My birthday BBQ – 2014

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Now this is a late post. I just got a copy of the photos from my good friend, Iggy, and I thought it would be a good post as reminder on what I did to welcome my last year in the 20’s. The weekend after my birthday, friends came over for a BBQ at our place. Me and Andrew were at Myall Lakes camping on the weekend of my birthday (need to post something about that!). I love having home bbq’s/dinners with friends. It’s more comfortable than eating out, no one has to get crazy making (and changing) reservations, no exact time schedule for people to come and eat. It’s more economical too. People can bring their own drink (that were bought cheaper than when bought in a pub), and everyone can have unlimited food! I can’t really remember most of it now, but thanks to the photos, I kinda had a flashback. So this was the menu. bday_menu

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On Filipinos not going on long holidays

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Have you met a Filipino doing a long holiday? With long, I meant more than 6 months or so.

Probably not.

I am pretty sure there are few Filipinos who had or travelling for this long, but it is not very common.

I was 24 years old when i went to Dublin for a company training. I had a 3 day weekend between the courses and decided to join an organised tour to see other parts of Ireland. It was on the tour when I met this lady and she said she had been travelling for 10 months and will continue to for 2 more months before going back to Australia. My reaction was like a kid given a new toy or a bag of lollies (because I am a fattie, let’s go for the bag of lollies) – “WOOWWW!! That’s amazing! travelling for a year?!? I didn’t know it’s possible!”. And I didn’t stop there- I even asked how could she afford it. I asked about her job, how could she pay for the flights, etc. Hahaha! I was so naive with the whole long travel idea.

Me in Ireland, November 2009

Me in Northern Ireland, November 2009

It’s not just a thing for Filipinos. Why?

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My kitchen rocks!

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The new season of My Kitchen Rules is on. I’ve seen only 2 episodes and I was already itching to cook something good. Not that I stopped cooking, I still make big batches of chicken for our packed lunch and I still cook dinner, but I haven’t made something exciting for a while.

We weren’t really planning on going out for V-day as restaurants will be packed with lovebirds and most places will have Vday set menu so they can charge more. I knew I’ll be cooking something, but why not step another level and make a 3 or 5 course meal – and pretend that I am in MKR! I was initially planning to buy most of the stuff and just plate it up. But I ended up serving a 4 course meal, with amuse bouche. I even made my own chicken pate!

The meal.

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Weekend Camping at Glenworth Valley

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To celebrate the start of spring, we went to Glenworth Valley to camp for a night.

We initially planned to go the weekend after the Hobart trip, but weather sucked that weekend. I was very hopeful that it would just be cloudy, however, it was pissing that Saturday morning. We were already packed and was about to turn left to Parramatta road when Andrew asked me to call Glenworth Valley and ask if I can move my reservation. They were happy to convert my booking as a credit for that instance (by company rule, rebooking should be 48 hours notice). But I wasn’t happy, I even cried. Haha! Nothing makes me more upset than rain ruining my plans. I’ve calmed down after few hours and accepted that it was right not to push through as the ground would be wet from the rain and it’ll be difficult inside the small tent.

And it was indeed a good decision (to postpone) because the weather was more than beautiful the weekend after.

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Spiced Slow Cook Lamb Shoulder with Skordalia

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It’s not often that we have a Friday date night. Andrew’s doing afternoon shift most of the time, which is from 2PM to 10PM, and no way I can wait for 10PM to eat dinner. Doh. When he got an AM shift for a Friday last month, I thought we should have something special for dinner. We still had lamb shoulder in the freezer from our bulk buying at Vic’s Meat Market, and I thought it would be the perfect time to cook it.

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Second Time in Tasmania

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Our first time in Tasmania was Easter 2012, I’ve summarized that trip in this post. Despite getting into an accident on the trip (you can read about it here), we still fell in love with Tasmania and knew that we’ll come back. Probably it’s because of the food, or the people (and the lack of), but mainly for me it’s because of its natural features. The mountains, all the possible trails, the coast and the animals. I’ve always said that I won’t mind moving to Hobart for a year. Yep, just a year. I’ve thought about it and it will be more difficult to get out of Australia if I live in Hobart. But a year will not be bad, and of course, frequent visits.

So last weekend, for our end of winter getaway, we flew to Hobart. We were I was initially thinking to go to Snowy Mountains, but I assessed that it will be more expensive and we’ll just be more tired because of the long land travel. Jetstar always have specials and we got our return flight for $150 per person, flying out Friday night and flying in Monday morning. We’ve visited most of the island from our last trip so we wanted to go to somewhere we haven’t been to, and Bruny Island was the number one candidate.

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Andrew planned our itinerary, can you imagine!? His plan was to fly in Friday night, Saturday morning visit Salamanca, afternoon drive to Bruny Island and stay the night there. Sunday afternoon drive back to Hobart and fly back to Sydnay Monday morning. I can’t believe he can pull off such schedule. Haha!

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What to do with a Pork Fillet

The first pork fillet I had was from Yellow in Potts Point. I went there on a Friday night with Iggy, following the suggestions of his workmates. I was really impressed with the dish because I never had pork like that. I’ve always thought that you have to cook pork thoroughly. You see, I just started to have steaks the proper way when I met Andrew. In the Philippines, we do not have that idea of rare in meats. If it’s a bit hilaw (raw), you have take it back to the kitchen. For Yellow’s pork fillet, it wasn’t raw, but it’s still pinkish and tender and I didn’t have to chew a lot. Also, I was able to appreciate the flavor of the meat more.

When I got the beef brisket from Harris Farm, I had to reach $50 total for my orders so that delivery will be free. I saw the pork fillet and thought, why not. I did the beef brisket on Friday night to Saturday morning, then I worked on the pork Sunday night. Sounds like a whole weekend of cooking, no? Haha.

But this pork fillet is easy peasy and didn’t take long to cook. I wanted to do the flavors from the last pork belly dish I made before, but I didn’t have fennel. So I just used whatever I had that time. I had the idea that it should be brown outside but still reddish and juicy inside. It also has to sit on some veggies so it doesn’t dry up while roasting. I didn’t know what to do exactly, but I just winged it.

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That Beef Brisket

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It was a typical winter day two weeks go when I day dreamed about the beef brisket goodness topped in chinese noodles. Who doesn’t love it? But then you just get 3 small pieces of the beef with your palanggana-sized (basin-sized) bowl of noodles and soup. That part sucks. Of course I wanted more meat so I thought of just making it myself. Thanks to google gods that day, I came across this beef brisket recipe: Easy slow cooker bbq beef brisket.  Yeah, I know, it’s not anywhere near the chinese noodles but I found a gem. The moment I saw the photo in that page, I knew I’ll have it one day. And that day is today was on Satuday (I started on this post on Saturday and because it’s me, it took 3 days for a post to be published).

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