Chicken Satay Stir Fry Recipe

A quick and easy deconstructed chicken satay recipe!

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

500g Chicken breast fillets

1 Brown onion

1 Cucumber

1 Pack coriander

1 Head garlic

1 Birdseye chilli

1 Lime

 6 Tablespoons Peanut butter

1 Cup water

2 Tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

3 Teaspoons soya sauce

2 Cups brown rice

Directions:

Step 1: Prepare ingredients by dicing chilli into small pieces, chopping onion into small squares, shredding garlic into thin slices, peeling and deseeding cucumber and slice into wedges, removing coriander leaves from stems, and cutting lime into wedges.

Step 2: Meanwhile, cook rice according to your preferred method.

Step 3: Dice chicken fillets into small bite-sized pieces and stir fry in a wok until they’re 80% cooked through (approx. 5 mins). Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 4: In the wok, stir fry chilli, onion and garlic for 5 minutes, before adding 6 tablespoons of peanut butter. Stir fry for 2 minutes before adding water, let simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Add sweet chilli, lime juice, soya sauce and coriander to satay mixture, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Before adding chicken back to wok. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 6: Serve Chicken satay over brown rice and cucumbers. Enjoy!  

Album Reviews- Cats: Highlights from the motion picture soundtrack

It may be a flop in cinemas, however Cats: Highlights from the motion picture soundtrack, is a pretty good album indeed!

My wife and I don’t have many family traditions, but one tradition we do practice each year is to watch a movie in cinema during that period in-between Christmas-New Years-before going back to work for another year. And this year, with our one movie quota we watched CATS! (Although we’re dog people)…….

The Motion Picture

From all accounts, the motion picture adaptation of the popular stage production ‘Cats’ has been a real flop- as unimpressive as a once nice and fluffy cat, but now wet and all shrunken after a bath. However all the bad reviews still didn’t stop us from handing over hard-earned cash to watch it, and at George Street cinemas, there was actually quite a reasonably sized audience joining us – made up mostly of retirees and teenagers (you-know, the types of kids you’d expect to be performing at a high school’s production of ‘Cats’).

The film itself? I have to admit I totally fell asleep between minute 8 and minute 20 of the film (largely due to being made to sit through 30 minutes of back-to-back pre- screening adverts *Yawn*). While my wife found the middle portion of the film quite slow and hard to endure.

The film itself and the sound quality in our opinion, is best appreciated in cinema compared to watching it later on the small screen (ooh, it would be utterly horrible on DVD). And we have to agree and we have to pile up on this fact, the CGI was distracting which took away from the viewing experience and the scaling of the set was baffling at times. However if you’d previously had the pleasure of watching the live stage production of Cats, you’d probably agree that the motion picture follows the musical numbers and story-line very closely. The only differences between the stage and motion picture productions was the new introduction of Victoria (young white cat), her new song ‘Beautiful ghosts’, a more star studded cast (in no particular order except from oldest to youngest…… Judi Dench, Ian Mckellen, Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, and Tayler Swift), and of course the main differences between the stage and motion picture versions was the distracting CGI use to transform man and woman into cats (in our opinion, lycra bodysuits and face paint would have been enough for 2019).

But for those who criticised the film for its story-line or the lack there of, if they entered the cinema remotely educated from reading up on the theatre production of Cats- they would already of known that Cats in all renditions lack a story-line. In a nutshell the storyline sees the new young white cat drop in on the night of the annual Jellical ball where one cat is granted a new life after a competition (like having 9 lives isn’t already enough). The majority of the film is spent showcasing different cats (through song and dance), putting forward their individual arguments in why they should be the chosen one. And after a failed attempt to undermine the fair selection process, a cat is chosen which leads to the most iconic song number from Cats (Memories). And after a pro-cat (anti-dog) direct appeal to camera, the film fades to black.

On the whole I walked away satisfied enough, as I’ve always enjoyed musicals, and my expectations when walking in were so low, thus it was quite easy for the film to meet and then exceed them.

The Soundtrack

As expected, the soundtrack of an onscreen musical was unable to capture all 100+ minutes of music from the film. Thus the soundtrack is titled ‘Cats: Highlights from the motion picture’, time limited to 59 mins. But we can only hold our breath and hope that that like Les Mis, that in time they’ll release a deluxe 2 disc version that will include all 20+ songs featured in the film.

But if you’re still tossing up whether or not to watch the film, why not first give the soundtrack a go? The soundtrack contains the major tracks like:

Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats; The Rum Tum Tugger; Old Deuteronomy; Macavity; Mr. Mistoffelees; Memory; and Beautiful Ghosts- both Victoria’s and Taylor Swift’s versions.

We’ve been playing the soundtrack on our Google Home almost daily since we watched the film, and at times I’ve caught myself whisseling to tracks from the album as their super ‘stuck in your brain’ Earworms! If after you’ve listened to the album from Spotify, and you’re still left wanting! Wondering ‘what am I missing out on?’ ‘Which songs didn’t make it into the highlights?’ Then you’ll just have to watch it in cinema! The missing songs from the soundtrack include:

The Naming of Cats; Grizabella: The Glamour Cat; Growltiger’s Last Stand; The Jellicle Ball; The Moments of Happiness; and The Journey to the Heaviside.

So don’t just stand there! Go! Go! If Cats is doing as poorly as people claim it to be at the box-office, then it wouldn’t be in cinemas for much longer- so go! Go! Don’t walk but run and catch it before it’s too late!

Sydney Gig Guide Feb – Apr 2020

This is only a very small taste of the live gigs which will be touching down in Sydney in the months of February – April 2020. But we will be uploading new posts on a monthly basis to give you some advance notice in what hot live gigs will be arriving in Ol’ Sydney Town!

Live music

So Pop 2020

Qudos Bank Arena, 19 Edwin Flack Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park

Saturday 25 April 2020, after the successes of ‘So Pop’ 2019, So Pop 2020 returns to Australia and New Zealand with a whole new line-up of 00s Popstars! Acts include the Pussycat Dolls, Steps, Jesse McCartney, Smash Mouth, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Alice DJ, Whigfield, Reel 2 Reel, and Samantha Mumba! One stage! One day! One ticket! Don’t miss-out!

 Sydney-siders will have their turn to groove to these nostalgic beats, for more info and to purchase tickets click HERE!

Musicals

9 to 5 The Musical

Lyric Theatre, 55 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont   

From April 2020, the West End Musical smash hit ‘9 to 5 The Musical’ will be reaching our Sydney shores! Adapted from the film by the same name, 9 to 5 is a musical about 3 work mates  who team up to turn the tables on their sexist and egotistical boss! With a musical score penned by no other than Dolly Parton herself, 9 to 5 promises to be a whole heap of laughs, accompanied by music you’ll love! Live vicariously through these ladies as they rise-up against their crappy boss!

For more information and for tickets, click HERE!

Classical/Contemporary Music

Goldner String Quartet & Piers Lane

City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney

Saturday 4 April – Monday 20 April, Australia’s most recognised Pianist Piers Lane will partner with his old friends the Goldner String Quartet as the quartet celebrates 25 years of making music together! Piers and GSQ will be performing twice per day (2pm and 7pm), with performances differing from night and day (2pm Program 1, 7pm Program 2).

For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE!

Comedy

Ben Elton Live

City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney

Friday 24 April, Legendary British stand-up comic, author, playwright, actor and director Ben Elton will be making Sydney audiences laugh with his all new stand-up show! See this talented writer and performer live on stage, after 75 sold out shows in the UK in 2009, Sydney audiences will be guaranteed a great night with Ben Elton on stage!

For more details and for tickets, click HERE!

Community Theatre

Beautiful: The Carol King Musical

Hornsby RSL Showroom, 4 High Street, Hornsby  

Thursday 30 April – Saturday 1 May, the Hornsby Musical Society will be performing ‘Beautiful: The Carol King Musical’, where it retells Carol’s life story through her vast library of hit songs. The music will take you back to her early days as a 16 year old song writer; partnership and marriage to the lyricist Gerry Goffin; the successes of their callaburation and prolific song writing; to infidelity and the ultimate break-up of their marriage- while Carol becomes a global success. An emotional journey through Carol King’s life, through her life of song.

For more information and for tickets, click HERE!

Podcast Recommendations- Kochie’s Easy Steps To Financial Success

Would you like to see more $$$ in your bank account? If your answer is yes, then you’d better check out this podcast!

No matter if you find David Koch a little bit annoying or not, but he does have his heart in the right place, as he wants to see you and your family achieve financial success in your lives! Free advice with no strings attached! Gold!

Kochie has recently released an 11 episode podcast series called ‘Kochie’s Easy Steps To Financial Success’, walking the listener through 11 easy steps in how you can maximise your dollar to help you achieve your financial goals, and ultimately make your retirement years more enjoyable!

Each episode is around 15 minutes in length, where Kochie speaks in simple understandable terms at a steady pace, so it’s super easy to follow, digest and to take notes if you’re the note-taking type. The 11 episodes literally cover off every financial topic under the sun, from more introductory topics like developing your financial goals, developing a household budget, managing debt, cutting costs, how to earn more money, to the more complex topics which we don’t like to think about like taxation, investing in shares, and insurance. *Shudders*. The most thought provoking of the 11 episodes was the topic of ‘To buy or to rent’, and Kochie floated the idea that perhaps renting might actually make more financial sense? Only if you’re diligent and you take the difference between the cost of rent and the potential cost of mortgage repayments, and invest that amount in something else? This approach I have to admit I’d never considered before. And I’ve never quite grasped the concept and when to use Negative gearing, and thanks to Kochie he has helped me finally understand when it’s a good idea to invest in property for its positive tax implications.

I’ve read some of the iTunes feedback to the podcast, some were glowing while some were pretty scathing 1 Star reviews. But I guess Kochie’s steps is targeted at middle-income Australia, so it’s an absolute privilege if you’re in a position to even consider implementing any of his financial suggestions. And I think his final episode resonated with me the most, in the end it comes down to your financial habits which are often developed when you’re a child. If you’ve always been frugal, naturally it’s a lot easier to save as an adult, regardless of how much money you’re making. But if your nature is to be generous to the people around you, and if you enjoy the finer things in life- then naturally the changes you need to make to squirrel away more of your salary will feel more difficult and feel like more of a sacrifice.

But I think it’s still worthwhile to just check out Kochie’s podcast, there are many gems in there, even if you’re only able to take away one or two suggestions which you can implement and maintain? Methinks that’s a pretty good outcome from a totally FREE podcast!? Yea?

If you want to check-out Kochie’s Easy Steps To Financial Success? Just click HERE! And if you’ve already enjoyed this pod, you can supplement what you’ve already learnt with content from Kochie’s web-site- Your Money Your Life, which has new content/articles uploaded there on a regular basis! 

Socials- Sydney Staycation 2019

You don’t have to always spend the big bucks and go away to have a good time on vacation- enter Sydney Staycation 2019!

With our bunch of friends, we weren’t able to find a mutually available weekend to getaway up or down the coast, so we made sure that we all blocked out our calendars for a Friday night and the consecutive Saturday – and this is what we got up to:

Friday night dinner

Korean BBQ @Jang Ta Bal  

L1, 73-75 Liverpool Street, Sydney

After work we all converged on Jang Ta Bal, a Korean BBQ joint known for their use of white-hot charcoals to heat your hotplates thus ensuring your food had a ‘smoky’ tinge.

We ordered a pretty impressive spread of meats to be barbequed (Wagyu beef, marinated and unmarinated non-wagyu beef, and marinated chicken), selection of mushrooms, and a great variety of pre-cooked Korean classics. My favourites were the marinated chicken- they were very tender (thanks to our group’s designated cooks) and tasty. While my favourite dish from the kitchen, was the Japchae glass noodles- imagine instant ramen noodles with a bit more of a spring to them, and it was served in a tasty sweet and salty sauce. Mmmmm.

As we were a group of 12 catching-up, the Korean BBQ concept i.e. cooking for each other and sharing all of your spoils, added to the fellowship of catching-up with friends! And part way through the meal, for an unexplained reason, the waiter gave us all a can of complementary soda each, ranging from Cokes to Calpis- which was pretty crazy as that’s a $36 RRP of freebies! And the entire meal totalled to only $460 which wasn’t bad, $38pp after tips.

Friday night dessert

Desserts @Darling Square Precinct

And after our tummies were filled with savoury treats, it was time to fill our second stomach with desserts! I have to admit, I love love bringing people back to the space which used to be the old Entertainment Centre, as I love hearing people’s surprise in finding here the newly developed Darling Square Precinct. It was after 8pm but all of the shops were still open in the laneways, from the food vendors to the non-food vendors. It had a real Asian night-market vibe about it all! And after checking out the laneways, we went off in our different directions to find and meet each of our own sugary cravings. People came back with purple rice and yoghurt drinks from Yomie; bubble tea from Bubble Nini Tea; and gelatos from Messina. We were one of those who returned with gelato- Apple pie bounty (scoop 1) and PBJ (peanut butter and jelly – scoop 2). Surprisingly two scoops in a cup was quite large and well portioned, so $6.80 for 2 scoops was quite good value actually, when shared between two. The apple pie had large chunks of crumbed biscuit base, while the PBJ was peanut butter, toasted bread and jam – but we didn’t find any pieces of bread in our scoop though.

And we sat under the trees, under the stars, enjoying our various sweetie treats. And then we parted company at 9.30pm, to do it all over again tomorrow!    

Saturday lunch

Vietnamese @Phu Quoc

Cnr John Street and Hill Street, Cabramatta, Sydney

As our Sydney Staycation 2019 continued on to the next day, we all met up at Strathfield station and trained it to Cabramatta. Talk about 30 minutes on a train and being transported to another country!? I think getting out to Cabra was the cheapest ticket to an entirely different world!

If you’re adventurous, just go down every alleyway, poke your head into every arcade and shop, and you’ll find something which catches your attention at every turn! Just as long as you keep your bearing’s and can always find your way back to the train station, you’ll be fine! There are food shops everywhere! From the best sit-down Vietnamese restaurants you’ll ever find in Sydney, to snack stores, bakeries, drink vendors, and fresh produce markets! And oddly there were heaps of pharmacies, toy stores, mobile phone accessory stores and jewellery stores, methinks more per square kilometre than anywhere else in Sydney!

