Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fresh egg pasta + 2 delicious pasta recipe.

Hello everyone! So this post is going to be a bit long cause I'll be doing 3 different recipes at once. I'm just too lazy to make this 3 separate posts, since they're all done with the same ingredients. But cope with me, cause I'll be revealing the ultimate secret to kneading a pasta dough to make it perfect. I've heard it a couple of times from TV, but never really know how to apply this secret.

Here goes...

Fresh Pasta Recipe.

Yields: two servings of pasta noodle.


  • 100g Pasta Tip "oo" flour
  • 1 egg
(The formula is 1 egg for every 100g of flour).


Make a "well" in the middle of the flour and crack an egg into it. Whisk the egg with a fork for a few sec then use your finger to incorporate the flour to the egg a little at a time, then bring everything into a ball. 

At first, it might look lumpy and as if they're not coming together smoothly. But Jamie Oliver said that with a bit of work and some LOVE, it will be one smooth elastic dough. I heard the same thing from Gordon Ramsay on TV, but I didn't quite understand what giving some "love" while kneading the dough means. So...

This is the ultimate secret...

I turned on some love songs and sang it to the dough while I was kneading. HAHA. Weird, I know. But it weirdly worked well. I made fresh pasta before, but this time the pasta dough was actually much smoother. So I gave some love to the dough successfully.

This was the dough after a few minutes of kneading and few love songs sung. It was smooth, not lumpy at all and very easy to work with.
Put it in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes. Wrap it tightly with cling wrap. Meanwhile, you can prepare the ingredients for your pasta dish...

Prepare your pasta machine on your bench, setting it to the thickest setting at first and working down your way to the thinnest setting. 
If you don't have a pasta machine, don't freak out, just use a rolling pin to roll it to the thinnest possible. 
History said that this was what Italian mamas used back in the olden days...

This was the pasta dough after I used the thinnest setting.
You know your pasta has the right thickness when you hold it up and able to see your hand through the pasta.
You can do a puppet show behind those pasta sheets.

Remember to flour every layer if you stack the pasta sheet so it doesn't stick. 

I made some fettuccine from one half...

And I also did a pappardelle by cutting a stacked pasta sheet.

Cook the fresh pasta in salted boiling water only for exactly 2 minutes for al dente...

Pasta, done.


Fettuccine with Garlic and Chili Prawn


  • 75g of fresh fettuccine
  • 4 red bird eye chilies (lose the chili if you can't handle spicy food)
  • 5 tbs of olive oil
  • 5 banana prawns or king prawns (can replace with bacon pieces)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 white mushrooms
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of dried parsley


Mise en place.

Fry the mushroom slices with the olive oil until all the liquid evaporates then add the garlic. 
Add the prawn, while still stirring the garlic to prevent it from browning. 
Once the prawns are cooked, add the chopped chillies. 
Lastly, add the cooked fettuccine and dried parsley.
Toss it in the olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Pappardelle with Marinara Sauce base and Garlic Prawn


  • 2 banana prawns (cooked the same way as above)
  • 75g of pappardelle pasta
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 100g of diced tomatoes in a can
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of sweet paprika
  • Pinch of dried basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First of all, toss the pappardelle with olive oil and dried parsley.

Cook the sauce by sautéing the garlic, add the diced tomatoes, cumin, sweet paprika and basil. Use the same pan you used to cook the prawn, it will be rich in flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let the water of the tomato reduce a bit. Marinara sauce, done.


Both of these dishes may not be a fancy pasta dish, but the fact that I used fresh pasta and not dried packaged ones really made a difference. When everything's cooked with love, how can it not be delicious? <3 teehee.

Okay, time for bed.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hearty brunch dish: soft boiled egg, roasted potato, spiced breadcrumb, meat and cheese.


Yields a perfect one serving dish.

Get ready for one of the easiest brunch dish. Nicely fulfilling, hearty and simple. 

Boiling an egg: the important thing about boiling an egg is starting with a room temperature egg and a nice boiling water. I once used fridge temperature egg and put it into a pot of boiling water and it cracked, was pretty cool to watch, but the shape of the egg was super ugly. I love a soft boiled egg with runny yolk and egg white that just set. For that, boil the egg for exactly 4 minutes. For harder yolk, just add a couple more minutes. 
As soon as it's done, put it into an ice cold water to stop the cooking. 
Egg, done. (Gordon Ramsay style lol)

Cut 1 potato into nice chunks and put in room temperature water. 
Bring it up to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
 Once it's done, drain and return the saucepan on heat and let the remaining water evaporates while shacking the saucepan. 
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degree C.

I used some canned lite spam, but you can substitute this with any meat. 
Ground beef or some chorizo will be nice for this dish, but I was too lazy and decided to use canned meat. 
Fried it with some olive oil until it was crispier on the outside.

Drain the oil on the dried potato, and set the spam aside.
Add more oil to coat the potato chunks and season only with salt.

Prepare the spiced breadcrumb with: fresh sourdough breadcrumb (crumbled by hand); a pinch of: BBQ spice, salt, pepper, garlic powder; olive oil just enough to moisten the mixture.

Put both the seasoned breadcrumb and potato on a lined baking tray. And put in the preheated oven. Only 4 minutes for the breadcrumb, whereas the potato for another 26 minutes, keep turning the potato so it browns evenly.

It doesn't look pretty in picture, but it tasted amazing.

At the bottom of a clay pot I put: about 1/4 cup diced tomato spiced with basil, topped with spam topped with jarslberg cheese. Bake this in the oven just until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Once done, I put the roasted potato on top along with the spiced breadcrumb. Took out the egg from the water and sprinkled it with dried parsley and chili flakes.

