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Saturday, December 24, 2011

An outing with Yuki! – Westfield Sydney + The Rocks Night Market!

Me and fish went out with Yuki recently and we decided to have dinner at the relatively new Westfield Sydney's food court.

I had eaten there with fish previously and on our first visit, i tried the Snag Stand and fish tried .. i don't know what the stall's name is, but they advertise their reuben sandwich quite prominently.

I really like the Snag Stand.


I ordered their Toulouse (Bangalow Pork) – Freshly grilled w/ sauteed onions, rosemary mushrooms and truffle aioli on a toasted brioche roll $10.90



It was sooo delicious! The sausage was cooked perfectly, it was delicious and juicy! The truffle aioli sauce tasted just like a intense cream of mushroom soup sauce. yum yum.


The fries are great too! You have to order them! They are $3.90, made with 100% Tasmanian Russet Potatoes w/ Natural Sea Salt Flakes. They are so crunchy and the sea salt adds a very nice salty edge to the crispy fries.

They also have a range of dipping sauces which you can try. I tried the Wasabi Aioli and Chipotle Mayo but the next time i'll be trying their Truffle Aioli (which was on the sausage) and House Gravy.

Fish on the other hand, got a Reuben sandwich in a plate, so it doesn't come with bread, but with sides instead.


It's a waygu corned beef (i think) with an assortment of roasted veggies and pickles. The meat was really good and the vegetables were well roasted. Only thing though, we were so excited to try their roasted potatoes which were roasted in duck fat, but it was a little disappointing though. nothing special, maybe because it was left out and not freshly roasted.

Now, to skip to our outing with Yuki, i decided to go with sausages again!


This time, i tried their Pork & Fennel Italian sausage – Grilled w/ sauteed tri-color capsicum, sauteed onions, balsamic glaze & shaved parmesan on a toasted brioche roll. $9.90

With fries for sure!

This one is quite nice too, but i don't like gamey meat and this was slightly gamey for me, so i wouldn't order it again but it was still delicious!

Fish ordered from the same place as he did previously as well! but this time, he ordered crispy skin pork instead.


It came with almost the same sides but without gherkins but with apples instead.

The pork was nice and everything is good. but this is definitely a more fine dining kinda feeling since it's price is quite expensive but yet you feel like you're not really getting what you're paid for.

The portion of the meat isn't huge and the veggies are all pre-roasted and displayed.


Now for Yuki! We walked around and she was attracted to a fish dish from one of the stalls. She ordered a grilled barramundi with fries and salad. She didn't complain, so i presume it should be quite okay!

Next, we sat 555 to circular quay as we wanted to go to The Rock's Night Market. On the way there, for the first time since i'm been here, we saw a huge luxury cruise liner!! I so wanna fo for a cruise now!


Then we walked around the night markets and i bought 2 little bowls that i intend to use to as dipping/sauce bowls. They are hand-painted.


After walking, fish was still hungry and we decided to go for dessert at Pancakes @ The Rocks!


I had my favourite drink there – a lime soda!

Fish had Bananarama crepes and me and Yuki shared a Bavarian apple crepe + pancake combo!

It was good!! We were very full after this!

** Thank you to Yuki for helping me get my kitchen gadgets from Japan! and thank you too for your souvenirs!


This is so kawaii! Hello Kitty Takoyaki! I hang it on my camera pouch! Thank you again Yuki!!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nigella's Butter Cut-Out Cookies!

Yum! My most successful butter cookies ever! and i've made it twice and it was successful both times! Happy Happy!


It looks really simple. and it is really simple.


85gm butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (if you're using salted butter, then just skip this)


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together till pale and creamy, then beat in the egg and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.

Mix till it comes together in a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for around an hour.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thickness. Cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.

For my oven, i baked it for 9 mins. Bake it between 8-12 minutes. Leave on a wire rack to cool.


Other than eating the cookies on their own, i like adding sugar crystals on top. I use raw caster sugar, so they look pretty on their own.


Otherwise, to make it more colourful, place a bit of the sugar in a bowl and mix in a few drops of food colouring. add a drop at a time till you reach the colour you are looking for.



They look colourful and i really do like the sweet crunch the sugar brings. plus it being raw caster sugar, it is not very sweet. so i really like it.

