Sunday 31st Aug '08

Today I got outside in the garden to check on my plants and give them a watering. I water them nearly everyday except when it rains.

The newest addition to my garden - oregano

Pictured above is my mint that I bought from the Canningvale Markets one Sunday. It was beginning to 'branch out' of the pot so over the past few months I've cut off some of the 'branches' and planted them into some of the other pots and they've been doing really well. The main plant looked like it was on the verge of dying a few weeks ago - all the leaves were yellowy brown and shrivelled up - but it's really picked up now. Probably because of the sunny days we've been having recently. There are lots of new baby leaves sprouting along all the branches. I may cut them and transplant them to other pots soon. They smell so yummy.

My strawberry plants are yielding lots of strawberries but on a closer glance, about half of the strawberries are looking a bit deformed. I might google some tips on keeping the strawberries growing healthy and well.

My broccolini is doing well (some more than others). I might get out there tomorrow and treat my plants with some Seasol and Thrive.

My baby cos is growing wonderfully!! I think I'll be doing the rounds and bringing some to friends soon! The plants on the bottom are the first lot of garlic I planted and apparently they'll be ready by October. I can't wait!

For lunch today I ate all the leftovers I brought home from our Iron Chef dinner last night. I've spent all day updating my blog and it will finally be up to date after this entry.

Tonight for dinner I had chicken.

Peri Peri Chicken Thigh Fillets
with homemade Potato and Egg Plant Chips
and Sour Cream

That's the rest of the Nando's peri peri sauce used up!

I don't know what's wrong with me!? I was craving something with chocolate tonight so I found some strawberries in the fridge and coated them with some dark chocolate. I finished them off with a dusting of icing sugar. Mmmm...might make myself a cup of tea before bed.

Saturday 30th Aug '08


Ingredient: Beef Mince

Tonight's long awaited dishes incorporating beef mince in the order they were served:

Sarena - Basil & Beef Balls with Spaghetti

Shallen - Beef Mince Triangles

Kong - Luv Meat

Ling - Bizarre Beef Mince Mania

We have to give Kong his props tonight. His dish blew our minds and he put so much effort into the plating up. He made giant beef meatballs with a boiled egg at the centre - sorta like a scotch egg. We watched as he carved each in half and spread them out on the plate - to resemble a bum - haha!

Ling got a bit carried away and we cringed and laughed at the same time when he said 'It looks like a gay guy has farted" - Meng, I know you'll get a good laugh out of this!

And the winner is...**drum roll**...KONG!

Friday 29th Aug '08

Morning Tea
Mini Donuts
Chocolate Cake
Fruit Mince Pastry (forget what it's called) **

** They're called ECCLES. See

Lamb Curry with Rice

Afternoon Snack
Wholemeal Roll with Ham and Tomato

I was sooo hungry stumbling out of work today that luckily I remembered I had packed a bread roll, some ham and tomato, intending to have it for my morning tea. When met with the decision of the bread roll or the sweets in the tea room, there was a clear winner haha. I happily gobbled the roll down on the way home from work in the car. Good thing too, because it gave me the energy to take Simba for a walk.

Last night I prepared the pesto that I would be using for the pasta dish I was making tonight for dinner. I blended garlic, onion, fresh basil and pinenuts in the food processor. I chopped up some sundried tomatoes last night and put the pesto I made into the container with the remaining oil from the sundried tomatoes to absorb those flavours.

Spaghetti with Baby Octopus

  1. Make pesto by crushing together pinenuts, fresh basil, onion and garlic in a food processor (or crush with a mortar and pestle).

  2. Cook pesto in some olive oil in a pan for a few minutes. **

  3. Add sliced onion and baby octupus that has been cleaned and cut into smaller pieces.

  4. Once onions have softened, add a small amount of tomato paste and fry for a minute.

  5. Add some white wine and cook until sauce starts to reduce a bit.

  6. Add chopped sundried tomatoes and when octopus is cooked, add some pasta that has been cooked al dente and strained.

  7. Toss pasta through sauce to coat it and then serve.

**You can add some crushed chilli flakes now or fresh chillies when plating up.

"Ah Sarena, you've done it again!"

Thursday 28th Aug '08

Chicken & Vegetable Soup with Pasta

Peri Peri Chicken
Dutch Carrots with Honey
Homemade Potato Chips with Sour Cream

Are Dutch carrots from Holland? Why are they called Dutch carrots? They look like baby carrots to me. I've always wondered about this. It's time to google the answer.

Ah-ha! Apparently carrots used to be purple, black or red! It was the Dutch who created the orange carrot in the 17th century and hence Dutch carrots came about. Dutch carrots are basically baby carrots - so I was on the right track. Hmm...came across a website with tips on growing carrots and apparently it's time for me to 'thin' out the carrots that I have growing otherwise their growth with be pretty much stunted due to lack of space. Anyhoo...

I coated a couple of chicken thigh fillets with Nando's peri peri sauce and skewered them onto a metal skewer. I washed and cut the tops off the carrots and arranged them on the tray around the chicken. The honey was too hard to do anything with so I zapped it in the microwave and then brushed it onto the carrots generously.

Into the oven for about half an hour. I tested if the chicken was ready by stabbing a skewer into the fillets - the juices ran clear. Meanwhile, I deep fried some potatoes that I'd cut into chips and served these with my dinner with a side of sour cream. Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum!

With a bit of a sweet tooth this week, I had a cup of tea and some mini donuts from the shops for a night cap.

Wednesday 27th Aug '08

Pizza with Fresh Tomato, Basil & Bocconcini

Hokkien Noodles with Beef & Vegetables
lots of chilli!

Salmon Steak panfried with Garlic, Chilli & Thyme
side of Cous Cous & Vegetables

I was originally going to have some pasta with my salmon steak but I noticed I had a packet of couscous left in the pantry so decided to use it up. I was irritated to see that someone had actually cut open the bag that the instant cous cous comes in so I had to cook the cous cous loose in a pot of water with some salt. It wasn't as fluffy as it should have been because I wasn't able to drain as much of the water out as I usually could. The cous cous would have gone through the holes in the sieve! Anyhow, I did my best. I added some butter and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice while 'fluffing' it up with a fork. I scattered a few dried cranberries throughout the cous cous.

After frying my salmon steak, I threw in some chopped zucchini, onion and cherry tomatoes and fried on a high heat in the juices remaining from the salmon.

Vegetables went on top of the cous cous, the salmon steak on top of the vegetables. A drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of cracked black pepper - voi la!

A Scrapbook for Jocelyn

Before bed, I finally finished off the scrapbook I've been working on for Jocelyn. I'm pretty happy with it but it's mostly 'cutesy' designs so I'm looking forward to my next project having a more vintage and antique theme.

Page 1

Pages 2-5

Pages 6-9

Pages 10-13

Pages 14-17

Pages 18-20

Tuesday 26th Aug '08

I slept in again today (surprise surprise) and went grocery shopping when I finally dragged myself out of bed. I feel like I've wasted these two days that I've had off work but I just feel so drained after working the weekend.

Porterhouse with Chilli, Garlic & Rosemary
served with Broccolini & Almonds in Garlic & Butter

Mini Hawaiin Pizza

It's been a while since I've made mini pizzas. First, I spread tomato paste on the dough base (these I buy premade from the frozen section in Coles or Woolworths) and then put on whatever fillings I feel like. For the 'hawaiin' pizza I use chopped onion, ham, pineapple pieces and cheese.

Monday 25th Aug '08

Finally - some days off work!

I slept in until the early afternoon and woke up next to my gorgeous little Simba. A wonderful way to start the day!

I had a few cupcakes and a cup of tea for 'breakfast'.

For lunch (in the afternoon) I had the leftovers of my lambshanks from last night. Simba was sitting with his nose practically in my bowl, waiting to see if he'd get any.

I didn't really know what I felt like for dinner, so I just made some broccolini.

Broccolini with Almonds & Proscuitto

  1. Toast some roughly crushed almonds in a pan.

  2. Add some olive oil and garlic and fry for a few minutes.

  3. Add broccolini and some butter and cook until broccolini softens.

  4. Throw in some roughly torn proscuitto for the last minute of cooking.

  5. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

I also made some soup since I hadn't had it for a while.

