Friday, February 17, 2012

Gado gado

The warmer weather coaxes me out of the hot kitchen and draws my family outdoors to play. My version of this classic Indonesian salad is decidedly inauthentic, made more substantial by the addition of Japanese buckwheat noodles. This recipe is very flexible - think of what follows as merely a guide - and easily multiplied, making it a great dish to take to a picnic, barbecue or other gathering. The peanut sauce (based more or less on the Moosewood's Chinese peanut sauce recipe) is really a dressing, made of a mixture of readily available pantry ingredients. It thickens upon cooling; mixing in small amounts of hot water will help to restore it to drizzling consistency. 

Gado gado


Peanut Dressing

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, grated
1-2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter with the hot water until thoroughly combined [It is important to do this first!]. Mix in remaining ingredients and set aside.

The rest (blanched and fresh veggies, protein source(s) and noodles)

2 medium, red-skinned potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks
1 medium head of broccoli, cut into even florets
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick batons
1 small red capsicum, cored, seeded, sliced into thin pieces
1 spring onion, sliced into thin shards [leave a small amount aside for garnish]
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved
135g (approx) Japanese soba noodles
100g fried tofu puffs, halved or quartered (depending on size)

Using a separate sauce pan for the eggs and potato, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Switch off the eggs and leave for 5 minutes. Boil potatoes until tender (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables as indicated in the ingredients list and a large bowl of iced water. Once the eggs are done, remove from the water using a slotted spoon then plunge into iced water, drain and set aside. Once the potatoes are cooked, transfer from the water to a colander using the slotted spoon, then leave aside to steam dry.

If necessary, top up the water in the saucepans using boiled water from the kettle. To one, add the broccoli spears and carrots and to the other, the soba noodles. Leave all to simmer for about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and halve (or quarter) the eggs.

Remove broccoli and carrot using the slotted spoon and plunge into the iced water, drain and set aside. Using a sieve, drain the noodles in the sink and then plunge into the iced water, drain and set aside.

To assemble, use separate plates or a large serving platter and alternate layers of potato, noodles, vegetables, tofu, drizzling them lightly with sauce as you go. Top with boiled eggs, remaining sauce and the remaining spring onion shards.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Darley Street Bistro

Darley Street Bistro (at Botany View Hotel) on Urbanspoon
As a former denizen of the Inner West, the Botany View Hotel was a place I might go to for Hair of the Dog and local music on a Sunday afternoon. Now, thanks to a bit of a scrub-up and the excellent addition of Darley Street Bistro, this place has become somewhere to treat the kids and visiting relatives to an earlybird gourmet meal at a reasonable price. Unlike many other bistro menus, there is variety to be found in the vego options, so I can enjoy the rare luxury of agonising over my choice.

The first time I came here I had Pumpkin and goat's cheese ravioli tossed with roasted peppers, lemon and gremolata topped with grana padano ($20; pictured). This generous helping of home-made pasta was delicious and satisfying. More recently, I enjoyed the Haloumi stack with roasted capsicum, sweet potato, mushroom, green zucchini pesto, roasted tomato vinaigrette and wild baby rocket salad ($19)- a tasty, lighter meal, which I supplemented with pieces of a shared Vego pizza topped with cheese, roasted tomato sauce, chilli and lemon and rocket salad ($12 special; pictured). The latter is particularly good with a frosty glass of Bulmers Pear Cider or White Rabbit (both available on tap at the bar), as are the Hand made vegetarian spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce ($11 special). One day soon I will try the Vegetarian roasted beetroot salad with oranges, summer greens and roasted hazelnuts and extra virgin olive oil ($16). They also have a Veggie wrap special. For a tiny kitchen, Darley Street Bistro produces a dizzying array of plates that delights my (extended) vegetarian/omnivore family.

There is limited, communal seating downstairs so if you are bringing the little ones, make sure you have someone to help you upstairs with the pram. Bookings are recommended (they have high chairs).

Darley St Bistro is located at 597 King Street (corner of Darley Street) Newtown NSW 2042. To book, call 9517 1133.