Archive for October, 2011

Queen Bday long weekend

It was the long awaited long weekend. Happily,it was as glorious as anticipated, only as usual, it blew by in a flash, SIGH. I can’t believe it’s all over. Now it’s the long countdown to Christmas (T___T)

lemon cupcakes

During the week, we had a morning tea to raise funds for guide dogs for the blind. I promised to bake a batch of ‘pupcakes’ for the morning tea, so lemon cupcakes it was.
lemon ricotta

I had lots of lemons leftover, so baked a batch of lemon ricotta muffins for home consumption.

ramen

Back to the long weekend, Saturday was our Freo fishing day. It started with ramen at Dosukoi in the Fremantle markets, also known as the first ramen that I really liked in Perth. Back in those days, Dosukoi was not well known and it was easy to get seats any time of the day. But nowadays, even though we were there early, we still had to wait half an hour for seats in this little ramen gem. But it was worth the wait (^___^).

fish
Then it was time to indulge in HC’s favourite past time, fishing! The weather was gorgeous, the ocean was beautiful, in fact, the only thing lacking was err.. the fish.

fisherman2

The serious fishermen. You can always spot the serious fishers.

fishermen

Real fishermen come fully geared with caps, hats, proper shoes (for climbing around the rocks), have all the fishing gear including rods, buckets, bait and the most importantly, a giant tub of sunscreen.
bait
Whereas the not serious fishers can be seen clambering around the rocks, taking silly pictures, splashing around the water, looking for crabs, clams, abalone, everything but fish. Hahahaha.

two
Introducing … the not serious fishermen.

gerry

Gerry and his little crab. Don’t worry, we put the crab back in the waters.

hc

It was interesting witnessing HC’s love for fishing. He was so patient with all of us the whole day, helping us fools to cast our rods, hook the bait and teaching us different fishing techniques. We had a lovely time, driving to different locations around Fremantle,  basking in the sun, enjoying the gorgeous view and each other’s company.

hc1

Hooray for the ultimate fisher HC.
three stooges

The three stooges by the pier.

meal

Cooking our catch of the day at the end of the night.

queen bday

All of us had our own dishes, HC with his yummy lemon chicken, Gerry’s tom yum soup, signature garlic prawns and clams, Richard’s pan fried herring, I dealt with the easy dishes of scrambled tomato omelette and braised kailan. It was the perfect seafood dinner to end the day.

It was a fantastic fishing day and long weekend 🙂

3rd Day Ubud @ Bali

I’m sure everyone has forgotten about my Bali trip, it does feel a long time ago and as usual I lapsed on blogging about it after the 2nd day post 😦 .. but the cute couple are flying to Bali next week, so I thought I would get them excited about it by blogging about my favourite day and place in Bali, Ubud.
silver
For the third day in Bali, we hired a private driver to bring us up from Kuta to Ubud. I was glad to leave the touters, pollution and noise to head for Ubud which promised to show us the spiritual and cultural side of Bali. On the way, we stopped by a lot of tourist attractions, the first being a silver factory. Bali is famous for it’s silver.

sukawati

Pasar Seri Sukawati a.k.a. Sukawati Arts market was a requested stop of mine. It sold lots of cheap goods including clothing, jewelery, souvenirs. This was where I first learned to haggle and bargain with the shop owners.

waterfall

Next stop, somewhere by the waterfall?

custom

Actually we were visiting the Gunung Kawi Temple, a sacred temple in Bali about 15 minutes drive from Ubud. There are lots of beautiful temples in Bali, but one should abide by the cultural norms when visiting including wearing a sash tied around the waist and a sarong. Don’t get conned by the touters out front who will try to sell you pretty sarongs for a hefty price, you can ‘rent’ a sarong and sash at the entrance of the temple for a small donation.

temple

Temple carved out from rock. The lush settings of the temple are gorgeous and green. It felt very peaceful and tranquil.

temple1
Monuments carved out of stone were quite a sight.

P1000528
Women praying outside the temple. For some reason they didn’t enter inside the temple to pray. I sat by the corner and watched them, feeling like I was intruding on a very personal and respectful tradition.

coffee3

After the temple, we visited a coffee plantation in Bali. Yeah, my favourite coffee! I was surprised how lovely and pretty the coffee plantation was.

luwak
The one and only famous luwak coffee 🙂

luwak1

This was where I had my first taste of luwak coffee, it was very nice, but then again, the flat whites in Perth aren’t too bad either. We also tried the other coffee beans available in Bali, ended up buying some ginseng coffee which actually tasted really good.

coffee1

It was peaceful and relaxing sipping coffee on top of the coffee hills.

volcana

Zipping off to the next destination, Gunung Batur which is an active volcano in Bali. We had lunch at a restaurant offering spectacular views of the mountain and it’s surroundings (but the food was only so-so).

terlalang

Tegallalang rice terraces. I’d seen lots of pictures of these rice terraces in blog posts and tourist magazines and was expecting fields of gorgeous rice paddies. But the rice paddies had already been harvested… so there wasn’t much to look at.

hotel

After a long day of sightseeing, I was glad when we finally reached Saren Indah, our hotel for the rest of the trip.

hotel1

It was a lovely hotel too with great service and obliging staff. The walk back to the hotel room at night was very nice.

soto ayam

It was a long and eventful day, we wanted a simple and easy dinner. The hotel’s van dropped us off in town where we walked around searching for good local food. In the end we settled on Wadarni’s Warung  which turned out to be a good choice. The soto ayam while not as flavourful as the street version we had in Kuta was still very tasty.

satay

Satay with rice was yummy.

kuih dadar

Kuih dadar for dessert was really nice and filled with gula melaka laden dessicated coconut.

pulut

Pulut Hitam/Black glutinous rice pudding was sweet and comforting. Sigh, I miss this. And so, the 3rd day of Bali in quaint Ubud ended up on a sweet note.

Spring Salads

It was the first weekend that felt like summer. The sun was out in full force.

roses

Roses around Perth are all in full bloom. You know summer’s definitely around the corner when mangoes start appearing in the markets.

dinner

 I’ve had a hiatus from kitchen cooking  since  Spring Feast. But this weekend I rustled up a simple dinner. It was a spring sort of dinner with sweet strawberry wine and lots of fruits.

rice

Oodles of  egg and prawn fried ric .

spring salads

Trio of fruit salads. There was tomato, orange and chicken salad with an orange and lime juice vinaigrette. Pear, brie and pinenut salad. The last was a lychee chicken salad with lychee mayo dressing.

It was a good weekend (^__^).

Kuching Delights @ UWA Spring Feast 2011

We’re still recovering fromcelebrating the aftermath of the Pasar Malam + Spring Feast saga. Part of me just wants to forget the past few weeks (especially the burglary part) but I must admit that there were some really great moments and fond memories that I want to keep forever. Cheng asked for photos, so here they are:
boxes
Our supplies! For one month, my house resembled a warehouse. I literally had no furniture, my dining table was a chair and the floor was my seat. It slowly became a living room today, I’ve got some new furniture in which HC, Jo and Rich helped me to set up, so excited (^__^).
kuching delights
Last year we took more photos from the Curtin Pasar Malam, but this is the lone picture I have of our Curtin Pasar Malam signboard. I think this year we were definitely more prepared and experienced, but somehow the crowd was lacking and at times it was a quiet affair.

Skip Curtin Pasar Malam and it was preparing for UWA Spring Feast 2011. I always feel more sentimental about Spring Feast (since UWA is my alma mater) and enjoyed the whole process even more this year. The night before we even did our cooking in the uni’s cafeteria commercial kitchen, it was fantastic. I love commercial kitchens, the space,the professional stoves, the utensils, the cool rooms, everything.
tapioca
I reckon HC baked the most beautiful batch of kuih bingka uni/tapioca cake in the commercial kitchen. It came out lovely and golden, Jo sold a pack to this young girl saying ‘I’m sure you’ll come back to buy our last pack once you’ve tried these!’ And guess what? The young girl returned and bought another pack!

packed tapioca
Would you buy these from me?

