Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Hello Everyone! I hope that this time around I say that I will keep a post short, that I will actually keep it short *fingers crossed (yet no promises will be made)*. Continuing on with the theme of hero-ing tilapia in all recipes for the month of June, tonight I will be sharing a recipe that I came across last year during a corporate dinner with Ambassadors from a few Southeast Asian countries as we celebrated the Ambassador of Cambodia’s farewell from Brunei. How did a score an invite to a dinner with high-ranking officials? Well, it’s not hard to when your Boss has the connections.

Tangent aside, it was during this dinner that I came across this particular dish that I will be sharing with you guys tonight. I honestly have no clue what the dish is called, as in if there is a special name for it so I do apologise for the blunt name – just calling it as I see it! Anyway, as I recall, the dish didn’t have slices of tilapia in it, I just added it on for extra flavour and protein to the overall dish. I know that the dish doesn’t sound like it packs a lot of flavour to it, well I think it isn’t supposed to anyway. From what I remember, the broth was subtle in taste, and what really shined through was the sweetness of the sponge gourd and a little pop of sour from the goji berries. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what the egg white does to help the dish as I know it’s rather bland in flavour – maybe to give the broth some texture?

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

Anyway, I remember really enjoying the dish that night and last weekend I decided to give the dish a go based from the ingredients that I recognised, playing around with flavoring the broth, and of course incorporating tilapia into the overall dish. I’ll be honest and say that I was a bit nervous going blindly into this recipe with having only tried the dish once just shy of a year ago, but it turned out to be a delicious hit!

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 750g tilapia, filleted and sliced, heads and bones reserved
  • 1 large sweet gourd, peeled and cut into long thin strips (like noodles)
  • 2 large free range egg whites
  • Handful of dried goji berries

For the fish broth

  • 1L water
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Reserved tilapia heads and bones
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tbsp water

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients for the fish broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring the heat down to low and allow the broth to slowly simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Once done, strain out the tilapia heads, bones, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and discard.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the goji berries in hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain and then set aside.
  3. Bring the heat back up to high and the broth to a rapid boil. Add the sweet gourd noodles to the broth and cook until tender but still has a slight crunch to it, about 2-3 minutes altogether, or longer if you prefer it soft. Once done, strain and then divide evenly into each single serving deep dish.
  4. Add the fish slices into the broth and quickly blanch until cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Strain and then divide evenly.
  5. Drizzle the egg whites into the broth a little at a time using a fork to continuously stir into the broth as the egg whites are dropped in. Eggs whites would cook immediately.
  6. Once the eggs whites have been dropped, gradually stir in the cornstarch and water mixture into the broth until the soup is thickened to your desired consistency. Turn the heat off and divide the soup evenly between the individual serving dishes.
  7. Top the dish with the goji berries and a touch of ground black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Sweet Gourd Noodles with Tilapia & Egg White Soup

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

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Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Hello Everyone! I’ll try to keep tonight’s post short and sweet, well, I guess the only reason why it’d be short is because I don’t actually have much to share about the past week I’ve had. It was just one of those routinely days like wake up, go to work, eat, go home, eat, go to the gym, shower, sleep, repeat kind of week *sigh* Oh wait! How did I possibly forget the most important thing that happened this week?! My Mom, my sister, and I went to see the Power Rangers Movie on opening night! So many childhood memories came back alive and I think that this movie was much more worth the hype than for Beauty and the Beast. Please go watch it if you haven’t already watched it!

Moving on, I used to make a lot of soups when I was still studying in Sydney​, ​especially during the winter season​. Now, being the typical Asian that I was, I used to never see a meal without rice as a fully complete meal, so you can imagine how distraught I was when I’d hear people say that they had “soup” for dinner. I would be like, “only soup?!” with a hint of what-the-actual-fishsticks are you on about look on my face. However, having lived in Sydney for 4 years and basically exposed to cuisines other than the typical I-need-rice in every meal ideal, I grew to appreciate soups as a meal. It can actually be quite filling if you pair it with a nice crusty bread to soak up all the yummy flavours and wipe the bowl clean. Tonight’s recipe is a delicious blend of Broccoli and Kale, both nutritious super green foods that are packed with healthy vitamins and minerals essential to one’s daily diet. Please check out the original recipe by Taylor over on The Girl on the Bloor.

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the soup:

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk, for instance almond or coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 large brown onion, diced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Chilli flakes, for garnish
  • Flaked almonds, for garnish
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the kale chips:
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Okay, before I venture on to the method, some of you might/might not have picked up on a bit of a confusion with the ingredients. The list says to use leeks, but in the ingredient shot, the “leeks” would appear to some as spring onions. Actually, I do believe that what has been photographed are indeed spring onions, and not leeks, but the label did say “local leeks” at the grocery store. Since these were the only leeks available at that time, I had no choice but to buy them I guess. If you didn’t notice the difference, then I guess I could’ve gotten away without having to explain myself here, haha!

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the 2 cups of chopped kale for the chips before tossing it with olive oil. Massaging oil into leaves and season with ground sea salt and black pepper before spreading in onto the prepared baking tray. Set aside for now.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sauté the minced garlic until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute. Follow with the diced onions and sliced leeks, cooking until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli florets and vegetable broth, bringing the mixture to a boil and then simmering for a further 2 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
  5. Once the broccoli is tender, remove from heat, and stir in the chopped kale. Leave the soup to cool down for about 15 minutes.
  6. While waiting for the soup and veggies to cool down, you can start baking your kale chips! Bake them in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, checking and flipping them every couple minutes so they don’t burn. When they’re crispy, remove them from the oven and set aside to top your soup with.
  7. Once your soup has cooled down, purée the veggies using a stick blender until the soup is smooth. Add your non-dairy milk, and season with a touch of ground sea salt and black pepper, stirring your soup until thickened.
  8. Divide the soup into individual bowls and top with the kale chips, flaked almonds, and chilli flakes. Serve and enjoy!

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Vegan Broccoli & Kale Soup

Before I end tonight’s post, I encourage you guys to head on over to Thrive Cuisine to learn more on the nutritional benefits of kale. There are plenty of links as well as to more recipes that include the famous cruciferous veggie known as kale.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Hello Everyone! Week 2 of cooking with quinoa is here and I’ve got a classic recipe with a twist. For those of you who don’t know, minestrone soup is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables that range from, but are not limited to, beans, onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes. Often, rice or pasta is added to the soup to bulk it up with some carbs. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth.

I’ve made this soup a couple of times before in the past, and is featured in the Mediterranean section of my blog – but today, I’m going to add a little twist to a traditional minestrone soup. I’m switching out the pasta that I would normally add to my soup, with quinoa. Using quinoa in place of pasta adds extra protein and makes this soup gluten free! In addition to using quinoa for this soup, I’m topping it off with some kale pesto as well to give the dish a touch of freshness – and of course, if you have any extra leftover, you can totally whip up another dish just by mixing it through some freshly cooked pasta! Top it of with some grilled chicken or seared tiger prawns for a complete lunch or dinner. The original recipe for this dish can be found over on Taste Australia.

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

  • 1 can (400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (410g) Italian chopped tomatoes
  • 150g bacon, diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup tri-coloured quinoa, rinsed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into small chunks

For the kale pesto

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale leaves, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 small garlic clove, halved
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water

METHOD

  1. For the Soup: Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the bacon bits and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Turn the heat up to high and then add in the garlic. Sauté until golden brown and fragrant, about a minute or so. Then add in the onions and cooking, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the carrot and celery, together with the bay leaf, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until soft.
  4. Next, add in the chicken stock and canned chopped tomatoes to the pot. Bring to the boil.
  5. Once boiling, reduce the heat down to medium-low and then stir in the quinoa. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, and then add in the cannellini beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until the quinoa and zucchini are tender. Season with a touch of ground salt and pepper.
  7. For the Kale Pesto: Add the kale leaves, parmesan cheese, and garlic into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Combine the juice, oil, and water in a jug, and slowly stream the juice mixture into the kale mixture until well combined. Season.
  8. Divide soup among four equal bowls and top with the kale pesto and extra parmesan if you wish.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

Quinoa Minestone Soup with Kale Pesto

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2016: Brendon D'Souza

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

Hi Foodies, it’s so exciting to be able to share a recipe with you via Amcarmen’s Kitchen and I want to say a big thank you to Allison for organising such a wonderful global blogging experience. Last year, I was able to cook and collaborate in the same kitchen with Allison, where were exchanged some delicious recipes. If you haven’t had the chance to read them, here are the links to my Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cookies & Cream.

My friends call me a chilli fiend. I can’t help it, I am after all Indian. I just love the pungency and zing it adds to soups, curries and stews. I created this recipe on one of those cold winter Sydney evenings when feeling a little bit under the weather. It’s packed full of delicious super greens, fragrant herbs and spices that will help to reinvigorate your senses. Make a big batch and pack it for work the next mayor freeze in snap-lock bags for 1-2 months.

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

For the green curry paste

  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 5cm piece of ginger, washed
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander, washed, roots and stems scrubbed
  • 1 bunch Thai basil, washed (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 small green chillies

For the soup

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed English Spinach, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets, stem diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Lime wedges
  • Extra coconut milk, to serve

METHOD

  1. Roughly chop the garlic clove, ginger, spring onions, coriander leaves, root and stems, and Thai basil. Place these and the remaining ingredients into a blender along with a 1/4 cup water. Blitz to form a smooth paste. You may need to add some more water to help the mixture along.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant. Add the spinach and broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1L cold water and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until the broccoli stems are tender and the spinach is wilted. Allow to cool.
  3. Purée the mixture using a stick blender, then return to the heat and add the coconut milk. Allow to heat through. Serve with lime wedges and a drizzle of coconut milk. This soup goes really well with turkish borek or spinach and ricotta triangles.

Spinach, Broccoli & Thai Green Curry Soup

For more tasty recipes and Sydney food adventures head to www.brendonthesmilingchef.com

About Brendon
I’m a food writer, blogger and passionate home cook living and working in Sydney. By day I work at one of the world’s fastest growing premium restaurant delivery services, and by night I cook, style and photograph recipes for my award-winning recipe blog. I really can’t stop smiling, believe me, I’ve tried and probably lasted 2 seconds. Sharing food, stories and recipes with family and friends makes me happy, which is exactly why I created “Smiling Chef”. I often try to include a selection colourful vegetables in my cooking, for both it’s nutritional benefits, and the fact that it makes such great #foodporn for Instagram. Get in touch if you need #instaworthy shots of your restaurant or cafe food for your website and social networks. I’m also keen singer and pianist and also love street and landscape photography – see more at @my_omd_and_me.

Instagram: @brendonthesmilingchef/ @my_omd_and_me
SnapChat: bthesmilingchef
Facebook: brendonthesmilingchef
Twitter: bthesmilingchef

Recipe Copyright © 2016 | brendonthesmilingchef

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

Brendon D’Souza:)

myTaste.com

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

Hello Everyone! So, I’ve been told that I don’t write as much as I used to, and that’s only because there’s really nothing much to tell. Well okay, maybe a part of the reason is also that I’m always mentally tired by the end of the day when I get around to writing my blog posts. I try to write them in advance so that I could at least add some enthusiasm to my posts, but I always end up procrastinating – and I’m sorry for that! Just bare with me until the end of the year and hopefully my content will be much better when the New Year kicks in 🙂

Anyway, let’s get down to business for tonight’s post; the last week of Noodle Month! Again, the month just flew right by! December is just around the corner, and sooner or later it’ll be Christmas and then the New Year! Tonight, I am sharing with you a popular dish in Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia – Laksa! I wouldn’t say that this dish is at the top of my favourite noodle dish (only because there are many other noodle dishes that I prefer than laksa), but if I want it, I’ll have it!

The plan was to make my own laksa paste from scratch, and I know it’s no excuse, but time was short on my hands and I just made the decision to buy a ready-made, packeted paste from the stores. Also, if I made my own paste, we’d have a lot of left over ingredients (that is, if we didn’t end up using all of it), or a surplus of paste that would’ve ended up sitting in the freezer for a long time, and eventually in the trash since we don’t eat laksa that often at home. However, feel free to make your own paste and just follow the ingredients from the recipe below 🙂

Before I dive into the recipe, I’ll just talk a little bit about what Laksa is for those of you who don’t know what it is. Laksa is actually a combination of Chinese and Malaysian cuisine that consists of rice noodles/vermicelli served as a spicy soup dish with various meats such as chicken, prawn, or fish. The soup is either based on a rich and spicy curry with coconut milk, or a sour tamarind soup. The elements of a curry laksa can be distinguished by the following:

  • Coconut milk is used
  • Curry-like soup (includes curry as one of its ingredients)
  • Except for bean sprouts, no other vegetable is used
  • Bean curd puff is used
  • Served with thick or thin rice vermicelli (usually thick); occasionally served with yellow mee
  • Hard-boiled egg may be added
  • Slices of fish cake and either prawns or chicken is used

The original recipe can be found over on Serious Eats.

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup) Ingredients

 

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-45 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g thick rice vermicelli noodles
  • 200g coconut milk
  • 100g beansprouts
  • 100g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pcs dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large free range eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 chicken crown, breasts removed and sliced, bone reserved
  • 1 packet (200g) Malaysian Curry Laksa Paste
  • 1 pc firm tofu, deep fried and cut into chunks
  • 1 pc fish cake, sliced diagonally
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • Salt
  • Spring onions
  • Whole black peppercorns

To serve

  • Sambal

METHOD

  1. Add the reserved chicken bone, chicken breast dried bay leaves, about a teaspoon or two of whole black peppercorns, and salt to a medium-sized pot filled with about 1.5L of hot/boiling water. Turn the heat up to high and leave to boil for about 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes, remove the chicken breast from the stock and set aside to rest and cool down before slicing into it.
  2. While the stock is boiling away, quickly blanch the sliced fish cakes and prawns in the stock, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice vermicelli noodles in and cook according to packet instructions, about 15 minutes for mine.
  4. Drain and then divide the noodles equally into 4-5 individual serving bowls. Top with the beansprouts, chicken slices, fish cake slices, fried tofu, hard-boiled egg slices, and prawns. Set aside.
  5. Heat a bit of oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown, and then add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes in total.
  6. Add the laksa paste and fry for about a minute or two before adding the chicken stock in. Give it a goo mix and then bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a slow simmer and then add in the coconut milk. Leave to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  7. Once the soup is done, ladle it into the prepared bowls and garnish with some spring onion. Serve immediately with some sambal and calamansi on the and enjoy!

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

Malaysian Curry Laksa (Spicy Noodle Soup)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

Hello Everyone! I’m feeling sad, are you? Well, the only reason I’m sad is because Seafood Month has come to an end! I can’t believe the month has flown by so quickly. On the bright side, we get to explore a whole new range of dishes for the month of October! I won’t say yet what I have in store for the blog, so you’ll just have to stay tuned as all will be revealed on Thursday!

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

So here we go, on to our last recipe for Seafood Month: Pesang Tilapia! Apparently, frying the fish first is not the traditional method in making Pesang Isda (isda means fish in Tagalog just for those who don’t know), it is actually boiled in the ginger stew until tender, and is actually a much healthier option as opposed to frying the fish. However there are a few pros to frying the fish first, mainly for taste and also technique. Firstly, frying makes the fish and stew taste better, and secondly, frying prevents the fish from flaking, because of its stable texture ,when cooked in the stew for a long time.

I’ve read a couple of recipes online prior to writing this post up, and a few suggestions have come up on what to serve on the side with this dish. One of the most popular is having some miso sauce as a condiment. I usually just have some fish sauce and calamansi mixed together as a condiment. I’ve also tried searching around for recipes that make any mention of serving this dish with some filo-style scrambled eggs but I haven’t seen any. Nonetheless, it actually tastes really good having the scrambled eggs together with the fish!

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-22 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

For the ginger stew

  • 800g whole tilapia fish, scaled, gutted and cleaned*
  • 1L water
  • 2-3 bunches of baby bok choy or pechay, cleaned and ends removed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste

*Alternatively you can use any other types of fish such as catfish, grouper, mudfish, and/or seabass. I know some people who can’t eat fish if it’s still whole; you can still cook this dish with fish cutlets or fillets.

