Random recent moments

As I mentioned in the last post, I haven’t done much in the last 3 weeks but there are aย few things to share!

My dear friend Amanda gifted me with lovely chocolate covered sultanas by Melba’s and a bottle of Chenin Blanc (Coriole Vineyards), both presents from South Australia. The chocolates are rich, smooth and delicious and of the course, the wine was very tasty. She even wrote a really touching note… just because she’s an awesome friend and is always thinking of other people. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_5526

Having some of the chocolates and salted cashews = winning snack.

IMG_0742

Craving for Korean food led us back to our usual spot – Madtongsan II for dinner on Oct 16!

IMG_0699

Oct 19 – Could not resist the great lunch specials at Wagaya. Went for my new favourite dish, tonkotsu ramen, so delicious! Even comes with dumplings and an amazing bowl of fried rice!

IMG_0713

For dessert, we chose to share the green tea cheese cake with green tea ice cream. Have been wanting to try this for a while but probably not worth getting again.

IMG_0714

Mike’s squishing me! Long but fun and extremely worthwhile days in hospital this rotation. But sooo tired when we finally get home, not much studying gets done.

IMG_0720

Yoni was in town from Nambour and staying with us Oct 19-20. We went to see Gravity which was good, although I was glad we didn’t see the 3D version because I think I would’ve gotten motion sickness. And we never go without food! My favourite wedges from Beastie Burgers and burritos from Guzman y Gomez, yummy picnic!

IMG_5531

IMG_5536

IMG_5534

I ordered a few BB Cream replacements recently, and look at all the amazing samples I received! All well known Korean brands too… can’t wait to try some of these out, especially the Ice Mask!

IMG_5551

Boiled quail eggs with some salt and pepper – delicious snack!

IMG_0724

How do you cut a pineapple? This is how I learned from my mom, least amount of pineapple wastage!

IMG_0753

Yummy! Honeydew melon with pineapple and lychee – can’t go wrong!

IMG_5547

Tried frozen yoghurt for the first time not too long ago – how delicious! Biscotti and coconut pandan flavour with fruits – yum!

IMG_0702

A new favourite in our house, basil & blueberry gin and tonic – try it! Very tasty ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_0716

Home made food update? Here are a few things!

Crispy oven baked sweet potato fries

IMG_5540

Creamy mushroom soup – delightful!

IMG_5544

More mango sticky rice with coconut cream, mmm

IMG_0741

Vegetarian pasta salad with Greek yoghurt based dressing

IMG_5524

Pear cupcakes with passionfruit icing for the students in my group

IMG_0745

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing as thank you gifts for my med team.

IMG_5557

Happy birthday Fi!

September 28, 2013

A small BBQ gathering to catch up with friends and more importantly, celebrate Fiona’s birthday! She’s only turned “24” this year guys ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blowing out the candles! It took many laughs and a lot of effort ๐Ÿ˜›

IMG_5505 IMG_5506

And a few random pictures! Sorry Christine and Mike, somehow I missed you guys!

IMG_5510

IMG_5507

IMG_5508

Happy birthday again!

Santos GLNG City of Lights with Christine!

Christine had never seen the light show since coming to Brisbane so of course we had to take her!

[Check out 2011’s post HERE and 2012’s post HERE]

We had a tasty selection of kiosk food (including deep fried ice cream!) before settling down and enjoying the show. It was even more impressive than last year as there were people mounted on flexible poles, dancing under the waterfall, as part of the show!

IMG_5498

IMG_5500

Had a great night!

IMG_5504

IMG_5503

Mike’s 34th Birthday!

Another long overdue post!

Mike turned 34 on September 21, 2013 – woo hoo! We had a quiet day at home with just the 2 of us… focused on food, haha!

Started the day by making us some mini blueberry and white chocolate pancakes for breakfast! ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_5479

For lunch we went to our favourite local sushi restaurant, Sakura Sushi – they have new menu items! They keep improving every time we visit – highly recommended!

And a lovely homemade meal to celebrate for dinner ๐Ÿ™‚

At Mike’s request, Banh Tam Xiu Mai – one of his favourite Viet dishes!

IMG_5481

Also made some coconut basil shrimp, mmm so tasty!

IMG_5484

Happy birthday my love!

IMG_5487 IMG_5488

And also at his request, Caramel infused chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing. My best homemade cupcakes yet, huge stamp of approval from the birthday boy!

IMG_5489 IMG_5490

And of course, presents!

IMG_5491

Wishing you many more happy birthdays to come my dear! โค

Dinner with friends @ Epicurean

This is posted late, but I wanted to tell you about a delicious dinner we had at Epicurean (official restaurant of Inchcolm Hotel) back on September 17, 2013 ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks to a weekly Dimmi Special, we were able to enjoy this restaurant for the first time at 50% off the food bill, drinks not included.

With dinner reservations for 7pm, we were greeted by the friendly staff and shown to our table. It was a quiet Tuesday night with not many other patrons except for a few I presume were staying at Incholm Hotel.

