Saturday, 11 September 2010

Still Here...

Someone asked me AGES ago for a post on decent seafood eating in Hobart and Bichneo. If that person is reading, please let me know if you still want it!!!
In other news, I have been back in Brisbane visiting my mum (well actually looking after her as she had a bit of surgery) and I ended up staying for her birthday. Also managed to get to the Brisbane Show (aka the Ekka) for the first time in donkeys years. Its changed - ALOT. The craft and food was still there, as were the animals, but alot of the care and pride you used to see in the fruit and vege pavillion just wasnt there. The whole effort felt slightly half hearted for some reason. Am not sure if its the ongoing drought, changing perceptions or I'm getting older - but alot of the displays felt like they were there because they HAD to be, not because they WANTED to be.
The craft displays were as per usual mind blowing, though I was rather pleased with myself to find a pattern mistake on the piece of bobbin lace that got second place!
Food wise I discovered an amazing cupcake shop called Couture Cupcakes. Parking is not so easy, but the cupcakes are made in house with a decadent buttercake recipe. There are different cupcakes each day so you are able to make the excuse to visit regularly. The guy behind the counter is easy on the eyes as well. Cupcakes were about $4.50 each but it was dependent on type. I splurged and bought 8 for mum's b'day - we were supposed to go on a picinic to Redcliffe with her friends from Scrapbooking, but the weather was horrid so we had a Hyacinth Bucket indoor/outdoor picinic. Unfortunately we dont have a Royal Doulton periwinkle tea service so we had to make do with another pattern!
Back in Hobart I am still haunting the farmers markets - last week I got gnocchi, ragu, ravioli, mushrooms, cress and ham. I have yet to need to eat out this week. Tomorrow I'll probably grab some greens and some meat. Tonights dinner is going to be porterhouse with mushrooms - if and when I get hungry.
Sweet Envy has opened in North Hobart - looks good, feels good, still has a few teething problems with regards to drinks etc. Some people are saying its a bit expensive and the quality is not there for the pedigree of the people running it. I'll agree some things do appear to be expensive (the caramel popcorn springs to mind, as do the bar cakes) however the cupcake prices are comparable with the mainland. Quality I think will improve once they are settled into the kitchen and have worked out ovens etc. Even with a kitchen you have specified yourself, learning the idiocincracies of the oven/stove etc takes time.
In other parts of my life I have 81 days before my PhD thesis needs to be handed expect ALOT more blog posts as I procastinate!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Why I love the Farmers market - reason #692

Yeah well not really reason #692 but you get the idea.
Today for 50 odd dollars I got a whole weeks worth of meals - essentially all already made and all I have to do is reheat.
I have beetroot gnocchi and ragu along with Gluten Free lasagna, goat pie, falafeal and kale. This is enough for at least a week when you consider the lasagna is two meals, as is the gnocchi. The falafeal will be used as a crust on a roast, and the kale will be turned into chips. The pies were a 2 pack for 7 dollars, but I ate the mushroom and goat pie for lunch - it was really good, with big bits of goat, peas and a lovely creamy layer of mushrooms under the top. Talking to the people selling it they admitted that its the one item they find hard to keep in stock as they keep eating them!
The farmers markets are smaller than they are in summer, but you can still get lovely things there. I have noticed as its got colder there are more people selling "meal" type things than fresh fruit and vegies themselves. Last week I got bletted medlars, which are amazing and I wanted more this week but the girl I bought them off wasnt there...I hope she is there next week!

In other cooking adventures I made Potato Potage tonight and wonders never cease it looked like the picture!!! Everything in it except for the stock and thyme I bought at the farmers market in Melville street over the last couple of weeks. I overdid the bacon bones (I used a 500g Ham hock I bought off Matt and Ross a couple of weeks ago along with the bones Ross gave me today), and substituted the celery with white radish from the asian grocers from Campania. Other than that it was the recipe and it was really yummy and filling. Ate it with a couple of bread rolls from Zum while watching Dr Who. Made enough for 2 meals tonight and 3 meals to go into the freezer and minimal washing up as well which is good.

Am heading to The Beachhouse for netball lunch on Friday - should be interesting to say the least. Will report back, am unsure if its a set menu or we just order...I do know there is going to be LOTS of people there!!

In other news, my attempts to get up to Terraces in Lonnie to try the freefall menu may finally be paying off. Tournament of Minds in in Lonnie this year and as I will probably be adjudicating, so will head up a day early and treat myself. Only however if I have a completed first draft of the dratted thesis. I should do as I only have the discussion, intro and conclusion left to write. So all going to plan it will be submitted by november and I will have to be a grownup and get a real job......oh dear. Oh well, it will pay for my cheese and decent dining addiction.

Monday, 14 June 2010


I should be writing my thesis. I have spent since 10am this morning attempting to re do a chapter which can not decide if it wants to be one chapter or two. This has taken me 2 avocado and brown mustard cress rolls on sour dough and 3 fundraising chocolate bars to do...and its still not done.

An update to the food adventures in my life - been no where spectacular. However the Japanese resturant on Liverpool street is probably my new favourite lunch/early dinner place for cheap eats.
Two large sushi rolls and a drink will set you back less than 10 dollars, and they will make the rolls up fresh if you want something slightly different. Have eaten there twice in the last fortnight - once as a take away and once as an eat in. Both times the food was plentiful and full of flavour.

Am having Monty cravings, so am saving my pennies to treat myself once I get a full draft of the thesis into the supervisors (all going well that will be mid next month). Am still trying to find an excuse to get up to Lonnie to try the free fall menu @ the Terraces. My last two excuses didnt pan out (the meeting ended up be tele confrenced and the post grad thing was cancelled). May have to just go up there one weekend for the heck of it. Am eating alot of porridge at the moment - which is odd as until 6 months ago I HATED the stuff. But now I will gobble it down with golden syrup, nutmeg, vanilla and cinamon. My taste buds are odd.

Farmers market wise I have had some interesting things lately. My latest purchase on Sunday was a Vitabeet (sp?) which is apparently a type of swede/turnip. The leaves can be used in salads and the root cooked like a swede/beetroot. I ate some of the leaves last night, they have a spinich type texture and taste with what tastes like a coriander aftertaste. Definately healthy. Also been eating alot of Kale - Kale chips are amazing and dead simple to make. Am craving oranges but not getting any, but have been devouring limes in my water. I will admit to buying a couple of avocados from Frescos to satify a craving for avocado and cress sandwiches and some bananas for the potassium.

Oh well, better get back to it.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Food things I wish we had in Hobart.....

1. A shop that sells Koeksisters.
2. Food Connect - my mum subscribes to them and in the week I have been here we have had the most amazing fruit and vegies. The custard apple I ate the other night was something from heaven. Sweet and sugary around the skin, and soft, gooey and gorgeous in the centre. A cross between candied oranges and pineapple we fought over the last bits. For $48 for a week mum yesterday got what was called a gourmet box. In it was potatoes, tomatoes, chinese greens, a MASSIVE bunch of basil, spring onions, manadrins, oranges, lemons, bananas, avocados, lettuce, turnip, beetroot, banana and some other things. All fresh and straight from the farmers. She says that she is eating more fruit and vegies now then ever before. The brocoli last night was so crisp and fresh my mate JJ and I were standing at the serving bar eating it straight out of the microwave container with a bit of butter - and I usually avoid broccoli. $30 gets you a mini mixed box which has slightly less in it, but is made for one person. The other week mum got a whole vanilla pod (fresh and organic) and she has lemons and lemonade fruit coming out her ears.

I know I can get most things @ the farmers market on Sundays (and I always have to lug up Pork Rillettes, terrine, bacon and ham from Ross and Matthew for mum), but I have forgotten how much choice of food we actually get in the sub tropics which we dont get down south. I highly doubt any farmers around Tasmania will be growing dragon fruit any time soon. All of the food connect food is sourced within 5 hours of Brisbane which is pretty damn good if you ask me. Food connect just seems a great way for people who may not have the time or inclination to go to the markets, but want good quality fresh food.

3. Red Rooster - I know legs and Breast is similar but I have a very bad weakness for the Rooster roll of which the L&B equivalent just isn't the same.

But honestly thats about it. I love the fact that in Hobart I CAN easily get to a farmers market without battling for parking (which is the case up here with the Organic market on Sundays). I love that 30 minutes drive out of town are orchards that give me lovely fresh apples and pears. I love the fact I CAN eat predominately local and not have to limit myself. I love the fact I can avoid Coles and Woolies unless I need loo paper or dish washing liquid or stuff like that.
All in all, although I LOVE Brisbane, and it will always be home to me in some way, Tassie (and Hobart especially) is also home. Home by my standards. So as I fly home on Saturday afternoon, I will plan what I want from the markets this week, and get up on Sunday to buy, and taste and LIVE each moment. Then I will come home and FINISH THE DAMN THESIS!

Saturday, 1 May 2010


I believe I owe the blog a review of Remi de Provence in Macquarie Street - so before it fades anymore into the memory I will get down to it. (Yes if you ask I am procastinating on a Chapter on my thesis which is due Monday, but its a revision more than a totally new chapter. Besides the chapter is on iodine, and its deficiency in Tasmania and what has been done, so its VAGUELY food related as iodine is taken up in food. Well thats my excuse anyhow).

The thing I love about the internet is you meet really interesting people. I belong to a travel website, and pipe up in the Australia/NZ forum when people (usually Americans) propose to travel right around Tassie in about 4 days. Dialogue generally ensues in which I ask about what they are interested in, how long they have and what their feeling towards driving looooong distances is. I then make suggestions and generally thats it.

After undergoing the above with someone late last year, I got a message from them asking if they could take me to dinner to say thank you. Now, being a grad student who at that stage was living pay check to pay check I said "YES PLEASE". The proviso was it had to be a Sunday or Monday and not a predominately seafood place due to allergies. I was told to choose somewhere where normally I may not go due to budget, but please remember that they wouldnt have "dressy" clothes. Well the days ruled out Montys, and the seafood restriction ruled out Mures Upper Deck. In a fit of inspiration I remembered that Remi's was open on a Sunday, so booked a table for three.

I arrived to find Sharon and her husband already seated in the upper dining room. I REALLY like what they have done inside. You walk into vestibule which has the hostess stand, a fridge filled with what looked like cheeses etc and some wines. Walking down a few stairs you enter a landing which looks down on their bottle shop and beyond to what seems to be a casual private dining area. The bottle shop also acts as their cellar, so you can buy a bottle and take up upstairs with you. Around a corner and up some more stairs you walk into the main dining room - which although upstairs reminds me in feel of a basment resturant I went to years ago in Paris.

I was seated at a wood and cast iron table in a corner near the pass. Good spot and gave great views over the room. The floor is a sandstone and you would expect echos, but its lovely and intimate while still being open. The staff are attentive, with a cute french boy taking our orders.
I had the terraine to start, followed by the chicken with olives. Sharon had bread and the chicken, while her husbane had the soup and the beef.

Meal sizes were decent, not huge, but filling enough that 3 courses left you pleasently full.
The terraine was a country style, and tasted devine. The texture was rough, but still had that soft silky feel on the tongue that you get with a well made terrine. Rich without being strong.
The chicken and olives were brillant. Well cooked, fall off the bone, delicatly flavoured with a richness to the sauce which made you want to mop it up with bread. The soup was a vegetable soup which was apparently really tasty. It smelt lovely, a mix of green with sweet aroma which I think may have been carrots. The beef cassorole looked rich, and apparently was without being fatty or oily.

I did have a dessert, but can not for the life of me remember what it was. I know it was the tart of the day, I THINK it was berry but really cant remember. I do remember the pastry was glorious and there was a huge quinelle of thick cream on the plate.

As I said, as I was taken to dinner I have no idea how much it cost, however mains seem to run around the $20-25 mark, entrees around 15, and desserts around 10. I will definately be going back. For a sunday it was fairly busy with another 3 tables there while we were there.

So there you go. Remi de Provence - definately worth it for a good quality casual type meal. I know they were going for the French Bistro feel and they have succeeded wildly. Now that I have finished procastinating, back to trying to present very boring data in an interesting way so my supervisors dont fall asleep while reading it.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Remi de Provence

Went last Sunday. Will write review tomorrow when I need a break...someone remind me why I though telling my supervisors on Monday that I would get them 2 chapters (neither which is anywhere near complete) by the end of the month was a good idea?

Sunday, 11 April 2010


This weekend has not been so good. I worked yesterday (which IS good), but came home at 2pm feeling light headed, queasy and generally blergh. Slept for 15 hours last night and after SOMETHING went straight through me I feel slightly better.
Well enough infact to make Passata with the last of the tomatos from the 3 bushes I have had growing in pots in the front bed.
Now I know technically you should follow recipes and stuff, but I didnt have that many tomatos left (I didnt weight them, but I suspect there ws about 3/4 of a kg) so couldnt be arsed halving or quartering the quantaties of the recipes I found online - so I winged it.
I cut all the red tigrellas in half, drizzled olive oil on them and sprinkled salt on them. Bunged them into a pre heated 220C oven for about 2o minutes with 4 cloves of garlic. Took the tiny yellow grape tomatoes and dumped them straight into the pot with some olive oil. Heated them up slowly, and then dumped the roasted tomatoes into the pot as well and slowly stirred. Added 2 pinches of castor sugar, 5 bay leaves from the tree outside, and a generous wack of left over ground mustard seeds. Left it to simmer for about 15 minutes then came back and stirred it all again. Left it to simmer for another couple of minutes while I stuck a fairly small jar in the oven to dry. Poured the resultant mixture into a sieve and worked it through to remove skins and seeds etc. Put the bay leaves back in, stirred for a few minutes until desired thickness reached. Poured into small vegeimite jar and a small plastic container. Container went into freezer for when I just need a daub of sauce, jar got a lid and is sitting on the bench cooling before joining the relish and cherries in the food cupboard. It tastes pretty good, but is probably only enough for 1 pizza!