Wednesday, January 05, 2011

not quite a year in review

New loves
Serendipity sorbet (from downtown Marrickville) – fell in love with their coconut and kaffir lime served with some of those sour cherries in juice from a jar. Their chocolate sorbet wins best dairy-free creamy chocolate hit of the year. Oh and I’ve just discovered passionfruit and chilli – oh my!

Tofu in gingery tomato sauce, definitely the most made new recipe of the year. I’ve done all kinds of variations to add some vegetables to it, all fabulous, though eggplant is still the best for it’s melty texture and sponge like quality to suck up the flavours.

Green coriander seeds. I just wish I could have fresh seeds all year round.

With so many new eateries in my neck of the woods it’s hard to pick a favourite newcomer. Hats off to Munsterhaus for providing casual, healthy food that makes me crave more. I also developed a soft spot for breakfast in the sun outside the quaint Miss Marmalade. Honourable mention to the latest in the Vue family – Café Vue at the Melbourne international terminal. Leaving the country has never tasted so good. Considering the paucity of decent food in the entire airport, let alone when you are held hostage in the departure hall, the luxury and great (though rather rich) food at Café Vue is a gift from the goddess. If you are on a cut-price jaunt, I suspect their breakfast/lunch/dinner boxes beat anything you could get onboard. The toasted olive bread and tuna sandwich that I ate there just before Christmas made it easy to ignore the horror of a meal Air New Zealand attempted to serve up.

Out of town finds– Black Star Pastry (Newtown, Sydney) and the queue-worthy Mamak (Haymarket, Sydney). I suspect I’ll be eating in Sydney even more in 2011, so feel free to tell me your favourite casual haunts in the harbour city.

Falling in Love Again
Best new old friend Annabel Langbein. Despite so much of her food being dairy or meat rich, I loved her program The Free Range Cook for her casual attitude towards cooking and simple recipes – so much so I dusted off her cookbook and actually made the recipes I’d earmarked.

In a similar vein, in a moment of boredom on a visit to my family in NZ, I jazzed up my mum’s chocolate rough recipe and fell in love with a decidedly adult twist on a childhood favourite slice.

Other foods I fell for all over again included kale, New Zealand whitebait, ginger beer and mushrooms on toast.

A couple more “best ofs”
Best experiment – harissa prawns. Homemade harissa paste has become my favourite “fridge fixing” – other than tagines it goes into chilli bean dishes, mayonnaise to accompany carrot fritters and smoked eel but best of all was using to marinate prawns. Drooling in memory of it just typing this…

Best food related meme – most likely the only one I did but I loved Jill Dupleix’s life in 10 dishes so much, I did it myself.

Social media high and low lights
The Foodblogging event of the year was certainly the inaugural Eat, Drink, Blog. A spectacular event, wonderful participants, incredible cocktails and a delightful meal at St Ali. Best of all was hanging out with fellow bloggers and forming new friendships.

Foodblogging meets old media epic fail of the year – how could we forget the evil Judith Griggs and Crooksource?

What I want more of in 2011
Home cooking. I buy fresh, seasonal organic fruit and veg each week. It’s a pity to waste them. I’ve grown increasingly disenchanted with big bang, expensive restaurants over the years. But perhaps that’s because in Melbourne we are lucky to have so many small, understated, quality neighbourhood eateries like The Commoner in Fitzroy and Da Noi in South Yarra. Neither new kids on the block but both provided my favourite dining experiences of the year – the perfect blend of the best company to eat and drink with, waiters who know how to do their job and talented chefs.

What are you food highs of 2010 and what are you hankering for in 2011?

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Blogger Cindy said...

Lots of shared loves here!

Your last comment particularly resonated. Although Michael and I have been fortunate to enjoy a few high end dining experiences, the eatings out that really thrilled me in 2010 were the high quality cheap discoveries - Half Moon Cafe, Mankoushe, Nasi Lemak House, Thanh Nga Nine, Tiba's, Yong Green Food. I've definitely got foam fatigue.

We've just started a little herb garden on our balcony and have been racing through Ottolenghi's Plenty since Christmas. I think we might be headed in new home cooking directions in 2011!

8:40 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

"Foam fatigue" - love it! Hope your new pots of herbs inspire you. Perhaps in 2011 eating at home will be the new eating out? :)

9:40 am  
Blogger Johanna GGG said...

ha - I just want Sylvia to eat my cooking - the tofu in gingery tomato sauce sounds like one I should try for her - she surprises me at enjoying spices and tofu

but seriously, I think home cooking is so much better than a lot of meals I eat out - had lunch at a cafe this week and felt like I could have done it so much better - how hard is it to melt cheese over salsa and avocado!!!

I enjoyed the little cafe at the back of sappho books in Glebe in my one sydney trip last year - it was nice and relaxing and a nice salad and I always love a bookstore cafe

1:16 pm  
Blogger Anna said...

My best meals of 2010 were at Pho Hung, a Vietnamese restaurant in Preston, The Commoner, and on my parent's back deck. High end dining is not for me either!

Food highlight of the year was probably eating the first of our home grown produce - zucchinis, broccoli, broad beans, and some other tid bits!

The other highlight was cutting our weekly food budget down to about $20 - 25 per person and still eating the most delicious meals. A proud frugavore :-)

2:21 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Johanna will keep an eye out for the cafe in Glebe, got some nice bread in Glebe Point Rd last time.

Anna congrats on the gardening. That's a significant reduction in your weekly budget. Unfortunately haven't got anything particularly abundant or exciting on the go in the garden at the mo or I'd offer you some swaps.

2:27 pm  
Anonymous spiceandmore said...

Nice summary. Totally agree on the (yawn) high end dining scene.

11:27 am  

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