Cooking the Books: Bill Granger’s Holiday

I’ve been struck down by man-flu this week (i.e. my pathetic-ness and whingieness about being sickness eclipses my actual illness). Instead of staying home in bed to recover, we’ve had a busy weekend of social events, so I’ve shared my pathetic self with friends (though hopefully I haven’t shared my cold!).

One of the social things this weekend was a gathering of a few of my fellow food bloggers for the third edition of “Cooking the Books”. I haven’t even blogged the second one yet, but Shellie and Kat have already blogged this weekend’s catch up. Talk about organised!

But back to the second edition. Late last year, a group of us got together for the second round of “Cooking the Books” – where fellow cookbook addicts gathered for a lunch that’s all made from the same cookbook. We used Bill Granger’s Holiday on this occasion.

(See Shellie’s post on the first Cooking the Books, and Thanh’s post on the second.)
(more…)

Kedai Satay

Disclosure: My first meal at Kedai Satay was organised by a friend of the owner who got a group of food bloggers together. It was a complimentary meal that I never got around to writing up. This post is about subsequent visits that I paid for.

My background is (Hong Kong) Chinese, but I grew up in New Zealand, which meant that I never learnt to read and write Chinese. When Alastair and I visited China many years ago, I felt like a real Failsian (Fail Asian!) because I didn’t speak Mandarin, most people didn’t speak English, my Cantonese is dreadful and they couldn’t understand it anyway! So last year I started Mandarin classes. I’m still Failsian, but I’m trying! :D

After my Mandarin class, Alastair and Bro pick me up in the city, and we head somewhere cheap for a quick dinner. The past couple of weeks we have been going to Kedai Satay, an Indonesian restaurant on King Street.
(more…)

International Incident Sundae Party

Melbourne has been humid, humid, humid lately. This has been a weird summer – LOTS of rain and very little of the dry heat that stretches for days, that is more usual of our summers. Thank you La Nina, you can stop now.

International Incident Sundae Party

Well, at least ice cream is good for any type of heat – dry or humid. So it’s fortunate that the theme for this month’s incident party is “sundae”, to which I’m bringing sesame ice cream, topped with red bean sauce.

I grew up eating black sesame and white sesame in desserts – namely black sesame soup or sesame seed balls. I really wanted to showcase both types, so I made ice cream from both! With the white sesame, I toasted the seeds in a dry frying pan, and then ground them to a paste using a mortar and pestle. If you’re ever grinding sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, I recommend doing it a small amount at a time. Once I was making sauce for shabu shabu and poured a large amount of sesame into the mortar and pestle – it took me half an hour before I had sesame paste! Extremely painful experience, and it would’ve been much quicker if I had done a small amount at a time.

With the black sesame, I used black sesame powder that I purchased at an Asian grocery store. For both ice creams, I used an ice cream recipe that I’ve made before, that has an Italian egg mousse base that’s folded into whipped cream.

The ice creams turned out well – before freezing, I preferred the white sesame version. It was sweeter and nuttier. However, after freezing I found that I liked the black sesame one more! It was more assertively nutty and fragrant, and the white sesame one turned out creamier and less flavoursome. The black sesame was a touch grainy (since I did add rather a lot of sesame powder!) but after freezing it wasn’t a big issue. But I do think I can improve on it – next time!

And finally, when I was thinking about this sundae, I wondered how I could make it even MORE ASIAN. :D Red bean sauce immediately came to mind! So when I was ready to put it together, I spooned over red bean sauce that I had made from purchased red bean paste thinned out with boiling water (with a touch of red food colouring to keep the red colour). It was the perfect topping for my sundae!

Thanks, as always, to Penny for hosting this IIP and see the other delicious creations at the IIP forum.

Black/white sesame ice cream

Adapted from: Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course

1/4 cup white sesame seeds
3/4 cup black sesame powder (to taste)
4 egg yolks
100g sugar
250ml water
600ml thickened cream, softly whipped

Toast the white sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Grind to a paste in a mortar and pestle – do this a small amount at a time otherwise it will take forever! Set aside.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl/mixer and whisk over high speed until they are pale and fluffy.

In a saucepan, combine the water and sugar and stir over a medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the spoon and increase the heat until it boils. Let the syrup boil until it reaches the “thread” stage – 106-113°C – it will be quite thick, and when a metal spoon is dipped into it, the drops of syrup will form firm threads.

While whisking the egg yolks, pour the hot syrup on to them.

Spoon out half of the egg yolk mixture and set aside.

To one half of the egg yolk mixture add the white sesame paste and fold together. To the other half, add the black sesame powder. Fold in half of the softly whipped cream to each mixture and pour into separate stainless steel or plastic bowls, cover and freeze.

When serving, remove from the freezer at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with red bean sauce, made with red bean paste and thinned with a bit of boiling water.

Cookbook Challenge: Fortnight 4, Love

Theme: Love
1st Recipe: Braised beef brisket with chilli and tamarind sauce
Cookbook: Blue Ginger

2nd Recipe: Pecan Chai Pie on Cashew Crust
Cookbook: Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen

The theme for this week’s Cookbook Challenge is “love”. Love, love, love. I’m very fortunate in love – I’m married to my best friend and the love of my life (gush) :) . And then there’s the other kinds of love: family, of course – Bro and my mum and dad are ace. Plus there’s friendship love: see BFF for an example!

So to show a bit of friendship love for this fortnight’s challenge, my BFF and I have teamed up and swapped recipes. She selected a few for me, and vice versa. (Check out her post to see what she made.) :)
(more…)

Wooga Korean Restaurant

Is it immature to want to eat at a restaurant merely because of it’s name? If so, count me as immature because I was keen to eat at Wooga for that exact reason! Woooooooga woooooga. (Someone please stop me.)

Wooga is a Korean barbeque restaurant located across the road from the Queen Victoria market, in a string of Korean restaurants. According to The Age, woo means beef, and ga means house in Korean. I went there with mum, dad, Alastair and Bro in December for a low key birthday dinner. When we arrived on a Monday night, they were the busiest out of all the Korean restaurants on the street and even though we had booked we had to wait for about 15 minutes for our table. There’s not much standing space inside, so we loitered outside on the footpath – fortunately it was a lovely, warm evening!

(more…)

Cookbook Challenge, Fortnight 3: Rice/Noodles

Theme: Rice/Noodles
Recipe: Lamb Biryani
From: Betty Crocker’s Indian Home Cooking

The theme for this fortnight’s Cookbook Challenge is “rice/noodles”. I choose to do something with rice dish and something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – biryani. Biryani is a layered rice dish made with spices and meat or vegetables. The rice is cooked separately from the curry sauce of meat or vegetables and is then layered together after the separate components have been cooked.

(more…)

Café Vue: Melbourne Airport T2

On Australia Day last week, Alastair and I celebrated by jetting off to New Zealand. Yes, very patriotic indeed!

Our flight was early in the morning, so we skipped breakfast and took the opportunity to eat at the newish Café Vue at the Melbourne Airport international terminal.

This Café Vue outlet is open rather long hours (4am-1am daily) and offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as pastries and take away boxes for the plane. From what I saw of the breakfast menu, prices of the food look similar (if not the same) as the other Café Vue outlets. Breakfast and lunch take away boxes were $15, and a dinner box was $30. I was kind of astounded, because one of the things I hate the most about eating at airports is the outrageously marked up prices for horrible, substandard food. And here they hadn’t marked up the prices to gouge a captive audience?? Amazement!
(more…)