Tag Archives: photos

Portabello Mushroom Cream Sauce

There’s a restaurant who has a small ‘fast food’ version of their pub food at our local mall. I love the place. They make delicious steak, and it’s got a mushroom sauce that they have with the thick sliced chips… oh, heaven. I love the stuff.

They’re local to the state I’m in though, so I figured I’d try to reverse…uhm… engineer? their sauce. I probably should have chopped up the mushrooms into much smaller pieces, to better get a mushroom flavor throughout. I am not too far off, mostly because I’m erring on the side of caution on the saltiness (I’m kind of aware at the moment that my sense of taste is a bit off thanks to a recent cold) but that’s not too bad, all considered.

The amount of butter is essential though, as is the cream, because you want a creamy, smooth sauce.

Print Recipe
Portabello Mushroom Cream Sauce
A lovely sauce with chopped up portabello mushrooms, that's really good to have with steak and for dipping with thick-cut chips (French fries). You can refrigerate the rest!
Course sauce
Cuisine sauce, Western
Keyword sauce
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course sauce
Cuisine sauce, Western
Keyword sauce
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, melt half the butter and brown the onion and the garlic.
  2. Add the mushroom and cook through, until you smell that lovely 'cooked mushroom' meaty smell.
  3. Pour the cream, stirring vigorously, then add the water.
  4. Stirring all the while, add the cheese, 1/4c at a time, Season with the salt as you stir.
  5. Allow to come to a boil, as you stir. When it is boiling, add the flour slurry while stirring quickly. Keep stirring as the flour thickens.
  6. Add the other half of the butter, stirring until it melts through. Taste and season the sauce to your liking.
  7. Serve with steak and chips/fries, or have as a dipping sauce with chips. Refrigerate leftovers in portions/freeze for later eating.
Share this Recipe
 

New Game Console

So, my son Vincent decided that he was tired of playing the XBox One, XBox 360, the PS2 and the Nintendo 64 and the DreamCast,¬† … and he had a Christmas gift card he hadn’t used yet. He decided on a new game console, suitable for 2018 gaming.

That’s what he came home with.

Continue reading

A Visit Back To The Mother Country

Wedding couple at the San Augustin Church

The wedding had all the ceremonies observed; we did our parts too!

 

The family all visited the Philippines for the first time in 6 years; for my youngest brother’s wedding. It was a short visit, hectic – but ultimately fun and wonderful. I sadly didn’t have time to interview my Mom for stories as I would have liked (so I can start writing those family stories), but she had fun being Lola to her (currently only) grandchildren, and ‘spoiling her baby daughter’ – so I have a load of daster dresses (yay!) and having Rhys and I eat with her at her new favourite food places. I went home with the intention of being able to eat some of the foods I seriously missed while overseas, and while that ambition was partly fulfilled, I feel rather sad that I didn’t get to sample more of the smorgasbord that is Filipino food and restaurant variety.

The Tombstone Hamburger Stack challenge

We didn’t have the time (it was late at night) to try this challenge, alas.

(To our amusement, the kids simply adored Jolibee, though Vincent found the burgers ‘too small’, and Rhys could eat three Filipino-sized servings of food by himself.) I didn’t get a chance to eat fishballs, or Goldilock’s Cathedral Windows, but I did manage to have some Red Ribbon (and introduced Vincent to the joys of mamon, that fluffy Filipino angel food-sponge.)

I did bring home lots of powdered juice mixes and Mom, upon finding out that Nescafe Berry Coffee was something Rhys – the consumate tea drinker – deeply enjoyed, made it a point to ensure that her only son-in-law had a package of single-serves to bring back to Australia. Note to self: next time, bring even LESS clothes, and bigger suitcases for the children, because while I sent home two balikbayan (return to homeland) boxes full of pasalubong (‘welcoming’ gifts) we got given so much there’s a huge plastic chest of stuff we couldn’t fit on our baggage allowance (30kg per person) that Mom says she’ll send in parcels – with more food things that we liked, but didn’t get a chance to bring home more of. (Waah, I realised just now I left behind my little cookies with the little drop of hard icing on top. I wanted to nibble on those while on the plane ride home!) The pasalubong will mostly go to folks my Mom knows; as they’re mostly ‘thank you for taking care of my Mom for me’ appreciation gifts.

I will have to learn to make taho myself though. =/

Continue reading

New Book Release! Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope

 

Nestled deep in the forest, all is as it should be in the village of Blessed Hope – and that’s how chief hunter Dari Finbarr likes it. Then one stormy night the embodiment of death for Humans stumbles into their home: a Szari girl.

The Szari! A race of powerful beings who sought the extinction of Humankind, and were only stopped by the Tzaro people in a brutal war that is still whispered about in hushed voices. A sole Szari warrior is capable of wiping out entire Human settlements by themselves.

The strange, silent Szari is nothing like how the tales describe however; and though it risks his life, Dari is given the task of guarding her until the wise Tzaro are brought to decide her fate. Until then many questions arise, but no answers can be found in the girl’s sad green eyes.

Without knowing it, the Humans of Blessed Hope have found themselves on a path that will change the future of all the races on their world…

After much blood, sweat and tears, and delays brought about by multiple truly life-altering circumstances, we have finally – FINALLY! – got Aff’s Diary: Blessed Hope published! Available from Lulu in paperback and ebook (epub). Distribution will have it available through other retailers in a few weeks, and when it happens I’ll write about it!

Despite the preview image on the paperback’s page, the actual cover image on print looks very good – here’s the proof copy:

This series is set before the Seda’s Diary series of books. Blessed Hope is our thickest book to date at 427 pages (plus supplementary content). I hope everyone who reads this book enjoys the story!

 

BIG thank you to the beta readers who have stuck with us through the hard work in getting this story out!

Geeky delights

Eldest son had his birthday recently, and of course, got presents. He’s older now, and it’s actually easier to buy him things, given his recent introduction to manga – he blew through the various ones I have that we parents deemed okay for him. He loves Card Captor Sakura – we pushed to get the 4 omnibus set; and is excited to learn that CCS: Clear Card is currently ongoing. His response when he found out that Skip Beat! isn’t over yet: “NOOOOOO!!! I have to wait!” Sometime recently he asked me if there were going to be any more books in Dave Freer’s Dragon Ring series (I don’t know.) and soon he’ll be old enough to be introduced to Monster Hunter International, and later, The Dresden Files.

Reading boy = happy parents.

He also loves video games, of course, but we don’t go out of the way to get the latest and the newest consoles (our house has a Sega Dreamcast, a Nintendo 64, Xbox 360/1, I thiiink we have a PS2, but that thing isn’t hooked up and is somewhere… maybe a PS3 now, inherited from my brother-in-law) because we tend to play on PC for the most part (insert PC Master Race joke here), but it’s the holidays.

Well, this was his big pressie – a full scale display model (ergo, it’s purely decorative and not sharp) of Frostmourne, the sword of Arthas the Lich King. Aff got him a small Arthas figure and some awesome tech swag – a desk-mat, a Genji themed mouse, and Heroes of the Storm Turtle Beach headsets – sort of a mix of birthday and Christmas pressies, really.

The sword replica is almost as big as he is too, and he had problems lifting it, remarking repeatedly that it was heavy and huge and he couldn’t imagine how Arthas would swing it around… then his father picked it up one handed, to his glee and delight.

We’ll have a ‘proper’ party for when some friends will be around (School holidays = kiddies go off to Grandparents to visit, usually.)

Continue reading

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake With Coffee Buttercream


I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious. I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious.

But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though. But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though.

I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle. I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle.

Maybe someday I’ll remember to take a photo of a cake slice instead of going ‘om nom nom’ right away.

Maybe.

Until then, have a recipe!

Continue reading

Redback spider!

Instead of an April Fool’s joke, I figure, I play up on one of the joking-not-joking things that is associated with living in Van Diemen’s Land.

Since I live in Australia, it was inevitable that we would one day encounter one of it’s deadly inhabitants, for which the Land Downunder is known, and indeed, famous for. While working in the back yard, we found, in a knothole, the Australian cousin of the Black Widow, the Redback Spider.

 

Isn’t she cute? We call her Scarlett. (Ba-bum-dum tish!)

That’s all she did, by the way; just sit there, as still as could be, and in fact we called the children over so they could have a look and identify her, and recognise her for what it was. Afterward, my handsome, manly Aussie hubby very gently caught the spider and released her under the fence, where her would surely find a nice place to hide and lots of other bugs, and spiders like Sydney Funnelwebs to eat.

I am extremely unfond of Sydney Funnelwebs, by the way. They’re freaking aggressive little bastards, who meet with crunchy stompy death and spray o’ bugger off. Or fire.

Speaking of spiders, my hubby has had lots of experience with the things, including the massive golden orb weaver spiders. He’s told me stories of walking through the bush, and finding one as big as his wristwatch… well, clinging to his wrist, where his wristwatch is, probably as surprised to be on him as well, hubby’s co-workers are to see the thing on him. Rhys just brushes them off onto the nearest tree branch, saying that he already has something ornamenting his wrist. He also recounted how he was talking to someone while walking through the bush, and in the same conversational tone of voice tell the other fellow, “oh, and you have a massive spider on your arm,” and keep going with the rest of the conversation.

“Wait? What?!” cue screaming and flailing

He told me that he saw a huuuuuge hairy wolf spider run across the floor of the place where he works recently too. “Oh crap, the humans are back! Run awaaaay~!”

Second Year

Today my baby Brandon would’ve been two years old. I think he would have been having a fun time today; though perhaps his birthday would’ve been much quieter than Vincent’s party a few days ago.

We gave him his presents – a toy tank and a toy helicopter, and his Grammy and Grampy sent a hand made card.

It’s the one with the little dinosaur on it. Brandon’s urn is the one with the birds. His brother Damien is in the smaller round urn next to it.

Rhys and I spent a little time reminiscing fondly about his birth, and a few delightful memories. I wonder about how he and Damien would’ve been like now, but that happens a lot. Perhaps his hair would have been gently curling, like his eldest brother’s was. We still can’t imagine him smiling, however, as he was a baby with a rather impressive scowl. I think Damien would have been the plague to him at the same time being a favourite playmate.

What could have been…

Continue reading

Cake and work area

I’ve been busy RL with things; one of them is making my son Vincent a Minecraft themed cake. It’s not Pinterest worthy; but eh, he was happy with it and considering that I’ve never worked with fondant before, or done anything with fondant other than eat it, I’m okay with the way it turned out. The cake itself was yummy and fluffy and the children were greatly entertained by the fact that the sparklers were set into the TNT block’s ‘fuses’.

The other thing I did was to rearrange my workspace again. I’m rather pleased with how it looks so I took pictures.

Continue reading