King’s Palace Congee & Noodle Bar, Hong Kong

I love Barbecue Pork aka Char Siu! Char Siu (叉燒) literally means fork roast. It is a traditional Cantonese cooking method: long strips of seasoned boneless shoulder-cut pork are skewered with long forks and placed over the fire.

Inspired by a Hong Kong movie The God of Cookery (食神) directed by Stephen Chow in 1996, King’s Palace Congee and Noodle Bar (皇府) created a signature dish The God of Cookery Char Siu Rice (食神叉燒飯) – juicy Char Siu sitting on top of steamed Jasmine Rice, covered with a fried egg and Chinese greens, the best part is the secret-recipe Char Siu sauce. I can guarantee you this is one of the best char siu rice in the world! Other recommended dishes are Wonton Noodle and Rice Porridge (Congee). 

King’s Palace Congee & Noodle Bar has 3 restaurants in Hong Kong:
Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
Shing Wo Rd, Happy Valley, Hong Kong Island
Departure Hall East Wing, Hong Kong International Airport

Pan-Fried Salmon with Fettuccine in Lemon Herb Butter Sauce

Salmon is rich in Omega-3.  Everyone heard about Omega-3 and we see all types of fish oil available at the pharmacy.  But what is Omega-3?  When I did my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences 13 years ago, there was a particular subject that interested me the most – Nutritional BiochemistryOmega-3 fatty acids (also known as n-3 or ω−3) are a family of unsaturated fatty acids include α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  The health benefits of Omega-3 were discovered in the 1970s: virtually no one from the Greenland Inuit Tribe have any cardiovascular disease. Why? It is because they eat large amount of seafood!  There is now strong evidence showing that Omega-3 reduce levels of blood triglyceride (fatty material circulating in blood) and VLDL (aka “bad cholesterol”) as well as reduce the risk of heart attacks.  Preliminary studies also show that Omega-3 might be helpful in treating depression and anxiety.  There are also debates going on about the anti-cancer effects (particularly breast, colon and prostate cancer).  So eat more salmon now!

Ingredients: (serves 4)
4 pieces of Salmon Fillets (around 200g each)
250g Fettuccine (or any pasta you like)
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup of Butter, softened
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
Juice of half a Lemon
1 teaspoon of Lemon Rind
Fresh Herbs (you can use oregano, thyme, basil, dill or parsley), chopped
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Preparation Methods:
1. Gently wash the salmon fillets in tap water for a few seconds. Dry on kitchen paper and season lightly with salt and pepper.
2. Prepare the pasta: boil a big pot of water in a deep saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the water is boiled, cook pasta according to packet directions or until al dente (usually 4-6 minutes). Drain well with cold water and leave aside.
3. Prepare the lemon herb butter: heat 1/2 cup of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add 1 clove of crushed garlic, gently stir it until the garlic turns light-brown in colour. Add fresh herbs, lemon rind and lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Leave the sauce aside.
4. Prepare the salmon: heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and cook the salmon for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then gently turn the salmon to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked fish on a serving plate.
5. Reheat the pasta: In the same saucepan from Step 4 add 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the remaining crushed garlic and fresh herbs, and then add pasta from Step 2. Cook for 1 minute and divide the pasta among the serving plates.
6. Quickly reheat the lemon herb butter sauce from Step 3 over high heat for 30 seconds and pour the sauce on top of the salmon. Ready to eat now!

Tips:
* Steps 2, 3, 4 can be done simultaneously.
* Remember to use the same saucepan from Step 4 in Step 5 (reheating the pasta) because you want to get the leftover salmon flavours over your pasta.

Isabella’s Lemon Meringue Cupcakes from Junior MasterChef

Last dessert I made was a Strawberry Sponge from Junior MasterChef’s Dessert Queen Lucy’s recipe, this time for my dearest friend TT’s birthday I made another winning recipe – Lemon Meringue Cupcakes from Isabella.  I wasn’t a big cupcake fan until last month I bought my first ever cupcakes for Jennifer’s birthday at Poppy Cakes, I am so ADDICTED to these soft fluffy creatures now!

