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One of things I’ve realised from making a nice tasty homemade pizza is that it doesn’t really come cheap! Unless you make huge batches it won’t necessarily be budget friendly but of course this depends on the ingredients you use. On the plus side these pizzas were worlds apart from the fast food pizzas such as Dominos. They really can’t compare to a homemade pizza at all.

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I’ve taken this recipe from Jamie Oliver‘s website, which I believe is in the Jamie At Home cookbook, and I have now made pizza a couple of times with this recipe so for me, it works quite well, and is very easy to do. Here is the recipe I’ve used below.

Makes 6 to 8 medium-sized thin pizza bases

Ingredients

1kg strong white bread flour or Tipo ‘00’ flour
or 800g strong white bread flour or Tipo ‘00’ flour, plus 200g finely ground semolina flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
650ml lukewarm water

Method

1. Sieve the flour/s and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle.

2. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.

3. Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

4. Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.

5. Timing-wise, it’s a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them. Don’t roll them out and leave them hanging around for a few hours, though – if you are working in advance like this it’s better to leave your dough, covered with clingfilm, in the fridge. However, if you want to get them rolled out so there’s one less thing to do when your guests are round, simply roll the dough out into rough circles, about 0.5cm thick, and place them on slightly larger pieces of olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted tinfoil. You can then stack the pizzas, cover them with clingfilm, and pop them into the fridge. (I made the doughs in the morning and let them sit in a warm area for most of the day so it could rise to it’s maximum size)

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With these pizzas the toppings are all up to you and the beauty of it all is you can add as little or as much as your want!

I halved the above recipe and used semolina and it made two large(ish) sized pizzas so you can take that into consideration. I’ve listed the ingredients I’ve used below.

Pizza Tomato Base (I’ve used Leggos, but anything is fine)
Capsicum
Mushroom
Jalapenos (From Woolworths are absolutely amazing on a pizza – be warned though they are not that cheap!)
Pizza Cheese (Cheddar/Mozarella mix)
Chorizo
Pancetta
Hot Salami

Here is a recipe from Taste.com.au which you can use to go by for oven temperature and general how to.

Cooking Time
20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 pita pockets
2 tbs tomato tapenade (see note)
125g chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
60g (1/3 cup) bought roasted capsicum, drained, thinly sliced
100g baby bocconcini, drained, halved
40g (1/2 cup) shredded parmesan
50g baby rocket leaves

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Place the pita pockets on a large baking tray. Spread with the tomato tapenade. Top with the chorizo, capsicum and bocconcini. Sprinkle with the parmesan.
3. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until the parmesan melts and the base is light brown and crisp.

Notes
If tomato tapenade is unavailable, use tomato paste. Shopping tip: Look for tomato tapenade and bottled roasted capsicum, sometimes called fire-roasted peeled peppers, in the antipasto section at Woolworths, near the olives. Swap it: For a different flavour, swap the tomato tapenade for bought basil pesto and swap the chorizo sausage for coarsely chopped ham slices.

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Impressions

I really liked the Jamie Oliver pizza dough recipe, it works wonders. However to be honest, I haven’t tried any others when this one worked well for me. It has a nice crunch on the outside and it lovely and soft inside, plus if you cook it long enough the base crisps nicely and it is just fantastic.

Basically you leave it in the oven at roughly 200 degrees fan forced if you have ingredients that don’t need much cooking (or really none at all). If you do have toppings that may need to be cooked, please pre-cook them to be safe, and so the dough is well cooked while the toppings aren’t overly over cooked.

It’s a great recipe that I’ll be using more regularly from now on!

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There is just something about Thai food that I love. I think it’s probably how well balanced their food seems to be. It has this perfect blend of sweet, sour, salt and spice. Pad Thai is a rice noodles stir fry that incorporates the many commonly used Thai ingredients such as tamarind paste, fish sauce and chilli along with a mix of eggs, preserved turnip, nuts, tofu and shrimp.

I’ve used the SBS Food’s Pad Thai Recipe and made slight changes to my preferences.

Pad Thai

Ingredients

Sauce
100g tamarind in block form
300ml warm water
200g palm sugar
50g caster sugar
150ml Thai seasoning sauce

Other ingredients 
Large green prawns, heads and shells removed (allow 2-3 per person)
10g dried shrimp
¼ red onion, sliced
40g hard tofu, sliced
40g preserved turnip
2 eggs
200g rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
Garlic chives
Bean sprouts
Fried shallots
Roasted peanuts, chopped
Dried chilli
Lime wedges

Preparation

1. Soak the tamarind in warm water, kneading with your fingers to separate the pulp from the seeds. Squeeze out liquid, strain and pour into a frying pan or wok. Add palm sugar, caster sugar and seasoning sauce. Bring to the boil and boil until it has reduced and is syrupy.

2. Fry prawns until they curl and change colour. Add dried shrimp, red onion, tofu and preserved turnip. Push contents of pan to one side and add egg, breaking up just a little as it cooks.

3. Add drained noodles, 2 tablespoon of water, the tamarind sauce, garlic chives and a few bean sprouts, fried shallots, chopped peanuts and chilli.

4. Pile into a serving bowl and garnish with more fried shallots, bean sprouts, a wedge of lime, garlic chives and crushed peanuts.

Note:
The amount of sauce added to the Pad Thai can be adjusted according to how strong a flavour you like. Usually this quantity of sauce is fine for 4 people. Any unused sauce can be kept in a clean jar in the refrigerator.

Impressions:
I quite liked this recipe, it’s quite easy to make actually, and I actually used a lot of the sauce because we used the whole packet of rice noodles (Much larger than 200g). I have a slight dislike of all things coriander so I’ve neglected to add it here, but I can see how it can make this dish a bit more refreshing with coriander added to it.
I think I also may have added too much dried shrimp so the Pad Thai ended up having a strong shrimp taste, but it still tasted nice and light. It tasted similar to what I’ve eaten at Thai restaurants but I can’t really tell whether or not it’s truly authentic or not but it tastes great so that’s all that matters to me!

 

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ChilliPadi Mamak Kopitiam’s more spacious locations is situated on Racecourse Rd, and only just a couple of minutes walk from Newmarket Station. I’ve already mentioned their store on Waterfront City, but if you want greater variety of choices then their Flemington restaurant is the one to try. It’s sometimes just hard enough to pick what to eat with all these choices! #firstworldproblems

We have now been there on numerous occassions and staff are always quite friendly, along with decent service to boot. With the various dishes I’ve tried, the majority of them would be something I’d go back for.

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Their Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang is a good pick. Their Beef Rendang is tender, and you can tell it has been cooked long enough for it to soften. Far too many places that have a Rendang option, serve incredibly tough beef so I was happy that is is one of the few exceptions.The sauce is also quite good, it has a good amount of spice and sweetness but it may be too mild for some people.

Of course with Nasi Lemak, they have the standard sambal and vegetables, all quite good and nothing too out of the ordinary. My verdict? I’d probably order it again, but probably after I’ve tried all the other dishes (Might take me a while)

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I’ve had some family friends that have tried this and not really liked it. For me, their Har Mee is also fantastic. It definitely is for those that like a spicier soup. It has all the standard Har Mee ingredients such as boiled egg, prawns, asian vegetables, chicken, fishcake and the two types of noodles. All of it was pretty good, but I’ll admit the prawns lacked any real prawn taste but overall I’d also try it again.IMG_6471

One of the rarer dishes that you’d probably be hard pressed to find in your typical Malaysian restaurant is Pasembor or otherwise known as Indian Rojak. Don’t get confused with their other Rojak as it is worlds apart. Their Pasembor contains fried potatoes, prawn fritters, egg, bean sprouts, cucumber and a warm slightly sweet gravy with a hint of Indian/Malaysian spices. This was the first time I’ve tried this so I can’t gauge it’s authenticity but on taste and flavour? It was good, the sauce was flavoursome, but since I’m not a big fan of bean sprouts either raw or blanched, it isn’t a favourite. What I can say is that my mother (born and raised in Malaysia) had ordered it again on another visit here so that’s a good sign.