IMG_5378

Service was really great throughout the night, thank you especially to Richard for explaining the dishes and continuously checking in on us!

IMG_5376

We started off with wine and warm delicious bread.

IMG_5377

Next came the entrees which we shared between us.

Lamb Tenderloin, Pistachio Dukkah, Smoked Eggplant, Sumac Yoghurt, Lemon. Lamb was extremely tender and I especially loved it combined with the dukkah and yoghurt!

IMG_5381

ยฝ Shell Hervey Bay Scallops, Salt Baked Apple & Onion Puree, Radish, Dill Oil. The scallops were sweet but I wish they had been seared (had absolutely no colour) and were accompanied by ingredients with a stronger flavour profile.

IMG_5382

IMG_5386

Hot Smoked NZ King Salmon Salad, Charred Potatoes, Candied Spec, Green Beans, 62หšC Egg. Smoked salmon was delicious and an interesting combination with the egg as well.

IMG_5379

White Rabbit & Mustard Fruit Rillettes, Moreton Bay Prawn Salad, Herb Brioche. I was worried, but the rabbit was tender and moist! The brioche, however, was too dry!

IMG_5385

Onto the lovely mains

I got the East Coast Gold Band Snapper, Roasted Peach, Sorrel & Green Peppercorn Cream which was absolutely lovely. The peach and peppercorn cream was a fantastic combination with the fish, which was perfectly cooked.

IMG_5387

Mike got the Pork Sirloin, Red Cabbage, Ricotta & Jamon Dumpling, Pear & Sage Emulsion which he said was, “deeelicious.”

IMG_5389

Kageen chose the Free Range Chicken (Breast & Leg), Pickled Ratatouille, Sweet & Sour Tomato Coulis, Fried Capers that she quite enjoyed.

IMG_5391

And finally, Xuan got King Reef Barramundi, Sand Crab, Tomato & Chive Mash, Sauce Nero with an additional side of Dutch Cream Potato Mash,Truffle Oil to share. The dish was good and it was interesting to try a squid ink sauce for the first time!

IMG_5390

Fortunately, with all of that, we still had room to try some of the desserts!

Mike and I shared the Belgian Milk Chocolate Mousse, Gin & Strawberry Gelee, Vanilla Crumble, Seasonal Berries. Beautifully decadent! The only thing we would point out is that the mousse was quite thick, more air would’ve been perfect but still delicious!

Kageen chose the Fruit Salad Compression, Crรจme de Framboise, Granita, Hazelnut Gelato as she had not compressed fruit before and found it quite refreshing. Her gelato had slipped off the starfruit in this picture.

IMG_5395

Xuan decided on the Classic Lemon Tart, Spiced Marmalade, Lime Crรจme that looked delicious!

IMG_5396

Thank you Epicurean for a great dinner with delicious food and wonderful service! We will definitely try to come back and visit again soon!

Group photo!

IMG_5400

Epicurean on Urbanspoon

Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 02 & 03

Day 02: Sept 19

Woke up bright and early to birds chirping and the soothing sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore.

After breakfast, we decided that we would re-hike the same path as yesterday: East from Flinders Beach all the way to Main Beach and stop to swim along the way. Since we were walking through the same scenery as yesterday, I didn’t take as many photos!

Wee, wee, wee! Riding my invisible broomstick around Home Beach

IMG_5384

Marking our presence!

IMG_5390

IMG_5392

IMG_5393

Morning stretches

IMG_5395

IMG_5397

I found lunch! Different kinds of molluscs!

IMG_5403

While I was hunting for lunch, Mike decided to claim a secluded section of Deadman’s Beach as his own private beach. Just for the 2 of us!

IMG_5406

That is my head, sticking out of the ocean

IMG_5409

Closer look at the molluscs I found

IMG_5411

New friends! Tickling my palm as they tried to slither away

IMG_5412

Sand dune! Too bad we didn’t have anything to use to slide down with!

IMG_5417

Bird of prey swooped down and stole an angelfish caught by a fisherman

IMG_5417

IMG_5419

IMG_5421

IMG_5422

Super calm fisherman

IMG_5434

Lots of little crabs on all the beaches

IMG_5441

Little critters all around if you stop to take a look!

IMG_5443

Thought these flowers were quite interesting!

IMG_5444

We finally made it down to Main Beach! The wind was crazy today and the waves were too large to safely go swimming… neither of us are surfers, haha!

IMG_5444a

Since we couldn’t swim at Main Beach, we walked back (so much walking) to Deadman’s beach for more swimming… and more crabs

IMG_5445

IMG_5451

We made it sure to make it back to our camp at Adder Rock in time to watch the sunset! And to not only enjoy but see our awesome astronaut (read: freeze dried) dinner!

IMG_5454

IMG_5454a

It was actually REALLY tasty! Yum yum!

IMG_5454b

We took our dinner bag onto the beach to eat and watch the sunset together. Aww, how much more romantical can camping get? Haha

IMG_5455

IMG_5460

IMG_5463

IMG_5465

The wind had picked up quite a bit after the sun went down so we hid out in our tent for the evening. Yay!

Day 03: Sept 20

Our last day on Straddie! We decided to have breakfast, pack up and head back early in order to enjoy a whole day back in Brisbane.

This little fella never failed to show up and laugh at us in the mornings!

IMG_5474

IMG_5475

IMG_5476

IMG_5478

Our next door camping neighbour (took this with my telephoto lens). SHE HAS A FRUIT BOWL and containers with drawers!

IMG_5481

Someone tied their bracelet to the fence

IMG_5482

This bird greeted us on our first day and followed us everywhere around the camp ground. On the last day, it landed on my shoulder while we were having breakfast! Very cute, especially the way it wiggled it’s butt, I don’t know what kind of bird this is though, does anyone?

IMG_5486

And that’s it! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!

IMG_5488

CLICK HERE IF YOU’D LIKE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE STRADDIE PHOTO ALBUM

Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 01

September 18, 2013

During this vacation, I did something I’ve never done before: I went camping!

Big thanks to Mike for the awesome first experience! Being an avid camper, he had everything we needed to make the trip as smooth as possible ๐Ÿ˜€

Our destination had long been recommended by numerous friends and boy were we glad we finally went! STRADBROKE ISLAND – definitely would visit again!

Getting to the island was incredibly easy and convenient, making us both really wished we’d gone earlier. Take the train out to Cleveland, hop on the complimentary bus out to the dock and on to the ferry! Ferry price is $15 return for students, pretty good! Once we arrived on the island (Dunwich), the island bus was waiting and it cost an additional $2.50 to get to our camping ground, too easy!

On the way there!

IMG_5214

Here is a map of Stradbroke Island so you can see the places I have mentioned and will be talking about in this post.

NSI-Map

We decided to camp at an unpowered site at Adder Rock for $28/night. Being low season, we got our pick of camping sites and decided to camp along Flinders Beach. Camping on the beach, what could be better right? They even had all the amenities we could need, including cooking and toilet facilities. From Adder Rock, we hiked East along the coast, scampering over rocks and walking through kilometers of pristine beaches all the way to Main Beach.

Setting up camp

IMG_5215

Done! Our home for the next 2 days

IMG_5233

… with the awesome beach view

IMG_5230

Settled in and having lunch! Yes, Mike has a portable stove, pots and pans, and everything! Sausages, hard boiled eggs, bread, strawberries… yum!

IMG_5227

First selfie of the trip!

IMG_5228

After lunch we headed out to explore North Stradbroke Island.

We started with walking along the roads where we passed by a skatepark.

IMG_5243

IMG_5234

IMG_5238

We sooned turned off the road to walk along the beach instead. First up, Home Beach (refer to map above!)

IMG_5245

IMG_5248

IMG_5253

IMG_5257

IMG_5260

IMG_5262

IMG_5263

IMG_5264

Beaches were pretty much empty except for a few families scattered here and there

IMG_5266

We’ve reached Cylinder Beach! One of the few places to swim with lifeguards.

IMG_5269

IMG_5273

Beautiful Cylinder Beach

IMG_5274

IMG_5275

IMG_5277

Leaving Cylinder Beach…

IMG_5281

IMG_5282

Mike taking a break

IMG_5283

IMG_5284a

Looking back at Cylinder Beach

IMG_5285

Looking ahead to Deadman’s Beach

IMG_5288

We saw a manta ray cruising underwater while taking a break!

IMG_5293

Deadman’s Beach

IMG_5294

Really interesting to the see the variations in volcanic rock formations and colours as you go from beach to beach.

IMG_5303

Frenchman’s Bay!

IMG_5304

IMG_5305

IMG_5307

Heading up to the road because you couldn’t really continue onward by the beach

IMG_5309

Looking back down at Frenchman’s Bay

IMG_5312

IMG_5323

As we walked along the road to the Gorge Walk, we saw humpback whales! Unfortunately, they were really far out!

IMG_5325

IMG_5326

IMG_5317

The beautiful Gorge Walk!

Breathtaking North Gorge

IMG_5333d

IMG_5333b

IMG_5339

IMG_5340

We really kept our eye out for dolphins and sharks, but only saw sea turtles and manta rays unfortunately. Still amazing though!

IMG_5335

IMG_5337

IMG_5354

IMG_5359

IMG_5362

IMG_5343

IMG_5346

View of South Gorge and further ahead, Main Beach!

IMG_5365

Endless Main Beach as far as the eye can see!

IMG_5366

We didn’t swim at all today. Decided that we would hike the coast again tomorrow and go swimming and visit Main Beach then. With that we headed back, returning to Adder Rock just missing the sunset! Boo, but that’s okay, we’ll make sure to catch it tomorrow!

IMG_5371

Getting a fire going… just because ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_5375

Smoked out a huntsman spider!

IMG_5380

Easy dinner! With wine, fruit and other snacks on the side.

IMG_5381

We retired to our tent early with our headlamps and spent the night playing Monopoly Deal Card Game (thanks for that Vy!) and reading Dan Brown’s Inferno. Good end to our first day.