Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tofu Panna Cotta


300g silken tofu
10g or 1 envelope powdered gelatin
3 tbsp hot water
½ cup caster sugar
1 cup soy milk

  1. Whisk the powdered gelatine and hot water together in a small bowl. Set aside the gelatine for 5 minutes to bloom.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the silken tofu, sugar and soy milk. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Transfer the tofu mixture to a small saucepan. Bring the tofu to a simmer while stirring constantly, but not to a boil, just until the mixture begins to bubble, then add gelatine. Whisk mixture until gelatine has completely dissolved then remove saucepan from the heat.
  4. Pour the tofu mixture through a strainer when adding into moulds, to remove any lumps.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.
  6. To unmould the panna cotta, briefly dip the bot­tom of each mould in a bowl of hot water. Invert the panna cotta onto a dessert plate and care­fully lift off the mould (shake gen­tly if necessary).
Notes & Tips

You can also spray moulds with a little oil prior to transferring the tofu mixture to help the panna cotta come out easily when ready to unmould

If you are having difficulty removing the panna cotta from its mould, run a thin knife around the inside edge of the mould to loosen the panna cotta.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ginger Indian Restaurant

The first time I went to Ginger Indian Restaurant was actually on 3rd July 2011 because I had a "Love It Up" discount voucher. Here was what was being offered: a 3 course meal (entrée, main & dessert) plus x2 side dishes, x2 glasses of wine for two people all for just $49, normally $110. Pretty good deal eh? I just had to check this place out.

Ginger Indian Restaurant is located on 94 Wigram Street Harris Park. Having never dined in Harris Park before, one of the first things I notice when driving down Wigram Street is how many houses have been converted to become Indian restaurants, Indian sweet shops or Indian convenience/grocery stores.

Ginger restaurant is one of these restaurants that is located inside a heritage house which enhances the warm, cosy and inviting atmosphere. What struck me initially about this place was how attentive the service was and how polite the staff were. From the time I made a dinner reservation over the phone to when I was dining inside the restaurant, staff were very friendly, courteous and accommodating.

Food is also delicious and meal prices are reasonable. There is a good selection of choices and food arrives well spaced apart. Overall a very pleasant dining experience. In fact, hubby and I enjoyed it so much the first time we went back a second time without a voucher. Here's what we ate, second time around...

Garlic Prawn entrée $12.90

The waiter asked how spicy we would like our entree so we opted for medium heat which was quite hot for us. When our entrée arrived we noticed that two of the prawns weren't cooked through which was disappointing but since it was seafood I let it go. Had it been chicken though I probably would've brought it to their attention.

For mains hubby didn't feel like eating anything too spicy and I wanted to eat a vegetarian dish so we ended up ordering the navratan korma- which had lots of different vegetables. The waiter explained that there were 9 vegetables in the dish, though I could only visually see 6?

Chicken Tikka was the other main that we ordered. We asked for mild knowing that if we had asked for medium it would've blown our heads off. Can't imagine what their hot curries taste like! 

Instead of ordering rice we decided to have naan with our curries. I was really excited to see garlic and cheese naan (combined) on the menu so decided to opt for that. Normally I would have one or the other but this restaurant offered both!

We were sufficiently full after our entree and mains so we decided to bypass dessert. But since I had a mango lassi as a drink during dinner, I didn't feel like I missed out on a sweet treat :)

Mango Lassi $4.00

Now, I can't really remember what I ordered the first time I dined at Ginger Restaurant (using the discount voucher) but I thought I'd still post the photos on my blog. Well, everything must've been good or I wouldn't have returned a second time around!
One thing I do remember though is that hubby and I were so full we had to lift our stomachs off the floor of the restaurant and drag ourselves back to the car!

Entrée 1

 Entrée 2


Dessert: Gulab Jamun $7.00

Would've preferred if they served the gulab jamun with a scoop of vanilla ice cream since I like the contrast of 'hot' and 'cold' but since hubby had ordered the mango kulfi it was all good.

Dessert: Mango Kulfi $6.00

Mango Kulfi was delicious, but it was a little bit too frozen. We had to wait for it to melt a bit before we could eat  it and I remember just wanting to just get right into it!

