From Supermarket to the Table

“From Supermarket to the Table” – it’s not quite like from “the farm” to the table, right? But it is good for me. I will explain later, but first let me share my busy day with you. If you are interested, read on. Otherwise, move your mouse and click to other sites.

It has been two weeks since we moved to the city fringe of Hobart. Hobart is buzzing with international and interstate visitors flocking to The Taste Festival at the Hobart waterfront, the arrival of Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race or The Fall Festival at Marion Bay. The weather is perfect with cool temperature hovering around the twenties.

I kept telling myself that I had to go to The Taste Festival. This year was bigger and better with a revamped venue. But I have been busy with our house since we moved in – renovation, garage sale, moving furniture from one room to the other room, pruning very old and overgrown roses, mulching and more mulching. It’s a never ending story. But the beauty is that it is a small property unlike our previous property of 3 acres in the countryside. One thing I am certain is that I have finally settled in. I am doing more fun and interesting things than working on the house.

This morning I went for a very long walk, got two types of newspapers – the Tasmanian local paper, Sunday Mercury, and a mainland newspaper, Sunday Age. Read the paper while waiting for my partner to get out of bed. He finally got up. Only because the phone rang about 9:30 am! It was his parents. After the phone call, I told him that I would like to go for breakfast at Jean Pascal Patisserie – a very short walk from our house. It is our local cafe with a cute little corner store directly across with lovely cakes, gourmet snacks and food, fresh flowers and floral arrangements, gifts and others.

It was a late breakfast. About 11:30 am. I ordered the Le Grand Breakfast that came with two poached eggs on top of a French bread, bacon, grilled tomato, mushrooms and potato galette, and my partner had the Poached Eggs with Leg Ham and Hollandaise sauce. Our breakfast – it was good. Actually very good. Unfortunately, I forgot to take some photo of our breakfast. I was occupied with someone we knew who walked in before our drinks and food arrived. He was an old friend that we met years ago who lived further south than us in Dover. But moved to Hobart last year. Now we are two streets away. This can only happen in a small place like Hobart!

Our local cafe, Jean-Pascal Patisserie with their corner store across Baker Street

Jean-Pascal La Boutique

Inside the cafe – chic, intimate and quaint

Beautiful wide street with rows of Golden Elm Trees

A well balanced substantial breakfast for me is a great way to start my Sunday morning. This is what I love most about living in the city again. A short stroll to our local cafe. Not just any cafe, but a beautiful cafe with beautiful food.

After our late breakfast and felt fully re-energised again, I quickly changed to my dirty garden gear. Time for front garden project – more pruning, mulching and mowing the grass. After three hours of hard labouring away, I am beginning to see the full potential and vision of our front garden project. My partner was busy working on the back yard. We were both knackered when we finished what we had to do. We were wondering what we should have for dinner. I suggested either he cooked a pasta dish or we go out or have a takeaway. But he came up with a better idea! He asked me to cook!

“How about making us a Ma-Po Tofu,” he asked.

That is how I started this post – “From Supermarket to the Table”. We live close to a big supermarket chain, Woolworths. It is our local supermarket now. And, one of my favourite in New Town and probably the busiest in Hobart. It is a nice and easy five minutes walk. With the supermarket so close to home, I don’t stock up the vegetables or meats in the fridge or freezer anymore. I only buy what I need to cook at the time. Thus, straight from the supermarket to our table. Or actually to our plates. We don’t eat at the table.

I have been doing this type of shopping since early this week. I love it. It brings back memory of how my mother buys her fresh produce from the wet market just for the day’s cooking. I know this is not quite like shopping back in Penang’s wet market. But for me, it is close and good enough. The supermarket produce, especially the vegetables, would have been stored in their cooler before putting on the shelf.

My partner wanted “Ma-Po” but there was no pork or chicken mince. Instead, I bought some chicken thigh fillets from the deli section, a bunch of coriander, a red and green capsicum, some tomatoes and mushrooms. I have ginger and spring onions at home. I will make a chicken with vegetable stir-fry instead.

I created a new stir-fry dish tonight. The focus was on the fresh produces for the textures and flavours. No garlic was used in tonight’s cooking. I rarely stir-fry without garlic. It was a test and it worked. I used milder ingredients – some spring onions, few slices of ginger rather than chopped, a fresh red chili and lots of coriander. The sauce was a combination of oyster and fish sauce with a pinched of freshly cracked black pepper and palm sugar. The real essence of the food was on the tender juicy thigh fillets in bite pieces, crunchy capsicum and perfectly coated tomato dices with the thicken sauce.

I cooked this dish using my heavy duty portable Asian wok burner with a well seasoned wok. The flame was strong with plenty “wok hay”. Ideal for Chinese stir fry. The cooking was done outside. A nice change from cooking in the kitchen.

The ingredients

My outdoor cooking



17 responses to “From Supermarket to the Table

  1. Victor, I’d love an outdoor kitchen one day! Great food, great post. Back in UK now, Sydney was FABULOUS!!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Emily. Funny you didn’t say that about KL. LOL.

      Must be nice to be back home now in your own bed. Hope the cold and snow are not as bad now as when you left UK. Cheers!

  2. Lovely to hear how you’ve been occupying your time recently at the house, and glad you appear to have settled in well. I too will be moving house within the next few months, and guess who my first dinner guests will be?

    It’s the final day of Taste today – if you intend going you need to get there some time today. I too thought I’d get there but haven’t. But….found an absolute gem of a place yesterday, and hope you will get there soon to check it out for yourselves. Am drafting my blog post about it now….x

    • Who??? 🙂

      All the best to your big move, Rita. No doubt the change will be good for you and your health with love ones nearby. I am still waiting for you to reveal the secret place. Cheers!

    • Oh, btw alas we made it to The Taste Festival today! Last day and we had fun. Let me post some pictures next.

  3. Stephen & I enjoyed the Taste in the revamped premises after a few years’ absence…Lovely Angus steak sandwich. Good cheese & garlic pizza from the one in Harrington St behind K&D, quail…Yummy Small Pancakes with berries & the lot. No need to sit down for any of this finger food. We just strolled or leaned up against a wall or bin. Washed down by chilled wines.
    Didn’t know about Jean Pascale Boutique…must check it out!
    Enjoy the garden makeover. HNY!

    • Thanks Mary. We made it to the Taste today! Unfortunately I just got back and read your experience at the Taste and chosen stalls. None which I had tried. But nevertheless I was not disappointed. If you and Steve are coming here, do let us know in advance and drop in for a cuppa! Cheers!

  4. I don’t live far away; I’ll be right over! 😉 I also usually only get what I need for the meal I’m about to make. I don’t like trying to plan days in advance, then not being in the mood for what I’d planned or something coming up and having veggies wilting in the ‘crisper’.

    • Ha ha. No place is ever too far in Hobart. Please say hello if we bump into each other. I found the neighbours are not as chatty or friendly as our old place in the Huon. Guess that’s life in the city. 🙂

  5. I’ll certainly say hello if we bump into each other.

    Do you like Onde Onde by any chance? I love them – but my husband isn’t so keen. Sometimes I just have to make them so I can have some. Friends at work love them, but they’re difficult to take to work as being a morning person I’m not likely to get up early to make them and they aren’t good sitting over night.

    • Oh yes, Onde Onde. I had them when I was a kid. Love them. Do you make the traditional ones with pandan leaves and palm sugar inside? Or have you invented new ones? You are right. They are best to eat on the same day. 🙂

      • Yes, pandan leaves (or paste – but I can get frozen pandan leaves in Sandy Bay) and palm sugar inside! That’s why they aren’t good the next day – the palm sugar escapes! They need to have that liquid centre. One of my best friends is from Melaka and our favourite thing to do together is cook. Unfortunately she’s in Sydney and I’ve moved to Tassie, so it doesn’t happen as often as it used to. And some ingredients I can’t find here.

        • Snuva – sounds like your friend knows Nonya style cooking, esp coming from Melaka. You are right that it is not possible to buy certain Asian ingredients here, esp the fresh ones. When I first moved to TAS, I shopped at Richmond in Melb and brought back lots of the ingredients I need. But, now I shop at the Chinese Emporium in Moonah. I have adjusted my cooking to what I can only find in Hobart.

  6. Hi Victor, it looks delicious. Could you tell me where you got the outdoor wok burner from? It would be great to have one! Cheers Hazel

    • Hi Hazel – I got it at Cabramatta before we moved here. I’ve not seen one like this at the local Asian supermarkets. Maybe Barbeque Galore may have one.

  7. I’m looking forward to working in my garden this year, it’s a never ending project but quiet rewarding imo. What I like best about the city is the sidewalk, I kind of missed that living here.

    I finally got my wok, looking forward to cooking more with it. Your dish looks yummy.

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