Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tuna Sambal Matah

"Sambal" meaning seasoning and "Matah" meaning raw...

We love this dish for its colour, spice and flavour. The great news is it's healthy, easy to prepare and cooks in no time! Perfect feel good dish, and a great one to make on a hot summers night when entertaining friends or family. Enjoy with a glass of cider over ice,  wine or beer.

3 tuna steaks
3-4 large red chillies seeded and finely sliced
4-5 shallots (small purple skin variety) peeled and finely sliced
2 blades of lemongrass (thick end, remove top end) very finely chopped
1 tsp - 1tbs of freshly sliced or grated ginger (we love ginger so add 1tbs)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
3 tbs oil (vegetable oil)
1 juice of fresh lime

Steam rice
Lightly brush both sides of tuna steak with oil and season with little salt, pepper and splash of lime juice - cover and place in refrigerator for 20 mins
Chop chillies, shallots, lemongrass and ginger
In a bowl mix together the chillies, shallots, lemongrass, ginger, salt, pepper and oil
Add the lime juice and squeeze mixture with hands to blend the flavours (using latex gloves or clean hands)
 Cook your tuna on grill plate or in pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes (turning steaks at 2 1/2 minutes) - you don't want tuna to cook all the way though. The idea is to seal the top and bottom. Keeping it a little rare will give you and your guests a gorgeous tender and moist steak

Serve steak with mixture on top (ensure you squeeze excess juice from mixture just before serving) and serve with rice.


**All ingredients available at Asian grocers or markets. Grab a fresh tuna steak from your local market or seafood supplier

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day / A celebration of multiculturalism

As today we bask in the glory that is our country & our Australian way of life, it is important we recognize once again the reason why our country is considered the most livable (& luckiest) country in the world.

Australia's rich beauty is embedded in its past, it's present and future. We must recognize here our indigenous roots, it having lived and thrived for the past 40,000 years - this believed to be the world's oldest surviving culture. Today we celebrate our indigenous roots for it has made us what we are.

Please follow this link to this ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) for the Melbourne Indigenous Arts Centre, this coinciding with the National Indigenous Photo-Media Forum for photographers and artists - 

Australia is a beautiful mix of rich cultures all melding together to give us the richest garden bed for our nation's growth. You must know by now in our previous posts, we love to experience the contrasting cultural expression of the varying nationalities who call Australia their home. We love the people, their culture and especially their food! It is great that we can travel to places like Europe, Asia or Africa and experience cultures thousands of years old -it is just as cool that we can come home and  have a little piece of each of these in our city for us to enjoy & learn from.

On Australia day we thought it would be a great time to introduce to many of you a little indigenous flavour! A perfect match to our very popular Sunday roast! We found this incredible recipe at

Recipe for Lamb Leg Rolled in Wattle Seed and Macadamia 

Lamb leg rolled in wattle seed and macadamia nuts, served with mango sauce

2.2kg Easy-carve (boned out) lamb leg
200g crushed macadamia nuts
200g wattleseed
500g mango puree (use fresh mango and place into blender to puree)
a pinch of Mintbush marinade
50g butter

Length-wise, roll one half into the macadamia nuts and the other half into the Wattleseed

Place the leg into a hot oven and cover with aluminum foil. Use a piece of baking paper, if necessary. Roast for 1 and a half hours at 200 degrees and then remove the covering and roast until the nuts are just browned (you may need to roast meat less or more depending on how you like your meat). Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving, remembering to remove the string.

Place the mango puree, Mintbush marinade, butter, salt and pepper into a saucepan. Warm for a few minutes on a medium heat.

Slice the lamb leg and fan on a plate over Lemon myrtle infused rice, or Alpine pepper polenta. Drizzle with the mango sauce and accompany with your favorite steamed greens or baked vegetables.

All indigenous ingredients available at;

Other great online stores;

We were delighted last year when we received a very gorgeous gift from the bush tucker shop in our mail. Haley our friend is indigenous, and had selected and organised for these goodies to be sent to us to assist with a monstrous assignment I had to do on herbs and spices. I was so excited! Not only did I have an incredible selection of indigenous spices, but I also had gorgeous jams including my favourite "Lillipilli" and everything was packaged inside a beautiful hand woven basket that Haley had made! Smelling,Tasting, Feeling these indigenous spices was a first for both of us. We had a great afternoon, our senses were well and truly alive! We loved learning about where they came from. It made us realise that this is a part of our culture we had no idea about! We have enjoyed playing with the incredible and interesting flavours in our kitchen, and highly recommend you step out of your comfort zone and have fun selecting and ordering some amazing indigenous flavours, available online. Our very favourite is "wattleseed". It has an incredible earthy flavour that is extremely similar to a mix of hazlenut, chocolate and coffee. I am not a coffee drinker, so for me this is the perfect substitute! Wattleseed is also great  in desserts such as ice-cream. Lilli Pilli, apart from it's gorgeous colour, has a wonderful apple and cinnamon flavour and is delicious on pancakes as well as toast.

Lilli Pilli -  photo from
head over to this site to make your own jam!

Wattleseed Icecream Recipe 

 1 litre of premium vanilla ice-cream 
 2 teaspoons of Wattleseed 
This recipe is a very easy way to make good quality vanilla ice-cream into a 
bushfood sensation. Simply add the Wattleseed into a glass and add just enough boiling water to cover the grounds. Don't add more water or it will form ice crystals when refrozen 
Allow to cool 
Allow ice cream to partially thaw, put in large mixing bowl and add the cooled wattleseed grounds, mix well, put back in ice cream tub and refreeze. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

That's Happy New Year in Mandarin!

Melbournians there are loads of festivities happening around town this weekend!

Sunday 29th January -
Festival 10am-10pm Barkly St Footscray
Festival 10am-8pm Little Lonsdale St China Town

Traditional Music, food, dancing and more!

Enjoy! We will be!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


The first time we visited Carlton North, we loved the village atmosphere of Rathdowne street and the almost untouched feel of the surrounding area - you can imagine yourself back in the 20's when Carlton thrived as an inner city working class suburb along side of Fitzroy, Collingwood and Richmond.

My Grandfather grew up as a boy in Carlton - we walk past his old family address in Drummond St and imagine how wonderful it would be to knock on his door and be invited in for a cup of tea. we'd love to talk to them - next project...TIME MACHINE!

Of course, the face of Carlton changed in the 50"s with an influx of Italian immigrants bravely making their way across the seas to Melbourne. At my grandfather's address there now stands a proud example of Italian 50's architecture - simple 50's box structure, the ever present concrete surrounds with stone mosaic trim dominated by a beautifully kept rose garden.

My grandfathers' childhood address - now a great Italian palace!
Proud 50"s Italian Heritage - sweet as roses.
The Italian heritage in Carlton & Carlton Nth is thick in the air and so evident when you walk the streets, so many homes bursting with fresh herbs, tomato plants of all kinds and immersed in a seasonal culture passed down through the ages. We love it here in little Italy!

Of course, in an area so molded by Italian culture - there soon follows brilliant food and restaurants & OMG how much to we love Italian food! I suppose we always have, but Kristy and I have grown a much deeper appreciation of it's respect and reliance on fresh seasonal produce. We now grow as much of our own fresh food as we can with grand plans for the worlds largest market garden on our balcony...

Not long after moving to Carlton Nth, our love of Italian people, culture and especially food drew us to a leading local Italian food establishment called "La Luna" - this the creation of proud Italian and celebrity chef Adrian Richardson.  On our first visit with some friends, we simply had a nirvana dining experience (you know what it's like - when all the culinary stars align!). The restaurant is understated - modern Italian, well lit by natural light beaming in from Rathdowne St. Somehow Adrian even convinced the local council to let him plant seasonal greens in planter boxes on the street outside - these used in his cooking. Adrian's theme is to only cook with the freshest of produce- thus ensuring we enjoy the food at its freshest, tastiest and healthiest - he even butchers his own meat on premises. 

Adrian Richardson's La Luna in Rathdowne St. Carlton Nth.

We are glad to see he doesn't get his diners involved in this!

As you may have noticed,  our dining experience at La Luna sits pretty high in our best-things-to-do-in-Melbourne list. We hope you all have the chance to go there and enjoy his great food.

On our way out we couldn't help but buy a copy of his latest book - "The Good Life". We fingered through it over dinner and just had to get a copy to try some of his cooking at home. 

The Good Life - Adrian Richardson.

Adrian was nice enough to sign his book for us - Live the good life!

Naturally, once we got home and pored through "The Good Life", we made a short list of meals we would attempt - stretching our little 50's kitchen to the limit. To our glee, we found Adrian (although from a strong Italian heritage) brings together tastes from across the globe in to a menu that is simply divine bistro food. This explains why our first dish cooked and highlighted here could not be further from his Italian roots - "Pot Roasted Chicken with North African Spices".

It was a OMG moment as soon as we saw the photo and read the ingredients - these ingredients slow cooked can only mean great flavors, that when you close your eyes transports you to a Moroccan souk kitchen - so cool! So here it is guys - please try will Love it. We promise!

Adrian Richardson's - Pot Roasted Chicken with North African Spices.

4 free range chicken marylands - cut through the joint to separate the drumstick & things.
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium brown onions - (see Kristy's onion cutting post - it saved my eyes on this one!)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 small red chilies, seeded and finely sliced
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 teaspoons cumin seeds - toasted & ground (toasted in moderate oven for 10mins is fine)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted & ground
I teaspoon saffron threads
500 ml chicken stock
200gm green pitted olives
2 cups roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cups roughly chopped coriander leaves
Juice of 3 lemons.

Ok here we go, so preheat your oven to 180 degrees, season the chicken pieces generously with salt & pepper. Heat half the oil in a large heavy based frying pan and brown chicken pieces in batches over a medium heat. Transfer to a large casserole pot.

Brown the seasoned chicken and transfer to large pot.

While the chicken is browning you can prepare your spices - chopping your onion, garlic, chilies, grating the ginger and toasting the coriander & cumin seeds in the oven.

Our spices to add...

Add the rest of the oil to the pan, and lower the heat to medium. Fry the onion, garlic & ginger for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is soft but not colored.
Add the chilli and dried spices (coriander, cumin, paprika & saffron and fry for another minute, stirring well.
Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Stir in the olives (halved) and fresh herbs. (stand look & smell in wonder!).

Once all of the ingredients are added - OMG!

Poor over the chicken pieces and cover with the lid - you hard work is done - if you haven't already you should crack a bottle of Sav Blanc and bathe in the aroma of what you have created!

Poor that goodness in!

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes on 180 degrees. Remove the lid after this and bake for a further 20-30mins until the chicken has browned on top

Bake for 45 with lid on - then 20 mins lid off to brown.

When ready, stir in the lemon juice and sprinkle with some fresh coriander leaves & take to the table to serve....

***We also like to add some Greek yogurt with salt, pepper, paprika and lemon juice to taste as a side with steamed rice of your choice.

Pot-roasted chicken with North African spices - yum!

As you can see this dish tantalizes all of the senses - it looks amazing, smells and tastes brilliant!

We hope you love it as much as we have bringing it to you.. . :)