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Bali…

September 29, 2011 11 comments

After a rocky start to Bali, as jetstar cancelled our flight, I was finally off to Bali the next evening. It was a fantastic holiday, I didn’t do a lot of sightseeing this time round, ate well and attended one of the best wedding this year!


The wedding was excellent – venue was AMAZING – St Regis did not disappoint! You see those ‘picture perfect’ wedding in magazines and pamphlets and it was just that. It was picturesque, the food was one of the best I have had and very intimate! Congrats again dear cousin!


Now, the food – where should I start? I will do a separate post for each. I ate my way around Bali in search of the perfect babi guling (suckling pig)! It is their specialty, succulent meat and crispy crackle. Each ‘warung’ (very low-key food stall) serves babi guling differently. I ate babi guling FIVE straight days (and I was in Bali for seven!) completely OD’ed and could not eat babi guling anymore. The best I thought was at Ibu Oka which is in Ubud – it totally hit the spot! Warung Pak Ketut Dobiel in Nusa Dua wasn’t too bad either.


To say I ate well is an understatement!


I am already missing my private pool, the breakfast buffet, and the family!


More posts on Bali eateries coming up!


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The big event…. the wedding!

The event that we have all been waiting for – the wedding! Baby bro was finally getting married to his beautiful wife. They found the date – auspicious date one year ago, and booked both the church and the reception straight away. They got married at the same place as ‘The Mother’ and I. St Peter Chanel in Hunters Hill and East Ocean for a traditional Chinese banquet. Thankfully it didn’t rain the whole day, they managed to squeeze in a photo shoot without the down pour, and got some wonderful shots!

It started at 9am, tea ceremony for both families. Since married, I am supposed to give red packets to those that are unmarried. Thankfully, now that F is married, I no longer have to give him any red packets for Chinese New Year! Sorry baby bro – that was the last, until you have kids, then it will be your kids that will be receiving the red packets.

The ceremony was gorgeous, it was the second time that ‘The Mother’ and I went to St Peter Chanel and it brought back many happy memories. I can’t believe that it has been three years since we last got married, it only seemed like yesterday that we were there, ‘The Mother’ waiting at the altar as I was about to enter.

F stood proud with his best man and groomsmen whilst he waited for his beautiful bride to enter the church. She was gorgeous, O was beautiful – I was so happy for him and welcomed my new sis-in-law in the family!

The reception was at East Ocean. I was MC-ing that evening, was a little nervous so poured myself a glass (or maybe two) of wine. The red wine went down smoothly, and before I knew it, I was relaxed, swaying and was ready to take on the dance floor! They had a beautiful Chinese banquet, ‘The Mother’ said to me ‘The food is surprisingly nice’ – as we were too busy mingling and taking photos that we didn’t have any at our own wedding. My cousin replied ‘well your wife isn’t enjoying it for the second time’ – which was true. I managed to eat bits and pieces but most of the stuff was rather lukewarm by the time I got to it. I didn’t realize MC-ing would be such a hard and stressful thing to do. But I have to say, I did have  a lot of fun, and had to return the favour!

The menu consisted of eight courses plus fried rice and noodles and desserts.

First: roasted suckling pig collation. You would think after eating that much suckling pig I would be sick of it? Alas NO! Who are you kidding? I LOVE suckling pig and this suckling pig was phenomenal. Crispy skin, tender and succulent meat, and the jelly fish was just perfect, soft, chewy and delightful.

Second: braised whole dried scallop with black moss. I had this cold as I was running around trying to sort photos and what not. The scallops were tender and succulent, ‘The Mother’ really enjoyed this, but unfortunately for me, it was a tad cold and I just picked at it.

Third: deep fried crab claw. When I saw this, I made sure I went to the table, I had to have this especially when it was hot! The crab claw was seriously awesome, lightly battered and deep fried, and the crab was juicy and succulent. This was awesomely good and one of my favourite dish.

Fourth: braised shark fin soup and shredded chicken and crab meat. The shark fin soup was tasty, bursting with flavours from the shredded chicken and crab meat. It was good, so good that ‘The Mother’ had FOUR BOWLS!!! Apparently there were spares, and since no one wanted them, he was more than happy to demolish each and every single bowl! Greedy?

Fifth: live lobster in superior broth. I am usually not a fan of eating lobster at restaurants, but when I saw a huge plate of it, how could I say no? Thankfully I got one of those ‘good’ pieces, where I didn’t have to use my hands and could just eat it straight away. The lobster was sensational! LOVE!

Sixth: Sliced abalone with sea cucumber. I LOVE sea cucumber and it has been a while since Mum made it. ‘The Mother’ ate the sliced abalone but didn’t want the sea cucumber so no guessing who ate it!

