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Goodbye 2011, what a year it has been!

What a year it has been! 2010 was a fantastic year, lots of travel and lots of food! Although ‘The Mother’ and I didn’t travel as much in 2011, it was indeed ONE HELL of a year and am certainly looking forward to 2012. Where did this year go huh?

Trying to pick my top 10 dishes for 2011 was hard! So much good food and where do I start? In no particular order:

1. Suckling pig and Chocolate ice cream at Cutler and Co

Melbourne trip with the family – each course was better than the next. The highlight would have to be roast suckling pig, boudin noir, plum and kohlrabi – it was so frigging awesome that I had a mini foodgarsm!

The Chocolate ice cream sandwich, vanilla parfait and salted caramel – EPIC!

2. My ultimate meal – WHOLE SUCKLING PIG at Four in hand

oh my – went with 18 pork lovers and it was undoubtedly the BEST suckling pig I have eaten! The crispy skin, the succulent pork meat! It was just divine! Not to mention Colin’s colcannon – the best in Sydney! The food in overall in Four in Hand is excellent!

3. Best tiramisu at Italians and Sons

When I worked in Canberra for a bit, I managed to try a couple of restaurants, one being Italians and Sons and the tiramisu here is to die for! Photos are a little horrid, it was dark but you have to trust me that it was incredible!

4. TOYS collective event

I have been to a few in 2011 and the best would have to be number 7: old dogs, new tricks. Pig’s trotter stuffed with veal sweetbreads, chicken mousse, shiitake and ginger, garlic chive, pickled onions, beer mustard was divine and Tastes like Chicken, New Zealand milk-fed lamb, smoked eggplant, flatbread cooked in its own ash was TO DIE FOR!

And  chocolate, orange, and some form of German Cake. Three words – OH MY GOD! EPIC!

5. Suckling pig at Manor, Hong Kong

On my recent visit to Hong Kong I finally went to Manor and really enjoyed the suckling pig at Manor, amongst other things. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try a lot of other restaurants due to work commitments but there will always be a next time!

6.  Crispy scaled snapper at Gastro Park

I have been fortunate enough to come here twice. I haven’t written about the second time yet, but during my first visit, I had the crispy scaled snapper, smoked potato puree, calamari crackling, ink sauce – OMG! The crispy snapper, and that calamari crackling! YUM!

The second visit, we ordered the liquid butternut gnocchi and oh my – the flavours that burst in my mouth was incredible! Wanted to eat the whole thing on my own.

7. Meal at Nosawa onzen

It was a simple meal but just the whole experience is unforgetable. Not to mention the horse sashimi – different but I really did enjoy it!

8. The legendary petite fours at Restaurant Arras

The whole meal was excellent but it was the legendary petite fours that took my breath away. Wanted one of each!

9. The spicy chicken at Ayam betutu khas gilimanuk

Very ghetto, very Balinese, the spicy chicken was just incredible. The whole trip was amazing, 7 days and I tried to eat everything in the whole week!

10. Pork jowl and the famous Snow Ball at Quay restaurant

The view from Quay is outstanding, it makes the whole dining experience wonderful. The pork jowl I had was just awesome, and the most talked about nectarine snow ball – even better!

There’s a lot of pork dishes that made the list! Apologies, you all know my love for pork, so it had to be in my list. There are also some old favourites, Porteno, Bodega, Ms G’s that we keep going back too. Not to mention Four in Hand Bar – the fish and chips – one of the best in Sydney I have to say!

It’s been a big year, and 2012 will be an even bigger year – there will be a new addition to the GA family, and not to mention travels and new adventures in the coming year! It will be a HUGE YEAR and am certainly looking forward to it.

Thank you all for your support, in the mean time, I do hope you all have a FANTASTIC NEW YEARS EVE and here is to 2012 – to family, good friends, health and more food! 🙂

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Categories: Thoughts Tags: , ,

Blog’s 1st Anniversary.

Time flies when you are having fun. It’s been a year since I started this blog. I toyed with the idea for such a long time but thanks to two lovely friends for encouraging me to start. I have met some wonderful friends in Hong Kong, and how can I forget my dearest SK – you know who you are and others who doesn’t have a foodblog but enjoy eating as much as I do.

