Friday, May 8, 2009

Top 30 Aussie Food Blogs.... thanks to Jennifer at Jenius

I've a new found addiction for food blogs.... the more I find, the more I want to keep on finding. It will be a never ending quest with so many popping up in cyberspace each and every day, but what a great quest to have!

I especially like reading Aussie blogs. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about far off and foreign places, but sometimes they just make me a wee bit jealous and envious! Therefore reading about those closer to home provides inspiration, ideas and recipes that are all achievable in my own backyard (well kitchen really!).

I try to keep a list of my favourite sites on my blogroll, but it gets more crowded by the day, so, I was really thrilled when I stumbled across this list posted on Jenius by Jennifer. It's especially super when someone takes the hard work out of finding stuff, so big thanks to Jennifer. It's also rather up to date, so if you like things served up to you fresh on a platter, then check out the site.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bread, Glorious No Knead Bread

You know how you find recipes that change your life? Recipes that will become favourites, that you learn off by heart and tell everyone about? Well this is one of them. I'm just sad I didn't discover it earlier.... it seems it swept the net by storm but somehow I missed it?

Published by the New York Times in 2006 from a recipe adapted from Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery, it seems this bread has changed the world of home baking, and with good reason.

I don't like to bake so much, I think it's the whole thing with sifting flour, precise measuring and mess. I've also had a strange fear of yeast (I don't know why!) so bread has never been my thing. Yet I was still curious so I tried this.

I'd like to thank Alicia over at Bread & Honey for bringing it my attention (thank you Alicia, you've changed my life) and to all the numerous tipsters out there in cyberspace for their tips, tricks and videos.

I won't repeat the recipe as both links above will take you right to the source.... and they deserve the credit!

I will post some pics and tips though.... and if you do try this, please let me know!!!

Tasting Notes:

  • I actually subsituted in some wholemeal flour - 1/2 cup the first try and 3/4 the second try. It still turned out perfectly and the whole wheat wasn't noticeable. I will keep trying until I see how much plain vs wholemeal I can use.

  • If you do use wholemeal flour, you may need to add a little more water. It will be trial and error until you get the dough sticky and 'shaggy'. When you turn the dough out, it will have little strings, almost like cobwebs... this means it has worked!

  • I also added in some fresh grated parmesan and black pepper to the dough on my first attempt... it was divine! I served this bread fresh with bruscetta and it was a very sexy snack.

  • I used rolled oats to 'garnish' the first batch, and poppy seeds on the second. Next time I'd like to try stirring some linseed through the dough.... yum!

  • This bread is so fun to make - as long as you have patience! This takes a day from start to plate, but I think that's where the fun in making it is! Good things come to those who wait...
There are millions of threads on this, go forth and read and experiment and enjoy.

This is what 'shaggy' dough looks like

... and resting dough

All dressed ready for the oven...

... and fresh out of the oven.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vegemite Chicken... Anzac Day & Marmite Chicken Tribute (and Bookmarked Recipes submission!)

Finally (after talking it up in one of her far too few posts), A & Sir L took me to Hawkers Cuisine in Northbridge and after all the hype and expectation, it more than lived up to its reputation!

We ordered an array of dishes, including Pineapple Duck, Jellyfish Salad, Patagonian Toothfish and the much talked about, Marmite Chicken. Which I adored. In fact several weeks after the fact, I'm still craving more of it!

So, since I was so in love with it, and knew I wanted it again, I decided to try it out at home.... and went right to the search for a homemade recipe online. And I found several, but this one from Chocolate & Zucchini was the best. The only recipes I could find online all called for Maltrose, which I'm ashamed to say, I have no idea what it is or where to find it in Perth..... so, I opted for the recipe on Chocolate & Zucchini which was quick, easy and totally tasty! I did actually make it with Vegemite, since I didn't have any Marmite.... but it was still ace! It was slightly sweeter than I was hoping for, but that's an easy fix for the next time I make it. I'd perhaps lessen the sugar and increase the Vegemite (I used a teaspoon but could easily have doubled it).

So rather than repeat the recipe, please use the link above for C&Z's very own creation.

But here's a look at the lovely syrupy, simmering sauce:

And the final product.

Tasting Notes:

  • Yum! Try it - at home or at Hawkers. It's so worth it. Trust me.

And since this was a bookmarked recipe to try (after tasting it at Hawkers and being desperate to recreate it) I am submitting it to Bookmarked Recipes weekly roundup. It's my very first submission to a roundup (how exciting, yet nervewracking) so I hope I pass muster!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Home, sweet home... super quick KL food update

So the whirlwind birthday / easter big city getaway to Kuala Lumpur seems a million miles away! Having the birthday behind me is all good for another year, although I could've easily spent another week eating my way through KL. I had been told that the locals love to eat - but I had no idea how fantastic the food would be!

And such a vast array - and so cheap!

We were directly across from the famed Pavillion shopping mall that would have to have the best food court I have ever seen. I could've happily dined there each day and not sampled all I wanted to in a month!
From Korean to Ipoh, Japanese to Thai, Chicken & Rice (they had a whole shopfront!), Pizza in a Cone (don't ask!), Tony Romas to Subway, Malay to Singaporean, they had it all.

Although what struck me the most was their penchant for sweets and pastries.... the little KL ers went mad for the stuff - namely floss bread, filled cream puffs and gourmet donuts. How they remain so slim, I've never know.

We managed to eat fantastic Tapas at La Bodega (crumbed manchego cheese with honey dressing, lamb and mango kebabs, albondigas, paprika dip.... all topped off with some Bolinger and Tiramisu - yum!).

The next day, with a slight hangover, we decided Mexican from Chili's was in order. It was my first encounter with big, greasy, American style food and it was scary!
The birthday feast involved and Indian spread that was to die for.

All in all it was a great eating adventure and I want to go back to continue it!

However, the lowlight of our eating feasting was the plane food. I know, cliched but really it was entirely and simply too awful for words! For $10 on Air Asia it was to be expected, but the advertised meal, was nothing at all like the presented meal. A good tip would be to take a snack pack on board, or go for the instant noodles in a cup! And when they say mild, they don't really mean it... it's just a wee trick!!!

Take a look at the advertised image of Big Bruce's Smoky BBQ Chicken:

And the actual meal:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hooray, hooray we're going on Holiday!

So after 5 weeks of counting sleeps, the time has so very nearly come for our super shopping safari in Kuala Lumpur this weekend! Yay!

We shall be back next week with loads of photos and tales of culinary delights from Malaysia....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baked Salmon & Asparagus.... Easy Asian Style

This is a terrific recipe that was the quickest, tastiest and least messy salmon dish I think I’ve ever cooked. And it just comes out looking so impressive that if I ever did fancy throwing a dinner party, this would be on my list of things to cook.

Or it would be a great date dinner – it looks really posh, with such minimal effort (unlike the hostess – looks great with hours of effort!).

As I was sadly dateless, I made this just for me – so feel free to expand the recipe as required.

Baked Salmon & Asparagus in Asian Sauce

1 Salmon fillet
1 tsp Garlic – minced
1 tsp Ginger – minced
1 Tbs Shaoxing Cooking Wine
1 Tbs Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Light Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 Tbs Fish Sauce
2 Tbs Water
4 Asparagus Spears – trimmed

Combine all ingredients except fish and asparagus in a bowl – stir until sugar has dissolved.

Spray a non stick shallow baking dish with oil spray. Place fish skin side up in dish, lay the asparagus next to the fish. Pour the sauce over, cover with foil and bake for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, carefully remove dish and check for doneness. If you prefer your fish cooked further, turn the fillet over, re-cover in foil and cook until ready to your liking.

Serve salmon and asparagus over steamed rice, with sauce drizzled over.

Tasting Notes

  • Divine. Delicious and dangerously easy! I want it again tonight, and tomorrow night... it was so good!

  • I like a bit of sauce with this dish – if you find the flavour a bit overpowering, reduce the measures to your taste.

  • Any firm fish fillets could be used and the sauce can be varied to your tastes.

  • I like my salmon rather done so I baked my fish for 20 mins – 10 minutes on each side, however it will depend on your liking. The asparagus could’ve come out a few minutes earlier – this I will do if I ever serve this to a date, as it was just me, it didn’t matter.

  • I was so greedy with this dish, I didn’t get a chance to take a photo, however I will try and exercise some restraint next time I make this so I can post one.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cauliflower Soup.... low carb, low fat & high taste

I don’t know what it is driving me to make soup lately. It could be the fact that I have a huge amount of fresh vegies to get through, or that it is so easy and quick and it’s great for bringing to work for lunch (as part of my pre-KL holiday savings plan I am not allowed to buy lunch!) or it could be driven by the loss of daylight savings so I’ve been tricked into thinking that it is practically winter and therefore soup should be the meal of choice. Either way, soup is a great way to get loads of goodness in without expending a lot of effort.

And as mentioned in an earlier post, I had a very handsome and large cauliflower to use up – hence this cauliflower soup.

I did some skimming on the net for recipes, and the one I really wanted to make was what seemed to be an American favourite, as in that it was everywhere on my search –however it contained frozen vegies and/or a tin of potato soup (what the?) and a cup of cheese! It sounded so good – but it wasn’t in my healthy eating plan so I devised this super easy, low fat number.... which was still great – and one day, I’ll treat myself by adding a whole cup of cheese. Yummy!

(Light) Cauliflower Soup – in the Slow Cooker

1 Cauliflower- chopped into florets, stalk removed
1 Onion
3 Sticks of Celery – sliced
3 Small Potatoes – peeled and chopped into quarters
4 Cups Stock – I used Vegeta
½ Cup White Wine
2/3 Cup Milk – I used Skim

Place cauliflower, onion, celery, potatoes, stock and wine into the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or to your required setting.
When cooked carefully blend in batches, adding nutmeg and milk to your desired consistency.

This can also be cooked on the stove top – fry off onion and celery for a few minutes in some oil, adding cauliflower, potatoes, stock and wine and then simmer until vegies are cooked. Add milk and nutmeg when blending at the end.

Tasting Notes

  • This was super easy, super healthy and quick.

  • I did also think (way too late) that I could’ve added the rind of some parmesan I had to the cooking process... I’m sure this would’ve added a nice flavour and dimension to the soup. I will try this next time.