Slow food market and Abbotsford Convent Open Day Today

The marvellous slow food market is on at the Convent today — get a rhubarb tartlett from the rhubarb lady, a strong coffee from Lentil as Anything, a loaf of bread from the bakery, and stock up on unbelievably good home made panforte for Christmas presents.  But take your own plastic bags, or baskets. And there’s an open day at the Convent besides, where you can go inside the buildings, check out the artists’ studios, the ‘wellbeing studios’, and probably even the most beautiful ‘cello shop in the world.  Market finishes at 1 p.m., open day goes till 4 p.m. 3MBS is running tours.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year; tales of the outback

I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year, and warn you that this post has nothing to do with Abbotsford; it just explains the absence of blogging recently. I went to Broken Hill and Mildura from Boxing Day for a few days (and, on the way between the two, to Dareton, where I snapped the pictured marvel). How we thought we could fit in a 5 course dinner at Stefano’s the day after Christmas Day (and two days after my mother’s Christmas Eve dinner) is a mystery. But the food was superb while I could still fit it in.

In Broken Hill, I went to Bell’s Milk Bar, twice, and the second time was able to have an apricot fizz. That involved apricot syrup manufactured on the premises to a secret recipe from the 1950s, vanilla ice cream, soda water, and ice. It was good, in the Hemingway usage of that expression. I convinced the dreadlocked vixen formerly of Ballarat behind the counter to sell us some ice cream to have with the quandong pie we bought at the Silverton Tea Rooms. She said that after two years, she was still regarded by the locals as being “from away”. Continue reading “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year; tales of the outback”

A Taste of Slow Festival; the Refectory

A belated report on the A Taste of Slow Festival at the Abbotsford Convent a few weekends ago, now that I have found the cord for downloading photos from my camera. The last few photos of the bakery are from the first, temporary, opening for the Festival. The festival attracted 16,000 people, triple the numbers at last year’s festival. I paid a flying visit, which was no doubt completely the wrong thing to do, but the place was pretty much in gridlock as pointed out by today’s Epicure. That aside, it was good to see the Convent buzzing with crowds, the great majority of whom no doubt were having their first introduction to the hidden treasure of the Convent. Continue reading “A Taste of Slow Festival; the Refectory”

Abbotsford to get Lasagna Lesson

I do like lasagna, a feature of a palindrome of some quality (“Go hang a salami; I’m a lasagna hog”), and the ultimate comfort food. Is it the quintessence of Italian cuisine though? Wikipedia says the recipe was published in England’s first cookbook and eaten in the English court of the 1300s and may have originated there. Now we are to be taught how to cook it as part of the Slow Food Movement’s A Taste of Slow Festival at the Abbotsford Convent on Saturday week (9 September). The Age’s Epicure’s hymn to lasagna, by the person leading the demonstration, is here. Thanks to Nicolas of Bobigny France for the photo.

Clifton Hill gets the Domain treatment

The Age‘s Domain section’s featured suburb today is Clifton Hill. Like its neighbour Abbotsford, it is a small suburb. Amazingly enough, in the year to mid-August 2006, 10 people shelled out more than $700,000 to buy houses there, including 2 $1 million homes on the Esplanade. They recommend Flowers of Sorrento:

“Spensley Street, a friendly, well-stocked, family-run grocery with an interesting Italian influence, also has consistently fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, a small meat section and flowers.”

and Marshal Meats:

“27 Ramsden Street has extraordinary variety for a butcher hidden away from passing trade. A specialty of the house is lamb smoked on the premises. Crays and other seafood are sold along with fresh meat and some deli meals.”

and Cafe Quince, 43 Spensley St, described as:

“a true neighbourhood meeting place with boards advertising babysitting and lost cats, a box of toys to keep the kids amused and plenty of magazines. At weekends the casual room is filled to bursting with chatty groups tucking into full English breakfasts or variations on the theme. New owners will continue to serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week, the cafe is licensed and the coffee is very good.”

Watson & Di Palma’s, near the ‘wood Kinderbauernhof


Matt Preston ate 150 pizze before committing the article “Melbourne’s Best Crusts” to print in The Age two and a half years ago. And so I learnt that Watson & Di Palma’s is a chain store, the youngest kid in the unhappy company of Hawthorn and Kew sibblings. The  Hawthorn store made it into the “Other Names Worth Mentioning” category, well below Abbotsford’s E-Lounge which got its own write up (deservedly so). I ate dinner at the Abbotsford place last night, and had a good meal for not too much by ordering entree sizes. Pizze are from $10 to $13.50 for a small, and from $16 to $18.50 for a large. Secondi are from $23.50 to $28.50, and pastas from $13.50 to $16.50 for small and $17.50 to $22.50 for mains.
Continue reading “Watson & Di Palma’s, near the ‘wood Kinderbauernhof”