Archive for September, 2009

A $60 Excursion

Posted in Food Shopping with tags , on September 22, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

It was one of those days where the Jman and I simply felt like doing something…out of the ordinary. We’d just finished a quick round of shopping at Djones and didn’t quite feel like heading home. So where we headed to next? Costco.

I’ve said before that I’d never pay for a $60 membership because it wouldn’t justify the cost savings for a 2-person household. That theory still holds true (seeing how the only food item we came out of the store with was a 1.6L bottle of Kikkoman, which, to its credit, cost the same as a 800ml version at Woolworths, but why the hell do we need 1.6L of soy sauce unless we were headed for liver failure?). But ah, how we ALWAYS stab ourselves in the foot – never say never! We spent a good part of the journey there justifying paying $60. Here were our reasons:

1. It’s like paying to go watch a movie (a movie for the both of us would cost $30 once off; this would provide us supermarket entertainment for a whole year!)
2. It’s like paying to go to the Royal Melbourne Show
3. We’d (unfortunately) sacrifice our weekly dinner date (no fine dining for the rest of the month, but I guess this was a cheaper form of entertainment)
4. We could possibly share the grocery bill with our friends. After all, they only sell things in “Ginormous” sizes.

So having justified our $60 membership/entry fee into Costco, we finally set foot into the no-queue, not-so-crowded warehouse-the-size-of-Brunswick. As expected, everything was massive. BIG. GIANT. GARGANTUAN. Nothing there was small! Most of the items in there weren’t fantastically cheap, though I did spy some good finds that would come in handy at a later stage. What impressed me most, however, was the quality of their furniture. It certainly wasn’t Ikea-priced, but damn it was solid as gold. None of that cheap plywood crap, but good, solid American (or probably from China) timber furniture at reasonable prices (at least for what you get) – something that is sorely missing from the Australian industries.

Fresh produce was comparable to market prices, so I don’t foresee myself doing my weekly grocery shopping there unless I need a 6kg piece of eye fillet or a 2kg wheel of Jindi brie. I’m still partial to my local green grocer and the folks at the farmers’ markets. We did get a 1kg bag of huuuuge American scallops, of which we had 2 pieces each for dinner later on but that was enough to tip me over. I love scallops, but this one was just HUGE.

I also picked up a pair of baby Crocs for my nephew, the husband got himself a really neat jacket, and I came THIS close to buying the $139 Mavi (Citizens of Humanity!!!) jeans, except that I didn’t because I couldn’t justify spending on something I didn’t need. I spent half the time arguing against the whole ethos of overbuying household items and how the principle of bulk sales and abundance would only encourage obesity and wastage in a city that was just learning to eat organic, eat local and to eat good. After all, who needs 50 rolls of toilet paper at any one time, and why would any normal 4-5 person household need a 2-3kg mud cake or 9 massive muffins? Why should we be drinking 30 cans of Coke or eating a 6kg slab of meat? If things could be this cheap, then surely it would have to boil down to either of these:

A. They are using very very cheap ingredients
B. Some poor farmer is being massively ripped off somewhere

So as much as I had finally piqued my curiosity and had a huge supermarket fix, I walked away feeling a little disturbed. I liked Costco for its spaciousness and it certainly kept us entertained for 3 hours (and oh the parking is so expensive once you over stay your 2 free hours!), but I do wonder if this will produce an obese society in the next 10 years and an American culture of bigger-is-better. I joked to the husband that we’d soon see more bigger cars on the road so that people can fit more bulky items in their cars, but come to think of it, that might not be too far from the truth.

My lesson-of-the-day for all of you out there is this: EAT LOCAL. EAT SMALL. EAT WELL. EAT FRESH.


What’s In My Lunchbox?

Posted in Asian Cooking, Cooking with tags , , on September 17, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

Before you think I’ve been wiped off the face of the earth (which I probably have anyway), I’M STILL HERE! I’m just finding that time really whizzes me by ever since I got married. We’ve been married two-and-a-half months now, and it certainly feels like we’ve been married a whole year already. Not that it’s a bad thing, but where does all that time in the world go to?

These days I don’t have any energy to sit in front of the computer when I get home. There’s dinner to cook, lunch to prepare for the next day, dishes to wash (and oh bless the dishwasher!!), laundry, and then before you know it, it’s time to wind down after a long day and get ready for bed, let alone BLOG!

The cycle repeats itself, and then the weekend is here. Weekends are greatly cherished. It’s the only time we get to wake up at a leisurely pace without either of us having to nudge the other to go wash up first while the lucky one snoozes a little longer.

I’m currently a little obsessed with curry. Especially the ones with eggplant inside. My mother-in-law makes the most amazing Malaysian and Indian curries even her Indian friends are impressed. I’ve also had the privilege of learning some tricks of the trade from my husband, so while I had some free time on my hands two nights ago, I cooked up an eggplant and sweet potato curry with some prawns and mussels and packed it for our lunch today (overnight curry tastes exceptional!).

The result – a vibrant-looking, colourful, extra healthy and tasty, delicious curry. All I used was olive oil, and no coconut milk. The secret to making your curry thick and sweet? Ground onions!

Eggplant & Sweet Potato Curry
No coconut was harmed in the making of this curry.

All packed and ready to go in our lunchboxes!


Posted in Restaurants, Restaurants in Melbourne with tags , , on September 3, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

I turned one year older yesterday, but contrary to being depressed about the unavoidable ageing process, I realised it was a great time to eat all the cake in the world without feeling at all depressed about it. It’s my birthday and no one was gonna take my cake away from me!

The celebrations kicked off on Tuesday night, where my mother-in-law whipped up a fantastic Indian feast and made a ridiculously indulgent chocolate cake. It was SO good, I even had two slices of it for breakfast the next day.

My colleagues then took me out for lunch. And it was followed by MORE cake.

Then later on at night I had dinner with the husband at Esposito. Oh…Esposito! It was amazing! Fantastic! We particularly felt that the entrees and the dessert were perfectly executed. In my husband’s words, every element of those dishes tied in perfectly together.

The mains (we both had fish – he had a John Dory while I had the King George Whiting), although still very good, didn’t excite as much. We felt that the chef was trying to be a little too adventurous with the Dory (it was pan-seared and drizzled with beetroot essence – a little too ‘try-hard’ in our books as the fish would’ve tasted excellent on its own). The whiting was also really good, but perhaps a little squeeze of lemon would’ve perfected it. It was also very slightly overdone, but the husband didn’t think so, so perhaps it really was just me.

I shall do a proper review once I’ve got my photos out of my camera. For now, I am still on a post-birthday high and haven’t quite gotten down to planet Earth just yet.

Stay tuned for more!