Boodle Feast @ Kusina, Weston Creek

Andrew and Emelia @ Kusina

When I was a boy I grew up in The Creek!

I love Weston Creek, but it has never been a foodie destination. It’s a wondrous land of bored, delinquent kids and energetic retirees! It’s truly the best mix of Sydney’s troubled western suburbs and a dozy Hobbit village, with the food culture to match.

But lo! I see a change in the air!  Boodle feast at Kusina, the Filipino restaurant is a wonderfully rich cultural experience that may change all that. 

Impressed - we hungrily watch the chefs at work...
Impressed – we hungrily watch the chefs at work…
The chefs are very friendly and will have a chat!
The chefs are very friendly and will have a chat!

We dodge all the daggers and walking-frames being hurled at us as we make our way through the streets of Weston Creek and enter the restaurant. Our senses are filled with the wondrous sights and smells of a Boodle Feast!

I’m not an expert on the Boodle Feast, but it appears to have stemmed from a Filipino military tradition, eaten on banana leaves with your hands – this is large format eating… meant to feed the masses.

The Boodle Feast!
The Boodle Feast!

There is no set items that must appear in the Feast apart from rice, it can be any Filipino cuisine you desire. The only necessity seems to be rice and accompaniments like chilli and sauces.

Look at those smiles!
Look at those smiles!

Emelia sampled the grilled eggplant salad and loved it’s beautiful deep red onion flavours and cloud-like consistency…

The crispy pork belly with salted black beans and banana blossom was as good as one can expect, crackly, moist, sweet and juicy!

Our lovely waitress carefully explains what is what... she has our attention!
Our lovely waitress carefully explains what is what… she has our attention!

The sweet cured pork was my favourite! Large chunks of sweet spicy meat with the ever-so-slight hint of five spice.  Melted in the mouth.

King prawns in lime and coconut butter was nice but slightly too bitter for my liking, it needed the sauce that came with the feast … the sauce improved it a lot.

The solution for kids who don't smile in the school photo: Boodle!
The solution for kids who don’t smile in the school photo: Boodle!

The grilled spring chicken in lemongrass, garlic, ginger and soy was cooked perfectly, and was delicious with the garlic rice.

Hands going everywhere - THATS MY CHICKEN!!
Hands going everywhere – THATS MY CHICKEN!!

Eating with your hands is a great experience, but I got into trouble from Suni, Em’s little bro… I used my left hand for a bit. BIG NO-NO!

The fried whole barramundi with black bean salad was a hilight of the meal for me, the fish was just flaking off, the beans tasted so fresh and added great texture to the mouth, the vegetables balanced out the salty flavours.

Em is good to talk to about such things.  She always has something nice to say :)
Em is good to talk to about such things. She always has something nice to say 🙂

Maddy wanted to try the salted duck egg, Em and I joined her. This is a very difficult mouthfeel to get used to, and something that is definitely an accompaniment to other items on the plate – i don’t recommend trying it by itself!

'I eat Adobo'! YES! the only better slogan on a shirt is 'Where's the beef?'
‘I eat Adobo’! YES! the only better slogan on a shirt is ‘Where’s the beef?’

Emelia remarked on just how good the garlic rice was – perfect! Rice can be perfect, go there and try it, you’ll see what I mean!

The Devastation!
The Devastation!
Sherice and Assad, loving it! Usually Assad is critical, but he had nothing bad to say about this wondrous meal!
Sherice and Assad, loving it! Usually Assad is critical, but he had nothing bad to say about this wondrous meal!

Dessert time! We rarely get dessert… but we saw some amazingly coloured cakes in the display, and some impressive ice cream sundae looking things coming out of the back so we had to try it ALL!

The purple yam cake was actually not as amazing as it sounded, it was fairly dry and the lychee filling was lacking flavour, a little disappointed with this one… On to dessert No. #2.

