In last 3-4 months there have been many activities afoot at Vila Tempest. We are still based in Shanghai but have relocated to a smaller location. This has meant we’ve had to downsize Life in many ways. However, this has opened up some new possibilities to explore.
Allow me to introduce to you some new products and services we are beginning to explore and offer.
I-Reiki: Being a Reiki Master/Teacher since 2015, we thought it was about time to explore offering Reiki to others. You can find out more about this over at I-Reiki.
Intentional Oils: We have begun exploring cold pressed nut and seed oils infused with Reiki Energy and Positive Intentions. This is an exciting product as we believe there is currently no other supplier of such a product anywhere in the market. To find out more visit Intentional Oils.
Black Garlic: This is an exciting product par excellence! Our first commercially available batch is still a bit over a week away, but initial trials have been outstanding!
Black garlic is a transformative product, a respected and desired superfood, and we can’t wait to see how it tastes in some of our new pie recipes. Who knows? You might even see it infused into some of our cold pressed nut and seed oils! So, watch this space.
Aussie pie connoisseurs rejoice! The PieMan is back! and you can find him in residence in Shanghai.
This summer we will be exploring a whole new world of pie fillings, to bring to you the best pies on offer, to all you true pie connoisseurs, in Shanghai.
Villa Tempest Pies are bespoke, hand made on demand, made to order pies. They offer exceptional flavour, and are the pies you choose for us to make, not what we choose to make that day and then offer to send to you.
Unlike commercial companies, Villa Tempest is a one man show, offering a person to person, personalised service in order to bring you the best tasting pies, outside of Australia or any other pie-oriented culture, today.
For now, relax and rejoice, because The PieMan is back!
Any search of the Internet for “Dim Sims” – an Australian Classic; will pull up no end of recipe suggestions, and lamentations from Expat Australian’s wanting to recreate a little taste of home.
That being said, almost everything out there is wrong; with many an arm chair expert chiming in and correcting those poor Aussie Expats, telling them that what they’re searching for is, “Dim Sum,” not, “Dim Sim.” Dickheads!
[Addendum 04.2016 – at a guess based on what was listed above try: 500g meat, 75g prawns, 50g water chestnuts, 40g spring onion, 2 tspn light soy sauce.]
Depending on the State they come from, every Aussie Expat will have a different opinion on what constitutes a “great” Aussie Dim Sim. My search is for something, known to almost every Melbourne School Child: that is, how to make at home, Marathon-style Dim Sims – a classic Aussie staple in Supermarkets, Service Stations and every Victorian Chippie out there.
After exhaustive searching and testing here is my current recipe (based on this ingredients list.)
Classic Australian Marathon Dim Sims Recipe
130g diced Cabbage
97g Pre-made Wrappers (flour, water)
78g cooked Ground Beef (this should be approx. 23% of the total mix)
2 tspn Water (approx. 21.0g)
2 tspn Wheat flour(starch) (approx. 4.1g)
1/4 tspn free flowing Table Salt (approx. 1.0g)
1/2 tspn Onion Powder (approx. 0.7g)
1/8 tspn granulated white Table Sugar (approx. 0.4g)
* According to Australian Food Standards, “All the ingredients which make up a compound ingredient must be declared in the ingredient list, except when the compound ingredient is used in amounts of less than 5% of the final food.”
*Chinese 5 Spice is only a guess on my part as it is a compound ingredient, and at the bottom of the ingredients list is the listing, “Spices.” Note, this implies more than one spice. 5 Spice, or Mixed Spice are options, but then so too are proprietary blends. I don’t think this’ll ever be know, but this is my best guess.
Combine all Ingredients into a bowl and mix well
Fill a Food Processor with the mix and pulse until the mixture combines
Empty Food Processor contents into a clean bowl and continue to process the rest of the ingredients
Set mixture aside to rest and meld for 30-60 minutes before using
Take a fresh wrapper, place it on your open, non-dominant hand and put 1-2 tablespoons of mixture in the center
Fold the corners up over the mixtureso that they come together, then flute and fold the sides up s well
Carefully form the Dim Sim into a rectangular parcel and stand on its end until read to steam or fry, or freeze.
