Chi Restaurant

(photo taken from Guide)

We stumbled into this place a few years ago, not knowing what to expect. The interior design of the place shouts “modern”. Dark furniture, open kitchen concept, dim lights and red walls. Staff wore black and spoke in fluent English AND Cantonese. When dinner arrived, we were surprised by how tasty and authentic the food was.

Going back for lunch on a Saturday afternoon, we were surprised to see the place empty of customers. The dinner crowd previously was huge. Not that I’m complaining since I prefer a slow lunch on a Saturday afternoon.

Service was prompt and polite. We quickly ordered our food and it arrived in less than 10 minutes


AR and I knew that they are famous for prawn dumplings noodles soup. This didn’t disappoint. The dumplings were filled with prawns and pork and the noodles had a great texture to it. You can’t stop once you get started. The noodles were that good that I wonder did they make it themselves?

Since we were sharing, I decided to go with the beef brisket noodles. I took the dry version rather than the wet one. Again, there were no disappointments. In fact, this dish arrived first and both AR and I couldn’t keep our chopsticks out of it. The beef was soooo tender! They were rather generous with the portion of beef too. The noodles soaked up all the goodness of the gravy. I would go back again in a flash just to have this beef brisket noodles.

Again, we used our entertainment voucher and received 20% off. Total bill: $12.90. Woohoo! Another bargain lunch at a posh restaurant.

Chi Restaurant
Shop 14
366 Albany Hwy
Vic Park 6100
WA
Phone (08) 9361 0036

Ricotta Lasagna


Lasagna- full of sinful goodness. Ah… how can I forget those days in Singapore, where a bunch of us (u know who u r!) took pride in heading to Milano at Junction 8, pigging out on their al carte menu. Each of us polishing off 2 individual sized lasagnas. Those lovely days when we did not worry about calories or fat. All we wanted was good food, good company and lots of laughter. Ahh.. how I missed those days.

A ricotta lasagna is not as rich as the one at Milano’s. Nor is it authentic. However, it is tasty, low fat and make a easy dinner solution.

That way, I can have my 2nd portion of lasagna, guilt free and an opportunity to reminisce good times that we had.

Low Fat Ricotta Lasagna
500 grams of lean ground beef
1 chopped red onion
1 tablespoon of garlic
pinch of chili powder and cumin
300 grams tub of low fat ricotta cheese
1 cup of chopped button mushrooms
1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 cup of cheddar
Lasagna sheets-depends on your pan size. I used about 6 sheets.

Bechamel sauce
3 tablespoons of low fat spread
1 tablespoon of flour
1 -2 cups of Carnations light and Easy milk

Method
Make bechamel sauce by melting butter and stiring flour in it. Cook till it becomes a golden paste. Add in milk. Using a sauce whisk, stir till all the flour bits are done. Simmer till it becomes thick. Set aside.

Pre heat oven at 200C.

Meat- heat oil in a pan. Fry onions and garlic till done. Add ground beef. Cook till almost done. Add salt, pepper, chili and cumin. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and paste and simmer. Add in mushrooms and frozen vegetables. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Start layering. Lasagna sheets at the bottom followed by a layer of meat and bechamel sauce. Top with half of the ricotta cheese. Repeat. For the last layer, top with meat, bechamel sauce and sprinkle chedder and parmesan cheese on top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes till it becomes golden brown.

Serve with a side salad.

if you want a richer version-check out Paprika’s lasagna al forno con melanzane!

On another note.. I did the typing test and scored
89 words

Speedtest

Hmm…

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Whoever invented chocolate is a genius. A good dark choc chunk cookie is traditional yet conventional. Not many people can resist the dark goodness crunch that melt in your mouth as well.

It is not often that I bake dark choc chunk cookies. I guess I usually prefer a lighter tasting cookie rather than a strong one. When the cravings for chocolate hit me however, this cookie helped curb it.

I did this batch of cookies in a rush, hence I can still see some specks of flour on it. *OOPS* I must have missed a spot when the batter was folded in. Nonetheless, they turned out crisp for the first day and slightly chewy on the next.

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookie (makes 60 cookies)

1 cup butter, soft
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup (unsweetened) cocoa powder
2 cups dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven 180C

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix until smooth.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Fold flour mixture into butter mixture until well combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in chocolate chunks.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto lined baking sheets.
Bake for 11 minutes , until set and just firm at the edges. Cookies should still appear moist. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nasi Lemak

Back in Singapore and Malaysia, a good packet of nasi lemak always get my appetite going. The fragrant coconut rice with peanuts, fried anchovies, side dish of spicy squid/fish/chicken wing and killer hot chili sambal makes a wonderful breakfast or lunch.

