Monthly Archives

August 2013

12 Things

August 30, 2013

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 12 year anniversary. I was fifteen when I first met Ben, can you believe it? 12 full-of-growth years with this amigo. Of course it’s only been 18 months since we were married, so I guess we’re going to have to celebrate two anniversaries in the future. You see, August 29th will always be our special date. February 25th, on the other hand, is a good excuse to ask for diamonds and rubies and paper. Paper? Cotton? I really don’t get that tradition. Don’t even get me started on year 3 – leather. Too far.

Here’s 12 things I do get.

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1. I made a salad for lunch on our anniversary day, and we had ourselves a picnic on the floor. It was a version of this roasted brussels sprouts salad but without the grain. I added roasted cauliflower, radish, baby spinach, bacon pieces and blue cheese to the mix. Hot tip: I threw the craisins into the pan at the last minute while the bacon was cooking. Bacon grease-dressed craisins are a thing of beauty.

2. I made salad for lunch specifically so we would have room for dessert. Usually when eating out, Ben and I never get dessert as we’re too full from dinner. We’re those people – lame! On this day I was determined to not be those people. Those people annoy me.

3. I made Rachel Khoo‘s chocolate lava cakes with salted caramel (extra salt) for this special lunch dessert.

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4. The ramekins I used were too large (greedy) and I added far too much salted caramel filling, so these rich beauties cooked imperfectly and exploded everywhere upon turning them upside down. They were a delicious mess.

5. I completely adore Rachel Khoo and I’m secretly not-so-secretly hoping for her cookbook for my birthday next month.

6. Our music over lunch? She and Him Volume 3. It’s cute and sweet and innocent and delightful. Their Christmas album is my very favourite.

7. I googled “dinner party conversations” and asked Ben a variety of these over our lunch. Random questions are my favourite and he happily obliged as he still seems to love me after these 12 years. I love hearing his answer to questions like “If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life?”, “What’s inspiring you right now?” and “Describe your perfect Saturday morning…” and see if he surprises me. After 12 years he still does. Sometimes.

8. We enjoyed a local pinot noir over lunch (splurge!). I used the smallest glasses in my cabinet to help with portion control, all in the name of encouraging a productive work afternoon. Workplace safety.

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9. That picnic basket above is purely ornimental. I thought it’d be a cute touch for our picnic. It’s purpose is storing jars. I have so many jars. Need a toothbrush holder? Use a jar. Oh dear, I’m one of those people. I’m a dessert snubbing jar hoarder.

10. I gave Ben a jar (see?) of Malt’O’Milks as a present this morning (his favourite), as well as a retro batman postcard I picked up when we were in San Francisco this year.

11. I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, just like I did for his birthday last year. We debated going out for dinner but decided to stay in. I’m so pleased we did.

12. One of the “dinner party conversations” questions (see point #7) was “what is your current favourite past time?” His answer? “This, what we’re doing right now”.

Yes.

Happy 12 years, sweets xo

 

Heidi xo

Sprouting

August 27, 2013

We have a new home.

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This little place, a quiet rental on the Mornington Peninsula is our first venture away from snug apartments and units. We now have two bedrooms, a large kitchen, a fireplace, a shed, an office and a vegetable garden. It’s small and it’s creaky and it’s old, but I find it to be very fetching. It feels like the right kind of snug.

My days these past two weeks have been spent unpacking boxes and putting our posessions, which had been hibernating these past eight months, into new nooks. We’re discovering the corners and bumps of this place and making it our own. I already have my favourite corner of the house picked out.

Beyond unpacking, I am busy with my private practice. Yes, I’m learning to stoke the fires of business practice as keenly as I’m learning how to heat our home with our fireplace (in regards to the latter activity, it’s presently much less Girl Guides woodland skill and much more heavy-handed match application). Though I have maintained my private practice for a few years, I will be focusing on this work primarily in the future as we venture into the land of “being true grown ups” and running our own businesses. It’s all very exciting. And despite the fact that being your own boss (and feeding a fireplace) can be more work than the alternative…often relentless and exhausting and stressful, Ben and I both believe the benefits to be undoubtedly worth it.

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Though it must be said that following our dreams in this manner does require keen conservatism. Particularly after all this recent travel…some of which was necessary and for business, and some simply “because we were in the area…” (I’m looking at you, New Orleans). Yes, it’s time to settle down and sprout a little income, some monetary success. Don’t get me wrong, this year has been an absolute gift – all the lessons and adventures are priceless, and we’ve thrown ourselves in wholeheartedly towards this crazy ride. But we do have to pay for the electricity to keep this new home of ours running. And so…

And so we’ve taken to cooking more simple meals, simple plates, often vegetarian, focusing on wholesome ingredients and pantry staples. A piece of meat feels like a luxury. As it should.

Ben and I have been enjoying this roasted brussels sprouts salad for lunch of late. The sprouts are sincere and earthy and despite the bold flavours present on your plate, with the sweet molasses and stock-kissed grains, it all marries together very happily. This salad is nourishing, rich, sweet and warm, with a sure zing. It feels like home and it tastes like a good life.


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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients
~350g Brussels Sprouts
1/2 cup uncooked Wholegrain – I used a wild rice blend, but any wholegrain would be lovely. I favour freekeh but quinoa can be a quicker option.
Stock and Water to cook your grain
2 tablespoons Craisins (other dried fruit would work here, play with your favourites)
2 tablespoons Unsalted Roasted Almonds, roughly chopped (dry roast your almonds if you don’t have pre-roasted on hand)
50g Goats cheese (Meredith is my favourite. Fetta or panfried haloumi would work too – note that I didn’t have cheese on hand when I made the version I photographed for this post)
1/2 tablespoon Pomegranate Molasses
A generous squeeze of a juicy Lemon
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 small pinches Smoked Paprika
2 small pinches Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Halve your brussels sprouts and place in a bowl. Drizzle the oil, paprika, sea salt and pepper over the sprouts then mix well using your hands. Place the sprouts cut side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. When the oven is hot, bake the sprouts for ~20 minutes until golden and sticky.
2. Meanwhile, cook your grain according to packet instructions. I like to use 1/2 stock, 1/2 water for extra flavour. In the last couple of minutes of cooking your grain, add the craisins to the mix (drain any remaining liquid as required). Cover and set aside.
3. To make your dressing, add the pomegranate molasses to the lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust as required (you might like to add some water to dilute the mix).
4. Drizzle the dressing over the grain mix and stir, then spoon onto plates. Top with the roasted sprouts, chopped almonds and goats cheese.

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong: a delicious love letter.

August 23, 2013

Dear, Hong Kong. Thank you. I just wanted to say, thanks. For being so full and for all the experiences. You’re really special to me.

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My husband lived in Hong Kong for a short while as a child and we have a lot of family who live there, so that somewhat explains my ardent adoration. But really, even if you have no previous connection to this city, you’re sure to leave feeling full, with a warm kind of familiarity that encourages appreciation, adoration and future visits.

You keep coming back to Hong Kong. You get addicted to the madness.

Or maybe that’s just me, a girl who grew up thinking anywhere with a McDonalds was “so city”, with one bus that came on a Saturday (or did it even come? I never saw that bus). With each visit, my feelings towards Hong Kong have grown from overwhelmed to acceptance and now, adoration. Though my country genes ensure my visits remain temporary (I do not think I could live without my Mornington Peninsula fresh air for an extended period), I really truly love this city. It is so completely different to anything I have ever called home…and yet now, some four visits later, Hong Kong most certainly feels like a second home.

Here are some eating recommendations for Hong Kong, a city bursting with great eats. Memorable experiences are just waiting to happen. My tastes have certainly matured since first coming to Hong Kong as a green sixteen-year-old 11 years ago (when I thought that Chinese food was prawn crackers, followed by beef in black bean sauce, lemon chicken, fried rice and fried ice-cream). Oh my, did I learn a lot during that trip. This time around I was hungry to taste all the true HK eats I could find. My father-in-law and extended family showed me a fantastically delicious time, it was a dream trip full of congee, pineapple buns and dun tarts, dim sum and more.

Are you hungry yet? Here we go, a random assembly of our eats during this one-week trip to Hong Kong…

1. Capital Cafe in Wan Chai is a popular spot for Cha Chaan Teng (HK-style breakfast). While Australian Dairy Company is the business over the harbour, on Hong Kong Island I really enjoyed this no fuss joint for traditional Cha Chaan Teng eats. We shared macaroni with ham, HK-style french toast, scrambled eggs with thick fluffy white toast and HK-style milk tea.

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2. Tim Ho Wan serves up cheap and delicious Dim Sum to truckloads of people. They have several locations for all your baked BBQ pork bun and beef-stuffed beancurd needs. It’s seriously good stuff. Visit around 11am for lunch or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

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3. Congee is a must when in Hong Kong. We headed to Tai Hang for some street-congee lovin’, where this little shop on the corner of King & Brown Streets famously serves delicious congee with homemade rice noodles and fresh doughnuts to locals at all hours.

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4. Another must-try when in Hong Kong are dun tarts, or egg custard tarts. I used to really dislike these bites, much to the horror of those around me. I adore Portuguese-style custard tarts (take me back to Lisbon…), but never liked the Hong Kong version. This time, I got it. There are two styles, the flaky shell and the shortbread-style shell. I much prefer the shortbread crust (and prefer my custard more set). If you’re keen to try dun tarts, a good place to start is the very famous Tai Cheong Bakery, located in Central. Some say their tarts are overpriced (true), but I didn’t mind spending the money once on these buttery bites.

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5. More love for my new favourite Hong Kong neighbourhood Tai Hang. We visited Ramen Kureha for mighty tasty ramen bowls. This shop boasts exciting flavours and is super popular with the Hong Kong ladies (something to do with the hipster waiters, I assume).

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6. That night we also visited Xiao Tian Gu for dessert, sampling coconut sago with red beans (my favourite), tofu pudding with cashew cream and black sesame paste. These fun desserts are just so different to the apple crumble I grew up with.

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7. Visit Macau, if you can, for a change of scene as well as yummy noodles, ginger candies and almond cookies.

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8. Gi Kee Dai Pai Dong in Happy Valley is one of our local favourites. This food market stall serves really tasty chicken that is covered in fried garlic. We get this dish every visit. It’s mandatory.

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9. Another Happy Valley local is Hop Lu and their famous fish ball and fish cake noodle soup. The service isn’t the star attraction here, but it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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10. Pick up a bun from one of the bakeries on the street for breakfast or a snack. The pineapple bun is very popular, but Ben’s favourite is the custard. I’m torn. Though we agree on avoiding the hot-dog bun with meat floss.

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11. One night we met Ben’s sister and her husband for a really yummy and fresh dinner at Nha Trang in Central, followed by drinks at Club Feather Boa. After finding our way behind the curtain and figuring out wtf was going on, we ordered a strawberry daiquiri and had a merry time.

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12. Mak’s Noodles is a longstanding gem that serves up scrumptious wonton noodle soup in Central. I just love their prawn wonton.

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13. Yo Mama is a frozen yoghurt chain. My husband’s lovely and talented cousin, Jacqui, encouraged me to try the green tea flavour with sesame flax sprinkles. It blew my mind. Man, I wish we had this in Melbourne.

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14. Lan Fong Yuen will give you a super authentic Cha Chaan Teng experience in Central. We got takeaway HK-style milk tea and I learnt that I really don’t like the stuff. This place, open since 1952, is super cute and I vowed to visit again for breakfast. Though we never did get there for french toast and pork buns. Next time…

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If you’re all up in the Hong Kong food world, please feel free to add recommendations for readers in the comments below. The thing is, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have your eating expectations met, nay, smashed, when visiting Hong Kong. They just do it so well.

 

Hong Kong Notes

Accommodation: Ben and I stayed with family in Happy Valley, which is a quieter nook on Hong Kong Island. For tourists, I would highly recommend staying in Causeway Bay. You’ll be surrounded by shops and can easily hop on a tram and head to Central and other places. Wan chai and Tai Hang are nearby for good food. Personally, I’d choose staying on Hong Kong Island over Tsim Sha Tsui and Kowloon side any day, though I know many people like staying over the harbour.
Getting Around: we used buses, trains (the MTR), trams and cabs, we well as family cars. It’s quite easy to get around Hong Kong and cabs are pretty cheap.
Activities – some recommended fun when in Hong Kong: 1. Definitely head up to The Peak for a gorgeous view of Hong Kong (try to get a clear day, night time is lovely too). 2. Catch Star Ferry and grab a great harbour view of Hong Kong Island. I love to do this at night to see the twinkling city lights. 3. EAT! Dim Sum, Cha Chaan Teng breakfast, go out for dessert, congee, wonton noodle soup, buns and tarts – Hong Kong is a foodie heaven! See above for my eating recommendations and also check out this great article. I’d really recommend wandering and eating your way around Tai Hang. 4. Catch a tram along Hennessy Road. 5. Visit the Wan Chai food market. 6. Visit the Big Buddha and have a yummy vegetarian meal at the Po Lin Monastery. 7. Temple Street night market is a bit of fun. 8. Visit the IFC mall (my favourite) for shopping. 9. Wander, wander, wander and then eat some more.
 

Heidi xo

Macau

August 20, 2013

On this chilly Tuesday, let’s scoot back to Asia. For the next two posts I’ll linger here, summing up my recent adventure, finishing with some recommendations for Hong Kong eats. So grab a cup of tea and let’s travel to Macau…

My father-in-law really spoilt us during our recent trip to Hong Kong. This day trip to Macau was in particular, a real treat. Macau is such an unreal mix of cultures and aesthetics, it is a veritable feast for both your eyes and your appetite. The old Portuguese outfit stands proud amongst the shiny new casino mayhem, creating this crazy combination of run down wealth.

Naturally I prefer the old part of town. I found the Portuguese architecture, with muted colours that once shined so bright, to be incredibly charming. And my, did we find some delicious corners – from chewy noodles to ginger bites and coconut sago drinks.

Here are some snaps from our excursion to Macau.

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When in Macau, you will not avoid the Koi Kei Bakeries littered along practically every street. You have been warned. What was once a lone cart selling peanut candy and ginger has multiplied into a delicious, albeit imposing monopoly of Macau sweet shops. Koi Kei provide samples of their goods for gleeful, greedy shoppers, namely their famed almond cookies. Be sure to visit and taste, and maybe buy a gift or two, as we did. Though I’d also recommend visiting the smaller shops along the streets of Macau for some humble charm.

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Jamón and roast duck…a strange, canivorous, cultural harmony.

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We had an amazing lunch at Cheung Kei Noodle House. This long loved noodle house practice the old-school, traditional bamboo method to make their noodles. They are chewy, al dente perfection, some of the best noodles I’ve eaten. Their wontons with seaweed were also so so good.

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The noodle cook in action…

As a treat, we saw The House of Dancing Water show. It. Was. Spectacular.

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We ended our visit with a traditional Portuguese dinner at António, delighting in delicious baked Portuguese chicken and grilled fish. It took me right back to Lisbon.

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Macau.

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Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosa’s Table

August 17, 2013

My, I have some talented friends. Friends from school and university, friends of the family, friends within my family, new friends and old friends. And then there’s my best friend, the guy I get to hang out with every day being goofy geeks.

I feel very blessed to have such love in my life. And I like to think I feed that love by being a good friend in return. Specifically, I like to make my friends food. Friends who bake for you are the best types of friends, ain’t that the truth.

If that’s the case, then my friend, Rosa, is the best friend a girl can have. For she is the ultimate foodie – so very passionate and so very skilled when it comes to food and cooking. She loves to prepare meals for her family and friends, this is something we have in common and something I have been fortunate enough to experience on multiple occasions.

It’s so wonderful, then, that Rosa holds cooking classes on the Mornington Peninsula. Here we are able to eat and learn at her table. Yes, Rosa’s Table is a very special place. Last Christmas, Ben and I attended the Christmas Table class as our gift to each other. And it was the most memorable gift we’ve exchanged in a long time. Here are some pictures from this blessed, delicious evening. If you are interested in classes you can email Rosa for details.

We started with a spiced eggplant salad, which was loaded with textures and tasty jewels. Oh how I adore eggplant.

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We then moved onto the turkey breast, which was rolled and stuffed with fruits and macadamia nuts. This dish is a stunner, one I intend on whipping out many times to impress dinner guests.

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Salute!

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For dessert, a chocolate sponge with ganache and summer fruits. So light and so delicate.

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Rosa also takes tour groups to Sicily. Ahhh Sicily, the citrus-kissed land where family and food are everything. Inspiration seeps from every inch of this passionate, infectious, slightly rugged, terribly affectionate Island. Rosa and her husband were the reason Ben and I first visited Sicily, and now it is our very favourite corner of the world. This tour of Rosa’s, with an itinerary including dinners with her family and visits to farmers, would be an absolute dream trip. Please email Rosa for details if you are keen.

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I wish we were all lucky enough to have a Rosa friend in our lives. And not just for the stuffed turkey, I swear…

P.S. Today is my blog’s three year anniversary. Happy birthday Apples Under My Bed. I’m having the time of my life rambling about food to you all. Thank you for reading. Here is my very first post, in case you’re a new reader or if you’re feeling nostalgic. I need to make that cake again…

Heidi xo

 

Kinfolk Honey Harvest Workshop

August 14, 2013

Last Saturday I attended the Kinfolk Honey Harvest Workshop, hosted by the lovely Jaclyn of Little Paper Trees and Blog Society together with Cake Wines. How cool lucky am I? My gorgeous sunshine friend Emma scored us tickets to this event (thanks, Em!), and on Saturday we met down a Fitzroy alley at 1pm (how Melbourne), ready for honey class.

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It was a small gathering, about 25 honey folk. We sat at tables adorned with flowers, sipping beautiful Shiraz and eating divine cheese with bread, Dr Marty’s Crumpets and honey as we listened to Andrew and Joanna from Maya Sunny Honey speak of their unique product and the journey of their honey from Poland to Australia. We also heard from Vanessa and Matt of Melbourne City Rooftop Honey, who gave a great rundown on what we need to know to start bee keeping ourselves (my Dad is already ahead of me, having interned himself and planning his own swarm).

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I left feeling so sincerely energised by these talks. Naturally I was sky high on golden, crumpet-kissed honey goodness, I mean that was part of the deal… but I was also buzzed by the possibility of harvesting my own and fostering the sweet cycle of nature, production, consumption…Doean’t that sound so romantic? Yes, I’m keen to get my hands stuck in a honey pot of my own.

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…..

Today, for Wednesday Breakfast Club, I used my little gift of Maya Sunny Honey on sourdough toast. Married with natural peanut butter and cinnamon, it was a beautiful start to the morning.

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♥ Sourdough Toast
♥ Maya Honey
♥ Natural Peanut Butter
♥ Cinnamon

What did you have for breakfast today?

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

Who’s Afraid of the Michelin Man?

August 11, 2013

This is not a food post. This is a therapeutic post for us all to share our deepest darkest fears. This is a safe place. Let’s do this.

When I was younger, I was afraid of the Michelin Man. You know that rotund, white, googly-eyed and grinning roly poly man who popped up whenever your parents stopped off to get petrol or a tire change? Yeah, him.

Now I am all grown up I am…still absolutely creeped out by the guy. Sheesh! He gives me the heebie jeebies alright.

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Am I the only one? Tell me I’m not.


As a small child I was also scared of the sound of the toilet flushing. I believed that the evil mistress from Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent, would come out of the toilet and capture me. A quick google of ‘how to spell Maleficent’ informs me that they’re making a movie about this villainous vixen starring Angelina Jolie. Well that’s just dandy. Maybe next there will be a movie starring the Michelin Man. Nightmares, anyone?

What was your childhood fear?

PS. I am now home in the land of Aus! This coming week we are moving into our new rental home and I am itching to get back into the kitchen. Thanks for joining me on my travels. This year has been a hoot, alright. I’ll be back with some Hong Kong eating recommendations in a few days.

Heidi xo

Hong Kong. Full.

August 7, 2013

My goodness I am having an excellent time in Hong Kong. Has it always been this magical? This full? Yes, it’s always been this full. But I’m only just now realising the beauty in the fullness.

I first came to this city in 2002 when I was so small and so completely unprepared for the fullness of Hong Kong. I was used to space and sparse. Now, some four visits later, I am less overwhelmed and more…enamoured. More in love.

In love with the grand structures in which people create such tiny homes; in love with the little nooks selling traditional food, untouched by the years and the growing, imposing buildings further narrowing their already limited space; in love with the sprawling markets full of stinky fish and baskets of greens; in love with that feeling I get when I step on to the sidewalk in Wan Chai, dodging droplets from the air-conditioning boxes above and wiping my brow from the full humidity…as we search for a place to satiate our appetites I am at once so happy to be back and so sad to be going. This time around, you see, I am completely prepared for the superficial fullness of Hong Kong…the cluttered buildings and people, people everywhere… yet I am completely unprepared for how full I feel in my heart for this crazy beautiful place.

Hong Kong. I have so much love for you.

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Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore

August 3, 2013

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This past July, my husband and I were in Singapore for a short while. As we were primarily working, we weren’t free to tour as much as we’d have liked. You see, ordinarily on overseas adventures I am happy, nay, ecstatic to travel long distances for food, changing trains and pounding the pavement…whatever it takes.

This time around we were dictated by our meeting locations and work commitments. Therefore, I was not able to get around to all of the tasty Hawker centres in the land of Singapore. Nor did we fit in any of the gardens or zoo visits I had hoped for. There is SO much more to see, so much more to eat. Next time…

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Nevertheless, we did experience much deliciousness during our short visit. This city, which we found to be delightfully approachable, is loaded with yummy bites and beverages. Here is some of the tastiness we experienced. PS. We stayed in Novena and got around primarily by the MRT and cabs.

Chomp Chomp
On my first night our local friends took us to Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre for a veritable local food feast! We had BBQ stingray, clams, oyster omelette, satay skewers, fried carrot cake, chicken wings, popiah and sugarcane juice. This my best meal of the trip, with our friends going to town on the ordering and spoiling us with this outrageously delicious display. Thanks, guys.

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Hydration!
Many fresh vegetable and fruit juices, fresh coconut juice, the occasional frequent iced-coffee, hot ginger water and this barley drink were consumed. Necessary

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Chicken Rice
We met at Maxwell Hawker Centre one night for chicken rice and fish cake. This place is very popular and centrally located for many tourists. Check out this post for what seems to be some good recommendations.

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Shopping
I definitely recommend checking out the cute shops along Haji Lane. I bought a snakes & ladders poster.

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Wearing my Pop Basic tee.

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Singaporean Breakfast
Kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and coffee at Old Town.

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 Wandering in the green.

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Brunch
Five and Dime for an (expensive) Western breakfast of pancakes and good coffee.

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Chin Chin
Chin Chin eatery for chicken rice, pork chop and eggplant with salted fish. Excellent recommendation from the lovely Blithely Unaware & her man, we loved this place!

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Cocktails and Fries
Drinks with a view at KU DE TA.

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Food Courting
Food Republic food court eats.

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Vegan Burgers
We visited Vegan Burg with vegetarian friends for surely tasty bites.

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Walking, walking, walking.

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Dessert
Pudding, ice-cream and wine at Sabio Tapas Bar.

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Home Cooked Heaven
Ben and I were lucky enough to have dinner at a new colleague’s home, with their incredibly lovely family. We enjoyed delicious hot pot and for dessert, a chocolate origin cake we had brought.

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Hawker Centre Eats
Prawn noodle soup and hot ginger water at Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre for our last night in Singapore.

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Singapore, we had a blast. I cannot wait to visit again. Let’s all do aerobics in public spaces together. Totally.

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Heidi xo