Tuesday, April 21, 2009


No photos this time (to be honest, after making them i gorged on the and my flatmates helped out, so no time to take pics...).

300 ml warm water
1/4 teaspoon salt (i added more, but i love salt. my doctors don't like this fact).
225g masa harina flour
100g manchego (can use generic cheese if you prefer).
oil for frying.

these are incredibly simple to make, even for a slacker like me.

mix salt and flour together. slowly add water, kneading with hands until you get a thick dough. you have to get a bit dirty. then add the cheese. heat the oil, and pan fry for a few (3 or so) minutes each side. (and don't set off fire alarm like i did)

and that's it!

i served mine with some fresh cherry tomatoes from my mother's garden that were a great addition. another alternative is to make a hole in the middle and crack an egg into it. if you choose to do this, cook them for 2 minutes each side to have a crust form, and then make the hole before putting in the egg, and then put them back in the pan for 2 minutes each side.

if anybody has any other suggestions i'd love to hear them. turns out i've rekindled my love affair with masa harina all over again!

Monday, April 6, 2009

exercise of the week

ok, this is something nice to try. it's fun, and feels good. it's the zottman curl.

1. Standing up, grab some dumbbells with a palms-up grip.

2. Keeping your elbows pinned to your sides, simultaneously curl both dumbbells.

3. Once you reach the top, pause and squeeze your biceps hard, then rotate the weights until your palms are facing down.

4. Slowly lower the dumbbells toward your thighs, stopping short of lockout.

5. Pause, then turn your palms back to the starting position. repeat.

The Zottman curl was devised by strongman George Zottman in the 1880s but has yet to receive its due acclaim for its ability to build bigger biceps and forearms. By calling into play the brachioradialis--the prominent muscle on the thumb side of your forearm--the Zottman curl helps to add balance between upper and lower arm mass and should be part of any complete arm program. If this move is new to you, you'll find it a welcome change of pace for your biceps that could kick-start new growth.

And no, the pictures are NOT of me in case you hadn't figured it out.

Next week i'll post my workout for discussions.

i'm baaa-aaack

ok, i'm back. finally.

let's just say that i have had a lot on my plate, but i'm now single.

so now i'll be back to blogging and posting information. this won't just be about eating out all the time anymore. i'm saving for a house and a car and lots of other things, as (sadly), i've taken the plunge and decided to grow up. no more hoodies, singlets in public, excessive drinking.

ok, maybe not the excessive drinking.

but i will be focusing on life, and enjoying it. i'm still staying true to my roots, but i stopped blogging because it had become a chore, and that's no fun. i'd had my fair share of run ins with over-zealous restaurant owners that took offence to me taking photos.

in the next couple of days there will be a brief synopsis of restaurants and bars i've been to and recommend, and those i would never go to again.

but for now, let's focus on the here, the now.

either way, i'm back now, for better or worse.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I've had a hankering for ribs (i'm not sure if hankering is actually a word, but i like it), but haven't found any in melbourne.
does anyone know of a good restaurant for ribs? it seems that they are everywhere in sydney (last time i was in sydney i saw them available at each mealtime, each time in different restaurants).

in the end, i gave up and started thinking of making some for myself. the significant other is holed up with her CPA exam, so i figured i'd make some ribs for her.

this is a mash-up of two recipes, because i loved the marinade from one recipe, but i liked the idea of braising the ribs first.

update: these ended up great! i'd add a little bit more chilli, but watch out for the slices of bird's eye - they still have a bit of kick to them.

james' ribs

serves 2 very hungry people (more if you want to include salad, but these are ribs, damnit!)

1 ½ kg American-style pork spare ribs

2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon brown vinegar
1 small fresh red chilli, chopped
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sweet sherry
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed

24 hours before cooking: Place the ribs in a large pot of cold water and bring to the boil, once boiling skim the water and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 45mins. Mix the all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Remove the ribs and rinse under cold water, pat dry and add them to the marinade making sure they’re well coated. Refrigerate at least overnight/24hrs.

