Archive for the 'Special occasion' Category

Seared Salmon with braised fennel

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

salmon.jpgWatching Gordon Ramsay shows has inspired me to make simple meals with special ingredients, and present them in a clean way.  This dish took only 5 ingredients (6 if you count the beans!). And so easy to make. Who said cooking for one is fussy?


Cupcake Cake

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

cupcakes.jpgI made this cupcake “cake” for my sister Ashley’s birthday using 21 cupcakes (Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a domestic Goddess” recipe).  I stood my 13-cupcake Wilton holder on top of a foil covered pizza tray, with 13 on the stand and 9 on the bottom in alternating colours: lime green with silver cachous, and pink icing with glass-like sprinkles.  The white roses are my first (and potentially last) attempt at sugar paste flowers; and I used some rose leaves wound around the cupcake holder to fill up the gap.  To ice the cupcakes, I used a star shaped nozzle and twirled it around – and careful to sprinkle on the decorations before it dries.  I then carried the cupcakes to the venue inside the muffin tray they were baked in.  And finally – decorate with candles.  Happy birthday Ashley (and Chris!). 

Christmas Turkey

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

turkey.jpg  turkey2.jpg

Ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve purchased a 7kg frozen turkey 2 days before Christmas, and wondering how you’ll ever have enough time to thaw it, let alone cook it?  Well I did, and here’s some wisdom/tips I can share.

1. Even though the turkey packet says that each kilogram requires 18 hrs to thaw in the fridge, and not to thaw it on the kitchen bench, it doesn’t actually say that you shouldn’t thaw it by sitting it in a bath of water :) On my estimationg 18 hrs x 7 kgs is around 5 days. And I only had 2. So in the water it goes.  Did you know that it actually floats? No problem. Anchor it down with a 2L bottle of diet coke.  the next morning, I found that it started to seep some yucky pink liquid, so I took it out, ripped open the packet, and washed my turkey. Seemed thawed enough (after 24 hrs) so I put in my fridge just in case. (more…)

Restaurant Sojourn, Balmain

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Drive all the way down Darling Street – past the park, past the roundabout and you’ll find Sojourn – a newly hatted restaurant in a sandstone terrace which has one of the ex-Banc boys in the kitchen so I read.  The restaurant’s website showed an amazing rolled mini pork roast which I was dying to try – and the site wins top prize for most interesting website – a reflection on the innovativeness and attention to detail of the food.   We were lead up a staircase to the very intimate upper floor, and presented with sourdough rolls that had been warmed in the oven. The staff are very discrete but helpful too.  Soon after ordering we had an amuse bouche of the most intensely flavoured delicious soup sip of creamy leek soup I’ve ever had.  It wasn’t heavy or thick either, but captured the flavour of the ingredients in a concentrated little burst of flavour.  Definitely whet my appetite for what was to come.   I then tried the seafood broth with ravioli and scampi ($26).  This picture actually makes it look really large but no more than a few spoonfuls.  I personally didn’t like the flavour which was again strong and well defined because it reminded me of bonito, but my more seasoned dining companion loved every spoon.  

Sojourn 2.jpg  Sojourn 3.jpg

We then both opted to have the pork eye fillet ($38) – which was the most amazing pork – the intense flavours a definite trend, yet didn’t ruin the integrity of the quality of the meat.  The garlic and herbs infused the light, tender meat, with the juices still in tact to make it so moist.  We each got a side of condiments – caramelised apple sauce, jus in a mini beaker, and a square of perfectly crunchy crackling. (I’m sure that people could hear us crunch crunch in Victoria!)

Sojourn 4.jpg  sojourn 5.jpg

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 We deliberated over whether to have one of the desserts ($14) or to have coffee with petits four ($7).  We opted for the latter, and out came a platter of bite sized lemon tart, discs of meringue with delicate fruit salsa, dark chocolate truffles, and a sugared mini friand.

This is a place to go if you really know your food and don’t mind paying for top quality. At the time that we went, before it had its star, its website listed mains as $30 each – we were just after an inexpensive quick dinner, so was disappointed to see they were $35+ when we got there.  Not complaining too much – we instead got an intimate fine dining experience with attention to detail – which is what you’ll get if you come here.  (more…)