Sunday, 24 June 2007

chocolate friands

I'm officially addicted to the chocolate scones which they've started selling at Baker's Delight! (Bought another two today when I was out shopping with mum which brings it to a grand total of 4 chocolate scones this week. Don't worry...I've haven't had all of them :P) I can't imagine getting sick of them but at the rate I'm going, it could be possible. Will keep everyone updated!

So it was a combination of these yummy chocolate scones and the horrendously cold weather of the weekend that I was encouraged to pick up my Donna Hay 'Chocolate' book and do some baking. A number of people have already noticed that I haven't been doing much baking lately and have asked if everything's ok. Aside from being frozen in this weather, I'm still baking! Just that the last two quiches I made were so hands on, I didn't really get the chance to snap away with my camera. And well, the quiches were quite a favourite and disappeared incredibly quickly after they were baked. Seems like I've mastered the Quiche Lorraine! Yay!

Anyhow, these little Chocolate Friands turned out quite well save for the time it took to unmould them. Looks like I need to be a bit more generous with the butter when it comes to greasing the pan.

Straight out of the oven. Glad I used the pastry bag to fill the tin, all the friands came out the same size and shape.
A dozen chocolate friands minus 2 :P

I've got to say, this is probably the first friand recipe which I've used which has gotten me exactly a whole tray of friands. A lot of recipes seem to only get you 10 or even just 9. Thumbs up to Donna Hay once again for getting it right! Anyway, does anyone know of a good cocoa powder I can use for baking? The Nestle one I'm using at the moment is Ok but I'm on the search for something more chocolatey.

And to add, J & I went to watch Pirates 3 with our free Hoyts tickets this weekend. We even had a discount voucher which got us a free upsize on our popcorn and drinks meal. Our popcorn came in one of those big KFC buckets. I'm never eating popcorn again!

Our big bucket of popcorn and probably a litre of coke.
Lady standing next to us in the queue 'You could feed the whole cinema with all that popcorn'

Movie was ok. Looks like there'll be a Pirates 4.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

good food & wine show 2007

I was half-hoping that the weather would've kept most people at home but no luck, the Good Food & Wine Show was packed this year (and probably more people than ever!) People were crowded around every store, queues to the toilets, to the bottleshop, for book signings, for the shows and for whatever else. I spent around 6 hours walking around the show and I attribute half that time to lining up in queues. Fortunately, I was joined by mum, Justin, Mandy, Kaho as well as my cousins who made the waiting time rather enjoyable, and time really seemed to fly by. Last year I would've spent a max. of 3 hours in there.

To mark 6 hours of show visiting, mum and I ended up buying one of those shopping trolleys to carry our loot. (Next year, we'll be better prepared and bring that shopping trolley back). In between us, we bought the Donna Hay show bag, Yeo's show bag, subscribed to Delicious magazine (and received an extremely worthwhile showbag, two coffees, a cupcake and a bottle of wine!), the Adora Chocolates showbag, dips and crisps, which altogether weighed about a tonne. Plus a few more freebies, we just managed to fit everything into the trolley. I owe my non-broken shoulder to that trolley, not only did it remove the weight off my shoulders, it kept all our things dry as we made the trek back to the car after the show in the pelting rain.

Mum and I with our free Vittoria coffees
So you might be wondering what on earth I did for 6 hours. Really, it wasn't that much; a combination of eating, crowding, lining up, that sort of thing. Here were the highlights:

Number 1: Donna Hay
For a good half an hour or more, I was plonked at the Donna Hay stand. First of all, I tried to convince Mandy to buy one of Donna's cookbooks and as a result, I was joined by this guy called 'Ed Potter' (who I believe works with Donna - name rings a bell but I have no idea who he is) and he echoed 'exactly' my sentiments. Together, we gave the same 'yays' and 'nays' to Mandy and after that was done, I discussed my dilemna with this guy about not having anything for Donna to sign. All the books that were on sale were already on my bookshelf and the only thing I wanted to buy, which was the apron, wasn't on sale. Anyway, I think Ed started feeling sorry for me and gave me the low-down on upcoming Donna Hay books. Two are due for October and from memory, one of them should be salads. There'll be a citrus one and unfortunately, I've already forgotten the other two. So given Donna was about 2m away from me, Ed suggested I just join the queue and get her to sign my magazine that was in the showbag. Sounded like a good idea and I even got a photo taken with her! Thanks Ed!

My signed June issue of Donna Hay. "For Jenny. Happy Cooking. Donna Hay"

Number 2: Curtis Stone
I'd originally wanted to see Donna Hay's show again this year but by the time I went to Ticketmaster to buy tickets, the show was already booked out. After coordinating everyone that was going, I settled for everyone to go to the 12.30 Curtis Stone show. I didn't think much of it at the time but boy, I was in for the best surprise. Curtis Stone was awesome! Not only is he funny, he's cute and he can cook!

I officially have the biggest crush on Curtis Stone. Apparently he's 30 and single :P
So to sum the day up, it was awesome and I fell in love :P Justin doesn't seem too happy. Anyway, it was good to get home after the trek in the rain. Somehow all our purchased items managed to stay dry while the rest of us got soaking wet. We were all weary in our own ways; having essentially skipped lunch for the day. I'm just one of those people where little bits of food just don't count as food. I was definitely hungry by the time I got home and stuffed myself with dinner.

Our loot. I should add, 3 blocks of Lindt chocolate was selling for $5! Bargain!
I can't wait till next year's show!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

melbourne - day 4

Last day in Melbourne and it was really just a short day. Woke up, packed, checked out, left our bags with the concierge and ventured out into the city on the Monday Public Holiday to find a place open for breakfast. We didn't have much luck around our Hotel but further towards Swanston Street, we managed to find a place called 'The Quarter'. It was one of many cafes in that laneway which were packed with patrons. No luck with getting a table inside but stayed on for the hearty breakfast which was being served. It was probably the busiest of the cafes there (so surely the slight nip of the cold could be beared).

Photo of the Rialto from the inside. Our rooms were on the right. It's really quite an impressive hotel but unfortunately, I didn't spend much time checking out its facilities.
Photo of the Rialto from the outside. Yay to yellow taxis which you can spot miles away!
My breakfast of coffee, eggs & bacon on toast. Justin kindly ate all the fat on my bacon.

As soon as breakfast was gobbled up and we made our way back to the hotel, it was into the taxi (another Indian taxi driver meaning more Indian music), and over to Avalon Airport. Just in time, the skies opened up and we watched the rain pelt down from our seats inside the airport.

4 days of Melbourne had whizzed by before I knew it. I loved the trip!!! (thanks Edith, Leong and Justin!!!)

Friday, 15 June 2007

melbourne - day 3

With news that it was bucketing down with rain in Sydney, our escape to Melbourne turned out to be extremely timely! Notably, the weather remained perfect till Day 3, allowing us explore to the city even further. (As most of the exploring was being done by foot, I was more than grateful that the skies were holding up.)

First stop of the day was the Queen Victoria markets, reknowned for their selection of fresh produce. Open 5 days a week (closed Mondays and Wednesdays), it's actually quite a big set up. Definitely a lot bigger than Paddy's Markets and each section (Delicatessen, Meat & Poultry, Fresh Fruit & Vegetables, General Merchandise, Clothing) is clearly divided into its own lot. Most of our time was spent in the Baked Goods and Delicatessen section where we grabbed our first meal of the day.

Justin with his Bratwurst & Sauerkrat Roll

We didn't spend long at the markets as Justin insisted on heading to 'Global Rags' - a factory outlet of discounted big brands (including Levis, Mavi, Wrangler, Kitten, Milk & Honey, Wish...). After a big walk and moments of wanting to 'give up', we made it there and began our treasure hunt through the factory to look for items that we were after. An hour later, Justin was empty-handed and with a long face. Jenny managed to pick up two Kitten Tees for $60. Bargain!

The next place we had in mind was Lygon Street, famous for its Italian culture, restaurants and perhaps, not so famous for the mafia and street gangs (which I hear are a thing of the past). Here we passed by an Italian festival that was happening and I spent a good 15 minutes watching some cute old ladies making shell pasta. They made it look so easy! In that 15 minutes, I had an Italian old man tell me how amazing it was and when he started to get too friendly, Justin urged me to move along.

Time for lunch. On Lygon Street, we had an abundance of Italian restaurants to choose from; mainly serving pizza and pasta. We stuck to the rule of choosing the busiest place and settled for Papa Gino's which was brimming with patrons. Here we ate like kings and the bill only came to less than $40 for drinks, pizza, pasta and a garlic pizza as a starter. Bargain! You bet I was feeling bloated like a puffer fish after the meal. Justin had decided to order the Rustico Calzone which was more like a big fat quiche wrapped in pizza base. Mmm...yummy but filling.

The garlic pizza which I absolutely loved!

Feeling gigantic, we continued our way on foot back into Melbourne CBD where we explored some more shopping venues, and tried to find the Nudie Jean store which seemed to have disappeared. Our feet were getting extremely tired and at some point, we sat down on a bench on the street and just watched the trams roll by.

