Coconut coffee ice-cream

I’m tragic, every time I make a new ice-cream it’s my new favourite. I always say, yep, that’s a winner, I’ll make that again, and never do but this time, I think I mean it.

Oh so easy, creamy and rich, you’d swear it has eggs and cream.

IMG_1721You’ll need:

3 x 270mls cans of coconut cream (make sure cans are nice and cold straight from the fridge).

1/2 cup agave syrup, maple syrup or honey

1/4 – 1/2 cup of cold espresso coffee (depending how strong you like your coffee flavour).

1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.

If you aren’t going diary-free use:

2 x 270ml cans of cold coconut cream

1 x 395 gram can of condensed milk and leave out the extra sweetner and use the full amount of espresso. (This is the version I made).

Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to get really cold.

Pour into your ice-cream machine and let it do it’s thing. I found it took a little longer than a custard-based ice-cream to churn but make it the day before you want to eat it so it has a chance to set firmly in the freezer.

IMG_1718IMG_1722This was all kinds of ice-creamy goodness. Do you have a coconut based ice-cream recipe you’d like to share with me?






Lamkin Lane Espresso Bar

Caloundra is a place for rest and relaxation, not top-notch coffee, right? Wrong! Yes, sure, you can enjoy a walk on the beach and marvel at the exquisite aqua blue water. You can wander through the Sunday markets and sample tasty food from Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and Mexico or you can lounge by your resort pool and soak up the glorious sun and now you can get a coffee hit that will make you smile like a Cheshire cat.

Lamkin Lane is a small shop, with crisp navy accents, a polished concrete floor and recycled timber. It’s run by award winning baristas Tim Adams and James Pedrazzini and is a jewel in the sea for Caloundra’s coffee lovers.

Tim is the current Australasian Specialty Coffee Association Queensland champion. He also won the Australian title in 2009 and placed 13th at the World Championships the same year. In 2010 he won the Queensland title and has carved out a solid reputation within the coffee industry. Tim says, “My passion for coffee is equalled only to my passion to be the best barista I can.”


We visited on the Saturday and the Sunday and both days saw a steady stream of people enjoying the blends and single origin beans available. Lamkin Lane isn’t a cafe, it’s a coffee bar with just a few sweet treats and some boutique style cold drinks. The staff are focused on producing the perfect cup to give you a truly satisfying coffee experience. Ask them what they recommend and they’ll happily talk you through the beans and flavour profiles.

Lamkin Lane is worth the drive to Caloundra. As a bonus, you’ll get sun, sand and that exquisite aqua blue water.

31 Lamkin Lane, Caloundra
Mon – Fri: 6 am – 4 pm
Sat – Sun: 7 am – 12 pm

Auction Rooms

It’s well worth a trip to Errol St, North Melbourne to visit Auction Rooms, a contemporary, industrial, airy coffee house cafe that was buzzing with the breakfast crowd on our recent visit.

Along with Proud Mary, De Clieu and Twenty & Six, Auction Rooms is serious about good coffee. They have a dedicated brew bar for filter coffees and a champion barista, Janelle Kingsley, who will pour you the perfect cup of Joe.

After perfect piccolos, for breakfast I ate the three grain porridge with rhubarb compote, pistachio praline and rose petals. Fragrant, warm and creamy this was a lovely way to start a winter morning. Al ordered the toasted sourdough with smokey bacon and poached egg. All beautiful ingredients treated with care.

Porridge with pistachio praline

Bacon and eggs

Auction Rooms is the kind of place where you could easily meet friends for breakfast and end up staying for lunch!

103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne

Proud Mary

I guess if you are the best at what you do, you don’t need to shout about it and that’s what we found when visiting the best boutique coffee houses in Melbourne. They have next to no signage and are a little off the beaten track but are filled to the brim with a mix of young hipsters and savvy coffee lovers from all over the world.

No doubt the International Coffee Expo in Melbourne helped to draw crowds to these boutique coffee establishments, creating an extra buzz, but our experience at Proud Mary was so personal and unique we walked away feeling like we’d had a one of a kind coffee experience.

