classic apple pie


If you ask me, apple pie's one of those things that everyone loves but rarely attempts in the kitchen. And why would you? With apple pies at the ready at McDonalds or in the freezer section of the supermarket, usually it's not even worth putting in the effort! Nevertheless, I'm one of those crazy people that like a challenge so I attempted making one recently. Unfortunately I ended up with a dreaded soggy bottom, but hey! It was still a pretty good effort for my first ever pie. The possibilities are endless now that I've got a basic pie dough recipe sorted, just beware of the amount of butter required...

   Buttercrust pie dough recipe (adapted from Food Wishes):
2 cups flour
½ cup unsalted butter (4 oz.)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp ice water
1. Make sure your butter is cold by putting it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt, then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (alternatively, you could also do this with a food processor). Add water and mix in with the dough, or continue to process in the food processor until the crumbs are fine.
2. Place your crumbs on a floured surface, then gently knead and bring them together to form a ball. Halve your dough, wrap each piece in cling wrap and refrigerate for four hours or overnight.
3. Roll each piece of dough to fit your pie tin. Place one piece of crust on your pie tin, then press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Leave in the fridge to cool.

While you wait for your piecrust to cool in the fridge, here comes the dull part – peeling and cutting the apples. I decided to slice mine into relatively thin pieces, but if you'd prefer chunky pieces do that! I also chose Granny Smith apples, but if you'd prefer a little more sweetness you could use a mixture of different types.

   Apple pie recipe (adapted from All Recipes):
5-8 peeled and sliced apples
¾ cup white sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1 egg
Raw sugar
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fanforced).
2. Add your sliced apples to a large bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients, except the butter and raw sugar. Leave for 15 minutes or until the juices run.
3. Using your hands, take out the apples and arrange in your pie tin. Cut the butter into cubes and arrange on top of the filling.
4. You could attempt a fancy weave or do a normal crust, but just make sure you poke holes to let some of the heat escape (and crimp the edges)! If you really want to get fancy, you could even attempt an apple crumble topping with oats and the like.
5. Whisk the egg and use it to brush the outside of your crust. Sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown.

From experience, don't be tempted to dump the apples and all their juices in the pie, since the base will end up too wet! If you're so inclined, you could reduce the extra liquid to a sauce and serve it with the finished pie.

The pie was falling apart by this stage, but you get the idea! Naturally we served it with vanilla ice cream, but I think custard would be really good too. I've currently got a pack of Granny Smith apples at the ready to make more, but I'm thinking of doing mini hand pies next time. A higher crust to filling ratio can only be a good thing, right? Anyway, let me know about any apple pie variations that you know about! To say I'm obsessed now would be an understatement...
Posted by : Mani

bits and pieces

First order of business – you may have noticed that I slightly updated my blog layout. I tend to get bored way too easily and was getting tired of the never ending white, so voila! To some it might not even seem like much of a change, but for a person that usually goes for minimalist themes this patterned background is probably as daring as I'll ever get. Anyway, there's no better way of christening a new layout than with a new post, so here are some random bits and pieces that I've acquired recently:

This laptop support from IKEA has to be either the most pointless or most useful thing I've ever bought. On the one hand it lets me sit comfortably with my Macbook for hours on end, but on the other hand it makes it hard to sit at a real desk and do anything productive! Either way, you've got to admit that extra touches like the handle and detachable pillow make it hard to resist (although I still can't figure out why someone would want to take it travelling).

Also from my trip to IKEA are these RIBBA frames, one for my Kiki print from j-b0x and another for an old drawing of mine. The pug was hidden away in one of my sketchbooks, so rather than keeping it there I thought it deserved to put on display. Even though I'm too busy for it right now lately I've been feeling the urge to flex my drawing muscle again, but it'll happen in due time!

If you follow my Instagram you'd have seen this necklace from Strange Stranger already, which I won via Liss' giveaway. I'm not usually a colour wearer but the Candy Twist design was too cute not to pass up, as was the wooden finish! It really makes me want some more laser cut pieces in my life, even though I'm usually a stickler for subtle, fine jewellery.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things I've bought from Daiso lately, and I'm not proud of it. But come on, how could I resist when they stock stuff like these kawaii page markers? They're even double-sided and have little tails printed on the back, so I'd say it was $2.80 well spent! Whether or not they actually help me get organised is a different story...

Last but not least my mum gave me this Oroton bag that must be ancient, considering the brand hasn't stocked backpacks in a long time! As if I needed any more basic black bags in my collection, but I'm definitely not complaining. The secret back pocket is all a girl could ask for, and I'm looking forward to taking it on many handsfree adventures to come.
Posted by : Mani

sydney snacks

As if my blog wasn't enough indication, it seems like I've garnered a bit of a reputation outside the internet for being obsessed with food. It's not surprising at all, really – it's pretty much all I talk about and take pictures of! If my camera's not on me, most of my food adventures tend to be delegated to my instagram... that is, if I don't devour the thing straight away. Anyway, I realised that I've never really revisited my insta-food adventures, so here are some mini reviews of places I've been around Sydney:


Three Beans Cafe: This franchise seems to be popping up everywhere, and while I'm not a big fan of coffee I can appreciate the occasional iced drink from this place! The standard green tea frappuccino is quite good, although iced coffee with ice cream will win every time in my eyes. Apparently they do milkshakes too, so there's an excuse to go back another time.
Three Beans Cafe on Urbanspoon


Fujipan, Chinatown: If you're after an authentic Japanese bakery, this place is the ticket! That blob is basically curry filled bread that has been covered in bread crumbs and deep fried, and it's as good as it sounds. Of course, I couldn't leave Totoro behind – aside from being a pretty face it's decadent and filled with custard. Also worth mentioning is melonpan, which doesn't taste anything like melon and just looks like it because of the cookie crust on outside. For just over $10 for the whole lot, I'll definitely be back!
Fujipan Japanese Bakery on Urbanspoon


Chat Thai, Westfield Sydney: Chat Thai isn't really a place for snacks per se (although I'd use the heck out of a takeaway option if it had one), but I love it anyway. I'm not usually one to wait in line for restaurants but it's worth it for the authentic Thai food, whether you're getting pad see ew (my all time favourite) or a range of other dishes for sharing. The Yakult blend is also to die for – aside from distinct taste of Yakult it's also got some pineapple and coconut hints to it!


Considering how often I eat ramen, it's astounding that I've never gotten around to doing a full review of a ramen place. I've mentioned Gumshara's (on the left) before, and it's insanely rich tonkotsu ramen is hard to forget. Ichiban Boshi's ramen on the right is a little easier to eat, and also offers a variety of other ramen and udon noodles if that's what you fancy.

Unfortunately Sydney hasn't really grasped the idea of street food that so many other cities are famous for, but that's a whole other gripe I won't get into. Anyway, if you want to keep up with more food adventures you can follow my instagram @manisay, and I hope you have a great Easter weekend ahead of you!
Posted by : Mani

diy monogram mugs

I'm not sure if it's the soul-sucking effect of uni, but lately I've been feeling the urge to make something. Anything. I used to draw all the time and would usually be dubbed 'most creative' by my peers, but I could hardly live up to that name anymore! Anyway, a combination of itchy fingers and pining for these Anthropologie monogram mugs made me want to try making the infamous Sharpie mug I see so much on Pinterest. I just have an innate need for things with my initial printed on them, okay?

The mugs I got were from a White Elephant stall, and at $2 for a box of stuff they basically cost next to nothing! As you can see they're not in the best condition, but I kind of like the marble effect they have going on. If anything, I think cheap mugs will work better in terms of the ink adhering to the glaze. I used oil-based permanent markers (mine are from Daiso) because I heard they'd last longer, but I guess only time will tell.

The font I used is Roman Print and happens to be the same one used on the Anthropologie mugs (downloaded from here)! It takes a bit of guesswork to get the right sized letter, so I printed out two just in case...

Here's a trick I learnt way back when I was in primary school! To trace the letter, shade the back of the printout with lead pencil, tape it to the mug's surface then go over the printed lines. A faint outline should be left behind, just be careful not to smudge it with your hand.

This is the bit that requires the concentration of gods. Ever so carefully trace the outline with your pen, and take your time with it! If you slip up don't panic, just get a cotton bud and remove the offending mark with nail polish remover. Do it as soon as possible before the ink gets a chance to dry though, otherwise you risk being left with a greyish cast.

Once you're finished bake your mug at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 30 minutes, leave it in the oven to cool before you touch it then voila! I found this project takes a lot of experimentation and I'm a bit scared that the dishwasher will erase all my hard work, so hand wash only it is for now. Or I could never clean it and make it a glorified pencil holder, either's fine. Have you been DIYing anything lately? I'm already thinking of a pattern to draw on my second mug!
Posted by : Mani

french navy

Thrifted t-shirt, Table Eight blouse, Ladakh skirt, Dotti boots

If I haven't made it already clear, it's now official – transitional weather will be the death of me. Lately the cool change has been teasing us (well, maybe just me) with the possibility of wearing knits and tights, but nope! It always turns out to be too hot to do so without boiling to death. In the meantime, I've been wearing open shirts over t-shirts instead of real jackets since it's always cold-but-not-really whenever I'm at uni. Truth be told though, I just want to bundle up in tons of layers already!

Anyway, I wore this to walk around the city and spend five hours looking for boots, to no avail. While I love my go-to Dotti ones, I'm on the lookout for a pair that's a bit more basic for everyday use. Unfortunately, finding something is nearly impossibly considering how picky I am! The boots I saw yesterday were either too expensive, too high-heeled, too narrow for my ginormous feet and so on. This doesn't mean I'm about to give up my search, though. Hopefully I'll find them during my upcoming holidays... after all, knowing Australia the real season for boot-appropriate weather won't be coming soon anyway!
Posted by : Mani