Archive for the ‘Eat’ Category


Hi!  I know it’s been ages.  You’re probably wondering if I’m here to make an appearance and then disappear after one or two posts… maybe… I don’t know.  But this recipe was too good to pass-up and not share with you.  I know I’ve jumped on the poke bandwagon a little bit late but – this is a revelation.  I have always wanted to have poke bowls for lunch but buying fresh fish and taking it to work has never been an option and the prices for sashimi in the food court at work is ridiculously expensive. So why not buy salmon and cook it sous vide and use that for poke.  The texture is pretty close to sashimi (maybe a little bit on the firmer side) and you can store it for a few days in the fridge if you’re not ready to use it.  Yes, this is super easy to put together and if you aren’t inclined to sous vide your fish – maybe use tofu or prawns instead – even chicken… I don’t know… I don’t even know if this is even a poke bowl anymore… maybe it’s just a soba salad that is disguised as a poke bowl?!?  I’ve brought it to work a couple of times already and it tastes awesome – so yes, you’re welcome.  Haha!

In case, you ARE wondering what happened to me since the last time I posted – well, YOGA took over my life…. and Pilates as well.  In the last year I took a teacher training course in Pilates (two actually but I kinda failed the first one!) and then I decided to take a Yoga 300 hour Teacher Training in Thailand… and now doing another  200 hour training.  I am hoping one day to find a way to blend my passion for food and “movement” (mostly Yoga).  If and only if you ARE interested (and why wouldn’t you be?!) go check out Trissalicious on Instagram. Follow me there – you’ll probably get to see a little bit more of me there.

Salmon Poke with Soba Noodles

Serves Two

    • 2 salmon fillets, sous vide 100 grams each
    • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
    • 2 tsps finely chopped green onions
    • Shredded Carrots
    • Shredded Red Cabbage
    • Edamame
    • Japanese Seaweed
    • Soba Noodles
    • Pickled Cucumber
    • Roasted Sesame Sauce (I used Kewpie)
    1. First Make the Sous Vide Salmon.  I suggest using the recipe here.
    2. Once you are ready to use the salmon, mix around 2 tbsp of roasted sesame sauce and top with black sesame seeds and finely chopped green onions.
    3. Top with the carrots, cabbage, edamame, seaweed, cucumber and whatever else you’d like to add.

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Roast Duck with Mandarin Pancakes

Roast Duck with Mandarin Pancakes

Tucked away in the Gateway Building on the corner of Pitt and Alfred Streets is Neptune Palace.  “Neppi’s” is somewhat of an institution in the banking and finance circles. In typical Malaysian/Chinese restaurant fashion, the menu is extensive with at least 140 items to choose from.   Having said that, there are a number of requisite dishes that we always order like the “Rusty Motorbike”, Seafood Sang Choy Bau, Kapitan Chicken and the Duck Pancakes.  These are the reliable dishes that people come back for over and over again in the almost twenty years that this restaurant has been in operation.

Post the roast chicken he made the other day, we decided to try and re-create a few of our favourite dishes from this restaurant.  We liked the way they served their Duck Pancakes.  Whilst most Chinese restaurants will serve mostly the skin and very little meat, Neppi’s is a little different in that there is a generous amount of fried duck meat and of course, a decent amount of crispy skin.  I actually prefer the Mandarin Pancakes this way.  Rather than purchasing a whole duck, it made more sense for us to buy two duck breasts for this recipe.

So we marinated the duck breasts overnight in a teaspoon of five spice powder, two tablespoons of maple syrup and two tablespoons of soy sauce.  Then we sous vide the duck breasts at 57c for an hour and finally pan fried skin side down to get it all nice and extra crispy.  In the meantime, we prepared the Mandarin Pancakes (recipe below).  My husband is proving to be a better cook that I imagined!

To serve, we sliced up some of the duck, whilst the rest, we diced and fried it a little bit more.

The dishes we order at Neppi’s remind me sometimes of the very good friends I have.  There are over 140 dishes in the Neppi’s menu but we keep coming back to the dishes we know we can trust.  Similarly, of all the many friends I have, there are only a handful that I know I can rely on, no matter what.

