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!