Tuesday 29th Jul '08

For lunch today I had some leftover curry from Saturday. Curries always taste better on subsequent days after you've cooked it, I reckon.

After work, I drove down Ranford Road looking for a pet store or aquarium that Meng had told me about. After about fifteen minutes of driving in steadily growing traffic, I decided to give up and head home. Driving down Bannister Road, Canningvale, I spotted an aquarium store called Aquotix and did a U-turn to go check it out. I'm thrilled that I did because it's a great store. They've got everything there, the staff are really friendly and were of great assistance, and their live stock room was so bright and CLEAN! It's the cleanest aquarium centre I've been to and they are having a huge sale on most of their live fish stock. I've told Ben about it and we're heading there on Saturday to check it out and get me some fish! I ended up buying a sponge filter for my fry tank and an ammonium test kit.

At home, I set up the sponge filter and tested my main tank for ammonium levels. It's reading at 0.25-0.50ppm which is ok, but it really should be lower than that. I'll have to do another water change on Friday and then give the filter a really really good clean.

Happy with my new sponge filter in action, I set about making dinner. Craving a big juicy steak, I had bought a 'thick cut' sirloin steak from Coles. It's about one and half inches thick!

I cooked the steak in the pan with a dash of olive oil, sliced garlic and chilli flakes. Once the steak was cooked, I set it aside on my plate to let it rest while I prepared the vegetables.

I threw in a bunch of broccolini into the pan with the juices and added a bit of butter. I cooked the broccolini for only a few minutes until they were tender, not soggy and overcooked. I dished them out onto the plate with the steak and returned the pan to the stove to make the sauce. I poured the sauce over the broccolini and steak.

Looks like a gourmet steak meal from a restaurant, huh?

Creamy Mushroom & Pancetta Sauce
sliced garlic
sliced mushrooms
sliced pancetta
chopped almonds

You can see in the photo that the steak was medium. Being such a thick steak, I was expecting it to be a bit on the rare/medium-rare side, which is how a steak like this should be eaten. If this had been the case, my trick would be to cover the meat with some sauce or have each mouthful with something else (ie vegetables) so I don't feel like I'm chewing on just a mouthful of raw bloody meat.

I think this is one of the best steaks I have ever cooked.

Monday 28th Jul '08

After work today I did a water change for my fish tanks. I haven't had any fish die in the last few days but I'm still worried about the water quality. I'm going to have to go out and buy an ammonium test kit and do a few more water changes methinks. At least the colour of the water has turned clear again. I think the fry tank is also going to need a filter.

Mum marinated some chicken thighs and I put them into the oven with some chopped vegetables. I don't know what she used for the marinade and if I ask, she won't tell me. I'm thinking five spice, ground coriander, cumin etc. Mum had also marinated a pork chop in satay flavours and since no one else wanted it, I cooked it for myself.

I was really hungry tonight and decided to double up on the meat.

Satay Pork Chop
Roast Chicken Thigh
potato, carrot and zucchini
Teresa's sweet chilli sauce

Afterwards, I had the marinated baby octopus I bought from the deli at Charlie's.

Simba hoping he'll get a nibble

Sunday 27th Jul '08

This morning I got out of bed with difficulty. I got ready in ten minutes and Kong came to pick me up. We were going out to Northbridge for dim sum as it was Ling's birthday yesterday. We went to Lok Fok on Roe Street.

chicken & century egg rice porridge
shanghai dumplings
chicken feet
beancurd rolls
prawn dumplings
prawn stuffed mushrooms
seaweed prawn rolls
deepfried squid tentacles
deepfried soft shell crab
prawn rice flour rolls
sticky glutinous rice
bbq pork buns

I think that's everything we ate...not including all the multiple portions. That's why I love going to dim sum with more people. It means you can order more and have more different dishes. It usually works out cheaper too.

Kong, Shallen and Yen Chen getting stuck into it

After getting dropped off back home, I headed out back to Northbridge to catch up with another group of friends who were having dim sum at Jade Garden Restaurant, which is their favourite place. I was so tempted to have more to eat even though I had only just walked out of the other restaurant just under an hour ago feeling like I couldn't eat another bite.

From there I went to Carousel to catch up with some work friends to watch MAMMA MIA! - I absolutely love Abba!! I saw the musical in New York and the movie was just as awesome. I was bopping along and mouthing the words to all the songs during the movie. I wish they would have a special screening where everyone gets up to dance and sing along. That would be so much fun!!

After the movie, I went to Ben and Ivy's place where we finally decided to go out for dinner instead of cooking. We went to the Singapore China Town Restaurant in Northbridge. I didn't order the dishes so I'll try my best with listing what we had.

crispy pork ribs
fried fish
steamed egg with century egg
combination claypot

I really enjoyed the fish and claypot dishes. We didn't realise there was alot of spinach in the claypot until we got to the bottom of it. We polished off everything except the egg dish. Partly because it was the last dish to come out and partly because it was just so eggy! I guess the best way to describe it is it's like an omelette but steamed. It has the texture and consistency of a mousse. Egg mousse! I found it a bit too salty with all the soy sauce and just too much egg. I don't think you can really eat too much of it at the one sitting.

Back at home, my dad had brought home some chilli King crab from dinner at our cousin's house. There was too much chilli in it for Jocelyn, but Christina and I managed to finish the rest off. It was delicious!! I rarely eat crab because it's just so messy and I think it's alot of work to get out what little meat they have. However, there is alot of meat in a King crab and these must have been a pretty good size. My dad says they were $35 per pound - one pound is equivalent to approximately 0.45 kilograms - which is the price I often see them advertised for. If you're going to eat crab, eat a big crab because it just feels more rewarding when you get those huge chunks of meat!

What a day for food! I'm exhausted just from eating!

Saturday 26th Jul '08

Back at home (still in my pyjamas!) I needed something for the slight hangover I had. Let's see...two glasses of wine at Lisa's place, then another four or five at the quiz night. Cheap bad 'house' red wine. *shudder*

Brunch: rice porridge with the rosemary and basil ham from Charlies, and some stirfried beans with garlic, bacon and soy sauce

Afternoon Snack: fish fingers and croquettes

The croquettes were my Mum's idea. She saw that they were on special and decided she'd get some to try. We had the potato and bacon ones and vegetable ones. They weren't bad but I wouldn't go out and buy them again.

I was hoping to get a few friends over for dinner but everyone had their own plans or couldn't be persuaded to leave the comfort of their homes to travel in the wet weather to my place. I watched 'Princess Diaries 2' on TV. It's such a corny corny corny movie! It was only made bearable by the fact that Julie Andrews and the older male actor who were in it. Julie Andrews adds that touch of class.

Dinner: Thai Green Chicken Curry
diced chicken thigh
green curry paste (from a can)
coconut milk
red capsicum

Ah - I almost forgot about the pig trotters I bought the other day. I was going to make braised pig trotter from a recipe in a recipe book on Singaporean hawker dishes, but my Mum decided she would cook them for me. Being secretive about her recipes, I can assume that she put in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce and cloves. She knows that I love the beancurd so she put lots of that in. Yum! It was so good and perfect for this wet weather, that I ate it all in one sitting.

Friday 25th Jul '08

Tonight is the long awaited social club quiz night. The plan was I go to Lisa and Tom's place for dinner - Tom was cooking! We were then going to be dropped off at the venue and I was going to stay the night afterwards, since we'd be drinking.

I made a platter which we started nibbling on when I got to Lisa's. Tom made us Chilli Chicken for dinner. Yum! I'm going to have try it myself soon when I can get my hands on a recipe.

I ended up wearing my pyjamas to the quiz night. Yes, it all started with us talking about everyone on our team wearing pyjamas as there would be a prize for the most coordinated team. Since everyone else works at our other laboratory in Osborne Park, I didn't have a chance to speak to everyone to confirm so I went to Lisa's in my pyjamas since I was staying the night anyway. By the time we'd gone through a bottle of red and were content with dinner, I just could not be bothered changing. So...I went out in my pyjamas. I got quite a few disturbed looks from everyone, let me tell you!

Back at Lisa's, we went through three (or four!?) bowls of popcorn with salt and butter and lots of tea. Great weather to snuggle up on the couch and eat. *cheeky grin*

Thursday 24th Jul '08

For lunch today I made myself a roll.

Rosemary & Basil Ham from Charlie's
Provolone cheese from Charlie's
Mizuna and Horned Mustard leaves from my garden

In the afternoon, I began keeping a watchful eye on one of my pregnant guppies as she was showing signs of going into labour. I had to pop out to the shops for a while but when I got back, sure enough, she had popped out several fry! I love watching my guppies give birth. It just feel a thrill I can't describe - a new little tiny life is coming into the world (of my fish tank) and it's amazing.

The little yellow ball is a guppy egg that the mother expelled. You can see the eyes but the fry has not had time to develop yet.

I managed to capture a photo of the mother giving birth to a fry. Usually they give birth to the fry head first. You see the little eyes sticking out of the mother's birth canal before they shoot out! However, in this photo you see the fry in a curved position so it looks like a little bubble protruding from the birth canal. I was holding my breath until mummy guppy finally expelled it out and I saw a healthy little fry darting about, alive and well. I saw a few 'breech' births too! The tail of the fry would be sticking out and I think the mummy guppy has a bit more trouble giving birth to the fry this way.

Tonight was a first - my sisters and I took our Dad out for dinner to celebrate his birthday. We went to Shun Fung on the River at the Pier Street Jetty on Riverside Drive.

We were too hungry to start with entrees so we just ordered everything to come out together.

Jellyfish and Drunken Chicken
Sizzling Chicken
Fillet of Beef with Honey and Black Pepper
Seafood Claypot
Steamed Tooth Fish

For dessert, we shared the Red Bean Pancake with Ice Cream

The food was basically typical Chinese food. You would expect the staff to be more professional because of the restaurant's location but it really was just like being in a Chinese restaurant in Northbridge. I suppose on a nice sunny day it would be lovely to sit out on the verandah and watch the view over the river. However, tonight it was freezing and they had plastic sheets covering the verandah section so all you could was the reflection of the restaurant's lights on the plastic. We were seated at a small table right beside a heater so it did get pretty warm, especially after I had drunk almost a whole bottle of wine by myself.

Back at home, I got hungry later (of course!) and remembered I had bought a green papaya from the fruit and veg store in Carousel a few days ago. So...I made the Thai salad Som Tam.

thinly sliced green papaya
sliced fresh green beans
diced fresh tomato
fish sauce
lemon juice
crushed cashews

Usually you put dried shrimp in this salad too, but I didn't because I didn't feel like popping an antihistamine for this midnight snack.

Wednesday 23rd Jul '08


Today I headed out in the stormy weather to get some groceries from a few places before arriving at Ben and Ivy's place for another 'ready, steady, cook' night. First, I went to Mondo's in Inglewood. I was so eager to find some game meat, particularly crocodile, as I had just watched them cooking with it on 'Ready, Steady, Cook' on TV before leaving home. I was disappointed to find that a package of frozen crocodile meat was about $60. I'll have a look around elsewhere before getting it from there. I don't know how much to expect to pay for crocodile meat, but I would love to try cooking it at least once. I've eaten it before when I was younger and don't remember much of it. On the bright side, I found a spatchcock! I bought one so perhaps I will do a roast on the weekend for myself. I was disapointed when I got home and went to put it in the freezer - they had charged me $8 when the printed price on the label is clearly $7.50 - argh!!

From there I travelled further down the road to go to Charlie's, Bayswater. I stocked up on cold sliced meats, grated pecorino, provolone, goats cheese, and splurged on some marinated olives and baby octopus. Now I'll have to find a nice bottle of red to accompany them. I also bought some ingredients for dinner.

At Ben and Ivy's place, I had to sort out my own groceries from the ones I had bought for Ben to work his culinary magic on.

red capsicum
chicken drumsticks - not pictured

I also bought a paif of pig trotters to see if Ben could do anything with them. Alas, he freaked out at the sight of them! muahaha I ended up taking them home with me.

We were famished, so I quickly put together a little platter with the cold meats and cheeses. We also made a roll with some some of the meat, butter and cheese and polished those off before Ben got stuck into cooking dinner.

Ben started by having me peel some potatoes while he removed the bones and skin from all the drumsticks. Ivy and I were amused, since it would have just been easier to cook them as they were! But no, Chef Benoit wanted to remove the skin, cut the meat off the bone and dice it up. He used most of the chicken to make a delicious curry, and the rest of the chicken he used to make fresh spring rolls.

Chicken Curry with potato,
broccolini and capsicum
served with Roti

Fresh Spring Rolls with Vietnamese spring roll wrappers
stuffed with chicken, spinach,
broccolini, rice noodles
served with a dipping sauce

Ivy and I spent the rest of the night watching TV while the boys tried to set up Ben's new computer. Who wants to cook next!?

Tuesday 22nd Jul '08

I slept in today until the early afternoon! I finally got myself out of bed around 2:30pm. I had some leftover curry with a bread roll while writing up a 'to do' list for the week. For today, I would be heading out to City Farmers on High Road, Willetton. I had come across their catalogue in the newspaper on the weekend and they were having a sale. I wanted to get Simba a jacket and more fish for my tank.

I strolled out of City Farmers with a huge grin and bags of goodies. I found a gorgeous purple rain jacket with a detachable hood for Simba. The best bit was when I bought this jacket, I got the second one for only an additional $2!! I bought some plastic plants for the fish tank - the prices were reduced AND they were buy one, get one free. I also bought ten neons and a couple of catfish as they were discounted.

Afterwards, on the recommendation of the guy who helped me at City Farmers, I went down the road to Pisces Aquariums and they have a large selection of fish and live plants. I will have to go back to get some plants when I finally get some gravel into the tank and a proper light.

On the way home, I remembered the small pet shop I'd seen many times whenever I go shopping at Centro Maddington. I decided to stop there before they close. It was 4:45pm by the time I got to Peppe's Aquarium and Pet Centre, but I managed to grab all the things I needed in the one place. I had been looking for a light for my main tank and a small glass tank and setup to separate the guppy fry I've just been blessed with in the last few days. The staff there were so friendly and fantastic. I know I paid a bit more than I could have if I'd gone elsewhere, particularly Coles, but when the staff are genuinely helpful and friendly, I like to help out the smaller businesses by forking out a bit more.

So...just over $300 later, I arrived home brimming with excitement to get stuck into setting up my new tank and showing Simba his new wardrobe additions.

Awwww...isn't he gorgeous!??

While doing a water change for the maintank, I felt a hypoglycaemic attack coming on so went to see what my mum was making for dinner to see if I could have some. She was steaming a whole fish, just the way I like - excellent!

Red Emperor with ginger, coriander,
soy sauce and tomatoes

After scoffing it down, it was back to work. First, I did a water change for the main fish tank and had my Dad help me out with setting up the new light I got. I rinsed out the new gravel I bought about twenty times. I did not want to kill my new guppy fry with dirty rocks. *cringes when she thinks of Prometheus*

I set up the small tank with a heat source and the smaller light that the guys had given me when they set up my tank for my birthday. Perfect! All I had to do was move the new tenants in after the heat was stabilised.

the new tank for the guppy fry

my main tank - the water is still green from the medication but it's slowly clearing up each time I do a water change

Later, I had a craving for some soup so I made some.

carrot, celery and fennel soup with pasta

Monday 21st Jul '08

Hooray! Today is my last shift before having the rest of the week until Sunday off!

I had the leftover pasta with clams for lunch today. There's no more! Nevermind...I am cooking another clam pasta dish tonight!

Tonight's pasta will be a creamy white wine sauce with zucchini, mushrooms and clams. Garnished with chilli and chives fresh out of my garden. I had planned on eating half of it tonight and having the other half for lunch tomorrow, but it was so good, I polished it off while watching 'Boston Legal'.

Picture Perfect Pasta
Clams, Zucchini and Mushrooms in a
Creamy White Wine Garlic Sauce
served with Chilli and Chives

Sunday 20th Jul '08

Today at work I didn't bring any lunch with me since I had crashed on Ben and Sarah's couch last night. I went to the hospital's cafeteria hoping there would be something that at least looked appetising. Their food isn't too bad, it just tends to taste really bland.

I was in luck. I decided on the Pepperoni Lasagne with some vegetables and potatoes. The vegetables were all just steamed and normally I would ask for some gravy over them but that would have bad to mix with the lasagne, which was on the bottom of the takeaway container.

The lasagne...not bad! The pepperoni had the most flavour out of the entire dish.

Back at home, Mum had cooked curry so I made some al dente spaghetti to go with it instead of rice. Yum!

For supper I had taken a bag of clams out of the freezer to thaw out earlier and I planned on making some pasta with them. It's been a while since I've had clams. It's getting more difficult to find them at the seafood stores! You usually can find the large ones but I prefer the little ones as they are a replacement for my cockles fetish.

I made a tomato and white wine sauce with mushrooms to go with the cockles.

Saturday 19th Jul '08

Today at work I reheated one of the frozen soups I have in the freezer. Potato and leek soup. I didn't add any milk into it as I didn't feel like it.

After work, I headed over to Sarah's place as we were going out for dinner. Sarah had organised a dinner with the staff in her department and since everyone was bringing along their partner, she was bringing me as hers. It was absolutely FREEZING as we braved the two minute walk down the street to the restaurant. We were eating at the Balmoral tonight. It's one of my favourite pubs and the food there has always been fantastic when I've eaten there.

For our entree, Sarah and I shared the Salt and Pepper Squid. Tim ordered the Balmoral Plate. We were initially going to order that, but when I found out that it was no longer being served with the octopus, I changed my mind, since that was what I really wanted. So, the squid sufficed. The squid was lightly battered and deep fried and seasoned delicately. Delicious!!

For our mains, I managed to snap a few photos of the meals that the people sitting around me had ordered - thanks guys!

Sarah - Bangers and Mash
Boo - Steak and Chips with Gravy
Meg - Chicken Breast Involtini
Andrew - Pepper Crusted Kangaroo

Myself - Sirloin

I asked for my sirloin cooked medium. Someone asked me if my steak had been cooked as I'd asked and because it was so dark in the restaurant, I had to take a photo of my steak after I'd cut it in half to confirm! I was very happy with my steak but disappointed with my vegetables. I was really looking forward to the potatoes, beans and cherry tomatoes but when I tried my first mouthful, it tasted like curry. I had several other people try it and the consensus was that there was definitely some curry powder in the sauce. Very disappointed *shakes her head*. I was craving just a good ol' steak with vegetables and gravy. I should have ordered what Boo had - the steak and chips with gravy.

Only a few of us had dessert. I managed to take a photo of the dessert that Erin and Tim ordered - looks to me like chocolate tart?

Erin & Tim's Dessert

back row L to R: Paul, Angela, Christine, ME, Erin, Sarah, Andrew
front row L to R: David, Boo, Carmen, Meg

I hope I didn't get anyone's names wrong - I'm surprised I've remembered as many as I have, being so bad with names!

It was a great night out. For me it was good to catch up with a few of the ladies since I haven't seen them for such a long time now that I no longer work at the core laboratory. I'm sure Sarah had a good time too.

I was crashing at Ben and Sarah's so Boo drove us home - yes, it was a rather short drive! I got the munchies again (of course) and Ben and I had some mee goreng. I was tired and hungry so I forgot about taking a photo. I drank a whole pot of tea. I think it was brown rice tea? Tastes like popcorn!