Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Kung pao chicken recipe

As always, time seems to be slipping away (more so on the weekends) and with only a few weeks to go, I am trying my best to adhere to a strict diet. That way I can have a feast overseas without excessively worrying about weight gain.

A quick dinner stir fry using basic ingredients and one that is reminds me of Chinese takeaway fare. Slightly spicy, crunchy and most importantly, yummy. Do try this out and give me some feedback.

300g Chicken thigh fillets, roughly chopped and marinated in soy sauce, shaoxing wine and pepper
Roughly 50g dried chillies
3/4 cup peanuts
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 spring onion stalks
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
Sugar and salt to taste

1. Fry garlic, ginger and dried chillies over medium heat before tossing in chicken fillets.
2. Cook chicken fillets thoroughly, add soy sauce, white vinegar and hoisin sauce.
3. Add about 30ml (or just enough water) so that the sauce can be easily mixed with the chicken fillets.
4. Toss in peanuts and give the mix a quick 2 minute stir fry before adding the spring onions.
5. Serve with a bowl of steamed rice.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Rustica, Hawthorn MELB

Melbourne's weather has been rather pleasant over the last couple of days and after recovering from a crippling cold that left me bedridden for a couple of days, catching up with a friend over brunch was a much needed break from my indoor routine.

A small, albeit comfortable cafe that has an appropriate amount of spacing between tables (unlike a few crammed establishments that I have been to), Rustica was the perfect location for exchanging small talk over a cup of warm coffee.

Soy lattes and strong latte - whenever my immune system weakens, I tend to have obvious breakouts on my face..which brings me to a dairy free diet for the next few days or weeks to recover. Didn't mind the latte at all although would have liked it to be a little warmer.

 Slow roasted lamb baguette - I pinched some off R as he was seemingly struggling to finish this, purely because he did not expect to be served an entire mini baguette which was generously stuffed with lamb meat and comes with a side serve of spinach leaves. Baguette was pillow-y soft and had the right amount of crispness to it aka neither too chewy or soggy moist.

 Chilli scrambled eggs with bacon, spring onion and manchego cheese on sourdough - scrambled eggs done right..rich and creamy with hints of bacon well dispersed in the mix. Sourdough's texture is topnotch just like the baguette's texture. Am not a fan of hard and dry sourdoughs which are, unfortunately, common at a lot of places as not only would it be useless at absorbing the juices/sauce from the other ingredients, but also because it hurts to chew! For those who have a sourdough phobic, I would highly recommend trying out Rustica's version :)

Eggs benedict with tabasco hollandaise fennel, mint salad and pulled ham hock - Pinched some off the sister and yes, it was delicious. For $21, this was a pretty generous serve of eggs benedict aka copious amount of golden hollandaise sauce served atop a refreshing salad mix and ham hock.

Overall, I had thoroughly enjoyed the food here and wouldn't mind coming back to try their donuts on my next visit which were sold out by the time we finish :(

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

L'Burger, Hawthorn MELB

A few nights ago, I visited L'Burger in Hawthorn, a newly opened burger joint that has been in the establishment for a good 6 months. Owner Rodney was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to sample out their menu, one that had kept the condiments that comes with each burger simplified.

Chocolate kit kat malt - pretty addictive and had probably boosted up my calcium intake for the day.

Tasting plate - I do like a variety of fries, be it onion fries, sweet potatoes or even regular fries. Who needs to choose when there is an option for a plate with everything on it:) We had the garlic aioli and lemon caper mayonnaise to go with it, both tasted freshly prepared and still had strong aromas of garlic and capers wafting through it.

Hot Angus - chipotle mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeno salsa, tomato onion jam, garlic aioli mayonnaise, gruyere cheese and grilled angus meat patty. Mildly spicy for me and went down pretty quickly once it arrived at our table.

