Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gedera - Sri Lankan Restaurant

Before I moved to the Gold Coast, Nick and I discovered a little Sri Lankan restaurant next to Monash University, Caufield called Gedera. It is a popular take away place for students and locals alike, most likely due to their large serves, delicious food and cheap prices. The staff are friendly and are passionate about the food they make. The first time we went here, all the dishes were explained to us and particular dishes were recommended.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Hoppers are available. Hoppers aren't as I had first thought, grasshoppers but are actually very thin bowl shaped pancakes. The first time we went here I tried the string hoppers biriyani - a stirfry of sliced hoppers with vegetables, beef and spices. The food is all fresh and made to order (even though there is an empty hot food display at the counter).

Last night Nick and I went for a quick dinner to Gedera and both ordered Roti Chanai, Nick's with chicken and mine with lamb. The dish came with roti, dry coconut relish, dhal and lamb/chicken (see photo above). The lamb was so tender and had a really flavoursome sauce. The coconut relish matched perfectly!!

For dessert we had wattalapam, a typical Sri Lankan coconut, eggy custard with a distinctive palm sugar taste. Last night it was particularly tasty.

This is a great restaurant for a quick, delicious and cheap meal!

17 Derby Rd
Caulfield East VIC

Gedera on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dino's Deli Breaky

I arrived in Melbourne late last night and this morning went out for breaky with Nick and the family. We went to Dino's Deli on Chapel Street. Last time I was in Melbourne I went here with friends for tapas and throughly enjoyed myself. The restaurant is split into several rooms, all with different themes - there's the 'library' with a brandy cabinet and books drawn onto the wall; the wine room surrounded by empty bottles of stunning wines and a red room. Even though the restaurant was full, it still felt very intimate. The drink menu has an extensive list of wines, brandys and liquors. The food menu has a page dedicated to explanation of the different pigs and the history of each breed used for Jamon.

The same waiter that served us last time served us today. We suspect that he is the owner. It was excellent service and the drinks and food all came quickly.

I had a soy latte before breakfast and it was one of the best coffees, if not the best coffee, I've had in a long time. The coffees came out all the same temperature, noticed by Nick, even though one was soy and the other normal milk; and the froth was thick and creamy.

Dad ordered a non-alcoholic 'Bloody Gazpacho' made from tomatoes, fresh chilli, basil, garlic and worcestershire sauce. It tasted really great! Mum, Rachel and I all ordered Spanish Toast (just like French Toast) with Arrope and Poached Fruit. The arrope is a sweet Spanish kompot of sweet potato, pears, apples and cinnamon with a lovely texture to it, which matched perfectly with the toast. Last time I was at Dino's we ordered a French cheese which was served with the arrope.

Nick ordered eggs florentine and I have to say they were the best eggs florentine I have EVER had!!! Everything about it was just perfect. I think I might go back tomorrow morning and order myself one of these. Even though the menu didn't have porridge, dad ordered it. Our waiter said he has it made for him for breakfast and therefore the chef was able to make it. I didn't try any however dad did say that it was one of the best porridges he's had in Melbourne.

Highly recomment this restaurant for breakfast, dinner or after dinner drinks and tapas!
Dino's Deli on Urbanspoon

Simone & Katia's Miso Salmon

The other night a friend, Simone, that lives around the corner came over for dinner. She brought over some lovely salmon steaks which we marinated in the left over sweet miso sauce I made for the eggplants (see Nasu Dengaku post below). We grilled the salmon and served it with sushi rice and salad - YUM! Ensure you rest the salmon for the same amount of time it was in the grill. This ensures the salmon cooks through.

Simone brought over logans and jelly. I love jelly!!! This one was no exception - the mango jelly crystals were from the asian grocers and Simone had put lychees in it before it set.

Sweet Miso Salmon

Sweet Miso Marinade
- 1/2 cup red miso paste
- 1 cup dashi
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 3-4 teaspoons flour or 2 teaspoons of corn starch

- 2 salmon steaks with skin on

1. Use a double boiler to make the sauce. Dissolve sugar and mirin and then add all the miso and use a whisk to mix.

2. Gradually add the dashi, whisking until it is all completely dissolved and mixed.

3. Add the flour and whisk to ensure no lumps. Take off the heat and let cool and thicken.

4. I cut the salmon steaks in half long-ways so they cook evenly. Marinate the salmon in the miso sauce for 15 minutes.

5. Place in hot grill, skin side up. I cooked mine for about 5 minutes but the time will vary depending on your grill. As soon as the skins starts becoming crispy take the salmon out and rest it on a plate for the same time that you cooked it for.

6. Serve with sushi rice (available dry at supermarkets) and salad. You can also serve it with any remaining sauce that wasn't used for the marinade.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mums' Russian Pancakes

Mum makes these delicious cottage cheese pancakes all the time. She would make them for us for supper. Friends who were lucky enough to try them, would always ask to be re-invited when the next batch were made. They really are that good!! They are a traditional russian dish called 'Tvorozhniki'.

Since I moved out I've been craving them so I decided to make them tonight. Of course they are not the same as mum's however they still are yummy. I put in 2 eggs which would have been fine with about twice as much cottage cheese so I added plain yoghurt. If you want to make the recipe the traditional way the best way would be to place only one egg instead of two and no yoghurt or alternatively you can use only yoghurt.

Serves 2-3

- 200 grams cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons flour
- sultanas (optional)
- oil or butter or margarine for frying


1. Beat eggs lightly in a bowl. Add cottage cheese and yoghurt and mix.

2. Add vanilla extract and sugar - mix.

3. Add one spoonful of flour at a time and mix. You may need to use slightly more or less flour depending on the consistency of the cottage cheese and yoghurt. You want the mixture to be not very runny but also not doughy.

4. If using, add sultanas and mix

5. Heat oil on frying pan on medium-high. Place one tablespoon of the mixture onto the frying pan - depending on the size of your frying pan you can do a few. Wait till you see slight bubbling at the sides of the pancakes and then turn them over.

6. Serve with cream or yoghurt, jam or fresh fruit

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my favourite soups! Mum used to make it for us and the family all loved it! This particular soup is one that I made up using ideas from a few different recipes, not the same as mums. The worst part is chopping the onions. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it to slice the onions to save the trouble and tears of cutting several onions. When making the soup be patient with sauteing the onions - this is the longest part of the cooking process and will determine the flavour of the soup.

I served the soup with toasted cheese and bread. To do so, just toast crusty bread (I used sourdough) in the toaster and top with grated mild cheese. Place in grill until cheese is bubbling and place in the soup bowl :)

French Onion Soup


- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8-9 baby onions or 4 large onions
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 1 litre of beef stock


1. Slice onions in half n slice thinly.

2. Melt butter n oil in a saucepan on a medium heat. Add sliced onions.

3. Saute the onions, mixing often. Continue doing so for about 20 minute or until the onions are translucent and lightly golden.

4. Add the brown sugar and stir. Again let the onions saute for 20 minutes so that they caramelise, ensuring you stir frequently.

5. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir and cook for a few minutes.

6. Add flour, whilst stirring the onions

7. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Season with salt, cracked pepper and mixed dried herbs. Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.

Miso Soup

Keeping with the Japanese theme for lunches, I made Miso Soup today. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made from miso paste and dashi (Japanese fish stock). It is great for a light lunch or before a meal. Traditionally it is made with wakame however I didn't have any at home so I didnt use it. Wakame is dried seaweed which is available at good Asian grocers. If you decided to use it, presoak about 1 teaspoon of it in boiling water - it expands a lot!

Miso Soup
Serves 3

- 150 grams tofu
- 400 ml boiling water
- 7 grams of dashi powder
- 1.5 tablespoons of miso paste
-2 spring onions


1. Dissolve dashi powder with the boiling water in a saucepan. In a separate bowl melt the miso paste with a few tablespoons of the dashi stock and then add it all to the saucepan.

2. Stir on low heat, ensuring the soup doesn't boil. Boiling this soup will remove a lot of the flavour

3. Cut tofu into 1cm cubes and add to the soup. Stir on low heat for 5 minutes, ensuring not to break the tofu.

4. Serve with chopped spring onion

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nasu Dengaku

For lunch today I made Nasu Dengaku, a Japanese Grilled Eggplant with Sweet Miso. The miso sauce is simple to make and can be also used as a marinate for chicken or tofu.

I used red miso paste however you can use white miso or even use half of each. The dashi, a japanese broth can be bought in powder form from Asian grocers. If using powdered dashi, only use 5 grams.

Nasu Dengaku
Serves 2

- 1 medium eggplant or 2-3 Japanese eggplants
- 1/2 cup red miso paste
- 1 cup dashi
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 3-4 teaspoons flour or 2 teaspoons of corn starch


1. Use a double boiler to make the sauce. Dissolve sugar and mirin and then add all the miso and use a whisk to mix.

2. Gradually add the dashi, whisking until it is all completely dissolved and mixed.

3. Add the flour and whisk to ensure no lumps. Take off the heat and let cool and thicken

4. Cut the eggplants in half and cut some of the sking off the bottom so that the eggplant lies flat. Score the eggplant in a diamond pattern, ensuring not to cut through to the bottom. (see photo)

5. Brush eggplant in oil and place in grill until eggplant is cooked

6. Spread a generous amount of the miso sauce onto the eggplants and place back in the oven. Cook until the sauce has caramelised.

7. Serve, sprinkled with sesame seeds (I didn't have any)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ginger Beef with Stir Fry Vegies

I was feeling very much for Chinese food tonight so I decided to make this dish. I drew inspiration for the beef marinate from a cooking book a friend, Natasha, gave me as a going away/housewarming pressie - The Destitute Gourmet, Delicious by Sophie Gray. It's a great book with yummy, easy to follow recipes. However I never follow recipes and love making it my own, which is exactly what I did with this dish.

