Thursday, 14 July 2011

Brunch at Pigeon Hole

Everyone has been raving about Pigeon Hole and yet I had only been in there for quick take-away coffees with the guys from work, so I thought it was about time I made time for a long breakfast myself. The owners have a long background in the industry, so I was feeling confident that the reviews were all correct.

I planned my date with Pigeon Hole quite well. I was famished. Plus I had the whole day completely free to do as I wished. Well, up until 6pm when I started work at least.  Either way we weren't pushed for time and were free to eat as much as we could fit in. I don't do breakfast or brunch very often, so I was excited. 

We had to wait about 30 minutes until a table for two was free. A great sign, but at the time I may have got just a little grumpy as I felt my stomach growling. (It was 11am after all and I hadn't eaten yet!)

We started with the apple and pecan porridge which I just couldn't fault. So many cafes are getting this wrong, and I felt Pigeon Hole totally delivered. It was so wonderfully creamy, and quite rich too- best I not know how much sugar and full fat milk went into it. Yet it wasn't heavy, and believe me when I say it was full of fruit and nuts. Absolutely delicious!

We also tried the eggs en cocotte (a French dish referred to as oeufs en cocotte in French)- cooked in a dish with proscuitto, onion, spinach and the winning element, Grana Padano cheese! 

Next round was just as good- if not better. Their house made beans were fantastic. (I will always order beans, its my thing). They had a real smokey flavour through them which I loved. And yet again- the perfect addition of cheese! Something I haven't seen on beans before, yet now I can't even understand why I haven't seen it before, because is this just not the perfect dish?

But probably the star of our brunch was this dish. A washed rind cheese that had been baked with thyme and hazelnuts. It was too pretty to break into, but no looking back once we did. Oh my. Yum.

This was just the most clever dish for a small breakfast/lunch cafe. It had that element of difference and it veered away from all your typical brunch menu items. Like tradesmen eating dim sims before 9am, I can easily eat cheese before midday, and I'm sure I'm not alone on that one.

Aside from the food- I think I just fell in love with this tiny cafe, because it is just so well put together. Their attention to detail was enlightening. The gorgeous old cutlery, the vintage cake stands, the mismatched light fittings, the old bathroom sink- it all worked together so well, and as someone who has a love for great interior design, I was very impressed.

Pigeon Hole exceeded my expectations, and I will be sure to go back. In fact I tried just this week, but was so disappointed to have found they are shut on Mondays. Next week!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Brown rice and cashews

Are you one of those people who refuses to eat brown rice? I confess that I have been for a long time. Of course I know how  good brown rice is for me- you read about it and see it in books all the time- but it just hasn't ever done it for me. I find it tastes bland, dull, stodgy and just not appetising.

You've probably heard the term 'wholegrains' mentioned a lot recently- all the advertising campaigns are onto it, telling us how good they are for us. Brown rice is one of those wholegrains. Why? Simply because it is an unrefined grain. The fact is that white rice looks just the same as brown rice before it has been refined and processed which essentially means the hull and bran is removed from the grain. This in turn makes it cleaner looking, better tasting and a huge plus for Western society- it becomes quicker to cook.

So what's so important about the hull and the bran? Well they of course contain all the good bits we need- including fibre, protein, magnessium, calcium and potassium. Fibre is a super agent for our digestive system, and protein will keep us fuller for longer. There are just simply too many reasons why we should try include more wholegrains- including brown rice- into our diets.

But I find that pretty tough to do when I actually cringe at a  certain food I don't enjoy. So you can imagine my excitement when I got to try this dish. Because it is delicious! A great friend of mine brought it to a summer BBQ- and I couldn't get enough of it- along with everyone else. And I couldn't believe it was brown rice! I had to have the recipe- and I was fortunate enough to snavel it by the end of the week after somewhat begging...

Personally (bringing up my pet hate for brown rice again) I think this is so great because the flavours of the brown rice are hidden under the gorgeous dressing. Winner. It's good for you- it look's appetising- and it's a hit at any table. 

Although I was introduced to it at a summer BBQ- I've found it to be a real charm during the colder weather. I like to eat it straight after its cooked, so it's still warm. Eat on its own, or serve with a gorgeous piece of grilled chicken and a wedge of lemon. Yum. 

Do you dislike brown rice too? Or may be you're one of those people who love it? Let me know and please share any winner brown rice recipes with me. The more I have the better- as this is usually my one and only brown rice intake.

Get This
3 cups brown rice
1 red onion (or 4 spring onions)
1 green or red capsicum
1 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large clove purple garlic
1 lemon
1/4 cup soy sauce
Salt and pepper
Handful of roasted cashews

Cook Now
First cook the rice. I use a 1 to 1.5 rice/water ratio for brown rice. So for 3 cups brown rice, cook it in 4.5 cups water. Be careful however, the last thing you want in this recipe is overcooked gluggy rice- so watch it.

Meanwhile chop the onions finely and the capsicum into 1cm pieces. Add to a bowl with the corn and set aside. Make the dressing by adding the wet ingredients, the juice from the lemon and the crushed garlic clove and set aside.

When the rice is cooked, add the dressing immediately. By adding the dressing whilst the rice is warm, it will absorb the flavours fantastically. Stir through the vegetables and then the parsley. Season to taste. Lastly sprinkle with the cashews. So good for you- get in there!
Serves 6-8