Monday, December 31, 2012

Cafe Brunelli

The sister and I were out shopping on Boxing Day in Rundle Mall and after an entire morning rubbing shoulders with just about everyone in Adelaide, we decided to settle for something quick and easy. Was difficult to find a cafe that isn't filled with diners but thankfully, Brunelli has ample of seating area to accommodate mobs of visitors.

At Brunelli, it is free seating which can also mean first-come-first-served. Unless if reservations are made in advance, of course. Nevertheless, food does pop out from the kitchen fairly quick (about 10 minutes wait or slightly more) and the waitress whom served us were most attentive to our needs. Not too bad for a place which is about 80% filled with diners.

Con pollo pasta~ cubes of chicken breast, bacon and parsley in a cream based sauce. A little heavy but was sufficient to satisfy our hunger.

Brunelli chicken burger~ grilled chicken thigh fillets served with an avocado sauce, spinach leaves, tomatoes and a bed of chips. Portion sizes here are slightly bigger so if you are a small eater, it would be advisable to share your plate!:)

Cafe Brunelli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

Been too occupied with Christmas preparations during the past few days that I didn't have much time to blog!  I searched high and low for various Christmas meal options to suit my budget and time constraint but overall, managed to finalize the menu a week before Christmas. Got most of my ingredients in the wee hours of a saturday morning at Adelaide Central Market (good variety of raw ingredients).

As I only had a moderately small crowd to feed, I didn't hesitate to grab a frozen 2kg turkey breast pack which costs about $14. It was already lightly seasoned with some herbs but I wanted to add abit more flair and fun to it. Made a stuffing which consisted of golden raisins, pine nuts, garlic, chorizo and sage leaves. These ingredients were cut into small sizes and lightly fried to bring out some flavour to it.

I left the stuffing to cool before filling up the turkey breast and allowing it to marinade for 2 nights.

As it was winter solstice season, I couldn't resist rolling up a few glutinous rice flour balls for my fellow companions to have. Did not make that many at all but also did not expect that the person whom despised it the most in the past ate more than me!!

Making these balls of flour is not difficult at all and it is a fun method to get family members or friends involved in bonding activities. Boil the balls until they start to float to the surface of the water. It's ready then.

I made barley tong sui (aka barley sweet soup) and thought it completed the tasteless flour balls well:)

On Christmas Eve (which I am very fortunately enough to be able to catch a ride to the city), my siblings were strangely obedient and cooked the turkey, potatoes and vegetables without me haggling them about it. Always good to be welcomed by the scent of slow roasted meat.

Plum sauce made by my sister's colleague. If only Christmas happens on a monthly basis hahaha.

Salad with pancetta and roma tomatoes~ pretty simple as I didn't want to make a big fuss over a bowl of vegetables, especially when most of us just clocked off from an intense day at work.

Potatoes with minced lime skin, lime juice and coriander~ remind me to be more cautious of using unfamiliar websites for food inspirations. Wasn't that bad but could be better (I sweat it looks better on the website!!).

No Christmas function is complete without a bottle or two of good wine to break the ice and set the tone for the evening.

On Christmas day, I decided to be adventurous and attempt to make kaya, a traditional egg custard spread from Malaysia.

I rarely use pandan/ screwpine leaves in my baking as they are not cheap (in comparison to the ones I can get in Malaysia) to obtain but because this recipe required the strong scent of pandan in it, I could not avoid using it.

Made some mushroom and spinach quiche with my leftover pastry.

As it was my first time making it, I did not realize how often I should stir the mixture until it began to curdle at the bottom of the bowl (which was placed over a pot of boiling water). Did I regret my laziness or what. I tried to compensate by stirring the mixture more diligently thereafter but obviously that did not reverse my previous error.

Warmed up a can of beans and cooked some chorizo and spinach leaves for variety. Was a rather simple Christmas lunch indeed.

Hope everyone had a good Christmas day!! I sure did and had heaps of fun experimenting with my camera as usual:)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December favourites

I haven't been going out much these days (trying to save up a bit for my trip back to Malaysia) so I entertained myself in the kitchen, experimenting with different types of foods and of course, photography.

