Archive for June, 2009



Sometimes you just need Sushi

Lunch bento yesterday was grilled ponzu fish salad. It was the last piece of basa fillet from my fridge (much to Jo’s delight I’m sure).

I marinated the fillet with ponzu sauce (citrus flavoured soy sauce) and a bit of mirin and served it on bed of shredded cabbage and apple strips.

Even though Jo said the fish was tasty, I could sense a faltering enthusiasm for our grilled fish repertoire, so I tried to ‘hide’ her fish with a sunny side up, not sure whether they went well together though. I figured since Jo’s favourite empek empek is fish cake with egg filling, this was an ’empek empek’ of some sort.

I am exhausted!!  I called Jo on the way home and said ‘Eh, I’m too tired to cook, let’s get some takeaway today’. I thought she would jump at the chance of eating her favourite fast food like McD’s etc. but to my surprise, she opted for Kabuki (the takeaway sushi place near my house) instead. What can I say? Sometimes you just need sushi for the tired soul.

Lunch bento tomorrow is chicken, avocado and mandarin orange salad.

I know I mentioned in the last post that I really like Thai food, but really, I am partial towards  Japanese cuisine , which also explains my penchant for cooking Japanese food. The other day I was watching Anthony Bourdain on Youtube and he asked all the chefs something along the lines of ‘what would be your last meal if it was your last day on Earth?’ I asked Jo the same question and she said ‘Japanese food! or … maybe Mum’s cooking’. My answer would probably be the same.

But I think Jo and I were cheating with our ‘Mum’s cooking’ answer, because my Ah Ma is a fantastic cook, and she can bake bread (so good straight out of the oven),  make dimsum (my dad likes her xiao long bao while I love her char siew bao) and whip up yummy dishes of all nationalities ranging from sambal prawns, fish and chips to authentic Nyonya cuisine.If only I could cook like my mum.

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S & T Thai Gourmet Cafe

Not many people know this, but I actually really like Thai food. When Jo and I go home to Malaysia, our whole family loves going out for great Thai food in Kuching, I remember numerous birthday celebrations at Bangkok Thai and their must-order- in-advance mango chicken (so good) and the more recent favourite Pandan Delight at BDC. Their tom yum prawns are soo yummy. I love the Thai flavours of lemongrass, lime, fish sauce, galangal etc. I have been trying to infuse these sweet, sour and spicy flavours into my cooking, but of course, it’s nothing like the real thing.

Unfortunately, Thai food in Perth is quite pricey and definitely not as affordable or readily available as say Indonesion,Vietnamese or other South East Asian cuisine. So I was pretty happy when S & T opened up along the handy location of William Street, Northbridge and its menu included a range of affordable one-dish meals such as Pad Thai, or Red Curry with Rice for AUD$10 – $12.

I’ve heard Wendy say that they brought Xinlong and some friends to S & T and they were not impressed, especially disliking the small portions. So be forewarned, if you’re looking for giant portions of noodle/rice e.g. Taurus Hawker foods, this is not the place for you. Instead, if you’re looking for small/medium bowls of slightly sweet and spicy, coconut milk infused  flavourful green curry with rice (or in our case, noodles) for $10, then perhaps give S & T a try.

Their red curry with rice ($10) is more spicy than the green, but still deep flavours with nice tender chicken pieces. Good drenched with rice.

One thing I don’t like about S & T, the giant amounts of peas they put in their curries, the peas are rather hard and bitter, I’m not sure what they add to the curries, but we had to pick them all out and they pretty much too up the whole bowl. Also another recommendation for S & T, please beautify your menu, it’s messy and difficult to read, even ‘justify-ing’ the word document would make a huge difference.

I’ve since walked past S & T many times, and everytime it’s packed with Thai locals, so I’m assuming that’s a thumbs up for the authencity and flavour of its food? Personally I’m glad there’s an affordable Thai cafe where we can pop in for a taste of Thai under $15, so I hope it stays for a while.

Daitaoha ratings:

Food 6.5/10 daitaohas

Service 6/10 daitaohas

S&T Thai Gourmet Cafe

3/349 William Street Perth 6000

Tel: (08) 9328 8877

On another note,it’s the end of the weekend and I feel pretty miserable about the week ahead. I am trying my best to dish up some excitement, but truly, I feel like this ↓

Cry me a river

So I committed the ultimate no-no at work today. I cried. Sigh. Yes, I cried at work today. Ok, so it wasn’t a sob fest or bawling my eyes out hullaballoo, more like shiny eyes tears threatening to overspill situation. BUT , I was  still highly embarrassed, as in, kill me now, I may as well just quit now embarrassed.

