Saturday, March 27, 2010

Aburi Wagyu with Radish & Ginger Fuzz and Crisp Garlic

This week on a business trip i went to a Japanese restaurant in Brisbane called Sono. The food there was absolutely amazing! One of the dishes they had was aburi wagyu, an unusual almost tataki style dish, but the resultant flavour was very different. This recipe began as an attempt to replicate that dish, but finding no example recipes online, i decided to make it my own with the addition of rice and a much fresher mixture on top of the wagyu. I'm pretty proud of the results!!


  • About 100gm wagyu fillet
  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 small radishes
  • 1 2 inch knob ginger
  • 3 tbsp light soy
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp mirin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 spring onions, slivered


Rinse the sushi rice and cook with 1 cup water over low heat until water has evaporated.
Lay the sushi rice out on a plate to cool.
Combine the 3 tbsp mirin with the salt and sugar and heat until dissolved together.
Sprinkle the mirin mixture over the rice and carefully toss. Set aside
Heat a frying pan to high heat with no oil.
Sear the outside of the wagyu fillet for 30 seconds on each side and then transfer to fridge immediately to halt cooking process.
Finely grate the radishes with 1/2 clove garlic and 1/2 inch of ginger. 
Heat in a frying pan over very low heat, being careful not to brown, until some of the spiciness has left.
Set aside for later.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan.
Finely slice the remaining garlic clove and fry until golden, then transfer to a paper towel.
Pare off a slice of the lemon's peel and 'fillet' out any of the white as below.
Thinly slice the peel into long thin strips.
Wet hands and shape rice into small logs and place on serving plate.
Very thinly slice the wagyu fillet diagonally.
Layer the wagyu on top of the rice pieces.
Top the wagyu with a small amount of the ginger and radish fuzz. 
Top the fuzz with 2 thin slices of the lemon peel.
Top with slivered spring onions and a slice of the fried garlic
Serve with ponzu sauce.

Ponzu Sauce

Finely grate the remaining ginger.
Combine the soy, 1 tbsp mirin, and 1 tbsp of the lemon juice in a cup.
Press the ginger in a sieve over the cup to extract 1 tsp of ginger 'juice'.
Mix together and pour into serving dishes.

Pineapple Fried Rice

I love fried rice! I could eat mountains of it. My favorite fried rice is actually the standard stuff you get in any westernized Chinese restaurant in Melbourne with the peas, tiny shrimp and little pieces of Chinese sausage. Yum!!! But Thai style fried rice is much more a meal on its own. The sweetness of the pineapple permeates through the rice, providing a depth of flavor along with the shrimp paste. And tacky though it may be, it just looks mouth watering seeing it piled into a pineapple bowl!


  • 2 cups jasmine rice, cooked and then kept in refrigerator overnight
  • 1 pineapple
  • 3 long chillis
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 medium bunch coriander
  • 2/3 cup cashew nuts, crushed
  • 1 tbsp dark soy
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 250gm prawn meat 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1egg


Cut the pineapple in half lengthways.
Cut out the flesh as best as possible and chop into small chunks. Scoop out any remaining flesh and discard.
You should be left with 2 pineapple bowls and a bunch of pineapple chunks
Finely chop the chillis, garlic, coriander and spring onions, slicing a little bit as well for garnish.
Chop the prawns into large pieces.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat.
Add the chillis and garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
Add the prawns and par cook
Add the rice and stir through. 
Make a well in the centre of the rice and crack the egg into it and quickly stir through the rice.
Whisk the shrimp paste, soy and fish sauce together briefly.
Add the pineapple chunks, cashews soy, fish sauce and shrimp paste to the rice and mix through.
Taste for seasoning and add more soy if necessary.
Remove from the heat and fold through spring onions and coriander.
Serve in the pineapple bowl garnish with more spring onions and chilli.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday roast with a twist... Balsamic Roast Duck with Roast Potato Batons and Sauteed Scallions

It's always been a bit daunting to me to cook a roast. Whilst my roasts turn out okay, they're never the amazing things i get in restaurants or at family dinners, which have that ability to make you feel warm inside. Maybe part of it is having the company... this is not as soppy as it might sound! I have heard several chefs say that making a roast for one is pointless... the actual concept of roasting requires a large cut of meat to work effectively. So this Sunday roast is a bit of a cheats one... it will serve 2, and the 'roasting' process only takes 15 minutes. 

A note on balsamic vinegar: I am not a wine nazi. A $10 bottle of red will do me just as fine as a $100 bottle. However, balsamic vinegar, like a good olive oil, is worth the investment. I suggest you keep 2 bottles on hand if you can; go the cheapie for adding to sauces, or for a reduction. But do buy a decent bottle to use sparingly as a salad dressing, or as in this case, when it is the only ingredient in a sauce and you only need a little. You will thank you for it!

Another note: it might seem a lot to use a whole duck for 2 people. But plan ahead, and you will also get about 2/3 a cup of duck fat which is amazing for roast potatoes, and you can also boil the carcas which will have a fair amount of meat still on it to make a delicious duck stock, brilliant for Asian soups. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Torta Di Chocolate with Candied Oranges and Macadamias

In my quest for the richest chocolate cake i stumbled across the torta; and this one is fantastic. It is very, very easy to make, and very, very sinfully delicious. A word of warning: the darkness of the chocolate will determine the bitterness of the final product; i love bitter chocolate cake so i went with the highest cocoa content i could find easily. 

Not only does this cake have no flour, it also has no nuts as a binding agent! Much like the spanish puddings i cooked on this blog once before, the only thing holding this cake together is the egg. As a result, the finished cake is rich but so light it dissipates on the palate. Along with the candied oranges, this is a cake fit for royalty :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Prawn & Tofu Laksa

I think the best part about knowing how to, and loving to cook is the fact that i can make what i feel like eating! Particularly living living close by a market and a supermarket, i generally don't plan my Friday night dinner and cook whatever takes my fancy. And today it was laksa! Laksas vary a lot. This one is very creamy, with a warmth rather than spice, which i prefer to pick up from a chilli garnish. This is a very fresh version, good for a warm evening.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pollo En Pepitoria

Yet another Movida cookbook recipe which has turned out being amazing, the English name for this dish is Saffron Braised Chicken Thickened with Almonds and Egg Yolk. My favorite element of this dish is the Spanish fino sherry, which at a stretch, you could substitute with a dry white wine. But the fino gives a delicious depth to the sauce which is unadulterated by cream. Considering the expensive ingredients going into the sauce, I found a heck of a lot of it leftover which i'll use as a sauce for other things. However i've upped the quantity of chicken in the recipe below to counter this.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pane Toscano

Pane Toscano is a salt-less bread from Tuscany, Italy. It has a chewy center with a thick, tough crust. It's very hearty, and the reason for the lack of salt is that it's supposed to be smothered in other rich, salty ingredients such as prosciutto, olive oil and the like. I think this bread goes best as a starter / dipping bread.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Three Cup Chicken

The only place i've seen Three Cup Chicken on the menu that i can recall has been the Post-Mao Cafe in Little Bourke St, Melbourne. This restaurant really doesn't get the credit it deserves: admittedly, ordering off the standard menu is a ho-hum affair, but when you look at the special 'Maos Favorite Dishes' menu, the restaurant comes to life, with delicious, flavour packed meals such as velvety goldensand prawns, and rich, tender three-cup duck.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pecan Pie

North Americans seem to have such sweet tooths. New York Cheesecake. Peach Pie. Mississippi Mudcake. Brownies. And that's only the stuff that's now common everywhere else! Less common in Australia is the truly so-sweet-you-could-cry foods like Pecan Pie, essentially a pie filled with pecans and caramel. The caramel was so intense in this dish based off an American recipe, the first time i made it, that the pecans were almost like an afterthought. This time upped the quantity of pecans to help balance sweet with nutty.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cumin Spiced Green Pea Soup

 This soup is cheap and delicious! Literally, i think i spent about $6 making this soup. And better still, the whole thing takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. It's delicious and not too heavy, so ideal for the beginning of autumn. If you replace the butter with olive oil and omit the cream garnish, this dish is also suitable for vegans.


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