Friday, October 15, 2010

Study+study+study = going crazy

33 comments

First HSC exam today! *gasp*

Okayokay- so maybe it's not such a big deal =) I didn't start studying last night (for once) and so I got some sleep. Although my mum accidently turned on my electric blanket (on high might I add) in the morning when she was changing my sheets, meaning that I spent half the night being fried on my bed instead of sleeping! Don't worry, I turned around occasionally to make sure that I seared evenly =)



But even spending half the night awake, I didn't think any exam thoughts. It was strangely.....normal. No 'what if' thoughts, no 'I'm going to fail' or even trying to go through my essay at all. I think I'm skilfully mastering the art of blocking out bad thoughts from my head!

I can happily forget my no-so-pleasing marks that I might have gotten a few weeks ago. I can easily forget that there's a HSC to study for- until I return to my desk and see a pile of books waiting to be studied. In fact, the only thing I really think about now is what I'm going to do after the exams- all the food I'm going to cook, all the places I'm going to eat at, all the blogging I'll do.



I don't want to talk much about school because this blog is mostly for happy things. Study makes me sad sad sad........=( (*gasp* repetition! sibiliance! *puke*) But because I'll have to go back to studying soon (and start on my essays *sigh*), I'll keep this one short. But if you don't see me around on this blog for a couple of weeks you'll know why =) But knowing me, I won't be able to resist not blogging!

And because studying is messing up my brain, I'll go a little crazy in this post and blog about three things rather than one. Okayokay, enough about the study- onto the happier things- food!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Banana Crumble muffins

27 comments
Our kitchen runs in a simple way- my mother is in charge of the cooking, which she does, infallibly every single day. Then there's me with my sweet and baked goods, which I make whenever I feel like it. My father's in charge of the drinks whenever we have a more Western style dinner- say roast or steak. And my sister's the kitchen assitant, helping out here and there, or recreating recipes from school or other little things she might like to try.

And then there are the few dishes each one of us creates which don't fall into our normal category- sort of like signature dishes, although not quite because they're not that good. But these are dishes which other members of the family will rarely attempt.

IMG_2095

For me, these special things would be mostly my occasional dinners (like butter chicken or beef rendang) and my yorkshire puddings which I make everytime we have roast (which unfortunately, have never lasted long enough for a photo). My sister's would be her fruit punch, a recipe from one of our first cookbooks. My father's would be his HK style borscht or a couple of dishes he whips up whenever mum's not at home. None of these are particularly special, and could easily be replicated by other members of the family but just never are.

One of my mum's special little somethings is bannana bread, which, funnily enough, comes from my cookbook. She claimed banana bread as her role one afternoon, while I was at school when she made the banana bread from a recipe we'd been looking at.....together! It was an instant hit, and she's been making it regularly ever since.



Although this doesn't mean I'll never make banana bread, this is the reason why most banana bread recipes, as good as they may look and sound, rarely make it to the top of my list of things to bake. And because that list is so long, I've never really gotten around to making banana bread =)

But, when I saw these gorgeous banana crumble muffins here, with their delicious looking crunchy crumble topping, along with the soft fluffy insides I just couldn't help but make them =D And this was before I read on to realise that more than 5,500 other people had tried and loved the recipe too!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zen Oasis

18 comments
This has got to be one of the most unusual buffet restaurants I’ve been to.

For one thing, it’s situated one and a half hours away from Sydney, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Literally. All you can see around here is lots of plain, empty land. The endless flat ground, with dry yellow grass (because we’re in Australia, of course), a couple of lonely, skinny trees here and there and an occasional cow or two- just like the type you see for hours on a long drive along a highway. And to make it a little bit stranger, all the diners here don’t actually come from this area- they all come from suburban Sydney. And then there’s the name of this restaurant, Zen Oasis, which (to me) sounds nothing like a restaurant name really- perhaps a resort of some sort, but not a restaurant.

We arrive by car, slowly along the windy gravel road until we reach the end, to find plenty of other cars already parked there. Never mind that our GPS seems a little lost, with our car sitting in a middle of a big green patch on the screen, with no roads to be seen- at least we’re in the right place! The sight of the large pond draws our attention- perhaps this is the reason for the 'oasis' part of the name? Sitting next to the pond is what appears to be a small wooden cottage- it doesn't take long to figure that the cottage is the restaurant.


We’re here from the recommendation given by family friends. Apparently, this place has been open for a while and is quite well known within the Cantonese-Chinese community (the same bunch you'll see flocking Eastwood every weekend for their grocery shopping). It’s very popular too- the restaurant opens at 11:30 and we’ve only arrived a couple of minutes later but have already found the restaurant mostly full, with customers already comfortably seated and digging into their food. We are shown to our table, in a small dark corner by a waiter who notifies us of their food wastage policy before we are let loose to grab some of the food we’ve been eagerly awaiting to try.

So- what’s so great about the food that makes people travel so far just to eat it??


To me, it’s not just that the food tastes good; it’s the fact that the food is ingenious. Zen Oasis is a vegetarian restaurant, but instead of serving up plates of veggies and tofu, it serves up seemingly ordinary dishes with vegetarian foods disguised as meat. And you don’t really notice it! The meats are not only replicated in appearance and taste, they are also replicated in texture- even with fake fat within the ‘meat’!

IMG_4728
Fried Banana, (and I don't know what the rest are meant to be.....)

Of course, we start with the unhealthy fried foods, which have their own table, separate from the mains. Unlike your typical RSL buffets, there were no fried chips or potato wedges to be found, but instead a more unusual selection of delicious crunchy foods.

I don't usually like fried banana, but I make the exception to try it this time, because the black sesame seeds make it look different and yummier. And it is! It doesn't taste quite as banana-y as most fried bananas I've had (which is a good thing) and the batter is deliciously crispy and crunchy. Made with a similar batter, the round fried ball thing reminds me of fish balls, with its nori wrapping making it extremely tasty.

IMG_4724
Spring Roll and 'wu cee'

And of course, the beloved spring roll, which is filled with a slightly sweet veggie filling and is delicious with its crispy exterior

IMG_4667

Fried 'Salmon'

Wrapped in a layer of nori, giving it a slight fishy taste, and then fried in a crispy batter, this fried salmon is one of my favourite fried foods. Biting into the crispy batter reveals the tender pink interior which tastes amazingly like salmon- and it even tears off in the exact same way cooked salmon does!

Related Posts with Thumbnails