Friday 24 April 2020

Ming Ming's Kitchen - Review

I've been waiting to do a full review of Ming Ming's, since their soft opening in early February.  They started with a limited menu for a few weeks, in order to find their feet.  Then along came 'Rona, the dreaded virus which came along uninvited, and insists on hanging at the party.  They are currently, like many cafés and restaurants, doing takeaway only, till we can all start going out again.  I am really looking forward to that day!  

So I decided to do a review now, 'cos who knows when 'Rona will be sent packing?  (Don't you love all the viral virus jokes and songs and memes?  I reckon the Bohemian Rhapsody one is fantastic.)  And we really need to support local businesses, to make sure they're still around when life returns to normal.  Mr P. and I are doing our best, by getting takeaway dinners and coffees from various establishments.  Gotta spread the joy, and the dinero:-)

hi there Mr. Waiter!

Mr P. and I headed there for dinner a few days after the soft opening.  We chose to sit inside the long and narrow space.  We joked to the charming and friendly waitress that she must keep very fit running in and out of the restaurant to the outdoor tables.  She handed us paper menus, advising us that they were working with the soft menu for a few weeks to see what people liked, and what worked for them.  

veg. spring rolls $10

Who doesn't love a spring roll?  These were quite large, so it was fairly generous, even though there were only two.  I found the pastry a wee bit doughy and the filling a bit bland, but they were still fresh and tasty, and a generous size.  We would have them again.  (And we did!)

stir-fried veg with rice $17

Mr P. went for the stir-fried veggies, which were sadly ... like rocks!  I don't mind firm veg, but these were very hard, and basically not cooked.  Not a winner, I'm afraid.  He liked the sauce that came with the dish though, and would have liked a bit more of it.  Mr P. does love his sauce, just like those celebrity chefs you see on the telly.  You know who I mean...

grilled chicken thigh fillet with rice $18

This grilled chicken thigh fillet was pleasant enough, if not terribly exciting.  The chicken was tender, and the rice was a nicely fluffy accompaniment.  But the veggies were a bit too crunchy for me, and I felt it needed more flavour.  I could easily eat this another time, but I'd like to try other dishes before I ate this one again.  

the Specials board  (on the faux brick wallpaper)

About a month later, Mr P. and I decided to hit Ming Ming's again (just before the lockdown).  We sat outside this time, as it was still warm of an evening.  In fact, it's still warm at night, another month on, even though we are halfway through autumn:-)  We both went for the specials this time.  Even though neither of us usually eats pork, hubby decided he loved pancakes enough to handle the pork aspect.

steamed pancakes $18

They were crispy, they were herby and porky; and the mushrooms added good flavour.  (Don't ask me what the translucent squid-like objects are though).  Overall, Mr P. gives the pancakes the thumbs up.  Oh yes, he tells me they were rice paper sheets, not squid:-)  And he really liked this dish, he tells me.  Though once again, he wishes there had been another sauce to go with this, as well as the dipping sauce.  I have to say I found this dish a bit confusing.  Why were there rice paper sheets on the bottom?  Why were the steamed pancakes apparently fried?  A conundrum, my friends, a veritable conundrum.  But then again, I am no expert when it comes to Vietnamese food, so perhaps this is a famous dish...

wasabi prawns Special $29

I loved these tempura prawns, with pickles and mayo.  The prawns were crunchy-coated, tender inside, delicious mouthfuls.  I loved it, and have had this dish a couple of times since.  I believe this will be on their full menu when the time is right - post-virus.  Yay!  I do love me a Japanese repast (even tho' this is a Vietnamese restaurant), so I was very happy to have this flavoursome dish.