The next i'm going to do is to dip half of the cookie heart into chocolate. yum!

Try it! It is an extremely reliable recipe!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Guzman y Gomez, Bondi Junction

They recently opened a new branch at Bondi Junction Westfield and i was very keen to try it.

So, one day, we had dinner there and it was an extremely casual but delicious one!


Hui chose the Spicy Chicken Guerrero and Pork Chipotle Quesadillas.


This was what we and fish chose – we chose the same one. Steak Chipotle Bowl w/ Guacamole.
Their Guacamole is delicious!!


And to share, we got a GYG's Famous Nachos. "Corn chips, cheddar cheese, vegetarian black beans, Pico de Gallo salsa, guacamole and filling" We chose the Barramundi filling.


They also have an assortment of condiments and Tabasco sauces.


We also ordered their frozen margaritas. Shi Hui said they were quite good. it was too strong for me though. hehe. but Fish liked it too!

Overall, i really like this place and the food, especially their guacamole is awesome!

Can't wait to go back there again!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Nigella Lawson's Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies!

What a name!

I've really been in a baking frenzy these days and since renting DVDs whereby one was Nigella's, i saw this recipe and i thought that fish would really love it. and he does. so you should try it!


It is so so chocolately!

*Recipe adapted from Nigella's website.


125g dark chocolate (i used dark chocolate i got from Ikea)
150g flour
30g cocoa, sieved
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g soft butter
75g light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, cold from the fridge
350g (2 bags) semi-sweet chocolate morsels or dark chocolate chips
(i really didn't use that much, i only used 250gm and it was more than enough for me)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Melt the 125g dark chocolate either in the microwave or in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Put the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars in another bowl. Add the melted chocolate and mix together.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract and cold egg, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Finally stir in the chocolate morsels or chips.
  5. Scoop out equal-sized mounds using an ice cream scoop and place on a lined baking sheet about 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.
  6. Cook for 18 minutes.
  7. They will be very soft when hot, so leave to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to harden as they cool.

Nigella meant for this to make 12 big cookies, but i think my ice cream scoop wasn't quite as large, so i made 21 cookies, that were big enough for me!

It was very delicious and fish loved it!


Yum Yum Yum!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Nama Chocolates w/ Maker's Mark Bourbon Whisky! Who needs Royce?

Occasionally we buy Royce nama chocolates and they are delicious, but you can recreate it at home as well! and use good quality chocolate plus whatever liquor you like.



250gm good quality chocolate (dark or milk is up to you)
125ml cream
2 tbsp whisky (i used Maker's Mark) – use 1 tbsp if you don't want a strong alcohol flavour
1 tbsp honey/maple syrup/corn syrup – i used maple syrup (i don't think this affects the flavour)
1 tsp vanilla essence


Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie.

In a small pot, heat up the cream, maple syrup and vanilla essence.

Add the heated cream mixture into the melted chocolate and whisk well.

Add the alcohol and mix well.

In a suitably sized container, line with cling wrap and pour in the chocolate mixture, cover and refrigerate as long as you can (overnight).


When it's soft-hard, turn it over onto a tabletop and dust cocoa powder over the surface.

After slicing it into blocks, put them into a container with more sieved cocoa powder and toss the chocolate blocks around and quickly refrigerate especially if your area is hot.


-> i used dark chocolate and this made it really rich and slightly bitter, i could use 50/50 hot chocolate powder to cocoa powder so that it's not too bitter, but it really isn't that bitter and fish loves dark chocolate.

-> The coating has a tendency to be thicker than you would like it, so remember to shake off the excess before eating or serving so that people don't choke on the cocoa powder. Smile

-> i used slightly less than 2 tbsp of alcohol and you can really taste the alcohol in the chocolates. So if this is going to be eaten by children or ppl who are not that keen on alcohol, 1 tbsp would be good just to give it a little more flavour. or just replace it with vanilla essence if you want to keep it alcohol-free.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Oxtail Stew!

Oxtail is one of our favourite cuts of beef to make a stew with, it adds so much flavour to the dish and the high amounts of cartilage makes a sticky gelatinous gravy.. so yummy.

This time, we got our oxtail fresh from Colin's butchery, which i order online from and get delivered to us.

