Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Weekend Run: Sugarloaf Peak, Cathedral Range in Marysville

Sunday, 27th October 2013.

After two grueling weekends (Melbourne Marathon on 13th October 2013 and Lake Mountain Skyrun on 20th October 2013), it was time to take it a bit easy. We decided to spend the afternoon doing a bit of hiking at the Cathedral Range.

It was a clear day of sun and blue skies but every now and then the winds would tickle our skin.

It was a shame we started out so late as the harsh sunlight made photography a bit tricky.
There's still a climb to the top!

We spent so much time admiring and enjoying the view, taking pictures and just basking in the sun.
Picture taken with my phone, hence the off colours.

After 30 minutes or so, we reluctantly made a move to continue to the summit.

We had taken the Wells Cave Track, which lead us to this crevice. Apparently you're supposed to squeeze through it and come out from the other end. (See blog links below for a better idea.)

My question is, if I were fatter (or bigger boned), I won't be able to squeeze through it, will I?

I found a plague up high on the left side of the rock.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Melbourne's First Night Noodle Markets

If you've been in Melbourne for so long and missing the hustle and bustle (and a variety of street food found in one area) of night markets in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and most Asian countries, make that trip down to Alexandra Gardens at 1 Boathouse Drive today, tomorrow or any day until November 30.

Calamari (AUD$10.00) from the Thanh Phong stall.
More information on them is available at Website | Urbanspoon

In conjunction of The Age's Good Food Month, the Night Noodle Markets gather around your favourite Melbourne eateries to rustle up your favourite Asian dish on the spot.

We were there on Saturday, 24th November 2013 after 7pm and the place was packed! 

Despite the gloomy skies and occasional showers, the weather did not deter everyone from having a good time with friends and family, and some hot food.

He doesn't need an umbrella, banana leaves are good enough for shelter!

There was a massive queue at some of the stalls so we walked around to observe the crowd and which stalls offered what.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Melbourne Eats: Bali Bagus, Muleta's and Perk Up Espresso Bar in CBD

Disclaimer: I'm not a food connoisseur nor a food blogger, so opinions and views are entirely our own and restricted only to the dishes we ordered. It's best to compare other reviews for a better picture.

Bali Bagus
85 Franklin Street
VIC 3000
Links: Facebook page | Urbanspoon

We wanted to try out Captain Melville's across from Bali Bagus but apparently the kitchen wasn't ready to serve. It was 12.15pm when we inquired, so it caught us by surprised when we were given the option to wait (30 minutes until they were ready to serve) or go some place else.

Saturday 7th September 2013.

It was empty when we arrived for lunch that weekend. The crowd slowly trickled in while we were midway through our lunch.

Browsing through the menu, there were plenty of dishes priced around AUD$10 and below. It was easy to see why this place was clearly a favourite among students or anyone looking for cheap eats.

I ordered the Ayam Penyet (AUD$8.00) and I loved the sambal!

How do I make such delicious sambal? I really must put this on my To Do Recipes!

It was spicy and I was perspiring after a while.

I think Wen Dee ordered the Fried Chicken with bumbu sauce (AUD$8.20) which looked tantalising enough for me.

She said it was OK, not too bad.

Kelvin's Balinese Fried Rice (AUD$8.80) was a good sized portion for two person sharing, if you're on a diet. ;)

It had enough 'wok hei' so I liked it. We all thought it was not too bad.

YB opted for fish with bumbu sauce (AUD$12.80) which he said was just OK. The fish's tummy wasn't cleaned properly so the flesh at that area was a bit bitter. 

Verdict: Can't complain for the price you pay. A good place to go if you have a budget and crave for Balinese food.

Anyway, right after our visit, I tried to locate a recipe for bali sauce (bumbu sauce) which looked like the ones we had but I'm still searching! I keep coming up with curry sauce recipes, which isn't what I'm looking for.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lake Mountain Skyrun 2013 - Race Recap

Sunday, 20th October 2013.
Just a week after the Melbourne Marathon, we found ourselves once again, at a start line among a few friends and other participants. On a warm day with clear blue skies, our trusty pairs of Salomon shoes were raring to get down and dusty again.

The race location was located at the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, almost a 2-drive from Melbourne. The road turning off from the main road leading up towards the resort felt so loooooong and winding, and I was worried that we would be late.

Race director, Paul Ashton briefs the participants before we were ushered out to the start line.

With half hour to spare, we geared up and collected out bibs and hung around Jon, Dion and Gregor. Both YB and I had no target for the run, seeing that our legs had just recovered from the marathon. Not to pressure our poor legs at all, but 31km on challenging terrain could just be as tiring as running the marathon!

Or more.

Participants of the 21km and 31km were flagged off together.

The first 10KM
We were flagged off at 10am. It was starting to get warm and I was so glad to have slathered on some sunblock (and nagged the other half to do so as well).

Everyone was so energised and fast that we soon lost sight of the front runners 1.5km into the run. 

It was like playing catch with Jon. He sped up just as he spotted us from behind. LOL!

KM4 - We came across some boot camp obstacles along the way.

We continued along Granite Grind trail (Blue Trail No. 7) towards Snow Hill car park. Running downhill the single track was fun, despite having to slow down every now and then to avoid tripping over strips of  tree barks and branches strewn across the trail.

Crossing Lake Mountain Road with the help of 2 nice ladies with their STOP signs, we continued on the Blue Trail No 7 continued which soon brought us onto a 4WD track, the Upper Taggerty Road. 

The Upper Taggerty Road or 4WD track.

Nothing interesting happened as we ran along the trails. I was gasping for air and had difficulties in regularising my breathing that I was very frustrated with myself.

(I prayed I wouldn't have an asthma attack, too!)

It wasn't pleasant, and despite it, I felt that I was doing OK by covering 9KM+ in an hour.

Or so I thought.

The second 10KM
At KM11, my mind slipped into the clouds just for a wee moment and crack, my left foot landed on the side, spraining my ankle.

Aaaarrrrgghhhhh, I flinched.

I flexed it slowly, turning it. It felt fine, and I could still walk. After a while, I continued to jog, albeit very slowly.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kale Pesto Recipe

I love pesto.

I love pesto but I don't buy much of it, just because you have to finish up a jar within 3 days of opening it. In fact, I still have a store bought jar in the fridge!

Once, a colleague and I cleaned up a jar over lunch at work. Her family wasn't keen on it, so with a stick of baguette and something else (I can't recall now), we used up the pesto as a spread.

My bunch of kale was turning yellow pretty quickly and there's just so much I can eat and juice, so I thought making some pesto would be a great idea.

For the record, pesto doesn't have to contain just basil or pine nuts. Recipes out there also suggest alternatives like using kale, rocket, tomatoes or coriander for the basil, and almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, or pistachio nuts for pine nuts. The possibilities are endless. :)

1 1/2 cup of kale leaves, torn and packed into the cups
1/2 cup of cashew nuts, crushed and divided into 2 portions (I only have these in the pantry!)
1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese*
1/4 cup of olive oil*
1 TBSP of lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

1. Chuck everything except 1 portion of nuts into blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour in the remaining nuts and stir.
2. Add salt and/or pepper for taste.

Recipe adapted from Oh My Veggies.

*Note: I think it needs another 1/4 cup of cheese and olive oil.

I think the only issue I have with raw kale is the sticky aftertaste on my teeth. Bah!

Kale is currently on the world's list of super food (once upon a time, it was a chia seed craze, remember?) recommended for consumption. It's high in vitamins A, C and K, high in calcium and lowers the risk of cancer, too.  

Today's lunch. :)

Yesterday's lunch was wholemeal spaghetti with kale pesto and man, it was nasty! The spaghetti tasted like cardboard and it took a lot of determination to finish up my plate. But honestly, I don't recall it being so bad. I must have bought a pack of pure wholemeal one, then. ;D

Kale is great as a stir fry vegetable dish. Just add sesame oil, minced ginger and a pinch of salt, you're good to go!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

That Monday Morning Excitement

I was going to title this post 'Nothing Interesting Happens When You're At Home' when I just remember that I did have a bit of excitement the other day.

Two weeks ago, if I remember correctly. It was quite an adrenaline rush for me and for a moment, I felt ... 15 years younger.


Wait, am I revealing my age here?

Anyway, I stepped out of our flat to do the laundry (each floor has a communal room with washing machines belonging to each flat) and I pulled the door to our flat shut.

I wanted to have the door slightly ajar and not wide open, so honestly, I had no intention in pulling it completely shut.

'Oh, shit!' I exclaimed.

I jiggled the door and tried to open it but nope, it was definitely locked.

I had just locked myself out of the flat.

There I was, standing outside my flat, still dressed in my pajama pants and a long sleeve top. (Thank goodness I had my undergarments on!)

My mind whirred into action - what do I do?

I had three options and only one of them was the best, if luck was on my side.

The door to my neighbour's flat next to mine opened and a lady peeked out. She asked me what's wrong. I told her that I locked myself out of my flat and she went, "Ohhh..."

I asked her if she would let me climb from her balcony, and she asked if that was what I really wanted.


I told her I had done it before back in college and she said that was then and I ain't young anymore.

Gee, thanks.

It took me 2 tries because during the first try, she was so nervous and jittery that it affected my confidence. I even asked her to hold on to my right arm while I climbed over.

I made it on the second try after positioning myself properly - climb over the balcony first, then move over to the left to my balcony railing, before climbing over it and into my balcony.

It was easy!

But I admit I was a bit worried for a moment. My pajama pants were a bit loose and I was afraid it would slip off and I would accidentally moon the whole world as they passed by. :D


My first option was to find the caretaker of the place and see if he could take out the ladder (if any) from the shed (if any) lend me ladder so I could climb into our balcony and I'd be OK. The door to our balcony wasn't locked and I had left the window slightly ajar. (Oh, and I'm on the 1st floor, by the way.)

My second option was to climb through my neighbour's balcony to get to mine, but I knew he was probably at work.

The third option was to knock on the neighbour's door (across from my place) to borrow their phone to let my husband know and well, wait for him to come and save me.

My other option was to ask the neighbour in the flat below mine if I could climb up to my balcony, but that was the last option because heck, I do not have a strong upper body and there was no way I'd have the strength to pull myself up. I can't even do a chin up!

The husband didn't believe me when I told him what happened. It was 9.30am and I had to disrupt his morning with such excitement. Hah!

Anyway, since then, I've made sure that I change out of my pajamas (and put on decent underwear!) and put the house keys in my pockets before I step out of the flat to do the laundry. 

The skies at the Cathedral Range on 27th October 2013.

I haven't shared with you my race recap of Lake Mountain Skyrun 2013 yet, which took place on 20th October 2013. It's just that I end up being enveloped in a cloud of humiliation unaccomplishment dissatisfaction lack of achievement blah when I recall the moment we crossed the finish line. I need to snap out of it!

[You may read the hubby's account first and you will note that the last photo of me is very nice. *ahem* *cough* :)]

As you're well aware, I have been busy wasting my time crocheting owls and other whatnots, including this hairband. It has been given to my friend's 5 year old daughter for her birthday.

Pink is just a girly girl's colour. :)

I've made her a bracelet, too, which I think is pretty neat!

I am currently working on a spring/summer scarf which I honestly don't know why I started it in the first place.

It's too bright and doesn't match any of my clothes!

But I will finish it. I was hoping to finish it tonight but it's already late so ... maybe tomorrow.

Why, why must I waste my precious time doing nothinggggg ... *slaps self*

Anyway, did I tell you that whenever I catch up with my niece on Skype, she makes me want to have my own baby? She's turning 2 in a few weeks' time and sometimes I forget that she's only 2.

I asked her if she had eaten and instead of saying yes, she answered, "Eaten."

Once I asked her, "How are you?" and she answered, "Good girl!" which made me laugh!

Ah, kids. They are cute when they're young. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Glass Noodles Salad with Beef

My question is, do I call this a Thai Beef Glass Noodle Salad or a Vietnamese Beef Glass Noodle Salad? Both recipes call for fish sauce which I would have thought was distinctively Vietnamese, but the Thai one has Thai basil leaves in it so ... 

I'm just going to call it Glass Noodles Salad with Beef, if that's alright with you.

I realised later that I thought wrong about glass noodles containing less calories than the vermicelli. Oops.

Nevertheless, it was a very delicious meal!

for the beef
almost 300gm of sandwich steak, sliced thinly
1 TBSP gochujang sauce (optional! it will give you a Korean feel, though)
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
dash of black pepper

for the noodles
2 medium sized carrots, julienned - blanched
1 zucchini cucumber, julienned
1 medium sized tomato, diced
1 handful of chopped fresh coriander
a few sprigs of mint (optional)
1 1/2 red chilli, sliced thinly
2 handfuls of bean sprouts - blanched
1 shallot, sliced thinly
bean vermicelli (glass noodles)
for the sauce
2 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP sugar
lime juice from 1 lime
1 bird's eye chilli, unseeded and chopped finely (optional for some fire)
chopped peanuts or cashew nuts

1. Marinade beef and leave in fridge for an hour before planning to cook it.
2. Soak glass noodles in cold water for 5 minutes while boiling water in pot.
3. Once water is at boil, strain the noodles from the cold water and put into pot.
4. When noodles turn clear (should be about 3 minutes), strain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until water is fully drained from noodles.
5. Prepare the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
6. Add some oil to the pan. Once pan is heated up, throw in the red peppers and just as it softens, put in the beef slices. Stir fry for a few minutes until cooked. Set aside to rest.

7. Once beef is resting, put carrots, zucchini, shallots, chilli, bean sprouts, tomato, coriander and noodles into large bowl. Pour in sauce and mix evenly. (Mint is set aside for later.)

 8.  Place some mixed noodles onto plates. Top it with beef and garnish with chopped mint.
9. Ready to serve.

I did set aside some chopped coriander together with the mint for garnish.

Well, you can always stir in the beef into your noodles prior to serving, but it's really up to you. The Korean hot pepper sauce (gochujang) will throw you off guard, making your brain think you're having Korean for dinner, but once it's stirred in with the noodles, your tummy will tell you it's Thai/Vietnamese because of the fish sauce and lime.

They say that this is a good dish for summer as it's light and fresh (thanks to the lime). I think it's a fantastic dish to impress your mates because it's colourful and looks healthy, haha!

Recipes referred to:
Mummy, I Can Cook