Random moments since being home!

This post is just as it sounds, enjoy!

There were ripe bananas at home so made some banana chocolate muffins

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How silly is this? Beechwood Cemetery sent this addressed to my dad (who is buried there) inviting him to join for a Memorial Candlelight Service.

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Birthday present from my mom! Belated because she kept it in Ottawa until I got back 🙂 Even matches my birthstone, thanks mommy!

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Shawarma Palace is my absolutely favourite shawarma shop and now they have a fancy new location – thank you Elvin for the treat! 🙂 So nice to catch up with him and Vinh!

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On Nov 27, it snowed. A lot. It’s not even winter yet.

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This is really yummy if you’ve never had! I don’t think they have this kind of Greek/fruit yoghurt in Brisbane so I will enjoy all I can while I’m here, haha! 😉

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My brother got a bike trainer so he can still ride his bike during the winter 😛

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CINNABON. Best cinnamon bun ever. Always look forward to having this when I’m back in Ottawa, thanks bro for buying me one! 🙂

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Ambitious project going on… I’m trying to digitize all our photos

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Face squishies!

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My brother made kale chips, tasty! But I don’t really think they’re worth the money.

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Delicious green tea chocolate by La Chocolaterie – so creamy and rich in matcha flavour

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Dinner one night at home: thit kho (braised pork) with bamboo and egg, greens and a mixture of different kinds of rice – very yummy!

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Look how easy it is to do a bowel cancer screening test now, from the comfort of your own home with prepaid postage. Everyone over the age of 50, please get screened at least every 2 years! Very easy to get a kit, just ask your family doctor for one the next time you visit!

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Couldn’t resist trying Domino’s pizza here… nice size, nice crust, BUT WHERE MY CHEESE AT?

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Good crunchy lava cake though!

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Made dumplings… lots and lots of dumplings…

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Mum brought home some macarons from work, yay! Although they were really lacking in flavour, it was hard to make out what most of the flavours were.

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More to come soon I’m sure! 😉

High Tea at Coffee & Chocolate

Christine Q invited me out for a high tea and study date at Coffee & Chocolate, how could I say no? 😉

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We met last Sunday at Queens Plaza with reservations for 12pm and were told we could each select any of the hot or cold beverages.

Christine chose a Callebaut Strawberry Hot Chocolate, which was served on a stylish dish with some marshmallows.

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I got a refreshing Mango, Guava & Lychee Frappe.

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We chose seats by the window and didn’t have to wait long for our high tea, which came out on 2 tiers – savoury on the bottom, sweets on the top.

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Pretty Christine with the goodies!

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Started off with the savoury goodies – chicken salad finger sandwiches, puff pastry triangles with a meat filling, mini quiche tarts, and bread rusks with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Quality of food was good, everything was tasty but presentation could use a bit of work!

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On to the sweets! Warm soft scones with jam, butter and whipped cream, chocolate cake, strawberry bar, macarons and mini muffins (blueberry and chocolate). The desserts were all average, nothing that wowed us but they were all enjoyed. The macarons were unfortunately undercooked and the turquoise one, despite the lovely colour, had no flavour.

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For $12 a person, we had a good time and left with happy bellies to get some studying done 😉

I have to say, I was a little concerned after seeing so many bad reviews on Urbanspoon, but I was glad to have been overall proven wrong. Decent food with prompt service, hurray! Would I come back? Well, I would like to give their chocolates a try, so maybe if I’m ever in the area?

Coffee & Chocolate on Urbanspoon

Egg Bistro – A great find

The first thing we liked about finding our way to Egg Bistro: super easy to get to from our house via public transportation. Lovely, because it means we may have found a new favourite spot.

Warmly greeted by the friendly waitress as soon as we walked in, we were given the choice of either sitting in the air conditioned dining room or in the secluded and shaded courtyard. It was a lovely day, so we opted to sit outside.

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Service was prompt as we were immediately brought menus and water. Mike and I had a discount voucher – $19 for a value of $39, simply pay the difference if we order more. We were told that even though our voucher was for breakfast and brunch, we were more than welcomed to order from the lunch menu. A nice option as it was nearly lunch time and the lunch menu items were enticing as well.

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For drinks, Mike ordered a flat white ($4) and I got a Tea Drop Mint Strawberry Iced Tea ($4). Coffee was awesome and my iced tea was very light and refreshing – definitely good choices.

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Loved the fancy-design matching cutlery

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After a bit of deliberation, we both ended up choosing items off the brunch menu. Didn’t have to wait long, food came out quickly!

Mike ordered the smoked salmon on rye with cream cheese, spinach, coddled egg & caper hollandaise. Yummy hollandaise sauce, a nicely poached egg and generous amounts of smoked salmon – Michael was a pleased man.

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I got the spiced lamb sausages with quince, radicchio, cauliflower, kipfler & thyme dressing. Lots of components but loved the combination of flavours! The sweetness of the quince (my first time trying, not disappointed), the bitterness of the radicchio, the creaminess of the cauliflower, the poached egg, and of course, the lamb sausage – so yummy! Also a very generous portion, especially with the potatoes, I shared quite a bit with Mike and was still completely stuffed!

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Despite sitting outside in the back of the restaurant, we were checked on during the meal to make sure everything was good, and it was!

After eating, we stayed for a while and got some studying done! (Looking at lectures of skin conditions may be awkward in public spaces, haha). Never felt any pressure to leave, which was great and when we went to pay, our waitress even suggested next time grabbing the couches so we could spread out and be more comfortable.

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Home made soda syrups and jams for customers to buy. Mike and I plan to pick up something next time we’re back.

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Come back you say? Yes, most definitely. We didn’t have expectations when we read the mixed reviews online, but we could not fault a single thing during our visit. Great service and great food. We went on a weekday in between breakfast and lunch – perhaps that’s the trick to avoiding the long wait times we read about. 😉

What could make a really enjoyable experience even better? Our waitress (forgot to get her name :() had packed up 2 pear and buttermilk muffins for us to take away. She didn’t want them going to waste and figured we would be peckish later – so nice! And they were delicious 😉

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Egg Bistro on Urbanspoon

Writing recipes

If you know me, you know the way I cook: On the fly and without recipes. It’s been great and has worked well in allowing me to make my own dishes and to learn and grow as a cook.

But recently, I’ve become very interested in actually discovering and writing my own recipes by trying new dishes for the first time.

So starting earlier this week… after deciding on what I wanted to make, I did some online research reading a bunch of recipes. Took a little bit here and a little bit there and just went for it Sandra-style.

I’m happy to say that it’s been successful so far this week – I now have 4 recipes written down that I can truly call my own 😀 (The first 2 have already been mentioned here)

1) Apple cinnamon muesli cookies

2) Bacon and veggie quiche

3) Eggs benedict

(Very happy with the Hollandaise sauce (got the Michael stamp of approval!). I had to make it twice because it completely failed the first time. Second time? Gorgeous!)

4) Pear and feta cheese muffins

(My first time making muffins from scratch! I really like all sorts of fruit and cheese combinations so was hoping this would work and it did!)

Of course, I have tons of room for improvement but would definitely love to continue this on a regular basis. Will be slowing down the closer I get to exam time – eep!