In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Hot Cross Bun Recipe – from the archives

Today, Epicure published its Hot Cross Bun taste test results.

And I’ve tried a few of them this year – but I will be making a few batches of my own buns again this year as I still prefer them (though the Movida ones are tasty).  My buns are old school and pay no nods to modern baking … they aren’t vegetarian friendly (the glaze uses gelatin to form a lovely sticky, chewy texture), they are risen with yeast (no sourdough here) and they are a soft bun rather than a more rustic chewy one. But they are rich in fruit (I recommend Happy Fruit for Accredited Farmers Markets for Australian grown quality) and spice and include dried peel.

I have though created a vegan version – which is also acceptable to my Greek friends who are eschewing eggs for lent.

Traditional Hot Cross Buns
Vegan Hot Cross Buns 

Let me know how you go if you make some yourself (you should really … set your own tradition)


Strawberry Jam Recipe

Its that time of year when I start to preserve the best of summer to tide me over through all upcoming dull grey winter days.

Strawberries – direct from the farmer, fragrant and sweet, are one of my favourite fruits.  When they haven’t travelled for days to get to you, in refrigerated transport, the smell is incredible. This recipe captures the best of the fruit with a quick cook so that the jam tastes fresh and fruity rather than “jammy” and cloying.  In order to set though, you need to add pectin. Your gran might have added lemon juice and it’s pips to obtain the same effect, but I’m a bit more modern than that. I use citrus pectin in powdered form.

Use the best strawbs you can, either pick your own or order ahead from your favourite farmers market vendor for some frozen seconds and most of the work is done for you. Cleaned and de-stemmed it’s pretty simple to make some jam that will taste so good you’ll never go back to supermarket rubbish.

I got mine this year from Benny’s Berries.

Fairfield Farmers’ Market: Saturday 16 March  Benny’s Berries. Call Maria on 0409 490 127 for 1kg frozen seconds
Gasworks Farmers Market: Saturday 16 March Sunny Ridge
Slowfood Farmers Market at the Convent Saturday 23 March  Summer Sensations- call Neil on 0408 141 092 / 5281 5449

or Pick your own

U-Pick – Sunny Ridge open daily until April – 224 Shands Road, Main Ridge

Simple recipe.

You’ll need strawberries, sugar, vanilla pod, bay leaves, a lemon or a lime, citrus pectin powder (see note)

Take one kilo of strawberries, washed and hulled. (fresh or frozen)

Put them in as large a pan as you have – broad rather than tall.

Add 900 grams of white sugar and two or three bay leaves.

Leave to macerate for a hour at least.

[flickr id=”8557171314″ thumbnail=”small_320″ overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”center”]

Meanwhile: sterilise 6 x 300g jars.   I wash them well in hot water, dry them them put them into an over at 170C for 15 mins while boiling the lids rapidly on the stove.

Bring strawberries and sugar gentle to the boil. The sugar should dissolve before the mix comes to the boil.

While heating, split and scrape a vanilla bean into the jam. Cut the vanilla bean in half length wise and cross wise (so you end up with 4 pieces) and place this into the jam too.

When the jam starts to boil, aim to keep it on a rolling boil for 12 mins. Remove lemon / lime and bay leaves if preferred.

Sprinkle over the top 15 grams of pectin powder, stir well for one minute and take jam off the heat.

Fill jars while still hot and close lids tightly. Invert jars for two minutes then return them right way up to cool.


Citrus Pectin is available from Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot: failing that use jam sugar which contains pectin. I don’t recommend Jamsetta, but if you have to … sure.



Essjay bites March 6 2013

Well, hello there everyone.

In the midst of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival there’s a bit of news around to share. And whilst the office move has gone well, the search for interesting and affordable food (lets not mention coffee) in Docklands is continuing … slowly. Please let me know your favourites over here.

