Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beef Beer Stew (with dumplings)

One of my favourite food blogs to visit is Not Quite Nigella. She has some great suggestions on where to eat and also makes some fantastic meals. This Beef Beer Stew was one of them.

I had actually made this a couple of weekends ago when the weather was pretty bad - cold, wet and dreary. This stew was perfect comfort food. It was so enjoyable that we ate it all (2 people) in one sitting, that's a lot of stew! We did halve the stew quantity (not the dumpling quantity though), what can I say? We are piggies!

After 1 1/2 hours of cooking the beef stew, I added the dumplings

The dumplings soaked up all the moisture from the stew and doubled in size

It was 4 dumplings each by the end of our very full dinner....and they expanded even more after an hour....stomachs were well and truly stretched to the max
I used Carlton Draught beer
If you get a chance, please do try it. It's a very simple and easy to follow recipe and it tastes superb.
Thank you NQN for posting up this recipe. I've placed it permanently in my winter comfort food archive : )

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sticky Date Pudding and Butterscotch Sauce with Almond Praline

I know I mentioned this recipe before but it's so good it deserves it's very own post. Well, it's good when I can acutally make it. The other day it took me 5 (yes FIVE) attempts to make the almond praline. On the fifth attempt I told my husband that if it didn't turn out this time, I was never going to make it threats worked hehehe.

I also wanted to test out the pudding moulds that finally arrived through Ebay from Hong Kong (ordered them mid June!). So here it is:

What's better than one sticky date pudding? 4!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nina & Karl's Wedding - 16 August 2009

How beautiful are weddings? Nina and Karl's was definitely no exception. Everything was perfect - from the flowers to the table arrangments and even the weather. Seriously, it was 29 degrees....on a winter day! And plan as you might but the weather is one thing you can not fix or change. So it was very fortunate.

Here is my dear friend on her wedding day (and the wedding party who all looked beautiful too).....and you Nina, looked absolutely stunning! It only seemed like yesterday we were in primary school playing netball : )

So how was the food? Very good. Usually at weddings the food can be a bit disappointing because there is so much to get out all at the same time, but I have to say it was really well done. Oh and I should add that the reception was at Waterview in Bicentennial Park at Homebush Bay.

Starters - Antipasto Platter
Assortment of salami, prosciutto, melon, leg of ham, fetta cheese in thyme and garlic oil, hommus, roasted eggplant, semi dried tomatoes, dolmades and assorted olives, served with Italian bread (great variety to start off with and get the appetite going)

Entree 1 - Marinated beef with fetta cheese, grilled tomato and herb oil (I received this entree and was very pleased)

Entree 2 (alternate)
Seafood antipasto plate with king prawns, oysters and smoked salmon (my husband was served this entree, lucky for me because I'm not a fan of cold seafood and he adores it. The report on this was the prawns were juicy and the seafood was very nice)

Main 1 - Veal osso bucco on soft polenta and orange gremolata (I only got a small taste of this but from what I had, it was really tasty. My husband loved it!)

Main 2 (alternate) - Roasted corn-fed chicken on garlic potato puree with roasted zucchini, capsicum and basil infused jus (Perfectly cooked, moist and succulent)

Dessert 1 - Date and pecan pudding with butterscotch sauce (so deliciously good.....)

Dessert 2 (alternate) - Passionfruit panna cotta with seasonal berries and biscotti (I absolutely loved this! It's inspired me to try panna cotta at some stage)

The Wedding Cake - and isn't it a spectacular looking one at that?
Alternate layers of Orange & Poppyseed and Chocolate (Being the miss piggy that I am, I tried both flavours.....yummmm)

Here is the happy couple cutting the cake

Congratulations Nina and Karl!
Wishing you a lifetime of love, laughter and happiness.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Home Made Yum Cha Feast

Amra (who has just started her food blog MyCamboKitchen) is an amazing home cook. She always manages to make something very ordinary taste really good (except her one off night at our Masterchef Challenge, which was to my advantage ha ha!) Sorry Ams, we aren't going to let you live it down just yet. But apart from that one night, everything else she's ever made has been fantastic. So when she asked us over for a Yum Cha Feast we were ready and revving. One thing though, we had to each bring a dish as well. That was fine by me because I'd made my egg tarts twice by then and I was confident they would be even wrong was I....more on that later when you see the photo.

