Sunday, November 28, 2010

Perth Again

What else can you do in Perth besides residing and relaxing while viewing the spectacular view provided in their most natural state. There is such a difference when you compare Sydney and Perth. Sydney is havoc and Perth is tranquil. But don’t let the cool & collected manner fool you. Perth has some of the best restaurants I have ever tried. Some people say that I’m biased towards Perth, but when I take them to my favorite restaurants, they always get the surprised factor. I’ve brought friends over from Sydney just for a quick holiday trip to Perth and all of them miss Perth’s food.
I think the food in Perth has gotten up high on the ladder of delicious foods, due to the fact that Perth is rich demographically and topographically. Weather plays an important role to fresh produce and especially towards their taste. 
Dim Sum - Golden Century, Perth
For this second part of the Perth’s post, I’ve decided to hit upon my favorite Chinese restaurant. Dim Sum in the morning, I don’t think you can go wrong with Dim Sum in the morning. There are so many varieties to tingle your taste buds, sweet, sour, salty are balanced perfectly. When you think your stomach is about to explode, then try ordering their Jellied Tofu with Ginger Sugar syrup.
A must order when you are having Dim Sum, Siu May – Fresh Prawn and Pork dimsim, Hagao – Fresh Prawns wrapped with soft, chewy flour skin, Ja Liong – Chinese fried Doughnut wrapped with think steamed rice flour and served with tasty sauce, Ham Sui Kok  - Braised minced pork and mushroom encased in rice flour dough and deepfried,  Lo Mai Gai – Sticky rice with pork, salted egg yolk and Chinese sausage, Pai Kuat – Braised Pork Spare ribs, Char Siu Pao – Steamed bun wit bbq pork fillings. 

Fried Squid Tentacles! Lovely!

Fresh steamed meatball.
Lo Mai Gai

Pai Kuat.

Siu May.

Dinner - Hong Kong BBQ Restaurant, Perth.
Having Chinese for dinner can lead into a jaw dropping moment just even by looking at the menu size. There will be at least 50 different types of dishes and the server would come to the table ready to take your order, after only 5 minutes you have been seated. For dinner, we went to Hong Kong BBQ and started the night with Snow Crab cooked with salted egg yolk. 

This is my favourite style of cooking snow crab, it is crispy, salty and theres a slight hint of sweetness to it too. The batter has crumbled egg yolk in it and also, it has onions, celery and crumbled egg yolk all over the dish. Crab is perfectly cooked, sweetness of the meat shines right through. Cracks the shell open, and meat just glistens all the way. It is not everyday that we can afford snow crab, but once financial support is right behind you, make sure to try this beast of the sea out!

Scallops, steamed with xo sauce and vermicelli. Food is about balancing flavours and this dish exactly produces such magnificent flavour. The heat and saltynes are provided by the xo sauce and the vermicelli acts as the sauce holder. The sauce has this slight sweetness to it and all of these flavours compliments the delicate texture of the scallops.

Steamed Chicken, sounds simple, but, this dish is nothing but simple. You have to order it 24 hours prior eating it. The yellow coloured chicken might help you to jump to a conclusion that the chef had used colouring to achieve such colour, but, the yellow colour has been achieved by making extreme master stock using lots of dried scallops and reduced. This chicken dish probably one of the best thing I have ever tried in my life. It is so succulent, it is salty but it wont distract your palette. The aroma of ginger, dried scallops and herbs are projected very vividly in this dish. A must try if you ever have the chance!

Deep Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper, I got introduced to this dish a long time go by my dad and until now, we almost certainly will order this everytime we go out for a meal. Batter has to be perfect, it has to be crispy, but it also needs to cook quickly to allow the squid  not to be overcooked. There is nothing worse than an overcooked squid. For me, a squid needs to be able to be eaten with such ease, it should never be tough and must always be fresh.

Golden Century Restaurant
1/191 James Street
Northbridge WA 6003
(08) 9328 2388

Hong Kong BBQ Restaurant
76 Francis Street
Northbridge WA 6003
(08) 9228 3968

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vans Cafe, Perth

Yes, I am in Perth now for a quick gateway and the first thing I did was to visit my favorite cafe- Vans Cafe. This cafe has been opened for a fair bit of time and it surely hasn't lost its customers. I went in today and it was still packed as usual. Good food served with good service. Atmosphere is also nice, just people chilling and enjoying their amazing food.

The menu changes according to the season, which I think, is a must to all restaurants. Its using the very best ingredients at its peak in terms of quality. At Vans, we ordered Handmade Chips with Aioli, Pink lamb wellington with minted pea puree and goat cheese mash and Harvey Fillet of beef served with Polenta chips.

Lamb Wellington, seared lamb wrapped in prosciutto and wrapped again with pastry. Pastry is perfect, lamb is moist even though it could be more on the pink side, goat cheese mash was amazing and minted pea puree cuts the richness very well. Overall, a very good dish. Bravo!

Vans make some amazing handcut and handfried chips I must say. It is crispy and mash potato-like on the inside. A must try.

Harvey Fillet of beef. Beef was cooked to perfection. We ordered Medium Rare, it came out pristine! Jus was tasty, but it could do with some more refinements. Polenta Chips was amazing. It melts, it crumbles and its so delicate!

Afterwards, just across from Vans, theres also one of my favourite coffee shops. Cimbalino. Cimbalino originally started in the suburb of Dalkeith but now, they got a couple of shops opened across the city. My preference is the Cottesloe's shop. Latte made to perfection. Its creamy, slides down your throat and the house blend is lovely too. Sweetness is visible, aroma is well developed and the blend is very well balanced.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Taste of Nostalgia (Singapore)

Singapore is synonymous to a food haven. Ranging from quaint Kopitiam tucked away under a building to the World top 50 renown Iggy's restaurant. While those ubiquitous Western fast-food chain continues to infiltrate Singapore, I find myself craving for the authentic street food in this little red dot I have called home for almost 4 years. This short trip back to the island was like walking down a memory lane and more about tracing back my old favorites, rather than finding new ones. Enjoy!

The almighty Yakun kaya toast Set A with iced coffee, my all time favorite. In between the crispy toasts is kaya or coconut custard spread and slabs of butter. Mix those gooey egg yolk with a bit of soy sauce and eat it the Singaporean way- lather those scrumptious yolk on the toast and sink your teeth into heaven! Wait till you hit the thick slab of butter, it only gets better with the slight salty taste of butter amidst the sweet fragrant kaya. I have tried various other toasts around Singapore, from Toast Box to Killiney Road coffee shop, but Yakun kaya is still the winner!

I am also unabashedly addicted to its iced coffee or kopi peng - iced milk coffee (sweet). Coffee, condensed milk and ice never taste better!

A trip back to Singapore will not suffice without eating its national favorite food- chicken rice! My personal favorite has always been Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice. Conveniently located at Thomson Road, Novena, this place serves the most succulent, plump and silky chicken. I like my chicken steamed, not roasted, simply to savor the juicy skin. The rice is fragrant and separated, just the way chicken rice should be. The chilli here is sans rival! It has the garlic kick needed to spice up the chicken to another new level, a perfect balance of spiciness and sweet. Scoop the rice, chicken, chilli, a tinge of ginger and drizzle it with sweet soya sauce. Now that's the perfect scoop for you!

I have also tried the exorbitant version of chicken rice at a whopping $25 per plate in the new Marina Sands Bay and it does not even come close to Wee Nam Kee! As a testimony to how much I love this dish, I came back to this place thrice during such a short trip.

Just a few shops beside Wee Nam Kee is a famous Mee pok stall- Whitley Road Noodle. This has been one of my favorite local haunt for dry Mee pok! Upgrade your noodle to a $4 Mee pok and you get generous toppings of fish balls, sliced fish cakes, minced meat and tauge (or bean sprouts). Consisting of chilli, oil, vinegar and soy sauce, the sauce is a testimony towards the cook's skill and experience. The lard (so bad for the waistline but heaven in your mouth!) also adds to the smooth texture of the noodles. The noodles here are springy with a good consistency, so well cooked that you'll be slurping the noodles with such vigor that heads turn and mouths drool!

Sambal belachan is a staple in Singapore dishes. This condiment is made from pounded chilli with toasted shrimp paste (belacan) in a stone mortar to which sugar and lime juice are added. You will see this chilli paste added almost anywhere to your dishes, especially noodle dishes like Mee pok.

I am paying homage to another noodle place- Tiong Bahru Wanton Mee! This noodle is of a different texture than a meepok. Smaller in size, its a smoother version of egg noodles. This dish has char siew, crispy wantons, ngoh hiang (minced pork and prawn, rolled inside a beancurd skin and deep-fried) and of course, sambal belachan.

Never underestimate the sea of people queuing for food during lunch time. Singaporeans are willing to wait for good hawker food, regardless of the heat and jostling. Getting a table in hawker centres in Singapore is also near to impossible, requiring ample of patience and a bit of selfish die-hard mentality. The only way to ever get a table during lunch time is with a "Tissue-booking of tables" system- literally placing packets of tissues on the table to indicate that the tables are taken.

This trip is not complete without snacks! Squeeze in time to try all these:

- Bon Chon chicken wings at Ion. The new rage from Korea! Finger-licking good.

- Durian pancakes for the durian lovers at Takashimaya Food Hall. The pancake is crispy to a crepe texture with cold, creamy durian flesh wedged generously in it.

- Beard Papa cream puff at Takashimaya Food Hall. Scrumptious cream puff coated with chocolate with vanilla bean filling. YUM!

- Japanese tako yaki balls with diced octopus filling. It is topped with okonomiyaki sauce, ponzu, mayo, green laver and fish flakes

- Udders Icecream at 155 Thomson Road (besides United Square). Ice cream for adults with flavors so wild it blows your mind. I have tried their Connoisseur section inspired by alcoholic beverages. They have flavors like Rum Rum Raisin, Bailey’s & Bourbon, Lychee Martini and Orange Choc Bitters, not to mention the Asian-inspired flavors and my personal favorite, their Mao Shan Wang Durian ice cream!

- The $1 ice cream vendor by the road side. Blocks of icecream sandwiched between wafers or bread, your choice!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Min Sok Chon, Sydney

There are lots of places to go to eat Korean in Sydney. Many of my friends have suggested me to try Min Sok Chon. I went there tonight with a couple of mates just to have dinner and to try their food. When I eat Korean, I expect the meats to be well marinated, tender and juicy and the taste has to be there but not overpowering. A good test for a Korean restaurant is to try their basics and see how they turn the basics into something memorable. Basics for me ranges between Bulgogi, Galbi, Gamjatang, Pae Jun and Jap Chae.

I enjoy Korean food very much when it is spectacular. Lucky for us Sydney people, I have to say, I have tried many awesome Korean food especially at Strathfield area. It is a fair bit of a drive if you live in the City area, but trust me, its worth the drive. One of my favorite Korean restaurants has got to be Bassim in Strathfield. Order their So Galbi when you are there. Mind blowing.

Back to Min Sok Chon, so we ordered Bulgogi, Jap Chae, Braised Pork Belly and Korean crispy chicken wing. As always, when you are in a Korean restaurant, the first thing that comes on to the table would be their many condiments. Kimchee, stewed potatoes and cold sweet and sour beansprouts just to name the few. My first comments to these condiments are, its tasteless. I love the sweet, sour and salty beansprouts usually. But this time, it was just tasteless. It seems like they made it, so that the condiments are there. Made with no love and passion and it shines right through.

The first dish that came was our Jap Chae. Jap Chae is a clear mung bean vermicelli, marinated with soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil and tossed with vegetable and a touch of thinly sliced meat. Jap Chae is supposed to be not too overpowering in flavors, but the balance has to be extremely perfect between salty and sweetness. The Jap Chae tonight, was very sweet. The flavors were too bold and they need to tone it down a bit.

Bulgogi was the second dish to come and Bulgogi is basically, thinly sliced beef that needs to be marinated with grated pear, soy sauce, garlic, salt, sugar and sesame oil and fried quickly with vegetables. The key to the perfect Bulgogi is that it has to be tender, especially with the thinly sliced meat, it is very easy to overcook it. But once again, the meat was from the wrong cut of beef and there was a lot of sinew.

Third dish was the Braised Pork Belly. Braised with sugar, soy sauce and I tasted some cooking wine in it too. Pork belly is a cut of meat that needs either to be roasted or braised really slowly until the meat is very tender. The meat tonight was dry and tough. Only means one thing, that they didnt braise it long enough. The taste was substantial but if it had been able to melt in your mouth, then it would have been so much better.

