Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Myrtille Bistro, Crow's Nest - Review

I don't usually write reviews for the blog these days, but Mr P. and I were so happy with our lunch at Myrtille (French for blueberry) that I just had to write one!  I know many of you lovely readers are not from this area, but you can get a feel for this charming place.  Hubby and I headed off to Toowoomba for a weekend break, he to attend a building designers' awards night, and both of us to enjoy my post-birthday lunch. 

‘Twas a very foggy, rainy, grey day when we headed out to Crow’s Nest for lunch.  Thank goodness Mr P. had booked, ‘cos lots of folks were being turned away, as the place was hopping.  The bistro is in a historical 1906 building which has been renovated beautifully; the restaurant has dark blue (blueberry like the name) walls with lovely lights and lots of glass doors and high windows.  A bar runs along one side; there are tables inside and out, and don’t forget the pâtisserie next door! 


'there's a clock on the wall' la la la ...

walking by ...

We ate: parmesan gougère with truffled egg and scallops for me, and hubby had housemade baguette with garlic thyme butter.  Both were excellent, and I was very happy to have a wee bit of the 500 gram (1 lb) truffle from the Granite Belt. The eggs were creamy, the scallops were sweet, and his bread and butter was generous.  We both chose the beef cheeks en daube, which was melt in your mouth, pull-apart with a spoon (yes they gave us a spoon too for the saucy bits). The Paris mash was divinely creamy and buttery and delicious, though I have to say the greens didn’t do anything for me.  I thought they were a bit too crunchy, though hubby thought they were fine.  I guess the dark green stuff was kale - the devil’s work :-) - so I left that to its own devices after a chew on its evil, green heart. Even though we were full, dessert was on the cards so I had an affogato with Frangelico, and I stole a few big spoonfuls of his (our) white chocolate mousse with blueberries, and passionfruit and sponge, oh and a wonderful birthday sparkler for moi! 

Service was wonderful, prompt, efficient and warm.  The atmosphere was lovely, the décor was sophisticated, and the food Frenchy and fabulous.  And the menu changes regularly according to the produce available.  (The toilets are interesting with a plethora of choices, as I said to hubby when he went off after me. At least the urinal was in a cubicle, thank heavens!) And they offered me a doggy bag for my uneaten beef, which was much appreciated.  In fact, several diners were given them, so clearly the serves are generous.  Well worth the road trip to get there, foodie people.  And you can do a wee bit of shopping in the lovely stores also in the building.  One of them had a gorgeous and wonderfully warm fireplace going.  Crow's Nest is one of the High Country Hamlets after all, so it gets cold!



baguette with garlic thyme butter

parmesan gougere, truffled eggs and scallops

beef cheek en daube

looking to the bar

moi, Mr P. and a birthday sparkler

affogato with Frangelico

white chocolate mousse, passionfruit,
sponge and blueberries (pre-sparkler)

exterior and sign

lovely old building

looking up and out

on Pipeline Road


Myrtille Bistro: Nolan's Block, 1 Thallon Street, New England Highway, Crow's Nest QLD

Ph: 07 4698 4164

email: hello.myrtillebistro@gmail.com


Friday, 1 July 2022

In My Kitchen - July 2022

Here I am writing this a wee bit early as Mr P. and I are heading off to Toowoomba for my post-birthday weekend.  He spoils me!  Presents, lunch, cake, a trip away ...  We went to an Italian place on the river (nope, no pizza here) with a couple of friends for my birthday lunch.  So delicious!  All three of them had crespelle, while I had melt-in-the-mouth snapper with hazelnut cream, beetroot and orange.  There are surprisingly few riverside restaurants in this river city, so it's lovely to sit here, to eat, drink and be merry.

