Sunday, June 17, 2007

A mixed foodie weekend

I'm really loving this cooking thing. I cook what I want, when I want. Things I generally wouldn't cook, I get a chance to experiment. Sauces and ingredients that have been sitting in my pantry for ages finally get used. Thursday, being such a miserable and wet night, I came home wanting something very carby and very comforting:

Minchee, Japanese Chicken Curry, sugar snap peas and rice

The Minchee is a stirfry of cubed potato and mince which I've always wanted to try after reading this. The potato was cooked until it just started to break down and naturally thicken the sauce. I browned the mince quite well before cooking this and it made the sauce so SO nice and almost nutty. I wanted to eat just the minchee with nothing else!

The curry chicken was thick and rich. I'm not a huge fan of Japanese curry when I'm out and about since I find their curry quite sweet. This one however, was more spicy than sweet. I actually had a few spoons of just sauce.....for tasting purposes of course.

Friday, I decided to have a catch up with Cookies at Macchiato. We always walk by and keep saying "We need to try it one day". Well, we did.

Mexicana Chicken Pizza

The woodfired pizza had a really crispy and light base. The addition of jalapeƱos really added a great kick that we needed on a rainy night. Next time we're going to ask for extra jalapeƱos!

Angelhair pasta with Chorizo Arribiata sauce

I've never had a creamy arribiata sauce before, but I must say it was a really nice change. They were also quite generous with the amount of chorizos! Oh, and we also ordered a big jug of sangria to wash down all that food as well. (As we do)

Saturday involved a lot of sleeping in. Listening to the rain fall onto the tin roof of my carport whilst snuggled up in bed was the perfect start to the weekend. I eventually dragged myself out of bed to do some housework and run a few errands. As I was out grocery shopping, I walked past a new bakery thats opened in my area. Our family friends had brought over their egg tarts previously and I was very impressed by that. So, I thought it was only fair that I tried some of their other goodies:

Harm Sui Gok - Glutinous pastry stuffed with pork mince
Char Siu So - BBQ Pork triangle

I had taken these goodies home, nuked them up and popped them quickly into an oven to crispen up and they were still delicious! I would've loved to have tried them fresh. But for lunch, I decided to stop by my favourite Turkish Pide shop. I haven't had their freshly made pide in ages! And they make the BEST chicken and mushroom pide in all of Sydney!

1/2 a chicken and mushroom pide (The pide was huge!!)

I had picked up a bag of prawns whilst I was grocery shopping so I could indulge a bit:

The prawns were sauteed quickly in a wok with chicken, before adding garlic and veggies. I made sure there was going to be a lot of sauce by adding a big cup of chicken stock, soya sauce and oyster sauce. Once everything was almost cooked, I thickened the sauce and then stirred through a beaten egg turning the sauce into a thick and eggy gravy which I poured over some instant noodles (I love instant noodles in a noodle stir fry!)

SO unbelievably good!

Sunday, was again spent sleeping in. When I finally did wake up, I finished off the remaining pide. Yes, there was enough food for two meals! I fluffed up my pillows and hide under the doona with a remote control watching House on DVD. I was sooooo comfortable I refused to cook dinner! I eventually had to get out of bed for volleyball training which ended around 8pm. Instead of going home to dig through the pantry for food (Yes I know it was my fault that I was lazy) I went to the local Chinese takeaway store instead. I wanted restaurant food!

Fried Dim Sims

These were nothing like the ones we used to serve at the restaurant. They were nice, but I was really disappointed that they were so different from what we used to sell. Our dim sims were 90% meat whilst theirs were 90% vegetable. Our batter was light and crispy, their batter was more crunchy than crispy (Yes there is a difference)

Beef with vegetables in Oyster sauce - Simple but delicious

Gong Po Chicken

I have plenty of leftovers to take to work tomorrow ;)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

SoRCook is back again!

Its been awhile since I've done any cooking. Theres been so many recipes I've wanted to try, and many things I crave that my mum either doesn't know how to cook, or doesn't want to cook it. Now its my chance! As I go home every night, I stop by the local butcher, veggie shop and asian grocery store to pick up my supplies for dinner that night. I'm trying to cook just enough for dinner, and maybe some leftovers for lunch (and some for my granny as well). So, what have I been cooking?

Shin Ramyun pork noodles

The Korean spicy noodles Shin Ramyun is my favourite hangover cure. Depending on how bad my hangover is, I would to boil the noodles in water, and once the noodle cake starts to break apart slightly, I would pour out half of the water. I then add an entire packet of the spicy soup mix to the pot and let that simmer until the noodles have absorbed most of the soup. This gives the noodles an extra spicy kick that really wakes you up. The more hungover I was, the more spicy I would make it.

For a more decent meal, I stir fried pork mince and cabbage with the soup powder that comes with the Korean spicy noodle Shin Ramyun. I let the mixture simmer for awhile so the pork absorbed all the yummy spicy sauce. Once the sauce starts to thicken up, I poured it over the cooked noodles before stirring through. This was absolutely delicious and a perfect hangover cure!

Satay Chicken, Veggies with Oyster sauce and rice

The one thing I miss the most about our family restaurant is all the restaurant food we used to eat. We never eat "restaurant food" at home. Anything we used to sell at the restaurant is basically never cooked at home. I don't know why, but I do know I miss the food a lot. And one of my favourite dishes was satay chicken. When I was working at Crows Nest, the local Chinese restaurant cooked something very similar to what we used to sell. Similar, but not the same. And now that I'm working in the city, I can't even find something remotely close.

So here's my attempt at it. And although I didn't mix up a batch of the satay sauce we used to use, this was close enough and definitely satisfied my cravings. The veggies were gently steamed and the oyster sauce was drizzled ontop. I know that looks like a lot of sauce, but I had a lot more veggies on the side.

Hokkien Mee

In 2 1/2 weeks time, I can finally go to Singapore and visit my favourite hawker stall for their Hokkien Mee. But I can't wait 2 1/2 weeks. I wasn't paying attention when I cooked this and accidentally made it too thick. And I chose to use a thinner noodle. I also didn't have any Ketjap Manis, so I used a lot of dark soy. I wasn't as dark in colour as a proper Hokkien Mee, but GOD THIS TASTED GOOD!! I even surprised myself! The sauce is rich and comforting. The sauce is caramelised and so moreish! I can't wait to make this again! I might actually go and buy a bottle of Ketjap Manis next time to make this properly. It tasted almost like the real thing! I just wished I had some pickled green chillis to go with it. MmMm and good thing I made extra to take to work, because this will definitely taste better tomorrow! I can't wait!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The unplanned long weekend

With the crazy week I had at work, I could barely remember that it was a long weekend. I had to keep reminding myself not to go to work on the Monday. I guess because I've been so busy, I didn't plan to have a huge long weekend like I usually do. And maybe thats why it didn't seem like a long weekend to me. Anyway, with the weather the way it was, all I wanted to do was go home and curl up. Alas, I had arranged to have a catchup dinner with the old CBA gang. (Not before a few drinks though!) We headed downstairs to Chicane before 5pm and started hitting the drinks with a few of my workamtes. After A LOT of drinks, we battled the rain and wind to make our way to Encasa a good 40mins late. I had to walk in the rain since my umbrella couldn't fight the wind.

We actually ordered less food than when I went with Cookies and MnMs the other week, but I was SO unbelievably full I couldn't even drink sangria! Me! Not being able to drink sangria! Anyway, we had an absolutely wonderful night. I even did it as a surprise birthday thing for one of the guys. We didn't do a cake or anything, but I did rock up with a birthday hat and a lei, which he walked around the city with afterwards. And by the way, if you're ever at Encasa and they have a fig creme brulee special, GET IT!!! YUMMMM!!!

Saturday I slept in until about 11 when the doorbell started going off every few minutes. I spent the afternoon entertaining relatives and family friends before I met up with Cookies and Karen at Broadway for a bit of retail therapy. Battling the rain and wind, I managed to get there in one piece. We ended up watching Shrek 3 using my free movie tickets. I really enjoyed Shrek 3. It wasn't as good as the first 2, but after a hard week at work, it was great to unwind with.

After the movie ended, we decided to wander up and down Glebe Point Rd to look for some food. Nothing really inspired us so we headed to Spanish Tapas, a restaurant I've been meaning to try for a long time:

How cute is that jug?

Clockwise: Stuffed Capsicum in salsa sauce, Fried chicken wings cooked in white wine and garlic, bread for sauce mopping, creamy garlic mushrooms, fried potatoes with spicy salsa sauce

The food was nice even though it was bland. We had to ask for salt to season every dish. It was much nicer after that. However, it still couldn't measure up to Encasa. And it makes it particularly hard to compare considering I only had Encasa the night before! Their sangria, however, was delicious! I'm tempted to keep going back just for the sangria! Although next time I'll order Paella instead of their tapas.

Pretty much all of Sunday involved sleeping in and watching Ugly Betty. I did have a volleyball spike training session at night that left me all achy and sore. Who knew you could grow muscles around your shoulders like that??

Monday morning was absolute agony for me. Everything hurt. And it made it worse that I had to get up at 5am to take my parents to the airport in the freezing cold!!! After dropping them off, I quickly drove up and hopped back into bed. I refused to get up until after 12. It was then I dragged my half beaten up body out of bed. And again, more Ugly Betty and then grocery shopping. The one thing I love about my parents being away is that I can cook what I want, when I want. And to start off, I decided on a nice healthy and hearty breakfast:

Seriously! It is healthy! No butter on toast, practically no oil when cooking the eggs. I used leftover bacon that was sitting in the fridge, and most of it had all the fat trimmed off (Except for that one evil tempting piece at the bottom)

Expect a lot more home cooking photos!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Socceroos vs Uruguay

After spending Saturday morning trying to finish some work up, I spent the afternoon relaxing and getting all my gear ready for the Socceroos vs Uruguay soccer match. Camera was charged, snug winter gear was layered on, and of course, the all important Green and Gold supporter gear.

