Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Home Cooking - Green Tea Ice Cream and Red Bean Soup

The title is a little bit deceiving but it is still sort of correct. I simply just used supermarket bought vanilla ice cream and added green tea powder to it. It is the simplest thing to do in the world and this is what Japanese restaurants do to make their green tea ice creams :D so this is just cutting out the middle man and at a much more reasonable price for this tasty treat.

To make the green tea ice cream all you need is some vanilla ice cream preferably a creamy kind like the one pictured or Blue Ribbon and it does not have to be the best or most expensive ice cream either. The other ingredient of course is green tea powder, which you can get from Japanese supermarkets.

Allow the ice cream to rest at room temperature until it is soft so not too long, sift the green tea powder in and flex your muscles and mix away! Once all thoroughly mixed (make sure it is or some people will get a bite of pure bitter powder) put back into the freezer.

Remember not to mix for too long either as the longer the ice cream is left to melt outside the higher the probability of forming ice crystals when refrozen. The amount of green tea powder to use also depends on your personal preference as some people prefer a more subtle green tea flavour and some like it heavy and slightly bitter so just try it out and taste for yourself :)

This was the 2nd tub of ice cream so we only added the remaining green tea powder after the 1st tub hence the streaks of white in the picture.

My dear mother also made some red bean soup which I heated up and added the ice cream into! Yummmm ^^! Perfect for any weather as it has both cold and warm elements.



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dancing Zorbas - Mosman, Sydney.

Located towards the Balmoral Beach-end of Military Road, Dancing Zorbas is just off Military Road thus making parking hassle-free and easy to find as it's lit up during the evening. When I first heard the name of the restaurant when it was suggested for dinner, my mind immediately reminisced the particular techno-pop song in the 90's which starred big-gutted men dancing to a and hypnotic beat (Link). Furthermore, the online site boasted 'dancing' on Saturdays - sadly we went on Friday: Perhaps one of our viewers who has been lucky enough to see this spectacle leave us a comment and tell us what the performance was?

A well-lit bar is always a plus on my list. There are some restaurants where the bar is just dull and uninviting.

Here Comes The Food

BBQ Octopus in Ouzo ($12.90): I was feeling like an entree and this one stood out on the daily specials board for one reason: I had no idea what Ouzo is .. until now. After conversing with the waitress, she described it a liqueur popular in the Greek culture...why wasn't really helpful but I decided to give it a go anyway. Think black licorice and magnify the after-taste by about 10 and the result is the flavour given by Ouzo. I'm not really a fan of licorice apart from the flavoured ones you can buy from Darrel Lea, so it took some time to finish the dish. Though I say that the Octopus had a great texture and cooked to the right tenderness - retaining elasticity but not overdone.

Traditional Mezze Plate for Two ($25): C and cupcake shared this as an entree and after much waiting after they had their share and declared themselves unable to continue - I proceeded to make myself handy. The Calamari Rings are fresh and are coated evenly with a fluffy batter - so good that I was a bit disappointed only one was left ( greedy much?). The grilled/melted cheese is highly dependant on the eater's palette as you either like it or you don't. It was nice but after a few, you could tell that the flavour and texture soon became highly similar singles cheese found in the supermarket.

Traditional Greek Moussaka ($18.90): I was definitely not on top of my game when deciding on 'the right' dishes. Having enquired earlier about Ouzo, I also asked what was a Moussaka. From the description it reads as: "traditional minced meat with layers of eggplant and potato combined with a bechamel sauce", you would think this anybody could easily interpret this to mean lasagne; sadly I was under false pretenses and conjured up a very different image. I was disappointed as the centre hadn't clearly cooked through in the oven as it was slightly cold. The eggplant was gone after two bites and it whole dish lacked any flavour which made me want more.

Baked Lamb ($19.90) served with vegetables and potatoes: pupu ordered this dish and I have the say that after a few morsels I wanted it. The lamb had been cooked perfectly - tender and fell apart without any effort. Highly flagrant with herbs and nicely accompanied by greens. I would highly recommend it for patrons of this restaurant.

Grilled Pork ($18.80)

Lamb Souvlaki ($18.90): Fresh lamb grilled on two skewers served with Greek salad and chips.

Carpetbag Steak en croute ($22.90): stuffed with prawns in balsamic vinaigrette mixed leaf salad & cherry tomatoes. This dish was ordered by cupcake who gave the reason "because it sounds wierd". From what I can gather, it was enjoyed especially the feature of stuffing prawns inside the steak itself.

Steak Romano ($21.90): Eye fillet cooked in brandy, cream, green peppercorns, served with vegetables and potatoes. C's choice for the night, which worked well when accompanied with the sauce. The meat had been served as medium-rare as requested, which places regularly get wrong.

Zorbas Meat Platter for Two ($59.90): FFichiban and Skinny Panda's order - Traditional Greek Style Baked Lamb, grilled pork cutlets, fresh lamb souvlaki, grilled chicken breast & traditional mince meat. Whilst there isn't room for presentation, the focus is clearly on the variety of meat.

Customised dessert chocolates - yum! The friendly staff and company made this a great night.

Dancing Zorbas:
Shop 9, Level 1, 707 cnr of Military Road and Gouldsbury St
Mosman 2088
Ph: 9969 6222; 99551592
Email: restaurant@dancingzorbas.com.au
Website: http://www.dancingzorbas.com/index.html
Lunch: Tues-Sun 11:30 - 3pm
Dinner: Tues-Sun 6 - 10pm



Home Cooking - Chocolate Brownie Cookies

It has been a long time since I baked anything in the kitchen so this weekend I decided to try a recipe that I have wanted to for a while now. This recipe is courtesy of Y at Lemonpi, and these Chocolate Brownie Cookies look and taste totally gorgeous. With a name like they are hard to resist aren't they?

I altered the recipe slightly as I did not end up going to the supermarket beforehand so I had to improvise with what I had at home. And I still have not gotten any vanilla extract yet >_<

Here Comes the Ingredients.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies
1/3 c plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 c granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract (>_<) 30g unsalted butter 200g dark chocolate 70% 30g chocolate chips Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, whip the eggs briefly and add the sugar and vanilla and beat on high with a hand mixer for about 15 minutes until it becomes thick. Double boil or just microwave in 30 secs bursts the chocolate and butter and stir until it is smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until partially combined. Then gently fold in the flour mixture and the chocolate chips. If the batter is too runny allow it to rest for 5 minutes to thicken up. Using a teaspoon, heap spoons of the batter on a baking tray with baking paper about 2 inches apart and bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes.

Since I am greedy :P I made mine much bigger so I got fewer cookies.

I still need to practice dropping the batter so they form nice round cookies instead of uglyshaped ones :S

But these cookies were definitely a big hit with my friends (I hope haha) unless they all lied to meee! These cookies remained soft as brownies should do and they sorta turn into a nice fudgeyness when you bite into them. I also used a 100g Lindt Cherry Intense along with normal dark chocolate so some bites had a subtle cherry flavour ^^ mmmm another dimension of flavour. These cookies are definitely worth trying as they are not complicated or too messy to make and these cookies just make people squirm with delight.

Since I was feeling a little bit cheeky and because wengie suggested this the day before that I should do a surprise cookie like the Sushi roulette from Wagaya. I had the choice between Blair's After Death Chilli or just packaged wasabi. I seriously thought about the After Death but I did not want to kill any of my friends so I ended up choosing the wasabi. The After Death does pack too much of a kick that I only use a few drops at a time.

The 2 wasabi cookies MWAHAHAHHA

To my disappointment the wasabi cookies do not pack enough of a kick (wengie actually enjoyed the wasabiness :S) because these packaged ones are too sweet and I think baking it will reduce its effect as well. But it was still fun adding this little 'bonus' to my cookies hee hee and mayb next time I will try just one drop of After Death XD.



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mamak - Haymarket, Sydney

I finally settled down at my computer to rest and relax by reading some food blogs (of course!) after a long day of work. I was quite tired and sleepy but then wengie said the magic words which perked me right back up.... "wanna go to mamak?". This had me considering the notion for a few seconds and finally I caved into the wondrous world of a Malaysian supper.

When we reached Mamak I was very surprised that it was so empty. Since it was just after 1am on a Friday night that it would be really packed with hungry hungry city-goers. If this was in asia they would getting their best amount of business at this time I reckon haha. But then again I was thankful that there was not a huge line to join up into to receive our late night dose of roti injection.

The happy roti cook :)

Since it was just supper I didn't want to order too much and look like a pig but I ended up doing it anyway haha.

Rojak ($10)
This salad is an automatic order for me when I come to Mamak. The sweet and spicy peanut sauce with sesame seeds just swirls and engulfs you into a world of flavour. And the textures... the soft tofu to the crisp cucumber and yambean and the crunchy deep fried coconut and prawn fritters. Everytime I take a bite I can't help myself but let out a small 'MMmmmm'.

Roti Planta ($6)
This roti had a extra helping of butter to increase its richness. I am not really a big fan of their curries but mixing this with the sambal or the peanut sauce from the Rojak makes the extra butter a bit obsolete. So I recommend just getting the normal Roti Canai and order 2 or something hee hee.

Roti Canai ($5)
En.elle ordered this roti and the way they desribled it on the menu is perfect, "Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside". Just add a touch of sambal to each touch and then you got the perfect snack for anytime of day... but I will end up eating a few in each sitting as they are that good.

Nasi Lemak + Fish Curry ($9.50)
Wengie ordered the Nasi Lemak and went for the fish curry this time as she found the chicken curry a bit dry for her. Nasi Lemak has a nice combination of flavours and textures as well and a must order for any of those 'fun - tongs' (rice buckets) out there. I would have probably chosen the ayam goreng as a side because I like my deep fried oily chicken hee hee.

I love this place as it serves up great food at a decent price and opens till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays :D The only problem I have found with this place is the Roti service can get pretty backed up when there is a huge crowd but other than that its a wonderful addition to our Sydney eateries.

15 Goulburn St, Haymarket, Sydney
Open 7 days
Lunch: 1130am to 3pm
Dinner: 530pm to late



Friday, September 26, 2008

Malaysia Festival - Darling Harbour, Sydney (Part 2)

The awaited joint-post of Malaysia Fest 2008 is finally here...apologies on my behalf as I was responsible for the large time lapse between event and post.

Weather Forecast: Showers in afternoon - clear after.

But it still doesn't deter the curious by-passer and nor impact the bustling crowd in Tumbalong Park.

This is one of the posts where long winded descriptions of the food or the appearance is rather unnecessary - rather pictures can do all the talking.

Here Comes The Food

So many stores...so much to choose from...C and I decided to quench our thirsts and attached ourselves to the Penang Gurney Drive queue.

We opted for the "Michael Jackson" or Cincau Soya....smirking at the subliminal humour.

soy milk and tea ready to be served up at a customer's request

Seems like the soy milk was a clear favourite as it was refilled a few times whilst we were waiting in the line.

Our 'Michael Jackson' ..... black and white ... refreshing soy milk that is well complemented by the herbal infusion of grass jelly.

FFichiban, Monkeyjaja, pupu, en.elle, wengie, C and myself had eaten at Mamak the night before at 1 am ... we asked about their store at the festival tomorrow and they assured us it would be the same people just in a different location.

Sure enough, it was the same person we always see making Roti behind the panel at Mamak on Goulborn St.
Whilst we waited for our roti, I asked one of the Mamak staff whether I could go behind the stall and take pictures of the 'staff area' - surely enough they were accommodating and I closed in for some less-ninja-zoomed shots.

happily charcoaling away...

Roti Canai: buttery goodness...the sambal is a great combination to the Roti and brings out the flavour. I found myself using more sambal than the provided curry dip. Apparently you can ask for condensed milk at Mamak instead of curry/sambal and it's a great supplement. However, the stall was not offering it today as it is a feature of the main eatery.

the revelers admiring and feasting on the spoils of the queue.

As predicted, afternoon rain came and the umbrellas popped out. Since when is the weather forecast accurate?

Under the safety of umbrellas, our group head over to the stores that previously had lengthy lines but now reduced due to the people taking shelter. One of the signs catch my eye.
Sadly the "Free Spin" offer has run out - I'm assuming you spin the wheel and depending on the circle that it lands on - you either have to buy something or you win something...

'sunshine comes after the rain'

This bold sign draws us with the anticipation of making our own Kachang ... however we are deterred and sold by an enthusiastic stall-attendee on kaya toast and milk tea instead...

Durian is offered to accompany the Ice KachangToasted and ready for the Kaya :)

Malaysia Festival 2008
Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Malaysia Festival - Darling Harbour, Sydney (Part 1)

Finnalllyyy... after delaying this out for nearly a month, I have decided it was time to post about the Malaysian Festival that happened on the 31st of August. Now hopefully my memory won't fail me as I try to recall the flavours and experiences of that day.

When we first arrived, I was happy to see many people braving the cold, cloudy weather to enjoy in the food and the shows.

As there were quite a lot of people we headed straight for the first food stall and joined up in the queue without even looking at what they were selling.

It turned out to be Sam Satay Halal Food. Since our group formed a tiny army we decided to take over more territory and some of us headed over to the neighbouring Jimmy's Recipe Malaysia to try out their food first.

Chicken wings from Jimmy's
The chicken wings were grilled nicely and had a nice greasy coating but since there was no sauce they were kind of bland. They were ok but nothing special.

Laksa from Jimmy's
I did not try this laksa but en.elle and wengie both agreed that this laksa was the just what they wanted. There soup was just the right consistency and there was just the right amount of chilli oil.

Sam Satay Combo 1 ($10)

Sam Satay Combo 4 ($10)
The satay sauce here is awesome peanuty goodness. Their other items in the combo were not bad but what really shined out for me was their satay. I guess that's why it is called Sam Satay hee hee.

Sam Satay

After we munched down all the goodies from these first 2 stalls we ventured on and came across another monster of a queue which led to, of course, Mamak. Even though we only had Mamak the night before as supper we were eager to try out their stall food.

Mamak queue (this was zoomed in so the name would b legible)

Action shots of the roti being thinned out

The roti being cooked to a nice crisp outside and fluffy inside

The satay section out the back was filled with smoky goodness

Roti Canai from Mamak
Mamaks' roti is done very very well in my opinion but I am not a big fan of their curry. I am a big fan of the sambal though ^^! Spicy goodness and with the light and crispy roti it meant a wonderful taste sensation.

To cool our tongues we ended up getting some of the dessert, which I had tried at Thai places before. I am still surprised at the saltiness of this dish even though I knew from previous experiences that it can be salty. however, the cocout milk was very pleasant and so was the hint of rose.

100 Plus - A Malaysian drink
I did not try this but I guess it would be similar to other asian sports drink like Pocari Sweat or Super Supau.

Then it started to rain a little bit so we only briefly checked out the few stalls on the other side of the park.

This make-your-own-ice kachang intrigued us but we didn't end up getting any. What sucked us in were other people walking away these brown paper bags with thick cut toast. Yumm! and of course it was Kaya on the slices ^^!

Kaya Toast ^^!
Sweet sweet kaya mmm.

Apart from the glorious food there were also entertainment. When we first arrived there, some dancers were performing and they drew a bit of a crowd.

Dancers performing on stage

But what entertained me most was this band. They made the coolest music hahah with some awesome singing! Too bad I didn't record it cos they had a really unique sound hee hee.

It was a fun festival and since I shared it with good food and good friends it just made the day very enjoyable ^^! I think the boy band playing just before we left was the icing on the cake hee hee.

Part 2 Coming Soon by D

MalaysiaFest' 31/08/2008
Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour

(Photos en.elle)