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

sunday roundup

Remember part one of the broken phone saga? Well after what seemed like forever, I'm happy to announce that I finally replaced it recently! I decided to go with the Nexus 5, and besides being ecstatic that I'm no longer phoneless I'm really liking it so far. Surprisingly the camera's pretty decent, despite a lot of reviews I read saying otherwise. In fact, I may have become more snap happy than I was before, if that's even possible... Anyway, here's a quick look at what I've been up to lately:


Flowers and the QVB Christmas tree in all its glory. With less than twelve days to go I can definitely feel the festive spirit in the air, but just between you and me? My family hasn't even gotten around to putting up our tree yet! We should probably get on that soon...


On one occasion my friends and I had the brilliant idea of going bike riding, and to our amusement the park looked like it was stuck in autumn... in the middle of November. Anyway, if I gleaned anything from the experience it's that tandem biking is freaking hard. I tip my hat to anyone who can actually coordinate on those things!


So while I'm often caught drooling over inner city eateries (check out's restaurant page for an extensive list!) it's a lot more convenient for me to cook at home or try out local places for a change. Just the other day I had dinner at a small Thai restaurant, which had some really good tom yum soup, fried rice and papaya salad, just to name a few. Shame I didn't get many decent pictures though, apparently my family doesn't know the meaning of waiting to take photos before eating...

Hyde Park before the stormy weather kicked in. Anyway, in case you haven't noticed I'm stuck in Sydney for the holidays! While I love my hometown, I'm kinda sad that I'm the only person I know not travelling overseas in the coming months. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop me from clicking through sites like Webjet for cheap flights to my dream destinations, no matter how far-fetched. I can't be the only person that does that, right? Anyway, I hope you're having a great weekend!
Posted by : Mani

vinh phat yum cha

While food trends fade, yum cha's one of those things that I can count on to be amazing every single time. I don't know whether it's the bustling atmosphere or the promise of dishes that I'm guaranteed to love, but it's always a treat no matter where I have it! Anyway, what better way to catch up with friends than with a late lunch of dumplings? By the way, I'm warning you ahead of time that you'll have to bear with my shoddy photos today. My camera screen broke temporarily, so this is the best quality I could come up with shooting blind!

Location-wise Vinh Phat is way more convenient than any other Chinese restaurant I've visited, but funnily enough I'd never been there for yum cha before. Apparently it's actually served til 3pm, which is good news for people who love their weekend sleep-in! Even at around 1.30 on a Sunday the restaurant was packed, but we managed to nab a table for four relatively quickly.


Pork dumplings (siu mai), steamed prawn dumplings (har gow)

If you ask me, yum cha's not really complete unless you get har gow, or steamed prawn dumplings. With its chewy yet soft exterior and succulent prawn filling, I think it's fair to say this is a definite crowd pleaser. The same goes for siu mai – you can't really go wrong with that tasty pork wrapped in wonton, especially with a bit of chilli sauce on the side!

Steamed prawn rice noodle rolls

I've loved these rice noodle rolls ever since I was a kid, and nothing has really changed since then. This dish basically involves prawns wrapped in layers of rice noodle, and comes drenched in a tangy soy sauce. Although this dish is seemingly simple it's super satisfying, especially with the texture of those rice noodles! They're incredibly silky smooth, but still with some bite to it.

Braised chicken feet in black bean sauce

Like most kids, I used to be super against the idea of eating chicken feet. However, once you can get over the freaky looking claws, they're seriously addictive and hard to pass up! There's hardly any meat here, mainly just skin and tendons that give the feet a really unique texture. On top of that, the sauce makes it extremely tender and juicy. There's really nothing I can fault, apart from the issue of how to be elegant when spitting out all those bones...

Seafood spring rolls

This isn't something I typically see when going out for yum cha, which is a bit of a shame! I really enjoyed that fried exterior, which houses a juicy prawn filling. Surprisingly, the spring rolls also don't go soggy underneath all that sweet and sour sauce, and every element just goes together really well.


Beef tripe with ginger and spring onion, sesame prawn rolls

I'm not really a fan of tripe due to texture issues, so understandably I wasn't the most excited about this particular dish. My friends seemed to agree, considering it was one of the last things we finished! I guess it's just one of those things that you either love, or you don't. On the other hand, the sesame prawn rolls were a winner. The outside was crunchy and chewy at the same time, and housed a tasty prawn filling. Can you see a theme here?

Of course, we couldn't leave without having a little something something for dessert. These egg tarts were still warm and incredibly flaky, just the way I like them. The wobbly centre was also quite sweet, even coming from a sweet tooth like myself. Regardless, I could honestly polish off a million of these, they're so addictive!

Here's the restaurant looking deceptively empty, only because they were setting up for dinner by the time we left. Anyway, I was a bit sad that the deep fried taro dumplings didn't come around to our table, even though we asked a waitress for them! Nevertheless, we walked away stuffed. Even then the price came to around $15 a person, which is pretty great value. I'll definitely be back for my next yum cha fix!

  Vinh Phat on Urbanspoon
Posted by : Mani

summer wind



Thrifted dress and belt, Betts sandals

Okay, I'll be the first to admit it – I'm not a huge fan of summer. I prefer being indoors where it's nice and sterile, so that stickiness or feeling of being burnt alive isn't really a sensation I'm fond of. However, if there's one redeeming thing about the heat it's the fact that you can just throw on a breezy dress, and bam! Your outfit's done without giving it a second thought.

I picked up this dress from the thrift store, surprise surprise. At first I thought it was kind of dumpy but I just couldn't say no to that adorable pattern, even though I have no idea what those shapes are meant to be! After taking up the shoulders and adding a belt, the dress is now a little more wearable and perfect for throwing on whenever I'm running late. It may even be a little too wearable, considering I've worn it too many times to keep track of who's seen me in it... Same goes for these sandals, which I've barely taken off since I bought them. The rubber soles mean that I miraculously haven't ruined the heels yet, so I guess they're here to stay!
Posted by : Mani