Eating out | The Spice Pantry, Prahran

My family was kindly invited to a lovely restaurant in Prahran, called The Spice Pantry.

This cosy little restaurant is a family owned and run business.  A father and son duo run this business with such passion and with the love of what they do.

The Spice Pantry is an authentic Indian restaurant serving traditional food.  I met with Anand and his son, Anuj.  While Anand is the experienced chef in the kitchen, Anuj prefers to be out front chatting with his customers.  He shared his story of how he got into the hospitality business after leaving his full time job of being an accountant and how he just finished his morning shift at the MCG.

Hubby and I like for our children to experience all different cuisines so they can decide for themselves what they like and don’t like.  Whilst our son, Thomas loves curries, our daughter Deanna is not a big fan.  I’m proud to say though after this meal she said she thoroughly enjoyed some of the dishes and that she’d love it again.  That’s a win!

My family were treated to a feast of all the senses.  We started off with a couple of platters of entrees.

The vegetarian platter included crispy samosas filled with chunky potato pieces and the pakoras were chopped spinach and onion. Served with a tangy tamarind sauce.

The non-vegetarian entrees included chicken malai tikka, Tandoori chicken, chili chicken and Seekh kebab.  So colourful and so full of flavour.  Deanna couldn’t get enough of the chicken malai tikka.

We had a feast on our hands for the mains.  Saffron rice was accompanied with a vegetarian korma, butter chicken, Malabar prawns and lamb masala.  We had servings of butter naan and garlic naan.

The curries were not too hot as to over power the taste of all the different spices.  Each dish was complex in flavour and very distinctive from each other.

Both the butter and garlic naans were soft and delicious.  The naan dough is made the traditional way and baked in a tandoor oven. It has to be hands down the best naan I have had in Melbourne.

We couldn’t leave without having dessert.  The children voted for the mango kulfi over the pistachio one.  The kulfi was served with raspberry compote and rose syrup.  It was heavenly and vanished in a blink of an eye.  The gulab jamun (milk dumplings in golden syrup) was Thomas’ and hubby’s favourite.  Hubby could have eaten a billion of those dumplings.  It was so soft and light.  It had absorbed the syrup which made it moreish.

I recommend a visit to The Spice Pantry.  The restaurant is quite small so if you plan ongoing with a big group, best to order takeaway or order via Uber Eats.

Go for the food and the friendly staff.

The since Pantry

68 Commercial rd, Prahran

http://thespicepantry.com.au

 

This post is sponsored and my family dined as guests of The Spice Pantry.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

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The General Store. The Caramel Fudge.

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I was lucky to have to opportunity to experience online shopping for groceries with The General Store.

Now along with your 100% fresh Aussie produce from Aussie Farmers  Direct, you can recieve all your favourite household and pantry items from The General Store.

The General store has selected trusted brands at incredible prices, so you’ll always find your favourites. Together, Aussie Farmers Direct and The General Store are a one stop shop for everything your household needs all supplied in one convenient delivery.

The range on offer is extensive.  There are thousands of trusted brands and products to chose from.  The General store also provides a rating using their ‘Aussie Rating’ system allowing you to chose which products you would like to buy depending on their ‘Australian-ness’

To save time and money, epecially during the Christmas period, you can do your grocery shopping online and have it delivered straight to your door.  What I found the best thing about the delivery is that it is scheduled from midnight to 7am on your day of choice.  That means while you are asleep your goodies are being delivered.  It’s at your front door when you wake up!

The prices are very competitive.  They have specials that you can browse through.  They offer some great value family pack size options, which is great when you have many hungry mouths to feed.

Thanks to The General Store, I had the opportunity to browse and get some groceries, I wanted to see what was on special and make something with the groceries.  I managed to order a few items that were on special that week.

My online experience was great.  It was easy to navigate the site.  The products are catagorised for easy searching.  The page opens up firstly on their specials so you can browse to see if the products you want are on special that day.  If you do need help, they have a phone number you can call or contact them through their online webchat.

Since condensed milk was on special and the white cooking chocolate was reasonably priced,  I bought ingredients to make white chocolate and caramel fudge.  A favourite with the family. Win-win!  Below is my recipe for you to make it.

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Recipe:

  • 1 x 395g sweetened condensed milk
  • 220g brown sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 40ml glucose syrup
  • 30ml golden syrup
  • 180g white chocolate, chopped
  1. Grease and line 7′ x 10′ baking tray
  2. In a saucepan, melt the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, butter, glucose and golden syrup.
  3. Over a low heat, keep stiring for about 20mins until it has thickened and turned pale brown.
  4. Add the white chocolate.
  5. Pour over a sieve into the prepared tray.
  6. Refrigerate for about 2-4 hours or until firm

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Get online now and check out their online store.  It’s easy to do and more importantly, it’s convenient.

 

Aussie Farmers: Shop.aussiefarmers.com.au

The General Store: http://www.generalstore.com.au

#aussiefarmersdirect

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aussiefarmersdirect/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aussiefarmersD

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AussieFarmersDirect/

 

Happy Shopping,

Cherrie

My review of the Tefal OptiGrill

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Thanks to Bing Lee, I was given the opportunity to test and review the Tefal OptiGrill.

The OptiGrill is one of Tefal’s popular kitchen products.

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Product features:

It cooks 6 different types of meat plus vegetables to different cooking levels.

It automatically adjusts the cooking times for different types and thickness of meat.

The automatic cooking indicator changes colour and beeps to let you know where your cooking level is at.

It has both a manual function (for cooking vegetables) and a frozen function.

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Why I like it:

It comes with a recipe book full of delicious recipes that I have tried and was loved by the family.

It’s “hubby-friendly”.  Since I come home late from work, hubby easily uses the OptiGrill to cook dinner without any fuss.

I love how the cooking indicator changes colour depending on the doneness of your meat.  When it moves to the next level of cooking it will beep. You don’t even need to be in the kitchen while your dinner is cooking.

It’s slick looking.  It can be left out on the bench and it won’t ruin the look of your kitchen 🙂

Easy to clean.  I dislike using appliances that have 101 pieces that need to be taken apart and washed.  The plates on the grill can be taken off easily and placed in the dishwasher.

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I read reviews online of the grill and I’m not the only ones that love it.

One down side is that it’s too small for a large family.  I can comfortably use it for my family of 2 adults and 2 young children.  When I think of larger families, it may take longer to cook as the plates may be too small.  Meals will need to cooked in batches.

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I first tried cooking lamb chops.  It was recommended to chose boneless meat as the bone will prevent a uniform level for cooking on both sides of the meat.  Since we already had the lamb chops, we tried it anyway.  To me, the chops were cooked perfectly.  We also grilled slices of potatoes.  I used a recipe in the recipe book that came with the grill. You need to make sure you slice the potatoes the same width. The thinner potatoes were not cooking as fast.  I found myself keeping an eye on it and removing ones that were already done.  To me, that’s not too much of a big deal.

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Our next meal was burgers at my son, Thomas’ request. After placing the burgers on the grill, I simply selected the burger option and waited the cooking level indicator to turn to medium.  It was that simple.

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RRP: AUD$229.95

It can be purchased at Bing Lee for $199 (at the time of writing this post)

If you are looking for a grill that is convenient, healthy and easy to use, I suggest you purchase the Tefal OptiGrill.  I’m glad I’ve got one 🙂

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

 

In need of comfort this winter: Vetta Pasta with a creamy sausage sauce

 

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It’s cold out.  And when it’s cold out, there’s nothing better than a home cooked meal shared with the family.  I like to eat slow cooked casseroles or ragu that has been simmering away all afternoon.  The problem with winter comfort food though, is that it slowly stacks on your weight without you knowing until it’s summer time. You try to put on your favourite pair of shorts or skirt and find that it no longer fits!

Vetta Pasta

I was introduced to Vetta Pasta’s new Smart Pasta range; one is High Protein Low Carb and the other is Cholesterol Lowering.  These two healthy options comes in different shapes so you can cook any pasta dish you want.

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I tried the High Protein Low Carb Penne and could not taste the difference over traditional pasta.  I have a Nigel Slater recipe that I like to cook for the the family but since I have the healthier pasta, I wanted to change the original recipe to a slighter healthier one too.  I also added a breadcrumb topping to add texture to the dish.  If you don’t use all of the topping, place in an air tight container for use next time.

 

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I have also tried the Cholesterol Lowering Spirals.  If you would like to try Vetta’s recipes for their new range, you can find them here.

 Ingredients:

  • 4 of your favourite pork sausages,taken out of the casing and crumbled
  • olive oil
  • 400g of Vetta Pasta high protein low card Penne
  • 200ml white wine
  • a small handful of chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbs of whole grain mustard
  • 200ml light evaporated milk

Method:

  1. Put a large pan of water on boil for the pasta
  2. In a frying pan, add the olive oil.  When hot, add the crumbled sausages and fry till cooked through.
  3. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions
  4. Pour the wine into the frying pan and let it sizzle.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to get anything that got stuck.  Add the chopped basil.
  5. Add salt and the mustard.  Pour in the evaporated milk and bring slowly to a simmer.
  6. Cook for a further minute or two, making sure to stir now and then.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain the tip into the cream sausage sauce.  If too dry add some of  the pasta water.
  8. Serve with a garnish of basil leaves and top with breadcrumb mix. (recipe below)

 

Breadcrumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • I clove of garlic, crushed finely
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbs of chopped fresh herbs, any will do ( I used rosemary and parsley)

Breadcrumb mix method:

  1. Pour some olive oil into a frying pan then add the breadcrumbs. Toast a little.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and warm through.  Put aside.

 

Pasta and Ingredients were courtesy of Vetta Pasta and KeepLeft PR

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Deanna’s Ice Cream Birthday Party with Harry

Deanna Ice cream birthday party

Do you know it’s International Ice cream month? No? well, you do now…

It just so happens July is also Deanna’s birthday month. What better way to celebrate than having an ice cream party. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne, ice cream is always welcome with my family.

Deanna was lucky enough to create her very own flavour to celebrate. Harry’s ice cream asked us to create a flavour that they would make for us in their factory in Brunswick. After many discussions between Deanna and myself, we came up with…

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Cotton Candy ice cream with marshmallow pieces and strawberry swirl. It definitely is a fun flavour with a touch of a princess 🙂

Along with the Cotton candy ice cream, we were also sent Pavlova and sticky date flavoured ice creams. O.M.G. that sticky date! I had various toppings that our guests were able to add.

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We had our family over to help celebrate and had lots of fun doing it.

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Thanks to Harry’s Ice cream, we were able to have our creation made up in a couple of weeks. It usually takes 6 months of research to develop their perfect flavours before it hits the freezer shelves of Woolworths supermarkets. You can see Harry’s full range here or you can also see my recipe of Leche Flan Ice cream using Harry’s base ice cream recipe here.

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Lots of Pizza eating during the Melbourne Pizza Festival 2013

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Melbourne Pizza Festival is on right now.  For more information, read about it here.

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I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend a couple of events.  I was also honoured to have met the Pizza Festival Director, Matteo Rubbettino.  Matteo created this festival because he wanted Australians to experience the variations of pizzas from different regions and to showcase the pizza makers that create their pizzas with passion and skill.

I attended my first event at Feldman’s in Fitzroy where Chef Andrea Caroli, works his magic on creating delectable pizzas.  Along with Jason Pitt looking after us, my pizza experience at Feldman’s was a memorable one.

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Hubby and I enjoyed 2 pizza’s  at Feldman’s.  One was the Bocconcini,  gorgonzola, semi dried figs, prosciutto.  This pizza is one of their more popular ones.  The sweetness of the figs counteracts the saltiness of the prosciutto and gorgonzola.  It was fantastic.

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Also tried the Tomato, fior di latte, italian sausage, mushroom, smoked scarmoza.  I’ve never had fior di latte (mozzarella made from cow) or scarmoza cheese before, so I had to try this one.  It, too was tasty.  I’m glad we made the right choices.

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Our second Pizza festival event was at Za-Za’s in Richmond.  Za-Za’s is a trattoria in true casalinga style: warm and welcoming, expressive and passionate, with plentiful food and excellent coffee.  The service is friendly and personal.  Morena Miceli likes to make sure her customers are well fed and happy when they leave.  This time hubby and I decided to take the kiddies along as they too, love pizza and we knew they would enjoy the true taste of pizza served at Za-Za’s.  And, of course, they did.

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We tried The Bufalina Pizza, which  has Italian tomato salsa, local buffalo mozzarella by Giorgio Linguanti of That’s Amore Cheese, basil & E.V.O Oil  It was light and fresh.  There was plenty of sauce and cheese.

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We also tried the Pucinella Pizza, which was amazing.  It is half Margherita & half Calzone filled with leg ham &  Fior di Latte.  The ham in the calzone was amazing and full of flavour.

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I’m glad we attended events of the Pizza Festival.  It gave us the opportunity to try authentic pizzas at amazing restaurants.

If you want to attend events, you still have time.  The festival will come to a close this Sunday 30th June 2013 where a closing event will be held.  You can purchase tickets to attend.  It’s $25 for all-you-can-eat pizza.  Now that’s a deal!  Check out their website here to find out how to get your hands on these tickets.

I attended the 2 events courtesy of Kathryn from Keepleft PR and Matteo of Pizza Festival.

Buon Appetito,

Cherrie

Eco Burger from Lord of the Fries

All Melbournians have heard of Lord of the fries. And all have an opinion of them. Like it them or not, they have become a Melbourne icon. Lord of the Fries are a Melbourne based chain that pride themselves on providing fast food made with locally sourced ingredients. All of the menu is vegetarian and there are also, gluten free, vegan, halal and kosher options.

I was invited to try their new burger called the Eco burger. It is the classic 100% vegetarian faux meat LOTF pattie with Beetroot Darwin sauce and Mozerella cheese. To be honest, I've never been one to go out of my way to eat a vegetarian burger but I found this burger really tasty and worthy of the drive to their Chapel street store. As a meat lover, there's no fooling me that the patty is not meat but none the less, it was perfect as a vegetarian option. So a vegetarian or not, I think people need to try out this new burger because it's that good.

Of course, no trip to Lord of the fries is complete without an order of their chips. We ordered the Large box ($6.95) with the African sauce (extra $2) which is their Belgian mayo plus ketchup plus onions. Super tasty and they were very crispy.

I tried the new Eco burgers courtesy of Keep Left PR Agency and Lord of the Fries.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie