Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rice Paper Rolls

Ever wondered how to make your own Vietnamese rice paper rolls? I wouldn't say mine would be the most authentic and 'visually appealing' method, but here is how I made my rice paper rolls. If you want or NEED a light meal that's healthy and low in fat (e.g. when I'm having too much fried or fatty foods for too many days), this would be the perfect meal to have. It's also great for when you have friends or family over at your place. Try to demonstrate the assembling process to them once or twice, and I'm sure your guests will have one of the most fun and interactive dinners! I would imagine this would be perfect for kids as well :p 

Ingredients (serves 15 rolls) 

  • 250-300 g chicken tenderloins, sliced and cooked in boiling water
  • 1 carrot, sliced into long thin strips (Julienne)
  • 1 packet of beansprouts, washed and dried
  • 1 oak leaf lettuce, washed and dried
  • 6 spring onions (green part), washed and dried
  • 1 packet of large round rice paper wrappers

Dipping sauce

  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 3 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 finely chopped red chilli
  • 2 tbs water



1. While boiling the chicken tenderloin pieces, prepare all the ingredients. Slice carrots and spring onions evenly into the length of the rice paper rolls (3-4 inches). Roughly tear lettuce leaves into smaller pieces. 

2. To make the dipping sauce, place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.

Assembling the rolls

1. Quickly soak one piece of rice paper in a pot of warm water (1:1 ratio of hot boiling water and room temperature water) for 2 to 3 seconds. Place it on a clean plate. Don't worry if it's slightly hard in the middle, it will continue to soften as you wrap the ingredients. The hotter the water is, the less time you need to soak the rice paper to soften it.

 2. Place the lettuce leaves, spring onion, carrots, beansprouts, and chicken 1 inch from the top end of the rice paper. Fold the top end of the rice paper tightly over the fillings.

3. Fold both sides of the rice paper towards the centre.

4. Roll it down all the way , making sure that the fillings are tightly wrapped in the rice paper.

5. It's done! Repeat the process until your tummy feels satisfied :p


  • You could use any other type of protein to substitute the chicken. Prawns, eggs, pork, beef, even tofu if you're vegan.
  • You could add rice vermicelli in the fillings. I omitted this to have a lower carb rice paper roll. Which also means I can fit more vegetables into my rice paper rolls.
  • You can use any of your favourite vegetable E.g. cucumbers, capsicum, etc. Use your creativity!
  • Herbs add great flavour to the rice paper rolls. E.g. Coriander, mint, basil leaves. I omitted them purely because of cost.

These rice paper rolls are very easy to make as you don't need much cooking. Let your (or your kid's) creative juices flow and you'll be ready to rock and roll with these rice paper rolls!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Guinness Lamb Shank

Guinness Lamb Shank 
Guinness stew was one of the items in my 'Cooking Wish List', just because it sounds whacky and I've never tasted anything with Guinness Stout as an ingredient. Plus, my sister cooked Guinness Beef Stew a few months ago and she was bragging about it, so I assume it must taste pretty good.

Came across a Guinness Lamb Shank recipe in one of Jamie Oliver's facebook post and I thought I might give this a try. I like reading through recipes and giving my own tweak to it according to the ingredients I have in my fridge and pantry, because most of the times I could save some money and time out of it and what better way to clean up my pantry! Most of the times my inventions work, other times my combination of ingredients are just ...... appalling :(

But don't worry! This meal turned up pretty yummy! The lamb shanks were so tender that you could use a fork to pull the meat apart, and the gravy had an interesting depth of flavour, although mine wasn't as thick and sticky as Jamie's because I didn't have a stick blender to whiz up the onions that was in the gravy. 

This is a great dinner meal, especially for cold winter nights where you need a warm hearty meal to warm you up. I had this with two handfuls of salad veg, which will wilt when you pour the hot gravy on top of it. The gravy had a layer of oil , which you can scoop it out with a ladle/spoon. This oil is from the fats of the lamb that has melted over the hours of simmering. You should have as little of these as possible because these fats (saturated fats), are bad for your health as they can clog your arteries and cause high cholesterol and a wide range of heart problems. Saying that, red meat such as lamb and beef are good sources of iron and zinc, and it is recommended that you eat 3-4 serves (150g raw weight per serve) per week (1 lamb shank is about 1.5 serve). So just remember to choose the lean cuts of meat and trim off any visible fats and you'll be fine :)

Here's my version of the recipe. Try this out and let me know how it goes. :p

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 brown onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium sized washed potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 heaped tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Jack Daniel's spicy barbecue sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons mint sauce
  • 1 litre chicken stock (preferably salt reduced)
  • 300 mL of Guinness stout
  • 2 lamb shanks, cleaned and pat dried, with visible fat trimmed off
  • olive oil
  • ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt (optional)

 1. Crush garlic cloves with the back of your knife and dice the onions finely.

2. Roughly chop the carrots and potatoes into cubes.

3. Heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Pan fry lamb shanks until all sides are slightly brown in colour. When the lamb shanks are done, leave them on a separate plate. 
(I rubbed the shanks with paprika before frying it. Not a good idea as it will burn in the oil)

4. In a separate pot (use a Casserole dish if you have one), fry the rosemary sprigs in 1 tablespoon of oil for a few seconds under medium-high heat, then quickly pour in the onions and garlic. Once the onions and garlic are caramelised, pour in the carrots and potatoes and move it around for around 5 minutes under high heat.

