Thursday, December 30, 2004

Asia Tsunami: Shocking Waves to End

Asia Tsunami: what a shocking waves to end the year 2004. An earthquake peaked at 9.0 on the richter scale claimed its anger over a vast area of the continent on 26th December 2004. A day that was meant to be filled with joy and love. Instead the quake brought with it a terribly gigantic tsunami which has up until now claimed the life of more than 80,000 across South East Asia.

The news, stories and pictures of the devastating earthquake and tsunami have left behind a trail of great sorrows inside everyone of us. I am sure many are speechless at the scenes on tv and papers; either in shock or not knowing how and what to respond to the tragedy.

I never knew the true meaning of tsunami until now. I have thought of it as a cute word. Name of a cocktail. Cute surfing Aussie-Japanese movie: Bondi Tsunami. What a sad way to learn.

Tsunami latest news update:
Google News

Pinkcocoa joining fellow foodbloggers admist the devastating tragedy:
Grab Your Fork
Kuihsinbo~ Meow~
Super Chef Blog

Donations, no matter how big or small, is very much appreciated:
CARE Australia
Caritas Australia
CCF Australia
Tear Australia
The Australian Red Cross

World Food Program
World Vision
Continue Reading Asia Tsunami: Shocking Waves to End


Chrissy Barbie Part2: By the Beach

I joined my uni friends for a second pre-Christmas barbie by the beach. Weather was gloomy and we were worried about the rain. Thank God, it didn't rain until we had all our food cooked.

This was a more Aussie barbie with beers, meats. And then more beers and meat. And more beers and meat!

♥ tabeshimashita @ Bronte Beach on 23rd December 2004
Almost Ready Succulent Chicken Wings
♥ BBQ Chicken Wings
Sweet and succulent chicken wings in a secret marinade recipes. The wings were gone in a jiffy!

BBQ Sauces
♥ text here
The sauce department, still very Asian oriented. There were Thai sweet chili sauce, Nando's Hot Peri Peri sauce, Masterfoods Teriyaki marinade and Indonesian Sambal Bajak (mild).

Now we all know what's the secret marinade recipe! ;-)

Guys Cooking Up a Storm
♥ Guys Cooking
There we had the juicy and succulent chicken wings in beautiful marinades, turkey sausages and lamb chops. We also had pork sausages which was actually more popular than the turkey sausages.

Refreshing Salads
♥ Refreshing Salads
The girls had plenty of the colourful salad! Fresh lettuce, green and red capsicum, carrots, corns, chickpeas, kidney beans and cucumber with Kraft Thousand Island dressing.

Summer Fruits
♥ Summer Fruits
The meat grub was revived with tropical summer fruits: seedless grapes, lychees and cherry!

Santa MudCake
♥ Santa Mud Cake
Our healthy fruity revival was soon sabotaged by the devil-angel Santa mud Cake from Michel Patisserie.
Continue Reading Chrissy Barbie Part2: By the Beach


Chrissy Barbie Part1: On the Balcony

I had quite a few early Chrissy celebration this year. With friends heading overseas during the Chrissy break, we decided to celebrate Chrissy a little early. When in Australia, the best way to celebrate Chrissy is of course Aussie Barbie (Australian Slang for Australian Barbeque)!

My first Chrissy barbie for the year was very typical of the Australian. We would have done the barbie in the backyard if we had a house but a big balcony is just as good.

♥ tabeshimashita @ the tiny balcony of an inner northshore apartment on 18Dec2004
Finally Guys at Work
♥ Guys hard at work at the barbie
One of the great thing about Aussie barbie is that we could get guys to cook for us without much complains and nudging. By that we mean as long as we girls had all the food prepared, marinated and ready on plates.

BBQ - Griller 01
♥ The Common BBQ Section
We bought disposable ready-to-use bbq grill from Barbeque Galore for $4.95 each. A great invention for those without a proper barbie cooker. Once lit up, the bbq is ready to use in 15minutes. No dirty charcoal hands.

Here we have the common BBQ section: assorted sausages, chicken wings and assorted Asian meatballs.

BBQ - Griller 02
♥ The gourmet BBQ Section
Then we have the gourmet section: steak skewer and marinated quails.

