Date Archives January 2011

Chinese New Year Festival

Chinese New Year is coming!!  For me, this time of year hails good food, visits with family, and general festivities. Going home for Chinese New Year this year isn’t really an option for me, so Sean and I decided to check out what Sydney had to offer.

There were Chinese New Year markets at the park at Eddy Avenue, and man, was it bustling with people.

Besides the main stage,  there were food stalls, souvenir stores, and even various people dressed up to usher in the Year of the Rabbit! 

 There was even a very eco-friendly sculpture – a giant rabbit made out of plastic PET bottles!

There was also a store by Hubei artists, and they were giving away free artwork. 

  But on to the most important bit – the food!!! Sean and I ordered a little something each, Kway Teow Goreng for me, and Beef Rendang for him.

The Kway Teow Goreng  (Fried flat noodles – $8 for small, $10 for large) was decent, but nothing to scream about. But what it did lack in flavour, the sambal made up for it!

This spicy mouthful of flavours made me miss home. I’d already piled it on, but by the end of the meal, I wished that I’d taken more.

It’s so hard to find good chilli nowadays.

Sean’s beef rendang also had good flavour. It was milder than I’m used to, but I’m pretty sure that authenticity wasn’t the goal here. It’s still better than I expected, and it was still a very good night.

If you’re keen, there’s still one more day to catch it! The park’s on the Eddy Avenue side of Central Station, and the last day of the Chinese New Year Markets is today (31st Jan ’11) from 11am to 10pm.

Let me know what you think!

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly

I got a lovely present in the mail the other day – Aeroplane Jelly sent me some goodies for Australia Day! Boxes of Lime and Lemon Jelly (Green and Gold) to help me unleash my psychedelic jelly fantasies. =)

And so, I present to you…

My Andy Warhol colours inspired sandcastle beach scene. I mixed Blueberry and Lime jelly for the “sea”, and layered Lime and Lemon jelly for my sandcastle, with a heap of buttered biscuit crumbs for the “sand”.


Happy Australia Day!

Cheap eats.

Sometimes you’re so hungry, you need something cheap and quick. And especially when you’re in a place like Ikea – I never want to leave! – cheap food is an absolute find! 

I had the smaller breakfast option ($2.95). Baked beans, poached tomato, bacon, sausage, hash brown and scrambled eggs all piled unceremoniously onto a plate. Hey, I never said it was gourmet, but it is cheap and the food is very decent.

Sean went for the option that included meatballs ($5.95).

In all, Ikea food is pretty much like its furniture – nothing flash, very minimalistic, but very good value. Especially if you want to spend the first half of the day at Ikea – get in early and get the breakfast!

1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, 4!

While on a Mexican food bend, Sean and I decided to head over to Tequila’s On Main at Rouse Hill for dinner. We decided that we would order an entrée and a main course to share, as we were already eyeing Baskin Robbins nearby for dessert as we were ordering dinner. hehe.

Our entrée was the Mexican Potatoe Skins ($16.50) (pictured above) with chilli con carne. The potatoes were soft and fluffly, and the whole combination was a very appetizing one. It seemed a little odd that the potatoes really only filled half the plate, and a very large lettuce leaf was spread out over the other half, but Sean and I realizes that there was a decent amount of potatoes, just that they were piled over each other!

For our main, we ordered the Fajita ($22.50 per head). You have a choice of beef, chicken, lamb or pork as your main meat, and Sean and I chose beef and pork. The pork was absolutely delightful – tender, juicy morsels sent a burst of flavour with every bite. The chilli, carrot and mushroom did not go awry either – they were just gently warmed through to release their flavour, and diligently soaked up all the juices the meat left in its wake.

To go with the Fajitas, they served a platter of sides. There were lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, guacamola, salsa, and not to forget, the wraps. To be honest, while the sides went really well with the main and made us feel like we’ve got our money’s worth, it really wasn’t needed, since the sizzling hotplate had its own bountiful mounds for us to plough through.

It’s all good though – you’d never hear me complaining that there’s too much food given!

And to sooth our tingling palates, Sean ordered up some Sangria. Now this is the only time that Sean will drink wine, so I’m guessing that it’s pretty good. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to alcohol, and can’t really go past one sip. Hence…

I would like to present you with a recipe for Virgin Sangria!

Tammi’s Virgin Sangria (an original recipe)

2L grape juice
2 navel oranges
2 tart apples
1.5 lemons

Firstly, pour yourself a good cup of grape juice – you need the space in the bottle to place the fruit in. Chop up the fruit – I cut them into wedges before slicing them, the smaller you go, the faster the flavours meld.

Chuck the fruit into the bottle in this order – apples, oranges, lemons. The reason for this is that the apples are 25% air, and will float. By forcing them to the bottom, it’ll allow the flavours of the apple to mix in with everything else, rather than just floating at the top.

Give the bottle a good shake, and leave at room temperature for 2 nights. (You can leave it in the fridge, but then you’ll have to leave it a little longer.) Give the bottle a good shake every so often.

And tada! Virgin Sangria! It’s quite a bit sweeter than the real thing, but you’ll find that as you get to the bottom of the bottle, the rinds in the citrus fruit give a slightly bitter aftertaste that mimicks wine. To me, at least. =)

We ate at:

Tequila’s On Main
Shop GR082 Main Street,
Rouse Hill Town Centre
Rouse Hill 2155
Tel: 9629 5055

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Coming soon!!

Red Bow

Image by taberandrew

I’m so excited!!!!! Starting from February 2011, I’m going to launch a new series – Ingredient of the Month – and it’s going to be a free for all creative (or tried and tested!) cooking activity. I’ll try to get prizes lined up for the most creative entry, and everyone will have till the end of the month to create, to dream, and to cook!!

So excited!!!!!

The ingredient for February will be announced soon!!!

Watch this space. hehe.

Tea time!

Sean and I decided to start a new tradition this year.  We love going to Yum Cha (or “drink tea” if literally translated) and thought that it’d be nice to go for Yum Cha for lunch on the first of every year!

For this first gorge we decided to go to Tingha Palace in Parramatta. It was bustling with families of all nationalities, and we were quietly directed to a spot on a shaded balcony. Now let the ordering begin!

We ordered Fried Spring Rolls to start off with.  Crispy on the outside and steaming hot on the inside, the spring rolls were good, but nothing out of the ordinary. If anything, I felt like the pastry to filling ratio was a little bit skewed, and that it should have just a little more (better seasoned) filling.

And what’s a Yum Cha session without dumplings?

We ordered Chive and Prawn Dumplings (pictured above), and Har Gow (which literally translates to Prawn Dumplings).  They were both good, flavour-wise, but I personally found the texture rather lacking. There is something about the translucent, fragile skin that gently encases crunchy, fresh prawns, that has a comforting chewiness about it. I love biting into a prawn dumpling and feeling that token bit of resistance before it gives way to my determined appetite. These ones, however, were just a little too placid and limp for my taste. But they were good dumplings otherwise!

Sean also had to have his favourite – Char Siew Pao.


 It was sort of…average. It had the lovely fluffy buns around sweet, barbecued pork. Nothing mind-blowing, but definitely nothing to complain about.

Now on to my Yum Cha must-haves…

Cheong Fun!!!  I love the silky sheets clinging delicately around tasty fillings, smothered in a magically sweet and salty dark sauce. Again, similar to the pork buns, it’s good, but not inspiring. If anything, we found that the sheets of rice noodles were a little too thick in some places where they’ve clumped together.

And last but not least (of the savouries)…

The Phoenix’s Claw (or braised chicken feet) are lovely and well stewed, with the strategic hits of chilli rounding up a medley of exciting flavours. Kudos to the restaurant for getting this right, as chicken feet are quite hard to cook correctly, and has to be stewed enough to allow all the flavours to meld. It also has to be tender enough to fall apart in your mouth, but not fall apart around your chopsticks. Full marks for this dish.

And now, on to the desserts!!

We ordered the Mango Pancakes and the Mango Pudding. As with the other dishes, these were thoroughly average. In fact, the pancakes were a little too clumpy and not silky enough, and there was entirely too much pancake to filling. We were left craving more desserts at the end of this meal, and it didn’t help that the dessert cart took forever to arrive at our table. For some reason, our table had been cleared and we were waiting for a good 20min before the dessert cart was called to the us.

All in all, it was an average experience. The prices were regular Yum Cha prices, and not fantastic value for money, since the dishes were so…regular. If nothing else, it’s really convenient for when we want a Yum Cha hit, but otherwise, nothing really worth traveling for.

Of course, when you go to a Chinese restaurant, you gotta spend some time looking into the giant fish tanks that line the walls!!

We ate at

Tingha Palace
Parramatta Leagues Club
1st Floor, 13-15 O’Connell Street, Parramata NSW 2150, Australia
(02) 9890 168

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She Don’t Use Jelly

Well, actually I do! =) I am absolutely addicted to Jelly Slice, and this easy recipe is my new favourite thing to make. It’s a cheap option and always a great hit at a party!!

Jelly Slice Recipe:

85g Jelly Crystals
395g can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 tsp Gelatine
Juice of 1 lemon
50g butter
Biscuits (I used Milk Arrowroot)

Crush the biscuits for the biscuit base. How many biscuits you use  depends on how thick you’d like the base to be. I used about 7 biscuits for the tin that I used. Melt the butter, and mix that in with the crushed biscuits. It should look like wet sand.

Press the biscuit into the tin and place the tin into the fridge while you make the other layers.

Use about 1/4 cup of boiling water to dissolve the gelatine. Once that’s done, add the lemon juice and the condensed milk. Pour that onto the biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge.

Once the condensed milk layer is set, mix up the packet of jelly crystals with 1 cup of boiling water. Leave to cool to about room temperature, then carefully pour that into the tin and leave in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

Cut up the slice and serve!! Absolutely great for a hot summer’s day. =)