Wednesday, September 17, 2008

update your bookmarks!

We're on the move!  please update your bookmarks to my new site  This site will remain open  with all the content available but all the new entries will be at the website.  

See you there!!!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Metronome Brasserie, PGA Commons

I'll start this review by declaring a teeny weeny bias. I really love all things French. The country itself, the food, the music (even torturing Dr. Dave for 3 weeks solid with the chorus of 'non je ne regrette rien' after watching La vie en rose), the people, the fashion, and the decor. You name it; this francofile loves it.

We've visited Metronome for dinner a couple of times and always enjoyed the entire dining experience and thought it was about time we went for the new Sunday Brunch offering. We arrived at midday to find the restaurant about a quarter full with a nice mix of clientele; young & old, a few kids thrown in. The tables are wonderful, true Parisian brasserie style (although much cleaner!), rich red banquettes & rustic wooden tables. Our server was very friendly (they don't take the french thing too far...) and quickly reeled off the specials. They accommodated Mia who was in a grilled cheese mood and brought out a wonderful warm wholegrain bread for Cecile. A word about the butter. AMAZING! Artisan produce at its best. I'd come for that alone in all seriousness.

To the food; I ordered the goats cheese & spinach omelette $10.75; a perfectly executed dish filled with creamy chevre, fresh spinach & a tomato confit alongside some 'roasted' potatoes. The potatoes could've been a little crisper but they were perfectly paired with the sweet caramelized onions. Dr. Dave went with the blueberry buttermilk pancakes $9.50 which he demolished. They were made with a light hand and served with 'proper' maple syrup and an orange & honey butter. These touches really count. Aunt Jen (Dr. Dave's sister) was with us and she sampled the Eggs Benedict $11.75 which she said were excellent. That's an easy dish to screw up and trust me, if they had, she's the person who would've noticed!

The kicker to this whole brunch deal is that a Mimosa or Bloody Mary is included in the price. You could pay $7 easily for the drink alone at another restaurant. Its shameful that is this restaurant wasn't packed to the rafters with a line out the door, I'm ready to go back on a weekly basis and if you are a lover of quality food enjoyed in a beautiful Parisian atmosphere then swing by Metronome! (geddit?)....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ike n One Gas Burner....

Finally I have something in common with Tina Turner... no; not multi millionaire status, internationally recognized singing talent or legs up to my armpits... but I DO know what its like to have Ike breathing down your neck and threatening to knock your lights out...

Firstly, before you go and drop a few hundred panic buying extra packets, cans and nonsense, have a look as see what you already have and consider the nutritional needs of your family.

Chances are you'll have meat in the freezer (I always have ground sirloin), frozen vegetables, cans of beans & of course that Bogo pasta (I have a glut or Barilla wholegrain). Secondly, the day before the storm hits, get the pasta cooked, rinsed, dress with a little olive oil or other (safe) dressing (nothing mayonnaise based), Get your freezer stuff used; cook the ground beef, add a jar of marinara sauce, add the beans (Bush's maple are Dr. Dave's favorite), sweetcorn or whatever you have that'll rot with no power. This is a one pot dish that really packs a nutritional punch and so much better than munching cheerios from the box! Assemble a man sized dish of the stuff - put in the fridge and when the lights go out you'll have something you can easily warm on that one sad little camping stove you always knew would come in handy.

Naturally if you have a generator, let me know what time to stop by with my bottles of warm Korbel and my shower hat.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Evening mealtimes can be a rush. My one year old is at a stage where anything vaguely adult is attractive and toys are a bore - think remote controls, phones, cellphones, handbags, ovens, all drawers and you get the picture. Quick, deft cooking is the key - so filet mignon (remember on sale at Josephs Classic Market); crisp new season green beans and... and... and there's the stumbling block. What 'side' of interest can one produce in the time it takes to char grill a filet?

I confess to a little Bogo stash of dried, readymade sides. I know they don't have the best of reputations in culinary circles and I'm sure Gordon Ramsay would sooner starve than feed his kids one but what the heck, the price was right. Imagine my shock, distress and horror when Dr. Dave declared them quite the tastiest noodles he'd had in a long time. Oh the wasted years.....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Polynesian Luau Salad

This is an adaptation of a recipe from one of my vintage Disney cookbooks. My brother & sister in law are huge fans of the Polynesian Hotel at DisneyWorld and I wanted to give them a little taste of something they love from a place they have great memories of.

My version of the recipe mixes the quantities and amends the dressing. I'm not one for the oversweet salads. The pears give enough of a sugary hit without too much in the dressing.

Here's a guide to what you'll need for a starter / side salad for 8-10 people.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 x bags of spring mix salad

  • a cup of crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)

  • 1/2 cup of smoked almonds chopped

  • 1/2 a red onion thinly sliced

  • 3 ripe pears (whatever's seasonal) cored & thinly sliced

For the dressing: 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 tbs Japanese rice vinegar, salt & pepper, 1/4 cup of canola oil. (you can add a teaspoon of sugar if you like a sweeter result).

Method - What method? Compose salad, whisk dressing and serve on side.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chili's, Legacy Place, Palm Beach Gardens

If you're looking for cheap n cheerful on a Saturday evening or any night for that matter, you could do alot worse than Chili's. It's become quite a regular standby for us which has as much to do with the food as the 2 for 1 drinks!

Its consistent, reasonably priced, children can make noise without you worrying too much about disturbing date night diners and they have a kids menu that isn't an insult to them OR you.

Dr. Dave went with the habanero boneless wings $8.29 which he described as 'way too spicy' but that's just him, if you were scarfing them down with a frozen margarita or six they'd probably be just fine. Also he doesn't do ranch dressing which would've cooled things off so he only has himself to blame. I had a couple too and although he was right, there was a little burning tongue action - they weren't killer. I had the buffalo chicken salad $8.49 ; a crispy mix of leaves, tortilla strips, boneless buffalo chicken and blue cheese. Not exactly on the healthful side of the salad scale but extremely satisfying. Mia had pizza & corn, Ceci had mac & cheese & broccoli trees. Kids meals are $3.99 a piece including a drink - can't go wrong for that!

Friendly staff, decent food; this place does everything it says on the label. We'll be back...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Easy Weeknight Family Food

The school runs are back on; schedules are overcrowded with after school programs and you have little or no time to cook before everyone's at the table looking to eat...

One thing that works for my whole family on busy days is the pasta bake. I've made numerous variations on a theme depending on the old BOGO collection or whats fresh or simply what we feel like eating.

The simple genius of this dish, apart from its versatility, is that you can combine every element of the meal in the one dish, prepare it ahead of time and in 15-20 minutes its ready to eat. By the time the crusty sneakers have been removed and you've unpacked the lunchbox - its done!

I'm a pretty organized cook. I buy chicken breasts in bulk and grill them, slice them and have them ready to go in the fridge. Its far easier to do it this way than cook from scratch every night - I also only have to clean up once! You can do the same with the pasta. Cook a boxful of penne or bowties, rinse in cold water and dress with a little olive oil and fridge it. This makes a really nutritious dinner just minutes away. I've got quite into the wholegrain pastas too - even if you do half & half its a great way to add fibre without a battle.

Here's what I do. Mix the pasta and sliced chicken with a store bought marinara sauce, add vegetables - your choice - my guys like green beans, sweetcorn, carrots and peas - give it a mix and pour into an oven proof dish. Top with grated cheese and bake until bubbling.

Here are some variations:

  • ITALIAN & CREAMY - Whole grain pasta shapes with chicken, alfredo sauce & spinach, top with breadcrumbs & extra cheese.

  • BBQ STYLE - Bowties with chicken; marinara sauce, splash of barbecue sauce & a can of sweetcorn, top with extra barbecue sauce and spicy cheese.

  • ITALIAN & LIGHT - Penne with chicken, tomato & basil sauce, packet of frozen peas, top with skim milk mozzarella & basil.

  • MEXICAN STYLE - Spirals with chicken, spicy tomato sauce, beans, top with mexican blend cheese and French's onions.

I like to let my daughter choose the ingredients, the pasta shapes, the vegetables and the cheese. A little control over what she's eating makes her so much more hungry for the finished product. With this dish I know she's getting a bit of everything good in each mouthful. Dr. Dave and the three toothed one don't complain either!