Posts by Ames:
- 1 ½ cups (225g) self-raising flour, sifted
- ¾ cup (165g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 125g butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (125 ml) milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
- ¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- cinnamon sugar
So who else thought September was a busy month??
Somehow once you pass July, the days just excelerate and we find ourselves already counting down the days to Christmas (75 days as of today) and then it will be New Years soon after and in February 2014 (if there are no hiccups), guess who will be admitted as a lawyer in Victoria?? ;)
I know it’s a bit premature to be saying this given that there are still 3 months to go, but I think 2013 has been both the most challenging and most rewarding year I’ve had so far.
There’s nothing quite like saying good bye to exams for good (at least for the next little while) and starting a new chapter of life. My body has adjusted to the 9-5:30 rhythm but getting the right balance of work/rest/play is something that has to be evaluated on a regular basis.
However, one of the challenges I’ve met this year has actually occurred outside of the workplace. It came in the form of a group of guys that met once a week to discuss the key themes that underpin the Christian faith.
These guys are highly intelligent (most graduating from Melbourne’s top selective high school) and deep thinkers, who often asked questions that had never really crossed my mind and forced me to take a step back and reassess what and why I believed about the God of the Bible.
What I discovered is that my faith is not blind, but rather I have experienced the reality of God at work in my life so debates about e.g. evolution/creation etc., don’t really change that reality or shake the conscious decision I’ve made to mirror my life to that of Christ’s.
While that may be all well and good, what I also discovered is that in this day and age, your own experience of God is rarely enough to motivate others to take a step of faith themselves to experience this reality. We live in a culture of relativism where the attitude is, “that may be good for you, but that doesn’t mean I have to subscribe to what’s good for you. You can do what you want as long as it doesn’t affect what I want to do.”
So how does one respond to this attitude that is prevalent in our society? For the Christian aka Christ follower the answer is: do like Christ. What did Christ do? He challenged societal and cultural norms and confronted them head on (which, mind you, often got him in the faces of the religious leaders of his day). Christ didn’t shy away from the tough questions rather he was the one who made people question why they believed what they believed.
As someone who is more of the peacemaker than a picker of fights, this has been a challenge; but a rewarding one. Instead of just brushing questions aside or throwing my hands up in the air, my faith has been strengthened, enlarged and the roots go deeper as I fill in the gaps to my understanding of the God of the Bible and how it relates to my life of the present day.
The overflow of this discovery of truth has culminated recently in a Q&A session at the end of one of our church celebrations. However, 10 mins really wasn’t enough so to keep the momentum going we have a panel discussion night happening this Sat which I would really like to extend an invitation to whoever is reading this convoluted blog post :).
See this event page for details.
Whether you are a Christian or not, I think the panel night will be both challenging and rewarding. Much to be gained either way. Think about it – hope to see you there ;).
As much as I love to be productive and make the most of the
weekends, sometimes all you need is a selah
[pause/break] type afternoon. One where
you just rest the body, rest the mind, rest the spirit. That’s what
I had this afternoon and boy, I needed it. It has been busy, busy,
busy. And perhaps it has been href="http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/?_r=1&">
self-imposed - which has meant that sometimes, I
just need to self-impose some time to chill. To just break
away from the constant doing and just
do nothing. Learning to just leave some
things for tomorrow has been a tough lesson to learn. And learning
to just do things you love as
well sans the guilt for all the
things you are leaving for tomorrow is another lesson I’m still
learning. Anyhow, though there are a few more ‘serious’ topics I’ve
been meaning to write about, those can be left for ‘tomorrow’.
