Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Melbourne International Comedy Festival on Tightarse Tuesday

We went to see Stephen K Amos last year when the comedy festival was in town and he was funny maybe 50% of the time? This year we decided on Arj Barker to see if he lived up to his reputation... and he was hilarious! Delivery was superb and his storytelling flowed seamlessly from one story to the next. I liked how he customised his jokes to each specific location- there were a few references to Australia and Melbourne in particular.

Melbourne Town Hall becomes a hive of activity every year when the Comedy Fest is running.

Waiting for Arj Barker (Let me do the talking)  to start- balcony seats were good

The man of the hour finally appears. He looks smaller in the picture but in real life we were seated quite close to the stage.

I highly recommend you go see his show before it ends!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Squid Ink Pasta

My yearning for a taste of squid ink pasta led me on an elusive chase for the pasta itself. Finally managed to track some down at Jones the Grocer @ Chaddy and boy, was I elated! The hunt was finally over. Whipped up some calamari with really, really hot red baby chillies, parsley and baby roma tomatoes- all dressed in extra virgin olive oil and dry white wine to go with the pasta. Seasoned with a touch of sea salt and pepper (both black and white), it was healthy and yummy. Mmmmmm...the chillies were killer though, sister and I were both gasping for air and water after a plate of this. The pasta tasted ordinary and was a teeny weeny bit sweeter than the normal variety- what is squid ink pasta meant to taste like?
Cooking time was minimal but it was a pain to prepare all the ingredients. Imagine having to peel and chop up garlic into tiny pieces, peel and slice onions, chop up a handful of chillies, quarter the mini tomatoes...and finely chop up the parsley (which I had to do 3 times cos I used so much!). And then let's not forget cutting up the calamari...

This morning I felt like bruschetta so I made some! Mixed in a lil pesto to give it some flavour.

Can't believe it's Monday again tomorrow but thank goodness it's a short week. Arj Barker on Tuesday should be fun :) Have a good one people!

Cumulus Inc - Melbourne CBD

Slept early on Friday night in anticipation of having breakfast the next day at Pushka in the CBD but was gutted when we arrived and it was closed- yet again! We headed there last Sunday in hopes of savouring some of their much raved about breakfasts but its doors were shut, so we thought we'd head back there Saturday week to try our luck. Guess it'll just have to be a weekday then :( Second choice was the one hatted Cumulus Inc on Flinders Lane *click*

I had the Turkish baked eggs, spiced tomato, dukkah and labne (when not sure what to eat, you can't go wrong with this dish). They could give Madam Sou Sou a run for their money- but I still prefer Madam Sou Sou for their service (much better than the service we had at Cumulus).

This was the full English- farmhouse slab bacon, blood sausage on toast, fried eggs and smoked tomato. I was a little apprehensive about trying the blood sausage (for the uninitiated, it is also known as black pudding and is made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. When cooked properly, you can't taste the metallic taste of blood). Let's say I had a few bites on my culinary adventure...and am not sure when's the next time I'll be heading back on that adventure! Hahaha

The others had Smoked salmon, 65/65 egg, sorrel, apple and dill. I didn't try this but thought it looked delicious.

This was sardines with parsley, tomato and lemon on grilled sourdough and tasted full of flavour to me albeit a little fishy. Is this always the case with sardines?

Sneaked in a little chocolate detour after work on Friday at Koko Black teehee. This was divine.

Off to experiment with squid ink pasta for dinner tonight- yum! (I hope :D )

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Update time!

Yeah I ran out of title ideas cos obviously I haven't done anything exciting for a while (but that is about to change in the next few weeks- yippee! More on that later...). In other totally unrelated news, more than 14 people at work have resigned over a period of...one week. Yes it's a mass exodus and we're literally bleeding people. In other, other news, I have yet again purchased 2 more bottles of nail polish- bringing me to my grand total of 12 bottles in less than a month :D
allure turned out to be a pretty colour <3

Cooking last week produced drunken chicken a.k.a chicken in wine with black fungus, goji berries and heaps of other stuff. Now I know to use ginger wine or glutinous rice wine instead of normal Chinese cooking wine. 

Sis got a lil busy in the kitchen as well and made an onion/cheddar/egg tart (Picture #1) and focaccia from scratch (Picture #2)

Ok so now on to the exciting stuff...in the next few weeks I'll be heading to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
to check out Arj Barker! One of the top comedians of our time, and one of the more popular ones too.

Then it's off to Dunkeld which is a 3-hour drive from Melbourne (260km west of Melbourne) to visit the Royal Mail Hotel and taste the culinary delight that is the Royal Mail Restaurant. It was booked out the last time we tried booking and this time we made sure we booked 3 months in advance for a chance to eat at this famed restaurant. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the average waiting time is 2 months if you want to make a reservation.
Look at how beautiful this dish is. Pic credited to Tummyrumbles. The Royal Mail Restaurant has been touted as Australia's answer to El Bulli. 

Here's a little snippet about El Bulli from trusty Wikipedia: "El Bulli (as of 2008, the restaurant refers to itself with the orthography elBulli[1]) is a Michelin 3-star Spanish restaurant run by chef Ferran Adrià.

The small restaurant overlooks the Cala Montjoi bay, in Roses on the Costa Brava in CataloniaSpain, and has been described as "the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet"[2] and does a great deal of work on molecular gastronomy.
Restaurant has judged El Bulli as Number One on Restaurant (magazine) Top 50 list of the world's best restaurants a record five times — in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.[3][4]
The restaurant has a limited season: the 2010 season, for example, will run from June 15 to December 20.[5] Bookings for the next year are taken on a single day after the closing of the current season. It accommodates only 8,000 diners a season, but gets more than two million requests. The average cost of a meal is 250; the restaurant itself has operated at a loss since 2000, with operating profit coming from El Bulli-related books, and lectures from Adrià.[6][2] As of April 2008 the restaurant employed 42 chefs.[3]

Now I really want to eat at El Bulli too! But one step at a time :) It will go on a 2-year hiatus from 2012 and reopen in 2014.