Al was keen to try the El Roble HR61 pour-over from Colombia, so armed with our coffee map, we eventually found Proud Mary. No sign but a line-up of people outside confirming we were definitely in the right place. Only 18kg of this coffee was produced and Proud Mary bought it all. The pour over cup wasn’t cheap, $30, but a once in a lifetime experience for a coffee aficionado.

Al asked a staff member what filter coffees were on offer and was given an iPad with information about each coffee available. Despite the cafe being crazy busy, once the HR61 was ordered, the staff went out of their way to impart as much information as possible, bringing out the grounds to smell and explain why this coffee was so special.

For non coffee lovers, filter coffee or a pour-over is a great introduction to the delights of this brew. In fact, it is almost like a steeped tea. The complexity of flavour develops the longer the brew sits. It’s a very different way to enjoy coffee, experiencing the real taste without the milk. Check out the video on the Proud Mary homepage. It shows the process of a pour-over and the philosophy behind Proud Mary.

This really was just a coffee visit so unfortunately we didn’t get to experience the breakfast menu, although it did look very good. The meals that were coming out were huge. Of particular interest the smokey spiced black beans, cashew sour cream, corn and mint salsa, coriander pistou, poached egg ($16), the roasted mushrooms, chipotle butter, brioche, whipped goats cheese and a poached egg ($16.50) and the bircher muesli with slow braised rhubarb, burnt orange yoghurt and toasted hazelnuts ($11.50).

With our coffee with enjoyed the espresso brownie and the carrot cake, both moist and delicious.

There is definitely a buzz about Proud Mary or maybe it was the fact that we got to chat with the Italian Barista champion, Francesco Sanapo but either way, I’m pretty sure, even on a quiet day, there would be a certain energy created by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff. It certainly was a fun visit and I’m pretty sure we’ll be back next time we are in Melbourne. A must do for serious coffee lovers.

Proud Mary

172 Oxford St, Collingwood

De Clieu

For coffee lovers, Melbourne really is the place to be and when you have a map that lists the absolute best coffee houses to visit, you do your best to seek them out. When they also do interesting and well made food, you’ve hit the jackpot!

De Clieu in Gertrude St, Fitzroy is one such place. Discreetly signed, it welcomes you into a warm interior and promises a well made coffee hit by Seven Seeds roastery. We ordered piccolos while we perused the menu and they didn’t disappoint.

I was tempted by the smashed green pea, mint and Danish feta on quinoa and soya sourdough toast ($14.50) and also the pancakes with fresh figs, mint, maple syrup and spiced coffee mascarpone ($16.50) but in the end I ordered the corn fritters with avocado, crispy proscuitto and sweet chilli dressing ($16.50). Al went with the sweet roasted Berkshire pork neck with fried free-range egg, spring onion roti and bbq sauce ($16.50). You really couldn’t fault either dish. Tasty and beautifully presented, it was a very satisfying lunch.

De Clieu is clearly loved by the locals. It was doing a great trade in takeaway coffees and people popping in for a quick lunch. Definitely one to add to your coffee and food ‘to do’ list.

De Clieu

187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Mon-Sat 7am to 5pm

Sun 8am to 5pm

Twenty & Six Espresso

It’s tiny, but perfectly formed and it was packed to the rafters so you just know it’s going to be good. Luckily a brunch booking didn’t turn up so we were able to pull up a primary school wooden chair to a bench looking out the front window. Twenty & Six Espresso is clearly for people in the know. It’s subtle branding doesn’t give anything away, in fact, it would be easy to walk straight past.

They serve Proud Mary and Seven Seeds coffee along with a fantastic little breakfast/brunch/lunch menu. We started with a flat white which was well made and hit the spot on this chilly morning.

I was hungry after my flight from Brisbane so I chose ‘The Russian’ which was a vodka and lemon house-cured salmon tartare with poached egg, toasted sourdough and dill and lemon creme fraiche ($16.90). It was light and fresh and danced on the palate. A perfect start to the morning. Al opted for the ‘Take a Bao’, slow roasted pork belly, caramelised five spice reduction, crunchy Asian slaw and peanuts in a bao bun ($16.90). Several times, I got the serious, glint in the eye, ‘this is really, really good food’ look. My mouthful was indeed a winner.

Salmon tartare

Take a bao

Other menu items that caught my eye included the ‘Organic Balinese black sticky rice’ with mango, salted coconut cream and finished with palm sugar ($15.90). ‘The Hunter’, balsamic, red wine and rosemary roasted portobello mushrooms, Spanish chorizo on sourdough, creme fraiche and truffle oil ($18.90) and as a nod to childhood ‘Sourdough Soldiers’, two free range soft boiled eggs with soldiers, butter and vegemite ($9.90).

I wondered why I felt so at home in this little space and discovered the following on the Twenty & Six Espresso website “A lot of people ask us why we named this little place Twenty & Six Espresso… Originally, the idea of Twenty & Six was to provide young designers, including ourselves, a space to collaborate, network and be creative over a drink or some food, let’s call it caffeine aided design…The name simply fell together from a typographical reference; 26 letters in the alphabet, which are essentially a graphic designer’s greatest tool…”

Melbourne is full of great cafes but there is something seriously special about this place. Great coffee, great food, staff with a great attitude. We’ll be back!

594 Queensberry Street,
North Melbourne
(03) 9329 0298

Mon/Wed/Thu/Fri – 7:30am – 3:30pm
Sat/Sun – 8am – 3:30pm
Closed Tuesdays

St Ali

During a quick three day visit to Melbourne, Al and I were on a mission to taste a cup of coffee that was unlike anything we had tasted in our hometown of Brisbane. We are pretty fussy coffee drinkers as we have been spoilt by the blends and single origins that Al roasts for Blue Sky Coffee in Commercial Road, Newstead.

With the help of our friend google we found that St Ali continuously ranked high in the top ten coffee spots for Melbourne, so after checking into our hotel (The Blackman Art Series Hotel) we took a taxi to Yarra Street, South Melbourne. The taxi left and we quickly realised there was nothing in this street that resembled a coffee house. A walk to the end of the street revealed Yarra Place, a small laneway with some great graffiti artwork.

You’d never know a coffee hot spot existed in this tiny laneway in South Melbourne. Very discreet signage on a white washed brick wall, but as we walked closer you could hear the buzz coming from inside.

St Ali has a very retro, industrial feel. Odd chairs and tables, high ceilings, colourful wall art and an eclectic array of coffee lovers from guys in suits to families and couples of all ages. It’s breezy and a little bit noisy but there is something about the buzz that heightens your anticipation of receiving good food and coffee.

St Ali interior

We were quickly seated and even before being offered menus, were asked what kind of coffee we wanted. There is no question that people come here for the coffee. We enjoyed a piccolo and a double shot latte while checking out the menu.

St Ali latte

The breakfast menu is nothing short of amazing. Lola Berry’s (quinoa porridge cooked in coconut milk topped with summer berries), Sweet 16 & Never Been Kissed (roasted stone fruit, maple ricotta and freeze dried mint on brioche) 63 Degrees Above (eggs cooked for 63 minutes at 63 degrees, fried bread crumbs, cauliflower puree with white truffle oil and prosciutto), Omega Love (pastrami style smoke salmon, poached egg, kipfler potatoes and lemon aioli), My Mexican Cousin (corn fritters, rocket, haloumi, tomato chutney and poached egg).

The lunch menu features chicken and beef burgers, lamb, grilled sardines and salads. Al chose the St Ali Beef Royale with cheese, bacon, sweet onion, pickles and Russian dressing. I chose the Quinoa salad with roasted zucchini, lemon and mint. With lunch we each had a My Asian Cousin (apple, lychee and mint frappe). This was a very refreshing drink on such a hot day. I was disappointed I didn’t have more of an appetite as all of the food whizzing past our table looked fabulous. Oh well, just an excuse for another trip to Melbourne I guess.

St Ali Royale burger

Quinoa and zucchini salad

We were lucky enough to spot the owner, Salvatore, who came and sat with us for a quick chat. Generously he took us for a short walk down the lane to the St Ali roasting space so Al could chat all things coffee with one of the St Ali roasters.

St Ali beans

St Ali interior

Foodie and coffee lovers, add St Ali to your ‘must do in Melbourne’ list, you won’t be disappointed.

12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne