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All posts for the month March, 2010

Blog Insight

Published March 16, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy Friends, well wishes from far far away San Francisco. I’m now in Apple store, free internet access 🙂 Well, I’m reaching close to 100 posts and I thought I will have a little celebration of changing my background theme which will now incorporate the categories search easier for people who only wants to read certain things 🙂 Yay. Well, I hope you guys liked this design. It took a little while for me to select this one. Anyways, it’s great staying at San Francisco – first of all China Town is one of the largest in US and it’s like a little town full of Asians, with markets, food, restaurants, shops that sells everything from spices to chinese nick nacks…and also I bought some kitchen gadgets which is really great and I’ve also taken quite alot of food photos which I’m hoping to compile them into posts. Tonight is our last night in San Francisco, we will be flying off to New York our next destination for some great shopping 🙂 followed by flying to Vancouver Canada and then Whistler our last stop for some hopefully awesome skiing and snow mobile. The people here are so friendly they will always greet you with a smile and when you leave they would always say ‘have a great day’ with a lovely smile. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet Ron Seagull in person who took me for a personal kitchen tour to meet his staff and he gave me his menu with his signature – I’m over the moon. He’s the chef who beat French Iron Chef, I was so honoured to meet him in person – more detail in my future post. San Francisco is such a nice city full of nice people, though I do see random beggars around the corner of the street and do have the urge of handing some change to them! Oh well, theres always one around in every country.

So long my bloggy friends, will post more when I get the opportunity to! ‘Have a great day!’

Restaurant Review – Fish Monger Seafood Restaurant

Published March 10, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, last night was my younger sister’s early birthday celebration. So I decided to book a seafood restaurant, one that we’ve never been. I’ve always walked across this restaurant down James Street Northbridge and I love the fishy’s face – so I thought well, why not give it a try. Went online to read some reviews, not many reviews but the menu seemed nice enough.

It was a Tuesday night, so I don’t expect too many customers on a week night. There were a table of 2 and then a group of 6 came later on. Our table was set and there were some colouring pencils along with colour sheet for the kids to draw – that’s very thoughtful I thought. There were 2 waitresses on that night and they both seemed very friendly one have a strong accent not from Australia. Then there was also a sheet of fish jokes which I found quite entertaining.

Fish Joke

Fish Joke

I like the decor of the restaurant very casual and family orientated there’s even a fish aquarium that’s rather pretty full of different colour fishes…

lovely fish aquarium

lovely fish aquarium

There were lots of choice on the menu. My younger sister was starving so I decided to order some bread for the table, the waitress recommended sour dough with balsamic vinegar olive oil dip and I felt like some chilli mussels. So soon enough we had that, the sour dough was dry not fresh and not warm enough and the chilli mussels didn’t taste that great either, the sauce was runny not very flavoursome and the mussels didn’t seem fresh – I think I make better chilli mussels than the one we had. 😦 So entree was disappointing.

Chilli Mussels

Chilli Mussels

So I was hoping that the mains would make up for the disappointing entree. So Mum and I decided to have the expensive seafood platter – $44 each and Pandabear had the seafood chowder with crumbed calamari both entree size, my younger sister had salmon with asparagus & her boy friend had seafood risotto. My older sister had sizzling garlic prawns and her hubby had steak with mash potato. When the mains started to arrive, we were really excited. The portion was quite decent and presentation was great. However the taste was disappointing.

Let me just tell you in detail:

Seafood platter – was beautifully presented could feed 2 people with the serving. The waitress recommended the lobster for additional – well I thought it was $6.50 it turned out they charge us $25 not sure whether it was her accent or not. Lobster was dry and the meat was not fresh, chilli mussels again – same stuff. The fish and chips – fish was dry over done, chips was ok. There were 4 tiger prawns – at least they taste ok. Salad was ok, dressing too sour.

Seafood chowder – too creamy and not enough seafood taste – tasted like boiling cream soup 😦
Calamari – was pretty nicely done
Steak & mash – according to my brother in law it was pretty good – at least they got the steak right
Sizzling prawns – according to my older sister it was pretty good
Seafood risotto – over cooked, it was dry in texture rather than creamy consistency. Some bits were not cooked so it was a bit hard. Seafood was over cooked
Salmon steak with Asparagus – salmon was nicely done so the dish seemed ok

Seafood Chowder

Seafood Chowder

Calamari

Calamari

Seafood Risotto

Seafood Risotto

Salmon steak with Asparagus

Salmon steak with Asparagus

Seafood platter

Seafood platter

Sizzling Garlic Prawns

Sizzling Garlic Prawns

Steak with Mash

Steak with Mash

Overall, the main was a disappointment and the price was ridiculously expensive for the food! Here’s my rating

Dining experience: 3.5 star – I give extra points to the waitress who were very friendly with their service
Food experience: 2.5 star
Would I recommend? Absolutely NO!

