Quick & Easy Dinner: Japanese Chicken Katsu with (Optional) Curry

15 Jun

A few nights ago Mr Fay went out on a poker night with his boys and my girl friend decided we should do our own girls night in at my place. As it was such a last minute decision I had to go through my kitchen pantry trying to find inspirations and hopefully decent ingredients to cook for dinner. And as I was craving for Asian food (as always), I decided I was going to make Japanese chicken katsu (a Japanese term which means “cutlet” in English) dish and I also have a box of instant Japanese curry mix sauce to pour on top. Curry sauce is optional so don’t worry if you don’t have them; chicken katsu itself is a delicious dish 🙂

Ingredients:

For the chicken katsu
4 chicken breast fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
Plain flour
1-2 eggs
Vegetable oil for frying
Cooked white rice (jasmine or sushi rice works)
Panko Japanese style breadcrumbs (can be found in most oriental stores)

The secret ingredient in making chicken katsu!

The secret ingredient in making chicken katsu!

For the (optional) curry sauce
S&B Golden Curry sauce mix
600ml water
Either 2 carrots or 2 capsicums or 1 of each (I had to ask my girl friend to bring me her leftover vegetables in her fridge as Mr Fay and I only have meat in our fridge…)

When you're hangry (hungry and angry), anything quick and instant is definitely much appreciated!

When you’re hangry (hungry and angry), anything quick and instant is definitely much appreciated!

Serve: 2 hungry people

Time: 15 minutes of preparation, 20-30 minutes of cooking depends if you’re making the curry sauce

Preparations:
Score chicken breast fillets for even cooking and to allow the panko breadcrumbs to go in deeper (which means more crispy bits yum).
Prepare 3 bowls for your 3-step coating process of the chicken fillets: plain flour, beaten eggs, and panko breadcrumbs. Arrange them in a row.

Plain flour first, egg coating next, then panko breadcrumb last.

Plain flour first, egg coating next, then panko breadcrumb last.

Directions:
Lets start with the curry sauce first if you decide to make some. Cook and stir fry your carrots / capsicums and then add 600ml of water and bring to a boil (I actually boiled the water using kettle to save time). Reduce heat, cover and simmer until for approximately 5 minutes and then break S&B Golden Curry sauce mix into pieces and add it to the mixture, stir until completely melted. Simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Put it on the lowest heat to keep it warm while we cook our chicken katsu fillets.

Mmm... smells delicious!

Mmm… smells delicious!

Start with sprinkling salt and pepper on your chicken fillets then lightly coat them in plain flour, dipped into the beaten eggs and then coat them with the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure you cover both sides and repeat the process for all fillets.

Ooo my tummy is grumbling now...

Ooo my tummy is grumbling now…

Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken into hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes each side. Once cooked, place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.

Pour your hot curry sauce over chicken, serve with white rice and enjoy!

Gotta add some cute stickers like the Japanese do in their photos ;)

Gotta add some cute stickers like the Japanese do in their photos 😉

And a girls night in wouldn’t be complete without painting our nails pretty of course!

My first attempt in painting my nails using the water marble technique. Messy at first but it works yeay!!

My first attempt in painting my nails using the water marble technique. Messy at first but it works yeay!!

xxo
Fay

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No Milk Nutella Banana Ice Cream

2 Dec

If you’re anything like me, who love buying bananas thinking that Mr Fay and I will actually eat it as a healthy snack (but never really gotten around to eating it), you are bound to have very over-ripe bananas sitting on your table top.

My super riped bananas

My over-ripe bananas

On the other hand, Mr Fay who loves Nutella, is also guilty for buying  a huge Nutella jar thinking he will actually finish it…

Giant Nutella! Yummm!

Giant Nutella! Yummm!

It is never good to waste food. So this easy dessert combines the hazelnut goodness of Nutella spread and the over-ripe bananas that I was about to throw in the bin secretly (a habit of mine that Mr Fay loathes). Oh, and did I mention it uses only 2 ingredients and without milk? Yeap, that easy.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of Nutella (less or more depending on your taste)
4 full-of-specks / over-ripe bananas

Serve: 2 Nutella / banana / ice cream lovers having 2 scoops each or 4 single scoops to share

Preparation:
Peel and slice the bananas widthwise (coin-shaped) before freezing them. It will make the blending process much quicker.

Chop chop your bananas

Chop chop your bananas

Directions:
Using a blender, throw in the frozen banana pieces slowly and blend them until smooth and thick.

Blended frozen bananas

Blended frozen bananas

Once you are happy with the consistency, start pouring in your Nutella as much / little as you want.

Mmm.. That spoon went into my mouth after this photo!

Mmm.. That spoon went into my mouth after this photo!

Blend everything again until smooth.

Blended Nutella banana ice cream

Blended Nutella banana ice cream

Your mixture should look like this.

Final look of the no milk Nutella banana ice cream

Final look of the no-milk Nutella banana ice cream

At this stage your ice cream will have a consistency similar to soft-serve, you have an option either to serve it straightaway (I am guilty of taking a spoonful and quickly eating it before Mr Fay saw me) or transfer it to a freezer-safe container to harden up.

Put your ice cream into a container to further freeze it

Put your ice cream into a container to further freeze it

This is what mine looks like after leaving it overnight. But if you can’t wait that long, I’m positive that you can also prepare this, lets say, around lunch time to eat for after dinner dessert 🙂

No Milk Nutella Banana Ice cream. Tadaa!

No Milk Nutella Banana Ice cream. Tadaa!

If you don’t like Nutella (shame on you! Just kidding.), then feel free to experiment turning your frozen bananas into any other flavour homemade dessert ice cream! Enjoy!

xxo
Fay

Homemade Eggless Pasta Dough

27 Oct

A few weekends ago I went to Rome with my 2 girlfriends and they decided to book us a pasta making class in an Italian restaurant that the girls coincidentally walked past the day before – and I thought, hey why not, when in Rome 🙂

So a few nights ago when I was doing my weekly grocery shopping, I felt like cooking Italian food, and instead of buying the normal instant pasta, I consciously went to the baking aisle and bought plain flour instead. I thought I could use my newly learnt cooking skills and share it with you so here goes! NOTE: this recipe is good for those who have an egg allergy or just don’t like eggs in general.

Ingredients:
2 cups of Plain Flour (I chose Wallace and Gromit plain flour just because…)
1/2 cup of Water
Salt

Serve: 2 hungry people

Time: 1 hour preparation, 5-10 minutes cooking (extra time for making your desired pasta sauce)

Directions:
First step is to make a mound on the counter / chopping board (I luckily have a chopping board attached to my kitchen counter) with the flour and create a well in the centre.

First step is to create a mound of flour

First step is to create a mound of flour

Slowly start pouring in the water into the well and start mixing it with the flour either with your hand or a fork. I used a fork first until it gets too sticky and then I used my hands.

Uh oh... a quick snapshot before the water leaks too far!

Uh oh… a quick snapshot before the water leaks too far!

Keep on mixing and begin to knead the dough until it looks smooth. You may need more or less water, depending on the humidity in your kitchen.

Shape the pasta dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic cling wrap and let it sit for around 20 minutes.

My pasta dough ball sitting nicely on the counter

My pasta dough ball sitting nicely on the counter

I used this waiting period to make my pasta sauce and I have chosen bolognese tonight. Well, technically Mr Fay decided to kindly make the pasta sauce so I supervised him instead 😉

Bolognese sauce - all credits to Mr Fay

Bolognese sauce – all credits to Mr Fay

Take your dough out of the plastic wrap and lightly dust your counter / chopping board surface with some flour to prevent sticking. Get a knife and cut them into even servings like this.

I decided to cut mine into 8 even portions. Feel free to cut them into more sections.

I decided to cut mine into 8 even portions. Feel free to cut them into more sections.

Next, take one section of the dough and start rolling it in between the palm of your hands like so.

Roll each section in between your palms

Roll each section in between your palms

Once it gets a bit too long for your hands, put the dough onto your lightly floured cutting board and continue rolling them into long strings (lets say the thickness of your ring finger).

Proof that I actually made them with my bare hands!

Proof that I actually made them with my bare hands!

Long strings of pasta dough

Long strings of pasta dough

After you have finished rolling all the pasta dough, get your knife and start cutting them into small pieces that to me, resemble the shape of a pillow.

Cut the strings into small pillows

Cut the strings into small pillows

Just to show you the size of the cuts - as small as my fingernail

Just to show you the size of the cuts – as small as my fingernail

I honestly can’t remember the name of the pasta that we made at the cooking class, but after some Googling, I can assume I am making some sort of orecchiette / shell pasta… *SIGH* I was never good at listening to teachers… oops. My bad.

Anyway, now lets get on to the next step which I believe is the trickiest part! Take one pasta and gently squeeze it with your thumb and rub it against the cutting board, away from you. Your pasta should look like below picture.

Step-by-step guide in making orecchiette shell pasta

Step-by-step guide in making orecchiette shell pasta

Keep going! Words of warning, your thumb will be slightly red and sore – well, mine kinda did anyway. But it is worth it, I promise.

Final look of my pasta before cooking - definitely homemade looking hence the uneven sizes hahaha

Final look of my pasta before cooking – definitely homemade looking hence the uneven sizes hahaha

To cook the pasta, put them in boiling water until al dente. Add salt to taste.

Cook the pasta al dente. Salt as required.

Cook the pasta al dente. Salt as required.

Once cooked, make sure all the pasta is drained. You don’t want any unnecessary liquid when you have awesome pasta sauce!

Drain all the water from your pasta

Drain all the water from your pasta

Top with your own favourite pasta sauce and serve it hot. Here’s mine – TADAAA!

Orecchiette Shell Bolognese

Orecchiette Shell Bolognese

Hope you’ll have fun trying it at home as much as I did!

xxo
Fay

Just marinating.

16 Aug

hi·ber·nat·e: a severe case of marination.

We’re not hibernating! We have just been too busy to write. MR&MRS FAY moved overseas, MR&MRS SDS updated their status in Hawaii and SN hit a sales record at work. This does makes me wonder what I have been ‘marinating’ in during this time. It also makes me feel like dad’s marinated bbq squid! (:

One thing that I did make time for this year was to head up north and tick off something that I’ve always wanted to do – to swim with the Whale Sharks. For a while now I’ve had a small obsession with whales and the Whale Shark in particular (Note: I do know that the Whale Shark is not a whale). So at the beginning of the year, to help me get through the post-Christmas blues, CB and I planned a road trip to Shark Bay, Coral Bay & Exmouth in June. To confess, this was a purely selfish expedition but CB took it as an opportunity to escape ‘winter’ in WA. I’ve only picked a few pictures for this post.

So we (CB) loaded up the x-trail with an array of camping gear, supplies and the kayaks and headed up to our first stop, Shark Bay (820km). We managed to visit Hamelin’s Pool and Shell Beach and squeeze in some 4WDriving before sunset.

car

The next day we drove another 300km or so to Coral Bay. This place is so peaceful and beautiful it is hard to describe. Lets just say that the grey normads are onto something!

skeleton
Just around the main Bay at sunset. If we had more time I’d love to have kayaked further up here. There’s a place called Skeleton Bay further north that is apparently a great snorkeling spot. Just got to watch out for the Reef Sharks.

water
In the main Bay. Although the water can get a bit murky, you can still see the fish swimming around you. The tide comes right up in the mornings but you’d hardly know if you came here during the day.

cb attack

coral

CB and I decided to make use of our limited time and go on a snorkelling tour. It was the best! The guide takes you out on a glass-floor boat right out in the Reef. Here we got to swim with the many friends of the Ningaloo Reef, including sea turtles and crazy pecking fish. The coral was quite the sight too. One tip: the tour is long, wear a rashie or wet suit.

And then there was Exmouth! This place is stunning – a beautiful combination of rugged red landscape and long streteches of pristine beach! I couldn’t get a picture that said it all. I only wish we had more time to explore the National Park.

oyster
Mucking around with the GoPro on Turquoise Bay.

