Luna 1878 – Winter Night Market 2014

Luna 1878 - QVM winter night market

Luna 1878 – QVM winter night market

The Wednesday just passed (27th August) concluded Luna 1878, the winter night market held at the Queen Victoria Market. During winter it’s hard to find the motivation to leave your warm heated house but with a range of winter comfort foods on offer it makes it easy to trade your warm blankie in for a night out.

Luna 1878 - Hammer and Tong - Onion Rings

Luna 1878 – Hammer and Tong – Onion Rings

There were lots of amazing foods available but being limited to the space of one stomach, I had to carefully decide which foods I wanted to try. Hammer and Tong had a stall where they were serving duck waffle, onion rings and crispy pork ears. We ordered the onion rings and they were fricken amazing! They were really crunchy on the outside, doughy in the middle and the onion melted in your mouth. They were like little onion ring crispy donuts they were so delicious! The guys at the stand let us try the crispy pork ears, they were little bite-sized pieces, you could eat them like chips. I was hesitant to try them but they were actually yum, they were bacony and a bit like pork crackle but chewier. It would definitely be a good beer snack. Max (the frenchie) would have definitely ordered these if he was here, it’s right up his alley.

Luna 1878 - Rewine - Mulled Wine

Luna 1878 – Rewine – Mulled Wine

I hadn’t tried mulled wine before so I decided to give it a go. Seemed like the perfect beverage for a warm winters night. It was served hot and had an interesting flavour. It sort of tasted like a Christmas pudding liquefied and transformed into a hot drink.

1878 - 400 Gradi - Margherita Pizza

1878 – 400 Gradi – Margherita Pizza

400 Gradi was recently voted the ‘world’s best margherita pizza’ at the pizza world championship. Now that is an impressive title – Best in the world! So on that basis we ordered one of the world-renowned margherita pizzas. It was delicious, the base was light, the sauce was yum, there was a good amount of cheese and the bites with fresh basil were incredibly tasty. Definitely a winner.

Luna 1878 - Mamak - Roti

Luna 1878 – Mamak – Roti

We ordered roti from the Mamak stall. They make the most amazing roti and it’s fun to watch them make it. It is so light and fluffy and you can see why. They stretch the dough out until its paper-thin and then trap large amounts of air inside (they look like little roti parachutes) and then they grill them to get them crispy on the outside. It’s so delicious. The roti canai came with Malaysian curry and a spicy sambal to dip it in which was delish!

Luna 1878 - Spanish Gourmet Caterers - Seafood couscous

Luna 1878 – Spanish Gourmet Caterers – Seafood couscous

At the Spanish Gourmet Caterers stall they had ginormous pans with couscous in a tomato based sauce with big pieces of assorted seafood. It looked fantastic. We ordered a bowl, which had a generous amount calamari, mussels and fish and the couscous soaked up the lovely flavours of the sauce.

Luna 1878 - Hoy Pinoy - Chicken Skewer

Luna 1878 – Hoy Pinoy – Chicken Skewer

We got a chicken skewer from Hoy Pinoy, which was juicy and delicious. They also had a lechon stall where they had meat on the spit roasting. I love lechon (roasted suckling pig) but I don’t know if I like to see five pigs rotating over a fire. For some it can be quite confronting. And it was right next to the vegetarian street food cart. What the? Right next to the vegetarian stall? I found it very odd to have the vegetarian stall positioned next to the spit roasts. Ah wells.

Luna 1878 - The Creme Brulee Cart - Creme Brulee and Cannoli

Luna 1878 – The Creme Brulee Cart – Creme Brulee and Cannoli

From the Crème Brulee Cart we ordered a…yep you guessed it, a crème brulee. It was deliciously creamy and not too eggy, it had a crunchy bruleed top and had a strong vanilla flavour throughout. It was delish! I wanted to buy the whole cart. Also the vanilla cannoli was really good too.

Luna 1878 - Country Delight - Max with the Hungarian Apple and Custard Strudel

Luna 1878 – Country Delight – Max with the Hungarian Apple and Custard Strudel

At this point our stomachs had reached capacity so we bought the homemade authentic Hungarian strudel from Country Delight in a takeaway box to eat later. They had all different flavours like cherry choc and custard, apricot and cream cheese and the timeless favourite, apple and custard. Surprisingly the strudel made it home in one piece. Max didn’t know what a strudel was but he did know that he wanted some.

