Motel Mexicola, Semiyak (Bali)- Throwback Thursday pt. 5

Throwback Thursday is back! This time with another awesome meal from our trip to Bali, however it couldn’t be more different from our other meals because it was MEXICAN! Anyone who has read our blog before knows that Alex and I have a soft spot for Mexican food- al pastor tacos and margaritas remind us of our time living in LA in the best way possible. So when we heard that there was a great Mexican place in Bali, of all places, we had to give it a go! We wound up at Motel Mexicola on Valentine’s Day after some last minute reservations, and were seated upstairs in the slightly quieter seating area that seemed to be filled with couples holding hands (have I mentioned that we hate going out to eat on Valentine’s Day? Because it’s true.). We started off with some cocktails, including one served in a fresh coconut, something we had been looking forward to our entire trip! The guacamole and esquites (corn with sour cream and cheese) we had to start were both nice and traditional, but were blown out of the water by the kingfish ceviche we had next. The ceviche was so fresh, acidic and delicious- we loved the heat from the chilies and were just overall so pleased with this dish. The black bean empanadas were hearty and delicious, and I loved the sour cream sauce that topped them. The tacos we had- al pastor, pescado and pollo, were all tiny but traditional- from the housemade corn tortillas to the zesty salsas! The restaurant itself was bustling and full of life, and had a great vibe about it. I’ve included a few photos of the restaurant itself, something I don’t often do, because the attention to detail was just incredible! We ended up going to Mexicola twice because we were so happy with the service and food, (not to mention proximity to our hotel- the awesome Cicada Townhouses!) and highly recommend it to anyone passing through Seminyak!

- priya

IMGP6475

cocktail is a MASSIVE coconut

IMGP6476literally the size of my head

IMGP6593guacamole

IMGP6484

Esquites- corn / sour cream / cheese

IMGP6490

Ceviche Acapulco- kingfish / lime / tomato / onion / coriander / chili

IMGP6597

 empanadas de frijoles- black beans / cheese / sour cream

IMGP6492

 taco de pescado- grilled fish / pico de gallo / onion / coriander

IMGP6494

taco al pastor- axiote grilled pork / pineapple salsa / coriander

IMGP6496

taco de pollo- grilled chicken / pico de gallo / cabbage

IMGP6502

view from the second floor

IMGP6503

such a beautifully detailed space

IMGP6587

our view of the bar from night two

Homemade Dukkah

*Ahem*.. you there.. yes, you Internet people – let me start by apologising for my utter laziness in regards to posts and commend Priya on picking up the slack, where would I be without her I wonder..? Probably eating steak and chips in front of the TV, but I digress.  Starting a new job has kept me rather busy and given me an excuse not to blog, but I will endeavour to pull my finger out and post some nice recipes, slightly more frequently for you guys and if I forget give me a nudge won’t you?

Having never made Dukkah before and eaten it so many times I thought it was worth giving a crack.  And believe you me it’s as simple as it is delicious.  Dukkah is an Egyptian nut, seed and spice blend designed to be eaten with bread and oil, but I’ve been seeing it popping up in many a Melbourne brunch spot sprinkled over poached eggs.  I used almonds in this recipe, but feel free to use hazelnuts or any other nut that tickles your pickle.  I added a dash of chilli powder (to keep Priya happy), but it would work just as well without.  Make it en masse, keep it in an air-tight container in a dark place and it will last for ages – ready to be pulled out when unexpected guests drop in.  I’ve been experimenting using it in other recipes, which will be up on the blog sooner rather than later (I hope).   OK, enough jabbering, give the below recipe a shot, it’s simple, cheap and oh so moreish!

-alex

IMGP6839Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 3 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp whole pepper corns
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • Olive oil to serve
  • Crust bread to serve

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180°C.  Line an oven dish with baking paper.  Spread almonds over baking paper and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until golden and toasted.  Set on separate plate to cool.

IMGP6822Spread sesame seeds over baking paper and toast in oven for 1-3 minutes, or until golden.  Set aside to cool.

IMGP6824Toast coriander, cumin and pepper in frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.  Transfer to pestle and mortar and grind to rough powder, or use a spice grinder.

IMGP6825When almonds are cool, pour into food processor and blitz until rough crumb.

IMGP6835Add sesame seeds, spice blend, chilli powder and salt and give one good blitz – just to mix.  Serve alongside warmed bread and olive oil for a delicious pre-dinner snack.  Or liven up some roast veg with a sprinkle just before serving or over some eggs.  Keep leftovers in an airtight container.

