Thursday, February 28, 2013

'Baked' Eggs

After going with Bernard (my cousin) to pick up his car from a far away coastal suburb, we headed back to his house to have lunch, because driving makes you massively hungry. Maybe we were really focused on all the important stuff to do when picking up a car, because I only realised how hungry I was until we got back to his house! Once our potato wedges and gems were in the oven, Bernard asks me 'have you tried baked eggs?' Instantly, we started to prepare this dish, before deciding later that we couldn't be bothered to put the pan into the oven (and also because it had a plastic handle).

We picked up this baby (the name is Rufus); and it was well worth the long drive.

Back to the food, start by sweating 1 onion (on low heat), diced into chunky pieces (ok, I'll admit it, we used 2 onions because we love onions). When that's done, add in 4 cloves of diced garlic, 4 sliced chillis, and 1 tsp dried oregano.

Afterwards, add in some sliced chorizo- we probably put in 1/3 chorizo. (I made this a second time with a whole chorizo, it just means there's more of it to eat for everyone). Try to have the slices of chorizo touching the pan directly, because this gives it a crispier texture on the outside.

Add 1 handful of spinach leaves and cook until they have wilted. Afterwards, make holes for the eggs to be placed into. Season with salt and pepper.

Crack eggs into the holes (still on low heat) and try not to move the onions/spinach/chorizos because it'll ruin the shape of the eggs. Take the pan off the heat when the eggs are cooked to your liking. If you want, you can add some salt and/or pepper to your eggs.

A hungry Charlie munches on his treat.

Even though the pan wasn't placed into the oven, this tasted amazing, and I now have a ready supply of spinach leaves in the fridge so I can make this whenever I'm hungry. And the potato wedges and gems tasted very nice too!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

King's Seafood Restaurant, Eastwood

The extended family gathered to celebrate Chinese New Year at King's Seafood Restaurant, which has become a bit of a tradition we do every year. Since we had quite a number of people, we were split into two tables, which was great as we wouldn't be so squished together as you'll find in some Chinese restaurants (I'm forever worried that I'll accidentally hit the person sitting next to me with my chopsticks when I'm eating). We went with one of their CNY set menus, as well as two extra dishes, just to make sure that there was enough food, and trust me, there was more than enough, because everyone ended up with takeaway boxes to take home to eat the next day- or in my case, that night when we got home.

The first thing we noticed was that all the other tables had prawn crackers, yet we had none. Plans were made to discreetly walk over to our other table to take their prawn crackers, until a plate magically turned up at our table.

Lettuce with oysters and Chinese roast pork. As the skin of the pork had been covered with sauce, it was obviously not very crispy, but everything in this bowl still tasted great.

Think of these as popcorn chicken, except made with prawns.

A super plate which consisted of jellyfish, char siu, chicken and Chinese roast pork (this time, with beautifully crunchy skin).

Lobster with noodles. Messy to eat (maybe it's just me), but super rewarding when you get that tricky piece of lobster that was stuck deep inside that shell.

Chinese crispy skinned chicken, with more prawn crackers on top. I had to control myself when dipping my chicken into the spiced salt; the salt tastes so good!

Abalone, duck feet and mushrooms. As strange as this sounds (with the common mentality that abalone is the best and everything), the mushroom was my favourite: perfectly cooked and coated in a thick, mildly salty sauce (might have been oyster sauce now that I'm thinking more rationally).

Shark Fin Soup.

The sweet and sour pork and the white baits were not part of the set menu. The pork had quite a heavy coating of batter on it, but it was beautifully fried, and thankfully, there were no bones.

Deep fried white baits that were crunchy, spicy and salty all at the same time. At the start of dinner, Bernard noticed that another table had a bottle of wine on their table, and wondered if we would get one too (we got a complimentary bottle once, but that was quite a while ago). By the time this plate came to the table, he decided to wait no longer and got a bottle from the car.

Fish in soy sauce. Unfortunately, I only remember to take a photo of this when we started eating it. The fish was great though.

Afterwards, there was lion dancing, which was quite nice to watch. Here, the problem with using the camera on my phone became quite evident, as most of the photos I took of the lion were hilariously blurry. Here's one of the clearer photos- and yes, those are LED's on it's head :)

During all the lion dancing, our fried rice came along. By now, I was really quite full, and only managed to have half a bowl of this. (It tasted good though).

