Jazushi - Surry Hills

>> Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our favourite dish of the night - Green tea noodle salad $13

We know that sometimes certain sound or music enhances the way food tastes. Take for example, Heston Blumenthal's 'The sound of sea' where customers are expected engage all senses by putting on earphones as they enjoy a dish which represents the sea. Maybe that's what the owners of Jazushi had in mind when they decided to combine Jazz with sushi...? Would Japanese food taste even better with live music?!

We were all curious what it'd be like to be entertained by live jazz while dining, but despite booking days ahead, we were seated at the terrace of the restaurant (semi-outdoor) away from the live performance, so had to settle for background jazz/classical music from the sound system.


First up is the deliciously sweet Japanese umeshu (plum wine) which is dangerously addictive and I was tipsy even before the food arrived.

Umeshu (plum wine)

Complimentary edamame beans

The sushi platter was plated so beautifully and the waitress kindly explained what each of the fish is but we struggled to remember as soon as she left.

Sushi set $24

Camembert is one of my favourite cheese and I've never had it fried until now. It was to be dipped in a cream teriyaki sauce (as if that extra creaminess is needed!). The batter was thin and crunchy and melted camembert almost oozes out as you bite into it. I would've eaten more if I wasn't conscious of my cholesterol! I wonder what other cheese would taste good fried? ;-)

Camembert Tempura $16

The pork belly was what I ordered but it was just mediocre. It wasn't as soft and tender as I had hoped.

Kakuni Kurobuta Pork Belly $23

Hmm soft shell crabs. Jazushi makes a decent soft shell crab although not exceptional but soft shell crab is always finger-lickingly delicious.

Crispy soft shell crab $23

We ended the night with a cream brulee dessert. There wasn't much to select from their dessert menu and we wanted to compare this brulee with Mizuya's green-tea creme brulee. They taste pretty similar and we weren't overly impressed with it but it was still a nice way to end the night.

Green tea creme brulee $10

Dining at Jazushi was an enjoyable experience especially with the lovely bloggers. It would've been nice if we were able to experience the live jazz music but all's good in good company!

Before the night ended we were already full of ideas where we could go dine next time. :)

145 Devonshire St
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Tel: (02) 9699 8977


Zaaffran - Darling Harbour

>> Monday, June 21, 2010

Ok, long story short.

So I was playing the hostess one Saturday night and I wanted to make something impressive. Something I've never made before: Mamak's famous chicken curry (Mamak is a famous Malaysian restaurant here in Sydney). But as it happens in life sometimes, the harder you try, the more you stuff up.

Somewhere between my replacing ground chili with ground cayenne pepper labelled 'extra hot' and forgetting to add lemongrass and curry leaves, I took a taste of my pot of boiling orange gravy and immediately felt my throat tighten...then eventually beads of sweat formed on my forehead...need water! NOW!

I was too embarrassed to photo evidence of such 'curry'. If I did, I'm sure the photo would lie, because surprisingly the pot of curry looked rather decent. It really did. But I don't think I can live with looking at those photos without horrible memories coming to haunt me.

Lessons learnt. Let's move on. I will come back to cooking curry one day once I get over this. Really.

Okay, so there's one place you can go to to avoid having curry disasters in the kitchen. A place that's guaranteed to serve delicious and authentic Indian food without the potential risk of hazardous choking on overly spiced food. Oh, should I mention, it has a beautiful view over Darling Harbour too?

View from the table

Mango Lassi - $6

This is without doubt my favourite mango lassi! The taste of cardamon was so fragrant and I couldn't stop myself from drinking it before the food came out.

Whole lamb shanks slow cooked in an onion, tomato, and yoghurt sauce

The lamb shank was delicious and so tender. The sauce went well with the garlic naan that was provided.

Garlic Naan

Briyani: Rice and chicken with Garam Masala, Mint, Saffron and nuts combined under flaky pastry. Served with Raita - $29.80

According to my Indian colleagues, the chicken briyani served in this restaurant is the best and most authentic he's tried in Sydney. It took a while for this dish to be served as they have to bake the pastry on top of the rice and chicken for 25 minutes. For me, this is the highlight of the night as I could taste a lovely and interesting combination of spices with each mouthful of the rice and and the chicken buried underneath. The cool and refreshing raita was a great accompaniment to the rice...yummm!

I'll be back here again soon...even though it is on the pricier side, the quality of the food definitely makes it a worth while experience!

Oh, and if you have entertainment book, you get 25% off too ;)

Harbourside Centre
Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000‎
Tel: (02) 9211 8900‎


Making soy milk at home

>> Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In the work fridge, we have a selection of skim, low-fat and full-fat milk, and then there is soy milk for the lactose intolerant (why do we have so much choices these days?!)

I think I wouldn't find it too difficult if I was lactose intolerant as I love soy too much (or perhaps not, can you imagine soy panna cotta?!) I always find myself pouring both milk and soy into my mug for that faint taste of soy at work. It might be because I grew up drinking it as it's a very popular breakfast drink in Taiwan.

