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Every time I go to an Italian restaurant or even just a cafe that has risotto, I just have to order it. My first taste experience was at Sofia’s Restaurant in Ferntree Gully, and well I found it to be delicious. I don’t think Sofia’s is an example of true authentic Italian food but it tastes quite good and I can’t argue with that.

So I’ve wanted to cook risotto for some time too, just something that seemed fun to do since we hardly go to Italian restaurants so it was just another way to eat it.

I found a couple of recipes on the internet but I needed one that had a seafood mix (Scallops, prawns, mussells, fish, squid rings) since we bought the frozen type at the supermarket and some of the risotto recipes get you to buy different types of seafood for the stock so it wasn’t any use to me.

I finally decided on the Taste.com.au’s recipe, and just bought some fresh mussels to use for the stock as the mussels in the mix were already opened. I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe though.

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At first I couldn’t find Fish stock, so I bought some Ikan Bilis stock cubes from my Asian Grocer, and then I found a small carton of Fish stock at my local supermarket so I mixed them both to make my fish stock.

For my dry white wine, I used Somerton 2010 Semillon – Chardonnay, one of the cheapest dry white wines I could find at Dan Murphy’s actually.

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I didn’t have enough prawns in my mix, and forgot to buy extra prawns but it didn’t impact upon taste really. It’s just a matter of what seafood you prefer.

I really like the recipe but one thing I forgot to do was to add more passata into it after I added another half cup of arborio rice so it was a bit drier then I would like but the taste and flavours were all still there. With my fresh parsley straight from my herb garden, chilli flakes and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, my Seafood Risotto came out pretty well I thought.

I also pretty much used all the stock available because I added more rice, so it wasn’t as wet as what you might get in a restaurant but still moist enough.

If I made this again, I would probably use less mussels and more prawns, just because of preference and there were probably too many mussels in there and slightly overwhelmed everything else. Other than that, I really enjoyed making it and the end result was great too.

Seafood Risotto (Taste.com.au)
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/4 cup (310ml) dry white wine
500g black mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1.25L good-quality gluten-free fish stock (see note)
1/4 tsp saffron threads
40g unsalted butter
2 tbs olive oil
500g prawns, peeled (tails intact), deveined
2 squid tubes, cut into rings
8 scallops
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups (440g) arborio rice
1/2 cup tomato passata (see note) or roasted-tomato sugo (see related recipe)
2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus extra to garnish
Chilli flakes
Grated parmesan cheese

Method
1. Place wine in a wide pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then add mussels and cover. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 3 minutes until almost all shells have opened (discard any mussels that remain unopen after this time). Strain, reserving liquid, then remove mussels from shells and set aside. Place reserved liquid, fish stock and saffron in a pan and keep at a simmer over low heat.

2. Melt 30g butter with 1 tbs oil in a large, heavy-based frypan over medium heat. Add prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning, until cooked through. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Increase heat to high. Add squid and scallops. Cook, turning, for 1-2 minutes until just opaque and almost cooked through. Set aside with prawns.

3. Reduce heat to medium and melt remaining 10g butter with remaining 1 tbs oil. Cook the onion, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add garlic and rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to coat the grains. Add a ladleful of hot stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring and making sure each is absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente. This will take about 20 minutes. (You may not need all the stock.) Stir in the seafood, passata or sugo and parsley. Season and cook for 1 minute until heated through. Serve garnished with parsley, chilli flakes and parmesan.

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I’ve been wanting to grow my own herbs for a while but just never got around to actually doing anything. So when we found these self watering pots, and it was quite cheap too we though why not.

As we already had a few herbs growing in other pots but not the ones I wanted, I picked Italian Parsley, Coriander, Thyme, Oregano Rosemary, and Sage.

I was quite excited to plant them and well forgot to read the directions on how to plant them and you’ll see what happens a bit lower down. We added a bit of Seasol as well to help with the growth.

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In the above image: Coriander (left) and Parsley (right), with Thyme growing (Top right) and a bit smaller too.

IMG_5190Sage is located to the bottom right of the above image
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I believe this was a month and a half after it was planted. Coriander grows quite quickly.

Rosemary also grew slowly, it’s between the Sage and Parsley but not very many sprouted.

Oregano was supposed to grow (Bottom left of the pot) but only after a month I looked at the package it came in and saw it was supposed to be planted just below the soil, same with the Rosemary and Thyme so that’s why they didn’t grow as plentiful as the rest.

Growing your own herbs is a great way to add just a pinch of freshness to any dish and I used Parsley for my Seafood Risotto, and it really added another depth of flavour to it so if you have the space, and just a small amount of time. It’s fun to watch them grow and you know where it came from without anything added to it.

 

 

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My love of potatoes knows no bounds. I’ll eat it mashed, grilled, fried, boiled, cut up into wedges or fries and then deep fried or oven baked. I don’t think I’ve stopped loving potatoes and their versatility. So when a baked potato store opened, my sister (Also a potato head) found it and got me to try it. It was just simply perfection.

The name of the store is Spudbar, and it’s been a firm favourite ever since I went there a couple of years ago.

They have a number of stores around Victoria, and when I went to get my Macbook replaced in Doncaster Shopping Centre, I just had to go back there.

On this occasion, I tried their Tuna Melt Spud, there are plentiful dishes you can order and you can also make your own spud selection but just for convenience sake I chose the Tuna one. They used to have one called ‘Hot Stuff’ which included, kidney beans, a nice spicy sauce and vegetables but over the years I guess people weren’t interested in it.

The Tuna Melt Spud, is quite tasty. I doubt anyone can ruin potatoes for me, anyway. The only downside was that the dressing and tuna are cold, and well it makes the warm spud just a bit too cold for my liking. Nonetheless, it was still delicious. I added some chilli flakes, and tabasco sauce just for some added kick and it was great.

The mixture of the cheese, peas, carrots, corn, dressing, tuna and of course the potato all worked really well together and it’s really filling so you know you got a good meal out of it.

If you love all things potatoes, this is the dining experience you’ll not want to miss.

Spudbar on Urbanspoon
Spudbar

Westfield Doncaster Shopping Center
619 Doncaster Rd,
Doncaster VIC
Phone: 03 9840 2007
Fax: 03 9840 2007
Email : doncaster@spudbar.com.au
Open 9am – 5pm Sat – Wed
Open 9am – 9pm Thurs – Fri

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On every fourth Saturday of the month, the Casey Farmers’ Association (Berwick Rotary Club) hold their monthly Farmers’ Market for Casey residents and well anybody that wants to support local farmers’, grocers and the local community in general.
It’s also a place to get fresh food and produce or just to try the different foods on offer.

It’s located in Berwick at the Old Cheese Factory, and with many merchants and things to try while you’re there and even though we arrived at around 9am, it was surprisingly busy already.

It costs a few dollars to enter but supporting the Farmers’ in your area, it’s nothing to complain about.

At the front, near the car park, they sell large quantities of fruit and once you enter there are a variety of berries on offer too.

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On the left of this image, they sell a variety of breads from sour bread to wholemeal. It’s all reasonably priced too.

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The merchants on the left sell fresh seafood, while the one on the right sells a great selection of wines.

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Homemade sauces are sold here, quick a few might I add.

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Fresh garlic from Dannic Garlic. Chemical free, and grown on the Mornington Peninsula.

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Quite a wide selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, all packed to store in their freshness, straight from the back of their van. Hehe

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Our second purchase of the morning, the first being some nice sourdough bread, was Spicy Venison sausages. We cooked them at home, it’s quite lean and with a hint of spice. It wasn’t too bad actually, might try their other Venison cuts next time.

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Mornington Peninsula Ice cream, it looked really nice but wasn’t in the mood for it. Looking back, I would have gotten a tub.

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More fresh food, if you look closely you can see the prices. It’s probably more than you’d pay at your local supermarket but I feel the money goes straight to the farmers and not split between farmers and the conglomerate.

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The smell of sausages in the morning is quite an appealing thing. So by the smell we were lead to the Alloway Buffalo stall and just had to purchase a roll.

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Here it is, in all it’s glory. Buffalo meat. A buffalo hot dog with a really tasty sauce. It had a hint of spice and was just nicely cooked, as was the sausage.

There were also quite a few meat sellers, and places to buy fresh juices and drinks too.

Check it out, it’s quite a nice experience. Or check out your local Farmers’ market instead, it’s worth it.

 

Casey-Berwick Farmers’ Market

8am to 12.30pm

The Old Cheese Factory

34 Homestead Rd

Berwick

Victoria

 

(The next one in May is on the 28th, June on the 25th)

 

 

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Pie In The Sky is one of Victoria’s premium Pie restaurants. Famous for it’s award winning pies and their ‘Pie In The Sky’, a pie floating on top of a soup. It is quite a tourist attraction in itself.

Located in Olinda, it’s nestled away near The Dandenongs and for a small regional town it surprisingly brings many people from all around Victoria and possibly Australia here. I guess it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise if you have had the chance to eat here. The food speaks for itself really.

Having a great variety of pies, from your customary Meat Pie, to the more adventurous Curry Pies and their gourmet Guinness and Steak Pies. It truly is hard to pick what to eat and with a wide selection of sides, such as salads, chips, and your very English mash, peas and gravy. You can always have a different meal experience every time you visit.

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After a very lengthy time deciding, I finally chose the Guinness Pie with Mash Potatoes, Gravy and Peas. It’s reasonably price too for what you get and tastes great too. I don’t think I really have anything bad to say about the pie, the pastry was light and crispy and the Guinness flavoured steak was delectable and just cooked nicely.

The ‘Pie In The Sky’ looked interesting too but as I’m not a big fan of celery flavoured soup I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. It certainly has a great ‘home cooked’ aroma too it though. It’s definitely worth a try.

Pie In The Sky also serves desserts and teas, with many varieties of cakes and another English classic, Devonshire Tea. I think I mentioned before the scones here are really tasty, light and fluffy as they should be. The second time we tried them, it just wasn’t as good but maybe it was just an off day.

You don’t necessarily have to dine in to try it out, they also sell many of the pies ‘to go’ and as I mentioned in my Stay Fresh Scones post, they sell a really good Raspberry Jam part of the Mornington Peninsula association I believe, they also sell Strawberry Jams too but I’m more of a raspberry fan nowadays.

Pie In The Sky is well worth the drive over, and it’s a great way to support our local communities too. If you ever come down this area, check out the candy store which has a great selection of lollies from the UK and the US, and also the chilli store with their famous death sauce.

You can check out their website below and peruse their menu, that way, when you arrive you can order straight away without having to take ages to decide!

Pie in the Sky on Urbanspoon
Pie In The Sky

43 Olinda – Monbulk Rd,

Olinda  3788,

Victoria, Australia

 

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