14 Dec 2012

A short story

“Lucas,” she wriggled her feet in, “Are you in love?”
He grinned at her tiny shadowy figure. “Maybe.”
“You look it.”
“Do I? How can you tell?”
“You smiled when I said the word love.”
“You couldn’t see my face!”
“But I heard you talking to mommy before.”
“I was talking to her about a girl.”
“Do you love her?”
“Who, your mommy?”
“No,” she giggled, “The girl!”
He pondered for a while, the plastic constellation above his head glowed and tipped.
“You’re doing that look again.”
“What look?” He flicked back to her.
“The look you did when you showed us that picture.”
“The picture of me and my friends at my party?”
“Yes. And you looked like the picture was telling you to smile.”
He laughed silently, tucking the blanket under her chin.
“What does she look like?” His cousin’s eyes gleamed.
She looks like the moon in the daytime, a tulip unfolding, the slipper that fits.
“Well,” he tilted his head and looked at her eyes, seven years worth of curiosity. “She has long brown hair, like the princess in your book and blue eyes, like your mom’s earrings. She’s tall, like a sunflower and she smiles like you do when you’re allowed to open your presents early.”
“Can she sing?” She tilted her head the same way.
“Yes she can.”
“What does she sound like?”
The way you feel when you hear the bath running or the mailman knocking, the sound you make when you run your fingers through a beaded curtain.
“She sounds like those wind chimes outside your window.”
“The ones that keep me from getting scared at night?”
“Those very ones.”
“Does she get scared like I do?”
“She’s not afraid of the dark…” She’s afraid of finding something in the dark. She’s afraid of losing something she held a moment ago, and the thought of coming home to an empty house. “She’s afraid of pricking her finger when she sews.”
“She sews…” Cara lay on her pillow, lace framing her head. For a moment he thought she was asleep but she spoke again. “What else does she do?”
“She sews and..?”
“She sews and she bakes gingerbread houses and she talks to strangers-”
“She talks to strangers?”
“No she doesn’t!” He said quickly. “I mean she says hello to her neighbors.”
She teaches and she learns how to interpret silence. She listens for the sound a swan makes when it’s hungry, she feeds babies knowledge too complex for their infancy and she dances like roses are falling on her.
“Do her neighbors like her?”
“They love her.”
“Because when she waters her garden, she whistles.”
Because her laughter reminds them of building sandcastles in bucket hats, making mudpies with sticks and trading Lego for stickers.
 Cara giggled. “I think you should marry her, Lucas.”
Lucas laughed, “You think so?”
“Yes. Because if a girl can whistle and make gingerbread houses and sews even though she’s afraid, it means she’s really pretty right?”
Lucas stroked her dark curls, wishing innocence would last forever.
“And she makes you go all quiet and smiley.” She ducked her face into her soft toy dog and peeked at him from under its tail.
“Alright. Goodnight, princess Cara.”
“Goodnight. You can turn off my lamp now, but don’t shut the door.”
A flick of the switch and the only light slipped through the door.
“You are still my prettiest girl,” he patted her on his way out.
“And she’s your prettiest lady right?”

13 Dec 2012

A little bit about the yummiest dinner I've made

My boyfriend's a good cook.

He always laughs (humbly) when I bring up this fact, but it's the truth.
And I get a little jealous sometimes because he has cool cooking stories and I'm just like, yea i made spag bol... and fried rice...
And he's like, was it real Indonesian nasi goreng?
And I'm like, What's the difference between fried rice and nasi goreng? they're the same?

Apparently they're different.

When we have the chance, I get him to cook- I mean, we cook together- and the result has always been impressive.
From ambrosia dessert and trifle to homemade pizza, Korean LA galbi beef and goulash...

And then his younger sister tells me she loves to cook and now I'm like,
whoa. need to get my act together.

I've been dining out the past 3 nights in a row, so I decided to utilise my kitchen with the new Solatube installed!!!