We all met up at the Stadium with our supporter gear. The seats we got were great! I would've preferred sitting a bit higher up as I prefer to see the whole field rather than a close up of the players. My friends, however, were more than happy with the seats. We arrived early enough t see all the players warm up, and of course, I had to get some good photos!

Security making sure a lunatic like me doesn't run onto the field

Qantas Choir - "I still call Australia Home"

I want his lens!!!

URGAY! hehehe

Cheering for the Socceroos!

This shot was taken literally 2 seconds before the Roos scored their first goal!

The crowd cheering! See the smoke?

Yep! Someone lit up a flare!

And they're hard to put out!

Security forces

Unfortunately, Uruguay won that match, but it was a friendly and it was a great game! (And I had a really sore throat by the end of the night) Its great to see the number of supporters for real football in Australia now days! Unfortunately, some people took it a bit too far, and got a bit too drunk. I almost got trampled by the cop trying to get past me to eject a few groups of people out. One guy got so drunk, he was completely red from head to toe and must've gotten into a fight as his shirt was all ripped up.

Consume alcohol responsibly people! We're there to enjoy the game and support the Roos. Don't ruin it for other people!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Best way to end an eating spree

It was an interesting morning indeed. 3 girls in bed together makes for an interesting night's sleep ;) We took our time getting ready, enjoying the morning tv before we loaded ourselves into a cab and off to Bill's we went. It was probably closer to lunch than it was brunch by the time we got to Bill's. The good thing, however, was that we were STARVING! And that meant we can order more food!!

Apple Orange juice

Hot Chocolate

I spotted the hot chocolate whilst we were waiting to be seated, and god does that look good or what?? Real chocolate chips slowly melted with hot milk. MmMmm look at that melted chocolate.....

Caffiene for me!

Since the eating spree was purely for MnMs (Yeah right!) we decided to order all of Bill's famous dishes to share!

Corn fritters with bacon, tomatoes and spinach

Wagyu beef burger with fries, salad and tomato chutney

Famous scrambled eggs, bacon and sourdough toast

Ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter - for dessert

Close up of the honeycomb butter

MmMmm Molten river of melted honeycomb butter

The corn fritters were crispy and bursting with corn. The eggs were silky smooth and decadent whilst the burger came with the most delicious tomato chutney I've ever had! However, the outstanding winner had to be the ricotta hotcakes. Light and fluffy and definitely orgasmic! We were so full by the end of the meal, that we had to roll ourselves out of the restaurant, AGAIN. We decided to take a leisurely stroll back to Chinatown for some retail therapy.

After spending a whole heap of money on stuff we really don't need, we headed back towards the hotel where MnMs tried to shove me onto the road to get hit by a car because "the takoyaki place shut down". And somehow thats MY FAULT. Sheeesh woman! Get a grip!!

We went back to the hotel for a bit of a rest and packed our bags since me and cookies had to go home that night. We thought we'd take MnMs to our latest favourite Korean place instead of the usual BBQ City. (We figured if we took her to enough places, she'll eventually move up to Sydney just for the food!!) As we headed towards Sydney Madang, we had to make a pit stop for a bit more retail therapy. Nothing new to us ;)

Madang is such a hard place to find! We always walked past wondering why there are so many people congregating in a back alley. It was only a few weeks ago did we realise there was restaurant tucked into the dead end of a back alley. The place is forever packed and always frequented by Koreans. Must be a good sign hey?

First up, the side dishes:

Kim Chi like vegetables

Kim Chi

Salad (with the best nashi/onion dressing), mashed potato salad and fish cakes

Fried Soft shell crab salad

Kim chi and pork pancake

Soft tofu and seafood stew

Marinated fish and cold noodles with spicy sauce

Here's a few more photos from our previous trip to Madang:

More side dishes

Potato starch stir fry noodles

More pork and kimchi pancake

Fish roe stew

The food at Madang can almost rival the food at BBQ city. The fish roe stew, which has become our benchmark in rating korean restaurants was so nice! But also so different from BBQ City. Madang's stew seems to be a lot spicier and richer, whilst BBQ city is lighter and has a lovely seafood sweetness. Madang has more seafood, but BBQ City has more fish roe. Both just as good, but we can't really say which is better.

Their soft tofu stew was outstanding! I think I prefer their tofu stew to BBQ City's as they don't have egg in it. Don't get me wrong, I love egg, but I find Madang's version lighter. Their side dishes are also really really good. Probably not as good as BBQ City, but they have this really awesome salad with a grated nashi pear/onion like dressing that is soooooooo nice!!!

By the time we had finished eating everything, we were bloated again. And most of us had lost all feelings in our mouth, and some were even getting chilli headaches. But the food was so good, we would definitely be back again. And we won't be waiting for MnMs to be up again to eat at Madangs. So, woman, come back up to Sydney again soon!!!