And when we were hungry (although we had eaten so much the night before) we touched down at Phu Quoc for lunch.

Just when you think that Phu Quoc only serves all the usual Vietnamese staples you can find at any other Viet restaurant- just peer closer at the menu or check out their specials, and get ready to find dishes you’ve never heard of! For me, I’d never had the stewed beef in tomato soup with bread roll (bahn mi bo kho – $13.50), and my wife had never tried the pork leg, prawn, tofu, and blood jelly noodle soup (bun rieu – $13.00).

OMG, just when you think it’s the usual Banh Mi roll, so that you’d better dunk it well in the soup as it’s going to be dry? Think again! The bread roll which accompanied the stewed beef in tomato soup was next level! It was crunchy on the outside, but so soft and fluffy fresh on the inside! And it had been brushed with oil before it was baked, so it was oily and greasy, but oh so tasty! I could have easily eaten it all by itself, without dunking in the soup. However there was so much thick tasty tomato soup to soak-up that I just had to dip, before I devoured! And eventually when I got to the chunks of stewed beef, I found it to be so soft and tender- it didn’t take much chewing to breakdown the meat in your mouth, and it had nice melty tenderous veins! Mmmmmmm.

My wife’s noodle soup was tasty as well, with large chunks of pork leg, 2 large squares of pig’s blood, a king prawn and tofu. The noodle was vermicelli, and it came with a plate of fresh vege (bean spouts and cabbage) and a lemon, salt and pepper dipping sauce. *Drools*.

Saturday dessert

Desserts @Kayson Sweets

Shop 4, 59-61 Park road, Cabramatta, Sydney

And after lunch and walking around some more, searching for various snacks that we had once consumed in Vietnam, or recalled from a long-ago childhood trip to Cabra- we satisfied those sweet tooth cravings with a Durian and Avocado smoothie ($6.00 med, $7.00 large) from Kayson Sweets. And a box of green mango with accompanying pink salty, sour & spicy dipping salts from a street side grocer.

Then it was back on the train, back to Strathfield for the evening portion of our Staycation. But the one thing which stuck out to us whilst on the train was that, how easy and close it was to get to Cabra by public transport! We will definitely come back in the near future, and not allow another 10 years to pass before we do so.

Saturday night dinner

Dinner from Metro One and Taste of Shanghai

UberEats

And then we converged on one of our friend’s homes and played board games and card games (devouring some of our Cabra purchases), and just when we thought we couldn’t possibly have dinner as we were too full from 2 days of eating? The messaging of hunger pangs from our stomach to our brain override any thoughts of restricting further calorie intake! So we had to meet those needs by ordering snack packs and gozleme from Metro One in Ashfield, and dumplings from Taste of Shanghai Burwood – delivered to our door courtesy of UberEats! And as we ate, chatted, and played games with each other, it marked the end of an epic 24 hours of eating and the end of Sydney Staycation 2019! If aspects or the entire experience has piqued your interest? Just follow our gastronomic journey, as you have all the details now to replicate our 2-day feast! Bon Appétit!

Product Recommendation- Pro-Live Mango Lassi

I’m sure there is a time and place to consume Lassi – the tasty thick yoghurt drink found at most Indian restaurants. Methinks it’s usually consumed as a drink to cool your burning mouth when you’re having a particularly spicy curry? But we’ve taken to drinking it whenever we’re looking for something sweet, and when we want something healthier and less guilt-ridden then with ice creams and other guilty pleasures.

Australian producers Pro-Live stock their Mango Lassies to Costco Australia, known for its bulk purchases, although a 1 Litre bottle of Lassi didn’t seem like such a bulk buy? But I’ve been told, compared to the usual volume in which Lassi is usually sold in, 1L is quite a lot of tasty drinkable yoghurt. But being us, 1L is never enough so we always get 2 bottles when we’re at Costco.

To be honest with you, the taste of Pro-Live Lassi Mango Drink reminds me much of the mango flavoured tubbed yoghurt by Nestle. So it’s a very common, pure taste, which I’m sure appeals to all tastebuds. It’s creamy and smooth (be sure to shake well before pouring), while liquid enough to quench any thirst. And it’s quite filling as well, so if you’re in a rush a 250ml glass of Lassi could easily serve as a light breakfast on the go! For $4.50 Australian dollars for a 1L bottle, it’s much more economical to buy in bulk and consume at home, than to purchase when out. The only philosophical question which is left unanswered, is….. Which came first? The tasty yoghurt drink? Or the popular American TV show which aired from 1954-73? 

If you’re interested to purchase the Pro-Live Mango Lassi drink and not a Costco member, click HERE!