Saturday, March 27, 2010

YamDaisy Autumn Menu Part Two

For a YamDaisy Cafe Menu the food must be Delicious, Everyday Food and Economical too. Not only that, there are only four dishes on the menu to cater to the (presumably) wide ranging tastes of the customers. The chef needs to cook them all in a small, but well equipt kitchen. O yes, they need to be made from scratch from local, seasonal ingredients.

It is just turning Autumn in Melbourne, the end of Summer vegetables are glorious, and my sister brought me eggplants, zucchini, cucumber and a huge bag of wonderful new season apples when she came to visit a couple of weeks ago. So I came up with the following menu to give an idea of what a Yamdaisy Cafe could do:

Soup: Zucchini Soup with a Dinner Roll
Main 1: Fried Rice with Coriander and Pepper Paste
Main 2: Mexican Polenta Stuffed Peppers With Refritos Beans and Salsa
Fruit Based Dessert: Apple Puree with Custard and an Oat Crisp

I began writing about this menu last post, so to get the chat and recipes about the soup and the first main have a look here:

Main 2: Mexican Polenta Stuffed Peppers With Refritos Beans and Salsa
In the picture above you can see my attempt at the peppers. 
I am not sure the photo shows how gorgeous they were, and of course it can't let you know how delicious they smelled. I just loved them! But I varied quite a bit from the recipe, so I will write it out and then tell you what I did.

This recipe came from "Moosewood Simple Suppers" and it was my first try at making it.

5 large peppers - Cut in half lengthwise, keep stems on. Remove seeds, brush inside and out with olive oil (allow 1 1/2 tbsps). Salt lightly, place cut side up on an oiled baking sheets and roast at 450F for 15 minutes until tender but still holding their shape.
Polenta: Cook 4 cups of water, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 cup of cornmeal until thickened.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of corn kernels, 1 tbsp oil or butter,  1 cup of grated cheese and 1/2 a cup of chopped spanish olives.
Fill the capsicums with the polenta, sprinkle more cheese on top and bake 5 - 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Serve with Mexican beans and salsa.

I really wanted to make this recipe, but I had the long red peppers which aren't so thick fleshed. Three instead of five! But I did have some sweet corn and some olives (Greek not Spanish). I thought of how I could slit the peppers open so they would be like a shoe shape to fill with the polenta, but how to get the seeds out? 
I slit them, gave a tiny rub of oil where the pepper sat on the tray, and roasted them for 15 minutes. When they cooled I could open up to get at the seeds and membranes. They hardly had any! All very easy, and I had used a smear of oil, not 1 1/2 tbsps.
Next the polenta. I used my easy microwave method (thanks Barbara Kafka) where I put 1 cup of water, 3 tbsp cornmeal and 1/2 tsp salt in a 1 litre pyrex jug. Stir and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir again and cover with a piece of paper towel. Cook 1 1/2 minutes more on high. Mix in a generous teaspoon of butter and a grind of pepper, and let it sit for three minutes.
For this recipe I added about 1/3 of a cup of fresh sweet corn kernels with the butter and pepper. I don't like my polenta too cheesy, so I didn't add that, and I thought the olives would look nicer on top so I kept them back too.
I spooned the polenta into the peppers and topped with lots of grated cheese (that is where I like my cheese!) and the olives and then popped them back into the hot oven until the cheese was bubbling and golden. (It wasn't happening quickly enough in the oven so I finished them off under the grill).
They are SO delicious! I think I prefer them the way I did them, so that is now my recipe!

Next I looked for the Mexican Beans to go with them. I have a yummy recipe but it didn't quite suit (it had cornmeal in it for a start!) and I was feeling sorry for the carnivores so I looked on the internet for one with beef added. However, I found this one and liked it so much! It would match beautifully with the pepper dish!
And to finish it off a salsa with cucumber, tomato, herbs and avacado if possible would be just gorgeous!

And the final dish, for those who just can't survive without a dessert:

Fruit Based Dessert: Apple Puree with Custard and an Oat Crisp
Those of you who have been following my blog for a while must think I am fixated on apples and oats! Every time I think of a delicious fruit based dessert it seems to contain them! But this time I had that big bag of the most gorgeous fresh apples! 

First I pureed the apple following a method my sister showed me that my mum perfected long after we had all left home! Cut the apples quickly into chunks. Cook gently in saucepan with a thick bottom, with a bit of sugar (2 tbsp for 8 apples I think I used) and a sprinkle of water. When soft, blend with a wand style thing in the saucepan, or if you are like me and haven't got one, cool until you can put them in the blender. The red skins give the puree a lovely pink colouring, all those added vitamins, and yet don't effect the texture. (Note: the skins do blend better if they are less than 2cm square pieces).

I made REAL custard, mindful of the YamDaisy 'make from scratch and not from packets' philosophy. I usually make a very nice packet custard, and this recipe was quite stressful since it was first time.... but O Yum! Eggs and milk really do make such a beautiful custard! I don't think I can go back to packet mix now!

And for a bit of crispness I made a round of Oat Pastry ( 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup raw sugar, 100g melted butter ~ combine firmly and press mixture into a 20 cm pie dish. Fill and bake in a moderate oven til firm). 
I just pressed it into the pie plate and baked til crisp and golden and when I had cooled it on a rack I tried to cut it into elegant wedges. I aimed for 16 and got a dozen, they did tend to shatter! I think a YamDaisy Chef would work something else out! They were nice though! The photo makes it look dark, it was really a lovely golden brown. Crisp and sweet and balanced the dish.

The nicest thing about this menu was all the yumminess I got to eat! My next job is to work on the YamDaisy website. I think I need to do a lot of updating to the menu page! You can check the site out here
and see if I have done so! And give me some feedback on what more could be done there! And on this menu too please!
Otherwise thanks so much for reading! Best Wishes to you all!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

YamDaisy Autumn Menu Part One

It has just turned to Autumn here in Melbourne, and my sister visited with lovely produce from her farm, which has greatly inspired this menu.
The YamDaisy Cafe Menu has only four choices each day ~ three really, since one is a dessert. So the aim is that they cover a wide variety of tastes.

It seems that every meal I have at the moment contains zucchini, eggplant, corn, peppers, tomatoes. All those end of Summer vegetables that combine so well together.

I began this menu with the fried rice that stars the beautiful eggplant (prepared with pepper and coriander paste). So then I needed another main that stars Summer vegetables but is quite different, and might suit people who don't like the rice. I tried to put meat in it! (I know there are a lot of meat eaters out there). But it just turned out that it is another vegetarian menu! Maybe it could be for Meat Free Monday!

I hope there is something you like anyway!
There is so much good food to talk about... I will spread it over two posts!

Soup: Zucchini Soup with a Dinner Roll
Main 1: Fried Rice with Coriander and Pepper Paste
Main 2: Mexican Polenta Stuffed Peppers With Refritos Beans and Salsa
Fruit Based Dessert: Apple Puree with Custard and an Oat Crisp

Zucchini Soup with a Dinner Roll
This must be the simplest soup in the world, it is hard to believe it tastes so good, but try it and see! A fresh little dinner roll is a perfect accompanimnet!
Zucchini Soup
500 g zucchini ~ cooked in boiling water (to cover) until soft. Cool enough to blend.
Then add 2 1/2 cups of milk, 1 tbsp of butter and Salt and Pepper to taste.
Reheat slowly (do not boil!) and serve.

Fried Rice with Pepper and Coriander Paste
This is best made with precooked rice that is waiting nice and cold in the fridge.
The eggplant is prepared first. Cut 2 medium eggplants into fair sized chunks (2cm squared) and mix through 2 tablespoons of Pepper and Coriander paste.

(This is seriously wonderful stuff! I got the recipe from Charmain Solomon's Thai Cookbook and made it when I had a big bunch of coriander I wasn't using quickly enough. I froze it in a couple of portions. This is how it goes:
1 tbsp chopped garlic crushed to a paste with 2 tsp salt in a mortar and pestle
Roast and crush 2 tbsp of black peppercorns
Chop 2 cups of fresh coriander
Mix all the ingredients above into a paste in the mortar and pestle or a blender.
Add and mix in 2 tbsp of lemon juice.
Note: If you grind the pepper in a spice grinder, just use 1 tbsp as it will taste much stronger.)

Now that your eggplant has been sitting in the amazing paste, gently cook it with just a touch of oil, if you wish, until the eggplant is cooked.
Prepare the other ingredients for the fried rice: I used onion, zucchini, red peppers, corn and beet leaves, but notice how I have zucchini in the soup and red pepper and corn in the other main? I couldn't avoid it!
At least with this recipe the customer can choose what extra veggies they want in their rice!

Stir fry the veggies, then add the eggplant and any of the paste in the bottom of the bowl, then the rice and some chopped peanuts and when all is deliciously hot and fragrant fill up your bowl and enjoy. it tastes fantastic!

Next two dishes - Next post! Jump to it here
If you are trying to work out what the YamDaisy Menus are all about - Have a look here

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthdays and the YamDaisy Cafe


My idea of Community Cafes that provide delicious, everyday food will work has a community focus. The chef will get to know people, the IT system will help clarify health issues, food allergies and intolerances, and likes and dislikes as well. The people will get to know each other.

The Cafe can play a part in Community celebrations and surely these should include birthdays too! Claudia's birthday today has inspired this post that looks at the issues around Birthdays at the YamDaisy Cafe.

My idea of the YamDaisy Cafe is to provide homestyle cooking , and not the cakes and pastries that are part of the usual cafe fare. I want to maintain the distinction between the YD Cafe and other cafes in the area.
This is partly to keep a clear distinctions between the 'everyday' food of the YD Cafe, and the 'sometimes' of gorgeous cakes and tarts and such things. The other part is to build supportive relationships with other community businesses. Local cafes and restaurants might give food vouchers or special deals for YamDaisy customers..

But for some people and some situations, it might be really appropriate for Birthdays to be celebrated at the YamDaisy cafe. Here are some:

Pensioner Dan lives in a small bedsitter. His sister's family are coming down for his birthday. He can take them to the YamDaisy Cafe for lunch and celebration.

Marian is working nights, she is picking the kids up from school and having Lucy's 8th birthday tea at the YamDaisy Cafe.

The YamDaisy Chef promised vision impaired Jeff he would cook Lasagna according to his special favourite recipe on his birthday. And he will.

Mrs Tobin has invited three friends to her birthday. Two are diabetic and one has to eat dairy free. They are all pensioners, but the YamDaisy Cafe is the place where they can celebrate.

Everyone knows what a hard year Jen has had, but Lisa chatted to the YD Chef and since they know she will be having lunch at the cafe.... well quite a few other people will be popping in for lunch at the same time. And a big pink cake will be served too!

Can you think of more people who would have their best birthday at the YamDaisy Cafe?

I made Claudia the sort of cake that might work well at a YamDaisy Cafe Birthday Celebration. I wanted to make her a pink one! It is based on the Beetroot Walnut and Hazelnut Cake from Let Her Bake Cake. But I used Almonds and Vanilla for the nuts and spices. . The beetrroot colouring made such a pretty icing! And the beetroot itself made lovely squiggles through the cake mixture!

Claudia this post is dedicated to you. Best Wishes for a lovely year, and I am having a virtual piece of birthday cake with you, and a lovely cup of tea! 
Everyone else is welcome too. Enjoy the cake and do pop over to Claudia's blog and say Happy Birthday!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Perfect Food Business

My last post was all about running a successful cafe. The information came from Ken Burgin who has had decades of experience in the Food Industry and runs workshops for people who are thinking of starting a cafe or restaurant. Check out my post here.
The interview ended with Ken Burgin being asked what food business he would choose if he could start up one now.

I will get to his answer in a roundabout way.

I came up with my idea of YamDaisy Cafes from the point of view of someone who needed help with meals (because of chronic illness) and someone who was used to providing meals to large households (previous to chronic illness!). But I didn't have much of an idea of the Food Industry side of it, and I needed to be sure that my YamDaisy structure was sustainable as a food business.

I looked around to find someone who could give me information, and was first helped by a lecturer at William Angliss, a top Melbourne Hospitality College.  He opened my eyes to so much: industrial equipment, working out profit on percentages, and some serious stories about life in this strange world.

When I asked if he thought chefs would be interested in YamDaisy Cafes with my idea of a fair income, and fair conditions, and everyday (delicious) food, he was quite inclined to think chefs could be. But not the young ones, starting out, that I thought might jump at a situation that was well supported and not too expensive to get into. No, he thought it would appeal to those who had had their time of late night craziness in the restaurant world. People who might want to sleep at night, people who wanted a bit of normalcy.
Close early, he said.

Shortly after, what should I see in my local paper, than an article about a chef who had worked in a most prestigious restaurant, but was now in our little suburb, running the local organic cafe.
'He will have lots of experience useful to me!' I thought, and up I went to see if he would talk to me. He did, and I was very grateful because he didn't have much time.
I learnt more about industrial equipment, I got to look at the store room, ask the questions and get similar cautious support and kind encouragement. Same opinion that few young chefs would be interested in my idea.
And why was this skilled chef working in the little cafe in the shopping strip?
He had a young family, and he wanted to be home in the evenings.

I am not such a slow learner. I went home and worked at my YamDaisy structure. How to get meals to people and let chefs work ordinary hours? I pushed back dinner time at my cafes so that it was still open for early diners like people with school kids, and then lots of beautiful take-away for people to buy to eat later.
6 p.m. closing.
(Okay. Maybe someone could be there a bit later to keep selling takeaway and close up)
But I made the core of the service be lunch through to early dinner with room for flexibility if the chef might choose it.

And now, let's get back to Ken Burgin and this question: "If you were to open a food business in Melbourne today, what would you choose?"
This is what he said:
I would want one that opens early, closes by 3, and is Monday to Friday.
Why? So I could have a life!
Well Mr Ken Burgin, I am about as close as I can get to your perfect food business!

To find out more about my YamDaisy Cafe idea, check out the website.

Note: The illustration at the top comes from the Community News Sheets I produced last year to let my local community know about my YamDaisy idea.

And finally ~ I will be so interested to hear what you think of this post! Were you surprised?

(I was, but then I was pleased!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

YamDaisy Cafe - Start Up

Melbourne's Food and Wine is about to begin and I was interested to hear adverts for a workshop called "Starting a Cafe or Restaurant?". Ofcourse my ears pricked up!
I looked it up, and while I am sure it is worth every penny, $350 is out of my price range, and a one day workshop is beyond my health. So you can imagine how pleased I was to discover that Ken Burgin, one the people running the workshop, would be interviewed on my favourite food programme on radio  (3RRR 'Eat It!').

It was a great interview, beginning with the dream of starting your own Cafe being like falling in love, and how hard it is to talk someone out of someone, or something, they are in love with.
I do admit - I am a bit in love with my YamDaisy dream!

So I was ready with my pen in hand as they went through their reality check.
50% of cafes are closed within 18 months of opening, and the creative dream of making food  needs to be balanced with the hard reality of working out the bottom line.
They went through a list of skills a cafe owner needs:
  • GREAT WITH FOOD (artisan baker, creative chef, barista)
  • COMPLIANCE (food safety, legislation)
  • NUMERACY (book keeping, working out profitability)
  • FOOD HANDLING (storage, ordering etc)
  • MARKETING (getting people in)
  • MANAGING PEOPLE (staff, customers )

When I was first trying to see if my Cafe idea could work in reality I spoke separately to two people in the food industry. One works at a premier catering college, and the other is chef of a local cafe. Both have extensive experience in restaurants and catering and both were kind enough to give me their time and expertise. And both went through pretty much the same issues as I was listening to in the interview. What a relief!

Because my idea is for there to be a system of YamDaisy Cafes, (there could be as many as there are McDonalds!) I want a Franchise type of organisation to be behind them (a not-for-profit one).
It can help with many of the skills that are needed. It can support the Chefs and let them concentrate on cooking (and food handling!) (and the people managing!)...
No! Truly, they will be so useful! All the information can be on hand, and the expertise; checklists, training, online information and support, mentoring.

But here's the thing - at the end of the interview, Ken Bergin was asked what kind of food business would he choose if he was to start one up.
What do you think he said?

That will be the subject of my next post!

Note; The illustration at the top comes from the booklet I made so I could show people my idea, including my food industry contacts! This picture shows how I began my idea from the knowledge of how hard it can be for some people to cook good food for their family.

Friday, March 5, 2010

YamDaisy Caesar Salad

Following on from the previous post, that showcased Andrea's Summer menu, I went on a quest to discover  the perfect Caesar Salad for the YamDaisy Menu. (Read more about Yamdaisy Menus here)
This meant it needed to be:
A meal in a bowl
Absolutely delicious
Everyday food

I did a bit of thinking about my experience with Caesar Salad ~  not much! I had heard of it when I was young, and knew that it involved raw egg dressing the leaves! Something I feared and loathed! Eventually I saw a recipe where the egg was poached and thought Yes! I could try that!
But never did.
A friend spent time in Canada and said every family had their version there, like many Australians have their version of coleslaw. So that made me notice the variations in the recipes I saw.
But I still hadn't tried one, let alone made one.

I also thought about need for the egg to be cooked to avoid risks associated with raw eggs. This may have been how the egg came out of the salad and was put on top in the first place! 