Fourth dish, the battered chicken, deep fried and coated with a sticky sweet sauce. This was probably the highlight of the whole dinner. Chicken was succulent, sauce was reasonably tasty, but it seems that they were using frozen battered chicken wings. The batter was tough and it wasn't light at all. Its like chewing through a crispy dough. But other than that, it wasn't too bad.

In conclusion, I would not eat here again if I don't have to. But push comes to shove, when am craving for Korean food really badly, I think I'll visit this restaurant again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saucijzen Broodjes

Saucijzen Broodjes is Dutch for Sausage Rolls! My very first post in this blog was about sausage roll at Bourke St Bakery, Sydney. I'll mention it again now, I LOVE SAUSAGE ROLLS!

I have also been making sausage rolls ever since I could cook. Experimenting with different types of ingredients, even vegetarian sausage roll or even SPAM sausage roll (It wasn't that bad actually, just very very salty. I bet you SPAM could last for an entire nuclear war).

I've even tried to replicate Bourke's Pork and Fennel and it turned out quite similar actually. But today, I bought some Jamon Iberico ham. Jamon Iberico is cured ham that originates mostly from Spain area. The word Iberico is derived from the Iberian Pigs (Black feet pigs or Black pigs). In order for Jamon to be called Jamon Iberico, it has got to be at least 75% pure Iberian Pigs.

When I went to Spain, I went to their local market and bought some expensive Jamon Iberico, it costed me 50Euro for 100grams. That tasted absolutely amazing. It melts in your mouth. It shines. Its not too salty and most importantly, the taste. Its totally different to what we get in Australia. Even the most expensive Iberico in Australia, tastes totally different to what I ate in Spain.

My sausage roll today is made up of, Jamon Iberico, Pork Mince, Parmigiano, Nutmeg, Caramalized onions and carrots.

Heres the Recipe

300gr Pork Mince with Fat
100gr Jamon Iberico (roughly chopped)
1 Onion (finely diced)
1 Carrot (finely diced)
2 eggs
1 egg for egg wash
1/2tspn finely grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano (Parmesan)
2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Frozen Puff Pastry (Preferably Careme brand)


Saute the Roughly Chopped Jamon with a little bit of Olive oil until crispy and take it out and put it into a mixing bowl.
Sweat your finely diced Carrots and Onions with no colours. Add a touch of salt & pepper and sugar and let it caramelize. Once everything is cooked, put it into the same mixing bowl as above. Let these ingredients rest and cool down.

Once cooled, put in the rest of your ingredients, pork mince, grated nutmeg, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmigiano, olive oil, salt & pepper and mix thoroughly. Once mixed, take out your puff pastry from the freezer and thaw it. Let the filling mixture sit while waiting for your puff pastry to thaw.

Once thawed, you can do any shapes and sizes you want. Cut the puff pastry into your desired shapes and fill it with the fillings. 

Once you have done your sausage rolls, brush the sausage roll with the egg wash prior putting it into the oven.
180'c for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


Plating up

Sauce on the side and enjoy it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Azuma's Mont Blanc

I'm definitely not a cake person. But if I was given a Mont Blanc cake, I would hug the person, literally. I love this cake. I tried it in Japan a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it straight away. The cake is very simple, its chestnut puree, cream, it can either have a sponge cake base or short crust pastry base.

Personally, I prefer the sponge cake base, because it just has that smoothness in it and I think it goes very well with the rest of the ingredients. It is very hard to source this delicacy in Australia. There are chestnut cakes available at many cake shops, but its nowhere near what I had tasted in Japan.

The guys at Azuma Bakery, Sydney just raised the game in making cakes. I have got to say, the Mont Blanc is near perfect. The use of shortcrust pastry, at a glance, looks very dense and dry, that it wont crumble in your mouth, but, they do! There is a simple filling of whipped cream in the middle the chestnut swirls on the top and peeled whole cooked chestnut on the very top.

