Sunday, December 25, 2011

My urban garden...early summer.

 It is starting to feel like Summer has finally decided to arrive. Fashionably late, but nevertheless Summer is here.

My urban garden, has not turned out to be the self-sufficient garden that I would have hoped, but that's not to say it isn't doing ok. But the challenge of powdery freaken mildew, white flies and soil/nutrient imbalances have caused me heartache beyond belief. I lost ONE capsicum plant - it was a sweet chocolate that I nurtured - NURTURED - from seed. Now I only have one left.

My eggplants (the plant) are looking big, but the flowers are not setting fruit and I am not sure why. I'll wait another week or two before I do anything - perhaps its the cool weather. But slightly disappointing as I started them so long ago.

The tomatoes, started off well but a few succomed to powdery mildrew and probably a litany of fungal problems. No matter how much eco-fungicide I use, it is simply not that effective. Potassium Bicarbonate clearly doesn't work as well as the conventional "sulphur" based fungicides. But I persist, I persist with damn eco-oil and eco-fungicide because, it has to be possible. Perhaps, it is my reluctance to follow simple instructions like spacing. Do you remember my photo of one of my plots a month or so ago? Here's a before and after if you've forgot.

Rouge de marmande, which is so heavy with fruit...a speckled roman, two maldovan greens and a hillbilly. Soy beans at the front, cucumbers climbing at the back, climbing beans on the left, cornfield on the right and scattering of basils.

So how heavy is heavy?

 This heavy and there are many more clusters of flowers which are setting fruit. Some of the tomatoes are quite big as the photos doesn't do them justice.

Of course, I planted borage, wild bergamot and dill (below) to attract some bees. Borage is such a brilliant blue.
My beans, however, have outdone themselves with fistfuls every couple of days - all from 2 buckets and perhaps a few plants here and there.

But perhaps what I'm excited about most are my white alpine strawberries, this blog buddies is what it's all about. Growing things which you would never see at market. They taste intoxicating like, funnily enough, strawberries, just much much much more intense. All from a tiny fruit.

I also survived Christmas dinner...just..I almost lost a finger. Merry Christmas indeed....I'm off overseas for a few days so blog you next year!!

 My backyard

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vue de monde.

It is about time, I hear you say. It is an event whose time had come (and gone). Finally. I don't know what has been stopping me - but perhaps I wanted it to be a celebration. Rather than just a dinner. But it's ok, Denise and I made it a commiseration dinner.It was a ME ME ME, my problems kind of dinner.

I had to cancel my initial reservations due to work commitments (I know...), but it was fortuitous that I was able to get another time the following week. Perhaps, a better time. We were scheduled for a 8.15pm start.

In a word, phenomenal.

The space is slick, clever use of space and light, it is difficult to describe as whilst the sun is setting, the space is flooded with natural light. West facing windows allow an uninterrupted view of the sunset. The waiter joked that sunset was overrated, that it happens everyday. But how often, do we get to stop and actually take a moment to watch the day go down? Almost never I'd say. Call me old fashioned, but I am still a fan of a sunkist sunset.

We were offered, the menu or we could "leave it to them aka "gastronome". We opted for the gastronome" degustation but indicated we were time limited to around 2.5hrs. They managed to serve 7 courses + a few interlude cleansers.With a supplement of white truffle (literally 2 shavings, but at around $15K a kg (i think), it probably was worth the $30). White truffle has the most amazing aroma. It is so intense that it is almost intoxicating (if you have a lot of it that is).

The food was indeed superlative. A cleverly orchestrated progression of food. I can understand why it is such an esteemed establishment. I felt that Vue de monde pushes the boundaries with a play on textures, methods etc..and interaction. It does however, restrains itself so it is accessible to almost everyone, but so cleverly, enabling everything to work so harmoniously well.

This place is definitely worth a visit....for a special occasion, or even for a "just because" dinner.

Here are some pictures with a brief description...

We were instantly, started with a few "bites". The table setting has a lot of stones, which are later used for knives etc...interesting. The amuse bouche was definitely a good start to what was to come....they had chips as well if you were wondering. You 'thins'.

 First course was a spanner crab salad, which was delicious, but the marron was even more so. The mousse that it was served with worked incredibly well with the subtle marron. We used our fingers for this...which was a bit awkward.

 The slow cooked duck egg, with white truffle was a standout...which was followed by a cucumber refresher.

 Final two savoury dishes, the snapper and the wagyu. Often, with fish, it is either overcooked, underseasoned, undercooked (which can be just as bad), and overseasoned. The snapper was just how it should've been. The "sashimi" style or whatever, element was brilliant. The wagyu was perhaps, the softest wagyu I've ever eaten.

A nice take on "lemonade" to start desserts which definitely peaked with the lemon meringue pie. I generally absolutely hate meringue. But this was something special. Soft meringue...chewy meringue, I actually liked meringue.

 The chocolate souffle was good - but it's hard to be wow'd with souffle....the lamington however...was delicious!!!

And of course, the view of the world.

Level 55, Rialto Towers, Melbourne CBD
Vue de Monde on Urbanspoon