Saturday, September 24, 2022

Weekend Cooking: Our visit to Lune Lab

 


A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to be able to attend Lune Lab.



What, you may ask, is Lune Lab? Lune is a foodie haunt which focuses on croissants and pastries. Lune started here in Melbourne around 10 years ago. On the weekends, there is always a queue out the door of people who want to try both the traditional and non-traditional flavours which change on a monthly basis. Based on the flavours we tried, we will definitely be trying to go back to try the flavours in future months. The founder, Kate Reid, was a former Formula 1 Aerodynamicist who decided that she wanted to do something completely different. Her scientific background translates to making croissants, working and reworking recipes until it is perfect using scientific thinking and methodology.



Lune Lab is a degustation menu where you pay a set amount and are treated to a three course menu which changes each couple of months to use the best of seasonal ingredients. 



The first course is a traditional croissant, served whilst still warm after being out of the oven for 10 minutes. The outer shell is so crispy and flaky whilst the inside is soft and buttery! The chef who came out to speak to us even used the word juicy, which I must confess is not a word I would normally associate with a pastry but was apt.





The second course is a savoury course. These menus are not pastries that you would pick up from a normal bakery. Our menu had large vol au vent filled with twice cooked lamb shoulder with an avocado mint puree and micro herbs along with lettuce. The lettuce was actually really zingy and was on the plate to cut through the richness of the lamb. This was absolutely delicious.





The third course was a sweet course and featured a Japanese flower shaped pastry filled with sesame seed frangipane style filling, with a tonka bean cream topping.





It isn't only about the food you eat while you are there. The Lune we went to is the one which makes all the croissants for Melbourne and features a cube inside the building which is temperature controlled to the perfect conditions for making croissants. Inside the cube there is a team of pastry chefs who are rolling out the pastry and then making the different shapes.. It is absolutely mesmerising watching every baker preforming their role in such a precise way.  We watched them making hundreds of perfect croissants, and then using some of the offcuts to create cronuts. There is very little waste, with anything that isn't being used immediately being stored for reuse.  It was really interesting as the process for making a perfect croissant takes 3 days! If I remember correctly the first day the pastry is made. The second day the pastry is shaped and then the third day it is baked to perfection.





Whilst I don't think we will do Lune Lab every time the menu changes because it is not a cheap experience to do, but it was fascinating and delicious! We will do it again at some point I am sure.



 Weekly meals


Saturday - Takeaway
Sunday -  Pork Stir fry
Monday - Char Siu Chicken
Tuesday - Family dinner
Wednesday - Fried Chicken, mash and broccoli
Thursday - Takeaway
Friday - Lasagne




Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Top Ten Tuesdays: Books on my Spring TBR list

 

 


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This 

week the theme is Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List. Of course, we are in Spring now so for me it isBooks On My Spring 2022 To-Read List





The Last Summer by Karen Swan - I currently have this book out from the library and I intend to read it before I return it so I don't have to reborrow it again



Meshi: A Personal History of Japanese Food by Katherine Tamiko Arguile- Another book that I currently have out from the library.





The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku - My read on a theme bookclub theme this month is biography or autobiography. I am actually listening to another book to fit the theme, but I think I might read this as well.



With Love from Wish & Co by Minnie Darke - When I moved house I joined a new library. Whilst the new library system isn't as big as the previous one, I was able to put this one on hold. Luckily I can be a member of both systems!





A Year at the French Farmhouse by Gillian Harvey - I am going to be on a blog tour for this book in October.



Twenty One Nights in Paris by Leonie Mack - And this one too!






The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs - I started this a few months ago and then misplaced it, but I am intending to read it to review for Weekend Cooking in September.



The Night Ship by Jess Kidd - I am reading this at the moment!




Christmas in Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen - This is the next book in the Bellbird Bay series!



The Edge of Summer by Viola Shipman - Viola Shipman has  just announced his Christmas book which is going to becalled A Wish for  Winter which is great, but I haven't read The Edge of Summer yet!



What books do you have on your TBR pile?

Monday, September 19, 2022

This Week I....

I'm Reading....



Not a lot has changed in my main reading this week. I am still reading The Night Ship and listening to Working Class Boy.



I did decide that I wanted something fun to read so I did start reading Act Like It by Lucy Parker. I really enjoyed Battle Royale when I read it last year and I can see that this is going to be an enjoyable read to.



I'm Watching....



My husband started watching The Good Doctor last week so we watched a few episodes over the last week. I am not sure why we didn't watch it when it was on the first time around!



