Cookbook Challenge, Fortnight 3: Rice/Noodles

Theme: Rice/Noodles
Recipe: Lamb Biryani
From: Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking

The theme for this fortnight’s Cookbook Challenge is “rice/noodles”. I choose to do something with rice dish and something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – biryani. Biryani is a layered rice dish made with spices and meat or vegetables. The rice is cooked separately from the curry sauce of meat or vegetables and is then layered together after the separate components have been cooked.


Café Vue: Melbourne Airport T2

On Australia Day last week, Alastair and I celebrated by jetting off to New Zealand. Yes, very patriotic indeed!

Our flight was early in the morning, so we skipped breakfast and took the opportunity to eat at the newish Café Vue at the Melbourne Airport international terminal.

This Café Vue outlet is open rather long hours (4am-1am daily) and offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as pastries and take away boxes for the plane. From what I saw of the breakfast menu, prices of the food look similar (if not the same) as the other Café Vue outlets. Breakfast and lunch take away boxes were $15, and a dinner box was $30. I was kind of astounded, because one of the things I hate the most about eating at airports is the outrageously marked up prices for horrible, substandard food. And here they hadn’t marked up the prices to gouge a captive audience?? Amazement!

Bistro Vue

I’ve only mentioned this briefly here – my parents arrived in mid December for a month long visit and it was FABULOUS. In exchange for teaching them how to use iphones and stocking mum up with computer games to play, they did all the house drudgery – buying groceries, cooking dinner, cleaning, and laundry. Life was good! I joked that it was like having a housekeeper… except I didn’t have to pay them! (It really was just like that, hah!) Sadly they left on Saturday, so it’s now back to regular life for me. Boohoo!

On the evening that mum and dad arrived, Bro and I picked them up at the airport, deposited them at home, and then dashed out the door as we were running late for Maria’s birthday dinner. Maria’s partner, Daz, had organised dinner at Bistro Vue as a surprise – isn’t that sweet!

Because there was a large group of us, we had to order off a set menu, with 2 courses for $70 or 3 courses for $80, including tea and coffee. Three or four choices of dish were available for each course.


MoVida Next Door

What’s the recipe for an awesome weekend?

Take one BFF, a Costco visit, mini Reese’s peanut butter cups (1.5kg thank you very much), glorious sunshine, 30°C temperatures, and top it all off with lunch at MoVida Next Door.

But first, a confession: before the weekend, I hadn’t eaten at ANY of the MoVidas before. Not the original (who can even manage to get a booking for it, anyway?), not Next Door, not Aqui, not Terraza. What kind of Melbournian does that make me? A Failbournian?

So the visit from my BFF was the perfect excuse to finally check one of them out and complete her Melbourne experience.

Station Hotel

I must be getting old(er) because I’ve become a big fan of going out for lunch in the weekend, rather than dinner.

Why? Well, some positives: Lunch is more relaxed. Plus there’s more light in restaurants, which means it’s easier to take photos – always important to a food blogger. It’s nice being home in the evenings, particularly when the weather is shit, as it has been this year. And in addition, lunch tends to be a bit cheaper and some restaurants do lunch specials (oh joy!).

But there are negatives: I can’t eat as much at lunch time. And having a big lunch means I skip dinner. (Although maybe I should put this in the positives column?)

Speaking of big lunches, we recently caught up with Maria and Daz for lunch at the Station Hotel. The Station Hotel in Footscray is in a building that was built in 1864, and was reinvented a few years ago as a gastro pub. Food wise, there’s an emphasis on steak, pub food, and food with French influences.

Naked for Satan: Siblings who Lunch

Thank goodness for the Melbourne Cup. If it wasn’t for the fact that in Melbourne we get the day off for a horse race, there would be a long, cold stretch between June and December with no public holidays to look forward to. The other good thing about the Melbourne Cup? Since it’s always on a Tuesday, taking the Monday off means a four day weekend. Hooray for long weekends!

Bro and I both took the Monday before Melbourne Cup off, so I suggested we go out for lunch. We headed to Naked for Satan, a newly(ish) opened bar in Fitzroy that serves pintxos. Pintxos are a typical snack of the Basque region in Spain, and are related to tapas – they consist of a mixture of ingredients on top of a small slice of bread and fastened with a toothpick.

Meal to Share: Moroccan

Hello, and welcome! Celeste from Travelling in Mary Janes, Penny from [Addictive and Consuming], and I have joined forces to cook a 3 course meal, with each person taking on a different course. We’ll have different themes each month, and our theme for this month is tasty, tasty Moroccan.

But before I tell you what I made – have you seen Celeste’s entree yet? She made delicious looking tomatoes stuffed with couscous. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check out her post, and then return, quick smart!

Moroccan dinner


Cookbook Challenge: Week 47, Italian


Recipe: A really good spaghetti bolognese
From: Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries

The theme for the Cookbook Challenge this week is “Italian”, and after a lot of hunting through my cookbooks, I decided to make bolognese. Normally I don’t follow a recipe for bolognese, but for the purposes of the Cookbook Challenge, I decided I would for once.

Unsurprisingly, I had a few recipes to choose from, and I decided on a Nigel Slater version from The Kitchen Diaries. I’ve posted before about my love for Nigel Slater before, so I had very high hopes for this recipe.

Mooncake making: Mid-Autumn Festival


On Sunday, I spent a fun couple of hours at Penny’s house with Anh, Celeste and Anna, making mooncakes. Mooncakes are Chinese pastries that are normally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. They’re very sweet, and high in calories, plus they’re relatively expensive per cake (I think a box of four here, depending on the quality, sells for ~$20-$25. But you’re not supposed to eat a whole one by yourself at one go – I wouldn’t eat more than 1/4 at a time.)

The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, and it’s meant to be when the moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year. (The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar, with the months following the cycles of the moon.) The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in many Asian countries – such as China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Phillippines, and this year it’s officially today! Happy Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival!