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2013

In Asian, Dining on
September 12, 2013

Sushi Hotaru, Town Hall

Sushi Hotaru has always been on my list of places to try, so when we walked past the new branch on Bathurst Street, we didn’t hesitate to walk straight in…….despite having had two complete meals for lunch a couple of hours ago ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve written about my amusement of touchscreens before, so imagine my excitement when I realised that there’s a touchscreen for everyone to play order with!! Unfortunately, we were in a  bit of a rush, so we didn’t have time to wait for anything made to order, but I did have to time to play around with the system for a while (in preparation for my next visit perhaps?)!

Soft Shell Crab Roll

If there was only one dish I could pick (which was really all my stomach could fit at the time), it would definitely be the soft shell crab roll- an not just because of my love of soft shell crab.  Although it wasn’t straight out of the fryer, and nor was it very hot, the soft shell crab retained its crispiness, had just the right amount of flavouring and worked great with the sauce.

I was quite tempted to grab another one!

Fried Prawn
 
But we do like variety, so we chose a dish of fried prawns which are nice and golden and do not disappoint!
 
Deep Fried Scallops
 
And our love of fried foods means that the third out of the three dishes we choose is also fried! The deep fried scallops aren’t actually scallops but rather those seafood stick things, which actually do taste a bit like scallops. 
 

I’m tempted to grab a couple more plates before we leave, but not wanting to be sick on the way home, decide against it. We make a mental note however, that we will be back (with empty stomachs next time!) …..and not only for the touchscreens!

Sushi Hotaru on Urbanspoon

In Bread, Recipe on
September 3, 2013

BBQ Chicken Pizza

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The first time I made pizza at home, I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. I may have cheated and bought a base, but there was something really magical about a fresh pizza coming straight from your oven. Sure, the toppings might not have been as interesting as those from the pizza store. And the ratio of sauce, toppings and cheese may have been a bit off. But there was just something about it that no store bought pizza could ever compare to.

Through the years, pizzas have turned into one of my go-to lunch ideas when I don’t have anything interesting to make as it’s so quick and easy! I can just through together the dough ingredients in the bread machine in the morning, then roll it out, top it up and chuck it into the oven for a satisfying lunch. Somewhere along the way though, it kinda lost its magic- no longer did I find it amazing, nor did I long for it………and eventually, I stopped bothering making it!

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Having spent a couple of weekends microwaving left overs, I turned to pizza making again to make lunch somewhat more interesting, chucking some leftover chicken (and some other random things I found in the fridge) on the top. To spice things up, I decided to change the sauce, making a barbecue sauce for the base rather than the usual tomato. A rather small change in the grand scheme of things, but what a difference it made!

The sauce by itself isn’t anything special (I was having doubts as to how this would turn out as I was putting it in the oven!) but there’s something about the extra depth of flavour that it gives that makes the pizza so incredibly addictive that we couldn’t stop eating until we pretty much devoured everything!

I think the pizza magic has come back!! Let’s see how long it lasts this time eh?

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

Not really much for a recipe for pizza, really just a recipe for the sauce plus my usual pizza base recipe if you don’t have one yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

Sauce
recipe from here
1 cup tomato paste (the original recipe calls fo tomato sauce, but I usually prefer using tomato paste instead of sauce for my pizza sauces, this does mean however, that you’ll probably have to increase the sugar convtent for the recipe)
ยผ cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 heaping Tbsp brown spicy mustard
3 Tbsp soy sauce
7-8 good shakes of Tabasco sauce

1. Mix everything together!

Pizza Base
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Topping
Whatever you feel like chucking on!!
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1.Pour warm water into a small bowl; stir in honey until dissolved. Add the yeast, stirring until dissolved. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2.In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and olive oil; stir well to combine. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4.Punch down the risen dough on a floured surface. Divide into two equal portions. Allow the dough to relax for a minute, then roll each portion out into a thin circle. Place on lightly oiled pizza pans.
5. Spread the barbecue sauce evenly over pizza dough. Top with your choice of topping ingredients and cheese. I also added a few squiggles of bottled barbecue sauce to make things a bit more interesting.
6.Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

In Macau, Travel on
August 24, 2013

Travel | Macau 2013, Part 1

It’s this time of the year that I love to spend looking back over old holiday photos, reminiscing about the good times ……has it really been a couple of months since I was overseas??

