30 January 2013

Home Cooking: Chorizo with Kale and Breadcrumbs (30 Jan 2013)

Kale of a dish

Ever wanted to eat more healthy kale but always found it too boring when boiled. I did. So when I discovered the simple Stone Soup recipe which used chorizo I thought I'd give it a whirl. Cutting up kale and chorizo is dead easy. Add some oil, I used olive oil, to a wok/pan and pan fry the chorizo. Smells so good at this point tempting you to stop right here and eat as a tapas dish but persevere. Take the chorizo out with tongs and retain the flavoured oil to quickly stir fry the kale. Only takes a couple of minutes. As an adaptation I made some breadcrumbs by finely chopping a slice of white bread and cooked in the oven for about 10 minutes at 180 degrees until dry and crunchy. I added the breadcrumbs soon after the kale had cooked and the chorizo was added back in the wok. Allow the breadcrumbs to soak up any excess oil or add a dash of extra olive oil if too dry. Add a splash of lemon juice and take off the heat with a final stir fry toss. I only had bottled lime juice on hand which seemed to work OK as well. Didn't take long to make and tasted pretty good although probably not as healthy with the oil and chorizo but makes it easier to eat your greens.

• Chorizo
• Kale
• White Bread
• Lemon or Lime Juice
• Olive Oil

PROS: Kale is very healthy for you, There's chorizo in this dish, Simple recipe and easy to cook with minimal wash up required
CONS: Chorizo is probably not the healthiest thing to eat but tastes so good
MUST TRY: Discovering more recipes to cook kale in a tasty way
Chop up chorizo and kale
Breadcrumbs made by chopping up white bread and cooking in oven at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes
Cook chorizo in a bit of oil. Chorizo will produce extra oil when cooked.

Once the chorizo is cooked take out with tongs and keep to the side. Retain chorizo flavoured oil in wok.
Stir fry kale in chorizo flavoured oil on high heat
Once kale is about cooked add chorizo back in wok
Add breadcrumbs to soak up any excess oil and to flavour the breadcrumbs
Take off heat and add a splash of lemon or lime juice for extra flavour zest
Plate up and enjoy

23 January 2013

The Sharing House: Modern Australian sharing plates with a twist, Melbourne (23 May 2012)

35 Dukes Walk, South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf VIC 3006

Sharing with a twist of fun

“As the name stands, The Sharing House philosophy is to provide a sharing-style menu using high-quality seasonal ingredients to produce classic items with a modern Briggs-esq twist.”

A casual lunch break from the 2012 agIdeas design conference at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre nearby brings me to the lego filled The Sharing House. Crab toasties ($10 each) filled with spanner crab, horseradish and apple are quite good but expensive since it works out to be $10 for actually half a toastie. Was thinking it might have gone well with some sort of cucumber salsa on the side to make it more substantial. The Gravalax ($12) is nicely presented although a little awkward to serve on the crostinis provided. Perhaps if the ocean trout cured with apple vodka and mustard creme fraiche was already on the crostini would make it ready to share and eat. Oyster shucked to order with merlot vinegar and shallots ($4.50) comes at a high price and felt some of the brine was missing but had a nice fresh taste. A slice of lemon would have made up for the lack of brine. 

If you're going to order anything then make sure you get the Rabbit and cauliflower popcorn ($12) served in a parmesan breadcrumb with roasted garlic aioli. It has the taste, crunch and addictive appeal to go well with a beer. Pumpkins ($10) is actually pumpkin tortellini with sage butter. Quite nice but felt it needed more robust flavour from the sage butter that wasn't as noticeable as hoped. 5 inch pizza of prawn, garlic, tomato and chilli salsa ($16) was quite small for price but had really good flavours with an enjoyable salsa on top. Service was quite welcoming and helpful to keep our short lunch visit on time with the kitchen order. I like the quirky decor and wish I had more time to stay to try the desserts — perhaps next time.

PROS: Fun decor, Helpful service, Interesting menu, Seasonal and quality ingredients, Nice presentation
CONS: Sun glares through window on some of the tables depending on time, I don't get to Melbourne very often, What are those tiny spoons for?
MUST TRY: Rabbit and cauliflower popcorn
VERDICT: A casual and fun dining space that suits diners who love to share dishes
Mr Giraffe says hi and welcome

Table setting

Not quite sure what I'll be using these tiny spoons for?

Crab toasties: Spanner crab with horseradish and apple ($10 each) — quite good but expensive

Gravalax: Ocean trout cured with apple vodka, textures of apple and mustard creme fraiche ($12) — nice presentation but a little awkward to serve on crostinis 

Oyster (Coffin Bay) shucked to order with merlot vinegar and shallots ($4.50) — high price and lacked brine and fresh taste

Rabbit and cauliflower popcorn: Confit rabbit and cauliflower, in a parmesan breadcrumb, served with roasted garlic aioli ($12) — great taste, crunch and addictive

Pumpkins: Pumpkin tortellini with sage butter ($10) — quite nice but felt it needed more robust flavour from the sage butter

5 inch pizza of prawn, garlic, tomato and chilli salsa ($16) — quite small for the price but really good flavours and enjoyable salsa on top

Bill $88 for four, nice service that was helpful, quirky decor, sun shines through window at times

Love it

Love it

Love it

Kitchen where all the magic happens

Best toilet sign

Actually this is the best toilet sign

Design provides a bit of privacy

View Larger Map
The Sharing House on Urbanspoon

21 January 2013

Product Test: Coway Juicepresso, Cold Press Juicer (19 Dec 2012)

Cold blooded nutritional juicing

“Juicepresso squeezes slowly rather than grinds quickly, so on top of not producing friction and heat, it minimises noise and is whisper quiet. It also consumes less electricity and is up to 10x more energy-efficient than traditional juicers.”

Thanks to Vivien Mah from Andatech for providing a Coway Juicepresso to test. I was hoping to have seen it demonstrated at the MasterChefLIVE 2012 but I missed out so this was a good opportunity to see how it performed. It takes up less bench space than the Philips HR1871 Juicer and is much quieter being a cold press juicer. I've never used a cold press juicer before and found a pretty good website that compares a few of them based on their features. The parts are quite simple to put together and take apart for washing. Performance wise the juicing of apple, orange, grapefruit, pineapple and kale went well but tomato left pulp and carrot left bits. Possibly a second juicing would have refined these to a more pure juice. All fruit and vegetables needed to be cut and prepared to fit in the chute to be juiced which is more time consuming than using a juicer than can take whole fruits. Flavour wise the apple, orange, grapefruit and pineapple were very enjoyable to drink with lots of distinctive flavour while the kale probably should have been mixed with another fruit like apple to make it more palatable but it did a very good job at juicing it. Washing up was relatively easy and some brushing of the filter mesh was required to clean it thoroughly. The machine comes with a simple recipe book for juice ideas and overall it's a simple juicer to use.

PROS: Flavoursome juice, Simple to use, Fairly easy to clean
CONS: Fruit and vegetables need to be cut up before juicing, Tomato and carrot didn't juice as effectively as hoped, Apparently doesn't juice avocado, banana and mango particularly well
MUST TRY: Juicing tomato and carrot through a second time
VERDICT: Quite a powerful yet compact juicer that's easy to clean and simple to use. Pricing and features compared to other cold press juicers will determine its attractiveness to purchase
Requires small bench space
Simple step by step recipes — very basic instructions
Day 1 testing: apple, orange, grapefruit, tomato
Day 2 testing: carrot, pineapple, orange, kale
Apple juicing — good result and flavour
Orange juicing — good result and flavour

Grapfruit juicing — good result and flavour
Tomato juicing — too much pulp made it through to juice. A second juicing is recommended.
Carrot juicing — too many bits coming through with the juice. Perhaps a second juicing would refine to just juice?

Pineapple juicing — good result and flavour
Kale juicing — good result but would suggest mixing in apple juice to make flavour more palatable

Washing water through after kale juice
Components for washup. Easy to disconnect and carry without mess
Parts quite easy to take apart and clean fairly easily
The mesh filter requires a bit of extra cleaning with brush supplied which isn't too difficult

Parts that required washing — fairly simple and easily to put back together

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