Roast Duck with Mandarin Pancakes

Roast Duck with Mandarin Pancakes

Mandarin Pancakes

Recipe adapted from Neil Perry’s Rockpool

  • 400 grams plain flour
  • 190 ml boiling water
  • pinch salt
  • 65 ml cold water
  • sesame oil for rolling
  1. Place the flour, water and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer and using a dough hook, turn on to medium speed until the dough comes together in a ball.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead lightly on a lightly oiled surface for around 5 minutes until the ball of dough is smooth and springs back when pressed.
  3. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. When the dough has rested, place it back on a lightly oiled surface and cut the dough in half. Keep one covered with a damp cloth and roll the other half into a long sausage. Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces.
  5. Press each piece down with the palm of your hand and then brush each piece with sesame oil. Place one piece of dough on top of the other so that the oiled sides are facing each other and then roll each pair of pancakes out to a diameter of 10 cm. Repeat with the rest of a pieces. Now, do the same with the rest of the dough. Place the rolled pieces of dough on top of each other in a plate and cover with a damp cloth.
  6. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Place the pancake in the pan and dry fry for around 20 to 30 seconds or until you can see faint brown spots start to appear. You will also notice the dough puff up as it cooks.
  7. Flip the pancakes to the other side to cook again, another 15 to 20 seconds.
  8. Remove the pancakes from the heat and carefully pull them apart after a minute or so (allowing the pancakes to cool down a bit).
  9. The pancakes can be stored on a plate covered with a damp cloth before serving. They can also be stored in the freezer and heated in a warm oven before serving.
  10. To assemble, lay a pancake on a plate, spread over with hoisin sauce, sliced of green onions and cucumbers.

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Momofuku Crispy Pork Buns

Momofuku Crispy Pork Buns

Picasso once said:

“I paint the way some people write their autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary…”

Now, replace paint with “cook” in the first sentence and replace paintings with “dishes” in the second and you’ll understand why.   My blog is pretty much a chronicle of my life.  Many posts are prompted by an event, memory or story that’s happened to me.  To many people, reading these stories would be similar to what I heard a little boy saying over and over again at the Picasso exhibit I went to today…. “boring, boring, boring…”, but to me, these are the moments worth savouring.

Take, for example, these Momofuku style pork buns.  When I think Momofuku Pork Buns, I remember my last trip to New York where my husband and I had a Momofuku Day and hit all four of his restaurants in one day.  I remember the time I took my Mom to the new Momofuku Seibo in Sydney and the expression on her face when they brought over the slow-cooked pork shoulder for “dessert” (priceless comes to mind!).  Then there was New Year’s dinner with my husband, where, the Seibo chefs, when they found out that I did not drink, decided to create a “juice menu” for me (why didn’t anyone else think of that before? From now on juice menus should be mandatory at all restaurants!).

In this version, I thought I’d try something a little bit different and deep fry the pork belly upon the counsel of a few foodie friends.  The pork belly is prepared Filipino Style.  First, simmered with salt, bay leaves, garlic and onion, then deep fried over a low heat.  Right before serving, the pork belly is fried again at a higher heat – there is something truly magical when you’re left with the most tender pork belly and super crispy skin.

So anyway, here it is – Momofuku Pork Buns with twice fried crispy pork belly.  Seriously good stuff.

Momofuku Crispy Pork Buns

Momofuku Crispy Pork Buns

Momofuku Crispy Pork Buns

From David Chang
Steamed Buns

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups water at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon rounded baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup rendered pork fat or vegetable shortening at room temperature plus more for shaping the buns as needed
  1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Mix at the lowest possible speed for 10 minutes. The dough should gather together into a neat, not too tacky ball on the hook. When it does, lightly oil a medium mixing bowl and put the dough in it. Cover the bowl with a dry kitchen towel. Place in a warmish place. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in bulk, around 1 hour, 15 minutes.
  2. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Using a bench scraper or a knife, divide the dough in half, then divide the half into 5 equal pieces. Gently roll the pieces into logs, then cut each log into 5 equal pieces, making 5o pieces total. They should weigh about 25 grams each (or the size of a ping pong ball). Roll each piece into a ball. Cover the dough balls with a draping of plastic wrap and allow them to rest and rise for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut our fifty 8 cm squares of parchment paper. Coat a chopstick with the fat you are working with.
  4. Flatten out one ball with the palm of your hand, then using a rolling pin to roll it out into a 8 cm long oval. Lay the greased chopstick across the middle of the oval and fold the oval over onto itself to form the bun shape. Withdraw the chopstick, leaving the bun folded, and put the bun on a square of parchment paper. Stick it back under the plastic wrap (or dry kitchen towel) and form the rest of the buns. Let the buns rest for 30 to 45 minutes; they will rise a little.
  5. Set up a steamer on the stove. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the steamer, steam the buns on the parchment squares for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment paper. You can use the buns immediately (reheat them in the steamer for a minute or so if necessary) or allow to cool completely, then seal in plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to a few months. Reheat the frozen buns in a stovetop steamer for 3 minutes, until puffy, soft and warmed all the way through.

Crispy Pork Belly

  • 1 kilo pork belly
  • 50 grams salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Place the pork belly, salt, garlic and onion in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours until the pork is tender. Remove from the pot and allow the pork to cool. Once cool, place the pork on a plate and keep uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  2. Heat a deep fat fryer to the lowest setting (mine was 150c) and fry the pork for 20 minutes. Remove, cool and again place in the refrigerator, at least 3 hours.
  3. For the final cooking, heat the deep fat fryer to it’s highest setting (mine was 190 c), fry the pork again for 10 minutes until the skin crisps up. Remove, drain and slice for the pork buns.

For the pickled cucumbers
slice 2 cucumbers thinly, add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before using.
To Assemble

  • 1 steamed bun
  • 2 slices of the crispy pork belly
  • hoisin sauce
  • pickled cucumbers
  • spring onions, thinly sliced
  • sriracha sauce for serving
  1. Open the bun and spread some hoisin sauce. Add the cucumbers, then layer with the crispy pork belly, and finally top with the spring onions.
  2. Serve with sriracha sauce on the side.

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Braised Beef Cheeks with Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Cauliflower Puree

Braised Beef Cheeks with Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Cauliflower Puree

Patience has never been my strong point.  When I want things done, I want it straight away and a few years ago I realized my husband just doesn’t work on the same time zone as I do.

Every Monday night I used to ask “Can you take the trash out?”

“Yes.”  He would reply.

Five minutes later he still hadn’t done so.  “I thought you were going to take the trash out?” I would remind him.

Finally, one day, fed up with my nagging he said “When I say I’ll take out the trash, I’ll take it out when I want to, if you can’t wait, then take the trash out yourself.”

Hmph!  Since then, I haven’t bugged him about the trash (well, or any other house chores really) because given a choice between doing it myself or having him do it “on his own time”, I’d rather wait.

On my recent Melbourne trip I was pleased to discover that Movida was a few steps away from my hotel.  I managed to sneak in a lunch and had (among other things) the slowly braised beef cheek (Carrillera De Buey).  What can I say?  Here was a well-marbled piece of meat, covered in a sticky, glossy Pedro Ximenez Sherry sauce and served with the creamiest cauliflower puree.

When I got back to Sydney I raved about the dish to my husband and I promised to make it for him after I found the recipe in the Movida Rustica cookbook.

For a number of days he’d ask “When am I going to try the Movida beef cheeks?”

“Soon.”  I said.

The other day he said “Are you ever going to make the beef cheeks?  I’m beginning to doubt that I’ll ever get to taste them!”

Here was my chance.

“When I say that I’m going to make the beef cheeks, I’ll make it when I want to.  If you can’t wait, then make the beef cheeks yourself!”



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Truffled Egg Pasta

Truffled Egg Pasta

Let me start of by saying that this pasta dish is not for the faint hearted.  Seriously.  It has been said that if you do any research on coronary heart disease, you will find that the leading cause will be Armando Percuoco’s fettuccine al tartufovo (truffled egg pasta).   Yes, okay, I know I exaggerate too much (and my husband will wholeheartedly agree with you on this one)…. but if you were going to die eating a pasta dish – you would want THIS ONE to take you down.

Why?  The ingredient list reads like the top outlawed food for weight watchers – butter, cream, eggs, pasta and cheese.

But -it’s that heart stoppingly good.  Really.

This dish originates from Armando Percuoco who owns Buon Ricordo.  This is their signature dish and over 50% of people will order this dish at his restaurant.

I don’t care what anyone else says – this restaurant deserves its two hats!


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Fruit Loops Milk Panna Cotta

New York City is like one great big meal.  A bit extravagant, somewhat pricey, but overall an unforgettable experience.   So what makes New York so special to me?  Like any great meal, each dish has to be well executed, a little bit edgy, sometimes unexpected, each plate should be unique but complementary to the whole experience.


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Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondisement

Come and take a walk with me, along my favourite arrondisement in Paris.

The 7th… while home to the Eiffel, is so much more than that!


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Step away from the fridge!

“Step away from the fridge! ” I barked at my husband.  “It’s wired!” I continued.

“You’ve just picked up the bottle of water.  We’ve got five seconds before we’re charged.  We can still salvage the situation.  Put the bottle down and slowly close the fridge.” I added.

And this begins our first day in Paris.


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Spicy Scallops

The other day I met two of my workmates on their way to lunch.  I asked them where they were off to.

“We’re going to have Thai at the food court,”

“Have you ever tried the Indian there?” I asked.

“Yes but I’ll never go back there.” One of them told me.

“Why not? Is the food that bad?”I asked.

“No… the food’s okay but the lady there – she is so miserly, she doesn’t make you feel welcome.” He replied.

His companion pitched in “Yes, she doesn’t seem to enjoy what she does.  Not like the people in the sandwich place.”

I knew what they were talking about.  I’ve eaten in the Indian eatery once but have heard the same comments from other colleagues.  The lady is stingy on portions and barely smiles, almost snickers when serving.  There are hardly any lunch queues when I walk by.

The sandwich eatery on the other hand, is always packed.  The coffee isn’t particularly good, and the sandwiches are by no means gourmet, they are standard sandwiches which you would expect to get from most places.  But the servings are huge, in fact, even the most voracious of eaters can only finish half a sandwich!  The owner and his wife greet you by name every morning as they start to prepare your coffee even before you ask for a cappuccino with one sugar.   They seem genuinely happy to see you and serve you their food.  It’s no wonder people keep coming back.

I guess, when we cook with love, it shows. (more…)

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My take on Tetsuya's Signature Dish

From: Lopez, Trissa
Sent: Monday, 2 November 2009 3:43 PM
To: ‘XXXXXXX@tetsuyas.com
Subject: Query on Tetsuya Book

Dear Mr. Tetsuya,

So sorry to bother you – I have a book of yours and since I am not able to get a booking at your fabulous restaurant until next year, I wanted to try and recreate the Confit Ocean Trout at home. The recipe asks for konbu – but the konbu I found doesn’t look like it is for the recipe (ie a large sheet when I think the recipe requires a powder??).
I have been asking the Japanese shops close by if they know what this is but they said there is so many products that they don’t know where to begin.

Are you able to tell me what the konbu you are referring to? Is there a particular brand?

Kind regards


I emailed Tetsuya. I really did! I know, my husband must be wanting to go into hiding right now. He thinks I have no shame. Truth is, he’s probably right!

