My review of the Tefal OptiGrill

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Thanks to Bing Lee, I was given the opportunity to test and review the Tefal OptiGrill.

The OptiGrill is one of Tefal’s popular kitchen products.

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Product features:

It cooks 6 different types of meat plus vegetables to different cooking levels.

It automatically adjusts the cooking times for different types and thickness of meat.

The automatic cooking indicator changes colour and beeps to let you know where your cooking level is at.

It has both a manual function (for cooking vegetables) and a frozen function.

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Why I like it:

It comes with a recipe book full of delicious recipes that I have tried and was loved by the family.

It’s “hubby-friendly”.  Since I come home late from work, hubby easily uses the OptiGrill to cook dinner without any fuss.

I love how the cooking indicator changes colour depending on the doneness of your meat.  When it moves to the next level of cooking it will beep. You don’t even need to be in the kitchen while your dinner is cooking.

It’s slick looking.  It can be left out on the bench and it won’t ruin the look of your kitchen :)

Easy to clean.  I dislike using appliances that have 101 pieces that need to be taken apart and washed.  The plates on the grill can be taken off easily and placed in the dishwasher.

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I read reviews online of the grill and I’m not the only ones that love it.

One down side is that it’s too small for a large family.  I can comfortably use it for my family of 2 adults and 2 young children.  When I think of larger families, it may take longer to cook as the plates may be too small.  Meals will need to cooked in batches.

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I first tried cooking lamb chops.  It was recommended to chose boneless meat as the bone will prevent a uniform level for cooking on both sides of the meat.  Since we already had the lamb chops, we tried it anyway.  To me, the chops were cooked perfectly.  We also grilled slices of potatoes.  I used a recipe in the recipe book that came with the grill. You need to make sure you slice the potatoes the same width. The thinner potatoes were not cooking as fast.  I found myself keeping an eye on it and removing ones that were already done.  To me, that’s not too much of a big deal.

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Our next meal was burgers at my son, Thomas’ request. After placing the burgers on the grill, I simply selected the burger option and waited the cooking level indicator to turn to medium.  It was that simple.

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RRP: AUD$229.95

It can be purchased at Bing Lee for $199 (at the time of writing this post)

If you are looking for a grill that is convenient, healthy and easy to use, I suggest you purchase the Tefal OptiGrill.  I’m glad I’ve got one :)

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

 

Pork Belly with Tamarind and Sweet Chilli Sauce Glaze And a Giveaway!

Tamarind glazed pork belly and Taylor's wine

I was contacted by  Taylors Wine  to try out their wines and to do a giveaway on my blog.  How can you say no to wine, so of course, I said yes!  One lucky reader gets a chance to win 2 bottles from Taylors Wine but more on that later.

Taylors wine is a family owned wine company in South Australia’s Clare Valley, that was born from a passion of producing exceptional, hand crafted wines.  I was lucky enough to try their Taylors Estate Gewurztraminer.  This wine has rose, musk and spice aromas, along with a palate that is crisp and zesty with lime and lychee flavours.  I wanted a dish that would compliment those flavours and had a look at their website where they list food and wine pairings.

Taylor's Wine

I came up with a recipe that was not only damn delicious but went really well with the Gewurztraminer.  I love pork and what better cut is there than pork belly?  I simmered the pork belly first and cooked it all the way through. I then placed in a hot oven to get that nice crunchy crackling on it.  I accidentally put the oven on the grill with fan function but didn’t realise until after an hour of cooking. But the crackling turned out perfect. At first I thought the glaze would soften the crackling but it didn’t.  It just gave it extra flavour.  One word. Winner!

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Recipe:

  • 1.25kg pork belly
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 4 bay leaves

Glaze:

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/4 cup tamarind puree
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. In a large pot, place pork belly and enough water to cover.  Add the salt, pepper and bay leaves.
  2. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 1.5 hours.
  3. Take the pork belly out and let it rest on a rack at room temperature for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat grill with fan function on your oven to 220degC
  5. Meanwhile mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl.  Place half aside into a small serving dish.
  6. Roast the pork belly for 20mins then turn down the temperature to 170degC for an hour and a half.
  7. Glaze the pork belly with your glaze mixture and let it roast for another 15 mins.
  8. Serve with the extra glaze for dipping.

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To enter:

  • please leave a comment at the end of this post.
  • Australian residents only
  • You must be over the age of 18 to enter. Wine will be shipped out once proof of age has been secured.
  • Winner will be notified by email.
  • Competition ends midnight 14th March 2014
  • What are you waiting for?  Start commenting!

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Lots of Pizza eating during the Melbourne Pizza Festival 2013

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Melbourne Pizza Festival is on right now.  For more information, read about it here.

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I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend a couple of events.  I was also honoured to have met the Pizza Festival Director, Matteo Rubbettino.  Matteo created this festival because he wanted Australians to experience the variations of pizzas from different regions and to showcase the pizza makers that create their pizzas with passion and skill.

I attended my first event at Feldman’s in Fitzroy where Chef Andrea Caroli, works his magic on creating delectable pizzas.  Along with Jason Pitt looking after us, my pizza experience at Feldman’s was a memorable one.

