I can’t believe that Dragon is one years old! Where did the past 12 months go? On the weekend, we celebrated Dragon’s birthday. It was really more for the adults than her really, an excuse for the adults to have a get together and eat good food, and indeed we did have good food!
I’d like to thank Angie, who made Dragon’s brilliant birthday cake! I think when I first asked her about it, she was a little shocked or sceptical. I am pretty sure she thought I was MAD! She wanted me to make balls of cakes? But she was brilliant, and I was SO happy with the end result so THANK YOU again! It was absolutely delicious also!
Here’s what we had to eat…
Started with chicken spring rolls and spinach and ricotta triangles
Yummy quiche Lorraine
Ayam telor bali, chicken and egg Balinese style
Perkedel – mashed potatoes with spices such as shallots, garlic, and white pepper
Empal daging, spicy beef
Ati ampela – now this is not for everyone but definitely my favourite!
You can’t have a birthday celebration without noodles for longevity
Ikan ibis, which I couldn’t have but definitely a favourite of mine!
The tupeng – yellow turmeric rice with vegies and meat. You take the top one for the birthday person.
And I didn’t take a photo of mum’s rendang as well as the bakso goreng which were a hit!
My favourite dessert, kelepon which a dear friend of mum’s made! I love these!!! Can’t remember how many of these I ate, but definitely enough to go to the gym every single day (twice a day) this week!
Apple strudel which was served with ice cream!
There were plenty other desserts which I forgot to take photos off, including pudding and other Indonesian desserts! And of course, the birthday girl’s cake – chocolate mud cake! It was absolutely superb! The reaction on Dragon’s face was unforgettable and absolutely epic! It was the reaction that we all wanted, so many thanks again Angie for the awesome cake!
Happy 1st birthday Dragon – hope you had a great time and thank you to all my family and friends for celebrating this special occasion. And a BIG thank you to my uncle for the photos!
Hope you all had an awesome weekend!
Part II of Berry, the next day….
The Drawing Rooms of Berry is surrounded by forest and velvet-green pastures. Wonderful breakfast guesthouse accommodation and boasts its ‘4.5 star accommodation that combines style, absolute tranquillity, wildlife galore and spectacular setting’. Unfortunately, ‘The Mother’ and I didn’t really get to enjoy or walk on the property, however, we did go for a hike to the Drawing Rooms lookout.
The Drawing Rooms look out is a spectacular rock formation on the hill-top that’s 600 metres above sea level. The walk is about 2 hours from the bottom of the Drawing Rooms guesthouse to the top and back.
I’m not much of a hiker, however, ‘The Mother’ loves it – walk or hike or whatever you want to call it, wherever we go, he would suggest we go for a ‘walk’ (which really means hike!). I would consider myself a moderately fit person, but when it comes to hiking – I feel like the most unfit person! I gasp, I sweat like pig and I am usually exhausted by the time we reach to destination!
The Drawing Room walk was tough at first, extremely steep hills but once we got to the top, it was amazing and absolutely spectacular! Well worth the ‘walk’!
I was famished after our walk, and suggested lunch at Berry Woodfired Sourdough Bakery which is run by both Joost and Jelle Hilkemeijer. Opened in 2003, this wonderful bakery is known for its organic woodfired sourdoughs, cakes and pastries and their legendary flaky, buttery croissants.
‘The Mother’ and I thought we would share a couple of dishes. Started with duck confit on parsnip puree with brussels sprouts and jus ($23).
The duck was so tender that it just came off the bone, the parsnip puree incredibly smooth and creamy and since ‘The Mother’ doesn’t like brussels sprouts, more for me! It was an excellent hearty dish, perfect for winter.
The minestrone soup with basil piste and sourdough ($14) was one of the best minestrone soup I have had – even ‘The Mother’ agreed!
Served with potatoes, carrots, celery and barley with a hint of chili and topped with parmesan cheese. It was just magnifique, and the sour dough bread a wonderful complement. I probably could have eaten the soup on my own, it was superb. We bought some sourdough bread which we both ate the next day with butter and pate – excellent!
‘The Mother’ loves donuts and noticed the Famous Berry Donut Van which apparently has been trading in Berry for sixty years. The donuts are cooked to order and cooked by hand and made on the premises on the spot.
