Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dandenong Pavilion, Dandenong MELB

A little treat for the sister's birthday, chosen by yours truly. Bookings are advisable as this place can get pretty packed and I would have kicked myself if I had drove all the way here only to be turned away.

Service is efficient and friendly, always a pleasant gesture that enlightens the mood despite the havoc that could be happening in the kitchen. For a Thursday night, this place was fulled packed with hungry diners.

There's no secret that we are here for their secret burger menu. Loved how they have a regular menu for those wanting to choose from classic dishes like pasta, fish and chips or roast meat. We opted for a taste of their burgers from their secret menu. At $22.50, each burger comes served with a small cup of fries. Beef patties were juicy and cooked medium. As for the toppings on the burger, one can opt for a more hearty mix of cheese, bacon and mac and cheese croquette or a simplified Asian inspired version that comes with sriracha sauce or tempura fried soft shell crabs.

The brother opted for chicken parmigiana which also comes with a serve of fries and salad. Would have liked it to be a little more crisp around the edges but nevertheless, still fulfilling.

Dandenong Pavilion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Orange chicken recipe

Another day in the kitchen but more importantly, another way to try to improve on a recipe:) This is a simple recipe that is popular at most Chinese restaurants and is secretly very easy to prepare.

1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp garlic chilli sauce
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch

1. Cut chicken breast/ thigh fillets into slightly bigger than bite sized pieces, marinate overnight with soy sauce, pepper and chinese cooking wine.
2. Dust chicken pieces with plain flour and deep fry. Alternatively, you could coat them with panko crumbs and bake in an oven until done.
3. Cook the listed ingredients above in a saucepan over medium heat until the sauce is slightly thickened. This may take around 3-5 minutes. Add cornstarch and stir until the sauce is appropriately thickened.
4. Serve with a bowl of steamed rice. Feel free to sprinkle a bit of sesame seeds on them too, for aesthetic purposes;)

Blackball, CBD MELB

Working late meant that I should "ideally" treat myself to a warm cup of tea or coffee that will fuel me until the end of my shift. Having brought in a cup of bubble tea from Chatime one day, a colleague commented that she preferred the bubble teas from Blackball which then stirred my curiousity.

As a once off, I treated myself to a cup of bubble tea post work and was impressed at how flavourful it was aka right depth of infused tea and perfect amount of sweetness. Moving forth, I dragged my siblings here after dinner.

Pudding, potato cubes and a whole lot of jellies over crushed ice - the non-sugarholic siblings liked this dish and so did I. Every single ingredient had it's own unique personality which made it fun to mix and match each of them before downing a spoonful of it. If you have not tried Asian desserts before, this may be a good stepping stone. Would like to have more but I shall practice restraint here.

Waffle with vanilla ice cream - the highlight of the night was this little gem. Brimming with the freshly baked aroma of butter intertwined with flour, each mouthful of it filled us with satisfaction, more so when it is excessively covered by honey. Will look into getting takeaways of it next time - 2 for $5 :p

BlackBall Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Mr.Ramen San, CBD MELB

When the sister decides on joining me for dinner, it is almost inevitable that we would be choosing quality over quantity, as opposed to what my brother would agree on. After a long day at work, it is comforting to unwind at a peaceful area untainted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Spicy beef ramen - costing slightly more than the other bowls of ramen, I actually liked how concentrated and flavourful the broth was. Small portion of meat served but it was heavily dosed with flavour and has a delightfully soft texture. Can't say I am a big fan of corn being served in the same bowl but I'd still consume it with spoonfuls of broth.

Charsu ramen - the usual culprit, a popular item in many ramen eateries. Broth is lighter in terms of flavour compared to the beef version although still boosting a good depth of aroma in it.  I love how chewy the ramen noodles were prepared, a good levy for when you want to take a break from eating, else the noodles may have turn soggy.

Mr. Ramen San Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 2, 2017

Spicy pork bulgogi and stirfry beef with gai lan recipe

Maintaining the experimental momentum and being clueless as to what to do with the remaining gochujang sitting in the fridge, I stumbled upon a spicy pork bulgogi recipe via Maangchi. Without further delay, I then found myself heading into the butcher, asking for a decent cut of pork neck to be sliced as thin as possible.

I have marinated the meat for a few days and have adjusted the proportion of each individual ingredient to my liking:)

1 apple, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
3 tbsp gochujang
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
A pinch of pepper
1kg pork neck, thinly sliced

1. Blitz all the above ingredients in a food processor until it appears to have sauce like consistency.
2. Mix with the wet ingredients and massage into the meat pieces. Allow to marinade for at least a day.
3. Fry the marinated pork in a pan until cooked, serve garnished with spring onions and a bowl of steamed rice.

On a separate note, have also made a simple stir fry beef with gai lan dish, prepared in 15 minutes:)

Rump beef, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp of ginger minced
Gai lan, cut into easy to eat sized and lightly blanched
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce

1. Quickly fry beef for about 30 seconds on medium heat and set aside.
2. Fry garlic and ginger until it is golden brown in colour before tossing in beef pieces.
3. Add oyster and soy sauce and continue to stir for about a minute before tossing in gai lan.
4. Allow an additional 2 minutes of cooking time before serving with steamed rice.

The Dessert Kitchen, CBD MELB

An impromptu meeting after work and because of it was a bit late for dinner, dessert sounded like a good idea. Can be a little crowded during peak trading hours but overall, staff were accommodating and service is rather efficient.

Mango shaved ice - verging on the pricier side of the spectrum, flavours were decent although I was not entirely wowed by it. False expectations on my behalf, maybe. Shaved ice was smooth although mango pieces tasted akin their canned versions.

Ice stream ramen - intrigued by the sea blue coloured and at the translucency of each jelly strand, I was expecting the dish to amaze me, especially when it came served with a small side of syrup to drizzle over it. Reminded me of something I ate in Kyoto although not exactly the same.

The Dessert Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Meals at Jackon's, Doncaster East MELB

A last minute decision seeing as the siblings and I were in the Doncaster region and were looking for a place to plonk ourselves at whilst the brother eats his fill for the afternoon.

Service is verging on the slower side of the scale but then again, could be that we arrived when the lunch crowd popped by too.

Had the teh tarik and teh c. Both were decent

Char kuey teow - tasted decent although would have liked more of the droolworthy wok aroma lingering in between each thin strand of hor fun noodle. Our serving staff was very apologetic about the long delay for the meal and drinks, reckon it was close to 25 minutes of waiting time.

Meals at Jackson's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 25, 2017

Caramelized apple and pork sausage rolls and beef bourguignon pies recipe

I used to be such a diligent baker/cook, always refuting the slightest chance of using ready made ingredients. Having said that, this all changed over the last year as I slowly spend less time in the kitchen and more time completing other tasks.

Having bought myself a packet of puff pastry sheets from the frozen aisle, it did not take long until I give in to buying shortcut pastry sheets, all for the enjoyment of close family and friends to sink their teeth into.

Inspired by Gourmet Traveller's bangalow pork and caramelized apples sausage rolls recipe, I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit what I had in the pantry and although I can only imagine what GT's version is like, I wouldn't mind giving this recipe another go:)

Caramelized Apple and Pork Sausage Rolls

Puff pastry
2 pink lady apples, chopped into the smallest size possible
Handful of sage, roughly chopped
Handful of thyme
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
3 golden shallots, finely minced
500g minced pork
200g minced veal
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

1. Saute the garlic and shallots with olive oil until they are golden in colour.
2. Add chopped apples, sage and thyme and allow to cook for about 7-10 minutes or until apples have softened.
3. If the mixture appears to be dry, toss in two small cubes of butter. Season to taste, tossing in 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to taste if the flavours are a bit dull.
4. Allow cooked apple mixture to cool before mixing in with the minced meat.
5. Roll puff pastry out, align filling mixture in one corner and tightly roll it together.
6. Cut into desired lengths and brush with egg wash.
7. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes or until cooked.
8. Best served with tomato chutney!

On another note, I was game enough to attempt making a bourguignon pie which heavily reminded me of my days traversing around France, sampling tasty treats all throughout the journey. Again, my own interpretation of an original recipe using available products.

Beef Bourguignon Pies

Ingredients for bourguignon beef:
Half a bottle of good quality, drinkable shiraz
600g of beef casserole/shin meat (whichever you can find from the butcher)
Maple flavoured bacon, chopped into small pieces
200g button mushrooms
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Shortcrust pastry

1. Melt butter in a saucepan and quickly brown the beef on all sides. Ensure beef pieces are cut into, preferrably, 1cmx1cm or bite sized pieces, a tedious but rewarding process. Set beef aside, evenly coating them with flour.
2. Melt a small knob of butter again and saute garlic and onions until they are golden in colour before adding in the bacon pieces. Cook the bacon until they are almost crispy in consistency before adding in chopped button mushrooms and thyme. Allow to simmer for a good 10 minutes before seasoning adequately.
3. Add the above mixture to the beef. Deglaze cooking pan with the wine and allow to bubble for a few minutes before incorporating it with the beef mixture in a slow cooker.
4. Add chicken stock and allow to slow cook for a good 6 hours (best to leave overnight).
5. Roll out pastry sheets into pie tins and puncture a few holes at the bottom.
6. Fill pie cups with the meat filling and cover with pastry sheet. Using leftover pastry pieces, carve leaves or whatever shapes you want and place decoratively on the pies.
7. Use a fork to poke holes into the pie and brush with egg wash.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes or until done.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Wealth Kitchen, Doncaster MELB

Viewed as a must have when the siblings and I get together, yum cha brings back fond childhood memories; selecting mini sharing plates of evenly shaped, bite sized morsels from a pushcart, the sound of workers calling out orders to each other, humid air pulsing with excitement looms the atmosphere. Be it indoors at a five star restaurant or outdoors by the roadside, with the exception of fancier staff uniforms and posh cutlery, there really is not much difference.

Just about every Chinese restaurant in Australia carries this same sentiment. Some do enforce a strict time limit per seating whilst others prefer to throw hints indirectly. Nevertheless, the siblings and I usually stick to our meal time frame provided that meals come in a timely manner.

We tend to order the same array of dishes each time and found that this restaurant does not differ much from the others that we have tried. I did enjoy the egg tart as the pastry layers were beautifully separated by the tiniest of margins and the custard was warm and extremely creamy.

Wealth Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three Monkeys Place, Doncaster East MELB

Alas, a weekday off uninterrupted and happens to be a productively lazy one too; a rare moment that occurs maybe once in a blue moon. What better way to wind down than with a good cup of coffee and with an entertaining companion, who happens to be a messier eater than me :)

Mocha - my preference when I am not needing a strong boost of caffeine or am not in the mood for chai.

Charlie's burger - spicy beef and pork patty, tomato, cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle & sriracha mayo served with chips. WL appears to be a bigger fan of burgers than I am (and I happen to be a strong advocate of it too) and beelines for anything that ends with burger. A decent burger it was.

Ruby scrambled eggs - scrambled eggs, charred corn, fresh chilli, coriander and green nam jim sauce on sourdough. WL was surprised that I have ordered a lighter dish as compared to what I usually gorge myself with but truthfully, I am on a calorie watch, trying to trim myself down further. Fluffy light and pairs nicely with the acidic nam jim sauce. Not a fan of corn of which, I have WL to thank for helping me eat them :p

Three Monkeys Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato