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All posts for the month March, 2011

Restaurant Review – J-Pub Shogun (Melbourne)

Published March 24, 2011 by Mary Jane

Anyways, on our last day prior to us moving back from Melbourne back to Perth. Pandabear and I were madly trying to pack, clean and organise our car relocation, organising professional cleaners to clean and steam clean our carpets and meeting up with our rental agent for a handover. So we were extremely busy for the whole day, and then Pandabear asked me what would you like for dinner for our last night in Melbourne? I thought he was going to say Old Town Kopitiam cos that’s one of his favourite place to eat. But I felt like Japanese (yes, I’m a Jap Food Fan!!) So while we were walking along the street we located this Japanese restaurant which we’ve never been and I’ve never read a review on it before…

We were staring at the menu outside and it looks pretty good, even though it’s a pub – we know from experience pub food is usually quite tasty and large proportion to compensate for the drinkers 🙂 Pandabear and I don’t really drink we were just there for the food 🙂 The decor inside was really modern and has those Japanese style lanterns around the sushi bar which I thought was rather nice.

We went through their extensive list of menu – and decided we’ll share our entrees and mains. For drinks Pandabear had his usual lemon lime and bitter

For entree, we opt for prawn skewers and takoyaki (octapus balls) one of my favourite Japanese dish. When the dishes arrived we were end up with Edamame (soybeans) anyways, Pandabear is not very fond of soybeans so I ended up eating a whole basket worth of it. They were quite tasty and addictive, we thought it might be complimentary but ofcourse I think the Japanese waitress heard wrong and gave us an extra dish of edamame (nevermind, I really enjoyed it) 🙂

The prawn skewers were grilled and they were juicy and flavoursome and for takoyaki – they were fantastic nice bonitos on top, flavoursome and huge servings too 🙂

As for mains, Pandabear went for sukiyaki and I opt for my usual sushi – dragon roll sushi

The sukiyaki was really tasty – it even came with an egg yolk and in a stone pot which is boiling hot. I loved the presentation of my dragon sushi roll, it had the pickled bright red radish and a mustard sauce which I’ve never had it with sushi before. I usually go with horseradish (wasabi sauce) so I thought that was rather interesting.

Overall, we were happy with our meals – they were tasty and nicely presented. It was rather packed with people that night and there were only 2 waitresses on that night. However, we were really happy with our services. Here’s the rating:

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

Gadget Review – Thermo Mix

Published March 23, 2011 by Mary Jane

Okies, I haven’t done a gadget review for ages. Anyways, this particular gadget I don’t own simply because it cost an arm an a leg to buy roughly around $2000. I need to think twice when it comes to purchasing something that’s quite expensive, consider I collect gadgets – apparently I was told this gadget does everything from steaming, mixing, risottos, breads, etc but it doesn’t do baking or stir fries. So my sister in law decided to organise a Thermo Mix demo. This lady comes to your home and gives you a demo of machine and you get to taste the food she makes from thermo mix 🙂

My first impression of the machine, well it’s huge – kinda reminds me of a spaceship hehehehe. It has a weighing capacity which allows you to add in ingredients and weighs it at the same time – so there’s no measuring spoons, weigher or cups required which is handy, there’s a spatula for stirring and a oval shape container for steaming, a metal bowl for mixing. There’s even a timer function. So First up the demo lady gave us a brief run down of how the machine works, cook books, and pamphlets to show us why we should purchase the gadget…

So the demo lady brought along all the raw ingredients and first up she’s making some strawberry sorbet with fresh strawberries, ice and icing sugar and that was it. Within few minutes of using the machine it whipped up a nice refreshing strawberry sorbet. We were really impressed…

She then went on and made some cream cheese dip and beetroot salad – they were both very tasty and was done within few minutes…I was really impressed 🙂

Then it was time for some yummy and crusty bread, which the demo lady added in some bread flour and yeast and warm water and the thermo mix was able to whip it up into a perfect dough. It obviously doesn’t bake so we had to wait for the yeast to rise and then she popped them into the oven. Wola! Fresh baked homemade bread 🙂

Then she made some really nice mushroom white wine risotto. Now normally risotto takes around 45min at least to make them. But this time, within 10 minutes the thermo mix was able to mix and cook the risotto and it tasted fantastic! 🙂

