Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sambal prawns without the sambal

It was a special occasion yesterday and we ate out. We've been in Byron Bay for almost 6 months and have given up eating out everywhere except for 1 place which never fails to disappoint. Ignoring our gut feeling, we decided to try somewhere new and we ended up at a restaurant with a beautiful setting and ambience. With the sun setting in the background, we perused the menu with renewed confidence. I was surprised to see that the menu was all asian-fusion-modern. I am not a big fan of this sort of menu due to past experiences but placed my orders and crossed my fingers. By this time, i was starving after all.

I started with a Bloody Mary which needed more tabasco ( it needed more alcohol too). The raw kingfish with papaya salad was mediocre. The fish was fresh but at room temperature and drowned with a mix of very strong asian flavours including kecap manis. Coincidentally P's entree had the same overpowering sauce. My main was a very well cooked snapper fillet on a bed of wilted vegetables and heavily sauced again. But the final straw was the dessert, coconut cake, which was rather indescribable and we had barely made a dent in it. Overall, we were lamenting over the dinner and wondering if we were the 2 most picky eaters. The produce was undoubtedly fresh but it was a waste as everything was drowned in a rather generic tasting sauce. 

Ironically for dinner today, i decided to cook up some prawns and after browsing through some recipes on the net, i choose this one. Sambal Udang.

I added some kecap manis, soy sauce and lime juice. And served with rice and a salad with our current favorite salad dressing. But that's for another time. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Blog is born.

I've been lurking in everyone else's food blogs for a while. So many have been so inspirational and entertaining at the very least. I'm pretty much at the start of my cooking journey and decided it would be a good time to start my own. Like everyone else, i want to put up pictures of my creations and recipes. If nothing else, many self-help books push writing journals as an outlet. I'm all for outlets. 

Come to think of it, i should have started this earlier. Then i could document how far i've come. I used to serve ham sandwiches to friends comprising of 2 slices of bread ( generic, white bread) and a slice of ham. Untoasted! Very un-glam. I also never ate vegetables until the age of 19. I used to live with my sisters in a little apartment while at university. Our cousins named us the Salvation Army because we would eat anything, and everything. And be very grateful for any food that was given to us. As the eldest of three i went through phases of dabbling and my sister, who was always in desperate need of a home cooked meal, always volunteered to be my food tester with misplaced optimism. I started cooking in Febuary 2007, more out of necessity than anything else. Living in a country town for 6 months away from the city made eating out more an anti-climax than anything else. Partly because we are very picky eaters.  Never did i imagine that the endless hours of thinking about food, looking at cookbooks, and cooking would bring me such a feeling of accomplishment. I never knew i had it in me. Apparently no one else did too.

The name Exploding fish comes from a fail-safe recipe handed to me by a friend. It consists of ocean trout or salmon in a pyrex dish ( with a lid) in a microwave at medium power.

Exploding Fish
2 trout fillets
a dash of soy sauce
a smidge of chinese rice wine
chopped ginger
coriander powder
chopped coriander or spring onion

  1. Put all ingredients in the dish except chopped herbs and cover
  2. Microwave on medium for 8 minutes
  3. Remove and add herbs and cover for a few minutes until ready to serve
For all who have used a microwave before, you can deduce where the exploding comes from. The beauty of this recipe is that you don't need exact amounts and you can add or substitute different herbs (ie chilli, lime, lemongrass, ginger) and it always works itself out!