Monday, December 28, 2009
The only thing I look forward to this hot summer, apart from my trip back home to Malaysia in January, was cherry picking! I enjoyed it tremendously when I went with Hubby and my nephew 3 years ago, that was why I really looked forward to this trip again. We went two Sundays ago after I called up the farm to make sure 'pick-ur-own' cherries are still available. I am glad I did as some smaller farms are already closed for the season.
We went to Red Hill Cherry Farm which is one of the tourist attractions in Mornington Peninsula. Cherries are ready for picking from mid November through to early January but to avoid disappointment, do call a day before to check if there are cherries available for picking. On the day we went, there were too many people at the assigned zone (they open up their farm to visitors by section) and by lunch time, all the cherries were GONE. Many people who came much later was turned away and I saw a sign stating that the farm will only reopen two days later.
Yum yum...I was more interested with the 'eat-all-you-can' than the 'pick-ur-own' cherries! Entrance fee is A$10 for adults and free for kids below the age of 10. You can eat as much as you can, but whatever you bring home will be charged at A$12 per kilo. The moment we went into the farm, everyone got really excited and started attacking the cherries.
Plump and juicy...I always go for dark red cherries as they are really sweet and crunchy.
Everyone really enjoyed themselves...look at their faces!!
We didn't bring any home as most of the cherries were cracking due to too much rainfall near harvest this year. We can easily get good cherries from Coles and Safeway at less than A$10 per kilo.
Hubby, I know you must be full of envy now. Next year, we go together ok?
Red Hill Cherry Farm is located at:
61 - 69 Prossors Ln
Red Hill, Victoria 3937
Phone: 03 - 59892237 / 0407 819751
Monday, December 21, 2009
Bro-in-law and I spotted fresh King Prawns on special offer at Safeway last week. Grabbed some home and initially we planned to have it steamed until I came up with the idea of cooking it with glass noodle instead. Actually, I was craving for Claypot Glass Noodle with Crabs, a wonderful dish I once had in Bercham (a small town in Perak, Malaysia) many many years ago. Since it is not crabby season now, I was pretty certain that prawns would be good on this dish as well. True enough, it turned out so good that we headed back to Safeway the following cold and pouring night to grab more prawns.
We used lots of sliced ginger, spring onions, garlic, a tablespoon of crushed white pepper and the most important ingredient: LARD! On the first night, we used pork fats to extract the oil and the dish turned out so flavourful and delicious. We ran out of pork fat the second night so we used fats from bacon instead. Big difference, it lack of the 'ommmpphh' aroma from the fresh pork fats.
From 2 packets of glass noodle on the first night, we used 3 packets the second night cos it was so tasty after it absorbed all the flavour from the prawns. Soak to soften before adding it into the dish.
First of all, heat up the wok and WITHOUT any oil, pan fry the pork or bacon fats until golden brown. Then, put in the ginger, garlic and crushed pepper. If you don't intend to use any of those artery-clogging fats, you can substitute with a tablespoon of cooking oil.
Once you get the wonderful aroma from the garlic and pepper, throw in the prawns.
For seasoning, add a touch of magic! Can you spot those droplets from my bro-in-law's finger?? Cool picture eh?? He mixed a concoction of seasoning sauce using oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and cooking wine.
Finally, put in the spring onions and glass noodle, give it a good stir. Although the original version of Glass Noodle with Crabs I had in Bercham was much soupier, I find this homecooked version not too bad, in fact, not too bad at all! Love the glass noodle the most as it was so tasty. I really hope to try cooking this dish again with crabs next time.
One more thing, just to share my new found love....Jacob's Creek Sparkling Moscato! Very light and refreshing bubbly Rosé with summer berry flavours. Absolutely perfect wine to pair with this yummy dish!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Pssstt....wanna get some free cookbooks for this coming festive season? The Discovery Travel and Living has given 5 cookbooks to Masak-Masak to giveaway!!
1. There are two copies of David Rocco's Dolce Vita that takes you to Italy and is an extension of Canadian celebrity chef David Rocco's television series.
2. Two copies of Willie's Chocolate Factory Cookbook by Willie Harcourt-Cooze that describes his chocolate factory story and delectable recipes that include sweet and even savoury dishes.
3. One copy of Kylie Kwong's My China Cookbook where Kylie journeys around China to trace her family roots. The book is beautifully photographed with recipes inspired by dishes she tries on her journey around her ancestors' homeland.
To win a copy of the cookbook, you just need to answer a simple question, "What is Christmas to you?". Email the answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best answer will win one copy of the cookbook. Unfortunately, this competition is limited to residents in Malaysia. You are also entitled to one entry only. This competition will run until 28 December 2009 midnight, so make sure you send your entries in early. Late entries will not be entertained. Winners will be announced on 31 December 2009. For more details, just hop on to Masak-Masak's blog!
Shhh...now it's time to crack my head as I wanna win a cookbook for myself too!
Posted by Precious Pea at 11:05 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2009
First of all, a big thank you to all my friends who left me lovely birthday wishes in Facebook, some via MSN and SMS, and especially those who even called me on my mobile phone, I was so delighted to hear some chirpy familiar voices. Being away from home on my special day is certainly not easy. I was yearning for a cuddle from Hubby and a slimy lick or two from my furry kiddos. But all your wishes really warmed my heart, thank you thank you thank you.
