Omelette Brochettes

We are big time egg lovers and go through quite a few cartons every month. In fact, if its egg curry bubbling on the stove, my son would sniff it a mile away and come running all excited about dinner.

All forms of egg dishes are welcome in our home and fried runny yolk eggs are a hot favourite of the kiddo for weekend brunches. We are lucky that so far, there has been no restrictions at school too because Adi really loves egg sandwiches in his lunch boxes.

Even though there are plenty of different egg dishes I cook, I was still on the hunt for new ones especially that cater to the after-school-hunger-pangs category. With a growth spurt happening, Adi comes home from school totally ravenous and needs something really substantial. And that’s how I came across a similar recipe for Omelette Brochettes in a cookbook called ‘Mini Treats’ by Hinkler Publications.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

This one’s pretty simple to make, almost like a frittata. Though I have used onions, bell peppers and ham, any combination of meats or veggies can be used depending on your preferences.

It’s a really easy and simple dish to make and one you can make in bulk which also makes it as an excellent starter choice especially for children’s parties. If you are a light eater like me, it makes a delicious lunch option too when paired with a simple green salad.

I have not used cheese in this recipe, somehow I don’t like the texture too much if I have to refrigerate and then re-heat it later. But I would,  if I was making it for a party or to have immediately afterwards.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Do try it out and let me know if you enjoyed it and don’t forget to tag your creations with #thespiceadventuress while posting on social media so that I can see it too. Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

  1. 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 cup whole milk
  3. 12 large eggs
  4. 1 onion; finely chopped
  5. 8 ham slices; chopped
  6. 2 mini red bell peppers; finely chopped
  7. ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  8. 3 tbsp parsley leaves; finely chopped (reserve a bit for garnish)
  9. ½ tsp dried Italian herbs (a mix of dried oregano, thyme and rosemary)
  10. Salt, to season
  11. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan forced).
  • Line an oven pan (32x26cm) with baking paper. (You can also use a square or rectangle cake tin).
  • Heat olive oil in a pan and add the chopped ham; sauté for about 2-3 minutes and then add the onions.
  • Once the onions are softened and translucent, add the bell peppers. Season with salt and allow to cool slightly before adding to the egg mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add the chilli flakes, dried herbs, parsley and the cooled onion ham mixture. Season with salt and pepper and whisk well.
  • Pour into the pan and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes or till the egg has set.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before turning it out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve with your favourite sauce.

Omelette Brochettes, a simple and delicious snack - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chillies

For all the prawn lovers out there!

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Personally, I find prawns the easiest yet the most indulgent seafood to cook and eat. Not just for the fact that it cooks super fast but also for its ability to absorb all sorts of flavours in minimal time. Agreed, prawns are slightly more expensive when compared to your regular fish fillets, but there’s so little you need to do to it for a delicious dinner on your table in no time at all.

In our home, prawns are most often cooked for mid week dinners. And that’s because, by Wednesday, I get into the when’s the weekend coming mode and I really need something to get me going. Sometimes, it’s a nice glass of wine or perhaps a late night movie (for which I curse myself the next day morning) and sometimes, it’s an indulgent plate of food. And prawns fit perfectly in that mid week indulgent category.

While I need that mid week luxury, I am not willing to work too hard for it. So today’s recipe, grilled prawns with herbs and chillies is just perfect.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

All you really need for this dish is a bunch of herbs, which makes it also a good dish to use up leftover herbs that let it go bad in the refrigerator. When I have an excess amount of herbs (I grow quite a few at home), I usually chop it all up finely, mix with a generous amount of olive oil and freeze for future uses like this dish. So that’s another tip for you!

So that’s it really, mix the prawns with the herb oil emulsion, a touch of chilli flakes to spice things up and then grill it. Top it over a big bowl of salad or a quick rice or noodle stir fry for a delicious and indulgent midweek dinner.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 350gms tiger prawns; deshelled (leave tails intact) and deveined
  2. 1-1 ½ tsp chilli flakes (adjust to heat preferences)….

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Supreme Seafood, so head over to their website for the full recipe.

Grilled Prawns with Herbs and Chilli, simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

El Sabor (Melbourne) – a Review

El Sabor by El Cielo, located on Victoria St, North Melbourne, specializes in authentic and traditional Mexican style comfort food in an upscale setting.

The fact that the restaurant has Executive Chef Dhi (a two time winner of Restaurant & Catering award for Best Corporate Caterer (Victoria) 2012 & 2013) at its helm speaks a lot in terms of the quality of food served here.

