Cheese pie, hey! Normally I know well in advance what I’ll be cooking on a Saturday. Today, however, was different. I hadn’t given much thought to Saturday dinner during the week. I know right. Shock! Horror!
When I saw the pork and beef mince in the meat section of Coles this morning I figured I’d use it sometime during the week. By the time, I got back to the apartment, I still had no idea what I was going to cook. It took a walk around Lake Ginninderra for me to get my head around what I was going to put together.
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By subscribing you’ll receive a personalised e-mail from me and from time to time, apart from the blog post I’ll share something new, like my ideas for a cook book sometime this year.
Preparing tonight’s dinner
Fortunately, I had most of the ingredients I needed for this somewhat unusual cheese pie.
What you will need to put this meal for one together
500 grams of pork and beef mince
A few good splashes of Worcestershire sauce
Two handfuls of grated Coon cheese
A small handful of sliced spring onion
One small sliced red chilli
One small sliced jalapeño pepper
Half a handful of dried chilli flakes
Two good splashes of cheap olive oil
Three pieces of bread
Seven slices of smoked cheese
Two handful of fried shallots
One handful of panko breadcrumbs
One small packet of baby spinach leaves
Two sliced tomatoes
How to put all this together
It’s always best to get your meat to room temperature before cooking it, so pull out the mince (ground meat for my friends in North America) and let it get to room temperature
In the mince add a splash of the cheap olive oil, a few good splashes of Worcestershire sauce, a handful of grated Coon cheese, half the spring onions, half the chillies and jalapeño pepper, the chilli flakes and a handful of fried shallots
Mix it all together and as my Mum says, whack your pork to get the muscle fibres tender
Allow the mince and the stuff you mixed into it to rest while you get everything else prepared
In the bottom of a stainless-steel frying pan or any other oven safe container lay out the bread and then lay on some of the smoked cheese
Splash some oil around to ensure you have a base with a ‘fried bread’ texture
Add the meat mix on top and spread it out
Cover the meat with the spinach leaves
Lay over the spinach leaves the slices of tomato
Next comes the remainder of the spring onions, chilli and jalapeño pepper
The final layer on top if the combined panko bread crumbs, fried shallots and the last of the grated Coon cheese
I splashed a little more of the cheap olive oil on top before putting it all into a moderate oven set at 150 °C (300 °F) for one hour
When it’s ready allow it to cool and serve with vegetables or eat on its own, whatever you fancy really
How did the cheese pie taste?
It was smoky, cheesy, spicy, and crispy. I really liked it. There’s enough left over for meals during the week.
Making up meals like this is fun. Just put your imagination to it and see what happens.
If you want to see what I got up to today, check out this link.
I’m not sure if I’ll get to nominating other bloggers and generating 11 questions, but here are Jennifer’s questions and my answers.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
What is your favourite holiday that you celebrate?
Australia Day, 26 January. It’s a controversial day for Indigenous Australians, but it’s important to me. I also enjoy eating food that is typically Australian on Australia Day.
What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I cook congee or jook in a slow cooker rather than a pressure cooker or simmering it on a stove in a big pot.
What talent or skill would you most like to have?
I would love to be able to sing.
You have to fight off a monster with whatever is to your left. What is it?
My iPhone. I use the Star Wars light sabre app to scare the monster.
What’s your favourite meal?
My mother’s wonton soup.
Let’s play “Our Town”–You have died and get to relive one day. What day?
Body surfing perfect waves on the sunshine coast, Queensland.
If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live/have lived your life differently?
I would have travelled and done some of my speciality training overseas and I would have made time to see various parts of the world.
You can witness any historic event of your choice. Which one?
The Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri.
Who is your hero?
My former boss, Dr Len Notaras, AM.
What do you order your first time at a restaurant that you have never been to before?
Oysters natural with a little lime juice and salt if the restaurant has it.
Stop Press: Leftovers
I regularly post photographs of food to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Please feel free to connect with me on any social media platform. I also have a podcast. It’s not food related but each show is short and it’s named Medical Fun Facts. You can find it in the iTunes podcast store as well as Stitcher. A show drops every Monday and Tuesday. It has a little cynicism, a little scepticism and occasionally some sarcasm.
Click on the play button above for the audio podcast. The YouTube video is below.
Pork and cabbage soup on Canberra labour day 2016, what a great idea! A great way to use leftover slowly cooked pork shoulder.