I used Lean Beef Schnitzel as I find it easier and tenderer to cook with but you can use most lean beef cuts. For the vegies, you can use any vegetables that are good for stir fry, however ensure you cook them almost completely before adding the end sauce. If you also choose to use eggplant ensure you salt it for about 15 minutes to remove the bitterness.

Ginger Beef With Stir Fried Vegies
Serves 2-3

- 220G Lean Beef Schnitzel
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon Chinese Cooking Wine
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce

-1 bunch broccolini
- mixed exotic vegetables - I used Morille, Enoki, Brown Mushrooms
- About 100grams of Eggplant
- Salt

- 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3/4 cup beef stock (I used Campbells Real Stock)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon water

1. Slice beef into thin slices. Add all the ingredients for the beef marinate together and ensure all the beef is covered with the marinate. Leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

2. Slice the eggplant finely and cover in salt, leave for 15 minutes.

3. Heat olive oil in a very hot pan and add half the beef at a time. Seal on both sides and take off the pan.

4. Add olive oil to the pan (eggplant absorbs a lot of oil so use slightly more than usual) and fry eggplant on both sides until the eggplant is semi-translucent. Remove from pan.

5. Add broccoli and mushroom to pan and add a little bit of water and cover for about 5 minutes.

6. Mix all the sauce ingredients except water and flour.

7. Add eggplant and beef back to the pan and pour sauce. Cook for 10 minutes on high heat. Be sure not to overcook as the beef will no longer be tender.

8. Mix flour and water in a separate bowl (it's important to make sure the flour is completely dissolved to ensure no lumps in the sauce). Add to the pan and stir. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lunch at Montalto

Today is my boyfriend's birthday (Nick) and therefore I have flown down to Melbourne to celebrate with him. We drove down to the Mornington Peninsula for lunch. It was such a beautiful day and the drive through the Victorian countryside and along the Peninsula was really lovely. There's something very relaxing about driving along roads framed with Pine and Gum trees overlooking open fields and the ocean.

We had lunch at Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove in Red Hill (the same place Nick took me on my birthday a few months ago). We sat overlooking the vineyards and gardens scattered with various sculptures. The menu is seasonal and had changed since January. The entrees all looked very appetizing and tempting - Asparagus with white sardines, zucchini flower risotto, salt and sugar cured salmon. We ended up choosing, to share, the goat's cheese souffle with a capsicum jam. Before the entrees came we were given warm rye and multigrain dinner rolls and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) from their olive grove. I love restaurants that serve warm bread - it makes the bread somehow taste so much better! We were also given "compliments of the chef" a small tasting cup of fresh celery, mushroom and blue cheese soup. I'm not a fan of heated celery however the blue cheese balanced the flavours making it quite an unusual but enjoyable starter.

The entree took quite a long time to be served but was absolutely delicious!! The souffle was light and fluffy and was perfectly matched with the capsicum jam.

For main course I had aged beef tenderloin served with truffled potato stack and wild mushroom. I did ask for well done however the beef was just a bit overcooked so it ended up being a little tougher. However it was a magnificent dish!

Nick had duck breast with spring vegetables and parsnip mash. The duck was so tender and matched really well with the rest of the meal.

The presentation of the dishes was very artistic and impressive and the waiting staff gave really good service. It was such a lovely afternoon!

Montalto Restaurant and Winery on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 15, 2010

Coconut Pie With Fresh Mango

The other day I made a coconut pie with fresh mangoes. I was watching My Kitchen Rules, where one of the contestants made a coconut pie and as most people know, I am a lover of all things with coconut - so I had to try and make something similar. It's not the same coconut pie from the show but just something I put together with ingredients I had on hand.

This is a great moist cake, perfect for summer. And very easy to make.

Coconut Pie with Fresh Mangoes
Serves 2

- 1/2 cup Shredded coconut (desiccated coconut works too)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 40g unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 75g white sugar
- 75g slivered or sliced almonds
- 1/2 tablespoon orange zest
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- juice from half an orange
- juice from 1/4 lemon
- 120ml coconut milk
- 1/4 cup of plain flour

1. Preheat oven to 180ÂșC
2. Mix shredded coconut with olive oil and spread on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place under grill for a few minutes or until golden. Watch it doesn't burn as the coconut only needs a few moments to get toasted.
3. Place the shredded coconut in a bowl and add all the ingredients. Mix well and pour into a greased ovenproof dish.
4. Bake for 45-60minutes (until a skewer goes in and out of it clean)
5. Serve warm with fresh mango

First Post :)

Hi, I'm Katia and today I am starting my first blog. I am a student who just moved from Melbourne to the Gold Coast. I'm a big foodie and love cooking so I decided, as I have some spare time this year, to start blogging about my passion for food. I plan to post about different foods I eat and cook and share recipes and hints that I discover along my food journey.

I have decided to call the blog 'Juicy Juicy Green Grass' the title of one of my favourite childhood musicians most popular song - Peter Combe. Here's a link to the lyrics of his song :) -