Sunday, January 18, 2009

A is for Argentina!

The inaugural Alphabet Dinner Party was held on 17Jan09 at Sharon & Josh's lovely townhouse in Ascot Vale.

The menu consisted of:
Guacamole, caramel & capsicum dip with bread;
Ham, cheese, proscuitto and olives;
Steak, garden salad, mashed potato & roasted veg; and
Alfajores for dessert - simply two pieces of shortbread joined together with caramel and covered in dark chocolate.

A great time was had by all before we piled into the Pug and headed to Mink for a few vodkas.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tagine of chicken with prunes and almonds

1.4kg free-range chicken, cut into 8 portions
2 onions, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger
1 cup pitted prunes
1 cup green olives
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place chicken portions in a tagine or large casserole. Scatter over remaining ingredients in the order listed, except the parsley, and season with salt and pepper,
Cover the pan and oring the liquid to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, turning the chicker ceres once or twice, until the chicken tests cooked and the liquid is much reduced. The cooking can alternatively be done in an oven heated to 180°C.
Adjust seasoning of sauce if necessary before serving. Serve scattered with parsley,

Serves 4

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back at work :-(

Today was my first day back at work. I had good intentions....I'd made a delicious Smoked Chicken & Avocado salad ready to take with me for lunch, cut up some carrot sticks (can you tell I'm on a health kick..?), assembled a delicious nut medley and set three alarms so that I wouldn't be late.....long story short, I pressed snooze for 2hours and didn't get to work until 10am...oops!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mmmm, pizza!

I was lured to a games night at a friend's house in Elwood last night with the promise of home-made pizzas - yum!

I have tried many different brands of pizza bases over the years but never found one that was anywhere near the stanard you get from a good suburban pizza joint. But that all changed while playing UNO...or was it Cheat? Anyway, we started with a delicious salami, green capsicum, red onion, mushroom & cheese creation by Ali using Aldo's Pizza Bases which come in a twin pack and can be found in the fridge section near the fresh pasta & pasta sauces.

Then came a lovely gourmet pizza with pumpkin, fetta, caramelised onion & rocket pizza. I have no idea what the third one was, something with ham I think...it was very yummy but completely overshadowed by the the finale - meat lovers! I have to admit that when Renee asked for ideas to use us the leftover ingredients I piped up with the suggestion to make a meat lovers pizza :-)

When I got home around midnight I was feeling a little guilty about my indulgence and ended up joining the Biggest Loser Club and have been behaving ever since...but I've now got some Aldo's pizza bases in the freezer just waiting for the next craving to hit....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Meshiya

After having spent two days indoors sick with a cold I jumped in the car with no idea where I was going but knowing that I needed to get out of the house. I headed to Footscray in search of something for dinner but nothing caught my eye so I kept driving and ended up in the CBD. I remembered a small Japanese restaurant at QV that always has something on the menu that will satisfy.

After driving around the block a couple of times to get a car park I arrived at Meshiya and was greeted with a waitress signing out 'irashaimase' and I was shown to a table with a great view of the street to satisfy my people watching habit :-)


I ordered some Japanese tea, mineral water & edamame to start while I browsed the menu. Unfortunately they didn't have any mineral water and the Japanese tea was from a tea bag. I switched my order to Coke Zero and settled on a sashimi & tempura set for my meal which came with salmon, tuna & white fish sashimi, prawn & vegetable tempura, miso soup, salad, pickled vegetables, rice & chawan mushi (egg custard).

The sashimi was absolutely delicious, very fresh and just what I was hoping for. The tempura batter was crisp & crunchy but definitely not the best I've tried. The very large broccoli floret tempura was a bit unwieldy and would have benefited from being halved first. I was looking forward to trying the chawan mushi but found that it wasn't really to my taste and by that time I was full and the waitress was taking away my tray so I let her take it as well after a few mouthfuls.

As a whole, the meal was very satisfying and the cost a reasonable $29.50.

Meshiya
200 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 0654 6242

Fully Licenced & BYO Wine Only

Monday, January 5, 2009

Asakusa

I had the absolute pleasure of dining at Asakusa on the weekend with a couple of friends and lively little Kelly who I haven't seen for ages.

I started with a Juliet Pinot Grigio and some edamame while waiting and was shortly joined by Matt. His recommendation to try the salmon skin roll (raw salmon, crispy salmon skin and avocado wrapped in slinly sliced cucumber) was greeted with hearty agreement and we soon had two serves in front of us along with some tuna sushi.

The salmon skin rolls were absolutely divine!! So much so, when Nick & Kelly arrived we ordered two more serves as well as some soft shell crab rolls, soft shell crab, rice, a seafood comination with ponzu sauce and some gyoza for Kelly.

While catching up on each others lives and watching Kelly learn how to use chopsticks for the first time the food came and went and the Pinot Grigio went down a treat.

The total bill only came to $167 for the 3 (and a half) of us including drinks. Although this is by no means local for me I will definitely be going back and can recommend the salmon skin rolls & soft shell crab to anyone wanting a slightly different Japanese experience.


Asakusa
127 Waverly Rd
Malvern East VIC 3145
03 9569 2051

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ring in the year

Welcome to 2009!!!

I had an amazing night last night at a friend's party and woke up feeling relatively good considering all of the cocktails and champagne consumed....

I worked out my New Year resolutions a couple of weeks ago, so here goes:
  • restrict drinking to the weekends & special occasions
  • exercise 3-4 times a week
  • participate in fun runs (even if I just walk...)
  • take up some volunteer work (something food related of course!)
  • learn more about gardening (so I don't kill my vegies & plants)
  • watch less TV
  • finish my diploma
  • lose 10kg
  • eat less junk food (oops, I started badly on this one because my friends brought me round a cheeseburger for lunch as a hangover cure..)

Wow, I didn't realise there were so many...but I guess that a lot of them are related to getting fit & healthy.

I guess I'm also not doing so well on No 6 either as I've spent the day watching Food Safari, Food Lovers Guide to Australia, Nigella & Jamie while recovering. Of course this made me pretty hungry so I scoured the freezer for some of Mum's lamb & vegetable soup. I don't have the recipe (yet) but stay tuned...