Sunday, 10 July 2011

Duchess of Spotswood

Duchess of Spotswood was chosen for this weekend breakky venture. We had never being to Spotswood but there wasn't a slight hesitation to wake up early, follow by a 45mins drive across the city to get there.

There were already quite a handful of reviews available on Urbanspoon. My personal favourite food blogger, Sarah was one of them who wrote it beginning of the year. I know I can trust her :-)

As the opening hours was not listed on Urbanspoon, I resorted to twitter to check what's is was for the weekend. Whoever was maintaining the twitter account impressed me. It was answered within 20mins.

In order to avoid the peak human traffic, we reached Duchess of Spotswood at 9am on a sunny Saturday morning. There wasn't a queue yet which was a good sign to us meaning we don't have to wait. But there's wasn't many seats available inside the cafe. In the end, we shared the communal table which a group of grannies and grandpas.


We were offered menu, water and coffee once we settled down. Decision time while waiting for the coffee.



Both our coffee was served lukewarm. I would loved it to be served hotter. It wasn't strong nor very fragrant but it had a a very nice after taste which was lingering in the mouth after every slip.

I chosen Breakfast of Champignons which consisted of Potato and Barley Hash with Field Mushrooms, English Stilton and Poached Eggs

Deconstructed Breakfast of Champignons

The poached egg were perfectly done. Mushroom were juicy. I, myself isn't a fan of English Stilton which was melted on top of 1 of the mushroom. It didn't bother me too much, I just scrapped it off and placed it aside. As for the hash, it was fried till very crispy on the outside. One can taste the barley but not a much as it looks like there's wasn't much barley used in it. Something starchy was used to bind both ingredients together. Felt a bit too much was used and can't taste the texture of the barley and potato. Towards the end was just sticky.

Mr. went for Duchess of Pork which was Crispy Pig's Jowl with Fried Egg, Rich Truffle Sauce and Sourdough Toast. This dish was our favourite. Egg yolks were still runny and Truffle sauce wasn't too overpowering. Pork was amazing, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. With just a fork, you are able to pull it into pieces and it melts in the mouth. It wasn't dry, fatty or oily.

For that piece of pork, we will definitely be back.

Duchess of Spotswood on Urbanspoon

Friday, 8 July 2011

Kueh Dadar - Coconut stuffed Pandan Pancake Rolls

I was craving for Kueh especially after reading Fatbooo's blogpost on making Ang Ku Kueh. AKK was 1 of the many food item which I definitely have when I'm in Singapore.

Due to limited ingredients in my pantry and time, it wasn't possible to make AKK last weekend. Took out all my Singapore/Malaysia cookbook and ended up with 2 choices. Oneh-oneh or Kueh Dadar. I left the decision making to Mr.

I did tweak the recipe because

  1. I didn't have any fresh granted coconut but I had desiccated coconut which I need to finish and decided to improvise.
  2. I didn't use Pandan Juice as I was lazy and felt it was a waste using 40 leaves for just 5 tablespoons of pandan juice. Plus fresh Pandan is not easily available nor cheap in Australia. Pandan essence was a good alternative.
  3. I only had half the amount of desiccated coconut required for the full recipe. Therefore I halved the recipe. Recipe said 20 Kueh Dadar which will be too much for us to finish.
  4. I also didn't have enough coconut milk so substituted with coconut flavour evaporative milk. Healthy option too :-)
  5. Although I halved every ingredient, I totally forgotten to halve the amount of flour. I only realised when I was mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients for the pancake mixture.
  6. In the end I had to add more evaporative milk to thin the mixture. I just went with my feeling and stop adding milk till the mixture was watery enough to make a thin slice of pancake.
To make Filling:

Ingredients (clockwise): Sugar and Salt, Coconut, Water, Pandan Leaves, Palm Sugar


Combined everything together and cooked till coconut absorbed all the liquid. Mine turned out to be dried. I blamed it on the desiccated coconut used.

To make Pancake:


Ingredients (clockwise): Sugar & Salt & Baking Powder, Egg, Pandan Essence, Coconut Milk,  Flour

Combine all ingredients by whisking till batter smooth. 

Spoon 3 tablespoon of batter into a pan and spread the batter into a think pancake. Transfer to a plate once cooked and repeat with the remaining batter.

This was taken on my 3rd pancake? It definitely wasn't pretty! I was having a bit of difficulties trying to make it as thin and even as possible. Practise makes perfect. Towards the end, I was getting the hang of it.

To assemble, lay the pancake, place 3 tablespoons of filling and roll, tucking in the sides (just like making springroll).


Took me about an hour from start to finish. Although it was dried due to the filling, it was flavoursome. It wasn't too sweet and fragrant with coconut and pandan.

I will try to make it again but must 1st get hold of fresh granted coconut and make sure I follow the recipe more closely.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Chez Dre

It was planned to spend our weekend morning at Port Melbourne to run some errands. 1st thing in the morning, I popped into our local news agent to grab a copy of The Age Good Cafe Guide 2011 at $5 which was on special for the day only.

