including a birthday dinner of mine at BCoz, Riversdale Road, Hawthorn (here). It's a certified organic, completely ready-to-comply-to-whatever-dietary-requirement-you-can-throw-at-us 'fine dining' restaurant (we threw nothing, and they actually seemed quite disappointed).
I was 21.

I was having an anxiety problem, and shouldn't have had more than a sip of the delicious organic rose-tinted sparkling wine we started with, because after the lovely tomato photos of this, alas, but Bcoz's description: yarra valley heirloom tomato, pickled cucumber, feta, basil & spinach salad... who knew there were so many kinds of tomato?
The Black Russian ones tasted like baked beans. Yes, sophisticated lady am I...

Anyway, after some different zucchini flowers (with half-zucchini attached!) - rice battered, with quinoa, pickled vegetable and brazil nut salad - I felt wrong by the time the soup appeared, and I don't generally care much for soup. This was fine, but it was just soup. How cute the bowls were, though! (Photos très artistiques par ma plus 'tite soeur.) And the bread that came with tasted just like out of Mum's bread machine, but they'd stuck white to wholemeal dough, which was just as cute as the bowls, and we had butter. Mmm. Anyhow, the soup was a ducky broth with sweetcorn and pasta. So when the Moreton Bay bugs arrived, beautifully done (wok tossed queensland bug meat, leaves, macadamias, spanish onion,
chilli salad passionfruit dressing), it was all I could do, once I got back from the Ladies, to look sadly on and try to tell myself I'd feel better once I'd swallowed some food.
Didn't work for the chicken with cashew and coconut, albeit this was tastable art, and it was gorgeous. Okay, a description is called for. It was amazing. Menu said: crisped milawa free range chicken, leaves, wonton wafer, dried mango, cashew nuts, coconut dressing. OH the coconut dressing, woe to be without appetite.

Wondering if I felt better after another trip to the loo, I didn't even try for more than a taste of the lamb (on sweet potato mash with mustard seed sauce), though I did get a photo.
But! Appetite somehow reappeared in time for dessert. Funny, that.
Dessert platters were good. My favourite was possibly the warm banana soufflé - inspired! Apple and pear 'bread pudding' was very good with an interesting sugary crumb. It was nice with the toffee icecream, which they had told us was vanilla bean, but the pudding was a bit too much sugar, which makes my throat hurt. Needed cream. 'Bread' here wasn't referring to actual bread, but a cakey entity.
What else... the coconut and lime tart was great, went beaut with pineapple sorbet. Fun, fun. The chocolate hazelnut marshmallow was funny but good. I liked it. But the whole dessert platter needed some cream accompanying.. the sweet needed diluting!

Next birthday, either something spontaneous or nothing. No more stress.
If anyone sprang a surprise posh dinner, or lunch on me, I wouldn't mind, though. That wouldn't be stress.