Archive for month: July, 2010

Daring Bakers’ Challenge – July, Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

31 Jul
July 31, 2010


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

I have been pretty busy and this is showing in my challenges.  Last month I did actually complete it, but it was such a  pile of goop that I didn’t bother posting the end result.  I had been so busy with Junior’s cake that I ended up just throwing the challenge together to complete it.  There was no heart or soul put in to it all and that showed.  Sadly the same thing happened this month.  I am not at all happy with what I ended up with, but as I said when I started this blog, this is about my food journey and want to share both kitchen successes and disasters.  I am human and I make a hell of a lot of mistakes in the kitchen, but through those mistakes I learn and grow.

I decided to make ice cream sandwiches not actually a whole cake.

My vision:  Green tea swiss roll filled with sweetened cream and sweet red bean, beautifully rolled to a perfect round shape. A slice placed in a ramekin, topped with home made black sesame ice cream then covered with another slice of the swiss roll.  When this would be unmoulded it would be topped with a perfectly tempered disc of white and green tea chocolate.

My reality:  Green tea swiss roll filled with sweetened cream and sweet red bean, rolled and looking like an elephant had sat on it.  Too large to fit in to a ramekin.  Therefore a slice placed on a piece of baking paper, topped with black sesame ice cream, then another slice placed on top. Untempered white chocolate flavoured with green tea and white chocolate mixed with mahogany shimmer drizzled over the top.  They ended up looking pretty fugly, but at least they tasted okay, you just had to close your eyes :)

I based my recipe on one from the sweet treat recipe book called Okashi by Keiko Ishida, which I picked up from the Chefs Armoury on the weekend.

DBC1Swiss Roll Sponge
3 eggs
60g caster sugar
50g flour (sifted twice)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.  Line swiss roll tin.

Beat eggs and then add sugar.  Place bowl over a double boiler and mix well.

When the egg mixture is warm, use an electric mixer and beat on high speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and continue beating for about 1 minute.  Then gently fold in the flour with a spatula.

Pour batter in to prepared tin and spread evenly.  Place tin in the oven and bake for 10 – 13 minutes.
When swiss roll is cooked, remove from pan and place in a big plastic bag to cool.

Spread cake down in one section across the shortest width with sweetened red bean and then spread the whole cake with sweetened whipped cream.  Roll.

DBC4Black Sesame Ice Cream
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1 cup milk
6 egg yolks
2 cups cream
1/2 cup black sesame seeds

Note:  I made half the above mixture, the above makes 1.2L of ice cream

Toast sesame seeds in the oven until they become slightly fragrant, remove and cool.  Then wizz them up in your grinder or use a morta and pestle.

Place sugar and vanilla beans in a  heatproof  bowl.  Pour milk over.  Place on a double boiler of simmering water and stir mixture until it is gently simmering.

Remove milk from heat and cool slightly.  Add egg yolks and whisk through.

Return mixture on top of the simmering water and add the cream.  Stir constantly over heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.  To test this run your finger over the back of the coated spoon and if you finger  mark stays it is done.

Mix through sesame seeds.

Remove from heat and cool, place in fridge until cold.

Remove vanilla bean before pour mixture in to your ice cream maker.  Follow maker’s directions on churning.

DBC2 For Sunita’ original challenge recipe please have a look here.

Beside the shape of my swiss roll, it tasted sensational.  Green tea, red bean and fresh cream is a winning combination, one that I will be doing again.  I love black sesame ice cream and was thrilled to have made it myself, it tasted great.  Now having both of these components together??  I think if I hadn’t gone over the top with trying to hide the sad looking swiss roll with the chocolate it would have been a little better.



Jewish Penicillin – Chicken Soup

27 Jul
July 27, 2010

I am sortof laughing to myself as I write this post, reason being is that there has been a bit of a ruckus caused in the blogger community lately by a person stereotyping food bloggers.  Well a few months back I was trying to work out how to approach a girl friend of mine to see if she had a chicken soup recipe.  You see, Nic is Jewish, and I was worried that when I asked her if she had a rocking chicken soup recipe I could try and blog about she would tell me that not everyone of the Jewish faith have a chicken soup recipe, that I watch too much television, I should wake up to myself and not stereotype the Jewish community.Well we all have heard that Jewish Chicken Soup is the ultimate chicken soup, it cures all ills and is what I have heard being call Jewish penicillin.  With winter here what better time to cook a batch up, specially as every second person around me seems to be sick!
Luckily for me she was more than willing to share her chicken soup recipe with me, only one problem, it was all in her head.  Nic told me she would need to sit down and drag it out of her head to give to me.  The fact that it was all in her head made me even more excited about getting my hands on it, this is a recipe that you obviously learn in your mother’s/grandmother’s kitchen.

So I am delighted to share this awesome chicken soup recipe with you.  I have actually put Nic’s comments in italics throughout the recipe, because as she puts it “it’s the little tips that make it Jewish’“

Chicken Soup (Jewish Penicillin)

1.5 kgs chicken pieces with lots of flavour
4 – 5 carrots
4 – 5 celery stalks
1 large onion, peeled whole
1/2 Kg giblets (optional)
Osem chicken soup mix (or massel chicken stock)
Angel hair pasta
frozen peas

For the chicken I used one whole chicken, as I happened to have one and then some extra wings and legs.  Nic suggests, “you can use wings or legs, although these do tend to fall apart, but then you can pour the soup into a sieve – if you want chicken pieces to eat, use thighs – keep them whole so you can take them out if you strain the other bits and cut them up later!”

I cut my celery and carrot up in to large bite size pieces to be retained to be added back in to the soup after straining.  If you don’t wish to do this you can put them in whole and discard.  I suggest you use them in the soup.

I actually cut the onion in half and shoved a tooth pick through it to hold it together for a bit more flavour and then removed from the soup before serving.  Nic suggests, ”do not leave this in the soup to eat later.  Take the outer layer of the skin off, but leave the bulb in tact carefully slice the roots off, other wise it will fall apart in the soup”.

I didn’t use giblets as my local chicken shop didn’t have them, but next time I make the soup I will give them a go.  If you aren’t sure what giblets are have a look here.

”If you’re really game, you can use giblets – about 1/2kg (make sure you wash them and use a small knife to thoroughly clean them – any green area or grit). Don’t tell me what they are, I’m not interested in knowing – I love them, but have avoided all these years really delving into the finer points of what part of a chicken they are) and that’s all I’ll say on this point”.

I used a couple of heaped tablespoons of Massel chicken stock as we don’t have a Kosher section at our local supermarket and didn’t want to travel to the Eastern Suburbs where they are far more diverse Osem Chicken Soup Mix (in kosher sections of Franklins or Coles) or alternatively, Massel Stock Cubes (chicken of course!). This is purely for the salt factor/taste – us Jews love our salt (and smultz {chicken fat}, but that’s another story)”.

“Put everything into a large pot/pressure cooker and add lots of water (do not brown the chicken – it will change the taste of the soup)”.

CS2“Boil the shit out of everything (or under pressure – about half an hour), or longer if you are just putting on the stove”.

Once the soup had been cooking for a couple of hours (I used the stove top), I picked the chicken pieces out of it and put to the side.  Then strained.  I returned the carrots and celery to the soup and set it all to the side off the heat while I removed all the chicken meat from the bones.

At this stage of the cooking, as always when I am taking the meat off a BBQ chicken, chicken I have used to make stock or even Chinese roast duck that I may be carving up, my helper arrives in the kitchen.  My darling pup Sally will sit by the kitchen counter patiently knowing that some of the meat will end up as her dinner and that she will also get a few pieces gently tossed her direction while I work away.  She won’t do this with any other meat and she knows as soon as I wash my hands that I have finished and she then goes back to whatever it was she was doing.

I then skimmed the fat off the soup before adding some of the chicken back in to the soup.  I wasn’t as particular as normal about removing every tiny bit of fat and did leave some due to Nic’s comment about smultz.  I ended up with far more chicken than was needed, which was great as it was used for sandwiches and other things.

