Beer Infused Noodles Japanese Style

Stout infused noodles

Howdy folks! It’s been a while since I cooked something totally wacky like these beer infused noodles!

Using beer in my cooking is not anything new. I have done this in the past with a fair amount of success.

But if you know anything about using beer in cooking, you’ll know I played it safe. I used a lightly hopped lager/pale ale to make the sauce, increasing the chances of success.

This time my cooking is inspired by a recipe post that I read on BeerAdvocate!

These guys know their beer and can get extremely technical about the tasting notes, aromas and what not. Anyhow what caught my attention was the use of an Imperial Stout (one of my favorite beer styles) in cooking some asian style noodles. Whoa! I thought I should try this one out.

If you are a freestyle chef, you know you can’t work easily with ingredients whose flavors you aren’t familiar with, even while following a recipe.

This recipe uses a few different ingredients like that, which I had never cooked before with. But I was open to experiment, although I could sense a bit of restraint when I finally got to trying them out. I had to literally taste after each and every step to make sure what was in the works tasted yum.

stout infused noodles theinsanefoodie

The first time I attempted this, I’ll be frank, it wasn’t a huge hit! It was palatable, but Dee being the honest critic she is, didn’t say much when she quietly ate her’s 🙁 , but I wasn’t giving up just yet!

So I read up more and was more careful on the second attempt and what came out tasted delicious. The notes below will help you heaps!

Cooking Notes {what you should know before you venture out!}

Choosing the right beer

  • The simple trick is to pair a beer style with complementing food flavors. Like how red wine goes with dark meats, BBQs, gamey meats & white wine goes with seafood and other lighter flavors, pick a dark beer (Stouts or Porters – such as an Imperial Stout/Oatmeal Stout/Chocolate Stout) if you wish to enhance the flavors of dark meats such as beef. You really can’t go wrong. Chocolate flavors especially blend extremely well with beef.
  • Belgian Ales with citrusy flavors are supposed to work really well with seafood, if that’s you thing. But since it’s winter in Melbourne, I picked the Southwark Stout. This is an award winning Aussie Old Imperial Style stout that is rich with an inviting smell of coffee and a chocolate aftertaste! Oh I’m salivating already..

It’s a winter warmer as you must have figured, and if you love beer, coffee and chocolate, this one is a winner! Another option is The Coopers Extra Stout – another brilliant brew. After you’ve tasted it, Guinness will be a thing of the past!

  • Use a beer you like to drink and something not too cheap. Because when you use beer in cooking, the flavors will intensify.
  • Make sure you add a little beer at a time into your cooking. There is a chance the happiness of strong stouts can make your sauce taste quite bitter.
  • Bring the beer to room temperature before using it.

For more in-depth reading, check out the entire post on wikiHow.

Recipe Notes

  • I found making the sauce separately and boiling the noodles in it easier than doing it all in one vessel, in one go!
  • The enoki mushrooms takes the form of soft string noodles once cooked down & in my first attempt I added them before the beef and I couldn’t really brown the beef enough.
  • Familiarize yourself how Miso tastes (very salty) and make adjustments to the amount accordingly.
  • Mixing miso paste & the sauces separately and adding it into the cooking vessel is highly recommended, as it takes a bit of stirring to dissolve miso completely.

So here is the detailed recipe and some notes along the way to help you get it right.

Beer Infused Noodles Japanese Style

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 serves

Ingredients

  • 250g dried Asian wheat noodles
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic (keep ginger to garlic ratio approx. 1:1.5)
  • 3/4 tbsp Miso paste
  • 1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce (if not use Chinese)
  • 3 tbsp Hoisin sauce sweet; use it to balance the flavors
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 120-150ml Beer (use Imperial/Oatmeal/Chocolate/Coffee Stouts/Porters)
  • 50g fresh shitake mushrooms sliced
  • 150g fresh enoki mushrooms discard the woody base & separate the mushrooms and add
  • as whole
  • 1 large onion sliced fine length wise
  • 1 carrot cut into half and then sliced fine length wise
  • 200g beef sliced thin or use stir-fry cut
  • water
  • salt to season as required

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok or thick bottom non-stick vessel
  2. Add onions, brown until caramelized
  3. Add ginger & garlic and fry until fragrant
  4. Add the beef and keep tossing it on a high flame, stirring it to make sure the beef is lightly
  5. browned.
  6. To this add the mushrooms and cook them down for 2 minutes. This will bring the nutty & earthy
  7. flavors out!
  8. Add about 3 tbsp of soy sauce to deglaze the mixture and infuse the flavor into it.
  9. Keep tossing until the beef has soaked up all the soy sauce and until all the water from the beef
  10. has dried up
  11. Add the carrots and cook for another minute - I like my carrots crunchy & fresh, but you can cook
  12. it down if you wish
  13. Stir well to combine and turn off the heat & keep aside.
  14. Sauce & Noodles
  15. In a small bowl, mix together the rest of the soy sauce, miso paste, Sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce
  16. and some water to combine them into a paste.
  17. In a deep bottom pan/vessel, add the sauce mixture, about 100 ml water and add the dried
  18. noodles into this sauce.
  19. Add beer, a little at a time and spoon the boiling sauce over the noodles, until the noodles
  20. become tender.
  21. Transfer the cooked noodles into the vessel with the other cooked ingredients. Toss & Serve!

Notes

Vegetarians can just omit beef. The earthiness of the shiitake and enoki mushrooms really blend well with the stout and is enough to impart a beautiful flavor to the noodles.

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Spicy Beef Ularthiyathu

spicy beef ularthiyathu

The Beef Ularthiyathu is one of the most popular meat delicacies from Kerala. Period!

One that every meat eating Malayalee will proudly admit to have had religiously during his/her time spent in Kerala, whether or not they have actually had it!

Why? Firstly, it is a celebration of spices, coconut & one of the most delicious meats, beef!

 Local Trivia

In Kerala, you are bound to find Beef Ularthiytahu in every restaurant, although the best preparations are undoubtedly reserved to the local bars or smaller street side stalls!

While the ‘Beef Ularthiyathu’ is often called by many other names, at street side stalls if you ask for it, most often the Beef Dry Fry is what you shall get instead.

The Beef Ularthiyathu or Beef Dry Fry is extremely popular as a ‘touching’ (drink accompaniment) at local Kerala bars or more colloquially just ask for BDF and your waiter will be pleased!

Secondly, it is a classic dish from the age old Syrian Christian cuisine, which boasts centuries of local culinary tradition and perfection.

Thirdly, it can be had with any form of bread, rice or anything between, such as local accompaniments like appams and dosas; but personally I just love it on its own as a touching.

Not many dishes has this versatility. You can possibly get away having it even with noodles! 

beef ularthiyathu sandwich

…used the leftovers in a rustic white bread sandwich the next day..yum!

A bit of history of Syriac Christian cuisine if you are keen…

Beef Ularthiyathu is a dish that attributes its origin in the kitchens of the Syrian (Syriac) Christians of Kerala.

However, I was curious.

The Syrian Christian origins of this dish baffled me a tad. I was interested in finding out what made this and few other popular non-veg dishes from Kerala ‘Syrian Christian’, when there are several different (and mind boggling) christian denominations in Kerala!

In the ingredients used, there is nothing that is unique to a particular community’s style. The spices are native to the region and pretty much Kerala cuisine’s stock standard!

So I set out to understand the Syrian Christian cuisine a little.

But without going into the origins of how Syrian Christians themselves came into being, how can we understand their cuisine? In a nutshell,

It is believed that in 52 AD, Saint Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus who came from the region called Fertile Crescent in the Middle East spread the Christian Gospel in Syriac language (Latin, Greek & Syriac were the three main languages with which Christianity was propagated in the world). And the people who practiced this religion came to be termed Syriac Christians or Syrian Christians as they are more popularly known in Kerala.

So being one of the earliest forms of Christianity that has existed in Kerala and also in the world, almost all traditional meat dishes from Kerala (barring the ones with more Arabic influences from the Northern part of Kerala), are Syrian Christian for this simple reason. 

{the recipe}

Now that we are fully equipped with the historical significance of Syrian cuisine & other trivia, isn’t it reason enough to know how to make it?

Now my recipe as always uses few hacks to simplify things for home cooks. This is an easy, no frills recipe. The Syrian Christian puritans may frown upon the use of desiccated coconut over small pieces of fresh coconut. But I assure you the taste will be spot on!

Here’s how to go about making it,

Spicy Beef Ularthiyathu

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: serves 5

Ingredients

  • 700g Beef cut into small chunks; In Australia, you can get Beef off-cuts from Coles, it's
  • perfect
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 knob ginger grated (keep garlic to ginger ratio 1:1)
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 6-10 curry leaves
  • approx. 100g desiccated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil coconut oil if you can get it else olive oil is just fine

Instructions

  1. Using a pressure cooker is ideal; if not get a thick bottom vessel with a lid
  2. Heat the oil to a high temperature;
  3. Now reduce the flame to a minimum and add in the mustard seeds; wait until completely cracked
  4. Add dried chillies and wait for 5-10 secs for them to turn crispy
  5. Add the curry leaves, toss & wait for 10 more secs
  6. Add in the ginger & garlic, fry until slightly brown
  7. Sprinkle the coconut and fry until golden brown and the oils start to come out
  8. Add the masalas, allow them to fry a little (the aroma will change when fried)
  9. Add the onions & fatty beef pieces first. Stir well to combine.
  10. Toss in the rest of the beef
  11. Add two pinches of salt. Stir well.
  12. Close the vessel/cooker and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the beef pieces are tender.
  13. Open and cook until whatever water the beef has released dry up. You can add a bit more salt
  14. and coriander powder if you must at this stage after tasting.
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How to make Easy Homemade Cheesy Nachos under $5

cheesy nachos

YES! This recipe will not do any more $5 of damage to your wallet..

the inspiration

Who doesn’t love good pub grub that goes with beer! You know thick beefy wedges, crunchy chips and the likes? I fancy it even more if this can pass for finger food but healthily replace a full meal. For that reason,

I absolutely love cheesy nachos!

cheesy nachosYes, I know they don’t exactly qualify as traditional pub food except maybe at a Mexican Restaurant! But man, when prepared right, these can any day replace fries (unless of course fries are topped with chilli, in which case we have a tie!)

And occasionally there are times when a bowl of nachos just cannot be enough! That devilishly uncontrollable urge to order another round! At this point it becomes unreasonably expensive too; you know they aren’t cheap as chips, right?!

Especially in the case of nachos, if you are not watching, it’s easy to consume a ton of calories all the while being cast under its tasty spell!

Neither can you stop yourself from having more nor do you wanna shell out another $15, for you know its pure indulgent flavors that’s making you crave it!

So to put an end to all this misery I set out to recreate a simple homemade healthier version with store bought corn chips, homemade tex-mex salsa, black beans and loads of (light) tasty cheese, all for under $5!

cheesy nachos recipe

And thus originated this Cheesy Veggie Nachos recipe! And boy, wasn’t I pleased as hell! Oh and please note I said healthier, not healthy, for its after all Nachos baby! 

Delightful Homemade Veggie Nachos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 main meal portions

Ingredients

  • 1 400g can of red kidney beans/ black beans (healthier choice)
  • 1 bag of Baked Corn Chips (approx. 170g)
  • Light Tasty Cheese (shredded) - generous enough to cover chips & beans beneath
  • 200g, diced tomato (1/2 can)
  • 1 med sized onion, diced into small cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, diced with seeds in
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (use smoked paprika for a tex-mex twist - AWESOME)
  • a small handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. For the Salsa
  2. Heat olive oil in a flat pan
  3. Once its HOT, add in cumin powder and cayenne pepper and let is sizzle for approx. 10 secs
  4. Add the onions and cook until translucent
  5. Add in the jalapeño & tomatoes
  6. Keep stirring and cook until the sauce thickens, stir and keep aside
  7. Nachos
  8. Spray some oil on a medium depth bake tray and line the corn chips; don't use all the chips just yet
  9. Spoon over some of the salsa as the next layer
  10. Use the baked beans to form the third layer
  11. Sprinkle chopped coriander over the beans as garnish
  12. Top it off with the rest of the corn chips
  13. Add the tasty cheese generously all over to form the top layer
  14. Bake at 180 deg C approx. for 25-30 mins or until the cheese melts and turn golden brown on the top!
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Here is a price break-down of how much it will cost you to make this at home,

Chips $2; Tomatoes $0.40; Onion $0.20; Tasty Cheese $0.80; Red Kidney Beans $0.75 / Black beans $1; Spices <$1; All up ~ $5!

**Aldi & Coles Supermarket home brand prices! If you’re reading this overseas, prices may even be lower!

Please Note:

  • In this recipe I used both Red Kidney beans and Black Beans to give it a healthier kick and even got rid of the sour cream in an attempt to further cut back on the calories.
  • While I still found this recipe delicious, you can always use some low fat greek yogurt as a replacement for the sour cream, if you absolutely must! But I really think it is unnecessary.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did and I look forward to your comments!

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Where to eat in Bali and my top 5 picks

where to eat in bali

Firstly I’d like to set this straight once and for all! While the film Eat Pray Love pushed Bali and especially Ubud into the limelight, I honestly believe it didn’t do much justice to Bali’s much treasured food-scape.

For those of you bewildered by the above comment – In the movie, Julia Roberts visits Bali to Love! I’m sure she tried some local fare, but what a missed opportunity for Bali! 

The Balinese cuisine has strong influences from Thai and Malaysian cooking styles mainly in the use of lemongrass, pandan leaves and coconut milk in the curries, but there are plenty of dishes that are unique – Babi Guling (spit roast suckling pig)Ayam Bakar (Char grilled chicken with Balinese spices) & Tempeh (savory soy cakes), are probably the most popular among those.

What you should know?

Bali draws its revenue almost solitarily from tourism. So aimed at luxury tourists and the others who carry around a huge wallet (or a weak gut) are them expensive restaurants and cafes, ones where you would easily pay AU$20 upwards for a main meal of gourmet portions. Most of these restaurants will also charge an extra 15-21% in service tax! OUCH!

So the question arises, where should you eat in Bali?

Look out for Warungs!

Warungs are small family owned traditional restaurants and you will find many scattered all over Bali. These are where you must go if you want

  1. authentic Balinese meals
  2. absolute bang-for-buck local fare
  3. to HOG a variety of local delicacies!!
  4. to feel good having supported a local business!

NO! These are by no means street hawkers, which by the way you might want to avoid if you don’t have an iron-gut! And especially if you’re using a local tour guide or driver, let them know your preferences because when they “naturally assume” your can’t handle local fare at a Warung, you most often end up at a pricey restaurant!

If you want to taste the traditional Indonesian fare in a very rustic setting, where you can absorb the local culture, head to the Warungs!

But there is something you should know first and that brings us to

The Art of Ordering at a Warung!

In Warungs, typically you can order food in 2 ways.

One is using the standard menu (if they have one); But at some Warungs, frequented only by locals and seasoned tourists, the ordering process can get more obscure! All they will have is an array of Indonesian foods on display behind a glass counter, sometimes even without individual prices.

Here you basically pick whatever fancies your eyes onto a plate and pay for the lot. Usually items other than seafood are around 3000-7000 IDR each. Fried chicken (Ayam) is usually 8000-10000 IDR per serve and seafood is 12000-15000 per serve. Use these prices as a guide.

So I would say, peruse the menu first, then add items from the counter optionally or just choose a mix of interesting foods from the counter – you should do this at least once!

Now that you are fully equipped with the knowledge of a local, here are my

TOP PICKS where you can enjoy a traditional Indonesian meal,

When visiting Bali, Seminyak may not necessarily be on your must visit places in Bali, unless if you happen to stay in this area, like we did. However if you do land in Seminyak, I recommend checking out these two Warungs!

Warung Taman Bambu {Seminyak}

eat in Bali warung taman bambu
IDR 45000 for the plate – calamari, fried anchovies, Ayam, Ayam Bakar, Veggies, Rice & Sambal

Located away from the touristy side of Seminyak and tucked in between few local businesses, stands this gem of a eatery. This is where we had our first meal in Bali and also encountered the menu-less ordering pick & pay method. The guy behind the counter hardly spoke any English, and all my efforts in trying to get him to recommend something were wasted; instead we just ordered what looked appealing to our eyes!

Warung Eny {Seminyak}

This local restaurant is very popular and has raving reviews on Tripadvisor too. Although not the cheapest Warung we went to in Bali, the satisfaction of having a home cooked Indonesian meal with organic produce is unparalleled. Meals are prepared on the spot in the open plan kitchen in the middle of the Warung by Eny herself! And this is why you must visit this Warung. For those of you interested in learning Indonesian cooking, they offer classes too!

eat in Bali warung eny
Try the items on the special! The Indonesian Ayam curry was excellent.

Located in the heart of the buzz in Seminyak, the restaurant fills up quickly with patrons once it’s past 7:30pm.

Warung Ocha {Seminyak}

This one’s a good pitstop for a decent Indonesian meal. The ambience is cosy although the interiors aren’t typically that of a Warung. While they serve a wide variety of cuisines, their Indonesian food options are also quite extensive. I learnt some of the food names browsing their food counter. One particularly interesting and tasty meal we tried there was Plecing Kangkung. The Kangkung is a slightly bitter water spinach, and makes its appearance as a popular veggie with most Indonesian meals. It was something very different to whatever I have seen or had before.

warung ocha
Plecing Kangkung – Kangkung mixed with chilli, served with Ayam Bakar, Tahu (Tofu), Tempeh, steamed rice and sambal

Warung Indonesia {Kuta}

While Kuta as a place is unpopular with most tourists to Bali (other than the dodgy ones!), it is worth checking out this local restaurant, buried deep inside Kuta, where you can get to easily only if you walk. The food was delicious and was by far the cheapest meal we had in Bali. We ordered 2 main courses (Tahu Tempe with rice & salad and Mee Goreng) and a fried chicken on the side – all for IDR 38000 – less than AU$4!!

eat in bali warung indonesia

Lia Cafe {Jimbaran}

While this last one is not exactly a cheap Warung, it is a must visit restaurant serving delicious seafood in Jimbaran area. Cafe is a misnomer. It is more of a beach shack. For the quality and portion size of seafood you can eat at this restaurant, the prices are well worth it.

To help you put things into perspective, a meal at a similar restaurant cum beach shack   setting in Goa or Kochi (India), would be equally or more expensive.

And I advice against walking around their kitchen or spending too much time gazing at their fresh catch area, for it may not appeal to your hygienic standards! Visually!

But the food is amazing and of good quality too. Around 8pm, a local band goes around each of the tables singing songs (be sure to carry change to tip them). All in all, a brilliant value for money experience!

eat in bali lia cafe
Char grilled Red Snapper, prawns & squid! Plus 2 large Bintangs and a tip to the music band. All for IDR 375.000. Darn cheap!

 

So whether or not the film had us expect much less from Bali, Dee and I stand corrected after our visit.

Bali is definitely a place to eat your heart’s content. Period.

So if there is one take away from this post, that is, eat at a Warung; you’ll love the food, experience and if you still didn’t like it at the end of it (please let me know why?), you’ve probably spent only $8 or under to try!

I would love to hear your Bali food experience, and if you found this guide useful please share it with others who might benefit!

Oh and by the way, can’t say this enough, definitely swap water for Bintang!

bintang

cheers,

theinsanefoodie

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Kopi Luwak Farm Tour and Tasting

Kopi Luwak Farm Tour

Last week, we visited the Alam Sari Agrotourism farm in Ubud, Bali where we had a chance to taste the world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak, and get an up close and personal look at the coffee beans which had been through one of the most exotic forms of coffee processing!

Ubud Agrofarm

TRIVIA

Known to sell at exorbitant prices of up to $1/gm in the overseas market, Kopi Luwak is a coffee made using coffee beans that have been naturally fermented/cured by a Luwak’s digestive enzymes.

The ‘Luwak’ is an Asian Palm Civet native to Indonesia and few neighbouring Asian countries. It generally feeds on small pulpy fruits and takes a particular fascination towards the sweet coffee berries of the Arabica (more commonly cultivated in Indonesia) and Robusta species.

Kopi Luwak processing

Top – Luwak poo. Bottom (from left) – cleaned coffee beans; roasting; powdering

The whole coffee cherries consumed by the civet undergoes fermentation in its digestive tract and the coffee beans gets excreted along with its poo. (YUCK, that’s it I’m outta here).

(For those of who still reading this post) It is then cleaned thoroughly to separate out the coffee beans; sun-dried, roasted and powdered.

The mini walking tour of the farm premises yielded an up close and friendly glance at a Luwak too! Yes, it’s caged. But I’m sure this Luwak was there only for visitors to see one in flesh & blood.

luwak

Why is it so expensive?

While the story itself garnered this coffee a lot of popularity the world over, Kopi Luwak tends to be very expensive not only because of a growing demand but because this coffee cannot be mass produced ethically and economically at the same time,

  1. The Luwak is known to feed on coffee cherries only seasonally. So there is only limited supply available.
  2. Luwaks live in the wild and therefore the steps involved in collecting the poo in the wee hours of the morning requires dedicated personnel to be on the job, while the task itself can be daunting and time consuming.
  3. Mass produced Luwak Kopi is often sourced from the poo of overfed Luwaks bred in captivity!

While some producers like Ross Kopi painstakingly produce Kopi Luwak from only the ‘wild’ Luwak population in their farms, there seems to be no certification in place at this stage to certify the same.

Read more about sustainable coffee production in Indonesia and what it takes to produce ‘wild’ Kopi Luwak.

The sampler cup of the Kopi Luwak cost us AU$5, which is reasonable as most specialty coffees cost the same (or even more at times) in Melbourne!

The lady who accompanied us on the tour displayed good skill in making a cup of Kopi Luwak using a Siphon Coffee Maker. The extracted cup of coffee was completely devoid of any grit, tasted rich and full bodied.

kopi luwak siphon extraction

As part of the tour, we were also given free samplers of all the different coffee blends the farm produces. Of the lot, I loved the spiced cocoa, which was very unique in flavour with additions of spices like ginger and cinnamon.

alam sari Bali

The Verdict – what can you expect?

The popular opinion is that the coffee is sold more on the story rather than quality. Some coffee critics have even gone as far as saying it is absolutely a gimmick and lacks any flavour!

While I’m no coffee connoisseur to challenge this verdict, Luwak coffee didn’t fail to impress me. I found this coffee to be at par with some of the best filtered coffees I’ve had in Melbourne and Kenya.

But, will anyone be able to tell apart Kopi Luwak in a blind taste test? Most probably not!

Kopi Luwak is served black without milk. The coffee had a good depth of flavor (richness) while still maintaining low levels of both acidity and bitterness (the Arabica coffee beans are generally less bitter too).

Pure Kopi Luwak without mixing any other coffee blends is hard to find unless you are willing to pay a huge price, so if you get a chance to visit one of the Agrofarms, I suggest you at least try a sample cup and make your own judgement!

cheers,

theinsanefoodie

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Leonards House of Love {review}

leonards house review

Leonards House is a bar that makes South Yarra seem much less pretentious. As an approachable & affordable watering hole, with people casually dressed and having a genuinely good time, it just makes you think you’ve gone over to a mate’s place next door!

leonards house of love

Leonards House of Love is an amazingly quirky bar which gives you the satisfaction of a good ol’ home party with your best mates!

Delightful traditional Texan fare at reasonable prices.

You can read my full review here on Weekend Notes

Highlights

  • Located in the heart of South Yarra and yet serving fare dirt cheap! $13 double cheeseburgers $10 cheeseburgers & $9 pints of house lager
chicken tenders at Leonards House
The finger licking hot glazed chicken tenders served with chipotle mayo and pickles are a must try! The cheeseburgers come next..
  • Cosy ambience with a log cabin theme for a truly Wild West American experience & rock n roll music from the 70s; if you love AC DC, The Doors, ZZ Top and the likes..
  • They often run weekly specials

Leonard's House of Love Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

ZERO Oil Mughlai Style Shahi Chicken Korma

shahi chicken korma

The Mughlai cuisine was perhaps the most marvelous additions to the diverse Indian food styles by the Mughal Empire (15th -18th Century). Quite rich and heavy on the palate, these dishes are most suited for an occasional indulgence rather than as an everyday comfort meal!

…Thank God It’s Friday!

That said, I try to cook as healthily as I can and trust me you will be amazed how tasty this particular dish will be even with ZERO oil in it..

FACT First off, a majority of Indian cooking styles rely on slow cooking using plenty of aromatic and healthy spices, needing only minimal cooking oil/fat. But when the same dishes are recreated in a restaurant, they use of plenty of oil to speed up the cooking process and make it tasty at the same time!

Before getting into anything please read this disclaimer ; for I cook freestyle, what that means is I taste as I go and therefore I suggest you also get into this habit; helps you become a better chef, than blindly following the “proportions” to the dot!

Shahi Curry Paste recipe

  • 1 cup dry roasted salted cashews
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder / cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2″ knob of ginger
  • 1 fresh green chili (optional)
  • A generous pinch of nutmeg powder & cracked black pepper

Grind it all into a fine paste adding just enough water to thicken up the paste. Set aside.

Veggies & Chicken

  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 brown onion
  • 500g organic chicken thigh fillets

Alchemy

Cube the veggies and dice the chicken thigh fillets into medium sized pieces. The fat in the thigh fillet is enough to fry the spices in the curry paste during the slow cooking process!

Place your slow/pressure cooker on large flame burner and wait till it almost gets screaming hot. Add in the chicken, the fatty pieces first. Let it start to slowly sizzle allowing the fat to ooze out. Add the veggies, curry paste and just a cup of water. Stir well to combine and close the lid. Move the cooker onto your smallest burner and let it cook for 30-45 minutes on low flame.

Or the absolutely mouth watering aroma will tell you when it’s ready 😉 

Serve with any flat breads of your choice!

shahi chicken

Use this Yummy recipe to make it easier to save & cook this delicious dish. I would love to know your thoughts 🙂

ZERO Oil Mughlai Style Shahi Chicken Korma

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Shahi curry paste
  • 1 cup dry roasted salted cashews
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder / cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2" knob of ginger
  • 1 fresh green chili (optional)
  • A generous pinch of nutmeg powder & cracked black pepper
  • Veggies & Chicken
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 brown onion
  • 500g organic chicken thigh fillets

Instructions

  1. Cube the veggies and dice the chicken thigh fillets into medium sized pieces. The fat in the thigh
  2. fillet is enough to fry the spices in the curry paste during the slow cooking process!
  3. Place your slow/pressure cooker on large flame burner and wait till it almost gets screaming hot.
  4. Add in the chicken, the fatty pieces first.
  5. Let it start to slowly sizzle allowing the fat to ooze out.
  6. Add the veggies, curry paste and just a cup of water.
  7. Stir well to combine and close the lid.
  8. Move the cooker onto your smallest burner and let it cook for 30-45 minutes on low flame.
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Australian Abalone for dinner

Thanks to my friend Hiro, a true insanefoodie, I was introduced to this very special and exotic seafood – Abalone a.k.a marine seas snails

abalones
..taking a moment to snap these at the Cafe where we shared the spoils!

Knowing my fascination for the hard to find delicacies, one day he asked me casually – “Do you like abalone?” I didn’t know what the hell it was, but the minute I found out, I was intrigued. And today he got me a fresh catch of the Black Lipped Abalone! I had a hard time getting it into my kitchen (alive that it was), Dee was a bit horrified that my insanities had gone way too far this time!

Now, one can see abalones either as a large shell fish/oyster or as an eyebrow raising sea snail and join the elite cadre of species like Timon & Pumba and feel special you’ve had a meal that’s extra-ordinary; it’s your choice, really!

Abalones, pronounced for some strange reason as “aba-loney” unlike umm Stallone, can be found in shallow waters close to the bay areas in Melbourne. Abalone fishing is restricted to strict numbers and the Green Lip variety is even banned from fishing given it’s endangered status. So if you can get your hands on any Abalone in general, consider yourself extremely privileged! They sell in the fresh food market, i.e. if you can find them, for $50-$60 a kilo.

Did you know Tasmania alone accounts for 25% of the world’s fished Abalone?

Apparently the New Zealand abalones (päua) grow up to much bigger sizes; pretty scary considering the fact I just held a live one in my hand before scooping out the flesh out of the shell! Should it’s monstrous brethren learn of my whereabouts..I shudder!

Anyhow, to avoid any of this preciousness go to waste, I asked Hiro (being the Masterchef that he is) to give me some tips on cooking the Abalone, which he thought does the best justice to this priced seafood!

Step 1: Scoop the flesh out of the shell using a spoon, your abalone is thereafter officially “dead”, I don’t know what better way to put this across..honestly!

Step 2: Clean the underside (facing the shell) by pulling the guts out

abalone

Step 3: In a screaming hot pan, add some butter and place the abalone, giving 30 secs on each side, so as to not toughen the meat too much.

Step 4: Add some Japanese soy sauce to the pan, and allow to it burn a little to impart some smokiness. Allow the Abalone to cook for half a minute more.

Step 5: Remove from pan, using a sharp knife, slice the Abalone (width wise).

Step 6: Spoon over the soy sauce from the pan & it is ready to be relished!

cooked abalone

Yes, it does smell much like oyster and taste like squid/calamari, but the whole experience and knowing the story behind is satisfying. And for the record, Dee did taste it..Ha!

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Yours truly,

theinsanefoodie

Here’s the quick-look Yummy Recipe to keep or share,

Cooking Australian Abalone for dinner

Ingredients

  • Fresh Black Lip Abalone
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce (Japanese preferred)
  • Butter (1/4 knob)

Instructions

  1. Scoop the flesh out of the shell using a spoon
  2. Clean the underside (facing the shell) by pulling the guts out
  3. In a screaming hot pan, add some butter and place the abalone, giving 30 secs on each side, so
  4. as to not toughen the meat too much.
  5. Add little Japanese soy sauce to the pan, and allow to it burn a little to impart some smokiness.
  6. Allow the Abalone to cook for half a minute more
  7. Remove from pan, using a sharp knife, slice the Abalone (width wise).
  8. Spoon over the soy sauce from the pan & it is ready to be relished!
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cheers,

theinsanefoodie

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Super-tasty Chicken Cacciatore with Sweet Potatoes

cacciatore italian stew

A cacciatore is a traditional Italian “hunter-style” stew made with meat (and veggies) using juicy red tomatoes, garlic and herbs. It packs a ton of flavour and is extremely easy to cook.

While the cacciatore is best prepared using gamey meats like rabbit, here I have tweaked the recipe to make an easy chicken cacciatore which is equally delicious!

When using chicken, only make sure to use chicken thigh fillets on the bone and/or drumsticks, and then this modified recipe will work just fine!

This is my own take on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but only simpler to make it easier for home-cooks like you & me!

I’ve never really given sweet potatoes a chance before in my diet, but that’s changed tremendously since making this dish. I’m also of the strong opinion that sweet potatoes make better & chunkier wedges too..so swap your spuds for sweet potatoes next time you make tasty wedges with this recipe!

So anyway, here’s what you will need & how you can make your own delicious chicken cacciatore at home.. (click the print button to save this recipe)

Super-tasty Chicken Cacciatore with Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thigh fillets (on the bone)
  • 2 chicken drumsticks (without skin)
  • 1 medium sweet potato (skin on), cut into 1/2" chunks)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 large portobello mushroom, cut into large quarters
  • 1 big handful of fresh Italian basil leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds in (makes the stew extra spicy, go easy on this if you wish)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine (Shiraz or Merlot)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Cooking on the gas-burner takes about 15-20 mins, so pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C 15 minutes into cooking..
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet (else just transfer contents to a oven-proof dish prior to baking), reduce to low heat setting.
  3. Add bay leaves & garlic; allow it to lightly brown
  4. Add onions, salt and saute until translucent
  5. Add jalapeno & mushrooms and stir to lightly coat in oil
  6. Add the chicken, and chunky sweet potato pieces; allow to cook for 10 minutes on medium heat
  7. To this, add in the tomato can, water & basil leaves and stir until well combined
  8. Add cracked black pepper & red wine to richen the sauce.
  9. Remove from heat and place it into the oven.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and the chicken falls off the bone.
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Recently I gave this recipe a trial using turkey shanks instead and it turned out to be killer too! In this case, remember to leave the shanks in the baking oven or pressure cooker for longer (30-45 mins) so that the meat cooks through and falls off the bone.

I look forward to your comments!

cheers,

theinsanefoodie

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Roasted chicken Maryland in beer sauce

Enhancing flavour with beer is something I love to do from time to time. But choosing the right beer is critical. Pick a highly hopped beer and most assuredly you’re in trouble!

Although you may enjoy beers with high hop content, like IPAs, on their own, it necessarily doesn’t translate to an “enjoyable taste” when added in cooking! I learnt this the last time I tried using an Australian Pale Ale (APA) to make a dip – it wasn’t terrible, I agree, but would I make it again, NOPE. It’s just a waste of good APA! Better had on it’s own. Period.

But to keep things simple, rule of the thumb, if a particular food you love goes well with the beer of your choice, use it by all means to pimp up your dish the next time you cook it – but don’t go overboard, for the alcohol might boil off, but the bitterness lingers on!

Anyhow, this time I used a light beer – Tun – it’s the best especially because I also wanted make some beer peanut dip. Check that recipe out by clicking here.

Getting down to making the chicken roast,

  • Firstly, we need to make the rub for the chicken to be browned in. So get some plain flour, smoked paprika, freshly ground pepper, salt and mix them all together in a bowl.
  • Coat the chicken Maryland pieces (with skin) on both sides with the rub and shake off the excess flour.
  • In a thick bottom pan, add some olive oil and brown each side of the chicken.


chicken maryland in beer saucechicken maryland in beer sauce

  • Transfer the chicken portions into a grill pan.
  • {making the beer sauce} While the pan is still on the heat, add a little beer to scrape off the browned bits of chicken skin, rub & fatty juices.
  • Add the rest of the rub to the pan, and slowly stir in the beer.

beer sauce

  • Allow the sauce to thicken and add some BBQ sauce too, to sweeten the flavour a tad.
  • Take the sauce off the heat and pour over the chicken in the grill pan.
  • Break some fresh asparagus sticks in halves and arrange them around the chicken.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C and place the grill tray on the middle shelf.
  • Allow to bake for 25 minutes and grill for a few minutes to brown off the chicken, and release the fats from the skin. This adds a lot of flavour to the asparagus and makes them heavenly!!

Serve with some delicious home-made potato broccoli mash!

I would love to hear your comments if you happen to try this recipe. To download this recipe, please use the YUM print recipe button (below) & click the share button to notify your friends!

Chicken Maryland roasted in a BBQ beer sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken Maryland portions - with skin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tbsp smoke paprika
  • 1 tsp cracked fresh pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 150 ml light beer
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of BBQ sauce
  • 1 bunch of asparagus

Instructions

  1. For the rub mix the plain flour, smoked paprika, freshly ground pepper and salt all together in a
  2. bowl.
  3. Coat the chicken Maryland pieces on both sides with the rub and shake off the excess flour.
  4. In a thick bottom pan, add some olive oil and brown each side of the chicken.
  5. Transfer the chicken portions into a grill pan.
  6. While the pan is still on the heat, add a little beer to scrape off the browned bits of chicken skin,
  7. rub & fatty juices.
  8. Add the rest of the rub to the pan, and slowly stir in the beer.
  9. Allow the sauce to thicken and add some BBQ sauce too, to sweeten the flavour a tad.
  10. Take the sauce off the heat and pour over the chicken in the grill pan.
  11. Break some fresh asparagus sticks in halves and arrange them around the chicken.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C and place the grill tray on the middle shelf.
  13. Allow to bake for 25 minutes and grill for a few minutes to brown off the chicken, and release the
  14. fats from the skin. This adds a lot of flavour to the asparagus and makes them heavenly!!
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cheers

theinsanefoodie

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