A family photograph at Oriental Yum Cha as we finish lunch!
My youngest daughter turned fifteen last week and I have spent this weekend in Brisbane celebrating with her.
First things first breakfast. Getting close and personal with a Queensland nut (Macadamia) tart served with too much cream from a can. The base was a little too thick and dry making the eating experience difficult.
I spent the morning with Ms20 shopping for birthday invitation stationery for her 21st birthday party.
Around lunch time I fought the Westfield Chermside traffic to pick up Ms18 and Miss15 from Gymnastics training while Ms20 drove my parents into Fortitude Valley so we could meet at Oriental Yum Cha.
When we arrived we were taken to a large table up the back. Mum was worried it may be too far out of the main area for trolleys to visit. At first things were a little slow but it picked up and we really didn’t have to worry.
It would have been nice to be on the upper deck but that was pretty empty.
So on weekdays you get the all you can eat option. We visited on a Saturday so we paid standard rates. We also took heed and did not waste food.
In fifty years of eating this was the first mango and cream omelet I’ve eaten. I need to go back for more them. Truly delicious. A must have and equal to custard tarts IMHO.
So what did I think about Oriental Yum Cha? It was my first time but my daughters and parents had been there a few times before. They reckon it is consistently good. Not the best they’ve ever eaten but always good. I’d agree it was good. The food appeared and tasted fresh. The flavours were good. The service was friendly, helpful and easy going. We were able to get some things cut with scissors and if something was in short supply we could ask for more to come out. The meal was also reasonable in terms of price. It didn’t break the bank and my wallet didn’t suffer a knock out punch. I’d be happy returning and eating more Oriental Yum Cha
We spent the afternoon recovering and trying not to move too much. I was charged with cooking dinner so I went simple and baked some salmon with some kale coleslaw and avocado. Mum made a hazelnut chocolate cheesecake which she served with salted caramel ice cream.
Have you been to Oriental Yum Cha? What did you think?
My daughters and I have been planning an overseas holiday for about a year. Originally we were going to Florida in the middle of December as part of a gymnastics event. Unfortunately that fell through. As an alternative we agreed on Hong Kong. There are a lot of good reasons for Hong Kong. Food. Hong Kong Disney. Food. Ocean Park. Food. No jet lag because it’s in AWST. Food. It’s only an eight hour flight from Brisbane as opposed to more than double that to Florida. Food. Shopping at markets. Food. Photography. Food. Mostly importantly, I’d have much more time with my daughters than if we all went as part of a large gymnastic team event. Did I mention food?
So my part of this adventure started when I flew to Brisbane (BNE) from Canberra (CBR) on Christmas day to enjoy a day with my parents and brothers. I didn’t eat dinner! When I woke up on Boxing day (Saturday 26 December) I still felt full.
I greeted my daughters at my parents’ place early in the morning and we all hugged in a huge amount of excitement. I may have squealed.
The flight from Brisbane (BNE) to Hong Kong (HKG) was pretty uneventful. We flew Qantas (QF97). We managed to get the A and B seats in rows 23 and 24. Sweet! Unfortunately my entertainment console didn’t work but I wasn’t upset. I had lots of books and podcasts on my iPad to keep me going as well as yam biscuits and Mum’s almond shortbread biscuits.
On arriving our passage through the border agencies was trouble-free. The only hitch was the ground transport to the Cosmopolitan Hotel. We had booked a shuttle bus with Buffalo Tours and our arrival gate wasn’t where the tour operator was. There was a moment of “what do we do?” but then I just called the operator and sorted it out. I’m grateful for my Vodafone international roaming feature. An extra $5 a day and I keep all the features I use back home.
We got to our hotel feeling quite tired. Miss14, Ms18 and Ms20 all collapsed into bed after they showered and were down and out for the count.
As part of our accommodation package, we had breakfast included. The hotel dining room was utilitarian.
I went for deep fried potato (not quite a potato gem [tater tot] but it was deep fried so it was good anyway), scrambled eggs, a variety of dim sum, waffles and condensed milk. There was also plain congee, cereal, pastries and fruit.
After breakfast, we walked to Causeway Station and had a few goes at finding it. From there we caught the MTR (mass transit railway) to Central Station. We found the Hong Kong Station and caught the number 6 bus to Stanley Market. The double decker bus was fun. The twists and turns created a little nausea but it was pretty much a roller coaster ride. Watching how close we got to walls and other vehicles was hair raising.
Stanley Markets was fun. We bought little handbags. I bought a black one for a lens. Ms20 and Ms18 bought robes. Ms18 laughed at me but the little zip up bag at only AUD5 was perfect.
We went for a walk to Blake Pier and shot some photographs.
We had lunch at Toby Inn. It was a local cheap and cheerful Chinese restaurant. Everything was sticky and nothing looked clean. One of the staff tossed crockery onto the table with a deft hand. All the plates and bowls seemed to magically find its spot without anything breaking.
Miss14 chose deep fried crispy skin chicken, Ms18 chose salty chilli squid, Ms20 chose beef with rice noodles and I chose deep fried pork with sweet and sour sauce. It was a pretty good meal with generous serving sizes. We shared everything and enjoyed the meal.
After lunch we caught the number 6 bus back to Central Station and caught a train to Mong Kok station and walked to Ladies Market. These markets were really busy. We bought T-shirts, USB sticks and earphones plus a tooth brush cap.
We made our way to Langham Place to rest our feet after about three rounds of the Ladies Market. We then had an early dinner at The Dining Room. I think it’s a chain. Miss14, Ms18 and Ms20 all had the noodles with prawn and pork wonton soup. I had the chilli noodles with chicken fillet. We were all pretty satisfied with our dinner, especially after we received spoons to load up with our chopsticks. After dinner we had ice cream for dessert. We walked to Mong Kok station and when to Admiralty Station to catch another train to Causeway Bay station. From there we walked back to the hotel.
Regular readers know I like steak and some of you know that I’ve cooked steak like Heston before. Now that I’m back on a low carb kick I’ve been dreaming of a nice steak dinner since picking up a piece of ribeye from Coles on the weekend.
I began preparing the steak this morning as I was making breakfast. I unwrapped the meat and laid it on a rack and then on a plate and put it back in the refrigerator to dry out a little.
This is Heston explaining his steak cooking method
When I arrived home after work I pulled the steak out and placed it on the kitchen bench to let it get to room temperature (which in Canberra today wasn’t much different to the temperature inside my refrigerator).
This is my steak after it had been drying in the refrigerator
How to cook a steak like Heston Blumenthal
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Gary Lum
Ribeye fillet steak
Bok choi stalk
In the morning before leaving for work unwrap the steak and put it on a rack on a plate and put it back in the refrigerator
When you get home after work pull the steak out and put it on the kitchen bench to equilibrate to room temperature
Cut the fennel, parsley and red onion into thin slices and squeeze the juice from half a lime
Put the salad together
Slice the stalk of some bok choi and set aside
Get a frypan really hot and add some grape seed oil plus a bit of butter
When the pan is smoking hot put the steak in the frypan
Count slowly to fifteen and turn
Repeat this for a total of 3 minutes
When the steak is cooked put it aside in a warm place and let it rest for 10 full minutes
While the frypan is still hot add the bok choi stalk slices and fry off
After 10 minutes resting plate it all up
Shoot a photograph
Eat the meal
Wash the dishes
Write the recipe
This is the steak and fennel salad plated up
Here is my breakfast this morning. Streaky bacon cooked in a benchtop oven and served with a fried egg.
Who would have thought I’d make my 50th birthday the way I eat! This year on Friday 1 May I was able to celebrate 50 years ex utero. Few people know that in the eight or so months of my gestation I travelled around the world in utero. You see I was conceived on the Indian Ocean on a merchant ship with my Dad as the ship’s doctor. He and Mum were travelling to England so Dad could sit examinations. On the way to England I visited Cairo and while Mum saw the pyramids I was busy with organogenesis. On learning she was pregnant Mum wanted to return to Australia to confine. If I’d been born in England I’d be a citizen of Britain and Fiji. Dad was born in Fiji and was yet to become an Australian citizen. Mum wanted me to be Australian. So Dad’s youngest brother, then an engineer for Qantas, flew over to England and picked Mum (and me) up and took her (us) to Brisbane via Boston, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Nadi.