I would also like to say a special THANK YOU to my dear soccer friend, P, who came up with the name of this blog. It was too catchy and unique for me not to take it! THANK YOU!

I have eaten at some unforgettable places and some not so memorable places. Have met some wonderful long life friends through food blogging. Have discovered the meaning of food, its culture, the efforts behind it. Have gained a few kgs, a little rounder, a little fatter and increasing cholesterol level which I may have to do something about soon.

Thanks for all your support yo. I know how painful it can be when dining with me – no one is allowed to touch their plates until I have taken a zillion photos! I have always wanted to share my experiences of food with others. I know we all have different palates, and what I love may not be for everyone. However, I still do enjoy sharing them with you.

Many thanks for the laughter, the tears of joy, the good times, and here’s to many more delicious goodness we are about to consume!

Thought to ‘celebrate’ I would make some scones, as I have been craving them and nothing beats fresh-from-the-oven scones!

Basic Scones (from women’s weekly ‘bake’ book)

Preparation time: 20 mins, cooking time 25 times, makes 20.

4 cups (600g) self raising flour

2 tablespoons icing sugar

60 g butter, chopped coarsey

1.5 cups (375ml) milk

¾ cup (180ml) water, approximately

  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees fan-forced. Grease 20cm x 30 cm lamington pan
  • Sift flour and sugar into large bowl, rub in butter with fingerprints
  • Make a wel in centre of flour mixture, add milk and almost all the water. Use knife to ‘cut’ the milk and water through the flour mixture, mixing to a soft, sticky dough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth
  • Press dough out to 2cm thickness. I used a star shapped cutter to make these. Cut as many as you can from piece of dough. Place scones, side by side, just touching in pan.
  • Gently knead scraps of dough together, repeat pressing and cutting of dough, place in same pan.
  • Brush tops with a little extra milk
  • Bake scones about 15 minutes or until browned and scones sound hollow when tapped firmly on the top with fingers.
  • Served with jam and cream

 

Wonderful and memorable meals of 2010

It was so hard to pick the top 10 meals in 2010. I was going to do a separate one for Hong Kong, Sydney and travels but I would bore all of you with all my top tens! So I have decided to combine it all, and instead of just doing a top 10 of 2010, thought I would just list the wonderful and memorable meals I’ve had in 2010. In no particular order, my wonderful meals of 2010 are as follows:

1. Porteno, Surry Hills, Sydney: wood fire suckling pig and pavlova

This place really requires no introduction. It’s the most popular restaurant in Sydney for the past couple of months and believe it or not, I have been here more than half a dozen times since it opened. Very meaty, not for Vegetarians. Also must try: beef inside skirt, wood fire lamb (if you like lamb) and pavlova.

2. Lotus, Potts Point, Sydney: the CHEESE BURGER

You have all heard me rave about the cheese burger and if you still haven’t been, you are truly missing out! It is the tastiest, the messiest, the BEST burger in town! Also must try: yellow fin tuna with sweet wasabi, soy and ginger dressing.

3. Café Ish, Surry Hills, Sydney: soft shell crab omelette

I can’t remember the number of times I have gone to visit Josh. I have to admit though, I haven’t had dinner here for a while now, the last time was when he had all you can eat ribs (that’s right, all you can eat ribs) on Wednesday night for $35pp. I think the ribs are still on the dinner menu but the all you can eat is only available in winter. The breakfast or lunch or brunch, is just fantastic. No one does soft shell crab omelette as good as Josh! Also must try: wattle macca-cino.

4. Universal, Darlinghurst, Sydney: Gay time goes nuts

I didn’t order this dessert when I went to Universal but I definitely came back for it when I caught up with a friend for coffee after dinner. This dessert is simply outstanding – all the chocolate-y, the salty goodness all in one!

5. Bodega, Surry Hills, Sydney: White sausages with poached eggs and steamed pork belly

One of my favourite restaurants in Sydney – the food here is totally and utterly amazing! I have not had a single bad meal here. Also must try: the fish fingers and banana split.

6. Ms G’s, Potts Point, Sydney: Deep fried chicken with Kimchi mayonnaise and mulloway fillet steamed with white soy and ginger, salad of fennel, radish and herbs

The newest restaurant by the Merivale family – opened right before Christmas and the New Year. Asian tapas style restaurant, it’s not the deep fried chicken that will make you come back for more. The simplicity, the flavours, and the ambience is what makes this place the hippest restaurant / bar in town. Also must try: The cute mini banh mi, Vietnamese steak tartare, prawn crackers, “Stoner’s Delight” banana ice cream, chocolate, rice bubbles, pretzel, peanut brittle and marshmallow.

7. Tim’s Kitchen, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong: Crab claw and goose

Came here twice, once for my birthday and another whilst MG was visiting. The crab claw is just magnificent – meaty, tender, and served on a block of moist winter melon. I still dream about that crab claw. The goose I absolutely love, I remember MG and I fighting for every last piece!

8. Zuma, Central, Hong Kong: epic brunch!

All you can eat sashimi, tuna, scallops, fried chicken and unlimited alcohol – what more can you ask for? Went twice, unfortunately the second time was not as good as the first! The first time was definitely epic!

9. Riverview Hotel, Balmain, Sydney: pork belly and bread and butter pudding

This was a great find thanks to A. Had a wonderful meal, loved the zucchini flowers with scallops, prawns, served with rocket and crab aioli. The pork belly was tender and succulent, and the crackling, divine! Don’t get me started on the bread and butter pudding! It’s stupendous!

10. Bo-Lo’Gne, Central, Hong Kong: pork cutlet sandwich and creamiest egg sandwich

I usually get the pork cutlet sandwich here, and it is one of the meanest and bestest sandwich ever. Tender, succulent pork, on one of the most buttery bread I have ever had – the bread just melted in your mouth good! I finally tried the egg sandwich and my lord – it rocked my world! Oh how I missed thee.

11. Sha Tin 18, Sha Tin, Hong Kong: peking duck

Peking duck served three ways – that’s right you heard me right! First: just the skin, cut thinly and dipped in sugar – my goodness, it was like duck-fat candy! Second: just the meat carved from the breast supposedly eaten with raw garlic. And lastly the combination of both – skin and meat, incredibly juicy and incredibly succulent! One of the best Peking duck I have eaten.

12. Galle Fort Hotel, Sri Lanka: curries

I am not usually a huge fan of curries, but had the most wonderful and different types of curries whilst I was in Sri Lanka and of course India. I also discovered my new appreciation of panna cotta at the Galle Fort Hotel, where they made the creamiest and most delicious coffee panna cotta!

13. Xi’an, China: dumplings and more dumplings

I love eating on the streets of Xian. This store in particular, they had different kinds of bao’s ranging from sweet, savoury, and spicy. The four days that we were there, he made my breakfast every morning, as well as snacks! One evening, we had dinner whilst watching the Tang Dynasty performance – we had all you can eat Jiaozi (dumplings) and I don’t think I have ever eaten that many dumplings until that trip. I believe we all had 30 or so dumplings each – to say I was full was an understatement!

14. Indonesia: avocado shakes, martabak manis, putu, and sate

No one does avocado shakes, martabak manis, putu and sate like Indonesia – no matter where you go. My four must eats when I am there. Oh how I miss thee!

15. Joel Rubochon, Central, Hong Kong: spit roasted baby pork

Loved the spit roasted baby pork – skin was crispy thin, and meat deliciously scrumptious. Scallops carpaccio was fantastic! The dessert was just to die for! It was a wonderful meal with a wonderful friend, MG!

There was one calorific meal that I can’t not mention – Half baked, Stoner degustation. WOW! I think it took me a good two weeks to burn off all the calories consumed that evening. The most lethal would have to be luther burger by Dan Hong – my goodness… mouth watering! The cheese, bacon, sauerkraut spring rolls with butterscotch mayo – who would have thought that the combination would work? The fried chicken wings were awesome and lastly, instant noodles with bong water – CLEVER! Very much to looking forward to the next event.

I’ve had some wonderful meals in 2010, not to mention I am fatter and have stretched my stomach. I have grown to appreciate food, learn more about food and most importantly enjoy food! My love for food has grown so much, just like the increase of my cholesterol level! I have met some wonderful friends through eating, and look forward to 2011 to eating more delicious goodness with you all!

