Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ocean King, Glen Waverley MELB

I like the idea of having a sit in meal at a Chinese restaurant and being surrounded by family and friends. Yes, this is the lifestyle that I grew up with, where every little occasion is celebrated with a lavish spread of food. Although I do not have the luxury of being with my family and close friends much these days, I still do look forward to having a good meal at a Chinese restaurant.

Ocean King pretty much sums up what I would experience during the festive seasons. It is packed full of people on most days and without any reservations, be prepared to wait.

Roast duck, pork and barbequed pork ~ This is the dish that is always sold out by 8pm daily and we were lucky enough to get our chopsticks on it that day. The duck meat was extremely succulent and complimented the crisp texture of the duck skin. Roast pork had a nice crackling taste to it and I preferred their version over other places as the fat layer was not as thick. Hence, it did not make me feel extremely unhealthy post-dinner haha:)

Stir fried chinese broccoli ~

Steamed fish with ginger and shallots ~ having fish for any function symbolizes good fortune and thus, a necessity. It is also a healthy option compared to other dishes so why not?:)

p.s, there's nothing to shout about service so do not expect much. You are there just for the food, remember?

Ocean King on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coco Lounge restaurant, Glen Waverley CBD

Brekkie to start the day and of late, I have been sampling more variations of the humble egg for breakfast. I usually opt for eggs benedict or the classic brekkie and at times, had a sweet option to begin the day. Indulging in breakfast is one thing but to waste all the hours I have slaved at the gym is another thing:/

So anyway, service here is pretty efficient and friendly. We arrived at around 9.30am and boy, was the place 80% packed full of customers.

2 up ~ scrambled eggs on toast.

Hickory dickory hock ~ smoked ham hock, aged cheddar, spiced tomato and dark ale relish.

Eggs begs ~ 2 poached eggs, bacon, avocado salsa, hollandaise on toast ~

Omelette with potatoes, bacon and onions ~ would have liked my omelette to be a bit more fluffy but that's a minor issue. Kept me fueled throughout the day so happy days!:)

Coco Lounge on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 12, 2015

Beef wellington recipe

Almost a month late to post this and I did contemplate if it's even worthwhile to do so. But if I don't, I'll probably forget what I have cooked last Christmas. December is a magical time of the year and what better way to end the year than being surrounded by your loved ones. Hence the need to cook something fancy and cross your fingers that it will turn out alright.

Been meaning to tackle making beef wellington for a long time but due to lack of commitment, I frequently push that thought out of mind. Recipe wise, it's not complicated as long as you pay attention to seasoning, quality of ingredients and most importantly, timing. My piece of sirloin steak was not cheap and should I overcook it, it would have been a very depressing Christmas.

A decent sized sirloin steak
2 sheets of puff pastry
200g of mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic
6 pieces of Prosciutto
70ml white wine

1. Generously season your steak with salt and pepper. Don't be stingy here.
2. Blitz mushrooms until it resembles semi-chunky crumbs (not a paste).
3. Melt butter in a pan, add your garlic and rosemary. Allow garlic to brown slightly then incorporate mushrooms. Continue to cook until mushrooms have lost most of their moisture and truly resembles crumbs at this stage. You may then add in your wine. Cook mushrooms until the wine has evaporated. Remember, you do not want a soggy dish. Voila, that's your mushroom duxelle.
4. While mushroom duxelle is cooling, heat a pan on high heat and drizzle with olive oil.
5. When the pan is smoking hot, place your sirloin steak on it. Allow about 3 minutes on each side, depending on the steak's thickness. Be careful not to overcook. Once completed, take out to cool.
6.Thaw your puff pastry sheets and neatly align the prosciutto on it before smearing on a layer of the mushroom duxelle.
7. Place the cooled steak on the mushroom duxelle and tightly wrap it with the puff pastry. Take your time.
8. Clingwrap the entire roll and refridgerate overnight.
9. Heat oven to 220C. Egg wash your wellington and feel free to dress it with leftover pieces of pastry.
10. Place wellington in the oven over a tray to prevent the juices from making the pastry soggy. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 180 and bake for a further 20 minutes.
11. At this stage you may serve it or preferably, allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bistro Guillaume, Southbank MELB

To say that I am obsessed with French desserts is an understatement. The last time I have been to France was when I was probably 6 or 7 years old and at that age, all I wanted to do was run around and play hide and seek. Fast forward time, my appreciation for dainty French bites bloomed and without a doubt, going there would be on my bucket list.

But seeing that France is a zillion miles away, the next best thing would be to inhale as much French inspired goodness that I can get here. Macarons and croissants, big ticks for those! And so, perhaps I should start exploring the savoury part of France instead?:)

Conveniently located in the casino, we decided to try this place out as the prices look decent and for a special event, why not?

Tuna nicoise ~ I have came across this term a few times whilst reading up about France but never did have the opportunity to try it out myself. Found it refreshing and light, paired well with the smear of olive spread at the bottom for an added salty component.

Chargrilled king salmon, confit of leek and fennel, olive tapenade and lemon vinaigrette ~

Beef daube ~ aka beef cheek in red wine jus. The robust alcoholic content of the jus was pretty evident even with the smallest drop of it but it did compliment the earthy flavour of the beef.

Leg of duck confit with peas, shallot and lardons ~ duck flesh was so soft and tears away from the bone so easily. I am not a big fan of peas but couldn't resist it's freshness against the smoked lardon taste. Quite a light main to enjoy with a glass of white wine:)

Raspberry macaron ~ upon reading the dessert menu I queried if this would be at least decently sized so that it would reflect the price that I am paying for it. Thankfully, it was good. I am sure there are other places that serves up better macarons but nevertheless, the pleasure of sinking my teeth into a large macaron is irreplaceable:) Raspberry coulis was not too tart nor sweet and yes, they did use fresh raspberries in the macaron.

Passionfruit creme brulee ~ this one is for the people who love sour desserts. Ok, it's not exactly unbearably sour. I just like my desserts sweet haha. Creme brulee had a smooth texture and the passionfruit flavour covered the egg-y taste of it brilliantly.

 Chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream and voilet tuile ~ Fondat was gooey on the inside and cake like on the outside. Salty, sweet and bitter collided on this plate and I think, this is definitely a winning combination:) A must try if you love chocolate and warm types of dessert!:)

Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 5, 2015

Newton Circus, Box Hill MELB

I can still vividly recall rocking up here semi dazed from the scorching hot weather and plonking myself at a table right underneath the aircon. A staff member was considerate enough to bring us some water to cool down and as soon as we settled ourselves down, we jumped right into the ordering bit. The menu consisted of a few traditional favourites in each category and the dessert menu changes on a daily basis so you won't know what you're getting until you get there;)

Chicken nyonya laksa ~ this shrimp and coconut broth was very satisfying despite it being a 40C day outside. The bowl of noodles also consisted of the typical ingredients that one would normally see; bean sprouts, tofu puff, fish cake and shredded chicken meat. A must try if you love spicy food:)

Singapore Hokkien prawn noodle~ surprisingly, this rather simple dish was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. After having a few spoonfuls of the robust flavoured nyonya laksa, I assumed that this might be a little too bland and was I wrong. The noodles were "wet" so I could assume that they have been prepared in broth to soften them up. However, this was not a soggy dish and if you feel the need for a little more kick, feel free to mix it with some of the chilli paste provided.

Bu bur cha cha ~ something I have not had for a long time. For those unfamiliar with this, it is prepared from boiling an assortment of tubers (sweet potatoes, yams etc) and sago before a certain amount of coconut milk is incorporated into it. Not everyone's cup of tea but certainly something I grew up with so this was indeed a pleasant reminder of my past.

Newton Circus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Hardware Societe, CBD MELB

Boxing day is not a good time to head into the city. Period. Crammed with people rushing for bargains and those narrow lanes...gosh, if only I was 2 sizes smaller! And going to what is known to be a very hyped out brunch spot in the CBD area..probably did not deal with the cards right. Waited for a good 40 minutes before we got into the premises and thankfully, weather had been kind on us.

Pork belly ~ do forgive me once again as I do not have a copy of the menu and could only offer what seems like 20% of the dish's name. Pork belly had a good crackling crunch which is the quintessential criteria for any pork bellies that dives into the oven:)

Baked eggs ~ a friend had this and I completely forgot to try it! Hopefully the picture will make up for my lack of words hehe.

Scrambled eggs  and toast topped with smashed avocado and smoked salmon ~ I found the toast a little messy to eat as there's not much space to slice the crusty bread. Biting into the toast minus the help of cutleries may make salmon topple over. Trust me. Eggs were cooked to my liking aka creamy and velvety smooth.

The Hardware Société on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cheat's chicken caesar salad recipe

After approximately 3 years of blogging, I think I am slowly reaching a point where I start to question myself on whether it's worthwhile to continue blogging. Sure I love being in the kitchen and doing restaurant/cafe reviews but all these is time consuming and at the moment, I don't know if I have the luxury of time.

There are so many other chores that I have to attend to and so many more things that I want to start learning. God forbid, I would hate to stop being inventive and start plagiarizing other's.

In my search for time, I begun to cut corners on what I prepare in the kitchen. Working full time is not for the weak, that's for sure! I stumbled upon this Jamie Oliver's cheat chicken ceasar salad and honestly, it's super easy to prepare and just as satisfying.

A loaf of crusty bread, torn into smaller pieces
Greek yoghurt
1 lemon
Roast chicken, shredded
Grated parmesan cheese
Cherry tomatoes
Cos lettuce
2 boiled eggs, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Spread torn pieces of the bread onto a baking tray and generously drizzle with olive oil. Bake in oven for about 6 minutes at 180C until it is golden brown.
2. Mix about 3/4 cup of greek yoghurt with the juice and zest of 1 lemon. Mix in your minced garlic and about 7 pieces of anchovies (more if you like the taste of it).
3. Place chopped cos lettuce, tomatoes, shredded chicken, eggs and croutons in a mixing bowl, top with the greek yoghurt dressing and season to taste. Give it a good toss and serve.

Super easy and kept me happy at lunch:)