And after all that, I come back to watch...
Lady Gaga in the flesh!!!

Can't wait for next weekend- let it begin already!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Giving the kitchen a good workout..again!

Been wanting to try to make these for a while now and ever since I discovered we have an electric hand mixer at home it gave me even more motivation to try whipping up a batch of lovely Red Velvet cupcakes! Shopping for the ingredients was easy as I had half of it at home from making these peanut butter cookies.
On their own they taste ok, next time I think I'll add in more cocoa powder to give it that extra chocolatey taste.
Had to wait for them to cool before I put icing on them
I went easy on the icing instead of piling it on cos I know what goes in there and let me tell you- there's enough butter, sugar and cream cheese to feed you for days! I would have liked my icing to be a little bit more creamy but I ran out of butter and put less than what was called for in the recipe.

Here's the recipe I used (taken from Paula Deen of foodnetwork.com):


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (more doesn't hurt!)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened (I'm assuming this is roughly 454g)
  • 2 sticks butter, softened (rougly 8 ounces, or 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (I only used 1.5-2 cups)
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (about 175 degrees C). Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.
Cook's Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Healthy kickstart to the weekend!

Slept early yesterday (yes, on a Friday night!) but it felt so good to wake up at 7.30am on a Saturday. This allowed me to roll around in bed for half an hour before deciding to wake up. It's now 10.18am and I've already done so much! I've washed my clothes, hung them out to dry, ironed the creased items which came out of the wash, made brekkie, ate brekkie, blow my hair, cut my nails (am about to put nail polish on them) AND update this blog! *proud of self :D
Mmm can you guess what I made?

Spinach, apple & walnut salad
1/2 cup walnuts
1-2 Royal Gala or Red Delicious apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 stalks celery, finely sliced diagonally
75g baby spinach leaves
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
Honey to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180 or 160 (fan-forced) celcious. Spread walnuts on an oven tray and roast for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Let it cool.
2. Core apples and cut length ways into thin slices. Toss with lemon juice (to prevent oxidisation). Combine apple, celery and spinach leaves in a large bowl.
3. Place vinegar, olive oil and mustard into a jar and mix. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add walnuts and honey and serve immediately.

Enjoy peeps! Have a good weekend :)

ETA: Here are my painted nails

This went on my toes
I know my toes look like the silhouette of Bart Simpson's head somehow...and they're quite tan due to all I walking I do in my Havaianas.
I've got envy on my fingers! They're a bronze base with very very fine silver glitter in the bottle but look more silver on the nails. I <3 ulta3! They're easy to apply, dry within 5 minutes and only cost $2 a pop! What's not to love?

Off to Ikea soon to buy another shoe rack (if you looked in my apartment and saw the shoes you'd think 20 people lived here) and a breakfast-in-bed table for lazy old me. I can foresee that I'll be having Swedish Meatballs for lunch, yummay!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More noms...it never ends, does it?

Le Petit Gateau on Little Collins Street- heard so many good things about this place but have yet had the opportunity to try. My sister brought home some cakes one day and it is awesome. So very very awesome!
Look at this Cosmopolitan goodness- made up of layers of carrot cake, white chocolate cheese cake and topped with delectable raspberry jam. The boy and I gobbled this down in under 5 minutes at 11pm on a Monday night. *guilty face

I made peanut butter cookies today, but they taste more like the peanut cookies we usually have during Chinese New Year than actual peanut butter cookies!

Just had the most awesome ice-cream mochi ever.

10 fingers painted plum violet by ulta3 to induce happiness for end-of-week relaxation, why not?

Time for a little bit of Financial Review before hitting the bed in anticipation for HAPPY FRIDAY! :D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I tapped into my creative side one day...

...and tada! Behold my masterpiece! It's a shirt for the boy btw hee hee. :D

My inspiration came from this

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Food porn

I only have food pics today...hence the title.

Found it so difficult to wake up this morning, I don't know if it's a combination of irregular sleeping hours or the weather- which suddenly decided to turn all warm and summer-y. Waking up late on a Sunday does have its perks though (but I missed church!)...yum cha! Restaurants don't open till 11am so the interval between when I rolled out of bed and ended up seated at a table at Crystal Jade was literally....half an hour? Mom&Dad next time we have to try yum cha at Crystal Jade...the food there is very good and they have a bigger variety compared to Sharkfin House.
Xiao Loong Bao

Custard bun with salted egg yolk

Mango pudding

Came home and felt soooooooo lethargic that I didn't even know it was possible. Persuaded the boy to get some macarons- he spoilt me yet again by agreeing to take me to Cafe Vue for some macarons hee hee.
The one that's purple is Violet flavoured!

And I present to you...a meal wholly prepared by the boy (except for the soup and rice) but kudos to him...top effort :)

(Hopefully) very healthy rice with 3-4 different grains. Had to be pre-soaked 3 hours prior to cooking
I used dehydrated/ dried lotus root and it doesn't taste similar to the frozen variety but still, the soup was ok. The dried lotus roots expanded 500% in the pot though hahaha...they became giants.

Made some banana bread with an overripe banana I had sitting in the house. Mmm..food for morning and afternoon tea at work then.

Back to work tomorrow and I'll be out at a client. Monday blues are unavoidable!