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Lobak! A good one this time. Sometimes I find Malaysian restaurant’s Lobak to be overly dry and lacking in the flavour department too. This on the otherhand was crispy, not too oily, and was cooked well. Plus, the nice sweet chilli sauce gave it the much needed sweetness and slight chilli spice.

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I can’t recall the name of this Cucur Udang (thanks Adri)  but it’s basically prawn fritters and it’s a specialty item that was served during the Muslim month of Ramadhan  (thanks again Adri!) and Malaysia Day period. The batter is quite thick and crunchy and is served with a satay sauce. This isn’t one of my favourites, it’s definitely too oily and too thick for my liking. Even the satay sauce was a bit too thick but on the plus side, the prawns were nicely cooked.
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My mother loves Mee Rebus, she used to always go to ABC Cafe in Glen Waverley and order this. She was saddened to hear that ABC Cafe closed down and so she has been on the lookout for another good Mee Rebus. Their Mee Rebus is different to ABC’s in terms of flavour. There is something with ChilliPadi’s sauce that makes the taste a bit odd, I think it might be too acidic/sour but sweet and packed full of spice so it’s an odd combination. It seems unbalanced but maybe that’s how they do it at ChilliPadi. I’ll say I’ve had a taste of a Singaporean restaurant on Lygon St, called Killiney Kopitiam and was surprisingly close to what ABC’s sauce and flavour was like, albeit less thick.

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Their Nasi Briyani was also only a specialty item for Malaysia Day, and I was amazed at how good it tasted. The flavours just in the rice was fantastic, we’ve been asking them to put it on their menu but at this point it probably will stay a once off kinda thing. This was much better than Taste of Singapore’s offering, and even that was good. Their Nasi Briyani is very similar to how my mother used to cook it and that’s how I like it!

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As with most Mamak stores in Malaysia, one of their main specialties is their Nasi Kandar. Where you are able to choose your rice, curries, meat and vegetables. ChilliPadi’s selection is decent, slightly smaller selection to Old Town Kopitiam but decent. You can pick from coconut or plain rice, a sauce of either Lamb Curry, Gulai Ayam or Daging Masak Kicap, and your meat/protein (Beef Rendang, Daging Masak Kicap, Gulai Ayam, Assam Fish Curry, Butter Chicken or Lamb Curry), and one vegetable (Jelatah, Tumeric, Madras or Dhall Masala).

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I’ve been trying all the Malaysian restaurant’s Teh Tarik and apart from Chilli Mama, there haven’t been any really good ones. ChilliPadi’s Teh Tarik is probably one of the better ones I’ve tasted. It has a stronger tea taste, and it isn’t numbingly sweet, it probably could be less sweet (we add a bit of hot water and it’s perfect) but other then that I can’t really fault it.
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Their Ice Cendol was something I was looking forward to trying, however it left me a tad underwhelmed. As you can see, it’s quite runny and it has nowhere near enough shaved ice. They also added way too much coconut cream/milk and not enough brown sugar so it’s balance is off. Maybe I got them on an off day, I’ll probably try it sometime in the future but not for a while since I was quite disappointed with how it turned out.

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The three layers drink (Not sure of it’s name  three layer tea according to Adri – thanks for the details!), is very tasty. The layers aren’t as divisive as they are supposed to be but what it lacks in aesthetic value, it provides in great flavour. Be warned as it is indeed for those sweet tooth’s. The syrup layer (palm sugar syrup) at the bottom should probably be stirred until it mixes with the other tea and evaporated milk layer as this is where all the sweetness comes from. It’s actually quite similar to Teh Tarik in terms of taste.

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I can’t recall if ChilliPadi serve Bubur Cha Cha on their day-to-day menu but they definitely don’t serve the Burbur Cha Cha with Durian everyday. This particular dessert was on their menu during the Malaysia Day festivities and what makes it so different is the Durian paste-like topping. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice their Bubur Cha Cha was. It had all the essentials, diced sweet potatoes, taro and I think yams, with pearls. The warm coconut milk soup was delicious and is probably one of the best offerings I’ve tasted. It even beats some of the restaurants I’ve tried it in, in Malaysia. Only downside would be the diced vegetables are probably slightly too big, I prefer smaller chunks but it doesn’t really take away from the taste all that much.

