Sunday, 7 November 2010

Easy Peasy Cooking - Shortbread Lemon Tarlets

There are many people in the world who enjoy the art of cooking or baking and find it to be most satisfying to be able to create elaborate dishes. Some people say cooking helps them destress and mentally unwind from the chaos of the day. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people. I absolutely adore food and but I'd much rather someone else made the food for me toe eat.
When it comes to cooking, my style could best be described as 'easy peasy'. Recipes with minimal steps and minimal fuss will win me over - every time.
So, when it came to picking a dish to bring along to the recent Sydney Foodbloggers Picnic, I thought my shortbread lemon tartlets would do the trick.
It's a really easy recipe which I found from the Joy of Baking and it feels like your eating mini cheesecakes. You can make the tart shells a few days in advance or you could make a double batch and freeze them. I recommend making the lemon filling a day in advance so that it has time to thicken.
Easy Peasy Shortbread Lemon Tartlets Recipe

Shortbread Tarts:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup pure icing sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Filling:
250g Philadelphia cream cheese - softened
1 can (395g) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
p.s I always end up with heaps of leftover filling so you can always try halving the filling quantities.
Toppings: Whichever berry takes your fancy...Strawberries, Raspberries or Blueberries.

Easy Peasey Instructions
Makes 36 mini tarts... but I always find I have quite a bit of filling leftover.

For the Shortbread tarts:
Lightly spray with a nonstick canola spray a 36 miniature muffin tins
• Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
• Beat the butter and sugar together (approximately two minutes) with an eletric mixer. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix just together. It might be a bit sticky to start with but it will firm up.
• Divide the dough mixture into 36 even pieces and place one ball of dough in the centre of each muffin tin. Press the dough up the sides of each muffin tin
• Place muffin tin with the unbaked shells into the freezer for about 10 minutes. This will help to prevent the shells puffing up too much in the oven.
• Take out of freezer and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the shells are lightly browned. At about the 10 minutes into baking, take the shells out and lightly prick each shell to prevent the shell from puffing. Prick the shells again after 5 minutes if they still look like they are puffing up.
• Take out from oven and cool. Once cooled, remove from the pan.

To make the cream cheese filling:
• With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and mix until just until smooth.
• Place filling to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. For the best results, try and make the filling at least a day in advance to allow it to firm up and to let all the lemony flavours mix together.
To make your easy peasey shortbread tartlet creations:
• Using two tea spoons, fill each of tart shells with the filling and then top with a berry of your choice. I've used strawberries and blueberries before but I find raspberries make the cutest looking tartlets.

I've made these tartlets a few times and found they are perfectly bite sized for a girly afternoon tea and look fabulous placed on a 3 tiered cake stand. Easy peasey!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

New In Town, Newtown (Polish Restaurant) (28 August 2010)

New in town is 'New in Town' in Newtown.
I've been waiting to use that line ever since Mr FBC and I (along with our merry group of Fat Belly Clubbers) visited New In Town, a Polish restaurant located on King Street, Newtown. New in Town replaces the 'Chocolate Dog Cafe' - you may remember this as the 'cafe by day/mexican by night' place on the southern end of King Street.

It's been awhile since a Fat Belly Club outing has been arranged for our friends and it's always great to share the a new culinary adventure with our best buds. To make sure we tasted as much of the menu as possible, I make the executive decision to opt for the $50 set menu. I'm not 100% sure if the set menus are actually listed on the restaurant menu. I just found out about it after enquiring when making my booking and was kindly emailed a copy of the menu for my perusal. I think there is also a $40 menu, but for $10 more you get to have pork knuckle and duck. It's a no brainer really.

