Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

Hello Everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates on the blog! I did say in the last post or so perhaps that I’d be travelling during this time and that I was unsure of whether I’d have, not so much the time, but more the internet connection to be able to post updates for you guys – and that’s exactly what happened! The first week of my trip I was staying in Sta. Maria Bulacan where my grandmother is currently residing has no wi-fi connection. I am now in Lucena at my cousin’s place with internet!

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza Ingredients

3 pizzas down and just 1 more to go after this recipe. I prepared this post and the next even before I left for holidays, but as I said, I didn’t have the connection. Today I have a very simple pizza recipe for you. The first time I had this pizza was back home in Brunei at a restaurant called Fratini’s. I was with my Mom and two younger sisters at that time for a 50% off dinner promotion during the month of fasting for Muslims known as Ramadhan. If I’m not mistaken (since I am talking about several years ago), we ordered their winning dish Linguine Fratini which was quite a hefty dish, but sharing that between 4 people was not enough; just. So we decided that we wanted to order a pizza too, to share, but nothing to hefty as the pasta dish. So the waiter/waitress at the time recommended the garlic and rosemary pizza, which we ended up ordering at the end. When it came to the table, I was actually quite shocked. “Where’s the sauce?” I asked myself. Everything that I knew about what pizza was meant to be, stuffed crust, tomato sauce, and cheesy goodness, all gone. But when I had a slice of that pizza, I was in heaven. It was like garlic bread, but in pizza form. It was delicious that I didn’t even want to share the pizza with anyone else!

My pizza came out a little too tan for my liking, and didn’t really have the same flavour I experienced back then. It was nonetheless still tasty, however I think I overdid the salt a wee-bit too much.

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-10 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients to a small bowl and let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour for the fresh garlic and rosemary leaves to macerate in the olive oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 220C. Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  3. Roll out your dough to a circle the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want. Then drizzle the olive oil mixture over the top of the dough.
  4. Carefully remove the stone from the oven and quickly slide the pizza over the top of the stone. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 15 minutes in total.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve with any sort of pasta dish as a side!

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

Garlic & Rosemary Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Hello Everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already February, which means sad times ahead as I only have less than two week in this beautiful city I have been calling home for the past 4 years. I’m finding it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that once I leave, the possibility of coming back is unlikely. Yes I will be back for graduation, but after that it’s quite possible that it’s sayōnara for good.

So why am I starting off my blog post on this matter? Well it’s because leaving and knowing you won’t be back in a long time has me in this cleaning-up-the-pantry phase. I discovered that I have a tin of pearl barley in my pantry and so I wanted to make use of this. I came across a recipe on the Food Network for a Barley Greek Salad and decided to give this a try. I didn’t change much of the recipe besides the fact that I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar only because I had about a quarter of a bottle left of balsamic. I didn’t want to buy a whole new bottle of red wine vinegar seeing as I didn’t have any (since my whole point is to clear the pantry)! I also decided to throw in some avocado chunks instead of cucumber because for those who know me, cucumber isn’t my thing.

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

Easy, simple, and packed with lots of flavour. Good for a light and healthy (I presume) lunch or as a side to a classic Aussie summer BBQ. The flavours worked really well together; you’ve got the saltiness from the olives, counterbalanced with the acidity of the balsamic vinegar. You’ve got the freshness of the added vegetables as well as the crunch from the diced capsicum, chewiness from the pearl barley, and creaminess of the avocado. Like fireworks in your mouth I tell you; an absolute burst of flavours to the palette!

Greek-inspired Barley Salad Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup danish feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1 punnet (250g) cherry tomato medley, quartered
  • 1 small red capsicum, seeded, ribs removed, and diced
  • 1 small red spanish onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Combine the barley, 3 cups water, and a pinch salt in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the barley is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Strain* and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, feta, olives, mint, capsicum and shallots in a large bowl. Once the barley has cooled down, add it to the bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a separate small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and dress the salad and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It’s best to make the barley salad at least 3 hours ahead of time so the flavours have time to incorporate and mingle into each other.

*Optional: when straining the barley, reserve the water for drinking. There are numerous health benefits associated to drinking barley water such as lowering cholesterol levels in the body because of its high fibre content. Barley water also helps reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. It is a good source of magnesium, which reacts with various enzymes involving glucose levels in the body. To find out more about the health benefits of barley water, check out the Diet Health Club.

Greek-inspired Barley Salad

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S

Devon on Danks

Hello Everyone and welcome back to yet another Review Sunday on the blog! Devon Café is one of those that I’d never fail to go back to for a nice Sunday brunch, well besides the Potting Shed at the Grounds though – I can’t pick between the two! So recently, I think somewhere in mid-November, Devon Café expanded their brand and opened up a new venue over on Danks Street in Waterloo. I quite honestly did not get into the hype of it until late December, after Christmas, before New Years – not that I wasn’t into it, but I just wanted to wait until the hype died down a bit. Knowing that this is Sydney, the hype never dies down! The first time I went here wasn’t that bad though, we managed to get a seat straight away but even so, the place was pretty packed. If we had arrived any later we could’ve easily been standing outside waiting for at least 10 minutes or so for a table for 3. Don’t even get me started on how packed it was on ‘Straya Day, but lucky again we managed to get a table for 2 with ease, but I did feel sorry for the others who had to wait out in the rain for a table.

Devon on Danks: 'STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
‘STRAYA DAY SPECIAL
Medley of tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, and soft-boiled egg, on toast ($16.50)

As mentioned above, this dish was only available during Australia Day. I ordered it because it’s one of their specials and it won’t be on their menu ever again (maybe)! It was a difficult decision because I was eying their ‘Naked’ Bruschetta at that time as well. I actually have no regrets going for this dish because it blew my mind. Yes I know, some tomatoes and avocado on toast – really? The dish was just so flavoursome and fresh at the same time. The crusty white bread added that crunch texture to the palette and was excellent for soaking up the olive oil. The disappointment in this dish though was that my egg was not at all soft nor runny liked I’d expect it to be. Would’ve loved a runny yolk to compliment the crusty bread to soak it all up. Also, $16.50 for this dish? A bit too much in my opinion.

Devon on Danks: BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S
BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S
Miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63˚ egg, radish petit salad, and kewpi mayonnaise ($24.50)

This dish is probably Devon’s signature as it appears in both menus at the original Devon and Devon on Danks. My Instagram newsfeed always features this dish from other people’s brunches. I never really had this dish for myself to consume, but I did manage to have a bite from my friend’s plate. According to her, the salmon was cooked to perfection and I can definitely vouch for that statement. The egg was perfectly cooked, and flavour combinations worked well together. She overall liked the dish.

Devon on Danks: LITTLE LOST BREAD
LITTLE LOST BREAD
Brioche French toast, fresh and freeze dried strawberries, balsamic and strawberry gastrique, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, and Arnott’s biscuit crumble ($16.50)

Again, I did not have this dish to myself, but I did manage to have a small bite. My friends, who at that time share this dish as a dessert, really loved this dish, but it was a bit sour for my liking, which I think mainly came from the balsamic. But otherwise, the brioche French toast was amazing, and so was the ice cream that topped it. What I found interesting was that at the end of the description for this dish it said “add bacon $4.00”. BACON? I was so confused and intrigued at the same time, but my friends didn’t want to get the bacon with it.

Devon on Danks: DR SEUSS's GREEN EGGS AND HAM
DR SEUSS’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM
Thick cut bacon, crispy potato, 63˚ egg, green tomato ketchup, pea purée, soybeans, pea tendrils, and jus ($19.00)

This again was a dish that was predominately popping up on my Instagram newsfeed. I think what is attractive about this dish is its name. It brought back many childhood memories and this was a dish that I really wanted to indulge in, but unfortunately lost the battle with Marissa. She told me to order the same thing but I was like NO that’s not point! Because I write a blog, I actually hate it when people order the same thing, because then that means that I have one (sometimes two) less dishes to write about. Which also means that I have to again visit the café/restaurant so that I am not just reviewing two or three dishes. Anyway, tangent aside, the bacon was delish, cooked to perfection, and paired well with the other components in the dish. Marissa seemed to love it too!

Devon on Danks: SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
SOFT SHELL CRAB SALAD ala JAPANOIS
Crispy soft shell crab with sichimi pepper, wasabi mayo, tobiko, nori, pickled cucumber, daikon, carrot, and shiso ($19.90)

Originally, this dish was meant to be a soft shell crab roll. I don’t know what happened, like whether they ran out of rolls or whatever other reason, this time when I came back with Tara, they had blacked out the ‘roll’ on their menu and changed it to a salad. Despite it not being a roll anymore, the dish was beautifully presented and was very flavoursome. The soft shell crab was crunchy and was packed with a lot of spice, quite possibly from the wasabi. That was on point for me. The salad was flavourful, but in the end I kept thinking that the dish looked really small, and for roughly $20.00, it almost seemed that you didn’t a good value for your money. I’ve had soft shell crab salad elsewhere before at a Japanese restaurant and it was about $11.00 for more than just ONE crab.

Devon on Danks: LUCKY DUCK
LUCKY DUCK
French buckwheat crêpe, crispy duck leg, duck liver parfait, fried duck egg, and blueberry preserve ($24.50)

This was the dish that I had that time I was out with Marissa and her friend Karina. Duck is one of my favourite meats which is why I had no doubts when having to select another dish after not being able to have my way with what I wanted in the first place. I regret nothing. This dish was top notch for me, despite me having doubts about the liver parfait. It actually tasted good together with the blueberry preserve and the other elements to the dish. I could not fault this dish, and unlike most dishes, this definitely was a great value for money.

Devon on Danks: CRONUT
CRONUT
Green tea matcha cronut with red bean filling ($7.00)

This was by far the best cronut I’ve had to date (not that I’ve had many anyway), but the flavour combinations happening in this one tiny cronut was to die for. The amount of red bean filling in this cronut might I add was very generous! It just oozed out every time we sliced into it for a bite. Though I did feel that by the 5th or 6th bite, I could feel that the red bean filling was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Devon on Danks: SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
Pandan soft serve, banana, rice and coconut krispies, kalamansi cream, palm seeds, and gula melaka ($11.00)

What I love about Devon is the Asian fusion that they bring into their cuisine. This ice cream, though Asian inspired based on ingredients and flavours, is nothing that I have seen at all in Asia. Pansan, kalamansi, palm seeds, and gula melaka, are all flavours that I am familiar with, but never did I think that they’d all work so well together as an ice cream sundae! Loved the flavour combinations in this sundae, better than the salted caramel soft serve. I only wished that it had been a very hot day instead of a gloomy ‘Straya Day the time I shared this with Tara because the cloddish weather and really cold ice cream did not feel right!

Devon on Danks: DD's SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
DD’s SPECIAL SOFT SERVE SUNDAE
with salted caramel ice cream, black salt, and hot chips ($10.00)

Ever since the opening of Devon on Danks, I have seen this pop up on my Instagram feed one too many times! It brought back a lot of memories of when I was a kid and how I’d use to dip my order of fries into my soft serve ice cream on a cone from McDonalds. I think it was everyone’s childhood memories for everyone had written about how they did that when they were kids when talking about this sundae. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this, there was too much salt going on for me. I was fine at first, but I struggled to finish the rest. Salted caramel ice cream, TOPPED with black salt, AND salted fries on the side. Salt overload!

I’d rate the food probably an 8 on a scale of 10, just cos of some minor issues I had with some of the dishes that were served. Service was on point and the waiters/waitresses were always smiling, friendly, and gave great recommendations when it came down to having to make a decision on what cronut we wanted to have for dessert. The ambiance was sort of like modern meets industrial which by the way is what I like most about cafés around Sydney who embrace this interior design style fusion. Value for money is variable – some dishes I feel were reasonably priced while others I felt that they were a bit overpriced for the amount of food that was on the plate. Then again this is my opinion, and I’m pretty sure others will have a different say to this. But overall, be it the original Devon Café or Devon on Danks, I will always pay a visit when I am in the mood for a pretty epic brunch date.

Devon on Danks
2 Danks Street
Waterloo, New South Wales
Australia, 2017

– Ally xx

Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb

Hello Everyone and Happy Australia Day! Or as they say it here in the land down under, Happy ‘Straya Day! It is the official national day of Australia that is celebrated on the 26th of January. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, NSW, and raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip. If there’s anything that I’ve learnt about Australia from living here for the past 4 years is that they really love their lamb. So for this special Monday post, I am bringing to you a classic leg of lamb roast. All you really need are garlic, olive oil, rosemary, and a little salt and pepper – you need not do anything fancy with this leg! These make for a flavourful and tasty leg of lamb.

Roast Leg of Lamb

So this is probably the fourth leg of lamb roast that I’ve made over the years of being in Australia. I was never in the country for Australia Day, except this year of course, so I remember that my previous flatmate and I would always serve one up during our annual Easter dinner. A simple roast with simple and humble ingredients to flavour it up; all you really need is some patience with it as it does require some time in the oven. But you can always do something else with your time rather than sit and watch it cook. Just remember to check on it every hour incase it starts to tan a bit too much.

Roast Leg of Lamb Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 2 HOURS 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5kg leg of lamb, washed and pat dried
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • Garlic infused olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a deep baking tray with foil and place a wire rack above it.
  2. Place the leg on the rack and rub with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Make small incisions throughout the leg and insert garlic pieces and rosemary in each. Chop up any remaining garlic pieces and sprinkle over the top of the leg.
  3. Place in the oven and let it roast for about 2 to 2 and a half hours. Once done, transfer the leg to a deep dish (I used my rectangular pyrex) cover the leg with foil and let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. While the lamb is resting, pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and let it simmer away. This is totally optional by the way! Once simmering, add about half a cup of white wine and bring back to a simmer. Then add in about a teaspoon of flour and mixture until the juices start to thicken. Serve with the leg of lamb!

Roast Leg of Lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb

The rest is up to you! You can have it with some steamed rice or mashed potatoes. Whatever tickles your fancy. If you have any leftovers, get creative and whip up another stellar dish – like perhaps my lamb ragù which will be up on the blog on Thursday!

Once again, happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussie friends!

Roast Leg of Lamb

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