Food is Ready!
♥ Ready to Eat
After much sweats and infusion of bbq smoke on the balcony, the guys finally had the food ready!

BBQ Quails
♥ BBQ Quails
Strange and coincidentally enough, the Iron Chef also featured Quails that night. We devoured on our BBQ quails while watching the Iron Chef battling with his challenger to create top-of-the-world Quail cuisine.

Beautiful Sunset
♥ Beautiful Sunset
The west-facing balcony presented a picturesque sunset. We all felt like we were having a barbie on the balcony of a holiday apartment near the beach (even though we were really in an inner North Shore apartment).

Christmas Decoration
♥ Christmas Decoration
We also received these beautiful Christmas decorations from k. I have mine under the tiny Christmas tree at home ;-)
Continue Reading Chrissy Barbie Part1: On the Balcony


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Buon Natale : Panettone - Italian Christmas Cake

Buon Natale!! (merry christmas in Italian)

Tre Marie Panettone under my Xmas Tree
I was itching for a panettone after ST's post on her chocolate coated panettone. You really should see the beautiful shiny chocolate coating on her panettone. Her post also reminded me of my first encounter with panettone. My Italian homestay offered a large slice to me, toasted and spread generously with butter, but not on Christmas day. So I never realise panettone is actually an Italian Christmas cake!

We spotted Tre Marie panettone at the Grower's market. We grabbed a small one for A$6. Didn't see any chocolate coated one though. Aiya. Quite disappointed. The larger panettone comes in a very pretty tin and it was selling for A$45, I think.

Tre Marie Panettone
♥ Tre Marie Panettone
The mini Panettone is about the size of a large muffin. A sweet, rich and intense citrus aroma filled up my living room once I have the plastic wrap opened. The panettone is light and rather soft on the finger. It bounces back if you press lightly.

A slice of tre Marie Panettone
♥ A very small slice of panettone
The panettone tastes like a cross between a cake and bread. It is too soft and fluffy to be considered a bread yet not soft and densed enough to be considered a cake. The sweetness is further complimented by the dried fruits and orange peels so it does not taste as sweet as we thought it would be. The panettone goes well with a cup of tea and don't forget to spread a thick layer of nutella on it before you eat! ;-)

Tre Marie - Panettone with lots of fruits
♥ heaps of dried fruits in my panettone
We found most dried fruits (sultanas and orange peels, luckily no glaced cherries!) were actually stuck at the bottom of the papercup. My fingers did some great exercise by trying to scrub and pinch all the remnants of the panettone at the bottom of the papercup!

We saw Baci Panettone at Myer the other day but decided to wait until Christmas is over so we could grab a discounted one. Hopefully it's not all gone before Christmas! *fingers crossed*

Merry Christmas, everyone! muakksssssssss
and a
Happy New Year!
Continue Reading Buon Natale : Panettone - Italian Christmas Cake


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Farewell Winter! : Dong Zhi

Chinese Glutinous Rice Balls in 4 colours
We pigged out on large bowls of chinese glutinous rice ball (tang yuan, literally soup ball) immersed in a delicious sweet soup to bid farewell to winter last night. We also grew one year older. We celebrated Dong Zhi, the second most important date in the Chinese Lunar Calendar after Chinese New year.

Dong Zhi or Winter Solstice Festival literary means winter (dong) has reached the end (zhi); an indication of spring is coming and that it is time to start preparing for the spring festival (chun jien: chinese new year). In some places, it is also called dong jie (winter festival).

It is the last festival of the year where the entire family gives thanks to a bountiful year, a bit like a Chinese Thanksgiving. Bowls of tang yuan or chinese glutinous rice ball usually in soup, are shared among family members.

This year Dong Zhi or winter solstice falls on 21Dec, the date of the shortest day and longest night for 2005. This date, of course, is meant for the northern hemisphere. We should really celebrate dong zhi on 21 or 22 june.

♥ tabeshimashita on 21 december
Tang Yuan in Red Dates & Dried Longan Sweet Soup
Tang Yuan in Gui Yuan Hong Zao Cha
We had four different coloured tang yuan last night. The yellowish one is supposedly white but the dark sweet soup had stained it a bit. So we had white, pink, purple and orange tang yuan.

