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Everything posted by cookaburra

  1. Thanks Ken That's a great suggestion. I'll definitely do that. BTW a bloke finally came and picked up our used oil the other day at no cost to us. Always value your advice Ken and love your website and services ou provide. Keep up the good work.
  2. I cover the fryers at night with the cover that it came with which fits almost snug over the top. I wouldn't say they are airtight though. And also turn the temp down to about 140 degrees celsius(normally running at 180).I might try dropping it to about 90 degrees to extend the life a bit more. I run the cleaner fryer when not busy as the older one would deteriorate much faster I guess if it was running all day unnecessarily. I strain the oil when cold the next morning using "CHUX" cleaning wipes clipped to a chinois.
  3. Wow that really makes sense now. Good points. I''ll have to dig out my old college notes to give myself a refresher course on all those sorts of formulae. That gives me a good way to work it out more precisely. Thank you. I'll have to monitor my oil usage over the coming months to give me a more precise figure of how much oil I go through. Obviously the more breaded items sold the sooner the change of oil. So I will also have a look at the distribution of sales to see if I notice any patterns.
  4. I'm still yet to get it picked up. I didn't think to factor that into the cost. Good point
  5. How much do you allow for when costing a recipe that uses the deep fryer to cook something. I am using Cottonseed oil at about AUS $39 for 20 Litre. As we are a new restaurant I have not had time to do think about monitoring my oil usage and wastage. I should start from now though. I have been putting in my Standard recipe Card about 30 cents per serve when calculating the cost of a dish that uses the deepfryer. As we are open all day ( though it is not that busy at the moment ) I have to have at least one fryer on from about 10.30am. But when it gets busier for Breakfasts that time will be a bit earlier. And when we get busier in the nights we will use much more oil too. Also does anyone know of any interesting forums or links that talk about the use and tips for maintaining your deepfryer and it's oil?
  6. If the end bits become dried out a bit, I could chop them up for my thai beef salad I guess. There will always be a use for that. I don't have sous vide equipment unfortunately, so the combi will have to do. I guess it would be impossible to serve a blue steak though if somebody orders it.
  7. another thing to consider is that the sunlight often helps whiten the jacket after a good wash in whatever you chose
  8. The restaurant I work in, being situated on a public golf course, is quite large in capacity and unfortunately with the way kitchens are designed these days, chefs are hardly ever consolted, so the chargrill is very small. But I have the advantage of having a rational combi oven which should be good for low temperature roasting. I was thinking of pre sealing an estimated number of steaks each day and then finishing them to order in the oven if necessary. But another option I would like to know more about is this idea of very slow roasting a whole joint of meat rare, 50 degrees Celsius I guess. Then cooling it, cutting portions somewhere between 200 and 450 grams to store in the fridge. When the order comes in I then flash it on the chargrill to quickly colour the steak and warm it through to the temperature required. I was thinking cuts like the rib and the sirloin of beef would lend itself well to this way of cooking. Does anyone have any other suggestions for which cut of meet I should ask my butcher for. Anyone done this process before successfully? What tips can you provide please?
  9. an exerpt from my documented trip to Japan........ Part of the tour price included a bento lunch which we could eat at our leisure after the bus had stopped at the local rest point to pick it up. The bento was from Utsunomiya. I just love bento and ekiben as they consist of lots of different taste sensations. Often with some local specialties. Sometimes the taste can be mazui but most of the time I like it. This one had 2 onigiri-flavoured with sesame and umeshiso. It also had some chicken katsu and a kind of mince meat loaf. Not part of the cost of the tour was the option of purchasing a Sendai bento box for the afternoon/evening journey back to Tachikawa. At only ¥1000 for a mystery box of tastes I jumped at the opportunity. The box contained a few items that were new and exiting for me; Sasa-kamaboko, zunda, which was wrapped in bamboo leaf and the miso grilled onigiri. Some ika sembei(squid rice crackers) added interest to the long bus ride home.
  10. Whilst on my trip to Japan, my wife and I frequently made use of the local Inargya supermarket. For breakfast we often bought pastries or buns both sweet and savoury . They were similar to a typical Asian bread/pastry shop. Soft buns, melon pan, yakisoba pan,coroke(croquette)pan to name a few. Other items we chose included healthy salads(Japanese style), tempura, sushi(especially inari ), yakitori and onigiri . Sometimes an entire meal was bought from the convenience section of the supermarket. Other times we just bought some items to supplement what we already had, as a Japanese meal is often made up of many different items(okazu). It was a particularly useful option to buy some meals from the supermarket especially as it was inexpensive and we could eat in the comfort of our room . Most places supply disposable chopsticks too.