“Skim the surface of fat when done, a lot of people cool down and put in the fridge overnight so the fat on the surface hardens, much easier to remove”.

“When the soup is ready to serve, my grandmother, mum and I, put heated (frozen) peas and lochen (pronounced Lock Shen – Yiddish word for noodles.  Angel hair pasta is great make sure you snap into little pieces before boiling (do not boil in the soup, but in a separate saucepan)”.

I didn’t read the recipe properly and just added the peas straight from the freezer to warm up in the soup which I had now returned to heat.  I added the dry pasta straight to the soup to cook as well, I missed the bit about using a separate pot.  It worked fine and I just simmered very gently until the pasta was cooked through and served.

“If the taste is a little watery – just keep adding stock cubes and salt!!!!!  Serve”.
“It’s obviously a lot easier than my theatrics, but I suppose it’s the little tips that make it Jewish”.

CS1Thanks Nic for sharing this recipe with me and also my readers.  The soup is just delicious.  I love the flavour that is absorbed by the vegetables cooking away in it, it just adds that something extra to the final soup.


Snack Beans – Edgell 3 beans & Corn

19 Jul
July 19, 2010

Food is more fun when you share it.  So when I received samples of Edgell’s 3 beans & Corn snack packs, thanks to Mark Communications, I decided to take them to work for a taste test.  Nothing like a bit of non work related fun in the office.


Edgell’s new 3 Beans & Corn range is a mixture of corn, chick peas, great northern beans and red kidney beans in a ready to eat pack.  There are three flavours to chose from, honey & wholegrain mustard, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinaigrette & herbs.

The snack beans are 97% fat free, a good source of protein and high in fibre (about 35% of an adults’ daily dietary requirement).  Convenient and easy to eat on the go.

Now what did my work guinea pigs, I mean work colleagues, think of this new product from Edgell…..


Madame X: Her favourite was the honey & wholegrain mustard flavour, followed by the balsamic vinegar but wasn’t too keen on the red wine vinaigrette.

Mr Y:  Didn’t like either the honey mustard or the red wine vinaigrette, but really liked the balsamic vinegar one.

Mr Z: Also really liked the honey mustard flavoured 3 beans and corn.  Red wine vinaigrette was good but the balsamic vinegar flavoured ones weren’t for him.

So what did I think of the 3 Beans & Corn?

Red Wine Vinaigrette & Herbs: This was my favourite and would definitely have this again.

Balsamic Vinegar: This came second favourite, the vinegar is more like a balsamic glaze and coats the beans and corn nicely.

Honey & Wholegrain Mustard: Sadly, unlike Madame X and Mr Z who loved this one, I didn’t like it at all.

We all agreed that if you are on the go the provided fork was handy, but if we had the opportunity a teaspoon would work better.  Though Mr Y seemed to be able to shovel a mound of the beans in to his mouth with it.

We all felt it was a great easy on the go snack, but thought that we would probably have it more as a lunch item with some tuna or some chicken on the side.  That this combination would make an awesome easy lunch.

What I loved about doing the taste test at work is that it proves that not everyone likes the same things.  Which I think is an excellent thing, otherwise there wouldn’t be any of the red wine vinaigrette & herb 3 beans & corn in the supermarket for me!

You can find them now at your local supermarket and the RRP is $2.39 for a 150g tub


Daring Cooks’ Challenge, July – Nut Butters

18 Jul
July 18, 2010

DC3The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

Nut butter as I discovered is a fun and easy thing to make.  I decided to make walnut butter for the recipe I  would use in this challenge.

The only ingredient used in my butter was walnuts.  I used about 1 cup of walnuts, put them in my bullet processor and whirred it until I had a butter, simple.Now the fun part, using the butter.  I decided to use it in a sauce to accompany a stuffed pork fillet wrapped in prosciutto.  This was a make up as I went recipe and I was really pleased with how it turned out.


The whole idea for the recipe came from a jar of pickled walnuts I had in the cupboard that I had picked up from David Jones’ Food Hall recently and I was itching to use.  Unfortunately they never made it in to the recipe as when I opened them there was webbing, a dead moth plus bits under the of the lid, I ended up using some raw walnuts instead.

Pork Fillet stuffed with fig and walnut

1 pork fillet (I used 2 small ones)
Medium/thin sliced prosciutto – enough to wrap the pork to your liking.

1/2 cup walnuts finely diced
1T (heaped) finely chopped rosemary
3/4 – 1c dried fig finely diced
3T finely diced red onion
3T finely diced granny smith apple
1T honey
Salt & Pepper to taste

This is where I should draw a diagram.  Cut your pork fillet, in order to stuff it.  I tend to make a sort of  a “<” shape when I cut it, it then lays out quite nicely as a flat even piece ready to have stuffing spread out over it.

Lay out enough prosciutto slices side by side to equal the length of the pork fillet.

Lay your pork fillet on top of the prosciutto slices.

Mix all the stuffing ingredients together and spread it over the pork fillet.  Then  roll your pork fillet up with the prosciutto.

I had run out of kitchen string so I didn’t actually tie my fillet as you can see from the pictures.


Rub with some olive oil and then cook in a medium heat oven until cooked through.

Walnut Cream Sauce
2T heaped of walnut butter
3/4 cup of pouring cream
Good splash of verjuice
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a non stick pan gently fry the walnut butter and then add the cream, keep stirring until well combined and then add a good splash of verjuice.  Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer until it thickens slightly.

Slice up the cooked rolled pork fillet and serve with the sauce.

Sara xxx

Good Food & Wine Show – Sydney

16 Jul
July 16, 2010

The Good Food & Wine Show is on in Sydney this weekend.  If you don’t already know this then get out from under that food deprived rock!

As it is school holidays Junior and I took the opportunity of going today (Friday) before the masses converge over the weekend.  We got there just after noon and ended up leaving shortly after 5.30.

There is just so much to see.  We did go to one Celebrity Theatre, Tobie Puttock & Matt Skinner (Back to the future) as well as lining up for one book signing, Matt Moran.  Beside those two extra activities the rest of our time was spent walking around, sampling food and drink as well as chatting to the exhibitors.  We didn’t even bother to stop at the over crowded restaurant to sample one of the celebrity chefs’ dishes. Read more →

American Independence Day Hot Dogs

11 Jul
July 11, 2010


The 4th of July is American Independence Day and also happens to be my mum’s birthday.

The family tribe went out for an awesome yum cha lunch (post to come) to celebrate and we really didn’t feel like a big dinner when that time of the day came around.  I remembered I had some Quorn sausages in the freezer and thought that it was the ideal occasion to cook them up.

What better way to acknowledge American Independence Day than with American style hot dogs.

My frequent readers will remember I attended the Quorn launch earlier this year and thanks to Mark Communications I was given some product to play around with.  Quorn is a meat free, soy free product range which is now available at your local supermarket.

The sausages remind me of hot dogs and they have the same texture.  If you are a vegetarian I think these are a fantastic product, they are far better than any of the similar options on the market.

You cook them straight from the freezer and they take about 15 minutes in a frying pan.  You do need to keep turning them to get a nice colour all round, otherwise you do risk burning them, bit like a normal hot dog actually.

I will be honest Junior and Mac are probably two of the biggest carnivores that you will meet…. they like their meat :)  So they were very doubtful on this product I wanted them to try.

Both of them were really surprised at the texture and agreed that you really wouldn’t know it wasn’t meat.


How did we have our hot dogs?  With onion, cheese, mustard, tomato ketchup and gherkin relish. Yum.

How do you like your hot dog?

Sara xxx

Mike’s Grill @ The Crest Hotel, Sylvania

09 Jul
July 9, 2010

The Crest Hotel has been at the edge of the Southgate Shopping Centre at Sylvania for what seems forever.  I will say it has had a major makeover from the days when I visited in the late 80’s to listen to live bands.

MG1Mac, Junior and I decided to call in for a pub dinner on the way home after the dreaded parent/teacher interviews.  My darling boy is doing year 12 this year and my heart goes out to him (and all the others), lots of pressure.

We wanted a quick meal as Junior still had homework to do, but sadly and also a positive, the place was really busy.  There was a bit of a wait for our meals.

Junior decided on the jumbo chicken schnitzel, chips and salad $18.


Schnitzel not as jumbo as Junior wanted, thin but moist, he scoffed the lot.

Mac went for the jumbo chicken parmajana, chips and salad $20.

Basically cheese and ham, not really any sauce on the parmigiana, but schnitzel was thicker and more jumbo than the plain one.

I seriously needed a steak!  Scotch fillet, chips, salad and diane sauce $25.

My steak was ordered medium/rare and was really delicious, no gristle and had a nice grill/smokey flavour.  I ordered my diane sauce on the side as I am always dubious of pub sauces.  It came on the side as asked and wasn’t the best and was happy to just enjoy the tasty steak.

The salads were dressed with a honey mustard dressing and the chips were good, not the best I have ever had but were crisp where the chicken or steak hadn’t been resting on them.

I do think their dishes are over priced for what you get.  My steak, even though I was happy with it, was not a $25 dish at all.  The two chicken dishes were lacking for the price as well I thought.  Staff were really friendly and helpful.

Would we go back?  Well I am not scratching it off my list, but have many more pubs to try in the Shire.


Mike's Grill @ The Crest Hotel on Urbanspoon

Momofuku – Ssäm Bar

03 Jul
July 3, 2010

A very belated post from my New York trip back in January this year and there are more to come!

My foodie world has been, and still seems to be totally in love with David Chang and his baby Momofuku.  When I was in New York I decided I had to eat at one of his establishments, seemed a very obvious thing to do, so I decided the Momofuku Ssäm Bar would be my target.

This place is renowned for their bo ssäm, which consists of a whole butt of pork, dozen oysters, kimchi, rice and bibb lettuce.  The dish is designed to be shared with a minimum of 6 people.  Sadly I wasn’t going to be trying it, but the table next to me was, so at least I got to see what it looked like.

Momufuku Ssam Bar kitchenI had high expectations of Momofuku, for me it was a bit like a hyped up movie you go to see, it’s a good movie but you walk out wondering what all the hype is about.  Sadly that is what I thought of Momofuku’s Ssäm Bar.  The food was great, please don’t get me wrong in that respect, but it definitely wasn’t my best meal in New York.

Momofuku Ssam Bar CrabTo start off with I had the cracked Jonah crab claws.  The crab claws were sweet and juicy and they were accompanied with harissa mayonnaise which had a nice deep flavour to it.

Momofuku Ssam Bar Pork BunsThere was no way I wasn’t going to order these babies, steamed buns.  Light and fluffy steamed buns filled with pork belly, hoisin sauce, cucumbers scallions.  They come with chilli cause on the side which I actually forgot to put on.  The pork was melt in your mouth, loved them.

Momofuku Ssam Bar KimchiHoney crisp apple kimchi, jowl bacon, maple labne and arugula.  The apples were delightfully crisp and infused with the kimchi flavour.  The maple labne was mapley sweet but not overly so. The bacon was crispy with lines of fat through it.  The dish was a lovely combination of sweet, savoury and salty.

Momofuku Ssam Bar beef shinSichuan beef tendon served with green mango and peanuts. I really liked the concept of this salad.  The beef tendon was paper thin, there were lots of peanuts, but for some reason the dish was slightly lacking.  Maybe if they hadn’t been so light handed with the mango, I think this may of helped as the dish really relied on it.

When you dine out it isn’t just about the food, service is also a major point.  Sadly even though the restaurant was not that busy I felt rushed my whole meal, plates being cleared before finishing, that sort of thing.

Would I recommend the Ssäm Bar?  Sure, the steamed buns are wonderful, the food is good, but sadly did not live up to the hype.  If I was there with a party of 6 I would really love to try the bo ssäm

Sara xxx

Momofuku Ssäm Bar
207 2nd Ave. NYC 10003 | corner of 13th + second

Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon