sydney festival

Even though I'm a little late on the bandwagon (who am I kidding, January's pretty much over already), happy 2015 everyone! It always takes me awhile to get settled into the new year, which is pretty much the reason things have been dead around here recently. It's also why I've given up on New Year's resolutions in general, but if I had to, they would be to a) blog more (already failed) and b) go out and do more things. I've been meaning to check out Sydney Festival for awhile now, so I thought I better get in quick before it ends tomorrow!

I've never been to Sydney Festival in previous years, but it involves a series of free and ticketed events, art installations, a Festival Village set up in Hyde Park, and food. It's also surprisingly empty during the day, but I don't doubt it'll be packed before it ends this long weekend. Anyway, following tradition my mum and I shared Messina's lemon meringue pie. This one came with a twist though – the base was lined with lemon curd and lemon custard ice cream, which was sooo refreshing! The only downside was that I didn't grab a knife to cut that biscuit base with, since it was rock hard and pretty much impossible to eat neatly.


This installation was called Higher Ground, and designed so that viewers could feel immersed in the artwork. It was a bit trippy in terms of figuring out where to go and where you came from, but still pretty fun nonetheless! I love it when art installations like this are juxtaposed against the city landscape.

Some sights that can be seen from the top of the structure. Anyway, I'm definitely hoping I can see more free events like this throughout the year! I have a habit of missing them since the timing's never right, so hopefully the stars align in my favour for once.
Posted by : Mani

la mamma del gelato anita

Isn't this time of year so weird? For me, nothing really happens in that limbo period after Christmas, except a whole lot of thumb twiddling in anticipation of the new year. However, if there's anything I'll leave the house for it's the promise of sales and food, so that's exactly what happened yesterday! After some shopping my family and I hopped down to Anita Gelato, which I've visited a few times but never got around to documenting. While Anita's specialty is the unique varieties of ice cream, they also serve frozen yoghurt, milkshakes, desserts and even coffee. It also happens to be a stone's throw away from Central Station, which is good news for my frozen dairy addiction but not so much for my health...

So many choices, so little time! One thing I love about this place is that the staff are super generous when it comes to offering samples. If you're anything like me, you'll need lots of them before making the all-important decision of committing to a flavour (or many).

Rum and raisin, berry cheesecake

Even though I usually try to sample different flavours on every visit, the cheesecake gelato was too good to resist! This one pretty much tastes exactly how it sounds, and is a mishmash of everything I love about cheesecake – a smooth filling, buttery crumb base, and tangy berries galore. Also, my mum's rum and raisin ice cream wasn't stingy on the raisins and definitely had a distinct flavour, although apparently it still wasn't strong enough for her. With her tastebuds of steel though, I'm not sure if she's the best judge of taste...


Salted caramel with chocolate and almonds, Kinder Bueno milkshake

So my brother opted for the Kinder Bueno milkshake, which took a bit longer to arrive but he said it was worth it. Apparently it tasted just like the ice cream, although the only downside would have to be that some chocolate chunks stuck to the bottom of the cup! I guess that's to be expected though, since most of the ice creams are chunky in texture. My sister also enjoyed her salted caramel ice cream, mentioning that it was the perfect balance of salty and sweet.


My other brother went for the flavour Cookie Man, which I've tried and love! I'm not usually a fan of cookies and cream, since I always find it too sweet and ruined by soggy Oreo bits. However, this rendition is creamy, with plenty of crunchy biscuit pieces and melted chocolate on top of that. Ermahgerd. If there's a flavour that everyone's guaranteed to love, this is it.

That's all the ice cream we could fit in, sadly. Anyway, this will probably be my last post of the year, so I just wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday period! I'm not really into the idea of grand recaps, but I will say this. I feel like my blog's grown so much this year and it'd be nothing without people reading it, so thanks to anyone who's taken the time to support this passion of mine. I'm excited to see what direction it'll take in 2015, and I'll see you in the new year!
  La Mama del Gelato Anita on Urbanspoon
Posted by : Mani

takoyaki recipe

While I'm a fan of Japanese food across the board, street snacks like okonomiyaki and takoyaki have to be my all time favourites. In fact, I don't think I've ever met a person who doesn't love takoyaki – even my dad, who generally despises seafood can't say no to it! Part of the reason I love it so much is because it's the ultimate comfort food. That crispy exterior oozing with piping hot, gooey batter is just too good to resist, whether it comes from a Japanese restaurant or street stall.

For the longest time I put off making takoyaki myself, but it's actually the easiest thing. In fact, the only hard bit is probably getting your hands on the tools, whether it's a takoyaki pan or dedicated machine. Mine was actually branded as a Dutch pancake maker from Target, but it still works a treat. I'm not sure if they still sell it, but it's definitely worth searching for that or even one of those cake pop makers. Just make sure it's deep enough to form a spherical shape first.

   Takoyaki Recipe
1 cup (250ml) plain flour
2 cups (500ml) hot water
Dashi stock granules
2 eggs
Dash of soy sauce
Pinch of salt

Diced boiled octopus
Sliced green onion
Japanese pickled ginger

Toppings (optional)
Kewpie mayonnaise
Takoyaki sauce
Bonito flakes
Aonori or chopped seaweed
1. Make dashi stock by mixing a sachet of hon dashi stock granules with hot water. Set aside and let it cool down.

2. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, and add the dashi stock. Gradually mix into the plain flour, then season with soy sauce and a pinch of salt.

3. Oil the takoyaki pan well with a paper towl. Heat up your takoyaki machine (or pan), then pour in the batter. Don't worry if it overflows at this point.

4. Place a piece of octopus (or whatever filling you like, really!) in each hole, then top with the green onion and pickled ginger.

5. As the takoyaki cooks, use a skewer to divide the batter between each hole. After a few minutes, use skewers to rotate the takoyaki 90 degrees and let the uncooked batter pour back into the takoyaki pan. If it won't rotate easily, leave it to cook for a bit longer.

6. Keep rotating until the takoyaki turns easily. When it's done, the edges should be brown and crispy. Remove takoyaki from the pan with your skewers.

7. Serve on a plate and drizzle with sauce and kewpie mayonnaise. Sprinkle generously with aonori and bonito flakes (or whatever you prefer. I used extra green onion since I couldn't find aonori).

Some tips I learnt along the way:
  • You can pick up most of these ingredients at Asian grocery stores. While I think supermarkets like Coles are starting to sell Japanese mayonnaise, definitely shop around for the best prices!
  • Don't be afraid to let the batter overflow onto the sides! If anything, I think tucking in that extra batter helps you get a nicer spherical shape in the end.
  • Make sure you oil your takoyaki pan well, especially between uses. This makes it a lot easier to cook and rotate. You can get a special brush for this, but I just used a wad of paper towel attached to chopsticks.

I'm sure there are tons of takoyaki variations with bacon, cheese and every ingredient under the sun, but for now I'm sticking with the purest version of it. Anyway, this recipe makes around thirty takoyaki balls, which probably serves six people (or in my case, four very hungry ones). Anyone else a fan of takoyaki? Let me know how you prefer to eat yours!
Posted by : Mani