Archive for the Life Category

The Cooktop Dilemma

Posted in Home Improvement, Life with tags on February 9, 2010 by thepseudoepicurean

The husband and I are in the midst of planning for our new kitchen, and one of our biggest headaches at the moment is finding the right stove. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but we’ve got a few criteria that needs to be fulfilled and despite the wide array of stoves available to us – both Australian- and European-made – this has proven to be a much greater challenge than we imagined!

First off, these are the things we look for in a stove:

A. 90cm, 5 or 6 burners
B. Must have a wok-burner of at least 15mj/h, but ideally 17mj/h and above.
C. The wok-burner must be on the side panel and not the middle, and if coupled with a smaller burner in the same panel, it needs to be in front
D. The dials should ideally be at the front and not the side. Dials on the side just mean space wastage.

Just 4 simple criteria and almost nothing we’ve seen really meets them all. Now meet the Highland cooktop:

The 6-burner Highland Cooktop

There is the Highland that we’ve been looking at and ogling over – it is perfect. It truly is a work of art with 6 burners, 2 x 22mj/h wok-burners, and is about 98cm long. There is ample room on the stove with each burner well-spaced out from the other, and the husband and I can finally work side by side without a fight! But with a price tag that could afford us a trip to the moon and back, we’ve unfortunately had to shelve away any hope of owning one and explore other options.

Then there’s the Ilves. The Mieles. The Boschs. The Blancos. The Smegs.

We’ve pretty much ruled out the common-brand Blancos and Smegs. Price-wise, they don’t come cheap but they are not much different from the Electroluxes or Westinghouses. So that leaves us with Ilve and Miele.

We’re leaning more towards an Ilve because we just like to be anti-establishment – there’s too much hype about Miele and the specs don’t seem to justify the price tag. I’ve heard that Miele is a good brand, but how good is good and are they really worth the price? On the other hand, while Ilve seems like a good brand to go by, I haven’t heard much about it.

So Ilve? Miele? What other brands are worth checking out? What would you recommend and why?



Posted in Tekfarts with tags on November 15, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

I’ve finally jumped on the bandwagon and joined the ranks of Apple tekfarts! Hopefully this means I can upload more on-the-go posts! Stay tuned…I think (I keep saying this but never get down to updating my blog anyway so I shan’t make empty promises!)

Spring’s Come Early

Posted in Life with tags , on August 18, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

According to Today Tonight we’re having some ridiculously early spring weather this year, thanks/no thanks to global warming, and although I might risk the wrath of the fervent Greenies in saying this (my only saving grace would be that I do recycle/bring my own grocery bags to the supermarkets/time my showers/flick all switches off), I’m welcoming this early dose of happiness-inducing climate!

As it is I am craving lots of fresh fruit and foods and spring is just the right season for this – think raw vegetables, berries in everything, fruit juices for lunch. There is nothing more invigorating than freshness, and if not for the cold (and the fact that a girl needs her steak) I’d be having juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner all day, everyday!

Just last night, the husband and I trooped over to Bunnings in search of some new plants for our balcony ledge. Bless his green fingers, really – we’ve got coriander, parsley, mint, lettuce, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, basil…and thanks to Granny, we also have a newly-sprouted curry plant! Last night we added more tomato shrubs to our already brimming balcony, and we even bought a greenhouse (yes, you got that right, a greenhouse) just to up the ante!

As much as I hate gardening (I killed my cactus), and I haven’t inherited any of that green genes from my mother, I get pretty excited watching the little seedlings sprout into what could be my next dinner. What’s more, it’s organic, it’s fresh, and it’s (almost) free!

So stay tuned to watch our little “backyard” project. Spring is truly, truly an exciting time!

How Free Are Your Free Range Eggs?

Posted in Food Reviews, Life with tags , , on August 13, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

The notion of “Free Range” has always been a slightly contentious topic. Unlike “organic”, the free-range-ness of animals is not widely certified, particularly when it comes to eggs. Just check the egg cartons in any supermarket aisle and you will see what I mean.

Of course the health-conscious, environment-conscious, animal-friendly (I say animal-friendly, not animal-lover by the way) chicks like me would still choose to pay $6 for a dozen eggs instead of $2.49 to keep our consciences free of evil as well, but I’ve often wondered to myself – exactly how free are those chooks laying our supposedly free-range eggs?

My folks spent a week up in the country and just returned to the city today. We joined them over the weekend at the Tonimbuk House, which is in a little township called Tonimbuk about an hour and a half’s drive from the city. Anyway, when they returned this afternoon, my city-bumpkin mother excitedly announced that she had brought back with her a DOZEN FREE-RANGE EGGS from the owners’ chickens! Frankly, I think my mother was more excited about the fact that the eggs were from the owners’ chickens (because you don’t ever get chickens running around in your HDB/apartment balconies in Singapore), while I was doing a little victory dance that mother dearest had scored us some beautiful REAL free-range eggs. And we know that they’re free range because we’d seen witnessed those chooks running around with our own eyes!

Free range eggs from the Tonimbuk House

Free range eggs from the Tonimbuk House

Daffodils from the Tonimbuk House garden

Daffodils from the Tonimbuk House garden

That’s not all. My father-in-law has a colleague whose family runs a farm, and they too have free range chickens (according to the FIL who’s supposedly visited them before, and thus has seen ’em chickens running around happily). So every now and then, when our stars are slightly aligned, we get to buy some free range eggs of them! DOUBLE SCORE! It also happens that the family makes their own cabana. Lovely paprika-scented, smokey smokey smokey and delightfully flavourful cabana, which we had the privilege of buying home earlier on in the week. TRIPLE SCORE!

Eggs from the FIL's colleague's farm

Eggs from the FIL's colleague's farm

So yes. I’ve now been spoilt with unsupermarketed free range eggs (I now have 23 free range eggs sitting in my fridge) and homemade cabana. I wonder if I can ever go back to the supermarket shelves to get my supply now. We’ll see!

Australian Gourmet Traveller

Posted in Life with tags , , on August 12, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

Looks like this week has been all about taking chances. And to add to my record-breaking life-changing acts, I signed myself up for a 12-month subscription to the Australian Gourmet Traveller! I have been reading the magazine for quite a while now, and have enjoyed reading through the recipes and a fair number of articles thoroughly. My all-time favourite issue this year has been their special feature on Italian cuisine, something that is close to the hearts of both the Jman and I.

Anyway, I’ve now been suckered into yet another long-term “relationship” (the others being my mobile phone subscription and my broadband plan), but I figured rather than paying $8.75 a pop for each issue at the magazine stands, I really do get in some pretty good savings from $65 for a whole year’s subscription, which works out to be something like $5.50 per month (plus a chance to win a Limited Edition Candy Apple KitchenAid!…ok I already have one but surely another one wouldn’t hurt, would it?).

Oh and this is a special online promotion (the hardcopy form on the magazine still states $74.95 for a year’s subscription so I’m guessing it’s an online-only promotion) so if you’re interested too, better jump on the bandwagon quick!

I Broke An Egg

Posted in Life on August 9, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

I did it. I broke an egg. And the lesson du jour is this: never think of anything else when transporting eggs from carton to fridge except transporting them from carton to fridge, because while daydreaming and juggling two eggs in one hand (yes I have small hands), I accidentally let one slip and watching it fall to the ground in slow-mo style (time seems to freeze for some reason) was a rather painful experience.


It crashed onto the ground and poor humpty dumpty lay pitifully at the foot of my fridge, broken crown facing ceiling-wards. The true-blue tekfart in me was contemplating grabbing my camera/phone and snapping a shot for posterity (then tweeting/blogging about it), until I remembered that dried egg on the ground is a nightmare to clean. So I dutifully wiped up the mess with trusty old disposable kitchen towels.

Like they say, it’s no point crying over spilt milk broken egg.


Posted in Tekfarts with tags on August 5, 2009 by thepseudoepicurean

I’m on Twitter! I figured that at the rate I am going with my schedule, it would probably take me a decade before I get off my bottie, TAKE pictures, and POST pictures of my epicureal journey. Meanwhile, there’s always Twitter (and I can Tweet on the go – in the car, on the tram, at the gym, in a boring meeting…), which is just perfect for me! So all you tekfarts, come visit me at @epicureal!