Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Good coffee in Hobart

One of my (many) foodie pleasures in life is a good coffee. 

Luckily there are many places in Hobart to get a decent doppio, long black (aka americano) or latte. 

I've listed a few of my favourite places below. Hobart city cafes dominate this list because that's where I work and buy most of my coffee. 

Villino Espresso (and Ecru)  
Criterion Street, Hobart

These guys are definitely at the top of the list! It's one of the places that I trust 100% to do a good doppio. They usually have at least two different beans currently available for coffee, one to have with milk and one without - usually the no-milk one is a 'single origin'. My favourite bean from here (and possibly ever) has been an Ethiopean as a doppio. 
The cafe is tiny and it's a very popular place so there isn't a huge amount of seating. This isn't so bad in summer when it's quite pleasant to sit outside, but inside can be a bit squashy in winter. 
The same team run Ecru coffee a few doors further down Criterion street. This is a take-away only but same great coffee and crew. Fantastic for a quick coffee on the run, or one where you only want to sit down for a few minutes.
I've had great espresso, long blacks and lattes here. They roast their own coffee and supply many other Hobart cafes. You can also purchase quite a few of their different varieties of beans to use at home.

Argyle Street Hobart

A close second to Villino, this cafe has way more seating. This is where I go when I want really good coffee, but I want to make sure I can get a table to sit at. I usually go there when I'm meeting a friend for coffee, so I tend to choose a long black (with milk on the side) or latte which I can sip slower than an espresso. 
They also do a great selection of teas and a few soft drinks too.

Jackman & McRoss
Victoria Street Hobart

Coffee at J&McR can be a bit hit and miss at their other two cafes in my experience but in the city it's always good. This is another place I go when I'm meeting a friend (they do an absolutely gorgeous croissant and jam) so usually I have a long black (with milk) or a latte. 
The cafe is also close to where I work so I often pop in for a lunch time coffee, which is usually served promptly.
J&McR is a local chain of bakeries and they have delicious breads and pastries, and the lunch offerings by the counter usually look pretty tasty too.
They use Tascaffe beans (more about Tascaffe below)

Fullers Bookshop cafe 
Collins Street Hobart

Very close to where I work so when I want a quick coffee at lunch time I pop in here. They have a lovely open light cafe in the back of the bookshop with a fab view of Mount Wellington (if you get the right seat). A fantastic place to sit and sip, especially in the winter.
They also do good food and I have had one of the most delicious sandwiches of my life here (house-made hummus, feta, sun-dried tomato & rocket) and some nice soup as well. The coffee isn't quite as good as the other 3 cafes I've mentioned (although I believe they use beans from Villino) but it's usually quick and reliable.

Tasmanian coffee roasters
Gregory Street Sandy Bay

I've only had coffee here two or three times, but I thought it was worth a mention because I had a memorable long black here once: They served the shot of espresso in a large cup, but then served the hot water in a jug on the side so I could decide for myself how much water to add. 
As the name suggests, they also roast coffee and sell it in a little room at the front.

Gormanston Rd, Derwent Park 

Tascaffe isn't even a cafe, they are coffee roasters. They seem to supply quite a lot of the cafes in Hobart. 
They also sell roasted coffee direct to the public at nearly half the price of most other specialty roasters. Coffee I buy from here has usually been roasted within the last few days. They have 5 or 6 different roasted blends and also a decaf. I usually buy the 'Milan' blend. 
I've also bought small amounts of green coffee from here for home roasting (more on that in a future post)

I hope this information is useful. I'd love to hear other people's favourite coffee spots in Hobart.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Getting the ball rolling with Beef Rendang

I love Thai food. 

It started with just a liking and then developed in to a full-blown obsession when I worked around the corner from Chiang Mai Kitchen in Oxford UK. My husband and I would go there for lunch at least once a week. 

We would almost always have the same thing - Red Chicken Curry. But occasionally I would have something else and that would often be Beef Rendang. 

Recently I was buying red curry paste and the Rendang paste was right alongside it so I bought some of that too and thought I'd give it a go. I searched for some recipes, then sort of hybridized two and came up with the recipe below.

I cook with gravy beef (beef shin) a lot of the time because it's cheap but it has a lot of flavour. I enjoy the challenge of turning a cheap, tough cut of meat in to a delicious tender meal. 

Beef Rendang

4 lady serves (or 2-3 man serves)

600g stewing beef (shin, chuck etc)
2 ½ teaspoons Mae Ploy Rendang curry paste
1 teaspoon lazy ginger
4 cloves
½ cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 lime leaves
240ml tin coconut milk (I used Woolworths Select because it doesn't separate)
2 level dessert spoons brown sugar
6 mushrooms (optional)
½ a red pepper (optional)
soy sauce, lemon juice and salt to taste

Brown beef in batches in oil in a frypan on medium to high heat. Put in to casserole dish/pot (I used a large cast-iron dutch oven, but it was almost too big for the small batch of curry)

Add more oil to pan, turn heat to low and put cloves, cinnamon and star anise in pan. Toast for a minute or so. Add ginger, curry paste and a small amount of coconut milk (enough to stop the curry paste spitting)

Gently cook the curry paste for a few minutes. Add more coconut milk if necessary.

Transfer paste/spice/coconut milk mix in to the pot with the beef. Add remaining coconut milk, brown sugar, lime leaves and a splash of soy sauce. Bring to a gentle boil then turn heat to low (barely bubbling). Cook for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, until beef is tender

Adjust seasonings as necessary to get the right balance of hot-sour-salt-sweet. Add another splash of soy and then more salt if needed (I tend to almost over-salt to compensate for plain rice). 

I also added more lemon juice to my batch. You may need to add chilli powder if your curry paste isn't very hot. 

Serve with stir-fried veg (snow peas, cauliflower, zuchini) if you want to make it paleo, rice if you don't.  

The curry at the beginning of cooking time

Apologies for the poor quality photos. I am just learning about photographing food!