Now, with the added Durian paste, it’s a whole another experience. I’m actually not a fan of Durian at all, it’s taste or it’s infamous odour but because it comes in this paste, the natural smell is non-existant and the Durian flavour is milder. I only added a bit of the paste stirred into my bowl so it was quite subtle but still noticeable. I’ll admit that I was very hesitant at first to try this but I actually didn’t mind it. Would I straight up order this instead of the original Bubur Cha Cha? Probably not, but it wasn’t bad in anyway.
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For the many locals around Flemington this is a good place to go because it’s Halal, and you don’t see many Malaysian Halal stores around Victoria. ChilliPadi has catered for a different demographic to Chef Lagenda and Laksa King and that’s not a bad thing, we wouldn’t want three of the same stores so close to each other and it’s a welcomed change.

My impressions of ChilliPadi on the numerous occasions I’ve been there have been positive. If I had to choose between the three Malaysian restaurants in Flemington, I’d choose ChilliPadi. I’ll reiterate that, if you like more Indian/Malay styled Malaysian food, this is the one to visit so keep that in mind. It offers a great selection of dishes and they aren’t your typical dishes either. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, give it a try!

Chillipadi Mamak Kopitiam on Urbanspoon

Chillipadi Mamak Kopitiam

293 – 295 Racecourse Road
Kensington VIC 3031
(03) 9376 0228

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Taste of Singapore is located on Clayton Rd, not too far away from Monash University’s Clayton Campus. If I’m craving Malaysian food and can’t find it anywhere, Singaporean cuisine will satisfy my cravings. What I’ve noticed between Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine is that Singaporean food is usually slightly sweeter but of course that can depend on where you frequent.

What I found with Taste of Singapore is that it had fantastic flavours and yet wasn’t that sweet like most Singaporean food I’ve tried.

Taste of Singapore serves quite a few well known dishes along with some not so famous dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Murtabak and Nasi Briyani. They also offer some sweet treats like Kueh and Teh Tarik!

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Murtabak, as shown in the first image, is similar to Roti Canai but has a meat and onion filling. Usually this will be either lamb or beef. I’d probably go for their lamb but I know a few people who can’t quite stomach the lamb flavour.

Their Murtabak was very good, I do enjoy a crispy thin roti to dip into a spicy curry sauce and this dish met all my requirements for a great Murtabak. You also hardly ever can find a restaurant that sells Murtabak in Melbourne. So luckily it didn’t disappoint!

Taste of Singapore’s Nasi Lemak was surpisingly decent. Along with their cheaper than average, their serves are proportionate to their price. The Beef Rendang was cooked well and not too tough like some Rendang’s I’ve tried and the sauce had great authentic flavour to it too.

What was the biggest surprise was their chilli sauce/paste. I was expecting something sweet and not very spicy but this packed quite a good punch along with its sweetness so it balanced out nicely.

The usual assortment of egg, cucumber, anchovies and peanuts are mostly standard with what you get in any Nasi Lemak. I don’t think you can really go wrong with that.

Overall their Nasi Lemak is probably one of the better offerings I’ve tried in Melbourne.

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I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the flavours are from the Nasi Briyani, while the rice looks plain enough it has good flavours to it. Although their serving size is less than desirable and with only one skinny chicken drumstick, I don’t think it’s value for money to be honest.

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Oh Teh Tarik, how I love thee, and especially a good one. Taste of Singapore’s offering is one of the best I’ve tasted, probably up there with Chillipadi. It has a nice frothy top and it’s also not too sweet. A definite must try.

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Here is one of their Kueh offerings on my Saturday visit. It was so-so. What I didn’t like about it was how sweet it was. It just overpowered any flavour that the Kueh was supposed to have. The one upside is that the texture was quite nice, it was slightly chewy but mostly soft like jelly.

Taste of Singapore has great flavours and although there are some cons with a few of their dishes, it does have a lot of upsides so I’d recommend you give it a try. The Singaporean chef is also quite friendly to chat too, so it has a great atmosphere to boot. However, I’ll admit the decor leaves a little to be desired.

Taste of Singapore on Urbanspoon

Taste of Singapore

162 Clayton Rd
Clayton VIC 3168

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