Fussy little eaters: Slow Cooked Sweet Soy Pork

I cooked this recently and gave a dear friend some to try. It is a dish that I grew up with, though we would have it with sausages and intestines instead ๐Ÿ˜‰ Mr E would never eat that so I used pork shoulder instead.ย My friend liked it so much that she asked for the recipe. Since I had to write it down for her, I thought I’d post it as well, in case you would like to try it out too ๐Ÿ™‚ My little one liked this dish as the meat is very tender.

Slow cooked Sweet Soy Pork

Ingredients:

  • 4 stalks of shallots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 6cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 600g pork shoulder, trim most fat
  • 4tbs kecap manis (Indo sweet soy sauce, you can get this at any supermarket now)
  • 2tbs soy sauce
  • 200ml boiling water
  • 1 long green chilli, chopped (optional)
  • Any vegetables you like, I added about 4 potatoes (halved)

Method:

  1. Pan fry garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add shallots and chilli until tender.
  2. Quickly brown the pork then add all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Once all of the sauces are combined, put everything into a slow cooker for 6-8ย hours.
  4. Serve with rice, stir fried vegies and a dollop of sambal (Indo chilli paste)

You can use chicken or even tofu for this dish. When I’m feeling ultra extravagant, I also add in peeled boiled eggs into the slow cooker. The eggs will end up soaking the juices, making them sweet and spicy and eggy. It is definitely one of my comfort food dishes, I normally make this when only food can make me happy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy cooking (and eating)!

Ps. Let me know if you would like me to post the recipe on my Indo chilli paste. That one is definitely not child friendly! ๐Ÿ™‚

Child friendly restaurant: Outback Jack’s

Outback Jack’s
Westfield Shopping Centre
Belconnen
Outback Jacks on Urbanspoon

I have been meaning to try Outback Jack’s for a very long time. One, because I am obsessed with ribs. Two, they have ribs.

We went in for a late lunch on the weekend, so the place wasn’t too crowded. We were served promptly, a highchair provided and our orders taken. We were impressed by the effort they took to cater for children, Little E was given his own menu which doubled up as an activity book. He was also provided with a small bucket of crayons. When we looked around the place, we saw that they also have a children’s corner! It’s amazing.

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Yep, they have xbox!

We were a quite nervous about the waiting time as there were a few tables still waiting for their meals and Little E started to act up. Understandable, as I was about two hours late giving him his lunch #mummyfail Luckily, our orders came within 20-30 minutes (which isn’t too bad).

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I had their ribs and wings combo with medium and “ass burner” sauce. Mr E had a medium rare porterhouse steak with spicy Jack’s sauce. We gave Little E a bits of our meals, which he enjoyed. I think he liked the wings best, with carrots next. He also shared Mr E’s banana milkshake, served in a cool boot-shaped mug.

I liked my meal, the ribs were all tender and the wings crunchy and moist. I didn’t think that the chilli sauce was particularly hot, and weirdly, the “medium” sauce had more of a lasting heat. The serving size was too big though, with it almost defeating me. Mr E had to help me eat all of it, and towards the end, I didn’t think it was good anymore ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sadly, my tummy has shrunk but my eyes haven’t followed suit.

I tried a little bit of Mr E’s steak and I liked it. It had a nice red meat taste without being too strong, though it was too rare for me. Mr E thought it was delicious and said that he had made the right order. Yay.

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I like how the restaurant pays a lot of attention towards families with children. They offer “children eat free” deals on some days, and if you look at the menu on the photo above, children’s meals are $3! Amazing!

If you’re a big eater, you could attempt the 1kg challenge and have your name on the board with the other champions. Mr E said that you’d also win something with it. Or, go there every Mondays to Wednesdays for all-you-can-eat wings and ribs!

Other than it being slightly too pricey, Mr E said you are also being subjected to listening bad country music the whole time ๐Ÿ™‚ However, the fact that they obviously cared about their younger patrons, I would go back there for special occasions where I can have Little E preoccupied while I enjoy the event.

Anyway, ater all that food, we hopped next door and had dessert. As the Japanese would say, I have a betsubara. Behold………

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Yogurtland: plain and dragon passion fruit froyo with cinnamon donut, choc brownie, choc fudge, oreo biscuit and mini mochi

We then rolled our way through the mall to our car…

Child friendly food joint: A Taste of Pastry

A Taste of Pastry
Gartside St
Wanniassa (Erindale shops where Pizza Hut and Domino’s are)

I get a little too excited when I discover a new place that has yummy food. A little too much, if anything. I would want to go to the same place repeatedly, ordering basically the same thing, before I move on to the next good place.

My latest obsession is Vietnamese pork roll. All crunchy and tasty, I would eat it every day if I could. I have been getting my fix from one of the place at the nearby food court, though it isn’t as good as the others, it was close and easy. So when we picked up a recent pizza order, I almost jumped out of the car, threw out the pizzas and march straight in to A Taste of Pastry when I saw they serve pork rolls. Luckily, common sense prevailed, and I waited a whole week to go.

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Last Thursday was the day. I packed Little E with me, armed with bibs and wipes, and ordered us lunch. He had a vegetable pasty, which he ate by himself quietly, while I had one of these.

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A freshly made Vietnamese pork roll with hot red chillies. It was crunchy and sour and meaty and hot and was just delicious. It was a good thing too that Little E was able to have his unassisted, because I hardly took a breath between mouthfuls. It was so good.

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Then, I saw the sign.

A coffee and a cronut for $6.50. Cronutssssss!!! I couldn’t say no, even though they only had jam cronuts left. I am not a fan of jams, but I am of cronuts. So I just wiped off the jam and ate my delicious morsel of fattening heaven.

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I was so impressed with the place that I took Mr E for lunch on Friday. Yep. The very next day after I first went ๐Ÿ˜› That time, the bakery had the full range of cronuts: chocolate, salted caramel (which wasn’t caramelly nor salty but still delicious), chocolate hazelnut, jam and custard. Again, we had the Vietnamese rolls while Little E had his leftover vegie pasty from the day before lol

The owner (?) is friendly and didn’t bat an eyelid at all to our apologies for making a big mess. She made okay coffee (need to be stronger but still good), the prices of the goods are reasonable and she has cronutsssss! I sure will go back there again (and again and again).

In a typical Asian manner, you could also get some fresh eggs, 1kg packs of salt, sugar and sultanas. Random.

Child Friendly Restaurant: Cholo’s Peruvian Restaurant

Cholo’s Peruvian Restaurant
Ph: 02 6248 8648
Shop 68 12 Challis St
Dickson
Cholo's Peruvian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

So on the day that Little E decided to have one of his worst tantrumy day, we went out to lunch with one of our dear friend. She suggested the place and I was excited to try it out. Correct me if I’m wrong, Canberran, but it seems that there has been a recent explosion of Peruvian food here. I first saw it at the Multicultural Festivals, then at the different festivals since, and now, there’s anย actual restaurant! How exciting!

Anyway, the dining experience didn’t start all too well. Little Eย refused to sit in his highchair, then he continued to wahwahwah so loudly for the longest time. The other diners kept looking back at us, including a couple with a young baby. I really want to say to them “just you wait, dudes, just you WAIT!!!”. But I didn’t. The restaurant owner who served us was trying so hard to help me,ย she even offered for me to go out the back to see if I want to check his nappy. It was embarrassing.

So, I ignored him. At least, I tried to. I let him vent his frustration, while I tried to hold an adult conversation with my friend. Before I knew it, our orders arrived to the table and would you know it, as soon as I gave Little E a bit of my burger bun,ย he quietened right down. Heh.

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For him, I ordered some kind of crumbed cassava ball with mince and egg inside (it’s not in their online menu?). The ball came with a delicious quinoa salad and green capsicum (?) sauce. Little E really enjoyed this dish. He was messy as always, which is a sign of his approval ๐Ÿ™‚ I ordered the Choloโ€™s Adobo Burger, a burger with slow cooked moist pork adobo with lettuce and sarsa criolla. It was good, though I would have loved some sort of sides, even only a little, to have it with. The buns were light and fluffy, Little E liked it too, and the pork was nice and tender. Unfortunately for them, though, I actually liked the burger I had from the Peruvian food stand at the airport open day more.ย Our friend ordered the 1/4 chicken, served with chips and salad. To me, it looked good, I love grilled chicken. My friend said that her dish was alright, but not spectacular.

In the end, the meal turned out quite well. Little E ate his lunch, I ate my burger in peace, and I can have full catch-up conversation with my friend. Little E must have gotten a good vibe from the owner as when we’re about to leave, he actually gave her a hug! lol I didn’t know that he’s the sort to dish out affections to strangers like that ๐Ÿ˜‰ She did tell us that she is a mother of two young kids though, so I guess he could tell from her warmth towards him. The owner told us that she has plans to create a creche area for parents to leave their kids to play. I think it is such a brilliant idea, pretty sure, she’ll be the first in Canberra to do that. I will definitely go back there, even just for that!

Though I didn’t rate my burger as awesome, I did like Little E’s dish, and I know that Mr E would like to try the place, so I will definitely go back to try their other dishes. With the owner so friendly and patient, the cleanliness of the place and the speed of serving times, it is still pretty much a win for me ๐Ÿ™‚

Our Chinese New Year celebration

I identify myself more as an Australian, having lived here longer than living in Indo. However, I find that the older I get, the more proud I am of my Chinese Indo heritage. So I really want Little E to know this part of him, so I try to make this year’s celebration as festive as I can. It’s actually his second new year, but like Christmas, he’s aware of things more this time around.

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On new year’s eve, we had a simple dinner at home with nectarines and oranges for dessert. We stuck to Little E’s nightly routine so we didn’t do anything special.

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This morning, he received his first red pockets! He didn’t know what to do with them and abandoned them after only a few seconds lol I also had bought him a new red outfit to wear. Mr E and I didn’t get the same pleasure of getting new outfits but we’re wearing our reddest clothes we have ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Lunch was more en-point with BBQ pork, roasted duck, roast pork and beancurd. It was a feast! Little E’s present for me was a 2.5 hours nap in the morning, sooooo good! ๐Ÿ˜‰ For dinner tonight, Mr E is making some noodles, an auspicious dish to represent long life.

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If you celebrate the Chinese New Year, I hope the year of the horse brings you a joyful, prosperous, healthy and full life! From my family to yours, Gong Xi Fat Choi! ๐Ÿ™‚

Child-friendly Eatery: Sprout Cafรฉ, National Arboretum Canberra

Sprout Cafe, National Arboretum Canberra
Tuggeranong Parkway
Weston Creek

The first time I went to the Arboretum was with the inlaws, where Little E had loads of fun playing in the playground. We didn’t get to have anything to eat there, so I was keen to go back. What got me intrigued was the fact that the place is large and open, allowing children to roam freely.

Almost surrounded with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the Arboretum is light and airy. By these windows, there are plastic stools and benches that you can move around to suit your needs. When we were there, someone had made an enclosure for their children to play in – ingenious! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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It wasn’t difficult to choose what to have for lunch. Show me “pork belly” on any menu and I almost always order it. I didn’t expect the pork to come as slices, though, and I don’t know what made the pork a “satay”. They were cooked slices of pork belly, but I can’t say if they were grilled either. Regardless, I enjoyed my salad. The cabbage was slightly more bitter than how I normally like them, but it was still nice.

Mr E ordered the beef burger, just so that Little E could have some. You know you’re a good parent, when.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ and he certainly had some, half, in fact! Lucky that Mr E wasn’t too hungry, as he definitely didn’t get a full lunch. Little E approved of the beef patty, and when I gave him some of my strawberry milkshake, he cried when I took it off him.

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After lunch, we eagerly set off for the playground. Of all, my little one loved the hut with the drums. Maybe he’ll live up to my dreams and grow up to be a drummer? He also loved the swing, however, as the playground was chockablock full, he couldn’t stay long in it.

I absolutely love the playground there. It is so nicely set up, I can’t wait for Little E to be slightly bigger and appreciate the rest of the play areas. Then, I can use him as an excuse to trek up the climbing tubes ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, I am going to be one of those mums!

Once we were hot and tire of the drums, we went to look at the Bonsai exhibition. They’re so pretty! I don’t have the patience to grow one myself, so I truly appreciate the effort that go with each one.

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If you’re looking at a place to eat, where children can be children, please do try the Arboretum. Make sure you bring a hat and a drink, as there isn’t much shade in the playground. There is a restaurant right next to the cafรฉ, which I thought was weird. It could have been better separated, as it’s very obvious that the food come from the same kitchen ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t vouch for their food, but we enjoyed ours from the cafรฉ.