Monday, March 31, 2014

Fun - Sydney Rhino Trail Collection

Taronga Zoo Wild Rhinos Trail is a Street-Art event. 

Starting my collections late.... See how many I can gather. Need the extra exercising after all the gourmet meals! Ha :)

(c) GMV - Got My Vote!

My first Rhino - I am sure it's got a name. But I am calling it 'Recycle Pretty'.
Located @ World Square 

Discovered this Rhino by accident. It was pouring with rain and we were ducking for shelter @ Rocks

Super cool but pretty ugly rhino. A quick shoot and go @ Chinatown Haymarket
Oh - the rhino make it to the North Shore!
A little girl's favourite giant toy. She climbed, glided and start all over again. Close to the Taronga Zoo @ Mosman.

Discovered another one @ Sydney Opera House! The million-dollar view. Now a tourist icon, too!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dining - Public Dining Room @ Balmoral Beach

Add: 2A Esplanade Mosman NSW 2088 
Tel: (02) 9968 4880


This is a stunning posh beachside restaurant with uninterrupted majestic views over Balmoral Beach. 

It is refined, modern and elegant. 

It's all about having the best here!

Am I complaining? Of course! 
I want this every day!~  

(c) GMV - Got My Vote(^O^)/

From the moment I stepped in, I knew this was not your casual cafe dining. 

Everywhere you looked, it smelled of money: heavy cash injections to recreate a 'relaxed' elegant beach style and the cash-loaded Mosman residents waved their black American Express cards in their glittering Rolex and diamond hands to get attention.

The service was of course impeccable.

The meal was superbly well-executed with fresh local produces.

A fine Mosman housing


In case you are wondering, I don't think you come in here with a wet bottom and sandy legs for a post-swim snack. 

We are shown to a prime seating where a large panel of glass window separate between us and the yacht-dotted harbour views.

From the moment we sat down, we knew this would be a fine classy dining experience.

The late-Summer menu looked appealing with a strong seafood presence and consisted of nice Mediterranean/Italian driven dishes. 

It was all about elegant beautiful food here and we could not wait.

Pasta - Strozzapreti, eastern king prawns, nz clams, chilli, zucchini, Sardinian bottarga $36.00

Our first main was the Strozzapreti pasta twirl in midst of  eastern king prawns and New Zealand clams spiced with mild chili.

I was so looking forward to the exotic Sardinian bottarga scattered generously over the the pasta.  Unfortunately it must be a rare commodity now, the kitchen obviously skimped it. We couldn't taste much of the bottarga . If they serve bottarga by the slice or a rich bottarga sauce on top this pasta - it would've been a sensational dish to die for.

'Melting' Huon Valley Tasmanian Salmon (sous vide), snow pea purée, shimeji mushrooms, beurre blanc & hazelnut $37.00

This 'Melting' Huon Valley Tasmanian Salmon looked just lovely and light.  

This salmon was plated prettily with the soft creamy pea puree. The hazelnut sprinkles supposed to add texture to the dish, but I did not fancy the side garnishes that much.

True to the name, the salmon was so buttery-soft to cut through. 

It was incredibly sweet and tender and it definitely delivered a melt-in-your-mouth taste sensation. Of course, no one can fault the artful crunchy golden skin.

To me, this beautiful sous vide cooked salmon was the main star and the sides should not take away from its limelight. I'd happily have this salmon over and over again.

It was just a truly amazing dish.

I heard the desserts here are definitely worth the wait.
You can skip the entree and the main, but you must save room for desserts. 

While we wait for the desserts to arrive, we enjoyed watching families and surfers enjoy the blue-skied beach sunshine from our air-conditioned vantage point.

Soft centred chocolate pudding, rhubarb compote, caramel powder, hibiscus ice cream & textures $19.00


We sighed at the marvelous presentation of this soft centred chocolate pudding. 

It was vibrant and vividly arranged with rhubarb compote and caramel powder. The delicate hibiscus ice cream was so heavenly, we wanted more.

The chocolate pudding was warm and when we sliced it through, the rich chocolate lava flow out.

I must admit, it was quite a satisfying visual feast.

Earl grey creme brûlée with Apple compote & berries $17.00

Our second dessert - the Earl grey creme brûlée dimmed next to the stunning chocolate pudding. 

This dessert is much lighter and softer on the palate. It probably goes nicely with a pot of freshly brewed tea.

I was 100% satisfied with the previous dessert so I wan't too fussed about this one.

I love the open-plan interior decoration here. The use of floor to ceiling windows that overlook the Balmoral beach is simply clever. They also install large mirror panels on the wall to enlarge the dining space and reflect the beautiful glistering ocean views. 

I can only say, this place sparkles. 
Every diners I saw were impeccably dressed - not the frilly-dressy race wear look, but more of a Ralph Lauren classic attire. I suspected their yachts are parked in front of the restaurant, swaying in rhyme with the sparkling waves.

Ah ~ the sign of good fortunate life with a high 'keep-up-with-the-appearance' maintenance fee.


The meal was slightly on the expensive side but well worth it on a perfect Sydney beach day. 

Parking is ridiculously expensive at $12/hour, next time, I will come by personal yacht.

Public Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cooking Lab - Mediterranean Pearl Cous Cous w baked prosciutto

I am very fond of these Pearl cous cous. Pearl couscous is bigger, more “pearl”-like than the normal couscous and is much more delicious. 

They are a great substitute for rice or pasta. They have a nice chewy texture and absorb the sauce really well.

(c) GMV - Got My Vote!

This is a very moreish light dish.


- 250g or 1 packet of pearl cous cous 
- 200ml chicken stock 
- 2 carrots 
- 300g button mushroom 
- 1 large red capsicum 
- 100g frozen pea 
- 1 small spanish onion 
- 50g basil pesto sauce 
- 30ml olive oil 
- 4 slices of prosciutto 
- Pink sea salt & pepper to season 


1. In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil.

2. Stir in the pearl cous cous.

3. Let the cous cous simmer for 5 minutes until all liquid is absorb and each grain looks plumb.

4. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Add some olive oil in a separate frying pan on medium heat.

6. Lightly sauteed the spanish onion, carrot and red capsicum until soft.

7. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

8. Dilute the pesto sauce with 30ml of chicken stock.

9. Pour into the pan and let the vegetables absorb all liquid.

10. Add the cooked pearl cous cous to the pan.

11. Add the frozen pea in the last 3 minutes.

12. Stir to combine well.

For the non-vegetarians: 

A. Set baking oven on high.
B. Bake the prosciutto slices until crispy.
C. Cut into thin slices.
D. Scatter crispy prosciutto slices on top of the cous cous.

13. Garnish with chive and season with pink sea salt and pepper.

A delicious vegetarian dish is ready to serve.

Use this as either a side dish or as a main.
    A very filling and satisfying dish.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cooking Lab - Chicken Soup w Meatballs and Tofu (芥菜豆腐清雞湯)



Meatballs are great in soup and they can be made in advance or you can use frozen fish balls as an alternative.

Now meatballs in soup - doesn't that sounds like a filling meal already?

(c) GMV - Got My Vote!

The perfect winter warmer soup for the cold days. 
Healthy but naughty....hey! You can't just pick out the meatballs .... you have to eat the healthy tofu and nutritious veggie too!  


- Baby Mustard Cabbage (aka Gai Choy) x 1 bunch

- Pre-made meat balls x 12 

(See Meatball Recipe Here:
Mini Parsley Meatballs Recipe

- Premium chicken stock 2L
- Silk tofu sliced x 1 packet
- Bonito flakes 10g
- Sesame seaweed mix 5g
- Light soy sauce 10ml
- Mirin 5ml
- Salt to season


1. Bring a medium pot of chicken stock to a boil.

2. Cut the baby mustard cabbage in small pieces.

3.Flavor the soup with light soy sauce and a dash of mirin.

4.Add the baby mustard cabbage and let it simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.

(Note: let the mustard cabbage absorb as much of the stock essence as possible, so it will have the melt-in-the mouth tenderness.)

5. Add the tofu slices and also let them simmer in the chicken stock broth.

6. Lastly, add the meatballs to the soup and cook for further 5 minutes.

7. Serve the soup hot in individual bowls.

8.Garnished with bonito flakes and sesame & seaweed seasoning.

9.Serve as per the picture.

A very hearty, soul-warming soup in a stormy night.