tallest timber in the land

by Elizabeth Lennox


Having lived in Melbourne for close to four months now (WHOA!), I feel like I can almost call myself a local. That is, trams are my second home, I get that AFL is ALWAYS a big deal, when asked the 'Sydney or Melbourne?' preference question, I have to actually pause to ponder the answer for a moment, there's always time for a skinny (because what's skim again…?) cap and while you may not be able to tell, I now leave the house simultaneously prepared for a heat wave and/or a blizzard. Above all, however, is my favourite pastime and number one local-esque endeavour - cafe hopping.

Cafe hopping is pretty much a sport. One, in which I invested some time as a Sydney sider, but now, as a Melbournite, feel as if I'm training for the gold at its event in the Olympics (wouldn't that be one to watch?!) Cafes just seem to be the perfect location for the greatest elements of life - catch ups with friends, sneaky mid-uni day breaks, quality coffee, weekend brunches, quiet study dates with yourself (can be great?) and people watching. Now, to clarify, cafe hopping can take place over the course of a day where you may dine (or sip!) in one or two different coffee abundant venues OR it may transpire over a longer period - whereby at the conclusion of a few days you discover that you've eaten more meals in cafes than at home.  

It's a good day when you find an amazing cafe - but what's even greater is when it's around the corner from your abode. tall timber, located in Melbourne's southern CBD suburb, Prahran is just that. As a cafe hopper, I realised pretty quickly here that the brunch menus at a lot of the cafes don't differ very much, so when tall timber comes along and spices up what's on offer - well, it's already stepped it up a notch in my book.

That amaze pumpkin bruschetta that I'm going on about!

That amaze pumpkin bruschetta that I'm going on about!

tall timber's winning dish, in my opinion, is the pumpkin bruschetta on quinoa loaf with hummus, pepitas and two poached eggs - but their menu is so seasonal that by the time you get back there the next time, it'll be something different! If you roll up there soon (make sure this is before 10am on weekends or you'll have to wait :O), I can also strongly recommend the smashed avo, harissa goats curd and corn salsa on multigrain with poached eggs - ordered it this morning and it was just the best start to my week ever.

The coffee never fails to impress and the staff are wonderfully attentive. They have an array of delicious treats on the counter to tempt you at the end of your meal too - the peanut butter chocolate cookies are SO VERY JUMBO with their gigantic choc chips with hunks of peanut butter.

Hmmm, I know this blog post does indeed have a point! I guess… all I'm trying to say here is if I could only cafe hop between one cafe and my home, this one would most likely be it ;)

Tall Timber on Urbanspoon



K-food; 405 kitchen

by Elizabeth Lennox


Okay, so anyone that has spent any ounce of time with me since my return from South Korea in November last year will be undoubtedly well aware of the fact that I've become slightly obsessed with all things Korean. It's a problem, don't worry, I know. All I can say is at least I've expanded my musical horizons once more… there was a period there around the Christmas season where only cheesy K-pop lyrics filled my ears. Slightly embarrassing to admit but true nonetheless. The food, however, is a whole other situation - in short, I feel like the period I spent in Seoul lay down the foundation for a lifelong obsession with Korean cuisine.

"But wasn't the food spicy?!"

My friends here in Sydney have questioned me on occasion as to the chilli factor of the food in SK to which my answer is this: "oh yes. But, bar one or two EXTREME spice memorable experiences involving a Korean menu that I couldn't understand and not enough rice, it was glorious." But really nowadays, spicy or not, hardly a day goes by where I don't crave some quality sam gye tang (chicken stuffed with rice in ginseng soup) or tteokbokki (rice cake with sweet and spicy sauce). 

Having said all this, on my first night in Seoul, I was introduced to a delight that would change me for life and now back in Australia, I still long for every day. To be honest, pale as a ghost and not daring to venture any further than a block from any given subway station, I met up with a dear friend in the middle of Hongdae. Seeing a familiar face among the seas of people was the best that happened to me that day. Or rather, so I thought… we dined together, retreated to the cutest cafe, 405 Kitchen, and I tried... patbingsoo.

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Mmmm. Milk iced shavings with red bean and mochi...

The best.

