Wednesday, 16 July 2008

My Cafe and Lyneham Pide Hut

The lack of cooking continues, but of course we still have to eat. The cauliflower & macaroni cheese did for two nights, and for two other nights we've had Turkish pide. The pide came about because we were having evening visitors. With me being rather out of commission, and Belinda madly packing for the three month grand tour, we asked Beth to bring the food. We supplied money, drinks, and dishwasher loading.

Beth bought our dinner at the Lyneham Pide Hut. It wasn't bad at all. I enjoyed the very fresh warm Turkish bread, and a good Cacik dip - that's Turkish tzatziki. The zucchini balls were nicely done, still crisp on the outside and cooked through. This matters - if you're a fan of these fritters you'll know that it's common to get them a bit raw in the middle.

We had four pides, two vego and two meat, and they were OK. The mushroom pide had the best filling, including some good black olives; the lamb and mixed vegetable were OK, but the pastrimali seemed slightly wrong. Not that it was off, just perhaps a tiny bit oxidised as if the meat had been sitting around uncovered too long. It's not the best pide ever - I prefer the pide from Dickson, which comes up fluffier and fatter and cheesier - but it's quite respectable. We fed six people dinner, and had to my estimate at least four more meals in leftovers, at a cost of $95 all up. Good value takeaway; we were happy with it.

In a separate event, I had afternoon tea at My Cafe in Manuka on Sunday. I wanted to write this up as a Find column, but it really wasn't good enough for that. I'm very taken by the concept of their lillipilli pikelets and wattlecino. Australian flavours are not used enough, and I was all set to encourage this with a column about "Aussie Arvo Tea" in the Canberra Times. If you have a podium, use it, I say!

Anyway, it wasn't so good. The service was fine, the menu is good, the buzz is good, and there are plenty of outdoor heaters. Belinda thought her French toast with banana and bacon was one of the better examples of its kind. And it's great that they serve breakfast until 5pm.

My wattlecino ($5.40) came in a mug, and was too weakly flavoured. I remember having it before, last year sometime, and it came in a cup, and that was fine. The lillipilli pikelets ($12ish) come in a big stack of six fat pikelets, and the mixed spicy apply berry flavour is good. They were a bit dry and tough around the edges, probably from reheating. I recalled that they had actual berry chunks in them, but these ones were even and devoid of fruit. Perhaps made with lillipilli jelly in the batter? It's served with a berry compote, and although it was winter this was served cold. An unfortunate choice - but even worse, some were still frozen in the middle. I can't in all conscience recommend it other than as a curiosity. Excellent idea, but needs work.

But hey, try it at home! To make wattlecino you need an espresso machine, and wattleseed. It's not cheap, but you could try variations like adding some to plunger coffee, or perhaps infusing in milk before straining it off to make hot chocolate. The seed is a bit gritty in texture to just add to milk as is. And if you can't find lillipillies, you can buy a jar of lillipilli conserve online. Sometimes the Essential Ingredient has them frozen, and quite a lot of gourmet food shops will have the preserve. I got some from a woman who makes her own, and sells it at the Bungendore market. Lillipillies are also known as riberries. Technically I think there's many varieties of lillipilli and the riberry is only one of them, but if you're food shopping rather than gardening that won't matter.



infoaddict said...

Aw!! You set me up my very own bandwagon! (Why I comment more on other people's blogs about bushtucker than write on my own is anyone's guess, however ... sigh.).

Wattlecinos - my own personal tastebuds dislike pure wattle-espresso thingies. I just find it too rich and sticky. However, I utterly adore wattleseed with coffee - I find it makes coffee taste like it smells, which is no mean feat, really. I add it generously to plunger coffee, ideally at the "grind coffee" stage, and really start to miss it when it's not there.

Riberries are, indeed, just one variety of "lillypilly". I tend to reserve the term "lillypilly" for otherwise undifferentiated "berries of the Lillypilly tree variety", which tends to refer to cherry-sized, crisp, tangy (sometimes sour/resiny), and watery/juicy berries with a distinct hard pip (often hot pink, which I find enchanting).

Riberries are smaller, bell-shaped berries with a soft texture and no obvious seed, with a distinct clove/resin/apply flavour, dusty-pinky-red in colour. The clove/resin flavour can be overpowering when eaten fresh off the tree (depending on preference), but hold brilliantly in cooked situations such as muffins and other baked areas. They're particularly good in savoury applications with meats - riberry and applesauce would be fabulous with pork, for eg.

Glace riberries in friandy-muffiny things are an astonishingly moreish grownup flavour that I found rather by accident, and must make more of :)

Ms Cath, could you provide me with the details of the conserves you bought from Bungendore? I think it's my neighbour (if it's in a hot pink jar) and I keep forgetting her name, which is rather embarrassing :)

Anonymous said...

imho the lyneham pidehut is dreadful. i used to go there all the time but one time i was forced to go down to civic pidehut instead (the lyneham one was closed that night) and i have never returned to lyneham again for my pides even though it is so much closer to home. seriously, the civic pides are less 'doughy' and more flavoursome. i have been afraid to try the dickson pides in case they don't measure up to the ones from civic and i spend the meal kicking myself for not sticking with the tried and true...but i might try one now based on your review. maybe :)

Anonymous said...

I am really surprised. I don't live in ACT & just stopped at the Lyneham Pide Hut for a Super Sebzeli on my way through & have been raving about it ever since. The pastry was obviously made on site fresh & the filling was delish. This was Dec 2008, so maybe they have a new chef there?