Ginger Indian on Urbanspoon

Mango Pancake

Makes 8

Part 1- Pancake Batter


70g     Cake flour
10g     Corn flour
40g     Caster sugar
250g   Milk
15g     Butter
2         Egg yolks

Red and yellow food colouring


1. Combine cake flour and corn flour in a bowl.
2. Add in half quantity of milk needed bit by bit as you incorporate it into the flour with a whisk. Keep whisking until a smooth batter is obtained. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar with the remaining milk.
4. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Continue to gradually add the egg mixture until all the flour is incorporated and a thin batter forms.
5. Add in melted butter, food colouring if desired and mix till well combined.
6. Sieve mixture into a bowl.
7. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
After resting, the batter should be the consistency of thin cream
8. Heat a non-stick 20cm frying/crepe pan with medium high heat.
9. Once the pan is throughly heated, reduce heat to medium low. Brush with a little melted butter or oil
10. Pour 1/4 cup pancake batter thinly onto the frying pan.
11. Once the pancake starts to "bubble" and the top surface of the pancake starts to firm up, remove immediately from heat. There's no need to fry the other side of the pancake.
12. Place pancake on a clean flat plate. Repeat process
with remaining batter, greasing pan between each batch.

13. While stacking pancakes, make sure you separate each layer with greaseproof paper to make sure they don't stick together. Allow pancakes to cool prior to adding the filling.

Part II: Filling 

½ cup  Double cream
2         Ripe mangoes

Peel the mangoes with a sharp knife, then cut the flesh of the mangoes lengthwise

Part III: Assembling

1. Place smooth side of the pancake facing downwards.
2. Then top the pancake with some cream followed by mango slices.

3. Fold pancake edges in then roll it up
4. Place the pancake seam side down on the plate so it doesn't open. 
5. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour prior to serving.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fried Rice

This fried rice recipe is quick and easy and probably a lot healthier than your local Chinese takeaway!

Recipe adapted from Fresh Living Magazine, September 2004 issue, page 6


1 cup cooked long grain white rice
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
100g diced bacon
1 cup frozen pea, carrot & corn mix
2 shallots, trimmed, finely sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce

  1. Using a whisk, lightly beat eggs in a small bowl. Heat oil in non-stick wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs. Swirl over base to form an omelette. Cook 2 minutes. Turn over. Cook until set. Transfer to a chopping board. Set aside to cool slightly then cut into small pieces.
  2. Add bacon to wok. Cook 4 minutes until light golden. Add frozen vegetable mix and shallots. Stir fry 2-3 minutes then add rice. Cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes. Add egg and soy sauce. Stir until heated through. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tropical Fruit Salad

Just the other day, hubby and I had a real craving for fruit so we headed to our local fruit shop, picked up a stack of fresh fruits and made ourselves a refreshing fruit salad. All in all, we included 10 different types of fruit in this salad! See if you can spot them all!

The possibilities for fruit salad recipes are endless as you can use any combination of fruits. One of the best things about warmer weather is that many tropical fruits are more readily available, so mix and match to whatever suits your palette.


½ pineapple, peeled, chopped
800g seedless watermelon, chopped
½ honeydew, peeled, chopped
2 mangoes, peeled, chopped
2 oranges, peeled, chopped
3 kiwifruit, peeled, chopped
3 nectarines, halved, stone removed, cut into wedges
250g strawberries, hulled, quartered
x2 punnet blueberries
200g blackberries
200g raspberries


Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve chilled

Notes & Tips

When making a fruit salad use fruits that are in season
Fruit salad is best eaten the day it's made otherwise it will become soggy and the fruit will lose its sweetness.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beef & Noodles

Recipe adapted from Recipe +, September 2011 issue, page 16

600g beef rump steak, trimmed, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, plus 1/4 cup extra
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
800g hokkien noodles
¼ cup vegetable oil
100g snow peas, thinly sliced lenthwise
1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 bunch baby bok choy, sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Marinate the beef with the baking soda for 20 minutes and then rinse the beef thoroughly (make sure that the beef is properly rinsed clean of the baking soda). Pat the beef dry with paper towels. 
  2. Combine beef, teriyaki, mirin, cornflour, garlic and ginger in a medium bowl. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight for a better result. 
  3. Soak noodles in boiling water in a small heatproof bowl for 5 minutes; stir to separate strands, then drain.
  4. Heat a wok or large frying pan over moderately high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil; swirl to coat surface. Cook beef, in batches, for 2-3 minutes or until browned and cooked; remove from wok.
  5. Wipe out wok, then heat remaining oil over moderately high heat. Add snow peas and carrot; stir-fry for 1 minute or until tender. Return beef to wok with noodles, bok choy and extra teriyaki sauce; stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until bok choy begins to wilt. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Black Forest Cake

Since my mum, dad and hubby have birthdays all around the same time, I decided to make one birthday cake to celebrate all their birthdays this year instead of making them an individual cake each.

This recipe is my new and improved Black Forest Cake. This recipe will give you a very rich and decadent cake. To start with, there are 5 layers of chocolate sponge cake, 2 layers of chocolate mousse with cherries and 2 layers of cream. It was very labour intensive to put together and decorate this cake but the time spent was well worth it and my family all enjoyed eating this cake :)

Serves 8


Chocolate Sponge Cake

4 room temperature eggs, separated
½ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
½ cup cornflour
1 tablespoon plain cake flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Chocolate Mousse

2 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
50ml whole milk
75g top quality dark chocolate
Pinch of table salt
100ml whipping cream


1x 670g jar morello cherries
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tbs cornflour

Kirsch Syrup

60ml (¼ cup) Kirsch
2 tbs boiling water
2 tbs caster sugar, extra


600ml cream
6 tbsp icing sugar

To Build Your Black Forest Cake

All of the above - ie. x 5 layers chocolate sponge cake, the chocolate mousse, cherries, Kirsch syrup, freshly whipped cream plus:
Shards of grated dark chocolate (this is your ‘forest’)
Chocolate sprinkles
Fresh or glazed cherries (optional)


Chocolate sponge cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease and line 2 x 20cm springform tins
  3. Place egg whites in a large bowl and using an electric mixer beat the eggs on high speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Sift together caster sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a separate bowl.
  5. With the mixer still going, gradually add the caster sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time into the egg whites, beating until dissolved after each addition. When all the sugar is dissolved, turn off mixer.
  6. Add egg yolks and beat again until combined.
  7. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients three times to aerate and combine. Sift onto the egg mixture. Use a spatula to gently fold flours into eggs. This is the critical bit, use a ‘light’ hand and don’t over mix.
  8. Pour the mixture between prepared springform tins and bake for 20 minutes. The sponge is cooked when it has slightly come away from the sides and the top springs back when lightly touched.
  9. Allow cakes to cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto wire racks to cool completely.
  10. Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.
  11. Repeat above steps again but using only half of the ingredients to make your fifth layer (you will have 1 spare slice of cake)
Chocolate Mousse:
  1. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar for 5 minutes, or until stiff.
  2. Gently warm the milk in a small pan. Remove it from the heat and stir in the beaten egg yolks. Return to a medium heat and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently then remove from the heat.
  3. Finely chop the chocolate and place it in a medium sized bowl. Pour the warm milk and the eggs over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. Add the salt and leave to cool.
  4. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  1. Drain the cherries, reserving 2/3 cup of the juice. Reserve 12- 16 cherries to decorate.
  2. Place the remaining cherries and the reserved juice in a saucepan with the sugar and cornflour.
  3. Stir over medium-low heat until the mixture boils and thickens.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.
Kirsch syrup:

Place kirsch, water and extra sugar in a jug and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Freshly whipped cream

Use an electric beater to beat cream and icing sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form.

To Build Your Black Forest Cake
  1. Start with a layer of chocolate sponge cake
  2. Splash cake with Kirsch syrup
  3. Spread a thin layer of mousse onto the sponge cake
  4. Add half the cherry mix
  5. Place a layer of chocolate sponge cake on top of the cherries
  6. Pipe a layer of cream
  7. Add another layer of chocolate sponge cake
  8. Spread another layer of the mousse and then add the remaining cherries
  9. Another layer of chocolate cake
  10. Another splash of Kirsch syrup
  11. Then another layer of piped cream
  12. Final layer of chocolate sponge cake
  13. Spread the remaining cream over the top and side of the cake.
  14. Place the remaining cream in a piping bag fitted with a 1cm fluted nozzle and pipe rosettes around the edge of the cake top and around the edge of the cake base.
  15. Sprinkle the chocolate shards over the middle section on the top of the cake and the chocolate sprinkles onto the side of the cake.
  16. Arrange reserved cherries on top of each second cream rosette.
  17. Let cake set for 3-6 hours.
  18. Cut the cake into wedges to serve.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bircher Muesli with blueberries

This is a great portable breakfast when you are on the go. Simply place the first 3 ingredinets into a cup with a lid, give it a bit of a mix, leave overnight in the fridge and when you're just about to leave home, add a handful of blueberries. Voila! Breakfast is served :)


½ cup rolled oats
½ cup apple juice
½ cup low-fat natural yoghurt (honey flavoured)
¼ cup fresh blueberries

  1. Place the oats, juice and yoghurt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Serve the bircher muesli topped with blueberries when ready to eat
Notes & Tips

Be sure to use traditional rolled oats and not instant oats as instant oats are more processed and not as filling.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

King's Indian Restaurant

King's Indian resturant describes itself as providng fine dining Indian cuisine. Now, I love eating Indian food but I tend to steer clear from fancy Indian places cause my experiences of it are that you often get stingy amounts of food for some exorbitant price that you could normally get at some family run Indian restaurant -you know, the kind of place that other Indians go to- that's how you know the food is authentic :) for a fraction of the price!
But (group discount website) was offering the following: $35 for 2 entrees, 2 mains, 2 orders of rice, 2 naan breads and 2 glasses of wine (usually $110). Not bad... so I bought the deal a couple of months ago and realising that it was gonna expire soon, made a booking with hubby to check this place out.

However, I was a bit worried about dining in this restaurant and what my experience would be like since I had read on some people's experiences were far from pleasant. For example, reviewers talked about being treated like second class citizens when they presented their vouchers and management/staff being rude. After reading these reviews, I pretty much sat through the entire evening anticipating that something bad was going to happen but alas, the service, food and the overall experience was quite lovely. Phew! (Maybe they took some tips from the customers/reviewers at and learnt from them????)

Upon arrival at the restaurant, hubby and I were greeted by a smiling waiter and seated by the window. It was a Tuesday night and the restaurant wasn't completely packed- there were probably just 2 or 3 other tables with people dining.

The menu showed lots of good variety of Indian dishes- there were vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes as well as banquet options.

Angari Prawns $20.90

Since we were not limited with our choice of entree, we decided to opt for something more expensive on their entree menu- seafood options were more pricey than their vegetarian counterparts so we ordered the Angari prawns- marinated in yoghurt and cooked in a Tandoor oven. These prawns tasted absolutely delicious! They were well seasoned and pefectly cooked with a nice smoky bbq flavour from the Tandoor. Also really liked the spice powder that was sprinkled over the top. Not sure what it was though...

Machi Fry $19.90

The other entree we tried was the Machi Fry which were crispy fried flathead fillets marinated with Kishmiri chillies, ginger, garlic and battered with chickpea and cornflour.

One bite into the fish and immediately what struck me was how light and crispy the batter was with hardly any oil to be seen! I'd never had anything quite like it (it tasted even lighter than tempura batter). I was so surprised. The crispyness of the batter was a good contrast to the soft fish inside. Yum! This dish was so moreish!

Butter Chicken $18.90 & Lamb Korma $17.90

Unsure of how the food was going to measure up at the time of ordering, hubby and I decided to stick to some more common dishes for mains- butter chicken and lamb rogan josh.

Out of the two dishes I preferred the butter chicken dish as the chicken was moist and succulent whilst the sauce was really flavoursome with just the right hint of spicyness- great for dipping our naan bread! The lamb rogan josh was also enjoyable to eat as the lamb was quite tender and the sauce packed full of flavour. Both mains were generous serving sizes and provided lots of meat pieces- something that I wasn't expecting since I normally have to fish out the meat pieces in a pool of sauce at other Indian places.

Rice was also really nice with cumin seeds mixed through and garnished with some crispy shallots.

Garlic Naan $4.00

And finally, the garlic naan had good amounts of garlic as well as being nice and soft and not too oily.

