Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dry Wonton Mee

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I've had a habit of being posting about my holidays notoriously late- often months and months after the trip, by which time I've mostly forgotten about details of the trip itself. This year, I've been meaning to post about my trip to Kuala Lumpur at the beginning of this year, but the (literally) thousands of photos to sort through, edit and then write about was such a big task that I'd always delay doing it, working on more recent bakes and eats instead.

I've still yet to pick all the photos I want to edit, much less edit them so it's probably never really going to happen, but it was an amazing trip- plenty of great cheap food everywhere I went!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ippudo, Central Park

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With the recent hot weather, a ramen store would probably be one of the last places you’d expect to find me. But I’m not the only mad one- there’s plenty of diners also at Ippdo Ramen restaurant at Central Park!

I’ve heard many great things about Ippudo, especially when it just opened in Westfield’s Sydney just under two years ago. Much was said about the crazy long lines and the great ramen, and the one time I managed to make my way over to have a look, I was too hungry to wait in the line. The lines have died down by now, but they’ve also opened a second branch in Central Park which is much closer to uni for me!



So what’s the hype? I’m told that Ippudo’s noodles have won multiple awards in Japan, with its founder winning the title of ‘Ramen King’ after winning the ‘Ramen King Championship’- a Japanese TV show, similar to Iron Chef but for ramen only. Though I can’t say how the Australian version compares to the Japanese one, they do take their ramen very seriously, with their own noodle factory supplying the restaurants daily with freshly made noodles and gyoza. Fun fact: the thickness of their noodles are made depending on the temperature of the day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Tart

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Woo-hoo! Last exam for uni ever done and dusted!

And with warm (literally) welcome to the summer holidays, I'm ready to party, chill out and enjoy the last 3-month summer break I'll ever have. As much as I looked forward to finishing my degree in the past 4 years, I know I will definitely miss these long holidays!

I was originally going to post something cold and summery today because the weather lately has NOT been the type for anything other than icy cold drinks and salad, but then I realised that I had some unfinished uni-related business that I still needed to post. If anyone remembers from these posts before, I'd cooked up a four-course meal for a uni assignment that I'd thought would give me the content to blog more regularly during that particular month. Well obviously that didn't happen, but you really don't want to listen to me blabber on about how fail I am at managing this blog and other life related matters at the same time......

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sushi Hotaru Sake Bar, Town Hall

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I've sung my praises about Sushi Hotaru before, one of my favourite sushi trains in the city, so when the lovely Sue invited me to tasting at Sushi Hotaru, I was only too happy to accept the invitation! :)

I usually prefer going to the Bathurst St branch over the TGV one because it’s usually quieter and it’s pretty much the same thing- $3 sushi, awesome touchscreen menus and plenty of tasty sushi dishes to choose from!

Monkey Magic

Whilst we usually sit down and dig in straight away, we’re more thirsty than hungry on this occasion, so drinks first! With names like ‘Monkey Magic’, the drinks menu seems a little more like a cocktail menu than your average sushi train drinks menu. We’re not sure where the name comes from but the Monkey Magic is a combination of soda, lychee and kiwi. It’s a great thirst quencher, and though we don’t quite taste the kiwi, we really love the flavour of lychee.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Black sesame coconut mochi

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I'm not really the forgetful type, so when there's something that I just can't seem to remember, no matter how hard I try, it really bugs me. Most of the time, if I think about it long enough, I eventually do remember it, but then there's times when it never comes to me. Like these mochi- not that it's important, but I can't seem to remember where I used to have mochi as a kig! Was it yum cha? Was it from a bakery? Was it home made? All possible but still no closer to remembering.

It's not something I had often as a kid, and to be honest, the only memories I have of eating any type of mochi are the frozen sort that we used to buy from the 7-eleven downstairs from my grandma's place in HK when we used to visit. Infact, it was those mochi balls that inspired me to make (ice cream) mochi for the first time years ago.



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cowbell 808, Surry Hills

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If cafes with quirky names which don't really seem to mean anything related to the cafe itself are your thing, then check out Cowbell 808. If it's not really your thing, check it out anyway, because the food is great!

It's another one of those dreaded exam periods again, and to make things a little more exciting, I made a study date with a friend at uni with a lunch at Cowbell 808 to energise us for a long day of hard work. It's a short 10 minute bus ride from uni, and quite easy to get to, though not exactly close, but it was good to get away from uni for a bit.

Mocha $4

Monday, November 3, 2014

Spring Fruits Asian Cream Cake

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If there's one thing I learnt from making this cake, it's that I really need to learn to read labels before buying things!

I'd made a quick visit to the local supermarket to buy the cream for this cake, but being in a rush, I picked up the low fat version, and bought it anyway since it's healthier anyway. Bad decision. The bottle clearly says not for whipping, but I didn't want to waste it so I attempted whipping it up and failed, of course. I got it to sort of whip up in the end by adding some gelatine, but it's really not the same.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Decorative Sushi: Halloween Pumpkin Sushi

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Halloween Pumpkin Sushi

I don't usually celebrate Halloween or anything (to old to go trick or treating now haha), but I do love the excuse to make themed foods!! I've been back into making decorative sushi lately, so with Halloween coming up lately I thought I'd share with you one of the relatively easier decorative sushi designs!
Decorative Sushi

Saturday, October 18, 2014

DIY Sous Vide Steak at Home (Without special equipment!)

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My favourite challenge for the uni assignment I did a while back was the one where I had to choose an unfamiliar cooking method. Because I couldn't think of much that I hadn't tried before, I decided to go all out, attempting sous vide.....without the machine. 

For those who do a bit of light food reading, you probably have heard of the beer cooler (esky) solution in which an esky is used for the water bath (apparently it does a great job at keeping water temperature stable) and ziploc bags for sous vide bags (it doesn't quite make a vacuum, but is close enough to do the job). Unfortunately, recounts of coolers looking misshapen after such experiments as well as official statements from the Ziploc bag company clarifying that their bags were not for use in high temperature environments scared me away, despite how genius it did sound.


Instead, I formulated my own solution, using sealable oven bags (designed for high temperature environments) to place the steaks in. It worked particularly well as the thin plastic seemed to stick to itself quite well, thus making its own 'psuedo-vacuum' if I may. For the warm water bath, I had a thermal cooker on hand, which is like a giant thermos.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Travel | What to Eat in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

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Island Day Trip

Although I've visited Hong Kong numerous times through the years, I have rarely set foot on one of their many islands. Both because I'm not a huge fan of boat as a mode of transport, and also because the one time I do remember visiting an island (Lamma island), it consisted of countless hours of tiresome walking up and down hills. I wasn't really too keen on visiting another island until a couple of TV shows and stories from relatives who visited convinced us that there was plenty of good food and fun to be had at Cheung Chau, so we decided to make a day trip of it!



It always amazes me how convenient transport in HK is. Getting to Cheung Chau is simple- take a train ride to Central, short walk to the pier and then a half to an hour's ferry ride depending on which type you catch. The total trip takes less than the time it takes for me to get to uni, and costs around half as much as well. Oh Sydney transport...how I dislike you!

Drying Chickens in the Sun

The difference between the city and the islands is quite noticeable from the moment you leave the pier. It's a much more relaxed atmosphere, much less noise and much less crowds. Unfortunately, I can't say that the locals are too friendly, with an old lady screaming at us to move out of her way (who, might I add, was actually some 50m away from us) when we stopped to take a picture and the constant speeding of small trucks through the shared road without much warning than a hostile beep when you got too close. The shopkeepers were much more pleasant though!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Steamed Tapioca Layer Cakes (Banh Da Lon)

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We used to buy these steamed cakes from the Asian supermarket every once in a while- they were always cleverly placed near the checkouts so that whilst we were waiting in line, we'd be tempted by the bright colours of the many varieties available. My parents liked buying the nice round ones with red bean, but I liked the off cuts because it tasted the same, but you'd get a lot more than with the nicely shaped ones. They were always soft and chewy (unless we kept them for too long) with a fragrant pandan coconut taste but one packet was never quite enough for our family of four!

It took me a while, but I eventually managed to find the name of these cakes, and a recipe too! :) Turns out they're Vietnamese (although there's Indonesian/Malaysian versions as well, they're just not quite the same as the ones I used to have), and are made of tapioca, which gives them the nice chewy texture.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Creamy Pasta Bake for Lactose Intolerance

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I wasn't sure if I wanted to post this, because it's definitely the most boring course our of the four-course dinner I'd prepared earlier this month. But the recipe certainly wasn't boring, so it's worth a mention :) 

I was quite excited to have to attempt a recipe modification for therapeutic reasons, and the one I ended up choosing was lactose intolerance i.e. no dairy products (although interestingly, cheddar cheese is low enough to be tolerated for people with lactose intolerance!). I admit, I didn't exactly come up with the whole recipe myself- I'd seen a recipe for a healthy mushroom gratin and adapted it to a pasta bake recipe, with the result being this!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Eggplant with Walnuts: Badrijani Nigvzit

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This semester of uni has been unbelievably busy, which is why I haven't really had a chance to blog about anything in the past month. Luckily, studying a food related degree meant that most recent assignment is completely related to blogging, giving me content for a couple of blog posts :) It's definitely my favourite assignment ever, with the task being to prepare a four course meal, with each meal presenting a different challenge, and then to photograph and write about the experience in a casual blog-like style. Couldn't have been more perfect for me, could it?

Of the four challenges, we could assign each to a different course, so for the starter, I chose the challenge of cooking something from an unfamiliar cuisine. Although there's plenty of cuisines I have never tried before, much less cooked, there was quite a lot to choose from, but I really wanted one which I hadn't even heard of before so I went off to google, and decided on Georgian cuisine which was particularly interesting because it had such a strong character and was so unique.

A google search of ‘Georgian Cuisine’ comes up with three main results- dumplings (Khinkali), flat bread (Khachapuri) and an eggplant dish (Badrijani Nigvzit)- three of the more common and well-known Georgian dishes, all three quite different from one another, highlighting the diversity of the cuisine. The eggplant dish was the one which really caught my attention, with the combination of fried eggplant slices sandwiching a paste of walnut, garlic and herbs- all foods that we may commonly eat, but rarely together in one dish.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Japanese Sesame Salad Dressing

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Sesame Soba Salad

It's been a while since inspiration has struck to make anything exciting- these days I sort of just make every second thing I see on blogs/pintrest. Not that that's not exciting, but I haven't had one of those super-exciting 'I NEED to make this' moments.

Until I saw this recipe.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

La Latina, Chatswood

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We're not afraid to travel for food (probably because there isn't really much good food where we live), but thankfully, we don't have to travel too far to have our first taste of Columbian food. Yay! :)

When we visit Chatswood, we tend to go for the many Asian restaurants that are there (of which there are many I've yet to try) so I probably would never have noticed La Latina on the side streets, were it not for the fact that we'd bought a groupon out of curiosity to have a taste of a cuisine we'd never tried before.

Passionfruit juice $5

It's a cute little cafe specialising in arepas, but also stocks plenty of exciting South American snacks and sauces, as well as plenty of interesting fruit juices! The drinks menu consists of plenty of exotic fruits which we've never heard of before, making it a difficult decision to choose one- we want to try all of them!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

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Sheperd's Pie

My sister laughs at me when I spend a while taking photos of food, because she knows that most of the time I only ever upload one out of the many that I take. So today, I give you two pictures!

