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September 2009

In Dessert, Recipe on
September 24, 2009

Chocolate pancakes

Although I love eating out and generally enjoy everything I eat, there are some times when I sit through a slightly overpriced meal and think “Geez, I make do that!” (eventhough I proabbly couldn’t). This was the case with the pancakes from Pancake on the Rocks except that I wasn’t at their restaurant, rather I was looking at their website.

Pancake on the Rocks is one place which all teenagers go to at least once in their life (well that’s the impression I get anyway). Since I’ve never been, and probably won’t be going anytime in the near future, I thought I might as well read (and drool) about it…..
 
Whilst I find the menu quite interesting and I’d still love to try it some time in the future, I was didn’t actually find that it all that special-I don’t know what I was expecting but their pancake menu was well, just pancakes. One particular pancake which caught my attention was the “Devil’s Delight” which I’d also read on many blogs. It looked amazing at first but then I realised that it was just two chocolate pancakes decorated with chocolate sauce, cream, chocolate ice cream and strawberries. So I thought “Geez, I could do that!”
 
 
 
I’ve never made chocolate pancakes before so I used my normal pancake recipe and added a enough cocoa powder that the mixture went a dark brown colour. I’d also read that the pancakes at Pancakes on the Rocks were light and fluffy so I whipped my eggs until they were frothy before adding them to the batter (and it worked!). The pancakes lookes ugly because the chocolate made them look burnt. But that was okay because i covered themwith chocolate sauce!For the chocolate sauce, I heated some ganache I had made before and added some milk to thin the sauce. I forgot how long it took for the ganache to thicken up so the sauce was still warm and runny when I served it. Because of my lack of creativity or plating skills, I plated it exactly as I’d seen it on other people’s blogs. I went a little overboard with the sauce (oops) but other than that, it looked okay.

I made it for my sister, who doesn’t really like pancakes anyway but still loved this. It was quite messy:

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Pancakes

Adapted from Better Home and Gardens Cookbook

1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teapsoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon cocoa (approx)

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Make a well in the centre of flour mixture and set aside.
2. Combine the egg, milk and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until moistened and add more cocoa powder until dark brown. Leave for 5 minutes.
3. Pour batter into a hot, lightly greased griddle or skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes one each side.
4. Serve with strawberries, chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Makes about 8.

That was fun! =]

In Asian, Dining on
September 24, 2009

Taste of Malaya

I always miss out on weekday lunch specials at restaraunts. Why? At lunchtime, I’m at school. =[ Because this is (or was) our exam week , we don’t have to school when we don’t have exams. So I took the opportunity to go to lunch with my parents despite the fact that I had two weeks worth of exams to study for!

………

A few weeks ago, we walked past all the restaraunts and cafes at Castle Towers to find somewhere to eat for lunch. We didn’t end up eating there because it was all too expensive (our budget is quite low). My mum took us to Eastwood but promised me we would come back another day because there’s a really good restaraunt which has weekdays specials!

Why they put their sign sideqays is beyond me. But the restaraunt was very pretty- to me anyway. The menu was quite extensive but of course, we only chose from the lunch specials which were $9.50 each which is much cheaper than the usual price of around $14 (that’s a whole $5 difference! =O )

I’m probably the world’s most indecisive person- if I choose what to eat at a restaraunt, it’ll take me ages! So this time, I chose the Beef Rendang which my mum suggested.

Beef Rendang $9.50

I’ve never had beef rendang before. It’s a funny name…..=] And it is so delicious! The sauce tastes a bit like curry but still different and goes really well with the rice. And the beef is incredibly soft. I think I just might have an obsession with beef rendang!

Nasi Goreng $9.50
Nasi Goreng is one of the dishes which I’ve heard of before. I usually have it at a chinese restaraunt where they fry a ‘sunny side up’ egg on top of it and serve it hot so that when you mix the raw egg yolk with the rice, it cooks the yolk. Although this egg wasn’t ‘sunny side up’ (tehehe, I love that name), the egg yolk was half raw and still cooked in the rice. I loved this dish (but not as much as the beef rendang) because of its strong flavours and the prawn crackers! (yay!)