I ran into Jo Corrigan of The Commoner Restaurant on the tram home tonight and quizzed her about her new kitchen team. Well respected chef Adam Liston (formerly Hare & Grace, T8 in Shanghai and The Melting Pot in Adelaide) now leads the kitchen and Jo told me how happy she is to hear the banter between him and his team about food, food and more food. She and partner Matt will be sitting down tonight with the rest of the staff to sample Adam’s new menu, then tomorrow it goes live. I love The Commoner and am really looking forward to trying the new dishes. If you check his twitter stream you’ll see some pics. (Love a chef who tweets new dishes!)

Speaking of Jo and Matt (@mushroomsanon) – their highly successful and FUN mushroom foraging expeditions are about to kick off for this year, and for the first time they are expanding into NSW and South Australia. Jo showed me a photo of some delicious looking lovelies she and Matt found in NSW recently. Jump on board if you want to join them – if you came along with us last year (and Fringe Food) you’ll know what a great time will be in store.  Contact the restaurant for details and bookings.

And speaking of The Commoner – many moons ago some of us bloggers had a bit of a dinner there. I ran into Cindy and Michael from Where’s the Beef and Adrian from Food Rehab last Saturday when we were asked to judge the baking competition at the Treadlie Bike Fest and we thought it might be time to have another one. Whattya reckon bloggers? Shall we meet up? We can cook ourselves in the wood fired oven or we can get The Commoner to feed us. Leave me a message and lets get rolling.

Rosa Mitchell (formally  at Journal Canteen)has opened her new venture  “Rosa’s Kitchen” in Punch Lane. I dropped passed on the Australia Day long weekend when one of the partners David Mackintosh was there with chef Lucy overseeing a “rip out and restore” job. The pink paint has gone and in it’s place is a cosy 45 seater showcasing Rosa’s delicious family fare. She’s even taken to facebook and twitter to keep us updated on kitchen shenanigans (yes shenanigans – look at those cucumbers!) Lazlo Evenhuis, most recently at The Crimean has joined the team so expect some delicious and interesting wines to go with that Sicilian food.

I’ve been hanging out at Eureka Coffee and farmers markets as usual, and visited Industry Beans (impressive), Bia Hoi pop-up (tasty), tasted chocolate for The Age (tough life), ate fantastic food from French Chef David Toutaine at Brooks and got a head full of ideas at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events “Theatre of Ideas” and “Chef Jam”. My Dad visited from Queensland which gave me the perfect excuse to eat at Gerald’s Bar a couple of times (just keeps on getting better), Kaprica (pizza to die for), Beatrix and Pope Joan.Oh and I baked and made pickles and strawberry jam too. But more on that later… promise.

Dad loved his visit to Skinner & Hackett so much we had to get some beef and lamb for him to take home with him.

But the really BIG NEWS is that Gerald’s Bar will be opening on Sunday nights from this Sunday March 17.

Happy days folks!






Docklands Eating

Next week my workplace is moving from 80 Collins street to 750 Collins street. This puts us riiiight down the end … nearly in the water – in the area officially known as Victoria Harbour, but known to me as #swampland.

This is disconcerting for many reasons, but my most pressing need is coffee. And lunch.

Last time I worked in Docklands was about 6 years ago. In the three years that our company was there we saw many new cafes and eateries open, full of optimism and high prices …. and close. And open, and close. In the end we mostly ate at the Channel 7 staff canteen as they at least stayed open for most of the time we were there, and the food was pretty reasonable as were their hours.

It seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy of top shelf rents leading to top shelf prices leading to low participation by the new migrants to the area, leading to shorter and shorter opening hours, leading to lower quality until finally places imploded. The “hoards” of tourists just didn’t keep these places afloat.

I started taking my lunch most days from about the third week in. (Heck they’ve even banned food trucks from Docklands now … what hope do we have?)

Having been at 80 Collins st or 121 Exhibition for the last six years I’ve gotten very spoiled. Currently there is no really decent coffee, but there’s plenty of variety of food, at all price points, available nearby. And bars for after work. And parks, and utilities but… oh well.

