Yearly Archives

2009

In Cake, Recipe on
December 11, 2009

Mango and Cream Sponge cake

Birthdays are a wonderful thing. For my birthday this year, my parents let me choose a birthday cake! They always let me choose my own cake but this year was special because I’d finally gotten bored of the usual fruit and whipped cream sponge cakes you’ll find in Asian bakeries, and decided to get something different! And best of all, my parents let me choose not one but two cakes! I ended up choosing a cream filled sponge cake anyway (although it was definitely different to the usual Asian style ones) and chose a tropical cheesecake for the other. It ended up costing much more than what we would usually spend on a birthday cake, but it was definitely worth it!


But my birthday has long gone and this post isn’t about my birthday, but my dad’s.

Ever since I’d developed an interest in baking, we’d stopped buying cakes as I like to take the chance to make my own (and it costs less too! haha). Unlike me, my dad makes the same request every year- for a simple sponge cake, filled and topped with whipped cream and covered in fruit. Just like the ones you get from Asian bakeries. Yup. The very ones I didn’t want for my birthday. I do find them quite boring to decorate- there’s only a certain number of ways in which I can arrange fruit on a cake. Last year, I made a ‘face’ with with the fruit…….as you might be able to see in that tiny picture (aka my display pic) over there ———->


My dad’s birthday was actually more than a month earlier. There were several reasons why I still had not made the cake yet:
1. The usual excuse– too much school work!
2. I was yet to find a good sponge cake recipe- I usually use my swiss roll recipe which is really good, but I wanted to find a better one =] 3. I HAD tried to make a sponge cake already, which turned out not very spongy as I forgot I was making a sponge cake and didn’t ‘fold’ the mixture.
4. Strawberries were too expensive- fresh cream cakes don’t look good without that little bit of red!

Since the price of strawberries didn’t seem to be going down any time soon and we had a box of fresh mangoes in the house, I decided to make a mango sponge cake instead. This is another a common cream cake found in most asian bakeries. I’d tried making this before, only my lack of knife skills meant that the slices were WAY too thick and they didn’t bend over the cake nicely so we ended up piling all the mangoes on the sponge cake. With some experience this time, I cut the mango thinly, only to realise that the mango was too ripe- and ended up with a pile of wet, squishy, mashed up mango. Luckily, my mum came to the rescue and help me cut the second mango (which was much firmer than the first). Her better knife skills meant that she was able to cut the mango into thinner and better looking slices.

 
With a bit of simple piling of fruits, the cake turned out looking beautiful! I think I was more happy about the cake than my dad……! The mango ripened on the cake really quickly (it had browned by the next day) which meant that it tasted ever sweeter but was not as aesthetically pleasing. The sponge itself was not too successful (probably because I tried to combine a couple of recipes into one….) but the fruits stole the show so it didn’t really matter! I’ll definitely make this again- it’s so fun!

Mango and Cream Sponge Cake


The Cake:
1 20cm round sponge cake (recipe I used is below but it’s not the best sponge cake recipe I’ve used)
300mL thickened cream
Icing sugar (to taste)
1 can of mixed fruits (I used Del Monte fruit
cocktail as it has interesting fruits in it…..)
1 can of peaches
1 large, not-quite-ripe mango

* Using an electric mixer, whip the thickened cream until stiff peaks are almost formed. Add icing sugar a little at a time, until it is sweetened and stiff peaks have formed.
* Cut the sponge cake horizontally in half
* Drain the can of mixed fruit (make sure that the fruits are dry!) and mix half of it with half of the whipped cream. Spread it over the bottom half of the cake
* Place the top half of the cake over it, and spread the remaining whipped cream all over the cake.
* Cut the mangoes into thin slices and arrange them over the cake- cover the edges with the larger slices and then arrange the rest of the slices in the middle.
* Drain the can of peaches and arrange over the top of the cake along with the remainder of the mixed fruits.

Sponge:

4 eggs (at room temp)
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
50mL fresh milk
120g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1/4 tsp
baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
50mL cooking oil

1. Separate the egg white and the yolks
2. Add vanilla essence to the egg yolk. Then add the fresh milk, half of the sugar and oil into the mixture
3. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture
4. In a separate bowl, add cream of tartar to the egg white and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Then slowly add caster sugar, a little at a time, until stiff peaks form.
5. Slowly fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture (approx 1/4 at a time)
6. Pour mixture into a 20cm round tin. Gently tap the mixture on the counter (to remove any large air bubbles) and put into a preheated 180 degree oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Unmould and allow to cool completely.

 
In Asian, Dining on
December 9, 2009

Iron Chef

The first time I heard of the Iron Chef Restaurant, I was like WOW the iron chef people actually opened a restaurant in Sydney? But then I later realised that it just had the same name as the show, it had nothing to do with it =[

Although we usually try a lot of chinese restaurants, we’ve actually never been here before because it’s in Cabramatta, which is so far away from us! But, through word of mouth, it eventually got to my parents that the yum cha there was pretty good and so we decided to try it.


