Comments (2) | Monday, June 29, 2009
My friends and I needed a cheap feed before going to the Ross Noble arena spectacular. I picked a restaurant near the venue so we didn't have to drive across town and co-ordinate everyone.
None of us had been to Saigon Rose before, and decided it was about time we gave it a try.
We started off with some mixed spring rolls and some rice paper rolls:
The spring rolls were alright, a bit average. They weren't bad, but they weren't the best I've ever had. They were still good on a cold wintery night.
The rice paper rolls were pretty flavourless, so the sauce was the real saviour. Packed full of filling though, but lacking in flavour.
The one thing that grabbed me was, they had Pipsqueak cider on the menu, my favorite drink!
The Singapore noodles were great, lots of noodles, and flavour. I wish we didn't share them, because I could have eaten the whole plate.
Beef with chilli lemongrass was lovely and tender, a nice amount of spice, plenty of capsicum to accompany it.
The chicken curry is similar to how my mum makes it, but a bit watery. Great flavour, gorgeously cooked chicken and delicious flavour.
The vegetarian claypot, packed full of veges, I didn't try this but it did look yum!
Everything was fresh, the service was friendly, just the rice paper rolls could have had a bit more flavour. I'd go back though, I want to try the traditional chicken noodle soup that wasn't available for Friday and Saturday evenings.
Comments (2) | Saturday, June 27, 2009
To start the weekend, have a slice of this delicious orange cake. It's so moist and light, you'll wonder why you never made it before, and wonder when you can make it again!
Next time I will be substituting the milk or orange juice to see if it will pack more of an orange flavour. But as it is, it is simply delicious! It couldn't be easier to make either, just put everything in a bowl and mix it!
150g butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (225g) self raising flour
1/4 cup (60ml) milk
3/4 cup (120g) icing sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C fan-forced. Grease deep 20cm round cake pan; line base with baking paper.
2. Beat butter, rind, caster sugar, eggs, flour and milk in medium bowl on low speed with an electric mixer until jude combined. Increase speed to medium; beat about 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth and pale in colour.
3. Spread mixture into pan; bake about 40 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning; top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
4. Meanwhile, combine sifted icing sugar and juice in small bowl; stir until smooth. Spread icing over cake.
Comments (11) | Sunday, June 21, 2009
After a recent episode of my favorite TV show, Masterchef, I was inspired to make chocolate fondants. I have made similar things to chocolate fondants before like the molten chocolate cakes, soft centred jaffa puddings, and warm chocolate pots, but never, a chocolate fondant.
First of all Sam stuffed up his fondants, but in the group challenge, the chocolate fondants served at the wedding made me, and most of Australia drool in unison. I knew I had to give them a go as soon as possible!
I made the batter a day ahead to make my life easier. I made the caramel sauce 3 times. I tried 2 times and failed. When I added the cream and butter to the caramel, it would just turn to toffee and it was a massive fail. Not wanting to feel defeated I tried one last time a few hours later just before serving and got it to work. The key is do not plonk the cream and butter in and stir, add them gradually whilst stirring and it will work. I did have a few toffee shards so I just strained the sauce through a sift.
Other than that, it was relatively easy to make. If you over cook them, you won't get a gooey centre, which is the key to a good chocolate fondant. I think the caramel sauce is a must, as it has a nice sweetness. I served mine with vanilla ice cream and we all in dessert heaven for a brief moment.
You can make them in ramekins, disposable tins, or like I did, in a muffin tray.
50g melted butter , for brushing
cocoa powder , for dusting
200g good-quality dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces
200g butter , in small pieces
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs and 4 yolks
200g plain flour
Caramel sauce (see 'Goes well with') and vanilla ice cream or orange sorbet, to serve
1. First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush the melted butter all over the inside of the pudding mould. Place the mould in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with 1 the next mould.
2. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. Remove bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift the flour into the eggs, then beat together.
4. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter.
5. Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before. To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 mins more to the cooking time.
6. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out.
7. Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up.
8. Starting from the middle of each plate, squeeze a spiral of caramel sauce - do all the plates you need before you go on to the next stage.
9. Sit a fondant in the middle of each plate. Using a large spoon dipped in hot water, scoop a 'quenelle' of ice cream.
10. Carefully place the ice cream on top of the fondant, then serve immediately. Repeat with the rest of the fondants.
As we make the fondants in such great volumes in my restaurants we use disposable 150ml aluminium muffin tins, but ramekins work just as well. The cooking times I have given here are for ramekins but if you want to use the muffin tins then 10 mins in the oven will be fine.
9 puddings for 8 guests
If you are making the fondants for a dinner party I would advise you cook one extra as an 'insurance policy' that you can test for doneness. If everything goes according to plan I'm sure there will be no shortage of guests wanting second helpings.
Comments (0) | Saturday, June 20, 2009
ANOTHER ricotta recipe? Yes. And trust me, there will be at least 1 more after this one! Using Perfect Italiano Ricotta!
Look in the background of this cheese photo and you will see what my crepes were meant to look like. Look below and you can see some not so photogenic crepes. However, they were still delicious! The delicious creamy ricotta filling with sultanas, lemon zest and vanilla, goes extremely well with the crepe and bitter orange sauce. I would definitely makes these again, but make them better looking!
Crepes with Ricotta Filling & Bitter Orange Sauce
90g (3/4 cup) plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
250ml (1 cup) milk
20g butter, melted
a pinch of salt
extra butter, for greasing the pan
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sultanas
250g (1 cup) ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bitter Orange Sauce:
80g (1/4 cup) good-quality orange marmalade
60ml (1/4 cup) orange juice
1 tablespoon brandy, or Grand Marnier (optional)
1. To prepare the crepes, put the flour in a large bowl, add the egg, milk, melted butter and salt and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cooking.
2. While the crepe batter is resting, prepare the filling by heating the milk and sultanas in a small saucepan over a low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 4 minutes. Transfer the milk and sultanas to a bowl, add the ricotta, lemon zest, icing sugar and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush a little butter over the base. Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and tip the pan slightly to quickly and evenly spread the batter. After a minute, lift the outer edge of the crepe and flip it over and cook for a couple of seconds on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
4. Make the bitter orange sauce: put the marmalade, orange juice and brandy or Grand Marnier, if using, in a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until the marmalade has melted.
5. Place a heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre of each crepe. Fold the crepe into quarters (crepes can be made in advance to this stage). Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush with butter. Put the filled and folded crepes into the pan and cook for about 30 seconds on each side. Place two crepes on each serving plate, dust with icing sugar and drizzle with sauce.
Comments (3) | Thursday, June 18, 2009
Instead of mid-week cooking this week, I went out for some flaming crêpes with some of my peeps. Chris, the newest member to the gang had told me about this place a few weeks ago and wanted me to join him for flaming crêpe some time soon. So we finally set a date and trekked down to South Yarra for some flaming fun!
Nerdy Rob and I started off with a cider. There are 2 French ciders and 2 Australian ciders available. We went with with the French ciders. One was rather sweet, and one was a bit bitter. I ordered the bitter one but convinced Rob to swap with me! haha!
Whilst there is a good range of savory, sweet and speciality crêpes, well all ordered off the LES CRÊPES FLAMBÉES (flaming crêpes) menu.
The waiter brings the crêpe to the table, along with a little saucepan of rum. He lights the rum on fire with a lighter then pours the flaming rum over the crêpe. You can either leave the crepe on fire till it burns out, or you can blow it out so the flame doesn't cook off all the alcohol.
It was a hard choice as to which crêpe I would get as they ALL sounded so good, but luckily there were 4 of us so we could all sample each other's. I went for the banana, chocolate and rum because ever since getting banana and nutella crepes in Thailand, it has become one of my favorite combinations. I even have nutella and banana on toast sometimes, but it's just not the same as a crêpe.
Chris got the "Antillaise". The raisins were nice and sweet which went really well with the rum flavour. The melted chocolate was a nice touch, but then again, when is melted chocolate not welcome?
David got the "Williams", which was a delicious combination of pears and melted chocolate. The pear was very refreshing, I was rather jealous and wanted to eat the whole thing!
Caramelised orange sauce, candied orange peel and melted dark chocolate flamed with Cointreau.
Finally, Rob got the Crêpe Suzette which was incredibly delicious! The dark chocolate that was melted on the inside of the crêpe made the dish look a little bit special. The bitterness of the candied peel worked very well with the orange sauce. Very nice and I'm glad we all shared!
Finally when the bill came, we received some caramel lollies from France. Our waiter explained they were going to be extremely sticky, and they were! A nice way to end the evening.
I'm not sure if the waiter was French, but he was speaking French most of the evening which was something different. I really enjoyed it and would happily go back again!
