Monday, October 21, 2013

Attica, Melbourne, and a chef who walks the talk

Deep-fried mussels
I've been procrastinating about this post about Attica, because there is so much to say, and when that happens, I end up like a clumsy teenage nerd on her first date and I ramble and fail to say what I really want to say. This blog post is not going to be anywhere as lyrical as the meal.

The restaurant is in Ripponlea, an inconspicuous suburb in the south, on what is essentially the suburb's high street, amidst pharmacies, second-hand bookshops and takeaway eateries - basically, it's not where you'd expect to find one of Australia's best restaurants, which is refreshing.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ronin, Hong Kong, and the search for Wow

I love eating out (duh), and just like anything you choose to immerse yourself in, you quickly find yourself in search of "wow" moments. To me, achieving a state of "wow" on the palate is seriously not dissimilar to an orgasm, however cliched that sounds (ok, very). It makes you ecstatic. You come out of the meal fists pumping and gasping for breath because it was, quite literally, taken away.

Anyway, it's a big deal when I am wowed. Lately, I've been very lucky - just in the past month, I've scored 3 wows - big personal record.

One of these was at Ronin. I've been here three times now, but only two for a proper meal. If you don't know that it's the new sister restaurant of Yardbird, you've probably been living under a rock, but it's okay, there's nothing wrong with rocks, especially with whisky.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Banana Matcha Cake - One-pot baking

Banana matcha cupcakes, or tea cakes, I suppose, as there isn't any icing
Two things happened recently.

One, I came home to a shattered glass bottle and half-fermented ginger beer in my cupboard (thanks to G's experiment), and at the back of the cupboard, found a long-forgotten bag of different teas, one of which was matcha (green tea) powder. Two, I got a giant bunch of very ripe organic bananas from a farmer for free (it was the end of the day at the Markets).

Matcha and frozen bananas
I went online to see if I could freeze bananas (yes I could!) and found that the best way to freeze them was to peel, then freeze them whole. (Apparently freezing them in their peels makes them black, but still edible, although it means you always need to defrost them a little and peel them before you can use them). And then I went online again to see what I could do with bananas.

After a couple of days of banana smoothies (awesome, because since the bananas are frozen, you don't need to add ice, but it's a pretty heavy breakfast) I decided to bake with them and found a recipe for matcha banana cake - perfect.

If you're lazy and hate washing up, you could potentially make this in one saucepan. If you do, make sure your saucepan is a little bigger so that the batter won't overflow.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Retail dreams - Top 5 Artisans & Food Retailers in Hong Kong

Moving Coffee / CENG [photo by Edmond Keung of Moving Coffee]
Recently in my guest blog for HK Tatler Dining, I talked about 5 top food artisans (I cheated and added 1 retailer) in celebration of Island East Markets' first birthday. In case you're thinking that I was mean and chose ones exclusive to IEM, I didn't - these all have other outlets, either brick and mortar, online or other markets around Hong Kong. If you're into things that are truly unique, independent, and are backed by a real story and real people, I recommend that you check them out. I've posted direct links to their businesses below.

The Conservancy Association
Chopsticks (Connoisseur Groceries)
Sour Times Dairy Company

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A date with Green Monday - vegetarian recipe competition

Green Monday is Hong Kong's take on Meatless Monday, working with restaurants and school canteens around town to make access to vegetarian meals easier (and healthier). It's based on the idea that going meatless, even part-time, reduces carbon emissions significantly, and is also better for our health. Raising animals for food uses a lot of resources - resources that are finite that we can't afford to deplete.

Until October 20, 2013, you're invited to submit your best vegetarian recipe to Green Monday for their Green Mondate competition. (It's all in Chinese, unfortunately, so ask a friend to help if need be!) I'm among the judging panel that will pick six winners to cook for actress Annie Liu Xin-you (劉心悠), pictured above. (You know how in high school the dorky ugly chicks are gatekeepers for their cute friends? Well, I'm the dorky chick and Annie is, like, totally my bestie). Join us and read more about it here.