If you follow me on Instagram or read my blog you would know I am a sucker of a good Mexican fiesta. As part of my job and an Enthusiastic Eater, I have happily done some in depth market research in finding the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney. So here is my list, which will grow over time as my appetite and belly will also do, I am sure.
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of cereal. If I wanted an unhealthy breakfast that offered little to no nutritional value, I would probably scoff a bowl of chips and gravy before my daily coffee. But because that is wrong (on many levels), I have decided to take cereal making into my own, trustworthy hooves.
This recipe is not only tasty, but is cheap compared to other gourmet breakfast brands. Plus, it is full of ‘super foods’ and has no added sugar, preservatives, trans fat and other nasty stuff. So, say no to expensive, unhealthy, sugar-filled muesli and try this instead – your hips and bank balance will be thankful for it.
I have used almonds and coconut in this recipe, but you can substitute for any if your favourite nuts or fruit. Place the nuts in from the beginning and add the fruit at the end.
Serves: This portion will be enough for about a week or two of breakfasts, depending on how hungry you are.
What you need:
- 2 cups of oats
- 2 cups of quinoa
- 1 cup of raw almonds
- 1 cup of shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup of chia seeds
- 1/2 cup of pitted dates, chopped roughly
- 1 cup of almond flakes
- 1 table spoon cinnamon
- 2 table spoons of coconut oil
- 2 table spoons of honey
- 1/2 cup of water
What you need to do:
- Preheat the oven at 140 degrees place water, oats, quinoa, almonds, cinnamon and coconut oil into a into a baking tray make sure all ingredients are moist and add more water if needed, stir thoroughly. Place into oven for 30 mins.
- Stir every 5 – 10 mins to ensure all the mixture is getting roasted evenly. Add the shredded almonds and chia seeds half way through cooking and stir.
- Remove when the ingredients turn golden brown and mixed the dates and shredded coconut through the mixture. Eat and serve with whatever you please… my preference is natural yoghurt and mango.
I have had a fascination with Iceland for a while now, it all started when I was booking a trip last minute to visit two friends living in London and NYC. When trying to cut corners on flight costs I discovered that flying from one city to the other via Iceland was significantly cheaper than flying direct (a tourism ploy I shall delve into later). A night in Reykjavik (Rake-a-vick) by myself?… At first the prospect scared me a little but the more I researched, the more and more I got excited by this amazing country on the opposite side of the world from home.
As a kid I was always fascinated by the atlas and would enjoy travelling around the world with my imagination whilst watching the reruns of the Brady Bunch. I remember reading “Iceland” and thinking that place sounds completely inhospitable and not much fun…. Boy was I wrong.
My second encounter of learning more about Iceland was when I watched an episode of Oprah when I was home from school sick one day. The whole show was dedicated to women across the globe talking about their culture and bringing their national dish for Oprah to taste. Most of them were run of the mill – the French lady brought snails, the Belgium lady brought chocolate, The Japanese lady brought sushi blah blah blah. As my blocked sinuses and Oprah’s annoyingness started to send me into a cough syrup sedated sleep, my ears pricked up when I heard this striking super model looking lady talk about rotten shark meat… Whaaaat?
As disgusting as it sounded, I was intrigued. She went on to explain the culture which made the others pale in comparison because where else in the world do you know of mothers of new borns leaving their children in their pram outside on the street while they enjoy coffee with their friends? ….Before you pass judgement, this isn’t because these beauty queens are irresponsible, it is because there is almost NO CRIME in this crazy little country.
As my excitement reached fever pitch leading up to my visit, a hurricane came along and ruined everything. Flights into JFK were suspended and I had to try direct a couple of days later. That was about 3.5 years ago and ever since my fasciation, or what some might call obsession, has grown day by day. After a lot of reading and research I discovered this could possible be the best place on earth – gender equality, a creative epicentre, beautiful people, organic food and free wifi everywhere? Sounds like heaven on earth… and it was! I got back from Iceland recently, so before giving you the run down on where to go and what to do, here are some interesting facts:
- Iceland’s population is small, there are approximately 320,000 in the country, 60% of which live in the capital, Reykjavik
- Icelanders have one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world
- Iceland has more artists per capita than anywhere in the world – hence the amazing musical talent!
- Iceland is has more Miss Worlds titles per capita than anywhere in the world, both the women and men are gorgeous
- It is said that the Vikings raped pillaged Ireland and Scandinavian countries, stealing the most attractive of the races and taking them to Iceland, which explains the good genes
- Iceland is one of the happiest nations in the world and has the 2nd highest quality of living
- 33 years ago in 1980, Iceland elected the world’s first female head of state and their current head of state is a lesbian (Iceland is a good place for women!)
- Many people in Iceland believe in elves, or what they call ‘The Hidden People’ … surprised they didn’t mistake me for one!
- The first people to inhabit the island nation were Irish Monks, but it has a long and proud Viking history
- Iceland is sustainable and self-sufficient – over 70% all energy used in Iceland is produced from own resources – either geothermal energy from hot springs or hydro-electric from the big waterfalls.
- Iceland has barely any trees although it used to be covered in them to to deforestation in the 12th century, harsh climate and volcanic ash, trees have difficulty rooting to the ground. To combat this, 4million trees are planted per year
- The Whale in the Free Willy movie was captured in Icelandic Waters
- Icelandic last names are derived from fathers names, so instead of being Hannah Lewis, my name would actually be Hannah Petersdaughter, because of this, people usually only are referred to by their first names
- Iceland is the youngest country in the world, with new mountains and islands forming as we speak, the land is still so ruggered astronauts train their due to its similarity to the moon
- One of the country’s most unusual attraction is the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which houses the world’s largest display of penises and penile parts but selling any undergarments with the Icelandic flag is forbidden
- Beer was banned nationwide until 1989.
- Icelanders love to drive, often people can own up the 3 cars, and there is no railway system
- The Icelandic government has banned prostitution in 2009, strip clubs in 2010, and is planning to ban online pornography as well
- The word ‘slut’ isn’t in the Icelandic vernacular because gender quality is prevalent. Sleeping around is standard practise it is not uncommon (or frowned upon) to have several children to different partners
- Icelandic state has a monopoly on the sale of alcohol.
- The sale of food items containing more than 2 grams of trans fat for every 100 grams is forbidden
- If Icelandic parents give their child a name that has not been previously used in Iceland, that name has to be approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee
- About 11% of the country is covered by glaciers
- Iceland is the most literate country in the world and has an impressive amount of Noble Peace Prizes
- Iceland’s national sport is handball, they also love soccer, fishing and golf
- Fishing is their biggest industry, with tourism slowly taking over. GET THERE!
Have you ever been to Iceland or re you Icelandic yourself? I would love to know your favourite fact about my second favourite country (I am patriotic after all).
Dumpling bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days. If Sushi was the food fad of the 2000′s, dumplings have taken over this decade. But you won’t hear me complaining, to me dumplings are the best thing since sliced sushi and I can’t get enough of them. You know what they say, the best things come in small packages (perhaps I would like to believe that being about 5″4 tall).
I have prepared the list below as a work in progress, I don’t plan to leave a dumpling, dim sum or gyoza in Sydney unturned without eating them… so suggestions are more than welcome and if they are better than great, they will be added to the list. But, so far, here are Sydney’s best dumplings (in no particular order)….
1. Lotus Dumpling Bar
My office is located in a great spot, right on the harbour somewhere between the City, Darling Harbour and Circlar Quay. I know i’m spoilt but with this “somewhere in the middle” location means lunch choices are limited and the ones on the limited list are generally underwhelming. UNTIL… Lotus Dumpling opened just down the road in Walsh Bay. These dumplings are amazing, with service and fit out to match. Understated, funky and damn delicious. The xiao long bao steamed soup dumplings are the winner for me – go for the chicken and be warned that there is soup inside…. I learnt that the hard way. Hot tip – take a nibble from the top, slurp the soup and devour the rest.
