Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Mums Apple Pie.jpgSince my unexpected arrival back in Australia 2 weeks ago, I have been bunkering down at my parents’ house.  It has always been a place that I feel at home, get taken care of and can take some time to get my head on straight. I was fortunate to have one of my Apples.jpgclosest friends K and her baby and husband come up the first weekend for Sunday lunch. This was a wonderful distraction and enjoyable afternoon, a great way to get my mind of my own troubles.

I managed to help Mum whip up some food, making a mushroom risotto and some fresh bread. However in my less than stellar state I let Ingredients.jpgMum cook dessert. Mum’s apple pie (that is actually her sister’s husband’s grandmother’s recipe… yes it is one of those recipes) is sweet, delicious and not like the apple pies you get in the US. It has a sweet shortcrust pastry rather than the more savoury kind you get in the US.Pastry.jpg

Firstly put on the apples to stew… Just peel and slice up some granny smith apples and add them to a pot with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

For the pastry, beat 125 grams of butter and ¾ cup of sugar together until creamy. Add in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Next mix in 1 teaspoon of vanilla Rolling.jpgand a pinch of salt. Then gradually mix in 2 cups of self-raising flour, ½ cup of plain flour and ½ cup of cornflour. Mix this until everything is combined.

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The rest is simply rolling out the dough for the base and the top. Filling the pie with thecooled apples and then baking.

It bakes in a 180C oven for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. The great thing is that because the apples are cooked you’re Pie.jpgjust cooking the pastry until it is crispy.

This is now my new go to sweet choice for when I am down… not chocolate or icecream… Mum’s apple pie. Served with a dollop of icecream or fresh cream, it is just the perfect way to end a Sunday lunch or any lunch or dinner or breakfast… my new comfort food. Thankfully though it isn’t hard to make it is just time consuming enough for me not to make it too often… otherwise I could be in big trouble! Delicious, sweet and crispy… give it a try, it is guaranteed to help warm your heart!

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Muffin Tin Meat Pies.jpgWe reached a milestone this week… we have over 2500 followers now! To celebrate this great milestone I thought I would revisit a recipe from the early days of the blog.

Also, I have been craving a taste from home and what better way to taste Australia than through meat pies.

These were tasty little treats I made for J. and I during NFL season last year. A nice little snack for watching footy. We did an entire series of Football Food posts last year and with the NFL season only 3 weeks away, I am going to have to prepare some more great snack ideas.

These pies were very easy to make, especially since I cheated and bought the pastry instead of making it myself. You could also try all different kinds of fillings but we stayed with the traditional beef and added some spice and chili! You could also make them into a full size pie but these were the perfect size for a tv snack. Beer and a pie – a completely Australian way to watch the football.

So take a trip down memory lane, across the Pacific to Australia with me…. here.

Italian Thick Chocolate.jpgAustralia is in the middle of summer right now, when we arrived in Brisbane back on the 21st it was hot, steamy and overcast. We had our lunch out with friends and had decided to explore the city center a little. We jumped on a bus and trundled into the city and watched the rain clouds gather…

Now this preamble is leading to a food adventure but I need to set the scene…

We arrive in the city and wander down the Queen Street Mall, the rain starts falling gently… we walk further… across the river to Southbank and the “beach”. Those of you who don’t know Brisbane, they have created a man-made beach right in the center of town on the south bank of the river. I am pretty soaked at this stage and even though it is hot and muggy the last thing I want to do is risk getting sick on our first day of vacation.

Then I saw it, an oasis from the rain… Max Brenner. This is a chain of “restaurants”/ “cafes”/ Spicy Mexican Chocolate.jpg“chocolate shops” that can be found around Australia… actually when I was just googling I found that there are some here in the US too, including Vegas – How did I not know this!?! They do some decadent waffles and sweets not to mention delicious chocolates. I suddenly wanted a hot chocolate! J had never been to Max Brenner for some reason so I suggested a short respite from the rain and a cup of hot chocolate to share!

So in we went to dry off and order a cup to share… well as if that was ever going to happen… we ended up ordering 2 cups, because we could! I wanted what I have always had, the Mexican Spicy Chocolate with Milk Chocolate and then J ordered the Italian Thick Chocolate with Dark Chocolate.

We sat down and sipped away at our mugs of steaming hot chocolate… they were so delicious and I have to say that J’s Italian Thick Chocolate is now my new favorite… (that sounds dodgy). Anyway, the chocolate wasn’t too sweet and was nice and hot. My Mexican Spicy one could have been a bit spicier but it was delicious anyway. J was pretty pleased with his choice and he would normally stay away from a hot drink in that kind of weather.

After we had dried off and consumed our drinks we were ready to get back out walking again! When I say consumed, I mean licked the cups clean…

What a way to force ourselves to stay awake and avoid jetlag. Hot chocolate in the middle of summer, I think hot chocolate anytime works really!

Fish & Chips.jpgWe arrived back in Australia (into Brisbane) early Friday morning… Greeted at the airport by my joking Dad and my teary Mum, we quickly headed to my Granma’s place to shower, refresh and then head out on the town… It was only 8.30am!

By lunchtime we were out eating already with my good friends K (I have spoken about K in earlier blogs) & R and their brand new baby H. My parents & K’s parents also joined us. So a big group of us for lunch – what better way to keep awake and beat jetlag.

There is a restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try since it opened in Brisbane, Alfred & Constance… unfortunately we had time limits and location difficulties for everyone to attend so we had to choose somewhere else. Check out the A & C website though… if you are in Brisbane sometime I think they would be worth a visit! Ok, enough about where we didn’t eat.

