Monthly Archives: May 2012

[Recreation - Out & About] All-You-Can-Eat Seafood Night at Nashdale Hall, NSW

As some Orange residents may agree, fresh seafood, and I meant you can still taste the sea kind of fresh, is hard to come by in Orange for being inland and all. So when my Nashdale connection, Mr C, asked me if I would like to go to an all-you-can-eat seafood dinner, and that the organisers actually hired a refridgerated truck to pick up thousand dollars worth of seafood from Sydney market on the same day, it’s difficult to let this opportunity to slip through my fingers. Plus, it’s not often I get to experience a community organised event.

{So, that’s the secret behind cooking whole salmon ….by massaging them tenderly. Lucky Nashdale women!  Alright, alright, I was just kidding. They were just checking if the salmon was cooked by detecting the temperature and the firmness of the flesh.  Thanks to Arthur, Bill and Graeme for cooking the salmon perfectly. It’s not easy to cook so many whole salmon in one night! }

{Bits of Nashdale Hall}

{My first round – sword fish fillet, some salmon and salad made by the organising committee members.}

{Grilled salmon, prawns, marinated octopus and fresh oysters – I was in seafood paradise!}

{I love buffet-style dining. Considering the great turnout, it was really organised and there’s more than enough food for everyone.}

{My first encounter with Balmain Bug. Personally the flesh reminds me of lobster but with a more refined texture. I think I still need to get over its aesthetic. Superficial much?}

{Next time, I need to bring a mortar to break the claw. Before this, I forgot how sweet and lovely fresh crab meat is.}

At the end of the dinner I was totally stuffed…same as everyone else. There were boxes of seafood reserved for raffle tickets after the dinner and …if you wish to burn some of the calories you’ve just consumed, there’s a dance floor where you and your mates can dance to the 80s music.

The next seafood dinner will be held in early November and on a Friday night. The ticket for this dinner costs $55  and you need to make ticket reservation before you go (I didn’t notice the availability of front door ticket sale on the night). The proceeds of the dinner will go towards the maintenance of the Nashdale Hall and funding the local schools and charitable organisations. Should you require the date on the next seafood dinner and  ticket reservation, please contact Arthur Treweek on  63 65 3145 or 0427 65 3389.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the Nashdale community for organising such an enjoyable and scrumptious dinner! I will see you next time! :D

Note – This is not a sponsored post and I paid for my own ticket.

Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese with Kale

Stove top mac & cheese sure resembles the blue boxed instant mac & cheese you can buy from the supermarket. As I could not resist blistering anything with cheese and pasta in the oven, I actually had a hard time not finishing off this dish in the oven. After all, it’s the natural thing to do. ;)

But if I did, it sort of defeats the purpose of being “stove top”. Not to mention, “stove top” the “It” mac & cheese of the moment.  I better keep up and stick with the program! Since I am on the “It” trend, I might as well add the “It” vegetable of the moment which is kale. (Okay some may think I have just ruined their mac & cheese dream with my kale touch, but since when is there no room for vegetables in comfort food?)

Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese with Kale

(tweaked very slightly from Marie’s recipe)

(Serves 3 to 4 people)

Ingredients:-

  • 200g (about 8 ounces) macaroni (I used San Remo brand macaroni)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour (about 60g/ 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – you may want to omit this if using salted butter
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (8oz)
  • About 8 stalks of kale, finely shredded
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted Panko/normal breadcrumbs *optional*

Let’s get started:

(1) Finely slice kale and chop garlic. Set aside. (2) Cook macaroni according to package directions in a large pot. Drained and set aside in a large bowl. (3) In the same pot (rinsed and dry), heat some olive oil and saute garlic until  it started to be aromatic. Add sliced kale and saute until slightly wilted. Remove the kale from the pot to the same bowl as the cooked macaroni. (4) In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour, salt and pepper; #Slowly add milk. (5) Cook and stir until bubble and no longer feels grainy, over low heat.  Stir in cheese  until smooth and creamy. (6) Add macaroni to cheese sauce. Stir until everything is well mixed. (7) *optional* In a small pan, toast some breadcrumbs until golden brown. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the macaroni and cheese just before serving.

# Slowly add milk – add about 1/2 cup first, stir until the milk is well combine and smooth with the flour-butter mixture and then add another 1/2 cup, stir to combine and add the remaining milk. This is important to avoid lumpiness in the sauce.

Baked Eggs with Spicy Beans

My breakfast on work days is often being skipped or in a rush. When it comes to weekends, however, I try to take my own sweet time and enjoy a good hearty breakfast.  I love cafe-styled breakfasts. Smoked salmon and poached eggs is my usual pick but lately I have been loving the clay-pot eggs with spicy beans served in Factory Espresso near my house.

When I don’t feel like the dressing up to go out for breakfast, I try to emulate cafe-style breakfast at home. Sometimes, it’s equally satisfying enjoying breakfast in my pjs. No makeup and effortless dressing is what I needed to completely unwind in the comfort of my own home while enjoying my recreation of my favourite dish of the moment.

Baked Eggs with Spicy Beans

(tweaked from the BBC GoodFood)

Makes about 3 to 4 portions depending on the size of the ramekins (I used Maxwell & Williams Microstoven 13.5 cm Round Au Gratin Dish which fill 3 of these dishes.)

Ingredients:-

  • 3 to 4 eggs (see above)
  • A can of  400g (14 oz) net weight Cannellini beans, rinsed with water & drained
  • A can of 400g (14 oz) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (leaves & stalks), chopped (leave some for garnish)
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • Salt, sugar and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Toasted bread soldiers for dipping

Let’s start:-

(1) Heat the oil in a small pot. Add garlic and chilli flakes and saute until aromatic.  (2) Add the beans followed by the chopped tomatoes and paprika. Let it simmer over low-medium heat until slightly thickens, covered. (3) Add chopped coriander and continue to simmer for a minute or so. (4) Check seasonings. Add salt, sugar and pepper to taste. (5) Divide the bean mixture into the ramekins/dish. Use the of a large spoon make a dip in the sauce, then crack an egg into each one. (6) Put the ramekins/dish under a griller for 5 to 6 minutes until the eggs are done to your liking. (7) Scatter with the corianders leaves, more black pepper (optional),  drizzles of olive oil and serve with bread soldiers.