Friday, June 28, 2013

Piggy Soap

This is our soap dish in the main bathroom. It just looks like a cute little piggy face - that's before someone put his hands on it after coming back from the beach!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Coddled Egg in Bread Roll

Remember my Oeuf en Cocotte post a while ago? This is a similar idea but instead of baking the eggs in the ramekins, we use rolls. It is all in one breakfast as you can eat the roll along with the egg. If you need to feed a lot of people breakfast – this one is a winner. You can also use ham instead of chorizo – or even crispy fried bacon pieces. If you use bacon pieces, fry them until crisp first and then place them on top of the egg before eating. Using chorizo or ham is much easier in my opinion – also less things to clean up afterwards.

You will need one day old good firm bread rolls – I use whole meal rolls from the local baker up the road. They are much nicer than the long-life supermarket ones. Use a sharp pointy knife to cut away a hole in the middle of the roll to make a bowl big enough to accommodate chorizo and cheese and egg – don’t get carried away though, make sure that the bottom of the roll is intact. Press the bottom with your finger to make it a firm base and then press the side to make room for the egg & co.

You might need 5 or 6 minutes longer in the oven for the egg to cook – just check after 10 minutes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vann’s Birthday Cake or Is it a Dalek?

It was Vann’s 4th Birthday last Thursday (he’s my neighbour’s grandson). He asked me ages ago to make him a Birthday cake for his Birthday Party which was organised at the local Macca’s on Sunday.

So I had to fulfil my promise to this little guy – and you know that I am not one of those hottest home bakers. I just made basic butter cake – as the icing was quite rich although Vann was keen on chocolate cake and chocolate icing. The grownup version would use dark chocolate for the glaze but I had to tone it down and used milk chocolate instead. I used white chocolate buttons to decorate. It was not beautiful but hopefully would be exciting enough for the kids although they might be a little bit too young to associate the cake with Dr Who’s Dalek.  

Update: Have heard feedback from Barbara that this was popular with the kids and they gobbled it up - no leftover for the Birthday boy to take home. Quite happy that they liked my cake!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Red Chamber

This is one of many faraway views of the Valley area we can see from our deck upstairs. It is also the very same view from my optometrist’s window. He often tests his patients for distant visibility with this view from his practice.

I love the square tower of this grand old house – not tall enough to have Rapunzel hanging her hair down for the prince but still has that fairy tale feels about it. It also reminds me of the Chinese classic “Dream of the Red Chamber” – which I have to admit is too complicated for me to comprehend so I did not manage to read that many chapters (of the abridged translated version of course).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spaghetti Cabonara –ish

Apologies to the original Italian version – my cabonara is full of ingredients that should not be there but believe me, my version is also yummy and contains more proteins.

200 grams spaghetti
200 grams chicken breast, skin removed and thinly sliced
150 grams bacon rash, rind removed and thinly sliced
60 grams brown mushrooms, sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup cream
1/3 cup sour cream
30 grams parmesan cheese, grated
Salt & black pepper to taste

Fry bacon in a pan on medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside. Save the pan and cooking oil.

Cook spaghetti in a lot of boiling water with a bit of salt – it should take about 12-14 minutes depending on brands. Swirl the pasta from time to time so that it will not stick together.

Mix cream, sour cream and egg yolk in a jug. Whisk until combine and set aside.
Use the same pan you cooked bacon in, fry onion on medium heat until soft. Add chicken and fry until cooked then add mushroom. Fry a bit further then add cream mixture and remove from heat (don’t let it boil – or it will curdle), add salt and pepper. Don’t be too heavy handed with salt – we still have saltiness from bacon and parmesan that we will add later.

By this time, the pasta should be cooked to al dente. Drain and reserve about ¼ cup of cooking liquid. Add Cabonara sauce to the hot pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan. If it is a bit too dry, you can add a little bit of liquid reserved early on. Add bacon, spring onion and more pepper. Serve warm and enjoy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pipi Loves Teddy

Pipi is in bed with Teddy and she is in bliss. Teddy is my old hot water bottle cover and the cat seems to like snuggling up to him at night (with hot water bottle inside of course).

Excuse me for being a bit like Cute Overload lately. The weather has been quite bad that we have to stay inside most of the time – and with us there are these animals. They are quite cute and sometimes hilarious. So we cannot help it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Paw Approval

Our old flokati rug  is getting old and thin so I have bought a new cotton, fluffy rug for our living room early this week. The first few minutes that I laid the rug out to refresh Bonnie had to be the first one on it. I think she approves of this new acquisition.
It's thick and soft under my foot and her undercarriage.                                       


Pipi has been a bit slow; she did not notice the new rug until the second day. Then she has found it and loves it every day since.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cold Soba with Dipping Sauce

Cold soba is great as side dish or snack in summer. It is almost winter here downunder but I have leftover soba form the other day so I think I should cover this soba variation as well.

For 2 you will need:

1 bundle of dried soba noodles, cooked per instruction on the packet, drained and leave to cool completely
½ sheet Nori, cut into very thin strips for garnish
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish

1/2 cup dashi stock or chicken stock
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar

1 spring onion, chopped for garnish

Combine all the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to the boil, leave to cool and refrigerate for about an hour or 2.

Arrange cooked soba into 2 plates, sprinkle with sesame seeds and nori strip. Divide the sauce in to 2 bowls. sprinkle with chopped spring onion  – dip soba into the sauce and enjoy (slurp, slurp:)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ball Girl

I like fetching ball very much especially in the park as I might get attention from talent scouts. I dream of being one of those ball girls in big, big tennis matches like Wimbledon or French Open. Anyone out there, if you’re interested please contact my mum for CV. I am so good at catching ball you know…and I love people. Yes, people, bring them on!

Friday, June 7, 2013



This is Kobe. He’s Barbara’s youngest grandchild (he's Vann's and Poppy's first cousin). I had dinner with Barb and Anita the other night when Barb had ‘full house’ of grandkids. So it was quite chaotic as the kids were quite boisterous and tried to get my attention all at once.

When I took this photograph, Kobe tried to get me while Vann tried to have me ‘come and get’ him. It was very difficult and out of many, many shots, this is the only good one. Thank goodness, we don’t do photography with film any more otherwise it would have taken 3 rolls at least for me. Poppy is on the right in the photo wearing her pink robe - she's about to photo bomb this one.

Kobe just had his fruit salad so please excuse a smudge and a few dots on the chin!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mango Coconut Milk Clafoutis

This is just like the usual opening sentence when you post about your cafloutis made with any other fruits than cherry "Cafloutis is normally made with cherries but really any fruits like peaches and apples or even mangoes will do". I used canned mangoes and coconut cream with my clafoutis so it has a little Asian twist– a bit like mangoes and sweet sticky rice we have in Thailand.  You have to drain your mangoes in the sieve for a while to get rid of the excess liquid.

You will need:
450 gram can of mango slices in syrup, drained (use more mangoes if you like)
50 grams flour
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup cream
1/3 cup coconut cream
50 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
15 grams butter, melted
Extra cream, lightly whipped
Icing sugar to dust

Drain mango slices and place them in a well greased shallow pie dish, set aside.

Beat eggs, cream, coconut cream, vanilla extract and sugar together until well combined. Add sifted flour and salt, mix well and rest for a while.

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C. When the oven is hot, melt the butter and add to the batter, stir well. Pour the batter over mango slices in the pie dish and bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake 20 to 30 minutes further until the batter puffs and becomes golden.

Serve warm with dusted icing and cream – and of course, a scoop of vanilla ice cream will be decadent.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Heaven is a Place on Earth

Heaven is a place on earth indeed when this critter has hot water bottle under his bed.
Spike is around more and more when the temperature is getting low. He will also wait by the front door in the morning for his breakfast so I have to feed all 3 of them when I get up and about.

Pipi often sleeps upstairs in the bedroom with us when it is cold. She has her own little bed with her own pink hot water bottle. We use the term 'searing the cat' when putting these cats on their beds with hot water bottles since they seem to stick to the warmth and do not move for a long while - quite sealed on the underside!

We bought an electric blanket last summer when it was on sale and I used it for the first time last week when the temperature was under 10 degrees C. Only Bonnie has found out about this but she is not addicted to the warmth as much as the cats are. However, it is easy to imagine all of our pets on the bed with us whenever we have electric blanket switched on!