What’s your best meal of 2010?

Categories: Sydney, Thoughts Tags: , ,

2010 – Where did it go?

Can’t believe that today is the last day of 2010 – where did it go? It seems like yesterday that I was still wishing everyone Happy New Year!

This year has been a blast – I would have to say that it was probably the best year of my life! I spent a fabulous year in Hong Kong – and I still miss it dearly and looking forward to going back soon! I have met some wonderful friends (again in Hong Kong), you know who you are, who will be long life friends forever and have travelled quite a fair bit! Ah… Hong Kong – how I have missed you!

However, it is also good to be back in Sydney seeing family and friends. Back in our own apartment and eating my way around Sydney.

So many wonderful things have happened in 2010 and to pick the highlights are extremely hard. However, below are by far the most memorable for me. So to sum it up, my highlights of 2010 (not so much food related as that will come shortly also!):

  • Living in Hong Kong – do I need to say anymore? Awesome awesome AWESOME! Will never forget you my friends and Hong Kong! We will be back!

  • My first Indian wedding – thanks to both R & C for inviting me and my first trip to India ever!

‘The Mother’ and I then went back to Mumbai which we both loved.

  • Sri Lanka – beautiful country, we stayed in Galle which was just absolutely magnificent! Would definitely go back again.

  • Juizhaigou National Park – one of the most beautiful places I have seen and been in China.

  • Last but not least, most importantly – my baby bro getting married!

I am looking forward to 2011. It will definitely be better than 2010. There will be a few changes in life which I will be pursuing, new eating places and of course more travelling!

The weather has been so perfect in Sydney, not a clould in the sky, and here is where I spent my last day of 2010.

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year and all the best in 2011!

I am in denial…..

There is really no easy way to say this, I am STILL IN DENIAL about our move back to Sydney! It was this time last year, when Hubby told me that we were moving to Hong Kong, and again in August one year later, he told me that we are moving back to Sydney. Hubby got promoted and as much as I am happy to see him move up the corporate ladder, I am a little gutted about leaving this place. There are many reasons why I love this place, some of you may think otherwise, but I love this place for the following reasons: fantastic food, great shopping, fantastic transport system, and relatively close for traveling overseas. Not only that but I have made some amazing friends, caught up with old friends and got to spend with some of my relatives whom I never see if I was in Sydney.

The past ten months has been AMAZING, I have traveled eight times, not including the two work trips back to Sydney, so making a total of ten overseas trips in the past ten months! I have been very fortunate to travel that many times and am going to miss that!

I have also met some wonderful friends, whom I will miss dearly but will catch up very soon again. I loved catching up with old friends whom I haven’t seen since they left Sydney – I am certainly going to miss you guys and also, my relatives, it has been great catching up with every single one of you.

As much as I am gutted to leave Hong Kong, I am also looking forward to coming back to Sydney. I have missed some of my girlfriends and my male friends; you know who you are, and our Sunday brunches. I have missed running, riding, and roller blading outdoors and playing football with the football gang. I have missed baking, so there will be a lot more of that, and most importantly, I have missed my wonderful parents and my adorable brother and sister-in-law.

Our kitchen and oven… how i missed thee…..

and the space.. space.. SPACE.. (please note, the furniture is not ours, previous owners, although I wouldn’t mind their couch!)

To my friends and family in Hong Kong, I will be back, you can’t get rid of me that easily! We will see you all in January as we are back in Hong Kong for a wedding.

To my friends and family in Sydney, I have missed you tremendously, we are coming back and can’t wait to catch up with every single one of you.

WE WILL be back in Hong Kong for a longer period of time, so this is not goodbye.

So instead of eating my way around Hong Kong, I will be eating my way around Sydney. There will be a lot more baking now that I have an oven. I certainly cannot wait!

xx

Categories: Sydney, Thoughts Tags: ,

Glorious food for afternoon / high tea with fantastic friends!

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!