Tonight, I wanted to share a cafe I found by accident on another
day where my body decided enough was enough and it was time to
declare a R&R day… BUT, technology fails me at the
moment. All the photos taken at this quaint cafe were captured on
my old phone, the cable of which I have left at work. Hmm. Perhaps
this will have to be left to tomorrow too haha.
been a pointless post from an Ames who needs to go and do
nothing. style="text-align: left;">♥ Ames
Hi all! It has been a while hasn’t it? I had left my blog for so long that when I tried to log in, there were issues with one of the plug-ins that completely drove me up the wall! Thanks for shedding some light Libby after my cry for help on Facebook haha. Anyway, I’m sure whatever readership I have left has had enough of my apologies and excuses so I’ll just skip all that and instead give you an update of where things are since I last blogged here…
Well, you know what? This challenge kinda-maybe-really bombed. And you know what else? I’m actually ok with that – which is a sign of maturity or something so I am told haha. The reality was that it was (and still is) a great idea/concept but with lack of adequate preparation and organisation, the execution was flawed and was it’s ultimate downfall.
However, not all is lost. I’m chalking it up as a great learning experience. It did spur myself and colleagues of mine to start digging into books we said we would read one day but never got around to reading. There were some really generous people who donated to the cause and also a number of people who have offered their services and manpower to revamp this concept for round 2 in the future.
And though their wasn’t as much financially put towards the vision of VHAN Hope and Opportunity Fund, many allies were gained through the Three-4-Three Challenge and I was very thankful for ongoing support from people who heard about the Fund 3 yrs ago to those who have just been on the “cheer team” recently. Thanks to those who have encouraged me or given me suggestions on how to improve in the future. I think for the next month or so, I’ll be embarking on a private project to fundraise for the Fund but no doubt I’ll let you know when there are opportunities in the future to get involved :).
In the time I’ve been away from this blog, I’ve been journalling a lot more. There has been a bit of soul-searching and some thoughts spent on whether I still wanted to continue to be a “blogger”.
The facts remain that I love writing for leisure, I love writing about the things that interest me and I have a lot more interests than just food, which has been the primary focus of this blog as of late. I did not set out to be a food blogger but things just started to drift in that direction. I think I also read an article once that said that the most successful blogs are ones that are focused on a particular topic so I started to immerse myself in the food blogging community which I must say is really supportive and all-embracing in Melbourne.
Get to the point, Ames.
Anyhow, long-story-short, as much as I have loved blogging exclusively about food, I would like to “diversify” this blog space and write about other topics that interest me i.e. anti-human trafficking efforts, social justice, lessons in leadership, music, the journey of faith etc.
Why not just start another blog then, Ames?
Haha well, I’ve started many blogs in my time and I would rather not have to switch between blogs based on the topic I feel like writing about at any particular given point in time. I understand that this may be detrimental to blog stats and blog audience and yada-yada, but I think I’ve got to be true to myself and not restrict blog content based on expectations of others.
So I guess at the end of this rambling post what I want to say is a big THANK YOU to members of the food blogging community for embracing this newbie so openly and giving me a chance to get to know you both via blogwaves and in person. I’m not saying I’m hanging up my food blogger hat just yet, but I understand if you might not stick around as the blog content broadens so I just want to show my appreciation for being supportive over the last year and a bit as I have bumbled my way through restaurant reviews and recipes! Keep being enthusiastic and sharing the love for food :)
As for the rest who will be sticking around, be prepared for things to get a bit haphazard. Will be experimenting a bit of different styles of writing, length of posts and who knows what else! Again can’t make promises about how often I will post but this is something I do want to get back into :).
Will be fun no doubt.
Long weekends are such a blessing. No need to rush around. Time to share with friends and time to bake :).
I was planning to bake a cake to bring to a gathering with the old high school crew but by the time I had it in the oven, it was already time to go :(. No huge issues though when you have some Honey Joys ready to go haha ;).
Anyhow, I left some instructions for my dear mother and when I returned home, the cake had come out beautifully :). Great team effort!
Apple & Blueberry Cake
adapted from Donna Hay’s Fast, Fresh, Simple
(underlined parts are the changes – not many really)
- Preheat oven to 160C (325F).
- Place flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into a greased 19cm springform tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Top with the apples and the blueberries.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer.
- Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and then allow to cool. Serve it up!
Was very yummy and so very simple!
I know I’ll be having a slice tomorrow when I get going with the Three 4 Three Challenge ;). Would love it if you’d join in but if it’s a bit too challenging right now, if you are able to give a donation to this dream of mine that would be amazing!
Have a great Queen’s Birthday day off for those working folks ;).
Question time: What do you like to do when you have a day off?
Hey blog-o-sphere! It has been a while hasn’t it?? Despite my best of intentions and my promise at the end of the last blog post, I just couldn’t get up the motivation to blog, even though there is potentially lots to write about!
However, instead of spending half this blog post apologising for my absence, I’d like to introduce you to a new project that I’m working on called the ”Three 4 Three” Challenge!
Now that I do have the challenge all up and going, hopefully it means more time to blog over in this space. I’d often come here to blog but then feel that perhaps I probably should be working on the project rather than blogging here… but no promises! We’ll see how things pan out :). Hope those in Melbourne and other states (except WA!) have a great long weekend ;).
I’m so looking forward to a sleep in and some cooking/baking/reading/relaxing!
*blows off dust/cobwebs*
Anyone still out there?? I just had a look and it has been over a MONTH since I last blogged here!! I think that has been the longest break I’ve taken from blogging without informing the readers about it and for that, I do apologise! Though, it’s not like the world has stopped turning lol. People still eat/cook/enjoy good food and do their own merry thing (well, I hope you have been!). Still, I feel like I need to be accountable to this blogspace for my absence.
In the midst of adjusting to full-time hours and on top of all the weekly commitments I try to juggle, I’ve been frantically trying to meet some other accountability requirements.
The story really goes back a few years. For my 21st birthday, against all the legal advice I had been given about how much it would cost and how much time it would require to maintain it over the years (what do lawyers know, right?) I decided to launched my own charitable trust – the VHAN Hope and Opportunity Fund (“Fund”).
The conception of this Fund lies in the generosity that I received through the funding of my high school education via the Violet Hall Trust. I am forever grateful for the opportunities and experiences I was given as a beneficiary of the Trust and I wanted to be able to do the same for other individuals in the future – in essence, pay it forward (essentially this is a scholarship fund).
The legal work necessary to establish the Fund was all paid for thanks to the generosity of friends and family like yourselves but throughout the last 3 years, whilst completing my law degree, I had very limited time to do much else for the Fund except keep it afloat i.e. keep Consumer Affairs and the tax office happy by meeting statutory reporting requirements.
A requirement (which I’ve had to deal with lately) was to get our books audited; this was frankly quite daunting for me because of the money I envisioned it costing. But thankfully, we were able to engage the same accounting firm that had handled the financial records of the Violet Hall Trust and because of the prior understanding and working relationship, costs were reserved for the time being.
However, this has given me a wake up call. Now that my uni days are behind me, it’s the season to devote more time and effort to the Fund so that it can begin full operations in the years to come.
So… as some of you would be aware through the other social networks I frequent, I recently turned the ripe old age of TWENTY FOUR and as a result, I have started my 24th Birthyear Campaign! :D The ultimate goal is to, through various fundraising avenues, raise $10,000 by the time I turn 1/4 of a century ;).
In reality this is a long, long, long-term project. For the Fund to be self-sustaining and perpetual, there will need to be at least $100,000 invested. $100,000 seems almost unreachable right now so I think smaller targets are the way to go. The immediate short-term goal is to get enough funds together so that the money can start accruing interest in its bank account. Hence, I present…
Phase 1: Raise $1000.00 for the VHAN Hope & Opportunity Trust Fund
in ONE MONTH from my 24th birthday (13 April)
I’ve been astounded by the generosity of friends and family as I’ve almost reached my target but we are about $150.00 off so… I thought I would open it up to the blog audience and others friends who have made pledges to donate but have yet to do so ^^.
