Monthly Archives

December 2011

In Cute Food, Recipe on
December 4, 2011

Kitty Cat Sushi

I hate the feeling of going backwards.

Not physically, though I hate that as well (have i told of the story of how I got motion sickness after sitting facing the wrong way on a sushi train?), but as in the opposite of improving. We’ve been making a lot of sushi of all different types lately- simple salmon nigiri, California rolls, tuna rolls and whatever else we felt like rolling up or squeezing into balls. Try as hard as I may, all my rolls still end up loose and lopsided like they’ve always been 🙁

Okok, so I actually only personally made 2 rolls by myself- a little more practice may help 😉

What I’m really talking about is my progress with decorative sushi.

I used the leftover rice and nori  to make this cat shaped sushi (a design from the same book as last time). I coloured it with sesame seeds for the black, tomato sauce for the orange (tomato flavoured canned tuna was my original plan, but I didn’t want to open a can of tuna just for this one roll) and also for the supposedly pink area around the mouth, since I couldn’t be bothered finding something pink.

Now, you would have thought I’d have at least some idea of how to place and space the different components after my first attempt at decorative sushi, but nup- I managed to do worse than last time! At first I placed too much rice on the base, so I had to take it all off and start again. Then, I accidentally put the nose on the eyes instead of the mouth (as you can probably see in the pictures)….which would have been fine if I were making a human!

 

Luckily, decorative sushi is quite forgiving, and even if it doesn’t look quite like what you had hoped, some massaging of the cut sushi and addition of features makes it look great again! But I was still disheartened at the fact that my sushi making ‘skills’ seem to be worsening more than improving!

On a more positive note, I did manage to take a couple of shots whilst I was making it, so I can look back before I attempt anything again….and if you want to make it too! Let’s just hope that my sushi making skills don’t go backward and further!

 

Kitty Cat Sushi

If you are attempting this, please read the complete instructions before starting as I don’t really explain things very well 😉

For one roll of sushi, you will need

a little more than one piece of nori
Some sushi rice (the book has some but I don’t use exact measurements)
Something Black eg. Black Sesame Powder
Something Orange eg. canned tuna (tomato flavoured)
Something Pink eg. pickled ginger
Kombu or Something dark brown eg soy sauce

1. First, you want to cut up your nori:

  •  once in half- this will form the big piece of nori which wraps around the outside of the sushi roll
  • Cut the other half of the seaweed into four equal pieces (not lengthwise to make four long strips but the other way to make the shape in the picture below)

2. Then you want to colour your rice- do this by mixing some rice with whatever you’re using to colour your rice in a bowl. For each of the colours, you’ll only need about 2 large tablespoons of rice.

Now we can start shaping:

First, we make mini rolls using the small pieces of nori we cut up before (each should be 1/8th of the size of the original piece of nori). Place a small amount of rice on the edge or the nori and roll it up to make a thin roll.You will need 3 rolls of white rice and one roll of pink (for the mouth). Make two of the white rolls smaller than the white and the pink by using less rice and rolling up tightly (you could even only use half of the 1/8th sheet but that would be harder to roll up).

Because the nose is smaller, we make need to make a thinner roll. To do this, the book tells us to use a sheet of kombu onto the nori (again, using the 1/8th size one) and roll it up tightly. Since I didn’t have kombu, I coloured some rice brown and spread a very thin layer across the nori and rolled it up tightly- it doesn’t look as great, but it’ll do. 

Slice one of the white rolls and the pink rolls in half

Place the half sheet of nori onto your sushi mat, lengthwise as we will be rolling ‘sideways’. Spread some white, orange and black rice onto the nori in the pattern shown in the picture above. Make sure that the width of the black and orange stripes is the same as those of the semicircle rolls you made above. The white stripe in the middle should also be the same width.

Place the two white semicircle rolls facing upwards onto the red and black lines.Fill the area between them with white rice and then place another layer of rice above this. (obviously, I didn’t put the layer of rice on in the picture above, so the nose ended up on the eyes….)

Place the dark brown ‘nose’ roll in right in the centre of the layer of rice.

Place both of the pink semicircles on top of the ‘nose’ facing downwards as shown. Then put a layer of rice over and around that so that t middle bit is a bit like a round mountain of rice.

Roll up the sushi using the mat then slice it up with a sharp knife. If you need to, give the sushi a bit of a massage to get it into the right shape.

Cut thin strips of nori and place them on the sushi to make whiskers.

Using the two small white rolls from before, cut each into the same thickness as the cat sushi for the ears. Place two ears on each cat sushi. You’re done!