I had arranged with work to take my birthday as a formal leave day. Normally on Fridays I’m working at The Canberra Hospital in ACT Pathology as an Hon. VMO. I cleared it with both workplaces first. I wouldn’t normally take a day off work just to celebrate a birthday but I’ve noticed it’s a growing trend and I really wanted to share my 50th birthday with blood, kin, family.
I had booked a flight and arranged with Qantas for an upgrade in my seat to Business Class as a present to myself.
Breakfast was a salmon and boiled eggs plate which was served with some bread and a small bowl of yoghurt. It was quite delicious.
Prior to boarding I’d been called by my daughters and they had mentioned South East Queensland was about to be hit with a deluge of rain because of the formation of a significant tropical low pressure depression off the coast. My eldest also told me that my birthday present was a ticket to the Rugby League test match between Australia and New Zealand that night at Lang Park (very close to where I spent the first few years of my ex utero existence). I was so excited. Miss19’s voice quavered a little though because she was concerned about the weather. The other bonus was that she had arranged tickets for Dad and wheelchair access because he’s now quite frail. Dad’s birthday is later in the month.
As QF950 began its descent into Brisbane the turbulence become noticeable and as we flew lower the bumps were increasing in amplitude and frequency. I tightened my seat belt a little more. Out of the window it was grey. Just grey.
The pilot of QF950 on Friday 1 May did a splendid job, despite the bumps the landing was smooth. I was in Brisbane. It was noticeably warmer than Canberra so I removed my coat and let my skin drink in the moisture in the air.
Sitting in a Hertz rental (a Ford Mondeo…my first Mondeo) I quickly learnt where all the windscreen wiping actuators were and quickly put them into use. The rain was quite heavy but nothing out of the ordinary.
On reaching my parents’ retirement complex we arranged lunch. We would be joined by Miss17 and Miss19. Next Friday they will become Miss18 and Miss20. Mum had booked the Aspley Oriental Chinese Restaurant for yum cha. We’d been to this place before. It was local, convenient and the maître d’ was well known for his brusque mannerisms and behaviour. He didn’t disappoint! I wouldn’t say that the Aspley Oriental Chinese Restaurant has the best yum cha in Brisbane. Not even close but for Mum and Dad convenience is key.
We enjoyed some steamed and deep fried dumplings, some Chinese tea and finished our meal with some custard tarts.
After lunch we visited Coles and Aldi and then headed back to home base.
This is when the fun began. I had to pick up Miss14 from school and drop Miss17 at gymnastics training (she’s competing for Queensland in a fortnight in Melbourne at the national championships in WAG Level 10). The rain was now very heavy but nothing I’m not used to. The radio was calling it a super storm.
For what should be a 15 minute drive took 35 minutes to pick up Miss14 and then drop off Miss17. Sandgate Road was moving at a slow pace. It took about 45 minutes to get to Gympie Road in Lutwyche and then I spent three hours on Gympie Road trying to get to Chermside.
By this stage the rain was sort of reminding me of a decent shower in Darwin. I love this sort of whether and don’t mind driving in heavy rain.
I had the radio on the whole time and listening to 4BC for updates. I like 4BC because they carry most of the good rugby league news and much better than the ABC. I was even sending them road updates via twitter
Hi @NewsTalk4BC northbound Gympie Rd Chermside covered in water. Cars traversing Middle island to get through
Up until about the last 100 metres of our journey the footy match was still on. I’d been calling Mum and Dad and Miss19 throughout the traffic hold up as well as Mr43 (youngest brother) to discuss the logistics of the evening and how to get to Lang Park. After many iterations of how we were going to do this, we ended up with catching a bus from Chermside. Then on the radio the message was read that the NRL in conjunction with the television broadcaster had agreed to reschedule the game to Sunday 2015-05-03 1600 AEST. Poor Miss19 was so upset. She and her sisters had been planning this as a big surprise for me and my Dad. The weather got the better of the situation. I’m not sure as you read this if you’re aware that as of Saturday 2015-05-02 1400 AEST five people have been confirmed dead as a result of the water. I’m guessing they were in motor vehicles trying to cross flooded roads and were swept away. The Queensland emergency services and state emergency service undertook a large number of swift water rescues. We saw some quite extraordinary scenes. Water covering the entire northbound lanes of Gympie Road in two sections in Chermside. Later in the evening we saw cars floating on Shaw Road.
Once we got to home base Mum had burgers ready for us to eat. The original intention was a quick and light meal to get Dad and me to the footy but in the end it was my birthday dinner
The next bit to this story was the trip to pick up Miss17 from training. The rain was still pretty heavy and we knew there were numerous road closures. The added importance of this trip is that Miss17 had made me a birthday ice cream cake at Cold Rock (she has a part time job at a local Cold Rock Ice Creamery). We set out and immediately got stuck in some traffic. We eventually got to Miss17 who told us she’d seen that her Cold Rock had suffered a power outage that evening because of the bad weather and she didn’t know if the freezers were affected or not. By the time we crawled past the lights were out and no one was there. Who knows if my birthday cake still exists or if it’s a milky creamy mess on the floor seeping out of a freezer. Determined to celebrate my 50th birthday with cake after an hour being in traffic we got to a Coles and bought a cake (only a few were left).
We got home and Mum added candles. There was singing cutting and then eating. Mum thought it would be funny to get a 40 candle and surround it with 10 candles to signify 50. This would also make it easier for me to blow out the candles.
All in all it was a memorable 50th birthday. I was with my parents and daughters. I spent about 5 hours in a Ford Mondeo in traffic. I enjoyed some nice tropical rain. I ate well and I laughed a lot. I smiled the entire day. Check out the next post to see if the ice cream cake survived.
We celebrated Dr47’s and Mr42’s (soon to be Mr43) birthday at Ming Inn
After our big lunch at Morgans Seafood Restaurant we had a family afternoon of catching up with each other. Mr42 had already planned dinner for the evening at Ming Inn in the Grange. may the eating continue!
The Ming Inn is a suburban Chinese restaurant. Mr42 reckons I’ve been here before. I can’t remember.
We had two tables booked and for a long time we were the only customers in the restaurant. There was lots of takeaway traffic though which is usually a good sign for a Chinese restaurant.
We ended up asking for a range of dishes we knew the kids would like. So we asked for Mongolian lamb, lemon chicken, honey prawns, pork ribs, and fried duck. The kids also wanted chicken chow mein and some spring rolls.
At the end of the meal we also had a big dessert planned with the kids all wanting deep fried ice cream, some adults having bomb Alaska and all of us wanting to enjoy Miss17’s raspberry swirl chocolate ganache cake.
We had a booking for noon because basically the Lums don’t like to wait too long to eat. On the drive (we had a convoy of three cars), I had a niece with me and she said she was a real Lum because she preferred meat and fish and dessert over vegetables.
We get to the restaurant and Dr47 tells me I’ve been here before but I can’t remember. Not long after, Mr42 arrives with his kids and we’re all seated at a long table with a water view. I find myself at the end with all the kids which isn’t a bad thing since I’m a big kid 🙂
Because we had decided we were also going to go out for dinner we all elected to enjoy a main course. The menu doesn’t have a huge selection but every item looks like a winner to me.
It’s been nearly a decade since I enjoyed a seafood platter (my favourites being at Crustaceans and Christos in Darwin). I was so excited when Miss17 said she’d like to try a platter with me. It was the second most beautiful thing I’d heard all weekend. The most beautiful was when Miss19 told me that when I visit in October she wants me to cook for her a meal like I used to when we lived in Darwin. I nearly cried.
Even though I had a camera with me I didn’t want to annoy everyone by capturing images of their food so I took a couple of ninja snaps.
Miss17 and I chose the Moreton Bay platter because it was a combination hot and cold creation and focussed on the local crustacean, Thenus orientalis, which is a slipper lobster and known locally as the Moreton Bay bug. In Cockroach territory (aka New South Wales) it’s known as a Balmain bug. Fittingly Dr47 described it to his Miss8 as the cockroach of the sea (not that that description would put her off eating it). I loved her description of calamari. She calls them Japanese chips (fries for my North American friends).
The Moreton Bay platter consists of Chilled Moreton Bay bugs, Florida lobster, Pacific oysters, and ocean prawns, with Grilled Coconut crumbed prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, half shell Queensland scallops with macadamia nut and lime butter, salt and pepper calamari (aka Japanese chips), and crumbed fish fillets.
It’s meant to be a platter for two but the quantities are not served evenly, so there is an odd number of oysters, bug tails and only one lobster tail. This could create a little tension, fortunately, I’ve learnt to be less macrophagic in my eating habits and so Miss17 and I made very equitable decisions on the division of the spoils.
After the mains were devoured a spectacular cake was produced. A white chocolate mud cake for Mum and Dad.
We all had a great time at lunch. The kids loved their meals and the setting was perfect. Brisbane turned on a beautiful day for Mum and Dad. They shared that on their wedding day it was brighter and more blue but a little colder in Brisbane. On that day the Beatles were playing in Brisbane and the Wallabies were playing the All Blacks. An uncle from New Zealand asked if he could skip the wedding party and attend the test match. So fifty years on and my parents have a family they love and in Mum’s words they’ll just take each year as it comes now.
I’ve just got home (Canberra) after a busy weekend in Brisbane to see my daughters. May is a big month for us, my father’s birthday is in May, my eldest two daughters both share a birthday in May (two years apart), it’s mothers day in May and my birthday is in May.
I arrived late Friday night and the girls were already in ‘bed’ ready to sleep. They had a big Saturday ahead of them.
On Saturday we got out of bed at 5 am and ate a quick breakfast. I had peanut paste on toast (I didn’t have time for a low carbohydrate meal) while the two youngest ones had Mum’s lemon curd on toast. We had to be on the road by 6.30 am and on our way to Yatala for the QGSSSA Cross Country championships. Athletics is not the favourite sport for Miss13 and Miss17 however, as all rounders they compete in as many sports as possible. The meet is held at Rivermount College which isn’t part of the QGSSSA. The college is at Yatala near the Gold Coast.
Just thinking back a bit, when I arrived Friday night I discovered that a tube of moisturiser (yes I have Ichthyosis) had ‘exploded’ in my bag and the shirt I was going to wear had been ruined. Mum said I should wear one of Dad’s shirts. She also said it would be warm so short sleeves wouldn’t be a problem. I always listen to my mother.
So we arrive at Yatala and it’s cloudy and cold. I’m shivering. Thanks Mum 🙂
[To get more detail out of the images, click on them, they should open in a new window with a higher resolution. I’m happy to receive comments on the photography. Some images were captured with a Canon PowerShot G16 and the others with a Nikon D7100. I shoot in manual and capture RAW files to allow some post processing in Adobe Lightroom. ]
The girls run well and enjoy themselves. The next stop is the Sleeman Sports Complex in Chandler. We have to get Miss17 there for gymnastics training. Even though she didn’t make the Queensland team this year she’s allowed to compete at the national championships this week in Melbourne. She has to train at Gymnastics Queensland headquarters in Chandler. Before we get there though, Miss17 suggests a spot of morning tea at Yatala Pies.
Yatala Pies is a bit of an institution in South East Queensland. Their pies are known far and wide. Funnily enough I’ve never eaten in the Yatala Pies shop. This was a first.
Miss17 had a curry chicken and vegetable pie, Miss13 had a sausage roll and I elected to have a pasty. It’s been ages since I’ve had a good pasty. This one didn’t disappoint. I loved it.
Now regulars readers know me so it shouldn’t be any surprise that when I saw Vanilla slice I had to have one. Yatala Pies sells French Vanilla slices with a whopping big layer of French vanilla cream. It was gorgeous.
After a lot of driving back and forth between Chandler and Chermside it was a long tiring day. After getting the kids back to my parents’ place it was time to cook our special May dinner to celebrate so many birthdays and mothers day.
I said to Mum that I wanted to cook salmon and would be wonderful is Miss17 could make a salad. I also made a pumpkin cauliflower mash which I used to smear the plate and perch the salmon on.
For dessert, Miss17 had made an ice cream cake. The base was made with Ferrero Rocher, Chocolate Mint and Queensland nut (Macadamia) ice creams. The top had a combination of mixers added to make it a cake to remember.
After dinner we watched The Hunger Games on DVD. I’d never seen it before. It was good.
After a good night’s sleep Miss19 joined us after a busy weekend of working and studying. We had planned a special breakfast together. My daughters and me 🙂 We decided to head to Groove Train at Chermside because it was close and the last time we were there we enjoyed the food.