Next month's IMK post will have more of the gifts I got.  But this post will show you one of my gifts from Mr P.  Lucky me :-)  I'm looking forward to seeing your goodies too.  Hope to see many of you here this month, my friends.  Everyone everywhere is welcome to join us!  Show us what you've got :)      


In My Kitchen:


I love Japanese foodstuffs, and this one has it all!

and some salmon caviar - hand milked I think!

there were raspberry muffins for a school fête

and I bought local honey (bees using nectar from up the mountain)

I froze blitzed tomatoes - cherry and truss

and broke off a piece to add to a curry (so handy)

I bought myself a Japanese Donburi bowl called Speckled Snow

and grabbed a jar of local cumquat marmalade

It's cumquat season here, so marmalade is the go.  Someone's mum made this (I saw it advertised on the Community Facebook page), so I scooped it up.  Cheap at this price of $8.00 for a large jar.


and finally jarred up the sauerkraut! Looks odd 'cos I used pink salt

the curveball! Where oh where will I hang it?


A gorgeous print called "Coming Home" by Susan Simonini.  She moved to Tasmania a few years ago and now paints outdoor scenes around her like this shed.  I love the colours and the simplicity of it.  Now I just have to drill the frame and attach a hanging wire.  Have you noticed that when you buy frames these days they don't have proper hanging wires?  Grrrrrr.  I had to buy some hooks, and I'll have to fire up the drill.


IMK posts are about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month.  Dying to see you all here, global friends.

Options for adding your post to IMK:

1. Add via the Add Link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under the Add your IMK link OR:

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it manually to the list below OR:

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any queries about the link process, or if you would like it to be added after the 13th ('cos I can sneak it in; I know the boss)


feel free to use the logo - or not!



You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Friday, 24 June 2022

Arrowroot Biscuits - À La Mrs. Crocombe Of Audley End

Does anyone else watch the English Heritage videos on YouTube from Audley End, a stately listed house in England?  I adore the cook - Mrs. Crocombe - as played by Kathy Hipperson, (along with several other re-enactors).  And I am a big fan of Dr. Annie Gray, the English food historian, who has also played Mrs. Crocombe.

This recipe is from the book How To Cook The Victorian Way with Mrs. Crocombe by Annie Gray and Andrew Hann.  So I thought this one looked good, and I made it, and it was a sad travesty of a biscuit.  Their fault?  My fault?  I think that our warm, humid Brissie weather has a vastly different effect than chilly Brit weather on a soft dough like this one.  So I determined to try it again, with a chilly twist.  And it worked beautifully!


golden, crispy and chocolatey - and blingy!

Here we have attempt number two.  The first time the dough was clearly too soft and turned into a big puddle after baking.  Also the instructions about which size of spoon to use, and the bit about dipping them in melted chocolate was seventy pages further in, as a tiny footnote to Mrs. Crocombe's original manuscript!  What the?!  It was sheer luck I found it at all.  But I'm very glad I persevered as they were "stonking" as YouTuber Barry Lewis often proclaims.


Kathy Hipperson as Mrs. Avis Crocombe

Recipe by Mrs. Avis Crocombe (adapted by Dr. Annie Gray and Andrew Hann)

Makes about 24: (I made 26!)

ingredients:

115g./4 oz butter, softened (not melted)

140g./5 oz caster sugar

85g./3 oz plain flour

85g./3 oz arrowroot flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2-1 scant tsp orange flower water

100g./3.5 oz chocolate - dark or milk, your choice

Bling, if you like - I added lots of gold and silver and multi-coloured balls and sprinkles


Method:

Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl

Sift the plain flour and the arrowroot flour together in a separate bowl

Vigorously stir the beaten eggs into the butter and sugar, adding some of the flour mixture as you go, so it doesn't curdle

Then fold in the rest of the flour mixture, and the orange water

Now into the fridge for at least 30 mins. or the freezer for 15 mins.

Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto lined baking trays - six fits nicely on a tray, so you will need to make a few batches (and keep the dough in the fridge in between batches)

Bake for 15 minutes at 180C/350F till the edges are golden

Cool for a few minutes on the trays, then place onto wire racks

Once cool, melt the chocolate (I used Lindt milk) and brush it over the tops with a silicone brush, or just dip them in bodily

And bling like crazy!

Notes:

I suggest using small to regular eggs.  I only had large eggs, which I feel were too much!  Remember that Victorian-era eggs were smaller than current day eggs

These biscuits like to spread so leave plenty of room on the trays

I didn't have enough arrowroot flour so I had to add some cornflour (cornstarch to American cooks?) to bulk it up.  I was thinking of using some rice flour but apparently you have to halve the amount, so I thought that was way too confusing :-)



ingredients gathered

add the beaten eggs once you have creamed the butter and sugar

start stirring in the flours

flours and orange water beaten in

dough ready for the fridge or freezer - a heart or a bottom? :-)

ready for some baking @180C for 15 mins. 

slightly burnt broken-up scraps of biscuit - 1st sad attempt

They stuck together in a huge puddle of slightly burnt dough!  Mr P. said they tasted good anyway.


golden and crispy - yay, successful 2nd bake!

brushed with milk choc and blinged up!

and plated nicely :)


© Sherry M.

This is the Maranta arundinacea plant (also known as arrowroot); the one most commonly used to make arrowroot flour though other plants are also used.  It is a large perennial herb with an edible rhizome, from which they make the flour.


Friday, 17 June 2022

Spicy Tomato Relish - By Long Track Pantry

I finally got to visit Long Track Pantry when we took our road trip to Canberra last month.  I've been buying online from them for years, so it was great to finally get there.  There is almost nothing in the tiny, wee town of Jugiong except them and a few holiday cottages for rent.  Rather expensive holiday cottages I might add.  Fortuitously, Long Track emailed out their tomato relish recipe recently, so voilà, here we have it.  And it worked brilliantly; it tastes just like theirs (funny that).

We had a great road trip down to Canberra, where we visited our nephew and his hubby.  We met up with a Brisbane friend who flew down, so we could all go to the National Portrait Gallery (London) exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra).  We had a fab weekend, visiting a number of galleries and eating Turkish food on election night.  There was just we three eating in, as I assume locals were glued to their tv's (yes, you do need an apostrophe here), watching the election results.  Yay Labour got in!  This is a sweet relish, my friends, and very delicious.  You could try making it with slightly less sugar, but somehow it all melds together at the end. 



relish on the way!


Makes 2 jars X 250 mL/7 oz

ingredients:

1 kg/2.2 lb tomatoes - any kind, any size

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp whole cloves (yes, really!)

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp sea salt

a big pinch of cayenne or up to 1 Tbs of chilli flakes

1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine vinegar

200g./7 oz white sugar or caster sugar


Method:

First blitz your tomatoes in a food processor, or mash them up really, really well - with gusto, as Mr P. says

Put everything except the sugar into a large saucepan

Simmer gently for 30 minutes

Then stir in the sugar, bring back to the simmer and let it simmer away for another 30 mins. or so - mine took a bit longer to thicken up, so about 1 hour 10 mins.  Be aware that this is a loose relish, so it won't thicken up like a chutney or jam

Spoon/pour into sterilised jars or bottles; seal and whack into the pantry or fridge, depending on which climate you reside in :-)

Will keep for a year apparently, but not in our household - we love it!


gather your ingredients

blitz your tomatoes

chuck everything bar the sugar into the saucepan

and simmer

then bottle or should I say - jar it?

and whack on a label :-)



© Sherry M.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Apricot Turkey Meatloaf - And Don't Forget The Eggplant

 Mm yes this does sound a bit odd, I'll admit.  (Or as a Brissie mate said: 'a perplexing mix'.  But I think sweet and sour eggplant is a thing :-)  This recipe started out in a magazine called Taste (March 2022 issue); the recipe is for a chicken, apricot and bacon meatloaf.  But I only had turkey mince in the freezer, and we don't eat bacon these days so ... baked eggplant slices it was.

