Friday, June 26, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Pizza was not meant to be easy to make, at least this recipe proved to be so. It's not as though it's particularly hard, it's just fiddly and messy and time consuming. The waiting of the dough to rise is the most painful part really. And sometimes it doesn't turn out because maybe the temperature in the air wasn't right that day, or you didn't knead it long enough. And some people are particular about the thickness of the dough. I prefer mine thicker, whereas my husband likes it we try to do an in-between which doesn't always work either. I think that it just means I have to practice more. Also, this recipe provided instructions to make our own pizza sauce (normally we would just smear on a tub of tomato paste) so that also added to the preparing/cooking time.

Once you get the dough out of the way though it's plain sailing. Choose the ingredients you want as the topping, chop it up and chuck it on. You can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you like.

For the Pizza recipe click here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

White Wings Vanilla Cupcakes

I don't know anyone apart from my brother who doesn't like cupcakes. I think they are the perfect sweet to eat. They are individual mini cakes....perfect size, you can eat them with one hand (whilst blogging/facebooking/twitting with the other), come in so many varieties, etc. So it came as a surprise when he said he liked these. And from a box too.

The secret was to take them out a little sooner than the suggested cooking time. This made it more moist and just that little bit softer. Loved them...I could have eaten 4 in one sitting but I stopped at 2. The only thing about it was they didn't provide enough icing mix.

And judging by this photo, I think Keane loved it too. People say he's got my big mouth....hmmmm

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vietnamese Tomato Rice (Com Sot Ca Chua)

This is my version of the tomato rice you get when you order Crispy Skin Chicken or Pork Chops from the Vietnamese restaurants.

It's a good way to use up left over rice and very simple to make. I sometimes make it just as a snack in between meals. Yeah, no tea and biscuits for me, give me a bowl of rice/noodles or a pie or a slice of pizza thanks!

Bren's version of Tomato Rice:
2 eggs
3 cups of cooked rice
2 Tables spoons peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
Teaspoon of sugar

1. While the oil is heating in the pan, crack and mix the eggs in a bowl.
2. Once the pan is hot enough, pour the egg mixture in and cook (I prefer to scramble my eggs, but you can always cook it as an omlette and then transfer onto the chopping board to cut up neatly)
3. Add more oil in the pan and heat (on high), add crushed garlic and cook slightly, then add the cooked rice.
4. Once the rice is heated through (2-3mins), add the tomato paste and sugar and toss it really well.
5. Finally add the cooked egg tossing it through, serve immediately.
Serves 3 people as a side dish

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Burwood Food and Wine Festival

I prayed for the rain to hold off so I could go get myself some Gozleme and Dutch pancakes....and lucky me, my prayers were answered.

I was so thrilled that the weather was good enough for us to enjoy some food, free minature train rides and I was even lucky enough to catch Janelle Bloom do her cooking demonstration woo hoo!
Hi Janelle! Thanks for the recipes

Communal dining tables (with white tablecloths, how swish!)

Chocolate dipped strawberries ($3.50 each)

Seafood Paella

Gozleme (Cheese, Spinach and Beef - $9.00)

Dutch pancakes (fresh strawberries with home made strawberry jam - $8.00)

A great day out for families or anyone who appreciates wine or food. Can't wait till Burwood Spring Festival!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dinner at the Wong's + Nigella's Coca Cola Cake

My brother and sister-in-law invited us over for dinner Sunday night and what was on the menu? For starters we had deep fried chicken wings and prawn chips (Justin - I should get you to photoshop all my lousy photos before I post it! He is clearly the photographer in the family). And look he even did a nice job plating it!
And mains we had T-bone steak with creamy mushroom sauce, mixed green salad and the mandatory boiled rice. We are asian. We have rice with everything. Even when we order KFC (take away), we always cook rice at home to have on the side.

Mmmmmm so good! And we finished off with my verion of Nigella Lawson's Coca Cola Cake. Please excuse the photo quality.....I took these photos and don't know how to use photoshop....nor can I be bothered to learn.

I had to bake the mixture in 2 different moulds because I currently do not have a decent sized cake tin. So the above picture is the bottom layer with coca cola icing smeared on.

I placed the top layer on and drizzled the icing over it. Kinda looks like a donut.

It was a nice moist cake although I didn't taste any coke or really I should say it didn't taste like Pepsi because I ran out of coke.

