Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary)

I have never been a huge fan of Gin & Tonics. But in the last year, I had the opportunity to experience some well crafted gins that opened up the world of delicious G&Ts too.

And one such gin was the Tanqueray Rangpur. Crafted using the rare Rangpur limes, this gin has a distinct flavour with the zesty freshness of the limes and the sweetness from the mandarins. Makes it an excellent choice for a G&T.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Most of the time, I enjoy the Tanqueray Rangpur simply poured over ice, but it works brilliantly as a G&T and in cocktails too.

Recently at a Food and Wine event, I had a G&T infused with rosemary. It was delicious; I loved the combination of the herby flavour of the rosemary with the citrusy zing of the lemon. Plus the addition of rosemary only intensifies the herbaceous undertones of the gin. The Tanqueray Rangpur also has that distinct lime flavour, so I decided to try a G&T infused with rosemary this time.

A premium tonic water is best suited to a G&T like this as it has a subtle flavour that lets the gin shine unlike the standard ones that are unnecessarily sweet. Since this gin has a distinct lime flavour, no extra lime is necessary except as a garnish.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Especially refreshing on a warm summer day…….

Ingredients:

(Serves 1)

  1. 40ml Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  2. 2 sprigs rosemary
  3. Lemon slices
  4. Premium tonic water
  5. Ice cubes

Method:

(Best served in a Collins glass or Stemless wine glass)

  1. Pour the gin and one sprig rosemary to the glass. Crush lightly using a muddler to infuse the flavour of the rosemary. Remove the rosemary sprig after muddling.
  2. Add a few ice cubes and fill the glass with the tonic water.
  3. Garnish and serve with a sprig of rosemary and lemon slice.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne)

Apart from discovering delicious food, the other great aspect of being a restaurant reviewer is getting to hear the stories of how each restaurant starts its journey. Sometimes it’s a Chef who wants to showcase his signature style of cooking, but sometimes it’s just ordinary people with an incredible passion for good food.

When I got an invite from Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) and Burger Shurger, I was positive there was going to be an interesting story behind this one venture. How else would anyone start an Indian cuisine inspired burger joint!

The brainchild of a young Indian couple (Payal Bisht and Prasuk Jain), Burger Shurger is all about putting a twist on classic pub food like burgers, fries and the like with familiar Indian flavours. Don’t expect any classics here, it’s all about fusion and hence you need to go in with an open mind.

The first thing that catches your attention as you walk into the restaurant is an art mural (see below) by artist Cassie Stevens (soggysavoy). If you are an Indian or remotely familiar with the many religions of India, then you will recognize that all the figures depicted are Indian Gods or religious figures. The mural is a true indication to the fusion cuisine offered at Burger Shurger; the different Gods having a great time over burgers and beer in a ‘Last Supper’ setting.

I had to ask the owners if there has been a backlash over this rather modern artistic mural but surprisingly there hasn’t been many. Most people have accepted it as art and an artist’s interpretation which is rather commendable.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting to the menu, it’s a burger joint so obviously there are different styles to choose from including vegetarian options. There are also a good selection of interesting sides and small bites, all with an Indian twist to it. Beers and burgers go hand in hand so there’s a small selection of craft beers apart from wines and other spirits. A small selection of unique cocktails is also on offer, which I strongly recommend ordering from.

The first cocktail we tried was the Shaitan (Naughty) Mojito – a classic Mojito with a twist of curry leaves and a special Indian masala. It was a really refreshing drink just as a Mojito should be and the addition of the spice blend did lift up the flavours and it reminded me of the masala sodas that are sold in India.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The second cocktail we got was the Corona-Sita – a beer based cocktail made with Corona, tequila, rose water and lime juice. This was my favourite one; while I do like beer, I do not enjoy its bitter aftertaste. This cocktail was just perfect because the addition of tequila and rose water neutralized the bitterness yet the flavour of the beer shone through. Highly recommended if you are a hesitant beer drinker!

