We have been on holidays officially one week now – and wow have we been treated to some absolutely delicious food in that time.
Today I am sitting here – what an amazing view from our room on the 23rd floor of Crown Metropol!
When we go away, we like to stay in nice places, and eat in nice places – which means we compromise on how long we stay away. This holidays it’s two nights in Melbourne – last week was two nights in Daylesford. And while two nights doesn’t give you time to settle in – it gives you plenty of time to have just enough little adventures.
I’ve always felt guilty about closing the cafe and taking a holiday. But the ideas I have, the passion and excitement I feel about coming back and creating more awesomeness, it’s so worth it! Not to mention how lovely it is to let the mind and body rest and shift into a new, slower rhythm.
Our culinary journey started last week in Daylesford, where we stayed for two nights. If you haven’t been there, you really must. There are so many small business owners creating their own kind of awesomeness (and not just the culinary variety). It’s so inspiring to see people working hard and living their dreams in such an amazing part of the world.
The first day we visited Daylesford Boathouse. It burned down a few years ago – but it’s rebuilt. From the view out the windows to the lovely fire and lovely food, it’s really a great place to go and take in your surrounds. I had the mushrooms with provolone cheese. I absolutely loved it and has my mind ticking about our next version of mushrooms on the Uforic menu.
Next we hit he lake for a big walk. Slipping and sliding in inappropriate footwear meant Matt had to hold my hand and stop me regularly from falling in the lake – but it was fun!
The thing I love about the ambience of the restaurants and cafes in Daylesford is the focus on making people comfortable. Everywhere you go is the owners take on rustic, warm and welcoming. You never walk past a place and wonder if you’ll fit in, if you’ll be welcomed with a big smile. When you go to Daylesford, the people seem to willing to share their town with you … and that’s very special.
We walked up the hill to Cliffy’s – a place Matty and I go regularly in Daylesford as it reminds us a bit of the Uforic set up. A cafe, with nursery next door. Obviously very different – but cool to see their take on it. If you’ve been to Cliffy’s before you’ll remember it for being full of counters and shelves of delicious stuff you can buy. But to me, as much as I loved this rustic presentation – it felt a little claustrophobic – and I was always so scared of knocking something over. But, that never stopped me from buying a thing or two and enjoying browsing their beautiful selection. Walking in this time – a lot of those shelves have been removed – and wooden counters cleared. It was amazing because suddently the space felt bigger, lighter – and even more inviting than before. I’m sure it was hard, and maybe felt like a risk making such a big change to their presentation – but it hasn’t removed the warmth that was there. Just awesome! We didn’t eat, because we were still full from brunch – but couldn’t stop without a coffee!
That night we went to Mediterranean restaurant, Rubens. Matty’s favourite food is pizza – and so one night we eat what I want, and the other it’s Matty’s choice. He usually opts for Rubens – and we generally take pizza back to our accommodation – and watch a movie – because Matty is a low-key kinda fellow. But, this time, he decided we should eat in for a change. He had pizza, of course – but I had seafood pasta. It was delicious as usual – but we realised taking away previously that we had missed out on some really lovely service. A table had been set for us inside – but with a few large groups the waiter offered straight away to move us to the alfresco – which was much quieter and filled with couples. It was just lovely to see them thinking of those things – and they slowly brought more people out to that area looking for a quieter night. It was lovely to see. I like to chat to the waiters, and they were happy to oblige me, telling me what the most popular things were on the menu and helping me chose. I love that interaction and I love meeting people who like to do their jobs that way too, instead of just going through the motions.
It was lovely to come back to our accommodation – a split level spa villa (Spa Villa 4, Daylesford) – and enjoy a few more glasses of wine in front of the fire. The accommodation was fabulous – not too expensive – especially staying mid-week. It was small, but all we needed and the double-sided gas log fire was such a treat! The kitchenette meant we could prepare some food too, keeping the costs down.
I’ve come away with so many ideas for the cafe just from this short break away. I posted some photos on our Facebook page and the wonderful suggestions so many of you had of what to see and do were wonderful! I wish I had posted earlier, but I have a great list started for next time we head to this beautiful part of the world.
Next post is all about the city lights and culinary delights of Melbourne! Stay tuned! We are back at the cafe, open and ready to feed you from August 3. High tea is also fast approaching – click here for more details on that.
See you soon!
I don’t know about you, but this winter solstice is making me feel a bit … well, funny,
Not funny ha ha – funny, kinda, gloomy.
I think it’s the culmination of darkness, cold and not having a holiday for a very long time. I think this is a time to hibernate, rest and rejuvenate, but sometimes we gotta let some stuff out to get there first!
So, how to cure all these annoyances … make soup! Oh, and get a puppy!
Yes, that’s right, we’re welcoming a new team member to Uforic … this little guy …
It also means he’ll be coming to work with us, when he’s old enough – and we are going to make him his own special area in the garden! We’re already dog friendly – now we will be super dog friendly! Can’t wait to get it all set up for him and to introduce him to everyone. I have a feeling Henry the King Charles Cavalier is going to be the center of attention!
If his little face can’t chase our winter sads away, nothing can!
But … this soup will help too!
I was asked by one of our wonderful customers the other day if I knew of a great chicken soup recipe. Turns out there is one on this very blog – which I posted some years ago. I am going to re-post it below … because it’s soooo yummy – and so fitting at this time of year when some of us are fighting colds too. But, if you can’t be bothered cooking, and live in or around Torquay, Armstrong Creek, Mount Duneed – pop in and buy some to take home for dinner. I’m going to make it as part of our take-home meals menu this week. Click here for the full menu and ordering info.
Chicken Noodle Soup
– 1 whole free-range chicken
– 3 stalks of celery – roughly chopped (include top leaves for extra flavour)
– 3 carrots – roughly chopped
– 3 large red onions, unpeeled, roughly chopped
– 1 handful of fresh parsley
– 2 leeks (use only white parts) roughly chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic – whole with skin on
– 6 peppercorns
– 2 bay leaves
– A few good pinches of sea salt (to taste)
– I stalk of lemon grass – bruised (optional)
– 3 stalks of celery, washed and diced
– 2 leeks, washed and diced (use only the white part)
– 1 packet of vermicelli noodles
– The flesh of a whole cooked chicken (cooked using the broth above)
– 3 tablespoons of soy sauce (or to taste)
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Combine all ingredients for the broth in a large stock pot and pour over enough cold water to cover all the vegetables and to ensure the chicken is submerged.
Cover and simmer very gently for about 1 hour.
Remove from heat, retrieve the chicken and set aside.
Strain the liquid into a clean bowl, pressing the vegetables to extract the flavour. Transfer back into the saucepan and allow to cool. Discard the cooked vegies.
Meanwhile, once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull it apart with your hands, discarding the skin and bones, and separate the tender flesh into chunks. Set these aside for later.
Once the broth has cooled, scoop away any fat or impurities that have risen to the top and discard them. This leaves a beautiful, clean broth. An easy way to do this is to pop the cooled broth into the fridge overnight. The next day the fat and impurities will have formed a skin on top, making it even easier to skim and discard.
Bring the broth back up to the boil and add the remaining soup ingredients. Simmer until the noodles are cooked through, which sound only take a few minutes. Before serving, check for seasoning. I find this needs quite a bit of salt to bring out all the subtle flavours – so make sure you taste it and adjust to your tastes.
Serve in big bowls, with some nice, crusty bread.
Alternatively, if you’d like to freeze this for later use, pour into containers, label and freeze for up to three months. This can be reheated easily in the microwave and makes perfect lunches to take to work.
When I decided to start take-home meals – I really thought it was an opportunity to help people from all walks of life get home-made, wholesome and tasty food on their table.
One week on, nurses, shift-workers, busy mums, single people and everyone in between from Torquay, Mount Duneed, Armstrong Creek, Geelong and surrounds have jumped on board to give the meals a go and the feedback has been wonderful!
