Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Recipe Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

 

 

These delicious, ‘melt-in-your-mouth’, tender Beef Cheeks are perfect for Winter.

Best served with creamy mash potatoes!

 

 

 

1/4 cup plain flour
1.2kg beef cheeks
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, cut into wedges
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 carrots, chopped
250ml Shiraz wine
500ml beef stock
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
40g butter
6 shiitake mushrooms, halved
6 swiss brown mushrooms, halved
12 button mushrooms

Directions
1. Season flour well with salt and pepper and place in a snap-lock bag. Add half the beef cheeks, seal and shake to coat. Remove from the bag, shaking off the excess flour then repeat with remaining beef. Place beef cheeks into slow cooker and turn on low.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, and brown beef in batches, for 3 minutes each side or until brown.
3. Add onion, garlic and carrots to pan. Cook, stirring until golden. Place mixture on top of beef in slow cooker.
4. Add wine, stock, sugar, paste and herbs to frying pan. Bring to the boil then pour over beef mixture.
5. Add butter to pan, then mushrooms and cook, stirring until browned. Add to beef.
6. Cover with lid and cook for 8 hours.
7. Serve with creamy mash potatoes or polenta and steamed greens.

 

Catering For a Crowd

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Having a party, function or friends over? Cooking for a crowd can be very stressful and can even take the fun out of entertaining. It is important to have nice foods that fit the occasion but your personal enjoyment is also important. To ensure you don’t spend the entire duration of the event in the kitchen, here are some tips and ideas on catering for a crowd.

It goes without saying, if you are cooking for a crowd of people your menu should be as simple as possible. Choosing a simple menu with simple recipes goes a long way in reducing your stress levels and allowing things to run smoothly.

Finger Food

Finger foods are ideal for the start of an event. They allow guests to mingle and get settled whilst having something to snack on. They also take the edge off of guests hunger, so that they are not waiting for the main course to be served. They can be used as food for an entire evening if there is no main course planned. Finger foods come in many forms and it is important to choose the right type of food for the occasion. Ideas such as chicken kebabs, sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, chips (either cooked or crisps) and veggies such as carrot or celery sticks with dips, are all wonderful finger food.

Antipasto Platters

Another great idea for catering for a crowd would be to serve an antipasto platter as an appetiser. These platters are great because they are a light hearted casual meal for your guests to nibble on while mingling and settling in to the event. The mixture of meats, cheeses and vegetables are a light food with subtle yet delicious taste as to not interrupt the flavour of the main course.

Main courses

When it comes to the main course, as the host, it is easy to become caught up in the production of the meal and results in you missing out on your own party. To avoid this but still serve excellent food, follow these simple rules:

  • Choose recipes with minimal preparation time
  • Include dishes that can be made in advance and frozen
  • Focus on favourites such as chicken, pasta, potatoes and green beans
  • Choose foods that can be reheated and/or held at temperature while still retaining taste, texture and visual appeal.

Meals such as curries are great for entertaining a number of people, as they can be cooked in advance and frozen, or even slow cooked to avoid a frantic rush when your guests start arriving. Curries are versatile and come in many different flavours to suit all pallets. Served with rice (which is also easy to make large quantities of) and a choice of salads and condiments which compliment the meal.

Another Idea would be to serve a baked meal. Foods such as pies and bakes are delicious and can be prepared before the event begins. It is also easy to make large quantities of the meal as they can all be cooked at the same time in separate dishes.  While you are welcoming your guests and enjoying the start of the party, simply put the dish in the oven and let it cook by itself.

The best advice for catering for a crowd is to enjoy it, by serving simple, yet elegant meals. It is also always acceptable to ask your friends to bring a simple salad or desert with them to take some of the stress off of your shoulders!

 

Winter Food Ideas

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Winter is approaching and whether you are someone who enjoys warmer weather or embraces the cooler months, we have come up with some Winter food ideas to help you enjoy or cope with the season!

Soups

Soups are a great way to warm your core, and they also make a healthy filling meal. Often in Winter it is tempting to dig into comfort foods, which just creates more work for us when Summer comes around again. Soup is meal which can work as both a warm and tasty comfort food and a healthy meal. Check out our blog on Tips for cooking soup for more ideas.

Stews and Slow-Cooked Meals

Stews, curry’s and slow-cooked meals are the perfect dinner time options for the cooler nights. When it comes so slow-cooking meals it doesn’t get much easier, just choose the type of meal you feel like put it all in the slow-cooker and let it do the hard work. These types of meals are wonderful because they are full of flavour and allow for a wide range of variation.

Curry’s

Curry’s are great for entertaining during winter or simply for family meals. They are easy to make larger quantities and mix together well with garnishes, rice and poppadoms to allow a variety of choice when filling your plate. With a wide range of recipes and flavour options, curry’s never become boring or repetitive as a winter meal idea.

Baked Meals

Meals such as cottage pie or carbonara pasta are another easy dinner time option for winter. These are meals which incorporate your protein, starch and vegetables all in the same dish. Making life easier for you! Using the oven is a clean and easy cooking option and it warms up your house!

These are some of our favourite winter food ideas to keep us warm and happy until next summer. Also check out our blog on Fruit and Vegetables for winter!

Easy One Pot Casserole Recipe

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

This is one of our favourite as well as easiest casserole dinners, the ‘One Pot Casserole’ Recipe is delicious and just perfect for the cooler months of Winter.

 

One Pot Casserole Recipe

Ingredients

1kg diced beef *
1 onion, diced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 carrots, diced
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp plain flour
3 cups beef stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
1-2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
4 sprigs fresh thyme, or rosemary as a substitute

*Chuck, gravy, topside or blade beef are the best cuts for casseroles. Just remember to keep your beef cut of choice, consistent in size, for example 3cm cubes

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 180’c. Cut beef into 3cm cubes then season with salt, pepper and 2 tbsp oil. Heat a fry pan over a medium-high heat. Brown the beef in 2 or 3 batches. Remove each batch and place in a casserole dish.

2. Reduce heat in the pan and add a little oil. Lightly fry onion, celery and carrots for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Sprinkle in the flour and stir til vegetables are all coated. Gradually pour in stock, tomato paste, stirring well. Add potatoes and herbs, stir until the mixture boils.

4. Add vegetable mixture to the casserole dish, stirring to combined altogether.  Cover the casserole dish, place in oven and cook til the beef is tender. Stir every 40 minutes and add water if needed (just to keep ingredients covered with liquid)

5. Suggested cooking times for different beef cuts;
Chuck or gravy beef – 2 to 2 1/2 hours
Topside, round or blade – 1 to 1 1/2 hours

 

Rum, Raisin And Chocolate Slice Recipe

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

We just love the combination of rum and raisin especially when paired with chocolate! Try this beautiful “Rum, Raisin and Chocolate Slice” recipe at Christmas or Easter.

Rum, Raisin and Chocolate Slice

Ingredients
1/2 cup (75g) coarsely chopped raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum, warmed
150g milk eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup (60ml) cream
200g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely

Instructions
1. Combine the raisins an rum in a bowl. Cover, and let it stand for 3 hours or over night.
2. Grease a bar cake pan, preferably 8cm x 25cm; line base and two long sides with foil, extending foil over the long sides.
3. Stir half of the milk chocolate and half of the oil in small heatproof bowl over small saucepan of simmering water until smooth; spread mixture over base of pan. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes or until set.
4. Combine cream and dark chocolate in small saucepan, stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in raisin mixture, spread over chocolate base; refrigerate for 20 minutes or until set.
5. Stir remaining milk chocolate and oil in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth; spread over raisin mixture. Refrigerate for about 40 minutes or until set; remove from pan before cutting.

 

Simon’s Guide To Roast Meat

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A roast dinner is the perfect meal during Autumn, Winter or just on a Sunday afternoon. It’s one of the easiest cooking methods, just popping it into the oven and letting it do the work for you. We’ve put together our ‘Simon’s Guide To Roast Meat’ for steps and suggested cuts to help you out.

 

1. Preheating the oven allows for the all important first browning.

2. Place roast meat on a rack in a roasting dish, doing this raises the meat allowing the heat to circulate and brown the meat evenly.

3. Brush lightly with oil, and for extra tenderness, add a cup of water or liquid stock to the bottom of the roasting dish.

4. Add herbs, spices and sauces; such as rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, chilli, salt, pepper, mustard or lemon.

5. Our suggested cuts of meat for roasting; Beef – ribeye, rump, sirloin, rib roast, silverside, blade, eye round, oyster blade. Veal – rack, rump, shoulder, breast. Lamb – backstrap, topside, rump, rack, rib roast, loin, leg, shoulder. Pork – loin chops, rack, rolled loin, rolled belly, leg, shoulder, loin, topside. Depending on which meat you are roasting, speak to our friendly butchers for recommended cooking times.

6. Rest the roast by covering it loosely with foil for 10minutes, allowing the juices to settle and flow back through the meat, giving it a tasty tender taste.

Hot Tip! We also love cooking our vegetables underneath the meat, picking up the delicious juices from meat.

The Best Cut Of Steak For The BBQ

Monday, March 31st, 2014

You may know all the right cooking methods to perfect your steak but there are certain cuts of meat that may taste better than others. For great results, read ‘The Best Cut Of Steak For The BBQ’

T-Bone Steak: This large piece of loin steak has a T-shaped bone and little to no fat making it perfect for the bbq. It’s rich, tender and flavorsome.

Fillet Steak: The eye-fillet and tenderloin is the most tender cut of steak which is great for a bbq.

Scotch Fillet: Rib-fillet once cooked is juicy and tender, making it one of the most popular cuts of meat. It can taste that extra special when marinated before being cooked on the bbq.

Sirloin Steak: A favourite amongst beef lovers, the sirloin also known as a porterhouse steak is a tender cut of meat best suited for high cooking temperatures such as on a bbq, pan-fry and stir-fry.

Beef Ribs: Yes ribs are not a cut of steak but we wanted to include one of our favourite beef bbq options that is most often overlooked. Simmer beef ribs, drain excess water and add a delicious marinade the day before cooking them on the bbq.

Beef Patties: Again not a cut of steak but a perfect piece of beef for adults and certainly the kids at the next bbq. Beef Patties cooked on the bbq then served with salad or on a fresh bread-roll is wonderful for Summer and bbq parties.

Top Tip! Our favourite marinade for bbq scotch fillet – combine 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp red wine, 2 tbsp tomato sauce, 2 garlic cloves (crushed), ground peppercorns and 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional). Marinade at least half an hour before cooking.

Read here for more tips on cooking the perfect steak

What To Keep In Your Pantry

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

 

The best way to make sure you have everything you need to make the perfect family meal, is to keep your pantry perfectly stocked. You’ll never be stumped for dinner meal ideas again with our ‘What To Keep In Your Pantry’ list.

 

 

  • Tin Tomatoes
  • Tin Kidney Beans
  • Tin Cannellini Beans
  • Coconut Cream/Milk
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Sesame Seed Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Tomato Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Liquid Stock/Stock Cubes
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Cornflour
  • Cereal
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey

 

Top Tips! Remember to always rotate your products in the pantry, keeping older products to the front and the longer dates towards the back. Keep an eye on what the use-by and best-before items. Sort products by groups and shelves for ease when writing your shopping list. Items you use a lot of, try to place at eye height. You can bulk up on products over time which means you can stock up when big specials are on to save money.

These are just a few of our basic must-have staples for ‘what to keep in your pantry‘. There is alot more that we always have on hand and you will too, but they are on preference of what you like to regularly cook. For example; tin tuna, couscous, maple syrup, pinenuts, vanilla essence and not to mention an endless supply of dried herbs and spices.

General Cooking Tips and Hints

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Do you ever find yourself, ripping out recipes from magazines, to then not cook any as you’re afraid you ‘don’t have the time’ or ‘surely will muck it up’? There are a few general cooking tips and hints which can get you started to cooking more recipes and build your confidence in the kitchen.

Menu Planning. It’s beginning of the week, you’ve had a big day and you are already tempted to call your local take-away. This can happen to the best of people but with a meal menu plan for the week ahead, it can get most of us on track and organised for the nights ahead.

Don’t aim to high. Great quality produce speaks for itself so during the week, keep it simple. Don’t try a recipe you’ve never cooked before. Save those for a Sunday lunch or dinner when you’re relaxed and will enjoy the process.

Prepare before you begin. It sounds so simple but alot of us simply miss this step and then get ourselves worked up during cooking. Preparing your ingredients by having them on the bench, pre-cutting your vegetables and preheating the oven, are all simple things that even the most qualified chefs do.

Clean as you go. Yes it may feel like a drag, tidying up after every step that you take in a recipe but it’s a far lot better than being midway recipe, looking around at your kitchen thinking, ‘a bomb has just gone off and I don’t know what to do now’. Plus, take it from us, the more you do this simple step, it becomes a habit you won’t even realise you’re doing!

Make Errors. Yes, we said it! Make some mistakes and errors because we doubt anyone has perfected that recipe first go. What we need to do is learn from those mistakes and you’ll become a better cook!

Enjoy it! Do you prefer to cook on your own or with your partner? Does including the kids make you feel more confident in the kitchen? Or perhaps listening to your favourite music will have you enjoy the cooking process more? Think of these things. Cooking is a great and fun process. It can be your let-your-hair-down after the day routine.

 

Top Foods To Boost Your Brain

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Good nutrition and exercise is the key to well being yet as we get older, our bodies and our minds may not be as sharp as they once were. We go over our top foods to boost your brain and development.

Our first top tip is to Drink Water. Feeling dehydrated can lead to lack of effort, concentration as well as increase the feeling of being tired. That shouldn’t be the only reason to drink the recommended eight cups a day though, it also helps with boosting your immune system, improve skin complexion and is a natural headache remedy.

Our brain requires essential fatty acids to be able to function and help the structure of the brain. Omega 3 Fats are found in oily fish and our favourite is salmon. Not only does Salmon enhance your memory and is high in iron, zinc and folic acid, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Other omega 3 fatty foods are walnuts, avocado and tuna.

Eggs are a great source of protein and can help aid good cholesterol, but they also contain choline which can improve memory function. Lean meat is also a great option.

We have all heard the wonders of Antioxidants. They can help with ageing, boost your energy and enhance motor skills. We love Blueberries for this! Eating a handful for afternoon tea, add some to a morning smoothie or to your next muffin batch. Ps. Don’t forget your dark, green leafy vegetables as they are also a great source of antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin b and can also help with the nervous system.

Eggs

 

 

 

Tips For Cooking Soup

Friday, March 21st, 2014

For us, nothing beats eating soup during Winter. Cooking soup during the cooler nights is perfect as it warms the home and yourself at dinner, not to mention there is soups for all tastes, are filling and nutritious. Here are some of our tips for cooking soup.

Using a good quality stock is the foundation of a delicious soup. We love making our own stock however time isn’t always on our side and taking a shortcut is handy. Simon’s sells gourmet quality stocks that are sure to be the perfect liquid for your soup.

Consider cooking times of your ingredients. Peas, corns and beans will cook faster than a carrot or potato. Stagger your cooking times in order for the best finished result for all ingredients.

Keep an eye on cooking times. Once the pot has boiled, lower heat to a simmer. If you let the soup boil to long, it’ll make vegetables soft and mushy, as well as make meat tough and chewy.

Secret tricks, there are some tricks that people have that might that homemade soup just alittle more flavoursome. Our two tips, pop a a Parmesan cheese rind into your soup can be very delightful, or roast a clove of garlic then add to your boiling soup for a deep scrumptious flavour.

Serve it right. Serving in a bowl at the right temperature with a piece of crusty bread and the perfect garnish on top, can make or break soup. Think past parsley and cracker pepper by adding a contrast flavour or textures. Our favourites; smooth sour cream on chunky pumpkin soup, or salty chopped prosciutto on sweet potato soup.

Soups freeze well so double your recipe and store a meal in the freezer for next time. Be sure to let the soup chill in the fridge overnight before freezing.

Simon’s Guide To Casseroles

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

When it comes to Autumn and Winter, we cannot go past a slow-cooked casserole and how could we with the wonderful smells that fill the house during the day, the ease of cooking and delicious flavour on the table that very night. Read on for our guide to casseroles.

 

Casserole, French for “saucepan”, refers both to the meal as well as the dish it is cooked in. A casserole dish is deep, ovenproof with a tight fitting lid. The heat surrounds the dish making the food cook evenly throughout, not just from the bottom up.

It’s a classic meal that is perfect for all as it’s time and budget friendly. Casseroles require next to no effort for preparation, use cheaper cuts of meat that when slow cooked turns into the most tender, hearty and flavoursome meal.

Our top tips for casseroles are;

1. Cut to size – cut all your ingredients such as meat and vegetables into similar sizes to ensure they cook evenly.

2. Know your cuts – Lamb; shank, neck chop, chump. Beef; flank steak, chuck, rump roast, topside. Pork; belly, diced pork shoulder, forequarter chops. Chicken; diced, wings, drumsticks. Veal; Osso Bucco.

3. Coating – coat the meat in flour just before cooking. Don’t coat too early as the meat will absorb the flour and ruin the texture. Coating the meat in flour will thicken the casserole sauce later.

4. Batch work – brown meat in batches separately before adding vegetables, herbs or liquids. If you add too much in at once, it will cook in it’s own juices and become tough.

5. Fill it up –  be sure to add plenty of extras other than meat such as onion, carrot, potato, celery, sweet potato, bacon even prosciutto. Add quickly cooked produce such as beans or peas towards the end of cooking to avoid mushiness and lack of flavour. Add liquids like stock, wine, and tinned tomatoes.

6. Cover up – put the lid on the casserole and bake in oven according to your recipe. Remember, cook gently for tender meat.

 

What is Quinoa?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

What is Quinoa?

There is a product that is hiding amongst our dry good shelves at Simon’s that is gaining popularity fast! What is this grain you might ask…it is Quinoa but what is Quinoa and why all the fuss?

Quinoa pronounced ‘Keen-Wah’, is native to South America and is a great substitute to rice and some cereals. It looks like a grain but is actually a seed that is gluten free, high in fibre, low G.I, has all the essential amino acids and contains more protein than any other grain. It has a subtle flavour with a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture that is quick and easy to cook.

To cook Quinoa, first rinse thoroughly. Place 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water in a pan, bring to boil without a lid. Once boiling, put on lid, turn down the heat and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

Quinoa is delicious cold in a salad, or served hot as a side to a curry, casserole or with a stirfry. Use it similar to rice by adding it to frittatas,  patties and even stuffing’s. Serve it with lots of roasted vegetables, with grilled chicken, apart of tabouli or as a pilaf. It’s very versatile for flavours as you can add spices to give the tastes of Indian, Moroccan, Mexican and Mediterranean.

Tips For Cooking Steak

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

We have alot of customers asking our butchers ‘How To Cook The Perfect Steak’ however everyone has their preferred way of eating it. Catering for all methods whether it be rare, medium or well-done, read on for our tips for cooking ‘melt in the mouth’ steak.

 

1. Our most important tip is to start with a good quality cut of meat. A poorly cooked cut of quality steak will still taste better than a low quality cut of meat cooked well trust us. Talk to our butchers for advice on our favourite cuts of beef for either the BBQ or panfry.

2. Take the steak out of the fridge to rest for at least 5-10 minutes before cooking. This allows the muscles to relax, cook evenly and avoids the beef tightening and getting tough.

3. Lightly season your steak. We also like to lightly brush the steak with oil to prevent your steak from sticking and burning.

4. Heat the BBQ or pan first so that it’s hot, but not smoking. Adding your steak to a hot plate will seal and lock in the juices. When you place your steak on the pan, you should hear a sizzle.

5. Turn the steak only once. Turning it anymore will dry out the steak, making it tough.

6. Steak Cooking Times; depending on the size of your steak. Rare, cook 1-2minutes per side. Medium, 3minutes per side. Well-done, 4-4.5minutes per side. A good indication as to whether your steak is ready is by using the tongs to press the centre of the steak. It will feel soft if it’s rare, slightly firmer if medium and very firm if well done. Simon’s Tip! Try not to cut open the steak to check whether it’s cooked through as this allows yummy juices to escape. If you are still concerned, purchase a meat thermometer.

7. Once your steak is cooked, take it off the hot plate & loosely cover with foil to let it rest for at least 2-5 minutes. Resting is almost as important as cooking as it lets the juices settle making the steak more tender.

 

Simon’s Guide To Cheese

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Here are some of our top tips to guide you through types of cheese, storage and uses for them. Read on for our Guide To Cheese.

 

Soft Cheese tend to be the most popular, making centre stage of cheeseboards with their creamy and rich flavour. They are perfectly paired with fruits as well as gourmet sandwiches. We love camembert with roast turkey and chicken. Not too mention brie tastes divine with leg ham.  Types include; Brie, Camembert, Triple Cream. Storage tips; Keep cheese in it’s original wrapper or in a wax-proof / grease-proof paper allowing it too breathe and not sweat.

Blue Cheese are well known by there blue/green streaky appearance and strong odor. It’s a unique flavoured cheese that some tend to avoid but we love it’s full flavoured taste. For people afraid of blue cheese, try pairing it with a fruit paste as this softens the bold flavour or try a blue cheese dressing or sauce which is absolutely scrumptious with chicken wings!  Types include; Danish Style Blue, Blue Brie, Triple Cream Blue, Ashed Blue, Gorgonzola Blue. Storage tips; like soft cheese, wrap in breathable wax-proof paper.

Cheddar Cheese is our go-to, most versatile type of cheese, with many a large range of flavours from mild to sharp. Delicious for all types of sandwiches especially with chutneys, on a burger, grilled on toast, pasta bake, quiches or grated in soup. Types include; Mild, Colby, Tasty (Semi and Matured), Vintage and Club. Storage tips; loosely wrap in plastic.

Eye Cheese have a mild smooth and subtle sweet or nutty taste with a hole or eye like appearance. Ideal on a cheese platter, fondues, with thick crusty bread, melted or sliced/shaved on a sandwich. Types include; Swiss, Gouda, Edam, Havarti. Storage tips; Cover in plastic wrap leaving the rind uncovered to breathe.

Stretched Curd Cheese have a soft mild flavour with a stringy texture. Delicious paired with antipastos, great melted as it adds texture to meals, or added to salads, pizzas and pastas. Types include; Bocconcini, Haloumi, Mozzarella. Storage tips; Keep bocconcini and halloumi in the fridge in their natural brine. Keep mozzarella in the packaging they are sold in.

Fresh Unripened Cheese have a delicious delicate milky flavour with a soft moist texture. These cheeses tend to be low in fat and are great for a substitute for low-fat meals. Great for sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas, pastries and even desserts. Try marinating them in herbs and spices and adding to your next cheeseboard. Types include; Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Fetta, Goats Cheese, Quark, Mascarpone, Ricotta. Storage tips; keep in fridge in a sealed container.

Hard Cheese have a sharp robust flavoured due to be a matured cheese. They have a grainy crumbly texture. These cheeses are perfect for grating or shaved on soups, salads, vegetables or pastas. Types include; Parmesan, Romano, Pecorino, Pepato. Storage tips; Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Note: They can last up to 12 months in a fridge.

Pecorino sheep's cheese

 

 

Autumn Food Ideas

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Autumn is an exciting season for food, we have the warmth of Summer yet the coolness of Winter is just around the corner. What this means is that we can start dividing our meals up with delicious recipes that compliment both warmer and cooler seasons. Read on for our favourite Autumn Food Ideas.

Plums are beautiful during Christmas but luckily for us, they are one of the later stonefruits meaning they hang around til early Autumn. Take advantage of this before they are gone til next Summer. Why not make a plum jam to brighten your morning breakfast, serve plums pieces with rocket and feta as a side salad for lunch or our favourite; give apple crumble a twist and use plums instead. Yum!

When the months get cooler, we tend to turn on our ovens and warm up our homes. We love baking biscuits and muffins for an early morning or afternoon snack taking advantage of Autumn produce like fruits and nuts.Watch movie online Rings (2017)

Casseroles and stews are perfect for the cooler nights, not to mention, cooking with a slow-cooker is one of the easiest meals to prepare! Simple chicken, tasty beef to delicious lamb shanks, slow cooked meals will satisfy all around the dinner table. Not only are they easy to make, taste great, use a great range of vegetables as well as use cheaper cuts of meat which is nice for the weekly budget.

Autumn is the beginning of soup season which means the ever-favourite pumpkin soup is upon us! Don’t stop there though, we love pumpkin in casseroles, roasted or in a salad.

These are just some of our favourite Autumn food ideas. What’s your favourite Autumn dish?

 

Simple Antipasto Ideas

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Antipasto is one of the quintessential starter dishes that everyone loves. Not only are there typically an assortment of cured meats and cheeses, but also a variety of vegetable dishes to accompany them. Not only is antipasto delicious to eat, it can also be very appealing to the eye and allows your guests an opportunity to sample a variety of dishes while relaxing and mingling with each other.

There are many simple antipasto ideas that you can use when hosting a party or get together. The trick is to know, and serve, the antipasto staples. If you are feeling more adventurous, you can add a twist of your own to mix it up and infuse it with a few different flavours from around the world.

 

Cheese

Cheese is the mainstay of an antipasto and having a variety of dish options can add significantly to the meal. Italian cheeses such as mozzarella and provolone are popular staples, but some more exotic Italian cheeses such as ricotta salata and gorgonzola can also add flavour to the dish. Try experimenting and do not be afraid of inserting some rather sharp or aged cheeses. Your guests will have different tastes and select what they like to eat.

Meat

Cured meats often accompany antipasto meals and small cured salami pieces, prosciutto, ham, and many other meats add variety of flavours to the meal. Be sure to have manageable sized bites so that people can sample a variety of dishes without becoming too full.

Accompaniments

Vegetables will also add depth and flavour to an antipasto meal and additions such as marinated cauliflower, eggplant dips, stuffed hot Italian peppers, nuts, and olives will all accentuate the meal. You could also have small pieces of warm Italian bread cut up with olive oil to dip it in on the side which would add to the taste and flavour of the meal.

Global Infusions

With globalisation the tendency has been to move towards new global foods and to further diversify the global pallet. While antipasto is a essentially an Italian dish, adding in some flavours from around the world can only add to the variety of the dish, which is what antipasto is about.

Try adding flavours from around the world in the general theme of antipasto: cured meats such as jamon serrano and cheeses such as brie work well within the theme of antipasto. Chinese pickles and Thai hot peppers can also add to the meal.

 

Antipasto is easy to prepare and delicious to eat! Be sure to experiment with a variety of flavours to enjoy and share with your guests. We have a large range of food items, perfect for antipasto, so call in to our deli and have a look!

 

 

Easter Entertaining Ideas

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Easter is upon us yet again which gives us another opportunity to host a get together with family and friends over the long weekend. Much like Christmas, the thought of Easter Entertaining can be frightening. Let Simon’s take the pressure off you, read on for our Easter Entertaining Ideas.

Planning ahead is the best way to get on top of your Easter entertaining. A great starting point is to get out a pen and paper then read through this post, making a list of ideas of what you’d like on your Easter menu to include and also what you don’t want to do. For example, why not skip lunch and have a brunch instead. You can begin cooking the day before the event and still have the morning of, for preparation, leaving the afternoon free for relaxation. If lunch is more your thing, why not make it a late laid back BBQ.

Good Friday is the one day of the year where seafood is a must-have, with even many non -religious people, preferring not to eat red meat and settling on seafood instead. Who can blame you? There is nothing better than salt and pepper squid, creamy garlic prawns or crispy skin salmon! Having seafood does require some planning though as a majority of stores are closed Good Friday. Be sure to check out Simon’s range of Seafood, such as Noosa Seafood, Harris Smokehouse Salmon and Segreti’s Seafood Antipasto range.

Easter is well known for it’s sweet treats. Easter eggs, chocolate bilbies and hot cross buns, what more could the kiddies ask for?! Simon’s has an amazing Easter egg display, be sure to check in when you are next in store as the display begins early and is best-in-best-egg!

Easter Sunday is fast becoming the traditional family feast over roast lamb. Why not give this Easter Sunday a twist, try BBQ grilled lamb chops or slow cooked lamb shanks. Which then brings us to Easter sides! Yummy lemon roasted potatoes, garlic rosemary sweet potatoes or dutch carrots marinated in honey, there is a endless amount of ideas for salads or vegetables for side dishes this Easter.

We hope we have taken some pressure off you and helped you begin your Easter Entertaining Ideas.

Click here for our Roast Lamb recipe.

Click here for more information on our Noosa Seafood range.

Guide To Freezing Meat

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Our Butcher’s are frequently asked tips and questions regarding Freezing Meat. Read on to find the answers to our commonly asked questions, in our Guide To Freezing Meat.

When Should I Freeze My Meat? You should try to freeze food as soon possible to ensure the safest food quality as well as best freezing time.

Why Should I Freeze My Meat? Isn’t it better to have fresh? Yes! We love fresh produce at Simon’s however we understand that buying meat it bulk can be cheaper therefore freezing to preserve the meat, can be ideal for families. It allows you to always have a meal on hand, whenever you need it.

How Do I Store My Meat In The Freezer? It’s best to store meat in your meals portion size so that you only defrost, what is needed. Wrap meat using good quality freezer bags and be sure to expel as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Tip: Clearly mark what the meat is and the date it was frozen.

How Long Can I Freeze Meat For?

  • Sausages: 2 Months
  • Mince: 2-3 Months
  • Diced/Strip Meat: 2-3 Months
  • Steak: 3-4 Months
  • Roasts: 4-5 Months
  • Corned Beef: 3-4 Months

Is There Anything I Cannot Freeze? Meats that have stuffing in them, should not be frozen as the raw juices are absorbed into the stuffing, causing bacteria.

How Do I Defrost Meat? Place meat on a plate or container to catch any juices whilst defrosting. Do not defrost meat in water or on the kitchen bench at room temperature, this leads to bacteria growth and possible food poisoning. Meat should be defrosted in the fridge for at least 8 hours. It may require more time depending on the size and cut of meat.

 

Delicious Fruit And Cheese Combinations

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

If you are looking for a wonderful snack, or a tasty treat to offer guests then fruit and cheese is the perfect combination that will satisfy your taste buds and tick all of the right boxes. Fruit and cheese create a surprising and voluptuous combination as you explore it’s deep flavour and texture with every bite.

If you like a bite of variety you’ll love the myriad of options that teaming up fruit and cheese can offer you. Below are some delectable fruit and cheese duos that are sure to satisfy:

Ash Goat Cheese, Dried Apricots and Almonds – Ash goat cheese and almonds is one spectacular combo treat for the family. The cheese has a smooth texture and a mild creamy flavour. In addition to this, it’s distinct taste and appeal is noticeable when it has vine ash on it making it a perfect match for the sweetness of the dried apricots and the rich, wonderful and earthy flavour of roasted nuts.

Fresh Goat, Sheep Cheese and Fresh Peaches  – The delicate fresh goat and sheep cheese is a perfect match for fresh peaches. These types of cheeses have a slight citrus flavour that contrast to the luscious taste of peaches. Hence, you will get a balance of two diverse yet delightful tastes.

Blue Cheese, Apples and Dried Fruits – Savour the sweetness brought about by blue cheese. This cheese is a perfect complement for the mild sweetness of apple. Dried fruits also go well with blue cheese.

Cheddar and Pear  – Cheddar is pretty much popular for pairing with fruits and other assortments. One of these delights that work well with cheddar cheese is with pears. It has a juicy sweet flesh that harmoniously counteracts the sharp taste of cheddar.

Smoked Cheese and Walnuts – Smoked cheese comes in a variety of brands and flavours. Stretch the smile of your loved ones with the combination of the delicate and fresh milky taste of smoked cheese matched with walnuts. These nuts are just simply perfect with smoked cheese because of their salty taste.

Hard Cheese and Spiced Nuts – Hard cheese is one popular kind of dairy product. It’s nutty and buttery flavour is brought out by your senses when matched with spiced nuts and vegetables making it a combination that is difficult to deny.

Finding The Right Combination

As with everything, finding the perfect pairing for your favourite cheese comes down to your own preference, but the cheese and fruit combo offers truly amazing and wonderful exploration of flavours.

If you are still unsure about what to team your favourite cheese with, our helpful deli staff would be more than happy to offer a few suggestions.

 

 

 

Breakfast: A Great Way To Start Your Day

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Breakfast: A Great Way To Start Your Day.

It’s said that breakfast is the cornerstone of your day. A solid breakfast leaves you with a full stomach and can help you stay alert, whereas skipping the day’s most important meal can leave you hungry and distracted long before your lunch hour arrives.

In some cases skipping breakfast can give you a headache, and lead to all kinds of unpleasant sensations in your muscles. This is even more true if your job is fairly labour intensive. Before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, it’s important to make sure your body’s tank has been topped up. Read on to see why Breakfast is a great way to start your day.Roblox HackBigo Live Beans HackYUGIOH DUEL LINKS HACKPokemon Duel HackRoblox HackPixel Gun 3d HackGrowtopia HackClash Royale Hackmy cafe recipes stories hackMobile Legends HackMobile Strike Hack

Don’t Skip It

Breakfast has fallen by the wayside for a lot of people, particularly for those who are trying to lose weight.The logic seems to be that if they don’t eat breakfast then they’re cutting down of the day’s total calorie intake. It sounds great, until you really think about the consequences. If you start your day off starving yourself, then it’s only going to get worse. You’re going to be sluggish, and you won’t have any energy when it comes time to get the job done. You’ll be easily distracted, and what’s worse when lunch does come around you’re going to want to eat far more than you should. This urge can be very hard to overcome, since your body is convinced that it is important that you don’t make a habit of this.

It’s a good idea to eat small meals throughout the day to keep your energy up as well as to make sure you don’t overeat. That pattern starts with a sensible breakfast, setting your day’s tone.

Breakfast Options 

Breakfast can be served either hot or cold, depending on your preference. A cold breakfast such as cereal and fresh fruit is nourishing and reasonably time-friendly. You can also opt for fresh squeezed juices or smoothies if you need something on-the-go. On the other hand, a hot breakfast can really set the tone of your day in addition to warming you up from the inside out. Fresh toast, oatmeal, bacon, eggs, sausage, and a dozen other options are all available for those who want to make a bit more of a production out of their breakfast.

If you don’t have time to make yourself breakfast or want something special, why not drop into our Cafe? We open early and have a diverse breakfast menu, including many takeaway options.

Looking for that perfect breakfast muesli? Don’t forget to look at our dry goods Deli. We have a large range of gluten free, organic as well as award winning muesli, that are sure to please everybody.