Most of the time I'm just super lazy when it comes to photographing food, especially food that is hot and I eat right away because I've got to all the effort of making it- I'm not waiting for it to go cold just so that I can get a good picture!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Potato Nachos

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Potato Nachos

I was trying to figure out a quick lunch to make with the few ingredients we had a home one weekend, when I thought of the potato nachos I'd seen on some food blogs, and decided to make one myself. I made a bean based filling as I wasn't keen on defrosting what meat we had in the freezer, though I'm sure it'd taste better with meat! My potatoes were small so it doesn't look as impressive as the original version, but it still looks pretty cool, especially for a 10 minute* job!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Marukame Udon, Chatswood

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I've been searching up a couple of holiday destinations (dreaming I was somewhere more fun than Sydney haha), especially restaurant/food recommendations there, and came across Marukame Udon a couple of times in different countries. I had yet to visit their Sydney branch since I live so far away from it, so when I visited Chatswood for a shopping trip, Marukame was the first place that popped to my mind when deciding on a lunch destination.

 Bukkake Udon With Slow Cooked Egg (L) $6.9

We arrived early to avoid crowds, but luckily, its large, double storey seating area meant that despite the large volumes of customers at peak hours, the crowd never really built up, unlike it's neighbour, Mokoto. Because the queue was so short and fast moving, I barely had time to look through the menu, so I ordered my usual favourite, the Bukkake udon with egg. The noodles are deliciously soft and slippery, with the perfect amount of bounce.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Napoleon Pastry (Asian Style)

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When I first started using the internet to search for recipes (before my blogging days), there were so many things I couldn't find, especially when it came to the less commonly eaten things that I'd wanted to make. And even less so, recipes that actually seemed reliable!

Napoleon Pastry

I'd been searching for a recipe for napoleon pastry/napoleon cake for a while before giving up and forgetting about it. I'd wanted to make them the way I'd always known- that is, the type they sell at Asian bakeries (cripsy biscuit-like pastries of puff pastry, walnuts, and sponge cake or whateverelse the bakery felt like putting in), but the only thing that google came up with was vanilla slice (perhaps the more common version/definition of napoleon).

I'm sure there's plenty of recipes online for this particular version now, but I was reminded of my quest to find such recipe when I came across it in an Asian cookbook. This particular version uses puff pastry to sandwich together buttercream and walnut meringue, which is quite similar to one of my favourite versions of this pastry. It's a bit fiddly to put together because you have to put together the three components, but it's well worth the effort- these pastries are amazing! There's plenty of textural contrast, with layers of flaky, buttery pastry against soft meringue and crunchy walnuts which impart a fragrant nuttiness.

The photo really don't do these justice (they didn't last long enough for me to take good photos!)- they taste a lot better than the mess they look like!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bronte Belo, Bronte

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After a booking at another restaurant got cancelled on us last minute, we called up Bronte Belo to see if we could get a table for the night, as we'd just purchased a group deal voucher the day before. Luckily, they were super accomodating and managed to squeeze us in on such short notice!

It's a small cozy Brazilian cafe/restaurant by the beachside, making it a perfect spot to dine during the summer months when the sun sets later, but perhaps not so much in the cold freezing winter- we notice it is the only restaurant amongst the strip to not be empty!

Chilli and Garlic Prawns with crusty bread $15

Nevertheless, we get comfy snuggled up on the comfy cushioned sofa, with the door closed tightly and the heater on full blast.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Profiteroles

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There are some foods which I am disappointed by every time I try, not matter how many chances I give them. One such food which falls into this category are profiteroles, of which I've tried quite a few versions- big, small, chocolate coated, chocolate flavoured, cream filled, custard filled etc.......and am disappointed every single time :(

The reason, though kind of silly, is my own fault because I always expect them to be crispy on the outside (because they look like they would be! or is it just me?), so when I bite into them and realise they're soft and airy, and then remember that the same thing has happened numerous times before, I can't help but feel disappointed. Chocolate coated ones are slightly better though- at least the chocolate layer is crispy (sort of)!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Johor Bahru, Malaysia, 2013

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Minature Lego KLIA

It's been a while since my last holiday post, because searching through the hundreds of holiday photos to find the food ones is just too much work that I just about give up everytime. But the fact that holiday posts are the most fun to reread again makes the time and effort worthwhile :)

When we visited Singapore at the end of last year, we only stayed for a day, because we had planned to head over to Malaysia for a couple of days afterwards. With Johor Bahru being just over the border, we stopped there first to checkout Legoland where much fun was to be had. Unfortunately, getting there was not as easy as we'd anticipated on a Friday evening, with literally hours of waiting for the public buses, extremely heavy traffic, huge crowds at immigration, taxi drivers which swarmed us despite the presence of a system for allocating taxis to passengers and taxis which took us through long dark unlit roads which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. By the time we reached our hotel some 4 hours after we had planned, we were exhausted and pretty scarred by the experience.

Lesson learnt: never travel between Singapore and JB on a Friday night!!

Egg Roti

Luckily that was the only bad experience we had of Johor Bahru, and after a good night's rest, we were ready to continue with our trip. We'd purchased tickets for a shuttle from our hotel to Legoland, but it was only upon collection of our tickets that we realised the so called 'shuttle' was actually a Honda Odyssey, seating 7 passengers, so we missed out on securing seats for the earliest shuttle. With more than an hour to spare, we had a nice chat to the owner of Saffron Cuisine, who suggested we have breakfast at his restaurant whilst we wait.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Chocolate, Almond & Coconut Cereal Bars

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IMG_9691

With the first semester of my master's course done and dusted, I've been quite lazy over the first couple of days of the holidays, not quite sure where to begin on my list of things to bake (which is quite extensive seeing as it's accumulated over the past three months!). Although it was a semester of long hours and hard work, it was the first time I actually enjoyed what I was learning and didn't mind too much waking up early before the sun was up to get to class.

Despite numerous classes learning about nutrition and food science, I can't say that I know nearly as much about food as I probably should, but one thing that has come out of all those classes is my motivation to try some foods/recipes that are somewhat healthier :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Graze on King, Newtown

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I popped into uni during stuvac (study week) to get some studying done with a friend, and after a morning of much hard work, we rewarded ourselves with a yummy lunch nearby at Newtown. We had wanted to try something a little more exciting than the usual Thai and Newtown, so a quick Groupon search led us to Graze on King. Google maps told us it was a short 15 minute walk from the library. It took us double that.

Oh well, it was a good chance to catch up on a bit of physical activity since I had been getting close to none lately!

Mixed Berry Smoothie

The cafe was empty when we got there, despite it being lunchtime, probably because of its location on the other side of Newtown station- the noticeably quieter part of Newtown. After spending a while deciding on which seat we wanted to take (there were too many to choose from!), we ordered drinks.

Although the coupon we had bought had only stated that soft drinks were included, we were informed that we were able to choose any (non alcoholic) drink from the menu, so I went for for the mixed berry smoothie, which was great, not overly sweet with the perfect amount tangyness and a generous serving too!

Braised Lamb Salad

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Disney Cakes and Sweets Magazine| Bullseye's best-ever brownies

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I'm quite big fan of Disney, so when I was contacted to try out the Disney Cakes and Sweets Magazine, I was only too eager to say yes!


Disney Cakes and Sweets Magazine is a weekly publication, a short magazine packed with various Disney themed sweet treats, featuring just about every Disney film you could think of, and comes with a variety of cake decorating tools with each issue! I was lucky enough to be sent the first three issues of the magazine, which came with these adorable Mickey and Minnie mouse cookie cutters, which until I find time to make cookies, will suffice as bread cutters for my Minnie mouse sandwiches haha :)

Chocolate Brownies

Monday, June 2, 2014

Menulog and Vondelicious Giveaway

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It’s been a bit quiet around here on this blog as of late, no thanks to uni assignments, work and a funny thing called life. For those who have been following my blog for a while, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise- it happens everytime when it reaches this part of the semester ;) Not enough time to cook the things I want to, much less photograph, edit and blog about them!

Luckily, Menulog has come to the rescue today, giving two lucky readers a chance to win a $15 voucher from Menulog!

I don’t usually order takeaway, because I personally prefer the experience of eating out (and we always make sure our fridge, freezer and pantry are all adequately stocked!), but Menulog is a fantastic option for those who don’t have the time or effort to do so!

For those of you who might not have heard of it before, Menulog is an online take-away and food delivery website features over 3500 restaurants, 11,000 specials and 100,000 reviews. You can browse and order food from local take-away restaurants that deliver to your door- and they have plenty of specials and deals too! :) They have plenty of choices, including anything from Chinese, Pizza, Indian and Thai .

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post on what you would order with a $15 voucher (remember to leave some details so I can contact you if you win!) by the 8th of May, 2014. Winners will be drawn at random. For an extra chance to win, you can also like the Vondelicious Facebook page :)

The winners of the giveaway are Amber and Andy- let me know if you haven't received my email!

Thanks everyone for participating :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Tteokbokki

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Whilst grocery shopping can be mundane for most people,  I really love searching through the aisles of supermarkets for interesting products - especially when it comes to supermarkets which stock exotic things I've never tried before. So when we started eating out regularly at a restaurant just across from a Korean supermarket not too long ago, I naturally found myself stocking up on Korean groceries- even their cucumbers are different to the cucumbers I normally get!

I bought myself a pack of rice cakes and some chilli paste to make Tteokbokki, though I know you can get rice cakes from normal Asian supermarkets anyway, but the cylinder shaped ones from the Korean supermarket look cooler than the flat Chinese ones :P


I've only ever had Tteokbokki once before, and to be honest, wasn't too much of a fan because it was much too hot for me, so I only made a small serving to give it a try, intending to tweak it a bit afterwards to use the rest of the packet up. The recipe was surprisingly simple, with a couple of veggies, chilli paste and rice cakes cooked together and then you're done! :) I toned down on the chilli paste a tad bit so the spiciness was more bearable, and added extra veggies since I had so much in the fridge anyway- and it was perfect!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Burger Mill, Parramatta

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My visits to Parramatta have been quite infrequent, and it's been quite a while since I've stopped by on a weekday afternoon, especially after deciding that the hour long bus ride followed by half an hour train ride and twenty minute walk to uni was too much to handle on a daily basis. It didn't seem like a very long time since I last stopped by, but the fact that Hungry Jacks had closed down and had been replaced by a burger bar without me knowing probably shows that it's been a lot longer than I thought it'd been.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Granola Cookie Wedges

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IMG_9672

Easter came and went in a flash, and to be honest, I don't really recall doing much this past week! It's not really much of a celebration for me, it's more of an excuse to eat more chocolate and to laze about for a week or so, but I always feel somewhat unaccomplished if I don't do anything notable since it just passes so quickly!

To balance the unhealthiness of all these Easter eggs and desserts I'm making during this week off uni, I spent the last couple of weeks experimenting with some (somewhat) 'healthier' recipes for snacks which I could bring to uni. My favourite so far are these granola cookies, which are like choc chip cookies, except healthier, with the addition of oats and almonds (and it only uses a small amount of oil!)- and they taste pretty good too!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Thanon Khaosan, Haymarket

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We're a bit wary after we buying coupon deal for Thanon Khaosan and then reading reviews online which were pretty terrible. Lesson learnt: read reviews before buying vouchers!

Nevertheless, we're quite excited once we arrive, as there is a big spread of desserts for take away outside, (most of which I had no idea what they were), a fancy tuk-tuk in the restaurant and quite a quirky fit out too!

Watermelon Blend $3.90

Luckily for us, we didn't encounter any mishaps during booking or through the meal, and we quite enjoyed it too- perhaps because our expectations aren't high, or maybe we're just so used to using these group buy vouchers!

The meal comes with wine, but we're not big fans so we don't take advantage of it. Instead, we're quite interested in the selection of drinks available, with several fruit blends which sound quite exciting. We end up going for the watermelon blend, for some nice cooling down on a warm day. The blended watermelon is nice and refreshing, though it tastes a tad dilute, perhaps because of the hint of lemon which we're not too fond of.

Tod Man Goong (Thai Prawn Cakes) $8.90
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