Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sakae- Yakiniku House


Sakae Yakiniku House is similar to Sakae dining bar (and they're only a short distance away from each other) but still different in that there's also Korean food on the many and that they have the option of BBQ. The strange thing about it (apart from the name), is that unlike almost every other restaurant in Eastwood, it isn't situated on ground level. Then, when you go up the quiet flight of stairs, the first thing you see are big (and slightly mysterious...) wooden doors. And the inside is so dark that it's difficult to tell whether they're open or not. But the inside is really pretty- definitely very 'restaurant' style!

We walked in to notice that we're the first ones there- which is sort of surprising considering it was almost 1 o clock in the afternoon. The waiter takes us to a table turns on the light on the rangehood-like-thing. It's so cool! We were given a heap of menus to choose from- a lunch menu, a normal menu, a BBQ menu, an all-you can eat ment etc. etc. but of course, we took the most economical option and went for the lunch menu. For $16.80, we got a three course meal- and appetiser and main (which we could choose from the menu) and dessert and a pot of green tea!

Complimentary Radishes

The complimentary radishes were one of the highlights of this meal. If they were on the menu as a dish, we'd probably order it. They are slightly cooked and covered in a really light sauce. They aren't very flavourful (there was still a strong radish taste) but tasted great!

Beef Takati

We ordered the Beef Takati as we had no idea what it was and I thought it'd be fun to try. Turns out, it was raw beef in a sauce which was a bit like soy sauce and vinegar mixed together. It was scary eating raw beef (you know, food poisoning etc. etc.) -it tasted okay but we definitely wouldn't order this again.

Jap Chae $5.80

The Jap Chae was really really small- even for an appetiser. I guess it was kinda expected for $5.80 -at a restaurant. The noodles were okay-but they weren't any better than the $5 jap chae I get from the food court....for a much larger dish.

Seafood Pancake $9.80
The seafood pancake was smaller than we had anticipated but tasted pretty good. It was different to the one we had before at a Korean restaurant- it was smaller in size but notably thicker. It wasn't as good as the one we had before, but was still good and we'd probably order it again, although it's quite expensive for such a small serving. There wasn't much seafood in it except for calamari which was really chewy and probably would have tasted better without it.

Miso Soup

I'm guessing that is came with the meal? It doesn't say so on the lunch menu but it ended up on our table. It was again, average, although all miso soup tastes pretty much the same to me.

Sashimi Salad Don

The sashimi salad rice was a big disappointment. The rice is hot- it had steam coming out of it. And the sashimi? Well- all you can see in the photo was all there was. Sharing this between the three of us, we each got about 2 or 3 pieces of sashimi each (and they were SMALL pieces). And since the rice was hot, the sashimi warmed up really quickly. And warm sashimi does not taste good at all. And i don't think it's healthy either! There was no dressing, but it did come with a sauce which didn't really go well with it and was hot (spicy hot that is). Without the sauce, the salad tasted flavourless but with the sauce, it just didn't taste quite right.
Green Tea Ice Cream
The most akward part of the meal is after we finish the mains- not knowing whether we're supposed to notify the waiters that we've finished our meal (and are ready for dessert) or if we're supposed to wait until they come. After a long wait, and reluctance from both me and my sister to ask the waiters (yes, we're both really shy people), my mum asks the waiter for the dessert.

The dessert comes, and we're surprised that there was not one, but three servings! We later realise that it states on the menu that there is one for each person on the table. The dessert is green tea ice cream- one of my favourite ice cream flavours, as I rarely ever have it (in fact, it's been ages- years since I last had it). Of course, the quality isn't all that great but any ice cream makes me happy! Only problem is that it melted really quickly, especially since it was already a hot day. My mum complained that it was a little bitter, but me and my sister don't notice it (as usual, our tastes are not as sensitive as our parents).
The meal did not actually fill us up much (we were planning where to eat next...) but that wasn't surprising considering we only ordered one meal and two appetisers for three people but that was about all we could fit into our budget. We realised that we should have gone for two meals as it would have ended up costing around the same (except that we really wanted to try the seafood pancake) but the decor was really pretty so it was kinda worth it.

Sakae Yakiniku House

Level 1, 6 Hillview Road
Eastwood NSW 2122
Phone (02) 9874 2277

Sakae Yakiniku House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What silly teens do when they're bored...

Every once in a while, I'm left home alone, due to some school exam which I have to study for over the weekend. Of course, the percentage of this time which I actually spend studying is quite small, due to distractions (ie the computer, the internet and therefore food blogs =]) and the fact that school work is!

