Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday, Middle Fish! + New Menu Launch

I was recently invited to Thailand Middle Fish to celebrate their 3rd birthday and also a new menu launch. Woohoo!!

Yeah, I wish! I haven't flown to Thailand for a party (although that sounds like a fab idea) but the food that Middle Fish offers, is as authentic as it can get in Melbourne.

There were heaps of food, and even a cooking demonstration by Pla, who owns and runs Middle Fish, with her partner, David - both of whom were incredibly friendly.

Pla also got us all cracked up in laughter during the cooking class - she's very cute and has a great sense of humour, so much so that Ms I-Hua wanted to take her home. Crazy I know, but she's really, really nice and sincere!

Back to the food and drinks... Many started their day with a coffee, but The Boyfriend and I both had a Thai milk tea each. This is a must for us at every Thai restaurant. Oh, it was so refreshingly good - just what we needed that arvo when we had a taste of summer.

I was in awe to see the main table so beautifully set up with these Thai noodles in paper boats. Middle Fish served two different kind of Southern Thai curries to go with the noodles.

This is the Kang Tai Pla, well known for its unique flavour, but heck it was spicy. Spicy, but good and authentic. "It's like my mum (or was it grandmother's?) cooking," said Thai-born blogger, Katspat. That says a lot coming from a Thai, don't you reckon? ;)

Pla mentioned that she uses the curry paste that her family produces in their hometown in Thailand for all her recipes. She goes as far as to import these curry paste in to Melbourne to ensure the authenticity of the dishes served in Middle Fish.

If you love Thai fish cakes (like I do), then I highly recommend these mini fish cake burgers. A slight hint of spiciness, but the fish cakes patty were juicy, tasty and packed with flavours.

These tiger prawn springrolls were also really good, but I surprisingly preferred the mushroom springrolls better which I ironically do not have a picture of.

But if I had to choose only one dish as the highlight of the day, it'd be these amazing sa la pao! I've never had any pao's quite like these before. I might or might not have stolen that one missing piece. :P

I particularly enjoyed the pork kau kling (spicy southern thai dry curry) and chicken grapao pow pow (stir fried green curry with Thai basil) fillings. The buns were soft, and the fillings so tasty.

I'm a little sad I didn't get to try the sweet potato one, but I'm heading back for sure for more of these sa la pao's!

And then there was this beautiful chocolate & almond tea, to wash it all down before I moved on to the desserts.

How beautiful are these Thai desserts? I've never had them before, but they're basically made from egg yolk in sugar syrup.

They're called Tong Yib (golden flower) and Tong Yod (golden balls) - the name of these desserts are derived from the word "thong" which means gold in Thai.

They're known as "lucky Thai desserts" as the Thai's believe that gold which symbolizes fame and wealth, will bring good luck to them. How interesting!

And in case you were wondering, pla means fish in Thai, and Pla is the middle child in her family, hence the name - Middle Fish.

And while I'm at it, this is Middle Fish's special version of Luk Choop, a popular Thai dessert. Pla is so creative!

Made from mungbean, coconut milk and sugar, Luk Choop usually come in the form of fruits. Super cute, don't you reckon? I've learnt so much about Thai food in that few hours!

Pla offered for us to sit down and have a meal if we liked, and although I was quite full, I was also feeling very greedy.

So whilst many left to go home, The Boyfriend and I, stayed behind with Kat, I-hua and Aaron for brunch.

I'm so so glad we stayed though! I finally tried the Thai coffee with condensed milk, and loved it!!

This is after stirring the filtered coffee with the condensed milk. The coffee was rather strong, but the sweetness of the condensed milk was a great balance. Perfect combination!

I tried the Kao Tom Moo Kob - rice soup with crispy pork belly and a poached egg in chicken broth, Oh, the broth was SO SO SO GOOD and hearty. I drank it all!

The Boyfriend, on the other hand, had the soft shell crab burger. He was so full from all the eating at the event earlier, so he ate half his burger, then walloped the remaining crispy soft shell crab by its own and gave me a thumbs up.

We walked home, not only with well-fed tummies, but also with a goodie bag and recipe cards! I was so pleased we got to take home some curry paste that Pla so kindly shared with us.

Pla believes in "simple and tasty" recipes - all you need is a good paste. Since it's an easy recipe to follow, I think I'll get The Boyfriend to do it. He's seen Pla demonstrate the recipe step by step, and we've got the recipe card on hand too... I'll let you guys know how he fare. ;)

Middle Fish on Urbanspoon
Overall, a really fun event! Everything we had, food and drinks alike, were all fantastic. A big THANK YOU to Zilla & Brook for the invite, and Middle Fish for having us. I can't wait to head back for more sa la pao's and to try more items off their new menu. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Easy Butter Buns

How many of you here love bread and breadmaking?

I don't know about you, but bread baking gives me this indescribable satisfaction. I find immense "syok-ness" (satisfaction) punching down my dough after its first round of proofing.

I then get all excited and happy to see my bread well-proofed and ready to be popped into the oven, but even more so when it comes fresh out of the oven smelling so, so good!

But my ultimate weakness is this - soft and fluffy bread, with rich fragrance and buttery flavour. I am drooling just looking at these pictures! Om nom nommmm...

I usually use the tangzhong method for bread making as it never fails me. I was a little skeptical when I stumbled across this easy butter buns recipe on Christine's Recipes one Sunday afternoon, but decided to give it a go anyways since I have all the ingredients in my pantry.

I'm extremely glad that I did, because this recipe turned out beautifully, with very little effort. I will definitely be making this again, and highly recommend it for bread-lovers.


Easy Butter Buns
Recipe by Christine's Recipes

Ingredients
  • 250g bread flour
  • 25g cake flour
  • 5g instant dry yeast
  • 15g milk powder
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100ml water, about 36°C
  • 80ml milk, about 36°C
  • 40g butter, softened at room temperature
  • whisked egg, for egg wash (I replaced with milk wash)

Method
  1. Prepare and grease an 8-inch round baking tin.
  2. Mix all ingredients (except butter) in a bread maker or knead by hand. When all the ingredients come together, knead in butter until the dough passes the thin membrane test.
  3. Roll it into a ball. Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let it proof until dough doubled in size, which takes about an hour.
  4. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Knead each into a round, ball shape. Place them evenly in a lightly greased baking tin (shown in picture below). Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof until doubled in size, which takes approximately 1 to 1½ hours.
  5. About 5 to 10 minutes towards the end of proofing time, preheat oven to 170°C. Egg wash the dough portions. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the buns from the oven and let it stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them out from the tin onto a wire rack, and they're ready to be served.
All shaped into cute, round balls, then left alone to proof. And this is what happened an hour later...

Wham! They've doubled in size, and almost reaching the rim. They've proofed well and are ready to be baked!

And voila! Here they are, beautiful buns, fresh out of the oven, smelling like a million dollars! ;)

Serve warm with butter if you like, or pair them with eggs and ham for breakfast. I had mine plain, with a hot cuppa tea. :)

The leftovers can be kept in an air-tight plastic bag or container, at room temperature.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Home-cooked Japanese Curry Udon & Negi Miso Chicken

Last weekend, I woke up craving sushi. Good sushi, to be precise. I knew instantly that my best bet would be Suzuran, which is just around the corner from The Boyfriend's.


I love that they make their sushi fresh to order, yum! I've had Suzuran's sushi a few times already now and they were always fresh and delicious. See below store details, if you're interested:

Suzuran on Urbanspoon
I also love that I got to do a quick run of Japanese groceries whilst I was there, waiting for the chef to prepare my sushi, which usually takes about 10 minutes or so.

I got heaps of stuff (which also included my first box of miso paste) and The Boyfriend was like "I thought you were only getting sushi?" when I returned to the car with a few bags. Opps! :P

I was very excited because I've been wanting to learn to cook Japanese food for a while now. *squeeeee!*


Japanese Curry Udon
Recipe adapted from Wen's Delight & modified by The Bakeanista

Ingredients:
  • 2 packet of udon noodles 
  • Half a leek (green parts only), thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 litre dashi stock (I used kombu)
  • 120g S&B Golden Curry roux 
  • Spring onion to garnish

Method:
  1. Boil enough water in a sauce pan to blanch the udon. Once soft and cooked, drain and set noodles aside in two separate bowls.
  2. In another pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil to saute leek and carrot on medium heat for approximately 3-5 minutes until wilted.
  3. Add dashi stock to boil, and let simmer until carrot is soft or reaches the texture you desire.
  4. Add in the curry roux, one tiny square at a time. I used 1 packet of 120g as I like my broth and curry thick so adjust accordingly.
  5. Taste and season accordingly with salt or chilli powder, if you like. Mine was just right.
  6. Serve curry broth over udon, then garnish with chopped spring onion. And tadah, you're done!!
It took me less than 20 minutes to prepare the curry udon. It is one of those dishes with a simple recipe yet taste so hearty and comforting.

The noodles were delicious on its own, but if you like, you could serve the udon with a side dish, like I did with the negi miso chicken.

The chicken was absolutely beautiful. I left it to cook a little longer as I wanted a charred effect, and boy oh boy, it was so unbelievably tasty! The Boyfriend gave me two thumbs up. ;)

I used this negi miso chicken recipe by one of my favourite Japanese recipe blogs - Just One Cookbook.

I have been following Nami's blog for a while now and have loved reading her recipes. They always look so enticing! *drools*

But what's best is that her recipes are very easy to follow. It is particularly great for beginners and amateurs as Nami shares step-by-step videos and pictures, along with clear instructions.

So yes, if you love Japanese food, but haven't already heard of Just One Cookbook, I urge that you do visit Nami's blog. ;)

As for me, I can't wait to cook the negi miso chicken again! It'll be great either with salad or Japanese rice, or even paired with soba. It was just absolutely divine, you really gotta try!

The Boyfriend and I both had a great meal and I am definitely a little more confident with attempting other Japanese recipes.

I hope if you too, have been wanting to try Japanese cooking, that you do give it a try. Good luck and happy cooking! :)
Click on 'OLDER POSTS' for more! :)