Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fire Roasted Sweet Potato and the coolest invite I've ever received

We had another one of our coal BBQ dinners and we always follow with a log fire afterwards. This time however, my genius of a father suggested we should roast some sweet potatoes (he was reminiscing about the good old days in China and talking about street food and poor people's food). Apparently roast sweet potatoes was a poor person's food.

Anyway, we thought it would be amusing to try roast some ourselves seen as I've never attempted it before. I have eaten them in Hong Kong and they were lovely.

Dad popped back to our place with 3 massive sweet potatoes and we were in business!

Hmmmm which is the log, which is the sweet potato?

There are many ways to describe this.....burnt, charred, blackened.....among other names
Dad scraping the exterior

Broken in half to make sure it's cooked

These were great! Probably not as good as the ones in Hong Kong but I was happy how they turned out. I was really expecting to fail big time. Wonder what I should try next time? What other things can you roast on a fire?
Something totally different.....I got the coolest invite ever:
Front of invite

Back of invite

Surprise surprise, I got a golden ticket!

Best part about the invite......I get chocolate!! Woo hoo!!!
Awesome invite. Thanks Oxford, you guys rock!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Potato and Leek Soup

Hubby decided to try make potato and leek soup. He's made this before, but this recipe was slightly different with the addtion of ground cumin.

A really lovely creamy soup that I'd definitely eat again. Here is the recipe from Exclusively Food. Not a food blog I've visited till now. And I was so impressed with the soup, I think I'd like to try more of their recipes. And so now another one to add to my blog list.....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Char Sui Chan Bao - Chinese Pork Bun (glazed version)

Christine's Recipes is a blog I follow to replicate any traditional Chinese recipes. I could just ask my dad, but he never has measurements and I'm damn fussy like that. So stay tuned because I will be attempting many more of her recipes in the future.

The Char Sui Chan Bao is one I recently tried, but my ones didn't quite turn out like her's. I think I needed to work the dough for longer (serves me right for being lazy). Anyway, this was the recipe I followed if you would like to try make some.
The "underworked" dough

The filling. Silly me used shallots as in spring onions because that's what I'm use to calling them. They meant the OTHER shallots. Doesn't matter it still tasted really good.

Ready for the oven (forgot to take a shot after I glazed them)

Straight out of the oven

On the inside

Although I got one ingredient wrong, it still tasted great. However, I stress that I really need to work that dough more. It was not as light and fluffy as Christines, but it's a lesson I have learnt for next time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spanish Marinated Chicken and Aji (Spanish Themed Lunch)

We were invited to Amra's house last weekend for a Spanish themed lunch and everyone was to help and bring a dish each. I've never cooked Spanish food before, all I've ever cooked was a chorizo on the bbq or mixed in pasta. That would not do. So I called upon my friend Steph who just so happens to know some wonderful recipes and was happy to share. Thank's Steph and Carlos!!!

My first dish I prepared was Spanish Marinated Chicken. Which Steph actually calls: Pollo Estefania (Poi-yo Estef-ania) Stephanie's Chicken. Great name!

Lime juice, garlic, salt & pepper, corriander and olive oil

I used chicken thighs and cut them into small pieces so they would cook faster. Steph normally uses drumsticks

I pan fried mine but I really should have cooked it over the coal bbq because it tasted much better. Recipe below.

My second contribution was Aji. A recipe Steph posted up on her blog.

Starting with diced tomatoes

Sliced onions

Corriander, lemon juice, chilli's, salt & pepper and olive oil

Mix, mix, mix
Recipe below

So what else did everyone bring to the table?

Amra & Duong - mussels

Chhay & Justin - Mini frittatas

Amra & Duong - Marinated baby octopus

Peter & Marita - Spanish salad

Vinny - Spanish rice

Prem - Spanish meatballs

Amra & Duong - Asado (grilled meats)

And the barbie with spanish sausage, asado, chicken and prawns
Amra - Tiramisu (dessert was not Spanish)

Side view

Slice view (yummo!)

Chhay - dark chocolate swiss roll

Chhay - milk chocolate swiss roll
How lucky were we? Not one type of swiss roll but TWO!!
There were some other dishes but I was so busy eating I forgot to take photos, sorry guys! Prem also made sage potato snacks and Irene & Albert made Empanadas and Amra made Sangria too.
What a wonderful, delicious and massive lunch! It's times like these I wish I had a bigger stomach capacity...
Thank you everyone for the fantastic food and a special thank you to Amra for organising the themed lunch and hosting it at her place. Next up....Mexican??? ; )
The recipes
Spanish Marinated Chicken (quantity is a guess and what I ended up using)
1.5 kg Chicken
Juice of 4 limes
3 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
1 1/2 bunches of Corriander
olive oil
3 chili's
1. Juice the limes and put it in a large bowl.
2. Chop the garlic, corrinader and chilli's and also put them in the bowl.
3. Add the salt & pepper, olive oil into the bowl.
4. Chop the chicken (if you want smaller pieces) and add it to the bowl. Mix and leave to marinate for at least an hour.
(NB - I doubled the recipe but the current quantity should be enough for about 4 servings)
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tomatoes
1 onion
1 bunch corriander
2 small chill's
Salt and pepper
olive oil
1. Dice the tomatoes and put them in a large bowl.
2. Slice the onion, add to bowl.
3. Chop the coriander, add to bowl.
4. Chop the chilli's finely, add to bowl.
5. Add salt & pepper (a lot more salt than pepper as it off sets the lemon juice)
6. Add a dash of olive oil. Mix and let it sit for at least an hour to bring the flavours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse is my favourite place to get a good steak. It's actually the only place I've been to that cooks their steaks the way I've asked them to. It's also child friendly too, providing colour pencils and a colouring in booklet (bonus points).

1st up was the complimentary black bread with butter. If anyone knows a recipe for black bread this good please pass it on, I would love to reproduce this. Best bread ever.

Any steak order comes with either a choice of the soup ,Caesar salad or the house salad. Pictured here is the house salad with honey mustard dressing.
Kids meal - Chicken fingers and chips ($8.95)
You can't tell but it's a very big serving for a child
Baby back pork ribs - I was tossing between ribs or steak all day and finally decided on the ribs (you use to be able to order the combo meal but they don't have it anymore. You could however order the steak meal and then add $13.95 for half a rack or ribs but I wasn't that hungry).
These were fall off the bone delicious! I ate the WHOLE rack, yes indeed. Oh except 1 rib that I reluctantly gave my husband to try

Hubby had the Victoria's Fillet (225g $29.95)
Comes with a choice of either vegies, chips, mashed potato, baked potato, rice, sweet potato or steamed green beans

Victoria's Fillet side angle. Notice the slit, is this how they check whether it's cooked right? I've always cut the middle of my steak at home

And for dessert the Chocolate Thunder ($9.95)
Described as: freshly baked pecan brownie and rich vanilla ice cream topped with hot homemade chocolate sauce and chocolate shavings
I dove into it without taking a photo first!!! So here's the half eaten dessert. Must get this when you's my favourite dessert I think.....oooo that and fried ice cream are eqaul first
The ribs weren't as good as the one's from I'm Angus Steakhouse (best ribs I've ever come across) but I still really liked it and would have it again. I also liked that you get unlimited soft drinks for $4.95.
This isn't a fine dining restuarant, it's just a nice place for the family or get together with friends for a decent hearty (blokey) meal. And it still remains as one of my favourite places to eat because I love the bloomin onion (as a starter) and one of the steaks and then finishing off the meal with the chocolate thunder. But I never order all 3 because that really would tip me over the edge. Now if I got 4 or more people to join me then yeah, all 3 are a must.
North Strathfield (there are other locations)
Level 1, 3 George Street
North Strathfield NSW 2137
Telephone: +61 2 8756 5741
Fax: +61 2 8756 5742

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seared Salmon with Creamy Basil Sauce & Mums Prawns

I caught up with my group of high school friends for yum cha at the Fisherman's Wharf Seafood Restaurant (at the Fish Markets). I was quite impressed. I didn't take photos though. I still feel funny about clicking away and causing flashes of light and disturbing people while eating. Guess I'm not a proper food blogger haha!

Since I made the trip out there I decided to buy some seafood for our dinner.

Look at that beautiful fresh salmon @ $22/kg
Searing in the pan

All plated up. I have a thing about cooking everything right through at the moment. Didn't affect the taste - it was delicious. And the sauce went really well with it too.
Recipe below

Lovely fresh green prawn @ $15.95/kg

Mum's concoction. Recipe below

Bren's Seared Salmon with Creamy Basil Sauce
4 pieces of salmon
1 tablespoon oil
2-3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup basil (just the leaves)
1/2 cup of cream
Half a lemon (juice)
Salt & pepper
1. Heat a pan till it's really hot and add oil and 1 tablespoon of butter then place the salmon (skin side down first) and cook for maybe 2-3mins each side.
2. When the salmon is cooked to your liking take it out of the pan and place it on a plate covered with foil.
3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to the pan (remember to keep the juices from the fish in the pan), add the garlic (I like to crush mine at this stage straight into the pan), add the cup of basil and fry for a bit.
4. Add the cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir it up and it's ready to pour over your salmon.
Mum's prawn concoction
Just a little explaination, I've given very rough quantities because mum made this up on the spot. It was really good so I just made a mental note of what she used.
1/2 kg prawns
small drizzle of oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chilli sauce (optional)
salt & pepper
1. Snip the tip of the prawns head off (just below the eyes) and it's legs.
2. Heat the pan, add oil, butter, garlic, prawns and toss it all to cook the prawn through.
3. Add tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, chilli sauce if you want a real kick (but not necessary), salt & pepper and stir it to coat the prawns.
4. Serve straight away.