Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homemade Bibimbap

I was thinking of more vege, less meat and even lesser carbs in ours meals these days but sometimes, it can be difficult to negotiate with a rumbling tummy.

I was never a great fan of Korean food, though I make an occasional exception for my Korean food lover friends, and my occasional craving for bibimbap. I enjoyed Namoo On The Park's bibimbap and somehow I just loved the combination and portion at that place. I've eaten kimchi fried rice at Gangnam 88 and I admit that I have not summoned the courage to attempt this dish (though everyone tells me that it's pretty easy!) as I wouldn't know what to do with the rest of the kimchi, in case it fails.

Nah, I don't really like kimchi that much. :P

It was interesting to find out that bibimbap is Korean's version of economy mixed rice, and to think that we are charged a premium in restaurants (in Malaysia)!

So why not make your own?

Upon studying the recipes, one would soon realise that the key ingredients for a successful bibimbap are:
gochujang sauce (hot pepper paste)
sesame oil
sesame seeds
If you don't believe me, when you're at a Korean restaurant next time, taste their side dishes and bibimbap carefully. Then check out the recipes online and you will see the usual ingredients used. Make them yourself at home and you will realise that you've managed to emulate the exact same taste. :)

For my bibimbap, I referred to the following recipes:
Kim sunee
Smoky Wok
Korean Bapsang
Good Food - pickle the cucumber and carrots
The presentation needs a little bit of work. :D

For my first attempt, I used bean sprouts, carrots, spinach, black fungus, sliced steak sandwich beef and fried egg on top of the rice. Constructed in a small bowl, it was hard to mix everything around quickly so we had to carefully do so.

The glue which brings the dish together is that dollop of gochujang paste. If it's not enough, just add a bit more to your dish.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Surf Coast Century 100KM Relay - Leg 4 Race Report



I suppose I was taking it too easy and chatted to most of the people I met along the way, that's why!

11.30am at the Start|CP4|Finish area of Surfcoast Century.

In all honesty, I probably didn't take my run as seriously as the rest of my teammates did (so sorry, ladies!) as I was happily enjoying the view of the sea and blue skies, the cheers, and trying not to get calf cramps by the time I hit the beach section. Eerughhs!

Jon contemplates whether he's had enough rest before he tackles
the remaining 50KM to claim his beer stein thereafter.

About 1pm, Amy and I headed up to Moggs Creek (CP6 - 77KM) and we lingered around for a while.

Eager runners waiting to start their leg.

Bananas, fruit cake, biscuits, sandwiches, jelly beans, power gel, water and Hydralite were
available at this aid station.

Every checkpoint is like a picnic party! :)

That's me, all dressed for running in the chilly night. Totally did not expect to run in the
afternoon, LOL! But hey, at least I wasn't sunburnt. :)

I was torn between running off immediately and waiting for YB to come in so we could run together, as we had initially intended to. I tried calling him but was unable to get through to him.

After a few minutes of standing around like clueless cow, I kicked off at about 1.52pm. Which was a smart move as YB sent me a text later to inform me that he was 1.5 hours away from me.

First thing to do is navigate your way through the trees!

I don't think I was quite prepared to run during lunch hour with no lunch beforehand. I had to force myself to eat up my slice of banana and walnut bread just 30 minutes before my run.

A few minutes later, I caught up with this guy.

The system wasn't warmed up yet. My lungs and legs were still asleep, not knowing why I was forcing them to work out at that moment. I was struggling to regulate my breathing.

Running along the single track, I was so excited to see the emerald sea against blue skies. This must have been what they were talking about - the best lookout point at the 79KM mark.

My jacket fell off my bag and I had to stop to tie it up carefully. It was so frustrating that I couldn't fit it into my tiny bag as the water bladder, first aid kit, space blanket, headlamp, etc took up most of the space inside.

Someone came running by and asked if I was OK. I'm not sure if he believed me when I said I was fine as he turned around to ask me once more, rather dubiously.


