Month: September 2013

Watermelon with Sticky Pork and Prawn Relish

This was the second recipe I tried from the cookbook after a quick success with the Rockling recipe.  This simple dish is easy to prepare and delicious.  You can also serve this as party snacks.  The watermelon adds sweet freshness and the other Asian spices gives an extra kick to the flavours.  Try it and I’m sure your guests will be wowed by it! Watermelon with Sticky Pork and Prawn Relish (adapted from The Red Spice Road Cookbook) Serves 4 Ingredients: 125g minced pork 3 green prawns, shelled, cleaned and diced 2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded into small pieces 1 cm lemongrass, sliced 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped 1 shallot, diced chilli powder, to taste 2 tsp fish sauce 1 tsp lime juice 3 watermelon, cut into squares 1 pinch pork floss Method: 1. Quickly fry the minced pork and prawns in a wok and leave to cool.  When the cooked pork and prawns are cold, add the kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, coriander, shallots and the chilli powder.  Mix well. 2. Spoon a little fish …

Seafood Outbreak : Alexanders Williamstown

Williamstown is a suburb of Melbourne located in the West.  The popularity of Williamstown is boasted by its close proximity to the beautiful bayside scenery with Melbourne city skyline and is popular with tourists.  Alexanders is located on the popular strip of Nelson Place overlooking this beautiful scenery.  I was very impressed with Alexanders and the fine looking decor in the Heritage listed building, which, by the way was formerly The Bank of Australasia. We came with a group social voucher – that entitled us to a shared Seafood Platter.  The platter consist of a two tier variety of fresh seafood like mussels, tiger prawns, scallops, oyster, calamari, barramundi and baby octopus.  It was accompanied by rice and fresh garden salad.  The mussels and tiger prawns were bathe in buttery sauce which gave such rich tasting flavour.  Scallops were gently seared perfectly and the calamari was seasoned well.   The barramundi was so fresh and fried nicely. Seafood platter (for two) $115 After the wonderful meal, we took a walk along the bay.  The view …

Rockling stir-fried with gai lan, garlic stems, coriander & baby corn

Having been to The Red Spice Road and tasted their dishes, I was very intrigued by the clever use of Thai, Vietnamese ingredients and combine with Chinese cooking.  This recipe was adapted from The Red Spice Road cookbook and my first attempt making it.  Cooking time is not long but remember to buffer more time to prepare the ingredients. The stir-fry paste can be pre-prepared and refrigerated in a sealed airtight container for up to 7 days.  You can also freeze it into small cubes so the paste can be kept a little longer.  The spice paste is the key to bring out the wonderful aroma and the subtle spicy flavours in this dish.  It’s a good paste to keep on hand. I use rockling but if you can’t find rockling, you can replace with any other white meat fish like pink ling.  The effort will not be wasted because the end dish is really tasty and goes well with rice! Rockling stir-fried with gai lan, garlic stems, coriander & baby corn (adapted from The Red Spice Road Cookbook) Serves …

Spanish Inquisition : The Bohemian

Recently, I had a visitor from Malaysia and I decided to bring her to try some Spanish cuisine since she hadn’t had any before.  So, I brought her to The Bohemian located at the trendy restaurant stretch of South Wharf. The restaurant was not hard to spot.  The exterior shows off its Spanish eatery influence and interior of the restaurant decor is reminiscent of Cuban restaurants with dark wood furnitures and rich coloured leather sofas.  The simple menu boasts a one page selection of tapas, charcuteria, paella and platos principales carefully crafted by Head Chef Josep Espuga. Tapas (Left to right) : Patata Trufa $8, Costillas de Cordero a la Brasa $13, Croquetta $7.5 We selected three tapas out of a selection of twelve on the menu.  The Patata Trufa was made of quail egg and truffle that has been stuffed into the potato cubes and sprinkled with parmesan.  It has a good blend of flavours and textural when bitten into.  The Grilled lamb cutlets presented on a bed of roasted potatoes, was marinated and grilled perfectly. …

