Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Home-Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated mushrooms are probably my favourite deli-bought snack food. When I was younger I would actually eat a whole jar for lunch. I have a little bit more control over my gluttonous urges these days, but I've been craving these things big-time lately. A small jar is usually around $4-5 dollars at the shops, which seems like a big rip-off so I thought I'd make my own. I found a few recipes online and took bits from them to create this recipe, based on ingredients I already had. (I think fresh parsley would have been a great addition, but unfortunately, I was out.) This jar needs to be refrigerated in a few weeks, so I will update then.


  • 300g button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • a few fronds of fresh dill
  • 1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 3/4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely diced

Pour all ingredients except the mushrooms in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil (the boil?). 


Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down and add the mushrooms. Stir with a spatula to coat all the mushrooms in the mixture. Cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


After 10 minutes or so, turn off the heat and transfer everything to a sterilised jar. Let cool and then put the jar in the fridge for a few weeks. Serve cold with crackers and vegan cheese and sundried tomatoes!

Oh, and don't forget to warn anyone you live with that you have mushrooms marinating in the fridge and not a science experiment!


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Crazy Brussels Sprouts

So-called crazy because the ingredients basically consist of whatever stuff I had lying around that needed using up. The combination of flavours may not sound like they would work together, but they totally do! Apologies for the shocking picture quality on this post - I think I accidentally set the ISO too high without realising...


  • 2 handfuls of Brussels sprouts, washed and halved
  • 1/2 large red chili
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon's juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Chuck the chili, garlic, parsley and coriander into a food processor. Blend until all finely chopped. Whilst the speed is on low, pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. Scrape the sides with a spatula then add salt and pepper and pulse a few times until you reach your desired consistency - not pureed, but all blended.

Pour the oil/herb mixture over the B-sprouts in a bowl and mix with the spatula until all coated in oil.


Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until nice and crispy. You may need to remove the tray about 10 minutes in, just to make sure the oil is still evenly distributed and/or turn the sprouts over.


Remove from the oven and serve hot! Also works with mushrooms:


Friday, 9 March 2012

Mad Mex - Melbourne Central

Ah, La Cocina de México! Melbourne is currently experiencing a Mexican revolution, with heaps of South-of-the-Border eateries popping up all over town, and another two opening in the CBD in the next few weeks.

Mad Mex opened their first few stores in Sydney and are now franchising in Melbourne. I first visited their shopfront in Sydney about a year ago and was very impressed with the quality of ingredients, friendly staff and yummy flavours presented to me. I'm happy to tell you the Melbourne Central outpost has the same qualities - somehow the staff managed to get our orders out accurately, fast, and with smiles and jokes all around. Oh, and they're licensed to sell booze! I wish I was paying attention to this when we ordered - I could have gotten a frozen margarita or a Mexican beer.

For my dinner, I chose the Vegetariano burrito ($10.90 with eggplant, zucchini & mushrooms) minus the cheese and sour cream, plus three (yes three!) salsas and guacamole (free with a veggie burrito!).


The salsas I had on my burrito were the corn, the tomatillo, and the roasted tomato. They were all bursting will flavour, but the smoky, deep flavour of the roasted tomato sauce was the winner - it's like no sauce I have tried before at an Aussie Mexi food place. The tortilla was very authentic-tasting - I must say, even better than the tortilla at Trippy Taco! My bf's tacos were also quite authentic, with a double layer of tortilla (because the first one always breaks!). Gluten-free people will have no problem here either - you can get a "naked" burrito - basically an awesome burrito minus the flour tortilla.


I couldn't finish my overstuffed burrito but the serving of two tacos weren't enough for the bf so he ordered a side of nachos ($3 with roasted tomato salsa) for takeaway.


These were hot, fresh and went superbly with the roasted tomato salsa (yes, I somehow found room in my tummy for a few...) Even though we got the chips for takeaway, I wouldn't have minded eating in the food court at a table that looks over LaTrobe Street - this part of Melbourne Central seems to be the only sane place to sit and eat. And check out the Corona-bottle chandelier!


The only thing negative I can say about Mad Mex is that the guacamole was maybe a little bit old and had that slight warm-avo taste. Normally I would say $10.90 was too much for a burrito, but this burrito was so yummy that it was most certainly worth it. Honestly, I would love to see a place like Mad Mex put a horrible place like Taco Bill out of business. The people of Melbourne are finally able to find some near-authentic Mexican food, and it's maravilloso!

Mad Mex - Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, 5 March 2012

Massive Wieners - Prahran

Note: If you came here just to see a picture of the author eating a massive wiener turn back because there isn't one!

When I heard this place had a Massive (aka 12" long) vegan hot dog, I knew I had to get down to Prahran and try it out! Last Saturday was a great opportunity. We were in the city anyway, checking out an exhibition at ACMI, and Prahran really is much closer than it sometimes feels to this Northsider.


Massive Wieners is really trying to perfect the old-school '50s American diner feel, with the added bonuses of cheeky branding and a no-frills menu. They're pretty spot-on when it comes to the Americana  look - glass bottled 7-Up and Dr Pepper in the fridge, old-school uniforms on the staff and simple ingredients on the menu. The aesthetic works well (even if the retro cash register didn't seem to be operational!), and is really quite cute. The shop is very small, with the only seats next to the window - more of a sitting area than an eating area. There is a small park nearby that is a perfect spot to eat your dogs.

On this trip I ordered the veggie dog which comes with ketchup, diced white onions, and American mustard. I got "pickles" for $1 extra (I think it was actually what would be called relish in the US.) The dog seemed to be a foot-long Redwood dog, possibly boiled but maybe we heard a microwave in the back? The bun is a pretty junky white-bread-type bun, just your average bun - slightly chewy, not much flavour.


The dog, in the end, was okay. It was nothing out of the ordinary. At $6 for the plain footlong, ($4 for an "Average Joe" and $3 for a "Little Pecker", heh heh) it is quite good value, but maybe if the dog was grilled and more interesting extras were offered, it might pack a little but more punch and appeal.


With such a simple and well-priced menu, I think Massive Wieners will be successful. They fit in well to their Greville St location, and their look is very smart, but as for my next veggie dog - I'll probably just grill it at  home with some onions and green pepper and maybe some dijon mustard.



Massive Wieners on Urbanspoon