Thursday, 11 September 2014

marion grasby's chicken and egg donburi

I didn't think twice when Marion Grasby's 'Asia Express' cookbook was released; picked it up off the shelf and straight to the counter and so far have already cooked three out of the hundred recipes which make up this cookbook. I haven't even bothered with putting post-it notes through it because I have no doubt I'll be cooking all the recipes in this cookbook; the tricky thing has been deciding which recipe to start with first!

Chicken & egg donburi has been a long time favourite of mine; I've actually cooked it a couple of times with several different recipes to the point that I've stopped ordering this dish when I go out. It's actually a really easy dish to cook. This recipe from Marion is true to her cookbook; fast and easy which makes it great for a weeknight meal.

Start with cooking 1 cup Japanese sushi rice - yep keep it authentic. This recipe requires 300g thinly sliced chicken thigh combined with 1/3 cup chicken stock, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 tbsp soy sauce. In a large frypan, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil, add 1 thinly sliced brown onion and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the marinated chicken until cooked. Drizzle 3 slightly whisked eggs over the top and cover with a lid until the egg is set.

 Remove the pan from the heat. Divide the rice in two bowls and top with the chicken and egg mixture. You can sprinkle with some chopped spring onions and shichimi togarishi (a spicy Japanese seasoning) to serve.

Dinner cooked in less than half an hour (including prep) - what more can you ask for! It's great also that  the recipe says it serves two and actually serves two. It's not really a dish that you can keep overnight and whilst the photos might not quite do the dish justice in terms of portion size; trust me that it's nice and filling (anything with egg in it generally will fill you up).

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

yellow @ macleay st., potts point

Amongst my friends, there's a handful of us turning the big 3-0 this year (myself included later this year) but whilst we had big grand plans for celebration, most of us have actually settled for some lower key get-togethers and catchups. I'd say partly to avoid the fuss but turning 30 seems to bring on the next stage of our lives where we value those closer friendships and a small no-fuss meal is just the best thing.

For my dearest friend Amz, her birthday this year was a brunch celebration at Yellow in Potts Point. I'd called up thinking we needed to book on a weekend but was told that we should be able to get a table if we turned up at 10. And as advised, we rocked up and were promptly seated at a table to enjoy the glorious food that they offer.

Without a doubt, there was breakfast envy amongst the table when my brekky of scambled egg, jamon, harissa and aoili turned up at the table - check out that generous slice of jamon!

The boy opted for the baked eggs with chorizo and spiced yoghurt which was equally as delish.

I've known this girl since primary school and she's stayed one of my closest friends yet. We don't see each other as much as we should but she is one amazing person!

Seeing the table next to us order this one, we were eager to try it to - it's toasted licorice bread with fresh cultured butter. O-M-G. It tastes like banana bread but it's licorice - I don't know how that works but even if you don't like licorice, you'll be eating this bread (trust me!)

For a brunch with a bit of class, this is definitely a place to visit. It's actually not all that expensive (about $25 a head for a breakfast and drink each plus the licorice bread to share). We managed to find metered street parking just outside and guess what, Bourke Street Bakery is just down the road for your next fix - which is exactly what we ended up doing once we finished brekky here. Hope you had a awesome birthday Amz!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

marion grasby's singapore laksa

An unintentional 10 month hiatus from this blog has left me fumbling around with the computer keys and re-familiarising myself with all buttons that you need to press to get a blog post up. Fortunately, like riding a bike, it seems to be coming back to me and I present you with my first post for 2014; an absolutely scrumptious dinner from last night using the Singapore Laksa kit from the Marion Kitchen's range (on sale this week at Woolworths for $4). Anyone that has been following me on this blog will know that I'm a big fan of Marion and have been following her range for a while now. In addition to the Singapore Laksa, she's also recently launch some Indian curries which I'm keen to get my hands on; though the boy seems to think she's not Indian so asked me to err on the side of caution (but after eating this last night and being full of compliments, I think he might've changed his mind).

Singapore Laksa in its signature orange box.

It's an easy 3 step dinner. Fry off the laksa paste that comes with the kit in a little vegetable oil (be warned that it will splatter so a pot is probably better for the task rather than the saucepan which Marion advises), add the cococonut milk (also part of the kit) and add 2 cups water. Once it comes to a simmer, add approx. 500g of your preferred meat (I used sliced chicken breast) and how can you not have a laksa with fried tofu puffs! The puffs soak up all goodness of the sauce. Then serve with your favourite noodles which in my case is Hokkien noodles for Laksa though I did sneak in some rice vermicelli with it for double the texture. The pack comes with a chilli sambal paste which compliments the laksa just perfectly.

From start to finish - allow about 20 minutes and voila; dinner is served! And why not some hard boiled eggs while you're at it.

Coming from a Malaysian background, the boy thought the laksa was quite authentic (and perhaps even better than the one his grandma makes at home and thank goodness, the grandma doesn't read this blog). The soup is a little on the thick side but not to the point where you think you're about to have a heart attack eating a bowl of this. As for serving 4, I'd say the pack comfortably feeds two hungry people i.e. me and the boy. I know I can be fickle but this is definitely my favourite from Marion's range to date.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

cumulus inc. @ flinders lane, melbourne

I'm a strong believer that a decent breakfast gives you a good boost to the day. My daily breakfast generally consists of toast, otherwise yoghurt - never really got into the cereal thing but over the years, I've learnt that keeping it healthy is the way to go. Healthy keeps the energy levels up and keeps you fuller for longer but saying that, I wouldn't say no to the occasional chocolate croissant or muffin (both are amongst my favourite!)

And when I go on holidays - finding great places for breakfast is always on the itinerary. On our recent trip to Melbourne, we were recommended Cumulus Inc. as one to try and when I get a recommendation, I generally make a commitment to check it out.

Starting the day with coffees and cannele (there's time when I've considered moving to Paris just so I could eat a cannele every day). At Cumulus Inc, they serve these in 3 sizes - of course I went with the big one.

The Full English Breakfast consisting of bacon, blood sausage on toast, fried eggs and smoked tomatoes.

I opted for the House made crumpets with whipped ricotta and rooftop honey. Rooftop honey seems to be the 'it' thing in Melbourne - this wasn't the first place we saw had it over the weekend we were in Melbourne.

All the cakes to be found near the coffee machine.

To sum up Cumulus Inc., expect really clean flavours and honest, good food. They're also open for lunch and dinner which I'd wished we'd stayed longer to try as the menu looks pretty awesome. And they have a cookbook too - which yes, I almost bought till the self control kicked in!

Monday, 11 November 2013

little cupcakes @ degraves st., melbourne

I love finding cute shops and little cupcakes on Degraves Street in Melbourne is a cutie! From the cupcake motif in their shop sign, the blackboard signage which draws you in, inside you'll find some cute bunting, filled glass jars and a cabinet filled with cute as a button cupcakes!

Here's the shop from the outside.

From where I was sitting.

We had a Belgian Chocolate milkshake which I'd highly recommend. I reckon Raspberry would've been ace!

Here's the cabinet with all the little cupcakes. So many to choose from and you can order them for birthdays too.

It wasn't hard to decide on Elmo & Cookie Monster - how cute are they! Just realised looking at this photo that I picked all chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes are the perfect size - you can have that extra one without feeling too guilty.

That's me inside the shop!

To be really honest, it's been ages since I've had a cupcake. They were the 'it' thing at one point but then cupcake shop after cupcake shop started popping up and the cupcakes just got bigger and bigger and not very tasty. Good to see that little cupcakes has them just the right size and tasty too!