Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bali Daze - Sardine

It's no secret we love to travel.

There are always gems to be discovered in every destination.

This time round, our friends booked lunch at gorgeous Sardine, a seafood place at Jalan Petitenget.

Bali has a way of invoking a sense of awakening in you. Once you step into Sardine, you would walk past a brick wall and into a landscape of pavilions and rice padi fields. All as a backdrop, as you dine. 

What a glorious day it was to be out. The skies were ethereally blue and seemed to go on forever into the horizon. (What is it about Balinese skies?!) There are workers in the padi field harvesting the crops. There was a calm lull in the place that makes us wanna linger around.

The menu consists of mostly sea food items but we were pleasantly surprised to see them offer a kids menu to the children. (who mostly are iffy about consuming anything underwater). They managed to get a serve of linguine bolognaise, which totally made their day.

Us adults managed to have something tastier. I love that the dishes were not complicated, flavoured with the right spices and all were very very delectable.

These are the starters that we had. 
Grilled Prawns with Thai Salad, Hamachi Caparcio, Grilled scallops, Sardines on potatoes (clockwise from left)

Little K had the  most divine udon with grilled Hamachi. The broth was very simple but sweet and delicious.

We managed find space for coffee and desserts after. But being in a food coma, means that you don't normally remember to take pictures of the food after. =)

But yes, thank you Sardine, I can't believe it took us that long to discover you. We will definitely be back. =)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Baking With Kids

Have you ever looked at your kids and wonder which of them are the exact replica of you.

I did and didn't have to look very far to find my reflection in my firstborn who strikes the strongest resemblance in both looks and character from his mothership. Lately, he has incorporated his keen interest in all things culinary, which is just like his mama.

I remember when I was a young mama, I said to myself that I would like a kid that can cook and clean by the time he is ten. Kayden is not that far from it. Often, he would poke his head into the kitchen when I am baking. Asking if he can help with anything.

Slowly, I find myself encouraging him to help. I start by breaking down recipes so that he can play an active role in the baking process. In the initial stages, I was measuring out all the different ingredients prior to baking and now we have progressed to him trying to figure out their weight on the weighing scale. (A very wise teacher once told me that math needs to be practical. Let the kids learn the value of things by seeing it apply in their daily lives.) And he helps to scoop or mix ingredients together. It is a very gratifying exercise for him. Which really delights me to do an activity that we both love.

You might note that it takes a lot of patience working with kids. Sometimes he gets a step wrong. More often than not, it might take slower than usual to get everything done.

However, it takes so little to make him happy. Even though it's just a small step that he's contributed in the baking process, it totally brings a smile on his face.  The satisfaction of seeing him learn a life skill and something so so different from the books, makes it all worthwhile.

Last week, we had some time in the evening and what did we do? We baked Andrea's Chocolate Chip cookies. =) Ah my son! Maybe we could open a bakery some day!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spuds Painting

It's 11.39pm and I'm nursing a cup of green tea as I am mourning the fact that the school holidays is almost over. I had nothing planned this vacation, well except for Bali, for the kids because we have a violin exam to prep for and a little gal who is still in school. 

And you know what? We did manage to have a bit of fun anyway

My kids adore art and craft. Throw them a piece of paper and a pencil and they would start doodling. Add in paint, it gets even better! 

One morning, I was thinking of a fun activity for the kids to do when a thought came to my head. Let do potato painting! I bought some spuds during the coffee run and set everything up when I got home. It was easy peasy. All I needed was a few spuds (cut into halves), paint and news paper covering. My helper got creative and carved shapes out of the spuds.

Needless to say, these kids were immediately drawn to the paints laid out on the table and before I knew it, it was a pretty peaceful 30 minutes in the house hold. Kate was very engrossed in stamping different coloured potatoes onto her paper whilst the boys were busy painting with their brushes. 

In the end, we ended up with a few drawings that were all cheery and very very beautiful. They all hung their masterpieces on the fridge and stopped often to admire what they painted. 

Lovely morning it was! And now it's off to face the start of term two. =p


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Daddy's Girl

There is really something about being Daddy's girl.

I remember when I was pregnant with Kate, the husband was pretty insistent that he would be fair in the way he treats his kids. It was a reply in jest when I suggested that this little one could be a little different.

Fast forward the present day and it's clear that even though the husband loves the boys, he has a special spot for the littlest of them all. She has him twirled all around his pinky.

She saves her biggest smiles for him when he comes through the door and exclaims rather loudly, "DADDY!!!" Completed with an enormous hug. Now which guy would say no to that?!

She loves playing monsters make believe with him. Often creeping up to him and roaring at his ears.

Whenever we go out, she would insist on holding his hand and regaling him with funny tales all made up in her little head. One that spins even the most interesting twists at such a tender age. He would never skip a word of her stories, no matter how short they are. She would make sure that he pays attention but giving him a pop quiz after, sometimes.

And when night falls, she would insist that Daddy be the one to put her to bed. He would squeeze with her in her little princess-y bed as she asks that he reads her a bedtime story. And if she doesn't sleep in her own bed, he would never reject her request to bunk in with us.  (sigh) The best part of co-sleeping is she wakes up next to him with all smiles and go "GOOD MORNING".

The husband is away this weekend, and so I am covering all duties on the parenting side. I was sending her to enrichment this morning when she said, "Why isn't Daddy driving me there?"

Ah little one, you have no idea how you've melted the heart of a giant. =)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Of Villas and Gorgeous Skies

Bali has somewhat become an annual pilgrimage for us. This time round, we brought our own party there with our pals who are like family to us. It's pretty cool that we managed to plan a vacation together, given the different work schedules and 4 kids (and a teenager!!) in tow. Very precious days, indeed.

It was a lovely break. We spent many hours lounging by the pool or hanging out in the villa. The thing about good friends is, we don't even have to do much, all we need is to just pick a place and we can still have a good time. We spend our days mersmerised  at the gorgeous skies and at night, we look up at the stars in the sky, trying to make out the different constellations (Did you know that I phone has this app called Star Discovery, that allows you to make out the different stars by pointing your phone towards the sky?)

4 days is simply not enough time to explore the island. (Our greedy tastebuds didn't even get to eat everything we wanted.) Next time round, we should probably plan a week there.

PS: Feeling really bad that the blog has been rather neglected, especially when I have plenty more travel stories to tell. Will try to update soon!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eat Niseko - Abucha 2

After a long history of bad ski food and necessary cooking, we literally had no expectations of what to expect this time round. And thankfully, eating at Niseko was such a pleasure. Every meal was uncomplicated and delicious.

The beauty of skiing at Hirafu is you could literally ski off the mountain to have your meals. It is a very accessible route and offers a bigger variety of lunch options for hungry peeps like us.

We were skiing close to the Ace Family Lift and so one arvo, Darien and I decided to head there for lunch.

We'd been eyeing Abucha 2 for dinner the day we arrived but didn't manage to get reservations so we thought, why not lunch?! It is a rather popular tourist spot so reservations are key for dinner. Or else, it's impossible to get a seat at all during peak periods.

Luckily for us, lunch turned out to be fantastic. It was exactly what every hungry skier needs. Modern fuss free japanese food. Almost everything that we ordered hit the spot and we left the restaurant feeling like we are in a massive food coma.

The husband and I chose a table close to the windows and we sat there watching the snow covered back drop, soaking in the surroundings. Little chats peppered the silence as we talked about how our funny little kids react to the masses of snow around. It was a very quaint and pleasant break. (I guess you can really get used to the japanese way of perfection quite easily.)

In fact, we actually like it so much, we went back a second day. It's definitely something that we look forward to, should we head back to Niseko this year. 
What?! Wifi??

Tuna and tofu salad



Teriyaki chicken

Xmas Cheese cake

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

There are days when you suddenly realise that life needs a change. Like a big one. One that doesn't involve carbs. GULP! (Thankfully it doesn't happen that often!)

The truth is with a beach vacation coming up real soon, I thought it might be wise to buck up on our diet and go a little easy on the carbohydrates and the sweets.

Which led me to a pretty experimental mood because I have fallen madly deeply in love with this gorgeous hardback called La Tartine Gourmande. If you haven't read it, you must! The pictures are beyond beautiful and I love her little anecdotes of how these dishes came by and her little adventures around the world. Plus, gluten free has never looked that great. (PS: Paleo people, I think you need to check this out. You might want to market yourself this way, instead.)

So it just so happened that I had the ingredients at home. And that was how the Lemon and Honey Flavoured Chicken with Tomatoes and Haricots verts was served.

I really enjoyed the cooking process. It was simple and very fuss free. My only gripe is that I didn't marinate it long enough. It really needs at least 2 hours of infusion so that the flavours permeate the meat.  Which was what I did the second time round when I cooked it.

The verdict?

It was definitely mouth watering good. So good, that my husband and mum both slurped up the last bits of sauce. Definitely worth a try.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbspoons honey
1 tbspoon chopped fresh oregano OR thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
4 chicken legs, each cut half or 8 drumsticks (I used a whole chicken, chopped)
4 tomatoes (I used a bunch of cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup of unpitted black kalamata olives (which I omitted)
1/4 cup cold water
450g of thin french green beans
1 tbspoon chopped flat leaf parsley

In a bowl combine the lemon juice, honey, oregano, garlic, and oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and mix till smooth
Arrange the chicken legs in an oven dish and coat them with the sauce. Cover it with cling wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Add the tomatoes, olives and a 1/4 cup of water to the chicken. Place the chicken in the oven and then bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the chicken is cooking, blanch the french beans in a pot of salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse them under cold water and put them aside. Five minutes before the chicken is done, add the french beans to the tray. When you are ready to serve, add the parsley.


Saturday, March 02, 2013

Of Flowers and Coffee

Every morning when we do the coffee run, our little sleepyhead would insist on tagging along. Just because.

She is at an age where she is funny, curious and pretty much has an opinion or  instruction for every one. And my! The vocabulary! That has exponentiated by miles since she's started school this year. She is definitely little Miss Bossy. 

I am contemplating putting her in a full day session next year but the husband has his reservations. In his defence, he goes "Don't you like spending time with her every morning?" Complete with big bug eyes.

We shall see. 

But meantime, I love this gal to bits. If only, we can bottle her up and keep her safe with us every day.

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