Showing posts from July, 2010

The Making of Bun Chien Kueh

A pancake, with either thick or thin dough, crunchy and usually garnished with peanuts and sugary stuff - an ideal opener for the palate at teatime or even for breakfast. The bun chien kueh, or wrapped fried cake, originated from southern China and has cousins of sorts from Japan to Indonesia. Shown here is the version most often available in the food courts and streets of towns in both Malaysia and Singapore.

The process starts with mixing, pouring and monitoring on a sufficiently hot plate.

The freshly made wrap (above) is gingerly taken from the cooker to be sprinkled with ingredients of your choice (below).

Peanut granules are spread carefully over actual white sugar on top of the inside of the pancake.

Next to ready, the bun chien kueh is then folded like an envelope (above) and then cut into slices (below).

Orthodox Icon

The Serbian Orthodox Church in Forrest in the Australian capital of Canberra is a gem of murals, religious history, national pride and cultural perspectives. It is located a short drive from Parliament Circle and the trendy dining district of Manuka.

Image above - Saint Constantine points to the heavenly sign that converted him to Christianity whilst he was Emperor.

An Early Start at North Wollongong

A side aspect of the surf club facilities building.

Stuart Park offers a rare mood as it awakens from night to day.

A view to the ocean and Wollongong Harbour's Lighthouses.

The Croquet Madame served as part of the autumn/winter menu at Diggies beach side cafe.

North Gong is in the midst of transition, from old to new. Apartments seen are along Cliff Road, whilst the past still stands as sentinel to changes on both ocean and land.

Morning tea offerings from Diggies.

The view towards Sydney and the north. The apparent hills in the background are part of the Illawarra escarpment.

(North Wollongong is ten minutes by car from my residence).

Le Tres Bon at Bungendore, NSW

Le Tres Bon is located in an unassuming manner along Malbon Street in the village of Bungendore in New South Wales. It has the double distinction of providing creative dishes for elegant dining as well as operating a cooking school which organises food and wine tours to Republic Le France. Christophe is the owner-chef, supported by two smiling and energetic waiters and kitchen staff. There is a dining area near the entrance, or if you prefer, a covered out deck location with views to the backyard - when on-site, I felt as if I was transported to the mother country herself. Image above - cream brulee based on Madagascar vanilla bean.

Confit la canard served as my mains choice. The duck was tender, well-marinated and light in offering different sensations to the palate. The pickled garnishing reminded me of Vietnamese offerings, though not quite the same. The dollops of orange slices was akin to icing on the cake, so to speak.

Le Tres Bon also specialises in truffle-inspired creations, s…

Return To Canberra

The historic Canberra House, now part of the campus of the Australian National University (ANU) and sited beside the Crawford School of Economics.

Matthew Withers, who plays guitar as part of the duo Brew. Matthew performed at a cocktail function I attended on a wintry Friday evening - and uplifted the spirits of the crowd.

Roast chicken and duck hanging on display at a Saturday lunch in Dickson with Amy, Mark and Sean.
Image taken at the Tak Kee Roast Inn, Woolley Street.

Risotto marinara served as my mains at La Rustica along Kennedy Street in Kingston, near the Parliament House. The gravy was appetising, not overly done and infused with the richness of the seafood swirling in the mix. I am also reminded of the paella and noodles done Spanish style at Legends located in Manuka.

An eye-catching dessert chosen by Sean after dinner at La Rustica, Kingston.

Chancellor Gareth Evans presides over graduand ceremony at the ANU Ceremony on 16 July 2010.
The location was Llewellyn Hall in the School…

Hideaway in Bungendore, New South Wales

Bungendore Village was settled in 1837 but still thrives as a viable community lying between the Federal Highway form Australia's capital and Batemans Bay through Braidwood in New South Wales. The village is well planned in a grid, with mostly residential houses, but there are two hubs for any visitor - Gibraltar and Malbon Streets. Accommodation is charming country, with a variety of cottages, old buildings and pub hotels. Bungendore is strong in its traditions of leather crafting, rural art and wood work. It is especially good for a day time stopover, especially with its markets on the third Sunday of each month, antiques on offer and its cafes. Not far from town are several vineyards like Affleck, Lambert,,Shepherds Run, Lake Hill, Lerida and Lake George. The real Lake George is nearby but now is a dried up version of its former self.

A fireplace gets going (above) on a nippy Sunday morning in July whilst
fine wood creations are displayed in a store (below).

A porcelain plate that…

A Sunday Lunch Snapshot

It looked like representatives of the non-Malay diaspora had gathered, not over political gripes, but over the fondness of food they grew up with and which they do not have access to easily back in their homeland.  There were Indians, Cantonese-speaking families, young Australian-bred Asians, Eurasians, Asians who brought their Caucasian spouses and those who articulated in the Fujian dialect. It was a cloudy Sunday outside the windows, but this contrasted with the spicy and simmering gravies, sauces and aromas of dishes created by a different generation, the originators themselves being migrants to a new land themselves.

A grandfather remained silent as he took in the hor fun, broad-based rice noodles that were braised in an egg mixture and swirling with Aussie prawns, Chinese choy sam vegetables and thin slices of fish cakes. He hardly acknowledeged the presence of his wife, who in turn had no choice but to concentrate on her food.  A trendy guy of Indian origin from Leichhardt took…

Return To Parramatta, NSW

I used to work there, having figured out its initially unique one way roads and grid lay out.
Like with Kuala Lumpur, I have mixed feelings about Parramatta and the way it has changed and developed.
It holds a special place in recent Australian history, having been the first inland settlement for the colonising Brits after they established themselves at Port Jackson, now known as Sydney's Rocks district.
Parramatta the name is based on a reference to "where the river ends" but today serves as the administrative centre for the New South Wales State Government and has demographics NSW Governor Macquarie in the late 18th century could have never imagined. The regional centre rivals some other Australian capital cities in terms of business, tax contribution and variety of cultures.
(Image above shows how to create captivating bouquets out of lollies in a Parramatta business near the Church Street Mall).

The Town Hall in Parramatta on a cloudy July Sunday in 2010.
All images in thi…