For you guys who have no tried this cake before, you should. The taste is amazing. Its not too sweet and its not too heavy too on your palette.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cafe Sopra, Waterloo

What makes a combination of an old warehouse chock-a-block full of fresh ingredients and a light-filled cafe above it? That is Cafe Sopra at Waterloo, the original cafe has been so successful that it has opened 2 other branches at Potts Point and Walsh Bay. The Italian Fratelli Fresh vegetable and fruits store below also stocks some of the quirkiest tasting jams, seasonal fruits, Italian dry pasta, sardines and olives. They also have some of the juiciest, biggest oranges and tomatoes I have ever seen.

The decor of the cafe is simple, high ceilings with whirring fans and wooden timber beams spanning across the room. The rustic feel is complete with a tall blackboard menu scribbled and scrawled with white chalk. The menu by chef Andy Bunn also changes according to what is fresh in store. Why cant we have more of this kind of cafes in Sydney!

First up was good old battered dory with aioli. Unfortunately, the batter was soggy and there were pieces of the dory that were not adequately covered with batter. I could not think of anything worse than fish and chips with not enough golden batter. Other than that, the dory was juicy and fresh.

I decided to go with this dish, creamy smoked trout fishcake with soft-boiled eggs and caper mayo. The creamy smoked trout was encased in a perfectly fried crispy shell. The caper mayo adds an Italian touch to this beautiful dish, complementing and injecting a slightly tart touch to the smoked trout.

The Bannofie pie was a definite show stealer, fresh light cream, bananas, dulce de leche on a crusty base. Sinking your fork into it, the entire layer crumbled away easily. The combination was a winner and I have to say the base was ahhhh-mazing. I could not stop scraping the plate for leftover crumbs. This Bannofie pie is inarguably one of the best I've had in Sydney!

Oh, and this Italian joint has won One Chef Hat in 2009 and 2011, not bad at all ;) I will definitely come here just to cure my sweet tooth craving. I might just have dreams about that pie for all you know!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Literally "Bubble Tea"

Imagine if you could have the texture of a caviar, that burst in your mouth feeling, but instead of the taste of proper caviar, it would be apple & vanilla, lemon, orange or anything that you want?

Ferran Adria, Chef of El Bulli discovered this method of suspending any liquid by its self. He started with Pea Ravioli with no pasta skin. It was just floating and it has this very thin skin that would hold its content but once you put it into your mouth, it would just burst out.

This is my first attempt on making a dish using two agents : calcium chloride and sodium alginate.

Its seriously fun and give it a shot guys! You can get these two agents from Essential Ingredients or order it online.


For the tea mixture:
3 tsp Loose Tea (Your Preference)
325 grams water
5 tbsp Sugar
3 grams food grade sodium alginate (approx. 1 tsp)

For the bath:
1500 grams cold water
10 grams food grade calcium chloride (approx. 2 tsp)


Tea Mixture
Bring the water to a boil in a pot and put in your sodium alginate slowly to prevent clumps. Your water should thicken considerably. If there are lumps, run it through a fine sift without pushing it with a spoon. Let gravity do it.

Make a very strong cup of tea and add the sugar and stir until it has fully dissolved. Run it through a sift to get the loose leaf out of the concentrated liquid tea.

Pour the tea into the sodium alginate mixture and stir slowly until it has fully been infused. Let this cool until room temperature has been reached.

Water Bath
Use a container that is quite shallow. Preferably 23cm x 23cm x 5cm and pour the water in and also your calcium chloride and stir until it has fully dissolved. Store in the fridge for about an hour.

To make the caviar, I would put the tea sodium alginate mixture into a squirt bottle, and slowly drip the content to the water bath. Then the magic would start to happen. Scoop the caviar using a small fine sift and run it under cold water before serving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beef Teriyaki - Tribute to Sun Katsura

Any of you guys from Perth? Back then, when my friends and I were craving for Beef Teriyaki, the only place that we would hit was a small Japanese Restaurant in Claremont called Sun Katsura. There are limited seats available, less than 10 and if you insist on sitting down, you would be waiting for some time.

The beef is cooked simply with salt and pepper, cut into bite-size pieces. The sauce drenches the beef, emulsifying with the juice oozing out of the beef ! The sauce has this well-balanced salty and sweetness to it and nutty flavor given from the garlic butter. The whole dish is served with a big bowl of rice accompanied with a plastic spoon to scoop this amazing sauce.

I was craving for Sun Katsura during my last visit to Perth about 6 months ago and I was literally devastated to find the restaurant has closed down. Since then, I am determined to recreate the sauce with the right balance.

Good news is I think I've come close to recreating Sun Katsura's Beef Teriyaki

So, here's the recipe guys!


Scotch Fillet Beef
2 Cloves of Garlic (Sliced)
2 tbsp Butter
3 tbsp Shoda Shoyu (Less Salt Soy Sauce)
1 tsp Cooking Sake
2 tbsp Mirin
3 tbsp Sugar


Heat your pan, ready to sear the beef.
Season your beef only using salt and cracked black pepper. Add olive oil to the pan and sear your beef to your liking. I usually do medium rare.
Once cooked, rest before cutting.
Don't wash this pan, because it will be used for making the sauce


Put your butter and sliced garlic and fry it slowly. Let it brown slowly without it burning the butter.
Use the same pan as you cooked your beef and put the Shoda Shoyu, Mirin, Sake and Sugar. Make sure the sugar has dissolved completely and taste constantly. The taste is supposed to be a balance between salty and sweet. I prefer mine to be slightly sweet.

Plating up

Slice your beef into bite size and put it into a semi-bowl type plate so it can hold the sauce. Once beef is set on your plate, put the Shoda Shoyu sauce first, then the garlic butter on top. Serve with steaming hot bowl of rice and you are set!

Monday, November 8, 2010


A marina can either be horrible or really spectacular. My preference for a marinara is that its not drenched with the tomato sauce so as to be able to taste the fresh seafood, parsley and olive oil.

Some people proclaim that fresh pasta triumphs over supermarket mass-produced dry pasta. However nowadays, even Barilla will give you a reasonable pasta. The only difference that I can taste from Barilla and other high end brands for dried pastas is that, the more expensive ones have textures, created by running the fresh dough through a plastic dye instead of the copper dye. When I said texture, I meant, that it has a rough skin to the pastas. This will allow the pasta to hold the sauce better than the smooth ones.

For today's marinara, I have decided to make my own fresh pasta using a very simple recipe.

Fresh Pasta Recipe

For every 100gr of flour= use one whole egg (2 for a more golden color)
A dash of olive oil and salt.
Mix this whole recipe and knead it until its smooth.
Cling wrap it very tightly with no air bubbles.
Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour.

Once it has been rested, you can flatten the dough using a pasta machine or do it by hand. From this point onwards, it all depends on your preferences. You can make it any shape you want it to be but just remember, the thickness of the pasta has got to be around 1-2mm thick. Remember to dust everything and every time you do anything to the dough with flour. Once cut, dust heavily with flour, this will prevent your pasta from sticking. If you are making this a day or two ahead, then you need to air dry it. Hang it loosely in your clothes drying rack :)

Marinara Recipe (Serves 2)

4 Fresh Prawns, Skin on.
10 Mussels
100gr Fresh squid/calamari
2 Cloves of Garlic, Diced
8 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 tbsp of Canned Diced Tomatoes
1 Fresh Tomato, Skin and Seed off.
Fresh Basil
Fresh Parsley
Fresh Lemon
Chilli Flakes (Optional)


A pot of boiling salted water for your pasta. If you are using dried pasta, then give your self around 7 minutes and for fresh pasta, it takes around 3 minutes. Timing is crucial, so, when your pasta is done, your sauce needs to be ready too.

Heat extra virgin olive oil, and put in fresh tomatoes, chilli flakes (optional) sliced garlic wait until garlic is slightly golden. Put in your canned diced tomatoes and basil, mussels and let it simmer for around 1-2 minutes under medium heat, lid on to allow steam to cook the mussel. Once mussels are cooked (the shells are opened), put in your prawns and cook it for around one minute on each side.
By this time, your pasta should be just about ready. Before putting your pasta into the sauce, put in your squid/calamari and cook it for about 40 seconds. Then, put in your pasta. If the whole dish looks too dry, then put a tablespoon of the salted water from the pot.

Salt and Pepper to taste and a squeeze of lemon and chopped parsley to finish it all off.

Plating Up

Be rustic! Nice big bowls and just dunk everything in!

