Sunday, 24 June 2012

Yellow Curry


Yellow curry on right
  • 500g any white meat cubed (chicken thigh, pork or fish)
  • 1 inch (30mm) ginger grated
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon Robbie’s chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped basil
  • 1 or 2 shallots sliced
  • 1 teaspoon galangal powder
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves snipped into small slivers
  • Chili powder to taste
  • Lime or lemon juice to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Tamarind paste
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • Handful chopped tomato


Brown meat, fry garlic and shallots. Cook the curry paste. Once golden brown ass other ingredients and simmer. Garnish with spring onion, coriander and sliced chili. In the photo served with cucumber salad, sticky rice and washed down with home made ginger beer.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Things I have learnt from travel # 4 - Travel is about the journey not the destination.

Lost somewhere in Oz but happy (1987)
Many people have said the same about travel – that the journey is more important than the destination. I mused on this many times while motorcycle touring all over Australia. It is a thought that has popped into my mind many times when the unexpected has happened on the road.

During the journey you meet people who you would never come across in your day to day life,, take detours that could never be planned, stumble on events that could not be staged, plus see sights that often exceed all your expectations.

Steam Boat Ideas

Steamboat in Gastronomy St Hanoi
In cooler weather we love to share Steamboat (or Hot Pot), it always reminds us of spending time with friends. The recipe for the stock comes from our friend Ly ...

Ly’s Hotpot Ideas ...

Ingredients for the stock:

Chicken/ pork bone
Robbie’s Luang Prabang chili paste
Tom Yum paste
Tamarind powder
Vietnamese dried perfume mushroom
Lemon grass

Making the stock:
Boil chicken/ pork bone for 3-4 minutes. Clean the bone and the saucepan to get rid of all the impurity and fat. Dip 2-3 Vietnamese dried perfume mushrooms in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes until they become soft then wash the mushrooms. Add new water and boil the bone again. Put the perfume mushrooms in to cook with the bone. Cook on very low heat for around 1-1.30 hours.

Take the stock to your steamboat (still boiling the bone in the saucepan in case you need more soup later). Add salt, chili paste, Tom Yum paste, tamarind powder, cut lemongrass and onion.

Some suggestions for ingredients in the Steamboat:

great to share with friends/family
Proteins - Fish balls with shrimp roe, fine sliced beef, chicken, pork and/or fish. Prawns, clams, mussels and/or cuttlefish.

Vegetables - bok choy, choy sum, spinach, been sprouts, green beans, all kinds of mushrooms, maybe try dried lily flowers.

Condiments - Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, coriander, garlic, spring onions, chili, pepper, all kinds of dipping sauces to your taste.

As you can see above anything goes - that is why it is such a fun thing with friends. Good idea to wash down with Beer Lao or Hanoi Beer - cheers!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Happy Birthday Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi turned 67 today and we celebrated here birthday with a dinner organised by our friends from the Burma Campaign Australia. The dinner was held at the Bagan Burmese Restaurant at Strathfield, NSW.

The dinner consisted of a set menu – Pea parata, century egg salad, tea leaf salad, steamed broccoli, fried bean curd, stir fry vegies, fish cake salad, goat curry, soya pork, chicken curry, spring rolls, rice. No birthday party would be complete without a birthday cake. In this case there were a number on the various tables. My favourites were the tea leaf salad and the pork. I was going to take more photos of the food but we ate it too quick!

There was also entertainment thanks to some Burmese singers. After dinner we watched a video of the ceremony from Oslo where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi finally got to collect her Noble Peace Prize. Everyone was very moved by this.

Esther delivers her speech
Esther, a member of the BCA, who is from the Karen ethnic group in Burma, gave a beautiful speech about how inspiring a woman Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is and what she means to her personally and the Burmese people.

Whenever I hear the stories of the many Burmese exiles living in Sydney it reminds me of what a great country Australia is and how easy my life has been in comparison to others.

Some of the food
If you want more info about the Burma Campaign Australia you can find their website here. For information about other social events involving the Burmese community, including curry nights, you can find some info at the Burmese Friendship Association’s website here.

Thanks to BCA and all those who attended for a really enjoyable night.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Things I have learnt from travel # 3 - There is no language barrier!

We love trying to interact with people when we travel. Lorenza knows full well that I will try and strike up a conversation with almost anyone on the road.

Mind you my English is terrible because I speak with such a broad Australian accent. My French is almost non existent, despite my many attempts to get past the basics. I know only a few words in a smattering of South East Asian languages, most of which get a few laughs.

I always seem to manage to make a lot of new friends. I think this is because most people want to be happy and have fun with each other.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Sayadaw U Pannathami's Birthday Dhamma Dana

Sayadaw U Pannathami
Today, the Panditarama Centre celebrated the 64th birthday of Sayadaw U Pannathami. The centre held a celebratory lunch at the Villawood Senior Citizens Hall. Also in attendance was Sayadaw U Pannobhatha from the Panditarama Centre in Melbourne and Sayadaw Pannissara from PSMC.

Many devotees took the opportunity to wish Sayadaw a happy birthday and also listen to the recitation of suttas and a Dhamma talk given by Sayadaw. The suttas were the Metta Sutta (Loving Kindness) and Atanatiya Sutta. You can find an English translation of them and many other suttas at Access to Insight

A great lunch was provided - who does not love a good Burmese curry and rice? The range of food on offer is such a credit to the devotees who take the time and effort to prepare it for us all. Lorenza can normally eat spicy food ok, but the papaya salad had her eyes watering! Thanks to everyone for such a lovely lunch.
Catch up over lunch

Over lunch we caught up with friends and made some new ones, as we always do when we go to a PSMC event – the people are very friendly.

After lunch, the talk given by Sayadaw was very interesting, he expressed his happiness that so many devotees had come to celebrate his birthday. He then went on to tell us about his recent travels to Singapore, America, Malaysia, Burma and Indonesia.

Sayadaw told us that he had been anxious about travelling and this was the first big trip he was undertaking since he had an operation in 2010. The Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita (Sayadaw’s boss*) – asked him to lead some overseas meditation retreats if he felt his health was good enough to do so. Although apprehensive, Sayadaw did not want to let anyone down and agreed to the request.

While overseas, Sayadaw said that he became concerned because his balance was not good when walking and his blood pressure was fluctuating a lot. He told us that this was having a detrimental effect on his meditation practice. Plus, to add more difficulties his younger brother passed away. So, the trip had many challenges.

I found Sayadaw’s talk very interesting, we tend to forget that Monks, Priests or the like are also human beings just like us and have fears and concerns as we all do.


 (* Sorry – my description not his.)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Things I have learnt from travel # 2 - Life has a pause button.

When I returned to work following our last break in South East Asia it felt like I walked back into work and pushed the “play” button on a remote and everyone started moving, doing and saying exactly what they had been doing when I left.

Obviously, I must have hit “pause” when I walked out the door four weeks earlier.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Inspiration #1

"Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them." The Dalai Lama

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Things I have learnt from travel # 1 - Simple equals happy

Simple = Happy
On the road in South East Asia, passing through remote villages, eating, drinking and staying with the locals reminded me of how simple my life was as a child. Back then I had no need for corporate goals, KPIs, lease cars, mortaged houses, smart phones, plasma TVs, etc. etc.

Sure folks living in simple circumstances have their issues, their lives are not perfect. They have to contend with health problems, shorter life spans and the need to make sure they have the basics of life.

Despite all that, they do seem to smile a lot!

Monday, 4 June 2012

This Week at Panditarama Sydney Meditation Centre (PSMC)

Sayadaw U Pannathami has just returned from six months overseas. He has been busy running meditation retreats in various countries, such as  the USA, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. On his return he attended the monthly meeting of the Panditarama Sydney Meditation Centre (PSMC). Sayadaw has suggested the following:

From mid June 2012 there will be one hour or 2 hour weekend group meditation every second Saturday. The scheduled dates are - June 16 , June 23, July 14, July 28, August 11, August 25, September 8, September 22 . Dates for other months will be listed later.

The Meditation sessions will start from 5 pm and finish at 6 pm. But if you want to continue meditation after 6pm you are welcome to do so.

There will also be meditation sessions held on Sundays. They will be held every second and fourth Sunday of every month. Meditation starts from 2 pm and finish at 4 pm. Meditation from 2 pm to 3 pm , rest a few minutes, then meditation and questions to Sayadaw if you have any. Finish at 4 pm. But if you want to continue meditation you can extend the time as long as you like.

Sayadaw encourages all members and guests to try and attend the above meditation sessions. Beginners and new visitors are always welcome.

The Panditarama Sydney Meditation Centre (PSMC) is located at 70 Market St, Smithfield NSW 2164. You can visit the PSMC website via the following link ... PSMC

They also have a Facebook page ... PSMC Facebook Page

Friday, 1 June 2012

Green Papaya Salad

Papaya salad + Lao sausage


  • 2-3 cups shredded young, green papaya (wash and rinse the papaya, peel off the outer skin, then shred)
  • 3-5 red chili peppers (you can substitute the green ones or mix them together, depending on your taste)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2-3 tablespoon nam bpa (fish sauce)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cane sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 lime (slice into four quarters)
  • 8 to 12 cherry tomatoes (slice in half or smaller)
  • 1/2 head lettuce and or 1/2 cabbage (slice)

Crush chili peppers and garlic in the mortar with the pestle. Add the shrimp paste to make a thick pasty mix. Add fish sauce and mix. In a large bowl add shredded papaya, tomatoes, two quarters of lime (squeeze the juice on to the mix, add the rinds) and sugar. Add the ingredients from the mortar and mix the ingredients thoroughly by smashing gently on the salad mix with the pestle on one hand and using a big long spoon to toss the salad mix.