Comments (0) | Wednesday, June 17, 2009
My favorite fruit would have to be mango. Although coming in close behind are now lychees.
Mum bought some good looking mangoes last week, but when we ate one we were rather disappointed. The texture felt funny, and it wasn't that sweet. So I did what I usually do with fruit that isn't that fantastic to eat anymore... I baked with it!
I remember seeing this recipe in Bill Granger's book quite a while ago and knew I wanted to try it because it had mango in it.
The mango chunks are really nice and help keep the cake moist. The lime icing has a nice zing, adding a much needed sourness to the sweet cake. The use of yoghurt instead of milk also helps to keep the cake moist. Although the yoghurt taste isn't that prominent. Perhaps it would be more yoghurt tasting if you used a vanilla flavour, but I used a plain variety as the recipe stipulates.
Yes, I'd definitely make it again, but I do prefer to eat my mangoes on their own, it's less calories that way!
Lime & Mango Cake
300g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
180g unsalted butter, softened and roughly diced
250g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
200ml plain yoghurt
1 large mango, diced
185g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
shredded lime zest
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease a 26cm ring tin.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Beat together the butter, sugar and lime zest until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, alternating with the yoghurt, in two batches.
3. Gently fold the mango through the batter and pour into the tin, smoothing the surface. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To make the icing, beat together all the ingredients for 30 seconds, or until smooth. The icing should be of a pouring consistency, if it's too thick, add a touch more lime juice.
5. Drizzle the cake generously with the lime icing and decorate with the shredded lime zest.
Comments (3) | Monday, June 15, 2009
There is something so satisfying when you bake a cake, give it to a friend and they go...."mmmmmmmm......" and give you the thumbs up when it's still in their mouth. And well, quite frankly it would be impossible not to have that reaction when you bite into a slice of this chocolate fudge cake! I made mine with leftover Lindt dark chocolate from Easter (yes folks, Easter!). They are cut into brownie slices, but you'll find it hard to stop at one slice!
They would also be great with some whipped cream, or even chocolate mousse for an all round chocolate hit.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
250g dark eating chocolate, chopped
125g butter, chopped
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
2/3 cup (100g) self-raising flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease 19cm x 29cm lamington pan; line base and long sides with baking paper, extending paper 5cm above sides.
2. Stir chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the water to touch base of bowl); cool.
3. Combine chocolate mixture and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; beat on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium; beat for 3 minutes or until mixture is changed in colour and smooth.
4. Pour mixture into pan; bake about 30 minutes. Stand cake 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool. Serve dusted with sifted icing sugar if desired.
Comments (7) | Sunday, June 14, 2009
Last night I had a random dinner catch up. It was organised at very short notice, with a mix of people. Eight of us headed down to a Korean BBQ place in Clayton, not knowing what to expect. I phoned ahead the day before to book, and we had some issues with spelling my name, but once that was sorted we were booked in!
When I go to a restaurant I like to try a traditional or specialised drink relating to the cuisine of choice. This time it was a cinnamon punch. I was expecting something warm but it was cold and came in a can. If you have ever had the cinnamon flavoured chewing gum, this is what this drink tastes like. It wasn't fizzy, it was more like a Lipton ice tea with a strong cinnamon flavour. Some people at the table commented that it was very sweet, but it went really well with the Korean food.
Most people on the table got the Korean BBQ, but my friend Kiran and I went for some noodles.
We had Jap Chae. I knew these would be good because I had them in Perth during my first Korean food experience. The glass noodles have a weird texture, and a lovely sesame oil flavour. We ordered one for Kiran without beef as she is vegetarian. It is always nice when a place can cater easily for vegetarians. We shared these around the table and everyone enjoyed them and their weird texture.
Onto the Korean BBQ:
First an arrangement of condiments arrived. From left to right: Kimchi, beansprouts, coleslaw, rice noodles, potato.
Then the meat was placed on the grill. For those who don't' know anything about Korean BBQ, there is a hotplate in the middle of the table for you to cook on.
This was BBQ Combo B. Clockwise from the left; beef, pork, calamari and chicken.
None of us knew Korean BBQ etiquette so we watched what other people where doing. We gave our meats a few stirs around, but then the waiter came and took all the meat off the grill when it had been cooked enough.
He then came to cook the fried rice on the hotplate:
The fried rice was not your normal Chinese fried rice. This rice had onions, spring onions and lots of Kimchi. It was rather spicy for some diners at the table, whilst others really liked it. There was a nice crust that formed on the hot plate, similar to a paella crust.
