Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mobile upload: July's foodie finds

To think that May and June flew by quickly, July must have been travelling at the speed of light in comparison. I am slowly picking up the habit of being more adventurous when it comes to food as opposed to sticking to my usual routine.

Here are a few new items that I have tried this month!

Agathe Patisserie's poppyseed, orange and grand marnier almond croissant - I love love this one especially when its warm. Strong orange fragrance paired with silvered pieces of almond and an almond filling - match made in heaven once it got together with a bit of alcohol! Highly recommended and worth queuing up for.

24 chicken mcnuggets for $9.95 - I had about 3 rounds of chicken mcnuggets this month alone and although it was a pretty good bargain, I think my waistline did a bit of compromising haha. Oh wells, I'll just have to work harder at the gym;)

As some may notice, I have been experimenting with preparing healthy meals but one thing that I have yet to perfect is muesli or granola. Which led me to testing out different brands of muesli or granola. Bought this one because it was on special and it's packed with lots of protein with each serve. Not too sweet at all and goes well with yoghurt or even on its own :p

Bodum cup - for the longest time I have put off the idea of purchasing this cup. But...after a week of constant utilization, I cannot live without it now. Made my smoothies and drinks look so good in it and that double walled concept means I no longer can burn my fingers touching hot items:)

Cornerside beef - never again. I was under the impression that I bought a good slab of beef but turned out that its been cured aka salty-fied. Not something I want too much of in my diet:(

Nike metcon - bought a new pair of Nike sneakers as the ones I was using did not provide enough stability and support to see me through my intensive gym classes. Originally priced at $180 and reduced to $75. Happy days.

Byron Bay cookies - I have heard of this brand before but never did get around to trying it out. This trip choc fudge cookie is a must try for chocolate lovers out there - cookie like crunch with a bit of soft, cake like crumbliness and pockets of chocolate nibbles. Delicious.

Dotty - This is a fun cookie to have and in a way, it did brightened up my day just from its mere appearance. Very happy colours.

Byron bay's white choc chunk and macadamia nut cookie - my first impression was that it's slightly doughy and possibly under-baked. However, I slowly grew addicted to it and eventually bought a second one a week later. I love its creamy, smooth texture, made better with the addition of decadent macadamia nuts in it.

Moccona latte - This is probably for you if you like your coffee to verge on the milder side of the scale. Quite a milky character and I would advise to be cautious of adding too much milk to it.

Not food related but here's a monthly picture update of yours truly - I am 90% back to black coloured hair and am loving it. Am wearing a Kookai dress and the quality is amazing. Kookai has some of the best basic, well-made wardrobe pieces which costs a bit more but is worthwhile the investment because you can pair these items easily!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Europe: Around Bordeaux, FRANCE

One of my travelling regrets would be to not spend enough time exploring a place before I move on to other areas. I would love to retell amazing stories filled of myself being joyfully intoxicated by one of Bordeaux's wine. However, we only arrived late in the evening which meant that just about every place was getting ready to shut their doors:(

So no wine tasting for us. I was hopeful that we would be able to just make it in time to pop into Baillardran , a franchise known for caneles aka petite pastries that have a custard/sponge texture, encrusted by a caramelized exterior. Ah perhaps we shall meet again, Bordeaux.

Boeuf - we headed to Bistro Regent and decided on a pretty basic set meal which had your choice of protein, a serve of salad and a bowl of french fries. No caneles for me but I did tick off another curious item which was beef tartare. This is raw beef, freshly prepared prior to serving and comes with limited seasoning aside from a few added capers. Not bad at all!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Europe: Beaune diary FRANCE

Wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune is an ancient medieval town that is not overly buzzing like other cities such as Paris or Bordeaux. We strolled around the town for a good hour, inhaling as much as possible.

Quiche - a savoury shortcrust pastry filled with bacon.

Paris Brest - choux pastry enveloping a layer of cream and given a good dusting of icing sugar to sweeten up the deal.

Kouign amann - croissant like pastry with a lovely sugary caramelization around it.

Europe: La Grange, Lyon FRANCE

Updates on my trip to Europe has been delayed by a year due to numerous unforeseen circumstances and trust me when I say that I am trying to pick up the pace again. So bear with me while I traverse from jotting down Asian travel notes to gushing about my European espionage.

