I simply shouldn’t have gotten on the weight scales before lunch. Breaking down on my knees and questioning the scales ain’t going to help. Yup. I’m back to 90kg. Damn you metabolism after 30.
Many of my friends have truly surprised when I had told that I used to be a semi-vegetarian (just beef and pork. Soup stocks, no problem) for about a year. That was purely because of an ulcer. Any oily food grossed me out and ended up giving me severe heartburn everytime. I had put them aside until I moved down here – I didn’t hate them, but I just didn’t want to eat them at all. Can you imagine me like that? During that time, I had substituted alot of meat with something else that the textures are somewhat similar.
After the shocking weight gain, my lunch was made with meat substitution. Mexico meets Asia. Tacos with tofu – never thought my semi-vegitarian days would come in handy.
It’s got to be a firm tofu – smooth ones just don’t work well. Wrap a firm tofu with kitchen paper to drain water from it.
Grate the tofu and pan-fry until browned.
Almost there. I simply used an instant tacos kit. Add the flavouring sachet with a bit of water.
Garnish with lettuce, cheese, guacamole etc. I used my home made salsa from the previous post with Portobello mushroom.
I’m not going to lie to you. Although the texture was pretty close to minced meat, you can easily tell this was not made with meat. But it was ‘taco’ enough to satisfy my craving for it. It’s also a great substitution when you have vegetarian guests to eat with.
Good tocos. Yup.
Oh who am I kidding.
Of course I made ones with meat too. Hey, these are for comparison purpose. M’kay? ;p
No, not another late night cooking, you silly! (By the way, what time would you usually eat your dinner? I can barely manage to cook & eat before 8pm!) I had been patiently experimenting with gelatin in search of perfect ratio for different ingredients. And I think I finally nailed it down. But wait, let me just start with another home cook dinner.
I’m often told that my reasons to make decision on what to cook seem to be unusual. Usually everyone would make that decision by thinking of core ingredients such as meat. This time, I cooked up stuffed portobello mushrooms with chunky tomato salsa – not because I had portobello mushrooms nor minced beef but tomato I’ve got from a market was so yummy. Yes, I was just seeking for the opportunity to make a salsa. Portobello mushrooms simply happened to be there in my fridge. (Do you remember the late night Tsukune? I made it because I had Shiso leafs.)
No need to list up the ingredients and recipe for the salsa, right? Chop tand mix them up! Easy peasy. In fact, It took three times as much to make the stuffed portobello. Minced beef combined with parsley, milk soaked panko breadcrumbs (as a liaison), minced garlic, caramelized onions, and spring onions along with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stuff the mushroom with the mixture, and bake it in the preheated oven.
I’ve adapted a little technique from Japanese hamburger steak – lightly coat the meat putty with self-rising flour. Someone once told me that coating the putty with flour will seal the meat juices inside and prevent from burning under high heat as flour itself requires the higher temperature to start burning.
As a result, it came out surprisingly juicy on the inside that the meat juices flowed out as I cut it. Nom nom nom. Oh not to be forgotten, tomato salsa turned out very tasty with a little kick of chili.
So whats for dessert you might ask. Remember that I psst-ed at the beginning? Using Japanese gelatin leafs by Maruha Nichiro foods (my god, these are the best so far!), I made…. ok, brace yourself, condensed milk Panna cotta. *self-faint* And not just one but in two yummy fattening flavours. *double faint*
I was loudly moaning with the intense condensed milk flavour. What fruit goes well with condensed milk? Strawberries.
Firm enough to hold its shape but so elastic that it wobbles like Pamela Anderson. I call that Baywatch effect.
Now here’s another one with green tea powder. I’m Japnaese, I had to do this. ;p
It might look like it’s got two layers, but I made a mistake not straining before pouring into a mold. Failed.
But again the texture and consistency were perfect. Though you can see speckles of green tea powder, it was actually very smooth and I couldn’t feel any coarsely texture at all. Green tea powder is extremely fine anyway. Oh and the white drizzle is more condensed milk, can never get enough of it.
