Sunday, July 16, 2017

On Assignment: Media for a Day

A few weeks ago, I had fun spending the day on assignment as a photographer for media.  It was a day full of eating....Australian grass fed beef being the highlight.  Issue is out, my pictures are printed!!!!

Not my first time on, but always amusing when any of my stuff gets published. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Homemade Egg Noodles

Aside from making an ice cream cake last weekend, I also made homemade egg noodles.  I was excited to try the recipe the chef in Bali gave me during our cooking class.

Che'f Egg Noodle Recipe:
  • 1 kg Bread Flour
  • 20 Yolks
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1t Salt
  • 1 kitchen spoon ice water
  1. Dough Hook for about 20 Minutes.  Want the dough dry.
  2. 1 hour rest in the fridge.
I didn't quite have enough yolks and no bread flour so I had to modify my recipe.
My Recipe:
  • 500 g Whole Wheat Flour
  • 5 Yolks
  • 2 Eggs (then it seemed too dry, I added 1 more) -->3 Eggs.
  • 1t Salt (forgot to add)
  • 1 kitchen spoon ice water

Here we go....!  The dough took awhile to incorporate so I ended up adding one more egg and a tiny bit more of water, just enough to bind it.  I took out half the dough I wasn't sure if it was too dry so with the half left in the bowl, I added a little more water.

I finished the doughs on the table, kneading it a few times.  Then it was time to rest.  I left it overnight.

The next morning is the exciting part!  It's going to look like noodles...or so I hope.  I divided each piece in 2 before rolling out.  I took out my pasta maker and started rolling the dough out.

After the rolling and rolling and was time to cut the it into the noodles!!! This is like magic too!  In as one...out as many.

Tadah!!!! Homemade egg noodles!!!!!  Yehey!!!!  How nice eh???  Egg noodles are usually yellow, but since I used wholewheat flour, it's brownish.

I test cooked both of my doughs...the dry and the less dry.  They were both good...the wetter one was a little softer compared to the drier noodles.  The drier noodles were more desirable.  Just had to adjust cooking time of wetter noodles so it wouldn't be too soft,

I floured the noodles slightly and kept it in a container to prevent it from drying since they weren't being cooked until dinner time.  I didn't cook the noodle dish and good thing too because it was so delicious!  My task was to eat it.  Everyone liked the texture of it.  Success? YES! Keeper? YES!! :)

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

I spent a good chunk of last weekend sweating it out in the kitchen making a strawberry ice cream cake and birthday egg noodles!  This post is about the cake. :)

Since the cake is for a birthday, I made lady fingers to go around the outside and also as the base.  I haven't piped anything in so long. I was so rusty! Many of the fingers were unevenly ugly.

Despite being rusty, I enjoyed piping.  What I enjoy more is watching it in the oven.  Will it rise or will it fall?  It rose!  Watching it bake is like a magic show.  I never get bored of's looking good!!!

Next....make the ice cream!  While the lady fingers were cooking, I made the ice cream mix...standard vanilla ice cream mix and also the thawed and cooked the strawberries with a little sugar.  After these cooled, I let it rest in the fridge.

The next morning, it's time to churn the ice cream!!!  Churn churn churn!!! While the ice cream was churning, I had to prepare the lady fingers for the cake...a layer on the bottom and fingers all around.

I added the strawberries the last 5 minutes of the churning...just until the strawberries were incorporated.

Once the ice cream was ready....time to scoop it into the prepared cake! At first I used the big scoop, but changed to the smaller scooper so that it would be easier to flatten.

Using my small flat spatula...flatten flatten flatten....spread spread spread...smoothen smoothen smoothen.  It looked niceeeee!

Final stage...the chocolate writing.  I love chocolate writing!!!  Something I always look forward to.

After dinner, it was time to sing and blow the cake.  Then it was time the cake.  Note for next time, I undercooked the lady fingers just a tad, it stuck a little to the acetate when I was taking it off.

Each time I cook, people tell me how good it is.  I love hearing that, but I don't always believe it.  I believe it when their plate comes back empty, or in this case after second and third helpings, only the cake board is left.  Yup! I agree, it was yummy!

Friday, June 30, 2017

"Do your practice and all is coming." 
-Sri K. Pattabhi Jois-

The last couple of months, the back spasms forced me to slow down and I've have found myself consistently back on the mat. Many times I would only do sun salutes, when it was bad I would just lie down with my eyes closed and do the practice in my mind, or sometimes I would just sit and count my breath.

Today I am reminded the importance of showing up consistently. For the first time in months, I was surprisingly able to bend forward and breathe with ease .
The practice is not about the arm balances or the handstands (which can I get attached to). Rather, it's more about showing up and being present; respecting the body and observing the mind. Each day is different. And as with life, always changing. 

"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." 
-The Bhagavad Gita-

June 30, 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sunrise Hikes Never Get Old: Mt Batur

Of course when I say chill and do nothing, it's relative.  Bali's landscape is naturally beautiful, I was eager to get out of the urban areas and into nature, so it was off to the local live volcano, Mt Batur, for a sunrise hike!

The Schedule:
2:30 am - Depart Resort in Ubud
3:45 am - Start Hike
5:45 am - Reach the Peak
6:30 am - Watch the Sunrise and Explore
7:15 am - Hike Down
8:45 am - Done
Breakfast with Lake View
11:00am - Back in Ubud

The Ascend:
I must say it was a relatively easy hike, anyone can do this.  The first half of the climb was in a forest and the last 20 minutes in sand.  It took us less then two hours to get to the top and boy was it crowded!  I didn't feel it until near the peak, but this too was a tourist place!

Although it was an easy hike, it was quite eventful.

The Rock:
More than halfway up, the trail was a little trickier and the steps were steeper.  Someone must have mis-stepped their way up and caused a rock to go rolling down.  The rock was huge!  I'd show you by making a circle with my arms and fingertips touching.  It was that big.  As it went rolling down it was difficult to see it in the dark until it was near.  All we heard was, thud thud thud, as it was rolling towards us. An uncommon event, thankfully, the guides were alert enough to warn the hikers and groups behind them  It was a chain reaction of warnings until the rock stopped.  Because of their quick reactions, no one got hurt.  Always have to be alert regardless of difficulty level.

The Stars:
When we got out of the forest and could see the sky above us, it was such a beautiful sight to see the starry sky.  There were so much tinkling stars, such a rare sight!  I love it.
towns below
The Peak:
Oh my! It is the busiest peak I've been on!  It was crowded; packed with hikers.  Apparently, the mountain gets about 500 hikers a day!!! Everyone got a spot for the sunrise, but I didn't want to stay here.  Too many people!

Our View Point:
About another 5-10 minute hike from the peak was a much quieter place to watch the sunrise.  Much much better!

The Cold:
When I read bloggers mention the summit was cold and to bring jackets, they did not exaggerate.  Good thing I was prepared with my super light but warm Uniqlo wool shirt, my shell jacket, my fleece scarf, my fleece head/ear band, and my gloves.  I felt just warm enough to be able to enjoy the summit.
a town below covered in mist
The Canadians:
There were two Canadians that overtook me on the way up.  They wore tank tops and and short shorts!  How are they surviving the summit?  They told their guide they don't need jackets, they won't be cold.  They're Canadians.  I just felt so Un-Canadian when I found that out.  I swear, it really was cold.
Holy spot on the peak
Best Cup of Coffee:
I must say, I had one of the most satisfying cups of coffee in my life!  The daylight was starting to break and the weather was so chilly.  Experiencing the view in the cold with my hot tasty cup of joe....hmm.....perfect. ;)

The Monkey Attack:

The sun was finally starting to rise.  We were all enjoying nature's show and had our cameras ready.  Out of nowhere we hear all these sounds and as we turned around, there was a monkey invasion!!!

They've come out from their warm holes by the crater to steal all our food! I was avoiding monkeys this trip as I didn't enjoy their aggressive behavior in the Monkey forest from the first trip.  Here on Mt Batur, they aren't as aggressive, but still did not enjoy them.  They are smart, scary, and quick!

The Sunrise Show:
We were so lucky to be blessed with good weather for the hike and for the sunrise.  Got the best seats in the house.  The view was amazing and there was a sea of clouds beneath us.  Really couldn't ask for anything more.  The colours were amazing as the sun was coming out.  It was stunning.
It is important to always respect nature, be present, and be grateful.  This day was a reminder of that.  As we were enjoying the sunrise one minute, it was completely covered the next as the clouds suddenly rolled in.  We were all in the clouds and the view was gone.
in the clouds & monkey paws
The Steamed Eggs:
So the view was gone,  time to steam some eggs!  Since it is a live volcano, there are warm parts where the steam from the crater escapes.  Be careful not to get too close...HOT!  We had perfectly steamed eggs for a snack before heading down.

Human Traffic:
We waited for most of the people to head down first so that we avoid the human traffic and at the same time maybe hope for the clouds to clear and explore the crater.  Sadly, we didn't get to explore the crater because it didn't clear up enough.
Our descending pace was quick so we got caught up in the middle of the traffic.  Everyone was having a difficult time in the loose sand.  500 hikers on the mountain...gotta get away!

The Journey:
an old temple
The human traffic didn't last long.  Eventually, it disappeared and we were enjoying the trails again.  We passed temples, farms, and enjoyed the scenery we missed in the dark.  It was a nice hike from start to finish.  The memories to take home from this one is full from the journey and not just the destination.

By 11am I was back in my resort relaxing.  I am so thankful for another awe-inspiring safe hike.  It is definitely a highlight of the trip!


Someone asked a friend of mine how I'm doing.  My friend's answer, "Awesome, climbing mountains and swimming oceans."  I didn't think of it that way, macro view, but...hey yeah! Loving it <3 p="">

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chilling in Bali

I'm back in Bali!  It's the only place I want to stay put and do....nothing!  Well, pretty much nothing.  I find Bali very touristy and time consuming to go out...everywhere is about one hour.  The best way to enjoy the place is pick a nice resort and enjoy.  Eat, chill, sleep, and repeat.  :)
our breakfast mates
My favorite is really the eating part!  I'm not the biggest fan of Indonesian cuisine because it's either too tasty or too spicy.  So in the three days, I mixed it up with Indonesian, Western, and healthy food.  All very satisfying.

THE TOURIST STOP: Bebek Tepi Sawah
crispy bebek (duck)

Duck is really popular here in Ubud and I love duck so we had to have it.  It's served smoked or crispy.  I didn't really enjoy the smoked one very much, but the crispy duck was good!
chicken satays

HIGHLIGHT:  Room4Dessert

I always have room for dessert, especially good ones!  This place was just a minute walk from our resort.  At first glance we thought the place was closed and felt a little afraid to get close.  But it's a must go!  This night, we had five desserts!

This place has a unique story.  The owner/pastry chef came from New York and opened his own place.  The only thing he could afford to splurge on was the beautiful ceramic dishes he served his food on and his food.
creepier during daylight
The desserts are delicious and the place is quite a character.  The menu is designed to be a la carte, tasting, or mix and match.  I wanted to come back here the next day but didn't get to.

nasi goreng :)
We stayed in Como Uma in Ubud and had most of our meals here.  I enjoyed the wide selection of food that was available.  They served good quality food; local and international cuisine, plus they have a menu dedicated to healthy food from Como Shambala.
my local breakfast, bacon and eggs
I ordered from the healthy menu a few times because after an Indonesian meal or two, I needed a break.  The healthy menu was a very welcomed break.  I must say, it was refreshing; light, delicious, balanced, and satisfying.

Aside from the above itinerary, getting a massage, or relaxing by the pool, there are few things that can be squeezed in and still stay relaxed.

City Stroll:

One must get out of the resort to see Bali.  So we did.  About half an hour away we strolled some streets in Ubud and went into a few shops.

Ubud is a nice place because it is the least crowded of the popular places in Bali.  The scenery is very peaceful and the Balinese are very gentle people.  The religion here is Hinduism, so aside from the beautiful rice paddies, there are plenty of temples, statues, and offerings in every street.

Cooking Class:

One of the most common things tourists do in Bali is take a cooking class.  I love cooking classes so we took one as well.  It's a matter of finding the right class.  I wanted one more authentic, not crowded, and where we do the actual work.

Our resort was perfect.  We booked a private class and chose the dishes we wanted to prepare.  The chef set up the station for us, but we did most of the prep and cooking.
I love cooking classes because I love to cook, but also because I gain a better appreciation for the culture and the cuisine of the place I'm at.  Food is amazing.  Through the ingredients, the taste, the experience, the emotions, the process, and the geography, it is a natural way to learn and gain a deeper understanding of the culture, the people, and the place.
The class was a fun experience.  I had the opportunity to learn the art of the wok, which is quite tricky.  We prepped and cooked four dishes; tasting throughout the process and sat down at the end to enjoy what we made.
wok action!
When in Ubud, one must yoga.  It was the most beautiful place in our resort.  The view was amazing, the birds were chirping, and the breeze was lightly blowing.  It was so easy to surrender and let go.

Visit a Local Market:
on of my favorite pictures :)
Another thing I like to do wherever I am, is visit local market.  It's a nice authentic experience, but also a key to learning about a culture.  It wasn't a pretty market, just practical with what the locals needed; essentials for offerings, vegetables, and fruits.  I love watching the vendors and the market-goers.

Morning Stroll:
One morning we went out to the rice fields of the local community for a morning stroll.  It was a little slippery from the early morning rain, but it was a pleasant start to the day.
The locals now mostly plant hybrid rice so that they can harvest three times a year as opposed to one or two with the traditional crops.

In Bali, it is easy to stay present.  It is a lovely place full of gentle people, that it just keeps me smiling....that is until we get to the airport. :p