Thursday, July 31, 2008


Gladstone Marina on a good day

I’ve tried writing this post while waiting for my flight. But thankfully I’ve managed to get on the earlier flight (as it was delayed due to weather conditions) meaning I have less waiting time than what I originally thought.

Flights in and out of Brisbane have been delayed that day. The morning I left it was windy and wet. The weather did not get any better as the day went on causing further delays.

Even before I got to the airport I already knew that there is a big possibility that my flight will not be on time. I was preparing my self for the worse (read: stay in Gladstone overnight…at the airport as the town is almost always fully booked). My flight was scheduled to leave at 5pm. I got to the airport approximately quarter past four. I’m on time to check in for my flight but already late for the 4.30. As I have checked in online I didn’t have to queue any more to get my boarding pass. I found a seat in the waiting area, turned my computer on and started typing away.

my plane arriving...yes, that's a wet wheelchair

I was minding my own business but I couldn’t help overhearing a group behind me talking about the last time their Gladstone flight was delayed. They didn’t get back to Brisbane till close to 10pm. That’s another 5 hours of waiting… No, I don’t want to have a similar experience.

The 4.30pm flight was really running late at this point. But check-in has already closed. Or so I thought. I went up to the counter not to try to get on the earlier flight (as this seems almost impossible…or so I thought). I just wanted to find out how long the delay was. Anyway, the very kind Qantas staff offered me a seat on the 4.30. Who was I to refuse that?

my new boarding pass on the 4.30 flight

The weather did not get any better but I got home safe and sound!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lightning Speed visit to Gladstone

e-boarding pass for my 6.20am flight

I wasn’t looking forward to this trip. I didn’t sleep well last night. I feel like I’m not at my best today to see people. The weather is not helping as well. It has been quite gloomy and cold this week. It has affected my mood somewhat. To be honest, I’d rather be in bed right at this very moment.
"refreshment" served on my Qantas flight (not actual size)

But anyway, thank God I made it safely to Gladstone! It was windy and raining in Brisbane when I left. I was expecting a pretty turbulent flight but it turned out to be quite smooth (except for the landing). I tried to get a nap during the flight but I was unsuccessful.

my car for the day, a Mitsubishi Lancer, Oh what a feeling! Ooops, wrong ad?!?!?!

Thank God also because this visit is quite a lightning speed one. I’m flying back home at 5pm (just like any other Brisbane office worker). The funny thing is I sometimes get home much quicker flying from Gladstone to Brisbane than taking the bus from Brisbane to the suburb where I live. Traffic seems to just get worse and worse.

the inside of the car

And yes, I am having Swain’s Fish & Chips for lunch…that I’m looking forward to!

a taste of heaven (balanced by the green tea!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

080723 – Lunch Club – Singapore Chicken Curry (Again!)

Yes, it’s Singapore Chicken Curry again! Not that anyone is complaining (maybe there are but are just to afraid to say it to my face). It’s just that the point of Lunch Club is variety but due to our busy schedules we had to make do with what’s quick and easy to make.

Singapore chicken curry (again!)

Anyway, to vary today’s lunch we are neither having the curry with roti paratha nor jasmine rice. For a bit of a twist I have brought store bought chapattis (garlic) instead.

chappati proudly Australian made

Everybody seemed to enjoy the meal even if we’ve had it a few times already.

ready to eat chappatis

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's a girl!

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.

How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

Psalm 127:3-5

I’m sure David knew what he was talking about when he wrote that psalm!

first profile photo of our new baby girl...13 weeks (was she sucking her thumb?)

We are indeed having our fourth child in about 22 week’s time. We’ve known for a very long time but I think it is more appropriate for me to write about her now that I can post some of her first photos.

first photo of her feet...18 weeks

Just in case any of my other three kids read this blog sometime in the future I would like to say, please don’t get jealous. To Kiko, I think blogging wasn’t hot then yet. It wasn’t as easy to create your own page back then. To Chichay and Yaya, please forgive daddy as he was too busy then to take time to write anything at all when you were still in your mom’s womb. Just remember I love you all!

her four chambered beating heart...18 weeks

The technology has greatly improved which made it much easier for not so tech savvy dads like me to start our own page.

I just would like to say how blessed I am to be gifted with another child! Praise God indeed!

more defined facial features...profile photo at 18 weeks

Now, what should we name her?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lunch Club – “Leftover” Sandwich

fresh baguette

Technically, the lunch I had on Thursday was not really part of Lunch Club. I was the only one who had it. In a way it doesn’t count. But anyway...

Lunch Club had a bit of a break last week due to our busy schedules. One of us went for a holiday overseas. I have been out of the office a few times. So we decided to cancel Lunch Club that week.

But anyway, I have prepared something for myself using all sorts of leftovers on Thursday. I think the title of this post should say “sandwich of leftovers” rather than leftover sandwich. It’s a freshly made sandwich using leftover food.

leftover roast chicken thigh

As I mentioned in a previous post a sandwich does not really hit the spot for me. But from time to time when there isn’t much choice I would have a sandwich. To satisfy me though, it had to be more than just a piece of meat in between two slices of bread.

To make my sandwich you need the following:

the ingredients

Baguette fresh from the nearest bakery
Roast chicken shredded by hand not chopped
Roasted eggplant about 50g (marinated in olive oil)
Artichokes about 2 hearts (marinated in dill and olive oil)
Avocado sliced into thin wedges
Lemon just a little squeeze
Salt & Pepper to taste

roasted eggplant in olive oil @ $15.36/, you don't need that much

artichoke marinated in dill & olive oil, $28.99/kg

Cut the baguette lengthwise but not all the way through. Layer the ingredients in the baguette starting with avocado, followed by the eggplant, then the artichoke and finally the chicken. Squeeze a bit of lemon. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

the avocado wasn't the best as you can see

It looks yummy. It tastes even yummier!

the finished product

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Foggy Brisbane Morning

I find fog fascinating. To be more specific, I find a foggy morning in Brisbane really fascinating. It doesn’t very much happen in the Philippines where I originally come from (if at all). That is why when it occurs I try to enjoy its brief appearing as much as I can. I can’t help but feel disappointed once it’s gone. I always wish it would last longer.

i took a lasts longer

A foggy Brisbane morning makes me feel like I’ve been transported to another place. Seeing my surroundings covered in some cloudlike element changes the whole feel of where I live. The landscape seems more mysterious (thanks to my diet of Hollywood thrillers), mysterious and calming at the same time. It’s just plain weird! I’m just weird!

compare and contrast (foggy)

compare and contrast (not foggy)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lunch Club – Mike’s Rice Vermicelli

For today’s lunch Mike has prepared Rice Vermicelli noodles.

leftover roti paratha

To supplement the lunch we’ve cooked what’s left of our roti parathas. To wash it all down today I’ve chosen soy milk!

aussie soy milk

Friday, July 11, 2008

Darwin Sights 2008

Of all the places I visit for work Darwin would have to be my favourite. Darwin is not hurried. Winters are not real winters. There’s plenty to see. There’s always something happening (during the tourist season). And the food…..there’s a lot to say about food in the Top End!

The focus of this post is not about food though. I’ll be listing attractions that may not be unique to the city but certainly has the Darwin touch. Activities in Darwin are very much determined by the seasons. Tourist season is between the months of April to October and it is during this time when there’s plenty to do.

fa├žade of the Deckchair Cinema

First up is the Deckchair Cinema. This is an outdoor cinema set on the edge of Darwin Harbour. Deckchairs are used as seats. This would have to be Darwin’s premier (if not the only) art house cinema. The setting is perfect for some extraordinary film experience.

Deckchair Cinema info for visitors

There’s the Charles Darwin National Park. The park is a good vantage point for viewing the Darwin Harbour. But nature is not the only attraction to this park. The site was mainly used as a military installation during World War II. Scattered throughout the park are military bunkers that are now treated as museum pieces.

Entrance to Charles Darwin National Park

The other best thing to do while is Darwin is to visit the Mindil Sunset markets. Anyway, back to the market. It’s only held during the dry season. There are plenty of things to buy but my main reason for visiting any market is to see the food on offer. And the Mindil market certainly does not disappoint. More about the market in future posts.

Pandanus plant scattered throughout Darwin

Unfortunately I haven’t got any photos of the market to post. But as a good substitute I’ve got photos of the Darwin sunset. Watching the sunset in this city is certainly one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Darwin sunset

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lunch Club – Sarah’s Mixed Bean Burger

Having a vegetarian meal makes me feel good all over! It creates a sense of satisfaction akin to what I feel when I know I have done something right!

So, it was quite a treat for me today to have something vegetarian for lunch!

Greek yoghurt on top, then cucumber, then beetroot, then tomato, then the bean burger served on Turkish bread

Sarah has prepared a mixed bean burger for lunch. It was served with beetroot, some fresh cucumber salad and then topped with Greek style yoghurt.

It was quite tasty indeed! A meal like this could actually turn me vegetarian full time!

a different view of the same burger cut in half

Here’s the recipe (courtesy of miss Sarah):

450g mixed beans (either tinned or pre soaked, then mashed however you like)

1 onion (chopped and fried)
2/3 cloves garlic (crushed and fried)
1 tsp cumin (added to the onion and garlic)
chilli (as much as you like! added to the onion and garlic)

(add all to the beans)

1 carrot (grated, added to the beans)

you can also add a little tomato sauce if you like the flavour, or use half and half beans and brown lentils.

shape in to burgers or rissoles, then chill for 1 hour. fry in a little oil, or on a hot plate, or bake in the oven.

serve with . . . anything you like!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lunch Club – Tramy’s Vietnamese Pork Chops – FINALLY!

What can I say? Well, it was worth the wait!

a Lunch Club guest taking away his share

For lunch today Tramy served Vietnamese style pork chops with the lot! FINALLY! I’ve been hanging for it since Tramy promised to prepare when we launched Lunch Club.

my plate with all the trimmings

We’ve finally made full use of our new rice cooker (from David Jones, currently on special @ $29.95). The scent of cooking jasmine rice wafted all over our level. No one complained. Some wanted a piece of the action.

rice cooker from David Jones (on sale till 13 July or while stocks last)

Tramy went out of her way to make the meal authentic. She brought all the necessary condiments. We’ve got mo hanh (cooked spring onion/garlic), home made nuoc mam (some say nuoc nam, or nuoc cham, whatever…it was yummy!), and bi (pork skin salad). Vietnamese pork chop is normally served with fried egg. Of course, in the spirit of authenticity, Tramy has brought fresh eggs which we fried in the office (there’s nothing worse than hour’s old fried egg!) using our versatile sandwich press.

frying egg using a sandwich press...innovate or die!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Corporate Breakfast - Andavanth

It’s very rarely for me to go out to have breakfast. And when I do it’s normally something quick and nasty from Subway, McDonald’s, or Hungry Jacks (yes, in that order). So, it is always a treat to have a proper hot breakfast not from a fast food restaurant.

the restaurant menu

For this month’s “corporate” breakfast we were booked at Andavanth located in Milton. My choice is always either pancakes or omelette. Unless there is something really interesting on the menu (or if there are no pancakes or omelettes on the menu) I would rarely deviate from my favourites.

someone else's tea

Andavanth has got a menu online. The breakfast selection sounded very interesting. They’ve got the usual plus some more appetising sounding items like brioche French toast and ricotta omelette. I already knew what I wanted before that morning came around. I was going to have the omelette made with ricotta, chorizo and spinach. This was to be served with sourdough bread. Yum!

my soy latte

Unfortunately though, the menu in the restaurant was quite different from what’s online. I was indeed disappointed (shattered, felt deceived, etc…! My heart was already set on having an omelette that morning. I had to settle for a “traditional” ham and mushroom omelette served with white bread toast. It was alright.

the omelette

Lesson learnt: DO NOT TRUST ONLINE MENUS! To avoid disappointment it’s better to ring the restaurant to confirm!

Lunch Club – Singapore Chicken Curry & Roti Paratha

I try to write about Lunch Club soon after we’ve finished lunch but last Thursday was just crazy. I didn’t find the time to do so as I had to complete some other tasks because I had to go on leave the following day. It school holidays, you see, in our part of the world. And I promise my children that I would take them out at least one weekday during their break.

Anyway, Thursday is my turn to cook. Being pressed for time and all I had to come up with some quick and tasty. I have prepared this meal once before for Lunch Club and it was a hit. The amount of effort was not an indicator of how the meal turned out.

Roti Paratha fresh out of the packet

So, on Thursday we had Singapore Chicken Curry served with Roti Paratha and/or Jasmine Rice. My friend from the Lion City has graciously provided the curry paste freshly flew in from Singapore. I have to find out where I can get this in the land down under as it will run out pretty soon. I am not heading to Singapore anytime soon to top up my supply.

Singapore Chicken Curry, Roti Paratha and the ever present cucumber salad

Here’s the recipe:

Singapore Chicken Curry

2-3 Desiree potatoes (one potato cut in 4)
3 pieces Chicken breast cut up in large pieces
2 tablespoons Singapore curry paste
1 can Coconut cream (or coconut milk if you prefer a lighter sauce)
Salt to taste
Oil whatever you prefer

Mix the curry paste and the chicken and leave for at least half an hour. While waiting fry the potatoes then set aside. Put a bit of oil in a pan and fry the chicken pieces then set aside. Remove the oil then put back the chicken pieces. Add the coconut cream. Wait for it to boil then add the fried potatoes. Let is simmer for 10-15 minutes. Voila! Best served hot on top of steaming jasmine rice or with roti paratha.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lunch Club – Sarah’s Chicken & Rice Vermicelli

First of all, I’m pleased to advise everyone that there’s been some rearrangement of the kitchen furniture. One of the tables was moved to the centre of the kitchen. This made the table a lot more useful in that you can actually fit four people.

miss Sarah preparing today's lunch

Today was Sarah’s (not her real name to protect her identity) turn to prepare lunch. It was Asian style chicken with rice vermicelli. The chicken was cooked with ginger and onions and diced up aubergine. This is then served with the rice vermicelli. Steamed broccoli was optional but it was a nice touch to include in the dish.

our table in its new location

I like my noodles more on the spicy side so I’ve added chillies with soy sauce to dress it up. It was a very satisfying meal even pregnant women will love! *wink* wink*

close up

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lunch Club – Tramy’s Vietnamese Pork Chops…NOT!

I was actually looking forward to the Vietnamese pork chops today as promised by our Vietnamese friend. But unfortunately no pork chop was on the menu. But she made up for it with a hell of a substitute!

A cut sandwich for lunch (or any other meal) does not really cut it for me. I get full for sure (after wolfing down half a dozen) but remain unsatisfied. Being full and being satisfied are two different beasts. You can be full and not be satisfied. Can you be satisfied though and not be full? Hmmm? *thinking*

Vietnamese Pork Roll served with fresh Lebanese cucumber salad (the chilli paste came in the "got balls?" bag...don't ask!)

For lunch today Tramy (not her real name to protect her identity) has brought Pork Rolls. No, they’re not spring rolls made from pork. They’re actually Vietnamese style pork cold cuts in French style baguettes. In short, a sandwich Vietnamese style. To a add a bit more Asian touch to the sandwich fresh coriander is included together with fresh Lebanese cucumber, pickled carrots and a bit of chilli paste.

Granny Smith apples for dessert

This is one sandwich that satisfies!