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All posts for the month August, 2010

Gadget Review – Sunbeam StickMaster Plus

Published August 31, 2010 by Mary Jane

Anyways, as most of you guys know that I’m into kitchen gadgets – it’s one of my hobbies collecting gadgets. Moving to Melbourne was hard as I couldn’t relocate all my kitchen gadgets there, so I finally persuaded Pandabear to buy me the Sunbeam StickMaster Plus, they were selling in BigW for a discounted price. I was so happy when Pandabear agreed to buy it for me…I got home straight away to test the gadget out…

Here are all the gadget accessories – It comes with a beaker, a whisk, a mini food processor, a ice crusher and it’s all hand held..you can easily interchange them by connecting it to the hand held motor…

So it was time to put the ice crusher to the test, I felt like a glass of nice banana smoothie and here it is…

I was a bit hesitant as to whether the ice would just fly everywhere, but it was amazing within minutes I got myself a nice cup of banana smoothie 🙂

Then, on another day I decided I need ground almonds so I have a packet of almonds and it was time to put my mini food processor to the test!

and here it is, so easy just using the hand held motor with a click of a button and you can also pulse it as well depends on how fine you want your almonds to be grounded.

I would definitely recommend this gadget, I’ve also tried the whisk when I was whisking my egg whites to peak! Sorry no photos – I forgot to take them…but definitely, it’s well worth it’s money that’s for sure 🙂

Herbs, Herbs and more Herbs…

Published August 31, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening bloggy friends, well just letting you guys know I’ll try to update my blog on a daily basis but now I’ve started working – staring at the computer for close to 8 hours straight is making my peepers very sore 😦 Anyways, today is my mummy’s birthday..sniff sniff and it’s the first time I’m not able to spend the day with her..oh well, so I thought I’ll surprise her by sending some nice bunch of flowers but you know what happened? The flowers were delivered 2 days early, my mummy called and said thanks for the flowers? I’m like “what??, they are not suppose to deliver it that early!!” anyways, so I emailed the florist to find out what went wrong and then they replied and said we’ll deliver another bunch on the right day they apologized. I couldn’t believe it! Wow, mum rang me and told me she received another nice bunch of flower today – on her birthday! Hooray! I love happy endings.

Anyways, when I first arrived in Melbourne – I was so keen to improve my culinary skills that I went crazy with purchasing lots and lots of herbs. Now, it isn’t a problem if you used it all within a week. But my fridge was playing up with temperature – sometimes it’s so cold it freezes my vegies and sometimes it’s not cold enough that I think our ham is going to go off. So anyways, my herbs are starting to look a little miserable. So I thought to myself rather than throwing them away, I might as well find out how to keep my herbs longer. So there’s are a few ways, but the one that interested me the most is drying it naturally by placing the herbs in a well ventilated place until it dries up and the other method is freezing – so for my basil – I decided to freeze it.

Now sometimes I’ve got to admire my creativity or crazyzity if there’s such a word, it was hard trying to find a well ventilated place in our small apartment. So I found our laundry room and there’s a sink there and I’ll just ventilate it by opening the cupboard to let some air in. It’s perfect, I just tie the herbs onto the tab so it dangles from the tabs.

After a week or two the herbs are all dried – I tried out tarragon and rosemary and started stripping the leaves off.

and then box them into a container for later use…very happy with the result and our laundry is starting to smell like a herb garden hehehhe

then there was the freezing method for my basil, dip them in hot water and then dip them in icy water and then you can freeze them – pretty simple…

Now I don’t feel too bad buying all sorts of herbs 🙂

My 200th Post – it’s worth a Celebration…

Published August 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Wow, I can’t believe it..this is my 200th post – and to celebrate this I’ve decided it’s time to change my design background. I also want to thank all my bloggy friends for reading my blog and making suggestions of improving it and at times when I’m slack in posting, they would remind me “how come not much post going on recently?” Anyways, this is a special milestone for me as I’ve one of those people that get bored real quickly so I thought I might have given up posting 1/2 way through, but it’s been going well so far 🙂

Hope you like my design background change…I love new changes….

Restaurant Review – Tai Pan Restaurant (Melbourne)

Published August 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, as I’ve mentioned earlier our friend in Melbourne enjoys his chinese food alot – so here’s another restaurant that he recommends going. Tai Pan, it’s in a suburb area so not in the Melbourne CBD – apparently alot of the nice Melbourne restaurants are well hidden in the suburban area. So first thing when you arrive to the restaurant is that it has a large red Tai Pan Restaurant and it has a symbol with 2 swans crossing over each other.

Then when you step inside into the restaurant you realised wow, it’s a huge restaurant with your usual round tables with lazy susan on top. It has a nice brown decor and appear a little classier than your usual chinese restaurants. All the waiters/waitresses are well dressed with their uniforms. There were about 10 of us, so we thought we’ll order a few dishes…

We were served with a nice bowl of pork ribs soup..it was quite welcoming and yummy..

We decided to try out their Peking duck, I love Peking ducks and was really looking forward to it cos I know Melbourne restaurants serves huge size juicy duck meats. So here comes a chef wheeling out our duck…they cleverly wrapped our duck meat along with a stalk of spring onion/cucumber and some sweet bean paste inside a nice thin skin crepe. It was huge and the cool thing about it is they wrap this up for you, so you don’t even have to wrap them yourself. I just wish our waitress would at least smile a little when she served this to us. She had a poker face on the whole night.

The peking duck was delicious, we each got served 2 plates worth of it and was pretty happy about it.

We went for our usual favourite – violin tofu, the presentation was nice except it wasn’t as nice as the Pacific house one in terms of the sauce flavour…

Then we decided to try one of their recommended dish – omelette chicken with some sweet chilli sauce…it was unusual, I’ve never had this dish before but the sweet chilli sauce compliments the omelette chicken. However, they have served 2 dishes with bok choy!!!

Then we decided to try their steamed fish – our fish was a burramundi…it was perfectly cooked, the meat was juicy and tender and nicely balanced with green spring onions and light soya sauce…this dish was so far a winner…

Well, we thought to ourselves – whats a chinese meal without a clay pot – so we went for the beef brisket clay pot which was a disappointment, when the dish came it just looks brown, mushy and miserable and it tasted pretty miserable too. There were lots of fats and vegies and not much meat. It was quite a disappointing dish…

We were feeling quite adventurous so we thought instead of getting your usual stir fried vegies with garlic, we went for the baked portugese sauce vegies. Alot of Hong Kong Chinese Restaurants are now serving baked vegies with this type of sauce – it’s kinda taste like curry flavoured cheesy sauce. When it arrived, the presentation was great – however the flavour was a little bland – it felt like the curry sauce was quite diluted…so I guess it was a little disappointing…

Now overall, our meal was ok – there were a few disappointing dishes but overall most of the dishes were quite nicely prepared and flavoursome as well. Now in terms of their service, as I’ve mentioned our assigned waitress was looking like she had enough of working at that restaurant – I’ve never seen her smile and she just throws plates and chopsticks on our table and sort of pass the bill to our table when we haven’t asked for it…a little on the rude side I found..

Here’s my rating:

Dining Experience: 3.5 star
Food experience: 3.5 star
Would I recommend it? Probably – we may have ordered some bad dishes, maybe their other dishes are pretty nice, so it’s worth checking it out next time!

Day 11 – Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Summertime Tagliarini

Published August 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Anyways, I have a feeling that I won’t be able to cook and bake as much now that I’ve started temping for a recruitment company but shall see how it goes. Anyways, came across this interesting pasta dish what caught my attention was the use of pine nuts and pecorino cheese both ingredients which I’ve never used in my pasta before. So it’s kinda exciting working with new ingredients. Now this dish is a vegetarian dish, there’s absolutely no meat or seafood just cheese and pine nuts, so I cheated a little and chucked in some pan fried squid 🙂

Ingredients

Ingredients

Now the recipe requires you to smash up half of the pinenuts into a paste – so my magic stick master food processor came in handy and then you need to heat up in the pan with some parsley, lemon juice & zest and add in parmesan and pecorino. Now, I must admit I didn’t really stick to the exact measurement of the cheese – I just kind of estimate it which probably wasn’t a good idea, I ended up using more pecorino cheese which has a stronger taste compared to other cheese than parmesan cheese. So you’re suppose to cook it so that it becomes a reasonable thick sauce, mine started to look that way and in the mean time cook your tagliarini and then chuck the cooked tagliarini into your sauce. I think due to the ratio of my cheese, the mixture started to look a little claggy, thick and I went back to the recipe book and it says if it gets a little thick add a little more water it’s meant to look silky fresh and fragrant. Then I moved on to scoring my squid and lightly flour them and seasoned with some salt & pepper and pan fried them quickly and add a squeeze some lemon juice.

Overall, the dish is quite tasty, but I think I should have used less of pecorino cheese as it was a little overpowering, still – it was yummy and it went really well with the delicious squid – I’m glad I’ve added some squid otherwise the whole dish would just taste cheesy…Also with the recipe name Summertime Tagliarini – it’s meant to be for summertime I guess and not winter time hehehehe I love the texture of the pinenuts it just gives the dish a little bit more of the kick..and um I must admit, I couldn’t find tagliarini so I substitute it with some linguini too!

Summertime Tagliarini

Summertime Tagliarini

Cook book challenge success? Yes!

Comfort Food Recipe – Massaman Tofu Curry with Turmeric Rice

Published August 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, anyways hope everyone is having a good weekend so far. Last night we went out for a family dinner along with a friend at this Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant and followed by some ice kachang which was quite refreshing except after eating the ice kachang and stepping out to the cold wind made us freezing…Well, this particular recipe is one of my favourite curries – I’ve made a post before about Massaman Curry, but this time I’ve decided to make the tofu version of it and serve this with Tumeric Rice…oh yeah it’s meant to be a vegetarian dish but I couldn’t have my curries completely with no meat, so I cheated and chucked in some chicken thighs 🙂

Hope you like it…

Massaman Tofu Curry with Turmeric Rice

Ingredients

1 can of Masaman curry paste
3-4 potatoes
3 carrots
1 packet of fried tofu
4-5 pieces of chicken thighs
1 brown onion
a can of coconut milk
1 tbsp of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar/palm sugar
2 tbsp of turmeric powder
2 cups of rice
a small bunch of basil

Instructions

1. I started off to cook my turmeric rice, start off rinse and wash the rice and add turmeric powder, follow by pinch of salt and add about 1/2 cup of coconut milk from the can. Mix it together and cook it in a rice cooker.

2. Dice potatoes, carrots, fried tofu, chicken thighs and onion into bite size. Pour oil in the pan chuck in onion, stir fry it until it’s golden brown add in chicken thighs and stir fry about a minute and add in the massaman curry paste – you can buy this at any Asian grocery store – I would recommend buying the thai brand with a lady’s face on the can – this brand is really good. Stir fry it about a few minutes until it’s fragrant and add in potatoes and carrots. Continue to stir fry it for a few minutes and add in the remaining can of coconut milk.

3. Boil the pot of curry and then turn down the fire and simmer for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and chuck in the fried tofu (as fried tofu cooks very quickly it will absorb some of the curry juice) if you find the curry pot is getting a little thick in the sauce, add some water and mix it around to get the right consistency. Add some fish sauce and sugar and taste to make sure it’s perfect.

4. Your turmeric rice should be ready, open the lid of your rice cooker and mix the turmeric rice around so that the flavours are well mixed.

5. Serve your curry with turmeric rice and garnish with some basil..and it will go well with some thai style salad – the dressing is pretty easy. Just chopped finely some red chillies and add some fish sauce and lemon juice and balance it right and choose your salad – red onion, cos lettuce, tomatoes and some basil..

and there you have it a nice Massaman Tofu Curry with turmeric rice 🙂

enjoy…

Ingredients

Ingredients

Massaman Curry

Massaman Curry

Massaman Tofu Curry with Turmeric Rice

Massaman Tofu Curry with Turmeric Rice

Thai Salad with dressing

Thai Salad with dressing

Weight Loss Journey…the salads are gone for now…

Published August 26, 2010 by Mary Jane

Anyways, I’ve temporarily put the salads aside for lunch now…it was yummy for about a week then I was craving for other food, so I said to myself eat everything in moderation – I’m sure I’ll go back to yummy salads again when I feel like a vegie boost! Thank God that my feet is feeling better, I can walk normal pace now..thanks to the Podiatrist…which means I can go back to gym routine again…yay 🙂

Food diary

Brekkie – a slice of kiwi pastry cake with a cup of milo
Lunch – a small bowl of masaman curry
Dinner – a plate of squid pasta
Snack – a tiny bowl of icecream

Gym Exercise

Treadmill – 30 min
Bicycle – 20 min
Nautical rides – 20 min
Walking around 1-2km

Anyways, I constantly look at myself in the mirror to see whether I have loss any weight…Yes, I still haven’t bought a scale yet…so I’m relying upon being able to fit into my skinny jeans easier and tummy shrinking…but I don’t think I’ve lost much weight at all. It’s quite depressing and frustrating but I know I need to give myself more time…