Would you like to see the Baywatch effect I’m talking about?
Past few days have been incredibly nice, and summer seems to be just around the corner. Though I’ve gained weight so much during the winter and my body is DEFINITELY NOT ready for the summer (oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god), I certainly can’t wait for another sweating summer time with chilled drinks in my hand!
Now having a glimpse of summer, I thought I’d miss alot about cosy winter nights with warm hearty meals. And that made me rush off for grocery shopping and you know how the rest goes.
You’ve got to read the rest of this post while the video below plays like I did.
Because I’m cooking a lamb shank soup tonight. Lamb shank, baby, lamb shank!
It was already past 9:30pm when I started chopping vegetables. I wanted to cook the lamb shank till the meat falls apart from the bone – and I know it’d take easily for 2 hours at least. So instead of cooking it until it’s done in a large pot, I decided to move the lamb and juice from vegetables into my pressure cooker once the base is ready. Big 2 lamb shanks were thrown in a pot with olive oil and garlic to seal, then add red wine, a bit of balsamic vinegar, tomato purée, onions, celery, turnips, carrots, rosemary and thyme.
Half hour in the pressure cooker was all it took. The lamb came out tender and juicy literally falling apart from the bone, and the soup was thickened with the bone marrow, got lovely mellow flavour. Damn, this turned out so much better than I thought! I was bummed that I didn’t have anyone to share the surprise, but, well, it’s not like I’d share the dish anyway ;p
Haloumi and turkish bread are what I’m currently going crazy about for no apparent reason. Every time I get hungry they keep popping up in my head every minute like an egg timer. Love them, can’t get enough of them, so there, turkish toast with cream cheese and smoked salmon.
I also bought a rockmelon, but it was unfortunately not as sweet and ripe as I hoped it’d be. Would you rather leave it and wait for it to ripe? I certainly wouldn’t. Cut them into bite size, mixed with leftover Prosciutto, and drizzle honey over it. Oh nom nom nom.
I’ve got a lamb shank in my love shack. Where the hell is my love? *burp*
I’ve got this yummy black olive paste. Thanks Lily! I had to try on turkish bread pizza toast.
Chopped garlic, sliced mini roma tomato, mozzarella and parmesan cheese on Turkish bread with black olive paste.
it looks like a just vegimate on toast LOL
Another one. Tuna mayo + chopped spring onions.
I don’t know what is, but I just love toasted turkish bread!
Our everyday life is filled with both good and bad, and it can be extremely stressful sometimes. Maybe it’s stressful because we begin to realize that not all of our dreams are going to come true. I’ll call that “reality” – I know it kinda sucks. Well, big time.
Why am I going along with this opening? Because 3 early 30s came over to my place with their various problems this evening. From “I hate my job” to “I don’t want to get married” and “Can’t find a house to buy.” – came to think of it, these are something we had never really come across when we were younger.
Actually, I had my midlife crisis earlier with piles and piles of bad luck. Of course I still do have issues/concerns that have been set aside for the time being for various reasons (well, reluctance mainly ;p ), but I have discovered my new motto.
If I don’t like my job, then f@&k it, I’ll quit and find something else. If I can’t find a property to buy, then f@%k it, I’ll go find an unit to live in. The answer is very simple, because whatever gets to me that’ll never be the end of the world.
I know food helps getting through our hard times. Our “let’s catch up and dine out” extended into another late night with dishes that shouldn’t be consumed at 2am.
Garlic & chili king prawn
Spicy garlic chicken liver & green beans
Wagyu beef pie (well, pastry-less ;p )
Orange, tuna and haloumi salad
Taro cake from Savoy (Another one! we heart this!)
Cookie & cream + dark chocolate ice cream with “milk cake” (I’ll blog about this later)
After these food all eaten, all we could think of was ” I’m full, I can’t move, I can’t bother worrying about anything.”
