Sunday, May 09, 2010

happy mothers' day

Here are 2 recipes that always remind me of my Mum.

Curry puffs

These are deliciously moreish, particularly fresh out of the oven. So typically there was a huge dent in the number that we planned to take to get-togethers (often along with another family favourite, mango pudding).

You'll need:

500g beef mince
2-3 medium sized potatoes
1 small can of coconut cream
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons of your favourite curry powder
3 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg

1. Boil potatoes until soft, then mash to the consistency that you like. I prefer my potatoes a bit chunky still for that added texture, but a smoother consistency would make the puffs easier to fill.
2. Brown onion on the stove until fragrant.
3. Add mince and stir until cooked.
4. Add potatoes, coconut cream and curry powder and stir to combine.
5. Simmer mince mixture or 5 minutes or so, or until thick.
6. Place mince mixture aside to cool until at least room temperature.
7. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
8. Cut puff pastry into squares (either 9 or 16 is fine - 9's will hold more, 16's are, in my opinion, cuter but trickier to fill).
9. Place approximately one teaspoon of filling into each square and fold into a triangle (rectangles, like tiny sausage rolls, also works well).
10. To prevent the filling bursting out of the pastry in an unattractive fashion, use a fork to press down each of the open sides of the triangle/rectangle. I was too lazy this time round.
11. Brush each puff with egg.
12. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
13. Cool on a wire rack and watch them disappear!

You'll often end up with more than enough filling for 3 sheets of pastry, depending on the size of the potatoes and how full you make the puffs - the leftover filling is delicious with rice.

Rice crispies - adapted from this recipe

You'll need:

3 cups of rice bubbles
1 packet of marshmallows (I've used packets of varying sizes and they all turn out ok)
50g of butter

1. Melt marshmallows and butter in a pan until combined.
2. Pour over rice bubbles and stir to combine.
3. Press mixture into lined lamington tray and refrigerate until set.
4. Cut into fingers and enjoy.

You can add some nuts and/or Milo for variety, but I find that the Milo makes it overly sweet.

Hope you all have a great day :) Thanks for everything, Mum!

Monday, May 03, 2010

ginger and spice, neutral bay

This isn't exactly the cheapest Malaysian eatery going around (the below meal for 4 of us came to $140 with Chinese tea and chicken rice), but it's mighty tasty (and we didn't hold back on the ordering). Plus apparently Tetsuya's a fan (if the autographed photo of him on display at the restaurant is anything to go by). There's a recommendation I wouldn't discount.

Chef's spring rolls. Not sure how they make the wrappers, but they are deliciously flaky. Only problem is they are so teeny.

The star of the night - half a Hainanese chicken rice. So tender... mmm... we have discovered a make-at-home kit recently that is quite good, but I still think this is delicious.

Char kway teow (stir fried rice noodles). A bit too heavy on the sweet soy for our liking, but maybe that's authentically Malaysian?

Belacan kangkong (water spinach). A bit more chilli than Temasek but always a hit with our table.

Beef rendang. Very tender and tasty. I just wish it'd photograph better.

Deep-fried squid with sweet soy. The deep-frying makes the sweet soy caramalise into a slightly crunchy coating which is utterly delicious. Ditto on the photography remark above though.

Desserts: gula melaka (sago with coconut milk and palm sugar) and borbor chacha (sweet potato and yam/taro in coconut milk).

Definitely worth a visit. Book ahead as it's very popular (but hasn't seemed to have been foodblogged other than by NQN?)

Ginger and Spice
240 Military Road
Neutral Bay NSW 2089

(02) 9908 2552

Cash only

Open 7 days for lunch and dinner, except Monday lunch

Sunday, May 02, 2010

freckle face cafe, kirribilli

Today marked the inaugural meeting of what I've termed the "First Sunday Breakfast Club" - an opportunity for us yuppies to gather over what we've come to agree is the best meal of the day. Fortified with caffeine, maple syrup and bacon, we can then head off to tend to what my friend has termed "life admin" - grocery shopping, cleaning and all those pesky things we don't have time to do on weekdays because we're working til 9pm (strictly speaking, that's me in 5 months' time - I'm currently making the most of my time at the government, which is clearly evident from the times of these posts. This one is a rare weekend effort).

My French toast ($9.50). The best thing about this place is that you can customise your breakfasts (by adding bacon onto your French toast, for example) and they will get it right. Coffees come with a complimentary chocolate freckle. They will also split bills, which is very convenient, although that led to a bit of embarrassment at the conclusion of our breakfast meeting when there was a misunderstanding over whether or not one of our members had paid. It was all cleared up in the end though.

