Friday, 30 April 2010

Cafe Di Stasio @ Fitzroy Street - St. Kilda

Last Monday was a public holiday to commerate ANZAC day (which fell on Sunday).

The Boy said, "Get dressed, we're going out!"

We went to the beach and strolled hand in hand (he's going to say I'm de-awesomenizing him) into Cafe Di Stasio

Initial impressions... Excellent service.. the Maitre D who served us was amazingly professional, friendly and funny all at once.. he kind of reminded me of a very good butler in English/French literature... you know the type.. poised and springs upon you when you need them (in a good way)...

We were seated next to a Bill Henderson photograph a famous (or should I say infamous) artist.

The interior was cool and calm... with door handles in the shape of a hand...

Venetian masks set the mood as the lighting features on the walls...

Warm yellow lights cascade to bathe the tables with a romantic glow

My tally of glasses starts at an impressive 3!

On to the menu, I highly recommend (as does The Age Good Food Guide), the Slow Food - A Season Lunch option which is valued at $39 and you get to have 2 courses and a glass of wine/coffee

We start of with bread and butter (as you do)

As usual, I skipped the entree and dived straight into the mains.

I ordered a Cotoletta di Maiale Con Insalata, which is a Crumbed pork escalopes with fennel and apple salad

Lightly crumbed and crispy to perfection, it was perfect (Imagine the Italian guy saying it from that Perfect Italiano ad)

The Boy was boring and opted for a Pesce del Giorno, which is a choice of pan fried or char-grilled fish of the day (Which was King Dory fillets) $34.00 (Main Lunch Menu)

I LOVED that the lemon came wrapped up in a netting cloth...

We also ordered some French Fries to share =) $9.50

For dessert, I had the Dolce del Giorno (I think), which was an Amaretto tart with creme fraiche and hazelnuts as well as Amaretto liqueur

The Boy had the Profiterole al Cioccolato which was delicious Chantilly cream profiteroles with chocolate and cognac sauce $14.50 (really strong and bitter and dark) just the way I like it!

Look AT that!

Drink tally at the end of the meal... 4! I had to finish off with an Italian made Caffe Latte (very good!)

Next time, we're definitely trying the pasta's and risotto dishes... I can see why, as it is, it earned it's 2 chef's hat =P

Food/ Cuisine: Modern Italian
Overall Food Rating: 8/10
Restaurant ambiance: 8.5/10
Service/ Attitude: 8/10 (NEW RATING FEATURE!!!)
Value for money: 8.5/10 (Highly recommend the Slow Lunch Menu $39 for a 2 course and a drink!)

31 Fitzroy Street
St Kilda 3182

Tel:(03) 9525 3999


Café Di Stasio is open
seven days throughout the year
Lunch 12pm—3pm
Dinner 6pm—11pm

How to get there:

View Larger Map

Café Di Stasio on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Second time lucky with Frank Camorra of MoVida @ Chadstone 4 Day Food Festival: Eat

(The lucky draw prize for the day)

After the crazy post from yesterday... the Boy reckon I should have split it up into 2 separate posts... could have, should have, would have... meh

Here's looking at you kid... I guess it's compulsory to take a candid shot of a photographer :P

Me! Front ROW!... Dangling feet, with a slight chance of flying oil and other condiments when Frank cooks and waves his hands and spatulas' around.

When we first entered the scene (The second time round), Frank was heating up some coal over the stove and chucking them back into a big metal tin to ignite each other.

This dish, is called Hongos A La Parrilla (Grilled Mushrooms)

For this you need to use 6 Media Racion, 6 large king brown mushrooms (or boletus), 6 garlic cloves (thinly sliced), 2 tablespoon thyme leaves, extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle), Fino sherry (to drizzle) and 2 tablespoons finely chopped curly leaf parsley

Slice the mushrooms in half, then make 3 incisions in the stalks. Push a slice of garlic and some thyme leaves into each incision.

Skewere the mushrooms, gripp cap side down, drizzle with a little oil, easeon to taste and splash with a little sherry.


Next up, Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil soup with chorizo and black pudding).

600g brown lentils, 1-150g chorizo, 300g Japanese pumpkin, 1 brown onion, 1 head of garlic whole, 4 tomatoes. 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika, 1 red capsicum, 1 green capsicum, 2-150g morcilla (Spanish Black pudding), sea salt, sherry vinegar.

As the previous style of cooking, Frank's way, he chucked all the ingredients into a large pressure cooker (for the real recipe, he reccommends a cooking pot), add 3.5 litres of tap water and all ingredients except for salt, vinegar and black pudding (which he didn't use when showing us)

After 55 minutes, add the morcilla and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Frank and his assistant taking turns at blending.

