Monthly Archives

July 2014

In Dining, South American on
July 29, 2014

La Latina, Chatswood

We’re not afraid to travel for food (probably because there isn’t really much good food where we live), but thankfully, we don’t have to travel too far to have our first taste of Columbian food. Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

When we visit Chatswood, we tend to go for the many Asian restaurants that are there (of which there are many I’ve yet to try) so I probably would never have noticed La Latina on the side streets, were it not for the fact that we’d bought a groupon out of curiosity to have a taste of a cuisine we’d never tried before.

Passionfruit juice $5
 

It’s a cute little cafe specialising in arepas, but also stocks plenty of exciting South American snacks and sauces, as well as plenty of interesting fruit juices! The drinks menu consists of plenty of exotic fruits which we’ve never heard of before, making it a difficult decision to choose one– we want to try all of them!


The passionfruit picture on the menu is a different species of passionfruit than what we’re used to, with yellow skin instead of purple- we’re not sure if it’s for illustration purposes, or if the actual drink is made from the yellow passionfruit, but we order it anyway. It’s nice and freshing, with a nice sour kick, but not overpoweringly so, accompanied by a touch of sweetness.

Soursop Juice
 
I was quite intrigued by the picture of the soursop on the menu, which looked much like a long custard apple to me. The staff tried their best to describe the taste to me (although it is terribly difficult to describe fruits!) and told me it was quite nice, so I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did- I really enjoyed it! It’s slightly similar to custard apple, in that it’s creamy texture is similar and you can sort of taste the distinct custard apple taste in it, but it’s quite different in that it is less sweet and much more sour (though not nearly as sour as passionfruit!)
 
They also stock frozen fruit blocks, which you can buy to take home and make your own fruit juices too, which I thought was pretty cool ๐Ÿ™‚
 
 
The arepas (grilled corn breads) took a while to come (around 20 minutes), but that was expected, as these breads need to be cooked on low, slow heat. There’s no shortage of options for fillings, but we find it easier choosing off the pictures than the written menu, so we just pick the two pictures which look the nicest (which also happened to be the first two options). 
 
We were surprised at how much we actually enjoyed the arepas, they didn’t look too exciting, but tasted anything but. The slow cooking creates a soft fluff interior, whilst the exterior remains thick and crispy. The ratio of filling to bread is excellent, and the shredded mince filling is incredibly tasty, with plenty of sauce for the bread to soak up. 
 
 
Whilst we prefer the shredded beef filling over the chicken and avocado, the chicken and avocado is still really good, with soft, tender chicken shreds encased in a creamy avocado sauce. Given their small size, they are also surprisingly filling, leaving us a bit too full to head straight over to our next dining destination for dessert as we’d originally planned.
 
 
We’d also bought a voucher for Pop, Choc & Rock because no meal is complete without dessert (or rather we didn’t think that an arepa each would be very filling, giving us a perfect excuse to have dessert!). It’s a small cafe/ice cream shop at the edge of the food court at Westfield’s. They also sell some super cute ice blocks too which seemed to be pretty popular with the young kids who walked past (just don’t plan to visit during the school holidays like we originally did because their seating for 8 gets filled pretty quickly with children so you won’t get anywhere to sit down!). 
 
 
We got a waffle each, which was surprisingly good, the perfect balance of crisp and fluffy, drizzled with plenty of chocolate sauce. The dollop of chocolate ice cream was extremely chocolatey and would have been amazing on its own, if it had not been overshadowed by the sweetness of the waffle and chocolate sauce. We also tried their coffees, but we couldn’t really taste much but bitterness (even after adding two sugars), after the really sweet waffle- lesson learnt: eat your ice cream and drink your coffee before eating your waffle! 

La Latina on Urbanspoon

In Other, Recipe on
July 24, 2014

Shepherd’s Pie

Sheperd's Pie

My sister laughs at me when I spend a while taking photos of food, because she knows that most of the time I only ever upload one out of the many that I take. So today, I give you two pictures!

Most of the time I’m just super lazy when it comes to photographing food, especially food that is hot and I eat right away because I’ve got to all the effort of making it- I’m not waiting for it to go cold just so that I can get a good picture!