Purple Yam cake
Purple Yam cake

The Halo Halo is shaved ice, purple yam ice cream, jelly chunks, boiled sweet beans, evaporated milk and kernels of sweet corn. Sounds strange you say? Well for someone who is not used to Filipino desserts it is a little, but the ice cream was seriously delicious! Totally hit the spot. I didn’t mind the entrie dessert, it was nice, but i did get the feeling that the desserts weren’t as sophisticated as the mains.

Halo Halo
Halo Halo

Despite the mild disappointment of the desserts, we love savoury food so for us Kuisina really delivered! Boodle feast is a sensational meal and totally blew everyone’s mind. It’s not just the food and the flavours (which were wonderful), it’s the social aspect of eating with your hands that really breaks down barriers!

Boodle Feast is held once a month, and book early, because it is popular and is already beginning to have a following.

As for Weston Creek… is there a light on the horizon? BIG YES! Kuisina is not the only light at the end of the tunnel, an excellent Gastropub has also popped, but that’s another story for another time! 🙂

Kusina on Urbanspoon

Dhal – Lankan Style – Parippu

Simple dhal - A staple in every Sri Lankan home
Simple dhal – A staple in every Sri Lankan home

Most of you know that I come from a Sri Lankan family and have grown up eating Sri Lankan food. While I really love cooking and eating food from all over the world, there comes a time when that Sri Lankan craving hits, and that craving must be obeyed!

My quick and easy Sri Lankan fix is a simple Dhal. It’s healthy, goes great with some brown rice and you can make it in less that 15 minutes.

Masala Dharba

Ingredients

1C red lentils
1 small onion finely diced
1 green chilli finely chopped
10 curry leaves
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2C Coconut milk
2C water
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
Salt to taste

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Method

1. Wash the lentils thoroughly.

2. Heat the oil, fry the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Then add the onions and curry leaves and when the onions caramalised add in lentils, turmeric, cinnamon and water and cook over a low heat. Add salt and the milk and continue to cook for about 10 minutes and the dhal curry is ready for serving. Once the dhal is cooked, it will turn yellow in colour and will have a nice mushy texture.

3. Serve with steamed rice.

See easy peasy!!!!

Dhal Success!  YUM!
Dhal Success! YUM!

So tell me friends… What’s your ultimate comfort food?

The Best Samosas in the World

We have always been disappointed with the humble samosa. It has so much potential but often falls short because either the pastry isn’t crispy enough or the filling isn’t punchy enough. So we decided to come up with our own recipe.  We also made a spicy tomato relish to go with it.

I’m warning you, these are the best samosas in the world but they are super labour intensive.

Andrew and I have made them twice with different results but the second time we totes nailed it!

These have a delicious slow cooked lamb filling with potatoes and peas. The lamb filling has a mixture of Indian and Sri Lankan spices.  We love the freshness of curry leaves and lemongrass.

So here is our recipe.

Filling ingredients

2kg leg of lamb
1 whole lemongrass
6 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp of Sri Lankan Curry powder
5 cloves
5 cardamom pods
1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
2 Tbsp Cumin powder
2 tbsp Coriander powder
20 curry leaves
2 pandan leaves (if you can find them)
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chilli powder
1/3 Cup vegetable oil.
2 medium onion finely diced
1 bottle of tomato passata
1 Litre Beef stock – pre bought is fine
1kg of dutch cream potatoes peeled
1 small packet of frozen green peas
2 green chillies
4 birds eye chillies finely chopped
1 Lemon juiced
Salt

Make the filling

  1. Prepare the lamb leg by cutting slits all over the lamb leg.
  2. Rub salt and curry powder into the lamb leg.
  3. In a mortar and pestle pound the garlic, cardamom, lemongrass until they
    have released their flavours.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy based pan until very hot.  Sear the lamb leg all over until it
    is brown on all sides.

    Searing Lamb leg
    Searing Lamb leg
  5. Once the lamb leg is seared take it off the heat and set it aside.
  6. Pre heat the oven to 150C
  7. Put the pan back on the heat and stir fry 1 onion, garlic, curry leaves, pandan
    leaves,  cinnamon stick turmeric, paprika, cloves and  chilli powder cook until
    the onion is translucent.
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  8. Place the lamb leg back in the pan and pour over the bottle of passata and beef stock.  Adjust the salt.
  9. Place in the oven and cook for about 4hours.  Checking the lamb and turning it over every hour.  Make sure there is always liquid in the pot.  Add water if required.
  10. Once the lamb has cooked through.  Pull the meat off the bone.  Keep the fat and all the juicy bits.
    Lamb falling off the bone
    Oh Yeah!

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  11. Take any remaining liquid and put it through a sieve and place in a small saucepan.
  12. Heat the liquid in a saucepan and bring to boil.  Keep it at a boil until the liquid reduces to a thick paste.  Make sure it doesn’t burn.

Boil the Potatoes

  1. Bring a big saucepan of water to  the boil add salt.
    Boiling potatoes
    Potatoes thicken and mellow the filling, while adding a creamy texture
  2. Peel all of the potatoes.  Keep them whole
  3. Boil them until you can mash the potatoes.
  4. Roughly mash potatoes.  They need to be chunky and not smooth.

 

  1. Heat some oil in a big saucepan
  2. Add in onion, garlic, cumin seeds, cumin powder, coriander powder and greenchillies.  Add in the lamb meat, reduced liquid, potatoes and green
    peas.  Taste for salt.  Add more salt if required.
  3. Stir through the lemon juice.
  4. Set aside to cool.

 

Make the pastry

4.5 cups plain flour
3 Tbsp Supafry / ghee (keep refrigerated)
250ml ice water
2 tsp salt

 

  1. Add Supafry to food processor and sift-in flour, add salt. blend for 20-30 seconds or until fat is ‘rubbed-in’.
    adding Flour to food processor
    Rubbing in the fat to the flour in the traditional method just melts the fat and makes your pastry impossible to work with. Using a food processor is quicker and keeps the pastry cool.
  2. Transfer to large bowl, add 3/4 of the ice water, combine with hands until it is firm.
  3. Add more water if the dough is still crumbly – when you are sure all the liquid has been incorporated. Please be patient with this, keep kneading!
  4. When you have a firm ball of dough, rest covered in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

**VERY IMPORTANT!!** You need to be very careful with water content here – as the dough needs to be very firm to effectively work with it. Remember, the dough will be crumbly (not come together) for a while – this is normal.

 Folding the samosas

For this stage it’s best to have a partner rolling the skins while you fill them.

Get ready:

  • Small water dish (for sealing)
  • Tray with baking paper
  • Plain flour (for kneading)
  • Rolling pin
  • Spoon
  • Plate for dough
  • Lamb Filling mixture

Lightly dust bench and rolling pin with flour. From the main ball of dough pinch off a 1 inch ball and knead into a 17cm round. These should be quite thin, 2-3mm is best. cut in half and set aside. Make sure these don’t dry out too much for folding.

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Take a ‘half’ of pastry and make a cone – the centre of the long flat edge will become the bottom of the cone.   Along half the long edge, apply a tiny bit of water (to make it stick together) and bring the long edge corners together, pressing together firmly but careful that the pastry doesn’t break.  Spoon some of the mixture into the cone shape, don’t overfill the cones!  Moisten the open edges and press together, it should make a triangular shape.  Set on a baking-paper lined tray.

Deep fry when ready to cook!

Deep Fry!
Fry baby fry!

 

Tomato Chutney

1Kg of tomatoes finely diced
1 medium onion finely diced
1/3 C Vegetable oil
2Tbsp black mustard seeds
2Tbsp chilli powder
2Tbsp Garam masala
6Tbsp white sugar
Salt to taste

  1. In a saucepan bring heat the oil until smoking.
  2. Add mustard seeds and let them ‘pop’
  3. Add onion and cook until they are translucent.
  4. Add in the tomatoes, garam masala, chilli and sugar.
  5. Let these cook for 30-45 minutes
  6. Add salt to taste.

Serve as a side to the samosa.

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Please let us know if you try our recipe.  We would really love to hear how this recipe went in your kitchen.  Did you try anything different?