Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gotta Love A Stir-Fry

Many thanks to SOME PEOPLE (not mentioning any names, Mr M) for telling me I hadn't blogged anything in a while. Cheers. Much appreciated. I hereby dedicate this post, in all its crumminess, to you :-)

For one reason or another, I haven't gotten around to doing anything all that blog-worthy lately. OK, I've been on a few dates with someone, and there's been sad things happen as well, but nothing I want to share with you all.

Today I'm sick, and taking a few days off work. And, as always happens when I'm sick, I've been craving vegies and fresh fruit like you wouldn't believe. Enter one of my favourite CBF meals: the stir-fry.

The one above is a simple little number: some garlic sauted in a little oil with carrot, fish sauce, soy sauce, sweet chilli and ginger sauce, cauliflower, broccoli, baby corn and sliced sweet peas, with some egg noodles tossed through, and sesame seeds added at the end. The only problem for me when it comes to stir-fry is that I tend to eat a fair amount of the ingredients before they even make it to the wok. I usually plan ahead for that by chopping up extra.

I really love the texture of these stir-fries - the vegies are still crispy, the noodles are al dente (question: can noodles be al dente, or only pasta?), the smell is divine, and the flavour explodes around my mouth. Does it make me up-myself that I really do love my own cooking when I get it this right? I guess it makes up for the times when it all goes terribly wrong!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs on Rice

This was inspired by something I remember Rosemary telling me about (I'm sure it was Rosemary...). I tried finding the recipe but with no luck, so had to make it up as I went along.

I found half a kilo of mince in the freezer so thought I'd make a bolognese and cook some pasta. Then I realised I really, really didn't want that again. I haven't had it in ages, but the mood just wasn't on me. Cue the memory of Rosemary's meatballs. I'm fairly sure she used pork and feta, but I didn't have any of those. So here's what I did. I'm sure fresh herbs would have been much tastier, but I had to work with what was in the pantry.

a little oil
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 tin diced tomatoes
a smattering of mixed dried herbs
an extra smattering of dried basil
1-2 tbl tomato paste
a shake of chilli powder
500g mince
2 slices multi-grain bread, reduced to crumbs
1 egg
8 small cubes of vintage cheddar cheese (the bitier the better)
extra grated cheddar

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Lightly cook the garlic for a minute then add the tomatoes. Stir over a medium heat until hot, then add the herbs, tomato paste and chilli. Stir for another minute then switch off the heat.

Mix the mince together with the breadcrumbs and egg. Take a knob of mixture and lay it out on your palm. Place a cube of cheese in the middle then fold the meat around to make a ball. Place this in a greased casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining mince and cheese (I got 8 medium-sized balls).

Once the meatballs are in the dish pour over the sauce. Top with a generous smattering of grated cheese, then throw it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Just before the meatballs are done, cook up some rice. Throw a bed of rice on the plate, top with a couple of meatballs and some of the sauce.

I also did a few veg to round out the meal a bit, but they wouldn't have looked all that photogenic :-) This tasted so incredibly nice. A shame the pic is a little blurry.... but you get the idea. After I took it I tried to slice open one of the balls to show you the melted cheese centre, but it didn't work all that well.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Rudeness and Neighbours

Outside my house is a driveway to the empty block behind my house, and 2 parking spaces. The people who live 2 houses down from me insist on parking right there in front of my house.

Outside their house they have a nature strip. I do not. That parking space is the only place outside my house where any people visiting me can park.

I've tried to speak to them several times however there's been no answer at the door, so today I left a note on the windscreen of their car, politely asking them to not park there any more, and that I found it quite rude that they would park in front of my house instead of their own, two houses away.

That was this morning. This afternoon the "man" of the two comes knocking on my door and tells me I'm being unreasonable, they're well within their rights and the law to park there, and refusing point-blank to stop parking there.

I'll be contacting council on Tuesday. Really happy for people to share their thoughts with me on this. I don't think I'm being unreasonable. Am I?

Post-Posting Post: I contacted my local council this morning (Tuesday). As the area is hard to describe over the phone they're going to send a ranger out some time in the next few days to look at it, then they say they'll contact me to let me know the situation.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Eating Out: Urban Deli

Shop 14/50 Lonsdale Street
P: 03 9662 9003

There's something about beginning your day with a superbly cooked breakfast, fabulous cup of tea, and several smiling good-looking men that really gets things off to a good start.

If there's a place right near my work that I haven't spent all that much time at, it's Urban Deli. I've been here quite a few times since the place first opened, but for some reason I've never mentioned it.

UD offers fairly standard fare for the type of place they are - a range of cooked foods and pasta, or sandwichs, wraps, rolls or salad at lunch, decent coffee, and a good breakfast menu. Fairly similar to Olivino I guess, but with a different atmosphere. Since Olivino is now off my go-to list, UD has stepped in to fill the void.

Over the past few weeks I've steadily worked my way through most of their breakfast menu, and I'm happy to report that it was consistently good. To rate just a few, the muesli is tasty, especially when served with yoghurt, or fruit salad, or both; the eggs benedict is well done; and the Urban Brekky, for $15, is damned good.

There's also a few different types of toast you can get, plus a range of breads to build a sandwich on. Their muffins are MUCHO nice. I saw some being ladled into the display case this morning fresh from their muffin pan, so I'm guessing they make 'em... but don't hold me to that. I would love to do some more research on this place for you, but frankly good-looking men, in that type of shape, tend to make me clam up a little and go all shy :-)

If you're at the Spring end of Lonsdale Street and looking for a bit, don't discount these guys.

Post-publish edit: they also don't charge extra for a cup o' tea. And I can confirm that the muffins are made fresh on the premises. Friands, danishes etc. are brought in, but they're still damn fine. (Decaf) Coffee and muffin for $5? Yes, thanks very much, I'll have that.