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Gastronomical ramblings

Yumtable Launch @ Quaff Restaurant

In this digital age, there are now a number of websites that offer online restaurant booking systems. While the recently-launched Yumtable website isn’t exactly the first website to do so, it is the first that combines online restaurant bookings with instant discounts! Reservations are instantly confirmed. There’s no need to print out any vouchers. Easy peasy! For more information and to browse discounted restaurant offers, visit the Yumtable website. 

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In celebration of their launch, I was recently invited to attend what was dubbed The Yumtable VIP Influencers Night, held at Quaff Restaurant, and I would like to thank Yumtable for the opportunity to attend. 

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Carpaccio of cured Atlantic salmon - with fennel salad and infused olive oil.

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The Vietnamese Prawn Cakes (Banh Cong)

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Summer is just around the corner, which means our veggie patch in the back garden is constantly bursting to the brim with fresh lettuce and Vietnamese mint. DIY rice paper roll dinners provide a delicious way to keep up with supply as we pile on the greens. One of my favourite rice paper roll filling is with Vietnamese prawn cakes (banh cong) and I recently learnt the recipe for my parents’ version. 

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups self raising flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large onion, minced

2 cups water

2 cups cooked mung beans

500g small prawns, deveined and heads removed

1/2 litre vegetable or sunflower oil for deep frying

Lettuce, mint, nuoc cham, rice paper and/or rice vermicelli noodles to serve

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The salmon, avocado & dill linguine

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted on a cooking adventure (thesis writing, full time work, blah blah blah) but I thought I’d squeeze in an easy one. I made this dish a while back and will probably be revisiting this recipe later this week to carb load in preparation for Sunday’s half marathon (eeeeep!). 

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Ingredients

500g linguine pasta, cooked according to the packet’s directions

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3/4 cup cream

200 g smoked salmon

100 g hot salami (optional)

1 large avocado, cut into cubes

3 tablespoons chopped dill (and extra for garnishing)

1 tablespoon capers

2 tablespoons dried chilli flakes

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (and extra for serving)

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Tyrrells Night In

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Tyrrells English Crisps has now splashed down in the land down under and to celebrate the arrival of the Iconic British chip brand, I was invited to attend a jolly good night in with plenty of chip tastings, some pampering and the screening of a classic British film. I would like to thank Tyrrells English Crisps and 360 Immerse Agency for the opportunity to attend. 

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Guests were treated to some massages, provided by Lisa Melina Brow and Beauty Boutique, and also received some samples to take home. 

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Our movie for the evening: Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Ahhhhh, Mr Darcy… 

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With packets of Tyrrells crisps strewn across the venue (we were greeted with a whole walkway of chip packets upon our arrival!), there were plenty of tastings on the night. By the end of the evening, I had munched my way through three different flavours. Flavours on offer include Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar, Mature Cheddar & Chives, Sweet Chilli & Red Pepper, Lightly Sea Salted and Sunday Best Roast Chicken. In comparison to other chip brands, I found the Tyrrells line of flavours subtler and highlighted rather than overwhelmed the natural potato flavour of the crisps. The salt and vinegar flavour was particularly distinct, with quite a pronounced vinegar over salt presence that culminated in a pleasant, sweeter than usual taste.   

Other munchies encountered on the night: 

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Mini bruschettas.  

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Mini pizzas. 

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Mini quiches. 

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Cheese and spinach puffs. 

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Some more take home goodies. On another note, I spied a Lobster, Chilli & Garlic flavour on Tyrrells’ UK website. Here’s hoping that flavour pops up on our shelves sometime soon…  

Food adventure @ Rochford Winery Restaurant (Isabella’s)

With its location not too far from the CBD, Yarra Valley provides the perfect escape for Melburnians without the need of spending too long on the road. Gourmands visiting this region have more than their fair pick of wineries and gourmet destinations to choose from, with one such venue being Isabella’s at the Rochford Winery. The lovely Peach-water received an invitation to dine at the restaurant courtesy of Rochford Winery, and I attended as her guest. 

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The weather was downright miserable, but the slap of rain against the floor to ceiling windows coupled with the crackling fireplace created a comfy vibe that made me feel right at home. That and the food coma that kicked in afterwards… 

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The bread’s crust packed much crunch and the bread itself was quite soft, with an elastic, doughy texture. Paired with a sensationally creamy butter, I had to exert much self-control to prevent myself from filling up on the bread! 

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Crab cakes - Blue swimmer crab and potato cake with lemon aioli & watercress. 

The crab cakes were comprised of a blend of creamy, soft and herbed potato mash with slivers of crab flesh mixed throughout. The crab flavouring was further compounded by whatever flesh you could fish out from the claw and the contrast provided by the cleansing taste of the herbs. 

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Blackmore’s wagyu tartare - Peter Blackmore’s full bred Yarra Valley wagyu tartare with quail egg yolk. 

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Food adventure @ Man Mo, WTC

Depending on which side of the Yarra River you’re on, riverside dining options are either scant or plentiful. A recent addition to what I refer to as the quieter side of the river is Chinese/Malaysian and seafood-orientated restaurant, Man Mo, at the World Trade Centre. I was invited to attend a dinner at the restaurant, and I would like to thank Man Mo, Asset 1 and Harvey Publicity for this opportunity. 

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One minute, you’re walking along the bank of the Yarra towards Man Mo, take a step through the doors and before you know it… you’re in China! With the black and red theme well defined by the darker wooden tones and hanging traditional lucky charm tassels, the sleek outfit of the restaurant screamed oriental. 

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Scallop & egg lettuce leaf.

With the crispy rice flakes and silky egg pieces forming the backdrop for the fresh and well-cooked Western Australia scallop, all wrapped in a lettuce cup, the dish essentially tasted like a scallop fried rice in san choi bao form!

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Baked crab shell - Blue swimmer crab meat with onion, bacon and mushroom, with a sprinkle of crumb and shredded cheese. 

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Food adventure @ Supernormal

A little while ago, the lovely Peach-water and myself met up for a super spontaneous food adventure at Supernormal. So spontaneous was this adventure that we didn’t even know we were going to dinner until the eleventh hour! 

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Fortunately for us, we were able to score a table easy peasy at 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening. Not so much the case for those arriving later, with the expansive space all filled up from about 8pm onwards.

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Moonlight Flat Rusty Wire oyster.

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Creamy and fresh - everything you would want in an oyster! 

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Smoked beef, mustard leaf and clam mayonnaise. 

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