FOOD DIARY: The saigon Cafe & Noodle Restaurant

We enjoyed the entree’ that we always order and always anticipate because they are so good: the  especially the Prawn Toast  and the Fried Wontons.

As a main Diane ordered #37 Vietnamese Fried Kway Teow and I ordered #115 Ga Xao Lang (Delicious Chicken in Red Bean and Coconut Milk.

As a beverage we also sprang for a bottle of McWilliams’s Chardonnay.

The food was as good as the play.

FOOD DIARY: Roasted lemon and bay scented cod

There isn’t a salt water cod in cooee of Western Australia but thanks to people’s desire to make money we can buy flash-frozen North Sea cod at our local frozen fish shop and last night it proved its worth as a meal delight.

It was my turn to cook and it wasd day two of our 2–5 Diet and Diane asked, very reasonably, if we could vary our choice of fish on these diet days.  In Ainsley’s great low fat cookbook he has this recipe which we first tried on 5/11/04 and we should have been eating it faer more regularly since then but alas there are too many good recipes in too many cookbooks but I will try to return to his recipes far more often.

His recipe is very easy: Diane noted when she first made it in ’04, “Out of this world aromas!” because of cooking the cod pieces on a bed of lemon slices covered with fresh bay leaves (of which we have in the back).  The meal began with Di’s sauteed sliced fennel which wasd a superb accompaniment.

Our beverage of choice was a second bottle of that wonderful Houghton’s Chardennay Verdelho that graced a previous meal.

FOOD DIARY: Asian Stirfry

Last night was a non–Diet meal but we still returned to a low–cal diet book that we bought years ago:  Ainsley Harriott’s, Low Fat Meals in Minutes which is an excellent source of diet meals with strong flavour   Last night Diane made “Prawn, Mushroom and Bean Sprout Noodles and it will be a normal meal all the time, at least if I have much to say about it!

At 497 calories this barely fits under Di’s whole day calorie allowance but Monday is a non-diet day so all is well and the meal tasted wonderful!

We shared the remains of a bottle of Houghton’s Chardonnay Verdelho which matched the stir fry perfectly.


FOOD DIARY: spaghetti bolognese with gigli pasta

Last evening Diane used the ragu bolognese of which she had made extra to marry with that robust pasta shape that we had tried for the first time several weeks ago: pasta gigli the shape of which, at least to me, marries better with a heavier pasta rather than spaghetti. The upshot was that I thought the marriage was extremely successful; the ragu clung very well with the ins ‘n outs of this pasta shape.

I was wrong when I wrote several days ago about the fact that ragu bolognese had no tomatoes in it–in fact it has two full cans of chopped tomatoes with their juice. After the five hours that the sauce cooked I could not taste any tomato. This time at my request Diane added some pasata to thin the ragu and I thought that it tasted better than the original ragu.

Real ragu bolognese is too rich for my taste but when it was thinned out as she did it worked a treat.

As always she made an excellent cleansing salad and we had two glasses of a “Clean Skin” inexpensive red wine as our beverage and an excellent meal completed an excellent day.


FOOD DIARY: Naked Pizza, San Daniele

I took the easy way out last night: Diane’s delicious ragu the previous night meant that an easy option was the only reasonable route to take as a follow-up to her meal.

We tried to our sorrow this different pizza but the good Doctor’s pizza has become the staple in our house and the one by which all others are measured.  The toppings were good but as you know there is no way to mess up good ingredients; ah, but the true measure of a pizza is the dough for the bottom and the Naked Pizza missed the boat on that account and that mistake sealed its fate.

Diane’s cleansing salad was fulsome and the two glasses of unremarkable red wine completed the post-dinner parts of the meal very well.  

FoOD DIARY: ragu Bolognese

Our eating of ragu Bolognese can be attributed to the Queensland meat market in the Fremantle Market because they sell the best minced beef in Western Australia and had it not been for their excellent beef mince we would not have enjoyed one of the great dishes of Bolongna.

Diane  studied cooking in Bologna some years ago and she recounts that their ragu is very dry because tomato passata has not made its impact in the north as much as it did in the south so tomatoes do not play the role that they do in northern Italian cooking. Italian cooks can tell from a recipe’s ingredients whether the dish is from north or south.  This was a classic Bolognese recipe and it was a little too dry for me; I much prefer the wetter southern Italian sauces but Sunday Diane or I will use her sauce but with a little added tomato liquid to thin it out slightly.

Because Friday night is our Party Night she began the festivities with a delicious Wild Turkey Rye Manhattan and a little plate of nibbles: pieces of toasted bread, pickled mushrooms, and dried olives.  She found an inexpensive but none-the-less satisfying ’11 Chianti: Borgo SanLeo from Gambellara, Tuscany which was a wonderful accompaniment to her Ragu Bolognese!



FOOD DIARY: baked salmon

Last night was the second night of the 2–5 Diet so we had a piece of salmon rather than the normal white flesh fish.  The method was the same: a bed of sliced mushromms upon which the salmon pieces rest; then the chopped shallots are sprinkled over and heated stock is poured into the bottom.  The baking generally takes about 15 to 20 minutes at 180 degrees depending on the thickness of the piece of fish.

There is always a green salad with the fish with all the tasty bits removed: olives, croutons, avocado but it is still a cleansing end to the meal.  The beverage is lemon flavoured water that is very good.