Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I WON THE 2009 BEST CHEF AWARD!!

A few days ago, my nephew came home from school with a very mysterious grin on his face. With his hand covered with a jacket, he obviously was up to something. He told me he got a surprise for me and who could have guessed...he presented me with The Best Chef Award Year 2009!! The 'award' was made of clay and it was one of his project in Art Class. Quite unexpected as I would expect he would do something for his mum or dad....obviously I am so touched with his sweet gesture.
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How the award came about? Well, my bro-in-law has been bedridden for more than a month now due to severe back problem. To help out, I volunteer to do what I know best..COOKING!! Probably with a new cook in the household, everyone seems to enjoy my cooking. So much so, my nephew insist of bringing rice to school everyday. Everyone said he has put on a bit of weight especially on his puffy cheeks.

I am smitten to the fact that he actually thought of me when he did the clay sculpture. He told me that it is actually a bowl of noodle (the sweet potatoes look-a-like) with meatballs (the potatoes look-a-like). So cute eh??
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I took some photos of Nathan last weekend when we took him to watch UP. Just one word...ADORABLE!! Thank you Nathan....Yiyi really appreciates your sweet gesture. MUACKS!!!
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Awesome Sambal Ikan Bilis!

Bro-in-law's buddy came over for a visit on Monday and he brought along a big container of fiery red cili padi a.k.a bird's eye chili for me. All chopped up for convenience purpose and frozen up so that it could last longer in the freezer. I love the cili padi here as it way MUCH MUCH spicier and has got more chili flavour to it as compared to those in Malaysia.
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I have been craving for nasi lemak for a long long time and I didn't quite like my own recipe for sambal ikan bilis (dried anchovies). There are some Malaysian restaurants around my area but I didn't want to disappoint myself either. As always, I know exactly who to consult, Boolicious! She forwarded a recipe for Nasi Lemak Bungkus which was featured in past issue of Flavours magazine. No wonder my recipe sucks...there is no garlic needed in this dish!! Anyway, here is the recipe, very easy to cook with very simple ingredients:

Sambal Ikan Bilis (taken from Flavours Magazine)
1 ½ big onions, peeled and finely ground
100ml cooking oil
400ml cili boh (I blended the bird's eye chili into paste..super duper HOTT!!)
1 tsp shrimp paste (belacan)
3 big onions, peeled and sliced
80g brown sugar (I put in more as my chili paste was too hot)
Tamarind juice, extracted from 15g tamarind pulp mixed with 200ml water
80g ikan bilis, deep-fried

Heat oil in wok or a large pot. Saute ground onions, cili boh and shrimp paste until fragrant. Stir continuously. Add sliced onions, brown sugar, tamarind juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Lastly add the deep-fried ikan bilis and turn off heat. Set aside and serve with nasi lemak (coconut rice).

The end result was PERFECT!!! Initially I find the belacan taste a bit too strong as I think I put a little too much but after leaving it overnight, it was even tastier and more flavourful.
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I love it so much that I had it for dinner and supper yesterday, as well as breakfast this morning and washed it down with a cup of coffee laden with condensed and evaporated milk. I have been having toast and cereal for breakfast for the past 2 months, I was the happiest woman on Earth this morning!
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Bro-in-law immediately called his buddy a.k.a my chili supplier over this morning for lunch. From a small bowl of rice, he ended up having one large plate of rice.....feel so flattered when he said my sambal is of restaurant standard...hehehe. He assured me, more supply of cili padi coming up this weekend...WOOooo HOooo!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

TIAMO 2 @ Lygon St, Carlton

When it comes to Italian cuisine, Lygon St is the place to be! Lygon St which is located in Carlton is synonymous with Italian restaurants and cafes offering both indoor and alfresco dining. There are just too many Italian eateries here to choose from, thanks to all the early migration of Italian migrants to Carlton.

Just a day before my Hubby and Dad flew back to Malaysia, bro-in-law suggested to have Italian food for dinner at my nephew's favourite restaurant, Tiamo 2!

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Upon seated, I was given two menus; one from Tiamo and the other Tiamo 2. My sister told me that Tiamo 2 serves better quality food at slightly higher price but we could still order from both menus.
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My nephew's buddy who followed us to dinner requested for Margherita pizza with an extra egg on top. Simple and delicious BUT I am a meatasaurus, I want meat!!!!!
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And so we ordered another pizza to share. Capricciosa with leg ham, olives and mushrooms on thin crust base. Thumbs up! It was a cold rainy night and I yearned for something rich, cheesy and filling....and a glance at the menu, my eyes were fixed on Carbonara with my all-time favourite Penne. Definitely a good choice made that night as I totally enjoyed it very much. Serving too big though. For moderate eater, this serving is enough to feed two pax.
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My bro-in-law had the Spaghetti Bolognaise...should be good too cos I didn't hear him complain.
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Spaghetti Marinara from Tiamo's menu....came with generous portion of mussels, calamaris and prawns. Hubby and Dad had these and they loved it.
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My sis had the maccheroni pasta served with mini meatballs, eggplant, napoli sauce & basil from Tiamo 2 menu. She finished off the whole plate on her own, so shall I say more?
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This is my nephew's favourite pasta dish from Tiamo 2.....Spaghetti with Clams and Mussels. Now this is really really really good!! The gravy was bursting with flavour. Suddenly, Hubby's spaghetti marinara from Tiamo tasted bland. We ended up scooping gravy from his plate to eat with the complimentary bread. Now I understand why Tiamo 2 is different from Tiamo. Please note...this is a highly recommended dish if you love clams and mussels.
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I was taking a picture of the dish when my nephew started posing for me. Isn't he adorable??
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He loves mussels and this is what he did after he finished off with the pasta:
Slurpsss...drink the remaining gravy from the shells...
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Suck it.....
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Next, lick it clean!
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Finally, end it with a bottle of white wine. Nah, just kidding. It was just a bottle of water.
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Tiamo 2 is located at:
305 Lygon St
Carlton 3053, Victoria
Opens Monday to Saturday; 9.30 a.m. - 10.30 p.m.
Tel: 03 - 9347 0911

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I LOVE KOBE!!!!

Nope! Am not talking about the sixth largest city in Japan. Nope! Am not referring to those melt-in-your-mouth marbled beef either. I am referring to my first furry friend in Melbourne, Kobe!
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Kobe's mummy is a close family friend and I was so excited to be invited to her house to visit her precious baby. Kobe is about Pumpkin's age and he is a mix of Shih Tzu, Maltese and Bichon...I guess he has got the best attributes from all the three breeds, Kobe is really handsome plus a very strong character too.
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After a few rounds of chasing one another, Kobe warmed up to me. He loves a good tummy rub just like my precious Pea.
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He got such a gorgeous smile, doesn't he??
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Kobe's mummy brought me to the kitchen to show me Kobe's food storage. Goodness....it war breaks out now, his supply could last him for half a year!!! Ahem, Kobe is really lucky cos his mummy cooks him beef stew with vegetables (fit for human consumption when salt is added) for dinner.
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Furry kiddos in Ozzieland are really lucky. They have so many variety of treats here. Spot the Wings??
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How about this 100% baked low fat garlic flavoured rawhide chips?????
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Fries from McD for doggies???
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Sandals...obviously a gift from last Christmas.
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Really a big salute to Kobe's mummy as she even make her own treats from pork liver. I am gonna make this for Pea and Pumpkin next time. Pretty easy, just boil the sliced pork liver and put into the oven for an hour under low temperature.
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Kobe's daddy sent me home and Kobe came along too. He kept looking back at me...I think he really likes me! *GRIN*
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He obviously enjoys going for car ride! When I got down from the car, Kobe excitedly wanted to follow as well and gave a loud growl. Awww...am missing him already. I do wish Pea and Pumpkin will join me here soon, as I can already imagine the three of them running around the park while we enjoying a BBQ picnic!
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