Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Asian-style Chicken Nachos

 I love the Asian flare given to this Nachos recipe. It's a very easy and simple dish to prepare as well.  
The original recipe was by Donna Hay and I just added and removed a few ingredients to suit my taste.

I'm loving the new flavours and colours of this classic dish.

1 bag tortilla chips
1 Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
1 Roast chicken, skin removed, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
handful coriander leaves

1/2 cup Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

Place desired amount of tortilla chips on plate.
Top with cucumber, chicken, carrots,  green onion, chilli, sweet chilli sauce and coriander.
Place mayonnaise and Sriracha in a bowl and mix well. 
Note: I have only decided to mix the Sriracha sauce into the mayonnaise after the photos were taken that is why the dip's colour is different.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Jin Tai Zi, Castle Hill

Delicious Pan Fried Pork Buns

 Underneath that uninviting and unexciting facade is a gem of a restaurant waiting to be discovered in the heart of Castle Hill. It seems only Chinese people know of this place... for now.  We have been to this place so many times and the dishes are seriously so delicious and authentic. The owners speak very little English but they do have an English menu posted on the wall. The place is small with only 3 tables inside and recently added 2 more outside its shop. Contrary to many Chinese restaurants, I find these owners really nice and kind. 

It doesn't matter how many restaurants are located just across the road in Castle Towers, 
this one tops our list anytime, any day!

The owner making some dumplings.

Pork and Chive Dumplings with Chilli Oil

Pork and Vegetable Wonton

BBQ Pork Fried Rice

Shrimp and Pork Cabbage Fried Rice

Special Beef Noodle Soup

BBQ Pork with Vegetable Fried Noodle

Shrimp and BBQ Pork Fried Noodle
 The owner asked if we wanted it spicy and hot or not. I asked for the chilli sauce to be separated if possible. 
He misunderstood me (or I him) and cooked 2 versions of it instead, which I really appreciate. 
On the left is the spicy version and on the right the original version. Both tasted so delicious!

Jin Tai Zi
Shop 3, Castle Mall Arcade
289 Old Northern Rd

Castle Hill New South Wales 2154
(Located opposite the stairs to Castle Hill Music School) 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Cafe in the Crypt, The National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery in London

I love to read and travel and for me it's like an escape to another time and place wherein I can immerse myself in different periods which has long since passed. The novel "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory started me on my Tudor history obsession. I love history in particular, English medieval, ancient Egypt and dynasties of ancient China. One of the things that fascinates me about history is its ability to change one's preception of the world. It has surely expanded my world and made me appreciate the richness of our culture and its value... 
my identity and where I came from. 

I would "die" to get a chance to eat in the crypts! haha Of course, I was excited at the same time intrigued to dine at this place. It is located in the stunning 18th century crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields right in Trafalgar Square next to The National Gallery. At 8.30am, we were the first and only customers there at that time except for that one restaurant staff serving us. Food arrived quick and it was fresh, warm, decent and affordable.

I truly like the atmosphere, it's peaceful, beautiful and unique. What a great place to soak up some medieval architecture and history while enjoying your breakfast.

Prefer to listen to some swing? The cafe also hosts jazz concerts every Wednesday evenings (open to jazz ticket holders only) whose profits support the programs of the church.

So are you brave enough to have breakfast at this place?

Historical gravestones beneath your feet!

A little hidden gem of a restaurant in the heart of London.

A full English Breakfast including eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, beans, 
mushroom and toast.

Situated underground in this brick-vaulted church crypt with gravestones.

Take home a piece of history through this fun, hands-on activity.
It's called brass rubbing. An impression made of brass engraving by covering it with paper 
and rubbing the paper with graphite or chalk. 
During Medieval England, memorial brasses were often used as tombstones and laid in honour of people of nobility and wealth. Then in Victorian times, brass rubbing became a fashionable pastime. People still continue to do it to this day to bring home a piece of souvenir from their experience.

The London Brass Rubbing Centre. The art gallery and the book and gift shop can all be found in the crypt.

The beautiful St Martin-in-the-Fields is one of the most famous churches in London and is known for its regular free lunchtime and evening concerts.

Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.

The stunning interior of the National Gallery and won't cost you a penny to visit.

Vincent van Gogh

A Wheatfield with Cypresses
Vincent van Gogh

The Virgin of the Rocks from Panels from the S. Francesco Altarpiece, Milan
Leonardo da Vinci
about 1491/2-9 and 1506-8

The Entombment (unfinished)
about 1500-1
Leave your wallets at home and visit these museums for free!

Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and Head of the Commonwealth. 
The longest reigning UK monarch.

Queen Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
 In her coronation robes, patterned with Tudor roses and trimmed with ermine. (right)
The young Princess Mary Tudor, soon to be Bloody Mary.  
She is the elder half-sister of Elizabeth I.

Mary, Queen of Scots was Queen of Scotland,
the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland.

Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII 
and later on beheaded for high treason.(left)
Catherine Parr was Queen of England and the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII, 
and the final queen consort of the House of Tudor. (right)

Richard III was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty.

 Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon was the Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII.
She was previously Princess of Wales as the wife of Henry's elder brother Arthur,

 who died five months after they were married.

Sir James Paul McCartney

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge 
and his brother Prince Henry of Wales, commonly known as Prince Harry.

Diana, Princess of Wales

Cafe in the Crypt
Directions: St Martin-in-the-Fields is on the north east corner of Trafalgar Square, and any bus bound for Trafalgar Square or Charing Cross Station will bring you to our door. Charing Cross tube is next to the church, and Embankment and Leicester Square are both a short walk away.

The National Gallery, London
Trafalgar Square

Free Admission

National Portrait Gallery, London
St Martin's Place
Free Admission

Café in the Crypt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Les Creations de Narisawa, Tokyo

Recently crowned the 8th best restaurant in the world and 2nd in Asia by The World's 50 Best Restaurants. 
  Obtaining a reservation in some of the world's top restaurants can be quite a challenge but as luck would have it, 
I was able to secure a table on my first try!
I remember reading about Narisawa two or three years ago and from that moment on, I told myself I wanted to try this restaurant when I go visit Tokyo and have my own nirvana moment. Alas, the long wait is over 
and i was really very excited.
It was an entirely new dining experience for all of us. It was more than just about eating a meal, it engages your heart, soul and senses. What an intense and pleasurable dining experience. A real wow moment for me. 

It was an honour to be among the few to experience this magical meal. 
 Narisawa truly deserve its accolades.
How to book:
"Our online reservation system opens each month at 11am on the first business day of each month.
ex. For May table, you will be able to make a reservation from the first day of April." - Narisawa Reservation
My tips:
Be there as soon as the online reservation opens at 11am (Tokyo time) on the first business day of each month. 
Have a date ready and try as much as you can not to change the date or you may lose your place.

No, they're not stones...These are Onions, coated in charcoal-cooked leek. 
Served on a dried, lacquered magnolia leaf.

Soft Shelled Turtle, Saga

Essence of the Forest Satoyama Scenery

Fermenting and baking bread at the table has now become a ritual at Narisawa.
All in the midst of the twigs, leaves and fruits.

Et voila! Freshly baked Bread of the Forest 2010 with Kumquat and Walnut in a stone pot scented with the smell of earthy oak and citrusy yuzu. Hmmm... lovely.

Soft and delicious Bread of the Forest 2010 with Kumquat and Walnut
served warm with Moss Butter.

Konagai Oyster, Nagasaki

Kobe Beef, Hyogo,
Spiny Lobster, Shizuoka
Caviar, Miyazaki,
Sea Snake Soup, Okinawa
 The dried Okinawan (poisonous) sea snake is steamed to extract the delicate flavours into the broth. I also learned that this type of soup (including the snake) was served as one of the royal court cuisines of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Akashi Sea Bream, Hyogo
Botan Shrimp, Ishikawa

Crab, Ishikawa

Langoustine Shrimp, Shizuoka

Luxury Essence 2007" Abalone, Yamaguchi

Blow Fish, Yamaguchi

Duck, Kyoto

Matcha, Fukuoka

Strawberry, Nagasaki
Anise Magnolia, Gifu

I want to try one of each, please?
A plate of petits fours all to myself. 
Arigatou gozaimashita!

2 Chome-6-15 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan
+81 3-5785-0799