Archive for the 'Mini bites' Category

七夕情人节 Chinese Valentine’s

(T__T). (T_____T). (T________T). Ya. The weekend’s over. Sigh.. very sad.

pooh

And it was such a nice weekend too. Sunday afternoon was spent sipping green tea poured from the cutest teapot, a Christmas present from my sister many years ago.

fish

Dinner tonight was grilled teriyaki fish which I tried to cook unagi style, basting with sauce and grilling.

fish rolls

Steamed fish paste egg rolls with sweet brown sauce made from chicken stock, sweet soy sauce and mirin.

ondeonde

It’s Chinese Valentine’s Day today. Wendy told me that she was going to make sweet rice dumplings for the festival, I wanted to do something similar, but instead of tang yuen, I did it Malaysian style and made pandan onde-onde instead. Little round glutinous flour balls with hidden melted gula melaka filling and dessicated coconut , nom nom nom. Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day everyone 🙂

4 days and counting to the weekend.

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Puff pastry experiments

I’m having lots of fun experimenting with frozen puff pastry, and I hope my friends are enjoying being my puff pastry guinea pigs.

Nutella and banana puff pastry parcels. Nutella and bananas are the perfect combination, yums.

Tomato, basil and mozarella tart which I spread with tomato paste first, it was like a plain pizza only with flaky puff pastry base.

The problem with Project November is that I’m hit with this baking and cooking urge, I want to try everything, cook everything, it doesn’t help that my Ah Ma is enticing me with her recipes and stories of her different experiments everyday. Where to start, where to start. Mexican, Yorkshire puddings, laksas, tom yum and satays, pies, I want to cook them all!

Ok ok, enough about food. I promise the next post will be a birthday post with pictures of friends (and food) instead. And perhaps when I get round to it … I’ll finally blog about Perth Royal Show *hang head in shame* (T____T).

Homecooking 101: Project October Last week

I wanted the last week of Project October to go out with a big bang, hoping to cook something that I had never tried cooking before, perhaps even attempting to use the oven for a change (0__0).

Monday we had unagi bento for lunch, I know everyone enjoyed this because who doesn’t love unagi on a bed of sticky vinegary sushi rice and sweet egg and onion omelette?

Tuesday Jo and HC cooked us pasta carbonara which was sinfully creamy and tasty.

Wednesday it was lamb chops on mash with homemade gravy for dinner.

Lunch bento was pineapple beef with kailan and steamed rice, a simple stir-fry.

This was my challenge for the week, Bouef Bourguignon which I cooked in a slow cooker overnight. Anyone who has watched the movie Julie and Julia will know why I wanted to cook this dish.  Chuck beef steeped in lots of beef stock and red wine with whole shallots, carrots, onions,mushrooms and lots of herbs, this was really flavourful only the beef wasn’t juicy enough for me, I think I prefer beef brisket as the cut of meat to braise for many hours.

Friday was another challenging task, my first pie which I baked in the oven. I need to get real pie bowls but I had to make do with a large shallow round foil tin.

My pie err… turned out more like chicken soup with a puff pastry lid. Jo and the rest really liked the soupy texture and found it really comforting. Still, I would like to make a real chunky pie with a more solid sauce texture, if you get what I mean. Something for the future.

With the left over puff pastry, I made some apple tarts which I drizzled with cinnamon sugar and honey. So easy and delicious too, I am planning to make more use of puff pastry in the future.

I’m happy to declare that Project October was a success! We were under budget, everyone enjoyed the cooking (though it was a bit stressful at times) and eating together. So… we held a meeting where I was declared President and Jo Vice President and decided that Project October lives on to become Project November!

I foresee lots and lots of homecooking ahead …

Gill’s belated birthday party

I’m still working my way towards the end of my last weekend posts, but there’s still more to come. How did I manage to squeeze all these activities into 3 days I wonder?

Anyway, last Friday we attended Gill’s belated birthday party. We actually already celebrated Gill’s birthday in early May, but she wanted to hold her birthday party in July because her sister would be back from holidays then and also Jason would be around.

Instead of a dinner party, she decided to have a karaoke night at Utopia. Since Gill was asking for contributions, I decided to go all out and prepare party food for her.  I offered to cater for H and Jason, so they paid me money for the ingredients. It was my first attempt at party food preparation.

First up, Jo’s agar-agar which was her contribution for the night. She made this all by herself the night before.

Jo’s agar agar had three layers with the coconut milk layer at the bottom. Pretty or not? They tasted really nice as well, pandan and coconut milk flavoured agar agar.

The cold meat deli platter that I prepared for H’s contribution, included honey leg ham, smoked leg ham and chicken slices.

My cheese platter with slices of gouda cheese and garlic bagel crisps.

My sandwich tray with egg salad sandwiches, chicken, tomato and lettuce sandwiches and chicken avocado sandwiches. I love my new trays which are brightly coloured and long and best of all, only cost $2! I love the $2 shop near my house, I believe it was my mum’s favourite  when she visited Perth as well, haha. Family of cheapskates.

The mini hotdogs which I prepared for Jaso. I used Woolies bake at home buffet rolls, cocktail sausages and topped the hotdogs with lettuce, tonkatsu sauce, mayo and seaweed strips. A sort of Japanese inspired hotdog.

Tomato and basil bruschetta and smoked salmon with cream cheese and dill bruschetta. Instead of using bread, I cheated and used bruschetta crisps instead. I think they would have tasted much better with the real thing, but I really didn’t have time to bake them in the oven. Not that they would have been toasty by the time the party started though, even the bruschetta crisps were quite soft and the cream cheese had harden slightly by then.

