In Praise of the Fish and Chips

It has come to my attention, as one entered studenthood, they would most probably encounter a situation – unless they happened to be one of those obscenely rich ones – that in the middle of a bleak winter, with with nary a penny to one’s name, while there’s an upcoming exam or an extra important essay looming ahead, they must also face the fact that at that precise moment, they are also faced with an equally alarming threat. That of the rebellious rumbling tummy to boot!

Disaster! One simply can not think on an empty stomach! That is simply not done.

Now, of course you can say; well they ought to learn money management better and perhaps to cook as well so they will never be in that dire predicament. But I would wager, as for the rest of the student body, that they would be in similar situation. I mean, we’re talking about uni years here, fresh from mommy’s home, off to fend themselves for the first time, do you really think the majority of them would behave logically?

Well… maybe you would. But, it is safe to say, at some point any student would find themselves skint and hungry. What to do?

If, like me, you were in England, the answer is fairly obvious; beans on toast! What else? Frankly, I never got the taste of that I’m afraid. I did once on a sudden bout of nostalgia, took a piece of toast and slathered a healthy serving of beans. Two mouthfuls later I remembered why I only like the idea of it as opposed to the actual partaking of the meal.

So that’s not the solution for me. What then? Am I to withered away my youth until the next bundle of coins find their way to my reticule? Why, of course, the quintessentially British cuisine of Fish and Chips!

Joy!

I adore Fish and Chips. I do. I really do. Nothing quite like braving the gust of chilly winds up a block to our wonderful Chip shop in the corner. Entering the toastily warm shop, waiting for our orders to be wrapped up, nesting the package under our coats to warm our grumbling tummy while we trek back to the hall. Then, once safe in the common kitchen, it is time to tuck in. Oh heaven! Thank you for small mercies.

In all honesty, our Chippy shop is probably not the best in the England, nor Yorkshire, heck, or even the best in the city.  But, as it is the closest from our hovel (okay okay, our equally toasty hall) it is the best Fish and Chip shop in the entire city of Leeds. So there!

How about in other places? My Australian counterpart claimed that they rely extensively on a wonderful creation called; the meat pie. Cheap and filling, this delicacy has saved countless starving students from the brink of extinction during those cold cold winter nights. Practically each and every one of these former Ozzie got glazed eyed when they’re waxing lyrical about this baked goodies.

So of course when I finally got to visit Kangaroo Land I simply must taste this invention. And I did.

IMG_2870

This is it baybeh!

It’s…. interesting. Better than shepherd’s pie, more filling than ramen noodles, cheaper than beer, no wonder they fall in love with the humble meat pie. Perhaps had I gone there to school, I too would be a glazy eyed devotee. Since I didn’t, I pledge allegiance to the aforementioned dish. But since I know what it is like to hanker for something from our youth (yikes! I sound terribly old!), I got some to take back home for my friends. Got very positive reaction from most of them. Glad they do.

But you know what, they have Fish and Chips in Australia! They do! They really do!

Oh my, I am back in heaven!

Of course there are establishments here that can fry fish in a batter served with a portion of chips. But it come on a plate not wrapped up in paper and the ones in Oz does. Well, they are still part of Britain, I suppose that’s why it is so similar to the ones found over there. One bite and I’m in reverie reliving uni days. Of Ellerslie Hall, Hyde Park, Roger Stevens, Eddie Boyle, Parkinson Steps, Casa Latina, Sports Ball, the Dry Dock, the Old Bar and lest we forget the ubiquitous PolyBop! Woohoo!

Be it fish and chips or meat pie, a mighty big cheer to those wonderful creation that sustain and nourish us in our time of needs. The fact that it can turn us from (reasonably) sensible people into poets and lyricist upon a mere mention years after we left Uni… Such, is the power of food.

Now, if I can only find somewhere that serve a decent Yorkshire pudding, I’ll be one happy bunny.

Scrumptious. No?

Saturday Morning Muffin

Fresh from the oven

As I was passing the dinner table I saw the bananas were getting very ripe. I also saw Ms Carla’s post about her baking the other day. Then my Quran teacher texted me saying he can’t make it this Saturday. Put all those together, I zoomed straight for the banana bread recipe is my trusty red plaid Better Homes and Garden cook book. A quick check in the pantry shows I don’t have the baking soda, but I do have baking powder. Flip another page and yes, I do have enough for banana muffin. Ok I could probably do with another banana and some nuts but hey, no biggie.I put aside all the dried stuff, clean out the tins so come Saturday morning I don’t have to search for them. Yay baking!

