Thursday, 4 August 2011

The heat is on for the perfect scone!

What would be better than lying snug on the lounge, tucked in with your hands wrapped around a warm cuppa in a cold winters day? Nothing I suppose. But this could probably be deviated to a similar and yet enjoyable experience with some company, of course!
It was a Saturday afternoon, and having clocked out from work much earlier than expected, I decided to check out the Aroma Festival at The Rocks. This place is my stomping ground ♥ (Walking through old edifices is like venturing history. It simply lights up my spirit!) So I got there and learned it isn't starting 'til Sunday. I thought I could just take a stroll and fully satisfy my admiration for this place.
I had my eye on this little Irish shop on George Street. They had everything lucky, clover, green-everything Irish! But there was something else. Just at the rear of the shop was a café. The squeaky wooden floor and narrow corridor led me to a surprising sight- a little heritage brick tea room that's probably a century old! There truly is something about small cafés like this. The type that features a rustic figure, and a beautiful hint of vintage usually epitomizing the "traditional" of cultures. This brings about a heartwarming experience-transporting you to a totally different place-a place you'd always want to go back to.



This Irish café previously known as Tara Tea Room, is now the Tea Cosy. They serve scones *like your grandma used to make*, and hot bevvies. But  with scones, there has to be a twist-a choice from an interesting assortment of jams, with real clotted cream of course! I immediately felt the urge to come back and try their devonshire tea (scones with tea or coffee). And so I did...the following day!

Jacqui, Darwin and I had a quick look at the festival. We started off with devonshire tea for breakfast...under my influence *wink* First impression of the place: "Wow, this is really cozy". Our faces glistened with joy and satisfaction as we chatted along and sipped our tea. I love being in a place like this, a humble atmosphere that values friendships, conversations and the comfort your heart needs ♥ You'll never even think it's in the middle of the busy city!

Irish Breakfast tea and freshly baked scones 
with pawpaw, lime and passionfruit jam

A genuinely scrumptious scone is light and moist in texture, best served warm and the ultimate favourite that reminds you of home. Not all food joints manage to take it to this point though. Pastry and bread-making are indeed extremely arduous jobs according to most chefs, needing time and expertise to perfect. But moms and grandmas will always and naturally instill that first and last delicious bite of homemade scones-the ones made with honesty and love beyond compare♥ Exactly what this place is all about!



So why not drop by and have a taste of a cozy Irish treat on a Friday or weekends and awaken your senses with these beautiful jams. I always go for something new and absolutely loved the subtle sweetness of pawpaw (papaya), and the perfect punch of lime & passionfruit! Beautiful combination. 

It feels great to walk out of a café with a happy heart, soul, and tummy!
Tea Cosy just made me ☺






Tuesday, 19 July 2011

This way to the famous café!

Are you in Sydney? Well if you are, been or will be soon, find some time to venture La Renaissance Café Pâtisserie located at The Rocks.
Their little courtyard café always set a perfect mood for locals and visitors alike. This is, by far my favourite café here in Sydney. I've been here thrice after writing about their famous macarons, and will most certainly be expected to visit the place more often ♥



Must-tries! 
♥ Roulade Pistache et Chocolat ♥
(Pistachio and Chocolate Scroll)
Just the right sweetness. An unforgettable taste of light crisp pastry and soft dough inside. I've gotta say, this is by far the best scroll I've ever had!




♥ Tarte au Citron ♥
(Lemon Flan)
 The smooth piquant curd is very refreshing! Not to mention the delicate shortcrust pastry, oh-so yummy! It'll tantalize your senses! Certainly my ideal summer dessert.




♥ Amande Croissant ♥
(Almond Croissant)
There certainly is an art in this perfectly flaky croissant their patissiers have mastered. Varying textures of soft, crisp pastry and smooth crème d'amandes (almond cream) filling will make you say "Ah! Heavenly!"
This is simply delicious that I got another one to bring home for mum! And yes, she loved it too!




