Healthy Start – Granola Mix

More than 6 months ago, I bought Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals Cookbook and despite the fact that the meals should only take 15 minutes to prepare, they are Jamie Oliver (JO) minutes and at the moment, Amy minutes = 10 x JO minutes or there abouts haha.

Anyhow, enter annual leave and it doesn’t matter how long a task takes so I thought I’d give his homemade granola a go after falling in love with the granola at Henry and the Fox (go try it – divine!).

Continue reading “Healthy Start – Granola Mix”

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Quick Breakie @ Sette Bello, CBD

Sometimes you can come across a gem by accident.

Two weeks ago, I had training for lawyer skills such as client interviews, letter writing, negotiating and advocacy.  We were also fed us very, very well by the training institute.  This had both pluses and minuses.  Plus – lunch was provided, saving some money lol.  Minus – I’m still trying to get rid of the food baby that developed that week :P.

Plus – we were located on Little Bourke St.  Minus – the day that I intended to go early to grab a bite beforehand, it was raining cats and dogs!

I found a bit of shelter at a café I had spied the day before and decided to make it my choice for breakfast.  The thing that attracted me was the Toby’s Estate name that I saw outside:

wpid-20130301_115323.jpg
taken on a sunnier day :)

But before anyone gets too excited, the infamous Toby’s Estate from Sydney has not opened up a branch in Melbourne – however, their coffee beans has definitely made it over to Settebello, a modern little café on the corner of Hardware Lane and Little Bourke St. Continue reading “Quick Breakie @ Sette Bello, CBD”

Breakfast at Warran Glen Café, Warrandyte

On the eve before my final uni semester begins, I’m left wondering: WHERE DID MY HOLIDAYS GO???

I don’t know about you but I always write a post-exam to-do list (usually during the exam period) and as usual, I hardly got through half of it!  I did start well though, with a lovely Saturday breakfast with a dear friend (“R”) the day after my last paper for the semester was submitted.

Being the self-confessed foodie amongst my friends, I’m usually left with the task of selecting a place to dine at for our catch ups, however, R has a number of allergies so I let her choose a place where she knew she could get food to meet her dietary requirements.  Sometimes it’s good to leave the decision to someone else… you might be pleasantly surprised :).

From the moment we drove into the carpark, the Warrandyte establishment, Warran Glen had my attention.  Firstly, it didn’t look like a restaurant or a café!  R explained that we had to walk through the store and the nursery to get to our breakfast spot.  As we had a number of things to sit down and discuss (logistics and catering for an event we were organising), the consensus was that we’d grab a bite before we take a proper tour of the grounds.  I couldn’t resist snapping this on the way though:

beautiful.

Once we made it over the bridge to the café, we passed some pretty glassware…

The open kitchen…

To arrive at the outdoor seating area that I fell in love with at first sight.

As an aside, we both agreed that this would be a perfect place for an engagement celebration hehe.  We’ll see who get’s to book it first ;).

Anyhow, as we were there quite early (~9:30am), we got the chance to choose a spot near the heater and one of the many owls on display:

hello owl!

After an unexpected early-graduation/post-exam pressie…

love the simplicity of the wrapping ^^

We finally got around to ordering our food!  (I know some of you are thinking, FINALLY!)

Note: You place your orders at the counter and water bottles can be retrieved at the entrance of the outdoor seating area.

I started off with a lovely spiced chai latte ($4.80) while R went a pot of hot water ($1.00).

R went with the Savoury French Toast ($15.90) with gluten-free bread ($1.00 extra).

This is one of R’s favourites and was good as she remembered it.  Crispy bacon, lightly grilled banana over French Toast cooked to perfection and drizzled with maple syrup… how could one go wrong with this combination?

I was feeling in a rather celebratory mood after exams so after perusing the menu, I thought I’d just treat myself to poached eggs with the lot ($19.90)!

And there was definitely a lot on the plate!  All the vegies were adequately seasoned and I particularly liked the hash browns that still had nice chunks of potato to bite into.  Sourdough bread was also a great accompaniment to soak up the yolk from those perfectly poached eggs…

Is a breakfast post complete with a bit of #eggyolkporn?

Since we were there for over 2 hours, we were able to see the place fill up quite quickly on that Saturday morning.  R’s advice is that if you are after a table on the weekends, bookings are a must!

Aside from their hot breakfast menu, they also have a selection of made-fresh-on-the-day foccacias, pies, quiches etc. and some cakes and muffins that I could have easily order had I not had the lot!

I did think that the food was slightly on the pricey side, but when you add it together with the beautiful location, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Warran Glen Cafe on Urbanspoon

I think I’ll put the photos of the surroundings, the attached nursery and store in another post since there are already 15+ here haha.  Stay tuned for the next instalment ;).

