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 :)

BirthdayCake

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…

blogprofile

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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The Foodie Dream Realised – Le Petit Gateau, CBD

Hello hello!  Hope you are all well :).  Sprained my ankle yesterday which was no fun but was so thankful to have friends around me to assist and get me home! Thank you, lovely people – you know who you are ;).

The thing with being out of action is that you don’t feel like really doing anything that requires too much brain energy… so though, uni work remains on the desk, I thought it was time to make good on my blogging routine promise – though a few days later than scheduled ^^’.

A few weeks ago I got this message:

So per doctor’s orders, on a rainy and cold Melbourne day last week, I set about rectifying the situation ;).  Since I was on placement in the city, and after being thoroughly impressed by the various photos appearing on my Instagram feed and Daisy’s post, there seemed like no better place to catch up than Le Petit Gateau!

As the description says… hand crafted chocolate display!!

I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of the exterior but you’ll just have to imagine with me the excitement I had when I saw that little sign that hangs above the entrance… there’s just something so special about finally making it to the place that you’ve been hearing and reading about for so long :).

all photos taken on Samsung Galaxy SII

It was my first time there but my friend (we shall call him Mr KO hehe) who’d come before and is of Malaysian origin, informed me that the chefs here have served the Malaysian Prime Minister (there was also a letter on the wall to prove it) so it was kinda cool to think that we’re eating the cakes of the prestigious ;).

But first things first – a proper savoury lunch.

Beetroot, Pumpkin and Feta Salad (~$7.00)

After reading Daisy‘s post, I knew I would definitely have this salad for lunch. Beetroot, pumpkin, feta and spinach is one of my favourite combinations and the pine nuts just added that crunch to each bite, while the dressing was light and not overly sour or sweet.  Mr. KO had a pie (I forget which one) which he said he liked (I resisted the urge to take a photo since I thought I was already embarrassing him enough by gushing over the food hehe).  I thought the pot of sauce on the side was cute too!

Onto the main events!  Mr KO let me choose the cakes so after perusing the display, I picked out these two…

Honestly, I’m not much into very rich desserts so I liked the sound of this cake which was on special – from memory, it was a banana and ginger cake topped with mandarin jelly and chocolate ($8.00) :).  I liked the smooth banana cream on top and the cake itself was very light.  Mr. KO liked this one which was fortunate because in spite of my general preference for fruity-type cakes, the Brownie & Passionfruit Chocolate Gateau ($8.50) was the clear winner for me:

All I could think as I was savouring the flavours was “pure indulgence on a plate”.  The combination of the brownie base, crunchy praline, passionfruit custard, chocolate mousse, covered with the chocolate ganache and topped with the mango square left both Mr. KO and I speechless for quite some time!  I liked the balance between the rich mousse and the tangy taste of the passionfruit custard :).

Overall, I had a truly lovely experience there and would be keen to go back and try out some of the other cakes – perhaps one for a birthday in the future? ;)  Thanks Mr. KO for the catch up and making a foodie dream come true! :D

Mona Lisa display was made entirely out of sugar!

Le Petit Gateau

458 Little Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000

(03) 9944 8893

Le Petit Gateau on Urbanspoon

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In other foodie related news, do you remember my Juice that fights for you post?  Well, I was pleasantly surprised to be notified that:

Yayness!  I had enjoyed trying out the juice and had lots of fun writing the post too so it was a bonus for Golden Circle to like it too :D.  For other Nuffnangers, if you want to try the product out for yourself, I saw that there is a second opportunity to do so :).

Also, special shoutouts to Daisy @nevertoosweet and Vien @wedarefood!  Thanks for a lovely meet-up over Nando’s the other day :).  It’s always such a pleasure to meet other food bloggers and find out how much you differ but also how much you have in common.  Food definitely brings people together :).

Have a great weekend everyone!

Question: What was your latest foodie dream come true? Can be product/restaurant/cooking experience related :).