I decided to check out the restaurant with my girlfriends who were equally keen to try out some real Mexican food. El Sabor has a quaint ambience with a bit of functionality and tradition thrown in. The restaurant has two seating areas….the more communal dining space with handcrafted wooden tables and benches on the ground floor and a more relaxed space on the first floor for those who want to spend more time catching up over food especially on weekends and at dinner times. It is best to make reservations if you are visiting on weekends or in a large group.

El Sabor (Melbourne) – a Review by thespiceadventuress.com

El Sabor (Melbourne) – a Review by thespiceadventuress.com

You can also find a lot of products, especially salsas and hot sauces made under the El Cielo banner on display and on the tabletops. While there is a small bar area on the ground level, most of the drinks are mixed in the bar space upstairs which boasts of some traditional mezcals, tequilas, beers and wines from South America & Spain.

El Sabor (Melbourne) – a Review by thespiceadventuress.com

El Sabor (Melbourne) – a Review by thespiceadventuress.com

The menu is truly Mexican and not the fusion that we often get to see in many restaurants that claim to serve Mexican cuisine. So while the tacos, fajitas and many other dishes may sound familiar, you will be surprised that the flavours are different to what you may have eaten in many other places.

The drinks menu is also very interesting, especially the cocktail section with a lot of Mexican/South American influence. Hence we decided to skip the wine and try out the cocktails. Also strongly recommended are the mezcals and tequilas.

We couldn’t skip past Tommy’s Margarita, which is the classic style served on the rocks. Loved the rim lined with chipotle salt; lipsmacking and highly recommended. I always gravitate towards drinks or dishes which uses a particular spice in an interesting manner and that’s how I ended up ordering the Chipotle El Sabor made with mezcal, chipotle, agave, lime and ginger beer. Very refreshing and a really different cocktail; loved it. The third cocktail we tried was the Mariachi with mezcal, pineapple, jalapeno, orange, lime and agave. This one was really refreshing with a lot of punch on the tastebuds. Don’t feel threatened by the jalapenos; a really good drink if you like refreshing flavours.

Tommy’s Margarita - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Chipotle El Sabor - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Mariachi - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

And to accompany, we had the corn chips (made in house) with some delicious guacamole and salsas. Can’t think of a better way to start a Mexican meal.

Corn chips, guacamole, cocktails - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

We began our meal with the tacos. Tried out three different ones; Pollo Pibil (chicken marinated in orange-lime juice & Achiote, served with pickled red onion), Pescado (Baja style battered fish, served with chipotle mayo, red cabbage and lime) and Carnitas (Michoachan style slow cooked pork belly, served with coriander and onion). All the three were delicious and in the hurry of gobbling it all up, I forgot to photograph one. But the Pescado was the crowd favourite; that battered fish combo was simply to die for.

Pollo Pibil (chicken marinated in orange-lime juice & Achiote, served with pickled red onion) - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Pescado (Baja style battered fish, served with chipotle mayo, red cabbage and lime) - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

The next dish we tried out was Sopes; this is a traditional Mexican dish that I have heard a lot about but never really tried one. So it’s basically handmade thick corn tortillas served with refried beans and topped with chicken/beef/potatoes (your choice) and then topped with lettuce, cheese and cream. We tried out the chicken and it was really delicious; and I recommend trying it out with the salsa if you want a bit of that oomph factor.

Sopes - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Another traditional Mexican dish that I have heard heaps about but never tried is the Tamales. So we ordered the chicken tamales which is basically freshly steamed corn masa pockets, filled with chicken mole; again recommended with the salsa especially the hot green one.

Tamales - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Next it was time to try out the Fajitas. Loved the way it was presented; make your own fajitas which are so much fun with friends and family around. So the tortillas, chicken fajita filling and a platter with beans, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, Mexican rice, corn chips and cheese. And there are of course the salsas on the table.

Fajitas - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

And even though we were stuffed, dessert was not going to be skipped. The dessert choices are rather minimalistic with just three options. Instead of the classic churros, we decided to try out the Burnt Flan with that hint of coffee and icecream on the side. While it was good, not the best I have had.

Burnt Flan - El Sabor, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

To summarize, El Sabor is a great place to experience traditional and authentic Mexican cuisine. The staff are friendly and ready to help you out with suggestions. And don’t forget to make a booking before you visit.

El Sabor (by El Cielo)

500 Victoria St
North Melbourne

Phone: (03) 93299477
Website: http://www.elsabor.com.au/

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday – 6pm onwards

Disclaimer – I was invited as a guest but all the photographs, opinions stated here are entirely mine.

El Sabor by El Cielo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

March Favourites

March…..the birthday month!

With so many birthdays in the family, March sped by at rocket speed. Little Adi (growing up way too fast) turned 8 and I turned 37 (ahem, age is just a number folks!!). We are pretty low key on birthdays usually but this year turned out to be a lavish celebration.

