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Mixed Mushroom Pasta

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One of my resolutions with this blog was that I shouldn’t apologise for any of my posts – after all, I’m writing it for me.  But, since I only intended to post these pictures as an Instagram collage, I didn’t really take very much care with taking them.  You should get the idea well enough though!

I’ve been getting my hair cut at Maison Tsumiki (then Tsumiki Hair Design) for a couple of years now.  They moved to the Cullen Hotel just opposite Prahran Market a year ago, which means that whenever I go for an appointment now, I also get a bonus gourmet shopping trip!  Coincidentally, they’ve just opened another branch at Emporium in the CBD, but my hairdresser is currently on a tour of Europe, and I just can’t trust my hair to anyone else.  And since it’s winter, I turned to Damian Pike, the Mushroom Man and the Fresh Pasta Shop to make an indulgent mushroom pasta dish for dinner.

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Burnham Bakery and Piggery Café Opening Weekend – Sassafras

Burnham Bakery and Piggery Café Opening Weekend – Sherbrooke

It was a slow Friday at work so when I saw this update on Shannon Bennett’s work at Burnham Beeches, I was interested but not too optimistic.  It’s very damp in the Ranges during winter, so their statement of “we just need a few dry days for the carpark to set” got a comment of “guess we’ll see them in September…”.  But I still faithfully checked their Facebook and Twitter accounts in the morning, and when it was confirmed that they really were opening, the Doctor and I bundled up and got going!

Piggery Cafe on Urbanspoon

Outside

We got there around 11:30am, and were politely warned that there was a “very long wait” for food as we entered.  Fair enough – it’s opening weekend and media coverage has been pretty extensive.  That being said, the carpark wasn’t 100% full, and most of the other guests seemed to be families and hikers.  I only saw a couple of other people with cameras, so I guess the blogger contingent had already been and left.

There were lots of tables outside, a few indoor benches in front of the takeaway counter, and a larger back area where the main kitchen and bathrooms were.

Back Eating Area

All of the benches had fresh salad greens, herbs, a toaster and an insert for cutlery, condiments and napkins.  Eating in gets you table service, but there’s a separate takeaway counter for pastries, coffee and bread.  We’d arrived during the cut-over from breakfast to lunch, so we just ordered some hot chocolate, a croissant with boysenberry jam and a lemon meringue tart.

The chocolate was thick and suprisingly dark – I’m guessing about 60% cocoa.  It was more fruity than sweet (sorry Celina) and delicious.  The croissant was buttery and flaky (as expected), but it was a bit difficult to spread jam on it when they only had steak knives available.  The meringue of tart was full of suprises, from the touch of honey to the oh-so ooey gooey marshmallow texture.  The lemon curd wasn’t too sour, but the meringue was definitely the star.

The decor is minimalist, but surprisingly cozy despite the polished concrete floors and walls.  I especially love the branch shaped coat hangers!  We were impressed with the water jugs and salad planters as well, recognising them as a brand that is made with biodegradable materials.

Counter Display and Takeaway Area

I’m not sure how often they will change the pastry offerings, but was a pretty varied selection.  Most of the bread had already sold out, and the coffee machine was roaring non-stop.  As I was lining up to buy bread to take home, they were setting out the salad choices for lunch.  Apparently you get a choice of salads when you order a lunch main - all of which are sourced locally or grown right in the vegie farms at Burnham itself.

My pick – if it’s still there when we go back – the broccoli and sweet chilli salad with garlic oil and crispy garlic.  It looked and smelled amazing (and contains 3 of my favourite things)!

The loaf we took home was their seed bread.  Unlike other seed loaves, the seeds themselves were very flavourful (Doctor mentioned just the bread itself smelled like peanut butter) and soft, so they don’t stick in your teeth.  I served it lightly toasted with olive oil, tomato slices, smoked sea salt and crumbled fetta.

Final verdict?  That I am very thankful that it’s close enough to be considered a “local” place that we can just head over to on a whim.  Because I see that happening.  A lot.

 

Food
We didn’t order very much, but loved everything that we had.  Two out of three items were pleasantly surprising (you know how hard it is to surprise me with pastry?!), so I’m intrigued to try more.  rating-rice_thumb4rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2rating-ricehalf
Ambience
Light, bright, warm and cozy.  The aesthetics totally match my tastes, except they could use a few more “soft” surfaces.  I’d still live there if I could.  rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2
Location
Literally “up the road” and less than 15 minutes away.  Cannot wait for the “proper” dinner style restaurant and other facilities to open!  rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2
Service
Big props to them on a massive opening weekend!  I suspect we might have been forgotten as a couple of “extra” takeaway hot chocolates found their way to our table.  All of the staff looked hurried, but had a smile for everyone (even the toddler who kept getting in the way).  I was also chuffed to get to say hello and congratulations to Shannon Bennett himself (!!!), though he was busy enough that I didn’t feel right asking for a photo with him.  Next time, maybe!  rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2rating-rice5_thumb2

 

Disclaimer: Sefie and the Doctor visited Burnham Bakery and Piggery Cafe on opening weekend, June 14th, 2014.  They paid for their own meals and drinks, except for two complimentary takeaway hot chocolates that were offered as “extras”.  This review is unsolicited and not sponsored. 

Natural Mathematics – Blue Lotus Water Gardens, Healesville

Blue Lotus Water Gardens, Yarra Junction

I tempted our little blogging group (Celina, Violet, Tobias and Jimmy – with the Doctor as bag boy) to come out to Innocent Bystander by promising them a photography trip to the Blue Lotus Water Gardens in Yarra Junction.  I have no idea where or when I first heard about them, but surely it was somewhere on the internet.  The first day of the Labour Day long weekend was clear and sunny, so we trundled out east in search of flowers and lunch.

Blue Lotus Water Gardens, Yarra Junction

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Innocent Bystander, Healesville

Brilliant sign at Innocent Bystander, Healesville

On the Labour Day long weekend, we spent a morning at Blue Lotus Water Gardens, then headed to Innocent Bystander for lunch.  Healesville is a favourite lunch destination of ours (Beechworth Bakery and the wonderful Healesville Hotel), so we thought IB would also be right up there.

Sadly, it was more of a miss than a hit.

Innocent Bystander Winery on Urbanspoon

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Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

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This year, I didn’t ask the Doctor what he wanted for his birthday cake.  I wanted brownies, and I hadn’t blogged about them yet.  Guess what he got :)

This is my go-to recipe for brownies because:

  1. It only uses butter and cocoa powder (which I always have around) instead of needing to melt chocolate (which I don’t have around because I’d just eat it).
  2. It totally has the laziest way to use baking paper ever.

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Paradise Road, Glen Waverley

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Paradise Road is a new kid on the Kingsway block – to me, anyway.  Ever since it opened, it’s always been That Place That We Really Should Check Out… said while we’re on our way out of Kimchi Hut.  I recently decided that I was not happy with my local Thai takeaway’s version of pad thai, so when we were planning our usual Glen Waverley dinner date, I suggested we finally try this place out.

Paradise Road on Urbanspoon

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