Fruit plate.

Chinese sesame balls and cookies.

 Red bean soup.

Hope everyone had a great Chinese/Lunar New Year!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Menya Mappen, Sydney

After spending a morning at UNSW, we headed off to the city to have lunch, as climbing those steps sure made us hungry! (some of us were changing our names because we had forgot to put in our middle name when applying, while others were actually getting their ID cards- to those that got their ID cards on that day, I was very jealous haha) When we got there, we had trouble deciding whether to have noodles or rice, but personally, I didn't really mind because I had never been to either place. Eventually, we settled on Menya Mappen, as one simply cannot resist the lure of Japanese noodles.

I know that everyone has been here before (and they keep coming back because the food is so good), but for the sake of recounting the (rather fun) process of getting your bowl of noodles on this blog, once inside, you order the bowl of noodles you want (their menu is on the glass, above your head, basically everywhere).

And you move along a production line, adding all the amazing fried food they have (as well as green onions, tenkasu, and tubs of Japanese salad).

After you're done 'configuring' you're Japanese meal, you pay and then enjoy. To the man who just finished his lunch and offered his seat for us so that we could all sit together, thank you so much! And, as I was trying to minimise my photo taking annoying-ness to my friends that I had met that morning (especially when they were all super hungry), I took the following photos really quickly (like a food paparazzi lol), so I do apologise for the blurry and low quality photos.

So, going around the table, Matt takes a blog-worthy amount of tempura.

Ophelia, they did manage to finish your tempura after you left, so nothing went to waste :)

And Daniel has a, umm, I'm just going to give up on trying to avoid the fact that I cannot remember what any of these bowls of udon were; even though the menu is online, I still can't tell what each bowl is. But what I do remember, is that he had a milky green tea drink, (hiding in the left of the photo), which was (well it looked like it anyway) perfect for the hot weather that day. 

Dayanan was smart and took some sauce to dip his tempura into.

B1 tried the seaweed salad in addition to a big bowl of udon. Also, this was one of the few places that managed to have a crispy shell for the takoyaki while simultaneously maintaining a super hot, octopus filled inside. 

My tray (possibly the most boring looking out of our 6 trays). The chicken tempura they serve tastes like really good chicken nuggets (and yes, that's a good thing!)

After coming back from Japan, I can definitely say that Menya Mappen serves udon that's equal to the quality of udon in Japan; and it's a massive bonus that the prices are so reasonable. Next time, I'll probably try their curry udon. Imagine the combination of curry udon with takoyaki- I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! Afterwards, we wandered around the city: watching SISTAR19 on tv, noticing how Asian-themed Market City was (maybe it was because of CNY), having a Chinese lady at a clothes shop explain the logic on who has to give red pockets, and, finding this Fairy Tail puzzle- I wish I had the money to buy it :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mr Han's Traditional Restaurant, Eastwood

After church, the family headed off to Eastwood to have lunch. It's funny how I go to Eastwood quite a bit during the week, yet I end up coming again during the weekend! But honestly, I'm not complaining; both sides (the Chinese and Korean) side of Eastwood are lined with so many places to eat, where most are normally full during lunch and dinner, and for good reason, because the food is rather good. We came to Mr Han's because we wanted to eat their stir fried fish fillet with salted egg yolk. If you end up eating at this place, this is definitely the dish to order. It's basically delicate pieces of fish with a perfectly salty yellow coating that ends up melting in your mouth.

Braised pork and cabbage in a pork soup. The clear flavours in the almost milky soup went well with the abundance of soft pieces of pork and cabbage.

Special combination fried rice. Hidden within the rice are juicy pieces of prawn, which complements the spiciness of the fried rice.

Fried pork buns, with tasty hot soup that leaks out when you bite into it.

This was one of the specials listed in Chinese on the wall (only my parents could read it), and if I remember correctly, was less than $7. In addition to the very generous serving size, it was the thick sauce that was on the noodles that made this super delicious.

We didn't get to eat the braised pork leg because there were only 4 of us eating, but I've had it in the past when we went as a larger group and it was amazing. Even the size of it draws attention because it's so big, yet incredibly soft; I clearly remember that I struggled to grasp it with my chopsticks. Also, I remember that for another time we came here, we were seated behind the restaurant with other hungry customers, among some pot plants and under the night sky (made for quite an interesting dinner). But back to this lunch, everything we ordered tasted great, prices were reasonable, and service was efficient. That super cheap plate of fried noodles in addition to the salty egg fish would definitely be reasons to come again to this small but popular restaurant.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes

At the end of the Australia Day weekend, I was shopping with mum and dad at Woolworths, when suddenly, there was an announcement about a $10 discount off their 2 kg leg of lamb. Afterwards, there were people gathering around the butcher's area, as everybody was eager to check out the great deal. In our situation, mum and dad headed over to pick a leg of lamb to bring home, while I frantically searched the net for a recipe to cook the lamb, and I managed to find one that didn't look so complicated. I got this recipe from the Taste website (the recipe was originally published in Notebook April 2006, with the recipe by Lisa Featherby)- it's a website I go to quite frequently among the food blogs and car websites that I look at.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Then, cut 1 cm slits on the lamb, and shove a slice of garlic (you'll need 4 cloves) into each slit. Afterwards, put juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbs chopped rosemary (I used 3), 2 tbs chopped oregano, 2 tsp dried oregano, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper in a bowl and stir.

Then, put your lamb on a roasting pan, pour the mixture over it, and turn this massive piece of meat over a few times so that the sauce covers the lamb evenly. When you're done, cover with foil and put it in the oven for 1 hour.

Whilst that's in the oven, it's time to work on the potatoes. Place approximately 750 g of potatoes (cut into wedges) into a saucepan of cold water. Bring it to a boil and then cook on high heat for 4 minutes. 

Drain the water from the pan, and add 40 ml of olive oil, 1 tsp paprika, finely grated rind of a lemon and 2 tsp salt. Mix until the potatoes are covered evenly, then set aside. 

After cooking the lamb for 1 hr, take it out of the oven and remove the foil. Place the potatoes into the roasting pan (coat the potatoes in the juices that's in the roasting pan) and then put the whole thing back into the oven for another 1 hour. For crispier potatoes, turn them occasionally. After it's done, remove from oven, cover very loosely with foil, and let it stand for 15 minutes. The recipe says to serve the lamb with feta, but it also tastes really good without it, especially when you pour the cooking juices over your slice of lamb (as the recipe suggested).

This was my first time cooking a roast (we normally buy the roast chickens at the supermarkets for convenience), and I can definitely say that this was one good recipe. The lamb tasted great, the sauce was flavoursome, and the potatoes had a nice tangy taste to it. I want to try making roast beef now!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Virgin Atlantic- Economy, Hong Kong to Sydney

Once again, before our flight, we had Popeyes, because one simply cannot resist the temptation of fried chicken when you walk past their shop front, which was conveniently located right after customs. We also had McDonalds too, since it was right next to it.

McDonalds were having a special promotion meal where you get a 'Prosperity Beef Burger' (Chinese New Year was coming up) with curly fries. Mmmm curly fries!

Here's what the Prosperity Beef Burger looked like. It tasted good, it was almost like eating black bean beef rice in a burger!

Making our way to our gate.

Apologies for the horrible photos; the lights were dimmed for a large part of the flight because everyone was supposed to be sleeping. Food was quite reasonable, and I think this was the teriyaki chicken.


After managing to squeeze in a few hours of sleep, we arrived back in Sydney!

Café De Coral, Tin Hau (HK)

It was our last breakfast in Hong Kong, and we came here due to a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a short walk from the hotel, which was important as we were going to check out a bit later, and secondly, we had tried the two other HK fast food joints (Maxims and Fairwood), but had not eaten at Cafe De Coral at all during the whole trip, so we had to try this place before we left.

The plate on the left had a fish cutlet and a turnip cake, while the one on the right had a slice of ham and sausages.

'Minute' steak, egg and turnip cake.

Egg, Spam and Toast.

It was a bit sad to leave Hong Kong, but with some good food in our stomachs, we were excited to go back to Australia.