Chicken Mee Goreng- $9.50

I have no idea what mee goreng is. I’ve always though it was those packets of noodles which say ‘mee goreng’ on it (which actually say ‘mi goreng’- oops). I never knew it was a dish. This dish tasted like normal stir fried noodles- they were nice but not all that exciting……….I prefer the packaged noodles.

The meal was quickly finished which unfortunately mean that I had to go home and study. Damn.

Edit: the lunch special prices have now increased to $10.50

Taste of Malaya
56 Castle St, Castle Hill
NSW 2154
(02) 9634 8967
(or in the Piazza section of Castle Towers)

Taste of Malaya on Urbanspoon

In Asian, Dining on
September 21, 2009

Sushi Arigato

Eel Sushi
If you’ve been to Eastwood, you’ve probably passed Sushi Arigato. It’s right next to the fruit shop which everyone goes to. And has lots of posters on the glass window.
 
 
We’ve walked past this place a billion times but have never gone in (chinese restaraunts are a lot cheaper, in comparison) but we figured that this place would probably be cheaper than Sakae so we might as well try. When we walked in, there were already so many people that there wasn’t a seat for all of us (it’s a restaraunt it small though) on the sushi train so we had to sit on the normal tables. It didn’t matter though- we were ordering from the menu anyway.
 
One of its menus….
The menu is quite extensive and quite fun to read because rather than one big menu, there’s about 5 small laminated sheets. It was so hard to choose! It even had a menu showing all of the sushi dishes on the sushi train conveyor! After much indecision, we decided to so with the seafood tonkotsu ramen special (which came with three sushi dishes which we could pick from the sushi train) and a sashimi salad with rice.
 

Salmon sushi

Our ramen came with a choice of three dishes from the sushi conveyor. We found that choosing our three dishes from the conveyor was equally as difficult as choosing our food from the menu- there were so many dishes I wanted to try because I’d never seen them before. We ended up choosing salmon and avocado sushi, eel and tuna sushi and salmon (and more salmon) sushi. They weren’t the most exciting choices but they tasted great! They were pretty big too….I couldn’t fit the whole thing in my mouth =]

Salmon and Avocado sushi

The people in this restaraunt seem to come in waves- by that time we sat back down, the people sitting at the conveyor had gone and the restaraunt was quite empty. Which was perfect for photo taking (there weren’t too many people staring at me….)

Seafood Tonkotsu Ramen- $19.50 (with sushi)

My mum thought the seafood tonkotsu ramen looked like dirty dish water. You can’t even see the noodles! Or the seafood. But it smelt delicious and tastes delicious too! And it had seafood- it was just covered by the murky (but delicious tasting) water…..there was even a mussel!

Miso Soup

The miso soup came with the sashimi salad rice. So miso soup isn’t anything special but I I don’t drink miso soup a lot…so why not take a picture? I later looked back to the menu (…because it’s so interesting!) and found that the miso soup by itself costs $2.50!!

Sashimi Salad Rice-$16 (I think….)

Okay so the main dish. It’s actually quite ugly- it looks like a mountain of vegetables. I forgot to take a picture after we took the ‘mountain’ apart (oops!). Well, we later found out that like the ramen, it was surprisingly good. There’s quite a big selection of sashimi in there (we were expecting just tuna and salmon) along with other things and it was a lot bigger than it seemed too!

With its many posters stuck around the whole place, I noticed a poster advertising it’s ramen for $7.90 for certain days of the week (lunch and dinner). Hmmm…I’ll be coming back again soon! =]

Sushi Arigato
Shop 11 Eastwood Village
Progress Avenue
Eastwood NSW
(02) 98584406

In Pastry, Recipe on
September 6, 2009

Macarons!

I’m quite proud to say that I didn’t learn about macarons from Masterchef.

I heard of them on……. food blogs! (where else?) abot the beginning of this year- Since then, I have longed to try one as everyone says they’re really good. I’ve been nagging my parents to buy me one (just ONE) for ages but it’s at $2 for one, that’s probably never going to happen.
So I spent my time reading more food blogs about macarons, thinking that I would have to wait until I started university and got a job before I could try one……..
 

I’d never even considered trying to make them because of the number of failures I’d read about. That was until I came across this recipe from Tartelette which was very successful with many foodblogger. After reading a post from Audax Artifex, I was convinced that it was possible to make successful macarons on the first attempt.

I followed the recipe very very closely (I studied it for a whole week). I left the egg whites out to ‘age’ for about two days. I bought almonds a week earlier and ground them in the morning. I bought icing mixture two days earlier. And so I was all set.

It still did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. First, I over-grinded the almonds so the almond meal ended up moist and paste-like. The egg whites whipped up perfectly fine, although I couldn’t really tell the difference between normal egg whites and the aged ones. Folding/mixing the almond/sugar mixture into the egg white was quite difficult and I wondered if I’d done something wrong (I later remembered I had read an article which said that this would happen…).

The piping was a nightmare! I took the advice of a blogger who suggested drawing circles on the baking paper before piping to ensure that the circles were all the same sizes. Stupid me forgot to turn the baking paper over so I started piping onto the pencil! So i discarded the piped batter and started again, this time without the pre drawn circles (the circles I’d drawn before go wiped off with the batter…) so all my macarons were different shapes.

 

I let the macarons rest for an hour and then popped them in the oven, almost certain that they would fail. They took more than 20 minutes to cook and even then, half of them were stuck on the baking paper(I got them off using a spatula).
When they cooled, I sandwiched them with ganache and refrigerated them overnight. When we ate them the next day, they were heavenly!! They were crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, so i think it’s right….

 

The original recipe can be found here
But here’s the (slightly modified) recipe anyway:

Ingredients

3 egg whites (preferabbly ‘aged’ egg whites)
50 g granulated sugar
200 g icing mixture (minus 2 Tb)
110g almonds
2 Tb cocoa powder

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won’t work.
2. Combine the almonds, cocoa powder and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve.
3. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper baking sheets.
5. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Pipe or spoon some ganache on one shell and sandwich with another one.

Ganache
1 cup milk chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

In a heavy saucepan over medium high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat, drop in the milk chocolate and let stand a couple of minutes. Gently stir the chocolate into the cream until smooth. Set aside until it cools down and thickens a bit (a trip to the fridge is ok)

…….

So now I’m happy because I have tried and made my first ever macarons which look like macarons but I’m not sure whether or not they taste like them….

In Asian, Dining on
September 6, 2009

Sakae- Eastwood


Lately, we have been trying to eat at a different restaurant every Saturday. So we walked into this quiet little Japanese restaraunt at Eastwood. Just to try something new.

It was not until I started writing this post that I realised that I had actually read about this restaraunt before. What lured us into this place was its colourful posters of its lunch specials. And the menu which was not only quite extensive, but had pictures of everything- which is especially useful for people like me, who have just learnt what the the terms ‘maki’ and ‘nigiri’ mean.

 

BBQ Calamari- $8.80

The photo of the BBQ calamari on the menu made it look shiny and purple and black. The actualy dish was not as shiny but hey, it still looks interesting! The calamari was served with teriyaki sauce- I’m a fan of teriyaki sauce so it was not surprise that I loved this dish. I even ate the lettuce! (that was after I dipped it in the sauce, of course)Special Sakae Lunchbox + Udon $15.80The lunchbox consisted of assorted nigiri, salmon sashimi, karaage chicken and egg and came with a bowl of udon noodles. The chicken was slightly cold but overall, it was good. Udon Noodles -$14.80

Lastly, there was the udon noodles. This was served in a stone pot (with a handle) which reminded me of Bibimbap!!! The noodles came with a choice of beef or one prawn tempura. I went for the tempura, which went all soggy in the soup. The serving sizes were quite small and the meal left us wishing that we had ordered more.

Sakae
138 Rowe Street, Eastwood
Sydney, NSW 2122
www. sakae.com.au

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