We visited Macau earlier this year for a short day trip, marking my first ever trip overseas anywhere other than Hong Kong. And since it was such a short trip, we woke up crazy early to make the most of our day, (catching up on some sleep on the hour long boat ride) packing as much as we could into the hours we had, starting off some sight seeing at Guia Hill! To save us some walking uphill, we took the super short (and cheap!) cable car ride which takes you part of the way up- the whole ride takes about a minute!

 

Next stop is the obligatory Ruins of St Pauls.
 
Queues at Xiaoshanghai Guotie
 
…but not before we make our first food stop!!
 
We spy the queue at this little store in an alleyway, so we join to see what the fuss is about. It’s a little shanghainese joint specializing mostly in dumplings and pork buns which is perfect as we really want to try Macau pork buns!
 

 
Their dumplings are apparently pretty good, and they also offer some other snacks but we’re only really interested in the pork buns- we need to leave stomach space for lunch!
 
 
The pieces of pork sizzling away look and smell amazing, especially as we didn’t have much of a breakfast.
 
 
A short while later, we have our pork buns! 
 
We’re quite disappointed that it didn’t turn out anywhere as amazingly as we were hoping, but the bun is soft and the pork is tasty- it makes a decent breakfast!
 
 
We walk past a couple more pork bun stores with lengthy queues and more attractive looking pork buns- maybe we should have bought them here instead!
 
 
There’s plenty of interesting stores along the tourist strip, but we’re having trouble keeping up with our travel companions and don’t get at stopping by all of them. There’s plenty of food tastings and we don’t hesitate to try them all!
 
Our favourite is definitely the almond cookies, as they generously give out whole cookies for tasting. I’m not usually much of a fan of almond cookies but these were really good!
 
Or does everything just taste better when you’re on holidays?? 
We finally reach the Ruins of St Pauls, crowded with plenty of tourists. I’m not too big on taking pictures with a famous wall, much less with walking up countless flights of stairs for more photo ops with cannons and whatnot but with plenty of food around, I’m not complaining!
 
When we’ve finally gotten enough touristy shots, we make our way to lunch through the back streets of Macau. It’s incredibly quiet and kinda scary- at some point, we got chased by a fierce dog…..thank goodness it was on a (rather long) leash!
 
It’s rather interesting though, as we trek past a bit of everything- different types of housing, fire stations, restaurants……….
 
…..and past Macau’s only hospital.

 

After getting lost navigating a bit, we find our lunch destination- Nga Heong, a rather popular Burmese restaurant. It’s very busy, but they manage to squeeze our group upstairs- the stairs are crazy steep though, and I already start to wonder how I’ll manage my way back down ๐Ÿ™‚
 
Coconut Beef Brisket Noodle in Soup
 
There’s magazine and newspaper excerpts on the wall about the restaurant, which makes it easy to pinpoint its most famous dishes. Looking around at other people’s tables also helps as it seems that everyone orders pretty much the same things. 
 
We go for the coconut beef brisket noodle in soup rather than the usual chicken one just for a change- it’s quite an unique dish, with noodles, beef brisket and pieces of Chinese crullers bathed in a thick curry-like coconut soup. It’s interesting and the tastes are pleasant, but we don’t really see what all the hype is about.  
 
Coconut Chicken Noodles
 
The noodles also come in a dry version, where instead of the soup, it comes as a thick sauce. Taste-wise, it’s quite similar to the beef brisket noodle, but I prefer the unique-ness of the soup noodle than this version, as this one is quite alike to curry chicken with noodles. 
 
Pig Blood Jelly
 
We also order the pig blood jelly, which is a lot smoother and jelly-like than the yum-cha version I’m used to. The soup is rather tasty too!
 
Fish Soup Noodle
 
The restaurant’s other famous dish is the fish soup noodle (Mohinga), which according to Wiki is the national dish of Burma. It’s fish soup with rice noodles- I only had a taste of the soup and quite enjoyed it as it was very tasty and not too fishy. 
 
And after this satisfying feed, we were off again to do more touristy exploration…………but I’ll leave that for next time ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Xiaoshanghai Guotie
No.3 Maicaodiwei, Macau, China

้›…้ฆจ็ทฌ็”ธ้คๅปณ Restaurante Birmanes Nga Heon
G/F, 27F Rua De Fernao Mendes Pinto R/C, Santo Antonio

In Other, Recipe on
August 9, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Recipe

The uni semester has inevitably started despite my constant complaints that the holidays are way too short! I know, I won’t be saying that in the future when I’m working full time, but I’ll worry about that when the time comes ๐Ÿ™‚

Meanwhile, I’ve been struggling to squeeze in some time for baking and blogging (hence the less frequent posts) as my stash of ingredients in the fridge and pantry edge dangerously close to their expiry date. My freezer is pretty much at full capacity now, with things like leftover pasta sheets from this recipe to use……..for some later time (when I can get around to it!).

Read more

In Asian, Dining on
July 29, 2013

Thai Lemongrass, Darlinghurst

Fish Cakes

Our latest group buy voucher lands us at Thai Lemongrass, a cozy little Thai restaurant on a quiet street in Darlinghurst. The restaurant is anything but quiet on a normal weekday night, though we notice most customers are coming with vouchers too, which makes us wonder (as we often do with these deals) how on earth they make a profit by selling so many vouchers.

We’ve got a bigger problem ourselves, that is of choosing one entree and main each from the menu- there’s just too many things we’d love to try! We start with a serving of fish cakes which are rather spicy for me, though i don’t really take spice too well! I must say, they are rather tasty though.

Duck larb

The Duck larb sounds interesting and different so we order that also and find out that it’s rather much like sang choi bow, only with a much tinnier lettuce leaf and (arguably) tastier meat filling flavoured with plenty of aromatic herbs. We love its presentation, though the size of the lettuce leaf means that it is quite difficult to eat.

Mixed Entree

We’d originally ordered their prawn cakes, but as they’d run out, we ordered a mixed entree instead which although not as interesting as our original choice, turned out pretty good. The satay chicken skewer was quite tasty and though we couldn’t quite figure what sauce the chicken wing was cooked in (the menu says it’s thai herbs and sweet chilli sauce- though it didn’t taste anything like sweet chilli to us), we quite enjoyed that one too.  You can’t really go wrong with fried entrees, and the spring roll and curry puff were both crispy and delicious.

Tom Yum Soup

The flavours in the Tom Yum Soup probably defines what we would describe ‘Westernised’ Thai food- overly sweetened and all the wrong flavours. It tastes rather much like a sweet Thai curry sauce than the usual spicy and sour soup we’re used to.

Deep Fried Fish with Papaya Salad

Unlike a lot of other vouchers, this one entitles us to anything on the menu, so we’re excited that we can order the whole fish dishes. We go for the fish with papaya salad, which is beautifully deep fried (though it’s not as crispy as it looks) which is covered in a light sweet chilli-like sauce. The fish meat is already cut up into chunks which makes it a lot simpler to eat, though we do enjoy picking at the crispy bones (tails and fins!) and we find quite a lot of meat still attached to the bones.

Pad Thai King Prawns


We ordered the Pad Thai King Prawns, one of the pricier options on the menu, to see why it is so special it made it to the chef’s special menu over the other variations of pad thai they had on their menu. The grilled BBQ king prawns come separate to the noodles, and have a nice smokey flavour, although the three prawns weren’t too great for sharing between four!

The pad thai noodles aren’t too special, and their noodles a tad chewier than I’d like, but they’re enjoyable and tasty like any other classic Pad Thai dish.

Ped nam buoy- Roast Duck

On the menu, the roast duck seems a little out of place for a Thai restaurant and even more so when the dish finally arrives as it’s really similar to the Chinese roast duck we’re used to, especially with the light dressing of plum sauce. That said, it’s amazingly delicious, with a great duck flavour, and not at all dry like some roasted ducks we’ve had in the past. I don’t usually eat much of the skin of roast duck, but this one was so incredibly very crispy and tasty I couldn’t resist eating it all!

Lime Leaves Peppercorn Seafood


The lime leaves and peppercorn seafood looked like a pretty boring stir fry of seafood and veggies, but we did get a bit of a surprise amongst tasting as it has a great breath of wok and is very tasty.

Khanom Tako

We finish off with the dessert of the day, a light coconut jelly/pudding which we enjoy as we’re all coconut lovers. We’re surprised, as we dig in, to find that there’s a second layer on the bottom, which is less coconutty and more jelly like, with pieces of water chestnut. It’s a shame it’s such a small serving as we really enjoyed it!

Thai Lemongrass on Urbanspoon