Thursday, September 28, 2017

Meals at Jackon's, Doncaster East MELB

A last minute decision seeing as the siblings and I were in the Doncaster region and were looking for a place to plonk ourselves at whilst the brother eats his fill for the afternoon.

Service is verging on the slower side of the scale but then again, could be that we arrived when the lunch crowd popped by too.

Had the teh tarik and teh c. Both were decent

Char kuey teow - tasted decent although would have liked more of the droolworthy wok aroma lingering in between each thin strand of hor fun noodle. Our serving staff was very apologetic about the long delay for the meal and drinks, reckon it was close to 25 minutes of waiting time.

Meals at Jackson's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 25, 2017

Caramelized apple and pork sausage rolls and beef bourguignon pies recipe

I used to be such a diligent baker/cook, always refuting the slightest chance of using ready made ingredients. Having said that, this all changed over the last year as I slowly spend less time in the kitchen and more time completing other tasks.

Having bought myself a packet of puff pastry sheets from the frozen aisle, it did not take long until I give in to buying shortcut pastry sheets, all for the enjoyment of close family and friends to sink their teeth into.

Inspired by Gourmet Traveller's bangalow pork and caramelized apples sausage rolls recipe, I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit what I had in the pantry and although I can only imagine what GT's version is like, I wouldn't mind giving this recipe another go:)

Caramelized Apple and Pork Sausage Rolls

Puff pastry
2 pink lady apples, chopped into the smallest size possible
Handful of sage, roughly chopped
Handful of thyme
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 golden shallots, finely minced
500g minced pork
200g minced veal
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

1. Saute the garlic and shallots with olive oil until they are golden in colour.
2. Add chopped apples, sage and thyme and allow to cook for about 7-10 minutes or until apples have softened.
3. If the mixture appears to be dry, toss in two small cubes of butter. Season to taste, tossing in 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to taste if the flavours are a bit dull.
4. Allow cooked apple mixture to cool before mixing in with the minced meat.
5. Roll puff pastry out, align filling mixture in one corner and tightly roll it together.
6. Cut into desired lengths and brush with egg wash.
7. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes or until cooked.
8. Best served with tomato chutney!

On another note, I was game enough to attempt making a bourguignon pie which heavily reminded me of my days traversing around France, sampling tasty treats all throughout the journey. Again, my own interpretation of an original recipe using available products.

Beef Bourguignon Pies

Ingredients for bourguignon beef:
Half a bottle of good quality, drinkable shiraz
600g of beef casserole/shin meat (whichever you can find from the butcher)
Maple flavoured bacon, chopped into small pieces
200g button mushrooms
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Shortcrust pastry

1. Melt butter in a saucepan and quickly brown the beef on all sides. Ensure beef pieces are cut into, preferrably, 1cmx1cm or bite sized pieces, a tedious but rewarding process. Set beef aside, evenly coating them with flour.
2. Melt a small knob of butter again and saute garlic and onions until they are golden in colour before adding in the bacon pieces. Cook the bacon until they are almost crispy in consistency before adding in chopped button mushrooms and thyme. Allow to simmer for a good 10 minutes before seasoning adequately.
3. Add the above mixture to the beef. Deglaze cooking pan with the wine and allow to bubble for a few minutes before incorporating it with the beef mixture in a slow cooker.
4. Add chicken stock and allow to slow cook for a good 6 hours (best to leave overnight).
5. Roll out pastry sheets into pie tins and puncture a few holes at the bottom.
6. Fill pie cups with the meat filling and cover with pastry sheet. Using leftover pastry pieces, carve leaves or whatever shapes you want and place decoratively on the pies.
7. Use a fork to poke holes into the pie and brush with egg wash.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes or until done.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Wealth Kitchen, Doncaster MELB

Viewed as a must have when the siblings and I get together, yum cha brings back fond childhood memories; selecting mini sharing plates of evenly shaped, bite sized morsels from a pushcart, the sound of workers calling out orders to each other, humid air pulsing with excitement looms the atmosphere. Be it indoors at a five star restaurant or outdoors by the roadside, with the exception of fancier staff uniforms and posh cutlery, there really is not much difference.

Just about every Chinese restaurant in Australia carries this same sentiment. Some do enforce a strict time limit per seating whilst others prefer to throw hints indirectly. Nevertheless, the siblings and I usually stick to our meal time frame provided that meals come in a timely manner.

We tend to order the same array of dishes each time and found that this restaurant does not differ much from the others that we have tried. I did enjoy the egg tart as the pastry layers were beautifully separated by the tiniest of margins and the custard was warm and extremely creamy.

Wealth Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three Monkeys Place, Doncaster East MELB

Alas, a weekday off uninterrupted and happens to be a productively lazy one too; a rare moment that occurs maybe once in a blue moon. What better way to wind down than with a good cup of coffee and with an entertaining companion, who happens to be a messier eater than me :)

Mocha - my preference when I am not needing a strong boost of caffeine or am not in the mood for chai.

Charlie's burger - spicy beef and pork patty, tomato, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle & sriracha mayo served with chips. WL appears to be a bigger fan of burgers than I am (and I happen to be a strong advocate of it too) and beelines for anything that ends with burger. A decent burger it was.

Ruby scrambled eggs - scrambled eggs, charred corn, fresh chilli, coriander and green nam jim sauce on sourdough. WL was surprised that I have ordered a lighter dish as compared to what I usually gorge myself with but truthfully, I am on a calorie watch, trying to trim myself down further. Fluffy light and pairs nicely with the acidic nam jim sauce. Not a fan of corn of which, I have WL to thank for helping me eat them :p

Three Monkeys Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Matteo's Restaurant, Fitzroy North MELB

Being a foodie who prefers hearty meals, very rarely do I make a call when it comes to dining at fancy restaurants. As D day approaches, I begun to ponder on where to treat a certain someone as it is an occasion that comes around only once a year.

Located on the more residential side of Fitzroy North, the restaurant was probably occupied by regulars who liked the peaceful ambiance that Matteo's kindly offered on a Monday night.

Paradise prawn ravioli with lobster tom yum bisque and crispy chilli noodles. Potent was the seafood bisque, injecting more crustacean flavour into the bite sized prawn ravioli.

Grilled black Angus ox tongue, puffed beef tendons, yakitori sauce and smoked soya mayonnaise. I was never a fan of ox tongue but hanging out with WL changed my perspective on this paper thin delicacy. Charred and glazed with a sweet sauce, my taste buds wanted more.

Roasted suckling pig saddle, pork belly, pork mince doughnut, wombok kimchi and spicy gochujang-romesco. Bold, spicy Korean flavours sets the tone for this dish of pork prepared three ways. Personal favourite has to be the cube of pork belly, infused by a sweet, salty and moreish glaze.

Twice cooked duck breast, spring onion pancake, daikon, cucumber and hoisin sauce. A simple dish executed in an oriental fashion.

Venison sirloin, king oyster mushroom, sour cherry, beetroot, black pudding and master stock sauce. Rich hues coloured the plate and reminds me of a walk in the forest, surrounded by autumn's essence. Earthy mushroom aroma compliments the game-y sirloin's well, complimented further by the sweet beetroot sauce.

Melted chocolate pudding, salted caramel pastry cream and strawberry gelato. Nothing beats finishing off a meal with a rich, decadent chocolate pudding.

Matteo's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Europe: El Xampanyet, Barcelona SPAIN

In a city where tapas dominate the food scene, it is easy to succumb to temptation and fall into a touristy restaurant serving expensive fare. Information gathered online should always be treated with scrutiny, nothing less.

El Xampanyet was one of the few places that I have conducted thorough research on and one that I equally feared disappointment, being a much regarded place by tourists. Diners can choose to sit at the bar and feast their eyes on the cook preparing different sets of tapas, made to order.
The sister loved Iberico jamon and happily ordered a plate of it, along with a serve of toasted bread with tomato juice and olive oil drizzled on it and a plate of calamari marinated in herbs. I am not a huge fan of jamon due to its strong aftertaste and only managed a few pieces, much to the sister’s delight.
Calamari rings were well marinated in a subtly flavoured olive oil which married well with its sweetness. A touch of herbs alleviated the overall taste and freshened up the palate.

Europe: Budapest diary HUNGARY

“It’s time for your cruise along the Danube River. Dinner will be served then. Be sure to fully charge all your camera devices or you’ll regret it”, our cheerful tour guide quipped as she ticked off our names on her all important folder containing what felt like an endless stack of paperwork.

Towards the end of our two month European espionage, I was beginning to feel weary and had my fill of churchs/ cathedrals, medieval castles, bridges, not forgetting the dreaded long bus rides that we used for commuting around. A few yawns escaped me with little resistance and before I could catch a few dozes, we arrived at a pier along the Danube river where our lovely tour bus driver guided us carefully to our rocky cruise boat.
We feasted on a big spread of Hungarian food and wine, of course. I would not have minded sitting in the dining area throughout the duration of the cruise but I was lured out on deck, out of curiousity, to see what Budapest has to offer me.
And that was when Budapest left me speechless. A panoramic view of the parliament, chain bridge and liberty bridge, all brightly illuminated at night in a golden hue, contrasting beautifully against the cobalt blue clear skies. At the distance, Castle Hill fiercely competed for a spot in our camera and we happily obliged to that.

The following morning, after a much needed photo transferring from my camera to my computer, we embarked on a tour to the older part of Budapest. The awing did not cease at the extensive Chain Bridge that connects both parts of the city but rather, continues forth until all of us set foot around the Fisherman’s Bastion, built to celebrate the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian state. There are 7 towers of the Halaszbastya features the 7 Hungarian chieftains who have contributed to the making of Hungary and a statue of St.Stephen, the first Hungarian king.

Next to the Bastion lies the Gothic inspired Matthias Church which, just like most churches around Europe, undergone extensive restoration works. A stroll along the Bastion provides visitors with a splendid bird’s eye view of the city.

Heroes’ square was next on our agenda and here, we were treated to a majestic view of the seven Hungarian chieftains celebrating millennia of the Magyar conquest in 1896, surrounded by statues of other prominent figures in the Hungarian world. Bearing a holy crown and the double cross of Christianity, Archangel Gabriel can be seen soaring above the other statues. Art fanatics rejoice in knowing that the Museum of Fine Arts and Palace of Art sit within walking distance from this platform.

After parting ways (temporarily until dinner time), the sister and I followed the Oktogon tram line path, leading us to the new- Renaissance Hungarian State Opera and subsequently, St.Stephen’s Basilica. Albeit packed with photographer wannabe tourists and a few locals seeking spiritual deeds, we felt at ease exploring the nooks and corners of this basilica.

Strategically located along the Danube river, the sister brought us to the mountainous looking dom topped Parliament. Would have liked to take a step in but time was slowly escaping us and not long after, we made our way to the easily missed stretch of shoe sculptures, dedicated to the many Hungarian Jews forced to march towards the river on a cold winter day and made to end their lives there. For those wanting a better insight about the Jewish community in Budapest, a visit to the Great Synagogue is a must at a slightly hefty price.

We stopped by Central Market Hall a little after lunch for a quick bite and to browse at the various local souvenirs available. Instincts cautioned us to be wary of our surroundings and as always, to keep personal belongings attended to at all times.