While you're in the area, check out Wild Lotus (jewellery and handbags and Edward Monkton cards), Coco Chocolate and the multitude of adorable dogs that roam the streets (firmly attached to a rhinestone collar and leash, mind you).
Freckle Face Cafe
32A Burton Street
Kirribilli NSW 2061

(02) 9957 2116 

lindt chocolate cafe, martin place, city

How good does this look?

This is apparently a new dessert at Lindt (according to their website) - the Mousse Trio. I experienced a serious case of food envy on this dish's arrival. Jealousy never lasts long though between true friends, and a get-together with high school buddies was the reason why we were at the Lindt Cafe late on a Saturday afternoon.

Not as photogenic, but just as delicious - the chocolate eclair

Which also features in the background of this shot of the hot fudge sundae. Amongst our other orders - hot chocolates (both milk and dark), a Rosella declice (mmm, ginger cream) and some sort of cake that I've now forgotten the name of... sorry!

So now that we've got the niceties out of the way, I have to have a word about the service. I never remembered it being quite so bad (having been a regular there when I was studying down the road). The waitress, faced with the prospect of having to seat 6 of us, snapped, "6 people? That's a large table", as though we were really putting her out in some way. Then she recommended a cake to my friend which turned out to be sold out. Lastly, she brought 4 cups of water when there were clearly 6 of us at the table, and it wasn't even as though 2 of us had ordered drinks and the others had not, so that only 4 of us didn't have anything to drink. Yes, it was a busy Saturday afternoon and maybe (a) we were taking the waitress' comment way too personally; (b) the last serving of the cake that she recommended to my friend got snapped up just as my friend ordered it and (c) we could have easily asked for more glasses of water, but I was quite disappointed considering that the place holds itself out as such as classy institution. The icing on the cake was when she plonked down the bill without any form of ceremony (and without us asking for it, and without there being any form of queue at the door waiting for a table)... to her credit, she did say "whenever you're ready" (probably because she saw me make a face. Yes, I don't hold back if I see something I don't like).

I'm open to being convinced otherwise, but I don't think we'll be heading back in a hurry.

Lindt Chocolate Cafe
53 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000

(02) 8257 1600

Also at George Street, Darling Harbour and Miranda Westfield

Open 7 days - Mondays to Fridays 7:30am to 6pm, weekends 10am to 6pm

date night: malacca straits, broadway

Date night: a gen Y phenomenon whereby a couple, who may already be living together, ventures out for a traditional dinner and movie. The boy pays of course. (To illustrate just how gen Y it is, my workmate mentioned recently to her boss that she went on a date night with her live-in boyfriend. Her boss looked aghast, believing that she was having an affair).

Last Friday saw chapflap and I (who don't live together, I might add, just in the interests of full disclosure) headed back to Malacca Straits at Broadway after a first visit inspired by Simon Food Favourites (Grab Your Fork has also posted on this hidden treasure). That time, we had the murtabak, Hainanese chicken rice, wat tan hor (stir fried seafood hor fun) and ice kacang, all of which were delicious. This time, we had:

Otak-otak (from the specials menu, so I'm not sure how much it was. It wasn't expensive though). We hadn't tried anything like this before - minced fish with coconut milk steamed in leaves. Yum.

2 serves of roti canai ($6 altogether). Not as flaky as the ones at Mamak, but more than satisfying given you don't have to queue for half an hour for a table. Great for mopping up this...

Chicken kapitan curry ($13). I could seriously drink this sauce. Fragrant with a punch of tamarind sourness, it was the hit of the night.

Wat tan hor ($11). Similar in texture to the Cantonese 濕炒牛河 (literally "wet stir-fried beef rice noodles", as opposed to the also imaginatively named 乾炒牛河, which is "dry stir-fried beef rice noodles"), this had plenty of the all-important 鑊氣 ("wok breath", or that delicious smoky flavour achieved only through a massive flame and a well-seasoned wok), seafood and vegies.

I am such a sucker for Asian desserts. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to say no to chocolate, cake or pastries, but I simply cannot resist any form of Asian dessert, particularly if it features lurid coloured syrups. There are 3 desserts available at Malacca Straits, one other of which is a shaved ice as well (ice kacang) - this is the slightly more adventurous ABC ($5), with rose flavoured (and coloured!) syrup, peanuts and corn hiding beneath all that shaved ice. I know it sounds unusual, but somehow it all just works.

Malacca Straits is the perfect place for your next date night. And for the record, yes, chapflap did pay.

Malacca Straits
66 Mountain Street (pretty much next door to Broadway Shopping Centre)
Broadway NSW 2007

Open for lunch and dinner Mondays to Saturdays

Menu available here

Park at Broadway Shopping Centre for 3 free parking, or 4 hours if like us, you are off to a movie after dinner at Hoyts. Note that the restaurant is tucked up pretty much right at the back of the apartment complex (Quadrant Building).