Stir fried bean sprouts with salted fish

Ever since we went to our friend’s place for dinner I had been obsessing about stir fried bean sprouts with salted fish. It’s a simple dish and very cheap but sooo delicious. I think the salted fish is what makes me salivate everytime I think about it or smell it.

We were in Chinatown the other day so I decided to make some of this beautiful stuff. I made a massive batch (900g of bean sprouts) because we tend to cook once a week and just eat it for the rest of the week. Also because I was planning of consuming 10 years worth in a sitting that night; which I did since I haven’t had very much in the past 10 years of my life  😛

Ingredients:Taugeh

  • Bean sprouts – 900g  (~AUD$1.80)
  • Salted fish (the vacuum packed ‘wet’ type) – 1/3rd of the packet (~AUD$1.50)
  • Garlic – couple of cloves (~AUD$0.50)
  • Chilli – to your liking (~AUD0.50)
  • Fish Sauce – to taste; depends on how much fish you put in

  1. Heat oil in the wok and fry the salted fish until almost brown and crisp
  2. Chuck in the chopped garlic and chillies. Stir for a bit (don’t allow the garlic to cook too much as burnt garlic is really bitter)
  3. Chuck in the washed bean sprouts and cook until it is wilted. I like mine with a crunch still to it so I don’t cook it very much. You can sort of tell because the bean sprouts go a bit translucent

In the wok

How easy is that! Takes like 10 mins, cost like AUD$4.30 for the whole batch, and fed us for a week with the chicken casserole we made in the slow cooker. And rice of course.

Be forewarned though – frying the salted fish really stinks! Owl almost died, not being from the same kind of background as me.

Our cat, the Empress Dowager, loved it though hehe.

Ford Fiesta Moonlight Cinema, Sydney

Every year Ant and I try to make the most of the Ford Fiesta Moonlight Cinema in Sydney’s Centennial Parklands which run from December to March. This year we went to watch the Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole on the 18th of January. The weather was great, no rain, but instead warm and lovely clear skies. Being the school holidays we were expecting a reasonable sized crowd for the movie, but it was actually ended up being relatively empty. We arrived pretty early because we went straight from work and had to wait around for a while, which was not too bad since you can go for a stroll or have a nap in the parklands. We decided to queue around 6pm and were second in line, but the crowd didn’t really start to build until around 6:30pm (30mins before gates were open). The time actually goes by quite quickly once you get in, because you’re so busy setting up and having something to eat that an hour flies by and the movie is almost ready to start at 8:30pm.

Seating at the venue
Note the bean bag seats

One thing I really enjoy about going to the Moonlight Cinema is that the atmosphere because it is so relaxed. You are as comfortable as you want to be since you bring whatever you want to sit/lie on, just be prepared for adverse weather which may destroy things and the chatter of fruit bats. I remember one year a friend dragged along two big bean bags and we just lounged in comfort (carrying them back soggy though was another matter). This year we brought our picnic rug and a large pillow. It’s such a nice feeling being able to sit back, eat and enjoy the movie. We made Vietnamese rolls to take, but I took the wrong box so we had fewer than we hoped – it ended up being a good thing though, as we also had less to carry back and just enough to eat. This was the first movie we watched here in 3D. They supply you glasses for an extra dollar when booking the tickets, or if you have your own you can bring them. The screen looked a little small but worked well with the glasses and the 3D experience ended up being really good, particularly since the whole movie was in 3D. It was a great movie and all up another really enjoyable night out.

Once the lights go out
Screen size of the 3D movies

The tickets were $22 for the 3D movies, but regular movies are usually around $18. They have a great run of the latest movies, as well as, classics and there is usually something for everyone. If you go for the more popular movies it definitely pays to get there early and line up before the gates open to get good seats since it is “first come first seated”. If waiting is not your thing, they have a special gold class area, which give you a premium view as well as included beanbag seats for a premium price. Patrons of general admission can rent bean bag recliners from the venue at $7 with a $10 deposit (cash only), but there is limited supply so you need to be quick! They also have a bar and food on site for sale, but this closes once the movie starts. Good toilet facilities are also on site and the venue can cater for mobility impaired patrons.