The sweet soup, Gui Yuan Hong Zao Cha (dried longan with red date sweet soup), is simple to make. Bring a pot of water to boil, add a few dried pitted red dates and pitted dried longan. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add sugars or honey or rock sugar to taste. Let simmer again until sugar dissolve and it's done. Easy as that.

Tang Yuan - Chinese Glutinous Rice Balls
♥ pinkcocoa's four colours glutinous rice ball
This is my first attempt at making tang yuan on my own. Usually granny would have the dough ready for the kids to have fun shaping and rolling the dough into small bite size balls.

I mixed tiny bits of water into glutinous rice flour until I get a soft dough. For the cute pink one, I divided the dough into two and added a small drop of red food colouring. Mix and knead and you will get a pink dough!

The orange and purple glutinous rice balls are actually sweet potato glutinous rice balls; di gua yuan. The sweet potato are steamed and then mashed. I added a mixture of glutinous rice flour and sweet potato starch, a few teaspoon of oil and few teaspoon of sugar to the mash. The addition of sweet potato starch is to get a chewier (Q-Q) texture. You can also use corn flour instead. Some places omit glutinous rice flour and use only corn flour (chewier), some uses only glutinous rice flour (softer). It really depends on which texture you are after.

ps. btw I managed to find purple-flesh sweet potato at Paddy's market. *yay*

Tang Yuan on Shaved Ice
Tang Yuan Di Gua Yuan Bu Ding Xue Hua Bing
We decided to have our tang yuan cold. This is served on a bed of xue hua bing (literary snowflakes ice), topped with colourgul glutinous rice balls and Taiwanese custard jelly (bu ding); and very very generous drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. We would have loved it even better if we had coconut milk and palm sugar on hand.

Not bad for my first dong zhi away from home. (=^-^=)//
Continue Reading Farewell Winter! : Dong Zhi


Monday, December 20, 2004

Chrissie is Just Round the Corner!

It's my first Aussie Chrissie (Christmas in Australian slang). It's also my first Chrissie in a Western country. So lots of white (snow), red (santa), green (mistletoe?), gold (lights) and lots of silly songs were expected.

Then the fact came rolling through.
Summer = No snow
Oh, I think I just saw Santa surfing. Skinny and well-built one too! *drool*
Summer = green plants = lotsa mossies *itch*
Christmas *blink* Lights *blink* is *blink* everyway *blink* except when blackout *?* happened every now and then
Chrissie songs also have new meanings: Santa Never Made It Into Darwin, Australians Let Us Barbeque and Santa's Moving to South Pole.

I was a little disappointed until I spotted these:
DJ Cakes - Small Yule Logs
♥ Christmas Yule Log Cakes at David Jones
I want one of this for Christmas. *hint*

DJ Cakes - Long Yule Logs
♥ More Yule Logs, also at David Jones
Wow! A longer and larger yule log Cakes. I want this please. *hint-hint*

Wait. The smaller log cake on the left is $61.95? *yikes* Quick change of mind. Can I please have this?

DJ Cakes - Santa Christmas Cake
♥ Santa Christmas Cakes
Then I spotted these cute marzipan coated fruit cakes. Don't think anyone would have the heart to permanently scarred Santa's face!

DJ Cakes - Christmas Cakes
♥ More Christmas Cakes
And there are more. Also spotted were mini mince tarts and pies (?).

Christmas Tree at Martin  Place
♥ Christmas Tree at Martin Place
The not-so-gigantic Christmas Tree at Martin Place. I remembered the Christmas Tree at Martin Place a little larger, taller and more festive. Is my memory fading?

Christmas Tree at The Rocks
♥ Christmas Tree at The Rocks
The Christmas Tree at The Rocks is a lot smaller but also a lot more festive.

The Festive Strand Arcade
♥ The Festive Strand Arcade
Strand Arcade is beautifully and festively decorated. Not much silly songs heard but the festive touch is strong in the tranquile atmosphere.

