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Sunday, September 27, 2009

An empty kitchen

I've an empty kitchen.

This week Lucy and Pip moved into a home of their very own, and as Lucy owned just about every possession in our entire house, I have been scurrying about from garage sale to garage sale trying to replace every kitchen implement you could possibly think of, all on a very meager budget.

I should really get some living room furniture, but I am more concerned about not having a proper chopping board than about not having a couch. Or a TV. Anyway.

Luckily for me, Ing's mother has scoured every second hand shop in Tasmania, so we now have a little table and two chairs, forks and spoons (no knives, rather oddly) lots of mismatched plates (the best kind), a few decent pots and pans, a kettle, a toaster that only toasts one side of the bread at a time and a very random selection of utensils.

Oh, and the fire extinguisher, but I've had that for years. Haven't needed to use it yet... but it's only a matter of time. And my baby mortar and pestle. That's it folks. That's all I've got.

In trying to sort out my priorities I have put together this list of kitchen must-haves, in no particular order. Feel free to add suggestions on the comments page.
  1. a microwave
  2. block of good quality knives
  3. chopsticks
  4. bamboo steamer
  5. stock pot
  6. Microplane
  7. colander
  8. chopping board, various sizes
  9. can opener
  10. non-stick wok, preferably very expensive one on sale that I can afford
  11. barmix
  12. food processor
  13. little chefinox non-stick pan (for scrambled eggs)
  14. bendy spatula (also for scrambled eggs)
  15. metal mixing bowls, various sizes
Additions to list from comments:

Steven Estcourt:

Pyrex measuring jug
rolling pin

You're totally right Steven, I cannot live without a Pyrex measuring jug! I don't know about the whisk. I seem to be able to make things lump free without one, I have no idea how!


chefs knife
paring knife

Can I afford a Global knife? That is the question. Possibly worth sacrifice of living off 2 minute noodles for a month or two for a life time of quality kitchen supplies.

Steve Cumper:

oven proof pot
kick arse veggie peeler
steamer dish

I did manage to find a couple of great heavy bottomed frying pans, non-stick, moderate brand
and perfect condition at garage sale for $2 each last weekend. Score.

And thanks to Hazel, I now really want a rice cooker!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making something from nothing - Penang curry

I would like to think that I was some kind of Martha Stewart type who comes home from work every day to a pre-planned menu and a fridge full of fresh ingredients with the time and energy to make everything from scratch. But that's just not me.

A quick scout of fridge unearthed: one porterhouse steak, half a zucchini, half an eggplant, one tomato and about 100 grams of baby spinach. In the back of the fridge was a jar of Penang curry paste, and in the cupboard, one tiny can of coconut milk.

Oh yes, what's that you say? How could I ever dream of using curry paste from a JAR? Yeah well, get over it. I am tired, I am busy. And curry paste from a jar is no where near as bad as take-away. And besides, worse food stuffs come in jars. Pesto from a jar? Eww.

And have you ever tried to make your own curry paste? It's rewarding, but it takes absolutely forever. I just don't have the upper body strength today. I promised myself ages ago that I would make big batches of curry paste and freeze it, I just haven't quite got that far yet. Next weekend for sure.

I really like Penang curry. It is like red curry, just with peanuts in it (sorry, that really is over simplifying). Penang curry likes shallots, limes, fresh and dried chillies, garlic and coriander. Luckily I have these ingredients in the house at almost all times, just in case of Asian food emergency. Add extra fish sauce, and presto, quick semi-authentic (kind of) Thai dinner. Pre-packaged curry pastes only need a little extra love.

And lay-off alright. It's tasty, it has vegetables, and it's not Lean Cuisine (shudder). Although I did stuff around taking the photograph for so long it was kind of cold by the time I ate it. Oh well. And I forgot to put the spinach in. I must be tired.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hobart Noodle & Tea

Thank you, Hobart Noodle and Tea, for being less than 100 meters from my house.

Lucy summed it up pretty well. "How could you say no?" she said, "It's just at the end of the street, and it's only eight dollars!"

I think my household are the most frequent Hobart Noodle and Tea customers.

Eat in or take-away, get yourself a bowl of steaming hot noodles, made on site daily. All vegetarian, all around the $8.50 mark.

Choose your noodle, green tea, hokkien, udon, among others, with great sauces or soups accompany.

This is a very family business, with the owner's gorgeous little children popping their heads around to see what is going on at regular intervals, and a clear view from the counter to the living room.

My recommendations are: green curry noodle soup, seven chilli noodle and satay noodle. Actually, I recommend anything on the menu. I have been slowly working my way down the list, and I haven't been disappointed yet. All for piggy bank change. Bargain.

Hobart Noodle and Tea
Corner of Smith and Letitia Streets, North Hobart
Open Monday to Friday, 12:30 - 2:30 and 5:30-8:30