Lei. Suit hunting with R. Drive up to Falls Creek. Backstage // PUMA. Policemen on horse.
Andrea fixes my hair. NGV exhibition. Night market @ Ampang, KL. Random sightings in Brunswick.
Just sharing a few visuals I’ve gathered over time…
I was thinking about my collection of photos yesterday night and I feel like posting the unedited in this perfect virtual world.
Here are some of my favorite snaps taken at different points of my life.
It’s unedited. Off the cuff. It’s raw.
My goal was to post at least 4 times every month but that’s not happening in March. I shall try harder in April and challenge myself.
I hope you’re enjoying your Friday.
Wherever you are, have a great weekend!
Bringing back memories from December 2016 through my food diary.
Dear all, I hope 2017 has been treating you well! So far, my January looks something like this:
This post is supposed to go up early January but I spent most of my time back home doing things I don’t get to do often. If you’re an international student like me, then you know what I’m talking about. There was plenty of shopping (only the necessities as they’re usually cheaper in Malaysia), movies, catch up sessions, cleaning…
No fear though, December 2016’s food diary is finally here.
To be honest, November 2016 wasn’t the healthiest month for me. I had quite a lot of sweets, burgers, fried chicken and snacks. Since I’ll be eating a lot of local food when I’m back in Malaysia (mostly unhealthy as well), I decided to treat my body with nutritious food two weeks before I board the plane.
My mum used to stir fry spinach with garlic or make spinach soup. When I cook for myself, I tend to only stir fry spinach with garlic or ginger. So far, I’ve never tried cooking spinach in another way and needless to say, I got bored of it really quickly.
So I decided to try something different.
I came across a recipe that uses beef and spinach as the main ingredients. Since I cook in bulk, I like to add more ingredients to my dishes so that they could last me for a few days. In this case, I added carrots and sweet potatoes to the original recipe and I have to say I quite like the final result.
When summer rolls around, food stalls will be set up at the Queen Victoria Market in preparation for the Summer Night Market that runs every Wednesday. In the first week of December, R and I got some friends to join us for an eating spree at the market. We had paella, roasted turkey legs, New York waffles and ice cream. The paella was disappointing (I don’t remember the name of the stall) but the other food we had were decent.
The weekend has arrived and it’s time for another food adventure!
After spending some time on Google, R and I decided to venture out to Collingwood and have lunch at Rockwell and Sons. The service was prompt and the place has a hipster vibe to it. R got the Double Patty Smash Burger (with Kraft, special sauce, seeded bun and bacon) while I got the Black Bean Burger (with Jazz sauce, pepper jack cheese and pickled green tomato). We also shared the Pork Crackling (with BBQ salt and Kimchi mayo) and Hand-cut French Fries (with malt vinegar mayo). That was my first time trying a vegetarian burger and as someone who likes a good meat burger, it was actually really good! R loved his burger (he said “So good” a billion times) and don’t get me started on the Kimchi mayo.
Just a heads up, Rockwell and Sons tend to get really busy at night so it’s probably wise to reserve a table if you’re going to have a family gathering or a night out with your mates. Also, if you’re looking for a new burger place to try, I highly recommend this place. You’ll want to come back again and again!
*One word of advice though, if you’re already having a burger yourself, only get one side to share. Two was definitely too much for us (and we’re not small eaters!).*
I had some leftover beef from last week so I included the rest in this week’s dish. After that sinful feast at Rockwell and Sons, I tossed together some white cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli and beef for a homely meal. For seasoning, I used garlic, red onions and a bit of salt. Once I finished this batch, I made another using drum sticks instead of beef. If you’re wondering what’s on top of the vegetables, it’s the famous Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp. I first heard about this through M’s Chinese friends. They told me if I love spicy I should give it a go. I did and this is my verdict: it’s great because it adds great flavor to any dish but don’t expect it to be spicy.
I heard you could even spread it on bread like jam. I’ve tried it and it’s really quite good! No kidding!
Good fats are great for those with high cholesterol. Hence, I’ve been trying to increase my intake of salmon for the past few months. I used to hate salmon when I was younger because I feel that the meat is too dry. Maybe the salmon in Malaysia isn’t that fresh or maybe it has something to do with the cooking method. However, when I was an undergraduate, I included salmon in my diet because I know they’re good for me, not because I like it. I’ve made different versions of it but I always come back to pan fried salmon with herbs and salt. Also, I’ve learnt that if I want my salmon to be juicy, I shouldn’t leave it on the pan for too long.
And just like that, I’ve fallen in love with salmon again.
Since I’m leaving Melbourne the week after, I decided to have dinner at the Summer Night Market on Wednesday. As soon as I got there, I made a beeline for The Cypriot Kitchen. The reason why I wanted to try their food was because they don’t actually have a physical store like the rest of the vendors. If I missed it, I won’t be able to try their food when the night market is over.
I ordered the chicken souvlaki with chips and I thought it was alright. The bread was freshly made and the combination of cheese and fries was great. The only problem is that the chicken could be juicier. Nonetheless, I have no regrets.