chicken curry

I prepared less food for Spring Feast expecting a smaller crowd, but I did increase the variety and prepared the traditional staple of chicken curry and yellow rice. Surprisingly, despite it being sold all around Perth, it was still popular at the food stall.

ayam mm

Jo packed all these ayam masak merah boxes, she is the Queen of packaging.

ayam mm2

You could tell who were the real foodie customers at the stall, the ones who actually picked up the ayam masak merah boxes and asked whether they could exchange it for one with more gravy. I agree that the best part about ayam masak merah is the sweet tomato gravy.

spring feast sign

Our slightly cacat Spring Feast sign board! You’ll notice that there were more dishes on the menu. I will try new dishes next year and keep experimenting until I come up with the most popular dishes.

compound

The little guild compound was our stall location. Compared to last year, it was less of a ‘hot’ spot and I think we missed out on a lot of action. Ah well, better luck next year.

prep

Our prep area! This is where all the action happens and the chefs get busy when we shout orders such as ‘More laksa please!!’ ‘Running out of loh bak!’

Now to introduce you to the main characters of Kuching Delights:

jaso

Introducing my long suffering friend Jaso who still managed to flash a smile. See Jaso, this is why you stay in Geraldton during the month of October! Last year Jaso couldn’t make it to my stalls because he was in Gero, but this year, he was roped in to help at the stalls, he became the carrier of heavy boxes, the Maths teacher and the sweet talker. Thanks for your help Jas!

jo and jaso

My favourite and most fun helper in the kitchen, Jo the Queen of Packaging a.k.a. fellow giggler, Coke drinker and yellow rice maker. (^___^) Hehe, it’s quite paiseh to say this but this is when you know you can really count on family and truly, I have the best sisters.

hc n rich

Can’t do without my trusty fellow chefs, HC and Rich. HC is also known as Tapioca Cake King, this year he was in charge of all the baking and I left everything to him while he churned out batch after batch of beautiful kuih bingka uni. Rich is the Laksa King and my valuable sous chef, I never ever think or worry about Sarawak Laksa because I know he will do the best job, he also somehow always manages to pack everything in my chest freezer through magical ‘jigsaw puzzle’ tricks. Both developed hefty muscles throughout this time and were my main movers. Poor guys.

wong family

The Wong family a.k.a. Wong mummy, Jess and April and Calv (who wasn’t in the picture) who surely must curse the day they met me through Calv because they’ve never stopped helping me ever since. April was even roped in as the official helper this year and suffered many boring hours of helping to sell drinks. She was a great help and Calv’s mum as usual was our best supporter of the night. Thank you Wong family.

night

Most of the team! Thanks guys, couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for letting me indulge in my little hobby and allowing me to learn new skills in the kitchen and the food arena. Now.. will you do it again with me next year???

You win some, you lose some

This year’s food fair felt less stressful and a lot more fun. Perhaps we were more prepared than last year. But somehow, business wasn’t as good this year (T_____T).

Still, I enjoyed the whole experience, it was tiring and Jo kept repeating the whole night ‘see whether you dare to do this again next year!’ I didn’t dare to tell her that I would probably do it again next year, and the year after that … It’s really exhausting and challenging, but at the end of the day, I always learn something new about food preparation,  cooking for the masses, food storage, food presentation, what sells and what doesn’t. It’s a little glimpse into the food business which is something I really want to venture into perhaps in my later years.

Then again, I know I wouldn’t have survived and it wouldn’t be all that much fun if I didn’t have the help and support of family and friends. Jo and HC have been fantastic as always and they really do make this whole crazy couple of weeks go by so much easier. Jo was really knackered and probably wanted to kill me at the end of the day, but I will remember us in hysterics at the ugly kuih packaging and making excuses for terrible food presentation.

Will probably have to leave the thank yous and the recap when Thursday is over. But so far, it’s been bittersweet good. Although Curtin’s affair is always bigger and somewhat better, I always feel somewhat nostalgic and sentimental about UWA’s Spring Feast having been involved in the event since my old uni days.  Fingers crossed that this Thursday turns out to be best food fair night ever.

If you’re in Perth and you have some time on a Thursday night, come by to UWA to say hi, and perhaps have a laksa or two 😉


October 2011
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