Thursday, October 20, 2011


Last week, All Blacks met Wallabies in the RWC2011 semi finals, and All Blacks managed to win the game with 6 (Wallabies) to 20 (All Blacks). The whole New Zealanders were partying after the win as according to the news.

Meanwhile myself and my partner were watching the game from our cosy living room without the disturbance of people blocking the screen as compared to you watching it outside at any other places.

This coming Sunday is the final of Rugby World Cup 2011 in Eden Park, Auckland. All Black will be playing against French!

Who will be the WINNER?

Every New Zealanders will definitely wants their country to win the World Cup as they have waited since 1987, where the All Black won the first Rugby World Cup. That was about 24 years ago. There's no wonder it NZ is being described as the Land of Long Wait by the newspaper. Even the Steinlager did an advertisement specially for the world cup featuring the long await winning moment by one of the All Black supporter. Watch it from the Youtube. The advertisement really resembles the much anticipation by the New Zealanders.

Hence let's hope for the best that All Black will win the Rugby World Cup 2011!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 Opening Night in Auckland City - 9th September 2011

This year, New Zealand is hosting the Rugby World Cup event throughout the country. Therefore there were a few opening night events happening around the country. Of course, the main one was at the Eden Park stadium where the first game kicks off with All Black vs Tonga at 8.30pm. Apart from that, Auckland City did had some activities going on too.

Therefore, my partner had taken a day off from work to bring me down to the city to experience the once in a lifetime experience of Rugby World Cup 2011 Opening night in Auckland city. This is a big hit thing in New Zealand because the New Zealanders are so passionate about rugby. All Black is a men's national rugby union team that represents New Zealand in international rugby union competitions. It is also one of best team around the world. Therefore, we went down to the city early in the morning to avoid the heavy traffic.

As we walked along Queen's Street that afternoon, we saw a lot of Tonga's and All Black supporters down in the city. There's one particular MPV that created noise along Queen's Street as it drove down to downtown. The MPV was covered with lots of Tonga's flag and it honk it's way down.

By the time we were at the Quay Street, it was around 12.30pm, and there were already quite a lot of people queueing up at the entrance to the Queen's Wharf. Since the Queen's Wharf only opens at about 4pm, we adjourned to our usual place, Barabra cafe, for some coffee and drinks.

Sitting by the cafe, we managed to watch some rehearsal going on before the opening night. The rehearsal includes paddling Waka boat, dancing and music playing on one of the ship.

When it's about 3pm, the whole area was already jam packed with a lot of people. Especially at the Queen's Wharf and Princess Wharf, where we were that time. Before that, we actually planned to go over to Queen's Wharf to witness the opening, but due to the amount of people around the city, we decided to just station ourselves at Barabra cafe till the end of the opening event.

The opening event started with arrival of Maori's Waka boats moving from the Princess Wharf to the Viaduct Basin. Once the event started, all area was jam packed with people. I couldn't even get a glimpse of the Waka Boats till I actually climbed up the sofa's arm at Barabra's Cafe. Just look at the amount of people through the picture below and you will know what I mean. Besides, if you did watched the news previously, you know how much people were there.

Only by climbing up at the sofa's arm, I managed to catch a glimpse of the Waka boat's movement to the Viaduct Basin. Besides, with that, I am able to take some clear photos without the crowds' heads.

There were also a lot of boats sailing out at the Viaduct Habour to get a better view of the opening night event activities, by looking at the photo above.

After that, I walked out from the Princess Wharf to catch a glimpse of how's the crowd like outside at Quay Street, while my partner still sitting down at Barabra cafe to save ourselves a seat throughout the night. All I saw was crowds and crowds of people everywhere.

The whole Quay Street was jam packed with people.

There's a lot of people at the PWC building and also above the HSBC building.

There's also some that would just climb up onto the bus stop's roof to catch a glimpse of the activities at Quay Street.

All in all, the city was packed with thousands and thousands of people. You can also have an aerial view of that day through the TVNZ website (

Then at about 8pm, the sound and light show comes to live featuring Auckland's biggest and brightest fireworks and light show set to music composed specially for the occasion by Don McGlashan.  There's fireworks from the Auckland's Sky Tower and also from the Viaduct Habour.

Once the fireworks ended, we walked back to our car and leave the city before everyone moves back home again. By the time we're home, we still managed to catch the second half of the game that night.

It was an eventful day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thai + Malay?

Sometimes having to cook at the kitchen every day can makes you ran out of idea what to cook. After looking through the ingredients that were available in the fridge, I had decided to make pandan chicken.

