Mmmmm summer!

Gypsy05 maxi, will be perfect for summer!

Gypsy05maxi

Doing it tough in Sydney

Because of work and personal travels, I spend an average of 2 to 3 months a year staying at hotels. It may be novel at first, but the excitement soon wears thin, and it’s not something that travel allowances and airport lounges alone can restore. Top of the list on the things that annoy me when travelling, other than being away from the boy, is the hotels.

Due to my obsessive compulsive attitude towards hygiene, I am particularly weary of hotel rooms. The first thing I check, as I swipe through the door, is the bathroom – everything from the shower to the toilet bowl, and the sink to the floor. I then turn on the hot water full blast in the shower. What for? Well, to kill all those disgusting germs and the putrid odour that I am sure lingers in every single hotel bathroom. The second thing I stress over is the bed – I throw all the decorative cushions on the ground (leaving them there for the rest of my stay), peel back any throws or covers, and check the sheets. I then inspect the pillows one by one, not too carefully, for fear that I would see things I do not wish to see. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I would never use the mini fridge unless absolutely necessary – for some reason, I am a firm believer that the fridge would house millions of invisible bacteria unbeknownst to the human eye. I have developed a habit of purchasing a bottle of antibacterial hand wash upon arrival, because all you get is a bar or two of soap which of course does not defend you against those nasty germs. God forbid if I throw my clothes on the carpet or the bathroom floor, who knows what’s been there. The same goes for bare feet, so I always travel with a pair of thongs. Finally, the golden rule is to touch as little furniture as humanly possible.

I am in Sydney this time. My dislike for hotel rooms does not lessen one bit, but eating out makes up for it, as it always do.

Random Ukraine restaurant called TT’s, at Surry Hills

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Light and delicious fish cakes from TT’s for lunch, served with horseradish cream (YUM!) At only $9, it didn’t break the bank either.

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My coffee haunt in Surry Hills – ‘Strawberry X’ – has the friendliest barrister ever. Great service every time – oh did I mention cheap drinks too? By Canberra standards, anyway.

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Random picture of the kitchen in the apartment I am staying at. Sigh, the germs!

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But yummy Vietnamese combination rice makes things much better. This one was delicious, a huge serving with chunky lemongrass pork and all the trimmings, from “An An” in World Square.

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Breadtop, always a palate pleaser. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, but I assure you that it’s all for the boy.

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Ben’s potato and leak soup

For some reason Ben wanted to make potato and leak soup. Leaks are in season, and incredibly cheap. I’m not a big fan of the leak, and see it more as a gigantic shallot. But leaks and potato are a match made in heaven, and the soup is so easy to make that Ben could attempt it without much fanfare =P =P

So this is all his hard work. It was a great success. DELICIOUS.

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No idea

no IDEA

A day out at Mogo Zoo

Visiting the zoo is not my favourite thing to do, perhaps attributed to the traumatic zoo-experiences I have had when I was a little kid. I was once blessed with warm and gooey avian poop walking under a tree at the zoo. You can tell the situation, which happened twenty years ago,  left a disastrous imprint in my memory because I can still remember that I was drinking a Fanta and eating some dried pork meatballs (a wonderful Chinese snack that you can only get in China). Then there was the incident of me falling into a lily pond at the zoo. For some bizarre reason, I thought that I could jump across the lily pond that didn’t seem too wide when older kids crossed it, only to discover that it was indeed too wide for me.

So going to Mogo Zoo was clearly not my idea, I was full of skepticism, only alleviated by the fact that it is famous for its exotic species. But it turned out that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, complete with deer feeding and sighting of unusual animal behaviour.

IMG_1767the real zoo animals

IMG_1753 Red panda slumped on the tree branch, sticking out his tongue.

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‘You looking at me?’ says the meerkat.

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The little (sorry forgot your name) monkey was obsessed with cucumber, and cucumber only.

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haha sucker, there’s no lolly down here …

… only a big fat stinky fart for you!

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The cute little otters that stuck together no matter what, and wouldn’t go into the water!

The day wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach and some awesome feeds (for us, that is) – clicky here.

Falling in love with the slow cooker

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The newly acquired slow cooker

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The beautiful chicken curry that I made on the ‘low’ setting for 9 hours, the meat just fell right off the bone.

Lasagne and the bechamel sauce

I’m by no means an expert in making lasagne, in fact, dishes of lasagne turn out differently every time they come out of my oven. Sometimes, the pasta will be a bit dry and hard, other times, the lasagne has too much liquid and flops to one side on the plate. But to me, somehow, the hardest thing to get right is not the mince, the pasta or the cheese, it’s the seemingly inconspicuous bechamel sauce.

The ‘perfect’ bechamel sauce (makes about 3.5 cups):

80g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
3.5 cups milk
2 tbsp parmesan cheese (I just used those that came in a shaker)

Heat butter in a saucepan until the butter melts. Add the flour in gradually, and stir using a wooden spoon to combine. Take the mixture off the heat, and add in the milk gradually, stir to combine. Stir in the cheese. Viola. You have bechamel sauce. I like my bechamel a little runny, but thick, sort of like the consistency of pouring custard.

So what’s my favourite lasagne? The kind that has dry-ish mince, soft but supple pasta, and thick, but runny bechamel sauce. Oh, and of course, lots of cheese on the top : )

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