And then there were the WHALE SHARKS! Yes! Get excited! We went with the 3 Islands Whale Shark Dive crew and I would strongly recommend their services to you (they’re not #1 on Trip Advisor for no reason). The experience was more than I could ever imagine! These animals are magnificent. We were uber lucky and swam with SIX whale sharks. There was even one dive where two sharks crossed path and we swam with both of them. And if you get sick of looking at the sharks (as if!), you can stop to check out the micro-organisms swimming around your face (: The experience really brought me back into perspective and reminded me of how beautiful nature is.

shk

wynnshk
Say ‘Whale Burger!’.

I better get back to work. I probably didn’t do any of these places justice with my limited photo collection but I’m happy to answer any questions if you have any.

Have a great weekend!

W

Space Saver: How to fold your shopping bags in 15 seconds

15 Jul

Are you the type of person that keeps their plastic shopping bags for future use? Well, I am, and if you are, I hope you’ll find this post useful 🙂

My awesome Japanese friend taught me a clever way to save space by folding your plastic bag into a triangle, instead of keeping them puffy and all crumpled. I have never looked back. I swear Japanese people have the smartest ideas to utilise the lack of space in a typical Japanese house / apartment.

So this was how my plastic bags were stored. Each of them crumpled and squashed into one plastic bag.

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Now let me show you how to fold a plastic bag that you usually get from a supermarket. First, flatten your plastic bag as below.

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Start to fold your plastic bag from the long side.

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Keep folding…

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Until you can’t fold no more 😉

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Turn it upside down then fold your first triangle.

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Fold down to create your second triangle.

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And again, fold down to make your next triangle.

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Stop folding when you can’t make a full triangle anymore i.e. when you reach the handles part.

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You should have a gap between your last triangle and the rest of the plastic bag as below. Now lift it to reveal the gap.

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Insert the rest of the plastic bag (the handles) into the gap.

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Give it one last squeeze and you should have something like this (I hope!).

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TADA!!! 😀

Now, this method is not limited to grocery bags only. You can use the same ways to fold other shopping bags.

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My little mountain of triangle shopping bags.

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And here is the end result! Less than half the space it took in the beginning. And it only takes 15 seconds for each bag (10 if you’re an expert).

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Good luck! Let us know if you have anymore awesome space saving ideas 🙂

xxo
Fay

Double dating

19 Mar

Hello everybody!

Last saturday Mr SDS & I  went on a double date with good friends.We started off at Kitsch on Oxford St, Leederville for pre-dinner drinks.  It was everyone’s first time there & we absolutely loved the quirky alfresco area & of course, our cocktails. We’ll be back to try your mains!

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After drinks, we ventured further down Oxford St to Ha-Lu in Mt Hawthorn. On a saturday night, you’ll definitely need to make a booking if you want to be fed. I’d been meaning to try this place after all the hoo-ha I’d heard & I was not disappointed. We ate izakaya style & share a total of 9 dishes, which was more than enough. The waitress had actually recommended 3-4 dishes per person.

Our meal:

“Toro” & poached “onsen” style egg which was amazing. So many textures & flavours in there & my favourite dish of the night.

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Sashimi of the day which was salmon, kingfisher & snapper. All tastey & fresh.

Crumbed camembert cheese. So lightly crumbed & crisp.

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Grilled Miso Patagonian Toothfish. The toothfish was perfectly cooked. Soft, tender & smooth.

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Grilled Fremantle Octopus. Char grilled tender octopus with garlic panko crumbs & shallots, severed with ume plum & sesame oil. Yum!

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Scallop nanban. Deep fried Hokkaido scallops marinated in sweet soy vinagarette served with crispy lotus root chips, chilli mayonaise. Another favourte with all the diners.

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Kingfish & salmon belly Nitsuke. Deep fried kingfish & salmon belly with a soy-dashi broth & slow cooked daikon. By the time this came out we’d realised we’d ordered too many fish dishes. Could probably have done without this dish.

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Wagyu beef “ishi-yaki” grill with fried onion. It’s served rare in a hot stone pot. Take the beef pieces out depending on how you like it cooked.

Ramen noodle soup side dish. Haven’t had such a intricate ramen broth in Perth. Thumbs up.

Was too full for desert. Otherwise I would’ve liked to try their white choc, roast tea & berry pannacotta. Overall a great night out.

SDS.

Margaret River 2013

19 Mar

Alright guys and girls! How have we all been? This post is well over due. A few weeks ago, I along with the rest of Girlychat enjoyed a few days down at beautiful Margaret River with a few of our nearest and dearest. Margaret River is renowned for its wineries and beaches which attracts thousands of tourists each year. It is about a 3 hour drive from Perth. Here is a list of Top 5 things we loved about our indulgent and relaxing long weekend.

1. Accommodation – Saltwater Beach house, Prevelly

After about 3 hours of driving we arrived in Margaret River, collected the keys to the house & Settler’s Tavern for lunch and welcome drinks

  • Presentation of Mr Fay’s belated birthday gifts (Scottish books & over sized Gryffindor t-shirt *inside joke*)
  • Sent the boys grocery shopping for dinner while Girlychat strolled down the main road experiencing local art & food
  • Checking into the amazing Saltwater beach house. Fully furnished house that sleeps up to 11 guests. With only 2 queen beds and 3 couples, we Fay & I won the first come first serve queen beds. Better luck next time, Chrinnye!

With modern interiors and a huge deck with views of Prevelly Beach, it is one of our favourite places to stay. If you enjoy the beach, Prevelly beach is only a 3 minute walk, pretty much right in your back yard. For those of you who would prefer to relax indoors, this house also has a table tennis, is decked out with two tvs with stacks of dvds, and lots of national geographic magazines.

Bottom floor of the Saltwater Beach House

Bottom floor of the Saltwater Beach House

Top floor of the Saltwater Beach House

Top floor of the Saltwater Beach House – Girlychat lounging on the sofa

Balcony view of the Prevelly Beach

Balcony view of the Prevelly Beach

2. Beaches

Although I have not traveled all around the world, I feel confident enough to say that Western Australia has the most beautiful beaches!

Panoramic view of the Prevelly Beach

Panoramic view of the Prevelly Beach

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563164_475696079161742_840344807_nWalking path to the Prevelly Beach Walking path to the Prevelly Beach

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3. Food

During our 3-day stay we visited Morries for breakfast, Must for dinner and Watershed and Cheeky Monkey for lunch. We did utilize the beautiful fully functioning kitchen of the house to cook breakfast and dinner a few times.

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Big breakfast

Rude 6am awakening courtesy of WC but was compensated by awesome breakfast cooked by WC and Mr. WC

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Chrinnye aka (WC & Mr WC) cooked spaghetti Bolognese. I think SN ate 3 bowls of it.

At the end of our trip, on our way back home, we had a quick pitstop for a proper coffee at Yahava Koffeeworks & light breakky at Cookies Galore next door.

Yahava Koffeeworks

Yahava Koffeeworks – can you spot Mr. & Mrs. SDS?

Cookies Galore

Cookies Galore – mmm the smell of their shortbreads bring you the heaven and back

4. Wineries

Margaret River is home to over 100 Wineries, and if you love your wine, you are definitely in the right region. Many of them are just breath taking situated on large blocks of land and are often used for weddings, concerts and special occasions. We visited a few of the more popular Wineries down Caves Road which include Vasse Felix (started in 1967 this is the first Winery in Margaret River), Juniper (Dr. SA saved an injured bird), Gralyn (Mr. & Mrs. Fay’s favourite; WC hurt her big toe pretty badly here unfortunately and again Dr. SA came to the rescue), Pierro (Mr. WC’s favourite).

Vasse Felix winery - good wine but bad coffee

Vasse Felix winery – good wine but bad coffee

Leeuwin Estate winery with its famous ampitheatre

Leeuwin Estate winery with its famous ampitheatre

Leeuwin Estate wine tasting

Leeuwin Estate wine tasting

Lunch at Watershed winery

Lunch at Watershed winery

5. Friends!

Partying it up at the South West Beer Festival at the 3 Oceans winery.

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South West Beer festival at 3 Oceans Winery

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Not much shade at all… Fay was super sunburnt.

love, girlychat

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