We met at one of the local shopping centres (mall) where we knew there is a variety of restaurants with outdoor seating and decent food to choose from. After some debating and studying of the menus out the front of each restaurant we settled on Groove Train.

The menu was quite eclectic and would offer everyone coming to lunch something to choose from. J. and I were Chicken Parma.jpgstarving by this stage and craving some Aussie food. Unfortunately there weren’t any pies on the menu but plenty of other stuff to choose from. In the end I went for fish & chips because I hadn’t had a great beer battered piece of fish since I left Australia and J. went with a Parma… or for those non-Australian a Chicken Parmigiana.

Lemon peppered beer battered served with lemon, fresh garden salad, chips and tartare sauce… how good does that sound! Anyway, I was incredibly happy with the fish. A nice crispy batter and not too greasy at all and the fish itself was delicious and flaky… it just fell apart as I cut into it. I can’t really say much about the salad, it really was just a regular garden salad, nothing terribly fancy about it at all… it was fresh though which is always important. The chips were yummy, perfectly cooked. My main thing with a fish and chips is that it can’t all be greasy and soggy and this wasn’t so it was a winner all round for me.

J’s parma came out and it was quite huge… this wasn’t a bad thing since he was starving. It looked pretty good – he was a fair way down the table from me so I didn’t manage to sneak a bite, though I kind of wish I did. It came out covered in Napoli sauce and melted mozzarella with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. He also had the salad and chips as sides so it was a big plate of food. He really enjoyed it.

It was a great lunch for us, and so fun to catch up with great friends. We were exhausted and jetlagged and probably not the best company for others but that’s what friends are for. After lunch we headed off into Brisbane city for a bit of exploring… stay tuned for the delicious delights we found during our adventure!

This is one of my brother Michael’s Photos by the way.

I love Melbourne. It is a beautiful, diverse and exciting city. Full of great people, shopping, food, sport and bars. I loved my apartment and living in the centre of the city but we all do crazy things occassionally, so I moved to Arizona. I am learning to love  my new home and I am so happy I moved here, it was certainly the right choice but there are things I miss about Melbourne.

Strangely they are all food/drink related… This is just the top ten.

1. Meat Pies

As you may have realised from one of my earlier posts about Meat Pies, I love them. Seriously they are my favorite food, not just my favorite Australian food, my all time, last meal kind of food. These aren’t something I can get in my new home, whereas in Melbourne there were 10 places within 2 minutes walk of my apartment that I could get a vast array of flavors, meats, styles and more from. I just have to make them myself and turn Arizonians onto the joy of meat pies!

2. Good Coffee

Melbourne is a city of cafes. You can barely walk half a block without passing one in downtown Melbourne. The thing I love about this is that 99% of these cafes serve an above average coffee. Some of them will serve outstanding coffee. I miss those options, I miss cafes that aren’t Starbucks and coffees that taste good. I have pretty much given up coffee since moving here which isn’t a bad thing… less caffeine is better for me.

3. Walking

I walked everywhere in Melbourne, I didn’t have a car so I didn’t have much choice. Living in the centre of the city certainly helped but I loved to wander around the city on a weekend. Grab a coffee, walk down to the Botanical Gardens, meet some friends at a pub for lunch. All on foot. The only walking I do these days is to the car and back, and at the gym. Mind you I am enjoying being lazy!

4. Al Fresco Dining

All over Australia we have an outside, active lifestyle. I spent so much time in sidewalk cafes, beer gardens and on restaurant balconies during the warmest months in Melbourne. Even during the grey, cold winter I would sit under braziers with a coffee or glass of wine, enjoying a great meal. Though there are some options here in Arizona for Al Fresco Dining, they are few and far between and the summer certainly sends us all indoors rather than outside. However the places with outdoor areas have those fabulous misters to keep us cool… I do like that!

5. The Queen Victorian Markets

I mentioned these markets earlier this week actually but I do miss them so much!! The incredible range of meat, fish, cheeses, vegetables and so much other stuff. Not to mention the bratwursts!! Nothing beats the brats there.

6. Supermarkets

This may seem like a strange one but this is because everything is different in Arizona. I miss a supermarket where not only do I know where everything is, I know the brands, the names that I am familiar with. It is just a matter of learning new ones and finding new favorites but I do miss the familiarity.

7. Bakeries

Bakeries are one of my favorite places… the smell of fresh baked bread is unbeatable. I would seriously where a perfume that smelled like that. Bakeries at home aren’t just bread but a smorgasbord of sweet treats like custard slice, apple slice, cream buns. Then the savory treats like meat pies and sausage rolls, not to mention the fresh sandwiches that many bakeries will make. Yum, yum, yum.

8. Cooking in Celcius

This is really silly I know, but having to always do conversions is really annoying!

9. Beer & Wine

I am learning about and discoving new beers and wine here in Arizona but I miss my favorites. I am a big fan of Australian microbrews like Beez Neez, James Squire, and so many more. I also love Australian wines which aren’t readily available here. Smaller wineries’ produce just doesn’t make it to Costco. I am limited to things like Yellowtail and Jacobs Creek. I may be wrong but I don’t think these are the best Australian wines out there!

10. Dinner Parties with Friends

I was lucky enough that when I moved back to Melbourne from Japan many of my close friends had moved into the same downtown area. I had my dearest and nearest within walking distance! We would get together at eachothers houses, at restaurants, bars and cafes for dinner parties and gatherings quite often. I love hosting dinner parties! I am making new friends now, so hopefully there is a dinner party, Arizona style, on the horizon…. maybe this weekend!