Preparing and marinating the pandan chicken is easy. But it's not easy to wrap the chicken with the pandan leaves, especially if you would like to wrap it into a triangle shape. It was my first time making it, I am not able to wrap into a triangle shape as per what the Malaysian restaurant also does. I only manages to wrap it like a pentagon shape due to the small frozen pandan leaves that I can get here from New Zealand.

The usual way to cook pandan chicken is to deep fried it to enhance the flavour from the pandan leaves. However, this time I opt for a healthier version that was to bake it. It turned out to taste as good as the deep fried version minus the oiliness.

Meanwhile, my partner had managed to get a Malay version food - "tempeh" at an Asian grocery store nearby. Therefore, he was in charge in cooking the vegetables of the day, which was stir fried round beans with chillies and "tempeh".

My partner refer "tempeh" as the Malay version of blue cheese. Why? This is because "tempeh" is actually a soy product whereby it gone through the fermentation process which provides a firm texture with an earthy flavour as it ages. However, once you had cooked it, the "tempeh" become soft and the fragrance of it changes.

Hence that night, we had a Thai dish and Malay dish combination as dinner. Is it weird? No, I don't think so. It blends well for me.

Pandan Chicken Recipe
Serves: 4

3 skinless and boneless chicken thigh
1 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon palm sugar
2 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoon cooking oil
1 stalk lemon grass
3 shallots
4 kaffir limes leaves
5 cloves garlic
2cm ginger
Pinch of salt and white pepper

1. Grind lemon grass, shallots, kaffir limes leaves, garlic and ginger until it is fine and evenly mixed.
2. Then add in turmeric powder, fish sauce, palm sugar, vegetable oil, salt and white pepper into the mixtures and mixed in evenly.
3. Marinate the chicken with the mixtures for at least 2 hour. Preferably to marinate it overnight.
4. Wrap the chicken with pandan leaves.
5. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celcius.
6. Bake the wrapped chicken in the preheat oven for 20 minutes or until it is golden brown.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Penang Style Chee Cheong Fun

It was a day in a week where we will make a simple meal or a meal that doesn't involves rice. Last week, I decided to make Penang style chee cheong fun. It took me awhile before being able to successfully making a nice and proper chee cheong fun. And finally I managed to conclude to a few important tips that helps in making the chee cheong fun successful.

1. Make sure using a proper steamer to ensure the water is always boiling at a constant temperature.
2. Recommended to use a square tray instead of round to ensure the chee cheong fun has the same thickness after it is being rolled.
3. Make sure the chee cheong fun is thoroughly cooked and cool before rolling it up.
4. Rest the mixtures for an hour.
5. Constantly stirring the mixtures before pouring it into the tray for steaming.
6. Use a baking spatula to remove the chee cheong fun from the tray. It is easier as the baking spatula is quite flexible.

I managed to pick up the few tips after a few failures attempt. The more I made, the better it becomes. However, making chee cheong fun took me quite a few hours to get everything done as I was making 6 portions of share. But it is interesting to pick up the few tips. With that, I am able to make some other style of chee cheong fun by myself.

I served my Penang style chee cheong fun with some sweet sauce, prawn paste and chillies. Also I garnished it with some deep fried shallot and toasted sesame. 

Penang Style Chee Cheong Fun Recipe
Serves: 2

Chee Cheong Fun Ingredients 
230ml water
70 grams rice flour
1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour/ wheat starch/ tapioca flour
1 tablespoon corn flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon vegetable oil

1. Sieve rice flour, glutinous rice flour, corn flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
2. Mix in water and vegetable oil and lightly beat it evenly. Ensure there's no lump in the mixtures.
3. Rest the mixtures for 1 hour.
4. Boil the water in the steamer.
5. Brush tray with oil and add a laddle of the mixtures into the tray.
6. Steam is for about 7 minutes. (I am using a corningware tray. Depending on the thickness of your tray. The time may be vary.)
7. Remove the tray from the steamer and set aside to cool.
8. Repeat step 5 - 7 with another set of tray.
9. Once the chee cheong fun is cool, use a baking spatula to roll it up.
10. To serve, unroll the chee cheong fun and cut into bite pieces. Serve it with some sweet sauce and prawn paste and garnished it with some toasted sesame and deep fried shallot.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pineapple Tarts

My baking mood is ON. After baking pandan chiffon cake and dates & ginger stickies, my next target was pineapple tarts.

Pineapple tarts are very popular in Malaysia especially during Chinese New Year. I remembered when it's near Chinese New Year, my mum will buy a lot of pineapples to cook the pineapple jam from scratch. Cooking the pineapple jam taking a long time, especially when you have to keep stirring it, and I am sometimes the victim to help my mum stirring it under the heat.

Since this Chinese New Year I didn't get to eat the yummy pineapple tarts made by my mum. I took the opportunity to bake it on one of the Sunday. At first, I only have the intention to cook the pineapple jam from scratch on Sunday. But since after done with the pineapple jam, I decided to continue baking the pineapple tarts on that day itself.

My partner helped me with the baking. It took us about an hour to get everything done. By the time it is done, it's already about 8pm. Everything turns out to be great. Before that, my partner keep teasing me to just buy the shortcrust pastry and pineapple jam since it is widely available here. But I kept insisting to make everything by myself as I believe it will taste better and also I can make it to my liking.

When my partner tasted the pineapple tarts that we had made, and he finally agrees that making it ourselves turns out to be good. And making shortcrust pastry is so easy and it taste so much better as compared to the ready made ones. This is because the ready-made shortcrust pastry is made of margarine instead of butter. That is the biggest difference.

Below are the pineapple recipe that I had made earlier just in case you need it.

Pineapple Tarts Recipe
Make: +- 30pcs

Jam Ingredients
+-1.2 kilograms whole pineapples  (without skin on)
+-150 grams rock sugars
3 cloves
1/2 lemon juice


1. Remove the core of the pineapple and grate coarsely.
2. Cook the grated pineapple with the pineapple juice in a pan.
3. Add in the cloves and rock sugar into the pan. You can adjust the amount of sugar as according to your sweetness liking.
4. Cook the grated pineapple until it is almost dry. Constantly stirring until the mixture is dry over low heat.
5. Add in the lemon juice and continuing stirring the mixtures until it is dry. Then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Pastry Ingredients
150 grams plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon corn flour
100 grams butter
1 1/2 icing sugar
1 egg yolk

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celcius.
2. Sieve plain flour, corn flour, salt and icing sugar into the mixing bowl.
3. Rub in the butter into the mixture until it looks like bread crumbs.
4. Then add in the egg yolk into the mixtures to form a dough.
5. Roll pastry into about 0.7cm thickness and stamp out with a cutter. Press about 0.25 deep in the centre of the pastry. 
6. Add in about a teaspoon of pineapple jam.
7. Lastly you can decorate the tart with two strips of pastry placed to make a cross on the top.
8. Bake in a preheat oven at 180 degree Celcius for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Elliot's Stable

Saturday is always the day for me to spend time with my partner. It is also usually our outing/ dating day. And also the day where the kitchen is closed.

After shopping around in the Auckland, it's time to look around for lunch. We ended up visiting the Elliot's Stable for a light lunch. Elliot's Stable is an epicurian village which was tranformed into a distinctive marketplace.  

There are a few different gourmet eateries to choose from. We chose to try Frankies Wurstbude sausage rolls with coleslaw as a side. It turns out to be yummy.

Apart from that, we also had the caramelised apple crepe from Torchon French Creperies as dessert. In my opinion, this stall is quite similar to the one that I had before in Ponsonby which I had mentioned in my previous post. Why do I say that, it's because the menu is totally the same as La Cantine du Torchon in Ponsonby.

It was a good lunch although it was a light ones.

Elliot's Stable

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wynyard Quarter

Recently Auckland has another happening place going on in the city. The Wynyard Quarter was opened on 6th August. It is only the first stage of the project and more to come. However, I didn't went there until last week.

The Wynyard Quarter had attracted a lot of attentions from the locals and tourists. There's a few things in the Wynyard Quarters that perhaps attracted a lot of people there.

Firstly is the Viaduct Events Centre which may future host many events that are happening in Auckland. The first event that will be hosted there is the New Zealand's Fashion Week that is happening on 29th August 2011, Monday, until 3rd September 2011, Saturday.

Besides, there's also heritage cargo shed and fishing boats tied up beside the Viaducts Event Centre. The information booth is also being made from an empty container. Even the public washrooms are also being made from  a container.

Along the Wynyard Quarter, there's also ten new restaurants and bars available there. Some of it are yet to open. The restaurants and cafes include Marvel Grill, Gelatiamo, Rushworth, The Conservatory, Jack Tar, Urban Turban, I Sushi & Yakitori, Live Seafood Restaurant & Bar, and Pescado. Of those that had opened, there was a long queue at the Gelatiamo where everyone wanted to grab a gelato during the sunny day.

Trams also return to the city after 50 years. There are two 1920s heritage trams on the 1.5km circuit around Wynyard Quarter. The trams are running in a 15-minute clockwise circuit along Jellicoe, Halsey, Gaunt and Daldy Streets.

Those are the few things that attracted a lot of people to the Wynyard Quarter. You can visit too if you happen to be down at the city of Auckland.