Italy, Travel

Getting Lost in Venice

October 2, 2014
Canal view

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost”. What a perfect way to describe the time we spent in Venice, exploring the canals and alleyways and absorbing the sights and sounds of one of the worlds most beautiful cities.  Continue Reading…

Dubai, Travel

Dubai: Spices and Silks

September 29, 2014
Spice Souq Dubai

We arrived in Dubai at 5.30 in the morning, luckily we were able to secure an early check-in at our hotel, and although our room is not ready, we are able to sit and have some much needed food and coffee as well as be treated to some beautiful views of the city from the pool deck. Continue Reading…

Visual Feasts

Lioness, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

September 19, 2014
lioness

Flash back Friday! I can’t believe how long ago it was that we travelled back to my home land. Current news stories do not always paint Zimbabwe in a particularly pleasant light which makes me sad as this is country full of people with huge hearts. It is also a country full of some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife on the planet. I would actively encourage anyone to travel to Zimbabwe to experience the beauty that is has to offer.

Happy Friday everyone.

Desserts, Eating In

Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Popcorn

September 12, 2014
chocolate cheesecake with salted caramel popcorn

I don’t think I will get sick of the salted caramel craze that is currently taking the world by storm. The mix of decadently sweet and salt, makes it just so ‘moreish’.

When we dined at Ezard a few weeks ago, one of my favourite desserts was a wonderfully salty caramel popcorn teamed with a dark chocolate. Cue light bulb moment in my head as I needed to bake something for work…everyone loves a cheesecake and I thought a dark chocolate cheesecake with a salted caramel topping would work well.  Continue Reading…

Visual Feasts

Christchurch, New Zealand

September 1, 2014
185 chairs Christchurch

Last week, I was lucky enough to travel to Christchurch for a week. I had a fantastic time, met some awesome people and ate at some lovely restaurants (post coming soon).

It was my first time walking around the Christchurch CBD since the earthquake in February 2011, and it was quite eerie walking past empty pieces of land where buildings used to stand. Continue Reading…

Eating Out, Melbourne

Ezard

July 28, 2014
Ezard dessert tasting plate to share

A few weeks ago, it was Nathan’s birthday and, as we had friends visiting from Christchurch, it seemed fitting to take them to one of Melbournes best restaurants (and one of Nathans favourites!). Ezard is located on Flinders Lane, next door to the Adelphi hotel it is tucked away below the street.  Continue Reading…

Eating Out, Melbourne

Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar

July 7, 2014
Mr Hive Menu


Located in the Crown Metropol Hotel, Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar is a large restaurant that has a warm and inviting interior. There was a live band playing the night that we dined, which gave the restaurant a more casual atmosphere.

They are incredibly busy, and though we are seated quickly, when an amusé bouche is placed on our table, we are not told what it is, and I am the first to take an experimental bite. It is a square of watermelon in a crumb of some sort which I cannot quite place and we are disappointed to not be told what it is, though it does act as a palate cleanser of sorts.

watermelon amusé bouche {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  IMG 0001 2

I start off with the beef tartare, which was plated beautifully and looked delicious. Although the meat has been prepared well, it is incredibly spicy which overwhelms the rest of the flavours and I think it would have been better to have been asked about spice preference.

Mr Hive Beef Tartare and sourdough $19 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  beeftartare

Mr Hive Beef Tartare and sourdough $19

The smoked beetroot and goats cheese entree, which both Nathan and his Dad ordered, is also beautifully plated. The beetroot is tender and the goats cheese is tangy. There is a sweetness to the dish that we can’t quite place and which hides the smoked beetroot flavour.

Smoked Beetroot and Goats Cheese $16 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  smokedbeetroot

Smoked Beetroot and Goats Cheese $16

I ordered the pork belly for my main, as I had heard great things and was looking forward to it (I am a sucker for crackling). While the pork is well flavoured, it was surprisingly dry and I was left slightly disappointed. However, the squash and sage that accompany it are beautiful, with the squash mash wonderfully smooth and silky.

Crispy Otway pork belly  lentils squash & sage $35 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  porkbelly

Crispy Otway pork belly
lentils squash & sage $35

Nathan had ordered the ox cheek, which was melt in the mouth tender and broke away when pressed with a fork, with the lack of seasoning being its only let down.

Gippsland ox cheek,  polenta and carrot $40 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  oxcheek

Gippsland ox cheek,
polenta and carrot $40

The lamb chops were accompanied by a slice of bubble and squeak which was a little stodgy. The lamb itself was cooked to a beautiful pink and was seasoned well.

Barnsley lamb chops, bubble and squeak $38 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  lambchop

Barnsley lamb chops, bubble and squeak $38

Although the mains had let us down, I was looking forward to ordering dessert as Mr Hive is well known for having fantastic desserts and when I saw they had a pumpkin pie my mind was made up.

Spiced Pumpkin Pie, pecan and orange $15 {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  pumpkinpie

Spiced Pumpkin Pie, pecan and orange $15

The pumpkin pie came with some pumpkin puree and cream and was as pretty as a picture. It was well spiced, light and airy and a lovely dessert to end a meal that we all felt let down by. It may have been that it was a busy Saturday night, but I felt that for the prices Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar should have been better.

 

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon {focus_keyword} Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar  biglink

Eating Out, Melbourne

Melt Pizza

June 26, 2014
Melt SIgn

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a photo I took of a delicious looking pizza a few weeks back when Nathan and I popped into the newly opened Melt Pizza. Our pizzas were delicious and since then we have been meaning to return, so when I got an email from Dan, who owns Melt with his wife Elise, I was excited to find out more (and eat more delicious pizza).

Dan and Elise, came up with the concept for Melt as a pizza restaurant that focussed on producing healthy pizzas. They scoured different pizza restaurants and researched all the information they could find, discovering that pizza was originally invented in Naples as a fast and nutritious meal. They jumped on a plane and enrolled in The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, where they learnt all the skills involved in making a traditional Napoletana Pizza, from dough stretching right down to the correct oven shape. As Dan says Melt serves “old style pizza in a new way”. I love the concept of being able to interact with the staff making your meal, and being able to be involved makes the whole experience more personable. 

Located at 171 Chapel Street, Melt was a short walk away for me. It was a freezing night when I visited and the warm lights and friendly greeting were a welcome respite from the chill outside. The first thing you will notice when you walk into Melt is that it not your average pizza place. You get to choose what you want on your pizza from the base sauce (choice of tomato, pesto or garlic) to the toppings and the cheese. Set up kind of like Subway (but oh so much better), you get to see the balls of dough being hand stretched and the staff are more than happy to give recommendations on toppings. For those who may not like decision making, they also have a menu with pizzas like Margherita and Roasted Pumpkin. There are also salad options and meatballs available for those who may not feel like pizza.

Pizza oven {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Pizza oven

It’s a pretty amazing experience watching the dough being hand stretched, going down the line and picking ingredients. By the time you are at the till to pay, your pizza is in a whopping 400 C wood fired oven and with a cooking time of an incredible two minutes (average bake time for most pizzas is 10-12  minutes), when you sit down it’s not long before your pizza appears in front of you.

pizza in oven  {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza pizza in oven 2

On Dans recommendation I try a pizza with a base of pesto, hot salami, roasted pumpkin, fresh mozzarella and fresh chilli. It is delicious, and though there is hit of heat, it is not overpowering. The thinner crust means that you don’t leave feeling overly full or bloated as some of the heavier thicker based crusts do. Definitely one to try.

Melt Pizza {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Pizza

The restaurant itself is an amazing space, light and airy with loads of lovely little details like terracotta tiles and hanging lights. They have several spaces in which to enjoy your pizza, including a courtyard and private room, which would be perfect for a group catchup.

Melt courtyard {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Melt courtyard Melt table {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Melt tableMelt front of house {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza Melt front of house

I had a lovely evening at Melt, while I ate my pizza I was able to observe others diners coming in and out. There were loads of regulars who popped in (always a good thing) as well as first timers, what stood out for me though was how everyone was greeted with a friendly smile and excellent service. Melt Pizza is  a great addition to the Windsor end of Chapel Street, and with pizzas ranging from $11 – $16 they are more than affordable. We will definitely be returning.

Eating with Katie dined as a very happy guest of Melt Pizza 

Melt Pizza on Urbanspoon {focus_keyword} Melt Pizza biglink

Breakfast, Eating In

Avocado Smash, Salmon and Poached Egg on Toast

June 23, 2014
Avocado Smash, Poached Egg and Salmon on Toast

So you know what happened this weekend? The Winter Solstice (well in the Southern Hemisphere anyway), which now means that the days are going to get longer and lighter, yay! This is a great reason to celebrate and what better way to celebrate lighter mornings than with a breakfast recipe.

Avocado on toast has always been a delicious breakfast treat and it is definitely doing its rounds on cafe menus around Melbourne. I normally love avocado and tomato on toast, but decided as a weekend treat to team it with smoked salmon and a poached egg.

The smoked salmon and egg add a richness to the avocado that makes it a great Sunday lunch option. Don’t worry if you haven’t poached an egg before, it is easily done and you only need to take care when removing the egg from the water. If you aren’t comfortable poaching an egg, a soft boiled egg would also work well.

Did you do anything to celebrate Winter Solstice? What is your favourite ingredient to combine with avocado?

Avocado and oozing poached egg {focus_keyword} Avocado Smash, Salmon and Poached Egg on Toast  avocadosalmononplate2

Avocado Smash, Salmon & Poached Egg on Toast
An original recipe from Eating with Katie

2 slices bread, toasted
1 avocado
50g feta
wedge of lemon
2 slices of smoked salmon
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
salt and pepper, to season

Method

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water until about half full. Add vinegar and salt and bring to the boil.
2. While waiting for water to boil smash avocado. Remove flesh from avocado and place into a bowl along with a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper. Smash with a fork to desired texture. Add in feta and mix well.
3. Spoon avocado mixture onto the toasted bread and lay slices of smoked salmon on top.
4. When water has come to a boil, reduce heat and bring water to a simmer. Place one egg onto a saucer. With a spoon stir the water to produce a whirlpool and gently slide in egg from saucer. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a semi-soft yolk. Gently remove egg with a slotted spoon and place carefully on to top of salmon. Repeat the process with the second egg.
5. To serve, sprinkle with paprika or freshly ground pepper.