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Ondine

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    Perth, Western Australia
  1. Ondine

    One week in Taipei

    Thanks for the links! I've also been checking out the recent Taiwan posts on the Eating Asia blog, and they look very promising. My dad tells me we'll be doing side trips to Kaohsiung and Tainan as well. Do you have any suggestions for those areas? I do know that Kaohsiung is going to be a seafoody sort of place, and my Hepatitis A and B shots are up to date - thanks to work - so bring it on!
  2. Ondine

    One week in Taipei

    Hello dear eGulleters! I have just been invited on a family trip to Taipei this October, and I'm really excited! Not only do I get to see my brother (since he moved to Geneva, it's been hard to talk) but I get to go a-fooding with both him and my dad! Where should we go? What should we eat? Din Tai Fung is a must-do, definitely. We're going to be fairly centrally located (if I know my father's hotel sense), and will be able to afford higher end stuff if it's worth the effort. And I have some elementary skill at mandarin speaking, about as fluent as a nine year old. While we're not averse to nifty new Western style dining, I think we may be also inclined to explore food that really gives the feel of the city and the people. So, any suggestions?
  3. Ondine

    Food fight

    Okay, so maybe I am a bit picky. He's just such a wonderful guy that I forget sometimes how far he's come from the white bread, meat and potatoes thing. I just wish sometimes I could show him how yummy so many other things are.
  4. Ondine

    Food fight

    My SO is lovely. I am delighted by the way this guy has had a simple, down home suburban upbringing and yet revels in cooking and eating new things with me. I was born and raised in SouthEast Asia, and he's only recently left Australia - where we live - for the first time, so his readiness for new things is wonderful. He tried Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese food, and loved them all. He surprised me by recreating dishes I grew up with, having sneakily bought a local cookbook on a trip to Singapore. So what is it that peeves me about his eating habits? Quite simply, it's the sheer breadth of his despised foods. He won't eat crustaceans except for prawns, shrimp, or crayfish. (And by crayfish I mean rock lobsters, without claws, not the tiny crawfish that are palm sized.) He won't eat any molluscs except cooked oysters, squid and octopus. And he's terribly fastidious about the quality of any fin fish that he is presented with, comparing their freshness to the ones he's caught himself. He won't eat unusual meats or game, even farmed. No meat of deer, bison, buffalo, rabbit, kangaroo or crocodile. However, farmed game birds are okay, like quail or pheasant. He won't eat any non muscle meats. No offal, no liver, no pate, no black pudding or tripe. The thought of haggis turns him green. I know all the above doesn't seem like much, and certainly isn't unusual. But against how adventurous he is otherwise, his aversions are just so stark. It's enough to make me tear my hair out sometimes. Especially since we're off to Paris in May. Guess I'll have to eat all his foie gras!
  5. Ondine

    2009: Eating Really Really Cheap

    Just delurking and chiming in to say hang in there, Maggie! I know what scraping together is like. I've been that starving student who had to choose between buying things to go with rice, or buying gas for the car to get to classes. I can suggest tentatively that oftimes forgoing meat can help with the food budget. Ethnic vegetarian dishes tend to cost less than ones with meat, and can help stretch the pennies further. Pulses, eggs, homemade yoghurt and cheese can be very effective at this, and result in some delicious meals. My best wishes and good hopes go with you.
  6. Solely for the sake of research (yeah, right) I tried a sous vide Wagyu cheek dish at a local restaurant a few weeks ago. The strangest thing was that parts of the meat had oddly olivey greenish streaks to it. Tasted okay, and I had no ill effects afterward. What was that stuff?
  7. I went to the butcher today to pick up a brisket I'd ordered - here in Australia it's not a popular enough cut to be routinely available - and got to talking with the cheery lass behind the counter. Anyhow, thanks to my terrible impulse shopping streak, I walked out of there with the brisket, as well as the last of their Wagyu beef cheeks. Two pairs, frozen solid in cryovac, weighing together about 1.4 kilos or about 3lb. I was also offered Wagyu brisket, but with a fat cap that was a full third of the thickness, and at $33 a kilo, I passed on that. I wasn't prepared for how huge the cheeks were. They're each bigger than my hand! I was wondering if anyone here had any good recipes for Wagyu cheek. My instinct is to try and preserve the marbling with a quick sear tataki style, but I don't think the structure of cheek muscle will let me get away with it. Or I could braise it like normal ox cheek, but surely you would lose all the fat, like you would if overcooking foie gras..? Somebody help? It's surprisingly hard to find Wagyu cheek recipes with Google. Most of the links are restaurant reviews. So I'm kinda stumped here.
  8. Ondine

    Growing Food....

    The tree grinding guy on the phone told me that they were going to be coming from a local job where they'd be removing a couple of trees from the grounds of a nearby church. Maybe they're consecrated woodchips? Or should I be disturbed that the giant pile is gently steaming in the cold weather..?
  9. Ondine

    Growing Food....

    This little black thumb has started a small scale container garden of her own, inspired by all of you. I've got peas sprouting, and have plonked the pot next to the fence so they can grow happily up it. I've decided, since greens are my favourite vegetable food, to plant various green leaves that are not all related to the cabbage family. So alongside the bok choy, I've planted stuff like Yellow Orach, Miner's Lettuce, Strawberry Goosefoot and Malabar Spinach. I figured that this way even if I get a plague of cabbage moth, I'll still get some greens. It's mid autumn, verging on winter here, and we've had our first storms of the year. I think it's probably a little cool for sprouting other things like tomatoes at the moment. I'm going to be planting out some bush beans soonish. It's an amazing feeling seeing things sprout and not die! (Yet. ) I'm looking forward to all this.. I've also found a great local business that helps recycle the mulched waste from tree lopping and tree removal companies, and will be having a stupidly large amount ("Hey lady, you get what's on the truck. Which should be eighteen cubic metre's worth.." ) of mulch and woodchips delivered tomorrow. I've told my neighbours they are welcome to help me put a dent in the pile, in return for borrowing their wheelbarrow!
  10. I had a fantastic lunch at Becasse, and a wonderful high tea at the Tea Rooms in the Queen Victoria Building! Becasse really blew me away with the quality of the food and service. The lunch set menu is a great deal, and it's just a short walk in the CBD. Other than that, I was too busy to go to any of the other places I wanted to get to. Oh well, next time.
  11. Star Anise and Must are definite good options. The former, particularly, is a must-go because chef David Coomer has indicated recently that he is thinking of moving onto other things soonish. I should probably make a reservation soon, myself! Must is particularly good on Tuesday nights as Jerry Fraser is there shucking oysters to order. If you like high end alcohol their Champagne Lounge is worth a visit too, on the top floor. There's Jackson's in Highgate as well, which is a block or so away from Must. It's a high end gastronome's place, which has put about that they are planning a $1000 a head Bastille Day degustation menu. Galileo is also a few blocks down the same street from Star Anise, and is a lovely homey Italian place with a well-used wood oven and a tasty, affordable house red. The roast wild boar and duck are delicious. North Perth has a few good places tucked away, such as Nahm Thai, a modern Thai place that's getting good reviews, though I've never been to it myself. Next door to it is Nine Fine Foods, a seafood-centric place that seems to focus on fusion Japanese, and is run by a chef from Tsunami, a modern Japanese place in Mosman Park. There's also a modern Middle Eastern place called Blakes Cafe that is very good value, with food that is, while not avant garde, full of soul. The chef's hubby plays the sax there on Saturday nights! There's other options further out too, including the Swan Valley, if you're heading out to the nearest vineyards. I hope this helps you in time. I've been far too long away from eGullet!
  12. Just chiming in to ask, what do you guys think would be a good selection of fairly central must-go places to hit in Melbourne, given a flying visit of three, maybe four days? (I'm thinking of surprising my Boy with a mystery trip for his birthday later this year. Shh, don't tell! He'll kill me if he finds out I'm planning this! ) Is Nobu at the Crown worth a look? I'm fairly leery of hype. We tend to prefer places where the food is the main thing, with a nicely understated vibe. What about Fifteen? Or Vue de Monde (it didn't seem like too much of a circus last time I was there)? We won't really be blessed with the ability to journey too far away from the CBD, I'd imagine. Perhaps a short tram ride, or shanks' mare may be the go. Just tentative planning, really. Any suggestions gratefully accepted over here!
