Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chinese Five Spice Beef in egg noodle broth!




Ingredients

Beef
  •        4 Scotch fillet steaks
  •        2 tbsp Chinese five-spice
  •        A fresh red chilli
  •        A thumb-sized piece of ginger
  •        4 cloves Garlic 
  •        Olive oil and butter

  •        1 packet egg noodles


Noodle broth
  •       1 tbs soy sauce
  •       1 tbs oyster sauce
  •       1 tbs honey
  •       ½ tsp raw crushed garlic
  •       1 tsp fresh chopped chilli

  •        Chopped coriander, spring onion and a squeeze of lime/lemon to serve.


Method

  1. Toss the beef with salt, pepper, five-spice, ginger, garlic, chilli and oil. Put into the large frying pan with olive oil and butter, until cooked medium-rare. Wrap in foil to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Cook egg noodles according to packet directions and keep noodle broth after draining noodles.
  3. Put the soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey and raw garlic and chilli in a bowl. Pour 1 cup noodle broth over and stir until well combined. Add cooked egg noodles to soy-honey broth.
  4. Top with slices of beef, coriander, chopped spring onions (some more chilli if you dare!) and a good squeeze of lime or lemon.


Note: this recipe can also be done with chicken.
Just drain away any excess fat from the chicken pan after frying chicken; put back on the heat; drizzle with the sweet chilli sauce and toss with the sesame seeds until crispy. Slice into chunks and add to noodle broth. 






Monday, June 24, 2013

Fuku Omakase and Teppanyaki restaurant


To say I was excited when I received an invitation to dine at Fuku Omakase and Teppanyaki restaurant  is a colossal understatement.

If you know me well, you would know I am obsessed with Japanese cuisine and upon receiving this very generous invitation to dine at Fuku, it certainly wasn’t a hard decision to say yes!


The entrance to Fuku was behind a closed gold door and to enter we had to press an intercom buzzer on the wall. When the door slid open, I was captivated to view an intimate teppanyaki restaurant where the back wall was lined with sake bottles from floor to ceiling, gold murals covered the dimly lit walls and 16 seats surrounded Japanese teppanyaki BBQ plates. 


I felt instantly impressed by this unique and sophisticated restaurant. 



Fuku’s concept is teppanyaki – that is, food prepared on a Japanese griddle (BBQ) in front of you and specialises in ‘omakase’ plates which are small plates carefully chosen by the chef for you, and are made right in front of you on the Japanese BBQ.

Three set taster menus are offered; Good ($100 per head for 4 courses), Better ($135 for 8 courses) and Best ($220 for 10 magnificent courses). There is also a ‘walk in’ menu ($75 pp).
We had the ‘Better’ menu along with a selection of different sakes off their impressively large list (they have the biggest collection in WA).

Our Japanese eight-course degustation journey begins…

Course one: Calamari with Herring Roe and Antarctic Ice Crab with sun dried crispy nori sheet.



The soft and delicate crab was sweet and succulent and was covered in shavings that resembled coconut and tiny yellow bursts of Herring Roe. Plated on a banana leaf, the tempura fried nori sheet was crunchy and salty with a slight sweetness from the sesame seeds. The crunchy texture of the nori sheet perfectly contrasted with the silky smooth calamari, sweet crab meat and popping Herring Roe.
A wonderful dish.

Second course: Small morsels (otsumami): Smoked wagyu, Oyster Tempura, Burdock and School Prawn Kakiage.


The Wagyu beef was lightly smoked and teamed with a nutty and sweet white sesame sauce. Thinly sliced and rare, the Wagyu was of such a superior quality that the tender meat quickly dissolved on my tongue like butter. 

This was a delightful teaser for the seventh course to come…

The sweet ginger salsa elevated the fried oyster and was subtle and delicate. The ginger was not overpowering like it can sometimes be, and complimented the crispy oyster superbly.

Burdock I was told, is an Asian vegetable that is often not known to many people. The burdock was julienned and tempura fried. Upon the initial crunch into the thick golden batter, the vegetable was soft, chewy and had a slightly earthy taste. I quite enjoyed it, the burdock reminded me of an enoki mushroom in it's unusual texture and flavour. 

Lastly, the soba noodles were fried until crispy and fanned on the plate resembling a tree. These were not outstanding to me, I found their purpose to be a crunchy texture only, as there was no flavour and they were difficult to eat. This element of the dish was quite confusing to me, but served a fun decorative purpose nonetheless.   

Course three: Sashimi.

The salmon and tuna was impeccable quality; soft, delicate and just melted on the tongue.
The raw prawn was sweet and wonderfully fresh. The Red Emperor and Japanese pickles were wrapped in kelp and provided a sweet/sour combination with the crunchy sour pickles and the sweet meat of the fish.

Course Four: Partridge

The Partridge was twice cooked: first for five hours, then in charcoal.

It was perfectly cooked, still slightly pink, very tender and very tasty! The succulent meat was wrapped in a soba (buckwheat) crepe with small slices of tomato and cucumber and drizzled in a Szechuan pepper sauce. 



The partridge crepe was served with a sweet beetroot relish. Having not tasted partridge before, I was delightfully impressed. The meat was cooked to perfection and the sauce lifted the crepe to another level. I loved the beetroot relish as it added a sweet kick to the dish!

Course Five: Scallop, prawn and crispy prawn head.



This would have to be one of my favourite courses of the night mainly due to the Uni (Sea Urchin) Butter.

We watched as the chef de-veined the prawn and fried it on the hot plate until super crispy and flat. He added abundant amounts of oil and crushed the shell of the prawn head until it was a thin crisp chip! A wonderfully entertaining show as the chef created flames on the hot plate with the oil!
I was amazed by the salty, crunchy texture of the prawn shell and loved this element to the dish!

The scallop was huge! Plump and seared slightly, upon first bite it melted in my mouth and sung when covered in that incredible Uni butter! One of my favourite mouthfuls of the night!

The beautiful firm prawn flesh burst freshness and was grilled with that amazing sea urchin butter!

I still fantasize about these gorgeous mouthfuls of seafood covered in that heavenly uni butter.....

Course Six: Fish of the day.




The fish of the day for us was Red Emperor was served with green beans, grilled octopus, a marinated lotus root and Yuzu Miso dressing.

The yuzu sauce was by far a highlight for me. The Japanese citrus punch worked perfectly with the sweet white flesh of the fish. Served on the marinated lotus root, it was a significant sized dish. 

It was beautifully presented, however the octopus was a slight disspointment for me. It was cold and quite spongey in texture, which would not have been so obvious if the fish was not so wonderfully warm and delicate. 


Personally, I felt the dish would have been better if the octopus was left off the plate.

However, this did not stop me from devouring every piece of the Red Emperor fish and licking the plate clean of that Yuzu Miso sauce!

Course Seven: Wagyu (full blood) sirloin steak Mayura Station grade 9+, fried rice with wagyu flavour.


Feeling well satisfied by now and definitely stretching the limits of the stomach, we moved onto the signature dish.

The wagyu was nothing short of amazing! Every bite was juicy, tender and with the right amount of marbled fat. Cooked medium-rare and chopped into bite sized cubes of deliciousness, the wagyu quickly melted on my tongue. 

This was cooked with abundant amounts butter (please don’t tell the Diabetes Educator!), with soy and garlic and was absolutely the stand out dish of the night!


The steak was topped with garlic flakes and served with fried onion rings and spicy miso sauce.

The chef entertained us yet again as he threw a raw egg up into the air, caught it on the side of the BBQ spatula which cracked the egg as it landed onto the hotplate.



He shaped the fried rice cooked in Wagyu juices and butter into a heart shape and tapped the spatula rhythmically to resemble a heartbeat! The chef staked the single onion ring layers upon one another, forming a pyramid in which he lit on fire with oil and created a “volcano.”