SO, if you would like to lend a little support (every little bit counts!), donations can be made to:
Account Name: VHAN HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY INC IN TRUST FOR VHAN HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY FUND
Account number: 11042408
- Please put your first initial and surname, eg “JSmith” in the Description
- Donations ARE tax-deductible in Australia – yay!
- If you would like a receipt please e-mail me (email@example.com)
An official website for the Fund is in the works and I plan to get back into blogging ASAP so please also stay tuned for what I hope will be permanent return to the blogging sphere :).
Thanks for all your support thus far!
P.S. If you are overseas and want to donate, you can do so via this PayPal link (though note there is a transaction fee of 2.4% + $0.30AUD with every transfer, therefore it is strongly suggested that you donate through net-banking where possible or you can find me in person for cash donations ^^).
Sometimes you can come across a gem by accident.
Two weeks ago, I had training for lawyer skills such as client interviews, letter writing, negotiating and advocacy. We were also fed us very, very well by the training institute. This had both pluses and minuses. Plus – lunch was provided, saving some money lol. Minus – I’m still trying to get rid of the food baby that developed that week :P.
Plus – we were located on Little Bourke St. Minus – the day that I intended to go early to grab a bite beforehand, it was raining cats and dogs!
I found a bit of shelter at a café I had spied the day before and decided to make it my choice for breakfast. The thing that attracted me was the Toby’s Estate name that I saw outside:
But before anyone gets too excited, the infamous Toby’s Estate from Sydney has not opened up a branch in Melbourne – however, their coffee beans has definitely made it over to Settebello, a modern little café on the corner of Hardware Lane and Little Bourke St.
On this occasion, I decided against the caffeine as I also had to handle an umbrella along with my books and bag! Instead, my attention was drawn to the display cabinet:
I really liked the simplicity of the display – less was definitely more in this instance.
I decided on the lighter egg, mushroom and cheese Breakfast Sandwich ($7.50) which I took back to the training centre to munch on before class.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this delicious and filling breakfast. Juicy and beautifully seasoned mushrooms, fresh crunchy lettuce (they must have toasted it and then put the lettuce on because it wasn’t soggy at all!), sweet fried onion with a fried egg sandwiched between two perfectly toasted pieces of focaccia bread :). The only thing that I wish had been different was that didn’t scoff it down in less than 10 mins lol. I didn’t want to be sitting outside the room too long ;).
I’d love to visit again if I wasn’t in such a rush – perhaps a good place to visit over the long weekend? :P
50 Hardware Lane
Have a Happy Labour Day, Melbournians!
Question: What are you doing this long weekend?
About a month ago, one of the lovely ladies from church helped stock up our fridge and freezer with goods so that my mum wouldn’t have to do as much grocery shopping while my dad was overseas. How kind :). However, a few days ago, we had a dilemma.
There wasn’t enough room in the freezer! #firstworldproblems
One of the things she had bought for us was a 1 kg pack of blueberries that we hadn’t really had a chance to open up yet so while the blueberries were thawing in the fridge below, I posted up a question on Facebook where I was given a number of suggestions as to what to do with them:
As the title of this posts suggests, I made myself a blueberry smoothie! :)
Very simple and a great energy booster after a long day at work!
Frozen Blueberry Smoothie
adapted from Taste.com.au
Serve = 1 glass
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbs yoghurt (first time I made it we didn’t have yoghurt in the house so I used a scoop of ice-cream hehe)
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 tbs flaxseed meal
- Place all ingredients in the jug of a blender. Blend until smooth and thick. Pour into a serving glass and serve immediately.
Note: obviously this is not a regular blender – we had one of the bullet thingy that we bought ages ago off a tv infomercial :P
Make sure you check your teeth in the mirror afterwards as there’s bound to be bits of blueberries everywhere haha
Enjoy! Have a great week everyone :).
