We had a bit of excitement this week to make for an eventful time here in Sydney. There was a fire in our building. We were woken up around 4 in the morning by the very loud fire alarm and after a few seconds of figuring out what the noise was all about, we put on some clothes and shoes and grabbed a few things and made our way down the fire stairs. After sitting outside for a couple of hours, and watching all the hub-bub from three fire trucks and the street being shut down, we found out that there was a fire just two floors above our apartment. The building personnel said it was a cooking fire but unless the person was cooking electrical wiring and/or synthetic fabrics, I’m not certain they were telling the truth. It turned out though that the sprinklers went off and flooded several floors below, including ours. Luckily, none of the mess or water got into our apartment and was just in the common hallway area. It definitely made for an interesting early morning wake up call. Good times in Sydney!
Pacific West Salt & Pepper Squid – Dave and I both love the salt and pepper squid or calamari and always order it when we are out. So, we figured this was a good item to try out, especially since there was a coupon offer. The squid is cut in rings and scored to make it a little more tender. The squid is covered with a salt and pepper batter. The batter gets a really nice crunch on it when you cook it and it’s got a nice spicy flavour. We did kind of feel like it might be a little overly salty but it was still quite good. The nice thing is that you can either bake the squid or or you can pan fry it. We chose to bake ours because it seemed like less hassle and mess, plus it should make for a less greasy end product. Unfortunately, these are not something you can pop quickly in the oven for a fast treat because they take around 26 minutes to bake. However, they do turn out really nice and with a crunchy coating and a decent texture to the squid. The squid could be a little more tender. I think that if you cook them for less time the squid might be more tender but the batter coating would be soggy and that would be pretty gross. We ate these just as they are with a little bit of lemon juice spritzed over them and those were quite good. You could also make a nice dipping sauce for them out of a little bit of soy sauce and some chili peppers. Or, you could do a nice spicy mayo dip or a lemony mayo dip would be good too. I think these would make a great topping for a big dinner salad and I might give that a try with some of them. Although they are pretty good just right from the oven, so it might be hard to choose. 1.2 kg for A$12.79 ($15.79 – $3.00 coupon) (UK: £8.78; US: $3.46). Item #: 15583.
Chan’s Yum Cha at Home Seafood Dumpling Selection – When I wrote about the prawn dumplings from Chan’s I said that I really wanted to try the seafood dumplings but hadn’t seen the at the Sydney Costco. Luckily, a nice Costco fan from Melbourne suggested I look again, more closely, because they had them at their Costco. And she was right! I’m glad I made the effort because this was a nice dumpling selection. In the package at Costco you get 52 different dumplings divided into two separately wrapped trays. I love that they have them in two separate trays in the box because that way you don’t have to worry about them getting all freezer burned if you open them to get have some dumplings. The 52 dumplings are made up of 12 ginger prawn dumplings, 16 scallop dumplings, and 24 hargow dumplings (that’s prawn). I still think that the hargow or prawn dumplings are awesome and probably my favourite but it’s hard to choose because they’re all really good. I like the gingery bite that you get in the ginger prawn dumplings. And the scallop dumplings are so tender and delicious. It really is hard for me to pick a favourite. The dumplings are MSG and preservative free and seem to really be made with just normal ingredients, if I weren’t lazy and were into making dumplings at home I’m sure I’d use the same types of ingredients. But when I can buy something this good, why would I bother trying to make my own? You can either steam the dumplings or you can cook them in boiling water. We have tried both methods and feel like maybe they are a little more tender if we use the boiling water method. We were amazed but it also seems a little easier because they did get kind of sticky when we tried to steam them. In either case, they tasted really delicious and as good as most restaurants where we’ve had dumplings. We’ll definitely be getting these again. 1.39 kg, 52 dumplings, for A$19.99 (UK: £13.72; US: $21.04). Item #: 16700.
Two Bite Brownies – These are so tasty. I’m not necessarily a huge brownie person, but Dave definitely loves a good brownie. While we both really like the Ghirardelli Brownie mix that you can get at Costco and always have some on hand, if I have to buy a brownie, these are an excellent option. They are the size of a mini muffin, so a little more than an inch in diameter probably. The outside is crusty, like the corner pieces when you make them yourself, and the inside is still nice and moist and gooey and very chocolaty. I think Dave likes them because his favorite pieces, when we make them ourselves, are always the corner pieces because of the crunchy outside. I like them because I can have one or two and get my brownie fill. I think these are great for a small treat after dinner, either by themselves, or if we’re really living it up, with some ice cream. They make for a great brownie sundae with ice cream, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce. Sometimes when we don’t have ice cream but I want something a little more decadent I add some chocolate sauce; I prefer the Hersey’s sauce that you can also get at Costco that makes a mean glass of chocolate milk too. The nice thing is that these are as close to making your own brownies as you are likely to get in a store because these contain no preservatives or artificial colourings and no trans fats; just real ingredients. Also, if you’re a vegetarian, you too can enjoy these as a special treat. I’ve bought these before in the US and UK, so I would think they still carry them in those locations too. 675 grams for A$10.59 (UK: £7.27; US: $11.15). Item #: 16241.
Annies Fruit Leather – I like for Dave and I to have something quick and snacky for mid-afternoon. You know, that period when you get a little munchy and want something kind of sweet? Well, these are perfect for that. Plus, these little sticks of fruit leather are made from all natural fruit with no added sugar, no sulphur, and no preservatives. They’re also gluten free if that is a concern of yours. Also, they are marked as Kosher. I like that they are made with fruit and not just concentrate fruit juice. And though it may be hard to believe, each bar is remarkably equal to two pieces of fruit. I like these because unlike something like muesli or granola bars, these are healthy and won’t break or crumble in your bag. These are perfect for taking in your lunch or just keeping on hand in case you need a little snack. Since they are so sturdy and lightweight, they’re perfect for taking on a hike, a plane, or a train too. If I still had a car, I would make sure a couple of these were in my car too, for those just-in-case incidents. In the box at Costco you get three flavours: apricot, boysenberry, and strawberry, all mixed with apple. I thought all three flavours were quite good and would eat any of them again, though I really like the apricot and Dave preferred the boysenberry. Which of course means, we can divide up the strawberry equally. There are 24 packages in the box and they are split equally between the three flavours. We had originally just decided to pick these up because they were having a coupon for them, but they’re so good and portable, we’ll definitely be getting them again. 480 grams, 24 pieces, for A$11.69 ($14.69 – $3.00 coupon) (UK: £8.03; US: $12.30). Item #: 14144.