A final post on Sydney brunch for 2014…
It took me a significant amount of persuasion in order to convince my Dad to leave his study for a final Sydney brunch together. After my first dining experience at Rushcutters for a friend’s 21st, the birthday girl herself (Hey Pip!) had me determined to revisit the cafe/restaurant/market place for brunch.
I must admit that I am susceptible to the luring decor and ambience of any dining location. The high warehouse like ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass panels created a spacious and almost al-fresco atmosphere.
Hello desolate space…apologies for the prolonged hiatus. As per usual university ‘nerding’ was to blame. The final semester of degree was nothing short of exhausting and stressful but I can very happily say that those days are now behind me! Following my final set of exams I indulged in a glorious period of brunching with friends before the highly anticipated arrival of my mother who I have missed dearly. A hectic week of packing ensued. ‘Why?’ You may ask.
After much thought and changes of heart I finally decided to take the leap of faith <insert that unforgettable scene in How I Met Your Mother where they leap onto the neighboring apartment roof top>
…and venture over to Singapore for one year of work.
Now that all crazy shenanigans have ended I can rekindle my love for this blog, which is in dire need of some TLC. So hello again … but from Singapore!
Over the past year my foodie appetite was stunted due to much time devoted to study thus I was determined to tick off a number of places on my ‘wish-list’ yet to be tried. Let us start with my trip to the famously instagrammed Paramount Coffee Project in Surry Hills.
My dear friend Queen P was visiting from Thailand and for the first time in three years the stars finally aligned and we were able to embark on a chat-, food- and retail-filled day. Queen P is one of those friends that exudes a confidence and energy that is truly wonderful to be in the presence of, much like Queen B(eyonce) herself and a perfect fit for the vivacious environment of PCP. Located in the previous Paramount Film Offices in Surry Hills, the high ceilings and infiltrating sunshine generated a fantastic ambience.
The month of June was saturated in copious amounts of studying with specks of excitement as I made a last minute trip to Singapore to celebrate Mumma’s birthday with her and of course visit Lil’ Bro who has less than a week left before graduating from Basic Military Training!
While in Singapore there were many dinners and celebrations of which one was a wedding, thus one could infer that it was indeed a fortunate coincidence that my ‘study vacation’ was abnormally long due to the dear old exam timetabling system.
Fast forwarding through a whirlwind trip, I landed back in Sydney with the prospect of 3rd year exams looming and three weeks of study hibernation clawing me into a draining ordeal. Only joking, it was not that dramatic but it was a tiring yet productive few weeks.
Over the past two years I have learnt the importance of fueling the brain with the right foods during this time. Not only does it provide for a productive session but allows me to take a breath, albeit quick. Time spent in the kitchen in the mornings before a day of study and during lunch hour somehow provides some form therapeutic relief from the technicalities of biochemistry and pharmacology.
Most mornings were filled with warming oats; eaten with pure class straight from the pot. As they say ‘practice makes perfect’ and I found myself discovering delicious combinations and improving in the ‘art of oats’. Given the wintery chill enveloping Sydney I would say that this breakfast staple was my survival aid and comfort.
Tips for Oat-Making Beginners
1. The amount of water you use will determine the texture that you achieve
For oats with more ‘chew’ use less liquid and for super creamy oats use more liquid
2. Cook on LOW heat i.e. cook with LOVE
Even if you use less liquid you can still achieve a creamy texture! In addition, you don’t want to burn your oats!
3. If you don’t have milk don’t stress
Using water will still produce a delicious bowl of goodness. In fact, I prefer to use water as my primary liquid and add my milk at the very end. I feel that this retains the fresh taste of the milk but of course it is all up to personal preference.
4. Add in your bananas/apples (fruit of choice) at the beginning and cook together with your oats
This allows your fruits to ‘stew’ and soften, releasing flavours into your oats. I always used to chop up my fruits as a topping, but realised how much flavour was infused via this method.
5. Toppings – anything goes!
I have always loved to add nut butters, but have recently discovered the beauty of Nutella. Lil’ Bro left many tubs behind when he headed off to Singapore so I have been trying to find easy ways of using this delicious treat (other than the obvious toast spread).
Fresh fruits are also great – save some from the fruit you cook with your oats!
Finally, to balance out the soft textures I like to add a sprinkle of granola. At the moment I am very much enjoying the new Woolworth’s Home Brand Orange Granola Clusters and Coconut Macadamia Toasted Granola.
6. Cinnamon and ginger
This warming and comforting combination of spices not only adds to the overall flavour but they also provide numerous health benefits! I always mix these in before I cook the oats.
7. Sweetness can be added in many forms
I love to use dates as a natural sweetener as they provide my digestive system with a good dose of fibre. If dates are not being craved I use honey or maple syrup. I have yet to try adding some good berry jam on top…but there’s another idea!
1. Apple + Date + Peanut Butter
2. Banana + Honey + Nutella/Peanut Butter
Thus comes an end to Mornings with Ming and my 2014 Oat Series! Hopefully I have not bored you all 🙂
I am now in the antithesis of Sydney winter and back in Singapore! More posts to come 🙂
If you’re sick of looking at oats, I have provided a photo of toast hehe.
The end of semester arrived after what felt like an endless three weeks of study and exams.
Third year has definitely provided its challenges and pressure is most definitely mounting – as my Pharmacology lecturer expresses, “You guys are on the market next year”. So, between study, more study and planning for 2015 (it seems early but as usual application deadlines and New Years will arrive with little warning!!), there has been little time for anything else!
Completing my final paper on the painfully timetabled final Saturday morning of exam period, I met one of my oldest food ‘partners-in-crime’, M for brunch on this chilly Monday. Being my third visit to the increasingly famous Devon Cafe (Mama and I have have enjoyed both their brunch and lunch), I was eager to introduce M to this brunch haven. We agreed that after a hectic semester, the feeling of being able to simply “chill” over winter break (excuse the pun) was more than welcome in a widespread embrace!
My insta-surveying had me eyeing the “Ultimate Toastie” special BUT to my the disappointment of my increasingly large winter appetite, I was told that this highly photographed dish is only served on Friday to Sunday! No matter, this momentary sadness was salvaged by the prospect of trying the “Eggs Blini”; Buckwheat blini, cured king salmon, salmon caviar, broccolini, sauce Mikado and poached eggs. Usually, ‘Benedict-type’ eggs are sometimes rather heavy, but thisdish was quite the opposite. Eggs were poached to oozing perfection, blini was fluffy and slightly sweet and was complemented perfectly by a tangy sauce and delicious cured salmon. Never having seen this on a cafe menu before, I thought it was rather unique and definitely something I would recommend for poached egg enthusiasts and those looking for a dish that is not the ‘run-of-the-mill’ brunch option.
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!! I have a celebratory post coming up soon but thought that a little local hawker fare needed to be injected into this space.
In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the post and that the Year of the Horse brings happiness, health, success and wealth in all aspects of life to you all!
Each trip to Singapore holds minimal ‘clean eats’ but maximal taste and enjoyment. Rojak is my attempt at incorporating a salad type meal into my day….but who am I kidding? It tastes too good to be true.
In regards to the ‘technicalities’ of this hawker dish, Singaporeans gravitate towards the ‘Chinese-style’ Fruit Rojak, which traditionally consists of:
• Bengkoang (turnip)
• Taupok (a puffy and deep-fried tofu)
• You Tiao (Asian dough-fritters)
• Chopped nuts
• Dressing – haeko (shrimp paste), sugar, chilli and lime juice
Some places like to include more unique additions:
• Raw mango
• Green apple
• Century Egg
All the ingredients are tossed together in the dressing, which is hopefully plentiful until the flavours of the dressing are absorbed into the more ‘neutral’ tasting dry components.
This trip, I have undertaken the tough task of deciding upon the (subjectively) Best Rojak in Singapore, so I visited three Rojak stalls which were either recommended to me or which I had discovered on previous trips.
It is a rare occurrence when Lil’ Bro and I have the chance to go on a food related outing together. With Papa Ho returning to Sydney and Mama off being a busy bee, we decided to venture around the area of Kampung Bahru before Lil’ Bro’s ‘work training’… Yes, embarrassingly for jobless me, my little brother secured an ‘intermission’ job before starting his internship as he waits for his army enlistment in May.
Originally, I was planning on heading towards a cafe hotspot around Duxton Road. Sometimes I become caught up in my determination to check out one of the many locations on my foodie ‘wish list’, which ends up in hungry stomachs and walking around in an endless search for a well hidden cafe. On this occasion, I was reminded by Lil’ Bro that time was limited so as I was about to turn back and settle for a cafe near his work place, I spotted ‘The Provision Shop’ hiding behind a bus stop and underneath a towering block of HDB flats. As per usual, I had been enlightened of its existence by the wonderful world of Instagram and immediately rushed towards this surprise discovery.
At 5pm on a Tuesday, the cafe was relatively busy. After teaching Lil Bro how to differentiate between different types of coffee, he decided upon an Iced Latte while I chose the Iced Long Black…yes the climate is rather warm here! Both were enjoyed and I definitely appreciated the break from milky coffees.
In addition, the growing boy had his heart set on the Chocolate Cheese Cake from the minute we entered. From my sample of the cake, it was not overly rich and had a great texture that lay in the spectrum between the dense New York Cheesecake and light Japanese rendition. Lil’ Bro was definitely a fan.
After talking to the friendly staff in charge I was informed that the cafe was very new and only open for about 2.5 months. My first impression was that it was definitely holding its own for such a new kid on the block. In addition to usual cafe items, The Provision Shop is also open for dinners offering pasta dishes until 8pm. Hopefully I’ll be able to make my way there with the parentals for a meal before I leave!
Oh Yes….Lil Bro has caught the Instagram bug….. Hehe
So I suppose the moral of the story is sometimes when we stop searching we stumble upon just what we are looking for. Enjoy the journey because you never know when life may take you on a pleasant detour.
Address: #01-79, 3 Everton Park