Monday, April 26, 2010

Homemade Muesli Bars

1 comment:
Homemade Muesli Bars
Home Cooking



It's been a million years since I blogged (slight exaggeration of 2-3 weeks) and the reasons are as follows:
  • constant sleepiness
  • laziness
  • unwillingness to write about muesli bars that I made over a month ago while I was in a healthy food phase (lasted all of 3 days)
  • not in the mood
And the list goes on. Ah well, back in business.

Pane e Vino

1 comment:
Pane e Vino
http://www.paneevino.com.au/



A lot of people seem to carry the idea that there are no worthwhile pasta restaurants. The attitude is 'I can make it myself' or 'it's just all tomato-based sauces'. I can see how that might seem logical when you're basing judgment on those really non-pasta dishes that generic non-Italian restaurants serve (if you don't know what I'm talking about, just think 'jarred pasta sauce flavor'). This also applies to pizza restaurants that attempt pasta dishes and end up serving food that tastes frozen and microwaved.



I've experienced all these pasta failings yet I maintain that out there exists pasta served at a restaurant that will blow my mind. I imagine an Italian mama painstakingly rolling out fresh sheets of pasta and the kitchen to be bustling but clean and only the freshest ingredients used.

Sweet Chili Fresh Pasta

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Sweet Chili Fresh Pasta
Home Cooking



This is a short post about a meal quick fix I pulled together after I got my pasta machine. It was a birthday present from one of my closest friends and I pretty much couldn't wait to use it.


Having gone through the tedious process of hand-rolling pasta before, I couldn't wait to benefit from the wonderful qualities of home made pasta without the manual labor.


After looking through my hoard of cookbooks, I lost patience and basically just decided to throw something together. This is a really simple recipe but it was quite tasty too. I used my own fresh pasta (see recipe here) but you can substitute with whatever you have.

Mount Tamborine - mosquitos, leaches and muddy river crossings (oh, good food too)

3 comments:
Mount Tamborine Winery Restaurant
http://www.mttamborinewinery.com/restaurant/



I've been happily soaking up the long weekends. They are (along with the Easter break), perhaps, the best thing that's happened to me 1st half of 2010. Screw birthdays. I will pick free days of no uni and no work over partying any time.

On the Anzac day long weekend, my family decided to head South to Mount Tamborine. We go there relatively frequently and my parents are known to head down just for breakfast and then back again. I'm in the process of logging 100hrs of driving in order to be qualified for the practical driving test so it seemed like a good opportunity to clock up time.

I'll admit that dad took over for the actual mountain roads.

Nevertheless!



We went up the mountain and first thing mum decides is that she needed to use the bathroom. There marks the unexpected start of an 'interesting' adventure. There was a short trek through the bushes to get to the public outhouse. Afterwards, we were heading back to the car and spotted a sign indicating that a 2km waterfall walk was on the right. So... continue returning to the car or embark on the bushwalk? We opted for the later option.

Apricot and Almond Muesli Bread

4 comments:
Apricot and Almond Muesli Bread
Home Cooking



I've been revisiting my health-food phase and my most recent grocery trip was filled with muesli (2 packets in fact, because I couldn't decide which packet was more enticing), nuts, organic this, wholegrain that and low GI everything.

One of my muesli purchases was a Coles brand product "Apricot, Almond and Date muesli". As if that doesn't sound good enough on its own, the packaging comprises of that matt, clear plastic that makes everything look posh. I was also hooked in by the recipe on the back for muesli bread.



I used the full recipe and thought the batter would be waaaay too much for one bread pan. I even had muffin patties lined up, ready to take any extra batter. Somehow, it all fitted level into my bread tin and the bread doesn't rise that much so it turned out perfect. In other words, if you're concerned about baking more than you can handle, I thought the same but it all worked out.

The Tea Centre

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The Tea Centre
191 Albert Lane, Albert Street, Brisbane CBD



I'm struggling a bit with this post before I've even started. One of the ongoing hardships of blogging with this website is that the spell-check works on American spelling. No, I haven't checked if there's a way to set it to Australian and frankly I don't care enough to find out. To date, I've gotten by just changing all my spelling to US standards to reduce all the little red underlines on my typing screen.



Cluey readers will 'ah' with realization as to why this is a problem right now. The shop I'm blogging about contains a word that conflicts between these 2 systems of spelling: 'centre' is the culprit. I normally go with 'center' but because the actual name of the store is at stake, I'm choosing to go with the Australian spelling, at the expense of flooding my view with red lines. ARGH RED LINES.

Gillian Hirst's Sandcrab Lasagna

12 comments:
Sandcrab Lasagna
Home Cooking



My first and only previous taste of sandcrab lasagna was at Il Centro on Eagle St Pier. It's their signature dish and definitely deserves that title. I tried it and it blew my mind. It never really even occurred to me that I could recreate this dish at home but somehow, over the Anzac long weekend, I got the idea to try it.

Crabby

I Googled 'sandcrab lasagna' online and Gillian Hirst's recipe popped up repeatedly so it seemed to me that this was the way to go. I e-mailed mum proposing my idea and she went out and bought some sandcrabs that day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Le Bon Choix on Queen St

1 comment:
Le Bon Choix
379 Queen St, Brisbane



A few times trekking between the city and valley, I would walk past Le Bon Choix and take a peak inside. Even so, it took me a while to realize it was a French patisserie but once I did, I start noticing all these online references recommending it as one of Brisbane's best bakeries. Being a huge bread/cake/pastry enthusiast, this obviously sky-rocketed Le Bon Choix onto my 'go to list'.



Translated, the bakery means 'the best choice'. I went one morning with the intention of getting breakfast. After a wrong bustop and short walk through the rain, I finally made it and the first thing I noticed was how busy it was. I sort of imagine weekday mornings to be very rushed but there was a surprising number of people sitting down, sipping coffee and enjoying their breakfast.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chocolate Nemesis Cake Adventures

3 comments:
Chocolate Nemesis
Home Cooking


As I'm typing this post, every q, a and z is causing agony. The reason is that my left hand pinky may or may not be broken (since I've never had a broken bone before in my life, I can't really tell). How it got to this point is that yesterday was one of the most uncoordinated days in my life. I have little coordination by nature. I can't ride a bike. Throwing something at me is just asking for it to fall to the ground and break. When I'm rushed at clinic, I get major butter finger syndrome and everything I touch goes flying in some obscure direction.

Carefully cropped party photo to retain anonymity

Well, yesterday, this got escalated to a new level. It so happens that the season premier of Masterchef Australia was on and I was having a little dinner party to celebrate. Over the years, I've grown progressively more and more disorganized with anything I plan so even on the day, I had no idea about who was coming or whether anyone even knew my address. It was thus very convenient that at a crucial moment, my phone decided to die. Usually, these electronic failures happen when I drop or waterlog the devices but this time, I just picked it up and it wasn't working. I tried recharging and so on but still no. Totally sucked. Being the sook that I am, I crossed my arms in a corner and refused to speak to anyone until people actually arrived and I realized I'm not as technology-dependent as I think.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Satay Chicken Noodles

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Satay Chicken Noodles
Home Cooking



This post should have been put up a while ago but alas, sometimes I can't keep up with myself. I had a satay-crazy phase earlier this year because of the satay noodles I had at Satay Hut. Although satay dishes are generally quite easy to reproduce, I'd never made one before so I book-marked it as a future 'to-do'.

During one of my previous lunch parties, I made a curry but had satay chicken marinated as a back-up, in the event of not having enough food. Coincidentally, one of my guests also brought along satay chicken. He had actually marinated a HUGE box full and cooked half of it for the party and gave me the rest.

Cafe XS at Carindale

1 comment:
Cafe XS at Carindale
Shop 1088a, Level 1, Westfield Carindale



My best friend Katie and I try to keep up with gossip/whinging/life advice and so forth over alternating sessions of coffee and alcohol. Our usual spot is Tognini's at Carindale but on this occasion, for a reason that I cannot recall, we went to Cafe XS instead.



Prior to this, my only experience with Cafe XS occurred when I was a young and headless high school student and I didn't have any change for the bus in the morning so I trekked around Carindale Shopping Center looking for a way in (many of the doors don't slide open before a certain time) and finally got up to the food court area. I remember seeing people in Cafe XS and asking to purchase a slice of cake so that I could have some change. The man at the counter said he was more than happy to give me change without buying anything which I thought was nice (having worked in retail myself, I personally hate people asking for change) but I was in the mood for cake anyway.

Chicken and Pineapple Curry

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Chicken and Pineapple Curry
Home Cooking



Curtis Stone is on TV a fair bit these days for Coles. I'm definitely not an avid fan but when it comes to good recipes, there's no discrimination. Byron saw his pork and pineapple curry and decided to make it... only he ended up substituting pork for chicken and not really follow the recipe so it's basically his own creation.

Viet Hoa

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Viet Hoa Chinese Vietnamese Restaurant
11/220 Melbourne St, South Brisbane



I was going to go on a field trip to Inala for Vietnamese food over the holidays (courtesy of a good uni friend of mine who promised it would be the most authentic pho) but plans went astray. The Vietnamese cravings didn't subside though so when we were deciding what to have for dinner last Friday, that's where we headed.

To keep the trip nice and short, we went reasonably local... West End. Along Melbourne Street, there are 2 Vietnamese restaurants right next to each other. We opted for Viet Hoa based on the fact that a) it was closer and didn't involve crossing an extra street and b) the other looked more expensive.

Fried Rice Rolls

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Fried Rice Rolls
Home Cooking



When last I popped over to my parents house, they were couped up in the TV room, soaking up air-con and watching a cooking show on Chinese cable. The chef was demonstrating this unusual dish that was a great way to use up left over steamed rice.



The rice was mixed with smoked meat, prawns, crushed peanut and other savory ingredients before being rolled into a sheet of bean curd wrapper, steamed, cut and finally fried. It sounded 'involved' but we gave it a shot and it actually turned out quite easy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Cube Hotpot

6 comments:
The Cube Hotpot
Shop 90C, Sunnybank Plaza, Sunnybank



I was curious about Cube since it opened. One of the most wonderful aspects of dining in a Shanghai Winter is having HOTPOT. Chinese-style hotpot usually involves a large pot of soup in the center of the table. You then arrange a selection of raw ingredients that are added to the pot once it's on the boil. Cooked items are fished out and dipped in a sauce of your creation before consumption.

Popular ingredients include: sliced lamb (my family's favorite), fish/meatballs, baby octopus, taro, egg dumplings, vermicelli, wom bok.



There's no restrictions, really. But in my family, it's all about the lamb. You can have sliced beef, chicken, pieces of fish but I can't think of anything nicer than fatty lamb in hot pot. And it's got to be young and fatty!

Ugly Grissini Sticks

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Ugly Grissini Sticks
Home Cooking



When I was making a pizza dough starter for my Easter weekend pizza party and I wasn't sure if the first bowl was working. I decided to open a second sachet of yeast to double my chances. It so happened that both bowls started bubbling away. I didn't want to make 4 pizza bases so I started scouring around for a recipe I could use the yeast starter in.



I ended up following a recipe for Italian grissini sticks in Nick Malgieri's 'The Modern Baker'. This post is titled 'Ugly Grissini Sticks' because they are indeed hideous. I didn't put a lot of effort in rolling out the sticks of dough into nice, even cylinders and every flaw got exaggerated when they came out of the oven.

Aromas at Noosa Heads

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Aromas at Noosa Heads
32 Hastings St, Noosa Heads



My family headed up North on an adventurous road trip. We intended to go to Montville in the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands but got derailed by a road block. After unsuccessfully navigating through a mountain detour, we thought 'stuff this' and headed further onward to Noosa.



A long drive (and many amusing GPS mishaps) later, we finally got to Noosa Heads. My dad raged about there not being any parking spots and when he finally got one, bragged about how easy it was.

Pizza Party

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Pizza Party
Home Cooking



As is usual for the first days of my uni breaks, I camped over at my parents house for a change in scenery. We went to Noosa for Good Friday and ate at Aromas. I ordered a pizza that was 'alright' but gave me an itch to create my own (superior) versions.

I brainstormed a couple of topping combinations that I wanted and purchased the appropriate ingredients.

Topping ingredients and dough rising in bowls (I had another recipe going at the same time that also required rising)

The recipe for pizza base was one I'd used earlier. I made the full amount and pushed it out to 2 large, rectangular pizzas.

Ouzeri at West End

2 comments:
Ouzeri Mediterranean Restaurant Bar Cafe
http://www.ouzeri.com.au/



To facilitate the year passing quickly and eventfully, a couple of uni friends and I decided to attempt dining out on a weekly basis. I short-listed some places I wanted to go and Justin chose Ouzeri as our first venture.



We went on a Tuesday evening. It was really early so there were hardly any other diners. Ouzeri is one of those restaurants that to me, is a landmark within West End. I was aware of it long before I got all these recommendations for it. Ouzeri has an expansive outdoor dining space that encompasses a corner block. Lots of blue and white checkered table cloths (love it :D).