Indian Style (Konkani) Salmon

It has been almost a year since I posted here, but you know what, I am 100% back and ready to blog my heart out. What have I been doing for the passed year? Cooking, baking, and well completing an honors thesis which literally occupied 90% of my mindspace. Quite frankly I tried my best to continue blogging, but I did need time to focus on my education. So from me, a massive thank you for being so patient! It means the world 🙂

This happens to be one of those recipes that I love making all the time. Salmon is just such a crowd favourite and if cooked well, is the perfect healthy dinner. Now salmon actually has a high caloric count, and even a small fillet is hugely filling. My favourite way to serve up a fillet? With a big salad packed with tonnes of greens, or even a small portion of spicy rice. This Indian style Salmon goes incredibly well with a simple curry base, such as butter chicken curry (minus the chicken) or rogan josh masala.

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Back on track 😛 This recipe is so perfect for those nights where all you need is some comfort food, something that is warm and hearty and is going to fill you right up. With lemon, and coriander along with warming cloves in this marinade, you honestly cannot go wrong. Now one big tip about cooking fish in general –  salting the fish before the marinade helps to keep the fish ridiculously tender.

 

The marinade is so incredibly simple. All I added was some coconut, tamarind, coriander, cinnamon, pepper, more clove and star anise binded with some lemon juice too. Add through fresh red chilli for a delicious spicy kick in your recipe, along with garlic for that added bite. Yes we all know how much I love garlic. Now garlic and fish, well they just are the perfect combination. Trust me on that one.

Once the marinade is made, rub it into the Salmon flesh and set it aside. Let the fish marinade for a minimum of 10 minutes, but preferably marinate the fish for 30 mins in the fridge to let the flavors intensify and the fish to tenderize. The coriander gives the salmon a fresh edge, while the spices really warm up the meal. Now if you wanted to make this salmon fillet luxurious, then add a touch of softened butter. Remember to add a touch of salt too!

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Arrange lemon slices and coriander stalks onto some aluminum foil and lay the salmon over the bed. What is the lemon there for? It’s to help steam the salmon to honest perfection in the foil pocket. Additionally, you end up with a sweet almost caramelized tang from the lemon which not only balances the spice in the marinade, but also intensifies the overall warmth from the meal. Bake for 30 mins, or until the fish is done to your liking. Some like it well done, some like it medium, so it depends on your preference.

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TO serve? Go ahead and make yourself a big green salad to go along with this delicious flaky salmon, or a little bowl of rice would work too. This salmon goes incredibly well with left over coconut rice too 😛

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Restaurant Review: Green Peppercorn

Green Peppercorn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had heard so many awesome things about Green Peppercorn and I am so happy my bestie took us out to check it out. What better way to celebrate good friendship than with Thai food? I feel like its the perfect cuisine with the balance of the spicy, the creamy, the sweet, and the sour. Some of my favourite restaurants happen to be Thai 😛 I think Green Peppercorn is a new addition to the list 😛

Tucked away above a bar, we basically completely missed the sign. It’s like those brain teaser tests, where there is a colour spelled out, and it’s written in a different colour. Like GREEN or BLUE. Furthermore, the sign is right in front of a staircase… so it definitely threw us all off a little. Anyway, up the long and funky staircase we went where on the ground floor there is a wall of mirrors and while climbing I just remember some form of cool painting. 

Once you enter the restaurant, it’s a loud and casual set up. On the left was the large and very well equipped bar, while on the right and ahead there are plenty of tables. We went on a Wednesday, so ofc a booking wasn’t really necessary. Now even for a Wednesday, there was a decent crowd… enough for the sounds of laughter and chatter to drift out to the staircase.

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The menu boasted with plenty of items to choose and select from. The drink menu was vast, and the food… blimey there was heaps of it. Green Peppercorn offers all the classics like green and red curry, pad thai and pad kee mao, while serving up plenty of the irregulars. The good thing is that there is a great selection of vegetarian options, and plenty of really exotic and fun flavours. I mean how many times do you see betal leaf and 2 pages of salad options? Not very often.

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We ordered the following:

  1. roast red duck curry
  2. thai papaya salad
  3. lamb massaman curry
  4. chicken pad thai
  5. pandan creme brulee x 3

The food came to us fairly quickly, and was served up with a beautiful steaming pot of jasmine rice. We accompanied our food with the classic coconut water ofc, served up right in a coconut. It really can’t get better than that in my opinion. The first thing i notice about food is the smell and boy did everything smell fabulous. First thing to reach us was the roast red duck curry and it looked and smelt divine.

