Sunday 26 September 2010

Plum chardonnay sago pudding and UMAT results

UMAT results came out last week coincidentally on the day of the Full Moon Festival.

For those not in the know, UMAT is the external medical admissions exam you have to sit if you want to get into med school in New Zealand and Australia. 

I had been dreading these results.  The UMAT test was awful.  Hundreds of us sat in row after row of desks at Mt Albert Stadium to answer cryptic questions testing your logical reasoning, interpersonal skills and non-verbal reasoning.  I never want to try and find non-existent patterns in another set of clip art doodles ever again.

The test wasn't all bad though: the Warriors provided some light relief by coming out and running drills on the field but other than that UMAT was like going to the dentist: expensive, painful and terrifying!

So when these results came out, I knew I needed something sweet and just so slightly alcoholic to help me get the courage up to check my results and an old fav: Plum chardonnay sago pudding did the trick nicely.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Rhubarb cupcakes with brown sugar mascarpone frosting

There are so many different uses for homemade mascarpone: you could use it in tiramisu, stir it through pasta with lemon zest and pine nuts, serve it on top of stewed fruit.

But I wanted something special for my very first batch of mascarpone.  I wanted to put the creamy delectableness on centre stage, celebrate the triumph of making my very first batch of cheese.

So I decided to make Rhubarb cupcakes with brown sugar mascarpone frosting.

Friday 17 September 2010

DIY sushi buffet for a mid winter family feast

I love sushi.

Tangy rice encasing delicious nuggets of fresh sashimi wrapped in ozone-y seaweed.  Just smear on some nose-clearingly hot wasabi and dip in soy sauce and you have a healthy, delicious, portable bite-sized meal.

However, if you've ever attempted to make sushi at home you will know that making sushi is not as easy as it looks.  

All that rolling and tucking while trying to keep it all even and pretty looking.   My sushi rolls inevitably look like deformed cigars and that sticky rice just sticks to everything.

Struggle no more my sushi challenged friends, I have discovered a way to wow your guests with sushi but not have to roll a single roll yourself...a DIY sushi buffet!

Why go through the anguish and frustration of making sushi when you can get your guests to make it themselves?

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Homemade mascarpone and sorry so slack!

Sorry team, I've been extremely slack at posting and replying to comments in the last wee bit.

It's been a real topsy turvy time and the week just went by in a blink.  Did a first aid course (fun!), sent off my applications for med school (exciting and also very very scary), my grandma was rushed to hospital (not so fun), my uncle passed away (not fun at all), and have been doing some mad organising for wedding.

Full. On.

I've missed you all though!  And to make up for my absence I thought I'd sweeten the deal with some pretty exciting news: I made cheese.

No no I didn't cut the cheese.  And I know I'm normally pretty cheesy as it is...but I actually, totally made cheese!

Yes y'all, I've delved into the mysterious world of cheese making by making homemade mascarpone.

It was so easy and the results so good...I'm totally hooked.  I'm determined to try and make other cheeses now like mozzarella and feta. 

Watch out Kapiti.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Confessions: Argentinean lamb chops with mint chimichurri

Confession # 1: I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of Gordon Ramsay.

Don't get me wrong, he's a good looking man, got that bad-boy appeal down pat and is a really talented chef but...he's just a bit mean

However, being the Food-TV addict that I am, my prejudice against Gordo didn't stop me from watching The F Word the other week.  And I'm glad I did.

That episode in particular was a race to see who was to get into the semi final.  A battle between Lasan, a modern Indian restaurant in Birmingham and the Argentinean restaurant Santa Maria del Sur. 

Lasan served flashy, innovative, haute Indian cuisine albeit from a rather dysfunctional team headed by a slightly abrasive chef.

Santa Maria del Sur was all warm fuzzies - a close knit kitchen team serving hearty, delicious authentic Argentinean barbeque.

Confession #2: I would be a horrendous vegetarian.  I just love meat too much.  Steaks and chops and roasts...oh my!  I like my steaks pretty much bloody and mooing.  Beef tataki styles.  Puts hairs on your chest I'm told. 

So when I watched the Santa Maria chef lug hunks of beautiful marinated Argentinean steaks on to a flame grill - I knew I had to find and try that recipe pronto.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Black forest cupcakes with flour frosting for Dad

My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~ Clarence Budington Kelland

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
That loved his daughter more than I love you
~ Paul Simon
It's Father's Day today in New Zealand.  A lot of people will associate Father's Day, with buying CDs, socks and ties and cooking Dad a steak dinner. 

I was a Daddy's girl so for me, Father's Day is remembering how great my Dad was, how much I miss him and how lucky I was for all that he taught me, sacrificed for me and saw in me.  Dad made me believe I could do anything but was proud of me just the way I was.

He's been gone five years now and while time does smooth over some of the sadness, certain days, like birthdays, special occasions, and of course, Father's Day, are just a bit harder. 

So to cheer myself up, I decided to make Black Forest Cupcakes with Port because black forest gateau was Dad's favourite dessert.  

Friday 3 September 2010

East meets west coconut vanilla mochi cake

This Coconut Vanilla Mochi Cake is a little east meets west.  Kinda like me.

Born in Hong Kong but raised in New Zealand, I'm a Chiwi, a Chinese Kiwi.  I love Marmite, Watties T sauce and fish 'n' chips on the beach (or "fush and chups" as we say in NZ).  But I still celebrate Chinese New Year, love yum cha and eat with chopsticks.

I'm lucky to have the best of both worlds and this mochi cake, a cross between a vanilla cake and mochi, combines the best of west and east with the delicious flavour and crust of a pound cake and the delightful chewy texture of mochi.  It is so good, I ate half the cake myself, no kidding.

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