Dec 17: Missed lunch; Steak and Salad

Lunch

Foodie Philip missed lunch because he and his Uncle were visiting a niece’s property, after recording aunt and uncle’s family histories for his ongoing project.

Dinner

A large portion of Foodie Philip’s Brisbane family gathered for a ‘barbie’ – BBQ in Australian (but a grill) and salad.

Another family history recording was done with a cousin and general fun ensued as family caught up with each other.

Dec 16: Ham and Cheese Panini; Beef Strognaoff

Lunch

Foodie Philip was traveling to Brisbane to record family history interviews with his family there, so lunch was a ham and cheese panini at Newcastle Airport.

Because it was an airport, the ‘jaffle’ – an Australian take on a pressed sandwich – was Au$9.20 or US$6.72.

Dinner

Dinner tonight was a home made beef stroganoff with rice cooked by Foodie Philip’s aunt and was free.

Dec 15: Fish and Chips; Salmon Chowder

Lunch

An unseasonably cold and rainy summer day led to thoughts of England, which lead to thoughts of fish and chips. Since we’d enjoyed the fish and chips we had back on Dec 4, even though we’d waited far too long to eat it, we went back for more.

Fresh from the shop this was an excellent example of perfectly battered and cooked cod and very decent Australian-style chips. The cod was coated with a batter, not breaded, and fried so the batter was just crisp and the fish inside melted in our mouth. The Australia ‘chip’ is a much larger, chunkier fry than typical in the US – almost a steak fry. These were buttery soft inside and almost crisp on the outside. Very close to perfect.

Lunch today was Au$5.00 per serve or US$3.65.

Dinner

The aforementioned cold and rainy day led to thoughts of soup, and salmon chowder was the decision. This is a favorite of Foodie Philip and we got close today. We were unable to source fish stock or clam juice, so we had to substitute chicken stock. We were fortunate to find wild caught canned red salmon, which has more flavor than the pink.

Of course, no half-and-half in Australia so the less rich full cream milk substituted. Normally we’d add a fair amount of Old Bay for seasoning but the chicken stock was quite salty enough, so we added only some smoky seasoning from Trader Joes. (Yes, even in Australia thanks to a previous parental visit.)

Not exactly the same, but good none-the-less. The recipe is one that Foodie Greg created and feeds six.

These prices are all in Australian dollars. Conversion at the end.

  • A large carrot cost 51c but we only used 2/3 or 7c per serve
  • The onion cost 81c or 14c per serve
  • The potatoes cost $2.85 or 48c per serve
  • A bunch of trimmed celery was 3.00 but we only used 1/3 or 17c per serve
  • Chicken stock was $2.00 or 33c per serve
  • Full cream milk (normal milk) was $1.10 for the carton, or 17c per serve
  • The 1KG (just over 2 lbs) pack of frozen corn kernels was $2.70, but we used only 1/4 or 12c per serve
  • The can of red salmon was $6.00 or $1.00 per serve
  • 3 rashers of bacon (well, they put in 4) cost $3.34 or 56c per serve.

Dinner tonight cost Au$3.04 per serve or US$2.22 per serve. When we last cooked this at home in the US, it cost $1.92 per serve, for comparison.

Dec 14: Kebab; Steak Diane Parcels with Potatoes and Broccolini

Lunch

While the foodies make pretend kebabs/yeros/gyro meat wraps, an Australian kebab is a whole different thing. According to legend kebabs are Greek in origin, but like all transposed international cuisine, they tend to take on a local flavor and become a new thing. Such is the Australian kebab.

Wrapped in a huge pita bread, stuffed with meat, iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, chipped red onion, grated cheese with a garlic sauce, it’s a huge meal, best enjoyed for lunch by a lake, or late at night on the way home! You can think of the kebab as Australia’s burrito: they’re not at all the same but fill the same place in the cuisine ecosystem.

Lunch today cost Au$8.60 per serve, or US$6.28 – just a little more than a good burrito.

Dinner

The Foodies mother buys meat at an old fashioned butcher near Coles in Warner’s Bay, NSW. One that cuts their own meat from primals, and grinds their own beef or pork. Like most of these type of businesses, they’ve branched out into the much more profitable prepared dishes. Tonight we enjoyed a very good steak diane parcel: a cross between the classic dish and a meat pie with chopped steak in a very good diane sauce and wrapped with puff pastry.

Served with boiled potatoes and broccolini, it was a very satisfying meal. Price unknown but  Au$8-12 each would be reasonable.

Dec 13: Lunch Out; Peruvian Meat Sauce with Rice Noodles

Lunch

With mother in tow we had lunch with our niece at The Locale in a nearby suburb. Foodie Greg and mother had an interpretation of a cubano, which they thought was very tasty. Foodie Philip’s Wagu Beef Burger was, unfortunately over cooked, and our niece’s sandwich was overpowered by the mustard on it. The restaurant has a good reputation and some of our group had eaten there before and enjoyed the meal.

Our critical comments were well received, and suitable apologies made, so it seems this was one of those slip-ups that occasionally happen. Certainly the intent is to cook the Wagu Beef Burger to medium.

Lunch today cost an average of Au$14.63 or US$10.68. (It in fact cost less because the two imperfect meals were charged at half price.)

Dinner

The Foodies cooked Peruvian Meat Sauce,a.k.a. Red Curry and Pink Peppercorn Meat Sauce, we had on Sep 29th. This time with rice noodles that mom had precooked and froze. Sadly we had to cook without the pink peppercorns, which were unobtainable locally.

Tonight the recipe made four serves even without a salad, but without the precise breakdown of local prices here in Australia, I’ll simply refer back to the pricing for our last outing.

  • 1lb of Prather Ranch ground pork is $9.30 or $3.10 per serve
  • Limes were $1.56 and about half went into the dish, or 26c per serve
  • The can of coconut milk was $1.99 or 66c per serve
  • Red curry paste is $3.69 a jar and we used 1/4 or 31c per serve
  • The soy adds 42c per serve
  • Add 35c for the toasted coriander, pink peppercorns, rice wine and cornstarch
  • Rice noodles are $3.56 per 14oz box, we used about 1/2 of the box, or 60c per serve.

Dinner tonight was good, as there was a misreading of the amount of soy and consequently tonight the dish was a little salute, and it cost an estimated $5.70 per serve. Because of the amount of soy the dish was a dark brown and not photogenic at all.

Dec 12: Ham, Cheese and Pickle Roll; Rib Eye and Salad

Lunch

For lunch the Foodies had a multigrain roll with ham, cheese and home-made pickles.

Lunch was again supplied by the Foodie’s mom.

Dinner

Tonight we enjoyed the second of the  amazing 500g (about 1 lb) bone in rib eye steaks purchased out of mom’s largess on Saturday.

Served with a salad kit from the local supermarket.

  • Rib eye works out to US$6.57 per serve
  • Salad kit was Au$1.63 or US$1.19 per serve.

While the Foodie’s mom bought the rib eyes, the meal works out to $7.76 per serve.

Dec 11: Ham and Pickle Roll; Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Lunch

In what is rapidly becoming habit, the Foodies had a white roll with ham and home-made pickles.

Lunch was again supplied by the Foodie’s mom, but would cost around $2.00 if paid for.

Dinner

Back to Foodie Philip’s brother’s for dinner with just the five of us. Brother had roasted his own chicken and roasted vegetables under the grill. All very good, and, again, free to the Foodies.

Dec 10: Ham, Cheese and Pickle Roll; Rib Eye with Peas and Boiled Potatoes

Lunch

For lunch the Foodies had a multigrain roll with ham, cheese and home-made pickles.

Lunch was again supplied by the Foodie’s mom.

Dinner

The Foodies’ mom had a very successful day so she purchased some amazing 500g (about 1 lb) bone in rib eye steaks. It was decided that we’d only cook one and slice it, losing someone the eye appeal of the bone in ‘Viking’ style presentation, but making it a more appropriate serving size.

Served with ‘classic’ (for our mom) boiled potatoes and microwaved peas.

While the Foodie’s mom bought the rib eyes, it worked out to Au$9.00 each  or SU$6.57 per serve.

Dec 9: Ham, Cheese & Pickle Roll; Chicken in Honey Mustard Sauce with Broccolini

Lunch

For lunch the Foodies had a multigrain roll with ham, cheese and home-made pickles.

Lunch was again supplied by the Foodie’s mom.

Dinner

Once again the Foodie’s mom supplied dinner: an easy-to-prepare meal of cubed chicken breast with a cook-in honey mustard cook-in sauce, with mashed potato, boiled carrot and boiled broccolini.

Unfortunately the food-of-our-youth was largely boiled-to-death vegetables and we revisited that again tonight! Sadly over-boiling vegetables puts all the nutrition down the drain, while making the food unappealing. The cook-in sauce was okay.

Again, food was supplied by the Foodies’ mom.

Dec 8: Steak Sandwich; Thai

Lunch

Intentionally or not, the Foodies are reliving the food of their youth. Yesterday meat pies and sausage rolls; today a good old steak sandwich. Except this was a really good, kicked up version at at Travino’s in Warner’s Bay (Newcastle-ish).

Great bread, a really good aioli, steak with good beef flavor and moderately tender, and lightly grilled onions. Not quite the TipTop white bread (think Wonderbread) with hot plate grilled onions and BBQ sauce of our youth, and all the better for it.

Lunch today was Au$18.00 or about US$13.15, which was pretty reasonable for the quality of food served.

Dinner

For Foodie Philip’s birthday celebration his brother took the family to his favorite Thai restaurant – Benjamas. I’m pretty sure it’s the only restaurant he frequents!

We had a variety of food, all of which was tasty, including a Prawn (shrimp) and cashew stir fry (Foodie Philip) and Pad Thai (Foodie Greg).

As brother paid for it, dinner was (again) free.