♥ Ames

bittersweet afternoon at Dessert Story, CBD

Lately, the end of a uni semester brings with it mixed emotions.  Though I’m always elated that I don’t have to take an exam or attend classes for the next few months, it also means that my uni days are being numbered.  I’m on the brink of heading out into the real world and I’m not certain what the future will hold.  It also means that I’m saying goodbye to some of the lovely people of whom I’ve crossed paths with during my uni stint.  One of the people I recently sent off was Ms L. who had been on exchange from the US.  I’ve only known her for a short period of time but have loved her warmth, her smile, her faith and her friendship.  So having recovered from the exam period, I set an afternoon tea date with Ms L. before she headed back to the States :).  Since we had both wanted to visit Dessert Story there was no better time than the present…

It was a Saturday afternoon and the Swanston St store was packed.  We quickly grabbed a table as a group left and set about perusing the menu (we later went to the counter to order).

Loved how there were photos of the food but there was too much to choose from!  When it comes to food, I generally have a bad habit of never knowing what to get unless I go on recommendations so thankfully Ms. E was also on hand to help out :).

Really liked the clever bookshelf wallpaper :)

With Ms. E’s help, we chose one of the dishes from the Taro Ball series (~$6.00 from memory and sorry can’t remember which one).

When this arrived, we had to double-check with the waiter that this was indeed what we had ordered.  It looked nothing like the photo in the menu and what Ms. E had ordered previously!  But of course that was because we’d decided to choose the ‘Hot’ version (as opposed to the ‘Cold’ that Ms. E had last time) so most of the taro balls, pearls etc. had sunk to the bottom lol

Here’s some of what was beneath the surface!

This dish was alright, but nothing spectacular.  Moving on…

I really couldn’t pass by these glutenous rice balls!  If my memory serves me well (I really need to start taking notes lol!) the ones in the ginger soup were $5.00 and I decided to mix both sesame and peanut balls :D.

Only issue with having a mix of both is that you can’t work out which one is which… I guess if you’re a fan of surprises it works well but because we were sharing, I wanted to make sure we all got to taste one of each :).

Personally, my favourite was the sesame seed ones.  Not too sweet but full in flavour :).  Just make sure you bite into it slowly or it can burn the tongue!

The last dish came highly recommended by both Ms. E and Fatboo so it was a must-try… and boy, am I glad we did!  The Green Tea Snow Ice w Red Bean and Chocolate ($8.90) was fluffy and just a pure delight!  I enjoyed the texture of the shavings of green tea ice-cream and the generous servings of red beans complimented it very well.  Definitely a winning dish!

So there you have it :).  I was glad to share some of Ms. L’s favourite memories of Melbourne and treat her to some Taiwanese/HK desserts :).  Hopefully, the next time I go to Dessert Story, it won’t be bittersweet but sweet all the way instead.

Dessert Story Swanston Street on Urbanspoon

Question:  What’s a bittersweet memory that you’ve had related to food? (bit random, but I guess these questions always are!)

♥ Ames

P.S. Don’t forget to be in the running for the mini giveaway if you haven’t already!

GC Grazing feat. MOS Burger + Mövenpick, Surfers Paradise

Today’s lovely weather inspired me to finally get around to writing about some of the places we grazed at while up at the Gold Coast (GC) earlier this year :).  I’ve had the photos edited months ago (hence you’ll see some discrepancy in the watermarking), so if you’re ready, take a trip down memory lane with me, to a much warmer place…

It was a beautiful GC morning.  The sun was out, the sky was blue.  Perfect day for Surfers Paradise!

I forget why but for some reason Ant (our driver for the day) had decided to park on the other end of the beach but because the weather was so nice, there were no complaints as we walked and talked for the length of the beach.  The boys were hungry as I recall and suggested we grab a bite first so after a bit of wandering around, we found ourselves at…

MOS Burger is the second largest fast food franchaise in Japan (after McDonalds – says wiki) that opened a store or two in Brisbane before setting it’s sights on world domination! OK, maybe not world domination but they do aim to open up 30 outlets in the next five years across Australia.  I wonder why they chose Brisbane… for the tourists factor perhaps? Anyway, to the food!

As the name suggests, burgers are star of the menu.  You pretty much choose your burger, whether you want chips and drink, pay (of course lol) and then wait for them to bring it out to you.  I liked how you could see exactly what was in the burger on the menu… or maybe I just like pictures.

phone photo

I didn’t take any notes (and admittedly that’s not the greatest photo) so I can’t be certain but I’m pretty sure if I saw Waggu Beef Cheese Burger on the menu, I would have picked that.  I do remember really enjoying my burger, the meat was juicy and the bun wasn’t too dry which I find is a common flaw with fast food.   The chips were alright, nothing special.  The berry drink was just right, not too sweet and actually pretty cool because it had actual blueberries floating inside (I know, I’m easily amused…).  So in total, the meal (which was very filling btw) cost me about $10.40 (that burger is the most expensive one on the menu) so it’s not your everyday kind of fast food (but you shouldn’t be eating fast food all the time anyway…) but it’s definitely satisfying and if and when it does come down to Melbourne, I’d be keen to give it ago – especially those rice burgers!

MOS Burger Surfers Paradise on Urbanspoon

INTERMISSION FOR NON-FOOD-RELATED PHOTOS

And we’re back!  After lots of sand and water, a dodge Nandos stop (seriously, didn’t know guys ate that much!) we braced ourselves for the long walk back… but not before I dragged them to Mövenpick!

I’ve passed Mövenpick stores before in Melbourne but never got any ice-cream from them so if not on holiday, when right?

I asked the staff member for a recommendation and without skipping a beat, she suggested… and here’s where my memory is a bit hazy ^^’ I’m pretty sure it was Caramelita or the Salted Butter Caramel…

Either way, it was smooth and creamy, just the way you’d think Swiss ice-cream should taste like :).  A lovely way to end a day catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones :). They’ve just opened a Mövenpick outside Box Hill Centro and my mum showed me this Buy One Get One Free voucher (from one of those free Chinese magazines lol) so I’ll be getting me some more Mövenpick soon no matter what the weather is like hehe

OK, I’ll leave it there for now!  Will be back after my last essay is due (10 more days!!) to hopefully continue on with the GC Grazing :).  Take care til then and stay warm Melbournians!

Question: What overseas/interstate restaurant or food joint did you enjoy so much that you would like to see it come to your hometown?*

♥ Ames

*I have no power to make it happen but just wanted to hear your suggestions for more foodie adventures in the future :D.

Like mother, like daughter? feat. Cacao Macarons

Whether we like it or not, there are some habits or characteristics that we’ll get from either of our parents.  Some good, some not so good haha

As I was assignmenting away two nights ago and with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I thought about some of the things I’ve picked up from my mum and what things set us apart… here are a few that came to mind…

Mum and I on her birthday a few years ago...

1. Great storyteller

My mum is an amazing storyteller!  She’s one of those people who can tell you all the little details of a particular scenario down to the expression that someone had on their face, all the while keeping your attention – even if it’s a story that takes 10 minutes to tell!  I, on the hand, start to get bored of my own voice after a minute or two so will probably start telling you a funny story and then half-way through, I’ll just give up and say, ‘You just had to be there!’  Need to improve in this area…

2. Procrastinator

Unfortunately, this is a habit that we’ve both trying to shake.  We were both up to the wee hours of the morning yesterday…

3. Night owl

Whereas my mum functions well at night, I’m more of a morning person.  I’d much rather sleep early to wake up early than vica versa if you know what I mean…

4. Musical

Music definitely runs on mum’s side of the family with all of her siblings and herself singing in the church choir back in Vietnam and her younger brother (my uncle) is the director of a music school in Sydney :).  Definitely glad I got her genes in this area ;).

Earlier this year :)

5. Doesn’t like to cook

Heresy, right?  Well before my mum married my dad, she rarely cooked and thankfully for her, my dad was/is a pretty good cook having worked in many a Chinese restaurant when he first came out to Australia.  Having been married for over 25 years now, she has a number of amazing dishes under her belt and lots of different cooking techniques, however, she’d still rather stay out of the kitchen if possible.  Me? I’d love to cook if I had the time :P.

6. Teacher

Runs in our blood.  ‘Nuff said.

7. Sweets

Sadly, my mum developed Type 2 diabetes around the time she had me so my dad and I are always trying to keep the sweets away from her… including these lovely macarons that I got as a gift from my first official photography gig last night:

Cacao Macarons *drool*

Apparently, her diabetes is hereditary so I have to make sure I don’t overdose on the sugar and have to forsake these lovelies forever…

French Vanilla - love the colours!! (pls excuse my thumb)
Pistachio (regular flavour) and Burnt Orange (seasonal flavour)

My dad had never had macarons before so I had the Burnt Orange and French Vanilla and let him have the rest… he really liked them hehe and so did I ;).  The delicate shells cracks the moment you bite into them and the ganache was smooth and packed with flavour.  I had the Burnt Orange after having put it in the fridge and tasted just as good if not better than the French Vanilla which I had on the way home hehe!

