Friday, October 09, 2009

Still around, but it's time for a chance of scenery.

Come join me here!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Noice, Kimmay?

I watched 4 Ingredients on TV the other day.

I don't know what to say.

They're like a cooking version of Kath and Kim, and almost as bad as Semi-Home Made with Sandra Lee.

4 ingredients only, most of which is made with processed gunk.


Monday, May 11, 2009


Well we've been on solids for just over a month now, and Junior is taking it well. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

We've tried veges, fruit and some yoghurt and cheese the other day. This week its going to be fish, and next week - meat. Once you start on meat there's no going back. I guess I should wave bye-bye to the breastfed poos of the past.

I'm sure there are some of you out there who know what I'm talking about.

I do have to say though that I'm struggling with ideas on what to feed him. Sure I have the frozen cubes of pureed fruit and veg carefully stashed away in the freezer to mix and match as I wish.

But to be honest, I feel like I'm not doing enough, or varying his diet enough. I call it food bias. There are some foods I just can't stand, like pumpkin, of all things. But yep, I just don't like it. I did give in and made some mashed pumpkin the other day, so I suppose I shouldn't feel too guilty. But still.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Junior needed a feed at 1.30am, ok no problem.

Husband's alarm going off at 5am, 5.15am. Him rolling over and finally deciding to get up, go down the stairs, turn on the light, turn on the tele, make a coffee, get and eat his cereal by clanging his spoon against the bowl constantly. Problem.

Junior stirring a bit during all of this and settling back to sleep himself. Good boy.

I hate football season.

Its going to be a long day.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Little Junior has reached the magical 6 month mark - we started on mushy rice cereal last week with some success. He pulled a face when he first tried some. I don't blame him, I had a little taste and it was kind of like cardboard which had been soaking in water for a couple of hours. Bleugh.

So this week I'm going to try some pureed carrot, hopefully it'll go down well and he won't be wearing too much of it!

In other news, my mother in law is in town for a month - 3 weeks down and 1 to go. It's been pretty good actually, not as horrendous as some people might think. Still, it will be nice to get back into a bit more of a routine, especially when you're trying to introduce solids.

The wonderful nights of "sleeping through" that Junior has been doing so well since his birth are well and truly over. He woke twice last night, bawling his little heart out. It's hard to tell if he's hungry, or bored or what. Then again, it might be the solids, if you count one teaspoon of the stuff as enough to keep him awake. I'm not sure what to do about it, so I've just been feeding him back to sleep, which apparently is a big no-no if you listen to all the "expert" advice. Ah well.

Finally we've booked our flights for our trip to Ireland in July. Time to start planning that one now. Good Lord.

Friday, March 06, 2009


I've been pretty lucky with the little one so far. He started sleeping through the night at around 2 months, so it was a bit of a shock to the system when decided he was hungry at 2 this morning.

After a feed and a nappy change, I put him back to bed with the expectation (!?) that he would go straight back to sleep as he had in the past.

Nope, not this time sister. Oh Lordy no.

He cried on and off for 30 minutes before he decided he was sleepy after all, and off to sleep he went.

Fingers crossed it was just a once off.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Baby paraphernalia

Well where do I start?

Having a baby means you start accumulating baby stuff. Mounds and mounds of it. Whether it be basinettes, clothes, toys, bibs, blankets, bottles, breast pumps, bouncers, prams, slings, baby carriers, nappies, more toys, more clothes, more...of everything. The list is almost endless!

We have been very lucky as we have received generous gifts from friends and family, plus some lovely hand-me-downs from cousins whose babies have outgrown their clothes.

Still, that doesn't mean you don't need to go out and buy more stuff yourself - comparing brands, comparing prices of different stores. It's tiring even just thinking about it!

The little guy is now 5 months old, 1 away from starting on solids. I am nervous and excited at the same time. It has been relatively easy feeding him now, whenever he's hungry, just whip out a boobie. But with 1 month left before he starts on mush, I've been looking at all the different types of spoons, bowls, sippy cups and bibs out there.

What started out as what I thought would be an easy exercise has pretty much turned into endless hours trolling through the internet for reviews on brands of rice cereals, sippy cups and so on.

I mean, at the end of the day, all he really needs is a spoon, a cup, a bib and a couple of cloth squares to wipe up any mess. But being a first time mummy makes you do silly things, and being fastidious about brands' pros and cons is unfortunately one of them.

Ah well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One pot wonders

Beef stew
Tasty leftovers

After ten or so consecutive days of rain and below average temperatures, I decided it was time to take action.

Having a little one to look after means cooking nowadays has to be super-efficient. So what better way than to do this than to throw everything into a pot and let it do its thing for a couple of hours.

I tried this recipe last night and it turned out a treat. I'm ashamed to say this was the first time I've actually made anything in just one pot. It was so easy it certainly won't be my last. I've always associated one pot meals with winter for some reason, so next time I might try to cook something a little more summery, if there is such a dish!

When I do make this dish again I may decrease the amount of stock as it was slightly soupy at first, but deliciously thick the next night as leftovers.

Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes and Green Beans
Recipe adapted from Food Network website


* 1kg beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 4 medium carrots, peeled, halved and cut into 1-inch chunks
* 3 small onions, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, crushed
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 litre reduced-sodium beef or chicken broth (will change to 750ml next time)
* 2 cups dry red wine
* 1 can crushed tomatoes
* 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
* 2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
* Handful of button mushrooms, thick sliced
* 2 handfuls green beans, ends trimmed


* Season the beef cubes lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to turn brown, add half the beef and raise the heat to high.

* Cook, turning the beef cubes on all sides until the pieces are as evenly browned as possible, about 5 or 6 minutes after the water has boiled off. Scoop the beef into a bowl and brown the rest of the beef the same way using the remaining butter.

* Scoop out the second batch of beef, then add the carrots, onions and garlic and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the onion starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until it has been worked into the veggies and you can’t see it any more.

* Pour in the chicken broth, wine, and crushed tomatoes, and toss in the rosemary. Slide the beef back into the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.

* Turn down the heat so the liquid is just breaking a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook 50 minutes. Stir the stew several times while simmering so it cooks evenly and nothing sticks to the bottom.

* Stir the potatoes and mushrooms into the stew, cover the pot completely, and cook until the potatoes and beef are tender, stirring occasionally, about another 45 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 5 minutes until the green beans turn bright green and are cooked through but still have a nice snap to them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hello stranger

Yes, I'm back after a rather long hiatus. But after reading a lovely comment left by a stranger, I feel inspired to update my blog again.

It has been a rather frantic few months caring for my little man. I'll spare you the gory details of the birth, but let's just say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Rather quick too, which was a relief (all over in 5 hours!).

We've settled into a bit of a routine and he sleeps well at night, so I'm a happy camper about that. The only downside to all of this is that cooking and general housework have fallen by the wayside. I do cook the occasional meal, but it has been the usual stuff, mostly the recipes I have on this blog.

But the little guy is 4 months old, and slowly creeping towards the 6 month mark - when solids, or rather, mushy things, will be introduced.

So rather than gourmet 3 course meals, it will be healthy and nutritional stuff going forward. Well that's the plan anyway.

It's good to be back.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good God, it's been almost 4 months.

My priorities had a bit of a reshuffling during this time, which explains the lack of posts. But yes, I'm back, albeit fleetingly until the next month or so. But then I'll be back on track. On track for what, you may ask? That I'm not sure as yet. I do miss blogging, but I think the direction of this blog might change a little. Just a little, of course.

I still love to cook and eat. However lately I have had little energy to cook, and what I can eat has been somewhat restricted for a few months.

Yes, I'm up the duff as they call it. A strange term which I'd never heard of until recently, but up the duff I am.

Goodbye pâté, brie and oysters. Hello cooked vegetables, fish and the odd chocolate bar, or three.

Now the big question is, would you consider prosciutto a goodbye or hello? I'm hoping, desperately, that it is hello. Though who am I fooling, call it women's intuition, but I think I know the answer already. Unless someone out there would like to correct my obvious, hormone-induced, moment of....somethingorather.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Still alive. Can't believe it's been over a month since my last post.

Move went well, Christmas and New Years was great.

We've bought a BBQ which J has been diligently using. (What's the thing with guys and BBQs anyway?).

Just had our one year wedding anniversary, all I can say is, time really is flying.

Hope you all had a great holiday season. Here's to a happy and stress-free new year.

More soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mental Mex

Mexican food in Sydney is generally hit and miss. More along the lines of those nasty (but tasty) Old El Paso cook-at-home meal kits you can get at the supermarket, the newly opened Mad Mex in Darlinghurst looked promising.

After being spoilt for choice when it comes to Mexican food in New York - Mexicana Mama in Greenwich Village brings back happy memories; I was looking forward to having good Mexican again.

The store fitout looked the part - empty bottles of Corona creatively suspended from the ceiling as a sort of light fixture, bottles of hot sauce on tables, a selection of Mexican beers and magaritas (yesss!), and a big open kitchen with the fresh ingredients you can see. It has a similar setup to
Burritoville, where staff are lined up along the counter, ready to prepare your burrito, or taco if you so fancy, to order.

After consuming one beer too many last evening, I stopped by and ordered some takeout. I have to admit I don't recall how it tasted, since I inhaled it in record time once I got home. What I do recall though, is that it was on the pricey side. About $23 for a burrito and taco. $2 extra for the guacamole you see. Very sneaky.

Must do another taste test soon for a proper verdict.

Sydney Morning Herald review of Mexican restaurants in Sydney.

Sunday, November 11, 2007



Yep, we've finally taken the plunge.

Settlement is before Christmas.


Monday, October 08, 2007


Mykonos, Greek Islands
Mykonos - Greek Islands

Flew back into Sydney yesterday after a fantastic three week break. Woke up at 5am this morning and already on my second coffee, not my last for the day no doubt.

Highlights: Spending the days lounging by the pool and the beach doing zilch
Lowlights: Enduring a three hour ferry ride from Santorini to Mykonos in choppy seas, not for the faint hearted

Due back at work in less than 2 hours and counting, ugh.

Having trouble stringing sentences at the moment, it's going to be a looong day.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A New England Summer

Pearl Oyster Bar lobster roll
Pearl Oyster Bar lobster roll c.2005
Yes, I've resorted to recycling old photos in the interim, until I manage to get a new camera

I was craving the delicious Pearl Oyster Bar fried oysters and lobster rolls on a random evening a while back. After numerous pleas to the good folk on Chowhound, I'd forgotten I had been directed to, and bookmarked a site that contained the recipes from the restaurant's owner, Rebecca Charles.

When it comes to cooking, there are a few things that scare me off enough to not want to try. The problem is of course, that the recipes below list two of these things - cooking lobster and frying anything (for fear of being splattered to death in a wall of hot oil). The other is baking bread, but that's for another post.

Anyway, I've worked out that instead of lobster, I can use prawns (as noted at the end of the recipe, which I didn't notice, duh). As for frying oysters, well, I mean, they're oysters - little baby morsels. It can't be that bad right?

We're off to Europe for a short break (read: delayed honeymoon). So once we come back, I'm going to give them a try. Anyone interested in testing out these recipes for me in the meantime? :)

From Rebecca Charles' cookbook - Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie

Pearl Oyster Bar Lobster Roll
(Serves two)
2 pounds cooked lobster meat, chopped roughly into 1/2 and 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 celery rib, finely chopped
1/4 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
Squeeze of lemon
Pinch of kosher salt and freshy ground black pepper
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 Pepperidge Farm top-loading hot dog buns
Chopped chives for garnish

To make the lobster salad, in a large bowl, combine the lobster meat, celery, mayonaiise, lemon and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover the mixture and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will last for up to two days.

To prepare the bun, in a small saut� pan over low to medium heat, melt the butter. Place the hot dog buns on their sides in the butter. Flip the buns a couple of times so that both sides soak up an equal amount of butter and brown evenly. Remove the buns from the pan and place them on a large plate.

Fill the toasted buns with lobster salad. Sprinkle with chives and serve with a salad, slaw or shoestring fries.

(Variation: For a shrimp roll, substitute 2 pounds of shrimp, cooked, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise.)

Fried Oysters
(Serves two)
6 to 8 medium oysters
Vegetable, peanut or canola oil
1/2 cup cracker meal (or Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 1/2 cups flour
Kosher salt
Pearl Oyster Bar Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)
Greens and chives for garnish

Shuck the oysters and clean and save the shells. Place the oysters in a bowl in their liquor and refrigerate them until ready to fry. In a deep saucepan or pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the cracker meal and flour in a large pie plate to make the dredge. Drain the oysters in a strainer and drop them into the dredge one by one, keeping them separated. Coat each oyster well, then shake off the excess dredge. Drop each oyster gently into the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. It's important not to overfry them. Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt.

To serve, arrange the shells in a circle with the narrow ends of the shells in the center. Put a spoonful of tartar sauce in the center of each shell. Top it with a fried oyster. Garnish the plate with a bouquet of greens in the middle. (Charles likes to use a mixture of baby lettuces). Sprinkle it all with chives.

Pearl Oyster Bar Tartar(e) Sauce
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup roughly chopped capers
1/4 cup chopped cornichons, plus 2 tablespoons of the juice (pickled gherkin/cucumber)
3 cups Hellmann's mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Jamon in Sydney
Jamon - heaven on a plate

Life is bubbling along as most would say. Married life is also bubbling along, although a tad bumpier than usual. Let's just say flowers (tulips of course) have been purchased, nice dinners have been eaten (twice, but I think I need a few more nights out like that thank you very much), and conversations have been had.

I guess the best way to describe this is that the path to marital bliss is an "interesting" journey, one you would rarely hear or read about unless it's on an anonymous blog. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?

On another note, as you can see from the crappy photo above, my camera has died, again. I purchased it just over two years ago. I swear these things must have timers on them so once they hit a certain time, "poof!" they retire themselves at the most inopportune times. That's camera number two in less than five years. Ah well. Anyway, the pic above was taken with my camera phone, a brick of a phone, but at least it still works.

Yes, I'm feeling a little melancholic right now. The delicious jamon purchased from the newly opened Hudson Meats in Surry Hills did lift the spirits for a bit. Yum. Must go and purchase some more soon. At $55 a kilogram, its not the cheapest of meats, but it did a fantastic job of soothing the emotions, and that, I have to say, is priceless.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday afternoon - blogging & cooking

Sunday afternoon

Another glorious sunny day, another attempt at my bacon & leek quiche.

The filling itself is fairly easy to make, but by God the pastry (store bought no doubt), is a pain to handle. I'm trying to make all the cut up pastry pieces fit together into the quiche dish without pressing too hard, even though its extremely tempting.

I've bought 2 bags of lima beans (broadbeans I couldn't find) for the blind baking, so fingers crossed they don't burn!!

Righto, back to it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie
Crunchy goodness

I have to say my attempt at shepherd's pie last night turned out surprisingly well. I did get a little panicky at one stage when the instant gravy I added to the beef mixture did not make a difference to the taste at all. Yes, I used instant gravy. The shame! I should have known better! Never again I assure you.

In the end, I put in about two tablespoons of tomato paste and some Worcestershire sauce and it did the trick.

Shepherd's Pie
Meaty goodness. (Not the sexiest of shots, but hey).

Chick Pea's Shepherd's Pie

* 1 large onion, diced
* 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 medium carrots, diced
* handful mushrooms, sliced
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 1/2kg beef mince
* 2 Tbsp tomato paste
* 4-5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 cup frozen peas
* 5 medium potatoes, cubed for mashing
* 1/2 cup whole milk
* Handful of grated cheddar cheese
* 1 Tbsp butter, plus a few pats for baking
* Salt & pepper

For the mash:
* Bring water to a rolling boil
* Add potatoes & boil until soft

For the filling:
* While potatoes are boiling, heat oil over medium heat and sauté garlic & onions until soft
* Add carrots & toss for a few minutes until heated through
* Add mushrooms & toss until mushrooms are tender, allow some of the liquid to boil off
* Remove mixture into a bowl and add beef mince frypan
* Cook mince until cooked through (no pink bits!)
* Stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly
* Return cooked vegetables to pan and toss
* Add salt & pepper to taste
* Remove from heat and mix frozen peas

* Preheat oven to 180C

* Drain potatoes and return to saucepan
* Add pepper, butter & milk and mash thoroughly
* Add more milk and/or butter until the mash has a somewhat thick, sticky consistency
* Stir in 2/3 of the grated cheese

* Place beef mixture in baking dish and cover with mash
* You can decorate the mash by scoring with the tines of a fork (I didn't bother as I was a little too tipsy by then)
* Add a few pats of butter over the mash (to allow to brown in the oven), and sprinkle lightly the remaining cheese

* Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Near Govetts Leap, Blackheath, Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

I hadn't realised it has been over a month since I last posted. The last four weeks have whizzed by so quickly, I honestly don't know where the time is going.

We are still looking (in vain?) for an apartment/house/anything to purchase. I thought I'd found our dream house, but the auction was yesterday and it went for well over what we were told by the agent and anticipated.

Let's just say that it was a smidge under a million.

A million.


Add to that the value of the Aussie dollar isn't doing us any favours and you get the gist of how frustrating this whole process is becoming.

On a lighter note, we headed out to Blackheath in the Blue Mountains last week for a bit of R&R. We caught the train out on the Friday afternoon and in two hours we were there. The walk from the train station to the house we were renting was a good 15 minute brisk walk, which was certainly the pace we kept given it was absolutely freezing.

That evening we had dinner at the lovely Ashcrofts in town - J had lamb brains to start and I the pate (I love, love love pate, in all it's artery-clogging glory!). J said the lamb brains were delicious, and I took his word for it - I just couldn't stomach the thought of tasting it, let alone feeling the texture of it rolling around in my mouth...ugh.

For the mains I had lamb chops with a herb crust, and J pork with colcannon. J said his dish reminded him of Irish boiled ham with potatoes and cabbage - which is essentially what colcannon is, I believe; and was just what he needed on that cold winter's evening. My chops weren't very lamby in flavour, if you know what I mean, but by golly it was the most tender lamb I'd eaten in my life. I reckon I won with my choice, but J thought it was a tie.

We spent the next day bushwalking at nearby Govetts Leap, before heading to the local pub for a few beers in front of the cozy fire. My brother arrived that evening and we had juicy local steaks with baked spuds in the house.

My brother had gotten all his friends to chip in to purchase a telescope for his birthday earlier this month, which he excitedly brought with him to test out on the clear night sky. J and I only lasted about 20 minutes in the cold, but my brother very happily stayed out until the lens started freezing over. Ah you gotta love it!

Grand Canyon walk - Blackheath NSW
Grand Canyon walk - Blackheath, Blue Mountains

We did a brilliant hike the following day with the Grand Canyon "walk". The tourist centre suggested it would be a three hour (which is was), medium (which it wasn't), hike. It certainly got our hearts pumping and knees groaning with all the climbing we had to do, and there were times we thought the trail would never end. But feeling all that fresh air in the lungs was incredible, and it was exhilarating when we finally finished. Something to be done again.

I guess we must have brought the cold back to Sydney with us as it has been very chilly this week. So tonight I'm going to attempt shepherd's pie again. I haven't made it in years, and I lost the recipe I had when my Hotmail account got disabled, so tonight, I'm going to do it purely by guesswork. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My current obsession

GPO lucky door prize winner!!
GPO lucky door prize - cheese making DVD!

No, my current obsession isn't cheese making.

I just wanted to show off the lucky door prize I won at the GPO wine & cheese tasting event I went to the other week. I've never won anything before, so it was kind of cool. The wine & cheese tasting was part of the Sydney Italian Festival, a month-long event which ran over May/June this year.

It was fun - great northern Italian wine & cheeses to be had and all, but I want to go straight onto my current obsession:


Well, not coffee per se, but pouring a proper latte, froth and all.

Ever since my brother gave us a coffee machine as a wedding gift (too cool), I've been trying to pour the elusive perfect cup. The machine is pretty much a fully automated one, so it shouldn't be that hard right? But it's the milk frothing/steaming combo that gets me. The machine has a steam valve thingy which you stick into a jar of cold milk, and that is where my problem lies.

My goal is for the milk to have a lovely smooth, velvety texture. A random search on the internet reveals that I am not alone in this quest. I've been diligently watching a whole slew of "how-to" videos on You Tube, and jealously checking out some cool latte art at Rate My Rosetta

However the results I get vary from having the milk at the bottom and lots of bubbles on top, so when you pour you get runny milk and then a big blob of milk foam; or just a big blob of milk foam which, for some bizarre reason pours as a clump into the awaiting espresso. Actually, in hindsight that may be because I overdid the frothing, I think.

So now, every time I order a coffee when I'm out, I watch how the barista does it. I can only think of two things that may affect the outcome - the steam pressure and type of milk. The steam pressure on those professional coffee machines looks kick ass compared to our humble little home one, and whenever I buy a coffee it's usually with whole milk, whereas we only have low fat milk at home.

I cannot vary the steam pressure at home, but I can certainly try it with whole milk and see how it goes.

Of course the other alternative is to actually go to one of the many barista classes held around the city to find out. But that seems like a pricey way to learn. I think I'll keep to ogling professional baristas from a distance and practicing at home, for now.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Oh Boy

Rule number one when you're having guests over for weekend brunch? Never go out boozing the night before.

Rule number two?

Never attempt to try anything involving pastry, or any recipe for that matter, if you've never done it before.

We stumbled home last night after one glass of wine, one beer, and one vodka too many. So when I woke up this morning I felt absolutely fabulous darling.

To add to my throbbing headache was the fact that I decided to use a variation of not one, not two, but three different recipes. With no notes on how I was going to combine them. Just three separate recipes.


My hungovered husband decided to make himself some bacon and eggs (perfect), thus using up valuable bench space whilst I was trying to find some method to my madness to start prepping the ingredients.

My cousins arrived a little earlier than expected (great), and sat around watching their usually composed cousin come extremely close to meltdown. gotta love it hey?

I'd never cooked with pastry before, so the blind baking bit was an experience. Basically you put the pastry in the dish, cover with foil, add rice or pasta as weight to stop the pastry from puffing up and bake in the oven.

Well that was the plan. I guess I didn't use enough rice, it seemed like such a waste since you have to throw it out after, I think, not sure. So when I took it out of the oven it was all puffy and weird looking. Then when I tried to take the foil and rice off, the rice went everywhere. All over the table, on the floor, on the pastry itself. Oh my God.

Surprisingly everything worked out in the end. Nothing got burnt, it tasted ok, and they even asked for seconds. Now before I forget what I actually did, here is my recipe.

Bacon & leek quiche
Bacon and leek quiche, mimosas

Chick Pea's Bacon & Leek Quiche

2 sheets short crust pastry, thawed
4 - 5 rashers of bacon, diced
2 leeks, cleaned and cut into medium slices
5 large eggs (though I may try 6 eggs next time)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped thyme
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cream (or use more milk)
Ground pepper

* Preheat oven to 180C and blind bake pastry in dish for 10 minutes.
* Cook bacon over high heat until crispy, remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve some of the bacon fat and cook leeks until softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
* Combine eggs, thyme, pepper, milk and cream and beat until well combined.
* Add cheese, bacon and leeks to mixture and mix well.
* Pour the mixture into the dish. Be sure not to fill it all the way to the top, as the mixture will rise while baking.
* Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes, or until the eggs have set.

To make mimosas, fill 1/3 to 1/2 a glass with Champagne or sparkling wine, and the remainder with orange juice. I might try bellinis next time, yum.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


The hangover fry up
Saturday brekkie, Chick Pea style

I've had a shocker at work this week, and I imagine it will only get worse with the lead up to the end of the financial year. Hurrah for the weekend!

I haven't really been up to much (I think, all the days seem to blur into one lately). The weather is finally starting to get a little chilly, though there is talk that it's been the mildest May yet. The upside is that means I can start pulling out all my fancy winter clothes purchased in New York; the downside is I've packed on a fair few kilos over the last year. So everything is a little on the snug side. Oh joy.

We woke up early today to check out a few properties for sale. We saw a nice one bedroom in Surry Hills with a fantastic view. Not Sydney Harbour view, but a view nonetheless. It's on a fairly quiet street, and close enough to the shops and cafes along Crown Street. The only downside to it is that there's a gym, sauna and a 25 metre pool, so the strata fees are pretty scary. We'll ask for the contract on Monday and see how we go anyway, you never know.

I made a yummy fry-up before we headed out. J went out early to get the ingredients, and he actually purchased the bacon from a butcher, and boy, what a difference it is to the standard supermarket vacuum-packed variety. The butcher only opened recently, and no doubt we will be going there again.

Tomorrow my cousins are coming over for lunch. R had purchased a 6-pack of chick-flick DVDs on sale, so there'll be mimosas, quiche & salad, and hopefully more mimosas to be had before we start the DVD marathon. J has wisely said he will be vacating the premises early before the onslaught.

It'll be my first attempt at making quiche, and I'm going to cheat a little and use store bought pastry. I've decided on bacon and leek. Fingers crossed it'll turn out! Off to the supermarket now to get the ingredients.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


We celebrated J's birthday again last night, although the actual date is March 25th, and we'd already celebrated back then with a few pints and had a lovely meal. It was his birthday present from his mum - a nice dinner somewhere to be organised by me. We hadn't gotten around to doing this until last night.

