There’s a new Indian restaurant in the next suburb, and my boyfriend decided to spoil me with a meal there last night – The Grand Pavilion, known for their authentic and delicious Indian and Indo-chinese meals on the Central Coast, has just opened a location in Warners Bay.
I suppose I start from the start!
It took us forever to order – because there are so many options on the menu…. Old favourites and new (to us) twists and variations. All sounding delicious. We didn’t order it, but the $35.90 per head banquet for 2 or more is AMAZING value for entrees, mains (which are all Gluten free btw), sides and desserts. Next time, Gadget, next time.
So we settled on our order, and were presented with complementary poppadoms, along with a mild and spicy mint sauce (raita would be what I called the milk youghurt one) while Bruce went back to the car for our bottle of $7 Aldi Shiraz (amazingly smooth btw) because they are BYO only ($3/head). There is the usual Coke brand and Lassi selection for drinks.
And then it was onto the entree – The Veg Grilled Platter for 2 – $18.50
This impressive creation came out on a sizzling plate, with veges adorning and enhancing it (it you have room – eat the sizzled up capsicum and other veges. Wow!)
First we had the Onion Bhaji and Tandoori Mushroom, which both had a little kick as far as I was concerned! Great texture on the Bhaji, and the mushroom was a different twist for me, with sooo many flavours!
Next, because they were under the other two, were the Vegetarian Seekh Kebab (the vege sausage thingy) and the Paneer Tikka. Wow, I loved the two of them – the paneer had a nice marinade and was cooked to perfection, and the Kebab was so full or herbs and flavours I nearly fainted with joy.
(and then, we rested, while our mains were prepared)
We chose two meals from the Chef’s special mains, and we were blown away. Both we “mild” heat wise, but the combination of spices and cooking style was enough to have me eating way more than I should.
The Lamb Shank Masala is, according to the menu – “Lamb shanks cooked int Indian style with special spices until the meat in tender and falling off the bone”. Wow. These were amazing. The meat inside was purple and so soft and melty! I half-heard the owner/chef explain to the table beside me the process they go through cooking these, and yes, worth every cent! – $23.90
(not the classiest way, but omg they were delicious!!!)
The other dish we selected was the “Mughlai Chicken” – Tr traditional cashew nut, almond based sauce flavoured with cardamom, cloves and bay leaf with a touch of fresh cream. This was also melt in the mouth stuff… My unsophisticated palate likened it to butter chicken but without the tomato and all the damn sugar. but, for sure, this was a milk chicken curry that was actually full of flavour.
Oh and there was a hardboiled egg in it!
We also had rice and naan (but of course!) but given my level of stuffed-ness from the entrees I had a little bit of both, not much.
The meal and service were amazing – and the British girl next to us proclaimed it to be the only real Indian food she’s had since moving to Australia. We will have to go there many times again!
(play all the clips on the post. if not now but this week, because these women are AMAZING)
(Love Outside Andromeda should have been on the list)
So, we went down to Sydney for an AWESOME CONCERT fronted by some amazing rock chicks (The Super Jesus and the Baby Animals!) And, since we were in Sydney proper, we HAD to have decent Chinese food (since it’s not really a Newcastle thing).
So, we had a whole duck, firstly in pancake and then in San Choi Bao at Emperor’s Garden BBQ. We were soooo stuffed and happy, but we also managed to finish a delicious Tasmania Pinot Noir with our meal.
So light and smooth!!!!
So, the concert was awesome, from the warmup til we left.
The warmup act was so cool an all chick four piece punk/rock act called BANDINTEXAS. I wanted to jump on the drummer and take her home.
And the rest of the night was awesome. Rocking out to Sarah McLeod and The Superjesus? Was it 1998 again? I was in HEAVEN!!!
So, I seem to have a spare cope of the She Who Rocks compilation album, which by the way, is a charity thingy that give $1 to Cervical Cancer research if you opt to buy it?
Hanging On The Telephone – Blondie
Devil Gate Drive – Suzie Quatro
Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
When I Grow Up – Garbage
Barracuda – Heart
Early Warning – Baby Animals
Malibu – Hole
Joey – Concrete Blonde
What’s Up? – 4 Non Blondes
Weak – Skunk Anansie
Kids In America – Kim Wilde
You Are Beautiful – Dallas Frasca
Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
This Is Love – PJ Harvey
Brass In Pocket – Pretenders
Gravity – The Superjesus
The Look – Roxette
Plastic Loveless Letter – Magic Dirt
The Best – Tina Turner
but if you wanna win it, use the widget below and let me know YOUR fave female artist
Australian addresses only, because I’m broke and posting it out myself.
(I am not at all affiliated with the She Who Rocks tour, I just love the concept and wanna spread the love)
Okay, there’s two reasons that I bought this Lemon and Herb chicken from the Jamie Oliver range at Woolies….
1. It was the day before I get my centrelink payments and I had limited funds
2. I wouldn’t pay a markup normally for something I can easily do myself (put herbs on a chook and shove cut lemon up its butt)
3. (three?) I was on my way home from a fairly intense (as they have been lately – we’re getting towards the end of the block I’ve been allotted so trying to cram some stuff in) psych session and my brain wasn’t working, so doing anything beyond throwing things in the oven was beyond me.
So, a half price, already seasoned chook (though they expect you to put salt on it and a sploosh of olive oil before you throw it in the oven) was perfect. Plus there were spuds and the like at home for a quick roast dinner (yeah, should have had greens, but whatever).
Simple and yummy dinner.
But wait, there’s more!
Since this dear chook afforded us some leftovers (we ate the breast meat the first night), I stripped it down, got a soup pack from the farmers’ markets at Speers Point Park on Saturday, and made what could maybe be called a honey mustard chicken.
For us, it was a little over-sweet, as I think the carrots gave enough sweetness without adding the honey, but warm and delish all the same!
I served it with a pouch of quinoa and rice for added roughage. When I cleaned up Mum’s pantry on Mothers’ day, there were a number of these to slowly work through. Think I’m doing a good job at it!
You need (for 4 serves):
Pack of Orgran Italian Style gluten free spaghetti
1 onion, diced
A leek, washed and sliced
Dessert spoon minced garlic
3 handfuls button mushrooms, quartered
5 pieces shortcut bacon, roughly diced (ensure yours is gluten free if you need it so – they usually are now, but just check!)
1 piece chicken breast – cubed
About the same of “Italian Herbs” or Thyme (both to taste, of course)
1 cup of chicken stock (not pictured)
Tablespoon sour cream
2 Tablespoons cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil up the pasta in a separate saucepan as per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
Heat a sploosh of olive oil in a pan. We’re using classic and not extra virgin olive oil here because, I’m told, extra virgin olive oil burns too early in the heating process and should be reserved for splooshing on salads and dipping a delicious bread in. Add diced onion, sliced leek, garlic and saute til soft. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms and fry over medium heat, let them shrink up a little.
Throw in the diced bacon, and cook
Remove everything from pan, add a little extra oil if needed, and cook up the chicken. Stir through herbs.
Add back in the leek/bacon/mushroom mix. Add in stock. Simmer on low-medium until there’s a lot less liquid.
When reduced, stir through the creams.Ruturn to heat for about 5 minutes, then stir through cooked pasta and serve. Season with pepper and salt to taste, and there’s always the option of parmesan, but I think this is rich enough as is!
And then there was my own creation… Using mushroom and tomatoes as the base with chili for added kick to the buckwheat spirals
Heat some oil in a pan on about 3/4 heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute til the onion softens.
Chuck in the mushrooms and bacon and cook these through
Put in the tomatoes, herbs and chili sauce. Simmer for as long as you like – at least 10 mins. Add in some water or chicken/vegetable stock if you wanna leave it going longer. It definitely won’t hurt!
Cook up the pasta as per the instructions on the packet. Drain and plate up.
Stir the baby spinach through the sauce mixture, allow the spinach to wilt a little
Serve it with the pasta, and top with shaved parmesan.
Enjoy with red wine.
I have to say that Gluten Free Pasta is getting better and better with time, and while you still need to keep an eye on it, this Orgran pasta doesn’t go gluggy the second you over-cook it! Definitely one for the pantry!
New book! By @HelenRazer and @BernardKeene who i saw talk tonight with the lovely @narrante!
So, I was meant to head along to the talk with Helen Razer and Bernard Keane about their new book – A Short History of Stupid with my dear friend from the high schoo days, Bronwyn. Unfortunately Bron was sick, so I asked my dear speechie cum librarian friend Alana to come along. She’d just moved to Sydney, was looking to do local things, and I MISSED her, since it was 8 years since we’d last had contact!!
So I went to the talk. First time I’d seen Mikey Robbins talk since is pissed-as emmcee ing at the Atheist Convention a few years ago. He was WAAAYYYY more sober for this….. but still a little tipsy!!!
Awesome talk – yes the world is going to hell in a fucking Louis Vuitton handbasket – but WE ARE THE MEDIA.
And so, we went for cider and vegetarian delights at Badde Manors