Thursday, 16 May 2013

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Eating in

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Ever since I found this little restaurant in the 6th District in Vienna, all I want to eat is Indian food. And I really mean always. Not too long after my chance discovery of this place, I popped in to this culinary haven again and bought a few vegetarian curries to take home. It's a crummy little place with not much light and gross plastic covered floral tablecloths on their two greasy tables, but it smells divine and homey and totally legit. After taking my prize home, I literally ate curry for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, for two days until I sadly scraped the bottom of the takeaway container. I never feel like eating anything else when that goodness is sitting in my fridge. I also recommend ordering it to be delivered to your apartment and eating on your wooden parquet floor in the dark. Who wants to leave the house in this weather? It was just the thing I needed this day.

Marchettigasse 18 1060 Wien
Tel: 01- 5954502

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A swiss souvenir

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Two weeks ago I had a weekend gig over in Zürich, Switzerland where I made sure to make a quick trip to the supermarket to hoard up on Swiss chocolate and cheese to stow in my hand luggage. Check out this big, fat chunk of 33% almond white chocolate. Yes.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Shepherd's Pie

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It's not often that I really feel like meat or even potatoes, but now and again, I miss the comforting tastes of home. On this snowy weekday, I finished work and just really craved shepherd's pie. There's something really cosy and nostalgic about this fatty, sloppy, classic English dish, but as you know, my personal spin on any recipe always involves revamping it using the colours and freshness of nature. This is what went into this good looking and yummy shepherd's pie:

Potato top:
Potatoes, peeled and diced
Chopped fresh parsley

Mince filling:
Red onions
Grated carrots
Sliced celery
Frozen peas
Organic beef mince
Crushed garlic
A couple of diced, red, ripe tomatoes
A little flour to thicken any juices
A little soy sauce
Chili flakes, dried herbs, salt, cracked pepper
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Before living in Europe I always thought doing mashed potatoes was a real pain. What I learnt since is that it's the easiest way to do potatoes, ever! You peel the potatoes, cube them, THEN boil them. Then after boiling for only about 8 - 10 minutes, mash them up, melt in plenty of butter to taste, add milk until you get a smooth, peaky consistency, salt. I stirred in some chopped fresh parsley. Mmm.

Fry up all the other ingredients together in olive oil, adding them to the pan roughly in that order. Don't overcook (I know that's how you make English food, but just, no) - once I was finished sizzling the veg, I just fried the meat until brown. Distribute the mince and stuff in a suitable dish and spread the potatoes over. One hearty, fresh shepherd's pie, ready to serve.
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Sunday, 27 January 2013


In summer I went on a hike in Steiermark, Austria with my friend Paul and his work colleagues. I like the German word for 'hike'. There's such a romantic nuance to the word, 'Wanderung', although no one truly goes 'wandering' on a mountain climb (unless you're an idiot or if you're lost). In New Zealand we also call it a 'tramp'. Charming.

This was a darn tough climb, lasting from late morning until evening. When we finally reached the cabins at the apex, sunburnt, aching and spent, there was a lovely restaurant serving organic food, which we consumed ravenously and gratefully, followed by a few mouthfuls of schnapps. Never slept more like a log than on that mountaintop.
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Monday, 26 November 2012

Juicy, crunchy, leafy Mangold

PhotobucketMangold, otherwise known as swiss chard or silverbeet, has been my latest food infatuation. This green, luscious vegetable is not only unanticipatedly juicy and delicious, but also widely considered to be one of the healthiest and most nutritious plants. Out of curiosity and want for discovering new recipes, when I saw organic mangold at the supermarket, I bought one, knowing of its highly regarded nutritional value. What I didn't know was that it was so tasty that I would be munching away at the raw leaves while cooking and felt almost sorry when they were wilting in the hot pan. Next time: raw mangold salad.

For this meal, I looked in my fridge and cut up some veggies I had. Next, I heated some olive oil in a pan, added some sticks of fresh thyme and a few smashed garlic cloves. When that had nicely sizzled and the oil was very nice and aromatic, I threw in some thinly sliced raw beetroot (I'd never fried beetroot before - they turned out a little raw, so give them plenty of time to cook, think carrots) tomatoes, mushrooms, all at high heat, and last of all, my precious chard. Give it a stir and a sprinkle of salt, and it's done! Who says cooking is tedious?

And because I can't help putting an egg on everything because I always want to eat egg, here was the finished product - plus a dollop of hummus (doesn't really go but who cares)(I also always want to eat hummus) and labane (some sort of mediterranean lemony yoghurt cheese dip), some rucola, and a generous drizzle of good olive oil over everything. My quick Sunday brunch.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Summer in Taiwan

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Early morning Taichung. Lunch with grandma. Frozen green tea and milk ice with mum. Noodle soup. My favourite: papaya milkshake. 'Watar': labelled for me in English by grandma. Taichung streets. Taiwanese bread with dried fluffy pork. City views.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Taiwan shores

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My Dad and I drove my Grandma out to the coast on the Northwestern tip of Taiwan today for a coffee. It was really far too hot to be outside today at all, but there was a generous, salty breeze, and of course this magnificent view of the sea. And iced coffee. And a slice of green tea cake.

Monday, 25 June 2012


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It was my flatmate Nina's birthday in the weekend, and everyone was looking lovely in the sunlight. We ate and drank to beyond contentment and reveled in the beautiful weather. Thanks, Vienna, for looking lovely for us too.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Paris, je t'aime.

There is just something about Paris. Something unique and inexplicable. Maybe for me, it's that it was the first place in Europe I ever set eyes on as a wide eyed nineteen year old. Or maybe it's the perfect weather that's coincided with every visit I've paid there. Maybe it's the cute, bubbly sounding chatter, the fact that people drink wine at lunch, the incredible croissants so buttery they melt your tongue, the smartly dressed people of all ages, the rosy hue on the buildings and beautiful streets, the direct, friendly nature of the people, the stylish, feisty, attractive women. There is something about Paris that steals your heart, as it did mine all over again when I visited last week. Being a tourist in Paris reminds me of this hilarious, sad and lovely short film from Paris, je t'ame, which I think sums up the experience beautifully.

I took the photo above from the top floor of the Pompidou Centre.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Polenta breakfast

Polenta is another great whole grain food which I can't believe I had never cooked until recently. It's made from ground maize, and becomes a porridgey consistency when cooked. It's creamy, nutty, smooth and substantial, and is extremely easy to make, much easier and faster than almost any other grain food. The thing about polenta is that it's so tasty that you don't need to flavour it much. No pasta sauce or gravy necessary here. My favourite way to make polenta so far has been to cook it in vegetable stock and serve a ladleful of it next to roasted or grilled veggies. Simple. I would imagine it would be delicious served with sausages or a steak too.

Today I thought I'd cook polenta in milk for breakfast, and this was the result. This is how I made it:
1) Heat a little milk in a pot. I probably used about half a glassful.
2) When the milk is hot, pour in some polenta. I probably used about half the amount of milk. Stir continuously. You'll see it start to thicken. Add more if you'd like it thicker.
3) Serve in a bowl with toppings of choice. I threw on some sultanas, cranberries, sliced almonds, walnuts and flax seeds.

This whole process seriously took about three minutes. I'm all about super easy yet delicious and nutritious food. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Overcast morning

Sometimes there are seagulls along the canal. They come swooping by my window. They must come a long way, I wouldn't imagine there are any fish in that rank water. 
I shot this photograph at a high ISO setting on this cloudy morning. The resulting grittiness takes me back to the days when I was in high school and would go out on winter mornings to shoot black and white film with an old manual Pentax. If only I still had access to a dark room. Printing was always my favourite part of the photographic process. There was so much you could do to tweak the picture to come out the way you wanted. Change your mind on how it should be framed? Not happy with the exposure or contrast? No worries, work your magic in the dark room under that oddly serene red light. At least my complete impatience for digital editing means that I've been forced to improve my photographing technique over the past few years and take a good picture right off. Moving forward, always.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Artist Inspiration: Juan Francisco Casas

These amazing artworks were drawn by Spanish artist, Juan Francisco Casas, using only a ball-point pen. I find his photorealist portraiture so captivating - aside from the obviously incredible drawing skill, the images are so provocative, animated, candid and personal. I love the way he 'frames' his portraits - cutting out yet revealing enough to let your mind complete the picture. These were some of my favourite works, which I found on the artist's website.


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