Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Trip Home

It's funny how emotions can be a bit of a roller coaster ride. One moment in January, I was disappointed that we couldn't return home to celebrate Chinese New Year with our families. Come February, I wasn't prepared for the trip home and before I left Kuala Lumpur a week ago, I felt miserable about leaving everyone behind.

We were worried that our plants wouldn't survive without us but gawd! We returned to see them flooded, probably due to a dripping tap. They are strangely, still alive and breathing. Phew!

Enjoying her strawberry
I spent a week in Kota Kinabalu doing absolutely nothing besides spending time with my parents and cheeky niece (and her parents). I never knew it could be SO tiring just spending an afternoon taking care (and playing) with her, let alone doing it 5 times a week! It's no wonder my parents are always exhausted by evening, and can't get their chores done properly.

Besides playing with her teapot, xylophone, bubbles, blocks and plastic cups, my niece loves her books. She never tires of them and makes everyone read them to her. I bought her new one, The Very Itchy Bear, which she doesn't seem keen, though. *hmmfh*

As the only grandchild for both sides of the family, she gets endless attention. Everyone wants a piece of her! :)

The second and third week was spent in KL. The first part required a LOT of work in preparing my youngest sister's wedding. From tidying the apartment, to decorating, to buying things, to driving my mum here and there, to squeezing a lunch meeting and a short trail run with friends, I was exhausted.

A fab trail run in FRIM with some crazy buddies from the GCAM group.
They are so freaking fast now - they never cease to amaze me!!

The most important thing, of course, was that the special occasion brought the whole family together. The tea ceremony in the morning of the wedding was a tearful one, goodness gracious, with yours truly bawling and sniffling like I was the mother hen who couldn't part with her baby. *embarrassed*

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Melbourne Eats: Ditzy Dani's Cafe, Preston Market

We went to check out Preston Market last December, hoping to grab some decent priced seafood. We were told that it was pretty decent over there so how could we not be curious?

I found out that rainbow trouts and salmon are cheaper over there, compared to the usual fishmongers at Box Hill Centro. About AUD$10.99 per kg, I think?

Food wise, I wasn't sure what to expect. I found a couple of rave reviews for some of its eateries, but when we were actually there, I wasn't sure.

I was curious about Ditzy Dani's cafe Dutch pancakes but to my disappointment, they reminded me of kaya balls back home.

The choices were, maple syrup and butter, cream and lemon, or something like that.

But once they served us a plate with both of choices combined, we didn't know what to make of it.

So. Not. Impressed.


A cannoli for AUD$1.50.

We shared a cannoli while waiting for our kaya balls Dutch pancakes and I'm not sure what I was expecting. The custard filling was bland and tasted more of cream. It needed a bit more sugar.

But what do I know!

Coffee was not impressive either.

Definitely a no go for us.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Melbourne Eats: Eating Out in Bright

Over the weekend in Bright for the Razorback Run that weekend in November 2013, we only ate at two places.

Il Centro Pizza House
94 Gavan Street
Bright, VIC 3741
Links: Urbanspoon 

We arrived in Bright in time for dinner and decided to fill up our tummies before making our way to our accommodation and race briefing.

We wandered around the city streets, not knowing where to go and what exactly our tummies felt like eating. We eventually settled for this place just because it was crowded. 

Shrimps, mushroom, bacon and ham pizza. I think.

Their choice of pasta was rather limited so we resorted to ordering a pizza and fish & chips.

Fish was supposed to be in beer batter, but we couldn't taste much of it. 

Despite it being busy and packed with customers, service was OK.

Our bill came to AUD$44.00 as we had some beer. Except for the pizza being a bit on the salty side, the meal was a forgettable one.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fish Noodles Soup

This post has been sitting in the draft folder since last year. I made this dish twice in November and absolutely enjoyed it. :)

Who would have thought that I would miss tangy fish noodles from home?

It was such a joy (and relief) to come across the recipe which simplified its cooking, making it possible for me attempt this dish. Otherwise, I'd just shove my cravings back into its cage and pretend it never happened.

First attempt on 22nd November 2013.

If you already have your stock in hand, your preparation and cooking time will be reduced and would take not more than 1.5 hours.

For sambal belacan and fried silver whiting, I usually refer to this recipe. I tend to make just enough sambal belacan for 3 portions as I don't want to keep them too long in the fridge. The fried fish pieces are fairly simple, and you may use your preferred choice of fish.

For the fish noodle recipes, I referred to both Kelly Siew Cooks and Maangchi and have adapted them to my own.

Fish Noodles Soup
Serves 2.

1/2 litre of chicken stock
thumb size ginger, sliced thinly
a pinch of dried anchovies
2 pieces of pickled mustard green, sliced thinly
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 salted plum (asam boi?)
2 TBSP of Shao Xing rice wine
2 tsp of fish sauce
1 TBSP of sesame oil
vermicelli, soak in hot water and set aside.
1/4 cup of evaporated milk (or fresh milk)
salt and pepper, to taste.

for garnish
spring onion
fried fish pieces

1. Fry ginger with sesame oil until fragrant in a pot.
2. Add chicken stock to the pot, and throw in the anchovies, mustard green, tomatoes and salted plum.
3. When it starts to boil, add the rice wine and fish sauce. Close, reduce heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Remove foam from the surface, if any.
5. Check the vermicelli to see if they are soft enough. If yes, drain water and set it aside. 
6. Shut off the heat. Remove anchovies or leave it.
7. Taste broth, and see if it requires some salt or white pepper.
8. Add milk into the broth before pouring over the noodles. You may want to gradually pour in the milk and taste it first. You don't want to pour too little or too much.

Second attempt on 27nd November 2013.

Hope you'll give it a go!
When winter comes, I supposed I'll cook this dish again. :)