Summer potato salad

750g potatoes
200g middle bacon
1 cup honey mustard/ mayonaisse
1 cup sour cream
2 spring onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp dried/ freshly chopped parsley
salt and pepper

1. Wash and chop the potatoes into 2cm bite sized cubes. Place them in a large pot of salted cold water.
2. Bring to the boil and let simmer until potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork. (Be careful you don't overcook them cause they'll become too soft and crumble in the mixing). Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, pan fry the bacon and cut into pieces.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the honey mustard mayonaise and sour cream.
5. Toss in the chopped spring onions, tomatoes and gently stir in the potatoes and bacon.
6. Sprinkle with parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Dinner is served...
The recipe for my peri peri crumbed chicken can be found here :)

And to conclude... Holly Taylor you asked for a video of me doing ballet?
But seriously,
my favourite pas de deux and Tchaikovsky piece!


12 Dec 2012

A little bit about Verve

I like cafes in Parnell.
I like the openess, I like having dessert at the Chocolate Boutique, I like the rose gardens and the art school nearby, the interiors store with their funky christmas ornaments, the antique stores with gorgeous diamond rings, Natalie Chan and the exquisite head pieces that I'd wear if I were ever invited to high tea with Princess Kate (who is having a baby!!)...

Wally and I had lunch at Verve cafe, which boasts $3 coffees and $10 daily specials
The first time I came here was on my birthday, I sampled the french toast (not too recommendable. The french toast at Brick by Brick in Onehunga is the best so far)

This time, I ordered the corn and courgette fritters $18
A delight
Three stacks of tasty, soft fritters with bacon, salsa, salads and sweet chilli sauce
Wally ordered the bruschetta
Crispy slices of bread topped with rocket, tomatoes, red onion, chicken and vinagrette sauce
Both dishes were more than satisfactory; filling, flavorsome and fresh.

We spent our time talking about how nice it is sleeping in a freshly made bed with clean sheets...

And dessert?
eelynaffit said the best macarons she's had is from gateaux house in Newmarket, where I also got my caramel macchiato birthday cake from
Caramel and strawberry macarons $2 . 80

And to conclude,

I got new toys!

And I've been painting...

6 Dec 2012

A little bit about tiramisu

I have been obsessed with tiramisu all week.

It started with jt’s tiramisu cake for his birthday, which I could only savour by looking at the brilliant photo and it made me even more jealous cause tiramisu is something I love more than cheesecake.

On Sunday at the Indo church, me and D-Man met Vanessa (who is now 8 months beautifully pregnant).

“Hey, I still remember the tiramisu you made,” she said to me.
Wow! That was a long time ago

I explained to D-man, and his ‘TIRAMISU?! WHERE?!’-expression, that we had invited Vanessa and her husband for dinner a few months ago and I made tiramisu for dessert. They had loved it so much and were quite impressed; Vanessa had said it was the best tiramisu. What’s more: her husband is a chef.

And then D-man told me about the tiramisu he had made with Gee. She invited me to make green tea tiramisu when I'm in chch, tempting me with a picture. She told me she had tried the tiramisu at La Couronne Cake Boutique on Lorne St and found it very smooth but could hardly taste the Baileys.

Personally, I like Baileys in desserts as much as in a QF, but I was curious and craving...
They had just got it out of the freezer, so the girl told me to defrost it on the counter for 20 minutes, which was the time it took for me to transport it back home.
It was good, smooth although still a bit frozen and it was a small slice for $5.

I've had the Coffee Club one in Newmarket, it was really dry and disappointing, I’m still on the search for excellent tiramisu

In the meantime, I’m making my own...

I found a packet of sponge fingers in the pantry and marsala too, just the perfect amount.
This is seriously the easiest and quickest tiramisu recipe, you can almost call it a cheat. Almost.

No baking, no beating ingredients in 3 different bowls, no eggs (eating raw eggs freak me out... but not as much as thinking where they came from), just layers of coffee, liquor and cream goodness...
Place soaked sponge fingers in the bottom of a dish and spread the mascarpone mixture.
Repeat layers
Garnish with chocolate and/or crushed hazelnuts

2 Tbsp coffee powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup marsala
300ml thickened cream
¼ cup icing sugar, sifted
125 g cream cheese
250 g mascarpone
1 packet Saviordi sponge fingers
Cocoa powder or grated chocolate

1. Dissolve coffee powder and boiling water. Add marsala and let cool for 10 minutes.

2. Beat cream and icing sugar together until soft. Add cream cheese and continue to beat until combined.

3. Fold in mascarpone.

4. Pour half a cup of the coffee liquid into the bottom of a dish and line with sponge fingers.

5. Drizzle with coffee until soaked, taking care that sponge fingers do not fall apart.

6. Spoon half of cream mixture on top and spread evenly.

7. Dip remaining sponge fingers into coffee and arrange layer on top of the cream.

8. Spread the remaining cream.

9. Cover and keep in fridge for a few hours or overnight.

10. Before serving, dust with drinking chocolate, cocoa powder and/or grated chocolate.

I brought it along to my parents' homegroup pot luck dinner that night.
Again, the thing with cakes is you can't try it before giving it away...

During dessert, the pastor's wife announced “Everyone’s wanting to know who made the tiramisu...”
Uh oh.
I put my hand up.
“It is delicious.” Murmurs of approval followed...

And to conclude,
Along with scorched almonds and ferrero rocher, wafers are among my favorite Christmas food.
The best part is reaching in to the bottom and picking out the pieces with more chocolate filling than wafer...


1 Dec 2012

Microwave brownies, the recipe

To those of you who asked for it:
Lauren's recipe of Jess's brownies passed on to me

Seriously good brownies! Made in the microwave in just 4 minutes

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
100gr butter, melted
1 cup flour  
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c chocolate chips 

1. Beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla.

2. Drizzle in melted butter, continue to beat.

3. In a seperate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder.

4. Mix together with egg mixture by hand and add chocolate chips.

5. Spoon into a lined microwaveable container or dish and microwave for 4 minutes (times may vary). Test with a toothpick

Yes it only takes four minutes in the microwavePerfect for impromptu dessert or tea. You can sit there watching it 'bake' away. lol jks microwaves are dangerous...

Yesterday when I made this, I substituted the chocolate chips with 3 rows of chopped dark chocolate and added a handful of hazelnuts. Yum. Serve warm with ice cream, or cold with strawberries :)

28 Nov 2012

A little bit about Longroom, Ponsonby

Eva and her Parkie invited me out to dinner :)

When I was about to cross the road, I saw the cute couple holding hands, beaming and waving at me. Sooo cute. Seriously cute

The last time I met up with them (and the first time) we were triple dating at Ancestral in chch, and then again at Kiwiyo in Mission Bay, but that time one half of them was missing, so it was an almost-quadruple date :P

Last night we were on Ponsonby Rd, talking about men's t-shirts and who gets excited about Skype dates when Eva spotted a potential restaurant that served steak and delicious sounding food

Longroom had an 'after-work drinks and catch-up over dinner' vibe. It has a courtyard for outdoor dining, a bar and a private room too, apparently.
A waiter carrying an eftpos machine on his tray seated the three of us at a tall table inside.

After a mouth-watering read of the menu and deciphering the foreign words description, we decided on our entrees and meals...

Chilli salt squid with adjud chilli sauce $11
I just looked up what adjud is. It's a city in Romania!
The squid was nice and crispy, not spicy and the sauce partied with my tastebuds

Lime marinated beef with red onion relish on a soft shell taco $6
Entree #2: again, very tasty.

When our mains came out, we were like :O whoa... Impressive.
Beer braised lamb shanks with pecorino mash, balsamic shallots and marjoram jus gras $26
(jus gras = juice from the roast)
Pecorino is a type of hard cheese made from sheep's milk.
I'm not exaggerating, probably the best mashed potatoes I've had. It was smooth, creamy and the buttery-cheese taste was what made it so good.

Aged angus sirloin, sauce foyot with wilted greens and chips $23.50
What sauce did you get? It's so delicious!
Ah the second one?

The foyot sauce. Was amazing.

There was a selection of sauces to go with the steak; peppercorn jus, sauce foyot, cafe de paris butter, horseradish cream... Eva made the right choice.

Foyot sauce is (I looked this up too) like hollandaise sauce but with herbs instead of lemon juice and added meat glaze. The result is flavour on flavour. It was so delicious.

Chicken schnitzel with nut slaw and capsicum chutney $23
The crispy and tender chicken schnitzel came on a bed of cashew nut coleslaw and served with sweet and tangy capsicum chutney.

Upon tasting our dishes, Eva kept saying, so good. It's so good. Sooo good...

Fantastic food, fantastic company. jt has great friends :)

114 Ponsonby Rd
Tuesday- Sunday 11am-til late

Would I come here again? Yup. It's a great place to go with some friends

Next time try the... Goat cheese stuffed meatballs entree with tomato ragu & a baked baguette,
Trio of mushroom risotto with truffled creme fraiche,
and the dessert menu if I have room for chocolate fondant, sticky date pudding or mandarin creme brulee... ;)

And to conclude,

I went to the beach today...
The sun and the tide was out. Double tan lines, yesss


24 Nov 2012

A little bit about brunch

I had the most magnificent brunch the other day.

Calci had just come back from S'pore, Phuket and KL and heading off to China in a couple days time, so she invited Team Wonderful over for brunch...

With maple syrup...
Oh these were for the angry birds cake Mrs Wong had made
This is my favorite type of milk!!!! It tastes like Aero
I can't drink plain milk straight, but I can drink this whole bottle in one go.

I haven't tried that...

Strawberries, grapes and yoghurt...
And corn fritters and poached eggs and toast...
A brunch.

And to conclude,
Ever since my nautical interest grew into a hyperactive fascination, I have been Trade Me-ing for a knot board to hang on my wall.

And then at the museum I saw one,
and jt was like, we can make that...
I was like, :O no you can't! That's so complex! You need to be able to tie knots!

Turns out he can tie knots.
This one's called a sheet bend (am I right?)
A bend is a knot that ties two ends together.

We bought rope from LookSharp or the likes
I had a polysterene board tucked away somewhere
A canvas or a board is also good.
We covered it with black card... but you can use any kind of paper, for example giftwrap or leftover wallpaper
We made a rope border and tied the ends into a Carrick Bend

The next day jt had a better idea of having knots on all four sides of the board.
So I turned that one into a photo board, since it's made of polystyrene and you can stick pins on it.

And we made this one instead.
I love it.


11 Nov 2012

A little bit about hazelnut mint brownies

So a while back, my mum bought a block of peppermint chocolate to make peppermint cheesecake.
Months later, no cheesecake and only half a block left.

So I decided to make mint brownies.

With hazelnuts!

This recipe is great if you don't have any cooking chocolate, because it only uses cocoa powder
It was after mixing this and putting it in the pan that I realised I should've added Nutella !!! for that real hazelnut flavor
Improvements for next time:
Don't let anyone eat the chocolate beforehand, so you can have more in your brownies
Arrange squares of chocolate in the middle and cover it up with the rest of the batter
Hazelnut Mint Surprise Brownies

1 2/3 cups sugar
170g butter, melted
2 Tbsp water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsps vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup crushed or chopped hazelnuts
block of peppermint chocolate

1. Combine sugar, melted butter and water in large bowl. 
2. Mix in lightly beaten eggs and vanilla. 
3. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl, stir into sugar mixture. 
4. Stir in nuts and chocolate. 
5. Spoon half the batter into prepared baking pan, arrange squares of chocolate pieces and cover with the rest of the batter
6. Bake at 180C for 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack then cut into squares, bars, triangles or parallelograms
You can omit the hazelnuts, or use chopped walnuts or pecans
Try replacing 2 Tbsp of cocoa with Cadbury Mint Chocolate drink powder for an overall minty brownie :)
And any kind of chocolate would be good, really... White chocolate, caramel, chocolate chips, Crunchie pieces, peanut butter chocolate, any kind of chocolate!

The brownies I've made in the past resembled cakes, they were crumbly or weren't dark like the ones you buy from cafes
But these were good.
I especially like the peppermint soft-centred chocolate surprise

I took these to Suze's BBQ yesterday.
Start of summer, no exams, Castor Bay, ultimate frisbee... mint.

I heard a funny story that happened in Thailand, involving JoJo and 1K2:2 "I am about to go the way of all the the earth... So be strong, show yourself a man."
But you'll have to ask the Chan brothers for the full story :P

And to conclude,
It's practically summerrrrr and the sun will come out and it's going to be a gooooood week. xoxxo