Comments (3) | Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It was the evening of Earth Hour and we have sort of made it a habit to go out for dinner with friends.
We decided on somewhere fairly close to home, at a place Iron Chef Alana highly recommended.
I called during the week to make a booking with no problems. I then called up again 1 hour before we were due to be in to make the booking a bit later as a member of our party was running late. When we arrived at the restaurant we were left standing around whilst staff members hurried about. Another group of 4 walked in and were immediately seated, whilst we still stood there. We were then told our table was being cleared and we waited, and waited.
When we were finally seated it took a short while to receive menus. When we did receive the menus our papadums where plonked on the table without the usual condiments.
Iron Chef Alana took care of the ordering, and drinks were promptly delivered.
Nerdy Rob had this Rose Lassi, and for me it tasted like pot potpourri.
We were delivered our vegetable samosas shortly after which were delicious! Definitely home made, with chunky vegetables and delicious with the mint riata.
Then we waited a little. Our plates were cleared. We waited some more, them some more... then about 30-40 minutes later after seeing some staff members possibly arguing over noticing our table hadn't had any service for quite some time our mains arrived.
We clearly over ordered, despite the fact that we were all starving. But it was worth the wait. Everything was delicious.
This pumpkin masala was served in a pumpkin! Pretty spicy, but nice!
Diced butternut pumpkin tempered with five spices, cooked with masala sauce.
The butter chicken was a little tomato-y than what I'm used to, but it was still nice. I still think the best butter chicken I've had is at the Curry Club in Richmond, but this one is a lot closer to home. With rice and garlic naan, I was in heaven!
Chicken roasted in Tandoor, cooked in tomato, butter, cream, and mild spices. Garnished with nuts.
We also had a Chicken Malabari (boneless chicken cooked in mustard seeds, coconut, curry leaves with whole red chillies). I didn't take a photo as we were all too hungry and got right into eating. It was just as good as everything else, and the coconut really helped to mix things up. It tasted more Thai than Indian in a way as I'm not used to coconut cream in an Indian curry.
Apart from the service, or perhaps it was just lacking on that particular night, this place is great. I really enjoyed the food, and we weren't crammed amongst other diners.
Bookings are a must, the place is always packed when I'm driving past. Just perhaps don't go if you are seeing a movie in case your food gets delayed like ours did!
Tandoori Den - Camberwell
261 Camberwell Rd
Camberwell, VIC 3124
Tel: (03) 9882-5353
Fax: (03) 9882-8266
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Comments (0) | Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Mid-week cooking took a Greek influence this week. It was my first attempt at Greek food, and I know how much my boy loves a souvlaki, so I thought I'd give this recipe a go.
I had a few issues with the meat not staying on the stick when I was cooking it, so I ended up mixing a egg through the skewer meat I hadn't cooked yet to help bind the ingredients together, and it worked.
Whilst it isn't like any souvlaki you'd get at a souvlaki van/shop, it is still very nice! The tzatziki is the key ingredient and flavour in any souv, so the added flavour of beetroot gives a nice refreshing flavour.
The boy really enjoyed it, and so did the rest of the family. This one is a keeper!
Souvlaki Wraps with Beetroot Tzatziki
Original Recipe by Angela Boggiano; with alterations by Iron Chef Shellie
500g lamb mince
100g feta, crumbled
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Large handful of parsley finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sunflower oil to brush
Lebanese bread, sliced red onion, lettuce and tomato to serve
Black Swan beetroot tzatziki dip
1. Soak 8 wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place the lamb, feta, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, egg in a large bowl. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then mix together with your hands until well combined. Cover and chill for 20 minutes.
3. Using wet hands, shape lamb mixture around the skewers. Brush with the oil. Cook over a preheated, oiled char grilled pan in two batches.
4. Serve the souvlaki skewers with Lebanese bread, red onion and lettuce. Garnish with extra parsley and a dollop of beetroot tzatziki.
Comments (3) | Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Since I hadn't baked for about a week I was starting to feel the need to get into the kitchen and make something tasty. I found this recipe in my "to try" folder. I had all the ingredients in the cupboard so I didn't need to venture down to the shops... which was great cos I really couldn't be bothered battling people down at the supermarket.
This recipe is super easy to make, I didn't even have to get the electric mixer dirty!
This bread recipe didn't even require yeast, which for some reason I'm a bit scared of using. But I'm going to have to get over my "yeast phobia" soon because I plan to make some hot cross buns since it's Easter soon!
The coconut bread is so nice you don't even need to have it with butter. I always love cinnamon in cakes and slices, and this was no exception.
Delicious for breakfast, or even morning/afternoon tea.
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup caster sugar
150g shredded coconut
75g unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, add sugar and coconut, and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, being careful not to over-mix.
3. Pour into a greased and floured 21 x 10cm loaf tin and bake for 1 hour, or until bread is cooked when tested with a skewer.
4. Leave in the tin to coll for 5 minutes, and remove to cool further on a wire rack. Serve in thick slices, toasted, buttered and dusted with icing sugar.
Comments (7) | Monday, March 23, 2009
A while ago I tried a place in Camberwell that I had walked past quite a few times and always wanted to go in.
Being half Malaysian, I'm usually craving some kind of Malaysian cuisine, usually curry laksa! So Nerdy Rob and I headed down to give this place a go.
We wondered in for lunch about 45 minutes before they were due to close, but they still welcomed us in and service was good.
Delicious vegetable filling placed within a crispy rimmed case topped with
prawn and scallop.
We started with what my mum makes really really well, Pie Tee. Whilst these looked delicious they weren't as good as my mum's! A different filling to what I'm used to, and topped with cold prawns and scallops. If they weren't cold the dish would have been better.
Soft cooked hokkien noodles, fishcake, prawns, calamari and bok choy gently
simmered in a dark soy sauce.
This is a dish I used to order ALL the time when I was younger. I'm not sure what it was but I always enjoyed it and always ended up covered in soya sauce by the end of the meal. These were delicious, a good sized serve full of seafood.
Fine strands of vermicelli and soft hokkien noodles, fried bean curd puff, fish
cake, chicken, bean shoots, string beans, all present in a piquant spicy
coconut curry soup.
And I finally got my curry laksa and it was everything I wanted it to be. Good soup, which some people can easily screw up, plenty of noodles and fish cake. I will be returning here if I'm in the area and want laksa again.
Monk and Me is a lovely place with big doors that open up to the pavement during the hotter months. A good menu and decor, with great service. I can't wait to go back to try more dishes!
Monk & Me
9 Evans Place
Hawthorn East VIC 3123
Tel: 03 9813 3261
Fax: 03 9813 1151
Comments (3) | Friday, March 13, 2009
I'm going to apologise now, as this is going to be a bit of a vague review because I can't find the menu online to give you the proper names for each dish! So hopefully the pictures will speak for themselves.
My dear friend Iron Chef David had his birthday at an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Carlton last weekend. Since he is vegetarian and half the group is also vegetarian, us meat eaters happily gave up meat for this special dinner. But to be honest, I didn't even notice the absence of meat as all the dishes were so packed with flavour.
The best thing by far was these dumplings. We still talk about them a week on. We got 2 plates of these as they were only an entree size and we all wanted dumplings. The balsamic syrup helped to compliment the most amazing filling. I probably could have just dined on these all evening, but there were many other dishes we had to cram onto our table and try.
Avocado rolls, in a tempura batter (i think) with a lovely green sauce..... remember I said this was a vague review!
Very nice, crunchy in the right places, and soft in the right places.
These croquettes were delicious, with sweet potato and a nice sweetish sourish sauce. Served with tofu, kim-chi and a few vegetables. They look as good as they taste.
Vegetarian satay sticks. The vegies look like meat but it's all vegetables. The satay sauce was lovely. Served with pickled vegetables and rice.
This is quinoa. Probably my first experience with quinoa and I will say it's yum! Looks like cous cous, similar texture as cous cous, served with a lovely salad and tasted great with the satay.