Served it with a slice of toasted multigrain sourdough, perfect with salted butter.

Cut open the egg and.... eggporn!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Grounds of Alexandria: breakfast and lunch foods.

Serving one of the best coffee I have ever tasted in Sydney, The Grounds cafe was surrounded by a beautiful picturesque garden, complete with a beautiful selections of bread and pastries, fresh produce, lemonade and flower market during the weekend... No wonder it is buzzing all weekend during breakfast and lunch time, and it was a tiny bit more quiet during weekdays. So do expect long queue to get a table, or even a take away coffee. 
Yes, they're that good.

Okay, this post will mostly be pictures that I had taken in The Grounds of Alexandria. Since I thought that this place is very pretty and picturesque, I think I'll let the picture do the talking. Unless for the food... it was very dark indoor where I was sitting and so were the pictures that I took :(

But here you go, a visual tour to the beautiful The Grounds...

The famous rainbow rose of The Groudns Florist by Silva! So in love <3 

Oh, the queue...



Cappuccino (AUD 4.00)

No question, it was a superb cup of coffee. It was my third visit to The Grounds, and the coffee quality was always consistent.

Breakfast Burger - fried egg, bacon, cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato relish, spicy mayo on The Grounds brioche bun served with polenta chips on the side (AUD 16)

Best breakfast burger I've had I think. The next breakfast burger that I can think of was the one in Three Williams, it was good there, but this one was just perfect for brunch. The size was quite massive and the polenta chips will really give your carbohydrate fix. I like the spicy mayo complementing the classic bacon and egg, it's somehow like a dressing to the lettuce. And I think they bake their own brioche bun here, it was nicely toasted and fluffy at the same time.

The Grounds Soldier - quinoa and seed crusted free range eggs with polenta dipping soldiers (AUD 17)

How cute was the presentation? Okay, maybe it doesn't look good in the picture because of my poor photography skill when it's dark. But the eggs were cutely sitting in the egg carton. The egg was perfectly cooked with runny yolks and crispy crust. The polenta as the sides was the same as the one with the Breakfast Burger. Although I find nothing too special about this in terms of taste. This is quite new in The Grounds, by the way.

Eggs on Toast - poached egg with The Grounds signature sourdough (AUD 12)

This was a regular eggs with sourdough, nothing new. But the real standout is the sourdough itself. I'm a huge fan of sourdough and I tried quite a lot of sourdough in Sydney and this was quite good. Although it wasn't better than Sonoma's or Brasserie Bread's, but it was good. Because it was too plain for me, I order myself a side dish of:

sides: Spicy Lamb Merguez Sausage - sauteed with kipfler potatoes and herbs from the garden (AUD 4.50)

Just so you know, I don't really like lamb, I think lamb has a smell that's too strong and most of the time I don't like it. But this lamb sausage is an exception. It was exceptionally good, the herbs helped to lessen the lamb smell and those kipfler potatoes are so good. Oh, and I love the quantity, it was a lot for a side dish.

sides: Kale and Feta Croquettes - preserved lemon and chilli mayo (AUD 3.50)

So since I didn't know that the size of lamb sausage side was massive, I thought that I had to order another side and so I got myself two sides and this was the second. Although I felt very full (fat) after finishing all of these, I didn't regret even a bit. It was a damn good croquette. And that mayo was awesome.

Strawberry Custard (?) Tart (AUD 7)

Nothing special in particular about this tart, it was okay, not too sweet. I think I was too full from all the food to enjoy this tart.



Iced Coffee (AUD 8.00)

Blue-Eye Trevalla - warm salad of potato, zucchini flower, speck pieces, capers and gribiche sauce (AUD 19) 

The fish itself was perfectly cooked, not dry at all and it was seasoned perfectly. The salad was fresh, but I didn't really enjoy the combination. But my mom did. 

Beef Ragout Stracci - slow cooked beef ragout, papardelle, parmesan, parsley (AUD 19)

The star of this dish for me is the flavour of the ragout itself that gives this pasta its sauce. I also love the way that the fresh pasta was cut thicker than how pappardelle is usually cut. It was cooked perfectly al dente, just the way I like it. Despite the picture, the portion was actually big and it was a good value for 19 bucks.

The 'Ground' Burger - ground beef brisket, cheese, lettuce, dill cornichon mayo served on a toasted brioche bun with beer battered fries (AUD 19)

Some of my friends said that The Grounds has one of the best burger in town. And they are right. Of all the burgers I've tasted in Sydney, this is definitely one of the tastiest so far. It was very simple, not overdone by various filling. Brioche bun toasted perfectly. Cheese, mayo and beef patty combines really well in my mouth. And that crispy fries with mayo dip was good, but even if the burger stands by itself without the fries, it would still be good.

Beef Short Ribs - parsnip puree, wild mushrooms, green peas, shaved brussel sprouts and truffle oil (AUD 19)

We shared all our mains, but I ordered The Grounds Burger. One thing that makes me regret ordering that burger was the presence of this dish. Seriously it was so good. One more time, so good. Every element in this dish complements each other well, and every little thing was cooked to perfection, nicely seasoned too.
The beef short ribs falls off the bone, nice amount of meat too. I never thought I'd like parsnip purée, but it was a creamy deliciousness. The wild mushroom was so good with a strong truffle oil aroma. And this wasmy first brussels sprout experience, and I love it.

I don't know why I always blog about restaurant reviews late at night. Now I can't stop thinking about that beef short ribs...

Okay, I'm off to the fridge now.


Food: 8/10
Ambience: 9/10
Price: $$

The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon