Monday, December 31, 2012

Banana Bread with Walnuts

Banana Bread

The year is almost over. My bananas are getting old... LOL. I mean literally, no encrypted messages here. I have 5 bananas ripe as anything. Should I throw it out? Never, there are lots of things you can make using bananas. I love banana cake/bread with walnuts. It's sweet and nutty. You can make banana icecream, smoothie, muffins or even banana fritters to serve with icecream.


For today, I am just happy to replicate this recipe with the addition of nuts..... I love nuts, I am nuts! Can't wait for it to come out of oven when I can slap some more butter on the thing... YUMS! Recipe is from Simply Recipes. I love that blog, so many easy recipes. One of my favourite blogs to follow.

Prep time: 5 minutesCook time: 1 hour

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.
Yield: Makes one loaf

Add walnuts

Banana bread

What a beauty!

Banana Bread loaf

So there you have it, one very easy recipe to follow with added nuts for me ;) NOMNOMNOMS!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Recapped

2012 is nearly over, what can I say? The year was #Winning as +CharlieSheen would have said! I started the year with a trip home to Malaysia and Penang for the ultimate Foodie trail. It was epic to say the least. I spent a few days with friends and family and was sad and a little heavier as I boarded my plane back to Australia.

In March, I went to my first Wagga Food and Wine Festival. Not sure where I had been in the past, hidden under some rocks perhaps but it was my visit to the festival and I really enjoyed it. I can't wait to attend the one next year. For a small town, there sure was a lot of people there and a great community day.

Then came August, when my boy turned 18 and became an adult. Sobs! I was happy and sad that day as he was growing up far too quickly before my eyes. We celebrated his birthday at Hoggys. Good to see he is still my boy, that he still loves his curly fries...... sobs!

September came and went with not much event, although I did get a bit excited about the opening of an Indian grocery store in town. Spotted bags and bags of green mangoes for rojak!! Awesomeness!!

I travelled to Sydney in October to meet up with fellow foodies +Jackie M and +vee wahid for the Night Noodle Market. Met Iza for the first time and hit it off. The girl is hillarious and man, we ate a lot.. at The Grace Hotel. Hilarity ensues whenever we girls gathered. It was a fun trip and I was so happy and contented after my Malaysian food fix. I also got to meet the lovely @wangirls on this trip.

October was also the month when we had to say our goodbye to my old gal Libby when we had to put her down. This left me with just one Dally now. We made sure Tassie is hugged and smothered with love daily so he doesn't missed Libby too much.

November came and it was pretty quiet as I was homebound, not much happened. The boy sat for his HSC exams and I held my breath. I finally exhaled when exam was over and only when his got an offer for a University placement for his course. I was finally able to relax come mid December and did a lot of homecooking and baking prior to Xmas Holidays. I thought I lost my mojo.... heheheh ;)

So what do I hope for in 2013?

  • More overseas trips
  • More photos shoot jobs.
  • Good health
  • Canon 5DM3
  • A pool :)
Lastly, best wishes to all you readers out there and have a safe and Happy New Year and come back here soon, you hear!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Brandied Cranberry Cookies

My Leaning Tower of Cookies
Another baking day this weekend, I am having a lot of fun getting back in the kitchen, just baking cookies for Xmas. I love the smell of baked cookies in the house. Freshly baked warm buttery cookies for arfternoon tea, what could be better? I found this recipe by chance when visiting sitemeter, Simply Recipes was featured on the site and I gotta say, love this website. It has so many recipes of cookies to choose from. Love it!

Recipe from

  • 1 cup of brandy (to soak the cranberries in, then saving 1 1/4 teaspoons of it for later)
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup (two sticks) of butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
Two sticks is equal to 226gram

cranberry cookies
  • Put the cranberries in a wide and shallow bowl, pour in brandy. Enough so they're are drowning. Just keep swimming my babies!!! Cover and place in the fridge for an hour or more. Afterwards, place a colander over a bowl and pour the cranberries and brandy through, putting the cranberries and the brandy they soaked in aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat the crap out of the butter until it's light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until light, fluffy and well incorporated.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and add 1 1/4 teaspoons of the brandy that the cranberries soaked in (as for the rest, I suggest popping it in a glass and topping it off a bit for yourself). Beat well until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through to ensure even mixing.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the mixture a bit at a time, beating until just mixed. Fold in the brandy soaked cranberries and white chocolate chips. Let them chill out for 15 minutes in the fridge to commiserate their fate. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (a baker's best friend) and place rounded spoonfuls down on the sheet. Bake at 375°F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

SAM_0964 (1024x553)

My kitchen smells lovely and I am slightly tipsy, it's all good! Gotta love this recipe :) Happy Holidays folks. Just keep on baking!! Errr, okay I nearly forgot to mention that I threw in some pistachio in the dough... heeehehe. That's also good for ya, puts hair on ya chest!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gingerbread Men and Xmas cookies

Gingerbread Xmas tree

Gingerbread men and cookies

Gingerbread Men and Xmas cookies

  • 150g Western Star unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup - I used molasses instead of golden syrup!
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • Writing fudge and rainbow chocolate chips, to decorate
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Line two large oven trays.
  • Place butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Add bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and baking powder over butter mixture. Add the egg and stir until combined. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Divide dough into two portions. Shape each portion into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  • Roll one portion between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick.
  • Using 6-7cm pastry cutters, cut shapes from dough, re-rolling scraps. Place on the lined trays, 3cm apart to allow for spreading. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Bake in the oven, 1 tray at a time, until just firm to touch.
  • Remove and set aside for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Decorate using writing fudge and chocolate chips.

Gingerbread Xmas Tree
This one is sitting on my mantlepiece ;) Hands off Santa!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Who's Dreaming of White Christmas?


White Xmas

Recipe from Woolworths Supermarket catalogue


  • 3 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • ½ cup red glace cherries, halved
  • ½ cup blanched almonds, roasted, chopped coarsely
  • 395g can NESTLE Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 100g Copha white vegetable shortening, chopped coarsely
  • 100g Nestle White Melts plus ½ cup extra drizzle later.

Fruit Mixes



  • Grease and line an 18cm * 28cm lamington pan. Combine crispy rice cereal, coconut, sultanas, cherries and almonds in a large bowl.
  • In a small saucepan combined Nestle Sweetened Condensed Milk, Copha and Nestle White melts, stir over low heat until mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in dry ingredients. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until set.
  • Place extra Nestle White Melts in a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave uncovered on Medium for 1 minute. Stir. Repeat process in 30 second interval until method. Drizzle Nestle White over slice. Cut in square to serve, Store covered in refrigerator.

White choc mix

White Xmas Mix


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Strawberry Icecream

Hi all, sobs.....Summer is here and she has been a scorcher, with her unwelcome heatwave. I must admit, I am not a summer person, I detest the heat and the humidity and I would hibernate if I could. Every summer I would curse and swear, that I would move to Antartica but it never happens. Maybe I should learn to ski and go hide in the snow somewhere.
But enough whining, here is one of my survival tip for summer. Eat lots of icecream. Invest in an ice cream machine, you can make sorbets, gelatos, yoghurt, and icecream and even slushies if you want. It is the perfect treats for those hot summer days and nights. However, for this post, I am going to share a very basic icecream recipe for the beginners.

Recipe for Homemade Strawberry Ice cream.  
It is very important that you read the manual of your ice cream maker. Please put the freezer bowl in your freezer overnight prior to making ice cream. You need to do this before the day of making your icecream. The bowl needs to be freezing cold, when it is churning your mix.
•         I to 2 small punnet of fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced, reserve a few for garnish.
•         1 freshly squeezed orange or mandarin. You may use 2 teaspoon of lemon juice as an alternative.
•         150 gram of caster sugar
•         600 ml of thickened cream (double cream) also known as cooking cream.


•         Reserve a few strawberries for garnishes.
•         Chop up the rest of the strawberries with added caster sugar, put it in a blender to process. Once this is done, put the content into a mixer, pulse the strawberry with the heavy cream until it mixes in. Use a hand mixer if you haven’t got a standalone.
•         Transfer the mixture into the freezer bowl, turn on the ice cream maker and let it mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes.
•         Five minutes before mixing is completed, add some chopped up strawberries and let it mix in completely. This is for the fruity bits in the ice cream. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture but not runny. If you prefer your ice cream a  little firmer, transfer the ice cream to place in freezer for about half hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes, garnish before serving.



And that is all. Stay cool and don't forget to slip, slop and slap if you go out in the sun! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Crust Pizza

Hey all, I just had to brag about the best lunch ever today, we had gourmet pizzas downtown after a work assignment and I must say, it was most delicious. Thanks to the boss lady Nicole for a lovely lunch and it was a very good surprise ;)

It was gourmet style and pricey but oh sooooo good! Nic has always been harping about these pizzas since like forever and I would always say to her, "No way... $20 bucks? You're mad"

Today, I found out why she is so mad about these pizzas. They were bloody freaking awesome!!! Best pizzas, I have ever tasted! Generous toppings, flavoursome and lovingly made!

This was my lunch was so yummy... at the time of writing, six hours later, I am still full ;) I love the Peri Peri chicken and Mexican. We also ordered Sausage Duo and Garlic Prawns in halves as we wanted to try out the menu. Nic is a fan but Brenton and I have never had Crust pizzas before.


Doesn't it look fantastic? Taste real good too. It was not busy, we were happy to sit down to eat our lunch there. There's tables and chairs in there and not a bad spot to have lunch and people watch the main street.



The End

Crust Pizza Wagga Wagga is located at

Address: 59 Baylis Street, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
Phone: (02)6931 9911

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Swissotel Sydney

My trip to Sydney was planned, it was decided ahead of time because I had wanted to attend the Night Noodle Market as I had never been to one of those event. Every now and then, you gotta treat yourself, this was why I booked myself into this luxury hotel. "Damned the cost, I said !!!" Hahhaha ;) Might start saving now for Sheraton on The Park for next year

So it was only natural that I would choose and book into a hotel closest to Hyde Park, which was within walking distance to the event. It was also right next door to Westfield Shopping Centre and across from Topshop which had the longest line. It would seemed that everyone in Sydney was queuing to get into the clothing store on the first day of opening.

The shuttle bus from the airport dropped me right outside the hotel. The entrance was via the concierge, to get to the lobby, one has to get into the elevator and take lift to the 8th level.

OMG!!! I just remembered whilst writing this posts that I did not checked for Fire exits out of building as one cannot use the lifts during a fire. It had just occurred to me right now, that I should have checked. Oh, how silly of me! You should ALWAYS checked your FIRE exits when you checked into a hotel. {Smacked} I think I left my brain behind as I even forgot to go to the newly opened Laduree in Sydney. I only remembered Laduree when I got home to Wagga. Sigh!

I was early getting into Sydney, so my room was not ready when I arrived. Check-in time is 2 o'clock. The nice receptionist checked me in and said she will call me on my mobile when the room was ready. It was noon so I decided to go for a drink and a wander next door, Westfield Sydney. I had lunch at the food court and had Thai food for lunch, it was yummy. And would you believe it? I forgot to go to Laduree!!! Argh!!!!

When I came back, I found that I had been upgraded to the Premier Room and my suitcase had been delivered upstairs. I booked a Classic room but I had joined the Swiss Circle members club when I did my booking. I was told that as a new member, I was given a free upgrade. I think this was only a one time thing like a Welcome gift. It was a nice room with balcony and I had the city skyline view. My room was at the corner of the hotel, so I had view of both directions.

It took me ages trying to work the Nespresso out because I am an idiot. The room does have a a kettle for tea facilities. When I did worked out how to use this thing, the coffee was so good! I am going to miss the Nepresso machine.

This was in my closet, there was two of them. I love hotel robes, so warm and fluffy and great to wear when going to the pool. There was also a couple of pool towels in the closet, should you feel inclined to go to the pool.

My room was actually a Premier room at the corner of the hotel so I had the city view of both directions. I forgot to take an evening photo of my room but feel free to check out their website for a gallery of images. Not quite sure why I took a pic of my messed up bed the next morning..... which I am not going to share here, LOL

I went to the pool in the afternoon. The Amrita Spa is just next door to the swimming pool on Level 10. There was also a gym on that level but there was no way I would go into there ;) This was my foodie weekend trip!

My favourite part of staying at most hotels are the pool, then the toiletries set in the bathroom, then the lobby bar. All in that order. Yes, I judge you in that order too ;) These are pretty amazing. I love the scent. The pool was a little small, but then that is normal for its location. I was not expecting beach resort style free form pool. This was inner city in a shopping complex.

See, they even give you a toothbrush/paste set just in case you forget to bring that along ;)

My gorgeous bathroom and shower. It was a pity that the shower head was not a rain water shower head but it was powerful and it didn't run out of hot water. I thought that the power point to the hairdryer was at a ridiculous spot. It is not suitable for the oldies ( like me...heheh ) to get down on our knees to plug it on.

I especially love the turn down service and it was accompanied with a chocolate on your bed and it was nice that housekeeping had adjusted the air-conditioning and turned on the soft music with the service. The room was nice and cool and look so romantic in the evening and I am still kicking myself for not taking a pic of my entire room.

Would I stay in this hotel again or recommend it to friends? Yes, I would. Totally. Your best assets are your crew. They are not intrusive, everything was done and thought of. Really appreciate your hospitality and many thanks to the concierge, reception and housekeeping and bar staff.

The writer stayed at Swissotel Sydney at her own expense and this is not a paid advertorial.

Swissotel Sydney is located at
68 Market Street ▪ Sydney 2000 NSW ▪ Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 9238 8888 ▪ Fax: +61 (2) 9238 8899 ▪

Friday, October 12, 2012

Qantas, Wag to Syd

To be honest, I have never liked Alan Joyce since he gave himself a pay rise amidst all that Qantas troubles, and so I was surprised that I booked myself on a Qantaslink flight to Sydney. I had sworn that I would never EVER fly them after my very bad experience flying with them in the 90s.


I was not expecting much from this flight. An hour, each way, what can go wrong? I said to myself, "OK, no eye contact and no interaction, just get on the plane and get off." I think I was a little surprise when the cabin crew greeted and smiled genuinely at me when I was boarding the aircraft. It wasn't one of those, yup smile, next, smile, next, smile... kind of smile. Her eyes actually sparkled!


I went to my seat, thinking " Meh, that can't be right.. they are usually grumpy, maybe this girl is from the country, not an uppity city girl at all and she is genuinely warm". Still unconvinced, I told myself, in any case they are QantasLink, so it doesn't count, they are not really the other QF crew.



I was so wrong. On my return trip, I had gone to the wrong terminal. I spoke the "other Qantas" person and she was really friendly, polite and nice. She gave me directions to get to T2. So, a lesson learned here, I had one bad flight in the 90s, I still wouldn't spit on that stupid steward if he was on fire but I am thinking, I am going to give Qantas a chance to win me back. After all, everyone deserves a second chance, right?

Bad, so bad of me for painting them all with the same tar.


Overall, the service was okay. I did enjoy the banana cake and cute little water bottle given.



The flight was smooth, the sky was blue and Sydney was waiting for me. It was a great flight. Although, coming back from Sydney was another story, I had this big-assed lady that practically squashed me to the window screen, she hogged the armrest and coughed all the way without covering her mouth. I had to force myself to go to sleep just to shut her out from my world. True story!!!


The landing was so smooth. I was impressed! Hardly felt a bump. Landed in Sydney on time, yay!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Night Noodle Market Hyde Park, Sydney

It was a very warm Spring evening when hundreds or even thousands descended into Hyde Park for this pop up event, Night Noodle Market which is part of the CRAVE Sydney International Food Festival.


Meals are cooked to order and only the freshest ingredients are used by JackieM Malaysian Restaurant. I can see a lot of other stalls are prepping up for the rush, and the vendors are cooking their meals away whilst hungry and patient patrons line up and wait to order their meals for the evening. For some, the aroma reaches the nose before the foods can reach the mouth. It must be quite torturous, the waiting.



For me, it was worth the wait. After tasting every morsel of the char kway teow which was a generous portion by the way with its fine wok breath, one can almost feel like one have been transported back to the street stalls of Malaysia. I also visited Mamak stall, for my all time favourites; satay. I could happily lived on satays alone if I were to give up carbs...but not tonite ;) because that char kway teow is just stupendous!


And this is exactly what Noodle Night Market is all about. The park is transformed into a Street style hawker center,  just like ones, you see in Asia when you traveled. Here are the various stalls that are participating this year.



Every year, for the month of October, the beautiful City of Sydney brings you CRAVE International Food Festival and the Night Noodle Market has become one of the regular event. Because of its success in the past, this year, the event has been extended to thirteen nights.






I love this event and was sad to leave. I am already planning my next vacation, October next year and I will be staying longer to visit with this beautiful city of Sydney.

*** To note, something quite different for this year; is the Noodle Lounge. For $79.95 per person, this includes your drink on arrival plus full menu – entrée, main, dessert and you get to lounge around and catch up with friends after work and eat fabulous hawker fare without the lines. How good is that? Drinks are provided by The Morrison Bar and there is a live jazz music to keep your feet tapping.*****

Where: Hyde Park North

When: October 3-5, 8-12, 15-19; 5-10pm
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