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Archive for August, 2007

Mummaluka

We recently went Mummaluka for CY’s birthday dinner. Our original plan was to go to The Drunken Admiral, but unfortunately it was fully booked. Krys’s been here with her pharmacy friends, whereas it was a first for the rest of us. We weren’t exactly sure what type of cuisine they serve. I thought African perhaps since the name sounds African..haha!

The atmosphere in the restaurant was ok, nothing very special. The most interesting thing was the pepper stand on our table. It was some sorta statue in the shape of a woman carrying something above her head, and in that “basket” piled ground black pepper. It was the first time any of us had seen something like that so it was pretty amusing. Other than that, I personally felt the place was a bit too crammed. Maybe because we were seated near the entrance and not inside. Oh well…

They’ve got quite a wide selection of food here. It was only after the meal, when we were leaving, did we realise it was because the place specialises in cuisine from all over the world! No wonder there’s pasta, tom yum, stew, mexican etc on the menu! The set dinner offered is definitely value for money. You get an entree, a main and a dessert for $34 on Saturdays and $29 from Tuesdays to Fridays. Alan and CY went for it while the rest of us opted for mains. Everyone but Alan and I had the BBQ Ribs. I decided on the Braised Lamb Shanks, whereas Alan went for the Seafood Tom Yum. We all go a shock when our meals arrived – the portions were huge. Mine was the biggest stunner of all – it was a huge, deep platter simmering with lotsa sauce, vegetables and 2 gigantic chunks of lamb shanks! You should’ve seen my face…everyone was laughing as they all knew what a small eater I am!

My first couple of bites of the stew was really good. It was obvious the amount of time and effort that went into preparing the braised lamb shanks was long. The meat was tender and juicy, and the sweetness of the vegetables were assimilated with it. Maybe it’s just me, but after the initial 5-8 mouthfuls, I felt a bit nauseated. Like beef, lamb has a very strong and overpowering taste. The smell eventually got to me and I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Alan’s tom yum was your typical Caucasian style Asian dish – too much coconut milk and not spicy and sour enough. The pork ribs were definitely the best and everyone cleaned their plates out. As for dessert, CY had the Cadbury’s Top Deck Chocolate Pot and Alan the Pistachio Ice Cream. The choc pot was really very sweet whereas the ice cream wasn’t. So if you take one mouth from the choc pot followed by one mouth of the ice cream, that would be perfect! :)

All in all, the food in my opinion was just mediocre. Let’s just say I’ve had better. But feel free to visit their website (http://www.mummaluka.com.au/) to get an idea of what is served. Then go try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

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Sugarpaste



sugar paste, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.


Engagement Cake 1 (Experiment), originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

Here comes the recipe for the sugarpaste I made for my experimental engagement cake. Like the marzipan, I thought I would flop horribly. Before making both the marzipan and sugarpaste, I spent nights wondering how was I to cover the cake? All the book said was to roll it out on an icing sugar dusted work surface and lift it over the cake then press it down. That didn’t make much sense to me. In my mind, all I was focusing on was the fact that my cake was a round cake and wouldn’t the edges just overlap and cross over each other? Doesn’t that mean my cake will not have the smooth look? All these and more worries of mine were a waste of time! :p I realised as long as you’ve kneaded your marzipan and sugarpaste into a smooth, pliable texture, when you roll it out and lift it over the cake, it’ll just fall nicely and the edges won’t crease over each other. Once done, gently press the sides down and trim off the edges. You should have plenty of leftovers for you to colour and make designs of all sorts.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tsp gelatine
  • 125ml liquid glucose
  • 1 tbsp glycerine
  • 1 kg icing sugar

Method:

  • Sprinkle gelatine over 3 tbsp of water in a bow and leave till it is spongy in texture.
  • Bring a kettle of water to boil and fill it in a pan. Place gelatine bowl in pan and stir till dissolve. Add the glucose and glycerine and stir until melted. Leave to cool for 1 minute.
  • In the meantime, sift 750g icing sugar into a big bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour the gelatine mixture in. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  • Knead until icing has a dough-like texture. Make sure your hands are dry and use the remaining icing sugar to dust your hands and work area so as to prevent sticking.

