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Showing posts from April, 2006

The agony of navigating

We arrived back safe and sound from our 4-day trip down south many many lovely memories and images of beautiful scenery tucked away in our minds.

The only pill in my jam which still leaves a bitter after taste long after the ordeal is over is this:

Yup, it's navigating. I confess that at one point at the start of the trip, the tension between navigator and driver got so bad that tempers were flaring up to breaking point. It's shameful but it's true.

But let's not dwell on unhappy things... because we eventually managed to settle into an acceptable navigational-driver communication system to enjoy other happy things.

Highlights from our first day include...

Seeing this ideal burial spot... imagine being buried right by the sea... facing the eastern ocean horizon... with the perfume of seabreeze in the air...

Queuing and waiting to sample the best fish&chips in Wollongong at Boufflers... it was well worth it though!

Enjoying the tranquility at Nan Tiem temple: the largest t…

Can't wait to try this wine...

Hubby and I drove up to Hunter Valley last Tuesday (18th April). It's about a one and a half hours drive up north from Sydney... a little further in from Newcastle.

We bought four bottles of wine altogether and tasted so many others... we only tasted mind you... hubby couldn't drink any because he was driving and I decided I wouldn't drink any so he wouldn't feel left out (so basically we had to spit out the wine after we tasted it in our mouth into the bucket specially set aside for this purpose).

Let's see... we bought two bottles at Mt Pleasant Estate: a 2001 Verdelho and a Classic Muscat. Then we bought a lovely Dessert Verdelho from Pokolbin Estate. And finally a sparking Rouge Ambrosia from Peterson's Champagne House. All perfectly lovely.

I am especially keen on the dessert wine. You see the Pokolbon Estate is an extremely small boutique winery and all its wines are not available for sale in the mass market at all. So I imagine that each bottle they produce…

Hairy ordeal

Friday night, hubby announced that it was time to cut his hair. I knew we were in for a long evening.

You see in February hubby had become the proud new owner of this hair clipper set.

He got it at the Subang Jaya Carrefour during our CNY trip to Malaysia.

He reasoned that instead of paying $12 for every visit to the barber, he could get this and DYI the haircut at home. Except that it was not actually DYI but HDIFM (Honey Do It For Me).

So I rolled up my sleeves and proceeded to get hairy. "It's very easy" said hubby, "Just set to medium and shave all around, then set to short to trim the sides and back". You think so simple ah? It was an ordeal for me because I was in constant fear that I would overshave a section and end up with the botak hair my brother Sam had one time because of his friend's mistake.

I took a long time doing this. Hubby was getting very impatient and tired from sitting in the bathtub. "Don't worry so much" hubby said, "I…

Fresh and simple

I think cuisine experts are now moving back to basics. The common mantra among clebrity chefs nowadays is "always use the freshest ingredients".

When you use the best ingredients, you don't have to do so much to it. Just a touch of this and that without overcomplicating things to retain as much of the original flavours as possible.

Yesterday I went out to pick up from fresh lamb cutlets and asparagus. I cooked the ingredients as simply as possible. I marinated the lamb in just some olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and grilled them in the oven. I steamed the asparagus and served them with some freshly grated parmesan.
Enjoy with steamed rice and some red wine, this made an excellent tasting and healthy meal. Just fresh and simple.

Homemade tomato sauce for pasta

I made my very own homemade fresh tomato sauce last weekend. It was very good. I got the idea from the 'Better Homes and Gardens' show in their Quick & Easy cooking segment.
Just blend some tomatos, garlic, basil leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then put into a pan and bring just up to boiling. Put in some parmesan shavings as well. Once it starts to boil, turn down heat and mix in freshly cooked pasta. Then serve with some freshly grated parmesan over the top. Voila!

My current favourite breakfast...

This is Vegemite. A classic Aussie favourite.

It is currently taking place as one of my favourites on the breakfast table. It has a salty, yeasty taste somewhat similar to Marmite or Bovril.

It taste great spread thinly on toast with margarine. I tried it once with avocado slices... yummy! I also tried some vegemite toast dipped in soft-boiled egg... oooohhhh, syok!

If you don't have vegemite, I think Marmite or Bovril should work just as well. Actually what is with these yeast spreads anyway? I think someone mentioned that they have some health benefits, but now I can't think how these could be healthy at all.

Bovril is also a very versatile product. I remember that when we were sick with fever and to weak to eat, mom would let us eat bread or porridge with bovril. Actually porridge still tastes great with bovril... these two go together naturally. Many Malaysian kids drink hot bovril drink for a bedtime snack (which is just hot water and bovril). Again for health benefits?

Water …

Ngiong Tew Foo: Trial Version 1

Because I was so impatient to satisfy my craving for Ngiong Tew Foo. I went ahead to agak-agak my way around to making my own version...

I made the meat mixture with minced pork, oyster sauce, soy sauce, egg, salt, pepper, sesame oil and cornflour... which I then proceeded to stuff into the tau fu like this:

The sauce was somewhat more elaborate. It was basically a chicken stock, flavoured with some condiments and thickened slightly with cornflour.

I pan-fried the Ngiong tew Foo in shallow oil and then dunked them into the chicken stock to simmer a few minutes... and then I fished them out and dished them with my special sauce.

Not bad actually. Next time I will add the garlic, prawn as suggested by mom, and also dad's coriander for some extra zing!

Ngiong Tew Foo inspiration

I suddenly felt like making and eating Ngiong Tew Foo.

I've eaten it plenty of times but I've never made any of it myself.

It looks easy enough, just stuff some mince pork into the beancurd, right?

But I think one key secret is the sauce itself. I want to be able to make the sauce just the right saucy texture, with just the right briny flavoursome taste.

I remember last time at my secondary school canteen, the canteen aunty served yong Ngiong Tew Foo which you could choose to eat with some rice. The sauce was so yummy (and not to salty either!) that I felt quite satisfied just eating just a couple of Ngiong Tew Foo and plain rice, provided that the aunty ladled generous amounts of the sauce onto my plate.

So what's the secret in the sauce? I Googled the recipe online and found so many variations to the recipes that I'm now just utterly confused.

One version says to stew the sauce with soya beans. Another says to use chilli garlic sauce. How? Which version to use? Or should I…

Clafoutis: Version 2

My latest culinary creation... voila!
It's a fig and strawberry clafoutis.

Figs are in season now. They have a mild woody-sweetish flavour. Altogether different from the extremely sweet preserved figs I had tried before. Figs need to be cooked slightly with some sugar to bring out their flavour it seems. I tried them fresh with ice-cream, but I think the sweetness of the ice-cream overpowered the figs' mild flavour.

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