Sunshine Mosque – a personal touch

Leave a comment

mos2

 

Open day at Sunshine Mosque, 618 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9363 8245

Consider The Sauce would like to believe our dismay and disgust at the recent weeks’ deliberately inflamed anti-Muslim hysteria is universal across the land.

Sadly, though, having read much in the press of all kinds, on social media and various websites – luckily I am pretty much completely out of the loop when it comes to talkback radio – I know that is simply not the case.

But while these events have been unfolding, a thought bubbled up: “Why have I never been to a mosque?”

At very much the same time, the Cyprus Turkish Community of Victoria started publicising its “everyone welcome” open day – and we are only too happy to accept the invitation.

Predictably and joyfully, our visit is a whole lot of fun, full of friendly people with big smiles.

And, of course, we have our fill of the food on hand.

 

mos12

 

The cheese-and-spinach gozleme I enjoy is as good as it gets – hot of the hot plate, fresh and wonderful.

But the coolest event of the day has an unexpectedly personal note …

 

mos9

 

We have been on the mosque grounds just a matter of minutes when I run into my Star Weekly colleague Yasemin.

I’m surprised to see her, and she I.

But we shouldn’t be … after all, I did know she’s a local; and she, in turn, knows of my foodie/multicultural adventurer persona.

Yasemin is very busy selling tickets for the kebab operation but we nevertheless squeeze in some conversation.

For me, this is the western suburbs one-degree of separation at splendid work and a valued opportunity to see a colleague with whom I have in the past year finessed numerous stories as something other than a reporter to my sub-editor.

And for Yasemin, I hope (!), it’s a chance to see me as something other than a cranky, demanding, nitpicking pedant – perhaps as an openminded foodie blogger with untold curiosity and as a father.

That latter description being, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, very much how I see and define myself these days.

This is Yasemin’s mosque.

I ask her if she pretty much grew up here.

Her answer is: “Yes!”

 

mos15

 

After my savory appetite has been satisfied, I enjoy a super strong and sweet Turkish coffee with a deep-fried dessert called sam isi.

It’s filo pastry encasing semolina, and like so many treasured desserts from that part of the world, is sweet without being overly so.

 

mos10

 

I stop and have a yarn with Tammy of Stylish Sisters.

Tammy refers to herself as a “convert”, her husband being Somalian.

And, yes, she knows all about our favourite Union Road destination.

I love the name of her business – in my opinion, which in this context is worth no doubt very, very little – many of the “sisters” do indeed have style to burn.

 

mos3

 

Eventually, the presence at the event of a flagrantly mustachioed dude with a busy camera having been noted, Ekrem Fuldagli introduces himself to us.

Ekrem is the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Islamic Community of Victoria.

It’s a busy day for a busy man, but he makes time to escort us into the mosque proper and patiently answer my questions.

Ekrem has been in the chairman role for about a year.

He tells me it’s a challenging but rewarding role, involving as it does issues and projects both within the mosque community and its interactions with the wider world.

He describes the mosque community as very mainstream and relationships with the neighbours as just fine

The domed mosque interior itself is truly beautiful and, yes, it has what I would call a “spiritual” vibe.

Ekrem tells me the dome itself has no religious significance.

Rather it is all about acoustics and the oration requirements of the pre-electricity and pre-amplification times.

Sadly, other commitments mean we are unable to linger for the scheduled Q&A session to which I have been eagerly looking.

Maybe next time!

 

mos11

mos13

mos4

mos14

mos8

mos5

Cafe joy away from the main drags

3 Comments
wov8
Woven Cafe, 175b Stephen Street, Yarraville. Phone: 9973 5926

It was while scoping out the fit-out progress of Woven that I discovered, courtesy of a friendly local, that Stephen Street was once, many moons ago, actually the main drag of Yarraville.

All that changed, apparently, when the train line went through … and the main trading/retailing action switched to Anderson and Ballarat streets.

