Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wok 'n' BBQ

Whenever we feel like eating out on the weekend, we usually end up at Burwood for some Chinese roast and rice. Since the lovely name and shame of one of our regulars, we thought we should try out another place. Wok 'n' BBQ has been open for about a year. We had visited it when it opened during its first week. We probably would've visited earlier if they didn't have a blackout on the day we went. hehehe The shop is located on the corner of Burwood Rd, next to the train station.

I've been back a few times since as its a nicer and cleaner environment to enjoy lunch compared to some of the other roasts shops (Which is more eat and run type style).

Complimentry soup that's not in a brown cracked plastic bowl

BBQ Pork and rice

Soya chicken and rice

Roast pork and rice

Another BBQ Pork and rice

Roast duck noodle soup - seperated

The roast is really nice and fresh. Taste wise, its very similar to the other shops. The portion sizes are slightly smaller, but that's because they don't load you up on the rice. They still give you the same amount of meat and veggies as the other shops which is good. The price is also similar to the other shops, usually around the $8-10 mark.

All in all, a lovely Chinese roast lunch in a nice clean setting with real crockery. If you're starving, you might want to head up to some of the other shops where they give you more rice. Otherwise, a good place to catch up with friends.

The Corn Exchange - Four Points Sheraton

It's been a few years since I've visited the Corn Exchange. I used to come here quite regularly with my family when they had the buy 1 get 1 free offers every few months. But they haven't had that offer for quite a few years. As a part of the Enliven Sydney Promotion, they're offering the buy 1 get 1 free offer again! Woohoo! I immediately dragged my friend with my for a bout of seafood feasting! I thought I should test the place out before bringing my family here again.

I'm always well prepared for visiting The Corn Exchange. Minimal breakfast and lunch. Don't drink anything fizzy or full of dairy. Order hot water when at the restaurant (So I'm not tempted to drink heaps of water). Get plenty of prawn chips/papadums and some hot soup to counteract the slimey cold seafood I intended to gorge on.

I decided to combine all the photos from both my visits into one big post. So don't worry, I didn't eat ALL of this in one sitting. But even if you average it out....... *Cough*

Cold seafood section

Smoked salmon

Cold prawns

Mussels, sushi, sashimi

Some lobster/prawn/bug type thing

Anti pasto/Salad section

More salads on another night

Let me firstly explain what type of person should go to the Corn Exchange. The buffet is catered for those who love their cold seafood and dessert. The hot food on offer is minimal and very disappointing for those who don't eat seafood. Whilst for those who like their seafood, this place is HEAVEN. And I mean HEAVEN. Huge amounts of oysters, sashimi, smoked salmon, prawns, crab, balmain bugs, mussels, octopus and sushi. And that's exactly what I intend to eat.

My DIY seafood platter

My 2 favourite things, oysters and sashimi

More oysters, sashimi and prawns

Oysters, crab, prawns and some sashimi hidden in the bottom

More oysters, sashimi, smoked salmon and mussels

Moving onto the hot food. Confit of duck, saffron pasta and more seafood

To be honest, the total amount of hot food I ate was limited to that piece of duck confit and about 1 tablespoonful of pasta. I also sampled 1 or 2 pieces of other hot food, basically they were all quite terrible. Gluggy, salty or flavourless. "Hot food" selection includes things like white rice, roast potatoes, pumpkin, green beans and occassionally some sort of roast meat/fish/stew. Basically, nothing appealed to me. I'll have 1/2 a bowl of soup to warm my stomach up and move onto the dessert.


More desser offerings

Orange cream, creme brulee, fruit tart, portugese tart and strawberries and chocolate

I was really disappointed when I found out that they no longer did their gorgeous sticky date pudding with hot vanilla bean custard. It was my absolute favourite dessert at The Corn Exchange. I almost liked it more than the seafood. They've replaced it with a huge vat of melted chocolate which you ladel over strawberries and marshmallows.

I tried a bit of everything on my plate, but I quickly gave them all up for one thing. The creme brulee. OH. MY. LORD! Their creme brulee is AMAZING! Its extremely smooth and creamy. Totally decadent even though the burnt sugar had melted by this stage. Infact, I liked it so much, the first time I went, I ate 6 of these babies!

Second time I went back, I warned my sisters to get out of my way if I'm getting creme brulee. I WILL hurt them if they fight me for it. Luckily, the had the dessert section well stocked with creme brulee. So well stocked in fact, that between the 4 of us, we ate a total of 36 creme brulees. 36!! It was quite embarrassing whenever the waiter came to collect our dirty dishes and it was all creme bruless dishes.

The good thing about us eating all the creme brulee was that they had to keep bringing out more. We ate everything they put out so they had to make a fresh batch where the sugar was lovely and crunchy! What a perfect way to end our meal!

Extra crunchy top

The Corn Exchange
161 Sussex St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9290 4851

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home cooked comfort

My friends have been complaining that I haven't updated my blog for awhile. I guess I've been really lazy and basically just enjoying home time since I've been back from Houston. Plus I've also been busy planning my Europe trip! Yes that's right! Europe is on babyyyyyyyyy!!! I've booked our tickets and our tour, just need to sort out additional accommodation and transport for all the other free time in between. I can't wait for a proper holiday!

In the meantime, I've been at home cooking up a storm whenever I get a chance. Basically I want to dose up on homecooked comfort food every time I look at the food I ate in Houston.

Malay Chicken curry and rice

Combination Bugolgi

Easy to make. Get any amount of chicken, beef, lamb and pork, marinate in premade bottled bugolgi sauce. Stir fry quickly with onions, carrots and more sauce.

Stir fry garlic veggies

One of the things I missed the most when I was in Houston, veggies! The minute I got home, I stir fried a huge plate of shanghai bok choy and brocolli with plenty of garlic and a little oyster sauce. Really light and refreshing.

Homemade BBQ Pork

We couldn't get any decent chinese food in Houston, so I whipped this up for a bit of home comfort. 2 mins to put the marinade together, leave in the fridge overnight and roast. Can it get any easier than that? Recipe can be found here.

Min Chee

Inspired by TPF. I love this dish! Take some beef or pork mince and brown in a pan. And I mean REALLY brown in the pan. Add garlic, diced onion, potato and water. The water will lift all the lovely brown stuff from the bottom of the pan. Add oyster sauce, soya sauce and sugar to taste. Let it simmer til the potato and soft adn the sauce thickens (because the potato will start to break down). Eat with a spoon with or without rice.

Extra garlicky king prawns with choy sum and broccoli

Pork bone and watercress soup

I remembered one night we were all sitting around the office in Houston, 2am in the morning when we start discussing how miserable we were. And how we would kill for some home cooking. Specifically mum's soup! Every asian loves the soup mum makes. We were all craving pork bone and watercress soup. When I got back to Sydney, my whole family was on holidays leaving me home alone. Since mum wasn't around to make me soup, I had to make it myself! Comfort in a bowl.

"Sand Ginger" steamed chicken

Not sure what the herb is called, but its literal translation is "Sand Ginger". Its a common spice that is found in salt baked chicken. I covered the chicken with heaps of sand ginger and salt. Let it sit for a few hours before steaming. Pour the chicken juice all over boiled rice and consume. Yum!

Beef and capsicum in blackbean sauce

Stir fried bean sprouts

I didn't just miss home cooking, but also good quality junk food! Actually, non-liquid yellow paint like cheese would be a good start. And after all my junk food eating in Houston, I reckon I could whip up a mean burger.

SMJ Extravaganza!

For something a little different, I did a cheddar cheese stuffed all beef patty. Big hunk of cheese in the middle of my beef patty. You have to be super careful biting into the burger to make sure you don't get burnt by molten melted oozey cheese! Didn't make it easy to eat when I put bacon, eggs, lettuce and tomato into the burger as well.

Innards - Super oozey egg yolk

MmMmmm Cheesey...

I've also been hunting for a jaffle maker. Not the dodgy sandwich makers that try to cut your toasted sandwiches in half. I'm talking about the good old square pocket jaffle maker. I finally found one made by Breville! Damn I missed having a jaffle maker! I went and started experimenting with all different types of fillings. Ham, tomato, cheese, baked beans. But my favourite combo so far is my ham, cheese and egg jaffle.

A whole raw egg is cracked onto the bread, cover with ham and cheese and cook in the jaffle maker. Its best to use room temperature eggs, otherwise leave it cooking for a few cycles. Perfectly runny egg yolks......MmMmmm....

With winter hitting us full blast the other week, I've been sick as a dog. To make myself feel better, I've been having wonton noodle soup for lunch almost every day. The best thing to make me feel better when sick. I am also currently on a mission to find the best wonton noodle soup in the city. But why wait for the best wonton when you can make it? So I crashed a friends place to make a huge wonton and dumpling feast!

Left (Yellow): Homemade chicken and mushroom wonton
Right (White): Store bought pork and chives dumplings and seafood dumplings.

Homemade pork and veggie gyoza

Bottoms up!

The gyoza was super easy to make! I made a simple filling of pork, diced veggies, mushroom and black fungus. Wrap in gow gee wrapper and pan fry with a bit of water. I made a simple dipping sauce of soya sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

Soya stir fried wontons

I made extra wontons with the chicken and mushroom and also the pork and veggie filling. Once boiled, these were quickly stir fried with dark soy and a little sesame oil. This was a dish my parents used to always make me when I helped out at the restaurant. Its been a good 8 years since I've eaten it, but its just as good as I remembered!