Question time: What would you make with 1kg of blueberries?
Melbourne is definitely spoilt when it comes to dumplings.
Being out of the foodie-loop for a while means that I wasn’t even aware that another dumpling joint had opened up a number of weeks ago until Libby suggested ShanDong Mama as a post-work catch/meet-up spot with Winston and Dave. Poor Daisy was sick so couldn’t make it but there will be next times I’m sure ;).
After walking in the wrong direction (it happens), I found a guy who I assumed was theragingcook aka Dave. After confirming his identity (lol), we headed in to peruse the menus as the others were running a bit late.
(I unfortunately forgot my camera at home so these are just for the ol’Samsung Galaxy S2)
No photos of the drinks but you should definitely check out Dave’s 8 Treasure Tea - very pretty but a bit too hot on a warm summer night!
Libby soon arrived and helped out with the orders. It’s always nice to eat out with fellow foodies coz we’re all on the same wave length about trying a bit of everything :).
None of us had really done our research but we knew dumplings were a must! It did seem appropriate to have at least one dish of a different variety though. We decided to try the noodles with shredded port, egg and seasonal vegetables in sesame sauce.
First thoughts were that it looked a bit like the Korean bibimbap. Presentation? Probably 7/10. Flavour? It was a bit bland and tasted a lot better once I added a bit of soya sauce so probably 6/10 (Oh dear, I think I’ve watched too much MKR).
Then it was onto the main event:
The pork dumplings were definitely the favourite of the night! Juicy and perfectly balanced flavours, it was the sure winner!
The Melbourne dumplings were interesting… a combination of diced seafood (prawn, calamari, mussels, fish) and chicken mince, lemon rind, olive oil, parsley and garlic – it was Mama’s new contemporary recipe inspired by Australian multicultural food scene. I thought of the lemon rind was very clever and made it something different and quite enjoyable.
The Mackerel dumplings were pretty good too but I think I’ll have a better appreciation of them now that I’ve watched this video :).
It is a bit hard to find as it isn’t visible from street so just look out for the [200 Bourke St] sign outside the arcade in which it is located!
Shop 7, 200 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Question: Do you like your dumplings fried or boiled?
How does one begin a blog post after such a long absence? Just do it, I guess haha
What started out as just an idea, grew into a plan and soon enough a blog-free January seemed like the right thing to do. I was starting my new job and I just wanted to rest up as much as possible before I lost my extended holidays for good. However, if I was being real and honest to myself and to you as readers, one of the main reasons for my extended blog break was I just didn’t enjoy it very much anymore.
Perhaps it was my perfectionist tendencies to labour over each photo and edit and re-edit posts.
Perhaps I cared too much about what people thought of me when they read my blog.
Perhaps it was just the end of a massive year and I just needed time to recharge.
Perhaps it could have been a lot of other things but I recognised that blogging had started to become more of a chore for me and as selfish as it sounds, I wasn’t writing for myself anymore. If we drill down a bit further, I was letting my blog consume and define me and it wasn’t healthy.
So blogging was left to the side and real life continued. Adjusting to full-time work has probably been the biggest challenge lately but I am truly blessed to be working with such a great team of people who have been really supportive and helping me settle in. Yesterday marked my first month with the firm and I can see that I am starting to feel more at home now :).
Working day in, day out has also made me realise that I need to make time to do things for myself. Catching up with friends over lunch and dinners has been great but being an introvert, it does take a fair bit out of me and with ministry taking up most of the weekend, there’s not much left in the reserves after working from 9am-5:30pm, 5 days a week.
So I guess this is where blogging has its place. I do miss writing and it’s something that I want to start doing again but with the right motivations. It does mean that my writing style and frequency may change; change isn’t always a bad thing :). CNY and eating out in the city in between and after work has also added fuel to the fire so to speak ;). Hope you’ll continue on this journey with me – if not, I wish you well and will keep writing about the things that motivate, excite and inspire me.