Date Archives June 2013

Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Compote and Vanilla Cream

Lazy Sunday mornings. Rain pattering softly against the glass of the window. You know what you need for breakfast? Pancakes.

Pancakes are actually very simple things to make. It can be as involved or as easy as you want. Now, I like a certain texture to my pancakes (fluffy) and there are a couple more steps than just mix wet and dry. But let me assure you, the results are completely worth it.
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What I ate: Shredded lamb pasta


So I had a satisfying roasted lamb over the weekend, but seeing as how I roasted a whole 2+kg lamb shoulder, I was bound to have leftovers. Well, waste not want not, and I think this is a fantastic way to use up those bits of lamb left in your fridge.

For space, I shredded the lamb after the roast had cooled and store it away in an airtight container in the fridge. So for a quick lunch (or weeknight dinner) I just took that pasta and added it to:

  • Cooked pasta (just boil it to just under al dente)
  • Sliced black olives
  • Semi dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • Feta
  • Lemon juice

It was just a matter of warming the lamb in a pat of butter, adding the hot, freshly cooked pasta over the top, then throwing in the tomatoes and olives to warm through, and then top with feta. A squeeze of lemon juice over the top, and off you go.

Feel free to add any other bits and pieces you have in your fridge – I just needed some acidity to cut through the lamb, so I think that other types of antipasto will do: roasted capsicum, charred eggplant, marinated feta…the list goes on.


What are your favourite ways to use up meat leftover from a roast?



Sometimes I look at winter dishes – slow roasts, stews, braises etc – and wonder: is this people’s way of keeping a heat source going as long as possible so the house is warm too? I know that I relish a slow roast during winter because my oven ends up heating the entire apartment, eliminating my need for an extra heater.

This slow roasted lamb shoulder is a pretty easy and versatile recipe, and the roasted vegetables that accompany it are some of my favourite roast vegetable recipes ever, and I would eat them all on their own, without the meat. It’s a surprisingly rich meal, great when it’s freezing outside, and nothing says Sunday family lunch like a roast.

Slow roasted lamb shoulder
1 lamb shoulder ( this feeds about 6 people, by my estimation)
Spice of choice (fennel, cumin, rosemary…I used fennel in this case)

Lightly rub the lamb with oil and squeeze some lemon juice over. Add your spice of choice, and the moisture will help it stick. Marinate in the fridge overnight.

Preheat your oven to 160C. Put the shoulder in a roasting pan with unpeeled cloves of garlic, and rub with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 3 hrs. Then uncover and roast at 180C for another 20min.


Roasted Cauliflower

This recipe I adapted from Darya Rose, and it’s actually really darn good. My favourite way to eating cauliflower to date.

1 head of cauliflower
Olive oil
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Simply break up the cauliflower into florets, place in a pan with the rest of the ingredients – I added some lamb fat from trimming the lamb to add some extra flavour – and cover. Place in the oven, preferably 180C, but if you’re putting it in with the lamb, just leave it in for a little longer, it’ll get there. Once the cauliflower gets slightly translucent (about 20min), take the foil off, and let it brown and crisp up slightly.

Roasted Pumpkin

Olive oil

Cut the pumpkin into 1 cm dice. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add some crushed garlic cloves to the pan and roast till tender and slightly browned.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

You can find my easy recipe for roasted brussel sprouts here.


And that’s it, really. I had four pans going in the oven at once, and then just made a quick gravy to serve with some butter, flour, worchestershire, beef stock, and cream. Or just use your favourite gravy recipe.

It may seem a little involved, but I think that it’s fantastic for a family lunch because it just takes a tiny bit of preparation, and then you’re simply enjoying the company of your family and friends while the oven does all the work for you. A hearty roast over the weekend, what more could I ask for?

Kitchen Hand: When life gives you bones


And by ‘life’, I mean your butcher.

When I buy cut meat from my butcher – diced chuck steak, gravy beef, beef mince – I think it’s fair to say that I don’t expect any bones in it. So imagine my surprise when I opened up the bag of diced lamb shoulder from my butcher, only to find that he’s diced everything (presumably with a band saw) with the bones in. The vertebras and everything! I can see where it happened: he was only selling the entire shoulder of lamb, and I had requested diced shoulder. When he said that he could do that for me, he just went out the back, took a band saw to it and gave it to me in a bag.

Now while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with stewing meat on the bone (in fact, it can be tastier), I chose to buy diced meat because I wanted to make a stew that I could pack to work the next day and eat with ease. I’m not about to try and figure out how to politely and delicately pick meat off the bone and then try and neatly get rid of the bones. Most of the time, there’s a scant half an hour for lunch and I don’t have the time to eat an extremely involved one.

So what do you do when you want boneless meat but you’ve been given bone? Well, trying to bone out each piece is going to take you forever and there can be quite a lot of waste involved. You can just put the meat in the stew as is, but like I mentioned, it’s not exactly ideal, especially if you’re trying to pack lunch for the next day. Well, thank goodness this particular type of meat – lamb shoulder in my case – can take a lot of cooking, nay, it needs a lot of cooking.

Rather than stew the meat in the actual stew for 3-4 hours, I put the meat in the pot and covered it with hot stock. I had some ends of onions from the onions that I was chopping, and some ends of carrots that I wouldn’t eat. So I plopped those in with a bay leaf or two, and simmered for about 2.5 hours. It also works if you have a slow cooker. Then I took the meat out and let it cool a little, and simply picked off all the meat off the bone. It all just fell off! I then started the stew, threw the cooked meat in, and finished it off for an hour or so.

Yes, it is a slightly more involved process, but what can you do? I’m not about complain to my butcher, and I don’t want to waste the meat.

And the stock that you’ve simmered the meat in? Just pour it into the stew, and taste all that added flavour! No dramas, and easy packed lunches are here to stay.

Prince Restaurant, Parramatta


I’ve heard many recommendations to try the Yum Cha at Prince Restaurant in Parramatta, and one Sunday, I decided to walk down there to get my Yum Cha fix.

It was extremely busy, and the hustle and bustle of ordering families and trolley ladies really got me excited for a great meal!!

A large hotplate of various delights greets you near the entrance, and I really love the look of the food being fried/cooked in front of you. It gives me a great feeling of immediacy of the hot steaming food.



The first thing that I absolutely have to order is the selection of rice noodle (Cheong fun) dishes. As previously mentioned, I have a certain thing for the steamed silky mouthfuls of prawn stuffed rice noodles. What I’ve recently discovered, though, is that I absolutely adore the fried version too! The fried version here came with a sesame/sweet dipping sauce, and each springy mouthful was an absolute delight.

I also ordered from their selection of dumplings.

The dumplings were all okay, but nothing absolutely fantastic. But then again, I have been spoiled for choice. The fried dumplings that they had here were okay, but I much prefer the ones my mother makes.

I know, spoiled right? 😉


Finally, no Yum Cha experience is complete without the order of Mango Pancakes!

Mango flavoured pancakes are wrapped around a soft filling of sweet, ripe mangoes and smooth creamy ice cream. Yum.

Considering that it’s a walking distance from home, it was an experience I would definitely repeat. The service, while sometimes slightly inattentive due to the business of the joint, was largely not bad! The food must also have been better than I remember, since most of the stuff I’ve eaten I seem to have forgotten to photograph! Goes to show how much a hungry tummy and make me slightly irresponsible in the food blogging department. =)

We ate at:
Prince Restaurant
(02) 9891 5777
100 Church Street
Parramatta NSW 2150

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What I ate: Squid ink pasta and crabmeat aglio e olio


Sometimes, you just want a light lunch. Sometimes it’s nice to pretend that it’s still spring and immerse yourself in punchy fresh flavours that make you forget that you had to drag yourself out of the warm cocoon that is your bed to face the day.

As much as I love long stews and slow cooking during the cold dreary days of winter, sometimes I feel like it doesn’t even feel like winter yet. Not that I’m complaining, but sometimes I feel a little weirded out when I see the sun out, and can walk to the shops in my t-shirt and shorts. But the upside is that the sun just calls for light meals and a cold glass of crisp white wine.

And that’s where this recipe came in. I had some squid ink pasta that had to get used, and my pantry is always stocked with chilli and garlic. In this case, I used tinned alaskan crab meat, but crab meat is available in tubs at the supermarket, or feel free to use bacon or pancetta if you’d like. I know it’s not an Aglio e olio in the strictest sense, but it’s time to clear out my cupboards and it’s extremely tasty and so simple.

Here’s what I used:

Squid ink pasta
Garlic (1 clove per entree size portion, and I love my garlic.)
Bird’s eye chilli (1 chilli per clove of garlic, but feel free to use more)
Extra virgin olive oil (a nice fruity one)
Fish stock
1 tin alaskan crab meat
Yuzu juice

I par boiled the pasta first in salted boiling water, then finished it in a little bit of fish stock.



I find that finishing the last 2 minutes or so in fish stock gives it just a little bit more flavour, but you can just finish boiling the pasta in salted boiling water. Just remember that because you’re cooking it a bit further with the garlic and chilli, haven the pasta slightly underdone, so that by the time the garlic is cooked, your pasta is perfectly al dente.

While the pasta is boiling, I smashed the garlic and chilli through a mortar and pestle with some cracked black pepper and salt.

I moved the pasta from the pot into my sauté pan with a splash of fish stock, and simmered it till the stock is completely absorbed. Half a cup was all I had to use for 2 entree sized portions, but add a splash more if it isn’t enough. Then simply add the garlic paste and olive oil to the pasta, gently sauté it till the garlic loses the acrid burn, then stir through the crab meat, yuzu juice and a smidgen more oil. Scatter with some coriander to finish,

Curiously addictive and easy, this makes for a light lunch, or a simple weeknight dinner. Don’t like crab? Well it works with all sorts of meats, herbs (use parsley if you don’t like coriander), and because it’s so basic, it’s open to your wildest imaginations.

Marmalade Pantry, Singapore


I’ve long had a love affair with crustaceans of all types. And carbs, I love carbs too. So when they come together in something called Crabmeat Linguini, I am just about as close to heaven as I can get.

When I first heard about The Marmalade Pantry, I didn’t peg it for much of a savoury place. After all, the name to me conjures up image of scones and tea on a lazy afternoon in Autumn.


Well, I’m happy to admit that I was wrong. The Crabmeat Linguini is a must-order every time that I’m there, and the relatively large serving – my friend Yina and I shared a plate – means that you get to try other things on the menu as well. Chunks of mud crab are folded through a rich, tomato based sauce that is flecked with chilli and topped with a scattering of grated parmesan. It’s incredibly moreish, and you could very easily find yourself stuffed to the brim and on the brink of a food coma.


We also tried the Sticky Date Pudding. Warm, moist pudding, drizzled with caramel and paired with classic vanilla ice cream serving as a cold foil. It was definitely rich enough that I wouldn’t have finished a whole serve by myself, but it was fantastic to share.

The Marmalade Pantry is a great place to meet up at, and the service, while not drop dead fantastic, has always been consistently good. The savouries seem to have made more of an impact for me, but the sweets have always been decent enough. Worth dropping by for lunch if you’re spending a day shopping at Ion.

We ate at:

The Marmalade Pantry
Unit 03-22 ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn Singapore 238801
T: +65 6734 2700
F: +65 6734 2279

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What I ate: Miso glazed eggplant


Eggplants seem to be everywhere lately, and I love how a simple glaze can transform the humble eggplant into Nasu Dengaku. The miso glaze is dead easy.
Just combine:

1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp shiro miso (white miso)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tbsp water, to thin it out

I grilled my eggplants in the oven, set to 200C, but you can also do it on the stove. I first sliced my eggplant into thick pieces and lightly salted them. When beads of moisture appeared, I patted dry with a paper towel, then sprayed them with oil and popped them under the grill. When they’re a light brown, I just brushed them with the glaze and put them back under to finish off.

So simple, and tasty. I have it on rice as a light lunch, but you can definitely also have it as part of a larger meal.

What’s your favourite eggplant recipe?

Heston’s Mac and Cheese


Heston Blumenthal is one of my idols. His approach to learning is one of a man dying of thirst. Constantly evolving, constantly improving…and he seems to have an ever expanding capacity for processing and storing information.

Which is why I love trying out his home recipes – he always incorporates techniques that I can use on other dishes, and ideas that I can apply to my other experiments in the kitchen.

Since Heston’s Mac and Cheese incorporates English cheeses, I’ve used a mixture of cheeses that are more available in Australia. It still makes a fabulous mac and cheese, but would definitely differ slightly from the original version.

Heston’s Mac and Cheese

200g Macaroni
15ml truffle oil
300ml dry white wine
300ml chicken stock
80g grated hard cheese ( I used a mix of vintage and gruyere)
10g corn flour
80g cream cheese
15g goat’s cheese, diced
Extra gruyere (and mozzarella, cause I had some), for gratinating.

If you’ve got some, infuse the chicken stock with some parmesan rind, and keep it warm.

Mix the grated cheese with cornflour, this will give the sauce a thick, silky texture.


Cook the macaroni in 200ml salted water till all the water is absorbed, and mix in the truffle oil. Alternatively, you can boil the macaroni in salted water till just under al dente, drain and mix in the truffle oil then.


Reduce the white wine to 30ml (a tablespoon and a half), add warm chicken stock to the pan, and whisk in the grated cheese till smooth.


Mix in the cream cheese and warm pasta. Season.


Place half into a suitable baking dish, and sprinkle with goats cheese and then the rest of the pasta and cheese sauce. Finish with some grated gruyere (and mozzarella). Place under a hot grill (I heated mine to about 180C) until melted and brown.


Creamy, comforting yet luxurious and decadent, this is an adult’s version of mac and cheese, that is fantastic for dinner on a cold winter night. For the flavour and texture, it was well worth the effort, and I would love to try the full original recipe with all the English cheeses.

What’s your favourite recipe for Mac and cheese?