Saturday, 25 October 2014

Stuffed Capsicums

What do you do when you have an abundance of capsicums in the fridge? Stuff them, of course!

Seasonal produce can lead to the creation of many an inventive meal. I wish I was the kind of cook who could conjure up a meal, with complementing textures and a balance of flavours, from whatever I have in my fridge. But I'm not. Instead, I'm happy to share with you that I have a confidant in Google and my reliable cookbooks.

Cookbook recipes are the inspiration for my cooking, as well as a form of entertainment. For me, reading a cookbook is like reading a magazine, except that one will be greeted with the extra bonus of being able to glimpse and drool at a collection of beautiful food photos along every page. The way I read a cookbook is the same way I read a magazine - front to back, reading every word on every page, starting with the ingredients and ending with the final step of the method. I'm methodical like that.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

JENESYS 2.0: Kōchi, Japan

Earlier this year I went on a once in a lifetime trip to Japan on the JENESYS 2.0 programme (to read all about it on my first post click here). Part of this involved a trip to regional Japan to experience every day life outside of the bustling, tourist-strewn hub of Tokyo, to spend time with a host family in Japan suburbia. 

When you travel, you experience a city from a different perspective to the locals. Of course, this is in part because you are a tourist, and no matter how hard you dig you will always be a tourist. But this is also because more often than not, you will stay where it is most convenient, where you will be able to travel easily and where you can make the most of your holiday time - whether this be near a popular transport centre or in the middle of the city. You never really get to live like the locals. 

Our regional stay enabled us to do just that - spend our time with Japanese locals, take part in traditional cultural activities and eat authentic home-cooked Japanese food. You could be forgiven for thinking it's all about Tempura, Sushi and Ramen here. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Pho Toan Thang, Flemington

People naturally gravitate towards queues. Perhaps it's curiosity. Or perhaps it's the intrinsic human need to be where the crowds are, to feel included and in the know. Either way, a queue outside a restaurant indicates more often than not that it is one that you should visit. If you have the time and stomach capacity to wait, that is.

At Pho Toan Thang in the inner west Asian hub of Flemington, you will find a queue snaking outside the restaurant, tucked inside an arcade, every day. Some times, if you arrive early enough, you may be rewarded with a short queue, perhaps only two or three groups long. Or if you're really lucky there may be no queue at all. This Vietnamese-Chinese restaurant is well known among the local community for its cheap, consistently delicious food and fast turnover. So don't let the line deter you, it simply indicates a level of popularity and cult-like following signals a good feed. It's not the kind of place you would take someone for a good chat or catch-up, but rather the eatery you would turn to for a quick, low-cost but extremely filling, satisfying meal.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Strawberries & Cream Sponge Cake

I must confess that prior to beginning the journey of this recipe, I had a slight aversion to (or rather, fear of) sponge cakes, for two main reasons.

Reason number 1: The recipe requires the whipping of egg whites. Not that I am scared of this, but rather the lack of a stand-mixer in my kitchen requires a labour of love and 10 minutes of semi-vigorous physical activity to achieve glossy, stiff-peaked whites.

Reason number 2: It's hard to predict how successfully the cake will turn out, as there are a number of variables that could cause it to go downhill. For example, overbeating the egg, beating too much air out of the mixture or having a cake that disappointingly deflates upon taking out of the oven. I say this because the latter happened to me the last time I attempted a sponge to make lamingtons. I later realised I hadn't left it in the oven long enough to rise and become stable.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Zeus Street Greek, Drummoyne

Street food is my kind of food. Sure, give me a beautiful, three course fine dining  meal any day, but take me out for a bowl of fresh, herby, zingy noodle soup or smoky, spiced satay and I'm a happy girl. I've developed a kind of aversion to kebabs, though, because I often find them too oily, big and altogether overwhelming for my stomach.

Zeus Greek Street Food takes street food to a whole new level. Gyros, the much loved Greek relative of the kebab, is tended to lovingly and given a gourmet twist, with the addition of Aegean slaw, preserved lemon mayo and sides that stretch far beyond the typical kebab shop menu.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Birthday Feast at Sake, the Rocks

Apologies for the unusually long hiatus between this post and my last, I've been extremely busy these past few weeks with exams the oh-so-close-but-so-far end of the school term. It's funny how time passes by so quickly when you're busy.

Last Friday it was my birthday, YAY! And because it was my birthday I was was granted the powerful gift of being able choose wherever I wanted to go for my birthday meal. Now usually I'd be scrambling the wide world of food blogs for somewhere a bit special to go, but it being the beginning of exam block I didn't exactly have much free time to spend oogling over drool-worthy deliciousness. Last year we went to Sokyo for my birthday, and given our family's penchant for anything Japanese Mum piped up one day that we should visit Sake Restaurant in The Rocks.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Maranello's, Concord

There are a lot of choices to make when you eat out at an Italian restaurant. Should you order pizza, or pasta? A salad to cut through the carbs, or perhaps some entrees to start? Do you like your pizza with a thin or thick crust? Pineapple on top?

I'd say Italian it always best eaten with a crowd. Not necessarily a big crowd, but enough for you to share lots of different dishes, to get a taste of both the pizza and pasta, with enough room for Gelato afterwards. 

Maranello's sits on the main shopping strip of Majors Bay Road in Concord, a restaurant that seems to be busy at night and is also open for lunch during the day. As well as the outdoor alfresco dining, protected by heat-insulating, clear plastic blinds and flanked by standing gas heaters, the interior of the restaurant spans the floor space of two shopfronts. The interior is themed with deep red and dark mahogany furnishings; the bar on one side concealing a wood-fired pizza oven that dishes out blistered, puffed pizzas.