Colefax Chocolate - Santa Penguin & Plum Pudding Truffle
♥ Santa Penguin and Plum Pudding A$90/kg
These are from Colefax Chocolates. The penguins are just so cute with their tiny red hats. A lady was buying a lot of Santa Penguin when this photo was taken.

Colefax Chocolate - Snowman &  Christmas Log
♥ Snowman & Christmas Logs A$90/kg
It's just too hard to miss the cute bright smile on snowman's face!

Shopping hours have also been extended! Shops are opened until 10pm from 23rd. Now this feels more like home. But the best bits come on boxing day when everything starts to go no sale! *yay*
Continue Reading Chrissie is Just Round the Corner!


Friday, December 17, 2004

I am a little dreamy at WildEast Dreams

It felt like a dream, a wild one from the east!

We found ourselved back home in South East Asia in a very unlikely location in Sydney. WildEast Dreams is located right in the middle of the un-Asian Leichardt (The Italian precinct). We have been wanting to visit ever since we first went past it last year. Long time, isn't it?

My desire to head there grew stronger after reading Sean's visit here and here.

♥ tabeshimashita @ WildEast Dreams on 11Dec2004
WildeastDreams - Kung Fu Tofu
♥ Kung Fu Tofu
Heeeeeeee haaaaaaaaa! We felt like we could so at least a few hundreds kung fu kick in the air after chowing down (in elegance of course) the crunchy deep fried tofu topped with sambal sauce (I think) and thinly sliced spring onions.

The tofu is unbelievably crisp and crunchy on the outside while the inside is smooth, silky and soft. It reminded us so much so of the crispy crunchy texture of chou dou fu (smelly tofu), a famous Taiwanese street delicacy. One bite and I was transcended back to the seat of the tiny roadside smelly tofu stall in Taiwan. I could almost smell the pungent fragrant of the smelly tofu.

WildeastDreams - Saucy Miss Piggy
♥ Saucy Miss Piggy A$22
Cute name isn't it? I found it extremely difficult to go ahead and eat this because the name is just too cute! Imagine you are about to eat a cute sweet little miss piggy who stared at you with her big innocent eyes.

WildeastDreams - Saucy Miss Piggy Found
We digged in anyway. The pork-belly is soft and tender and very succulent. We love the tantalising sauce. It is delicious on the rice.

Again, one bite and I was transcended back home in Brunei, sitting at the dining table enjoying my granny's pork-belly stew. Let me assure you, the taste is exactly the same as Granny's!

WildeastDreams - Wildeast Prawns
♥ Wildeast prawns A$25
The prawns flavour in this dish is just so intensed. Prawns lover would surely love this but maybe not so for those without a spicy tongue. The chili might be a little overpowering but I reckon the chili and curry leaves bring out the full flavour of the prawns!

One bite and I was back with my Granny! I want more. More. More. Please!

WildeastDreams - Asian Greens
♥ Asian Greens A$13 & fragrant rice A$3pp
To balance out the meal, we also ordered greens and rice to go with piggy and prawns. The greens is crunchy and richly flavoured with Shao Hsing Wine.

The dining experience was just so dreamy! (Sorry, cant think of any other word. I am running out of brain cells here). We love the Asian decor in the restaurant. We also love the grand piano in the restaurant's main room. Not luck that night to listen to Albert Wong's magnificent musical fingers at work.

I especially love the artistic chinese calligraphed logo at WildEast Dreams. (You will know what I mean when you visit their website) I wonder if there is any chance of me grabbing hold of their staff t-shirt with the aesthetic character displayed on the front. Just a thought.....;-)

WildEast Dreams
102 Norton Street
Leichhardt NSW
tel (02) 9560 4131
Dinner Tues-Sun 6-10pm,
Lunch Sat & Sun only 12-3pm
Continue Reading I am a little dreamy at WildEast Dreams


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Kylie Kwong at Macro Wholefood

Macro Wholefood
♥ Take a Macro View
The largest organic store in the Southern Hemisphere, Macro Whole Foods, officially opened in Crows Nest Last Friday (10Dec). We missed out on the chance to see Simon Johnson's cooking demonstration on Friday. We almost missed Kylie Kwong's on Saturday.

