The week in brief

Happy Sunday! This week: mashed cauliflower, Australia Day picnic, mini burgers on brioche, ice cream cone cupcakes, and piggy piggy piggy on a spit.

This was dinner one night this week – I fried up some lamb rump steak, sauteed baby spinach and onions, and ate it with mashed cauliflower. Oh. My. Gosh. Mashed cauliflower is SO GOOD. The cauli was steamed until soft, and then I processed it in the food processor with a little bit of water, salt, pepper, and a teeny tiny amount (not even half a teaspoon) of coconut oil. I think… it is better than mashed potato. Yes, I swear it’s true. The small amount of coconut oil gave it a bit of fragrant nuttiness. I have a new love, mashed cauli is its name.

For Australia Day, we went to a picnic. (These aren’t my jandals. I’m not a jandal kinda gal.)

While at the park, an ice cream truck pulled up and *naturally* I wanted an ice cream. :D I really like trashy soft serve…

Whenever I go to a picnic, I seem to make mini brioche buns. This time I made meat patties from pork and beef mince and put together some mini burgers. They were delicious, natch.

I love making brioche – it’s so rewarding. Will blog the recipe soon.

I also took dessert along – chocolate ice cream cone cupcakes with Swiss meringue buttercream. Ah. Maze. Ing. Will also blog this soon. (Please ignore the fallen over cones in the background. I was devastated when they fell over in the car ride to the park. Devastated!)

Oh – hehee – here’s me with a massive box of chocolate. :D

I took Friday off to enjoy a four day weekend and headed into the city during the day. Yes, I visited Snag Stand yet AGAIN. I am obsessed. This time I tried the toulouse – with onions, rosemary mushrooms, truffle aioli and a brioche bun. It was delicious, tho (and I say this every time) the chilli dog is still the best so far.

That night we had dinner at Chillipadi in Flemington. I had teh peng – perfect for the hot night.

Alastair and I shared a roti telur, and I also ordered a nasi kerabu ayam percik. I’d never tried it before, and unfortunately I didn’t really like it. The chicken had a very floral note and wasn’t seasoned enough. Oh well! At least I tried something new.

Yesterday it was pigs and cider for Daz’s birthday. All guests were tasked with taking along a couple of kinds of cider for a cider tasting. Maz throws great parties, and she had clipboards all ready so we could score the ciders. Everyone’s clipboards had different quotes / sayings on the back. Apparently I like long walks on the beach and movies that make me cry – bhahaha.

There were three categories for cider tasting – pear, apple and fruit. We sampled and scored about 12 different ciders overall in blind tests. Alastair and I had to bring pear cider and we won our category. Whooohooo. Ours was the Napoleone & Co apple and pear cider which was slightly controversial because it wasn’t straight pear. Whatever. We deserved to win.

When all categories were judged and scored, there was a final taste test for the top over all cider. The people who brought the winning ciders weren’t allowed to vote so we wandered inside while the others choose their favourite.

And – ours won. YAY. Winner winner chicken dinner!

Warning: pig on a spit photos coming up. They look a bit macabre.

While cider was being consumed, the pig turned away on the spit.

And after eight hours of cooking over coals, it was finally ready to be eaten. And guess what? I got to take the head home! :D It’s currently sitting in the fridge – I haven’t decided how I’m going to deal with it yet. Any ideas?

Oh yeah, the piggy rocked. :)

Well, that was my week. How was yours?

Thomas Keller’s Fried Chicken

Fried chicken

Update: I’ve revised this recipe to make it even better! Check out Azza fried chicken.

I’m slightly obsessed with fried chicken at the moment.

There was fried chicken on my birthday last month.
There was fried chicken after Christmas thanks to I-Hua and her awesome man.
There was fried chicken at St Katherine’s the other week.
And finally, on Sunday we had a Fried Chicken Party.

Mazzle, Bro and I recently had an email conversation where we sent each other fried chicken recipes that we found online. From there, it was only a small step to planning a Fried Chicken Party. We decided that Maz would make a batch of chicken using the St Katherine’s recipe (KFC) while I decided to follow in the footsteps of I-Hua’s man and use a Thomas Keller recipe from Ad Hoc at Home.

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Loam, Drysdale

Loam - inside

At the risk of sounding like a 90 year old – the modern world constantly impresses and delights me. Even though I grew up with so many technologies that we now take for granted, when I think about them they still amaze me. For example: GPS. We all know what GPS is, since it’s now an everyday thing, but have you ever thought about what’s involved in making it work? It’s a space-based global navigation satellite system – hello, SATELLITES in fricking SPACE. That tell you exactly where you are. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.

However, even with all the wonders of technology, it’s not exactly foolproof. Case in point: last year we used the GPS to direct us to Loam in Portarlington. It sent us down a dirt road and then said, “You have arrived at our destination.”

Except… we were still in the middle of nowhere. We were definitely not at Loam.

Did we have the right address? Were we even in the right suburb? Where on earth were we?! (Well, the GPS told us, but could we trust the GPS?) We kept driving down the road, and then lo and behold: LOAM. We had arrived! (Mostly thanks to the GPS.)

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St Katherine’s

KFC

Remember last year when we went to Taste of Melbourne? Alastair and Bro were so enamoured with the KFC (Katherine’s Fried Chicken) served by St Katherine’s, that I knew we would have to schedule a fried chicken dinner there one night.

Well, it took a while but fried chicken dinner finally happened this month, thanks to the organisational efforts of Mazza. A couple of other friends were roped in, and off we went.

Located in Kew, St Katherine’s is a big, busy restaurant seating 140 downstairs. Tables are bare and you grab your own cutlery and napkins from the tomato tin in the middle of each table. The menu has the previously fried chicken, as well as other Middle Eastern style dishes that are meant to be shared. If you don’t want to make a choice, there’s a few set menu options ranging from $45 to $75 per person.

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Kokoro Ramen

Kokoro Ramen

There’s something about ramen that seems to inspire almost fantatical devotion.

If I hadn’t eaten truly good ramen before, I wouldn’t understand it. Because if you break it down, ramen is just noodles in broth. But it seems to be more than the sum of its parts. It can be amazing: nourishing, comforting, and filling. In particular, tonkotsu is fantastic – it’s made by boiling pork bones for hours, and results in a creamy, salty pork broth that’s also sticky and creamy and full of flavour.

So when the guys from doublecooked advised that a new ramen joint had opened on Lonsdale Street, I took Alastair and Bro down there quick smart.

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Mango jelly and coconut panna cotta

Mango jelly and coconut panna cotta

People are funny. Melbourne was pretty hot during the first couple of days of 2012. Admittedly, 40°C is fairly warm, but… it’s Melbourne. Summers get hot. Anyone who lives here knows that several 40°C days occur each summer – it’s not a new occurrence or anything unusual. Yet when they happen, it’s all anyone can talk about. Note that I include myself in that – I’m not saying that I’m any better. See? I’m talking about it right now! Oh no, I’m part of the problem!

But back to the heat (ha): when it’s going to be that hot, you need to be prepared. For example, when the temperatures start to reach the mid-30s, I don’t turn the oven on. But what to do when I need to prepare a dessert? Easy – something chilled like this mango jelly and coconut panna cotta is perfect. Minimal cooking and effort required, ensuring that the house and I both stay cool.

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The week in brief

Walk

Happy 2012! So this post is about last week (since it’s now Monday and all). That’s because I spent the first day of 2012 doing just about nothing. We sat on the couch and watched a couple of movies, and only left the house in the evening to go to the movies. We reheated leftovers for sustenance, so I didn’t even need to do any cooking. It was BLISS.

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