Sunday, April 19, 2015

Masons of Bendigo

On our recent trip to Bendigo, we had a wonderful dinner at Masons of Bendigo, on the recommendation of my work colleague, Wayne.  We had a sneak preview of Masons on our Food Fossicking Tour earlier in the day, and it certainly heightened our anticipation of dinner at Masons in the evening.

Masons is very popular, and we were told on our tour that you have to book at least two weeks in advance.  I had booked a month in advance, so that part was taken care of.  As I mentioned in my post on the food fossicking tour, Masons has an open kitchen so that you can watch your meal being prepared.  Masons prides itself on its use of local produce which it highlights in its fusion style menu.  There are two dinner sittings at Masons - 6pm and 8pm.  We went for the earlier sitting - I would be so hungry if I had to wait until 8!

On arrival at Masons, we are presented with a plate of bread with miso butter:

The bread was delicious, and the miso butter was devine.

Next, our drinks arrived.  I ordered a glass of red:

and Tim ordered a local Tooborac beer:

Then came the good stuff - Tim and I ordered two entrees to share.
First up came seared Hervey Bay scallops, curried cauliflower, salmon caviar, coriander vinaigrette and squid ink crackers ($14 for 3, we bought an extra scallop):

This was my dish of the night - just heavenly.

Next came steamed sticky beef buns with shitaki mushrooms and pun chun sauce ($8 for 2):

No complaints here:

For main, Tim ordered the Beijing roast duck red curry, with caramelised pineapple, okra and puffed rice ($30):

with a side of jasmine rice:

while I ordered the baked barramundi with sweet and sour calamari salad, peanuts and yellow curry ($32):

Both mains were top notch, and we enjoyed them very much.

To finish off, we could not go past the Masons Tasting Plate ($26) - vanilla and peach brulee, Eskimo pie, yoghurt pannacotta with passionfruit gel, choc-hazelnut delice, baked cheesecake, Yuzu curd and tapioca pot with summer fruits, pomegranate icecream and Persian fairy floss:  

It was all pretty good, but I think my favourite was the pannacotta.

The service at Masons was very friendly and efficient, and Tim was chuffed that Nick, the owner, remembered him from the food fossicking tour earlier in the day.

We would definitely return to Masons when we are next in Bendigo.

25 Queen Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: (03) 5443 3877

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Plum Tart

Do you ever pick up a copy of the free supermarket magazines?  If you do, do you ever make anything from them?

I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to supermarket magazines, because in some respects, they are one big ad for the products sold by the supermarkets.  However, every now and again, you get a gem of a recipe that  is worth making.

The March 2015 edition of Coles magazine featured such a gem in the form of a beautiful mixed plum tart featured on the front cover.  I was immediately drawn to the tart, and bought some plums especially to make that tart.  You can find the recipe online here.

I used Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough recipe for the base instead of the one stated in the recipe, because it is my go to tart dough and you don't have to roll it - it can be pressed straight into the pan.

For the plum component, I used all yellow plums, which happened to be on special that week at Coles.

This tart was very tasty - nutty, sweet and texturally interesting.

If you have some fresh plums on hand, do give this beautiful tart a go - it is well worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

FFWD - Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

I had a sense of deja vu with this week's French Friday with Dorie dish, as I had made Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees back in 2010.  Granted, the photo back then was a little confronting with all that unrendered fat on the roast, but I enjoyed it very much.  That meant that I was happy to front up for round two.

This time, instead of using a pork roast, I used pork tenderloin medallions - faster and easier to cook, and less waste for one person.  I used fresh mango and tinned lychees (fresh ones being out of season).

I am a sucker for meat and fruit together so I loved this dish.  On the day I made it, I couldn't eat it because I had been having a bad day health-wise, and the smell of the garlic and onions in the sauce made me feel nauseous.  However, next day, I was right as rain and enjoyed every last drop of the sauce.

This was once again a winner for me, and a dish that I would happily repeat - but I will have to be careful of the company I serve it to, because I can see from the Dorista forum comments that the fruit-meat combination (or maybe just the lychees!) is confronting for some.

Visit the LYL section of the FFWD website to get the insight of the other Doristas on this dish.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

EwE - Tuscan Kale Salad

For Eating with Ellie today, Kayte chose Tuscan Kale Salad from p41 of Weeknight Wonders.

I have never cooked with kale before, and I have to say, I wasn't a big fan - it tasted a lot like grass, even with the lovely raisins and toasted pinenuts.   (For some background, I am not a green salad girl.)

To make it more palatable, I served it with yesterday's WWDH spaghetti, making it just another green leaf in the spaghetti.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WWDH - Spaghetti with Lemon, Capers and Rocket

For today's Wednesday with Donna Hay, Sarah chose Spaghetti with Lemon, Capers and Rocket from p130 of Modern Classics.  You can also find the recipe online here

This is a spaghetti flavoured with capers, garlic, chilli, lemon and parmesan.  I used wholemeal spaghetti to make it a little healthier.  I was not sure about the rocket through the pasta (in my case, mixed leaf salad), but it actually tasted quite good.  I really enjoyed the clean, fresh flavours of this pasta.

To see what the others thought of this dish, see the LYL section of the WWDH website.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

TWD - Limoncello Cupcakes

It's Tuesday with Dorie today, and I was excited by this week's recipe of Limoncello Cupcakes because I got to bake with limoncello.  I had never heard of limoncello until I started blogging, and I bought a bottle of limoncello about 8 years ago that I had never opened - until now!

There are quite a few steps in making these cupcakes.  No mixer is necessary, but you have to make a syrup and a frosting as well as the cakes, and you fill the cupcake papers in two steps because they contain a jewel of marmalade in the middle (in my case, orange marmalade). 

Dorie said that the frosting would only make enough for a ruffle in the centre of each one, but even then, I had some frosting left over:

Here's a peek inside:

I think these cupcakes are so pretty and elegant, and the syrup brushed on top while the cakes are still warm adds shine as well as flavour.  The lemon flavour is subtle and not at all alcoholic.

To see what the other Doristas made of these limoncello cupcakes, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Choc-Cherry Slice

At my Pilates studio, they have a selection of magazines to help you pass the time while you are waiting for class.  I always read The Womens Weekly, primarily for the recipes, but also for the amusing columnists.

In the March edition of The Weekly, Julie Goodwin published a recipe for a Choc-Cherry Slice (bar cookies for my US readers).  Being a huge fan of Cherry Ripes, I thought that this slice sounded just like a cherry ripe in slice form, so I memorised the recipe to make at home.

I am so glad I made this slice.  Don't get me wrong - it is very decadent and chocolatey, but for a treat, it is absolutely devine.

To make this slice, you will need:

250g butter
250g dark chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup chopped glace cherries
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup plain flour
1 cup cocoa

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 19cm x 30cm slice pan.

Melt the butter and chocolate together over a saucepan of simmering water.

Beat the eggs in a stand mixer until thick and pale.  Add the sugar to the eggs gradually, beating until the mixture forms ribbons.  Fold in the chocolate mixture, then the cherries and the coconut.

Fold in the flour and cocoa.

Pour the mixture into the prepared slice pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

Allow to cool in the tin then cut into bars.