Next was research: I got good help from the folk at the Jamie Oliver Forums, and I had a great trawl through Google.
What I loved finding out about the original Caesar Salad was that the great treat was the dressing he mixed up with a flourish at the table, and how the crisp Romaine (Cos) lettuce leaves that were dressed and topped with croutons were pulled out dripping and eaten with delight. (No anchovies, no bacon, no poached egg, no chicken, no tuna).
But this was a side salad, and a wicked special treat. 'Sometimes' food, not 'Everyday' food.

I kept in mind the lovely thought of the crisp lettuce leaves dripping with the delicious creamy dressing, and went back to Brian's Caesar Salad that was made with dressed cos lettuce leaves, and croutons, bacon and egg. I wanted to bake the croutons, and poach the egg. I had thought of a vinaigrette dressing, since the egg is not in the salad, but on top instead ~ but what about the creamy original?

Gradually I began to consider a creamy yoghurt based dressing. I know these can be exquisitely delicious, and I could just imagine pulling the leaves out dripping! I went over in my mind what additions: mustard and worcestershire sauce surely, as they were in the original, garlic, maybe a little maple syrup for sweetness? (Eek No! said my friend Lin).
After a lot of thinking I googled 'Yoghurt Caesar Dressing' and lo and behold I came up with this: It even has the maple syrup in it! (Lin!).

Off I went shopping and bought the ingredients I needed, then home and time to begin.
I made the croutons as Koukouvagia suggested on the Jamie Oliver Forum, I made the dressing from the blog, I poached the egg, cooked the bacon and prepared the Cos leaves and the herbs.

Because the dressing was so wonderful and full of flavour, the croutons probably didn't need to be dressed with herbs and garlic, but I will leave them in for my recipe (because they are THE best croutons). The poached egg worked well (it has been years since I poached an egg, I won't wait so long again!), the bacon was great. The dressing did slide off the leaves a bit, but that meant I got to dip them in the dressing at the bottom of the bowl, and that was SO YUMMY!
This was a wonderful meal in a bowl! A real treat, and it would be such a lovely dish for a YamDaisy Cafe!

Joy's Version of Andrea's Suggestion of Brian's Version of Caesar Salad for the YamDaisy Cafe!

Cut good bread (mine was day old home made bread) into cubes, no crusts
In a bowl mix a little extra version olive oil, mix in a minced garlic clove, a little dried oregano, finely chopped chive and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the breadcubes in the oil until they are just moistened.
Tip them onto a tray and bake 5 - 10 minutes in a warm oven.
Put aside. 
They are very yummy, but don't eat them yet!

Lemon Yoghurt Caesar Dressing
In a non reactive bowl place the following ingredients:
The juice and zest of half a lemon
1 tsp of Tabasco or other chilli sauce (optional)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tsp salt
Plenty of fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 a granny smith apple finely grated
1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Mix until really well combined. 
Have a little taste, it should be magnificent! 
Set aside.

Poached Egg(s)
Bring a pan of water to a simmer. The pan should be low and wide so it is easy to get the eggs in and out. The water should be an inch deep (nearly 3 cm) so the eggs are submerged.
Add a little milk and bring it to a simmer again.
Add the most wonderful, fresh egg(s) you can get. place gently in the water and keep it at a bare simmer for about three minutes, maybe three and a half. (My three minute one had a just runny yolk which was perfect).
Lift out and drain it on a paper towel.

Cut a nice rasher of bacon into pieces (mine were nearly 1cm x 2 cm) and put them into a cold frypan. Put it on the heat so it warms up gently and the fat from the bacon cooks them just how you like them! Set them aside.

Cos Lettuce and Herbs
Cos is what we call Romaine lettuce. Get out the lovely fresh smaller leaves from the middle!
Fresh parsley and chopped spring onion.

Putting it all together!
Put the leaves into the dressing and toss them around and then place them on the plate.
Top with the bacon, egg, croutons and herbs in whatever configuration you fancy!
Add another blob of dressing to set it all off.
Sit down and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Andrea's YamDaisy Menu

Menu Introduction: My blog is about my idea for a series of YamDaisy Cafes that provide delicious, everyday food at prices people can afford.  Click Here to read more about my idea.
 To give an idea of the sort of food the YamDaisy Cafes would serve I ask friends to come up with a day's menu. Four options are available each day: a soup with accompaniment, two main meals and a fruit based dessert. The small number of options are to make it easier for the chef, and also to make it more similar to home cooking where there is usually even less options! The food needs to be made from scratch in a small kitchen for a lot of people out of local, seasonal ingredients.

