Pure Pies – oh my!

8 Comments
pie1
Pure Pie, 383 Bay Street, Port Melbourne. Phone: 9041 5004

The email offer of a free pie went barely noticed among the usual blizzard of spam and inane, clunky PR approaches.

But then Consider The Sauce spied the handsome pies in the display cabinet at a very groovy and fine Kensington cafe.

Upon hearing of their source, I lose little time in making my way to Port Melbourne to redeem my email offer.

Pure Pie, as well as being a pie factory, is a cool cafe space situated at the city end of Bay Street.

As such, there is a relaxed vibe quite different from the retail/hospitality hubbub further towards the bay.

And there’s heaps of parking capacity!

 

pie2

 

Along with my free pie – braised beef with red wine and rosemary ($8.90), the most establishment’s most popular I am told – I also get a pork, apple and fennel sausage roll ($5).

The sausage roll is good, with dense, firm sausage meat though – I feel obliged to say – not much by way of apple or fennel.

My pie is something else.

It’s tall, with fabulous pastry.

The filling is rich and flavoursome, with lusty beef chunks high in number.

Worth $8.90?

Yes, very much so.

 

pie4

 

So Impressed am I, that I buy a couple more pies to take home – chicken with corn, bacon and leek; and beef with Guinness and cheddar.

Bennie and I have them for dinner a few night’s later.

 

pie5

 

Wow!

Served with great green beans dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, these pies constitute a meal for which we’d happily pay $20+ in a pub or restaurant.

Look at the meatiness of our beef number.

How often does a chook pie seem all glutinous gravy and not much else?

So we’re very happy to eat a chicken pie that has multiple meat chunks packed with flavour.

I like Holly and Michael and their products so much, we’ve tentatively set a date for a Consider The Sauce event early in 2015.

Stay tuned!

Check out the Pure Pie website here.

 

Pure Pie on Urbanspoon

 

pie3

Chris The Barber

3 Comments

chris2

 

Chris The Barber, The Circle, Altona

It’s a beautifully sunny early spring day.

I breeze in to say hello to Chris The Barber.

I’ve been here for a haircut before, though he doesn’t remember me.

He’s one of the old-school barbers I revere and – sort of – collect.

They’re a dying breed.

I have it in the back of my mind to start a blog one day that will “collect” them. That’s something I may or may not get around to.

I have used the services of such man all over of Melbourne in all my time in the city.

They’re often of Greek or Italian extraction, although this year I’ve had a couple of “zero all over” cuts from an African gent in Flemington.

They recall for me barbers of my New Zealand childhood, it being very memorable that those establishments usually had lying arorund scruffy back copies of racy, slightly risqué mags such as Man.

Chris is the very epitome of his kind – kind, full of good humour and whatever the Greek word is for blarney.

He’s been in the game for 50 years.

He has posters of Bulldog teams of yore plastered on his walls.

 

chris1

 

I’ve never got the hang of shaving/cutting my own hair, most commonly these days scoring a $9 haircut in Vietnamese Footscray about once a month.

But somehow my grey locks have become what is for me quite shaggy, and as Chris has bugger all customers and I have plenty of time, I opt for something rare in my life these days – a head shave for $20.

What a treat!

I shaved my mush the previous day, but if I so desired I could have that done, too, for a superb extra $2.

After quickly clipping my fuzzy dome, Chris shaves it just once after lathering me up and unsheathing a fresh open blade.

But he’s slow, methodical and very, very good.

The result is as close to a baby’s bottom as any part of me is ever likely to be ever again.

And if it lasts an extra couple of weeks over and above my usual “zero all over” job, it’ll be worth every cent of my $20.

Anyway, that’s what I tell myself as I depart with a smile.

 

chris3

ASRC catering rocks!

Leave a comment

asrc11

asrc6

 

Consider The Sauce is at a family reunion in Northcote.

Actually, it’s more like a combined reunion and 30th, with not just family members but also friends and colleagues of birthday girl Nicole in attendance.

I fit into none of those categories but am being made to feel very welcome nonetheless.

It’s also a fancy dress event – and I have done my bit in that regard by turning up in full-blown ageing hippie regalia.

That’s a bald-faced lie, of course, in that ageing hippie is how I always dress!

And the food?

Oh, yes, that is very fine indeed.

 

asrc4

 

A few weeks before, I had received an email from Nicole.

She’s big fan of Consider The Sauce, is especially digging the recent community-based stories and could I suggest place along those lines to cater for her party?

I fired off suggestions she ignored completely – instead opting for the catering arm of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

That’s great, said I, I’ve been thinking of doing a story about them so let me know how it goes!

In fact … and thinking on my metaphorical feet … why don’t you let me blog your party, and then between us both we can give ASRC catering some well-deserved exposure?

To my delight, Nicole eagerly ran with the whole idea.

When I expressed my appreciation, Nicole said:

“It might be marginally preposterous, but if it helps the ASRC, then I’m all for it!  And anyone who knows me will not be at all surprised at this – you have to take interesting opportunities when they arise!”

Obviously, she’s my kinda gal!

 

asrc2

 

So it was that I spent an hour or so with ASRC sous chef Natasha in the Brunswick kitchen.

(As most readers probably know, the Melbourne base of the ASRC is these days in Footscray, but the catering wing will not be making that move until early in 2015.)

Small world department – Natahsa is a Werribee resident who previously worked at Cornershop in Yarraville and has also worked with Jess of Pod @ P.I.D.

But she really, really likes her ASRC gig, which she has had for a couple of years.

It’s mostly minus the crazy hours of restaurant work and she gets a great deal of satisfaction from working with and helping train asylum seekers from many parts of the world.

In this way, the catering business helps people rebuild their lives and is a source of income for ASRC itself.

 

asrc1

 

The food is all vegetarian – this not only avoids any cultural or religious issues with the asylum seekers but is also increasingly seen as an asset and selling point.

Nicole’s party is at the smaller end of the sorts of events ASRC caters, which include weddings and anniversaries and corporate awards ceremonies.

Finger food is the most popular option and plain, no-frills the most common form of delivery, though that can range right up to delivery accompanied by full service and staff

Nicole has chosen two dishes from the ASRC catering “lunch box options” – caramalised onion polenta baked in a rich tomato herb sauce, roasted mushrooms and mozzarella; and chick pea and vegetable coconut curry served with jasmine rice.

 

asrc3

 

Other menu selections that caught my eye include …

Baya kyaw – Burmese split pea fritters, served with sweet chilli.

Dal kachori – a spicy snack popular throughout India and Pakistan. Golden
fried bread filled with spiced dal (black gram) and served with raita.

Akaree – a typical snack eaten throughout Africa, black eyed bean fritters with onion, chilli and ginger, fried to perfection with a red capsicum and peanut sauce.

Fattoush – fresh cucumber, tomato, cos lettuce, feta cheese, and olives, tossed in lemon, garlic and olive oil topped with crispy sumac pita croutons.

Sudanese curry – a delicious stew of cannellini beans, tomato, eggplant and potatoes. Seasoned with cumin, cardamom and cinnamon, and served with our homemade yellow spice bread.

Tandoori vegetables – chunky, seasonal vegetables and paneer marinated in yoghurt and spice and roasted to perfection. Served with basmati rice.

ASRC cater can also provide beverages, including beer and wine.

For more information about ASRC catering go here, and for a full and extensive menu go here.

 

asrc5

 

Natasha and I make the brief journey from Brunswick to Nicole’s Northcote joint to find the party already in full swing.

Nicole grins when she tells me that she has evolved a simple way of avoiding any misgivings the assembled guests may have about the vegetarian fare she is offering them – she is simply not going to tell them.

She’s going to feed them instead – and it works a treat!

I really like the chick pea curry, which is packed with a variety of vegetables and has a rich gravy not unlike that of a massaman curry.

The trick there is the use of coconut milk – something I’ll be sure to try next time a cook with chick peas. It’s a nice alternative to the usual tomatoes/onions/spices combo.

There’s more food here, mind you, than just the fine ASRC offerings – there’s birthday cake, a tardis full of lollies and more.

Thanks to Nicole and her extended family for making me feel so welcome and to Simone and Natasha at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre for helping make this story happen.

 

 

asrc7

asrc9

asrc12

So good in Meadow Heights

6 Comments
mea3
Meadow Heights Classic Lebanese Bakery, 19/A Meadow Heights Shopping Centre, 55 Paringa Boulevard, Meadow Heights. Phone: 9309 8206
Sweet World, Shop 20, Meadow Heights Shopping Centre, 55 Paringa Boulevard, Meadow Heights. Phone: 9309 2552

Working at Airport West has changed the way I think about the Ring Road.

So, too, has the cessation of the long-running works that made the road a sometimes stressful route.

Instead of ploughing my way across the city, it now seems like a breezy avenue to foodie riches in the northern suburbs, especially on a sunny if cold Saturday with light, free-flowing traffic.

Take the Pascoe Vale Road exit, a few clicks past Broadmeadows central, turn left on Paringa Boulevard and I’m at Meadow Heights Shopping Centre.

It’s a mid-sized centre with a nice, relaxed vibe as folks go about their business.

Inside, there’s an Asian grocer, an IGA, a halal butcher and so on.

Outside to the left, there’s what looks to a pretty good Turkish kebab place and, right next door, a halal pizza joint.

On the right are the two businesses a colleague has given me a great tip about.

 

mea2

 

Meadow Heights Classic Lebanese Bakery has, I’m told, been on these premises for about four years.

But it’s got a lovely, warm, lived-in vibe and the staff are super.

The range of pies and pizzas is mostly regulation, superbly and cheaply priced, and attracting a steady stream of hungry customers.

I choose for my lunch, though, a pizza I have never come across before.

The zayban ($5, top picture) has tangy yogurt, fresh mint, olives, cucumber and tomato.

Right here, right now its seems like a brilliant contender for my meal of the year.

It’s perfect!

I grab four spinach and cheese pies for home use. They’re $3 apiece, also outstanding and more heftily filled than is often the case.

Then it’s time to switch from savoury to sweet and Lebanese to Turkish with a stroll right next door to Sweet World.

 

mea9

 

The baklava, as fully expected, is excellent and full of dusky flavour.

I like it that it is served in a modest, $1.50 size, too.

Coffee can be a bit of a lottery in such places, so I am happy to report that my $3 cafe latte is expertly done.

 

mea8

 

I get a modest package of take-aways here, too.

But not of the baklava or the other syrupy items; instead I get lovely looking, and buttery, cookies.

I know not the Turkish name for them, but they look awfully similar to Italian biscotti!

The wikipedia entry on this suburb is blunt: “Meadow Heights offers little in the way of attractions …”

Consider The Sauce disagrees!

 

Meadow Heights Classic Lebanese Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sweet World on Urbanspoon

mea1

mea4

mea5

mea8

mea6

mea7

mea11

CTS Feast No.9: Xiang Yang Cheng

2 Comments

x13

 

TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, CLICK HERE.

CTS Feast No.9: Xiang Yang Cheng, 672 Mount Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds. Phone: 9372 7128
Date: Thursday, August 21.
Time: From 7pm.
Cost: $25.

Driving towards a rendezvous with CTS Feast No.8, Bennie and I were discussing option for the next such outing.

“What about the hot pot place?” he asks.

Great idea!

As we had plenty of time to spare, we headed to Mount Alexander Road and put our proposal to the Xiang Yang Cheng team.

Once we discussed what’s involved, their answer was: “Yes!”

It’s on …

XYC is, we reckon, an ideal vehicle for a CTS Feast – it’s a cool restaurant with VERY interesting food, both of which we’re happy to endorse.

And we also reckon their super Sichuan hot-pot cooking is ideal for the enjoyment of a gathering of CTS friends … we hope you think so, too.

In our discussions with Peggy and Tracey, we looked at offering each table the same representative choices from the XYC line-up.

In the end, though, I decided it best to simply let the Team XYC to do the choosing from their very long menu, which you can check out in our CTS review here.

The XYC tables seat four, so we are throwing this invite open to 24 guests.

TO BOOK FOR THIS EVENT, CLICK HERE.

 

x17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best schnitzel EVER!

9 Comments
schnitzel1
La Morenita, 67 Berkshire Rd, Sunshine North. Phone: 9311 2911

Meeting a fellow blogger and her friends a few weeks back – at La Morenita as it happens – I casually mentioned that I am happy for Consider The Sauce to cover a restaurant or business more than once.