Lyon was on our day 3 plan to which, we arrived late afternoon and after checking into our hotel rooms, we made our way around Lyon's old town in search for traboules - a very interesting experience and one which I will have more detail on the blog soon.

Aside from Paris, Lyon was second on my foodie map because of its famed reputation as a gastronomical town. Truth be told, how many of us have heard of Lyonnaise cuisine? I, for one, am not aware of this until I started planning my trip.

After fumbling around the old town for an hour, we decided to grab a bite before it gets too late. There are a couple of streets near the river which are fully operated by restaurants and cafes (addressed as bouchons in France) should you require a break.

I love bread as much as the French and get excited with the constant top up of bread whenever we are down to the last piece. What better way to reward ourselves than a refreshing, chilled rose?

Salade Lyonnaise ~ for 20euros, the sister decided on a 3 course meal which includes your choice of appetizer, main and a dessert. This is a classic salad that has bits of bacon, croutons, crisp lettuce leaves and topped with a poached egg.

Quenelles lyonnaises ~ Lyon's favourite fish dumpling, served with a cheesy sauce and a small serve of rice. This was a piping hot main and one that you should not rush to finish..just like everything else in France;)

I would like to describe this dish as a piggy garden - cured meat in the form of salami and ham, served with a bowl of cheesy goodness that is, yes, filled with bits of chopped bacon. Oh my goodness me, this was a very hearty meal!

Tart au citron aka lemon tart ~ crust was a tad broken but aside from that, it did fulfill my sweet tooth craving:9

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Heart and Soul Cafe, Mt.Evelyn MELB

I tend to rock up at work pretty early and with ample of time to spare, guess what I would be thinking of next? To reward myself with a good cup of coffee and something delicious to nibble on whilst I scroll through my emails.

Although I was there only for coffee and a piece of banana bread, I did note that the breakfast items look pretty yummy - yes, I am that person who does sneaky glances around the room to suss out what everyone's having haha!

A slice of warm banana bread served with butter and honey - an excellent start to the day:)

Heart & Soul Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Japan: Kyoto Kaiseki Yakiniku (BBQ) Hiro, KYOTO

Let's be frank and raise our hands if one of your motifs for visiting Japan is to suss out real wagyu aka the beef that had lived a sensational life drinking sake, listening to soothing music and getting daily massages.

The other question is where does one go to try this beef without having to blow off too much of your food budget? Yes, both of us did ponder about this as well and fortunately, managed to find a place that suits our budget.

Hiro Kaiseki Yakiniku is located in Gion and whilst reservations may be necessary for larger groups, the sister and I managed to secure a table as it was not too busy when we visited.

As with most kaiseki restaurants, ordering the set menu is a great way to sample most things on the menu and it can be cost efficient too. Our 9 course meal came to around $aud90 per person which is quite similar to what we get here in Australia.

Appetizers - always light tidbits to freshen up your palate.

Cured beef with a miso dressing - another cold appetizer to whet our palates.

After the appetizers and pickles, we were served our first taste of raw wagyu meat. Well, not really - we had to grill it over the hot plate. Our waitress advised us that the best way to consume it would be well done, which came as a surprise because well done is often linked to overcooking the meat. Why would you want to risk ruining a good piece of wagyu?

True enough, after we tried cooking it well-done, it highlighted the waygu taste a lot more than expected. The meat was still juicy, flavourful and smooth. Wagyu must be an expection to this rare/medium/well-done theory.

Our first few pieces of waygu already had a dressing on them and so, our second plate of wagyu meat came with dipping sauces. We could opt for whatever sauce suited us - no judgments at the table.

After a few rounds of wagyu, the course's pace was slowed down with a bowl of rice topped with condiments and a pot of tea for drizzling over it. Our first taste of ochazuka which is rice served with tea.

For variety, we each chose a different carbohydrate option. I had a bowl of cold noodles that came with pickles. Very refreshing.

Dessert was steamed custard lightly dusted with matcha powder and hot tea. I am usually a big fan of rich desserts but found the lighter types of Japanese desserts equally satisfying, especially after a hearty meal.

For more details on Hiro's restaurant, visit here