Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chinese Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken
Originally uploaded by chazzvid
There is a Chinese restaurant here in Adelaide that makes the best fried chicken. It's served in this broth which, as far as I can tell, is made up of Chinese rice wine and soy sauce as the main ingredients. The fried chicken is cut up and the broth is poured over it. I've never tried to make it myself until now.

I was only going to make fried chicken for dinner. What I usually do is boil the chicken for a bit in a mixture of water, garlic and soy sauce then dry the chicken and quickly fry it to crisp it up ( Thanks to Thess for this tip! ). This time, instead of pouring the resulting broth away, I took a taste and noticed it was almost close to the broth that the restaurant serves it's chicken with. I experimented with the broth a bit and came up with something similar.

I ended up frying some garlic, adding Chinese cooking wine and the broth together and boiled for a bit. I think it worked too because the wife took a taste and declared it exactly like what we would have had in the restaurant ( even better! ). At any rate, it was my first attempt and I think I can improve it with a few more ingredients.

Unfortunately, the kids had a taste of the broth and both didn't seem to care for it. So, they just had the fried chicken sans broth which they both finished anyway.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Indian Night Out

Ever since the wife and I went to an Indian restaurant, we've talked about bringing the kids to one. They are quite adventurous when it comes to food, especially the little girl. We've tried lots of different cuisines before like Vietnamese, Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Japanese but this was the first time we took them to an Indian restaurant. We like exposing the kids to different kinds of food. We sort of discourage them from refusing food the first time without even tasting it just so they can appreciate new things.

We were already out and about the other afternoon because of a birthday party the boy was invited to so we decided to make an evening of it as well. After the party, we found Charminar, the closest Indian restaurant. It was lucky we came early and found a table because soon the restaurant began filling up. The restaurant itself was small but well presented. The girl noticed that there were candles used all around and she remarked that it most energy saving restaurant she's been too.

We started with some appetizers of a selection of tandoori meats and samosas. Then we had the mains of butter chicken, beef malabar with jasmine rice and naan bread. The girl like the mild curry of the butter chicken. Unfortunately, the boy thought it was too spicy and he ended up eating only the naan bread and rice. It was a good meal and I especially liked the beef curry with the tender pieces of wagyu beef which just melts in the mouth. With it's mixture of spices, I don't think it's something I can replicate at home at all.

The kids were well behaved and we kept reminding them that it was a "posh" restaurant so they were at their absolute best. As the night wore on, they understandably got a bit restless but good thing we had some activity books that they got into while waiting in between dishes.

All in all, a good evening, despite the girl having a little too much spice too soon. She sort of complained about her tummy when we were finishing up the meal but we needn't have worried. In the end she still said she really liked the food!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kitchen Renovation

It all started when our oven broke. It gave up the ghost midway through winter when we really needed it most. Then again, the oven, the cooktop and the whole kitchen was probably more than 10 years old so we shouldn't have been suprised. After a lot of thinking and looking at options, the wife and I decided to take the plunge and get a new kitchen along with a new oven, cooktop and rangehood. We've always had issues with the lack of space we had, so we though that getting a new kitchen would give us a fresh start.

It took us a while to get started, but once we chose our kitchen supplier, we were off and running. We first chose a colour scheme and benchtops at the Showroom. Then the designer visited our place to plan the new kitchen layout. After he did an initial design, we went back in to look it over and decide any special drawers or cabinets. After that was done, it all came down to the price which wasn't too bad but luckily we still had some financing options available to us.

After that it was just finalising the plans and going over the exact measurements of the kitchen and ordering the components. Delivery of the kitchen didn't take 2 weeks and it was good that the kitchen supplier took care of organising all the tradespersons ( plumber, electrician, installer etc. ) as everything was scheduled to be done and dusted within 3 days. All we needed to to was clear out the old kitchen and move the fridge, which took us about day to do. It was surprising how much stuff we had in the old kitchen and we had to scrounge some space in the dining and our own garage to store it all. In the end we got the old kitchen cleared our ready for the builders to dismantle. The kids even had a last play inside the old kitchen cabinets.

On the day the kitchen components were to arrive, the tradies were at our door. They worked quickly, the old kitchen was dismantled and taken out in the morning and all the pluming and electrical pre-work was done in the afternoon. We thought everything was going swimmingly but we got a call that the tiler couldn't make it. We hurriedly had the kitchen supplier schedule another tiler to come in but that meant our kitchen couldn't be completed within the 3 day time frame. That was the first disappointment.

The next day, the installer came by bright and early and started assembling the kitchen right away. There were a few hitches in that a component for the range-hood was missing. This was the second disappointment. We were never informed that this part was required when we bought the new kitchen appliances from the store. I was stressing because every store I rang didn't seem to have the part and would have to order it in with a 2 week delivery estimate. That would have really delayed the installation and would have cost us much more. Luckily, one store had the part in stock and despite it being almost an hours drive away we just had to go and get it. In the end, the part cost less than $25!

On the third day, when the kitchen was expected to be completed, we found that we were missing a couple of door handles. This was the third disappointment. Turned out that they weren't delivered so we had to wait for those to come in too. That was a relatively minor thing but the kitchen was mostly completed by then.

Despite having no tiles and a couple of door handles missing, we started moving stuff back into the new kitchen. At first we thought we couldn't fit everything back in! But then we realised that we actually took things that were out of the old kitchen and got to fit it all into the new one. We officially have more space!

A few days later, we got the tiles and the door handles put in and the kitchen looked pretty much complete. We just needed someone to look at patching the floors because when we put in the new layout, we left a patch of floor that didn't have any of the floating floorboards we had put in last year.

At any rate, the kitchen is done and despite the little hitches we're completely satisfied with it. We got the extra storage space, a larger work area and most of all, we got an oven again!

Here are before pictures:

And after:

More pictures here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

School Disco!

Last Friday the kids got to attend their first school disco! It was actually a junior disco sponsored as a fund raising activity by the parent's association. The Junior Primary kids had an early disco starting from 5:45 to 7:15 with the Senior Primary kids having theirs after that. It's a parents-free zone at the disco so the kids get a huge kick out of it.

Our own kids were very excited and were one of the first to arrive for the event. They were actually practicing their own dance moves at home, behind closed doors at that! We parents dropped them off and we were able to have one of our rare dinner dates.

Dropping them off was easy, picking them up was a challenge. It was so crowded to pick up the kids but eventually we got them back in the car. They thoroughly enjoyed their night as they chatted about the music, the lights and even the Macaréna as we drove home.