Blog Insight

Published March 10, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends. I’m letting you know that I won’t be writing any post for a 2.5 weeks cos Pandabear and I are flying off to USA & Canada but I promise when I get back, I’ll have lots to share…there will definitely be lots of restaurant review, food photos, traveling pictures..I’m really procrastinating my packing. I took today off from work to pack and clean. I was struggling to wake up this morning, as last night we kinda got home late from my younger sister’s birthday celebration. So I woke up at 10am this morning started doing my loads of washing and scrubbing our fridge chucking away things and giving away things to my mum as they wouldn’t keep.

My mum came over around 11ish and started harvesting my chillies. My chillies continued to grow out of control and mum ended up harvesting 1 large bag of chillies cos they would have shriveled up by the time we get home. Had to scrub our dirty fridge cos sometimes I’ll leave packets of sauces behind and it will go everywhere so I scrubbed the whole fridge, made my irobot vacuumed, mopping and doing everything except packing.

Now, it’s easy for me to pack. Pandabear have instructed me to take out everything clothes, items etc and leave them onto the bed. So the usual thing is to dump everything onto the bed and Pandabear will carefully packed all items into our luggages so that’s why I’m procrastinating, hehehe cos my packing gets done really quickly. So after some cleaning, it was 1ish time for some lunch – so Mum shouted me Japanese food takeaway. Yay!! I love Japanese food and also it was time to count how much money I have saved in my ANZ piggy bank. So I poured out all my coins, and Mum helped me count the coins. It came up a grand total of $80 all that coins for only $80??? Anyways, it was something…so I took some coins to the bank and felt abit bad I didnt have any bank bags, so I put them all in a container. The bank teller was nice and friendly and said not to worry we can put these coins into the bank bag.

She asked me how much do you think you have. Oh, around $80 I think and she weighed them all out and it came to $80 and she asked me whether I want to exchange them into cash. I said definitely. So she gave me $80 I really should save these cash, and when I was going to pop them into my wallet I found I had some cash in my wallet so I decided to bank $100 so the bank teller laughed you gave me $80 worth of coins and you ended up banking $100 so we made $20 extra hehehehe 🙂

Okies, better go and cook some dinner now – Pandabear has woken up from his nap complaining he’s hungry and that I’m still blogging!!!

Dessert Recipe – My Strawberry Cake & Muffin

Published March 10, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy Friends, hope this post finds everyone very well. Sorry I haven’t been posting lately. Been busy with various things. Anyways, last night we had a early birthday celebration for my younger sister. She is turning 23. Last night wasn’t really her birthday, cos Pandabear and I will be at USA when it’s her birthday so we opt to celebrate it earlier while we’re still in Perth.

So mum said to me don’t worry about buying a birthday cake for her cos it’s not really her birthday anyways. But what’s a birthday celebration without a cake. So I decided to bake a cake for my sister. I was thinking to myself I’m not really good with baking, so it’s safer just to buy a packet of already mixed cake mixture that way nothing will go wrong….here are my ingredients

So as it turned out, when I pop over to the oven to see how’s my cake going – I bought this butter cake mixture. They didn’t have any sponge cake mixture. So When I took it out of the oven, it was beautifully smooth and I was quite happy with it. Then I allowed it to cool down for 5 minutes before taking out of the tin. To my surprise the cake seemed a little bit flat nothing like the cover of the box where the cake was rather puffed up high.

My flat cake

My flat cake

So I was rather disappointed thinking of ways to make the cake stack higher with my strawberries. Pandabear said “why don’t you go and buy another box of cake mixture and make a 2nd cake and stack them together” I’m like there’s not enough time, plus I couldn’t be bothered baking another cake…hehehe I’m lazy. So I managed to cut all the strawberries, whipped some cream – now I started pouring some sugar into the whipping cream mixture then I realised oh no maybe I shouldn’t have mix the sugar in first but it was too taste. As my breville cake mixer starts to whip the cream, I stared at it hoping it will become thicker! And Yay! It did turned out ok.

