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Showing posts from August, 2012

Time For A Change

It can be time to change your shower head.
Shower heads, or for that matter, garden hose heads, were initially chosen for a purpose. Once conditions change, let go of the past and move towards the new.   It can be a new design, or you may require a different feel, or the new stuff is just more efficient.

Discover the amazing paw paw baby plant coming out of all the clearing.
The grass may be long and you can unintentionally pull out flora that the weeds have cleverly intertwined themselves with, for protection and symbiosis. Call it a case of collateral damage. Then you see the unmistakable paw paw plant, sturdy and elegant, untouched by this bulldozing of the intruders. How and why did this paw paw come about. Oh yes, you may recall having sprinkled the seeds on a summer's day not long ago, not expecting much but perhaps having a secret desire that some thing may grow somehow. And now the plant is there.

You may never know when you have left a positive impact some how. Yo…

Chase Oyster Bar - Chatswood, Sydney

Catching up with long time friends is important. To be able to do so with enjoyable dining is a privilege. To have reasonably good food, in relatively quiet ambience, and to also have delightful conversation, is a pleasure.


The Chase Oyster Bar offers more than the name suggests. Chef Paul Della Marta has a wide varied menu that combines both French and Italian cuisine. On the Sunday evening that we sampled his fare, the guinea fowl had run out - I reckoned it must be popular, but was the only game on the menu. Paul's abilities in cuisine dining surpasses the location of his restaurant, next door to a food court and a competitor that thrives on turnover, snacks and different pricing. The location does not fully reveal Paul's promise and delivery, nor positions them for his potential market of his genre.

I was delighted to find attractive pricing for the quality of the food coming out from the kitchen of Chef Paul. Seafood, soups, pates, risottos, salads, pastas, meats, d…

Tonitto's Continental Cakes - Port Kembla, NSW

Tonitto can be a name variation of Antonio.It also refers to an outstanding cake shop and bakery located along the main strip in Port Kembla, NSW. I like the topography and sloping inclinations of this road - Wentworth Street. You may hear the surf from the nearby impressive sandy beach.  It is a Saturday morning, suburban and it feels like any of the coastal towns dotted around the Australian coast - but then I notice the towering chimney from the nearby steel works. Not that this breaks my fascination with the scenery, with shuttered light industrial garages, people scurrying through the wintery windy blast and a day that feels like any other. Tonitto provided me a bright spot that quiet weekend, and I eyed the napoli (left), tartuffi (upper right) and conchilge (lower right) - picture above.  The business is currently managed and operated by Laurence and Loretta Tonitto, carrying on the traditions of Vincent Tonitto, who hailed from Italy and enriched the Illawarra area with his p…

Winter - Dishes, Snacks and More

Flathead batter and chips at  Diggies, North Wollongong NSW

Soy sauced pork belly at Crown Chef Wollongong, NSW

                                   Kucing Claypot noodles at Albee's Kitchen, Campsie, NSW


                                         Home made chicken curry laksa, Balgownie NSW

                                                         Menu at Il Nido's, Balgownie NSW




Market Produce

Amongst the mandarins, cherries, kiwis and apples, on a winter's afternoon at a large produce store, another fruit stands out - pomegranates.  This unique fruit, with a history that relates to the Greeks and Babylon, is rich with folic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium and fibre. The origin of its contemporary name in English is the "seeded apple" in Latin.  More importantly, this fruit is packed with antioxidants useful for the prevention of cancer and heart disease. I recall the adage to eat food in as many colours as possible in one day. The bright red pomegranate bits are like gems.  They are often used in salads, if not just consumed fresh.  It is native from the Caucasian mountains near Iran and Iraq, popularised by the Phoenicians (hence the scientific name Punica Granatum) and extensively used in Arab, Spanish, Turkish, Pakistani and Indian cuisine.  The latter has also placed high regard for the pomegranate in Ayurveda medicine.  Examples of pomegranate use…

Harris Park, Sydney - Little India Too

Wigram Street in Harris Park, NSW, offers an interesting array of commercial retailers alongside its residential houses.  Inside the Taj Indian Sweets (photo above), there are satellite broadcasts, a range of traditional sweets to choose from and a busy indoors.  Below, the Bhoj Sweets & Restaurant, housed in  a renovated 19th century former suburban house with steps and a white picket fence.  The Bhoj is also the  name of a different chain in the Melbourne, Victoria area, in both Templestoe and the Docklands. Bhoj in the Hindi language, I reckon, refers to both a boy's name and a feast or banquet.  The Taj is the Crown.





The ambiance in Harris Park is definitely homely, with a feel of weekend solitude, a working bird bath (picture below) and vehicles parked on the streets. Residents in the greater Sydney area with an Indian background are also found in hubs like in Blacktown, Quackers Hill, Westmead, Liverpool, Kellyville and Glenwood.



There are old world groceries and new-fa…

Hong Kong Barbecued Meats

Eastwood, Chatswood, Ultimo, Hurstville in the greater Sydney area.  Doncaster, Richmond, Glen Waverley, Little Bourke Street in Melbourne.  Frisco, Dallas, New York or Chicago in the USA. Vancouver or Toronto in Canada. Soho in London or Chinatown in Amsterdam. Scenes replicated in South-east Asia and Auckland's Dominion Road.  The first wave of emigration out of China was mainly form the southern Chinese provinces, where roasted, barbecued and charbroiled meats were essentially part of the menu and have matured to an art. Glistening, dripping and crunchy. They do look oily.  They can be soy sauced chicken, roast pork, goose or duck, always served whole, replete with neck, claws, buttocks and beaks.  May be it has to do with the Chinese penchant for wholesomeness and intactness.  People line up to buy them whole or cut up in more palatable bite size pieces.  Do note that Chinese styled stuffed sausages and marinated spare ribs are also available in such restaurants.  Above photo…

Harris Park, Sydney - Little India

Parramatta in New South Wales was settled by the British within a few months of landing at Sydney Cove.  Today, in an adjoining suburb, Harris Park is host to a multicultural group that has a third originating from the Indian sub-continent. Punjabi, Gujarati and Hindi are the predominant languages spoken, together with mainstream English.  Interesting enough, the average age of residents is only 30.   I have heard much from mates and in the media about Harris Park, so one boring weekend I did not resist when I had an opportunity to have lunch there. On approach, Harris Park may seem to be another ordinary western Sydney suburb, but on closer examination, I was impressed by the number of restaurants, the preserved architecture and design of dwellings and how life seemingly is centred around one junction - where Wigram and Marion Streets meet.  I can recall Dandenong in Victoria, north-west of Melbourne, with this similar hub of Indian-born migrants, with so many choices in curries, sp…

The Rocks, Sydney - Vignettes