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All posts for the month February, 2010

Gadget Review – Alligator Cutter

Published February 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy Friends, as I’ve mentioned earlier I have this hobby of collecting kitchen gadgets…I have something ranged from pie machine to fairy floss machine and I love all my gadgets…so it’s time to do a review on the gadgets. First up this particular gadget was a birthday pressie from our good mate G & G and they know I’m into cooking and collecting kitchen gadgets. This product is made in Switzerland – so it must be good 🙂

Anyways, I tried out this gadget this evening when I made my burramundi patties – I shall post this recipe up some time soon. Now the alligator cutter gadget basically slice or dice vegetable items such as Onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, zucchini and the list goes on…so my pet hate is onion – I hate chopping onions cos it stings my eyes and makes me cry. So I decided it’s time I use my aligator cutter to chop this onions – and they were perfect. Then I decided to chop up some potatoes – I thought maybe it’s going to be hard chopping the potatoes cos it’s a lot harder than onions – but I was wrong a simple lever of a push and there you have it lots of chopped up potatoes and a happy Maryann.

It’s such a superb design, easy to wash and not too huge to store – as my storing space in our tiny kitchen is getting abit cramped. I’m looking forward to trying cut smaller objects such as garlic and seeing how it goes. Now the other thing is when you chopped the items it just doesn’t fly everywhere in fact it gets stored in this nifty squarish container and all you need to do is open the container and there you have it chopped items. I definitely recommend people getting this gadget cos it’s so useful especially if you’re a onion hater like me 🙂

The potato challenge with Aligator

The potato challenge with Alligator

Just pushed the lever and the potatoes are chopped

Just pushed the lever and the potatoes are chopped

Close up of chopped potatoes

Close up of chopped potatoes

lots of chopped potatoes in the container

lots of chopped potatoes in the container

Blog Insight

Published February 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy Friends, hope this post finds everyone well. I had a wonderful baking session with my baking mates yesterday followed by a girl’s night out to celebrate one of my good mate’s resignation. Now you may ask why are we celebrating her resignation because it’s a new step into a new career so it’s worth celebrating.

Well, we met up at Miss A’s house at 2pm and started off stock taking all the ingredients that we need to buy from shopping centre. So off we went to buy the ingredients and we started officially baking around 3pm and it was definitely an adventure and challenge to bake the profiterole tower. We were ambitious and pumped up. Now the key to bake profiteroles lies in the choux pastry – which if you are not patient to slowly pour the egg mixture and heat enough and beat enough it could turn out to be a BIG disaster.

Now, it wasn’t a great start – I bought everything except to bring my recipe book – thanks to my fish memory. So we end up using Gordon Ramsay’s profiterole recipe and improvise the rest for the caramel mixture. When we finished making our choux pastry it’s time for piping and instead of looking like round balls they seemed flat and runny – not a good sign!! Anyways, we were determine to still bake these running choux pastry and pop them into oven and behold it started rising up and look like profiteroles. Now we were over the moon and we grabbed them out we started poking holes into them and continue to bake more. After few minutes later they started to sink and looked like miserable under rised profiteroles 😦

Anyways, we are not the sort to give up, so we soldier on and baked more than 50 profiteroles for our towers. Just as well we baked many profiteroles cos they were rather flat we need more of them to pile up into a massive tower. Now we were thinking instead of piping custard into it – here comes the interesting part I wanted to make our custard from fresh but the girls were too tired and wanted to opt for the easier option of using the ‘CUSTARD POWDER’ – ARGH!!! I only use the custard powder for baking biscuits but not for making custards!!! Anyways, I was starting to feel a little tired so I foolishly gave in with the custard powder and it turned out to be quite runny plus we were adventurous so we mixed the custard with some freshly whipped cream. Now when we tried to pipe the custard mixture into the profiteroles it was oozing out from the hole. Very runny indeed.

Anyways, now it comes to making caramel – from my fish memory I remembered how to make them just boil the caster sugar until it’s brown and runny and we made what we called toffee whiskers that sort of float on top of the tower. Eventually through patience and determination we finally build up our profiterole tower. To make it more interesting we heated up some chocolate and drizzle on top of the profiteroles..mmm…chocolate + toffee = super sweet dessert. Now our presentation of the profiterole tower doesn’t look to flashy but when we dig into it, the flavour is awesome – very tasty and the sweetness of cream balances out the chocolate & toffee. It was indeed worthy of all our hard work.

Anyways, we had a great time baking, snacking & chatting and our next aim is to perfect the profiteroles and make it rise properly and next time I will definitely have to remember my recipe book cos it has really great instruction on making profiteroles and make them rise!

