Sunday 30th May 2010

After a week-long migraine, the last thing I need is to now catch a cold. *sniff*

I'm feeling pretty crap and congested and the cold and flu tablets are making me feel rather out of it. So I was happy for Mum to make dinner for me tonight.

Mum's Bacon & Tomato Omelette

I saw bacon on special at Woolworths the other day and bought a whole kilo. Mum must have seen the same special because she also bought a whole kilo. So, we thought we'd better start using it!

Look - my third mug arrived.

Saturday 29th May 2010



chicken marinade
  • chicken pieces ie. drumsticks, thighs
  • ground sweet paprika
  • ground coriander
  • ground turmeric
  • ground cayenne pepper
  • sea salt & pepper to season
  • olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped **
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tspn chilli flakes
  • cracked black pepper

    **I used half a red onion because it was in the fridge and I wanted to use it up.

    1. Preheat oven to 180C.

    2. Coat the chicken pieces in the olive oil and spices for the marinade. No specific measurements, just sprinkle in some of each. Use enough olive oil so that the spices can be mixed thoroughly.

    3. Heat 1 Tbn olive oil in a heavy based casserole dish and fry the chicken for abought 30 seconds each side to seal the pieces. Set aside.
    4. In the same casserole dish, saute the onion.
    5. Once softened, add the garlic, celery, carrot and capsicum. Fry for a few minutes.
    6. Add the white wine to deglaze, then add the can of crushed tomatoes.
    7. Add the chilli flakes, chicken stock and season with cracked black pepper.
    8. Allow to come to the boil and simmer gently for a few minutes.

    9. Return the chicken pieces to the sauce, making sure to push the pieces down into the sauce.
    10. Place lid on casserole dish and put into oven for about forty minutes.

    I served this with mashed potatoes, but you could opt for polenta, cous cous, or even rice. If I had some, I would have garnished with some fresh parsley.
  • Friday 28th May 2010

    Scotch Steak with Green Peppercorn Cream
    Roasted Carrots & Potatoes with Butter and Dried Rosemary
    Panfried Beans

    Cooked to perfection.

    Thursday 27th May 2010

    This afternoon I went to Mr and Mrs Pelle's place for a catchup. Teresa also joined us after work and we sat down to enjoy some coffee and Mrs Pelle's homemade sweets.

    I loved these little almond and chocolate meringue tartlets.

    I made a stop at the the gourmet foods store in Centro Maddington to pick up these little goodies.

    Cointreau & Mascarpone Apricots
    Drambuie & Mascarpone Figs

    They are soooo delectable and great for a little treat.

    It was so nice of the Pelles to ask me to stay for dinner. How could I refuse!?

    Mrs Pelle made pasta - just what I felt like tonight!

    I forgot that pasta is usually just the first course! Lucky I didn't ask for a second helping of the pasta!!

    Mrs Pelle also made some stuffed capsicums and schnitzel.

    Mrs Pelle's been busy baking bread.

    This would have been lovely to mop up extra pasta sauce - except, as you can see, there was none left in my bowl!

    Wednesday 26th May 2010

    Another year...Another birthday.

    My birthday this year is a rather dreary one. Despite arranging to the day off work, it was an utter waste because I spent half of it in bed with a migraine carried over from the last few days. I was tempted to cancel my dinner plans, but lying in bed all day is no way to spend your birthday.

    TO TO
    Vietnamese Restaurant

    873 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park 6101

    I've had a craving for Vietnamese - the spicy beef noodle soup in particular - so tonight was a good excuse to have a very casual dinner in the middle of the week. I had something on in North Perth so I headed directly to the restaurant and was an hour early. I thought about going somewhere for a coffee but I didn't think the coffee would have sat well with my headache and it was raining so I didn't want to walk far. Instead, the restaurant just so happened to flick their 'closed' sign to 'open' just as I walked past so I went inside.

    They looked up my reservation and showed me to a large round table where I ordered a soda water and took out my book to read to pass the time. About half an hour later, someone walked over to my table, took a menu off it and walked away. I finished the sentence of my book that I was reading before looking up, expecting to see a waitress having taken the menu - perhaps they ran out or wanted to clean it? No. Some customer had helped herself to menus from my table and she had seated herself down on the table next to me to flich through it. I sat there and gave her the evils for a few minutes but she never looked up. I wish she had...I was not impressed. Rude *cough*

    As the hour ticked by, the restaurant started to fill with people. By 6:15pm it was pretty full. A waitress approached me and asked if I was waiting for takeaway. I told her that I was waiting for friends who would be here shortly. She came back a few minutes later to tell me that I was on the wrong table. I didn't know what to say. Did it matter? They could give the table they'd assigned for me to the other booking. No. She made me move to the corner booth. It turns out that this booth was actually more private but I was irritated with the way she simply told me that I was on the wrong table - after I'd been there for almost an hour - and her attitude.

    Anyways, my friends arrived one by one and I feeling much better than sitting there alone. As soon as we were all seated, a waiter came to take our order but we asked for a few minutes. Having worked in hospitality, I find that upon arrival, you should allow a few minutes for the guests to say hello to each other, ask how each other's day has been, and get comfortable before going over. Or at least wait until they've had a look at the menu! You can go and let them know what the day's specials are or to ask if anyone would like to order a drink to start off with, but chances are they're going to need a few minutes to go through the menu. It's frustrating when they come as soon as you've sat down and ask if you're ready to order. "Yes, I know what I want without even opening up the menu to go through it because I'm psychic." More often than not, I find that when you ask them to come back, they generally don't come back in a timely fashion and you end up having to wave someone over. It's little things like this that can really put a dampener at the overall dining experience.

    Anyways, we eventually ordered. We shared some entrees:

    Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Prawn

    Deep Fried Vegetarian Spring Rolls

    Prawn Toast

    Oh my god, the prawn toast was just oozing oil with each bite. I felt with every mouthful, I was just tasting crunchy bread drenched in oil.

    I'm not sure what mains everyone ordered, but we had them come out at the same time:

    Meng: Dry Chicken Noodle with Soup

    Ling: Pho...with Soup!

    Shallen: Raw Beef Noodle Soup

    With this dish, the slices of beef are raw when they add them to the soup. The slices are thin enough so that the hot soup cooks the beef. I used to never like eating beef that was less than well done so I would ask for my beef to be well cooked before adding to the soup if I ever ordered beef noodles in Singapore. Nowadays, I don't mind the blood so much and can appreciate the 'raw beef' dishes.

    Kong: Chicken & Rice

    Kong found a hair in his chicken. It was protruding from the chicken meat so rather than just falling from someone's head, it would have been cooked with the chicken. They brought him a replacement but we all reckon that they just threw out the chicken pieces and put some newly cooked ones on. Kong had purposely mashed his rice apart and they had pushed it back into some sort of presentable shape.

    Myself: Bun Bo Hue

    Overall, the service was pretty bad and the food was so so. I was looking forward to some stuffed chicken wings but I remembered that they're $8.50 for two pieces. Yep.

    The bill came to $88.80 for the five of us, including drinks. Not bad hey?

    888 - The Chinese believe this is a sign of good luck!

    Afterwards, we went to Baskin & Robbins for dessert.

    I had Green Tea Ice Cream

    Tuesday 25th May 2010

    Look what arrived in the mail for me today!

    My free Continental Cup-a-Soup mugs!

    I had one labelled with my real name and one labelled with 'JUST SAZ'.

    I have a third one that I'm expecting any day now...

    This afternoon I had a plate of chips and gravy in the food court of Centro Maddington before heading to work. I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually do as I've had a migraine for a few days now. It's all I felt like eating and all I think I can stomach.

    I bought some jam and cream donuts and a jam and cream sponge cake for the girls at work since tomorrow is my birthday. I was feeling pretty crap and thought maybe some sugar would help. I had one of the jam and cream donuts. Then I had a second.

    I had to leave work a bit early as I didn't manage to keep the jam and cream donuts down. Too many aspirins and panadols, methinks.

    I got home and my tummy was grumbling. I didn't really feel like eating anything but I remembered I had a few cornjacks defrosting in the fridge so I fried them up and ate them with a cup of peppermint tea - IN ONE OF MY NEW MUGS!

    Monday 24th May 2010

    Dinner at Work
    Mum's Fried Noodles with Fish Cake

    Sunday 23rd May 2010

    "Oh, Dim Sum! How I have missed you!"

    Saturday 22nd May 2010

    For dinner at work tonight I brought some of Mum's cooking.

    Mum's Fried Rice

    In my opinion, you can judge an Asian cook by the quality of the fried rice they make. Don't laugh - fried rice may appear simple, but it's so easy to stuff it up! Ask any caucasion person trying to replicate the 'special' fried rice from their local Chinese restaurant. They're not going to succeed.

    An Asian friend of mine told me how he volunteered to cook the weekly BBQ at his workplace. His Aussie workmates smirked but handed over the privilege to him. He showed up on the day, and wowed the pants off them when he treated them to a teppanyaki masterclass. He cooked the juiciest, most tender steaks and sausages for his workmates. He also cooked fried rice on the BBQ griddle for them. Time went by, and one of his workmates approached him at work one day and asked him how he cooked the fried rice on the BBQ - because when he tried it, the rice just burnt and stuck. As it turns out, he'd put raw rice straight onto the BBQ. *smirk*

    Mum's Braised Pork Trotters with Ginger & Bean Curd

    Can you spot the whole trotter?

    I saw the trotters at the butchers a few days ago and bought some for Mum to cook. I love them. I wish they had more meat on them though. But I still enjoyed eating the skin and sucking up the gelatinous bits off the bones and cartilage.

    Friday 21st May 2010

    My cravings for muffins come and go so quickly that by the time I actually sit down to eat it, the moment's over and I don't feel like it. Tonight I brought a muffin to work and actually ate it! I warmed it up for thirty seconds in the microwave and had it with a hot chocolate.

    Blueberry Muffin

    Mum's Rice Porridge with Choko & Prawn Stirfry and Preserved Beancurd

    I really really love the salty taste of the beancurd. I could probably sit there and eat it by itself. With a glass of red to wash it down, of course.

    Thursday 20th May 2010

    I totally forgot that I had a frozen stash of meatballs in the freezer! They're my Pork and Leek Meatballs. I thawed them out overnight and today made lunch with them.

    I made a rich tomato sauce with garlic, onion, celery, canned crushed tomatoes, white wine, ground sweet paprika, ground coriander and chilli. I cooked the meatballs in the sauce while it was simmering. I threw the spaghetti in when the meatballs were cooked.

    Pork & Leek Meatballs in a Rich Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti

    I sprinkled some grated pecorino and garnished with a fresh basil leaf. Pretty!

    Oh my god! I could not believe how soft the meatballs were! I thought that after being frozen they wouldn't retain the same qualities that they have when they're fresh. The meatballs were melt in your mouth and packed with lots of flavour.

    I couldn't help giggling to myself in glee while eating this. I am soooo happy with myself!

    Taste this, Matt Preston!

    "Aah Saz, you've done it again!"

    I look forward to lots of pasta dishes this winter, accompanied by a glass of red. My inventory has been replenished with this order!