He must have thought I was some loser trail runner wannabe since I was overdressed and such. Hahahaha!

Saw him later on further up ahead but that was it.

I wished I had asked for his name because I would have named him here! (He was not too bad looking, too. Ahem. :D)

Eye candy! :P

Friday, September 20, 2013

Two Weekends Of Fun

As I write this, all I want to do is honestly crawl back into bed and wake up only when I'm good and ready.


At the Melbourne Airport.
Not great at all.

We flew into Perth for the weekend and hung out with my good friends. It was great to catch up again, despite the constant food binge and reminiscence of the past, and lack of running mileage.

We even managed to squeeze in a run on Sunday morning!

Beef balls vermicelli soup for dinner.

The weather was wet and at times sunny, but still a tad bit warmer than Melbourne's crazy weather.

So happened that it was YB's birthday (thereabouts) and we had a wild berry cheesecake from The Cheesecake Shop. Interestingly, we tasted some dessicated coconut in the biscuit base and found the cream cheese and topping a bit too sweet. Too generous with the sugar/syrup, I suppose?

Miya having a giggle with Uncle YB. In the morning, she
asked Uncle YB (with a big manja smile) to share his pancakes
with her.

The bubbly and playful children of our host couldn't leave Uncle YB alone that birthday morning, sandwiching him whilst he had his pancakes for breakfast. If you're in need of a manny, you can count on him. I think. :D

Aunty Yvonne didn't do too bad either, though I think I'm clueless about playing with boys. :)

Spent the weekdays wandering around Perth's CBD and snagged myself a few clothes on sale (AUD$21.00 for 3 items is not too shabby). Except that they're more appropriate for summer. :D

I was tired most of the time. I needed proper rest and food, and some runs. I've never felt so ill-prepared for a run/race before, so forgive me for the lack of excitement.

The 250ml can is just so cute!!!
We're driving up to Anglesea (Great Ocean Road) this evening for our Surfcoast Century briefing for tomorrow's run. Packing is such a pain in the butt, and there's no way you can travel light, especially when you're bringing your own bedsheets and pillows and towels and food ... and not forgetting your running gear, including the mandatory items.

First aid kit, thermal top and windproof jacket are compulsory and goodness knows how I'm going to squeeze everything into my small bag. 

Being part of my first 100KM event should be fun and exciting. It's a shame that they don't have a 50KM duo category which YB and I would have signed up for. Only team relays or solo running for the 100KM are available. I will be running Leg 4 for my team, and who knows, I could be running in the evening. We are hoping that we will be able to run together during this leg (as YB is running Leg 3 and 4 for his team) but at this point, we are rather doubtful of our chances. Let's just see how it goes.

Weather forecast says it's rainy tomorrow.

Oh crap.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekend Run: Dusk 2 Dark Trail Run at Dandenong's

That's both YB and my new series, in case you're wondering. Running from dusk until night fall in the forest gives you a taste of how it feels like running in ultra races with only the sound of your breathing and footfall keeping you company.


I'm just kidding. It wasn't a run entirely in the night. We started after 4pm and stopped running after 7pm. The sun was slowly setting at 6pm and by 6.30pm, after squinting so hard to follow the track, we put on our headlamps. We could have gone for another loop (as planned) but best not, as no one knew where we were. We decided to call it quits and come back another weekend.

We started off at the Puffing Billy station and we were just in time to see it chug by. They have an event called the Great Train Race held in early May where participants are to run from point A to B in the fastest time. Between these two points, two trains will cross your path and the objective of the race is to try to get to point B without getting stuck at each train crossing! Each wait may take 5 minutes (I'm just guessing). 

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? 13.2KM through the Dandenong Ranges.

It is such a popular event that we didn't manage to sign up for it earlier this year. If you're keen to do this, best ensure that you sign up the minute it's open for registration!