So – I asked twitter and got a list of places to try. I’ll do the right thing – and try lots of places, and will report back.

So tell me where I should go -the twitterati have given me the ones below – tell me your favourite Docklands haunt.

(actually  it’s Victoria Harbour, so no Harbour Town, Waterfront City, Central Pier or South Wharf )

Here’s where I’ll be going first:-

De Mad Hatter on Urbanspoon

Snowbird Frozen Yoghurt on Urbanspoon

De Gusto Café on Urbanspoon

Non Solo Pasta on Urbanspoon

Pok Pok on Urbanspoon

Summit Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon


St ALi North : Review

St Ali North Dec 2012 - 01

There’s no such thing as a soft opening my friend far from famished observed at breakfast the other morning, especially if you have a reputation like St ALi. We were at St ALi North, and discussing the reaction on Urbanspoon to Sal Malatesta’s latest coffee haven.

Seems like the plans have taken a long time to realise a coffee shop behind Velo Cycles on the Capital City Trail (Park Street) near Nicholson street. What was once dead space and an old shed is now a light-filled, slick cafe -bigger than I expected – that is making the most of it’s surrounds.

I’ve visited four times now and you know, it’s fine. I like the space – though it’s polished concrete floor and large rectangular form makes the noise levels pretty ridiculous when it’s full. It’s already been colonised by the mother’s group who have been hanging out for a reprieve from the “not-anywhere-near-as-good-as-it-used-to-be” Birdie Num Nums around the corner. The outside area overlooks a playground so in fine weather I’m hoping the little darlings will burn off their energy out there.

The coffee is as you would expect from this team and the food is tempting me back time and time again. Co-owner Jesse Gerner has tarted up the menu and broadened it’s appeal (to me anyway – I was never a fan of the carb/spice loaded hangover cure that is My Mexican Cousin – Sorry Sal) Ed was quite enamored by the idea of eating a hamburger made by Chris Hamburger … meh – he’s easily entertained.

I absolutely loved the Heritage tomato salad served with an entire burrata. Appropriately decadent for this time of year, I ate it all myself (it’s probably designed to share) practically slurping down the perfectly ripe tomatoes with subtle seasoning which let them shine.  I also really enjoyed the bircher muesli. For some insane reason, I haven’t had eggs with house smoked bacon yet – guess I’ll have to visit again.

There is the beginnings of a kitchen garden outside and even some guerrilla gardening happening around the place which along with some delicious small cakes from desert-meister Shaun Quade, makes me warm to the place even more.

Large windows open up to grass areas making the place dog friendly, and I think we all know by now that it’s bike friendly too. A few more bike racks are coming and the place will need it. There are a few kooky touches (like the up-cycled post boxes for coffee pick up), but it is a not a clone of the South Melbourne site and I’m bemused by people who seem to think it should be.

It’s not he first place to get slammed by both punters and Urbanspoon users in it’s first week, and it’s not he only place that I’ve seen where the score doesn’t match with my experiences. Some 180 people have voted on Urbanspoon and I reckon St ALi North has easily fed and watered that many on a single day in their first week.

Wait to be seated, make eye contact with waitstaff and you’ll have a fine time. Maybe not as quick as you’re used to, but take into account that it’s the new kid on the block (and lots of other places nearby are on Summer Sabbatical). Play nice North Carlton / East Brunswick corner otherwise you may not get anymore nice things.

So. What can you take from this?  I guess Urbanspoon reviewers are a demographic on their own – a particular subset of the population who use it, and a smaller subset who write “mobile reviews”.

I hope the location encourages cyclists to head along this way then down Canning street into the city instead of dicing with death on St Georges Road, Nicholson and Brunswick streets.

St ALi North is sure to become a hit stop for the Sunday morning MAMIL’s so just remember to avert your eyes at crucial times, or suffer the consequences. Look at the nice bikes instead….

St ALi North

Heirloom tomato salad with burrata $19.50


St ALi North

Pan fried stone fruit with brioche $16.50


St ALi North

Hot roll with avocado, curd and slaw $15.00


St ALi North

The coffee bar


St ALi North

Poached eggs with bean ragout $14.50


St ALi North

Bircher muesli with lychee, mango and toasted nuts $12.50

St Ali North on Urbanspoon

[googleMap name=”St Ali North” width=”500″ height=”300″]815 Ncholson , Carlton North[/googleMap]


Essjay bites 20 November 2012

Entree sized tastes of the week that was:-

This week I ate a LOT of ham. All in the interests of research of course.

Friday saw me head up to Harcourt in the relative comfort of my car to do some cooking and serving for the riders on the Tour De Bress, a 150 km charity ride from Melbourne to Bress Winery in Harcourt. At the winery there was food, massages, showers, camp beds set up in winery and a chance to ride again in the Castlemaine Criterion. Then back to Bress for more food, wine, chicken shenanigans and lord knows what was instore for those sleeping over. I’m thinking that dehydrated folks gathered in a winery is not perhaps the best combination!

[flickr id=”8199414848″ thumbnail=”original” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”center”]

This year their fundraising efforts will again be geared to supporting children through the Save The Children Foundation, and also linked with the Mirabel Foundation, and the wonderful work they do with children. Check out the list of competitors and if you have any affinity to wine workers / drinkers / makers perhaps you can spare a few bucks.

Saturday wasn’t my best day of the year, after shaping and baking 150 bread rolls in double time at Bress the day before I was prety much knackered (I think I tweeted that I was “broken” about midnight), but I couldn’t miss my visit to the Fairfield Farmers’ Market as I needed more peanut butter (and a Movida Bakery doughnut or two). I’d also heard that my friend Sarah would be there selling her new calendar devoted to all things seasonal. Have a look and buy one too if you like it.

But mostly this week I have been obsessing about a new little shop on Rathdowne street.

Skinner & Hackett is a “provenance known” retail meat shop which opens TOMORROW in Rathdowne Street, North Carlton. I’ve been very priveleged to work with owner Jonathan Stobbs to source of the best meat we can find. We’ve met the growers, we know where they come from and what they feed their animals. In some cases I’ve been friends with the farmers for years, though some are new friends. Either way, it’s a real honour to work with them all to make their products available to the public Monday to Saturday, 10:00am to 6-7:oopm.

If you shop at farmers’ markets around Melbourne you’ll know many of the brands, but we might just have a few you haven’t heard of. If you’re at all interested in where your meat comes from and how it’s lived it’s life, please like us on facebook or follow us on twitter and stay in touch with all things deliciously meaty.


Trocadero Review

I have to admit to some hesitation in making the booking for dinner at Trocadero. There have been some unflattering comments around about service, the fit out and perceived value-for-money.  But my friends trust me so I thought – why not take them along as guinea pigs and see how The Troc performed in it’s natural environment – a pre-show (nanna time) meal in the middle of the Melbourne Festival. (No – you’re right – that wasn’t a very nice thing to do.)

Booking was no problem a couple of weeks ago. I was asked what time our show was and where it was and then advised on a “window” for dinner that would help to ensure we ate without rush and in time. So 5:30pm (eek) we rocked up for dinner. I say rocked up as I believe we were the only folks in the house who were headed out to see Billy Bragg – seems the remainder were off to some MSO thingo that started at 7:00pm.


Look – let’s be honest – the place is a bit “bunker like” and  the door is not so easily seen but I doubt you’d get too lost looking for it. Hugging the curved edge of Hamer Hall I’m sure the outside tables will be in high demand during summer where they afford a view of the Yarra and the twinkly lights etc. But let us not forget what we’re here for, decent food, reasonably priced, within a set time frame (hopefully).