I actually made the eggplant a day ahead of time, so it was all ready to go the next day.  It took quite a while, what with the slicing and the oiling and the baking ...  I do find it a wee bit irresistible I must say.  I don't know how people can detest eggplant.  What is wrong with them?? :-)  Just kidding - sort of.  Maybe it's like the coriander thing, where it tastes like soap?  In fact, Mr P. said he thinks the eggplant was a much better choice than bacon!


a tasty dinner


(Recipe adapted (a fair bit) by Sherry M.)

Serves 4-6:

ingredients:

For the eggplant slices: 

I used 640g./23 oz eggplant, sliced thinly  (see notes)

2-3 tsp sea salt flakes

4-5 Tbs EV olive oil 

(OR use 10 rashers rindless streaky bacon)

70g./2.5 oz dried apricots

enough boiling water to cover them in a heatproof bowl or jug

1 large egg

500g./18 oz turkey or chicken mince

70g./1 cup fresh or dried breadcrumbs - I used panko

40g./1.5 oz packet French Onion soup mix 

2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tbs chives, chopped

55g./⅓ cup pistachios, roughly chopped - plus 1 Tbs extra to throw on top of the meatloaf

30-40g./1-1.5 oz apricot jam

1-2 tsp water to thin out the jam for glazing the top

For the salad:

1 bunch watercress, picked over - or green leaf of your choice

1-2 long cucumbers - sliced, diced or peeled into ribbons

2 spring onions/shallots, finely sliced

a handful of red grapes

a handful of pine nuts (or pistachios)

fresh parsley and chives, chopped

black pepper, to your taste

2 Tbs olives - of your choice

1-2 Tbs EV olive oil


Method:

If using the eggplant, bake the oiled and salted slices on lined baking trays for about 25 mins. at 190C/375F, till tender and pliable

Leave to cool, or put in fridge till the next day or whenever making the meatloaf

Put the apricots into a jug or bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soften for 10 minutes

Then drain 'em and chop 'em roughly - well, coarsely or whatever

And into a large mixing bowl they go, along with the egg, the mince, the breadcrumbs, the soup mix, the parsley and the pistachios

Get your hands in there, and give it a good old mix till well combined

Now grab a loaf tin (mine is 23x12x6cm/9x5x2.5in), line it with baking paper, and place the eggplant (or bacon) slices over the base and all around the sides of the tin, leaving an overlap which will cover the mixture 

Spoon the mixture into the tin, flatten down the top, then bring the excess eggplant over the top so you end up with a gorgeous wrapped up little baby

Shove her into the oven for 10 minutes, while you stir the apricot jam and water together in a jug

After the 10 mins., you brush half the jammy mixture over the top of your meatloaf, then back into the oven for about 15-20 mins.  Stick a skewer into it to check doneness! 

Brush the rest of the jammy mixture over the top, and throw on the extra pistachios (or pine nuts)

Leave to settle for a couple of minutes, then slice and serve with the salad


Notes:

I bought 2 eggplant which together weighed 780g.; then I trimmed them, and finally ended up using 640 grams all up, with a few slices left over

I luckily had some paper loaf tin liners in my pantry, which make life so much easier than using pieces of baking paper.  The original recipe called for using plastic wrap and shaping the mixture into a log, which you wrapped in bacon and placed on a baking tray etc etc  Nooooo ...

I ended up chucking most of the watercress to the birds.  By the time I had rinsed it, it was a soggy mess and life is just too damn short to pick over a bunch of watercress, my friends!


eggplant (baked)

ingredients gathered

ready for mixing

looks like a flower, or Audrey from the Little Shop of Horrors

after 10 mins. baking 

ready to serve

ready for the eating :-)

oopsie! this is when it was finished baking
(Blogger won't let me put this photo where it belongs!)




© Sherry M.