Let me back up a little bit. For those that don’t know who/what is Tetsuya. Tetsuya is a three hat restaurant in Sydney owned by Tetsuya Wakuda. They have been consistently awarded the highest rating in Sydney’s Good Food Guide since 1992 and has been named one of the top restaurants in the world by S Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

While his accomplishments are many, he is a very humble man and so approachable. I still remember when I went there with my Mom about a year ago. Mr. Tetsuya went to our table and I introduced myself and my Mom to him. I told him that we had waited 3 months to get a table at his restaurant. He chatted with us awhile and then before he left he gave my Mom a piece of paper and said “Mrs. Lopez, this is for you so that you never have to wait three months again.” It was his business card with a “secret phone number” for special reservations! On top of that, on our way home they gave her a cookbook too!

Well, anyway, my Mom took the card with her and I was never able to use the “secret phone number”. So I had to try to get a booking like the rest of us mortals. However, every time I would call, I’d get told that the earliest available table on a weekend was three months or four months away…

So I said to myself, if I can’t get a table, I’ll just make the dish myself. Which is why I emailed Mr. Tetsuya – I wanted to recreate the most famous dish in Australia, some say, the most photographed dish in the world. It’s not hard to see why, not only does it taste delicious, it’s a really beautiful dish. Imagine a fillet of ocean trout a top a salad of fennel, barely cooked so that it still maintains it bright orangey red colour, topped with konbu shavings and a sprinkling of chives. It is surrounded by a parsley caper oil and dots of ocean trout caviar… it’s just genius!


Strands of konbu

That afternoon I got a call from his personal assistant – she was kind enough to tell me that yes, it was the same konbu but they had staff that were skilled enough to cut the konbu up into tiny tiny pieces. While we were chatting I tried again, “was there a table available?” and miraculously she said yes! Did I want a lunch or dinner booking?

So that’s how I got my reservation for Tetsuya on a Saturday lunch – and that’s where the inspiration for this blog came from.

So finally, how did I deal with the konbu? Well, I bought some konbu strands (but I am sure you can use sheets to the same effect) and I ground them up with a spice grinder!


Make your own konbu powder with a spice grinder!

The final result? Delicious! If I wanted to eat this dish again, there is no need for me to ask my mom for that “secret number”!

Recipe (Adapted from Tetsuya’s cookbook)

Note: The dish is so gorgeous that I initially expected it was very difficult to make. It’s not. Really. I promise. You just need a good fish monger that will fillet the fish for you…. and a spice grinder is helpful too!


Trout is left to marinate in herbs, spices, garlic and a mixture of grapeseed and olive oil

Serves 4

  • 350 grams ocean trout (or use salmon if unavailable in your area), skinned and filleted
  • 100 ml grapeseed oil
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 10 whole basil leaves
  • 3 stalks thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons konbu, finely chopped (if you are not inclined to do so, grind them using a spice grinder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ocean trout caviar (or salmon caviar if unavailable)

Fennel Salad

  • 1/4 bulb fennel, shaved (use a mandolin for best results)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Parsley Oil

  • leaved from 1/4 bunch italian/flat leaf parsley
  • 50 ml olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and drained
  1. Ask your fish monger to skin and cut the trout into four pieces. Each should not weigh more than 100 grams each. Marinate the ocean trout in the grapeseed oil, olive oil, ground coriander, pepper, basil leave, thyme stalks, and garlic.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (I left mine overnight).
  3. To cook the fish, preheat the oven to 65c and take the fish out and allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Then, lay the fish on a bed of celery and carrots and place in the oven. Paint the surface of the fish every few minutes with the oil marinade.
  5. Depending on the size of the fish, Tetsuya recommends this should take no longer than 7 or 8 minutes with the door of the oven open. I found that with the door closed, mine took 25 minutes before I was happy with the texture. The fish should remain pink but be be cooked enough that you can use a very sharp knife to cut all the way through the fish.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  7. To make the salad, slice the fennel on a mandolin (you can also use apples and daikon together). Toss with the lemon juice, salt and pepper and oil.
  8. To make the parsley oil, puree the parsley, olive oil and capers in a blender. Strain.
  9. To serve, plate some fennel salad on the base of the plate. Add the ocean trout and sprinkle with the konbu, chives and some salt.
  10. Drizzle the parsley oil around the edges and dot some ocean trout caviar around the trout and regular intervals.


Stumble It!

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