THE MIDNIGHT OILS

The latest news from the Ballarat Food Network

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MASTERCHEF LOOKING FOR BALLARAT FOODIES

MasterChef Apply Now

Casting is underway for the next series of MasterChef Australia and we're helping to spread the word around Ballarat that applications are open!

Sometimes all it takes for someone to take the leap to apply is a word of encouragement from a friend or a colleague. The casting team of MasterChef Australia would absolutely love to have more contestants from the Ballarat region. They are aware the region is a fast developing foodie hub.

Could you or someone you know be Australia’s next MasterChef?

2017 APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

Take a step towards your food dream!

Apply now and begin a life-changing journey

Applications Close: Friday 5th August 2016

MasterChef is a once in a life time experience, a window of opportunity not to be missed. You'll not only meet amazing people but also learn so much in such an incredibly short time if you love food and are passionate about food, apply now! You won't regret it. Reynold Poernomo (Season 7), KOI Dessert Bar

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2016 THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN BAKE OFF

ballaratfood bake off

Are you a canny cake maker? Do you have a penchant for pastry? This is a call out to home bakers in the Ballarat region. The Great Australian Bake Off, a show on LifeStyle FOOD hosted by Maggie Beer and Matt Moran. The casting team are currently casting for the second series and are on the lookout for Australia's best home bakers.

Maggie and Matt Bake Off

The Great Australian Bake Off screens on Foxtel’s LifeStyle FOOD and profiles 12 home baking enthusiasts who are put through a series of mouthwatering challenges. From biscuits to bread, pies to pavlovas are you ready to step into The Bake Off Shed, throw on your apron and have your bakes judged by the Baroness of the Barossa, Maggie Beer and culinary genius Matt Moran?

TGABO Logo

The Great Australian Bake Off is seeking amateur bakers of all ages, both male and female, and from all walks of life to apply. If you’re a star baker in the making, apply here for the 2016 The Great Australian Bake Off. Applications close February 24.

We’d also love to showcase your baking output on the ballaratfood.com instagram gallery. Upload your images on instagram using #ballaratfood

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KNIFE FORK SPOON

ballaratfood kfs buttermilk pancakesButtermilk pancakes, roasted Granny Smith apple, gingered maple, ANZAC crumble and marscarpone. 

The colourful foodie creations of Knife Fork Spoon first came to my attention last year on instagram, then again in November as a part of the Good Food Ballarat Month with a sweet evening event, Dessert after dark. It soon became my mission to find out more about the newly rebranded cafe Knife From Spoon, many may previously recall as the Harvest Foodstore and Cafe, located at 16 Lydiard Street Ballarat.

ballaratfood kylee laird churchKylee Laird-Church chef and owner of Knife Fork Spoon.

Kylee Laird-Church the chef owner of Knife Fork Spoon has an extensive culinary background. She commenced her chef training as a seventeen year old at the Mayfair Crest Hotel in Brisbane, she was one of two females in a brigade of one hundred. After developing her skills in Queensland Kylee relocated to Melbourne in 2000. She was completely ‘shell shocked’ at the amount and variety of fresh produce available in Victoria compared to Queensland, where most fresh produce (if you could call it that) came via Melbourne and two weeks of every year inaccessible roads ceased the supply of any fresh produce at all.

After six years in Melbourne Kylee headed north again to start her own cafe and catering businesses Betty Blue and a second business Lemon Tart. After a hectic decade of running two highly successful enterprises and raising small children Kylee and her husband have relocated their family to Ballarat and Knife Fork and Spoon came to life. Kylee and her family are loving their move to Ballarat. Stating, “I like the fact my kids get to see where our food comes from.” 

ballaratfood knifeforkspoonKnife Fork Spoon Kitchen & Espresso, 16 Lydiard Street Ballarat.

Six months on knife Fork Spoon is a hub of foodie activity. The tables are busy, so much so Kylee is planning to expand the layout to keep up with demand. The cafe attracts a mixed assortment of customers from locals to tourists who have already made it a destination on their itinerary due to the word of mouth spreading the message that this place offers unique and tasty dishes.

Kylee is always coming up with new combinations of flavours and ingredients to serve to her growing fan base. The menu at Knife Fork Spoon changes every month to cater for the local seasonal produce and as an outlet for Kylee’s creative output. Kyle is constantly thinking up new food combinations, she documents her ideas on Post-it notes then experiments to refine them for the public. I asked Kylie where she finds inspirations for some of the dishes and she is quick to respond that many creations start as a challenge for her husband. “He likes all sorts of weird combinations.” She is yet to create a dish he didn’t like.

ballaratfood kfs gingerbreadmanKnife fork Spoon gingerbread man.

Knife Fork Spoon caters to sweet and savoury fans. Some of the items on the latest menu include some classic dishes with some quirky twists:
Baby Peas - Spiced avocado, mint, Danish feta, soft poached egg, olive sourdough and caponata oil.
Cheesy Toast - Crispy bacon, smashed banana, fried eggs, sweet chilli agile and sour cream.
Pulled Pork - Apple slaw, coriander fried egg, pineapple and lime salsa, ciabatta and salted peanuts.
Smoked salmon - herb scramble, rye sourdough, lemon cream cheese, flying fish roe and fried capers.

ballaratfood kns ceasersalad
Caeser Eggs - bacon, spinach, soft poached, toast, Caeser aoli and shaved parmesan.

There’s an entire menu board of milkshakes, salted caramel, peanut butter and chocolate, oreo, white chocolate and raspberry, nutella, peppermint chic chip, and it’s changing regularly.

ballaratfood kfs insta
#knifeforkspoonkitchen on instagram or facebook to find out what amazing fare Kylee has on offer.

2016 is set to be a busy year for Kylee and her husband. As they expand the floorspace in Knife Fork Spoon to cater for the growing base of regulars, Kylee will continue to do what she does best coming up with new menu additions on a regular basis. She also has plans underway to offer coffee and cakes via an enchanted caravan fleet. Her husband is currently managing the logistics of fitting out two caravans Belmont and Clementine the first additions to the fleet for early this year. Stay tuned Ballarat.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

ballaratfood happynewyear

We would like to wish everyone a happy new year. It’s been a spectacularly busy year on the Ballarat food scene. We saw the arrival of some fabulous food enterprises. We also celebrated many classic Ballarat food businesses who continue to create beautiful food.

We are lucky enough to be a part of an exciting phase in local food production in the Ballarat region. We have more quality producers, makers, artisans, chefs and foodies in store for 2016. Stay tuned.

A big thank you to all the supporters of Ballarat food, too many to mention in this post. It is thanks to your generosity and hard work that have helped us to create the Ballarat Food network. A sharing community of like minded people, who work hard and create a level of excellence of which we are proud. We will continue to support each other as we celebrate the excellence of food and wine in our region in 2016.If you are member or participant in our Ballarat food network, please fee free to leave a comment on this very last post of 2015.

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FANCY NANCY'S KITCHEN TEA

ballaratfood yoyo

Little Bird sisters and co-owners Jill Bingham and Susan Anderson have created one of Ballarat’s sweetest spots to stop for breakfast, lunch or cake and a cuppa in a bright and cheery setting with a quirky retro vibe. As a part of the Good Food Ballarat festival they have aptly decided to hold a kitchen tea event, called Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea, Saturday November 7th at 3:30pm.

SUZI What are your best sellers?

JILL It’s hard to say what sells best, breakfast is really popular. Lunch is also really busy, especially popular is bahn mai, chilli beef waffle and chicken pie.
The cakes and biscuits are very popular and people really appreciate that all the food is made here, especially the biscuits and cakes. We have a lot of people from Melbourne to see the Archibald and they are very surprised and impressed with our cakes and biscuits.

SUZI Tell us about your Good Food Ballarat event Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea.

JILL We wanted to create something similar to what you ate at your Aunty’s kitchen tea many decades ago, macaroons, cakes, laminations, vol-au-vents, beautiful biscuits. Somethings look pretty, some daggy but it’s all about getting the conversation going and taking a trip down memory lane.

ballaratfood lemonmeringuepie

SUZI Where have you drawn you inspiration for Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea?

JILL We have sought inspiration from old cook books from Susan’s collection, some recipes that have been handed down in our family. Some we have tried to forget!

SUZI Who is Fancy Nancy?

JILL Nancy is an expectant bride who can’t wait to marry Nev. We hope that Nev can live up to Nance’s expectations and prove Nance’s Father wrong. She would have worn her best frock for church on Sunday or a dance at St Pat’s Hall.

SUZI What are the future plans for Little Bird?