When we actually got to Cabramatta, it took us a while to actually find the restaurant because we’d parked over the other side, and walked around for ages (but obviously, we couldn’t find it) My mum ended up calling her friends who gave really vague directions so we guessed it was on the other side of the station. We crossed the bridge and taa-daa! There it was! Dumplings

Since it was a Friday afternoon, and because the restaurant is quite big, we were seated straight away. The food however, did take a while to come around to us.

We ordered these dumplings because they looked…..interesting. They are kinda like sui mai except that the skin covers the whole thing and the filling is a bit different, although it didn’t taste all that different to sui mai.


The problem with yum cha, is that I can identify most of the dishes in Cantonese, but have no idea what they are in english. I know that this was some part of a cows innards- which is always exciting to do. I’m not quite sure what it is exactly……Drenched in sauce, they are very flavoursome and taste great. The presentation however, is lacking.
 
Steamed Beef balls
The beef balls drizzled are with a dash of worchestershire sauce and are big and juicy. I like the beancurd on the bottom of the beef balls, which are soaked with the sauce.


These were supposed to be hot, steamed custard buns. In theory, the custard is supposed to be so runny that when you bite into them, the custard is supposed to ooze out. Sort of like the black seasame balls. Of course this didn’t quite happen:


I bit in, and the bun was…well…warm. The custard stayed where it was. Tastewise, it was pretty good but we were very dissappointed in the lack of runiness.

After this, we sat and waited for a long time but no trolley came to us. None of the fried food trolleys had come past and we were quite sick of waiting. Besides, being in Cabramatta, I was much more interested in the other side- that is, all the street food and Vietnamese food. So we got up and left (on half empty stomachs) ready to eat other food!

 

Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant
84 Broomfield Street
Cabramatta, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9723 6228
In Asian, Dining on
December 6, 2009

Mee The Noodle House


‘You’re going to blog about this place??’

That was my mum’s first reaction when I decided to blog about Mee The Noodle House. Because it isn’t actually the most interesting place to talk about. It’s not even a restaurant- it’s more of a takeaway store with tables and seats. But hey, it’s food so why not?

We usually eat here on Thursday nights due to the lack of choices available at shopping centres. The food is reasonably priced (most of it is under $10) and the food isn’t the best but it’s not too bad and definitely better than food court food.
With its limited menu of about 20 or so items, it didn’t take long for us to try everything on it. So it was a pleasant surprise when we revisited this place to find that it had undergone some slight renovation and had some new and interesting things on its menu. One wall is made up of little boxes which they use to store their sauces, noodles etc. We often wonder if they would notice if someone stole a bottle or something…….There’s also a selection of sauces which you can take and tea and water which you can refill- the tea is really dilute though.

Fried chicken with noodles

As always, the food comes quite quickly- the fried chicken with noodles arrive arrives first. The chicken isn’t crunchy and has already become slightly soggy (from the soup) but it is very flavoursome. The soup however, is awfully oily, as is most of their food but is bearable.

 
 
 
Fried Rice Noodles

For a takeaway shop, the fried rice noodles are pretty good. It has the ‘breath of wok’ which is the most important thing in this dish. The meat is tender and the flavours are good- it’s one of the better options here. However, it isn’t as good as some other restaurants and is more oily than we would like.

 
Pad Thai

The Pad Thai was a new addition to the menu- its certainly very different from any Pad Thai I’ve ever had before. At first sight, its lacking in colour- I’m sure Pad Thai isn’t supposed to be this yellow! When I take a bite, I find that it’s also lacking in flavour. The normal sweetness of the dish is lacking- instead, they add a tablespoon of sugar at the side. There is a couple of prawns and a bit of meat too. The dish is okay, but I wouldn’t order it again.

 
Seafood Laska

They give a generaous amount of prawns in the laska. I never order this because to me it’s too hot- I can’t stand hot foods. But its not actually all that hot…..

I love the fact that it has pineapples in them (yep, I’m a pineapple lover) and I usually end up stealing most of the pineapples. We order this frequently, so I assume that it’s pretty good.

 

Noodle House
(in Westfields)
Store 1092
236 Pacific Highway Hornsby
New South Wales 2077
Telephone: (02) 9476 6699

In Asian, Dining on
November 25, 2009

Sakae- Yakiniku House


Sakae Yakiniku House is similar to Sakae dining bar (and they’re only a short distance away from each other) but still different in that there’s also Korean food on the many and that they have the option of BBQ. The strange thing about it (apart from the name), is that unlike almost every other restaurant in Eastwood, it isn’t situated on ground level. Then, when you go up the quiet flight of stairs, the first thing you see are big (and slightly mysterious…) wooden doors. And the inside is so dark that it’s difficult to tell whether they’re open or not. But the inside is really pretty- definitely very ‘restaurant’ style!

