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Friday, February 27, 2009

Spheres at Bintan, Indonesia

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Osaka Twilight Festival

Traipsing to the Japanese Summer festival at the Treasury Gardens out of curiosity was quite a good thing to do on a nice Sunday afternoon. The sun was out, the wind was cool and the Japanese were all over the place, as well as very busy food stalls.

okonomiyaki - a vegetable pancake topped with mayonnaise and a special okonomiyaki sauce
from "okonomi" meaning "what you like" and -yaki meaning "grilled" or "cooked"

Harajuku Crepes
this one with peach and mango ice cream
the queue was extremely long for this particular treat! (waiting time was around 20 minutes)
if you want to skip the queue check them out at Shop 148 Knox Place, Melbourne Central

a Japanese dumpling made of batter and chopped baby octopus, made yummier with some pickled garlic, topped with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise.
To make this dumpling you would need a cast iron with half spherical moulds, where the batter is poured.
The ball is then turned over to cook the top side for a couple more minutes before serving.

Takoyaki for $5

Another Japanese sweet treat - chocolate covered banana with candy sprinkles.
Thought it was a rip off at $3 (can get a bunch of bananas at Coles for this price!)
but as it was a novelty item and looked funny for the photos - the small change was fished out of the pocket and the camera geared up.

Not all treats proved to be yummy though, as there was a green latte that tasted of fishy seaweed.

it was green tea powder sprinkled on top of frothed milk.
not very successful.

There were some other events such as basic manga tutorial (japanese anime taught by non-japanese looking people), stalls selling kimono, girls playing the shamisen (a stringed instrument) and a professional busker rocking the house down. Quite funny, as at one point where there were several stalls that was not manned by any Jap folks at all [thus the event was hence called "I Want to be Japanese" festival ]. Just proves how multicultural this place is... in every sense :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ingredient : Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots are the edible young tips of the bamboo, seen slowly jutting out from the ground. Pinoys call it "labong", and is a common ingredient used around Asia, particularly China, India and Indonesia. It requires some initial preparation to remove some of the naturally occurring toxins (cyanogenic glycoside, also present in cassava. Apparently there is strong evidence that this one of the plants ways of defending itself from herbivores).

check it out in the asian store near you.
try not to be deceived by the bulk... you're gonna have to peel all those layers off!
Just like peeling off the ears of a corn on a cob, remove what appears to be skin. Starting from the base makes it a bit more easy.

size does not matter

After peeling off the thick leafy layers off, it will reveal a tender pale yellow core. Cut from the tip and you can judge by feel as to what would be the less tougher parts. Usually the lower parts are hard to cut, then you'd know when to stop. Slice thinly.

small circle...small circle....

Once cut, place them in a pot and add cold water. Bring to a boil for around 20 minutes, then replace with fresh water and do it again for another 20-30 minutes. The shoots will remain crunchy, which is one of its great characteristics.

boil baby boil

When that's done, you can leave that cool and then toss into your favorite stir fry. If storing for use, boil for the third time with a generous amount of sea salt, let cool when done but don't throw the water away as it would keep well for a week in the fridge in this brine.

shown here stir fried with beef, brocolli, mushroom and spring onion

bamboo shoot nutrition data
This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Riboflavin and Zinc, and a very good source of Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, but is apparently high in sodium.

Monday, February 2, 2009

4 Cheese Pizza

The basil is quietly growing in the backyard and had enough leaves to harvest...a friend gave a generous amount of freshly harvested tomatoes and there were several cheeses stashed somewhere in the fridge... what to do?

certified yum

A basic margherita has red tomatoes, green basil and white cheese, which represent the Italian flag. This pizza though, had not one, not two, not three, but 4 cheeses! (but just tiny amounts from each...)

A pizza base was made, the tomatoes were bathed in boiling water and the skin removed, the flesh was lightly mashed (for a little texture-imagining sinking your teeth in a sweet, plump piece of tomato... ) and seasoned with salt and pepper. This served as the tomato sauce. Then thinly sliced Castello White and tiny dots of Blue Cheese, a handful of shredded cheddar, thin layer of shaved parmesan, and a sprinkling of fresh basil, were evenly distributed on top. Watch and feel the cheese melt in your mouth... and wash it down with cold beer!

Scribe's Notes : Olinda Creek Walking Track

The Olinda Creek Walking Track is one of the many walking trails in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. It starts at the overflow carpark across the Silvan Reservoir Carpark, where other tracks such as Greygum Walking Track (2.3 km) and Messmate Track (1.4km) also commence.

The first part of the trail was highly enjoyable, covered by trees, the path littered by thistles, some orchids, and ferns. A quick pace would eventually lead you to a number of wooden steps, so don't stop - keep the heart rate up! But almost immediately this foresty trail ends and leads to a big gravelly road where silver pipes protrude once in a while.

one of the violet colored orchids which name escapes me now

The silence is broken by the soles of trekking shoes hitting against the rockey pavement, while birds swoop down and try to catch you offguard. The trees on either side of the road reach for the sky, and the wind occassionally visits to keep it all cool. Having passed by some folks and meeting some on their way back, this track appears to be a popular destination for brisk walks. Armed with a hydration pack, it's a good way to go out for a walk. But if you're on a lookout for stunning, heart melting views, this is probably not for you.

seen along the trail : a symbol of nobility of character
Scotland's national flower, the thistle

Total walking time : 80 minutes (one way)

Other possible options : combine walking tracks or side trip to numerous picnic areas, lavender farms, tulip farms, or just drive along the long windy roads of Dandenong!

Those Who Stopped By

Scribe's Notes

This pitstop is where incoherent ramblings seem to have meaning, where things or events are thought of and assessed, where great things are documented and perhaps any not-so-good happenings are written down in attempt to be forgotten!

So from the diversely abstract to the intensely specific, it's off to making tracks, and it is here where it stops for a thought or two.

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