These lamb meatballs are packed full of vegetables and take only 20 minutes in the oven. There are no added fats or oils and you don’t even need egg to bind them because there is enough natural fat in lamb mince to hold the meat together. Serve with hummus and fresh red cabbage coleslaw, dressed in a healthy yoghurt and mustard dressing (no sugar-y, fatty mayonnaise in sight), for another vegie boost.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 400g lamb mince
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 zucchini, grated
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1tbs dried rosemary
- 1tbs ground cumin
- 1/2 tbs ground turmeric
- 1/2 tbs ground coriander seed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups grated red cabbage
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/2 red onion, grated
- 3/4 cup full fat natural yoghurt
- 1 tbs seeded dijon mustard
- pinch of salt
- hummus to serve
For the meatballs, combine the grated carrot and zucchini with 1tsp salt and leave to stand for a few minutes before squeezing out as much liquid as possible from the vegetables. Add to the lamb mince mince along with the rest of the ingredients and combine well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with foil. Roll the lamb mixture into 3-4cm diameter balls and arrange onto the baking tray. Bake for 20mins or until well browned on the outside and cooked through.
For the coleslaw, whisk the yoghurt, mustard and salt with a fork until well combined. Taste and add more mustard if you want more of a kick. Add the yoghurt dressing to the grated vegetables. Mix well and refrigerate until just before serving.
To serve, smear 1-2 tbs hummus onto 4 plates. Top with meatballs and serve coleslaw on the side.
De Clieu is a stand-out performer on Gertrude St, which is saying a lot considering the vast number of amazing eateries which have taken root in this part of Fitzroy. Named after the French naval officer credited with introducing coffee to the French colonies of South America, this cafe was originally the third project of Seven Seeds’ and Brother Baba Budan’s Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor. While it has now been sold, you can still expect amazing Seven Seeds coffee.
Designed by Six Degrees, the cafe makes the most of its corner position on Gertrude, with large windows opening up onto the street to allow patrons to enjoy their brews seated on long window benches. The interior is simple and elegant, all simple lines and earthy hues, with a sparkling white-tiled, open kitchen.
Espresso-based drinks, featuring a sweet, malt-y blend, are expertly prepared on the La Marzocco, while a separate counter is dedicated to filters, presses and pour-overs, best for bringing out the distinct aromas of rotating single origins. There is also a corner dedicated to retail, stocked with a variety of beans and fancy toys for coffee-lovers; if you want to know how to make a good coffee at home, the staff are more than happy to share their knowledge.
However, it’s not all about the coffee, with chef Steven Carr delivering a punch-y menu that showcases local produce. Quinoa and soya sourdough is piled high with minted smashed peas and creamy, Danish feta, for a green boost to your morning.
Pancakes are just a bit gourmet, topped with fresh figs and mint, spiced coffee mascarpone for a touch of decadence and lightly drizzled with maple syrup.
Char-siu lovers will enjoy the succulent, roasted Berkshire pork neck, served as a thick slab on crispy spring onion roti with a soft fried egg, fresh tomato and spring onion salsa and sweet BBQ sauce.
With it’s snazzy design, great coffee and delicious food, I’m loving everything about De Clieu.
Vegie Mum in Doncaster is a Chinese/Malaysian, family restaurant that will truly surprise you. When it comes to vegetarian food, faux meat is very hit and miss; I don’t particularly understand why there is a need to imitate meat products (seems to defeat the purpose of being vegetarian), especially when the imitations can have odd textures and strange aftertastes. However, Vegie Mum’s dishes take imitation meat to a whole new level and dining here is a great experience.
The menu is very comprehensive, categorised according to the type of faux meat (‘seafood’, ‘duck/chicken’, ‘beef/lamb’, ‘pork’ and so forth). There are also straight vegetarian options without soy protein.
‘Chicken’ skewers are truly deceptive; grilled to give the protein a smoky flavour and topped with a sweet peanut-satay sauce.
Honey roasted ‘pork’ tastes and feels like char-sui, thinly sliced and coated in sweet BBQ sauce, while roast ‘duck’ is as close as you can get it, with a top layer of crispy ‘skin’.
Fragrant curry laksa is generously portioned and topped with a mix of ‘prawns’, ‘fish’ cakes and tofu; one of the best laksa soups I have tasted.
However, the standout dish is Vegie Mum’s ‘pork belly’, stir fried with green beans. Flavoured with a sweet marinade, the texture of the soy pork is unbelievably accurate, complete with a layer of pork ‘fat’.
I highly recommend a visit to Vegie Mum, whether you have or haven’t tried imitation meat. The dishes here are quite unique in the way different textures of soy protein have been used so that they do not rely solely on the use of sauces. Guarantee that even meat-eaters will love the food. However, make sure to book to avoid a lengthy wait or even missing out completely.
WFS Stop 4 was Wee Jeanie, located right next to Yarraville train station. Cornershop’s younger sibling, this small cafe caters to the morning coffee crowd and also sports a concise breakfast/lunch menu that packs a punch.
Smashed avocado on sourdough toast is popular with patrons, given a middle eastern spin by the addition of creamy goats curd, dukkah and a sweet pomegranate dressing, with a salad of bitter, peppery rocket leaves for texture.
Two versions of baked free-range eggs both hit the spot; either kaiserfleisch and parmesan or plump, juicy mushrooms and feta, baked in a rich sugo sauce, and served with plenty of bread for mopping up the pan.
They also do a delicious sweet black rice with coconut yoghurt and mango for those looking for something sweet.
Coffee-wise, Supreme supplies the house blend, with a rotating guest blend showcasing beans from the likes of Proud Mary (their ‘Ghost Rider’ was sweet, syrup-y and smooth, absolutely delicious). Excellent baristas operating the bright green Slayer ensure consistent quality; I find the coffee here to be more consistent that at Cornershop.
So much more than just a mini-Cornershop, Wee Jeanie is a must-try in Yarraville. Heads up though, they aren’t open on Sundays.
Third stop on our Western food safari was our local European bakehouse, Hausfrau. This bright, airy bakery is so wonderfully domestic; entrance marked by a cute blue apron, delicious aroma of baked bread and sweets permeating throughout the interior, the vinyl-floored dining area simply furnished with a retro feel, homely touches added by way of floral lampshades and beautiful hand-painted cups used for holding sachets of sugar, and even a touch Wonderland-esque whimsy courtesy of over-sized kitchen utensils adorning the main wall.
A range of Central European-inspired cakes and pastries are displayed in a glass cabinet for ordering take-away with your coffee or eating in, served on beautiful vintage plates. There is also a good range of breakfast items and sandwiches for lunch, with bread baked fresh in-house of course.
Breakfast here is hearty and generous. Zipfer Bier rarebit on toast was richly flavoured, made with sharp cheddar, Austrian beer and a creamy bechamel; great value at $7.50.
Or you can have your sourdough stacked with Hausfrau’s salmon gravlax; thinly sliced, melt-in-the-mouth, cured salmon, great with avocado.
Coffee is quite consistent; a Genovese blend that works well with milk.
Over Easter, definitely stop by for some of their hot cross buns, which are dense and studded with juicy raisins and citrus peel.
Tom Phat is the place to go when you’re looking for something quite different from the standard fry-up. A Sydney Road stalwart, serving up punchy Asian-fusion dishes for lunch and dinner, Tom Phat also presents a breakfast menu that combines Asian and Western flavours.
Some dishes are quite traditional, including Tom Phat’s take on a Vietnamese breakfast favourite, banh mi op la; wok-fried eggs, sunny-side up and crispy around the edges, topped with fragrant fried shallots and served with Hanoi-style baguette bread and a drizzle of chili soy sauce. Then there’s Uncle Ho’s Brekky with a grilled pork chop and fried egg on rice, if you’re feeling very hungry.
For the remainder of the menu, you can expect to see anything from bacon and eggs to potato hash, fritters and braised beans, jazzed up with classic Asian flavours. My pick would have to be their signature Roti Omelette; wok-tossed roti bread with egg, a generous serve of bacon, chives and a sweet, roasted tomato salsa. The scrambled tofu and a kedgeree-style fried rice with smoked trout are also worth a re-visit.
Wash it all down with a banana, apple and yoghurt Monkey Magic smoothie, and you’re bound to be satisfied.
The Urban Coffee Farm and Brew Bar is a unique project that will be operating for the duration of the 2013 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Set up on the red steps of Queensbridge Square, the design is an interpretation of a terraced coffee plantation, with 125 trees grown locally for the event and construction materials comprising shipping containers, packing crates and palettes to reference the transportation-leg of a coffee bean’s journey from farm to cup.
A celebration of Melbourne’s love of coffee, the Farm will host a different cafe/roaster each morning, including favourites St Ali, Three Bags Full, Market Lane and Auction Rooms, with bars taking over in the evening to serve coffee-inspired cocktails.
We arrived on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to sample some cocktails prepared by The Lui Bar. The menu featured espresso martinis prepared by placing all ingredients into a pour over filter with ice. The Chocolate Pour Over with Belvedere vodka and chocolate liqueur was brilliant- the aroma of the coffee came through quite strongly and some added mint was a lovely, fresh touch. The Orange Pour Over (Bacardi 8yr old rum, Grand Marnier and lemon peel) and Botanical Pour Over (Bombay Sapphire Gin, saffron and ginger) were also popular.
Feeling peckish, we also ordered some items from the evening menu, which mainly consists of antipasto plates and small items to share. Crocché della casa were particularly good; fluffy corn, eggplant and spinach croquettes covered in a golden crumb, served with sweet tomato relish. Very addictive.
A wrap filled with West Victorian slow-braised lamb shoulder, tomato salad and minted labneh was more substantial, but a bit dry.
A beautiful venue for enjoying what good weather we have left. I do believe my next visit calls for coffee and pastries.
Looking for a quiet breakfast spot, S, Auntie and I popped into Cafe No 12. A cute corner cafe on Commercial Road, it was a welcome change from the crowded cafes in the busier parts of Prahran.
After ordering at the counter, we took a seat in the sunny courtyard to enjoy the morning warmth. We waited quite a long time for food but were pleasantly surprised by the quality and presentation of the dishes when they were served.
Fluffy potato hash browns were golden and crispy on the outside and were the perfect base for freshly poached eggs and a generous helping of crispy bacon.
The corn toast was dense and sweet, served with braised black beans, cheese and avocado and topped with a fresh tomato salsa.
The basics were also done well; eggs sunny-side up, juicy pork sausage, spinach and avocado, with thickly cut toast.
Generous and unpretentious, this relatively private cafe is definitely a spot I would recommend if you’re looking for a no-fuss, relaxed meal.
Brunch at Hobba was a special occasion; mainly because someone managed to convince our anti-brunch foodie to come along and pay an exorbitant amount of money for ‘breakfast food’ Located on busy Malvern Rd, this converted tyre-fitting shop is bright and airy, very hip and features a funky menu to match.
A breakfast fry-up of egg, slab bacon and tomato arrived on a bed of bubble and squeak.
The ‘reuben monsieur’ was an interesting mash-up; corned beef and cheesy bechamel with some pickled carrot for sweetness.
Creamy horseradish panna cotta with grilled asparagus, hazelnut crumb and slow poached egg was a great combination. However, why you wouldn’t serve toast with poached eggs and cream by default is beyond me (extra $1 for toast).
Our orders also dipped into the requisite burger menu, with the pulled pork burger (slow-roasted pork shoulder, mozarella, and pickles on brioche, with some lettuce to lessen the guilt slightly) receiving a thumbs up.
The menu at Hobba does go beyond standard breakfast fare and is worth trying. It is, however, a bit on the expensive side considering the small portions (let’s just say we didn’t manage to change S’s stance on brunch), and probably not a venue I’d visit regularly.
Stop 2 on our Western food safari was Cornershop. A Yarraville favourite, Cornershop is teeming with local brunch-ers on the weekend and we were lucky to secure a table in the sunny courtyard after a fairly short wait.
A comprehensive menu did not help our indecisiveness but I think it’s pretty hard to go wrong here. A dish of Spanish baked beans on sourdough was hearty and more-ish. It’s well worth ordering the optional fried chorizo to go with the sweet, smoky sauce.
With some items from the breakfast dishes also appearing as sides, the choice is made easier for those wanting to try a bit of everything. Two savvy diners hedged their bets and added braised beans and plump, sauteed seasonal mushrooms to glossy, herbed scrambled and perfectly poached eggs.
Coffee was also well received, a bold blend by Coffee Supreme, although having been back a few times, it can be rather variable.
So, another winner in the West; loved the simple, tasty breakfast dishes, generous servings and good ambiance of the cafe.