Food Review: Yield Restaurant & Providore, Birregurra

Here’s something I’ve noticed both times I’ve been to Victoria in Australia.

People will actually drive several hours to a restaurant located in a small hamlet, a tiny town or literally the middle of nowhere (read: the time we got lost in the bush while trying to look for the Ruffy Produce Store), just for the food or the produce. There’s always an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from the surrounding localities.

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So when we pulled into Birregurra, a small town some 130 kilometres south of Melbourne, I was not at all surprised to find one of these restaurants, housed in a quaint single-storey building lined by a white picket fence. Formerly Birregurra Farm Foods, Yield Restaurant & Providore is the brainchild of Chef Simon Stewart and his wife Kara. The menu is set degustation, paddock to plate, with a strong focus on vegetables. Some of the dishes have a Mediterranean touch.

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Following in the vein of many of the regional restos we’ve visited so far, Yield carries a casual, homely ambience and decor, with friendly service that will make visitors feel right at home.

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We broke bread with a house-made spelt sour loaf. Breads are not as big in Southeast Asia as they are in Western countries, so it was my first time coming across spelt – a type of grain related to wheat which has been cultivated since 5,000 B.C.E. Like wheat, it is high in fibre, and also has other minerals and nutrients such as zinc, protein, manganese and phosphorus. The flavour was somewhat nutty and slightly sweet.

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Next was Red lentil, sunrose and dukkah (a Mediterranean condiment made from herbs, nuts and spices). The red lentil was mashed into a small cake and had great texture, similar to hummus.

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(Centre plate) Shanklish, fermented daikon and pickled onion

Shanklish is a type of cheese made from cow’s or sheep’s milk, popular in Levantine cuisine.

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One of my favourites of the afternoon was Haloumi, plum and walnut – the textures blended really well together, as did the flavours (sweet, natural nuttiness of the walnut, slight tartness of the plum and the savoury taste of the grilled haloumi)

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Sauerkraut, lentil and mint

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Simple but addictive potato, lemon and parsley. Loved the slight chewiness of the potato skins!

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Braised Wilgunya Black Angus: melt-in-the-mouth and oh-so-tender.

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And finally for dessert, stone fruit, caramelised pepita and fennel seed custard. 

I’ve always been more of a meat eater, but the dishes at Yield proved that it isn’t veggies I’m averse to – more the bland way in which they’re often prepared where I come from. I can see now why people drive all the way from the city just for a taste!

YIELD RESTAURANT AND PROVIDORE

43 Main Street Birregurra VIC 3242

Tel: +61 3 5236 2611

birregurrafarmfoods.com.au

Cheap Produce and Petai for 200 Baht! @ Betong Central Market, Thailand

Time to bid adieu to Betong! Our weekend excursion to this Thai border town was well spent and exceeded my expectations.

Before leaving, make sure to stop by Betong Central Market for some souvenirs and cheap produce. The town has a large and well-maintained market, divided into wet (veggies, fish, meat, etc.) and dry (snacks, dried goods, clothes) areas.

What’s good: A popular local product is petai (stinkbeans), which you will find being sold in bunches (above), or nicely sealed in 1kg packets for 200baht (Rm26). That’s a lot of petai! (Cooked them at home, they were really nice and big. Although the whole house stank to high heaven afterwards)

Woven rattan baskets in various colours.

Walked around the neighbourhood, observing the locals go about their daily routines. Freshly steamed pau cooked right on the pavement sounds like a great way to kickstart the morning!

How most typical shops look like in Betong. Like Malaysia, there is also a ‘five-foot walkway’ at the front.

Interesting name.

Toy seller rearranging his toys on a motorised cart.

Betong has been a fun trip, although I was initially (very) skeptical of going. For those of you who are like me before, wondering what there is to do in a small border town, I suggest a visit to see for yourself.

Best Butter in Australia: Myrtleford Butter @ King Valley Dairy, Victoria Australia

Hey guys! It’s been awhile since I last posted about my Australian adventure – got caught up with work/writing about other stuff – but here I am again! 🙂 

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of milk – so you’d think it’d be easy to find good artisan butter, right?

Wrong.

At least, according to Naomi Ingleton, a third generation chef turned butter maker. Ingleton, who previously ran a cafe, decided to make the career switch after realising how difficult it was to get a good local substitute for the French artisan butter she was using at her cafe.

“It was just a shame because we have such good quality milk here,” Ingleton shares when we visited her at King Valley Diary in Mohyu, which is now one of the biggest makers of artisanal or cultured butter – churning out 8 tonnes of butter a week. This is shipped to gourmet food stores, groceries and cafes all over Australia as Myrtleford Butter.

King Valley Dairy in Mohyu

Four years ago was when Ingleton and her partner David Taylor took the leap of faith to close down the cafe and focus solely on making butter. They bought a small butter factory which was empty at the time, gutted the whole place and rebuilt it from the ground up. It was a big risk – even with her chef background, Ingleton knew close to nothing about butter making, and had to learn everything from scratch. Today, the factory offers a range of products, from salted and unsalted butter in various flavours such as wild thyme, smoked salt and black truffle, to their signature buttermilk, ghee, ricotta and more.

The factory has a quaint cafe-cum-store area where visitors can browse through products. The bright and airy looking space combines rustic woods with natural lighting and contemporary charm. Aside from dairy products, they also carry a small selection of fresh produce (jams, deli meats, vegetables) from the surrounding region and items such as soap.

Perfect gifts/souvenirs for friends and family if you’re stopping by while on Victoria’s Food and Wine Trail.

We tried a sample of the different flavours, some creme fraiche and buttermilk ‘shots’, served with home made bread. The buttermilk left a tangy, tart taste in the mouth (in a good way, of course!), while the creme fraiche was creamy and smooth – perfect as a spread. It was hard to pick a favourite flavour, but I’d have to go for the confit garlic (one of their bestsellers!) and black truffle butter. Both are good ingredients to pair with butter, and the flavours really shone through. Other varieties available include Wild Thyme, Smoked Salt and the innovative Chocolate Butter.

The factory area where guests can watch the #ChurnGang in action and understand more about the butter making process.

  

Naomi Ingleton at her shop.

Myrtleford has one of the best butters I’ve ever tasted, and I hope they get to expand soon so they can export some to Malaysia! If you’re ever in Aus, look out for the brand – you won’t regret your purchase. 🙂

KING VALLEY DAIRY 

107 Moyhu-Meadow Creek Rd, Moyhu VIC 3732, Australia

Open daily 10AM – 4PM

facebook.com/KingValleyDairy/

 

New Zealand Food Connection Malaysia 2016

If there’s one thing that New Zealand is famous for (other than their beautiful nature, sheep, and Lord of the Rings), it’s the top quality of their fresh produce. Most of us have had the privilege to tuck into the country’s exported dairy products and NZ lamb, considered one of the finest in the world.

H & I attended the New Zealand Food Connection Malaysia 2016, which highlighted the best the country has to offer!

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We often see the Anchor brand of dairy products, or Fernleaf as it is known on our local hypermarket shelves. But did you know that the company has a long history? – it dates back to 1886. Their range of products includes milk, cream and cheese.

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Speaking of cheese, we got to sample some such as Gouda and Edam, served with fruits and crackers.

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Sheep’s milk is less popular than cow’s milk, but it has loads of benefits. For one, it has lower lactose, so good news for those with lactose intolerance. Sheep’s milk is also easier to digest due to its high amount of medium-chain fatty acids. Here, the goodness of sheep’s milk is transformed into yummy, creamy gelato. 🙂

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More sheep milk-based products: butter.

20160418_134158-tileFresh mussels air-flown from NZ 🙂

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France may be better known for their grapes and wineries, but NZ is not too far behind.

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The ice cream was quite lovely – creamy and sweet – and inspired by the famous Kapiti brand.