Friday, August 29, 2008


On X's last night in Sydney, before he returns to Auckland for good, we went to an old favourite, Komachi, a Japanese restaurant that we normally turn to when at a loss of where to go. It's always a safe choice - comfortable and tasty with reasonable prices.

I love the scarlet, angular, lacquer teapot they use in the restaurant. The design is so clean and beautiful. And I think that every single time I go there and order tea. A great design stands the test of time, and people do not tire of it. This is a prime example.

As we were all not overly hungry that night, we opted to share some tuna and salmon sushi, a seafood okonomiyaki, bbq octopus, some sashimi, mixed tempura and some miso soup. The miso soup was extra tasty and the sashimi was fresh but the portion was small.

We said our sayonara to X, but we will be seeing him in a week's time when we head off to Auckland for a short holiday.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Huffin' And Puffin' Cakes

I was a little heavy-handed with the baking powder today. Instead of the usual 2 teaspoons, I think I tipped the equivalent of 4, and so the 2 little cakes huffed and puffed and the loaf had a crack pushing through the surface, looking like the aftermath of a 6.2 on the Richter scale. As a deviation from my normal taste/style, I had also thrown in a fistful of mixed fruit although technically it was an orange cake (or 3), and pushed nubs of glace cherries as garnish on the top. G gave it the thumbs up and even though it was not sweet enough, he polished 2 slices off with cream cheese and strawberry jam.

Upon checking my post-it note at work the following day, I realised that I had all the proportions completely wrong - too much flour, not enough sugar, too much custard powder, too little memory power obviously!

The 2 legal eagles at work who devoured one of the cakes I brought in, claimed that it was still good, that sometimes accidents weren't always bad, and this was one of those "happy accidents". This verdict probably earned them a lifetime membership on my "friends to feed" list.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Food Notes

For our 1st anniversary dinner in July, we went to Glebe Point Diner. It was so hard to get a reservation, we ended up having a belated dinner celebration in the middle of the week just to get a table. And we had to get there by 6.30 pm and leave by 8 to boot.

After reading lots of wow reviews, I was full of anticipation and obviously, expectations were running a little high. I oscillated between the roast pork and the duck for my main although making the choice for entree was easier. But somehow, I managed to discard both choices and went with their special, the roast chicken. This turned out to be a royal mistake as the chicken was not cooked through and despite our speaking to the waitress about it, she attempted to explain it away as being "organic". The major part of the dish was cooked but was not bursting with the flavours I had come to expect from the reviews. The entrees saved the night though and we thoroughly enjoyed G's salmon tartare with roe and my salt and pepper squid. G's main course of fish, also was a good choice. 2 ladies seated at the next table were eyeballing our entrees so indiscreetly and when they asked if they were good, G so kindly offered them a taste! And they accepted!! This would never happen in good old Singers.

For the amount we (or rather G) had to shell out for this dinner, I don't think we will be coming back, as the disappointment with my main course was too overwhelming.

Oh and we mustn't forget our celebrity sighting at the restaurant - Leo Sayer came in halfway through our dinner with his big hair and in his trackies and addidas. He was a smallish man and was accompanied by an orange-coloured (fake tan or sunbed probably) lady. And we spent 10 minutes trying to recall what his hit song that he was famous for, was. For trivia lovers, it was "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing." For a 61 year-old, he certainly looked quite (naturally we thought) good.

A cafe that made it to our list was the "lesbian cafe" as G calls it, also in Glebe. We were tired out from wandering around Glebe that weekend following our mid-week Glebe Point Diner dinner where I decided there were several other interesting cafes that needed checking out.

This cafe served a really delicious and warming chai.

We also liked the light and shadow effect the wooden blinds created as we played with the camera whilst waiting for the pot of tea and the cannoli to arrive. I thought the photo had that sort of magazine effect.

On the home front, we decided to have a steamed fish Chinese-style that weekend and got a nice NZ cod from Paddy's Market and had it with greens and rice. It's been a while since we cooked fish any other way but grill, and it made a very pleasant change. The fish turned out very tasty although I need to get some better steaming apparatus. And since we were doing it Chinese style, obviously we had to go the whole hog and eat out of bowls, with chopsticks and Chinese spoons. What else could we do??

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Alex's Big Do

We had a one-of-a-kind Saturday, which involved hiring a car for the weekend and driving 75 minutes up north to Whale Beach, and then partying for 10 hours in a really cool, industrial-minimalist, 2001 Architecture award-winning beach house.

It was a 40th birthday bash which was really celebrated in STYLE. The birthday boy, Alex had everything down to a T, especially with the different types of hor d'oeuvre (yummy miniature snapper pies, skewers of fat, juicy shrimps, bruschetta in wraps instead of grilled bread, Vietnamese rice rolls and a slew of delicious little nubs) that were continuously circulated by the 2 waiters. There was champagne and wine flowing and I was probably the only person there who did not drink at all: (1) I am alcohol-intolerant although usually would succumb to a glass of white wine with not too much ill effects, and (2) I am the designated driver home that night. The other guests had thoughtfully arranged for car services to pick them up and some others had scored a bunk in the gorgeous house for the night and would be treated to massages the following morning (to help them recuperate from the excesses of the day before, no doubt) and a BBQ brunch.

Alex's friend, Vanessa, who is a soprano at the Melbourne Opera Company, entertained us with a few well-known arias in her powerful and beautiful voice, with the perfect setting of the sunset behind her through the glass. It was rather surreal while everyone basked in the reverberation of the opera in this unusual venue.

The brave sat on the balcony, puffing away in an intimate circle with the surf pounding below while the more warm-blooded humans sat indoors and admired the beauty of the scenery through the protective glass doors. The weather was actually not too bad for what was forecast to be a rainy day. It was clear for most of the day, and the wind was not too chilly. I had moments of standing on the balcony (for photos and short chats) without my overcoat, and could not refrain from my perennial boast, "And I'm from the Equator as well!" to drive home my point.

Our ages were pretty much given away with the choice of dance music, "retro" 80s and 90s. But we are what we are, and with 40 years under Alex's belt, this was a really wonderful celebration that he so generously shared with some 20 of his special friends.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Fish Face

Making a fish dinner is normally the area of responsibility of G, the pescetarian. However tonight I decided to give it a go while G stayed glued to the telly watching the Tri-Nations. I had bought 2 pieces of scarlet ocean trout and chopped up some carrots, onions, zucchini, and potatoes for grilling in the oven.

My downfall turned out to be not pre-boiling the carrots and potatoes before putting them in the oven and cutting them into chunks while the zucchini was cut into strips. Thus, with vastly differing cooking time required, dinner-making time was prolonged. People ie. G, were dying of hunger, some of the veggies were drying up while the harder stuff was taking its time to soften up. I was getting grumpy at not getting what seemed like a relatively simple dish, right.

I think in future, I'm going to leave the ang moh dinner-making to the ang moh and stick to the Asian stuff. Even if the ang moh tells me thereafter that the fish dinner was delicious.