in between chapters and TBC

It has been over a month since my last post but a lot seems to have happened since then.

One of the biggest life milestone was finishing up at the job I had been in since I graduated from university.  Though I knew it was time to let go, it did not make the parting any less emotional.  There were many tears before and after the official announcement and on my last day, the waterworks hit even before I got up to say my final farewells.

It is still slightly surreal, probably because I have not started my new job yet but I’m sure once I’m back in an office space again it will hit me afresh.

What I realised was that at the core of it, it was the people, it was the relationships that I was finding hard to let go of.  I know it is not like I’m not going to be friends with my now ex-colleagues but it is more that the relationship dynamics have shifted, we won’t see each other every weekday anymore nor share in some of the in-jokes that used to fly across the partitions.  It is that ending that I still mourn quietly in the heart.

But as one wise man once said:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.*

And now it is time for a new chapter, a new beginning.  The old is gone, the new has come (almost).  Trying to squeeze in the last few tasks on my to-do list before I settle back into the rhythms of full-time employment.

Continue reading “in between chapters and TBC”

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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.

Checking out Middle Fish, Carlton

Edited from my review published in Purely Dicta, Issue 1, 2012 …

Move aside Momo Sushi, Pearls and cheap Chinese – there’s a new eatery in law school town!

phone photo

When you wander down to Middle Fish during lunch hour, the first thing you will notice is just how packed the place is!  Located conveniently next to Seven Seeds (entrance on Berkeley St side), this Southern Thai café has won the hearts and stomaches of many law students and lecturers since it opened about 6 months ago.

On my first visit, I tried the Pad Gapao Moo Kob ($15.50), which was a delicious serving of pork belly, assorted stir-fried vegies and fried egg with rice.

phone photo

My fellow law student had the Green Chicken Curry ($14.50), which I tried on my second visit.  The Green Chicken Curry came with rice (as most main dishes) and with SO MUCH chicken and sauce that I just had to order some roti ($3.50) to finish it off (that’s how good it was!) – can’t seem to find my photo of the roti :(.

Another one to try is their Tom Yum ($14.50) that had an abundance of juicy prawns and a perfect balance of sweet and sour (so says another law student).

Addition: On a separate occasion after I sent this off to the publishers, I had the Gapi Fried Rice (forgot to note the price) as mentioned in this post.  

phone photo

Normally I don’t order fried rice when I’m out (Asian pride thing I think) but I made an exception because the use of apple in this dish intrigued me.  The apples made this dish quite refreshing and the separating all the ingredients on the plate meant that it not only looked good to the eye when it came out (and you could see exactly what was in the dish!), but it meant that the apple strips remained crisp and crunchy even after you mixed it together.  Very filling and satisfying.

Now don’t forget to give their Thai Milk Ice Tea a go too!  Served in what looks more like a bowl than a cup, it a sweet accompaniment to any meal!

Loved how it was served in a little bowl too!

 Middle Fish also has lunch specials now so if you haven’t done so already, set a lunch date to check it out! Probably a good time now since there’ll be less students around…

Distance from law school: 3 minutes walk

Opening hours: Mon- Fri: 7am – 5pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm

Price Range: ~$4.00 for drinks, $15-$25 per meal. A bit outside what I’d usually spend on a regular student lunch but it’s a pleasant change to the usual sandwich, sushi or salad every once in a while :).

Middle Fish  on Urbanspoon

—————————–

I admit it.  I’ve got Facebook withdrawal symptoms.  Been reading and commenting on a few blogs here and there to make up for the lack of social networking so decided I needed to make a contribution too lol.

No random questions tonight… just hope you’ve all had a good start to the week :).

♥ Ames

What’s been happening lately…

Hello hello!  The semester has wrapped up!  I’ve submitted my last assignments, made my last oral presentation and just one exam and two essays to smash before HOLIDAYS! *sigh* I feel like I’ve used up all my words for the next little while so here’s what’s been happening lately in photos and in as few words as possible:

1. I got published!

I probably was just the first person to put up their hand for the job, but it was fun putting a few reviews together for Purely Dicta, the law school magazine :).  I was a bit disappointed that the photos turned out pixilated but apparently there was a problem with the entire file when it went to print so… *shrugs*  Now that it’s been published, I can finally post my thoughts on Middle Fish and Saigon Pho here (soonish)!

2. Facebook hiatus

For the sake of my studies… *sigh* but having said that, I’ve found it liberating to not feel the need to know what is on everyone else’s mind at any given moment… less noise.

3. New header!

See above!! :D  As some have already noted, there is indeed a lovely header created by a law school friend of mine. JZ!  Isn’t she so talented?  I gave her an idea of food and photography and she came up with that :D!  Looks a little bit like April‘s now that I think of it… anyway, I hope to bake her something yummy to say thank you after exams… maybe Wince’s thank you cookies? :P

4. Snag Stand

There’s a funny story as to how I ended up at a hot dog joint and got a sausage but no bread… story for another post (though no promises that it’ll be as funny as it seems right now in my head).  Thanks to Libby for raising my curiosity to give them a try though :).

5. Oriental Teahouse

Had an impromptus catch up at one of the new additions to the Melbourne Central eatery scene, Oriental Teahouse.  A lovely ‘Relaxing Tea’ along with some dim sum after my last class for the semester…

6. I MADE A QUICHE

not the greatest photo but it was delicious!

I saw SUPER.  I saw SIMPLE.  I knew I had to make it!  See the photo of the full quiche dish in the Instagram feed.  I’ll post up my version after exams (had to make some adjustments) but essentially I followed Peas and Crayon’s recipe ^^.  SO YUMMY!  Gonna reheat the leftovers from yesterday night and eat it now!

7. Impulse buys…

I may or may not have taken advantage of Book Depository 10% off sale a few weeks ago and there may or may not be a copy of Hunger Games in the top package that came today.  And of course I didn’t get sucked into purchasing two cute dresses and a pretty skirt after reading Karen Cheng’s post on Sunnygirl ahem.

OKAY.  That used more words than I anticipated lol but anyways, that’s the short version of what’s been happening lately :D.

Hope you’ve all been well!  Apologies if I disappear from the blog-o-sphere in the next couple of weeks, lots of cramming and essaying ahead!  Know I still love you guys and hope you’ll join me for more foodie and photographic adventures in the future :).  Take care and best wishes for all the uni students out there! WE CAN DO IT! [insert name] FIGHTING~

Random Question: Have you read or watched Hunger Games?  What did you think of it? 

Bonus question: Where’s a good Melbourne restaurant venue to host an event for 80+ people?

♥ Ames

Back for reals… no joke!

Happy April Fools!  

Funny how I would choose today to make my blog comeback (funny – see what I did there?!)… hehe obviously, my jokes have not improved in my absence from this blog :P

So much has happened in the space of a month – well 37 days to be exact, but who’s been counting right? – that it’s hard to know where to start.  I began my final year of uni, went up to Sydney for a spell (Bourke St Bakery ♥), decided to grow my hair out again (that was a big blog-worthy decision!), English tutored for the first/last time (story for another day/blog), helped launched a new service at my church, took advantage of a MFW Express Lunch for the first time(!), started my 2nd Project365 challenge (woot!), met up with my coffee-lovin’ blog buddie again plus put my virtual hand up to write some foodie reviews for the “wikileaks of law school”!

Day 1: The day I wore my new necklace created by an amazingly talented Melbourne artist – click on the photo to visit her website.

It has taken every ounce of self-control (ok, maybe that is a bit melodramatic!) to keep myself from sneaking back on during the self-imposed blog fast for Lent however, in retrospect, the month away did give me some time to think (amongst other things) about why I blog, who I’m writing for and where this blog is headed.

*cue contemplative, reflective music*

First, I blog because I enjoy it.  Read this for a refresher.  I enjoy stringing words together to paint a picture of the experiences I’ve had and I enjoy sharing those experiences with others. As Rudyard Kipling said, ‘I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity.’ However, I have to remember that I’m still a full-time law student and not a full-time blogger – have to get those priorities straight!

Day 3. The day we finally made it to Bourke St Bakery, Sydney! Loved every bite of it ;-)

The second piece of revelation relates to the first: Above all else, I’m writing for myself.  While being off the blog (sounds like a drug, doesn’t it? lol), I’ve had more of a chance to (re)discover lots of blogs and bloggers whom I admire and deeply respect.  There are sooooo many amazing blogs out there and sometimes I’ve felt like I should do more of this or that, I should try to keep more on top of the trends (read: be more active on Twitter) etc.  I’m going to be a bit vulnerable here and say that in the past, I’ve caught myself trying to imitate other people’s writing styles/formats, hoping to generate the kind of readership that they have no doubt built up over years of blogging.  This type of approach is never beneficial; I can never be a better version of someone else.  All I can be is the best ‘me’ that there is.  From now on, no more trying to be more witty, knowledgeable, savvy, creative, well-versed than who I really am.  My voice doesn’t need to be like anyone else’s or else it would just be redundant.  Selah.