We were so glad it was a sunny day that Sunday, 9th September 2013. The past few days leading up to Sunday was a bit chilly, with temperatures dipping below 10'C.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Melbourne Eats: Eating Around Box Hill Central

Box Hill is a suburb located 14KM away from Melbourne's CBD. It is a predominantly Chinese area, mostly from China and a scattering of other Asian nationalities such as Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Koreans, etc.

We don't eat out very often, as a meal for two can easily cost AUD$35 on average. We have tried a few eateries so far and we will keep on trying. We more or less have our two favourite restaurants, the ones you'd fall back on if you can't think of a fancy new place to try.

Disclaimer: Opinions and views expressed here are purely based only on the dishes we tried and does not in any way reflect the general menu of the eateries. :)

Tien Dat at 3, Carrington Road serves fine Vietnamese cuisine and is a popular favourite among the locals. There never fails to be a queue outside their door during peak hours.

It was 12 hours after I had landed in Melbourne. YB had been here before and he thought I could try it out too.

YB ordered the Crispy Chicken Maryland with Tomato Rice (AUD$10.80) and the first thing that came to my mind was, "Is that really tomato rice?"

I ordered the Traditional Beef Rice Noodle (AUD$10.00).

We must have not been very clever in choosing our dishes, or maybe our dishes did not fall under the category of 'fine cuisine'. We found that our food was a bit too salty and laden with MSG, and you could especially taste it on the chicken's crispy skin.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Yarra River Run. Brother Burger And The Marvelous Brew

With a few more weeks to the Melbourne Marathon, it was time for a long road run. We've been spending our weekends running the trails that I fear we would forget how to run on tarmac. :P

So on Saturday, 24th August 2013, we drove into the city and parked by the tan track. The area was busy with runners and walkers, it was so different from running in the suburbs where you'd only bump into a handful of runners.

I chose the Yarra River because I thought I'd have a chance of bumping into Gordon Ramsay training for his triathlon or something, but haha, fat chance!

We ran towards the city first before following the river out towards Kew.

There were plenty of college students kayaking in the river, with their coaches cycling along the river bank, yelling out instructions to them. It was a busy Saturday morning at the Yarra River!

There is a trail you could follow as a guide, just in case you're not very sure whether you're heading the right direction.

We both had a bottle of electrolytes each, which we refilled with water along the way. There were a few water fountains along the way for joggers and cyclists to hydrate so you don't have to worry about not carrying a bottle with you.

Some parts of the run was quite boring, despite passing by runners and cyclists. It was interesting however, to note the colourful or dull attire and shoes. I noted that most were Nike wearers. :P

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Who The Hell Plans Their Weekly Menu?

A few months ago, I noticed a friend's Facebook status saying that she had completed her grocery shopping list for the week and was ready to head to the supermarket (or market, I'm not sure).

I nodded to myself, thinking that it was indeed a clever idea to shop for the entire week. I should be like that, too!

(But then I would be left with bumming at home and with no reason to take my daily walk to the shops...)

Example of my shopping list.

How detailed must one's shopping list be?
'Vege' is left as general as possible, depending on what was on offer ("Oh hey, cauliflowers are cheap, today! Oh, choy sum is 4 for AUD$2.50!") so that's the "3x" I have to tell myself to buy 3 types of vegetables for the week.

It also depends what I planned on making. As I was thinking of veggie burger patties (really!), I was therefpre specific with the celery and mushrooms. But I forgot to buy the celery and changed my mind about the breadcrumbs. :))

But I don't necessarily get everything on my shopping list, though. I like to spread it out so I can go and buy them the next or following day. Even walking out to buy a new loaf of bread is my exercise. (Hey, bored housewife here needs a reason to get out of the house, remember? There are no soap operas worth watching in the afternoon. :D)

I suppose what my friend meant was that she had planned her week's menu and then  her shopping list, before going to the supermarket.

