Showing posts from August, 2010

The Balgownie Village Patisterrie

Located only on a five-minute walk from my Balgownie residence, the BVP is a gem of a delight offering
crafted cakes and cafe fare, including pastries, pies and a coffee bar. Sited in the heart of Balgownie village, it offers a rustic familiarity and friendly service. You can pop easily across the road to the newsagent, chemist and the family-run Il Nido Italian. If you remain on the same side of Balgownie Road, you can saunter to the Balgiownie Pub Hotel and a barber shop with framed pictures of how the Balgownie community used to be in its founding days.

Saturday morning, and I had a veg and chicken pie with a flat white. An easy start to a leisurely weekend....

(All images in thjis posting taken by use of an IPhone camera)

Only in Australia


What Kind of Nation Are We Going To Be?

On the cusp of another federal election, Australians may face a hung parliament, or at the best, have a Government elected by the most marginal of voters. Beyond some of the media-hyped issues raised by the main two parties - illegal immigrants arriving by boat from its northern shores, employment conditions that are fair to both employee and businesses, a broadband network with faster download speeds, the effects of climate change, heavy government debt incurrence versus attaining a surplus and how political parties treat their leaders - are significant matters which has been strangely kept tucked away from the public eye, or at least de-emphasised.

There was no sizable discussion on how the Australian economy can gradually wean away from relying on jobs, revenues and skills being dependent on carving out the family heirlooms, whether they be the minerals just dug out in their raw state to supply sustenance of foreign countries, or the sale of vital public security infrastructure to …

A Sunday Lunch Too

Lunchtime on Sunday, 15 August 2010 in a Sydney suburb, courtesy of Eileen Ong.

McLaurin Hall - Scenes From a Wedding

McLaurin Hall forms part of the well-known quandrangle in Sydney University's Camperdown Campus.
Currently undergoing restoration, it is the illustrative sandstone structure of a sandstone university in New South Wales. With a sunny outlook and blue skies outside, Jati Teoh tied the knot with Roselin in a daytime function graced by the Reverend Bill Cruise, finger food and flowing wines.

The videographer and bridegroom's only brother.

I appreciated listening to interesting lifetime perspectives from Uncle Peter (left) and Uncle Alex (middle).
Image above was taken by Bonnie from Melbourne.

The bridegroom's mother in traditional Straits Chinese wardrobe.

A Feast For Ben Butcher

Benjamin Michael Butcher was born on 1 July this year.A month later, the immediate family, joined by other relatives and friends, celebrated this occasion by gathering at the residence of one of Ben's grand-uncles. The must-have food for such joyous occasions is the red tortoise, or the ang ku in Fujian dialect (above image), which symbolises celebration, promise and longevity. The outer shape of this Straits Chinese delicacy has a mould that represents a round tortoise - and inside is a yellow bean mix you may recognise, once you bite into it.

Above: the savoury yam cake, garnished with fresh shallot rings, chili bits and deep fried garlic. It is best eaten with a chili sauce.
Below: Singapore styled chicken curry, with potatoes and kick, from one of Ben's grandmothers.

Below: More variety of sweet dessert time cakes.

Like during an Orthodox Christmas, hard boiled eggs are made with coloured shells to signify fertility in southern Chinese practice, adopted by immigrants to South-…

Newtown, Old Town

"Ghost Valley" was written in chalk on the pavement, reminiscent of "Eternity" in other parts of Sydney not too long ago. This was Newtown in Sydney on a rainy, windy and chilly night. The suburb is a unique haven of the blending of cultures, lifestyles, demographics, cuisines and village life. Many encountered scurrying in the rain are twenty something in age, but the range of bright and sunken eyes, glee or obsession, smartly dressed and down trodden, did make me wonder, what in Newtown attracts all this wide range of all sorts to gather here, not just for a meal, but also for a browse in a bookshop, do some late night wardrobe shopping, enjoy a chill out time at the cinemas and more.

The character of Newtown along its main thoroughfare of King Street can be decided by the nature of business or operation of the shopfront or facility.  In the evenings, schools tend to be in the shadows, restaurants are brightly lit and everything else can be in between.  We spotte…

Childhood on Christmas Island

Lee Fong is fair-skinned and looked typically of southern Chinese origin, but little did I know at first her Christmas Island, Indian Ocean roots until she captivated us with accounts of her childhood and early teenage years. Having come from another tropical isle, Penang, I was soon caught up with vistas and vibes of her experiences on another isle where time seemed to stand still and where the rhythm of life was almost magical, compared to the pace demanded of the denizens of Australia's capital cities.

Foong talked about the Governor's residence on Christmas Island, a usual focal point of authority and elegance in most far flung British colonies, a symbol of London's presence occupied by a distinguished government servant. What caught my imagination better was the episode when a cousin sister had her
boat swaying on heavy ocean waves, the contraption pitted against the nearby rock faces and how Fong and her sibling atop the cliffs could sense the rising risk and danger…

Delicacies of the Straits Chinese

This glutinous rice based dessert (above), with the fanciful name of pulut tai tai, is dyed with the natural colours of the butterfly pea flower petals (bunga telang), to produce an overall pleasing marine blue effect, before applying an egg-based coconut flavoured jam, called kaya, to spread over the savoury pieces. Also refer to image below, foreground.

The diverse and delectable variety of kueh from the Peranakan or Straits Chinese tradition. With demands in attention to detail, emphasis on texture, presentation and making use of natural ingredients from home and garden, this cuisine requires lots of experience, practice and heart to produce palate sensations that demonstrate personal rigour, patience and art. Families from Malacca, Singapore, Penang, Medan and Phuket now have members spread out across a diaspora across the main Anglo-Celtic nations of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America and Canada, which now may serve as the next possible vehicl…

An Australian Market Day

The tropical jackfruit - above.

Image above - organic bananas on offer.

Image above - Lebanese cucumbers.

Image above - Aussie-grown paw paws.

The sights above were captured at Belconnen Markets on a winter's day in the Australian Capital Territory on 18 July 2010.