The generous serving of fried rice was oozing wagyu juices yet took a back seat as the wagyu beef took centre stage!

Course eight: Yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) cheesecake and wasabi cream, chocolate drink and Mountain Peach.




Finally made it to the dessert course! By this time, I was up to a point where not much could fit in but looking at the pretty plate of dessert, it was irresistible.

The cheesecake was unbelievable creamy, smooth and irresistible!  

Not being a huge fan of wasabi despite my love for chilli, the wasabi cream subtly kicked the dessert to the next level! When combined with the soft, rich velvetly cheesecake, the slight heat of the wasabi in the cream cut through the tangy citrus undertones and complimented the dessert wonderfully.

The small cup of velvety hot chocolate was rich and dark and the sweet pop from the cherry-like mountain peach was a fantastic way to finish a meal!

The dessert was presented beautifully.


Sake:
Now I’ve said an awful lot about the food up to this point, and have neglected to mention the Sake. As Jack was lucky enough to have eight types of Sake matched with his eight-degustation courses, I personally cannot comment on the Sake.
I’m not going to pretend I’m a Sake-specialist of any sorts. 

In summary, I had a fantastic dining experience watching my food being prepared on the teppanyaki plate by entertaining chefs and interacting with the chefs, asking questions and feel involved in whole process.

I am by far unbelievably blessed to have been invited to taste the menu at Fuku. Although I was a guest at this restaurant and would not normally spend this considerable amount on a meal without it being a special occasion; I can honestly say, those who wish to spoil themselves would not be disappointed. The service was impeccable, the experience memorable and the food out of this world! The ambiance of the restaurant is intimate, the food is A-Grade and the teppanyaki experience is fun and like nothing Perth has to offer! 


“Fuku” means fortune, luck or blessing in Japanese…and I can tell you now, I certainly felt blessed to have experienced this evening!
I would give anything for another serve of uni (sea urchin) butter!!


Note: I dined as a complimentary guest at Fuku and particularly thank Milan for a magical and memorable dining experience.


Fuku - Omakase and Teppanyaki on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Xage Vietnamese - Surry Hills, Sydney

Sydney has brought me to one of the most exciting Vietnamese restaurants to date.

Having Vietnamese spices and those fresh herbs hit my tastebuds for the first time since visiting Vietnam made me a very happy camper!

So much so, we went here two nights in a row.

Upon viewing the menu, I could not help but order two mains. The prawn salad I was warned was very spicy... "bring it on" I said! 

We ordered:
Crispy chicken spring rolls with nước chấm.

Coleslaw of grilled prawns in chilli lime vinaigrette.

Càri gà chicken yellow curry, hot mint, sweet dried shrimp and steamed rice.


Black tiger prawn xả ớt with okra, lemongrass chilli sauce.


This was the remainder of the meal. 
Unbelievable!

A wonder down China Town and we found some sweet treats to finish the meal at "The No.1 Cake a Cafe".

(As if we had any room left in our bellies after our four meals!!)



A passionfruit macaron and a chocolate soufflé hit the spot!






Xage Vietnamese on Urbanspoon No.1 Cake & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Out second visit to Xage, I couldn't go past the prawn salad (main) as my entree again!



I fell in love with the chilli sweet spicy dressing, the crunchy prawns and nuts and fresh herbs!

We then tried the spicy beef curry:

It had a rich, deep beef stock base with large chunks of tender beef and Thai basil. It was comforting, hearty and full of flavour! 

The grilled Tasmanian Ocean Trout with turmeric, herbs and spices was covered in fresh herbs and a capsicum salsa. A sweet, sour lemon dressing was a nice compliment to bring the flavours of the trout alive. I think some chilli would have been a nice addition to this dish.



I'm coming back next time I visit Sydney to try every thing else on the menu!

I just wish they offered dessert!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Perth City Farm Cafe


Sautéed Mushrooms on Ciabatta with a side of Smoked Salmon and Tomatoes.

