Archive for January 2013

Jamie's Italian

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Last Wednesday I went to Jamie's for dinner with Sasha and Amie. We got there at 5.45 and only had to wait ten minutes for a table! I thought that the hype must have died down, because I remember being told there was an hour or more when I arrived at 6 once. But at the end of our ten minutes, the line was snaking down Pitt Street, so, nope, the hype is still there. So get in early :p

We were ushered to a really cute little booth right opposite the kitchen, complete with a vintage, tarnished mirror, leather wraparound seats and a dangly chandelier. Luca took our orders straightaway and assured us that our drink (Wirra Wirra Mrs Wrigley Moscato - named after a neighbouring winery's cat! Cute) was on its way.

Complimentary House breads.

We ordered the crispy squid with garlicky mayo and lemon for the table ($12). It was good! Crisp and crunchy on the outside with the perfect amount of salt and pepper, sprinkled with chili flakes. Yum.

Sasha enjoyed this. She recently discovered that she likes calamari (although once she asked if it was calamari or squid that she likes), but was still a bit freaked out by the tentacles, or "little feet" as we called them. The discussion then progressed to chicken feet, like you get at yum cha - S and A said definitely not. I love it.

I decided to be adventurous and not order my usual (the prawn linguine, which I've had every single time I've been to Jamie's - sue me, it's so good). Instead I decided to get the wild rabbit tagliolini with slow cooked McLeay Valley rabbit ragu with garlic and herbs, mascarpone and Amalfi lemon. I got the entree size ($12).  The rabbit was really good, and different to other rabbit dishes I've tried. There were only very small bits of the meat, which had broken down in the cooking process, so the sauce was intensely flavoured with the rabbit, garlic and lots of herbs. You'd get tiny morsels of meat in every mouthful. Think pulled pork. Mmm.

Humble green salad $6. Lettuce with lemon, chili and buttermilk dressing. Divine.

Amie had the prawn linguine and really loved it ($16 for entree size). I think it's definitely the home made pasta, because it has a slightly chewy texture that you can't get with dried pasta. And the prawns tossed in chilli, garlic, and tomatoes, with rocket leaves, fennel, and tiny curls of Parmesan....

Sash had the Veal Saltimbocca ($27.50)- wafer thin veal pounded with sage and prosciutto flash grilled with spicy tomato, chili and basil salsa.

She was upset because Amie and I were both getting pasta and she felt like she was eating a lot, but the veal was nice and thin, and the help of rocket made it feel healthy, so that was okay. She said the veal was so easy to cut up and eat, and the prosciutto was delicious, but would have liked potatoes or something other than just rocket and cherry tomatoes. (I forgot that she doesn't like tomatoes so I got to have them).

One day, I'm going to blog about the things Sasha doesn't like eating accompanied by delicious recipes using them to entice her into eating them.

In conclusion, I love eating at Jamie Oliver's even if it may not be owned by him (we are unsure). I would eat the prawn linguine every single day of my life. Except now I've discovered the rabbit! And also we can't go back too soon for secret reasons. :(

xx gee

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Redecorating + The Beatles

Monday, 21 January 2013

I'm in the middle of redecorating my room because I got a new bed! It's much bigger than my old bed, which was the Ikea Meldal one - with the bars and the hearts, and was a single. So amidst the chaos I put up this Beatles painting I did a few years ago that I'd forgotten about.

We also had a nice game of Scrabble today when I found my mini travel Scrabble. I think I got it for Christmas when I was 8. We paused the game (easy, because it's magnetic and your tiles just slide back in on the tile rack) because Milo started beating me by 3 points we had more packing to do.

Made a fabulous chicken pho for dinner, but it was so good that I forgot to take photos. If when I recreate it, I will definitely share.

Sorry for the iphone photos!

xx gee


Strawberry Balsamic Sponge Microwave Mug Cake

Friday, 18 January 2013

Kind of a mouthful, but I didn't know what else to call this.

Ever have one of those days when you just want a little treat but can't be bothered to get put the beaters, and then you decide you could whisk by hand, but then realise that you'd have to turn on the oven anyway, and what if its too hot, or you just want the treat right now? Welcome to my life.

I know there are lots of microwave mug or even microwave ice cream cone cakes put there. But this has a little extra, a little somethin' - somethin' else. It is light as air and so fluffy, but so rich and moist; it's fruity but not too sweet. And best of all, it takes two minutes in the microwave, so you can make it right before you settle down to watch whatever romantic comedy you're secretly about to watch tonight, or when you're right at the end of your lunch break at work, or when you're with a group of friends and you just want some treats. I love treats.