It’s been two long weekends in a row. Not a bad thing. This weekend also marked the beginning of daylight saving in some states and the Australian Capital Territory. Getting an extra day to manage a slightly earlier start is a good thing.
The weather in Canberra has been good. On Saturday and today, we’ve had rain and overcast skies. Sunday was bright, shiny and relatively warm. I managed to get out for a walk around Lake Ginninderra and shoot a couple of photographs. I wanted to play with some new software. It seemed to produce a couple of nice pictures.
Lake Ginninderra photographs
The cabbage soup
On Sunday, I put a boneless pork shoulder in the slow cooker and had a nice simple pork and cabbage dinner. Today I used some of the leftover pork and boiled some cabbage along with some coconut milk to make a nice soup.
What went into the cabbage soup
Leftover pork shoulder in bite sized chunks
A quarter of a small drumhead cabbage finely shredded
One packet of salt reduced French onion soup
Use a single jalapeño pepper and red chilli sliced with the seeds included
Two hundred and seventy millilitres of coconut milk
How to put the cabbage soup together
In a large saucepan boil the cabbage and French onion soup until the cabbage is soft.
Toss in the pork and bring it back to the boil for a couple of minutes to heat the pork through.
Drain out most of the water and add the coconut milk and bring it to the boil and then turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
Ladle the soup into a large bowl and then garnish with the chillies and peppers along with some chopped chives.
How does the cabbage soup taste?
It was pretty good. I thought about adding some curry powder, but the chilli and peppers added the right amount of spice while the coconut milk gave it a creamy texture.
As a kid, I didn’t like cabbage very much but as an adult, I’ve come to enjoy it as a vegetable that can absorb flavours much like pasta can. While boiling it removes the nutritional value, the fibre is still in it and it makes a great filler.
If you try this recipe please let me know what you think.
The 2016 National Clubs Carnival for Gymnastics Australia is being held in Bendigo at the Bendigo Stadium at the moment. It’s the reason for my road trip. My two youngest daughters, viz., Miss15 and Ms19 competed. Well, Ms19 competed and Miss15 got a 0.00 score because a few weeks ago she fractured her fifth metacarpal in her dominant hand while training on the balance beam. It was a clean fracture which hopefully will heal without repercussions. Anyway, Miss15 was listed to compete, so on the score sheet, she scored 0.00 for all apparatus. Looks silly really. She was allowed on the floor with her teammates so she helped with video recording their routines and doing other tasks to assist her coaches.
Ms19 competed injury-free and did well in the L10 division.
Given Bendigo is a little over 600 kilometres from Canberra it was a good reason for me to take a few days recreation leave and drive down on Wednesday 14 September. I’ve never driven to Bendigo, I’ve never been to Bendigo, I knew almost nothing about Bendigo. What I did know was it is a large country town in Victoria and had a start in gold mining. I learnt in high school there was a lot of racial tension with the Chinese who came in and extracted gold from the waste left behind by others.
[Read with sarcasm] Being Victoria, I knew they speak another language. They refer to things like snot blocks and potato cakes. I knew I had to be careful amongst these aliens. I knew I could ask for a vanilla slice but they wouldn’t have a clue what a potato scallop is. I figured if they didn’t know what a potato scallop is they probably didn’t know how to cook a decent one anyway. For confused readers, I wrote this paragraph with heavy sarcasm, after all, I was born and bred from the greatest of the Australian states, viz., Queensland and lived for twelve years in the greatest of Australian territories, viz., the Northern Territory of Australia.
Before embarking on this trip I consulted with a close colleague from another government agency who is widely regarded as a vanilla slice connoisseur with an excellent knowledge of rural Victoria and New South Wales. I even made an MS Excel spreadsheet containing my extensive ‘research’ findings. I passed this on to my friend and his only warning was to lock my car in one of the towns I mentioned.
The plan for the drive from Canberra to Bendigo was to leave early and have breakfast on the road in Gundagai. This nearly came unstuck because Apple in its wisdom released iOS 10 on the morning of Wednesday 14 September. Being an early adopter (but not brave enough to use β versions) I woke up at 4 am to download iOS 10. Bloody hell, Apple also wanted me to download an updated version of iTunes which was >250 MB. iOS 10 was >1 GB. My ADSL is pathetically slow so I only managed to update my iPad and I was late leaving my apartment at 6.15.