Enjoy the photos…

Choux Pastry

Choux Pastry

Piping the choux pastry

Piping the choux pastry

our baked profiteroles

our baked profiteroles

Our profiterole tower with caramel whiskers

Our profiterole tower with caramel whiskers

Comfort Food Recipe – Sushi

Published February 27, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello again…while we are on the topic of Sushi – one of my favourite food – kinda hard work to prepare ingredients but once you get the ingredients it’s pretty easy to make. Healthy and tasty and you could keep them in the fridge for supper later on. Well, just side tracking – recently I find myself always seemed to have sore throat or some sort of cold symptoms and I started to nail down some of the potential reasons why I get sick all the time.

My suspicious reasons – Pandabear cos he works in the hospital all the time so he might be carrying germs back home and those nasty germs goes into my body – it’s possible, another reason – when I sleep I breathe like a fish – through my mouth so for the whole night the germs crawls through my mouth and into my body – that’s possible. What else? I don’t get enough rest, I’m constantly running around getting things down that I don’t allow my body to have some decent rest – that’s possible as well. Anyways what ever it is it’s driving me mad!! 😦 I hope these evil sore throat will disappear soon or else I’ll have to take lots of vitamin cs and drink lots of water – yes I hate water H2O – sometimes I go without any water at all for the whole day.

Anyways, that’s my dilema for my sore throat – sorry back to the comfort food recipe…here it is

Sushi

Ingredients

2 x carrots
1 x packet of sushi vinegar mix
1 x packet of 10 sheets of sushi
2-3 pieces of chicken thighs
2 table spoon of mirin
3 eggs
1 x avocados
1 x cucumber
1 x packet of cooked prawns
1 x tube of Japanese Mayonaise
Instructions

1. First put 3 cups of rice and 4 cups of water into the rice cooker. Now make sure you have those fat rice/short rice grains and not long rice grains otherwise you find yourself not been able to bind the rice together. Short rice is best used for sushi and rice balls. After the rice is cooked let it cooled down to warm temperature and add in the packet of sushi vinegar mix – you can buy them in any Asian grocery store

2. Set the rice mixture to cool down. Now it’s time to prepare ingredients. Boil some carrots and slice them into long strips, marinate the chicken thighs in some mirin – which is Japanese sweet rice wine if you don’t have it not to worry just add some soya sauce and 2 teaspoon of sugar and it should do the trick. So marinate the chicken thighs for 30 minutes with mirin and soya sauce – pan fried them till golden brown and cut them into long strips. Next we beat the eggs and add a pinch of sugar, corn flour and water and pan fried it and cut them into long strips. Then you slice the avocados and cucumbers into long strips and slice the prawns in 1/2 and there you have it all the ingredients ready for sushi. With some variation you could have tuna, raw salmon and other ingredients.

3. Now the rice mixture has cooled down you need to have a sushi mat – bamboo mats you can buy them from any Asian Grocery store. Lay the sushi sheet smooth side on the outside and spoon some rice mixture covering the sheets of sushi to make sure the rice is not to sticky have a bowl of water for you to sprinkle some water onto the sushi rice mixture and pat it down so it covers the whole sushi sheet up. Add in your ingredients in the centre. Drizzle with some mayonaise and here comes the tricky part roll the front edge of sushi so it covers the ingredients and continue to roll it to gether into rolls of sushi.

4. Now it’s time to slice the sushi rolls into round pieces of sushi make sure you have a really sharp knife and constantly wet your knife with some water so the rice doesn’t stick to the knife and serve with wasabi – Japanese horse raddish and soya sauce and if you love ginger make sure you have some pickled pink ginger and you’re laughing 🙂

Enjoy..

Sushi

Sushi

Restaurant Review – Yama Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Published February 27, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, I’m so sorry for not had the time to post – it’s been one of those weeks that I was struck down by the sore throat bug – yes – I had them not so long ago and it came back again this time it struck me down 2 days where I couldn’t do anything just slept all day. It’s terrible, by Friday I had to force myself out of bed to go back to work and when I arrived at work my manager said ‘you looked really tired’ – I must look really shocking that day but nevermind I got through the days work and was really looking forward to the long weekend! Yay! Thank God for Labour day 🙂

Anyways, I am feeling better today and this arvo I will be meeting my baking buddies to attempt the evil profiterole tower – bring on the challenge. So I just need to finish the Gold Coast part – this particular restaurant is in Gold Coast, as I’ve mentioned earlier I’m a strong fan of Japanese Food so there were lots of Japanese restaurants around Gold Coast so it was hard to pick the one to dine. Anyways, one dinner night I had the craving for Japanese food so we were roaming around the streets in search of a nice Japanese Restaurant and came across this Authentic Yama Sakura Japanese Restaurant. Why do I say Authentic, cos the chef is Japanese and the staff are all Japanese and on their restaurant walls it’s full of photos of Japanese people who have dined there. So this gotta be a great Japanese Restaurant.

