I had been to Monk Bodhi Dharma a few years back, when it had first opened. I remembered it to be a tiny, cramped space, but with amazing food, so much so that people were willing to wait for a table and be squished into a little corner.

Monk Bodhi Dharma is a vegetarian and very vegan friendly cafe, so when the other half's cousin, J,  embarked on a one month vegan diet, I suggested we go to Monk Bodhi Dharma for breakfast. With no eggs on the menu, and almost three quarters of the dishes vegan, or vegan adaptable, this seemed like a great idea, so off we went.

The Monk is located down an alley, off the main road, so make sure you check the website to understand exactly where it is. J didn't do this, so after a phone call and a walk down to the main road, we found him, and walked with him to the front. 9:30am on a Saturday was clearly peak breakfast time, but luckily we only had to wait a few minutes before there was a table available for us.

A quick glance at the menu and J was excited to find he had multiple muesli options and all of them vegan  or vegan adaptable. This was clearly a win! I couldnt go past the umami mushrooms, a variety of mushrooms cooked and served on homemade pumpkin, spinach and sundried tomato polenta bread, with goat's cheese, thyme and chilli oil. It was delicious!



Monk Bodhi Dharma also pride themselves on their coffee, and with good reason. Between a short black and a latte, we both agreed the coffee was a winner. (We also had a flat white drinker who wasn't that impressed, but we dismissed his opinion!)

With super friendly staff, delicious food, and great coffee, this place is definitely one to check out, regardless of whether you're meat inclined or not! And whilst leaving, we learnt that there will be a second branch open, Admiral Cheng Ho, in Abbotsford! Great for those north of the Yarra!

Monk Bodhi Dharma on Urbanspoon
I've been bogged down with a cold since the end of last week, and I finally decided my body had to stop and have a proper rest, so I decided to take a day off work. Unfortunately days off from work very rarely involve rest for me, instead they are filled with errands, and getting tasks done that cannot be completed on the weekends. One this day off, my mum also suggested that we go out for brunch, and she specifically requested that we go to Gold Sweets and Chaat in Glenhuntly. This place had been highly recommended by a friend of mine, and had long been on my list to check out. 

As per most Indian suburban restaurants, this place was a little shop front on Glenhuntly Rd, flanked by other Indian restaurants on either side. It clearly had some competition! But it was the 'chaat' in the shop's name that won me over. Chaat is Indian street food, and it is amazing! Think spicy, tangy flavours, engulfing the crunch of beaten rice, or the softness of boiled potatoes, all eaten on the busy streets of Kolkata, with Bollywood music blaring from radio speakers. I couldn't think of a better way to eat food!

A scan of the menu and I knew I was in for a treat. There were so many things to choose from, but I couldn't go passed the pav bhaji. Pav is a bread roll, that is toasted and smeared with butter, and bhaji is a potato and pea mixture that is slightly running in consistency, full of flavour from a special spice blend, and then unapologetically dripping with butter. The idea is that you put the bhaji in the pav and eat it like a sandwich, bit by bit.





The Gold version of pav bhaji was delicious. I imagine everything else on the menu is too!


Gold Sweets & Chaat on Urbanspoon

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe (possible the first one on this blog!) so I thought I would put this one up! It was a bit of an experimental recipe to use up an excess of capsicums bought cheap at the market, and it was a complete winner – quick and delicious!



Ingredients:

2 capsicums, cut into fairly large pieces, say about 1.5cm x 1.5cm
1 onion, chopped into large chunks
4 tbs oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbs besan flour (chickpea flour, and can be found at all Indian grocers)
Pinch of turmeric powder
Chilli powder to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves, chopped, half a bunch or so
  1. Heat the oil in a kadai (or wok/skillet/frying pan).
  2. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter.
  3. When mustard seeds have popped, add the curry leaves and the cumin seeds and brown them. This should take about a minute.
  4. Add the onions and fry until they are soft and translucent. Add the salt too.
  5. Add the besan flour and stir constantly until the flour is browned. The should end up as a crumb like consistency.
  6. Add the remaining spices and the capsicum, and mix through. Allow the capsicum to cook, tossing regularly. Do not put a lid on the pan, this will make the capsicum so soft and soggy. The capsicum should end up slightly charred, but not too soft.
  7. Add the coriander leaves, mix through and remove from the heat.
This is is great served hot with rice, or any Indian breads, and also tastes great the next day!
Weekend breakfasts are such an indulgence. Nothing beats sitting around with a great coffee, some oozy eggs or deep friend fritters, the paper open on the cryptic crossword page, all in a gorgeous cafe. Recently we've been to quite a few great places, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to blog about them. Some have photos, but with others I was too excited about diving straight in, and forgot to capture the moment!


Mixed Business – Clifton Hill

This was an odd little place, that was relatively empty given that we went on a public holiday. The interior has a rather warehouse feel, and was really quite hipster which I liked. Firstly let's start with the coffee. It was fabulous, and if I was judging purely by the coffee this place would be a winner, but unfortunately the food didn't follow suit. I had pan fried mushrooms with goat's cheese and mixed greens on toast which ordinarily should have been great, but instead it was just good. Not bad, but not amazing. Still I love mushrooms, so I ate my plate clean!

Mixed Business on Urbanspoon


Foxy Brown – Northcote

Foxy Brown had been recommended to me by a friend who has great food taste and she didn't disappoint. This was such a funky little cafe, a great retro feel, and a relaxed vibe. Once again the coffee was great, and the menu was huge! I settled on V for Victory – sour dough toast, grilled marinated tofu, new york potatoes, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and some greens. DELISH! The tofu was amazing, I don't know what marinade they used, but even my non tofu loving other half had to conceed that it was good tofu! If there was one criticism it would be that the toast was super tough and made it very hard to eat L But all was forgiven when our waitress offered us a pen to complete the cryptic crossword!

Foxy Brown Espresso on Urbanspoon


Jackson Dodd – Preston

We picked Jackson Dodd on it's location and the fact that it had a pretty high Urbanspoon rating. The people of Melbourne hadn't lied! The coffee was super! I'd rate it as the second best coffee of all the places on this list. The fit out of the place was a bit different too with the coffee machine just on the side wall, and not behind a counter! Their service was a bit substandard (he almost spilt our coffee!), but I'm pretty sure our waiter was new, so I'm more than willing to forgive him! I had the spicy scrambled eggs with chilli and shallots on toast which was rather yummy! I did want to taste the dukah eggs too though. The table next to us was having them, and they looked delicious and oh so oozy! The other half couldn't go past pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, but later admitted, that whilst pancakes and maple syrup was a great combination, and bacon and maple syrup was a great combination, perhaps the three of them together was a combination that didn't work so well together! He did say that his pancakes were great though!

Jackson Dodds on Urbanspoon

Boundary Espresso – Preston

We were walking, on our way to try out Brother Alec, when we decided to get lazy and stop when we reached the inconspicuous little Boundary Espresso. I had read about this place online, and everyone had been raving about it, and for good reason! It's a tiny little place that was super busy, so we got a table outside. Not ideal on a winter morning, but sacrifices have to be made if you want good coffee, plus the sun was trying to peak through, so it wasn't too bad. To say the coffee was great, would be an understatement – it was fan-bloody-tastic. Best coffee on this list, possibly best coffee in Melbourne! The menu was small but solid. I decided on the caramelised leek and goat's cheese omelette with olive tapenade. The waitress said they were out of goat's cheese and asked whether I would mind swapping for Danish fetta which wasn't a problem for me at all, I can hardly taste the difference when it's cooked! The meal came out with two pieces of toasted Turkish bread, which was a lovely variation on the standard sour dough, and a little piece of butter so you could butter your own bread if you wanted to. I refrained. The omelette was delicious. The sweetness of the leeks, the creaminess of the cheese and the fluffiness of the egg all made for a perfect omelette! Surprisingly the omelette was served in a dish, rather than on a plate, which was different, but made the dish look a bit more special. All in all, this was a complete winner of a breakfast and I'm so glad we changed plans to stop here!