JILL We are just trying to get through this weekend! We really just want to be somewhere people love to come to for great tasting food, that’s not too serious.

Fancy Nancy’s Kitchen Tea, at Little Bird Cafe, 205 Sturt Street Ballarat. Saturday November 7th at 3:30pm. Tickets are selling fast, $55 per person, phone 5331 1255.

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GOOD FOOD BALLARAT - BRING YOUR APPETITE

GFB Hawkers Market

Of all the event at last year’s Courier Good Food Month, the Friday afternoon Hawker’s Market reigned supreme. From the moment I squeezed into the Mining Exchange I couldn’t really wipe the smile off my face.

Surrounded by thousands of hungry locals all salivating and queuing for a taste of our finest signature street food. Hawkers markets began in the 1950’s in Asia, Malaysian and Singaporean icons were made affordable and sold on the street, back then they were pretty dodgey and you would find all sorts of things to share your pork buns with; animals, pests and bad hygiene.

Not so these days. Hawkers are eclectic markets and pretty glam with lots of good things going on. Choice is right up there and so is price, everything at a hawkers market should be affordable. That way you can eat your way around the room. This weekend beginning at 5pm Friday, bring your appetite and loads of change, you might even want to bring a bib!

The team at the Courier, our local Fairfax publication, and the very swank Kate Burrows from Pink Flamingo events have used their experience from last year’s event and ironed out the issues. There was really only one and that was the fact that everyone in Ballarat wanted to be there and we couldn’t all fit. So this year the event will run over two delicious sessions. Pace yourselves peeps and maybe don’t expect to get in straight away, organise to meet friends at the surrounding bars, pubs and cafes and don’t be miffed if you have to knock back a couple of local icy brewskies before you get your Catfish curry and a lick of coconut ice cream.

Ditto with Saturday, loads of time to indulge starting at 10am and finishing at 3pm, so make a date with your friends and get your slow food groove on. There will be plenty of time to try this amazing snap shot of foodie Balhalla .

More good news is that this event is free! Yummy offerings begin at just $5.00 and include entertainment for the whole family. My only other advice is this. Don’t eat all day, and then once you arrive at the Hawker’s Market, eat everything.

Ballarat Steak House southern style bbq ribs washed down with Andrew Lavery’s champion local beer, chef Donatello from Billy’s Bistro with be singing Amore as he shares Italian treasures from his hometown. If churros is your thing Zaragosa have that covered and Im really hoping Mitchell Harris will be there with their fruity sexy sangria.

Chris Watt head chef at Seymour’s and Freight (and one of our favourites because like all Ballarat’s best chefs, he shops at the Jiggety-Jig) will make Mexican mayhem and we can’t forget the usual street food suspects. The Forgie boys pizza flipping antics and the smooth as fine peanut butter, bagel boys from Around the Way Bagel.

I’ll be there too, working alongside the talented Danielle Jones of Catfish Thai and together we will try and bring you a curry in a hurry. If we create too much fire on your palette you’ll have to scoot over to Sara Kittelty and stick your tongue in one of her fluffy frosted sugarland treats from her CWA style cake cornucopia. Sovereign Hill, think pies and pastries, Japanese favourite Asahi and Fu Man Lou complete with Dumpling Rickshaw and a little Chinese tea that will hopefully help to cure our indigestion after such an incredible indulgence.

There can be no better way to kick off a month of foodie mayhem. Ballaratfood.com look forward to keeping you up to date with our favourite events. So throw your skinny jeans to the back of the wardrobe it’s officially time to “Get fat in the rat!” 

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JIGGETY JIG AND AWAY WE GO

JIGGETY JIG AND AWAY WE GO
Jiggety Jig and away we go, change in pockets, green bags over shoulders and lists in hand. Yes lists, as there is serious shopping to be done. My list will probably read something like this.
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FABULOUS FEASTS FUNDRAISER

FABULOUS FEASTS FUNDRAISER

At the Mechanics Institute this Friday night from 5pm-7pm, perfect for an little TGIF Action. Join Liz from FABULOUS FEASTS, our local spit roast champion for a sensational night of local produce with A CHRISTMAS IN JULY twist.

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IN THE KITCHEN WITH MADELEINE FROM THE LITTLE CUPCAKE

IN THE KITCHEN WITH MADELEINE FROM THE LITTLE CUPCAKE

I’ve been sitting in a sugar coma for the last hour, kind of catatonic, I have to write this week’s, In the Kitchen and after devouring twelve of the most exquisite little cupcakes I have ever seen (no, I did not eat them on my own) I just don’t know how to do these pop art cake favours justice. You are all going to have to go to The Little Cupcake at 223 Eureka St and try your own beautiful box set of delectable delights.

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LITTLE BIRD

LITTLE BIRD

After a period of mourning of the loss of a favourite Ballarat cafe -Bibo. We can now happily report the amazing location formerly known as Bibo has had a rebirth - Little Bird.

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FREE BURGERS THIS FRIDAY IN BALLARAT

FREE BURGERS THIS FRIDAY IN BALLARAT
Ballarat in the 80's was an era that heralded the arrival of some iconic American fast-food chains, Mc Donalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, now known as KFC and Pizza Hut. These outlets popped up in our region with arduous support from the local community. We all knew about these brands well before they appeared on our streets, prior to the first Mc Donalds restaurant opening on Bakery Hill, you could not buy a cheese burger in Ballarat, you had to settle for a hamburger instead, Aussie style with lettuce, tomato, egg and sometimes, beetroot.
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FRENCH BISTRO AT PROSPECTS

FRENCH BISTRO AT PROSPECTS

This Wednesday 23rd July, Prospects Restaurant at Federation University will be serving a menu based on the awesome theme of French Bistro. 

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Finally I’ve had a chance to sit down and contemplate the week that's been. Life is so busy. It's true I have a lot going on. Writing for the Ballarat Courier, scheming exciting events on the Ballarat Food front, orchestrating connections and assisting to get great local jobs for our top chefs. Yes there is more.

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CALLING ALL GREAT HOME COOKS

CALLING ALL GREAT HOME COOKS

Calling all great home cooks – My Kitchen Rules wants you!
 
Applications are now open for the next generation of passionate home cooks to show off their stuff on Channel Seven’s hit show, My Kitchen Rules.

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PRODUCER PROFILE: SEBASTIAN JURCAN - COUNTRY STYLE SMALLGOODS

PRODUCER PROFILE: SEBASTIAN JURCAN - COUNTRY STYLE SMALLGOODS

PRODUCER PROFILE

TYPE OF GOODS PRODUCED Quality meats and smallgoods

NAME Sebastian Jurcan

ADDRESS 42 Schwarz Road, Bald Hills

TELEPHONE 0421505650

EMAIL  

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CHEF PROFILE: CAFE MEIGAS' JOSÉ FERNANDEZ

CHEF PROFILE: CAFE MEIGAS' JOSÉ FERNANDEZ

CHEF PROFILE 

NAME Jose’ Fernandez

CURRENTLY COOKING AT Meigas Spanish Restaurant, 33 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat, Victoria 3350 Open Tue-Wed 5pm-9pm, Thu-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-3pm

TELEPHONE (03) 5331 9444

EMAIL

WEB www.facebook.com/cafemeigas

INSTAGRAM CAFEMEIGAS

TWITTER https://twitter.com/cafemeigas

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REVIEW: LE PETIT PATISSIER

REVIEW: LE PETIT PATISSIER

I have been living a mere few blocks away from the most delicious and authentically French pastries being made right here in Ballarat for just over a year now. Why did I not know about Le Petit Patissier aka Alain, before now? Although my waistline may be thanking me I feel as if I have stumbled upon an amazing fine pastry world that is bustling with bon jours, baguettes and bon vivant. Located on Sturt Street just near the old Ballarat Fire Station, this little cafe has become my go to for the most magnificent bread baked in Ballarat. Thanks to a tip off from Yamelly and Jose at Meigas (they use Alain's baguettes for their Spanish Rolls) I wasted no time in securing myself some fresh crusty loaves to have toasted over the Christmas New Year break. Little did I know that I would be entranced by the most amazing selection of French tarts, pastries and cakes on display, and yes I have been trying an assortment of these purely for research purposes on a regular basis. In case you were wondering everything is made daily on the premises by Alain.

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Jack
I haven't been to the Le Petit Patissier, but I did go to his "Alain's French Patisserie" on Malvern Road every morning for a croi... Read More
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 18:40
Jodie Kaine
Hi Jack, I can understand why Alain's French Patisserie on Malvern Road was such a regular stop for you, definitely check out his ... Read More
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 20:35
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