Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday cooking is fun-day cooking

It seems like I have been in the kitchen all day today and I really do not have a great deal to show for my efforts, unless of course your taking a look at my ever growing girth!

I have had a craving to try making choux pastry, I do not know why, maybe I am afraid I will one day be fool enough to enter a cooking competition and be handed the task to cook profiteroles, or perhaps it is just wanting to replicate the food I grew up with, my Mum makes awesome chocolate éclairs, I ate so many of them on one occasion it made me sick, perhaps that is why I don’t seek them out nowadays.

Whatever the reason I found myself boiling water and butter together this morning and then adding some flour, which is whisked as quickly as you can, I loved it the way the dough formed, very similar to making rue for a white sauce.  Even more interesting was piping out the creamy dough and then watching it puff up whilst cooking in the oven, I was like a big kid I got so excited, and I am really developing a love for baking!

It seemed to turn into a marathon effort to get the bloody things finished though and I in fact left them to first make lunch and then dinner before going bake to make custard for the filling and a chocolate sauce to go on top, and they ended up looking pretty ordinary, so it seems I have still a bit of work to do to get them to a point that I am going to be satisfied with them.

Somewhere between making lunch, custard and a chocolate sauce I got started on a simple tomato sauce for dinner to go with some pasta, I like to cook tomato sauce for as long as I can and to I had the opportunity to do just that.

I made some pasta dough with a fifty-fifty mix of 00 flour and semolina and used 1 egg and five yolks I had left over from another dish, the dough was a lot harder than I am used too, but once I had it through the rollers it worked out alright.  Once it was rolled out I made some little pasta pillows stuffed full of a ricotta, mozzarella and prosciutto mixture.  

Originally I started out making ravioli, but actually ended up with some half moon shapes, but I wasn’t too worried, especially when I got to eat it, as it tasted great and had a nice little bite to it.  I dished Jo up three of the flavour packed pasta pillows with some tomato sauce and a couple of slices of garlic bread, she obviously like them as she came back for some more, but then to be honest, so did I, they were delicious!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beef Vindaloo with Dry Potato and Pea Curry

Feasting on Indian food tonight!

Whilst tidying up in my kitchen, Jo came across a recipe for Roti Bread, I had downloaded from the net.  My intention was to have roti with some left over bolognese sauce  when I downloaded it, however that night, by the time I reached home, I had become more adventurous and I made a quick lasagne instead.  On reading the roti recipe, Jo exclaimed "YUM", then said "when you make this can you do a brown gravy curry to go with it", how could I resist to give her what she wanted?

Given I had a day off, I decide it as time to deliver, so out came my favourite little curry cookbook to look for a brown gravy curry, I did not have to go far before coming across a Beef Vindaloo, as Jo loves anything beef it was an easy choice and one I knew she would love.

Beef Vindaloo

When I have Indian food I like a little bit of variety, so to compliment the beef I made my favourite potato and pea curry, it is so full of flavour and the brown mustard seeds with the peas give the dish both an interesting look and great texture.

Dry Potato and Pea Curry

Great combination of flavours
I was so pleased with the way the roti turned out, I made the flat bread version, the recipe is very simple, the hardest part of making the bread is the 10 minutes of kneading to get the dough to the right consistency before rolling out, once it is rolled it is a minute each side on a hot pan and it is ready to eat.

Bon appetite 

I added a cucumber yoghurt sauce as an accompaniment as I love to have the coolness and the crunch of it with my curry, this along with beautifully steamed rice, completed the Indian feast I prepared for my beautiful wife, on a cold winters night, it proved to be just what she needed after a hard day at the office!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Roast Duck Breast and some funky little cakes!

It has been a while since I posted a blog about my own cooking, with the back pain I have experienced  since my accident 13 months ago, I have not been cooking as much as I used to, nor as much as I would like, hence the move to more restaurant reviews.  In the past couple of months I have been writing articles for Weekend Notes, which has satisfied my need to write, but I have missed cooking and writing about good food prepared by myself for the love of my life, my wife.  So I hope you enjoy this one as much as I have enjoyed cooking and writing about it tonight!

Bon appétit!

Roasted duck breast with potato, asparagus and baby carrots in a rich wine sauce

The last couple of days at work I have felt a bit like a piece of plasticine in poor kids play ground, being pulled this way and that, everyone seemingly wanting a little bit of me at the same time.  It is a good way to be when you’re working, being kept busy the days seem to fly by.  During the mayhem of the day I stumbled upon my timesheet and thought I best do that now whilst I think about it, dutifully filling it in I realised I had quite a bit of flexitime up my sleeve, then looked at the clock and saw it was 3:45 decided I had had enough and began to wind down, but not before arranging a couple of days of toward the end of the week.  Not much after 4 o’clock, I was on a bus heading into the city and texting Jo not to worry about picking me up.

I loved making these baby raspberry and coconut cakes

I was home inside an hour and pretty much had an idea of what was for dinner by the time I unlocked the door, having a quick look for some ideas in a Marie Claire cookbook I spotted a beaut little Raspberry and Coconut cake, thinking Jo would love it I jotted down a few ingredients and after a quick change of clothes I was in my little Swift and on my way to StirlingFresh IGA for a few provisions.

We had picked up a couple of nice duck breasts when at the Good Food and Wine Show, they were to make up the main course though I needed a few vegies to go with them, I found just what I needed in a bunch each of Asparagus and Baby Carrots, add a few spuds into the mix and I was heading for the checkout.

I was home and cooking by 5 o’clock, a rare treat these days on a week night, just me and the radio playing Hot Country, my kind of heaven.  The raspberry and coconut cakes were a joy to make, just throw all the ingredients in bowl a bit of a mix and in the oven they go, the only difficult part of the whole exercise was trying to answer the bloody phone when you are up to your elbows in sticky dough, thanks Jo Girl!

I think they look fantastic!

Still they came out of the oven looking fantastic and the dishes were all done by the time she walked through the door and the kitchen smelt heavenly too.
125 grams butter
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 egg whites
2/3 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat
Mix almond meal, coconut, icing sugar, flour, baking soda in a bowl add the egg whites, mix well, then add the ,melted butter incorporate thoroughly, then spoon dough into your pre greased patty  cake tins, sprinkle raspberries over the top.  Cook in a preheated oven @ 180 C for 12 to 15 minutes.

Having the dessert out of the way it was time to turn my attention to dinner, the duck breast is so easy to cook, just heat a dry pan to very hot add the breasts skin side down, don’t worry if they jump and pop, it just means your pan is nice and hot they will settle quickly, cook skin down for 3 minutes, then turn and cook on the cook top for one minute, then place the whole pan in the pre heated oven @ 180 C for 10 more minutes, then remove them and rest for 5 –  8 minutes.
I decide to roast some potatoes in duck fat, so these went in the oven 30 minutes before I cooked the duck and I had the asparagus and baby carrots to cook.   I decided to try something a little different and cooked a small onion and a sliced clove of garlic in butter over low heat for 5 minutes,  added the asparagus and carrots and tossed them for a few minutes, then added the juice of a lemon and let that cook another two minutes.  I then transferred the whole lot to a small roasting dish and before putting it in the oven I sprinkled a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese and some black pepper over the top, and then baked the dish for about 15 minutes.

I have been experimenting a little bit lately with Maggie Beers Cabernet Paste by adding it to various stocks to build a sauce or gravy, tonight I went a little heavy with the flour and ended up with a very thick gravy, whilst cooking it I commented to Jo that it almost tasted like chocolate, but by the time it hit the plate it was an awesome sauce to go with the duck, the small amount of duck fat left in the tray to cook the flour added a wonderful depth to it.

A very satisfying meal indeed!

All in all it was a great tasting meal and one that was really effortless to cook, we enjoyed the meal with a bottle of 2011 Windy Creek Cabernet Merlot and by the time I tucked in the last thing on my mind was the busy day I left behind at the office, for now it was all about enjoy a great feed with a great bottle of red with my gorgeous wife, what more could a poor kid ask for?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant

107 Pier Street Perth

Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant first opened their doors to Perth diners in 1987, since that time thousands of people have darkened the doorstep of the little premises at 107 Pier Street, the majority of them, like me, being return customers.
I first dined here on the occasion of my younger brothers 30th birthday, he celebrated his 50th birthday last year and I have since lost count of the number of times I have dined at this wonderful restaurant, nor can I remember that number of times I wished to myself that I had been there, rather than somewhere somewhat inferior, it is that kind of place.

When owner operators Francis and Sherry Lim first opened their restaurant it was known as the Hayashi Japanese Restaurant, the business was very good to them and in 1995 they opened a second restaurant by the same name in Applecross.  I was privileged to have been present for the opening night and the memories are still vivid of beautiful food and meeting some great people.  Sometime after however, the couple sold off the Applecross store and when they did the new owners kept the name of Hayashi, hence the name change at Pier Street.

As they say “Call a rose by any other name and it will still smell like a rose” and never a truer word could be said of Yoshiya Japanese Restaurant, the food I enjoyed there on Saturday night with my wife was just as exciting and just as delicious as that first meal I enjoyed here in 1991.

Niku Tataki - Tender marinated beef fillet so succulent and tender it melts in your mouth.

It has become a standard order for our entrée to include a serve of Niku-Tataki ($15.00), the thin slices of very rare beef are so succulent and tender, once marinated at the table in a soy vinegar sauce which you have added minced ginger, garlic, spring onion and daikon radish is unbelievable.  In more cases than not this is accompanied by a large Mixed Sashimi ($35.00), David the Sashimi Chef, is a master at his craft and the food he prepares always looks fantastic, tastes even better! 

Mixed Sashimi, my favourite.

I love the Mixed Sashimi, slices of Tuna, Kingfish, Salmon and Snapper with a little wasabi for spice and daikon for texture, and I believe my wife when she says she could live on nothing else but this food!  As Yoshiya is a BYO restaurant, I was able to enjoy a Windy Creek Chardonnay with my meal, it went so well with the sashimi, I was wishing we had taken a taxi so I could have opened a second bottle.

Main course, so much food!

There are so many choices on the Yoshiya menu, but when it comes to the main course my wife, always orders the same thing, it has become her all time favourite of any meal she has had and I cannot now get her to go without her Yaki-Niku ($27.00).  

Yaki Niku, Jo's fave meal of all time!

Yaki-Niku is another beef dish, this time marinated beef tenderloin fillet which is char grilled to perfection and comes with a spicy flavoured dipping sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds, the first time she experienced this meal, I experienced what Billy Crystal did sitting opposite Meg Ryan in “When Harry met Sally”, it was one of those blissful moments for her, as when you feel you have died and gone to heaven!

The Char Grilled Salmon was divine.

I ordered Sakana Shioyaki ($27.00), char grilled snapper, only to be told they were out of snapper, so Sherry offered to do the dish with Salmon instead, I was not disappointed, it was wonderful and cooked to perfection.  Both main meals are served with steamed rice and fresh salad.

Entrees at Yoshiya range from $6.00 a single serve to $35.00 for large share plates, with main meals ranging from $18.00 to $35.00, there are a couple of desserts on offer @ $7.00, you also have a choice of 2 set menus which can be ordered for a table or for a single person the first menu includes BBQ Prawns, BBQ Salmon, BBQ Scallop, Teriyaki chicken, and a marinated cubed beef dish, this comes with Miso Soup, Rice, Salad, Dessert and Japanese Tea or coffee, great value at $60.00 per person.  The second menu includes Sashimi, Tempura Seafood and Vegetables, Teriyaki Chicken and Yaki Niku and this also comes with Miso Soup, Rice, Salad, Dessert and Japanese Tea or coffee for $50.00 per person also great value and the food is awesome. 

I introduced a few friends to this restaurant last year, they enjoyed their entrees and mains so much, when asked what they would like for dessert they ordered what they had just had over again, knowing how good the food is at Yoshiya, I can understand why!

I really shouldn't because it is hard enough to get a table already, but I do highly recommend Yoshiya Japenese Restaurant, the food is the most exciting and delicious you will get anywhere and Francis and Sherry Lim, are the most wonderful hosts, they can never do enough for you to ensure you have a wonderful meal and evening.

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