Thursday, 24 September 2015

Egg and Bacon Pie and memories of a Milk Bar

When I was a Uni student in Melbourne I lived an an apartment that had a Milk Bar nearby - less than a 100 metres away. This Milk Bar was our stop whenever milk ran out(obviously) or bread, for a quick chocolate fix or snack. Even for a can of corned beef or when we had run out of something like tomato sauce. The milk bar was also a 'saviour' whenever we wanted a quick meal and that was usually a four and twenty meat pie with loads of tomato sauce squeezed into the pie. Joe and Claudette, the proprietors of this milk bar, served up another fancy pie that I absolutely loved - Egg and Bacon Pie. Joe and Claudette orginated from Lebanon and since I lived in that apartment for more than 3 years, we became good friends. They would know what I wanted based on what time of the day it was. If I sauntered in at around dinner time, Joe would welcome me before asking "Meat Pie or Egg and Bacon mate?"

When I finished my degree and was working for a short time before coming home, I would stop at the milk bar early in the morning for an Egg and Bacon Pie to munch on while on my way to work.

The pie from the milk bar was pretty yummy with chunks of bacon in an eggy filling over a shortcrust base. It was obviously mass produced and of the frozen variety but it was tasty, affordable and for a young hungry student, it was just great!

The pie I made however has a bit more to it. I added mushrooms as well as spinach but made sure the mainstay of the pie was still egg. This is what I did:


makes 1 pie
1 sheet puff pastry
1 large onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
125g ham chips or back bacon
100g spinach - blanched and chopped
100g button mushrooms - sliced
5 eggs
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cut grated cheddar cheese
Black Pepper


Heat oven to 190C. Line a pie dish with the pastry and bake blind for about 20mins. Meanwhile make the filling.
Sautee onions till caramelised then add in the garlic, oregano and basil. Add in the mushrooms and cook till tender then add in the ham chips. Mix well. Add in the blanched spinach and simmer over a low heat to allow flavours to meld.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream and milk till smooth. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Place the filling over the bottom of the pastry and then cover with cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and dont worry if anything floats up. Reduce oven temperature to 180C and bake for 30-40 minutes or till the pie is firm.

The pie turned out really well and the addition of mushrooms and spinach gave the pie more flavour as well as more texture. The ham chips I used were nice and chunky and with the first bite, for a brief moment I was transported back to Joe and Claudettes milk bar on Wattletree Road, Armadale.

Sadly, it seems that Milk Bars in Melbourne are a dying breed. A check on Google Earth that has street level views of Melbourne shows that my Milk Bar is no longer there. I can still picture Joe and Claudette standing behind the counter and their kids helping out whenever they were busy. I wonder where they are now....

(This was actually made way back in 2013 but was posted late.....)


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

The egg and bacon pie sounds like the best Dharm.

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