Note:

  • This recipes makes approximately 1 kg of sugarpaste which is enough to cover a 9 inch cake.

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Marzipan



marzipan, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.


marzipan 2, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

This is my first attempt at making marzipan. Over the years, I’ve bought a couple of cake decorating books and have always been fascinated by the exquisite cakes displayed. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making marzipan figures and flowers etc. but time and again, procrastination overpowered my wants. By accident, I stumbled upon ready-made marzipan at Coles and was sorely tempted to buy, but it’s always been my policy: “Why buy when you can make it yourself?”. Only when it’s been proven that it’s more costly to make it yourself, will I buy.

My opportunity finally came when Terence told me he was engaged. I offered to organize an engagement party and bake the engagement cake. Me and my big mouth! :p The journey itself was tiring but fun. Now, I know how much effort goes into making wedding cakes. Just my experimental cake itself took about 4 days before it was ready to be decorated and served! My recipe below is from Jane Price’s “The Home Guide to Cake Decorating”. I highly recommend it as the guidelines are simple and easy to understand, ideal for beginners and those in the intermediate level.

Ingredients:

  • 750g icing sugar
  • 200g ground almonds / almond meal
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp sweet sherry
  • 2 tsp glycerine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Almond essence

Method:

  • Sift about 500g icing sugar into a big bowl. Mix in the almond meal and make a well in the centre.
  • Mix egg yolks, sherry, glycerine, lemon juice and almond essence together in a bow.
  • Pour into the well and stir with a knife until stiff.
  • Knead until smooth and pliable. Use the remaining icing sugar to dust your hands and the work surface to prevent sticking.

Note:

  • I used raw almond meal that’s why my marzipan has got brown specks in it. If you use the normal almond meal you get from the supermarket etc., it’ll come out light yellowish-brownish in colour.
  • If you don’t have sweet sherry, try a sweet based alcohol – I used port.
  • This recipe is enough to make approximately 1 kg marzipan, which is enough to cover a 9 inch cake.

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choc cake, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

choc cake slice, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.Last year, Delicious magazine had some sorta anniversary and there was a promotion to buy 2 magazines for the price of 1. So, there began my journey of purchasing food/gourmet magazines! One of the issues had various cake recipes in conjunction with their “birthday” and I came across this recipe entitled “The Best Chocolate Cake”. At that time, I was in search of a good chocolate cake recipe for my Black Forest but the few that I tried were mediocre only. I’m very fussy about my cakes, and especially with my chocolate desserts. Being a chocolate fan, I’ll only use good quality chocolate for my stuff and cocoa powder in a cake just ain’t good enough!When I first stumbled upon this recipe and read the title, my first thought was “What arrogance!” Then I thought, why not? If it sucks, I can write in to Delicious and complain. My skepticism turned out so very wrong! The cake was awesome! While it is baking, the house is filled with the strongest, richest chocolate aroma. Splendid! I’ve since used this recipe for all my chocolate based cakes eg Black Forest and Chocolate Banana Cake.I made this here as an experiment for my “Ah Koh” (Big Bro) – Terence’s engagement. I had no problem making the cake, it was the marzipan and sugar paste I was concerned about. It’s my first time making an engagement cake hence the pressure was on. It was hard work but well worth the effort.

Ingredients:  

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 cup strong espresso
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 185g unsalted butter, softened
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 160C, and grease a baking pan
  • Mix cocoa powder, coffee, vanilla essence and 1/2 cup cold water in a bowl and whisk.
  • Sift flour , bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt together.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well each time.
  • Stir in melted chocolate into egg mixture.
  • Add the flour and cocoa mixture alternatively into egg mixture.
  • Pour into pan and bake till set (approximately 1 – 1 1/2 hours).
  • Leave to cool and decorate accordingly.

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Another of my new exploits from Donna Hay. I was meant to use ricotta cheese, but due to a bad memory I bought the wrong one! :p Anyhow, everything turned out well and was indeed a pleasant meal.

Ingredients:

  • Lamb cutlets
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Baby spinach
  • Ricotta/Feta cheese

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200C.
  • Mix approximately 1-2tbsp olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar together in a bowl.
  • Place lamb cutlets in a roasting pan, then pour above mixture over it.
  • Bake in oven till cook. Occassionally, baste cutlets with marinade.
  • Mix salad and cheese in a bowl, add a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss together and leave aside.
  • Arrange salad on serving plate, top with lamb cutlets.

Note:

  • If you are in a rush, you can pan fry the cutlets instead of baking it.

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stuffed chk breast, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.


stuffed chk breast 2, originally uploaded by pearlyn83.

Another of my experiments :) . My colleagues and I went to Casablanca in North Hobart for dinner and one of them had chicken breast which was stuffed with stuff in it. That’s where I got my inspiration from. I ruined 2 pieces of chicken breasts trying to figure out the best way to stuff it. Thank God we bought 4 pieces! :p Anyway, the result surpassed my expectations. A lot of people are not fans of chicken breast fillets as they find it a bit dry. The chicken was a lot juicier with the stuffings, just make sure you don’t overbake it or it’ll become dry.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces chicken breast
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Pine nuts
  • Basil pesto
  • Lemon juice
  • Snow peas
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Chicken stock

Method:

  • Wash chicken breast and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Mince sundried tomatoes, then mix with pine nuts and basil pesto in a bowl. Add in 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Using a sharp knife, slit a hole slowly through the middle of the chicken breast, forming a pocket. Use a spoon and slowly stuff the hole with the sundried tomatoes mixture. Repeat steps with the other piece of chicken breast.
  • Rub the chicken breast pieces with salt and black pepper.
  • Heat a frying pan with olive oil. Sear fillets till brown on both side.
  • In a baking tray, wash and lay the snow peas. Place chicken breast on top of the peas, pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock over it.
  • Place baking tray into oven and bake chicken till cook.
  • Remove from oven, arrange snow peas onto serving plate. place fillets on top then ladle some gravy onto chicken. Serve hot.

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This place is definitely one of my favourite joints. For the Fish & Chips lovers out there, this is the place to go. It’s relatively new in comparison to other places in Tassie but since its opening, it has become one of the biggest competitor for places like Mures and The Fish Bar.

The interior setting is contemporary and funky. The basic deco is black and white, with the walls painted with street murals. They’ve also provided cute drawings and colour texters to keep the kids occupied and amused, and a section of the wall has also been set aside to display the after products. Anyone will feel totally at ease and at home here with its light and causal ambience.

Fish 349 is often packed full with people. The one disadvantage is that you can’t make a reservation, but then again, if you could, it would defeat the purpose of it being a “fast food” joint. However, the service here is efficient and fast, especially in comparison to Mures. Often, within 10 minutes at most, we’d receive our order, fresh, hot and delicious! We’ve tried a few items off the menu, my favourite being the Caesar Salad with Seared Scallops. Light and simple, the meal’s filling enough without making one feel nauseous. I’ve also had the Hot and Cold Platter for 2. That’s also another good one to have if you like a taste of different stuff. If it’s just Alan and I, we wouldn’t be able to consume the whole thing, so we normally share this with one or 2 other people and order an extra side. The platter’s got a good mix of deep-fried crumbed prawns (I believe they use shredded coconut), Thai fish cakes, battered fish, fried squid rings, half a dozen of fresh oysters – 3 served with a pear and vinegar sauce, 3 served fresh, a huge serving of smoke salmon slices and cold cut prawns. In addition, there’s a side serving of a pear and parmesan cheese salad. When we first had the salad, we found the taste quite unusual, but after a couple more bites, you’ll grow to love it. :p

There’s also the normal aussie fish and chips, fish baskets etc., but done a lot better than Mures. Most of you by now would gather that I’m not a big fan of Mures. :) But, honestly, the fish and chips taste a lot fresher and better. The ice creams are not too bad as well, especially the ferrero roche – it’s rich, creamy and has bits of ferrero roche in them – YUM!

All in all, this is the place we go whenever we feel like some seafood. Of course, you can go there for some other stuff like steak (a friend of ours tried and said it was good). Whatever it is, I highly recommend it if you want a good meal in a light, casual environment.

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