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Sunday, May 31, 2009


Homemade granola

I've been wanting to make my own granola for ages, ever since I realised that my favourite cereal at the supermarket is stupidly pricey for what is, pretty much, just fancy schmancy oats.

I mostly followed the directions I found on this webpage. It contains some good advice and different variations for granola.

With my batch, I used dried cranberries, dried dates and pepitas, which I've been enjoying for breakfast with some good yoghurt dolloped on top. I over baked it though - I should've realised that the granola would crisp up when it cooled down - so mine is a bit too crunchy. Plus, I didn't read the instructions properly and threw the dried fruit in at the beginning of the baking time so that added to the hardness. It's still tasty though and I can't wait to make a better, improved batch!

Homemade granola


Adapted from

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup golden syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of dried fruit (I used 3/4 cup of chopped dried dates, 1/4 cup of dried cranberries and a small handful of pepitas)

Preheat oven to 135°C. Lightly oil a baking tray.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon, leaving out the dried fruit.

In a small saucepan, heat the maple syrup, golden syrup, oil and water over a low heat until almost simmering. Drizzle over the oat mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture on to the baking tray, and squeeze the cereal a handful at a time to form small clumps.

Bake for 30 minutes and then stir in the dried fruit. Return to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. It will crisp up as it cools down.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Soup Sunday: Cauliflower and leek soup

Soup Sunday

This week’s soup should probably be Soup Monday, because we had this soup last night. But I made the soup on Sunday so technically I can still say it’s part of Soup Sunday.

The soup for this week was cauliflower and leek. I know that cauliflower isn’t the coolest kid on the block, but I love it. It's reliable, comforting, easy to cook, and yes – I do like the flavour!

I didn't follow a recipe (it was just soup after all) but to make it, I softened two sliced leeks - sliced expertly by my Bro - with a couple of crushed cloves of garlic and 3/4 head of a medium cauliflower, cut into florets. To that I added enough vegetable stock to almost cover the cauliflower and leeks, and left it to simmer until it was all soft and mashable. Into that went lots of pepper and salt, and then I blended it up with a stick blender. After it was smooth I added milk (probably about a cup or more) until I was happy with the flavour and consistency.

The soup was quite sweet with the leeks, and while it had a fair kick from the pepper (I got excited adding it in) the flavour of the cauliflower still came through. It was hearty and filling and would be perfect for a freezing winter's night.

Thanks to Alastair for being so patient while I was taking the photo. He had to suffer through my directions: "Hold the mug like this. Oh, your hands are much bigger than mine, how about you try it like this. Okay, can you tilt it down a little? A bit more. Don't spill the soup. Right, don't move. I'm almost done. Don't move. Just a couple more...."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kum Tong

Kum Tong

The Parents went home today (awwwww!). Each time they visit, it goes smoother and smoother. I've stopped reverting into a sullen teenager (can't say the same of my Bro though... ahem...) and they give me less lectures... err advice. We must all be mellowing with age! In fact, I don't think I was snappy at them at all this time, and I only received one lecture. Maybe two if you count the advice on eating more fish - they bought us two humongous jars of omega-3 supplements because they were concerned about our fish intake! Rather random, but sweet.

When mum and dad were still here, we went out to dinner on Mother's Day. It's not normally a day we celebrate, being a meaningless commercial invention and all that, but my parents booked it, so off we went.

Mum and dad had seen an ad in a Chinese newspaper for a set menu with crab at Kum Tong. There were different set menus - one for four people, one for six people, and one for ten people. There were five of us, so we paid extra for an additional person and choose the four person menu. Unfortunately we didn't seem to receive extra food, apart from oysters and rice. Mum and dad complained but didn't get anywhere.

Kum Tong

We started with a thick clear soup, with scallops, shitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots.

Kum Tong

Next were steamed oysters. Everyone received two - one topped with black bean, and the other with a kind of spicy oil. I thought the black bean overpowered the oysters, and found the spicy one more enjoyable. I do prefer my oysters plain though.

Kum Tong

After that - CRAB! It was stir fried with spring onions and XO sauce, and sitting on a bed of noodles. The crab was difficult to get out of the shell - I think it needed a bit more cooking time. We made a terrible mess of the table pulling the crab apart.

Kum Tong

After the crab came a plate of Chinese vegetables - I think gai lan / Chinese broccoli. I like this vegetable, it has slightly bitter leaves and a sweeter stem. The stem is my favourite part.

Kum Tong

A plate of poached white cut chicken came out at the same time. The chicken was really good - very tender and smooth.

Kum Tong

Steamed fish is not that hard - and it was good.

Kum Tong

A bowl of tong shui (sweet soup). This was red bean and sago (although you can't see the red beans, they were hidden at the bottom). It was sweeter than I would make, but I enjoyed it. Ignore the messy table.

Kum Tong

And we finished with some fruit - some rather sour oranges and better grapes.

Kum Tong didn't receive the parental seal of approval (the bar is very high) so probably wasn't worth the trip across town. At least it was a place of their choosing!

Kum Tong
19-21 Andersons Creek Road,
Doncaster East
Phone: 03 9841 8688

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Work lunches: Mrs Parma's

Oh hai! I’ve been very quiet on the food blogging front. If you’ve guessed it’s because I haven’t been doing much cooking since mum and dad arrived – you would be correct!

(How has it been? It has been fan-fricken-tastic. I haven’t been this spoilt since... well, since the last time they came for a visit!)

So even though I haven't been cooking I thought I'd put up a little post about a lunch I had with colleagues recently.

We used to have a weekly Friday lunch club at work. One person in particular had the duty of organising the Friday lunches, and when he left the weekly lunches stopped. Not too long ago, we found a volunteer happy to take over the lunch organising duties, and the inaugural Friday Lunch Club 2.0 was held at Mrs Parma's.

Mrs Parmas

While there are a few other options on the menu, if you don't like parmas, this is not the place for you! Mrs Parma’s is all about parmas and beer. The website states that it is Melbourne’s first and only bar/bistro that specialises in parmagianas and Victorian micro brewery beers.

With the parmas, first you choose a base: chicken, veal or eggplant. Next, you choose a topping. You could go the original route (ham, Napoli and cheese) or go for something a bit different like the Greek (olive, onion, tomato & feta salsa) or pumpkin (roasted pumpkin, feta cheese and caramelised onions).

Mrs Parmas

I choose a Mexican chicken parma, topped with tomato salsa, sour cream, guacamole and jalapenos – I can’t resist jalapenos and sour cream! Chips and salad were bought out in separate bowls to share amongst the table. Reading other reviews online, I see that you can ask for a top up of chips for no extra charge.

Mrs Parmas Mrs Parmas

And the verdict? It was pretty good. The chicken was moist, and not too oily, and I enjoyed it with the jalapenos and sour cream. While it wasn't the best parma out there, and definitely not one to win over a parma purist, I enjoyed it. I thought it was good that the chips and salad were shared amongst the table, as the parmas were so large that we didn't finish the sides off anyway. It was a good Friday lunch club choice!

Mum and dad are off home next weekend (gulp), so I'll be getting back into the cooking grove shortly. Think I'll be starting off Soup Sundays again!

Mrs Parma's
25 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne Victoria
Phone : (03) 9639 2269

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