Just one colleague saw me teary eyed, and I’m glad it was him. In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t have cried if he didn’t ask me ever so gently whether I was ok. You know how when you’re on the verge on tears and  trying to keep your emotions in check while muttering ‘zen zen zen’ under your breath (or is that just me?)? Just when you’re calming down, some Samaritan will come and give you a hug or say in the kindest tone ‘are you alright?’ and BOOM, tears overflow situation.

That was me today. (T__________T)

Friends who know me know that I’m a crybaby, I cry at all sad movies, I even cry at happy movies with one tiny sad scene (which for some reason other people don’t find sad, heartless creatures). But my rule is, I never ever cry at work. To me, that’s a sign of weakness and unprofessional, but I don’t know what happened today, maybe I’ve been bottling in up, I thought I was cruising and battling those engulfing waves, but apparently I was not.

It was one wave after another but at least it was from people I expected crap from. Then suddenly, a newcomer came on the scene and her words just incited me, I think it was more tears of shock than anger. And at the end of it, I was just so angry with myself for being so unprofessional, for letting it get to me. To my defence, I did walk away from the conversation (or should I say hammering) still civil and polite. It was only back at my desk that my facade crumbled. And A sensed it all, and he came along with kind words, and was rewarded with teary eyes, poor A! I think he was speechless.

At the end of the day, my manager and other colleagues were incensed on my behalf which was touching. But A was the champion, he brought me out for coffee, to a special coffee place in fact and gave me a pep talk and lots of encouragement. I think when I see him tomorrow I will be shy, very very very shy.

I’m not out of the woods yet. I sense that the next few days will be very tense and am already prepared for the storms to come. But I also know that I have the support of my good worksmates like A, and that means a lot.

No more tears. This is the last time that I’m allowed weakness at work, I have more grit than that!

Perhaps my emotions were poured into my cooking today. This spicy, sweet and sour pineapple chicken was really quite spicy.

Mixed together with savoy cabbage strips and sweet corn kernels, it’s my lunch bento tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s already Friday tomorrow, I’ve been dodging balls from all corners that time just flew past. If anything, I think I’m stronger today and will be even better tomorrow.

All in a Day’s Work

Home cooking for the past week.

Jo’s reaction to this dish was ‘wah, how come today get instant noodles?!’ After so much home cooked food, it’s actually a treat to eat yummy instant noodles, especially our favourite Indo Mee. I topped the noodles with grilled basa fillets marinated in a mixture of white miso paste, sugar and mirin. Lunch the next day was thinly shredded raw cabbage with the fillets, very nice even eaten cold.

I’m very proud of this recipe! I wish I could post up a recipe but then I didn’t take any measurements. A variation from my teriyaki hambaagu, these mini chicken patties are made of minced chicken, chopped onion and cabbage  mixed with an egg and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. I pan fried the chicken on low heat and basted the golden patties with my teriyaki sauce. Served on top of a bed of shredded cabbage (in case you haven’t noticed, shredded cabbage are my new favourite salad veg), it was really quite yummy (=^__^=) and Jo loved it.

Tonight’s dinner was lime chicken salad with grilled chicken, shredded cabbage, rock melon and grape tomatoes. The dressing was made of fresh lime juice, light soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and palm sugar. I think it will be an eye opener for lunch tomorrow, goodness know I need it.

Work has been really tiring and I find myself constantly wondering ‘am I doing any good? am I actually helping?’ Very early in my career at the new place, while attending a farewell morning tea for an exec, the exec gave a  speech saying ‘I had to leave, because I was too tired of seeing nothing being done, nothing working, so I am going back to where I came from, to rest, because I am too tired’.  I hope I’ll never be in that situation even though I see many of my colleagues spiralling towards that weary road. I like to think that I’m still optimistic and will never give up.

On a bright note, I found this box of chocolates on my desk this morning. A secret admirer? I can already imagine Jason going ‘oooh’ and raising his eyebrows. But sorry to disappoint you, it was from a colleague who said that she wanted to thank me for all my help in the past few weeks. Isn’t that sweet? My other colleague also bought me a crystal elephant figurine (with sakura flowers on the back, I thought of Jo immediately but sorry hor, it’s on my office desk) from her Thailand holidays. I have nice colleagues.

I was still feeling down when I received a phonecall to go for an interview next Monday. My boss has already offered to give me mock interviews, I’m not so keen on the job, but an interview experience is an interview experience. I’ll try my best.

A while later, I received my travel itinerary. Remember how I mentioned I was going to the heart of Australia for work? I really meant Alice Springs, yes, I’m going to the Northern Territory, the red earth.  Perhaps I will only get to see the interior of the hotel, but I’m hoping for more, I want to see and experience the real Aboriginal Australia.

I fly next week. I knew it was going to be an exciting month, but now it’s a bit too exciting for me. I hope all goes well *fingers crossed* wish me luck!

Edgecombe Brothers

Finally I have time to blog about our lovely  lunch at Edgecombe Brothers Winery. Our visit up Swan Valley was quite some time ago when my sister and bro-in-law were in Perth.

It was a gorgeous and sunny day when we travelled up to the valley.Edgecombe Brothers outdoors cafe was the perfect setting for a casual lunch with its cosy alfresco dining area and beautiful green surroundings of  deep valleys and vineyards.

taken by my sister with her fantastic DSLR

The service was friendly and impeccable and we had a very nice Japanese waiter who wasted no time filling up our glasses with free wine tasting. Yums!

Obviously I did not take the above artsy shot, I think it was my bro-in-law who took this photo. Nice or not? I think it pretty much captures our day in Swan Valley, copious amounts of sweet drinking wine, warm rays of sunlight, great company, fantastic food and surrounded by mother nature.

Never mind the atmosphere, let’s talk about the food, or should I say the feast? H and I both had entertainment vouchers which gave us ‘buy 1 main meal get one main meal free’, so we ended up ordering 4 mains to share. Such a fantastic deal, only problem is, I don’t think the 09/10 entertainment book has Edgecombe Brothers (-____-).

I don’t remember most of the names or prices of the dishes now, so I should forewarn that the following prices + names are probably inaccurate. The homemade cheese tart with beetroot relish was nice, but not spectacular. Similar to the texture of a quiche, it was not overly cheesy or strong, and went well with the sweet beetroot relish (and I hate beetroot).

The yummylicious beef fillet with mushrooms and roasted potatoes and asparagus was perfect. I think we asked for medium rare and it was beautifully pink and tender in the middle. The potatoes were fantastic as well, smooth, buttery. It might be odd to wax lyrical about roasted potatoes but these were seriously good.

Edgecombe Brothers is also famous for its asparagus and Jo loved them. Look at those pretty golden potatoes (*___*).

The prawn and vegetable pasta had juicy, plump panseared prawns and was light and fresh. We liked this one a lot too. But the steak did beat it hands down, we’re really meat people. I’m sorry about my brief descriptions, they’re not doing the food any justice, trust me, it was good!

If you’re ever in Swan Valley and not up for a heavy meal but would like to have a nice snack with your wines, this is a must order, the Tasting Plate for 2 ($36) is ginormous and comes with olives, dukkah, relish, two blocks of  cheese (I recognise one as brie but not sure about the other), turkish bread, asparagus, smoked salmon, grapes,goats cheese tart,sausages and salad.

It was lovely and so fun to eat. Cheese slices or smoked salmon spread on turkish bread, tasty olives, savoury sausages (my bro-in-law’s favourite) and did I mention grapes and cheese? My sister and brother-in-law introduced us to the French (?) combination of grape and cheese which was heavenly.

We were glowing with satisfaction after this meal and trouped off happily for more wine guzzling tasting afterwards. I’m not sure whether it was the beautiful weather, the great company or  Edgecombe Brothers’ food is always this good (if it is I will happily return!), but my brother-in-law and sister agreed that it was one of the best meals they had in Perth.

Daitaoha ratings:

Food 8.5/10 daitaohas

Service 8.5/10 daitaohas

Edgecombe Brothers Winery and Cafe
Cnr Gnangara & West Swan Road
HENLEY BROOK
Western Australia 6055
Open 10am – 6pm 7days a week
Phone (08) 9296 4307
http://www.edgecombebrothers.com.au/

Foundation Day long wkend

The sneakers are back on the far end of the shoe shelf. Comfy jeans tucked away. Black boring office wear hung in front of wardrobe.  All signs that the long weekend is over. SIGH. And such an eventful weekend it was too, included Vietnamese hotpots, trips to the hospital (?!), coffee with friends, and as usual, lots of eating.

Friday

It was another stressful day at work, luckily my boss let me off early and I was racing out of the door by 4. Start of the long weekend! Dinner at Adrian’s place where Amy (his gf) cooked us Vietnamese hotpot!

Amy’s Vietnamese hotpot had lots of ingredients, enoki mushrooms, bean sprouts, slices of beef etc. Hidden underneath the flavourful broth was nice Korean clear noodles.  I felt quite bad for Amy because I know it can be stressful cooking for lots of people (there were 7 of us in all).

Her entree of springrolls which had bits of minced prawn and was really very tasty, I must ask her for the recipe for this. Amy are you reading this? Can I have the recipe for your springrolls please?

Our contribution was dessert of warm mud pie with vanilla icecream. We bought the Boston mudcake from Cheesecake Factory and it was rich and gorgeous warmed up in the microwave with lashings of velvety vanilla icecream

It was really a farewell dinner for Norman who was returning to Malaysia after a short holiday in Perth. Norman is Adrian and Bryan’s best friend (I call them the KK 3 Amigos), I’ve heard so much about him so I was glad to meet him finally. He’s a lovely guy, cute, generous and engaging.  I know the guys really enjoyed spending time with their old friend and hopefully he enjoyed his time in Perth as well. He mentioned that he was surprised how much good food there was in Perth, in fact, on the last night, he suffered from a mild form of indigestion. I hope you come back to visit again Norman!

Saturday

A long indulgent sleep in. Jo steamed rice dumplings for brunch.

A bit late for Duan Wu Jie a.k.a. Rice Dumpling Festival but better late than never. I didn’t eat these vegetarian rice dumplings which were a present from Gill, but Jo said they were good. Wanting to return the favour, after lunch at the new Thai gourmet cafe with Brio, I went shopping for sweet treats for the TGIF gang. It was a TGISaturday gang that night, and I finally met up with Jaso and Gerry after 4 long weeks.

Dinner was at Toto’s which food standard is dropping drastically (much to my dismay). I know Mark would be happy that Gill ordered the Crab and Sharksfin soup though, unfortunately, it was more like fake sharksfin. Even though the food was lacking, the company was fantastic. I only wish Jason wasn’t sick, it’s difficult as a friend to watch him looking weak and tired everytime he returns from Geraldton. Makes me want to bundle him away, hide him in Perth and force feed him with hot porridge and creamy soup. So no photos of Jaso this time. Hopefully he will be fully recovered in July *fingers crossed*

My teh tarik high at Makan2 afterwards. If you want o get me to talk, just buy me a mug of that evil, sugar ladened orange drink.

Dessert was the cute mini tarts that I bought from Lawleys bakery in Mt Lawley. Don’t they look cute? I love the colours.  My pick was the lemon tart which was tart, sweet and sour. Made my little eyes disappear.

Sunday

It started innocently enough with a futsal game. But ended up with a rush trip to the after hours GP at Hollywood Hospital with Din Yaw and Xinlong. Poor Din Yaw aka Jason has been suffering from a bout of injury proned bad luck for the past month. I hope this is the last of it, the soccer ball hit him in his right eye and he couldn’t see at all for a while. Even though Xinlong and I were secretly fearing the worst (I blame this on the Moonlight Resonance tvb drama where the father had a serious eye injury), we kept up with a steady strem of ‘mei wen ti/no problem’ ‘nothing to worry about’ statements. I was impressed and touched at Xinlong’s actions that afternoon, he was a wonderful pillar of support to Din Yaw and was so kind and considerate towards his friend. I’m so used to guys who are always so afraid to express emotions or concern  towards their friends (instead opting for a  ‘he can fend for himself’ attitude,is it a guy thing or what?) that it was wonderfully refreshing and touching to see signs of true friendship.

The good doctor referred us to the Royal Perth Hospital emergency ward where Ding Yaw received treatment at last, it was a pretty substantial injury to his eye, but the doctor says he should be 100% in a month, *phew*.

Rushed home after the hospital to have dinner at Manise with Gill and Jo. Jo calls this activity ’empek-empeking (TM)’. They just love love love the empek-empek at Manise and I must admit it was hot, crispy and yummy that night. Hehe I love this cute photo of Jo and Gill.

Coffee and cakes at Exomod with TGIF gang even though Jaso is not in the picture.

Jaso took this artistic ‘blurry background’ photo of the cake. Nice or not? And then it was goodbyes and another 5 weeks before we see Jason again.  Maybe I’m growing older, but I wish I could be in a situation where I could see and spend time with my family and friends all the time, I wish my family members could all be in Perth and my good friends as well. Wishful thinking.

And so it’s June and  the official start of the winter season. I think it’s going to be a season of change, I’m excited!


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