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I saw this stunning recipe of a Linzertorte in the recipe book Mastering the Art of Baking by Anneka Manning. It looked so warm and appetising, yet something just a bit rustic about it. A Linzertorte, or otherwise known as a Linzer Torte is an Austrian torte (tart) with a lattice design. Usually made from short pastry with a hint of spices such as cinnamon and ground nuts too, and topped with a jam, it really is a wonderful combination. Especially when the pastry is baking in the oven and you get a whiff of the cinnamon and the butter pastry cooking, it’s lovely.

Linzertorte
Serves: 10
Preparation Time: 40 minutes (+ 30 minutes chilling)
Cooking Time: 48 minutes

Ingredients
160 g (1 cup) almonds
300 g (2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 ½ tsps ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
250 g unsalted butter, softened
110 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar (superfine)
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 egg yolks
500 g raspberry jam
1 egg yolk, extra, lightly whisked
2 ½ tbsps flaked almonds

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Spread the almonds on a baking tray and toast for 8 minutes or until aromatic. Set aside to cool. Transfer to a food processor and process until finely ground.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a separate medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Add the flour mixture and ground toasted almonds and use a flat-bladed knife and then your hands to mix until a soft dough forms.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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5. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Divide the dough into 3 portions, then combine 2 of them.

Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the larger portion on a lightly floured work surface to 30 cm (12 inch) round, taking care not to work the dough too much as it will become very soft. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully ease it into a 2 cm (3/4 inch) deep, 24 cm (9 ½ inch) fluted, loose-based tart (flan) tin, pressing it into the edges with your fingertips. Trim any excess by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the tin.

6. Spread the jam into the pastry shell to cover the base evenly (Thin layer – unless your jam isn’t overly sweet).
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7. Roll the remaining dough out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to a rectangle about 20 x 26 cm (8 x 10 ½ inches) and about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Use a fluted pastry wheel or a large sharp knife to cut the remaining portion of dough into 1.5 cm ( 5/8 inch) wide strips.

Arrange the strips over the jam to form a lattice pattern, taking care as the dough will be quite fragile and may break easily. Re-roll any scraps as necessary to make enough strips to form the lattice.
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8. Use a small sharp knife to trim the edges of the strips. Lightly brush the strips with the extra egg yolk and sprinkle the tart with flaked almonds.
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9. Bake for 40 minutes or until deep golden and the pastry is cooked through. Leave in the tin to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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Impressions

It is a very nice pastry I give it that. The addition of the cinnamon, ground cloves gives it a homely aroma (that’s just me) because I love cinnamon. Depending on the jam you use, I find that 500 g of jam is quite generous and as this is the only filling in the tart. It is a bit much and if you do it like I did and added too much to fill up the deep pastry tin.

A thinner layer of the jam can suffice, or if you can preferably find a brand of jam that is not too sweet. If that’s not possible, I suggest pureeing some raspberries and adding a bit at a time to the raspberry jam to give it a bit more tartness. This will hopefully make it not seem like you’re eating a mouthful of sugar.

The pastry really is the star of the Linzertorte and I could eat that short pastry any day of the week. Delicious.

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I discovered Tanner’s Swiss Patisserie whilst heading for lunch on Blackburn Road. Apparently Tanner’s has been there for decades, and it has this lovely wooden cabin exterior which is so visibly different from the shops around it that you’ll be instantly drawn to it. It’s a small shop but never quiet. The Patisserie sells cakes, tarts, pastries and bread and of course coffee.

Their mini pastries, cakes, and tarts looked delightful so we had to try a few. The pastry pictured above is filled with Hazelnut cream. I’m not quite sure of the advertised name but we bought this because she mentioned hazelnut. Its like a light cookie crumb with a layer of hazelnut cream inside. I found it very sweet overall, and a bit lacking in hazelnut flavour to be honest. It looked fantastic though.

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Tanner’s Pecan Pie is as it looks, rich but definitely oozing in flavour.The pecans are still crunchy, with a dark and rich sweet hardened filling. Even though it’s sweet, I found it to be more well rounded in its flavour. The pastry is nice, short and crispy. With a lovely butter texture to it. A real treat.

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Their Linzertorte, which is basically a jam filled cinnamon and clove flavoured butter pastry. The tart is perfect, again short, crispy with that rich buttery taste. The ground cinnamon and cloves give the pastry an extra kick and usually with Linzertorte, the pastry is also made with ground almonds that give it a softer texture than most shortcrust pastries. I find that the jams or berry preserves used in Linzertortes to be overly sweet and the ratio between pastry and jam leans too far in the favour of the jam. A very thin layer is all that’s needed in my humble opinion, or a reduction in sweetness in the jam but I think that’s the more difficult option to produce since a lot of sugar is required to give it that texture and consistently.

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Tanner’s Apricot Almond Tart is also very tasty. The pastry again is top notch, buttery and crisp.  The tart is glazed with sugar to give it that glistening shine. Using ground almonds gives the tart a moist texture to it and definitely one of the better tarts I’ve tasted.

Impressions

Tanner’s Swiss Patisserie has wonderful pastries and tarts but like most patisseries their sweet delights are a tad too sweet for my liking. A small bite is all I need to be satisfied and these little tarts will do that just fine.

Tanner's Swiss Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Tanner’s Swiss Patisserie

232 Blackburn Road
Glen Waverley VIC 3150

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 On our last night in Quebec City it was absolutely freezing so we dared not venture too far out at night. Luckily, right across from our hotel is Bistro Le Brigantin, a Italian restaurant on the corner block. We weren’t that hungry as we had soup and bread from Baguette & Cie in the arvo. It’s a lovely little restaurant that for some reason didn’t seem to be that popular. It might be because most of the visitors were in the city centre and not near the bayside.

We ordered a Tomato based Penne Pasta with parmesan cheese on top. The pasta was perfectly al dente, and the tomato flavour was so flavourful and yet not oily. Adding a bit of chilli flakes just makes it delicious. I was really quite surprised of this gem of a restaurant that seemingly was mostly empty at night. Top notch.

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Their salmon baked pizza was also just divine. Crisp and crunchy bottom, with a very cheesy and fresh salmon on top with cooked onions and herbs. It isn’t like your typical pizzas with a crust and a thick bread bottom, this instead lets the toppings come alive.  For something that may seem small, it packs full of flavour and is actually filling even though it was shared between three.

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It might have also been because we ate a lot of the bread as a starter. You really can’t go wrong with bread and butter, their airy bread is light and fluffy inside but with a very crunchy crust. Love it.

Impressions

I loved this Italian restaurant, I never would have imagined Quebec City to have great Italian food. Colour me surprised and very glad to have dined here. Fantastic, flavourful food, with excellent service.

Bistro Le Brigantin on Urbanspoon

Bistro Le Brigantin

97 Rue Du Sault-Au-Matelot
Quebec QC G1K4A6

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If it wasn’t for those “Deals” websites, I probably would never dine at Marquee Restaurant. Well, I wouldn’t say never but not in the foreseeable future perhaps. I think I’ve heard of Marquee before, but I seldom ever go to Toorak  so it was never on my list of “must do’s”

However I took up one of those deals where you could order a certain value of food for a discounted price. Marquee offers around four different courses, from Tastings, Entrees, Mains and Desserts. Primarily Marquee Restaurant serves European food, with a large mix of French dishes.

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We first ordered from the Tastings menu with their Roasted Scallops with garlic and truffle butter wrapped in puff pastry. I love scallops, and pastry so this was always going to go down well with me. The scallop was perfectly cook, not tough or chewy at all. It simply melted alway in your mouth, as best as a scallop could do anyway. The garlic and butter add the nice flavour to the dish and with the crunchy and thin pastry on top it works nicely together.

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These little burgers from the Tastings menu are Petit Wagyu Burgers with quail egg, baby beetroot, lettuce and tomato relish. This tiny things were so cute, just look at them! Almost too lovely to eat, almost. I loved these little burgers, they were absolutely delicious, with the ooze from the egg yolk making the burger moist and the wagyu wasn’t try either. I loved it.

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We ordered an entree too, this was the Hand-made crab and salmon raviolo, tomato consommé and baby basil cress. This was a bit disappointing to be honest, the crab and salmon filling in the raviolo was kinda bland and almost tasteless. Even the tomato consomme didn’t help with the flavour. Overall, I couldn’t find many redeeming qualities in this dish at all.

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One of the mains we ordered was the Baby snapper fillet with smoked prawn bisque and grilled prawns. The snapper was nicely cooked, and the spinach had nice tangy flavour. The sauce was quite good, a tad on the salty side though. The seafood was supposed to be the highlight or the centrepiece of the dish, however, the prawns were somehow bland and lacked prawn flavour. Overall, it has some good points but would I order this again? Probably not.

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I’ve always heard good things about Duck and Orange together. So I was so excited to order the Honey glazed duck breast on confit duck leg with chive mash and orange and balsamic jus. This was so good. The duck was amazing, so delicate and soft, just perfectly cooked and just melts away. The orange peel was slightly candied, and added a really nice different taste to the duck. I loved the balsamic jus too, I don’t think I’ve actually ever had jus before but my golly was it strong and tasty. Slightly salty, sweet and all things good. As you may know, I love potatoes, so the mash will always end up on a positive note. Overall, I loved this dish. The duck and the jus made this dish.

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I wanted a lighter dish to end my night at Marquee, so we ordered the Eton mess with strawberries, chantilly cream, smashed meringue, ice cream, strawberry coulis and mint. I quite liked this, the meringue was nice and crunchy but light, and with the strawberry coulis (it’s just a jam) it was tasted quite fresh and summery. The slightly sour strawberries worked well with the sweetness of the coulis and sweet meringue, and the cream added a nice richness but not overpowering. Overall, it was good, but not a “must order” dessert.

Impressions

Marquee Restaurant offers a nice selection of dishes, with plentiful that are tasty and satisfying. Would actually make me want to go there full price now that I’ve tasted their food. If you go to Marquee Restaurant, the duck is a must. I fine the prices to be on average slightly pricey, but I think that’s just the norm with these kind of restaurants. Marquee would now be on my list of places to dine on special occasions so I’m definitely glad to have dined here.

Marquee Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Marquee Restaurant (Menu)
445 Toorak Road
Toorak VIC 3142

Tuesday – Saturday 5pm – late

T: +61 3 9827 7938

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I came across the Lynbrook Hotel after browsing Urbanspoon’s top Melbourne Buffet Restaurants. Having already tried China Bar, Consevatory and Kitchenworkshop (3 of the top 5), I was surprised to see Lynbrook Hotel so far up the top. Lynbrook? Lynbrook has a hotel?

After my initial shock, I checked out the official website, it said it had a International Buffet Bistro, offering European, Asian and Australian cuisines. This piqued my interest and afterall their prices were quite reasonable too.
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We went to try it out for my father’s birthday, and booked the earlier session to avoid the large cohords of people (I expected anyway). Their eating area is quite spacious and clean. It makes for a welcoming dining experience.

The food is grouped into several categories, from Asian (Chinese), European (Italian), Australian, and Indian with a bit of Thai, and of course Desserts.

The Food

While I didn’t take photographs of the food itself (I was too busy eating), the food was decent and there was a great variety of dishes.

In the Asian corner, they have Fried Rice, and a few stir frys which were surprisingly decent for a restaurant primarily served by Indian chefs.

There was a good selection of seafood, from fresh prawns, to steamed fish and a few of your standard ‘Fish and Chip shop’ items, and also roast items like roast beef and potatoes, vegetables in another area.

In their European flavoured area they served mostly Italian food, i.e pastas, lasagne and pizza.

Their Indian area took me by surprise, as it smelt great. A few different styled curries, and bite sized snack food. As I mentioned before they served Thai fish cake, which was spicy! However when my parents when again for a friend’s birthday celebration, they didn’t have these on offer. So it seems their selection of food varies slightly per week.

Their dessert menu consisted of a lot of cakes and sugary treats. My favourite was the warm almond cake, and the chocolate mousse. Of course, they served ice-cream for the kids, which was running empty by the hours end. I’ll admit their selection of desserts was great, but nothing can top soft serve ice-cream at Kitchen Workshop.

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There were a couple of downsides, their pizzas weren’t cooked long enough so the bread was still doughly. Perhaps their second run of pizzas were better, I didn’t attempt to try it again.

As mentioned earlier, their 3 tubs of ice-cream were probably sitting there for a while so it wasn’t replaced as quickly (or at all) during our session. Some of their dishes were slightly overcooked but I can overlook that as it wasn’t terribly bad.

Overall impressions

The Lynbrook Hotel serves a great selection of food, for what you pay for, you do get your monies worth.  Compared to Kitchen Workshop which is roughly the same price, I’d prefer Kitchen Workshop but if you’re looking for some tasty Asian dishes Lynbrook is your best bet.

Lynbrook Hotel on Urbanspoon

Lynbrook Hotel

550 South Gippsland Highway
Lynbrook
VIC 3975
Bistro Prices and Sessions Here

 

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