Breakfast; Our "Herb Rosti Stack" is a great vegetarian option to start your day

Breakfast; Our “Herb Rosti Stack” is a great vegetarian option to start your day

Have you eaten at our Cafe? Why not review it here!

Homemade Gourmet Meals Brisbane

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Do you struggle to find the time to plan, shop then cook those healthy meals you know you should be having? Stress no further as Simon’s has one of the largest Homemade Gourmet Meals range in Brisbane.

Why our Homemade Gourmet Meals are great;

  • Our meat is top quality, supplied from local premium and free-range suppliers.
  • We source our fresh produce from the Rocklea Markets on a daily basis using only Australian fruit and vegetable farmers.
  • Our professional chefs aim to cook meals that offer only the best, most tasty, healthy options to make meal time easier for you.
  • We offer a large range of gluten free and vegetarian meals as well as an impressive range of delicious desserts.

Treat the family and yourself to tasty entree and starter meals such as Salmon Patties, Pumpkin Soup, Greek Salad and more. Choose from a wonderful range of sides like our best selling Potato Bake, Macaroni Cheese, Fried Rice to something as simple as Steamed Rice and Mash Potato. Pair that with one of our exciting main course meals; curries ranging from Butter Chicken, Thai Chicken Curry or Lamb Korma. Italian options such as Alfredo Pasta, Lasagne and Chicken Mushroom Risotto. Also don’t forget our award-winning range of gourmet Family Pies, with flavours like Rosemary Lamb, Beef Burgundy and Chicken Vegetable, we have made sure to have enough meal options that you don’t get fed up with the same take-home meals, night to night. We also bake delicious treats and desserts such as Cheesecake, Apple Pie, Sticky Date Pudding, Carmel Slice…the list goes on!

Our Homemade Gourmet Meals are a great idea for new parents, birthdays, Mother’s day, unwell friends, family or work colleagues. Come in and pick out the meals yourself or purchase a gift voucher and let them choose dinner themselves, it’s so easy with Simon’s!

So why not stop by to pick up a hearty, healthy, delicious homemade gourmet meal for dinner tonight and see what all the fuss is all about!

Italian Meatballs Homemade Meal

 

*Meal options are cooked on rotation and/or a seasonal basis. Talk to our friendly team to see what is available now.

 

What is Acai Berry

Friday, January 31st, 2014

What is Acai & why do people love it?

Acai (pronounced as-sigh-eee) is a deep purple berry originating from the Amazon forest of Brzail. It has an incredibly fresh, naturally sweet delicious taste. Almost like a blend of berries and dark chocolate. It has the essential fatty acids like Omega-6 and Omega-9. Is Rich in antioxidants and vitamins.

How to eat Acai?

Did you skip breakfast this morning or need an afternoon pick-me-up? Want something that’s refreshing and re-fueling after a big workout at the gym? Well an Acai Smoothies might just be the thing for you! Our favourite Acai Smoothie Recipe;

  • 100g frozen Acai Berry
  • 1 tbsp Cacoa Powder
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 Strawberries or Blueberries
  • 1 Banana *Add more for extra sweetness
  • Blend & serve! It’s that easy!

Prefer something alittle more filling? Perhaps a new breakfast routine? Why not try an Acai Bowl.

  • Blend – In a blender add fruit juice for a tropical taste or milk such as coconut or soy, for a creamier flavour to 100g of Acai Berry. Add chopped fruit, yoghurt for a thicker texture.
  • Pour – In Summer, the Acai blend will melt quickly, add some chopped fruit to the bottom of your bowl to prevent melting.
  • Top – Our favourite part! Use chopped nuts or cereals for a breakfast vibe. Fresh fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, kiwifruit or mango. Have a sweet tooth? Why not add some coconut shreds, cacao drops, a drizzle of honey or even chocolate coated fruit!

Acai Berry is available in 1kg tub or 200g portions from Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill Brisbane.

Acai Berry Bowl

How To Arrange Flowers

Friday, January 31st, 2014

How To Arrange Flowers

Do you get bored with buying a bunch of flowers and just putting them into the same old vase to have them die just a day later? Read on for our tips for love, care and arrangement tips to get the most out of a bunch of flowers.

Flower Care

1. Strip leaves from the bottom of the bunch that is to be submerged in the water.

2. Trim 1-2cm from the bottom of the stems on a 45 degree angle.

3. Ensure the water is always clean; changing water every 2/3 days.

4. Keep flowers away from heat if possible, the cooler the room the better.

Colour Coded

1. Modern Classic – Give the simplicity of white blooms and green foliage that modern touch by presenting them in a bright coloured vase.

2. Sweet Mixture – Mix three species of flowers in one similar colour shade, like pink! Each flower will enhance the other with the soft yet strong colour points.

3. Daring – Want instant drama? Why not place a brightly coloured arrangement in a simple vase on a feature wall. Sunflowers on a dark navy wall will surely give you a fresh but bold statement.

Placement

1. Entrance/Foyer Flowers – Make an impression with large stem flowers in a tall vase. We love Gladiolus and Sunflowers.

2. Dining Room Flowers – For an easy table decoration use three different sized vases on a table-runner or place-mat. Place fresh flowers in vases & surround with greenery.

3. Kitchen Flowers – You don’t always have to use a vase to present your flowers. Why not use an antique teapot or old water jug for a loosely flower bunch.

4. Bedroom Flowers – Some people shy away from having flowers in the bedroom but it adds that simple elegance that we cannot go past! Try a small round glass vase with Peonies, Roses or Freesias.

3 Presentation Tips To Make Finger Food Look Gourmet

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Read on for our ‘3 Presentation Tips To Make Finger Food Look Gourmet’

These days more and more people are trying to pull off parties and events with firm budgets in place. Let’s face it, everything is more expensive than it used to be but no one wants to stop entertaining. So what can you do to make your simple finger foods look gourmet?

Here are presentation tips you can use to make your finger foods look gourmet:

1. Serving Platters Matter

The first technique that you can use to make your finger foods look a lot fancier is to present them on a beautiful serving platter. Silver looking platters can go a long way in dressing up a table.

If you can find one of those three-tiered serving dishes then you have instantly found the key to a richer looking item. For example, cocktail frankfurts can look much more exquisite if they are served on the bottom tier, with sausage rolls on the middle tier and dipping sauces on the top tier. By serving your finger foods on a beautiful platter you can easily create a more palatable dish, which won’t cost a fortune.

2. Garnishes Are Grand

A second method to dressing up your plain dishes is to garnish them attractively. You an easily find instructions on how to create roses out of radishes or tomatoes. Place them in a pattern amidst your dishes and you have successfully given the illusion of a fancier finger food. Even little sprigs of parsley or rosemary are a good way to dress u your plain looking foods.

Breaking up a mundane plate with colour is like adding a bright tie or handkerchief to a plain coloured suit- it updates and draws attention to something that may otherwise be considered as ordinary.

There are many items you can use to create a striking garnish. Coloured sugar has a jeweled appearance and adds sparkle effort to a dish or citrus zest can infuse much needed colour to your finger food selection.

3. It’s In The Cut

The third way that you can make your ordinary run-of-the-mill finger food look more gourmet is in how you slice it. If you are stuck putting out fruits and vegetables all you need is a different cut.

Melons look pretty basic when it is cut into wedges or slices, but use a melon baller and arrange them in a bowl and they look much classier. Carrots that are sliced diagonally look different than the carrot sticks you serve a child. Buying or borrowing a mandolin is a fantastic idea as it cuts items uniformly and very thin. It may also be used to julienne.

Not matter what your budget is, you can use these three easy ways to add a touch of sophistication to your party and make your finger food look gourmet.

Pavlova Recipe: Australia’s Favourite Dessert

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Pavlova Recipe: Australia’s Favourite Dessert

In Australia, most of us can’t resist a good old piece of pavlova especially in the summertime. We love it so much that we claim it as a national treasure, though there has been much a debate as to whether or not it actually originated on our shores or in New Zealand. Named after Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, in the1920’s this dessert soon grew in popularity in Australian cuisine, proving that it is here to stay!

In the past decade, Pavlova has risen in popularity in a variety of countries because of it’s unique and delicious taste. Like many other desserts, Pavlova is meringue based. Though the ingredients in meringue and pavlova are similar, the desserts are worlds apart.

The difference between the traditional large meringues and the pavlova recipe is the addition of cornflour. The cornflour causes the outside of the Pavlova to crisp to an off-white / light brown colour but keep the inside moist and fluffy. Due to the light and fluffy texture of Pavlova, it must be cooled in the oven to avoid deflating. Typically Pavlova is topped with whipped cream and as assortment of fruit of your choosing. Read on for Australia’s Favourite Dessert Recipe.

Make Your Own Pavlova – A Simple Pavlova Recipe

Making your own Pavlova is quite simple once you have a little bit of practice, however, make note to prepare the pavlova carefully or else it can deflate and/or crack.

What You Will Need

  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Tsp Cornflour
  • 1  1/3 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 1  1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1  1/2 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp White Vinegar
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2-3 Fruit of your choosing

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 130’c.
  2. Line your baking tray with baking paper. We like to draw a circle (roughly 25 centimeters in diameter, similar to a dinner plate) on paper. Remember to turn the pencil side down.
  3. Beat egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form, then gradually add sugar, one teaspoon at a time until white whites are thick glossy and sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add cornflour, vanilla extract, lemon juice and white vinegar and thoroughly blend until just combined.
  5. Once meringue mix is mixed, spoon into the middle of your baking tray, starting with the centre. Move mix towards the outside edge using the marked circle as your guide. Smooth the sides edges & top.
  6. Bake for 70minutes until outside crust looks dry. Try not to open the oven whilst cooking to prevent the Pavlova to crack or deflate.
  7. Turn the oven off and allow the Pavlova to cool completely in the oven, with the oven door slightly ajar.
  8. When base has cooled completely, place on a serving plate and add toppings.

Toppings

  1. Beat heavy whipping cream until it achieves a whipped consistency and add to the top of the Pavlova.
  2. Add fruit of your choice- berries, passionfruit, kiwifruit, shaved chocolate and even chopped nuts can be used.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Tips!

  1. To ensure no egg yolk gets into the egg white, separate the eggs one at a time before transferring to your mixing bowl.  If any yolk gets into the egg white, discard it.
  2. Overbeaten egg white can break down the structure of the meringue and will be more likely to collapse.  Beat egg whites tilfirm peaks form. To check this just lift your beaters and the egg white will form a peak on its own.
  3. You can cook the Pavlova meringue 2 days earlier to help ease the days preparations. Just keep the base in an air tight container then add cream and toppings of Pavlova eating day!
  4. Prefer the easy option? Simon’s has ready made Pavlova Nests, all you need to do is add the topping! Pavlova

How To Cut A Watermelon

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

How To Cut A Watermelon

Perhaps like so many, you really enjoy the sweet, delicate and refreshing taste of watermelon- and who can resist it during the hot summer months? You may find however, that you are at odds on the proper way to cut this juicy fruit, without losing any of the precious meat and an easy way to eliminate seeds. Here are two simple carving techniques for getting the most out of your fresh watermelon.

Things You Will Need

  • Whole watermelon
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp serrated knife
  • Waste basket to discard non edible parts

Watermelon Chunks

Watermelon chunks are great for fruit salads, fresh fruit kebabs or as a great snack straight from the fridge.

  1. After you have selected the perfect whole watermelon, the first thing you want to do is clean the outside of the fruit of any dirt and residue. This can be done with just water or with water and a fruit wash.This helps prevent the inside of the fruit from getting contaminated as you slice into it.
  2. The next step is to slice off both ends of the watermelon with a serrated knife. This will allow the watermelon to stand straight and make it easier to cut. Stand the watermelon on end then slice through the middle, cutting the watermelon in half. Cutting the fruit along the dark edge of the stripes of the watermelon, will help ensure that seeds* on the outside of the watermelon which will make them easier to remove.
  3. Next, slice each half of the watermelon into quarters then each quarter into eighths. Cut various bite size slits into each section, cutting down to but stopping at the rind. Once the sections are cut, then carefully and as close to the flesh as possible, remove the rind from each section.
  4. Continue this step with the remaining sections of the watermelon. Place sections into a bowl or on a platter.

Watermelon Wedges

This is a fun way to enjoy watermelon on the go. It’s handy for small children and fun for adults too!

  1. Gently cleanse the outside of the watermelon with water with or without a fruit wash.
  2. Slice whole watermelon in half.
  3. Slice each half into halves.
  4. Slice each of the four sections downward into small triangle wedges.
  5. Arrange decoratively on a platter or on a fruit tray.

*For your convenience, Simon’s stocks Seedless Watermelon, year round.

Party Platters For Every Occasion

Monday, November 18th, 2013

It’s party time! What will you do for food? You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is mingling and having fun. Party platters are a great option that allows you to prepare the food before the party begins, so you don’t miss a thing!

There are many things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to party platters. The most important things you need to consider when creating your party platter is the arrangement, style and taste. You want your party platters to be appealing to the eye but also to taste delicious.

It also doesn’t hurt to get a little bit creative and to have a few different types of platters available for guests to nibble on throughout the party. Below are some popular party platter ideas.

Meat Platters – Meat platters tend to be a popular choice with party guests, especially if you’re offering a wide range of options. A meat platter is generally composed of salami, chicken, thinly sliced ham and roast beef, however it can also include other types of meats.

When it comes to designing a meat platter, you can customise the way it looks by arranging the meat in a way that it looks by arranging the meat in a way that is appealing to you and your guests. You may even chose to roll your meat into a cigar-like design and stick a toothpick through it, making it bite-sized and easier to eat.

You can add complimentary sides to your meat platter including cheese, fruit, dips or sauces that will be sure to please your party guests palate.

Fruit Platters – Fruit platters are another popular party choice because they offer a healthy alternative to the regular party food and the vibrant mix of colours makes them visually stimulating.

It’s important when designing a fruit platter that you offer guests a range of fruits to choose from, and to present them in a way that not only visually pleasing, but also allows guests to easily takes pieces of fruit from the platter. You can serve your fruit platter with a nice creamy dip.

Sandwich Platters – You can get really creative when it comes to sandwich platters, offering the usual yet delicious sandwich combinations. Be sure to use a range of ingredients including various meats, vegetables, and cheeses so you create a bright and eye-catching platter. Cut your sandwiches into triangles or squares and arrange them neatly so they are easily devoured by your party guests.

These  are only a few party platter ideas. Come in and see us to get many more great party food ideas. If you are short on time, we can create the perfect party platters for any occasion!

 

 

Baby Shower Finger Foods

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Baby Shower Finger Food

Hosting a baby shower is an amazing privilege, the mummy-to-be obviously holds you in very high regard and trusts you completely. Needless to say, hosting a baby shower can involve a lot of work and the catering can end up costing more than you anticipated if you don’t plan ahead.

While chips and dip are a cheap option, and a party favourite, you will want to offer your guests something a little more special and suited to the baby shower theme.

Baby shower finger food is perfect – you can prepare it ahead of time, it’s easy to prepare, it’s cost effective and you can make them to incorporate your baby shower theme. Below we have listed some simple finger food ideas that you can serve at a baby shower.

Bread One of the easiest foods to serve is bread. Simply buy a couple of nice loaves of bruschetta bread and cut it into small slices. If you want, you can toast it and either butter or oil it right before the party. Serve with some cheese, marinated vegetables, meat, or delicious spreads including jams or chutney. You can also create labels for everything that you are serving with the bread so guests can easily determine what they want.

Pigs In Blankets These are always a party favourite and you can easily adapt them so they become ‘babies in blankets’. You can prepare these ahead of time so they are ready to go into the oven when your guests arrive. Serve with a selection of sauces.

Baby Carriage Fruit Bowl  You can create a baby carriage using a watermelon cut into the shape of a baby carriage and fill it with an array of freshly sliced fruits. This idea will require a little bit of creativity but is a great centerpiece to any baby shower table.

Cupcakes Or Cake Pops These are always a favourite at any party and can be easily adapted and decorated to suit your baby shower theme. To save money, opt to make the cupcakes or cake pops yourself.

Other Finger Food Favourites There are many other finger foods you can make to serve at the baby shower. They include finger sandwiches, pizza slices, cheese and crackers, dips (savoury and sweet), slices or muffins, mini quiches, spring rolls or rice paper rolls served with sweet chilli sauce, or cheesy spinach cob loaf dip. The list is endless!

 

 

A Guide To Christmas Day Meal Options

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Christmas is quickly sneaking up on us yet again, and soon we will be frantically running around, sending cards, buying presents and organising our Christmas day menu’s. The big clue here is to avoid leaving it to the last minute and start preparing early!

If you’ve ever been in charge of preparing a Christmas menu before you know how much work is involved and how stressful it can be, even if you consider yourself to be a culinary whiz. The truth is whether you are preparing your first Christmas day menu or your fortieth, taking a little bit of time to consider and organise your Christmas day menu now, can save you a lot of tears and heartache as the festive day approaches.

The great thing about Christmas in Australia is that the warm weather gives you any different options – you can choose to serve a more traditional meal which generally involves roasted vegetables and meat including, pork, chicken or turkey.

The other option you have, which has become more and more popular in recent years, is to serve cold salads with a selection of cold cuts, seafood or meat cooked on the BBQ. Choosing to incorporate cold meats into your Christmas menu gives you the advantage of being able to cook it ahead of time, which means you can enjoy your family and friends company rather than being stuck in the kitchen all morning slaving away.

If, however, you want the best of both worlds you are not alone! Many families choose to incorporate both options, often sitting down to a warm roast meal at lunch and sitting back and enjoying cold cut meats and salad at dinner.

A Christmas day meal is often ended with a sweet treat in the form of Christmas pudding with brandy custard or a piece of pavlova, topped with cream and a selection of fresh seasonal fruits.

If you are planning your Christmas menu, we have everything you need. Drop into our deli and butcher to order all your Christmas day needs.

Finger Food For Parties

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, an engagement, buying a new house or simply catching up with friends, parties are always fun! When it comes to parties, food always plays an important role and should never be a side thought that’s left to the last minute.

While chips and dips are a party favourite, sometimes you may want to offer your guests something a little more special. However, if you’re hosting a party the last thing you want to be doing is slaving away in the kitchen while everyone is kicking back and socialising. This is where finger foods come in.

Finger foods are small portions of food that can be eaten while guests chat and mingle, and they can often be prepared in advance which means you really can be the ‘host with the most’.

When planning which foods to serve, it’s important to consider the occasion that you’re celebrating. For example, a delectable cheese and fruit platter or a canape platter that can be enjoyed with a lovely win may be best suited to more formal or intimate events.

If you are planning for a larger, or more laid back get together, then you can serve a wide range of finger foods. Think kebabs, pizzas, brushetta, sandwiches, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, cold cuts, dips, mini pastries. You can also serve a delicious range of small desserts, such as muffins, slice or biscuits, to cater to your guests with a sweet tooth.

When it comes to a larger get together, the trick is to select a range of foods that you can prepare large batches before the party begins, and mix up the selection between hot and cold finger foods.

If you are planning a party or small get together, why not drop into our Deli? We stock a large range of delicious foods that your guests will enjoy. Don’t have time to prepare party food yourself? No worries! We also have a catering service that offers a large range of gourmet platters that will be sure to satisfy your catering needs.

Check out our Catering Menu here!

 

Something Fishy Is Going On At Simon’s; Noosa Seafood Market

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Something Fishy Is Going On At Simon’s; Noosa Seafood Market

It’s no big secret that healthy eating can generate a healthy body. It’s been a known fact for many years that what we eat can have a great effect on our weight control, heart health, immunity levels and our general bodily functions.

Though there isn’t a ‘super food’ that can make us healthy all on it’s own, including more seafood into our weekly eating plan is one sure fire way to improve our diets, and our health. For a start, seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which assist heart health and circulation within the body. Seafood is also a great source of protein, perfect for sustaining muscle and tissue health.

You may think that including more seafood into your diet is near impossible due to the fact that you have limited access to fresh produce, and frozen seafood just doesn’t seem all that appealing. Right?

Well think again, because at Simon’s we have your seafood needs covered thanks to our friends at Noosa Seafood Market and their range of high quality frozen seafood. Don’t let the word ‘frozen’ fool you, it tastes just as good as fresh seafood and our customers who have tried it, love it!

Noosa Seafood Market have been in the seafood game for 35 years, much to the delight of Noosa’s locals. They serve up only the best seafood and try to source locally where they can. Their gourmet frozen seafood range has been causing quite a stir around town (for all the right reasons) and our customers have been pleasantly surprised by the taste, quality and the price of the products they have tried.

Noosa Seafood Market’s range is extensive, offering not only seafood products but also a variety of to-die-for sauces and pre-made seafood meals, so you’ll be sure to find something to tempt your tastebuds with.

We currently stock the following products in our deli:

  • Seafood*: Atlantic Salmon, Australian Prawn Meat, Crumbed Calamari, Gold Band Snapper, Red Emperor, Whiting Fillets and Barramundi
  • Sauces*: Green Curry Sauce (delicious with the prawn meat), Penang Curry Sauce (perfect when paired with the Barramundi), Red Curry Sauce and Yellow Curry Sauce (goes well with prawns or fish)
  • Premade Seafood Meals*: Pork & Crab Shu Mai, Chilli Crab Soup, Salmon Gyoza, Salmon Risotto Cakes, Thai Fish Cakes, Scallop & Prawn Ravioli and Seafood Chowder.

*Subject to availability

The Noosa Seafood freezer at our Chapel Hill store

The Noosa Seafood freezer at our Chapel Hill store

 

 

5 Ways to Spoil Dad on Father’s Day

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Father’s Day is the one day we get to celebrate the wonderful father’s in our lives and show them our love and gratitude for all that they do. The scary thing is it’s quickly approaching! With September just around the corner, do you know how you’re going to spoil dad this Father’s Day.

Before you do a hectic dash to the shopping centre, or start frantically Googling ‘Father’s Day gifts’ – Stop what you are doing! We are about to make spoiling dad on Father’s Day much easier. Intrigued? You should be. Here are 5 ways to spoil dad on Father’s Day (Simon’s style).

  • They say the most important meal of the day is breakfast, so start dad’s day off right with a scrumptious breakfast at our Cafe, and there’s no need to wake dad up early as our breakfast menu is available all day.
  • Make dad feel like a million dollars and pamper him with a gift basket, filled with lots of goodies from our deli which are sure to hit the spot.
  • Has dad got a bit of a sweet tooth? We’ve got you covered! Let dad indulge a little bit this Father’s Day by giving him a box of delicious chocolates from the Deli.
  • Does dad enjoy a good cup of tea or coffee? Find something to help him unwind, or get him all revved up in our selection of quality teas and coffees, available from our Deli.
  • It is often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach so why not treat dad to a lovely home cooked meal with meat from our butcher? Dad will be licking his chops (excuse the pun) in anticipation.

 

Free Range Butcher

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

When it comes to food, natural is always best but these days even ‘natural’ food can be deceiving. Many meat products nowadays are filled with growth hormones and steroids, and the animals are subjected to the most horrendous living conditions you could think of.

At Simon’s we understand the importance of good quality produce and know that when it comes to eating and feeding your family, natural is always best. That is why our butchers work with meat of the finest quality – no scary surprises, no hidden hormones just good quality, and tasty meat which you and your family can enjoy.

A selection of our poultry and beef is sourced from two of the best suppliers in Australia, Lilydale Chickens and Barcoo Beef. Both Lilydale and Barcoo Beef are recognised as premium suppliers, meeting the highest stands of possible and priding themselves on their free range products.

Lilydale are dedicated to farming free range chickens, ensuring that they are free from hormones and growth promoters. They provide their chickens with the best possible living conditions, even ensuring that the range areas where chickens roam are free from pesticides or chemical sprays. Lilydale works hard to maintain their high standards and all their farms are fully accredited by Free Range Egg and Poultry Australia (FREPA)

Barcoo Beef are dedicated to farming free range beef, placing a deep importance in the well-being of their livestock . They provide their cattle with the best living conditions possible, allowing them to roam their natural environment freely, while grazing on silage and grains. Barcoo Beef work hard to maintain high standards resulting in all of their products being certified by Meat Standards Australia’s grading systems. Recognised as a premium MSA approved brand, Barcoo Beef is first choice for many people within the retail and food industry, based on their devotion to quality and food safety.

Spaghetti Squash

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

To be honest, when our Produce Manager told me about ‘Spaghetti Squash’, I thought he had lost his mind. A vegetable that once cooked can be substituted for pasta? But it is exactly that!

Spaghetti Squash is a winter squash that is yellow in colour and looking at it, you maybe intimidated by cooking it but if you read on, you’ll see it’s a very easy vegetable to cook as it can be baked, boiled and steamed.Watch movie online Get Out (2017)

To cook spaghetti squash

  • Boil whole for 30 to 40 minutes
  • Cut in half, using a spoon
  • Scoop out the seeds and then the flesh from the shell which will fall out like strands of spaghetti!

 

Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash Recipe

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, too taste

Heat butter and garlic over a medium-low heat til garlic becomes fragrant. Add parsley, salt and cooked spaghetti squash strands. Toss well and then sprinkle Parmesan cheese (taste to see if additional salt is needed). We love serving Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash as a side to our Chicken, Spinach and Pinenut Sausages!

 

Spaghetti Squash is now stocked at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, 620 Moggill road Chapel Hill 4069.

Did you know – Our Produce Manager goes to the Brisbane Produce Markets 4 days a week! This means you can always count on getting the most fresh quality produce from Simon’s.

Spaghetti Squash

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Cheese Making Class – Brisbane

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Cheese Making Class – Brisbane

 

We are hosting our next Mad Millie Cheese Class! Come along to our Chapel Hill store and learn the art of cheese making. The Beginners Italian Cheese Making Class has proved to be our most popular, learning the skills to make Mozzarella and Ricotta.

There’s nothing quite like home-made fresh produce and Mad Millie demonstrates how easy and simple it is to make fresh cheese with their Mad Millie Cheese Making Kits.

Mad Millie Cheese Instructor, Sasha does a brilliant job encouraging the crowd, showing them anyone can make cheese in the comfort of their own kitchen.

If you’ve missed out on one of our cheese making demo classes before, fret not as our next class is here!

 

Mad Millie Beginner’s Italian Cheese Making Class

Date: Tuesday 2nd June, 2015

Time: 5.30pm to 7.30pm

Venue: Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, 620 Moggill Road Chapel Hill 4069

Cost: $39.95 per person – includes a FREE Mad Millie Beginners Italian Cheese Making Kit

 

Please note to secure your place in our class, payments need to be made before the event by Monday 25th May in store or over the phone during our business hours. Hot tip: Our previous classes have sold out and with places being limited be sure to secure your spot today*.

 

*Minimum of 20 participants required for the class to go ahead. If the class does not meet it’s minimum number of participants a full refund will be issued.

 

Mad Millie Cheese Making Class

 

How To Roast a Leg of Lamb

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

 

The roast is a perfect meal on a cold winters night and whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cook in the kitchen, this post will be useful for all thinking “How to Roast a Leg of Lamb”.

Read on for step by step techniques which are easy to follow, and show how versatile and easy Australian Lamb can be to get the very best result every time, which is delicious!Watch movie online Logan (2017)

Understanding the methods of roasting lamb can help anyone become a better cook, and take the hassle out of preparing a meal. This recipe is sure to impress your friends and family – if they ask how you did it we’ll keep your secret!

 

Ingredients

  • Leg Of Lamb (ask your friendly butcher to trim a leg of lamb to your liking)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (crushed/thinly sliced)
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Olive Oil

Cooking Instructions

  1.  1. Weigh the Leg of Lamb and calculate your cooking time; allow 25 to 30 minutes per 500g.
  1.  2. Add some flavour and season your roast. Rub crushed or thinly sliced garlic over the leg and  then pierce the lamb in 12 places. Press sprigs of rosemary and slices of garlic into each cut.
  2.  *You can use thyme instead of rosemary if you like.
  1. 3. Brush the roast with olive oil and rub with salt and pepper to your liking.
  1. 4. Place the roast on a rack in your baking dish (this allows the meat juices to drain from the roast and it will brown more evenly). Put in a moderate oven at 180 degrees for the calculated cooking time. Juice will collect in the bottom of the dish, this is great to baste your roast with around every 20 minutes.
  1. 5. Once the lamb is cooked remove from the oven and cover with foil, let it rest for 15 minutes. Resting allows the juices to settle in the roast and you won’t lose this moisture when carved.
  1. 6. Use a sharp knife and carve across the grain of the meat, serve with roast vegetables and use the leftover juices to make delicious gravy to enjoy with your meal.

  1. REMEMBER: Whatever piece of meat you’re roasting – you can cook the vegetables underneath; think of potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnip or onion. You’ll get a more wholesome flavour as the vegetables start to caramelise, go soft and pick up a lot of those sweet meat juices.

 

HOT TIP: A meat thermometer is a valuable instrument you can use to ensure your meat is cooked to perfection. Push the probe into the thickest part of the meat, but not touching the bone. Rare will be 60 degrees, medium 65 to 70 degrees and well-done will be 75 degrees.

I hope these simple steps have helped you on “How To Roast A Leg Of Lamb” and your next attempt at the PERFECT ROAST. I’m certain they will – good luck and happy cooking!

How to roast a leg of lamb?

Prime Australian Lamb Available at Butchers Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill.

 

 

Brisbane Markets Produce Finalist again!

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

 

Congratulations Simon’s! Simon’s Gourmet Gallery has been recognised for the 4th year in a row as a Finalist for the Brisbane Produce Markets Retailer of the Year competition!

More than 100 independent fruit and vegetable retailers throughout South-East Queensland participate in the Brisbane Produce Market’s retailer program, which rewards excellence in fresh produce retailing.

The program is designed for independent greengrocers who regularly buy fresh fruit and vegetables from the Brisbane Produce Market. To be a part of the program all greengrocers must be committed to striving for excellence in fresh produce retailing and provide the highest levels of customer service. The top 25 businesses within the Brisbane Produce Market are awarded as finalists.

Finalists are chosen on customer service, quality produce, product knowledge, shop appearance, merchandising, and commitment to Brisbane Markets initiatives. The team at Brisbane Produce Market have the final say on which stores become finalists, and then decide based on store reports and results. Participating fruit and vegetable retailers are mystery shopped twice in a six month period to determine which businesses excel in all categories.

This year was the first year that new prizes in the competition were introduced. Independent greengrocers were able to win ‘Best for Customer Service’ ($2500 prize) and ‘Best for Display/Merchandising’ ($2500 prize). The winner of the Retailer of the Year competition receives a $10,000 prize!

The Brisbane Product Market at Rocklea sells and distributes produce that is trucked, railed, shipped and flown from throughout Australia to the Rocklea site. Simon’s buys all produce from the markets because of the quality and freshness of the produce.  Not to mention supporting other local businesses.

Simon’s has regular communication with the Brisbane Produce Market to discuss mystery shopper results and how we can better serve the community. We constantly thrive to improve customer service, product quality, product knowledge, shop appearance and merchandising.

 

Simon’s celebrated the achievement last month at the Brisbane Produce Market Gala Dinner. The night took place at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre and we had the wonderful company of Brisbane Produce Markets wholesalers, other retailers and industry representatives.

For the special occasion the Simon’s ladies opted for our favourite frocks, and the men looked sharp in their suits! We enjoyed a three-course meal and PLENTY of entertainment! Some of our favourite produce we enjoyed on the night was crispy asparagus, sweet corn mash (we hadn’t tried this before), and sautéed mushrooms in delicious gravy. We were also treated to gourmet meats – an eight-hour slow cooked Rib Fillet and grain-fed Chicken.

With champagne glasses in hand we danced the night away to some of our favourites including the Nutbush! And we laughed the night away with a comedy duo act. OH, and how can we forget the stunning and talented cha cha girls who performed on stage throughout the evening! A great night was had by all and we can’t wait for next year!

Christmas & New Year’s Trading Hours

Friday, November 30th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapel Hill store, Simon’s Gourmet Gallery

Christmas Eve, 24th December: 6am – 5pm

Christmas Day, 25th December: CLOSED

Boxing Day, 26th December: CLOSED

27th – 30th December: 6am – 6pm

New Year’s Eve, 31st December: 6am – 5pm

New Year’s Day: CLOSED

2nd – 12th January 2013:    6am – 6pm

13th January 2013 onwards:

Normal trading hours resume

Monday – Friday 6am – 7.30pm;

Saturday – Sunday 6am – 6pm

*Please note our Cafe Trading Hours from Christmas Eve until Jan 12th, will be serving coffee and meals at the following times:

Coffee: 6am – 4pm.

Breakfast: 7.30am – 2.30pm.

Lunch: 11.45am – 2.30pm

Antipasto Seafood Platter Ideas

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Antipasto Seafood Platter Ideas

If you’re looking to serve something other than cheeses and meats for your antipasto, serve up a antipasto seafood platter instead using gourmet marinated seafood. Antipasto platters are simple gourmet appetizers to kick-off any party. Read below for our platter ideas.

 

 

For your next event, why not put together an antipasto seafood platter with Segreti’s marinated king prawnsmussels and baby octopus, sundried tomatoes, anchovies,  pickled onions, roasted vegetables, Harris Smokehouse’s smoked salmon, cream cheese and a generous serve of crackers and baguette slices.

Don’t forget the condiments! Condiments are used to enhance the flavour of foods using sauces, butters and dressings. We have a range of perfect condiments for you antipasto seafood platter ranging from gourmet flavoured mayonnaise, creamy tangy dressings, basic tartare and cocktail sauces.

Need more seafood options? We have a whole freezer dedicated to the brilliantly tasty Noosa Seafood. They have a range of premade seafood meals such as Salmon Gyoza that would give a seafood platter that top-notch touch!

Need more party planning tips? Why not check out our Top 3 Party Platter Presentation Tips, here.

Download our Christmas catalogue

Friday, November 16th, 2012

 

 

For more Christmas entertaining and food tips, check out our Christmas catalogue. Pick up a copy at our Chapel Hill store.

Download the Xmas 2012 brochure

 

 

 

Free Event: Xmas Taste Testing, 15 December 2012

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

With Xmas just around the corner, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes choosing sweet treats for Christmas. Thus, we’re having a free taste testing event, featuring three of our classic brands so you can sample our favourite treats for yourself: Lick Ice-cream, Jen’s rumballs and fruit mince pies, and the famous handmade Christmas cakes! Come on down to our deli store, have a taste and get your festive tastebuds going!