♥ tabemashita @: Macro Whole Foods on 11 Dec 2004
Kylie Kwong Cooking Demo at Macro
Kylie Kwong Cooking Demonstration
Luckily we didn't miss out on too much. When we arrived, Kylie was adding a splash of this and that ingredients (organic of course!) to a large bowl of organic chicken wings. She added a large splash of Shao Hsing wine which surprised me because I usually wouldn't have added that much. There was at least half a cup of Shao Hsing wine.

She also added a generous amount of honey, shoyu and a quick sprinkle of sesame oil. I must have missed some ingredients here because I was busy eyeing the plate of chicken wings prepared and cooked prior to the demo.

Kylie Kwong - Chicken Wings
♥ Kylie Kwong's Chicken Wings
Here's the scrumptious chicken wings. The chicken wings was juicy with a hint of honey sweetness in it. The flavour of Shao Hsing wine was not as strong as I depicted. This is yummy! Great for a barbie too.

Oh I forgot to mention, what Kylie did was simply heat up a wok and then add the wings into the wok, give it a bit of stir to make all wings are browned. Then lid on and let it cook on low for about 20min and it's done.

Kylie Kwong - Kylie's New Salad
♥ Kylie's New Salad
This is Kylie's new salad recipe that she concocted just two months ago. Inside the salad are pickled carrots (julienned then soak in salt water for 10min. Squeeze excess liquid out then add a splash of vinegar and sugar), shredded cabbage, corianders, mints and cucumbers. She added rice wine vinegar and tid bit of sesame oil to the salad and mixed.

Very refreshing on a hot day! It's light with a tiny bit of vinegar hint in it. ShinChan was thoroughly pleased with this salad. I would like it to be a bit more soury and sweet so perhaps a few more dash of white vinegar and probably more sugar. It's best served chilled too.

Kylie Kwong - Mrs Jiang Fried Egg
♥ Mrs Jiang's Home Style Fried Eggs
This is wholesome! This is more like zha dan (literary deep fried egg but rhymes with egg bomb) to me. Kylie added about half a bottle of peanut oil to the wok. Heat it up and then pour freshly cracked free-range eggs into the oil. Let it cooked in the hot oil. If necessary, use spatula to move some of the hot oil onto the eggs.

What you get is a fluffy and crispy fried eggs with soft runny yolk centre! The fried egg was topped with a generous sprinkle of oyster sauce, sliced shallots and sliced chilli. The egg is rich with an intense peanut aroma glowing from the eggs. This dish reminded me of my granny's breakfast sunny side eggs. They tasted very similar.

Kylie Kwong - Fried Rice
♥ Delicious Fried Rice
Next up was the famous fried rice. This is delicious. ShinChan had a craving for fried rice after sampling this.

Kylie Kwong and Young Foodie Fans
♥ The charming Kylie
Here's a clearer picture of Kylie Kwong. Notice there are some young foodies!

Macro Cafe
♥ Macro Cafe
Here's a quick view of Macro, taken when I was lining up at the Macro Cafe to grab an organic fruit frappe ($6.50 for large).

Macro Wholefood
♥ Macro Whole Foods
This is the front of Macro. It's bright and spacey. A very comfy place to shop in. I like the bamboo lighting too.

Macro - Organic Cakes
♥ Range of organic cakes
As a sweet-tooth, the first thing I headed towards in the supermarket is the cake section! There are a great range of delicious, mouthwatering organic cakes. Many of them are gluten free.

Beside the bakery section, there are also a butcher section and deli section, all of them of course offer organic products!

On the day, there were quite a bit of food samples around the store. We tried a very rich, dark, creamy chocolate from Booja Booja: champagne truffles and hazelnut crunch rocher. Their chocolate is organic, wheat-free, dairy-free and gluten-free. Gosh this sure is a long sentence. Imagine the Booja Booja guy repeating this for the whole afternoon. The hazelnut crunch rocher got me enticed and walked in sort of a daze. No photos unfortunately. I was a bit worried about warnings from staff about no photography sessions inside.