A drizzle of Olive Oil will be awesome too!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Breakfast at Kazbah

I've never been a breakfast type person, I know its terrible. But, sometimes, I crave for just a relaxing morning, good coffee, good food and good friends. Just gather around and just chat what has been happening in their lives. This sounds as if I'm living in a movie eh?

But, it is quite rare to find a restaurant that serves breakfast other than the usual menu list. Yes, Eggs Benedict and Big Breakfast will always be nice, but, I got recommended to go to this Moroccan Restaurant, Kazbah, located in Balmain, Sydney. My mind kept on wondering what sort of food do the Moroccans eat for breakfast? I did some research last night, and it didn't sound bad at all and very interesting combination of flavors. At first, I was expecting it to be the usual but, its nothing but usual when I got there this morning. There were actually people lining up to eat in this restaurant and lets cut to the chase, if this restaurant was like any other restaurant serving the norm typed breakfast, then I don't see why people would line up. There has got to be something special about this restaurant.

So, my friend and I walked in, and directly, the waiter served us very well. Since the restaurant was packed, he asked us, whether if we don't mind sharing a table, which we perfectly understood. So, we said yes, we don't mind. Once we sat down, he came back again and told us, he would leave one seat gap in between customers for the shared table. I thought, why don't all restaurants do this? Instead of packing people like sardines in a tin can into a shared table.

We ordered the Lamb Tagine - Minced lamb, caramalized onions, roasted tomatoes, egg, spinach and capsicums. For the second dish, we tried the Bisteeya, its a filo pastry dish with prawn, capsicum and feta cheese.

Both dish came at the same time but, we dug in to the Tagine straight away because the aroma coming out from that dish was just mind blowing. There are herbs, spices and everything you could imagine coming from a kitchen in Morocco. Just that distinct smell of Cinnamon, Cumin, Sweet Paprika and many others. Complex, but well made for each other. A serve of grilled Turkish Bread and Pita and a wedge of lemon was standing by on the side of the Tagine. I dipped the bread into the Tagine and flavors were just phenomenal. Its nothing but tasteless but also, its not overpowering which is very important in all dishes. Next, would be trying out the lamb mince and the runny egg yolks and the spinach. The lamb mince was very moist, very well seasoned and it was absolutely delicious.

We tried the Bisteeya and I expected the prawns would be tough because the dish had to undergo the extreme temperature of an oven. But, once again, I was proven wrong, the prawn was succulent, the feta cheese gave this salty and crumbly texture to the dish. The flavors are there, but for me, it lacks a bit of a punch. It was very subtle compared to the Tagine. But, seasoning was perfect and ingredients were excellent. I think, this dish needs a little bit more salt and pepper and also, chilly flakes to give it the heat kick. A dash of lemon would lift this dish up. The most surprising thing about this dish, is how light it is. It looks like as if it would be as hard as a brick, just from the outer appearance but, when the knife goes in to cut it, you know, this is actually a very light dish. Pastry was magnificent, a hint of sesame seeds on the top to give it the extra crunch texture was perfect.

I would recommend Kazbah to everyone especially to those people who have always been eating the usual breakfast. This restaurant will surprise your taste buds in the best possible way. I still want to try their lunch and dinner menu.

Good job Kazbah!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Squid Ink Linguine with Broccoli Cream Sauce and Egg

Whoever hates broccoli when they are little kids clearly has not tried this recipe yet. This recipe is inspired by the infamous Buon Ricordo's Fettucine al tartufovo , with a twist. I have used squid ink linguine instead of plain fettucine and added broccoli to it. The marriage between runny egg yolk, cream and broccoli is irresistible! If I can pull off this simple recipe, so can anyone ;)

Squid ink linguine
3 Dollops of Butter
150 ml of Cooking cream
1 Broccoli (Only use the florets/head)
1 Egg

Add pasta to boiling water (with salt). In a separate pan, melt butter, add finely chopped broccoli florets/head and pour cream. Let it simmer in low heat for 3 minutes. Toss in your al dente pasta into the cream. Fry/ poach egg. Serve it on the linguine.

Poke your egg yolk. I like mine runny. Mix well with the linguine and marvel at how tasty a simple dish can taste!