The latest news from the Ballarat Food Network

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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?


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 instagram gallery. Upload your images on instagram using #ballaratfood

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Ballaratfood Meigas MeatballsMeigas tapas; Spanish meatballs in almond sauce

In the short time Jose’ Fernandez has been serving his authentic Spanish fare in Ballarat, since September 2013, he has amassed a large following and we have been patiently waiting since late 2015 for the new Meigas establishment to open. We are thrilled that the wait is over and we are now able to enjoy tapas and a wide variety of Spanish beer and wine in a very stylish and relaxing setting located at 33 Armstrong Street north, Ballarat.

Ballaratfood Meigas dinersMeigas Spanish restaurant located in Armstrong Street north Ballarat

In what must have been an enormous undertaking, Jose’ and his team have completely refitted the location to create a truly Spanish Tapas Bar setting, replete with original wooden ceilings, exposed walls and cured meats hanging above the bar. One can dine at the tables or alternatively sit at the bar or at the bench in the window to enjoy a drink with tapas or coffee and churros.

Ballaratfood Meigas teamMeigas staff Darcy and Kloe-Jayne

Meigas Spanish restaurant is one of the highest rated Ballarat eateries on Zomato, currently rating 4.3 out of 5 with over 245 reviews. This is quite a feat. It speaks of a consistent quality offering, the likes of which you will not find anywhere else in Ballarat. In fact many diners make the trip regularly from Melbourne to dine at Meigas, its just so good.

Ballaratfood Meigas PotatoesSpanish potato tapas

Fans of the original Meigas menu will not be disappointed as all the traditional favourites are still on offer, the giant, crunchy and fresh brocadillos for lunch with your choice of filling from jamon, pork, chorizo, calamari…the list goes on. The tapas favourites include almond meatballs, mushrooms in sherry, tasty prawns, croquettes, paprika potatoes and the best quality cured meats, olives and aged cheeses you will find in our region. There’s plenty of meal sized options on the menu but Jose’s paella is a must for anyone planning a trip for dinner, but you must order your paella when you make your booking. You will understand why when you are served, it’s just so special.

Jose’ has a specials menu where he offers seasonal dishes and a variety of seafood dishes. He also supports the quality fine food producers of Ballarat including bread from Le Petit Patissier and a great variety of Country Style Smallgoods range. There’s also options for gluten free and vegan diets.

meigas gummysharkGummy shark tapas

The drinks menu is brilliant. It has evolved to an offering of delightful Spanish beers and wines. If you after something refreshing you can order Sangria by the glass, which I did. It was divine. The waiting staff are fantastic, knowledgable and efficient. A highlight always when we are served by Jose’, welcoming us with a big smile and some tasty morsels to try. This time it was three year aged jamon. The sweetest tasting jamon we ever tried. Of course we ordered a second plate.

ballaratfood jamonThree year aged jamon

After dining at Meigas many times I think about what exactly it is, that makes the Meigas dining experience so good. After all many of the key ingredients are staples, bread, meat, potatoes. I think it is the traditional time honoured techniques Jose’ uses to prepare the freshest and best quality food he can source. You can taste it. It’s a respectful approach to food with such full bodied flavour and delightful texture. And then there’s Pimenton. 

Ballaratfood PimentonA Spanish staple ingredient - pimenton

Quality paprika, or as the Spanish call it Pimenton, one of the essential ingredients in Spanish cooking. I bought a large tin from Jose’ (the supermarket offerings do not compare) I use it in most savoury dishes I prepare in my own kitchen. Thank you Jose’ for bringing your magical culinary powers to our fair city.

Meigas are open Tues-Wed 5pm-9pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-9pm & Sun 11am-3pm. It is highly recommended you call to make a booking to avoid disapointment, 5331 9444.
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mel preserverspotMel Davey from The Preserver's Pot

WHAT’S YOUR THING? Traditional Handcrafted Preserves

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Mel Davey started making preserves about 20 years ago after spending time watching and helping her Auntie from Warrenheip make jam from homegrown plums and foraged blackberries.

Mel has a background in hospitality and has been making preserves to share with family and friends for a long time. John Davey, Mel's husband now joins Mel in their home based business. Together they have turned a hobby into a great business success.

No preservatives or additives are used, only traditional methods of preserving. Mel has been inspired by past generations. The Preservers Pot recipes are from family, friends and some new creations inspired by the seasonal produce.

Mel and John are great supporters of the locavore and slow food movement and they truly live the ethos that anything made with produce from your own backyard always tastes the best.

ballaratfood caulipicklesThe Preserver's Pot Cauliflower Mustard Pickles


We held a workshop titled "Jam Making for Beginners" at The Diggers Club Garden of St. Erth in Blackwood. It was a great experience and was well attended by like-minded people wanting to share their love of preserving and learning new skills. We took our equipment and made Raspberry Jam and sent home a recipe and little sample jar with each person.

In 2014 we had a fantastic result with our entries in the Ballarat show. The Preservers Pot took out many awards with their locally made produce.

This year Mel and John are focusing on establishing their edible garden to supply home-grown produce for the Preservers Pot preserves.

ballaratfood saucesTomato and Worcestershire Sauces from The Preserver's Pot


The Preserver’s Pot create so many classic and interesting variations of jams, preserves, jellies, chutneys and pickles it’s hard to choose. It’s such a seasonal thing, there’s something for everybody’s pallette, sweet and savoury.

preserverspot assortmentDamson Fruit Cheese

JAMS apple & raspberry, apple & blackberry, apricot, spiced pear & blueberry, strawberry rhubarb & vanilla, banana, Mirabelle plum & pineapple and cherry vanilla
PRESERVES feijoa and fig
MARMALADES breakfast, Seville orange, cumquat and Ruby grapefruit
JELLIES quince, crab apple
FRUIT CHEESES & PASTES Damson fruit cheese, quince paste
CHUTNEY tomato, fruit and beetroot
PICKLES cauliflower mustard, sweet mustard and zucchini
RELISH red capsicum
SAUCE tomato and Worcestershire plum

preserverspot JohnandMelThe Preserver's Pot - John & Mel Davey


The Preservers Pot has a large local following with many cafes and restaurants in the region stocking and serving The Preserver’s Pot produce.

The Preservers Pot is also a favourite produce offering at The Jiggety-Jig farmers market where Mel and John are always bringing new seasonal creations along to sell along with their classic favourites.

You can also enquire via the website www.the

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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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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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