We definitely are making our way to Billy Kwong.

fyi: Kylie's Recipes
Mrs Jiang's Homemade Fried Egg
Delicious Fried Rice

♥ Macro Whole Foods
13-19 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest NSW 2065
tel (02) 9966 8788
fax (02) 9966 0269

31-37 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2020
tel (02) 9389 7611
fax (02) 9389 0707
Continue Reading Kylie Kwong at Macro Wholefood


Monday, December 13, 2004

Totoya Japanese Restaurant

Looking at the comprehensive list of Japanese restaurants that Neutral Bay has to offer, it was just too hard to pick one. In the end, we settled for Totoya upon being assured by Ken's statement: "The chef of Azuma is a regulars at Totoya"

It was a tiny farewell dinner with a very special friend with whom I have bonded greatly ever since the first day we met four years ago. I could still vividly remember our first ever conversation:
friend: what's your name?
pinkcocoa: pinkcocoa
friend: where are you from?
pinkcocoa: Brunei
friend: where's that?
pinkcocoa: near Malaysia
friend: so you are a Malaysian?
pinkcocoa: no. I am a Bruneian
This one-way conversation continued on for a while before I started to talk back. Yeah, I am the type who would give a sharp cold stare when approached by a stranger. Not the friendly type, I am afraid.

♥ tabemashita @ Totoya, Neutral Bay on 9 dec 2004
Totoya - Enoki Mushroom in Butter Sauce
♥ Enoki Mushroom in Butter Sauce A$8
This dish was from the special menu. It arrived on a hot sizzling plate with thin pork slices at the bottom topped with a generous portion of enoki mushroom and green onions in a buttery sauce. The buttery flavour is rather intense in this dish yet it is not overly oily.

It would have tasted more appetising if we had sprinkle lemon juice over but this humble slice of lemon served other purpose. ;-)

Totoya - Grilled Salmon Marinated in Sake Miso
♥ Grilled Salmon marinated in Sake Miso A$10
This is another item from the special menu. It comes with paper-thin pickled daikon (bottom right). The salmon is nicely flavoured and seasoned with a strong distinctive sake taste. The tangy pickled daikon is a perfect balancing condiment to the saltish salmon.

Totoya - Udonsuki
Udonsuki A$28pp (min. order 2 person)
We ordered udonsuki for two. We were thoroughly surprised by the volume of the ingredients. The portion was so huge that we had to cook the food in four batches. The soup has a tid bit of sour zap in it. A little strange at first but quite nice once you start slurping udonwhich was chewy yet soft on the teeth (what Chinese called 'Q').

Totoya - Udonsuki for 2!
♥ the gigantic udonsuki ingredients for two!
This is how much stuff you get from a two person udonsuki. We couldn't finish the whole portion even though there were four of us altogether.

The udonsuki contains the best from the sea and land! There were at least 5 different types of fish, prawns, squids, octopus, pippies, oysters (this is where our humble piece of lemon comes useful. The oyster were devoured raw with a squeeze of lemon!), well-seasoned chicken thighs, spring onions, chinese cabbage, beansprouts, silken beancurd, slices of bamboo shoots, some other greens, konyak and of course udon!

Totoya - Yakimono
♥ Chef's 5 pieces Yakimono Selection A$11
Finally came the famous fare of Totoya: yakimono, grilled food on skewers. Yakimono occupies two full pages of Totoya's menu. There were just too much to choose from. Being lazy, we ordered the 5 pieces yakimono selection (chef's selection). There were also 10 pieces selection.

From top to bottom are chicken giblets, beef tongue, meatball, chicken thigh and porkbelly. The yakimono were truly delightful. It's something about the sweet savoury taste of the sauce that makes people craves for more. Now we clearly see why the chef of Azuma is frequently spotted here. Totoya's yakimono is just delish!

It got a little sad at the end of the day. This is inevitable when you have to say goodbye to someone important in your life. Worse when you don't know when's the next time you are going to see each other.

See you in three-five-seven-year, my (not by blood) twin sister! *muaks*

♥ Totoya Japanese Restaurant
Shop 13, 166-174 Military Road
Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ph. (02)9908 7045
Lunch Sat - Sun
Dinner Mon - Sun
*Totoya opens til midnight from monday to saturday. Now you know where to grab yummilicious Japanese late-night snack!
Continue Reading Totoya Japanese Restaurant