Recent Recipes

Pork Potsticker Dumplings

Comments (12) | Thursday, July 30, 2009

The quest for the best dumplings in Melbourne began once I found out my favorite place in Springvale shut down. Whilst Camy Shanghai is good, it all depends on what day you go. Some days it can be great, some days not so great.
And well Bob's Kitchen is pretty good, I am still on the look out for the best dumplings. My friend Elspeth has suggested a place in Box Hill I still have to check out, but on Friday night I had a go at making my own.

My delicious dumplings, not as pretty looking at Donna Hay's but I don't mind!

Donna Hay had a recipe for "Potstickers" that looked pretty good. I made an alteration by adding a touch of sesame oil since I love the stuff. I substituted the choy sum, for my favorite vegetable, broccoli, and I served the dumplings with black vinegar instead of soy sauce. I must have this vinegar when eating dumplings, I find soy sauce too salty, and I am slowly showing my friends they way of the vinegar.

I possibly added too much stock when cooking these and they were a bit soupy than the pretty picture in Donna's book, but my goodness they were so tasty! I couldn't believe how good they were. Sure I didn't make the skins myself, but wow, the filling packed a punch. Lovely and gingery and full of flavour. I was a bit greedy and made double the quantity, so I had the rest for Sunday dinner.

Pork Potsticker Dumplings
An adaption from Donna Hay

240g pork mince
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
2 green onions, finely sliced
a small splash, sesame oil
12 round wonton wrappers
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125ml) chicken stock
1 floret of broccoli chopped or 350g of choy sum
soy sauce or black vinegar, to serve

1. Combine the mince, hoisin sauce, ginger and sesame oil and onion.

2. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on each wonton. Brush edges with water, fold in half and press to seal.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and dumplings and cook for 2 minutes or until bases are well browned. Add stock and broccoli or choy sum to the pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 6-8 minutes without lifting the lid.

4. To serve, sprinkle vegetables and dumplings with soy or vinegar.

Serves 2.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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The Kreativ Blogger Award

Comments (2) |

So the lovely Rilsta, from My Food Trail presented me with this Kreativ Blogger Award a while ago. It's great talking and seeing what fellow bloggers are up to in the kitchen, so it was about time I handed out some awards myself!

The Kreativ Blogger award comes with some rules:

1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

So here we go....hmmmm...

1. Whilst typing this I am currently s_t_r_a_v_i_n_g! Mum is cooking her awesome won ton soup at the moment, and the smells are wafting into the lounge room making me even more hungry! (Hurry up Mum!!... please!)

2. I always knew that chocolate was my favorite sweet thing, but just recently discovered my favorite savory thing is vinegar. I could eat salt and vinegar chips, corn thins or anything all day I reckon. I smother my fried dumplings in vinegar, I love vinegar in salad dressings.... vinegar, vinegar, vinegar!

3. I am currently craving good Malaysian food. It's hard to find a good place that isn't in Malaysia. I should probably go there soon to visit my family, hopefully I will win $80 million in Powerball tonight!

4. I would love one day to go to Paris and train in a patisserie. I would love to make macaroons, eclairs and other French delights in the mother country.

5. Looking forward to the Lindt Cafe in Melbourne opening!! I will be there with my camera and lots of people to share my love of Lindt!

6. I don't believe in Christmas in July. It's a load of cr@p. So what.. just cos it's cold? No way, Christmas is once a year in December, and it's hot for us people in Australia. Deal with it! Christmas is so out of control I can only handle it once a year.

7. I had mum's awesome won tons and burnt my tongue... woe is me =(

The 7 people I nominate in no particular order are:
Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella
Suze from Chocolate Suze
Helen from Grab Your Fork
Howard from Eat Show Tell
Food Lover from Melbourne Dining Experiences
Billy from A Table For Two
Simon from The <3> of food

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Organic Expo 2009

Comments (6) | Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yesterday I headed down to check out the Organic Expo at the Royal Exhibition Building with Nerdy Rob and Alana. The lovely Stefanie from Polkdadot PR contacted me before the event and offered me some free tickets, and luckily she did because I had no idea this expo was even on!

The entrance at the Royal Exhibition Building

I wasn't sure what to expect, but we ended up having a great time, and I found my favorite organic chocolate by Organic Times that we discovered at the Good Food & Wine Show.

There were a lot of different stands, obviously food and wine were nicely scattered around the expo with lots of free samples being handed out. We tried lots of organic chocolate and chips, as well as salad dressing, cider and honey. If you wanted to try wine you had to buy a tasting glass for $5, but we weren't really in the wine tasting mood so we gave it a miss.

As well as the food and wine on offer there were lots of organic clothing, baby clothing, gardening, skin care, cosmetics and house hold cleaning product stalls scattered around.

We needed a spot of lunch before going on further. Rob got the massive burger, all organic of course, with chips all for $10! I got the arancini of pumpkin and fetta with chips and a salad. The arancini was pretty bland, but I got some of the free organic ketchup to make it a bit more flavoursome.
The cafe had lots on offer, including these cute chocolate muffins! A big selection of sandwhices, pies, sushi, rice paper rolls, soups and vegetarian options.

Kylie Kwong also did a cooking demonstration, but we didn't stay for the whole thing. I am not a fan of Kylie Kwong, she always feels the need to remind us she is Chinese and always uses the same ingredients to season her food. We found her rather boring and proceeded to indulge in some more free samples before heading home.

The haul

We came home with lots of goodies:
- Chocolate by Organic Times (chocolate coated licorice, almonds and macadamias)
- Salad dressing (Sesame shitake and rose & balsamic)
- Thomas Chipman chips (5 for $15)
- Charlie's homemade lemonade (my absolute favorite) and spirilina
- and a show bag that we picked up on entry

Overall a good expo with a huge variety of organic products on offer.
The expo is still on today, for more info check out the website, adult tickets are $15 available for purchase at the door.

A big thanks to Stefanie again from Polkdadot PR for the tickets, we had a great time!

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Comments (4) | Friday, July 24, 2009

I've been wanting to make snickerdoodles for some time now since seeing them in a cookbook. Seeing Lorraine's cinnadoodles a while back made me want to make them even more! It's the glittery sugar coating that makes these babies look so delicious.

Whilst they look like a sugar cookie, it's the nutmeg that gives a nice spice flavour to work with the cinnamon sugar coating.
I made these to try and woo my new co-workers at my latest contract job. It's great being around people that love food, mainly snacking as much as I do! So these cookies went down exceptionally well during the day. One even commented they tasted like cinnamon doughnuts.

They are relatively easy to make as far as cookies go. A good classic cookie recipe to keep on file.


250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (110g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups (410g) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon caster sugar extra
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Beat butter, extract and sugars in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Stir in sifted flour, soda and nutmeg, in two batches. Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C fan-forced. Line oven trays with baking paper.

4. Combine extra caster sugar and cinnamon in a small shallow bowl. Roll level tablespoons of the dough into balls; roll balls in cinnamon sugar. Place balls about 7 cm apart on oven trays.

5. Bake about 12 minutes. Cool on trays.

Makes 42.

Voila! Bon Appétit!

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The Mother of All Dinner Parties 2009

Comments (2) | Sunday, July 19, 2009

Last night I hosted my 2nd dinner party, around this time last year I hosted my first dinner party. This year was also a success, bringing my closest high school friends together for a night of good food and company.

This year I went for a less stressful approach and got everyone to bring along a dish. We settled on the theme of "Wog" and allocated dishes for everyone to bring.

Alana and Adrian provided this lovely anti-pasto spread for everyone to nibble on whilst things were cooking in the oven. Complete with lovely fresh bread, bread sticks, prosciutto, bocconcini cheese, stuffed olives, marinated mushrooms and semi sun-dried tomatoes. It was a great way to get things going with everyone gathered around with a drink catching up on life.

For mains we had a lovely spread (apologies for terrible photos, all you can see is melted cheese and the lighting wasn't the best).

David and Chris brought along this lovely vegetarian lasagna. Although they were going to go with David's mum's recipe they had decided they didn't have enough time and adapted this "Cheat's Lasagna" which was vegetarian ravioli, sauce and cheese. It didn't matter that it was a cheat's version, it was so delicious. Nice and saucy and cheesy and everyone loved it.

Kiran also made a vegetarian dish, eggplant parma. Delicious eggplant in sauce, smothered in cheese. This was also very nice and fit in perfectly with the theme. An excellent effort since Kiran only really cooks Indian dishes. She is the opposite of Andre from Masterchef who only cooks Italian!
Nerdy Rob cooked this delicious chicken cacciatore. I believe this was his first cacciatore, however it was a massive success! The chicken was simply falling off the bone, and the sauce was so rich and full of goodies like olives and mushrooms. It worked perfectly with everything else.

David & Chris supplied this gorgeous salad. And thanks to Tristan for bringing along garlic bread even though he doesn't eat it!

Dessert was my course to take care of. David had jokingly said I should do petits fours, but of course I thought that was an awesome idea and simply had to do it.

The first petits fours I knew I was going to do my chocolate mousse. I knew all my friends loved it since I had served it to them before. So I bought these cute little espresso cups from the $2 shop (3 for $2!!) and divided the mousse among them.

I wanted to make them extra special for the dinner party so I topped them with Persian fairy floss. I had quite the adventure trying to find the stuff with David Jones not being able to get in stock for 6 months. I rang around a few gourmet food shops and finally tracked some down at Jones The Grocer. The next hard part was decided what flavour, I picked up pistachio and chocolate, but there was also vanilla, saffron and rose on offer.
The mousse however was a hit, everyone intrigued by said fairy floss.

The second petits fours was an simple and refreshing fruit skewer. I was going to add a few more fruits, but I thought I'd just keep it simple since there was so much on offer. I did some googling and got the idea to put them in shot glasses for presentation.

The third petits fours was a mini doughnut which I had made before. I decided to make these because I knew they were simple to make, they were bite sized as well so people could have room for them. And well, how cute do they look?

The final petits fours was going to be my biggest risk. Something I hadn't really tried before. Whilst I had attempted a lemon meringue pie before, I remember transporting it in my car and it just spilling everywhere. So I decided I'd give it a go again in smaller form. I was going to make the pastry but then realised how much of a task I had taken on doing 4 desserts and having to clean the house AND work so I cheated and bought the frozen tart shells. This also reminded me of MasterChef at the wedding when they used store bought shells, but I thought, "Hey, if they can do it, then so can I!"

I filled the tarts with Donna Hay's lemon curd recipe which was nice and sour, but not too sour. Then the meringue was from Gourmet Traveller magazine, and I thought this part was going to let me down. It was an Italian meringue which uses a sugar syrup instead of caster sugar when beating the egg whites. For this I bought a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. LUCKILY for me they turned out well and I could pipe them just how I wanted. I tried to brown them with a small blow torch but that failed, so I popped them under the grill. I had a few MasterChef fail moments here, the blow torch one tasted of butane, and when I was trying to extra brown a few of the meringues my baking paper set on fire! Oh it was hilarious, however the fire was easily blown out and no one got hurt.
The Italian meringue was all marshmallowy inside, and the tarts were a huge hit. I thought everyone would go halves on the tart, but everyone had one tart each! They must have been good!
I would personally like to thank Alana, Adrian, David, Chris, Tristan, Kiran and Nerdy Rob for coming and each bringing something along. An extra shout out to Alana for giving me these goreous flowers and to Tristan for his lovely culinary gift!

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Whos cuisine will reign supreme?

Comments (5) | Thursday, July 16, 2009

For us Australians, for the last 3 months or so we have been glued to our televisions 6 nights a week watching Masterchef. I've tried a few recipes from the show, but there are heaps more I want to try, especially from the latest pressure test, the cake I've nicknamed; "The Cake of Doom". It is essentially a chocolate mousse cake, but inside there are 7 layers! Just looking at the recipe gives you a headache! However, I have vowed that one day I will make this cake of doom!

So it's down to 2 women, home cook and lovable mum, Julie, and my favorite from the start, Malaysian artist, Poh, (her website here).

Julie has been a solid performer, and has not lost a pressure test, or elimination round yet! The woman is unbeatable! She always seems to be in a tizz, and we all felt sorry for her when she couldn't finish plating up for celebrity chef, Donna Hay.

Julie Goodwin

Poh has had 2 second chances, but what I love about her is she is a risk taker. She will try things she has never tried before, which has resulted in her losing sometimes. But since getting a wild card entry back into the competition, she has excelled. I really want to try those deep fried meringues! Oh, and well she is Malaysian, so how could I not love that being part of my heritage!

Poh Ling Yeow

For me I'd love Poh to win, but I think Julie deserves it more. Julie has been there from the very beginning, hasn't been home to see her family, and being a mum of 3 boys, if anyone needed to go home to spend some time with their family, it would have to be Julie. Either way, whoever wins, I will be happy!

Poh's deep fried meringues with chocolate, chestnut puree and orange rind..mmmm

It's been a great series, with some of my favorite chefs making an appearance, Donna Hay, Bill Granger and Adrian Richardson. My newest favorite chef the series introduced me to is Emmanuel Stroobant; the man is a dream!
Some amazing recipes, some shocking recipes, but it's really brought lots of people together, especially my family, we would all rush dinner so we could sit down and watch it together.

Judges: George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan & Matt Preston

I will miss Friday's masterclass and seeing the 3 musketeers until the next season!
It's just been confirmed there will be a celebrity version of Masterchef... hmm that will be interesting!

So on Sunday night, we will all be glued to our TV sets, waiting to find out who will be Australia's first Masterchef. I will be having a few people around, possibly making some food inspired from the series. The box of tissues will be on hand as with any good reality TV show there will be tears!

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Eating Out: Brown Sugar Cafe

Comments (3) | Monday, July 13, 2009

Sorry my posting has been a bit slack, I've been incredibly exhausted as of late, and just started an awesome contract job. This weekend I am hosting a dinner party, but luckily my guests are bringing lots of dishes and I'm just in charge of dessert. I'm doing some kind of petits fours!

On the weekend just passed, I went out for lunch on Sunday with Nerdy Rob and our friend Hamish in the city, and headed over to the Salvidor Dali exhibit. We also enjoyed lunch at the Brown Sugar Cafe.

Turkish bread with chicken, bacon, pesto, mayonnaise & cheese.

This was amazing. Better than any other focaccia or toasted sand which I've ever had. A really nice combination. The sweetness of the mayonnaise, the saltiness of the bacon, and the delicious fresh bread was just what I wanted for brunch on a Sunday.

Spiced Lamb Pie.

Totally awesome! Served with a yoghurt sauce and and fresh salad, who could ask for anything more? The perfect size, very tasty mince and crispy pastry, I think I will get this next time!

Found in one of Melbourne's busy little arcades (I forgot to take pictures!), Brown Sugar is a fantastic little treasure. A very cosy restaurant, with prompt and friendly service. Thanks Hamish for finding this little beauty!

Brown Sugar Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Weird Food of the Month: Bacon in a Can

Comments (4) | Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This month's weird food is another product you wouldn't usually find in a can, bacon.
And before you ask, yes it's American.

"Each can is 9 ounces of fully cooked and drained bacon. Between 2-3/4 and 3-1/4 pounds of raw bacon go into each can. Each can is the highest quality fresh #1 bacon slices. Cured to our specifications, cooked and then hand wrapped, rolled and packed in the U.S.

We cook this bacon down for you prior to canning, so you won’t pay for all of the natural shrinkage that occurs whenever you cook bacon. Then we carefully drain all of the fat and liquid off and can it fresh so it will taste as good out of the can as it would right out of the refrigerator.

100% U.S. bacon!! "
The product boosts a shelf life of 10 years. I'm not sure I'd want to be eating anything that is 10 years old, not even chocolate! I can understand the appeal for taking this if you are going camping, but why would you stock it in your pantry when you can get good, fresh bacon?

For more details, click here, or for the taste test results, click here.

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Eating Out: Red Hot Wok

Comments (3) | Thursday, July 2, 2009

As you may have seen in a previous post, a few of us went out for flaming crepes a few weeks ago. Before having dessert we wanted to have some dinner, so we went to a Chinese / Malaysian restaurant just a few doors down.

I had the curry laksa which was very very bland. I had to request for some soy sauce. I added so much soy sauce, and there was still no flavour! I was very disappointed as I was really looking forward to a nice spicy soup with lots of noodles and chicken.

Rob had the Ipoh Ho Fun, which was not what was I was expecting it would be. It was still a delicious looking noodle soup for a cold wintery night. Rob said it was a little bland as well, but not as bad as the curry laksa.

Flaky tofu and a vegetarian fried kway teow were enjoyed by the vegetarians. No complaints of blandness about either dish. The flaky tofu, looking a bit like a creme caramel looked very delicious.

In my opinion, I probably wouldn't go back. I'd be willing to give it another try, but from what I had, it wasn't very authentic. Service was pretty good, prices were reasonable but not that cheap being in South Yarra.

Red Hot Wok on Urbanspoon

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