Tuesday 20th Jan '09

Today was a rather productive day in the kitchen for me. Even though I spent most of my day at home, I got alot done and even attempted a new little project!

I went outside to water the garden and picked some cherry tomatoes. The chives are getting a bit overgrown, so I snipped most of it off and will find a use for it. I also found some roma tomatoes growing on a little tomato plant that was hiding beside a large pot. Mum likes to bury her food scraps in the backyard amongst her vegetables as a sort of slow release fertiliser I suppose. Sometimes we get surprised by a little seedling popping up out of nowhere. Before we went on holidays (back when my garden was in it's prime!), my mum found some tomato plants had sprung up near her mango tree where she'd been burying food scraps - obviously bits of tomato!

cherry tomatoes, chives, thyme and roma tomatoes

Penne with Prawns & Pancetta

I bought a piece of pancetta from Cannington Fresh last week. I cut some slices about half a centimetre thick, then chopped them into smaller pieces. I love pancetta!! It gives a sweeter taste than bacon when you use it in dishes.

Penne with Prawns & Pancetta

  1. Sautee some sliced onion, crushed garlic and dried chilli flakes in some olive oil in a pan.
  2. Add a splash of white wine.
  3. Add the chopped pancetta and some fresh thyme. Fry for a few minutes, adding more wine if required.
  4. Meanwhile, cook some penne pasta al dente and drain.
  5. Throw some peeled and deveined prawns into the pan with the sauce, cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the penne and toss around in the pan to coat with the sauce.
  7. Serve with fresh cut chillies and a splash of olive oil if desired.

After lunch, a lightglobe sparked on above my head! I am going to make sundried tomatoes with the tomatoes I'd picked from the garden this morning.

I googled a few methods for making sundried tomatoes and they were all pretty similar.

Homemade Sundried Tomatoes

  1. Slice tomatoes in half (or slices if they're larger sized).
  2. Lay them on a mesh or wire rack with the cut side facing up
  3. Sprinkle with seasalt and herbs if desired, then dry outside in the sun.

You can also dry them in the oven but with the weather this hot, I wanted to make use of the heat somehow.

I sliced the cherry tomatoes in half and the roma tomatoes aren't very big so I only sliced them in half too. I found a wire baking rack and put that on top of a plastic try. I then put a piece of baking paper on the rack, lay the tomatoes on the rack and sprinkled some sea salt over them. I need the baking paper because the cherry tomatoes will shrink in size as they dry and fall right through the gaps in the rack! I'm not going to add any herbs because I can do that later when I put them in olive oil. I took the tray outside, feeling like a little girl about to do something naughty! I thought the best place to put them would be above the shadecloth my mum had set up to shade her plants by the fence. They would also be out of Simba's reach.

It was a bit windy, so I had to go back inside and get some elastic bands to hold the edges of the baking paper down. To prevent bugs from getting at my tomatoes, I covered the tray with the protector thing - anyone know what it's called!? - and voila! Count down to homemade sundried tomatoes!

Most of my plants had gone to seed while I was on holidays, and some of the seeds have broken free and lodged themselves in the soil and little new seedlings are popping up in my herb planter boxes.

horned mustard seedlings springing up

mizuna lettuce seedlings

mizuna & basil seedlings

my yellow capsicum is starting to bud!

my garlic that I harvested before going on holidays

In the afternoon, I found a chicken thigh in the fridge...a lonesome chicken thigh. So, I decided to make one of my favourites that I haven't had for a while.

Thai Basil Chicken with Steamed Rice

Jocelyn's eyes lit up when she saw what I'd cooked and asked to have some.

For dinner tonight, both Christina and Jocelyn were eating at home so I was making dinner for three. Since they're both sort of on restricted diets due to their self-inflicted healthy living regimes, I thought chicken with vegetables would be a safe bet.

I marinated the chicken marylands with Masterfoods's 'Portugese Chicken' spice blend. Into the fridge to allow the flavours to infuse. Meanwhile, I diced up some vegetables and put them into a baking dish. A drizzle of olive oil, honey and a sprinkle of dried rosemary.

I like to be organised. I treat cooking for my sisters no differently than cooking for friends. I like to have everything prepared and for the food to be ready all at once so you don't have side dishes getting cold while waiting for the meat to cook. For the past few weeks, I've made dinner and had it plated up nicely - presentation is very important! It does frustrate me that I go to all the effort and it's in vain. Knowing that dinner will be served soon, Jocelyn will still continue her workout on the crosstrainer and her food goes cold. She doesn't mind reheating it when she is ready to eat...but still...it's the 'chef' in me complaining I suppose.

Portugese Roasted Chicken
Honey Roasted Vegetables

Christina did some baking tonight. She made a lemon slice with some fresh lemons from the tree in the backyard. She cut a slice and scooped some vanilla ice cream for me. I never ate it though...I turned my back for a minute and Jocelyn had polished it off!

Before bed, I made rolls for everyone to take to work tomorrow.

Monday 19th Jan '09

Ham, Chilli & Coriander Roll
Pimms Cocktail

I love those char siew rolls that you can buy from the Asian supermarkets in the city. They have slices of char siew, grated carrot, mayo, cucumber slices, fresh cut chilli and coriander, all in a crusty white roll. I remember making trips to the city during uni days and buying these rolls. Even though I love them to bits, I have only eaten them perhaps five or six times ever. I'm just too lazy to drive all the way to the city just for a roll. Plus, you have to go early during the day or there are none left. Yum!

My lunch was inspired by this.

Sliced ham from the deli at Coles, sliced continental cucumber, mayonnaise, fresh cut chillies (these are really hot birds eye ones), and lots of fresh coriander.

The Verdict: it's a WINNER!

I also had a Pimms cocktail to go with my lunch, in keeping with the light and refreshing theme. Pimms, ginger ale, slices of fresh cucumber, and a generous handful of fresh mint.

I took Simba for a walk this evening. He absolutely LOVED it! He's been missing his walks over the past few months because

1. I've been on holidays for a month; and
2. It's been too hot to take him for a walk and by the time it cools down, it's too dark.

I love how he stretches out on the tiles in the kitchen to cool down after a walk. If he's really hot and exhausted, he'll lie with his water bowl between his front paws so he can just stick his head in to lap up the water without moving. Clever dog!

Tonight, I'm spoiling myself since I've had a tough week at work. Nah, I just like to spoil myself. But I really did have a tough week at work too. You guys know I don't need a reason to have lobster. I just eat it when I feel like it hee hee!

whole cooked Lobster with Homemade Potato Chips
and a salad of
Baby Spinach, Red Onion, Tomato, Avocado & Creamy Saffron Dressing

Sunday 18th Jan '09

Stuffed Baby Capsicums
Egg Omelette

I had the remaining two baby capsicums that I had stuffed a few days ago. Christina's been making friands at home, which require about six egg whites per batch so she's been putting the egg yolks in the fridge and letting them go to waste. *Aargh*

So, I decided to use some of them to make an omelette. Now of course I couldn't just use the egg yolks because it would be too thick. To 'thin' out my omelette mixture, I added some milk and water. I fried some bacon, onion and chilli flakes in some olive oil in a pan. Once these were softened, I added the omelette mixture. The mixture was not light enough to be cooked like an omelette, so I had to start scooping in the edges and cook it as if it were scrambled eggs to stop the edges from burning.

I think it turned out more like quiche filling, which isn't surprising given what I had to work with.

Afternoon Snack
Spaghetti & Meatballs with Parmesan

Marissa brought me some leftovers from her family dinner yesterday. Oh my god was it delicious! I love when the grated parmesan (or pecorino) has melted over the pasta.

Pinchy! My, how you have grown!

Bee Hoon Soup

Saturday 17th Jan '09

Today at work, Andrea and I decided on a little impromptu BBQ in the tea room, using a little electric grill press she'd brought from home. She brought sausages and marinated chicken kebabs, while I brought the salad I'd prepared last night, and some prawns.

chuck the snags and shrimp on the barbie, luv!

I was starving! The prawns took a few minutes to cook, so I gobbled them up with the salad while we waited for the sausages to cook. The prawns were some Australian banana prawns that I'd bought yesterday and peeled at home. I threw them into a zip lock bag and poured in some olive oil, dried chilli flakes, shredded ginger and chopped up coriander. I massaged these ingredients into the prawns and then left the flavours to infuse overnight. They turned out lovely!

We had the sausages with hot dog buns. Instead of my usual tomato sauce and mustard, I used some chilli sauce Andrea had brought.

hotdogs with Sambal Asli

I had a chicken kebab - Andrea bought these already marinated from the shops. I also had a second sausage, which I dipped with another sauce Andrea had brought. My, she sure does come prepared!

Byron Bay Chilli Co. 'Fiery Coconut Chilli Sauce' with curry & ginger

Feeling really full and satisfied, we went back to work, feeling like naughty kids who'd just had a secret BBQ in the tearoom without the adults knowing.


Tonight Shallen organised a 'GLAM' night out for us. We went to Marie's for some predinner drinks, except there was nothing to drink - Marie thought we were bringing the drinks, while we thought she had drinks at her place. Luckily she found a bottle of wine in the pantry so we threw in a few ice cubes. Problem solvered.

our arty glam photo

We met up with everyone else at the restaurant - wow, it's so nice to see everyone dressed up for a change. The guys made such a wonderful effort - no thongs and T-shirts tonight!

We had dinner at...


After a huge kerfuffle about the seating arrangements, we finally got settled and set to the task of deciding what to order.


Warmed Turkish bread with cranberry & rosemary butter, mascarpone & chives, rocket pesto - $8

Seared scallops, cucumber & carrot ribbons, rocket, sumac yoghurt - $19


Chargrilled beef fillet, mashed potato, garlic mushroom, seeded mustard jus - $32

Open lasagne of roasted eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, mushroom, goats cheese - $24

Crab capellini pasta, garlic, chilli, tomato, parsley, roasted herb crumbs, Jingilli olive oil - $24

Catch of the Day - I forget what fish it was - $32

The food was quite good tonight, one with exception. No one except Kong got their steak cooked as they asked but they were too hungry to complain. Being Shallen's birthday, we also got a birthday cake and a glass of champagne each - complimentary for Club Burswood Members.

Time to party!

We went to the Ruby Room for drinks and then hit the dance floor.

We may be over the clubbing scene, but we sure do love to get out and dance once in a while. Pity the music wasn't that great, but they did throw in the occasional favourite of mine. I think they lost most of the crowd when the DJ (who funnily enough also DJ's for the 'ruby rendevous' nights for RSVP on Wednesday nights) played 'Everybody - Backstreet's Back' by the Backstreet Boys. I felt like I was back in high school!

When we were all danced out and our shoes began to hurt, we decided to go to Fast Eddys on Albany Highway. I wish I wasn't working tomorrow...I am going to be sooo tired!

Friday 16th Jan '09

On my drive to work this morning, at about 0630hrs I approached the Causeway and saw a plume of smoke in the distance that looked like it was originating from near my work. As I turned onto Riverside Drive, I could see the smoke clearly and it seemed to be from a fire in Kings Park. Oh dear.

The news bulletin on the radio announced that there was a fire rampaging through Kings Park. I grabbed my camera and was able to take a few photos as I drove down Mounts Bay Road.

It's a pity there are people out there who have nothing better to do than to set precious parkland on fire. More than a decade of conservation work has gone into that area and for it to be destroyed in a fire - it's just sickening to think that there are people out there capable of such malice and stupidity.

After work, I stopped by Woolworths at Carousel, Cannington to get some groceries. I came accross the dragonfruit - I'd been telling my rellies back in Singapore that they cost about AUD$20 per kilo. Here is my proof.

AUD$24.98 per kilo

Back at home, I decided to try to use some leftovers for tonight's dinner.

Stuffed Baby Capsicums
with Sweet Potato& Potato Mash
and Baby Spinach Salad with Creamy Saffron Dressing

Baby Capsicums stuffed with Spinach & Sundried Tomatoes

1. Cut the tops of the baby capsicums off and clean out the seeds.

2. Bake the capsicums in a preheated oven at 180C for about five minutes.
3. Meanwhile, sautee some chopped onion and crushed garlic in some olive oil in a pan.
4. Add some spinach leaves and chopped sundried tomatoes.
5. Add a splash of white wine if the mixture gets too dry in the pan.

6. Stuff each baby capsicum with this spinach mixture.
7. Cover the capsicum hollows with ricotta.
8. Place the 'lids' of the capsicums back on and back in the oven at 180C for about fifteen minutes or until the capsicums begin to brown.

Sweet Potato & Potato Mash

  1. Peel sweet potato and potatoes.
  2. Boil the sweet potato and potato in a pot of hot water until they're softened.
  3. Drain water from pot.
  4. Add a dollop of butter, a splash of milk, salt and pepper to taste, and mash the mixture. Add more milk if the mixture is too dry.

The salad consisted of some baby spinach leaves, sliced red onion and cucumber with the Creamy Saffron Dressing

I prepared a salad for work tomorrow as Andrea and I had discussed to have a little BBQ for lunch. For the dressing, I combined some olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and dried chilli flakes and wrapped it up in some gladwrap. All you have to do is pop open the 'gladwrap' and discard it after drizzling the dressing over the salad.