Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Unblogged Files: July

Hello hello! Five days without a new post - that's almost a record for me this year! But I had good reason, as over the weekend we were moving house! It was a super-busy weekend, packing, carrying boxes and bags up and down stairs, driving back and forth, cleaning, setting things up, and a lot of takeaway. Phew! My arms and legs are knackered! But finally, everything has been moved and I can breath a sigh of relief and devote a little time to my beloved blog.

So, here are my unblogged files for July!

I baked scones with Dad, using my favourite scone recipe.

And you know what, it turns out that my dad is a better scone baker than me! It was his first go and he made these light and fluffy little beauties! Good work Dad!!

And I think that his watching all that Lifestyle Food channel has really paid off - this month he also made a fabulous tiramisu, using Ina Garten's recipe. So yum!

And speaking of parents and their amazing culinary skills, check out this pork belly my mum made for us for dinner one night:
Crispy pork belly
The recipe is from the latest issue of MindFood magazine (with Marion Cotillard on the cover), and is rubbed in dry mix of Asian spices (5-spice, chillies, anise etc) before being roasted to crispy perfection. Fabulous!

This month I became obsessed with that English classic: Egg and Chips. (I'm not sure whether people in England actually eat this, or if it is just a culinary stereotype... but either way I always associate it in my mind with England).

I'd never had it before, and only knew of it from Shirley Valentine, and well, articles and shows that deride English cuisine. One day I was starving, and all I had in the pantry were eggs and frozen oven chips, so I decided to give it a go. It was absolutely delicious! So perfect with a cup of tea.
Yolk smash!

A new Cacao Green frogurt shop opened up in my area, and I've been a few times - I really like their plain frozen yogurt. I totally want to try the green tea flavour, but they never seem to have it when I go!
Tropical parfait - $6.90
FYI, buying a parfait is way better value than buying frogurt and adding toppings - the below cup cost $4.50 plus $1 for a teensy spoon of strawberries on top! I still enjoyed it, obviously, but it was a little small for the price.
Small plain frozen yogurt with strawberries - $5.50
I made heaps of waffles this month - funnily enough I made a big batch at the start of the month, putting lots of them in the freezer... only to remember that we were moving house at the end of the month and that I needed to eat All The Waffles. Whoops! (A happy accident!)

First round: brekky waffles with fresh apples, oranges, and vanilla bean mascarpone...
Brekky waffles
One night when my cousin came over I whipped out the frozen waffles and topped them with fresh strawberries, vanilla ice-cream and espresso chocolate sauce.

And finally, a midweek brekky waffle, topped with milo and peanut butter. Truly the food of the gods! (And Malaysians).

Following that big Nigella round-up post, I just had to try a bit more Nigella cooking. Nigella's pasta al forno and vegetarian chilli con carne, both from the Partyfood chapter of Feast, were excellent warming suppers.
Pasta al forno
The pasta al forno is like a lasagne (pasta, meat sauce, bechamel), except that instead of lasagne sheets, you use short pasta. I used my favourite short pasta: mini pennete rigate. So cute! This was incredibly good. My tip: double the amount of bechamel that the recipe asks for and pour more on the top. "More bechamel" is always the answer.

Cornbread-topped vegetarian chilli
The cornbread topped veggie chilli was also a winner, and helped me to use up all the last remaining pulses and polenta that I had in the pantry. With loads of lentils, beans, and cornbread, it was both a healthy (I hope!) and filling meal.
Cornbread topped vegetarian chilli
Being impressed with our lovely dinner at Merchant Osteria Venezia, I decided to visit again for drinks and cicchetti at the bar. I loved the Aperol spritz and the crunchy arancini!
Aperol Spritz - $18

Arancini - $10 for 2
Another day, Sandra surprised me with a bag of biscuits from Merchant - super yay! The fudgy brownie was a highlight, as was the cranberry and pine nut biscuit.
Biscuits from Merchant

After drinks at Merchant, we met some friends for a late dinner at The Aylesbury. Reading the menu, I thought it seemed a little pricey, but when the food came, and it was obvious that a lot of thought and care had been put into it. I'd like to go back to try more from the menu! The peppers and the carrot salad were both excellent, and the gnudi were good, but very heavily salted.
Clockwise from left:
Gnudi (ricotta gnocchi) with burnt butter and sage - $18
Carrot, smokey eggplant, labneh - $11
Fried peppers - $7
After that ginormous lunch at The Merrywell, I couldn't face a big dinner, and made myself an easy little Caesar salad, with cos lettuce, wholegrain croutons and parmesan cheese.
Caesar Salad
Well, there was one more component: my own homemade Caesar dressing! It's just like a mayonnaise, with some anchovies added to the egg yolk at the start. I made it all by hand, with a tiny little hand whisk, and I was very, very proud of the result. (You may remember I struggled to make mayonnaise during my How to Eat Project - so yay for improvements!)
Home-made Caesar dressing

This month I finally, finally tried the fried chicken at Gami, along with a big group of friends who were all surprised that I'd never eaten it before. Between twelve of us, we devoured four platters of chicken and two of their Gami kegs of beer! (I liked the garlic flavoured chicken the best).
Mmm... fried chicken.
More scones, this time another round of Steph's fabulous banana scones.
Banana scones
I have mentioned these banana scones here before, but I must admit I just wanted an excuse to show off my fab Market Lane coffee cup! I got it for my birthday from my good friends Georgina and Adri, and I just love it! Somehow it makes my morning coffee taste better (although I'm 100% convinced that's a psychological effect). The sunny yellow colour definitely brightens my mood!

I also had a fun lunch with my parents at Cafe Vue in Heidelberg.
Lunch at Cafe Vue
The standouts were the juicy beef burger, and the healthy (yet still tasty!) salad with pumpkin and Meredith feta. Unfortunately the wagyu pie that I ordered was very dry, and the base pastry was so hard I couldn't cut through it, but had to stab it to break it up and eat it. I wonder if it had been overbaked, or potentially sitting for too long in a warmer? The sweets redeemed themselves though - we all thought the soft amaretti biscuits were fantastic! (I thought it was funny that my short black came out in a Nespresso cup, even though they were using a normal group head coffee machine - i.e. definitely not a Nespresso machine!)

And finally, over the weekend we moved house! I'll try not to bore you with too many details (save that for Twitter, haha) - but I can happily and highly recommend Man with a Van for moving. They did a fantastic job for us! One thing I do want to show you, however, is my collection of cake tins. Whenever did I get that many cake tins?
Cake tins
Over the weekend we ate heaps of takeaway (KFC, Crust, the local Chinese - that sort of thing), but I did eat a proper meal too. Look at this amazing lunch my Dad made for me on the first day that I didn't have any cooking facilities - tau yuu bak (soy sauce pork belly with hardboiled eggs), and assam prawns (stir-fried prawns in tamarind).
Tau yuu bak, Assam prawns
So delicious! Just look at that golden egg yolk. Perfection!!

And that was my July! I'm looking forward to August - we're off to Sydney on the weekend and there are lots of fun and exciting things planned for next month!

4 comments:

Hannah said...

I am currently making myself sick trying to eat up all the wonderful ingredients and snacks and fancy products that I've been hoarding as "too special to eat" for months, as I'm leaving for The Overseas on Thursday. So I'm looking at those waffles with an understanding nod.

P.S. I mix pb and milo and eat it with a spoon.

Boffcat said...

I never knew that egg and chips was a "thing"! When I was at primary school my best friend's mum always used to make it for us, but I thought that was just because we were fussy eaters. Mmmm, though, I might need to relive those meals....

Ashley said...

Ooh, I've never heard of 'egg and chips' before. Love the idea though, and your chip stabbing the egg yolk is exactly why i think I would like it...will have to try it myself sometime! Hope you're getting well settled into the new place :)

msihua said...

So much eating. It's like you don't have to work at all *wink* *sticks tongue out*