Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A short note to end the year :)

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Hope everyone had great Christmas!! :)

Just letting you guys know that I'll be taking a short break from blogging whilst I go on holidays. I'll be back soon after the New Year so until then, hope you all have a great time! :D

And while I have the chance, here's a picture of the first ever bento I made (earlier this year) but never got around to posting on my blog! It's far from perfect, and took me forever to make....but it was heaps fun!


And on another note, the wonderful people at delivery hero chose me as one of their ten winners of the ‘Not Just Another Food Blogger’ award!! (This is my blog's first proper award so thank-you so much guys!!)They also did a short interview with me- check it out here

Delivery Hero Not Just Another Food Blogger Awards 2013

They were also kind enough to send me a super cute tea-towel as a gift which I love so much (but haven't had a chance to take a picture of to show you guys yet!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Korean Fried Chicken Wings

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I've been in love with Korean fried chicken since I first had it at a Korean buffet, which unfortunately closed down shortly after I'd discovered it. Since then, they've been an occasional indulgence since they're quite pricey and I don't really eat out at Korean restaurants that much.

So I was quite excited when I chanced upon an amazing looking recipe for these chicken wings which looked exactly like the ones I've had at Korean restaurants. So excited infact, that chicken wings shot to the top of my grocery shopping list and the next day, I was already making these for lunch!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Malaysian Eats Around Sydney

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When my friend told me she was in the mood for Malaysian food, a quick google search resulted in many terrific Malaysian eateries that we wanted to try so we spent our next couple of lunches visiting a few of them :)

Ipoh On York
Asam Laksa ($10.5)

We start first at Ipoh on York, as it's one of the few Malaysian restaurants which are actually open on weekends- and it's incredibly quiet too, with only one other table eating in when we walked in at around 12 on a Saturday afternoon. It's a food-court style restaurant, where you pay and pick up the food at the counter before taking a seat. We have a bit of difficulty both choosing what to order and reading the menu on the board above the counter but luckily the staff were nice enough to hand us some takeaway menus to sit down and look over whilst we decided.

My friend went for the asam laksa, a quite different variation to the laksa we're used to- the slightly sour soup was an interesting and refreshing change and we didn't find it too spicy for our tastes.

Roti Canai ($3 each)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

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The one reason I don't cook or bake with alcohol much is simple because there is never any in the house. It's a stupid reason, I know, since I can easily buy wine online or even drive to the bottle shop if it's urgent so the first thing I did when exams finished was to finally purchase a bottle of red wine to play around with!! :)


In the type of Asian cooking we do at home, we only ever occasionally add a splash or rice wine here or there in our stir fries so I was a bit surprised when I first learnt about Western foods, that there was quite a lot of alcohol in a lot of the recipes I wanted to attempt! A lot of stews I wanted to make required red or white wine for depth of flavour, some required beer in the marinades to tenderise the meats- there were even cakes which required beer........all of which I'd love to try some day!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Custard Chiffon Cake

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I'm a pretty terrible blogger. I post things weeks to months after taking photos of them, forget to post up recipes and generally don't end up being bothered to post half of the stuff that's supposed to end up on this space. And this one's no different!

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be invited to  Appliances Online's Mother's Day Morning Tea. Yep, you read right- Mother's day. Some 4-5 months ago actually.

I don't usually go to any of these kind of events, but this one was so close to uni, and I just so happened to be starting uni late that day that it would be a shame if I didn't go! :) And I'm glad I did- it was a wonderful event, where we got to take a small tour of the Appliances Online office and have a short cooking demonstration with ladies of the Monday Morning Cooking Club who also prepared us a delicious morning tea where we got to have a bit of a chat with everyone.


I hadn't heard of the Monday Morning Cooking Club before (though something did tell me that as a food blogger, I probably should!!) but the ladies made the morning incredibly interesting with their stories whilst showing us how simple it was to make three recipes from their cookbook: kindlech, honey macadamia nut wafers and almond kifli.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sushi Hotaru, Town Hall

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Sushi Hotaru has always been on my list of places to try, so when we walked past the new branch on Bathurst Street, we didn't hesitate to walk straight in.......despite having had two complete meals for lunch a couple of hours ago :)

I've written about my amusement of touchscreens before, so imagine my excitement when I realised that there's a touchscreen for everyone to play order with!! Unfortunately, we were in a  bit of a rush, so we didn't have time to wait for anything made to order, but I did have to time to play around with the system for a while (in preparation for my next visit perhaps?)!

Soft Shell Crab Roll

If there was only one dish I could pick (which was really all my stomach could fit at the time), it would definitely be the soft shell crab roll- an not just because of my love of soft shell crab.  Although it wasn't straight out of the fryer, and nor was it very hot, the soft shell crab retained its crispiness, had just the right amount of flavouring and worked great with the sauce.

I was quite tempted to grab another one!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

BBQ Chicken Pizza

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The first time I made pizza at home, I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. I may have cheated and bought a base, but there was something really magical about a fresh pizza coming straight from your oven. Sure, the toppings might not have been as interesting as those from the pizza store. And the ratio of sauce, toppings and cheese may have been a bit off. But there was just something about it that no store bought pizza could ever compare to.

Through the years, pizzas have turned into one of my go-to lunch ideas when I don't have anything interesting to make as it's so quick and easy! I can just through together the dough ingredients in the bread machine in the morning, then roll it out, top it up and chuck it into the oven for a satisfying lunch. Somewhere along the way though, it kinda lost its magic- no longer did I find it amazing, nor did I long for it.........and eventually, I stopped bothering making it!

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Having spent a couple of weekends microwaving left overs, I turned to pizza making again to make lunch somewhat more interesting, chucking some leftover chicken (and some other random things I found in the fridge) on the top. To spice things up, I decided to change the sauce, making a barbecue sauce for the base rather than the usual tomato. A rather small change in the grand scheme of things, but what a difference it made!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Macau 2013, Part 1

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It's this time of the year that I love to spend looking back over old holiday photos, reminiscing about the good times ......has it really been a couple of months since I was overseas??


We visited Macau earlier this year for a short day trip, marking my first ever trip overseas anywhere other than Hong Kong. And since it was such a short trip, we woke up crazy early to make the most of our day, (catching up on some sleep on the hour long boat ride) packing as much as we could into the hours we had, starting off some sight seeing at Guia Hill! To save us some walking uphill, we took the super short (and cheap!) cable car ride which takes you part of the way up- the whole ride takes about a minute!


Next stop is the obligatory Ruins of St Pauls.

Queues at Xiaoshanghai Guotie

...but not before we make our first food stop!!

We spy the queue at this little store in an alleyway, so we join to see what the fuss is about. It's a little shanghainese joint specializing mostly in dumplings and pork buns which is perfect as we really want to try Macau pork buns!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Recipe

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The uni semester has inevitably started despite my constant complaints that the holidays are way too short! I know, I won't be saying that in the future when I'm working full time, but I'll worry about that when the time comes :)

Meanwhile, I've been struggling to squeeze in some time for baking and blogging (hence the less frequent posts) as my stash of ingredients in the fridge and pantry edge dangerously close to their expiry date. My freezer is pretty much at full capacity now, with things like leftover pasta sheets from this recipe to use........for some later time (when I can get around to it!).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Thai Lemongrass, Darlinghurst

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Fish Cakes

Our latest group buy voucher lands us at Thai Lemongrass, a cozy little Thai restaurant on a quiet street in Darlinghurst. The restaurant is anything but quiet on a normal weekday night, though we notice most customers are coming with vouchers too, which makes us wonder (as we often do with these deals) how on earth they make a profit by selling so many vouchers.

We've got a bigger problem ourselves, that is of choosing one entree and main each from the menu- there's just too many things we'd love to try! We start with a serving of fish cakes which are rather spicy for me, though i don't really take spice too well! I must say, they are rather tasty though.

Duck larb

The Duck larb sounds interesting and different so we order that also and find out that it's rather much like sang choi bow, only with a much tinnier lettuce leaf and (arguably) tastier meat filling flavoured with plenty of aromatic herbs. We love its presentation, though the size of the lettuce leaf means that it is quite difficult to eat.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mango Mousse Cake

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I've had my fair share of cake failures in the past. None more so than the first chocolate cake I ever made, but my first mango mousse failure also falls into close competition and is one I'm unlikely to forget anytime soon- afterall, it was the failure which inspired me to start this blog!

I'd decided to make a mango mirror mousse cake, not unlike the one in this post (although in my head, I'd imagined the finished product to be a little fancier)- this was back in the days before I started this blog, when my baking experience was limited to a handful of simple cakes and cookies. It was yet another one of my perhaps too ambitious baking projects especially considering the amount of interest, knowledge and experience I'd had with cakes, but hey, what's the fun if it's too easy right?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cha Cha Dumpling Train

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I'm quite a fan of fun food, so where there's new and creative gimmicks and I won't hesitate to give it a try!

That's how we end up at Cha Cha Dumpling Train - just like a sushi train, but with steamers of dumplings and buns rather than sushi- and it's 'opening special' of $3.50 per dish made it rather attractive too!

We arrive early as the yum cha train is rather small, seating about 20 people in total on the train, and we notice the place fills up quite quickly! The train is quite empty at first but the dishes fill up quickly as more customers start sitting down.

Scallop and Chive Dumplings

The steamers are labelled on their lids so you don't have to open each of them to figure out what they are. We're a bit disappointed that there are only a total of 5 different offerings in the steamers on the train- 3 types of dumplings (scallops, prawns and vegetarian) and 2 types of buns (pork or vegetarian), even though the sign at the front of the shop shows a lot more steamed options!

We go for the scallop dumplings first, and realise the dumplings are unlike the any of the varieties of dumplings you'll get from yum cha restaurants. These have a tasty scallop and chive filling, though the soft, gow-gee like wrapper reminds us rather much of our own home-made dumplings!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hainanese Chicken Rice

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In attempt to improve start building up some cooking skills, I went to my bookshelf inspiration and found this Hainanese Chicken recipe, along with many other much more ambitious projects which I've yet to start even thinking about collecting ingredients for. I actually thought that this was quite ambitious itself, until I realised how dead simple it was to boil a chicken and mix up three sauces to serve it with. And don't let the picture fool you- the chicken was so much more smooth and tender than it looks! The only challenge really was to chop it up into nice presentable pieces (of which I had no clue how to do so!).

The rice is amazingly tasty too, though you might not want to let people know that it tastes so great because of the amount of chicken fat in it! ;)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Orient Hotel, The Rocks

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The Orient Hotel was probably not the best option for a family dinner, being situated above a (quite noisy) bar, but I couldn't resist buying a voucher for a 3 course meal as it was quite cheap at $99 for four. Luckily, the soundproofing in the restaurant was done pretty well, so despite the large party just outside the restaurant, we managed to enjoy a relatively peaceful meal!

Crumbed lamb’s brains, speck, sauce gribiche

I rarely ever eat Modern Australian, so I wanted to try pretty much everything on the menu, but ended up deciding on the lamb's brains as I'd never tried them before. Their soft squishy texture was quite similar (to me at least!) to tofu, and they were cooked beautifully with a golden crispy crumbed exterior. The small pork cubes were also deep fried until incredibly crispy and were amazingly addictive, although it didn't feel all too healthy as there were a lot more pork fat cubes than meat ones!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Black Sesame Ice Cream

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Another week. Another ice-cream recipe. Yep- I'm in an ice cream stage at the moment!

Winter is my type of ice cream weather- I like snuggle up in layers of thick clothing before slowly making my way through ice cream, unlike in summer where you have to sorta race your way through before the whole thing melts into a puddle of custard. There's the downside of having your body freezing from inside to out, but I guess that's also part of the fun!

I've been wanting to make ice cream throughout my exam period, as I took a food science subject this semester (yay!) and though it was much less interesting than I'd anticipated, there was one lecture which I did enjoy in which we learnt all about ice cream! Well not exactly, but we did learn about the roles of different components in ice cream on the textures and flavours of the finished product, and if there was one thing I actually bothered learning this whole semester, it was that!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hana Hana, Haymarket

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I'll have to admit, the only reason I wanted to visit Hana Hana was to play with the touchscreens.

Nevermind the fact that I use touchscreens to place order everyday at work. Or the fact that I've been to countless restaurants with touchscreens before. Or that the touchscreen ordering was only about 10 seconds of the whole dining experience.

Ontama bukkake $4.90
But it was so worth it!

I've always loved the whole self-serve system at Menya Mappen, but the addition of touchscreens at Hana Hana just make things so much more fun! The food isn't amazing, but it's good and the fun definitely makes up for the lack of amazingness ;) Noodle and rice dishes are cheap (and sized accordingly) and tasty, and there's plenty of delicious add on side dishes to customise your meal with.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Matcha Ice Cream

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Another torturous two weeks of exams are over, and there's not much to report back from my months of absence, in terms of food anyway (as I haven't been venturing into the kitchen much). The most exciting thing that's happened is that I bought sheet gelatin for the first time (yay!)- something I've wanted to buy for a while but have never known where to get it from.

It turns out that if I'd been looking hard enough, it wasn't actually that hard to find as Harris Farms stocks it.....Not that I knew of it's existence near my uni (and it's literally a 5 minute walk) until my friend, who's only been in Sydney for a couple of months, notified me of it and the fact that they have gelatin leaves :) I really ought to explore my own city more!

Interestingly enough, the week after I bought them, Aldi started stocking gelatin leaves too.....

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Takumi, Haymarket

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Salmon and Avocado Roll

I really hate having to choose somewhere to eat when I'm in the city...... there's just too many choices!!! 

Takumi, in Market City, is one I've only heard of recently (eventhough I've probably walked past it couuntless number of times) and though I'm not usually much of a fan of sushi trains, $2.50 for everything, including some of my favourite Japanese fried goodies sounded much too good to resist!!

Kingfish Gunkan

We're only here for a light meal, as we've had half a meal elsewhere, but there's so many tempting options- it sort of just turned into a bit more than that!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jap Chae

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Whilst talking to a friend about things I like to cook, I've realised that I haven't been cooking much as of late. Actually, I haven't really cooked much this year at all!! My weekend lunch breaks have been rather boring, as I now prefer to microwave leftovers or cook something 'instant' rather than spending hours experimenting with funky foods as I used to. And when I do have the time, I'd much rather spend it baking than cooking.

Much of my prior experimenting with cooking is unblogged simply because it didn't quite turn out as I'd expected and it I was usually too lazy to photograph my creations after spending too much time in making it in the first place. The following recipe doesn't quite fit in this category however, as it turned out even more amazing than I'd expected, and I've actually photographed it many times........I've just never quite gotten around to blogging about it!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thai Elements, Liverpool

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BBQ Calamari

Yet another group buy voucher takes us to Thai Elements, a small restaurant and take-away joint in Liverpool, which seems to be popular with the locals....of which we are not, having traveled 45 minutes to get here. The restaurant doubles up as an Indian restaurant, with two separate menus- one with Thai options and the other with Indian, though we notice the Thai food is much more popular.

Our voucher entitles us to the Thai options only, which we're fine with, as there's plenty of enticing options. We start off with the BBQ calamari, a small serving of grilled calamari rings which seemed quite an interesting option for a Thai restaurant as the flavours reminded us of marinated meats at Korean BBQs. They were tasty though, even if the calamari was a little on the chewy side, and we had no problem finishing the whole dish, sauce and everything.

Shrimp and Crab Net Spring Roll

The spring rolls are easily our favourite of the night and we're glad that unlike the other fried options, these come in a serving of 6. The net wrapper gives these spring rolls a light and crisp shatter as you bite into these, a unique texture quite different to the usual harder crunch of spring rolls. The filling is also a far cry from 'normal' spring rolls, with the shrimp and crab giving a pleasantly sweet taste- I could easily finish off a couple plates of these- they're that good!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Triple Choc Chip Cookies

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cookie

My first ever cookbook, happened to be titled "My First Cookbook"

I'd picked it up at a school fete for around 20c, as you do at your first school fete in Year 1, for no particular reason. It was a bit shabby, but I liked its illustrations (there were no photos in this cookbook, only drawings!) and it served me well during my primary school life. Well, it taught me to make scrambled eggs to survive those early Sunday mornings when my parents woke up 3 hours after me, and gave me plenty of inspiration back before I found baking as enjoyable as I do now :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

New China Restaurant, Ryde

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Mini Spring Rolls

We've made a bit of a habit of purchasing coupons for meals last year, but we don't often purchase coupons for chinese food as we have plenty of favourite chinese restuarants already which are cheap and cheerful. And to be honest, having grown up with Chinese food, it's a little boring most of the time ;) The scoopon deal for New China Restaurant is quite different though, offering an all-you-can eat fare, with a selection of entree and main dishes. Now we've had all you can eat Japanese, sushi, Korean and everything, but never Chinese, so we were quite interested to see how it worked out!

The restaurant is quite empty on the night we visit, with one three or so table there, most with scoopons also. The service is friendly, and we are told that for this deal, we must all start with an entree each, followed by as many mains as we want but that every two main dishes comes with either fried or boiled rice.

Fried Wontons

Of course, we go for the fried entrees- spirng rolls and fried wontons. The spring rolls are tiny bite-sized pieces, and although we're not the biggest fans of spring rolls, we do enjoy them. The fried wontons have obviously been left in the fryer for too long, being dark brown instead of golden and thus rather hard. We do order them again later in the meal, after seeing our neighbour's wontons looking quite good, and this time they were not over-fried but weren't the best wontons we've had.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

(Not Really) Hot Cross Buns

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How quickly times flies when you're having fun!!

I've reached the end of yet another holiday (though I think this one was much too short to be classified a holiday) but it's flown through without me noticing, and now it's been a week since Easter and I feel like it too late to post these! Then again, it feels like I only made these yesterday :)

Being Asian and all that, the only way we 'celebrate' Easter is with a couple of Easter eggs (but not Easter egg hunts!). To get into the spirit of things, I've always wanted to make hot cross buns.....but I can't stand the fruits and spices that go into them! But I wasn't going to let that stop me this year- so my solution is this: get rid of everything that I don't like and then bake them anyway! :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

*Sponsored Post* Sony Ultrabook + Lamingtons!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve baked anything, much less blogged about it, but luckily I had a Sony Ultrabook Convertible, powered by Intel, to quickly edit and upload my photos to turn them into this blog post! The Ultrabook was lent to me by  Intel, so sadly, the fun lasted only for a week as I had to return it!!

So for those of you who missed the last post, the Sony Ultrabook Convertible is this awesome Ultrabook which can be used as a tablet, or as a laptop when you slide it open! Being ultra-light and thin, you can slip it in your bag like a notepad so it’s super easy to carry around…….and it wakes up in 7 seconds ready for anything (like looking for a recipe when that sudden food craving comes up?). I found that I didn’t need to charge the Ultrabook much as it has a pretty good battery life (enough for three movies!).


Monday, March 25, 2013

Fancy Chocolate Cake

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We aim to live life without regrets, but there are lots of times in my life that I look back and wonder why there are things I didn't just get done when I had the chance.

Right now for instance, I can look back at my high school days and wonder what on earth I was doing with my time. Perhaps I should have taken more time to participate in more extra-curricular activities, learnt a few more skills or something- just something a bit more useful!

Perhaps I should have actually bothered to learn how to ride my unicycle, instead of trying once and finding it too scary to try again, Then I wouldn't have a unicycle in my garage collecting dust wondering how awesome it would be to ride it everytime I catch a glimpse of it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(Sponsored Post) Sony Ultrabook Review + Watts on Crown Review

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First week of uni is always quite sad, especially after having gotten used to getting up at 11:30 in the morning and lazing around for most of the day! Luckily for me, the wonderful people at Intel sent me a Sony Ultrabook Convertible to review and brightened up my week! So naturally, I did away with my chunky laptop (for the week anyway) and spent my free time playing with the new toy! Yay!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m quite dumb when it comes to working with electronic devices so it took me a while to figure out how to open the Ultrabook…..


Now before you start laughing at me, it’s because the screen slides out rather than opening up like my laptop!! What I love about this particular Ultrabook is that it’s touchscreen, so as well as using it as a laptop, you can also use it as a tablet……but with all the functionalities of a computer. And with its Intel processors, it’s super-fast too! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mellow Thai

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Salt and Pepper Squid

We love coupon deals because of their amazing value, but of all the restaurants we've tried,  there are not many that we would actually go back to, especially if paying full price. Mellow Thai, in Leichardt (an hours drive from home) is probably the first we've been (and will continue to go) back to, an unexpected surprise as we're not that crazy over Thai food.

Watermelon Juice Blend, Thai Iced Tea (Background)

On our first trip, we came with a voucher from Cudo- at $29 for two people, the voucher entitled each of us to a non-alcoholic drink, any entree and main each. And we loved that it meant any entree or main, none of the restrictions we've come to expect with these coupon deals.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Curried Apple Quiche

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Although I'm quite adventurous when it comes to food, my lunchboxes are always anything but. Infact, the only things that ever appear in my lunchbox nowadays are tuna or chicken sandwiches. Convenient, but so boring!

In an effort to spice things up, I went through my fridge and pantry, which although were quite well stocked, didn't give much inspiration for my lunchbox. I ended up making these curried apple quiches as they sounded quite interesting and seemed easy and quick enough to make for a lazy weekend.

I used an olive oil crust to make things a tad healthier, though I found that the crust tasted much better hot than cold (as it turned quite hard) and chucked a bit of leftovers into the quiches as well just to spice things up. They sure made a much more exciting lunch for a week though they're a little more effort that I'd expected!

And the curried apples?

I'd put apple in japanese curries before so I thought it's work well, but I can definitely say that curried apples aren't my thing! Although the sweetness of the apples works with curry powder, the sourness of the apples tastes really out of place. It might just be me though! :)


Recipe to come soon (I've been too lazy to type it out!)
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