Christmas Eve Dinner

What a beautiful Friday! After 2 days of really hot weather (on the 24th and 25th), we are back down to cool 20 C this morning. The boys are off to grab the car for our trip down to Albany, hence my chance to blog.

Christmas this year was spent with wonderful people. Since we had plans for Christmas dinner, I decided to cook up a storm in the kitchen with Peggy for our Christmas eve celebration. Peggy was a great help and I wouldn’t be able to complete it in time without her. Monday was hectic as we headed to the city for a short tour followed by gown fitting (again!?). This time, I have 2 people to provide their opinions. For those who are loooking forward to seeing the gown photos, I will post them up soon.

Back to the Christmas eve dinner. This was my first time preparing something like that. Usually, I’m back in SG and having er.. hmm… prawn noodles/ban mien in S11 (a food court) in Ruth’s place (*sobsob*). Anyway, I decided that we will have turkey, ham, salad, mash potato and cranberry sauce. It was a great experience as everything we bought was easy to prepare. I glazed the ham with some honey and popped it into the oven. The turkey breast was stuffed with cranberries and macademia nuts-again, store bought so all I needed to do is to put it into the oven for 2 hours. Everything else was easy to prepare.

Hang on…did you spot anything wrong with this table setting??


Did you see it? Peg forgot to set the *KNIFE(oops, i did it again)! :p
Dessert! How can we forget the fondue set that Ruth and Peg got me for birthday? I have been wanting to use this for the past 2 months!! Fruits prepared were banana, grapes and mangoes. The strawberries turned bad and we couldn’t used them… =( Dessert is complete with our favorite late Picked Chenin Blanc wine from Lancaster winery.
US! From left: Ben, Peg, Daphne and Armand.

oh! The boys are back with the car. We are off to ALBANY for 4 days. WOOHOOO!!!!! See you then!

Cicerella’s Seafood and il Gelato Ice-cream!

Grabing a few moments before we run off again. It’s 39C in Perth at the moment and it’s only 10:30am! We are roasting here!

A definate place that we enjoy bringing friends to is Fremantle. That Saturday when Peggy arrived, we headed to Freo for dinner. After the busy prep work for the party, I was ready to relax with my friends (and not think about cooking, washing up..etc). Ben being the kind person that he is, shouted us this dinner as an engagement gift to us.

We walked around Fremantle quite abit but finally decided on sticking to Cicerella’s for their seafood platter. The casual informal dining got our attention as we didn’t want an over the top expensive meal.


The grill area certainly looks appealing.


As we were waiting, we started posing for the camera.

Look at the size of the platter!! That’s for TWO!?!?! We ordered another grilled fish with salad and chips as well. The seafood platter was FANTASTIC! If you are in Perth and in Fremantle, do order this.
It’s good value for $ at $60 as well.

The calamari was beautifully crumbed. It’s fresh as you don’t get the “it’s sticking to my teeth” feeling.

The chili mussels? Great sauce! We even used it as a dip for our chips.

This fish has a melt in your mouth texture. All of us were surprised by this. Usually, places offer deep fried crumbed fish but not Ciccrella’s.

This was the grilled garfish we ordered. Quite disappointed in this as it was rather dry!

Look at the clouds- it was soooo cold that evening!


We headed to the sand area of Fremantle.

Then we decided that all of us have some room for dessert. Unfortunately Simmons has closed and in it’s place is il Gelato. Look at us enjoying it!!


Peg and I acting funny! haha.

Engagement Party + Merry Christmas!!!!

Hey everyone! It has been a busy BUT happy few days!!! Two of my closest friends arrived from their respective locations over the weekend and the house has been filled with lots of laugther and joy. It is truely a blessing to be with them…and even better when they are here in time to attend our engagement party.

Speaking of the party, it’s exactly the way we wanted it to be: Informal, casual with lots of catching up and eating with friends and extended family.

Be warned! I have lots of photos in this post! I thought you may like to celebrate it with us on this blog even though some of you are not physically here.

That was before the start of the celebrations.
Some of the food…

 People walking in…

Peggy posing with my 2 princess ushers (who helped decorated the guest board too!)

Everyone looking and listening to…

AR thanking everyone for coming…

Pastor saying a few words and everyone prayed for us.

Lunch time!!! We had so much food! I made chicken mango salad, egg sandwiches, savory bites…

Chili capsicum dip with water crackers, carrot sticks and cashews. mmm

Everyone’s favourite-Sushi from Yuki Japanese Place at Collins Road.

Mrs Mac’s beef pies and chicken sausage 
rolls. Aemy brought fried rice + fruit and nuts salad rice..Linda brought some fried bee hoon. 

MY favourite!! Malay Kuehs!!! Thanks Auntie Annie!!

Tapioca chips, cheese platter and.. I baked the dark chocolate cheesecake brownies =) I really like this recipe!

Look at the masterpiece!! Didn’t they do an excellent job designing the guest board? I loved it!

Oh my goodness!! We GREW up together!! We were from the same Primary school and attended the same church in SG.

My uni girlfriends. =) I had to stand on tippy toes to take this photograph with them. They are so tall and pretty! 

More friends…

Neighbours- very blessed to have them as neighbours. We get along very well with them.

Extended family

Thank you cookie boxes!

It was sooo much fun catching up with people and relaxing with them. Ar wasn’t in alot of the photos because we were in opposite ends of the room! (and somehow the photographers aka ben and peggy were with me..). We were missing one person badly though-Peggy, Ben, AR and I would really like Ruth to be here with us but unfortunately due to work committments, she couldn’t be here. =(

The next few days  will be jam packed with Christmas festive activities (aka church + lots of eating). I will be back for more photos and write up. In the meantime,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!

Stay safe and take care!
*MUACKS*

Santa’s little buttons

There is something about jam drops that are so appealing. The buttery little buttons filled with delicious jam. Sweet and tart. There isn’t any real secret to this except that I insist on using preservatives free jam. A bonus if there is a bite in the jam!

This is what I call “fuss free” recipe. You need a batch of cookies quick and don’t want to spend more than 25 minutes in the kitchen making them. You won’t go wrong with this recipe! Even if you don’t have an electric mixer, you can still enjoy these cookies easily since it’s “melt and mix”. At Christmas time, everyone needs a quick recipe like that. Not to mention, these cute little buttons will look fantastic in a gift box or cellophane paper.

Best of all, less washing up- it gives you time to eat more! ;p

Santa’s little buttons (makes about 24-26)

150grams of butter
5 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup of flour
6 tablespoons of cornflour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I omitted it this time round)
about 2-3 tablespoons of preservative free jam of choice.

Melt butter in sauce pan. Meanwhile combine sugar, flour and cornflour in mixing bowl. Pour cooled melted butter in mixing bowl and mix till combine. Add nuts if desire. Roll tablespoonsful of mixture into balls and place on lined baking trays. Make an indentation in the centre of each cookie. Spoon a little jam in the centre. Bake at 160C for 15 minutes till pale golden.

This is for the foodblogger’s Eat Christmas cookies event! Head there are look at all those beautiful cookies on display! I love the multitude of cookies around!

Good old bowl of rice congee


A bowl of comforting porridge or congee brought me back childhood memories. Every weekday during the school term, I was greeted by a bowl of porridge. Grandma said it was easier to cook and quick for me to swallow hence, her choice of lunch was porridge EVERY DAY!!

After having porridge for 8-10 years of my primary/secondary school life + as a toddler, I was quite turned off by porridge for a while. I guess as a child, I really did like variety in my food! I looked forward to school holidays as that means grandma and I can track down to the nearby coffeeshop for a bowl of dumpling noodles soup.

These days however, I still get the occasional cravings for a bowl of congee/porridge. My favorite would be lean pork/chicken with century egg. One can easily guess that I’m a true blue cantonese girl.

A good bowl of porridge/congee must be accompanied by the sinful fried you tiao/”yow char gua” (Or fried dough stick) of course. ;p The name is pretty morbid as it translate from Cantonese to English literally to “Oil Fried Ghost”.

Wikepedia says….

The Cantonese name yau ja gwai and Hokkien name u char kway literally mean oil-fried ghost and, according to tradition, is an act of protest against Song Dynasty official Qin Hui (秦檜, Cantonese: Chun Kui), who is said to have orchestrated the plot to frame the general Yue Fei (岳飛), an icon of patriotism in Chinese culture. It is said that the food, originally taking the form of two deep-fried human-shaped dough but later evolved two doughs joining in the middle, represents Qin Hui and his wife, both having a hand in collaborating with the enemy to bring about the great general’s demise. Thus the youtiao is deep fried and eaten as if done to the traitorous couple. In keeping with the legend, youtiao are often made as two foot-long rolls of dough joined along the middle, with one roll representing the husband and the other the wife.[1]

That’s interesting! I always thought that was created due to the 7th month of the lunar calender where the Ghosts come back to visit their land bound families…. hmmm..

Speaking of which, I have half a packet of fried dough sticks left in my freezer!!! ANY ideas on how to use it up? I have made salad with it previously too!


Rice Congee (cantonese style)
1 cup of rice (I used basmati but jasmine is good too)
3-4 cups of water
1 piece of dried scallop
100 grams of marinated mince
1 century duck egg

2 fried dough stick toasted to crisp perfection

Wash rice and bowl with water and dried scallop. Simmer for 5-10 mins, adding warm water when needed. 20 minutes into cooking time, use a tablespoon to shape mince in meatball shape and drop it into the porridge. Add diced century duck egg. Continue to stir and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.

Chilli Cook off!


Running with Tweezers has organised a chili cook off! Whenever I think of a chili cook off, images of fiery mince with crispy tortilla chips come to my mind. oh! and people laughing, gathering around the dinner table having a good laugh and enjoying each other company and tasting different types of chili.

Speaking of which, it’s exactly EIGHT days to CHRISTMAS! Next week this time, I will be relaxed and on holidays. Sooooo looking forward to that.

So it’s not really winter here (actually summer). However, Perth is going through a strange period with thunderstorms during the weekends and showers throughout the night. Strange indeed. Well, it’s my perfect excuse for making a bowl of chili! ;p

A good spicy dish certainly get the taste buds going. ;p This is probably similar to Chili Con Carne. I love mine with lots of spices which is what I have done here. In fact, I got the idea from Nigella Lawson who happened to be cooking her version of this on TV. She added cocoa powder to enhance the spiciness. Love the sound of that!

It’s simple, hearty and most of all, delicious with some crisp corn bread that I have toasted.

Spice Medley Chilli
200 grams of lean beef mince
1 onion diced
1 can of diced tomato
1 can of drained kidney beans
3 bruised cardamom pods
2 generous tablespoons of cumin
2 teaspoon of very hot chili powder
2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of dark cocoa powder, unsweetened.
1 cup of beef stock
Cracked pepper

To serve with
chips/corn bread

Method

Heat deep pan with olive oil. Fry onion till transparent. Fry cardamom till fragrant. Add mince in and cook till almost done. Pour can of tomatoes and kidney beans into the pan. Stir. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add all spices and be generous. Adjust to your liking. Add stock in and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Season to taste. Serve with chips or corn bread.

Oysters and more Oysters!

Ah! Another Monday! Feeling the Christmas spirit yet? I love the Christmas festiveness. The weekend flew by as we went gown fitting (again!?), birthday lunch/afternoon tea, groceries shopping and even headed to IKEA. It’s getting really exciting as the engagement party is next Saturday! The fridge is STUFFED with food. The cherries are in season, mangoes are plentiful….I’m in fruits heaven. (not that we are just serving fruits..haha).

The only downside is that for the FIRST time, that’s right..FIRST time in my life, I’m not celebrating Christmas in SG with my family and friends. I got abit homesick but quickly distracted myself with puppets from IKEA. I told AR that we bought the puppets for the children who visit us often but he didn’t believe that one sec… he said it’s probably more for me to play with (oops!). I do have a special visitor (aka one of my bridesmaids, best friend, sister) coming over this coming Saturday to lessen the homesickness (but it’s still not the same). Well, actually, I was suppose to have another special visitor whom I’m looking forward to giving a big hug too BUT HE IS DOWN WITH SHINGLES and might not be coming! ARGHH!!!

See my emotional roller coaster ride? Happy, homesick, happy, sad…

Speaking of which, are u sick of looking at wedding gowns yet? hahha

Here is the best one I tried on this weekend:

The gown name is “Claudia” from Dion Bridal from Maggie Sottero. You can head over to the website and scroll to see “Claudia” on a model. =) Unfortunately we have to sneak using a camera phone to take this photo hence the poor quality! Have a look at the website for the actual photograph. All these while, I tried on fingertips veil but this one nearly touches the floor and I LOVE the effect it gives. Pardon my arms there but I was trying to get my hair in a bun to see how the veil looks like. After trying this gown, I can kiss “Vienna” goodbye since this is cheaper than that one and I think it’s so much nicer. So it’s back to Claudia vs Natasha. s

OK! Moving on to more food related stuff!

Can you believe our luck when we went grocery shopping and they were having a OYSTERS demonstration! Fresh shacked oysters SAMPLES! Now, I know the main aim of the supermarket is to sell those oysters and we fell for it. Usually I wouldn’t have bothered since we wouldn’t know how long those oysters were out there but since the guy was shacking the oysters freshly, we bought a dozen for $10 (isn’t it a bargain?!).

Fresh oysters with lime juice.. yum!

Then I decided to play around with some bacon, cheese and Worcestershire Sauce and tried making Kilpatrick oysters. We were in a rush, so the cheese wasn’t melted properly. Still, I was pretty generous with the lean bacon and Worcestershire sauce just brought it to another level.

Besides oysters, we also had edaname!I love this snack! They are so addictive! Either thaw it or boil it in saucepan of salted boiling water and then enjoy. We had this with some cold soba noodles but the photos turned out ugly so it won’t be posted here. Better luck next time perhaps!

Chilli Pot Pies

My love affair with puff pastry continues as I made chilli pot pies. Perth went through a chilly few days (yup..in summer!) so I wanted something simple but hearty. Out came the ramekins and the puff pastry.

Who would have thought that chilli and cheese go so well together? As poor students (err.. actually I still am!), we used to scrape the pantry for extra ingredients-especially since the guys were huge eaters! One “I’m running out of ideas, please fridge talk to me” day, with only a small packet of shredded cheese left, packet of beef mince and spices I thought of a cheese and chilli beef pie. So I bought some puff pastry and started experimenting. I even made huge batches of pies to freeze so that we have something quick to munch on. Now, I know this isn’t new but I haven’t discover Mexican food then, so I was rather proud of myself, until I realised that pretty much the whole world has discovered it. That was a “DOH” moment.

Who can resist breaking into that crisp shell and discovering cheesy goodness?


Chilli Pot Pies (makes about 4-6 pot pies depending on the size of your ramekin)
300 grams of lean beef mince
1 chopped onion
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
2 cups of mixed frozen vegetables
1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
2 tsp of HOT chilli powder
1/4 cup of stock
generous dashes of cracked black pepper

1 sheet of puff pastry
2 cups of shredded cheese

Method
Preheat oven at 200C.
Heat pan with olive oil. Add garlic and onion, frying till fragrant. Using a wooden fork/spoon, break the beef mince as it starts to cook. Add mixed vegetables after about 5 minutes of cooking. If the mixture looks to dry, add some stock. Continue simmering, adding the chilli powder and worchesterhire sauce to taste. Season to your liking.

Cut the pastry to desired diameters. Ladle chilli to ramekins. Top with cheese and finally with puff pastry. Bake for 20 minutes till puff pastry becomes golden and puffy!

Serve with grillled vegetables or a side salad.

What do YOU like in your pies? Let me know!

Meads Oyster Bar Mosman Bay


This post was stash and hidden somewhere deep in blogger. Not that it is a secret but I was so busy posting more exciting stuff that I totally forgot about this review that I saved. Plus I was looking for the perfect Christmas cookie to bake!

About two months ago, we headed to Meads Oyster Bar Mosman Bay for my birthday. Set near the richest suburbs, this restaurant serves posh nosh. We were there on a Tuesday which also happened to be 1/2 price oysters day. Given that it was a weekday, it was quieter which suited us fine. I remembered feeling so overwhelmed since being engaged 2 days before my birthday and the dinner was a chance to chat and re group ourselves. We did have plenty of time to talk as service was extremely slow. We were there at 6:30pm and only left at around 9:30pm! If it was any other situation, I would have been quite restless but for that occasion, we were so engrossed in our conversation (and plans) that we let it slip.


I can’t quite remember what cocktail is this but I’m pretty sure it has tequila, pineapple and cranberries in it. It was refreshing and added a kick to the evening.


First course- Freshly shucked oysters. They served this with 3 kinds of tabasco (hot, green pepper and lemon). We lorvveeeee this. Haven’t had oysters for a looong time and this really hit a spot.

AR’s main course- Sirlion beef with garlic prawns, mash and mint. The beef was tender and filling. It was grilled medium-just the way we liked it. At any other restaurant, we would have said this was a good steak and worth having. I guess we were expecting something fabulous from this restaurant. Besides, why would we pay AU$38 for a “good steak” when we can get it at around AU$25-$30 at other places?

My main course- Dukkah crusted snapper with potato hash, corn relish, brocallini and marinated tomato strips. I have to admit that it was the words “Dukkah crusted” that sold me on this dish. Again, it was good but not fantastic. The snapper was fresh, the flavors were a little messy to me (given the potato hash + corn relish combi) but it’s a good dish. So it didn’t “wow” me but a decent meal. The portion size was slightly small for both the steak and fish (and that’s coming from me!) as well. Speaking of which AR ate his steak AND 1/4 of my fish!

And as I headed to the ladies, the sneaking AR managed to ask the waitress to do some writing on the dessert plate for me. At that point, I was surprised and happy.. However after that, AR said he had sooo much difficulty getting the attention of the waitress and they weren’t too accommodating to his request as well. He had to repeat it a few times before she finally said “I will see what the chef can do”. Flexibility is NOT this restaurant forte. AR told me that while reserving our table, he wanted to do a special set menu for us-so that food will be served when we arrived. However, they refused to accommodate the request citing the excuse that they wouldn’t know what the chef will have on his menu that day. Couldn’t the chef have the menu set on the day we are coming and inform AR about it in the morning/afternoon? Anyhow…AR said whatever he suggested, Meads wasn’t too receptive. Too bad for them, because much as we like the venue, we immediately strike it out as a wedding reception venue.

This thick chocolate fondue was ultimate hit among the 2 of us. The only thing was the chocolate was slightly oozing out before we started digging it. Again, this dessert can be found in many other restaurants so it wasn’t unique or anything. They didn’t have a good selection of desserts as well. On hindsight, we should have just left.
Till today, I have not revealed how AR looks like. That’s our first photo taken after being engaged. Well, not quite first, but the first photo had me looking like a mess since I was crying so much so this will do ;p AR complained that that was not his best photo but you didn’t mind did u? *lopsided smile*
Small selection of gifts. The flowers were NOT from AR. From B! Thanks B! B always complains that each time he sent me flowers, he has no idea how they looked like..so here you go!

Meads Mosman Bay
15 Johnson Pde
Mosman Park
Opening hours:
Mon-Friday 8.30am-late
Reservations: 08 9383 3388
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Sat-Sun 8:30am-late

Nutella Dark Chocolate Cookies


Remember how I said that there are two parts to my cookie fest? This year for Christmas, I will be baking these little beauties as well. Yup! Two kinds of cookies. =) I figured out that since we will be holding the engagement party on the 22nd with most of our friends there, we will kill 2 birds with 1 stone with this killer cookie combo. Cranberries Oaty Choc Cookies + Nutella Dark Choc cookies as Christmas treat + thank you gift.

This recipe was kindly shared by She paints the Kitchen Red. I tried it and I was hooked. It has a famous amos double choc cookie texture to it. The crumby, melt in your mouth taste, the lovely scent….and after you have one, you will be sure to have the “I can’t have just one…must pop another one in mouth” thoughts floating through your mind.

I had some Max Brenner’s chocolate left over so I tipped it into the bowl-perhaps that was why the chocolate in this cookie tastes soo good. *wink* nevertheless, I think a good dark choc will do the trick as well.

Nutella DarkChocolate Cookies

1 1/3 cup plain flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
100g butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup Nutella
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (u can use hazelnuts too)

1. preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

2. sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

3. cream butter, caster sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. mix in egg.

4. add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. add chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

5. drop teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. bake for about 11 minutes until the edges look set. cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.

If you want more Christmas cookie action….do head to foodblogger’s Eat Christmas cookies event! And if you choose to participate, u get a chance to win a prize!