They also had a Wonderbao stall where you could get warm steamed buns. Perfect for a winters night. Yum! These are absolutely delicious every time. Their baos are always top quality. The Gourmet Soup Factory had a stall too, there was a mountain of bread rolls on the table. They had a variety of hot hearty soups, which were served inside the big crusty buns.

There were so many stalls with lots of yummy food. This was the last market for winter but don’t be sad because the summer night market is just around the corner starting November 5th.

I heart Luna 1878!

Olives x

Luna 1878 
Address: Queen Victoria Market – Corner of Victoria St and Elizabeth St, Melbourne
Event Dates: 9th July – 27th August 2014
Trading Hours: 5pm – 10pm

Pizza Capers – Inferno Challenge (Sponsored Post)

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge.

Pizza Capers do a great gourmet pizza but on this particular occasion it was more than gourmet pizza. It was a challenge. The Inferno challenge. So the challenge is to try the new Inferno range at Pizza Capers, add loads of Tabasco sauce like a boss and try not to cry like a baby girl about how hot it is.

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge - Mini Tabasco Sauce Soldiers.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge – Mini Tabasco Sauce Soldiers.

I’m no Dante (The divine comedy) delving into the depths of hell. I’m more just someone who likes a bit of chilli now and then. They gave us a bunch of little Tabasco sauces to add to the already spicy pizza. They were teeny weeny and so adorable but two or three drops for me was enough to make these pizzas too hot to handle. My friend on the other hand is a chilli loving spicy pizza eating machine.

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge - The Tabasco moustache.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge – The Tabasco moustache.

She was literally emptying half mini bottles of Tabasco onto each pizza slice. She loves Tabasco sauce. Please refer to the Tasbasco moustache above. You could say she likes it hot. She won this challenge hands down.

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge - Chimichanga chorizo and prawn pizza.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge – Chimichanga chorizo and prawn pizza.

First up was the chimichanga chorizo and prawn pizza, which was really colourful and came with a mountain of topping. There was slices of spicy chorizo, big juicy prawns, hot salsa, smokey black beans, spanish onions, roasted red peppers, corn and melted mozzarella. It was delicious. I loved the fresh spring onions scattered on top. The pizza base was light, which allowed the flavours of the pizza to shine. The generous topping ensured each bite was packed with flavour and more importantly had a spicy kick. Sometimes I felt like I was eating a burrito, other times I felt like I was eating a paella and then sometimes I realized I was eating a pizza. It was a really exciting meal.

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge - Chipotle pulled pork pizza.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge – Chipotle pulled pork pizza.

The second inferno pizza was the chipotle pulled pork, which had tender pulled pork, fiery red bean salsa, smoked chipotle peppers in an adobo sauce (so hot), Spanish onion, roasted capsicum, garlic and melty mozerella. It was really tasty and really spicy. It’s the kind of spicy that creeps up on you slowly and leaves a lovely hum of hotness in the background of your taste making you want another slice and another and another and then maybe a chicken wing.

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge - Spicy Empanadas.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge – Spicy Empanadas.

The empanadas were yummo and stayed within the spicy theme. The filling was good and the pastry was really good. They came with a chipotle mayonnaise, which I have named chipotlennaise, which was delish. It was kind of like Nando’s perinaise but a tad more spicy. It was supposed to be for the empanadas but we used it with the empanadas, we used it with the wings, we used it with the pizza crusts. You could say we really liked it.

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge - Pups be Plotting.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge – Pups be Plotting.

Here is a pic of Max (the Frenchie) and his friend Joy (the Chow-Chow) plotting ways to get those empanadas from the table to their mouths. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful.

Pizza Capers - The Inferno Challenge - Inferno Wings.

Pizza Capers – The Inferno Challenge – Inferno Wings.

The inferno chicken wings/drumettes were nice. I thought I would eat the chicken wings as a respite from the heat. Wrong! They don’t call them inferno wings for nothing. By this time I was certainly feeling hot hot hot.

This inferno range is only around for a limited time, until the 31st of August to be exact. So if you like it hot, make sure you pop down to a Pizza Capers near you and attempt the inferno pizza challenge if you dare. Would I try it again? Si senor.

I heart Pizza Capers!

Olives x

Pizza Capers

+39 Pizzeria

+39 Pizzeria - Melbourne.

+39 Pizzeria – Melbourne.

The name +39 is the country code used to make an international phone call to Italy. It works. It definitely has a better ring to it than +61 (the country code for Australia). The idea behind the country code is that the restaurant is like a ‘direct line to Italy’. I love the idea! This restaurant is definitely a direct line to the simplicity of food produced in Italy and the high quality produce.

+39 Pizzeria.

+39 Pizzeria – Friends and Food.

The place has a nice open layout and a casual vibe. A good place to catch up with friends for some quality pizza.The counter looks like a delicatessen with the glass cabinet of fine cheeses and cured meats. There were about ten 5kg super-sized jars of Nutella sitting in a row on the shelf. Their blatant obsession with Nutella made me feel right at home.

+39 Pizzeria - Front counter.

+39 Pizzeria – Front counter – Fine cheese and cured meats.

Their pizza crust is thin, crispy and delicious. I got the ‘diavola’, which has Italian tomato salsa, Fior Di Latte (mozzarella), hot salame (not a typo, salame is the plural of salami, facinating I know) & black olives. Yum, it was delicious! I suggest choosing a basic pizza with not too many toppings because the base is quite thin and can be a little floppy in the middle. Unless you have mastered the art of the floppy pizza, your toppings will slide right off and you’ll be left with a naked base…and not to mention a sad face. The margarita was a hit.

+39 Pizzeria - Diavola.

+39 Pizzeria – Diavola – Salami and black olives.

My friend got the Caponata Di Pane, which was a Neapolitan style bread salad with borlotti beans, rocket, marinated eggplant, cherry tomatoes, onions & parmesan. Thinly shaved parmesan on top is always a winner.

+39 Pizzeria - Caponata Di Pane.

+39 Pizzeria – Caponata Di Pane – Neapolitan style bread salad.

Another friend had the Lasagna – Italian style lasagne with Wagyu Bolognese, béchamel, Fior Di Latte & Parmesan. Yum!

+39 Pizzeria - Lasagne Di Wagyu.

+39 Pizzeria – Lasagne Di Wagyu.

Another friend had linguini with Crystal Bay prawns, cherry tomatoes, chilli, garlic & E.V.O oil. I was like O.M.G what is E.V.O.? Found out it’s Extra. Virgin. Olive. Ahhh, makes sense.

+39 Pizzeria - Prawn Linguine.

+39 Pizzeria – Prawn Linguine.

Two of my friends birthdays were that week, so we ordered a Nutella pizza to celebrate. We whacked some candles on that pizza and called it a birthday cake. When no one brings a cake, just add candles. Remember to order a dessert that the birthdayee would like and not the one you like. (It’s not your birthday!) Nutella was spread liberally over the thin dough base then topped with fresh strawberries with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. The pizza was okay, but for me, the vanilla ice-cream took the cake. Pun intended. It was creamy, yummy and so vanillary that it almost tasted like lemon cheesecake or something. We ordered an extra scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream. So good!

+39 Pizzeria - Nutella Pizza.

+39 Pizzeria – Nutella Pizza.

This place is all about bringing a little part of Italy closer to home so people in Melbourne can experience authentic Italian food the way they do it in Italy.

I heart +39 Pizzeria!

+0L!v3s x hehe

+39 Pizzeria
Address: 362 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9642 0440
Trading Hours: Monday – Sunday 11am – 10pm

+39 Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Accidental Innovation…

The best food discoveries are made in the kitchen when you least expect. There is something magical in the concoction of odd pantry ingredients and yesterdays dinner leftovers. With a smidgen of this and a splash of that, a wonderful food creation is born.

Take risotto turned arancini for example. The best time to make arancini balls is when you already have left over risotto from the night before. The flavours of the risotto will have further infused overnight making the arancini extra delicious. Next day, all you have to do is roll the rissoto into balls, put a sneaky bit of cheese in the centre, batter then fry. Hey presto! The rissoto dinner has miraculously transformed into an arancini lunch.

There are times when inventions are merely one hit wonders. They are made and eaten one day and forgotten about the next. But sometimes, just sometimes, they make their debut on national TV, without your permission or due credit…

So way back when my friend and I were in high school, we were learning how to make a pizza in a home economics class. We were just adding some final touches to our pizza when we realised we had grated too much cheese. Oh no, what to do with all this cheese? So we had a lightbulb moment and decided to stuff the cheese through the crust. A cheesy stuffed crust pizza you could call it. Months later I’m  watching TV and happen to view a pizza hut commercial with a new cheesy stuffed crust pizza. Huh? Who told them?!

What a coincidence! My friend and I were devastated. We definitely indulged in the conspiracy that the room was bugged at the time. Or maybe the teacher was a spy, preying on the young minds of children, waiting for just the right moment to snatch their creative thoughts and then trade them later to a conglomerate corporation for a hefty sum.

It turns out there are others alike. My brother’s friend swears he invented the sausage and egg muffin before it retailed as the sausage and egg McMuffin. Trust no one!

The thing with innovation is that you’re trialing something that has yet to be proven to work. So the risk of failure is probable for the first few attempts. But the fear of failure is a much larger risk because if you don’t ever try, you won’t ever know what could have been.

Olives x

In search for the perfect pizza…

Searching for the finest pizza joint is a difficult mission. There are soo many pizza places around these days, it’s quite the challenge to find an unrivaled favourite.

When trying a new pizza place I usually test the waters first and opt for a margarita. This will give you a general idea of what standard of pizza you’re dealing with.

I listed the characteristics a pizza needs to possess in order to leave a lasting impression. For quality assurance I put together a systematic checklist on how to evaluate which pizza is right for me.

Pizza Checklist
1. Dough – melt in your mouth?
2. Tomato paste – flavoursome and evenly spread?
3. Cheese – stretchy and not too oily?
4. Crust – barely visible due to generous topping?
5. Toppings – only the freshest of the fresh utilised?

If the answers to these questions are yes yesitty yes yes yes then bingo! Pizza suitability is high.

The margarita pizza I ate from New York Pizza Deli on Fitzroy st was smashed in seconds. It fulfilled all of my pizza needs. Granted it was fresh out of the oven so it already had a major advantage. But it was everything I dreamed a pizza would be and more. The dough was light and fluffy like a cloud sitting in my stomach cuddling me from the inside out. The tomato paste was tasty and evenly spread as not to bar the surrounding flavours. The cheese stretched from my bite to a full arms length. The crust is usually not my favourite part of the pizza but when it’s covered in crispy cheese my opinions veer to the contrary.

Pizza must be fresh. Beware…Some restaraunts that don’t specialise in pizza actually have frozen pizzas that they just heat up and serve. That is not on, you hear me! You know who you are. Anyhow in these circumstances to ensure you’re getting a freshy, you may have to go out on a limb and throw them a curve ball to check their pizza sincerity. To check if they make it fresh you need to be a little bit sneaky. Here’s what you do…Ask for a random topping combo for example ‘can i have a pizza with just olives and pineapple?’ If they say no, respond with “ah ha! your pizza’s are frozen, shame on you!’ If they look at you weird and politely say ‘sure we can make that happen’ you know they make it fresh then you can quaintly change your order and let them know what pizza toppings you really want.

Sometimes on the hunt it’s a hit and miss situation. You find a fave local pizza place and it’s ace every time. You feel so strongly about the pizza you want to share it with others. You invite a friend over, hype up the pizza’s greatness and introduce them to the pizza (assuming your local pizza will be awesome, which in turn makes you awesome). Then of course, on this one-off occasion the pizza isn’t up to its optimum standards. Sigh. You should not have to bear the brunt of embarrassment for choosing an unreliable pizza place, you should reign in the glory of chosing a location close by an amazing pizza place.

Mapping out your pizza goal is a lengthy process, but once you understand what you’re searching for, it becomes much easier to find.

Olives x