All posts filed under: dinner

Brash and buzzy: Vietnam House, Saigon

Australian Luke Nyugen’s Vietnam House restaurant in the very centre of busy Ho Chi Minh City is an assault on the senses with bold Art Deco interior design featuring vivid colours and a buzzy atmosphere. It feels exactly right where it is located in the heart of the CBD surrounded by the glitz of the high end designer shops like Louis Vuitton and Gucci and 5 star hotels. The menu features Nyugen’s unique take on Vietnamese food that reflects the influences of growing up in Australia and his time spent in France through the use of imported herbs and ingredients, such as Wagyu beef, dill and salmon. We began with the much talked about soft spring rolls with sesame seared salmon and salmon caviar. The addition of the salmon caviar added delicious bursts of flavour to this entree and the flavour of the salmon went really well with the dill in the rolls. For mains we tried the much talked aboutBraised Wagyu Beef cheek in coconut juice, Phu Quoc green pepper, carrot, shallot served with …

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Home Finest, Saigon – a fine find indeed!

Managed to get a last minute booking into this highly recommended restaurant on TripAdvisor. It’s currently No 1 for Vietnamese food in Ho Chi Minh/Saigon and we can certainly attest to it’s well deserved reputation. Set in a stunning modernist French Villa and with classic interior design of dark wood/black furniture, white walls, glass and plants everywhere, the restaurant draws you in from the moment you arrive. Service is warm and welcoming. Anna who looked after us was very knowledgeable about the wine list and menu. She also told us a little about the villa and the local neighbourhood which was very interesting. The food though is definitely a stand-out. We started with a deliciously hot-sour seafood soup, which was tart and tangy but mellower than a Thai Tom Yum, served elegantly in a coconut. We accompanied this with crispy pork and prawn wontons, served with a divine dipping sauce. For mains we settled on stir fried duck with local basil and grilled eggplant with spring onion salsa with some plain rice. Both dishes were …

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Roasted Cauliflower, Orange and Baby Spinach Salad

I could just eat a bowl of this salad on it’s own, but it was also delicious with orange glazed Salmon Fillets for dinner. The various elements – the caramelisation of the fried onion mixture, bite of the chilli, crunchiness of toasted almonds and sweetness of the oranges – result in a mouth-watering fusion of flavours and textures. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 40 minutes Ingredients: Roasted Cauliflower 1/2 Head of cauliflower 1 teaspoon cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons olive oil Onion Mixture 1 large brown onion, finely sliced 1-2 red chillies sliced 2 cloves garlic crushed 2-3 tablespoons olive oil Salad ingredients 2 cups baby spinach 1/2 cup almond flakes 1 orange peeled and separated into segments, seeds removed 1/4 cup coriander or mint leaves roughly chopped Salt and pepper to taste Method: 1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 2. Remove outer leaves from cauliflower. 3. Mix together olive oil, cumin powder and salt. Rub this mixture all over the cauliflower. 4. Roast cauliflower for 25-30 minutes until cooked through …

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Indian Green Pork Curry with beans

This curry is inspired by Lamb and Spinach – another “green” curry that is a family favourite. The mint and coriander meld with the pork and other spices to create a deliciously fragrant curry. I add green beans for additional “greenness” and serve sprinkled with shards of fresh ginger for added zing, with basmati rice and sweet mango chutney. Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 1 hr 10 minutes Ingredients: 500g pork shoulder diced (with or without bones) 1/2 cup white vinegar 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 large onion diced 5 cloves garlic and equal amount ginger 2 fresh red chillies Handful of curry leaves 2 sticks cinnamon (preferably bark) 3 cardamom pods 3 dried red chillies 1 teaspoon panch phoran (Indian Five Spice Mix) 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon cummin powder 1 bunch coriander 1 bunch mint 1 teaspoon salt 2-3 cups water or chicken stock Extra ginger cut into fine strips and coriander leaves for garnish Method: 1. Place pork in a bowl and pour over vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt, set aside …

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French Classics at St Claude’s Sydney

Delicious dining and attentive service at St Claude’s in cosy surrounds in Oxford St, Woollahra. Lucky to have such top notch French menu on our doorstep now and bound to become a regular haunt. Scallop filled Zuchinni flowers, delicious soufflé, steak tartare, steak frites, and perfectLy cooked duck….we skipped dessert! Plus a great wine list and a daily Prix Fixe 3 course menu, St Claude’s is open 7 nights a week for dinner. Here’s Foodie Terry Durack’s review from the Sydney Good Food Guide https://www.goodfood.com.au/st-claudes-woollahra/st-claudes-20160125-49ix6 And here’s a link to their website http://stclaudes.com.au

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Puff pastry pot pies

This was easy as. Just cooked up a diced lamb filling with onions, tomato, garlic, white wine, pepper, mushroom, peas, spinach and herbs …then lined the little buttered ceramic pots with frozen puff pastry, filled the pots, topped with a circle of pastry, brushed with egg and popped in the 230 degrees Celsius oven for 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden. Quick and easy, perfect with salad but still warm and comforting. Reminded me of the recipe for Lamb Curry Pot Pies but simpler and …I like the puff pastry better.

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Twice cooked Szechuan Chicken

As a cold snap hits Sydney and winter settles in, this twice cooked Szechuan Chicken will give you just the right combination of heat and spice to warm things up. Whilst it might look frighteningly hot, the combination of Szechuan peppercorns, cayenne pepper, large sweet peppers, and dried chillies somehow combine into a delicious warm sweet spiciness rather than mouth-numbing torture! You can of course adjust the amount of heat by reducing the amount of Szechuan pepper, cayenne pepper and dried chillies you use but I would highly recommend trying this adapted recipe of mine to experience a more authentic version of the real thing. I also like using a combination of thigh fillet pieces with some small pieces of bone-in chicken such as small chicken wings but this is optional. Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes 500g skinless thigh fillets cut into pieces 2-3 small chicken wings cut into half 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 cup cornflour 1 teaspoon cayenne powder 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, dry roasted …

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Durban-style Lamb and Cabbage Curry

This is another favourite amongst South African Indian families. It’s a great dish for a wintry Sunday like it is here in Sydney today. The sweetness of the cabbage permeates this dish and the resulting curry is somehow more fragrant and lighter than most lamb curries. Flavouring the oil through the gentle frying of the fenugreek, cummin and nigella seeds along with the cinnamon and curry leaves provides the basis for this. The addition of fresh and dried chillies add an extra warming spicy element but by no means is this required if you prefer a milder sweeter curry. The curry sauce is thinner than usual as well so rice is the best accompaniment, and Mint and Peanut Chutney is a delicious alongside it. I suppose this is the Indian version of Norwegian Farikal or Irish Lamb and Cabbage stew. Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour Ingredients: 750g lamb cut into chunks, or for best results lamb chump chops with fat removed and diced keeping bones in 1 large onion chopped 1 tomato …

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Persian inspired Lamb Shanks with paprika, saffron and rosewater

This is my version of Persian lamb shanks slow cooked in a mixture of lime juice, orange juice, rosewater, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, paprika, pepper, thyme, garlic and saffron. The combination of spices and citrus permeates the lamb and the resulting dish is fragrant and delicious. Don’t be scared off by the long list of ingredients, the end result is worth the preparation and slow cooking. We had these with a spinach salad with orange segments and pomegranate seeds which complemented the flavours of the lamb perfectly. It would also go well with Caramelised Brussel Sprout, spinach and pomegranate salad. A definite new favourite winter comfort food dish! Preparation time: 1.5 hours Cooking time: 2-2.5 hours Ingredients: 4 frenched lamb shanks Powdered/ ground spices: 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder 1 teaspoon cardamom powder 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 2 teaspoons smoked paprika Fragrant mix: 2 teaspoons saffron threads 1 teaspoon rosewater Juice of 2 limes Zest of 2 limes Juice of half an orange Zest of 1 orange …

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Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

My friend Jennifer recently went to Sri Lanka and came back bearing gifts of Sri Lankan spices…a roasted fenugreek and mustard seed mix and a meat (Masala) spice mix. Looking for inspiration to use these spices I found a chicken curry recipe in Australian chef Peter Kuruvita’s recipe book, Serendip. This recipe is based on his with a few tweaks, it is really a 4 step process beginning with making the thickening mixture, marinating the chicken, getting the ingredients for the braising prepared and then actually cooking the curry. The result is a creamy curry with well balanced spice. Thanks Peter! Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes Ingredients 1. Thickening Mixture: 1 tablespoon long grain rice 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut 2 red chillies, chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 green cardamom pods 2 cloves 2. Marinating mixture 1.5 kg chicken thigh fillets, fat removed and cut into medium size chunks 2 teaspoons cumin powder 3 teaspoons ground coriander 2 teaspoons chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 teaspoon roasted fenugreek and mustard seed mix …

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Monkfish with dill, chilli potatoes and watercress

This is my twist on the Rick Stein classic dish of monkfish, potatoes and watercress. The addition of my favourite ingredients – chilli and garlic – plus the dill spices it up and adds delicious flavour. The texture and flavour of monkfish, which is also great in curries, works well with this combination, with a squeeze of lemon brightening up the whole dish at the end. Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 35 minutes Ingredients: 2 medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced 3 whole red chillies 1/2 bunch fresh dill tough stalks removed and finely chopped 1 bunch watercress (about 4 or 5 cups when cleaned and chopped) 2 fillets of monkfish (about 500g) Olive oil Balsamic vinegar 1/2 lemon cut into half again Salt and pepper Method: 1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. 2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add potatoes, garlic and while chillies and boil until potatoes are just cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Darin and leave to dry out. 3. Meanwhile, pat monkfish …

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Prawn Curry with Fennel Seeds

I recently went to make this traditional family curry and realised I haven’t previously posted the recipe. So here it is, a quick and delicious curry that is perfect for weeknight dinners with rice and salad or as part of a bigger Indian spread. Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes Ingredients: 500g green prawns (shelled and deveined) 2 ripe tomatoes diced finely 1 large onion diced finely 4 cloves garlic and equal amount of ginger, pounded to a paste 1/2 tspoon salt 1/2 tspoon sugar 1 teaspoon chilli powder 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 teaspoon fennel powder 1/2 teaspoon cummin powder 2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate 1.5-2 cups water 2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon cumin seeds Handful of fresh curry leaves(optional) 1/2 bunch corinader – stems chopped, leaves retained for garnish coriander leaves to garnish Method: Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add fennel seeds and curry leaves and stir until fragrant, taking care not to burn. Add onions and cook gently until almost transparent. Add …

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Beef and black bean with chilli

Last night we decided on Chinese in celebration of Chinese New Year. This recipe is based on Kylie Kwong’s Braised Chicken Drumsticks with black Bean and Chilli but is much quicker made with thinly sliced beef. Of course we have all had Beef and Black Bean Sauce in Chinese restaurants but this dish is a bit different made with salted black beans and “blackened”chilli. I have added green capsicum and mushrooms for a satisfying one dish meal all cooked in the wok. Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Ingredients 500g very thinly sliced beef (I use rump steak) 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon malt vinegar 1 teaspoon sesame oil 3 red chillies sliced in half 3 green chillies sliced in half 1 onion sliced thickly 1 green capsicum deseeded and sliced 3 large mushrooms sliced thickly 5cm piece of ginger 4 cloves garlic 1/2 bunch spring onions sliced on the diagonal 1 tablespoon chilli oil (optional) 2tablespoons salted black beans 100ml Shao Hsing wine or dry sherry …

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Lamb Xacuti – Goan curry

Cooking this recipe was inspired by the beautiful story and recipe posted by The Storyteller’s Kitchen Chicken Xacuti but I made it tonight using lamb. It was certainly very delicious and is easy to make but does involve quite a number of steps for the three seperate spice mixes involved. I didn’t have any mace so just gave it a miss but the original recipe calls for it to be included in the masala (dry spice mix). I have added extra coriander and curry leaves and was pleased with the result. I have also divided the recipe up into the different components into groups to help follow the recipe. Hope it helps! This is almost like an Indian version of Indonesian rendang except sharper tasting through the use of green chillies and lots of fresh coriander. We had a tangy cucumber, tomato, carrot and spinach salad with it and plain basmati rice. A very More-ish dish! Prep time: 35 minutes Cooking time: 60 minutes Resting time: 30 minutes Ingredients: Coriander Spice Marinade: 8 garlic cloves …

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Vegetarian Rice Pilau

This is a quick and easy rice dish that is delicious just with Tarka Dhal, raita and pickles, or as a side dish served with Indian Hunter’s style roast lamb or curries. It is even better the day after and can be eaten cold like a rice salad. Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time:10-15 minutes Ingredients: 1 cup basmati rice 4-5 cups water 1 brown onion finely diced 1 carrot diced 1 cup cooked corn kernels (canned is fine) 1 cup of frozen peas 1 tspoon cummin seeds Handful of curry leaves (optional) 1 clove garlic and piece of ginger crushed to a paste 1/2 tspoon chilli powder 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon cummin powder Handful of coriander leaves chopped for garnish (optional) 2 teaspoons butter 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 teaspoons salt Method 1. Bring 4.5 cups of water to a boil, add 1 tspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of basmati rice. Par-boil rice for 10 minutes until rice is half-cooked, strain and set aside. 2. Heat oil in non-stick …

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Intriguing Indo flavours at new Nusantara by Locavore, Ubud

Now this is an absolute must, honestly, for your next time you are in Ubud. With a menu featuring regional specialities from across the Indonesian archipelago, Nusantara’s menu will expose you to intriguing new and old Indonesian spices, herbs and flavours. We visited in a group of four for dinner which gave us the opportunity to try a number of small dishes and larger plates, as well as dessert. Even then we were left struggling to choose between the enticing and exotic sounding menu items. We started with a medley of cocktails between us including a Bir Pletok, Loloh, Kokomora and Bunga Desa. (See below for the fascinating ingredients in each). The cocktails are all impressively presented, just like Nusantara’s sister cocktail bar Night Rooster , and taste as good as they look. We were delightfully surprised by a platter of complimentary nibbles. With beautiful crispy rice crackers, a delicious Fishcakes steamed in banana leaves, sambals and crispy fried potatoes. The nibbles got our tastebud prepared for the taste sensations that were to follow. With …

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Brined Pork Chops

I had never thought of brining pork chops before I cook them before but after another recent successful turkey brining experience at Christmas , I though I would try it with pork. Of course then I found a host of articles about how brining is great for adding moisture to pork chops, cutlets and roasts and avoiding having dry pork ever again! (Took me long enough to find out!). I just brined the chops for half an hour before cooking them and I cannot tell you what a difference it made to browning the chops and creating a delicious sauce to go with them. The chops were juicy and delicious. I can’t wait to try the technique with my next pork roast. Prep time: 35-40minutes cooking time: 15-20 minutes including making sauce Brining ingredients: 2 cups water 1/4 cup salt Juice of half an orange Half an orange sliced 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 1 tspoon juniper berries 1 tablespoon or so of fresh rosemary leaves 2 pork chops or cutlets 1 tablespoon olive oil …

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Turkey Pad Thai

This dish has now become a traditional Boxing Day dinner for our family. It’s a great way to use up leftover turkey and the spiciness is an excellent antidote to the richness of other Christmas dishes. For an extra chilli hit, serve the Thai sauce nam prik on the side…chopped chilli in equal parts fish sauce and lime juice. Prep time: 30 minutes. cooking time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 1 packet pad Thai rice noodles 2 tspoons store bought Thai red chilli paste 10 large green prawns, peeled with tails intact 1.5 cups Leftover turkey meat 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced 1 cup bean sprouts 3 eggs lightly beaten 2 tablespooons vegetable oil 1/2 cup chopped coriander 1 lemon juiced – about 3 tablespoons 3 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons white sugar 2 limes cut into wedges 4 green spring onion stalks chopped in half 1/2 cup roughly crushed peanuts 1 tablespoon chilli flakes Method: 1. Boil 2 litres water, then allow to cool to warm, then add rice noodles to soak for 10-15 minutes until …

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Orange and date salad with pistachio yoghurt and mint

Inspired by an Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine recipe, I decided this salad would be a great accompaniment to the Christmas Roast Turkey with my traditional Christmas Turkey Stuffing. I didn’t have any muslin cloth so I used a new piece of Chux superwipes (!!) with the holes in it to “hang” the yoghurt. For extra Christmassy flavour I added a few cloves to the syrup mixture and then freshened up the salad by adding fresh mint leaves. It was delicious and simple despite requiring a bit of prep the night before. Prep time: 8 hours/overnight Ingredients: 240g Greek-style yoghurt 50g brown sugar Piece of muslin or new piece of Chux superwipe cloth 1 cup caster sugar 1.5 cups water 1 cinnamon quill 3 cloves 2 pieces each lemon and orange peel, removed with a peeler 1 tsp rosewater 2 oranges, thinly sliced 4 dates, pitted and sliced into strips 1/2 cup pistachio kernels Handful of fresh mint leaves Method: 1. Line a small sieve with muslin or Chux superwipe and place over a deep bowl. …

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