Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Slow Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings

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Slow Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings
Home Cooking

I consider myself lucky (or great at planning) because my 4 weeks off, post-surgery came at the peak of winter. I could hardly call Brisbane a cold place but because of that, being a Brisbane girl, I'm highly intolerant of cold. There were a few nights where I hid under the doona and refused to surface until midday. It was only about a week or two that we really felt the cold and for nights like that, there is no greater meal to have than this one.

I was fumbling around online and discovered this recipe by Donna Hay. Chili (as in, beef chili) is the meal I have cooked the most often in my life. I usually do it with mince and shove it in taco shells or wraps. It's just so easy and cheap and it tastes awesome. This recipe appealed to me because it not only included a chili beef component but also a topping of cornbread. I love cornbread!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bread and Meat Co for Lunch

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Bread and Meat Co

Just a short background story to start with... Like most girls, I yoyo through diets and struggle between trying to maintain my weight and indulging in delicious foods. It's definitely an uphill battle and on the whole, I think I'm losing. When I try to be really 'good' I aim for low to no carbs and for me, no rice, no pasta and no noodles is pretty easy. What fails me is BREAD. I love bread. We've all thought of what one food item we would eat if we were stuck on an island. For me, it would be bread. I don't need it toasted. I don't need spreads. I don't need fillings. I can just eat bread on its own.

It should come as no surprise then that 'Bread and Meat Co' had me at its name. As soon as I heard about this establishment, I was intrigued. When I read their menu online, I discovered that they focus on making only three main menu items but doing them really well. That style of menu is somewhat of a new attraction for me because I'd rather be less confused with options and given food that's executed to perfection.

Brekkie and Treats from Butter Cream

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Butter Cream Cafe

OOPS! I was tipsy and leafing through my blog when I realised I had a whole heap of posts from a couple months back that I forgot all about!

This one was from May and now it's nearly August. I hope everything is still relevant.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Coffee Condensed Milk Ice-Cream

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Coffee Condensed Milk Ice-Cream
Home Cooking

I have an unfortunate relationship with my ice-cream machine. I get an extreme rush of satisfacion whenever I make my own ice-cream, uncorrelated to how difficult the task actually is. It just makes me feel good, like I have the power to create pure happiness. Sad to say, I've somehow managed to lose my ice-cream machine paddle.

I figured out I could still use the machine cooler bucket and hand paddle the ice-cream but then I found this recipe that didn't need churning at all. Sorry Mr Krups machine, I guess your use is fading out...

Marchetti Cafe for Lunch

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Marchetti Cafe

Because I'm Miss Lazybum (Marc thinks that should be my new name), I have to bribe myself out of the house with little treats. I am basically a child. I was heading back into town for an oral surgeon review so I made an excursion out of it. In my mind, no excursion is complete without a food outing.

I refresh Instagram every 5 minutes these days so most of my cravings comes from that. I saw a photo uploaded by @Dolcebunnie (blog here) featuring some pastries from an Italian cafe in the city. I recognised one, the sfogliatelle, which is from Naples. I actually learnt that travelling through Naples and of course, I had my first taste there. I was really curious to see what a Brisbane version would taste like.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lebanese Lemon Chicken with Quinoa

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Lebanese Lemon Chicken with Quinoa
Home Cooking

It's been a long, long time since I've put up a home cooking post! In my 4 weeks off work, I've been cooking like a crazy woman. Literally, there are days where the only thing that motivates me to get out of bed is cooking.

This Hungry Kittens blog was always intended to be a mix of cooking and restaurant posts but as time went by, it focused more on the latter because eating out was all I ever did. A year ago, I could have confidently said that I preferred dining at a restaurant than making my own food. Not so much anymore... maybe it's another mark of old age or maybe I'm actually getting better at cooking but I've really started to find joy in it.

Lunch at Fat Dumpling

Fat Dumpling Bar

In my old age, I find I'm getting more and more superstitious. Not in the 'run away from black cats' way but I am starting to reflect more on fate and how things happen for a reason. Some things appear like they're simply meant to be.

One such occurence was our lunch at Fat Dumpling. I was intending to eat at Bread and Meat Co and had even looked up the address and worked out directions. Somehow, I just couldn't find it. As easy and obvious as the location probably is, it eluded me on that day and I saw Fat Dumpling instead. I was hungry and I wanted food without further venture.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eurotrip 17 - Dubai and my trip epilogue

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Ah, the end of the road. At this point, after 3 months (something like 100 days) of travelling, I wouldn't exactly say that I missed home, but I was feeling relieved at the thought of standing still. Life goes on while you take a break and for me, that meant bills piling up, things needing to be sorted out and arrangements needing to be made. For most of our trip, we could happily cast all that aside but by now, I was itching to get back to base and tick through these tedious tasks.

Camel milk chocolate

Our final stop was one I was really looking forward to. Planting something like that at the end of your itinerary serves to counter the end-of-holiday-blues. It's a little present to get excited over right before home time.