Stir-fry Ginger Chicken

Ginger is a spice that is highly sought after in Asian cooking because of its therapeutic effects and its amazing taste and flavour.  It can be used as the hero in the dish or just a side kick to influence the flavours and aroma.  Apart from cooking, ginger can be used for making refreshing ginger lemongrass drink.  How versatile is that! In this dish, I have made ginger as the hero and it was also with this dish that I converted my hubby to love ginger! Tastes really delicious, aromatic and best eaten with simple fried garlic bee hoon and hot tea.   This dish can be cooked in two ways : steamed or stir-fry.   They both taste equally awesome.  I prefer stir-fry because I just like stir-fry! Stir-fry Ginger Chicken (adapted from The Food Canon) Serves 2 as main course Ingredients : 4 chicken drumsticks, chopped into 3 pieces for each drumsticks 5 tbsp ginger, cut and blended (add more if you really love ginger) 2 tbsp garlic, diced 2 tbsp oyster sauce …

Gongbao Chicken

Gongbao Chicken or Kung Pou Kai Ting (cantonese) has always been my favourite childhood dish.  I remembered that whenever I go to any restaurants in Malaysia, I will order this dish.  Most Malaysians are very familiar with Esquire Kitchen’s Gongbao Chicken and they normally serve it with steamed man tou so you can dip into the sauce *yum*.  So this is what i’m trying to recreate here 🙂  The main hero can be replaced with seafood like squid, fish or prawn. Since coming to Melbourne, I don’t have much luck in finding the Gongbao Chicken that taste like ‘home’ to me.  So, I began to obsessively look for the most authentic Gongbao Chicken recipe and I found it in A Table for Two, a Sydney food blog created by Malaysian Australia Master Chef finalist Billy Law.  This recipe has been tried and tested many times … trust me, the end result is to-die-for 🙂 Gongbao Chicken (adapted from A Table for Two) Serves 4 as part of a sharing meal Ingredients : 3 skinless chicken …

Waterfront Seafood Haven : Hooks @ The Yarra

It was a beautiful breezy Sunday to laze around the city along the scenic Yarra River.  Of course, cam-whoring was part of the ritual and I had to pose with my new Birkenstock which came in time for spring.  Yay, happy feet!  All I need to do now is to get my pedicure done 🙂 Ok Ok, nuff said about my feet ! Yikes.  We bought a social voucher to Hooks @ The Yarra for a Lobster Thermidor lunch.  Lobster is one of those seafood that is not on my daily menu so definitely looking forward to it.  It was a truly perfect day to chill with beer and waterfront view. The moment we have been waiting for (wait for it *drumroll*) …. to sink our teeths into the lobster!  Each of us got half a lobster only 😦  But the the ultra juicy, buttery sauce was very well blended with hot mustard and the lobster meat, so much so it gave me a “ping” through my senses.  Thoroughly enjoyable and delicious.  And it goes really …

Charmed with a Class of its Own : 111 Spring Street

The Hotel Windsor has a long history and heritage that dates back to the Victorian era 1883.  The building and interior with its grand stature is certainly a view to marvel about.  You can certainly imagine the splendour of this hotel in the era.  Unfortunately, we didn’t come to the hotel to stay 😦 We came to dine in the restaurant located inside this grand building – 111 Spring Street Restaurant. Everything about the restaurant spells classy and elegance.  We were charmed with the extreme good service that we received the moment we stepped through the door.  The restaurant was very Victorian with tall wide windows adorned by old-fashioned curtains and candlelight chandeliers (perfect for high tea – in fact, I read that they serve one of the best high teas in Melbourne).  It’s a nice place to celebrate a special event! For entree, I had Cured scallops with almond gazpacho which was absolutely a delight.  The lightly cooked scallops and smoked eel, bathed in chilled almond gazpacho produced subtle flavours, smooth and well paired.  Definitely a …

