Monday, April 16, 2018

Vietnamese caramel pork recipe

This year, I intend on going back to my old routine of publishing at least two recipe posts in a fortnight. I have been cooking a lot at home lately but sadly, I have lost interest in proper food photography and have drawn myself into the habit of snapping pictures with my iphone.

And without further delay (well, a three month delay actually), this would be my first recipe blog post for the year :) I have been experimenting on simple, one pot recipes due to my hectic schedule and this one from RecipeTinEats is such a simple, delicious one embodying all my favourite sensations aka sweet, salty and sticky. I have modified some of the ingredients slightly in order to use up what I have in the pantry haha.

As the pork skin looked like it would turn out rubbery if I let it cook in the pot, I sliced it off and made it into crackling pork skin. Simply place pork skin under a broiler, set at 170 to 180C.

100g dark brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1kg pork shoulder, cubed
375ml coconut water
2 shallots, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place water and brown sugar in a pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar has melted and appears to be caramelizing.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring quickly and ensuring to evenly coat every cube of pork. Lower heat until it appears to be simmering gently.
3. Allow to simmer for 1 hour or until the sauce appears to have thickened, without the pot cover, stirring every now and then.
4. Ensure the sauce thickens throughout the cooking process as this would give you that lovely caramelized, sticky sensation at the end.
5. Serve with rice, garnished with chopped chilli or spring onions :)

Cutler & Co, Fitzroy MELB

It's been almost a month since we dined here but more importantly, it's a mini achievement for myself knowing that I am able to move on gracefully despite the bumps along the journey. WL's short temper often gets him into trouble but during challenging moments, I am surprised at how well he managed to turn the situation around.

Service is very personalized here and our waitress was most attentive. Do note that this place can get very busy which may make it difficult to flag down a staff member but regardless, your request would be attended to soonest possible ;)

I love good house bread and this was no exception. A thin, crisp crust encloses this fluffy, porous piece of bread that has a strangely mesmerising yeasty aroma. Oh and kudos to the creamy quenelles of butter. Both of us loved the miso flavoured version:)

Bonito crudo, orange and dashi dressing, cultured cream and witlof - a light start to the meal.

Roast suckling pig, Japanese turnips, shittake and mustard leaf - sauce had been reduced to a thick, delicious consistency which goes well with the soft pork flesh. Overall flavours married well and excellent execution of textural elements.

Smoked maple glazed duck served two ways. I am a huge fan of duck dishes and this version from Cutler and Co ticked all the right boxes for me. Meat was cooked medium rare, skin was crisp and the sauce was had a brilliant sweet, savoury taste to it, making it all the more enticing. A favourite dish of the night :)

Poached quince and liquorice, confit leg, bitter leaves and walnut dressing - utilizing the detache-able bits of the duck, this dish was again packed with a myriad of textures and savoury/ fruity flavours to tantalise our taste buds. Every single ingredient had been well prepared and a dish that I cannot fault.

After taking my time to savour the duck, I was too full to have dessert. Rarely do I miss desserts but ending the meal on a good note was not a bad choice either. Complimentary petite fours in the form of chocolate truffles and jellies were presented to us, a final attempt at sweetening up the night for us.

Cutler & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Hatter and the Hare, Bayswater MELB

Driving towards Bayswater brought back bittersweet memories of my early days in Melbourne. For one, I recalled dreading to wake up every morning despite feeling blessed to have actually set foot alright here. Moving forth, I never did pass this area again after I commenced work at a different site.

The cafe was rather busy for an Easter sunday and were lucky enough to be seated rather quickly. Our eyes were equally spoilt by the tempting array of baked goods on display at the front counter.

Iced chocolate - a little too watered down to my liking and reminded me of a commercially available chocolate milk I used to have as a teen.

Chai latte - lacked the required chai aroma from the spices.

Benedictine adventure - brisket, rosti, pickles, fried potatoes, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Delicious little number although would have preferred the portion to be slightly bigger considering that it costs $23.

Chase the white rabbit - chilli scrambled eggs, mushrooms, toast, goat's cheese and candied chilli. Scrambled eggs were delicious although some might find it a tad spicy. Loved how the salty cheese married well with the other milder flavoured ingredients like the mushroom.

Cakes - the cafe is known for their cakes and yes, I do agree that the cakes taste as pretty as they look. Did not manage to try every single one but for the ones we had, we thought the flavours were well balanced and sweetness levels were on point.

Do yourself a favour and have piece (or two!)

I suppose the biggest let down in my books were the beverages but aside from that, it is a decent little cafe hidden in the heart of Bayswater. Hello old memories :p

The Hatter and the Hare Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 9, 2018

ChangGo, Melbourne CBD

Each season symbolizes a certain type of cuisine for me and without a doubt, Korean it is for the cooler season. Think hot pots and barbeques, both providing warmth to the surrounding diners patiently awaiting for it.

ChangGo is one of the many places I have read good reviews on but also one of the few that I hesitated due to their no booking policy which often leads to long waiting times. Service is quick although probably could improve on in terms of attentiveness during busy periods.

Maekgoli - doubt I have spelt this correctly but nothing makes me happier than a sip of alcohol to warm myself up from the inside, in anticipation of what's to come next.

Seafood hot pot - part of a set meal for 4, priced at $88. Overall not too bad but not something that you would bank on for a lot of protein.

Beef - wouldn't say it's the best quality piece out in the market but somehow the char-grilled aroma gave it a character upgrade. Tastes even better when paired with the side sauces, all wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

Seafood pancake - one of the best ones I have had in Melbourne. Crisp, fluffy and generous with its ingredients. Would happily come back to reorder this fella.

8 flavours of pork belly - priced at an additional $48, we ordered this separately after reading about its popularity. Wine, original, garlic, herbs, pepper, curry, soybean and gochujang flavoured, each dish weighed approximately the same. Favourite flavour would have to be the garlic and soybean version.

Overall, it is a good place to get your feed's worth although bear in mind that the queues can get insane during peak hours. On the plus side, staff don't hurry you to leave nor is there a time limit which often occurs at busy establishments.

ChangGo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 2, 2018

Cultural Commons, Springvale, MELB

As much as I love watching Youtube videos of people dining at new places or regions, I secretly do crave for these foods thereafter. So much for trying to behave on my diet.

After a long shift, I was tossing between having brunch and munching into a hearty sized burger. Needless to say, brunch these days can work out to be a tad costly and does put me off knowing about the added public holiday surcharges. So burgers it is.

Peanut butter milkshake - Often times, people do get confused between a milkshake and a thickshake which all differs by a dollop of ice cream in the concoction. This milkshake was light enough to easily consume although it would have tasted much better with more peanut butter added into it.

The maverick - beef patty, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onion, crispy bacon, BBQ sauce and mayo. Consume quick otherwise it may end up a soggy mess. A decent tasting burger it was.

Smoked brisket burger - 12 hour smoked black Angus beef brisket, red slaw, pickles with BBQ aioli. Would have liked for it to be warmer when it arrived at the table but I can understand that putting it back into the oven may further dry out the meat. Meat was bordering on the dry and chewy scale but overall, still a pleasant meal.

Chips with aioli - Cannot have a burger without chips :)

Cultural Commons Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Pho Chu Le, Springvale MELB

Quite often, I find myself craving for a certain type of food and unknowingly, wanting to have it for at least a few days or weeks. Pho so happened to be one of them considering the cooler weather and the thought of a comforting bowl of pho after an intense week sounds promising.

With a myriad of options to choose from at Springvale, I am slowly but surely getting to know most of the restaurants and bakeries in the area. Oh, and not to mention the many little grocery shops tucked into every corner of the street.

Service is always fast at most Asian establishments and it was no exception here. Ranging from small to medium and large, there is a bowl of pho suited to your needs, be it extremely peckish or if you are just eating for the sake of it.

Vietnamese iced coffee - I lean towards lighter types of coffees such as lattes on my good days and when in need of an extra caffeine pickup, the stronger version wins hands down. This colour of this coffee says it all - intense when you need it the most, with a slight tinge of sweetness to tone the intensity down by a notch.

Beef pho served with freshly sliced beef pieces and meatballs - broth was moderately packed with flavour and there was enough meat and carbs in this small sized bowl to fuel me for the rest of the day. Not a single fault although in my personal opinion, the dry chilli served here is a little too watered down (yes, I like fire in my chilli).

Pho Chu Le Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Cambodia, Springvale MELB

I love trying out new cuisines at unfamiliar places, be it suspicious looking or not, and whether I walk out knowing that I have discovered a hidden treasure is entirely a different part of the story. The thrill seeker in me would still be glad to have at least ticked another place off my books.

Among the three of us, I was the only one who had not been to Cambodia and so, was probably the one who should be the most curious at the menu. Sadly, my companions disappointed me by not knowing much about the local cuisine despite having visited the country prior. Oh well, so that makes three of us on a new venture then...

A mix of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Thai cuisine is evident in their menu, with a few simple Chinese dishes such as fried koay teow and chicken rice. Staff were very friendly and prices were quite affordable.

Avocado smoothie - very milky and could improve with more avocado incorporated into it.

Prawn spring roll - a little greasy but served us well as entrees.

Three colour drink - one of my favourites in Melbourne by far. Reminded me of a Malaysian shaved ice dessert but only loaded with beans, sweet potatoes and yams. Bliss.

Phnom Penh noodles - interesting how this arrived unexpectedly loaded with the other organs of which, I did not really touch and passed them on to my companions. Probably not my cup of tea but still worth a try if you prefer simple, unpretentious meals.

Combination broken rice - one of those staples that is hard to mess with. Crisp and juicy pork served with a side of acidity to cut through the fatty sensation, all served atop a bed of broken rice that had been slightly soaked in the fish sauce dressing.

Cambodian vermicelli green curry fish soup - the highlight of our meal. It is certainly an unfamiliar taste for us although my companion did mention that it is decent tasting. Again, I cannot comment having never tried it before.

My Cambodia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato