Mount Titlis, Engelberg

September 30, 2013

Mount Titlis is a 10,623ft mountain that is located on the border of Obwalden and Berne in Switzerland, overlooking Engelberg and is famous for having the world’s first revolving cable car system. These photos are part of a series of the boo’s 2010 trip through Europe and as usual photos by boo, edits by me. Look for the first post here.


More photos after the jump.

Cereal and Kinfolk

September 27, 2013

Going to pick up my first copy of Kinfolk tomorrow from the Pattern Store! Super excited about getting these two quarterly magazines. Each is quite pricey (at about RM68-70 depending on which shop I’m getting it from) but it’s supposed to be a collector’s item with back-issues being highly sought after. Will be getting Cereal by mail next week via ilovesnackfood!



Glossy pages full of photography, entertaining tips, recipes and travel articles sounds like the perfect jumble of topics for me.

Weekend Barbecues

September 25, 2013

It’s 10.30am in the morning right now and I am actually blogging. No, I’m not really that free, but I’m having a horrible flu and generally feeling very under the weather so I’m really not feeling up to doing any work. Hence my procrastination and not-arsed-ness.

These pictures were taken months ago at a stay-in weekend barbecue with the boo’s family. My favourite moments are these, relaxing weekends when everybody gathers around and makes good food and good conversation.

Taco wants summa dat too.

Weekends spent cooking at home are a regular occurrence now. In addition to making our weekends more low-key, it’s a great way for everyone to bond and learn more about cooking and making our own food to sustain ourselves. Good practice for when we’re living on our own in hopefully a couple of years’ time.

Salted Caramel and Nutella stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 23, 2013

The boo has started a little tradition, weekend cookouts with Khye Shin and Yi Ping. I missed the first cookout but for the second, my contribution were these wonderful Salted Caramel and Nutella Cookies that were up on SortedFood’s youtube channel earlier this week. When I saw this video I knew I just had to try this recipe out. It was simple, but sinful and heavy with chocolate.


Salted Caramel and Nutella Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
sortedfood/Top with Cinnamon

1/2 cup (110g) butter
1 1/2 cups (350g) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (55g) cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
3.5 oz (100g) milk or dark chocolate chips
flaky salt/ fleur de sel/ maldon salt, for sprinkling
approx. 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) nutella
1x recipe for Salted caramel (see notes for recipe) OR 15-16 caramel-filled chocolates

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C)
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Take off the heat and stir in the brown sugar and eggs.
  3. Then add the cocoa, salt and baking powder and stir until well combined. Add the flour and stir until no floury patches are left.
  4. Lastly stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Take 1 heaped tbsp of dough, use your finger make a large indentation the centre of the dough; fill the indentation with a small blob of nutella (like 1/2 tsp ish), and top it up with the still-warm salted caramel, or a caramel-filled chocolate.
  6. Top with a flattened tablespoon of dough, and seal the edges.
  7. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and bake for 8-10 minutes.

I bought Cadbury Caramello rounds to use in these but somehow it failed to melt the way the caramel-filled chocolates did in sortedfood’s video. Anyhow, these cookies are still the dream. Super chewy and moist (kind of like a brownie cookie) with nutella and caramel flavours, it’s hard to stop at one piece. The sprinkling of sea salt on the top made it even better.

Botanical, Bangsar Village

September 21, 2013

Dinner last week with the boo, Khye Shin and Poh Sim.


Food at Botanical is 100% meat-free, and sadly wasn’t that great either. I was quite excited to try a meat-free place and see whether it was good enough for me to return for something healthier once in a while, but sadly it was disappointing. Best thing of the whole night was probably the Broccoli and Arugula Olio. They gave us a set of free macarons as well, which whilst not too bad, still wasn’t a patch on my favourite macarons from TWG.
Company was top notch though, had a great time meeting Poh Sim for the first time!


September 20, 2013

I saw these on Buzzfeed today. I think it shows perfectly how I feel about my life some days.




Our last day in Gold Coast

September 19, 2013

The final day we were in Australia, we spent most of the day at Surfer’s Paradise again relaxing and eating up a storm. We had planned nicely to leave for Brisbane CBD by 4.30pm so that we would have plenty of time to find our way around the city for dinner and then straight to the airport.


Newest lens addition: 35mm f/2

September 17, 2013

I shoot primarily with the only prime lens that I own, the 50mm f/1.8 II which I think is the cheapest lens in the Canon prime lens round-up, yet performs way past it’s price point and is tack sharp. Coming from the combination of GF1 and 20mm f/1.7 prime lens, I’ve always been more comfortable shooting with primes than zoom lenses. That and, prime lenses are well known to give sharper and better quality images due to the fact that it is easier to make a prime lens excellent than to make a zoom lens excellent as there isn’t as much glass involved. If you’re looking to buy your first prime lens without breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with the 50mm f/1.8 II and it will probably stay with you for a long time unless you decide to upgrade to better 50mms such as the 50mm f/1.4L or 50mm f/1.2L.

However, I’ve always found that the 50mm on a crop factor a little limiting; the focal length is too tight and the MFD is too long so that it’s quite difficult to get a decent shot of someone sitting opposite me on a table, or taking landscapes. After extensive research and EXIF peeping into one of my favourite photographer’s – Olivia Rae James – flickr account, it seemed that 35mm was the sweet spot for focal lengths and after trying out the 35mm f/1.4 at a camera shop and seeing how beautiful the pictures were, I decided that my dream lens would be the Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens which costs a hefty RM4,800.

The next best option was the Canon 35mm f/2 which sadly was discontinued and extremely hard to locate (asked around at 3 camera shops) but very luckily for me, I got a good deal on a used lens seller’s Facebook page. Traded in my 18-55 kit lens (hardly touched it since the picture quality always disappointed me and made my pictures look extremely bland) for a used copy of the 35mm f/2.


I asked the seller to bring along a copy of the 28mm f/1.8 USM to try and I loved the build quality. Since my GF1, it’s been quite some time since I touched a lens/camera of good build on account of my 60D and lenses all being made out of plastic. I was almost tempted to get the 28mm based on build and that extra wideness alone but after playing around with both lenses, the 35mm turned out to be the winner in sharpness and I save RM400. I suppose image quality and sharpness outweighs build quality any day.

Now I’m seriously looking forward to testing out my new lens! I’ll save the 50mm for street shooting or when I can’t get too close to the subjects (like candid shooting at weddings so I won’t embarrass myself).

I can’t believe that after getting my camera in April this year, I’ve already bought 3 lenses for it. I jokingly told the boo that I fail as a girl, instead of spending my money on new clothes/shoes/bags I blow big amounts on gear and tech stuff instead. I could seriously be a man.
This has got to be my last lens for the year, but I think for my next lens (next year) I might go for either a wider or more telephoto prime just to widen my total focal lengths a little bit. Any recommendations for budget wide/telephoto primes?

Death by Chocolate, Grand Hyatt KL

September 15, 2013

A while back Jon and I went for the Chocolate Buffet at Grand Hyatt hotel for tea. Both of us being avid chocoholics, we expected to stuff our faces full with chocolates and even had a light lunch (I had a salad) and everything. Disappointingly, we only managed two tiny plates of chocolate goodies before we began to feel absolutely sick to our stomachs. I suppose everyone has a limit for chocolates, even those that love it with a passion.


Black Coffee Lyrics, another hidden gem

September 12, 2013

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We Urbanspoon-ed a lot on our last two days in Gold Coast, and Black Coffee Lyrics was extremely highly rated and regarded amongst the Urbanspoon-ers. We arrived late, about 12pm expecting a breakfast menu but after some last-minute research we found out disappointingly that breakfast ended at 11am. Oh well, we’ll go for the tapas instead.
Pictured above is probably one of the best siew yokes I have ever tasted in my life. I can’t remember the last time something made such a huge impression on me. Granted, it was written on the menu as “pork belly” but as a Chinese, siew yoke is siew yoke in whatever form it comes in or whatever country you go to. A five hour slow cooked pork belly with house made kimchi, seared scallop, pear chutney and pear reduction. I still dream of this tiny little thing. We shared this miniscule tapas between the both of us because we were once again thinking too much into the exchange rate and decided to better save our stomachs for something else (for example Korean food which is highly recommended by everybody for some odd reason).

Black Coffee Lyrics
41/3131 Surfers Paradise Blvd,
Surfers Paradise QLD 4217,

Jacked-up Banana Bread

September 10, 2013

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I’ve taken a long hiatus from baking so much so that I’ve lost track of the baking inventory in the house. Last weekend I just poked my head about the cabinets to gather what I could find and came up with Smitten Kitchen’s jacked-up banana bread. Banana bread has always been a staple recipe for me because I love the aroma of bananas in baked goods. My go-to recipe is usually Joy the Baker’s Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Bread, but I was too lazy to set up the mixer to whisk the egg whites so I tried out a new one from Smitten Kitchen instead.

Jacked-up Banana Bread
Smitten Kitchen

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar (depending on the level of sweetness you prefer, I always use the smaller amount)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cup of flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices.
  4. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.
  5. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

I divided my loaves into two mini loaf pans and baked them for about 45 minutes at 175 Celsius. I skipped the bourbon (because we didn’t have any) and used 5 bananas instead of 4, and I’m wondering how it would taste like with a shot of bourbon in. I used 3/4 cup sugar but found it a little too sweet for my taste. We also ran out of ground cinnamon powder so I had to grind my own spices using a mortar and pestle the traditional way. The end result was wonderful; although it tasted more like cake than quick bread. The nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves really served to heighten the whole thing. It was my first time using more than one spice in baking so was pleasantly surprised with the aromas.

Hakataya Ramen, Surfers Paradise again

September 8, 2013

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Being avid ramen fans, the boo and I never miss an opportunity to try new ramen especially one that is highly recommended by everyone who has visited Surfer’s Paradise. Hakataya Ramen was located in a small and rather grotty corner of Surfer’s Paradise amidst dodgy-looking tattoo shops and travel agencies, but we knew we struck gold when we arrived and saw a sizeable crowd consisting of locals and Japanese alike.
What we loved about Hakataya was the refill of noodles (kae-dama) at no charge when you finish your portion, and the spicy pickled mustard greens that you take with your bowl of steaming hot ramen. The boo enjoyed his spicy noodles very much but I still think I prefer the ones at Santouka back home. Anyway, Hakataya definitely makes the second top spot of my ramen list.

Hakataya Ramen
Shop 26 Centre Arcade,
3131 Surfers Paradise Blvd.,
Surfers Paradise