It Just Has To Be Delicious

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This delicious curry is relatively simple to make and is best made fresh – there’s nothing quite like freshly fried katsu chicken. If you want to be healthier, you can cook the chicken in the oven. The sauce comes in ready made roux blocks called Golden Curry and they have different strengths – this makes it really simple, but you can also make your own curry roux, so I am going to include the recipe for that too. To serve 2, one large chicken breast should suffice, but feel free to use as much or as little of the ingredients as you wish – these are the approximate quantities that I use.

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast
Half an onion, chopped into large pieces
1 medium carrot sliced or large diced
1 medium potato large diced
Half a cup of frozen or fresh peas
Panko breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons of flour (any kind, but I use plain most often – you can also use almond flour)
1 egg, beaten
Half a teaspoon of chilli powder
Golden Curry Roux blocks (approx 20g per serving)
Vegetable oil (enough to fill your frying vessel to a depth of at least 2.5cm)

To make the katsu chicken:
1. Heat the oil in a suitable pan for frying – I tend to use a deep wide pan. It will be ready when you place a wooden spoon in the oil and small bubbles rise quickly from the spoon’s surface.
2. Put the flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs into 3 separate large bowls. Season the flour with salt and pepper, (and chilli powder if you feel so inclined).
3. Trim and wash the chicken breast. Pat dry. Place the chicken breast between two sheets of baking parchment and bash it with a rolling pin until it is flatter and thinner.
4. Cut the chicken into 2 or 4 equal size pieces (depending on how you think it will fit into your pan.
5. Coat the chicken pieces in the flour, shake off the excess, dip in the egg, then coat in panko breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs onto each piece.
6. Fry the pieces in the oil for approx 10 minutes, depending on size, thickness etc. Check that they are cooked by cutting into a thicker part of the meat and checking for pinkness.
7. When you are happy with the doneness, put them on some kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
8. You can also cook the chicken in the oven – approx 180 deg C for approx 20-30 minutes – again, check them regularly as the time will depend on the size of the pieces.
9. While the chicken is cooking, put the onion, carrot, potato and peas in a saucepan and cover them with just enough water. Simmer them until they are cooked.
10. Add the curry roux blocks to the vegetables and stir until dissolved. If the sauce is too thick, add some more water and keep stirring.
11. Slice the katsu chicken and serve with the vegetable curry sauce and some boiled rice.

golden curry

If you prefer to make your own curry sauce, do this:

Finely chop or whizz up half an onion, 2 cloves of garlic and a small (half cm) slice of ginger in a food processor. Cook in a little oil until fragrant.
Mix half a tablespoon of your favourite curry powder with one and a half tablespoons of flour. Stir this in and then slowly add equal quantities of vegetable stock and apple juice until it is a nice thick saucy consistency. Stir well to combine. Stir in half a tablespoon of garam masala. Taste to check the flavour.
If you don’t have apple juice you can whizz up a fresh apple and add this instead, but you will need to keep tasting to get the sweet/savoury balance right.
Now when you simmer the vegetables, drain the water off after cooking and add them to the sauce – you get the same result but all totally homemade.

 

 

 

 

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Shepherd’s Pie is one of those lovely warming winter dishes, nice tasty lamb mince with a mashed potato topping, finished off in the oven and served with veggies of your choice.

On the day that I made these 3 batches for the freezer, the supermarket had most of the ingredients I needed in a ‘bargain bucket’, and other than being a little misshapen or ripe, there was nothing wrong with them, hence the large quantities. I’ll give you the recipe here for 500g of mince which will serve at least 5 people and potentially 6 if you pack it with extra veggies. You can make one huge pie or split it into 3 portions as I have done.

Traditionally it does not contain zucchini or swede, but add whatever you like to make your own version.

Ingredients:

500g lamb mince, rinsed. (If it is very fatty you may wish to boil it first for a few minutes to get rid of excess fat then rinse in a sieve with boiling water.)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 sticks of celery diced
1 dried or fresh chilli (optional)
2 carrots diced
1 small swede peeled and diced (optional)
1 small zucchini/courgette diced (optional)
5 large ripe tomatoes diced (peel them if you feel so inclined)
a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a lamb stock cube
1 tablespoon of Worcester sauce
Half a tablespoon of Soy sauce
a bunch of chopped chives (optional)
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs (fresh or dried)
2 bay leaves
200g of potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons of butter or spread
a little milk (optional)
40g approx of  grated cheddar cheese (optional)
salt and pepper

1. In a large deep pan, heat approx 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the lamb mince. Stir fry until it gets some colour and then add the onion, carrots, celery, swede, zucchini and chilli.
2. Fry until they begin to soften. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in some salted water in a large saucepan until they are soft enough to mash (takes about 10 minutes depending on the size of the dice).
3. To the lamb mixture add the tomatoes, fresh and tinned, herbs, Worcester and soy sauces, and crumble the stock cube in to the mixture. Rinse the tomato can with water and add, it if it needs thinning out a little.
4. Cook for approx 20 minutes, and taste. Add salt and pepper as necessary.
5. Drain the potatoes (leave a little water in the pan), return to the pan and mash with the addition of the butter, milk, part of the cheese and some salt and pepper to season.
6. Put the lamb mixture in an ovenproof dish and cover with mash. Top the mash with some cheese (as much or as little as you like).
7. At this point the pie can cool and be frozen for later use. If you are eating it now, pop it into an oven at 170 – 180 deg C for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese browns and bubbles. If reheating from frozen, thaw first (if you have time) for at least 2 hours, then reheat in an oven at 170-180 deg C for about 40 minutes. Cooking directly from frozen works but will take longer and a lower temperature is recommended to heat it through slowly before turning the heat up to 180 for the last 15 minutes.
8. Serve with a side of veggies such as peas, broccoli, spinach.

Optional other ingredients: Mushrooms, Eggplant, Button squash, Tomato paste, Sweet potato mash.
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Viet Lotus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We came to this restaurant on a whim for lunch as we had a craving for vietnamese food. When we arrived it was empty, but soon filled up with diners, and the host was very welcoming. They offer a special midweek lunch deal for $10 – very reasonable.

We chose to share starters of bbq pork on lemongrass.These were delicious, nicely seasoned with herbs and the flavour of the lemongrass came through too. Served with a sweet chilli dip.

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We both chose from the lunch special menu. I had the savoury prawn and pork pancake. This was tasty but didn’t have much pork or prawn in it, mainly beansprouts and vegetables and it was slightly greasy, but I did enjoy it.

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My companion chose the Sliced Beef Noodle Soup which was flavoursome and arrived in a huge bowl. The beef was tender, and the onion, mint and beansprouts gave a nice fresh and bright contrast. However, the broth could have been more intensely flavoured and some fresh cut chilli or chilli in oil would have made a nice accompaniment.

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I would like to try this restaurant for an evening meal. It is certainly a neighbourhood gem and full of potential.

 

Gusto Riverfront Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We came to Gusto because it had been recommended by a taxi driver earlier in the day. We didn’t book, but secured a table fairly quickly. The menu was nice but not particularly inspiring – not one of those menus where you can’t decide because everything sounds amazing.

I hadn’t eaten oysters for a while so I chose half a dozen and my companion chose a smoked trout and potato pancake with beetroot relish, horseradish and dill butter.

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The oysters were beautifully fresh and came with a nice onion and watermelon salsa – they definitely satisfied my oyster craving.

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The pancake was delicious, with a full trout and potato flavour – a very nice dish where the flavours matched well.

For main I chose the salmon with a date and pistachio couscous, rocket and lemon. The fish was high quality, beautifully cooked, and the couscous was a nice amount and full of delicious complementary flavours.

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My companion chose the spatchcock chicken with crispy prosciutto, a broad bean risotto, watercress and parmesan. He thoroughly enjoyed it – again lots of nice well-matched flavours and a well executed dish.

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We enjoyed Gusto and would return, but I would like to see a much more appealing menu. The chef is clearly very talented, but the menu is lacking and maybe it’s the way that it is written or explained. I would also have liked a special option for the main course – a special starter was offered, but not a main. A very nice meal, but an underplayed menu.

Thomas Corner Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We popped in to Thomas Corner Eatery for breakfast on a rainy Noosaville day. We were seated fairly quickly – the restaurant is large and airy with indoor and outdoor tables.

The menu was quite extensive with lots of nice choices. I settled for the locally hot smoked salmon, poached eggs, horseradish, lemon, capers, and watercress. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the salmon was very tasty, but I couldn’t detect the horseradish and I suspect that it was missed. It was still very nice, but I love horseradish, so I was a little disappointed not to taste it.

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My companion chose the Farmer’s Market breakfast. This was attractive to look at and tasty, but he would have preferred traditional pork sausages instead of the Bangalow pork sausage that was provided.

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Thomas Corner Eatery has a nice menu, friendly staff, and uses high quality ingredients. Definitely a nice spot for breakfast.

 

Flux Restaurant & Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Flux is a lively tapas lounge on the main Gympie Terrace strip of Noosaville overlooking the Noosa River. We were lucky to get a table and the staff were friendly and welcoming.

The wine list was high quality and we chose a ‘Not Your Grandma’s’ Eden Valley Riesling which was bright, zesty and delicious.

All of the tapas looked really tempting, and we chose the following:

Prawn and Crab Spring Rolls with green chilli and lime dipping sauce. I thought the sauce was a little sharp, but the spring rolls were perfect.

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Blue cheese button mushrooms with parmesan and thyme breadcrumbs, which were lovely – a nice balance of salty piquant cheese with the softness of the mushroom and the crunch of the cheesy herby breadcrumbs.

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Fennel and gin cured salmon with watercress, onion, orange salad, pineapple vinegar foam, lemon oil and lavosh crackers. This was a dish where everything on the plate added to the overall sensation, a lovely fresh dish, and the pineapple foam was wonderful.

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Cajun soft shell crab with wasabi mayonnaise, pickled cabbage and herb salad. A lovely tasty, crunchy triumph of a dish – again with flavours that matched so nicely.

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We enjoyed everything so much that we ordered a fifth dish of seared scallop with creamed leek puree, crispy chorizo, toasted almonds and microherbs. This was a mixture of classic flavours – the sweet scallop, the spicy chorizo, the nice leek background flavour and the crunch of the almonds. Delicious.

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Flux is definitely a top quality venue and the prices were reasonable too. When I am back in Noosaville this will be my first choice of dinner venue. Every plate was excellent.

Princess Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As soon as you walk into Princess Thai – it feels like you are on holiday in Thailand. Greeted by a delightful wai and sawasdee from the waitresses.

The decor is lavish, intricate, and typically Thai, and the atmosphere is warm and comfortable with families and friends gathering in this neighbourhood gem.

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The menu is extensive and contains authentic Thai dishes – a nice welcome change – so many restaurants try to be pan-Asian and I always think it is better to specialize in one cuisine rather than trying to be Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Malaysian all at once.

We didn’t want to overeat, so we shared a satay starter. the chicken was succulent and flavoursome and the peanut sauce was a perfect accompaniment.

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For mains we chose fish in tamarind sauce which was really nicely cooked, lovely fresh fish in a sauce that wasn’t too sour or too sweet, with lots of nice colourful vegetables on the plate.

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We also chose a chicken panang curry – authentic, spicy but not too hot, and bursting with all of the typical Thai flavours that we love.

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We also chose steamed rice and a glass noodle salad with minced pork and prawns. Again, the salad was a very authentic and tasty dish with all the elements of sweet, sour, and hot and a nice textural crunch of peanuts.

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We were perfectly full at the end of the meal, and really pleased to have dined here. We will definitely be back.

Seaduction Restaurant + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Seaduction is a modern Australian fine dining restaurant and bar in the Soul Building at Surfer’s Paradise. It boasts an attractive position overlooking the beach on the main Esplanade road.

When we walked in the ambience was quietly sophisticated with a nice simple and classy decor and smooth jazzy background music playing. The staff were friendly and warm and led us to a wonderful table near the window. The menu has a choice of a la carte, degustation/tasting menus and wine matching.

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Soul Building Foyer

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Seaduction Restaurant

We chose the 5 course degustation menu, which actually turned out to be 7 courses including the tomato bread at the start and the coffee/petit fours at the end.

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The bread with herbs and tomatoes was flavoursome and attractive to look at, quite substantial and a very nice start to the meal while we sipped on a glass of sauvignon blanc.

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The first course from the menu was beetroot and sugar cured ocean trout, local sand crab rillettes, lotus crisps, yuzu pearls and lime emulsion. The little yuzu pearls were bursting with citrus flavour, the trout was fresh and delicious and the crab very moreish. A wonderful start to the evening.

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The second course was Bangalow pork belly, twice cooked in tamarind and yellow rock sugar, green paw paw salad and black Asian vinegar. Tender and tasty, with a hint of spice, this was a beautifully constructed course and a perfect amount.

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Course three consisted of lasagne of Harvey bay scallops, tempura foie gras, caviar and sea foam. Chef was generous with the scallops which were the star of the dish, beautifully enveloped in silky pasta and complemented by the other flavours on the plate.

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Next came green tea house smoked duck breast, duck and shiitake spring rolls, sour cherry gel, hoisin and orange marmalade. A very appealing dish to look at, and a wonderful example of duck served in a combination of ways with classic hoisin, cherry and orange flavours. Lots of nice flavours and textures to tempt the tastebuds.

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Dessert was coconut pannacota, passion fruit sorbet, ginger and passion fruit curd macaroon with elderflower gel. The pannacotta was beautifully silky, the sorbet wonderfully zingy, and the macaron perfectly constructed. A nice light dessert, again with lots of interest on the plate.

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Petit Fours

We finished with coffee and some delectable petit fours to complete a perfect meal. Every course was a treat, well thought out and beautifully put together. Definitely a location to return to for a wonderful treat.

