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A Few of My Favourite Things!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

WCB 25

Our cats must have been doing some martial arts training - can you believe that Tasha was actually holding this position in her sleep???

Head over to Eat Stuff for Clare's WCB round up!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Chilli Padi Degustation Menu

We had an early Christmas office function at Chilli Padi tonight and were treated to a specially organised degustation menu. The chef who helped organise the menu, Li, was delightful to deal with and the wait staff, although a little awkard at times, were generally quite competent. The night was very warm and humid and the seating a little too close for comfort. It would have been better if they had provided a little more breathing room between tables and between people at the same table given that the room was not air conditioned.

The table had been laid with white table cloths and napkins, and a touch of festivity was added with the presence of 'Noel' candles and some bonbons that we had brought along. Although the setting was lovely and the staff attentive, the food was a little hit and miss.

Unagi seaweed and Mirin Oyster Shot:
I'm not sure that the wasabi-flavoured liquid really did much for the oyster. In fact, it was probably a little too sweet for my liking too. The unagi with seaweed was really tasty though.

Chilli Soft Shell Crab on Baguette:
Yum! The deep fried soft shell crab definitely hit the spot. I skipped the baguette cos I couldn't really see the point of it but the lettuce formed the perfect foil for the rich flavour of the crab.

Lobster with Scallion and Ginger on Crispy Noodles:
The lobster was tough and noodles too dry. I much prefer the traditional version of this dish.

Fish with Ulam Sweet Chilli Sauce and Rice:
The fish was too dry for my taste although the others found it okay.

Beef Rendang with Crispy Roti Fingers and Tomato Sambal:
The rendang had a great flavour but the beef was not as tender as I had hoped and the roti fingers were dry, not fluffy. I didn't see any tomato sambal.

Twice-cooked Duck with Plum and Cranberry Salad and Shitake Mash:
I had been really looking forward to this dish but unfortunately the duck was rather bland and not falling off the bone as I had hoped it would be. The salad was really tasty though and the mash was more-ish.

Cold Berry Soup with Fruit Cubes and speckled caviar pearls and truffle wonton:
This was a lovely refreshing end to dinner. The caviar pearls turned out to be just sago, despite the exotic sounding description. I enjoyed this dessert very much after the meal.

I also baked Pierre Herme's Faubourg Pave (baked in a round tin) to serve as part of the meal. This is one RICH dessert! He suggests using Valrhona Manjari (bittersweet) and Jivara (milk) for the ganache but I had used the Callebaut that was in my pantry instead. My goodness - what flavour! Also, I marinated the apricots with szechuan as well as black pepper. Mmmmm...

Although I wouldn't be tempted to try the degustation menu again anytime soon, I would come back to check out the hawker-style dishes that they serve at Chilli Malam. It looks like a great place to sit down with a group of close friends for a late meal.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Curry Scrambled Eggs!

Last night, the Melbourne food bloggers - well, the four of us who could make it anyway - finally managed to meet up thanks to a huge effort from Ed. The food bloggers in Sydney seem to get together quite regularly but this is the first time any of the Melbourne bloggers have become acquainted in person. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive - after all, how much can you tell about someone from their blog? :-) Fortunately, Ed, Jamie and Sarah all turned out to be just fine - phew!

In his most recent post, Jamie proposes that most people have a preference for either a savoury breakfast of eggs & bacon or a sweet one of muesli & fruit. I'm definitely a sweet person and it's rare that I have a craving for bacon & eggs. I recently realised that this is also reflected in the food that I blog about and I have decided to be more balanced with my posts. So, I'll start with the breakfast that I made for A this morning.

These scrambled eggs were inspired by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Mangoes and Curry Leaves. I started by frying some shallots, crushed ginger, curry leaves and dried chilli flakes in olive oil before adding a beaten egg & scrambling.

The curry scrambled egg was served with Turkish basturma (aka pasturma). I love the way the green curry leaves are veiled in a translucent egginess.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

WCB 24

Bella: What are you doing, Tasha? I thought we were gonna play...

Bella: Fine, you stay with your head in the paper bag. I'm gonna go play!

Look, we've got peonies too this week!

To welcome Clare back to WCB, please visit Eat Stuff!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Madeira Cake

A. loves having a slice of Madeira cake with a cup of tea but we have not had much luck lately with the supermarket variety. He put a request in for this cake some time ago so last night I baked one based on Nigella's mother-in-law's recipe as found in HTBDG. Madeira cake is supposed to improve with time, so I made it last night for a dinner that mum&dad are hosting tonight.

