Boozy Breakfast? Genius comes to Braddon at Elk & Pea

Andrew and Emelia My Kitchen Rules at Elk and Pea, Braddon Canberra

The Elk and Pea Eating House in Braddon is well renowned for their top-notch breakfasts and satisfying lunches. We were a little excited to be going as we’d been invited for their new boozy breakfast.

We love the ambiance of the place; deep dark old world tones contrasted with bright whites set a modern and creative feel.

And then it came: The Grande!

The Grande at Elk and Pea, Braddon
The Grande at Elk and Pea, Braddon

Ah bacon delicious bacon! This was not the stuff you get in Woollies, this is was a professionally smoked butchers job, smoky, salty and perfectly cooked. The bean and corn salsa had great flavour: cumin, garlic and tomato in perfect balance. The chorizo – now let me tell you something about this chorizo – spicy spicy spicy. Deeply satisfying when you combine this with the wilted spinach and perfectly poached eggs. This is my kind of breakfast, poached eggs, sourdough toast, sausage, a great chilli condiment and a healthy green element. This was done extraordinarily well, the only minor criticism was that it was mildly over-salted, nevertheless it didn’t detract from this highly satisfying dish.

Em was awestruck with her Smashed Avocado and Shrooms!

Smashed avo and shrooms @ The Elk and Pea
Smashed avo and shrooms @ The Elk and Pea

Here is a direct quote from her as she tasted her food:

“I’m so glad we had smoothies this morning I was going to be hangry …”
… pause for silent contemplation…
“… OMG this is good!”

The mushrooms were sautéed in a tasty thyme-butter with smashed avocado, marinated feta, torn basil, poached egg on sourdough toast + mimosa cocktail. It had all the right flavours and little bite of basil throughout the dish which made it surprising and utterly… DELICIOUS!

The Elk and Pea are introducing their ‘Boozy Brekky’ from next weekend for a month. For $25 you get either a Smashed Avocado & Shrooms and a Mimosa or the Grande and a house beer.

Why miss out on all that deliciousness?? Check ‘m out 🙂

The Elk and Pea website

 

The Elk & Pea on Urbanspoon

Human Brochure weekend

After so many weeks of discovering Canberra and sharing it with everyone our Human Brochure weekend came along. For weeks the weather had been amazing! So we planned a bit of an outdoor adventure for our interstate guests – Claire and Courtney, Andrew’s sister and partner from Sydney.
We were so excited! We found out that our VIP experience would learning to make sourdough bread and croissants at our favourite bakery – Autolyse!!!! YAY!!!! OMG

Our outdoor adventure was for the first day we thought a nice cruisy bike ride would be perfect after all the eating and drinking we would be doing!!!

Impossi-ball Cake – an Andrew & Emelia Invention!

Andrew and Em finally did it!
We’re really sorry we haven’t been posting any reviews lately guys, we’ve been busy in the kitchen!
Impossi-ball Cake
Impossi-ball Cake
Andrew loves cranberry juice, how it floods the palate with refreshing, tart deliciousness. He also loves soup-dumplings, you know, the kind where you bite into it and the soup is inside the dumpling.
Put 2 and 2 together and you’ve got a really shitty dumpling. NO SILLY!! The idea is for a dessert chocolate-ball filled with juice or cocktail which pops in your mouth, overwhelming the taste buds with juicy gloriousness. Some didn’t think it was possible, but we knew it could be done!
Now if some of you are saying: “hang on, liqueur chocolates have been around forever!” you’re right. But we’re not making a liqueur chocolate as you know it. This is a different concept… instead of an overly sugary mess inside the chocolate, this is a beverage filling.
So we studied and planned for months, became ‘best mates’ with chocolate (that messy kid nobody wants to spend any time with!) and ‘eureka!’ we did it. The Canberra Cake Club meeting was looming, so we dreamed up a layer cake that was to be as striking to look at as it was to eat. The cocktail  filling is a Cosmopolitan – Cranberry juice, lime juice, Belvedere vodka and Cointreau.
See my hand? You looked PUNCH!
See my hand? You looked PUNCH!

Here’s how it’s done

Before we go on, please be warned this is an extremely labour-intensive process that will test your cooking ability (and patience!) to the limit. If you have any chocolate tempering ability that will be a plus.
To get liquid into chocolate: freeze the liqiud! But of course it’s not that simple, you have to get the right equipment like ice cube ball trays that are smaller in diameter than your chocolate shell moulds. We got 1.25inch (31.75mm) ice cube trays and 1.5inch (38.1mm) chocolate shell trays, which are about as big as you can go because any bigger and you can’t fit them into your mouth! Stuffing the whole ball into one’s gob is important, cause if you don’t, the yummy centre will spill everywhere.
We considered alternative methods for filling the shells like injecting with a food syringe, or dipping the frozen ball into chocolate. Injecting wrecks the perfect spheres on the shells and dipping ruins your chocolate and doesn’t get a shiny or even result.

