Sundae Brunch

February20

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On lazy Sundays when you have the luxury of time and do not have to rush about is the perfect day to have a leisurely brunch. If you don’t feel like battling the crowds or driving in traffic on a day off prepare something at home that is quick, easy and an indulgent treat. Plus ‘dessert’ first thing is always a treat.

What I love about this recipe is it combines two of my favourite breakfast items – croissants & French toast

What you will need:

Croissants cut in half length ways- 1 or 2 per person

1 egg whisked for dipping per croissant

Sweet: flavour egg with vanilla and cinnamon

Savoury: Salt & pepper

Various stuffing prepared for assembly. For this one I was inspired by the classic sundae so I used ice cream, fresh fruit – Don’t forget the cherry on top.

What to do:

Prepare egg mix and dip the 2 halves (flat side down) of croissant into egg and fry until cooked as you would with french toast. Fill with all your favourite toppings and serve while still warm.

This recipe can be adapted to be both sweet or savoury so stuff it with whatever you please. This recipe was inspired by Maureen’s Kitchen, New York as seen in Unique Eats.

This post is part of International Incident Party : Sundae theme

Hosted by http://jeroxie.com/addiction

For other entries click on links below

http://www.linkytools.com/thumbnail_linky_include.aspx?id=71946

Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup – Bun Reiu Cua

February12

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There are many versions of this Vietnamese soup but the basic foundations for the broth remain the same – you have sour, sweet and salty elements.  A relatively easy and fast soup to make for evening meals or for when friends or family are coming over and you just want a one pot wonder to serve up.

What is needed:

2 litres chicken or pork stock
100g pork mince
250g tin crab meat in spices
80g dried shrimps, soaked in 500ml of water for at least an hour
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 eggs
2 Tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
½  packet of lightly fried fresh bean curd (tofu puffs)
2 tbsp tomato paste
Oil
2 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 Lemon
1 Tbsp palm sugar

Shrimp paste – optional
250g pack Vermicelli rice noodles – cooked and set aside

3 stalks of spring onions and small bunch coriander finely chopped

For garnish: lettuce finely sliced, bean shoots, perilla leaves, mint leaves,

What to do:

Place the pork mince, crab meat, eggs, black pepper and fish sauce into a large bowl and mix well.

In a large saucepan, fry off the tomato paste in a about a tablespoon of oil being careful not to burn it, then pour the chicken stock and shrimps soaking in water, include the water it has been soaking in, and bring to the boil. Add palm sugar and tamarind concentrate to the broth. One spoonful at a time, scoop the egg mixture into the stock. When the meat rises to the surface of the stock, add the tomatoes and sliced bean curd, continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Taste and adjust saltiness to your liking by adding fish sauce or shrimp paste if you have some.

To serve:
Pour the soup over the noodles in individual serving bowls. Add the chopped spring onions, coriander, juice of a lemon wedge, lettuce and any additional fresh herbs for garnish.

Makes 4 serves

Adapted from My Family Feast by Sean Connolly

This post is part of the CookBook Challenge : Rice/Noodles theme

Go to link below for other entries:

http://myfoodtrail.blogspot.com

Citrus Ceviche with Gazpacho

January28

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I made up this ceviche recipe after studying a few South American cookbooks. I love raw seafood but not everyone does so this is a happy medium, the tuna is no longer raw but still retains the texture and freshness similar to sashimi.


Ceviche:

300g Sashimi grade Yellow Fin Tuna cubed to your liking

Coriander root, a few sprigs, chopped up finely

2 teaspoons Fish sauce

1 teaspoon Sugar

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (more if you like it hot)

Juice of: 1/2 lime, 1/2 lemon, 1/2 orange

1/2 Pomelo

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Mix everything together and set it aside. This can be done at least an hour before serving or even the night before. The citrus juice ‘cooks’ the raw tuna and keeps it tender. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Garnished with diced cucumbers, red pepper, coriander leaves & pomelo – if this is difficult to find or not in season use ruby grapefruit or oranges

Gazpacho:

4 x Fresh Tomato cubed

1 cup Tomato Juice

Day old Bread, 1 slice or one small roll rehydrated with excess water squeezed out

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Verjuice

½ Medium sized Cucumber

Red Peppers

2 teaspoon Sweet Paprika

2 x Garlic clove

½ Spanish onion

Salt & Pepper to taste

Place everything in a food processor and blitz until everything is well incorporated, if you like your gazpacho runny add more tomato juice, if you like it thick add more bread. For this recipe I roasted the tomatoes in the oven before using the food processor but you can skip this step.

For these recipes I refer to ingredients as ‘medium sized’ these are not very accurate measurements as what one person considers medium another may not. As long as you use the ingredients on the list you can add or deduct as you please, make it sweeter or sourer and season to your taste.

You can serve the ceviche and gazpacho together like I have or separately. Perfect for summer evenings or as tapas at dinner parties.

Serves: About 20 serves if you are serving tapas style or 6 starters if it is for a dinner party.

I always have lemons in the house and add it to just everything I can get away with adding it to as it gives your food a little lift. I rarely use the bottled variety as I feel it just doesn’t taste the same but this is personal preference.

This post is a part of the Cook Book Challenge: Citrus theme

Go to link below for other entries:

http://myfoodtrail.blogspot.com

Tucson Sonoran Hot Dog

January16

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The Sonoran hot dog, which originated in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, Mexico has become a Tucson local dish that has many variations and is passionately debated, like many regional cuisines, how to make it the ‘right way’ and who does it ‘best’. This hot dog blends together an American icon – the hot dog – with Mexican flavours.

This version is inspired by the Travel Channel’s Food Wars episode in Arizona where the well known and much loved BK’s Carne Asada & Hot Dogs and El Guero Canelo battled it out to see who could boast the best Sonoran hot dog in town.

Steps to put the hot dog together:

  1. Grill bun and cut it open but not all the way through
  2. Put hot dog that has been wrapped in bacon and grilled in first, to help secure the bacon around the hot dog while cooking I used toothpicks
  3. Put on some Refried Beans (I cheated with canned, fresh may taste better if you have the time to make it) and spread on mustard – mild, hot – totally up to you
  4. Place on top some grilled onion
  5. On top of grilled onion place fresh onion that has been diced – I soaked them in water for at least 30 mins then drained and dried them to get rid of excess juices which make raw onions overwhelming
  6. On top of all this put some fresh diced tomato
  7. Traditionally a hot jalapeno sauce is used but I didn’t have any handy so I used fresh green chili for this recipe
  8. Finally mayonnaise over the top

This post is part of the International Incident Party, for more info go to  http://jeroxie.com

Meatballs with Sour Cherry Sauce – Lahm Bil Karaz

January15

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This medieval Arabic inspired recipe comes from Northern Syria with variations found in other parts of the Middle East.

For Sour Cherry Sauce

100g of pitted sour cherries – either fresh, dried or canned can be used

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon of honey

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

For the Meatballs

400g ground lamb or beef

2 garlic cloves crushed

1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

Small handful of bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Pinch of salt & black pepper

Sauce Instructions:

Put all the sauce ingredients besides the lemon juice in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the sauce is thick and syrupy. When reduced, add the lemon juice and taste, adjusting the seasoning if necessary

Meatballs Instructions:

Crush garlic, dried chilies, cinnamon, olive oil and ground coriander with a pinch of salt to make a paste. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Cook the paste for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the onion and sauté quickly until mixture is translucent, not brown. Remove from the heat, let it cool down few a little while and transfer the onion mixture to a bowl with the meat. Add the parsley and season well with salt and pepper. Mix well and shape the meat into small balls about the size of walnuts. Either fry or bake meatballs until they are cooked through.

Serve meatballs hot with cherry sauce. For this recipe I served the meatballs on fresh herbs such as parsley, coriander and mint.

Makes around 12 balls, enough for light canapés or as a starter for 3-4 people

This recipe is based on a recipe from “Taking Tea in the Medina” by Julie Le Clerc

This post is part of the Cook Book Challenge of Stone fruits :

For details please visit :  http://myfoodtrail.blogspot.com

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

January4

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A few years ago I met up with a friend in Taipei where he was on an artist exchange for 6 months.  During the day while he was working and giving classes I would explore the usual touristy spots solo as highlighted in a city guidebook and enjoyed a fair few reflexology massages. At night he would take me to different night markets weaving through the city traffic on a scooter,  we could sample different hawker food from stinky tofu, freshly squeezed juices, icy fruity desserts and a personal favourite – Taiwanese style beef noodle soup.

One particular night we met up with some ex pat friends of his at a little corner stall at a night market near a university. It was undercover, we sat on bright plastic chairs, that I think were designed for kids rather than adults, fluorescent lights were flickering above, an old TV played the nightly news. I was not expecting much from this little noodle joint,’ an American journalist for the China Post leaned over and said ‘best noodle soup in town’, I was not convinced.

Although the conversations where very stimulating I was preoccupied as soon as a bowl of hot noodle soup was presented in front of me, I didn’t want to order it, I didn’t even like the way it looked to begin with I felt like I was being force fed but as soon as I took my first sip of the broth I was hooked. Since that night it has been a dormant obsession that rears its head from time to time. If I meet someone from Taiwan within minutes I am pestering them for a family recipe. If I am walking down a street and spy a Taiwanese restaurant I suddenly rush in for a bowl. Sometimes I sit and just daydream about it – like now. Sadly nothing compares to the first time. I have looked up the recipe many times before but I just can’t get it right.  This recipe comes close.

For soup stock:

½ kg Diced Beef brisket or if available 1kg beef shanks bone in

4cm of fresh ginger

5 cloves of garlic

2 pinches of dry chilli flakes – more if you like it hot

¼ cup of Chinese rice wine

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

2 Tablespoons of vinegar

1/3 cup of Dark Soy Sauce

1 large Tomato cut into quarters or wedges

1 brown onion –peeled & halved

A few star anise pods

1 ½ teaspoons of Black peppercorns

2.5 litres of water and extra water to keep topping up with

Salt & sugar to taste

Serves 4 people

Place all ingredients into a pot bring to boil, then simmer over a medium heat for approx 2 hours or until meat is soft and falling apart.  Keep an eye on your broth and add water as needed to help maintain the same liquid level. Add salt and sugar to your liking.

Serve with cooked egg or wheat thin noodles, blanched Asian greens like pak choy and most importantly pickled mustard greens, more chilli if you desire.

This recipe is adapted from a Yong Kang Beef Noodle recipe by Amy Ma, which appeared in Saveur Magazine Dec 2010

posted under Slow Food | 7 Comments »

Twilight Yum Cha – Pan Asian Style

December21

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Yum cha, Dim sum, whatever name you call it –these delicate morsels of deliciousness are a treat and when I was a child it was usually reserved for birthdays and special celebrations. You tend to stick to your tried & true staples, out of politeness you offer the last dumpling in the steamer to those you’re dining with when truth be told, you would happily eat another whole steamer of the same yourself but there are so many other things to eat so you don’t mind so much. It is also fun to ‘introduce’ someone to yum cha, some people think they need to know Chinese or get a little freaked out as they don’t know what to order. I usually lay off the tripe and chicken feet on these occasions to go easy on them.

My only gripe about yum cha is it is traditionally served several hours a day for lunch and often you want to take your time and share it with people so that usually leaves weekend lunches, particularly Sundays where everyone is scrambling for a table and flagging down a trolley or waiter is near impossible, at some places you have to call to pre-order special dishes otherwise they run out. At restaurants where you can order yum cha all day – it’s just not the same, it lacks atmosphere and there are no trolleys at all.