Event Details

Date: Saturday, 15 December 2012

Venue: Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill, Brisbane

Products/Times*:

Handmade Xmas Cakes 
11am – 1pm
Jen’s Mince Pies & Rumballs
11.30am – 1.30pm
Lick Ice-cream   
 12pm – 2pm
Yarra Valley Feta
Maggie Beer Pates & Pastes

1pm – 3pm

 

*Product range and taste testing times may be subjected to change without prior notice

Top 3 Must-Have Xmas Meats

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

 

Top 3 Must-have Xmas Meats

#1 Turkeys

 

A generous plump roasted turkey is a traditional Xmas dish for many countries across the globe, including Australia. If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional whole roasted stuff turkey with the classic cranberry sauce, try adding your own twist to this classic—tandoori turkey breast, soy and chilli turkey stir-fry or roasted turkey breast stuffed with prosciutto. Be sure to pre-order your turkeys by 15 December with our butchers to avoid disappointment.

 

Fresh whole turkeys – size 4 kg and up

Turkey breast (wing joint)   $28.95 kg

Double 5 kg // Single 2.5 kg

Turkey buffet double breast bone on crown (approximately 6 kg)  $18.95 kg

 

#2 Stuffed Chickens

Roasted stuffed chickens make a great substitute for whole turkeys if you’re short on time. Our butchers will be bringing in tender, juicy chickens this Xmas. Boned and rolled chickens will also be available—just remember to pre-order to avoid disappointment.  Try our homemade stuffing, made from the freshest quality ingredients by the butchers: Cranberry & Chestnut, Traditional and Sage & Onion.

 

#3 Leg of Lamb

Cooking time and instructions: Cooking time vary based on the size and cut of lamb (rolled, butterflied, bone-in etc.). Make sure to ask one of our friendly butchers for cooking tips when you’re in store as they’ll be more than happy to help!

 

Gift Ideas: Mad Millie Cheese Making Kits

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Gift Ideas: Mad Millie Cheese Making Kits!

Stuck on what to buy that loved one or close friend? Read below for our top Gift Ideas for foodies!

Give your friends and family a fine block of cheese for celebrations like Christmas, Birthdays, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, and you’ve added a touch of gourmet into their day; give your them a Mad Millie Cheese Making Kit and they’ll have their own signature gourmet cheeses for a lifetime–and will probably make you a block of cheese every now and then too!

Choose from our wide range of Cheese Making Kits, including Beginner’s Italian Cheese KitFresh Cheese Kit and Artisan Cheese KitYoghurt Kits and Preserving Kits are also available at our Chapel Hill store in the delicatessen sectionPrices start from $39.95

Looking for something extra special? Why not join our weekly newsletter to stay up-to-date with our next best selling Mad Millie Cheese Class.

Our gift ideas for foodies; Mad Millie Cheese Making Kits

 

Mad Millie Cheese Making Class

Gift Ideas: Mad Millie Cheese Class

Christmas Gift Ideas for Foodies

Ideas for Christmas Stocking Fillers

Xmas Gift Basket Ideas

 

Simon’s Basic Ingredients for French-style Cooking

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

In this post we’ll be featuring some of the classic ingredients in French-style cooking as well as our own homemade products with a French twist.

French Cuts from the Butchers

Fillet Mignon

French for Dainty Fillet, the fillet mignon is a beautiful beef eye fillet steak wrapped with bacon, seasoned with pepper and mild mustard and is one of Simon’s favourite easy dinner meals.

Cooking tips from our friendly butchers:
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes (medium-rare) at 180°C (conventional oven) or 160°C (fan-forced)
Serve with a side of Simon’s garlic & rosemary sweet potato chips.

Chicken Mignon

Hormone-free boneless chicken wrapped in bacon, marinated in a homemade garlic butter marinade.

Pork Cutlets

 

Slow cook with your favourite vegetables in a sherry wine reduction or pan-fry in butter and drizzle with your own homemade mustard sauce or creamy, bearnaise sauce.

Top 3 Fruit & Veg Must-haves for French Cooking:

#1 Brush Potatoes

 

A must-have in classic French dishes. Create a potato, leek and bacon casserole with béarnaise sauce and your favourite cheeses.

#2 Mushrooms

To cook perfectly sautéed mushrooms, use the 2:1 ratio for butter and olive oil. Remember not to overcrowd the pan to avoid the mushrooms from stewing instead of browning.

#3 Leeks

Use leeks as a base for soups. For a creamy and hearty alternative, create a potato, leek and blue cheese soup.

French Finds in the Deli Aisles

Béarnaise Sauce

Derived from hollandaise sauce, the béarnaise sauce has a touch of tarragon and is divine on meats, vegetables, sandwiches and poached eggs.

Chatel Red Wine Vinegar & Sherry Vinegar

Chatel uses only the finest red wine to produce its red wine vinegar, which is aged in wood, giving it a superior quality compared to cheap red wine vinegars. The difference in quality is eminent in the final dish. Sherry vinegar is said to have a sweeter taste compared to red wine vinegar. Both red wine vinegar and sherry vinegar are great for making vinaigrettes, sauces, stews, deglazing onions for French onion soup and as a healthy substitute for creamy salad dressings.

 

Whole Duck Foie Gras

Produced by one of the leading companies in Foie Gras, Labeyrie, based in the South West of France, the whole duck Foie Gras is produced based on a combination of both evolutionary preserving techniques and respect of traditions. Foie Gras can be eaten on its own, in sandwiches (cut foie gras to about 1cm-thick), on toast, or cubed and added to salads or sauce-less (e.g. olive oil-based) pasta. Best paired sweet condiments such as fig jam and fruit paste.

Simon’s Favourite French Cheeses

#1 French Brie
#2 Buche D’Affinois
#3 Simon’s Select Camembert

To find out the best ways prepare and present a cheese platter, check out tips straight from our deli here and here.

Wild Hibiscus Flowers in my champagne, please

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Host a cocktail party with drinks that’ll keep your guests talking about for weeks!

Place a wild hibiscus in a champagne flute or wine glass, add about a tablespoon of the rose syrup from the jar, top off with your favourite sparkling wine or champagne. For a sweeter and more blushed drink, simply add more rose syrup from the Wild Hibiscus jar.

    

The Wild Hibiscus can be added to desserts and non-alcoholic drinks–lemonade would be ideal as the bubbles in the drink simply add a magic touch to the flowers. Imagine the bubbles slowly fizzing from the hibiscus and gently floating to the top…presenting an elegant mini fireworks display erupting in slow motion in your champagne flute…your guests will be mesmerized!

Last Class of the Year: Simon’s Beginners’ Cheese Making Masterclass

Monday, October 29th, 2012

We’re hosting our third Mad Millie Beginners Cheese Making Masterclass  this December. If you missed out on the last class, make sure you book yourself in for this class today as it’ll be the last cheese making class for this year!

 

 

Learn the simple tips and secrets to becoming a cheese artisan in your own kitchen and learn to make mozzarella while understanding the whats and whys to of the role of milk in cheese makingPick up a new skill in time for the New Year, or treat a friend or family member to an early Christmas present.

 

Beginner’s Cheese Making Class event details

When : Tuesday, 4 December, 5.00pm – 6.30pm

Venue : Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill

Cost    : $39.95 per person—includes a free Mad Millie Beginners Italian Kit

 

 

Deadline for payment is Friday, 29 November 2012, 10am or as soon as the demo class is full. Be quick to secure your seat to avoid disappointmente! Please note we will not be able to confirm your spot in the demo class until payment has been made. Payment can be made in-store or over-the-phone during our Chapel Hill store’s business hours. If the class does not meet its minimum number of participants, a full refund will be issued.

 

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our friendly team via email at chapel@simonsgourmetgallery.com.au or call us at (07) 3378 3355.

 

 

Easy Greek Cooking: Ingredients and Quick Recipes

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

We absolutely love the fresh Mediterranean in Greek-style dishes. Here’s a list of our must-have ingredients for easy Greek cooking. Be sure to have them handy in your pantry/fridge–you’ll never know when culinary inspiration strikes!

 

 

 

 

#1 Honey

Use local bush honey to make Greek honey puff donutsMelomakarona—honey cookies with walnuts, or stir through your favourite Greek yoghurt.

 

#2 Eggplant

A must-have when cooking the popular Moussaka—a traditional Greek casserole made with layers of eggplant, spiced meat (ground beef or lamb), topped with béchamel sauce and baked until golden brown. To make a vegetarian Moussaka, add layers of potato, zucchini, butternut pumpkin and your favourite vegetables.

 

#3 Herbs

Oregano (Greek name: rigani)
In Greek cooking, oregano is commonly used when cooking fish, meats, tomato-based sauces, salads, egg dishes and cheeses. It is said that oregano tea can aid digestion and coughs.

Mint (Greek name: dyosmos)
Just as popular as oregano, mint can be used in just about any Greek dish—tomato-based sauces, cheeses, rice and meat dishes.Make your own yoghurt, lemon and mint sauce to go with our Beef Kofta Kebabs. 

Three ways to store herbs and prolong their shelf life

 

#4 Greek Yoghurt

Create a sweet or savoury Greek-inspired dish with Greek yoghurt. For the sweet tooth, add a drizzle of honey and a handful of crushed walnuts to a bowl of yoghurt. For the savoury accompaniment, make your own tzatziki sauce!

 

#5 Feta Cheese

A must-have in Greek-style salads. Here’s a new salad recipe to try: steam or boil a zucchini; carefully slice it to bite-size pieces; add some minced garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and crumbled feta; toss in some freshly chopped mint for that extra burst of spearmint freshness.

 

#6 Halloumi Cheese

A great cheese for grilling. Add to burgers, char-grilled vegetables, or enjoy the grilled halloumi as-is. To grill the halloumi, thinly slice the cheese to about 1 cm-thick, grill on both sides until browned and eat immediately while it’s still warm. Perfect as an appetizer, finger food or at barbecues. See our simple halloumi sopressa recipe and rosemary & mint lamb burger combo for ideas to incorporate halloumi into your everyday cooking.

 

#7 Pasta

Create a Greek-inspired pasta dish with pasta. Toss your favourite pasta together with olive oil, Greek olives, fresh tomatoes, oregano and feta. Create a pasta salad by bulking up the dish with grilled vegetables, such as eggplant, capsicum and zucchini.

 

Pork braised in apple cider recipe

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

 

Pork braised in apple cider recipe

Serves 6

Prep time 25 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour

 

Ingredients

1.8 kg Murray Valley Pork scotch roast*

2 tbsp olive oil

25 g butter2 (275 g) brown onions, peeled and cut into wedges

3 (400 g) Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into wedges

2 cups (500 mL) alcoholic apple cider

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken stock

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

3 bay leaves6 sage sprigs

700 g pumpkin, sliced2 (500 g) parsnips, quartered

12 baby carrots, washed and trimmed

1 kg brushed potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

Olive oil for drizzling

Salt and pepper to taste

*Also try using Murray Valley Pork topside or loin roasts (boneless and rindless)

 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 150ºC fan-forced/170ºC conventional. Season pork with salt and pepper. Place a large, heavy-based baking dish on the stovetop over high heat. Add oil and brown the meat on all sides (approx. 15 minutes). Remove from baking dish and set aside.

2. Add butter, onions and apples to dish and cook for 5 minutes until coloured. Deglaze the pan with cider, boil rapidly for 5 minutes then add stock, mustard, bay leaves and half of the sage. Return pork to baking dish, place on the lowest rack in oven, cook for 11/4 hrs.

3. Place prepared vegetables and remaining sage sprigs on an oven tray, drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on top rack in oven and cook with pork.

4. Remove pork from oven and increase the temperature to 180ºC fan-forced/200ºC conventional to colour the vegetables. Place pork on a board to rest; meanwhile reduce sauce by placing baking dish on stovetop over high heat. Remove bay leaves and sage, boil rapidly for 15 minutes or until juices have reduced by half.

5. Slice rested pork. Remove vegetables from oven and serve with sliced pork and apple cider reduction.

Enjoyed this pork braised in apple cider recipe? See more pork recipes

Maple mustard glazed leg of pork recipe with pear compote and roasted fennel

Golden Asian pork belly recipe with citrus orange glaze

Learn more about Murray Valley Pork 

 

Recipe and photo courtesy of Rivalea

Crusted pork scotch roast recipe with sweet potato and broccolini

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

 

Crusted pork scotch roast recipe with sweet potato and broccolini

Serves 6–8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour 45 minutes

 

Ingredients

1.7 kg Murray Valley Pork scotch roast*

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1/3 cup (60 g) pistachio kernels, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley leaves

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1.2 kg sweet potato, peeled and sliced

Olive oil for drizzling

2 bunches (400 g) broccolini, trimmed

*Also try using Murray Valley Pork topside or loin roasts (all boneless and rindless)

 

Method

1. Place breadcrumbs, nuts, garlic and parsley in a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 170ºC fan-forced/190ºC conventional. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper. Place a large, heavy-based baking dish on the stovetop over high heat. Add oil and brown the meat on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. Brush the top half of the pork with the mustard and press on the bread crumb mixture. Place the sweet potato into the baking tray and drizzle both the pork and sweet potato with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 hrs or until the pork and sweet potato are cooked and the crumbs are golden. Remove from the oven and rest for15 minutes before carving.

4 Blanch the broccolini in salted boiling water. Serve with the sliced pork and sweet potato. Crusted pork scotch roast with sweet potato and broccolini

 

See more pork belly recipes

Learn more about Murray Valley Pork 

 

Recipe and photo courtesy of Rivalea

Nasi Lemak Recipe // Fragrant Coconut Rice Recipe

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Nasi Lemak recipe // Fragrant Coconut Rice Recipe

This recipe features an easy way to prepare a popular Malaysian dish–Nasi Lemak (pronounced: na-see le-muck)–coconut-flavoured rice, traditionally served with spicy shrimp or anchovy paste (sambal), fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, egg and cucumber slices. Fragrant coconut rice is also popular in Indonesian, Thai and Singaporean dishes. Coconut rice can be a rich substitute for plain rice when pairing with with curries.

Ingredients  (serves 4)

2 cups of jasmine rice / white long grain rice

1 cup of full cream coconut milk

Some water

Salt to taste

1 stick lemongrass (smashed)

 

Method

Place ingredients in rice cooker. Once cooked, leave rice to sit in pot for 8 – 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.

 

Condiments

Fried Egg / Boiled Egg

Cucumber slices to garnish

Toasted peanuts

Spicy sambal sauce—a chilli anchovy/shrimp paste—available at our marinades and sauces section in Simon’s deli, Chapel Hill

Make your own sambal

Using a mortar pound (or blender), pound fresh chillies (seed removed and thinly sliced), thinly sliced lemongrass (use the bottom three inches of the stalk), tumeric powder and fresh garlic. Heat up some canola oil in a wok or large pan, when the wok is moderately hot, add the sambal paste and stir until fragrant. Add sugar to taste.

 

 

Suggested side dishes

Chicken

Make your own

Spiced Fried Chicken

Marinade chicken drumsticks/chicken wings in turmeric, coriander, sea salt, shallots and garlic, then deep fry in canola oil until chicken turns a beautiful golden brown. Other cooking options include char-grilling or baking.

 

Ready made by Simon’s butchers

Satay kebab sticks (butcher)

Peri Peri Chicken Wings

 

 

Fish

Fish is a popular side dish in Malay/Indonesian cuisines such as ikan bakar (char-grilled fish) or ikan goreng (fried fish). Little seasoning is used to maintain the integrity of the fish. Simply brush a piece of mackarel or barramundi with canola oil, sea salt flakes and cracked pepper, wrap in a banana leaf or aluminium foil and grill.

Deep fried fish

Baked / grilled fish with lime juice, sea salt flakes, cracked pepper and thinly sliced fresh chillies (optional)

Tip: Use Harris Smokehouse mackerel, barramundi or cod fillets–all prepped and ready for cooking–available at our chilled seafood section in Simon’s delicatessen, Chapel Hill

Cocoa Centric Rocky Road FREE Taste Testing Event

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

 

Simon’s Gourmet Gallery boutique deli grocer, Chapel Hill will be having a free taste testing event featuring Rocky Road delights by Cocoa Centric.

The Cocoa Centric has taken a sophisticated take on an Australian favourite–Rocky Road. Made with divine couverture Swiss chocolate and a heavenly mix of Turkish delight, nuts, fruits and marshmallows.  Available milk, dark (bittersweet) and white chocolate.

Come along to our FREE taste testing event this Saturday, 13 October 2012, from 10am – 1pm* at our Brisbane gourmet grocer deli store to try the Cocoa Centric Rocky Road.

Visit the Cocoa Centric website to find out more about their Swiss couverture Rocky Road delights.Watch Full Movie Streaming Online and Download

 

*Taste testing event times may be subjected to changed without prior notice by the organizers

How to Handle Nectarines and Peaches

Friday, October 5th, 2012

 

Stone fruit—nectarines and peaches—know-how 

Nectarines and peaches are called stone fruit because of their pits. They are almost similar in appearance and are genetically identical, but nectarines are said to have a distinctive taste compared to peaches.

 

Nectarines and peaches go well in meat dishes, including pork, fish and chicken. Get fancy and bake them or grill them, or simple slice them up and use them as toppings over yoghurt or ice-cream.

 

Here are tips on how to handle nectarines and peaches:

 

Buying 

When picking nectarines and peaches, note that they become less glossy as they ripen. The sweetest fruit tend to have a small white spot on the top half of the fruit, do not mistake it for a poor quality fruit or you could be missing out on the good ones!