Makes sense really, as Stephen Street is a wide boulevard … it’s nice to see some activity returning to an area away from the village proper.

It’s sweet, too, for the four of us troupe off to try out the newly-opened Woven.

 

wov6

 

Disclosure – Dan, one of the Woven partners, and his family are a long-time CTS buddies and attendees of CTS Feasts.

But as this is an impromptu lunch, not Dan nor anyone else involved knows we’re coming, though we are outed soon after being seated.

Doesn’t matter – as on every other occasion when folks have twigged bloggers are in the house, the food we receive is the same as all the other customers.

So is the fine service.

Woven is a compact space that has been fitted out beautifully.

With its outdoor seating and smartly-chosen location, it’s a hit in the making.

The menu (see below) is tight and right, canvassing breakfast through lunch.

 

wov9

 

The other two lads opt for the “Bang Up Burger” ($18.50).

Both are really impressed.

Says the Bennie: “The cheese was nice, the salad was dressed, the patty was good, and the bacon and the sauce were good, too. It was all good! It all fitted together!”

The vibe I get from both Bennie and Julian is that this is a very enjoyable, solid burger.

Their meaty handfuls are abetted by “hand-cut twice-cooked chips”.

They’re fine things, indeed.

And with their skins and dimples and imperfections intact, they’re in the same tradition and mindset as the chips we get at this Newport joint.

If this is a trend we say: “Yay!”

 

wov11

 

I go the salad route with happy results.

The Moroccan chickpea salad with pickled carrots, fennel and tea-soaked currents ($16) comes with chorizo added for an extra $4.

Sometimes chorizo-added dishes – often pasta or salads – can be mean in the sausage department.

That’s certainly not the case here – there’s plenty of it, which is a good thing as it’s a mildly flavoured and seasoned dish and the chorizo adds needed spice and grease.

The carrots are only slightly pickled and I even add some salt.

But it’s all good, crunchy, fresh, wonderful and of very generous size – the chickpeas themselves are a buttery yellow and perfect.

 

 

wov10

 

The bread for Christine’s “lemon and herb chicken with aioli and rocket sanger” ($10) comes from another of our fave local haunts and my regular morning coffee stop.

The chicken tastes fine to me, and she gets the same chips on the side for an extra $3.

So … $13 all up? That’s a bargain right there!

We go without coffee – though with the other partner, Dave, at the coffee machine helm, I’m betting it’ll be brilliant when I do try it.

We hit the road for home and the other side  of the tracks, stopping by for a sweet, cool treat at yet another local fave – one that is, I’m told, also a supplier to Woven.

Choc orange for him, apple pie for her, lavender and white choc for Bennie and myself …

 

Woven Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

wov3

wov2

wov1

wov7

wov4

Southern style in Yarraville

1 Comment
fat4
Fat Thursdays by Bourbon Street @ The Commerical Hotel, 238 Whitehall St, Yarraville. Phone: 9689 9354

All your food trucks and fancy cafes are good and well, but we have to say we are happy and delighted to discover the Commerclal Hotel is up and running once again.

It’s only open three days a week but that’s a win when compared to the sad sight we observed whenever we drove past what seemed to be the abandoned Hyde Street institution.

Inside, all is as much as we recall – a scruffy, lived-in pub ambiance of a sort so hard to find these days that the Commercial almost comes across as a museum piece.

And there’s food – but only on Thursdays.

It is being provided by an outfit called Bourbon Street, which operates a lunch delivery service of southern American-style goodies to the Melbourne CBD and inner suburbs on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and to Yarraville, Seddon and Footscray on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

 

fat9

 

We like it that they’ve called their dine-in project at the Commercial Fat Thursday; we’re rather less impressed with it being called a pop-up – a term much over-used and misused.

As ever with this sort of food, I keep my expectations and hopes in check.

In this case there seems good cause, because despite the use of the names Bourbon Street and Fat Thursday, the in-house menu is studded with items not usually associated with the famously non-BBQ city that is New Orleans – “cajun brown rice” (huh?), pulled pork and jerk chicken among them.

