Tuesday, 31 July 2012

yum cha @ home

Living in a country town, the concept of yum cha is quite foreign and if it isn't foreign it will cost you double what you would get in the city.

So I thought.. why not give it a crack at home.

After this experience... well dumpling making is certainly something to do on a rainy day. It does take some time to make, but certainly rewarding. Please note - my recipe is definitely a lot of taste and adjust if need be.

Chicken + prawn dumplings
With my made-up soy/oyster sauce

Chicken and prawn dumplings (makes ~30)

6-8 prawns - shelled and deveined
~300g chicken mince
~20 x sliced water chestnuts - diced
1.5 tblspoon grated ginger
1/2 bunch chopped chives
1 tsp rock sugar - may need to break up with meat hammer
~1 tspoon cornflour
1/2 tspoon White pepper 
1 tsp Salt
2 tbspoon sesame oil
wonton wrappers


  1. Food process the prawns until just blended. Change the blade to the dough mixing blade. 
  2. Add the chicken mince, diced water chestnuts, ginger, chives, sugar and cornflour to the prawns and mix. 
  3. Add salt, pepper, and sesame oil to the mixture. Mix again.This should look like a gloopy, mixture that you could mould into shape. Now you are ready to put the filling in! See Baking powders for details how to fold 
  4. Lightly brush the wonton wrappers each side with corn flour. Cut out a circle using a egg ring/cookie cutter ~10cm in diameter.
  5. Using a teaspoon, scoop a teaspoon of mixture into the centre of the wonton wrapper.
  6. Brush a little water around half the diameter of the wonton wrapper, fold across and pleat each side. 
  7. Bring water to boil and place steaming basket on top.
  8. Once water boiled, lower heat to simmer and place dumplings inside
  9. This will take about 8-10minutes to cook. You will be able to tell when the dumpling skins become translucent.

Soy sauce

1/4cup soy sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp rock sugar
2 chillies
1 spring onion
2 tbs canola oil

Heat up oil to medium heat. Add chillies and spring onions.
Lower heat to simmer. Add sugar, soy sauce and oyster sauce and let simmer until caramelises. This will take a few minutes. 

Saturday, 28 July 2012


It's a beautiful, sunny day in Shepparton and today I am going to try out one of the only restaurants, I am yet to try... The Olivehouse

A federation style house, converted into a restaurant that sits on a fifty acres of olive trees.
This place is just outside of Shepparton, so it stands alone, looking majestic and inviting.

I walk into a open dining area that looks out into an olive grove, to my left there is olive-related wares, olive oil infused with a variety of flavours, soaps and local wines. 
For lunch dining, we are seated outside in a separate, smaller area that has french doors that open out onto the balcony. Chinese style lanterns hang from the ceiling and give the room a cozy feel.

Crusty bread, olive oil + balsamic vinegar and olives ~$7pp
This olive oil is gentle in flavour, but the olives pack bighty punch.

 Seared calamari with orange dressing on a bed of rocket $17.50
Perfectly cooked calamari accompanied with zingy and sweet dressing. As this was a main, I would have liked a carb with this just for filling and crunch...  I was watching the other dishes come out tho, they all looked delicious! Might have the crab meat risotto next time!!

Frangelico gateau $9.50
A chocolatey-hazelnut dessert for those who still have lots of room in their tummy!

I suppose this would be considered a modern take on a gateau, there are layers of chocolate-hazelnut cake with almond sponge that is quite bouncy! This dessert involves lots of chewing and crunching, even a little tongue manipulation with the sponge.
The flavours are good, but this dessert is filling and I would have preferred the sponge to a little softer to balance out the hard nuts.

Overall, I was happy with the experience of the Olivehouse and might choose something different next time!! 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Feeding mum

Since moving away from home, my palate has certainly matured from the young girl who thought my Uncle's Chinese restaurant was as interesting as it got! This Sydney trip, I wanted to show mum around, by taking her to some delicious places to eat and showing off my sister's (the true chef in the family) skills in Jamie's kitchen.

The Fox Hole - Erskine Street, Sydney
Wandering around the city streets, like usual my stomach is telling me it's breakfast time, we pop into one of the first places we see. A quaint, little cafe/pub that holds a couple of tables and chairs and looks like this place would be great for after work drinks.
Probably not the best place for breaking the fast, but my stomach wasn't listening to me at that point.

Stove cooked porridge $7
Warm, thick wholesome goodness to start the day with some caramelised brown sugar
Sadly lacking in liquid to solid ratio, that left me wishing I had asked for much more milk!
This was ok, but think I might come back for their dumpling lunch!


Back to Jamie's Italian
The hype for this place remains massive, the line is long and feels like you are lining up to get into a club, or I imagine this is what it could be like in some fine, New York restaurants.

There is a buzz when you walk in, people fill tables everywhere, you can hear the kitchen staff bashing away at pots and pans... the place is just alive.
We are seated by our friendly waitress, who serves us some bread and olive oil. 
I'm sure the mamma's of the village in Italy would be happy with this, the bread has a thin, crunchy crust and soft fluffy inside which slightly softens when you dip into the amazing olive oil. 
Meat plank $13.50 pp
Pecorino and chilli jam, crunchy beetroot + carrot salad, (mouthwatering) buffalo cheese and cured meats (includes WAGYU) with caper berries!

Osso bucco Milanese $26 
Lamb that falls off the bone (like music to our tastebuds), that has been cooked overnight with tomato, saffron and other herbs. Served on a bed of white silky polenta.
This is a beautiful comfort dish, however I feel it lacks a texture dimension.

Tuscan Wild Boar Sausages $22.50 
An interestingly flavoured meat, not quite gamey like venison but more meaty than meat? Sausages were a little on the dry side, but was saved by the moist minty lentils and tomato salsa.

Monday, 2 July 2012


Kasoundi Eggs $14.50 - satisfying my hunger and healthiness cravings

Starrrvation to the maximum, I'm dying for some brekkie...

Another friend has come to visit me from Sydney, where else can I take her to show off some of Melbourne's delights?

Hardware lane is a nice change. This lane reminds me of Chinatown in Sydney, where the restaurants line the street and have spruikers standing out the front, trying to coax you in...
We took the approach of "lets go to the place with most people"... well i guess its not hard to look busy in these lane ways, there isn't very much room to start with.

Anywho, we ended up at Affogato!
A little cafe that seriously looks like you walked into Carol Brady's extended kitchen.
Above the 70's wallpaper, the shelves are decorated with little ornaments, bits and pieces salvaged from St Vinnies and give this place some character!!

Everything on the breakfast menu is delicious looking, you are filled with food envy everywhere you look. The menu services the health conscious (the mid 50's couple next to us were discussing how to lower their cholesterol levels...) and the manly, man looking for a good wholesome feed. Props to the menu for providing decent gluten free options too!

I ordered the Kasoundi eggs - corn and zucchini fritters topped with avocado, perfectly poached eggs and kasoundi relish (mmm mustardy, chilli sweet goodness)... it usually comes with bacon but i thought i would opt for tomato!! Mmm.. hit me with some lycopene (antioxidants!).

I think this place is great, but lacks quality customer service. Our first waitress was bubbly, friendly and helpful. The second waitress gave me a blank look of confusion when I asked for a juice we were waiting for (despite our meals having already come out). Our food then came out after about half an hr, despite others who were seated after us receiving their meals first.

Overall, the food outweighs the customer service so I am definitely going to give this place another go...

I'm interested what others think, maybe the waitress was just hungover and just having one of those saturday mornings...