I booked dinner at Pello in Darlinghurst last week. Considering it had two chefs hats courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald's "Good Food Guide" (Sydney's equivalent to Zagat), I figured we could do no wrong. I had read somewhere that their degustation, or tasting menu, was one of the best and most reasonably priced in the city.

Coincidently, Melbourne's The Age newspaper had done a piece earlier in the week about the rising popularity of degustation or tasting menus in Melbourne restaurants. I, being the superstitious type, thought it had to be a good sign. The reservation wasn't until 8pm, so we headed to the East Village bar for a pre-dinner, celebratory drink.

Pello, Darlinghurst - degustation menu
Pello degustation menu

Now I don't really consider myself to be much of a fusspot, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed. Mind you, the food itself was very good. It's just the service I found a bit lacking. Six courses over two and half hours seems like ample time to enjoy each course, only that it seemed to drag on for longer than that since there were moments where we were waiting for service.

The problem I felt was that they didn't have enough staff for the evening. There was a private function in the other dining room, which I guess tied up most of the staff and the kitchen. Considering this restaurant had been rated two hats, I would have expected a bit more.

The timing of the whole evening was off - we had to ask for our water to be refilled twice and the bread basket twice. The food came before the wine, which we had to ask and wait for twice, then the wine came before the food. We had four different waiters bringing our food, hardly a way to build rapport with your customer. Explanations of each dish and accompanying wine were therefore brief and hurried.

Almond crusted snapper - Pello
Almond crusted snapper

Service aside, the food was pretty good. The portions were quite substantial, so I was fairly full by the end of the evening. J opted for the lamb and I the venison, which I rarely have because, in my mind, it's like eating Rudolph! It was very tasty and my favourite dish of the evening.

As you can see from the photos, I constantly have this flash-or-no-flash battle in my head when I take photos in dimly lit restaurants. But by the time dessert arrived, I was suitably pickled enough from all the wines to not worry as much.

Banana parfait - Pello
Banana parfait

J enjoyed the food, but would have preferred one less dish, which I disagree. Overall I'd give Pello a 6.5 out of 10 (less 1.5 for the disappointing service).

Still it was a fun evening, so thank you Irene, for the lovely present which we both got to share!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Twelve Apostles
Twelve Apostles - Great Ocean Road, Victoria

We had a great Easter break. Flew down to Melbourne with C & J, and met up with H & D. Our plan was to stay the night at D's place in Ballarat, before heading south to do the Great Ocean Road drive to Apollo Bay where we were staying.

It was a wonderful holiday - days were spent enjoying the surprisingly warm weather on the beach, seeing the Twelve Apostles and taking in the picturesque scenery. Evenings were spent in front of a fire, enjoying hilarious conversation and delicious home-cooked meals courtesy of H & D over a few bottles of wine.

On a side note, J & I bid at an auction yesterday, our first attempt. It was a beautiful one bedroom apartment in a gorgeous art deco building in Darlinghurst. With high ceilings, a separate sunroom and original features, it reminded us so much of New York. It was down to the wire between us and another buyer, who had the annoying habit of increasing his bid in first $1,000, then $500 increments.

Eventually we hit our limit, and even (gasp) went over it by $4,000 (which is a big no-no when it comes to bidding apparently, so yes that was my fault). The apartment sold for just under $500K, which in retrospect is crazy money. Now I know what they mean about getting caught in the moment.

Still, it was a great experience, and I think J & I did pretty well. Some people who attended the auction actually stopped by and told us we did a great job with our bidding and poker face. Funny thing was J was sweating like a mad man, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

It's a bit of a bummer, but I'm a firm believer in fate, so we'll just keep looking.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay, NSW

It's been a while since I last posted. I've been fairly busy lately, doing what I have no idea. The days seem to roll by so quickly - day after day, week after week.

Because I have the world's worst memory, I like to write what I do, however mundane, in a diary I normally carry around with me. It's funny looking back on where you had dinner, who you had drinks with, what the weather was like on a particular day, or what you saw on TV. I've been keeping tabs on what I've been doing with my life since 2000 (and this blog since 2005) which, I suppose, doesn't seem like that long ago. Still, I like to pull out my old diaries I keep in a shoe box to reminisce every now and then.

I haven't had a chance to buy a new diary for this year yet since my last one, my beautiful red Coach agenda, was stolen. I've been meaning to buy a standard 2007 pocket diary you can get at any newsagent, but I suppose I've been stalling. I've been religiously checking the Coach website waiting for the red diary to become available again. Fingers crossed it will be soon.

So here in no particular order, is what I've been up to these last few weeks:

* My sweet little brother brought over his wedding present for us. A coffee machine!! Goodbye instant coffee, hello espresso! Only thing I have to work out is how to use the milk frothing steamer thingy. Luckily, J has the same machine at work, so he's been the home barista. Nothing beats a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, although the noises the grinder makes is taking some getting used to. Beats an alarm clock I guess!

* I went to a few rugby matches with J at Aussie Stadium. I still know little about the sport but oh my, some of the players were pretty fine specimens.

* I went to the gym for the first time in over a year. I love taking the classes - yes I'm a closet step aerobics fan. But the problem with the gyms in Sydney is they try to cram as many people as possible into the room. Oh how I miss NYSC, a bit like Starbucks with one on almost every street corner in New York. So I was stuck using the treadmill and bikes, which I find extremely boring. You're better off running outdoors if you ask me.

* It was J's 36th (!!) birthday last weekend, so we decided to head out of Sydney for a few days. Jervis Bay is about a three hour drive south of Sydney. We rented a house and spent the weekend hiking and soaking up the sun on secluded beaches. A great getaway which we'll be doing again soon.

* I've decided to quit smoking. I've been smoking since I was sixteen, and a friend had casually mentioned that it meant that I have been smoking for over half of the time I have been alive. That freaked me out a little, because I never thought of it that way, and to be honest, I'm not getting any younger. Even scarier is that I have never tried to quit smoking in my life. So this will be an interesting experience. I've cut down a fair bit, and my plan is to quit after Easter.

* We're off to Victoria over Easter next weekend with some friends. Sad as it may sound, but I have never done the Great Ocean Road drive, so I'm looking forward to the trip. As two of our friends who are going are also smokers, an attempt to quit smoking now will probably take more willpower than I have, which is basically zero.

We'll see.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Mardi Gras peoples!!

Sydney Mardi Gras 2007
10am - Oxford Street, with a rather tired looking Centrepoint Tower in the background

Preparations are well underway for tonight's Mardi Gras parade which kicks off at 7.45pm. It looks like the weather will be perfect for it too. Barely a cloud in the sky and it was already 26C around 11am.

J and I will be giving this year's parade a skip. Living one street away from the main parade route of Oxford Street, we've decided to avoid the crowds and head over to Newtown for dinner and a movie. Well, that's what we think we might be doing. We'll see.

I do get a little nostalgic this time of year. My parents owned a Chinese restaurant from the late 1960's to the early 90's where Burger King/Hungry Jacks currently resides - on the corner of Oxford and Pelican Streets. So from a very young age, I saw the parade. I remember the crowds, the thumping music, the colourful costumes, and the people who tried to climb onto our awning for a better view.

What was even funnier (well for me anyway), was working as a check-out chick/cashier in my teens at the supermarket at the start of Oxford Street near Hyde Park. I had the morning shift the day after the parade, and I'd never seen so many people come in to buy chewing gum, water and orange juice in their sunglasses and club wear. Now I know why. It makes me chuckle every time I think about that.

On a side note, New York's Gay Pride parade happens around June every year. The great thing about that was it went along 8th Street where we lived, so I had the best view from our kitchen window. Here are some photos from 2003, old photos but still colourful nonetheless.

Happy Mardi Gras!

Gay Pride Parade - 8th Street, New York 2003
Gay Pride Parade along 8th Street, New York 2003

Gay Pride Parade - 8th Street, New York 2003
8th Street, New York 2003

Gay Pride Parade - 8th Street, New York 2003
8th Street, New York 2003

Saturday, February 17, 2007

This week - random photos

Valentine's day dinner - scallops in apple brandy cream sauce
Valentine's day main course - scallops in apple brandy cream sauce. Last year's attempt was marginally better. But hey it was fun. :)

Night time in Sydney
Sydney 14/2/07 - from our balcony.

Pumpkin & feta frittata.  Forbes & Burton - Surry Hills
Saturday brunch after house hunting - Pumpkin & feta fritatta at Forbes & Burton, Darlinghurst.

Poach eggs and chicken & tomato sausages.  Forbes & Burton - Surry Hills
Poached eggs with chicken & tomato sausages - Forbes & Burton, Darlinghurst.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Yes, again. I have no idea what to cook on the the day that makes half the male population queue up for chocolate in desperation (which is what I saw at a chocolate store at lunch time today).

I've been feeling extremely lazy of late, add to that J is hell busy at work again, and you can see why the motivation is at an all time low.

Scallops with apple brandy cream sauce
Scallops with apple brandy cream sauce 14/2/2006

5.17pm here and just about to leave work to do some grocery shopping, fast running out of ideas. Might make the trusty favourite from
last year. Delicious and a cinch to make, or might just stick to the safe (and even easier to make) steak and 2 veg.

Decisions, decisions.

Edit: Just got back from David Jones Food Hall and it was mayhem - I've never seen so many men lining up at the cheese and seafood counters! So what's on the menu tonight? A seafood bonanza. Got some lovely plump scallops, so I'm kind of excited about making the dish again. After all, it's been a year since I last tried!!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Settling in

The Rocks, Sydney

Things are slowly starting to settle back to normal. Going back to work was a bit of a struggle, but I think we've gotten over that hurdle. The clutter of wedding paraphernalia has finally been packed away, so our apartment now consists of lots and lots of boxes.

Does married life feel different? Yes, in a way I think it does. When you've been with someone for almost seven years, you think it might not. So it was a bit of a surprise for the both of us.

So here I am, slowly getting back into the swing of things. I have to admit though that my cooking obsession has waned somewhat due to the wedding. I must also confess that since moving back to Sydney, the whole eating out thing has also died a little. I guess you could say I'm still missing New York terribly, but that is something that will just take time. I hope.

We got our professional photos back as you can see above. All 1,029 of them. How we're meant to choose 100 for our wedding album is anyone's guess. I also need to print some out for the thank you cards and our parents' album, so I've been trolling the web for a reasonably priced Australian online photo printing site. Big Photo seems to be the best one I've found so far, but if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations, I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

...and we're back!

Bondi Icebergs pre-wedding lunch
Pre-wedding lunch at Bondi Icebergs, Sydney

Well where do I start? The last month has been a hectic, full on experience. We had guests to meet, greet and entertain, Christmas and NYE to celebrate, plus a wedding to organise and finalise.

Things are slowly returning back to normal. The last of our overseas guests have just left, so now J and I can finally have some time to ourselves to soak in everything that happened. It was fun while it lasted, and it is something I will never forget, nor experience again. But 4 solid weeks of entertaining have left us a little exhausted.

The pre-wedding celebrations were a hoot, with dinners, lunches, BBQs galore.
The wedding day itself went well, with the odd glitch which was to be expected.
The post-wedding lunch was relaxing for all (including the at times stressed-out bride).
The short honeymoon to Byron Bay for 3 days was rejuvenating (we'll take a proper one later in the year).

Best of all we have a lot of wine left over, which we will duly polish off over the next few months.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The countdown begins

Just a little over a month to go before we finally, after 7 years, seal the deal.

So things have been a tad hectic in my neck of the woods - selecting the flowers, the colour ribbon for the church booklets, the accessories, the music, the dance lessons, the cake, the hair and makeup, the ties for the groom and groomsmen, trying to delegate tasks to my bridesmaids (and failing miserably), the's been an endless, stressful, crazy time.

If I have to do it all again, I'd definitely hire a planner....I'm indecisive at the best of times and I have to admit, all of this has brought out the worst in me (and, it seems, the worst in people around you too).

But still, I'm looking forward to the day...where there will be good times, good food, and of course seeing J at the standing at the end of the aisle (that is the bit I'm looking forward to the most!).