It was announced days ago that Chez Dre was awarded Best Bakery Cafe by The Age Good Cafe Guide 2011. Chez Dre also scored the highest - three cups according to the guide. As we had some time to spare before our appointment, Mr suggested to get a coffee from Chez Dre.

We were kinda of expecting a crowd as huge as St. Ali as it was already after 10am. But coffee ended up became full breakky as there wasn't a queue. We were seated in less than 5mins. While waiting for the waitress to organise the table, I went round taking some photos especially on their dessert display fridge.


5 different flavours of macarons were available before we left which we didn't get any. Tried Chez Dre's macarons before and wasn't impressed therefore decided to skip it.

4 flavours of Eclair available : Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee and Salted Caramel.

We had a vanilla eclair and salted caramel take away. Can I suggest to improve the packaging for take away?? The eclairs were placed on a very soft cardboard acting as the base and covered with a clear plastic bag. Surely they can afford to pack them in a more solid box? At least easier for customer to handle them while walking thru the crowded market.

At a price of $7.50 for a eclair, I do find it expensive. Well, if it's good, it's worth it. But to our disappointment, we didn't enjoy neither flavour. Salted Carmel was just buttery, can't taste the saltiness. Vanilla was slightly better but still no wow factor.


Andrea Reiss (Dre) in action that morning.

Mr. normal cappuccino looking very pretty!

My usual soy cappuccino.

The coffee was only above average. It wasn't too milky but it wasn't fragrant nor strong. We definitely enjoyed St. Ali coffee more.

I had the Stuffed Mushroom with Walnut and Spinach, Housemade beans and Herbed Crouton. I liked the crouton which was very crunchy and stuffed mushroom but sadly not the beans. There wasn't much flavour in the beans and I preferred my beans to more soggy, saucy and soft. But that's just me.

Mr. had Smoked Ham & Gruyere Cheese Grilled Sandwich Topped with Bechamel Sauce and a Fried Egg on Top. The combination of grilled cheese with the bread used was a match. Bread was crunchy and fragrant but the slice of ham was just too pathetic. Potato on the side was soft and full of herbs although not much can be seen.

Overall, breakky was good but wasn't fantastic. Price was quite reasonable.
Will we return? Doubt so as we still enjoy St. Ali when compared.

Chez Dré on Urbanspoon

Monday, 4 July 2011

Cafe Vue at Heide

How often does Melbourian wakes up on a weekend with a clear blue sunny sky in the mid of winter? We were lucky enough to have such weather on Saturday and decided to make full use of it by starting the day with breakky at Cafe Vue at Heide.

Heard so much about Cafe Vue but had never stepped into 1. Cafe Vue at Heide was chosen out of the 4 in Melbourne solely because of location. It was nearest to us and situated in a park. We could sit out and enjoy the sun after breakky.


At 1130 Cafe Vue was pretty packed, almost full in the dining area. We were seated at the alfresco area. 1st impression wasn't great to start with. After finally making our order, I went into the dining area to take a look. There was a fridge displaying the desserts - 10 different types of slices and tarts, also macarons.




While photo-taking, overheard a gentleman making a complain to the waitress at the counter. He spend 45mins waiting with nothing being served to his table. I can see he was pissed, who wouldn't?

Started to doubt whether was it a good choice picking this cafe. Any chance leaving the cafe with a empty tummy? Hmmmmm


We started taking note of the waiting time and after 20mins, they finally served us our coffee! They were both average coffee. Not too sure why it took them so bloody long. Hand roast and manual grinding the coffee beans? Coffee wasn't served with sugar as well. Mr. had to self-served himself at the coffee bench for sugar.

On the left, Mr. normal cappuccino and right my soy cappuccino.

Breakky was served after more than 30mins from making the order. The bonus was at least it arrived.

I ordered Scramble egg on Sourdough Toast with Wild Mushrooms. I seldom have scramble egg and wasn't sure what make a good scramble egg. But I kinda like this as it wasn't too creamy. As told there were 5 different types of mushrooms in this dish.

French Onion Cafe Vue @Heide- Bulleen
Mr. ordered a French Onion Soup with was BLAND! There wasn't any actual flavour in the soup. Can't even taste the stock if they actually used any.

Chicken & porcini mushroom pieCafe Vue @Heide- Bulleen
Mr. also ordered Chicken and Porcini Mushroom Pie. The pie was filled with chicken, chicken and more chicken. Chicken pieces was a bit dried. I suspected chicken breast meat were used. There wasn't a single slice of porcini mushroom found. The potato and pea puree was surprisingly good.

Also had a Pear Tart to share. The tart base was crunchy but the filling was hard. I can taste almond in the filling.

We were fairly disappointed at this point by the service and the food. While Mr. was paying the bill, I was spending more time observing the macarons on display. They looked colourful with feets but different. Basic flavour and the only flavour that stand out was Bubblegum.


We decided to give it a try and got a Coconut with White Chocolate. Peeping in from the tiny holes on the shell, it looks empty in the middle. But I was wrong, it exceeded our expectation. It was both crunchy on the surface of the shell and chewy on the inside.



Still wondering how the coconut manage to stay white after it was baked in the oven. Anyone know the trick?

Will we return? Honestly, doubt so.

Café Vue at Heide on Urbanspoon