Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Harambe - Ethiopian

There are a few suburbs in Melbourne where migrants comes from Eastern regions of Africa (e.g. Sudan, Erithrea and Ethiopia) settled. One of the suburb is Footscray. Here there are several Ethiopian restaurants. On a weekend, we went to one of our favourite, Harambe, which is at the end of Nicholson Street.

Harambe has an interesting setting, with thatched roof and a decor that virtually transport you to a cafe in Addis Ababa.

We ordered a sampling of traditional Ethiopian cusine consisting of vegetable and meat side dishes and entrees (see photo), i.e. wot, a thick stew,  and minchet - a spiced minced meat stew.  The dishes are served on top of Injera, a large sourdough flat-floppy bread. These are served in a large brightly coloured enamel pan, which is shared by all around a table. The food are first served in small bowls of different size and shapes, brought to the table on a trolley, they are then served (or poured) on the big colourful enamel pan. No cutlery is provided, it is a usual custom to have your meals with hands. This is what the Western culture probably missed when food are eaten with fork and knife, i.e. the feel of the food, the texture and warmth. You will notice that Ethiopian do not serve pork or shellfish, as they are forbidden by their religion, which is Islam, Jewish or Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.

To complete Ethiopian experience, we finished off with a glass of Ethiopian 'Dashen Beer'.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Breizoz - French

We tend to associate French cooking to a more formal and elegant dining. Here at Breizoz, a french creperie tucked at the shore front of Williamstown, you can savour some galettes in an casual and relax setting. The creperie is housed in a former missionary centre with a little 'chapel' behind. If you like to have your galettes alfresco, you can have it in the courtyard in the middle of the creperie.

The photo above is the galettes that I ordered (I know...I know.. it is ugly, looks like a p____ ,but it is delicious). It is a galette with black pudding and onions. There is quite good selection on the menu, you can have your galette with cheese and eggs, praline, or seafood, etc. When I ordered this combo, Catherine who took my order said,' You're my type of man'.

Galettes are French pancakes or crepes made from buckwheat flour. Galette is an essential food to the French who lives in the region of Bretagne,  north-west of France. Since my first visit to Breizoz, I have been making galettes at home.

Try some of their refreshing cider, which certainly go well with the galettes.

The creperie, is run and owned by a chef, Jean-Marie Blanchot (on the right) and Catherine (not in the picture).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paella - Spanish

The Paella is a traditional dish from Spain. It is basically short-grain rice cooked in stock with a selection of fresh seafood, i.e. mussels, prawns, squids, scallop, fish bits. We also add in some chorizos, porks and chicken.

As an alternative to BBQ, we cooked a Paella on our 4-ring outdoor gas burner. A large pan of Paella can cater for quite a big number of guest. We like serving the Paella in the middle of the table and let the guest scoop whatever they like from the pan. It's kind of communal feasting.

In Melbourne, there is a Spanish quarter along the Johnston Street, Fitzroy (annual Spanish festival is held here too).
There are several Spanish restaurant, e.g. Spanish Club, Kanela, etc., There is also a Spanish grocery, Casa Iberica (25, Johnston St) where we picked up the ingredients and cooking wares required for the Paella.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Spiced Duck with Pears - Spanish

Catching up with my cousins who lives in Melbourne, we cook them a dinner of baked duck in Spanish style.

The duck pieces are baked for one and a quarter
 hour. Then caramelized pears and the Picada sauce are added to the tray and baked for another fifteen minutes >