Ever since my local Coles decided not to stock my favourite Bonsoy anymore, I have been making my own at home. As I do not own a soy milk maker at home, everything has to be done manually but it really doesn't take too much time!

I prefer to to use organic soy beans (from health food stores) as you can really taste the difference.

Anyways, here are the instructions, fellow soy-lovers (and I'm not expecting many)...

Adapted from here

Step1: Ingredients

You need about 125 g whole soya beans to make 1 liter of soy milk.

Step2: Soaking and dehulling the soya beans

Clean the soya beans and soak them in water overnight (at least 10 hours). Although not necessary, you can remove the hulls be kneading the soya beans and flushing the loose hulls with water. After soaking overnight, the beans should expand at least twice their original size.

Step3: Grinding the soya beans

Grind the soaked soya beans and 1 liter water in a blender for a few minutes until its as fine as possible. (I used 1 cup of soaked soy with 4 cups of water as my ratio).

Step 4: Sieve

Sieve the mixture trough a cheese cloth or muslin cloth and recover the soy milk. The insoluble material which remains on the sieve is called okara, and can be used as an ingredient for bread making!

Note: I used a normal sieve to do this job as I do not have a cheese cloth available. The resulting milk is not as smooth/fine due to the larger holes on the sieve but I personally don't mind! Fiber is my friend... ;)

Step5: Boiling the soy milk

Heat the soy milk till boiling point and continue boiling for about 5 to 10 minutes. After cooling, the soy milk is ready and can be kept in the fridge for another 3 days.

Note: I actually steamed my soy in my huge rice cooker as it is less of a hassle than boiling.

Step 6: Final step

Pour it into a container through the sieve again (just to remove that extra insoluble material for a finer texture).

I tend to keep the left over okara - or insoluble part of soy and use that to make shallot pancake...picture/recipes to come later! Nothing should go to waste right? ;-)

Voila - you've just made your own soy milk!

So, how do you normally flavour your soy milk?

I usually cook sliced ginger with dark brown sugar and water on a stove until it boils, then pour it into my unflavoured soy.

Or, I just melt Okinawan Kurozato (a type of coarse brown sugar similar to Muscovado sugar that I buy when I'm in Japan) with hot soy...

Ready to pour hot soy over pieces of kurozato sugar in the mug!


Apple crumble + butterscotch pudding

>> Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some days, a simply humble apple crumble just isn't enough.

You can perhaps dress it up...how about with a scoop of vanilla icecream?

No? Still not fancy enough huh?

Okay, how about this...a nice dollop of butterscotch pudding?

Butterscotch pudding...so smooth

Perfect! *nods happily*

Exactly what I needed on a lazy day like this...

The butterscotch pudding is the first recipe I have used from the book Baked: New Frontiers in Baking which I purchased last year. The authors are the owners of the famous bakery 'Baked' in Brooklyn, NY and there are so many creative recipes in there that I will hopefully make my way through one day! This is not the complete recipe however, as the pudding is supposed to sit on top of a oat-based tart. I'm too lazy to deal with pastry today...

The recipe for the apple crumble can be found here.

Butterscotch Pudding
From Baked: New Frontiers of Baking

Note: I halved the ingredients below and omitted the whisky addition
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (I halved the sugar...as always)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Put the egg yolks in a large heat proof bowl and set aside.

- In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water and stir gently with a heatproof spatula. Brush down the sides of the pan to melt any loose sugar crystals. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, then increase the heat to medium-high heat and cook until the mixture begins to turn dark amber color. Swirl the pan, if necessary, to create an even color, but do not stir. Remove from heat and use the heatproof spatula to stir in the cream. Pour the caramel into small bowl. Set aside.

- In another small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the milk and whisk to combine.

- Add the seeds from the vanilla bean and the vanilla bean pod. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the caramel. Whisk together until combined, then slowly pour one third of the mixture over the eggs, whisking continually. Keep whisking the egg mixture and add another third of the hot milk mixture. Transfer the egg mixture back to the saucepan with the milk minute and, whisking the whole time, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 3-4 minutes, or until very thick and a bit darker in color.

-Remove from the heat and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute to cool the pudding slightly. Let the pudding sit for about 15 minutes.

- Now that the pudding has cooled a tad, add the butter.

- Chill the pudding in the fridge for an hour, to thicken it. (I omitted this step and used it on the apple crumble straight away).


Nazimi - Japanese Restaurant

>> Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beautiful sun rays seeping through the clouds

One afternoon at work, I looked out at the window and saw the glorious rays of sunlight seeping through the clouds after days of rain. It is always a blessing to be reminded of the beauty of God's amazing creation!

It has been so cold in Sydney lately. Well I guess people from places like Chicago would probably be in their swimmers in this 'fine' weather, but for us anything-below-twenty-degrees-is-freezing Sydneysiders, heaters and winter coats are starting to come out of the closet!

Hotpots (sukiyaki) must be called for on days like this, right? My friend C and I headed out to Nazimi after work which is close-by, just opposite the QVB.