  11. great photos raji.Thanks for taking the effort to share them with us.The video on the porta loo on your blog was very funny.
  12. Yesterday my wife made ohagi.One type was anko and the other was kinako. Sorry I forgot to take a photo.
  13. Hiroyuki,thanks for the info on tuna. I think you would be right in your comments too, regarding the tai and nano hana dishes.
  14. Thanks very much for your complimentary comments. According to my knowledge, maguro is the Japanese word for tuna. So as far as I know it was a variety of tuna, of which I could not say. Unfortunately I didn't get the details on the variety of white fish sashimi. However the taste, texture and quality was superb. Can't help much more on the brocoli like vege either, sorry. I guess it was simply blanched , relying on the quality of the produce and the exacting of the cooking techniques. It was then garnished with a sprinkle of something yellow(I can't recall what that was),quite possibly either egg yolk or yuzu zest. I can highly recommend this restaurant. There are a few different courses to chose from and possibly serve a la carte too. We chose the middle range priced kaiseki course.
  15. Apologies to those who were waiting to read about my kaiseki experience. Well here it is complete with photos. This is the 7th installment of my food diary from my trip to Japan which was from the December 26, 2006 to January 17, 2007. This installment will cover the date 10.2.07 The previous threads on my trip to Japan are as below……… Part 1 http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1364086 part 2 http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1364119 part 3 http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1365703 part 4 http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1365703 part 5 http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1366512 part 6 http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...dpost&p=1371235 10. 1. WEDNESDAY MORNING TEA-Since we just had a light breakfast I needed a little something to help me last out until our 2pm restaurant booking. So I made the bad decision to eat a teriyaki burger at the Golden Arches. The meat tasted very much like a cheap sausage mince. LUNCH-The time had arrived I would get to sample some Kaiseki ryori at Ukai Chikutei (Japanese) which was very close to Takaosanguchi train station. The restaurant actually run a free shuttle bus which picks up from the station every 20 minutes. The setting for the private dining rooms is simply exquisite. Each room is connected by narrow, stone lined pathways. The trees and plants, the ponds with carp, the bamboo and the stone sculptures all contribute to the typical Japanese setting that it is. And when the waitress, dressed in kimono, escorted us to our room, I felt, “this is Japan”. Our room looked out onto a garden of bamboo along with a few large rocks. The seats had back rests and we could rest our legs in the dugout trench underneath the table. The course of the menu entitled “snow” (Japanese) was very much in tune with the season. And at 9450yen + tax we all thought it was good value for the quality of the whole experience. To start the proceedings drinks were ordered. And of course I selected a serve of sake. This time it was “kuwa no miyako” from Hachioji. I even got to select which ochoko or guinomi I would like to drink from. First course was “ama ebi(raw sweet prawn) resting on a slab of yamimo dofu, with mitsuba, wasabi and a soba tsuyu tasting sauce. All that topped with the blue eggs of the female prawn and some gold leaf for the wow factor. Second course was a clear soup with a round crab cake, some green vegetables, takenoko(bamboo) and shiitake were the accompanying elements of this soup Before going onto the next course I ordered a sake from Hokkaido. Once again selecting my choice of drinking vessel. Third course was a sashimi boat. The pieces of tuna and white fish of the day rested on boat shaped dish and was garnished with shiso leaf , shiso no hana(shiso flower) and wasabi. The other decoration on the plate was a strand of rice. Rested on the ceramic roof which was dusted with a white powder to resemble snow was a pine leaf . Fourth course was a buri mizore soup-some buri (yellowtail fish) with the bloodline intact, grated daikon and yuzu made up this soup. Mizore means "rain and snow mixed". In this soupthe grated daikon looks similar to "Mizore". Grated daikon cuts the fat from the buri refreshing your mouth, removes the smell of the fishes, aids in digestions and warms your body. The fifth course came out on a spectacular tray decorated with pine, bamboo and plum flower (shochikubai). Sitting in the bamboo vessel was na no hana, a broccoli like vegetable. Clockwise to that was the budou mame (a kind of black beans) cooked with sugar and tossed through daikon oroshi( grated).At six o’ clock on the plate was the camellia sushi. So called because of the shape and presentation of it. The thinly sliced hirame (sole fish) sushi enveloped the sushi rice and was garnished with egg yolk and a camellia leaf on the side. The last item on the tray was gyu no shigureni (beef cooked in a sweet soy sauce). This was garnished with sansho no mi(berries of the sansho plant). To continue the spectacular presentation of things the sixth course arrived partly cooked and continuing to cook on the leaves of bamboo and hoji cha to create a nice smokey aroma to the amago( a river fish/salmon?).The fish was so delicious that I carefully made sure I finished every last bit of meat left on the fish, except for the really bitter innards. Apparently you would normally eat the head on this fish , but as this one was a little to large, we were recommended not to. The heavy application of salt on the fins helps to prevent too much burning. Some kinome zu was used as a dipping sauce. The seventh course also finished it’s cooking at the table. The beef , cooked on a hoba (magnolia) leaf in a beautiful, salty and sweet miso sauce was simply garnished with watercress and negi(a type of scallion). Nearing the end, the eighth course was the one which always consists of rice, miso soup, (tsukemono) pickles and tea. The rice was a lovely scallop rice. The miso soup was filled with grated daikon and tofu. On the pickles plate were some white pickled daikon, shiso no mi and some konbu. The tea was a cleansing hojicha. The ninth and final course was a refreshing strawberry sorbet. My wife bought her most favourite sweet, domyoji(dyed pink sticky rice cake wrapped with a salted cherry blossom leaf) from Ukai before we left. Buying green tea from the jido han baiki(vending machine) close to home was a common occurrence, as we did not have to bother the father’s private space by entering the kitchen to make tea. Although we did manage to time it right sometimes, and I got to enter the kitchen to make tea, after they had made theirs. I usually topped up their used teapot with just boiling water to make our tea as it was easy and economical. The result was good enough for us. For the last week of our stay I was the designated messenger, tea maker and breakfast maker. This was to prevent my wife’s slightly virus infected body from coming close to her father’s run down immune system body.
  16. My favourites-Japanese Cooking,A Simple Art-Shizuo Tsuji. Hideo Dekura has a few books too. One is called The fine art of Japanese cooking.
  17. I don't know who the rock stars were. The floor manager told me they were a punk rock band in town for a rock festival in Newtown. I haven't read a Drum Media for a while so I couldn't check any info on a Newtown Rock Festival. The restaurant seemed quite crowded for a Tueday night. I didn't walk the whole floor but there were a few big groups dining. The business folks that we had to walk through and a group of Bhuddist monks were the larger parties that I noticed.
  18. It was the night before my 36th birthday. As usual I like to use this time of the year as a good excuse to spoil myself in a restaurant offering something attractive to me. I chose The Summit, after narrowing down the decision from Altitude, then Astral and finally The Summit. All 3 of them featured in The Entertainment Book offering a discount of either one main course free or 25% off the bill, with some limitations of course. After reading the tone of language in S. Thomsons review, in the SMH, I could not believe he could be so damaging in his words. Some of his words seemed unnecessary and cruel. So I had to check the restaurant out for myself to see how much of this is true. I booked for Tuesday night, the 27th of February, at 6.30pm.When we got out of the lift on the 47th floor of Australia Square, we were not only not greeted, but pretty much left to fend for ourselves. Eventually, after a minute or so, I found what appeared to be the desk where all the bookings are held. I was made to feel like I bothered the man behind this pew as I announced my name and time of reservation. After excusing ourselves through a large congregation of business folk standing around their table drinking (why couldn’t they be seated sooner as they seemed like they were getting in the way), and waiting for others to arrive, we were shown to our window side table. At first glace we both noticed the small dirty marks on the bright white tablecloth. As my wife placed her bag on the floor, she was kindly reminded of the restaurant’s rotation. If she put her bag down on the circumference of the dining room, then she might have difficulty locating it later, as that part of the room does not rotate. Before getting a chance to take a good look at the wine list, we were asked if we would like some bread. We obliged and were served very promptly. We found out later that this was not charged. I wonder is this included in the $68 set 2 course menu? The lovely mini loaf of sourdough (from Sonoma Bakery I believe) came with 3 very tasty and well blended dips-a capsicum, a sun dried tomato and a black olive. While eating the bread, we ordered the meals and glass of wine to go with our entrees. A 2004 Smith and Hooper Cabernet Merlot from Wratonbully,SA was $9.50 and a glass of Orlando “Trilogy” cuvee brut sparkling was $9.50. One waiter who we asked about a wine recommendation did not want to give us any wrong information and offered to get someone with more knowledge on the wines. I respected his decision to do this, as some waiters will pretend they know what they are talking about and steer you on the wrong track. The entrées came out in good time. About same time as my second slice of bread had been consumed. The pinot was nicely matched to the boned out quail, crumbed with sourdough breadcrumbs like little croquettes. The quail was lightly spiced with ras el hanout, a complex spice concoction which every mouthful I tasted a new spice. The most prominent spices I could taste were cumin, caraway, sesame seed, ground coriander and fennel seeds. They rested on a ravigote sauce, a mixture of egg white, capers and fresh herbs. Two thin and crispy sheets of pancetta sit on top of the quail and an aioli mayonnaise were smeared on two corners on the rectangular plate. The red salad which my wife had most of (we usually swap our plates so we can get a good selection of taste sensations) contained a soft, fresh goats cheese which was not too strong in flavour and smell, allowing one who normally dislikes goats cheese to enjoy the whole dish. Big toffee crusted walnuts, glazed beetroots, rocket and roasted shallots all were bound in a perfectly shaped, thin and crispy bric pastry. A beetroot emulsion dotted the plate decoratively. We were still drinking our wine when the entrees were removed so I did not think to order more for the mains. This was a bad decision on my behalf. I now know not to make this mistake next time I’m eating in a busy restaurant where the service staff don’t give you much of their attention. As I failed to get the service staff’s attention at the right moment on many occasions that night, I did not order our next glasses of wine until the mains were on our table. Naturally, I was half way through the duck confit when our wine finally came. A glass of pinot noir, Massale by Kooyong, Mornington Peninsula at $12.50 to go with the remaining duck, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, MadFish from Margaret River, WA, at $9.50 for the chicken. All the wines chosen were nice and went well the food. Candles were lit at the table as the night kicked in. The candles failed to let off much light and at times we had to look closely to see what we were eating. It may have also been difficult to read the menu at this stage. My duck confit was just a good confit should be, a bit salty, but not offensively. The Maryland held its shape well but was tender enough like a fall off the bone consistency is. It rested on a polenta cake for a bit of height. It paired beautifully with a caramelised fig tartin. The star anise glaze on the duck worked well as did the candied hazelnuts. The pastry may have been house made, I am not sure. The pedro ximinez countered nicely against the sweetness of the figs and glaze. The slow roasted chicken (quite possibly a spatchcock judging by its size) was presented on a rectangular plate. Two bone in pieces from the wing up one end and two bone in pieces from the leg at the other end. Both were wearing a different seasoning to each other. One was a sort of sweet glaze. In the middle was a dry half of a crumbed risotto cake resting on a rich tomato passata. A lemon wedge garnished the plate but was hardly used as the chicken had enough flavour of its own and was perfectly cooked rendering it still moist. A small garnish of pepperonata sat next to one of the chickens. A bowl of brocolini with scorched almonds was nice and crunchy, but unexpectantly was seasoned with a touch fish sauce to achieve saltiness. My preference would be to leave it out. This bread was eventually to be just a bit too much for us to finish. We left about 2 slices after finishing our mains. I asked to leave the bread on the table as they cleared our mains just in case we felt the urge to nibble some more. The remaining bread on the table may have been the reason that I could not catch a waiter’s eye to have a look at the dessert menu. Finally we were offered the dessert menu, but not before the punk rock stars sitting directly behind me of course. They had the floor managers full attention all night. Maybe if I wore a t-shirt and covered myself in tattoos and studded accessories then I could have been able to transform my ghost like presence to that of royalty. That is one of my main gripes of this restaurant. Where is the staff when you need them the most? The cleavage showing girls working there were standing around chatting on occasions where their assistance may have been useful. Staff rushing by our table with the look of “don’t bother me I’m busy” on their face. The floor manager who neglected us most of the night so he could spend most of his time pampering and chatting with the rock stars directly behind me. The lack of acknowledgement when diners enter and exit the restaurant. Not the sort of service I expect when one pays $200 or more for 2 persons. Anyway, the dessert we chose to share was from the first Australian licensed Lenotre Patissier Mark Stone. This macerated sponge with fresh raspberries, a light mousseline cream and a teeth breaking raspberry candy spiral decoration sells at $20. You could probably purchase the same kind of cake from a Japanese department store for around $5. The cake was light and airy and melted on the tongue. However it did seem like nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t see this restaurant as good value and I have to say that you are paying for the name of the patissier, the name of the head chef, the name of the historical venue that it is and the fantastic views of course. The bill came to $200 for the 2 of us. We had bread and dips, entrees, mains, 2 glasses of wine each and shared a dessert. Throughout the night we were never offered water. Either bottled or tap would have been nice. We were very thirsty when we left the restaurant. Our Entertainment Book discount reduced the damage to $160 so I can’t say I felt too ripped off. But without the discount one might feel a little cheated spending $200 and receiving very poor service, even if the food was excellent. It may be an ideal place to eat for tourists not concerned about money and may be suitable for that romantic evening when you wish to be left alone. Well done chefs. Shame about the floor staff.
  19. ← No we don't have any kids. The complete doll set was given to my wife when she about a one year old little girl. Yes I believe it is quite expensive. As the dolls are believed to have a soul, you can't just remove them from your life when you don't need them or no longer have the room for them.This is why the temple took care of that in the right way.
  20. Being in Sydney, Australia must be a totally different climate to that of Japan on March the 3rd.It was 35 degrees c yesterday in my home.Understandably my wife did not feel like cooking much in this heat.However, sticking partly to tradition,she made a very tasty chirashi sushi using this packet mix. This was the result.Sorry, not a very good photo.We served it with some mixed leaves and some deepfried chicken marinated in ginger,garlic and soy sauce.The rice was topped with sliced omelette and green beans. My wife had the full set of dolls from a very early age. Recently her father had to move to a smaller house with less storage capacity.Unfortunately she had no choice but to donate most of the collection to the local temple.We now have in our pocession ,in Sydney, just the top two levels of the collection. We were given a couple of tea candles the other day.We thought they looked good with the display.
  21. A change of plans .We are going to the summit for dinner,even after their poor good living review.They can't be as bad as the review now, i imagine.I think the review over-reacted negativly to some poor aspects of the restaurant so I'm gonna give them a chance .Hope they live up to my expectation.
  22. That sounds nice actually.I was thinking about celebrating my b'day there using my entertainment book.It was a hard decision but I decided to go to Altitude in the Shangra la Hotel.Just checked out the eatability website though and notice mixed reviews.Most say that you are paying just for the view,some don't even get the view,while others have to deal with waiters in training shoes.Everyday requests should be easily met by 5 star hotels.They don't seem to acknowledge that. All that said , I will see what it is like tomorrow night.
  23. Very interesting thread.Nice photos of the factory. I once went to sake factory in Penrith,Sydney,Australia.The only one in Australia I think.The Sun Masamune company make a few varieties of sake.I haven't tasted them in a while but am sure they do not compare to good sake made in Japan.My wife uses Goshu sake in her cooking.It is about AUS$18 for a 750ml bottle.Quite expensive compared to the prices I paid for sake in Japan.
  24. Thanks for the info on Shochu. Maybe next time I have the opportunity I will make sure I get a taste of both the Korui and the otsurui so I can compare their taste and qualities.All in the name of research of course. Coincidently, Hiroyuki, my next post contains references to a sake from Niigata which I drank in an pub which I describe like this.................. ""The place appeared to me to be an Izakaya with function rooms upstairs I believe. I don’t know the name of it but I think it might be owned by Keio. It was in a street about 3 minutes walk from Seiseki Sakuragaoka station and I was told that someone in our group of 7 had made the reservation for 5pm as that is the time that it opens." Anyone have any idea what the name of it might be or if they have website? I don’t know the name of the sake but it was from Niigata and I remember something about umi(ocean) and hachi(8).It had a white label with about 2 kanji characters in big bold black writing. I wish I knew what it was so I could buy some more of it. I have now been informed by my wife that it may have been Hakkaisan sake. Would that be right? Speaking of Niigata sake, I just finished a 180ml bottle of uonuma sake while nibbling on some of Hidemi’s homemade tamari almond and linseed mix. It was a very nice, smooth sake. I want to have some more. No more left so I decided to open another bottle which I brought back with me-Chomei Izumi from (Narita,Chiba) apparently. It was very nice too but I preferred the uonuma sake. However,I am a newcomer to sake and just starting to appreciate the different varieties and levels of quality.So please forgive my preferences if they sound strange.
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