And Trocadero delivered.  We were asked again on arrival and also by our waiter what time our show was. They really wanted to make sure we didn’t miss it. A couple of glasses of Prosecco (Brown Bros.) and a Campari Soda arrived and we were on our way.

Specials on the board included some whole snapper ($40) and some asparagus, oysters at $5 each (ouch) proscuitto ($16) or olives ($9) were proffered as “appertisers”. Entrees ranged from $19 to $23 and included the now ubiquitous Kingfish tartare, Italian buffalo mozzarella, and chicken liver parfait. Mains ranged in price from $29 to $38 for market fish, sesame tuna or pot roasted lamb shoulder. Sides were next and there was also a decent selection of mostly o/s cheese, but including the very fine L’artisan Extravagant from down Timboon way.

Desserts looked interesting and modern and pretty tempting really ($17).


If you came here for a standard three course evening – with the average bottle of wine around $95  – yoou could spend some say $250 – $300 for two quite easily and be surrounded by rushed pre-theatre patrons and noisy post-theatre patrons. Hmmm. Perhaps that’s where some of the comments are coming from?

Though in most cases I think folks will be here for one or two courses maximum so in that light it’s a reasonable price.

The staff were totally on the ball and exceptional at getting the place moving along and out to their events on time  – a MUST for a venue located at the Arts Centre, and the menu is geared towards quick cooks.  The counter-effect of course is that things can feel a bit rushed.  We were out good and early for our show, in time for a drink at the Recital Centre.

Coffees were good (thank god as they attracted the restaurant premium price of $4 each) and an error on the bill was fixed quickly and without fuss.

We ate: Pea Arancini with Jerusalem Artichoke, Goats Curd and Black Olive ($29) and Rangers Valley Minute Steak, sauce Lyonnaise and Watercress ($28). Sides of triple cooked potatoes with truffle aioli and pecorino ($11) and salad leaves with dill dressing. ($9)

We drank: Foster e Rocco Rose ($55)

Foster e Rocco Rose at Trocedero Melbourne

We paid $70 each (3 pax).

The arancini were full of flavour and creamy / crispy and delicious. The minute steak was cooked medium rare and the sauce rated well.  My favourite dish though was the salad leaves.  Large, varied, well washed and fresh.

Trocadero services the show-going crowd very well indeed, and perhaps with a loosening of the “per customer spend” calculations will be a fine spot for a quick snack and drink on a lazy, long summer evening. Keep it in context and you’ll have a fine time.




Trocadero on Urbanspoon


Royal Melbourne Show Baking Competition

Some of you may know that for the last three years I’ve entered into the baking competition of the Royal Melbourne Show. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to enter, but gaining a “commendation” for my sponge sandwich entry in my first year, with the third sponge I’d ever baked, was a lovely confidence builder, more so than the third I received for my eclairs.

I quite liked researching recipes and techniques to make my baking the best it could be, with lovely ingredients grown with love and care.

Last year I was bemused by the second prize winner for eclairs (I received third again) seemed to be burned (DonisBaked blogged about it over here) and so I wrote to the coordinator asking for the judges notes or feed back on my baking as I wanted to improve. What I received back was a few generic comments that was of practically no use at all with the exception of one comment which said “Most almond crescent entries where smothered in too much icing sugar which dulls the taste”.  Well, actually, I’ve never seen a recipe for almond crescents that doesn’t ask for them to be dredged in icing sugar – but .. whatever. The criteria obviously must be deeply secret.

So this year, I entered sponge cake, carrot cake, almond crescents and eclairs again, and scones for something new. The results were out this week and I received nothing … no prizes, no commendations, nothing. Poo.

And then … then I read Richard Cornish‘s article in The Age this Saturday on the show baking competition.

