This Is What Happens When You Arm a Foodie and Send Them To China

A picture tells a thousand words

So brace yourselves….

The Epic Food Diary of a Hungry Foodie in China Armed with Chopsticks and a Camera

 09.04.11 (Guangzhou, Guangdong) – The Arrival

10.04.11 – The overeating

11.4.11 – The Banquet

12.04.11 (Hangzhou, Zhejiang) – The Culture Shift

13.4.11 (Xianju, Zhejiang) –  The Rural Jungle

14.4.11 – The Strawberry Fields

15.4.11 – The Noodles

16.4.11 (Shanghai) – The Night Life

17.4.11 – The Love Affair

18.4.11 (Nanjing, Jiangsu) – The Market

19.4.11 (Wuxi, Jiangsu) – The Sacred

20.4.11 (Suzhou, Jiangshu) – The Water

21.4.11 (Hangzhou, Zhejiang) – The Tourists

22.4.11 – The Green

23.4.11 (Guangzhou, Guangdong) – The Return

26.4.11 – The Farewell

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APOLOGIES

Hey Readers!

I know I haven’t blogged for 4 months now I am super duper sorry! It’s because I’ve been overseas and my internet has been screwed up for a whole 10 weeks 😦

But, nonetheless, I’ve been cooking away and I have some very exciting new foods to show you guys!

So don’t lose faith! I’m back and the food is better than ever 😀

See you soon!

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P.S. I met Marion from season 2 Masterchef Australia!!!! I was so excited I was about to throw up 😛

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Homestyle Pie

As we’re approaching the colder dreary days of winter, there has been increasingly available a wide range of recipes for warm hearty meals that take hours and hours to make and use more than 93285728435 ingredients. And before your impossiblely expensive and complex dish is ready, you’ve become – more or less – an iceblock.

So let’s get back to the basics. How about a hearty homestyle pie? And would you like mushy peas with that as well? Honestly, we’ve been so engrossed with our busy little lives that all the simples things have been pushed out to make room for new complex developments. It’s been reflected in all aspects of our lives – including food. When’s the last time you’ve made a pie for your family? Are you making masterpieces for lunch and throwing banquets for dinner?

I know I have. On Fridays, I find myself flicking through mult-dimensional recipes, stressing able what I’m expected to make next. But you know what? Life is about going against the grain, doing the unexpected. I was doing the expected. That is until I stumbled upon Valli Little‘s  homestyle pies in ABC Delicious (More Please). I had an epiphany. I’ve definitley over-thought the simple food.

So I’d like to share her recipe (with a little adaption of course) with you because I do hope you an epiphany too.

Homestyle Pies with Mushy Peas

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 500g beef mince
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbs of tomato paste
  • 2 tbs of plain flour
  • 1 tbs of Worcestershire sauce
  • 250 mL beef stock
  • 1 sheet shortcrust pastry
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (you can learn to make this from scratch in the Pain au Chocolat recipe)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cups of chicken stock
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 1 tbs of mascarpone

Ready, Set…COOK!

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat
  2. Brown and soften onions in pan for 3-4 minutes
  3. Add mince and cook for 5 minutes until cooked through
  4. Stir in mushrooms and tomato paste and cook for another 3 minutes
  5. Sift flour, Worcestershire sauce and stock into mince mixture and bring to boil before reducing the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens
  6. Season with salt and black pepper. Turn heat off to allow it to cool.
  7. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius
  8. Grease a 23 cm (9 inches for my imperial readers) round pie dish and line the bottom with shortcrust pastry
  9. Fill the lined dish with mince mixture and top with the sheet of puff pastry
  10. Use clean fingers to pinch together the puff pastry edges with the shortcrust pastry, trimming off any excess overhanging the side the pie dish.
  11. Glaze your pie with the beaten egg before putting it in the oven for 20 mins.
  12. To make the mushy peas, boil your chicken stock in a pan
  13. Add peas and cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Turn off heat.
  14. Roughly mash the peas with a potato masher or stick blender
  15. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the mascarpone
  16. Serve with your pie
  17. Wolf

Happy Eating!

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Food in FIJI

Happy New Year my fellow foodies 😀

I hope we are all enjoying our holidays whether you’re having a white Christmas with hot chocolate or whether you’re down south and cooling off from the sweltering heat with mango sorbet.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do, whenever you can, I would recommend you spend some time in the Fiji Islands, as I have this holidays, for an experience of a lifetime. Great place, great people, great food, great time 😀

Now, I know it’s not my job to review holiday destinations and all that, but to set the scene well, I’m going to narrate the details of my stay which may well seem to you like a something off a travel brochure but hang in there!

So on New Year’s Eve, I arrived in Nadi (pronounced as NANDI because in Fiji, d is pronounced “ND“), on the largest of the Fiji Islands Viti Levu (there are 333 Fiji Islands!). Getting out of the air-conditioned airport, we braced ourselves and we were surprised – It’s not actually that hot in Fiji – Just humid.

On our first night, we went Denarau Island’s Nadina which offered authentic Fijian cuisine and being good tourists, we ordered everything on that menu including Fiji’s famous kokoda – a raw seafood dish where Spanish mackerel or mahi mahi has been “cooked” in lemon or lime juice. To make this more understandable, let me set an example: You know when you eat raw salmon and you squeeze the lemon juice over the top? Then after an hour, the lemon juice has settled down at the bottom of the dish and when you pick up those last pieces of salmon at the bottom, you notice that the underside of the meat has turned into a colour similar to if you had cooked it? Yeah, that’s what I mean when I say the raw fish has been “cooked” in lemon juice. As well as being cured in lemon juice, they add coconut milk, chilli, shallots, grated carrots and tomatoes. Too be truthful, fish is one my least favourite meats so when I heard about this precarious sounding dish, I was a little nervous to try it. But as with all things in Fiji – I was surprised yet again. The fish didn’t have a really strong “fishy” taste and was quite firm. One of the reasons why I don’t like fish is also because it has too many little bones but the kokoda had none. I had particularly feared that after being cured with lemon/lime, it would be extremely sour, but the coconut had balanced the acidity into a smooth pleasant refreshing feeling. In fact, I actually enjoyed the dish.

I also tried kovu vuaka. Vuaka is the Fijian word for pork and kovu is the way in which it is made. Kovu Vuaka is a dish where the pork in marinated in coconut milk, fresh turmeric, ginger and onions before being wrapped and steamed in freshly cut banana leaves. It is served with a side of dalo and cassava, an eggplant and coconut mixture and a dalo leaf puree. The pork was serve still wrapped in the banana leaf that made it feel a little more authentic. This dish disappointed me a little. I had rather high expectations after reading about it. The flavour was mild, smokey and pleasing but wasn’t the best Fijian food experience. You can see a photo, but I apologize that the lighting was is really bad because the table was lit with candles.

On New Year’s Day, we set out to go to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, apparently famous for its orchids. The place was amazing with huge ancient tree’s and beautifully arranged flowers. After, we were offered a cold mocktail made of different fruit juices. It was refreshing and delightful despite its alarming intense red colour.

I also made a trip to the Sri Siva Subramanuya Temple where I had to take off my shoes and was given appropriate clothing to show respect to the religion. The place was amazing. Every inch of the temple was ornately carved and painted in vibrant colours to depict stories of their gods. I was also some food of the prayer which was a sweet Indian food.

On the way back , we drove past stalls of farmers selling fresh produce. I live in one of the most expensive countries in the world when in comes to buying food and fresh produce so you would imagine my surprise buying fresh produce locally. We could buy multiple times the amount of food we could buy in Sydney. Also, bargaining was normal over here… Excitement over brains, we bought 2 car-boot-full’s of fresh produce!!!

During the next 7 days, it was a marathon to finish all that food. We had bought cassava, purple dalo, corn, pineapples, apples, snake beans, garlic, eggplant, yellow dalo, onions, mangoes, papaya, rice, fresh chicken (when I say fresh, I mean you actually got to meet the bird before it became chicken stir fry), pumpkin and a range of other root crops we had no idea how to cook. To sum it up, it was hectic.

Another restaurant experience I’d like to share is when we went to eat at Indigo’s Indian restaurant which has the best Indian food I’ve ever had in my whole entire life!!! There are many Indians in Fiji simply because they were taken over by the British for slave labor. Today, they blend into the Fijian demographic landscape and are accepted as Fijians. Anyway, at Indigo’s we ordered a mixed platter which had an assortment of meats. This dish quite pricey but was definitely worth it! Admit it, the photo makes you drool! It was also my first time trying lobster. I wouldn’t say I didn’t like lobster, I just like crab a lot more. Everything on the mixed platter was delicious and I cannot describe how much I loved eating Indian at Indigo’s. I definitely recommend anyone to go if they are staying on Denarau Island.

We did also eat at another highly acclaimed Indian restaurant, Sitar, but my heart had already been stolen by Indigo’s.

I had a fantastic time in Fiji. I would definitely recommend tropical island enthusiasts to go. Fijian food is quite interesting to try but be prepared to wait at least 45mins for anything you order. Also, people are ALWAYS late – excuse: they’re on “Fiji time” which means you’re going to have to be very patient 😀

PS. The word for “Happy Eating” in Fijian is Vakacegu

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Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna with White sauce

I need to update more often. I KNOW! I somehow just never get around to it – But thanks for checking anyway!

So, today’s post is Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna. Notice lasagna is spelt with an “a” not an “e” as lasagna is singular while lasagne is plural – One of the things I learnt when researching lasagne. Lasagna, for the culinarily challenged, is an Italian casserole dish made with layers of pasta, cheese, sauce and other ingredients. The commons ones you buy at takeout shops are usually lasagna bolognaise or other lasagne with tomato sauce. Like always, I differed from the norm and I chose to invent my very own Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna with White Sauce. It was pretty successful. The hearty dish is quite mild in its flavour with all the ingredients complimenting each other nicely. As well as a pleasant flavour, the dish also is very appetising and is perfect for a cold day.

My previous post was on making pasta from scratch – Conveniently, I was planning on making lasagna with the pasta sheets. So, I encourage everyone to make their own pasta sheets for this recipe.

Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna with White sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 600g mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 400g chicken, chopped as finely as humanly possible
  • 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Handful of parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lot of Pasta dough (see previous post)

Ready, Set…COOK!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees F) fan forced.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Take it off the heat when the cheese has melted. You have made white sauce! Set aside for later.
  3. In another pan, heat some oil, brown the onions. Stir in the garlic. Add in chicken and brown also. Season with salt and pepper and set aside for later.
  4. Grill the slices of eggplant and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for later.
  5. Flour a bench surface. Take a handful of the pasta dough and roll it out to a 1.5mm thick sheets. You can trim them to size with a pizza cutter. Flour the sheets and set aside for later. Repeat this step to the rest of the pasta dough to make the lasagna sheets!
  6. Gather all the ingredients including the rest of the mozzarella and also an oven-proof dish to bake your lasagna in. It should be of reasonable depth because you want at least 3 layers in it.
  7. Cover the bottom of your dish with lasagna sheets. Now look at the rest lasagna sheets and estimate how many layers you can make with it then divide the ingredients accordingly (NB. Divide your mozzarella as though there is one more layer to cater for so that there will be some to top the lasagna off!). For example, if you can make four layers, quarter all your ingredients and divide your mozzarella into fifths so that each layer will be even and you can use your extra mozzarella too top the lasagna before baking.
  8. To start off your layers, first make a thick layer of white sauce over your lasagna sheets.
  9. Then layer on your grilled eggplant and zucchini
  10. Then evenly spread your chicken and onion over the grilled vegetables
  11. Put lots and lots of mozzarella over the chicken and onion before covering with another layer of pasta sheets
  12. Repeat this process until you’ve run out of ingredients. The last thing you should have put on is the pasta sheets. Then, top with the remaining mozarella.
  13. Place in oven and bake for 45mins.
  14. Eat!

Buon Appetito!

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Pasta from Scratch

First of all, Yes I am officially 16 years old – allowed those discraceful freedoms that 16 are allowed to have 🙂

I did have a party where I invited 14 of my closest friends to cook food in my kitchen so we had a special sit-down dinner. And I made a 7-layered chocolate monster cake (which I will blog about to you another time)

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Like I said in previous posts, Italian food is all too easy to make these days with convenient ready-made products on our supermarket shelves. Yeah, so some people make their own bolognese and some people roll their own meatballs – but can you master the art of making pasta from scratch?

A month back, I was sitting at this computer trying to find something to make for this blog. I asked all my friends and everyone said things like “spagetti!” or “lasagne!” or “risotto!”. I get it – The whole world goes apeshit for Italian food! But when I think about it, I’ve done way too many pasta dishes. To some, making a pasta dish from scratch is making bolognaise sauce and slopping it over some bought pasta and calling it healthy and homemade. It’s so easy, everyone opts for Italian when feeling lazy. But they’re missing the point. A true homemade pasta dish involves making the pasta from scratch. So with a lot of positive self talk and determination, I called on my trusty sidekick, Daisy Ding (yeah, you’ll hear more from her in the future).

Some may ask “what’s the point of making pasta from scratch”. But they think of pasta as the carbs that accompany the dish – not something that is focused on. This is called Americanisation. Traditionally in Italy, the pasta is the most important part of the dish and perfect pasta is very, VERY important. The handmade pasta is so beautiful, it can be eaten just with a little olive oil. In America today, pasta has been turned into a convenience food (as is loaf bread and noodles) and the art of perfect pasta is commericialised and so we concerntrate on the sauce and products eaten with pasta.

So, in a quest to recover the lost art of pasta from scratch, Daisy and I ventured into unchartered waters which we found was not so challenging at all…

Pasta from Scratch

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Extra flour

NB. These ratios are always good to remember so you can make pasta anywhere. The ratio flour to eggs to salt is 200:2:1

Ready, Set…COOK!

  1. Mix together flour and salt in a bowl and make a well and crack  the eggs into it.
  2. Mix together until it forms a firm dough. Try and scrape down all the excess on the sides of the bowl because when it dries, it’s really hard to wash off.
  3. Flour a bench surface and knead your pasta dough for 10 mins. You may notice the dough is actually really dense but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. If your dough is crumbly, you can add some water or some olive oil. You may notice that my dough looks a little red. This is because the eggs I used happened to have yolks that were really red… 
  4. Divide your pasta into several small handfuls, place them in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying
  5. Flour your bench and work every handful of pasta dough into very thin sheets. The sheets shouldn’t be more than 1.5mm thick (1mm is ideal). Cover the worked pasta dough with a damp cloth.
  6. Now you should have many sheets of pasta. If you are going to make lasagne sheets, you can slice into rectangles. Noodle pastas should be made by slicing the sheets of pasta lengthwise to create noodles and then draped over a suspended rolling pin/chair/etc to dry out.
  7. If you are boiling fresh pasta, cook for 2-3 minutes only. If you are cooking then dried, then boil for 8.
  8. Serve with favourite toppings or just simply drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Eat

Buon Appetito!

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The Public Dining Room

Hello readers 🙂

This is my first food review – How exciting! I don’t usually do that many reviews because I don’t really find that much time to eat out. But, if I do happen to be eating somewhere I’d like to tell you guys about, I’ll be sure to blog about it. On the end of my posts, I’ll include some information for you guys to check it out and overall ratings of location, service, food, value and atmosphere. I rate differently from most people. On a scale of 0-10, I would, 0 would be unacceptable, 10 would mean it is flawlessly perfect and 5 would mean it is average. So, most places would fall towards the average zone.

The Public Dining Room

It was a beautiful day (at first) to go to the beach. 2 friends of mine, Emily and Erica, wanted to eat at The Public Dining Room, an elegant simplistic restaurant overlooking the waters of Balmoral Beach. It was formerly known as Watermark Restaurant, but don’t fret – they still serve food, right?

The atmosphere was calm and the tables were set appropriately inviting customers to have a casual drink. Service was polite and the waitress was knowledgable. The menu was easy to read and there weren’t too many options to choose from. All dishes seem quite pricey, however, being on the Esplanade, it was understandable.

Emily chose a Tagliatelle with Spencer Gulf Prawns, Chilli, Basil, Tomato and Shellfish Broth, Erica chose to have Free Range Duck Breast with Carrot Puree, Pickled Carrots, Savoy Cabbage and Radish Leaves and I had a Steak Tartare with Quail Egg yolk, Crostini and Baby Parsley. Erica and I chose to share a dish of Roasted Dutch Cream Potatoes with Murray Salt and Rosemary.  While we waited, we were served warmed baked bread with butter which a I definitely appreciated because I was quite hungry.

Food took about 15 minutes wait which is quite good considering at the same time, they had a wedding to cater for.

My Tartare was categorized under the small dishes section and costed $16 which was definitely worth it. All other dishes were over $20 and did not seem particularly larger than this dish. This cold dish was served decoratively. Some people find it off-putting to eat eggs and meat raw, and I confess that I sometimes do too. However, my Tartare definitely tasted better than it looked. It has just the right about of salt and the bread provided a contrasting balance of textures. There were some interesting flavours in the tartare including a little bit of acidity. I could see some fresh parsley, onions and green peppercorns. Overall, I quite enjoyed this.

Erica’s duck was the most expensive dish on the menu, costing her $40 which she paid, regretting she hadn’t paid attention to the prices. It was serve warm and the duck was cooked to precision – crisp and brown on the outside, whilst still pink on the inside. I tried some of her duck. Although it lacked salt, the flavour of the duck came through. It was tender, and not chewy or dry – reinforcing the skill of The Public Dining Room’s chefs. I didn’t taste the carrot purée or the vegetables but Erica reassured me that they were fine.

Emily paid $29 for her Tagliatelle. When it was served, the pasta look a little disappointing in presentation. The pasta was arranged messily and the dish did not look particularly interesting. The flavour was quite mild. The broth was a little bland and I was really hoping for the chillies to give the dish a kick but I couldn’t really pick too much of it up. However, the pasta was cooked al dente and the prawns looked well cooked.

By the end of our meal, we had been very well fed. The plates were taken away as we finished each dish and there was no hurry to pay the check. The waitress constantly refilled our glasses but we decided to leave for the beautiful sandy beaches of Balmoral. To be honest, I was a little astounded by the check. The beverages costed $4.50 each and I thought that it was a little pricey for a soft drink.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the Public Dining Room. Although the food and beverage was a little expensive for its quality, the location was top-notch, the service was appropriate, the atmosphere was calming and we enjoyed it quite thoroughly.

Ratings:

Location: 0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8 [9] 10     Applaudable

Service: 0  1  2  3  4  5 [6] 7  8  9  10     Above Average

Food: 0  1  2  3  4 [5] 6  7  8  9  10     Average

Value: 0  1  2  3 [4] 5  6  7  8  9  10     Below Average

Atmosphere:  0  1  2  3  4  5  6 [7] 8  9  10     Impressive

Overall: 0  1  2  3  4  5 [6] 7  8  9  10     Above Average

Details:

The Public Dining Room

2 a the Esplanade,

Mosman, NSW

Australia 2088

Ph: + 61 2 9968 4880

Email: info@publicdiningroom.com.au

Website: http://www.publicdiningroom.com.au/

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PS. Believe it or not, I’ve never ever EVER tried a macaroon before! BUT Last Week, I tried my first strawberry macaroon last week at a market! They seem quite expensive at $3 each but I though “Heck! It’s now or never!” and so I bought one. And ate it. And

…was thoroughly dissappointed…..

Oh well! Life doesn’t always work out the way you want it, hey 😀


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Caramelised Orange and Chocolate Clafoutis

A clafoutis (or sometimes, clafouti) is a baked French dessert originating in the province of Limousin. It’s basically like a pudding with fruit in it and its name suggests its method of preparation. The verb “clafir“, meaning “to fill” is the foundation of the name “clafoutis”. Traditionally, it was made with the pits of black cherries and thus, the clafoutis mixture was “filled” with cherries.

My recipe for caramelised orange and chocolate clafoutis is something completely of my own (horray!). Originally, I was hunting down a recipe for orange and chocolate (one of my favourite flavour combinations) clafoutis and found nothing on it! No one had heard of such! An hour of scavenging and baker’s dozen’s worth of recipes later, I decided to make my own. After reading so many recipes, I figured the main ingredients of a clafoutis were sugar, flour, eggs and cream, pantry staples. And so began the making of the first Caramelised Orange and Chocolate Clafoutis…

I know I’m talking about my own recipe and this sounds all….well, a lot like boasting but, this is definitely the best chocolate dessert I’ve tasted in all my makings!!! IT’S CRAZY HOW GOOD IT IS!! I cannot stress how much I love it. My clafoutis for 8 was finished by 3 people in a matter of minutes! The chocolate pudding-like batter had just the right amount of sugar in it. At first bite, the caramelised oranges provided a bitter edge and citrisy relief from the rich creamy flavours of the chocolate. Although not the most attractive of desserts, before long, the audience were lost in its dreamy sticky fondu-like centre. I’m getting lost now….

So without further ado…

Whitney’s Caramelised Orange and Chocolate Clafoutis

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of oranges
  • 5 eggs
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 45 g cocoa powder
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 375 mL thickened cream (you can use normal cream if you want)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate, chopped into chips
  • butter, to grease
  • double cream, to serve
  • icing sugar, to dust

Ready, Set…COOK!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (356 degrees F) fan forced and grease a 2L capacity pie dish/cake tin/oven safe container by rubbing the butter around the dish.
  2. Peel the oranges and cut them into 0.5 cm thick slices. You may want to take out the end parts because they are particularly hard to caramelise.
  3. Put a pan on low heat and put the orange slices in. You want the juices to come out slightly so fry your oranges gently before sprinkling the sugar on both sides. Restrict the sugar amount to up to 90g. We only want to caramelise the oranges slightly.
  4. Once the sugar is melted and the orange syrup is reduced, take it out and put it on a plate to cool.
  5. In another bowl beat together eggs, vanilla essence and cream
  6. Add in flour, cocoa powder and sugar and combine
  7. Fold in chocolate chips. Chocolate chips provide perfect little bursts of melted richness when it’s baked.
  8. Now this is where it gets interesting… Spoon a quarter of the chocolate mixture into your greased dish to provide a bottom layer. Then arrange a quarter of the orange slices on top of the batter before covering them with another layer of batter. Top with another quarter of the oranges…etc. Effectively, you are making the clafoutis even with the caramelised oranges. In short: Batter>orange>batter>orange>batter>orange>batter>orange!
  9. Place your layer chocolate and orange mixture in the oven and bake for 30 mins.
  10. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool for 30 mins. Remember, this is NOT a cake so do not try to turn it out of the tin/dish/container because not only will you end up breaking it, you will loose all the gooey chocolatey parts!!
  11. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with double cream.
  12. Savour.

