I recently stumbled across this series of gorgeous and quirky food art by German art director Sarah Illenberger. I would love to hang any of these on my wall. Hello disco pineapple!
For more of her work check out sarahillenberger.tictail.com
December was ridiculously busy, fun and featured an embarrassing amount of food and cocktails. Plus it was my birthday, so more the reason to celebrate!
♥ The Beach
I was finally convinced to go to the beach on a beautiful sunny day, I hid in a cave at first. I eventually got in the water and gave snorkelling a go, I had a great time! I have since returned for beachside walks and post-work swims – something I want to do on a more regular basis.
♥ Ticking more restaurants off my list
I managed to check out quite a few places on my never-ending list of places to eat around Sydney. Brunch at Orto was amazing and I can’t wait to return (why did it take me so long to get here when I live around the corner?!)
Queenies was delicious Jamaican food featuring jerk chicken, sweet potato fries and bammies (a traditional Jamaican cassava flatbread)
Santa Barbara is a Hawaiian Restaurant with delicious bings (asian-style tacos), more sweet potato fries (obsessed), chicken burgers and popcorn with pineapple and bacon chunks! They also have a great cocktail menu and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite places in Sydney for a drink and nibble.
Ippudo – so far I have only tried the takeaway ramen so I can’t comment on the famous pork buns which are sadly unavailable for t/a (tear). The broth was delicious but I found the noodles underwhelming.
And I finally made it to The Milk Bar by Cafe Ish to sample their delicious treats. The caramel slice and malteser pie were particularly amazing! I must return to give their milkshakes and burgers a go.
♥ An Embarrassing Amount of Cocktails…
I didn’t realise just how many cocktails were consumed during December until I went through my photos (and I haven’t even included the 1 litre mojito that was consumed at my work lunch!) Here are some highlights of the tastiest.
Clockwise from the top left we have the Amazing Perfect from Lil Darling, a Downtown Iced Tea from Santa Barbara, a giant cocktail made in a watermelon from The Norfolk and finally 2 very delicious cocktails from 4Fourteen.
♥ Iced Coffee Obsession
After drinking iced coffee daily in Vietnam I have been getting huge cravings for it here as the weather warms up. Unfortunately I can’t find the authentic Viet coffee with sweetened condensed milk too easily around where I work, so I have been settling for a “skim latte over ice”. Delicious and the perfect summer caffeine fix. Oh and the odd iced coffee with the works – ice cream and whipped cream, when I feel like a treat!
♥ My Birthday
And then it was my birthday and I decided to celebrate for a week because why not? Firstly I was taken to 4Fourteen for an absolutely amazing dinner featuring a ruben roll (pictured), roast pork, colcannon and the most amazing white chocolate sandwich with dulce de leche. I need to return.
A few nights later I was taken to Movida for my second birthday dinner. Here we have anchovies, goats curd + quince cigars, air baguette with “rost biff” and beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez.
And spicy pork ribs (best!!), salt cod fritters and grilled asparagus. A wonderful treat!
Then I had a birthday picnic Saturday morning with lots of lovely food bloggers! We went to Flour and Stone, bought out half the store, then headed to The Domain for a picnic. It was such a lovely way to spend the morning of my birthday with my new friends I made through this blog.
They stuck candles in the lamingtons and sang Happy Birthday to me, aw! (Life changing lamingtons, btw).
I had my second birthday party at The Norfolk and I wore a cat dress! I will not post any more photos from that night for fear of incrimination… I may have worn a watermelon on my head at one stage.
I had a nice time catching up with the family and actually loved the rainy stormy weather that Sydney encountered on Christmas Day. I baked ginger cupcakes, brownie cupcakes with strawberry santa hats and peanut butter M&M cookies plus I painted my nails coral and mint green to try and look “festive”.
I had a lovely dinner at Longrain for NYE with a great bunch of friends and got to wear my new sparkly dress. What a great way to finish a great year!
♥ A New Toy
Not much has happened in 2013 thus far as I got sick on the second day of the year and was bed ridden for a while. Hmmpf. But I did buy myself a new toy… the Olympus XZ-1! It’s been years since I have used a point and shoot camera, however this one has a lot of custom settings and the ability to set the focal point so I have high hopes for it.
I hope everyone had a wonderful festive season and is settling back into the reality of work!
Happy New Year everyone! I have met so many awesome people and had so many great experiences through this blog. I’ve got big plans for next year and can’t wait to share it with you. I hope everyone had a wonderful 2012 and is looking forward to an even better 2013! I know I am.
This time of year is often stressful for a lot of us, not only does the financial and emotional pressure often take its toll (don’t you love those family fights?), travelling during this period can be a complete nightmare! Fortunately for me I am staying put this year, my family is coming from QLD and as far as Norway to celebrate and I don’t have to brave those terrible airport queues or holiday traffic disasters!