Yes. I hate studying. Which is why, you'll usually find me doing the randomest things on the know, to make life, not-so-boring. When I was studying for my chemistry exam, I decided to peel and orange and make a rose out of it (it was heaps fun!). Then there was a time, when I decided to try my hand at pulled noodles-the ones which you cut the dough into strips and then pull them into long strands- and which actually worked! (unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of the noodles)

This weekend, my sister was home with me, so I had to make something to feed the two of us. Since there were no left overs in the fridge, and I actually had homework which I needed to do, I made creamy mushroom spaghetti-using a can of condensed cream of mushroom sauce, of course! It was so so easy- all I did was empty the can of soup in a pot, as some milk, some water turn on the heat, chuck in some cooked spaghetti and taa-daa! Not only does it look great (well to me it does.....) it tastes great too- my sister loved it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beef Rendang

I don't cook.

I mean, sure, every once in a while, I might bake a pie, fry an egg or cook noodles but I rarely ever cook up an actual dish. I'm quite terrible in the kitchen- anything that involves me using a pot on the stove will always end up with bits of food splattered everywhere!

But then I stumbled upon Almost Bourdain's Beef Rendang recipe which not only looked delicious, but seemed easy enough that I thought that there seemed to be a chance of me making this without needing the help of my mum.

And it really did end up as simple as it seemed- it basically involved mixing everything in a wok and then letting it simmer for a couple of hours. Rather than simmering it in a wok, I choose to use my thermal cooker as it would save energy. I cooked it a little longer than was supposed to but I don't think it really made a difference, because it came out delicious! It was different to the beef rendang that I'd had before- it was much drier and there was a much stronger coconut taste, but it was just as good! I'd definitely make this again :)

And of course, a nice, successful dish couldn't be served on its own- so I decided to make the whole dinner for my family =] And kinda went like this:

I lied. I didn't make the whole thing. My dad made the lemon lime and bitters- it's his 'signature' drink. Not because he's especially good at making this, it's just because no-one else in the family can ever be bothered making it. You see, my mum is usually responsible for the cooking, my sister is responsible for setting the table and my dad makes the drinks. Me? I'm responsible for sitting around.....doing nothing!

Only joking! I'm not THAT lazy, I'm usually doing homework =]

Realising that a proper meal should start with a course before the main, and that I needed to have vegetables somewhere, I decided to make a salad. Only problem was I didn't know what salad to make and couldn't make a lot of the slad recipes I saw online as I was lacking many ingredients. So the salad ended up being chopped up vegetables with salad dressing on top.

The beef rendang was absolutely delicious. Except that the beef we bought wasn't good quality (bad meat shop!) so the meat wasn't as tender and tasty as we would have liked. But, as I've said before, it was so so so good!

Dessert was vanilla slice- it was my first attempt at puff pastry and was very time consuming. But it was delicious, and even my dad, who's very picky when it comes to desserts liked this! We'd just bought a huge tray of strawberries, so I chucked them on the plate too. It doesn't look that great, but it makes the dish seem.....less empty!
The recipe for beef rendang is from here. Thanks for the recipe Ellie!
~ Beef Rendang~


3 packets Brahim's Rendang Paste
1.5 kg beef brisket (gravy beef)
2 cups dessicated / grated coconut
2 cups hot boiling water
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp oil

1.To make kerisik: Fry the grated coconut in a non-stick frying pan (without oil) on low heat. Keep stirring so all the grated coconut are browned evenly. It will take about 10 minutes to turn it into deep golden brown and you can smell the aroma. You are ready to use it for your rendang. 2.Cut the beef in 5 cm / 2" cubes.
3.Heat oil in a wok, add garlic and fry until slightly browned. Add beef and fry until all sides are browned.
4.Remove beef from wok.
5.Add rendang paste to the wok and cook until the paste is bubbling. Add the kerisik and hot boiling water.
6.Bring to a boil and add the beef and continue cooking until it's boiling.
7.Turn down the heat, cover with lid and let it simmer in low heat for 2 hours. Stir it occasionally.
8.After 2 hours of simmering, the sauce should be thickened and the should be very tender. Now turn back to medium-high heat, lid off and continue to stir-fry it until the sauce is completely thicken and dried.
9.Served with steamed rice, roti or nasi kunyit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A trip to a 'restaurant'

Because I've grown up mostly eating at Asian restaurants, I've come to define the term restaurant as those western style restaurants with fancy decor (preferabbly with dim lighting at night....haha), fancy waiters/waitresses, fancy plating(you know, big plates, little food)..... and most importantly, a 3 course menu. But sadly, I've never been to one of these restaurants.