Organic, fresh ingredients from Perth City Farm amongst the hustle and bustle of their Saturday food markets. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Soda Sun Lounge - North Beach


A work function brought me to Soda Sun Lounge in North Beach for shared Tapas and lunch.

Situated on the beachfront, I felt as if we were floating on a cruise ship as the glistening blue ocean stretched out from the window overlooking the beach.
 For entrée we shared:

salt & pepper calamari, chilli, green onion $16


The calamari was fried nicely so the white meat had a nice springy texture to the bite yet was not rubbery. A mild spice accompanied the calamari, yet a slight oil residual was left on my palate… I like it when fried food does not leave that overly oily taste on your tongue.

caramelized duck tacos, sichuan pepper $16

The duck in this taco dish was cooked to perfection. Soft flakes of dark, red meat fell apart at the touch of the fork and the sweet, sticky caramalised sauce accompanying the duck was ever-so-morish! Fresh bean shoots and spring onion added a nice crunch-element to the dish along with the crispy hard taco shells.

baba ganoush, olives, red pepper & crostini $12


This baba ganoush dish was slightly underwhelming as the unseasoned and mild-tasting baba ganoush to crostini ratio was heavily unbalanced. The large scoop of baba ganoush overtook the flavour of the dish and the crostini was left drowned...I felt disappointed that we were given what felt like a crostini from a Coles packet with a big scoop of flavourless dip.


real chips, aioli $9



To accompany my mains I had crispy chips, rusticly cut and served with a creamy aioli. No complaints here, this dish was lovely as the chips were well seasoned and I enjoyed the skins being left on the potatoes.

I also had an ‘asparagus, pear, onion, cos & roquefort salad’ ($16) with my main. 



Unfortunately I devoured the lightly crunchy asparagus on this salad before remembering to take a photo. I omitted the blue cheese from this dish due to my lactose intolerance but do admit this was ameture of me as the strong blue cheese flavour was the hero of this dish. Without it, I was left with a lot of lettuce and no strong flavour.


For mains I had the ‘chermoula barramundi, peas, parsnip, tomato’ ($34). 

This dish was exquisite. Presented wonderfully on the plate, the large barramundi fillet sat on top of roasted parsnips that were rustic and spiced. The skin of the barramundi was not crispy but salty none-the-less and upon first touch of my knife, the white flesh fell apart on my plate. The barramundi was cooked to perfection and the sweet white meat complimented the sweet cherry tomatoes that popped in my mouth. The chermoula spice could have been more prominent if I was to be overly picky, but I thoroughly enjoyed this main. The wilted spinach leaves and peas added a bright colour contrast that certainly made the dish more appealing to the eye.

Soda Sunlounge on Urbanspoon


 Overall my experience at Soda Sun Lounge was a very enjoyable experience. The ambiance of the restaurant is lovely and the food was very impressive.


I would definitely return in the future (maybe next time with a fuller wallet!).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tapas in the country

There’s something about relaxing in the country and enjoying the simplicities of life.
I love the fresh produce and using it in everything I cook. Fruit and veggies just get taken to a whole new level when they are home-grown.

Upon my recent trip to Harvey, I made a five course Tapas meal inspired by all the fresh produce we had!
Course one: fried chilli chorizo with fresh lemon




Course two: aioli potatoes with fresh lemon




Course three and four: chilli garlic mushrooms and Moroccan chicken skewers with Greek yogurt.



 Course four: Baha fish taco’s with coriander and chilli


Course five: home-made Thai sticky rice with coconut custard  

Thai sticky rice with coconut custard is my ultimate favourite dessert! I am lucky enough to know a Thai lady who makes this for me upon request. No matter how many attempts I make at this Thai dessert, I cannot get it right or anywhere near as delicious as she makes it!
So I have given up and instead put my order in for two large bowls of sticky rice and custard every time I visit Harvey.
Tapas, sitting outside while the sun sets, sipping on a cold cider with my loved ones.

Now does life get any better than this?