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All posts for the month May, 2010

Gadget Review – Tefal Prissima Deep Fryer

Published May 26, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, it’s come to that time where I post about my favourite topic – Gadget review. I love this particular appliance, one of our friends sold it to us when they were moving to Dubai and they’ve only used it once – still brand new and we were stoked when they sold it to us for really really cheap price. Now Pandabear is a lover of deep fried food – anything ranges from spring rolls, KFC chicken, chips, wedges and the list carries on. So I know that he would love this gadget too. I’ve tried cooking tempura with this appliance and it worked great!

The tefal deep fryer is oval in shape and came with a a handle which is attached to metal sieve and you could just pop your deep fried ingredients into this sieve and pop it down. The best part about this appliance is that you could close the lid so that your house doesn’t get too smokey or smelly or oily with oil creeping out. It’s so easy to use – there’s a on/off button and then a little switch that sets the temperature with degree & pictures of different meat – chicken, fish, beef, vegies and etc. So I usually adjust it to the chicken picture and then pop the sieve down to the hot oil and it will started deep frying items to perfection. Then the best part is lifting the sieve up to let the oil fall off from the food so you kinda feel a little healthier instead of your food soaked in heavy unhealthy oil. That’s lovely 🙂

I would definitely recommend this gadget – it’s simple to use and gets the job done and what am I recommending it cos it’s TEFAL!! hehehehe…

Restaurant Review – Andrews Coffee shop (New York)

Published May 26, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening bloggy friends, hope this post finds you all well. What can I say?? Time is really going so quick the other way I was thinking well there’s still around 6 months till I move..but now I’ve got around 9 weeks till I move to Melbourne – argh!!!! I’m just trying to my contain myself and not get carried away. Thankfully, with juggling between Church activities and meeting up with friends & family have made me forget about my move. Not sure whether that’s a good sign or not. Anyways, this Saturday I’m meeting my girl friends for a baking session and I’m still wondering what we should bake???

Okies, so I’ve moved on from San Francisco to New York – a fantastic city which never sleeps. I love New York totally opposite to what I think it was going to be – the hustle & bustle of busy city lifestyle seems have faded away by it’s full on neon lights, friendly Americans, food was divine and theater – it was just an amazing experience. I shall write a post on New York activities…but for now, here’s a restaurant review on this lovely casual brekkie restaurant which was recommended by our hotel concierge. It was walking distance from our hotel and we were starving when we arrived early in the morning and had to wait till arvo to check into our hotel. What’s best then to dine at a place for yummy brekkie??

So we arrived at Andrews coffee shop – it was packed with people, straight away we were greeted with a waitress who sat us down with some menu. The place reminds me of a show on TV either from NCIS or Law and Order place where the cops will be at this casual restaurant having brekkie & coffee. There’s the colourful walls, TVs and you could see through the kitchen area.

We were staring through the menu, there were lots of varieties – so hard to choose from an extensive menu. Pandabear ended up ordering sausage & eggs with hash brown. Now as I’ve mentioned before, hash brown = mashed potatoes pan fried…and my choice was a greedy choice of the works – which had the eggs, bacon, sausages, & pancakes…that’s right..I had savoury & sweet I was starving and would love to try a bit of everything!!! We waited for our food which seemed to be taking for a long time. We waited and every time the waitress walked closer to our table she ended up rocking to another table to serve it’s as if she was avoiding us hehehehe….then finally she came, she was looking pretty exhausted – I don’t blame her, it was a packed restaurant and to be working at brekkie time – waking up early in the morning to serve these hungry mob brekkie is definitely not an easy task.

eggs, sausages and hash brown

eggs, sausages and hash brown

I had to wait for mine to arrive for quite sometime, I was starting to regret perhaps of being too greedy in ordering too much stuff. So I started picking food off Pandabear’s plate cos I was hungry!! Eventually my brekkie arrived. I was really surprised, the reason was because I was expecting them to separate my savoury brekkie from my sweet pancakes – but instead I get my eggs piling on top of my pancakes and mixed with sausages & bacon. But that’s ok, cos I ate all my savoury part first and then put some blue berry jam onto my pancakes and finished that off. The brekkie was delicious, both Pandabear and I were pretty happy with our brekkie – tummy satisfied. I must admit the sausages were quite different – I’ve never tasted this kind of sausage before – it’s kinda minced meat.

eggs, bacon, sausage and pancake

eggs, bacon, sausage and pancake

So overall, we were happy with our food – just the service & food waiting time was a let down but then again you kinda expect it from a casual dining restaurant. We left the restaurant with some tips on the table and walked off feeling full & happy.

