Ideas for the Spring Racing Carnival


If you’ve been out in Melbourne lately, you’ve almost definitely seen a brioche bun of some kind on the menu. If you’re a fan, perhaps you should try your hand at making some to take to the upcoming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

If you’ve never made bread before don’t worry, these aren’t difficult and are a good place to start. There are no tricky steps, though I would advise you use a stand mixer with a dough hook to make life easier. If you don’t own one, feel free to have a go by hand. These rolls won’t stay fresh for long though, so make the dough the night before and bake them fresh on the day.

Below are two options for fillings: a vegetarian satay tofu option, and a BBQ pork option you may recognize from a post not long ago. The filling recipes are for 12 buns, the number the brioche recipe makes, so if you want to try both you’ll need to double the brioche recipe.

2 tbsp milk
6 gm dried yeast
275 gm bread flour + extra for dusting
30 gm caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
175 gm softened butter (not melted)
spray oil
1 egg yolk, whisked with 1 tbsp milk

  1. In a small bowl, microwave milk for about 20 seconds, or until just warm. Add yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes until small bubbles begin to appear.
  2. In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine plain flour, caster sugar, eggs, and yeast mixture. Knead on a medium speed for 8-10 minutes until smooth and well combined.
  3. With the motor running, add the softened butter a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all the butter is added, beat for a further 5 minutes until smooth and glossy.
  4. Pour the sticky batter onto a very lightly floured bench top and form into ball. Transfer to a lightly greased large bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm spot for 1 hour until doubled in size.
  5. Once risen, tip the batter onto a very lightly floured bench top and knead a few times by hand. Transfer back to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave for an hour to double in size. Alternatively at this point you can refrigerate the dough overnight. If you do this, take the dough out of the fridge 2 hours ahead of time.
  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Taking one portion, roll roughly into a ball. With the ball infront of you, pull the edges of the ball into the center, pressing down firmly, rotating as you go. Then, turn the ball over the cupping the ball between the sides of your hands, rotate the ball in a circular motion to create an even shape. For a good example of how to form the rolls, check out this video:
  7. Once you have shaped all 12 balls of dough, place evenly on a baking tray and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  8. Once the balls are doubled in size, place in a 200C oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container – they won’t last longer than a day.

Makes 12


1 cup quality aioli
12 small cos lettuce leaves
12 pieces of satay marinated tofu

2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 bunch coriander leaves
12 colourful skewers (to serve)
12 brioche buns (recipe above)

  1. Cut rolls in half and spread with aioli.
  2. Top each half with lettuce, a piece of tofu, a little grated carrot and some coriander leaves.

Makes 12


1kg pork shoulder, bone removed, rolled
150ml good quality BBQ sauce
1/4 red cabbage
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
125g butter

12 colourful skewers (to serve)
12 brioche buns (recipe above)

  1. Preheat oven to 150C.
  2. Place pork on a roasting tray and cook for 4-6 hours or until falling apart when you prick it with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before shredding the meat, discarding the fat and skin.
  3. Once meat is cooled, mix through the BBQ sauce.
  4. Using a food processor with a slicer attachment, slice the cabbage thinly. Alternatively, you can do this with a sharp knife by hand. Toss the cabbage with the mayo and season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Cut your rolls in half and butter on both sides (this will prevent them going soggy). Place a little pulled pork on each burger and top with a little coleslaw.

Makes 12

Posted in Hors D'Oeuvre, Lunch/Light Meal, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Having trouble on deciding what to have? LBSS takes away the guesswork

Little Big Sugar Salt
385 Victoria St
Abbotsford, VIC 3067
(03) 9427 8818


Ever been to brunch and can’t decide what to order? Little Big Sugar Salt have come up with an ingenious way to help you decide. The entire menu – laid out as a ‘mostly healthy food pyramid’ – lists smaller items at the top and larger items at the bottom, with sweeter items are on the left, and savoury on the right. Simple, right?

