Auguest 2018: Shazrinah Shazali

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

ShefShaz is back again on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and this time I will be sharing a sweet breakfast option for those who love to start their day off on a sweet note – Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes served with Earl Grey Ice Cream and Fresh Fruit.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Before we dive into the recipe, if you missed my guest post a few days ago, I whipped up some delicious homemade Salmon Fish Cakes for the savoury breakfast eaters! You can also read more about my approach to food and how I know Ally.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | MAKES 24 MINI PANCAKES*

*Or 12 regular-sized pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups skimmed milk
  • 57g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Frozen mixed berries, or any other kind of fruits

To serve

  • Digestive biscuits, crushed
  • Earl Grey ice cream*
  • Fresh fruits
  • Icing sugar
  • Lemon slices (for a kick of tang)

*Or any other flavoured ice cream that tickles your fancy.

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease a 24-hole mini cupcake tray with a bit of butter to prevent the pancake batter from sticking to the tray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
  3. Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until just combined. Leave the mixture to rest for about 10 minutes to allow the baking powder to work its magic.
  4. Pour the batter into the tray, filling about 3/4 of the way and drop in your frozen mixed berries on top.
  5. Bake in the oven from about 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the pancake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down for about 5 minutes. Lightly dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream, crushed digestive biscuits, and fresh fruit of your choice. Enjoy!

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Mini Mixed Berry Pancakes

Before I end, I would like to thank Ally for giving me the opportunity to cook and write for her blog. We had a lot of fun during our cookout session – both the cooking and feeding our dishes to many tummies!

Recipe Copyright © 2018 | shefshaz

BON APPÉTIT

– ShefShaz

myTaste.com

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Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

… on a bed of Pistachio Crumble with a Quenelle of Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream drizzled with a Red Wine & Orange Reduction *drools*

Hello Everyone! I’m really bad at this, and I sincerely apologise. I know I said that I would get back on track with Amcarmen’s Kitchen until the end of the year but once again I have fallen slack and behind for God knows how many weeks now. The truth is that I have been super busy towards the end of last month and into early November with a hectic and stressful event that definitely took a toll on my high blood pressure for sure. Though the past 2 weeks have been quiet, I spent most of it recovering and relaxing from that hell of an event.  I worked at least 15 hours a day from 8am until almost midnight on most nights. I’m just glad that it’s all over… For now.

But anyway, the recipe that I will be sharing tonight is one that I actually made waaaaaay back somewhere in June when I was left home alone (my mom and my sister flew out to Singapore to visit my other sister), during a long weekend too, and I had no plans of stepping out of the house unless I had to *cheeky grin*. So why didn’t I upload the recipe for this back then? Simple – it didn’t comply with the theme I had set out to accomplish for this year on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. So then why now? It’s still 2017. Stop asking so many questions! Haha! I amuse myself sometimes. Well, this is actually part of a special recipe that I will be posting (hopefully) next week, which will also most likely be the last recipe for the year unfortunately. I’m going to use the rest of my time before the year ends to plan and prepare recipes for the upcoming year. I already have a theme in mind to tackle for the whole year and I’m already excited for it!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Moving on, sorry that introduction went on way longer that I thought it would (as always though right?). If I can recall, I decided that I wanted to practice my dessert-making skills, you know to a MasterChef quality level worthy of a place in the competition ONE DAY. I have to say that I’m quite impressed with how this dessert played out in my head, to paper, and to the actual deal. The pears were soft on the outside, but still had a nice bite and a bit of crunch to it on the inside; beautifully spiced and contrasted well to the mild sweetness of the vanilla bean ice cream. And everyone loves pistachios, or at least I hope they do so throw that onto the plate for another added texture to the overall dessert dish.

You may want to get a head start on the ice cream so that it’ll have time to set in the freezer. You can either make it the day before, or early in the morning so that it’s ready for dessert time after a hearty dinner.

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears Ingredients

PREP TIME 4 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 25-35 MINS | SERVES 6

*Includes the minimum freeze time for the no churn vanilla bean ice cream; see below for the freeze time range

INGREDIENTS

For the spiced red wine poached pears

  • 6 large pears, peeled and keeping the stems intact**
  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 10 cloves
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

For the no churn vanilla bean ice cream

  • 2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 can (300g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

For the pistachio crumble

  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

**Make sure that you use fairly large pears for this recipe. I found that using smaller pears overcook easily as they need a while to absorb that beautiful red wine colour as well as the flavours.

METHOD

  1. No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: Using a mixer, beat the thickened cream on medium speed until heavy peaks start to form. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and beat further. Be careful as to not over whip the mixture. Add the vanilla beans into the mixture along with the pure vanilla extract and gently stir it into the ice cream mixture. Place the ice cream mixture into a container and freeze for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears: Add all the ingredients for the poached pears into a large pot or any that’s a suitable size. Cut out a piece of parchment paper and place it directly on the pears so they remain submerged in the liquid, or alternatively you could also use a small plate.
  3. Bring the wine mixture to boil and then turn it down to a simmer and cook until the pears are soft on the outside are still a little crisp in the middle instead of soft all the way through (about 25 minutes); cooking time will however depend on the size of the pears. For softer pears, cook for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Once the pears are cooked through, use a slotted spoon remove the pears and set aside to cool. Keep cooking the liquid until it reduces to a syrup. Then, strain the wine reduction and discard the spices and zest. If you find the sauce too sweet, add some lemon juice to it to cut through some of that sweetness.
  5. Pistachio Crumble: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. Process the pistachios in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the flour, sugar, and salt; processing further just until combined. Add the unsalted butter, and continue processing until the mixture is thoroughly combined and forms pea-size crumbs.
  6. Spread the pistachio crumble mixture on the prepared baking tray. Press gently with damp hands, flattening the crumble to about 1/2 inch thick and bake in the preheated oven until the crumble starts to brown at the edges, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, and, using a flat spatula to lightly crumble the mixture. Return to oven, and bake until the crumble is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes further. Once done, transfer to a wire rack, and set aside to cool on the baking tray completely, about 20 minutes, before roughly crumbling.
  8. Assemble your dessert by spreading the crumble onto the middle of each individual serving plates. Place one pear on top of the crumble and drizzle with the orange and wine reduction syrup. Quenelle the vanilla bean ice cream and place atop the crumble on the side of the pear.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

BON APPÉTIT

Ps: speaking of desserts – this is completely unrelated by the way, but I just thought I’d share this because it’s hilarious! A week ago or so, my friend asked a question on our whatsapp group chat and the question was: if you were a dessert, what would you be? Without hesitation, my other friend quickly replied “cactus” and to her hasty realisation, she retracted and said “oh I thought you meant desert” and everyone went spiralling down into a pit of undignified laughters – well I couldn’t stop laughing out loud and looking like an insane freak in front of my colleagues at work during that time. God bless her.

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Beetroot Brownies with Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream

Beetroot Brownies with Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream

Hello Everyone! Firstly, I’d like to apologise to the moon and back to all my friends and followers for not posting in what seems like (or quite frankly has been) forever! A lot of things have been going on for the past few months, both in my personal and work life that I found it difficult to balance alongside with keeping up with Amcarmen’s Kitchen. The truth is, I haven’t had the time to write, or let’s just say that I did have the time, but I was either using my time unproductively or for something else instead of sitting down and getting back on track with posting. So yes, I am very sorry for the lack of consistency of posting on the blog in the recent months, but I’m planning on getting back on board with this for the remaining 3 months of 2017 (hopefully). It will however be a little scattered in a sense that you won’t see a set theme for the month just because I still have an archive of recipes that never got posted from the previous months.

Beetroot Brownies with Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream

Back in July I started to hero beetroot in my cooking, and I shall continue that for the next two weeks (I think) before I share other recipes that still stick with the theme for 2017 which is Blood Pressure Friendly foods. Before I jump onto the recipe, I’d like to thank my friends Simon Swadling and Jialing Mew for contributing their recipes for this year’s Auguest – and yes, another thing that I did not plan properly for with everything going on so I apologise that I could only round up these amazing two friends for you!

Anyway, so somewhere down the path of whipping up this batch of beetroot brownies, which by the way includes Whittaker’s (New Zealand) Kaitaia Fire Chili Pepper Spice Dark Chocolate, I made the realisation that I basically just made red velvet brownies *cheeky grin* but of course, what makes a nice warm slice of heaven without ice cream? Specifically Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream? Even MORE specifically, chunks of chocolate from Whittaker’s (New Zealand) Hawke’s Bay Black Doris Plum and Roasted Almonds Dark Chocolate? I think I just drooled. Cold ice cream with a kick of spice in it to really heighten the flavours atop a chocolatey, chewy, and moist brownie drizzled with a vibrant beetroot icing glaze? I’ll have the whole batch please thank you very much.

The original recipe to the brownies can be found over on BBC Good Food, and the original recipe to the beetroot ice cream can be found on Vegan Heaven.

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 12 SLICES

Note: Make the ice cream either the day before or a few hours (4-5 hours) to allow for freezing time before baking your brownies.

INGREDIENTS

Beetroot Brownies Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 500g whole raw beetroot, washed
  • 250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped*
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 & 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the beetroot icing glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp beetroot juice

Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream Ingredients

For the ice cream

  • 500g whole raw beetroot, washed
  • 1 cup thick full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate (Whittaker’s (New Zealand) Hawke’s Bay Black Doris Plum and Roasted Almonds)
  • 1 piece thumb-sized ginger, grated

*As mentioned earlier, I used Whittaker’s (New Zealand) Kaitaia Fire Chili Pepper Spice Dark Chocolate. But since I only had 100g of this, I used regular dark chocolate for the brownies and added half of the Whittaker’s chocolate to the mix, while the other half sprinkled on top of the baked brownies.

METHOD

  1. Boil the beetroots for both for the brownies and ice cream, in a pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 mins or until tender. Drain and leave to cool before peeling (wear clean rubber gloves to peel if you want to avoid beet-stained hands).
  2. Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream: Roughly chop the cooked beets into small chunks and place them together with the coconut milk, honey, and the grated ginger in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer the beetroot-coconut mixture in a freezer-safe container, stir in the chococalte chunks and freeze for about 4-5 hours, whisking slightly every 20-30 minutes to avoid it getting too icy.
  4. Beetroot Brownies: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and grease a 10cm x 25cm baking dish. Chop a third of the cooked beetroots into small cubes and blitz the remainder in a blender or food processor to a paste. Sit the paste in a sieve over a bowl – just until you have collected 1-2 tbsp juice. Save the juice for the icing, and mix the olive oil into the beetroot paste. Set both aside.
  5. Bring a pan of water to a bare simmer and place a heatproof bowl with the chopped chocolate. Lightly stir until the chocolate had melted then set aside to cool slightly.
  6. Use an electric whisk to beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until light, fluffy, and tripled in size. Carefully fold the eggs into the beetroot and olive oil mixture, followed by the melted chocolate. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, then add macadamia nuts and the chopped beetroot.
  7. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 mins. The brownies should still be slightly gooey in the middle. Set aside to allow to cool slightly. While cooling, you can thaw your beetroot ice cream for 5-10 minutes before scooping and serving
  8. Mix enough reserved beetroot juice with the icing sugar to get a runny icing – dilute with water if you need. Remove brownies from the tin, drizzle with the icing and cut into squares.
  9. Enjoy a sinful slice or two, or more (who’s gonna stop you?) with family and/or friends, or you know, just by yourself *cheeky grin*.

Beetroot Brownies with Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream

Beetroot Brownies with Chocolate Chunk Beet Ice Cream

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Belly Bao - BAONANA SPLIT

Belly Bao

Hello Everyone! Finally I’m back with an all new Review Sunday (on a Monday – sorry about that) on the blog! I had a pretty hectic day yesterday and didn’t get around to finishing this post. I spent yesterday morning hanging out with my sister, the afternoon with a fellow food-loving friend, Miao, over some cold drinks and cake, then went to indulge in the not-as-amazing-as-I-thought-it’d-be fireworks display for Singapore’s 50th National Day (might I add also, being sardined between sweaty, wet, and smelly people; it was so gross). Then ended the night meeting Alex, talking about anything and everything while we strolled around the area and eventually made our way to have some food.

So onwards with the review – I’ve only ever been to this place once, but have heard many things about it before it even started shaking up the Sydney scene permanently. I think, that is if I am not mistaken, Belly Bao first started dishing out these buns at various market stalls across Sydney about a year ago. I managed to visit a stall at the Paddington Markets on a Sunday afternoon before the found permanent residency at the GoodGod Small Club in the Sydney CBD.

Belly Bao

So the first and not quite last, but won’t be back in a while kind of thing, time I visited the club was with my friend Marissa on a Thursday, maybe Friday night after she had finished her work. We got to the place at around 6:30pm and the place was already packed. The line to order food was not too long, but a good 20-30minute wait, so while Marissa was lining up to order food, I went around the club quite possibly 7-8 times to look for a seat, and occasionally approach people that looked like they were about to be done, asking if I could have their seats when they were done. Thank goodness I was able to snag a seat for a two just as Marissa was about to be next in line to order the food. So yes, if you do plan on visiting on a Friday or Saturday night, be prepared to hunt down seats for a while and battle the noise a bit (well it is a club after all).

BELLY BAOS

Belly Bao - SLOW BRAISED PORK BELLY
SLOW BRAISED PORK BELLY: Pickled mustard greens, coriander, crushed peanuts, and kewpie mayo ($6.50)

The braised pork belly was well cooked – tender, juicy, and packed with flavour. However, I was not a fan of the pickled mustard greens and the coriander. I was able to look past these because it was actual a delicious bao overall. Perhaps a little bit more kewpie mayo or a spoonful of the stock that the belly was braised it would have been nice as it did feel a bit dry with the steamed bun.

Belly Bao - CRACKLING ROAST PORK BELLY
CRACKLING ROAST PORK BELLY: Crackling, pickled radish, coriander, and kewpie mayo ($6.50)

Though I did not have this bao when I was at the club, I did have this when I visited their Paddington Market stall before they opened permanently at GoodGod. Like the first bao, this was also as delicious as the first – tender, juicy pork belly with a nice crispy crackling skin.

Belly Bao - SOFT SHELL CRAB
SOFT SHELL CRAB: Watercress, chilli aïoli, and lemon vinaigrette ($7.50)

Now, I love a good soft shell crab, however I was kind of disappointed with this bao just because the soft shell crab wasn’t as crispy as it could be. It had a bit of a crunch, which I’m guessing came from the shell of the crab anyway, and it was a bit chewy more than crispy. Although I really wanted to love it, it was a sad let down. If it had been the crispy soft shell crab aI hoped it’d be, it would’ve been a great bao especially paired with the chilli aïoli and lemon vinaigrette!

SIDES & SNACKS

Belly Bao - Belly Bao spicy half chicken
SIDES & SNACKS: Belly Bao spicy half chicken ($15.00)

Beside the baos, we also got a couple of sides and we didn’t need to think twice about getting some fried chicken; I mean, who doesn’t like fried chicken? Or better yet, spicy fried chicken? Absolutely delicious, crispy skin on the outside, and tender, juicy meat on in the inside. It wasn’t really that spicy to be honest, but it’s alright for someone who can’t take spicy I guess. Or if you don’t do spicy at all you can just opt to have the non-spicy chicken 🙂

Belly Bao - Sweet potato fries drizzled with chilli aïoli
SIDES & SNACKS: Sweet potato fries drizzled with chilli aïoli ($7.00)

You can honestly never go wrong with sweet potato fries, NEVER. This was a pretty hefty order though and I don’t think we even finished them because we were too full in the end to down them all. The fries weren’t very crispy to be honest which was a shame, but were still nevertheless oh so good. For some reason though, I found their chilli aïoli super spicy – even more spicy than the spicy chicken so not sure what happened there!

DESSERT BAOS

Belly Bao - BAONANA SPLIT
BAONANA SPLIT: Golden fried bao with vanilla ice cream, fresh banana slices, salted peanuts, drizzled with Nutella ($6.50)

Before I begin, I just want to say that I wished they did more desserts for their menu because their golden fried baos are heaven on earth. Maybe they could consider changing up the dessert menu once in a while like how other places change up their dessert flavours once every two weeks. That may just very well attract me towards the place even more! Anyway, I can’t really fault this dessert because I love banana and Nutella, and everything else paired with it. If I had to nitpick this dessert, I just wished that the Nutella was a bit more like a sauce 🙂

Belly Bao - STRAWBELLY BAO
STRAWBELLY BAO: Golden fried bao with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberry slices, drizzled with condensed milk ($6.50)

From the two desserts, this was the once I actually ordered while Marissa had the first. I’m glad this was the one I ended up because I loved the strawberries and condensed milk drizzle over the whole dessert. It was delicious indeed!

NON-ALCOHOLIC QUENCHERS

Belly Bao - CHERRY MELON POP & GG ICE TEA(LEFT) CHERRY MELON POP: Freshly juiced watermelon & green apple popped sweet with Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters ($9.00)

(RIGHT) GG ICE TEA: Our classic house-brewed ice tea with fresh mint ($9.00)

Overall, I wouldn’t say that the food is really outstanding, but it’s a pretty good interpretation of traditional Taiwanese street food, “not how grandma remembers it”, or as one has questioned, is bao the new taco? They’re definitely a little more than just average, but would probably not score it more than a 7 out of 10; I just didn’t feel any fireworks as I had a bite of my slow braised pork belly bao. The dessert bao though I feel were on an entirely different level to the savoury baos, and so if I were to score the savoury and sweet separately, I’d give the dessert a higher ranking. Other than that, I suppose that the baos are a good value for money. One of these babies, plus a side or two, with dessert filled me up real good, each bao only setting you back about $6.50 on average. I believe that Belly Bao could have chosen a better place to locate their residency – something more in line with the history of how they started out would have been a much more enjoyable scene I believe. I was imagining a quirky café on the corner of a suburban street that isn’t too far away from the city, like perhaps Bronte or Coogee, with some outdoor seating. I was a bit disappointed to hear that they’ve teamed up with a club scene which feels like the complete opposite of what their food is about I guess; then again this is just my opinion. I’d give the ambience a 4 out of 10, possibly 5 if I am being generous – but yeah, dark, noisy, super packed, not quite the way I want to enjoy these delicious baos.

Belly Bao
53-55 Liverpool Street
Sydney, New South Wales
Australia, 2000

– Ally xx

Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY

Cuckoo Callay

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Now, I’ve been back to the places twice already, once earlier on this year in February for my last brunch with friends in Sydney before I left to go back to Brunei. The other time I went here was with my family towards the end of May this year to try out their new menu, and to obviously take them to a favourite café of mine (yes I really liked this café from the very first visit I made with my friends). Anyway, the dishes that you are about to see below are a bit muddled in a sense that you will see dishes from their Bacon Festival which launched in the second week of February. The festival lasted for about 6 months I think, and is now no longer on their menu, but don’t fret! They have a whole new menu out and I will also be looking at a few of those dishes in today’s review.

Cuckoo Callay

Firstly, the Bacon Festival; sadly over, but the deliciousness will forever remain! Though I’ve been following the café on Instagram for a while back then, I never really found the chance to pay a visit. When they launched their bacon festival, I made it my mission to go at least once before leaving or else I’d miss out on the festival forever! It was such a great sunny fall day spent with very close uni friends. It was my second last day in Sydney at the time and therefore my last brunch as well before I went back to Brunei. I mean, clearly seeing that I’m back in Sydney, it wasn’t actually my very last time – I just said that at the time because I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the June graduation sessions, and if I didn’t that meant that I’d be away from Sydney for 9 months until November 2015. I’m glad that I was able to graduate in June, so really I wasn’t gone for too long, but I do only have 2 weeks left in Sydney before I leave for good *sad face*

We decided to all order a dish each, and share amongst the 5 of us so that we’d be able to get a taste of everything bacon! Also to note down, all their bacon goods are free range and sourced from Australian pig farmers by Black Forest Smokehouse.

Cuckoo Callay - BACON DAWG
BACON DAWG: Maple glazed bacon sausage with gruyere cheese sauce, tomato and quince relish, crackling, and dill mustard pickles ($16.00)

My least favourite from the dishes that we ordered and only because I don’t like mustard or pickles, so dill mustard pickles? No! Otherwise if I can recall, my friends quite enjoyed this dish, but it wasn’t their top pick amongst the other dishes. I did love the sausage as it was juicy and succulent, as well as the crackling though, well what I could get of it I suppose since we were all probably going for it!

Cuckoo Callay - BACON ALL THE RULES
BACON ALL THE RULES: Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, bourbon bacon, bacon steak, bacon sausage, and bacon-crumbed poached eggs served on sourdough ($24.00)

This dish, though nothing special for me personally seeing as I could whip up something like this at home myself, was a good dish. It was jam packed with meat, eggs, and toast; a classic hefty breakfast. I know this is probably something you probably wouldn’t comment on, but the eggs we’re cooked perfectly with an oozy, runny yolk. I’m commenting on the eggs because you would not believe the many places I’ve been to that say poached eggs and the yolk was a disappointment – basically overcooked. Cuckoo Callay did not disappoint!

Cuckoo Callay - DON'T GO BACON MY HEART
DON’T GO BACON MY HEART: Beer candied bacon and popcorn chicken burger served with beer and tomato chutney, mustard aioli, and ‘slaw on brioche ($19.00)

I don’t really remember if I liked this dish or not – then again I guess not being able to remember a dish means that it didn’t have an impact on me. I don’t think it was bad, but it didn’t impress either. As long as there was bacon, but not just any bacon, beer candied bacon!

Cuckoo Callay - BACON, GET IN MA BELLY
BACON, GET IN MA BELLY: Pork Belly with sticky sweet chilli and fennel seed sauce with bacon, caper, coriander, and lime salad ($20.00)

This was my second favourite dish from the festival. The pork belly was chunky and crispy which was well accompanied by the sticky sweet chilli sauce/glaze it had. The squeeze of lime over the pork belly was a nice hint of freshness along with the capers and coriander. I don’t really like the taste of coriander so I just picked the capers out and ate those 😛

Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY
YA BACON ME CRAZY: Buttermilk waffles with house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup, and chocolate coated bourbon bacon ($20.00)

MY FAVOURITE DISH OF THE BACON FESTIVAL! I love bacon, I love waffles, I love caramel, I love cinnamon, I love ice cream, and I love caramel cinnamon ice cream. Altogether? Heaven. Need I say more? Well, I guess the only things I can say negatively about this dish was that the waffle was a bit soft for my liking. I’m all about the crispy waffle! Otherwise, a superb dish.

Cuckoo Callay - BLOODY BACON CUCKOOTAIL
BLOODY BACON CUCKOOTAIL ($14.00)

I have no words for this, well I do but it’s going to be very biased. For starters, I’ve never had a Bloody Mary before so I was definitely taking a chance on this drink. But bacon makes everything better right? I’m afraid to say not in this case. One of my friends even made the comment saying that, “it tastes like cold pasta sauce” and after that comment, I could not get the image of drinking pasta sauce out of my head. I told you it’d be biased, but for Bloody Mary drinkers, this would probably be heaven for you guys.


So as mentioned above, I was able to revisit Cuckoo Callay a second time with my family when they came to visit. The bacon festival was sadly over (I think the weekend before they arrived actually), but they had a whole new menu out for everyone to enjoy! Before I get into the food, I need to tell you a story about what happened at the café; it’s nothing bad, in fact it was hilarious and I will never forget this story. Anyway, when our dishes came to our table, I of course, whipped out my camera and started taking photos of the dishes. Moments later, I’d say about less than 5 minutes later, our waiter (a charming and cheerful lad I might add), returned to our table and said quite loudly and playfully, “Why haven’t you guys started eating?! Is there something wrong with the food?!” followed by a small giggle. I replied, “I’m taking pictures!” to which he then responded, again playfully with a hint of sympathy, “Oh okay, so everyone has to wait I see”. My Mom then said, “She has a food blog” to which he then gave that raised-head ahhhh expression, and then walked away. It was quite hilarious! I’ve taken so many pictures of food before at cafés/restaurant, but never have I ever been why I’m not eating my food. Well honey, if you just wait for me to be done with my pictures, I’ll gladly eat the food!

Anyway, below are just a few of the dishes you can find at Cuckoo Callay:

Cuckoo Callay - GEORGE'S GORGEOUS COUSIN
GEORGE’S GORGEOUS COUSIN (vegetarian and gluten-free): Marinated avocado and thyme infused confit heirloom tomatoes on sourdough, goats curd, house made basil pesto, lemon herb gremolata, and a 63degree egg ($17.00)

My sister Angela had this dish and I of course had a little bite of it so that I could at least write about the taste of the dish. What I really loved about this dish was the marinated avocados; I mean avocados alone are already just good nought for me with a crack of sea salt and black pepper, but these were simply divine. I can’t quite make out what they marinated the avocados in, but they tasted a bit tangy? Anyway, they tasted so good that I think I might’ve had a bit too much of the avocados than I was offered to have!

Cuckoo Callay - PURPLE RAIN
PURPLE RAIN (gluten-free): Beetroot cured salmon, organic quinoa, chargrilled broccolini, sugar snap peas, avocado, kale, chilli, feta, toasted almonds, and 63degree egg ($21.00)

This was the dish that I had and though the avocados weren’t marinated, I still believe that I made the right choice in ordering this for myself. The dish was packed with lots of flavours and textures, and the runny yolk from that 63degree egg just tied the whole salad together. The cured salmon was something new for me in a sense that I’ve never had beetroot cured salmon before and though it was nice, nothing can compare to Devon Café’s cured salmon for me!

Cuckoo Callay - WE FOUND MARY'S LAMB
WE FOUND MARY’S LAMB: 16 hour slow cooked Moroccan spiced lamb, Israeli couscous, chermoula marinated eggplant, minted yogurt, and pistachio ($22.00)

My youngest sister Alyssa ordered this dish, well more like I ordered the dish for her since she had no clue on what to order. The lamb was very tender and really had that Moroccan flavour packed in it. I really liked the Israeli couscous for the way it looked only because I don’t think I’ve ever seen couscous so big and so round! Besides those two elements, everything else on the dish tied nicely together.

Cuckoo Callay - EGGS ON TOAST
EGGS ON TOAST: soft scrambled ($9.00) with extra marinated avocados (+$4.00)

My mom, though she enjoys food a lot, isn’t much of a big eater and so I ordered a simple eggs on toast with marinated avocados for her. You can choose how you want your eggs, whether soft scrambled, 63degree, or fried, and what extras you would like to go with it from crispy bacon, beetroot cured salmon, duck sausage, to grilled haloumi, marinated avocados, etc. Take your pick really to whatever suits your tastebuds. Anyway, of course before ordering this dish, I had no idea how good the avocados were, so after tasting them from my sister’s dish, I was quite happy with the decision to get extra avocados for my mom’s dish only because it meant that I could have more avocados *insert evil laugh* Anyway, what else can I say? The scrambled eggs were light a fluffy, the way it should be and toast is toast.

One thing that I noticed with Cuckoo Callay’s menu (both for the bacon festival and their new menu), is that they are very creative with naming their dishes; even my Mom found it very amusing! Overall, both dining experiences were delightful, and both the company and the quality of service was on point. If I recall, we had to wait a while for our dishes during the bacon festival, and that was only because the café was jam-packed with a lot of customers. We even had to wait 45 minutes in line to be seated, but altogether worth the wait I must say. The festival did not disappoint! Value for money? Like I mean it’s definitely worth your money in comparison to other places that I’ve been too. My Mother on the other hand, of course having just arrived from Brunei where you can probably get a similar dish for half the price, found it quite expensive. However, before she and my sisters left to go back to Brunei, she did comment on how yes eating out is definitely more expensive in Australia, but you get double the portion than you do back home. I’d give value for money an 8/10. The food probably a 8/10 as well; some minor issues due to personal taste, but nothing bad or mediocre about the food to give it a lower rating.

Cuckoo Callay
Newtown Railway Station
Shop 324B Erskineville Road
Newtown, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

Hello Everyone! Back with another recipe for you! I know right? It’s a weekday and she’s actually uploading a post? If you read yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I had a baking session with my good friend/lover Jialing. What happened was that she was feeling bait down that she couldn’t do the internship that she really wanted due to requirement issues with our University – and so she contacted me and basically wanted to bake a chocolate lava cake to drown her sorrows in. So, we decided to do that! I suggested that we make a red velvet lava cake – drooled instantly as I made that suggestion. So Sunday we met up at the grocers and bought our ingredients for it. While shopping, Jialing decided that she wanted to make a dark chocolate lava cake, and bought ingredients for those too. Lava cake bake-off!

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

This was my first time trying out this recipe and I don’t particularly like making lava cakes because I always end under either undercooking it, or overcooking it until it’s rock solid and dry. Jialing’s dark chocolate lava cakes were slightly overdone and not very molten, while mine on the other hand were slightly undercooked – the sides were perfect, but the tops (as in when you invert them) weren’t cooked at all, even when they were in the oven for the maximum amount of time they should be in. Nonetheless taste and texture were spot on – and in my opinion made the presentation of the dish more dynamic! Please check out the original recipe on The Dinner Pages. I SO wanted to make the cream cheese ice cream, but I didn’t have an ice cream maker so I mean, store bought Cadbury vanilla ice cream did wonders as well anyway!

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-18 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup white chocolate buttons
  • 85g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cocoa powder
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 tsp red food colouring
  • pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and butter until smooth, at intervals of 20-30 seconds to prevent the mixture from burning (approximately 2 minutes altogether). Grease the moulds with the extra butter.
  2. Add in the cocoa powder and sugar to the white chocolate and butter mixture. Stir until well combined.
  3. Beat the eggs in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add in the chocolate mixture in small amounts, stirring together to allow the eggs to warm slowly (temper) and avoid scrambling. Add in the remaining chocolate batter in small amounts as well and stir until fully combined.
  4. Stir in the red food colouring, flour, and pinch of salt until well combined. Then divide the batter amongst the 4 well greased moulds (should go up to about 3/4 of the way).
  5. Bake for 15 minutes (or as I found that my cakes didn’t quite cook at the top, add an extra 2 minutes, maybe).
  6. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges right away. Invert each mould onto an individual serving plate and let sit for 2 minutes, then carefully lift up the mould. Top with vanilla ice cream to serve.

Red Velvet Chocolate Lava Cake

I mean, look at that gloss on the lava! So much loves!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Peach Crumble

Peach Crumble

For my 21st Birthday (which was like a year and a half ago), one of my friend’s from church, Tom, got me a set of 4 mini-cocottes with an accompanying cookbook. It was probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever received – a lot of people back then knew that I am a foodie and that I love to cook. The mistake they always make is that they get me food, such as chocolates and even gingerbread cookies (since my birthday was towards the end of the year, they thought they’d give me a birthday and Christmas gift too). I never really liked receiving food as gifts as I always say “I’m just gonna poop it out later anyway”, but cookware or even tableware? Best.

Note, I’m actually not a very big fan of chocolate. Moist, warm, oozy, chocolate cake: Yes. Chocolate bars, candies: No.

Peach Crumble

From this cookbook, I’ve only actually made two recipes, Shepard’s Pie and of course today’s post, Peach Crumble – which I have made numerous times because I just love it! Even my friends love it! It’s also simple and requires no more than 10 ingredients. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit in terms of lessening the amount of sugar (I don’t really like my desserts too sweet and sometimes when I see ‘1 cup of sugar’ it scares me a bit). I also used less peaches than what the recipe calls for, and discarded the juice of lemon – in the past I have found the lemon too overpowering, making the dessert very sour. I think the zest adds enough lemony flavour to the crumble.

This is usually a dessert I pull out during the summer as peaches are in season then here in Australia. To my surprise, when I went shopping a few days ago at Coles, I found peaches! At first I was a bit skeptical knowing that they weren’t in season, and then I realised they had been imported from the US. I bought them anyway despite it being a tad bit more expensive than the local peaches during the summertime, because I needed peach crumble in my life right now and I couldn’t sit around and wait for summer to come along. But a warm peach crumble dessert fits perfectly with the cold weather don’t you think?

Peach Crumble Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large ripe peaches
  • 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup crumbed walnuts
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Zest of one lemon

Peach Crumble

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 190C. Lightly butter 4 mini-cocottes.
  2. Bring a saucepan on water to a boil and plunge the peaches in one by one for 2 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon and transfer to a deep dish to cool. Once cool, the skin should easily peel off. Cut into generous chunks or slices and mix with the lemon zest, cinnamon, and half of the sugar. Set aside.
  3. Mix the remaining sugar together with the butter, flour, and walnuts in a bowl. With your fingertips, quickly mix the ingredients together until looks like rough bread crumbs. If your mixture is too warm, put the bowl into the refrigerator for 15 minutes and start again when it has chilled.
  4. Fill each mini-cocottes with the peaches and top with the crumble mixture. Place any remain peach slices on the top.
  5. Place the cocottes on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. This is to catch any juices that may overflow from the cocottes; saves having to clean the tray later. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.
  6. Serve hot out of the oven or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream (optional).

Peach Crumble

Peach Crumble

Additionally, you can use any stone fruit besides peaches, such as apricots and plums – anything that is ripe, available locally, and in season. Reserve and leftover crumble by freezing it in a small ziplock bag.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com