My favourite for the night was the marcapone cheese (the stuff that is in tiramisus) and strawberry bruschetta which I drizzled with honey. A dessert version of bruschetta instead of savoury bruschetta.

And now the people! Jo, XianZhang and Chris who is Jo’s colleague at Northshore. It was my first time meeting Chris and he’s very nice and friendly. He was quite tired at the end of the night because we kept making him sing.

Blurry pic of the birthday girl. Tricia, Gill’s best gf bought her the princess hat thingy which I thought looked really cute on her.

Gill’s birthday cake from Utopia which was like a mountain of profiteroles or should I say mini cream puffs. A bit hard to cut because of all the profiteroles, in the end it was like everyone had a profiterole each.

I like this photo of Gill making a wish because I think she looks very pretty in the soft glow of the candlelight. Ok, end of post! Thanks for inviting us Gill, we had lots of fun. Are you sure you don’t want to have another party next year?

A Week of My Life : Day 6 Saturday

It’s 1.30am and I’m really sleepy! Still, I will try to give a good update of what happened today because Saturdays are always fun.

The sun came out for a short while today, but there were puddles everywhere so it was a sneaker sort of day. Jo and I set out to the city to meet Gill for lunch.

Since we were there early, Jo and I walked around the city and shopped a bit. I was glad that we managed to accidentally attend the No Deaths in Custody rally for Mr Ward, a well respected Aboriginal community leader who literally cooked to death in a van while being transported to the Perth prison from remote WA. It’s tragic that this sort of thing can happen in a so-called multicultural harmonious society like Australia, I guess racism is very much alive no matter where you are.

I took this picture for Jan because I know she likes pies. They had a wide selection of pies at the Trackside Bakery in the train station.

Because we didn’t know whether Gill would make it for Assam Laksa in time, Jo and I decided to go to our favourite Manise for empek empek instead.

Some day I will blog properly about Manise and give it a real review, but imagine it’s a cold rainy winter day, you spread oodles of numbing lips spicy sambal belachan over your plate of steamed rice and dig into hot, crispy deep fried slices of fish cake drenched with a light addictive sweet sauce.

Between mouthfuls of fiery sambal belachan laden rice, you eat slivers of succulent grilled fish drenched topped with fresh, crunchy bits of tomatoes and aromatic shallots and drizzled with sweet kecap manis sauce. Every now and then, you dip your morsels of fish into the gorgeous sambal belachan. Your lips start to throb so you gulp down huge quantities of cool, refreshing sweet iced tea to quench the fire within. So good you know?

When we were almost done with our fantastic lunch, Gill popped up and delighted Jo by ordering another empek-empek. Both of them are such Manise and empek-empek veterans that the owner of Manise came to sit with them and they had a great long chat about how Manise started (the owner is an Indonesian Chinese, his in-laws used to open a Chinese restaurant in Indonesia and passed their cooking skills to their daughter. The owner’s wife does all the cooking in Manise) and the uncle’s history. I was impressed when the uncle said he recognises Jo coz she comes here all the time, the funny thing is, Jo always goes with Gill but the uncle doesn’t remember Gill. I think it’s Jo’s wide and hopeful eyes and her ‘Uncle, is there empek-empek today?’ plea.

While Jo and Gill were chatting away, I left Manise to pick up some cheap fruit and veg from my new favourite market stall. This  fruit and veg stall’s Italian staff attract their customers by yelling ‘DOLLAR A BAG!!!! DOLLAR A BAG!!!’ continuously. Vocally, they’re hard to miss. Today the Italian owner (the guy in the picture with the afro haircut, I like his tomato shirt don’t you?) greeted me witha friendly ‘Hello darling, how are you today? Today apples very good!’

Now you know the secret to my never ending supply of apples. They’re really a dollar a bag, so cheap!

I rushed home to prepare tonight’s dinner and also Jo’s sandwiches for lunch tomorrow. Dinner was teriyaki chicken udon with cabbage and carrots.

Jo’s sandwiches for tomorrow. I prepared lots for her so that she will be able  to share with her boss and colleagues (one of them being Gill, in fact, that’s how they met). I made three kinds of sandwiches, egg mayo, tomato and lettuce sandwiches, tuna salad sandwiches and teriyaki chicken and avocado sandwiches. I wonder which one Jo will like best?

I met up with Jason, Wendy and Bryan for dinner at Ipoh Garden in Applecross where they had the popular fried chicken. This fried chicken always gives me a sore throat because it’s always straight out of the fryer and piping hot. Jason and Wendy introduced me to their friends Ming Xian and Richard who are actually from my high school in Kuching, such a small world.  I was especially pleased to finally talk to Ming Xian whom I’ve been bumping into at venues all around Perth for the past few years. We always nod at each other in the ‘I think I know you from somewhere but where?’ way but before today had never spoken to each other before.

Later Adrian joined us and had this yummy looking fish beehoon soup.

From left to right, Ming Xian, Richard, Wendy, Jason, Brio and Adrian.

After that we headed to Dome’s for coffees, Ming Xian moonlights as a coffee barista during the weekends (his normal job is doing some medical scientific thing in the hospital) so we were shooting him with coffee questions all night. He said that my latte was done well because the froth was smooth and had a glossy effect, and he was right, it was very nice.

We were the last ones to leave the cafe close to midnight so it was a great night of chatting and meeting new friends. Especially one who felt more like an old friend. So sad that Saturday is over, but there’s still Sunday left, and the last of our a week of my life posts.


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