I left it in the freezer for a while because a stew always takes time and back then i wasn't in the habit of waking up early yet. but now i am. and other than the long time it takes to cook, the procedure is actually very simple.


Ingredients (These were what i used, but feel free to use more or less of what you like)

1.1kg oxtail (get your butcher to cut it up for you)
2 carrots, sliced
1 1/2 onions, sliced
3 ribs of celery, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 bottle of red wine (i used a $3 bottle)
1 tin of chopped canned tomatoes
200ml water/stock
a dash of Balsamic Vinegar
a dash of Dark Soy Sauce
Salt & Pepper


Season your flour and coat each piece of oxtail with it and fry it off in a dutch oven. Remove.

Add more oil and fry the onions till they are nice and brown and soft. Add the garlic and fry.

Add the carrots and celery. Fry for a little while and add in the wine.

Add in the canned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and water/stock if needed and cook for a little while.

Add back in the oxtail pieces, making sure that the liquid almost covers the oxtail and vegetables.

Cover the lid and place into a 160 degree oven for 4 hours at least.

The liquid will cook down and fish adds some dark soy sauce to add to the savouriness of the dish.

Taste to see if you need more seasoning.

There you have it! Smile

Friday, December 02, 2011

Homemade Crusty Bread

I made some bread to go with the roasted tomato soup i made in the previous blog post.

Making bread, especially since now with my Kitchen-aid is really quite effortless and i have been successful ever since. so i'm very happy! Making bread just takes time – all the resting… especially since it's not very warm here now (which is good) but the dough rises slowly.


These were good – but i didn't get a crunchy crust. This is a great recipe but i will be tweaking the recipe as i go along to make it even better.


1 cup of warm water
2 1/2 cups flour (either bread or plain flour)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast


In your mixing bowl, add the warm water, yeast and sugar. Wait till it is foamy to confirm that the yeast is working.

Add in the flour and salt and mix for 5 mins. Always check on it to make sure that you don't overknead. I kneaded it for about 4 mins and kneaded the rest by hand. I perform the window pane test to know when to stop.

Place the dough into the oiled mixing bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to double in size (about an hour).

Punch the dough down and shape. I'm not too good at shaping yet so my bread doesn't look pretty but it works.

After shaping, place the loaves on a baking sheet and cover and leave to rise for 30-40 mins.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Bake for 25 mins till golden brown.

Careful! It's hot!


Nice and fluffy inside!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sophie Dahl's Roasted Tomato Soup w/ Thyme

Recently i started a free trial with Quickflix – an online DVD rental company and one of the DVD i rented was Sophie Dahl's cooking show, which sadly ended only after one season. I really like watching her cook and her voice and demeanour is so calm and relaxing.

Anyway, i decided to try one of her recipe which looks so simple and delicious. and it really is simple! and delicious! and just nice, i used the springs of thyme in my herb garden.


If you know me, i don't like tomatoes and i don't eat tomatoes, but i do like drinking tomato juice. weird. but yah. but i really want to eat more tomatoes. so when i saw Sophie make this roasted tomato soup i decided i should try it! and so should you!

Ingredients (Serves 4-5)

2kg plum ripe roma tomatoes, halved
1 garlic bulb, halved horizontally
2 large red/brown onions, quartered
few springs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp caster sugar
salt & pepper
a few tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
a few drops of balsamic vinegar
dried herbs
(optional) veg stock
(optional) cream


Preheat oven to 190 degrees.


Place tomatoes, garlic, onions & thyme in a large roasting dish and season well with salt, pepper, dried herbs and sugar. Drizzle in the oil and mix well.


Place the roasting dish into the oven for 45-60 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Squeeze the cloves of garlic out of its skin and remove the springs of thyme.


After roasting, the tomatoes release a lot of sweet juices.

Blend in a food processor. Or else, just place the tomatoes, onions, garlic and the juices in a large saucepan and use a hand blender, it takes a little while longer but it still works really well.

The consistency was perfect for me. but in case you find it too thick, you could always add a little stock or cream.

Add a few drops of balsamic vinegar – it definitely ups the flavour.


-> So simple. So delicious!

To go with this for dinner, i baked 2 loaves of bread and fry up a few country chicken sausages.

And with the leftovers, i placed them into container and froze it for future dinners!