Last week, R and I came across a new Mexican place after our meal at Rockwell and Sons. We had a quick peek inside Hotel Jesus and immediately knew that we’d come back to try. The interior looks nothing like the other Mexican restaurants we’ve been to (but then again, we’ve never been to many). It actually feels like you’ve stepped into a restaurant in Mexico.
Over the weekend, we invited a small group of friends to hang out and we chose to dine at Hotel Jesus. I love eating food from other cultures so I was really excited.
We ordered a variety of things to share: tostadas, tacos, tortas and more. Personally I think everything tasted great and the ingredients used were all really fresh. Even R and J (who is from Mexico City) said the food was authentic. However, I think the portion size is too small to share and the food is a bit overpriced. That said, Hotel Jesus is the perfect venue for light eaters and for those who want some snacks. It’s also great if you and your friends are planning to drink, but want to try something different.
*The Smoked Diablo Mezcal is the bomb! And this is coming from someone who doesn’t fancy alcohol.*
Final week in Melbourne! And that means using up all perishable food to prevent waste. In times like these, it’s quite impossible to whip up something fancy for the camera. So all I had for lunch this week was broccoli, chickpeas, tomatoes and avocado. I topped it off with some Sriracha sauce and nutritional yeast. Simple and yummy!
When you finish all your food and you don’t want to shop for more, what would you do? Grab a friend and have a spontaneous catch up session at a brunch place! I’ve heard good things about Auction Rooms Cafe at the beginning of 2016 and I wanted to go there for the longest time. Even though it’s located close to where I live, there’s always something that prevents me from visiting this place. Usually it’s the price or the people I’m with. Brunch in Melbourne is expensive and I often tell myself I’m better off spending that money somewhere else. Also, I tend to go with other people’s preferences. That is why I never get the chance to drop by until the end of 2016.
But better late than never right?
Auction Rooms Cafe has an industrial look as its foundation is made up of mostly bricks and metal. However, the accents of wood, glass as well as the soft lighting in the background bring out the hygge vibe within this space.
M and I talked about the things graduates have to face in the real world and our future plans. The experience was made better by the grilled eggplant dish I was having. There was so much flavor! I get sweet (pomegranate), savory (eggplant, hummus and bread) and bitter (rocket) one after the other and sometimes all at once. I felt really satisfied after the meal.
M got herself the banana and walnut loaf (espresso mascarpone, banana yoghurt and coffee crumb). I had a little bite and I thought it was nice. However, the serving size maybe too much for one person. Sweet things can fill you up really quickly especially when you don’t have a big appetite in the morning. The best solution is probably to share or to swap dishes with your friend or partner (half way through the meal) so you don’t overeat and you get to try two dishes in one visit.
I packed my bags and took the plane back to Malaysia. I remember feeling happy, excited and relaxed on board because
1. I get a break from my part time job and
2. I get a chance to plan and get myself back on track for 2017.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this food diary and to all Chinese readers and bloggers out there, HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
Food diary 2.0 and some podcast recommendations for you lovely people.
As I’m writing this, Solange’s Mad is playing on my phone.
I used to be able to sing along to every song aired on the radio. But now, I hardly know the lyrics to any popular songs. I guess it’s because I rarely listen to music anymore. I don’t plug in when I do grocery shopping, buy takeaway food, jogging etc. I only turn on the music when I’m getting ready, cooking or cleaning. Lately though, I’m more interested in podcasts than anything else.
*I know you’re expecting to see content relating to food, but bear with me as I digress*
The following are my current favorites on Spotify:
Thank you for being patient and let’s get straight to business!
I planned to have dinner with R on Friday but there was a change of plans so I went to Torasan Ramen (again) without him. I was tempted to get the raw salmon dish but I went for grilled salmon with curry instead.
I think I only had grilled salmon once or twice in my entire life. Pairing it with Japanese curry is a nice combination but be warned, Japanese curry is super mild. If you crave something spicier, this won’t cut it!
On Saturday, I decided to give Flora Indian Restaurant & Cafe a try. I didn’t feel like travelling too far so this place is perfect as it’s located in the CBD.
I ordered a small combination meal which consists of either 1 roti or naan, 1 meat dish, 1 vegetarian dish and Daal. The naan was freshly made and it goes really well with the meat, the pumpkin and the sauces. Although they are generous with the vegetarian dish, I only got two pieces of goat meat. The bones were huge and for $10.50 AUD, I think it’s not worth it. The flavors were good but I don’t think I’ll revisit anytime soon.
If you live in Melbourne, you’re bound to come across Bakers Delight. I got curious so I decided to pop in and sample their products. I got myself an almond custard scroll for $2.5 AUD (if I’m not mistaken) and it was actually pretty good. I would prefer that they skip the cream beneath the almonds though.
I was craving for my mum’s sweet and sour chicken dish, so I decided to try and make it myself. I didn’t ask my mum for the recipe or search the internet. I just improvised and went with what feels right.
I marinated the chicken with some soy sauce, dipped them in corn flour and pan fried them in olive oil. The frying process takes time and be prepared to clean up after. I cut up some cucumbers, tomatoes and capsicum and stir fried them for 2-3 minutes. I then added some water and a tiny bit of brown sugar to the mix and tossed them for another 2-3 minutes. To make the gravy thicker, add in some corn flour.
Once it’s done, get yourself a bowl of rice, add some chicken and top it off with the vegetable mix and voila! I’m really happy with the final result and I had this for lunch for the entire week. What better way to satisfy a craving?
For dinner, I made tofu with shitake and enoki mushrooms (I LOVE mushrooms!!) as well as stir fried kale and tomatoes. I love a good tofu dish! Tofu is not only a good source of protein but it can provide some benefit to people with high cholesterol (like me).
I remember it was a sunny Saturday and I was craving for a burger. So I did what most people with cravings would do. I walked to New York Minute and got the Hell’s Kitchen Chili Beef Burger! I expected it to be spicy but it turned out to be like any other normal burger. I understand that most Australians cannot handle spicy food, but this is below the mild standard. If the burger is named as Hell’s Kitchen Chili Beef Burger, might as well go all in and make it spicy! But overall, it was still pretty good.
This week I made stir fried long beans and chicken for lunch. Since I have some leftover bread, I decided to have avocado toast as well.
I saw this recipe on jenny mustard’s YouTube channel and I knew I had to give it a go. Firstly, I haven’t made congee on my own before; secondly, I was craving for something comforting and finally, I’ve never had congee that’s sour or soup based.
Jenny used shiitake mushrooms, lentils, spring onion, coriander, ginger (and all the other stuff) in her recipe but I substituted shiitake with button mushrooms and I omitted the rest. I have to say, I really like her take on this! The combination of sour and salty (from the Miso) together with all those vegetables and mushrooms…perfect! If you want to give it a try, click here.
On Saturday, I had lunch with some of my high school friends. We haven’t seen each other for more than 3 months and we only meet twice a year: during the midterm break and after the final exams. Even if that’s the case, we have a lot to talk about and we always have a great time together.
I suggested that we lunch at Fat Oma because it was on my TO TRY list. My friends haven’t tried it either, so it was a win-win situation for us. I got Iga Balado (beef ribs with chunky sambal sauce, tofu and tempeh) and went with the spicy option. I thought I could handle it but I was wrong.
The spiciness builds up over time and as I reach the end of my meal, I couldn’t stop my tears from flowing. Having something so spicy numbs the tongue and I couldn’t really taste the meat. Also, the bones were big and I got a big piece of fat. That said, those were the only negatives. Otherwise, I like what I had.
Have you heard of Weet-Bix? It’s considered as ‘Australia’s No. 1 breakfast cereal’. My brother introduced this to me and I’m glad that he did. Unlike the typical cereal, Weet-Bix is high in fiber, iron and Vitamins B1, 2 and 3. The best part? It’s low in sugar and fat! R says it tastes like cardboard but I beg to differ. If you eat it with just milk, obviously it’ll be bland. But when you add raisins, nuts, cinnamon powder and a small amount of natural honey, you’ll bound to have a bowl of healthy and yummy breakfast!
Besides milk, I like to eat them with yogurt. I break the bars into small pieces and then add the yogurt and all the other things I usually include in my oatmeal. If you find this in your country, give it a go! Trust me, it’s definitely the healthier option when it comes to breakfast cereal (Want proof? Compare the sugar levels!).
I first tasted mango sticky rice when I was in Thailand about 15 years ago. I remember sharing it with my family and we all loved it. I was so excited when one of my friends mentioned that she recently had this at the Night Noodle Market. I sent a text to R and we decided to go on Thursday.
Four other friends joined us and we went on a crazy food adventure. R and I started dinner with mango sticky rice. I know, I know…we don’t do entree, main and then dessert. Anything goes!
Despite being Chinese, I have this weird love for baos. R loves them too so we got some from Wonderbao (featured photo). The buns were incredibly soft and fluffy and they come with three different filings: spicy Korean chicken, eggplant and pork belly. The last two are my favorite! Spicy Korean chicken tend to be sweet rather than spicy.
We walked around, saw Messina and went straight for another round of dessert. Everything looks so good that we had a lot of trouble deciding. In the end, R and I went with Turron Not, which consists of deep fried banana and brown sugar gelato, wrapped in filo pastry, with Ube cream, kalamansi puree and coconut crunch. Yeah, it’s like the unicorn in the ice cream world…and it was delicious!
The last dish we had was some good old Japanese stir fried noodles. We both thought it was average. For some reason, we didn’t mix the toppings with the noodles so we started off having a really flavorful meal and was left with a really bland one at the end. Silly us.
This is what I made for the final week of November. More stir fried beans but this time with carrots, chicken drumsticks with miso and Korean chili paste as seasoning. One of the best combinations I came up with!
That’s it! I hope you enjoy seeing and reading all about the food I’ve made and consumed last month. Until then, take care and get excited for Christmas!