Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spicy Corner's Hoppers

Spicy Corner
49 Dawson Street
Tullamarine 3043


Spicy Corner is an unassuming Sri Lankan restaurant in suburban Tullamarine.  I went there late last year with a Sri Lankan friend and her family.  We went for one reason - to have the traditional Sri Lankan street food, hoppers.  My first time.  In fact, I hadn't even heard of hoppers before this meal!

Spicy Corner's menu describes hoppers as bowl shaped crispy crepes with soft centres made of rice flour.  Basically, edible bowls.  By all accounts they are not easy to make and you need a special pan.

Our Hopper meal consisted of plain hoppers, egg hoppers which had a fried egg cooked into it, a choice of chicken, beef or lamb curry and spicy sambol.




In this picture the egg hopper is sitting nestled in a plain hopper.  To eat you just break off bits of hopper and scoop up your curry and sambol.  I loved the hoppers.  Light and tasty, almost wafer thin. The egg hopper was my favourite though. This can be a messy process as you just use your hands, but that is part of the fun of the experience!

The curries and sambol were served in bowls to share. We had beef and lamb.  The curry was fine but the hoppers were the star of the meal.




I believe we had two sambols, onion and chill. A tip from my friends - if the sambol is too hot, (which, in this case, it was for me), mix a small amount of butter with it.  Sounds strange but works - the taste of the sambol still comes through but without the intense heat!




I definitely want to return to Spicy Corner and try more of the very reasonably priced menu.  I am fascinated by the sweets menu - Love Cake?  Potato Toffee?  As for the Milk Toffee.. well that's a bargain! ;)  I was intrigued by Wattalappan - a google search revealed that it is a coconut custard pudding.





If you are interested in the Hopper meal it is probably best to ring first as I believe it is not always available.  



Spicy Corner on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bastille Day in Saint Remy de Provence

This is my first post in quite a few months.  I won't go into all the reasons why I wasn't blogging over this time but if you are reading this I just want to thank you for coming back to read my blog after such a long time.  I really appreciate it :)  I hope you enjoy this, my first post, of hopefully many, for 2014.


A few days before I left France they celebrated Bastille Day or as they call it La Fête Nationale, French National Day.  The last two weeks of my holiday was spent in a gorgeous town in the South of France - Saint Remy de Provence. You will see more of Saint Remy in my next few posts but July 14 deserves a post all it's own. The French know how to celebrate!

Our morning began with the Running of the Bulls!  This was a  'controlled' running where the bulls are escorted by horsemen through the town streets but still exciting as random bulls escaped the pack and headed for the crowd!  Whilst the streets were lined with sturdy barriers a lot of people were outside of these barriers.  I was not that silly!  If I had of been my photos would probably have been better so sorry about that ;)  I couldn't believe people were standing outside the barriers with children!!



Escaped bull on the sidewalk scattering the crowd!



It was a very hot day so once the bull extravaganza was over we walked back to our rented 300 year old villa and spent the afternoon in the pool.



In the balmy early evening we walked back into town for evening festivities.  St Remy's old town centre is circled by a boulevard.  This boulevard and all the internal streets were blocked off to traffic.  Bands played at various intervals along the street. Restaurants extended their tables onto the road and the overall atmosphere was one of a carnival.

Part of the remnants of the circular 14th-century wall that protected St Remy

After checking out some of the restaurants we chose to dine at Brasserie Les Varietes which is located on Boulevard Victor Hugo.


I loved the hot pink accents of the restaurant.


We began with an entree of zucchini flowers stuffed with goat's cheese. This was delicious - a simple dish made with quality ingredients.




For main I had fried scallops, prawns and pasta. It was delicious - the seafood very fresh.  (Of course all our meals had lovely french names but I am afraid I didn't write them down!)




My brother in law had Monkfish on risotto with a 'red fruits sauce' whilst my sister had seafood served over risotto.  I had risotto envy - it was beautiful, soft and creamy.




For dessert we shared Creme Brulee.  It was divine. Perfect 'crack'.


My nephew and niece enjoyed their chicken nuggets and chips.  Kids restaurant meals seem to be the same no matter where you are!

After dinner we followed the crowd into the center of town where they were giving out candle lit lanterns.  




We then joined a procession through the streets which ended at the Town Hall.


A makeshift stage was erected in front of the Town Hall with bands and singers entertaining the huge crowd whilst there were rides and carnival games to keep the children happy.


Fireworks capped off an amazing day. 


Vive la France!



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Monet's Garden, Giverney


Confession time.  I've had a severe case of writer's block since I returned from Europe. I think the problem is that I have so many ideas for posts, so many wonderful photos and so much I want to share that it is not coming together the way I would like it to! 

 


I have started a number of posts.  Bastille day in Saint Remy de Provence, my obsession with French supermarkets and the wonderful Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse indoor market - just to name a few.  Works in progress.
 


So, in an effort to just start somewhere I thought I would do a non food post and share some photos of one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.  The famous and fabulous house and garden of Impressionist painter Claude Monet.  I visited on a wet summer's morning which explains the slightly misty quality to some of the photos. (And the murky water!)



I have always loved Monet's work and visiting his home in the quaint town of Giverney was definitely a highlight of my trip.

 

Photos of the interior of the house are not permitted but the kitchen and dining room in particular are gorgeous.  (The copper pot collection is To.Die.For.)   There are photos online if you are interested.



A few weeks later I visited the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris which houses Monet's Water Lilies (Les Nymphéas).  It was magical to see these stunning paintings after having seen the pond and water lilies in person.


  
I hope you enjoy and I promise there will be more food and travel posts coming very soon.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pud Thai vs Pho


Shop 4, 60 Siddeley St
Docklands, VIC 3008

This small Thai/Vietnamese restaurant is a lovely little hidden gem.

Located in the WTC (World Trade Centre) Wharf precinct on the north bank it is just a few steps away from the Seafarers Bridge which links to the South Wharf restaurant/shopping precinct. 

I have dined here a number of times but I must admit I have not tried their Pud Thai or Pho!

Rice Paper Roll - $5 each
The prawn rice paper rolls were delicious.  Full of fresh vegetables and herbs. I love the translucency of the rice paper.


Dumplings - $5
The steamed prawn dumplings with a soy dipping sauce were very moreish little morsels.


Spring Rolls
And .. Spring Rolls

Now I didn't have the spring rolls but according to my friend who ordered them, she definitely ordered spring rolls on two different occasions, but as you can see they arrived looking quite different!  Maybe different chefs on different days?  Either way she enjoyed both versions.  Neither of us can remember what she was charged but the online menu says $5 per serve.


Thai Beef Salad - $12.90

I have had this Thai beef salad a few times and love it.  Its light, has lots of beautiful fresh salad and herbs and a very spicy dressing.



Lemongrass Beef - $11.90



I also really enjoyed this lemongrass beef dish.  The sauce was delicious and you add as much as you like to the bowl.  Fragrant and tasty.










BBQ Pork - Flame grilled marinated pork neck - $15.90

My friend had this pork dish which was served with sweet chilli sauce and jasmine rice.  She really enjoyed it and said she would order it again.  I thought it looked a bit dry but I think that is more to do with my average photography skills than the actual dish!


Tom Yum Noodle - $10.90
 
And finally on a cool day I ordered the Tom Yum Noodle which is described as soup noodles with vegetables, tomato, lime leaf and chicken (you can also chose beef or seafood). This was my least favourite dish though there was nothing wrong with it - it just wasn't quite what I was expecting.  But having said that it was a very generous serve and great value for money.  I struggled to finish the bowl and it was packed full of noodles and vegetables.  I just felt the flavour of the broth was missing something. 

Maybe I should have ordered the Pho!!

Pud Thai Vs. Pho on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 16, 2013

France

Just a quick little note to explain my lack of posting lately. I am currently in Europe for six weeks and before that was just slightly manic getting ready for my trip, battling a bout of bronchitis and finishing up things at work!

My holiday has a number of different, equally exciting, parts. Some time in beautiful Paris, a quick trip to vibrant Barcelona then back to Paris to join the Cruise for Mates Avalon river cruise through France. The final part of my trip will be two weeks in Provence staying in a gorgeous villa. I hope to do some posts whilst I am here though the Wifi situation will influence that somewhat. You can also now follow me on Instagram - a link is on the top right of this page. 

Au revoir. 






Monday, April 29, 2013

Fig, Goat's Cheese and Prosciutto


My sister's friend passed on this recipe a few months ago and I have been obsessed with it ever since.  This is a simple, delicious appetiser.  Just three beautiful ingredients - very easy and tasty. 




Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.  Trim and halve your figs. 




Dollop on a generous amount of goat's cheese.



Wrap the fig and cheese in a thin slice of prosciutto.  I generally halve the prosciutto slices - half is usually wide enough.



Place the wrapped figs on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes. 




The end result - soft gooey figs, creamy cheese and crisp prosciutto. An impressive, delicious outcome for little effort.

Enjoy!