So I tried, too.
The last time I planned the week's menu was just a general idea:

Monday - fish, soup, vege, rice
Tuesday - fish, vege, couscous
Wednesday - chicken, vege, rice/couscous
Thursday - fish, vege, couscous
Friday - pork, soup, vege

Which I think is good enough. 
Come on, do you want me to be so specific like naming the type of dishes; sweet and sour fish, curry grilled fish, steamed chicken, etc. I can't!

The worst thing is having ideas or cravings to derail the entire week's menu.

Honestly, I have been thinking of nasi lemak for the past few days and it is SUCH a torture. I've never cooked it before and I would love to take the opportunity to do so BUT MY BELLY AND ROUND FACE are telling me that NOW IS NOT A GOOD TIME. ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

And then I suddenly feel like cooking tau yew bak.

I feel like eating bibimbap, too.

So, which one of the above cravings will go onto this week's menu? The healthiest dish, of course! It shall be Friday's carbo-loading session for Saturday's 28KM long run. *pretends to be excited*

I fear that I will remain a fat blob if I don't up my vege ante to 3 times the regular portion. Muffin top! *sobs*

p.s. I dropped AUD$20 the other day after paying for an item and I only realised it when I got home. I didn't stuff them into my pocket properly so now I'm left with a smaller budget for the week. :((

p.p.s. We had squid last night but I must have overcooked it. It was still lovely, though as it was a pleasant change to our usual fare. How long am I supposed to stir fry them for, 5 minutes?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Make Your Own Veggie Burger

Since posting up Galleon Cafe's burger pictures, the thought of making my own veggie burgers (thanks to SuperQ and Hafiz for prompting me towards that direction!) kept bugging me. I've never made burger patties before (not that I can remember. Do falafels count?) so to attempt to make a veggie one was what I hoped, would be easy peasy.

First up, was to research for recipes and I came across the basic 'rules' of making a veggie burger from No Meat Athlete's site. You should check it out! It details the basic ideas that a perfect burger patty should have: main ingredients, spices, sauces and texture.

Step 1:

Prep up your main ingredients. Two cups of diced or chopped vegetables of your choice.

Step 2:

Fry the chopped onions and garlic on the pan for about a minute before chucking in the vegetables. Stir fry for 5 minutes or so, adding a bit of salt.

I don't have a blender so I chucked in the leftover mashed potato, spices and sauces straight into the pan and mix them as much as I could.

Chopped almonds and flour last. Mix well.

Step 3:

Roll them and shape them. Make decent sized patties, maybe as big as the palm of your hands.

Pop them into the freezer so that the patties maintain their shape. I left mine in the freezer until the next day before I tried a piece. The rest are kept in the freezer for emergency situations only, like when I really really really really crave for a burger for dinner.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Weekend Run: Part of Roller Coaster Route

"What are you doing this weekend ... besides running?" is a proper question to be directed to any runner who desires his/her mileage fix.

"What are you doing this weekend?" simply doesn't sound right, because you know our answer would be, "Running!"

With us, it is sadly (not really) the same weekend routine of shopping, running and eating out. Take running out of the equation and you'll have a very restless couple; the woman whining about missing the trails (and feeling fat) and the man who feels like the weekend went by unproductively (and feeling fat).

See Olinda Creek Road? That's near the Silvan Reservoir Park.

After recceing the Silvan route for the Salomon Trail Run Series for two weekends in a row, we decided to venture to the other side of Dandenong Ranges on 17th August 2013. YB had taken part in the Roller Coaster Run on March 16th, completing 43KM in 6 hours. (Read his blog entry here.)

Staring at the route's elevation profile was pretty, as it really did shape like a roller coaster ride, but asking me to participate in that race would have been a different issue altogether. I doubt I would have made the cut-off time!

My mini Roller Coaster Run/Climb!

Our run that weekend was a short 13KM and even within that short distance, I felt that the climbs were tough. And that wasn't even the complete route!

If only there were kangaroos hopping about!

It was a nice weather to be out, although the skies did threaten to rain any minute.