Saturday, November 27, 2010

dear santa

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby all I want for Christmas is:


65 litre portable Fridgemaster minifridge, with temperature variance from 20C below ambient temperature to 65C for heating. Glossed retro-style. Comes in white, red, yellow, blue, metallic silver and other limited edition designs.

Plus... with advertising like this, why wouldn't you want one? =|

Shopping at op-shops (or vintage boutiques, as I like to call them) is one of my favourite past times. Last week, I was about to walk out of Good Sammy's after buying some treasures when I came across one of these beautiful bar fridges in pale yellow for $20.

Alas, there was no powercord and the hinge was a bit stuffed. So buying it wouldn't really make sense. But I was still so tempted! Online, their prices range from around $30 - $150 depending on what condition, colour and where they're shipped from.

Oh, the possibilities! I already know what I would put in it ...

  • Fruit: fresh from the Fremantle Markets to eat on 40C days - watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, lychees, and in a perfect world, pink dragonfruit
  • Athena Natural Yoghurt: Yeah I'm lactose intolerant, so what?
  • Condiments & sauces: made from scratch, stored in labelled glass bottles: caramel sauce, raspberry coulis, chocolate sauce, garlic aioli, cajun dressing, classic french dressing
  • Salad ingredients: wild organic rocket, baby spinach, hass avocadoes, radicchio, anchovy fillets, smoked salmon
  • Iced tea: made the traditional way, unflavoured, so that I could add whatever flavour takes my fancy at the time: peach, lemon-lime, mango, chai, peppermint...
  • Preserves: bottled moroccan lemons, spiced strawberry jam, peaches in syrup, italian olives, marinated artichokes, and of course, a neverending jar of kimchi
  • Baileys: because that shit is delicious

    Pity it probably wouldn't all fit in that tiny little portable bar fridge. Oh well. Just you wait til I get a house (two storey with ocean views and a huge back garden for all my organic home-grown fruit & vegies, of course) and a kitchen of my own. Everything will be as I have always imagined: modern, functional, sleek, minimalist, like what you see in IKEA magazines and model homes. Every room will be perfectly done up, beautifully furnished... but my kitchen will be the maddest thing you've ever seen.

    Big dreams start small.
  • toast

    So here's something I've never tried before: drunk blogging. Taking a leaf out of Mark Zuckerberg's book, according to The Social Network.

    Okay okay so I'm not actually drunk, but it is currently 4:50am and I just got home from a terrific night out, and suddenly feel the delirious need to talk about food, as you do.

    Kylie & I hit 'Toast', a cute breakfast spot in the middle of exam week on a sunny, blue-skied spring morning. We've have had many good times together this year, mostly which involved one of us being drunk, and mostly of which the drunk one was me. But the point here is, we barely ever saw each other outside of activities that involved drinking. So going out for breakfast was a completely new concept for us really, seeing as it is it is generally unacceptable in society to consume alcohol before lunchtime.

    We had a table on the waterfront terrace. I have to say that I find Claisebrook Cove's artificiality kind of pleasing. I love its well-kept neatness, the jacaranda trees, and the skinny houses facing the water with bold and quirky façades that kinda remind me of la Côte d'Azur in the south of France. Mark my words: I will spend an entire summer over there some day soon, eating French food and speaking French gibberish all day, exploring the town, with a Lonely Planet in my hand, the sun in my hair and a huge smile on my face.

    Personally I find that in most yuppy cafés, the staff can be a bit standoffish. But here, the girl who took our order was more than happy to chat about what was good on the menu, and accommodated my change of mind from pancakes to crepes without batting an eyelid. The cook even stuck around for a few minutes to educate me and Kylie on the different types of toast they serve, and recommended we try the 'challah' next time (Jewish braided bread eaten on the Sabbath and other holidays).

    Good customer service is rather like taking a sip of icy-cold lemonade on a hot day: delighfully refreshing.

    I ordered the Rhubarb and Raspberry Compote Crepes with toasted Almonds ($12.9) which were highly satisfactory. Having something that rich for breakfast should be illegal. The crepes were thick yet still quite light and fluffy. I really like rhubarb with any kind of dessert food, it gives a certain tartness that goes so well with sweet things (see my first post ever from back in July: I had Rhubarb Custard Crumble at the Imp, gorgeous).

    Kylie ordered the Eggs Norwegian ($16.9) which I will definitely order again. I had never tried smoked salmon until this year at work (salmon is a big deal at Miss Maud's) and am still in the process of coming to terms with its taste. This dish definitely helped me along. Like my crepes, it was also lavish in that guilty, oh-so-many-calories kind of way. The hollandaise sauce was rich and thick but cut with a bit of tang and acidity (lemon juice, I think), which also went really well with the salmon. Winner!

    We also asked for the Banana Bread with Marscapone, Toasted Almonds and Honey ($9.9), which I reckon they should rename the 'Yellow Submarine' on the menu. It was beautifully honey-sweet, about half the size of your average household tissue box and just made me feel really fat in general. It was toasted too, so it was warm and delicious on the inside and had this thin, crisp layer of what was essentially toasted cake on the outside. And spread with a layer of that marscapone cheese... oh god.

    I'm sitting here and it's now 5:16am. I have just finished my breakfast of last night's leftovers: stirfried snowpeas and chilli tofu with rice, and three Arnotts Scotch Fingers dipped in Nutella.
    And two cups of strong green tea for antioxidants.
    There is actual sun streaming through the window on my right.
    I have not slept.
    My head is throbbing.

    I'm going to go pass out in my bed now.

    Toast on Urbanspoon

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    emperor's kitchen, leeming

    Dim Sum Girl
    Notorious MSG

    Yo, this song goes out to all you sexy girls who push the dim sum carts all over the world... you know who you are, babies... you work so hard and we love you so much...
    Check it out yo

    It's been so long since I've seen you smile
    Looking so good coming down that aisle
    With that sexy dress and a little dim sum
    Makes me crazy when I order chow fun

    People - they're telling me
    That I shouldn't bother with a lady
    Like you - you rock my world
    Yes you - my dim sum girl

    Watching, waiting, waiting for you baby
    to tell me that I'm the guy for you and that you wanna be my lady
    One day yes you will see - that I will always be
    the one who will make fried rice for you for all eternity

    Dim sum girl
    you really rock my world
    My dim sum girl
    I never thought I'd find a
    girl from Northern China
    who make me feel so good

    Dim sum girl
    in such a crazy world
    My dim sum girl
    I'm going to make it all right
    we can party all night
    so beautiful and pure

    My dim sum girl

    Why you gotta tease me, baby
    you're driving me crazy
    don't you see
    don't play me like that, baby - please
    just give me one chance

    In the morning - at noon, at night
    I think about you and it feels so right
    so happy - when you look my way
    when i talk to you you make my day
    I see the tears in your eyes
    please my baby don't you cry
    tomorrow is a whole new day
    let's me and you sing karaoke

    Together, forever, that's the way it's got to be
    please make my dream come true so I can live my fantasy
    oh say that you'll be mine - you know it's a matter of time
    come eat my rice with your chopsticks and leave the spoon behind

    Dim sum girl
    you really rock my world
    my dim sum girl
    I never thought I'd find a
    girl from northern china
    who make me feel so good

    Dim sum girl
    in such a crazy world
    my dim sum girl
    I'm going to make it all right
    we can party all night
    so beautiful and pure

    My dim sum girl

    I don't wanna live without you dim sum girl
    take me away to your dim sum world
    I want to hold you
    I want to squeeze you
    please say you will be mine - all mine

    Hey baby you wear that dress for me?
    you look great, what time you get off work, huh?
    you must be so tired, let's say you and me go get some bubble tea
    what's wrong, baby? what's wrong?
    did I say something?
    don't leave me this way baby, no - don't go
    you are the only one for me, please don't break my heart like this!
    no more fooling around
    I'm not a player anymore!
    come back to me, baby
    come back to me

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    poh's book launch

    On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to go to the launch of Poh's cookbook (For you poor, oblivious and deprived people out there who didn't watch Masterchef last year, she was runner up, and now has her own TV show on ABC). It was actually a complete coincidence I ended up going to this though. On the way to an exam on Saturday, I stopped at the shops and saw an advertisment for the launch in a pharmacy window where they were selling tickets, because as it turns out, the Pharmacist's wife owns the BookCaffe where the launch was. Amongst other things, the poster read, 'Inc Light Refreshments'.

    And at that point, I knew it was a sign.

    I arrived 11am and got my named ticked off (the sign at the door read: Private function: tickets only). Inside, the first thing I noticed was I was the youngest person there by about 20 years, and the poorest person by about a bajillion dollars. It was Swanbourne, after all. Secondly, I thought it might be a good idea to join the enormous line to buy her book. And while I was waiting there, Poh walked through the front door, dressed in a cute polkadot dress and kooky boots, smiling that geniune, enormous smile and looking positively delighted to be there. She was mother-henned around the place by her PR team, offered coffee (she had a flat white) and introduced to Susannah Carr from channel 7 who did the interview.

    She was exactly how I remembered her from Masterchef: outgoing, cheerful and responded with wit and humour to all the questions they fired at her. She radiated that unmistakeable glow of someone who is passionate about life and following their dreams.

    As soon as they invited people to come forward for book signing, me and Angela assumed battle positions: I shoved my way as violently and politely as I could towards Poh, and Angela shoved in the opposite direction for food supplies. We were reunited in the line and enjoyed reaping the rewards of our labour:

    Baked chicken fortune bags, fresh vietnamese spring rolls (loved the refreshing mint in these) and moroccan pork nibbles. We also helped ourselves to free tea and coffee (they had complimentary soy milk on offer, I was absolutely ecstatic), as well as some adorable tiny cupcakes: flourless chocolate and almond-orange. The Italian waiter even arranged them nicely for me so that I could take a good photo.

    The First Commandment of food blogging is: Thou shalt not put photos of thouself in posts. But this is just one of those times I'll have to make an exception. I don't really remember what we talked about in the 2.5 minutes me and Angela had to talk to her, but I do remember our mutual love of asian food coming up, and she said she liked the name 'Belle'. Win!

    After that, me and Angie spent some time browsing the shelves with hungry, longing expressions on our faces. This place had a stunning collection of books with beautiful covers that just made you want to run a finger down their titles. It was like looking at expensive antique ornaments that you had to hold with the utmost care and admiration. I am, without a doubt, coming back to this place and putting their SLM's to the test.

    The best thing I took away from yesterday (apart from her cookbook: Poh's kitchen, $39.95) was one of the things she said during the interview.

    For those of you who didn't watch Masterchef 2009, let me fill you in: In the final episode, Poh went head-to-head with Julie Goodwin in three challenges: The Taste Test (identifying ingredients in beef bourguignon), Invention Test (core ingredient of chicken) and finally, the Pressure Test. For this test, Poh and Julie had to recreate Matt Moran's signiature dessert from his restaurant Aria: the Chocolate Tasting Plate.

    When it came time to prepare the chocolate scroll, Poh stubbornly refused to temper the chocolate per the instructions on the recipe sheet. She cooked it on the stove instead of the oven, and then put it in the fridge even though the instructions specifically told her not too. The end result was: Poh, 75 points and Julie, 82 points. It is a generally accepted fact that Poh could have won Masterchef if she had only followed the recipe, as the difference was so narrow.

    During the interview, Poh was asked why she didn't just temper the chocolate like she was told to. She just laughed and said:

    "All of the good things in my life have come from the mistakes I've made, so I have no fear in making them."

    She's my hero :)

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    exam preparation

    Monday morning, first day of study break:
    Scandanavian waffles with strawberries, vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and home-made espresso coffee.

    Saturday, morning of Psychology exam:
    Waffles 2.0, a pofflecake (pancake of waffle batter) and some ridiculously expensive, imported green tea from Japan.

    DISCLAIMER: These are photographs of waffles. Any connection to waffles made by real people, boyfriends, pokemon, terrorists or eskimos living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. List each check separately by bank number. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Postage will be paid by addressee. Subject to CAB approval. This is not an offer to sell securities. Apply only to affected area. May be too intense for some viewers. Do not stamp. Use other side for additional listings. For recreational use only. Do not disturb. All models over 18 years of age. If condition persists, consult your physician. No user-serviceable parts inside. Freshest if eaten before date on carton. Subject to change without notice. Times approximate. Simulated picture. No postage necessary if mailed in the United States. Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement. For off-road use only. As seen on TV. One size fits all. Many suitcases look alike. Contains a substantial amount of non-tobacco ingredients. Colors may, in time, fade. We have sent the forms which seem right for you. Slippery when wet. For office use only. Not affiliated with the American Red Cross. Drop in any mailbox. Edited for television. Keep cool. Post office will not deliver without postage. List was current at time of printing. Return to sender, no forwarding order on file, unable to forward. Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. At participating locations only.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    and in the mornin, I'M MAKIN'-

    waffles [/ˌwɒfəl/ ] n. a kind of batter cake cooked in a waff'le iron, a metal utensil with hinged halves having projecting studs on the insides. [Du wafel, wafer.]

    See also: pizelles, Italian waffles popular during Christmas and easter, krumkakes, thin, rolled Norwegian waffle cookies similar to Chinese 'love letters' and waffle fries, famously served at Chik-fil-A in the United States.

    Figure 1: Large waffle with whipped cream, maple syrup and a scoop of Jamaican Chocolate Gelato, Gelaré (Subiaco)

    There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used.

  • Scandanavian waffles - Thin, sweet waffles made in a heart-shaped iron commonly served with whipped cream, strawberry or raspberry jam and sugar on top
  • Liège waffles - richer, denser and chewier waffles from eastern Belgium invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège. Features chunks of pearl sugar which caramelises on the outside of the waffle when baked (I had these at Hua Lamphong Train Station when I was in Thailand last December. The custard ones are to DIE for)
  • American waffles - dense, thin, waffles usually served as sweet breakfast food topped with butter and maple syrup, but are also found in many different savoury dishes including fried chicken and waffles or topped with kidney stew.

    Figure 2: Waffle received at 4:15pm

    Figure 3: Waffle progress at 4:17pm

    Figure 4: Indigestion at 4:20pm

    The term 'waffle' may also refer to:

  • waffle (n.), a slang term for speech that involves equivocating or blathering
  • waffling (v.), a back-and-forth wing motion made by water birds such as ducks right before landing in order to lose air from under their wings
  • waffle slab (n.), a type of concrete slab used in construction
  • waffle (n.), another name for the number sign "#"
  • The Waffle (p.n.), also known as the Movement for an Independent SOcialist Canada; a radical wing of Canada's New Democratic Party

    Figure 5: A waffling duck, preparing for landing.

    Figure 6: Concrete waffle slabs

    The History of Waffles
    The modern waffle has its origins in wafers: very light thin crisp cakes baked between wafer irons of the Middle Ages. The irons were used to produce a variety of different flat, unleavened cakes, usually from a mixture of barley and oats, not the white flour used today.

    In medieval Europe, vendors were permitted to sell their waffles outside of churches during special religious celebrations. Competition at the churches eventually became very heated, and at times violent, so that King Charles IX of France imposed a regulation on waffle sales, requiring vendors to maintain a distance of at least deux toises (4 metres) from one another.

    Figure 8: Baroque painting depicting waffle vendors at work

    Figure 7: Medieval waffle iron

    Waffles in Politics

    Waffles and Fashion