For the Filipino-style scrambled eggs

  • 3 large free range eggs, beaten
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 brown onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • Ground salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Season the fish by rubbing some salt and black pepper. Once the oil is hot, fry the fish until golden brown. Once browned, flip and fry the other side of the fish, about 6-7 minutes per side. Once done, transfer the fish to a serving dish.
  2. Discard the oil, leaving behind about a tablespoon or two, and in the same pan, fry the ginger slices until fragrant. Add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden brown. Finally, add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes altogether. Then add the water, whole pepper corns and salt, and bring the stew to a boil.
  3. While the stew is simmering away, move on to making your scrambled eggs. Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan over medium-high. Sauté the garlic until fragrant and golden brown. Add in the onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  4. Once the tomatoes are soft, pour in the beaten eggs and stir with a spoon, lifting and folding it over from the bottom of the pan, until the eggs are softly set and slightly runny in places. Turn the heat off and leave the eggs for a few seconds to finish cooking. Give a final stir before serving.
  5. Turn the heat off from the ginger stew and add the baby bok choy, leaving to cook for about a minute. Pour the stew over the fried fish and serve immediately with some steamed rice and the scrambled eggs. Enjoy!

Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

Sautéed Egg for Pesang Tilapia (Tilapia in Ginger Stew)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

O Crab Sydney

“O Crab ain’t just another crab shack or seafood diner! The restaurant pays homage to the American seafood pub scene dishing out bags O Crabs with customers breaking out the mallets and getting messy all whilst enjoying a craft beer, or two or three…”

O Crab Sydney

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday on the blog! I actually had this review scheduled for last week, and when I realised that I was going to be covering seafood month, I thought I’d push this review to today as it sits with the theme for the month of September on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Wow, I just realised that that was a really long sentence! I think I was living with Marissa at the time she came across this restaurant while she was browsing through Instagram for a place for us to have our next girls brunch out. She came across O Crab and asked if I wanted to go; I had a look at the pictures on their Instagram and was already hooked on the idea of crabs in a bag, eating them with disposable aprons, gloves, and a mini Thor hammer. They definitely lived up to their statement of a truly unique dining experience.

It’s been a while since I came and visited O crab, I’m guessing it was somewhere in the middle of winter around late June or early July, so bear with me if I can’t remember what the dish tasted like. Trust me though, you’re going to want to pay them a visit when you get a load of the pictures. Also, before I forget to mention, when we were about to leave the place, the waiter asked us if we wanted to sample their Jolly Rancher Cocktails, which at the time, they weren’t serving on their menu just yet, but now I think they are. It was a Sunday after lunch kind of day and already we were doing vodka shots of Jolly Ranchers haha! We told the waiter to not give Marissa any shots since she was underaged (she wasn’t, but we just wanted to play with her a bit). It tasted really good and I’m glad that it’s on their menu now but sad that I won’t get another opportunity to have a proper drink of it!

O Crab Sydney
One more thing! If you check in on Facebook or upload an image on Instagram with the hashtag #ocrabitson and #ocrabsydney you get a free soft drink! How cool is that? Actually, another thing I remembered when I was just about to post this review, we also got complimentary nachos while waiting for our meals! #winning #sofood #muchfree

FEELIN’ PECKISH…

O Crab Sydney: O Crab Seafood Chowder
O Crab Seafood Chowder: Creamy taste of the sea – mussels, prawns, fish, and seasonal veg served in a freshly baked bread bowl ($12.00)

I love a good chowder, and what better way to warm up from such a cold morning it was that day we trekked to O Crab than a seafood chowder in a bread bowl! It was well seasoned, definitely creamy in texture, and nicely finished with a soggy bread bowl to nom on. Since it was a very long time ago since I had this dish, I can’t remember if there were pieces of fish in the soup or they were all just blended together, but I guess it would’ve been nice to have a few pieces of mussels, prawns, and fish in the there instead of just all soup.

CRABS AND PRAWNS “IN A BAG”

O Crab Sydney: Blue Swimmer Crabs in Original Old Bay
Blue Swimmer Crabs in Original Old Bay: American blend of herbs and spiced seasoning ($25.00 per crab)

I remember this dish very well and because the Original Old Bay sauce was to die for! I remember we were dipping everything we could find, the prawns, fries, and even the bread bowl from our chowder into this sauce because it was just that amazing. Besides the sauce, the crab was also cooked well and had a lot of meat in it (I cannot stress the number of times I’ve had crab that was all shell and no meat).

O Crab Sydney: Snow Crab Cluster in Cajun
Snow Crab Cluster in Cajun: Classic Louisiana style spiced seasoning ($29.00 per cluster)

The seasoning for this crab cluster wasn’t bad but it was my least favourite from the three sauces/seasonings that we picked. Nonetheless, the crab clusters were well cooked, and again packed a lot of meat into those legs so I couldn’t complain. Also, we dipped the crab meat in the Original Old Bay sauce anyway so it was pretty damn good!

O Crab Sydney: 300G Prawns in Garlic Butter
300G Prawns in Garlic Butter: Special blend with herbs ($18.00)

The prawns were pretty good as well, well cooked that they were melt in the mouth kind of good, and the sauce was garlicky, buttery (as you’d imagine garlic butter sauce to be anyway), and simply delicious. There’s really nothing more that I can say about these prawns really; I have no issues with it.

BURGERS & FRIES

O Crab Sydney: O Crabby Patty Burger
O Crabby Patty Burger: O Crab signature spiced crab patty with lettuce, grilled pineapple, and chilli mayo served with original fries ($19.00)

I only had a small bite of the burger only because this was actually Jialing’s dish. She wasn’t too fond of crabs even though she tried very hard to want to like it. So instead, she ordered a burger for herself. I can’t remember what the burger tasted like but I do hope for your sake that the patty is cooked through but still juicy on the inside. That would be perfect. Oh, you can also substitute original fries for sweet potato fries for an extra $2.50 – I don’t know why we didn’t get the sweet potato fries!

O Crab Sydney

I really enjoyed our dining experience at O Crab; I wish I had gone back a second time for some Jolly Rancher Cocktails and more crabs of course! Also, I could not have chosen better people to dine with that day. The food was superb and I really could not fault the dishes that we had; so I’d say the food for me is a sure 9/10. When we got there, the restaurant was in fact empty, which I thought was kind of weird for a weekend and during lunch, but anyway, it meant for a quicker service for us. I guess it was good also in a way that we were then able to sample their Jolly Rancher Cocktail since we were the only ones there. Though it was quiet because we were the only ones there (what am I saying, we were a very noisy table on our own!), the ambience was quite nice and in theme with the whole crab shack/seafood diner vibe of wooden crates and ropes that decorated the restaurant; 8/10. If you’ve got the money to spend on high quality mud crabs then go for it! Mud crabs are based on market price and when we saw their Instagram post from a few weeks ago, a 1.4kg (or something of that weight) mud crabs was going to cost you a whopping $95!!! Other than that, the blue swimmer crab and snow crab cluster are quite affordable; 7/10. I do highly recommend this place if you want some good quality seafood at an American themed crab shack and a beer to go with that.

O Crab Sydney: Aftermath

O Crab Sydney
Suite 2/9 Railway Street
Chatswood, New South Wales
Australia, 2067

– Ally xx

Auguest 2015: Josephine Geronimo

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

Hello Everyone and welcome to the final week of Auguest! If you’ve read all the way to the end of my post yesterday, you’ll know that I’ve said that week 4 of Auguest would commence today seeing as I had a special post that went up live yesterday. Today’s guest won’t be communicating with you through the write up only because she’s not that confident with her English writing skills; so instead I will be the one taking you through her story of this dish. But first, who’s my guest for this week? Of course it is none other than the woman who cooked for me throughout my years of growing up and the woman who taught me how cook. Without her, my passion for cooking would’ve probably never existed, and neither would this blog. Today’s guest blogger is none other than my Mother, Josephine, known to many as Mama G!

This dish is a delicacy from one of the Ilocanos provinces, my Mom’s hometown in the Northern part of the Philippines, Pangasinan, but her family grew in Quezon City. Once a year the whole family would travel the province to visit their farm and bring back some of their produce, one of them included one 50kg sack of munggo (mung beans). Munggo Guisado is a common lunch and dinner dish found on their table as it is a healthy and nutritious dish. Her father (my grandfather) would always remind his children that munggo contains the same amount of proteins that can be found in beef, chicken, pork, and other meats. Her father was a little bit on the stingy side, so their Munggo Guisado contain no meat at all, just pure mung beans and other vegetables such as ampalaya (bitter gourd) leaves or malunggay leaves. Her father even planted a malunngay tree so that they could pick their own leaves instead of having to go to the markets to buy it. The dish would then be flavoured with bagoong isda (anchovy sauce). It was a dish that they had for both lunch and dinner, everyday.