I have had the show Around the World in 80 Days on my to watch list for months and this seems to be the week that I was going to watch it. We have two public holidays at the end of this week so maybe I will be able to finish it!



We also watched the next two episode of Welcome to Wrexham. Pretty sure we will be watching each episode as they come out now!



Recently I was looking at upcoming releases and we saw The Fisherman's Friends 2. I said that I hadn't even heard of the first one so I ended up hiring it to watch on Friday night. 





Life



We were lucky enough to get free tickets to go and see the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra this week. They performed around 5 pieces in all but the 3 that were on the program were Miriam Hyde's Village Fair, Korngold's Violin Concerto and Dvořák's Symphony No.8.



We have also booked a holiday for next year! Yes, another one! 



Max



Given that Max is very new to us, there are plenty of firsts. For example, we took him for a short walk and he was super excited when he got back so he clearly loved it!



I have also learnt that my ugg boots are pretty much not going to survive puppyhood. Our computer cords are also an endangered species!



Posts from the last week


Weekend Cooking: Alice in Wonderland


I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Sunday Salon: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge -August stats

 

 

 

 

 

 


This year as part of the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge I am intending to provide some stats after each month and then at the end of the year I will do an overall wrap up for the year. Today I am sharing a few stats about August.

During August there were 67 reviews shared by 25 participants. There were lots of people who shared multiple reviews, including 3 people who shared 5 or more reviews. Thank you to everyone who has shared! I think I have visited everyone this month, and there were some fascinating titles, and I added more than one book to my TBR list!

In terms of the books, there were 66 individual titles reviewed, written by 64 different authors. 

There was only one book that was reviewed twice for the challenge. This was:




Lessons in Chemisry by Bonnie Garmus was reviewed both by Curly Geek from The Book Stop and Laura from Laura's Reviews.


There were two other authors who had two individual titles reviewed. Signal Moon and The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn were both reviewed as were two books by Madeline Martin being The Last Bookshop in London and The Librarian Spy.

It's not too late to join the challenge this year. You can find all the sign up details here and if you have a link to add to the challenge the September Linky can be found here.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Weekend Cooking/Cook the Books: Alice in Wonderland


This month's choice for Cook the Books is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It is such an interesting choice for Cook the Books as it isn't necessarily a book that you would consider foodie, but it is absolutely full of food references. It was also a fun read to revisit as an adult, especially when you consider that the book itself is over 150 years old, and yet it is timeless.



Reading this again reminded me of the White Night event that was held in Melbourne back in 2015. In honour of the 150th anniversary of the book being published, one of the themes for the event was Alice in Wonderland, with many of Melbourne's building being transformed into giant canvasses for projections. Here are a few of the Alice related pictures I took that night.








The adventures that Alice has after she follows the white rabbit down the rabbit hole are zany, and yet apart from the fact that the game of croquet is something that kids today might not be familiar with, pretty much everything else is still easy for us to understand. Although, I did tend to skip through the poetry but I do that in books like The Lord of the Rings too.



cookthebooksThe most well known food reference is probably the mad hatter's tea party, but there were so many others, and I had several ideas of what to make.  I  ended going with something that wasn't directly related to the story. If you google for ideas there are so many elaborately decorated items - topsy turvy cakes, giant tea pots etc. Unfortunately my decorative skills do not extend to such skilled designs. I do taste good, not necessarily looks amazing!



Some of the ideas I considered were a big cake surrounded by small cakes to represent the food that Alice ate that had the effect of either making her grow big or small. I also thought about making a treacle tart or an onion tart. There were so many options.



So what did I make? We were having our first guests here for dinner at the new house, so I wanted to make something dessert worthy. I also love making chiffon cakes, so once I found my tin in one of the still packed boxes, I decided to make an Earl Grey Chiffon Cake, inspired by all the tea references in the book.




I ended up adapting a recipe which was made with French Earl Grey tea. I only had a couple of bags of French Earl Grey, and I really wanted to use just normal Earl Grey (British I guess) tea instead. The original recipe also called for orange to be included but I didn't have any. I also took some inspiration from a couple of other recipes that I found online by including some of the tea leaves in the cake mixture.



I do love making chiffon cakes (also known as angel food cake). I have made a lemon flavoured one before and a coffee cream cake that isn't called chiffon cake but uses exactly the same techniques. I might try to make a chai flavoured one next. (editted to say....the next one will be a vanilla one as per my husband's request)



The flavour might have been stronger had I used more teabags, but you could definitely taste it, particularly on the second day. There wasn't a lot left for the second day as all the family loved it, especially my nephews who both came back for seconds!