{Playing with Food} photography series

Recently I’ve been enchanted with food and photography.  Due to this sudden burst of interest *hubby rolling eyes* – I started to set up my own little “studio” with cheap cardboards, white foam boards and anything that I can salvage from the un-wanted junks in the garage!  Over the weekend, I went to Daiso in Melbourne CBD and manage to salvage some cheap $2.80 plates and cups which will be used in some of my “Playing with food” photography series. This sudden burst of interest doesn’t come overnight.  This thought has been in my head for quite some time and I was more excited and inspired when I encountered some of the best food photography websites like Spicie Foodie, Thyme and Souvlaki for the Soul.  So, yes, a wire just tripped in my head … Part of my weekend project : “Playing with Food” photography series is the first series that logs all my successful and unsuccessful trials to photograph food interestingly.  With my newfound friendships with these blogs couple with their photography tips, I hope …

Pork and Shiitake Gyoza

With the invasion of Japanese cuisine, people (including my family) fell in love with gyoza.  This easy pan-fried dumplings are such versatile dish that the filling can be made with any meat, vegetable, seafood and served anytime anywhere.  They also make very good party snacks! My lil’ one is a fussy eater.  Like most parents, we try to “hide” good nutrition ingredient in the dishes that we cook hoping that they will not find it.  But alas, I find that rather hard to do sometimes with the lack of creativity that I may encounter once a while.  So, I found a way to make gyoza to camouflage my healthy nutrients and my lil’ one loves it. Nothing is as fulfilling as watching your lil’ one finishing up her meal and asking for seconds.  She can eat up to 8 of these “baddies” 🙂 This dish is very easy to make.  You can make extra and freeze them for the next day.  You can see that i’m a newbie at this because my “pleats” are not …

Revisit to Japanese Modernisation : Kobe Jones

This post is a revisit to Kobe Jones and mainly consist of photos.  You can see my first post to Kobe Jones in detail here. Recently, we return to Kobe Jones with a 10-course meal via group social voucher.  Part of the meal differs slightly from the first post because this menu has more seafood.  In this menu, we enjoyed the Alaskan crab – lightly grilled while maintaining its sweet and juicy meat.  Surprisingly, the crab legs were pretty meaty even though it looked small.  We also enjoyed the dessert tasting plate presented with various dessert samplers. No1 Special (crab salad with avocado wrapped in hiramasa kingfish and baked in secret sauce) Fresh oysters served in cold sake with three different salsas Wagyu tenderloin served seared and chilled and topped with garlic, ginger and ponzu sauce, Fresh sushi and sashimi Salmon carpaccio, sizzled in extra virgin olive oil and drizzled with wasabi pepper sauce Tempura hokkaido scallops stuffed with crab salad and asparagus and drizzled with bittersweet soy sauce glaze Crab salad and avocado roll topped …

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Chop

This dish was greatly inspired by Pancake Dessert House.  It’s my comfort food and all-time favourite because it reminds me of sweet memories with my family and sisters. The marinade is very aromatic due to the use of lemongrass and shallots (two of the best Asian ingredients used in most Asian cooking).  An easy dish to make which does not require a long cooking time especially for the working mummies and daddies.   It’s a very versatile dish too – you can replace the chicken with pork chop if you like and easily goes well with rice or noodle.  You can also add steamed vegetables or salad on the side.  My hubby and lil’ one loved this simple meal and always went for seconds 🙂 Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Chop  Serves 3  Chicken marinade : 3 pieces of chicken thigh (with or without skin on) Few dashes of fish sauce 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp granulated sugar 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, chopped 1 shallot 1 clove garlic Sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil Accompaniments : …

Easy Garlic Pork Belly

Two years ago, I could hardly fry an egg or even stir up some proper edible dishes in the kitchen (apart from Maggi Mee).  After migrating to Melbourne, I was left to do this on my own and if I don’t buck up in the kitchen, I would probably starve my lil’ one or my hubby.  Honestly, it’s not nice to come home without a nice home cooked meal. So, to do this, I read a lot of cook books and food blogs and keep a compilation of all the recipes that looks easy and delicious.  Seriously, I can’t remember how many recipes that is waiting for me to try 🙂  So, through this blog, I would love to share with you the recipes that I have tried with success that you can easily adapt at home. Here’s the first one …  try it and let me know how it went 🙂 Easy Garlic Pork Belly (adapted from Confessions of a weekend cook) Serves 3 as part of a sharing meal Pork belly marinade : …

Hush! Sweet Sushi Bar : Aka Tombo

I think by now, you can surely guessed that I adore  Japanese food and in Melbourne, finding a sushi bar is easy breezy. But this sushi bar is special because despite the numerous times I’ve walked on this street, I have never noticed its shop front.  Sushi Bar Aka Tombo is a hushed little sushi bar located on Greville Street just off busy Chapel Street. It was through a group social voucher that we discovered Aka Tombo.  The deal came with a choice of two soups, two starters and two fixed mains. Kickstarting the meal, we were served with soups of our choice – Akadashi (dark miso soup with wakame seaweed & sping onion) and Wakame (clear dash broth with wakame seaweed and sesame).  Then we moved on to our starters, Ohitashi (asian spinach, mushrooms with light dashi broth) which was a delightfully simple light-flavored dish and the addictively tasty Koebi karaage (deep fried shrimp with salt & lemon in shrimp cracker cup). Akadashi soup $4.8, Wakame soup $4.8, Ohitashi $10.5 Koebi Karaage $9.5 Next, the mains …

Brunching with British Royalty : Duchess of Spotswood

Despite staying 15 mins away, I haven’t actually made an effort to brunch at this quaint breakfast joint located just before the West Gate (entrance from Williamstown if you’re staying at the West).  So, while every Aussie mates are at the polling stations today, we paid visit to British royalty at Duchess of Spotswood. (Counter clockwise) Soy flat white $4, Skinny latte $3.8, Babycino $1 We arrived in time to snatch the last available table next to the window.  Sweet 🙂 Their menu spells simplicity and uses quirky terms to name their dishes.  My eyes spotted Idle Tongues – a not-for-the-faint-hearted dish made up of ox tongue and bone marrow.  I am normally a conservative eater and typically will not go beyond the edible juicy meats.  Maybe it was the coffee that got me out of my norm and ordered this “spare parts” dish.  Hey, there’s always a first time for everything, right? Idle Tongues $17.5 (Seared ox tongue, pickled onion, smoked bone marrow croquette, poached eggs & toast) The dish came with three pieces …

Opa! Family Feasting : Spitiko

I was introduced to Greek feasts by “My big fat Greek Wedding” which was a hilarious romantic comedy that I enjoyed very much.  The movie showed me that when the Greeks eat, they don’t just eat, they feast! So, there we were at Spitiko – a new Greek restaurant that has been opened for almost a year.  When we walked through the doors, the wondrous smell and view of lamb roast on spit greeted us heartwarmingly. Looking around the room, we noticed the walls have been adorned with memories, momento and photo montages of the owner, John’s family.  This, along with the greek music, took me all the way to a Greek home! Browsing through the menu, chef/part owner Phil Vakos introduced to us what a Greek feast is by combining simplicity, freshness and abundance of mezze and share menu that made up a wonderful Greek home cooked meal. (From left) Saganaki $15.9, bread and pita, mix dips (tarama, tzatziki, melitzanosalata) $15.9, spetzofai   As part of the feast – Mix dips of three different flavours – tarama …

Spicing Up the Asian Way : Red Spice Road QV

Red Spice Road is a perfect example of Asian community dining.  The restaurant, located in QV is a lot bigger than the original sister branch at McKillop Street – catering to large group of diners and walk ins. One of their best kept secret is the Express Banquet Lunch – an absolute bargain and available through weekdays and weekend.  For $25 p.p, you get a 3-course main plus appetiser or 5-course main plus appetiser for $30 p.p.  Oh, and did I mention that the menu changes seasonally ? At one time, I was craving for pork belly that I tried to replicate their famed Pork belly with apple slaw recipe.  The result was not as delicious as the original 😦 So, here I was, coming back for more of that super tasty pork belly that I couldn’t get my mind off. Betel leaf with steamed snapper, lemongrass and coriander Chicken fried with chilli, basil and snake beans Pork belly with apple slaw, chilli caramel and black vinegar Slow cooked beef red curry with pumpkin We had Betel leaf …