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A Few of My Favourite Things!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Morrocan Dinner

We moved into our new place about two-and-a-half months ago and we've only JUST had our first 'sit-down' dinner guests, Uncle S and Aunty M, over. We started with an entree that I remember having in Sydney a long time ago: bruschetta topped with chevre, fig jam and rocket.

For dinner, I wanted to try a recipe from The Momo Cookbook, which I bought some time ago. After pouring through all the recipes and pictures in the book and changing my mind a few hundred times, I decided to serve the Chicken Tagine with Olives and Pickled Lemons. To accompany this dish, there was couscous and a Date and Feta Salad that was featured in the September 2004 issue of Cuisine. I thought the chicken tagine would be quite sour due to the presence of pickled lemons and olives, but it turned out beautifully. The salad was also a great mixture of sweet and salty flavours, but I only realised after the meal that all 3 dishes had that sweet, salty flavour mix - oh well!

Chicken Tagine with Olives and Pickled Lemons

3 pieces of chicken maryland, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground white pepper, small container of split green olives, 1.5 pickled lemon skin, 1 finely chopped onion, 5 garlic cloves, 1 tsp ground ginger, 100 ml saffron liquid, 500 ml water, 3 tbs chopped coriander, 3 tbs choped flat-leafed parsley

1. Sprinkle chicken with half the salt and pepper

2. Blanch olives 3 times with boiling water, rinsing under running water after each time

3. Heat olive oil in pan and fry onions gently until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, saffron liquid, remaining salt and pepper and water.

4. Add chicken and turn to coat with spices. Bring to boil then leave to simmer for 1 hour, turning chicen over several times.

5. Add olives, rinsed peel of pickled lemon, coriander and parsley, then cook 15 min more.

6. If sauce is still too watery, remove chicken (keep warm) and boil to reduce sauce.

Date and Feta Salad

Toss together organic fancy lettuce, thinly sliced spanish onion, crumbly feta, pitted and halved fresh dates, and toasted turkish bread. Add dressing of juice of 1 lemon, zest of 1 lemon and olive oil.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Amsterdam and Romantic Brugge

When A and I were visiting Amsterdam earlier in the year, we stumbled upon a market whilst wandering through the streets of Amsterdam and had the opportunity to try some chocolate crepes and to admire the colourful display of mushrooms, dried fruit & nuts. During our strollm it started drizzling so we ducked into a pub for some warmth and to try some traditional Dutch food. We had an antipasto platter of salamis, cold meats & cheese and a traditional pea soup.

We spent one night (only- sob, sob) in Brugge on the way to London and promptly fell in love with this romantic city. Although the city was filled with chocolate shops, many of them were not worth visiting. Luckily, the head chocolatier, Dries, from our local haunt, Koko Black, had recommended a visit to The Chocolate Line, where he used to work. The chocolate here was definitely a cut above the rest but, to be honest, we're not missing much in Melbourne!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

One night in Hong Kong

On our way to London earlier this year, A and I were fortunate enough to be able to spend one night and one day in Hong Kong. We spent most of our time wandering around the wet markets and checking out restaurants, grocery shops, bakeries and outdoor food stalls. We didn't recognise everything that we ate but, hey, we like being adventurous! Here are some images for you to drool over:

We love milky tea! I think the cheong fun with yau char kui is normally eaten for breakfast (?) but, fortunately, they still had some available when we were there for lunch because we really wanted to try this. We had to share the table with another couple and when we were leaving, there was a hugh line waiting to get in. Looks like we just missed the lunch rush.

We tried soups and skewers of food from a few of these open air stalls. All the food was pretty yummy, including the stew of tripe etc...

We watched this lady wrapping rolls for some time before trying one. She would spread some rice onto the sheet, then fill it with meatfloss and dried shrimp/veg mix (I think) before placing a stick of yau char kui in the middle and rolling it all up. I don't remember what it's called, but quite delicious.

And to finish off, here are some things we saw in the markets:

Friday, July 22, 2005

Our babies

A beuatiful face-shot of Natasha taken by Mick just last week. She is gorgeous and highly vocal at meal-times and Isabella is laid-back and loves being cuddled. Here they are playing with a Lindt chocolate wrapper.

We have a video of Bella & Tasha with their litter mates at around 8 weeks old. In the video, their mum, Cheyanne, can be heard meowing in the background. We were watching the video the other day and as soon as Cheyanne started meowing, both our babies awoke from their slumber. They seemed to recognise their mum's voice and spent some time trying to locate the source of the meows. I suppose that shouldn't be too surprising but it was certainly interesting for us to watch. I would love to take them over to visit their mum & sister and watch their interactions.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sujok Fried Rice

This is my version of Lebanese fried rice! We usually buy sujok - a spicy sausage - from one of the butchers on Sydney Road because my wonderful (and gorgeous) husband loves having it with eggs for breakfast. I had a sneaking suspicion that although our cuisines are quite different in many ways, some of the flavours may marry well. In fact, sujok with fried rice turns out to be a very flavoursome mix indeed!

This is a really straight forward dish to make. In this version, I added carrots, mushrooms, peas, corn and sujok to some left-over cold rice. The image is kinda fuzzy, but I definitely recommend trying this dish if you manage get hold of some sujok!

'$' Cake

I've finally gotten around to setting up my blog and I've been blown away by how easy it has been! I felt inspired to do this after reading Jase's blog about his "Running with the Bulls" adventure and checking out the cool photos - especially the one where he's touching the bull!

We have a roster at work for bringing in birthday cakes and it turns out that it was my turn last week. As Ray is our Financial Controller, I decided to make a cake that reflected his position at work:

I made a double recipe and used the extra batter for cupcakes. After cutting out an 'S' into the rectangular cake, I used the extra cake pieces for the line through the middle to create '$'. I also decorated the cupcakes with '$' signs and placed chocolate coins on top of and around the cake.

I was pretty pleased with the final result - what do you think? I won't post the recipe as the cake itself wasn't the best. It was tasty but probably a little too dry, although I did need a cake that would not be too crumbly for this purpose.