Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pumpkin quiche tart recipe

My colleague grows her own fruit and vegetables in her garden. One day, she gave me a huge pumpkin out of generosity and a pumpkin quiche tart was made on the same weekend. Took me awhile to browse for reliable how-to recipes and it sure did pay off.

Firstly, you should dismantle your pumpkin appropriately to minimize wastage. I have only used half of it (about 1kg) to make me some pumpkin soup and the tart.

I then roast the pumpkin pieces at 180C until I get a somewhat softer pumpkin texture, which indicates that it is ready to be used for the next stage.

Tart pastry dough ingredients:
1.25 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
115gm cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup cold water (use just enough to bring the dough together)

I blitzed all the ingredients, minus the water, in a food processor until it comes together before gradually adding in the water. Cling wrap the dough, refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling it out on the pastry tin. Once you assembled your tart pastry, chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Egg wash then blind bake until the pastry is cooked.

I have chopped up the roasted pumpkin (roasted with a good pinch of sea salt, garlic and drizzle of olive oil) into smaller pieces so that it's easier to put together in the tin.

Add dollops of your favourite soft cheese. I have used ricotta but I find that feta would be a nicer option.

Quiche recipe:
3 eggs
1.5 cups milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
Cheese (feta or swiss or parmesan - or maybe a mixture?)

Mix all the ingredients together and bake at 160C until it's set. I have added about 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree to the quiche concoction but that is up to you to decide.

Twas a gloomy day so how about a bokeh picture to brighten it up?:)

I've pureed the remaining bits of pumpkin and made soup with it. Just add sufficient milk until you get a nice creamy consistency.

Finishing touches! You can experiment with different flavours such as paprika, thyme, rosemary or even chilli if you like. You can have your tart and eat it too!:)


Monday, April 29, 2013


If you follow my blog, you would realize that North Adelaide, in particular, O'Connell Street, is a special place for me as it's where I have lived for 3 years since my arrival in Australia. Back then, there weren't many dessert options for the sugarholics (like yours truly) and the nearest dessert cafe that you can go to would be Elephant Walk, located on Melbourne Street. Being a student means walking is probably the most convenient and affordable transport you can get at 10pm and thus, I have only crawled to Melbourne Street a handful of times.

Now....students living in the nearby colleges are lucky enough to experience the exciting pop up of new shops along O'Connell. Chocolatree opened up a year after I moved out of college (say in 2011?) and although they had a rocky initial start, I am glad to see that things have improved which resulted in a steady line of customers on most nights. What more could you ask for on a cold, rainy winter night other than sharing a steaming hot cup of chocolate with friends?:)

Hazelnut macaron~ the marriage between hazelnut and chocolate reminds me of having a ferrero rocher and that's what I get when I sink my teeth into this little fella. It many not be one of the better macaron shells that I have tasted but I did enjoy the overall flavour of it.

Hot chocolate~ this was a much better version of the one I had a while ago and I am pleased to know that the drink maestro did put in effort into conjuring a beautiful motif on the cuppa.

Belgium waffles with vanilla ice cream, strawberries and chocolate~ I can never say no to waffles, chocolate, ice cream and fruit at a chocolate dessert cafe. The waffle tasted alright to me but the highlight on the entire plate would be the sinfully delicious miniature bowl of melted chocolate that I have used to drench my waffle in. The chocolate was warm to touch and goes down well, especially on a cold night.

Iced chocolate~ bonus points for the addition of chocolate bits in the drink. Was a decent drink that we did not have any problems slurping up.

Chocolatree on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Samurai Teppanyaki House

It's been awhile since I last had Japanese food, mainly because this cuisine does not exactly sit in my wallet-friendly category. If I were to dine in an authentic Japanese restaurant, it would cost me at least $40 to have a decent meal, minus the fresh sashimi or tempura pieces. However, you would find that some Japanese restaurants do have set menus for customers which includes a small bowl of miso soup and a bento box with a choice of carbohydrate (rice or noodles), about 2 pieces of tempura/ sushi rolls/nigiri and a fresh salad as a source of fiber.

When it comes to teppanyaki, it is a completely different ball game. Yes, the prices do vary, depending on the food quality. In Adelaide, there are a handful of Japanese restaurants that offers teppanyaki on the menu, which involves a live demonstration of the chef preparing your meal. Not only will you be entertained with the chef's skills but you can be assured that your food is hygienically constructed in front of you!

Just recently, a new Japanese teppanyaki restaurant opened up in the Parade and after listening to some good feedback from friends, I decided to head there myself, once I had a peek on their online menu (just to be sure that I don't go broke after dinner!). The interior is rather small and can accommodate, at most, 15 diners. Would definitely be ideal to make a table reservation, especially if you are planning to head there during the weekend!

In terms of service, I would rate this place 8/10. Efficient and attentive, just what you need at every restaurant! I am not entirely sure if the restaurant is 100% authentic Japanese (aka managed by Japanese) but the food tasted fine by my standards.

For our entree, we had the sashimi platter which consisted of raw tuna, kingfish and salmon. The fish pieces were fresh and were handled well by the chef. From memory, this platter costs us about $15 and that would be the standard price for a sashimi dish in Adelaide. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile treat to have every now and then.

Whiting tempura~ fresh pieces of fish deep fried in a light tempura batter until it is golden and crunchy. Goes well with the mayonnaise dipping sauce that accompanies it! Certainly a light start to our meal.