Boundary Espresso on Urbanspoon


1. Study. Study hard. As clich├ęd as it sounds, your education is important. It may sound silly now, but trust me. In ten years time, when your working in a call centre, you’re going to wish you listened to your parents so that you could have a respectable job, a decent pay, and feel like you’re actually doing something mentally stimulating.

2. Choose your friends wisely. The people who may seem like your closest friends now, may not be in a few years. Be aware that the people who you meet up with every weekend and get drunk with currently, may not even be part of your life next year, let alone in five years. With this in mind, think about the priority you place on these people. On the flip side make sure that the friends you are confident are in for the long haul are given the time and respect that they deserve.

3. Choose your battles against me wisely. We are going to disagree, that is inevitable, and most of the time I will probably lay down the law and make you conform to my way of doing things. Naturally you may rebel and refuse to conform, forcing me to bend my ways, but make sure you only do this when you are sure that you are in the right. Don’t do it just when you think your way is probably the better way to do things, but only when you have analysed the situation, looked at it from all possible perspectives, and then are still certain that your way is the right way. If you choose to fight me on every issue, chances are that I will never bend, even when the issue is one that you truly believe in. So choose your battles wisely.

4. Don’t drink and drive. Ever. Don’t ever get in a car with a drunk driver. Ever. It doesn’t matter what time it is, or where you are, I will ALWAYS come and pick you up without giving you a lecture, or even asking any questions. Safety is paramount, don’t ever forget this.

5. Learn some life skills. Learn to cook, learn to do dishes, learn to do your own washing, hell, even learn to mow the lawn and change a tyre. Your parents aren’t going to be around for ever to do these things for you, and even if they are they won’t want to.

6. You are beautiful. It doesn’t matter what you think, or how you think you compare to the girl you believe to be the prettiest person in your class, the truth is that you are beautiful. You have to believe this. Nothing makes you more beautiful than self confidence (without showing arrogance), so love yourself, walk tall, head held high, and watch everything fall into place.

7. If a boy doesn’t want you, don’t beg. Maintain that self confidence I just told you about and walk away with dignity. There will always be someone that wants you, and you will want them back, and you will be perfect for each other. Begging for the boy who doesn’t want you will not achieve anything. You should never think that you can change their mind. They are entitled to their opinion and it is your duty to walk away.
Change is scary.
Change is unknown.
Change is unnerving.
Change may set you backwards.
Change is exciting.
Change is stimulating.
Change allows you to move forward.
Change is necessary.
And above all, change must be embraced for it to be successful.

Traditional holidays have always been something I dread. OK, maybe dread is a bit over dramatic, but I definitely I haven’t looked forward to them. As a brown family, with no extended family here, we never did anything special or traditional and I always felt left out. Instead I usually rang a random friend, who I anticipated might be in the same situation as me, and hoped that they would accept my invitation of a coffee date, or breakfast or something.
This year was different. I was part of a different family, and so my Easter was filled with family gatherings, with food, hot cross buns, fun, laughter, children and easter egg hunts. It really was special. It made me feel like I had a real Easter.
But just to keep the balance, when I got a text from a friend asking me if I was keen to do brunch on Monday morning, I took her up on the offer. Afterall, that was me last year and all the years previous to that.

So one Sunday morning we decided to do the crazy thing and run 15km along with about another 35,000 people in Melbourne. It's called Run For The Kids :-) I'm proud to say that I ran the entire distance, albeit with a rubbish time, but I blame my short frame for that. Damn my parents for passing on their genes to me.
So as a reward we decided to head to Red Door Corner Store Cafe in Northcote. Urbanspoon rated it super highly and I wanted to try somewhere new in the northern suburbs so the decision was made.
15km makes you super hungry, so the settled on the grilled semolina, portobello mushrooms, lemon thyme, wilted spinach, tallegio, poached egg and parmesan curls. It hit the spot perfectly. Just what I needed :-) Oh and the coffee was good.


Red Door Corner Store on Urbanspoon