31 Dec 2010

a year in review

2010. So another year has gone by like that. I'm sure this year has been eventful and busy for everyone, because it certainly has been for me.

Highlights (good and bad) of the year (in no particular order) would include:
  • Crappy university camp. The event overall was not very good, but I liked the food. And how a roast lamb dinner turned out to be a beef (but I chose the fish dinner that day).

  • The time Eira cooked lamb steaks at my place and how Thangstahh and I were worried if it was edible. Eira wearing an apron was hilarious XD (I can't find the post on my blog, but Eira has it posted with photos here).

  • Worried about getting kicked out of further maths class because I really wasn't up to standard during the first half of the year. But turns out our "strict" teacher was pretty cool and cut us some slack as time passed. But completion of sixty practise exams is an achievement (I'm pretty sure I skipped at least ten).
  • Rushing food tech portfolio on the deadline. So I decided to start two weeks before the deadline and was all-night-ing nearly almost every night. Worst experience ever. Ended up fluking? the graded score. Big thanks to Mrs Roddick and friends in the library for helping me stick and cut the stuff or else I'd never finish it. 

  • Award night ceremony held before exams. Wearing the graduation gown is the most annoying thing ever. I thought the event was pretty good especially the slide show at the end; made people laugh and cry. Took home two awards that night alongside my medal with someone else's name printed on it too...typo error?
Thank you to Noriko-san from Burning Books for giving me the shiso (right)
  • Relieved that I finished Thangstahh's birthday cake on time! The chocolate ring cake was a tad dry, but apparently the crepe cake was a winner and was branded the "orgasmic cake". Sounds pretty weird to me, but I think it's a good thing. The recipe for the crepes can be found here, I replaced the cocoa powder with custard powder that day.

  • Meeting two pretty cool Japanese high school students that live in the countryside at the Japanese seminar. We talked quite a bit whilst waiting to complete out oral SACs. Congratulations for getting a 40+ study score :) Too bad I forgot to ask for their email.
  • Practising my Japanese oral with different teachers everyday two weeks before the exam and unlike my Chinese oral exam, none of the questions and answers I prepared was asked :( Thankfully you can make up stuff and the examiners won't even know :) Also surprised that one of the two examiners was non-Japanese.

  • The day of my Japanese written exam, Eira's friend said she was a big fan of my blog (I thought that was kinda weird haha! Sorry!) I was expecting the speakers on the CD for the listening component to be speaking lightning fast like it was for the past three years, but was very surprised that they were speaking slower than usual. I thought the female voice sounded like an older version of Fumi in Mainichi Kaasan. Also that day was the last of my exams, so it was pretty cool :D

  • Having my first article published on crunchyroll! You can read all about it here.

  • The morning when ATAR scores were released. When I logged into MSN that morning, there were six people immediately chatting to me about their results - excitement and nervous-ness! At first I wanted to wait for the statement of results to arrive the following day, but I decided to check online after I asked a friend of mine to check a particular score for me haha. Didn't hit my targeted score and missed by a few marks, but very happy with the result!

  • And of course, ownership of my first dslr camera, the Nikon D5000. I'm still learning how to use it, but I hope to capture some amazing stuff over the next year or so :D Really need to finish two rolls of film too!
And that's all I can think of right now at time of writing. New year resolutions? I never stick to them so I don't think there is a point of making a list except I want to keep a cash book.

Happy new year! All the best for 2011!

21 Dec 2010

toasted muesli


Pretty funny weather we have here in Melbourne right now. Summer is miraculously not in the scorching 30°C - 40°C, but windy, rainy and cool. You know, I think I can get used to this right now :)

Despite the cool weather, it doesn't stop me from eating ice cream. So it will definitely not deter me from having cereal or muesli with cold milk from the fridge in the morning. I've only bought Vogel's toasted muesli once from the supermarket and was pretty happy with it, until I decided to make my very own batch. Crunching and chewing through honey coated oats and my favourite dried fruits and nuts with a few slices of banana makes my mornings.

You should try some too.

Less than 4 days until Christmas and I still haven't baked anything yet! Thinking about mini gingerbread houses as gifts for now...but might change my mind since I need to become an architect with fine mathematical skills ahem, skills that I do not possess.

Well if I do end up with something, you'll see it here first :)


toasted muesli
adapted from Epicure via The Age

makes around 4-5 cups

  • 2 cups wholegrain rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (I used shredded coconut)
  • 1/2 cup natural almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    (I used 1/4 cup of each: whole almonds, almond flakes, pepitas, pistachios, walnuts)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (omitted)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (omitted)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (I used warmed honey)
  • 1 Tb vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruits of your choice (sultanas, cranberries, apricots - chopped etc.)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

  2. Mix the oats, coconut, nuts and seeds and spices, syrup and oil in a large bowl.
    Spread mixture out on a large baking tray.

  3. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes, stirring to redistribute after about 10 minutes.
    Remove from the oven and cool on tray.

  4. Mix together with your choice of dried fruits.
    Store in airtight jar. (I put my in the fridge to retain crispiness.)

15 Dec 2010


cookies 01

Haven't blogged in ages! Actually, I haven't updated anything aside from twitter really. I recently got a part time job and when I'm done with work it's been pretty much just kick back and chillax at home, playing games (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days on Nintendo DS if you were curious) or catching up with friends via msn.

Pretty much been doing kitchen hand stuff; prepping, cleaning, assembling the dishes etc. but nothing in relation to cooking really. Tiring since I'm on my feet all day, but I guess it helps kill time. And seeing food all day makes me kind of sick of eating or even

Just recently, all year twelve students in Victoria received their ATAR which pretty much determines future education and institution in which they'll be studying at. I made it to the clearly in rank of my initial first preference (now second preference), but since I changed it last night, I'm close to the clearly in rank of my current first preference. In other words, in middle band status at the moment. Worse comes to worse, I'll just go for the second preference :)

Peace of mind.

cookies 02

3 Dec 2010

creamy pasta bake


One of my friends, Doug asked me to make some sort of creamy pasta, so he could make it himself. I've never made creamy pasta before (Continental pasta sauce packets, white sauce, cheese sauce don't count) except maybe the time I tried to make carbonara and this creamy mushroom sauce for a pie...it didn't work that well...

Anyway, there was this new Philadelphia product that I wanted to try since it claimed it could withstand heat and won't curdle, which I was the problem when I used thickened cream. Plus since it was a cream substitute, it's much healthier than using cream.

The cream substitute looked and felt like spreadable cream cheese and it did in fact work, and really well too! Only one crap photo because baked pasta should be eaten piping hot :) No time for styling ;D haha what an excuse!


creamy pasta bake

serves 2 - 4

  • 1 cup short length pasta (I used elbow pasta)
  • 3 stalks asparagus, cut into smallish pieces and blanched
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked overnight, excess water squeezed out and sliced
  • 3 slices short cut bacon, cut into smallish squares
  • 1 cup (250 ml) Philadelphia cream for cooking (or thickened cream)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    (I bought a block of parmesan and grated it myself, I didn't use the powdery parmesan sold in packets)
  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • extra grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese

Note: I used asparagus, onion, shiitake mushrooms, and bacon as the fillings as they were the ingredients I had on hand. Use your favourite ingredients that's suitable for this dish :)


  1. Cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions.
    Rinse in cold water and drain.

  2. Heat a little bit of oil in a non stick pan and saute onions until lightly brown and soft.
    Add the bacon and saute until lightly brown.
    Add the asparagus and shiitake and saute for approxiamately 1 minute.

  3. Add the cream and cheese and stir though to combine.
    Add the pasta and coat the pasta with the creamy sauce.
    Season well with salt and pepper.

  4. Transfer pasta to a baking dish, top with grated cheese and bake in the oven at 200°C until cheese has melted and turned golden brown (about 15 minutes).