First up was Justin and his Sui Mai dish. How great do they look? And they were pretty darn tasty too!
Close up of the Sui Mai

Amra's chicken wings (I loved these and it was such a great idea to skewer them)

Prawn chips

Amra made salt & pepper squid (always a winner)

Kuny made spring rolls (a major hit with the kids and the adults)

Ergh....and my egg tarts. Let me dear dear husband (god love him) tried to help me but accidentally flicked the oven switch on grill instead of fan bake so the custard bubbled up and cooked too fast (more like burned), whilst the pastry crust was undercooked. So here are my pathetic egg tarts......
Amra's mother made chicken feet!!! These were just like the ones at yum cha

She also made friend rice (I love her fried rice)

My aunty made Lor Bak Go (this is the uncooked picture)

And the cooked slices.....I had about 6 slices....mmmmmmm

And the spread. There was so much food we couldn't fit it all on the table.
Just realised, right at the front there, my mum made chive dumplings which I forgot to take a photo of....grrrrrr

What an awesome lunch! Thank you so much for inviting us over to your place, Amra! xoxoxo

Friday, August 7, 2009

Play Dough

I use to love play-doh when I was a little kid, still do. Which is why I made some for my little boy to experiment with. The recipe is so simple and you will most likely have all the ingredients in the pantry already. Why would you go buy actual Play-Doh when you could make your own for next to nothing?

Play Dough recipe:
175g plain flour
50g salt
1 teaspoon cooking oil
food colouring
water (about 5 tablespoons)
Mix all the ingredients together and it should look like this...

Here's my boy making green boogers.....
Ahhhh a successful craft project!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Moobear & BabyCakes

I was delighted to finally be able to catch up with my lovely friend Steph, it's only taken us what...5 weeks to organise a catch up? Anyway, Keane was excited to have a play date and I was hanging for a girly chat about anything.

Steph is the best multi-tasker I have ever met. She can have a baby in one arm, sewing on her machine with the other and talking to me at the same time. I don't know how she does it. But I guess that's what happens when you have to juggle a family (3 kids) and a small business. Yes our Steph and husband Carlos are the proud owners of MooBear.

What's MooBear? They are clothes "Designed by children, made by adults.. Not the other way around!" and they are eco-friendly too. How awesome is that!! Check out MooBear for yourself.

What's the other great thing about visiting Steph and her adorable family? BabyCakes is just a 2 mintue walk away! Our train home was due in 15mins so I decided to have a walk around to kill some time. I held off as long as I could but I just had to have a quick peek into BabyCakes. And try as I might, I couldn't resist....they were having a Tuesday special - a dozen mini cupcakes for $ was just too tempting. So, here's what I ended up picking:

Top row (L to R) - Caramel Mud, Marbled Mud, Hokey Pokey and Mocha Mud
Middle row (L to R) - Madeira, White Chocolate Mud, Chocolate Mud and Hokey Pokey
Bottom row (L to R) - Hazelnut Mud, Banana Cake and last 2 are a Strawberry Mud

These are soooooooo good! I loved that the sponges were different, as in the Caramel Mud was a caramel sponge, Banana was actually a banana cake, Stawberry Mud was a straberry sponge. Many of the other cupcake places use a plain vanilla sponge and the flavour is all in the topping, so these were much better as the flavour was carried throughout the whole cupcake not just the topping. I really could have eaten the whole tray myself but I shared them with my family. I think my favourite was either the Hokey Pokey or the Chocolate Mud.

Babycakes has a Summer Hill store and also one in the city and Leichhardt. For more details, see their website here.