Remove the ribs from the fridge and cook them on a hot BBQ or grill turning frequently until the outside is caramelized, (approx 15-20mins). Otherwise, can roast in oven to cook. Bring remaining marinade to boil; pour over ribs.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

waiters - the good, the bad, and the outright psychotic

I have been feeling a certain level of paranoia lately. I think that waiters are out to get me. Or at least, treat me badly. There were the few occasional experiences that left me annoyed, but for the most part oblivious. nobu, for example, where i had to ask 3 waiters (and wait 15 minutes) for a glass of water. but for the most part, i was oblivious.

Until this month, that is. It just seems like the world is against me. I have had some shining lights, but overall service has been dismal. Is it just me? i tip, i am friendly, i don't think i ask too much as a customer, and yet, i get shafted. and shafted. and shafted yet again.

i've had english backpackers serving me, taking my order, and then not passing the order on to anyone else. when i ask what is happening with the meal, they deny talking to me, or taking my order, telling me i was mistaken. then for the rest of the meal, it is an uphill battle. i have to ask them to clear my empty coffee cup. i have to get my own cutlery. napkins? forget it! i can look at the person and ask for something and they would walk past, as if somehow, i had wronged them. i would have gotten up and left, except that the owner is a very nice guy, and i felt sorry for him. he gave me a free coffee for the confusion, but then when i went to pay the bill, there was no free coffee (it was the english girl taking the money). even after he told her it was free, she asked him why it should be free.

that is just one incident. i'm going to intersperse bad with good, because although there are a LOT of bad experiences lately, i'll stick to a couple, as although venting is good, there is only a certain limit anyone can endure.

At movida, i had a very good waitress called natasha. to start with, there was a line of people in front of us blocking the door, that claimed that they had reservations. i waited for a few minutes, then decided to check, to find out that no, they did NOT have reservations and that our table was waiting for us. she was very nice. always filling our water, making good recommendations, warning us not to order too much, being helpful about the meals and which ones worked with others. she had good feel. and that's what is important in my mind. overall, it was a very pleasant experience, which is good. it was for my girlfriend's birthday.

we went to gills diner after hearing so many good things about it. it was not particularly busy (a good thing, as we had a fashion show to attend to). we ordered wine, looked at a menu, and after deciding what we wanted, we waited to be served. and waited. and waited. 20 minutes of us sitting there, having long ago finished our wine. i tried to get eye contact, but it seemed no one wanted to look. finally, i raised my hand. a waiter came over, and asked me why i was in such a hurry? i explained that no, i was not in a hurry, but i didn't want to wait any longer. my tone was apologetic, feeling bad for the dirty gesture of raising my hand (i never know the correct etiquette). his not so apologetic, as he apologised, saying "well, i am sorry that we are not fast enough for you and don't meet your lofty expectations" dd i do something to wrong him? probably, by the way he acted. i asked him to explain the terrine to us (my girlfriend did not know what it was, i only knew enough to understand it, but not explain it). first time, he tells us that it's got pork and chicken in it. that's it. i ask again, this time to explain what a terrine IS. "OH, he says, i didn't know you had no idea" was the terse reply. finally he explains it, but no better than i could have, which disappoints me. we order the meals, and from then on try to find a different waiter. we find a very nice, laidback woman who is immensely helpful. at the end, the girl had left, and i again raised my hand after giving up trying to get people's attention. same guy. "why are you raising your hand at me? are you in a hurry?". 'nough said.

last experience: red spice road. my girlfriend's birthday party. we had an amazing waiter, possible the best i have ever had serve us. the service is amazing, flawless. never saw him unless you wanted to speak to him, and he was extremely polite. my wine glass was always full; the only indication was movement out of the corner of my eye that someone was there. i complimented him, as i was extremely impressed, and he was grateful someone noticed. i will be back there again.

so overall what is it? do i expect too much, or am i too rude? i go for eye contact, and if that does not work after 3 tries, i WILL raise my hand. i know that this is oafish, but if i have to wait 15 minutes to get the attention of a waiter i feel disappointed, and worse still, feel that i am being ignored. maybe i am rude, ignorant, and not deserving of their attention. but i just don't get it. what are everyone else's experiences of this? please, admonish me for doing things wrong, i really want to know how to act correctly when it comes to getting waiters attention. because it just doesn't seem right anymore.

Aix Creperie

Aix Creperie
24 Centre Place
(03) 9662 2667.

This is one one my secret finds. It's on centre place, which in my mind is a continuation of degreaves street, but i personally think this part is better. so if i ever say degreaves street, i actually mean this little part. there is a soup nazi, bars upstairs, and crepes. life is good.

The Significant other ordered this - a soy mocha latte. it looked quite nice, but i can't get used to the taste of soy, so i guess her drink is safe for now. just the same way that friends order gin and tonics when they know i am drunk enough to be a drinksthief, as i don't like the taste. i lovingly call this my "drunkasaurus" stage, which, like the dinosaurs is gradually becoming extinct. However, soy milk is amazing. it's one of those things that transports me back to a different place and time. whenever i have warm soy milk, i always think of the little hole in the wall in shanghai where i would get my daily fix of fresh soy milk and onion pancake. australian soy milk tastes nothing like it though.

peking duck crepe. yes, this is not traditional. and not normally my sort of crepe, but it was very good. the duck meat was tender, juicy, and not too fatty. the skin was not crispy though, which is a shame, but otherwise very good.

YUM! now THIS is my sort of thing. banana, ricotta, and honey. the honey is orange blossum, so is sweet and fragrant and not too heavy.

both of these crepes are $7 (ish) and are quite nice. however, there was a bad side to it, but i'll discuss it in my next post. it just seems that i am having terrible luck with my waiters/waitresses/waitpeoples.

oh, and the owner is a really cool, laidback guy. overall, i like this cafe, and will continue to come here for as long as they have good crepes. oh, and my personal favorite: white chocolate, coconuat and fresh raspberries. (drool).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

my life as such

currently, i haven't been eating out as much - i'm currently focusing on being good and trying to put on a couple kilo's of muscle, and as such extravagant food is replaced by bland, boring food and shakes.

i've been taking a whey protein matrix which is comprised of WPI and WPC, and also has BCAA's , and mixing it with cellmass for some creatine as well. it's a lean mix with not a lot of carbs, but it's helping me for now and is kinda tasty too. i finally worked out why i never get a hankering for chocolate - it's because my powders are always chocolate flavour (with the exception of choc mint, which was possibly the best flavour i have had, but not the best protein). overall i am slowly rebuilding muscle as i take the gym a bit more seriously, however i am at the point where i need to consider a personal trainer to push me a bit more. if you don't understand the acronyms, don't worry - they are not that important and only reference points. i'm trying a few other things as well, but generally they sound scary, and so i won't be discussing them in this forum!

i'm trying to juggle this new-found enthusiasm for the gym with squash as well, which is ok, but taking up a heap of my energy during the week. i had to get my racket restrung due to too many bad plays, and got another grip put onto it as well.

i'm still frequenting "the rasoi", the indian restaurant i reviewed a couple of weeks ago, if only because it is so cheap. i've avoided indian for for 95% of my life; i am simply making up for the deficiency!

i've updated my blog roll as well, so have a look - this will be updated with a few more that i frequent as time goes on, simply because i have a lot of blogs i look at, and i don't have the time to add them all at the same time.

i guess that's it. i'll be at the melbourne show on sunday, so if anybody has suggestions for show bags, let me know. likewise if you are too lazy to go/pay the $27, i can grab them for you if it's convenient for everyone involved.

and yes, i know it's boring to read this sort of post, but i figured i'd give you all a bit more info about myself.