A couple of important things to note when making these kinds of cakes. Firstly, you do not butter the cake tin. You want the cake mixture to stick. It is important that the cake is left to completely cool whilst still upside down. This prevents the cake from collapsing in on itself and ensures that the texture is extremely light.




Earl Grey Tea Chiffon Cake


4 Earl Grey teabags
160ml ( ⅔ cup) boiling water
185g (1¼ cups) self-raising flour
30g (¼ cup) cornflour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
6 eggs, separated
200g caster sugar, plus 110g (½ cup) extra
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
100ml vegetable oil
Icing sugar, to dust


Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Place an ungreased 21cm angel food cake tin on an oven tray. You can also use a bundt tin.


Place the tea bags in a small jug, pour the boiling water over and set aside to infuse until the water is warm.


Sift the flour, cornflour, cream of tartar and salt.


Whisk the egg yolks and 200g caster sugar on high speed until thick and pale then whisk in the vanilla.


Squeeze the tea bags so that you get as much flavour as possible into the water. 


Cut one of the teabags and add the leaves to the egg and sugar mixture.


Add 125ml ( ½ cup) of the tea to the oil. The tea should still be warm but not hot. Add the oil mixture to the egg mixture and whisk on low speed until well combined. 


With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Set aside. 


In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Add about a third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold through until well combined. Add the remaining egg white mixture and fold until just combined.


Spoon the mixture into the ungreased tin and gently smooth the surface with the back of a metal spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.


Immediately turn the cake upside down still in the tin so it is suspended, for a minimum of 2 hours. If you are using a bundt tin for this, you can invert the cake over the top of a bottle to have the same effect.


When the cake is completely cool, run a small knife around the side of the tin to release. 


Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream and strawberries. 


I have also linked this post up with Foodies Read hosted at 

 Weekly meals

Saturday - Out for dinner
Sunday -  Roast Pork
Monday - Beef Chilli with sweet potato wedges
Tuesday - Hainanese Chicken with bok choy and rice
Wednesday - Chicken enchiladas with rice and beans
Thursday - Out for dinner
Friday - Prawn Paella





Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: There's Books in Them Thar Hills

 


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This 

week the theme is Books with Geographical Terms in the Title but I am limiting it to just hills and mountains.



The Vineyard in the Hills by Lily Malone and Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman




Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna and Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden






Black Hills by Nora Roberts and Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt





Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr and And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini






Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazer

I am sure that there is a joke in there somewhere that I have missed about Mount TBR!!

Monday, September 12, 2022

This week....


I'm reading....



Life continues to busy, but I did manage to find some time to do some reading, both in book and audio forms!!  I finished reading It Was All the Pie's Fault by Elizabeth SaFleur which was a fun read! And with all the different flavours of pie mentioned all through the book, it made me just a bit hungry!



I also finished reading The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer. This is the second book I have read by this Australian author. Such a good read!



The book that I started was The Night Ship by Jess Kidd which I am really excited about. It is the story of a ship called The Batavia which was shipwrecked on the Western Australian coast in the 1600s. I have long been interested in the story of this ship.



In addition, I have made good progress in listening to Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes as my book club book.



I'm watching....



Have you seen the I am Groot shorts films? They have just been released on Disney+.  They are just 5 minutes long and they are very cute!



We also watched all the current episodes of Welcome to Wrexham. This is the story of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney buying Welsh football club Wrexham.  It is touching and funny and I will definitely be watching more episodes as they come out.



Life



We had a very busy weekend!  Let's start with Sunday. 



In the morning we went to Lune Lab. Lune is a very famous croissanterie here in Melbourne. Often the line is out the door on the weekend but we had a prime position which gave a view of the cube inside the building which is where they roll out all the different shapes for the croissants. Lune Lab is a degustation where you get to try experimental fillings. What it was was delicious!



After a delicious breakfast, I headed into Melbourne Writer's Festival and attended three sessions. The first featured Sulari Gentil and Hayley Scrivenor talking about Frenemies. The second was a discussion was titled The Age of Anti-Ambition. The third session was a sensation conversation with Sarah Winman, author of Still Life! I could have listened to her talk all day! 



Really though, the highlight of our weekend is that we got a dog! Meet Max!



We have been talking about getting one for a while. However, I got impatient waiting for my son to make a decision last week, so I provided him with a shortlist of five different sets of puppies to choose from and Max was the lucky dog! Expect to hear more about Max!


Posts from the last week



Top Ten Tuesday: Lost Books
Weekend Cooking: Blind Ambition



I've linked this post to It's Monday, what are you reading? as hosted by Book Date

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