WARNING: the set menu contains copius amounts of food. If you dare to try it, make sure to come here on an EMPTY STOMACH. Don't worry... if you can't finish it, they will kindly 'doggy' bag it for you if you ask.
Wedliny - Smoked cold meats served with horseradish and Polish bread (top right)
Smalec - Spiced pork lard  with fried sausage, onion and marjoram served with bread and pickles  (bottom left), Kompot Fruit Drink (bottom Left)

Our first dishes to arrive are a couple of hearty polish starters, including Wedliny - smoked cold meats with horseradish and polish bread (which I think could be a type of rye bread), as well as Smalec - pork lard spiced with fried sausage. Both were delicious and a great. However, I think we filled up on the bread too quickly. Damn! The pork lard is also not for the faint hearted - it's 100% pure fat but is delectable in small quantities. I'm assuming it would be a great way to efficiently build up stocks of fat if you were heading into a cold Polish winter.  
Also brought to the table are jugs of Kompot - a Polish fruit drink which tastes a bit like watered down Ribena. It's refreshing and much need after the pork lard.

Pierogi - Dumplings galore
I wonder if dumplings are the 'spring roll' equivalent for Polish cuisine? Next up were platters of fried dumplings, called Pierogi, filled with an array of fillings including: meat, sauerkraut and mushroom, and white cheese and potato. The dumplings were accompanied by pots of sourcream which worked really well with the dumplings. 
 Placki ziemniaczane potato pancakes with mushroom sauce                 
The potato pancakes were beautifully crisp and went well with the mushroom sauce. There's more vibrantly pink sauerkraut and sour cream, if you need it.

Beef goulash with potatoes dumplings

More hearty food arrives for the table of fat belly clubbers. Next up is beef goulash and potato dumplings. The goulash is rich and filled with tender beef. It's wonderfully accompanied by plump potato dumplings.
Bigos - a hunter stew
A crowd favourite (ok... welll my favourite) is Bigos, a hunter stew made of smoked meats, sauerkraut, red wine and spices. It's hearty and flavoursome.
Golonka w piwie - Pork Knuckle baked in Polish beer
When it comes to pork knuckle (Golonka w Piwie), size does matter. This large chunk of meat is not for the faint hearted. We were given 3 pork knuckles to share between 10 people and we  struggled to get through the meat. Many of the Fat Belly Clubbers thought they could take on the pork knuckle and devour it... but alas it was not meant to be. It was just too much meat for of all us. Pork Knuckle -1 , Fat Belly Clubbers - 0.

We're all getting pretty full by now but the food keeps coming.  A platter of golabki arrives, which is soft baked cabbage rolls filled with spiced meat and rice and toped with a luscious tomato sauce.  
Golabki - soft baked cabbage 
The last main dish to arrive is Kaczka - roast duck stuffed with apples, cranberries and glazed with honey. There's plenty of moist delicious duck meat and the sweet glaze is delectable but we're all so full that it's hard to eat too much more.  I'm afraid we didn't do the dish justice.
Kaczka - Roast duck stuffed with apples, cranberries, topped with honey 
We make an executive decision to give our stomachs a bit of a break before moving onto dessert. The time gives us an opportunity to look around the restaurant. When we first arrived, the place was absolutely packed but our table seems to have out eaten everyone else and there is only one other couple left in the restaurant.
The service tonight is very friendly and accommodating. All the waitresses are kind enough to explain each dish to us. At one point, the chef comes out to ask us what we thought of the food and which dishes were our favourites. It's a lovely gesture. 
Pierogi z wisniami - Sour Cherry Dumplings (bottom left), Sernik and Szarlotka -Cheese Cake and Apple pie (top right)
After a rest, we venture onto the Polish desserts. The dessert in the set menu is meant to be a Poppyseed cake. However, we manage to swap this for mixed dessert platters for the table which included slices of Sernik- polish style cheesecake and Szarlotka - apple pie and a plate of Pierogi z wisniami - polish dumplings filled with sour cherries. The dessert dumplings were magical with the filling of juicy sour cherries.
Are you full yet just by looking at all that food. We certainly were and by the end of the night, true to our name, we felt every bit like the Fat Belly Club. Burp!

New In Town
549 King St

ph (02) 95652526
Tues-Sun 8am-3pm, 6pm-10pm.
BYO $3.50 corkage

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sydney Food Bloggers 'Mad Hatters' Picnic at Centennial Park

Fantastic 'Sydney Food Bloggers Cake' by Anna from Diary of a Lady Bird

I love food. I love taking photos of  food. I AM A FOOD BLOGGER.

Mr FBC and I are getting use to telling people that we're food bloggers. Our close friends know not to start their meals until we've had an opportunity to photograph it. We're also getting use to the unusual looks you get in restaurants when you start taking photos of our food.  But every so often, we just wished we knew more people who just understood our passion for food and our excessive need for taking photos of the food we eat. People who just get it.

Last weekend, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet 40 or so likeminded Sydney based food bloggers who gathered at Centennial Park for the ‘Sydney Food Bloggers ‘Mad Hatters’ Spring Picnic’ (organised by the lovely Billy from A Table for Two  and Karen from Citrus and Candy).
It was so great to meet all the faces behind the food blogs that I’ve been reading for the past year or so. Even though we were mostly all strangers, everyone was so friendly and the conversation was really easy - food focussed obviously. Oddly enough, you just never know who you'll meet at these things. I even bumped into an old high school friend who I hadn't seen for years - a girl from the blogging crew at yayas yum yums.  Small world!

What would a food bloggers picnic be without ‘food’ for people to photograph. There was a beautiful array of delicous looking food to share.
Above is just a snap shot of the spread of food. I think there were two more picnic blankets
worth of food.  And, here are some close up shots....
Cute Tea-ramisu in Chocolate teacups (by Tammi from Insatiable Munchies)

 Lemon ricotta cheesecake  (by Table Nosh)
Smoky Bacon and Chilli Caramel Slice (by Helen from Grab Your Fork
I didn't try as many things as I would have liked. I think I had too much food to gawk at. I was just overwhelmed by it all and oddly lost my appetite. I did try a slice of the Smoky Bacon and Chilli Caramel Slice. The combination sounds so wrong, but it tastes so right. Yum.

The event was sponsored by a range of generous sponsors, including Nuffnang. There were lots of prizes to be won, including prizes for the best mad hat, the best sweet dish, the best savoury dish and the best 'blue' dish. You will notice a bit of the 'blue' theme in the next few photos. Someone even brought in a huge bucket of 'blue' sangria (sorry - don't have a photo of that one).
Cute 'mad hatter' themed cupcakes (from yayas yum yums) 
Cookie Monster Cupcakes by  nommy nom nom
Cutesy Pie Cake Popsicles by Sugarlace
Close up of the Cake Popsicle
Mr FBC and I were racking our brains all week trying to decide what to make. We finally chose two dishes (one sweet and savoury) which were cute and bite size - Mini Burgers and Shortbread Tartlets. Perfect picnic food. We'll post recipes soon - they are super easy to make.  I even managed to make little cardboard signs for us using the new 'alphabet' stamps I recently bought.
Mini Burgers (by Mr FBC)

Shortbread Tartlets (made by Mrs FBC)
It was great to just meet all the food bloggers and share their gorgeous food. However, our day was topped off by winning one of the prizes. Our Shortbread Tartlets won second prize in the Sweet dish category. Yay! It was a total shock as there were sooooo many beautiful and tasty sweet dishes. Our prize was fantastic - it was a $150 voucher to Chophouse at Bligh Street, Sydney. Mr FBC and I have already perused the menu and we're looking forward to our meaty extravaganza.
Lovely to meet you all and hope to see you soon - Mr and Mrs FBC xx
Second Prize - $150 voucher to Chophouse
Food, glorious food

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Jimmy's Recipe Malaysia - Galleries Victoria Sydney CBD

MR FBC EATS: A quick lunch report from Sydney CBD lunch hotspots 

Murtabak ($6.50) topped with a Curry Puff ($1.80)
One of my favourite lunch spots is Jimmy's Recipe Malaysia located at the Galleries Victoria on George Street. For lunch the other day I had the Murtabak, essentially a filled roti canai with curry sauce. The curry puff was my own addition.

It looked small, but it turned out to be packed full of meat. In the end it was a real protein hit. I definitely didn't need the curry puff. You live and learn!

The Galeries Victoria
Ground Floor, Shop RC16, 500 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph (02) 9267 2288

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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Buppa's Bakehouse, Newtown

Mr FBC and I tend to hang out in the north side of Newtown (north of Newtown Station) – just because it’s close to where we live. Ok – we’re just lazy. So, it’s always interesting when, every so often, we decide to venture south of Newtown Station and continue down King Street all the way to St Peters. It’s amazing to see the everchaning nature of the retail strip with new shops popping up all the time. That’s how we found Buppa's Bakehouse one sunny Saturday afternoon back in February. Buppas Bakehouse isn’t that new anymore. It’s been open for about a year now and seems to be doing a roaring trade.  

Buppas Bakehouse specializes in American cakes and desserts. I’d sum up American desserts as being generous, not necessarily pretty like delicate petite French pastries, but definitely deeeeelicious in all it’s size and glory.  There are plenty of authentic Americana desserts available.

I chose to have a slice of good ol’ American Pecan Pie. Buppas take on the American classic is  a Black Bottom Pecan pie ($6 a slice back in Feb 2010) - a choclate pecan pie with a hint of bourbon and a butter crust. It was rich, caramel and nutty.  
Black Bottom Pecan Pie

Mr FBC had a slice of the Coco Lopez. I suspect he chose it due to the fantasitc sounding name. In actual fact, Coco Lopez was really banoffie pie in disguise. But I think I like the exotic sounding Coco Lopez. This take on the banoffie pie came with a coffee cookie crumble crust, dulce de leche, banana, coffee flavoured whipped cream and fresh ground coffee.

Coco Lopez
I’ve been meaning to make my own banoffie pie. Did you know it's meant to be short for Banana - Toffee? Am I the only one in the world that didn’t know that? I suspect I am :(  I’ve bookmarked a banoffie pie recipe from grab your fork to try sometime soon, but the requirement to boil cans of condensed milk sounds a bit ominous to me.

As a bit of an afterthought, Mr FBC and I decided to takeaway a red velvet cupcake ($4) to share later. The colour of the cake is a dramatic and deep blood red colour. I’ve never tried one before but read about it on various blogs. The cake has a hint of a chocolate and is super crumbly, but the winner for this cupcake is probably the super creamy and soft cream cheese icing.

As you may have guessed from the photo (and the huge bite from the cupcake)... we were too impatient to get home before tasting the cupcake and feverishly gobbled it up in the car.

Red Velvet Cupcake

Buppa's Bakehouse
482 King Street, Newtown, 8065 0681.
Wed-Fri, 11am-6pm; Sat-Sun, 9.30am-6pm.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Breakfast Degustation at Le Monde Cafe, Surry Hills

Unlike me, Mr FBC isn’t very demanding. He’s a very easy going guy and is one who's happy to 'go with the flow' - generally flowing in my direction! However, I know he really wants to do something if he mentions it at least 3 times. There are two things he has recently mentioned more than three times:
1. He said he’s keen on getting an IPAD. I’ve argued that it’s not quite a computer and not quite a phone so I don’t see the point. He disagrees. He’s yet to buy one though.
2. He said he’d be interested in trying the breakfast degustation at Le Monde in Surry Hills. My eyes lit up upon hearing him tell me about it the first time.  A degustation meal… but at breakfast? ‘Wow’, I said. By the time he mentioned it the third time, I’ve already thoroughly researched the place (well… checked out the great post by
 the unbearable lightness of being hungry) and I'm ready to dial the number and make a booking.
When I called up and booked, I’m told that the breakfast degustation is available on Fridays and Saturdays and costs $35 per person. I think there are 3 or 4 sittings (starting at 9am), with a maximum of 5 people at each sitting. I did ask if we could get a table of 6 but was firmly told that there was definitely 5. I was a bit perplexed at this but I think it must have something to do with the capacity of the kitchen.
Our partners in crime on this Fat Belly Club adventure to Le Monde on this  Saturday morning are good friends, Mr Ziwawi and Ms Cris. Our waitress arrives and gives a quick run down on the breakfast degustation menu.  There are three courses and two types of coffee to try.
Le Monde Breakfast Degustation Menu (as of 2 Sept 2010)
The first dish to try is the Granola and watermelon with black olives, frozen grapes, vanilla bean yoghurt and mint. This dish is the prettiest thing I have ever eaten at breakfast. It feels too refined for breakfast. The cool watermelon and flash frozen grapes are a nice wake up call on this grey and slightly overcast Saturday morning. The creamy dollop of vanilla bean yoghurt is rich and goes well with the granola and the crumbly black olive 'soil'. 

Granola and Watermelon
Our first coffee for the day is a filtered coffee made by the Clover. Mr FBC and I do like our coffees (Campos Coffee is up the road from us, so our standards are high). However,  we wouldn’t profess to know too much about the ins and outs of coffee making.  I've always thought filtered coffee was what you had if you're in the US (where you can only seem to find half decent coffee at the ubiquitous Starbucks!) or if you're in McDonalds desperate for coffee and there isn't a McCafe.  
Filtered Coffee and THE Clover Coffee Machine
At Le Monde, they make the coffee with the latest and greatest of coffee machines, the  'Clover' - which costs $11,000 and allows the user to control water temperature, water dose and extraction time. The machine allows baristas to tailor each brew and bring out the different 'floral' qualities of the coffee. Le Monde's barista arrives at our table to bring a carafe of filtered coffee for us to taste. There's also a little bowl of coffee grounds for us to smell. The barista explains the way it was brewed - the use of a siphon, piston, steam, filters. Apologies for the lack of detail - it was a bit too technical for my brain on this Saturday morning.  

The coffee is meant to be quite an earthy flavour with overtones of capsicum.  The barista leaves us to taste the coffee with a final recommendation to sip the coffee slowly over 10 minutes, but warns that it may get very bitter if it gets too cold.  The colour, a muddy brown,  tricks you into thinking you're about to drink a very strong tea. The taste isn't of tea - but perhaps a very weak coffee. There are defintely floral qualities. Ms Cris and Mr FBC thought the coffee tasted like very weak tomato soup. I tasted a bit of spice... but perhaps I'm just thinking about it too much. I've never analysed coffee to this much detail. It’s definitely interesting to try, but I’m not sure if I’ll be swapping it for my regular skim latte.
The main course is the ‘B L A T’… or what we’ve been told is the deconstructed BLT (bacon lettuce tomato) comprising of confit pork, soy linseed toast, tomato paper, avocado mousse, dehydrated kale, plus horseradish. This dish looks incredible and taste sensational.
'The B L A T' - deconstructed BLT
The 6hr cooked confit pork was beautiful, tender and easily pulled apart.  We’re intrigued with the tomato paper and dehydrated kale. I can only guess that the tomato paper would be something you’d give to astronauts in space in lieu of tomato sauce. It’s odd… but it works - it just melts in your mouth. The kale is adds a nice crunch. The avocado mousse is light and fluffy and the lemon jelly is a interesting addition. A bit of zing. The waitress tells us that the chef recommends tasting a little of each component, and then just eating the rest of it as normal sandwich. Makes sense. We try it that way – and it works. Yum.
The constructed version of the 'deconstructed BLAT'
To finish our main 'breafast' course, we are offered our second coffee. However, this  time  the choice is ours.  It's the usual lattes and cappucinos all round.

Our last dish, the breakfast dessert (iced coffee, blue berries, salted pumpkin seeds and chocolate), comes out in individual glasses. We’re told the chef will come out to put on the finishing touches. Sure enough, the chef comes out and pipes the iced coffee cream on top and sprinkles the dessert with grated chocolate. It’s a lovely way to end our meal. We all love the light and creamy iced coffee which contrasts beautifully with the juicy blueberries and salty pumpkin seeds.
Iced coffee, blue berries, salted pumpkin seeds and chocolate
I’m pleased to say we were suitably satiated from our degustation meal but not stuffed. I’m sort of glad though as it’s always really unnecessary to get so full from degustation. full (but not stuffed).
The chef, Chris Merrick, is ex Oscillate Wildly (in Newtown)  which helps explain the creativity and explosion of flavours behind the breakfast. This is the only place that I know of in Sydney that does a breakfast degustation. Having said that, the normal breakfast menu looked equally salivating and different. Try it - you won't regret it.
Is there anywhere that you've been recently where the breakfast was different and a bit off the beaten track??

Le Monde Cafe
83 Foveaux St, Surry Hills
(02) 9211 3568
Open Weekdays 6:30am-4pm; Sat 7am-2pm

Monday, 23 August 2010

Margan Restaurant, Broke (Hunter Valley)

Being inner city Sydneysiders, Mr FBC and I consider anything more than a 15 minute drive away to be far, far away (it's all relative!). So, considering our evening drive for dinner in the Hunter Valley this weekend will take 30-40 minutes sure makes our destination, Margan Restaurant in Broke, feel very distant.
Margan Restaurant is part of the Margan Winery in Broke Fordwich. I'm instantly attracted to the restaurant from the blurb I read on their website and how committed these guys are to using fresh produce and reducing their overall carbon footprint.
"Being farmers, we are committed to looking after the land so that it is able to look after us for generations to come. As such, we are determined to ensure our carbon footprint is as small as possible. Our one acre fruit and vegetable garden is a labour of love as well as a sustainable way we can reduce our food miles. We base our menus around the seasons and in particular, what we are harvesting from the garden right now. What is not used in the kitchen goes to the chickens who very kindly supply us with eggs for the menu and compost for the garden (the chicken or the egg?). The water falls from the sky, so we offer you fresh rainwater, filtered and free. The wine comes from the grapes grown on our vineyards right here in Broke Fordwich and made in the winery behind where you sit. We freshly prepare most menu items from scratch in our kitchen, including our signature gelati, pasta, smallgoods, pastries, etc"
Ahh...warm and fuzzies. I already feel like I'm being a good samaritan just by choosing to eat here.
After what seems like forever along dark country roads, we arrive at Margan and it's pitch black all around except for the glimmer of light (and hope) emanating from the restaurant.
Arriving inside the restaurant, we are warmly greeted by our waitress for the evening. I'm immediately wowed at the interior design of this place. There's a warm log fire burning, textured concrete walls and there's lots of dark moody lighting. Even though this is meant to be a nice romantic dinner for Mr FBC and I, being the nerdy foodbloggers, we are relieved when we are led to a table in a reasonably well lit corner. It's all for the sake of getting the good food porn shots! 

Log Fire
Margan's menu offers quite an extensive list of tasting plates. You can get  3 tasting courses for $60, 4 tasting courses for $75 or 5 tasting courses for $90. We're told that the tasting plates are a tad smaller than an entree size so Mr FBC and I decide to get 4 courses each. And, since we have an unspoken rule about going half/half with all the dishes, we effectively get to try 8 dishes in total. It's a win-win. The next big decision is what to order....  
It takes a while, but finally we decide.

Mr FBC chose these four dishes -

  • Broth of poached chicken, risoni and free range egg finished with shaved bottarga

  • Slow braised lamb shoulder, beluga lentils, pumpkin, smoked eggplant and goats curd

  • Twice cooked pork belly, red cabbage, cavolo nero and caramelised apple puree

  • Chocolate fondant with caramel ice cream and salted vanilla hazelnuts
 And  I chose the these four - 
  • Seared pepper crusted kingfish, crispy silverbeet and anchovy mayonnaise
  • Saute of white beans with spanish morcilla, scallops and picada
  • Confit duck parcel and seared breast on celeriac puree with leek, wild honey and verjuice.
  • Cheese cigar with Tarago Shadows of Blue and quince
To start with, we're provided with these delicious canapes - cute little crumbed pork balls bursting with flavour.
Complimentary Canape - Crumbed Pork Balls
Our first tasting plates arrive. Mr FBC's broth of poached chicken and risoni is topped with a bright yellow yolk. Mixing the yolk in with the broth produces a beautifully creamy texture. 
Broth of poached chicken, risoni and free range egg finished with shaved bottarga
My first course, seared pepper crusted kingfish, silverbeet and anchovy mayonnaise was delightful. The kingfish was light and fresh and I loved the crunch of the the fried silverbeet and the salty tang of the mayonnaise.
Seared pepper crusted kingfish, crispy silverbeet and anchovy mayonnaise

Slow braised lamb shoulder, beluga lentils, pumpkin, smoked eggplant and goats curd
Taste plate no. 2 arrives shorty. My FBC's lamb beautiful and just falls apart in the mouth. The goats curd adds a nice creamy saltiness and the sprinkling of pomegrantes adds a lovely sweetness to the dish.
Saute of white beans with spanish morcilla, scallops and picada
My scallops were very delicate and plump morsels. I wasn't sure what a 'spanish morcilla' was but it tasted like a very rich and dense sausage. (Note: I just 'googled' it and found out it's a spanish blood sausage - interesting. I'm glad I didn't know as I might not have picked it!).
Twice cooked pork belly, red cabbage, cavolo nero and caramelised apple puree
Mr FBC's pork belly was really delicious - the meat was tender and sweet with a lovely crunchy crackling. Neither Mr FBC and I knew what cavolo nero was but we figured it was the vegetable that looked a bit like spinach?  That was a pretty good guess - another 'google' search reveals that cavolo nero is an Italian black cabbage or kale.
Confit duck parcel and seared breast on celeriac puree with leek, wild honey and verjuice
I chose the duck dish because it had verjuice which reminded me of Maggie Beer and a documentary I watched about her quest to introduce Australia to verjuice - the juice of unfermented grapes. Anyway, it was a good choice. The confit duck parcel was a bit like a duck meatball. The seared duck breasts were very succulent and the sweet sauce worked well with the duck.
We have a bit of a break to rest our stomachs before tasting plate 4 (aka dessert) arrives. We take this time to have a look at the interiors again. There's a beautiful cellar room that our table overlooks. I think they must have functions there - I could picture this restaurant being a wonderfully romantic place for a wedding.  We also have time to do a bit of eavesdropping on what other tables are ordering. A group of 8 people near us decide to order 3 courses. I want to say - "go for at least 4 course people!"... but I only manage to say it loudly in my head.

Chocolate fondant with caramel ice cream and salted vanilla hazelnuts
Desserts arrive and we realise that our night is nearly coming to an end (sigh:( ). There's a bit of a drumroll before Mr FBC cracks open his chocolate fondant. Will it or won't it be gooey on the inside?? The suspense.... it's gooey, chocolately and very decadent.
Cheese cigar with Tarago Shadows of Blue and quince
I'm really impressed when my dessert arrives. I think I was just expecting a bit of cheese and crackers. The cheese cigar is filled with 'Tarago Shadows of Blue' which is a rich double cream blue vein cheese which has been rolled in pastry and deep fried. The sweetness of the quince sauce works really well with the cheese. Mr FBC finds it a bit too rich but I love it - being the 'cheese fiend' that I am.
It's been a wonderful night of decadent eating. Mr FBC and I were really impressed with Margan - it has both an original menu and the chefs also seem to use fresh and local produce. It was defintely worth the trek there (and back).

Margan Restaurant
1238 Milbrodale Road,Broke NSW 2330
ph: 6579 1317
Open for Lunch - Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Dinner - Friday and Saturday
Breakfast - Sunday
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