When ready, cook the Dim Sims in your prefered way. If deep frying ensure that the oil is maintained between 180°C and 190°C It is the heat that causes the blistering effect on the wrappers.
Dim Sim Wrappers This is also a contentious area, so here’s my take. There is no egg listed in the ingredients list on Marathon Dim Sims, nor is there any oil! Its just flour and water, with perhaps, a little salt. Given the above recipe the combined weight should be around 97g give or take. In the above links it is mentioned that the “Original Recipe” used a custom siu mai wrapper. If you’ve looked at this kind of wrapper you can clearly see that Dim Sim wrappers are by neccessity thicker – this is the, “Custom” aspect. Dim Sim Pastry Dough Recipe Ingredients:1 cup of plain white flour (dip and shake method) 1/4 cup water (a tspn or two more if the dough is a little dry) 1/8 – 1/4 tspn free flowing table salt (optional) Method:
Season the flour if using salt (optional) and mix well
Add water to flour and combine until it forms a dough, add a scant more water, if neccessary, to produce a soft, non-sticky dough
Cover in cling wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes
Either by hand, or with a pasta press, roll the dough into a 12cm wide strip, and approx. 1-2mm thick.
Cut the dough strip into 12cm squares and keep covered until ready to use
Dough can be frozen in stacks if you place a square of non-stick baking paper between each dough wrapper
So there you have it, my take on the Australian Classic Marathon Dim Sim.
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In recent days, I’ve been redoing my recipe collection, and I’ve come to the realisation, that I have three types of recipe books: a) printed books, b) hand written notes, notebooks and a kitchen diarie, and c) my kitchen scrapbooks – that is books for scrapbooking recipes picked up from supermarkets, snipped from magazines and news papers, and printed copies of online recipes.
Now, in my hand written nots are my notes for the Chiko Roll. Several pages of them, and it has left me contemplating, in my dreamtime, techniques of cooking the roll. Now, in a previous post i mentioned rolling the pastry onto cannoli tubes and blind baking them, well that didn’t work so I ground to a halt again, need to cogitate.
In the meantim, here are a few sites of interest of other peoples efforts to reproduce the roll. My main critiscism, if it could be even considered on, is that rolling the filling up like a Spring Roll and putting it in a Chiko Roll Bag, doesn’t make it a Chiko Roll – Tasty! Yes, pretty and parctical, but not the kind of near to result I’m trying to reproduce.
This mob need to reedit their page for consistence. They list rice as an ingredient and then demonstrate in the Nutritional Info that there’s no rice in it at all, some people… Cooks Info
The only recipe for an egg dough batter for a Chiko roll that I’ve been able to find. Except for folding the roll like a Spring Roll, this is one of the best dough efforts I’vew seen: Paul’s Cheeky Roll Recipe
And from a Museum display case, a description of the original process.:
“The Chiko Roll is an old-fashioned fast food which is still sold in shops today! It was first sold at the Wagga Show over 50 years ago. Wagga was the birthplace of the Chiko Roll. The inventor? A Bendigo boilermaker named Francis Gerald McEncroe. “He made his first rolls on a small hand-fed sausage machine. They were made of boned mutton (lamb), celery, cabbage, barley, rice, carrots and spices. This combination was then wrapped in a thick egg and flour dough, then fried. Both ends were hand-painted.” (source)
Addendum: To increase the thickness of a Spring Roll Wrapper, whilst “I” don’t advocate using them: one can brush a wrapper lightly with water then lightly dust with flour and stack the next wrapper on top. Separate the stacked sheets with wax paper and lightly weight the stack when finished and let them rest fo 20 min. or so. Alternatively, join the sheets together using a cornstarch paste.
In recent times I’ve had pretty good success with my “Piebase” [a shortcrust style pastry typically used in Australian-style handheld savoury pies) so much so that making it is no longer a chore – I enjoy the process and the results. Now, I’m experimenting with grinding my own flour. This means my piebase is morphing into a wholemeal pastry, but at present I’m still wrestling with grit that is noticeable to the tooth. If I can get this sorted, I’ll be very happy.
Meanwhile, I was thinking about my pietops and sausage roll pastry – a puff or rough puf pastry. Now, it was mentioned to me, by a great bvaker in Tasmania, that I could take ordinary piebase and use it as the détrompé for making rough puff pastry, but like usual I forgot that little detail in the mass of many things happening at the time.
However, today I was researching vegetarian dishes, in particular Indian and Turkish as some of the vegetarians in my German language class are vegetarian, Indian or Turkish. I came across a great website that had a listing for Puff Borek, a Turkish style vegetarian sausage roll, so to speak and reading through the recipe details reminded me of what I’d been earlier told, so… having some leftover piebase in the fridge, I pilled it out and followed the details for Puff Borek Pastry. Two turns later, some chilling and filling with an ad hoc vegetarian filling, and here’s how the pastry looked, out of the oven.
The layered structure is clearly visible. Looking good so far, but what about the crispness, lightness, flakiness? Cutting it open and I couldn’t be more happy.
Basically, what I did was pass the piebase through my dough sheeter until it was about 1 mm thick. I then took melted margarine and laid down a coating on a section of pastry, folded the pastry over itself and repeated the process. This produced three layers of dough with two layers of fat in between. I then butter half od the top of the dough and folded it over itself again. The edges were sealed and the pastry wrapped and placed into the fridge. Turn One Complete (6 layers of dough, 5 of fat). I repeated this process a second time (36 layers … ) and after chilling, rolled the pastry out to 3mm thick, filled it and then baked low in the oven at 250C for 25min.
“Very Happy” with the results. Not hard to do, takes a bit of time, but in the intervals I was able to make the filling, drink tea and do other things. No Problem. This is very easy pastry making at its best. Love it!
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One of the core philosophies guiding the selection of ingredients in the Villa Tempest Kitchen is the choice to use the best possible products available at the time. For example through the “Friends” network we have acquired Kampot Black Peppercorns and Kampot White Peppercorns so that we can grind fresh spice when needed.
We use Vietnamese Sea Salt because of it’s outstanding savoury flavour. When the need arises we use Tahitian Vanilla Beans as a flavouring and flavour-melding agent, we use Rau hữu cơ Thanh Xuân Organic Vegetables, and our meat, supplied by Hanoi Small Goods, is usually Halal certified, Australian Beef and Lamb.
In line with this philosophy to use the best quality ingredients we are proud to announce that we are now purposely selecting our chickens & eggs from Naturally Vietnam. These are wonderful products. They are Free Range birds and are produced according to Fair Trade Principles and are traceable back to the producer.
Here are a couple of flyers about these new products being used in our kitchen.
A long time ago, I used to live in the suburbs of Melbourne. Each time I or my family travelled to the countryside by train, we would stop in at The Pancake Parlour. I used to love the olde worlde feel of the place, it’s decoration, the giant chess peaces and boards, it was like being in an Alice in Wonderland theme park.
My all time favorite dish was their Pancake Tabriz. The menu described it as, “Ground beef cooked in red wine with herbs, bacon, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and other delights.”
To me, it was kinda exotic sounding, and was always flavourful, if somewhat salty from time to time. Since those times, I try to take my son there whenever we go back to Australia for a visit. I still order the Tabriz, it still has the same salt issues, but I love it. However, childhood memories, as dear as they are to me, still taunt me with an unattainable past.
I make my own crepes now, and occasionally take a tilt at the Tabriz Sauce, which is at it’s core, a Boeuf Bourguignon with tomatoes, made with ground beef. But there are also some specific herbs and aromatics that make this sauce a Tabriz and not a Bourguignon. These are: tarragon, dill, parsley, tumeric, and leeks.
This recipe is another “pinch and dash” recipe, one of those that you can play with endlessly.
250g Ground beef
100g Whole bacon or bacon rashers
1/4 cup Diced Onion
1/4 cup Diced Mushroom
1/2 cup Diced, seeded, skinned tomatoes (optional) or
1 tbsn Fine diced carrots (optional)
2 tspn Tarragon
2 tspn Parsley
1/4 tspn Tumeric (optional)
1 tspn Coarse ground back pepper
1 tspn Rough crushed sea salt
400ml Beef/Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Red wine
1-2 tbsn Olive oil &/or butter
Cut bacon into batons (or rashers into coarse dice) and sweat off in a dry nonstick pan until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, set aside and retain the fat.
Sweat the onions and mushrooms (and carrots) in the bacon fat. Tip off into a stewing pot, add stock and boquet garni bag made of leek, parsley & tarragon.
Brown the beef in the pan with some extra fat, add the pepper and tumeric (optional) and mix well. Deglaze the pan with wine, drop the heat to a simmer and reduce by half.
Add meat mixture to the stewing pot and bring to boil. Finely dice/shred the bacon and add to the stew pot. Simmer uncovered for 20 min. Or until the liquid becomes the consistency of a thin sauce.adjust the seasoning with salt and, if necessary, thicken slightly with cornflour.
Take two freshly cooked pancakes (crepes) add some of the Tabriz Sauce to the center, roll (or fold over) and top with more sauce. Garnish and serve, with a fresh garden salad if you like.
And there you have my, “Pancakes Tabriz.”
That’s all from the Bait Layer today,
Get that int’ ya!
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Well, I guess it’s well past time for an update of what’s actually been going on in the kitchen.
That’s right. No sadder or truer statement can possibly be made. Reasons. I could give you dozens. In essence: I’ve been sick; I’ve lost several batches of fresh produce and meat through power outages caused by faulty supply equipment; and, my pie press is still no closer to being completed, after eight frustrating weeks. Between that, getting frustrated, angry and depressed over the situation, the family traveling back to Germany for the Summer Break, and a very sick cat, I’ve let it all get away from me and grossly out of hand.
If you have placed an order with me, please accept my sincerest apology for not having fulfilled that order. I will make amends and get this sorted.
Current state of the kitchen? We have the house kitchen, and the pastry space is starting to come along: industrial deck oven with granite slab; marble top benches; a two burner station that still needs connection to gas; temperature controlled water oven; two large sinks but no plumbing as yet; some electrical work that still needs to be done; two freezers; one fridge; another cooling cabinet/refrigerator is desperately needed; Pie Press is partially complete; Dough Sheeter is partially complete; Kitchen Mixer needs to be replaced with a dedicated Mincer and Stand Mixer; need some pallets made up to hold the pi tins as they go into the oven because the sheet pans buckle and warp – providing uneven heating of pies being cooked.
Our ordering system, based on an the Handshake App for Apple IPad, worked nicely but the IPad has somehow been trashed. None of us have any idea how this might have occurred. All orders thankfully are being stored in Handshake’s Cloud so past business data has not been lost. And all of this to be done on a shoestring budget largely funded by the orders you place.
All is not lost, just ever so slowly moving forward, but forward we still move. I will be using this summer break to try and bring order to all of this chaos, with the firm target of having proper systems in place that WILL ALLOW for people to place an order, a week in advance. For pickup and delivery, I will continue to maintain a stall at the Weekend Market , as a kind of once a week shopfront.
In the meantime, if you’d like to place an order, or refresh/change an existing order please feel free to contact me and I will give you a realistic and personal assurance of production and delivery.
As many of our customers are currently away traveling to escape the Summer heat, and since pies are not so popular at this time of year, we have decided to shorten the menu to our current, “Most Popular” items. This will make it easier for us to supply customers who have chosen, like us, to enjoy the humidity, and also to ensure product quality and food security. With this heat, we feel it is necessary to reduce the risk of product loss, caused by intermittent power supply and under utilization of raw ingredients.
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