Last summer I met a man in a pub. We soon got chatting about food and travel and the conversation swiftly moved on to the pizza in New York. Now I’m no expert but I certainly did try my fair share of slices whilst I was in the Big Apple early last year, and I’ve been craving one of those super skinny cheese topped goodies ever since. As we continued to chat, Eugene revealed to me that he was getting into the pizza business himself and was currently on the lookout for premises in the Itaewon area to open up his own New York Style Pizzeria. I was as happy as a clam upon hearing the news, despite the fact that there’re about 8 pizza restaurants on every corner of the neigbourhood, most of them leave a lot to be desired. So I waited, and waited and waited, until finally, about 6 months later, I heard that Gino’s was to open its doors, and the second I came back from Bali I accepted Eugene’s kind invitation to come and give it a try on the house.
I love a good rocky road, which is why I often make it, in fact anything with marshmallows is always a winner for me. My friend just lent me her spring-form cheesecake tin so I was itching to give it a try. I knew I had to make a cheesecake which was truly splendid, but was unsure of what to put on top. After a good root around in fridge I found that I had lots of half eaten boxes of sweets, so I decided to use them all and make a rocky road cheesecake. With the Oreo base it’s super chocolatey and with the extra crunching yumminess on top it was a real knock out out. Which I think we can all agree is a very important feature in a cheesecake.
Food Blogging can be such a fickle mistress sometimes, you take a few weeks out to go on vacation and almost instantaneously you are way behind the restaurant times. Maddux Pizza has only been open a few short weeks but it’s already proving to be very popular on the pizza lovers grape vine. The small yet ample restaurant is located in the every growing myriad of Itaewon’s back alleyways just up from The wolfhound.
Pork pies are a fabulous yet traditional British lunch or picnic snack. Renowned for their great taste and non-pretentious nature, they are a meal fit for a king or a pauper. I made these using a hot water crust pastry which is actually much simpler than it sounds, and really cuts down on the amount of butter you need, though it does require some lard in its stead. Lard is terribly easy to make, it’s just rendered pork fat. If you have a friendly local butcher he will probably give you some for free. Or you can save your rendered fat from whenever you cook bacon or pulled pork like I do. The filling is traditionally made with bacon, pork shoulder, and pork belly, but I went for a much simpler pork mince filling. The real ones also have a layer of gelatin around the inside of the pastry, but I again skipped this step, mostly because you have to wait about 12 hours for it to set and patience has never been my virtue. These beauties are just as good hot or cold and especially nice with a bit of brown sauce or piccalilli if you have it.
I have been craving a chicken pie for quite some time now. This craving was increased ten fold when a friend sought out my own advice on baking a chicken pie. We had a good long debate about filling and pastry crusts. He went for a more difficult double pastry pie, I went for the more simple one layer. Now I love pastry as much as the next girl, probably more, but for one I don’t have a real pie tin, not a deep one anyway and Mary Berry has me petrified of producing baked goods with soggy bottoms. So I figured I could make a nice deep pie in my lasagne dish covered with a pastry top. It came out perfectly and I’m glad I went with this decision. It was quick and easy and who can be bothered with a lot of fuss on a Monday night? The Fat Boyfriend also made the shortcrust pastry making it even easier. Since he’s begun baking I love him even more than I used to. I would advise all girls get their boyfriends the Paul Hollywood bread book as a present as it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
125g chilled unsalted butter
2 medium egg yolks
About 50ml cold water
2-3 chicken breasts (I used 3 as I had a few that needed using up)
3 cloves of garlic
4 potatoes (small-medium)
1 green pepper
1 small bunch of spinach
1 small bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon of rosemary
1 tablespoon of sage
3 + 1 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 litre of of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten (for washing)
1. To make the pastry, first put the flour and salt in a bowl and mix together. Add the butter. You can either cube the butter or grate it with a cheese grater. I find the second method makes the next step easier. Rub the ingredients together with your fingers until you get a texture that resembles breadcrumbs, making sure that all of the butter has been evenly incorporated. Next add the egg yolks and mix using your hands. Finally slowly add the water and keep mixing until everything has come together and the sides of the bowl are clean. You may not need all of the water. Form the pastry into a ball and then gently flatten it into a disk shape with your fingers. Take care to handle it as little as you possibly can at this stage. Wrap it in cling-film and then leave it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.