 

 

Peeling

Firstly, cut a small cross on the base of the fruit. Soak the fruit in boiling water for 30 seconds to soften the skin. Using a strainer, transfer the fruit to a bowl of iced water. Once the fruit is cool enough to touch, gently remove its skin by pulling it away from the fruit.

 

Stoning

Similar to handling an avocado, cut along the seam of the fruit and around the pit. Twist the two halves away from each other to separate. Carefully cut around the pit to remove.

How to Buy and Store Mangoes

Friday, October 5th, 2012

 

It’s the beginning of the mango season and we’re stocking our Fruit & Veg section with Kensington Pride mangoes. The Kensington Pride is said to be the tastiest of Australian mangoes, and we couldn’t agree more! The Kensington Pride is a medium sized mango and is yellow in colour with a tinge of orange or pink when ripe.

 

How to Buy Mangoes

When buying mangoes, choose them by their scent; ripe mangoes give out a fresh and fruity aroma. To ripen your mango at home, place it on your kitchen bench, out of direct sunlight and leave it for a few days until it ripens. Once the fruit has ripen, you can chill it or freeze it to prolong its storage life.

 

How to Store Mangos

Never refrigerate a mango that is not ripe, nor keep a mango in plastic bags (paper bags are okay for the ripening process) as the fruit needs to breath!

 

Cooking with Mangoes

Mangoes can be eaten as-is, or added to your favourite desserts–ice-cream, sorbet, yoghurt, or fruit salad–the options are endless! For something more savoury, think classic Thai dishes and go from there…basil, coconut, lemongrass, chilli, palm sugar, mint, coriander, prawns and chicken. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Visualise of the lovely colour and flavour the mangoes will bring to your dish…and let your culinary creativity flow!

Gluten Free Deli Products

Friday, September 28th, 2012

 

Simon’s Gourmet Gallery’s Chapel Hill boutique deli stocks a variety of gluten free products to suit every customer’s taste buds and cooking needs to create delicious gluten free meals.

Our hand selected gluten free products from our Brisbane deli include:Roblox Hack Free Robux

 

gf breadGluten free breads

Simon’s stocks gluten free bread for customers with special dietary needs. This can be found in the stores frozen products section.

 

 

 

 

UntitledBaking ingredients

If you would prefer to make your own bread or if you simply enjoy baking, Simon’s stocks a range of delicious gluten free baking ingredients and condiments!

 

 

 

mueslidsMuesli

Simon’s stocks a wide range of different gluten free muesli’s. These products are very popular among our customers as they are a delicious, healthy meal that cater for many special dietary needs.

 

 

 

 

bfJams

There is a range of gluten free jams available at Simon’s that are absolutely mouth-watering. The Beerenberg and New England Larder brands are known for their great taste and are favourites within the Simon’s Deli.

 

 

 

 

 

adGluten free pasta and pasta sauces

For dinner or larger meals, Simon’s has a great range of spectacular pasta and pasta sauces. Perfect for kids and adults with special dietary needs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

dDressings, sauces and marinades

From relishes to salad dressings to tartare sauce, Simon’s selection of gluten free dressings, sauces and marinades has you covered for any meal!

 

 

 

 

 

cuitSweets

Simon’s range of gluten free sweet treats will satisfy any sweet tooth there is. Have a look at the selection of tasty treasures!

 

 

 

 

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Savoury Products

 Finally, for snacks, platters and entertaining, Simon’s range of gluten free savoury products gives you a great choice of serving options!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note the gluten free deli product list serves as a guide. Customers are responsible to double-check the packaging of a product to confirm the suitability of the product to their special dietary needs.

We stock an assortment of other gluten free products that are not stated in this list due to their changing availability in store. If you are looking for a wider variety of gluten free products in a certain section (e.g. muesli) or if you have any special dietary requirements, please feel free to contact our Chapel Hill store—our staff will be more than happy to provide assistance. 

More:

Gluten Free Marinades and Meat Products

Gluten Free Gourmet Take Home Meals

Gourmet at Home with Simon’s: Cooking with Halloumi Cheese

Monday, September 24th, 2012

 

This beautiful, smooth halloumi cheese comes from Barossa Valley in South Australia. Unlike regular halloumi cheeses that have an extreme squeaky and rubbery texture, the Barossa halloumi is smooth and soft, but firm enough to hold its shape when grilled.

Commonly used in Greek-style dishes, grilled halloumi can be used in a variety of simple dishes to add that extra kick of cheesy-salty flavour and springy texture. The next time you put together a fresh salad, lamb burger or a full-on barbecue, toss in a few slices of halloumi to add a twist to your dish.

To grill halloumi, thinly slice haloumi (about 1 cm-thick), grill on both sides until browned and eat immediately while it’s still warm to enjoy the full light and milky taste of the Barossa halloumi.

Here’s a simple halloumi recipe combo from our Delicatessen Manager at Chapel Hill, Brisbane:

Wrap a piece of grilled halloumi with a slice of sopressa (we used Della Nonna sopressa in the picture above) and add some rocket to bring out the flavours of both the Barossa halloumi and the Della Nonna sopressa. The grilled halloumi goes brilliantly with fresh figs as the sweetness in the figs complement the flavours of the halloumi and refreshes your palate at the same time. Pair the halloumi, figs and sopressa with your favourite wine. Not sure which wines, fruits or nuts go best with your favourite cheeses? Refer to our in-store cheese & wine guide in our Brisbane deli for the full list, or check out our soft cheese and wine list here.

Here’s another idea on how to add halloumi to your cooking, adding a little twist of Greek flavours to your favourite classic dishes:

Rosemary & Mint Lamb Burgers

These rosemary and mint lamb burger patties are all made in-house by our butchers. Grill the lamb patties on the barbie or pan-fry it to your liking. Superb with grilled halloumi cheese, sliced tomato, onion, lettuce and tzatziki sauce or your favourite relish in lightly toasted buttered burger bun…yum!

Easy Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

Ingredients and Method

Plain Greek yoghurt 450ml

2 Lebanese cucumbers — one to be shredded and the other to be diced

Salt and pepper

1 lemon

Mix all the ingredients together: shredded fresh cucumber, diced cucumber, minced garlic, lemon juice, finely grated lemon rind and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Variations–eggplant tzatziki

– For an eggplant tzatziki, char-grill an eggplant and set to cool on a paper towel

– Once the grilled eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel skin and mash eggplant with fork

– Stir through olive oil, tahini and tzatziki sauce

You might also like:

Party Essentials: How to Entertain with an Easy and Cost-effective Gourmet Cheese Platter

Handcrafted Pepe Saya Butter, Bocconcini and Basil

 

Spring Entertaining Ideas

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Here’s one of our favourite spring entertaining ideas to get you in the mood for spring: Simon’s (edible) Echidna!

We made two combinations of pinchos (pintxo) for the echidnas’ ‘spikes’:

The first: sundried tomato, half a feta olive and a cube of cheddar (pictured below)

The second: pepperbells stuffed with smoked salmon, a cube of cheddar and a silver of watermelon (pictured below) — the watermelon brings sweetness and moisture to the combination.

We  took about 15 – 20 minutes to put together the echidnas. The platter cost about $15 – $20. Get creative and entertain effortlessly this spring at an affordable cost.

p.s. Once your guests are done picking away, simply take the fruit stand (the pineapple halves) back to the kitchen, slice them up, and serve as a palette cleanser.

 

The Vintage Gold Cheddar is a 42-month-old cheddar with a very sharp taste and is locally produced by King Island Dairy. Cheddar is simple to present as it holds its shape when cut. The Vintage Gold Cheddar is great in sandwiches. With matured cheddar, our Delicatessen Manager advises to indulge and enjoy the cheddar by itself, having it with fruits or antipastos that complement its distinct flavour.

If you have any other spring entertaining ideas that you’d like to share, tell us on our Facebook page–we’d love to hear from you!

 

Easy Dessert Recipe: Calais Pavlova Nest

Friday, August 17th, 2012

An easy dessert recipe–perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Put together a simple, yet tasty, dessert with Calais Pavlova Nests. This easy dessert recipe also makes great, simple summer dessert.

 

 

 

Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Method
1. Whip some cream and sugar together with whisk. Leave mixture in fridge to chill.
2. Prep strawberries and kiwi fruit
3. Fill pavlova nest with whipped cream, top with passionfruit and pieces of strawberry and kiwifruit
Topping alternatives:
pieces of navel orange and strawberry
blueberries and honey
Calais Pavlova Nest is also available in chocolate flavour at our deli’s baking aisle in the Chapel Hill store.That’s all there is to this easy dessert recipe!

Easy Pasta Recipe: Spaghetti Bolognaise

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

 

In this Easy Pasta Recipe post, we’re featuring a simple, yet tasty spaghetti bolognaise, put together using our homemade Mama’s Meatballs, Giuseppe’s pasta sauce and Giuseppe’s pasta.

 

 

 

What you’ll need

  • Mama’s meatballs — available at our butcher stores in Chapel Hill — made with Australian beef mince and our selection of Italian herbs
  • Giuseppe’s pasta sauce
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Giuseppe’s pasta
  • Brown onions
  • Parmesan cheese

Method

1. Brown off meatballs in a pan with onions, add pasta sauce and diced tomatoes

2. Cook pasta according to instructions on pack until al dente

3. Combine your bolognaise sauce and pasta on a plate and top with grated parmesan cheese

 

Recipe variation tip: instead of meatballs and fresh tomatoes, use Spanish chorizo and sweet sun-dried tomatoes (available at our Chapel Hill delicatessen)

 

Fast and Easy Recipes: How to Make Easy Fruit Kebabs

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

 

Fruit kebabs are a great addition to any party (a big bonus if you have a chocolate fondue maker) and are conveniently handy to bring along to picnics too! Here’s one of our fast and easy recipes to try out for your next picnic or outdoor event (p.s. we reckon these fruit kebabs are a great way to get the kids to eat more fruit at parties!).

 

 

What you’ll need

Your favourite fruits
Wooden skewers

 

Method

#1 Cut honeydew, rockmelon, strawberry and watermelon to bite-sized pieces.
Tip: To save time on prepping, pick up our fruit snack packs, available at our Chapel Hill store

#2 Skewer fruit pieces
Tip: Be sure to use a piece of rockmelon or honeydew first for the base of your fruit kebab as the watermelon will give way and split under the weight of the other fruit pieces—a lesson we learnt while taking photos of the fruit kebabs!

#3 To display, place in a glass jar or skewer the ends through a halved pineapple or watermelon. To take-away, just place in zip-lock bags or in a container

 

More easy recipes here, here, here and here

Simon’s Favourite Meals: Easy Dinner Recipe #3 Fillet Mignon

Friday, July 27th, 2012

 

Here’s the third part of our Simon’s Favourite Meals: Easy Dinner Recipe series–simple, fuss-free meals put together by our staff at home using the fresh ingredients from our store. The fillet mignon recipe may seem too simple to be true…but this is one of our Manager’s favourite meals to put together after a long day at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery.

 

Ingredients

Fillet Mignon–a beautiful eye fillet steak wrapped with bacon, seasoned with pepper and mild American mustard. Available at our butcher department at Chapel Hill

1 pack of prepped roast vegetables–available at our produce department fridge

 

Method

1. Bake fillet mignon for 25 minutes at 180°C (conventional)
2. Roast a pack of  our Gourmet Roast Vegetables for approximately 25 – 30min at 180°C (conventional)

Cheeky recipe variation: scrap off the mustard before baking and top with your favourite sauce (mushroom, smokey steak, barbecue, etc) when serving to change up the flavours– just so you can repeat the dish and introduce new flavours to the table!

 

More easy dinner recipes

 

 

Simon’s Favourite Meals: Easy Dinner Recipe #2 Thai Red Curry Noodles with Green Apples and Pineapples

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Next up on our Simon’s Favourite Meals: Easy Dinner Recipe series, featuring easy, fuss-free meals which our staff members often put together at home, is Thai red curry noodles with green apples and pineapples using Marion’s Kitchen Thai Red Curry Paste by Marion Grasby from Masterchef 2010, series 2 and Masterchef All Stars Australia 2012.

 

 

Ingredients
Marion’s Kitchen Thai Red Curry Paste
Lean chicken strips
Fresh Thai basil or mint (for garnishing)
½ Red capsicum
½ zucchini
1 handful of cubed pineapples
1 handful of Granny Smith green apples
Vermicilli noodles (or jasmine rice)

 

 

Method

1. Follow the step-by-step instructions on Marion’s Kitchen Thai Red  Curry Paste. The curry paste kit comes with coconut milk, fish sauce, bamboo shoots and dried herbs

2. Add pineapple, apple, capsicum and zucchini after adding the meat

3. Serve in a bowl with vermicelli noodles (or jasmine rice)

 

More recipes

Osso Bucco Recipe

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Simon’s Gourmet Osso Bucco Recipe

In this post, our Head Butcher shares his all-time favourite Osso Bucco recipe using ingredients from our gourmet butcher and grocer store. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Ingredients
1.5 kg Osso Bucco veal
1 large brown onion (finely diced)
4 cloves of garlic (finely diced)
1.5 litres Moredough veal/beef stock
1 tin diced tomato
1 red capsicum (finely diced)
3 bay leafs
Salt
Pepper
Jacket potatoes
Pumpkin
Cauliflower
Flour
Butter

Method

1. In a heavy base fry pan, melt butter, enough to just cover bottom of pan

 

2. Roll osso in flour, season with salt and pepper, brown all sides in pan

 

3. In a separate casserole dish, line the bottom with hard vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin and cauliflower) enough to make a good base, place browned osso on  top

 

4. In the same pan, add cooking oil and cook the onions.  Add garlic and cook until light in colour. Put in the bay leaves and capsicum. Cook for three minutes, add tomatoes and fresh basil, top up   casserole dish with stock until all the contents are nearly covered. Cover with lid or alfoil and slow roast at 180°C for at least two hours.

 

Tip: The longer and the slower the roasting time, the more flavoursome the dish will become
Osso Bucco Recipe

FREE Taste Test: King Island Cheese,14 July 2012, 10am – 2pm

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

 

We’re having a FREE King Island cheese taste test at our Chapel Hill gourmet deli this Saturday, 14 July 2012, 10am – 2pm. 

 

 

 

Come on down to our Brisbane delicatessen for a chat, mix and match cheeses and find out which cheese gets your culinary intuition ticking. Get a free King Island fondue maker when you purchase three or more King Island cheeses on the day. Perfect for those chilly nights and a great excuse to host a cheese and wine party with your friends!

State of Origin Promo: Get 10% OFF your total bill

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

 

The BIG day is here–State of Origin 2012 finals! To celebrate, we’re offering a 10% discount to all customers who come in our gourmet food store or butcher between 2pm – closing time and say the magic words ‘Steak of Origin’ at the cashier.

 

This promotion is applicable to all our departments–butcher, deli/delicatessen, fruit & vegetable and courtyard cafe. No minimum purchase required. 

 

This promotion is only valid on Wednesday, 4July 2012, from 2pm – CLOSE at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill.

See you in store!

 

 

Edit: This promotion is now over

Like us on Facebook to receive exclusive sneak peeks of future promotions and sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest gourmet tips, specials and recipes from our food-loving team.

 

 

 

 

Simon’s Gourmet Gallery Celebrates Ten Years at Chapel Hill

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

 

Yes—it has been ten years since Simon’s first opened in Chapel Hill as some customers had playfully insisted otherwiseWe celebrated our 10th birthday on the 16th of June in fashion of our passion for food, having an open day of taste tests, bringing in boutique and family-owned food merchants, to add a touch of gourmet into everyone’s Saturday.

Thankfully, the weather was on our side–as it was cloudy and rainy the Saturday before. We started off the day with a fresh fruit platter followed up by biscuits from Mamma Marilena’s kitchen.

 

Mamma was popular with the crowd with her sweet demeanour and display of enthusiasm for her products. Mamma Marilena herself was in store to generously offer everyone a taste of her biscuits, macaroons and nut bread. She proudly exclaimed her nut bread won Best Bakery Product at Fine Foods Australia 2009. Well done, Mamma!

Over at the deli section, we had a nibble at Brubecks Boutique Foods homemade, preservative-free dips, which got everyone picking at the basil & parmesan, whipped feta & beet and roast vegetable dips—yum!

The butchers added to the festive feast with their favourite party finger food—Italian meatballs, sausage rolls, classic meatballs and sausages—all prepped by the butchers and cooked on the spot but our amazing kitchen crew.

Just as we thought we were about to go into a food coma, Carina, co-founder of Lick ice-cream set up her gourmet Dry Roasted Cinammon ice-cream, a flavour especially created for the cool season, up for a taste test. Some say that Lick’s ice-cream should just lose the ‘ice’ and be called ‘cream’ instead due to its smooth, creamy texture. Here’s a little trivia for you, chatting with Carina on the day, we found out that she started the business with her brother, who is a qualified chef. They even create customised flavours for restaurants to match their menus—how cool is that!

  

Not to be left behind, the deli put up a beautiful party platter to amp up the festivity. Smoked Dutch beef, ham, prosciutto, three-milk cheese, which was a hit with cheese lovers—a cheese made of goat’s milk, sheep’s milk and cow’s milk), camembert, double smoked chicken, chorizo and plenty more…We spotted a few people coming back for thirds!