I love a good infographic, and this one by CarInsurance.org sums up our sense of duty during the festive season to visit our loved ones and families – with 91% of us travelling by car (ugh). Stay safe on the roads, try not to scream at Grandma and eat LOTS of ham.
This month’s SABH is of course Christmas themed – Sweets for Santa! One of my favourite combinations is strawberry and chocolate (as seen here), and I loved the idea of individual brownie cupcakes decorated with strawberries, cream and white chocolate for the perfect Santa treat.
- 190g soft butter
- 190g dark chocolate
- 3 eggs
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 75g chopped hazelnuts (or nut of your choice)
- 75g white chocolate chips
- 12 Strawberries
- 50g white chocolate
- 200ml pouring cream
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large saucepan or in short bursts in the microwave.
- In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.
- Sift the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
- Let the chocolate mixture cool a bit before beating in the egg and sugar mixture, and then the nuts, white choc chips and flour.
- Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and bake for around 20 minutes.
- When it’s ready the top should be dried to a pale brown but the middle still dark and slightly gooey.
- Cut the base off each strawberry so they can sit upright.
- Melt the white chocolate and spoon into a plastic zip lock bag. Snip a small corner off one end of the bag and carefully pipe a dot on the tip of each strawberry. Allow to cool and harden.
- Pipe a dot about the size of a 10cm coin in the middle of each brownie and press a strawberry down on each cupcake. This acts like a tasty glue!
- Beat the cream with electric beaters until firm peaks form. Spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle attached and pipe little stars around the base of each strawberry.
Tada! Little Santa hats!
The other day I went for a wander to the shops to find the perfect birthday dress. I wanted something 50s styled, preferably in mint green. Then I passed a cat dress and any sensible dress ideas went out the window. Isn’t it wonderful?! However I do draw the line at a cat wearing a bow tie, fortunately this part is detachable.
A pair of Charlotte Olympia cat shoes has been on my wish-list for a very long time but at over AU$700 a pair I think I need to be content with just admiring.
This is ridiculous. I kind of think I need a cat-ular. Yes, that’s a cat spatular. The fact that it guarantees you a purr-fect breakfast just tops it off.
If you want to embrace the cat look on a more low-key level, then perhaps some cat eye sunglasses are more appropriate.
More cat stuff here!
Here is Part 2 of my eating in Vietnam photo-log. This covers from Hoi An up to Hanoi, via Halong Bay.
I was awoken at 4am in Hoi An to go on a sunrise bike ride. I was initially a bit shakey and nearly rode a woman off a bridge into the river. Oops! I managed to make it to the fish market in one piece, and there is nothing better than starting your day off with the stench of fish :)
My bike riding skillz were rewarded with a delicious Vietnamese coffee – hot and strong espresso with a generous layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom. Heaven!
A home cooked breakfast by a local consisting of a spring roll, spicy noodles, sliced pork, peanuts, coriander and a wee quail’s egg.
More bike riding in the heat had me running for cover mid-morning and in need of a refreshing and caffeinated drink. This is iced Vietnamese coffee and I drank it at least once every day in Vietnam. It’s delicious and refreshing and my go-to drink this summer (although I fear having a tube of condensed milk in the fridge will be very dangerous).
This coconut tart from The Cargo Club was so delicious I actually ate it for morning tea everyday I was in Hoi An. Oops!
Bánh xèo, a crispy pancake which is a speciality of Hoi An.
Bánh mì!! I swear I could live on these. This one consisted of crunchy pork, pickled veges, coriander and lots of chili!
A visit to the Central Market in Hoi An was a whirlwind of colour and smell.
Ummm “green things”. Any ideas??
Fish fish everywhere!
On our overnight junk boat trip on Halong Bay we had the most beautifully presented dishes – I almost felt bad eating each work of art!
Freshly caught crabs
Look at the beautiful border of vegetables on this calamari dish! Gorgeous.
The prawns came out adorning the most beautifully hand carved vegetable centrepiece. We were given a demonstration the next morning and I took step-by-step photos – will post them soon.
The bird was carved from a radish, and the flowers from a chili and cucumber.
This beautiful flower was carved from a carrot.
This fishnet was also carved from a carrot!
A lady selling fruit in Hanoi
Fried dough! This is served everywhere on the streets of Hanoi in a variety of flavours and textures.
And a final meal in Vietnam of caramelised pork and veges – delicious!
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what I ate on my Vietnam trip, I’m hungry!
I have slowly started trawling through the 1000+ photos I took in Vietnam and will be sharing more with you soon. Turns out I took so many photos of food in Vietnam I will have to do this post in 2 parts – Vietnam is a foodie paradise after all!
Fresh tropical fruit is in abundance and regularly served after meals. Here is a plate of rambutans I snacked on.
Little bananas being sold from a street cart in Ho Chi Minh
Dragon fruit at a local market in Ho Chi Minh
Meals were simple and small in rural areas. This was my lunch enroute to the Mekong Delta and I was starving within an hour!
I sampled some snake wine in the Mekong. It is produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine and tastes, um, snakey.
Delicious homemade springrolls from my homestay host.
I came across these ladies sorting fruit in a village in the Mekong Delta. They kept giggling and staring at me and my translator informed me they thought I looked like a doll and they liked my nose. Also, would I like to spend my life working with them, sorting fruit? I politely declined.
On a side note, everyone squats here. They must have thighs on steal! I only had to use a squat toilet once and 30 seconds in the position had me whimpering.
I visited a candy factory in the Mekong where they produced all sorts of Vietnamese treats. First they demonstrated splitting the coconut and extracting it’s milk. This would then be used in a coconut caramel.
Rice was cooked over a high heat in what looked like a giant wok until puffed.
The puffed rice was then mixed with a flavouring (coconut caramel or savoury) and pressed out flat onto a board to cut up.
The ladies then wrapped up the puffed rice squares for sale.
Finished treats ready to be sampled. Delicious!
I also watched a lady making rice paper wraps, a fiddly process that she made look effortless.
I ate stir fried Morning Glory with nearly every meal – so fresh and delicious!
You can’t visit Vietnam without many bowls of delicious Pho.
Wandering through local markets in any Vietnamese city is always fascinating. Here we have all the garlic and onions you could ever want.
Dried starfish. I am not sure if they eat these, but can’t help but think they would make a pretty (albeit stinky) Christmas tree ornament.
The markets are often an assault on the senses, particularly when you hate the smell of fish. Let alone dried prawns that have been sitting in the sun all day.
Pufferfish! Another addition to my fishy Christmas tree?
I stumbled upon a delicious looking feast at a temple, perhaps this is laid out for the monks?
At a fishing village near Nha Trang I saw a darling little girl frying quail eggs in a mini pan. Heart melted.
And as we took the boat back to Nha Trang we were presented with a great spread to feast on full of spring rolls, freshly caught seafood and veges.
I hope you enjoyed some of these Vietnamese foodie highlights, stay tuned for part 2 !
I woke up early on Saturday morning with a mixture of excitement and stress. It was the day of the Sydney Food Bloggers Xmas Picnic – hooray for catching up with friends, meeting new people and eating delicious food. But I hadn’t baked anything! After the success of my ginger cupcakes at the last Food Bloggers Picnic I knew I had to create something equally delicious. I settled on my spiced cookies with salted caramel buttercream.
The cookies came out of the oven fragrant and crunchy from their raw sugar coating. It took all my willpower not to devour several whilst I waited for them to cool down!
I sandwiched them together with salted caramel buttercream and they looked delish! But alas as the salted caramel took forever to cool down I was running late…
I must admit I spent far too much time socialising and eating instead of taking photos of all the delicious food, but here is a sample of some of the delicious creations!
First up we have a gorgeous Strawberry Fresh Cream Cake (shaped like a Pig) by Jen Is Hungry
Delicious krokets by Irenes Getting Fat
Cookie Dough Dip with Apple and Biscuits by Cooking Crusade
Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies by Spoonfuls of Goodness
Rhubarb Meringue Tarts by Muppy (these were heavenly!)
Homemade Cheese Plate (!!) by Nic Cooks - I didn’t get to try any of Nic’s delicious looking homemade cheeses nooo!! Feel free to make some more?? :)
Thai Chicken Wonton Cups by The Sticky and Sweet. These were absolutely delicious, I must get the recipe!
Vegan Pumpkin Pie with a Quinoa Crust by 84th & 3rd. I am often sceptical of vegan desserts as I feel the more butter and eggs the better, but JJ’s pie was delicious! And she ensured it had no nuts so I could safely devour it hooray!
Donuts! I have no idea who bought these but thankyou. I love donuts :)
Thanksgiving Turkeys by Gucci & Gyoza. So adorable!
A quick glance of my container and half the cookies had promptly disappeared. They were shortly polished off as sun + buttercream are not friends and things got really messy really quickly!!
And of course the obligatory group shot!
♥ Collecting pastel nail polishes (addicted)
♥ Matching my nail colour to my fruit
♥ Matching my nail colour to my new blog design
♥ Especially when the cat likes to sit on your toilet
♥ Doing a chocolate making class! (read more about the day here)
♥ Learning how to temper chocolate
♥ Eating naughty food. Hot dogs and chili cheese fries from The Snag Stand
♥ More naughty lunches! Pork belly from Slip Inn. Working in the city is dangerous
♥ Eating healthy homemade food to offset the naughtiness. Lean lamb meatballs with quinoa salad.
♥ DRY ICE! Especially when it’s applied to gelato. Finally made it to N2 Extreme Gelato :D
♥ Going for a run and seeing this beautiful sunset over the park. Makes exercise that bit more bearable.
What is making you happy right now?
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