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

This dish was introduced to my Mom since she started to eat solid foods, and has been a part of her daily meal until she came to Brunei. She stopped eating it because she wasn’t in a cooking mood since she moved out of the Philippines to work in Brunei. She started cooking it again when she had a family of her own. My Mom did the same thing by introducing this dish to me when I started to eat solid foods. To her surprise, I hated this dish and she didn’t know why. Even my two younger sisters hated it. She tried everything to make it more appetising for us by adding meat and/or prawns, but still she could not get us to eat it. So, she had no choice but to stop cooking it.

But now, after 20 years, she was able to introduce it back to us again (mainly because for this Auguest post as it has a story to tell of her roots), and apparently we love it! I kept asking my Mom why I didn’t like it in the first place, and she kept answering, “I don’t know with you!” Now Munggo Guisado has found it’s way back into our table as a regular, weekly, meal. The dish is best served with steamed rice and fried fish, as they would say “magkakambal sila” – twins, or meaning a well paired dish.

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup) Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup mung beans
  • 1 cup malunggay (or ampalaya) leaves
  • 250g pork belly, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp salted ziganid fish (bagoong padas, or anchovies)
  • Ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Soak the beans in water for about an hour or two, this will help soften the beans and lessen the time required to boil and tenderise the beans when it comes to cooking them.
  2. Add the beans to a medium-sized pot together with about 1L of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let the beans simmer for about half an hour until soft (or about 50 minutes if you didn’t pre-soak them).
  3. In a medium-sized deep fry pan, add the sliced pork belly and fry until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Move them to one side of the frying pan and add the garlic. You shouldn’t need to add any oil and the natural oils from the pork fat should be enough to sauté the garlic. Once the garlic is golden brown in colour and is fragrant, add in the onions and cook until soft. At this point, you can mix them together with the pork. Add in the tomatoes, season with a bit of ground black pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the cooked mung beans, together with the water that it was simmered in into the pork and tomato mixture. Give it a good mix and if it’s looking a bit dry, add more water to make it more into a soup. Bring to light simmer.
  5. Add the tablespoon of anchovies to a small bowl with about a few heaped tablespoons of the munggo soup. Press on the anchovies to get the flavours out and strain the sauce/paste back into the soup. Discard the anchovies.
  6. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so and then add in the malunggay leaves. Turn the heat off and give it a good mix, until the malunggay leaves have wilted into the soup.
  7. Serve with a nice bowl of steamed rice and fried fish. Enjoy!

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

Munggo Guisado (Sautéed Mung Bean Soup)

Of course this dish can be an all vegetarian dish just as how my Mom ate it when she was growing up; just remove the pork belly!

While my Mom was telling me the story of this dish, she teared up a little as it brought back many childhood memories. I hope that one day I’ll have kids of my own and share with them the many favourite dishes I grew up with and the stories that come with them 🙂

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Bacon, Beer & Potato Soup

Bacon, Beer & Potato Soup

Hello Everyone! Today is the last day for Winter Warmer Month *sad face* and I’ve got something that the men may like: Bacon, Beer, and ‘Tater Soup (aka “Man Soup”). Towards the end of June, when I was planning Winter Warmer Month, I came across this recipe in my research and decided to give it a go for one reason, and one reason only – it was just because it was called Man Soup, which I’m guessing comes from the bacon and beer.

Bacon, Beer & Potato Soup

If you are, or have been following my Instagram through my blog, you may have noticed that I have been posting a few photographs that show somewhat symmetry (asymmetry) breakfast/brunch/lunch/super late lunch photographs that have been inspired by the symmetrybreakfast guys that have been trending last weekend. I showed them to Jialing and we then decided to have our own symmetry breakfast this past week and it’s actually quite fun! Today, as you can see above, we had bacon, beer, and potato soup, well, we were supposed to have a different brekky this morning but since I was already preparing this for the blog, we decided to have soup instead.

The original recipe can be found on Food.com – I pretty much followed the recipe, but adjusted the quantities, probably not very accurately since I kind of just winged it to make two servings.