Then she finished off with a fresh watermelon juice…

Overall, I was really impressed with the short span of time it takes to make everything. But by buying this gadget I’ll have to get rid of my weigher, measuring cups/spoons, steamer, mixer etc Also when it mixes stuff it makes a really loud noise and the machine actually vibrates on the table. Which if you can get past that it’s actually is quite an awesome piece of machine. My sister in law ended purchasing one and used it nearly everyday to cook baby food. Another handy tip – they make really good baby food 🙂

Maybe one day I might buy it, if I managed to sell all my other gadgets off and that I have enough space in my pantry/cupboard to store this gadget I might consider getting one…

Oriental Tea House (Melbourne)

Published March 22, 2011 by Mary Jane

Anyways, while I was in Melbourne I took every opportunity to visit all sorts of restaurants, cafes and tea houses to enhance my culinary taste buds…one random day as I was walking around the city area attending my various appointments crossing ANZ bank and at that moment I heard my name being called. I turned around and wow it was my little Cousin Alan! How coincidental is that, out of no where and at the same time he was walking back to work and he spotted me. So he said have I had lunch and I said yup, so he said he’ll take me out for a drink. How nice 🙂

We went to this nice little oriental tea house. It reminds me of T2 in Perth where they sell these awesome flavoured tea. Not only they sell tea but they also do dim sums. Unfortunately, I just had lunch so couldn’t fit any more dim sum into my fat tummy. So I decided to have a nice raspberry ice tea 🙂 it was rather hot that day.

Now, just as we were standing at the counter to pay I spotted a section that sells take away dumplings 🙂 They are frozen ones which you can buy and cook them at home…what a smart idea…

Overall, I enjoyed my tea 🙂 the waitress were really friendly and we got our drinks straight away…I would definitely go back again to try out their dumplings…

Self check out at Woolies

Published March 22, 2011 by Mary Jane

Morning Bloggy friends, hope this post finds you all well. Anyways, I wanted to do a quick post on these self check out facility offered at Woolies. Every time I go for grocery shopping the main thing I hate is queuing up and waiting. Yes, I’m not very patient when it comes to queuing up. So there are days I would stand there and wonder whether it’s actually faster using the self-check out facility but then I’m too scared that I will stuff up my grocery cost and end up waiting for ages.

So one brave day, I’ve decided it’s time to try out the self-check out facility there’s probably around 20 odd machines there and a person standing there incase there’s any questions or problems. It was a quiet day and since I only bought a few things, it shouldn’t be any problems. As I started scanning my produce and feeling really excited. For items that have set pricing all you need to do is select the items from the list – every thing is touch screen. For items that you need to weigh, it will tell you to put on the weighing section and then you just pop everything into the plastic bag.

Scan your reward card and pay for your grocery cost – either by card or cash.

Wow, within 5 minutes – I’ve finished paying for my grocery and there was no queuing involved! Yay 🙂 I should utilise this facility often – soon or later they won’t need the check out people anymore you can self-checkout yourself!

Time of Vegies & Fruits crisis = Vegie Garden Patch

Published March 21, 2011 by Mary Jane

Hello there, as promised tonight will be the night that I resume to my blog post – I try not to break my promise 🙂 Anyways, with the recent Brisbane flood all the vegies and fruits have gone up. I find myself struggling to pay for bananas that cost around $11 per kg as suppose the usual $3 something per kg and cucumbers, beans, etc are just horrendous. So how to solve this problem, plant your own vegie garden. I’ve been wanting to start planting for ages but haven’t had the opportunity to. So far I’ve only got my chilli plants and sweet potato leaves left (I must admit these two plants are awesome, it requires not much attention and care and they’ll survive without water for at least a few days). Anyways, my chilli plants were starting to grow out of control so my first task is to trim them and move one of the crowded ones across.

On Saturday, I decided to pay the garden section of Bunnings a visit. I love going to Bunnings cos they sell all sorts of goodies there. But the only thing that tempts me is that sausage sizzle that they have on every time I pay them a visit and I can smell it from miles away (drooling). So my task was to choose some seedlings plants from the garden, buy some manure, compost and mulch to start up my vegie garden patch. It was a challenging task indeed with so many herbs, vegies and fruits seedlings available…but I nailed down to tomatoes, baby carrots, string beans, cucumbers, coriander, basil, lettuce, capsicum and rockets. I also went to Crazy Clark and bought some packets of seeds that were on special 🙂 So here’s my home made vegie garden patch…

Now it may seem that my vegie garden patch is quite small so it shouldn’t be that hard setting it up. Can I tell you I’ve spent at least 3-4 hours trying to set one up. Carting these heavy bags of soil, compost, manure and mulch and dumping them onto the ground and individually empty the seedling plants into the ground so I can plant them individually. It’s extremely tiring especially when you’re doing it while the sun is shining in the arvo!! I had a full dose of my Vitamin Ds. I remembered at my mummy’s place we had some left over bricks, so I went to my mummy’s place and carted back some bricks to set up a patch. Now I didn’t want to be too ambitious by setting a large size of vegie patch on my dead lawn, I wanted to see whether the seedling plants would survive on a dead lawn – it was more or less a trial and error…but TA DA…I’m so proud of myself, I made up my own vegie patch that actually looks half decent…it’s been 2 days already and the plants are looking rather healthy, apart from my basil that are struggling a little…

Honestly, there are times that I think to myself all this hard work it’s probably just easier going to the markets to buy some fresh fruits and vegies. But my heart tells me there’s nothing like your own organic vegie garden and if it all goes well, I’ll be harvesting them in due time. Patience is indeed a virtue!! Btw, my backyard now smells like cow manure too attracting lots of evil flies!!!

So along with my vegies and fruits seedlings, my mummy reminded me long long ago I bought this solar plant bag that dangles from pergola and you can grow strawberries, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in them without using any ground space. So I bought some strawberries and cherry tomatoes seedlings to plant into this solar plant bag and I just need time to pop over to my mummy’s house to plant them. I will show you guys the pictures once I have planted them 🙂 I’m excited – it’ll be awesome to have fresh strawberries and cherry tomatoes…

Anyways, my vegie garden patch is still alive and I’ve just recently watered it so I’ll let you guys know how I go with my growing and possibly harvesting further down the track…:-)

Blog Insight – I’m back :-)

Published March 21, 2011 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, I’m so sorry for been out of action for more than 2 months. Alot of crazy stuff have happened lately and I just haven’t had the time to catch my breath and get into swing of things. I’ve recently moved back from Melbourne back home to Perth so the madness of unpacking and cleaning my home takes great deal of time. On top of that Pandabear and I decided to take a month off to go to Europe, so when we return we were struggling to get back to our work routine and getting over jet lag!! 😦

Anyways, apart from all the above I had to wait for our internet to be set up so that I can start blogging again. Coming back home feels great, though I do miss the food adventures i regularly have in Melbourne but it’s nice to be back home again close to my family. Pandabear’s mum have been unwell lately, she’s been diagnosed with Leukemia. This has been a devastating news for the family but thank God things are looking better so far and we’ve now accepted it and trust that God will give us the strength and wisdom to go through this on top of this my grandma is unwell in hospital so my mummy will be flying back home to visit her – so it’s alittle chaotic in Missy’s family right now…

Well, I hope everyone is doing well these days – what’s happening over my world apart from the above. Well, I’ve cut down my work hours from 5 days down to 4 days a week which is great as it gives me some breathing space to catch up on my daily chores and to attend to appointments. I’ve had an opportunity to catch up with my mate Jonathan whom I struggle to find time to meet and finally last Saturday I managed to briefly caught up with him to talk about our Food venture so stay tune I shall let you guys know what comes out of it. Oh, just to jam pack into my crazy lifestyle another exciting thing is since all the vegies/fruits are really expensive due to recent Brisbane flood I’ve decided to set up a mini vegie patch in my back yard – yes, I’m CRAZY!!! I’m really excited though and I hope these seedlings stay alive cos I love organic fruits and vegies – will do a post to show you guys later 🙂

So, I’m going to try my best to get back to my blog routine so stay tuned and thanks for your patience. I have so many blog posts to catch up that I don’t even know where to start….