2. In a saucpan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the chicken breasts and poach for about 20 minutes. Peel the potatoes and chop the carrots then after 10 minutes add the potatoes and carrots to the stock. When everything if done remove the chicken carrots and potatoes from the stock and set aside. When the chicken has cool shred into pieces. then chop the potatoes.
3. In a separate frying pan, heat a little oil and chop the onions and garlic and fry for a few minutes until translucent. Meanwhile chop the green pepper, mushrooms, and spinach then add to the pan along with a knob of butter. Cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are cooked and the spinach has wilted then turn off the heat.
4. To make your sauce melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan then stir in the flour to make a roux and cook for a minute or so then add back in the chicken stock that you saved from earlier. Keep stirring and let the sauce come together, be sure not to let it catch on the bottom. After a few minutes the sauce will have thickened, add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the coked vegetables, chicken, and potatoes back into the sauce and make sure it has combined. Pour the filling into your pie dish and allow to cool while you roll out the pastry.
6.Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Then on a lightly floured surface roll your pastry until it’s 2-3mm thick and bigger than the size of your dish. Carefully take your pastry and lay it across your dish and seal the edges of the pastry on to your dish by pressing them together. Cut a cross in the middle to let any stream escape then use any leftover pastry to cut some shapes and make a pretty pattern. Brush the whole thing with your egg wash and cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until your pastry is golden brown and cooked through all the way. Serve, enjoy and give yourself a pat on the back, cause you just made a pie!
It may have taken me 29 years but I have finally made the best dessert ever. I have found true heaven in cheesecake form. I know I claimed the same when I made my lemon cheesecake but this one is even better. My lovely boyfriend brought me a rather large stock of Malteasers back from Hong Kong, when he went on a boys’ rugby trip last month. I fancied making a dessert with them and was rather tempted by the Lorraine Pascale cake, but making a cake is such a lot of hard work in this weather. So I had a quick search on pinterest for Malteasers and came across a picture of a Malteaser and Toblerone cheesecake. Sadly I am not the genius who came up with this winning combination. However when I clicked on the link there was no recipe to be found. So I created this one myself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, I devoured the last one in mere hours and I’m pretty sure that the same thing will happen the next time I make it. It may seem a little cruel to include Malteasers in a Korean food blog but Whoppers are available here which are very similar, if not get your friends and family to get you some or order them online, they are amazing.
3 tubes of oreos
2 bags of malteasers
3 small Toblerones (100g)
300g of cream cheese
200ml of whipping cream
2 tabelspoons of peanut butter
1/2 a stick of butter (60g)
1 tabelspoon of vanilla extract
100g of icing sugar (sugar powder)
Crush the Oreo’s into fine crumbs. I used a blender as it’s mush quicker as they are all in separate packets. Melt the butter in a saucepan then mix in the Oreo crumbs. When combined pack into your tin. Soften your cream cheese in a bowl then mix in the peanut butter. Grate the Toblerones into this mixture, and crush 1 bag of the Malteasers and mix it in too. In a separate bowl whip the cream until its thick. Add one tablespoon of vanilla extract and the sugar powder and stir until it has dissolved into the cream. Add the cream cheese peanut chocolate mixture to the bowl of cream, and make sure everything is mixed together. When ready, spoon the mixture on top of the Oreo base. Flatten the top with the back of a spoon. Take your second bag of Malteasers and push them into the top of the cheesecake so only half of each one is showing. Put in the fridge and leave to set for at least 4 hours.Voilà the devilishly decadent cheesecake of your dreams.
A lovely day off last week afforded me to do some of my favourite things, shopping, eating, and drinking in the sun. Whilst indulging in some shopping in Sinsa, we got rather peckish. We spotted this cute little restaurant which looked ideal for a leisurely lunch.
The menu is Italian, consisting of salads, pastas, pizzas, risotto’s and several main dishes. The decor is cute and chic. With the doors opening right out on the street, a conservatory and a small patio outside it’s the perfect lunch spot for a sunny afternoon. There are also several imported bottled beers on the menu, but at 10,000 a pop it’s not the place to get drunk. They did have a pitcher of sangria which I would have liked to have tried, if my financial situation had been better.
After a browse of the menu, we decided upon a Ceasar salad (16,000), as a nod to healthy living. Although there was lettuce, parmesan shavings and chicken, they were missing a few of the key ingredients. There were no croutons or bacon. However, that didn’t really bother me so much, but if you were hankering after a traditional Ceasar salad you might be disappointed. The chicken was warm and marinated well and full of flavour. I did enjoy this salad but it was a little small for two to share.
Since we had been so healthy by ordering a salad, I thought we deserved a treat. So we got a pizza as a reward. They have quite the variety but we settled upon the margarita (15,000). The base was thin and crispy, just the way I like it. It had lots of cheese and pieces of fresh tomato. It certainly hit the spot. I only wish there had been more fresh basil and a little less olive oil on top.
Overall I think its a great spot for lunch if you are in the area. I wouldn’t travel miles to come, but the food is good and a reasonable price given the area. Sognare is located at 546-8, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa station (line 3). Come out of exit 8 and walk straight until you get to Tous Le Jours and make a left. Keep walking straight along that road until you reach the Diesel store, Sognare is opposite on the right. You can call them on 02-514-3398 for more information.
After the success of my Key Lime Pie, I thought I would whip up a chocolate one. I also had half a pint of cream that desperately needed to be used, so a chocolate pie seemed the perfect solution. It is very rich, so I would recommend sharing it with your very lucky friends and family. It is also incredibly quick and easy to make and no oven is needed.
200g of digestive biscuits (Graham crackers)
120g of butter
250g of coveture milk chcolate
200ml of cream
Crush the digestive biscuits until they resemble fine bread crumbs. You can do this with a blender or by bashing the hell out of them with a rolling-pin. Life has been a little bit stressful for me lately so I have been using the rolling-pin method a lot. If you wrap them in a tea towel and keep them in the packet, you can prevent making a mess.
Melt 100g of the butter in a sauce pan, then add the biscuit crumbs and mix together Pack into your pie tin and make sure you bring the mixture up around the sides.
Put the chocolate, cream and remaining 20g of butter in a glass or metal bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until all of the chocolate has dissolved and you’re left with a lovely ganache. Pour the chocolate ganache into your pie crust then pop into the fridge for several hours to set. Once set remove from the pan and serve. If you’re feeling indulgent you can serve with extra whipped cream.
Last night we finally got around to going to Trevia. It is just opposite our bus stop but until now we had not ventured inside. Whatever night of the week we pass it is always busy and now I finally understand why.
The cafe is decorated in an Italian style with pictures and Italian memorabilia all over the walls. They have big wooden tables and the ever so popular mismatched chairs. Is there a restaurant in Seoul that has a matching set?
As you enter the restaurant you will be given a menu and then you go and find your own seat. After ample perusing time you can go to to the counter to make your selection and pick up your water, cutlery and complimentary pickled vegetables. You will be given a buzzer that will ring when your pizza is ready. It’s a very good system and probably helps account for their lower prices.
We decided to get 4 slices instead of a whole pizza and this was almost too much for two people. You could easily share 3 slices between too as each slice is cut into another 4 pieces.
I opted for the mixed mushroom (5,500). I love mushrooms and this pizza was really good. It was topped with a good medley of mushrooms and cheese. The dough was thin, crispy, and chewy all at the same time, exactly how I like it!
