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Monday, 30 April 2012

Ritz Crunch

I am seriously in love with the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook. I know I've mentioned it before in my post about the infamous crack pie, but I just had to say it again. Being the biggest sweet-tooth I know, this book pushes all my buttons (in a non-dirty way thanks =P). I know, being a dietitian and all, I really shouldn't be flaunting, or promoting an unhealthy habit of eating things high in sugar and fat, but a little indulgence once in a while is good! Food is there to be enjoyed, but everything IN MODERATION!! I must stress to you that I don't eat this stuff day-in-day-out, and I do share it around!! I do not by any means encourage you to consume mounds of the things I post on here, or on a regular basis. Definitely only on special occasions or on a very limited basis!! Just thought I should say this before people think I'm sort of a hypocrite....*cough*... haha

Anyways, the latest sugar laden treat I decided to whip up from the book was something called Ritz Crunch. And yes, it is sweet! And salty. And crunchy. And incredibly addictive.....

You can actually use any cracker for this recipe, but as Christina Tosi mentions in the book, the epitome of rich and buttery crackers are Ritz in her opinion (and I must agree) , and therefore complement the essence of this recipe perfectly.

Waaaahhh so much sugar! You'd be relieved to know that I too feel sick after eating too much sugar (thank god there is something normal about me)....however our perceptions of what normal levels of sugar are maybe be slightly off =P. But yes, this, like many of the other things in the Milk Bar cookbook, are very very very sweet and its very hard to eat much of some of these things. Even the crack pie was quite intense (but oh so addictive mmmm).

Ritz Crunch
Adapted from the Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi

110g Ritz crackers
100g caster sugar
20g milk powder
2g salt
100g butter, melted

1. Pre-heat oven to 120C (275F). Place crackers in a mixing bowl and crush them with your hands till they are 1/4 of the original size (don't crush until they are just a crumb!)

2. Add the milk powder, sugar and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat.

3. Spread the clusters on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes (they should look slightly toasted, smell buttery and crunch when cooled and slightly chewed).

4. Cool the Ritz crunch completely before storing in an airtight container (will keep for 1 week at room temp, 1 month in fridge/freezer)

Enjoy =D xx

Growing Up

Last Friday I officially became a graduate =D

When I think about it I still can't believe I've finished a degree....I feel too young to have achieved something so big. Nevertheless it still feels good! It was a great day, full of smiles of both graduates and proud families =D. It was a great opportunity catch up with fellow students I hadn't seen in a while, and it was good to hear about all the things people have gone on to do in such a short space of time.

We just had to do the traditional hat throwing =P

I went out to dinner with my family afterwards, at Xanthi, a Greek restaurant in the relatively new Pitt St Westfield in the Sydney CBD. The next day I went out to dinner with my friends from uni for a graduation dinner at Cochin, a Vietnamese restaurant in Surry Hills, which was also a beautiful dinner, followed by a bit of Saturday night partying =P. It was so good to catch up with everyone properly, since I haven't seen a majority of them since just before I went on my trip.

I wore a coral dress from ASOS (No picture unfortunately =( ) and RMK wedges, with a clutch from French Connection as a grad present for myself haha.

Another present I bought for myself (or, that's my excuse for buying it =P) is this 50mm lens for my camera! I love this thing, I was experimenting with it all weekend.

=D xx

Thursday, 26 April 2012

El Loco, Surry Hills

I don't think I've ever been to a Mexican restaurant. Oh wait, there was this one time in year 11 when we went on camp and I vaguely remember them taking us to a Mexican restaurant. Yes, it was a weird camp we went on =P. Anyways, I hardly remember what we ate. So when I was looking for a place to catch up with friends I had 2 things in mind - fun and easy on the wallet. And good old Urbanspoon saved the day yet again. El Loco is listed as one of the most talked about restaurants in Sydney at the moment. Given the amount of blog posts circulating about this place it obviously has some sort of attraction to Sydney-siders.

I was heaps keen, since my experience of Mexican food doesn't extend beyond Old El Paso. The place was quite packed, even for a Tuesday night. I loved the vibe, it was quite relaxed and much like a bar/club with the music pumping and the chatter of people filling the room. The novelty cactus order numbers were my fav! And best of all, the menu was so cheap! A really good place to go for a bang-for-your-buck feed! It's a shame I was driving otherwise I would have dived straight into the drinks menu.

We started off with Corn Chips with Guacamole and Salsa. The corn chips are so good, they remind me of the ones you get from fresh fruit and veg shops like Harris Farm

Al Pastor Soft Taco - spit roasted pork, pineapple salsa cabbage, coriander, spring onions, salsa verde and pico de gallo

More tacos! Can't remember what these were =P

Carne Asada Taco - lemongrass beef, salsa verde, Queso, cabbage, coriander, spring onions, salsa verde and pico de gallo. You can substitute the tortilla for a cabbage leaf =)

I think a majority of us got tacos, but some of us ventured further into the menu.....

Al Pastor Pork Torta Sandwich - Grilled marinated pork from the spit served on a soft bun with cabbage, coriander, spring onion, mayonnaise and pico de gallo salsa. I was SOOO tempted to get this!! Mmm looks so yummy!

Excelsior Hot Dog - Grilled pork Frankfurt served on a soft bun with pickled jalepenos, pico ge gallo, mayonnaise and (LOTS of) cheese

Mmmm just looking back at the pics makes me hungry ahaha. And of course, we couldn't go without sampling the dessert.

Orange Flavoured Curros with Dulce de Leche

Some of the best churros i've ever had!!
They were quite large and fluffy, and the dulce de leche went soooo nicely with them. I don't think this is a regular fixture on the menu, but i have a feeling it's probably there most nights. That's another thing about the menu, they have daily specials that of course rotate regularly.

And you have to try everything (except dessert =P) with a bit of Mexican Habanero sauce. Varying in mouth-burning abilty, these add greatly to the tacos in my opinion =).

El Loco
64 Foveaux Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Ph: +612 9211 4945

El Loco on Urbanspoon

=D xx 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lest We Forget

Assignments assignments assignments. That's what I'm doing this Anzac Day. Well, the fact that it's a public holiday doesn't mean much to me because I spend most of my time at home these days anyway. But it still feels like i'm missing out today because my whole family is home and relaxing while I'm cooped up in my room trying to understand statistics and questioning why I'm doing it in the first place =P.

Me being me, I am thoroughly distracted. And of course, venture into the kitchen multiple times just because. And as it is Anzac Day, I decide I want Anzac biscuits! Duh. For those abroad, Anzac Day is the anniversary of the first military action taken by the Australian and the New Zealand Army Forces during the First World War. It is a day to remember those who have fought and been lost at war throughout the years on behalf of both countries, 'Lest We Forget'.

I did a little research into why these particular biscuits are a famous fixture of this day, and Wikipedia tells me that the ingredients traditionally used in Anzac biscuits (i.e. flour, rolled oats, sugar, golden syrup, coconut and butter) do not spoil easily and thus were made by the wives of soldiers abroad and sent over to them during the war. All I know is that they are damn delicious and incredibly addictive =). Hope you're all enjoying this day off which has luckily been graced with gorgeous weather!

Anzac Biscuits
Recipe adapted from Taste
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (85g) desiccated coconut
3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
125g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp water

1. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, coconut and brown sugar.

2. Put the butter, golden syrup and water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

3. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined

4. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart. Press with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack so it cools completely.

Enjoy =D xx

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Kleancolor Chunky Holo Mania

A few weeks ago I was on Chloe's Nails, the amazing nail blog, admiring Chloe's latest manicures. Inevitably, being inspired to re-create some of her nail designs, I rush over to eBay and compulsively buy all the polish colours under the sun. This time, I was sucked in by her stunning Kleancolor Chunky Holos. I LOVE anything that has some sort of holographic effect to it. I went straight to eBay and got myself a whole lot of them.

I've only tried two of them so far - Chunky Holo in Black and Bluebell. Both look pretty nice!! Can't wait to try the rest of them!! I see potential for mad layering....

The holographic colour shifts appeared to come out much better on my iPhone than my fancy camera =P so excuse the quality of the pictures...

Kleancolor Chunky Holo Black over a plain black polish. On the right is the matte version, using Essie Matte About You as the top coat

Kleancolor Chucky Holo Bluebell over plain black polish. Again, on the right is the matte version using Essie Matte About You

It really does look much better in real life, when you move your nails all the colours show through really nicely. If only the camera captured the colour on the nails as good as it does from the bottle....

Look at all those pretty colours!! Blues, greens, reds, yellows....

=D xx

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Old old recipes

Hey guys =D. I'm in the middle of doing some assignments, hence I have found some time to post on here! Ahhh procrastination, old friend, we meet again.

About a week ago I was going through my treasure trove of cookbooks looking for a recipe for Marie Biscuit Pudding, a Sri Lankan classic. Also, probably one of the main reasons why Sri Lanka has a high rate of diabetes ahhaha. But, in all my new fancy cookbooks I couldn't find this recipe, or if I did, it was like some modified version using way more ingredients than I can remember my grandma using. So I called Mum up and asked her if she had the recipe she used to use. She directed me to her own treasure trove, albeit slightly smaller, collection of recipes.

I love looking through this thing. It's an old diary converted into a recipe book full of a mixture of Western and Sri Lankan classics, mostly in my Mum's delicate handwriting, or magazine cut-outs stuck on the ageing pages. As you can see from the date on the front cover, shes been compiling this for nearly 30 years now. Of course the book is so full she can't possibly fit anymore in there. But it's such a precious reminder of how much I am like my mother (despite clearly taking after my Dad in many ways =P). I do exactly the same thing now, the same thing she was doing at my age. And in the gaps you can see her handwritten corrections on ingredient amounts and little tips of how she would change or improve the recipe. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside =).

There are many recipes, mostly older, written in Sinhala (a language of Sri Lanka). No, I have no idea what it says lol =P.

After digging it out, I spent a fair bit of time looking through the pages, at the different recipes, some I had never heard of. It was clear mum was fascinated with western cuisine, probably because at the time she had never had the chance to experience it for herself. I eventually found the recipe I was looking for within the pages and got to it. I was excited when she came home from work that day, I couldn't wait to see the smile on her face as her eyes swept over to the freshly made biscuit pudding sitting on the table, the recipe that she herself had written.

Instead, her eyes widened as she saw the mess I had made in the kitchen sink and quickly turned to me with a stern look and told me to clean it all up before she came back downstairs.

I still love her but =).

Warning! This 'pudding' is really sweet! Even for me! Not exactly the healthiest dessert, but it's simple (pretty much just chocolate icing and biscuits haha), yummy and it's a classic. This is my mum's version, I know there are plenty of versions out there using way more ingredients, but this is the one I grew up with =).

Marie Biscuit Pudding

250g Arnott's Marie Biscuits
250g margarine (you could use butter, but I'm used to margarine)
250g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk


1. Cream margarine/butter, sugar and cocoa together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. If you feel that the mixture is not sweet and/or chocolatey enough, feel free to incorporate a bit more icing sugar and/or cocoa. Mix in the vanilla extract.

2. Heat the milk up in a microwave so that it is warm, not very hot (maybe about 45 seconds). Soak the Marie biscuits one by one in the warm milk, so that the outer gets a bit soggy (don't over-soak, you don't want them to get too soggy and disintegrate). Arrange some of the biscuits in a single layer on the bottom of dish (any shape, any size you desire) so that it covers the bottom. Only soak each biscuit just before you're about to place them in the dish.

3. On top of the biscuit layer, spread a layer of the chocolate icing mixture on top, about 1/2-1 cm thick. Continue with this layering pattern until you reach the top of the dish. Finish with a layer of chocolate icing.

4. Chill in the fridge, covered in cling-wrap, for at least an hour.

Not the best picture, bit I didn't have time to make it look all pretty =P.
Well, it is sorta hard to make it look pretty in the first place haha

Enjoy =D xx

Friday, 13 April 2012

Baklava Cravings

For some reason the past few months I've been craving baklava. Like even when I was overseas. Crazy, I know. Such cravings have lead me to do drastic things, like run to my local Lebanese shop (which is like 1/2 hr away on foot) just to satisfy the cravings. Or, if it's too late and the shop has closed, like the other night, drive all the way to Sweet City in Bankstown just cos I love their baklava (2nd to my local place of course =P). My friend took me their last year and I got addicted. And so, when the cravings came on the other night, I just had to go get me some baklava. And it was so worth it. I really should learn how to make the stuff....

So many different types of baklava!! Not that I know what any of them are called =P. My fav has to be the on on the left like a roll. Mmmm just looking at the pic makes me hungry....

And I of course had to get some other stuff as well lol. Turkish delight, date slice and some cream roll thing the guy at the counter recommended

=D xx

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Croc Skin

I couldn't help myself. When I was overseas, I bought a few bottles of nail polish....well, ok, I bought quite a few in Thailand, just because they were so damn cheap, although the formulas are a bit dubious. I also bought a few in England however I held back because I found it hard to ration my money over the few weeks with all the amazing things there were to buy over there haha. Anyways, one of the awesome polishes I got was this Barry M Croc Effects special polish.

I was a bit sceptical and I didn't have time to check up samples on the net, but i thought I'd take the chance and see how it turned out. O.M.G. I'm SO glad I bought this!! I absolutely love it!! To be honest, at first I found it difficult to find the right base coat 'dryness' to get the effect I wanted it - you have to apply this one over a base colour coat that is TOUCH DRY, which is a bit subjective if you ask me. If you apply it too soon then you get weird bubbling and the effect is much 'larger'. Apply it when the base coat is too dry and the effect polish wont crack at all. I think the best result is when it cracks into tiny tiny lines.

I applied Ulta 3 Mermaid Green as my base colour...

Then after you apply your base colour, you wait for it to dry for about 1-2 minutes (touch-dry). Then you apply a thin coat of Barry M Croc Effects (its a thick black polish). See how opaque it is? It takes a few minutes for the effect to occur so don't panic if it doesnt appear within a few seconds!!

In the process of creating the effect!! Amazing!!! See the massive circle on my thumb? I believe that is the result of the polish being just a tad bit too wet (??)

Make sure you wait a while before applying a good thick coat of top coat (hence the glossy nails in the pics haha) - about 10 minutes just for good measure. You wanna make sure the polish cracks fully before you seal it in. I got a mixed effect on all my nails, and I even re-did some just to make sure I got that tiny cracking. I think it looks so nice! Of course, from afar you cant really see it...

But when you look up close.....

I think it looks so much more amazing than the normal black shatter!!  Maybe because shatter polish has been around for a while now.

Thought i'd add a close up of the middle three nails since i think they cracked the best =D

It's important to apply the special effect polish calmly and don't be too hasty - make sure you apply it evenly and cover the whole base coat - asif you were painting your nails normally. Otherwise you'll end up with messy results like mine =P.

=D xx


My god I haven't posted on here for nearly 3 weeks now!! SO SORRY!! Life has been hectic as!! What have I been up to? Well, the usual - uni, work, running around organising various things, spending time daydreaming about being back in London....(I seriously don't know where the time goes really...) I haven't had time to even pick up my camera and document anything going on in my crazy world. I also had a bit a of a shindig at my house which took up alot of my time, but finally, at this early hour of the morning, buzzed off a few glasses of wine, I have found time!! Again, my apologies!

I have been thoroughly enjoying this Easter long weekend! With all the stuff I've been doing these past few weeks I've had no time to cook at all, which has been a bit of a bummer. I did however get to make a batch of Nestle Toll House cookies! My fav choc-chip cookie recipe of all time. So sinfully buttery and soft, I get cravings for these now and again, and since I've been on my feet running around, I suddenly worked up an appetite for these one day and ran out to buy all the supplies i needed. It's such an easy recipe and the best thing is you don't have to wait long till they're ready. They're best eaten when them come straight out of the oven, with the chocolate chips still melted mmmmmm. However, me being me, I pretty much fulfilled my craving by eating the raw cookie dough....I couldn't help myself and let's face it, it tastes just as good as the baked version =P.

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Nestle

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (Or any chocolate chips you like)
1 cup chopped nuts (I never include these =P)

1. Preheat oven to 180C (375F)

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely

YES my nails were bare, but not for long!!!

Enjoy!! xx
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