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Vegetarian laksa – Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday - Vegetarian laksa

Five months later and I finally managed to get my life back after disappearing into a black hole. Uni and work took most of my time and energy, and though I continue taking photos, having time to upload them is  a whole different issue. In any case, without further ado here is my recipe for vegetarian / vegan laksa. This recipe came about after being frustrated in not finding vegetarian laksa that is close to the real deal. Most of the vegetarian laksas in restaurants are either watery or don’t have the right balance of laksa paste that’s sweet, hot and rich all at the same time. This recipe serves four people.


  • 1/2 jar of lamyong laksa paste
  • 50g of vegetarian belachan – chopped
  • 1/2 packet of puff tofu
  • 2 quorn fillets cut into large chunks
  • handfull of bean sprout
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 packets of egg noodles
  • 1/2 cup of coriander
  • 350ml of coconut cream
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 200g of vegan hot pot mix
  • 1/4 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of white sugar
  • Salt


  1. Heat the laksa paste in a pot, slowly add the coconut milk. Add the kaffir lime leaves and chilli to the pot
  2. Add the vegetarian belachan to the mix, continue mixing. Add salt to taste
  3. Add the fillets, the vegan hot pot mix and puff tofu
  4. Squeeze a bit of lime, taste and add sugar as required. Take the pot off the stove.
  5. Boil some water, pour into a large bowl. Drop the noodles into the bowl for 3 minutes. Drain the noodle and serve in separate bowls.
  6. Pour the laksa mix into each bowls
  7. Serve topped with bean sprout and coriander with a slice of lime

There is a fair bit of trial and error to make this recipe, but the result is worth it!

If you’re wondering where I got my ingredients from, check out the following places:

While you’re at it enjoy some photos from Vivid, because Sydney is pretty awesome.




Hello 2013,

New Year 2013

Dear 2013,

As the first day of your year ends, I wonder what the other 364 days will bring. If it was anything like your first hour, watching the city skyline burst gloriously into frame accompanied by good company then I hope that this new year will continue in this vein.

All I want this year is a bit more stability, less surprises of the nasty types and having the tenacity to stick to at least one thing this year, whether it be blogging more, cooking, gardening or giving back to the world.

Love you already and looking forward to many more days to come.


New Year 2013

Meatless Monday – Pear & Raspberry Bread and I wish you hadn’t asked

Art & About 2012

It is wet. I am standing inside a room dripping with water from its roof. Inside this little cottage, the smell of wet woollen rug and the metallic sound of water hitting metallic surface was overwhelmed by the sense of quiet that blanketed the room. I am in a dream, someone else’s or mine or ours meeting in this other worldly space it’s difficult to tell.

They say that a picture tells a thousand words, but I dare say experiencing an art work is a hundred thousand more. The Art & About installation work “I wish you hadn’t asked” is one which will likely haunt me in odd moments and several future dreams (rain coats optional).

I wish you hadn't asked

There is a moment in a relationship when something is said, or done, that can’t be taken back; then the rot sets in. Step inside this ordinary house where rain pours inside its walls, slowly destroying the private world within. Raincoats provided.

A word of advice for those who turned up expecting fireworks on the first day of Art and About, don’t. There are things around, but the programme on the first day felt a little bare compared to the lists of exhibitions and events listed in the catalogue handed out by helpful volunteers. Some of the exhibitions are so subtle you are likely to miss, like the smiley road signs posted close to Hyde Park. What you should do is come back multiple times and see all the facets of the Festival.

Art & About 2012

And now back to our usual Meatless Monday program. Today’s recipe being Pear & Raspberry Bread. The original recipe comes from Coles, and can also be accessed here.



  • 825 g can pear halves, drained, juice reserved (1 large Coles can)
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C or 160 °C fan. Grease a 15cm x 25cm loaf pan and line with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Puree half of the pears and chop remaining. Measure pear puree in a jug or measuring cup and add enough reserved juice to make up to 1 cup.
  3. Place dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add egg, oil, raspberries, pear puree mixture and chopped pears. Gently fold together until just combined. Fill prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 mins until cooked when tested. Cool bread in pan. Store in an airtight container.

A few notes about this recipe. This bread is incredibly moist, so much that I wonder whether adding another 1/2 cup of flour will not go amiss. Next time, I would try not pureeing the pears, I don’t think it’s actually necessary as the canned pears are quite soft. I will definitely recommend pureeing fresh pears though.

Catching up at The Bridge Room

Bridge Room 3

Sometimes (actually a lot!) in life, one can have too many photos sitting site unseen and not enough time to catch up with friends. Through Lemonpi’s sheer persistence, a group of us manager to find our way at The Bridge Room. After multiple attempts of trying to find a date, the heavenly calendar finally opened and the five of us were ready to devour our first meal together. On first impression, The Bridge Room is a lovely furnished haven of calm. The furniture and decor were elegantly casual in an understated Nordic way.

The menu is an interesting blend of South East Asia meets West, especially when it comes to the dessert.

Bridge Room 1

We started with an entree, the dish below being the Salad of organic heirloom carrots ash grilled, baked in salt and raw, sheep’s milk curd.

Bridge Room 6

I hade the Split Queensland tiger prawns grilled over charcoal mandarin peel butter, soft green herbs. Perhaps the subtlety of the dish escaped me, but it tasted like grilled prawn nothing too special.

Bridge Room 13

Comte custard, young beetroot, pomegranate molasses crumb, hazelnuts,  cress. A creamy cheesy concoction that I will try next time.

Bridge Room 4

Bridge Room 18

Scallops, buttered corn, osmanthus flower,biltong, burnt butter, thyme leaves

Bridge Room 5

Coffs Harbour bar cod, nonya spices, coconut, liquorice basil, puffed rice. Think South East Asian flavours of coconut and sambal, but updated.

Bridge Room 23

Chicken, white cut, with its broth, ginger, coriander, sprouts and organic brown rice

Bridge Room 20

David Blackmore’s wagyu rump cap, mushrooms, spinach, slow cooked veal tongue, dutch cream potato

Bridge Room 17

Chocolate cannelon, Campos caramel, aerated chocolate bar, red fruits

Bridge Room 25

Strawberry marshmallow meringue, strawberry ripple, strawberry paper, yoghurt.  The strawberry ripple reminded us of a strawberry roll up from yesteryear. Smells a lot like it too!

Bridge Room 27

Mango, passion fruit, young coconut ice, candied palm seed, lime leaves, sugar bananas

Bridge Room 26

Burnt caramel cream, candied beurre bosc pears, Pistachio crumb, mint salad, purple basil. This gorgeous dessert was a nice surprise, there were layers of flavour underneath the caramel, the pears gave a refreshing punch, balanced by the mint and basil. Reminded me of a sweet Thai salad, wed to a brûlée

Bridge Room 31


T.  02 9247 7000
F.  02 9247 7007

MSG #19 – Sydney Portugal Community Club Restaurant Marrickville


After talking about doing a planned tour of Sydney’s Community Club, we finally went to our second community club as one of the Midweek Supper Group outings (the Japanese Club, being the first and I still need to blog it!).  Yewenyi suggested the Portuguese Community Club in Marrickville and that fit the bill of being relatively close to the city and obscure enough that none of us have ever visited it.

The address seemed straight forward enough, and had the signage been lit the Club would have been easy to spot…After a number of semi frantic phone calls from Pirochan “head under the bridge and keep going until you think you should stop, then keep going some more”. I finally found the dimly lit restaurant next to the soccer field.

Portugese Community Club

Once I entered the restaurant, it felt like I was warped back into the 80’s. The combination of the retro chairs, the tablecloth and the decor reminded me of places my parents used to take me to for Sunday dinner back in the old days.

