Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cinbin's birthday

Well this was one birthday party I couldn't miss. Cinbin is as big as an alcoholic as me, and her birthday was bound to be an alcohol laden affair.

Punch anyone?

Or should we do some shots?

Of course, being a responsible adult, we should promote healthy balanced eating....


We had finished about half a bowl of punch, multiple shots before dinner even began. And what was dinner? Steamboat! Luckily the weather was quite cool and perfect for some steamboating. The one thing I love when steamboating is balls. I love balls. Fish balls that is. And beef balls. And pork balls. But then with the range available now days, I'm not limited to just balls. I also love the tofu fish and the seaweed thingy. Basically anything cut out of a packet and dunked into the water. Don't get me wrong, I still like the beef, and the tofu, squid, pork blood jelly, prawns, fish etc etc, but I like my packaged balls. Which is what made the steamboat soooooooooooooooooo good this time!

MmMmm balls...

Wonga bok

Shaved lamb

Shaved beef

Steamboating in action

We made one vital mistake during the steamboat session. We were so busy stuffing our faces, we forgot that we had a cake......

Chocolate strawberry torte

Coconut macaroons for dessert

Happy Birthday Cinbin!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chinta Ria

Its been awhile since we've had a catch up with the old CBA gang, so after hundred of emails, numerous phone calls, we finally settled on Chinta Ria. I have walked past Chinta Ria so many times, but have never had the chance to go for dinner. After grabbing a drink at Pontoon, we went upstairs to try and snag a table for dinner. Chinta Ria doesn't accept dinner bookings, and we'll be rocking up with a pram, so the earlier the better. Infact, we were so early, there was only one other table there.

I loved the decor of the restaurant! Its colourful and vibrant, and theres a MASSIVE bucket of free prawn chips at the front door! I also noticed this was one of the Malaysian restaurant that featured in SBS's The Food Safari. I think it was the colourful bowls that gave it away.

We went and picked a main dish each leaving room for alcohol and dessert. I'm glad we've got our priorities right! hehehe

Lamb red curry - $22

Beef Rendang - $22

Nasi Goreng - $15

Vegetarian Noodles - $15.50

Assam fish - $24.50

Banana Fritter (Minus the ice cream)

Mango Sorbet

Sago Pudding with Coconut milk and palm sugar

The curries were quite standard and might I say, a tad dry. It was still went quite nice with the boiled rice we ordered. The Nasi Goreng was light and not oily at all. Noodles were nice, but a bit too much dark soya sauce for my liking. But the Assam Fish was my favourite dish. The sauce was light and tangy, and given a choice, I would've slurped down the sauce like it was Tom Yum Goong.

However, all of that was upstaged the minute my Sago Pudding came out. It is so simple, let sooooooo moreish! It was cooling and soothing. Perfect after a hot curry. The palm sugar was aromatic and not too sweet. I scraped every last bit out of the bowl!

We had a wonderful night out with good food, and even better company. My only complaint would be the staff at Chinta Ria tried to basically kick us out by giving us the bill at the same time that our dessert arrived. I know they're busy, and I know we were occupying a table for 8 with only 5 people (Plus a baby making it 6). But we didn't ask for the bigger table, we arrived early to avoid the hassle of trying to get a table with enough room to fit a pram and they offered us a large table when the place was still early. But once the place started getting packed, they quickly changed their tune. That was the only incident that marred a beautiful night out. We still had a great time nonetheless.

It's time to start organising the next outing!

Chinta Ria
Roof Terrace of Cockle Bay Wharf
201 Sussex St
Sydney, 2000
Ph: (02) 9264 3211
Fax: (02) 9264 1411

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tropfest 2007

A last minute decision to go to Tropfest meant I wasn't as prepared as I was for the Symphony. I was glad I could make it considering last years dismal efforts (We rocked up, sat down for 30mins, ate our sandwiches and left before the screening even started because of the rain!). Because it was CNY, I was at home most of the morning with the meet and greet of the relos. I didn't get a chance to go to the shops, so at 1:30pm, I rummaged through the fridge and pantry to see what I could knock up. Moishii had the wine organised, only when we were on our way out to the city that one bottle is nothing. I can drink the whole bottle before he could open the second one.

We made a quick pit stop at Camperdown cellars and picked up another 2 bottles of wine. We park at my work and walk up Martin Place only to get distract by the Lindt cafe. We quickly duck in and grab a coffee each and some Strawberry Delice. After dropping all our stuff off at the Domain, we sat down and enjoyed our coffee before even pulling out the picnic rug. Once we had our spots marked, out came the food.

Moishii brought some delicious home made mixed cheese pide:

Whilst I managed to find enough stuff to knock up a few dishes in the 2 hours I had to cook and entertain at the same time:

Roast chicken and olive pasta

Baked stuffed mushrooms with a sweet chilli glaze

Mixed berry financiers

The view before it got packed

15mins after getting there, we cracked open the first bottle of wine. Infact, SOME people was so desperate for alcohol, they threw half of their coffee away!

MmMmm wine......

Moishii's lonely picnic basket

About 2 hours late was Matt and Laura, who rocked up with some bread and alcohol. (I made it clear that I wasn't catering for anyone else!) We had finished all our food by then, so Matt quickly tried to catch up by drinking double the alcohol. Actually, I didn't post the photo up because Matt is being a knob.....I posted the photo up on the photo and have a look at the enlargement. See anything? hehehe

The Domain quickly got packed out. Not as packed at Symphony in the Domain, but I wouldn't run through the park naked anytime soon...

Some of the short films were really good. My favourite would've been a toss up between "Road Rage" and "The Von". Luckily they both got into the top 3!! Some of the other films.....well......I thought it was just me until I turned to Moishii and said:

Me: "Is it me, or is this movie quite shit?"
Moishii: "Its quite shit."
Me: "And it doesn't make sense..."
Moishii: "Nah, I don't get it either."

Maybe it was us not paying attention, maybe it was too arty-farty for me. Or maybe, it was just quite shit. Either way, we had a wonderful day out. Its been awhile since the both of us has had a good drinking session. I think Gold Coast would've been the last decent piss-up. Lets see if I can organise another one of these days.....

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Its that time of the year again! Its money making time Chinese New Year! Happy Year of the Pig! As a kid, I loved CNY almost as much as I loved Christmas. Simply because, it was time for presents! And when its CNY , its money! Ever since I was a kid, I would save every single red packet I got (After checking who gave how much) and when all the festivities have ended, I slowly open each red packet and stack my money into little piles. I then calculate how much I made that year. I still do it! Its a great way to spend your afternoon by counting money! hehehe

Of course, there is more than that to CNY. Every year, as it gets closer to the big date, my mum we start our spring cleaning. And slowly, the red stuff comes out. The Fai Chun (Red sheets of paper with well wishes on it) gets taken down and new ones get put up. Red cushions come out and my parents head to the flower markets to purchase some red sword lillies a few days before CNY Eve so they would bloom on the day.

Then there is the food prep. For CNY, its not actually New Years day that is important, what is important is to be home for dinner on CNY eve. Every CNY eve, there is a massive family reunion dinner, called "Tuen Yuen Farn". Basically, all the family comes together for a massive feast. I'm free to go out CNY day, but I MUST be home for CNY eve dinner. And I wouldn't miss it for the world!

A good 2-3 days before the feast, my mum starts cooking. Slowly braising abalones at a low heat for a few days so they're absolutely mouth wateringly tender when its time to eat. She has to make the CNY cake, which is made from flour and loads and loads of Chinese brown sugar and then slowly steamed for a few hours. Then there are things like the sea cucumber, fish stomach, dried scallop etc etc which needs days and days of preparation. All this work for one meal. I'd better be home for that!

So CNY eve came around, and I woke up early in the morning to help with the final preparations. One of which was, make prawn chips to occupy the kids whilst they're waiting for the feast (Yes, give them food to distract them from wanting other food)

Then it was down to our industrial kitchen to help with the main dishes:

Frying up some pork

mMmm piggy....

So what are we making?

Salt and pepper pork

Fresh made "Jin Dui"

Slicing the abalone

Braised abalone on a bed of lettuce

Lettuce always plays a role in CNY as "Lettuce" is used to signify life.

Fat Choy, Oyster and Pork Hock

This dish is a must have every CNY as it signifies a lot. The Fat Choy (otherwise known as hair vegetable) and the Oyster, together makes "Fat Choy Ho Si". Which is striking fortune and good things if translated literally. The Pork Hock is for "Wan Choi Jow Sow", and thats also to mean making money easily.


The chicken always makes an appearance on the dinner table, as it is used as an offering during the morning ceremony, which I don't understand too well. All I know is that the chicken must have a head in order for it to be used as an offering, and is therefore blessed.

My Mum's famous "Nam Yu" duck

Home made Roast Pork

Dried scallops, sea cucumber, oyster, fish stomach with Roast pork

Steamed fish - Nin Nin Yow Yu (don't ask me to translate)

Fried chicken fillets for....

The kids' favourite Honey Chicken

Dried radish and taro stew

Garlic Brocolli

Table view #1

Tradition has it that you need to have 9, 12 or 15 dishes. Since we went over the 9 dish mark, we had to make 12 dishes. The only problem was we ran outta room on the table for 12 dishes! There was a lot of reshuffling, and splitting some food into smaller plates for the kids to make room for.....

Ginger and shallot Lobster!

Table view #2

But wait! There's more! A dish that we always make is "Tong Yuen". Which is basically dumplings made from glutinous rice flour. This is then added to a pot of soup which has everything in it. Theres heaps of vegetables, meat, dried shrimp and countless other ingredients. This dish is only made once a year in our family. It is to signify a reunion, which is exactly what this is.

I went for a VERY small bowl to make room for the other dishes!

After making complete pigs of ourselves, it was time to get ready for the temple. Usually I never ever go to the temple with my parents. The last time I went would've been a good 10-15 years ago. When we were living in Glebe, the whole family will walk over to the local Sze Yup temple after the feast. But since we've moved, our siblings have slowly stopped going. I remember the last time I went, the smoke from the incense was so intense, I ended up crying as it was stinging my eyes so much. Then theres the falling hot ashes from the incense. Because it gets so crowded, everyone holds their bunch of incense high up in the air to avoid burning people. But then you can't avoid falling ashes. Nor can you avoid burning yourself with the ash because you don't know what you're doing! (I've got 2 welts on my fingers) But since we were going to head over earlier this year, I decided to tag along.

Sze Yup Temple

Stalls selling incense and charms

Lighting up a entire bunch of incense PER PERSON

Big fire outside to burn the remaining incense sticks

There is also multiple lion dancing performances throughout the night. We happened to see our friends performing in one of them, but by the time I pulled my camera out, show was over. So we hung around for the next show:

3 lions

The "Band"

Fire crackers!!

Dragon dance

Gong Hei Fat Choi!

Gong Hei Fat Choi! May the year of the pig bring you luck, fortune, prosperity and love! And gimme my red packet damnit!