If you are going here with a bunch of people. BBQ combo B only feeds about 2-3 people. You can try to pad it out with fried rice but I'd just recommend getting another serve if there are more than 3 of you.
Finally we received the bill, written mostly in Korean, we had fun trying to figure out what we had ordered!
Pretty good, $114.00 for 8 people. Service is a challenge sometimes with language barriers, so just take it slow and they will understand. Looking forward to my next Korean meal!
Comments (4) | Friday, June 12, 2009
Every now and then, Nerdy Rob, our friend Andrew, and myself go for a bike ride and usually get lunch along the way. This time we were riding along beach road and ended up in Mordialloc. We had some time to kill as Andrew's bike was in the shop getting fixed, so we decided to try out the newest burger joint in town, Big Mouth.
Looking at lot like the well known burger chain, Grill'd, we noticed a lot of similarities. For starters, lots of delicious sounding burgers with special relishes, sauces, and ingredients. Also you can choose if you want white bread or wholemeal as your bun choice.
The boys got a simple beef burger called "Beef'd Up", which consisted of premium lean beef, cos lettuce, vine ripened tomato, trim bacon, caramelised onion & big mouth tomato sauce. They said it was nice and fresh and rather good.
I went for the "Gourmet Grill" which contained premium lean beef, rocket lettuce, feta cheese, caramelized onions, roast capsicum, tzatziki & tomato chutney. A delicious combination, but I think the taztziki was the real winning ingredient.
Like Grill'd they have a good variety of burgers, salads and drinks, but Big Mouth do offer desserts. Something Grill'd does not.
I'd definitely go back if I was in the area and really wanting a burger. I'm glad we had to ride our bikes home though, because I was feeling rather fat after eating a massive burger!
Comments (3) | Thursday, June 11, 2009
I've been wanting to try using a miso marinade since I saw Tetsuya do one on Japanese Food Safari some time ago. Not Quite Nigella inspired me to get the new Bill Granger book, and once I had a flick through, I knew I really wanted to try this recipe.
It was a really nice, healthy option. If you love the taste of miso soup, you will definitely love miso fish. The lemon and the sugar along with the miso help to give the flavour a bit more depth. It was SO incredibly easy to make, just made the marinade, spread it on the fish and grill! Too easy. Great for those of us watching our weight and not wanting to put on an extra layer over winter.
Miso Fish with Spring Onions & Sesame Seeds
4 x 180g pieces firm white fish fillet, such as snapper or blue eye, skinned
2 tablespoons white miso paste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teapsoons extra virgin olive oil
finely shredded spring onions
steamed green vegetables, such as baby Asian leafy greens and asparagus
1. Place the fish on a lightly oiled baking tray. Preheat the grill to high.
2. Stir miso paste, sugar, lemon juice and olive oil together in a bowl to combine. Brush the fish with the miso mixture and place the tray under the grill for 5-7 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
3. Serve at once, sprinkled with shredded spring onions and sesame seeds. Accompany with steamed rice and green vegetables.
Comments (6) | Monday, June 8, 2009
As many of you will know, earlier this year Victoria was in shock with the mass devastation of the bush fires. Known as Black Saturday, none of us will forget how we felt seeing images and the horror on the news. To follow up from a previous post, I took a drive out to Marysville, one of the affected areas to see how the community was coping, a few months on.
It was a great opportunity to support the local community and get out of town for a few hours. As you can see a lot of the trees were still black, but the amount of greenery emerging was just amazing. We saw lots of houses still at ground zero level which really brought us back to earth and realising what truly went on here just a few months ago.
In the main town, a shop front is still charred, whilst the main bakery still stands. I was glad the bakery was still around, because I remember visiting it a few years ago, and having a killer sausage roll!
Business is busier than ever, being pretty much the main place to grab a bite in town, other than the temporary marque restaurant set up across the road. We had to take a number and wait amongst the huge crowd to get served. It was worth it though because everything looked so good.
These photos only show a small portion of the size of this massive bakery. We luckily got a table outside to eat as it was a gorgeous Autumn day, raining quite heavily! I got my killer sausage roll, Nerdy Rob got a steak pie and our newest entourage member, Hamish got a steak and mushroom pie. We also got some wedges to share. Nothing beats country bakery pies and sausage rolls, although this time the sausage roll wasn't as nice as I remember it, however it was still pretty good! The wedges were nice and fresh, I wish we had gotten a bigger bag to share!
We headed back to Healesville to the White Rabbit brewery;
Rob and I heard about this place at the Good Food & Wine Show only a few days earlier. Being part of the Little Creatures group, we were very interested to check it out.
The brewery has the same kind of atmosphere the Fremantle Little Creatures brewery has. Laid back, beer vats, matching food and friendly service.
The beer is still in the trialing phase, so that is probably why you can only try it in Healesville at the moment. We were quite amused by the bill, coming in a Little Golden Book. I used to read these as a kid, it was a nice quirky touch that I would expect from a place like this!
Right next door is the famous, Beechworth Bakery:
Another huge, busy bakery, probably most famous for their vanilla slices, beestings and other goodies. The boys got vanilla slices and I got a "granny smith", which was basically an apple cake. The pastry was lovely, not too thick or thin, and not too sweet.
We ended the day trip with a look in the local chocolate boutique;
Kennedy & Wilson was very fancy, with fancy names we got a couple to try. We each got 2 but we found one was pretty good, and the other was pretty average. It was a bit hit and miss, but I did like the layout of the chocolate, it was like walking into Tiffany & Co for chocolate.
If you are in Victoria, it is well worth the trip. Lots of local produce still available and a great way to support those in need.
Comments (7) | Sunday, June 7, 2009
I was debating whether or not I would go to the Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show this year. I had never been before so didn't really know what it was all about, and whether it would be worth it or not. But I did know I wanted to see Gordon Ramsay.
Luckily I didn't have to decide for too long, I was contacted and given 2 tickets to attend. I decided to go on the first day of the festival, which was on Friday, figuring most people would be at work or going away early for the long weekend.
The highlight of the day was meeting celebrity chefs!
George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan from Masterchef, Dominique Rizzo and the star attraction, Gordon Ramsay!
I regretted leaving my Press Club cookbook at home, as I could have got George to sign it, but I did buy a Gordon Ramsay book and got him to sign it!
In the LG celebrity theatre, Gordon Ramsay, Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, Toby Puttock & Matt Moran did cooking demonstrations. Gary and George were a cracker team, swearing far more than Gordon Ramsay!
To get the crowd pumped before each show, Alistar McLeod played some games with the audience, and Nerdy Rob ended up getting on stage, dancing the YMCA and winning some Harty's wine, an apron and a rice and risotto cooker!
There was also the BBC Good Food stage, as seen here Peter Evans doing a cooking demo.
The picture on the far left is a company called Edible Blooms, I have used them before, they provide a nice alternative to sending someone flowers.
The amount of food and wine was just mind blowing. So many traders offering free samples and selling produce. There was also a restaurant serving signature dishes from Gary Mehigan, Gordon Ramsay, Alistar McLeod & Toby Puttock.
Starting clockwise from top left:
- Biscuits from Biscottini, I sampled a pistachio pear biscuit and it was delicious!
- Cinnamon donut, 4 for $5
- Baby Cakes cupcakes, I've had these before and they are some of the best cupcakes in Melbourne.
Starting clockwise from top left:
- Glace fruit by Pomona
- One of the many chocolate stands
- Organic chocolate by Organic Times, so amazing we bought some to take home
- Sauces, puddings and goodies by Red Hill
Phoenix organic drinks and Charlie's homemade lemonade. Rob said the organic cola tasted like "Slade's Cola" and well, the homemade lemonade was so nice and sour, it really quenched my thirst. I really need to find out where I can buy this in Melbourne, if you have any ideas please let me know! The Little Creatures dining hall in Melbourne serves Phoenix drinks.
Haighs was also demonstrating chocolate coated almonds.
Pretzels! This was a very popular stand at the festival. I had a chocolate filled pretzel with chocolate sprinkles. It was so delicious, I did feel rather fat after eating it, but it was so worth it!
This is Julie, I met her in the queue for the Gordon Ramsay book signing. She came all the way from Adelaide for the show and to see Gordon! She has survived breast cancer twice and has such a warm, positive energy, she is a true inspiration.
A big thank you to Johanna Scott for organising my tickets and for going to extra trouble to put aside some Gordon Ramsay show tickets for me! I can't wait to go next year!
Sydney, Brisbane & Perth, check the website for when the show is coming to you!
Permission must be granted before using any images or text from this website.
Feel free to contact me:
ironchefshellie [at] gmail [dot] com