Some people are a little weirded out by the balsamic vinegar in this - e.g. my best friend said "we" when I told her. I reminded her that people do balsamic icing all the time, and Adriano Zumbo even makes balsamic strawberry macarons! (I may have lied) Anyway after that she grudgingly agreed that she should be more open to new flavours, but she hasn't tried this yet. Let me know if you do (:

But anyway, the balsamic just adds a tiny bit of tanginess to the sweetness of the cake, and it goes really well with the strawberries. And I just saw a recipe online for ice cream drizzled with balsamic vinegar. (Seriously that's all it is - here)

Enough rambling now, on to the treats!

Makes 3 mugs
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsps sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 6 tbsp self raising flour
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Mix egg, oil, milk, and vinegar together.
Add in sugar and strawberries then fold in the flour.
Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour into mugs.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Serve with ice cream.

How easy was that?
Look how airy the insides are!
Delicious (:

xx gee


Pork and Chive Dumplings

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dumplings are amazing. Little rounds of pastry encasing delicious fillings. Sometimes the pastry even manages to hide warm broth that oozes out when you gently prod the delicate casing with your chopstick. SO. GOOD.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet figured out how to seal in the liquid, so my dumplings don't release clear, tasty liquid when stabbed. But they are still delicious. And one day, when I do figure it out, I'll be sure to let you know.

We had dumplings the other night, and I set Milo and Laura to work folding thousands and thousands of dumplings while I fried up this batch.

You can put whatever you want in dumplings. Minced meat, shredded chicken, prawns, scallops, vegetables (cabbage, chive, spring onions, are normal but you could put anything in it, really - corn, broccoli, spinach. Eggplant. Anything you have), even leftover Bolognese or burrito mince- it will be good. I was originally going to make pork and prawn dumplings with diced water chestnuts (my favourite) but then I noticed my chives growing so I decided to use them instead. This recipe uses garlic chives, which is what I have in my garden, but you can use regular chives. Just be warned that your hands and fingers might smell chivey a few days later, like mine do.

Pork and Chive Dumplings
Makes about 100

- 500 g pork mince
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped (or pressed with a garlic press)
- 1 1/2 cups chives, finely chopped
- 3 spring onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp Shao Xing cooking wine or sherry
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- salt and pepper
- 4 packets of gow gee pastry (the round ones, although you can certainly use the square wonton
pastry if you like)

Not all ingredients are pictured, because I always leave things out. Sorry ):

In a large bowl, combine the meat, onions, shallots, chives, spring onions, garlic and sesame seeds. In a small bowl, mix the sauces, sesame oil and Shao Xing. Stir in the cornflour until dissolved. Pour the seasoning into the mince and stir well. Season with salt and pepper - I use powdered pepper and also fresh ground pepper because I like it to be peppery throughout with tiny chunks of ground pepper. Usually I'd use white pepper that comes in paper packets, but we didn't have any at home. I also use table salt (or demon salt as we call it) instead of sea salt. I don't know why. But I remember learning to make it as a child, and being taught to use this salt, and not the fancy pink salt flakes or sea salt flakes. So I've always done that.

Get a little plate ready and a little bowl of water, and a big plate for your dumplings.

Put one pastry on a plate (or in your palm) and use a small spoon to dollop a small round of filling into the middle. If you can be bothered, you can make quenelles using two spoons, but I didn't bother because it doesn't matter much.

Dip your finger in water and paint a half circle. This is to seal the pastry so your filling doesn't fall off when you cook it. You can also use
an egg wash, but water works just fine.

Now the tricky part - folding it shut. I couldn't take any photos doing this that showed the process, but you can look at this tutorial here (start at 2:26). Basically, you fold the circle in half, and then pinch the top piece until it fits onto the bottom piece. Press them together and seal, and flatten the bottom so it can stand up on its own. There's your dumpling.

Repeat with the rest of the wrappers until the filling is all gone.

Heat up some oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot (I test by sticking in a wooden chopstick, and if tiny bubbles appear, the oil is hot enough), put in your dumplings.

Meanwhile, put your kettle on to boil with 2 cups of water. Turn the dumplings every few minutes. You want them a nice golden brown.

When all three sides are golden brown, pour in a tiny bit of water so and let that boil. When the water has been absorbed, the dumpling is ready (: you can tell when the pastry is translucent and not doughy.

Alternatively, you can deep fry, boil, or steam the dumplings. But pan fried like this is my favorite way.

Make your dipping sauce. I make mine with 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 cup hot water, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp chilli oil, 1 tbsp sesame seeds, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp vinegar and 2 tsp sugar. I also had some pickled carrot, miso soup and chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard).

So delicious! (:

xx gee


Maybe Cato likes berries too.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Summer = berries. Today I went blackberry picking, in the back streets of Duffy's Forest. The bushes grow wild on the side of the road, just like in a children's storybook. The street is Tooronga Road, if anyone wants to go berry picking! Wear gumboots and gloves, because the prickles are very little and very sharp.

Milo said to be careful that they were the right berries and weren't poisonous, and I said, "Just like in the Hunger Games!"So I put the berries (this was just a quarter of what we picked - 2 kgs in total!) in a bowl just like how Seneca Crane had to eat them. Only these aren't deadly. 

They are sweet and juicy, and the best part - free! 

After berry picking, we went to Whale Beach for a swim. The water was so beautiful, perfectly cool and such a brilliant blue. I love summer days like these, where you can live storybook lives and have nothing better to do and not worry about work or studying or cleaning your room. 

But back to reality now. (and my Weekly Good Habits have not been checked off very much. Whoops)

xx gee


Passionfruit Melting Moments

Laura and I love melting moments. Eating them, baking them, looking at them. Okay, maybe Laura doesn't like looking at them creepily like I do. But they are so pretty to look at, and so delicious, especially when they are crumbly and have little black vanilla bean dots. Mmmm. My favorite place to have them was my friend Kerona's family cafe, Cuppachewbees. It was supplied from some special bakery but then they changed the recipe! I was so devastated. They were called Passion Moments, and I don't know what it is about them that made them so good.

That's it, there. The original, perfect passion moment.

Anyway, since they changed the recipe it's become less passionfruit-y, and I thought it was just a regular melting moment by mistake. But it was the correct one. ): So we decided to make our own and this is the perfect, fail-safe recipe.

Melting Moments
Makes 32 biscuits
  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, or one vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cornflour

Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla together until soft and fluffy. Sift in the flour and cornflour and beat on low until it becomes a really light dough. 

Use two teaspoons to make even shapes and then roll into balls. This is my favorite part because it feels like you are playing with clouds! Place on trays and use a floured fork to slightly flatten the cookie until it's about 1cm thick.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until cookies are firm but not browned. Remove from oven and cool on trays before transferring to wire racks to cool. Resist eating! Meanwhile, make the filling.

Passionfruit Filling
  • 60 g butter, softened
  • 1 tin passionfruit pulp, or 2 large passionfruit
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the passionfruit and keep beating until combined. 

Put a little dollop onto the smooth side of one cookie and sandwich with another. Enjoy your delicious, crumbly melting moment! Mmm.

Serve with tea (:

P.S. You can now subscribe to and gee said by email! The little box is on the right side of the page, so all you have to do is type in your address and you'll be notified every time I post (:

xx gee


Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Saturday, 5 January 2013

This morning Laura came home from her family holiday in Canada! Yay (: It was very exciting, even though she was only gone for a few weeks, but we definitely missed her a lot.

We paid a visit to Spotlight and Lincraft for invitation inspiration for her 21st. These little pie dishes in the sweetest, pale blue were on sale for $4 so we made these mini chicken pot pies in them.

Mini Chicken Pot Pies
Makes 4 little pies

- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 250g chicken thighs or breast, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic, diced, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup leek, sliced thinly
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup pumpkin, diced
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/3 cup mushrooms, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 80g butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup milk, heated
- 1 bay leaf

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, or 160 degrees fan forced.

2. Half fill a steamer pot (a pot with a steaming compartment) with water to boil (or set up your steaming device). Add in all the vegetables.

3. Cut rounds in the pastry that fit your pie dishes, and slightly smaller rounds for the lids. Cut an x or a little hole in the top. Oil/butter the dishes and fill with pastry. Prick bottom layer with a fork.

4. Season the chicken with the chili, garlic, salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in oil til golden brown. Set aside.

5. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter. Add in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon/spatula. Slowly add in the milk; the mixture will be quite thick. Add in the stock to thin it out until it is not too thick and not too watery. You don't have to use all the stock. Add in the bay leaf and leave to simmer gently.

6. When the vegetables are done, toss to combine then fill the pies with them, adding the chicken. Pour the gravy/white sauce/ liquid in and then put on the lids. Press with a fork to seal. Brush with egg white and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

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