It was a lovely mid-week getaway, would definitely recommend going to Berry if you haven’t been, even if it’s just for a day trip!
Berry Woodfired Sourdough Bakery
23 Prince Alfred Street
Ph: +61 2 4464 1617
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
Famous Donut Van Berry
I recently got back from Indonesia, visiting family mainly and some friends. It’s a yearly trip that I try to make, to visit the grandparents, aunties and uncles, whom I haven’t seen for a while. They are not getting any younger, so it’s nice to be able to visit and spend time with them. Being brought up in Indonesia, I absolutely love Indonesian food and crave for it wherever I am. In Hong Kong, I was in search for the most authentic restaurant, and found not one, but two – Warung Malang (read review here) and Restaurant Padang (read review here). In Sydney, there are a lot more, especially if you walk down Anzac Road, Kingsford, you will encounter many many Indonesian restaurants, to name a few, Ayam Goreng 99, Pinanggsia Noodle, Bali Stick (which is more in Kensington) and many more.
I didn’t go to Jakarta this time, my family is mainly in Surabaya and Malang. Malang has great food, however, I was only there for two days and didn’t manage to eat all that I wanted! Probably a good thing, as all I did was just EAT!
You can’t go to Malang without having the following, this is a must in my books!
- Babat, which is beef tripe: I know this is not a favourite for everyone, but definitely one of my favourites! It’s usually served with soto ayam. The tripe was tender and succulent, and eaten with a little bit of sweet soy sauce and lots of chili. It’s high in cholesterol but absolutely delicious.
- Now if tripe is not your thing, then you can have the nasi campur (we took this home so it has all been mashed up together!). Nasi campur is a dish of rice topped with various meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and fried-shrimp chips. The nasi campur was incredibly spicy but incredibly tasty. All the ingredients mixed together were just awesomely good.
- Soto ayam Lombok: now this is supposed to be one of the famous soto ayam in Malang. Lombok is an island in West Nusa Tenggara province, near Bali. A great holiday destination if you haven’t been but that’s another story for next time! Now the soto ayam here is slightly different, mainly in the spices that they use. Its served with rice, bean sprouts, fried shallots, boiled and chicken of your choice (i.e. the breast of the chicken or the thigh of the chicken which is then shredded). This is also a must eat when visiting Malang, usually eaten for breakfast, but if its too heavy, then lunch or dinner.
- Tempeh: fried soy beans. Eaten on its own it can be a little salty and bland, but eaten with sweet soy sauce and chili, absolutely delicious!
- Tahu Goreng: fried bean curd. Can be boring, but there is something about Indonesian tahu goreng that’s different. I can’t explain it but after eating a lot of tahu in Sydney and Hong Kong, I can vouch that it is different.
- Malang is quite famous for their bakso, which are beef balls. Again very different to Hong Kong beef balls, it’s a lot more chewy and tastier. We didn’t have time to eat at the restaurant, so take away!
- Putu, consists of mixing rice flour with water and/or coconut milk, then steamed, usually with the addition of juice from pandan leaf as flavouring. Below is a photo of where is it cooked.
- Usually served with grated coconut and date palm sugar – my ultimate favourite dessert in Malang.
- Cenil, roll tapioca dessert served with grated coconut. Its deliciously sweet and deliciously tasty.
I think that’s enough of Malang for the time being. Now Surabaya…. I am making myself hungry.
- Pisang goreng: fried bananas. Deliciously fried, and deliciously sweet.
- Roti goreng: fried bread with little bit of sugar coating on top. Absolutely dense and filling!
- Mie ayam: chicken noodle with boiled choy sum, celery leaves, diced chicken cooked with sweet soy sauce, mushrooms, fried / boiled wontons and fried shallots. For some reason, the mie ayam in Indonesia is SO SO SO much tastier!
- Ayam pencet: originate from Surabaya, a popular chicken dish, marinated with various spices and herbs then smashed with a wooden headed hammer and deep fried until golden brown. Extremely flavoursome and extremely scrumptious!
- Daging pencet: similar to that of the chicken, but with beef, also tasty and delicious. The spicier the better.
- Sate: we all know this one, it can be sate ayam (chicken), sate babi (pork) or sate kambing (veal / lamb). The photo below is sate ayam, a little too thin for my liking but the sauce is just incredible. I am not sure why some Indonesian restaurant (not in Indonesia) can’t replicate this!
- Burung darah: fried pigeon. A little annoying to eat, it’s not meaty, but extremely delicious if cooked properly.
- Lontong kikil. Now lontong is compressed rice cut into small cakes. And kikil is a part of a foot animal (usually cow, goat or buffalo), and is usually rubbery but cooked until tender. I really like this, I know it sounds and looks gross but absolutely succulent and delicious! Usually served in spicy soup.
- Tahu isi: fried stuffed tofu, a light snack made from tofu and vegetables, deep fried.
- Tahu toler: bean curd omelette. The more egg the better, served with peanut sauce and prawn crackers.
- Gado-gado: this one requires no explanation! Extremely authentic, and deliciously good!
- Es koproy with durian: my gosh this was divine. Es Koproy is young coconut juice with syrup. Add durian on top, and my gosh, absolutely sinful!
- Es cau and es cau with susu: ice grass jelly, and ice grass jelly with condensed milk. I prefer it plain, with condensed milk it was just too sweet!
- Es campur: combination of grass jelly, avocado, palm seed, cendol, jackfruit, coconut. One of my favourites amongst the ice drinks.
Whilst I was there, I was fortunate enough to have kopi luwak for breakfast every day (sometimes more than once a day!) and I have to say, I am a huge HUGE fan! It’s incredibly smooth and not bitter at all.
I think I have to stop there. I have made myself incredibly hungry and craving more Indonesian food (and I just got back two days ago!). As you can see, my trip to Indonesia was not just about family, it’s also about stuffing myself with delicious food (which I did!)! Will post more when I am not so hungry…..
Everyone loves high tea, regardless if you are male or female. R, J, F and I all love high tea, and thought we would replicate all the delicious goodness on our own. I don’t mean we all make the pastries, sweets, and scones on all our own? No no – that’s just way too much effort! I am lazy and need to be in the ‘mood’ to bake – well baking is my way of procrastination! We wanted a high tea that’s somewhat different to your traditional high tea. Of course there will be the traditional scones, croissants and sweets but we (I should say, I) wanted some Indonesian snacks.
It was held at R’s place (read her review of the high tea here) and we were all given specific tasks to bring but it was pretty much whatever you want to eat, buy. J had the tasks of bringing savoury pastries, F sweet pastries, R, sandwiches, drinks and fruits, and I, Indonesian snacks (sweets and savoury).
I bought all my Indonesian snacks at restaurant padang (read review here) and I wanted to buy everything that I saw but I knew that my eyes were bigger than my stomach! For savoury snacks, I bought the traditional risoles, kroket and pastel kari.
For sweet snacks, I had to buy, durian mochi (yes they were absolutely divine, hint of durian so it wasn’t too smelly!), klepon (delicious round coconut sweets with palm sugar inside that burst into your mouth once you bite it), pineapple nastar (delightful pineapple round tarts), and banana coconut sweets. Yes, I was craving all of it!
Here’s what it looks like plated up next to J’s pastries – mini croissants, Japanese chocolate chips, and red bean chewy donuts.
J went to three different bakeries in TST and bought more than we could eat! It was great though – it’s always better to have more than not enough! Bottom left: I loved these sausage donut wrap, and Japanese corn chewy donuts. Bottom right: Look at all those delicious cookies! Top left: sponge chocolate cake in a shape of a sandwich and top right: R’s grilled bacon wrapped pineapple drizzled with maple syrup.
It’s not high tea without scones, cakes and sweet pastries! Here are the cranberry scones, custard filled pastries, fruit pastries and chestnut napoleon – my my I was in dessert / sugar heaven!
It took us a good 30 mins to plate it up and to make it all ‘pretty’. By ‘us’, I meant J and R, I just stood there perusing at what I can eat first! Then another 30 mins before we all finished taking photos – I was ravenous by the end of it and was dying to eat all the delicious goodness!
It was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon with great friends! We had a great time catching up, talking, laughing and well… being us!
Thanks R for hosting a great afternoon – great food, great game and most importantly, great company!
