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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Minestrone Soup (Pressure Cooker)

Minestrone soup is one of our favourites and i have not cooked it in.. 2 1/2 years!

So i decided one day.. late in the evening that i wanted to make this, since my supply of veggies just got delivered. and if anyone is interested, i order my veggies from Fruit N Vegie Direct

So i chopped up all the veggies i had and tada!

Veggie Goodness in a bowl!


*You can really use what veggies you have on hand, these were roughly what i used

350g Green Beans
2 carrots
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
2 desiree potatoes
2 stalks of celery
4 slice of bacon (optional)
1 spicy chorizo (optional)
1 can of diced tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Mixed dried herbs
3 bay leaves
4 cups water
Some white button mushrooms
Fresh corn kernels (frozen would do just fine too)
Chicken stock paste (optional)


Chop up your veggies into pieces. Not too big and not too small (in case they get too soft and mushy)


Leave the skins of the potatoes on for extra nutrients and they don't really make a difference anyway.

Bacon, if you like them. They melt into the sauce and you can't really bite into a piece of bacon. They're mainly there for flavour.

One spicy chorizo that we bought from the Eveleigh Markets at Redfern. These really made the soup spicy. i was even contemplating putting 2 of these. One of definitely enough. If you don't want it spicy, just use normal chorizos then.

In the pressure cooker, i use the saute function and fry off my bacon first, to render the fats. Then i add the chorizo in as well. When they get nice and brown, i added my onions to caramelize. When my onions are about done, add in your garlic. Fry fry fry..

Then i add in all my other veggies (i added the mushroom and corn kernels last). Give them a good mix around.

Add 4 cups of water. I gave it a good squeeze of my chicken stock paste (just to add some more flavour), add a can of diced tomatoes.


Stir them all together and you get the above picture.

Looks yummy enough already!

Then i cover the lid and cooked it under medium pressure for 30 minutes.

Watched tv for 30 minutes.

Came back, released the steam manually – takes around 2 minutes.

Open the lid and this is what you get!

The veggies have all cooked down and the fats rendered.

At this point, we tried the soup. It was peppery all right! But it's a flavour you get used it and it ain't that bad. but i found it slightly thin, so i added around 3 tbsp of tomato paste.

It definitely upped the tomato-y flavour and made the soup thicker.

I changed the settings to saute and let the soup boil down a little as well.

All it takes now for a complete meal is some pasta!

Any type you like, macaroni or broken spaghetti are all fine! Something you can eat with a spoon.

Yum Yum Yum. Perfect for a cold winter night. Warm and spicy. Healthy too!

*By the way, this can totally be cooked on the stove-top. Just follow the same steps and cook it partially covered until the potatoes and carrots are soft. It will take longer but be just as delicious!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Beer Beef Stew (Pressure Cooker)

My Fast Slow Cooker's maiden dish.

I had chuck steak and a can of beer.

This is what i decided to try to make in the pressure cooker.

It wasn't the most flavourful, because i didn't use too many ingredients in this to add flavour and i actually didn't have any veggies but the carrots. It was still quite delicious though and we finished it all up.


500gm chuck steak
2 carrots
1 can of beer
2-3 cups of water
Chicken stock paste
(Just sub chicken stock for the above 2 ingredients)
1/4 –1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 onions, big chucks (they will melt down when cooked)
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Dried Herbs and Bay Leaves
a little dark soy sauce


Chop the onions, i used 2 in this dish because it didn't have too much flavour from a variety of ingredients, so i wanted the onions to shine in this dish. Remember to chop the carrots and garlic too!

Chop up the chuck steak and trim the fats. Very important. I trimmed some, but left a few in and it formed an oily layer on the top of my stew that i wasn't too fond of. So trim off as much fats as you can.

I seasoned my beef was a little salt and placed the pieces in a plastic bag with some plain flour. I covered the pieces in flour and fried them off using the saute setting of the pressure cooker.

I took the pieces of fried steak out. They are totally not cooked yet. just browned.

Then i added my onions and cooked till they were nice and translucent and brown. After that, i added the garlic.

When the onions and garlic all smell fabulous, add in the pieces of fried steak. Careful not to tear off the flour coating.

Add in your can of beer – whatever you have on hand, i don't drink so i have no idea what type of beer this is, i just found it in the fridge, it has been in there for a long time.

Add in the water – around 3 cups. (The pressure cooker needs a minimum of 4 cups of liquid, but i've cheated a little, and it still seemed perfectly fine. The thing is, liquids don't evaporate off, so you're always going to end up with a thin soup)

Squeeze a little chicken stock paste in.

Add mixed dried herbs, a few bay leaves and you're good to go.

Cover the lid and cook for 25 mins.

After it's done. Use the saute setting and let the liquid boil down.

(At this point in time.. the flavour really wasn't enough and it was too oily and liquidy. So fish got to work and he tweaked the flavour by adding some balsamic vinegar, a little dark soy sauce for colour and more herbs and spices – i would say, add the balsamic vinegar before the cooking process the next time.)


And this is what you end up with.

Nice beef stew – the chuck was fork tender.

I cooked some basmati rice to go with this.

Yum yum.

This was not the best maiden dish but it helped me learn the different functions of the cooker. It comes with an awesome manual.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Breville Fast Slow Cooker!


So, fish used his rewards points to exchange me a Breville Fast Slow Cooker!

and… I LOVE IT!

It is my new favourite gadget!

The name says exactly what it is.

It is both a slow cooker (6/8 hours) and a pressure cooker.

You can also use it to cook rice and do steaming.