This weekend, we visited Atrium Brasserie, a small 'restaurant' - not quite the restaurant I was thinking of (as it lacked the .....err fanciness- and was actually just a club restuarant). It did, however, have the 3 course menu- and at the price of $15. So the main was only fish and chips. But still. It was close enough. And it had a good view!

So the reason we went to this particular 'restaurant'? My mum had come here once with her friends, and apparently they had a really good soup that she wanted us to try. Unfortunately, when we got there, we realised that there was no soup on the menu- only the soup of the day. The service was slow, but we eventually got taken to a seat and given a menu- to order, you tick off the boxes on a sheet of paper and pay at a counter. Going for the cheaper option, we chose the 3 course meal, along with the salad bar and steak .

Salad - $7 (with meal)

We weren't going to get the salad but then we were scared there wasn't enough to eat. Besides- it looked fun! Because of $7, they give you a small bowl, and you can fill it up with as much salad as you like (but only once). There was a wide range of choices- some pre made salads and some vegetables with a variety of salad dressings you could add yourself. I quite liked the salads, but I haven't had many salads before so I wouldn't know if they're good compared to other places. However, I'm sure it would have tasted better if the salads were separate rather than all mixed together though. We tried to pack as much in as possible, but we still had to take it back to the table so this is how much we got- there were others who stacked it much higher than ours!

The cauliflower soup came shortly- which was the soup of the day (it came with our meal) . It was just your ordinary creamy soup lumps of cauliflower, which looked like potatoes (it took a while for us to figure out that it was actually cauliflower) and a slight cauliflower taste.

Fish and Chips

The mains took a while to come- being freshly fried, the chips and the fish were very crispy. They weren't the best fish and chips I've ever had though.....

Chargrilled Scotch Fillet- $19

I think this was supposed to be a lunch special as it's not on the menu. We really should have gotten it medium rare but my mum was scared that medium rare wouldn't be cooked enough for us kids. It definitely wasn't the best steak we've had- it was, well....pretty ordinary -I'd prefer the steak which my mum cooks at home.

The last course of the meal was ice cream. We were sitting around for quite a while after we'd finished out meal, wondering when the dessert was going to come- it never did. Because the dessert doesn't come to you- you have to get it yourself! They really should have told us at some point!

So we took out reciept to the drinks area and asked for our ice cream- we got to choose the flavours, which I had no idea what they were so I just asked for one of each flavour (there was also strawberry, but it didn't look too appealing). The chocolate was already half melted. The other two flavours were some kind of nut flavours- probably almond and hazlenut. Other than that, the ice cream wasn't too bad- it tasted notably better than supermarket ice cream (the cheap ones that is) but that's no surprise as this is a 'restaurant'!
Atrium Brasserie
14 Magdala Rd
North Ryde NSW 2113

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Excellent Chinese Seafood Restaraunt

Excellent Chinese Seafood restaurant is one of the restaurants our family regularly visits . It's one of the cheaper and better (and consistent) quality yum cha restaurants in Sydney, although their selection can be not-so-interesting after you go there a couple of times (but then again, that's the same for all yum cha restaurants)

I don't always go yum cha -ing with my parents (because of my slight dislike of the yum cha experience in Sydney) but I occassionally tagg along on my parents' yum cha trips. On this occasion, I brought along my camera =]

Which is when I discovered that you can take heaps of photos at yum cha because they come in such small servings!

I don't know what these are but they taste like fish balls, only bigger, more flavoursome and have a very different texture than fish balls (more chewier). It comes with a brown sauce which is a really salty (and looks much like POOP- haha) which doesn't taste too bad. They taste good, but is certianly not my favourite thing to eat.

Deep fried meat dumpling

I developed a liking for these thing a couple of years ago. These fried balls are crispy on the outside (eventhough they're not usually hot) and chewy on the inside and have a nice meat filling.

Pan Fried Rice Noodle Rolls

Their rice noodle rolls come in a small serving compared to other yum cha restaurants. However, their flavour is quite good- being freshly fried, they're not bad. The rolls are crispy on the outside and soft inside with lots of shallots and dried prawns. It comes with a peanut and a sweet sauce -I like to eat it drenched in the sweet sauce

Some part the the innard of a cow. I don't particularly like these things but my mum does- they're quite good. They come drenched in oil, which sort of adds to the flavour (and will leave a puddle of oil in your bowl)!

Chicken Feet

But these things leave the biggest puddle of all (in you bowl, that is). The chicken feet is one of those things which almost every table orders. It's always good too- the feet are always chubby and is drenched in the really red but tasty sauce.

The fried noodle is one of our favourite in Sydney. It's wheeled in those typical hot trolleys and covered with a lid. It's a bit squished and and tastes quite different from your normal fried noodles (as it isn't freshly fried) but its flavour makes up for it.
Glutinous Rice Balls with Seasame filling
And then we come to my favourite part of yum cha- the dessert. I have these glutinous rice balls everytime we come here. It's covered with crushed peanuts (although I don't really like peanuts) with a black seasame filling which is supposed to ooze out but doesn't always (it depends on how hot it is). But it still tasted great anyway!

Excellent Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Shop E
101 Carlingford Rd
Carlingford 2118 NSW

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sago Pudding

Let's play the mystery picture game!
(you can only play if you haven't read the title of this post)

Did you guess what this is?

It's a sago pudding!!
Okay, so it doesn't really look like a sago pudding. But still. It tasted like one =]
This one, I made with my mum. Because although cooking/baking in itself is heaps of fun, it's heaps more fun when you're doing it with someone else. Eventhough we both like to hog the acitivites. =]

Can you see the sago?

We've always wanted to make a sago pudding because it's something that everyone in our family, especially my dad, who can be awfully picky about desserts. I did try to search for a sago pudding recipe a while ago, but that proved quite difficult as there are a few different types of sago pudding (we were looking for the type you get at yum cha) In the end, I used a recipe from Helen from Grabyourfork which looked like the exact sago pudding we were after. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

It turns out that the recipe made a huge serving, as we halved it and still made enough to last the four of us for a couple of days. The sago we used was quite small (I like bigger sago balls), and the pudding was a little runnier than expected but other than that, it was delicious! The custard was creamy and sweet and since it was very very hot, it tasted better than a lot of sago puddings we've had at yum cha restaurants!

We made this at night, so the photography isn't all that great (espcially since my photography skills are very limited).

Here's the recipe:

Sago Pudding
from Grabyourfork

2 cups sago
2 cups sugar
125g butter
1 cup milk
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
1/2 cup custard powder
4 eggs

Soak sago well in water for a few hours. Pour sago into a pan of boiling water and simmer until transparent. Wash under running tap. Drain and set aside.
Put 1 litre water and sugar in a saucepan. Slowly bring to boil and add butter, milk and sago, stirring until well blended.
Mix coconut milk with cornflour and custard powder. Gradually stir into boiling sugar mixture. Continue stirring until thickened. Remove from heat.
Add well-beaten eggs and stir until smooth. Pour into heatproof container and place on middle shelf of preheated oven 230C.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: Coconut milk can be replaced by 1/2 water and 1/2 milk.
Serves 10-15

btw, this is what happened when you try to burn the top with a blowtorch. Although it was very fun, I can't say that it was successful. =[

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween! (and a visit to Max Brenners)


Happy Halloween to all!

I know it's a day late.
But I didn't get to celebrate Halloween this year. We did however, get one group of kids knocking on our door- which was shocking as it hasn't happened for at least 5 years. We had lots of fun giving lollies to the kids =]

My sister got to go trick or treating - something which I've never done. And she got some pretty interesting things- boxes of chocolate, tim tams and even money!

And then the day after halloween, we found out that some kids had chucked eggs at our house.
Thanks kids.

So, back to the original subject of this post- Max Brenners.

I've never been to Max Brenners. I mean I've been inside, but I've never actually eaten there- but I've always wanted to go. I don't think I'm a chocaholic (I'm pretty sure that you can love chocolate more than I do) but I still love chocolate and Max Brenners is another one of those places which all teenagers go to.

This school holidays, my friend decided to take me there. We went to the one at Parramatta and at around 3:30, the place was so busy! We ordered a waffle (between two of us) since I didn't know what to order. Then we sat down and waited...... and waited....... and waited.

The table we were at (the only free table when we went in) was in the corner, right in front of the door which doesn't seem to close. Which was unfortunate, because the wind was particularly cold that day so we sat there waiting for our food whilst we slowly froze to death.

By the time the food actually came out we had all gotten so bored that we were playing with the number sign thing which was given to us. And accidently then put out of the view of the waiter who walked all the way around the store just to try and find us. Oops.

Luckily, the waffles were still warm when they came.
And still warm after I took pictures =]

I'll admit, I've never had a waffle before. So I don't know how it compares to other waffles-but at $5.50 each, I'm guessing they're pretty good. I quite liked it- it was warm, soft and sort of crunchy on the outside (and went well with the chocolate). However, it didn't make me want to buy a waffle maker and make my own. I would eat it again, but if I ever go to Max Brenners again, I'd probably try something else.

Looking back at the pictures, the waffle itself doesn't look all that interesting.
It's all just brown.
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