Here’s my rating:

Dining experience: 3 star
Food experience: 4 star
Would I recommend it? Yes!

Restaurant Review – Nine Fine Foods (Perth)

Published May 21, 2010 by Mary Jane

Okies, we’ve just had a mother’s day celebration not too long ago and my sister in law decided to organise a get together to celebrate mother’s day. She decided to book a restaurant called Nine Fine Foods which is located in Bulwer street Perth and I’ve been to the restaurant a year ago for my mummy’s birthday and my impression of the restaurant was that it was dim, cramp – the place was small and the food was not too bad – Euro -Japanese food = Japanese food with a twist with European style touch to it. So we were looking forward to revisit this restaurant again. Now because the restaurant place is small they have requested that we order 3 course meal for everyone.

There were nine of us and we had to give them our orders few days before hand. The selection of choice included: Entree – sashimi platter – which consisted of selection of different types of sashimi (tuna and salmon and different cuts), seafood platter – which consisted of deep fried soft shell crabs, sweet potatoes croquette, deep fried prawns or duck meat with scallops. Main was either rib eye steak or salmon and dessert was either hazel nut flavoured icecream or green tea icecream. Both Pandabear and I thought to ourselves, we’ll just both have different dishes so that we can nibble on each other’s dishes… When we arrived the waiter sat us down to our table, the restaurant atmosphere hasnt changed much – dimly lit and quite a small space to fit all these tables. Fortunately, there was another room where they set our tables so we could comfortably sit some along the couches some with normal seats.

My entree was the duck & scallops – I’m not really into any other types of duck meat apart from Roast Duck from Chinese restaurants, so I thought to myself I’ve never had a Japanese style duck dish so I’m going to try it. The presentation is fantastic, the duck meat was equally cut and it’s light pink in the middle so looking rather juicy and moist. It was served with 2 contrast of sauce – I couldn’t really tell what they are but they tasted fantastic! The duck meat was a little chewy for my liking but then it wasn’t over cooked so maybe it’s meant to be done that way. Pandabear went straight for the deep fried seafood platter and I had some of his bits, I loved the soft shell crabs, the deep fried prawns and the sweet potato croquette the presentation was stunning it made the food looks great which in turn you would think the dish would taste great too I love it’s crumbing – Japanese style very tasty. Our brother in law had the sashimi platter and the presentation was lovely with different cuts of the fish in different compartments – he said it was lovely. Very fresh indeed.

The duck & scallops

The duck & scallops

The deep fried seafood platter

The deep fried seafood platter

The Sashimi Platter

The Sashimi Platter

For mains, I had the Salmon which came with the deep fried cabbage croquette. It was a generous serving of 3 pieces of salmon, pan fried and 2 x cabbage croquette – I love the croquette it had that crunch of cabbage texture and a crispy outside crumb. The salmon was served with a thick gravy sauce – couldn’t identify what it was but it was tasty. Pandabear had the rib eye – medium well done served with mash and generous serving of brown sauce – didn’t know what the sauce was. The rib eye steak was cooked to perfection it literally melts in your mouth, love the sauce and the mash was smooth. We were pretty happy with our mains. We also shared on the table some Caviar spaghetti apparently it’s meant to be one of their popular dishes, it had orange roe and tiny black caviars throughout the spaghetti – it was nice with some light crunch of the caviar to give that texture.

Salmon with Cabbage Croquette

Salmon with Cabbage Croquette

Rib eye steak with mash

Rib eye steak with mash

Caviar Spaquetti

Caviar Spaquetti

As for desserts, Pandabear had the hazel nut icecream and I went for the green tea icecream – I love green tea icecream. The dessert was simple it came with some fresh fruits and as you dig in 1/2 way you realised there’s some sweet red bean inside the green tea icecream that was a lovely little surprise and a great treat – red bean goes really well with green tea icecream.