When I heard whispers of a midnight yum cha session I was definitely intrigued. Pan Asian on Chapel St has reinvented classic yum cha favourites into a 6 course degustation menu.  A clever and modern twist to both yum cha and late night supper dining, the dishes have been deconstructed enough to give it a makeover but is not unrecognisable to its former self. The meal is not too rich or heavy but light enough to consume so late at night yet still satisfying which is a perfect balance– although not served on trolleys it is served with generous lashings of karaoke. Open mic for those interested in a late night serenade.

Thanks to Pan Asian for hosting the degustation dinner. For full menu and pricing details go to:

http://www.panasian.com.au/ – news & events page

Twilight degustation is available for a short time over the next few months, Fri & Sat at

Pan Asian 267 Chapel St Prahran

03 9533 7022

From 10pm to 1am

Somewhere over there

December17

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Excuse the long silence & hiatus. I didn’t intend on starting this post with an apology nor did I intend to go without posting for so long but … so how long does a blog have to be ‘inactive’ before it is officially inactive? Is it a few weeks, months, maybe even a year or based on how often the blogger posts? so if they go from almost daily to skipping a week or two is their blog inactive then? Do readers think they are dead/something has gone horribly wrong? Or is it when they write a final post of goodbye?

Please see photos above for a collection of places visited recently, mainly in regional Victoria along the Great Ocean Road.

I am still alive – actively eating and doing food related things offline.  I would like to blame lack of internet access (which is true) for my lack of posting but really sheer laziness is the culprit. When you are writing and in front of the computer all day meeting deadlines the last thing you want to do is write some more, so my blog tends to take a backseat but the reason I started a blog was as a creative outlet where there was no editor, deadlines or restrictions to what I can or can’t write. So enough of the excuses. I am back. Please check back regularly for fresh posts including new recipes developed.

Kitchen Gardens

November4

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You may have heard of a pop up retail store or a pop up restaurant but every once in a while we have a pop up garden. These usually coincide with some food related or sustainability festival but when it does happen these lush tiny edible gardens are a welcomed tranquil relief against a backdrop of a frenetic city.

The Kitchen Garden Foundation was started by Victoria’s culinary doyenne Stephanie Alexander to give primary school students an experiential food education that involves not only the students and teachers but their families and community. It is through this type of education student’s get a better understanding of where food comes from and now have programs running nationwide.

For more on the Kitchen Garden Foundation go to:

http://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au/

Lavender & Honey Fizz

October24

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Equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice, white sugar and water. Heat up in a saucepan stirring so the sugar dissolves until boiling, take off heat. Add in dried lavender, about a handful. Let it steep for a few hours or at least until it has cooled down then add 2 tablespoons of honey and stir until dissolved.

Strain mixture through a sieve and bottle it. To use, pour about 50mls into a glass, more if you like it sweet and top up with soda water. Add a shot of vodka for adults only version and garnish with some lemon slices & lavender.

Other garnishing ideas include mint leaves or ice cubes with a few berries in them. I didn’t use colouring in this recipe but if you’d like a purple colour add a drop of red & blue colouring or frozen blueberry puree.

Best served with lunch or afternoon tea on a hot day

This post is part of a Lavender themed International Incident Party

For more lavender recipes and other IIP entries wander over to http://jeroxie.com/addiction/10-2010-international-incident-lavender-party

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After growing up in Melbourne I took off overseas to work as a features reporter, based predominately in Asia, writing for some international publications, through this work I was able to visit many different places writing articles on food, travel, fashion, human rights, art & culture.

Now back ‘home’ I am currently involved with an ongoing project doing menu & recipe development where I get to test out new recipes with a team of chefs & food technologists on a daily basis.

I started this blog mainly as a way to keep all my notes and photos in one place, to connect with other food lovers and share some thoughts on food in general and recipes with you.

I am an urban cook & this is my journal.

Email: contact@urbancooksjournal.com




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