Archive for April, 2011
China Doll is one of my favourite and also one of the most elegant restaurants in Sydney. It’s located in a fantastic spot on the Wolloomooloo finger wharf. However the stunning harbour views shouldn’t detract from the exquisite experience about to unfold right in front of you! The up and coming chef, Frank Shek, is from a multicultural background and shows great flair when combining delightful Asian flavours in a magical new way. It’s good to know that all produce used in the kitchen are also carefully picked, organic and sustainable.
I would recommend kicking off with a few starters to share – including the steamed Prawn & Green Soy Bean dumplings, the Sashimi of Hiramasa Kingfish & Ocean Trout and the Chilli Salt Squid. The dumplings are juicy and delicious, the kingfish fresh & fragrant, and the chili Squid crispy and spicy, which make it the absolute best combination! For mains, the signature dish is the melt in your mouth Crispy Pork Belly, but the Curry of Slow Braised Wagyu Beef Shin was probably our number one favourite! If you prefer seafood, the Steamed Mulloway Fillet was pretty popular too. I would also strongly suggest you save a bit of room for the desserts. If only just for one – then it would have to be the the condensed milk tart with it’s gorgeous strands of fairy floss. If you can squeeze another one in, then the Sago with coconut milk and passionfruit was also a delight. If it’s only two of you, you may want to opt for one of the two banquet options on offer. This way you still get a chance to sample a good selection of those wonderful dishes.
While on the expensive side, the portion sizes are generous and the service friendly and attentive, making the overall experience worth every penny. All together a really memorable experience and a great spot for a special night out! If you feel like going somewhere else for a few more drinks, you could try the nearby Tilbury or even cocktails at Water Bar @ Blue to end the night in style!
Overall, I would probably give it a 8.5/10 Nibbles!
Shop 4, 6 Cowper Wharf Road
NSW Australia 2011
This is the perfect winter comfort food, rich and flavourful mix of fresh herbs and spices, with the perfect balance between sweet and zesty. If you take the time to marinate the meat the day before and cook it slowly for at least 2 hours, the meat will literrally fall off the bone. Serve with cous cous for a complete meal.
Ingredients: Serves 4
4 lamb shanks, excess fat trimmed
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 onions, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
1 bunch of coriander
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
6 chat potatoes, peeled and cut in half
4 vine ripened tomatoes, thickly sliced
75 g dried apricots
2 tbsp clear honey
3 bay leaves
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Couscous (to serve)
Lemon (to serve)
Greek yoghourt (to serve)
1. Place the ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder into a bowl and mix together. Season the lamb shanks with a splash of olive olive oil, a good pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper and rub in the spice mix. Set aside for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge if you can.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees. Place the garlic cloves, coriander stalks (save the leaves), 2 onions and 2/3 of the red chilli in a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add lamb pieces to brown and set aside. Add the spice paste to the remaining oil and fry gently for 3 minutes.
4. Add carrots, the remaining onion, potatoes, tomatoes, apricots and turn over a few times in the spice mixture. Season with Salt and pepper.
5. Transfer the mixture to a Tagine dish if you have one or a large air tight and over proof dish. Place the lamb on top, add the bay leaves, honey and enough stock to almost cover the meat. Cook in the oven for 2 hours.
6. Serve with couscous and sprinkle with coriander leaves, red chili, a couple of lemon wedges and a dollop of Greek yoghourt.
Click here if you would like to see the Nibblish Beef Tagine Recipe!
This Donna Hay inspired pudding looks absolutely gorgeous, yet it’s so easy to make you will really struggle to mess it up! ;0) The only trick is to start on the jelly early to give it enough time to set.
Ingredients: (4 serves)
1 raspberry jelly sachet
100g fresh raspberries
4 macarons (store bought)
1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp sugar
Coconut flakes to serve (optional)
1. Make the raspberry jelly according to the packet’s instructions. Arrange 4-5 raspberries in the bottom of each of the 4 serving glasses and pour over the raspberry jelly. Place in the fridge to set for at least 4-5 hours.
2. To assemble, place a macaron in each glass on the jelly. Whisk the thickened cream with the sugar and vanilla until it holds peaks and layer over the macaron. Top up with a couple of fresh raspberries and a sprinkle of coconut flakes. You’re done!
Ice-cream hidden in a crispy choux pastry ball, covered in chocolate sauce. Can you think of anything better, seriously?
25g unsalted butter
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup flour
1 pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
1.Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Bring butter, water and 1 pinch of salt to boil, stirring well until the butter is melted.
2. Pour the flour all at once in the butter mixture and use a wooden spoon to beat until well combined and until it forms a ball. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
3. Whisk in the eggs, but one at a time until well combined.
4. Cover a large tray with baking paper. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag and pipe the profiteroles onto the baking tray. If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a ziplock bag and cut off the corner.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the profiteroles are puffed and golden. Try not to open the oven until it’s cooked or your pastry may run rise as desired.
6. Remove from oven and turn the oven off. Using a skewer or a small knife, prick each profiterole once and return the to the oven for 15 minutes to dry out.
7. To prepare the sauce, break the chocolate into rough pieces and melt it in a pan. Pour the cream in and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth and fully combined. Remove from the heat, add a pinch of salt, a splash of cognac if you wish and mix well.
8. To assemble the profiteroles, halve each choux horizontally, fill with a ball of ice-cream. Place 3 on each plate, over some whipped cream and drizzle generously with chocolate sauce.
The same choux pastry recipe can be used for eclairs.
Kids absolutely love ice-cream sandwiches, and so do most grown up men! Why don’t you try this out next time to make a batch of cookies?
125g dark chocolate, melted
50g cocoa, sieved
1 cup flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g soft butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
100g Chocolate chips
1. Make chocolate cookies according the recipe instructions, but replace the macadamia nuts for chocolate chips and use a round mould to shape the dough before baking to ensure all cookies are identical.
2. Fill the round mould with Ice cream using a spatula to form a layer of the same size as the cookies. Place it between two cookies and return it back to the freezer!
I usually store them in individual freezing bags for up to a few weeks!
I decided to start making my own Scotch eggs after witnessing my boyfriend struggling to satisfy his odd British craving in Sydney. Since I hate the idea of deep-frying anything, I also tweaked the classic recipe for a healthier version using only just a touch of oil spray and a hot oven!
Ingredients: makes 10 eggs
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
3 tbsp worcester sauce
500g Pork mince
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Plain flour, to dust
Breadcrumbs, to coat
2 eggs, lightly beaten to coat
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place 10 eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water to cool completely, peel and dust with a bit of flour so that the surface is nice and dry.
2. In the meantime, combine the onion, garlic, chilli, herbs, worcester sauce and mince. Season with salt & pepper, mixe well and divide the mixture into 10 even portions.
3. To assemble to scotch eggs, mould half of one portion flat in the cup of your hand. Place a hard-boiled egg into it and shape the rest of the meat around to enclose. Roll it between your hands to smooth the surface. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
4. Roll each egg in the egg wash and breadcrumbs and set aside. Repeat with the other eggs.
5. When you have assembled all of the scotch eggs, place them onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Spray with oil and bake on high heat for 20 minutes. Spray again lightly, change the oven setting and grill for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Scotch eggs are great sliced over a green salad for a light dinner, or simply packed for a picnic or a lunch box! Mini scotch eggs using quail eggs can also make a great party food option!
Croque Madame, or “crispy miss” is a tweaked version of the classic French “Croque Monsieur” more commonly referred to as “croque” in most French bistros. The addition of the fried egg and bechamel sauce on top turns it from a Monsieur to a Madam… it’s a sensational Sunday brunch option!
Ingredients: (serves 4)
8 slices sandwich bread
4 tbsp hot mustard
200g, freshly sliced ham
60g Gruyere cheese, finely sliced
4 tbsp butter, softened
40g Gruyere cheese, grated
2 tablespoons oil
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat the grill to 150 degrees and divide the sliced ham and cheese evenly into 4 portions. Spread the mustard on 4 slices of bread, cover with ham and with cheese. Place the remaining slices of bread on top of the cheese and spread the butter over the outside surfaces of the sandwiches.
2. To prepare the bechamel sauce, melt the butter into a small sauce pan and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk and continue whisking and cook until the sauce is smooth, and thickened. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
3. Place the sandwiches on an ungreased baking sheet and grill for about 3 minutes on each side, turn them over, cover with a layer of bechamel sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and continue cooking until they are crispy and golden brown.
4. In the meantime, pre-heat oil in a large frying pan and fry the eggs. Place a fried egg on each sandwich and serve hot.
For a classic croque-monsieur, simply omit the bechamel sauce and fried egg!
Sate Bali is a popular traditional Balinese Warung in Seminyak, offering not only great food throughout the day but also an awesome authentic cooking class in the morning. The class takes place in the open air dining room of the restaurant with chef, Nyoman Sudiyasa, from 9am to 12pm. It may be a group demonstration as opposed to a “hands on” cooking class, but it’s quite informal so all participants are welcome to help with some of the small jobs. It’s also very practical and actionable, with clear instructions and suggestions of substitutes for local ingredients expected to be harder to find back home.
An impressive ten recipes were showcased that morning, most of which were savoury dishes featuring an exciting combination of fish, chicken, pork, salads and condiments. The first recipe of the day was an authentic Balinese Spice Paste (Base Gede), a blend of spices, herbs and roots, commonly used in Balinese cuisine. Base Gede was then used in the three delicious dishes that followed: Steam Marinated Mahi Mahi, Minced Chicken in banana leaf, and Nasi Goreng. Next we made my personal favourite, the Pork in Sweet Soya Sauce, a delicious mix of pork cuts slowly cooked away in sweet soya sauce, garlic, chillies, ginger and stock for 90 minutes. Then we started preparing the sides and sauces, including Assorted Vegetables in Peanut Sauce, Green Salad of winged beans and paco ferns; Tomato Sambal, and Shallot and Lemon Grass Sambal. Both sambals can be used as condiment, sauce or dressing. The class was finally completed with a sweet treat – Coconut Pandan Pancakes, bringing a nice local tweak to an international classic!
The cost is US$40 per person, which is great value as all dishes are also sampled at the end of the session! You also get a recipe handout and drinks. Make sure you book your class a few days in advance as it’s a popular restaurant and the only cooking school in the Seminyak area!
Jl Laskmana 22A (opposite Samaya resort)
+62 361 736734
This basic gnocchi recipe is really easy to follow and will give you the perfect, delicate, super soft and heavenly gnocchi which can be dressed in many different ways! A simple tomato sauce and grated cheese is a very delicious and authentic way to serve it, but you may prefer tossing it with other classic flavour combinations, such butter & sage, parm ham & ricotta, garlic & wild mushrooms, or peas & mint.
Ingredients: serves 4
6-8 large potatoes
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup plain flour
1 pinch nutmeg, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Classic Tomato Sauce
5 ripe tomatoes, chopped or 1 can diced tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 handful Basil, thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmesan, freshly grated
1. Boil potatoes in salted water for about 25 minutes or until tender, drain and let is cool down for 10 minutes or so. Peel and mash the flesh while still warm and place into a large mixing bowl. Fold in the egg yolks and the flour, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and gradually add a little more flour if the mixture is still too wet and sticky to form a ball.
2. Divide the mixture in 4-6 portions, roll each piece into a sausage shape on a floured surface and cut each into thick slices.
3. To shape the gnocchi, place it against the back of a fork, press in and down the length of the fork. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi, dust with a bit of flour and cover with a wet cloth for up to a couple of hours or until ready to cook.
4. To prepare the sauce, pre-heat a splash of oil in a frying pan, add the garlic, onion and season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and cook gently for 5 minutes and stir in the chopped basil.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Boil the gnocchi in small batches in salted water for 2-3 minutes, scoop out with a slotted spoon as they start floating to the surface and continue until all remaining gnocchi have been cooked. Place the cooked gnocchi in the sauce and place in a baking tray. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
While a little fiddly, gnocchi can be really rewarding to make fresh as the soft little pillows will taste amazing, honestly nothing like the supermarket bought version! One last little tip, be careful not to add too much flour though as the more flour the firmer the gnocchi will be. Adding some salt to the water will prevent the gnocchi from sticking and disintegrating while cooking. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to moderate. Try and add small batches of gnocchi at a time to ensure the temperature remains stable. If you wish to freeze the gnocchi, do so before they’ve been cooked and start by laying them on a tray to prevent them from sticking together. Once frozen, you can stick them in a freezing bag to store.
This deliciously rich and creamy chocolate mousse will please everyone, from chocolate fanatic friends to kids! While really easy to prepare, the layers and chocolate shavings will make it look more special than the more classic uniform version.
Ingredients: (4 serves)
1 cup thickened cream
100g dark chocolate
100g white chocolate
4 large eggs (or 5 small), separated
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 pinch salt
small handful dark chocolate shavings
1. Whisk cream in a medium bowl until firm peaks form.
2. Melt the dark chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, season with a pinch of salt, whisk in 2 egg yolks and fold in half of the whipped cream.
3. Repeat with white chocolate, but melting it in a splash of warm cream on very low heat to avoid caramelising it. Whisk in the egg yolks and fold in the remaining whipped cream.
4. Whisk the egg whites in a mxing bowl until soft peaks form and gradually add the sugar the mixture is thick and glossy. Fold half the egg white mixture into dark chocolate mixture until just combined. Fold the remaining egg white mixture into the white chocolate mixture until just combined.
5. Once fully cooled down, spoon the dark chocolate mixture among four glasses, top with the white chocolate mixture and sprinkle dark chocolate shavings on top. Place in fridge for 3 hours or until set.