We walked in to notice that we’re the first ones there- which is sort of surprising considering it was almost 1 o clock in the afternoon. The waiter takes us to a table turns on the light on the rangehood-like-thing. It’s so cool! We were given a heap of menus to choose from- a lunch menu, a normal menu, a BBQ menu, an all-you can eat ment etc. etc. but of course, we took the most economical option and went for the lunch menu. For $16.80, we got a three course meal- and appetiser and main (which we could choose from the menu) and dessert and a pot of green tea!

Complimentary Radishes

The complimentary radishes were one of the highlights of this meal. If they were on the menu as a dish, we’d probably order it. They are slightly cooked and covered in a really light sauce. They aren’t very flavourful (there was still a strong radish taste) but tasted great!

Beef Takati

We ordered the Beef Takati as we had no idea what it was and I thought it’d be fun to try. Turns out, it was raw beef in a sauce which was a bit like soy sauce and vinegar mixed together. It was scary eating raw beef (you know, food poisoning etc. etc.) -it tasted okay but we definitely wouldn’t order this again.


Jap Chae $5.80
 
The Jap Chae was really really small- even for an appetiser. I guess it was kinda expected for $5.80 -at a restaurant. The noodles were okay-but they weren’t any better than the $5 jap chae I get from the food court….for a much larger dish.

Seafood Pancake $9.80
 
 
The seafood pancake was smaller than we had anticipated but tasted pretty good. It was different to the one we had before at a Korean restaurant- it was smaller in size but notably thicker. It wasn’t as good as the one we had before, but was still good and we’d probably order it again, although it’s quite expensive for such a small serving. There wasn’t much seafood in it except for calamari which was really chewy and probably would have tasted better without it.

Miso Soup
I’m guessing that is came with the meal? It doesn’t say so on the lunch menu but it ended up on our table. It was again, average, although all miso soup tastes pretty much the same to me.

Sashimi Salad Don

The sashimi salad rice was a big disappointment. The rice is hot- it had steam coming out of it. And the sashimi? Well- all you can see in the photo was all there was. Sharing this between the three of us, we each got about 2 or 3 pieces of sashimi each (and they were SMALL pieces). And since the rice was hot, the sashimi warmed up really quickly. And warm sashimi does not taste good at all. And i don’t think it’s healthy either! There was no dressing, but it did come with a sauce which didn’t really go well with it and was hot (spicy hot that is). Without the sauce, the salad tasted flavourless but with the sauce, it just didn’t taste quite right.

 
Green Tea Ice Cream
 
The most akward part of the meal is after we finish the mains- not knowing whether we’re supposed to notify the waiters that we’ve finished our meal (and are ready for dessert) or if we’re supposed to wait until they come. After a long wait, and reluctance from both me and my sister to ask the waiters (yes, we’re both really shy people), my mum asks the waiter for the dessert.
The dessert comes, and we’re surprised that there was not one, but three servings! We later realise that it states on the menu that there is one for each person on the table. The dessert is green tea ice cream- one of my favourite ice cream flavours, as I rarely ever have it (in fact, it’s been ages- years since I last had it). Of course, the quality isn’t all that great but any ice cream makes me happy! Only problem is that it melted really quickly, especially since it was already a hot day. My mum complained that it was a little bitter, but me and my sister don’t notice it (as usual, our tastes are not as sensitive as our parents).
The meal did not actually fill us up much (we were planning where to eat next…) but that wasn’t surprising considering we only ordered one meal and two appetisers for three people but that was about all we could fit into our budget. We realised that we should have gone for two meals as it would have ended up costing around the same (except that we really wanted to try the seafood pancake) but the decor was really pretty so it was kinda worth it.

Sakae Yakiniku HouseLevel 1, 6 Hillview Road
Eastwood NSW 2122
Phone (02) 9874 2277

Sakae Yakiniku House on Urbanspoon

In Other, Recipe on
November 20, 2009

Condensed Soup Pasta| What silly teens do when they’re bored…

Every once in a while, I’m left home alone, due to some school exam which I have to study for over the weekend. Of course, the percentage of this time which I actually spend studying is quite small, due to distractions (ie the computer, the internet and therefore food blogs =]) and the fact that school work is so…..so……boring!

Yes. I hate studying. Which is why, you’ll usually find me doing the randomest things on the weekends…..you know, to make life, not-so-boring. When I was studying for my chemistry exam, I decided to peel and orange and make a rose out of it (it was heaps fun!). Then there was a time, when I decided to try my hand at pulled noodles-the ones which you cut the dough into strips and then pull them into long strands- and which actually worked! (unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture of the noodles)

This weekend, my sister was home with me, so I had to make something to feed the two of us. Since there were no left overs in the fridge, and I actually had homework which I needed to do, I made creamy mushroom spaghetti-using a can of condensed cream of mushroom sauce, of course! It was so so easy- all I did was empty the can of soup in a pot, as some milk, some water turn on the heat, chuck in some cooked spaghetti and taa-daa! Not only does it look great (well to me it does…..) it tastes great too- my sister loved it!