Now this is a late post. I just got a copy of the photos from my good friend, Iggy, and I thought it would be a good post as reminder on what I did to welcome my last year in the 20’s. The weekend after my birthday, friends came over for a BBQ at our place. Me and Andrew were at Myall Lakes camping on the weekend of my birthday (need to post something about that!). I love having home bbq’s/dinners with friends. It’s more comfortable than eating out, no one has to get crazy making (and changing) reservations, no exact time schedule for people to come and eat. It’s more economical too. People can bring their own drink (that were bought cheaper than when bought in a pub), and everyone can have unlimited food! I can’t really remember most of it now, but thanks to the photos, I kinda had a flashback. So this was the menu.
The new season of My Kitchen Rules is on. I’ve seen only 2 episodes and I was already itching to cook something good. Not that I stopped cooking, I still make big batches of chicken for our packed lunch and I still cook dinner, but I haven’t made something exciting for a while.
We weren’t really planning on going out for V-day as restaurants will be packed with lovebirds and most places will have Vday set menu so they can charge more. I knew I’ll be cooking something, but why not step another level and make a 3 or 5 course meal – and pretend that I am in MKR! I was initially planning to buy most of the stuff and just plate it up. But I ended up serving a 4 course meal, with amuse bouche. I even made my own chicken pate!
It’s not often that we have a Friday date night. Andrew’s doing afternoon shift most of the time, which is from 2PM to 10PM, and no way I can wait for 10PM to eat dinner. Doh. When he got an AM shift for a Friday last month, I thought we should have something special for dinner. We still had lamb shoulder in the freezer from our bulk buying at Vic’s Meat Market, and I thought it would be the perfect time to cook it.
The first pork fillet I had was from Yellow in Potts Point. I went there on a Friday night with Iggy, following the suggestions of his workmates. I was really impressed with the dish because I never had pork like that. I’ve always thought that you have to cook pork thoroughly. You see, I just started to have steaks the proper way when I met Andrew. In the Philippines, we do not have that idea of rare in meats. If it’s a bit hilaw (raw), you have take it back to the kitchen. For Yellow’s pork fillet, it wasn’t raw, but it’s still pinkish and tender and I didn’t have to chew a lot. Also, I was able to appreciate the flavor of the meat more.
When I got the beef brisket from Harris Farm, I had to reach $50 total for my orders so that delivery will be free. I saw the pork fillet and thought, why not. I did the beef brisket on Friday night to Saturday morning, then I worked on the pork Sunday night. Sounds like a whole weekend of cooking, no? Haha.
But this pork fillet is easy peasy and didn’t take long to cook. I wanted to do the flavors from the last pork belly dish I made before, but I didn’t have fennel. So I just used whatever I had that time. I had the idea that it should be brown outside but still reddish and juicy inside. It also has to sit on some veggies so it doesn’t dry up while roasting. I didn’t know what to do exactly, but I just winged it.
It was a typical winter day two weeks go when I day dreamed about the beef brisket goodness topped in chinese noodles. Who doesn’t love it? But then you just get 3 small pieces of the beef with your palanggana-sized (basin-sized) bowl of noodles and soup. That part sucks. Of course I wanted more meat so I thought of just making it myself. Thanks to google gods that day, I came across this beef brisket recipe: Easy slow cooker bbq beef brisket. Yeah, I know, it’s not anywhere near the chinese noodles but I found a gem. The moment I saw the photo in that page, I knew I’ll have it one day. And that day
is today was on Satuday (I started on this post on Saturday and because it’s me, it took 3 days for a post to be published).
It’s freezing this week in Sydney and nothing can be more comforting than a hearty soup for dinner. And actually, for even lunch! I’ve taken soup for lunch thrice this week, thanks to my soup container.
I posted this on November 2013 on a different blog. Yes, I have/had another blog and I’m not even going to share the link because it only has this post. And I’m closing it today. That time, I was thinking of having a blog that is solely for my kitchen adventures. But life happened, and I forgot about it (the blog, my kitchen adventure is soaring!).
This is part 1of 2 of the Table for Bantayan project. I have photos of the second dinner and will post about it this week. With the 2 dinners, and some friends helping out, I was able raise $800 for the cause.
PS. And my photos suck, no?
As most of you already know, Philippines was recently hit by the super typhoon Haiyan. It left high count of casualties and massive destruction in the eastern islands. Unfortunately, my mother’s hometown, Bantayan Island, was not spared. Bantayan is the north most island of Cebu and is very close to Samar (where most of the news cover). You can see the aftermath on these links:
Our relatives, my first cousins and their families and my mom’s cousins, are lucky to have survived the storm but they’ve lost everything – their homes and their means of living. Relief are coming from the government operations as it’s still difficult to reach these areas. Where I’m planning to help is on the rehabilitation. They definitely need to build their houses and boats again. Also, will there be enough resource for food and sanitation before they can stand on their own again?
If I just send the amount that I can, I know it will not be enough for everyone there. Then I thought that maybe this Table For N project will be a good way to raise more funds! I’m so glad I have supportive friends for this cause – last night was the first “Table for Bantayan”.
- Tangy barbeque pork ribs
- Honey Bourbon beef ribs
- Baked chicken breasts and corn
- Smoky baked beans
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Turkish bread (to dip into the beans!)
This is the table:
Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poaches in tomatoes, capsicums (bell peppers), and onions. I first had it at Cafe Shenkin in Erskinville, and loved it.
So obviously, this is not an authentic shakshuka. Don’t hate me. But who doesn’t love bacon and chorizo?
I’ve done shakshuka few times before. Actually I did it just last Saturday. But I left the eggs too long and it wasn’t runny anymore. And couldn’t forgive myself for that until I make a good batch, that’s why I made it again this weekend, and I’am happy!
Initially, I wanted to do everything from fresh produce so I started by making my own tomato sauce. I won’t explain it on this post because I still ended up using 2 cans of chopped tomatoes. I guess this will serve up to 8 people if you’ll just give them small bowls. But me and Andrew ate half of it in one seating. LOL
This is one of the best seasoned salmon I’ve tasted. We had it on Saturday lunch and Andrew requested for it again the following Monday. It’s one of the quickest to cook so I really don’t mind. I tried to follow a recipe online (here) and added my own twist.
First, the marinade is made up of soy sauce, ginger, lemon grass, garlic, chilli and coriander. I’m going to share you a secret. I used ginger and lemon grass from the tube. Why? Because it’s difficult to peel and slice/mash a real ginger! Much more to pound and juice a lemon grass. Besides, I always end up throwing a whole bunch of herbs after using it one. I know the tube ones are not at par with the real ones but they’ll do the job. Maybe when I’m hosting a dinner or needs to impress people, I’ll use real ingredients. LOL However, I do not use garlic from the tube! I don’t know, I just think there’s a big difference in taste.
Anyway, so that’s the marinade. Add some sugar to lessen the saltiness of the soy sauce. Do not add a lot of soy sauce! You do not need to drown your salmon, just enough to add taste. Cover the marinade and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Tonight, I wet to the gym after I did marinade. I attended the body pump class and when I got back home, fish was ready to be cooked!
I’ve had my trial and attempts with cooking the salmon. Andrew doesn’t want anything raw. The first time we cooked it at home, it turned out to be dry and really flaky like tuna. So what I did this time, I pan fried each side on medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then place them in the oven for exactly 5 mins. The oven was set to 180 degrees Celsius. Oh, but before I placed it in the oven, I drizzled runny honey on top of each. Trust me, the sweetness of honey will compliment with the chilli and coriander.
Then for the salad, chop whatever greens you have. Add some carrot, cucumber and chillies. Since I’m into coriander lately, I added some chopped leaves. I bought this Thai salad dressing from the supermarket and it was really good! I’ll take a photo next time 🙂
Sorry, I’m not giving proper instructions and measurement of ingredients. This is because I do not really measure when I’m cooking and it really depends on your own judgement of taste. I you love garlic, then add heaps of garlic. If you don’t like coriander, then forget about coriander!