Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fiesta Malaysia 2012


Hey guys!

Just wanted to let you know about this fantastic event that's happening in Melbourne this weekend. Now to be honest, I didn't think I would actually find myself promoting an upcoming event specifically here on this blog, just cause it didn't seem like it was my thang. HOWEVER, this is actually an initiative that I fully support so I'm making an exception.

One of the reasons why I LOVE Food is how it brings people together from all different backgrounds. For example, seeing caucasians (or any person of different ethnicity) genuinely enjoying Dim Sum (or Yum Cha) at a Chinese restaurant never fails to bring a smile to my face. To me, serving one's food/cuisine to another is already a form of sharing one's culture to that person. Conversely, having that person enjoy the food that's completely foreign to them is already their way of accepting the culture and origins of the food, in one way or another. This exchange really is quite a beautiful, if you think about it. Which is why I'm completely behind the Vision of this event.

Fiesta Malaysia 2012 is a three-day food carnival held at Argyle Square (just beside Lygon Street) and their aim is to promote Malaysia's diverse, multi-racial culture and history here in Melbourne. It's going to be a fun-filled event because it will feature so many items such as stage performances, eating competitions, stand-up comedy, and many more. But the thing I'm MOST looking forward to is tasting all the Penang Hawker food stalls prepared by vendors that have been flown ALL THE WAY from Penang just for this event!! How insane is that?! WEE-HEEE~~~~

On top of that, I have been graciously invited to be part of a panel with some AMAZING Melbourne food bloggers that will be discussing
our thoughts/knowledge on different ASEAN cuisines (each represented by a blogger of that heritage). Together with Adrian (of Food Rehab), Bryan (of Let's Get Fat Together), Anh (of A Food Lover' Journey) and Kat (of Spatula, Spoon and Saturday), I really hope that you can join us for this fun, Food conversation that we'll be having! We will be on from 2:00-2:30pm on Sunday =)

Organised by the Malaysian Student's Council of Australia, Victoria (MASCA Victoria) and sponsored by Tourism Malaysia, City of Melbourne and many more, this is one event that I'm really looking forward to this weekend. With an attendance of over 5,000 people a day last year, I'm sure that this year's event will be even bigger and better.

So, if you're not doing anything, I do hope that you'll stop by and say hello! Would love to meet and have a conversation with you guys. Have a good one, everybody! =)


Cheers,
Winston.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Leche Flan Cake Recipe


My Leche Flan Cake drizzled in Mango Puree instead of Caramel. Works too!


So last week, we were planning a surprise birthday party for my friend Jeff and I thought I should bring a cake for the event. I mean, Jeff is one of the most dedicated and gifted people I know and we've all been blessed by his cooking and generosity in one way of another, so this was just my small way of saying, "Thanks for everything".

Then, I thought of the traditional Filipino Dessert: Leche Flan Cake, something I've been meaning to make for almost a year! It's so fascinating because at the bottom, you have your good old butter cake. But at the top, you get a layer of Creme Caramel, aka Flan. I mean, who doesn't love Flan?! This is probably the first time I've ever made something Filipino and I LOVE trying to cook different cuisines.

ALSO, it was nice to introduce a different kind of layering for cakes than what most of us are used to, so I thought it was pretty fitting for this month's Sweet Adventures Blog Hop (SABH), where the theme is: Layers =)


See the layers? This was Cake No. 1

Only thing is, it turned out to be quite a disaster the first time I made it. Though it tasted good, the custard came out TOO firm and overly sweet. The cake base was worse because it was so stiff, dry and dense that it was hard to swallow.

From what I hear, this cake is meant to be really, really moist and soft, just a delight to eat. Feeling incredibly unsatisfied but determined to get it right, I decided to skip class and bake this cake again on the day of the party ;p

Then I realised where I went wrong:

1) Forgot to use the Coke instead of Milk
- When I made it again with coke, cake turned out much more aerated and light from the gas in the coke. Plus, you couldn't really taste the coke anyway and the cake came out pretty delicious

2) Didn't add enough water in the Bain Marie/water bath
- First time I only had up to two centimeters but it didn't create enough steam for the cake and custard. Second time, I filled it up to more than half the bundt pan and the textures came out perfect... YES!

3) Temperature too high
- I'm no baking expert, but even I know that 175degC was a bit high for baking custards. I shouldn't have followed the original recipe because when I baked it again at 160degC, the consistency was just right

4) Too much condensed milk
- Decreased the amount of condense milk and used more evaporated milk than the original recipe called for. SO much better...

Anyway, I've made ammendments to some crucial aspects of the original recipe. The final cake was really delicious (especially the flan) and well received at the party. I think most people liked the slightly unconventional idea. Just glad I finally got everything right. Oh, and I did actually add Mango Puree to the flan mix but no matter how much I added, the taste didn't change much so I scrapped it.

Best part about this cake is how simple it is to bake. For all you bakers out there looking for something new to try, I suggest you give this a go. It's as fun to bake as it is to eat. And the layers really is quite purrty too =)

________________________________


Leche Flan Cake
(adapted from this recipe by Jules Food)

Ingredients:

Cake:1
box butter/yellow cake mix (and ingredients to prepare as directed on box)
1 can of Coke or Pepsi

Flan: 300g sweetened condensed milk
1 can (375ml) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Topping:Caramel ice cream topping or Homemade Mango Puree




Method:
Preheat oven to 160degC. Spray a bundt pan generously with cooking oil. Follow instructions to make the cake, but use the can of Coke instead of milk. Pour cake mix into bundt pan and set aside.



Put the flan ingredients in a blender and mix well. Pour the flan mix gently down one side of the pan. The flan will go to the bottom of the cake mix so when you tip it over, the flan layer will be at the top.

Place bundt pan in a large roasting tray and pour boiling water into tray until it fills slightly above half of the bundt pan.
Bake in oven for 50 minutes. The cake will stay more moist than most cakes and you will see it separate a bit from the pan when it's done, as shown below.




Let it cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. Turn the bundt pan over and let it sit while warming to room temperature. Finally, drizzle topping of choice and ENJOY! =D

*** Cooking Tips:1) Preheat oven well (mine takes about 35min to reach the temperature)
2)
Use boiling water in the bain marie. Make sure you have enough if your tray is big
3) Use the Coke instead of water
4) If possible, use an oven thermometer for better accuracy




So happy that everything turned out the way I'd hoped! Persistence DOES pay off in the kitchen =)




For information on how to enter a blog hop, click: here


Friday, March 16, 2012

Mango Pudding Sorbet Recipe


Love the Japanese bowls my cousins got me for Christmas!

HEY GUYS!

Soooooo terribly sorry for the blogging hiatus the past two weeks!! I've been so uneasy too because I REALLY wanted to blog so bad but I can't. You see, my laptop for some reason decided to die all of a sudden last week so I haven't been able to use it since. Anyway, blogging has been incredibly inconvenient since I don't actually have a laptop with all the softwares to use.

Just to publish this post, my good friend, Ian, downloaded Adobe Lightroom for me on his laptop and then lent me his laptop for an entire day. JUST TO BLOG. What a great friend. And I guess I could only repay him the only way I knew how, which was to cook him the best damn bowl of instant noodles I possibly can, seriously... LOL.


Interesting but stunning colours, no?

ANYHOO, I got a whole box of Mangoes last week from Victoria Market for $15. It was exciting. I was really convinced to buy a box for the first time because almost every mango in there was perfect. Barely any blemishes, bruises and that sort of thing. Was surprised it was even on special. Also the first time I had the Whitebridge Mangoes,which seems to be the only type of mango still in season.

As soon as I got home, I decided to puree all the mangoes and then only decide what to do with it later. I've made Lassi and Pudding with mangoes sooooooo many times in the past and decided it was enough. So, I asked my friends on Twitter and Facebook what their favourite Mango recipes were. Lots of interesting suggestions came up, including Mango Martini, Mango Pudding Ice-Cream, Mango and Prawn Fritters, and so on...


Ohhhh yes, please.

In the end, I decided to go with Shez (of One Bite More)'s suggestion to try her Mango Pudding Ice-Cream, because I liked the idea of making something I could freeze for later. BUT, I didn't have an ice-cream maker, so sorbet it is. Also, I really like the flavours of Mango Pudding (which is basically just good Mango Puree + Evaporated Milk) and thought it'd be interesting to have it this way. Wanted to add eggs into the recipe (so it tasted more like pudding) but couldn't be bothered because I want this recipe to be as simple as possible.

And I really liked how the flavours and texture turned out. At first, it felt like microshards of ice, (just as sorbet normally does), before it became the thick, smooth and creamy consistency of an ice-cream. I was quite intrigued and enjoyed it a lot. It seems like my friends who's tried it really liked it too, so I'm happy. Also, it just felt good to eat it because you never everything was totally homemade.

So, here you go. Uber simple, straight forward Mango Pudding Sorbet Recipe.

I've now gotta rush to my friend Grace's 21st Birthday. It's a costume party and everyone's gotta dress as something that starts with "G", and guess what I've decided to go as?
.
.
.
.
.
.
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GRAPH PAPER. Oh well, I tried and hope she still found it amusing ;p

__________________________________


Mango Pudding Sorbet Recipe
(makes 2 litres)

Ingredients:

3.5 cups of Homemade Mango Puree (see recipe below)
1 can (375g) Evaporated Milk

Method:

Mix ingredients together in a blender of electric mixer. Once combined, pour into baking tray and freeze for about 4 hours. Once stiff, remove from freezer and scrape entire tray with a fork until loosened (good arm workout). Pop it back in the freezer.

You can repeat these a few times but I don't find it necessary with this recipe because it was frozen completely when I scraped it so shards came out fine enough.

To serve, let it thaw for about 30min and garnish with diced strawberries.


Hard work but totally worth it

_________________________________


Homemade Mango Puree Recipe

Ingredients:

Mangoes only (no sugar, nothing. 100% pure is best)

Method:

Place mangoes in a pot and boil with high heat until thick and most water has evaporated. Remember to stir occasionally. Place mangoes in a blender and pulse till smooth. If you like, you can strain to remove fibers. Store in fridge for up to 4 days.



MMMMmmmmMMMMmmmm....

Friday, March 2, 2012

Matsumoto, Brunswick


That's the same "Sushi Master" that's seen on their website

Ahhh, Matsumoto... It's one of those nights where you know you're gonna have a good time even before it began. I remember that my buddy, K, had literally just arrived from the airport after visiting his family in Perth for over a week. And sometimes, not seeing your good friends for more than a week can seem pretty long in "friends time" ;p Together with A and S, a catch up was in order. As Matsumoto had been on our (ever growing) list of places to try for a while, it was pretty much a no brainer for where to go.


Well lit but not bright with nice high ceilings, ambience was just nice and casual for me. Good for catchups


Deluxe Sashimi -- $20
(of Hokkaido Scallops, Surf Clams, Yellow Fin Tuna, Salmon Belly, Kingfish Belly, Oysters)

Even though they were more famous for their Sashimi Boats more than anything else, we decided to give it a pass this time around. Everything was fresh and quite lovely, except for the scallops. You could sort of tell they had been frozen for a while, hmmm...


Beef Tataki -- $10

I've always been a huge fan of Steak Tartare, so I was happy my friends was up to try this Japanese version. I consider this the counterpart of the European classic because it was mostly raw than it was seared on the outside (when it should be as the name suggests).

Still, quite delicious and tender when paired with the dressing (that some found slightly salty but I thought was okay) and the runny egg yolk.



Crispy Soft Shelled Crabs -- $10

As with most soft shelled crab dishes, eating it will only leave you wanting more. I enjoyed this, especially because of the drizzled spicy mayo.


Nasu Dengaku -- $8
(Grilled eggplants with Miso paste)

Was okay. Thought the miso was a bit too sweet and wished the eggplant had been more charred and tender.


California Roll -- $8

Erm... Nothing I particularly liked (or disliked) about this dish. It is what it is, I guess.


Wafu Steak -- $24
(Grain fed beef eye fillet in homemade fruity Wafu sauce with vegetables on a hot plate)

I... Thought the sauce was too sweet and "gloopy" and really overshadowed the beef.


Tatsuta Age -- $17
(Deep fried marinated chicken with garlic and ginger served with salad)

I have yet to clarify the difference (if there is even any, at all) between Tatsuta Age and the usual Chicken Karaage. Anyway, both are marinated fried chickens so let's leave it at that. Though it was crispy, it wasn't as juicy as I'd hoped. Also, there wasn't as much batter as what I'm used to as well.


Yaki Meshi -- $9
(Vegetarian Teppanyaki Fried Rice)

Really plain... Still, no one does Fried Rice better than the Chinese with their roaring burners/stoves.



Tempura Banana -- $8

YES!! Batter was light, crisp, golden and perfect. The flesh was sweet on its own and soft but still held its shape. It really was too delicious to eat (or share lol), especially with the Vanilla ice cream. Simple, but GOOD. My ideal dessert.

I also tried asking where they got their bananas from because it's the first time I had one that was so small in Australia. The Japanese waittress didn't really understand my question (or English) so never mind lol.

______________________


Overall, even though the food could be better in certain areas, I still really enjoyed eating at Matsumoto for a number of reasons:

1. CHEAP
(Very, very affordable and reasonably priced. No guilt in ordering a lot)
2. Highly EXTENSIVE menu
(Which is quite rare these days but quite important to me! I like having a wiiiide selection to choose from when eating Jap)
3. Cool, CASUAL environment
(Really ideal for simple dinners and catch ups)

Besides that, I'm really keen to come back for their Sashimi Boats, cause that would be awesome.

Finally, just wanted to say thanks to my dear friends for such a lovely evening. Also, to K for his generosity for shouting all of us dinner that night. It was totally unexpected but SO, very nice and gracious of you. Thank you!!! Now, let's get the gang together to get crackin' on that list so we can go on more foodie adventures, woo-hoo! =D

Matsumoto on Urbanspoon


Oh, oh and P.S.: I've also finally written an "About Me" page so don't forget to check that out ;p