The hazel nut & green tea icecream

The hazel nut & green tea icecream

Well, we were pretty happy with our meals overall it was pretty tasty, the waiters & waitresses were all Japanese and they were really friendly, our food waiting time was pretty good considered we had a large group of people. The food has definitely improved compared to the last time I was there a year ago so would definitely go back again to try out some other dishes.

Here’s my ratings:

Dining Experience: 4 star
Food Experience: 4 star
Would I recommend: YES

Gadget Review – Breville Rice Cooker

Published May 21, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, after a disappointing San Francisco restaurant review – I’m going to talk about a great kitchen gadget that will cheer up my mood. We had a little rice cooker that Pandabear bought when he was living by himself and when I moved in we decided this little rice cooker will be enough for us as you can make up to 3 cups of rice worth which is a lot for both of us, until one day the water started bubbling and overflowing we figured it’s done it’s time, time to retire and move on to a bigger family size rice cooker. So we researched a few online and I fell in love with this squarish and ovalish looking rice cooker – mix between square and oval. It reminds me of a Japanese rice cooker, it’s huge and has a handle on it. I love it, it’s a robot looking rice cooker. Now, I wanted a simple function rice cooker none of these complicated digital functions. It’s digital but are quite simple to use. There quick cook function for when you are rushing and wants to cook your rice straight away, and the normal cook function which cooks twice as long but makes your rice softer. There’s also a porridge function and soup function both which I have tried and must admit they are brilliant.

When the rice is cooked, it automatically shows a 0hr on the display so you know the rice is cooked ready to eat – prior to cooking it, the display will also show how long it will take to cook the rice so you could time it with your dishes. I’m quite happy with the rice cooker, it does it’s job and it’s handy to carry it to the picnics and it still keeps your rice warm. Once you leave your cooked rice inside the rice cooker it keeps the temperature so that you can leave up to an hour and when Pandabear comes home from work he’ll still have a hot bowl of steamed rice.

Breville Rice Cooker

Breville Rice Cooker

Breville Rice Cooker

Breville Rice Cooker

Breville Rice Cooker

Breville Rice Cooker

Restaurant Review – Grand Hyatt Restaurant (San Francisco)

Published May 21, 2010 by Mary Jane

Long time no see bloggy friends, it’s been more than 2 weeks since I’ve updated my last blog. I must really apologise, time is really flying and I’ve been caught again amongst busy things. Having to come home from work after gluing myself to the computer for close to 8 hours, the desire to switch on my mac and post my blogs have been really really low. But anyways, tonight I’ve decided I’m going to upload some photos and do some update on my blog. Well, I’ve nearly finished posting all the restaurant reviews from San Francisco, except for one final restaurant…that is the Grand Hyatt Restaurant. One night, we thought to ourselves so lazy to go out to dine at a restaurant – why don’t we just dine at the Grand Hyatt Restaurant, surely our experiences of dining at restaurants inside the hotel is usually quite a good one. So we thought anyways…

Grand Hyatt Restaurant

Grand Hyatt Restaurant

window view seat

window view seat

We booked for a table of two, when we arrived at 6.30pm there were hardly any customers. The decor was neat but kinda old, all tables were set up with wine glasses and cutlery and some tables were joined together so we thought to ourselves maybe we’ve came a little early. Nevermind, it just means our food will taste better cos we’re the first customer there. The Asian waiter sat us down next to the window where we could see a beautiful view of San Francisco City and was very friendly spoke fluent American English and offered us some drinks. Pandabear and I spotted the tropical fruit punch non-alcoholic and ordered this for both of us.

Tropical Fruit Punch

Tropical Fruit Punch

The fruit punch arrived and it was very tasty – I could taste a mixture of pineapple, orange, and some other flavours which I couldn’t pick up but Pandabear loved it and ordered 1 more glass of it. We weren’t feeling too hungry so thought we’ll order an entree to share – which was prawns cooked in tomato based sauce and polenta. Pandabear isn’t a polenta type of guy, but I convinced him if it was cooked properly it will be silky smooth similar to mash potato so he was convinced. We were served with hot home made bread rolls that was lovely. When our entree arrived it was tiny like 3 prawns and to be honest the presentation was pretty average, now I would expect for the presentation of a dish, you have to at least make sure the sauces don’t splatter around the plates…but I could spot some sauce stains on the white plate. The prawns were over cooked, the polenta was rough and grainy instead of smooth and the tomato based sauce just didn’t have that kick. It was disappointing…

Prawns with polenta in a tomato based sauce

Prawns with polenta in a tomato based sauce

Now for mains, Pandabear loves Caesar salad – now you can’t go wrong with a Caesar salad it’s so easy to make and I wouldn’t usually order a caesar salad in a restaurant, but unfortunately Pandabear loves Caesar salad and he’s not adventurous enough to try other salads. So we had that..when it arrived, I stared at the plate – the lettuce looks so miserable they didn’t have that crispness looks in them, seemed a little soggy drenched by the salad dressing, some shavings of Parmesan cheese and some anchovies with a thin piece of bread that’s meant to be croutons?? The dish just looks miserable and lack of that freshness in it. Very disappointed how can you go wrong with a simple caesar salad???

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

So my main course finally came and I’ve decided to try their fish with creamy white sauce pasta served with asparagus and mushrooms. Sounds rather nice and I was thinking to myself if they stuff up this dish, I will have to give them a very bad rating. So my main arrived well, the presentation was still a little lacking, spotted some sauce stain again and it just looks as though a whole pile of mushrooms have been dumped on top of the fish. The garnish needs to go and I could see the oil oozing out from the sauce which kinda puts me off. So I taste it and it actually didn’t taste that bad, except it’s definitely very creamy and oily – I love the mushrooms & asparagus, fish was tender but the pasta was way too oily and it lacks in seasoning. So it’s edible but lacks in flavouring. I passed the rest of the dish over to Pandabear and asked him to eat it cos I couldn’t finish it. The serving size was decent though….

fish with white sauce served with mushrooms & asparagus

fish with white sauce served with mushrooms & asparagus

So both entree and mains were disappointing, the waiter came back and said would you like to have a look at the dessert menu?? I was thinking long and hard and decided well, let’s see if they can make it up with their dessert. Maybe, just maybe their desserts will blow me away…..so I spotted a chocolate lava cake served with strawberries and icecream…yum yum…I haven’t had chocolate lava cake for ages…so I asked the waiter is this dessert good? He replied it’s one of our best dessert highly recommended. So I thought to myself, why not give it a try. When it arrived, the presentation looks good – the strawberries were fresh, the chocolate lava cake looks moist except the icecream has already melted leaving a pool of melted icecream…now the test was to cut through the lava cake and to see the chocolate lava running and oozing out from the cake. When I cut it open it was dry there were no sauces oozing out. I was very disappointed!! The chocolate lava cake had failed miserably, we still finished our dessert – we never waste food unless it’s totally not edible…

chocolate lava cake with strawberries & icecream

chocolate lava cake with strawberries & icecream

Cut open lava cake - no lava!!

Cut open lava cake - no lava!!

After a disappointing meal, it was time for some rating:

Dining experience: 3 star – just pass as the waiters were nice and friendly
Food experience: 2 star
Would I recommend: Definitely NOT!!!

Gadget Review – Prawns De-veiner & peeler

Published May 6, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening bloggy friends, well I’m pleased to advise that I’ve finally resolved my IT nightmare problem today. I said to myself last night there’s nothing I could do about it – don’t worry just pray about it and go to sleep it’s a thing to sort out for next day. I had to go and speak to IT straight away the next morning to see whether they can retrieve our important files within our department which I have accidentally deleted it from our network drive which you can’t retrieve from the recycling bin!!! So I phoned IT around 8.30am and I was so glad to speak to one of the senior IT support guy who asked me what is the name of the folder that I have accidentally deleted and I told him what it is, and when he tried to salvage the files he said there’s no such folder by that name??? I did a search of all the folders incase they have sneakily been shifted to another folder within other drives – during my madness of multitasking? Unfortunately, I still couldn’t locate the folders???

Then as I hang up the phone sat in front of the computer, mumbling to myself trying to figure out what ways I can retrieve the missing folder. Suddenly, I got this brain wave working – bingo I’ve figured it out – I was trying to back track the steps and it’s definitely really hard when you have a fish memory. So I stood up decided it was time to walk to the IT department and explain to them how they could retrieve this missing folder. After explaining to the senior IT support guy regarding retrieving the back up tape from Tuesday of a certain folder, I felt much better so walked back to my station patiently waiting for IT dude to retrieve the folder. Then suddenly I had another brain wave shock…I realised that I might have deleted some other important folders which I can’t really remember – fish memory. So I quickly flick and email and then I received an instant reply from another IT dude to call him to discuss this. All in all, I had to walk myself to the IT department again and sat down next to this tall looking System Administrator (with some help of chocolate & lemon lollie bribe we both double checked against the folders I need against the ones they have backed up. I thanked the tall-looking system admin guy he replied “Not a problem, next time I’ll have to charge you a chocolate tower” So all in all, I’ve had to speak to 4-5 different IT staff – but it was a happy ending in the end cos I got my folders back (even thought they were back to the original state and I had to start shifting and transferring stuff again, I shut myself off from everyone around me so I can have total concentration and managed to clean the drive! Yay)

Anyways, back to gadget review – well we are still in the mindset of San Francisco and I bought this nifty little prawns De-veiner & peeler from a Chinese shop down at the China Town. I’ve decided to cook a prawn pasta dish which I have watched from Food Safari and try to replicate the recipe. So I took out my nifty prawns De-veiner but the only problem is it didn’t really give any instructions on how to use it?? So I had to guess, by holding the end bit with my hand – ripping the prawn head off first and insert it inside the prawn shell and just rip the shell apart and using the tip of the gadget to pick up the slippery veins…it seemed to work. Here are the pictures…

Prawns De-Veiner & peeler

Prawns De-Veiner & peeler

Gadget in action

Gadget in action

I would recommend this gadget as it’s pretty cheap, and quite useful – except my only criticism was it didn’t have any instructions on how to use it – so I had to guess…do they just assume people know how to use one???

Blog Insight

Published May 5, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening bloggy friends, well I had sort of a busy day today at work – trying to get my head around my work as from now on Mondays & Tuesdays I’m working for another department. Which is very exciting as I get to learn new things, but the down side of it is to try to go back to my own department and remember the changes that have happened while I was away. Today, time seemed to fly – I was going through our department’s shared drive trying to sort out & delete the old stuff we had. First, my computer played up and refused to save some files on to a USB – then files disappeared or perhaps I have accidentally deleted it (I was sure I nearly had a heart attack – rang up IT for support and was told once you delete stuff from the network drive it’s gone!! Gone = gone into cyberspace or gone permanently?? Anyways, I have logged the job and hopefully tomorrow our IT department can retrieve it by backing up our network drive (one can only hope) otherwise I will have to make up those missing files which is a disaster!!!

The upside of today is that tonight, Pandabear arrives home from New Zealand – yay…even though I love my own space, likes to hang around with my friends and get to roll around my bed and have the whole bed to myself, it’s nice to have him back cos I’ve been giving up on my dieting and walking by feeding myself with killer home grown chillies and Korean fried rice. I really need Pandabear to discipline me when it comes to food. I’m also very proud of him cos he won the trainee prize for his poster and apparently he also won the door price $200 worth of subscription of medical journal – yay for him nay for me…those medical journals puts me to sleep I’m sure I’ll need them when I have one of those insomnia nights. As for the pressies he’s brought back chocolates, krispy creme donuts from Sydney etc, I scored a set of merino wool long sleeve top & pants which is so soft – apparently it’s very warm and I think I need to wear them soon cos I’m afraid of cold weathers. Oh and I was excited to see a bottle of huge Tia Maria – which I will use to make m desserts 🙂 I’m a happy girl right now.