Madeira Cake
240g softened butter, 200g caster sugar, grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, 3 large eggs, 210 SR flour, 90g plain flour
  1. Cream butter and sugar then add lemon zest
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, with a tablespoon of flour between each addition
  3. Gently mix in rest of the flour followed by the lemon juice
  4. Pour into lined loaf tin and sprinkle with caster sugar before popping into oven at 170C for 1 hour

Thursday, November 17, 2005

BBM3: What I received...

After sending off the parcel for my BBM recipient yesterday, I was greeted at home by a parcel of my own. As far as I can tell, Mari is not a food blogger but after opening the box of homemade and decorated cookies that she sent, I think she should get onboard right away!

Here are some close up pictures that I just HAD to share - look at how beautiful and intricate the decoration is!

Thanks, Mari!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Guess who this went out to yesterday? I've left 2 items out so that it doesn't give too much away!
Shown here: Copy of food section "Epicure" from our local paper, "The Age", containing an article on Australian food bloggers, Tim Tams (of course), a selection of chocolates including Peanut Butter-flavoured KitKat, jackfruit wafers, caramel-flavoured Sipahh straws, black sesame and green tea Pocky and a pair of chopsticks to use with recipe.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Steamed Barramundi with Ginger-Soy Sauce Dressing

Dinner tonight was fresh barramundi steamed with ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt, white pepper in chicken stock. Only takes 10-15 min, during which time I lightly fried some ginger and garlic to sprinkle over the top, blanched some lovely seasonal asparagus and boiled a mix of thai red and basmati rice to accompany the fish. So simple and yet delicious :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

WCB 23: Look but don't touch!

So, the idea was to make something to welcome Clare Eats of Eat Stuff back from the hospital after she suffered a nasty infection from some bites that she received from Kiri following a scare from their friendly neighborhood dog. The question was what to bake? I made sardine puffs for Kiri's birthday a couple of weeks back so I was intent on baking something sweet this time.

I remembered a recipe for Maxence's grandmother's Gateau au Yaort that recently appeared on Chocolate and Zucchini. The recipe seemed to be pretty strightforward but it looked like one of those cakes that you crave when you want something delicious and not overly creamy to have with a cup of tea (like a madeira cake). I looked back on Clotilde's posts until I found the ingredient list and easy instructions for this cake. I had some plain yoghurt on hand that I wanted to use up and I also had some eggs in the fridge that were crying out to be drowned in cake batter. But I didn't want it to just be a plain yoghurt cake. I wanted something a little more comforting...say something like an apple teacake. After all, didn't Ruth Reichl name her book 'Comfort Me with Apples' for a reason? Yes, I really liked this idea of filling the kitchen with the aroma of sugar and cinnamon - mmmm. So, I decided that I would just place some slices of Granny Smith on top of the yoghurt cake batter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

I placed all the ingredients I needed for this recipe on the countertop and proceeded to measure out the ingredients using the yoghurt tub. The idea with this recipe is that you can use the yoghurt tub to measure out all your ingredients. The problem was that my yoghurt was sitting in a 500ml tub - way too large for this recipe. So, I used a 200ml tub that held just a tablespoon of leftover sourcream. Seeing as there was only a smidgeon of sourcream left, I decided to include it in the batter. After pouring the yoghurt-sourcream mix into a large bowl, I started adding the sugar and flour. Halfway through this, I realised that somehow I had gotten confused and started measuring out double the amount of all the ingredients after the yoghurt step! What was I going to do seeing as I had no yoghurt left? Well, there was an unopened tub of sourcream in the fridge and that was going to have to do. I continued with the recipe by adding oil, baking powder and vanilla extract. I skipped the rum because I didn't have any. Fortunately, everything seemed to go smoothly after that. I poured the batter into the cake tin and placed it in the oven to bake at 180C for 45 min. Of course, I ended up having to bake it for about 90 min instead because I had doubled the recipe. Well, it just meant we would have more cake to go around anyway and that can't be bad, right?

