Monday, November 1, 2010

Perama

I blame it all on my ability to procrastinate for months on end which has been the cause for my lack of postings the last month and a half. You see the month of October has been full on with friends visiting from Malaysia, a birthday celebration, work and an exam which ended on 28th October (hooray!). I then said to myself "now that I have some free time I should really update my blog" but as you can see it is now towards the end of November that I find myself here writing this post..

I've been wanting to try out Perama after hearing about it from my colleagues, and more so after reading about it in NQN. This was back in 2009. After slightly more than a year later we find ourselves here at Perama ready for good food - bring it on!

H and I had decided on the Banquet menu ($55 per person) plus an extra course of Pork Belly Baklava (add another $4 per person) to be able to try the variety of dishes on the menu.

Photobucket
We start of with a Basket of Bread and dips (pictured below)

Photobucket
Dips - from left clockwise; Tarama, Tzatziki and Split Pea. The dips were deliciously refreshing with our favourite being the Tzatziki. H and I both agree that the Tzatziki was the best we've ever had.

Photobucket
A great tasting Greek Salad - Fresh ingredients served with a whole lot of oregano.

Photobucket
Fried School Prawns tossed in a honey, fish sauce, sesame seed and flaked almond dressing - OMG this dish was super addictive. I couldn't stop myself from picking up the prawns and popping it in my mouth, shell and all, even when I was almost to the point of bursting and knowing we still had the main dish to come. This dish reminded me very much of Asia where you'll sit in a bar drinking an ice cold beer and snacking on a dish such as this.

Photobucket
Another beautiful dish the Imambaldi (roasted eggplant wedges stuffed with a spicy tomato mix and served with a spiced yogurt) was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and without a hint of oiliness too. The tomato mix brought a nice tanginess to the creamy texture of the eggplant. One of my favourites of the night.

Photobucket
BBQ Haloumi Cheese w/ Honey Peppered Figs - The roasted honey peppered figs was very very sweet and I wouldn't have enjoyed it if it was served as is but when paired with the saltiness of the Haloumi cheese and the slight sourness from a little lemon juice it creates a combination that awakens your tastebuds. Must try!

Photobucket
The Vine Dolmathes was light and tasty and seriously delicious. It wasn't starchy at all which I loved as I dislike super gluggy like rice dishes ala the Asian yum cha dish Lo Mai Gai (glutinuous sticky rice steam in lotus leaves).

Photobucket
BBQ Calamari & Lountza (Cypriot style smoked pork loin) served with a creamy mint and fetta dressing - I love sticking squid tendrils over a charcoal BBQ and see it all curl up and infuse with a lovely charred flavour and aroma. Perama's BBQ calamari was just that; tender calamari accompanied with the delicious Cypriot style smoked pork loin. Delicious!

Photobucket
We couldn't resist the Pork Belly Baklava when we saw this on the main menu and had asked to add this to our banquet for an additional $4 per person. Layers of flaky filo pastry, pork belly meat, date and pistachios topped with crispy crackling and served with a date and mastic sauce this was just super delicious. It's such a unique combination of sweet and savoury, especially when you get a bite of belly fat .... yum!

Photobucket
Even before this dish arrived, Lamb Skaras served with baked potatoes, I was regretting not pacing myself (I blame it all on the Fried School Prawns) as my tummy was already at bursting point and I just couldn't finish this dish. The lamb itself was quite dry but the potatoes were cooked beautifully, crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside.

Photobucket
Our lovely waiter gave us extra servings of the Caramel Baklava Ice Cream (sliced layers of vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce and baklava) and Berry Bougatsa. They were so good that I had to unbutton the top button on my jeans so that I could eat more of the delicious desserts (hehe).

I'm so glad that we finally made it to Perama as it offers beautiful food with lovely service. Even before paying for the bill we had already planned for our next visit which is to get more friends to come along with us so that we can order a wider variety of dishes.


88 Audley Street
Petersham NSW 2049

(02) 9569 7534

info@perama.com.au

Monday, October 18, 2010

IndoRasa, Kingsford

Whilst H was away in Singapore attending a good friend's wedding I was left to fend for myself for a whole 2 weeks! That's not a bad thing as I had my schedule all planned out; catching up with long lost friends over coffee, dinner and shopping of course. One of this catch up was dinner at IndoRasa in Kingsford with one of my best friend SY.

Photobucket
Pepes Teri ($5.00) - Fresh baby anchovies marinated, and wrapped in banana leaves then grilled over a charcoal fire. The first time I had this dish I loved it. Moist anchovies marinated in a delicious combination of flavours. Sadly this time round I found the pepes teri quite bland.

Photobucket
Nasi Kuning Komplit ($11.00) - Turmeric rice w/ fried chicken, marinated beef, egg, giblet and sambal vegetable. SY had been craving for Nasi Kuning so we ordered this to share with our other dishes. This dish was very ordinary. The fried chicken was slightly dry and non of the flavours stood out.

Photobucket
Ayam Bakar ($6.00) - Grilled chicken. The highlight of my night was this tender, almost melt in your mouth grilled chicken in a fabulous sweet sauce. I would come back just to have this dish. Yum!

Photobucket
Cah Kangkung ($10.00) - The Cah Kangkung also known as morning glory (in Thai restaurants) is a staple dish we always order whenever we're out at an Indonesian or Malaysian / Singaporean restuarant. IndoRasa's version was cooked with onions and chillies and tasted very similar to the one at Ayam Goreng 99.

The decor was an improvement compared to most of the other eateries on the strip but noise was a major issue for us as we couldn't really hear ourselves amongst the conversation all around us. Service was not the most attentive but I guess that's due to the inexperience of the waitstaff. Will definitely be back to try out more dishes as I heard the Ikan Bakar is really good..


IndoRasa
Shop 1, 309 Anzac Parade,
Kingsford NSW 2032

(02) 9697 2003

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moroccan inspired Dinner

After our fantastic dinner at Souk in the City I was very excited to try my hand at cooking a Moroccan inspired dinner with the goodies Kate from Table of Plenty had provided H and I. The next day I sent an invitation out to the gang for a "Moroccan" themed dinner at our place. Our usual dinner parties are more of a potluck nature, where each one brings a dish instead of the host preparing all the food but this time due to the last minute dinner invitation and everyone else's busy schedule the cooks for our Moroccan dinner would be SK, H and myself.

Photobucket
Goodies received from our Table of Plenty dinner at Souk in the City. From left, a bottle of preserved lemons, recipe cards, a box of tea glasses (3) and Table of Plenty Dukkah - Pistachio, Macadamia and Almond.

Photobucket
Rachel had brought along a bowl of hand torn Baguette and a Tzatziki dip which she had learnt from a family she lived with in WA during her practical course. You see, Rachel is studying to be a vet.

Photobucket
Rachel's Tzatziki Dip - Rich and creamy with a slight sourness from lemon juice I think. This went really well with the bread and was a great starter. 

Photobucket
H's Sand Whiting and Vegetable Chermoula Stew. This was supposed to be cooked in a tagine but as we didn't have one he cooked it in a pot like a stew. I think we used the wrong fish here as they were lots of fine bones in this one and we had to be really really careful to not choke on one. H made the Chermoula with coriander, flat leaf parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and lemon juice. Other then the bones this dish proved a success with its slightly sourish sauce.

Photobucket
SK's Olive Chicken - The taste took some getting used to as I've never had olive chicken before but it definitely grew on me. I would definitely try this dish again.

Photobucket
Moroccan Roast Lamb - SK used a combination of spices such as cumin and coriander to marinate the lamb before roasting this in the oven. The lamb was slightly dry in some parts due to the inconsistent heat from my oven (I think the right side of the oven heats up more than the rest) but the lamb that was cooked on the other side was tender and pink with the subtle hint of spices :). SK also made a mint sauce to go with the lamb which was delicious.

Photobucket
Inspired by a similar dish we had at Souk in the City this was my version of Prawns w/ Almond Dukkah. I marinated the prawns in a little salt and a Moroccan spice mix which I bought from Green Valley Spices, Paddy's Market, Chinatown for about 30 minutes before adding the almond dukkah and leaving it for another 10 minutes before grilling the prawns on a hot grill. These were delicious and was one of favourites of the night.

Photobucket
Couscous w/ Raisins and Rocket Leaves - I've made couscous numerous times before and I still can't believe how easy and simple it is to make and it tastes great too! I used a 500g packet of instant couscous and 185g of seedless sultanas. Place both the couscous and sultanas into a large bowl and pour 500ml of boiling water into the bowl. Leave for 10 minutes to soak. Melt 125g of butter and add 1.5 tablespoon of ground cumin, 3 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of almond dukkah. Stir through the couscous until evenly distributed. Finally, stir in the rocket leaves.

Photobucket
There was no vegetable dish planned for the night so I made a quick Rocket Salad w/ Celery and Tomatoes but I shouldn't have as everyone else was happy with the dishes put up and didn't need the vegies. Go figure.

Photobucket
We were all very full from the food that no one was interested in a heavy dessert. Luckily I still had some Chocodate left from my trip to Dubai. Chocodate, as the name would suggest, is made up of a dried date covered in rich chocolate. They proved a hit with everyone and was the perfect close to the evening.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Table of Plenty Dukkah @ Souk in the City


A number of weeks ago we received an invite from MarkComms for the relaunch of Table of Plenty's Dukkah range which was held at Souk in the City in Surry Hills. H and I arranged to attend the evening session which was described as a modest dinner on the invite compared to a full on lunch session which we found out later at the dinner had included a cooking demonstration, henna tattooing and even belly dancing! What would life be like without having to work 9am to 5.30pm (sometimes 6pm, 8pm, 10pm?)

On the day of the event we made our way through the rain to Souk in the City where we were warmly welcomed by Omar out host for the Evening. Omar showed us to our table where we found Angie from Angie Lives to Eat who was the first to arrive. Our party made up of Mark also a fellow blogger who's an avid cook (I didn't get a chance to hear the name of his blog - sorry Mark!), MJ from markcomms and the lovely Kate Weiss.

Photobucket
Kate, the founder of Table of Plenty, charmed H and I by her enthusiasm, passion and love for Table of Plenty and what it represents to her. She shared with us her experiences living in the Middle East and her love for spices and the desire to share it with everyone. You can read Kate's story here.

Before we get to the food I have to apologise for the quality of the pictures. The place was dark and I didn't realise the pictures were blurry when I looked it up on the small screen of the camera, that is until it was downloaded and blown up on my PC. (Don't you just hate that?? I think I will have to sign up for a photography class soon to get the basics down pat and not disappoint you readers and myself with my blurry photographs!)

Photobucket
We started the night off with Bread and 2 Dips - Pumpkin w/ Macadamia Dukkah (pictured above) and Hummous w/ Pistachio Dukkah. I loved the idea of adding dukkah to the dip as this created a lovely texture that contrast with the smoothness and creaminess of the pumpkin and hummous. From now on I will be adding dukkah to hummous every chance I get!

Photobucket
Our first entree of the night was Grilled Haloumi, Poached Sweet & Sour Figs, Sherry Vinegar and Rocket & Pine Nuts with the addition of Macadamia Dukkah. I love the combination of the rocket and sherry vinegar with the haloumi and fig.

Photobucket
The next entree up was the Almond Dukkah Lamb Brochettes w/ Smoked Eggplant, Pistachio and Argan Oil. This dish was so good. The lamb was seasoned with spices and almond dukkah then grilled to perfection. This was served with a delicious roasted eggplant puree. My mouth is watering just thinking back to this dish.

Photobucket
Our third entree for the night; Pistachio Dukkah Crusted Prawns w/ Sour Tomato, Mint and Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise. Omar explained that prawns usually taste quite bland on its own and spices and sauces are used to give it added flavour. The clever use of dukkah here together with the sour tomato sauce and fresh prawns made this dish my favourite of the night.

Photobucket
As we move towards the mains, Omar brought out two bowls, one filled with Steamed Cous Cous w/ Raisins and Almonds and the other, Saffron Rice. I was getting pretty full just from the entrees but of course I had to try the both of these. I love the addition of raisins and almonds to cous cous as I always thing they add extra sweetness and texture to the normally plain cous cous. This was cooked quite light in flavour, ready to be drowned in the delicious sauces and flavours from the coming dishes. The saffron rice, coloured yellow from the saffron, was also light in taste, again to be eaten with the rich and flavourful dishes to come.

Photobucket
Corn Fed Chicken Tagine, cooked w/ Saffron, Preserved Olives and Crispy Dukkah Potatoes - I found the chicken a little too dry for my liking but the sauce made up for this (I was dousing my chicken and cous cous in the sauce). The potatoes were another highlight of this dish; crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Photobucket
My favourite of the main dishes tonight was this delicious Moorish Lamb Meat Balls in Rich Tomato Chermoula, Crispy Carrots, Coriander & Tomato Chekchouka. The meatballs are indeed very moorish (I've not included Moorish in to the name of this dish I swear. It was included on the menu!) especially combined with the lovely coriander and tomato chekchouka sauce. The crispy carrots also was a lovely addition to this dish and went very well with the sauce.

Photobucket
Vegetarian Cous Cous steamed in a couscoussier w/ Chickpeas and Glazed Moroccan Spiced Vegetables. I was a little surprised that we had another cous cous dish on the menu tonight as we were served cous cous earlier on as an accompaniment to the mains. The other two mains overshadowed this dish as the cous cous, chickpeas and spiced vegetables were very light in flavour compared to the other two main dishes.

Photobucket
The finale - Dessert! From left to right; Banana Crumble, Honey Ice Cream w/ Dukkah, Lavender Milk Jelly, Chocolate Truffle and Moroccan Pudding w/ Date and Figs. I loved the first two desserts. The banana crumble was just superb. The bananas just hit you when you take a bite of this dish akin to eating banana bread but not as heavy. Yum! The honey and dukkah ice cream was really good too mainly due to the texture added to the ice cream by the dukkah and the combination of honey and spices.

Photobucket
We finished the night with Moroccan Mint Tea. Omar pictured above entertaining us with the act of infusing and cooling the mint tea. He poured the mint tea from great heights 3 times to infuse the flavour as well as to cool the temperature of the tea so that they are ready to drink when served to us.

A big thank you to Kate, MJ and Omar for being our lovely hosts for the night. H and I enjoyed ourselves tremendously with wonderful food and good company. Not only that, we were also presented with a lovely goodie bag before we took our leave. Read my next post for what we received and what we've done with it!

You can find Table of Plenty Dukkah range and other Table of Plenty products at Coles and Woolworths/Safeway supermarkets as well as on Table of Plenty website's online shop.


Souk In The City
"Henry" Building
Shop 5 / 431 Bourke Street
Surry Hills Sydney

Email: dining@soukinthecity.com

Tel: (02) 9357 7577

Opening Hours
Tues - Sun Dinner 5.30pm - Close
Lunches available by special reservation

foodie-central dined as guests of MarkCommunications

Daphne

Thursday, August 5, 2010

drunken geisha

drunken geisha is not a Japanese restaurant as the name would suggest but in fact is a little, cosy Malaysian & Singaporean restaurant situated in the suburb of Pyrmont in Sydney (just down the street from Indonesian restaurant 1945). The decor is warm and inviting (I love the dark grey wallpaper and designer lamps) - ideal for a romantic dinner for two or even a birthday party celebration for 6 which was the case for us that night. 



Photobucket
We started off with Air Bandung ($3.50) - Air Bandung is a combination of rose syrup and evaporated milk mixed together and served chilled. This brought back memories of buying air bandung from the drink cart at Night Markets where the air bandung was poured into plastic sheets tied at one end with rafia string. I remembered when I was a little girl I used to love making air bandung not just with rose syrup and evaporated milk but with my secret ingredient of Ice Cream Soda (which is a clear, finely carbonated creamy vanilla flavoured soft drink which unfortunately is  really hard to find nowadays). 

Photobucket
Salt and Pepper Squid w/ Asian Salad and Lime Sauce ($9.90) - One of my favourite dishes of the night, the squid was fresh with a lovely light floured coating seasoned to perfection. I just want this plate all to myself!





Photobucket
Malaysian Style Curry Chicken ($15.20) - One of the better Malaysian curry chicken I have had in Sydney. The curry had a good balance of spices (not too overpowering) brought together with just the right amount of coconut cream. I have a huge dislike for food that has been doused with coconut milk/cream where all you can taste is coconut which is why I rarely have curry outside of home, unless we are having Indian curry of course!  

Photobucket
Roti Canai ($3.00) - We ordered one serve of the Roti to go with the curry chicken. These were ordinary and taste very much like the ones you can buy from the frozen section of Asian Groceries.


Photobucket
Beef Rendang ($15.20) - H loved drunken geisha's beef rendang saying that it reminded him of mum's home-cooked rendang. H said this rendang dish was the most authentic rendang dish that he has ever had outside of South-East Asia. The rest of us Malaysians in the group gave this the thumbs up as well. A great combination of spices leading to a creamy, slightly nutty sauce and tender beef.

Photobucket
Chargrilled Sambal Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaf (market price) - We were very excited when we saw this on the menu as it's very hard to find a place that serves Grilled Fish in Banana Leaf. I was a little disappointed when the dish arrived and we hastily opened up the banana leaf to reveal a fish fillet (basa fillet) instead of a whole fish. But taste wise, this was really good. All the better when we saw the cencaluk (fermented baby shrimps) served in a little saucer on the plate. Not only was this the right accompaniment for the dish, the cencaluk was also really shiok

Photobucket
Sambal Eggplant w/ Traditional Village Sauce ($9.90) - I wasn't too fond of this dish as the sambal didn't taste like the sambal I know. I'm guessing the sauce was a mix of sambal and traditional village sauce, from Kuching perhaps (I'm only guessing as the owners are from Kuching?). Malaysia is pretty big with a huge and diverse range of food, even the ingredients use in popular dishes like curry or rendang will differ between each family.


Photobucket
Hainanese Chicken Rice (Saturdays only) ($13.90) - The highlight of this dish were the sauces. The rice was pretty light in flavour and the chicken was so-so but eating the two with the sauces on top brought me home to my local Hainanese Chicken Rice store in Melaka. 


Photobucket
Mee Goreng ($12.90) - Spicy fried egg noodles with chicken, potatoes, tomatoes and eggs (additional $3 for prawns). A lovely dish that did taste of something you would get back home. The only thing missing was the charred flavour. 


Photobucket
Something from their fusion menu - Pan Fried Miso Barramundi Fillet w/ Oyster Mushrooms and Spinach ($18.90). I loved biting into this dish as the fish was fresh and the miso sauce delicious. I would have loved it even more if the fish was cut a little chunkier so that I could have gotten a really nice satisfying bite out of it.


I think I've found my favourite Malaysian restaurant in Sydney. Authentic and quality dishes combined with great service and a cosy ambience. Plus it's not too pricey too!


Note: Best to make a booking before heading to the restaurant as we saw lots of people turned away because they were full or had bookings in place.


drunken geisha
50 Harris Street
Pyrmont NSW


tel: 02 9660 6216


email: drunkengeisha@bigpond.com


Opening Hours
Mon - Fri : 6 pm -10 pm
Sat : 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm and 6 pm-12 pm

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Uncle NL's Home Cooked Meal

H and I always look forward to a visit from Uncle NL from Malaysia. Why you ask? This man loves cooking and eating. He will spend the whole day prepping ingredients to cook a feast so not only will we be eating out lots when he's here but we get home cooked meal ready on the table, hot and steaming, when we return home from a long day at the office :P

Photobucket
Crispy Prawns cooked w/ Salted Duck Egg - These were my favourite of the night. The skin of the prawns were fried to a crispy crunch and could be eaten whole with the lovely coating of salted duck eggs and curry leaves.

Photobucket
Soy Chicken w/ Egg - A moreish dish that I just could not stop eating. Love the eggs too but they would have been ideal if marinated for a few days longer where the marinade seeps all the way through.

Photobucket
Stir-Fry Asparagus w/ Scallops and Prawns - Another delicious dish that has me wishing that Uncle NL lived in Sydney and can cook for us every night!

Come back soon!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cooking Quorn - Wraps

We had some leftover from dinner last night and decided to make wraps with the leftover Quorn Strips cooked w/ Oyster Sauce.

Super easy!

Photobucket
We used Naan Roti bought from Harris Farm for the base but you can also use Tortilla wraps. I heated up the strips in the microwave then spooned the strips and vegs onto the naan. I placed the strips from the top of the naan to about three quarter way down and folded the bottom over the filling and then followed by the two sides and voila...

Photobucket
...the finished product! I was really surprised that the Quorn strips did not break down in the microwave as they did look quite fragile. Also the strips retain flavours really well and the wraps were delicious.


Big thanks to H for his lovely pose / hand model of the wraps :P