2. Harajuku Gyoza
Gyozas are Dumpling’s japanese cousins. What is the difference?… there isn’t much of one. Dumplings traditionally came in many forms and flavours and back in the day gyozas were traditionally just pork. Nowadays, gyozas come in all different varieties, and the best place to witness this is Harajuku Gyoza. Not only do they specialise in the fun size treats, but the atmosphere is electric. You are always greeted with a belting “MOSHI MOSHI” and if you order sake (which you must), you enjoy an entertaining song and dance with it. The best menu item is definitely the grilled chicken gyoza, and for those with a sweet teeth, they even have nutella and banana dessert gyozas. Food aside, this place is fun the perfect place to enjoy some drinks and food with friends before a night out.
3. East Ocean
Imagine an ocean full of yum cha… well that image in your mind is very similar to East Ocean itself. Although very unassuming from the front, once you step inside you are ushered by the friendly staff all communicating by very serious looking headsets to your table which will be about 1 of 1000, the venue is seriously huge. The dumplings are plentiful and the menu is lengthy to say the least. But I can highly recommend their Shanghai style dumplings filled with pork or their seafood with snow pea dumplings. East Ocean is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late into the night, so no matter what time of the day you are craving dumplings, you can always rely on East Ocean.
4. Kam Fook
Kam Fook’s popularity in Chatswood was so positive the friendly people there decided to open up shop in Bondi Junction (hoo-ray!). Kam Fook has fulfilled many a hangovers and cravings I have had over the past year since moving close by. I think there is no better way to start the day than with their traditional chinese broccilli with a table full of dumplings. There is plenty of yum cha options to choose from, but I always order two or more servings of their prawn and chive dumplings, even better when washed down with some tea of Sing Tao (hair of the dog).
Before you turn your nose up at this chain restaurant suggestion, hear me out. This western spin on traditional Japanese is an old time favourite of mine, mainly for one reason and that is their duck gyoza. The deep tried bag of gyoza-goodness is filled with succulent duck and spring onions and is accompanied by a sweet batch of hoisin sauce.
6. Din Tai Fung
Some might say this renowned dumpling hut is the dump-King of the dumpling scene. This king originated as a humble little street stall on the streets of Taipei and is now a global business with an unrivalled committment to dumpling precision. Aside from their attention to detail, the taste is what brings me back here time and time again. My favourite is the Jiao Ze (steamed pork and prawn). You can enjoy these dumplings in Style at their George Street or Star restaurants or grab the on the go at Westfield Sydney.
Do you think you know where to get the best dumplings in Sydney? Well send your suggestions my way… always happy to do this type of market research… the things you gotta do!
As you probably already know, my blog is all about food and travel, and with that comes the use of many products and services, here are just a few that I am in love with at the moment.
Travel Booking – Momondo
People often ask me where to get the best flight deals as travel websites are a dime a dozen, but my favourite is the aggregator site www.momondo.com.au . Not only does it find the best deals from across the web and all over sights, it lets you select multiple destination trips, when you want to arrive by (or depart by), minimum and maximum flight times and many other cool features. It isn’t just about finding the cheapest price (although that is helpful), it finds whatever flights suit you and doesn’t bug you with accommodation and rental care deals in the process.
Big Mouth Funnels
No longer do funnels have to take up prime real estate in the utensil draw! These flatpack, slim pieces of plastic (two size variations) click together to create an easy to clean funnel that is dishwasher friendly and easy to you. You can see them in action in the photo above, no surprise they won the Sydney design awards. You can purchase yours here.
It is obvious I love to eat out and love to cook, but sometimes I love nothing more than a good ol’ fashion takeaway on the couch. The days of endless google searches to find a delicious dish to be delivered to your door are over! MenuLog can tell you what places deliver to you local area, and you order online from the plethora of menus on their database. You can either pay online or pay cash on delivery, tempting right? Order your next meal here: www.menulog.com.au
If you have any product that you think I would love, or you want me to try out – let me know!