31 Dec 2009

train-ing it in sydney

Central Station - near China Town (I'd say the equivalent to Flinders Station)

I'm back in Melbourne during another heat wave, but before posting other stuff, I'm going yo continue about my holiday in Sydney.

Can't really expect to always drive to our destinations whilst on holiday, so we tend to use the public transport available. Here in Sydney, public transport means trains, trams, ferries and buses. However, unlike the system we have in Melbourne, each transport requires a different ticket.

Ticket machine

Buying a ticket for the trains were so confusing. I thought metcards worked throughout Australia, so I bought a whole stash to Sydney, finding out it's a different system.

The ticket machine uses the same system like the ones in Taiwan and Japan. There are 8 different train lines with it's own distinct colour and routes. To purchase a ticket, you really need to know what stop you are going to get off at, because each ticket is valid for a certain number of stops.

Train ticket

Unlike the $3 weekend fare we have in Melbourne, Sydney has a $2.50 family fun day ticket. However children have to be accompanied by an adult to be legible to purchase a family fun day ticket. Family tickets on a weekend are $2.50 which is the same for ferries as well.


The trains in Sydney have 3 levels! An upper level, a ground level (with limited seats) and a lower level. But the seats are pretty packed together, so it seems hard to squish into during peak hours. There are also no air conditioning inside, so it's really stuffy and stinks on a hot day unless everyone opens the windows.

Lower level

I'd say the transport will be successful if the trains in Sydney and Melbourne fuse together. Melbourne's interior combined with Sydney's exterior (3 levels).

Let's hope Metro and I are on the same line of thinking.

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

26 Dec 2009

i'm in sydney

Unfortunately I did not get to take photos every thirty minutes because it was either too dark or there was nothing to take photos of since we were on the highway for the whole 10 hour trip. I only got a chance to take photos during the stops every two hours at the local cafes and stations.

First stop: Mokoan Rest Area

Second stop: Caltex petrol station

Mini wind mill in front of the petrol station

Some statue

Some random dog that caught my attention

The stray cat in my cousin's house

Everyone in my cousin's house are very lively and the rooms are huge! Everything seems to be imported from Japan too. Even the toilet is from Japan! You know the ones with the bum washer and toilet seat warmer...lots of functions. There's also Japanese snacks in every single corner of the house! This I am not kidding you.

And hah! One of my cousins are so tall XD Even taller than Thangstahh! For some strange reason, he looks like the iPod guy... Even my cousins agree XD But Jun doesn't seem to think the same!

HAHAHAHAHA Just had a lol moment.

Yumi was talking about how she was in love with Twilight and when she was up to "I'm so in love with..." when Jun walks past and says "with me?" and a bunch of dialogue about incest and nightmares XD

road trip 2009

My baggage :) I've moved out all the food into my rucksack.

By the time you are reading this, I will be on my way to Sydney for a family trip. I'm not sure if I will have the chance to blog in Sydney, but I'll be bringing my laptop in case. If not, this will be the last post of the year and I promise to be a good tourist and take lots and lots of photos when I come back in a few days.

To not fall asleep during the 9-10 hour trip up there, I plan to take photos every 30 minutes? or whatever I'll be eating on my way.

Don't miss me too much ;)

24 Dec 2009

chrismas present

A wrapped Christmas box underneath the plastic and brown wrapping

The post man came earlier than expected with the mail yesterday, with nothing for me. So when I returned home from the temple and dinner I was surprised to see a package addressed to me from my blogger friend, Henry. Actually I received more mail than expected! I had one from The Daily Yomiuri, informing me I didn't win the photo competition (as expected) and one from VSL with my homework.

I've been stalking the post man ever since the holidays, to see when he comes. Usually he makes his rounds at 1.30 PM so I was rather annoyed when he came late on Wednesday. I am actually very overfilled with joy when the post man comes round with mail. I don't know why, but receiving mail is kinda special in a way :) I won't overfilled with the bills in the mail when it's my turn to pay them though.

Christmas badge, snow globe Hello Kitty Card, Pure Gula Melaka (Coconut Sugar), 椰子糖 (coconut caramels)

Inside the package were famous Malaysian sweets. One being gula melaka from Malacca which can be used as filling for tong yuan and can be melted into syrups.

椰子糖 coconut caramels

Inside the brightly coloured wrappers were 椰子糖. They were soft and chewy and had a strong coconut aroma with some kind of nuts inside. My mum used to say she ate them when she was a kid and was happy when she saw them. I'm going to stock up on these when I go to Malaysia :D

I would like to say a BIG thank you to my blogger friend, Henry and his family for such a thoughtful present!

15 Dec 2009

sardine puff pie

It was another one of my bakes over last week's baking week (where I was crazily baking something every day). Seeing how this can be done with tuna (with a different method) I wanted to see if you could use it for this as well. Another one of my experiments turned out well :)

On a note, my year 12 subjects scores arrived in the mail today. You could say I am happy about my results, so that's all good! I got a better score than I expected for accounting, and I am VERY HAPPY that I don't have to study accounting for the rest of my life...(I hope!)


sardine puff pie

200 degrees Celsius
fan forced

makes 12
  • 1 large can of sardines in tomato sauce (425 g)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and corn, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup potatoes (1 cm x 1 cm), boiled and drained
  • 1 onion
  • 3 Tb oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 sheets of frozen puff pastry
  • 1 egg


1. Pour contents of sardine can in a plate. Remove bones from the sardines and reserve the sauce.

2. Finely dice onion and fry in a heated pan with oil.

3. When the onion browns, add the sardines and break them apart.

4. Add the reserved sauce and tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the peas, corn and potatoes. Stir to combine.

5. Divide the puff pastry into 8 equal pieces. Place 2 Tb of filling in the centre 4 pieces. Brush edges with beaten egg.

6. Fold the 2 side pieces over the filled pieces. Seal with a fork and brush egg over the tops.

7. Bake in an oven until golden.

11 Dec 2009

my house is very boring

So I invited Murasaki and Lief92 to my house to do stuff. But my house is very boring so we mainly just played Wii, talk and visit the park :) Apparently the two find watching me bake and take photos very interesting...

And I think the amount of food at my house shocked them XD My house was branded a supermarket with 8000 different types of chocolates. HAHA! Also managed to make a dozen chocolate muffins (which were too sweet), brownies and fluffy pancakes.

I took a total of 42 photos and picked out 4 shots that I think were better. Still the man made objects were in the way most of the time.

Patience and positioning

This goose/duck is very self conscious. Kept grooming itself!

Water hen!

Also when I checked my e-mail, I noticed I had one junk mail. It turned out that the email was from a staff from The Japan Forum informing me that one of my posts (later shortened by TJF) on tsunagaaru is chosen to be published in 国際文化フォラム (Kokusai Forum Tsuushin) at the end of January 2010. How cool is that!

10 Dec 2009

summer fruit


The only thing good about summer is holidays and the abundance of stone fruit. Stone fruits are coming into season; apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches, cherries just to name a few. Well got to enjoy them before the season is over.

I'm looking forward to making compote for yogurt :)

9 Dec 2009

blueberry compote

Lately I have been busy...cooking and trying new recipes as well as doing household work around the house. Who knew the stovetop could be so dirty after one week's use and how much dust the television tops catch. Over the past two weeks, cooking and baking has been my first priority so I've been practically going through cook books and in the kitchen and I've been moving around my yahoo.jp kitchen, cookpad kitchen, tsunagaaru and of course, this very blog.

Many parents say that cooking 3 meals is a chore, but I find it quite fun and addictive, right now anyway. I don't think it will become a chore for me at this rate XD

This recipe is based on a blueberry jam/sauce kinda thing but turned out to be a compote instead. It's great with creamy vanilla yogurt and on top of pancakes :) Simple, fast and easy!

blueberry compote

serves 2
  • 100 grams frozen blueberries
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • rind of 1 orange
1. Place all the ingredients into a small pot.

2. On a low heat, stir constantly for 8-10 minutes.

3. When all the blueberries are soft and mushy, the compote is ready. Cool and refrigerate for later use.
Note: Mix half of the compote with vanilla yogurt and it will become blueberry flavoured yogurt. Freeze the yogurt for a delicious treat :) Great for the upcoming summer heat waves.

4 Dec 2009

え? 先生か?

photo courtesy of murasakilover

One of the Japanese teachers I, Murasaki, A, J and M took on a tour around the school. Sensei was funny as you can see in the photo.

3 Dec 2009

sardine puff pie

Sardine puff pie

Made this for lunch today. And, yes, I used the oven. HAHA Can't help it cooking and baking is very addictive :)

Edit (4th December) See my noob Japanese recipe translation here and same thing reposted here. English version one coming soon!

30 Nov 2009

apple pie (puff pastry)

Target lock on!

On a mission to eliminate the basket full of evil apples. Every time I do, the baskets seem to refill themselves and on this case the amount doubled! Fortunately one basket was given away :) I still have about 25 apples on hand. Does any one have any good apple recipes? I don't want to become sick of apple pie as well.

golden and crisp *munch munch*

apple pie (puff pastry)

165 degrees Celsius
fan forced

makes 3 large pastries or 12 mini sized
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 apples
    (2 apples per puff pastry)
  • 1/2 cup of sultanas, cooked
    (bring to a boil under low heat until sultanas are soft and plump, drain and dry)
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 30 grams sugar and honey to taste
  • 1 Tb of corn flour blended in 1/3 cup water - optional
    (if you want a thick and sticky sauce)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3 frozen puff pastry sheets, semi defrosted
  • 1 beaten egg
1. Juice the lemon and put juice in a mixing bowl. Peel the apples, cut into 8 wedges and later into thin slices 2-3 mm. Mix the apple with the lemon juice to stop it browning.

2. Melt the butter and sugar in a non stick pan under high heat.

3. When sugar turns brown add the apples and cooked sultanas. Cook the apples until colour changed and apple softens to your preference. Add the cinnamon in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Cool filling.
Note: You can add honey if you want. To make a thick sauce, blend the cornflour and water and pour into apples when the apple browns. Stir to combine.

4. For a large apple pie, fold the pastry in half and cut. For smaller apple pies, divide the pastry into 8 equal pieces. Fold one half of the pastry in half again and make slits in the middle (around 2 cm intervals), making sure to leave a border.
5. Place apple filling in the middle of the pastry and brush egg wash on the sides of the pastry. Unfold the slitted half and place on top of the base. Trim the edges for a neat appearance.
6. Using a fork, press down on the edges to seal the pastry together, Brush with egg wash.
7. Bake until golden brown.

sweet treats

A mix of apples brought home...yet again. This time there were 2 baskets full, but thankfully my mum gave one basket away. I was so relieved I didn't have to eat apples for a whole month! And to avoid eating raw apples, I made more apple pie. This time I couldn't be bothered making my own pastry, so I used store bought puff pastry. I don't think I am ever going to make puff pastry from scratch...too much work!

I found this apple pie photo on Cookpad last night and decided to shape my apple pie like that. Followed the same recipe for the filling only made some slight adjustments since my dad wants sugar free bakes and my mum complained about the apples not being soft enough and was a bit on the dry side. I found it okay though. This time round, the apples still have a slight sour tinge which can be fixed with a dusting of icing sugar/ a drizzle of honey or sweetened whipped cream and the apples actually have a sticky sauce.

Baked 2 large ones and 4 mini ones. Pictured is mini sized.

Apple filling within a golden crisp pastry
Raspberry and lemon friands - before baking

Also decided to try my hands on friands. They are basically light cakes traditionally made from egg whites, icing sugar, almond meal, flour and melted butter. You can top them with berries etc.
Had a bit of apple filling left so I put it on the friands. The result way better than the raspberry ones!

They are pale yellow/white in colour since no egg yolks are used.

Look what happened!

29 Nov 2009

chocolate sour cream cupcakes

Nothing new happened today. Just an average Sunday of going over to Thangstahh's place for tutoring, eating lunch, going to the market, do whatever until dinner and do whatever until I go sleep. Because there is nothing to write about, I'll just share with you (virtually) the cupcakes I baked on Friday. Tomorrow, I have plans for mini raspberry (and lemon?) friands, tarte tatin/ puffy apple pie/ apple pie since there is yet another stash of apples sitting on the kitchen bench top, and because I absolutely detest eating raw apples, I shall cook them :P