Question: When and how were you last pleasantly surprised? :)

♥ Ames

Brunch at Madame Mango, Camberwell

Mother’s Day is happening next Sunday so I thought it would be an appropriate time to suggest a lovely little cafe (the name made me think of mothers) to celebrate with your mum if you are around in Melbourne :).

I first heard of Madame Mango on Food Rehab’s 8 Killer Melbourne Cafes and The Breakfast Bootcamp so it became the more favourable choice when Ms. MoreBlindDates and I were tossing up places to catch-up as part of our semi-quarterly Saturday brunch ritual a few weeks ago.

I was tad late running some family errands so Ms. MoreBlindDates had already ordered her coffee and I requested a cappuccino (I think $3.50?) while I perused the menu.

The cap was just right and who doesn’t like pretty coffee swirls? <3

The name of the dishes on the menu were quite cute with Miss Buttermilk, Madame Museli, Madamoiselle Salmon…

Ms. MoreBlindDates settled on Dr. Breakfast ($14.00) which consisted of some perfectly poached eggs on sour dough topped w/rindless bacon finished in hollandaise sauce and some fresh greens on the side.  We swapped a few bites and I must say that I’d happily order this the next time I’m in!  Loved the hollandaise sauce and the bacon… mmm.  But then again anything bacon is good haha.

It took me a while to make my choice but I decided to go with Ms. Santorini ($13.00) after the waitress kindly told me that I could swap the scrambled eggs with poached ones!  It did mean that I forfeited the spinach and cherry tomatoes but no eat-out breakfast is complete without poached eggs!

Just look at that yolk sauce!! Lol, ok I’ll stop gushing about the eggs now… I liked the freshness and the simplicity of the diced tomatoes and a generous sprinkle of Greek feta (please ignore the hollandaise sauce and greens above that were transferred over from Dr. Breakfast).

Definitely a favourite after just one visit and not just because I had great company (conversations about food, faith and photography.. could life get better?)!

A sneaky shot of Ms. MoreBlindDates

The staff were friendly and accommodating and there was a homely feel about the place which was a welcomed change from the bustle of CBD breakfast joints. So if you haven’t yet decided where to bring your mother for breakfast on Mother’s Day, give Madame Mango a try!

Madame Mango on Urbanspoon

Q: How will you celebrate Mother’s Day with your mum?  

♥ Ames

P.S. I spent $16.50 on food that visit and so set aside $8.25 for the Eat Out:Help Out Project.

Can you Fandango?

Have you ever sat down with a friend and chatted for what seemed like just minutes yet you are both shocked by how much time has past when you look at your watches?  I love those kinds of catch-ups and I’m thankful for the friends that I can have those with :).

After a recent comment on the first food date I had with my Cannon 550D, I was reminded of the time I had the pleasure of Ms. MoreBlindDates’ company.  We met more recently over an orange juice and coffee at 330 Briks, but I’ve had the photos from our visit to Auction Rooms’ lesser known neighbour, Fandango, sitting in my Lightroom catalogue for way too long…

It was a cold wintery day in Melbourne post-exams and Ms MoreBlindDates had chosen Fandango for our catch-up spot.  I’d never heard of Fandango before but had been warned to get there early…

Fandango is the unassuming cafe next to the Salon and just one shop down from Auction Rooms (the blue building on the right):

I was a bit late for our scheduled 9am breakfast but I’m glad Ms. MoreBlindDates got there first as the tables were mostly taken when I walked in.  ‘Fandango’ is the name of a lively Spanish couples dance (so says Wiki) so perhaps that’s why the cafe was made up of mainly tables for two (about 4) and one larger table for four.  We sat closest to the bar on the communal table (and I’m not sure why I felt I needed to tell you that…).

Anyway,  we placed our breakfast orders and as I was going through my chai tea phase, I ordered one while Ms. MoreBlindDates ordered a latte(?)… In the past, I’ve had my chai tea either takeaway or in a glass cup (as in Seven Seeds) so imagine my surprise when the waitress put this in front of me:

I had to double-check she’d heard my order right but had secretly fallen in love with the little teapot cover already (I enjoyed drizzling some honey each time I refilled my cup as well)!

Soon enough our hearty breakfast came:

I had done a bit of research on Urbanspoon beforehand and many had recommended the Beetroot Feta Eggs (can’t remember the price, sorry!) so I knew I just had to try it!  Firstly, the colour of the beetroot was just beautiful!  It made me happy just looking at it :D.  The beetroot feta combination was great and the eggs were poached perfectly.  The spinach and sourdough bread matched well but the winner by far was the extra pot of mushrooms that I ordered alongside:

SOOOOOOO good!  When I first bit into one, the juices just exploded in my mouth and I must have made such a fuss about it that Ms. MoreBlindDates grabbed one and had the same (well almost) reaction!  It was kind of sweet too but not in the sugary kind of way… just the natural flavours with the slight charring on the grill. Definitely get the mushrooms if you visit!