Although I’ve only been competing for a few years even I had noticed the predominance of two names in the results, those of Fleay and Primmer. Richard watched on as Angela Fleay and her son and daughter, who won first, second and third prize in the sponge sandwich competition this year, made their sponges for this year’s show.

Fleay cooks from memory and has a few tips. ”Use the best-possible ingredients you can afford, except use supermarket eggs, as they don’t have as much colour as the free-range ones – some judges don’t like yellow sponges.”

Really?  Don’t use free range eggs because the judges don’t like naturally coloured sponges?  What? This incensed me. Yes, lets use cruelly raised eggs cause they LOOK better? (And don’t get me started on how she’s not in it for the competition – If you don’t want to win Angela, how about retiring now that you’ve got layers of  dusty blue ribbons, faded rosettes and engraved silver spoons”.)

But perhaps even sadder are the comments from one of the judges, Ann Marston. “She points to flecks of custard powder. ”The better brands of custard powder don’t do this.’

Custard Powder?  Caged hen eggs?

You know what Royal Melbourne Show – if that’s what it takes to win your sponge sandwich competition I don’t think I WANT to win anymore.  I don’t think I even want to compete.

You’re supposed to be about  promoting the best produce Victoria has to offer, and that’s NOT caged hen eggs and custard powder flavouring.  It’s time to step up and move with the times.

Judge Marston was also quoted as saying:

The standard of sponges at this year’s show is poor, as it is in some of the other categories. Marston judged the fruit cakes before the sponges and when asked to comment she shakes her head. ”It is so good to have the young people, inspired by cooking shows, come into the competition,” she says. ”But learning to bake doesn’t come from watching telly. It comes from standing next to your mother, grandmother or whoever, and watching them cook and learning from them. With a few notable exceptions, after today, I really feel like I need to start teaching sponge-baking classes.’

I can’t help but feel that’s a wee bit patronising and again out of touch. What of those who don’t have generations of family bakers to stand next to you and show you how to bake? And instead of teaching classes that bake sponges to fit the caged egg & custard powder ideal, how about providing some realistic feedback to those who ask for it, and updating your palate and knowledge to the new world order.  The order of free range eggs, pure fresh butter (not frozen for months), milk from a single herd of cows, organic carrots, australian grown and dried sultanas oh I could go on.

Needless to say I am very disappointed in the attitudes expressed by these two influential people, and by the Royal Melbourne Show who advocates them.

We are not amused.

[flickr id=”8015209080″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”false” size=”medium” group=”” align=”center”]


Fairfield Farmers’ Market

I was very excited today to be going to a new Victorian Farmers’ Market Association accredited Farmer’s Market at Fairfield Primary School, Wingrove Street, Fairfield.

[flickr id=”7226068404″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”none”]

I didn’t take the “serious” camera as it was drizzling, but I will do a wrap up for those if you who didn’t get out of bed today, to encourage you to come to the next market on 16 June.

This is the fifth Melbourne Community Farmers’ Market (my favourites) – St Kilda, Collingwood Chidren’s Farm, Gasworks Park and Abbotsford Convent “Slow Food” market. Held on the 3rd Saturday of the month it’s an alternative to Gasworks Market and currently opens from 9am (which seems so LATE for some of us!).

While I waited for the stall holders to set up I grabbed a coffee made from Eureka Coffee beans and chatted to Josephine of Paterson’s Pastry. Josephine is continuing the tradition of the fondly remember Paterson’s cakes, by using the family recipes to bring ready made pastry and uncooked biscuit dough to the markets. I can personally vouch for the shortcrust, puff, lemon biscuits and dutch spice biscuits.

The Vietnamese Street food stall next door smelled amazingly good, but I didn’t try the spring onion pancakes with pork floss this time, maybe next month.

The market has good access, on a bitumen playground mostly and has a childrens’ play area.  There’s plenty of room, train station nearby and parking in the street.

I was really pleased to see Darryl’s Dry Roasted Peanut Butter. I’ve really missed freshly ground peanut butter from health foods stores. It seems to have disappeared.  Darryl dry-roasts Queensland nuts and adds just salt. No emulsifiers, no oil, no sugar – Hooray!  It’s bloody delicious too!  I spread it on a pretzel from Rustic Sourdough bakery  – double yum!

[flickr id=”7226067912″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”center”]

I’ll be having some of the baguette I brought with my french style cheese from L’Artisan Cheese. I bought a raclette style, a washed rind and a coulomniers style brie.  Hmmm…. Can’t wait.  And they also bring fromage blanc to the markets which I will be researching straight away for recipes to use it in.

I caught up with Simon from Schulz Organic Milk and had a long chat to Lauren from Bundarra Berkshires.  Her free-range, rare breed delicious pork is used by some of our best restaurants.

On my way out I picked up a dozen free range eggs from Real Free Range Eggs

Here is a list of some of the other producers – I know I missed some, let me know if you’re not on the list.

Alpine Cherries & Chestnuts

Blac LEather Creek Farm

Hi-fye Pistachios

Mackieson Highland Beef Pies (Weekly Times story on them)

The Mushroom Shed

Otway Prime meat

Pacdon Park (pork pies, sausages and bacon)

Peregrine Ridge wine

Raw Honey

Spring Creek Organics (vegetables)

Villa Pilegi Olive Oil

There was also garlic, berries and another vegie stall … sorry guys!

[flickr id=”7226067450″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”medium” group=”” align=”none”]

A very promising market.

VFMA has posted a link to a Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry paper on food suppliers in Australia.  From page 51 they talk about Farmers’ Markets and their expansion in Australia.  Thankfully, they are growing in number, and in market share.

This market is VFMA accredited


Les Vaches Du Tour Dinner

Many of you already know about my alter-ego – Essjaymoo.  Every year I participate in the Tour de France by way of the local cows of France.  Yep – lots of different varieties of cows in France, and they have very specific uses.

It’s a thing .. ok?

Anyway – this year we’ve decided to celebrate the launch of Les Vaches with a dinner:- read on….

It’s almost here! The weather is turning and with it our thoughts are turning to long, cold winter nights snuggling under the doona on the couch (or possibly the opposite if you’re on the other side of the world), endless cups of tea, twitter enabled device by your side, telly tuned to SBS and the dulcet tones of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

Pictures of lycra clad heroes and villains rushing past faster than you can imagine scaring the living daylights out of the usual residents of these sleepy country waysides… yes you’re right – I’m talking about the cows!


Injera and I had so much fun last year we’ve decided to do it all again, bit bigger, bit better and now with bonus added real-life dining opportunities!

Yes, we’re hosting a “readers & tweeters” dinner to launch our 2012 campaign.

Dinner will be held on June 14 from 7pm at Libertine Restaurant in North Melbourne. 4 courses of delicious traditional French fare with matched wine and beer and a few other Les Vaches fans for $97.30 (includes $0.30 booking fee).

Entree: Your choice terrine or snails
Main: Slow braised beef in red wine
Cheese: You can bet it will be a COW’s milk cheese
Dessert: Clafoutis

Libertine in North Melbourne is one of Melbourne’s premier traditional French restaurants. Team Les Vaches has often received a warm welcome here – and we’ve planned many of our best ideas over a glass of wine and some hearty cassoulet, or duck.

Booking are now open online.

In response to many suggestions from all our loyal readers / tweeters we have designed a limited edition Les Vaches Du Tour cycling jersey (oh yes we have!). We know you love the T-shirts, but we want to see you climbing more cols, speeding down dangerous descents, or drinking cups of coffee on Beach Road in your very own Les Vaches jersey. So we spent the off-season designing one and you’ll be able to see the results at our dinner, and order one if you think you’re up to being a part of “Team Vaches”.

We’ll have a few more surprises on the night.

Hope you’ll join us for a night of great food, good company and many, many laughs.