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Japanese Curry Pies & Cocktail pastries- homestyle fusion cooking

Japanese curry pies are the perfect fusion of east and west, which will appeal to both pie lovers, and die hard 150520161928Japanese homestyle food purists alike.

These can be designed as either pot pies designed to be served in their ramekin or mini casserole dish, traditional closed pie, or as mini finger food pastries suitable for cocktail functions and business meetings.

Each permutation of the recipe’s presentation sports uniquely different pastry to filling ratio, and the mix matches all styles.

Tender meat, and sweet, colourful vegetables spilling out of a golden and crisp pastry shell make this dish not just delicious, but also immensely aesthetically pleasing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large potatoes (1-2cm cubes)
  • 2 Large carrots (1-2cme cubes)
  • 2 Large Onions (coarsely diced)
  • 100 grams shelled peas
  • 250 grams rump steak (finely chopped, or chunky, your choice)
  • 1 “Golden Curry” Japanese Curry mix sauce block. (you can get it at Coles or Woolies)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 Sheets Puff Pastry
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Bran Oil
  • 600ml water (2 cups)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour if necessary.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius.

Method:

PART ONE: The Filling

Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan, and add onions, stir till translucent.

Introduce meat, and stir till mostly cooked, then tip on carrots and potatoes.

  • Meat can be cut fine, or nice and chunky- depends on what you want.

Stir till vegetables are steaming and sweating, with liquid beginning to visibly form in the bottom of the pot.

Coarsely break entire brick of golden curry mix into pieces, and stir into mix.

Add 600ml water.

Turn down heat to medium/low, and put on lid, but stir regularly.

Once curry blocks have fully dissolved, take lid off, and simmer gently and stir regularly to prevent burning till consistency of sauce is reasonably thick, and no longer watery- it must stick significantly to the wooden stirring spoon, but not be stiff.

Aim for a gravy like texture in the free sauce within the pot.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and ensure to simmer till the meat is very soft and tender- this normally takes at least 20-30 minutes from the point of the sauce becoming appropriately thick.

PART II – Making the pies or fingerfood pastries.

For “Pot Pies”

Obtain small ramekins or mini cassarole dishes, of approx 8cm diameter.160520161940

Take 30x30cm puff pastry sheets, and slice into four even squares with a butter knife.

Place pastry squares into ramekins, and fill with the curry mix from the pot. Fold corners over the top.

Dont worry about exposed filling at the top- often there wont be enough pastry.

You can either shut the pie entirely with another square, or circle of pastry, or just leave it.

For Finger pastries:

160520161941The Curry mix needs to be thicker and stiffer for this to work easily- its recommended to stir extra flour into the mix- any runnyness will cause you grief.

Take 30x30cm puff pastry sheets, and slice into four even squares with a butter knife.

Take these squares, and slice diagonally, to make triangles.

Place a heaped tablespoon of  Japanese curry mix in the middle.

Fold pastry over and seal with fingers. Use egg, water and milk to help with the seal.

Experiment a bit with the designs by using different pastry shapes and folding techniques, for example:

  • Rolls
    • Long, rectangular 1/3 or 1/4 size pastry sheets.
  • Square stars
    • Use 1/4 sheet size, square  pastry like for the pot pies for this
  • Cornish Pastie shape
    • Use 1/8th pastry sheet triangles
  • Triangles
    • 1/8th pastry sheet triangles
  • Mini triangles
    • 1/16th pastry sheet triangles
  • Folded over triangles
    • Use Large triangles of pastry (half a sheet), and a small amount of filling.
      • Fold over the excess “empty” tails of the triangles onto the main filled body for a decorative effect.

150520161927Baste, or glaze the top of the pastry with egg and milk once finished.

Bake on a well greased, or non stick, flat oven tray until golden brown- at 190 degrees Celsius

You’ll smell it when they are ready right across the house.

Remove from the trays immediately, and serve, or cool on racks and store/freeze (assuming they last that long)

These curry pies are delicious both hot, or cold, and don’t really need a dipping sauce  as they are flavoursome enough on their own. (Comment if you find one that works well though!)

A leafy green garden salad, with pickles and cashews, and a honey mustard dressing is an excellent complement.

Alternatively, while you are making the pies, oven baking roasted pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot and crispy, garlic spiced potatoes work well for a winter warmer.

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

 

99spaces.co – Creative Coworking & Popup shop rental site

During my travels, I met one of the owners of a brand new creative coworking and pop-up shop rental advertising site, 99spaces.co

The site is quite handy as there are no other real estate sites quite like it around that allow you to search for exactly what you want in a creative coworking space to do your freelance teleworking, and has quite a good level of inventory on it, including coworking offices for niche minority and specialised groups.

99spaces_coworking_popup_shop_site_women_only

There are even coworking spaces for women only!

and yes, its a DOT “CO”, NOT A DOT COM.

If you are a freelance writer, graphic designer, programmer or any other professional that just needs a nest to put your laptop, and a comfy chair, with (hopefully) nice people around you to bounce ideas off, this could be an invaluable resource.

The ability to search by daily, weekly, or even hourly hire of the coworking space makes it easy to find exactly what you are looking for and filter out the other candidates in the area with a click of a button.

Essentially, its like realestate.com.au, but for corwrkign and super short term commercial popup retail space.

lots of handy filter options to find exactly the coworking or popup shop facility you need, on the terms you require.

lots of handy filter options to find exactly the coworking or popup shop facility you need, on the terms you require.

Often these co-working spaces and popup shop sites have reduced rates, or free days where you can try before you commit, and this site is a great way to sniff some of those great deals out.

The site provides all the essential information you need to know, plus some photos of the spaces so you can make an assessment about whether it has the kind of positive and airy atmosphere that you are looking for.

Many of the coworking rentals look significantly better equipped and more pleasant than most A grade corporate office blocks. Ask your boss if you can move offsite? 😛 Cheeky idea.

 

Startups in Melbourne the silicon valley way

Recently, as part of melbourne knowledge week, i was lucky enough to book my ticket early and attend “Startups the Silicon Valley Way” lecture at Deakin Edge in Federation Square. Best of all, as well as being a really enjoyable and well delivered presentation, it was FREE!

My review of melbourne knoelwdge week so far is that it is outstanding. Very much looking forward to going to the other events I have lined up!

http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/melbourne-knowledge-week-building-startups-the-silicon-valley-way-tickets-22254764600

The presenters were

Key takeaways & things I Learned:

ENVIRONMENT NECESSARY FOR STRONG ENTRPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY:

  • Entrepreneurial Success is driven by a strong shared culture
  • The culture is generated by a tight and well networked community of like minded individuals
    • A philosophy of sharing among community members facilitates strong generation of ideas, and their nurturing and incubation.
    • Ex entrepreneurs are a strong source of mentorship and capital for the next generation of Startups
    • Highly experienced and entrenched industry veteran employees are good at execution, not development of ideas and concepts- they should be often sidelined to a supporting role
  • Corporates should foster this community minded culture
    • Open their doors to other startup entrepreneurs
    • Hold discussion and brainstorming sessions with outsiders
    • Provide assistance, mentoring and contacts to others-
      • Often this work pays dividends as the network expansion, and exposure to new ideas and thinking is invaluable.
      • Potentially invest in other small startups, embed employees and have them infused with the culture prevalent in “real” startups.

Problems observed that doom the NEXTGEN and transformation projects of LARGE CORPORATES:

  • Key players within Corporate Startup and transformation activities are termed “intrapreneurs”
  • Small, nimble startups are lacking in capital and resources (they are poor) , they are rich in freedom of movement
  • Corporate Transformation Programs and Startups are Hamstrung by the following:
  • Only Incremental innovation is allowed
  • New ideas must fit the current business model. Even good Non core ideas with potential  are not considered
  • Governance processes and bureaucracy slow down the speed of development.
  • Weak laws and regulations cannot be flouted or sidestepped freely to test new markets or concepts.
  • Large corporates are unwilling to take on reputational risk, which is often necessary in startups.
  • Rigid accounting systems and requirements for reporting distract intrapreneurs.
  • Activities are often overly secretive, and not engaged in the industry’s community, or that of the start up community which can generate contacts and creative solutions.
  • Staff are chosen based on significant experience and track record of successful execution.
  • Many are old, tired and stale from being in the industry too long. Causes tunnel vision, and inability to see the future.
  • Startup and transformation staff are often drawn from the internal pool, and the same industry.
    • Risk taking and out of the box ideas are less likely to appear as entrenched employees seek safety and protection of their current positions of respect and trust. – they actually have something to lose.
    • Entrenched staff are unlikely to agree to necessary new incentive structures that place their stable paycheck at risk due to significant personal and financial commitments.
  • Intrapreneurs incentives to succeed, or avoid failure at all costs are not nearly as high as entrepreneurs.
  • Corporates make the mistake of not giving employees equity or the opportunity to invest in the particular project
  • Intrapreneurs have  “no skin in the game”
    • They still get paid if the project flops- no real punishment for failure.
    • They receive a reward that is grossly out of proportion with the gain the corporate makes from success, and often negligible compared to their base salary despite millions made by their employer.
    • The result is that even the highest performing intrapreneurs are less likely to be as diligent or creative, take risks, nor work long hours, or go the extra mile for the benefit of the project in comparison to a entrepreneur who has their family home on the line, or wants to eat, or pay the rent next week.

Suggested Solutions for corporates engaging in transformation programs & NEXTGEN intrepreneurship

 Hire brand new staff for the new innovation team, particularly management.

  • Draw many staff outside of the industry
  • Do not look for experience or extensive track records- look for drive and passion, creativity, ideas.
  • Put those staff in a separate building
  • Engage with the startup and entrepreneurial community
    • Provide assistance to others in the community
    • Make the new team a hub of creativity and new thought in the area, that attracts others and allows networks to be built
    • New acquisition or partnership opportunities can be found via this mechanism
  • Highly experienced, entrenched incumbent staff from parent company should not be leaders in anything but execution of ideas
  • Startup ventures should be branded separately, and in separate entities from the main company to quarantine risks.
  • No mandate to “protect” core parent business processes – nothing is untouchable
  • No mandate to stick strictly to the core business of the parent as their executive management sees it.
    • If it looks like it could make money, build it!
  • Executive oversight should be minimal, and parent corporate management should be silent.
  • Core accounting systems from the main corporate should not be utilised
    • No emphasis on reporting or detail- accounting & up to date record keeping is  not a core part of an early stage startup.
    • KPI’s & rewards should not be based on accounting numbers  in early stage ventures.
  • Employee incentive structures should be designed to create real skin in the game & high performance.
    • Low base salaries, or base salaries at significant risk under failure conditions (i.e. at least 30% penalty)
    • Large, uncapped Bonuses directly linked to value generated
      • You unexpectedly made $2m for the company this year? You should get 200K at least out of that!
    • Employees should be given equity in the startup entities they are involved in
    • Employees should be given opportunity to invest in their startups significantly and increase their equity stakes if they desire.

There are some very interesting, and very cheap talks and training coming up via SPARK. (Less than $10 a day!, but an application process, and eligibility criteria, such as being an Alumni of Deakin Uni apply)

Melbourne knowledge week- If you are in this city, get into it!!

http://spark.deakin.edu.au/upcoming-events-2/

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