January 31, 2012
Last year I had a look at the Chinese New Year Festival at Belmore Park, and thought I'd go again this year. Even the intermittent and very grouchy weather couldn't dampen (haha!) my spirits!
Somehow, though, the festival this year didn't have the same bustling atmosphere. Sure, there were a lot of people, but it felt like there weren't the same number of stores, or that the stores were wayyy more spread out. And there weren't the same randoms! Where are the bunny people???
Anyway, entertainers aside, the only interesting stall that I found this year was this one:
I have no idea what the background really is, but anywhere that I can get a serving of noodles for $4 is well worth a shot! (Mappen still has a special place in my heart)
For a grand total of $10 combined, Sean got his dumplings...
...and I got this
This bowl of 凉粉 (cold noodles) was surprisingly good! It suited the warm, humid weather well, and had a refreshing zing to it. A light addition of chilli oil made it interesting, and the jelly-like slippery noodles made the kid in me giggle. Quite fun to eat.
For that matter, it was really fascinating to watch them make! The noodles came off this translucent dome
Some guy with a hand grater carefully grates off a pile of noodles.
When you order, it gets put into a container with the relevant sauces, and you get a noodle dish!
I think part of the reason why I like it so much is the novelty of eating it - I must admit that it's not something that I'd enjoy a massive bowl of.
Oh and the dumplings? They were ok. Not mind-blowing, but really we didn't expect it to be. But they were at least better than the random "Dim Sim" *shudders* places that they had there.
I miss spending Chinese New Year at home!!!!!!
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January 28, 2012
Since it's Chinese New Year, I thought that I'd make the very auspicious-sounding Profit-eroles. Geddit?
Ok, bad joke.
But anyway, these delicious little morsels are always great as party food, and allows you to have dessert done and dusted in advanced.
First, the Choux pastry. This is basically the same pastry as eclairs, so you can take the recipe and just change the shape if you're so inclined.
I got this off Taste.com.au and it works every time!
1 cup water
1 cup flour
Bring the water and butter to a boil.
Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the flour. Vigorously I've heard somewhere (don't quote me, though) that the secret to puffed, gorgeous profiteroles is making sure that the gluten is well-worked.
SO WORK IT! *insert relevant hip-hop song here*
Once the flour is incorporated, work in the eggs, one at a time, making sure that each one is mixed in before you add the next.
You'll end up with a slightly spongy wet-ish batter.
Put aside to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C (fan forced). I've found that you can probably afford to turn the heat down slightly from that - the pastry needs to 'dry out' slightly inside, and baking it for slightly longer at a slightly lower temperature helps that process along.
Using two teaspoons, spoon heaped amounts of the pastry mixture onto a lined baking tray.
Using wet fingers, pat down any peaks that can end up burning in the oven.
Bake till puffed and golden brown.
Armed with a sharp knife and a pair of tongs, carefully pierce the bottom of the profiteroles and place back on the tray, pierced side up, and put back into the oven with the door ajar. MAKE SURE THAT THE OVEN IS TURNED OFF! You don't want burned pastry. This will help it finish drying out.
Then, move on to the custard.
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 3/4 cup milk
Vanilla bean or vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with sugar.
The mixture will turn a very pale yellow, and although the original recipe says to use caster sugar, I wouldn't worry too much about it - it ends up being dissolved anyway. Also, I used a mixing bowl to start off with, but really, you could do this in a saucepan. Less washing up is always good.
Whisk in the flour, and when that's incorporated, add the milk and vanilla and place the saucepan on VERY LOW HEAT. Trust me.
Keep whisking. This is not a good time to walk away, be distracted by the TV, or do the dishes. WATCH THAT SAUCEPAN LIKE A HAWK.
And keep stirring!!!
Very soon, you'll see the mixture begin to thicken.
At this point, burning will follow quickly. I think what happens here is a little bit like the Tangzhong method in baking. For the science behind it, click here. Basically the starch (flour) will thicken in the process of water and heat and will so contribute to the texture of the custard.
Still, I'm not too crazy about this particular recipe as I find the custard a touch too runny, but feel free to use any piping custard recipe you'd like.
The profiteroles can last about a week when stored in an airtight container, in the fridge.
January 05, 2012
I have committed food blogger FAIL. Usually, when there are occasions like Christmas that have lots and lots of delicious food, I am extremely snap-happy. This year though, I was *ahem* distracted by babies, and so you have seen the only food shot that I managed to get.
So much for being a food blogger first haha.
Anyway, back to the Christmas recap.
As usual, there are presents spilling out from under the tree. While looking at it, I did briefly have a thought that in the Christmas fairytales, that's probably how Christmas trees come about. They are borne, fully decorated, out of a sea of presents.
Of course, Christmas isn't Christmas without a bit of DIY, which Sean decided to sit out and let his mother handle, haha.
Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but you can't have too many spectators, it seems.
Here's what I got distracted from the food by:
We got Sean's nephew a tuxedo bib to match Sean's tux tee! :D:D
I know it's cheesy, but I love the whole matchy matchy thing with babies.
HOW CUTE IS HE???????
And although I was quite fixated on taking photos of the cute baby, I did participate in other Christmas activities too.
Boulé, or Pentaque, or Bocce or whatever you like to call it, is very much like lawn bowling to me.
Basically what you do is throw this little wooden ball thing, and then try to bowl your metal ones as close to it as you can. You can do all sorts of things like knock your team mates' balls closer, or knock the opposing team members' balls away. That sort of thing. It was my first time playing, and I found it really close to ten-pin bowling. It seems that the lower you can go, the better the movement because there's no bouncing off the grass getting in your way.
Anyway, that was the very quick Christmas recap of 2011! I had a very relaxing Christmas, which was great since I've had a stressful year.
How about you? How was your holidays?