What I loved about Isabella’s recipe is the use of cream instead of butter for the soft fluffy cakes.  It’s healthier (?) and easier to make (no hassle of creaming butter, yay!).  Super easy!  
Ingredients (make 12 cupcakes):
For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Light Thickened Cream
1 cup Caster Sugar
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
1 Lemon, finely grated
For the Lemon Curd:
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
100g Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1 Egg and 3 Egg yolks (leave the 3 Egg Whites for next step)
For the Meringue Topping:
3 Egg Whites
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
Preparation Methods:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
2. Place 12 cupcake liners in a muffin tray.
For the Cupcakes:
3. Put 1 cup Light Thickened Cream, 1 cup Caster Sugar and 3 lightly beaten Eggs in a large mixing bowl, whisk the mixture until smooth.
4. Grate Lemon Rind and add 1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour gradually into the cream mixture, continue to whisk until the batter thickens.
5. Fill cupcake liners and bake for 18 minutes.
For the Lemon Curd:
6. Heat 1/2 cup Lemon Juice and 100g Butter in a small saucepan, simmer until butter is melted.
7. Add 1/2 cup Caster Sugar, 1 Egg and 3 Egg Yolks and whisk continuously until the curd becomes thick and glossy (turn off the heat if the eggs start to cook). Leave it aside to cool down.
For the Meringue Topping:
8. Put 3 Egg Whites in a dry cleaning mixing bowl, use an electric beater to whisk at high speed until fluffy. 
9. Gradually add 1/2 cup Caster Sugar and continue to whisk into a stiff peak meringue. 
10. Spoon meringue mixture into a piping bag.
To assemble the Cupcake:
11. Dig some small holes on top of the cooled cupcakes (taste test time?), fill the holes with Lemon Curd and pipe a swirl of Meringue Mixture on top of each cupcake.  Run the blowtorch and place the cupcakes in a preheated grill for 1 minute until golden brown.
  Bon Appétit
By the way the plain cupcakes are also really nice :P if you concern about your waistline… (I like the plain ones but Mr F said: without the lemon curd the cupcakes become so dull and boring… true true…)

Lucy’s Sponge with Strawberries and Cream

Do you feel excited watching Junior Masterchef?  How adorable when 11 years old Lucy (considers herself as a Cake Queen) making a delectable heart shaped Sponge with Strawberries and CreamMy heart was pounding when I saw these little cutties marching inside the MasterChef Kitchen with big cheery smiles and those petite Rossi boots on their tiny little feet.  I was so nervous they may burn their hands, cut their fingers, crying in the middle of a challenge etc… but these little courageous young men and women just show off their talents and prepare their perfect dish within 45 MINUTES!

Anna Gare joining Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston as a host and judge for Junior MasterChef 2010, and she said Lucy’s dessert was “the best sponge” she’s ever eaten and she wants to know the recipe!  Here is my modified version of Lucy’s recipe.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
6 eggs, separated
2/3 cup Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Corn Flour
6 teaspoons Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup Thickened Cream
4 tablespoons Icing Sugar
1 punnet Fresh Strawberries
Cooking spray

Preparation Methods:
1. Preheat oven to 190 degree Celsius.
2. Put 6 Egg Whites into a dry clean mixing bowl and use an electric beater to whisk at high speed until fluffy.
3. Add in 2/3 cup Caster Sugar slowly and continue to whisk into a stiff peak meringue.
4. Put 6 Egg Yolks and 1 tsp Vanilla Extract in another bowl and gently whisk.
5. Gently fold the Egg Yolk mixture from Step 4 into the Meringue from Step 3.
6. Sift 1 cup Corn Flour, 6 teaspoons Plain Flour and 1 tsp Baking Powder and gently fold into the mixture from Step 5.
7. Lightly spray two 20cm round cake tins with Cooking Spray.
8. Divide cake batter between the two cake tins and bake for 18 minutes (or until mixture bounces back when touched).
9. Put 1 cup Thickened Cream and 2 tbsp Icing Sugar in a clean mixing bowl and whisk with an electric beater at high speed until the cream is thick enough for spreading. Leave the whipped cream in fridge.
10. To assemble the cake: cover the base of one sponge with Cream Mixture from Step 9 and Sliced Strawberries. Arrange the second sponge on top and dust with icing sugar.

Delicious Magazine’s Mangomisu

I love Mango!  It’s my favourite fruit since I was a kid, in Hong Kong we get this yummy fruit imported from Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia all year round.  But in Australia the mango season usually starts in November and lasts for three to four months only.  My favourite mango would be Bowen Mango but it’s harder and harder to find them in the market nowadays.  Lately we found some good Kensington and Calypso and the price is quite reasonable.  Sweet and Juicy!  Today I made a Mangomisu for Foonie’s Birthday!  Yum Yum!  This is an incredibly easy recipe: look fantastic and taste great!  Why it’s called Mango-misu?  Simple enough: Mango and Tiramisu!

Ingredients: (adopted from Delicious Magazine Issue 89)
250g Mascarpone Cheese
300mL Light Thickened Cream
25g Icing Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
1/2 cup Apple and Mango Juice (or Orange Juice)
100mL Grand Marnier
1 pack Savoiardi Sponge Finger Biscuits
3-5 Mangoes, freshly sliced

Preparation Method:
1. Line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
2. Place 250g Mascarpone Cream, 300mL Light Thickened Cream, 25g Icing Sugar, 2 Egg yolks and 1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste in a large mixing bowl.  Use an electric mixer to combine all ingredients into a thick mixture.
3. Dip the Sponge Fingers into the juice mixture and lay in the base of the cake tin.
4. Spread Mascarpone Cream Mixture from Step 2 on top of the Sponge Fingers.
5. Lay Mango slices on top of the Mascarpone Cream Mixture.
6. Repeat Steps 3, 4 and 5.
7. Chill the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  Enjoy!

Good Food and Wine Show 2010

My first ever Good Food and Wine Show!  Yay!  We bought tickets to see Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris three months ago and I couldn’t believe the day has finally arrived!  The three day foodie show features hundreds of stalls showcasing fine quality local produce and gourmet wines all around Australia.  As their poster says: come to shop, touch, see, smell and taste!  This year’s Good Food and Wine Show was held at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. It was packed with foodies, foodies and foodies! The queue at Ben and Jerry Icecream was never-ending (we left the show at 6pm and still saw heaps of people waiting!), not-to-mention the Jacobs Creek and Barossa wine booths you just had to squeeze in to get a taste!

 
We had so much fun walking around tasting all the goodies: Ayam Satay Chicken, Luv-a-Duck Honey Roasted Chicken, New Zealand’s Grove Avocado Oil etc etc… We also saw Japanese Sake Master Toshi Maeda!  How could we escape without getting some Choya Umeshu!   There were just so much to see, so much to do.  We quickly browsed around Sunbeam’s Cupcakes Demonstration and Riedel’s Wine Tasting Session and we rushed off to the Celebrity Theatre to see MasterChef’s Gary and George!
Seats were allocated at the Celebrity Theatre and there were 1000 tickets available at each session, luckily we booked ours three months ahead through Ticketek and got some very good spots (4th row in the middle section!).  Everyone was yelling when George and Gary came out on stage, the atmosphere just skyrocketed to the roof!
Gary Mehigan fromFenix Restaurant Melbourne was a very humorous chef, he has always been my favourite host in the MasterChef series.  Look at his funny expressions!
George Calombaris, the chef-owner of the two-hat-restaurantThe Press Club, can you imagine he is just 31 years old!  And he has already owned three restaurants in Melbourne and one in Greece!  He is so talented and so passionate about food!

It was really fun looking at Gary and George cooking: they talked, they played, they cooked and they kept eating on stage!  We really wanted to jump up on the stage and grab a bite too!

Our lunch wasJanella Purcell’s Chilled Buckwheat and Smoked Tofu Salad and Kingfish with Quinoa Pilaf and Green Tahini, George Calombaris’ Braised Chicken with Celery Fricassee and Vanilla Creme Brulee, Gary Mehigan”s Panna Cotta with Roasted Apricots and HoneyHow do they taste?  Needless to say… They were simply divine!
More wine and wine, we got some spare tickets to see Matt Moran’s show later in the afternoon.  Matt is such a down to earth cook, he brought his sous chef and dissected the whole lamb in front of everyone.  He kept giving out gifts to the audience: wine, books, cookware and of course the lamb!  Yes, lamb!  Raw lamb!  He made three dishes in the half hour session: Aria’s signature dish Seared Scallops with Prosciutto, Roasted Lamb and Lemon Moouse DessertDelicious!!!  This year’s Good Food and Wine Show was such a success, see you next year!


Good Food and Wine Show
Date: 5-7 November 2010
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Coorparoo Markets

A new exciting indoor market has opened on 4th November 2010 at Brisbane’s Coorparoo – Coorparoo Markets.  You can find all kinds of fresh meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables on the basement floor as well as a flea market style on the ground floor.  The Brisbane’s first indoor market will certainly add a vibrant scene to our gourmet selection.  The former Myer building has been vacant since 2007, organisers initially named the indoor market as MyR Markets but Myer has opposed the naming.  Don’t worry.  Who cares about the name of a market?   

Farm Fresh Produce!  We love it!
You can find all sorts of international food here:  Japanese-style karaage chicken baguette, Greek’s honey puffs, Italian & Spanish’s Proscuitto, Asian’s home-grown mushrooms. 
Freshly baked turkish bread, French Patisserie, Yummy Cakes…
Also little goodies like this gorgeous looking Lemon Meringue Cupcakes!  (Mr F says he’s missing my Junior MasterChef’s cupcakes now :P)

Coorparoo Markets
Opening Hours: Thu-Sun 6am-6pm (Food & Produce Level) 9am-6pm (Variety Level)
Address: 293-300 Old Cleveland Rd COORPAROO
Web: www.coorparoo-markets.com

Chocolate Fondant

Australia’s MasterChef 2010 has come to an end last night, the finale cooked up massive ratings as expected, making this show the most-watched event on Australian television history.  The winner, Adam Liaw, cooked a fantastic Pork Belly dish – Three Little Pigs: the first dish is a loo roll which is a minced pork topped with Japanese egg custard Chawanmushi, next to it is the confit pork and scallops, then comes the red rum belly bun.  The runner-up, Callum Hann, the youngest contestant of 20 years old, is the dessert king.  At his age he got nothing to lose, in fact a bright culinary future is waiting for him!  One of the judges George Calombaris (Owner/Chef of 2 Hat restaurant The Press Club) has offered Callum a 3 month culinary scholarship to work at his restaurant.  And earlier Shannon Bennett from Vue de Monde has also offered him a job.  Callum’s signature dish is his Chocolate Fondant which defeated Jimmy’s curry at the Cook Book Challenge on Episode 81 (the final three), his Chocolate Fondant triumph on the next day at the Governor-General Challenge even made him through to the Grand Finale. 


Tonight there’s no more MasterChef showing on telly… to cheer myself up I decided to make a ooey gooey Chocolate Fondant!  I followed Gary Mehigan’s MasterClass recipe and made it within half an hour, it’s easy and chocolatey!  Rich with decadent liquid centre!


Ingredients (serve 4):
100g Unsalted Butter
100g Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces (I used 70% Lindt Chocolate and it’s just perfect!)
2 Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
100g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour


Preparation Methods:
1. Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius.
2. Lightly grease 4 ramekins and cover the bottom with baking paper.
3. Boil some water in a deep saucepan.
4. Melt 100g Dark Chocolate and 100g Unsalted Butter in a heatproof bowl over the hot water from Step 3.  Stir with a spatula until smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
5. Whisk 2 Eggs and 2 Egg Yolks and 100g Caster Sugar in a clean mixing bowl for 2-3 minutes until pale.  
6. Add the chocolate mixture from Step 4 into the egg mixture from Step 5.  Gently fold in 100g Plain Flour. 
7. Divide evenly between prepared ramekins and place on an oven tray. 
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until the surface is cooked (but still soft in the centre).


Tips:
Step 4: make sure the bottom of the heatproof bowl does not touch the boiling water.
Step 5: If you prefer sweeter dessert you can add 120g Caster Sugar instead.


Chocolate Fondant is best served with Vanilla Ice-cream or Thickened Cream!  Remember to serve warm!

Semisweet Chocolate on FoodistaSemisweet Chocolate

Courier Mail Food and Wine Guide 2011

Wooh!  Counting down to my birthday and I was scratching my head where to eat on this Sunday, Ortiga was my number one pick but I also want to try Euro, Urbane, Tartufo, Buffalo Club, Alchemy, Absynthe etc etc… Yesterday I finally picked up the phone and booked a table at Ortiga for my “own” birthday!  And today after seeing the winners of Courier Mail Food and Wine Guide 2011 I am really really looking forward to it!!!

San Pellegrino Restaurant of the Year: Ortiga ✩✩✩
Chef of the Year: Pablo Tordesillas of Ortiga
Pol Roger Wine List of the Year: Ortiga (also special recommendations to 1889 Enoteca & Aria Brisbane)
Courier Mail Best New Restaurant: Euro ✩✩
Best Casual Dining: South Bank Surf Club (Mr F still whinges about when we’ll be free to Surf Club again for the unforgettable fish & chips and steak sandwich!)

Cafe of the Year: Anouk
Bar of the Year: Canvas
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Nu Nu, Palm Cove ✩✩
Outstanding Service: Shawn Gomes, Il Centro
Young Chef of the Year: Ashley Hicks of Buffalo Club, Matt Osborne from 1889 Enoteca and Tartufo
Merlo Barista of the Year: John Russell of Cup Coffee
Service to the Industry: Gerry Pennisi

Brisbane Restaurants Star Rating:
Three Stars ✩✩✩: Ortiga
Two Stars ✩✩: 1889 Enoteca, Alchemy, Aria, Buffalo Club, Cinco, E’cco, Euro, Il Centro, Moda, Montrachet, Restaurant Two, Urbane
One Star ✩: Baguette, Bar Alto, Bar Barossa, Barolo, Beccofino, Brent’s, Cha Cha Char, Citron, Era Bistro, Harvey’s, Jellyfish, Liquorish, Mario at the Dining Room, Prive 249, Restaurant Lurleen’s, Restaurant Rapide, Seasalt at Armstrongs, Sono Portside, The Lab, Timmy’s Restaurant, Two Small Rooms

Sono Portside
Aria Brisbane

Queensland Regional Restaurants Star Rating:
Two Stars ✩✩: Absynthe, Berardo’s, Fins, Nu Nu, Spicer’s Peak Lodge, Vanitas, Wasabi
One Star ✩: Ba Vigo, Bamboo, Berardo’s on the Beach, Byron at Byron, Cafe China, Chill on Tedder, Dish Restaurant & Marvell Bar, Ebb, Embassy XO, Harrisons, Harvest, Humid, Moo Moo, Nautilus, Oskars on Burleigh, Reef House, Reserve Restaurant Cellar, Ricky’s, Ristorante Fellini, Sails, Sassi Cantina, Satiate, Season, Songbirds in the Forest, Spirit House, Vie, Vivo, Watermark

To read more about other fantastic food guide please go to hereBon Appétit!

First Ever Attempt on Macarons

Macarons or Macaroons?  A macaron is a dome-shaped biscuit made of egg white, almond meal and sugar, hard to the touch with a chewy interior (Adriano Zumbo).  A macaroon is a small meringue cake typically made of coconut.

What is a perfect macaron?  It should have a delicate, egg shell-like crust but moist and airy interior.  Nowadays you can find a variety of flavours ranging from the traditional Chocolate, Vanilla, Raspberry to the exotic Green Tea, Olive.  Bakeries in Paris notably make the best macarons in the world: Lauree, Pierre Hermé and Fauchon.

My first attempt on French Macarons and they had FEETS!  Though not a perfect piece of art but the shell is crispy and importantly it’s YUMMY!  I used this recipe from tastedbytwo.com and was very impressed with this easy recipe!

 

Ingredients (Yield about 8 Macarons):
65g Almond Meal
80g Icing Sugar
40g Sugar
15g Cocoa Powder
50g Egg White
Preparation Methods:
1. Sieve 65g Almond Meal, 15g Cocoa Powder and 80g Icing Sugar into a clean mixing bowl. Repeat this step for 3 times and make sure there are no lumps left.
2. Place 50g Egg White in a clean mixing bowl and use an electric beater whisk into a meringue. Add 40g Sugar gradually until it forms a stiff peak (test it by turning the bowl upside down).
3. Use a spatula to fold the egg white into the dry mixture from Step 1. (do not overwork the batter!)
4. Line the baking tray with two sheets of baking paper.
5. Fill the mixture from Step 3 into a disposable piping bag. Pipe the batter into 2cm circles and leave them on the bench for 30-40 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 160 degree Celsius.
7. Place the macarons into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Once it’s done place the baking sheet on a piece of wet cloth to stop the cooking process. Turn the macarons upside down and let it cool.