Much as I enjoy this dish, I restrict myself from having this too often. The high calorie, carbo, fat and cholesterol combination makes me shudder. It doesn’t stop me from eating it once in a while and savor every bite though. In fact, because it’s eaten so rarely, every bite is taken seriously. The feel of the coconut flavors dancing in your mouth with the hot sambal is really too hard to resist.

Obviously my version of nasi lemak is far from the authentic one. As a kid, it was a common sight seeing freshly shredded coconut in markets. Housewives buy those freshly shredded coconut and squeeze the liquid out of it to make coconut milk/cream. This fresh coconut milk/cream is then used to cook the rice together with pandan leaves.

It’s nearly impossible to buy coconuts in Australia (for shredding I mean, drinking coconuts are available in markets). Needless to say shredding them with your bare hands and then spending hours in the kitchen squeezing the life out of those coconuts is impossible (for me at least). The not-as-good but it-will-do version means using a can or packet of coconut milk instead.

Lucky me, I spotted a box of peanuts with fried anchovies in an oriental store. That saves time! Well, it isn’t hard frying anchovies and peanuts but it’s much easier to put your spoon into that box and plating it.

I stirfried the kangkong in garlic and soya. Usually I would fry this with sambal but since we were going to have the spicy squid and hot sambal chili, simple garlic and soya would do.


The squid was easy. A tablespoon of of hot chili and quick toss in the wok and it was done.


oh! and how can we have nasi lemak without chili? Mmmm.. a satisfying meal. =)

We found our photographer for Singapore and Malaysia!

You know the feeling. The feeling that “yes, this is right”. The buzz and excitement that you experience when it’s exactly what you want. Yes, we found our wedding photographer for Singapore/Malaysia.

I admired his photography skills ever since he took Kitson and Irene’s (my aunt) pre wedding photos 5 years ago. AR saw his work on actual day photography, turned to me and said “that’s exactly what we want!”. However, we didn’t want to commit till we meet up with him. After all, his photos may be terrific but if we feel uncomfortable with him, it would be impossible to work with him on the actual day(s).

So when Kelvin wrote on his blog that he will be coming down to Perth, I grabbed that chance to arrange a meeting with him. Kelvin and Beth’s down to earth manner made us feel comfortable straight away. It was a pleasure to meet this couple and their little girl. More so, it was lovely to see a person passionate about his work. Kelvin took time to explain to us how his style evolved over the past few years and his philosophy in photography. Did I mention that he is on a holiday-work trip? Technically, work doesn’t began for him till later this week but he took time out to speak to us. A gesture that we really appreciate.

If you are interested, have a look here and here.

So that’s done. One thing off our list. Thanks Irene for the recommendation. =)

PS-yes, we have done our research. Obviously Kelvin wasn’t the only photographer that we conversed with but even after the process of elimination,pros and cons….the decision was clear. oh! and no, we are not advertising for them. We are just excited and happy that we found the photographer that we want! woohoo!!!

English Onion Soup- Jamie Oliver


Ok, so I was intrigued. What’s the difference between French onion soup and English onion soup? Goggling did not reveal any information. My best guess is that Jamie is British, and since he came up with the recipe it’s only right that it’s called “English Onion Soup”.

The first time I tasted French/English onion soup, I was surprised by how a stinking root vegetable that makes us CRY could taste so good. I’m not a fan of onions eaten raw although I do like it them in stirfrys and hotdogs (bring on the grilled onions!) occasionally. The onion soup, however, is a whole new different ball game together.

The thing about this English Onion soup is that it does require patience-a quality that I seem to lack in my cooking these days. However, it was AR’s birthday and being the “ideal fiancée ” (rolled eyes) that I am, I decided to put in the effort and kick myself off the computer to cook something special for him. (his birthday was about a month ago so you know how backdated this post is!). He requested this soup some months ago but I never got around cooking it. My argument is that-the longer he waits for the soup the more special it is right? LOL. Ok, so I wasn’t totally hardworking either. Besides the onion soup, he had a steak sandwich as well-which was easy and quick.


BUT coming back to the English Onion Soup, I absolutely adore this recipe. The best one that I have ever tried. As usual, I did not manage to follow Jamie Oliver’s full recipe as the stupid leeks were not available again! ARGH! I have no luck with leeks I think ….

I have also omitted the fried sage leaf as stated in his original recipe but I’m sure it will add a nice fragrance to it if it was added. I have used red onions rather than brown which gave the soup a natural sweetness. I used brown onions previously and although they were good they were not as sweet as these ones.

Still, I love the way the bread was soaked in this goodness and topped with full strength (reduced fat- I just have to add that! :P) cheese, it was rich, good and definitely worth it.


English Onion Soup with Chedder– adapted from Jamie At Home (Serves 2)
Knob of butter
olive oil
4 red onions-chopped till you cry (you can also use a variety of onions)
2 tablespoons of garlic
500ml-600ml of beef stock
2 pieces of old Vienna bread
100 grams of cheddar cheese
Worcestershire sauce
sea salt and freshly grind black pepper

Put the butter, olive oil and garlic in a deep pot. Stir and add all the red onions. Season with salt and pepper. Place a lid on the pot. Cook in a low fire for about 40-45 minutes till soft. Check every 10 minutes or so and stir. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUSH THIS STEP! Slowness is the key for the onions to release it’s goodness.

Add stock and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Skim the fat if you are feeling hardworking (which I confess, I did do that…). Meawhile, preheat the grill and toast bread.

Check seasoning of the soup. Then ladle into oven proof bowls. Tear toasted bread and gently dunk it in (so that the top is still expose). Sprinkle cheese over it. Add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce over the cheese Put the bowls in the oven and grill till the cheese melt. Serve with a good steak sandwich! =)

Or Nee or Yam Paste


The transition to Autumn is a little weird this year. One day we are enduring the roasting heat at a 35C and the next day we are looking a cloudy skies and cool wind at 20C!

I admit that during the CNY season, I was homesick. For a moment, I was even contemplating making my grandmother’s famous yam cake. I dropped that idea rather quickly as that would require a whole morning of work. Besides, it’s my grandmother’s recipe so I think it deserves the concentration when I do decide to attempt it.

The other alternative of course is to make something yam related.

I haven’t had yam paste for years. Since I came to Perth actually=which works out to be about nearly 8+ years now? I admit that I wasn’t a big fan of it previously. I was a fan of desserts served cold rather than a warm paste in sunny Singapore! I suppose as one grows up, taste buds change too.

The yam paste that I made was not as smooth as I would like it to be but it was my impatience that was at fault. After all, I whipped this up in under 20 minutes. To give this a decent go, it would probably need 30 minutes with a good masher in place.

I didn’t follow any recipe but went with my gut feeling. I know that traditional recipes would probably use more oil, which I am avoiding. My solution was to use milk instead. Milk gives it the creamy taste without making you feel sick afterwards!

And my memory is failing me. I bought ginkgo nuts for this and I FORGOT to add it!

I spotted Rasa Malaysia’s entry for Sweet Yam Paste afterwards and hers looked so lovely and smooth. You can spot some lumps in mine. Coincidently, we used ground peanuts to decorate the yam paste. LOL.

Yam Paste or Or Nee (serves 4-5)
700 grams of yam chopped in pieces
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of skim milk (or more)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil

ground peanuts/sliced almonds for ganishing

Boil yam till soft. Mash till it is smooth. You may want to add some milk to help. Return to stove and slowly add the oil. Keep stirring till it becomes a smooth paste. If it is still too chunky, add more milk. Continue stirring. Add sugar by the tablespoons until it is to your desired sweetness. Garnish with peanuts.

note: I made this for dessert tonight (the first time I attempted this was 1 month ago) and made some changes. Boil the yam for about 15-20 minutes so it becomes easy to mash. Stirring is the key for a smooth paste. I served this with sliced almonds and it tasted as good as peanuts (if not better).

Ham and Mushroom Quiche with Feta and Avocado Salad


I like having a packet of puff pastry in the freezer. The crispness of the pastry makes everything tastes better. Here is the tricky situation, the quiche dish required 1.5 piece of puff pastry but I have 2 pieces left.

So I have 2 options

Option 1: Just keep patching the pastry on the dish.

Option 2: Use it to make something else.

I chose option 1 since I was in a lazy mode and proceeded to pile puff pastry at the edge of the dish.


The end product was a very thick crust around the edges of the quiche. It tasted good but the thick edge took some of the crispness away.

On hindsight, I should have just rolled some cheese in between the left over pastry and make cheese puffs!

In order to complement the quiche, I decided to make a summery salad. Feta and avocado salad was the choice. The fruitiness of this salad goes well with the crisp eggy quiche. It is amazing how a drizzle of the dressing transform the bowl of vegetables to a summery salad.



Ham and Mushroom Quiche (serves 4-6)
1.5 puff pastry
5 eggs
6 slices of chicken ham
1 cup of chopped mushrooms
1 cup of cheddar cheese
couple of knobs of cream cheese (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup of milk (use cream if you want a really rich version of the quiche)
seasoning

Preheat oven to 200C. Line quiche dish with puff pastry. Blind bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat eggs, milk and seasoning together.

