Saturday, January 24, 2009

CNY Cookies

What a busy busy weekend! Been busy baking cookies for CNY - yeah, it's that time of the year again when my oven is put to good use. Time to take out the rolling pin, the cookie cutters, the baking trays... and my kitchen was filled with the wonderful aroma of cookies/cakes baking from morning till evening!

Here's a closer look of what I baked...

Macadamia Chocolate Chips Cookies

Pretty Semperit Cookies

Cornflakes Cookies in papercups

The traditional Peanut Cookies

Almond Cookies

The must-have Pineapple Tarts

Prune Cake

The cookies all lined up on my kitchen counter...

There were more earlier... I have given away more than 10 containers to my relatives...
I baked some London Almond Cookies too... forgot to snap pics of those...

So, GONG XI FA CAI everyone!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Perth: Food Wrap-up

OK, let's resume my report on the food scene in Perth. Browsing through my photos folder & looking at the remaining pics, I will wrap up the food stories in this post.

On the last Sunday we were there, we decided to make a trip to Mandurah, a pretty port town along the southern coast of Perth. For more pics and write-up on this place, do check my other blog - Raynebows.

There're many seafood outlets in Mandurah, but one of the bigger & more popular ones was surely Cicerello's... right at the jetty...

When I saw their menu and spotted Seafood Chowder, I just had to order this again - despite having eaten it in Fremantle earlier on in the trip. The deluxe version cost AUD13.95 - it came with 2 huge pieces of fresh & crispy baguette and the portion of chowder was very generous! The chowder was thick & creamy, with lots of fish, shrimps, squids and green-shell mussels - yummms!!

Sprinkled with chopped dried parsley and black pepper, the chowder was certainly very satisfying - much much better than the Fremantle version! Dipping the crusty baguette into it - it was more than fulfilling for one tummy!
I wasn't very keen on their Fish & Chips (AUD9.95) as it was just another of the Aussie favourite battered & fried stuff. It was also quite oily.
Although the Squid Rings (AUD12) was also another battered & fried item (how boring!), it fared better as the rings were less oily and the squids were extremely fresh! But, as you can see, there were more potato chips than squids!

LL ordered a Fish Burger (AUD7.50) - it came as 2 huge baguette sandwiches but taste-wise, I would rate it as just average. There were lettuce and tomatoes in between the bread and breaded fish.

We saw other people having plates of different looking squids - I mean, not the squid rings that we ordered. I was very curious what those were, so we went back to the counter & checked and found out that it was some kinda "Salt & Pepper Squids"... so we ordered it...It looked nice but taste-wise, it was disappointing as it was quite tasteless - the tartar sauce they gave didn't help! The squids used for this dish were much smaller than the ones they use for the squid rings, hence the smaller squids were more chewy.

Leaving Cicerello's and still with a little bit of stomach space to spare, we decided to go for some desserts at this bakehouse just a few steps away...
With a claim like that - "most awarded bakehouse" wor... surely must give it a try, right?!
The trays of cakes, cookies, pastries in their glass cases looked impressive...
... so colorful too!
So we decided to have a piece of this ... something with a biscuit base, topped with chocolates, marshmallows and dessicated coconut...
and also a piece of their Chocolate Carrot Cake... So what's the verdict? I find all their desserts too sweeeetttt!
To alleviate the overly-sweetness of the cakes, we had this drink...
So, that ends the Mandurah food experience.

Back at the apartment where we stayed, we cooked our own breakfasts and sometimes dinners as well. Coles - Australia's popular supermarket chain is readily located everywhere and it's very convenient for us to pop in there to get our groceries.

For breakfast, our usual fare was sausages, eggs and bread. The supermarkets stock very fresh sausages - they're cheap & yummy!
Succulent tasty sausages in various size, thickness and flavours...
Fried eggs...
...and fresh sweet mangoes and oranges - our staples for breakfast!

We bought lots of fresh broccoli (very cheap there! AUD2 for a big head!), mushrooms, asparagus and these were the usual dishes we had with rice... for dinner...
Mixed vegetables with seafood, grilled pork ribs...

and bacon/ham omelette... All these went very well with rice and it was so good to tuck into home-cooked dinners!

One evening we visited my cousin who lives in Willetton, a suburb south-east of Perth. She then took us to dinner in a nearby Chinese restaurant, run by Hongkees. Can't remember the name - Dragon-something-something... but it was a hugely popular place as it was fullhouse when we were there! The noisy diners certainly gave the restaurant its typical-chinese atmosphere and the food served were above-average, I would say.