Portugese Community Club

First thing first and we ordered some drinks to start. Yewenyi and Evil Hayama ordered the “local” beer, housed in yellow bottles. Not quite sure what normal Bock taste like, but Super Bock was rather mild. Both reminded a little of Coronas actually.

Portugese Community Club

For starters we ordered the Cogumelos com alho  (garlic mushroom) and the Chouriço Assado (grilled chorizo). The portion was generous and we realised that hearty sized portions are the order of the day. The chorizo was surprisingly lovely. It was the right combination of salt, fat and meat. Our youngest ever MSG guest (2 years old, but who’s counting!) loved the mushrooms and olives, which goes to show the younger palate is not all about chips and burgers…

Portugese Community Club

You can’t go to a Portugese restaurant without ordering cod, so one Bacalhau a Lagareiro (cod cooked lagareiro style) was promptly ordered. The cod was dressed generously in olive oil and pan fried. I wish I asked which olive oil they use, there’s a distinct nutty taste to it.

Portugese Community Club


I ordered the snapper, but unfortunately the waiter heard it as salmon. Though got to say the grilled salmon was delicious, floating in a plate of olive oil somehow managed to add to the taste.


Other dishes of note were the Espetada (beef skewer with side plate or salad and chips), the Bife a Portugese (Steak with chips, egg, rice and salad), Alentejana (pork cubes served with clams, square chips and pickles) and last but not least Polvo Grehaldo (grilled octopus served with salad and boiled potatoes).

Portugese Community Club

There seemed to be two themes throughout the night, the first being olive oil and the second being meat, and so much of it!

Portugese Community Club

Portugese Community Club

Sydney Portugal Community Club Restaurant Marrickville

100 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204

(02) 9550 6344

New start and dancing with dinosaurs

My Havainas died the other day after 8 years of wandering around the globe and back twice over. Coincidentally around the same time, I gave my notice and I’m waiting for my new role to start in early May.

End of the road

It’s the end of one chapter, and the start of a new chapter.

Not sure if anyone else feels like a ghost once they have given notice. Once the usual tying up of lose end is done, there is very little to do and no point in being involved in new projects. This should be nice and cruisy, but to be honest not doing anything is driving me insane.

Thankfully there is over a year’s worth of blogging to update. My goal is to try and blog everyday until the end of the month, and see if I can get back into the swing of things again.  

Sydney has been ridiculously alive this year, and I just can’t keep up!  Take Jurassic Lounge for example, I went and had a look a couple of months ago and this great late night summer initiative is now in its last 2 weeks.

Jurassic Lounge

Jurassic What?

Every Tuesday night this summer, the Australian Museum opens its doors for after-hour sessions featuring art, live music, drinks + new ideas.

Discover Sydney’s hottest new artists, performers + DJs. Drink in hand, have a wander + check out amazing live acts + exhibitions against a spectacular backdrop of dinosaur skeletons, precious gemstones + native animals. It’s the Australian Museum as you’ve never seen it!

Jurassic Lounge
Put simply it’s the Australian Museum’s way to attract that in between after 5 crowd to visit the museum. Each week the Australian Museum has a different theme based loosely around a speaker, with live music, and art to match.

For me,  it was a rather surreal experience wandering around a very dim museum surrounded by hipsters on a Tuesday evening with a glass of wine in hand,  but it’ssoo  nice to:

  • a) not be surrounded by screaming kids in SUV sized prams
  • b) be able to have a glass of wine in hand.

Some of their concepts don’t quite wok, for example  the silent disco felt less like a disco and more like a bunch of people staring at each other while wearing giant head phones.  Overall, definitely commendable for trying something new and I wish the other museums will follow suit! More late nights Sydney museums and art galleries, I want you all to compete for my after five alcoholic dollars!

Catch Jurassic Lounge before they go in the way of the dinosaurs

Every Tuesday from 5:30pm TO 9:30pm
over 18 event
$15 at the door or book on-line

Australia Museum
6 College Street
Tel: 02 9320 6000

Malaysian Kitchen Market – but don’t bring your vegetarian friends here


Nearly a quarter into the year and this year is crazily moving a little too quick for me yet again. I remembered thinking that I should post the photo above in early January and almost 2 months later here we are.

Malaysian Kitchen Food MarketSo what’s new? Sydney seemed to have really picked up recently with the Malaysian Kitchen Market a fortnight ago, Sydney Cellar door this weekend and  a million other things popping up on a weekly basis.

Malaysian Kitchen Market

Brilliantly evocative of a Malaysian pasar malam or hawker market, the three-day Kitchen Food Market will take visitors on a mouthwatering culinary journey through the many sights, sounds, smells and sensational flavours found in Malaysian cuisine via some of the greatest chef and restaurant exponents in Sydney and beyond.

Sponsored by the Malaysian government, the event was part of their international drive to promote Malaysian cuisine and local restaurants. What I didn’t count on was the sheer number of people waiting in line. We waited for well over an hour, before the line behind us were forcibly cut off. When we were finally ushered in to the alley way it was an absolute relief to finally sit down.

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

I loved the concept of the Malaysian Kitchen Market. Tucked away in a tiny little alley way by the side of the State Theater, yellow and orange lanterns were strung out above long glass communal tables while music filled the space. Definitely a step up from your typical Malaysian alley way dining experience, but oh so atmospheric.

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

For an entry fee of $10 you were given three set meals from various Malaysian restaurant around town such as Mamak, Chinta Ria, Jimmy’s Recipe, Sambal and Jackie M. Hands down it’s the cheapest meal you can find around town. The menu on the night included chicken satay with roti (Mamak), Nasi lemak (Jimmy’s Recipe), Salmon curry (Chinta Ria) and Chicken laksa from Jackie M.

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

Nasi lemak

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

Malaysian Kitchen Food Market

Salmon fish curry (stand out for the night for me)

Malaysian Kitchen Food MarketThey also had two vegetarian options that unfortunately ended up being just one. Vegetarian curry and Sambal eggplant (needless to say the sambal contained prawn paste). What was a tad frustrating were the wait staff in general. It could be that our waiter was especially clueless and had no idea what the names of the dishes were as he kept referring to them by numbers rather than names.

Us: “We’re still waiting for the Nasi Lemak”

Waiter: “Oh, is that dish number one or number two?”

<combined puzzled faces all around the table>

Trying to get any type of confirmation on which dishes were vegetarian friendly or not was a nightmare for our vegetarian friend. Again because the waiters had no idea what the dishes were. One of the head waiters / organisor finally came to our table at the very end of the night and admitted there was an oversight on the menu and the vegetarian sambal eggplant was not actually vegetarian. She offered to check the next night’s menu, but agreed that if we have any other vegetarian friends, that their options were limited…

Sydney Festival 2011 and the magical luminarium Mirazozo

Mirazozo - Sydney Festival 2011

There are still a couple of GBs of photos from last year, but I had to push them aside and start uploading photos from the Sydney Festival. I have been looking forward to this event the moment the brochure landed in my mailbox late last year. Every year the Sydney Festival seems to grow just a little bit more and they do an awesome job at marketing the event. The website is brilliant, I love their timely twitters (@sydney_festival) and I rely on their iPhone app a little too much…

Year of the rabbit #sydfest

Unfortunately the Festival First Night was rather disappointing, unlike last year’s buzzy atmosphere this year was rather quiet. It could be that the city of Sydney ran out of money after wooing Oprah to our city, but there were not as many acts around. For the life of me I could not understand why they decided to put Arrested Development at Martin Place instead of the Domain.

Sydney festival first night #sydneyfestival #firstnight

None the less, there were a number of magical moments, such as the Power Plant at Darling Harbour and Symphony in the Domain – Midsummer Shakespeare that brought Sydney to live.

Shakespeare in the domain #sydfest

After raving on about Sydney Festival ofcourse it was the non Sydney Festival installation; Mirazozo that is my favourite.

Mirazozo - Sydney Festival 2011


Built in 2010, Mirazozo makes extensive use of an ‘illuminated seam’ feature where luminous seam lines create a scintillating lattice of light.

The pattern of these neon-like strips induce the viewer’s gaze to shift between different perceptions of the same view – an effect one encounters in the contemplative geometric surface design of Islamic art and architecture.

Mirazozo’s center dome is the largest open space structure that Architects of Air has built – one particularly suitable for hosting performances. Mirazozo was conceived to be very modular and to permit compact configurations.

Mirazozo - Sydney Festival 2011

From the outside it resembled a colony of aliens had landed in front of the Opera House and decided to build a futuristic jumping castle. Inside is a different story. The illuminated seams created a multi coloured Tron like world that when combined with the audio was oddly soothing.

Mirazozo - Sydney Festival 2011

Even the ankle biters were  subdued inside the bubble, it could be that they were trying to figure out a way to bounce or slide off the wall before they were whisked away by theirknowing parents.

Mirazozo - Sydney Festival 2011

Mirazozo - Sydney Festival 2011

Mirazozo ends next Thursday, be sure to catch it if you can. Ticket details are here.


Sydney 2010 – 2011


Just like that 2011 is here and although this post had been sitting on my draft for a while, I never had the chance to post it until this side of 2011. I have too many things to post and not enough time to do reflect and upload in 2010. Doesn’t help that my hard disc is permanently full and transferring files is my equivalent of taking the garbage out.

ANZAC bridge abstraction2010, I didn’t know what to expect from you, but you made me love Sydney all over again with the crazy number of restaurants mushrooming around the area, increasing number of festivals and some of the best people in the world. What more can a person ask for, aside from…more time and the ability to say no to preserve my own sense of sanity.
Ho Ho Ho staThis post is a quick nod to say yes, I am alive and so is this blog. Will continue updating in 2011, while trying not to be completely buried under paperwork…

Lost letters

October is the month to be

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

Been a little distracted with life in general. I’m not quite sure what happened in the past few months, but I am running on minimum sleep with very little time to glance at the rear view mirror and write about anything anymore. Stretched so thin I’m cellophane’s second cousin twice removed.

That being said, I love October more so than any other month of the year. Most probably due to the crazy amount of events and festivies that falls on this month (my birthday being a small part of this). First off the rank being the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Opera House , the second year that this particular event is run.

I loved the concept, I hated the timing. Packed into two days with simultaneous talks occuring at the same time, one have to be pretty ruthless on what to watch or not. The indecisive part of me whimpered in defeat. I watched the debate with Alan Dershowitz versus Geoffrey Robertson on “The sins of the fathers: should the pope be held accountable?” and was rather in awe as I watched two overwhelming, articulate, legal minds slice and dice an argument on both sides. Hugh Mackay’s talk on “The pursuit of happpiness will make you miserable” was thought provoking…It’s rather hilarious to hear that unhappy people are more likely to make rational decisions. Perhaps being in a funk has its benefits. I wonder if they will release the recording of the sessions anytime soon. With so much content it would be a shame to have them quietly archived somewhere.  

Art and About

Wandering around the city, Art and About  is well…around. One can’t help but notice the garishly dressed Queen Victoria statue in front of QVB or the winged pig on Macquarie Street…

Spring Food & Wine Festival

 As for food, where to even start? The Entertainment Quarter has its weekend market with the Spring Food and Wine Festival thrown in for wine tasting.

Spring Food & Wine Festival


Spring Food & Wine Festival


Spring Food & Wine Festival

As if that’s not enough, Crave Festival is a month long celebration of good food…more reason to love October really.