Seventh: Steamed live coral trout with ginger and shallot. This was incredibly tasty! The fish was fresh, and cooked to perfection. It was tender, and the ginger and shallot was a great complement. ‘The Mother’ loved this and if there were any spare, I am sure he would have eaten it.

Eighth: BBQ Crispy Pigeon. I was getting full by this stage and I usually love eating pigeon. Unfortunately, I could not eat anymore, so gave it to my cousin W. He loved it, he said that the pigeon was succulent and the skin deliciously crispy.

The next two courses I really didn’t eat. It was just too much. The special fried rice in lotus leaves and e-fu noodle in oyster sauce. I was incredibly full!

To be honest, I don’t remember seeing the sweet red bean and lotus seed soup! I was busy trying to catch up with family and friends that I really didn’t see the soup being served. Either that or someone must have eaten it!

The assorted Chinese cookies were a hit! There were two types, one being pineapple bread which I love (!!!!), and the other is coconut cookies which I thought was nice but nothing special.

Fruit platter of watermelon, orange and honey dew were fresh and refreshing.

Last but not least the wedding cake.

My cousin, R and her friend V, made our wedding cake. V also made my brothers cake and it’s a delicious chocolate cake, quite dense, not sickly sweet and simply mouth watering! The chocolate center was gooey, sticky and creamy, If only we had vanilla bean ice cream – that would definitely have been perfect!

We danced the night away, ‘da boys’ even sang I Swear together, it was definitely one unforgettable night!

Below is the Chinese character to ‘double happiness’. To my brother and sis-in-law – congratulations! To love, laughter and a happy after, may you both have a long a happy life filled with many children.

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

East Ocean Restaurant

421 Sussex Street

Haymarket, 2000

Ph: +61 2 9212 4198

East Ocean on Urbanspoon

S and T’s Wedding

It’s that time of year again, weddings. This year, however, I haven’t been invited to too many. Last year I had a record of 6 weddings in 8 weeks! That’s almost one wedding every weekend!

I had the pleasure of attending a dear friends wedding, S. I have known her for a while now, I met her through indoor soccer, and our friendship developed from there. She is one of the kindest and most calm person I know!

I remember the first time I heard about T, S claimed they were just ‘friends’ but from the tone of her voice, and the way she described him, I knew that whatever they had would blossom and they will become more than just friends. I met T finally after a couple of months and I knew he was perfect for her. T is kind, friendly, incredibly intelligent and was deeply in love with my dear friend S. They had so much in common; believes, likes, and dislike, I knew they would eventually tie the knot.

So when I received an invite for their wedding, I couldn’t say no. I had to be there to share their special moment. The church wedding ceremony was held at St Mary’s Catholic Church in North Sydney. It wasn’t a big church but it was definitely a gorgeous church!

It was a wonderful ceremony, the bride gorgeous and the groom, handsome eagerly waiting for his beautiful bride-to-be to walk down that aisle. It was truly a magical ceremony.

The reception was at Curzon Hall, Marsfield, an extremely elegant function centre whose feature is a huge stand stone manor set amongst some beautiful gardens. Here is a shot from the balcony where we enjoyed a couple of glasses of red wine before the delicious feasts starts.

Here is a shot of the sparkley chandeliers – if they weren’t so big, I would have taken them home!

Now the feast, to start with, smoked salmon with sour cream and chives, on top of mini pancake accompanied with king prawns and garnished with tomato and onions. The smoked salmon with sour cream and chives was absolutely delicious. I wasn’t a fan of the mini pancake, it was cold and a little tasteless. The prawns were served cold but again, deliciously fresh.

The first platter, seasoned salt ‘n’ pepper calamari on slow roasted cherry tomatoes was deliciously good. I couldn’t help but have a second serving, or was it third?

The second platter, ginger and shallot marinated scallops with shredded leek were delightful! It was steamed and served with ginger, shallot and some soy sauce.

Alternate main dish, I had the slow baked ½ grain fed baby chicken marinated in fresh herbs, served with potatoes, leeks and onion cakes, garnished with mushrooms and onions. The chicken was incredibly tender, the sauce however, was a little rich for my liking, but the potatoes, leeks and onion cakes were a great complement.

‘The Mother’ had the char grilled msa rib eye scotch fillet served with potatoes and beans. The gravy was full of flavour, the steak was a little on the cooked side. I think it’s hard to get steak right for everyone, especially if you have over 50 people at the reception.

For dessert, a trio of dessert – fresh, crunchy, cannolli filled with sweet hazelnut and vanilla bean gelato, it was fantastic. The meringue was a little too sweet for my liking, but the passionfruit brule – awesome! There is always a second stomach for dessert isn’t there?

Let’s not forget the wedding cake, it’s supposed to resemble Cradle Mountain, where T proposed to S.

The dancing started after the dessert, ‘The Mother’ and I grooved to a few songs before my feet got sore and I had to stop. The joyous of wearing super high heels!

It was a wonderful wedding. To my dear friend, S, many thanks for inviting us to celebrate your wonderful day. We had a fantastic time.

Congratulations S and T – many thanks for your support and friendship! We both wish you the very best of luck on this new existing journey, and many many happiness!

Curzon Hall

53 Agincourt Road

Marsfield 2122

Ph: +61 2 9887 1877

A and D’s gorgeous wedding

I love weddings.

A dear friend from work, A, was getting married. I remember the day she got engaged, she was in the US and D proposed on the top of the Empire State Building.  I thought it was SO romantic, reminded me a little of Sleepless in Seattle.

A and D had their ceremony at Our Lady Star of the Sea, Watson’s Bay. The reception was at WatersEdge, Hickson Road, The Rocks.

The ceremony was beautiful. Our Lady Star of the Sea at Watson’s Bay is a gorgeous church. The bride, dressed in Alex Perry, was… STUNNING! She looked fantastic, and as she walked into the church with her father by her side, I couldn’t help but shed a tear! It’s funny how I never cried at my own wedding, but have shed a tear or two at everyone else’s wedding. D, her husband to be at the time, stood at the front of the church, waiting for her beautiful bride to be to enter. It was just beautiful and touching.

Here’s a sneak peak of her wedding dress. I had to ask her if I could ‘borrow’ the photo as it is not mine, and she was more than ok with it. She was absolutely gorgeous. The elegant bridesmaid were dressed in long blue silk dresses. They all looked beautiful, but the bride was just stunning!

They had a butterfly ceremony which is the release of butterflies as husband and wife. You see people release doves or balloons, but butterflies were something different and unique. It really did give it that ‘memorable touch’. Apparently, the release of butterflies carries forth the good news of their love and commitment to each other.

Now, reception: I have been to the WatersEdge for weddings a couple of times now. Situated on Pier one, underneath the Harbour Bridge offering panoramic views of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and Walsh Bay. I have to admit, it is one awesome view, especially at night. The set out for A and D’s wedding was just perfect, in the centre of the dance floor was the wedding cake, three towers of chocolate cake covered with white icing and blue ribbons and detailing, the live band at one end of the room, and the bridal party table at the other end.

The food was fantastic, alternate servings of entrées, mains and desserts. For entrées it was either pappardelle a la burina with veal, tomato, onion, white wine, herb and parmesan or spicy tomato risotto topped with prawn’s sautéed in garlic and olive oil.

‘The Mother’ had the spicy tomato risotto topped with prawn’s sautéed in garlic and olive oil. The prawns were fresh, and delicious, the risotto, delicious with a hint of spice, and the parmesan cheese was a great compliment.

I had the pappardelle a la burina with veal, tomato, onion, white wine, herb and parmesan. It was creamy but not sickening, it was surprisingly light. Unfortunately I picked out all the veal as I am not a fan, but the mushrooms and tomatoes were great.

For mains, ‘The Mother’ had the roasted saddle of lamb marinated in olive and caper jus with oregano vegetable caponata, potato mash and green beans. Unfortunately I didn’t have any of the lamb (again, I am not a huge fan of lamb) but ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it.

I had the roasted rib of beef with béarnaise sauce, glazed potato fondant, tomato and sauted asparagus. This was absolutely delicious! The beef was tender, unfortunately, it wasn’t all tender and succulent. Some parts were a little dry, but the glazed potato fondant made up for it. My only gripe was that there wasn’t enough béarnaise sauce!

For desserts, I had the white chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate tear drop with raspberry puree and grand marnier syrup and oh my, this was unbelievable. The white chocolate mousse was creamy and smooth, the raspberry puree a great compliment. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish this as it was rich but it was good!

‘The Mother’ had the meringue with lemon sponge and chocolate cake. I am not a huge fan of meringue so didn’t really enjoy it but the lemon sponge cake was creamy, bouncy and the top was a little jelly like. It was good and ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it.

It was a wonderful wedding. We danced to a couple of songs, and caught up with a few colleagues. They had a photo booth, which was a novelty, took funny pics with ‘The Mother’. It was just lovely.

To A and D – congratulations, hope you both have a long and happy life together. Enjoy your honeymoon and A, I will see you when you get back!

WatersEdge

Pier One, 11 Hickson Road

Walsh Bay, Sydney, NSW 2000

Ph: 1300 117 118

Chennai – wedding / food / shopping!

Not my wedding but a dear friend from uni, R, was getting married, in Chennai, India and how can I say no to an Indian wedding? I have always wanted to go to an Indian wedding, lots of colours, lots of food, lots of people and saris!! As I told R, you had me at ‘wear a sari’!

