Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chinese in Howlong??

The Happy Lotus
Howling NSW
Phone 02 6026 5321

It's been a while since I reviewed a restaurant and since I have just relaunched the blog I thought I had better get right onto it and review somewhere right away. Where was the last place I ate out... Last weekend I was away with the boys on a golf trip to NSW. On the Murray River there are some great courses....but not many great Chinese restaurants. At least there isn't one in Howling NSW!!

Having arrived after 4 hours driving from Melbourne we were all hungry and thirsty. A few schooners later we decided to try the 'Happy Lotus' Chinese restaurant attached to the clubhouse at Howling Golf Resort. Not a good decision.. Sitting at the table inhaling our Tooheys New we heard locals at the table next to us raving about the food and what great Chinese it is.  This filled us with hope.

Our San Choy Bow arrived and it looked like a puddle of gravy with a few chuncks of chicken mince floating in it.  I think about half a box of cornflour was used in the creation of this abomination of a Chinese staple, and it was the temperature of molten lava. In hindsight burning my tastebuds from the surface of my tongue would probably have been a good idea as it tasted worse than it looked!

Beef in Szechuan Sauce that actually had no pepper flavour and was not hot at all followed, again laden with cornflour. It was lucky we were hungry as otherwise this review would probably have been worse..

Overall a dismal fail for Chinese food. It really wasn't Chinese food at all. If you go the Howling Golf Resort stick to the pub meals in the Bistro. Have a burger or a Parma or Lasagne, but don't have the special fried rice. It's not special and it probably wasn't fried but I think it was rice!!!

Rating: 1/20

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pork Belly, Scallops and Cauliflower Puree

I cooked this the other night when my wife was away.  She is not very keen on the three elements in this dish so I thought I'd cook it when she wasn't there...plus this way I got to eat it all!! I only cooked a small piece of pork but the recipe is for 4 people


1.2 kg pice of Pork Belly
16 scallops
1 1/2 heads of cauliflower
250 ml cream
100g butter
1 carrot
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 bottle of cider
chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Olive Oil


Chop the cauliflower into chunks and put in thermomix. Pulse a few times to chop. Then add cream and butter. Cook at 100ÂșC for 45min on speed on reverse. Once soft blend for 10 sec on speed 10. Add  salt and butter to taste. If you don't have a thermomix, cook the cauliflower in a saucepan on low heat for about 45min and puree in a blender.

Pork Belly
Heat oil in pressure cooker and add garlic, carrots, onion, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Add the pork, cider and stock until just covered. Close the pressure cooker, bring up to pressure and turn down to low to cook for 60 minutes.

Remove the pork, reserving the braising liquid and allow to cool a little then slice into 4 serves. Score the skin with a sharp knife and finish the pork in a frying pan skin side down to get the skin crisp and crackly.

In the same pan as the Pork is crisping in cook the scallops. Add some more oil of needed - some of the pork fat may have rendered out and this will be enough. Put the seasoned scallops in the pan and cook at high heat searing each side until golden.  Only about 2 minutes in total.

Strain the braising liquid and put in a saucepan and reduce down over a low heat. Strain again through muslin [or paper towel] in a strainer and continue to reduce. Season to taste and finish with knob of butter.

Pork belly after braising


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jerusalem - Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

I love this book... Ottolenghi's recipe's are amazing.  From the Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad (with the most amazing use of spices matched with sweetness) to the stuffed Romano Peppers, this book could almost turn me vegetarian, except that the Chicken Sofrito and Lamb Shawarma recipe's are also amazing! Do yourself a favour and buy this one!