As part of our Samurai Classic set menu, we were served cold soba noodles which were tossed in soy sauce. The cooling and refreshing taste of the noodles in my mouth, in a way, cleansed my palate and prepared me for the upcoming main dishes.

Miso soup~ can never walk out of a Japanese restaurant without a bowl of this!

Wagyu beef teppanyaki~ I'm not sure what grade does this wagyu beef belong in but it is well-seasoned and not overcooked by the chef. The beef pieces were uniform in terms of shape which allowed for even cooking on the hot grill.

Chicken karaage~ this dish requires minimal ingredients to prepare but the frying technique needs to be spot-on to maintain the chicken piece's juicy texture as well as to create a crunchy outer layer. One of my favourites for the night!

Duck breast with sour plum sauce~ succulent and juicy fragments of duck breast in plum sauce. It is easy to overcook the breast part of any poultry but if done up well, it can be a very healthy (low in fat) and delicious item.

Stir-fry beansprout with garlic, carrots and capsicum~ eat your vegetables in every meal! Always remember to have your 2+5 in your diet (2 fruit and 5 vegetables). Brownie points if they are in different colours too!

As usual, one needs to have a steaming bowl of rice to incorporate all the leftover juices into!

Samurai Teppanyaki House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hong Kee Restaurant

I simply cannot rave enough about this restaurant. Each and every visit is always welcomed with a warm, friendly smile from the owner who would quickly have you seated and attended to. It does remind me of those moments where I visited my relatives' homes for meals. No pretentious services and you will definitely be taken care of!

Stir-fry beancurd with vegetables~ Vegetables stirfried with beancurd pieces in an oyster based sauce. This dish was piping hot upon exit from the kitchen and the vegetable pieces were cooked al dente. Not too soggy and not too raw. Delicious!

Rainbow steak~ I have no idea why is this dish called rainbow steak. It is composed of beef stripes, deep fried until it is golden and crispy before being drizzled with a good portion of sticky, sweet sauce. The amount of beef stripes on the plate was plentiful and still retained a juicy, succulent texture.

Roast pork~ crackling, check. Moist meat pieces, check. Sauce for drizzling, check. A clear winner and what I like about this particular place's roast pork is that the meat does not have any undesirable poultry smell to it (some of the other Chinese restaurant's roast pork have that strange smell, making it an uncomfortable dining experience).

Do try out this restaurant and let me know what you think! It is opened for lunch and dinner but do be mindful that they are closed on certain days:) Bon appetit!

Anzac Biscuit recipe

Anzac day is just around the corner and it's the only time in the year where making an Anzac cookie has its significance. Here is a simple and easy recipe to commemorate the Australian and New Zealand soldiers'services during World War 1. The first time I made it, I thought it was a tad too bland and after adjusting the ingredient quantities a bit, I think this one is a winner:)

1 cup oats
2/3 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
125g butter
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tsp boiling water

1. Mix the oats, dessicated coconut, plain flour and sugar together.
2. Melt the butter and golden syrup together and allow to cool until its warm to touch
3. Mix the boiling water with the bicarbonate soda and add that to the butter mixture.
4. Make a well in the oats, coconut, flour and sugar mixture and pour in all the liquid ingredients.
5. Shape into round cookies and bake at 150C for 13 minutes.

Didn't I tell you it was relatively easy recipe to follow?:)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Easter dinner recap

Easter was almost a month ago and hence, making this a very belated blogpost. I had fun cooking at my sister and brother's place despite the slight tedious tasks required. We have leftover ingredients from the cookout and it will probably be food to fuel energy for the following week. How blessed are we to have abundant of food when others around the globe live in poverty. Must always give thanks for the mercy bestowed upon us.

Made beef stew as we wanted a warm and hearty dish to keep our tummies warm and fuzzy. Tomatoes, carrots and potatoes is a must (in my opinion) for any stew.

Browned and caramelized the meat and vegetable pieces prior to placing them in a slow cooker to simmer over a few hours.

This year, I wanted to attempt a roast lamb rack and decided to add a crumb element to it. Seasoned the lamb rack with the good ol' salt and pepper and placed the entire rack on a hot pan to get the fatty part of the lamb cooking.

As you may notice, it was no easy job to melt every inch of fat on the lamb but I still tried to anyways. After frying off the fats until it's brown and appears crispy, I placed the lamb rack into a 180C oven to cook further. Took it out after 10 minutes to crumb it with freshly chopped parsley and breadcrumbs. Stuck the entire tray back into the oven for a further 15 minutes.

The next task was to start roasting potatoes and butternut pumpkin for that fibrous component of our meal. I boiled the potatoes for 5 minutes, washed them and sauteed them in a pan filled with rosemary oil.

Baked it at 180C with the lamb.

Random photos of my sister's colleague's falafel. Interesting middle eastern patties that I have never tried before but I did think it was deliciousssss..

Crunchy on the outside and flavoured with various types of spices.

Beef stew done and plated. Apologies for the poor picture outcome...Would have been better if it was placed in a deeper bowl rather than a shallow one. Oh wells...

The roasted lamb rack after some butchering was conducted. Looks inviting, doesn't it? :)

I have read somewhere that lamb goes well with chimichurri dressing (a type of mint and lime dressing). I thought it tasted nice but the idea was not accepted by the dinner guests. What do you think?

Last but not least, the pictures of the chocolate bunnies that have sacrificed their lives to feed our gluttony over Easter. Till we meet again next year!

p.s: the ferrero rocher bunny was delicious!