This occasioned surprise on behalf of one of my new friends.

Me, too, I guess!

It has never been planned.

But somewhere along the way this blog has become an ongoing journey so updates and second-looks seem natural as the western subrubs food scene develops and evolves, menus expand or change and people come and go.

After several “reviews” and before-and-after stories on two separate CTS Feasts, La Morenita certainly fits snugly into that continuing scenario!

And for that we make no apologies – this after all, in our opinion, is one of the true gems of the west.

What’s more, exciting things are happening at this fine Berkshire Road emporium, with revamps and extensions planned for both the premises and the menu.

After a “research trip” to Sydney, Marco and Maria will be rolling out for testing a number of new dishes on coming Sundays – they’ll be of a more substantial nature, to match the grouse range of sandwiches/burgers and empanadas already featured.

First up tomorrow (July 20) will be fried fish (barramundi) and beef schnitzel with chips and salad.

I, of course, misread Maria’s Facebook announcements and bowl up on Saturday – but Marco whips me up a schnitzel anyway.

Oh … My … Lord – it’s sensational!

The crumbed coating so crisp and unoily, the meat so thin, tender and tasty.

And what looks at first blush like somewhat ordinary accompaniments turn out to be perfect – the chips and, particularly, a simple salad of tomato and onion.

It’s big, mind you – really really really big. So much so the $20 price tag seems like a bargain.

Half of it went home with me.

Unless you are of pronounced appetite, this’ll do as a light meal for two.

Schnitzel? Latin-American food?

Yup.

Maria tells me schnitzel and chips is an absolute Uruguayan classic.

“This is what I grew up on,” she says.

Best way to keep track of what the weekly dishes will be is to like their Facebook page.

 

 

A sharing thing

3 Comments

host13

host16

 

Cooking Connections at Yarraville Community Centre, part of the Care To Share Project

CTS missed the first, Vietnamese outing of the Care To Share Project’s Cooking Connections program, but was very happy to make the weekend pairing as host.

Thanks to the Care To Share crew for granting me the opportunity (see link below for more information).

Thanks, too, to the punters – many from the west but more than a few from all over Melbourne.

But most of all, warm thanks to the families and individuals who shared their cooking and food with us.

There will be photos and comments about the food in this post, but really they’re only part of the story …

First up on the Saturday were Jamshid from Afghanistan, Sara from Iran and the family of Ebi, Roya and Maryam, also from Iran.

All these folks are on bridging visas.

 

host1

 

Maryam did a fine job of splitting the dates and inserting walnuts in them for the Persian sweet rangenak.

 

host5

 

But in the digital age, some things are universal with young folks.

 

host2

 

The guests lost no time in leaving their chosen seats to talk to the asylum-seeking cooks.

Jamshid was busy making korme koftas, chicken biryani and Afghan pulao.

 

host3

 

Along with a stack of finely chopped greens – spinach, coriander, dill – dried limes went into the ghormeh sabzi prepared by Roya and Ebi.

 

host6

 

Jamshid’s lamb meatballs and Afghan pulao were fab …

 

host8

 

The ghormeh sabzi – with its greens, potato, lamb and red beans – was piquantly amazing.

 

host9

 

Everyone thought so!

 

host7

 

The walnut-stuffed dates were drizzled with pan-roasted flour mixed with oil and, finally, coconut for a suave “grown-up” post-meal sweet treat.

 

host12

 

On the Sunday, it was time for Rosa, her mum Nigest and niece Betty to present their Ethiopian cuisine.

The guests were split about 50/50 between those who had tried Ethiopian food and injera and those who had not.

The dishes cooked were lamb dishes key wat and tibs, and the cabbage, potato and carrot of key wat.

 

host15

 

Having long admired and respected the fresh zing with which our African cooks imbue their salads-on-the-side, I was tickled to discover how one family at least does it – marinating sliced green chillies in lemon juice and using it as a dressing.

 

host16

 

Once again, the guests lost no time in getting up close and personal with the cooks and the dishes they were cooking.

 

host18

 

For more information on the Care To Share Project, check out their website here and “like” their Facebook page here.

 

host19

host10

host17

host14