Steve from Pukara Estate of the Hunter Valley treated customers to a gourmet selection of flavoured oils and balsamic vinegars—think fig infused balsamic, lemon infused olive oil—with traditional dukkah and Turkish bread.

 

Just at the entrance/exit of the café, for those people who thought they made it out of the food taste tests maze, there was Debbie from OMG It’s Gluten Free, a family-owned business, who put up pistachio, chocolate and berry cakes up for tasting—and they tasted absolutely divine…you wouldn’t even be able to tell that there wasn’t any gluten in them.

The taste tests open day came to an end at 4pm, with the ballot box full of entries for the *$500 shopping spree at Simon’s. It was a big day for all of us at Simon’s—filled with food and nostalgia. Here’s to another 10 years of building memories together!

 —

Special mention:

Halfway into the day, we had a pleasant surprise…Glenn, owner of Simon’s, pointed out that our first ever customer, Ann Holt, who walked through the doors ten years ago was in store! Intrigued and excited, we rushed up to Ann for a chat.

Picture: Glenn Brown and Ann Holt

We asked Ann what brings her back to Simon’s throughout the years.Her reply:

Oh, the customer service definitely…I get all my gourmet speciality products here…Simon’s has gone from strength to strength…so they must be doing something right all these years.”

We were over the moon to hear such kind and encouraging words. Thanks, Ann! What a privilege it was to meet you on the day.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers—whether you have been shopping with us since day one, or newly acquainted over the weekend—from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all your support.

Congratulations to Simon’s Gourmet Gallery customer, Chris Byrne. Her name was randomly chosen from 100s of customers who participated in our lucky draw on our birthday open day. Chris won a $500 shopping spree at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery.

Thank you to everyone who participated on the day! Stay on top of future competitions and specials by following us on our Simon’s Gourmet Gallery Facebook page.

 

 

How to Store Herbs

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

 

Fresh herbs can usually be kept for about a week plus if stored properly. Here are three ways on how to store herbs and to prolong the life of your herbs:

 

 

 

#1 Refrigerate herbs as-is
Rinse herbs and wrap loosely in a paper towel. Place in a zip lock bag and place in crisper section of the fridge.

#2 Place herbs in a jar of water
Place fresh, parsley, coriander or basil upright in a jar of water. Cover the leaves with a small plastic bag and secure with a rubber band or twisty wire. Place in refrigerator.

#3 Blanch, mince and freeze.
Plunge herbs in boiling water for a few seconds, remove and place in ice water. Blanching will keep your herbs looking green. Once blanched, place herbs in food processor or chop finely. Then, place in ice cube trays to about ¾ full, fill with water and freeze. Note that herbs will lose the intensity of their flavours through the blanching and freezing process.

Simon’s Gourmet Gallery’s 10th Anniversary FREE Taste Test Schedule

Friday, June 15th, 2012

 

Get your party hats on and bring along your appetite (oh, yes, and your friends and family too!). It’s finally here–Simon’s Gourmet Gallery’s 10th birthday and we’d love for you to celebrate this memorable day with us! 

 

 

Date: Saturday, 16 June 2012

Time: 9am – 4pm

Venue: Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill — 10/620 Moggill Road

 

All-day—spend a minimum of $20 in a single receipt on the day and be in the running to WIN a $500 shopping spree! Customers are not required to be in the store for the draw. Winners will be announced on Monday, 18 June 2012.

All-day—check-in at ‘Simon’s Gourmet Gallery’ on Facebook and get 10% OFF your purchase on the day! Just show us your status update on your electronic device (smartphone, tablet, iPad, etc.).

 

9am – 10am

Start the day fresh with our fruit platter put together by our in-house Fruit & Veg Stars

10am – 11.30am

Follow up and get a taste of gourmet dips by Brubecks Dips

10.30am – 11.30am

Mamma Marilena’s in the house! Mamma Marilena nut breads, macaroons and biscuits for all to savour—presented by THE Mamma Marilena herself. Come on down for a chat!

11am – 12.30pm

Our butchers putting up their favourite party food—just in time for lunch!

12.30pm – 1.30pm

Lick ice-cream taster—be tempted by Dry Roasted Cinnamon ice-cream or Coverture Dark Choc ice-cream

1.30 – 3.30pm

Deli taster – tuck into a selection of cold meats, cheeses and antipasto

2pm – 3.30pm

Pukara Estate—taste and learn about a selection of fine oils, relishes, traditional dukkah and more

2pm – 2.30pm

An afternoon of homemade delights—a tasting platter from our in-house chefs

2.30 – 4pm

Sink into the afternoon with some yummy GF cakes and slices by OMG It’s Gluten Free!

 

*Please note schedule may subject to change without prior notice

We look forward to seeing you in store!

 Like us on Facebook to join the conversation and receive instant updates on the event!

 

Party Essentials: How to Entertain with an Easy and Cost-effective Gourmet Cheese Platter

Friday, June 15th, 2012

There’s only one thing we love more than good food—good company. As much as we love creating in the kitchen, we love watching the expressions of our guests as they tuck into the food and, of course, compliments are thanked with more food!

 

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to entertain the gourmet, fuss-free, and cost-effective way with a cost-effective cheese platter…shining the spotlight on Pastore Sardo Pecorino—a cheese made from sheep’s milk. Pecore is Italian for sheep.

Pecorino sheep's cheese

The Pastore Sardo Pecorino comes from the Sardinian region in Italy, hence the name of the cheese. This particular cheese is a semi-hard cheese.

In general, a cheese platter should have three main cheeses:

  • a soft cheese—camembert or brie
  • a cheddar
  • a goat’s or sheep’s cheese for guests who have an intolerance for cow’s milk

In this cheese platter, we used a soft cheese, Simon’s Select vintage cheddar and the Pastore Sardo Pecorino. We added some muscatels, Hungarian salami, South Cape Water Wheels Crispbread, fresh strawberries and salad to bring colour to the plate and to complement the cheeses.

The total cost to make this cheese platter was about $25. The platter serves approximately five people. Prep time was less than 10 minutes. Our Deli Manager’s time saver tip: try to visualize the platter before platting up.

Here are a few combinations to try with the flavours and colours on the platter:

Crispbread/water cracker topped with a generous slice of strawberry and a cube of Simon’s Select vintage cheddar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crispbread topped with camembert and salad leaves

 

 

 

 

Open hot Hungarian salami with salad, camembert and muscatel

 

We call this a baby in a blanket–cute, no? Same ingredients as the open Hungarian salami with soft cheese, salad and muscatel–folded and held together with a toothpick. A great idea for a cocktail platter. 

 

Top tips:

  • Three basic cheeses–a soft cheese (brie or camembert), cheddar and goat’s or sheep’s cheese
  • Serve cheeses at room temperature to get their full flavour
  • Don’t be afraid to play with your food and experiment! You’ll be surprised how certain unusual combinations may sound ‘odd’ at first, but you’ll be glad you gave it a go!
  • Lastly, have fun and enjoy with good company–be it your friends, family, or your favourite bottle of wine.

 

We hope we’ve inspired you and added some gourmet to your day! Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more tips and inspiration. All the ingredients featured in this post can be found in our Chapel Hill gourmet food store in the deli and fruit & vegetable section.

Coffee Essentials: Ethiopia Sidamo Single Origin Coffee in Brisbane

Friday, May 25th, 2012

We’d like to introduce you to our single origin coffee, Ethiopia Sidamo,* from our local coffee roaster Dancing Bean.

Single origin coffee is coffee that  comes from one country. Several factors define the flavours and aroma of a single origin coffee, such as soil, altitude, climate and its harvesting and processing methods.

 

  

Ethiopian coffee cherries (left)  and coffee beans (right)

(Above) a lovely cuppa by our Star baristas at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, cafe, Brisbane

This Ethiopian single origin* coffee come from the highlands of the famous Sidama region (marked in the  map below).

The coffee beans are grown between 1,800 – 2,200 meters above sea level and processed naturally, giving it a distinct mocha flavour with a fruity aftertaste of cherries and strawberries — yum! 

(Above) freshly harvested Ethiopian coffee cherries — simply stunning

Photos of the coffee cherries, coffee cherry trees and coffee beans were taken by Rob Mergard, owner of our boutique coffee roaster in Banyo, Dancing Bean.

 

*Available for a limited time only, while stocks last

WIN a Mother’s Day gift hamper worth up to $100

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

 

Tell us in 25 words or less why you love your mum and be in the running to win one of our three Mother’s Day  gift hampers!

 

 

 

How to enter:

 

1. Spend $20 in a single receipt at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery during the *promotion period

 

2. Fill out the competition entry form given by our cashier

 

3. Drop off your form into the contest form collection box and await  our winner announcement!

 

There will be one winner.

Competition for our Mother’s Day gift hamper ends 5pm, 10th May 2012. Winners will be announced on 11th May 2012 by 9pm on our website and Facebook page and will be contacted via phone or email. Download our Mother’s Day gift competition competition poster Simon’s Mother’s Day Competition Poster download to see the full Terms & Conditions.

Entry is only open to Australian residents who have purchased $20 or more in a single receipt at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery. Employees (and their immediate families) of the Promoter, Simon’s Gourmet Gallery ABN 84-097-623-848 and agencies associated with this promotion are ineligible to enter.

*promotion period: 7.00am (EST),  26th April 2012 – 5.00pm (EST),  10th May 2012

 

Mother’s Day flower bouquets available for pre-order

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, happening on Sunday 13th May. Simon’s will be receiving a wide range of stunning flower bouquets. Spoil that special woman in your life with your choice of a single or multi-coloured bouquets, throw in her favourite chocolates and handmade card to suit!  These lovely bouquets below are available for pre-order, please see our friendly staff in our Chapel Hill store today.

Place your Mother’s Day flower orders  by 30th April 2012. Payment must be made upon ordering.

Bouquets below $10

Chrysanthemum posy

Chrysanthemum posy $9.98

Mixed chrysanthemum bouquet also available for $7.99

 

Bouquets below $20

 

Gift arrangement box_pink flowers

 

Gift arrangement box $19.99

 

Orchid Arrangement

Orchid arrangement $19.99

 

Bouquets below $25

 

Mum's Delight Bouquet

Mum’s Delight bouquet $24.99

 

 

Bouquets below $35

 

I love you Mum bouquet with chocolates

I Love You Mum bouquet — chocolates included $34.99

 

 

Bouquets below $45

Large gift box with vase and chocolates included

Large gift box — vase and chocolates included $44.99

Learn the art of cheese making at Simon’s Cheese Making Course — SOLD OUT

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

We’re hosting our first ever cheese making course on Wednesday, 16th May 2012, 5pm – 6.30pm at our Chapel Hill store. The class costs $39.95 and includes a FREE Mad Millie Beginners Italian Kit. Check out our full Mad Millie cheese making kit range in our Chapel Hill store. If you wish to upgrade your cheese making kit simply top up and pay the difference.

FREE Mad Millie Beginners Cheese Making Kit

With Mother’s Day just around the corner on
13th May, this cheese making class is the perfect gift for a little bonding session with the family and friends.
You can purchase a cheese making class voucher
from us and add it to your handmade Mother’s Day card.

[edit 2/5/2012] Please note that spots for this event are now SOLD OUT. We thank you for your interest. If you’d like register your interest for future events, simple email us as at chapel@simonsgourmetgallery.com.au, or sign up for our FREE week e-newsletter to stay updated with our latest events and specials.

FREE taste testing Brisbane event 20th April, 11am – 1pm, Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

 

Our deli and delicatessen managers are teaming up to host a FREE taste testing event this Friday, 20th April, 11am – 1pm at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Chapel Hill. 

 

 

Casa de Sabor Mocha Mousse for taste testing event in Chapel Hill, Brisbane

Come on down to our store and try some yummy mousses and dips by

Casa de Sabor Mousses, flavours include:
Chocolate Orange
Mocha (pictured)
Traditional
Hazelnut

and

Brubecks Dips, flavours include:
Basil & Parmesan
Blue Roast Pumpkin
Feta & Red Chilli
Guacamole
Roast Vegetable
Thai Curry

See you there!

Free Dancing Bean coffee all day, Tuesday 13th March 2012

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

 

New coffee range, same friendly baristas

We are excited to announce that Simon’s Gourmet Gallery’s cafe in Chapel Hill will be introducing a new range of flavours and aromas from Dancing Bean Espresso to our avid coffee drinkers. As we take our coffee as seriously as you do, our passionate baristas will be undergoing additional intensive coffee training over the next few days to add to their existing coffee knowledge. They’ll be learning how to work on our new coffee machines and learn how to handle our new range of premium coffee beans to ensure that they get the best out of each pull.

Why the coffee changeover?

Some people may not have heard of Dancing Bean Espresso (brownie points if you have!) and may wonder why we have decided to switch from our previous coffee supplier Segafredo Zanetti, an international brand, to boutique coffee roaster Dancing Bean Espresso…so here’s our story:

Being a wholly Australian owned company, based in Brisbane, we wanted to share our humble success, which we have enjoyed over the past decade, with other local businesses who take pride in what they do.  We found locally established Dancing Bean coffee to be a perfect fit as we both share a passion for offering premium quality food products to our customers. We felt that we could relate to Dancing Bean as both of our companies had entered the food industry scene in Brisbane around the same time, flourished over the years, hit a few bumps along the way, yet we still feel as passionately about our businesses as we did 10 years ago–keeping it true to its roots.

Getting to know Dancing Bean coffee

Dancing Bean coffee is roasted and blended daily in its boutique roaster in Banyo, on the north side of Brisbane. Dancing Bean coffee was established in 1999 by Robert Mergard, an enthusiastic coffee lover who felt passionate about having control over the blend and the coffee roasting process, handling only the highest graded coffee beans. Dancing Bean has won awards at the 2011/2012 Golden Bean Awards, which attracted over 1,200 entrants from around the world.

In celebration of our new partnership with Dancing Bean coffee, we are hosting a coffee launch this coming Tuesday, 13th March 2012 at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery cafe in Chapel Hill and will be serving up free coffee throughout the day. Don’t be shy, do drop by–we love seeing familiar and new faces at our cafe, and be sure to invite your friends and family. Come meet Rob and our friendly baristas, and enjoy free Dancing Bean coffee throughout the day.

 

Still curious about Dancing Bean coffee? Find out more on their website .

How to use mortadella

Friday, February 17th, 2012
At Simon’s, we’re all about experimenting and making good food look and taste better. This week we’ll share some tips on how to use mortadella, showing that there’s more to this Italian cold cut than just sandwiches.

Mortadella is a big Italian pork sausage is versatile and easy to incorporate into your daily cooking and party platters.

Have a play with texture and flavours–combine the meat with ingredients that will bring out the mortadella’s flavours such as rocket and black pepper. Compliment the mortadella’s smooth texture with light, crusty and flaky breadsticks.
Mortadella is great on platters for entertaining–roll up some mortadella and place on a bed of rocket, or mixed salad, with some salted breadsticks. The salt on the breadsticks brings out the flavour of the mortadella beautifully. Alternatively, use flavoured breadsticks, such as black pepper for that extra kick of flavour. Add a few ripened vine tomatoes to your platter, and for that final touch, drizzle some olive oil over your masterpiece–now that’s simple and affordable gourmet at home!
If you’re in the mood to cook, the plain mortadella goes beautifully in pizzas and is great to use in a meatlovers’ pizza. Alternatively, use the plain mortadella in baked pastas and in salads.

Simon’s Brisbane cafe’s new menu launch promo, Thursday, 16th Feb

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Simon’s Gourmet Gallery’s Brisbane cafe to revamp cafe menu

After much experimenting and sampling going behind Kylie’s Kitchen doors, we’re excited to announce that will be launching our new cafe menu this Thursday, 16th of February 2012, at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill, Brisbane.  We will be keeping a handful of our classic favourites and adding a bunch of tasty newbies to our new all-day breakfast and lunch menu.

Here’s a sneak peek at our upcoming cafe menu in this week’s blog post…

Introducing our glorious summer feeds at our Brisbane cafeCrispy Chicken Mango Salad (bottom-left) and Chicken Burger (bottom-right–note the melted garlic butter slowly oozing down the perfectly grilled chicken breast…yum!)

 

Gail absolutely loves the new buttermilk French Toast with Berry Compote and fresh cream–a mix of sweet and sour, perfect for a light breakfast or afternoon tea.

Emma, our Store Manager, couldn’t pick just one for a favourite…

“I love the Rosti Stack for breakfast and the risotto for lunch. Both dishes are super yummy. I love the new textures and flavours they bring to the menu,” says Emma.

Rosti Stack–homemade potato rosti with grilled mushroom and tomato, wilted spinach and our tasty homemade tomato relish.

 

creamy chicken and mushroom risotto

Creamy chicken risotto with Parmesan and rocket

This high and mighty Veggie Stack is bound to convert anti-vegos. Pretty layers of pumpkin, sweet potato, aubergine, capsicum, zucchini, and our homemade white sauce. Served with a side of wedges, sour cream and tomato relish.

 

And for the manly men seeking a big feed, or for the ladies with an amazing appetite, start off your day with our Big Breakfast. Glenn is a big fan of this dish right here:

Big Breakfast–what you see is what you get: scrambled eggs, roasted tomato, generour bacon rashers, homemade sausage and herbed potato rosti, served with a side of our famous homemade relish and Turkish bread.

In celebration of our new menu launch at our Brisbane cafe, we’re having an exclusive introductory offer this week from Thursday till Friday (16th – 17th February 2012)…buy three meals in one sitting and enjoy the fourth meal for free*!

