Monday, May 13, 2013

Marion's Kitchen Thai Green Curry

I've been reading the posts that panda-n-cakes had written on the whole range of Marion's Kitchen Food Range, and at the back of my mind, I made the mental note to actually buy a box when I was at the supermarkets. A few weeks ago, I saw Marion's boxes at the end of an aisle as I walked past and I finally remembered that I wanted needed to get a box. The combination of a rather hefty discount that week made buying one all too tempting, and despite Woolies having all the different boxes stacked up on the shelf, I reached for the Thai Green Curry without even thinking for a second.

Inside the box there are numerous bags that are numbered in the order for cooking the curry. As you can see from the photo above, I'm incapable of counting properly :D

You only need to add 500g of chicken/beef/duck/prawns and 1 cup of vegies. As I made this towards the end of the week, the only vegetables that I could use were onions and peas. Marion suggests that beans or zucchinis could be used for the vegetable component of this curry.

Follow the instructions on the packets and you'll have an awesome tasting dinner that's ready in approximately 20 minutes. Serve with rice.

The best part about this curry is that you can adjust how spicy you want it to be. For example, if you want it to be spicier, chop up the chillies provided in the box. If you want a milder curry, don't add the chillies and add 1/2 cup of water. When I made it, I just poured everything in and only read about this after I finished cooking, but it's great to be able to buy food that tastes great and is easy to make.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina. The name is definitely well known around Sydney these days, and it's not hard to see how they got their popularity. Not only are their goods made in house daily, they offer over 40 flavours of gelato in addition to their aesthetically amazing cakes, which come in all sorts of sizes.

(I'm just putting this out there, I did not eat any of these gelato/cakes because I had two exams the following week, and I'm sure by now you'll know what happens if I eat anything remotely dairy like. They do offer sorbets though, and from previous experience that tasted great! But for this post unfortunately, I'm only able to comment on how cute the cakes are and what others said about the taste. Sorry everybody!)

It was my aunt's birthday (Happy Birthday!!), so we celebrated with cake, eaten in the comfort of home as we had bought the gelato earlier that day and stored it in the freezer. We got 'The Block' that day, which consists of both salted caramel and peanut butter gelato, sitting on top of a 'white chocolate, peanut butter and hazelnut praline base' (description taken from their website). A yellow spray is then applied (it's actually white chocolate velvet), and a hazelnut chocolate florentine is attached at the front.

We also got some gelato cakes from their monoporzione range to share. On the left we have the Royale w' Cheese- the burger bun is actually sponge cake, the meat patty is chocolate crackle gelato, the slice of cheese is made from white chocolate, the egg is made from apricot gel and white chocolate gelato, while the cucumbers are actually real, but compressed and presented in a very alluring shade of green. On the right is the Mini Bombe Alaska- (going from the inside layers to the out), flour-less chocolate sponge, croccantino (crunchy nougat), hazelnut gelato and Italian meringue. 

 On the left is the Mini Me- the green grass is made of crushed biscuit with popping candy (I love that stuff! Remember Cadbury's Magical Elves chocolate?), the stalk of the mushroom is made of vanilla gelato, and the mushroom consists of peanut butter cookie, caramel, Dr Evil gelato, and red chocolate spray. On the right is the Slivkova Pavlova- sponge cake hides inside vanilla gelato at the base, topped with raspberries and gel, raspberry jelly and a French meringue.

Photos with food bloggers- Bunny Blogger 2 and Panda & Cakes.

Back to the gelato, I think some people thought the cake was kinda sweet (which is definitely a good thing if you have a sweet tooth). The interesting little bits hidden within each of the small cakes also made trying each one really interesting, as everyone were trying to guess what flavours they were tasting. Can't wait to try the other flavours of sorbet, gelato and cakes!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eastwood Garden Peking Restaurant, Eastwood

Eastwood Garden Peking Restaurant has been the perennially popular Chinese restaurant in Eastwood, and despite new restaurants popping up in the area quite frequently (which admittedly have notably better dining atmospheres and equally long lines snaking out their respective front doors), it has managed to attract a loyal following, as customers frequent the joint for the food and relative value for money. We were seated in the room at the back of the restaurant, and on the way to the room, you walk past the manic busyness of the kitchen as chefs send out plate after plate of food.

While it's very difficult to find milk tea's in Sydney that are on par with those in Hong Kong (or Asia in general), this place comes reasonably close to that standard, so they're definitely worth a try. But pictured here are the Lemon Coke and Taro Milk Tea.

Mermaid's Tresses, a fancy name for deep fried Chinese cabbage, with walnuts and pork floss generously sprinkled on top. I love the soft crunch of this every time I eat this.

Hot and Sour Soup. A classic at most Asian restaurants, and done quite well here.

Sesame Roll with Minced Pork and Pickles. If there's anything from this place that I would recommend, it would be this, and whenever we come here for dinner I guarantee you that these two plates will be on our table. The combination of the crispy crunch of the pocket with the delicious meat that you scoop inside the roll is simply amazing.

When you order the Peking Duck, it comes as a two course set, with a choice of fried home made noodles with shredded duck or san choy bow for the second course. The first course consists of slices of juicy duck with cucumber, green onion and hoisin sauce, which you wrap into a thin slice of 'bread'.

But most of the time when you have peking duck, the vegetables will be left over (especially the green onions). So what do you do with them? Put them in a roll as well!

We went with the san choy bow for the second course- we're so gweilo hahaha. I love how generous they were with the fillings.

On previous visits, these pan fried pork dumplings were very good, and yummy dumpling juices would burst out when you bit into it. Maybe we came on a bad day, but these were rather dry and juice-less this time.

The Shandong Chicken, which is half a chicken with semi-crispy skin, served with a super delicious sauce with a stack load of garlic and ginger. I reckon it's cute how the menu says that this chicken is 'a bit spicy'- don't worry, it's not.

Shredded beef Peking style. Deliciously addictive deep fried slithers of heavily seasoned beef and carrots.

Snow Crab, stir fried crab meat with egg white. The yellow liquid you see is from the raw egg that sits on top of the eggs and crab meat before mixing.

Fried Radish Cakes. Don't be deceived by the small appearance of these cakes, they're quite filling.

Surprisingly, service was actually quite good, with our pots of tea being regularly refilled and serviettes were placed on our table as well. And I'm probably the last person in Sydney to blog about this place, but I must emphasise that with good food and value as key traits of this place, it's not surprising that Eastwood Garden Peking Restaurant continues to attract customers through its doors. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Banana Muffins

I still remember the Rugrats episode where Tommy's dad says 'if a promise you don't keep, it will haunt you in your sleep, and as you lie beneath your quilt, you'll have a conscience full of guilt'. Well, I had promised to make Andrew something for his birthday, and I finally managed to do so nearly a month after the day. I actually made Maltesers cupcakes the week before, but they failed miserably so I resorted to making these banana muffins.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line muffin pan with paper cases. Sift 3 cups self-raising flour in a bowl, and then add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Stir to combine and make a well in the centre for the next step. Mix 1 1/4 cups milk, 1 lightly beaten egg and 90g of melted butter together, and then add in 2 mashed bananas. Afterwards, pour this liquid mixture into the well you made earlier, and 'stir until just combined'.

Put mixture into muffin pan and fill to 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, and allow for the muffins to cool in the pan for a minute before transferring them to a wire rack.

These muffins turned out to be quite dry, and after thinking about what I might have done wrong, I'm pretty sure I have the answer. The first thing I did when making this batch of muffins was melt the butter, so when it was time to mix the butter into the mixture, some of the butter had solidified again. Without thinking, I scooped that out and only poured in the butter that was still in liquid form, and as a result, there was probably not enough butter in the mixture, which I'm assuming is what caused the dryness. I'll try to make better muffins next time!