It is 6 litres. At first, i was afraid that it might be a little large for the 3 of us. but so far, the size is great.

This is how is looks like. It is quite large but it has a space on my limited countertop.

There ya go. A list of everything it can do.

The saute function is great. It heats up really well and browns food really well too.

The bowl insert is non-stick, which makes cleanup a breeze. Since i brown and cook everything in this one pot, washing up really hasn't been that difficult.

These are it's accessories. Some plastic utensils to use so that you don't scratch the non stick bowl, but i seem to have gotten used to cooking in the cooker with a long pair of chopsticks so i hardly use these. There's also the steam tray and trivet.

So far, i'm really liking it. Stay tuned for some action with my new favourite! :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Japanese Curry Bun - カレーパン

I decided to make this a few days ago and i am so happy cause it can be considered a success!

I chose a recipe from hidehide's home cooking.

I won't repeat the recipe here – go to her website to check it out!

P1040388 This is the starter dough before rising.
P1040398 P1040404The dry curry mix. Recipe taken from Sumo Kitchen. I used 200gm of chuck mince. It was just nice for 8 fat curry buns. P1040407This is the starter dough after rising. It looks so ugly! P1040413The starter dough with other ingredients added in. before rising.  P1040415After rising. It was cold here, so it took a long time to rise. I left it in a warm oven to help it rise faster.  P1040416My 8 curry buns after shaping, stuffing and covering them with egg wash and panko.  before rising. P1040427After rising, i also had to place it inside a warm oven to rise.  P1040442After deep frying. It doesn't take long. P1040446 Cutting in!

I have to take a better picture than this. but for now, we have only eaten one and it tasted quite good. I was also quite satisfied with the texture of the bun.

So i'm happy! YAY!

Friday, July 08, 2011

What's for Dinner?! – Mother Chu's Taiwanese Place, Chinatown

We decided to try here for dinner one day.

I did quite enjoy eating here, except they kept asking if we wanted to order yet and we haven really read the menu yet. Overall the service is quite ok. We got served by a older lady who was quite nice, just don't expect them to be overtly friendly. You also have to pay immediately after ordering at the table.

We ordered 3 bowls of hot soy bean milk. We thought they came in cups, but it was in bowls – which was fine. The milk is not sweetened at all. You can add as much or as little sugar as you like. I didn't add much since i ate it with savory food. It was a nice accompaniment.

We had you tiao. It was okay, not fantastic. Not like the ones we have in Singapore but enough to satisfy my cravings.

Oyster Omelette Pancake. The sauce on the top was really nice. The oyster flavour isn't very strong and fish actually ate the oyster. This was quite nice.

Spring Onion Pancake with Egg. I like spring onions, egg and pastry. This was quite nice. Although i think that they could have add a lot a lot more spring onions. I liked it enough to order another plate. hehe.

Lastly, we had guo tie. It was nothing fantastic. However, fish and hui asked me to try it with a combination of vinegar and soy sauce and it completely changed the flavour. It was delicious with the vinegar and soy sauce. The vinegar isn't the one commonly seen though, it's not black, it looks very light and slightly reddish.

Fish had a bowl of porridge which i forgot to take a picture of. It was very home cooked and made you feel warm inside. I would go back for the porridge and there are a few items i would like to try. So we will return! :)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Gamushara Ramen + Hainan Chicken Rice, Haymarket

Gamushara was recommended by Yuki when we had dinner with her at Miso because she learnt that Fish liked thick tonkotsu soup.

We went there the very next day. and Fish found his version of heaven.

You can choose a thinner version of the soup – which i did. but i think sticker to the original one might be a better choice.

Tis mine. I had the garlic ramen with an added egg. Yum Yum. I almost couldn't finish it though. and the chasu pieces were delicious! They were very tender.

Fish had his with All Toppings. That mountain there is pickled veggies and it is very spicy. but very delicious. I liked it a lot.

When reading reviews online, i found out that at this same food court, there is also Hainan Chicken Rice that people have said to be quite authentic.

So, hui had that for lunch. It wasn't bad. I think the rice could be slightly improved. The flavour was there, but the rice were a little too mushy. It is expensive though. AUD$8.80

Fish will definitely be back for his ramen again!

Thanks for the recommendation Yuki! :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Miso with Yuki! + Dessert – World Square, Sydney

Me and Fish met up with Yuki for dinner. and i decided we should go Miso. It's a Japanese restaurant we have been to many times before but Yuki had not tried it before.

I had the special bento for the day – Crispy Salmon with a butter sauce.


I didn't manage to get a picture of Yuki ate though. but she liked it.

Both fish and yuki had unagi and both said that it was very good!

We had 2 sides to share. This is Nasu Dengaku (if i'm not wrong). It's fried eggplant in a rich miso sauce. Delicious!

Chicken Karaage of course. Fish likes his fried chicken!

We then went walking around in Chinatown and decided to have some dessert at the taiwanese dessert place called Meet Fresh Taiwanese Dessert House.

I couldn't finish mine, so fish helped me finish it. It was called Taro Mania or something like that. It had herbal jelly, pearls, shaved ice, sugar syrup and 2 types of yam.

This was Yuki's. I think it had shaved ice, pearls, coconut jelly, jelly cake and yam.

Fish wanted something warm, so he got red bean with black glutinous rice and there's a piece of yam in the middle. He liked it!

That pretty much concluded our day out with Yuki! We had a great time!

Yuki learnt that Fish liked thick tonkotsu soup. So she recommended Gamushara. More about that on my next post!