Friday, June 22, 2018

Dream Dumplings, Box Hill by Bureaucrat

I tend to avoid Box Hill.  I know there's a lot of good cheap food options in Box Hill but the density of the crowds and shops mean that I rarely step foot into this boxed hill.  However, dining out with Boy Chick these days means that one needs to be flexible.  Mother Hen suggested that we get a mid-week dumpling lunch inside the food court - since the renovation to the shopping centre, the food court is spacious with plenty of seating (especially if you get there before peak lunch hour) and there's even a play space for the littlies.

My last foray into the Box Hill food court found me at Grain Express (six years ago!).  The food was alright but it didn't wow me.  Grain Express is still there but Dream Dumplings has set up shop.  Mother Hen has eaten here are a few times and says the dumplings are pretty good.  She ordered for us two dishes to share.

Dream Dumplings, Box Hill, juicy pork buns
The first was the pan fried juicy pork buns.  Six good-sized buns with a reasonably fluffy bun.  The filling was piping hot and full of lovely porky soup (much like a xiao long bao but on a bigger scale).  In fact, we both had to change our tops when we got home because we got sprayed by the soup as we took the first bite into each bun.  The bottom on each bun had a nice golden crust to it.  Definitely worth ordering next time.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bonne Maman Caramel Cheesecake Recipe

Ah, Bonne Maman!  Who doesn't love the iconic French jams in the country-chic red and white jars?  I love their jams and feel ever so French when I have a jar in the pantry - it just invokes memories of my carefree Parisian jaunts back in the day when I had yet to become a mother (I had so much spare time back then... lol!).  Bonne Maman is launching a new product very soon, which will be available nationwide from mid-July.  This decadent Bonne Maman Caramel spread is unctuous, gooey and has a lovely deep caramelly flavour.  You may have already tried the caramel spread as there are a few select bakeries and cafes who use the Bonne Maman Caramel in their pastries (including Noisette's caramel doughnuts).

Bonne Maman Caramel, caramel cheesecake
Bonne Maman Caramel spread and cheesecake

The Eat and Be Merry Crew were offered to try out a jar or two Bonne Maman's Caramel spread. I was impressed that the caramel was made with all-natural ingredients and no colourings or preservatives (which meant I could share this with Boy Chick).

Friday, June 15, 2018

Left Field, Carnegie by Bureaucrat

A long overdue catch-up with Big Fil saw us converge upon Left Field in Carnegie.  Situated on a corner of an unremarkable stretch of surburbia, Left Field draws hungry families and couples in need for decent brunch offerings.  Fortunately, when we arrived, we didn't have to wait for a table - it would have been very different had we arrived 30 minutes later.

Left Field, Carnegie, pumpkin bruschetta
Roasted pumpkin bruschetta on quinoa toast

While I didn't have Boy Chick with me, I did note that the tables are spaced reasonably apart from each other - my elbows weren't touching those of my neighbours.  Service here was also particularly friendly and came with a smile - a nice touch :)  

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Scented Garden Cafe, Croydon by Bureaucrat

Croydon is a suburb that I know very little about.  My experience of this area is limited to what I see when I whizz past it in my car as I make my way the Yarra Valley.  I have never thought to stop and explore.  Having seen some very pretty and delicious photos on Instagram, I decided that we needed to check out The Scented Garden Cafe in Croydon.  And I'm so glad I did!

The Scented Garden Cafe, Croydon, smoked salmon fritter
Smoked salmon, avocado, poached egg on potato fritter and beetroot hummus

Situated in a quiet yet bustling shopping village, The Scented Garden Cafe is pretty.  It has a beautiful wrought iron fence complete with a floral design.  Inside, it's a cosy, sun-dappled oasis that was surprisingly busy (pretty much at full capacity) for 11am on a weekday.  Despite the wintry weather, it was nice and warm inside (I also spotted throw rugs for diners to use); and I can imagine the cafe being a great place to relax in the sun during the warmer months. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

HWKR, Melbourne by Rockstar

I will admit to often having food FOMO. Not wanting to miss out on the new restaurant or that dish that everyone is raving about. I’m pretty sure I should be more mature than that now... but I’m not! I was catching up with old friends and some of their associated cute little people and took a punt that we’d have more chance of getting into HWKR on a Sunday than a weekday.

HWKR, Melbourne, salted egg lobster and prawn noodles
Salted egg lobster and prawn noodles

I walked in and got a table for six without waiting. It’s a neat set up - modern and funky, neon and wood and pop. HWKR houses a number of restaurants which are all pop ups; and they rotate every 3 or 4 months. You can order via the app or by going to each stall and paying, via card only, to have the food delivered to your table.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Tutto Bene Risotto Masterclass by Rockstar

I jumped at the opportunity to attend Tutto Bene’s risotto masterclass for a few reasons: I remember going to Tutto Bene not long after it opened;  I have had a number of delicious risottos there; and I was very curious about the secrets that would be revealed about how to create the best risotto at home (keep reading for Tutto Bene's recipe to try at home!). 

Tutto Bene, Risotto Masterclass, risi e bisi risotto
Risi e Bisi risotto (photo supplied)

Head chef Nathan Scarfo was engaging and incredibly likeable and knowledgeable. The opportunity to not only see him cooking but to hear his top tips, and see them applied, was definitely worth it.