Of course, this is Melbourne, this is the west and in the end I’m oh-so-glad I don’t get hung up on stuffy notions of authenticity – for what Bennie and I have is a fine meal indeed.

We order a main apiece and then load up on the sides (see menu below).

 

fat6

 

We rather regret getting our BBQ beef and jerk chicken with the rice rather than in roll form. The rice is OK but rolls would’ve been more in keeping with our dinner’s flavour.

My beef and his chicken are fine.

But it’s the sides that do it for us.

The prices are very cheap – surely the cheapest for this sort of food in Melbourne.

At places around town that serve similar fare, getting the number of sides we split between us would result in a rather hefty bill for what is meant to be blue-collar food.

No such problem at Fat Thursday – it falls comfortably inside the cheap eats realm.

But there’s nothing cheap about the quality and the serves are of a good size.

 

fat10

 

 Fried okra – whole, freshly battered and yummy.

 

fat7

 

Potato salad – very nice.

 

fat5

 

Corn that is just corn but that fits right well with the rest of our meal.

 

fat11

 

Coleslaw – very nice.

We also get mac ‘n’ cheese, which tastes good but is a little on the dry side, and jalapeno cornbread, which comes in the form of three small muffins – they’re good, studded with corn kernels and have a delicate spice glow going on.

It’s been a cool hoot to sit in the venue of so many previous happy times – all of them pre-CTS – and eat some pretty good southern-style food without feeling in the slightest bit inhibited by the pricing.

 

Bourbon Street @ the Commercial Hotel on Urbanspoon

Commercial Hotel on Urbanspoon

fat1

fat8

fat2

Road trip to Trentham, mind blown

7 Comments
hub15

hub16

Growers, Cookers & Eaters 2014 – presented by the Trentham Food Hub
Trentham Mechanics Institute, Saturday, October 11

Consider The Sauce has always taken an extremely broad and self-serving approach to what constitutes “western suburbs”.

But still, I procrastinated about whether to attend the Trentham Food Hub’s Growers, Cookers & Eaters bash.

Having taken the plunge and bought my ticket, however, I am oh-so-happy to be hitting the road with some hot music late on a Saturday afternoon with the sun shining.

Western suburbs?

Sure!

Head up the Calder, turn left at Woodend, keep on going – easy!

 

hub17

 

I’m told this is the third Growers, Cookers & Eaters event.

The party is just one of the activities that make up the Trentham Food Hub, which sees as its vision to create “a vibrant network of informed, passionate and creative people working together within the community to expand the capacity of our local food and fibre industry”.

I’ve never been to Trentham before, so make sure I arrive early enough to introduce myself to Justin, the event’s organiser, and have enough time to have a wander up and down and through the town’s CBD and main drag – such as they are.

It’s all gorgeous and there is a good deal of foodie activity of one sort or another that all looks very appealing.

CTS will be heading this way again!

The delights keep on piling up, one atop another, as I survey the venue – the Trentham Mechanics Institute is a cool old-school hall and I’m already smiling.

I choose a table and wait to see, in the lottery that accompanies such events, who my dining companions will be.

 

hub18

 

I’m very happy to spend the evening in the company of Janine and Alan from Bullarto South (“the Paris end of Bullarto”) and  Robert and Kim from Castlemaine.

Through the course of the night we have many laughs and much lively conversation over a wide range of topics – even canvassing, rather foolishly but with no great mishap, politics and religion.

And, of course, food.

The evening is set up in both a degustation and buffet styles.

I’m usually lousy at buffet eating, always going way too hard too early on the starters and entrees.

Tonight, I nail it by pacing myself. It helps that during the course of the day I’ve skipped breakfast and have eaten only a pair of bananas.

I’m hungry.

 

hub20

 

Here’s where it’s at - Growers, Cookers & Eaters 2014 turns out to be one of the peak CTS food experiences of this or any other year.

There’s paper napkins.

The plates are cleared either by hard-working volunteers or by us guests ourselves.

But the food is mind-blowingly amazing and the happiness in the room tangible.

Truth is, purchasing what we eat a la carte at the sorts of restaurants and pubs that serve this kind of food would cost much, much more than our $65 ticket price.

What a bloody great bargain!

 

hub19

 

Warm olives, terrific sourdough bread and potted meats – pork rillette and pate de tete, both from Jonai Farms – make a fine starter.

With the arrival of the chicken salad (pictured at top), I start to realise this going to be a very special evening indeed – such wonderful freshness and flavour!

 

hub13

 

It’s a testament to the slow-roasted shoulder of lamb that it requires no carving – the serving platters come equipped with forks to pull the meat apart.

Oh boy – it’s wonderful, served with baby carots, a wild tabbouleh and yogurt!

 

hub10

 

The yearling pig, served with carrot puree and salad, is another juicy delight.

 

hub22

 

Later in the evening, our table is joined by Tammi from Jonai Farms, which produced the pork. It’s interesting talking with her about her family’s farming and her own journey to becoming a fully-fledged, muscle-bound butcher!

 

hub8

 

Some folks seem a little nonplussed by the potato gnocchi with flaked, smoked Tuki trout and cannellini beans in a saffron sauce.

I like it as a rustic, austere contrast to the richness that is going on around us.

 

hub7

 

Roasted Sidonia Hills beef?

Simply, and by quite some distance, the best roast beef I have ever encountered.

So very, very juicy and flavoursome, it’s perfectly joined by roast potatoes and fennel and a beautiful tied bundle of baby leek, carrot and asparagus.

The beef, I’m subsequently told, is scotch fillet cooked for 38 hours at 55 degrees using the sous vide method.

By this time I’m just about bouncing of the ceiling with happy.

 

hub6

 

The only dish that leaves me less than wowed is the apple and cashew tart – just OK in my book.

 

hub2

 

But the pear poached in spice pinot noir and served with luscious Inglenook Dairy cream is fab – the still-firm pear really does taste like it’s been cooked in mulled wine.

Well done to Justin and his team – the event has been very well run, and on time.

I’ve managed to make a single bottle of cider go the whole night, so I’m good to drive and have enjoyed a wonderful cafe latte with my dessert.

As I depart, I tell my table friends, in all sincerity, that I hope to see them next year.

And circumstances permitting, that is just what I plan to do – with Bennie along for the ride.

And maybe even with a gang of our CTS foodie pals!

Who is up for it?

****

The food has been cooked by: Mark Mills from the Plough, Trentham; Gavin Draper from the Cosmpolitan Hotel, Trentham; John & Al Reid from RedBeard Bakery, Trentham; Gary Thomas from Spade To Spade, Daylesford; Andrew Dennis from the Grande Hotel, Hepburn; Tim Austin from La Bonta, Kyneton; Mand arika Oost from the Village Larder, Woodend.

The food has been supplied by: Ngelica Organics, Wombat Forest Organics, Daylesford Organics, Mt Franklin Organics, Duck Puddle Farm, Thomas Walsh, Trewhella Farm, Blackwood Orchards, Inglenook Dairy, Meredith Dairt, Holy Goat Cheese, Jonai Farms, Milking Yard Farm, Tuki, Mt Zero Olives, Barfold Olives and Flowerdale Farm.

 

 

hub3

hub23

hub5

hub14

hub21

Nice vibes in Moonee Ponds

5 Comments
ascot9

ascot4

320 Ascot Vale Road, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9370 2649

For many years, these Ascot Vale Road premises housed a corner store that was a bit of a secret – it stocked products and groceries of the South American/Latin American variety, including Jamon.

Alas that opportunity for CTS story has now gone, and in the store’s place is lovely cafe.

Ascot Food Store appears to be ideally place midway between the Puckle Street area and the eats region of upper Mount Alexander Road.

There’s heaps of residential blocks around here and I bet there’s plenty of locals who really, really loving having this new place so handy.

 

ascot7

 

I could be the world-weary scribe and say Ascot Food Store is just like so many cafes all over the place, including the west.

But that would be silly of me.

And it would be to deny the expertise and good cheer of the staff, the white-centric fit-out that confers a relaxed, tranquil vibe on the front room and two further inside, and the quality of the food.

It’s a very breakfast/lunch place, and – based on our meals (see menu below) – I’d describe the serves as light eating.

A hungry table of two who throw in a couple of sides and coffees will find themselves paying between $25 to $30 per person – the going rate these days for this kind of food in this kind of place.

And no complaints from us.

 

ascot1

 

My companion – Karma of alergicinmelbourne – likes her “Benedict” ($17) of poached eggs on top of an English muffin and shaved pork belly, all topped with bearnaise.

As far as I can tell, in this case anyway, “shaved pork belly” = “crackling” by any other name, so I can’t help but admire the sheer artery-clogging chutzpah of it.

 

ascot2

 

My “Apple Wood Smoked Ocean Trout, Freekeh, Roasted Caluliflower, Coriander, Cress, Shredded Kale” ($18) is fine, too.

The fish is a nicely hefty slab and beautifully cooked, though there is precious little smoky flavour.

The freekeh and cauliflower are indistinguishable, but the fish’s base is nicely most.

With the kale and salad bits, it all makes for a lovely, light lunch.

My cafe latte is very good.

Check out Karma’s take on our lunch here.

 

Ascot Food Store on Urbanspoon

 

ascot8

ascot6

ascot5

ascot3

West Welcome Wagon benefit – the wrap

Leave a comment

www3

www5

 

Plough Hotel/CTS Fund-raiser for West Welcome Wagon
Plough Hotel, 333 Barkly St, Footscray.
Tuesday, October 7, from 7-9pm.

Many, many thanks to everyone involved for making this such an enjoyable and worthy night.

Through a mix of ticket sales and our auction we all helped raise a handy figure of cash money to help West Welcome Wagon continue its amazing work.

Our friendly, terrific crowd included a number of CTS regulars and a bunch of WWW types – sometimes both at the same time!

 

www6

 

I had hoped to have WWW founder Mia address our mob, but the situation was a tad too noisy for that.

Nevertheless, Mia seemed to spend some time with all our guests and I hope she and her friends enjoyed the night as much as I did.

 

www2

 

The Plough staff were working very, very hard on what turned out to be a busy night but looked after us well.

The food – pizzas and a whole lot more – was truly fantastic.

I’d never run an auction before, and coming off a long day at my regular gig, I wasn’t sure I was up for it.

But it turned out to be a whole lot of fun!

So congratulation to Brigitte, who took home both the printer from Techville and the cookbook from the Sun Bookshop, and Amy who grabbed the lovely glassware from inviteme.

And thanks, too, to the other bidders who kept the interest levels high!

 

www4

www7

www1

www9

CTS Feast No.1: Brunch at Phat Milk

2 Comments

cdtsf101

 

CTS Feast No.10:
Brunch at Phat Milk, 208 Mt Alexander Road, Travancore. Phone: 9376 6643
Sunday, November 9, from 11am.

THIS EVENT IS BOOKED OUT! 

To book for this event go HERE.

 

Since my first visit to Phat Milk, it has become something of a regular.

I love the happy staff and the coffee.

And I’m working my way through the menu, being especially taken with the breakfast and lunch dishes that display a Middle eastern influence.

So I’m very happy to be hosting a Consider The Sauce Feast there.

This is a series of first for CTS – it’s the first cafe Feast and the first in daylight hours.

And to celebrate it being the 10th Feast, CTS will not take a cut of the ticket monies – and that means a sooper dooper tasty and affordable treat.

Get this – $10 will get you your choice of a dish from Phat Milk’s breakfast or lunch menus, juice and coffee.

But there are just 10 places available!

 

To book for this event go HERE.