Tag Archives: family

#crazycousincatchups @ Stateland Cafe + Loysel’s Toy

♪♫ Daylight – Matt and Kim

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“To Lead, To Excel, To Overcome”

Scenario: Friends and family members have spent the last year listening to Ming rattle on about what her brother has been up to in Singapore.  She enthusiastically shows them photos from the milestones of his army training and is always at least one hour early for these aforementioned events.  Additionally, she lugs around her oversized camera and uses up 8GB of storage space taking a ludicrous number of photographs and posting them all over instagram and Facebook with extended captions.

Diagnosis: a bad case of proud older sister syndrome.

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Snapshots of Silly Season

From the build up to Christmas, to the interlude between Christmas and New Year and to the ushering in of the New Year, food and family festivities are without a doubt abundant. With Lil’ Bro flying in and out of Singapore, I enjoyed my first mother-daughter Christmas before my entire family was reunited in its full form to call in 2015.

I thought I would round up some of my festive season highlights before 2015 really takes off!

Christmas Day
The latest addition to my family was the star of Christmas Day 2014 and we spent most of our lunch fawning over ‘baby-talk and -giggles’.  I decided to undertake the role of dessert provider and spent the week prior to Christmas looking for ‘Eton Mess’ components.  My original plan to make my own meringue was short-lived due to my baking essentials being left in Sydney and I was unable to find any pre-made crispy gems on my scavenger hunt.  Luckily, Mum saved the day by deciding that we should ‘redesign’ the ‘Eton Mess’ with honeycomb crunch and cream cheese ice cream to substitute the meringue and usual mascarpone/cream component – it is just a ‘mess’ of deliciousness after all!

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Quick Update: What I Miss Most

The first half of this semester at university has definitely taken upon itself to race full speed ahead and now I find myself embarking on my 7th week back with the prospect of Easter Break acting as my ‘pacemaker’. One more week before I can truly take a semi-break as I jet off to Singapore for a quick visit before my Lil’ Bro heads into the army!

It has been a busy start to the year, to put it simply and any food spotting or life sharing has been limited to the world of Instagram.  So…in a brief moment to breathe I thought I would make a quick visit to this space and share a little something which I always enjoy the most during my Singapore trip.

Although we eat out 99% of the time and I could rave about the Singaporean food scene for an infinite amount of time, it is the family gatherings composed of homecooked meals and sitting around a relative’s living room which I miss the most when I am back in Sydney.

On my past trip, which was longer than usual I was able to celebrate my twin Auntie and Uncle’s birthday.  My Si Yi (Auntie No. 4) is no amateur in the kitchen, preparing ‘Peng Cai’, a Chinese New Year delicacy full of culinary delights such as abalone, with each holding a significant meaning.  The birthday girl definitely deserved to be showered in affection after providing our stomachs with pure content.

Of course there was cake from our family favourite, ‘Bengawan Solo’ the makers of Nonya Kueh, what I have crowned one of the best desserts in the world…my tastebuds may be biased…
Blackforest Cake was featured as well as my newfound love, the Pandan Kaya Cake.

Until next time!

Ming xx

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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Stress Relief: The Grace Hotel Seafood Buffet

Hello out there!  Sorry for the lack of updates- I’m still alive!!  The past few weeks have been quite hectic to say the least – second year uni has begun and my brain/body was/is still clinging on to the summer holidays for dear life! Full of lab hours and afternoon lectures, blogging time and foodie trips have been limited but I thought I would post a quick review as a break from all the scientific mumbo jumbo on nerves which have been sending me into a head spin.

The first weekend after resuming study had the family booked into ‘The Grace Hotel’s new ‘Seafood Buffet’ as a stress reliever.  What could be better than seafood to take my mind off the troubles of uni haha?! I was ‘slightly’ excited when I heard that the Brasserie would be providing my seafood loving tastebuds with an array of Sydney’s finest produce! After my fun and delicious experiences at The Grace Hotel for their ‘Flavours of…’ food festivals I felt reassured that my stomach would be in good hands!

As per usual the ‘salad station’ did not fail to impress, with a rather wide selection of cold salads, perfect for the awkward ‘it’s autumn but it feels like summer’ weather. My picks would have been the cabbage coleslaw, which was full of crunch and freshness, without being drowned out by a heavy dressing. If you’re looking for something slightly more ‘solid’ for your salads then the ‘Cous Cous with Pumpkin’ would be the way to go!
Oh and you surely won’t walk past this section of the lineage of food without picking up some mighty fine ‘King Prawns’ from a large bucket of ‘heaven’ (well in the eyes of any seafood lover). Combine the simple yet wonderfully fresh prawns with ‘Thousand Island’ sauce and I would have been quite content, but I didn’t want to miss out on the Mussels or Smoked Salmon which were both testament to Sydney’s fantastic seafood and the kitchen’s ability to bring out the best …from the best!

A tasty segue between salads and mains came in the form of a tomato seafood soup which was full of flavour and had me ready to tackle the next course!

When it came to the main course there were numerous options, even for those who want to opt for a non-seafood dish (…..no comment…….are you crazy?? Haha).
Lil’ Bro went for the ‘Roast Lamb’(which was unsurprising) and by his return for a second serving, I can safely say that he thoroughly enjoyed it!

My picks for the mains would be the ‘Steamed Ginger Barramundi with Chilli’ and ‘Pasta’ dish.
Normally, one would expect a steamed fish to be on the ‘no-go-zone’ of the buffet but having tried quite a few fish dishes at the Grace before, I knew that this was a must-try dish. The combination of ginger and chilli created a light yet flavoursome and appetising dish, that held no trace of ‘fishiness’; only the fresh taste of a well cooked, tender fish! Combining my two loves of chilli and fish, I was a happy seafood diner to say the least!

The Pasta is a fantastic option as a ‘break’ from seafood if need be. A few buffet experiences have led me to fear overcooked and lack lustre buffet pasta, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. The creamy pesto and sundried tomato combination made for a simple yet effective ‘carb’ dish – I may have scraped the plate clean…shhh!

I had already spied the vast array of mouth watering desserts as I lined up for the salads! I loved how the desserts were ‘mini’ cakes and thus easy to serve with no messy cutting up involved!! It may have also aided in the process of trying a majority of the options.
In terms of ‘top picks’ for the desserts, I have to say that competition was steep! Each miniature serving of goodness was not too heavy (perfect if you want to sample a few options) but definitely not boring for the tastebuds! In the end I would recommend just choosing your dessert based on your favourite flavours, but my picks would have been the ‘Cheesecake’ and anything ‘Berry’!


Oh and if that’s not enough to satisfy your stomach, the cocktail menu is being developed and updated! I can’t quite remember the names of these creations but the fruitier watermelon option was perfectly refreshing, while the banana and chocolate flavoured option was definitely my kind of cocktail…..mmmm…such a great flavour combination!!

All in all, for $45 pp, The Grace Hotel’s Seafood Buffet is definitely value for money! The food is fresh and the kitchen has brought out the best from Sydney’s fine produce. Yeah yeah, I know there weren’t any oysters (a little heartbreaking) BUT for the price paid, I was perfectly content with my prawns and barramundi! For seafood lovers looking to kick their craving in a comfortable and welcoming environment, make a trip to The Grace Hotel before this introductory promotion ends!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter!!

Ming xx

The End of Chinese New Year to The Beginning of Craziness

My how the fifteen days of Chinese New Year flew by this year.  I don’t think it was because we were particularly busy celebrating everyday as a family, but perhaps because individually our lives have begun to really restructure and return to reality, leaving our holiday mindset behind.  Though I admit this is more applicable to everyone in the family but me (I’m still on summer break), with Mumma’s work schedule showing no mercy and Lil’ Bro sitting his first set of HSC assessments, our celebration of this annual event revolved around the significant days, which luckily for us fell on weekends.  Working towards each date, the 7th day, the people’s birthday and of course the 15th and final day, punctuating Chinese New Year within hectic schedules really did make it pass with all the more haste.  Nevertheless, it was of course filled with good food planned by Mumma and I.

The last weekend of Chinese New Year was a rainy and cold one.  I took this as a sign to warm the soul with the goodness of oatmeal.  I had just bought an adorably sized pot from Peter’s of Kensington and was slightly overexcited at the thought of using it.  Thus came both Saturday and Sunday breakfasts of oatmeal.


Banana whipped vanilla and cinnamon oats topped with almond butter, coconut, a drizzle of honey and sliced banana.


Banana whipped vanilla and cinnamon oats topped with vanilla bean yoghurt, sliced banana, melted peanut butter, a sprinkle of wholewheat crumble, toasted coconut and a drizzle of honey.

Simple, healthy, delicious and comforting on cold weekend mornings.

Saturday night was the eve of the final day of Chinese New Year and this had really only just occurred to us that morning.  We had not booked a restaurant, Lil’ Bro was studying in his own world and Mumma was overworked from a long week.  Once again, Golden Century takeaway came to the rescue, providing a gourmet feast in the comfort of our own home.  Our stomachs were indeed satisfied and any stress on Lil’ Bro’s part was minimised as he refuelled for more study!


On the menu for the night was my favourite Fried Fish, the taste and texture of which I think no other restaurant can replicate – wonderfully crispy while retaining the flavour and tenderness of the fish, not to mention the flavoursome and appetising sauce and spring onions which complement the dish perfectly.


Not even the hyped Roast Duck at Mr Wong’s can replace that of Golden Century.  Although it was takeaway, the duck was absolutely perfect!  As I usually claim ‘ownership’ of the Fried Fish, Lil’ Bro was taken by the duck – in fact the whole family was, so I sneakily went to forgo some of the fish in a trade.  The skin was perfectly roasted with the fat rendered off, leaving a crisp layer encasing an extremely tender and flavoured meat, which had no hint of dryness!


After trying this dish on the first day of Chinese New Year, Mumma and I knew that the Soya Sauce Chicken had to be ordered again to finish the celebration.  It amazed me as to how tender and smooth the chicken meat was, with the sauce not dominating the star of this dish.  It was quite heavenly!


We even created our own ‘Kiong Yong’ – Ginger and Chilli Condiments to add to these dishes. Being the chilli fanatic that I am, I was quite the happy eater.

Sundays in my family are usually quite laid back and what I have begun to see as the day of cooking, appropriate for the final day of Chinese New Year.

Mumma boiled her wonderful Chicken Broth with Corn, Carrots, Vermicelli Noodles and Fish Lip.  In my mind, boiling soup is a sign of comfort, home and love.  Nothing can compare to such a nutritious and organic bowl of love to chase away the prospect of the weekend ending!


Mumma proceeded to state that we could now treat ourselves after such a healthy ‘entrée’, so we created an absolutely delicious ‘Toastie’ of Sharp Cheddar and Ham with Dijon Mustard.  I can never find a toastie comparable to one made at home.  Most of the time we attempt to do so, Mumma, Lil’ Bro and I (The Toastie Musketeers) are left rather disappointed.  Such a dissapointment occurred on my Saturday lunch with Mumma, while Lil’ Bro and Papa were at their boy’s basketball!

Although the ingredients at the new Pattinsons’ Pattiserie at Westfield Bondi Junction were indeed fresh and quality, it lacked the flavour and ended up rather dry.  However, our creation was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon!


wasn’t already enough food, my Auntie E who just returned from Kuala Lumpur brought with her an abundance of Chinese New Year ‘snacks’.  Who could pass up the authenticity and deliciousness of these wonderful munchables?!  For once I forgot the amount of calories and sinfulness in these yummies and gave in to the inevitable.

The perfection of the Peanut Cookies almost had us in tears.  They were melt in your mouth yet crisp, peanut butter tasting, yet slightly salty and sweet.  I was speechless.

Yes, we still managed to fit in dinner.  How could we not end the celebrations with a hearty home cooked meal?!  Our stomachs were satisfied with a simple Fried Lettuce dish, the standard and much loved Wagyu Beef and Grilled Salmon Belly and a new edition of Soya Sauce Chilli Prawns.


Grilled Salmon Belly, has become a usual suspect in our meals, with its super crispy and golden skin and melt in your mouth meat.  I think we have perfected the technique for this one!


Live Prawns from Central are a must try for any seafood lover in Sydney.  Somehow, they taste above and beyond the usual fishmarket variety and when cooked with soya sauce, chilli and a hint of garlic, something magical occurs.  I may or may not have ended up wiping the sauce up with a scoop of rice….

I must say that we ended Chinese New Year quite well this year, even though we were without our extended family.  Making an effort to cook and buy delicious meals, ensuring that we took the time to appreciate the tradition truly made this year’s ‘celebration’ more meaningful and left me very content.

On another note this is my last post before SECOND YEAR university begins tomorrow!  A decision to transfer to Medical Science has resulted in a rather hectic timetable and I didn’t think that was possible after my first year!  Please excuse me if there is a short hiatus/minimal posting.  I’ll hopefully still be instagramming (a hard habit to stop!), but bare with me as I find my feet and maintain balance and health as the craziness begins.  My goal is a find a way to keep everything in complete balance and find a way to integrate blogging into daily life.    Until next time!

Ming xx

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