The luxemburger - porcini mushroom mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, salsa, tomato onion jam, hickory BBQ sauce, gruyere cheese, smoked bacon and grilled angus meat patty. WL ordered an extra patty to go with it and I was secretly disappointed that I did not :(

Apple cinnamon waffle - house made Belgian waffles with stewed cinnamon apples, salted caramel sauce, served with warm creme anglaise and vanilla bean ice cream. I would personally have the waffles by itself, it was pretty good in my humble opinion :p

L'Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Rock Sugar, South Yarra MELB

Thai cuisine was one of the few types of food I first encountered when I came to Australia and something that heavily reminded me of a O'Connell street which is home to some pretty good Thai restaurants. Melbourne has a more diverse range of cuisines as compared to Adelaide although I have yet to find a favourite spot for Thai food.

I was fortunate enough to be invited by Steven for a meal here with my sister and was I in for a surprise. Staff were quite attentive albeit the entire restaurant looking quite packed for a Wednesday night.

Had the umenoyado momoshu aragoshi, a mildly alcoholic peach sake that was quite easy on the palate.

For entree, we had two types of steamed buns; one being a crispy pork belly with pineapples, nam jim and the other, a soft shell crab with pickled papaya, green onion, chilli jam and peanuts. Both were equally delicious and packed full of flavour. My personal favourite is the soft shell crab, only because I am a huge fan of anything with soft shell crabs ;)

Massaman curry - 18 hour beef shin, peanuts, potato, coriander and pickled shallots. Would have liked a little more spice in this but overall, a delicious plate of curry with a generous serve of beef. Beef pieces pulled apart easily and best consumed with either steamed rice or a crisp, fluffy piece of roti.

Duck leg salad with grilled pineapple, coriander, chilli and green papaya. Aside from soft shell crabs, I am equally addicted to duck meat and found this one to have the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity which had freshened up our palates pretty well. Salad condiments were also finely sliced, allowing each bit to easily amalgamate with the sauce.

Whole baby snapper with yellow bean and lime - deep fried to crunchy perfection. Would have liked some sauce to go with this but aside from that, this dish complimented the curry and duck salad well. Having said that, be mindful of sharp bones that can be mischievously hidden between the flesh.

Spice up your life - bounty donut bun. Yup, not better way to end up meal than having coconut ice cream tucked between two pieces of deep fried donut buns sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with some chocolate. Despite having bold tasting dishes prior, I did not mind this one at all, perhaps because coconut's neutral flavour profile made it easy to offset the other flavours.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my meal here and would be more than happy to pop by again to try out their Rocktails, a fun Asian inspired twist to cocktails with the addition of fairy floss, pearls or even butterfly pea flower essence.

Rock Sugar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, July 2, 2018

Thai beef salad cold rolls recipe

Of late, I have been scrolling through Instagram in search for cooking/ recipe ideas that are relatively simple to prepare and equally delicious. One of the videos that I have bookmarked was on preparing Thai beef salad and despite not having a whole piece of beef flank, I managed to replace it with beef strips which sped up the cooking process even more.

The entire cooking process took around 5 minutes whilst the preparation may have taken 10 minutes and assembling was approximately 15 minutes. A fun project to do with kids or even as a simple entree for guests.

300g thin beef slices
2 shallots
A handful of coriander, chopped
A handful of mint, chopped
2 stalks of spring onions
Lettuce leaves
2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp of dry chilli flakes (more if you prefer it spicy)
1/2 tsp sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime
Rice paper rolls

1. Heat a pan with 1 tsp of oil on medium to high heat and give beef slices a quick fry. This shouldn't take long as we are using beef slices.
2. While beef slices are still hot, quickly mix them with sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, herbs and shallots. Mix thoroughly and adjust taste to liking.
3. Bring a pot of water to boil and when ready, dip dried rice paper roll in it and quickly transfer the softened rice paper roll on a flat plate.
4. Place lettuce leaves on first before layering with shredded carrots, cucumber and beef pieces before wrapping.
5. Serve warm.