Archive for month: June, 2012

Chicken, Leek & Mushroom Pie – Recipe

18 Jun
June 18, 2012

When I make chicken stock I do it army style, en mass, I use a large 16L pot.  My stock recipe is a very simple one.  One whole chicken, quartered, 8 chicken legs, 8 chicken wings, 3 carrots and stalks of celery (chunkily chopped) and one onion peeled and cut in halves.  I then add around 10L of water, the elephant sized pot left to simmer, simmer and simmer some more.

I end up with about 9L of stock.  Which is then frozen in 1L and 1cup (250ml) portions .  The chicken gets divided two ways.  Prime bits for us for sandwiches, frozen to be added to soup at a later date or turned in to all sorts of goodies.  The rest of the chicken is shredded up with the veggies and becomes meals for Sally.  Sally loves stock making days.  She doesn’t leave my side in the kitchen while I divvy up the chicken.  Eagerly awaiting a tasty morsel to be gently tossed for her to delicately catch in that soft labrador mouth.  She knows that dinner that night will be one of her favourites.  Sally also has a penchant for Peking duck and BBQ chicken.

It was this very large batch of chicken stock that enticed me to making these pies.  I had never made individual pies before, even though they have been on my ‘to do’ list for quite a while.  I admit, I wanted to have a go at making chunky beef pies, but with all my excess chicken meat from stock making, it seemed the perfect time to whip up some chicken pies.  It was also a miserable cold day in Sydney, perfect pie weather. Read more →


Helm Bar

13 Jun
June 13, 2012

I think Helm Bar is in a bit of a sneaky location, away from the other bars and restaurants on Cockle Bay Wharf.  It really is king of its location next to the Sydney Aquarium. Read more →

Josh Vs Chef Sunny Sai – The Curry Puff Challenge

11 Jun
June 11, 2012

Sunny Sai, Moi & Santosh Kumar – Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport

Let’s do something new.  I’ve taken a detour from the usual food challenges to try something different, Josh Vs Chef!.

Yes, you did read that right.  I’ve taken up the mantel to go out there and both learn and take on chef’s in their own kitchens (in reality they do this for a living so for me it’s all learning).  Who’s kitchen do I terrorize today?  Chef Sunny Sai of The Grove Restaurant at the Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport challenges me to form the perfect curry puff!

My whole previous experience with curry puffs has always been takeaway, greasy, oily, soggy mess of double pastry coated things with less ‘puff’ than the name first described.  Very different to the ones at The Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport, which are truly unique and delicious.

After introductions I follow Chef through the large commercial kitchen (which is about the same size as 3/4 of our house).  We take up the bench table in the middle of the kitchen, now I have to point out that this kitchen is larger than I expected.  Yes I realize now that it’s such sized due to the demands of a hotel, The Grove restaurant, room service and functions.  That being said, it is still a tight area to work in and hot.  The heat generated from ovens/stoves, even when the restaurant is not running full tilt is amazing.

Settling into my own slice of hell, judging by the heat of the kitchen, I am shown the 2 major ways they make these treats.  No recipes here all the filling was premade and we  didn’t use Sunny’s regular pastry, we used puff pastry instead.  I tried to pry the filling ingredients out of Sunny but had no success in securing the hotel Chairman’s family recipe.  I can disclose this, the filling is chicken and vegetable and  every one of their curry puffs has a slice of hardboiled egg in it, don’t knock it, it’s good.

Sunny showing me the finer points of folding curry puffs

All that I need to assemble my curry puffs are laid out in front of me, including a “sheet” of puff pastry.  By sheet, I mean a 40cm by 40cm piece cut from a massive commercial roll, this roll would have been 10M long at the start of its life.

Sunny has shown me the technique and now it is time to see who’s curry puff reigns supreme!

Step 1:  Sprinkle the table with flour, ok done.  I am told that I don’t sprinkle the right way, “no no no that was the wrong way, fling it between your thumb and forefingers”.  The movement is a bit like when flinging food to chooks, a sweeping movement.

Getting my flour sprinkling right

Step 2:  Cut out a circle in your pastry with a cutter, I apparently did that well.

Step 3:  Add filling, done.

I can do filling!

Step 4:  Folding the curry puffs.

I am watching Sunny’s fancy hand work… ok, my eyes went wide.  I have plenty of experience making little bacon buns (piragi) but that is it for my folding dough skills.  Years of practice making those tasty treats, but not enough hand eye coordination for these curry puffs.  I wimp out after a few tries and go the industrial way, using a mold/folder/press/thing.  After making a few we then went freeform with our own styles and by styles I made a piragi and pasty version, they tasted better than they look, let’s leave it at that.  Sunny’s creations were really fantastic.

Pure concentration

Sunny is so good he can even fold one handed while  on the phone!!! What hope do I have!

Sunny won for sure, he can pump out curry puffs quicker than I could ever imagine.  They are so perfect too!

After all my hard work in the kitchen it was time for some lunch.  What did I want?  I got to sample the staff meal that smelt so good in the kitchen.  It was Nasi Goreng, and it tasted so good!  Was happy to have what the staff were having for lunch.  It was back out to the dining of The Grove while the curry puffs cooked.  They came out and we got to eat our creations.  As well has having the Nasi Goreng for lunch Sunny whipped up a fantastic tasting fish dish with a cream and mushroom sauce.  I was so full, but it was so tasty that I couldn’t help eating more than I should.

Some of the finished curry puffs

Delicious Nasi Goreng for lunch

Fish in a white mushroom sauce – beautifully cooked & finger licking

That’s Me Vs Chef, it was fun and I can see myself doing it again (if any Sydney chef can tolerate me).  I learnt a lot and even though I ate lots of the curry puffs, it was far more enjoyable that my normal food challenges.  I acquired new skills and shared a little of a Chef’s day.

If you want to try Chef Sunny Sai’s truly delicious curry puffs head down to The Grove as they are a mainstay on the menu.

Until next time this is Josh Vs The WORLD saying eat well, enjoy time with friends and don’t eat fish on a Monday (unless it’s from The Grove with a white mushroom sauce – heaven!!).


The Grove Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Marsala Poached Apple Recipe

06 Jun
June 6, 2012

I really hate to whinge on how cold it is in Sydney at the moment, as I know people from all over the globe read Belly Rumbles.  Some of them face winters so cold they would consider our current weather as tee shirt weather.  So my apologies to them, but, oh wow, this Sydney girl is finding it cold!  The whirling winds and rain don’t help either.

When Winter sets in comfort foods are eagerly sought.  Amongst other fantastic produce, winter means apples, such a wonderful versatile fruit.  Can be used in savoury or sweet dishes.  Hearty warming apple pies, tasty warm apple cakes or even the beloved apple crumble all scream winter warming desserts.

I love to cook up a big batch of poached apples.  I did say apples are versatile, and I find poached apples extremely so.  They can be whipped up on the weekend and then enjoyed during the week.

I like to use them in various ways but they usually end up in a breakfast of brunch dish.  Served warm with yoghurt for breakfast or with custard for dessert.  Used as an accompaniment with waffles, pancakes or even French toast.  Sprinkle with a quick crumble and grill them.  Even just warmed with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream, it really is endless what you can do with them.

Marsala Poached Apples

4 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2c Marsala
1/2c water
1T lemon juice
1/3c caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 stick cinnamon

In a medium saucepan place all ingredients except the apples.  Over medium heat, stir until sugar has dissolved.  Add apples and bring to a slow simmer.  Simmer until apples are tender.  Remove apples from liquid and eat immediately or store in fridge.  Reserve the liquid to drizzle over the apples, it’s delicious.

Do tell dear Belly Rumble’s reader, how do you like your apples?

Sara xxx