Kangaroo Bolognese

Kangaroo Bolognese

Hello Everyone! So today’s recipe was inspired by a meal that I had while travelling the outback a few weeks ago. It was our first night of the tour and our tour guide Dan was showing us the way to Ewing’s Lookout to have champagne, wine, and crackers while watching the sun set over Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta. I remember him saying that while we were enjoying the sunset, he’ll be back at the campsite and have “tea” ready for us. Then someone called out “what about dinner?” Dan didn’t hear her though because he was getting out of the 4WD as she said it. I then remember a couple of guys discussing about how they came to book the tour, and I remember him specifically saying “it said that dinner would be provided”. I then chimed in and told them that when Dan said “tea” he meant dinner, to which he responded “that’s so weird, in England tea is just tea, like would you like a cup of tea. But here it’s would you like a cup of dinner?” He was hilarious. But nonetheless, I assured the others that dinner will be served. “Tea” is apparently an Aussie slang for a light late afternoon meal or main meal in the evening.

Kangaroo Bolognese Ingredients

Anyway, tea aside, Dan made Kangaroo Bolognese for dinner that night. I’ve ever only had kangaroo once before during my first year in Sydney. It was my 20th birthday party and one of my friends brought kangaroo patties to throw on the barbie. I’ll be honest and say that I cringed a little bit when I found out that he was cooking kangaroo. Even though I was reluctant to, he made me try a bit. I don’t even remember  what it tasted like; I just knew that I neither loved nor hated it. But ever since then until now, it never crossed my mind to actually purchase kangaroo and consume it. I’ll admit that I was even reluctant to eat it while camping – but i had no choice because I didn’t want to starve during the night and wait for breakfast. After giving kangaroo a second chance, I still had the same feelings of neither loving it nor hating it, but I can safely say that I was leaning more towards liking it.

After returning from the trip, I decided that I would give Kangaroo Bolognese a go and last week Monday was the day I tried out the recipe for myself. I basically just cooked it the way I would normally cook a bolognese with minced beef. It turned out to be pretty good! But I think I got sick of eating it after the 3rd day – I made enough to last me 4 meals, and to those who know me, I actually cannot eat the same meal more than twice in a row otherwise I’d get sick and tired of eating it. I still have half a kilo left in my freezer and I am unsure what to make next. I immediately thought of kangaroo lasagna, but I’ve had various suggestions such as kangaroo pie, Aussie kangaroo burger and even a Roorito (kangaroo burrito). I might give the last one a go just because I like the name of it!

Kangaroo Bolognese Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g kangaroo mince
  • 250g linguine (or any other pasta)
  • 1 can (400g) Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 sachet (2 tbsp) tomato paste
  • 4-5 dried bay leaves
  • 3 baby carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed then minced
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, diced
  • 1 red birds-eye chilli, sliced (optional for that added kick of spice)
  • 1 cube vegetable stock dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Parsley

METHOD

  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until golden and fragrant, then add the chillies and onions. Sauté until the onions are soft and then add in the kangaroo mince. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook, stirring, until the meat is no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes).
  2. Add the dried bay leaves, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and vegetable stock. Give it a good mix and then turn the heat down to low, cover and let it simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Finally, add in the carrots and celery, and cook for a further 8-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to packet instructions.
  4. Remove the sauce from the heat and serve over the hot pasta. Top with a handful of grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Kangaroo Bolognese

Fun fact: Australia is the only nation to eat its Coat of Arms – not quite!

I was told that Australia is the only nation to eat kangaroos and emus, both of which are national symbols on the Australian Coat of Arms. After doing some research, it’s not quite true and turns out that there are 20 (or maybe even more) other nations that eat their national symbol. Kangaroo has been historically a staple source of protein for indigenous Australians. Kangaroo meat is high in protein, low in fat (about 2%), and has been attributed with a wide range of health benefits.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk

Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk

TGIF! Hope everyone had a good week. Today’s dish is once again pulled from my 1000 Italian Recipes Cookbook, though I must say that the ingredients are hardly Italian at all – but nonetheless packed with flavour and again very little ingredients needed. Today’s post will be a short one as I don’t have a long back story for you to endure before getting to the recipe, but please do enjoy this lovely dish.

Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 18-20 MINS SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup spirali pasta (or other shaped pasta)
  • 250g tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup (200ml) coconut milk
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, ends crushed and tips sliced
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Chives
  • Ground salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside reserving about 2-3 tbsp of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan together with the crushed lemon grass, lime zest and half of the chilli slices. Leave to simmer over low-heat for about 10-15 minutes for the flavours to infuse into the milk.
  3. Add the prawns and leave until they turn pink (about 3 minutes), then stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Fish out the lemongrass stalks and toss through the pasta. Garnish with remaining chilli and lemongrass slices. Serve.

Spirali with Prawns & Coconut Milk

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Chorizo & Leek Orecchiette

Chorizo & Leek Orecchiette

Hello Everyone! Here is another recipe from my ‘1000 Italian Recipes’ cookbook. I am actually surprised at the fact that most of the featured recipes in this cookbook require no more than 8 ingredients to create such a lip-smacking dish – which is a good thing because it means less preparation, easy, quick, and simple, and obviously less expenses. You know what they say, less is definitely more.

Orecchiette is basically a type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, hence the name (orecchio, ear, OR orecchiette, little ears). They are slightly domed with their centres are thinner than their rims. This particular shape gives them an interestingly variable texture; soft in the middle and somewhat more chewy on the outside.

Chorizo & Leek Orecchiette Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups orecchiette pasta (or other shaped pasta)
  • 2 chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh red chillies, optional
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

METHOD

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside reserving about 2-3 tbsp of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over high heat in a medium-sized pan and fry the chorizo sausages until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Sweat the garlic and onions without colouring. Then add the rosemary leaves and leeks. Reduce the heat and cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Return the chorizo sausages to the pan and add the reserved cooking water. Turn the heat off and toss together with the pasta. Season with a touch of pepper and fresh chillies if desired, and shaved parmesan cheese.

Chorizo & Leek Orecchiette

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad

Hello Everyone! It’s been a whole week since I last uploaded, sorry for that! I haven’t been cooking anything new the past week – just things I’ve already covered in this blog, or quick, easy meals because I didn’t feel like cooking. I’ve also been eating out a bit, catching up with both old and new friends over the holidays, and also saying farewell to my other Dutch housemate Sam. It’s getting lonely in the kitchen now without you! No one to creep up on me (be it in the kitchen or bathroom) and unintentionally spook me, no one to fight with over for our favourite shower room, no one talk to while cooking, and no one to eat with. No one to share my desserts with! And most importantly, no one will ever understand me when I say, “you’ve never heard of Medina?!” Please come back! Please don’t leave!

Anyway, today I got back into my cooking and decided to pull out a recipe from a cookbook that I bought months ago. A little story first about this cookbook. It was a public holiday I think (it was that long ago that I cannot remember), that I decided to go to a place called Basement Books at Railway Square – well, it was more that I recommended my friends to go there after a trip to Dymocks. I told them that books were generally much cheaper there. So while they were looking at novels, I was of course looking through the cookbook section. I found this cookbook, ‘1000 Italian Recipes’ split into three categories, starters and sides, mains, and dessert. Publisher’s price was at $16.99, and Basement price was at $9.99. I thought, what a bargain! Then I saw the exact cookbook behind it on the shelf and it said $12.99. Confused, I asked the sales lady what the actual price was, and she told me she would check at the counter. “It’s actually $6.99!” she said, and once again I thought, what a greater bargain! 1000 recipes for only $6.99!

So, why is it that I’ve only come around to try out a recipe from this book? Well, I don’t exactly know why. I’ve gone through the book numerous times and even bookmarked my favourites. I guess the main reason why I haven’t cooked from it yet was that I was probably not feeling very inspired, even though the recipes were fairly simple. I used to cook pasta at least once a week since I started cooking. No-cream Bacon Carbonara was my go-to dish whenever I wanted something quick and simple, but even so, I’ve not made that dish for a while because it made me feel sick and nauseous after a while – and I’m not quite sure if it’s the raw egg in it or the heap load of cheese. Anyway, I should get onto the recipe and stop blabbering about!

First off, casareccia is basically pappardelle pasta, rolled vertically and twisted into half, and works well with chunky sauces. The original recipe is meat-free and doesn’t call for the addition of chilli flakes. But you can get creative and bulk it up with bacon, ham, salami, etc. I kept it vegetarian, until I realised I had a pack of Hungarian salami in the fridge. Next time!

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups casareccia pasta (or other shaped pasta)
  • 1 punnet (200g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 75g black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 3 tbsp baby capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • Dash of dried chilli flakes
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

METHOD

  1. In a small pan, heat up the olive oil. Once heated through, add to a large stainless steel bowl together with the tomatoes, olives, and capers, and chilli flakes. Toss and then set aside to macerate (to soften or become softened by soaking in a liquid). I like to leave it to macerate for at least 5 hours for the flavours to further soak into the olive oil, but 1 hour should do the trick.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain and add to the macerated vegetables, with the basil leaves. Toss to combine and add more oil and seasoning if necessary.
  3. Garnish with basil leaves and shaved parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Neapolitan Casareccia Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
I have had the greatest pleasure of attending the re-launch of Bar Surry Hills with my lovely +1, Yvonne Wang. The story behind this photo was that the two ladies sandwiching Yvonne and I “photobomed” our photo.

The Bar is now open with an all new Italian kitchen, featuring a menu themed with all your favourite pizza and pasta selections! It is located on the ground floor of the Rydges Hotel Surry Hills, and is just a 5-minute walk from Central Station, and is open daily from 11 am until late, making it the perfect venue for a business lunch, an after-work cocktail, a romantic nightcap, a private party, birthday, or a special event.

The overall experience was a good one, and I was glad that I got to share the night with the lovely Yvonne Wang. As we entered the venue, it greeted us with a warm welcome. We were led towards the bar to grab our complimentary beverages (from Sydney Brewery Beers, to various cocktails, and wine). Towards the left of the entrance to the restaurant was the charcuterie station – a display of aesthetically beautiful Italian bread and a selection of various cold cut meats, sliced on the spot for you as you wait in line to grab a charcuterie plate for yourself (or your table).

We waited around for a while with our drinks until a table cleared. We then sat down and had all the food circled and brought to us – breadsticks with oil-marinated olives, bruschetta, a selection of pizzas, and desserts, Nutella pizza and what tasted like lemon and poppyseed cannoli to me. We had a little bit of everything, and probably missed out on a few selections that they offered on the night – I know because I remember seeing plates of what looked like deep fried balls, filled/stuffed with cheese perhaps? Anyway, they never made it to our table and stopped serving them at one point.

The food was great. Delicious. I can’t say much about the value for money as I’m uncertain on how much each individual dish that was served costed. Nonetheless, they average from about $10-$30 AUD, which I think is reasonable for the quality of the food. The venue, also great. I really loved the sleek and modern feel the place brought, and also evoked a fun and funky atmosphere. I can’t comment much on service quality in terms of how quick the food arrives to your table, but I can definitely say that the staff very friendly.

Bar Surry Hills & Italian RestaurantComplimentary Paloma Cocktail, Red Wine, and Breadsticks with Oil-marinated Olives

Bar Surry Hills & Italian RestaurantComplimentary Espresso Martini

Bar Surry Hills & Italian RestaurantCharcuterie Station – selection of beautiful Italian bread & cold cut meats

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
Diavolo Pizza

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
The highlight of the night in my opinion – Nutella Pizza served on a huge plank of veneered plywood

Be sure to check out their entire menu by visiting their Bar and Restaurant!

Bar Surry Hills & Italian Restaurant
28 Albion Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

Click here to see more photos of the event.

– Ally xx

ps: Also, many thanks to my fellow COFA friend, Greta Peterson. Without her, I wouldn’t have known about the event. Thank you for getting me onto the VIP list!

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti alle Vongole

Spaghetti alle Vongole (basically ‘spaghetti with clams’ in Italian) is one of my all time favourite seafood pasta, alongside with probably almost ALL seafood pastas out there to be honest. I cooked this up over the weekend but hadn’t found the time to upload it then, so here it is now. It is a dish that is highly popular throughout the central regions of Italy, including Rome, as well as further south in Campania. Italians prepare the dish in two ways:

  • in bianco: with oil, garlic, parsley, and sometimes a splash of white wine; or
  • in rosso: like the former but with tomatoes and fresh basil, the addition of tomatoes being more frequent in the south.

Cheese and cream are sometimes added to the dish in most Italian-American recipes. However, these ingredients are quite alien to the spirit of Italian cooking. In the true spirit of Italian cooking, cheese is never added to this dish, accentuating the simple flavours of the clams and of good quality olive oil.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg NZ Westhaven Vongole
  • 300g angel hair pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 2 red bird’s eye chill, sliced
  • 1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup fish stock*
  • 3/4 cup Chardonnay
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Ground salt

*I would usually go for clam juice, but I couldn’t find any at the supermarkets.

METHOD

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and chillies in the olive oil until fragrant and the garlic is golden brown, about a minute. Then add the clams, fish stock, and wine. Cover and simmer over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally until all the clams open. Add in the cherry tomatoes and remove from the heat.
  2. While the clams are simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente (read packet instructions, 4-5minutes for angel hair pasta). Drain the pasta and transfer to the saucepan and toss well with the clam sauce and parsley. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti alle Vongole

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx
myTaste.com