Place sliced ham onto slightly cooled puff pastry case. Sprinkle chopped mushrooms around it. Pour eggs mixture over the ham and mushrooms. Roughly place knobs of cream cheese around the mixture. Bake for about 20-25 minutes till golden brown.


Feta and Avocado Salad
80 grams of feta cheese
150 grams of mixed salad leaves (this has baby spinach, cos lettuce, rocket..etc)
1 avocado
1 nectarine sliced

Assemble salad. Using a spoon, scoop avocado flesh out. Sprinkle feta cheese and nectarine over leaves. Serve with dressing,

Dressing
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoon of mirin
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 tsp of roasted sesame seeds

Mix dressing in a jug. Drizzle over salad just before serving.

Dukkah Crusted Pork with Slow Honey Roasted Vegetables


There are nights when one pot dishes doesn’t cut it. Like on a Friday evening for instance, when I try to wind down after a whole week of battling in front of the computer or in my supervisor’s office. There are exceptions of course. There are days when I don’t even know it’s Friday, till I lift my head up and have a look at the calender. On those days (or is it weeks?), I could count myself lucky if the noodles I stir fry in 10 minutes turn out decent.

Most Friday evenings however, I try to cook something slightly more substantial than other week nights. Think easy, contemporary without making you look like a slave in the kitchen.

Dukkah Crusted Pork with Slow Roasted Honey Vegetables (serves 4)

Slow Roasted Honey Vegetables
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

1 sweet potato roughly chopped (approximately 300 grams)
1 red capsicum roughly chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 Roma tomatoes quartered
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C. Line large baking tray with foil or baking paper.
Combine vegetables, honey and oil together. Make sure that the vegetables are well coated with honey and oil. Adjust amount of honey and oil accordingly to amount of vegetables and own taste. Line vegetables onto the baking tray. Roast for 15 minutes.

Lower heat to 150 degrees and roast for another 45 minutes. Check every 20 minutes or so for done-ness.

Cool for 5 minutes before sprinkling some pepper and sea salt (optional) on it. Serve with Dukkah Crusted Pork

Dukkah Crusted Pork
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

8 Pork Loin cutlets
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
sea salt and freshly grind black pepper
1 cup of Dukkah (chopped roasted pistachio, peanuts, sesame and spices)

Heat grill pan. Meanwhile, marinate pork loin with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle dukkah on to pork loin. Press dukkah on to the loin. Repeat for both sides of the pork.

When the pan is hot, slide each piece of pork loin on to the pan. Cook each side for 3 minutes before turning it over once for another 3 minutes. Repeat till all the cutlets are done. As pork loin is lean meat, I try not to turn the meat over more than once.

Serve together with Slow Roasted Honey Vegetables and a glass of white wine.

I’m submitting this recipe to IGA Fresh Recipes Competition! Wish me Luck!

Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Scrolls

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Hope your day will be filled with surprises and sweet gestures. 🙂

To kick start this day, I thought something sweet will be appropriate.Years and years ago, there was a bakery in Singapore that specializes in baked scrolls. I can’t even remember the name of it. What I did remember was the lovely sweet scent spilling out of the tiny shop in a shopping center near my parents’ apartment. Alas, the bakery closed its door not long after, perhaps reflecting how fickle-minded Asians’ tastebuds were at that time.

When I was learning how to bake, I thought to myself that scrolls were way too hard. ‘Too many steps, too much work, too many ingredients, too fattening, no one to share with me, too sweet’ were just some of my excuses. Yes, I can be a whiner at times.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed this fabulous recipe that Jaden shared with her readers. Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Scroll is a winner. It was easy and a definite crowd pleaser. Do you remember my Hazelnut Nutella Challah? The cinnamon scroll was based on the master dough recipe.


I love the nutty sweet scent coming out of the oven. I squealed in delight when I removed it from the oven and it turned out to be a sweet gem. In total, the master dough yielded 1 hazelnut nutella challah and 2 batches of Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Scroll. I brought the 2nd batch to a friend’s place and I received positive feedback throughout the evening. It was certainly a big boost to my self-esteem. LOL.

I’m not going to be posting the recipe since Jaden did lovely step by step instructions. However, I did make a few changes and that includes increasing the amount of pecan nuts and reducing the sugar a wee bit.


I can’t help being trigger happy. Look at how photogenic these buns are!

And before I go, it’s fitting to thank Little Corner for giving me this Forever Friends Award. Valentine’s Day is a day to spread the word that you care for someone

So here you go friends,
I’m passing on this award to
Singairishgirl
Inspiredmumof2
Eat first Think Later
Ruth
Ben
Ivy
Irene
Wandering Chopsticks
Tigerfish
Evan
Jaden
Big Boys Oven

Have a sweet Valentine’s Day everyone!