kicking goals

So the 101 in 1001 list has been sitting there for a bit over a month now so it’s time for a progress report…

8. Order/buy a book I have read and give it away to someone – 10 Feb 2016

87. Read 10 new books [2/10]

4Dimensions

I came across The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership by Jenni Catron via the Propel Women mailing list.  They began their first ever book club towards the end of 2015 and of course being a lover of “firsts”, I wanted in too.  However,  even though I signed up to pre-order the book prior to its release, I didn’t really have time to read it until I was in Queensland in January 2016.

I must say that it was one of those books where I wanted to highlight every second paragraph.  It was packed with a lot of practical examples and real life experiences to demonstrate how effective leaders should be aware of leading with your HEART, SOUL, MIND and STRENGTH.

I’ve mentioned this book in conversation a number of times since reading it and I thought it would be a good one to pass on to some key leaders I know in my life.

Continue reading “kicking goals”

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that time I travelled alone.

Wow.

It’s almost been a full year since I wrote on this blog and about 3 months since I wrote on the other one.

2015 was a pretty tough year.

Due to a lot of external pressures, I felt like I lost a lot of my soul last year.

I was stressed, worn out and didn’t really feel myself.

Some days I didn’t even want to get up in the morning.

So, I decided to do something for myself at the start of 2016.  I planned a holiday just for me; a time for replenishment and reflection; a time to refresh my soul.

A lot of people told me I was very brave to go on a trip by myself.  Won’t you get bored?  

It made sense to me.  I knew I was an introvert and in order to recharge I need to have alone time.  It was going to be great.

Continue reading “that time I travelled alone.”

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!

IMG_7165

Apple & Blueberry Cake

adapted from Donna Hay’s Fast, Fresh, Simple 

(underlined parts are the changes – not many really)

Serve 8-10

IMG_7159

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

accountability

*blows off dust/cobwebs*

HELLO

HELLO

Hello

hello

Anyone still out there??  I just had a look and it has been over a MONTH since I last blogged here!! I think that has been the longest break I’ve taken from blogging without informing the readers about it and for that, I do apologise!  Though, it’s not like the world has stopped turning lol.  People still eat/cook/enjoy good food and do their own merry thing (well, I hope you have been!).  Still, I feel like I need to be accountable to this blogspace for my absence.

In the midst of adjusting to full-time hours and on top of all the weekly commitments I try to juggle, I’ve been frantically trying to meet some other accountability requirements.

The story really goes back a few years.  For my 21st birthday, against all the legal advice I had been given about how much it would cost and how much time it would require to maintain it over the years (what do lawyers know, right?) I decided to launched my own charitable trust – the VHAN Hope and Opportunity Fund (“Fund”).

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can you guess what the colour scheme was?? :P

Continue reading “accountability”

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:

blueberries_fb

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

IMG_6440-2

Continue reading “Yummy Frozen Blueberry Smoothie”

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…

KOI_Sg1.1

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!

BTK_Sing1.1

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…

16

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?

Momofuku Compost Cookies feat. Snickers 3 Nuts!

Last winter I got the opportunity to spend a few weeks in a law firm learning about a whole new area of law and experiencing what life’s like as a lawyer.  I had a great time, mainly due to the team that I was placed with.  Just a lovely bunch of people :).  So when my supervisor casually mentioned that the last person who had been in their group had baked them some muffins before he rotated through to another team, I took that as an open invitation to try to bake and bring in some Momofuku Compost Cookies in my last week with the workgroup! :D

Even though they have been around for a while, the first time I ever heard of Momofuku Compost Cookies was via Vien’s blog and after that, I’d been itching to give them a go!

Cookie Tower, anyone? ;)

The main and fun decision to make when it comes to these cookies is your choice of salty and sweet goodies to throw into the mix!  After checking to see if anyone on the team had any allergies, I decided to use these ingredients for my first attempt:

also had some white choc chips in the fridge that I added…

I wanted something a bit crunchy so when I saw the new range of Snickers bars that had peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts, I had to pick them!  Measurement-wise, I counted them as half sweet, half salty (hope that makes sense…).

I had fun chopping them up!

Note: I doubled the traditional amount because I was optimistic that they would turn out so well that I would could bring a batch on the weekend to church as well hehe!  Thankfully they were well-received :).

OK, enough talk!  On with the recipe!

Momofuku Compost Cookies

(adapted from We Dare Food)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup & 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of your sweet goodies (chocolate, caramel and white chips)
  • 1 cup of your salty goodies (pretzels & potato chips)
  • 1 cup of chopped Snickers 3 Nuts bars (1/2 sweet, 1/2 salty)

Method

  1. Cream the butter, both sugars and honey with an electric mixer on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and run mixer for 10 full minutes. During this time the sugar granules will dissolve, the mixture will become lighter in colour and mixture will double in size.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. By hand or using lowest speed of mixer, stir in the flour mixture – don’t beat it in or the cookies won’t be as tender. Stir in sweet and salty things.
  5. Once well combined, wrap a the cookie dough into a number of logs (see photos below).  Chill for a few hours or until ready to bake.       ***DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.
  6. Heat the oven to 180C. Roll chilled cookie dough into small balls and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.  Make sure that there is a fair amount of space between each ball (see below).
  7. Bake 10-14 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will spread- a lot! (All ovens are different so watch the cookies, specifically the edges).
  8. Cool the cookies completely on the baking tray before transferring.
Step 1
Step 2
Step 4a
Step 4b – so cool right? :)
Step 5 – doesn’t really matter what size you roll the logs into…
Step 6 – make sure there is enough space…

This was probably the main difference from other Momofuku recipes… usually people scoop them with an ice-cream scooper and then place it in the fridge.  We didn’t have any room so I just placed them in as logs and then rolled them into balls after they had chilled for a few hours.

Voila! :D

The cookies were definitely a hit, both at the workplace and at church with many people asking for the recipe :D.  They came out just the way I like my cookies – a little bit crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside :).

Enjoy!

Have a productive week everyone!  I better hit the books :D.

Random Question: If you were going to bake Compost Cookies, what salty or sweet goodies would you use?

♥ Ames