Date Archives July 2014

Two Sticks, Sydney CBD

Many Chinese dishes have stories behind them. Maybe it’s cause we know that food tastes richer with a legend or two, or maybe the lack of modern entertainment gave us cause to make things up. Either way, I love these tales that accompany my meal – it turns a simple lunch from a functional action, into a dining experience.

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Chewy Cookies in a Food Processor

I love cooking with kids, but with no kids of my own, I only ever get the opportunity when I visit my cousin in Melbourne. These kids are a ravenous pair, and I’m such a proud aunt for it. But I know that as much as cooking with kids is really fun, it can be time consuming and messy, and often is left in the ‘too hard’ basket.

So why not use the appliances we have at our disposal? The food processor is my best friend in the kitchen, and these chewy cookies are my new favourite thing to make.

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Lentil as Anything

I think I’m a hippie at heart. There are a great many ideals I am in support of, and bringing together a community through food is definitely one of them.

Which is why I love the concept of Lentil as Anything – a not-for-profit restaurant with a unique business model of pay-as-you-like, all in the name of the community. But the question remains: how is the food?

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Drive By Eating: Le Bistro Dorine, Eastwood

Never in my life have I been surrounded with so many cafés, so many options, so many shops fighting to put a warm caffeinated beverage in my hands and send me off to work. In the mere 10 minutes walk to the Eastwood train station, I can think of over 5 cafés, each located within meters of each other, competing for my attention. Cherry Beans Cafe, Pishon Cafe and Sweet Pumpkin Soup Cafe are three that immediately come to mind. Some, intoxicating you with the awakening aroma of their coffee, while the rest repel you with the smell of burned coffee and their lack of appreciation for these magical beans.

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Jollof Rice

I was researching party recipes lately, and I’ve come to learn that African dishes differ greatly. I guess I should have know, being an Asian and all, but it didn’t really click. Maybe it’s because African cuisine is not as documented, exported, and prolific, but there’s definitely a great wide area there to explore.

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Taste of Shanghai, Eastwood

Xiao Long Bao, to me, is a peasant dish that is extremely delicate. Many components make up these juicy mouthfuls: a thin, translucent skin that still holds up well enough for you to pick them up with chopsticks, a pork filling that is seasoned but not overly so, to let the natural flavour of the pork shine through, and the tiny cubes of gelatinised stock and pork fat that melt when the dumplings are steamed, to create a piping hot soup that flows when that skin is pricked.

So when a restaurant not only serves xiao long bao at their restaurant, but has it as one of their featured dishes, it makes you wonder about the execution of the rest of their menu.

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Singapore Eats: Kway Chap, Bishan North

It can be very hard to explain to a non-Singaporean the concept of Kway Chap – after all, how do you describe what is essentially a Singaporean version of haggis, except that it’s all chopped up and not stuffed into a sheep’s stomach.

Well, I’m sure going to try, because this local delicacy is not only worth the explanation, it’s worth the effort.

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My Chermoula Fish

This particular marinade came from a hodge podge of influences. I had picked up a basic chermoula recipe from a chef I had worked with – coriander, garlic, paprika – and started adding my own variations based on ingredients that I’ve had at home. The result might not be the most authentic Chermoula, but it certainly has become a family favourite!
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Devon Cafe, Surry Hills

Thank goodness for girlfriends.

I was super excited when my friend Yina said that she was visiting me from Singapore – we’ve known each other since we were 13, been through all the awkward teenage years and it’s been awhile since I’ve moved to Australia. So when she suggested a trip together to Devon Cafe in scenic Surry Hills, I knew that it was going to be an afternoon of food and laughter, just like the old times.

Couple that with truffles? We were ready for some winter bling!

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Drive-by Eating: Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks

Fried chicken. Just saying the words conjure up images juicy chicken meat encased in a fragile shell of batter or crumb; every bite threatening to shatter like glass with every bite.

And how better to pass a dreary winter day than to pick up a massive piece of fried chicken, served in a paper bag like a boss!

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