Monday, January 29, 2007

Zna's farewell

Our Melbournian Zna Warrior Prince finally decided to leave Sydney for good and move back to Melbourne. After 2 years of whinging about how much he hates Sydney, he's finally gone. Of course, the only way to farewell Zna is with food. And since Sumalee was not open yet, we headed over to Thai Pothong. The last time we came to Thai Pothong was on my 25th Birthday where all had a near death experience. No wonder we haven't been back for so long!!

One of our favourites at Thai Pothong is their Steamed Mixed Seafood (Hor Mok Talay), which is a delicious combination of seafood in a curry sauce flambé.

Of course, I'm always immensely amused by the flames!

Burn baby burrrrrrrn!!

Green Curry Chicken (Gang Keaw Warn)

Yellow Curry Chicken (Gang Garri)

Roast Duck Salad (Pla Ped Yang)

BBQ Pork (Moo Yang)

Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Chicken with Cashew Nuts (Gai Pad Mamoung Himmaparn)

The food was wonderful. I absolutely love the Roast Duck Salad at Thai Pothong. Probably one of the best ones in Sydney. The Chicken Cashew Nut was also gorgeous! The BBQ Pork is a bit of a disappointment when compared to the ones at Chedi. The service at Thai Pothong was also excellent, except when it comes to serving the rice. Don't get me wrong, having someone scoop rice onto your plate is great service, except when you want refills. Every time you reach for the pot of rice, a waiter will come sprinting over to grab it off you and serve you. You either get too much, or you don't get enough and you're embarrassed to ask for more. We got to the point where we had to scope out where the waiters are, and once the coast was clear, we'd grab the rice pot and try to fill our own dishes. We almost got away with it once, until the waiter spotted us at the last minute and wrestled the pot out of our hands!

The funniest would've been when the waiter was refilling Zna's dish. Zna kept asking for scoop after scoop until the waiter went all bug-eyed as to the amount on his plate. Zna cleared the whole pot of rice! hehehe

Of course, no farewell for Zna will be complete without stuffing ourselves until we were sick. So after eating half the restaurant, we all waddled over to the French Riviera.

Chocolate Crepes


I can't believe how much we ate. No, seriously, I cannot believe how much we ate! Even with the help of Zna, who eats enough for 4 adults, I still cannot believe how much we ate!! Good thing he's moved back to Melbourne, we can't eat like this on a regular basis!!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Symphony in the Domain

After observing and learning from last week's mistakes, this time we came fully prepared for Symphony in the Domain. Much to the bitching and whining by SOME PEOPLE (aka Gus da Bus) about how we over packed etc etc, we had an absolutely fabulous time. The champagne was chilled and the food was packed. We opted to stay closer to the city side of the Domain this time, positioning ourselves about 10m from the road making for an easy exit later.

We laid down the picnic rugs and then the unpacking began. Most important thing of course, was the food!

Clockwise: Quince paste, Hungarian STYLE salami, prosciutto, crisp crackers, Walnut cheese, King Island Camembert, Water crackers, Duck with sherry and peppercorn pate (centre)

Since Gus da Bus couldn't get us any Hungarian Salami, I had to go to a local deli and get some Hungarian STYLE Salami. Whats the difference? According to Gus da Bus, if its not from Hungry, its Hungarian STYLE Salami, NOT Hungarian Salami. So let me say this, Gus da Bus, I like Spanish Salami more. Wait, sorry, I like Spanish STYLE Salami more. You're just going to have to live with it next time we have a picnic, unless you BYO Salami. know what? That was just too easy.

Anyway, the quince paste was beautiful! It was sweet and sticky and very jammy. Unlike the jelly type you can get out there where you cut them into cubes, this one was spread onto the cheese. MmmMmm

The Duck pate was pleasantly sweet, which we assumed was the sherry coming through. The taste was a bit more mellow than normal pate, but was soooooo nice! I think I ate over half of the pate! The Walnut cheese was quite nice. The texture really reminded me of a smoked dutch cheese we buy, except that that it was missing the smokiness. The crunch of the walnut was a wonderful contrast. Meanwhile, the Camembert had a thicker skin, but the inside was soft and gooey and went perfectly with the quince paste.