Bacon, Beer & Potato Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 10 MINS | SERVES 2-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 330ml (1 bottle) beer
  • 250g maple-glazed bacon, cut into bits
  • 50g vintage cheddar cheese, crumbed or grated
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1/2 brown onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp light sour cream, plus more for topping
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper and rub the potatoes with a bit of salt and some olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, adjusting the cooking time if needed to make sure that they pierce easily with a fork.
  2. As the potatoes cook, heat a medium-sized pan over medium-high and add the bacon bits. Fry until crispy. Once done, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon bits and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  3. Next, add in the onion and celery slices to the pot with the bacon grease and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add in the butter and continue stirring until it melts.
  4. Sprinkle the plain flour over the onion/celery mix, stirring continuously until it starts to form a paste-like texture, and the flour and fats are combined smoothly. Keep stirring it for a further 5 minutes until it becomes a blonde roux (a light tan colour).
  5. Slowly pour the chicken broth into the roux, adding more and more at a time to get the roux into a creamy texture. Once all the broth has been added, pour the beer into the soup slowly, a little at a time and continue to stir.
  6. When the potatoes are done, cut them into small chunks and add them to the pot, stirring to incorporate into the soup.
  7. Using a handheld stick blender, mix the entire mixture into a thick stew. Add water to thin if necessary, however don’t add too much liquid until the blending is done. Then, add the sour cream and cheddar cheese, and let the soup continue cooking for a further 15-20 minutes on medium-low.
  8. Turn the heat off, and divide equally into serving bowls (2 large bowls, or 3-4 small bowls) and top with the crispy bacon bits and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Bacon, Beer & Potato Soup

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Hello Everyone! Winter Warmer Month is coming to an end this week *sad face* but surely we won’t be saying goodbye to soups forever. I’ll keep today’s post short only because I am actually just writing this now (maybe 30 minutes before this goes up) and I didn’t prepare it in advance or during the day. I’m keeping it short because I’m really tired, but I didn’t want to skip out on posting.

Basically I woke up at 6:30am today, yes that’s actually quite early for me especially since I didn’t sleep well last night, don’t know why. I got up earlier than usual to get ready and head over about an hour out West on the train, to Brendon’s (brendonthesmilingchef) place for a cooking collaboration that had been planning for just about over a month now. We spent the whole morning until late afternoon shopping, cooking, styling, eating, and talking – and overall it was a successful day. I won’t say what we made today because that will be coming up for the month of August!

Minestrone Soup

Okay (again I always do this), I said I’d keep it short but I’m already 200 words in and I haven’t actually talked about today’s recipe – Minestrone Soup. is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Common ingredients include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes. There is no set recipe for minestrone, since it is usually made out of whatever vegetables are in season. It can be vegetarian, contain meat, or contain a meat-based broth. I’ve made this soup a couple of times in the past and I used risoni pasta and added bacon chunks to it before. Today, I’m keeping it quite traditional, and used left over angel hair pasta hair that I cut into about 2cm long pieces.

Minestrone Soup Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 65 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 375g McKenzie’s Italian Style Soup Mix, washed and drained
  • 150g maple-glazed bacon, cut into bits
  • 1 can (400g) canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup angel hair pasta, cut into 2cm long strands
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 medium-sized onion, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • Ground salt and black pepper to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • Bread of choice

METHOD

  1. Preparing the Beans:
    • Quick method: Put required quantity into a saucepan and cover with water – approximately 3 cups of water for every cup of soup mix. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked, skimming if necessary.
    • Traditional method: Soak soup mix for approximately 6-8 hours (overnight if convenient) before cooking.
  2. Minestrone Soup: Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Fry the bacon bits until browned, then sauté the garlic together with the bacon until fragrant and golden brown. The add in the onions and cooking until soft.
  3. Add in the carrots, celery, and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good mix and leave to cooking for about 5 minutes before adding the canned diced tomatoes in. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the prepared beans and further simmer for about 10-15 minutes, in the last 4 minutes, add in the angel hair pasta.
  5. Turn the heat off, and divide equally into serving bowls (4 large bowls, or 5-6 small bowls) and top with some shaved parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with some stone-baked Pane di Casa bread.

Minestrone Soup

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com