Thursday, December 20, 2012

Coffee Ice Cream


I'm terrible at decision making, but if there's one thing that will always take me ages to decide, and I mean ages, it would definitely be choosing an ice-cream flavour at an ice-cream shop.

Because there's never a flavour I don't fancy!

Choosing ice-cream flavours at the supermarket is much easier, as I this is one of the few areas where I do have a clear-cut favourite. It's a coffee ice-cream with chocolate coated almonds (Connoisseur ice cream, if anyone wants to know)- it's amazing! The almonds are coated in a perfect layer of decadent chocolate and the ice-cream itself is beautiful and smooth with deep, rich coffee taste. And that's coming from someone who doesn't like coffee!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Taste Gallery, Parramatta

Salted Duck

I feared for the fate of one of my favourite Asian cheap-eat joints in Parramatta when Taste Gallery opened right next door to it. Occupying the space that was previously a harmless Italian take-away, Taste Gallery offered a similar Shanghainese menu and had a much more modern design, and of course, a pricier menu to follow. And I didn't like the sound of it.

Interestingly enough, the restaurant caters to a much different group of diners, and its existence does not have as great of an impact on its neighbour as you'd expect. I know this, as I'm sitting at Taste Gallery, browsing through the menu, whilst a continuous stream of customers enter both restaurants.

Chicken in Chilli Sauce 

We're here to check out the competition, because of a great Groupon deal, though at $65 for the four of us, it's still more than what we'd normally spend next door. This offers much more than we'd normally order, with an entree, main and dessert each and we don't hesitate to pick our own favourites, starting with the salted duck, which is a little bland and boring.

The chicken in chilli sauce is the polar opposite, with a strong hit of flavour with every bite from the chilli sauce, which is not actually as hot as it may look.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chocolate Bavarian Cake


Having taken a break from any cooking for the past few months, I didn't hesitate to volunteer to take over the role of making lunch on Saturday, when my mum started complaining how difficult it was to cater to our tastes everyday. With all these saved links of delicious food ideas/inspirations I'd compiled during the exam weeks, you would have thought that it'd be a breeze, right?

We ended up eating instant noodles for lunch.

And I wasn't even the one who made them!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Bunny Sushi, Chedi Thai


It’s this time of the year again!

Marked by the burning of books and notes (nah, I’ve never actually done that), crawling out of my shell for the first time in weeks (okay, so that’s not so true either) and doing basically everything fun that comes to mind........... it’s the holidays again!!

And it means that I finally have time to blog again, though I have to admit it's not the most exciting of all my post exam activities...

During this time last year, I got into sushi making, and was rather obsessed with the idea of making cutely shaped sushi characters. Though they looked alright (a far cry from the professional ones in the book I used), they tasted too bland for my liking. The latest addition to my (rather small) collection of sushi brings me a little closer to making a better tasting sushi, being the first of the character sushi rolls which isn't completely made out of rice!

The design itself is quite simple, with only a nose and mouth (as in the cat sushi) and some pretty straightforward crabstick ears to make. Oh, and plus two eyes which I was originally going to make with nori but didn't have enough time so I photoshopped them on instead

And onto my post-exam celebrations:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chocolate Tofu Mousse Tarts

In Year 7, I took my friend out to yum cha. Not being accustomed to the yum cha culture, I sneakily managed to get her to try (and enjoy) beef tendons and tripe before letting her know what she had actually eaten. And laughing my head off, of course.

As I was making these chocolate mousse tarts, I could help but to think how I could pull of the same trick again with these tarts- presenting innocent looking chocolate mousse tarts to an unsuspecting tofu hater and waiting til they’ve devoured half of it to let them know what the mousse is made out of! But of course, I’m much too mature to be pulling silly tricks like that now.

Nahhh…..I just couldn’t find a tofu-hater in time!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sushi Samurai

Deep-Fried Calamari

Our dining patterns this year have changed considerably, with our discovery that some coupon deals aren’t as shonky as we’d previously thought. So whilst in previous years, dining out mostly meant visiting the same handful of cheap Asian eateries (where most Asians tend to flock), we’ve now added almost monthly ‘coupon outings’ to new restaurants all over Sydney.

The latest coupon has taken us to Sushi Samurai in Neutral Bay, a 1.5 hour drive away from home, for an all you can eat sushi deal ($65 for four, from Groupon). We were quite excited with this particular deal, as we’d had a memorable dinner at Sushi Samurai a year ago and had been meaning to go back.

The all-you-can-eat menu is a lot more organised than at our previous coupon experience at Wasabi Bistro, as it is an option that is normally available, but at a higher price, of course. When we arrive, the waiter explains the format of the buffet to us. Each person must start of with a starter, of a sushi platter, of which there are two choices, before being able to order the sushi and other dishes from the all-you-can-eat menu. We went with two of each of the platters (to share) to try a bit of everything.

Agedashi Tofu

We hadn't read the menu properly at the time of ordering, so we were surprised when miso soup came, swiftly followed by adegashi tofu (it turns out that they're included as part of the starter 'platter'). The adegashi tofu was surprisingly delicious with its smooth texture, crispy exterior and incredibly tasty tentsuyu broth. And best of all, it was steaming hot on the insides! Even my mum, who isn't usually fond of adegashi tofu, loved it.

Because we were in a relatively early timeslot (6:00pm- a result of the limited availability of groupon seatings per night), the sushi platters arrived quite quickly after. They were beautiful, and were well worth $17 in their own right, though we would have much rather chosen our own selection of sushi, as there were quite a few pieces of sushi that we weren't too fond of. We ended up eating everything anyway, but noticed that many other groupon diners left behind quite a bit of uneaten sushi, which was a bit of a waste!

Assorted Sushi 

Option A consisted mostly of nigiri, with salmon, tuna, prawn, kingfish, squid (though the menu stated scallop instead) and egg omlette varieties on offer. We're not usually really fond of (raw) scallop/squid sushi because of its texture, and unfortunately, this was no exception. The salmon, tuna and kingfish fare much better, though we though the rice was rather dry for our liking.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pineapple Char Siu Buns


After every late night rushing reports and essays, comes the false belief that my productivity during the following days will be just like it is at 4am, when the assignment is only half done and I can hear my neighbour’s truck backing out of the driveway as he gets ready for work. This burst of productivity often involves things like catching up on the numerous lectures I’ve missed on the past week, tidying up my work space(s), replying emails and most importantly, finding time to write up a blog post.

Just judging by the frequency of which I blog, it probably won’t come as a surprise that this has yet to occur, as nothing could be further away from reality!

Actually, it's not that I haven't been writing anything for this blog. I’ve been writing some paragraphs now and again, only to delete them a week later when reread what I wrote and realise how stupid it all sounds. These buns, for example, have been waiting to be posted for quite some time now. But have yet to have a completed chunk of writing to be posted with.

’m actually quite excited to post these, as it is the first time on this blog that I’ve featured my most favourite plush toy character - a freckle faced, thumb-sucking, monkey known as Monchhichi! Perhaps not everyone's idea of cute (heck, I thought they were pretty ugly when I first saw them), but we all have different tastes ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wasabi Bistro, Surry Hills

There’s nothing I like much more than stuffing myself silly with good food, so I’m always on the lookout for new all-you-can eat restaurants in Sydney. Our usual all-you-can eat Japanese joint, Kansai, has been one of our favourite restaurants but having dined there on countless occasions and having tried every menu item, it’s no longer as exciting as it used to be.

So when Wasabi Bistro offered an all-you-can eat deal on a group buy site, it was just too hard to resist. We’re a little wary of these group deal sites, especially after two not so stellar experiences with them last year but at $69 for two people, with unlimited access to their menu, we decided that this one was well worth the risk.

Seaweed salad

Learning from past experience, we booked our table a month in advance to avoid any booking problems and  chose a Monday night to avoid the crowds. The restaurant was still relatively busy for a Monday night, perhaps because of the many coupon deals they're doing, but tables were spacious and service wasn't a problem.

We're greeted by the manager, who helpfully explains that we can order whatever we want from the menu (except drinks) and tells us that this is the first time they're trialling an all-you-can-eat option at their restaurant. With a 1.5hour limit, we jump straight into ordering, even before we've had a chance to glance over the full menu. 

Fresh Oysters

The dishes however, are relatively slow to arrive, giving us plenty of time afterwards to plan our subsequent orders. We start off with a favourite of ours, seaweed salad, which comes as three cute bundles which are so tasty, we immediately order two more. Fresh oysters come with a fancy sprinkle of tobiko coupled with a slightly tangy dressing which goes surprisingly well with the oysters. We're also keen on trying the deep fried oysters, but after not turning up after an hour, we ask about our order only to be told that they were sold out for the night.

Spicy Sashimi Salad

Covered in a slightly spicy red sauce, the sashimi salad resembled that of one our favourite versions of this dish at Sushi Arigato. This one however, is a little disappointing as there's only a small sprinkle of sashimi cubes on the lettuce bed. We thought the sauce was so-so, a far cry from the addictive sauce we usually find on sashimi salads, and overall, the salad was a little dry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm still here!

It's nearing the end of another month long uni holiday, of which I've wasted a week (and counting) just sitting on my recliner doing nothing (recovering from knee surgery). Luckily my laptop's been fixed so I can now spend my time (relatively) more productively and can finally get around to blogging, after a two month absence from this blog. While I'm still editing photos, this is just a quick post to let you know that I'm still here! ;) 

So what have I been up to these holidays?

  • Visiting Watkin's Orchard again this year, this time to their second orchard via the bumpiest road I've ever been on. As always we had plenty of mandarins to take home, but this time, they also had mushrooms for picking as well. Although most of the good ones had been picked by the time we got there, we found it even more fun than picking mandarins, though that may have been because we've never picked mushrooms before!

  • My friend also invited us over to her (amazing) new house and we spent most of the night cooking a bit of Spanish food, which took us a very long time to cook! We made delicious meatballs (from this recipe I think?)

    ...and a Spanish bread bake (using this recipe).
Normal blogging should resume soonish- hopefully before the end of my holidays! :)

P.S: The pictures in this post have been taken with my new (mirrorless) camera, which I'm still slowly learning to use- you can expect more nooby photos in upcoming posts!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chocolate Sponge Cakes


Lately, I've been having a slight huge chocolate addiction.

It's not surprising really, since Easter has just passed.....and I managed to buy a couple of boxes half priced Easter eggs last Monday. But I do find it rather alarming that I'm pulling chocolate goodies out of my oven every couple of days, and adding more chocolate desserts on my 'to make' list too!


Add to that, my terrible dietary habits or eating Chinese takeaway at least 3 nights a week, thanks to work, and constant snacking on chips, chocolate and whatever else is on special at the supermarket this week (I need something to fuel my late night studying right?)- I don't think I've ever been this unhealthy!

My reasoning for making so many sweet cake and cookies at home is that I think they're a little less bad for you than store-bought ones. These chocolate sponge cakes for example, aren't actually too unhealthy, as they only contain a small amount of oil, not too much sugar and are only ices with a little bit of chocolate whipped cream.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Domo Cake


I finally got around to cleaning my room yesterday, which is probably a bigger task than you might imagine. To be honest, the reason I dislike cleaning up is not because it's tiresome, but because cleaning always inevitably leads to me parting with many once loved items which I know will never come to use again. In my drawer (which I only open once ever couple of months), I found my stash of wallets, phone bags and lanyards- each and every one I've owned since the beginning of high school.  Stuffed in the corner was my pile of tween magazines, which my parents would only buy for me on the odd occasion. In the next drawer, I found a money box full of 'special coins' which I'd collected over the years, underneath that, a pile of old cartoon calendars, so cute and pretty I couldn't bear to throw away eventhough I know the year 2003 won't come by anymore.

And don't get me started on what I found under my bed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pineapple Upside Cake

I've been meaning to write a post since the beginning of the month, you know, as one does when they come back from a month-long holiday- usually of beautiful holiday shots and food so delicious it makes you want to hop onto the next plane to that exact destination. But instead, I'm still trying to sort through the few thousand photos I took, to find the couple of food shots that I was actually bothered to take (you're allowed to be lazy when you're on holidays right??) so that post might just take a little while for me to write....

But the longer I don't write a post, the more time I keep spending just thinking about my blog. It's crazy, I know.

In other news, I turned on the oven for the first time this year last week for my mum's birthday. She didn't want anything too messy or complicated and ended up choosing a pineapple upside down cake, which was just as well as it's something I've been wanting to try for a while. And it gave me an excuse to start making my way through the many cookbooks I just bought in Hong Kong!
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