Ms. MoreBlindDates ordered the French Toast:

She declared it pretty good and I liked it too after I stole a bite (when I wasn’t scoffing down the mushrooms!).  If I recall correctly, I think she thought the bacon was a bit crisper than she normally liked it but the toast itself and the apple accompaniment were very yummy!

The staff are very friendly and there’s a nice ambience to the place :).  Definitely get there early or you may be waiting a while for a seat.

Fandango on Urbanspoon

♥ Ames

P.S. I just wanted to say welcome to a couple of new readers who subscribed over the last few days – WELCOME!  It’s always a good feeling to know that people actually enjoy your posts enough to click ‘Follow’ and ‘Like’ and I’m also humbled to have just come to the realisation that I was listed as a food blog on where’s the beef? after I got a few clicks from there recently!  This is not strictly a food blog but I do write often about food since most family and friend gatherings involve sitting around a table of good food hehe – SO, a big shout out of thanks to the guys at where’s the beef? and The Hungry Excavator for adding me to their list :).

Collective Espresso – hipster find in Camberwell

I thought I’d squeeze in a short food post before the Christmas festivities…

The only criteria was to be near a train station, preferably in the ‘burbs.  So with a bit of research (seriously, where would we be without GoogleMaps?), Collective Espresso was the chosen spot for a quick catch up before a dear friend disappeared overseas for the summer.

It definitely had that Melbourne CBD hipster vibe which exuded from the staff and the customers that seemed to be regulars at this quaint little joint.  The staff are definitely an eclectic bunch (look out for the guy with the quirky moustache) and their menus reminded me of Auction Rooms

My friend was running late so I ordered myself a Granny Smith Apple Juice ($3.50).

I think I was expecting the longlife-type apple juice you can get from the grocery store (which just shows how often I order apple juice from a cafe  = nil) so I was pleasantly surprised when this arrived.  It was amazingly refreshing on this warm summer day though.. I could have ordered another :).

After perusing the menu numerous times, I settled on the Chorizo w/romesco, spinach and fetta on a pida ($9.50) which had been recommended on one of the sites I’d stumbled upon in my Google search: Continue reading “Collective Espresso – hipster find in Camberwell”

Brekkie w/Women in the Law

What causes one to wake up every consecutive hour between 1-4am?  Partly the fear of being late and perhaps a dash of anticipation for…

Though yet (at the time) to discover the cause of my foot pains, I was determined to make it to the breakfast sans crutches so after hobbling my way from Flagstaff Station, I made it into the RACV City Club a bit after 7am.  Boy was I glad to fill my tummy with some of the lovely spread…

I polished off some fruit with berry yoghurt before our first guest speaker was introduced to us:

What struck me about Jessie Taylor (@taylor_jessie if you are interested in following her on Twitter) was that she seemed so young to have had such an impressive resume (lawyer and refugee advocate, chair of the Law Institute of Victoria Refugee Law Reform Committee, on the board of The Justice Project since 2004 and is the Secretary of Liberty Victoria, documentary filmmaker) and also be a foster mother to a minor from Afghanistan (not 100% sure about the country but definitely a minor separated from his parents as a result of the conflict in the Middle East).  I was reminded once again that age is no barrier to doing great things.  The passion with which she spoke with was another thing that I will take away from the breakfast.  It is so easy to lose focus amongst readings and assessment as to why you are studying law but her speech has invigorated me with a renewed sense of why I chose to study for another 3 years…

Key quotes: “Injustice motivates me” and “The law is not an end in itself, the law is a tool.”

Halfway through, dishes of Egg Benedict were placed in front of us…. quite nice, though I find that anything with eggs satisfies my breakfast cravings (I was indignant when a girl sitting on our table turned down her plate in favour of cereal!)… our next speaker brought years of experience and wisdom to the lectern…

I was inspired, no doubt.  Justice Hampel described the journey that she had taken to get to where she is now and encouraged us to take all opportunities (even if they come from left field at times) because the ‘law will take you paths you may not have first envisioned’.  I was left once again with the appreciation of the profession that I am/will be privileged to be a part of and how making a positive difference in our community is in the reach of anyone who will take a stand for the rights of others and keep at it until there are results.

Key quotes: “You can do everything, but not all at once’ and (not so much for inspirational reasons) “If you don’t have someone to love, get a cat!”

Overall, it was a pleasant morning spent with some heroes in the law (including the lovely ladies I sat with) before heading off next door to PILCH :).

Now, to do the hard yards and get through law school first haha…

♥ Ames

P.S. X-rays results found that I have done NO damage to my foot, PtL!  Must have been just a sprain and hence, good-bye crutches! I’m glad we only had a short affair… you made life much slower and hurt my armpits!