SOUP: Vichyssoise with Melba Toast
MAIN 1: Stir Fried Zucchini and Onion on Rice with a Satay Sauce
MAIN 2: Caesar Salad in a Bowl
DESSERT: Strawberries with Meringue and Cream

I do love the insight and challenges I get from people's menus. There so many things in Andrea's menu I would like to explore. Andrea and her partner Brian are farmers and Brian has a great vegetable garden and orchard so she had an extremely clear idea of what is in season (in country Victoria in the heat of Summer). And she also knows the sort of food that suits the hot weather. 

SOUP Andrea NEVER has soup in Summer! But she knew that Vichyssoise can be eaten cold, and so chose that. What a lovely choice, because it is cool and tasty when you haven't much appetite, but it will keep you going!

MEAL 1: RICE, STIR FRY ZUCCHINI AND SATAY SAUCE  To blog a menu I need a picture, so I make one of the dishes. As well as making the blog more inviting it gives me a good idea about the menu and plenty to talk about! Plus a recipe or so to share. 
Today I made rice with stir fried zucchini and satay sauce. 
So firstly, do you call coconutty peanut sauce 'Satay Sauce'? It is common here, but by looking up recipes I think we should be calling it Peanut Sauce, maybe Creamy Peanut Sauce because of the coconut milk in it.
Since I am not cooking the dish for 60 people in a YamDaisy Cafe, but just for my own lunch - I am very glad Andrea gave me her recipe for making a small amount of creamy peanut sauce in the microwave (or easily done in a small saucepan on the stovetop). I have changed her ingredients according to what I have easily available, and this is how I make Satay Sauce:
Quick, Easy, Creamy Peanut Sauce
Soak a 1 tbsp piece of tamarind in a 1/4 cup of hot water
Into a 2 cup microwavable jug place:
2 tsp of grated palm sugar
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp soy sauce
1 big tbsp of peanut butter
Squish up the tamarind and strain it into the jug too
a pinch of chilli powder (plain hot chilli, not the American mixture)
Mix it all up and then add 3/4 cup of coconut milk and stir again.
Microwave on medium power for a couple of minutes until it is thickened and hot but not boiling.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
That is it! taste it, it is YUM!

Next the vegetables. I added carrot, celery and corn to the zucchini and onion, thinking it would be good to have a variety so customers can nominate if they want one left out! ~ and to add to the colour and texture of the dish. I stir fried them plain, because all the added flavour is in the sauce, and I didn't add my pinch of salt til the very end because I didn't want moisture to come out and make them mushy. This was very quick and easy too!
I served plenty of vegetables with freshly cooked rice and topped it with the hot tasty sauce. I didn't have coriander or Asian basil to garnish, so that is why sweet basil is there, and very delicious it is too. (And I have leftovers for tomorrow).
I took the photo and immediately tried to start this post, except that eating stir fried vegetables with rice and satay sauce does require both hands!

MEAL 2: CAESAR'S SALAD IN A BOWL By 'in a bowl' I mean that it is the meal in itself, not a side dish.
Andrea was really thinking about eating in the hot weather, and wanting something light and refreshing but still substantial enough to be a meal. She told me about Brian's way of eating Caesar Salad which is cos lettuce with a dressing and small pieces of fried bread, egg, and bacon, topped with parsley and spring onions. Wow! I was intrigued by this because I have never made Caesar's Salad to my satisfaction. I want to do it for my next post.
I want to make a great YamDaisy Caesar Salad in a bowl. I have considered Brian's favourite way, and am impressed by the way it is almost Farmers Breakfast as a salad! I have looked up the close to original recipes. I think I want something inbetween. Can you help me? Do you have a favourite way of making Caesar Salad? Do you ever eat it as a meal in a bowl, or always as a side dish? How would you make it for the YamDaisy Cafe?
Note: 6/3/10 : I made it! Click here to check it out

Finally DESSERT ~ STRAWBERRIES WITH MERINGUE AND CREAM. Yummo! It was nearly pavlova, but since that didn't really fit into the YamDaisy philosophy of 'everyday' food, Andrea shrunk the meringue to a small little bite of deliciousness to accompany the fruit, and the cream to a delicate blob, and let the strawberries star. Oh heaven, I wonder if I can make this dish too!

Thankyou Andrea for a gorgeous menu, a delicious lunch, and a Caesar's Salad in the next few days!