So Saturday morning. My maid eagerly assisted me in the kitchen. Well, she basically watched cuz making muffin is not the most complicated things in the world. As I was pouring the liquid mixture to the well I realised I made it using the direction for generic muffin instead of banana muffin. Oops! Too much milk! Oh well. Not much I can do but pressing on stirring the mixture together.

With a prayer I put the batter into the pan. Set the timer and hope it turned out well. Turned out I should’ve put more batter into the mold or maybe that’s because of too much milk; the muffin didn’t rise as much and it didn’t have that bready (is that even a word?) consistency. I was a bit deflated. Taste one. Edible, not that bad.  Babeh came home from golf just in time to taste the muffin. He took a bite. Ponders a bit and asked, “Banana?” Yep! Kakak came bouncing down the stairs, awaken by the smell. She took one look and start taking a huge bite. She likes it too! I do hope they don’t turn blue but so far they’re all ok 😉

What do you think?

Bye bye Red Tomato :(

Red Tomato is one of our favourite restaurant. The pizza was deliciously thin, the pasta yummy and their seafood soup is gorgeous. All of it is always very fresh. It is a bit pricey but we think it’s worth the quality. Sadly yesterday when we wanted to dine here we found that it has closed 😦 Perhaps we’re the only people who likes it.

Turned out I did have some pics of the menu. I don’t normally take pics of my food but I’m glad I took them. Here’s a selection of what we will miss.

This appetizer was yummy. stuffed mushroom I think.

 

My mom likes this. Fresh and quite light tasting for a salmon pasta

 

My children's favourite pepperoni pizza. Kakak is able to polished half of it when really hungry

 

I forgot whether this was fungi with chicken or meat. It was delicious for sure.

Bye Red Tomato. You’ll be missed.

The Glorious Dinner Date

I was feeling a bit melancholy and missing all these places when a friend asked where would I go for dinner if I could go anywhere in the world. Well, for me just dinner wouldn’t cut it. I need the whole 3 meals plus the 2 snacks in between 😉 This is what I came up with based from habits and experience.

For breakfast I would like to go back to Boston, US and have a lazy brunch at the  neighbourhood cafe when I used to live in Corey Road. It’s actually about a couple of blocks away, I’d have to cross Comm Ave and get to the other side. It’s a very unpretentious place but it’s almost always busy in the mornings. Prove that the food is quite good. Or maybe the student ghetto are just happy to get some warm food in their tummy.  I’d have omelette filled with feta cheese and spinach, plus potatoes, OJ and white coffee.  I go there with almost always with Bernardito;he’s the only one who woke up chirpy enough to go for breakfast. Sometimes the rest of the house, Ahad, Solivia and Juanan would come to. I enjoyed those moments. We don’t always got a chance to talk to each other beyond the good morning and good night so those Sunday morning were our chance to catch up. Now, my former roommates have disbanded, some go back to their countries, others still in the States but none live in the Corey Road flat anymore.  I’d like to bring my husband to recreate those relaxing morning.

Somewhere in West Java...

For lunch I’d like to go somewhere in West Java, where we can have a Sundanese lunch on a saung overlooking the rice fields and mountains. The menu would consist of fried and grilled Gurame, fresh vegetables, yummy sambal, tasty rice and fresh coconut water. My mom came from West Java, as such she prefers Sundanese food over others. Luckily my dad is also a fan. Growing up I’ve spent many lunches eating Sundanese food. We don’t always have it in the middle of a paddy field, actually more often than not we’d be in a restaurant in the city. But the food is the same. The argument over menu, the race for the fittest – I have 4 siblings so there were 6 of us fighting for the same fish. We still do even now actually. It’s fun 😀 I’d love to have this lunch with my own family so afterwards my kids can play in the field.

The sea is on the other side...

Then finally dinner with my big family, my parents, siblings, nephew and nieces. I think today I’d like to go to Jimbaran, Bali. Having fresh seafood while listening to the waves is just pure delight. There’s just something magical about having lobster on the beach… together with other hungry tourists. Something that’s actually very doable, just a logistical ‘nightmare’ to organise.

Phew! That would be a glorious day indeed 🙂

How about you? Where would you go?