Now in order to compensate for my flat cake, I decided to bake some cup cakes – now I’m confident with baking some cup cakes so I baked it from scratch just plain cup cakes and later on I was gonna decorate it.

My cup cakes

My cup cakes

Now it was decorating time, I got home from work and I have 1 hour to decorate my cake and my cup cakes. So I have no time to waste. Started by cutting the strawberries in 1/2. I have sliced the cake in 1/2 and started spreading lots of cream on the cake as well and started piling those strawberries to stack the cake higher.

Piling my strawberries on to the cake

Piling my strawberries on to the cake

It didn’t look too bad, so it was time to spread more cream onto the other 1/2 of the cake and just tip it over to cover the cake. Now it was beginning to feel the whole cake was packed with whipped cream hehehehe but it was my way of making the cake taller.

My cake full of cream

My cake full of cream

The cake was starting to look 1/2 decent and bit taller yay!! So next thing was to chop up my chocolate blocks to add some chocolate pieces to the cake to make it pretty and taste better. After madly chopping up chocolate into pieces, some bits started to melt on my hands..heheh here comes the best part licking my fingers..mmm..chocolate…

My chopped up chocolate pieces

My chopped up chocolate pieces

I managed to decorate the chocolate pieces without it melting. It was starting to make my cake look quite pretty 🙂 and it was time to start piping some cream onto the cake…

I was amazed that my cake is starting to look like a cake…hehehe then it was time to stack some strawberries onto my twirly cream. Wow it looks great..

My final cake

My final cake

I also bought some pink icing to write some words..so I drew a Large M onto the chocolate pieces and wrote happy birthday onto the cake.

My cake is done, so I quickly put it into the fridge so that the cream doesn’t melt and my next task was to decorate the cup cakes. My idea is to used up my left over strawberries and cream. So I piled some cream on top and pop strawberry on top and wrote in pink icing the letters for each muffin – ‘M’ ‘A’ ‘U’ ‘R’ ‘E’ ‘E’ ‘N’ ‘Y’
which is my younger sister’s nick name and it turned out quite well..

I was very happy with the turn out of my strawberry cake & muffin 🙂

Comfort Food Recipe – Oven Baked Pork Ribs with Steam Vegies

Published March 6, 2010 by Mary Jane

Ok, it’s time for some comfort food recipe. This particular dish is pretty simple to make and it requires minimal preparation time except the marinating time. Its best to marinate your pork ribs for overnight or at least a few hours so that way when you bake it the flavour is soaked right into the meat. The marinate sauce is my own version – it has a chinese twist to it different to the pork ribs sold at Tony Roma’s or Hogs breath

So here it is…

Oven Baked Pork Ribs with Steam Vegies

Ingredients

3 x slabs of pork ribs
1 table spoon of hoi sin sauce
1 table spoon of char siew sauce
1 teaspoon of soya sauce
1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
1 corn
1 bunch of broccoli
2 eggs

Instructions

1. First you need to marinate the pork ribs, make sure you get lean ones from the butcher. Some might have lots of fats which is what you want to avoid. Mix all the sauces together and using your fingers rub the sauces into the pork ribs on both sides – it’s kinda like massaging the the ribs. Leave in the frige overnight with some glad wrap on top.

2. Next, pop the marinated pork ribs into the oven on 180 degrees about 15 minutes and turn over and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Now depending on the size of your pork ribs check it by poking it with a fork to make sure it’s cooked and that it’s crispy on the outside.

3. Time to steam your vegies. The best way to cook your vegies is to steam it rather than boil it as that way you keep all the nice nutrients inside the vegies. I use Tefal Aqua Steamer which I will do a review on. It’s brilliant!! So steam the broccoli, corn cobs and eggs.

4. To plate up make sure when you plate the pork ribs onto the plate there will be lots of juice, pour some juice on top of it so that the pork rib remains tender and juicy. Serve it with steamed broccoli, corn cob and some sliced eggs.

There you have it a healthy pork ribs dish that’s finger licking good 🙂

Enjoy…

Pork Ribs freshly out of the oven

Pork Ribs freshly out of the oven

Oven Baked Pork Ribs with Steamed Vegies

Oven Baked Pork Ribs with Steamed Vegies

Gadget Review – Breville Cake Mixer

Published March 6, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello again, I love this particular gadget – I use it for all sorts of baking. I use it for making doughs for pizzas as it has a dough hook, whisking things with a whisk, mixing cake mixture. It has attachments which is great for all sorts of occasion. I love it’s funky colour, I decided to buy a pink one which is pretty trendy if you leave it on your bench top.

Though I must admit the mixer takes up a lot of bench space and quite heavy. However, the attachments are so easy to attach to the mixer and the button settings includes – mixing, folding, whisking, beating and different speeds. So it basically incorporates all functions into one equipment. Excellent! Great for making cake mixture, dough and pastries.

Attachments

Attachments

Now the cake mixer comes with a metallic looking mixing bowl which can be detached from the mixer and it’s easy to wash the mixture off from the metallic mixing bowl. Large enough to make large mixture. To change the attachments you simply press this black button and it leaves the top part of mixer upwards and you simply attach the attachments to the nozzle and then press it down and it’s ready for use.

I would recommend people who is into baking to purchase this equipment cos it’s so handy not only for baking cake, any flour mixture, pastry, it’s great for mixing meringues and your hands would not be too sore as it automatically mix, beat and fold for you. You just stand there and watch the whole mixture gets mixed together. As it does not have many parts to it, it’s easy to wash and clean.

Restaurant Review – Hong Kong BBQ

Published March 6, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy Friends, after coming back from dinner at Hong Kong BBQ and then followed by Icey Ice I was definitely tummy satisfied and adventurous about making some restaurant review post on Hong Kong BBQ which is situated on Francis Street Northbridge. This Chinese restaurant is one of my favourite in Perth. The produce is fresh, food waiting time is short and pretty good service.

They have recently been refurbished so there’s an upstairs to the restaurant, and we sat upstairs tonight. It was packed as usual. But to our expectation, the food was served straight away upon our order, 10 minutes later dishes after dishes came to our table. The presentation was immaculate, however the portion wise was a little disappointing. We had about 9 people tonight and would have preferred the serving to be a little bit bigger. The taste was however excellent, well cooked – in terms of colour, taste, flavour and the amount of salt added was perfect.

When you walk in straight away you see the live lobsters, live mud crabs and live cod…as you know I love animals to see them in these tight little tanks kinda puts me off from ordering them.

live mud crabs

live mud crabs

The stir fry fish with snow peas was nicely cooked, the fish was tender and snow peas was still crunchy and not too salty just right. Except the serving was too small

Stir fry fish with snow peas

Stir fry fish with snow peas

Honey King prawns was definitely well cooked, nicely deep fried and coated with honey. Except I find the taste of the prawns once you bite into it has a soapy taste for some reason. I’ve had this dish a few times, just to make sure I’m not going crazy but every time I bite into the prawns it has a soapy taste and I don’t know why? Maybe they have soaked the prawns into something else to make it tasty??

Honey King Prawns

Honey King Prawns

Hong Kong BBQ is well known for it’s roast – which includes bbq pork, roast pork and roast duck. They are all nicely done, the roast pork is my favourite as it has hardly any bones and the crackling is always crispy which gives it a good texture when you eat the whole piece together. Roast duck is also roasted to perfection with a crispy skin.

Roast Combination

Roast Combination

Sizzling Japanese Tofu with sweet chilli sauce is delicious as well, I love it how they pour the sauce when they placed the hot plate of tofu infront of you and it makes that nice sizzling sound…

Sizzling Japanese Tofu With Sweet Chilli Sauce

Sizzling Japanese Tofu With Sweet Chilli Sauce

The black peper beef stir fry was pretty nice too, except I find there’s a lot of onion pieces and not enough beef pieces. Even the beef pieces were quite small. So they should increase the serving size.

Black Pepper Beef Stir Fry

Black Pepper Beef Stir Fry

Overall, we were pretty happy with our meal – it would have been perfect if the serving was bigger. Otherwise food waiting time was only 10-15 minutes for all the dishes to come out. The waiters/waitress came and refill our teapot except we have to ask for it every time. We also had a fried crab meat Yee Mein, which was pretty plain and tasteless – so the down fall is the fried Yee Mein – not much taste. I think if you go there it’s best to order the Lobster Yee Mein as it gives more flavour.

Here’s my rating:

Dining Experience: 4 star
Food Experience: 4 star
Would I recommend: Yes!