Monday, 30 July 2012

chinese fried dough stick with kaya

I really can't help but be a snacker - the boy doesn't agree with it and says I should eat more at meal time but bad habits die hard. And well, despite the boy telling me one thing, he snacks too and introduced me to this somewhat unhealthy snack of his but by golly, it is tasty and makes for a great snack!

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place store bought Chinese fried dough sticks on a tray and bake for 5 minutes till warmed through. Top with a generous serving of kaya.

Kaya can be bought from most Asian supermarkets but if you're lucky like me, you'll get a jar of homemade kaya as a wedding gift (definitely amongst the top of my list of wedding presents!) It's a big jar too so should last me for a good while.

Probably not something to snack on every day but as a treat once in awhile, I'll say that it's ok. There's just something about combining sweet and savoury that makes this snack absolutely perfect!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

miss chu tuckshop @ regent place, sydney

Miss Chu has been on my radar for a long while now but with the original Darlinghurst shop being a little out of the way, I didn't quite get round to trying it (yes, it's partly laziness). How convenient that Miss Chu Tuckshop pops up in Regent Place in the city!

If you didn't know already, Miss Chu's is queen of Vietnamese rice paper rolls. We took the special they had that day; the roast pork rice paper rolls. One word - YUM! Give me a dozen of these any day.

Some other things we had that night; the Caramelised Free-Range Pork Belly Stew (served with Asian greens and a brown rice). Pictured also is a serve of the Traditional Pork Hanoi spring rolls.

Prawn dumplings which are a little drowned in a puddle of sauce. The skin on these are a little thick unlike traditional Chinese dumplings.

What had my attention though were the desserts - Thai Custard with a Black Glutinous Rice Slice and their Lychee Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Cream. The boy didn't seem to think these were all too healthy but by god, they are so very yummy in the tummy.

Miss Chu's is certainly a refreshing take on Vietnamese food but at the same time a little more pricey than your average Vietnamese shop. The tuckshop at Regent's Place isn't all that big either so better for small groups (it was actually quite cute to see how they had ironing boards as dining tables but they only seat about four).

Saturday, 28 July 2012

marion grasby's thai green curry

When we first moved out, both sets of parents seemed to be immediately concerned about what we were eating and whether we were eating at all. It's been a good couple of months now and to be honest, not a whole lot has changed. Every trip back has us leaving with bags of fresh food, reheatable food and things we can chuck in the freezer. Somehow or other, the parents seem to coordinate themselves too - we rarely get double of the one thing! If that's coincidence or prearranged - we're only left guessing.

And as anyone with a day job will know, it's often tricky to come home and be all that energetic to prepare a meal so those reheatable meals do really come in handy. That's not to say though that we've just been eating reheatable food, mum did suggest a few easy meals we can cook but also suggested, Marion's Thai Green Curry as something we could try - nice and tasty plus being quick too (apparently my auntie; mum's younger sister, is a big advocate of Marion's Thai Green Curry and has been getting everyone to try it out)

Found this on a trip to Coles.

You'll need one pack of Thai Green Curry to which you add, green beans, capsicum and chicken thigh. Everything else you need is in that neat little green box.

Serve with steamed rice and if you are me, a serving of bok choy (because you can never eat enough vegies).

Thumbs up to Marion Grasby and her Thai Green Curry! It was a meal that was so easy to whip up and tasted fantastic (on par with any green curry you might get if you eat out). I've since actually gone on to try her Chicken Satay (mum actually gave me the box on a trip back home) and well, let me save that for another post. There's a Sang Choy Bow and Pad Thai packet in her range which look like they'd be worth trying too.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

thai pork with noodles

Whilst the boy and I have yet to find a place which we can officially call our home, our temporary apartment doesn't scrub up too bad. The only thing I'll say is that there's just not enough space in the kitchen; where cooking something a little more complicated involves reshifting things around to create that extra bit of bench space (and yes, with the two of us in the kitchen, it's a bit like us dancing - dancing with two left feet). 

Over the last 4 months, we've been pretty good and have actually cooked most nights (as opposed to eat out). Admittedly exhausting for the first two months but we're now a well oiled machine to the point that we've even cooked tomorrow night's dinner; we can come home and just reheat (is that pretty good or what?) Often it comes down to keeping it simple, just like this Thai pork with noodle recipe from Donna Hay.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add 500g pork mince and stir fry for 5 minutes until golden and cooked through. Place the mince in a bowl and mix with 1 stalk finely sliced lemongrass, 2 long red chillies (seeded and chopped), and 1 thinly sliced red onion. In a separate heatproof bowl, soak 150g vermicelli noodle in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain and toss in with the pork mixture. To make the sauce, mix 60mL fish sauce, 60mL lime juice and 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar until well combined in a jug. Pour over the noodles and top with mint.

Recipe says this should feed up to 4. Reality says that 2 hungry individuals can polish this one off quite nicely.

Can you see in the photos how little bench space we have? And yes, I might've gotten a little excited and purchased a lot of spices and sauces which crowd up most of the bench space (but in my defence, we do use it for cooking!)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

david lebovitz's cheesecake brownies

In amongst moving out, getting married, changing jobs and getting our apartment decked out (for a month, we sat on the carpet with our backs leaning against the wall whilst we waited for our couch to arrive), I barely had time to give this blog much thought. Thankfully all the craziness has finally settled down and now I can comfortably sit on our sofa and have a little bit of me time.

I made these cheesecake brownies a few weeks ago when I was invited over for dinner at A's place. The recipe comes out of David Lebovitz's 'Ready for Dessert' which is my go to book for fail safe recipes when you are bringing a dish. I've tried other recipes for cheesecake brownies but always found that the cream cheese would sink to the bottom but that's one thing you don't have to worry about this one.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a rectangular tin. In a medium saucepan, melt 85g unsalted butter, add in 115g chopped dark chocolate and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in 130g caster sugar followed by 2 large eggs. Mix in 70g plain flour, 8g cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract and then 80g dark chocolate. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. To make the cheesecake topping, in a medium bowl, beat together 225g cream cheese, 1 large egg yolk, 75g caster sugar and 1/8 tsp vanilla extract until smooth. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in 8 dollops across the top of the brownie batter and then, with a butter knife, swirl the cream cheese mixture very slightly into the batter. Bake for approx. 35 minutes.

Let the brownies to cool completely in the pan before lifting out.

All packed and ready to take to dinner.

These went down quite the treat! By far, the best cheesecake brownie recipe I've come across and makes me even more in love with David Lebovitz (yes, I'm slowly getting closer to owning all his recipe books!)