So anyways, we were greeted by this friendly waitress who gave us some menu – when I go to Japanese restaurant I always have to order some sushi as my sides cos I love sushi. So I was wondering what kind of sushi to get…so I asked the waitress what sushi was the most popular and she recommended ‘Nigiri Sushi’ – well I shall have some Nigiri Sushi and a bowl of their popular Ramen – Japanese thin noodles soup and Pandabear not so keen on the sushi decided to have some tonkatsu rice bowl – basically deep fried pork strips with eggs & onion rice and he thought well, I’ll have some sushi too – deep fried prawns ones (he loves anything that’s deep fried, quite unhealthy). So we were happy with our order.

Now the restaurant is organised so that the kitchen is an open kitchen which is pretty cool you can see what the chef is doing and the whole decor of the restaurant is pretty authentic wooden furniture with tatami mats. So it wasn’t packed that night cos it was a weeknight and we got there pretty early so our food arrived pretty quickly and I was shocked!! Why? My ‘Nigiri Sushi’ turned out to be all raw!! Raw Salmon, Raw Tuna and Raw squid…help!! I thought perhaps they have brought out wrong sushi so I asked the waitress politely and to my disappointment she said yup that’s nigiri sushi. Oh dear, so Nigiri sushi is basically raw fish with rice. The only sushi that was not raw was the prawn one – however the presentation was beautiful with colours and very fresh. Now I’m not really a raw person so is Pandabear, so when his deep fried prawn sushi came I opt to trade my raw fish with him, he was very reluctant but since he had 4 pieces of sushi he was happy to trade 1 with me. Anyways, I gobble down the sushi with lots of wasabi and soya sauce – and it actually didn’t taste too bad 🙂 Fortunately, I had the ramen noodle soup to make up for my nigiri sushi 🙂 Pandabear was pretty happy with his sushi and tonkatsu rice bowl.

Overall, we were pretty happy with this casual dining Japanese restaurant. Here’s my rating:

Dining experience: 4 star
Food experience:4 star
Would I recommend: YES!

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Ramen Noodle Soup

Ramen Noodle Soup

Tonkatsu Rice Bowl

Tonkatsu Rice Bowl

Deep fried prawns sushi

Deep fried prawns sushi

This concludes my trip in Gold Coast, it was great fun and we got by pretty well with our mini smart rental car. So if you are up for some theme parks remember to head down to Gold Coast. 🙂

Blog Insight

Published February 22, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Everyone, hope this post finds everyone well and had a nice weekend. Well, I had a packed weekend…hence I haven’t been able to post anything. Saturday, we had a busy bee at Church and I had a bit of a problem trying to direct the driver on Friday to deliver the bin. Ok, I’m going to whinge a little. I managed to booked a big bin to be dropped off to our church on Friday anytime and it was all sweet, except Friday afternoon the driver rang me and said he couldn’t find the street – he was literally panicking and saying that he will refund my money got a packed schedule and needed to go. Firstly, I calmed him down over the phone and asked him where exactly he is parked. He gave me a street name and I had to look it up on google maps. Now I’m not very good with direction, but I could read the map and direct him. So I said I’ll have a look and call him back. Afterwards, I rang him and told him exactly where he needed to go – he was still panicking insisted on saying he couldn’t find any church around the street. My patience was running out and I decided it was time to call the office to see whether they can direct this mad driver who claims he has a GPS – how can you get lost with a GPS??? The office reception couldn’t get hold of the driver, so there I was getting quite annoyed and said to the reception people that the bin needs to be delivered on Friday because we have clean up on Saturday organised and I wouldn’t be happy with getting my refund money back!! So the reception people and myself couldn’t get hold of the driver and I just had to pray to God to calm me down and help this Mad Driver found the place. Anyways, it was a happy ending when he was circling the street, a brother happen to go pass the church and saw this stranger roaming around and told him where he needs to drop the bin. Thank God otherwise this mad driver would have left and there will be an angry me tracking this driver down and give him a WHAT FOR!!!

So other than the bin drama, we got to the church on time and was able to clear the massive branches and leaves and chuck them into the big bin – though I was angry with something else, I think at that point I was too tired to care. So it worked out well, now as Pandabear and I are going on our holidays soon so we had to drive his car – long story short his car is on some sort of lease and we need to drive enough kms as a requirement. So after the clean up we drove down to Busselton – I know we are MAD!! We got home at night and was exhausted. Sunday morning we were so tired that we nearly couldn’t wait up for church. Our bodies were aching and it was not a good sign. We managed to pull ourselves together and went to church and afterwards too a long long nap and since Saturday I didn’t have much time to caught up with mum (our usual grocery meeting up time) so I said to her I will visit her on Sunday night for dinner and I’ll cook. Anyways, had dumplings and Korean black bean noodles – I’ve learnt how to make the Korean black bean noodles and it’s delicious. Sorry no photos cos we were too hungry and tired to care to take photos. But I loved the combination of dumplings and Korean black bean noodles. So I was all happy again and now I’m here at work…

Hope everyone’s weekend is less angry than mine, sometimes I think maybe I need to go for some anger management class hahaha…

Restaurant Review – Marriott Surfers Paradise

Published February 18, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello again, okies we are still in the mind set of Gold Coast – at night time we decided to try out the restaurant in the hotel we stayed in Marriott Surfers Paradise. Now, usually I wouldn’t go to the restaurant in the hotel you are staying in chances are they won’t taste as good and it’s rather pricey. But since, Marriott Surfers Paradise is a 5 star hotel, the restaurant food shouldn’t be too shabby. 🙂 So we booked ourselves in and rocked up, they have buffet on special – everything that ranges from bread selection, salad bar, seafood section and dessert section. Looks rather impressive! I was really impressed they had a gigantic wood fire kiln for woodfire pizzas and there’s chef there making fresh baked woodfire pizzas. However we didn’t feel like buffet so we opt to go for the entrees and mains on the menus.

Gigantic Woodfire Kiln

Gigantic Woodfire Kiln

Salad bar

Salad bar

bread selection

bread selection

dessert selection

dessert selection

So, on the menu we decided to have woodfire pizza to share and Pandabear ordered some prawn kebabs that came with an egg and rice. I had the prawn linguine and the presentation of the food was awesome, very colourful the produce was very fresh. For the pizza we were able to choose 2 different toppings – 1/2 supreme and 1/2 meat lovers. Honestly we were so full and there was still 1/2 of a pizza left. Now, another weakness of mine – I never waste food – I was brought up to finish every single food item on my plate. So I’ve decided to ask the waiter whether we can take away the pizza. Pandabear was like ‘no it’s embarrassing I don’t think 5 star hotel restaurants do take aways!!’ – I wasn’t going to give up this easily, no harm asking. So I asked the waiter and he said ‘not a problem’ – so I was very glad 🙂 no wastage!! We could even have pizza for our supper – even though it’s cold.

Prawn Linguine

Prawn Linguine

Prawn Kebabs with rice & egg

Prawn Kebabs with rice & egg

Massive Woodfire Pizza

Massive Woodfire Pizza

Our pizza takeaway box

Our pizza takeaway box

Anyways, the food was lovely – great taste and huge servings. Now in terms of dining experience I must admit the food waiting time was a little long – around 40 minutes we were starving and it took ages for us to get the waiter’s attention they seemed to be floating around everywhere except coming to our table to take orders. That’s the same for me to wave to the waiters to take away left over pizzas. Here’s my rating:

Dining Experience: 3.5 star
Food Experience: 4 star
Would I recommend: I think so – for the price we paid and the service we get probably would go there 2nd time just to see whether the waiter performance picks up.

Anyways, we took some pizzas back to our hotels and was too full to have it for supper so I had to pop it into our little bar fridge cos there were lots of cheese. The next day, we decided to have it for brekkie – I know cold pizzas are yucky it became stale and hard. Guess what I did, I simply improvise and got my hair dryer and started blow drying the pizzas – sometimes I think I maybe an inventor when it comes to heating food hehehehe it took at least 5 minutes to heat up 1 small slice of pizza but it paid off cos Pandabear started eating his pizza and I did too 🙂 I love happy pizza endings. Anyways, I shall end it and hopefully I’ve changed the format of my blog slightly to accommodate bloggy friends – otherwise sorry I did try my best 🙂 good night and sweet dreams…

Blog Insight

Published February 18, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy Friends, I’m so glad that I’m at home now it was a struggle to get to work after only getting few hours of sleep last night. Pandabear came home around 1.30am and accidentally called me on my mobile to let me know he’s coming home – but he forgot it was already 1.30am!! So I got woken up and then tried to go back to sleep again, then his mobile phone rang cos he was on call last night and had to go back to the hospital again 😦 Poor Pandabear, as for me after been woken up twice – I couldn’t get back to sleep and I rolled and tumble around the bed and eventually fell asleep around 5.30am and then I had to get up to go to work 😦 Tonight hopefully I will sleep like a log to catch up on my beauty sleep.

Anyways, a friend of mine said she read my blog today and realised my writing is so long and suggested that I put pictures between each paragraph to make it easier to read. Sorry about my waffling, I do have the tendency to go on and on. But cos tonight I’m especially tired I shall keep my post short! I will try my best to shorten my writing or at least put them into paragraphs.