Egg (not cracked perfectly) for the hotpot

Raw beef and udon to be cooked

Finally, the hotpot - beef sukiyaki! $18 pp ($36 for two)

Nazimi serves your usual fare of Japanese food - they have an extensive selection on the menu from sushi to gyoza to yakisoba to chirashi. Their hotpot is a lot better than the one I had in Mizuya recently, as the broth is just right (not too salty!) and there is a nice variety of fresh vegetables hiding beneath in the big pot! I love putting the udon and the eggs in at the very end...hmmmm. Looking forward to more sukiyakis as the temperature continues to drop. That's one thing I love about winter :)

141 York St
Sydney NSW 2000‎
Tel: 9283 2990‎


Balzano Apple Cake

>> Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Moist and oh so delicious...

While the contestants on MasterChef was shucking their 4-dozen oysters to make oyster terrines on T.V, I was busy in the kitchen slicing my apples as finely as I could. While my job is not quite comparable to their task, I was almost losing my patience and thinking in my head, 'I'll know better to stick with banana cakes next time!'

Some days, I'm just lazy like that. But in hindsight, it's so worth it!

I was so keen to make this cake because this just shouts simple and homey to me. I also happen to adore cakes with fruits because I don't have to add too much sugar (everytime when I put sugar into my batter - I think of the diabetes episode on Oprah which was truly frightening).
I halved the amount of sugar in the recipe, and it was still a tad too sweet for my liking. That is just a personal preference.

sifting the flour into the egg batter

Pouring apple batter into pan...

All ready to bake!

50 minutes later....golden goodness!

Looks a bit like potato gratin, doesn't it?

Balzano Apple Cake
Adapted from New York Times 2004 and AlexandraCooks
Serves 8
  • 1 stick butter, plus more for greasing pan (around 113 grams)
  • parchment paper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean 

  • 4 Fuji apples (I used 5 small Fuji apples)
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt such as fleur de sel
  • ½ cup milk at room temperature
  • powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350ºF (190ºC). Grease a nine-inch-circle pan with butter. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and place inside pan.

Melt butter in small saucepan. Set aside. Beat together eggs and half of sugar in a bowl. Continue to beat while slowly adding remaining sugar until thick — it should form a ribbon when dropped from spoon.

Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape seeds into the egg-sugar mixture and add pod to melted butter.

Peel apples and cut straight down around the core into four big chunks. Discard the core then slice the apple pieces thinly.

Remove vanilla pod from butter and discard. Stir butter into sugar-egg mixture. Combine flour, salt and baking powder, then stir into batter alternating with the milk. Stir in apples, coating every piece with batter. Pour batter into pan.

Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, until cake pulls away from pan and is brown on top. (A thin-bladed knife inserted into the center will come out clean when it is done.) Cool 30 minutes, then cut into wedges sprinkling each with powdered sugar if desired.

A piece before I sleep, a piece after I wake up...


This is one of my new favourite cakes. Even bite is filled with soft caramelised apple crunch and it's moist and can be eaten anytime during the day ;-)


Fifi Foveaux's - Surry Hill

>> Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"It's better to help people than a garden gnome."

That is for sure the most memorable quote from the movie 'Le Fabuleux destin d' Amélie Poulain' and I was reminded of it when I saw the cute little gnome stools at Fifi Foveaux's on a Sunday morning.

I've have been to Fifi Foveauxs on several occasions for breakfast and each time I leave feeling content. Today I wanted a light brekkie in order to save room for a meaty BBQ later on in the afternoon.

Even the coffee machine matches the decor

Delicious coffee...

My vegetarian breakfast $12.50
Sourdough with guacamole, boccocini, green leaves and drizzles of honey

Red red everywhere...

Breakfast deconstructed

What I like about Fifi is the cozy ruby red decor and the reasonable priced food (breakfast around the area tend to be more expensive). My breakfast was nice and simple, and despite the plain appearance, it was actually quite flavoursome.

I'll be back to try their signature feta omelette next time!

Fifi Foveaux's
428 Crown St,
Surry Hills NSW 2010‎
Tel: (02) 9380 6881‎


Mint Marshmallow

As I gazed out at the pouring rain on a rather slow afternoon, I tried to think of what things go together. What combination of items would go amazing together as a pair to create something way better than if they were just plain individuals.

Mash and gravy...
Ketchup and chips...
Peanut butter and jelly...
Cookies and milk...
Fried chicken and octo-vinaigrette...
Green tea and red beans...
And...Hot chocolate and marshmallow!

Why didn't I think of it earlier?

The wet and gloomy Sydney weather is perfect for hot chocolate with marshmallows...even better, mint-flavoured marshmallows! (Inspired by peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks).

The recipe can be found here and instead of 1 tablespoon of vanilla, I added 1 tablespoon of mint flavouring and a few drops of green food colouring (roughly around 5 drops).

The clip-on thermometer was a good investment as I no longer have to hold it there while my hand burns!

Cutting it up after sitting at least for 6 hrs

I always have problem storing my marshmallows for some reasons. If I store them in an air-tight container, usually by the next day they'd get sticky and wet and not dry and fluffy like they're supposed to be. Maybe I'll figure it out next time I make it again...should be soon as the weather is only going to get colder ;)

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