5. Pour in around 300 mL of Guinness stout (You'll hear a sizzling sound). Let it boil for a few minutes.

6. Arrange the lamb shanks in the pot.

7. Add in the mint sauce, Worcestershire sauce (I used Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce), 1 teaspoon of ground smoked paprika and a few turns of ground black pepper. Top it up with chicken stock (or more Guinness if you like) until the lamb shanks are submerged in liquid. Be careful of the amount of chicken stock you use as it might be too salty (I suggest that you use a salt reduced stock so that you can add more salt to it if it isn't tasty enough. I used around 600 mL of Maggie Beer's stock and no salt was needed.)

8. Let it boil for a few minutes. Turn the stove to low heat, cover the pot and let it simmer gently for 3 hours.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Noodles Your Way, CBD

It was raining yesterday and I was 'hermitting' in my warm heated room. Glad I don't have to walk in the rain with wet jeans and soggy shoes, and an upside down umbrella today because today is a sunny Sunday!

After church, JC and I decided to try someplace new for lunch near Chinatown. We've always wanted to try this noodle place in World Square, but never got the chance to. Since I have a food blog now, I have no reason not to.

Noodles Your Way is located just beside Taste of Shanghai, which we might try out another day. Looking at the menu, I'm assuming this is a Taiwanese restaurant as they serve a variation of beef noodles, 'Three Cup Chicken', and 'Rice with Lu Rou (stewed minced pork)', which are the Taiwanese dishes that I'm familiar with from watching food channels and travelling shows. From my memory, the menu has a selection of noodles, rice, rice cakes, cold/warm side dishes, etc. I didn't get to take a photo of the menu as the waitress collected the menu as soon as we ordered. I like how their menu has coloured photos of almost every item on the menu, and just the right amount of dishes.

As you walk in, you'll see a bain marie of goodness at the counter. A selection of dishes which you can choose from to go with a bowl of rice. 

The restaurant had a clean and comfortable environment, with wooden chairs and comfy cushioned stools. Definitely a better environment compared to the food courts at Chinatown.

3 dishes + rice $10.50
(From top to bottom) Beef brisket and carrots, Stir fried beef and broccoli, Eggplant and green capsicums

And so JC was tempted by the bain marie of food. They all tasted pretty good and it was not as greasy as other Chinese stir fries that I've had, although it was slightly on the starchy side.

Noodles with Beef Brisket and Tendons $10.80 

I had to try their noodles simply because the name of the shop was 'Noodles Your Way'. Not sure if the noodles were handmade, but they were good. The soy based broth was tasty and the beef brisket and tendons were cooked to perfection. The tendons were so tender that it could melt in my mouth. I was satisfied, although I would be happier if they had more veggies with the noodles. Otherwise, this would be a perfectly balanced and healthy meal.

Overall, this was a rather good experience. I would definitely come back to try more dishes (the table next to us ordered cold tofu with century egg...Yum!) One downside to this restaurant is that you have to pay right after you order, which can be a little annoying. 

Give this place a try if you're sick and tired of waiting for a table in Chinatown, or simply if you haven't tried Taiwanese food. After all, what's life without a few food adventures?

Noodles Your Way on Urbanspoon

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Wedge Espresso, Glebe

Wee~ My first blog post! After years of procrastinating, I've finally decided to start my own food blog. I've just finished my last paper in uni today, so thought I would start this blog to celebrate my last day at uni. I've one week of holidays before I start my placements :p

Enough of the rambling, on to the FOOD!

This is not the first time I've been to The Wedge. My previous visits were all yummy and positive. Friendly service and a 'swagger' interior and ambience.

Here's the menu...

A great seasonal menu with a selection of affordable and flavourful items. I would say it's a healthier menu compared to the typical Big Brekkie with bacon and hash browns.

So this was what JC and I ordered. on a rainy gloomy day, 3 days ago, on our monthiversary.

Flat white and Skim Cappuccino to start with... 

Smashed Egg & Ham Roll

Chai & Date Bircher Muesli

The food was up to expectations. Coffee was good, one of the better ones in that area. Egg yolks in the roll were slightly runny, perfectly cooked. We got the roll toasted, so there was that warm and slightly crunchy outer layer of bread. Ahh...such comfort food for a rainy day. My bircher muesli was Chai infused, topped with creamy yoghurt and stewed rhubarb. If only it was warm in this chilly winter... I like Chai and the muesli kept me full for a long time. Not to mention all the amazing cholesterol-lowering properties of oats. Definitely a win-win situation for both my heart and my growling tummy.

Go explore The Wedge! It's along Glebe Pt Rd where 7-eleven is just around the corner. Their Pulled Pork Sandwich is a must-try, with Asian inspired flavours that goes so well with those tender pieces of pork. They should be having their winter menu soon. Can't wait to try!

(Credit to JC for the photos taken from his iPhone. Saving up for a better camera :p)

Wedge Espresso on Urbanspoon