Archive for December, 2010

31st December
2010
written by Nibblish
This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Top Nibbles Out

31/12/2010

Toko is definitely one of my favourite hotspots in Sydney…I have been there quite a few times, have tried pretty much every dish on the menu and each one is a winner of its kind!! Even the Tofu, which I normally find a bit bland and boring, is absolutely gorgeous and full of flavors…We had the tasting menu for the first time last night, and the combination of dishes was really varied and exciting…see below photos!

Toko Moodboard

The atmosphere was buzzing but relaxed, the service fast paced but friendly and the food, well the best Japanese food you can find outside Tokyo!

Food: 9.5
Ambiance: 9
Service: 8.5
Price: 8

Overall, I would probably give it a 9/10 Nibbles!

Website

490 crown street
surry hills
nsw australia 2010
+61 2 9357 6100

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31st December
2010
written by Nibblish

The common thing with all top cooks? 
None of them were born that way! It truly takes everyone a lot of practice, trial and error, and a lot of learning to master cooking, but also to find your own style. One thing that makes it a hell of a lot easier and enjoyable though is to have a good kitchen – spacious and well equipped. Here are my top 10 favourite kitchen items, which have become truly essential in my day to day cooking… most of which would make really nice present ideas too!

1. Tagine Dish
I always try and be as creative and versatile as possible when it comes to cooking and my tagine dish has become a whole new world of inspiration! While some of the moroccan recipes can be done pretty much in any slow cooking dish with a tight lid, I find that a bit of authenticity can open new doors! Mine is a Maxwell & Williams, from their new microstoven range. It’s quite good value for money with traditional material and features but easier to clean (non stick!).  You can also explore the more authentic places in Newton for a traditional design if you’ve got time.Check out my Lamb tagine recipe as a starting point if you decide to get one!

2. Fondue Set
Everyone loves a good fondue. Fact. 
It may be a bit tacky and 80′s, but cheesy when it comes to fondue is a good thing, non?!  More seriously, it’s a great dinner to have with friends, especially if you don’t have much time to prepare, and it never fails to get the crew excited…Cheese, meat or chocolate…Mmm!
Mine is a scanpan model and I bought it online from Peter’s of Kensington.
3. Individual Ceramic Oven Dishes

I have a set of 4 little Maxwell oven dishes and I find myself using it all the time. It’s really handy to keep sides warm in the oven and looks great as a bit of sizzle on the table. I use it to serve tapas, potato gratin, fajitas etc.

4. Book Stand

If like me you own a huge collection of cooking books, but sometime fail to use it because you don’t want to get your books dirty in the kitchen…that’s one for you. 
Mine is a MasterChef (like me) so it looks pretty smooth too!

5. Rice Cooker

I was a hardcore skeptic but now can’t live without one! Perfect rice every time – hands down, but you can also use it as a steamer to cook vegs but even risottos and other saucy dishes. It’s also a must for certain Asian recipes like sticky rice and sushi rice.

6. Tefal Acti-fry
The selling line is “Cook a kilogram of chips with only one spoonful of oil!”. It’s a quick, tasty and healthy way to do all your frying – fish, tempura, chips – you name it!


7. Top Quality Knives
Good knives are something you should really invest in. You will use it everyday for slicing, chopping, dicing and it will last for decades. Just remember to look after them. Get a good sharpener and learn how to use it. I have the Global Knives and definitely recommend it (unless if you’re really clumsy)


8. Mortar & Pestle

Freshly ground pepper & sea salt can be the final touch that improves every dish. Its also very handy for some garlic, lemon and herb bases sauces (salsa verde, pesto etc) or to crush nuts for a topping! 
To be honest – it also just looks great (and pro) in the kitchen!


9. Top Quality Pots & Pans

I would have a similar approach with knives and cookware – quality matters and the amount of usage you get out of it overtime totally outweighs the cost. If you can’t afford a full set, buy a couple of good quality essentials (frying pan, sauce pan) and add to your collection along the way.


10. Handheld Blender



I love my Braun multiquick –  I use it all the time for smoothies, soups, sauces, mousses and cakes. Because it’s handheld, you can whisk and blend straight in your pan or bowl.  It’s also compact and easy to store!

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29th December
2010
written by Nibblish

I made this one as a Vegetarian, Gluten free and pregnancy friendly alternative to other starters on Christmas day. I really thought it would come across as slightly dull, but everyone really loved it and to my greatest surprise it was the first one gone despite most people having other meatier and cheesier options! I replaced the traditional bread crumbs with polenta to suit the gluten free diet, but it really worked a treat! The wasabi mayonnaise as a dip was also a great way to lift a simple dish to something a little bit more fancy. Who would have thought that boring cucumber slices are not the only option to specialist diets?!

Ingredients (for 20 mini fish cakes)


4 medium potatoes, peeled and boiled
420g canned salmon
220g Whole egg mayonnaise
4 tsp coriander, chopped

4 tablespoons grated onion
2 Egg yolks
1 egg
30ml Milk
Polenta
Salt and pepper
2 tsp Olive oil 
Wasabi paste

Instructions:


1. Boil the potatoes for 15 min, allow to cool and roughly mash it. Remove skin and bones from the canned Salmon and flake it into chunky pieces over the mash.

2. Stir in 2/3 of the mayonnaise, coriander, egg yolks, onion, salt and pepper. Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes to firm up.

3. Beat egg and milk into a small bowl.

4. Shape cooled mixture into about 20 small patties, roll each one in egg and milk mixture, coat with polenta. Repeat again with a second layer of egg mixture and polenta to make it crispier. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Cook patties for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through.

For the wasabi mayo, simply mix remaining mayo with 2 dollops of wasabi!

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28th December
2010
written by Nibblish
This is by far the tastiest breakfast you could ever serve to your friends. I say friends cause it can take a bit of time to get the potatoes nice and crispy, so a bit longer than what you would normally invest in a regular breakfast. It’s got fried potatoes deliciously flavoured and spiced up with chorizo, garlic and parpika, a lovely runny egg and Parma ham on top for the protein intake – so it’s basically a hybrid between a fry up and potatoes bravas…Heaven!


Ingredients (4 people)

4 medium roasting potatoes, cut into small dice (1.5-2 cm)
4 garlic cloves, whole and unpeel
4 Eggs
4 slices of Parma ham
200g fresh chorizo, cut into small dice (bitesize)
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 small onion, finely diced
virgin oil
Fresh thyme
Sea salt
Black ground pepper 


Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan and cook for 15 min, steering occasionally. Add the onion, garlic, chorizo and thyme and cook until it’s all nicely brown and cooked. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper. Place in the oven to keep it warm.

  1. In the meantime get the eggs ready – fried or poached as you prefer it. I also like to serve it with hash-browns. You may think that’s over doing it a bit? I think it’s just a way to make it extra special – potato 2 ways!

  1. Serve the potato mixture on the plates, with the egg, a few bits of parma harm and the hash-brown on top!


Et voila! ¡Que aproveche! 
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27th December
2010
written by Nibblish

I absolutely love when the house fills up with the the intense fragrance of a good tagine cooking away slowly. My mum was taught a few very tasty North African recipes when she lived in Tunisia as a teenager which became classics in the family over the years. It can be a little bit time consuming, but mainly for the meat to marinate and for the dish to cook really slowly so just get started early and do something else in the meantime!

Ingredients

(serves 4)


  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Small bunch of fresh Thyme
  • 1 dry bay leave
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small can of chickpeas
  • 1kg diced lamb
  • 1 cup chicken stock
    • Greek-style yoghurt

    1 handful flakes almonds, toasted



Instructions

  1. Combine spices and salt in a large bowl. Add oil, rind and half the juice of a lemon and stir to form a paste. Add lamb and stir until well-coated in paste. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours if time permits. Even up to overnight if you can – the longer it marinates the tastier it becomes!


  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Put lamb mixture into the tagine dish or into a casserole with a tight-fitting lid over the hob, add oil and fry the meat for 5 minutes. Add the onions, sliced garlic, thyme, bay leave and fry for a further 2 mins. Add stock, tomatoes, chickpeas and remaining lemon juice. Stir until well-combined.


  3. Cover, place in the oven and cook for 2h or until lamb is tender. Check it every hour or so and add more water or stock if it gets too dry. If you want to add more vegetables, add it 30 mins before the end to keep it from going too mushy. Check the consistency once cooked, if it’s too liquid then put it back on the hob uncovered and boil it off a little bit until you’re happy with the thickness. 


    Serve immediately with a dollop of yoghurt, sprinkling of almonds & as much fresh chili as you can handle! Plus couscous, salad leaves and maybe some nice rustic bread on the side.

    You can also come up with your own version of the tagine, as long as the spice mix remains the same. Just try pretty much any meat (Eg. beef, chicken) combined with any stew vegetable (Eg. pumpkin, zucchinis) and any fresh herbs (Eg. Coriander, rosemary).

I enjoyed it with my gorgeous fiance (who took the photo) and we polished off our plates in 5 mins! That was one tasty Tagine…!



Now time for a Moroccan sheesha!

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