Huge aquarium at Dubai Mall

Dubai appeals to me on so many levels. I've expressed before that I just love BIG cities and I mean, proper built-up cities that have a distinct city buzz. It might seem strange coming from a Brissie girl, since Brisbane is hardly a big city, but I consider Shanghai to be my second home and Shanghai is the epitome of big city.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Eurotrip 16 - Turkey

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Dear Turkey,
You were the biggest surprise of my trip!

I plugged Turkey onto the end of our holiday with the dual intention of attending a Dental Congress there. It gave me an excuse to spend 4 nights in Istanbul and I was more curious than excited about this stop.

From an expectation and enjoyment ratio, Turkey blew me away. I wish I could have spent more time there. I wish we had a whole month there. I wish I wish I wish.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eurotrip 15 - Food Walking Tour through Chania

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Chania Food Tour

I was contemplating whether I should just skip this post because it's so similar to the one we did in Athens. In fact, I found out about this one through the Athens tour (it's run by the same people) and I enjoyed that one so much, I didn't even hesitate to book the Chania version. What I didn't count on was that there would be a few redundant food elements because after all, we were still in Greece.

I'll run through the food quite quickly. We started off at a coffee bean roaster just to smell and take in the aromas. Later on, we were to actually sip coffee with loukoumades (something I had tried earlier in Athens).

Breakfast at Sourced Grocer

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Sourced Grocer

When Sourced Grocer first opened, it was highly blogged about and I really wanted to try it out. Nina and I made 2-3 attempts to brunch there but everything from crippling hangovers to flat car batteries ruined our plans. I literally just gave up and assumed this was never going to happen.

Mochi came to visit Brisbane this weekend so it was a given that we would meet up for brunch. After shuffling through a few options, she decided that Sourced Grocer sounded most appealing to her. We could only hope that this time, everything would go smoothly.

Brunch at Shouk Cafe

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Shouk Cafe

I kept seeing mention of Shouk Cafe on my various social media feeds but ignored it because I thought I had been there already. It must sound similar to another cafe in Brisbane... but I can't figure out which one. Anyway, what gave it away was when I looked at the Shouk Cafe website, it revealed itself to be a Middle Eastern-style cafe. I definitely hadn't been to anything like that.

Kat and I met up at Shouk this weekend for breakfast. It's my first food outing since I had jaw surgery and even longer since I'd last been to Paddington. Boy is this a hilly suburb. I parked on a slope and walked up another steep incline to get to the cafe. Nothing like a bit of exercise to work up an appetite.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Brisbane Night Noodle Markets

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Brisbane Night Noodle Markets

Pork curry (left), spicy chicken (middle) and coconut prawn soup (right), all from Longrain

Note: I accidentally deleted my high res photos for this post so I salvaged what I could from my Instagram feed; apologies for tiny, poor quality pics

I nearly didn't hear about this event at all. I got an e-mail from the guys at Tanqueray Gin Australia asking if I wanted to check out their stall at the Night Noodle Markets. I had no idea what that was so I Googled it and thank goodness I did. It sounded like everything I could hope for in a food event: lots of different Asian street food vendors collected into one arena. Eep! I love that kind of food. I pictured something like Eat Street Markets with a stronger focus on Asian cuisine.

Eurotrip 14 - Anastasis Suites

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Anastasis Suites

This will succeed in being the first accomodation venue I have found worthy to write a full blog post about. I know that Hungry Kittens is meant to be a food blog and this isn't strictly food-related but it was such an amazing place to stay that I want everyone to know about it. Plus, we did eat loads on site so there will still be tasty food photos!

There's no other way of describing it... This is the creme de la creme of indulgent island living. After being picked up from our previous hotel, we were welcomed and then given a tour (yes, a hosted tour) around our private suite.

Eurotrip 13 - Athens Food Walking Tour

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Athens Food Tour

This tour was awesome because we began to experience it before the actual tour. What do I mean by that? Well, part of the tour inclusion was a lunch ticket to a tavern in Athens.

Lunch we had pre-tour

Marc and I decided to use it the day before the tour because we were roaming in that area. It was a delicious and hearty lunch with breads and dips, salad, our choice of mains and dessert.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eurotrip 12 - Greece

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Marc and I flew from Rome to Athens and spent a couple of nights there before moving along. Athens was much like what I expected. It's a sprawl of old and new with scatterings of ancient ruins throughout. There's definitely an element of messiness but I found it endearing rather than threatening like the dark side of Paris or Naples.

We partook in a half day tour to check out all the necessary sites (Acropolis and whatnot). Another half day was spent on a walking tour to explore the culinary aspect of the city. This was much more to my liking and is blogged about here.

My impression of food throughout Greece is that it's very fresh. It was all a welcome change after Italy where we carb-loaded at every meal. Greek food comprised mostly of grilled meat (protein) and salad (veggies). It was about time we had some greens in our diet!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eurotrip 11 - Cooking and Hiking in Umbria

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Let's Cook in Umbria

When I do research for something, be it for buying a dog, house or going on holiday, I go a bit mad. For Europe, I gathered together advice and recommendations from sources as numerous and varied as internet, guide books, friends, magazines and more. I highlighted, short-listed and made special holiday Word documents and Excel Spreadsheets with lists and notes to myself.

It's through this fanatic approach that I became intrigued by the region of Umbria. I don't think this is a common stop for most first-time Italy goers because it doesn't contain any well-known cities. What it does have is a reputation for amazing food.

Eurotrip 10 - Italian Days Food Experience

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Italian Days Food Experience

I've mentioned before that our holiday didn't have a strong gourmet focus. This is not strictly correct. To elaborate, I didn't look up Michelin star restaurants that needed bookings months in advance and I didn't research top rated eateries online. The reason is that I didn't want to commit ourselves to desperately searching for single locations within huge cities we had were unfamiliar with. There's nothing worst than trying to make for eg an 8pm booking at some street you can barely pronounce when there's no access to GPS and the only internet we have is at the odd free wifi spot. I had enough of that kind of stress just looking for our hotels.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eurotrip 9 - Italy

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If you thought Germany was a long post, this right here will be the longest post. Marc and I spent the most time in Italy, nearly 3 weeks. Now that I'm back, I can confidently proclaim Italy as my favourite destination throughout our trip. It's a combination of the weather, food and architecture that suits me to a tee.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Brumby's New Lindt Chocolate Cookies

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Brumby's Bakery Gourmet Cookies with Lindt Chocolate

Earlier this week, I was sent a sample of the new gourmet cookies from Brumby's Bakery, featuring none other than Lindt Chocolate. Following on from my recount of the Lindt Chocolate Museum in Cologne, I figured this would be the perfect time to post my review.

First up, these cookies look decadent and gorgeous. I salivated just looking at the 'Winter Indulgence' advertisement and the actual cookies delivered on that front.

Eurotrip 8 - The Lindt Chocolate Museum

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Schokoladenmuseum in Cologne

You'll pick up from my travel posts that neither Marc or myself have the slightest interest in museums or galleries. I personally like art and I partake in the odd bit of sketching and painting but there's no way I would line up for 3 hours to look at ye olden renaissance paintings. It's just not me.

What IS me is a chocolate museum! We spotted this in Cologne (and worked out that 'schokoladen' was 'chocolate') and followed the trail of signs to its riverside location.

Eurotrip 7 - Germany

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Get ready for a long post because we spent a fair chunk of time in Germany. Our first stop was Berlin. I'm ashamed to say that I'm very ignorant and uneducated when it comes to world history. Marc did the Berlin wall and other historical points on his own. I joined up for beer hall visits and later on, an interesting graffiti tour.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Eurotrip 6 - Amsterdam and Surrounds

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Amsterdam and Surrounds

People my age tend to go crazy over the thought of Amsterdam, undoubtedly due to its reputation for fun. I'm a fun-lover for sure but I was skeptical about this city. The thought of its red light district and legalized marijuana put me to mind something like Fortitude Valley on a larger scale. I was worried it would be seedy and run down.

The truth is, Amsterdam city is beautiful. There aren't many cars, people either walk, tram or bike it around. As a result, the streets are clean and uncongested. Amsterdam is a city of canals, which I wasn't previously aware of. Most views include a sliver of water and as such, every angle you turn is picturesque.

Eurotrip 5 - Switzerland and Vienna

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Switzerland and Vienna


Dinner from Port Gitana, Geneva

From France, our next stop was Geneva in Switzerland. This was to be a one night stop over, just so we could mark it as 'been there' on our individual travel maps. I don't know much about Geneva beyond its famed lake so when I chose accomodation, I made sure we were right next to, and I mean, RIGHT NEXT TO, the lake. Rather than mucking around with transport, we took the easy route and had dinner at our hotel, Auberge Port Gitana. I have a feeling this site was better known for its restaurant on the lake than its accomodation facilities anyway. Our food was really nice, albeit on the pricey side.

Eurotrip 4 - Discovery Wine Tour and Food Pairing Lunch

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Terroir Feely, Bordeaux

Whilst French romance doesn't interest me at all, French wine certainly does. It was a given that in our time in France, Marc and I would be embarking on a wine tour. I did a brief search and concluded that Bordeaux was one of the main wine regions in France and I narrowed down on this particular tour that was highly recommended on Tripadviser.

I drink a fair amount of red wine but I'm just about the most uneducated consumer there is, second only to Marc. If it's in a wine glass, I'll drink it. I'm quite embarrased by this fact because wine and food are supposed to go together and being a n00b at wine does not bode well for my reputation (if any) as a food blogger. I sought to ammend this with a day's worth of wine education.