I also made some marinated grilled vegetables so we weren't just eating cheese. I love cheese, but when I eat that much cheese and pate all at once, it feels very unhealthy and fattening. The vegetable was supposed to make me feel less guilty! hehehehe We also got a tub of Chilli cashew and Parmesan dip. A glass of champagne and a nice chunk of vienna bread, smothered with the dip with a slice of salami on top is heavenly!

With that we had rockmelon and prosciutto as well as some grapes to cleanse the palate between the cheeses.

And just incase we weren't full on all the antipasto, I made some roasted Chicken Stegosaurus Drumsticks.

Originally I had planned on making something fruity and something chocolaty for dessert. I was going to make some chocolate dipped apples and some chocolate truffles, but as I was making the truffles, I completely read the recipe wrong. I somehow ended up doubling the cream and only using about half the chocolate. (Note to self, use ingredients from ONE RECIPE ONLY). So instead of having truffles, I ended up with a chocolate ganache. So to keep with my fruity and chocolaty plan, we cut up some fresh and crunchy green apples, and smothered it in my chocolate ganache. There was plain chocolate ganache and coffee ganache. I usually don't eat chocolate, but the ganache wasn't very sweet, and because we kept it chilled, it was wonderfully light. I ended up scooping the ganache out with crackers! Perfect with our Ernest Hill Silver Moon dessert wine.

MmmMmm Chocolaty goodness......

At about 6-7pm, the placed started to get very crowded. Luckily we were sitting near the edge of the domain whilst most of the people tried to squeeze in amongst the crowd as much as they could.

And I am soooooooooo glad we were away from the bats this time!!

The 30 degree day and quickly turned into an 18 degree night. Thinking it was going to hot all night, we started freezing our asses off. Me and P walked back to my office, which was only 10mins away to grab a jumper and some supplies. By the time we got back, we had missed out on the first 30mins of the concert and it was pitch black. This is when we pull out the glow sticks! Yes I bought glow sticks to the Symphony! How classy of me! hehehehe

Are you seeing things?

Yep, we used the glow sticks to surround our platter to give us a bit more light! You know, just in case we ate a bug or something....

Half way through the concert, about 1/5 of the people at the domain suddenly lit their sparklers! The photo doesn't do it justice, but it was a sight to be seen.

And the finale of the concert? Fireworks.

Here's to a great day out. Until next year!

Pizza, pasta and ice cream

As thanks to my cousin for the lovely gold bangle she gave my niece for Christmas, we had decided to take her out to dinner as well as have a family outing. My sister left the lovely job of picking a place to us. My nephews are picky picky eaters, my parents are sometimes against certain cuisines. In the end, we just decided to find some place at Liechhardt. Park and then look for a place:

I've been to Gioia once before for coffee. It was after my last birthday party where it was just too early to call it a night. Ok, it wasn't too early, but we were going through that stage where anything before midnight meant we were getting old, so we would force ourselves to go have coffee and stay out past midnight. Talk about a quarter life crisis.....

Anywhooooo, as a group of 12 people without booking, they were great in accommodating us. Within minutes we're seated and given menus. We decided to grab some entrees, pizza and pasta to share amongst everyone:

Garlic Pizza

This was a bit too hard and chewy for my liking. Since we had wanted to share that between 12 people, it took ALOT of effort to try and cut them into smaller slices since it was so hard.

Salmon and avocado salad

This was quite nice and refreshing. The salmon was nice and creamy and not too salty and went perfectly with the avocado.

My nephew wanted to order the kids pasta all for himself. $5 for a bowl of penne bolognese isn't too bad.

BBQ Grilled Octopus

Some of the tentacles were very burnt, but was overall quite tender. Definitely needed a good squeeze of lemon juice for the extra flavour.

Pesto Penne

I don't like pesto. I've tried it numerous times and I don't like pesto. But this pesto was absolutely delicious! Has it always tasted this good and I just didn't like it before? Has my taste buds changed? Either way, I couldn't get enough of this! Even my mum, the one against all things creamy, loved the sauce. They must be doing something right!

Spaghetti Marinara

There was a lot of seafood in this dish. The seafood was very nice and tender, not too overcooked. Nothing fancy in the sauce, but simplicity sometimes tastes best.

Penne Siciliana

A very simple sauce of tomatoes and eggplant mixed with the pasta and then grilled with a layer of mozzarella on top. Too bad I didn't get much of this pasta, otherwise I would love to recreate it at home. Another excuse to go there and eat again! hehehe

Norton St Special

MmmMmm this was good! Lots of mushroom, olives and thinly sliced ham.

Hot and spicy

This wasn't as spicy as I would've liked it. But then I would've liked it REALLY REALLY spicy. The kids enjoyed it even though they wanted more meat on it.

Leichhardt special

This was my sister's favourite. She's been brainwashed by the large unnamed pizza corporations where a super supreme means everything you can find in a fridge thrown onto a pizza. This was topping overload for me, but hey, she liked it meaning more Norton St special for me!

After eating all of that, we were being greedy and decided to order ANOTHER serve of the pesto penne and a spaghetti bolognese since my oldest nephew likes to stick to the traditional dishes. (Meaning he doesn't like trying new things!)

You'd think we'd stop after that, but considering the disappointment last time at BBQ City, we decided to take the kids to the French Riviera anyway. Strange how everyone was moaning about how full they were, but still ordered massive amounts of ice cold goodness!

Rum & Raisin, hazelnut and chocolate

Coconut and walnut


Chocolate and rum and raisin

Kiwi fruit and coconut

After the kids finished their ice cream, me and my brother scooped all the cream from our bowl and dumped it into their empty bowl. Then the kids decided to mash up the whipped cream, add water, add sugar, add the remains of our espresso cup and mixed it all around. Then there was a big round of us daring them to drink it, them daring us, us offering money and so forth. Somewhere along the line, my youngest nephew stuck his head into the circle and drank straight from the bowl! EWWWWWWWWWWW!!! Someone forgot to tell him it wasn't melted ice cream inside!!

Just another typical outing for our family! hehehe

Friday, January 19, 2007

BBQ at BBQ City

Its well known in my family that I love BBQ City. So when it was time to choose an asian restaurant for our family dinner, the first thing that popped into our head was BBQ City! It was a big effort getting out to the city, luckily we had free parking at World Square which made it slightly easier.

We met up at BBQ City and was greeted by the ever so friendly manager. (Helps when you know the boss!) Within 10mins of sitting down, we had ordered. Firstly, the side dishes:

Mashed potato salad

Kim Chi

Garlic and Sesame Choi Sum

Pickled radish

Shallot salad

Now I said previously that my brother in law likes to eat, and I love eating with him. Especially since he's always getting me to try weird and wonderful things. This time, it was the Korean raw beef salad:

The beef is basically frozen, sliced and then served with julienned nashi pears, cucumber, honey and a raw egg. Mix it around and eat! It was very strange at first. The beef was still frozen and was icy cold in your mouth, but as you chew, the beef quickly melts like butter and is as soft as sashimi. Oh god it was good! My brother in law complained that it was a bit sweeter than usual, but I was more than happy with this!

After the raw meat, we had more raw meat, but for cooking:

We also got some great marinated octopus which the kids just loved. Especially when you put a whole octopus on a sizzling hot pan, the tentacles all curl up and start moving around the plate like it was alive! Of course this freaked the young one out when my brother in law started making "octopus screaming sounds". *SigH*

MmMMm carnivorous!

Of course I ordered my usual fish egg stew and we got a sweet and sour chilli chicken which was just divine! So good, the kids devoured half a plate before I got to it!! ARGH!

By the end of the meal, we were sooooooooo stuffed! We were originally planning on going to the French Riviera afterwards, it so was not happening! We had to postpone that for another night.