Soba noodle curry. I love soba noodles, and with a curry soup it was an excellent combination. Packed with tofu, and vegetables, this one would definitely fill you up.
There were a couple more dishes that I didn't get a photo of because we were too busy making room on the table for all the dishes and we were all very hungry!
The restaurant is set in an old house, plenty of seating and the staff were extremely helpful. There is a few options here for vegans as well. I would say bookings are essential as there aren't many Indian vegetarian restaurants in town!
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Comments (4) |
I made these for a random casual dinner party last night. A lovely bunch of people gathered at Iron Chef Jason's house for a lovely dinner of pasta and Bondi Vet.
Whilst I'm sorry that the gluten free and vegan guests couldn't try these, they were a bit hit with everyone else.
It was a bit pain staking shelling 150 grams of pistachio nuts. So I shelled a few more grams to reward myself for the hard work.
Whilst the biscuit itself isn't very sweet, it's the icing sugar that brings the main sweetness to it. So make sure you smother it in icing sugar. The recipe says to "dust" with the icing sugar, but you actually need to rub the icing sugar all over the biscuit and then dust.
The lemon rind makes it a little bit refreshing too. You can easily eat more than one in a sitting! Perfect with a cup of my favorite, Earl Grey tea.
Pistachio & Lemon Bites
300g butter, softened
3 tablespoon caster sugar
150g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon lemon rind
icing sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 4 minutes or until light and creamy.
2. Add the pistachios and beat for 2 minutes. Fold through the flour and lemon rind and mix until will combined.
3. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, flatten slightly and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.
Comments (0) | Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Probably one of the worst cookbooks you can buy a person is one that has yummy looking cupcakes in it, but also tells you how many calories, and how much fat and carbohydrates are in the recipes. Never mind. I can block that out I guess!
I had my cousins over on the weekend and they helped me bake some cupcakes for a BBQ I was attending later that day. We made a bunch of caramel mud cakes and these lamington topped cupcakes.
Whilst the recipe had steps that seemed out of order, we followed it exactly as it was written and the end result was perfect!
They are extremely light and fluffy. They came out a lot bigger than I was expecting, but because they weren't heavy like the mud cakes, eating one or two at a time was easy.
They were a big hit at the BBQ with everyone going for the lamington ones first before the caramel mud cakes!
Lamington Top Cupcakes
1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
200g shredded coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a 12 hole muffin/cupcake pan with cases. In a medium size bowl, lightly beat the eggs, add butter and sugar, then mix until light and fluffy.
2. Add milk, flour and vanilla, and stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until light and creamy.
3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cases. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to touch. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool fully before icing.
4. For the topping, combine the chocolate and tablespoon of butter in a medium size saucepan over a medium heat. As the mixture begins to melt, add cream slowly, the reduce heat to low, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool.
5. Combine the butter and icing sugar, mix with a wooden spoon, then beat with the spoon until light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate and combine, and spoon icing onto cupcakes. Place coconut onto a small plate and roll each cupcake on it to achieve desired effect.
Comments (1) | Tuesday, March 10, 2009
We had a few too many figs lying around the house this weekend and mum said if I wanted to use them I had better do it quick or they wouldn't be good anymore. Talk about baking under pressure!
They are as delicious as they look! I would say it's the little bit of cinnamon that really makes these biscuits special.
I would suggest you give these a whirl if you have some spare figs. Perfect with a cuppa tea.
Fig & Oat Biscuits
3/4 cup brown sugar
125g butter, softened
1 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large figs, thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat well.
2. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the butter mixture and fold in with the oats, dried figs and cinnamon.
3. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and shape into 7cm rounds. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and top with sliced figs. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.
Comments (0) | Monday, March 9, 2009
More Brunetti adventures happened on the weekend as part of my dear friend, David's birthday celebrations. We headed to Brunetti which was across the road from an Indian vegetarian restaurant we dined at earlier which I will review later on for you all.
