Archive for May 2014

 

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5 Days of Winter: The School Run

30 May 2014

I received a couple emails from my readers recently, asking me a very similar thing…

“What kind of casual outfits do you wear when you do your school run?”

Well the weather is cool and wet here in Australia at the moment. It’s kind of a transition between seasons, so I wear a lot of light sweaters, cardigans and jeans. I definitely can’t wear my shorts and sandals anymore.

5 Days of Winter: The School Run

I thought it’d be fun to take a snap of myself in my studio, before leaving the house, each morning for a week (5 school days). And this is what I came up with!

5 Days of Winter: The School Run

Fur lined hooded coat – ASOS
Denim shirt – Shopbop
Grey t-shirt – Sportsgirl
Jeans – Jeanswest
White sneakers – Converse (Surfstitch)

5 Days of Winter: The School Run

Stripe cardigan – FashionJunkee
Speckled t-shirt – Sportsgirl
Faux leather jeans – Topshop
Wedge sneakers – Lee Han Na (Korea)

5 Days of Winter: The School Run

Spotty sweater – Sportsgirl
Skinny jeans – Forever New
Leather boots – Styles from The Iconic
Cap – Country Road

5 Days of Winter: The School Run

Black t-shirt – Bec & Bridge
Check shirt – Similar styles at ASOS
Black jeans – Vivienne Westwood
Boots – Vangoh Shoes
Hat – By Skylark

5 Days of Winter: The School Run

Cat sweater – Romwe
Jeans – YesStyle
Beanie – The Iconic
Plaid slip ons – Topshop

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

xxx

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


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Feeling Frigid

29 May 2014

I woke up bright and early the other day and found that my 10 year old fridge had stopped working.

Argh! Not only did it stop cooling, it was actually HEATING everything inside it!

What a hassle. Why did it have to break down this week?! I’m so insanely busy with work and life, I don’t have time to deal with this!!

I had to take everything OUT of the fridge and freezer, THROW most of it in the bin, and borrow space in my neighbor’s fridge for the rest. Then, I had to CLEAN the fridge from top to bottom… because there was a disgusting puddle stain made from a dripping, slimy, rotten zucchini.

Fridge Died

Wow, my fridge hasn’t been this clean and empty and white since… well, since it was new.

After marvelling at my own cleverness/laziness that I have never wasted any of my life cleaning my fridge in the last 10 years, I sat down at my computer to do some research on NEW fridges. Brushed steel fridge exterior! Double French doors! Sleek modern designs! Water dispensers! LCD panels! Energy efficiency ratings! I was getting excited!

Something that has constantly nagged at me since I bought this fridge (when I was pregnant with my first kid) is that it has only a two and a half star (out of five stars maximum) energy efficiency rating. So I have always felt that it was only half as good as it could be. Was this now the opportunity to upgrade to a newer, more efficient, and more faithful fridge?

On one hand, I could have a brand new, shiny, super fancy fridge of my dreams for approximately $3000.

But on the other hand, before it stropped working, I had NO actual complaints about my fridge at all. There was nothing wrong with it. I didn’t really NEED a shiny new fridge.

So I decided to call a fridge repair company. I promised myself that *if* they said it would take more than two days for a repair man to arrive, then I would just buy the new fridge.

And the phone conversation was like this:

“What?! He can be here in 20 minutes??? Um. Ok. Yeah, sure I’ll be home…. My address? Right. It’s… ”

24 minutes later, the fridge guy turned up in a van whiter than the inside of my fridge, wearing overalls to match.  He had the cheery mood of a man who takes great joy in making people’s fridges work. In another five minutes, he had diagnosed the fridge fan was dead.

He said it would cost $200 to fix the fan (parts and labour), and it’d take 30 minutes to repair. And he could do it RIGHT NOW, because he had the spare part in his van.

There I was, suddenly *wishing* he had said the problem was going to take a WEEK TO FIX AND COST $700!! I wanted his permission to go and buy a new fridge!

So what did I do?

I decided to go cheap, and fix the fan.

Bam! And the whole fridge drama went away just like that.

I was a little bit grumpy that I don’t have a shiny new fridge, but I was SO relieved.

Did I make the right decision? In the long term, who knows.

But for now? Hell yeah!

So, here’s to putting it off, and feeling on top of the world for it!!

(And by the way… I found out during my online research that the most energy efficient fridge in the market only has three and a half out of five stars of energy efficiency. So two and a half isn’t so bad!)


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A taste of Malaysian food

28 May 2014

When I was in Malaysia, there were SO many famous dishes I wanted to try. But since I was only there for 1.5 days, I had to settle for what I could get!

I mentioned in my earlier post that I attended my sister’s wedding celebration, then after that we went out for supper til 2am. This is what we ate.

Taste of Malaysian food

Top left is a pink drink called, bandung. My mother used to make this for us when we were kids! It is made from rose syrup, condensed milk and ice.

Top right is Teh terik, a hot, sweet, milky tea drink. It’s made from black tea and condensed milk, which has been “pulled” or poured back and forth, from jug to jug in order to froth up the drink.

Bottom left is Roti Tissue, a paper thin and flaky flatbread, sprinkled with sugar and served in a cone shape. Sooo yummy!

Bottom right is Roti Planta, which is the same as Roti Canai but it is stuffed with margarine and sugar. It’s sooo bad, but sooo goood.

Taste of Malaysian food

The next morning, after only 4 hours of sleep, I woke up with a sore head and staggered downstairs for the buffet breakfast. I ate noodles in a fish ball soup, with deep fried tofu, vegetables and fried onions. The broth was so delicious and comforting.

In my early morning haze, I didn’t catch the proper name of this, so could someone help me out? Unless it’s called, Fish Ball Noodle Soup?

Taste of Malaysian food

For lunch, my sister’s Malaysian family took us out to Big Nyonya, a restaurant specialising in authentic Peranakan cuisine, or nyonya food.

During the 15-17th centuries, traders and immigrants from China came to the Malay peninsular (Melaka being the most prominent trading port) and inter-married with the local Malays in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Their descendants are called Peranakans. On of my uncles is Peranakan!

Peranakan cuisine is often called Nyonya food and is a unique blend of Chinese and Malay cusine. It’s pretty hard to find authentic nyonya food in Australia, so I was licking my lips with excitement.

Going anti-clockwise from the top. I ate… Pongteh (a chicken and potato stew), Ikan Cili Garam (fried fish with chili), Telur Cincalok (an omelete with shrimp) and Udang Lemak Nanas (a pineapple prawn curry). It was all so delicious and tasty!

Taste of Malaysian food

But this was my favourite. Nyonya Cendol is a dessert made from finely shaved ice, gula melaka (palm sugar), coconut cream, jelly bits and beans.

Oh my god, I was having multiple foodie orgasms. The ice shavings were sooo unbelievably soft, like snow, but creamy and smooth, the taste was mind blowing, the gula melaka was amazing. Oooh, it was heavenly.

I ordered another bowl, because I’m that kinda girl.

Back Scratcher

Lastly, this isn’t really food related. But it does show a cute picture of me and 9 of my aunties and uncles, in the Nyonya restaurant, crammed together, Asian style, waiting patiently for our lunch to arrive.

While we were waiting I entertained my table with hilarious stories of me (the day before, while touring Melaka’s streets) being chased out of antique shops by a lady with a feather duster, me almost being knocked over by a truck… and how I found the coolest souvenir for my boys!

A retractable metal back scratcher!! My boys have been stealing my salad forks from my kitchen drawer to scratch their backs at night… and I never know if they have washed it before putting it back (very unlikely). So now they can have their own back scratcher, that even comes with a little side pen clip.

Randomness aside.

I didn’t get to taste these dishes I was hoping to try out.

Asam Laksa (spicy curry noodle soup), Otak Otak (steamed fish with spices wrapped in a banana leaf), and Har Mee (Prawn noodle soup).

Oh well, maybe next time. Thanks for having me Melaka! That cendol was the bomb, I’ll definitely be back for more :)


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A Quick Weekend Chop

25 May 2014

I’ve been really busy with some minor house renovations these last few weeks. And unfortunately, I’ve been too busy to look after my hair properly. (The shininess of my hair is just not *that* important sometimes!)

As a result, my hair felt like thick, heavy, clogged-up, dry straw. I felt like I was carrying around a shaggy sheep dog on my head!

And so after weeks of BAD HAIR DAYS, I finally managed to head over to my favourite Asian hair salon for a quick cut, colour and treatment. I was in and out in 2 hours. It was brilliant.

It’s funny how a simple trim and fresh colour can make me feel… like new!

Curi Hair Salon

Big thanks to Curi Korean Hair Salon for having me at such short notice!

xxxx


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Offerings of Peace and Manipulation

23 May 2014

My 5 year old Liam has been going through some behavioural issues lately.

Meaning, he’s been soooo UNBELIEVABLY naughty!

Hubby and I use “time out” as our method of discipline. So Liam gets removed from the room, the activity, the meal, the snack, the computer, the TV, the toys, whatever… and he has to sit in his room to cool down, until he shows me that his behaviour has changed. He’s usually pretty good at changing his behaviour, correcting the problem and saying sorry. In fact sometimes he’s so good at it, that it borders on manipulation.

What does he do while he’s waiting to come out?

THIS.

Peace Offerings by Liam

It’s called EMOTIONAL BLACKMAIL.

Can you see how his TEARS have smudged the texta lines in the second flower, and my hair?

He often draws the person who puts him into his room (ie: me) and he draws all my favourite objects, colours, love hearts, flowers, happy suns, and himself. Obviously, it’s a kind of love letter to me. But I’m sure he does this to make himself feel better and to prove that I still love him and he still loves me.

Peace Offerings by Liam

In fact he does *so* many of these drawings, that I am getting bored with them!

I now just throw away the identical and mediocre ones.

Is that bad of me? Can you believe it? I’m *this* close to being one of those mothers who say, “This love letter is not good enough! Draw me another one!”

Peace Offerings by Liam

Here you can see that his technique and penmanship is evolving. As is his access to a wider variety of drawing mediums. And his use of different fonts.

I receive about 2 or 3 of them a day. Depending on how naughty he is per day.

He just leaves them around for me to find. They get stuck on my fridge. Left on the kitchen counter. Slipped under my door. Put on my pillow. Stuffed into my shoe.

It’s adorable and all. But I actually have to force myself to ignore them… and focus on the “behavioural issue” first.

Or else he’ll think that he can be as naughty as he wants… all he has to do is draw a cute picture for me and I’ll let him off!

So when he comes to me with big, teary, dopey, sorry eyes, and he hands me the cutest and most thoughtful picture I have ever seen, drawn with my favourite colours and omg his tears… I have to force myself to give him a BLANK look and say something like, “Ok, let’s talk about your behaviour. Do you think it was a good idea to spit on your brother?!?”

It’s very difficult to NOT crack a smile.

Bitter. Sweet. Boiling temper. Melted heart. This parenting thing is so bloody tricky.

Let’s just hope he doesn’t see this blog entry and finds out how much I totally love his drawings. Or else I’ll have no chance with his behaviour!


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My Yummy Banana Bread

21 May 2014

Banana Cake

I have been using this recipe for years! It’s always a winner. It usually gets eaten up in one afternoon… because it’s so delicious and moist.

I actually wrote up this recipe last year. But every time I make it, people keep asking me for the recipe :) So here it is again!

I don’t add any refined sugar to this recipe. The result is that it tastes like a “crumbly bread” not a “sweet cake” . If you’re not used to it, you might think it tastes a bit “bitter”. So feel free to add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey or brown sugar to the recipe.

My kids will often slice it up, spread butter on it while it’s hot and drizzle maple syrup on top.

Below is the original recipe, but nowadays I’ve been using half self-raising flour and half almond meal, to make it extra moist and less gluteny :)

Banana Bread
75g of butter
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
450g ripe banana, weighed with skin on
2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey (Or you can just omit the sugar altogether).
¼ teaspoon of bicarb soda
pinch of salt
100g chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups (225g) self-raising white flour
Handful of sunflower seeds and pepitas

*I use 100g of self raising white flour and 125g of almond meal.

1. Heat oven to 180ºC. Lightly grease a 11cm x 22cm loaf pan. Line the base and 2 long sides with baking paper.

2. Melt the butter and let it cool. Mix in maple syrup or sugar (if you’re using it).

3. Add eggs and combine well.

4. Mash the bananas and add it to the mixture.

5. Add the chopped walnuts. Give it all a good stir!

6. Sift in flour, bicarb soda and pinch of salt. Stir slowly until *just* combined.

7. Pour into the loaf tin. Sprinkle with seeds and pepitas. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to stand for a few minutes then cool on wire rack.

Enjoy!

xxx


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What I Wore: My Sister’s Wedding Celebration

19 May 2014

My sister and her brand new husband held a wedding celebration in Melaka, Malaysia. It was basically a huge, family dinner party at a fancy hotel :)

I was a bridesmaid for their official wedding in Perth (the week before), however for this party in Malaysia, I did not have any bridesmaid duties. Which meant I got to kick my heels off early and party hard!!

Hotel Room, Malaysia

Talking about partying hard, when I was checking into the hotel in Malaysia, there was a mix up with my room… so they gave me the freaking PRESIDENTIAL SUITE on the top floor!!

The down side, was that I had to share it with my Aunty. And we had to er… sleep in the same bed.

But it was a PRESI-FRICKING-DENTIAL sized bed. It was humungous!

And if we kept to our side of the bed, there would be a good 1.5m gulf between us. It wouldn’t be too bad.

I assured my aunty that I don’t roll around when I sleep. Plus I don’t snore. That’s what my husband tells me anyway (unless he was lying?).

Melaka, Malaysia

This was the view from the top floor. Hello Melaka! I wish I could have stayed longer!

Wedding Outfit

Here’s my outfit, carefully laid out the bed.

My dress is a gorgeous navy blue lace Majestic dress from Review Clothing. It was completely sold out last month, but they seem to have re-stocked it.

I got it on a sale ($100 off if you spend over $250), the dress was originally $279, and it ended up being $179. Actually my mum bought the dress for me as a gift, thanks mum xxx! And the same sale is on online right now! They do free shipping throughout Australia too. Review has some really pretty bridesmaids dresses! I also liked and tried on this dress and this dress :)

Handbag by Tory Burch (from Shopbop) used as a clutch.

Earrings by Mezi. Strappy heels by Koo (from YesStyle)

Sis Wedding Malaysia

I love the fitted cut of the dress, and the sheer cap sleeves. I’m wearing a size 6, and it fit me perfectly, yay!

Sis Wedding Malaysia

The Cheng girls! Me, with my sister and my mum.

It was such a fun party! We hooted with laughter! We drank all the champagne! We all danced until 12am! Then a bunch of us went out for supper until 2AM!

By the time I went back to my room, had a shower, took off all my makeup and crawled into the PRESIDENTIAL BED, it was 3am. My Aunty was already sleeping, thankfully she was still on her side of the bed.

The bed was so large, so soft and so luxurious, that I fell into a warm, delicious sleep… where I dreamt about Roti Canai for breakfast haha!


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I know how many times you’ve had sex…

14 May 2014

Yep. That’s what my youngest son told me at breakfast this morning. He said…

“Mummy, I know how many times you’ve had sex!”

I double blinked. I looked suspiciously at my husband. He shrugged – meaning he was not to blame. I flicked my eyes over to one of my older sons, who looked away quickly. Aha! Guilty!

“And how do you know that, my dear?” I innocently asked my youngest.

So, it turns out that the night before, my husband and all three boys were watching TV, and some characters in the TV show were talking about sex.

My older boys giggled at the joke on TV.

But, at five years old, Liam didn’t know what was so funny, so he asked “Hey, what’s sex?”

My older boy answered, “Sex is when a man and a woman have a special kind of cuddle… to make a baby.”

Good answer! Not the whole truth, but accurate, and a good place for your five year old brother to start. Well done kid.

So apparently Liam nodded and went back to eating his apple and wiping his runny nose on the couch cushions.

However, during the night, he must have calculated how many times I have had sex, based on the number of kids in the family! *Eye roll* Well done to you too Liam.

So, there you go, my secret is out. I’ve had sex three times. What about you? :P


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Mother’s Day: And I feel like S#*T!!

11 May 2014

I haven’t been feeling 100% these last few weeks. In fact, I’ve been feeling like total sh*t. And it’s not even that time of month for me.

Life is sh*t. Exercise is sh*t. Waking up in the morning, omg it’s been giving me the total sh*ts.

So it was with zero enthusiasm and total disdain, I agreed to play at my 5 year old son’s football match this weekend.

You see, my children’s football club have an annual tradition, where the mums play against the kids in a special Mother’s Day Footy Match.

No breakfast in bed. No sleep in. No special brunch meal at some fabulously expensive organic café. I had to wake up at 6:30am and put on my freaking sneakers, my gym clothes and had to run around on wet grass in the freezing cold.

So there I was. Mother’s Day morning. Standing on the football field. 40 kids. 40 mothers.

My older son snapped a photo of me and my 5 year old.

Mother's Day 2014

Look how bored I look! Look at my forced smile. Can you see how I’m dreaming about maple syrup waffles, a snuggly blanket and a cup of tea?

I began to warm up. I forced myself to get into the spirit of playing sport. I called out encouraging things to the kids. I caught and passed the ball a few times. I pretended to stumble with the ball while actually passing it to someone else’s kid next to me so he could kick a goal and feel like a winner. It was kind of fun.

But I still felt like an uncoordinated rhinoceros, stomping through the grass with ungraceful strides. I still felt like a sick and cranky camel, with a long face and body language that said that I’d rather be somewhere else.

But guess what? By the end of the game, the coaches chose me to win the “Best Mum on the Field” award! What the? How did that happen?

I had to stand in front of everyone, while they all looked at me and clapped. I was so embarrassed and shocked! I felt so awkward, unworthy, and confused! I felt very undeserving of such a thoughtful and cute prize – an official little league coffee travel mug, filled with chocolates! Aww thanks guys!

Mother's Day 2014

Later in the day, I confessed to my older boy… that I didn’t think I played very well, I totally didn’t deserve the prize, there were other mums who played so much better than me, maybe they made a mistake, and I really didn’t feel worthy of the prize.

But he said simply, “Well Mum, someone else thinks you’re worth it… so just get over it… and eat the chocolates.”

And just like that, I think I may have emerged out of my rut.

Some appreciation from strangers, a clumsy validation from my son, and permission to eat chocolate.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mums out there. SOMEONE thinks you’re worth it, so just get over it!

And eat chocolate! :)


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Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

9 May 2014

My sister (and her new husband) recently held their second wedding celebration in Melaka, Malaysia.

I have heard so much about the port city, but I’ve never been there before. It is about 2 hours away from Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur, and it is famous for its rich culture, historical buildings and amazing food.

Unfortunately I was only in Melaka for 1.5 days and I only had 2 hours to do some sight seeing.

Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

My tour guide dropped us off at one end of Jonker Walk – a long street lined on both sides with 17th Century heritages buildings, which are now a bustling jumble of shops selling antiques, trinkets, souvenirs, textiles, food, local crafts, textiles, drinks, snacks, toys, clothes and more.

It felt like one big crazy marketplace!

Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

The street is narrow, full of cars, rickshaw bikes and parked motorcycles. The pedestrian path is also crowded, cluttered and a bit of a nightmare (not stroller friendly at all!) and sometimes you just have to walk on the road and get beeped by cars.

I almost stepped in front of a moving truck! The truck driver rolled his eyes at me, but gave me a sympethic smile, as if I was a stupid tourist. Oh yeah, I _was_ a stupid tourist!

Apparently on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, the street is closed off to traffic and becomes a “weekly night market” full of hawker stalls and shops.

I wish I had enough time to visit and try all the food.

Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

I found so many cool antique shops. I wanted to take a photo of one particular, beautiful ceramic vase, but the shop lady chased me away (with a feather duster!) when I pulled out my camera and asked her for permission to take a photo.

Sigh. So I crossed the road and took a photo of myself in their mirror. Not quite the same.

Doesn’t the outside of the antique shop so quaint and full of treasure hunting promise?!

Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

I started to get hungry.

Apparently THE thing to eat at Jonker Walk is the famous Chicken Rice Balls.

But the queues to Chicken Rice Ball shops were really long and I suspected that the shops offered a very touristy version of the delicacy, so I settled for some fresh wonton noodles made by a kind uncle, who was very patient with my fumbling for the correct change.

It was so fresh and yummmmy!

Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

There were heaps of shops with random plastic toys. I knew my kids are a bit old for these sort of toys, but I took this photo to show them the crazy jumble of colours and objects hanging from the ceilings. And to point out… “Look at the plastic eggs!”

My boys would have been in hysterics over such random juxtaposition.

Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

I found some gorgeous tiled verandas!

Outside each building was a mishmash of old and new building surfaces. There were old mosaic tiles, crumbling dragon columns and polished concrete slabs! Beautiful!

Exploring Jonker Walk, Melaka

Jonker Walk is definitely worth a visit. I wish I had more time to explore and enjoy the delicious mix of old and new world sights.

And I wish I had a ride in a Hello Kitty rickshaw! Missed out!


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Getting My Marshmallow On!

7 May 2014

Marshmallow Colours

I wore pink and white the other day (which made me think of marshmallows) and TWO very funny things happened.

I had a coffee date with my girlfriend and while I was holding my coffee cup, I snorted with laughter and a drop of coffee swirled out of the cup and splashed onto my knee.

Aaak my white jeans! Alas no fear – it landed on the exact spot where there was a rip in my jeans!

Ho ho, thank goodness for fashionable and nonsensical air holes for my knees to make me feel like a suburban rock star.

Then!

While I was shovelling through a plate of tiramisu, my upper lip knocked a half strawberry off my spoon… which was heaped with a mountain of cream. The strawberry rolled off, hit the edge of my water glass, which propelled it perpendicularly onto my left boob. Strawberry splat! Crap!

I excused myself from the conversation, I went to the bathroom, took off my sweater, wet a bit of tissue and started to lightly brush off the mark on the fabric. Funny enough, the cream was white, the strawberry was red and it all kinda disappeared into my pink sweater. Leaving a faint, sweet, marshmallow smell. Another close escape!

Ah pink and white, it was meant to be.

Marshmallow Colours

In other news, I wanted to try wearing a crystal ear cuff. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending $150+ on a proper Swarovski crystal one, so I bought a more affordable crystal ear cuff from Lovisa, which came with a matching crystal stud.

Good news, I didn’t feel like a hippy gypsy or a space cyborg. It just felt like I was wearing a cool earring. I liked it!

Plus it added a little punk/edge to an otherwise fairy floss outfit I had on :)

Sweater from Sportsgirl
White jeans from JCrew
Ear cuff from Lovisa
Sandals from Vangoh Shoes
Silver clutch from ASOS

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


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Taste of Perth Food Festival 2014

6 May 2014

Warning: Contains explicit images of amazing food!

On Friday night, I went to check out the Taste of Perth, a 3 day food festival happening in the city.

Originating 10 years ago in London, the Taste Festival has made its way around the world with the simple concept: they choose the city’s best and hottest restaurants to create 4 signature dishes in “taste” sized portions, allowing festival goers to pick and choose their own ideal degustation menu.

You have to pay an entry fee to enter the festival ($40), which featured cooking demonstrations, cooking masterclasses, cocktail making classes, and non-stop live music.  Then in order to purchase the “Taste dishes” and drinks, you have to buy “Crowns” –  the currency at the festival. $1 = 1 Crown.

I was invited as a “media guest” so I was given a complimentary ticket to the event, but I purchased $40 worth of Crowns for me to eat my way through the menu.

Taste of Perth 2014

Apparently I didn’t read the invitation properly – it was an outdoor event, and it was 7°C outside. So of course, I wore knee high stiletto boots with leather shorts, Isabel Marant silk and a Witchery blazer. What was I thinking?! Yes, I was a bit cold. and I was making holes in the grass with my stiletto heels, stumbling around like a drunk girl at the horse races.

Plus I went to the event by myself, so I was hanging around like a loser loner.

This year, 10 of Perth’s top restaurants participated in the festival: Bib & Tucker, Bistro Guillaume, Co-Op Dining, El Publico, Greenhouse, Lalla Rookh, No 4 Blake, Nobu, Print Hall and Silks. All big-name, popular restaurants, and I have only eaten at a few of them. So it was an excellent opportunity to browse!

Taste of Perth 2014

This was the scene at the stall by Bistro Guillaume Restaurant, well known in Perth for amazing, classic French dishes.

On the menu was Chicken Liver Parfait with pear chutney, croutons ($8) and Amelia Park Lamb Cutlets Ratatouille ($12).

Taste of Perth 2014

Decorated like a fancy Chinese restaurant, the Silks stall charmed the socks off me. It looked like a set of a Hong Kong ganster film, with dramatic back-lighting and two huge pots of water pumping steam into the air, making the atmosphere mysterious and seedy.

Taste of Perth 2014

However the food was far from mysterious and seedy. This is the Braised Pork Belly with lohan fruit and a steamed hollow bun ($12).

The queue was pretty long for this stall. There were 10 or so people waiting in the line. So I wiggled to the front of the queue (with my big camera in hand) and I found a lady who ordered this pork belly dish and I asked if I could take a photo of it.

It looked amazing. I could see the hot, juicy layers of fat sitting in the syrupy sauce. She poured the contents of the cup into the hollow bun, picked it up in her fingers and took a bite. I gave off a little gasp of envy, obviously it was my stomach speaking.

Taste of Perth 2014

I wiggled my way to the Nobu Restaurant stall, again the queue was very long. And again, I stalked a young guy, “Can I take I a photo of your pork belly?”

Yes, those were my exact words. And yes, he knew exactly what I was talking about.

Pork Belly, Spicy Miso Caramel ($12).

Taste of Perth 2014

Eventually I got tired of taking photos of OTHER PEOPLE’S MEALS, so I hoped into the queue at No.4 Blake Street and ordered a plate of Lamb Belly with pomegranate glaze, charred eggplant, fava bean tofu ($10).

Can you see a trend in the photos I’ve been taking? I was craving some belly in my belly!

The lamb was exquisite. It was soft and succulent, bursting with the smooth, sweet flavour of the lamb infused with herbs.

I was very inspired to try making some slow cooked lamb belly in my slow cooker now.

Taste of Perth 2014

This was another dish from No.4 Blake Street, the Chocolate Garden made with edible soil, macadamia rocks, salted caramel and peanut dacquoise, ($16)

It looked so cute. Lots of people were walking around, eating from their ceramic pots. I didn’t order it, because I didn’t want to eat dessert yet.

But again, I really wanted to try making this at home!

Taste of Perth 2014

I think the most popular stall for the night was Bib & Tucker (I did a review of their restaurant last year). I was itching to try their iconic dish (pictured above) Charcoal Roasted Fremantle Octopus, with Kipfler potatoes, ajo blanco, witlof and roasted almonds ($22).

But the queue was soooo long, and when I came back after 15 minutes, it was still long. So I huffed a bit and attached myself to the end of the line. I counted how many people were in front of me. Answer: 24. I pulled out my phone and after about 2 minutes of finger pecking, I looked up and hey, I was at the front of the line. It all moved along faster than I imagined.

Alas, they had just sold out of the octopus dish… noooooo! I gave the lady my sad face :( If I had tried this on my husband, he would have immediately, somehow, produced the octopus dish. But, in the rough and tumble of the food festival, I was just another hungry foodie… waah!

But she did noticed that I had a camera around my neck, so she let me take a photo of the last roasted octopus dish for the night (pictured above), before it went off to its lucky eater. I guess I’ll have to go back to Bib & Tucker to try the chargrilled octopus.

She also suggested that I could try the trout and I reluctantly agreed, only because I had lined up (for a grand total of 2 minutes), and I was really hungry.

Taste of Perth 2014

This is my Ocean Trout Tartare with harissa aioli, sourdough wafer, and crunchy capers ($12)

It was actually really delicious! The trout was so fresh and soft and juicy. The aioli was wonderfully tangy and smooth. And again I was quite inspired to try cooking this at home. Try, is the key word here.

Taste of Perth 2014

I wandered over to the Greenhouse stall, and made my third order.

Black Valley Beef Cheek with malbec braised beef cheek, bush tomato chutney, and saltbush leaves ($10). It was yummy, but not as soft, juicy or tender as the lamb belly. I was a bit disappointed. I probably should have chosen a dish that was “lighter” and more “salady” after eating the lamb and trout.

Truth is, this was actually a food purchase made based on cost. I had $18 of Crowns left on my card… I chose this Beef Cheek dish only because it was $10, BECAUSE I wanted to save my last $8 for…

Taste of Perth 2014

…this epic Salted Caramel Macaroon with salted caramel filling ($8)!

I walked back to the Bistro Guillaume stall and prayed that they didn’t run out of their dessert. Thankfully they had a lot stocked up! It was sooo large and soooo goood. It was delicious, even though I had to NOT think about all the sugar and butter I was ingesting.

As I walked towards the exit, full of good food, munching on my macaroon, I had a big smile on my face, and I concluded that yes, I had a great and fun time – even though I was by myself.

The food was fantastic! I loved trying the new and modern dishes from local chefs, knowing that I could try out more of their dishes at any time. For me it was a very culinary and artistic appreciation which inspired me to be more experimental with my own cooking.

For the total cost of the experience (it would have been $80), I think it was worth the money. I will definitely come back next year. But I’ll organise to go during the day, try out a cooking masterclass, sample a few more offerings at other stalls, and I’ll go with girlfriends who share my love for good food!

It’s also inspired me to book a table for dinner at some of the restaurants that I haven’t been to. And I suspect that might have been their marketing plan all along :)

If you check out the Taste Festival website, you might find out when the festival is coming to your city.

Enjoy!

xxx




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