I have wanted to go to India for quite some time now. Mainly with Hubby and to watch the cricket, however, the IPL wasn’t on at the time and we recently just got back from another trip, hence Hubby couldn’t get any time off… SO… off I went to India to meet up with some friends for R’s wedding. Cathay Pacific flies to Chennai four days a week – Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday (or something like that!) flight depart Hong Kong at 10.30pm and arrive in Chennai at 2.30 – 3 AM! I was seriously not looking forward to immigration and unfortunately for me, it wasn’t a short queue!! I was smart enough to organize a car pick up from the hotel though, as the last thing I wanted to do at 3 am was barter and figure out how to get to the hotel! Checked in and crashed! Before I knew it, it was 9am and time for brekkie!

Met T for breakfast and afterwards decided to go to R’s house. He told us to take a tuk tuk and did not specify how much we should pay! Needless to say, we got SERIOUSLY ripped off and when we got there, the tuk tuk wanted to stay just in case we wanted to go somewhere else so he could rip us more! Apparently, we have paid 4 – 5 times more than what was required – oh, the joyous of traveling!

It was an interesting ride in the tuk tuk to say the least – Indian drivers and their love for chaos seems a little traumatic at first, but I never felt unsafe even though we would sometimes swerve into oncoming lane to pass (and most vehicles have no seatbelts!!!). Accidents are rare, even on streets swamped with auto-rickshaws and motor and normal cycles! Let me also point out that the vehicles (trucks / cars) had no side mirrors! It’s like as though it has been swerved off and not replaced or just taken off!

We didn’t really do much sightseeing in Chennai (I wasn’t there for very long, 4 days max?) – we went to one of the beaches on Sunday, shopped for a sari (which had to be the highlight!) and outfit for the wedding for at least 2 whole days, ate well and of course, R and N’s wedding!!

Shopping for a sari was an event on its own! I never realized that a ‘sari’ was just a strip of unstitched clothed! I thought the whole outfit was called a sari – little did I know… the sari is usually worn over a petticoat, with a blouse that matches the colour of your cloth! Of course I had to pick one of the hardest colours to match a blouse for! I wanted something bright and ended up with something pink, orange with bright blue speckles / flowers! It took a good afternoon to find the matching blouse and believe me, I was so relieved when this was done! Of course the outfit was not complete, we still had to get bangles, and other accessories to match! Like I said, it was an event on its own!

I decided to get a henna – I might as well go all out right? When else am I going to wear a sari and get a henna? So got something relatively small on my hand and was glad that I did! It was absolutely gorgeous – the worse bit would have to be the smell and waiting for it to dry for at least 45 – 60 mins! Unfortunately for the bride, she was not allowed to get something ‘small’ – she was covered from her hands to her forearm and up to her ankles on both feet! It did look amazing though!

The engagement party took place the day before the wedding and what a wonderful experience that was! We went to a temple first to pray, then afterwards, the bride and groom hopped in the car whilst the rest of us walked besides / in front / behind the car with marching band. After a couple of laps of the neighbourhood, we got to the grooms place, where first, there were fireworks, followed by dancing on the streets, and then dinner on the roof top! It was a great evening and one I will never forget!

The day finally came when we all had to wear our saris and the wedding day. All the girls / ladies were in bright saris, the boys were either wearing a kurta (which is a loose shirt falling either just above or below the knees, traditionally worn with loose-fitting paijama) or lungi (also known as a sarong). It was great seeing all of us dressed up for this special event. It was a great wedding, different to the weddings I have been too. Unlike your traditional western wedding, there is no sit down dinner, no dancing (well not for South Indian weddings) and no speeches or anything like that. A ceremony was conducted in the morning, then in the afternoon, the bride and groom would go on stage and guests would come to congratulate them and take photos with them. Afterwards, we would eat at the dining hall and listen to some Tamil music.

This blog wouldn’t be a food blog if I didn’t say mention anything about the food right? I am not usually big on Indian food, however, the curries, rotis and desserts in India was just amazing! It made me realize that there are more to Indian food than just chicken tikkas, butter chicken, beef vindaloo, vegetable samosas and fish curry. R is vegetarian, so we had a lot of vegetarian food, like cauliflower tikka (which to me tasted like pork!), zaffrani paneer tikka (which is tikka cottage cheese) and dosais. My favourite would have to be these fried, round fluffy bread, similar to naan but so much lighter and fluffier… dipped into curries, I can at least eat 3 of these my own, which I am sure I DID! I have to admit though – one week of eating curries for lunch and dinner has seriously last me for the rest of the year. No more curries for a while!

Had a fabulous time catching up with friends whom I haven’t met for a while, and meeting new friends, and of course, seeing the bride and groom finally married!

To N and R – congratulations! All the best and wish you both all the happiness in the world!!