My family treated me to a lovely birthday dinner at Tao's which is located at Bulleen Rd, just 5-mins drive away from home. I just found out that they have another outlet in Singapore. Tao's is famous for its set menu that features the best of both Japanese and French fine cuisine. I find it very reasonably priced too as the 7-course dinner only costs AUD50 whereas lunch is at AUD38 for 6-course meal.
Nathan gave thumbs up for his meal consisting of pumpkin soup, teriyaki chicken and ice cream, washed down by a glass of apple juice. Kids menu is priced at AUD20.
For starter, we were served with the Chef's Seasonal Assorted Platter that came with a piece of sardine (if not mistaken) covered with a slice of radish, pan seared scallops and a wedge of tomato that tasted very strongly of red wine.
There are 5 selections to choose from for appetizer and bro-in-law had the Tao's Style Prawn with Tempura Oysters which is available only for dinner. I ended up having half of this plate since it was my birthday...hehe. I love the freshness of the prawn dipped with the refreshing lime chili sauce but I find the tempura oyster a bit too fishy for me. I am a raw oyster person and usually I don't opt for cooked oyster unless it is steamed with lots of garlic.
ICE AGE SASHIMI!!!! I was craving for sashimi for the past one week and this came just in time!
Next, Tao's Special Chawan Mushi or Steamed Egg which is only available for dinner. This dish is not available for the 6-course lunch which is priced at AUD38, so I assume this small bowl of steamed egg costs AUD12 and don't you think the lunch set more worth it? Anyway, the Chawan Mushi not too bad. Chunks of scallop and seafood hidden underneath the silky egg custard. However my nephew claimed that my plain steamed egg with soya sauce that I cooked for him tasted much better than this...awww...he is so sweet hor???
The waiter told us these were plum sorbet to cleanse our palate but where are the ice???? I shall rename it as plum juice! Nice and refreshing.
There are 4 selections of soup to choose from; Teapot style bonito (below), Ginseng Chicken Soup, Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Pumpkin. Bro-in-law had the ginseng chicken while Sis and I opted for the teapot bonito. Honestly, nothing to shout about as I find it a bit too bland for my tastebud.
Finally, my main dish was served. I was already all filled up by then. There are quite a number of selections to choose from ranging from beef, lamb, chicken, fish, seafood and to even a vegetarian dish. I was torn between having the Hot Stone Sizzling Steak on Bamboo Leave that smell so good from the next table but finally I gave in for the Confit Duck Leg with White Wine Sauce which is available only for dinner.
BAD choice. Duck meat was tasteless. Sauce tasted like normal creamy white sauce. I should have just gone for the steak! Well, never try never know.
Bro-in-law also ordered a fish dish which is only available for dinner; Rockling Sugiita-Yaki with Miso Cream. Again, it failed to impress. Both of us vowed to return for lunch soon for the beef and lamb.
Sis had the Japanese Grilled Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce and surprisingly hers was the best choice. But honestly, I wasn't very impress with the way they served the dish since they emphasized so much on how they focus on presentation of their dishes.
Rice of the day came and went back to the kitchen almost untouched. It was good, very aromatic with lots of good quality dried shrimp but we were really too full
Lastly, sweet dessert to end the meal. My Green Tea Panna Cotta was smooth and not too sweet. I quite like the Creme Brulee too but bro-in-law find it not sweet enough. My sis had fruit sago and was halfway finishing her dessert before I could even take a photo of it.
Thanks Sis, Bro-in-law and Nathan for the lovely dinner. And for Sis, I love the Coach purse and the pyjama you got me....the colour is so ME!!!
Tao's Restaurant is located at:
201 Bulleen Road, Bulleen, VIC 3105
Reservation: 03- 9852.0777 (booking is necessary)
Trading Hours: 12 pm - 3 pm; 6pm - 10.30 pm
Closed on Mondays
Melway: 32 D7
Sunday, December 06, 2009
My beloved nephew turns 7 today. Happy Birthday Nathan!!! *Muacks muacks muacks!*
My sis threw a small birthday party for him at the Pancake Parlour yesterday. I am glad it was just a small party as it certainly wasn't easy controlling 15 high-on-sugar hyper kids. Only the magician could do it.
The birthday boys (there was another birthday party at the same place) were given a surprise each.
Obviously Nathan wasn't that pleased with a balloon giraffe. He told me just now that he actually wished for a sword instead.
All the kids grew excited when they saw furry Elliot......
Well, well...I was too!!
Guess who made this for the party??? Me! Me! Me! Quite unbelievable hor?? Ok, I must admit, I used one of the pre-mix again but hey, it turned out really good. All the kids loved it, even better than the birthday cake as claimed by my nephew.
See??? My nephew was so busy with my chocolaty rich cupcake and showed no sign of interest on his real birthday cake!
"Brotherly Love" caught in the act! So adorable, aren't they?
Birthday boy with all his new toys. Lucky lucky boy!