The cake came out of the oven looking pretty good, so I left it on the counter to cool. Being a thoroughly impatient type of gal, I didn't leave it to cool for much before cutting a slice to look at the inside. I could tell something was wrong immediately. Initially, the cake did not appear to be fully baked on the inside but upon closer inspection, I realised that it was cooked through but it had a definite sheen from the oil. I wondered where I had gone wrong with such a simple recipe - sigh. How disappointed I was! I had wasted all these ingredients for naught, and I didn't even get to use up my eggs in this recipe...hang on, didn't I read something about eggs before? I quickly looked at the recipe again. Horror! I was meant to have added two eggs at the start. Actually, seeing as I had doubled the recipe by mistake, that should have been four eggs! ARGGHHHH. (Of course, the sharp-eyed reader will notice that the eggs are missing in the above photo, which is supposed to show all the ingredients). Well, you gotta laugh, right? :-) I tried and it's the thought that counts (sheepish grin), and the cake doesn't look so bad, does it? Cheers, Clare, and we hope that you are recovering well.

Here is Tasha, who knows that she looks great against A's new red toy car pajama pants from Peter Alexander!

This week, WCB is being hosted by Boo-licious at Masak-masak again this week:

Check out Amy's lovely flowers and get well message at Beauty Joy Food;
Check out the cute
Babaganoosh with his good wishes at passionatenonchalance;
Check out Kalyn's
beautiful snapdragons which are beckoning Clare and Kiri to get well soon at Kalyn's Kitchen;
Check out
Squirt's life story and well wishes at ...slowly she turned... ;
Check out
Tasha, cake (yum!), flowers and get well wishes at A Few of my Favourite Things;
Check out
Flotsa in a Berkeley window at Middle-Fork;
Check out the kitties,
Fridolin and Maruschka at Rosa's Yummy Yums;
Check out the Cat who is sad but has lovely flowers for Clare and Kiri at Belly-Timber;
Check out
Flotsa who is sending Clare and Kiri some virtual ice-cream at Far Cartouche;
Check out
Earl and Toejam looking so cute they will definitely cheer up Clare and Kiri at So Cal Foodie;
Check out the sweetie,
Tigger who looks like he can give lots of loving to Clare and Kiri at Shelli's Sentiments;
Check out
Phoebe and Trina giving cute winks to Clare and Kiri asking them to get well quickly at Indy Foodie;
Check out the
adorable kitty antics which will bring a smile to Clare and Kiri's faces at Tigers & Strawberries;
Check out
Macroom who is sleeping away on a very cute chair (my Mum's favourite cartoon character!) at Dispensing Happiness;
Check out
Gigolo Kitty who is trying to negotiate better terms with Santa this year over at Gigolokitty!;
Check out
River who is making sure there are no stray doggies around for Clare and Kiri at kitchenmage;
Check out
Lixue who offers furry cuddles to cheer up Clare and Kiri (extra ones for Kiri as she loves him - I am so jealous but I understand as Kiri is such a hunky cat) at Look Hunny, I Cooked;
Check out
Aggie who sent a hug, chocolate cake and flowers to Clare and Kiri at kayaksoup;
Check out the most adorable
kitten fight ever plus candy for Clare and Kiri at Anne's Food;
Check out
Leo who sends his best wishes at my little kitchen;
Check out darling
Molly Doodlebug with beautiful heart cookies and a lovely message for Clare and Kiri at Farmgirl Fare;
Check out
Tanuki who wanted to post himself to Sydney to see Clare and Kiri at A Cat in the Kitchen;
Check out
Marlin sprucing himself up as he brings S'more Treats to Clare and Kiri to cheer them up at Heather's Space;
Check out
Maggie sitting in a sink and offering lots of wishes to Clare and Kiri to get well soon at Love and Cooking;
Check out
Miss Kitty with a lovely get well message and flowers for Clare and Kiri at Culinary in the Desert;
Check out
Maggie and Wellington offering to go Down Under to see Clare and Kiri at Modern Girls Kitchen;
Check out at the
kitties from France who bring flowers for Clare and Kiri at Lali et Cie
Check out Princess LouLou who sends her royal wishes to Clare and Kiri at Stalking the Waiter;
Check out
Alicat's former kitties and Spanks with lots of good wishes to Clare and Kiri to get well at Something So Clever;
Check out
Billy Lee, the cyber kitty who is up to tricks at The food pornographer;
Check out
Jack and Charlotte who both sent lots and lots of hugs to Clare and Kiri (I want one too!) at My Adventures in the Breadbox;
Check out
Tyson who will beat up that doggie which tried to hurt Kiri at Food Chronicles (I'm sad about Meggiecat's loss too!);
Check out
Dale who sends his love and hugs to Clare and Kiri plus apologies for his species at One Hot Stove;
Check out
Miss Domino who is looking for Clare and Kiri at Farmgirl Fare;
Check out
Dusty who is concentrating very hard to be worried at bakingsheet;
Check out speedy
Trixie who offers good wishes to Clare and Kiri at greengirlart;
Check out
Snoopy who is joining us for the first time at everybody likes sandwiches;
Check out
Red-Boy who wishes Clare and Kiri well at bunnyfoot;
Check out
Lyle who offers Kiri a safe place to play at Basic Juice;
Alisha and
Mattie sends Clare and Kiri well wishes at Playin' Whaley;
Check out
Shishi, Mel and Spot who all offer well wishes plus good advice to Clare and Kiri at s'kat and the food;