We had a platter of their Roast Duck and Roast Pork...the skins were very crispy... the pork were a bit on the fatty side...

and this Salt & Pepper Fried Pork Ribs... with chopped chilli padi & garlic - very fragrant!
This was Fish Fillet with Ginger & Spring Onions... fish was fresh and firm...
and this was the Szechuan-style Long Beans with Dried Shrimps...
... the easy-to-eat Japanese Taufu - with minced pork, served on a hotplate with a layer of omelette underneath...
So that was the Willetton dinner.

During our shopping sprees in the city itself, we ate mostly at the foodcourts which are located within the malls. As far as possible, we chose Asian food as I was really trying to avoid the typical Aussie fried food + potato chips!

So, these were some of the familiar Asian items we had...
Curry laksa - I find their curry extremely lemakkkk - there was a strong pungent coconut taste in the curry soup! The portions are big and each bowl cost around AUD9.
This was LL's favourite Thai Fried Rice. It's very good, I must say - full of flavour & wok-hei!
Fried yellow noodles with Roast Pork...
Another Fried Rice - this was at the Harbour Town Foodcourt - not as good as the other fried rice above... but I kinda like their cockerel plate, haha!

More fried rice - Thai-style, from another mall...
...and DL's favourite Curry Laksa, from another mall... but with the same strong pungent coconut curry soup! I think all these laksa sellers must be getting their curry paste and coconut milk from the same supplier??! Because they all taste pretty much the same!

And so... that ends my food stories of Perth. Nothing really exciting. Please don't go to Perth for its food! Go only for the exceptional weather, the wine, the friendly folks, the kangaroos and the koalas, ok!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Porky Affair at Dave's

Dave's Pizza
Lot G 209, 1 Utama
Bandar Utama
Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-77254017

The air-cond in my office is running in full swing and before noon, I was already feeling the hunger pangs. So it was just as well that at 11.30am, LL called to say that his class ended early and that he was coming over to 1U for lunch. At my suggestion of having something porky, LL's eyes sparkled up... and that's how we ended up heading for Dave's.

I have passed by this place many times but have never gone in to try their food. Just this morning I was reading some reviews of this place and I thought, with LL as lunch companion, this would be a good place to try.

My first impression of the place was that it's too dim. Good for lovers out on a date...hmmm... I'd prefer to be able to see my food clearly while dining in a restaurant! Better lighting helps with the photography too, if you know what I mean.

Flipping through their somewhat tattered menu (some of the pages were falling off! or maybe I was just unlucky to get one in that state!)... recalling what one fehmes blogger raved about their Pork Belly Shavings (RM18), we decided to have that as a starter.

The menu said it's served with Scrambled Eggs. However, as you can see in the pic, that was definitely not scrambled eggs - the yolk and white were clearly not mixed, as what good scrambled eggs should be. It was just fried eggs, ok.

The "pork belly shavings" were nothing more than thin strips of bacon, fried till crispy and topped with a forgettable & undiscernible brown gravy. The portion served was quite miserly too. So... I would say this was rather disappointing, contrary to what that fehmes blogger reviewed.

I ordered a regular-sized Aussie Pizza (RM31) to share with LL. Now this was definitely much better than the disappointing starter. The thin-crusted pizza was topped with generous helpings of ham, bacon, anchovies, olives, onions, fresh basil and oozing with melted mozarella cheese! I would say the "regular size" was also generous - more than enough for 2 people.

It was served in an oval plate and I had 3 pieces of it - and that already filled up my tummy! Needless to say, the rest of the pizza was polished off by LL, smacking his lips.

After that yummy pizza, I hardly had any more stomach space for LL's ultimate lunch - the Pork Knuckle (RM51)! It was not an overly big piece of knuckle (for that price) but the side dishes of mashed potato, salad and pickles were pretty complete.

I liked the purple cabbage salad - it had bits of fried bacon sprinkled on top. The skin was super crispy and the meat was well marinated. I took a few nibbles of the meat and my only complaint was that the gravy served with it was really not up to par. I think Dave's has a problem with making sauces/gravies - they're nondescript and tasteless. I can do much better gravies!

This is the end-result of the Pork Knuckle...

Oh by the way, they charge RM1 for a glass of plain water. All in all, lunch for 2 persons today cost me RM117.

Hey LL, can't do this too often, you know... otherwise I'll go pokkai soon, man!