Salmon Mushroom Rice & Chawan Mushi

Cooking For a Lazy Day

There might be some days when you are tired and all you want to cook is something really simple and quick. These two recipes are perfect when I'm having a lazy day. The ingredients are simple and  it takes no time to prepare them. So, if any day you need something easy but still tasty, try these! It's so good and easy, you won't believe it.

Salmon Mushroom Rice

Ingredients (Please measure your ingredients accordingly):
- A handful of Shiitake mushroom (soaked and chopped into small sizes)
- IMPORTANT: keep the water used to soak the mushroom as we need it to cook the rice.
- 2-3 Salmon fillets
- Japanese soy sauce + sake (I actually replace with Teriyaki Sauce)
- Salt 

1) After soaking the mushroom, use the water to cook the rice.
2) Add in the mushrooms and some Teriyaki Sauce or soy sauce  and sake accordingly. Don't add too much, you can always add more sauce after the rice is cooked.
3) Cook the rice in rice cooker.
4) While the rice is cooking, prepare the salmon by placing it on baking tray.
5) Add the Teriyaki sauce or soy sauce
6) Bake the salmon for 10 mins or until cooked
7) Once salmon is cooked, pick out the bones and add the salmon into the cooked rice and mix well.
8) Add Teriyaki sauce/ soy sauce/ salt according to taste

Chawan Mushi

Ingredients (The measurement is enough for 4)
- 4 large eggs (lightly beaten)
-1 1/2 tsp Mirin
-1 1/2 tsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 cups of dashi stock
- 4 Shiitake mushrooms (soaked until soft)
- Add any seafood that you like (like prawn, fish cake or scallop). I added prawn and scallop this time.

1) Mix the beaten eggs with mirin, soy sauce and the dashi stock.
2) Divide the rest of the ingredients into 4 small bowls and pour in the egg mixtures. Cover the bowl with aluminium foil.
3) Steam the egg mixture on a high heat for about 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and steam for another 15 minutes or until they are set. Serve immediately.

Glass Brasserie, Hilton Hotel - Sydney

My Perfect Weekend Celebration at Glass Brasserie

Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated my birthday at Glass Brasserie in Hilton Hotel. Upon arriving the restaurant, we were greeted by a beautiful attendant who then walked us to our table. Once I sat down, I was enamored by the stunning interior of the restaurant, I actually took a good 10-15 minutes to appreciate the elegant dining room. The service was absolutely excellent here. There was one particular staff that look after us, who was really attentive and constantly checking us out making sure we had everything we needed. For me, this place is truly a five star dining experience.

For starter, we were served with some complementary breads. The bread was really nice, the crust was amazingly crispy! There were four breads in one serving. After we finished, the staff actually offered us another serving. We made an intentional mistake of having two servings of the breads. Not to mention the full of flavour Luke Mangan olive oil to dip in.

First entree we had was the Organic Egg Omelette ($30) filled with blue swimmer crab meat, enoki mushroom and herb salad with miso mustard broth. The taste of the mustard was quite subtle which really enliven my appetite. 

The second entree we had was the Seared Sea Scallops ($28.00). The were 5 scallops in one serving, served with cauliflower cream, black bean and tabouli dressings. The scallop was undeniable fresh. This dish has a clean taste that is great to get the taste bud ready for main course.

For main, I had the Port Lincoln Jewfish & Prawns ($42), cooked in XO sauce and served with spicy sausage snake beans and king brown mushroom. I was a bit surprised when I had my first mouth, it's obviously an asian influenced dish, the spicy sauce  taste very similar to those you find in Asian restaurants. If you eat alot of asian food, I would not recommend this dish, but if Asian food is not on your daily menu, this dish is worth a try.

My husband originally wanted to have the rib eye, but on that day the rib eye has been replaced with 500g T-Bone steak, of course he wouldn't mind the T-Bone ($59). The T-Bone was fantastic! It was definitely the winner of the meal! The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare as requested. Even without the BBQ sauce, the meat was flavoursome by itself.  My husband absolutely mad about the brown mushrooms, bone marrow and parsley on the side. 
I have to say it was indeed very tasty! My husband even confessed that he has not enjoy a steak so much lately.

When I was browsing through the menu, my eyes were set on the Parmesan & Truffled French ($12). It was the best decision I've made that evening, the truffle infused french fries was to die for. The perfectly thin and crispy french fries with the earthy truffle flavour was divine!

It's pretty unusual for us to finish our meal without dessert, but we were too full that we couldn't stomach anymore dessert (Must be the two servings of bread). What a shame, cos I heard/read good reviews on their desserts. I guess, now I have another reason to come back.

Overall, me and my husband truly enjoyed our meal here! Not only the food was good, we were really pleased with the service too. We promised we will come back again. But like all restaurants, there are always mix opinions with different people, as food can be pretty subjective. Personally, I would recommend this place to everyone, especially if you have an entertainment card, buy one get one free is a steal for such delightful meal!

Level 2, 488 George St (Hilton Hotel)
Sydney - 2000
Ph: (02) 9265 6068

Petaling Street & OldTown Kopitiam Mamak, Melbourne

Having spent my teenage life in Malaysia for three and a half years, I've definitely built a strong bond with the country. Not only the people and culture that attach me to the country, but it's also my love to Malaysian food. Malaysian food has become a part of me since then.

I always think among all the cities in Australia, Sydney probably has the best selection of Malaysian restaurants to choose from. But I was wrong, I must admit Melbourne is now the place to go for Malaysian cuisine. Especially when there are two authentic Malaysian restaurants opened up their branches in Melbourne, i.e. Petaling Street and Old Town Kopitiam Mamak.

My first meal after touching down Melbourne was Petaling Street. It was around 9 when we arrived and we were worried that the restaurant is already closed, but my bro in law told us no need to worry because this restaurant open until 3 AM. The real malaysian style! When I reached the restaurant and looked at the menu, I felt like home.

Malaysian Food is never complete without their chilli condiment - Sambal and to soothe your burning mouth, a cup of icy cold Teh Tarik (Milk Tea) will do the job.

We had the delicious Petaling Street Style Steam rice roll ($5.80), served with the perfect sweet dark sauce.

 Then, we had the Herbal Chicken Soup, it was rich with ginseng flavour. It's perfect to warm up the body in Melbourne's freezing weather. (Sorry I forgot how much this soup cost)

The Mamak Mie Goreng ($8.90) was so good and it's really authentic. Back in Malaysia this is a very popular Hawker type spicy egg noodles. What you'll find in this plate of noodle are seafood, chicken, bean curd and bean shoots. We ended up ordering one more plate of this yummy fried noodle, because one is just not enough.

We also had their Asam Laksa ($9.90). Another popular hawker food in Malaysia. The thick vermicelli noodle is served with cucumber, red onion, pineapple in hot sour fish soup. Even though, the flavour was there but we found the soup too thick and overpowering.

Lastly, we had the Cuttlefish Salad. I have not seen this dish in Sydney. This is a very unique salad only to be found in Malaysia. The boiled Cuttlefish was served with water spinach topped with peanuts and dark sweet sauce which I have no idea what it's made of, but it was really delicious, taste exactly like those back in Malaysia. So glad to find it here in Petaling Street!

Next day while walking around the Melbourne city, me and my husband found another Malaysian franchise restaurant purely by chance. Nested inside QV square is the Old town Kopitiam Mamak. Famous for their milk coffee, milk tea as well as their traditional Malaysian food, my husband and I made a stop here. Even though we were still feeling full from lunch, we just couldn't go pass this place.

My husband had their special Old Town Teh C Special 3 Colour tea ($3.90). The drink consists of layers of tea, milk and brown palm sugar

I tried the Ice Cendol ($6.00). Ice cendol is a refreshing drink with a blend of brown palm sugar, red bean, green jelly coconut milk and shaved ice. But this cendol was quite dissapointing, the coconut milk was too thick. I guess we can never find cendol that is as good as the one in Malaysia, because the coconut milk in Australia is mostly packaged, where in Malaysia they serve it with fresh coconut milk which taste so much lighter and fresher.

Finally, one of my favourite food - Roti canai ($4.50). The roti canai is definitely the best I've had in Australia, my husband actually thought it is even better than the one he had in Malaysia. The bread was crispy and it had the perfect texture and flavour. We were not surprise it's this good, because it's made by the real Mamak (Tamil Muslims of Malaysian nationality), who is known for their specialty in making roti canai.

I couldn't be happier with our meals in these two restaurants. Now, the question is "When are they going to open a branch in Sydney?". I'm highly anticipating for the day to come!

Petaling Street
600 Station St, Box Hill 
Melbourne 3000
Ph:(03) 9890 0972
Level 2, Shop 11, QV Square
QV Building
Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9654 2682

Pacific Seafood BBQ House, Melbourne

My Favourite Chinese Restaurant in Melbourne

The first time I came to Pacific Seafood BBQ House (mostly known as Pacific House) was probably 3 years ago. It was also the first time I had their Singapore Chilli Lobster. Since then, I've been longing to come back and have their lobster again. I've came back for other dishes but not the lobster so, before I fly to Melbourne last week, I asked my sister to make a booking because, I need to have their Singapore Chilli Lobster badly! Actually, apart from the Lobster everything else is really good too.

This is a very popular chinese restaurant among the Melbournians. You can expect long queues most of the time. Hence, booking is highly recommended. Food is superb and fairly priced. Service is really fast too, however don't expect any friendly service here.

This meal is a very special meal for me, as we were celebrating my sister, her husband and my birthday. It was a birthday fiesta! 

We had one of their very popular dishes, The deep fried chicken covered with salted egg yolk. This is so good! but like my brother in law said, this is the perfect recipe to heart attack, high in fat and salt. But we couldn't care any less, it was too good to say no to.

We also ordered the Venison meat, I think it was stir fry with ginger and shallot (I wasn't paying much attention when my sister made the order). The Venison meat was unbelievably tender. Even some of the fine dining restaurants couldn't achieve tenderness like this.

Pacific House is also popular for their BBQ pork and roast pork.

We ordered a garlic stir fry vegetable to balance our heavy dishes.

Then, we had the legendary Singapore Chilli Lobster! The sauce was so tasty, accompanied with Chinese thin egg noodle, it was heaven in my mouth! This Singapore Chilli sauce can be cooked with crab too.

My sister bought us a birthday cake from Laurent Patisserie. It was a chocolate and passionfruit mousse cake. The chocolate was rich, the passionfruit was sweet and sour but refreshing at the same time. Yum!

Please note: All the dishes were priced around twenties, except the lobster which was pretty pricey. It was $365. We didn't expect the lobster to cost so much, but we all agreed that it worth every dollar of our money.

Overall, I love this restaurant, food was really good, price is reasonable (except for the lobster). Hence, one of my favourite place to dine and for many Melbournians too.

Pacific Seafood BBQ House
1/210 Toorak Rd
South Yarra 
Ph: (03) 9826 3838

The Press Club, Melbourne

It's not an easy thing to secure a table at The Press Club. Owned by one of the Masterchef Judges, George Calombaris, this charming Greek restaurant is definitely one of Australians favourite eateries.  My sister tried to make a booking for dinner one and a half months ago, but the staff told her the earliest she could get a table for dinner on Saturday is three month later, so with some luck she managed to secure a table for us for lunch last Saturday.

My sister said that their lunch menu is not as good as dinner. They do serve a la carte for lunch and they also have set menu which they called Kerasma (which means to treat and to share in Greek) for $55 per person, it consists of chef's selection of entree, main and dessert. We decided to go with the Kerasma.

 Complementary Olive and white breads

Wild olives in olive oil & Black Salt

Entrees (There were three types of entree):
1. Squid Salad and Pickle Cucumber. It was quite refreshing and light to start off the meal.

2. Pork and Honey Apple Press. The pork cube was surprisingly tender,the spices was flavourful and never knew pork goes so well with apple. 

3. Duck Croquette. The filling was rich and creamy and the skin was soft crisp. There was a prominent flavour of cumin accompanying the croquette. It was my favourite entree of all three.

Mains ( We were served two different mains, where we had one each):
1. Sword Fish with Tomato salsa. The fish was really fresh, seasoned well and cooked to perfection. The tasty salsa sauce gave the whole dish an extra flavour, it definitely complemented the fish well.

2. Braised Beef with Eggplant and Caramalised Onion.
This dish was mind blowing! Every single component of it was delicious! The beef melts in your mouth, it was really rich, sweet in flavour and it's aromatic, which highlighted the beef. The Eggplant has a pleasant smokey smell, it was really unique. The caramalised onions was probably one of the best I've ever tasted and it was a perfect match for the beef.

Separately, we ordered their famous chips to share. In fact it was really crispy and fragrant. We couldn't figure out why the chips smells so good and different compared with other chips we have in other restaurants, but it was just different in a very delicious way. I wonder what's the secret behind it. The chips were served with beetroot dip. I didn't like it cos I'm not a big fan of beetroot.

Desserts (There were three types of dessert):
I really enjoyed the choice of desserts they served, they were all refreshing and light. Perfect to end the rich and tasty lunch.

Icy cold Apricot Sorbet  &  Orange Cake.

Muesli Cube
I'm not sure what exactly this muesli made from, but it was so yummy! I loved it! I could taste the Pistachio and the muesli was topped with a layer of fruit jelly. The overall flavour was just unexplainable. I just couldn't love it enough. If only they have this kind of muesli bar on sale on the market. 

The Aphrodite
Finally, the reason we came to Press Club. We came to Press Club with a mission to try on their famous dessert, the 'Aphrodite' that was made famous by the Masterchef show. Elements you could find in this beautiful dessert are white chocolate mousse, cheeries, roses, soil and scent. 

While serving the dessert, the staff told us the inspiration of this dessert came from the Greek's Goddess of love who walks along the garden of roses. This is not only a dessert for your palate, but it was also a feast for the eyes and for the imagination. Savouring this dessert was an experience by itself. The flavour of this beautiful dessert was another glory. 

The waitress came and sprayed some roses scent before we started, it did awake our senses. The combination of the roses scent, cheeries, jelly and dark chocolate crumbs were perfect. It was a little sweet and a little soury. Just how I like my dessert to be.

Notice there's one thing missing in the Aphrodite? It was the smoke effect that was seen on TV. My husband actually asked them why it wasn't serve they way we saw it on masterchef. The staff explained that due to the high cost, the smoke was only serve for the purpose of the show and for function only. Oh well, it would have been better if we could experience that as well, but overall I still love this dessert very much.  

But please note that the scent of the roses are quite strong, so if you don't usually like roses, you might not like this dessert.

Overall, I think the lunch in The Press Club was pretty good.
Did this two hatted restaurant live up to my expectation? It certainly did. 
For $55, I think it was a great value.
Just make sure you book early! 

72 Flinders Street
Melbourne 3000 Australia
Ph: (03) 9677 9677