Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baby it's cold outside!

As it is rather chilly these days I have gathered some new and fabulous places to visit this winter.Ok so let's get started.

The first place to go and visit  is Geoff Lindsay’s new love “Dandelion”. Geoff Lindsay owned and operated Pearl restaurant and Pearl Cafe in Richmond and its catering business were sold to entrepreneur Chris Lucas in October last year.

Geoff Lindsay took some time out after he sold Pearl  to refocus and after six months of hard work and planning has made an inspired return with the much-anticipated opening of Dandelion in Ormond Road Elwood.

Geoff Lindsay is the man behind one of Melbourne's finest and was named Chef of the Year 2005 by "The Age Good Food Guide".

Dandelion showcases Vietnamese Cuisine.. A rich and diverse cuisine that exhibits a wonderfully intoxicating combination of the raw and the cooked, the hot and the cold, the sweet and sour. Light, fresh and healthy, dishes to be savoured and dishes to be shared

Sizzling coconut pancake with crab and BBQ pork and bean sprouts (below)

Now the next palce to venture to see and gasp at has to be “Burch and Purchese” located in South Yarra.

 You may have seen the amazing desert that was recreated on Masterchef last season.(below right ) Unbelievable stuff!

The Studio is a multi sensory retail space specialising in sweet creations perfect for spontaneous indulgent moments through to that very special dessert extravaganza.

Formally from the UK, pastry chef co-owners Burch & Purchese (below ) have built a reputation worldwide for their dessert wizardry; they fuse science with sweetness to create an exciting array of delicious tastes and textures.

Walking into Sweet Studio is unlike anywhere else you've been, a place where you can always expect the unexpected. You may find edible bubbles, a chocolate flower garden, a half chocolate and half jam spread, exaggerated raspberries or rich smoked chocolate, not to mention a magnificent selection of seasonal individual desserts or larger cakes all designed to take home for that special night in.

B&P’s signature cakes are things to behold. No, these ain’t your normal sponge cake with cream . Expect the likes of a raspberry, lychee, white chocolate and Champagne cake, or maybe a chocolate, mandarin and Murray River salted caramel creation, featuring high-reaching ingredients like St Clements marmalade and aerated chocolate shortbread.

Burch & Purchese is less of a store and more like “Heston Blumenthal” meets  the sweets paradise in the Willy Wonka movies… so hold your breath, make a wish, and count to three....................come with me or go and see this place for yourself.

Where: 647 Chapel St, South Yarra

Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-6.30pm

Phone: (03) 9827 7060 (03) 9827 7060



* Melbourne Chef Philippa Sibley, who has a new book and a new gig to celebrate. Sibley will join two veterans of the hospitality industry, Stuart Brookshaw and Ruth Giffney, at a new Brunswick venture later this year as executive chef. Although best known as a desserts specialist (the subject of her forthcoming book, PS Desserts), Sibley will be across all aspects of food at Albert St Food & Wine when it opens in November. I cannot wait for this one. (You may be familiar with Phillipa’s cookies, bisects and breads).
The Brunswick venture will be a bar, restaurant, cafe and produce store.

* Rumi's (Lygon street Brunswick) Joseph Abboud (below) had a cult following for his Lebanese pizzas at next-door bar The Alderman.

 Soon you'll be able to find them again at his new Thornbury pizzeria, “The Moor's Head”, in a warehouse behind High Street. YAY!

The Moor's Head (named for the head of the arak still) will have a simple menu of pizza, salads and antipasti.

Traditionally eaten as a breakfast or lunch snack in the Middle East, they will be bumped up in size. Aboud hopes to open in a couple of months.


Philippa Sibley

She has been described as ‘legendary’ and a ‘pastry maestro’. Fittingly, Philippa Sibley has earned a reputation as one of the country’s finest dessert and pastry chefs.

Although Philippa’s passion for pastry emerged early on, it was during a stint in England and France that her fate was sealed. Having secured positions at the renowned Le Gavroche, Est, Quaglino’s and Harvey’s in London, Philippa was then appointed Chef de Partie at France’s three-starred La Cote Saint Jacques restaurant.

After arriving back on Australian soil in 1996, it wasn’t long before Philippa had opened the acclaimed est est est restaurant in Melbourne. Luxe followed in 1998, before Philippa moved to Ondine in 2001.

All three restaurants collected three hats in The Age Good Food Guide, and est est est and Ondine the coveted Best New Restaurant award. It was for her work at Ondine that earnt Philippa The Age Good Food Guide Chef of the Year Award 2004.

Philippa was appointed Head Pastry Chef at Circa, The Prince, in 2005. In 2009, after three years impressing critics and Circa patrons alike, Philippa took the reins at Bistro Guillaume, where her creations were described as ‘timeless things of beauty’.

Check out her website now ….


As the winter chill is definitely setting in how about whipping up a Croque Monsieur one night is Easy, delicious so much fancier than a toasted sandwich. This is dedicated to my girlfriend Lara.

A croque-monsieur is a hot ham and cheese (gruyere cheese ) grilled sandwich. It originated in France as a fast-food snack served in cafés.

Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwich Recipe


• 2 Tbsp butter
• 2 Tbsp flour
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• A pinch each of salt, freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, or more to taste
• 4 slices Gruyère or swiss cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups grated)
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (packed)
• 2 slices of French or Italian loaf bread
• 4 slices of champagne ham, sliced
• Dijon mustard


1 Preheat oven to 200 c.

2 Make the béchamel sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium/low heat until it just starts to bubble. Add the flour and cook, stirring until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, cooking until thick. Remove from heat. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in the Parmesan and 1/4 cup of the grated Gruyère. Set aside.

3 Lay out the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven, a few minutes each side, until lightly toasted. For extra flavor you can spread some butter on the bread slices before you toast them if you want.

4 Lightly brush half of the toasted slices with mustard. Add the ham slices and about 1 cup of the remaining Gruyère cheese. Top with the other toasted bread slices.

5 Spoon on the béchamel sauce to the tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle with the remaining Gruyère cheese. Place on tray .Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, then turn on the griller and grill  for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese topping is bubbly and lightly browned.

If you top this sandwich with a fried egg it becomes a Croque Madame.  :)

A BIG Happy Birthday to my nephew Addison who turned 4 on the 20th June. Addison asked me if I could make his cake.(I recall his mother asking me). Addison wanted a Batman cake.

Next blog is all  Scones, some  recipe's about all that is sponge, knowing the art of making great pastry cream and all things afternoon tea .  

Until next time get in the kitchen and cook !!!

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