Note: I was having trouble with making clean cuts on my sushi last time but had much more success this time thanks to Ann’s tip of moistening the knife with a mixture of water and vinegar and Shen’s tip of cutting quickly with one stroke and wiping the sticky stuff away. Thanks so much!

In Asian, Dining on
December 2, 2011

Golden Treasures Seafood Restaurant

lol. 

Granville RSL doesn’t bring any great food memories- the last (and only) time I was here to dinner was years ago, back when the restaurant was a buffet. Cheap and cheerful, it attracted hoardes of mostly Asian and old people but the food, as I remember it, was quite terrible- the only highlight for me was the hot chocolate from their coffee machine.

The buffet is gone now, and in its place is Golden Treasures Seafood restaurant which, to some extent, keeps with the cheap theme with its discounted yum cha lunches which still attracts many (mostly Asian) locals here on the weekend. The decor is not the most interesting and reminants of the old buffet still remain- there’s a bright neon dessert sign just above the entrance to the kitchen and a drinks bar on the side, which is quite lonely as you would expect since the restaurants serves tea to its diners.
.

Lobster with E-Fu moodles

We’re here for dinner, and more specifically, to try out their daily dinner specials which we had previously noticed when dining here at lunch (for their yum cha). We are disappointed to find that they have since removed those offers, instead, replacing them with less interesting ‘weekly specials’ (i.e. available every single day of the week).

The lobster is the only thing on the specials menu which really captures out attention, but mostly because of it’s price. At $68, the lobster is cheap, even if a little small (900g) but of that is, of course, expected. The dish does its job in satisfying those lobster cravings, but we find the overall flavours of the dish a little bland, and lacking in lobster taste.

Sweet and Sour Pork

I have claimed that I haven’t come across a sweet and sour pork that I don’t like, and at first, this wasn’t an exception, with its crispy fried batter covered in the usual bright red, sweet and sour sauce. A little mediocre but enjoyable all the same.After a few bites later however, one starts to notice something isn’t quite right with this dish…………Where is the meat? 

The ratio of batter to pork is much too high and each piece of deceivingly ordinary looking fried pork only contains a tiny small piece of meat. Which might not be the biggest problem to batter lovers (*ahem* me) until 10 minutes later, when you’re left with sad pieces of soggy batter which no-one likes eating.

 

5 Flavoured Duck

The menu is also quite entertaining and great for a laugh (only if you can read chinese). I suspect that it was not written by a chef though, as the names do nothing to tell you what the dish actually is.

The 5 Flavoured Duck is another nicely priced dish though its name does not reveal much about the actual flavours of the dish. The duck (or rather half a duck) looks promising, with its deep colours and tasty looking sauce- even if the dish looks a bit like more like duck carcass. We are disappointed however, to find that the intriguing idea of the ‘5 flavours’ is not present in the duck and even the most basic flavour, the flavour of duck, can barely be noted. Instead, the dark pool of sauce overwhelms all other flavours (even without having dipped the duck in it) and to me, tastes more like an overly sweet soy sauce than anything.

Seafood and Tofu Pot

 
The seafood and tofu hot pot is a relatively generous serving of seafood in the form of prawns and squid lightly tossed with come fried tofu and veggies- it is quite enjoyable, though not amazing.

Stir Fried Pork Neck with Cloud Ears and Nagaimo

The (rather pushy) waitress recommends this dish to us, as fresh nagaimo is not often available. This is the first time I’ve tried fresh nagaimo- a curious ingredient I’ve read about on blogs (I’m told that I’ve also had the dried version in some chinese soups). This dish is quite tasty, and the pork neck very tender but the highlight of the dish is the nagamio, which has an interesting, slightly crunchy texture (which reminds me of water-chestnut) and is great at absorbing the flavour of the sauce.

 

Beef Ribs in Black Bean Sauce (牛仔骨)

The beef ribs are a generous serving, and interestingly served in a deep clay pot, keeping the dish hot. Overall, I quite liked this dish. as I love beef ribs, and I liked the depth of flavour of the black bean sauce. The ribs however, are a little too soft and tender- a sign that they have been tenderised with baking soda.

Red Bean Soup

Of course, no dinner at a chinese restaurant is complete without the finishing complimentary fruits and dessert.  Along with a plate of oranges and kiwifruit, we are served a red bean soup which has a surprisingly smooth and silky texture- it’s so delicious it may perhaps be the highlight of this meal.

Walnut Cookies

The walnut cookies are quite a funny sight. with each cookie being a different colour. Luckily, the over/underbaking doesn’t have too much effect on the taste and texture of the cookie, and they are quite light and crispy- a great way to end the meal! Now, if only the mains were as good as the complimentary desserts!

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