Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mummy's Day Mum!

I figured, it's Mothers Day, I'll be like (probably) hundreds and thousands of other people, and dedicate a post to my mum. Well, not that hundreds and thousands of other people are dedicating a post to MY mum, but you know what I mean.

I'm sure most people think the same
about their mother (and those who DON'T generally think the absolute opposite), but mine truly is amazing. Despite her faults. I mean, look at the pic above - she MAKES these things, just churns 'em out. The creamy one is almost a metre across. She can cook anything. She can defend her home against reptiles with one smooth WHAP! of a straightened coat hanger (or a CRACK of a shovel). She doesn't shy away from what she has to do - just gets in and does it. She put her kids first all our lives, and went without so that we could have the things we wanted (well, a few of the things we wanted, but always the things we needed). And I don't know what she did to be able send me away to board at a good school for the last four years of my school life. This woman found herself the single parent of a 7 and a 13 year old and, if I do say so myself, did a damn fine job of raising them. I was a horrible kid - the youngest, so incredibly selfish, a real pain in the butt, and an absolute headache. I sometimes wish I could turn back time, be a little more reliable, patient, obedient... but of course, we can't change the past.

Anyway, good on you mum, you're a woman I admire greatly, and if I gain half the strength you have I'm sure I'll be able to take on the world.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Eating Out: Bear Brass

Gr3A On the River, Southgate

Ph: 03 9682 3799

So, how do you combine a 3-in-1 celebration? You book a nice room at the Pacific International Apartments and then wander along the river looking for something to tempt your taste-buds. We decided on Bear Brass.

A nice pub-type atmosphere, cheerful staff (although it did take a little while to get our meals... nothing extreme, but longer that I prefer). Not exceedingly expensive. Overall verdict quite nice. But what really impressed me was that, fussy eater that I am, there was still plenty of choice on the menu of things I'm happy to eat.

I ordered the steak. I have to admit - I've been somewhat spoiled by places that serve impressively large meals on equally large plates, so to dine somewhere that believes in putting smaller meals on those same large places was... well, a little odd. Even so, this was delightful and was enough to leave me feeling not quite full, but quite happy, which meant I had enough room, after a short walk along the river and through the casino, to have a treat from Trampoline next door. According to the menu you are looking at porterhouse steak with asparagus and bean bundle and bearnaise sauce. What the blurb doesn't mention is the smattering of freshly cracked pepper, the delightfully well-done onion rings under the steak, and the smashed potatoes under the asparagus and beans. It's been years since I had anything with bearnaise sauce on it, and one bite put me immediately in flavour country. I would have been quite content to be served up a bowl of the potatoes with the sauce! Even better, the steak was cooked to perfection - exactly the way I like it.

The Mister ordered the mushroom and prosciutto stuff chicken breast on coriander and rice pilaf with a herb cream sauce. It smelt darn nice. And the best I can work out, the strange orange thingies are shaved sweet potato cooked all nice and crispy with a sprinkling of... cumin...? Very nice, would love to have those as a bar snack!

Another thing that makes me want to go back to Bear Brass - I was drinking the house red of the night, and I'm still kicking myself that I didn't find out what it was. Whatever it was, it was goooood. A nice red bite on first taste, then a long and smooth mellowing over the tongue that continued well after you'd had your sip. Ah, bliss. VERY nice. Total bill, including two Asahi's and two glasses of red, was $75. Not too bad, really! I mean, this IS dining on the river.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Baking: Yoghurt Cake

That marvellous book I mentioned a little while ago is a veritable font of yumminess. This yoghurt cake is no exception. And, with basically no fat (still sugar though!) it ain't half bad for you either! The recipe is for a whole cake, but of course I prefer making little cakes - so much easier to get rid of it :-) So the cake above was baked in one of my little ramikins. A shame I accidentally left it in the oven just a fraction too long... but it was still good!

I was also far too lazy to make the lemon syrup required, but this was incredibly yummy with a basic mix of lemon juice, water, and sugar. Actually (looking down at feet, scuffing shoes....) I had this one, and enjoyed it so much I had another... Hey! It was a long day! I NEEDED it!!!

Yoghurt Cake

Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin. Put 2 1/2 cups of self-raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 cup of caster sugar into a bowl. Separate to this, combine 1 cup of plain yoghurt, 1 cup of milk and 2 lightly beaten eggs, then pour these wet ingredients over the dry. With your mixer, beat on a low speed for a couple of minutes, then on high speed for 5 more minutes. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for one hour, or until the old skewer test says (ie. when you stick it in the middle and it comes out clean).
To make the lemon syrup stir 1 1/4 cups caster sugar, 3/4 cup water, rind from 1 lemon (cut into fine strips), and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves, but DO NOT BOIL THE MIXTURE. Simmer until it's thick, remove the lemon strips, then keep it warm until the cake is cooked. Pour half of the lemon syrup over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Serve the cake up with extra lemon strips, the reserved syrup, and maybe even a dollop of whipped cream, if you want to be somewhat more flashy than me!