I was talking to my cousin about my up coming trip to Indonesia and when she asked “so what do you want to eat” I said “I will have a list ready for you!” On that list will of course be some Indonesian snacks! I can never really get proper Indonesian snacks unless I either go to Indonesia or someone I know can make them. Every time I go back to Indonesia, I leave with extra baggage around the waist. Sometimes, I am utterly disgusted at how much I can eat… well, not really but those around me! I don’t go back home to Indonesia very often, maybe once a year at most, so when I am there, I indulge. I never go to Indonesia without creating a list, especially if I am there for a short period of time. I have to eat everything on that list, and believe it or not, I DO! Thanks to my beloved cousins, aunties and uncles. They will ensure I will eat everything.
So, last time I was back in Indonesia, which was just last year, I had the following snacks…
Sepiku – 3 layered of rich, sweet, delicious, creamy cake. You can never eat a huge chunk of this cake, it can get rather sickly, but my gosh… this is seriously satisfying! My mother tried making this cake, and she has almost perfected it. I kind of regret knowing what was in the cake… can you believe that it contains 10 eggs per layer… which means 30 eggs for the whole cake??! Ya… no joke… 30 eggs! It has two flavours, the top and bottom layer, vanilla and the middle, chocolate. You can get with fruits, sultanas, but I prefer the plain sepiku.
Bubur ketan item – black glutinous rice with coconut. Deliciously rich, once you take a bite you can’t stop.
Pastel tutup – deep fried with vegetables and vermicelli. Fantastic with chili and I am not talking about chili sauce, fresh chili!
Onde onde – there are many different types of onde onde, but my favourite are these – with red bean paste. It has to be fresh though – its crunchy on the outside, soft and incredibly sweet. *sigh* craving for these now!
Croquette – potato croquette – made of potato and minced chicken. A popular snack amongst the Indonesians.
Lumpiah basah – wet spring roll without frying, which consists of bean sprouts, carrots, shrimps (and or chicken) served with sweet tauco (salted soybeans) sauce. Again fantastic!
Putu malang – which consists of rice flour with water and coconut milk, steamed, usually with the addition of juice from the pandan leaf as flavouring. Eaten fresh, these are delicious. I never leave Indonesia without eating these, but I only like the ones from Malang!
Lupis – sweet cake made of glutinous rice served with shredded coconut and thick palm sugar syrup. Deliciously rich!
Martabak manis (terang bulan) which is basically thick pancakes with either cheese, chocolate, and / or crushed peanuts. I love my terang bulan with all! You can get savoury martabak but that’s not as good as martabak manis!
Angsle, a hot soupy dessert of sago pearls, pre-cooked glutinous rice and mung beans, putu mayang (brightly coloured, noodle shaped flour cakes), fried peanuts, all drowned in hot, sweet coconut milk. A must try if you haven’t, but I do love this after dinner, or supper before going to bed!
Ronde, a hot Javanese dessert which consists of glutinous rice balls stuffed with peanut paste, floating in hot ginger and sugar soup. I am not a big fan of ginger, so I don’t enjoy this as much, but I will eat the rice balls on its own without the soup.
Other Indonesian snacks are below… yes we bought one of each and ate all of it!!!!
However, it’s not just about the food, the drinks are also fantastic!
One of my ultimate favourite drinks is juice alpokat, which is avocado juice – yes, it does exist. Avacado juice with chocolate – thick, creamy, and sweet… SO SO SO GOOD!
You can get different varieties of avocado juice, you can have it with durian – avocado / durian juice which is just heavenly!
Then there is es koproy – which contains coconut – not a favourite of mine but definitely a favourite amongst the Indonesian.
Es Teler, another favourite of mine, which consists of coconut, jack fruit, avocado, mix with condensed milk, sugar and syrup. It’s a refreshing drink on a hot summer day!
Last but not least – durian with durian icecream (read post here). *droooll*
The above snacks were consumed within 9 days. Yes, I am disgusted with myself but seriously, I can’t not go to Indonesia and not eat the above snacks. It wouldn’t be right, my trip would not be complete! I am certainly looking forward to going back there in a few months!
Now, don’t even get me started on Indonesian food… will definitely have to post some of the food I’ve eaten in Indonesia! Real authentic Indonesian food.