Friday, April 30, 2010

Eating Out: HAPPY MEAL!!!!

I HAVE FOUND A FLAW IN THE MACCAS MENU!!!! Okay, I don't think I'm supposed to be excited over this but being a very asian person, any saving of money counts. Been craving McNuggets for a while now and today I finally got to eat it. However whilst looking at the menu board, it said a small 6 pack nugget meal would cost $6.75, however when I went to look at how much a 6 pack nugget happy meal was it was only $6.45, essentially you get the same thing except you get a toy with a happy meal and its still does that work?
So I decided to get a Happy Meal!!!! Brings back good memories =) Must have looked a bit weird, wearing my Year 12 jumper whilst eating my Happy Meal at the Shoppo food court.

Did I mention that you get the option to change your soft drink for either small shake, juice, fizzy juice and all these other things? Love Strawberry Shake. WAY BETTER THAN JUST A NORMAL MEAL. Hopefully Maccas doesn't realise their price difference anytime soon.

Cooking: Tang Yuan 汤圆 Little Glutinous Balls in Sweet Soup

Since it's been so cold lately I decided to make Tang Yuan last night. However I found out we ran out of that yellow sugar that comes as a slab....rock sugar? Its called 冰片糖 in Chinese. Therefore I put a piece of sultana inside the tang yuan instead.
The sugar you're supposed to use
Anyways I cbf writing a recipe up, I learnt how to make them from my dad who learnt how to make them from my grandma. So its kinda like grandma's recipe =)
Made very small ones this time.
The sultanas did not go AT ALL, very bad combination. 
I shall stick to plain for next time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cooking: Sesame Crusted Seared Tuna

Second time trying this however it's still not right, the taste is just not good enough, still needs to be a lot of refining to be done. Visually it still needs a bit of work as well. The ones at the Japanese restaurants look so appealing, the contrast between the crusted edges and the deep red of the raw tuna is amazing. Like a piece of art.

Tuna: Raw tuna steak, tsp of soya sauce, 1/2 tsp of fish sauce + sesame oil, sesame seeds.
Sauce: 1 tbsp sashimi soya sauce, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.

Cut tuna into approx 5 cm wide logs. Marinate the tuna in everything but the sesame seeds. Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan, remove and set aside. Pan fry tuna in a HOT pan with a little oil (must be hot in order to have a decent crunchy crust). about 20-30 secs each side (all 4 sides, 6 if you want). Roll in sesame seeds to coat. Slice on angle. Mix the soya sauce and sesame oil together to make sauce then spoon over sliced tuna.
This was only 1/3 of the tuna steak.

Borrowed a stack of cookbooks from the library today. Off to read them now =) Still waiting for Luke Nguyen's one to be available. But Jamie's Ministry of Food will do for now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eating Out: Old Town Kopitiam, 195 Lt Bourke St, Melbourne Chinatown

I first visited this restaurant about 2 years ago. And even back then it was very good. I remember I ordered the curry laksa that time, how I remember? I ALMOST DIED cos it was so chilli. Nah, it wasn't that chilli for Malaysians but it was pretty chilli for me. 2 years on and not much has changed about this place. It's pretty packed and its a public holiday so theres no business people around...I wonder what it is like on a working weekday.
Had a very hard time tossing between, Nasi Lemak (curry chicken, my fav), Char Kway Teow (cos I haven't had it in a while), Hokkien Mee (haven't had that in ages as well), Siamese Laksa (sounded awesome but it looked super super spicy in the picture) and Prawn Noodle (I don't even remember when I last had this, that means), therefore I chose to go with the Prawn Noodles and what a good choice it was.

Old Town Prawn Noodle Har Mee $9.90
Where should I start? It looked really appetising. The broth was extremely rich in prawn flavour. It was quite salty in a good way. It had slices of pork, fish cake, kangkung (water spinach), half a boiled egg, 3 large and crunchy prawns. The hokkien noodles were just right, I have rediscovered my love for them. Very very nice bowl of noodles especially on a cold day. I do recommend this dish if you can't don't eat chilli. 
Old Town Fish Ball Noodle Kway Teow Teng $9.90
White rice noodles, white fish cake, white fish balls, white poached chicken, clear broth.
Singaporean Fried Vermicelli $10.50
Very thin vermicelli with tonnes of goodies. Not spicy.

Food: 8.5/10 The food here is consistently very good. Flavours are rich, portions are big, presentation is quite good. 
Service: 8/10 Food came out quite quickly. Waiter only came around for take orders, to give us water and to serve us our food. They seem very very very busy.
Environment: 7/10 Everything is quite new and relatively clean. However it is pretty cramped and very noisy. But then again it is Chinatown, everything is cramped so they're exempt. 

Verdict? I really like this place. Probably the best Malaysian Food I've had in Melbourne so far. Very happy to come back at least another 10 times to try everything (I want to) on the menu. Maybe I should make that my goal for the next couple of years. I think that proves that I highly recommend this place.

Old Town Kopitiam on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 26, 2010

Update: Wealth Garden, Doncaster Rd, East Doncaster

I think I've been back to this place about 2 or 3 times since I first reviewed it. Each time I was even more disappointed than the last.
Went there for dinner today. And to sum it up, I was as far as you can get from impressed.
Problem 1: We booked for 6:30pm. We arrived at the carpark to find NO MORE SPOTS left, to top that off, one of the workers there told us to park on the garden bed, which involved climbing the a sedan.....

Problem 2: The bowls and cups were oily, for what reason we did not know and did not want to know. Therefore we had to be super asian and wash them in hot water ourselves.

Problem 3: This one is a good and bad one. Good? Everything was served extremely quickly. Bad? Some things were warm on the colder side. With only one dish that was really actually steaming hot...and it was a claypot so that's guaranteed to be hot...

Problem 4: Everything was painfully salty. Most dishes were just a bit oversalted but when you continue eating throughout dinner it starts to mound up...kind of like how if you continue to eat chilli it gets more and more spicy till it's unbearable. Learned never to eat "salt baked chicken dipped in msg spring onion sauce" followed by "preserved duck" as it feels like you're eating spoonfuls of salt.

Problem 5: Not enough waiters to refill teapots. With everyone sculling tea due to the saltiness, the teapot is drained in no time. And unfortunately it is not refilled for ages and even when the waiter comes round to fill it up, his kettle only holds enough water to fill 2 teapots...we had 3 teapots and 12 people in desperate need of some sort of liquid.

Not the best dinner I've had but I don't understand how they can have so many customers if their standard is like this...

Haven't been hearing many good things about the Chinese Restaurants in the area, what has happened?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cooking: 3 course dinner

Friday night again =)
Came home at around 5, feeling very happy since its a LONG WEEKEND!!
After making a cup-a-soup (of course my favourite flavour, Creamy Seafood Bisque) I took out the netbook to find recipes and ideas on what to make for dinner.
Decided on Pumpkin soup, Steak with roast vegies and Pavlova (using Donna Hay's recipe on the masterchef website since it was on the first ep of Masterchef). After 2 hours of cooking, dinner was finally ready.
Ingredients: Pumpkin, half a red onion finely diced, 2 cups water, 1 cup milk, teaspoon of cumin powder, pinch of salt and my secret ingredient.... 3/4 teaspoon of chicken powder.
Method: Roast pumpkin for 45 mins. saute red onion until translucent. add pumpkin, stir into puree, add water, milk, cumin, salt and chicken powder, simmer for 20 mins. (because the pumpkin was so cooked I didn't need to blend it/puree it which was really awesome cos I'm too lazy to clean the hand blender.)
Taste? I really really like it, it would have been better if I actually blitzed it in the food processor or hand blender because it was a tad separated but it was still very good. I really enjoyed the hint of curry/cumin flavour. I didn't think the sautéd onion would add so much flavour to it, so simple but so nice.

(Looks a tad unappetising)
Ingredients: Beef steak of your choice. Vegies of your choice + balsamic vinegar. Potatoes.
Steak: Season with salt and pepper and put a teaspoon of oil on each side. Grill on griddle pan to your liking.
Roast Vegies: Chop up vegies into whatever shape you want. Put them into a large bowl, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, add a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar.
Roast potatoes: Cut potatoes in half. Place two skewers on the chopping board, place potato cut side down inbetween the skewers, cut the potato into thin slices (the skewers should stop you from cutting the potato all the way through). Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for an hour. 

Have you ever seen a pavlova so screwed up? But hey its my first time making it. It looked like a big asian bun in the oven but when it came out it deflated =( Can anyone tell me why this happened? 
But it looked alright cut up =)
And it tastes very nice.

Lazy weekend =) Might cook some more over the weekend, I'll see. Wii or to cook...hard choice

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunset: 21/4/10

Today was the most amazing day in terms of the clouds. I know that sounds weird. But they were so fluffy and picture perfect. I wish I had my camera with me today, but unfortunately it was sitting at home =( On the way home from tuition the sun was setting, lighting up the clouds but the best thing was seeing the sun, it was super orange and round. No picture though.

However I did manage to get this picture.
Yes it a picture of the car's side mirror, and the sun set is reflected off the car. Awesome yeah?
It was very pretty and I was so very bored in the car. Can't wait for next Wednesday.
(taken with phone)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm gonna fail school

Why? Because last week we got 2 guitars and a drum set for the wii so I've been addicted to playing Band Hero on the wii lately which prevents me from doing my work.
Also MASTERCHEF has started, and they conveniently airs from 7:30-9pm every weeknight =.=" Which is when I do my homework. So unfortunately no homework seems to be getting completed and no study seems to be occurring this week.However I did find a good thing to do whilst watching Masterchef, making lunch for the next day. Cos I feel very inspired to cook when watching Masterchef.

Which brings me to this. It's year 12, everyone is talking about what they want to do in uni next year, what kind of career paths they are considering. Whilst some already know what they want to do, some others are completely lost e.g. me
To be honest yes I do have a dream of training to become a chef and to run my own restaurant one day, but at the same time I have doubts about doing this for the rest of my life. Another part of me wants to do physio/optometry at uni (highly unlikely considering what ENTER you need to get into those courses). Second preference would be commerce. So very lost right now, to follow a dream I've held back for a while or to be a good asian kid and go to uni and get a degree and a good stable job....

Path to my dream restaurant:
  1. Become an apprentice chef.
  2. Become a chef.
  3. Work my way up as a chef
  4. Be head chef of some restaurant
  5. Save up money
  6. Buy my own restaurant --> run own restaurant --> serve fusion food --> same set menu for each month depending on influences and seasonal produce -->travel the world for inspiration --> taste the world
Some dreams should just stay as dreams.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cooking: Meat Lovers Pasta with Creamy Spinach and Sausages

Friday nights mean...I get to cook dinner. Today's dinner was anything leftover in the fridge chucked onto pasta.
  • Onion+garlic
  • Carrot
  • Tomato
  • Bacon
  • Meatballs
  • Chicken Sausage slices
  • Passata
  • Zucchini
  • Oregano
A lot of stuff just for pasta sauce, but it's a good way to use up all the leftover things. 
The creamy spinach was the best part of dinner, too bad there was only a tiny bit of spinach to go around. Creamy spinach which contained no cream, just butter and milk. 

Might make Japanese cheesecake again this weekend since it failed last time. I'll see if I have time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Short Soup or Long Soup?

I'm a tad confused. Short soup is wonton soup right? And long soup is like this thick soup yeah? Can someone clarify this?

Anyways, mum recently made long soup. Which is a soup made from a stock/broth with julienned shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, wood ear fungus and who knows what else is in it, brought together by water chestnut flour which thickens the soup. In short, imitation snake soup or hot and sour soup that isn't hot or sour....

Which brings me to this, if you have ever had snake soup in Hong Kong you may have realised that they also have a little dish of fried wonton wrappers and a little container of shredded kaffir lime leaves to add into your soup. Mum recently bought a kaffir lime tree so we used some of the leaves to put into the soup. And I have no idea why but it goes so well together. Amazingly well. The leaves are very very finely shredded (thank you ceramic knife) and sprinkled on like you do for coriander on dishes. 

Okay, my point is, how can shredded lime leaves go so well with SOUP? Which is not spicy or sour like thai food...which is normally where you find lime leaves. Just one of the things that go so well together but make no sense whatsoever. 

That is all, super random post =)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

School =.="

Vic students will know school started again yesterday.
And I've realised that I only have 2 actual terms of high school left =(
Very sorry if I don't post much this term
I have a lot of work, SACS, and two mid year exams
Wish everyone at school luck with such a long term. 

Been pretty cold these last two days as you can see in my new pic
Get very bored studying and the camera is so tempting
Supposed to be studying right now
Better get back to it
Keep cooking everyone!!!
This bottle keeps me warm =D

Asian music night on Syn Fm makes my Tuesdays

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cooking: Tandoori Chicken Wings

Obsession with tandoori chicken started yesterday and mum bought chicken wings today which made me ask whether we could have tandoori chicken for dinner. And for some miracle reason we had a pack of tandoori paste in the pantry!!!! Just followed the instructions on the packet and grilled them in the oven. 
Under the grill, so hard to take a picture
They don't look like they're tandoori chicken wings.
The flavour wasn't strong enough, I think it's because we used chicken wings instead of thighs
Yesterdays tandoori chicken tasted so much nicer. 
Don't forget to eat your vegies. 
( I was bored waiting for the chicken wings to be done and I had the mini tripod out, so practicing camera skills.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tandoori Chicken

No pictures today, sorry I was too hungry to take them.
Pretty much went out to the city in the morning to go shopping at DFO South Wharf with my friends. 
Then they decided to watch a 3D Alice in Wonderland and I decided not to join as I cannot watch 3D movies =.="
Met up with K仔 and just sat on the grass outside the state library. 
Got an ice cream from maccas ( i think everyone knows what that looks like). They taste soooooo nice but they're so unhealthy...MEH
Met back up with friends to have lunch.
Ate at CROWN FOOD COURT and the food there is outrageously expensive. 
Felt like Indian food and ordered one of those plates with 2 curries...weird thing is the plates here were polystyrene, aren't they usually metal??
Friends and I wondered whether saffron rice tasted any different from steamed rice, DOES IT?
Chose tandoori chicken and vegetable curry. 
Why does it taste so nice? 
After some more shopping I had to head home.
Got a papaya milk tea from Bubblecup with K仔 before getting on the bus. Tasted nothing like papaya (I was hoping for something like the papaya milk drink they have in Taiwan, I miss that stuff) and I realised half the cup was ice after finishing all the milk tea =(
K仔 wanted to shoot pearls like MYCHONNY did in his latest video =.=" that guy is a bad influence, extremely funny but a bad influence. But it doesn't stop me from watching his videos XD

Total spent today? $1 (ice creams) + $5 (lunch, shared with my friend since there was no way i could finish that entire plate) +$3.50 (bubblecup) =$9.50 =)

Today marks the last weekday of the holidays :(
School starts too soon, HW still not done =S

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Update: Yum Cha Inn

Went there again two days ago and had the Curry Chicken in Breadcase. Sound weird but tastes delicious.
Doesn't look particularly good cos I used flash.
But that's what it looks like, inside is really yummy Malaysian Curry Chicken waiting to be soaked up by the bread. 
Does anyone know anywhere else in Melbourne that makes this?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Eating Out: Old Town Kopitiam Mamak, QV, Melbourne

Another place to cross off the list of places to visit, however I would like to come back here to try other dishes. The day started off with meeting K仔 in the city, getting everything sorted for Sam's 18th in the arvo. The patch of synthetic grass upstairs QV is such a nice place to just sit and relax. Except that it was Saturday morning and tonnes of little toddlers were running around full of energy. After sitting back and relaxing for a while we decided to go to Old Town Kopitiam Mamak for lunch since it was 15 metres away.

I have to say this place has this really awesome feel to it. It's just the way it has been designed, very casual and relaxing. It is very busy especially during lunch hour. I love the back wall of shelves of milo tins, holicks tins, evaporated milk tins and every other tin they use. Which made me wonder whether those tins will ever be used considering there are in perfectly even rows with no sign of usage. On the adjacent wall is the kitchen, open to view. You can watch them make roti and everything. There's just a sense of organisation and professionalism when you look into the kitchen, gives you peace of mind. K仔ordered since he actually knew what half the things were (being malaysian).
Sorry about the photo quality.
Roti Telur $4.50
Only found out what telur means after it came and was told it was EGG! Okay, eggs are not my best friend, I've never actually really liked egg at all throughout my whole life. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Roti was so yummy (especially compared to what I made the other day) however I have yet to try roti in Malaysia so I cannot compare. Curry sauce was nice and the sambal tasted really weird to me. It was surprisingly sweet and super chilli =.=" But K仔 really liked it, is it an acquired taste? K仔 complained this dish would only cost AUD$0.60 in Malaysia, but we're not in Malaysia so it's going to be $4.50
I can't remember the name of everything in this dish as I had an acute eye problem just as this was ordered.
It was part of this menu of where you get rice and a choice of various curries/accompaniments, price depends on how many you choose. This one was the most basic at $8. The rice had a strong lemongrass flavour which was a bit different. The mutton curry had a very very strong star anise flavour and the calamari was cold but still crunchy. Bit of a weird dish.

Food: 8/10 Quite a few things were quite unusual as I'm not used to Malay food. But lots of people ordered roti of some sort 
Service: 7.5/10 Not bad, I think majority of the waiters/waitresses were Malay. Service was quick as there were many staff.
Environment: 9/10 Personal opinion but I really like the feel of this place. No you don't get super comfy chairs, and yes you may have to share tables with strangers, but it is part of the experience I guess. 

Verdict? I would certainly come back again. So many things I want to try on the menu. Sure it might seem a tad pricey of simple food but it is worth it. Not exactly food you can get anywhere. Also you know the people working there are genuinely dedicated to delivering good food and making it a good restaurant. 

Old Town Kopitiam Mamak (QV Square) on Urbanspoon
After lunch sat on the synthetic grass in the sun again waiting for time to pass. Soon to be followed by a long night of Wii, PS3, Mahjong, Twister and Poker. 

The rest of the night sort of became a blur, the effects of a few drinks and fatigue started to settle in for a few.
Only managed an hour or two of sleep due to constant chatting and a hard tile floor. It was a good night.
Gotta power through the rest of the day now, hopefully make it to night time. 
I have a big stack of holiday homework waiting for me. 
Back to work now.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cooking: Crepes

Lazy morning. Should have gone out with friends but didn't because parents wanted to me to stay home and study. Unwillingly dragged myself out of bed at 11:30 to make some crepes. Lemon sugar crepes.
Found a basic crepe recipe off
Taken with phone.
They tasted pretty yummy, just a little more salt in the batter would have made it that tiny bit better. Otherwise it was really soft and chewy in a good way. 

Cooking: Roast Pork and Potatoes

Another thing to cross of the list of things to make these holidays. A recipe from Jamie Oliver's book. Roast rosemary potatoes. As for the roast pork, it was on special at safeway. I'm not sure y but the skin was almost impossible to score, used a serrated knife, a ceramic knife and a cleaver  However I did manage to score my thumb =.=" knives are sharp.
So sad, the crackling didn't work and the meat was a bit dry. Also I didn't make a sauce. I think I might avoid making roast pork for a while.
Potatoes weren't too bad. Just not golden and crispy enough. However I didn't have time to leave them in for any longer because I had tutoring soon. Herbs were from the garden.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Eating Out: Yoyogi, Eastland, Ringwood

Spent the morning shopping at Eastland in Ringwood trying to find a present for my awesome friend. Managed to walk the entire Eastland then deciding to go with something I found within 5 minutes of walking into the shopping centre =.=" Ooooooo, and I saw Dora the Explorer "in real life" and she looked very very scary. She was taking pics with lots of little kids, some were pretty scared.
So after all that walking, mum and I were pretty tired and hungry, however one round of the food court and nothing particularly interesting appealed to me. I wanted sushi, and food court sushi is probably the worst sushi you can get. Opted for the sushi deluxe at Yoyogi to share for part one of lunch.
Sushi Deluxe $9.80
I have to say it wasn't as bad as I expected. The rice was a little too vinegared and not sweet enough. Everything else was pretty good. The white fish had no taste like usual, however the salmon was pretty good and mum said the tuna was pretty good as well.

Food: 6.5/10 Of course there is much better sushi out there but in food court sushi terms, it's quite good.
Service: 8/10 Very quickly served although it was lunch hour and the man did quite a good job understanding us in the very very noisy environment. But then again, he should be used to it.
Environment: 6/10 It's a food court at lunch hour...what more can i say.

Verdict? Quite impressed considering it is from the food court. If I had to eat at the food court again I would seriously consider coming here again. 

Lunch part two consisted of a CUP NOODLE XD Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum flavour, loved it, sooooooooooo nice except for the msg. And less than $1 for one. Bought 6 yesterday when I was at Box Hill, they're supposed to be for my locker so I can have them at school, I hope they'll last till school starts.