Cacao has a number of different locations and items can be bought online as well!  Interesting fact: Their macarons are gluten free and Cacao won Melbourne’s Best Macaron in 2010!

Cacao Fine Chocolates & Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Gift for your mum, maybe? :)

I know that not everyone has their mum by their side or perhaps like my dad’s mum (my grandma) they have passed away and Mother’s Day is more sad than happy.  However, I think that no matter where our mums may be, there are things about them that make them unique and special to us… and that’s something we can all celebrate!

Q: What characteristics or habits have you inherited from your mother? Or what characteristics or habits did you WISH you had inherited from your mother?

♥ Ames

a lesson from my dad

When we celebrated my dad’s birthday last year…

He told me stories of his childhood and the kind of life he lived when he first came to Australia.  I let him muse about how fast time flies.  He recounted the days when he used to live near Bondi Beach before moving to Melbourne, working long hours at different jobs in various restaurants, in the fish markets, in car factories… And he taught me an old Chinese phrase of how in life, we’ll all encounter ‘the sweet, the sour, the bitter and the spicy’…  (it sounds much better in Cantonese hehe)

I said my life seems so easy compared to all his experiences but he said there’s no need to compare because I have or will have my own ‘sweet, sour, bitter and spicy’ moments…

The sweet: moments that bring a smile to your face and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside
The sour: moments that make you screw up your face in disbelieve at what has just happened
The bitter: moments that leave you feeling depressed or moments you’d rather not face up to
The spicy: moments that make you sweat or cry uncontrollably
I guess my life has been peppered with a bit of each kind of flavour recently.  And that’s ok.  That’s life.  It’s making me stronger.  It’s like that saying: whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
– posted June 23, 2010

It’s hard to put into words what my dad means to me.  His encouragement, his love, his wisdom, his integrity, his generosity, his faith and prayers have all shaped the person I am today.  Love you, Dad!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Of course Father’s Day wouldn’t be the same without some good food hehehe… we had a lovely spread at church which left me quite bloated but I thought I’d share the recipe that was my mum’s pride and joy today (mainly because it was so easy to make and pretty to look at).

Butter Biscuits

(originally ‘burnt butter biscuits’ but I don’t think she burnt the butter)

Makes about 70 of the size above

Ingredients

  • 125 grams of butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • vanilla essence (up to you how much you use)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
  • glazed cherries (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to moderate heat (180°C)
  2. Heat butter in saucepan until melted (or light brown if you want to burn it slightly), add sugar and beat.
  3. Beat egg in a separate bowl and then add gradually to the butter sugar mixture.
  4. Add sifted flour, mix well.
  5. Roll into small balls, flatten and press a glazed cherry on each
  6. Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown.
  7. Eat and be merry!

♥ Ames

Perth… and the food we ate – Part 1

Being wired the way I am (I think it has something to do with being Asian), trips are mentally broken down into two categories: This is where we went + This is what we ate (can any Asians testify to this? No? Maybe it’s just me then).  So let’s take a trip down memory lane and do just that!

Earlier this year, My parents and I skipped Melb-town for a week to enjoy a much-needed break post-Christmas/family camp/summer subject/internship… my dad asked me if I wanted to go to NZ or Perth (we haven’t been to either place) and I chose Perth :D.

When I’ve told other people of the choice I made, they all looked at me oddly…(I got this reaction from a Perth local too) Seriously? You chose Perth over NZ- another country?!  In retrospect, the better choice may have been to visit NZ before they had their earthquakes but, well… there was a purpose behind my decision :P.  More on that later.

We had booked ourselves into an apartment in Swan Valley, The Vines which is basically in the heart of Perth’s wine country….and, as we have now learnt, it is VERY far from the city! Haha, never gonna make that mistake again!

Anyway, after we checked in we headed back out to the city to find a place for dinner (about a 40 min drive?)… Continue reading “Perth… and the food we ate – Part 1”