LBSS, the first venture from Charl Laubscher, Erika Geraerts, Morgan Green and Adam Houston, opened late last year on a strip of Victoria St where you’d more likely expect to find Pho than poached eggs. What’s more, the tiny establishment, laid out within the confines of the original workers cottage it inhabits, runs from a tiny kitchen located behind the coffee machine at the very entrance. Here you can watch the team, run by Isaac Paurini, create some top notch nosh.

Feel like something not to big and on the savoury side? The “Keyword Tasty” towards the top right fulfills your needs ($15.00). Drawing on the inspiration surrounding them, the guys top your regular avo and feta mash with kimchi, finishing it with quinoa and a poached egg, the resulting dish an balance between Melbourne’s hipster brunch scene and the Asian cuisine of Victoria st.


A little hungrier? Try the “Secret Garden” ($15.00). Spoiler: it contains broccoli, broad beans, peas, asparagus, baby chard, pesto and goats cheese, topped with a poached egg. The optional trout (+$2.00) or bacon (+$4.00) make it more substantial, sliding it further towards the ‘big’ end of the scale.


But if you’re truly looking to be fulfilled, try the “Sir Ron Swanson” ($19.00), so good it’s “the first toastie to ever receive the Order of Merit” according to the menu. Deliciously filling, this bad boy is stuffed with pickled onions, braised leek bechamel, slow-cooked ham hock and loads of gruyere cheese. Arise! Sir Ron indeed.


From the sweet side of the menu, there’s classics like crumpets made special with the addition of peanut butter, maple syrup, banana and blue cheese ($13.00); or Cacao Pops, made in house with vanilla coyo, fresh berries and almond milk ($13.00).

This establishment caters for just about everyone, making note of gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian items. Those going gluten-free rejoice: there’s pancakes made with blueberries and ginger, topped with coconut vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and seasonal fruit ($18.00) just for you (any anyone else really).


The drinks menu is even divided between hot and cold. On the hot side, the coffee (from Wide Open Road) is available black or white, with almond milk or soy. There’s also a range of teas available, or an almond milk hot chocolate. From the cold side: a range of cold coffees, virtuous waters (coconut or Antipodes sparkling), or a choice of purple or green smoothies.


In an era where Melbourne Cafes have to do just about anything they can to stand out, LBSS is certainly doing things differently. The menu, while short, is solid and seemingly has all tastes covered, catering to the health obsessed, superfood-fueled crowd.

Little Big Sugar Salt - LBSS Cafe on Urbanspoon

Posted in Abbotsford, Eastern, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Korean without the queuing

Seoul Soul
315 High St
Northcote, VIC
(03) 9481 3027


If you want Korean but don’t want to wait in line at Kong, head on down to Seoul Soul on High St, Northcote. This neon-lit eatery, owned by 3 interior designers, is serving up tasty lunch and dinners 7 days a week at a very reasonable price.

With a sister restaurant of the same name on Victoria st, you know these guys must be doing something right. The menu may not be the most authentic – you’ll find teriyaki chicken and dumplings along side the regular stuff – but that’s not the focus here. It’s “modern” Korean that’s “a bit sweeter and less spicy – more Westernised” according to owner Insu Kim.

The Kim Chi pancake for instance that’s “cooked with various vegetables and kim chi” ($8.00) according to the menu, has definitely had the chilli dialed down from more traditional versions. Deep fried with a side of pickles, it’s the a great way to get your daily dose of veggies for the day.


For something a little different, the Dduk Bok Ki ($13.00) is like a Korean take on pasta. Tubes of rice cakes, similar in texture to gnocchi, are served in either a sweet chilli or soy sauce with mixed vegetables, spring rolls and triangular parcels. Be warned: unlike the other "Westernised" dishes, the sweet chilli has a good hum of chilli to it, so opt for the soy version if you can't handle the heat.


It wouldn’t be a Korean restaurant without Bibimbap – a piping hot stone bowl filled with steamed rice and topped with various veggies and meats and a fried egg ($16.00). Available in a range of meats – beef, pork or chicken as well as vegetarian options vegie, tofu or kim chi – finish off the meal by adding your own sesame oil and as much chilli sauce as your can handle.


There is also a chargrilled BBQ section on the menu that serves up various grilled meats and veggies on a sizzling plate. The sweet soy shitake mushrooms ($17.00) are an excellent choice. Served in a sweet sauce with mixed veggies, these meaty fungi are sure to please both veggos and meat eaters alike.


There’s a lot of great cheap Asian eats around Melbourne but there’s few that have the style and atmosphere of Seoul Soul. The staff are friendly, the fitout is cool and modern, and most importantly the food is good and well priced.

Seoul Soul Plus on Urbanspoon

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Moussaka: A family favourite


If you love lasagne but want something a little healthier, this easy recipe for moussaka is just for you. Moussaka is a traditional Greek recipe similar to Italian lasagne, but uses eggplant instead of pasta for the layers. Great for using up leftover bolognese, feel free to use your own recipe. It’s comfort food at it’s best, perfect for a family dinner or if you’re like me, great to whip up on the weekend for an easy mid week meal. And if you’re gluten intolorant, substitute the flour in the bechemel for corn or gluten free flour.

1 large eggplant, finely sliced longways
3 cups bolognese sauce (recipe below)
3 cups bechemel sauce (recipe below)
 1/2 cup grated cheese
spray oil for greasing

  1. Make the bolognese sauce and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the bechemel sauce and keep warm.
  3. Preheat oven to 180C.
  4. Grease a 30cm  x 20cm tin with oil. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer over the bottom of the tin. Spread 1/4 of the bolognese evenly over the eggplant, then do the same with the bechemel. Repeat layers in this order until everything is used up, finishing with a layer of eggplant topped with bechemel.
  5. Sprinkle grated cheese over moussaka and place in a moderate oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Serve warm with salad.

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500g beef mince
700g passata tomato sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add onion and carrots and cook until the onion is translucent but not brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the beef and use the back of your spoon to break it up. Continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
  3. Once all the liquid has evaporated, add the passata and balsamic and stir through. Season to taste.

60g butter, chopped
1/4 cup plain flour
3 cups milk
60g parmesan cheese, finely grated
good pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of milk and wisk until absorbed. Continue adding milk a little at a time, whisking until all incorporated.
  3. Stir through the parmesan and nutmet and season to taste.
Posted in Dinner/Main Meal, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Som Tam: High quality Thai food in Thornbury

This is a sponsored post

Som Tam
750 High Street
Thornbury 3071
(03) 9480 5276


In the midst of a restaurant and café district, Som Tam Thai restaurant brings high quality Thai cuisine that is equally delicious and fresh to Thornbury’s High Street. Som Tam offers a variety of rich flavours and dishes that will satisfy the Melburnian food lover’s palette

Som Tam drew on the wonderful sights and colours of Thiland to inspire their menu. Their menu may be short, but it is carefully selected with flavoursome dishes using fresh and unique ingredients sourced from the best traditional grocers around Melbourne. Vegetarians are well catered for as are the gluten intolerant, with many options or alternatives throughout the menu that are just as rich in taste and colour.


Enjoy the fine authentic taste of the Roast Duck Red Curry ($18.90) or, indulge in something sweeter in the dessert menu such as the Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice-cream. ($6.90) Thai cuisine is traditionally enjoyed in a communal atmosphere. In Thai culture, dishes are made to be shared and enjoyed together with family and friends. Som Tam sure kept this is mind when creating the menu. The abundance of flavours available will have you sampling the starters and wanting to share dishes around with all your dinner guest. The Pla Goong poached prawns with Thai chilli paste and ginger ($11.90) would be perfect to pass around the table.


The surroundings of Som Tam are reflective of the charming scenery and colours of Thailand. The restaurant’s philosophy of preserving traditional Thai food culture delivers a warm and welcoming family environment. The dishes are truly authentic to Thai cooking, simple, flavoursome and made to be enjoyed and shared with loved ones.

Posted in Sponsored Post | 1 Comment