Tag Archives : fennel


Melbourne Food Review: Journal Canteen, Flinders La, CBD 7

I love Journal Canteen. I love the simple perfectly made Italian food that is served there. What? Am I giving away the ending again? Sorry.

(small antipasto platter – $15)

Well, I work near Journal Canteen and we go there for lunch quite often, so this post will be about a few trips that we made to Journal Canteen and some the fabulous food they serve there.

First things first, Journal Canteen is not Journal (the cafe), which is visible from Flinders Lane. They are in the same building so don’t get confused. To get to Journal Canteen (also known as Rosa’s Kitchen – its red neon lettering visible from Flinders Lane), you need to go into the CAE building and it’s up a few steps up on the right.

(the same antipasto platter but on the other side)

The menu at Journal Canteen changes almost everyday. There’s the standing favourite, of course, which is the anti pasto platter (small or large). The items on the platter do change depending on seasons (we have had zucchini flowers) but this time we had olives, sliced salami, zucchini fritter, dressed potato, dressed zucchini (with mint), grilled capsicum, grilled eggplant with tomato sauce. The very first time Nicole had the eggplant, she reckoned it was the best eggplant she ever had. The eggplant itself gets cooked different ways each time we visited though.

(complimentary bread – just bread, no butter, no oil)

The menu, as I mentioned earlier, changes daily but it always consists of generally a pasta or two dishes, a meat or two dishes and a vegetarian option. (more…)


Insalata di Strada (Italian Street Salad) 8

Book: Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver Theme: citrus Recipe: Insalata di Strada

This post kicks off my participation in the week 1 of the Cookbook Challenge in this hot (and eventually rainy) week. First of all, allow me to ramble before I get to the crux of this recipe. I found it really hard to be doing citrus (such a winter theme) in one of the hottest Spring week in Melbourne history. And guess what? I have no one to blame but myself because it was I, who pulled the theme out of the envelope. D’oh.

So here I was, totally stuck with this theme. I’m definitely not giving in and bake orange and poppy seed cake (although I have wanted to do that, the sticking point would be I have no cookbook that has orange and poppy seed cake – actually maybe Stephanie’s Cook Companion, but I digress) because that would be too easy.

This recipe in itself was no picnic. It is, in essence, a winter salad. Its main ingredients proved difficult: Cedro lemon? Non-existent here. Fennel? Winter vegetable. Blood orange? Well, I’d be lucky to find them. But guess what? The market provided! I went through all the stalls in the market to find decent fennel (believe me when I keep saying it’s not fennel season), some new potatoes, a head of radicchio and some blood oranges. (more…)


Chorizo, Fennel and Tomato Risotto

chorizo, fennel and tomato risotto

Defintely a winter thing, we have been crazy about our risotto. I have discovered a new combination that I like.

You’ll need the following for three people:

risotto ingredients

  1. 1 chorizo
  2. 1.5 cups of Arborio rice
  3. 1 litre of hot vegetable stock*
  4. 1 cup of fennel, sliced
  5. 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  6. 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  7. 1/2 small zucchini, diced
  8. 1/2 tomato, chopped
  9. 3 tbsp of frozen peas (optional)
  10. 2 tbsp of butter
  11. 1 tbsp of olive oil
  12. 1/3 cup of white wine

grilling the chorizo

First thing first, we need to grill the chorizo. I use a pair of tongs to hold the chorizo over the gas flame.  It’s messy because the chorizo will spit oil and catch fire and you’ll end up with huge flames some times. Keep turning it around until browned on all sides. It’s much more fun this way but I am a bit of a pyromaniac. You can put it under the grill if you want. Slice the chorizo in bite-sized pieces.

frying the rice, fennel and celery before adding wine

Place 1 tbsp of butter and olive oil and sautee the fennel and celery until soft. Add garlic and rice and fry until the rice is too hot too touch. Add the white wine and stir until the wine is evaporated. Add a ladel of hot stock. Fry until each ladel of stock is evaporated before adding a new ladel. Keep adding stock and stirring for another 5 minutes

adding tomato to risotto

Add the chopped tomato. Keep stirring and adding stock for another 5 minutes.

add chorizo and zucchini

Add the zucchini and chorizo. Keep adding stock and stirring for another 5 minutes.

adding butter to risotto

Add a tbsp of butter and frozen peas, if using. Stir for another 5 minutes and add stock if necessary. Turn off the heat and grate in a little bit of parmasan cheese. Rest the risotto for 5 minutes, covered.

Served garnished with fennel tops. Grate parmasan cheese over as desired.

* I use 1 litre of water, some tough fennel bits and 1 tsp of Vegeta gourmet stock powder. Bring to boil and simmer before adding to the rice. The stock must be hot.


Fennel, Mandarin and Avocado Salad

Perfect winter salad! It works wonder as a starter or side.

fennel, mandarin and avocado salad

For two people, you’ll need:

  1. 1 cup of raw fennel, thinly sliced
  2. 1 medium mandarin, cut into fleshy segments
  3. 6-7 Kalamata olives
  4. 1 small avocado, halved and thinly sliced
  5. fennel tops, for garnish

For dressing, you’ll need:

  1. juice of one mandarin
  2. 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar (white balsamic is probably better but I don’t have any)
  4. A pinch of salt and pepper
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