Mission accomplished and my kitchen is closed. *burp*
The past few weeks have been relatively quite – though I’m still trying to get lots of stuff done. How come I constantly feel like my weekends just fly by incomparably fast? I said it’s not enough!! Come back here!!
Guess what she’s up to with the ladle and bowl.
Do you remember the last time? Damn right, another Takoyaki time, y’all! Sizzzzzzzzzzlllleeee!
And as usual, our dinning table was filled with yummy yet oddly various dishes.
Paella was yummy!
Rocket salad with Chirimen Jako, Goma & Miso Green beans, pickled Burdock, and braised chicken & potato.
And of course. Sugar fix after dinner.
We’re guilty of excessive cholesterol intake. Run, food police!!
Dining occasions have been tremendously great opportunities for me to enjoy fun times with friends, or meeting new friends who share common interests (well food. ;p) And this time a little sadness was involved – as the dinner was for a friend who’s leaving Sydney for London.
The farewell dinner was at Jurin in Crows Nest – just across the road from New Orleans Cafe on Falcon st & Pacific Highway. It was actually my first time visiting this restaurant, but I went all “Ahhhhh!” as I realized that the location was where Bokkemon used to be. Restaurant staff asked me upon booking a table if I want to book for 6pm or 8pm. I automatically assumed that those were the only times available on the day, but it turned out that they have two slots for dinner on Saturdays. So be aware if you are visiting this restaurant for a prolonged dinner on Saturday.
Prawn Shigiyaki, Karasumi (Grilled Mullet Roe), Sushi & Sashimi.
Grilled Beef Tongue
It was a bit under-seasoned for my liking but was extremely tender that almost melted in my mouth!
Complimentary home made fish cake
The owner was kindly gave us their home made fish cakes as two of us are acquainted with him. Thank you very much! And hmm-hmm, this was the softest Satsuma Age (Japanese fish cake) ever!
Deep fried marinated Chicken
What arrived on our table wasn’t what I had in my mind – I thought it’d be ordinary Karaage. Pleasant unexpected yumminess!
Grilled Salmon and Avocado salad, Deep fried soft shell crabs, Hiramasa Kingfish with yuzu white papper, tender beef tongue.
Tukune is usually on Yakitori menu and grilled and served with skew, but they serve as a large patty. Nicely seasoned with tasty teriyaki sauce. Nom nom nom.
Grilled eel “Mabushi” served in a hot stone bowl.
Unagi Mabushi or Hitsumabushi is not just a Grilled eel on rice. It’s usually served along with Wasabi, Nori (Seeweed paper), chopped spring onions and dashi/Sencha tea, and enjoy 3 different ways to eat. For the first serving, enjoy the eel with rice as is. For the second one, add condiments and enjoy. For the third one, pour Dashi (or Sencha tea) into the bowl and enjoy in Ochazuke style.
Assorted Tempura, Deep fried Flounder, hungry dinner companions.
Again, it’s always very sad to see friends off. I wish Keiko san, Henry and their little princess Chloe all my best for their new life back in UK, and hope to catch up in the near future! Good luck!!
Jurin Japanese restaurant
316 Pacific Highwat, Crows Nest NSW 2065
02 9966 5811
I started my weekend very frantically! There was this Japanese dinner hosted by Yun-ji and I was co-hosting and cooked up some Japanese style roasted Pork etc. (I’ll of course blog about this later on.)
Saturday was finally my pretty laid back day – did some shopping in the morning, cleaned my room, catching up with friends who recently just came back from a trip back to Japan. Mayuri and I were planning on having a Yakiniku Dinner but somewhat that turned out to do Sukiyaki at her place.
(Damn it! I brought my camera but forgot the battery!! Poor quality iPhone camera..)