Bringing a party of six or more? Brilliant! Just give us a call to make a booking.

 

*the free meal will be the meal that is of least value in the final bill

Please note: bookings required for a party of six or more people

Simon’s Best Summer Foods

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Summer, a time for lazy picnics, Sunday barbies and lounging on the porch with a tub of ice-cream. To put it simply, a season filled with good excuses to indulge in good food to pair with the good weather.

We asked our team from each department, ‘if you could choose to live off one item for the whole summer in your department, what would it be?’ and compiled their answers into a list of our top summer feeds from each department at Simon’s. Introducing Simon’s best summer foods:

Meat

1. Kebabs and steaks for BBQs (ok, they couldn’t settle on just one…) Kebabs for the kids and the kids at heart, and generous slabs of steaks for the grown ups.

Tasty chicken kebabs by our butchers

 

Fruit & Vegetable

2. Stonefruit and melons

Juicy peaches and nectarines for summer

 

Deli

3. Ice-cream, without a doubt!

Our deli manager, Leanne, loves the coconut & lime flavour spice cream from Spirit House while our other bubbly deli girls are fans of Lick and Ben & Jerry’s!

 

Delicatessen

4. Yoghurt

Creamy, dreamy yoghurt from King Island Dairy (picture above), Barambah yoghurt and Greek yoghurt — we love adding yoghurt to fruit salads and muesli.

 

Café

5. Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies

We reckon there’s nothing  better and healthier on a hot summer’s day than a cold glass of freshly squeezed pineapple & orange juice!

 

Meals To Go

6. Salads

Pumpkin salad — packed and ready to go (we thought it’d just look prettier on a plate for the photo) for picnics, barbies and the beach. Plus, our team member from Kylie’s Kitchen, Dhillon absolutely loves putting the pumpkin salad together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to cook perfect boiled eggs

Friday, November 25th, 2011

 Simon’s guide on how to cook perfect boiled eggs

Following up from last week’s how-to eggs series, this week we’re back in the kitchen with Chef Luis from Kylie’s Kitchen at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill. Chef Luis makes all the delicious café meals and Take Home Meals at Simon’s. This week, he’ll show us how to cook perfect boiled eggs.

 

Steps to cooking the perfect boiled egg:

Bring a pot of water to boil. Once the water is boiling rapidly, add fresh organic eggs (eggs must be at room temperature, and not straight out of the fridge —  otherwise the eggs will crack instantly). When cooking at Simon’s, Chef Luis only uses organic eggs because their yolks are noticeably more yellow, firmer, and taste better than the yolks in caged eggs.

Add room temperature eggs to rapid boiling water

It’s all about timing! Time from the moment you add the eggs into the boiling water. If you like boiled eggs with soft yolks, boil the eggs for exactly 9 minutes. But if you like firm yolks, boil the eggs for exactly 11 minutes. Boiling the eggs for 15 minutes or more will make it difficult to peel off the eggs shells.

11* minutes for hard boiled eggs

9* minutes for soft boiled eggs

Remove eggs from the pot and peel the eggs straight away. Delaying this process will make it difficult to peel the eggs once they have cooled down to room temperature. But if you’re planning to eat the eggs later, cold shock the unpeeled eggs by placing them in iced water to make them easier to de-shell later on.

// *Please note that cooking times may vary depending on the type of cooking utensils and environment

How to cook perfect fried eggs

Friday, November 18th, 2011

This week we’re sharing some cooking tips from one of our chefs from Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill. In this post, we’re putting up our chefs’  tips on how to cook perfect fried eggs.

 

 

 

How to fry perfect eggs:

1. Coat pan in oil and heat

2. Make sure the pan is hot

3. Use only fresh organic eggs

 

Our chefs are big on using only organic eggs when preparing our café meals and Take Home Meals. One of our chefs explains that you can really see the difference between cooking with organic eggs and caged eggs–the yolks of organic eggs are a brighter yellow, whereas caged eggs have pale looking yolks. He reckons it may be because caged chickens are under stress, affecting the quality of the eggs.

Organic eggs tend to hold their shape better when you crack them  into a pan, as oppose to caged eggs (picture below) that don’t hold their shape as well.

 

Now these are organic eggs  (below) …notice how the yolks are brighter, more yellow, and the yolks and whites hold their shape better.

And that’s all there is to it to cooking the perfect fried eggs.

Below is a picture of our perfectly fried organic eggs with crisp bacon and tomato.

If you’re not too keen on cooking them yourself, let us do the cooking for you! Come on over to our Brisbane café in Chapel Hill to enjoy some bacon and eggs with a glass of freshly squeezed pineapple and orange juice on this lovely summer’s day.

Stay tuned for upcoming home cooking tips from our kitchen at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery! If you have any cooking queries, feel free to tell us on our Facebook page and we’ll try our best to put up a tutorial for you!

A Shift in the Life of a Fruit and Vegetable Manager at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Welcome to our ever first ‘a shift in the life of…’ article. A shift in a life goes behind the scenes at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery and takes us through a typical day as a member of the Simon’s family. To kick-off a string of insightful stories through the eyes of our team members is Renee, our Fruit and Vegetable Manager at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill. Renee has been with Simon’s for over a year. She shares her stories on working in the best workstation in Simon’s during summer, breaking records, onion tears, the January flood and things that could go wrong on a bad day.

Take us through a typical day as Renee

While some of you are still dreaming away in the comfort of your beds I arrive at work for a 6am start, which I don’t mind at all as I miss all the peak hour traffic! I start my morning ‘shopping’ by going through all the fruit and veg, removing any produce that isn’t gourmet standard so that when you arrive to do your shopping you can easily pick the best!

 

 

I am greeted by a wonderful delivery of fresh flowers at 6.15am, which I arrange on our flower stand at the store’s entrance—this is one of many highlights of my day! At 7am I greet the morning cashier girl and begin to make a list of all the preparation I have to do to fill up the fridge for the day’s trade.

Many of you may not know this, but Simons has a downstairs area. This is where all my wonderful fruit boys spend a good 50 percent of their time chopping away to make our prepared packs such as Asian/Ultimate Stir Fry mixes, Roast Veg packs and Gourmet Morrocan packs. I lightly refer to downstairs as ‘the dungeon’ as it’s very cold in winter because it’s actually a fridge that we work in! Don’t worry it’s a blessing come summer as we have the best workstation in all of Simons! From 7 til 8.30am I am in ‘the dungeon’. I start off by wrapping our fresh delivered bread, which I then pass this on to our cashiers to label and to put on display, followed by filling up all the fridge produce.

 

I then move on to another highlight, Fruit Snacks! The reason they’re a highlight is because we must taste the fruit pieces so that we know they taste fantastic. I must admit sometimes I have to taste twice just to be sure! I then clean down my station and take all of my fruit and vegetable goodies upstairs to label. Just before it’s 8.30am, I send through my milk and flowers order and before we know it, the truck is back from the produce markets, then it’s all hands on deck to get the stock from the Simons aircon truck into our large fridge!

 

Between 10am -12pm we take turns to have our breakfast/lunch breaks and start our prep work for the butchers and the café—yes, don’t let the butchers fool you, it is actually the fruit and veg department that slaves away prepping their beans, capsicums and onions. We aim for 20 bags of onions every two days, which weigh a kilo each, so in one week we chop up over 60 kilos of onions—that’s a lot of tears!

During our prep time we designate one person to be our lookout, they check on the fruit and veg levels upstairs and fill up produce when needed so we don’t run out of any stock! Once all the prepping of vegetables for the butchers is complete, we move on to our café buckets. Some days we have to peel and core apples and pears, and on other days we have to peel buckets of onions—more crying! It’s all in good fun though as we set up races.

The end of the shift rolls around and we start to tidy up, throw out our boxes and clean up our stations. We do one final check of the store to make sure it’s fully stocked before handing the shift over to our night fruit person who completes some extra prep tasks and maintains the produce levels.

Most memorable experience at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery

I will never forget the January floods. Although I was stuck out on the isle of B-Town, other Simon’s staff members who could get to work made the effort to work extra shifts, and even when we could not open due to the floods, Simon’s staff members turned up to give a helping hand. Coming back after two weeks, everyone was so much closer, not just the Simon’s team but our loyal customers too. Your stories helped us to see the brighter side and to be thankful the water only reached the 15th step! I remember two days before we opened we had no power, we started to put out basics like biscuits and pantry items, a lady came in and was so thankful that we were ‘trading’ even though we had no power, a delivery man gave us our first order free of charge and other people were popping in just to have a chat and to see how we were bouncing back. That was the day I realised how important my job was.

What could go wrong on a bad day? How would you cope with a bad day?

*ring ring*

“Good morning Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, Renee speaking. How may I help you?”

“Renee, it’s me…I’m not feeling too well this morning…” that’s how it starts…man down, man down, and with no one to fill the ranks, it makes for an extra hardworking day! But this only happens every once in a blue moon though—thanks goodness!

Some days we just don’t seem to be getting anywhere, days when every box on our to-do list is ticked, orders fly in left right and centre, “Milk’s here, flowers are here, there’s a man on line one asking for your honey order!” How do I cope with this? I take a deep breath and think “Annie delivered a baby, you can do this!” Luckily these days don’t happen too often because I have my strength and my rock and a bit of sunshine followed by some wise words!

 

What do you love most about your job?

I love how much the customers love to see us. It’s nice to know they are excited to come out and shop with us and see how we are going! It’s nice to wake up and think “I wonder who I’ll see at work today” instead of thinking “oh I have to go to work”.

 

 

Herbs vs. Spices

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Initially we wanted to write a blog post on just herbs, but as we started writing we couldn’t help but bring spices into the picture as they’re both so different, yet similar at the same time.

The terms ‘herbs’ and ‘spices’ are often used collectively and sometimes interchangeably, which can get confusing at times. Hence this post on herbs vs. spices.

Herbs are green parts of the plant—mainly leaves and sometimes stems. Herbs can be used fresh or dried—we have a selection of fresh herbs in our fruit and vegetable section as well as a wide range of dried herbs in our deli section at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill. We’ll chat about when to use fresh or dried herbs later in the article. Fresh herbs add a refreshing flavour to dishes and are often used as garnishes (Italian basil, parsley and dill are often popular garnish choices).

Spices come from the other parts of the plant such as bark, berries, stems and roots. Spices are always dried up, and sometimes grounded prior to use. Spices can honestly do wonders to a dish by adding a beautiful flavour, inviting aroma, and colour (certain spices only, such as turmeric).

 

Fresh herbs vs. dried herbs: uses and storage

When it comes to herbs, we’re often asked when to use fresh or dried herbs. As a general rule of thumb, one tablespoon of fresh herbs can be substituted with one teaspoon of dried herbs, as dried herbs are generally more potent than fresh herbs (with Tarragon as an exception as it loses flavour when dried). Use dried herbs when braising or simmering, as the herbs will be given more time to infuse the dish. As for fresh herbs, use them in quick dishes such as salads to make the most out of your fresh purchase. If you can’t finish your fresh herbs in time, fret not! Simply place them in a zip lock bag or in a durable and well-sealed plastic bag, and freeze them. The herbs will darken, but they can be stored for up to six months in the freezer. Dried herbs will lose their intensity and go stale overtime, so be sure to renew your packet or jar of dried herbs once a year.

Leanne, our Deli Manager, has brought in a wide range of Herbies herbs and spices to our store in Chapel Hill. The Herbies range at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery include:

  • All spice
  • Angelica
  • Annatto seeds
  • Aussie fish seasoning
  • Bay leaves
  • Black limes
  • Black peppercorns
  • Bouquet Gami infusion
  • Cajun spice mix
  • Cardamom pods green
  • Chermoula
  • Chilli birds eye – whole, dried
  • Hot chilli flakes
  • Chilli powder
  • Chinese stir-fry spices
  • Grounded cinnamon
  • Cinnamon quills
  • Cloves
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seed whole black
  • Curry leaves
  • Curry mix with seeds
  • Dukkah
  • Whole fennel seeds
  • Garam masala
  • Harissa mix
  • Juniper berries
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Laksa spice mix
  • Grounded lemon myrtle leaf
  • Malay curry powder
  • Nigella seeds
  • Grounded nutmeg
  • Shelled nutmeg
  • Paella
  • Panch phora
  • Ras el Hanot
  • Smokey BBQ spice
  • Star anise
  • Sumac
  • Tagine blend
  • Tandoori spice
  • Toasted sesame
  • Zaatar Middle Eastern spice

Please note that Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill does not carry the full range of Herbies spice and herbs all the time. To avoid disappointment, feel free to give us a call to check with one of our friendly staff.

p.s. Calling all adventurous spice seekers: if you’re keen to try…we have a range of spice creams (spice + ice-cream) by Spirit House in our freezer section.

Melbourne Cup Cheese Platter Tips

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Melbourne Cup — a time to be merry and extra jolly on a weekday, and we can’t complain — fancy hats, tasty nibbles, some bubbly, and an extravagant meat and cheese platter ought to get us in Brisbane into the spirit of things! For Melbourne Cup this week, we’re sharing some crash course tips on serving up an amazing cheese platter to answer questions that we’re frequently asked in our Chapel Hill store — what to serve with cheese, and how to serve cheese?

 

Melboune Cup cheese platter tips: preparation 

Remove cheese from fridge 30 minutes before serving. Cover cheese loosely with a damp towel or plastic wrap until serving time. For whole wheels or large wedges of cheese, just cut how much you think you’ll need and put the rest back into the fridge. In general, allow 30 grams per cheese per person, but no more than a total of 120 grams per person — the more types of cheeses you serve, the smaller the portion each person should get.

Serve cheese with accompaniments on the side, do not let them touch the cheese to avoid mixing the flavours. Cheese is best served on a large platter to give your guests more room to manoeuvre  around the cutting board.

 

At the party, you can’t go wrong with these classic cheese companions

Fruit — pear, green apple, grapes, apricots (fresh, dried or glace), figs (fresh, dried or glace), dates, dried muscatel grapes, quince, fig, pear or plum pastes (we have a lovely range of Maggie Beer pastes at Simons to match your taste!)

Bread — crusty bread, sourdough, almond bread, fruit bread, and olive bread

Nuts — walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew, and smoked almonds

Pickles  —  Gherkins / cornichons, and pickled onions

Scented honey or truffle honey

Try a combo and layer the ingredients mentioned above. A slice of cheese on a pear slice, topped with some fig paste!

And if you’re out of cheese ideas, check out our award-winning cheese range at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill for some inspiration. To find out more neat tips and recipes on cheese, check out Naomi Crisante’s ‘Cheese Matters exploring, cooking and enjoying cheese’ cook book at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simons is hiring!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Are you passionate about gourmet food, retail and customer service, have at least two year’s experience working in a busy deli, and looking to work with a close knit family-like team with an award-winning drive? If you’ve answered yes, then read on! We are looking for a committed and enthusiastic Delicatessen Manager to lead our passionate and energetic team at Simon’s Gourmet Gallery in Chapel Hill! See our careers page for the full job description.

Simon’s Gourmet Food Channel is here! Featuring Simon’s at the Ekka

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The Simon’s Gourmet Food Channel has finally arrived and what better way to celebrate than with a warm aubergine salad! Featuring Simon’s head chef Darren, the launching video was filmed at this year’s Ekka in the Brisbane Argricultural Hall. In this video, Darren demonstrates four easy steps to his winning salad.

If you’re looking for an upbeat alternative to the traditional garden salad, this recipe is for you!

To watch the videos when they first hit the channel make sure you are watching our Facebook page for live updates.

Simon’s Gourmet Gallery at Ekka 2011

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Simon’s made its first ever Ekka appearance last Friday and hosted three cooking demonstrations, which featured Darren’s winning eggplant salad dish with feta cheese and pomegranates! Darren, who led the cooking demonstration, shares with us his experience at the Ekka.

“It was a lot of fun to cook live at the Ekka! Definitely a whole new experience,” says Darren.

Our barista and chef from Simon’s Gourmet Gallery, beams with joy and speaks with a twinkle in his eyes as he recalls the cooking demonstration at the Ekka.

The passionate cook admits that he was quite nervous at the start of the first cooking session but started to relax midway and went with the flow of the event.

The audience were exceptionally engaged and responsive throughout the cooking sessions, much to Darren’s relief and delight. He explains that the audience were particularly curious about handling pomegranates and salting eggplants, and not to mention eager to grab a sample of Darren’s eggplant salad.

 “The audience were pretty much clawing their way to the front to grab a sample!” says Darren.

 There were heaps of fun quizzes and giveaways throughout the cooking demo which were popular with the Ekka crowd!

 Explaining his every move on stage was a challenge for Darren as he was used to just cooking from start to finish at his own pace, minus having to narrate his actions in the kitchen.

 “It was really tough to speak while cooking and I’ve never demonstrated in front of such a large crowd before.”

 “It was also my first time having a microphone while cooking, so it was definitely tricky to explain what I was doing, answer questions from the audience and cook at the same time in a totally  new environment in an unfamiliar kitchen.”

 Darren humbly thanks his brilliant sidekick Amanda, who did an excellent job as his assistant chef at the demo, as well as Amy from Brisbane Markets and Bree.

 So what did Darren think of the cooking demonstration overall?

 “I loved it! The adrenaline rush was amazing. I’d definitely do it again!”

 Look out Australia, a Darren’s Show may be coming to you!