Sunday, January 21, 2007

Emergency Quiche

My standard dilemma - still several days until payday so no moola, not much in the way of food in the cupboard/fridge (although I'm always surprised, when I REALLY look, how much there really is), and it's dinner time.

What you see above doesn't look the greatest, but no matter what angle I chose I just couldn't make it look very appealing! And I now notice that I managed to get the one plate with a chip in it, and also managed to get that chip in the photo... sheesh...

Emergency Quiche

1 sheet puff-pastry, thawed
3 eggs (I could have used 4, really)
splash of milk
1 small onion, chopped finely
good-sized pinch of grated cheese
sprinkling of mixed dried herbs - fresh would be nicer, but dried is all I have in the cupboard!

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line flan case (or, if you're like me, a little foil tart case) with the puff pastry, pushing gently into the corners. Trim the edges.
Whisk the eggs with a fork. Add the milk and onion, mix again. Then add the cheese and herbs and mix again. Carefully pour the mixture into the pastry case, then pop it into the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the egg is set in the middle and going a little golden on top.

As this particular quiche was quite bland I dished it up with a small side of spicy-tomato flavoured tuna (thanks John West, you're the best, hehe). I'm not a fan of tuna AT ALL, but these flavoured ones aren't too bad. They come in low-fat servings for the weight-conscious.

Of course you can add almost anything to a quiche - it can get quite interesting! But this is basically all I had as I was far too lazy to defrost some bacon to put in.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Rambling again...

More deep and meaningful thoughts. Perhaps it's brought on by the weather?

It was raining this morning, so before leaving home I grabbed my umbrella. This in itself is actually quite amazing, and probably would not have happened if the brolly had not been sitting right at the front door. But that's not what today's ramble is all about or, at least, it's only the start.

I'm reminded of the time it was absolutely bucketing down here in Melbourne and I was dashing from shopfront to shopfront on my way to the QV building. This particular gent and I had passed each other several times (me running past, he walking with his umbrella and passing me as I got my breath back under an awning). I was resting again at a building and he walked into it, then turned around and offered me his umbrella. I was touched! What a nice man! I declined, as I was on my way to purchase my very own, but it put a smile on my face for a good hour or two.

My (new) umbrella is a huge green monstrosity. The population of a small country could quite possibly shelter under it: due to my penchant for keeping my entire self dry, not just my top half, I invested in a rather large golf umbrella.

Back to today. The working multitude pour out of the train station this morning into the light drizzle, and up go dozens of umbrellas in all colours and sizes, much like some weird field of flowers. As I look around, waiting until the green man says I can cross the street, I notice a lady in front of me huddling under her jacket, trying her best to remain as dry as she could with no cover. Me being me, I sidle over to her and say "here, share my umbrella" (but nothing like The Hollies sung about). She looked at me in surprise and said "Oh, thank you! That's a rare kindness". I thought, surely people offer shelter under their umbrella's all the time but, as I glanced around, I saw that, indeed, each person was jealously guarding their own spot of dry. So I looked at this lady, shrugged, and said "It's plenty big enough to share". We cross the street, at which point she continues on her way while I wait to cross the next street.

Again, there's another lady, nicely made up, hair perfect, lugging a large briefcase on wheels, looking miserable and getting wet. Straight away I hold my brolly over her and say "Plenty of room under here". She looks positively startled, and says "Wow, thank you!" We cross the road, at which point I'm swallowed into The Public Servant Beast that is my building whilst the young lady seta off, keeping to the comparative shelter of the buildings.

My question: is what I did really so unusual? Whenever it's raining and I actually HAVE an umbrella, even if I only have a "lady" umbrella (you know the ones the would find into a moderately-sized handbag) I always offer to share it, I thought most people did. Don't they? If they don't - why on earth not? What's it cost them?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I'm sitting here at work, and I'm wondering "when does being polite at work go too far?"

"What?!" I hear you ask, "How could you be TOO polite at work?!"

Here is the situation that prompted this: a colleague sent me an email me to say "Please update this information". I responded with "Sure, to do that I will need you to provide this other information". Colleague A promptly replies "I can't do that, I'll get Colleague B to do it". Colleague B sent me an email saying that he can get the information, but it might take a few days. I say "that's fine, whenever you get it is OK with me, but the information can't be updated until I have it".

That was last week. This week Colleague B dutifully sends me the information he has so far so I can make a start on this information. I respond, being polite, with a quick email saying "Thank you". He replies, saying "You're welcome".

Now, here's where my musing takes off. Should I, to be polite, send back something in my turn? Something like "No problem"? In which case, should he, then, respond with some other banal nicety? I know, this is taking things a bit to the extreme, but it does beg the question: where do you stop?

