Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Seashells Foundation – Coffee for a Cause

Today I am diverging away from the usual foodie posts to focus on a more personal and serious note with no photographs or quirky anecdotes.

Over the summer one of my closest friends, P lost someone very dear to her to cancer, an individual who I had the great priviledge of knowing.  It is almost impossible to completely comprehend how one copes with the loss of their mother.

P and her family have founded the Seashells Foundation in the memory of her mother, with the hopes of establishing an undergraduate nursing scholarship at The University of Sydney.  This is a true testament to the strength and love of the family.

In order to raise of the funds for the scholarship, P and her siblings are organising a number of events and personal challenges such as partaking in the annual City2Surf.  On her own, P is undertaking the challenge of giving up all things caffeine in the month of August, which includes what most of us foodies love the most, coffee.  For a university student this is not any easy challenge to undertake!!  

I urge you to consider:

  1. The amount of money that we spend on our favourite cup of coffee each week
    ~$4 per cup x 7 = $28 (not an insignificant amount!)
  2. The difficulty we would have with forfeiting our daily dose.
    It would be extremely difficult to ‘kick the habit’

If we each gave up that cup of coffee for one week or even one day and donated what we would have spent to the Seashells Foundation, that amount could go a long way in supporting the development of fantastic nurses in our hospitals.

I am so proud of P and her family’s vision is incredibly inspirational.  I would truly appreciate if you, my fellow foodies would take the time to read about P’s cause below and consider my proposed idea on how to contribute.

If you have any queries please feel free to comment below or visit the Seashells Foundation Facebook Page!

Ming xx

Philippa Gives Up Caffeine!
Anyone who knows me knows that it is very rare to see me without a tea, coffee or can of diet coke in my hand! I love the stuff! However I am not going to drink any caffeine for the whole month of August and I want you to sponsor me to do this.

 Why? Well as many of you know my wonderful Mum passed away last December. So my siblings and I want to do something in memory of her, something that she herself would have supported. She spent December in the hospital. The hospital was a great experience! The staff were well trained and professional. She had top quality care on every front. She had doctors who were intelligent and good doctors, they cared and they knew what they were doing. However it was the nurses that cared for her the most. They are the ones who are with you all the time, who do the day to day care of the patient. They took the chance to get to know my Mum and the whole family and made the hard time in hospital much easier. I am sure many people have similar stories of the gift that a good nurse can be.

However we realised that we were blessed by talented and especially well trained nurses and that getting trained is a process that takes both time and money. To become a great nurse you have to have a solid education from a great university. Education was also something my Mum had a passion for. So my siblings and I decided that there was no better thing to do in her memory than establish a charity that works to support nurses and their educations! We are going to start this support by establishing nursing scholarships at a top University in Australia – the University of Sydney.

 And this is where the lack of caffeine comes in. To endow a post graduate scholarship at the University we need $600,000. This may seem like a huge amount, but we believe that, with your support, we can reach this goal! Whether that be by sponsoring me in my caffeine fast, one of my siblings in their fundraising adventure or holding your own fundraiser we would love to hear your ideas! But an easy way to help is to sponsor me. No caffeine for the month of August, and many headaches later, I hope to raise some decent amount of money!

 So please, consider sponsoring me to help us set up this scholarship! You can sponsor me electronically at (you have been referred by Philippa Spence) or by giving me cash. Because this is being done in partnership with the university, the donations are all tax deductible. Anything you give will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much!


Winter Warmers: Ramen Ikkyu, Sussex Street Food Centre

With winter comes cold and with that comes the intrinsic need for comfort and what better way to find this in a meal than through a wonderful bowl of Ramen?!  A good ‘Winter Warmer’ should provide what my good friend M describes as a “hug in a bowl/cup” and for me, ramen has never failed to do so!

Here is a preview (temptation???) of what is to come!!

mmmmm…..warmth and hugs in a bowl!

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Freedom Vs. Exam Hibernation: 18 Grams Espresso

At this moment, Lil’ Bro and I are at opposite ends of the freedom spectrum – I am basking in the freedom of post-exam period while Lil’ Bro is suffering the stress and hard-work of HSC Trial preparation as he hibernates in the study.  Upon delivering Lil’ Bro to his morning tutoring session, Mama and I snuck off to Randwick to give 18 Grams Espresso a taste test after Papa had raved about its coffee numerous times.

“What’s with the name 18 Grams?” you may ask. 

A double shot of coffee uses roughly 18 Grams of ground beans! 

Latte – Ecuadorian Blend of the Day

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A snapshot of life @ Black by Ezard: Hello again, a Birthday and Family

With knowledge of the empty void of my WordPress has come waves of guilt and sadness I guess as a blogger of food I should say I’ve let my WordPress ‘feed’ ‘starve’??  On top of that there must also be an apology and some obligatory explaining for my prolonged absence from the blogging scene.

Once again university charged at me with a number of challenges this semester.  Every possible hurdle was presented, including an unexpected 2 day stint overseas!  Thus came about the limited time to post and well… engage in any food-filled activities.  Sadly and quite embarrassingly I embarked on an ‘eat to live’ rather than ‘live to eat’ mantra!

Now being the end of my first semester of second year I have somehow reached the half way mark in my degree without even realizing – apart from when I looked in the mirror after exams to see dark rings around my eyes!  It was a very stressful semester indeed, which ultimately led to a very rushed and crammed study period.  Nevertheless, I await my results in complete fear but take comfort in my time to begin renewing and refreshing the life of this blog while I do the same personally over this break.

I do have quite an overflow of photographs scattered between my phone and camera with a few eats that I had while slightly procrastinating and I can safely say that I have found some great places which I returned to numerous times and will continue to visit!  Posts to follow!

Time has certainly flown by as this blog has reached its 1 year mark, thus it is rather appropriate to bring it back to life with a Birthday post!

For as long as I can remember, my ‘Godfamily’ has been part of my life and many traditions have formed over the years, one of them being a meal that we share to celebrate my Godfather’s birthday.  As cliche as it sounds it honestly feels like it was just yesterday when we were celebrating last year and a familiar feeling of the crisp Sydney winter accompanies it!  This year there was a new addition to the family with my Godbrother’s little bundle of joy adding to the headcount as Lil’ Bro, Ip Girl (my godsister who is really just like my little sister J) and I are well and truly journeying away from the ‘children’ label!  It is quite scary yet awesome to think that my Godbrother, who I can still remember in his teens has now become a father, my Lil’ Bro is on the verge of finishing high school and Ip Girl who I used to feed in her high chair is about to become a ‘senior’ in high school……wow…

This year we made a trip to Black by Ezard at The Star – another tick on my ‘to try’ list!  The atmosphere there was rather special, as the floor to roof glass windows paneled across the restaurant to reveal a wonderful view of Pyrmont and the bright lights being channelled over from the CBD, which contrasted perfectly with the more intimate lighting of the restaurant itself.

Now onto the main attractions of the meal!  Funnily enough, all eleven of us ordered roughly the same dishes!

Appetite curbing devices in the form of brioche were presented and oh my they were divine!  Perfectly crisp on the outside coupled with sweet cloud like innards.   I still daydream about this brioche…mmmmmm…. brioche…..

OYSTERS freshly opened yuzu and wakame jelly

Out came a platter of oysters…how could I resist. Fresh and garnished with lemon and a great textural jelly component.

SASHIMI of hiramasa kingfish, sesame custard, edamame puree, chardonnay and shallot dressing

The sashimi entrée was absolutely delicious with the wonderful freshness of the king fish really shining.  My Godmother ordered hers without any lemon or lime (ah the joys of allergies!), which allowed us to make a comparison in flavours.  Mumma and I were in complete agreement that the king fish truly shone without the lime….interesting……

I was rather confused as to what those black crusted spheres were, so I decided they had to be taste tested.  The suspects were Bocconcini rolled in what I suspected to be the special Black Salt, which complemented the dish more texturally as to not overpower the sashimi feature.  The presentation was superb and such a genius idea!

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