Archive for September, 2009

More work lunch ideas

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

So the search for meals that can be frozen and thawed that still resemble their original state continues. Soup got me through many days during the winter. It can be frozen, cooked in large batches, and best of all when it’s frozen in single serves, it doesn’t spill when you take it to work. Just leave it at your desk to thaw, but leave some paper towel under it cos of the condensation. My favourite is vegetable soup minestrone style: chopped carrot, celery, onion, capsicum, tomatoes cooked with garlic, chicken stock, a can of tomatoes, barley, mini pasta and parsley.

Chickpea stew also works – a can of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, and half a litre of chicken stock. But first saute a chopped onion with 3 cloves of garlic. Add the other ingredients, some paprika and some chilli flakes. Puree half the soup and add chopped coriander.

As always, spag bol freezes very well. i make a huge batch of sauce and freeze it individually, then I boil some pasta the night before and take out the sauce to thaw at the same time. The reason is that Id ont’ like the water that leeches out, and I also don’t like overcooked pasta. WHen you make that huge batch of spag bol sauce, use some of it for lasagna too. I always add red wine to my spag bol as I think it just makes the flavour all that much deeper, and a crumbled in beef stock cube. To make it low fat, always make your own mince. Add more chopped veges (the sofrito – carrot, onion and celery) to make it also less heavy. And again, a sprinkle of chilli flakes :)

Some thing you may not have known – risotto also freezes well! I make it a cheat’s way. Equal parts stock and risotto with a chopped onion that’s been sauteed in some butter and garlic. Cover the oven tray tightly with foil and bake at 220 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring half way. Add chopped cooked mushrooms, peas, and parmesan at the end and stir in a knob of butter with your seasoning for good measure.

And last idea for today – chicken and roast vegetable wraps. A very efficient way of grilling veges without slaving over the stove is to lay sliced eggplant, zucchini and capsicum on an oiled oven tray. Bake until soft, sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can assemble these wraps with roast chicken and some pesto and cheese. Hopefully your work has a sandwich griller, your sandwich will be the envy of your workmates and cheaper than the $10 that they charge in Sydney!

Foodie Events – October 2009

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

There is SO much happening this month for foodies in Sydney! This Saturday as usual the first weekend in October is the Good Living Growers Market – but beefed up, or should I say porked up! Some of Sydney’s best chefs will be participating in a nose to tail BBQ there, and it’s also open until 12pm for those of you can’t manage to make it by 11am :)

This is part of Crave Sydney, a month long festival of art, food, music and outdoor events hosted by the City of Sydney Council.  And it co-incides with the first ever Sydney International Food Festival, which is the old Good Food Month ramped up to make Sydney a serious global foodie destination.

The usual suspects are back – the $20 Sugar Hits, the $35 let’s do lunches, and the Chefs Showcase dinners.  Highlights this year include a whole new set of hands on cooking classes, as well as some new outdoor events to add to the always popular Sydney Food and Wine fair and the Danks Street Festival.  Let’s hope the festival is a great success and something to continue to wait 11 months for during the year!  See you at one of the events! :)

Eatings out in Singapore

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Part 2 of my trip away – Singapore, care of a $1 flight from Penang on Jetstar (which changed the carrier to Valuair :( ).

My friend recommended the new food court, called Food Republic in Wisma Atria for a well priced fresh cooked meal, and another friend recommended I tried the “Fried Carrot Cake”. It’s basically a chopped up turnip cake stir fried in sambal chilli, and fashioned into a tasty omelette.  Just S$3 a serve, I seriously loved it. The chilli was just a hint of what was to come!

Singapore carrot cake.jpg

When one thinks of Singapore, the one thing that comes to everyone’s mind is Singapore Chilli Crab.  What is acknowledged as the best place to get it not just by visitors and expats, but locals as well is Jumbo Seafood Restaurant.  It’s a chain, and we went to the one at Clarke Quay, which is Singapore’s take on Southbank or King Street Wharf or Darling Harbour.  The crab is sooooo meaty, with huge claws.  The sauce is sticky, sweet, tangy, tomato-ey, with a hint of chilli, with egg through it.  Order a mantou bun to dunk into the sauce!

Singapore chilli crab.jpg

Another unique dish in Singapore is cereal prawns. You can have them shelled or deshelled. Basically they are coated in a sweet, crispy crumb not really like KFC, but not really like tempura either. I must admit, I was so-so on these because the sweetness was a bit over powering. 

Singapore cereal prawns.jpg

One of my favourite dishes is taro scallops, and Jumbo does a great version – fashioning them into mini abalone shapes!

Singapore scallops.jpg

Wandering around Clarke Quay and over our way to Robertson Quay, my friend took me to an amazing patisserie, Canelle. Also a chain, these unique creations that are so haute cuisine just look way too good to eat.  Having shared 1kg of crab between two and all those prawns and scallops, sadly our stomachs were groaning with the digestion task, and hence, we stood and looked and finally settled on one to share.

Singapore canelle 3.jpg 

Singapore canelle 2.jpg 

This amazing chocolate dome has such perfectly smooth glacage, topped with the tempured chocolate dome on top was in fact a dark chocolate mousse cake with a hint of sour cherry in the moist centre.  It was an architectural feat that the smooth creamy mousse could hold its structure so well.  It definitely deserves to be admired before it’s devoured. S$7 each which isn’t bad for what must be so much work.

Singapore Canelle.jpg (more…)

Must Have Cook Books

Monday, September 21st, 2009

If you’re into old fashioned treats such as slices, pies and of course, beautifully decorated buttery soft cupcakes of all manners, then London’s Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is a must have for you.   It’s sure to bring joy to tea time with friends, and cupcakes are always a hit and great bribe to bring blissful silence to kids’ parties. But these cupcakes are so beautiful, you’ll definitely want to make them for yourself too!