Overall, the food at King's Indian restaurant is very good and the portions generous (hubby and I left the restaurant having to pick our bellies up from the floor cause we stuffed ourselves silly). Service was polite and the waiter we had was helpful when we were making our menu selection. The voucher made it all very great value for money however even without the voucher, the cost isn't considered over the top for "fine dining Indian". Our voucher included 2 glasses of wine but since hubby and I didn't want to drink wine we asked if we could swap it for some lassi but we couldn't so we opted for plain water instead. Funny that, I would've thought lassi would be less expense than wine... Ambience of the restaurant is nice- although I'm not sure about the hanging tv wall units that were playing bollywood music video clips. Plus I had some fingerprint marks on my plate- almost a fine dining experience... Would I go back? Maybe...

Kings Indian on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 12, 2011

Curry Puffs

Makes 48


1 tablespoon oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
500g chicken mince
1 large potato, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground chilli powder (½ teaspoon if using the hot variety)
2kg puff pastry,
1 egg, lightly beaten (for brushing pastry)
Sweet chilli sauce, to serve


 Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to high. Add mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 4 minutes or until browned. Add potato and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Combine soy sauce, water, curry powder and chilli powder in a jug. Add to mince mixture. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated. Set aside to cool completely. (If possible, cool overnight in the refrigerator as the mince should set or harden to allow for the assembly of curry puffs the next day).

Using a 10 cm biscuit cutter, cut rounds from the puff pastry. Spoon 1 tablespoon mince mixture into centre of each pastry round. Fold pastry in half to enclose mixture and crimp the edges to secure the filling. Brush the curry puffs with egg wash and place on a greased baking tray. Bake in pre-heated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes or until golden.

Serve either hot or cold as a snack or starter

Char-grilled Vegetable Pizzettes

Recipe adapted from Recipes +, August 2011 issue, page 73
Serves 4


500g packet (4) Turkish rolls
125g store bought chunky basil dip
450g char-grilled mixed vegetables, drained, chopped
¾ cup grated cheese
30g baby rocket

  1. Preheat an oven-grill to high. Cut rolls in half horizontally. Place on a baking tray. Grill both sides until golden. Cool slightly.
  2. Spread cut side of rolls with basil dip; top with vegies and cheese. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted. Season. Serve topped with rocket.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moroccan Feast

This is the second time I've been to this restaurant but I didn't blog about this restaurant the first time I went which was in December 2010 (must've been busy with the Xmas season or something) so I thought I should write about it this time.

When you step inside the restaurant you instantly feel that you are transported to Morocco. The table tops are mosaic tiled, there are Moroccan themed coloured lanterns that hang from the ceilings as well as other ornaments like mosaic-style painted plates hanging on the walls and spice coloured fabrics cover the cushions that are placed on either the couches or chairs.

Even the toilet has a Moroccan theme! Here's a photo I took of a cupboard that stores toilet paper!

On both occasions that I dined at Moroccan Feast I had a discount voucher. My first voucher was from 'Jump On It': $39 for a 3 course meal and a bottle of wine, normally $80. This deal was pretty good value for money. I thoroughly enjoyed the food very much and I was sufficiently stuffed by the end of the night.

Spicy Meat Moroccan Cigars with Tahini~ 6 pieces $15; Rolled Eggplant stuffed with seasoned minced beef & topped with Tahini ~ 3 pieces $16

For entrée we ordered the spicy meat Moroccan cigars- kinda like a Moroccan version of spring rolls and rolled eggplant stuffed with beef. Both entrées were absolutely delicious.

Prawn tagine

For mains, hubby ordered the prawn tagine since he felt like eating some seafood but this dish was a bit ordinary in terms of flavour, maybe it wasn't the best choice for a tagine...

Lamb Tagine

Lamb tagine on the other hand is absolutely to die for- lamb meat falls off the bone effortlessly and is sweet tasting from the combination of apricots, caramelised onions and dates.

The dry, undercooked couscous is probably the only let down. Not even a topping of the tagine sauce can revive it.

Chocolate Soufflé $9 and Apple and Cinnamon Pie served with vanilla ice cream $8.50

Desserts were a bit ordinary and not very Moroccan- chocolate soufflé and apple pie!

My only suggestion for them would be to introduce some traditional style Moroccan desserts on their menu to cap off the Moroccan dining experience.

For drinks, instead of a bottle of wine we ordered home made lemonade with mint which was nice and refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to our meal.

My second voucher which I used on this occasion was from 'Spreets' and the offer was:
2 course feast for two including drinks $48 (valued at $96).

Second time around we didn't get a choice of what we wanted as an entrée  Instead we were given the Agadir Feast which was an assortment of salads served with pita bread and dips.

Agadir Feast~ a combination of 6 salads and dips $26; pita bread for dipping $1.80 a piece

Starting from the top, going from left to right there is the:

Chickpea salad, made with Moroccan Feast's special spice recipe
Tangier beetroot salad seasoned with the chef's spice mix
Smoked eggplant dip seasoned with garlic, lemon and salt
Red cabbage salad with coriander and fresh herbs
Lentil salad with capsicum, lemon and fresh herbs
Fez matbuha (tomato and capsicum dip with chilli and garlic)

All the salads and dips were delicious, very flavoursome and fresh tasting- my favourite was the smoked eggplant dip. It was great to sample so many different dishes

Lamb Tagine

For mains, hubby couldn't go pass the lamb tagine which we had ordered the first time we went to this restaurant and it was actually this dish that made me fall in love with this place. The lamb is melt in your mouth tenderness served with sweet dates, apricots, sultanas, almonds on a bed of couscous which was better this time since the sauce soaked into the couscous. The first time we dined here the couscous was served separately with some vegetables on the side and it tasted rather ordinary and a bit dry.

Chicken Marrakesh served on a bone with olives

Chicken was nicely cooked and again, the meat falling off the bone. Good flavour and generous portion size.

Overall, I would highly recommend this restaurant if looking for authentic, honest, home style Moroccan food that is tasty, good value for money. Service the first time we went wasn't that good- we had a very grumpy looking waitress who hardly spoke to us and made us feel a bit like second class citizens for using a discount voucher but the second time we got a lovely gentleman that was very accommodating with our last minute booking, polite, friendly and not overbearing-  he checked on us every so often without it feeling like it was intrusive or constantly interrupting our meal, the waitress was no where in sight- maybe she had left?

Moroccan Feast on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pork & Sugar Snap Pea Noodles

Recipe adapted from Recipes +, August 2011 issue, page 45

Serves 4


800g packet fresh hokkien noodles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large brown onion, cut into thin wedges
1½ teaspoons grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
500g pork mince
½ cup plum jam
150g sugar snap peas
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced diagonally
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

  1. Soak noodles in boiling water in a large heatproof bowl for 5 minutes; stir to separate strands; drain.
  2. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat, toast sesame seeds. Set aside. Add oil; swirl to coat surface. Add onion, garlic and ginger; stir fry for 3 minutes. Add mince; cook, stirring to break up lumps, for 3 minutes or until browned.
  3. Add plum jam, snow peas and carrots; stir fry for 2 minutes. Add noodles and sesame seed oil; stir fry until heated. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Notes & Tips

Use chicken mince instead of pork
Have all ingredients prepared before you start cooking
Gluten-free version: use rice noodles instead of hokkien

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Classic Shepherd's Pie

Serves 4


1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped or grated
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, trimmed, finely chopped (optional)
500g lamb or beef mince
2 tbs plain flour
375ml beef stock
1 dried bay leaf
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (about 200g each) desiree potatoes, peeled, chopped
40g butter, chopped
125ml (½ cup) milk
1 tsp parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
Melted butter, to brush


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add lamb mince and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until lamb changes colour.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until combined. Add stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile: cook potato in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Return to the pan with the butter. Use a potato masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add milk and use a wooden spoon to stir until combined. Add Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Remove bay leaf from the lamb mixture then spoon mixture into a 2L (8 cup) capacity ovenproof baking dish. Top with mashed potato and use a fork to spread over lamb mixture. Brush with butter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until mashed potato is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Notes & Tips

You can substitute the celery in this recipe with some peas instead

For a nicer presentation, you can pipe the mashed potatoes instead of using a fork. You'll just have to allow the potatoes to cool down a bit before putting it into the piping bag

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adriano Zumbo Patisserie

Caught up with some girls from church over brunch and we stopped over at Adriano Zumbo's patisserie at Balmain for morning tea and then an afternoon tea at Adriano Zumbo's Cafe in Rozelle! Pure indulgence, I know!

It was about elevenish when we visited his patisserie in Balmain and there was already a small crowd hanging outside. When we went inside there was an assortment of pastries, breads and perfectly presented desserts.

I had originally picked 5 desserts but in the end decided to not get the chocolate mousse as the shop assistants advised for it to not be left out for more than half an hour. Since the girls and I still had plans to visit the Balmain and Rozelle markets I thought I could pick it up later in the afternoon but alas there was none left! So in the end I purchased a lemon meringue éclair, pear perfection, malteaser and passionfruit/citrus tart.

Lemon Meringue Éclair- as the name suggests, is a cross between a lemon meringue tart and chocolate éclair (two of my favourite desserts combined together). This dessert was simply delicious- the eclair choux pastry was cooked golden, filled with a lemon curd type filling- there were even chunks of lemon inside it which gave this dessert bursts of extra lemon, yum! For the top of the eclair instead of the usual chocolate fondant it was the meringue. It was very moreish!

Pear Perfection- by far the most elaborate looking out of all the ones that I had bought. This dessert was also featured in a pressure test on Junior Masterchef so naturally I was very keen to try this. I have to admit though I was slightly disappointed with this dessert as I didn't taste much pear flavour but having said that, pear isn't a very strong flavour in and of itself so it would've been hard to carry alot of that through in this dessert. As you can see in the photo below, this dessert was perfectly stacked with each layer perfectly defined. You can also see the different techniques and effort that went into making this dessert.

Malteser- This dessert had melted alot by the time I brought it home. In fact, it had collapsed and was a sloppy mess but despite the presentation being lost, the flavours remained intact and they were  fantastic and it tasted as the name suggesed, like those little balls of Maltesers.

Citrus tart- The most unassuming and plain looking of all the ones that I bought but it tasted absolutely delicious! The pastry base was nice, thin and short and the citrus filling was flavoursome and tangy. So refreshing to eat, elegant to look at and simple flavours to enjoy.

Unfortunately there wasn't a huge selection of macaroons to pick from on the day which was disappointing since I wanted to get a pack full of different flavours to share with other friends (I'm personally not a big fan of the macaroon).
Coffee Brulee was by far my favourite flavour out of the entire selection available on the day and as the name suggests it was like a creme brulee only coffee flavoured. Sugar crystals were coated on the outside of the macaroon with a coffee flavoured filling in the middle.
Lemon and Olive Oil- a classic combination flavour that always works well together. Could definitely taste both flavours infused into the macaroon.
Rice Pudding- this really did taste like a rice pudding! And I know what you're thinking 'durrh! That's what it says' but I didn't expect it to taste so much alike. This macaroon had a coating of cinnamon powder on the outside whilst the filling inside was soft and tasted "ricey".
Pear and Vanilla- again I couldn't taste much of the pear flavour in this but you could taste the vanilla. My girlfriends simply loved this flavour.

In the afternoon we decided to pay a visit to the cafe to get a cup of coffee and relax after a day of shopping. To our surprise, the place was a lot more smaller than what we had made it out to be and there really weren't all that many seats to sit on, maybe 9 in total? It was more like a bar with a couple of stools! Having said that though, where you are seated, you have full view of inside the kitchen and where they make all those yummy desserts ready to be delivered to the shops and customers.

I saw Adriano's team of pastry chefs piping macaroons and making various slices and bases. Some customers came to the shop to pick up their orders so I was also able to see 1 croquembouche and 1 macaroon tower. Impressive looking indeed!

Then suddenly, whilst we were enjoying our pastries, we caught a glimpse of the man himself Adriano Zumbo, inside the kitchen giving some directions to his staff. We all giggled hysterically that we caught sight of him and were frantically grabbing our cameras and phones from our handbags to take snapshots of him. Some of the girls were even banging on the window hoping to get his attention. Whilst it would've totally been awesome if we could've all got a photo with him it was still pretty cool that we got to see a glimpse of him in the flesh =)

Next time we're going to try and visit his new shop in Manly! Can't wait to try some more of Adriano's creations.

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