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Dad's Claypot Chicken

Dad returned from an overseas trip just this morning and as mum is going to be away for another week and a half still, she has prepared for her absence in the kitchen by cooking and freezing a batch of lunches and dinners.

As this was his first day home, I thought it would be nice for him to have a hot meal that need not be defrosted. I set out to cook a simple dish for him to have with rice (which he manages very well indeed). I have tried cooking claypot chicken once before without any success. It turned out to be bland and unexciting, however I came across a recipe in the Women's Weekly 'Great Asian Food' cookbook. The Women's Weekly Cookbooks are widely available from most newsagents and supermarkets in Australia. These recipes are certainly not haute cuisine but they are simple and well-tested. The claypot chicken requires just two easy steps - marinating the chicken before baking in a claypot with onions and bok choy.

Although I didn't make the full recipe, I knew that not all the ingredients would fit into the little claypot that I own. I remembered, however, that A had a pot (from before I met him) for brewing chinese herbal medicine that is also made from clay. Although the shape is a little rounder and higher and it has a spout from which to pour the herbal medicine, it's still a 'claypot' isn't it? I can also assure you now that the chicken turns out just as deliciously!

Claypot Chicken
1kg chiciken thigh fillets, 2 small brown onions, baby bok choy, 1/2cup chicken stock. Marinade: 4 cloves garlic (crushed), 1 tbs fish sauce, 1tbs soy sauce, 1tbs hoisin sauce, 2tbs lime juice, 2tbs finely chopped lemon grass .
  1. Combine chicken and marinade in large bowl and mix well. Cover and leave in refridgerator for at least 3 hour.
  2. Place chicken in claypot with remaining ingredients and mix gently. Bake at 180C for 1 hour or until chicken is tender.

Friday, November 04, 2005

WCB 22

Don't you love the way cats can just curl up anywhere in any old position and fall asleep? And they never seem to wake up with a crick in their neck! Look at the way Tasha is grasping her ankle with her paw. Tasha likes getting cuddled for her morning naps but Bella prefers cuddling up at night. She likes touching noses and butting her head against mine to show her love. When we allow them in the room at night, she will often hop onto the bed while I'm lying on my stomach reading. She will then proceed to rub her face against my face before flopping down between me and the book and falling blissfully asleep. She also likes to place her head on my pillow and fall asleep facing me. If I turn to face the other way and have my back to her, she has been known to get up, walk around to the other side and lie down again so that we are facing each other once more.

Share your kitty sleeping habits with us! This week, WCB is being hosted by Boo-licious of Masak-masak from whom this list has been plagiarised:

Check out Babe's patchwork kitties at Babe in the City - KL;
Check out
Macroom who has found a great place to sleep at Dispensing Happiness;
Check out sleepy Lucky, the tuxedo cat at the Countess.;
Lady is checking out the neighbour's kitties this weekend at Middle Fork;
Check out baby
Rima playing hide and seek at Les Carnets de sbmarie;
Check out
Guido with his hot green eyes at Slowly She Turned;
Check out
Gigolokitty whipping up a love potion at Gigolokitty!; and
Check out
Aggie doing a supermodel pose at Kayaksoup
Check out Rita and Stuart during laundry day at Belly Timber;
Check out
Edith whose tongue is showing some action at Anne's Food;
Check out the snow princess
Lixue eyeing those birdies at Look Hunny, I Cooked;
Check out
Pixel and Billy Lee over at the food pornographer;
Check out
Barbara's kitties' true confessions at Tigers & Strawberries;
Check out
Boots busting tires at Heather's Space;
Check out
Ike and Abe sharing a stool in the Restaurant Widow; and
Check out
Bussi and Lyle having a slumber party at Basic Juice
Check out Le Petit Tigre who loves yoghurt at Lali et Cie; and
Check out
New Cat sitting at the side of the veggie bed (not in it) at Farmgirl Fare