Me, personally, I'm happy when someone tells me 'thank you', regardless of whether it's face-to-face, via the phone, or by email (which is why I sent the email to say thank you!), but I don't necessarily feel the need to respond to those thanks, if or when they're received. Actually, now I think about it, if the person is right there in front of me I normally mumble something like "s'ok" (keep in mind, I'm a shy person, don't take well to praise or compliments).

But via less personal means - where's the cut-off point? If you get a couple of complete idiots (I do work with public servants, after all) they could quite possibly be there thanking and responding and responding and responding and responding and responding for a goodly while.

So - can you be too polite, or do I just think too much?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Eating Out: Pho Dzung Tan Dinh

Tan Dinh (or Pho Dzung Tan Dinh)
234b Russell Street, Melbourne (just down from the corner at Lonsdale)
Ph: (03) 9663 8885

Gooooooooooooooooooooooooood Morning Vietnaaaaam!

Well, it wasn't Vietnam; it was Vietnamese food on Russell Street in Melbourne. And it wasn't exactly morning; it was lunchtime. So really that introduction was kind of pointless but… anyway, back on track. Yes, Madam TR has struck again, and shown me yet another gastronomic haven that's been right under my nose for the past 18 months. Despite how infrequently I walk down Russell Street I still couldn't believe that I'd never noticed this place… but it doesn't exactly proclaim its existence with ostentatious flair. Actually, today was the second day we've been there, I've just been slack about blogging it.

The combination of aromas floating on the air as you enter this unassuming establishment gives little indication of the foody delights you're about to experience. Get there early because once the "standard" lunch hour starts you'll be lucky to get a table.

The d├ęcor at Pho Dzung Tan Dinh is, well, "quaint" (according to the second definition at The walls have brightly coloured pictures showing the meals, and the tatty menu has some plenty too. By the time we'd ordered the place had started filling up.

On this visit I chose the dish I had last time, as I simply had to find out if its superlative flavours previously had been a stroke of chance: lemongrass grilled chicken on vermicelli. It came out in a bowl that mimicked a small bucket, and was heaped high with carrot, cucumber, cabbage and diced chicken pieces on top of a layer of vermicelli noodles, with fresh bean sprout thingies supporting the lot at the bottom. A little bowl of sweet chilli-type dressing came with it (not a lot of spice to it), which promptly
got poured all over. I'm afraid I don't have other's gifts of eloquence: all I can say is that it was goooooooood. There was no easy way to eat the meal: all I could do was dig in. And dig in I did - with gusto.

But I still need to go back and check out more of the menu.

And what about a picture of my meal? Well, I'm afraid this is all there is:

When it arrived it looked and smelt so good I just had to dive right in! This was all that was left!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Emergency Pasta Bake

So, it's 2 days till pay-day, all the Christmas leftovers are long gone (for a schmick Christmas feast check out the Tummy Rumblers table). You look in the cupboard… slim pickings indeed! But, lo, wait a minute, what's this you spy? A tin of creamy chicken soup. Hm, ok, a nice start, but surely that can be improved upon. A-ha! A packet of pasta. Ok, the beginnings of an idea are forming. Wonder what's in the freezer… Oo, a bag of frozen peas and corn. NOW we're talking!

I like the Campbells Country Ladle soups, personally, and their creamy chicken in particular. It has the odd chunk here and there of actual chicken, and the chicken doesn't get a strange flavour when you reheat it. They also come in 300g cans, which is the perfect size for a single lass such as myself. Check out the website - plenty of information and some fantastic recipes there too. Of course, you don't have to use the same soup as I do - any brand and flavour you prefer works quite well, I guess I'm just a Campbells girl.

The Bake

250g pasta (I used about half a 500g bag of spirals… depends how much you want to make!)
300g can creamy chicken soup (I also added a small splash of milk, but probably didn't need it for this size)
1 cup frozen peas and corn
Grated cheese

Cook the pasta according to the packet directions, until al dente. Meanwhile preheat the oven to about 200C. Tip the cooked pasta into a casserole dish, sprinkle frozen peas and corn over the top, then pour the soup over (and milk if you're using it). Mix gently together, then sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. This fed me with plenty of leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day, so it'd probably feed 4 easily enough, or more if you use it more as a side dish.

I threw it in the oven then promptly forgot all about it while I was doing computery things, so it was in there a bit longer than I'd planned - about 25 minutes - and I think that was just a bit too long - the pasta on top had started going golden as well as the cheese! I was quite pleasantly surprised with the result, although it could use a few herbs to add some flavour.