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Friday, October 16, 2009

Recently a blogger, but always an eater

I started this blog 6 months ago, but looking through any of my photo albums will reveal I have been harbouring a habit of photographing my meals for some time now. I'm not sure when it started, or why. I mean, really, it's kind of weird isn't it?

Weird or not, I've been meaning to get around to putting up some of my old pre-blog food shots up here for a while. Well, Mardi at Eat, live, travel, write has done just that with her latest post, and it has spurred me on to go trawling through all my old albums and start reminiscing. Join me, dear readers, as we go on a tasty tour of my belly's history....

Some type of au gratin goodness at Siebenstern Bräu, Vienna (2007)

First stop is Vienna, which I was lucky enough to visit in 2007 for a conference. It's actually quite fitting to start here, as I went to Vienna with a friend with whom who shares my love for food and whose hands feature quite a lot in previous photos on this blog, as we tend to eat out together quite frequently. First up, Siebenstern Bräu for some sort of gratiny fatty awesomeness. We had such a great time at Siebenstern that we decided to return a few nights later. I can't remember what I had for dinner, but my friend went the whole hog (thank you I'm here all week) and got a full serve of ribs. Luckily he shared some with me, and my god they were good.

A full serve of ribs at Siebenstern Bräu, Vienna (2007)

Next stop, Canada! I was there for around 6 months last year and a lot of eating was done. Luckily I stayed through most of winter so I was able to shiver away most of the calories.

Way too much food at Crabby Joe's Tap & Grill, Bracebridge (2008)

I spent some time in Muskoka, Ontario, doing field work and this pile of food was due to us ordering starters and mains as we were starving after being out in the field all day, and we didn't quite grasp just how huge everything would be. Thank god we refused their insistent recommendations for having "loaded fries" or extra cheese or ranch dressing on everything.


We could not stop giggling at this. Surely the chef knew exactly what they were doing?

And on that note, we're off to Montreal where I spent the next few months...

Bagel lunches at St-Viateur Bagel & Café Mont-Royal, Montreal (2008)

The best bagels in town, in my opinion, where to be found at one of the St-Viateur Bagel bakeries or cafes. The Mont-Royal cafe in the Plateau w
as not too far from my apartment, and a must stop to take visitors for a delicious bagel for breakfast or lunch. I haven't eaten a single bagel since leaving Montreal as I am well aware I will be disappointed. Perhaps I should try my hand at making my own.

Two types of poutine at Resto La Banquise, Montreal (2008)

Next up is another must-do for any visit to Montreal - poutine. This is to Montreal cuisine what a doner kebab is to English or Aussie... a reward for your stomach for putting up with vast amounts of alcohol, prior to finding your bed and passing out. I believe these particular dishes were eaten some time post midnight, after a night out drinking with a visiting mate at an Aussie expat meetup downtown. Despite the late hour, or probably because of it, La Banquise was packed and it was hard to find a table. It's actually open 24 hours a day so you can clog your arteries with delicious skin-on fries, gravy and squeaky cheese curd goodness at any time of day.

Duck in a Can from Au Pied de Cochon, Montreal (2009)

Pied de Cochon from Au Pied de Cochon, Montreal (2009)

A fabulous Montreal restaurant, for those who do not have any cardiovascular issues, is Au Pied de Cochon. My friend had the Duck in a Can, which is an amazing duck confit dish that they make in the kitchen, put into a can, and the waiter actually comes and opens the can at the table, plopping the contents onto the rest of the dish (it does plop). I had the Pied de Cochon which was the most succulent, fatty, delicious pig trotter and some other accompaniments that I can't quite recall except that it was really very enjoyable to eat.

I also managed a wee trip to Quebec City with the same friend that I shared the drunken poutine experience with, and it is fair to say we ate our way through the city. Pretty much every meal was at least three courses, as it always seemed like a good deal to get the table d'hote (plus it was kinda cold and rainy while we were there, and we spent our non-eating times walking so we were able to justify the overindulgance of every meal quite easily).

Some sort of gamey carpaccio, somewhere in Quebec City (2008)

A sausage dish (for the blokes) and a salmon dish (for the sheilas), somewhere in Quebec City (2008)

Dessert, somewhere in Quebec City (2008)

Anyone for a bucket of hot chocolate?

Quebecois meat pie and some sad looking veges at Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens, Quebec City (2008)

A pheasant dish at Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens, Quebec City (2008)

Blueberry cake with maple sauce and cream at Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens, Quebec City (2008)

A fish dish (perhaps?) at Le Cafe du Monde, Quebec City (2008)

Some sort of tasty pasta dish at Le Cafe du Monde, Quebec City (2008) - Madonna is trying to eat my lunch! Shame on her.

My Christmas spent in Montreal was quite literally a day of eating. I can't remember how many courses my friend prepared for us all, but it was more than 6. Incredibly impressive food, I am kicking myself for not documenting them all. I do however have some photos of the dessert, as I was in charge of making it and also, by doing so, educating my friend's Quebecois family about Australian and British traditions for Christmas dessert.

Remnants of the first round of dessert eating - Christmas pudding, brandy butter, custard, trifle, mini plum puddings and a berry meringue.

Berry meringue - layers of crunchy meringue, chantilly cream, berries and chocolate, finished off with some cherries (horribly out of season here, I must admit).

Mini plum puddings, pop one in your mouth

All the ingredients to make the Christmas pudding

I actually took a photo of all the ingredients that I used to make the Christmas pudding, and I didn't have a food blog.

I also did some Christmas baking to give out as gifts to those at the Christmas dinner, and also to my friends and colleagues at L'Universite de Montreal. I made mini fruit mince pies (which don't photograph terribly well), macadamia ANZAC biscuits, and gingerbread cookies. Oh and another batch of mini plum puddings too.

Mini fruit mince pies

Macadamia ANZAC biscuits (spot the Vegemite, haha)

Gingerbread cookies

Finally, our last stop is in München, Germany where I stayed for a few days in January to visit an Italian friend who is currently doing her PhD there. By the time I left Germany I felt like I was turning into a potato, and found myself craving broccoli and lettuce. At this early stage in my visit though, I was very happy to get stuck into a big plate of pork, spuds and cabbage, all washed down with a tasty bier.

The first of many pork, potato and cabbage dishes, somewhere in München (2009)

And now here I am back in Perth, and although this reminiscing has left me missing all my friends (and favourite restaurants and foods) overseas, with the temperature predicted to hit 34 degrees C today it is hard to see why I'd want to be anywhere else. I think perhaps I will continue my reminiscing with a tall glass of La Fin du Monde that I've had chilling in the fridge for such an occasion.


Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 11:18 AM  

A lovely walk down food memory lane.

penny aka jeroxie October 17, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

Look at all those gorgeous food adventures. And I am so glad that we started a blog.... all beautiful memories :) CAn be so sentimental.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 17, 2009 at 6:17 PM  

It's like a greatest hits album of food! That Duck in a can is potentially frightening an idea so I was relieved to hear that it was good :)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 17, 2009 at 7:46 PM  

Great post - thanks for the shout out and I am glad I was able to inspire another person this week!!! (see today's post!)

We were clearly born to be food bloggers!

Brie: Le Grand Fromage October 17, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

mmmm, that's a lot of good eating! great way to keep track of past events since memory is often strongly tied to group meals.

Rubber Ninja October 17, 2009 at 8:58 PM  

I remember having a good giggle at the plating of the, erm, roll & berries :)

That duck-in-a-can looks like frightening stuff!

Iron Chef Shellie October 17, 2009 at 9:03 PM  

Great post! I wonder if I did this too.. must look through photo albums that are older than 2 years :P

You were just destined to be a food blogger =)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 18, 2009 at 9:07 PM  

Bromography - thank you :)

penny - thanks, and yes, I did get quite hazy eyed and sentimental going through all my photos!

Lorraine - haha so it is! And yes, the duck was worth the potential horror (and potential cardiac arrest).

Mardi - thanks again for the inspiration! We sure were.. glad we found our way here eventually :)

Brie - So true! Many a fine time was had eating with piles of mates.

Rubber Ninja - tee hee!!!

Iron Chef Shellie - Aw thank you! I resisted the urge to flick through photo albums of pre-digital shots :D

Simply Life October 19, 2009 at 2:09 AM  

Wow, every meal looks delicious!

Betty October 20, 2009 at 5:29 AM  

Wonderful trip down memory lane! I was taking food photos long before my blog as well, most of my pics from holidays are of food! Lol. Congrats on the 6 month mark :)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 21, 2009 at 8:39 AM  

Simply Life - I'm glad I didn't go through the photos on an empty stomach :)

Betty - Thank you! Looking through my camera these days it's all food, food, food ;) I really should start taking more photos of my friends (and not just their hands next to their plates!!).

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