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Anyone who has ever watched Masterchef would probably know of the name Zumbo. Known for his intricate and complex desserts and in particular the V8 cake and the Zumbo Macarons Tower, he has certainly made a name for himself all across Australia.

Zumbo Patisserie has finally reached Melbourne, and it picks a hot spot too in South Yarra. Conveniently located minutes walk from the South Yarra railway station and in between newly develop(ing) apartments and Toorak Road. South Yarra has become the dessert place to be with the likes of LuxBite and Burch & Purchese.

The Zumbo store is smaller than I expected, and yet they manage to showcase a variety of their larger cakes, mini cakes and desserts, macarons and pastries.

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 From top left: V8 (8″), Apple Fields (8″), Non Che Nudo Ka, Lemon Meringue, Secret Carrot’s Business

From bottom left: V8 (6″), Dr Dot, Apple Fields (6″)

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 From left: Orange & Coconut, Decorated Fondant, Mylo Sacher Cyrus, Capsicum & Peanut

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From left: (Minis) Dr Dot, Secret Carrot’s Business, The Annoying Orange Cake, Non Che Nudo Ka

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From left: Lemon Meringue Tart, Tart Aux Fruits De La Passion

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Macaron Flavours on the day (Subject to change): Pandan & Sticky Rice Pudding, Yoghurt & Passionfruit, Francesco Brownie, Salted Butter Caramel Toast, Toasted Marshmallow, Ghana Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Pancake, Caramel, Apple Pie,  Fingerbun, Passionfruit & Basil, Meat Pie (Movember)

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During November, all the Macaron boxes were in support for Movember as well as the very interesting Meat Pie which I didn’t have a chance to try.

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Assortment of pastries and the Zonuts

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I managed to (barely) bring back a few cakes and macarons. You can see they are a little bit travelled. We have here the Annoying Orange Cake, Apple Fields and Dr Dot as well as the macarons with the flavours listed below.

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Macarons

From left to right we have Apple Pie, Salted butter caramel on toast, Salted butter popcorn, Blueberry pancake, Fingerbun (fruit bread like), Pandan & sticky rice.

The Pandan & sticky rice macarons was something I was very keen to try. I found the pandan flavour to be too mild, very subtle. The texture of the slightly hard sticky rice makes it interesting to eat but with the pandan flavour lacking it didn’t really work as well as I hoped it would. It also goes without saying for all the six macarons that the shells are some of the best in Melbourne. Just enough bite to shell and still moist with the almond meal inside but not too much air in the shells’.

The Salted butter caramel on toast was also superb, the salty caramel filling that is just salted enough to complement the sweetness of the caramel and the slightly viscous nature of the caramel both sticky yet still retaining enough bite was just perfection.

Salted butter popcorn was, unfortunately, a bit of a letdown. You can see it very much looks like popcorn, but the flavour of the filling just tasted like whipped butter. The flavour of just popped buttered popcorn was almost non existent.

The Apple Pie was quite the delight to eat, packed full of flavour in the filling. It really does remind you of eating a apple danish of some sort. Excellent in every way, the freshness of the apple filling really makes it top notch.

The Fingerbun wasn’t something I was very familiar with but after trying this it definitely reminded me of a fruit cake. I checked what the Fingerbuns were and my assessment of what it was (sweet bread with sultanas and icing) seemed to be roughly on point. Flavourwise, I liked it but not being much of a fruit cake/bread fan it’s not something I’d immediately order again.

Lucky last was the Blueberry pancake macaron. Again, a milder tasting blueberry flavour but enough sweetness and slightly tart.

Overall the macarons I found weren’t overly sweet but with macarons they are basically packed full of sugar so that’s expected.

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The annoying orange cake is made of flourless chocolate cake, orange caramel, olive sable, chocolate & clove mousse, orange & white chocolate jam. It reminded me of the Jaffa lollies because of the chocolate and oranges. The chocolate cake was very light and the orange flavoured caramel, and jam complemented the cake well. The orange zest also gave it a boost of orange which I found to be very pleasant on the palette.

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The Apple Fields cake made of  malt shortbread, sunflower praline crunch, honey cremeaux,sunflower chiffon cake, roasted apple jelly compote, apple mousse, was delicious. The apple flavour just oozed out of the compote (jelly) along with the mousse. Very distinct layers all complementing each other well, with none overpowering one over the other. Soft, sweet and bursting full of apples. Lovely

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The Dr. Dot is made of chocolate sable, white nougat, roasted cocoa hib, creme brulee, raspberry vinegar jelly, gianduja mousse, dark chocolate glaze all in their distinct layers surrounded by the mousse and glaze. I absolutely adored this cake, probably because of the chocolate and raspberry working stupendously well together. I love a good raspberry jelly and this was one of them. Smooth but still retaining the essence and texture of raspberries and the nutty nougat gives it a bit of crunch. I thought it had hazelnut flavour in it too, but that seems not to be the case. The mousse is super smooth and ridiculously light. Even looking at the photos again makes me want to taste it again.

Impressions

Although the impressions of many Melburnians seemed to have mixed feelings about the quality of the food here, I still think it has earned its place. Not everything hits the mark, and the prices lean on the more expensive side of things but for special occasions I think it’s reasonable.

The very complex V8 cakes were surprisingly expensive but after much thought realised of how much work would go into these cakes (the 6″ is $70, 8″ is $125) with all the different layers.

LuxBite and Le Petit Gateau does cakes and macarons well as well and I found them to be on average cheaper for what you get. More variety of patisseries the better I’d say though!

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie

12 -14 Claremont St
South Yarra VIC 3141

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I’ve always wanted to cook a turkey and have that American Christmas. It’s something you always see on TV with the centrepiece being this just golden brown turkey straight out from the oven looking ever so lovely. This recipe I’ve tried a couple of times and the stuffing that goes with it is absolutely delicious. It can really take quite sometime to prepare and wait for it to cook but the end result is always satisfying. Check out the recipe below, I believe it’s from Women’s Weekly Christmas Edition from a couple years back.

Christmas Turkey with  Pine Nut, Herb and Bacon Stuffing

Ingredients

5kg turkey (I used a ~4kg turkey)
60g butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (375ml) salt-reduced chicken stock (or enough to cover the pan)

Pine Nut, Herb and Bacon Stuffing
125g butter
2 medium (300g) brown onions, chopped finely
2 trimmed (200g) celery stalks, chopped finely (did not include)
4 rashers bacon, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups (200g) loosely packed coarse fresh white sourdough breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (80g) toasted pine nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 egg, beaten lightly

Gravy
60g butter
50g plain flour
1 cup (250ml) dry white wine
1 1/2 cups (375ml) salt-reduced chicken stock

Method
Pine Nut, Herb and Bacon Stuffing:
1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat; cook the onions, celery, bacon and garlic, stirring, until softened; cool. Combine onion mixture in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients

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2. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Discard neck from turkey if still intact. Briefly rinse turkey under cold waterl pat dry inside and out with absorbent paper. Fill neck cavity loosely with some of the stuffing (don’t pack too tightly, as it will stop the meat from cooking evenly). Secure skin over the opening with toothpicks to enclose stuffing. Fill large cavity loosely with remaining stuffing (you may have some stuffing leftover). Tie legs together with kitchen strings tuck wings under.

3. Place turkey on oiled rack in a large flameproof baking fish. Brush turkey all over with half of the butter, rub a little salt onto skin. Pour the stock into the dish. Cover dish tightly with greased foil; roast for 2 hours. Uncover turkey; brush with remaining butter. Roast, uncovered, for a further 1 hour 30 minutes or until browned all over and cooked through, adding more water to the dish if needed. Remove turkey from dish, cover turkey with foil; stand for 15 minutes while preparing gravy.

Gravy
4. Pour turkey pan juices from dish into a medium heatproof jug discard fat from surface of pan juices. Heat the butter in same baking dish, add flour; cook, stirring, until mixture is well browned. Gradually stir in wine; bring to the boil. Stir in reserved pan juices and stock; bring back to the boil and simmer, stirring until gravy thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain gravy into a jug. Serve with turkey (Not suitable to freeze or microwave)

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Side Note:
Thawing Your Turkey
Allow time for thawing a frozen turkey. A 5 kg turkey will take about 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator. Place it on a tray in its original packaging or covered with plastic wrap

Checking if the Turkey is Cooked
Test it by inserting a skewer sideways into the thickest part of the thigh, then remove and press flesh to release the juices. If the juices runs clear, then the turkey is cooked.
Or, you can use a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. It should reach 90C

You can cook the stuffing separately
Make it as per the recipe but increasing the eggs to 2 eggs. Shape into a 28cm log on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Once the turkey is cooked, increase the oven temperature to 200C (180C fan-forced). Cook, uncovered for about 20 minutes or until well browned and crisp.

Carving Your Turkey
1. Remove kitchen string. Cut through the skin between the breast and the leg and push the leg away from the breast to make room to carve

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2. Begin carving slices off the breast, starting at the top of the breastbone and slicing at an angle away from the centre of the bird. Cave as much as your family needs

3. Separate drumsticks from the thigh by cutting through the knuckle at the point of the bend.

4. Make a vertical cut above the wing through the body and remove. Repeat these steps for the other side of the turkey.

Cooking Times for Turkey Sizes
2kg to 3kg – 1 hour 30 mins to 2 hours 15 mins
3.1kg to 4kg – 2 hours 15 mins to 2 hours 45 mins
4.1kg to 5kg – 2 hours 45 mins to 3 hours 30 mins
5.1kg to 6kg – 3 hours 30 mins to 4 hours 15 mins
6.1kg to 7kg – 4 hours 30 mins to 5 hours 30 mins

Impressions

Following the recipe to a T, it works out wonderfully. The meat of the turkey comes out so buttery smooth and just cooked to perfection. It can be very easy to overcook turkey. I find it you stick with those meat thermometer recommended temperatures like at 90C it can be a tad dry. I find that you can have great tasting turkey at around 77C but should be at least 74C for health and safety reasons.

The stuffing is the best stuffing I’ve ever had, and the parsley and pine nuts play a big part in that. It truly is a wonderful recipe. I’ve never tried the gravy to be honest, as I like to eat turkey with just a bit of tabasco sauce but I think most gravies taste similar so never bothered with it. The recipe is also very easy to follow and the hardest part is basically making sure the turkey is cooked right so once you got that down, cooking turkey will become a breeze.

 

 

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We actually stumbled upon Pocha Restaurant as we initially wanted to dine at the Thai restaurant next door but being such a petite space, it was unfortunately full. Luckily enough we looked next door and saw this Korean restaurant opened. From the outside, Pocha didn’t really seem open. It was very dark inside, and no signs it was open. Somehow being desperate for some place to dine we walked in and found this very interesting restaurant. There is a long walkway with each side having this little covered/tent-like dining spaces. It looked like you were in some sort of food market and these were the outside tents to eat in, but somewhat private.

The menu was slightly on the pricer side of things, and we didn’t really know what to order. We ended up ordering meal combo, choosing from the four dishes (you can select two). We ordered the spicy pork bulgogi (pictured above). Lovely flavours, subtle spiciness and a tad sweet marinated pork cooked with onions and carrots. Although, it was on the oilier side of things. It was very tasty.

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The other beef dish was also nicely cooked, and again with onions and carrots. Meat just cooked right but I preferred if they used less sugar on the sauce/marinade. Not too exciting but it’s still satisfying.

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The tofu soup was very light in flavour or seasoning but with the more robust flavours from the two meat dishes I think it complements each other well.

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It also comes with a salad that is dressed with a vinaigrette. Very strong dressing and with the lettuce in large chunks, it was more difficult to eat. I would have liked the Korean/Japanese sesame seed dressing that is creamier and light brown in colour.

Impressions

Overall, I didn’t mind Pocha Restaurant. It’s not the best Korean food I’ve tried but not the worst. The quaint dining atmosphere is certainly a plus, along with the food.  Good service too on that quiet Tuesday night.

Pocha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Pocha Restaurant

1221 Thurlow St
Vancouver BC V6E

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Don-Udon recently opened in Box Hill and joins the other Korean restaurants now established in Box Hill along. I’m guessing there is a sizeable Korean community here as there are also many grocery stores around too. Unlike the Box Hill Korean BBQ, Don-Udon doesn’t offer BBQ but they have plans to do hot pot in the winter months.

Currently they offer a great selection of Korean and even a few Japanese dishes ranging from Udon noodle soup, Stir Fried Udon dishes, Ramen, Korean and Japanese rice dishes and even a few sizzling and clay pot dishes for something a bit different.

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We ordered the Bibim Bap in Stone Pot that is served scolding hot. It comes with beef, vegetables and fried egg with Korean chilli paste on rice. The stone pot retains heat remarkably well so if you’re ordering, it’s best to not touch the bowl. I love clay pot/stone pot dishes as the rice cooks and turns into this crunchy delight. All the ingredients here are fresh and especially tasty with the slightly sweet beef. A really nice, light dish.

IMG_0479Don-Udon also offers soups in clay pot. I think Korean soups with rice are one of my favourite type of dishes. I could really have warm, spicy soup with rice all day, everyday. The soup here is a Seafood Silken Tofu Soup (Spicy) with mixed seafood, vegetables and of course silken tofu. I loved the flavour of this soup, it’s spicy enough if you consume all of the soup and it’s basically like this gradual hotness that lingers throughout the meal. Very satisfying. The seafood here are basically a couple of small (very) prawns but the tofu is the main protein here. Although the soup is a tad oily, I loved the soup all the same.

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The Donkatsu Udon is your typical Japanese dish with crispy deep fried pork, with a clear stock soup. Subtle flavours from the soup and maybe a bit of Togarashi just adds a bit of spice to give it a bit more seasoning. A pleasant dish that even betters Ajisen Ramen in Box Hill.

Impressions

Don-Udon is my go-to Korean eatery in Box Hill. Flavours hit the mark, friendly staff and all for a decent (the standard) price. It’s just a bit of a shame that this restaurant isn’t more frequented by customers. It’s slightly out of the way, a few minutes walk from the main shopping hub in Box Hill but close by to the tram stop and the many Computer Gaming places. I’d say it’s definitely worth the small effort to visit.

Don-Udon on Urbanspoon

Don-Udon

951 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill VIC 3128

Opens for Lunch and Dinner

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