Sunday, January 17, 2010

I still call Australia home !!

"I've been to cities that never close down From Athens and Rome to Hawaii Town
But no matter how far
Or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home".
Okay so maybe these aren't the actual words to the famous Peter Allen song but I am going to New York this year but that's another foodie story. :)
But this song prompted me to remember how amazing we have it in Australia as diverse and multicutral as we are Australia really does have it all.
I especially love running into shops that bring back smells and aromas  from my overseas european adventures even better I love  knowing that it took me only 20 minutes to get re capture that same smell or taste that amazing coffee.
One of my favouirite "makes me smile like a kid on Christmas morning",shops to visit is Essential Ingredient located in Prahan Market. If you are a foodie and a lover of anything associated with food like myself you have to check this shop out.

This has been a love of mine since I was an apprentice chef so I had to share the food love. When you walk in the door you are greeted by a family of several different Balsamic Vinegars you then walk on and make friends with Chocolate brigade. Now this is no ordinary chocolate the chocolate range here is top quality and is what I used when I was a chef.My favoirite is Callebaut Milk chocolate(pictured below left ) Callebaut also make creamy to die for Strawberry chocolate and an amazing "I can't believe it's orange" chocolate. Unbelieveably great coverture chocolate and reuseable containers...Bonus!!!
This shop also has equipment, baking goods and you can even locate organic and australian and local produced products which is something I am so passionate about eg: Maggie Beer's amazing stuff.(Picutred below right.)

Let's not forget the amazing cook books on display and I nearly fainted as my favourite cook book and the pastry book on any great pastry chefs shelf is, "The Roux Brothers" by Albert and Michel Roux( for those that do not know The Roux brothers are God's to the pastry world) it was signed by the author.I kept looking at it in it's sealed jacket and whispered to it "I will be back". (I already have one at home).
So if you have a Saturday free and wondering what to do wake up early and head to the Prahan market and wander around Essential Ingredient and then even get a cafe latte at Rumble cafe just as you walk in.

Before skipping to Essential Ingredient with my two lovely girlfriends Daniela and Nadia we decided to have  Brunch at  Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder located on Bridge Road in Richmond obviously.
I remember this cafe opened when I was an apprentice chef and we were all advised or should I write told to go by our Head Chefs as it was founded by the great Stephanie Alexander.
One of the many things I love about the Richmond Hill cafe and Larder not only is it close to the city but it houses some of the most amazing locally produced and Australian owned products and ingredients and has an amazing cheese and bread and chutney family. I think all foodies and anyone in general that loves food should go visit this place as it has beautiful fresh ingredients and the menu is update to reflect this. So jump on a tram or go for a walk and  check out "Richmond Hill cafe and Larder".
My girlfriends and I an no strangers to breakfast we are regulars when it comes to going out for our poached eggs, so today we all opted for something different  and yum.
I ordered  the scrambled herb eggs with mushrooms (below left) this was  so delicious it tasted like the mushrooms were cooked in a stock or seasoned  just enough; nothing worse than food that isn't seasoned.

My girlfriend Nadia got the beans in a clay pot (pictured right) which of course I dug in when she asked "have a taste" ...they were scrumptious, tomatoe  with a hint of cumin and cheese ...divine. My other girlfriend Daniela ordered the vegetarian breakfast . Now before I go on any futher my girlfriends know me so well they know I look at everyone's meal before I start my own just so I can see where there chef was at whilst cooking eg: organised and calm when he cooked all these meals as A. No one had burnt toast, B. The eggs are cooked and C. The meals looked appealing .

So the vegetartian breakfast (below left) consisted of pached eggs (they were perfect as they should be slighty hard and then smooth and flowing on the inside, then there was spinach and delcious tomoatoes and of course my best friend the mushrooms beside them.
Now to top of a meal or during I love a good cappucino and I got a creamy,perfecto one and  this is just what I needed to compliment my meal .
There are my suggestions; being a chef I can tell crappy food, I can walk past a fish n chip shop and smell reused oil and I know if a poached egg is cooked or not. So check out this places Essential Ingredient which is an amazing resource for Chefs and foodies and then go and have a scrumptious  meal or buy a loaf of bread at Richmond Hill cafe and Larder.

 Remember to get out and see Melbourne's amazing cafe's and resutarnts and foodie haunts .

 I am so looking forward to the Melbourrne food and wine festival coming up -12-23 March 2010 when you get a minute check out the website...

Coming up -- Laughing Chef  Valentines treats - truffle making photo's as well as photo's of a delicious cooking class.

Lastly One of the many things  I am passionate about is educating people on organic products eg: oils, cheeses, meats fruit and vegetables to name a few ;as well as helping to support  Australian  products & supporting  local business' ; like the song lyrics say, "no matter how wide or how far I roam I still call Australia home'.....
Happy Australia Day from Laughing Chef & Happy 30th  Birthday as well to my gorgeous sister Natalie  !!!

That was then ( Natalie in pic bottom right)........

That is now!!! 


  1. Renee I love your blog!

    You make me hungry as I read and I definitely want to check out that cafe!

    Also can't wait to you post an order form as I want some of your Laughing Chef home cooked goodness soon!

    We gotta chat bella - how are you at catering yummy finger food??

    Keep up the blogging!

  2. Hello Lovely Laura :)
    So great to hear from you !!!
    Thank you so much for your comments.

    For the time being I am having trouble uploading forms to my blog so send your email address to and I will send you all details for the January order form and as that is coming to an end I will also send you the delicious February order form which has amazing Valentine's Day Treats.

    Catering? Yeah of course I can send you some "out of this world" catering menus as well.

    Thanks again... see you in a kitchen hopefully soon :)

  3. YAY!! Thanks Ren...yeah your little sis is gettin
    can't wait to try all the yummy yummy dishes you make for my bday afternoon tea :)