“Butter chicken for us tonight… By the time I added naan, rice and pappadums the total cost was $25! Can’t get a meal this good for that in Bali! Was delicious!: Leanne
“Picked mine up today and had a taste before popping in the freezer. One word. YUMMY!!!!”, Cathy
“The meals were awesome and fantastic value for money”, Susie’
Facebook over-flowed with positive feedback and it’s really given me confidence to keep going! There’s nothing I love more the cooking comfort food and sharing it with the people I care about. Knowing these meals are making the lives of our customers better/easier/healthier – I couldn’t be happier!
So, here is this week’s menu – and we’re going French style! Again, I would love to hear what you think!
Take home meals menu available June 17 to 20
For our second menu we have decided to give everything a French twist. Perfect comfort food for these winter nights:
(Each meal serves two generous portions)
❤ Soup: French zucchini, leek, cannellini bean, tomato, basil with shaved parmesan $13.90 (V) (GF) (DF)
❤ Pot pie: Coq Au Vin style of chicken, bacon, red wine, mushroom and thyme $19.90
❤ Stew: Beef bourguignon: Chunks of beef, baked till tender with red wine, shallots, mushrooms, bacon, carrot and herbs $19.90
❤ Braise: Chicken Provencal – chicken cooked long and slow with capsicum, tomatoes, fennel and green olives $19.90 (GF)
(GF) Gluten free (V) Vegetarian (DF) Dairy Free
Orders are encouraged as meals are available until sold out. You can collected your order between Friday and Monday. To order click here or email email@example.com. You can also call 5264 1717.
Thank you to everyone who has given the meals a try so far. Please feel free to let me know what you think so we can always improve.
So after lots of lovely comments and encouragement, we have decided to go ahead and pilot cooking dinner for you!
It was really comforting to get everyone’s feedback and see I’m not the only one, despite running a food business, that struggles to get some home-cooked meals on the table! I guess there’s no excuses now!
So, starting this week – from Friday through to Monday, you can stop in at Uforic Food Cafe and pick up some dinner – subject to availability. We are located on the Surfcoast Highway heading to Torquay. If you don’t want to chance it – you can take a look at the menu below – and place an order with us by 3pm Thursday. We will then reserve your selection for you to collect. Orders collected before Monday afternoon will be supplied fresh, orders collected after will be frozen.
We don’t cook with any kind of preservatives – so you will need to treat this food just like you would your own home cooking. Either eat it that night, or pop it in your freezer to be consumed at a later date. All meals serve two generous portions: I have decided to do this as there are lots of single people and couples that wouldn’t need a family portion. And, families come in all shapes and sizes! I also realise that the obstacle with feeding a family is that not everyone likes the same thing. So, smaller portions allow for different meals to be purchased and enjoyed – rather than having to buy a huge portion of one thing and hope it will suit everyone.
The menu will be limited to allow us to ease into it – and to do a few things really well. We will offer gluten free, and vegetarian options on every weekly menu. In terms of costing – we will try to keep meals below $10 per head. However, our commitment to using top quality, local where possible, ingredients may make this vary. We will do our best.
Of course, this is a pilot – so we would really appreciate all your feedback over the next few weeks. The pilot will end on July 18 – which is the day the cafe will close for a two-week winter break. We will decide after the pilot whether this is something people want, make adjustments and go from there.
Take Home Meals Menu – available June 10 to 13
(all meals serve two generous portions)
Soup: Potato, Leek and Bacon (GF) $13.90
Pot Pie: Chicken, bacon and mushroom $19.90
Curry: Butter chicken (GF) $19.90
Braise: Mediterranean Vegetable Ratatouille with beans (V) (GF) $17.90
All meals are as stated and do not include rice, potato, pasta etc.
If you would like to order, please contact us via the website by clicking here. If you would like to email us, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact number, what you would like and when you will be collecting it.
We are open 7 days – 8am – 4pm. We may consider opening late one evening to allow for ease of collection. If this is something you feel you would benefit from, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate where possible.
Please forward to anyone else in our area you feel would benefit. We look forward to cooking for you, and receiving your feedback on this new initiative in coming weeks. Exciting!
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