Feeling gigantic, we continued our way on foot back into Melbourne CBD where we explored some more shopping venues, and tried to find the Nudie Jean store which seemed to have disappeared. Our feet were getting extremely tired and at some point, we sat down on a bench on the street and just watched the trams roll by.

One thing I found about Melbourne was that street theatre was a big thing. We watched some guy in boxers display his bum crack as he pretended to be mowing with a lawn mower. Another girl in a neon pink jumpsuit carried around a stereo and walked around. Another guy was balancing on all sorts of pieces. Another even jumped through a fire hoop and nearly landed flat on the floor!

A big crowd for some street theatre

As the skies started to darken, we went for a quick coffee and cake at Cafe Brunetti (another place with a massive selection of Italian cakes and pastries) to wake ourselves up. It was really just a lazy afternoon reading the paper as we rested our weary legs and tried to digest our huge lunch.

By this time, we decided that dinner was out of the question; we were too full. In place of dinner, we took a walk to see the Yarra River and then a tram over to Docklands (Docklands is very similar to Sydney's Darling Harbour and King St Wharf but has yet to be developed and people have yet to migrate over there). I suppose it's actually a little out of the way. Here we took the free City tram which circles around Melbourne's CBD.

Back to the hotel to watch some Ugly Betty (much to Justin's dismay) and then out again to check out Southern Cross Station to check out the airport shuttle bus. Ended up deciding to get some dinner and resorted to the Maccas which was across from our hotel.

Another day over...I was absolutely exhausted!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

melbourne - day 2

Day 2 in Melbourne was almost a blur - the day just went by too quickly!

First stop was Laurent Patisserie on Little Collins Street where Justin and I picked up some breakfast for the other two back at the hotel. It took some time trying to find the place as the front entrance was boarded up but after walking up and down the street, Justin spotted the entrance in amongst the scaffolding and yay, we were in! And what a sight to behold...cakes, cakes and more cakes!

Cakes that were too sweet for breakfast
Breakfast pastries galore!
After breakfast, the four of us spent the most part of the morning in Melbourne CBD shopping and taking in the city sights. We split up for the shopping and met up again at about 2 to grab some lunch. In amongst walking down the main shopping streets, Justin and I settled on a little laneway of cafes as our destination for lunch. The laneway would've only been about 3 metres or so wide but it was jam-packed even at 2 when we decided to get lunch. Leong's quick thinking got us into a booth seat at a little place called Sergovia.
Justin and I shared a 'Prosciutto Pizza' and a Lamb Salad.

Shopping was definitely on the agenda and the four of us taxi-ed our way to Chapel Road to squeeze in some shopping after lunch. Chapel Road is home to quite a mix of shops and I managed to pick up a few little goodies - 'cupcake frosting-flavoured lipgloss!' was one of them. Prices are generally reasonable but unfortunately the 'I love Cooking' apron I saw in 'Genki' was just out of my budget. But if you were to ask me what was my favourite shop, I'd definitely say 'Genki' - lots of little cute things and Japan-influenced brands.

As shops started closing up at 5, we made our way over to St. Kilda for dinner. We ended up eating at a place called Vibe (which was alright) but my attention was already on dessert after dinner. I think it was called Acland Road but here you had shop after shop of Italian cake and pastry shops which were stocked to the brim with all things sweet. The four of us literally gaped at the display in every window (as was every passing pedestrian) and finally decided on Europa (which had been reviewed on the Visit Melbourne website). To be honest, the chocolate and prune tart which I shared with Justin was nothing to rave about. I still think the displays were awesome though.

Leong and Edith decided to try their luck at Crowne Casino after dinner whilst Justin and I headed back to the hotel to call it an early night. Melbourne was turning out to be much, much better than I'd thought. No wonder people make weekend trips to Melbourne. It would probably be better if you had a car; it was actually getting quite tiring walking around everywhere.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

melbourne - day 1

An insanely early flight at 6am found me crawling out of bed at about 3.30am and fumbling in the dark to pack those last minute items. It sucks being early cause then I spent another 10 minutes after mum dropped me off at Justin's place, standing outside his door trying to get someone to open it for me. Turns out Justin was in the shower and poor me was left outside in the cold, half asleep. But hey, it was a day off work for me and a massive day ahead to look forward to :P Since starting full-time work, it seems like ages since I've had a holiday!

And who would've thought there would be traffic so early in the morning! Some car accident led the 4 of us (Leong, Edith, Justin & myself) to frantically run through the airport to make our flight. The odds weren't good so it was breakfast as we waited for the next Jetstar flight heading to Melbourne. Fortunately, it wasn't going to be a long wait; and just enough time to down a massively huge blueberry muffin and slice of toasted banana bread, with coffee of course!

Speedy or what?! (The last time I was in Melbourne was probably when I was 5). An hour and five minutes on the plane and we arrived at Avalon Airport in Melbourne picking up our Hertz hire car. Leong had that all organised and really, I thought it was quite reasonable; I thought just the insurance bit was going to kill us with all of us being under 25. (Yay! The guys were going to take care of the driving!) And so we started our trip along the Great Ocean Road...

Our hired Corolla

Split Point Lighthouse - famous for being featured in Round the Twist

A stunning view along the Great Ocean Road (one of many stops along the way)

Erskine Falls
Lunch @ The Great Ocean Road Restaurant + my not so good Soy Chai LatteJustin's self-proclaimed 'green' sandwich which contained prosciutto. It took some convincing for Justin to realise that prosciutto was actually smoked ham.
Lunch was sometime past 2 and after doing the first leg of driving, Leong was definitely hungry.This photo was taken on top of the lighthouse at the most Southern point of Australia (or so it claimed to be - we later read that it was actually another place; anyhow the entrance fee to get to the top was $12.50 - expensive!)

After our visit to Australia's most 'Southern point', it was a mad-dash to the car and some Initial D driving to get to the 12 Apostles in the nick of time. We had about 5 minutes to click away before the sun set completely over the Apostles, shadowing what little really remains.
And in amongst all that, I kept dozing off in the car (much to Justin's dismay and especially when I continued to doze off when it was his turn to do the driving). Couldn't be helped; I'd only slept for around 4 hours the night before. Thanks to the GPS, at least I didn't get an ear-bashing from Justin for not being able to read a map :P

At exactly 480km later and with fuel tank warning signs on, we arrived at our place of stay, Rialto Towers in Melbourne's CBD. Cold and hungry, we grabbed some quick pub grub before calling it a night.

Monday, 4 June 2007

7 foodie facts about me

I've been tagged by Suze from Chocolatesuze and here are the seven foodie facts about me:

1. Apparently I was an overdue baby and the reason I came out was that mum ate a big-headed prawn.
2. On the topic of baby Jenny, I was born with high cholestorel owing to mum or me (in particular) eating too much whilst in mum's tummy.
3. The first beverage I ever drank, after milk, was coke and according to mum, I would throw a tantrum if I didn't get it. Apparently, dad used to give me droplets of coke just to keep me happy. I'm not a big fan of coke this days.
4. I love cooking, especially baking but I hate cleaning up.
5. I love chocolate, Japanese food, icecream, cakes and have recently become a bit of a coffee addict.
6. I completed Basic Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu earlier this year. I look to complete Intermediate and Superior Patisserie once I save up enough money.
7. My dream is to open up a cafe selling all things sweet and yummy. I've even got a name in mind but all will be revealed when it opens up :P

I'm going to tag: char and jo.

Sunday, 3 June 2007


Through work, friends of friends and the most random of situations, I've had the opportunity to meet some extremely creative and talented people. For the two months or so that I've been working full-time, I still have trouble keeping my jaw from dropping when I see some new stuff that comes through the studio. I was in awe the first time I sat down for a brainstorm session and one of the creative guys just pulled ideas out of his head and put them onto paper. Wish I could do that too. [Might I add, creativity isn't everything. My job (in a nutshell) is to make creative ideas happen and whilst most of the time they do; the work in progress bit of it really sucks and common sense no longer becomes common sense. Don't start would take me days to elaborate.]

So anyway, this weekend I went to check out a little jewellery 'do' which was held by a girl called Cynthia who I've randomly met through a friend awhile ago. To put it simply, this girl makes the most amazing jewellery! I've bought a fair few of her pieces (even though I don't even wear that much jewellery!) and really, she comes up with such fresh concepts each season, it's hard not to buy something just out of whim. Just check out her branding, it's awesome! (simple and effective!) She'd sent out invites a few weeks back inviting everyone over to her place for a massive jewellery clearance sale as well as preview of her winter collection. Turns out I knew a few more of her friends and ended up spending Saturday afternoon over at her place catching up with these people. In the midst of it, we picked out pieces of jewellery and commented on each other's choices. I was told that I was a clear bargain hunter. Check out the pieces I picked out; all for just $17.50! The ring was a crazy last minute thing but very Anna Sui (hehe..I'm a big fan of Anna Sui if you didn't know).

Keep up the great work Cynthia!