*raises her glass* "A toast: while most people eat to live, I live to eat. There's nothing like enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal with a fine bottle of wine in the company of fantastic friends. To life!"
On the weekend I had a Pork Belly Cook Off with friends, where we were to each roast a piece of pork and present it at dinner for it to be judged. I am so proud of their efforts, however, I didn't post the photos because I left my camera at work and the photos that I took on my phone were crap.
I had spent the day with Jocelyn, Christina and Mum and I was going to roast the pork in the afternoon at Mum's place. Mum had bought the pork for me since I had been at work on the late shift for the past few nights. However, despite my request that she leave the pork for me to cook, she had marinated it with her blend of spices that she normally uses. I watched her make the roast pork and for once, she actually showed me step by step what she does. She normally doesn't like me to know how she prepares dishes because I suppose she thinks if I learn to cook it just as good as her, I would have less reason to go home for dinner!
So, my roast pork was actually my Mum's roast pork. I have to say, she makes an awesome roast pork with gorgeous crackling.
So, despite eating like half a kilo of roast pork on Saturday night and vowing not to touch roast pork again for a long time, I bought some pork belly today and roasted it for dinner. I rubbed some Asian five spice blend into the meat and some sea salt into the skin, which I tried to score with a knife.
Roast Pork Belly with mashed Potato and Broccolini
A great first effort! The crackling was really crunchy, but not as light as Mum gets hers. I suppose I should keep trying...
PENINSULA TEA GARDENS
Tranby House, Johnson Road, Maylands
I had a lovely lunch with some ladies today. I like the menu on offer here at the Peninsula Tea Gardens because it caters to different budgets and you can order what you feel like on the day. Either sweet or savoury.
Scones with Jam and Cream
Savoury Scones with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
the TUCK SHOP CAFE
178 Newcastle Street, Northbridge
Lunch with the siblings and Mum today.
I had the Mixed Berry Pancakes with Vanilla Mascarpone
Mum had the Smoked Salmon
Jocelyn had the Meatballs
and Christina had the Pork Belly and Chorizo.
The lady who served us was absolutely AMAZING. Despite Jocelyn's fussiness, she was so polite, helpful and accommodating. She didn't get the slightest bit impatient even when Jocelyn changed practically every component on her dish! Christina and I ordered soy short macchiatos but they came out curdled and without asking, she gave us a full refund and got Christina a replacement coffee for free.
I would definitely recommend this place! Just get ready to wait for a table if you don't get there early enough as they don't take reservations.
Curry with Roti
That's right, we have discovered that we can successfully cook roti (the frozen type that you get from Asian supermarkets) in our little oven at work. Simply put it under the grill and once the top is golden brown, flip it over for another few minutes. Woo!
Ursula brought in these gorgeous homemade dumplings today at work. Good thing Brendan wasn't at work today...there wouldn't have been any left! Some where vegetarian and some were beef and cheese. Yummo!
Hand harvested brown rice with marron, mussels and saffron.
My gosh, I didn't think I would be able to get through so much rice, but I couldn't stop eating...the flavours were absolutely amazing! And I loved the texture of the rice. It was cooked perfectly. Not gluggy or undercooked. Just perfect. Would have liked a bit more seafood though!
Orange blossom frozen yoghurt with lilly pilly berries.
The frozen yoghurt was divine and refreshing. However, it was really well hidden beneath alot of fruit. I had to keep digging but only managed to get a bit of the frozen yoghurt out before I gave up. It was such a large serve too! I would have liked it better if they just gave me a scoop of the yoghurt with a few slices of the fruit on the side.
We couldn't have asked for more gorgeous weather today as we took a stroll back to the Medieval world. We packed a picnic and bought fresh bread from the markets.
Later that day, we headed back to Donnybrook and had dinner in the tavern. The garlic bread was awesome - Turkish bread sliced lengthwise and covered in cheese and garlic butter.
My steak dinner was terrible. I asked for it medium rare but it came out well done and tough as a shoe. For $35, I sent it back and copped attitude from the backpacker waitress who insisted it was medium rare. After almost an hour of waiting, I got a new steak cooked but it was just as well done. Not happy Jan. I ate the mashed potatoes (which were really good) and had to go back to our motel room to eat potato chips.
Pork Chop with Cheese Cauliflower and Broccolini
Lately, I have been using my microwave alot to cook vegetables. It's so quick and a less messier alternative to parboiling potatoes. I simply use the sensor functions on the microwave to help me par-cook potatoes before I put them in the oven to back and crisp up. Broccolini and beans cook well in the microwave too. I just have to keep an eye on them so that they don't overcook. I like a bit of crispness to remain in my vegetables.
I've been spoiled this week! Dinner at Lisa's tonight!
No curry dinner is complete with potatoes! I love love love whenever people cook me potatoes! The goat was nice and tender after being cooked in the pressure cooker. Hmm...methinks maybe I should get one...
Sue cooked a gorgeous roast dinner for me tonight -
Complete with Brussel Sprouts and Yorkshire Puddings!
The Saffron Poached Pears I made turned out great! The pears were a little overcooked because we warmed them up in the microwave. I didn't have much sauce (I reduced what was in the pot after taking the pears out, until I got a thick syrup) because it was sweet enough for me. We served them with a scoop of Maggie Beer's Madagascan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Yum!
Homemade Char Siew with fresh Cucumber slices
Spring Vegetable Soup with Chicken and Pasta
I've been invited to my neighbours' place for dinner tomorrow night and I've insisted that I bring dessert. I've been racking my brains for the last few days thinking what I can make that will look like I slaved away in the kitchen to prepare, yet also taste fantastic with no chance of failure? With my busy work schedule, I don't have time for a second attempt...and I would rather not have to resort to buying a tub of ice cream!
Inspired by Ling's efforts at poaching a pear at my place last week in the spur of the moment, I was struck with an idea when I saw an entire bag of the new season's Buerre Bosc pears for only $2.99 at my Cannington Fresh. I am going to poach pears!
I set to work peeling the pears and then realised I don't have a corer utensil. I ended up trying the handle of a teaspoon and amazingly, it worked! I was able to scrape the cores of the pears out without too much trouble.
Brown sugar, cinnamon quill, cardamom pods, star anise ans saffron threads.
I brought the poaching syrup up to the boil and then placed my pears in.
I placed a piece of baking paper over the surface of the liquid to keep the pears immersed in the syrup. This will stop them from drying out and to also make sure that they cook evenly and absorb all those gorgeous flavours!
The verdict? We'll find out at dinner tomorrow night!
Although not an official 'lunch day' at work, Neelam brought in enough for us all to share! She made these gorgeous little homemade rolls stuffed with, I suppose it was sort of like a caponata.
Neelam's Spicy Tuna
When Neelam was telling us how she cooks her spicy tuna, I realised that I use the exact same ingredients to cook okra. It's amazing how just by changing the amounts you use and replacing a few ingredients (or in this case, just one ingredient!) you can come up with an entirely different dish! Love it!