Chicken & Pasta Soup
with Celery, Carrots & Leek

Sunday 24th Aug '08

Today a kid in the GP After Hours outside our lab threw up and I was feeling nauseas all day at just the thought of it. I couldn't eat my lunch and dared not venture through the waiting room to get the tearoom anyhow.

I got home and took Simba for a jog to the park. I let him off the leash and he ran around for a bit and I was able to put him back on the leash while he was busy sniffing around. I got home and was utterly famished!

Luckily I had the lunch that I was not able to eat at work today. It was something I'd gotten takeaway from Spencer Village last night when I was getting dinner.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

I veged out in my room and caught the Olympics closing ceremony on TV. Watching it, I couldn't stop myself feeling an enormous surge of emotion and having to reach for the tissues. It's just so incredibly beautiful how all these people from countries all over the world come together in the one place to represent their country and compete with integrity and honour. How amazingly proud they must feel to be there. If only what we've seen in the past two weeks were reflective of the actual state the world is in. Still, it gives me hope that one day countries will coexist peacefully with each other, governments will get their act together, and there is peace for all.

'Has Sarena been drinking?" you ask. No...not yet! I've been getting so into the games this year! I suppose with each year we get older and our thoughts turn to such things as global warming, world peace, and how many more kilos we need to gain before we get off our butts and do some exercise. That's one of the reasons I love watching Star Trek, Stargate and other scifi series. They embrace the idea that the people on Earth can be united despite their difference in nationality, cultural differences and ethnic background, to strive to better themselves and represent our planet.

As they started bringing out the tacky Chinese singers, I went to the kitchen to make dinner.

Lamb Shanks with Carrots, Potato & Fennel

Saturday 23rd Aug '08


Today I rushed home to help frost and decorate cupcakes for Jocelyn's joint birthday celebration with her boyfriend, David. She was taking cupcakes to the Onyx Bar (on Outram Road, West Perth). Christina spent last night baking about two hundred -


- vanilla cupcakes. Jocelyn was a bit distressed because it was 4pm and none of the cupcakes had yet been frosted and Christina was no where to be found and hadn't returned her phone calls or sms's.

I stopped by the shops on the way home to buy some sprinkles and lollies to use for the decorations. As I pulled up in the driveway, I could see that Christina had arrived home just before me and we all set about in an icing sugar frenzy for the next few hours.

For the decorations we used:
Marshmellows - I sliced them and arranged them on the cupcakes as flowers or just used two to create a sort of butterfly shape. They were soooo sticky to play around with though.
Fruit Flavoured Sticks - I sliced these and used them as flowers.
Sprinkles - I bought several packets of different coloured sprinkles to use.
Silver Cachous
Edible Butterflies - these came in pink and white.

Pink Frosted Cupcakes

Green Frosted Cupcakes

Blue Frosted Cupcakes

Christina wouldn't listen to any of my suggestions for decorating these ones. She wanted to do them blue and yellow for the Eagles' colours since David is a supporter. First, she sprinkled some icing sugar that she had made yellow with food colouring, but it just made them look like someone had dropped them all and there was sand on them. She then tried to put some yellow sprinkles on them but then they looked like they were covered in eggs laid by some bug. She finally put some of the yellow coloured fruit sticks on them. Should have used some pink and purple sprinkles, if you ask me.

Dark Blue Frosted Cupcakes

Having alot of the blue frosting leftover, she added some red food colouring to try to make it purple but there was just too much blue in it already. Looks good though!

Eventually, we'd decorated enough trays of cupcakes to be satisfied and as soon as Jocelyn's friends had arrived, I headed out with them to drop them off at the Onyx.

outside the Onyx Bar

I was tired and hadn't had dinner yet so I stopped at Spencer Village to grab some takeaway on the drive home. Doh! The Vietnamese stall was already closed so I ended up getting something from one of the other stalls.

Rochor Mee
It tasted good but I was disappointed there was not much sauce

We still had about half the cupcakes left so Christina spent the rest of night frosting and decorating them. We'll take some to work and to our cousin's kids. Perhaps even eat a few ourselves.