I'm going to try this recipe again because I think using Pepsi and also silcone bakeware may have affected the way it turned out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

It was my first attempt at roast beef. I've always preferred either roast lamb or pork because beef seemed the hardest to cook perfectly out of the 3. But after making it this time, I'd definitely give it another go. I can't take all the glory for this dinner because Larry acutally did the roast beef and gravy while I did the yorkshire puddings and greens. We cook together regularly.

Dish looks burnt but it sitll made a really lovely gravy using red wine and some beef stock. Here's the recipe. I omitted the roast vegetables because I wanted to use up my green beans and zucchini instead. And I didn't make the horseradish cream.

We overcooked it a little, would have preferred it to be closer to medium.
Yorshire puddings didn't turn out like most of the pictures I've seen. Shouldn't there be a little hole in the centre? Regardless, they are still good for mopping up the gravy with.

And final plating....ahhh....I'm not a MasterChef ok....and I'm never going to be a chef so the plating.....well...... really is very very sad.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Minestrone Soup & Honey Soy Chicken

Woo hoo my PC is back up and running properly again so I can now upload more recent photos, starting with my Minestrone Soup, followed by (that same evening) Honey Soy Chicken.

A couple of weeks ago I was craving minestrone soup and having gone through 2 cans of the stuff, I decided to finally make my own pot full. The first can I tried was from Campbells (Country Ladle) - that was really nice. I've since bought some more for the days I can't be bothered chopping and cooking. The second can was from Heinz - I didn't like this one too much because it was too sweet. And then there was the verison I made:

I really enjoyed it. It's easy to make and is a meal on it's own because you use so many vegies. I initially made the soup for lunch but ended up with such a large pot of it I also had it for dinner, along with the chicken.
Here's the Minestrone Soup Recipe which I followed. I changed the recipe slightly, eliminating the pumpkin and barlotti beans. Also I broke up spaghetti instead of using macaroni. Another reason why I love this recipe, it's so versatile.
On to the chicken....I knew we had to cook the chicken up that night or it was going in the bin and all that we had to go with it was honey, soy and seeded mustard. I've heard that these ingredients work together but I've never made it myself, so we had to wing it.

With this marinade you really should leave it overnight or at least 2 hours. We were hungry, it was 8pm so didn't bother.

Rough recipe:
2 chicken breasts (sliced or scored for more even cooking)
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey (heated in the microwave so it's runny)
1 tablespoon seeded mustard

Mix it all together and cooked it on low heat in a pan

It wasn't bad. I'd try it again but next time I'll leave it overnight.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Macau - Portuguese Tarts

Macau has became more widely known because of the casinos, it's the next Las Vegas apparently. But I don't gamble and all those flashing lights and loud do do do do ping ping noises gives me a headache. I come to Macau (to visit family of course) and to eat Portuguese Tarts. I can't get enough of these babies.

I didn't get to try Portuguese Tarts the first time I visited Macau, or the 2nd time because I was too young to know any better. But the third time I travelled with my brother (no parents), we made up for it. We were eating them any chance we had. I remember this one particular morning the both of us set out to buy some. We ended up purchasing a dozen....and we had 6 one sitting. They were THAT good. I don't know how we did it and I don't think we could ever do it again. Not six in one sitting....maybe 3.

This time back I was in search for more Portuguese Tarts. I needed my fix. The ones here in Sydney are not the same, they aren't as creamy. The closest I've come are the ones from Puffy from Eastwood which are pretty good, but not the same. So anyway, my relos took us to the most well known place for Portuguese Tarts - Margaret's. If you ever visit Macau please please make sure you go here.

The queue is a good sign already.
It's a small place with other sweets and buns on offer but we were only interested in the tarts. I didn't come all this way to fill my stomach up with dough, I needed tarts! And here they are:

Beautiful crispy creamy golden tarts. I'm salivating looking at this picture again. Even that burnt tart was to die for!

Enough about them, here are some other random shots of cakes/sweets we sampled around Macau:

Pumpkin Dessert from the Royal Hotel Restaurant - very cute

Royal Hotel Lounge - Lemon Tart, Chestnut Cream Cake and a Chocolate Mouse Cake

It was dangerous having a cake counter in our hotel. We went there every day to see the new creations and probably sampled something new each time. Bad bad bad. We even got sucked in to have their afternoon tea buffet. Will post later.

It was Larry's birthday so I bought all these to celebrate

I can't remember what they all were but the big cake in the centre was their version of Black Forest Cake. The red on the top were cherry tomatoes. Ech!! Tomatoes do not go with cakes! I don't know why they didn't use strawberries (not in season? Too expensive). It was just wrong.
Jelly Boat - for Keane
Panda Cake - also for Keane

Keane enjoyed the Jelly Boat but didn't think much of the Panda Cake. I had a taste. It was a meringue with chocolate chip ears, chocolate eyes, dyed pink meringue nose and that dreaded tomato as the tongue. No wonder he spat it out. Cuteness factor though was a 10/10

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Zhong Shan restuarant

As promised here are some photos of the food we had at Zhong Shan, China.

First up was steamed clams with a soy dipping sauce - This obviously was pretty bland but I think the whole point was to enjoy the natural flavours of the clam. I didn't have many seen as there were other dishes on offer which were a lot tastier.

Like this one. Still the clams but it was cooked with a spicy sauce - so good I wanted to eat the whole dish but had to share
Steamed scollaps with garlic sauce on a bed of vermicelli - this was very good
Special Soya Sauce Chicken - moist and tasty

Steamed whole fish - can't remember the name of the fish but again this was very nice too. Perfectly cooked with simple flavours

Steamed Crabs - Ok, but again it was very bland because there was no sauce to go with the crabs. And I don't really enjoy "natural" flavours haha

The other dish you can see behind the crabs was fried crumbed fish. I also don't know the name of this fish but it looked like a big version of white bait and it was terrible! When we first bit into it we thought the fish was still raw because it had this soft jelly like texture to it. But my cousin told me that's how it's meant to be after it's cooked. I just couldn't stomach it. We also had a plate of vegetables and noodles and boiled rice (not really worth taking photos of it).
You'll have to endure some more posts on my China trip because my PC is down and I can't downsize or upload new photos. I will share my photos of minestrone soup, soy & honey chicken breast and roast beef with yorkshire puddings soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yet more fish tanks

Right, I'm following a theme here if you didn't realise by now. I had a fascination with the live seafood available at the restaurants I visited. This one is in China - Zhong Shan.

Nice arrangement with the tanks. The whole room was dedicated to them see...

And lets check out what was on offer at this restaurant shall we....

Sea Snakes


Seriously.....I could not be more grossed out if I tried. Actually I could, if I watched them being prepared! I'm so glad I didn't. And just to make it clear, I did not order any of these while were were there.

I think I'm done with the tanks....I should really get on with some of the food I ate overseas. Next post, promise.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More live fish tanks

This time we are in a Hong Kong restaurant
Lobsters and large mussels on the right



I was told these are called (translated that is) "Urinate Prawn" or "Pissing Prawn"

Nothing scary in this restaurant, just the regular live fish, prawns and crabs. And all the seafood looked very fresh and healthy. The tanks were really well maintained so I didn't feel AS guilty eating them hahahaha!

We had pipies
And Peking Duck

We also had other dishes but I failed to photograph those. Food was fantastic here and I think we ended up coming back 3 times in total in 5 days. Twice for dinner and once for yum cha. Ooo and they also put on a show for diners too - hand made noodle performace.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sea worms, chicken hearts, turtles, crocodile....ehhh you Asians eat this stuff???

Yes we do eat this stuff....not I though....and not in Sydney.

I'm taking you back to my China trip and I know it seems like ages ago but I had so many fantastic meals and each one was so different and unique. I might slowly go through all of them....if I can be bothered.

Thanks Steph for reminding me about all the food I did have in China and I should blog about. Here's another experience I just had to share.

In Sydney Chinese restaurants we have the regular fishtank with maybe some carp or lobsters or crabs, nothing compared to the animals readily available in restraurants in China. Even their fish tanks are bigger.

These are a few of the live animals on offer for you to order:


Sea Worms

Chicken Hearts

And the worst one of all....a live crocdile

He was all caged in and taped up. It was so sad. You would NEVER see this here - thank goodness for that!

Makes you wonder though doesn't it. If you feel sorry for the caged crocodile, shouldn't you be feeling sorry for the live lobsters, fish, prawns or crabs that a bound up and and shoved in a fish tank ready to be eaten?