2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


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Olio e Pane makes a new look debut

a well chosen range of the best oils

The founder Jenny Birrell has been at the olive game for some time now and knows her oils and many of the local and Italian growers she stocks – needless to say she is fastidious about what she stocks.

Now in a completely renovated space, Jenny now teamed up with an Italian partner offers a bigger and better proposition for lovers of this gorgeous fruit.

So what’s new? Olio e Pane now stocks an even wider range of old world and new world olive oils than before – straight up as well as flavoured, runs regular olive oil tasting classes, and has also introduced a range of sauces and pesto on the principle of good food at reasonable prices.

We tried the reasonably priced Gentile brand of artisan (dried) pastas from Napoli in Italy she brings in along with some great condiments that give the pasta some umph.  The shop also now sports a well stocked deli with some beautiful Italian cheese  (taleggio, parmegianno, grana padano, the gorgeously moist burrata and many more), cured hams and meats and of course olives and breads from Zeely Bay.

As before, there are a range of very tasteful gifts in the olive theme that ranges from crockery to olive wood utensils and bowls, linen tea towels, soaps and writing material.

The cafe out the back of the shop now serves a great lunch menu of pizzas and pastas and other light meals – although it does feel a bit closed in.

With her Italian connections Jenny will now offer in 2012 a range of visits organised around the olive oil theme

range of italian sauces and condiments

shop interior with cafe out the back

328, Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Tel: 03 98182375
Olio & Pane on Urbanspoon

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Christmas is here……..

….and its time for fine food – home style.  This Christmas the Guilty Stomach served up a seafood platter for starters with hand cured and sliced Salmon Gravlax with Creme Fraiche, and fresh spanish anchovy and parmesan topped mini toasts to accompany.  A rose champagne cocktail with hibiscus in hibiscus syrup went down well.

crystal bay prawn and crayfish platter

spanish anchovy and parmesan topped mini toasts as accompaniment to seafood platter

This was followed by a roast pork (with crackling) served with a pinneapple based pork jam, caramelised shallots and roasted kifler potatoes. 2 simple salads one with watermelon, feta and olives and the other with zucinini, rocket, fennel and celery drizzled with the wonderful award winning Frantoi Cutrera olive oil from Sicily with an aged parmesan.

salmon gravlax

all in pink cocktail - rose champagne with hibiscus in hibiscus syrup

organic Ottway Ranges roast pork with crackling and apple and sage stuffing and roast shallots and potatoes

roasted kifler potatoes with chirizo

roasted brussel sprouts with chilie salt drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil

watermelon, feta and olive salad with a cayenne pepper dressing

zuccinni, rocket, celery and fennel with 'primo' olive oil and shaved parmesan

And of course no Christmas meal is complete without pudding, mince tarts and love cake (a long held family secret).

a perfect end for the sweet tooth - pudding, mince tarts and love cake

……………and of course presents for everyone

presents for everyone....

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The chic Lulo impresses….

Lulo's bar area

Melbourne’s romance and now a full blown love affair with all things Spanish and Latin American, has seen a multitude of Spanish and South American restaurants, cafes and Tapas bars opening all over Melbourne and to suit almost every size of wallet.  Movida made it all so fashionable and then came the look alikes – some good and some not so good.

The Guilty Stomach rated a new entry this year as great, Garcia and Son, in Windsor until there was a not so special night there in July…..and now we have a new favourite. Lulo surely beats the likes of Garcia and Son and even the Movida spawns.

Lulo (which is the name given to an exotic south american citrus like fruit tasting like a cross between a rhubarb and lime) with Chef Matthew Waldron at the helm is a wine and tapas bar and restaurant and is a mix between Spanish and South American – and the blend works well here.  The food is real good. And of course unlike Mamasita where you cant book and you are likely to waiting hours for a table, Lulo is a booking venue – thank goodness!

Casual ambience with specials on the blackboard (actually mirrors) and main menu on the paper placements but the food was far from casual.  Yellow fin tuna cured in Fino sherry, the crab and avocado with apple foam (served in spoons), artichoke croquettes and could not go past the Jamon Iberico 36 month aged which was exquisite. The more substantial mains were great…….we particularly loved the twice cooked pork belly on a pea puree (the best pork belly in Melbourne).  The wines were great especially the selection of Temprenillo.  Sensational ice creams to finish all made in house – the Pedro Ximenez and prune ice cream was a superb way to end what was an exquisite culinary experience.

fino cured yellow fin tuna with lime oil

avocado fresh crab and black caviar spoons topped with lemon air

the sensational twice cooked pork belly on pea puree and apple foam

brazilian beef, cassava (yam) chips and coriander lime and chilli dressing

There was really very little to fault except perhaps the beef was a bit chewy and the service, while friendly was perhaps a touch disorganised…..well done Matthew and the team at Lulo

We will be back again.

Lulo on Urbanspoon

798 Glenferrie Road,
Hawthorn, Victoria 3122.

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Paris, the city of food not just love

Paris is a wonderful city for its food, not just served up in its many wonderful restaurants but in the many specialist purveyors of food dotted all over the city  – a place that keeps drawing back the guilty stomach.

Hediard, Fauchon and of course Le Grand Epicerie (part of the Bon Marche group), possibly the largest and most well stocked of all.

And of course in imitable french style fit-outs, you partake in delightfully fashionable surrounds even in department store cafes……..the exquisitely ornate and massive lead light dome of Galleries Lafayette in Paris being one such example.

Hediard store front

fruit and vegetable section of Hediard

Hediard's wine section

Fauchon's chocolate shop frontage

cakes in the Fauchon window

cakes at Hediard

the mesmerising dome (complete with air ballon) of Galleries Lafayette

the philip starck designed cafe below the dome

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Mariage Freres: The centuries old Parisien’s romance with tea

Mariage Freres shop at Place de Madeliene Paris

Mariage Freres: La Maison du The a Paris, possibly one of the most well known high end tea merchants has its roots when brothers Nicholas and Pierre Mariage first started travelling the trade routes in the 1600s on behalf of  the French East India Company to source spices and other exotic products and later specifically for tea.

Tea took on an importance in France when in the 166o  King Louis XIV  was advised by his doctors that tea would aid his digestion and prevent gout. Tea then became drink of choice in all Parisien aristocratic circles. Several generations of the Mariage family, continuing in the tea tradition, then launched a retail business in 1843, by then reflecting their deep and superior knowledge of this timeless beverage.

Scouring the world for exotic teas first from Persia, China, Ceylon and Madagascar, and later from the ‘newer’ world the Mariage family of tea merchant has brought home to the delight of the aristocratic elite of Paris a wonderful array of oriental teas. Today it offers over 500 tea varieties from over 30 countries.

It is a rare event to walk out of a Marage Frere shop without having bought something.

While the English claim to have an equally early tea heritage, they continue to enjoy the mass produced PG Tips and Liptons teabags, while Mariage Freres has transformed tea drinking experience into an elegant and fashionable event like only the French know how.

the zen like interiors to shop in

fashionable almost perfume-like gift packaging

more cavenous rooms of team


delightful sweet accompaniments


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The battle of the french macarons

Pierre Herme for the best macarons…….

On a recent trip to Paris, the guilty stomach searched and found the absolutely best macaron.  Pierre Herme macarons beat Ladure, Fauchon or Hediard hands down.  The magical colours, flavours and delicate moist textures are exquisite. With flavours like cream cheese or strawberry and balsamic or mint and pea, they are truly memorable.  Pierre Herme now has a shop in Selfridges in London among other top end stores  and also have thier own stores in fashionable cities around the world.  A recent book revealing its secrets is now on sale on Amazon.

the exceptional pierre herme macaroons

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