Click Here to access the Seaduction website

 

Gerard's Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We wanted to go somewhere a bit special, and decided to go for Gerard’s Bistro because it had great reviews.  The restaurant is in the vibrant James Street area, across the road from the markets and tucked away in Gerard’s Lane.

We arrived slightly early for our table and were seated at the bar while it was prepared. The wine and drinks list was quite impressive and I chose a glass of Harvest Sauvignon Blanc which was nice but not amazing.

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We were then seated, given menus and informed that our waitress would be with us soon to explain the menu. On looking through it there were items that I did not recognise like samke nayyeh, laham nayyeh, bekaa wings, and batata harra. It was quite a while before she came to our assistance and it seemed strange that other waiters seemed to be free but we had to wait for our particular waitress to explain the menu. When she arrived she was very pleasant and explained that samke nayyeh was a kind of ceviche white fish, laham nayyeh was a raw meat dish and bekaa wings were chicken wings in harissa. She also explained that the dishes were Middle Eastern style and designed to be shared, with small plates at the top of the menu and larger plates in the middle.

I love raw fish and imagined that it would be similar to a lovely Peruvian version that I had chosen before, so we went with the samke nayyeh and the bekaa wings to start.

The samke nayyeh (with walnut milk, chamomile oil, grapefruit, green almond) came up first and it was quite frankly disappointing. A very small portion for $22. It was also very bland, and even though grapefruit was listed in the ingredients there was no nice citrus hit, which is probably what it needed. The walnut milk was not very plentiful and not very ‘nutty’. It also arrived on a chipped plate – not really acceptable for a top class establishment.

The chicken wings ($18 for 6 wings) came next and they were very very good. Lovely spicy harissa flavoured coating and yoghurt. Very tasty. They arrived with some dehydrated wet wipes which need to be rehydrated by placing them in water – I have seen them before, but most diners are puzzled by what they are, and I am not really sure why anybody uses them instead of regular wet wipes.

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Our plates were changed and the two main dishes arrived together. We chose suckling pig with roasted plum, morcilla (black pudding) puree, smoked almond and perilla (a mint like herb) priced at $39. The second main dish was whole smoked eggplant, turmeric, mint, kashk yoghurt, and blackened onions priced at $18.

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Both dishes lacked seasoning. The pork was tender but not as tasty as you would expect a slow roasted dish to be, the plums were not ripe enough, and the blood sausage puree was frankly unpleasant. I love blood sausage (or black pudding), however this version was thick, sticky and bitter tasting. With two pieces of pork each it was an expensive dish. The eggplant was very bland except for the blackened onions which just tasted excessively burnt and again were unpleasant. I have eaten charred foods before and I love a bit of charring on capsicum, chicken or steak, but the onions had been burnt beyond all recognition and left a bad aftertaste. The dish was advertised as a ‘whole’ eggplant but there was very little of the eggplant flesh to share, and it would have benefited from a really good twist of salt and pepper to give it some taste. No condiments were provided at the table.

Very disappointed at having one good dish out of four, we asked for the bill. I had been excited at the thought of trying the black fig dessert with aniseed ice cream ($16), but I didn’t want to waste any more money. The only dish that the waitress asked if we enjoyed were the chicken wings – which of course were great, and the only reason that we ate the other food was out of hunger rather than enjoyment. I still felt quite hungry after the meal which came to $124 in total.

I will not be returning to Gerard’s Bistro – it is expensive and pretentious. I have eaten at several ‘minimalist’ restaurants before and if premium prices are being charged for small portions, then the food has to be of outstanding quality. Our meal fell far short of this, the food looked good but did not deliver on taste.

Fruit Sauce

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Sometimes you need a nice fruity sauce or compote to go with a dessert. This weekend I made a vanilla cheesecake and decided to make both raspberry and blueberry sauces to go with it. I made them the day before and they ‘gelled’ quite a bit in the fridge overnight to give a set texture. I have adjusted the recipe here to use a bit less cornflour so that the sauce will be a bit looser than my picture.

You can use any fruit – I think frozen fruits work quite well – I used frozen raspberries and frozen blueberries separately, but you could mix them, and you could also use mango, peach, cherries, blackberries, strawberries or other fruit.

You need (for a small bowl of sauce – enough to accompany 6 dessert portions):

1 cup of fruit (frozen or fresh) chopped and peeled, seeds removed

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup of caster sugar

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

the zest of half a lemon

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon of cornflour mixed to a loose paste with a little water

Method:

Place the fruit in a saucepan with the water, sugar and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Boil gently until the fruit breaks down a little and softens.

Add the cornflour mixture and boil a little faster until it thickens. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla and remove from the heat when the desired thickness has been achieved.

Serve warm or cool and store in a refrigerator in a covered bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

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