Being a large group we had to skulk around for a place to sit, but once we found one it was a competition who could consume the most amount of calories (well not really but you feel like you could get diabetes just walking into the place!)
For me, Nutella tastes good on anything. And I'm a big fan of cheesecakes made with ricotta cheese, so this combination sounded delicious immediately for me. I've been wanting to try this for a while so I decided it was time to cave in a give it a whirl. It didn't disappoint either! The cheesecake was light and fluffy, accompanied with the lovely dollop of my childhood favorite, Nutella.
Just the right serving size, any bigger and I would have exploded.
I know what you're thinking, "This doesn't look like any creme caramel I've ever had before". Well according to the label, this is a creme caramel with a large amount of chocolate on top! It's needless to say my friend Jason who ordered this suffered a chocolate hang over, desperately wanting water soon after this dessert!
Comments (2) | Friday, March 6, 2009
I thought I'd bake a little thank you gift for my panel beater to thank him for all the help he has provided with my car lately. I did have a pistachio and lemon biscuit in mind but when I went to the cupboard I found that my bag of pistachios had been eaten. So instead I went for something much easier and went for chocolate madeleines.
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
60g butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa over the egg mixture and fold through with melted butter.
2. Spoon the mixture into greased large madeleine tins until two-thirds full.
3. Bake for 10 minutes or until the madeleines are set.
Voila! Bon Appétit!
Comments (0) | Thursday, March 5, 2009
So my first proper Korean food experience was in Perth a couple of months ago. We couldn't help but notice the vast amount of Korean restaurants scattered over Perth so we decided to try one for lunch towards the end of our trip.
Each table has a Korean BBQ in the centre, but we thought between the 2 of us we wouldn't be able to try a good variety of food to BBQ, so we just ordered off the menu.
A traditional favorite. Clear noodles pan-fried with thin slices of marinated beef and assorted seasoned vegetables in a sesame oil sauce.
I got the Jap Chae because it sounded so simple and delicious. And if it was a traditional favorite, there must be a reason why.
It didn't disappoint either, full of flavour, I could have eaten another one straight after it. The noodles were clear, glassy like but were a bit chewy. I really liked them, probably a bit too much capsicum for me but the beef was so tender. I need to find somewhere that serves this in Melbourne so I can get my fix.
Fresh + seasoned vegetables, chilli pork, pan fried with well pickled kimchi pieces in light sop + sesame oil.
My boy got the Kimchi Bokgum Bap because he wanted something with Kimchi in it to find out what it was all about.
This was a very nice dish, however very spicy... on the way in and out if you know what I mean ;)
He consumed a lot of fluid whilst eating this one because it was so spicy!
91-93 Barrack Street, Perth
420 Hay Street, Subiaco
For the full menu and contact details head to: http://www.arirang.com.au/
Comments (3) | Monday, March 2, 2009
I am currently walking around like a pregnant duck! And I am neither pregnant nor a duck.
I suppose you want to know why? I did too much exercise this weekend! 1 hour of personal training, then a nice long bike ride the day after. Too many walking lunges and squats has left me unable to walk properly... or do anything else without looking like a total idiot!
So I didn't go to the gym tonight, instead I baked some cookies! I'm sure my personal trainer would understand, who can resist chocolate after all? And it gives me a chance to use up some candy canes I've had lying around since Christmas.
They are awesome! I knew they would be as I put them in the oven. The scent of minty candy canes with lots and lots of chocolate....mmmmmm. Eat them when they are warm and the chocolate is still melting.
Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
110g butter, softened and chopped
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (150g) plain flour, sifted
1/4 cup (25g) cocoa, sifted
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
120g dark chocolate, melted
280g dark chocolate, extra, chopped
120g candy canes, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until light and creamy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and melted chocolate and beat until just combined. Fold through the extra chopped chocolate.
3. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into rounds. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, allowing room for the cookies to spread, and flatten slightly. Press the chopped candy canes into the tops of the cookies and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are firm. Allow to cool on the trays.
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