Adi wanted to celebrate with his buddies and lots of Pokemon, so that’s what we did. Lots of handmade decorations, party bags and a fabulous birthday cake from Vanilla Cakes, Oakleigh (Melbourne). A big shout out to them for taking my order at the last minute and doing such a fabulous job. Do check them out for customized cakes and the Vanilla Lounge is also a great place to dine out.

Pokemon theme cake - thespiceadventuress.com

On my birthday, I was treated to a special surprise dinner at Fedele’s Ristorante Italiano, Glen Waverley. No photographs though because it was a special intimate dinner for the three of us, one just for our memories. But do check out the restaurant…..it has a beautiful ambience, great food and wine which makes it a good option for celebratory dining.

A feature on Dandenong Market had always been a dream, but now it’s a reality. For those who missed out, here is the article and my top picks on where to shop, what to eat and drink while at the Market. I also conducted two successful giveaways, the third one coming soon. If you are interested, make sure you follow me on Instagram.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Snippets from my Easter party was the most read post last month with lots of you writing to me about these delicious Moroccan Lamb Chops.

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Wine of the month – Yering Pinot Noir 2015; a really balanced wine on the palate with hints of cherries, dark berries and savoury forest floor spice. I loved the fact that the tannins are not overpowering and has a delicate finish, thus pairing beautifully with grilled Moroccan lamb chops

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015 - thespiceadventuress.com

I was quite lucky to get introduced to Chef Anshul Chandna and do a feature on his gastronomic and culinary journey for Indian Link. With a wealth of experience working with the who’s who of the culinary world, he is all set to return to Australia to start work on his dream venture. More of the write up here.

Masala Roast Baby Barramundi, a signature dish by Chef Anshul Chandna - thespiceadventuress.com

Been digging into this bowl of Burmese style Prawn Tomato Curry, an absolute fave of ours.

Prawns with Tomatoes - a Burmese style prawn curry with chillies, aromatics and tomatoes - thespiceadventuress.com

Slowly getting my wardrobe ready for the colder months ahead and absolutely loving the knitted top from H&M and the 100% Australian merino wool coat from Marcs.

Winter fashion - thespiceadventuress.com

I have been ignoring my skincare for the last year or so which has begun to show in the form of dull and dehydrated skin. So picked out this Seaweed Toner and Vitamin C glow boosting moisturizer from Body Shop which has proven really beneficial to my skin. Loved the fact that they do a detailed analysis and then recommend products most suited to my needs; I can already notice the difference.

Seaweed Toner and Vitamin C glow boosting moisturizer, The Body Shop - thespiceadventuress.com

And now it’s time for all those amazing stuff I found on the Internet; loads of delicious stuff last month.

Let’s start with this drink. I am gonna try it even though it’s autumn here already.

A Devilled eggs party……now that’s more like my entertaining style.

Chickpeas and spinach. This dish is just fabulous, taste and health in a single bowl.

Vegetarian Nachos. You need this in your life.

This pork roast is just insanely delicious.

This chili is gonna be perfect for the colder months.

Turkish kebabs! Need I say more?

This laddu and this laddu! (For the uninitiated, laddu is an Indian sweet.)

Desserts like these are a lifesaver. And it’s so pretty…..

Eggless brownies; needed a good recipe desperately for school bakes.

Latin Food in Melbourne; need to check out this place for sure.

Little Joys, Breaking the Trance of Busyness…..so apt for our lives.

Moroccan Lamb Chops + Snippets from my Early Easter Party

It was an early Easter party for us this year. Actually totally unplanned; it was meant to be a barbecue party with a few friends which eventually turned out to be sort of an Easter lunch.

Succulent - thespiceadventuress.com

Before we get to the party and the recipes, let me share with you the story of my Weber and how it came into our lives. Way back in 2013, when I had just started blogging, I came across a giveaway hosted by Kikkoman in association with Weber. The prize pack was the new Kikkoman condiments being released that year along with a Weber Q200.

And on a lark I participated (I enter a lot of giveaways guys and its pretty common knowledge amongst my friends) and won!

The prize pack arrived and the interesting bit is that we were living in an apartment at that time where the Weber could not be used. And it stayed in a box for the longest time till we moved homes late last year. So finally the Weber that I got in 2013 was inaugurated in 2016 for a Christmas party. So naturally we are very excited to use it after waiting all these years that every party planned eventually ends up as a barbecue themed one.

There were a few recipes I had scheduled to be developed and photographed for the blog as well as clients and two of these fit in perfectly for the party menu. So the idea of a casual get together turned into an early Easter party. And coupled with other dishes, we soon had a feast on our table.

So here’s what I had on the menu for the day…

For starters, we had Cajun sausages and grilled corn.

The recipe for Cajun sausages has been there on the blog for the longest time and is a favourite in our home. It’s quick to put together and hence features regularly on our weekend entertaining.

No barbecue would be complete without grilled corn and we had it the classic way, rubbed with butter, lemon and chilli powder (substitute with paprika for less heat).

Cajun sausages, a delicious party starter - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled corn with butter, lemon and chilli - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we had two meat dishes – Moroccan lamb chops and the Middle Eastern style beef kofta platter.

I have been dying to try out Noha’s beef kofta recipe for the longest time and this seemed to be the perfect occasion for it. No adaptations or tweaks; just followed the recipe as such. And yes, good quality beef mince with a bit of fat is highly recommended.

If you aren’t already following her, please do for all the deliciousness she puts up on her space.

Middle Eastern beef kofta platter - thespiceadventuress.com

Coming to Moroccan lamb chops, I had to share it with you guys because it’s simple, tastes awesome and everytime I have made it, it’s been a big hit.

Lamb chops with a bit of fat attached is recommended especially while grilling because it helps keep the meat moist and tender. The marination is simple and is best done a day ahead. I have frenched the lamb chops because it looks nice and pretty that way but you don’t strictly need to.

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Our choice of wine for the day was the Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015, a really balanced wine on the palate with hints of cherries, dark berries and savoury forest floor spice. I loved the fact that the tannins are not overpowering and has a delicate finish, thus pairing beautifully with grilled Moroccan lamb chops.

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015 - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Alia

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg lamb chops; frenched
  2. ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  3. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  4. ½ cup fresh mint leaves; finely chopped
  5. Salt; to season
  6. ½ cup olive oil
  7. 3-4 garlic cloves; grated
  8. 1 tbsp paprika
  9. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin seeds; crushed

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix the herbs and spices with olive oil.
  • Add the lamb chops; season with salt and allow to marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.
  • Grill on high heat on both sides till done.
  • Enjoy!

And finally it was time for dessert. I had created an Easter themed icecream cake as a guest post for Stuff Mums Like. Since it was a warm day, the icecream cake made the perfect dessert to end our happy meal.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

An extremely simple one, this cake consists of three different icecream layers on a base of cookie crumble. Store bought icecreams were used; saves time and great for parties. Choose whichever flavours you prefer and the number of layers too. A totally customizable cake, it’s great for birthday parties too especially if you are hosting one at home for children.

The addition of the chocolate nest and chocolate filled Easter eggs add that special touch of festivity.

So hop over to their website for the full recipe.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

Frankie’s Top Shop (St Kilda, Melbourne) – a Review

Another delicious addition to Melbourne’s café culture!

Frankie's Topshop (Melbourne), a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

4

Located inside a beautiful historic building (a former neighbourhood milk bar) in Cowderoy Street, St Kilda West, Frankie’s Top Shop is Michele Curtis’s first solo venture.

Michele needs no introduction to the food lovers, a professional chef and award winning food writer with publications like ‘The Foodies Diary’, ‘In The Kitchen’ and ‘What’s for Dinner’ to her credit. Her vision for Frankie’s was simple – a local food store, milk bar, café, all under one roof.

Michele Curtis, Frankie's Topshop (Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

With the focus on fresh, seasonal and local produce, Frankie’s menu has a range of salad options and healthy sweet treats. But you will also find all your café favourites, done really well. Michele believes that healthy does not mean boring which is why you will find the bacon sitting very comfortably next to the green goodness bowl!

Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

I love trying out new cafes especially for brunch with my girlfriends catching up over the mundane, so there was no way I was going to turn down an invite to sample Frankie’s menu.

So I visited Frankie’s on a beautiful sunny day with my new GF. We decided to sit outdoors because the weather was just perfect. And with the neighbourhood slowly passing by, doggies and pups all around us, it was the perfect slow life.

While my friend started off with lemonade, I decided to try out the fresh juices. So it was the carrot orange concoction for me and it was just amazing. Light, refreshing, healthy and delicious!

Carrot orange fresh juice - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Frankie’s also has a range of milkshakes, smoothies, coffees, teas and kombucha; so take your pick. If you love smoothies, then the Frankie’s delight with blueberries, almond milk and banana comes highly recommended.

Frankie’s delight smoothie - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Eggs are an important part of any café menu which is why I decided to try out the Folded eggs with mushrooms, parmesan, herbs, spring onions and super greens, served with sourdough toast. Simple food done well with absolutely fresh ingredients.

Folded eggs with mushrooms, parmesan, herbs, spring onions and super greens - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

My friend couldn’t go past the pie so she had the Frankie’s lamb pie with red pepper relish and a couscous, roast vegetables, chickpea salad. The fact that she polished off her plate in 5 minutes is enough testimony to the food.

Frankie’s lamb pie with red pepper relish and a couscous, roast vegetables, chickpea salad - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

As I already mentioned, the salads are really interesting at Frankie’s. Don’t just stick to the menu because they do have daily specials so just ask the staff or take a look at the refrigerator inside the café. You can also create your own salad bowl by mixing two to three salads depending on the flavours available. Like this green bowl which features both the quinoa salad and the green salad. So yumm!

Green Salad Bowl - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

If I had taken my son along, then pancakes would definitely be something we would be ordering like these delicious buttermilk pancakes with fresh figs, vanilla labne and smoked maple syrup.

buttermilk pancakes with fresh figs, vanilla labne and smoked maple syrup - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

And for those with a sweet tooth, Frankie’s won’t disappoint. There is a range of sweet treats, cookies, muffins etc….that are made daily and available for purchase like this chocolicious brownie and the very pretty Persian cake.

Choco brownies - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Persian cake - Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Frankie’s Topshop also stocks products like pasta sauces, chutneys, jams etc….which are made in house. You can also find a wide range of artisan food products made locally and some wonderful foodie gifts and cookbooks too.

Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Frankie's Topshop - thespiceadventuress.com

Overall, a great place to work from, catch up with friends or a delicious brunch with family. Or perhaps you can grab a takeaway before heading to the beach. Frankie’s has something for everyone.

Frankie’s Topshop

20 Cowderoy Street
St Kilda West

Phone no: 03 95254971

Website: http://www.frankiestopshop.com.au/

Frankies Top Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baked Clams

Clams………do you find it delicious? The answer should be yes if you are taking the time to read through this post.

I love it! But then I love all sorts of seafood which includes all sorts of shellfish too. And clams are high on the favourites list….

Clams are little morsels of deliciousness; there’s not much you need to do but today I have gone all out to re-create this English summer classic.  It’s light but flavoursome from the butter, cream, cheese and white wine. Please don’t start counting calories; let’s just tuck in without any remorse whatsoever.

I found the most amazing fresh clams at the Hellenic Seafood Store inside Dandenong Market. By the way, have you read my previous post? If you haven’t, you need to because it is a guide to some of the best stores in the market and there is also a $200 voucher waiting for a lucky reader.

Clams - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Usually I prepare this South Indian style clams dish but this time, I thought of trying out this recipe. I am a big fan of white sauce, cheese, wine etc… etc…. (Yup you get the picture!). And this recipe for baked clams from an old Rachel Allen cookbook just seemed perfect.

It’s a pretty simple dish actually and extremely easy to prepare even though there are a few steps. It’s important to get your hands on really good quality fresh clams; very little time needs to be spent on cleaning and it also affects the taste.

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

These baked clams will not take you much time which makes it perfect even for a weekday indulgence. A bottle of crisp white wine and some sourdough bread is all you need. But a salad would be a great idea too if you want to balance out the richness of the dish.

So let’s dig in this deliciously creamy and indulgent Baked Clams!

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg fresh clams (weight with shells)
  2. 20gm unsalted butter
  3. 20gm plain flour
  4. 2 tbsp shallots; finely chopped
  5. 1 ½ tbsp fresh parsley; finely chopped
  6. 120ml dry white wine
  7. 100ml water
  8. 200ml double cream
  9. Salt, to season
  10. Freshly milled black pepper; to season
  11. 40gm unsalted butter
  12. 40gm Cheddar cheese (you may use Gruyère too)
  13. 25 gm white breadcrumbs

Method:

  • Wash the clams well under cold running water. If there are any clams which will not shut when tapped on the shell, then discard those as it might not be fit to eat.
  • To prepare the roux, heat butter in a pan and add the flour when the butter has melted. Keep stirring for 1-2 minutes taking care that the flour and butter does not burn. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  • In a large pot, place the clams, shallots, parsley, wine and water. Cook on high heat allowing the liquid to boil for a couple of minutes and all the clams have opened.
  • Remove the clams one by one from the pot and place in another bowl. If there are any unopened ones, allow more time to cook which will open up the shells. But if any remain closed even after cooking a few minutes, then discard those. Sieve the remaining liquid through a muslin cloth to remove any remaining grit.
  • Return the strained liquid back to heat, bring to boil. Then add the cream slowly and stir well; allow to boil and then add the roux to thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the remaining butter, cheese and breadcrumbs.
  • To assemble, place the clams in an oven proof dish, pour the sauce all over the clams and then add the crumb mixture evenly on top. Place in a hot oven or under a hot grill for 1- 2 minutes or till the crust is golden.
  • Serve warm

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

Baked Clams - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dandenong Market – A Slice of History in your Shopping Bag + a Giveaway ($200 Market Voucher)

 

Established in 1866, Dandenong Market is the second oldest and largest market of Melbourne. Often referred to as the Cook’s Market, it has always played a central role in the community – farmers, small business owners and public alike.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

My association with Dandenong Market began in 2013, the year I migrated with my family to Melbourne. Living a stone’s throw away, the market soon became my shopping haven. The vibrant and bustling scenes, fresh produce, spices, friendly vendors calling out their wares were all a reminder of my home in India. And those initial days of newness in a foreign land seemed to diminish away, instead replaced with a sense of belonging.

It’s my weekly trips to the market that has provided a lot of inspiration for the blog in those early days. Even today, a trip to Dandenong Market is enough for me to come back home feeling inspired and bursting with ideas. And that’s largely because of the amazing variety of produce that can be encountered here.

The bustling multicultural community lends a unique charm to the market making it a utopia for food lovers!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The market also conducts free Food Discovery Tours, a perfect way to go behind-the-scenes and get an exclusive glimpse into the everyday workings of a busy market. It also provides a deeper understanding of the produce, sustainability and interesting stories of the traders who runs these businesses.

With over 200 traders, the market is a bustling expanse and private tours like these can be of great help especially when you want to buy the best on offer. There are also different kinds of tours of offer and booking is essential even though the tours operate free of cost. Learn all about the tours and make a booking here.

I was lucky to be taken on a tour by Chef Tim Hollands, who is extremely passionate about Australian produce. In fact Chef Hollands is a well known food consultant and owner of Tim’s Foods and Tim Hollands Catering who is on a mission to introduce fresh Australian produce to the outside world. Food provenance and sustainability are very important to Chef Hollands and I could not have asked for a better tour guide.

Now as I mentioned, the Dandenong Market is huge and bustling with more than 200 traders and it would be impossible to write about each of them. So here is a photographic tribute to some of my favourite traders, shops and cafes to share with you.

(I have provided information regarding each place beneath the photograph, but you can also find more information about the traders here.)

Details of the giveaway for a $200 market voucher at the end of this post.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s start the tour with a cup of coffee, shall we? Café Valentina by Melba Coffee is a great place to stop by for a cuppa of your choice. I especially loved the cold drip coffee and you may also like to take home some of their award winning roasted beans.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Hart’s Honey is another favourite of mine and I often stop by to replenish and stock up the honey section of my pantry. Owned by Joza Hart, the stall is very famous for the different varieties of honey like Iron Bark, Mixed Blossom, Red Gum, Leatherwood (from Tasmania) and Manuka (from New Zealand). Hart also stocks creamed honey and honey comb but my favourite is the Orange blossom honey for its citrusy undertones. Do stop by for a chat; Hart is great company and loves to talk about his products.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s a given that you will be shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. Do wander around the different stalls like Luppino Fresh (the oldest trader in the market), S&G Fresh, Alexander Produce etc… to see what’s in season and score a bargain. Markets are all about exploring so refrain from buying all the produce from just one place and rushing out unless you are in a hurry. For me, these braided shallots were the highlight of the day!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Sam’s Spice and Grocery….the most inspiring space for me in the market. I can easily spend hours here pondering over rows and rows of spices from all around the globe. In fact, most of my spice education happens here. A trip to Dandenong Market is worth it just to visit this store.

All of you know how crazy I am about seafood and Dandenong Market is one of my absolute favourite places to buy fresh seafood. Recommending two shops;

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The first is Hellenic Seafood, owned and operated by the Ganotis family. This is the place for sustainably sourced seafood, extremely high quality produce and my go to store for salmon, red snapper, oysters, mussels, clams etc….

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The second is Schwarze Seafoods, my next favourite because of the sheer variety of seafood available. Especially the place to visit if you are sourcing seafood for traditional dishes from other cuisines like Indian, Asian etc… And to all those who have asked me so many times, I get fresh sardines and mackerel from here most of the time.

There is a great selection of bakeries inside the market and my top two picks would be Baker Boys and Melina’s Bakery & Larder.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Baker Boys is managed by Jawad Zada who fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban rule and arrived as a refugee here in 2001. Since he was a baker there, he continued in the same profession here, taking courses and doing apprenticeships to establish himself as a baker here. While you will find all sorts of baked goods in his shop, my absolute favourite are the Afghan style flatbreads with herbs and chilli flakes……a stunning combination with a delicious lamb curry.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Melina’s is my go to shop for sourdough and rye bread. There are so many different styles available especially for those who are interested in artisan breads and European styles. My favourite would be the plain sourdough which makes an excellent base for a rustic and delicious Bruschetta.

Apart from all the fresh produce, deli, meat and seafood traders, Dandenong Market is also home to other shops, a space often referred to as The Bazaar. This place can indeed be a treasure house if you are willing to spend a little time and walk through the rows of clothing, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, toys etc…..

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

One such store is Linda’s Workshop which specializes in fine pearl jewellery. Rows and rows of beautiful pearl jewellery that won’t break your bank!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The Afghan bazaar is actually located in the meat and deli hall because they also stock a huge variety of Middle Eastern groceries but I would recommend looking at the ornate traditional homewares , tea sets and other kitchenware for such bargain prices.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are a book lover, then you must pay a visit to Volkan Books. Owned by Mustafa, this is a very popular space not just to buy books but also to swap and sell books. And if you bump into me there, do come and say hello.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And even though I have not personally used their services, I was drawn to the beautiful ambience at Christalignment. The staff is trained in supernatural healing, presence therapy, dream interpretations etc…..

If all that shopping and walking around has left you tired, then it’s time to indulge your tastebuds at the Market Square.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s start with Saccha for a refreshing glass of cold sugarcane juice. Lez is a veteran of the hospitality industry and he definitely knows to mix his drinks. Opt for the plain freshly squeezed juice or try one of his signature drinks. Highly recommended!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Food from all around the globe is on offer here and some of my favourites include The Grill (for delicious burgers and kransky sausages), Sansan’s Dumpling House (for handmade traditional dumplings, golden pies and soft Chinese buns), Andy’s Mauritian Hut (for dhal puri, curries and vadai/chilli cakes) and Fat Kebabs (for kebabs, Middle Eastern pizzas and the best lahmacun I have ever had).

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you like spicy, rich and bold flavours, then it is PiqNiq Hut that you must head to for delicious Srilankan food. All the traditional favourites like Kothu roti, devilled chicken, goat curry etc…. are available.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Finish off your meal with delicious freshly made doughnuts from the much loved Dandee Donuts, perhaps the most famous of all eateries at the market.

I also had some very interesting conversations, all thanks to the DSLR around my neck.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Like this gentleman from Cairns who is visiting Melbourne and loves the Dandenong Market.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And these two gentlemen who came here 30 years ago from Iran and now call themselves proud Melbournians. It was a joy to see the pride they had in their eyes while speaking of what a welcoming nation Australia is. Let’s keep it that way folks!

I can write forever about Dandenong Market but all good things must come to an end. And we have the giveaway to talk about too;

The folks at Dandenong Market would love to have you and so they are giving away a $200 market voucher to one lucky subscriber.

To enter;

  • Subscribe to my blog using your email id (the subscription box can be found at the top right hand corner on the home page)
  • Sign up to Dandenong Market newsletter here.
  • Leave a comment below stating you have done both.

The competition will run from 15th to 29th March, 2017 and the winner will be drawn on 30th.  Open only to residents of Victoria; the winner will be announced on my social media channels so make sure you are following me.

Good luck folks!

This giveaway is now closed and a winner has been drawn. 

February Favourites

The short and sweet month of the year!

February is a rather charming month, isn’t it? Kicks off with the much anticipated Valentine’s Day which might be the cheesiest and most overrated day but one that makes most of us happy and mushy within. The month is short and I always feel the weekends arrive faster (which is awesome!!). And March is not far behind, which for our household means, celebration time with birthdays galore. But I will talk more of that later….

For now, it’s time to reflect and share the happenings of February!

The month started with a feature and interview for the series, ‘The Foodie Files’. Liz is the creative force behind I Spy Plum Pie and her blog is all about delicious vegetarian recipes, sustainable living, eco friendly products, spice conversations etc…. And if these are the topics that interest you, then you need to head over to her space for sure. Also check out my interview for the series here.

Interview, The Spice Adventuress

We attended ‘White Night Melbourne’ this year, our first in four years. It was a tad bit tricky to be out so late into the night with a little boy but we survived and managed to have quite a gala time too. If you would like to see my photographs from the night, visit my Facebook page.

White Night Melbourne'17

I also got the opportunity to attend one of the Dandenong Food Tours, which is highly recommended to all those who love to experience the vast multicultural cuisine of Australia. These food and cultural tours are a real eye opener and is a great way to sample amazing food and also get an insight into the heart and soul of this suburb. Visit here for more photographs from the tour!

Polish Bakery, Dandenong - thespiceadventuress.com

This Asian style Prawn Omelette is my lunch time indulgence!

Asian style Prawn Omelette - simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

And my current favourite drink is the Bonamy’s Cider. Made from 100% whole pressed Tasmanian apples and fermented with white wine yeast, which makes it a refreshing, sweet, clean and crisp cider which to me, tastes like a really good sparkling white!

Bonamy's Cider - thespiceadventuress.com

Speaking of drinks, let me introduce you to The ‘Mojito’ Candle from Ariel’s World.

Ariel, The Mojito Candle - thespiceadventuress.com

This scented candle is absolutely delicious; fresh, herby, minty, lemony…..it’s a very light scent that does not overpower but gently adds a whiff of fragrance to your room. I am not a big fan of heavy scents and so this candle is just perfect.

And it’s not just the scent that makes this candle special. It’s Ariel’s story.

Created by Raylene Barton, Ariel’s world is the journey of her little daughter (Ariel) who happens to have Down’s syndrome. And all her namesake scented products raise money for Down syndrome charities; Down syndrome NSW and LifeStart NSW.

Apart from candles, Ariel’s World also has lip balms and scented diffusers, all of which are individually handcrafted in Australia from eco-friendly products. The quality of the products is amazing and I can talk especially about this ‘Mojito’ candle which comes in a beautifully stylish silver container that adds style to your home décor.

Do check out their page and lend your support to this amazing mother-daughter duo making a real difference to the society.

Other faves of the month:

My skin loves this….

Kiehl's Pure Vitality - thespiceadventuress.com

My favourite sunscreen; because it is light, not oily and works as the perfect base for makeup apart from offering good protection.

I needed this nail paint hack, especially for the bright reds.

I wear a lot of Veronika Maine and I have been eyeing this top for autumn.

A big fan of dainty rings like these.

Travel Porn!

9 things your children need but won’t tell you.

Enchiladas, we all love it but check out this one. Major drooling happening!

This Korean fried chicken burger! Fingerlickin good!

Chocolate doughnuts. Need I say more?

Food Photography with a DSLR and why you need to go beyond the auto mode. Taught by none other than Simi of Turmeric n’ Spice…she hardly needs any introduction.

Mac n’ Cheese with a lot of oomph.

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander)

‘Time Flies’ is an age old adage but the supersonic speed at which the flying is happening in my life currently leaves me so lazy to cook. Too many work and personal assignments that leave me completely drained of time and energy that the everyday meals has become such a chore.

And more often than not, it is not the actual cooking that takes time but rather than the planning of ‘what to cook’! So I decided to pull out my cookbooks (the few that I have) and find inspiration amongst the pages.

Today’s recipe is adapted from ‘The F-Word’!

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander) - simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Yup, you heard it right. This fantabulous book by Mita Kapur is one of my most treasured ones because it is more than just recipes. It is a glimpse into Mita’s food crazed family and her constant juggles as a working mother. The recipes are from around the world with no borders whatsoever and perfectly suit my style of cooking. I have written more about this book here, if you would like to have a read.

And one of my all time favourite recipes from the book are these Malai Kebabs (minced chicken patties with spices, aromatics and cream).

This time, given the time situation, I chose a simple chicken stir fry. Just a handful of ingredients stir fried in a wok topped over rice or noodles; makes an amazing dinner in no time at all.

Chillies are a key ingredient and I have used both Thai red chillies and large green ones. The original recipe has much more heat but with a 7 year old at home, I had to tone down the heat factor. But it depends on what you like; adjust the number of chillies accordingly.

Always use boneless thigh fillets for making stir fries as the meat is much more tender and juicy while the breast meat often tends to go dry. And of course the wok, never undermine the importance of this cooking vessel in getting that perfect stir fry. A good quality wok is a must have in your kitchen!

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms boneless chicken thigh fillet; cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 3 Thai red chillies; chopped
  3. 3 sprigs fresh coriander leaves (with roots); chopped
  4. 4 garlic cloves
  5. 2 large green chillies
  6. 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
  7. 2-3 tbsp oyster sauce
  8. 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil
  9. Salt; to season

For garnish:

  1. 2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; chopped
  2. 1 spring onion (leafy part); sliced

Method:

  • Using a mortar and pestle, pound the red chillies, garlic and coriander leaves into a coarse paste; keep aside.
  • Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in the wok and add the chicken pieces. Stir fry the chicken pieces on high heat till 3/4ths done and remove.
  • In the same wok (add a bit more oil if necessary), add the pound chilli mixture and sauté on low heat for about a minute. Add the oyster sauce, fish sauce and whole green chillies; also return the chicken pieces to the wok.
  • Stir fry on medium heat till done; add salt only if necessary.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and spring onions
  • Serve hot.

 

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander) - simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

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