To serve, remove the sausages (slice them), and remove all other whole vegetables, remove from skin and blend them together. Add them back into the soup and mix around.

Ladle into a bowl, drizzle with a few drops of sherry vinegar and arrange the sausages on the top of the soup.


Empanadillas (Little shrry pastries filled with tuna and piquillo peppers), pastry is made by mixing 1 cup of plain flour, 1 cup of self raising flour, pinch of salt, 120ml olive oil,and 150ml dry fino sherry. Briefly knewd for a minute or so being careful to not overwork the pastry.

Cut into circles...

For the filling, use 150g Spanish canned tuna (the belly tuna!), 150g piquillo peppers, 100ml aioli garlic mayo, salt, black pepper (freshly cracked).

In the middle of each round place a tablespoon of filling, brush each edge lightly with eggwash, fold over pastry and using a fork crimple the edge of each emapanadilla to secure the seal

I didn't get to take a picture of the finished Empanadillas as we ran out of time, and everyone was grabbing them as they were coming out of the deep fryer. But I can tell you that the pastry was the fluffiest flaky pastry I've ever had and the tuna was just melt in the mouth fantastic!


The main hearty meal of the day, Pollo En Peppitoria (Saffron braised chicken thickened with almonds and egg yolk)

Lightly coat the chicken pieces (1.6kg whole chicken, cut into 12 pieces) in plain, seasoned flour.

Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pan and add chicken, season with salt, and cook until lightly brown.

Add the onions (3 finely diced), bay leaves (4) and 5 sliced garlic cloves and saute for until the onions are soften. Add the saffron and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add sherry (750ml) and wine (250ml dry white wine), and allow to boil for a few minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Add juniper berries (6) and cover with enough stock to just cover the chicken peices).

Cover and cook for 1 hour covered in the oven at 180degrees. Season with salt if necessary.

Meanwhile, make the picada by pounding (mortar and pestle) 4 hard-boiled egg yolks and 100g of almonds (toasted).

Serve with the Almond picada and roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley


The last dish, a dessert and the Boy's favourite dish (he took 3 separate handfuls and was extremely delighted with it!)

Garapinyades (Sugared almonds)

Put 1 cup of almonds and sugar together with a cup of water and cook over a medium high heat until the mixture begins to thicken and caramelize. Stir continuously uuntil the sugar begins to crystalise.

Remove from heat and spread on a lightly oiled tray. Allow to cool completely and then break up with your hands or rolling pin if neccesary.

Serve with tea, coffee, fortified wine or sweet sherry.

And that was it. I asked Frank how often does MoVida change their menu, and he replied, "Very rarely". "The new MoVida at Bourke Street (the old NAB building's courtyard) has a bigger menu", was what he added further when I asked what was to be expected from the new venue =)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Frank Camorra of MoVida's secret is out! Chadstone 4 Day Food Festival: Eat

When we saw on the Events list that Frank Camorra the man of MoVida himself, was going to teach not 1 but 2 classes.. we had to brave the weather and line up for it!

As the owner and head chef of MoVida, who in 2009 won the Chef of the Year in The Age Good Food Guide and a 2 hatter this year. It was an opportunity that could not be missed.

When asked, "How many dishes are you planning on showcasing today Frank?", he answered "6 if time allows it!"

So you know you're in for a really LONG post.. but I'll make it worth it, as it's 6 recipe's!

(The ingredients used... saffron (in the yellow tin) and paprika in the red/orange tin)

(The bottles of cider and sherry vinegar)


This first tapas, called Gilda, is the easiest to assemble. It's just preparation and getting the right ingredients on a toothpick. Simple and no fuss =)

Ingredients are 4 peeled smoked tomatoes, 330g can of palm hearts, 12 white pickled anchovies, 1 handful of flat leaf parsley, and 1 small can of Spanish olives stuffed with anchovies.

This serves 12.

(Frank showing how beautiful and simple it is)

Seed the tomatoes and cut into quarters lengtheways and quarter through the middle. Cut the palm hearts into 15mm length.

Drain marinated white anchovies and place 5 whole fresh parsley (he didn't count... just grabbed a bunch) and a few slivers of sliced onion from the anchovy marinade on the fillet then loop the fish over to form a horseshoe shape.

Skewer each ingredient onto a tooth pick and serve.


The next dish is called Gambas ala Sidra (Prawns cooked in terracotta with Asturian apple cider), and you are strongly recommended to get some terracotta cazuellitas.

Start by soaking your terrocatta casuellita in cold water (min 24 hrs before use). Drain and dry.

Place on low flame and heat it up until very hot.

Carefully add olive oil, parsley and garlic (1/2 clove chopped). Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add the prawns. NOTE: Do NOT burn the garlic!

Season the prawns and cook for just under 2 mins on each side to seal them and add colour.

Deglaze the cazuellita with cider and pour enough until it is just under the top of the prawns. Finish cooking by allowing the cider to reduce by a third.

Serve immediately while the prawns are sizzling and the cider is bubbling...


Next up, Asadillo! (Roasted capsicum and tomato salad with cumin and sherry vinegar)

Ingredients are as follows:

12 red capsicums, 2 large brown onions (unpeeled), 2 garlic bulbs (whole), olive oil, 10 tomatoes (peeled, seeded and cut into wedges), flat-leaf parsley, 100 ml extra virgin olive oil, 150ml sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon freshly ground cumin, several pinches of sea salt flakees.

Preheat the oven to 180degreesc, place all the vegetables (and roots, if you want to get picky!), onto the roasting tray sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil and roast for 40 mins.

When the capsicum are just cool enough to handle, remove and reserve the skins and seeds. Reserve the cooking juices. Break up the capsicum flesh intro broad strips and put in a separate bowl.

Cut off the tops of the garlic and squeeze out the now paste-like interior.

Add the tomatoes and onions (cut out the skins)

Measure (of course Frank didn't need to!)... 100ml of the reserved cooking juices (strained) and add to the mixing bowl.

Squeeze some olive oil into it.

Roughly chop up the flat leaf parsley.

Serve immediately or refrigerate. If refrigerating, allow the salad to reach room temperature before serving.

It's a super long post and if you're still with me... WELL DONE!!!

Sopa Castellana (Five min bread and garlic soup with saffron) - a dish which Frank says, he would not serve to diners in his restaurant but as a gathering meal for his kitchen/floor staff before they begin. As it needs to have that rowdy, family, sharing environment to really enjoy it.

(Peel garlic, cut into slivers and put into a medium pot preheated with olive oil. As the slivers start to sizzle, add the saffron to release it's aroma)

Frank explains that in the past, the Spaniards were very poor and would make an entire meal out of soup. Utilising stale bread in soups to feed the whole family. Nothing ever went to waste, and hence why their dishes are always so packed with flavour!

As soon as it is a deep gold, stop the frying by slowly adding chicken broth (1.6 litres) and bring to the boil and simmer for a minute. Taste for seasoning and add salt if neccesary.

Use bread that has been dried in a warm over for 10-15mins. Add the bread into the hot soup and allow to swell while simmering for just a minute.

Serve in bowls straight from the pot itself to add to that rustic feel!

I lie, it's in a pot, because Frank couldn't find bowls and wasn't provided with enough from the events team... *tsk* *tsk*


Number 5! Chocos Con Garbanzos (Braised cuttlefish with chickpeas)

(Frank showing off the beautiful chickpeas to the eager audience)

Add 600g of chickpeas (cleaned)...

2 Chorizo,1 garlic (whole), 1 onion, bay leaves (crushed)...

6 Tomatoes, paprika

fino sherry (200ml), extra virgin olive oil (50ml)

Add 700ml of water

Add 300g of clean cuttlefish

...and cook in a pressure cooker (medium-low heat for 45 minutes)

It should look like this!

To make the picada, Frank cheated and took out all the vegetables, squeezed (those that needed their skins remove) into a mixing bowl, added toasted saffron threads, fresh mind, fresh parsley, peppercorns and blended it (recipe calls for mortar and pestle)

Add the picada back into the pot and stir through. Serve hot!


Last but not least, DESSERT!

Apparently, Spaniards aren't big on their desserts... but they do make good pastries...

Frank decided to show us the makings of Pestinos (Andulacoan olive oil and sherry pastries)

1kg flour, 1 tsp bicarb, 1tsp salt, 2tsp ground cloves, 1 cup olive oil, 2 tsp fennel seeds, 1 cup fino sherry, sugar, ground cinnamon, oil for frying.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan with fennel seeds. Whilst that is heating up, in a metal bowl, place flour, bicarb, salt and cloves

Form a well. Into the well, add the hot oil and fennel seeds. (Speed counts here)

Immediately, add the sherry. Allow to bubble.

Mix through with a wooden spoon and allow to rest for 10 mins.

Roll out thinly on a well floured surface. Cut into 8cm by 1cm strips using a crinkle cut pastry cutter.

Deep fry until golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly before sprinkling with a sugar and cinnamon mixture.

There you have it my friends (who have made it through all the way to the bottom of the page)... 6 tapas dishes... perfect for a dinner party!

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