Archive for the ‘food’ Category

As a result of unexpectedly changing our plans on the weekend, the planned homemade pizza dinner on Sunday night didn’t happen. (Homemade bases, yum!). So I decided to use up the bulk of the ingredients in a pasta dish on Monday night.

Except I was tired and a bit dopey yesterday, so I kept forgetting what I wanted to put into the dish and which order to put them in.

It started out as a flavoursome oil-based sauce for some lovely tri-color spiral pasta shapes we had. Onions, pancetta, zucchini (courgette), whole basil leaves, then deglazed the pan with some left over red-wine. I was considering finishing it off with the rocquette that was in the fridge, tossing it all back into the drained pasta pot, adding a slather of good olive, mix it all together, serve.

Then I remembered that I had some creme fraiche to use up, and decided that zucchini needed tomato if I was going to make a creamier sauce. So, in went some tomato paste as well as the creme fraiche. This wasn’t the strong flavour hit I was after, and was more reminiscent of a mild nacho dish than a sauce for pasta. Then I remembered I meant to add some chopped up cherry tomoatoes with the zucchini. So they went in after the creme, as did half a tin of tomatoes to take off the┬ádominant creme fraiche taste .

Then, I remembered the grated mozzarella and the parmesan in the fridge and decided to make it a 2 cheese-cremey-hint of tomato pasta sauce. Which thankfully tasted fine, as it was behaving more like an omlette by the time it had finished cooking. All that cheese.

The boys happily ate it up, I enjoyed it, but I would certainly have never set out to make such a strange hybrid. Oh well, the joy of experimental cooking to use up what’s in the fridge.

Edit: Maybe I should have made this Zucchini Pasta Carbonara instead.

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the coffy man goes for germany
Originally uploaded by deepwarren.

The weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s are my favourite, full of friends, family and rituals. However I have re-discovered the one aspect of this time of year that I dislike: the Christmas New Year’s close-down of all the decent coffee shops. What is with that? The decent coffee shops with the simple vegemite toast that I eat for breakfast while reading a book close and the dodgy, popularist coffee shops that think breakfast for an office worker should be fluffy, calorific and frou frou stay open!

This week I have tried 4 different places around Parramatta for a simple breakfast of two pieces of wholemeal toast with vegemite and a decent (not brilliant, I’m not that fussy) soy milk cappucino, or macchiato. Each time it has been a complete failure.

I tried a coffee lounge in the middle of Wedstfield, they didn’t even list toast with vegemite on the menu. So I ordered sourdough toast with ricotta and marmalade and the coffee. It was alright, but I don’t do sweet foods in the morning, as I can feel quite tired afterwards. Unfortunately I only really remember this after I have eaten said sweet thing. Why, oh why, can they not have a simple breakfast option? (my standard rant about cafes, don’t get me started!) The coffee was alright, nothing to get excited about.

My second coffee of the day is generally a macchiato, which I get from the lovely Noam and Vivione. They have closed for this week, so the task to find a decent replacement was on. Max Brenner is not that decent replacement. Their choclate is fine, their coffee is too bitter for my liking.

Ate at Starbucks (gasp!). You see the depths I am pushed too at this time of year? In fact it is the only time of year that I will patronise the place, and mostly because it is open and they do an alright coffee (better than gloria jean’s coffee, the other option we have). My main gripes were again: no breakfast option that wasn’t incredibly sweet, you have to have a large coffee, there is no small option, and they FORGOT to make my coffee, I had to walk back up and ask. *sigh*.

Today’s macchiato attempt was at pie face, which was decent and came with friendly service, although with less banter than we get from Noam, so that problem was fixed. When asked, they assured me they made toast so I thought my breakfast worries were over.

Fronted up to pie face for breakfast. “We don’t do toast” came the reply. So one croissant and coffee was taken back to the office. The croissant was decent, but not really what I was after. Scratch that for an alternate breakfast option.

Macchiato taken care of.

My first day at this job I arrived in plenty of time for my 9.30 start, knowing that I might have difficulty finding a place to have breakfast and that I had some reviewing of notes to do. The place I found for breakfast didn’t have any vegemite, as they had “run out” so I determined to not go back there again, ever. However, this morning I was desperate and thought I would give them another go.

I ordered wholemeal vegemite toast, and they passed the first test, there was wholemeal bread and vegemite. However, and this is the confusing thing. They took the pieces of wholemeal bread, covered them in some vegemite, no butter, put the two vegemite halves together and placed them into a sandwich press. WTF!!! When I prised the two pieces apart the insides were steaming! I took two bites and sent them back. What returned was actual toast, again with no butter. It was dry and horrible, but at this point in time I needed food.

I can’t wait for all the decent places to be open again next week. All I want is toast and vegemite. (let’s not discuss the fact that I could have bought a loaf of bread and toasted it at work. Half the point is to eat out of the office to relax before starting the day. Oh, and I keep forgetting to buy a loaf of bread)

*the photo has nothing to do with parramatta’s (lack of) coffee, but it is the photo of a previous stop-gap coffee shop I frequented.

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  • When I have brain-dead-itis at 3 o’clock in the afternoon I can walk out of my office with some small change and purchase a hot BBQ Pork bun, or small pie, or a good hot chocolate.
  • Good, healthy food for lunch is easy to find and cheap
  • My favourite noodle shops have sister shops here so Pho and summer rolls are a regular delight.
  • My baristas are friendly and helpful, so I am now regularly drinking macchiatos and loving it.
  • People are generally relaxed, friendly and having a good time
  • Trains are frequent
  • I can spend my lunchtimes shopping if I want. Or at least browsing in book stores

hmmm, it’s mostly about the food.

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