Sheperd's Pie

I’ve been making these pies for years, my family absolutely loves them- they’re demolished every single time I make it! But I’ve never had a chance to post this on my blog because I’ve never managed to take any presentable photos of them. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever taken any picture of it….except that time we miraculously had two left over (I made a double batch haha) and I tried to take a photo of it before I reheated it in the oven, but it looked terrible because you could tell the pies were cold so I gave up ๐Ÿ˜‰

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
Recipe based on one found on taste.com.au (but has been tweaked significantly)

1kg (around 5) potatoes, chopped coarsely
30g butter
1/4C milk
30g shredded cheddar cheese
10g finely chopped onion
salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Medium Brown onion, chopped finely
5 Carrots, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
450g beef mince
15g plain flour (2 Tbsp)
3Tbsp tomato sauce
1C water
1.5C frozen peas/vegetables
30g shredded cheddar

  1. To prepare the potatoes: bring pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but firm (around 15 min). Drain and mash. Mix in butter, onion and shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 190degC. Blanch carrots in boiling water
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are clear. Add beef and carrot and cook until well browned (around 5 minutes). Pour off excess fat and then stir in flour and cook for another minute. Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, gravy mix and water. When it starts to thicken, add in the frozen vegetables.
  4. Spread the beef mixture in an even layer in a casserole dish (or I use 6 ramekins for indiviudal servings), then top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

In Other, Recipe on
July 18, 2014

Potato Nachos

Potato Nachos

I was trying to figure out a quick lunch to make with the few ingredients we had a home one weekend, when I thought of the potato nachos I’d seen on some food blogs, and decided to make one myself. I made a bean based filling as I wasn’t keen on defrosting what meat we had in the freezer, though I’m sure it’d taste better with meat! My potatoes were small so it doesn’t look as impressive as the original version, but it still looks pretty cool, especially for a 10 minute* job!
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In Asian, Dining on
July 17, 2014

Marukame Udon, Chatswood

I’ve been searching up a couple of holiday destinations (dreaming I was somewhere more fun than Sydney haha), especially restaurant/food recommendations there, and came across Marukame Udon a couple of times in different countries. I had yet to visit their Sydney branch since I live so far away from it, so when I visited Chatswood for a shopping trip, Marukame was the first place that popped to my mind when deciding on a lunch destination.

 Bukkake Udon With Slow Cooked Egg (L) $6.9

We arrived early to avoid crowds, but luckily, its large, double storey seating area meant that despite the large volumes of customers at peak hours, the crowd never really built up, unlike it’s neighbour, Mokoto. Because the queue was so short and fast moving, I barely had time to look through the menu, so I ordered my usual favourite, the Bukkake udon with egg. The noodles are deliciously soft and slippery, with the perfect amount of bounce.

 Curry Udon With Beef (M)$8.90

We also try the curry udon, which comes swimming in a pool of tasty Japanese curry. It’s surprisingly filling, and could easily be had a meal of its own. 
Vegetable Tempura and Sesame Chicken

It took all the self control I had not to grab every fried food there was on offer, as I’m a sucker for fried foods- especially if there’s a tempura batter involved! I ended up settling on the the veggie tempura, a big mound of thin strips of various vegetables in crunchy tempura batter (although not quite as big an impressive as my favourite version at Menya Mappen!) and also the sesame fried chicken which was tender and crispy, with its flavour enhanced by the subtle fragrant taste of sesame, which we had originally thought was more for the looks than the taste. 
Tempura Whiting and Taiyaki (Fish shaped cake)

The tempura whiting was nice and light, though concentrate hard when you are eating it, as we were surprised to find a couple of small bones within. We’re not usually huge fans of taiyaki, but we wanted something sweet to end with. Their version appears to be deep fried, with its exterior being incredibly crunchy, whilst its pancake-like interior remains light and soft, paired with a delightful red bean filling. We quite enjoy this version, and definitely would order it again next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

Marukame Udon on Urbanspoon

In Pastry, Recipe on
July 11, 2014

Napoleon Pastry (Asian Style)

When I first started using the internet to search for recipes (before my blogging days), there were so many things I couldn’t find, especially when it came to the less commonly eaten things that I’d wanted to make. And even less so, recipes that actually seemed reliable!

Napoleon Pastry

I’d been searching for a recipe for napoleon pastry/napoleon cake for a while before giving up and forgetting about it. I’d wanted to make them the way I’d always known- that is, the type they sell at Asian bakeries (cripsy biscuit-like pastries of puff pastry, walnuts, and sponge cake or whateverelse the bakery felt like putting in), but the only thing that google came up with was vanilla slice (perhaps the more common version/definition of napoleon).

I’m sure there’s plenty of recipes online for this particular version now, but I was reminded of my quest to find such recipe when I came across it in an Asian cookbook. This particular version uses puff pastry to sandwich together buttercream and walnut meringue, which is quite similar to one of my favourite versions of this pastry. It’s a bit fiddly to put together because you have to put together the three components, but it’s well worth the effort- these pastries are amazing! There’s plenty of textural contrast, with layers of flaky, buttery pastry against soft meringue and crunchy walnuts which impart a fragrant nuttiness.

The photo really don’t do these justice (they didn’t last long enough for me to take good photos!)- they taste a lot better than the mess they look like!! Read more