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Hubby and I enjoyed 2 pizza’s  at Feldman’s.  One was the Bocconcini,  gorgonzola, semi dried figs, prosciutto.  This pizza is one of their more popular ones.  The sweetness of the figs counteracts the saltiness of the prosciutto and gorgonzola.  It was fantastic.

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Also tried the Tomato, fior di latte, italian sausage, mushroom, smoked scarmoza.  I’ve never had fior di latte (mozzarella made from cow) or scarmoza cheese before, so I had to try this one.  It, too was tasty.  I’m glad we made the right choices.

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Our second Pizza festival event was at Za-Za’s in Richmond.  Za-Za’s is a trattoria in true casalinga style: warm and welcoming, expressive and passionate, with plentiful food and excellent coffee.  The service is friendly and personal.  Morena Miceli likes to make sure her customers are well fed and happy when they leave.  This time hubby and I decided to take the kiddies along as they too, love pizza and we knew they would enjoy the true taste of pizza served at Za-Za’s.  And, of course, they did.

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We tried The Bufalina Pizza, which  has Italian tomato salsa, local buffalo mozzarella by Giorgio Linguanti of That’s Amore Cheese, basil & E.V.O Oil  It was light and fresh.  There was plenty of sauce and cheese.

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We also tried the Pucinella Pizza, which was amazing.  It is half Margherita & half Calzone filled with leg ham &  Fior di Latte.  The ham in the calzone was amazing and full of flavour.

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I’m glad we attended events of the Pizza Festival.  It gave us the opportunity to try authentic pizzas at amazing restaurants.

If you want to attend events, you still have time.  The festival will come to a close this Sunday 30th June 2013 where a closing event will be held.  You can purchase tickets to attend.  It’s $25 for all-you-can-eat pizza.  Now that’s a deal!  Check out their website here to find out how to get your hands on these tickets.

I attended the 2 events courtesy of Kathryn from Keepleft PR and Matteo of Pizza Festival.

Buon Appetito,

Cherrie

Kedgeree with Kippers

Don't you love breakfast for dinner? Kedgeree, which usually contains cooked smoked fish, rice, eggs and curry, is known to be eaten for breakfast throughout the UK.

It is believed that the British soldiers brought it back home after enjoying eating it in India. It is now a popular breakfast meal using left over smoked fish though it can be eaten any time of the day.

I was really happy when I found this at a local fish monger. It's kippers. Kippers are smoked herring that has been split, salted or pickled and cold smoked. It reminds me of the Filipino smoked fish, tinapa. If you can't find kippers, you can use any smoked fish you like or even just used poached salmon.

I knew I wanted to make kedgeree as soon as I saw the kippers. I made it for dinner and my English hubby loved it. It now makes the dinner table often. For this recipe, I used a few different recipes I had and combined it to make my own.

Recipe: (serves 4)

  • 20g butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbs curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 350g basmati rice
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
  • 200g kippers
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • Handful of parsley leaves
  • Salt and pepper

 

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes
  2. Add the curry and turmeric powder and cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the rice and stir to mix. Add the stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and let simmer for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the kippers according to packet instructions then flake gently.
  5. Uncover the rice and gently fork the kippers and boiled eggs through.
  6. Cover and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the lemon juice, parsley leaves and salt and pepper to taste.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

New Moro Seleccion Hojiblanca Olive Oil launch at Bohemian Bar and Restaurant.

Australia's number one brand of olive oil, Moro, has launched a new specialty mono varietal extra virgin olive oil, Moro Seleccion Hojiblanca (Ogh-hee-blanca).
Company Director, David Valmorbida says the new Seleccion Hojiblanca has been developed to provide an extra virgin olive oil with a very specific taste, made using only a single variety of olive, the Hojiblanca. It is perfect for dipping, drizzling and finishing dishes such as seafood and vegetables, but it is also ideal for sauteing and baking both sweet and savoury dishes.
I attended the launch of the new olive oil at the Bohemiam bar and restaurant. As we arrived, David, himself lead us through the tastings of 3 different olive oils. We were taught how to properly taste olive oil in order to appreciate the different tastes and textures of the olive oil.

How to taste Olive oil.

Step 1: With the glass covered by the lid or your hand, cup and rotate the glass in your other hand to warm it up. Swirl the oil on the sides of the glass to increase the surface area for the oil to release the volatile scents.

Step 2: Before tasting the oil, uncover the glass and smell the olive oil. This will give you your first indications of the quality and type of oil.

Step 3: Put a small amount of oil in your mouth and let it warm up for a moment or two so the taste spreads throughout the mouth.

Step 4: Begin inhaling or sipping air in quick gasps. This helps to oxygenise the oil and intensify the aromas.

Step 5: After completing the tasting, allow a minute or two for the full flavour of the olive oil to rest and develop in your mouth.

We were also treated to a range of dishes that featured Seleccion Hojiblanca Olive Oil.
Olive oil spheres

Grilled octopus, potato and paprika

Vegetarian paella

Seafood paella

Set bacalao mousse, red pepper, egg yolk and cod skin

Confit pork ribs, artichoke, cabbage and coriander

Homemade ricotta, beetroot, dehydrated black olive

Olive oil ice cream, chocolate and almond sponge

The New Seleccion Hojiblanca Olive Oil will be available in a 500ml bottle and a four litre tin at major supermarkets and selected independent supermarkets and delcatessens from late August 2012.

I attended the product launch at Bohemian bar and restaurant courtesy of Dig Marketing Group and Moro.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Kulinarya Cooking Club June 2012: Tapsilog. Breakfast of Champions.

This month’s theme for our Kulinarya Cooking Club is “Only in the Philippines”. Tina from Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner and I are hosting this month and we wanted to focus on unique dishes that can only be found in the Philippines.

Being a Filipina, I love my rice. Growing up, it would be normal for me to have rice three meals in a day. So I thought it natural for me to chose a rice dish for the theme.

I love rice for breakfast. To make a complete meal, add egg and a meat.

What makes this dish unique to the Philippines is the name. Tapsilog. Filipinos like to abbreviate or replace words with acronyms. Tapsilog comprises of Tapa (Tap) sinangag (si) and itlog (log).

Tapa is cured beef. It’s beef that’s been marinated overnight and in some cases, dried then fried. I like my tapa not dried as it can get tough and chewy when not done right. I left out the drying step.

Sinangag is garlic rice. I love it. It’s rice that has been fried with lots of garlic.

Itlog is egg. An oozy, runny egg is essential for this dish.

Recipe:

For the tapa:

  • 700g thinly sliced beef tenderloin. I used sizzling steak
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3tbs soy sauce
  • 1tbs mushroom or dark soy sauce
  • Pinch salt

Marinate the beef with the rest of the ingredients. Leave overnight or at least 4 hours.

To cook: in a large frying place the beef and marinade in. Let the beef simmer in the marinade until it dries out. Add some vegetable oil to the pan and gently fry until slightly browned and cooked through,

For the sinangag:

  • 3cups of uncooked rice
  • 1bulb of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Pinch salt

To cook: cook the rice by absorption method. When cooked set aside to cool a bit. You can also use left over rice from the day before. When ready, add a little vegetable oil in a wok and gently fry the garlic till lightly browned. Add the rice and mix thoroughly and add the salt. Turn the heat to low and leave the rice to fry a little and for the garlic to infuse through. Mix every couple of minutes.

Fry the egg to your liking.

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Sydney Holiday in Pictures

During Easter this year, we (Hubby, myself and the 2 munchkins) spent a few days in Sydney. Hubby and I have driven to Sydney many times before but this was the first time we took the 9hour drive with two small children.

We left home Thursday evening and arrived in Sydney on Good Friday. The kids were very good during the road trip and slept most of the way there.

The trip was mostly about eating and children-related activities.

As soon as we checked into our motel, we unpacked the car and headed out again. We had lunch at the famous Bourke street Bakery in Surrey Hills.
We had: chorizo pizza (top left), roast beef, chilli and coriander jam sandwich (top right), pork and leek sausage roll (middle left) and a honey roasted ham, cheddar, onion pickle, parsley mayo and rocket sandwich (bottom).
We also had the chocolate tart. Soooo good!
Next, it was onto to Gelato Messina for dessert. The highlight was the mini me ice cream dessert (bottom right)
As if that wasn’t enough, we headed off to Chinatown for the Friday night market. I couldn’t really eat much as we were so full already.

Next day (Saturday) we headed to Westfield Sydney as I have heard yummy things about the food court there. However, we were there too early for any of the cafes or stores to be opened so we wondered downstairs and I found this delicious grilled beef salad. It was a great find.

We then went to the aquarium where the children enjoyed and learnt about the different fish and sea creatures.
Before heading back to the motel for a much needed rest, we drove up to Manly for the essential visit to Zumbos. I bought his macarons. One of each, of course. In Zumbos these are called Zumbarons! Also got one of the infamous V8 cake and the citrus cake.
For dinner that night, we went to Chef’s Gallery. I found out about this place through instagram where I saw many wonderful photos of their food.
We had: Top: shredded peking duck roti.
Bottom left to right: wok fried rice and shredded pork and lettuce. Mini pork fillet burger. Boneless pork ribs topped with pork floss, corn cereal and roasted garlic. Handmade noodles with BBQ pork and soy sauce.

This was the reason why we went to Chef’s Gallery. This dessert is so popular that you have to pre-order when you make your booking. It is their signature “piggy face” sesame bun with marshmallow bunnies set in an edible garden served with berry and mango ice creams. Not only delcious but also very cute.

Every Saturday night, darling harbour holds spectacular fireworks. Darling harbour looks so pretty at night.

Sunday was another busy day for the family. We spent most of the day at Taronga zoo where we arrived by ferry.

My favourite animal at the zoo.

Lunch was Pad Thai at The Rocks.

Deanna and I shared a corn on the cob at The Rocks weekend market.

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday in Sydney even though it was a short stay. Thank you Sydney for your hospitality. Hope to see you again very soon.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie