Birth-Month Goals

Good morning, world!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind.

I finished up my #funemployment and started my new position.  It has definitely been a transition and my heart still misses my now ex-colleagues but I’m glad for the opportunity to keep developing and working towards my goals.

Another mini milestone was turning a year older last week.  Thanks to everyone for the well wishes and birthday love.  It was rather low-key but there was cake :)

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My wonderful bf brought over a delicious Strawberry, Vanilla & Thyme cake from Bibelot, the patisserie that houses the petits gâteaux, macarons, handcrafted bonbons, biscuits and house-made gelato from Chez Dré.  They also do made-to-order cakes such as this one :).  The description said “vanilla bavaroise, strawberry compote, thyme financier, white chocolate rice crunch” – I loved the flavours!  It was quite light, not too sweet.  Though the rice crunch bottom was a bit hard to cut through since the rest of it the layers were quite soft.  Worth looking into for a special occasion though!

Bibelot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had a look through the blog and realised that I had not updated my profile for some time…

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5 years on, I’ve graduated from law student to lawyer.  I’ve hung up my piano teaching shoes for now and started to write songs again.  But besides that, not much else has changed besides my age.

Another thing that has stuck around for more than 5 years now has been a challenge I would like to share on this blog today (this will be a bit of a long explanation but I hope you will stick with me ’til the end).

Continue reading “Birth-Month Goals”

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Fancy Hanks: love me some pulled pork

*blowing off the cobwebs*

*dusting off the shelves*

HELLO…

Hello…

hello…

Does anyone still following this blog???

Not surprised if this blog is but a distant memory in the blogosphere… despite my best attempts, 2014 wasn’t much of a blogging year.  I did try to restart it with monthly updates on the other space, but even that trailed off towards the end of the year.  The latest update can be found here.

I’m feeling a bit rusty with blogging and it feels a bit awkward (hopefully it doesn’t come across too much like that) but I think rather than overanalyse it, I’d better just start exercising the blogging muscles and give it a go…

Without going into a huge overshare about what’s been happening the last year, I’d like to share about a recent double date with one of our favourite couples, GR.

IMG_6361On our first double date we were keen to try out Fancy Hanks up near QVM, however, when we got there, they were closed for food orders so we vowed to return to try the American style food offerings.

So one sunny Sunday afternoon, we finally made it!

IMG_6349 IMG_6350Now a tip for newcomers, order before you sit down for a chat.  The wait time for ordering was about 30 minutes even though we had arrived at 6:00pm.  I guess with only one person at the register, things can only go so fast!

IMG_6354IMG_6355 By the time we got to the counter they had already sold out of the beef short ribs and the quarter beer can chook *sadface*… so we collectively ordered the rest of the meat on the menu and a serve of each of the salads PLUS a side of burnt end beans and a hush puppie (not the shoes!) *happydance*!

IMG_6356My favourite was definitely the pulled pork – very tender.  I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed the beef sausage!  The others thought the brisket was the real winner – looked like Chinese char siew to me hehe! Ribs were very tasty as well.  I’m usually not a fan of coleslaw but this one was very refreshing with the addition of pomegranate.  The burnt end beans side was also a highlight – it’s not just beans ;).

close up...
close up…

The atmosphere of the place is great as well with some live music at the start of the night – though a bit loud if you are going there to chat.  They also have a separate bar section as well with plenty of drinks available to go down with all that meat!

Overall, pointers to take away:

  1. Get in early and order first before finding a seat.
  2. Do order: brisket, pulled pork, salads and burnt end beans.
  3. Don’t sit too close to the music if you want to talk (that’s a no-brainer really lol).
  4. Go in a group so you can try more of the different meats :D.
  5. Have fun!

Fancy Hank's BBQ Joint on Urbanspoon

Thanks GR for a great catch up :). #doubledate no. 3??

Oh and E for the recommend hehe.

IMG_6357OK how did I do for the first foodie post after over nearly a year?? :P Not so fussed at the moment with formatting and photo sizing at the moment, just want to get back into it really.

Feel free to leave your comments below – happy for feedback.

‘Til next time.

Healthy Start – Granola Mix

More than 6 months ago, I bought Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals Cookbook and despite the fact that the meals should only take 15 minutes to prepare, they are Jamie Oliver (JO) minutes and at the moment, Amy minutes = 10 x JO minutes or there abouts haha.

Anyhow, enter annual leave and it doesn’t matter how long a task takes so I thought I’d give his homemade granola a go after falling in love with the granola at Henry and the Fox (go try it – divine!).

Continue reading “Healthy Start – Granola Mix”

Fast, Fresh, Simple: Apple & Blueberry Cake

Long weekends are such a blessing.  No need to rush around.   Time to share with friends and time to bake :).

I was planning to bake a cake to bring to a gathering with the old high school crew but by the time I had it in the oven, it was already time to go :(.  No huge issues though when you have some Honey Joys ready to go haha ;).

Anyhow, I left some instructions for my dear mother and when I returned home, the cake had come out beautifully :). Great team effort!

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Apple & Blueberry Cake

adapted from Donna Hay’s Fast, Fresh, Simple 

(underlined parts are the changes – not many really)

Serve 8-10

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Continue reading “Fast, Fresh, Simple: Apple & Blueberry Cake”

Quick Breakie @ Sette Bello, CBD

Sometimes you can come across a gem by accident.

Two weeks ago, I had training for lawyer skills such as client interviews, letter writing, negotiating and advocacy.  We were also fed us very, very well by the training institute.  This had both pluses and minuses.  Plus – lunch was provided, saving some money lol.  Minus – I’m still trying to get rid of the food baby that developed that week :P.

Plus – we were located on Little Bourke St.  Minus – the day that I intended to go early to grab a bite beforehand, it was raining cats and dogs!

I found a bit of shelter at a café I had spied the day before and decided to make it my choice for breakfast.  The thing that attracted me was the Toby’s Estate name that I saw outside:

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taken on a sunnier day :)

But before anyone gets too excited, the infamous Toby’s Estate from Sydney has not opened up a branch in Melbourne – however, their coffee beans has definitely made it over to Settebello, a modern little café on the corner of Hardware Lane and Little Bourke St. Continue reading “Quick Breakie @ Sette Bello, CBD”

Yummy Frozen Blueberry Smoothie

About a month ago, one of the lovely ladies from church helped stock up our fridge and freezer with goods so that my mum wouldn’t have to do as much grocery shopping while my dad was overseas.  How kind :).  However, a few days ago, we had a dilemma.

There wasn’t enough room in the freezer! #firstworldproblems

One of the things she had bought for us was a 1 kg pack of blueberries that we hadn’t really had a chance to open up yet so while the blueberries were thawing in the fridge below, I posted up a question on Facebook where I was given a number of suggestions as to what to do with them:

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As the title of this posts suggests, I made myself a blueberry smoothie! :)

Very simple and a great energy booster after a long day at work!

Frozen Blueberry Smoothie

adapted from Taste.com.au

Serve = 1 glass

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Continue reading “Yummy Frozen Blueberry Smoothie”

Dumpling Love @ Shandong Mama, CBD

Melbourne is definitely spoilt when it comes to dumplings.

Being out of the foodie-loop for a while means that I wasn’t even aware that another dumpling joint had opened up a number of weeks ago until Libby suggested ShanDong Mama as a post-work catch/meet-up spot with Winston and Dave.  Poor Daisy was sick so couldn’t make it but there will be next times I’m sure ;).

After walking in the wrong direction (it happens), I found a guy who I assumed was theragingcook aka Dave.  After confirming his identity (lol), we headed in to peruse the menus as the others were running a bit late.

(I unfortunately forgot my camera at home so these are just for the ol’Samsung Galaxy S2)

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No photos of the drinks but you should definitely check out Dave’s 8 Treasure Tea – very pretty but a bit too hot on a warm summer night!

Libby soon arrived and helped out with the orders.  It’s always nice to eat out with fellow foodies coz we’re all on the same wave length about trying a bit of everything :).

None of us had really done our research but we knew dumplings were a must!  It did seem appropriate to have at least one dish of a different variety though.  We decided to try the noodles with shredded port, egg and seasonal vegetables in sesame sauce.

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Continue reading “Dumpling Love @ Shandong Mama, CBD”

NYE reflections and final recipe of 2012!

Is it just me or has the end of 2012 caught anyone else by surprise?

I guess this feeling must be due to the year being really jam-packed all the way up until the very end.  So much so, that I feel like I need a few days to just ease into 2013 because I haven’t fully recovered from the flurry of activity that I jumped into straight after exams haha.

Having said that, it’s always good to sit back and reflect on just how much was achieved in these last 12 months.  The ones that come to mind (and I’m sure you’d be familiar with them if you’ve been reading this blog recently so please bear with me):

…and that’s only off the top of my head :P

the kids creativity over the Christmas weekend :)
the kids creativity over the Christmas weekend :)

It has been a massive year and I’ve been supremely blessed to share it with some amazing people.  At least on the foodie blog circuit, it’s been great to graduate from “comment-buddies” to “real-life-friends” with a few folks like Winston, Vien, Daisy and Sophie ;).

As to resolutions, I know one will be to cook more often and bring lunch to work at least 3 out of 5 days (hopefully).  I think I’ve definitely been in the kitchen a lot more this year and here are my top three favourites that have made it onto the blog:

So on that note, I’d like to share one final recipe before the year is out.  It’s one I think I’ll be cooking a few more times in 2013 because it’s so simple, delicious and a crowd-pleaser!

Chicken with haloumi and honey

adapted from Donna Hay’s Fast Fresh and Simple

Serves 2 (I made this for 3 so just I just added an extra half of these measurements)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 x 200g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
  • 150 g haloumi, cut into thick eatable slices
  • 1 tablespoon shredded lemon zest
  • 6 sprigs of lemon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • rocket, cherry tomatoes and walnut salad, to serve

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Place the chicken haloumi, zest and lemon thyme in a ceramic baking dish.
  2. Combine the oil and honey and pour over.
  3. Bake for 18-20 mins or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve with rocket, cherry tomatoes and walnut salad.

Enjoy!

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Kitchen notes:

  • Next time, I’d probably make sure that the chicken breast fillets were all the same size so that cooked more evenly – had to put a few slices in the microwave to just make sure it was cooked completely!
  • DH suggested a fig and rocket salad but I could not find fresh figs and any at all the stores I went to so substituted cherry tomatoes instead – still very good!

That’s a wrap, folks!  I’m still toying with the idea of taking a break from blogging in January – there’s just a lot of things to do to get real-life in order at the moment.  While not posting for a while, I’ll try to build up some new content ready to go when I do come around these parts again.  For now, take care and HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!!

Random Question: What are your new year’s resolutions for 2013?

♥ Ames

SG Day 1.2: Old Airport Road Food Centre and Crystal Jade

SINGAPORE Day 1.2

SG Day 1.1 can be found here.

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After receiving my first ever manicure and pedicure (that’s what holidays are for, no?), we took a taxi to the hawker centre on Old Airport Road.  For the first-time traveller to Singapore, hawker centres are a must!  Set up in a food court type setting, you’ll soon discover (as I did) the delicious local dishes of the country and for a fraction of the price of any meal you’d get back in Australia – and more tasty too!

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As I was still new to the whole concept, I just followed Ange around to a few stalls as she made the orders… 44

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…before she sat me down to order some sugarcane drinks and she went off to put down a few more orders!

46These sugarcane drinks were so refreshing and of course very cheap too (though I cannot for the life of me remember the price – they don’t give out receipts haha).  I was also fascinated about how there are people who wander around with a money pouch; you tell them what you want to order, pay them, and then they bring it back!  Now that I think about it, I guess it’s just like a waiter in a restaurant but in an open-air context, it seemed really novel for me :P.

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Ange came back with LOTSA soya bean curd!! lol, but don’t worry, we didn’t eat it all, it was for her cell group later on haha.  Here’s what was for dinner:

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Prawn Mee: SO GOOD!  I liked how they cut the prawns in half – made it much easier to eat.  Soup was full of flavour and noodles cooked just right!

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Wonton and Char Siu Mee: Loved it.  I think I am more of a dry noodles kinda fan so this suited me well :).  Wontons were a lot smaller than we get in restaurants back in Melbourne but I’ve been told that this is how they used to make it traditionally.  I didn’t drink much of the soup – MSG concern lol.

had to use flash because it was getting dark
had to use flash because it was getting dark…

SATAY SKEWERS!!!: SO. SO. SO. GOOD.  I think Ange got half chicken and half pork… man, I am lost for words for how amazing this tasted.  It came with a few pieces of cucumber and its own bag of satay to dip the meat in…

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And what added to the awesomeness factor was how unbelievable CHEAP this all was!  Easily under $10 AUS per head and we were feeling very full afterwards.

Oh and what became of the soya bean curd?

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 Apparently the soya bean curd from Lao Ban and 51 Soya Bean are slightly different in taste but it wasn’t as obvious to me so if you get a chance try both :D.

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Usually the eating ends with dinner but as I soon discovered, 10pm is still considered early in Singapore so why not go out for supper, yo?? :P

We headed out to one of the Crystal Jade‘s in town to have some dim sum…

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The standout was definitely these salted egg custard baos! Firstly, never seem them this colour and then…

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…liquid gold!! :D Now this is something that definitely hasn’t made it over to Aust in its traditional form.  The colour isn’t as evident against the orange casing but tasted SO GOOD *happy sigh*.

Was a lovely end to Day 1 in SG :).

*Disclaimer: All food reviews are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit.  I am merely a lover of food and by no means a food expert!

Coming up: More hawker centres and the first of my hipster café visits :P.

Have a great weekend!

♥ Ames

SG Day 1.1: Koi Café, Boon Tong Kee and Ya Kun Kaya Toast

Shall we begin with a vlog?

Yes, we shall!

Please skip if you’d rather avoid randomness and just get on with the food :D.

 

SINGAPORE Day 1.1

(because these was SO MUCH food that Day 1 has two parts!)

Note: Cost of food noted is in SG Dollars.

sing_day1.1After some much-needed beauty sleep, Ange and I headed out to hunt down a few items to make SG more accessible for me (i.e. a MRT card).  On the way we passed by a place that I’d been told I should most definitely try while in SG…

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My friend, May, pronounced Koi Café much better than any place we had in Melbourne so I decided to give it a go.

Ange suggested I get the original milk tea with the addition of ice-cream – hard to go wrong when there’s ice-cream involved lol!  Given that I wasn’t quite used to the humidity of SG, this drink was a cool relief as we continued the search for an elusive pre-paid sim card (each stall we tried seemed to be sold out!).

Once we got that sorted, it was time for lunch! On the flight from Melb – Darwin, I sat between two lovely girls who were on their way to SG too and when I asked them for food suggestions, they both said to try Boon Tong Kee’s famous chicken rice!  Ange hadn’t tried it before but that became our first proper food destination of Day 1!

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The Boon Tong Kee brand has been around in SG for over two decades now and has a number of branches.  We went to the Balestier branch, the first restaurant that opened in 1983.  When we arrived, it wasn’t very crowded yet (the above photo was taken after we’d finished our meal) – I guess 12pm was still quite early for lunch…

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The menu was good because it had pictures haha (sorry, didn’t take any photos of the inside of the menu!).  Once we’d placed our order, we were given a plate of salted peanuts to munch on in the meantime.  They were alright but unfortunately, Ange’s suspicions were confirmed – these were not for free lol ($2.00).

17Our tummies were rumbling since we had not eaten breakfast that morning so we were delighted when the main dishes finally made it to the table!

20This probably wasn’t the best angle to take the photo of the chicken from but let me tell you we were very ready to stuff our faces haha.  Ten points for presentation (loved the addition of the purple orchid) but sadly, it rated a bit less in the taste department.  Maybe it was because our expectations had been too high, but I personally felt that the chicken was a bit bland for my liking and didn’t seem quite worth the $10.00 we paid for it.  Perhaps the issue was that we should have chosen not just the chicken but with the special rice cooked in chicken stock that goes with it as well? I felt that the chicken rice I had at Changi airport on the way back seemed much better and value for money ($5.00!) in comparison.

19We decided to get some vegies to go with the chicken and I have to say that this dish actually outshone the main event.  Where the chicken lacked flavour, the stuffed beancurd and eggplant ($18.00) packed the punch.  This was by far the better dish of the day for me.  I loved the sauce that they used and eggplant is a favourite for me, no matter how it is cooked :P.

We also had plain rice to go with the dishes (50 cents each) and Ange had a barley drink ($2.00) and I had a chinese tea ($1.50) to go with it.

Damage done including taxes was $40.30 SG which is currently about $32.57 AUD.  Not too bad but not as cheap as some of the other places we went to afterwards.

Having now looked at their website, I think I would visit Boon Tong Kee again next time I’m in SG and either order a chicken rice combo set (take away) or try one of their other recommended dishes.

See ladyironchef (a pretty prolific and well-known SG food blogger) for further thoughts on Boon Tong Kee’s chicken rice.

Moving on after lunch, I was introduced to Orchard Road and we did a bit retail therapy.  We must have done a fair amount of walking around as soon it was for afternoon tea :P.

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Kaya toast was on the list of to-eats so having seen Ya Kun Kaya Toast almost everywhere, this seemed like a good choice.  Established in the 1940s, Ya Kun Kaya Toast has developed a reputation for “unparalleled kaya toast and irresistibly fragrant coffee and tea, enjoyed amidst a cosy atmosphere.” – from their website.

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We went for a kaya toast set each consisting of kaya toast, soft boiled eggs and a beverage of our choice.  What was most interesting for me was how thin and brown the toast was!  Since Killiney Kopitiam opened on Lygon St earlier this year, I’ve had their kaya toast at least twice (cheap cheap!) and it looked nothing like this!  Also, I liked how they only had two thin slice of butter between the bread – I always feel slightly grossed out biting into the block of butter that Killiney put on their kaya toast.  Didn’t take notes for exact prices but it was pretty cheap from recollection.  Definitely a good place to stop by if you are after something to carry you over until the next main meal :).

Cool decor, right?
Cool decor, right?

And we made it halfway through Day 1, hooray! :D  Three things ticked off the list!

Coming up: dinner and supper on Day 1 – hawker food and dim sum… mmm.

♥ Ames

Question from vlog: What was your favourite (or perhaps most memorable) gift/moment of this past Christmas season?