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Pineapple Tarts are one of my favourite Chinese New Year treats. That’s not to say you can’t have it any other time of year but these bite sized pieces are even more joyous in times of celebration. I’ve always loved the sweet and slightly sour pineapple filling with the buttery dough that melts in your mouth. Also these tarts come it various sizes or shapes that always makes it more appealing.

Probably every year we try those home made Pineapple Tarts sold in your typical local Asian Grocer and it’s always a tad too sweet and the tart isn’t as soft as I would have liked. So I have wanted to try to make my own tarts for ages but the thought of making the filling just seemed like too much effort.

However, It just so happened we ended up having large, old pineapples sitting around so what else could we use it for but pineapple jam? My mother was the one wh  actually  made the jam, just from adding pineapples into a pot and letting it dry up and adding sugar so I don’t know the exact quantities she used, I think just tasting as she went along and added sugar when needed. However, I’ve provided a recipe from one of my favourite Asian/Malaysian Food websites, Rasa Malaysia for the filling and pastry. We did use the pastry recipe from there and I think it worked out quite well, you can read my impressions further down.

Rasa Malaysia’s Pineapple Tart Recipe

Pineapple Filling

Ingredients:

4 large pineapples
300 g sugar
1 clove
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 star anise
250 g liquid glucose
2 Tbsp wheat flour or wheat starch (Tung Mein Fun)

Method:

1. Slice and grate pineapples till fine. You can use a food processor do grate it.
2. Strain the grated pineapple till dry.
3. Let it simmer in a wok toll the juice has dry up. Add sugar and, star anise, cinnamon stick and clove.
4. Stir till the pineapple has thickened and dry. Add maltose or liquid glucose.
5. Stir till the pineapple filling is thick, sticky and dry.
6. Add wheat flour. Continue to stir for about 10 minutes or until filling is dry.
7. Leave to cool and shape into small balls.

Note : You can make the filling in advance and refrigerate it.

Pastry

Ingredients:

500 g butter
140 g powdered sugar
4 egg yolks
650 g all purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

Egg Brush

1 egg yolk plus 1Tbsp water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 150° C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar till white.
  3. Add in egg yolks and beat at low speed for 1 minute.
  4. Fold in flour gradually.
  5. Insert pastry into cookie press and press into strip of about 3 inch each. (Or just take a small spoonful of the pastry,  flatten it and take another spoonful of the jam and use your hands to shape it into a ball)
  6. Put the rolled pineapple filling onto the pastry and roll it up.
  7. Brush with egg brush.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or when tarts is light golden brown in color.

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You can shape these tarts any way you want, and as mentioned in the Rasa Malaysia recipe, they roll it up like a sausage roll of sorts. We stuck to the ball method and just used a fork or a toothpick to engrave the lines on to make it look more like a pineapple.

You can also use a mold designed for these tarts and they come in various shapes like a flower or hearts. I’ve purchase one from Brown Cookie but for since this particular dough is quite soft it gets quite difficult to remove from the mold.

Impressions

The pastry recipe is surprisingly very good as just how I like it! It’s soft and simply melts in your mouth as you take a bite. I’ve actually made this a number of times since my mother had made an enormous quantity of pineapple jam.

It really does depend on how you like your pineapple tarts, some like the shortbread style tarts that are slightly harder and crisper but I’m a big fan of these softer tarts. If you’re like me and prefer these ones, this is a great recipe to try.

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Masterchef’s Marion has her own selection of Thai meals you can cook up easily.

The one I attempted to cook was her Thai Green Curry. What I liked about what’s in the box, is how much is packed in!

1 x Marion’s Kitchen Thai Green Curry pack, includes:

  • Green Curry Paste
  • Coconut Milk
  • Dried Thai Herbs & Chilli
  • Fish Sauce
  • Bamboo Shoots

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You basically just need your choice of protein and whatever vegetables you like! I’ve added chicken, eggplant and long beans. I also love that it comes with delicious bamboo shoots which are one of my favourite things to add to a Thai Green Curry, and to any stir fry. It’s just that good.

Method (from Marion’s Kitchen, and on the box)

1. Heat oil over medium heat and fry the Green Curry Paste for about a minute

2. Now’s the time to pour in the creamy Coconut Milk and 1 cup of water.  Tip – if you want to make your curry less spicy, you can add an extra ½ cup water here.

3. Then add  the packet of Dried Herbs & Chilli (leave the chilli out if you want a mild curry or chop it up if you want a spicier curry).  Now add the fish sauce and wait for the curry to start simmering again.

4. Open up those tasty Bamboo Shoots, drain away the liquid and add the shoots into the curry.  Now add your chicken (substitute your protein) and vegetables and simmer for about 2 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.  Serve with steamed rice.
IMG_5840I’ve got to say it tasted pretty darn good, not too creamy, just enough spice and packed full of flavour. Although their pack is kinda on the pricier side compared to those Malaysian/Singaporean Prima packs.

It has it’s own coconut milk, herbs and bamboo shoots (which are quite expensive all things considering) so it still is value for money.

I would definitely use this if I wanted to cook up a quick and easy Thai Green Curry, and it basically has everything you need!

 

 

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I came across the Lynbrook Hotel after browsing Urbanspoon’s top Melbourne Buffet Restaurants. Having already tried China Bar, Consevatory and Kitchenworkshop (3 of the top 5), I was surprised to see Lynbrook Hotel so far up the top. Lynbrook? Lynbrook has a hotel?

After my initial shock, I checked out the official website, it said it had a International Buffet Bistro, offering European, Asian and Australian cuisines. This piqued my interest and afterall their prices were quite reasonable too.
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We went to try it out for my father’s birthday, and booked the earlier session to avoid the large cohords of people (I expected anyway). Their eating area is quite spacious and clean. It makes for a welcoming dining experience.

The food is grouped into several categories, from Asian (Chinese), European (Italian), Australian, and Indian with a bit of Thai, and of course Desserts.

The Food

While I didn’t take photographs of the food itself (I was too busy eating), the food was decent and there was a great variety of dishes.

In the Asian corner, they have Fried Rice, and a few stir frys which were surprisingly decent for a restaurant primarily served by Indian chefs.

There was a good selection of seafood, from fresh prawns, to steamed fish and a few of your standard ‘Fish and Chip shop’ items, and also roast items like roast beef and potatoes, vegetables in another area.

In their European flavoured area they served mostly Italian food, i.e pastas, lasagne and pizza.

Their Indian area took me by surprise, as it smelt great. A few different styled curries, and bite sized snack food. As I mentioned before they served Thai fish cake, which was spicy! However when my parents when again for a friend’s birthday celebration, they didn’t have these on offer. So it seems their selection of food varies slightly per week.

Their dessert menu consisted of a lot of cakes and sugary treats. My favourite was the warm almond cake, and the chocolate mousse. Of course, they served ice-cream for the kids, which was running empty by the hours end. I’ll admit their selection of desserts was great, but nothing can top soft serve ice-cream at Kitchen Workshop.

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There were a couple of downsides, their pizzas weren’t cooked long enough so the bread was still doughly. Perhaps their second run of pizzas were better, I didn’t attempt to try it again.

As mentioned earlier, their 3 tubs of ice-cream were probably sitting there for a while so it wasn’t replaced as quickly (or at all) during our session. Some of their dishes were slightly overcooked but I can overlook that as it wasn’t terribly bad.

Overall impressions

The Lynbrook Hotel serves a great selection of food, for what you pay for, you do get your monies worth.  Compared to Kitchen Workshop which is roughly the same price, I’d prefer Kitchen Workshop but if you’re looking for some tasty Asian dishes Lynbrook is your best bet.

Lynbrook Hotel on Urbanspoon

Lynbrook Hotel

550 South Gippsland Highway
Lynbrook
VIC 3975
Bistro Prices and Sessions Here

 

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Kotaraya used to be our go-to Malaysian restaurant. We used to frequent their Elsternwick store, and then on occassion, their Clayton store maybe every few months but then we stopped going there. Not because it was bad or anything, the food stayed pretty consistent of the many years we ate there but only because it got too busy for our liking and you’d be hard pressed to find a table on a Sunday after 12pm.

So instead we opted for the many restaurants in Glen Waverley so you didn’t have to play the waiting game.  Earlier this year we noticed it wasn’t particularly busy so we jumped at the chance to revist Kotaraya.

Kotaraya has all the standard Malaysian dishes. Laksa, Nasi/Mee Goreng, Char Kway Teoh but also a selection of Thai and Chinese dishes too.

 

I always used to order their Char Hor Fun (Combination), and to be honest their Char Hor Fun has pratically stayed the same as I remembered it. It still has the same tasty egg sauce and the slightly wok stir-fried noodles. Of course the price has gone up, but that has been consistent with most restaurants so it isn’t a real negative.

Their Char Hor Fun as all the essentials, calamari , bok choy, and chicken and just enough sauce. You can’t go wrong with this dish.

Check out their menu on the official website and see what you like! There is something for everyone.

Kotaraya Multi Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Kotaraya – Elsternwick
237-239 Glenhuntly Road
Elsternwick 3185

Telephone: 9523 6720
Fax: 9523 1792

Opening hours
Open 7 days (Lunch & Dinner) Lunch 11.30am – 2.30pm
Dinner 5.30pm – 10.30pm
Closed: Saturday Lunch
Public Holidays: Open

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After having my first taste experience of bagels in New York (Ess-a-Bagel), I’ve been on a search to find some delicious Bagels down here in Melbourne. One of the best ones I’ve tasted are Glick’s Special Boiled Bagels, I don’t know what’s special with their boiling but whatever they do it’s working a treat.

Glick’s have a few locations, the one I frequent is in Elsternwick, down on Glenhuntly road, just a few minutes from Elsternwick station so it’s quite convenient if you want a Bagel fix!

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Their store also sells a variety of sweets and savoury items which I haven’t had the chance to try but they look tasty.
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Of course, being a bakery and all, it serves breads and sandwiches and snacks.
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Glick’s is great because they have a large variety of choices. On the top of my head they have plain, herb, poppyseed, wholemeal, the lot (everything), and berry. Aside from their fresh Bagels, you can buy their fridge/frozen selection of plain, poppy seed or sesame which taste as good as the fresh ones. So if you ever have a craving you can just defrost a few and off you go!
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We always try one of each and the everything Bagel is packed full of flavour, and when lightly toasted it gives out a very aromatic smell.
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I probably could go on about their Bagels but I’ll stop now. If you liked Ess-A-Bagels in NY, these will more than satisfy your cravings. Glick’s Bagels are dense, chewy and slightly doughy. So you can’t go wrong. As they have stores in the CBD, South Melbourne, Balaclava, Bentleigh, Malvern and of course Elsternwick. You’d bound to run into one so I definitely recommend you check it out.

Glicks on Urbanspoon

Glick’s Elsternwick
362 Glenhuntly Rd
Melbourne, VIC 3184

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