Making the chocolate shells

Tempering chocolate is difficult at first, here are some quick facts. Tempering chocolate is all about melting away the unstable crystals in the cocoa butter and growing the stable ones. Stable crystals give you a nice shine, snap and doesn’t melt as easily.Buy Lindt chocolate by the kilo from Mart Delicatessen at Fyshwick Markets or The Essential Ingredient in Kingston, its the best we can find and tastes great. Buy a candy thermometer that goes from at least 30 degrees. This can be hard to find, make sure you check the minimum temp before you buy. Use the bain marie method. Chocolate doesn’t like water, at all. melt milk and dark chocolate to 45 degrees, white chocolate to 40 degrees.
There are lots of tutorials on YouTube, if you want to get into it probably start there!
The cake is layers of mud cake and white chocolate mousse. We got a cake leveler which is a tool for cutting a layer cake evenly which works really well.
We actually had a lot of white chocolate tempered and ready to go so we decided that would be the best coating for the cake, also it forms a solid base to ‘glue’ the chocolate balls in place at the end. You do that just with a dab of chocolate on the coating and fix the ball in place.
Finish with some gold leaf and you’re done! if anyone would like a more in-depth breakdown of the steps or equipment please let us know 🙂
Happy tempering!
At the cake club
At the cake club

Boodle Feast @ Kusina, Weston Creek

Andrew and Emelia @ Kusina

When I was a boy I grew up in The Creek!

I love Weston Creek, but it has never been a foodie destination. It’s a wondrous land of bored, delinquent kids and energetic retirees! It’s truly the best mix of Sydney’s troubled western suburbs and a dozy Hobbit village, with the food culture to match.

But lo! I see a change in the air!  Boodle feast at Kusina, the Filipino restaurant is a wonderfully rich cultural experience that may change all that. 

Impressed - we hungrily watch the chefs at work...
Impressed – we hungrily watch the chefs at work…
The chefs are very friendly and will have a chat!
The chefs are very friendly and will have a chat!

We dodge all the daggers and walking-frames being hurled at us as we make our way through the streets of Weston Creek and enter the restaurant. Our senses are filled with the wondrous sights and smells of a Boodle Feast!

I’m not an expert on the Boodle Feast, but it appears to have stemmed from a Filipino military tradition, eaten on banana leaves with your hands – this is large format eating… meant to feed the masses.

The Boodle Feast!
The Boodle Feast!

There is no set items that must appear in the Feast apart from rice, it can be any Filipino cuisine you desire. The only necessity seems to be rice and accompaniments like chilli and sauces.

Look at those smiles!
Look at those smiles!

Emelia sampled the grilled eggplant salad and loved it’s beautiful deep red onion flavours and cloud-like consistency…

The crispy pork belly with salted black beans and banana blossom was as good as one can expect, crackly, moist, sweet and juicy!

Our lovely waitress carefully explains what is what... she has our attention!
Our lovely waitress carefully explains what is what… she has our attention!

The sweet cured pork was my favourite! Large chunks of sweet spicy meat with the ever-so-slight hint of five spice.  Melted in the mouth.

King prawns in lime and coconut butter was nice but slightly too bitter for my liking, it needed the sauce that came with the feast … the sauce improved it a lot.

The solution for kids who don't smile in the school photo: Boodle!
The solution for kids who don’t smile in the school photo: Boodle!

The grilled spring chicken in lemongrass, garlic, ginger and soy was cooked perfectly, and was delicious with the garlic rice.

Hands going everywhere - THATS MY CHICKEN!!
Hands going everywhere – THATS MY CHICKEN!!

Eating with your hands is a great experience, but I got into trouble from Suni, Em’s little bro… I used my left hand for a bit. BIG NO-NO!

The fried whole barramundi with black bean salad was a hilight of the meal for me, the fish was just flaking off, the beans tasted so fresh and added great texture to the mouth, the vegetables balanced out the salty flavours.

Em is good to talk to about such things.  She always has something nice to say :)
Em is good to talk to about such things. She always has something nice to say 🙂

Maddy wanted to try the salted duck egg, Em and I joined her. This is a very difficult mouthfeel to get used to, and something that is definitely an accompaniment to other items on the plate – i don’t recommend trying it by itself!

'I eat Adobo'! YES! the only better slogan on a shirt is 'Where's the beef?'
‘I eat Adobo’! YES! the only better slogan on a shirt is ‘Where’s the beef?’

Emelia remarked on just how good the garlic rice was – perfect! Rice can be perfect, go there and try it, you’ll see what I mean!

The Devastation!
The Devastation!
Sherice and Assad, loving it! Usually Assad is critical, but he had nothing bad to say about this wondrous meal!
Sherice and Assad, loving it! Usually Assad is critical, but he had nothing bad to say about this wondrous meal!

Dessert time! We rarely get dessert… but we saw some amazingly coloured cakes in the display, and some impressive ice cream sundae looking things coming out of the back so we had to try it ALL!

The purple yam cake was actually not as amazing as it sounded, it was fairly dry and the lychee filling was lacking flavour, a little disappointed with this one… On to dessert No. #2.

Purple Yam cake
Purple Yam cake

The Halo Halo is shaved ice, purple yam ice cream, jelly chunks, boiled sweet beans, evaporated milk and kernels of sweet corn. Sounds strange you say? Well for someone who is not used to Filipino desserts it is a little, but the ice cream was seriously delicious! Totally hit the spot. I didn’t mind the entrie dessert, it was nice, but i did get the feeling that the desserts weren’t as sophisticated as the mains.

Halo Halo
Halo Halo

Despite the mild disappointment of the desserts, we love savoury food so for us Kuisina really delivered! Boodle feast is a sensational meal and totally blew everyone’s mind. It’s not just the food and the flavours (which were wonderful), it’s the social aspect of eating with your hands that really breaks down barriers!

Boodle Feast is held once a month, and book early, because it is popular and is already beginning to have a following.

As for Weston Creek… is there a light on the horizon? BIG YES! Kuisina is not the only light at the end of the tunnel, an excellent Gastropub has also popped, but that’s another story for another time! 🙂

Kusina on Urbanspoon

Canberra Multicultural Festival 2014

Fans of the Fest!

Em is always late.

In fact you could call her ‘the late one’ in our relationship. Better yet, Miss Latey, or Captain Late-Pants. (N.B. This may be a complete fabrication constructed by the author to cover his own time-management shortcomings.)

Either way, she was once again nowhere to be seen when I arrived at the Multicultural Festival on Friday afternoon to the sound of driving African percussion, the crush of the crowds and the smell of a hundred delicious cuisines!

A bit of background, The Canberra Multicultural Festival is the best weekend in Canberra. It has been happening for over 20 years and just gets better every year! You feverishly seek to eat as many different foods as you can, like a ravenous hound, which are made with love – It’s Canberra’s thank-you to all those cultures that bring so much life to our city.

I went wandering and found a delegation of West Papuans who had been flown over by the festival to raise awareness for their country. They cheerfully offered me books and literature and a quick chat, they also gave me a cup of very special coffee – free of charge, of rare quality and flavour! The crushed beans still in the glass, I felt like I was tasting the freshest and most lively brew, a little bit of West Papua in a cup. Don’t mistake me – this was a premium product par excellence.

After trading emails I moved on, and finally found Em. She had been mobbed by fans of the show! It’s funny, its the first time we’ve really gone out after being on the show, and we didn’t realise that now we cannot go 5 steps without lovely people coming up and saying nice things to us and wanting photos, it’s quite bizarre! But we love you all, thank you for all your kindness and support. Go Canberra!

Meeting new friends!
Meeting new friends!

When we finally got to move on, we tried Croatian meat balls with Avjar chilli Sauce. This was very nice, the sauce was great, a medium hit of chilli and a good starter. We headed off to Sri Lankan stall outside Banana Leaf Restaurant, they were making Kottu Roti (this is similar to Pad Thai, except with strips of roti instead of rice noodle) in front of everyone, quite a theatrical process!

Making Kottu Roti
Making Kottu Roti

While I was in the line waiting for my Kottu Roti, Em wandered off promising to bring me back a morsel of happiness, she struck gold when she brought back some Thai satays and Lamb and Basil curry puffs. The satays were really average to tell you the truth but the Lamb parcels were exquisite! They were made with love… the pastry was flaky, crisp and well-made, the filling was an explosion of hearty lamb mince and aniseedy basil. Such a unique flavour! Just one of those times at the Festival when you strike gold.

We got our Kottu Roti and it was great, although the beef curry that went along with it was a little salty for my palate. Em assures me that Sri Lankan food is usually very salty… Ok well I can accept that 🙂

Lastly, Em saw some friends who invited her into their Sri Lankan restaurant and made us hoppers, Dhal, Pol Sambol and Beef curry, which was all so delicious, and a lovely way to round-out the night.

Multicultural festival is special to many of us Canberrans, what are your Multicultural Festival stories from this year?

P.S. Sorry for the rubbish quality photos this time, we were missing our good camera and were having too much fun! 🙂

Multicultural Festival is incredibly popular, the crowds are so big you are shoulder to shoulder with happy revellers!
Multicultural Festival is incredibly popular, the crowds are so big you are shoulder to shoulder with happy revellers!

BrodPeloton – Andrew and Emelia’s first event!

[quote]In Canberra we love our bikes – the city is perfect for it! We also love our food and friends, we often ride off to different places to eat and enjoy each other’s company.[/quote]

This is the first event we will be running for all who want to be involved, showcasing Canberra lifestyle, places and people. We want to show that today’s Canberra is far from boring, it is the perfect balance of big city things to do, and bush capital peace and quiet. Meaning, you can go out and party, then come home and enjoy a nice quiet cup of tea as you listen to the gum trees sway in the breeze, often without a car to be heard. Canberra is Australia’s best kept secret 🙂

Brodburger is a Canberra institution, you simply must go there if you’re visiting Canberra or a local, get out there! They make the most delicious Beef, chicken, fish and veggie burgers, all with your choice of blue, swiss, vintage or fetta cheese. www.brodburger.com.au – Best to order ahead, they are quite busy!

Anyway to stay posted guys, we will be posting new events all the time so friend us on FB! 🙂