Oh, and my goodness, was it a nice combat to all the spicy food too ;)

Now, I had patbingsoo many, MANY (MANY!!) times after this in Seoul (yolo) but I actually think that 405 Kitchen had the best. I tried Oreo flavour and green tea scented but this one had the milk/sweet balance just right. And besides, there was indeed something deliciously cosy about sitting in a cafe late at night with an old friend over a shared bowl of a creamy, sweet dessert. Absolute perfection in the hotter months, not so much in the colder months… but that's why we have internal heating and in SK, heated floorboards ;)

The takeaway message from this post? Korean food is amazing. Patbingsoo is on the next level. You all know that I kinda have a thing for food (seriously!) so trust me when I advise, next time you're out - give K-food a try. Please stay tuned for the best Korean restaurants on the Australian East coast ;) (East coast because I literally have less than a fortnight left living in Sydney :( Bring on the Melbourne reviews!)



they like it salty

by Elizabeth Lennox


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"Sugar is no good" exclaimed Mum's Swedish pen-friend of 38 years as we casually rode the ferry from Slussen, located in Stockholm's centre, to Nacka "but salt - now, that you can have as much as you like! it's summer! it's fresh!"

Okay so, this remark didn't mean much at the time - however, I must say that at the time, I hadn't yet let my tastebuds be privy to the famed dish of the nation. We docked at Nacka Strand and ambled toward the restaurant of the yacht club perched on the water's edge - I ordered myself a tantalising dish of salted salmon and dill potatoes. Despite the fact that I jealously ogled my brother's choice of Swedish meatballs (complete with aesthetically pleasing loganberries - see picture!) when our waiter placed the plate in front of him, as soon as I overzealously took the first bite of my salmon, I knew I made the right call. OH MY IT WAS GOOD.

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Before long, I indeed understood the Swedes' partiality to the salty seasoning. Simply put, I was so damn thirsty... for so, SO many hours afterward. Stopping for a coffee on Stockholm's main shopping strip mall, I downed three or four glasses of water, no worries, while my family chuckled on the sidelines. Naturally, in consuming this much water, I left myself predictably nauseous. 

 Nacka Strand Yacht Club  (although slightly off the tourist track - 15 minutes by ferry from Stockholm City), is an absolutely stunning place to dine, eat quality, relatively well priced Swedish cuisine and spend a bit of time NOT WALKING when in Stockholm. (Because, let's be honest, traveling is awesome but everyone is looking forward to the next seat opportunity.)

Wherever you eat in Sweden, you'll learn pretty quickly that they like their marine life and they like it salty. And really, for the amount of cheesecake I eat, I'm probably due a wee bit o salt in my diet anyway so I'm cool with it ;) I'm actually just itching to get back to Stockholm... why is Australia so far away again?

PS. GREAT to be back posting such food ramblings again!  ;)


say cheesecake!

by Elizabeth Lennox


Unfortunately, I feel like I have to begin this entry with a confession - I have to admit to you all, shamefully, for the first eighteen years of my life, I hated cheesecake. I KNOW. I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT MYSELF. If you're wondering what I was thinking, I wasn't. All I can say is it was literally my least favourite dessert ever. It was the first thing I'd scrunch up my nose to if I found out Mum was baking it for the next family gathering and always the last thing I'd pick on the menu at a restaurant. And, if someone had a cheesecake as their birthday cake... WELL! Quite frankly, I thought the cheese plus cake combination was just weird.

Anyway, one day it all changed. I wish I could pinpoint the EUREKA! moment where I decided it was the highlight of my existence... but with a memory like Dory, I can't. But now, in my opinion, it is the QUEEN of desserts (tiramisu as the humble king ;D) and I love it so very much. I wish I could eat it all day every day... along with haloumi ;)

So, this brings me to the RECIPE I'm going to share with you all for the week. It is a slightly tweaked version of Donna Hay's classic baked cheesecake (AND IT IS SO DELICIOUS) - here it is!

 NUTELLA AND PEANUTS CLASSIC BAKED CHEESECAKE

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Ingredients
 
110g Marie biscuits
80g almond meal
60g butter, melted

1 1/2 tbls cornflour
1 1/2 tbls water
330g light cream cheese
460g light ricotta
4 eggs
295g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract

150g Nutella
20g peanuts, crushed

Method
 
 1) Put the Marie biscuits in the food processor and process until finely crushed. Then, add the almond meal and butter until completely combined.
2) Line a greased 20cm SPRINGFORM cake tin lined with baking paper and press the biscuit mixture into that. Refrigerate.
3) Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Put the cornflour and water in a small bowl and mix until a paste forms. Then, in a separate bowl, mix all remaining ingredients (BAR the Nutella and peanuts) with the cornflour mixture. Pour filling over the refrigerated biscuit mixture and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes OR until set (i.e. the filling doesn't move!).
4) Leave to cool, then refrigerate. Spread the Nutella over the top of the cheesecake and sprinkle with peanuts to serve. Yum! :D

x