Day 7: My first meal in Melbourne after Sydney – Persimmon (yum!).

The last point that I’d like to make (this is like essay practice for the 8,000 word paper I have coming up, eeekk!) is where this blog is headed.  This blog is almost 1 year old (so quick!) and I think after 11 months, I can see a clear pattern of food and photography (plus some miscellaneous moments thrown in the mix) being the focus of this writing space.  So that’s the kind of blog that it’ll continue to be :).

*end contemplative and reflective music*

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, hope you’ll stick around for some delectable blog posts to come ;).  Still haven’t written a word about the tastes of QLD so we’ll mix it up with some Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne flavours, shall we?

For now, I leave you with my favourite Project365 photo so far:

Day 14. Part of Blue Week – Delicious Violet and Blueberry Macaron from an old friend ;).

And we’ve back in business… for reals :).  Hoping my blogging muscles aren’t too rusty!

♥ Ames

P.S. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of the Photo a day April challenge by Fat Mum Slim so you can check out my progress in this album :).

Can you Fandango?

Have you ever sat down with a friend and chatted for what seemed like just minutes yet you are both shocked by how much time has past when you look at your watches?  I love those kinds of catch-ups and I’m thankful for the friends that I can have those with :).

After a recent comment on the first food date I had with my Cannon 550D, I was reminded of the time I had the pleasure of Ms. MoreBlindDates’ company.  We met more recently over an orange juice and coffee at 330 Briks, but I’ve had the photos from our visit to Auction Rooms’ lesser known neighbour, Fandango, sitting in my Lightroom catalogue for way too long…

It was a cold wintery day in Melbourne post-exams and Ms MoreBlindDates had chosen Fandango for our catch-up spot.  I’d never heard of Fandango before but had been warned to get there early…

Fandango is the unassuming cafe next to the Salon and just one shop down from Auction Rooms (the blue building on the right):

I was a bit late for our scheduled 9am breakfast but I’m glad Ms. MoreBlindDates got there first as the tables were mostly taken when I walked in.  ‘Fandango’ is the name of a lively Spanish couples dance (so says Wiki) so perhaps that’s why the cafe was made up of mainly tables for two (about 4) and one larger table for four.  We sat closest to the bar on the communal table (and I’m not sure why I felt I needed to tell you that…).

Anyway,  we placed our breakfast orders and as I was going through my chai tea phase, I ordered one while Ms. MoreBlindDates ordered a latte(?)… In the past, I’ve had my chai tea either takeaway or in a glass cup (as in Seven Seeds) so imagine my surprise when the waitress put this in front of me:

I had to double-check she’d heard my order right but had secretly fallen in love with the little teapot cover already (I enjoyed drizzling some honey each time I refilled my cup as well)!

Soon enough our hearty breakfast came:

I had done a bit of research on Urbanspoon beforehand and many had recommended the Beetroot Feta Eggs (can’t remember the price, sorry!) so I knew I just had to try it!  Firstly, the colour of the beetroot was just beautiful!  It made me happy just looking at it :D.  The beetroot feta combination was great and the eggs were poached perfectly.  The spinach and sourdough bread matched well but the winner by far was the extra pot of mushrooms that I ordered alongside:

SOOOOOOO good!  When I first bit into one, the juices just exploded in my mouth and I must have made such a fuss about it that Ms. MoreBlindDates grabbed one and had the same (well almost) reaction!  It was kind of sweet too but not in the sugary kind of way… just the natural flavours with the slight charring on the grill. Definitely get the mushrooms if you visit!

Ms. MoreBlindDates ordered the French Toast:

She declared it pretty good and I liked it too after I stole a bite (when I wasn’t scoffing down the mushrooms!).  If I recall correctly, I think she thought the bacon was a bit crisper than she normally liked it but the toast itself and the apple accompaniment were very yummy!

The staff are very friendly and there’s a nice ambience to the place :).  Definitely get there early or you may be waiting a while for a seat.

Fandango on Urbanspoon

♥ Ames

P.S. I just wanted to say welcome to a couple of new readers who subscribed over the last few days – WELCOME!  It’s always a good feeling to know that people actually enjoy your posts enough to click ‘Follow’ and ‘Like’ and I’m also humbled to have just come to the realisation that I was listed as a food blog on where’s the beef? after I got a few clicks from there recently!  This is not strictly a food blog but I do write often about food since most family and friend gatherings involve sitting around a table of good food hehe – SO, a big shout out of thanks to the guys at where’s the beef? and The Hungry Excavator for adding me to their list :).

Easy Zucchini and Rice Slice

This has got to be the quickest turnaround of ‘event’ to ‘post’ – I made this for us to munch on as Mum and I spent the day preparing a dish for our special Australia Day dinner tonight (recipe to follow soon!).

Easy Zucchini and Rice Slice

Taken from Coles Summer Magazine 2012, page 49 :)

Serve 4

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 250g pkt microwave long grain white rice
  • 3/4 grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 zucchini, trimmed and grated
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3 spring onions, chopped

Method

  • Preheat oven to 190°C or 170°C fan.  Line a 20cm square pan with baking paper.
  • Lightly whisk eggs in a large bowl.  Add rice, cheese, zucchini, peas and spring onions.  Mix to combine.
    • ADDITION:  A friend gave this a go recently and recommended that you add a bit of salt for more flavour.

  • Pour into prepared pan, smooth top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 30-35 mins or until set.  Enjoy!

Ta-da! Easy, right?

It was delicious and the family loved it :).  The zucchini keeps it moist and the cheese adds a bit of saltiness.

The recipe suggested to pack some grape tomatoes and a few slices for lunch…I think I’m going to bring some tomorrow!

♥ Ames

Love being an ABC

When this post is published (thanks to the wonders of scheduled post possibilities), our side of the world will be 12:01am on 26th January 2012 and so….

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!!

It’s only fitting that I spend a few moments to say how much I love being an Australian.  I love our tendencies to fight for the underdog and the general consensus that everyone should be given a ‘fair go’.  I love the fact that we’re so multicultural (well, Melbourne more than most – IMO) and have large parks in the middle of the city.  I love how I can enjoy days at the beach and road trips to wide open spaces in the country and yet feel at home in the hustle and bustle of the CBD.  I’m proud of my Australian accent and love it when I’m told how strong it is hehe.  I’m so glad I was born and raised in the ‘land down under’ and no matter where I travel to in the world, Australia (and specifically Melbourne) will always be home :).

Having expressed my patriotism, I also have to say how much I love my Chinese heritage and background.  And of course, that’s the cue for me to say a belated, Gong Hei Fatt Choy (Cantonese) or Happy Chinese New Year (CNY)!  I guess it’s not that belated given that celebrations traditionally go on for 2 weeks.  CNY is all about family and gathering together to give thanks for the past year and then wish each other well for the year ahead.  Our CNY celebrations have taken different forms over the years and it’s never quite certain who will we have around the table, but you can always be guaranteed that it’s always over lots, and lots of good food!

Take 1: Family Dinner on Friday Night

We went Viet-style with some amazing food that my very talented Aunty cooked for us.

What's happening here...?
Spring Rolls of course :D
Banh Xeo galore...
Too much food!

Take 2: CNY Festival on Saturday (Box Hill) Continue reading “Love being an ABC”

Collective Espresso – hipster find in Camberwell

I thought I’d squeeze in a short food post before the Christmas festivities…

The only criteria was to be near a train station, preferably in the ‘burbs.  So with a bit of research (seriously, where would we be without GoogleMaps?), Collective Espresso was the chosen spot for a quick catch up before a dear friend disappeared overseas for the summer.

It definitely had that Melbourne CBD hipster vibe which exuded from the staff and the customers that seemed to be regulars at this quaint little joint.  The staff are definitely an eclectic bunch (look out for the guy with the quirky moustache) and their menus reminded me of Auction Rooms

My friend was running late so I ordered myself a Granny Smith Apple Juice ($3.50).

I think I was expecting the longlife-type apple juice you can get from the grocery store (which just shows how often I order apple juice from a cafe  = nil) so I was pleasantly surprised when this arrived.  It was amazingly refreshing on this warm summer day though.. I could have ordered another :).

After perusing the menu numerous times, I settled on the Chorizo w/romesco, spinach and fetta on a pida ($9.50) which had been recommended on one of the sites I’d stumbled upon in my Google search: Continue reading “Collective Espresso – hipster find in Camberwell”