Itching to Ski / Snowboard

I have been thinking about skiing / snowboarding for a while now. As the weather gets warmer here in Hong Kong, the opposite is happening in Sydney and New Zealand. Around this time each year, I would be thinking about skiing, however, last year for some unknown reason, we did not go to the snows! Could be the fact that we went to the states in May and then I went back to Indonesia for 2 weeks for engagement and a wedding. It was the first year in 14 years in a row that I had not gone skiing! I remember one year, I was so obsessed with the snow that I went 6 times, which included one trip to Japan and 5 weekend trips to Perisher and Thredbo!

I first learnt how to ski when I was 17 / 18. It was my first trip to Perisher with friends and we were staying for the week! For most of us there, it was the first time we were skiing, and we all decided to get lessons! It was probably one of the best decisions we made that week. I didn’t fall in love with it at first, it was one of the hardest and most challenging things I have ever done! But seeing how graceful some skiers were I was determined to learn and pick up the sport. I remember the first day on the slope which was tough and challenging and I still remember the pain the day after. From memory, we were all in pain and decided NOT to ski that day, and thought we would go to the pub, shoot some pool and drink beer at 10am and continued until 10 pm – NOT the best decision we made that week! The next day, we all had the worse hung over but decided that we should continue pursuing our career in skiing and made it to the slopes by 8.30 am. Needlessly to say, some of us did have to stop and chunder – it was not a pretty sight.

I didn’t pick up skiing as easily as I have hoped. That year, I came back again for a weekend and felt a little more confident, and each year, I improved (you would hope!), and made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable! I was able to parallel turn, instead of just skiing straight down (which if you didn’t know picks up a lot of speed) and by the end of my 5th year of skiing, was comfortable with doing black runs and super steep slopes! I’m not one of those skiers who can do stunts, jumps, turns or twists, it’s not why I learnt! I learnt because I love the speed, the speed of skiing down the mountain, the wind blowing in your face, and being at the top of the mountain and seeing how steep the hill is!

Each year, I try to go at least 3 times (yes I know obsessive!) but that’s how much I loved it. I organized a trip with my friends to Japan and I have to say, it was the best trip I have ever been. Unfortunately, I don’t have the photos here, in fact I don’t have a lot of skiing photos – don’t know where it all went! We had a great time skiing, night skiing, goofing around and drinking a lot! Going with friends who are fantastic at skiing will push your limits and improve your ability to ski.

Below is a photo of me at Perisher, can’t remember which year it was but I have to admit – that was one daggy ski gear! I put up with it for about 5 years before I bought new gear, and spending an obscene amount on a jacket and pants – which I have worn and kept ever since!

After about 10 years of skiing, I wanted a new challenge – as much as I LOVED skiing, and still do, I turned into the dark side and decided to try snowboarding! Yes, yes, am too old for boarding right? Well that’s what I thought; I didn’t think I was going to pick it up. I had the BEST teacher though, our friend, A, he was a boarder, taught me how to board in a weekend! It was SO MUCH easier to pick up, the boots, OMG, it was so much more comfy, and the board was SO much easier to carry than skies! I turned from a ski bunny, to a boarder!! I know skiers hate boarders and vice versa, boarders like to cut skier and etc etc, but my gawd… I fell in love with boarding..  I wasn’t very good at it though, but I most certainly enjoyed it.

The worst thing about boarding is the falling! You either fall on your bum, your knee or in some cases, me, face plant down the slope! It’s not pleasant but so worth it! My fear to date are T-bars, they are my worst nightmare! I don’t think I have ever accomplished going up a mountain on a T-bar – usually fall mid way or close to the top! I really do need to get over my fear!

I’m itching to go this year, this would be the 2nd year in a row that I have missed out on the snow! Below is a photo of me night snowboarding one year at perisher.

I have to admit though, the last time I went to the snow, I switched back to skiing, and after 3 years of boarding that was tough! I am definitely a better skier but boarding is way cooler!

I have had some of the most amazing trips with friends skiing / snowboarding. The shenanigans, the laughters, the face planting, the falls, it has been incredible! I am itching to go again this year! I haven’t skied in a lot of places, mainly just Australia and Japan, however, this year I am secretly hoping to squeeze in New Zealand, when I am back next in Sydney. If not, Japan again next year! I’m definitely looking forward to the hot chocolates, the warm donuts, the fire place, the sauna and most of all… carving it on the slopes! Who’s in with me?

Categories: Snow, Thoughts Tags: ,