lemon lime & bitters $6

sparkling wine $11

For Mr P.'s birthday last week, we had Ming Ming's lunch delivered.  I had the shredded chicken salad ($16) - oops, sorry no photo.  It was zingy; it was fresh, with lots of herbs, cabbage, lime and chilli.  A healthy and pleasant lunch.  Hubby had veggie rice paper rolls ($8), and spring rolls ($10).  Friend K had wagyu beef salad ($19), while friend J had the chicken salad too.  It's okay to have two visitors during the lockdown, so no worries there, folks.  Plus they are hubby's employees, and it was a work day.

a looooong way to the kitchen

Overall impression:  fabulous and friendly service.  The food doesn't always hit the mark, for the Pickings' fussy and fusty palates.  But on the whole, the food is tasty and enjoyable. Perhaps they're trying not to offend Aussie taste buds, but we would love a wee bit more flavour, and a bit more ... adventure.  

Postscript:  Mr P. and I decided to have takeaways tonight.  We enjoyed wasabi prawns (again!), spring rolls and lemongrass beef rice paper rolls, which hubby loved.  

another friendly and charming waiter

spring rolls $10

lemongrass beef rice paper rolls $10

Fresh and herby.  Mr P. really liked these.  Full of herbs, and bean sprouts, and cucumber.  Another enjoyable repast tonight.  

looking a wee bit lonely out the front during the virus crisis 

Food: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Value: 8/10

1 MacGregor St., Wilston 4051
Ph 07 3356 1112

Ming Ming's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Fruity Freezer Tart - Quarantine Baking

At the start of the virus crisis, my mojo went on holidays - without me:-)  I have struggled to do much except cook and bake and clean - and eat!  I was supposed to be writing short stories for competitions - nah, didn't happen.  Blog posts? - nope, my brain was/is a no-go zone.  But the car is soooo clean, and Mr P.'s hair is veeerrry short.  It's just so soothing to clip away all that fuzz from his (somewhat balding) head.

So, anyways, my fridge and freezer are looking good, and lots of funny little bags of whatever have been used.  I found some frozen pastry in the downstairs freezer (I never look there!); I found several different kinds of frozen fruit, and I had some cream about to expire.  Frozen fruit tart it was then.  You can make your own pastry if you wish, (if you can find flour) and use fresh fruit, but blah blah blah.  Come on, this is quarantine cooking, my friends.  Use whatever you have.  Oh, that's right, I had three floury apples about to head South, so I puréed them up too.

decorated and ready to eat


1 sheet of frozen shortcrust pastry

Apple purée:

3 medium-sized apples

60 mL (1/4 cup) water

a big knob of butter - say, 1 tbs 

2-3 tbs caster sugar

Fruit compote:

250-300g. frozen fruit (any sort, your choice) - I had cherries and berries (mixed) and cranberries - placed on a baking tray to thaw

1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

2 tbs caster sugar

2 tsp cornflour

1½ tbs water

Creamy topping:

1 tub (250g.) Philly Caramilk cream cheese, or plain Philly cheese

180 mL (3/4 cup) thickened cream

1 tbs caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract or paste (optional)

rose powder and/or dried rose petals to decorate (optional)


First, lightly butter your pie dish, place the frozen sheet of pastry on top, then gently push it into place when it starts to thaw

Then push it firmly into the tin, trim the edges, cover with a piece of baking paper and some pie weights, and bake at 185C for 15 minutes

Take off the weights (and baking paper), and back it goes into the oven to crisp up for another 5 or so minutes, till golden

Put aside to get completely cool

Now the apples:

Meanwhile, roughly peel, core and slice the apples, tip into a medium saucepan over a low heat, and add the water

Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes till tender

Add the butter and sugar, and simmer for a few more minutes

Put aside to cool, then mash roughly - it's quarantine cooking, we don't care about any lumps, do we? :-)

Now for the fruit compote:

Tip the thawed fruit into a medium saucepan with the vanilla and sugar

Watch it carefully, and stir regularly while it simmers away for 5-8 minutes

Mix the cornflour and water together in a teacup to make a slurry; pour into the fruit, stir well and cook it out for a couple of minutes - you will end up with a beautiful, darkly-pink, slightly-thickened compote

Cool it, of course  - that's the compote, not you - unless you need to...

And now for the creamy topping:

Spoon the caramilk (or plain) Philly cheese into a mixing bowl, grab your electric beaters (or hand beater) and beat for 3-4 minutes

Add the cream, sugar and vanilla, and beat for several more minutes - you want this to be fluffy and airy

Now the fun part, putting it all together:

Spoon the apple purée over the base of the tart, then on goes the fruity compote

Then the creamy, cheesy topping gets spread evenly over the compote

Cast on the bling, if using 

Let it settle for a couple of hours in the fridge, and eat!


I didn't weigh the fruit - use more or less, as you please.  Use whatever frozen fruit you have, but I think the cranberries were almost essential to the sweet/sour flavours of this tart

I used some wild hibiscus sugar for this dish; it adds the most beautiful colour and flavour

Thanks to those kind readers who wished me well recently.  I have been really down these past few weeks, and I hope I'm now starting to come out of the dumps!  All the best to you, too!

apple purée covering the baked tart crust - (I know I know, it looks murky, but there was some skin involved)

fruit compote on top of the apple purée

in goes the sugar (I used wild hibiscus sugar for added flavour)

Philly topping whipped till light and airy

sorry - blurry:)  Too much social isolation drinking - tee hee!

rosy bling thrown over the top - powder AND petals

fruity and creamy on crisp pastry 

here it is, in case you don't know what I'm talking about

fruity artwork © Sherry's Pickings

cranberries © Sherry's Pickings

Wednesday 1 April 2020

in My Kitchen - April 2020

Remember that Rudyard Kipling poem that ends with: "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!"?  My dad liked the classics - Charles Dickens, Shakespeare et al - and this quote, which he often spouted to us kids.  Dunno why; I guess he just liked it.  Not sure why my brain threw this quote up at me, in the middle of the night!  Maybe because I can see that other bloggers are continuing on, but I'm finding it tough to see the value at the moment.  

I don't want to let regular IMKers down, so I have put up a post for this month.  I think we can let our hair down a bit this month, and just go for it.  Tell us what you're making, growing, baking, doing - not just in your kitchen, but anywhere in your house, in these difficult times.  Not sure when I'll post again; it could even be next week depending on how I feel, but let's see how it goes from here.  All the best, everyone!  And see you on the other side...

In My Kitchen (and elsewhere in the house):

me at my sartorial best:-)

Well, here I am in the bathroom, trying to cut my own hair!  This is halfway through...Let me tell you, it ain't easy holding up the scissors, and my hair, and the phone - tee hee :-) 

Mr P. having a neighbourly drink in our driveway

Last night (Sunday) we joined in on a local community event - drinks in the driveway.  We waved to our neighbours across the road, and held up our glasses to each other.  Very convivial.  I think even this is a no-go from now on, as you can only have outside gatherings of two!

chocolate self-saucing pudding

Is everyone else madly cooking and baking, and eating lots of cake and chocolate?  Yep, me too.  This is made with black cocoa powder, so definitely not burnt, as my young friend Johnny B. gently chided me.

re-reading this one after 20 years!

Trying to re-read this fishy one, after twenty years.  It was good then, and it's good now, but my brain is on a stop-work shift, so I'm finding any reading a bit difficult:-(

success in the elusive loo paper hunt

Mr P. went out hunter/gathering and found that elusive creature known as toilet paper.  What a caveman he would have made!

another book of food essays

I love reading about food, as much as making it.  Here we have some food essays about eating solo.  Not that I am; I mean you can't get rid of Mr P. that easily.   And yes, another (small) wooden spoon; is it olive wood, or is it mango wood?  Mango, I'm thinking.

Okay, that's it for now.  Join in, all my lovelies.  Can't wait to see what you've been up to during the virus crisis.  You know what to do - add your link, OR email me with the details so I can add it for you.

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In My Kitchen:

Not Quite Nigella