My first stop was the town of Gundagai. I’d been to Gundagai before and seen the dog on the tucker box. Would you believe my kids didn’t know about the dog on the tucker box? What do they teach kids in school these days? I had decided I’d have a coffee and some sort of carbohydrate-laden product for breakfast. I went with a scone and butter. I did this with trepidation. I have irritable bowel syndrome and my gastrocolic reflex is reasonably good and it is the reason I usually never leave ‘home’ without eating, even if it’s for a morning walk. Being caught short is a constant fear for IBS sufferers.
The Gundagai Bakery is pretty nice. The person who served me was very friendly and I got a large scone, some butter and a decent flat white coffee for $4.50. That was the best bargain of the trip.
I got to Tarcutta and the urge to purge struck. Say no more I hear you think!
I posted a photograph to Twitter and mentioned my dunny stop. I received a mention from a fellow food blogger who tweeted when she was younger her father frowned on her use of the word dunny. I like that as an adult I can be as vulgar as I want.
By the time I got to Holbrook it was raining cats and dogs. I couldn’t see the submarine out the window as I drove. I figured it had been carried away by the storm water runoff. When I got to the Holbrook Bakery the gutters and sidewalk were like a white water rafting course. I really hate having wet shoes and socks when driving. Oh well I thought, I’m here for a reason, having wet shoes isn’t the end of the world.
So this was my first vanilla slice of the trip. It was pretty nice. Not the best in terms of texture, taste and consistency but I’d happily eat more of these.
Two years ago I drove to Geelong for the National Clubs Carnival and broke up my trip by spending the night in Wangaratta. This time, I was driving straight to Bendigo so rather than dinner in Wangaratta it was lunch.
I decided to have lunch at Cafe Derailleur. The café has seating in the front behind windows, some outdoor seating and an area out the back. I chose to sit inside near the main counter. I was feeling a little peckish so I went with duck fat garlic potato wedges with miso mayonnaise, beetroot sweet potato fritter, avocado, mushrooms, poached egg and spinach, along with a beetroot ginger carrot apple juice. It was pretty good. A word of warning, though. Having eaten a beetroot fritter and enjoyed a beetroot drink, don’t be surprised if you do both you may have a little scare in the bathroom the following day, especially if your tired and feeling a little vague. I’m glad I don’t need to visit the endoscopist again.
I had never heard of Violet Town before last week when I started planning this little holiday adventure.
As I arrived I noticed a nice Lions Park with public amenities so I stopped for a dunny break before afternoon tea.
The Violet Town Café had a nice looking vanilla slice in the display cabinet. I could see the passionfruit seeds in the custard and the icing. I had to have one. I really like a little passionfruit in my vanilla slices. While I also like a pink icing, it’s the passionfruit I really like.
Comfort Inn Julie-Anna Bendigo
I chose to stay at the Comfort Inn Julia-Anna on Lake Weeroona. I got a room with a spa bath. While it hasn’t been a really cold winter in Canberra, I’ve been crook for a while and I was looking forward to a daily soak in a spa bath.
This is a short video of my room
I had thought I might go to the Bouchon Bendigo for dinner but I wasn’t feeling the best and figured I’d have dinner in the motel restaurant. When I checked in, the person at reception mentioned how much effort they’ve been putting into getting the restaurant up to a really high standard.
The menu looked good. I went with the parmesan crusted braised lamb shoulder with pea purée and mashed potato. It was delicious. I really enjoyed the mouthfeel of the crispy parmesan crust on the little brick of compressed lamb shoulder meat.
For dessert, I went with the vanilla cheesecake which came with chocolate soil and a raspberry coulis.
Thursday 15 September
Rather than have a motel breakfast, I went searching for a café. I had been told about The Dispensary in Chancery Lane but when I arrived it wasn’t open. I went for a little walk around to see if I could find anything open.
I came across Queen Victoria. Victorians really seem to like her.
Then I saw that the Pall Mall café was open and I went in and had Eggs Benedict. It was a pretty good breakfast.
My two youngest daughters, viz., Miss15 and Ms19 are gymnasts. They both compete for Delta Brisbane. Delta Brisbane has a very good record at national championships, regularly winning champion club. Unfortunately, Miss15 recently fractured the fifth metacarpal in her dominant hand. She did it while training. It was great that she was still permitted to travel with the team and help her Level 8 teammates. Both of them have had their share of injuries including fractures of vertebræ, elbows, and arms plus torn ligaments, tendons and muscles. It’s a tough sport but both of them love it so much. Ms19 is at Level 10 and was competing in the combined levels 9 and 10 division.
It was great seeing them both and spending some time with them. Needless to say, over the two days of competition for levels 7, 8 and 9/10 Delta Brisbane won the best club title for all three divisions.
I’ve created a SmugMug gallery of photographs that I shot during the event. I should explain the images are not that good. I was some distance from the competition floor and so I cropped these photographs considerably and had to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to reduce a lot of noise. I was using a 24–240 mm f/3.5–6.3 zoom lens and shot at 1/500 second with the ISO at 6400 and exposure compensation at +1 stop.
The gallery will run as a slideshow automatically. There are 25 images and they change every 3 seconds.
This is a video of Ms19’s uneven bar routine from Thursday 15 September
After the first night of competition, I was again feeling a little poorly so ate in the motel restaurant. This time I went for the duo of pork. This consisted of a
crumbed rillettes of pork shoulder plus a piece of braised pork belly. This was served with sweet potato purée and a ball of spinach. This was a particularly delicious meal. The crackling was nice and the fat had been rendered out nicely.
Friday 16 September
I slept very poorly. My snoring was out of control and my chronic cough kept me awake most of the night. I decided rather than going in search of another café I would eat breakfast at the motel.
The poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce, smoked salmon, and spinach was delightful to look at and delicious to eat.
Thursday and Friday Lunch and Friday dinner
The best sporting event meal I know is potato gems and chicken salt. The chips at Bendigo Stadium didn’t look that enticing. I could have gone out between events on Friday evening but I had a really good seat and I didn’t want to lose it. In addition, Ms21 made a surprise appearance. It turns out Ms19 had decided to retire from gymnastics after 16 years of training and competing. This was to be her last competition and with each apparatus I could see she was looking happier with the completion of each routine. Would you believe I spent $16 on three potato gems meals!
After the trophy presentation on Friday night, four gymnasts announced their retirement from the sport with Ms19 being one of them. When I got a chance to congratulate her, I started crying and couldn’t stop. All of us had leaking eyes. Gymnastics has been a major part of her life for 16 of her 19 years. It’s helped give her discipline and purpose. My Mum often says that Ms19 is very much like me. Dogged stubbornness and determination. I’ve often said, I’ve never seen anyone so young with the mental toughness of Ms19.
Saturday 17 September
Friday night ended late and well past my bed time. I had another crapulent sleep. I had planned to leave Bendigo at about 6.30 which meant I would need to be out of bed at about 5.30 given I hadn’t packed and I wanted one last spa bath.
After being awake until about 3.30 I fell asleep and woke at 6.30 with a start. I was running late. I still had a bath and was out of the motel room by 7.30.
I decided I would skip breakfast in Bendigo and planned to eat something in Benalla. Just before I got there though the instant coffee I had in the motel room kicked in so a rest stop was needed.
My target for breakfast was Hides Bakery. I got there a little after 9 and requested a coffee and scrambled eggs with bacon on avocado spread sourdough toast.
Before leaving Hides Bakery I bought a vanilla slice to go. I found a rest stop halfway between Wangaratta and Wodonga and enjoyed the treat. It was really nice.
I’d promised myself that on this adventure I would also enjoy a meat pie or two or three. Surprisingly, that hadn’t happened. I went in search of a good meat pie. My search led me to Henri’s Bakery in Wodonga where I enjoyed a minted lamb pie. It was a perfect meat pie. Not too hot, chunky meat and recognisable vegetables.
My final planned break on my journey was the Interchange Café in Tarcutta. To be honest, I was relieved when I entered the café to see a display case bereft of custard filled treats. No vanilla slices and no other pastries that looked appetising. Instead I had a small coffee. It was very good. I really needed it. I had started to feel very tired driving.
How was the drive?
I really like driving and despite not feeling the best, the drive to and from Bendigo was enjoyable. There was a lot of rain on the way south and on occasion there was sufficient water on the road that I had to slow down and carefully drive across the few centimetres of water that was flowing across the road surface. The roads in Victoria aren’t particularly good. There were a lot of pot holes to avoid.