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The first, and last time before this, that I had eaten duck… I honestly didn’t enjoy it. it was chewy and little odd tasting to me. So obviously I was a bit apprehensive to try this one, but alas… the bestie knows best! Her choice did not dissapoint! Now at first glance the serving size seemed really small… it is comfortably enough for one person. The plate itself was gorgeous, and you can see the beautiful roasted pieces of duck floating in the curry. The duck was cooked perfectly, with a light crispy skin and nutty meat. The curry was fairly mild but the green peppercorn (lol see what they did there?) and chili pieces packed some fire to the bowl. I definitely recommend this dish 🙂

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Oh the papaya salad was stunning. It was light, and spicy, and sour and sweet all at the same time. How does that even happen!? The dressing was truly fabulous. I mean that was the real star of this dish… like good enough to spoon out and drink it alone. I don’t ask condone doing that. The dressing is quite spicy. It will clean out your sinus completely. Back on track. The salad. Get it. Because it is scrumptious and is a great way to compliment the creamy curries. My goodness… my mouth just filled up with saliva just thinking about it.

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The lamb massaman curry was another stellar dish. It was just so hearty and wholesome! This curry I thought was on the heavier side, and I definitely couldn’t finish it alone. I’m always a little worried with Lamb because it really does have to be cooked just right. Boy was this was perfect. The meat literally fell off the bone and my friends were left to contemplate whether or not they were going to tackle the marrow too. The meat was flavorsome and succulent, and the curry was lightly spicy but truly delicious. Another one to add to the recommendation list for sure!

As far as pad thai goes… I didn’t think this one really bought anything new to the table. At $12.90 I guess I expected something a litttttle better than the regular take out style ones, but I personally didn’t note much of a difference. On that note, it was still a really good bowl of noodles. Would I have it again there? Probably not… I think you are much better off trying something you wouldn’t find on a regular take out menu there – it will be worth the bucks.

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Now finally to the dessert. Oh blimey this dessert. I had dreams of this dessert. I still have dreams of this pandan, caramelly, coconutty creme brulee. The crack was perfect, the dish was delish, the taste was honestly heavenly. Even if you only go there for dessert… just get this. It is worth it. I want to go back just for this dessert. Back to the serious stuff. Size wise I think it’s a little too big for one person, as the boys realised after it came out, and is a perfect little dish to share between two. Its not too sweet, which is fabulous, and the coconut is not overpowering at all. In fact the coconut tastes real, and not synthetic like a lottt of coconut desserts nowadays.

And ofc… we forgot to take a photo of dessert -_-

I must add a note about the service. I wouldn’t call it fantastic, but it is decent enough for the evening. I felt like they took a little too long to come around to our table to take the order, but were in more of a hurry to clear the table away. Not sure if I liked that… but I thought I may as well mention it. One thing I did LOVE though was the fact that the general manager of the restaurant – the attractive bearded man roaming around the restaurant 😛 – would go around to every single table to hear their thoughts on the food and offer up some light and funny conversation. He came around to us twice with something funny to say which I think was really quite great.

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Now to the ranking:

Food: 9/10

Perhaps even a full score… but I think the Pad Thai let it down.

Service: 7/10

I loved how the general manager came to us, but otherwise the service is really quite average

Ambiance: 10/10 

Green Peppercorn has really nailed this. The bar is fantastic and everyone was just so happy and casual which is great to see.

Originality: 9.5/10

The half point is only because of the fact that there was nothing new to the pad thai, but otherwise the expansive menu is truly original and truly wonderful.

Overall: 8.875 (to be exact)  /10 (haha) 

okay 9/10 😀

Yay food. Let me know what you think once you’ve visited this place! I would love to see if you thought different 😀

 

 

 

Vegetarian Pizzas Four ways

I invited my friends over, fairly last minute I must say, and decided I should cook something EASY for them. Mainly because every time we do end up cooking, it is so complicated or attention heavy that we don’t end up spending quality time together. So I figured some yummy home-made pizzas were the easiest way to go.

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Now… i bought pre-made pizza bases from Aldi because not only are they cheap, but they come with a an oily-garlicly spread all over it. I find that these bases don’t dry out AT all which is wonderful.

I chose to make 4 different pizzas to mix things up a little you know. Keeps things exciting 🙂 To start this big post post, we need to make my pizza base sauce first. I use this sauce all the time for my homemade pizzas because it just works and tastes really great on the pizza. Here is my simple recipe, and you can make it a few days in advance and just keep it in the fridge before you use it.

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Now we move onto my balsamic glaze. This is the thing that can make your ordinary pizza into something truly extraordinary. You can drizzle it over almost any pizza topping, but I love it over my Rocket and Goats cheese pizza. It just compliments the goats cheese so damn well! I add a little extra sugar and salt to my reduction just to cut down the really strong flavour of the vinegar. Here is the recipe!

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Now to the main star(s). I’m starting with my Spinach and Feta pizza. I pack it with capsicum, onion and olives too for a really vege-ful bite. Basil is an essential piece of the pizza too, along with some cherry tomatoes. This is just a classic pizza, packed with flavour.

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Number two is my honest favourite pizza – rocket and goats cheese pizza with balsamic glaze. It is so freaking easy, and it is one I love. My friends enjoyed it too. They mmmm-ed so I’m going to say yes they like it very much.

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Number three is the easy magherita. Packed with tomatoes, basil and cheese, you can never go wrong with it.

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Number four is basically a variation of the maghertia, just with a pesto base. It changes the flavour completely and just changes up the tastes. It’s a great way to use up any left over basil pesto in the house 😀

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So have a go at these four super simple but yummy pizzas. I asked my friends like 10 times to tell me if they enjoyed it… and they said yes… so if you all hate the recipes…

Blame it on them.

 

Review: Silverspoon Vietnamese

(featured image from Zomato!)

Silverspoon Vietnamese Street Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So for a fun monthly meet up the gang decided to try out Vietnamese food. We’ve done the thai (a bit too many times), the korean (though we love it so much), and the Japanese (ramen of course!). It made sense to go for viet food! And I do not mean banh mi no matter how amazing those rolls of deliciousness are.

Before I even begin this review, I must apologise! We all got so caught up in eating… that we totally forgot to take photos of the meals! I have a few but I will add some more from my online sources *cough* zomato *cough* .

Tucked away on Castlereagh sweet, on the quiet side I might add, the restaurant boasts a beautiful entrance and store front. It’s the kind that isn’t flashy but is nice and noticeable. The interiors are simple and actually really warm. There is a romantic vibe to the restaurant, not so much to make you awkward with friends, but enough to give your meals an intimate feel. The seating is ample, and most importantly well spaced out. I absolutely detest restaurants that are overly cramped. (Now I should note we did go on a Wednesday night… so the restaurant was a little bit empty -_-)

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Image from Zomato!

What I found really impressive? The menu! It’s substantial with a really good variety of items, though lacking in the vegetarian department. I’d personally stayed away from vietnamese cuisine because of the beef based broths used, but Silverspoon offered a bunch of alternatives. The section for street food was fun, with a range of exotic flavours and meats, while incorporating the classics too – yup they do have banh mi and sweet and sour pork.

Now to the service. This I would normally add after discussing the food… but seriously, the service was amazing. Our waiter hardly spoke English but he made the biggest effort to offer us our table water, drinks, and help us through the menu to give us his personal opinion of the good food 🙂 Honestly, he was just the sweetest.

Now to the food, many thanks to the waiter for helping us select!

We opened the night with some lotus tea for two, lemon lime bitters and coca cola with cute Crispy Wontons along with Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus shoot salad. The Wontons were super crispy and the little packages were packed with just enough filling and flavour. Accompanied with some fish sauce (which wasn’t as pungent as the one we would buy at the super market… it was a lot lighter!) and sweet chili sauce… oh and hot chili slices of course. At face value, I would say that the entree was rather small… but I found the quantity of food we bought to actually be perfect for the group of 5 🙂 The salad was a star for me.

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Served with some prawn crackers, the fresh salad was packed with flavour! The prawns were cooked perfectly and were wonderfully tender. The dressing that went over it just made them even more amazing. I’m not usually a fan of steamed any meat other than fish… but everyone agreed that the pork was moist and tender and basically just fell apart in your mouth. Definitely recommend the salad to share!

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Oh I should talk about the lotus tea! WARNING: ONLY PURCHASE IF YOU ARE AN AVID TEA DRINKER. I’m being 100% serious that this didn’t go down well with everyone. I liked the nutty and mildly floral tones, that sort of gave me the slightest hint of licorice right at the end. Not for everyone…  but if you are feeling a little adventurous… go for it 🙂

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The mains… were fabulously substantial! The rice servings are included in the price of each meal which is great. We ordered…. (I’m going to list these)

  1. Thit Kho – caramelised pork
  2. Heo chua ngot – sweet and sour pork (of course!)
  3. Heo xa ot – Lemongrass pork
  4. Ga xao tieu den – pepper chicken
  5. Ga xao hat dieu – cashew nut chicken

The highlight of it all… honestly the sweet and sour pork and the pepper chicken.

To deconstruct every meal though… the caramelised pork was incredibly dense and well… meaty. The broth was actually fabulous to pour over the rice to accompany the other drier dishes. The meat was incredibly tender, and basically melted away. What was great? The meal wasn’t salty! What was no so great? I think I like more veggies, or something to give a little bit of texture to the meal.

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The biggest disappointment of the night… the lemongrass pork. Unfortunately it was a little over cooked. The flavours were there, and there was depth in texture, but the over done meat basically killed the other flavours. The meat was dry and chewy, and it sort of drew out the moisture from everything else. Okay that sounds a little scathing. Maybe on a different night it would be 1000 times better 😀

I liked the sweetness of cashew nut chicken, but it didn’t go well with everyone. The chicken was lovely and the meal was packed with veggies, which I loved. The meat lovers obviously wanted more chicken. The cashews provided the meal with some added crunch and texture. I would recommend this one for anyone that really cannot handle spicy food, and wants to play it fairly safe in terms of the food.

Pepper chicken was truly delish. I loved the warm taste of the pepper that wasn’t overdone at all. The chicken was tender and moist and went deliciously with the rice. I topped this one with the broth from the caramelised pork and it tasted even more amazing! yum yum yum. Can’t say more. Defs recommend this one!

Now to the sweet and sour pork. Most of us unanimously agreed that this was an equal stand-out. I mean how could you possibly go wrong with such a classic dish? And they do it so wonderfull 🙂 The pork is crispy and sticky and accompanied with veggies that just add a pop of colour, pop of texture, and fun flavour. Obviously I recommend this to everyone.

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Average Rankings:

Service: 9.5/10 Food was bought our in a timely manner!(the only downside was the struggle to understand our waiter!)

Ambiance: 9/10 (the restaurant was a little empty when we went)

Food: 8/10 There were true stand-outs in the pack, and the flavours were all bang on. Ofc we had one overcooked meal, but on a good day, even it would be a highlight meal.

Originality: 7.5/10 I like that the menu has street food elements, the well known banh mi and a wide range of foods, however I would love to see more vegetarian options and a few more dishes that are a little more unique and well… unheard of

Overall ranking: 8.5/10

Boop di boop. Everything was delish and I would definitely come back. It’s a sweet date place, and is operated by truly the sweetest people. I have to say that the ambiance and service were the true highlights of the overall experience.

😀

 

 

 

 

Spicy Glazed Fish

We all know that Basa is super cheap, and I’m pretty sure most people relate taste and quality straight to price. But did you know Basa is actually cheap because the costs involved in transport and care are less? Turns out that Basa is actually a sustainable fish that can be farmed close to processing factories that are inshore. This saves the costs involved in large fishing fleets entailing licensing, fuel prices, and travel. In addition to this, Basa is actually really easily harvested and the costs to raise them are less than any other fish.

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Okay enough of the serious talk. The point of my rant, Basa is actually wonderful! How do I know about this? It started from a healthy discussion regarding the cost of fish and its relation to quality and taste. We pondered why basa fillets were so affordable and whether it not it meant basa was actually unhealthy, as opposed to the usually pricey but very healthy salmon. On that note, this recipe… I think is perfect for Salmon and I am so freaking keen to try it.

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This recipe itself is sort of inspiration from those challenges you see on Masterchef and shows like Ten Dollar Dinners from Food Network. I thought I would create a recipe that was different, and used everything I already had at home – using everyday ingredients – to make something that is a little extra special. I think I managed to figure this one out spot on. For starters… there was no fish left for the day after, and it made the house smell so divine, my dog was crazily excited.

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Moving on. What makes this recipe spicy is the hot sauce. I used Sriracha because… well… who doesn’t love sriracha sauce? I added a little sweetness with honey, and some saltiness with soy. This really is an Asian influence recipe.  Here it is:

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See fairly easy right? I left my fish to marinade for 5 hours, and it made the fish sooooo incredibly tender. After cooking it the Basa was wonderfully flaky and honestly just melted in the mouth with that insane glaze. I served it up with a simple spinach and rocket (is that even how you spell it?) salad and a nice squeeze of lemon juice. Cut down the spicy flavour by serving with some fluffy rice (maybe infused with coconut), or just eat them away with some noodles.

Hope you liked it!!

Fool Proof Roast Turkey

So since last year, my friends and I have made it a massive tradition to host Christmas and cook a delicious feat for everyone to eat together. Sort of like pot luck… but we all cook together and have heaps of fun with drinks and snacks and wonderful chatter.

This year we were 3 friends short! Yikes! We made the most of it, however, to celebrate Christmas as best as we could with plans to celebrate with the entire crew after new years.

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Christmas, as I’ve said in my numerous posts before, is truly my favourite time of the year. It’s the time to get together with the family and enjoy wonderful food, and give back to community in any way you can. I love every little bit about it… actually maybe not the heat…

but you get the point 😛

This recipe is inspired from the Laura Vitale recipe – here is the link!  but with a few additions 😛 I had a few extra things left over and did it in a slightly different manner. The recipe though is pretty damn simple, and straightforward. For a first timer making the turkey… it actually turned out really wonderful (I’m not saying it… my friends are). Oh and I’ve realised I actually prefer the white meat…

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Though that may be because the white meat was really quite tender.

The aromatics are essentially the same. The rosemary, thyme, sage, carrot, onion, garlic and celery. But! I added parsley, apple, lemons and some figs to the mix to create a sweet yet sort of tart flavour profile. It actually turned out wonderful! The glaze added just that added punch of flavour and sweetness to the tender meat.

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I used a Steggles frozen turkey, which was a really great decision! It came really well cleaned, the only thing I had to do was chop off some excess skin and the neck piece from inside the cavity. It took a whole 4 days to defrost, which also includes leaving out in the sink overnight! It was a 5 kilo tukey after all -_-

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Boop di boop. And that is it!! The apple and figs make for a lightly sweet glaze and really different flavour to the turkey and gravy. It gives it a kind of hint of Christmas right in the meat 😛

By roasting the turkey uncovered it allows the skin to crisp up really nicely, and get wonderful colour of the skin too. By initially keeping the meat covered helps to circulate the heat and keep everything wonderfully moist 🙂

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I recommend checking out some youtube videos for advice on cleaning the turkey, and learning how to stuff and baste it, but this recipe is one I definitely want to try again and really expand on 🙂

I hope you can feel a little inspired to cook turkey this year. Trust me it was my first time, and it wasn’t too bad at all 🙂

Spinach and Ricotta rolls

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Spinach and Ricotta Rolls fresh out of the oven

We had plans to head over to the Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema here in Sydney, and boy was it a fun plan. The general brief among the group was to bring some snacks and drinks along for everyone to enjoy. To me that honestly meant one thing… it’s time to pull out those snack food recipes.

I’ve made these countless times before, and my recipe remains pretty standard but a little bit different that the other ones you’ll find. To me a really good spinach and ricotta roll should have that wonderful spinach taste, with some nut-iness, some creaminess and a little bit of a kick. This doesn’t mean I want a spicy roll… it just has to give a tiny punch to make it extra special.

The smell of these is truly so wonderful, and they make for a really classic and crowd-pleasing snack. I love pulling this recipe out during the spring time for those fun outdoor activities.

Now I’m usually a little too lazy to make the pastry myself, and quite honestly just stick to some store bought puff pastry or filo. I used frozen spinach for this time round, but I often do switch between fresh and frozen. It really just depends on what you find!

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Wrapping these babies up

My recipe is an interesting combination of a few different recipes you have come across. I balance out the classic spinach and ricotta with a little spice from cumin, a little kick from chilli, a little tang for lemon, a little sweetness from cooked onions and a little added flavour from good ol’ garlic. Honestly I don’t think I cook without garlic at all… it is just my favourite.

Here is my recipe!!

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And bam! Snack food is sorted!