IMGP6839

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

Alex and I are always whining about how we can never find good (or even mediocre) stock at the grocery store, so last week I finally bit my tongue and made some stock myself! To make your own homemade stock, you will need the following:

- one chicken carcass

- two large carrots

- four or so stalks of celery

- one leek

- three brown onions

- four to five cloves of garlic

- two bay leaves

- one bundle of thyme

- one stalk of rosemary

- one bundle of parsley

- a few sage leaves

- a handful of whole peppercorns

- two dried chilies (optional)

Now if you want to make this stock vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, simply leave out the chicken carcass and boom! Done.
IMGP6793

Start by chopping the carrots, leek, onion and celery into large pieces- thirds or so. Place them in a large pot with the chicken carcass, a few dried chilies, the herbs and peppercorns. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover all of the vegetables and chicken. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

IMGP6797

Once the stock has been brought to a boil, bring it down to a simmer and let it simmer for several hours. Occasionally remove the lid from the stock and skim off the scum with a spoon, and then stir.

IMGP6800

After three to four hours, your stock should look like this. Kinda gnarly, but who cares because it smells delicious.

IMGP6807

Next, strain the liquid through a colander into a large bowl.

IMGP6809

Sometimes one strain isn’t enough to form a clear liquid, so toss out the solids and strain it once more.

IMGP6812

This next time I strained it through a fine sieve, which helped remove any last bits and pieces.

IMGP6813Put the stock in a few containers- maybe one to freeze and one to refrigerate, and you’re done! Stock in the freezer should last ages, and stock in the fridge will last up to 5-7 days (I would plan on using it sooner rather than later- see any of the risotto or soup recipes on this blog for inspiration!). A simple and delicious day time task that is so rewarding- expect a recipe up on the blog soon that highlights our wonderful homemade stock!

- priya

IMGP6817

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

Meatball & Wine Bar, Melbourne CBD

Meatball, located in the ever-trendy Flinders Lane, was a random choice for us one day whilst out shopping in the city. Since then we have been back twice, and always leave stuffed and pleased with our meals. Cocktails at Meatball are delicious and don’t skimp on the alcohol, and the Italian-focused wine list partners well with almost any option on the menu. Aside from starters, which include charcuterie and cheese boards, the meatballs truly are the star of the show here. The main course concept is simple- choose a ball (beef, pork, chicken, fish or veggie), choose a sauce (red italian tomato, white creamy or green pesto salsa verde), and choose something for your balls to sit on (housemade pasta, polenta and white beans just being a few of the options). Being the polenta lovers that we are, we’ve found it difficult to go with something other than our creamy favourite when we go to meatball, and with good reason. The polenta is rich and creamy, and is the perfect base for the balls and sauce. On our first visit, Alex had the pork balls, which he said were delicious but slightly overpowered by the orange zest. I went with the chicken balls- these were a bit dry but I really enjoyed the inclusion of pistachios. The green sauce is quite zesty, but at times the raw taste of garlic was a bit overpowering; Alex’s red sauce was more balanced and went better with the polenta.

On my next visit with a friend we arrived after 9:30, which meant that we had to order off of the late night menu, which sadly does not include the main event ‘balls and all’- instead we had to resort to sliders. We went with the veggie sliders (my friend being vegetarian) topped with green sauce, and were pleasantly surprised with the veggie balls! Made with a chickpea base, these balls were flavorsome and amazingly not dry at all- they also stood up to the vibrant salsa verde better than the chicken balls, especially in the delicious, buttery buns (insert risqué food joke here). We also had a starter from the cheese section- burrata on a bed of pangrattato aka delicious breadcrumbs. The burrata was divine- rich, creamy goodness oozing out over the crispy breadcrumbs…I would go back again and again solely for this dish. Service at Meatball can be a bit touch and go- while everyone who works there is delightful (at least everyone we have interacted with), there tends to be quite a bit of lag time in between them checking in on customers. While sometimes this goes unnoticed, on our last visit (for which we forgot our camera) the amount of time it took for our waiter to notice us while we were trying to flag him down for more wine resulted in us just asking for the check instead. Wait time aside, our experiences at Meatball have always been fun and delicious, and this will certainly keep us coming back.

- priya

IMGP5783

a lovely passionfruit cocktail

IMGP5786

pork balls with red sauce on polenta

IMGP5787

chicken balls with green sauce on polenta

DSC_0945

burrata on a bed of pangrattato

DSC_0948

veggie sliders with pesto salsa verde

Meatball & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Raj on Taj, Adelaide- Throwback Thursday pt. 4

Raj on Taj is a classic Indian establishment with two locations in Adelaide. Alex and I stopped by after I was struck by a craving for Indian food (these happen often), and were quickly seated by a friendly waitress who was more than happy to chat with us about our holidays. When it came time to order, we ordered our dishes spicy- something we do at almost every Indian restaurant we visit. We are usually left feeling short changed in the spice department, but not at Raj on Taj. Our three mains were so shockingly spicy that we went through pitcher after pitcher of water, while blaming one another for the spicy situation we had before us. Yet we were both happy to have found an Indian restaurant that actually understood the meaning of “spicy please”, even if it had us both almost in tears. Once we got past the spice, our three dishes- butter chicken, chicken jalfrezi and paneer mahkani, were all delicious. Similar looking in photos, but each with their own tweaks; the jalfrezi was slightly sour, while the butter chicken was classically creamy and the paneer rich and tomato-y. The garlic naan was standard, if a bit on the heavy side. All in all, Raj on Taj is a place that knows how to deliver the goods in typical Indian restaurant style, but more importantly, actually takes heed of ones request for spice. Next time we are back, we will probably only ask for one dish to be spicy, because Raj on Taj truly knows the meaning of spice, in the best way possible.

- priya

DSC_0399

papaddum

DSC_0400

Butter Chicken

DSC_0401

Paneer Tikka Masala

DSC_0404

garlic naan

DSC_0408

Chicken Jalfrezi

Raj on Taj on Urbanspoon

Dulce de Leche

Ok this recipe comes with a warning: this is one of the easiest and cheapest things to make, and makes a LOT. So once you discover the glorious treat that is Dulce de Leche, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you find a large batch in your fridge on a weekly basis! All you need is:

- two 395 g cans of sweetened, condensed milk

- 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste (equivalent of 2 vanilla bean pods)

- sea salt, to taste

Start by preheating the oven to 220 C. Pour the two cans of condensed milk into a baking dish.

Cookies_7This recipe is so simple that I don’t even have enough instructions for each picture.

Cookies_10Next add the vanilla bean paste, as well as a sprinkle of sea salt. Swirl the paste through the condensed milk, until it is blended through.

Cookies_9Place the dish in a second, larger dish. Fill the large baking dish with water until it is halfway up the first, smaller dish.

Cookies_8Cover the small dish with foil. Pop it into the oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, taking care to check on it at least once or twice in case the water needs to be refilled.

Cookies_11Remove the dish from the oven when the caramel is a beautiful golden brown, and whisk the caramel quickly until it is smooth. And that’s it! Store in sterilized containers in the fridge, although I guarantee that it won’t be around for long! A rich, delicious treat that is equally amazing slathered over cookies (coming soon, if Alex ever gets around to blogging again) or mixed through vanilla bean ice cream. Easily 1000000 x better than dulce de leche out of a can!

- priya

Cookies_12Dulce de Leche

Warung Padi Organic, Ubud (Bali)

Padi Organic is a beautiful open-air restaurant set amongst the rice paddies outside of Ubud. When we arrived we were promptly seated at an individual little hut, floating over the twinkling lights coming from the rice paddies and restaurant. Once we were comfortable on our cushions (yes, we sat on the ground! It was fabulous.) we ordered two Bintangs- the popular Indonesian beer that you can find everywhere, and perused the menu for our meals. Alex went with a traditional Gulai Bebek (aka duck curry), served alongside yellow rice, satay and mixed vegetables. I, not being able to decide (typical), decided to go with a platter that involved a little bit of everything- chicken satay, tofu triangles and tempeh with sambal. The food was a little slow to come out, which we took as a great sign because when everything came out piping hot it was clear that it was all fresh! Alex’s duck curry was bursting with traditional flavours that we would come to know and love over the coming week, and my sambal was so good that I had to ask for a second helping, and the ingredients list! Padi Organic highlights the use of organic food, much of which is grown on-site, and this was apparent in the freshness of their food. Alex was adventurous in his traditional dessert choice of black rice pudding with bananas, which I went with the safer (and definitely not as healthy) option of fried bananas and ice cream. A few bites of the pudding was adventure enough for me, but Alex continued on and said that the flavours definitely grew on him as he progressed through the dessert. The fried bananas were obviously delicious because hmm…they’re fried bananas! While all of the food at Padi was satisfying, it was the tranquil setting that really makes the spot a must-visit; we were serenaded by frogs from the neighboring paddies, and conversation was often punctuated by a splash of the fish swimming underneath us. We went to a lot of spectacular places during our week in Bali, but the peaceful and romantic setting at Padi Organic has stayed with us in a way no other place has. Simply beautiful.

- priya

DSC_0753

Bintang

DSC_0756

fresh flowers were a highlight of each individual ‘hut’

DSC_0757

The platter that came with Alex’s duck curry

DSC_0758

Duck Curry- Gulai Bebek

DSC_0765

My mixed plate- chicken satay, tofu triangles and tempeh with yellow rice and sambal

DSC_0768

extra peanut sauce and sambal- both were incredible!

DSC_0769

black rice pudding with bananas and coconut milk

DSC_0771

fried bananas with ice cream