Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Chrimbo 2012

I have been notably slack this year during the festive period with cooking and baking. There are valid reasons for this lack of activity which I will hopefully share with you on a later post :)

Christmas was a quiet affair with just me, Ma and Ba Chan. Dinner was decidedly low-key (smoked salmon, roast rib of beef and apple pie) but for the first time, cooking (well, me helping out Ma Chan) was quite leisurely and the folks even managed to pop out to the golf course and play a few holes which made them happy!

Usually, people are too tired and still too full to think of dinner on Stephens Day, so this year we continued the low-effort formula and sat down to Chinese hotpot. Luckily, we had enough ingredients (usually the biggest problem) for a real feast - great fun, where everyone helps with the cooking and sharing of the food. I would highly recommend if you have not tried it before :)


......and after! Bon app :)

Saturday, 22 December 2012


Shanahans has always been on the list of restos that we have wanted to try but haven't managed to until now. I suppose one of the other things that was off-putting was that their prices meant that you would only go there for a special occasion. Well, we finally did managed to eat there (to mark a special occasion!) and it really was a lovely evening. Service was impeccable, the portions were gargatuan and we were very well looked after. Highly recommended but a word of warning, do not eat 24 hours prior in preparation!! :)
(Apologies for the quality of pics as I only had my phone camera to hand!)
Very elegant dining room with generous sized tables and comfy red armchairs :)

Every table is presented with their own loaf (!) of freshly baked, warm cheese bread and chilli cornbread. Both tasted delicious but we were warned not to eat too much or we would not enough room for our steaks! 

My starter of crab sandwich - 2 potato rostis sandwiching chunks of meaty crab, yum! :)

JD's starter of mussels - literally a mountain of molluscs cooked directly on a skillet which helped to retain their juices, very very nice!

My 24oz bone-in ribeye!! (which I struggled to finish, got to maybe 80%?)

JD's 18oz sirloin (cooked medium rare)

....with sides of French fries, onion strings and wild mushrooms. If I were to re-order, i think I would've skipped the 'shrooms :) 
I was struggling with dessert (selection of ice creams and sorbets)!

A final lovely touch (along with glasses of bubbly!!) :)

Saturday, 8 December 2012


I had a sudden craving for Korean food which is what made us venture north of the river one Saturday for some grub :)

Originally, we thought about going back to Arisu but decided to try Kimchi, on the recommendation of my Korean teacher. Kimchi is authentic insofar as all the staff working there seem to be Korean. However, we weren't exactly bowled over by the food; portions were good but in the end, every dish we ordered seemed to taste the same :(
( I think we will probably be sticking to Arisu the next time I have another craving!)
My first ever taste of plum wine - OK but I won't be rushing to try it again.

Bibimbap - not bad. A shame we can't get the raw beef version here in the Emerald Isle :(

Our spread - we had ordered so much that we needed to use the table next to us for extra space!! :)

Bossam - the bossam kimchi was nice but the meat did not taste like bossam we have had back in the UK

Monday, 3 December 2012

Chinese b-day cake

A friend of Ma Chan recently contacted me about making a birthday cake for one of her friends. The challenge was that it was a typical Chinese birthday cake of sponge, fresh fruit and fresh cream - something which I have not had much experience in making in the past. I also felt a bit of pressure as a) it was ordered with pretty short notice, b) I was making it without having done a dry run first and c) I knew I had to deliver taste and appearance wise! Not easy as we are in the depths of winter and I needed to source some ripe fruit!! 

It was a learning experience but I managed to get it done in the end (many thanks to Won for helping me out with the sponge recipe!!). As if I wasn't stressed enough, I managed to stick my thumb into the side of the cake when Ma Chan's friend came to pick up the cake which screwed up the decor somewhat!!! Luckily, I was able to patch it up there and then - overall, I think she was happy enough with the final product so a happy customer, yay! :)
A 10" vanilla sponge with 2 layers, sandwiched with fresh mango and cream in the middle....
.....decorated with a medley of fruits on the top and more fresh cream. If I were to make it again, I would leave putting the fruit on until the very last minute as storing the cake in the fridge tends to dull the fruit :(

The one criteria for the b-day cake was to have the message "Happy Birthday Ling" - not easy to pipe onto a cream cake so I made a makeshift plaque with white chocolate and piped the message using dark chocolate. As I had some spare plaques, I added an additional "生日快樂" too :)