Niall ordered a slice of the Quattro Formaggi (5,500) four cheese. Presented in a very cute way each piece, came topped with a slice of cheese. Gouda, Gorganzola, Brie and Mozzarella were the choices. He shoveled it down pretty quickly so you’re onto a winner with that one. Where else can you get that variety of cheese for that price?
We also ordered the Filone Potato (6,300) A rosemary potato pizza which was was probably my favorite. You could taste the rosemary the second you bit into it, and the potatoes were perfectly cooked.
Our last slice was the Fresh mozzarella (6,300). This was great too. Topped with lettuce leaves drizzled in olive oil, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. It tasted so fresh and clean. The perfect slice for salad lovers.
In a fit of greed I also ordered a lasagne (13,000). Which was actually rather good, tasting just like it should. It had a good robust flavour and lots of lovely pasta. The way lasagne should be made. I love my own recipe but this one could satisfy any cravings you have. Much better than what you usually get served up in Korean style Italian restaurants. They also have a variety of salads, paninis and breads available.
The drinks are very cheap, a big draft beer cost a mere 3,000 and a glass of wine at 5,000. No wonder they are so busy. Its the perfect venue for a first date or casual meet between friends. Nice enough ambiance without being too formal. They even have their own Salami, Olives, Oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese for sale!
Trevia is located at 557 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. The nearest bus stop is 03-152 it’s just by the restaurant. By Subway head to Noksapyeong station (line 6) and come out exit 2. Walk down the road till you get to the underpass and cross the road. Take the right hand exit and walk straight ahead. You can call them on 02-794-6003.
Finding foreign product in Korea can be very tricky. However if you know where to go there’s not much you can’t find these days. I have lived in Korea for over 4 years now and the change since when I first arrived has been immense. The foreign food mart in Itaewon has tripled in size and there are new stores selling to the foreign masses opening all the time. There has also been a rise in businesses making food to be shipped and sold all over Korea; Gringos, Aliens Day Out, Third Coast kitchen, Fog City Cafe, The Biltong Guy Shop, and Gavins Sausages just to name just a few. I myself have even decided to start catering to the foreign food market by making and selling a few of my favourite things in The Pinoy Mart. I’m not suggesting that Korea become completely westernised, but for those of us living a in Korea a taste of home just makes us feel good. I will certainly be very grateful for the Korean supermarkets when I decide to return home and will be able to buy all of my favourite Korean foods.
For a reasonably small store the Pinoy Mart is very well stocked. They have a huge variety of foods and ingredients. I have tried to take as many pictures as possible to show what they have.
For the bakers among you they have various baking supplies such as powder sugar, chocolate chips, pie crusts, sprinkles, flavoured extracts, food dyes and plenty of Betty Crocker boxed mixes and ready-made icing.
They also have a refrigerator chocked full with dairy products including, cream cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, butter, cream, half and half, spray cream and a large variety of cheeses. My dips and hummus can also be found there.
There are snacks and candy galore, including Peanut-butter Cups, Twizzlers, Tim Tams, Cheetos, Sour cream ruffles and plenty more.
The drinks selection hosts a wide variety of beers and soft drinks. They also have some pre-made mixers such as Margarita mix and Bloody Mary mix, which I can personally vouch for. They have cans of Clamato, the Canadian’s favourite beverage. They also have a freezer filled with goodies, along with canned and dried food and a large selection of herbs and spices, as well as other goods.
If there is anything you want and they don’t have they will try their best to get it for you. So pay them a visit and stock up on my goodies if you are in the area.
The Pinoy Mart is located in Hae Bang Chon. Take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6) . Walk straight out of exit 2 for about 200 meters and take the first left and walk straight along the road with all the kimchi pots. Keep walking along that road for about 200 meters. You will pass by Noa, HBC Galbi Jib, and Burgermine. Its on the right just next to a chicken restaurant and opposite Fix. You can call them on 010-2664-2221.