             

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Lemony Peach Cake

Hello fellow foodies 😛

First of all, I apologise for not blogging for a LONG time! I’m really really REALLY sorry! I’ve been stuck of this killer of a post and I’ve been busy with exams and everything (damn school). I hope I can make it up to you guys by doing some extra blogging these few weeks!

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Lemony Peach Cake. There’s not much to say about this cake. It’s simple, summery and all together, pretty appetising. I actually stole this recipe from Donna Hay’s Seasons. It’s a really great cook book for all those folks out there looking for something simple to do. The photography is great and there’s quite a large range of foods. I like this cake because it’s not too sweet and overpowering. It’s like a sponge cake with a hint of lemon, topped with peaches. It’s something great for summer and really hard to go wrong with!

Lemony Peach Cake

Ingredients:

  • 175 g of butter, chopped and softened
  • 165 g caster sugar (this is about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 70 g of natural yogurt (this is about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 peaches, sliced (I used canned peaches because peaches aren’t in season yet!)
  • Icing sugar, to dust
  • Double cream/yogurt/icecream/etc, to serve

Ready, Set…COOK!

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius (320 deg F)
  2. Place butter, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 6-8 minutes to make it light and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs in one by one, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add flour, baking soda and yogurt and beat until it’s just combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a greased cake tin.
  6. Top with peaches. You might want to press them in a little also.
  7. Bake for 1 hour. You’ll know it’s ready if you insert a skewer in the middle and it comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 mins in the tin before turning it out to a rack to cool completely,
  9. Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream
  10. Eat!

Happy Eating!

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Italian Meatballs (Polpette)

Out of all cuisines, apart from Chinese, I have to admit that I have most extensive knowledge of Italian over all other cuisines. Most Italian dishes are quite simple these days because it is one of the most produced foods by frozen food and packaged food companies. You can buy ready made instant pasta from the supermarket, as well as bottled pasta sauce, dried Italian herb mixes, canned minestrone, frozen lasagna and pizza bases. Its all most convenient these days since our lives are becoming more busy and filled.

With this in mind, I decided to make some meatballs from scratch. No one really knows where they orginated from or how it came it be as mince meat, an essential ingredient, wasn’t possible until the invention of the mincer!  Although meatballs are found all over the world, the Italian meatball is definitely the most famous of them all. Polpette, as they are known in Italy, are served as a main dish. Traditionally, they were eaten alone. The famous “Spagetti and Meatballs” dish was an American invention as the Americans liked to have meat in their meals (typical!).

The recipe for meatballs below can be eaten alone or served with pasta – It really doesn’t matter because they taste fanstastic anyway!

Italian Meatballs (Polpette)

Ingredients

  • 500g pork mince
  • 100g chicken mince
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of basil, finely chopped
  • Olive oil

Ready, Set…COOK!

  1. In a bowl, mix together the chicken and pork mince, the garlic, red onion and all the herbs. Make sure to mix them well, especially the minces. You don’t want to have meatballs where they are just pork or just chicken. Season with salt and pepper, then mix thoroughly again.
  2. Use your CLEAN hands to take a small amount of the mince mixture into your hand and roll into balls. Adjust the size by adding more or taking out some of the mixture from the ball and rerolling it. They shouldn’t be any bigger than a golf ball or you’ll have a hard time eating and cooking them!
  3. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan and put the meatballs in gently. Panfry them for 10min or until they are cooked through. Make sure they are cooked through because eating raw pork and chicken can be dangerous to your health :(! If you want to to make sure they are cooked through, add a splash of water over the meatballs, cover and let it simmer until the water evaporates.
  4. Serve over pasta and top with pasta sauce. Or, as I have done above in the photo, serve with ratatouille (You’ll fine my ratatouille recipe here https://theblackwok.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/ratatouille/)
  5. Eat!

Buon Appetito!

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