Had leftover bulgogi marinade and didn't want to waste it so I used some gravy steak. Not too bad although I think the marinade was on the verge of going bad:S As for photography, managed to slice out a decent heart shaped cucumber hehe. I probably need more kitchen props to produce better surrounding settings.

Went to a friend's house last sunday and was fortunate enough to gain baking knowledge from a different perspective. I have never made mince fruit tarts before and have only recently tasted them this year!! Wad joy is it to sample traditional food:)

I don't drink much but I do enjoy a nice glass on special occassions hehe

Tis the season to be giving~ got cherries and nectarines. Makes me happy to see so much food in my kitchen. Rarely do I overstock my pantry as I find it hard to finish off everything by myself:S

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant

I have blogged a lot about the traditional English breakfast that most of us like to indulge in and for a change, I was craving for something closer to home. I can't recall when was the last time I have been here but it must have been a couple of months since then.

Yum cha can be loosely translated to "drinking tea" in Cantonese and some may refer to this type of brunch as dim sum which can be labelled as "touching one's heart". In my dictionary, both of these terms means that I am going to be surrounded by good company and spoilt rotten for choices.

At just about every Chinese restaurant that serves dim sum, you will be given a piece of paper which indicates what's the size of the dish you picked, for pricing references of course. Tea is a must have especially when at a yum cha session.

Seafood siew mai~ minced prawns wrapped in seaweek and toppe with a fragile piece of scallop. I can get adventurous with what I choose to munch, especially when there are so many trolleys moving around with surprise goodies in them. This particular siew mai was steaming hot upon arrival at our table and still retained some of the prawn's juices enclosed in the seaweed wrapping.

Custard bun~ I seldom have this because not many restaurants serve them but I think they are an absolute pleasure to have. Oozing with a sweet, creamy egg filling that never fails to make me grin, it is a must try:)

Har gou / prawn dumplings~ minced prawns wrapped in pastry. It is difficult to find a well made prawn dumpling that has a paper thin pastry layer but yet, does not easily tear. The ones at Golden Crown were a bit thicker, in my opinion, but nevertheless, still a treat to have.

Scallop dumpling~

Char siew pau / barbequed pork buns~ I cannot get enough of this particular pork bun and blogging about it this very moment is not doing me any justice at all. I can vaguely remember nibbling on this as a young child (or toddler hahaha) and it was almost a ritual to have it every week!

Deep-fried squid~ I am not sure if this had originated from Hong Kong or China (because I rarely see this served at any Malaysian yum cha outlet) but no complains there. A nice dish to have if you have a lot of people dining with you because it's share-able. Or you can just order this and have it all for yourself. Sharing? Meh...

Pork siew mai~ Golden Crown's siew mai is probably one of the few restaurants in Adelaide that doesn't have an overly powering pork smell. Not that I think it's revolting, just that it would be a turn off point for some.

Egg tart~ and now, we shall indulge in desserts because all good dim sum experiences must have a sweet happy ending, right? Flaky pastry and slightly runny egg custard that isn't too sweet. Just the way I like it.

Mango pudding~ At Golden Crown, a mango pudding is made out of mango flesh and not just flavouring. There are little cubes of mango flesh in it and overall, wasn't too sweet. Delicious!

Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 14, 2012


I have very bad luck with baking bread. Period. For some reason, my bread doesn't seem to proof as much and it feels denser than normal. Nevertheless, if you never try, you wouldn't know if the recipe is any good, right?

Having come across a few blehh recipes, I think I am one or two steps closer to unraveling the secrets of baking a good loaf and by then, I would be able to go about creating different yeast-risen products. Here is my attempt at baking pannetone for Christmas (a tester because I figured it might not turn out right). Looks like I am going to have tropical fruit pudding for Christmas!

When using dry raisins, it is important to soak them in fluids overnight so that they would "fatten" up and have more flavour, especially if you use brandy or rum or any other type of flavoured fluid.

See how much they have fattened up? Literally soaked up all the liquid.

Me trying to be artsy with my pictures but still not quite right yet. Hopefully would improve once I get more utensils from home. At the moment, my "props" can barely depict anything.

I realized that icing sugar makes food have this somewhat magical feel to it? Or is it just me? Hehe