  13. Rooftop1000, I try to do that as often as I can whenever I cook chickens; it's a great tip! I find I can do that with braises as well, though the last stage of chicken soup gets a little thin sometimes. LizD518 and Beebs, I do try to buy drygoods in bulk and shop in ethnic stores too. Isn't it amazing how much cheaper things like vegetables are in places like that? My pantry is full of bayleaves to keep grain moths away, and so far it seems to be working. I've been trying to freeze poached chicken pieces as well, to help save that little bit of time too. Great for a really quick salad. I tend to bring fruit and crackers to work with me for lunch too, as that way I get the energy boost without getting sleepy just as the early afternoon workload comes into the lab. Thanks for all the tips, Sherrid! I do hope that things go well for you and your cafe. I guess the making of muffins and cakes would count as business research, no? Maybe even tax deductible! Seriously though, I'm considering all that too, with a little judiciousness due to a moderate yeast intolerance. I have just found a great scratch-flatbread recipe I'm dying to try this week. That is, once I get back from work. Chufi, thanks for the link! Would you believe I tried to do a search on preexisting threads, and simply did not find that one? I just knew that there had to be something similar...
  14. Hello everyone! (*waves at all of you*) Due to a bunch of unfortunate circumstances that involve a notoriously underpaid industry and the stark need to buy a new car, I am finding myself in rather tighter financial straits than I'm used to. I'm cutting down on eating out, even the daily coffee is now to be frowned on, and I'm trying to watch for specials at the supermarket - no more going to the organic produce store for me. As you can imagine, this is not terribly fun to do or contemplate for someone who is used to spending about two thirds of their disposable income on food and eating, and has two whole shelves devoted to condiment creep! As a shift worker I used to cook large pots of a staple during the week for my Housemate and myself - a stew, a mild curry, a braised meat dish or the like - and found there was a certain element of waste from either tastebud fatigue or spoilage (one's fridge is never quite as good as needed, sometimes). So I'm learning to control that. And Housemate is a bit of a meat-and-potatoes fan, tending to look on legumes/pulses and spicy food with a dubious eye. I'm trying to balance all these factors in keeping costs down, and dealing with wastage. I've tried planting a few vegetables and herbs in the garden, though with rather minimal success - my neighbour wants me to keep growing fennel as it seems to suck all the aphids off his roses! I've also wrangled a part time job, so I'll be working six days a week. Oh boy. I was wondering if any of you out there could suggest some tips to help with making my new financial straits a little more bearable. Everyone, I'm sure, has at one time or another needed to balance a household food budget - any tips or hints or funny stories, perhaps? The Great Internet is full of household economy sites, but very few of them would have any real emphasis on quality and savour of food, unlike here on eGullet. Which is why I've decided to ask here. Even though I have no real idea where to begin (*sheepish grin*). I'd love any and all advice! And I read somewhere that everyone has a line that they aren't willing to cross in the name of scrimping and saving. I for one won't let myself resort to cheap iodised supermarket salt - I will always buy sea salt, given the choice. What's your line?
  15. Ondine

    Cooking for Therapy?

    Amen, amen a thousand times! I too use cooking as therapy. I cook when I am wired and exhausted, and the ritual helps me get my head and heart back in synch. I cook when I am grumpy and irritable, cranky or furious. The control and precision of the process helps quiet my indignation at circumstance. Even when I am choked by the fog of depression I cook, through the heavy heart, to reassure myself that I can give rise to something good. Even if it's small, even if it's simple. I cook because I feel best about myself when I am giving; like every time I cook.
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