Oh yeah, and as for blogging..umm...soon...real soon. Cooking at home is on the back burner for the time being. J's mum arrives next week!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

An Update

Yes I'm still alive, but I've been very busy, and a little lazy to post in a while. So here's an update, in bullet points, because I'm still feeling a little lazy on this sunny Saturday :)

1. Wedding preparations are coming along, though I admit they've stalled somewhat. See point 4.
2. Work is keeping me busy busy busy. I'm not really sure if it's the job for me to be honest, though I've only been there 3 months, so we'll see.
3. J has become obsessed with buying a place, so we've been running around looking at properties, speaking to a lawyer, the mortgage broker etc. etc. Probably not the best thing since I'm trying to do wedding stuff. I'm still in a bit of a headspin.
4. We were burgled last Friday, with me inside the apartment! Went out with some work friends for the traditional after work drink, and I stumbled home after a Jäger bomb too many (mental note: NEVER touch that stuff again). It was quite warm that evening so I left the balcony door half open, and I promptly fell asleep on the couch with the lights and TV on. They came in, must have seen me, and just grabbed what they could. The stuff in my handbag - my wallet, diary, makeup bag. And they took my laptop.

The laptop. With the wedding budget, guest list, invites, not to mention 5 years' worth of photos. All gone.

My diary, with my to do list, the things I've done so far this year (I have a terrible memory, so I like to write down everything I do). All gone.

So this last week, on top of a busy week at work, going to the bank to sort out our deposit for a potential place we're interested in, has also included going to the police to report the burglary, calling the insurance agency to sort out our claim, waiting for the insurance assessor to come to the apartment, going to be bank to sort out a new credit card, going to the motor registry to get a new drivers licence, and badgering my poor brother to part with his iBook for a few days.

So here I am, at home, trying to update an old backed up version of our guest list, and taking it easy after a very hectic week.

Oi vey as they say.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alphabet City

I've found my new favourite brunch place near home. Book Kitchen in Surry Hills has a mean brunch menu (the WA sardine caesar salad was heavenly), and they have cookbooks galore - for purchase and browsing. I could have spent the entire Sunday afternoon there. What more could a girl ask for?

Anyway, they had a few copies of the
2007 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. We ended up buying a copy after thumbing through it for a good 45 minutes while we were eating. It's in the same vein as the Zagat Guide, but without the pretty mauve cover.

And that's when I came up with a brilliant idea. Well I think it's brilliant. J looked a little bewildered when I said it to him. But I think it'll be fun - not for the hips or the wallet, but hey if you can't enjoy yourself some of the time, you might as well hide under a rock.

(my homage to the NY neighbourhood of the same name)
Aim: To try one restaurant for each letter of the alphabet once a week, for 26 weeks.
Rules: None really. It can be lunch or dinner, it can be a romantic meal for 2, or an all-you-can-eat gorge fest with a gang of 20. No limits. Only rule we've come with so far is we each take turns picking a place and surprising the other. J's got A.

We start this week. Can't wait!

Edit: Once a week might be overkill. At least once every 2 weeks is probably more realistic. We'll see...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Summer lovin'

Chick Pea's seafood platter
Chick Pea's seafood platter - a little wobbly with the camera's night setting

Friday night. After a ridiculously hot 35C/87F day, the evening breeze cooled the city somewhat. J went for a swim at the local pool, and I was just glad the work week was over.

As it was too hot to cook, lame excuse but true, I decided an evening on the balcony with some fresh seafood was in order. So I stopped by the David Jones Food Hall to pick up some goodies and headed home.

We had cooked tiger prawns, Sydney rock oysters, Pacific oysters and smoked salmon. The pièce de résistance had to be the blue eyed cod. I seasoned and dusted a light coating of flour before searing with butter and a touch of olive oil over high heat.

It was a little difficult to take a clear photo of our soon-to-be-devoured dinner. Night settings on cameras are a great invention, but it's damn near impossible to take a pic with a steady hand, especially after a drink or two (or four as was my case before we started eating).

Spoilt from our decadent dinner, we splayed out on the couch, tossing up whether to go for a walk. We're one block away from Oxford St, the nightlife hub of Sydney, so there's always things to see, no matter what time.

In the end we just listened to some "phat" tunes (as J used to say), chilled out on the couch and finished off the wine before heading off to bed by 10.30pm. On a Friday night. Again. So much for clubbing and the 10am benders of a few years ago, who would've thought?!?

Monday, October 09, 2006

A day at the races

A glass of champers or two!

It was a glorious spring day. Champagne, men in their best suits, women in big fancy hats, a flutter or two, and more champagne.

Did we back a winner?

The crowds at Randwick Racecourse


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why I should keep my day job

Chilli caramelised pork on cucumber salad
Last night's dinner, Donna Hay food stylist I ain't!

I'm sure just about everyone has heard of
Donna Hay, whose food photography is imitated the world over. So asethetically pleasing are her photos it's guaranteed to whet your appetite every time.

She has a regular column in the Sunday paper in Sydney (and probably Melbourne too), and I came across this chilli caramelised pork on cucumber salad recipe last weekend. It looked so light and tasty I just had to try it last night. As you can see from the photo above, my attempt at food styling falls far short of the pretty picture in the magazine I tried to imitate.

But hell, who cares when it was delicious anyway!

I tried to find the recipe online, but no joy. If anyone is interested, I'll be happy to post it here

Monday, September 25, 2006

What I'm reading now...

Interesting read

A fascinating book on my two favourite topics - New York & oysters. Mark Kurlansky's The Big Oyster.

Anything to distract myself from wedding preparations and house hunting :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Sunday brunch - smoked salmon scrambled eggs
Smoked salmon scrambled eggs - the lazy way

It was such a glorious day yesterday we decided to have a BBQ on the roof of our building. I made some potato salad and a cold bean and red pepper salad. I then marinated a tonne of chicken drumsticks in soy sauce to be coated with a honey glaze once cooked (my family's secret recipe, used at every Easter and Christmas BBQ for as long as I can remember).

My brother and his friend called around and we had a lovely evening outside. After they left, we were so exhausted we went to 10pm...on a Saturday night. I guess we must be getting old!

So when we woke up this morning to another glorious day, we decided to have brunch on the balcony. J headed out to get some coffess and the Sunday paper and I prepped for our brunch. A super quick and easy scambled eggs with smoked salmon, grape tomatoes and a slice of toast.'ve gotta love the weekends.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Night - blogging and cooking

Just about to start my second attempt at pork chops with mustard sauce, with green beans, glazed carrots and baked potatoes.

Sunday night dinner

I have the ingredients prepped, I have a glass of wine in hand. Ready, steady.....GO!!!

VERDICT: J gave it 7/10 - he found the sauce a little too sweet. I give it 7.5 (only because I slaved over the stove...ha!). It turned out a lot better than my first attempt, and hopefully it'll be better the next time I try. I used single (light) cream rather than what the recipe called for, and it thickened up fine.

A little sleepy now from such a big meal. Just going to finish up that bottle of wine before heading off to bed. I can't believe the weekend is over already!

Pork chops with mustard sauce
Sunday night dinner - excuse the dodgy looking baked potato!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Random thoughts

I've been cooking a fair amount at home, though it's nothing but the standard stuff I've been cooking over the last year. I guess the stress of a new job and planning a wedding is taking precedence over everything else

The first batch invitations we're printing ourselves are finally done. We had to do them a little earlier to accommodate our overseas guests. They look pretty good I have to say, and I have to thank my brother for lending us his printer. Who knew embossed paper doesn't agree with laser printers? I almost had a heart attack when I saw the streaks of black ink on the first test print - I doubt the paper store would have taken back the 180 custom cut sheets of paper we'd purchased!

Made chicken soup recently. I'm lazy so I use packaged chicken stock, which can be good if you find a decent brand. Sadly, the ones I've tried have been gross so I haven't found a suitable brand yet. Oh how I'm missing Swanson's Chicken Broth. Best stuff on the planet.

I've paid a deposit on a dress. The problem for me was trying on a gorgeous US$6,000 dress in Saks when I first started looking - everything else I've tried on since doesn't come close. Anyway, I've found a suitable dress which I like, I love the fabric and the way it looks, but 6 months of eating and not going to the gym have rendered me a little wobbly in certain areas, so it is a little difficult to say I love it just yet. So yes, I'm on a diet now. Well, maybe not a diet, but I need to start going to the gym again. I doubt I can ever go on a full diet, I love my food too much!!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Irene's lasagna

J's mum made the most incredible lasagna for us when we returned from our trip to Italy. The fact that we had had pasta for almost 2 weeks non-stop didn't dampen the fact that it was the most delicious lasagna I'd ever tasted.

She was kind enough to give me the recipe a few weeks ago and I've made it twice with terrific results. I usually make it on a Sunday night with a serving of salad, and we have the leftovers midweek, when you're feeling too lazy to cook!

(The metric conversions took some getting used to again!!)

Irene's Lasagna
Serves 4 - 6

1 lb (1/2kg) mince beef
2 onions, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin tomato puree
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried herbs (like oregano or basil)
1 oz (2 Tbsp) butter
1 oz (2 Tbsp) flour
1/2 pint (1 cup) room temperature milk
Handful grated cheddar or Gruyere cheese
Ready cooked lasagna
1 -2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese

You'll need a 2 pots, a saucepan and a baking dish.

Meat sauce:
* Heat some olive oil in a pot and saute half of the garlic and half of the onions
* Add mince and cook until brown. Add puree, cover and cook very gently for 10-15 minutes

Tomato sauce:
* Heat some olive oil in a pot and saute the remaining garlic and onions until fragrant
* Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and dried herbs and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes

White sauce:
* Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan, add flour and whisk 1 minute
* Add milk (I usually just add it all in one go), and whisk vigourously until thick (about 5 minutes)
* Remove from heat and add grated cheddar/Gruyere. You can add more milk if the sauce is too thick

Preheat oven to 170/180C (350F). Put a layer of lasagna sheets in the baking dish. Add some meat sauce and a layer of tomato sauce. Add another layer of lasagna sheets, the meat sauce (if any left), the tomato sauce and finally the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until brown and bubbly on top. I usually cover the dish with some foil while baking and remove it about 15 minutes before it's done.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sanity check

A little busy with work at the moment. The thing that irks me the most about a new job is trying to remember everyone's names, I'm hopeless!!

I've finally managed to sift through the 700+ photos taken from our recent trip to Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Here's a small selection I hope you enjoy.

Gouganne Barra Co. Cork 3
Gouganne Barra, County Cork

Seafood platter at Fishy Fish - Kinsale
Fishy Fish Cafe seafood platter

Leek & cheese tart - Ballymaloe House, Shannagarry
Lunch at Ballymaloe House, Shannagarry County Cork

Car number plate in Rome (excuse my toes!)

There were so many lovely sights to shoot in Italy, no matter where you looked!


Zucchini flowers
Zucchini flowers in Tuscan market

Parmesan heaven
Parmesan heaven

Tuscan countryside
Beautiful Tuscan countryside


Somewhere in the Chianti region

Stay tuned for more pics

Monday, July 31, 2006

So freaky...

Ok, I was craving buffalo wings like a mad woman last week as mentioned in my previous post.

You know buffalo wings - the crispy fried chicken wings coated in gooey sticky spicy sauce, paired with a cooling blue cheese sauce and accompanied with carrot and celery sticks. Yummm. It got to the point where I was this close to begging J to pop down to Sydney's Hard Rock Cafe, which happens to be down the road, to get me some. Yes, I was desperate.

You see, hot sauce for some reason seems to be very difficult to find in Sydney (not that I'd been looking that hard, the craving is only a week old!). I scoured the local supermarket but to no avail, so I figured I'd do my hips a favour and grit my teeth and hope the craving would pass. Tabasco sauce we have, but it's not the same as hot sauce.

So imagine my surprise when I checked out Sunday's New York Times. Not one but two articles on the best bar finger food ever. What is even better is that they have some tasty alternatives to the traditional buffalo wing.

Now all I have to do is find out where I can buy hot sauce in Sydney.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Weddings and cravings

Wedding prepartions are coming along, albeit slowly. Church and reception venue have been booked. Invitations are halfway there - I say halfway as we've finally decided on numbers (and what a drama that was), and we've picked out the paper and design.

We're printing them out ourselves to save on costs, so now all we have to do is figure out what you're meant to write on English and Chinese. This will be interesting since a) we need to install Chinese Word on our laptop (I think, or do you need a Chinese keyboard as well? Argh!!), and b) I can't read let alone write Chinese to save my life.

Some newly married girlfriends have been thoughtful enough to give me all their bridal magazines, and I have to say that flicking through them only adds to the stress and anxiety I'm beginning to feel - should I give wedding favours? Should I start my beauty regime now? Should I wax or shave? So many things I hadn't even thought of, all splashed out on pretty, glossy pages.

So to distract myself from all this wedding hooplah, I've been daydreaming.'s summer in New York now. The queues outside Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, lobster rolls at Pearl Oyster Bar, buffalo wings (I love the stuff, but can't seem to find them in Sydney), brunch and bellinis at Schiller's, a cocktail or two under the stars at Luna Park...

Ahhh...that's better. Meditation if I do say so myself!