I spent my hours in the car listening to podcasts. One of my favourite podcasts is Quackcast by Mark Crislip. Mark is an infectious diseases physician from the United States. He does a great job at demolishing the quackery of alternative and complementary medicine including acupuncture, naturopathy, Chinese herbal medicine and homeopathy. You can find the podcast in the iTunes store and I assume in the Google play store if you’re an Android user.
Getting back to Canberra
On arriving I filled the car with diesel and went and bought some food for dinner. I made a simple ramen noodles and lup cheong meal. Nothing fancy. Just light and easy.
What can I say. I enjoyed the short holiday. A good drive is always fun.
My favourite meal was the duo of pork at the Comfort Inn Julie-Anna.
My favourite vanilla slice was the takeaway treat from Hides Bakery and eaten on the side of the road.
My favourite moment was hugging Ms19 at the end of her competition and telling her how proud I am of her.
Every time I look at this photograph it brings tears to my eyes. Ms19 has been a gymnast for sixteen of her nineteen years. It’s taught her discipline. It’s helped her develop an understanding of physical fitness. It’s made her powerful and strong. Most importantly it’s developed her as an individual and as a member of a team. This year she captained Queensland at the national championships. A lot of people criticise gymnastics because of the injuries, it’s true gymnastics get injured but the benefits far outweigh the injuries. Well done Ms19 I love you so much and I am so proud of you.
Have you been to Bendigo?
What did you think? What did you eat? What did you do?
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Today I made slow cooker pork quinoa congee. It’s getting closer to ANZAC day, which means for Canberra residents it’s time to turn on our heaters. With the horrible cold Canberra weather coming it’s time for more comfort food. Over the last few weeks I’ve made tinned corned beef and chicken giblets congee in my pressure cooker.
This slow cooker pork quinoa congee was made with pork spare ribs and made succulent with the fat from some speck.
Slow cooker pork quinoa congee
Congee or jook made with slowly cooked pork
Author: Gary Lum
Pork spare ribs
Chicken stock cube
Dice the meat
Dice the potato
Put everything into the slow cooker
Cook on low for 6 hours
Plate up and shoot a photograph
Eat a bowl of congee
Vacuum pack the rest for leftover meals
Wash the dishes
Write the recipe
This is a quick and simple recipe that makes a really nice comforting congee or jook.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend.
Here are some photographs of the preparation of my meal.
Do you like how much fat is in the speck? It rendered and softened nicely during the cooking.
I’m writing this from my parent’s dining table in Brisbane.
It’s Friday 25 December 2015. It’s Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas 😃🎁🎅🎄⭐🌟🖖
My flight from Canberra to Brisbane departed shortly after 9 am. I enjoyed meeting some friends at the airport before boarding which was great.
My flight was uneventful and smooth. I was surprised how full the flight was. I managed to get an aisle seat with no one next to me so that was a plus.
The Brisbane roads were pretty barren so the journey to my parent’s place was very quick.
It was good to see Mum and Dad. It’s been a few months since I last visited. I’ve been busy with work and trying to save a little money.
As soon as I arrived mum had me preparing coleslaw. I made it with a special surprise. I added some fried shallots and crushed Queensland nuts (Macadamia). Mum had two chickens (chooks) in the oven full of her stuffing which I love. Mum made a green salad with hard boiled eggs, mango and avocado. We also had smashed potatoes (spuds). Dr48 (my middle brother) was due to arrive with roast pork and crackling, chicken wings, Moreton Bay bugs, Endeavour prawns and a lobster. Mum made a seafood sauce to go with all the seafood. Dr48’s wife (SIL) brought along a pavlova (you know that Australian invention that people from New Zealand claim they invented).
I feel so full. I had three plates of lunch followed by a big slice of pavlova with ice cream.
It’s been a good day. It was good seeing my brothers. It was good seeing Mum and Dad.
I feel so full. I’m not having any dinner. I think if I tried eating more I’d make myself feel sick.
It’s a Friday night after a big week and Bron and I enjoy a meal at Les Bistronomes in Braddon. Les Bistronomes is a relatively new French restaurant in Canberra. From what I’ve seen in blogs and Instagram it’s pretty popular. It’s sitting in a group of new places like Blackfire and Bent Spoke.
We need to step back a bit though. We’ve seen Canberra bloggers post stories and images and we both would like to try the Beef Wellington. To get the Beef Wellington you need to pre-order so that’s what I did
It’s a warm afternoon so we elect to eat outside. However, the ambient temperature drops quickly and by the end of the evening there’s gooseflesh on show.
The service is very friendly and after we mention we’ve pre-ordered the Beef Wellington we see the menu and choose some entrées and a side for the Beef Wellington.
This bread came out warm and the butter was subtle. It was good.
I love snails. The combination of the snails with the pork loin is great. The parsley cream though, while delicious gives me a green smile (sorry no selfie)
This bread was delicious. The caramelised onion and anchovies were really tasty.
Here’s the Beef Wellington. We think, but we don’t know, the beef is cooked sous vide and then finished in the pastry with the Duxelles. Happy to be corrected by anyone who does know.
The foie gras and horseradish go well in the Duxelles. The foie gras is quite subtle while the horseradish at least in one piece I ate was prominent. The French peas with the bacon lardons were nice and went well in the pastry shell after the meat had been eaten
The Flambé Crème brûlée was very nice. Nothing like seeing some flames coming out to the table.
Bron asked for the chocolate and avocado mousse which she was was very good.
Overall the evening was very enjoyable. The meal was great and the atmosphere on a summer night in Canberra was very pleasant albeit towards the end quite cold. Next time I think we’ll eat inside. I’d happily recommend Les Bistronomes for a meal.
So I’m up in Brisbane a little earlier than usual. I’m here to help Mum and Dad for a few days while Mum continues her recovery from spinal surgery. She’s doing well and maintaining her exercises. I’m pleased to see her getting around and moving better than I imagined. I’m still trying to convince her though that things like ironing and perfect hospital corners on her bed are not essential to living and enjoying life.
Given that I’m in Brisbane earlier than usual I was so happy that Miss13, Miss17 and Miss19 came for a visit yesterday for Christmas dinner
I started the day knowing I had a lot of cooking and food ahead of me.
Vegemite on toast, also known as the breakfast of champions.
For lunch I made a simple smoked salmon and sour cream on toasted wholemeal bread plate for Mum and Dad. They both enjoy smoked salmon and sour cream. I should have bought bagels.
In the afternoon as I was thinking about preparing for dinner I got some cheese out for Dad. Dad loves cheese and this was a treat for him. What I also love about my daughters is they will try anything, even smelly cheeses. Miss13 said it wasn’t something she’d actively go looking for again but understood when I explained our palates change over years and as she gets older she may appreciate cheeses like this more. I love the spirit of Miss17, from an early age she’d try things, like oysters. I remember the first time she wasn’t that impressed but she made a conscious decision at a young age to try one every time we went out and now she loves oysters.
Christmas dinner is usually quite large in the Lum household. I tried to explain to Mum we could do something simple and still enjoy it. So I suggested we limit ourselves to two meats and just a salad plus some spuds (potatoes for refined readers).
So here we have a series of photographs that I shot as dinner was being prepared. I’m grateful to Miss17 for help with the salad and of course Mum who supervised and made the apple sauce even though I was meant to be looking after her.
So I apologise in advance for the number of photographs in this post but what you won’t see is the number of photographs I shot and are still in my Adobe Lightroom library.
And then we had dessert
It was a good day with my parents and daughters. The weather in Brisbane was warm and it was moist. My skin was happy and I was happy.
So if you’ve made it this far thanks for reading.
Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you have planned for your Christmas dinner.
There was one requirement, at Wild Duck we needed to eat duck
It’s been a busy week and Bron and I had a reservation at Wild Duck on a Thursday night. The reservation process was dead easy with Dimmi (electronic reservation). What I like about Dimmi is the reservation gets locked in and confirmation/reminder e-mails are sent which gives me reassurance.
We had agreed beforehand like we did at Olive at Mawson, that since it’s Wild Duck we need to eat duck (at Olive at Mawson we agreed someone had to eat an olive dish).
Wild Duck describes itself as fine Asian cuisine. The menu however is not your typical Chinese restaurant. It’s more of an abstract of traditional dishes cooked beautifully with flavour as a priority.
We decided on mains before we settled on entrées. We chose the pork belly and lamb ribs for mains after thinking about the ocean trout and spatchcock. To begin dinner we agreed on duck in rice wrappers and king prawns.
These wraps were served on a cute duck plate
The duck rolls were pretty good. The sauce that came with it was superb. I found the pieces of duck meat were quite large and rather than being a negative, I loved having a nice big piece of tender duck meat with skin on it. The prawns were nicely cooked. They were coated in a lovely spicy mix which was complemented nicely with the refreshing shredded green pawpaw and green apple.
Both these dishes were fantastic. The pork belly was tender and sweet and accompanied with some lovely sticky rice that had soaked up all the lovely pork juices. The lamb ribs had the most tender meat ever. A spoon would have separated the meat from the bones. The flavour was amazing. The fat had been rendered out and gave the meat a lovely unctuous texture. The nice thing about sharing the meal was that we could eat a small amount from each dish and go back for more. I started with the pork then had some lamb and then pork and finished with lamb. I commented that I wish I had finished on the pork because the sweetness would have been perfect for me. Bron loved the lamb and said she was happy to finish with the lamb because it was a dish she wasn’t expecting in that she’d eaten pork belly many times before but this was the first time she’d eaten lamb ribs. Both dishes were fabulous and I’d happily go back and eat them again.
Bron chose the sticky rice and I said I’d probably go with the five texture mousse and summer berries. As our requests were being taken I quickly changed my mind and asked for the banana split. Bron just stared at me (death stare). She had (been hoping) hoped to check out some of the mousse and berries. There was a bit of face palming lol
All in all it was a good night. The setting is very pleasant and not too noisy. The service was great, it was friendly and attentive but not too in your face. We both commented on the timing of the dishes. We were not left waiting long between courses and if I had one reservation it would be to leave a few more minutes between courses.
I’m happy to recommend Wild Duck to anyone living in or visiting Canberra.
So now for a rating. 4.5 out of 5 colonies 🙂 Fantastic. I’ll be back.
On Saturday evening Bron and I ate at Podfood in Pialligo
Podfood is well known for breakfast and we’ve enjoyed breakfast there before. This was our first dinner there on a cold cold Canberra night.
I made the booking through Dimmi and as we arrived we were greeted enthusiastically by one of the friendliest waiters ever 🙂
We were shown a table for two along a wall away from the door which on a cold night was appreciated.
The menu on the night is a little different to the one on their website but not too different.
After a short discussion we went with the Chef’s suggestions five course degustation.
Not only do you get five courses (including dessert) you also receive an amuse bouche and a palate cleanser before dessert.
I loved the salmon tartare. It had a lovely refreshing kick to it. The bread was warm and lovely and that truffle butter was whipped smooth with crunch from charcoal salt crystals. I’m so happy they brought out more bread later in the service.
This image was a little blown out originally and has required a bit of extra processing. The scallops were perfectly cooked. We loved the morcilla which is Spanish black pudding.
The little spatchcock leg looked so cute when it came out. The pumpkin was smooth and full of flavour. The chicken skin was crispy and made you want more.
We call this the Dexter special. Notice the blood splatter on the plate from the beetroot. The pork was quite rare and a little chewy but it was tender and had a great flavour. The olive added a fantastic contrast of flavour to balance the sweetness of the apple.
This beef dish isn’t on the on-line menu and we can’t remember all the details. Of all the dishes this was the one which didn’t seem to have the same balance. Don’t get me wrong. The beef was beautifully cooked. The onion cups holding the balsamic reduction were superb. The whipped potato was amazing. It’s just at the end there was a lemony bitterness that lingered for a little too long.
The lemony bitterness didn’t last long though because…this!
This was a delightful palate cleanser. I could have inhaled it as dessert 🙂
The final course was dessert. Again this dish isn’t on the on-line menu. It has orange sorbet plus a carrot bread and soft almost marshmallow nougat like column. In the bottom left hand corner the hint of green is a slice of celery which was cooked by sous vide and had a lovely sweet crunch and only a hint of celery flavour.
The other highlight of the evening in addition to Bron’s lovely company was another diner recognised me and came up and said hello. She mentioned she likes reading my blog. I was very chuffed by that. Thank you 🙂
I shot the food with my Canon PowerShot G16. It was set at aperture priority (f/2.8) and automatic ISO. I learnt that if I don’t use the MACRO function there is a lot less noise in the images. The restaurant was very dark and I wasn’t confident that I’d capture the images at a quality that could be used on the blog. I was pleasantly surprised.