10 good things to lift your lockdown spirits this week, Melbourne

Make La Tortilleria's fish tacos at home with Make-Out Meals.
Make La Tortilleria's fish tacos at home with Make-Out Meals. Photo: Sammy Green

Feeling glum? It's not surprising, but Victoria is still rising to the challenges with gifts, good deeds and great food to get you through. We're back this week with our pom poms and 10 things to lift your spirits.

Stokehouse is back

St Kilda's summery lover Stokehouse is returning to the scene, initially with weekend hampers (this week: globe artichoke, fennel and pickled mussel salad; a gurnard and prawn bouillabaisse and gun chef Lauren Eldridge's bake-at-home peanut butter and chocolate cookie dough) followed by menus available via Providoor from September 21. Head chef Jason Staudt says that by early October, they are also planning to reopen their takeaway kiosk, Paper Fish. stokehouse.com.au/melbourne

Chin Chin's Make Me, Feed Me meal kits are travelling to the Mornington Peninsula.

Chin Chin's meal kits are travelling to the peninsula. Photo: Supplied

Chin Chin on the Mornington Peninsula

Need some spice? Chin Chin is heading south on Friday, September 18 with finish-at-home banquets featuring Penang-style duck curry, lamb shoulder and roasted eggplants. Bottled soju cocktails can be added. Place order before midnight on Wednesday. Delivery is a flat fee of $15. chinchin.melbourne

Shop farm gates with Farmer DC

This new system, started by South Gippsland beef producer Sam Walker, aims to streamline the process of getting products directly to metro customers, by using pick-up points around the city. Order prime Chianina beef (a prized Italian breed) or Butterfly Factory's dairy products online and you can collect from either the CBD, Sandringham, Keilor Park, Toorak, South Melbourne or Balaclava once a fortnight (more frequently as the system grows). farmerdc.com

Henry Sugar can pack your friend a surprise birthday hamper with treats for $100.

Henry Sugar can put together a surprise birthday hamper for your friend. Photo: Supplied

Henry Sugar hampers

If you've had an iso-birthday, you'll know that care packs make all the difference. Carlton North's Henry Sugar has made an art of building surprise hampers. Specify your recipient's preferences or dietaries (sweet or savoury and whether or not they drink) and it will be filled with $100 worth of cocktails, wattleseed candied macadamia nuts and blood orange marmalade. It almost always includes their own house-made sodas and a birthday cake – right now, apple syrup with vanilla cream. henrysugar.com.au

Temporary Cake Company

Frustrated that Australia's visa workers have been left in the cold? Do you like a double-layered carrot cake with cream cheese filling? Stick your fork and funds into the fundraising cakes being made by pastry chef Olivia Oldfield-Beechey and event manager Ilse Bot. The duo's cakes (pictured), made via All Are Welcome bakery, allow them to make $100 cash donations to visa holders who are receiving no support. Bot says the numerous meal programs are great, but "we thought there was a real gap in direct funding to cater to people's specific needs". Each cake costs $70 plus $10 delivery within five kilometres of Fitzroy or Brunswick. Order via tempcakes@gmail.com.​


Riso Herbivorous Diner is coming

Restaurants are struggling to survive but new ones keep coming. Chef Paolo Arlotta is a former Vue de Monde chef who's been running vegetarian pop-ups under the Herbivorous Nights banner for years. In mid-October he will take up permanent residency at 60 Rose Street, Fitzroy, with Riso, an Italian-leaning, vegetarian, day-to-night cafe and restaurant with a heavy focus on sustainability and Victorian producers. These include Ona coffee, Stomping Ground brewery and That's Amore cheese. Want a taste run? He is doing an Italian-Indian collaboration with Harry Mangat of Biji Dining on Friday and Saturday at $110 for two for pick-up/delivery within five kilometres of Fitzroy. Order via biji.dining@gmail.com

Atlas Dining's Taste of Italy box will raise funds for brain cancer research.

Atlas Dining's Taste of Italy box will raise funds for brain cancer research. Photo: Supplied

Atlas x Robert Connor Dawes Foundation

Like every sector, charities have taken a hit in 2020, unable to hold vital fundraisers. This year, with the Robert Connor Dawes Foundation forced to cancel its annual bayside run for brain cancer research, Atlas Dining is holding a special Italian masterclass on Saturday, September 19 with a portion of funds donated to the cause. Packs will be delivered on Friday for a Saturday cook-along of the three-course feast. It's $70 for two up to $150 for six, with $5 a head donated. atlasmasterclass.com.au

Make Out Meals is a new Hello Fresh-style meal kit service where you can cook recipes from your favourite restaurants.

ISH's eggplant curry is on the Make-Out Meals menu. Photo: Sammy Green

Make-Out Meals

A new Melbourne-based company has adopted the meal kit approach of Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon to support local restaurants such as ISH, La Tortilleria, and Bomba. Kits for two or four people come with mostly raw ingredients (there might be a spice blend from Babajan or already-smoked brisket from Fancy Hanks), but otherwise you make the dishes from scratch following recipe cards and chef videos. One-off boxes or subscriptions for weekly kits are delivered on Wednesdays to Melbourne, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula, with restaurants taking a cut. makeoutmeals.com.au

Wonder Pies is now at Prahran Markets

A doughnut from Wonder Pies' stall at Prahran Market. Photo: Karon Photography

Wonder Pies' big plans

It's pies plus at Raymond Capaldi's latest expansion of his Wonder Pies empire. His new stall at Prahran Market also houses items from CBD restaurant Cecconi's and pizza from A25. He's offering space to other Italian venues, too. Capaldi hopes to open 10 venues before Christmas, each potentially offering a different cuisine. He is furiously negotiating leases including on Bridge Road, where there is potential for a cooking school later. He is also looking to Macleod, and perhaps Geelong. wonderpies.com.au.

Mansae BBQ sizzles at home

Missing the sizzle and pickles of Korean barbecue? The CBD's Mansae is selling home banquets, featuring nine-score wagyu, fine slices of ox tongue, sweet marinated pork or beef short ribs, along with banchan (the collection of pickles), salts and sides such as corn submerged in stretchy cheese. The kicker: they're also selling fat-draining grills plus portable stoves to make the tabletop experience possible. Weekend delivery available within 20km of the CBD. mansaekbbq.com.au