Mayuri and Lily (both came back from trip to Japan) kindly brought me back a bagful of Japanese & Chez snacks! These are all yummy and addictive, but there was this particular snack that caught my attention. – Umai Bo! (means “delicious stick” in Japanese)
Umai Bo falls into a category called “Dagashi” – confectionery and snacks that Japanese kids grow up with! They are cheap, individually wrapped or sold out of jar at local dagashi shops – sort of like a Japanese version of candy shop. I remember that I’d grabbed my allowance money and head out to a dagashi shop with my friends for afterschool sugar fix!
Umai bo is one another thing I could write a whole article about followed by Japanese KitKat. They have so many flavours and region/sesonal limited ones available too – and not just number of flavous but unordinary flavours! (Natto, for example!)
I’m not going to yap yap about the flavours this time.
Umai Bo comes in a cylindrical shape, and it’s rather hard to eat – crumbles everywhere for every bite + you need to open your mouth wide and bite into it – like eating a banana. Have I mentioned that Umai Bo means delicious stick in Japanese? *giggling for obvious reasons*
There’s this little trick/technique to show off. I’m sure Japanese people would ask you “How do you know that!” (or they wouldn’t even know about it!)
Place unopened Umai Bo between your hands. Slowly and carefully apply pressure on it evenly. If you did this well, Umai Bo would evenly break into 4 stick shaped pieces! Yay! Woohoo! … Horrrraaay! … uhm. that’s it. ;p It just makes it easier to eat without someone (James ;p ) commenting like “Woo I see you’ve done it before.” or share with your friends.
Now let me enjoy another Umai Bo without looking like an idiot.
As you might have read in the past posts, I often check and see if there’s any interesting (or you can say “crazy”) food product floating around in Japan. And KitKat is definitely one of my obsessions – they never fail to amuse me! (Previous posts on KitKat, and soy sauce one.)
And here’s their current new range & regional/seasonal limited editions.
Nestle Japan seems to be doing alot of collaboration works with other companies and organizations like ITOEN (Beverage company) and JFA (Japan Football Association), and we can see how those turned out in their new KitKat range. Substantial Vegetables and Sports Drink (!) flavours. The largest Japanese social network recipe site “CookPad” is currently doing a collaborative campaign with KitKat and thousands of users are submitting their recipes with KitKat products. Interesting!
What I like about KitKat Japan is that they had NEVER repeated same flavour again. I mean, yes, there’re ones that can fall into a same category, but always something sightly different – like, Orange, Orange & Mandarin, KISHU Mandarin, Bloody Orange, Sour Orange, Orange & Lime, Orange Soda. (And many of them are limited editions. Oh yeah, great marketing strategy. I want to try them all!) I wonder what would be the next flavour they could be working on right now… Natto KitKat? ;p
Stopping by a convenience store to find new kitkat is definitely a new must-do thing if you are visiting Japan!
Japanese KitKat can be found at major Asian supermarkets around the city. (Miracle, Tokyo Mart, etc.)
Hey that sounds like a place I’d want to go!
My friend sms-ed me with a link – “this is a new thing happening in Japan!”
Danish Chef Morten Heiberg has opened his first shop in Shinjyuku (Tokyo) Japan back in March.
My god, take a look at these Chocolate burgers!
in these flavours. I have such a soft spot for tiny things in various colors – coloured pencils (Felissimo!!), PANTONE markers, Macaroons, Nespresso capsules, 365 days chocolate from Meiji Chocolate Cafe etc. I WANT THEM AAAAAAAAALL!!
Especially after reading Richard’s new post on Chocolate, I’ve been craving for some chocolate…
As you can see in my recent posts, I’ve got some strawberries. In fact, I’ve got 12 dozen of them. (Will post on this later!) And. I have a few bags of cooking chocolates – which I was going to satisfy my instant craving for hot chocolate with – caused by Mel’s recent post.
Now. Let the boom-chicka-wah-wah play.
Ohhhh yeah… And I personally made these (well, it was just dipping them in melted chocolate though ;p) for my loved one…
You guessed it. I ♥ me.