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we got ‘The Bun Pakora’. And that’s their take on the classic bread pakora. So what they have essentially done is taken the spiced potato patty, placed inside a brioche bun, dipped in a chickpea batter and deep fried. The final drizzle of sweet and sour tamarind sauce seals the deal. And in my humble opinion, this is way better than the regular bread pakora.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The next starter we ordered was the Pataka Ribs; essentially chicken ribs glazed with a spicy sauce. If you are familiar with the Indo Chinese cuisine that’s extremely popular in India, then you will love these ribs. It’s spicy yet sweet and tangy; basically fingerlickin deliciousness. Another must try here.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Butter Chicken Poutine – the dish I am most excited to talk about. Even though the place is about the burgers, this was hands on ‘dish of the day’ for me. Usually I am known to run a mile if asked about butter chicken, but this is one that I am extremely pleased to talk about. A huge bowl of fries loaded with the most delicious butter chicken gravy I have had and topped with shredded chicken. Yes, I think butter chicken has finally arrived in Melbourne!

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Of course we had to try the burgers, so we started with the Keema Pav – a spiced lamb mince patty with picked veggies, mint and pea mash, topped with an egg. A classic flavour combination from India, but in a burger format which works really well. Everything was perfect right from the bun to the mince patty and the fillings; a really delicious fusion burger.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The second burger we tried out was a twist on another classic Indian flavour – Mr. 65. Deep fried, crunchy chicken coated with a spicy batter served with a special sauce and cheese. The chicken was fried to perfection, juicy and tender. Really delicious and especially a favourite with my son.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

And for dessert, we finished with another fusion dish – Masala Chai Crème Brulee. I love the idea of masala chai flavour in desserts having experimented with quite a few myself. So I was quite eager to try this one; didn’t disappoint at all. The perfect caramelized burnt sugar crackle and a good hit of masala chai without being too overpowering made this a really delicious fusion dessert.

Burger Shurger (Elsternwick, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

To conclude, Burger Shurger is a must visit if you would love to experience fusion Indian food. The underlying flavours are classic Indian, yet there are elements borrowed from other cuisines that make everything on the menu super interesting. It’s good fusion, which means that everything on the menu is delicious too.

I am definitely going back….especially for that poutine and ribs!!

Burger Shurger

297 Glen Huntly Road
Elsternwick
VIC 3185

Phone no: 03 9532 8995
https://burgershurger.business.site/

Timings:

Mon: Closed
Tue: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Wed: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Thu: 5:00 – 9:30 pm
Fri: 3:00 – 10:00 pm
Sat: 3:00 – 10:00 pm
Sun: 3:00 – 9:00 pm

Burger Shurger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Burger Shurger. All the opinions provided are entirely mine and unbiased.

Adieu 2018, Welcome 2019…..

“Rest when you are weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work” – Ralph Marston

This is my goal for 2019….

As I mentioned on my social media pages yesterday, I do not believe in resolutions but smaller goals that are motivating and achievable. And my biggest goal for 2019 is to listen more to my body, rest and refresh when necessary and then get back to work because I realised that I am not productive nor is my work any good when my physical or mental self is tired.

2018 was a great year for work with so many interesting and meaningful collaborations with brands. And I also got to develop some amazing recipes that so many of you have loved and tested out. Do you have a favourite recipe from my blog or did you try out any for the first time last year? I really would love to know….

And even though it’s really hard, I would still like to pick out my Top Ten favourites from the year gone by;

  1. Banana bread with Vegemite and Almond flakes
  2. French green lentil salad
  3. Chicken Wonton soup
  4. Risotto with Dried Mushrooms and Bacon crumbs
  5. Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens
  6. Asian style Chicken fried rice
  7. Pan fried Salmon with Peperonata
  8. Fiji style Crab Curry
  9. Kerala style Prawn Curry
  10. Slow cooked Lamb Shanks with Srilankan curry powder

Banana Bread (with Vegemite and Almond Flakes) - thespiceadventuress.com

This Khichdi photograph also made it to Indian Link’s Top Photographs of 2018. Especially pleased about this one because not only is it a dish so close to my heart, it is also a style of photography that I started practicing last year.

Khichdi (Lentil Rice) with Carrot Greens - thespiceadventuress.com

Your opinions, feedback and suggestions mean a lot to me; it has always helped me create content and also focus on improving this space. So do let me know your feedback  and also what’s the kind of recipes/content that you would love to see here this year.

Finally it’s time for all my favourites for the month of Dec.

The most beautiful Pure linen French blue tea towels….

This Antique silver 5-piece cutlery set is on sale; I am getting one to add to my prop collection.

Totally investing in a Staub French Oven this year.

My big project for 2019 is to set up a home office.

Love greens and this is just another delicious way to eat it.

Chickpea and lentil taco salads; this would be perfect as a work day lunch.

Bookmarking this vegan soup for autumn and winter.

I have never used tahini in a noodles dish before. How interesting!

Roasted vegetable lasagna; I am definitely trying this out. How about you?

Are you a zoodle lover? Then this article is for you.

I am a huge fan of sheet pan dinner for weeknights, and this chicken recipe  looks absolutely fabulous to try out this year.

 

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

A Christmas feast for two!

Or three, as in our case…..

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s not always possible to prepare a huge feast especially if you are a small family and want to spend the day just with yourselves, by choice or circumstance. And today’s dish is just perfect for that; it’s indulgent yet easy to put together with limited portions that you are saved the headache of addressing leftovers.

Back in India, Christmas was always with the extended family and that meant a large feast that the whole family would pitch in to prepare. But when we moved to Melbourne, we hardly knew anyone and the first two years, spent Christmas just by ourselves. Well I am not complaining at all because we love our company; the three of us together can make any meal festive.

But I always felt challenged about the menu.

While I would desire to roast a whole turkey or chicken or perhaps a leg of lamb roast, the thought of eating leftovers day in and day out already made me shy away from the idea. And that’s when I started to put together meals like this that had the classic elements yet portioned for our family’s needs.

I have also used sage extensively in today’s recipe as my herb garden is doing well this summer and I have a lot of sage growing currently.

Sage has a warm, musky and earthy essence, which makes it perfect to be paired with cured meats, veal, pork, lamb etc…. It also has many medicinal properties, the best of which is its antioxidant capacity. Grows easily in pots especially during the warmer months, sage is definitely a great herb to grow in your garden.

Sage - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Herb garden - thespiceadventuress.com

In today’s recipe, I have used sage as part of the marinade to flavour the pork fillets and also added it to the burnt butter for the mashed potatoes.

There are so many different styles of making mashed potatoes but this one adapted from Half Baked Harvest’s blog uses crème fraiche and sage brown butter. I loved the flavour that crème fraiche imparted to the potatoes, creamy and slightly tangy and not as heavy as using regular cream. And that final addition of brown butter made these mashed potatoes so luxurious and decadent.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of our favourite vegetable sides is grilled asparagus and this time, I decided to grill and then toss it through some parsley pesto that I had in the freezer. Finished off with crushed walnuts and it turned out to be one of the most delicious sides ever.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

I guess that’s enough explanation; let’s get on with the recipes for Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

Ingredients:

Pork fillets:

  1. 1 large pork fillet; cut into 2 cm medallions
  2. 10 large sage leaves; finely chopped
  3. 2 medium garlic cloves; grated
  4. 1 lemon; juice and zest
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil + extra for grilling
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season

Mashed potatoes:

  1. 800gms potatoes (choose a variety suitable for mashing); peeled and cubed
  2. 2 medium garlic cloves
  3. 1 cup whole milk
  4. 1 cup crème fraiche
  5. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season
  8. 6-7 fresh sage leaves

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. 2 bunches asparagus; ends trimmed
  2. 1 ½ tbsp parsley pesto
  3. Chilli flakes
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Olive oil, for grilling
  6. A handful of walnuts; crushed

Note – To make the parsley pesto, simply substitute basil with parsley. But if you would like to have a recipe for the same, please comment below.

Method:

Pork fillets:

  1. In a glass bowl, mix the sage, garlic, juice and zest of 1 lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and marinate the pork fillets for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Heat a pan (I used a cast iron pan but you can use a stove top or bbq grill for the same) and add olive oil. When the pan’s smoking hot, place the pork fillets (reduce heat to medium) and cook for 4-5 minutes on one side before turning. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and remove. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. Take care not to crowd the pan and cook in batches.

Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Cook the potatoes and garlic in salted boiling water till the potatoes are cooked well and tender enough to mash.
  2. Drain and add the potatoes back to the pan. Mash and keep aside.
  3. In another pan, melt butter and add the sage leaves. Cook the butter on low heat constantly stirring till the butter has taken on the golden brown hue. Keep aside.
  4. Return the mashed potatoes to heat and add the milk and crème fraiche. Stir through and mash well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Once you have got the desired consistency (add more milk if necessary), add half of the brown butter with sage and mix through.
  5. Remove to a serving bowl and pour the remaining brown butter with sage on top.

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. Brush the grill pan with olive oil and heat till smoking hot.
  2. Grill the asparagus for a minute and remove to a bowl.
  3. Add the parsley pesto and season with salt if necessary. Toss well.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and crushed walnuts on top.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms

Of course pasta has to make its appearance into my weekly menu. But this is the first time I am trying out a mascarpone based sauce.

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

A no-brainer recipe and a great alternative to Bechamel sauce especially if you want a creamy one without the heaviness of a Bechamel. Also the process of making the Mascarpone sauce is much easier in comparison.

This dish could just be spaghetti and mascarpone sauce without the addition of anything else. But I wanted more flavour, something more meaty yet nutritious so mushrooms were the natural choice. And mushrooms lend itself very well to a creamy sauce like this one. Perfect for a busy day or when you need to feed a crowd with minimal fuss!

Do you make pasta often? What’s your favourite way to eat pasta?

Here are a few other suggestions if you are fond of pasta like my family….

  1. Pasta with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese
  2. Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms
  3. Penne with Tuna (in Chilli Oil)
  4. Spaghetti with Chicken Sausages in White Sauce
  5. Pasta stir fry with Asparagus, Broccoli, Peppers and Snow Peas

So let’s jump straight in to the recipe for Spaghetti, Mascarpone sauce and Mushrooms…

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 200 gms spaghetti
  2. 15gms unsalted butter
  3. 250gms mascarpone cheese
  4. ½ cup milk
  5. ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season
  8. 3 tbsp olive oil
  9. 1 ½ cups assorted mushrooms
  10. 1 garlic; grated
  11. 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  12. ¼ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  13. A handful of walnuts; coarsely crushed
  14. Grated parmesan; to serve

Method:

  1. Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water as per packet instructions and keep aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the grated garlic followed by the mushrooms. Stir fry on high heat and season the mushrooms with salt and chilli flakes. Keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, melt butter and add the mascarpone cheese. Mix well; add the milk to loosen up the sauce followed by the Parmesan. Season with salt and black pepper; cook till all the ingredients are combined to get a smooth sauce. Add the spaghetti, mushrooms and parsley; toss well to combine.
  4. Serve hot with chopped parsley, crushed walnuts and grated parmesan.

Spaghetti, Mascarpone Sauce, Mushrooms

 

 

 

November Favourites

As I typed in the title, I realised that a year has sped by so fast. We have reached the end of 2018 and the next time I publish a favourites post, it’s most likely going to be 2019. Wow!

November is always a crazy month filled with lots of work as food is the most popular subject during this time of the year. Lots of preparations to welcome the festive month ahead leading up to our summer holidays.

And buying gifts….I think most of my energy is spent just deciding on that perfect gift for friends and family. I am not a huge gift buyer but in spite of that I put in so much effort in the whole gifting process since I don’t want to get carried away and buy stuff that has no value for money. Most of the stuff are just packaged beautifully (costs a fortune just for that reason) but absolutely not worth it. Instead I prefer to buy things that have a lasting value and mean a lot to the person who receives it.

Edible gifts are definitely high on my list especially for those who appreciate the quality and craftsmanship of the product. Spices, spice blends, fruits, wine, cheese, coffee beans, rare tea blends etc… are all high on my list of edible gifts.

Do you shop a lot during this season? What kind of gifts do you like to receive?

One of my top recommendations for edible gifts would be a box of premium Yarra Valley Cherries.

I was lucky to spend a beautiful afternoon at their boutique orchard in Seville. We picked and feasted on the most delicious, sweet, ripe red cherries followed by an epic lunch laid out in the orchard. Dedicated to top notch quality, Yarra Valley Cherries are able to guarantee the freshest, delicious cherries due to their unique advantage of growing, picking, grading and packing their cherries on their orchard in Seville making it available to us on the very same day.

A delicious gift to give yourself or anyone for Christmas. You could either place an online order or purchase directly from their Farmgate at Seville.

Yarra Valley Cherries - thespiceadventuress.com

Yarra Valley Cherries - thespiceadventuress.com

As part of my final collaborative project with ALDI for 2018, I threw an early Christmas party for friends and family last week. Took the whole roasted ham/turkey route this year with plenty of help from ALDI’s premium Christmas range.

On my Christmas table were;

  • Premium triple smoked leg ham portion (glazed with orange juice, maple syrup, honey, Dijon mustard, cinnamon, all spice and dried ginger.
  • Stuffed turkey breast roast (with cranberries and apple)
  • Pan fried scallops with herb butter (sprinkled with dukkah)
  • Potato and cauliflower mash
  • Roasted baby potatoes (with garlic and rosemary)
  • Grilled Asparagus (with garlic and chilli flakes)
  • Kale Slaw
  • Rocket, Spinach and Pear Salad (with feta and walnuts)
  • Cranberries in red wine sauce

There are lots of goodies in store this season so stock up early if you are going to be throwing a Christmas party at home.

• Premium triple smoked leg ham portion (glazed with orange juice, maple syrup, honey, Dijon mustard, cinnamon, all spice and dried ginger - thespiceadventuress.com

Sparkling wine - thespiceadventuress.com

The rocket, spinach and pear salad that I made for our Christmas feast was an excellent side especially for our warmer days and nights. It’s so quick to put together, really refreshing from the crunchy pear slices, creamy from the crumbled feta and to finish off, that nutty texture from the walnuts. A beautiful salad that you must definitely try out.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups baby spinach
  2. 2 cups rocket
  3. 1 large green pear; sliced into wedges
  4. 50gms feta
  5. A handful of walnuts
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper, to season
  8. Extra virgin olive oil
  9. 1 tsp honey
  10. 1 tsp verjuice (or replace with vinegar of choice)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, add the spinach, rocket and pear slices.
  2. To prepare the dressing, add olive oil, honey, verjuice, salt and pepper to a small container with a lid. Shake vigorously to make an emulsion.
  3. Just before serving, add the dressing and toss the ingredients well.
  4. Top with feta and crushed walnuts.

Rocket, spinach and pear salad (with feta and walnuts) - thespiceadventuress.com

Other favourites for November:

These salad servers from Country Road with the brass finish are so chic.

Love serving ware with a matt finish and these graphite platter set from Aura Home are so understated yet beautiful.

Vintage Santa dinner plates! So nostalgic….

Lusting after this copper wine bucket!

I have a bit of an obsession with wooden crates and storage baskets.

Have you been to the Cellar Door in Ringwood?

These starry brown sugar cookies are so delicious.

This Japanese potato salad will be a fabulous replacement to mashed potatoes.

Chocolate and Cranberry Goat’s Cheese Truffles. Enough said.

How delicious are these meatballs!

Mozzarella and Jalapeno Croquettes – always a hit at my parties.

The best homemade chocolate fudge

This passion fruit and mint cooler is just perfect for our warm days.

 

 

Fiji style Crab Curry

Some days the words just don’t come….

And it’s usually when my mind is overwhelmed and I am so busy trying to achieve a zillion things in a short period. Pretty much how I feel currently with the holiday season coming up soon.

I hardly get overwhelmed or stressed over personal and emotional happenings; pretty sorted that way. But when it gets to physical things like working, events to attend, parties to plan etc… that’s when I feel so beat up and tired. And that’s exactly the current state of affairs. There are so many recipes to test, shoot and write, so many events to attend (in spite of saying yes only to a quarter of the invites), Christmas parties to plan, a trip to India early next year for my brother’s wedding which means a whole lot of wedding shopping to do…the list goes on.

Since I have nothing more to say apart from how crazy things are at the moment, I will just get on with today’s recipe – a Fiji style Crab Curry.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

With Fiji being so close to Australia in terms of geography, there are so many people I know who are from the island. But when it comes to food, I am totally clueless. I do know that Fiji cuisine is heavily influenced by the various migrants and settlers so it’s totally normal to see an Indian curry sitting beside a native dish. And seafood is an integral part of the diet due to the coastal topography.

I found the recipe for this Fiji style crab curry in my recipe journal (basically a bunch of recipes torn from magazines and newspapers that I used to collect way before the food blogging journey). And so I have no clue whom to credit the recipe to. In fact I am not even sure if it’s the most authentic or traditional way of making crab curry in Fiji.

The original recipe called for large mud crabs to make this curry, but I decided to use blue swimmer crabs as these are in season and also because I love the flavour of these..so sweet and delicious.

Blue swimmer crab - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Medium thick milk from freshly grated coconuts is the best to make this Fiji style Crab Curry, but canned coconut milk will work just fine too (tends to be slightly more sweet than fresh coconut milk). The crabs are broken down so that the flavour from all the spices and aromatics seeps into every nook and crevice of the claws and body which makes this curry a delicious delight. And of course, ensure there are plenty of napkins around, there’s no neat or demure way to eat crabs.

In traditional Fiji cooking, a hot masala powder would be used but sourcing that would be difficult for most people, hence I used garam masala  which is quite similar to the hot masala. If you live in Australia, there are plenty of stores that stock Fijian products so you can use the hot masala itself.

In spite of all the spices, this is a very mild and light curry that’s perfect for the warmer days. It’s creamy yet light and soupy, sweet yet with a hint of spice that’s best enjoyed over a bowl of steamed white rice.

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Fiji style Crab Curry

So let’s get cooking a delicious pot of this Fiji style Crab Curry…

Ingredients:

  1. 3 blue swimmer crabs
  2. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  3. ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  4. 1 inch ginger; julienned

Recipe developed for Supreme Seafood, so find the full recipe on their website..

Fiji style Crab Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita

How many oyster lovers here?

We love oysters, all the three of us, including our 9 year old who started eating raw oysters when he was about 6. And that’s a fact that gets us a lot of attention when we order fresh raw oysters at any restaurant. From the staff to the people dining at neighbouring tables, we get a lot of smiling, curious faces when they see Adi golfing down raw oysters with the happiest grin on his face.

So oysters make a regular appearance in our home when we are in the entertaining mode. Of course we are mindful of how many he eats and we ensure to get our hands on the freshest oysters too (which is important for everyone).

Even though I started writing about Adi’s love for oysters, today’s recipe is not for children. It’s strictly 18+

The idea for this recipe came about when I was sent a bottle of Rameau D’or Cotes De Provence Rosé 2017 as part of a social media project.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

From the Provence region in France, this Rosé was a fabulous wine to discover. It was not too sweet unlike many of the Rosés I have had before. Delicious and smooth with hints of delicate spice and Turkish delight/strawberry sorbet sort of flavours, this Rosé was truly a delightful drop.

I enjoyed the Rameau D’or Cotes De Provence Rosé 2017 but still wanted to create a recipe using the wine. And since it was a drop perfect for spring and summer, I came up with the idea of making a granita.

Granita is an ideal summer dessert; it’s simple to make and there are a zillion flavour combinations to choose from. While I have enjoyed the fruit version before, this is the first time I went ahead with a wine based granite.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

Granita is believed to have originated in Sicily and it is basically a semi-frozen dessert that is made from fruit or any other flavourings mixed along with sugar and water. A variation of the granita is the Indian gola which is quite popular during the summer months. The difference is that the gola is basically shaved ice onto which the flavourings are poured but in a granita, the flavouring are mixed initially and then allowed to freeze.

Making a granita involves a bit of technicality; you don’t allow the liquid to freeze completely or it just turns to solid ice instead of ice crystals. The liquid is allowed to freeze for a short period of time and as it begins to freeze around the edges, the frozen bits are scraped from the edge towards the centre using a fork creating the crystals. Repeat for a couple of times to get the perfect granita.

This Rosé wine granita is a dessert on its own, a great refreshment after meal for a hot summer day if you don’t want to have any heavy desserts. Or you could pair it with fresh oysters like I did, a really fun and entertaining idea especially if you have friends over.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

The same recipe can be followed for other wine varieties too like a Prosecco, Red Wine, Champagne etc…. but you will have to play around with the quantities of lemon juice (I have used verjuice in this recipe) and sugar, both of which are essential when making a wine granita as wine alone does not freeze well.

So let’s make a batch and chill out this summer with a Rosé Wine granita. Pair it with fresh oysters for a delicious starter or finish off your meal with this stunning dessert cocktail.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups Rosé Wine
  2. ¼ cup verjuice (or lemon juice)
  3. ¼ cup raw sugar
  4. ½ cup cold water

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a non reactive bowl and mix till the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour into a clean baking tray and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
  3. Remove after 1 hour and scrape from the edges using a fork to form the crystals. Freeze again.
  4. Repeat this every 30 minutes for the next 2 hours.
  5. Granita ready!

Note – The quantities of sugar and lemon juice/verjuice will need to be adjusted according to the flavour profile of the wine. So taste after mixing all the ingredients and adjust levels of lemon juice and sugar.

Oysters with Rosé Wine Granita - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne)

The Mt Alexander Rd in Moonee Ponds is a food lover’s paradise; the range and quality of restaurants is really good and one of my favourite places to dine in a Melbourne suburb. While I can’t call myself an expert in the area, I have dined at quite a few places there and never been disappointed.

So when Australian Good Food Guide (AGFG) and Jack’s Satay Bar invited me for a dinner, I was more than happy to accept it.

Jack’s Satay Bar has been around for about 20 years. Initially starting out as a wine bar, it was soon upgraded to a fully fledged restaurant especially being situated in a very promising location. The food is distinctly Malaysian with influences of Chinese, Indian and Malay styles. Inspite of starting out as a wine bar, the current drinks menu is simple and small but there is a strong presence of boutique wines (local and international) and also some good cocktails on the list. Do ask for suggestions….

There’s not much of an ambience to write about; the space is of course warm and comfortable but there’s no distinct style or uniqueness about it. But what’s interesting is the many photographs near the counter from racing events including a jersey from a past winning jockey. With Flemington and Moonee Ponds racecourses nearby, Jack’s Satay Bar is a hot favourite during the spring racing season, often packed with jockeys, trainers and other officials dropping in after the event.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

John Ho, the owner of Jack’s Satay Bar loves a good conversation so if you are interested in knowing more about the photographs, history and anecdotes, he is the man to talk to….

For drinks, we started with cocktails – Burnt Orange Bourbon Sour (special of the week) and a French Gimlet. The cocktails were brilliant and perfectly balanced. Do check out the special board; plenty of interesting options not on the regular menu. And while we were waiting for the drinks, we had a nibbles plate with sambal, fresh cucumber, fried anchovies and peanuts. Absolutely brilliant with the drinks too.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Burnt Orange Bourbon Sour

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

From the entrée list, we tried out three different dishes;

Given the name of the restaurant, we had to definitely try out the Satay so we went with the Prawn Satay. The peanut sauce was one of the most delicious I have had to date….it was perfectly balanced, spicy, sweet with that distinct peanut flavour yet not too overpowering. The prawns were perfectly cooked but I would have preferred it to be grilled with a bit of that smoky char that would have paired even better with the satay sauce.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Since the Roti rolls were highly recommended, we decided to try it as our next dish. Roti rolls are very famous in Malaysia and most restaurants, both traditional and modern ones here have it on the menu. While the basic concept of the dish remains the same, I have noticed that the taste does differ between restaurants as chefs try to put their own spin on it with regard to fillings, flavours etc… The one we tried here had marinated chicken pieces with fresh cucumber and tomatoes wrapped inside the roti served with a spicy peanut sauce. Again an enjoyable dish, I really liked the flavour of the marinated chicken; a great street style dish.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Roti rolls

The third entrée we tried was another traditional dish called Lohkaing. It’s essentially minced prawn and pork wrapped in a crispy beancurd skin that’s served with a tangy sauce. The unique texture of the crispy beancurd skin combined with the soft delicious prawn pork mince was simply divine. One of my favourite dishes from the day and one I highly recommend.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lohkaing

As I mentioned earlier, the wine list might be small at Jack’s but there are a few surprising boutique wines available. For my 2nd drink, I had placed an order but the Manager came over and suggested me to try a glass of Salatin Pinot Grigio. And I am happy I went with the suggestion as it was a really refreshing, well balanced, medium dry Pinot with citrusy undertones; paired well with the next round of dishes too.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Salatin Pinot Grigio

For mains, we started with a plate of Char Keow Teow – fried flat rice noodles with fresh shrimps, eggs, bean shoots, Chinese sausage and spices. It was rich with a good balance of spices and really delicious. The flavours were distinctly Malaysian and the small bits of pork belly through the noodles made it taste even better.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Char Keow Teow

Usually in a Malaysian restaurant, we invariably end up ordering a curry but this time, we decided to skip that and instead got Ikan Kerisi, steamed rice and Sambal Spinach.

Ikan Kerisi is basically fillets of sea perch steamed in a flavourful broth of ginger, shallots, coriander and light soy sauce. Sea perch is not usually a fish I get to eat at many restaurants but it’s a perfect one for a dish like this. A very light and flavourful dish, the fillets were beautifully cooked, subtle but with loads of flavour from the aromatics. Paired with the sambal spinach, a must try if you love spinach and steamed rice, this was a great mains option.

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Jack’s Satay Bar (Moonee Ponds, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Sambal Spinach

Skipped dessert as we do often, especially after we have eaten too much.

To summarize, Jack’s Satay Bar is a great neighbourhood restaurant for those living in Moonee Ponds and nearby suburbs. And if you are a racing fan, it’s definitely a place to stop by after the races for drinks and snacks. Don’t forget to check out the racing trivia up on the walls too.

Jack’s Satay Bar

571-573
Mt Alexander Rd
Moonee Ponds, Victoria
Australia, 3039

Ph:   03 9375 3778 & 03 9375 3577

http://www.jacksatay.com.au/

Timings:

Lunch: Tue-Fri
Dinner: Tue-Sun

Closed Monday

Jack's Satay Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest of AGFG and Jack’s Satay Bar. All the opinions are purely personal. 

October Favourites + a Review of Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery

Just two more months to bid goodbye to this year!!!

Where has time flown? But then that’s how I start every monthly favourite post of mine, isn’t it?

But sometimes it’s scary right when time rushes by so fast that you wish you had the power to hold it in your hands and keep it still…..shhh, just stay still till I have caught my breath.

Alas that never happens, and the only option seems to be to flow along with its tide….

At the same time, there is also the excitement and joy of the approaching festive season. While there is so much work to do during this time, both personal and professional, I love the energy, the joyous and festive spirit that’s in the air.

On the professional front, I am planning recipes more suited for the season so if any of you have special requests, do comment below and I will try my best to take that into consideration.

Reading is a very passionate hobby of mine, especially hard copies. I do not like digital books or tools for reading as I think it destroys the very joy of holding a book in your hands. While I do read a lot of books, I do not talk much about it on the blog except when it’s a book related to food.

This month, I got the opportunity to read Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery – a Guide to the truly good restaurants and food experiences of Australia, Edited by Jill Dupleix.

Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery - a Book Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The book is part of a series of the world’s first guides to restaurants and establishments serving truly exceptional, sustainable, organic and ethical food.

Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery has a simple yet elegant design and layout; the photographs are outstanding yet simple and real focusing on the food and nothing else. Published by Blackwell &Ruth, 5% of the publisher’s revenue from the sales of the book goes towards the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI) which is absolutely fantastic.

Food guides like these have always been a part of my library and I actively seek out restaurants suggested – local, regional and international. The restaurants suggested in this book are not just about delicious food; that’s definitely a criteria but it’s more about the care and passion that goes into the sourcing of the ingredients, giving back to the farming community, the attention to detail while each ingredient is prepped and prepared to create the final harmony on a plate.

One of the first things I did on getting the book was going through the ‘Victoria’ section; a curiosity to know the recommendations and how many places I had dined at. To my surprise, there were just 2 restaurants that I had been to from the list – Higher Ground and IDES. Both of these serve exemplary food; while the former is a casual café style setting, the latter is a high end fine dining affair. But yes, the food was exceptional.

Barramundi with garlic and red wine - at IDES, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

One of the spectacular dishes I had at IDES, Melbourne – Barramundi, red wine and garlic

I know for a fact that I will use Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery as a guide, ticking off restaurants and food experiences as I travel along through this country. And I would love to get my hands on the rest of the series that showcases establishments in other countries too. But if you are only interested in knowing about the place you live in, do grab a copy for your country from the series.

Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery is not a book that I will read back to back in a few sittings; it’s a guide that I will keep returning to whenever I want suggestions of an exemplary restaurant, a place where I want to dine at not just for delicious food but where I will be served a dish created out of passion, joy and purity.

There is an exciting giveaway happening on my FB and Insta page. You can win 1 x double pass (valued at $160) to Wine & Symphony 2018, Saturday 3rd November, held at Mount Langi Ghiran.

Spend a beautiful spring afternoon in the spectacular grounds of Mt Langi Ghiran winery in the Grampians. Also treat yourself to wine tastings, a cheese feast, vineyard promenade and sun basking followed by 40 minutes of classical music performance by 4 ace musicians, with a glass of the renowned Langi Shiraz in your hand.

So why are you waiting….head over now to my FB or Insta page to enter. Good Luck!

Wine & Symphony 2018, Saturday 3rd November, held at Mount Langi Ghiran. - thespiceadventuress.com

Now it’s time for all the other favourites for the month;

I had the worst attack of flu and sinusitis this month; this tea was an absolute miracle.

One of my favourite vegetarian snacks using spinach.

I wouldn’t be able to stop at just one bowl of this soup

Absolutely love pumpkin soup; and this one is fantastic.

Another exciting vegetarian recipe; absolutely fingerlickin good!

Lentil and Egg Stew; I have never had anything like this before.

Absolutely stunning food photography!

She inspired me to start a monthly favourites column

How beautiful are these candle holders? Would be perfect for my Christmas table set up.

Need to upgrade my summer wedges

 

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