Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Paris in Pictures

We've FINALLY landed in Paris. I cannot express how glad I am to be here - this trip has been A LONG time coming let me tell you.  At one stage last week it was looking like the trip might have to be postponed for family reasons.  There was also some sort of medical drama on the flight over from Singapore and I was SURE they were going to turn the plane around at one stage (they didn't, but the sick passenger and his wife got bumped up to a first class suite so he could lay flat - there's a nifty little scam if you simply MUST travel in a suite but cannot afford it.).

So far we've done quite a bit of wandering, trying to see "all the sites" if that is even possible. EVERYWHERE you look in Paris there is a stunning piece of architecture to admire...the beauty is somewhat overwhelming! If feels like each amazing building "should be" some amazing landmark...but many of them are just apartments or stores, with the occasional old palace that is now a post office or something thrown in for good measure.

I know that Paris has a tonne of "must eat" places but I've not booked into any of them bar Frenchie on our second last night. I wanted to be able to "go with the flow" and just pop into somewhere that looks good as we're out and about wandering, rather than rushing here, there and everywhere to get to the must-dine locations. Maybe that's a mistake, but I'm hoping it's going to make for a relaxing, fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of trip (well, as much as a control freak can fly-by-the-seat of her pants that is).

So, sit back, relax and come and explore Paris with me...


So, that's the sights - but what have we eaten?  We've only had a few meals out so far...sitting at the sidewalk tables of various bistros that have been in the neighbourhoods we're exploring. Great food, but those little sidewalk tables are NOT made for big-boned ladies like moi that's for sure.

I'm VERY excited that I got to try real Onion Paris. It was wonderful, though they could've served me dishwater and I would've thought that was amazing too! So far The Boy's highlight has been a meal of Confit Duck on Rue Cler this afternoon (though he said it wasn't as good as the Confit Duck that Restaurant Atelier in Glebe dishes up, natch).


We've also made great friends with our local boulangerie and supermarket - it's a tasty, but cheap way to have a French(ish) meal without blowing the budget. We've rented an apartment for our week in Paris that has a full sized kitchen so we're enjoying these throw together meals of ours. I've also noticed a few fromageries and charcuteries nearby so I plan to pay them a visit sometime soon...once I get over my nerves at having to do sign language to order cheese in front of a tres chic French person!

Au revoir!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Balcony Garden: Harvest Monday #38

Man oh man, is this basil EVER going to die? Die already, you stinky basil.

The Boy and I recently took a drive to Canberra where we visited Poachers Pantry - a winery, restaurant and smoke house. We came home with some smoked chicken breast and a recipe card for an idea of how to cook it. It was also a chance for me to cook with my favourite olives from Limestone Station (sent to me from Broken Hill by my lovely friend Jane).

As soon as I opened the smoked chicken our rent-a-cat Frankie (who we were cat-sitting for a while) came running and perched himself in prime view of the kitchen..waiting waiting waiting for me to drop some chicken onto the floor.

This recipe called for quite a bit of basil which was great as I have tonnes of the stuff that just will not die. It was also fairly quick and easy to cook. Win:Win.

I don't think this is one of my most successful cooking exploits. The sauce was too...wet, so it ended up eating like a soup rather than a pasta sauce dish. I'm also not sure the flavoured smoked chook worked with this dish.  Oh well, better luck next time,hey?

You can view more Harvest Monday posts on Daphne's Dandelions blog.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Singapore Stopover

The Boy and I are enjoying (or sweating through) a brief, one night stopover in Singapore on our way to Paris. I couldn't face a full 20 hours in a plane seat and knew that we'd NEED a stopover...anywhere that would allow us to lay horizontal to sleep would do.

When our plane landed in Singapore, we literally DUMPED our bags at our hostel, jumped in a cab and headed over to the chaotic, yet tasty Mankansutra Gluttons Bay, an outdoor hawker centre feature all of Singapore's top hits when it come to street eats.

Sadly the stallholder here had stopped serving her kaya toast with the soft boiled dipping egg so I walked away extremely sad faced...until I spotted a Toast Box near the taxi rank on our way home. Yes that is a BIG slab of butter between two slices of white bread - there's some Kaya Jam in there two FYI.

The next day sees us killing time by wading through Singapore's stifling heat and humidity. We'd woken up WAY too early and had WAY too much time to kill before the stalls at Maxwell Food Centre opened for the day. We arrived at this large open-air food centre at about 11.30am and whilst not all the stalls were open, nearly ALL the tables were taken! I dumped The Boy at one of the last free tables and went off in search of lunch...

Tian Tian is a pretty famous food stall here at Maxwell. I think it's always been pretty popular with the locals BUT then Anthony Bourdain got his hands onto the place which means the queues are now quite lengthy with both locals AND tourists who are wanting to see what all the fuss is about.

I joined the queue and about 30 minutes later return to our table with aforementioned chicken rice. The Boy had actually thought something had happened to me as I'd been gone so long. He was wondering if it would be cool just to continue on to Paris on his own (we agreed that it totally would be cool)!

The chicken rice was good, but I liked the version of the dish I'd had the night before at Gluttons Bay -- I thought the rice was a bit more flavoursome, the chicken juicier and I liked that the bird came with minced garlic at Gluttons Bay. The guy taken my order at Tian Tian was very nice though - he gave me extra chicken as a reward for my enthusiasm...and overzealous chattiness when I reached the front of the line *fist pump*.

Whilst we were pretty full we were dying for some roast pork so I found a popular looking stall and bought a double serve of pork, no rice. This set us back SGP $8.00.

Next stop Paris...where I plan to eat my own body weight in CHEESE!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Adventures of Miss Piggy: Balcony Garden: Harvest Monday #35

This is the last of my gifted-to-me-by-a-colleage cos lettuce before I had to uproot and eat it before the monster broccoli took over. It's the most successful lettuce I've ever grown so I think my colleague certainly has a green-thumb.

I spotted this recipe for vegetarian san chow bow on Cats Love Cooking blog. Chanel has recently become a vegetarian, and I'm pinching a lot of recipes from her as tests the waters of vegetarian cooking. This recipe replaces regular mince with "Quorn Mince" - a vegetarian mince made from a fungi protein called mycoprotein. Chanel contacted Quorn and found out that their mince uses free-range eggs whites to bind the mince together. Nice one Quorn.

This san chow bow was really REALLY easy to cook...and if you know anything about my stress levels in the kitchen then you know for me to say that it must be super simple.

And the verdit? Delicious!

Just like the Quorn Cheeseburgers we made recently this mince tasted just like meat to both The Boy + I. I thought if you didn't know this wasn't meat well, you just wouldn't know! I'd like to make this meal again -- perhaps just with rice now that we're fresh out of #balconyGarden lettuce.

 You can view more Harvest Monday posts on Daphne's Dandelions blog.

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