My tips

A few things to note:

  • Bring jackets (if they are waterproof even better)! Even though it was the middle of summer, the weather got quite cold and rather quickly once the sun set;
  • Bring a picnic rug or something comfortable to sit on because you’ll be sitting for around 2 hours minimum;
  • Pack food, but not too much – you don’t want to have to lug everything back and forth if you don’t finish it;
  • Parking only opens after 6pm in the park;
  • There is on street parking which is plentiful;
  • Come early, the best spots get taken fast – but also sometimes it pays to be able to see where you’re setting up your party. (We saw some people who came 10 mins after the movie had started and it was dark and they sat on some unsavoury dog business.);
  • Bring mosquito repellent, because the bugs come out and in force; and
  • Carry only what you really need, it’s just not worth the hassle of carrying stuff unnecessarily!

Hope those tips help someone else!

They also run this in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. There is a movie club, which saves lots of money if you really enjoy the Moonlight Cinema and want to go to several events and lots of competitions to win free tickets made available by their website!

Moonlight Cinema

/~OwL~\

Avermedia AVerTV Duo Hybrid PCI-E II Dual Hybrid TV TUNER – Review

I bought one of these tuners recently for my computer since I currently don’t have a way to record shows on television. I figured putting one into the computer made the most sense since I have plenty of storage space and a spare monitor, I hooked up a secondary screen on my computer so I can play/browse and watch TV while I do these things (it’s in between Ant’s computer too, so we both benefit). Probably one of the better investments I have made recently. It’s an easy to install card which is then connected to your TV outlet, I had to buy an aerial socket splitter ($3 – $10) and drag my cable from across the other side of the room but it was worth it to be able to get clear television on both the computer and stand alone TV in the lounge room.

Tv tuner card with remote

The card itself is fairly straight forward to install and the Avermedia website is easy to navigate and has fixes and patches for download. The tuner is Windows 7 compatible and has its own software that runs on top of other programs (unlike windows media player). I bought my card from Sky Comp Sydney for a great price of $103, which was one of the cheapest prices I could find. I haven’t tried all the features, but do like that you can watch and record being a dual tuner, as well as, record two shows at once. It also is a 3D compatible card, which allows for future 3D integration. Also nice is the remote control that comes in the box, it takes two AAA batteries and is sturdy, easy to use and not too big.

The quality of the television reception is excellent when plugged into the wall antenna (but will only be as good as your antenna), our apartment gets good reception so it’s as clear as the programs are originally filmed. Recorded material can be saved into allocated folders and the files can be saved in different MPEG formats. The remote can also be used to turn on the PC if you’re computer is near your bed or couch so you can treat it just like a real television.

So far I’ve been able to watch and record, as well as, record two channels at once without any problems. The scheduled recorder has so far been reliable and while it could be easier to use, is fairly practical and easy to set up. The time shifting is also quite handy. You can set up schedule recordings that have a number of options at the end of the recording ie, powering down the computer, hibernating or opening the program to playback. Overall, this definitely beats the Leadtek Dongle Gold I bought which was difficult to install and never picked up any channels. I’m glad I decided to go with the PCI card instead of another dongle as once set up it means a better chance of reliability, I’m pretty happy with it so far and I have my fingers crossed it will stay that way!

In summary

Installation – 3.5/5

Quality – 4/5

Ease of use – 4/5

Software – 4/5

Avermedia AVerTV Duo Hybrid PCI-E II Dual Hybrid TV Tuner Specifications

Avermedia Website

Avermedia card at Sky Comp

What’s It All About?

Michale Caine - What's It All About?

This is the autobiography of the actor behind the famous face of the original Alfie. Actually, he’s done more than his fair share of movies, shows and plays. IMDB lists it all and so far it comes up to 361! Not bad for someone whose career only took off at the age of 33.

His autobiography was, in his words, “To set the record straight on my own record player for a change”; and he certainly has. He spins many entertaining stories of his life and is fascinating to the point of incredulous. Quirky stories with well timed punch lines are his thing such as the reason he hates the smell of garlic, why John Lennon called himself Joe Lemon, and which animal apparently portrays Marilyn Monroe.

As this is a book in his defence, I suppose it’s not altogether surprising when he paints himself in the best way possible but this is not to say that he doesn’t find the time to poke fun at himself. There are many stories which will tickle you pink at his expense, as well as other famous people. Then again, he reveals some very deep and personal things about himself and his family which makes the book more than just a stand-up piece.

Caine is, in fact, a terrific writer. He has flow, wit, legibility and the ability to end a story when it needs ending. His book holds many gems from acting tips to what goes on behind the scenes during shooting to how agencies work in Hollywood. Moreover, you also learn about the origin of names, eras, cultural references and a chance to see a more personal side of many famous people such as Woody Allen, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Margaret Thatcher and even the Queen of England! Our beloved Sydney Harbour Bridge also manages a cameo, alluding to just how many countries he references.

‘What’s It All About’ is definitely worth a read, especially if you’re an aspiring actor. Caine will charm and inspire you whilst keeping you guffawing at his antics until you cannot but walk away with admiration for this determined man’s gumption and devotion to all the things that he holds dear.

Readability: 5/5

Keepability: 4/5

p.s. incidently, Caine has released in Sept 2010 a memoir titled, “The Elephant to Hollywood”.

Online comics

I just wanted to put up a quick post about a couple of online comics I enjoy reading.

Dark Legacy is WoW-based and I guess some of the jokes would only be funny if you played it. It’s pretty funny when it’s funny though because it tends to poke fun at some of the quirks that go on in the game.

Looking For Group is kind of a mash-up of many different rpgs but seems to be predominantly WoW-esque. It’s a running story line so the link I have is for the first page. There are 427 pages to date – I find the best thing to do is bookmark your last page read. This is also pretty funny due to my favourite character Richard. He is win.

Any comics that you guys recommend so I can bludge at work?  😛

 

– ant –

Sky Comp Technology – Review

I’ve been looking for a computer parts company that could be trusted, was easy to deal with, and had a good range and great prices. I found these guys based on Castlereagh St in Sydney. Easy to deal with, they have excellent customer service – we all know of the cheaper places that have absolutely no customer service or abusive customer service…but not these guys! They are prompt with orders, I put through an online order and requested someone call me for my credit card details and I received a phone call 10 mins later on my mobile. All up the transaction took me 4 days to complete, with the longest time being when I could get in to collect the items even though the RAM was on backorder. They do have delivery, but I was going to be in the area so I decided to collect. Their prices are very competitive and you get emails keeping you in the loop regarding every step of your order. So far I have bought a CPU chip, TV tuner card and RAM off them and I’ve had a smooth transaction with no hassles. Very professional and highly recommended. They take credit card (there is a surcharge) and their website is well designed and easy to navigate. Very pleased with this find and looking forward to ordering from them again in the future.


Sky Comp Technology website

 

/~OwL~\

Unlocking the Orgrimmar Jewelcrafting Daily

In order to start doing the Org JC dailies, you have to first reach a skill level of 475; 25 above where you would have left off pre-Cata. This is a quick guide to get from lvl 450 to lvl 475.

First off, cut a couple of the pre-Cata epics (i.e. Cardinal Ruby, Dreadstone, Ametrine, King’s Amber, Majestic Zircon, Eye of Zul) since they still give you a skill up and are relatively cheap to purchase with Honor Points. This should turn green after about 4-5 cuts.

You now need to obtain level 81 gems either by mining or by the Auction House (AH). They are the Alicite, Amberjewel, Carnelian, Hessonite, Nightstone and Zephyrite (picture below is in order – I had to get rid of the caption because it looked crazy). You should have learnt the cuts from the JC trainer ‘Lugrah’ inside the hut at the Valley of Honor (co-ord: 72,34).

When the cuts go green (about 467) start to make Hessonite Bands (2 Hessonite + 1 Jeweler’s Setting). The Jeweler’s Settings are sold by Gorina, the NPC standing next to the JC trainer. This might go green before 475 so make a couple of Nightstone Chokers (2 Nightones + 1 Jeweler’s Setting).

Once you hit 475, the Org JC Daily should be available from Marith Lazuria (71,35) outside said hut in the Valley of Honor. You can read about the dailies in my previous post.

If you are not a Miner, remember to be smart and just make whatever is cheapest that will level you. I find that the price of gems fluctuate day by day and are usually cheaper at night because everyone is trying to undercut each other. Keep an eye on the prices and pretty soon you will get a feel of what the average price should be. A good add-on to help you keep track of this is Auctioneer.

Don’t worry too much about the price of levelling. Once you start doing your dailies you can recuperate your cost by selling Chimera’s Eyes. I did this in 3 days with a little extra to buy me my dailies gems.

Good luck 😉

New World Chinese Restaurant – Pyrmont

A few colleagues and I decided to go to New World Chinese Restaurant in Pyrmont for lunch, having seen the sign advertising $7.80 lunch specials we thought this would be a nice cheap lunch on a Friday afternoon. Previously this restaurant had been operating under the name Big Red Lantern but had recently changed its name in the last few months. We had come once before under its old name and recognised the cook so assumed it was just a name change and not an ownership change.

After arriving we walked to a table ourselves as there was no waitperson to greet us, we sat and after some time were attended to even though the restaurant was not very busy. We waited for some menus to appear and though the waiter came over after a few minutes and asked us what we wanted to drink, we were still left waiting for menus. For drinks we ordered a pot of tea for the table, one coke and water for all. When the drinks arrived we again had to prompt for menus before any appeared.

They had a good variety of dishes listed on their specials menu (around 20 or so), but it was hard to decipher some of the ambiguous names and what they entailed. Many of the staples of a Chinese restaurant were listed in some variation or another. I ended up trying the Combination Crispy Noodle, which I thought might be a variation of the Combination Chow Mein. Food arrived around 10 minutes after ordering and relatively simultaneously for the table, presentation was nothing special and you were definitely given what you paid for. The portions were a good size and half of us finished our meals, whilst the rest could only manage at best 3/4. The combination noodles included chicken, beef, bok choy and two prawns. Some of the dishes were a little more abstract and not what we had expected even after asking what the dish involved.

Front cover of New World Chinese Restaurant menu

Expecting no more than $7.80, which was the cost of the specials we were quite shocked to find they were charging us per person for tea. Generally, you hope for free tea, but do expect to pay for the pot or occasionally per head. However, we were charged an extra $2 per person for the tea and most people had only had one cup and they never refilled the pot. This might have been okay IF the waiter had stipulated the cost when we ordered, but there was no signage or notification of the tea costs and certainly none that specified $2 per person – all up we paid in excess of $10 for one pot of tea. Up until this point I was willing to neglect the aspects I found disconcerting – such as the customers smoking in the venue, which we’re assumed was illegal due to the courtyard being enclosed, but that extra for the tea was too much. Some of the others tried to dispute this cost, but the waiter casually said this is how it is done everywhere. I know that not to be true. That and the fact that he was so sly about the tea in the first place did not go down well. The other disappointing factor was that we had left the teapot lid flipped to indicate we had run out of hot water and he never came to refill or check during the meal, so one pinch of tea leaves and boiling water ended up being $12, which was the cost of at least one whole meal.

Overall, I have to say I was willing to give this restaurant a second go after having a bad experience the first time I had visited – where the cashier would not give me the receipt, but this second dismal experience has meant that I cannot recommend the place to others. It’s a shame as I was looking forward to having a nice Chinese restaurant in the area. Chinese food is a relatively untapped cuisine on the Pyrmont side, although I know it’s not that far from Chinatown and Haymarket.

In summary

Food – 2/5
Ambience – 3/5
Customer service – 1/5
Price – 2/5 (food was okay, but the cost of tea was not)

/~OwL~\

NewWorld Chinese Restaurant
(02) 9692 9888
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Corner of Harwood Street

Endless Summer

The much-awaited Cornetto ad is out! Actually I’m a little slow on the uptake and stumbled across it by accident (haha). I haven’t caught it on tv yet but this ad has made ripples in the Australian blogosphere because some of our very famous bloggers are the special guests in this ad!
 
To be honest, I was excited because I wanted to see what Lorraine Elliot from Not Quite Nigella looked like. She has always been elusive in her blog except for the occasional reflection off a teapot or thermos. Check it out!
 

 
There are 5 fashion bloggers, 1 Food/Lifestyle and 1 isn’t a blogger per se. They are the band who wrote the song featured on the ad. They sound so good – that song is crazy catchy!
 
Join the conga-line at the Cornetto website for a chance at winning some great prizes and to read more about the aforementioned bloggers. You can enter once a day.
 

– ant –

Brisbane Floods

I was glad to hear the floods did not reach their predicted peak this morning. Today was suppose to be their worst day. Let’s hope for a smooth day. Prayers and thoughts to those stuck in this flooding especially in Brisbane and Northern NSW. If you want to contribute to the flood victims in Qld check out the links below.

If you want to contribute via direct deposit check out the details here (Qld State government website):

http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

If you need information on what to do in the floods, see below:

http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/

If you need assistance yourself having been displaced in the floods visit the Redcross:

http://www.redcross.org.au/QLD/services_disresp_nqfloods2009.htm

Lots of abandoned or lost animals also require assistance, so if you’re heart is for animals you can help out the RSPCA. Visit the link below:

https://donate.rspcaqld.org.au/flood