♥ Macarons ♥
(Flavours above from L-R: rose scented buttercream, pistachio white chocolate ganache, chestnut, and chai)
You can't leave the café without trying their much famed macarons! Read my post http://afternoonteawithme.blogspot.com/2011/04/say-itwith-macarons.html .  La Renaissance's macarons are now made fresh in the pâtisserie kithchen of Baroque Restaurant, since the two have merged. If you're into chocolate, you'll love the Valrhona ganache! It is divine! I also recommend the chestnut for its genuine flavour, and my favourite...salted caramel-a wonderful balance of sweet and salty (I'd get a whole dozen of this flavour only!), an absolute winner!



I've brought my friends here and they loved it!
When is your next date?
Jot this on your diary now!
La Renaissance Café Pâtisserie
http://larenaissance.com.au/





Bon appetit!













Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Downton Vogue

Britain's hit series Downton Abbey is now playing in Australia! And because one episode a week truly pains me, I've decided to treat my excitement with a marathon of the entire first season. By far, I have delighted myself threefold ☺

I have an immense interest in old English films-long beautiful frocks, fascinating hats, cozy cottages, magnificent mansions, evergreen fields of daisies and daffodils, tea time anytime, sensible dialogues, and of course the lovely English accent, and sometimes Irish and Scottish too!

Downton Abbey is based on the Edwardian era housing a family of five (Lord and Lady Grantham, their three  daughters) and at least eleven servants. Each character has their own story, interesting in every way. Although there has always been a strict boundary between aristocrats and servants during that time, writer Julian Fellowes created a story equal for both parties and showed how their lives were all intertwined. What's happening donwstairs (servants) is just as interesting and intriguing as that of upstairs (Crawley Family).

Boasting genuine English style, frocks this beautiful and elegant are most seemingly paramount in every woman's life ☺ These are my top picks!

Lady Grantham/ Cora Crawley
Ivory frock embroidered with black patterns
feather and flower adorned tea hat 
a pair of lovely lace gloves
and a dainty wrist-strap bag
An overall standout at the horse races or garden party ♥


I rarely wear black, but offer me this one and I'll take it in a flash!
The wide V-neckline of this silk chiffon angel-sleeved frock flatters the angle of the shoulders.
With a black collar necklace and a pair of pearl drop earrings, this shall make a perfect evening outfit!



Lady Mary Crawley
Dainty blue and white really do complement each other. I love this top's unique features-from its white ribbed collar, ruffle crest-cut bodice, and angled ruffle cuffs-ever so pretty! I would pave London's countryside with this in a glorious sunny day. 


Burgundy and gold always remind me of queens and princesses in the renaissance period-reminiscent of royal colors. This frock truly complements Lady Mary's fair complexion and deep black hair.


Silk looks beautiful and feels beautiful. How I'd love to have the best of both worlds in this wrap around frock entwined with a classic embroidered motif. Teal is also a rare color for a frock. I would feel like a princess for a day in this outfit! 


♥Spring is just around the corner for a uniquely fresh look. I would enjoy a cup of tea in a garden party in this 2-way striped frock,
a flower adorned flapper hat and a pair of matinee gloves. 


Lady Edith Crawley
I absolutely adore this pale violet red empire frock. Its floral embroidery, fabric braid outline, and petal sleeves make it very princess-like. 


Lady Sybil Crawley
Here's a smart casual attire I would love to have in my wardrobe. 
Blush pink collared top clasped with a slim waist belt and a navy blue slim skirt.
Perfect for a social gathering, Sunday walk at the park, or a visit in the village's historical churches.


♥ My personal favourite ♥
Teal silk chiffon frock with white details, satin waistband and beaded pearl trimmings
Very sophisticated in every angle, ravishing day and night.
I would be honoured to pay the Queen a visit and wander in her royal gardens with this outfit! 

Sybil and I have something in common...a thirst for something different! 
This pair of Persian inspired silk harem dress pants is detailed with fine patterns.
Also notice the handcrafted headband with blue sapphire gemstone embellishment.
My ultimate Princess Jasmine outfit is a million dollar look!


Violet is the apple of my eye. 
I'd find myself prime and proper in Jane Austen's world in this gazar frock. 
The wide V-neckline and pointed flat collar makes it a youthful fashion.



***
So there you are!
Celebrate life in elegance and be inspired.
Watch Downton Abbey ☺ 




Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Meet my Royalties!

What a wonderful way to be woken up this morning by George (the delivery man) and find out that my most awaited darling has finally arrived!!!


No, no not them!

His name isn't really George by the way. As a matter of fact, I don't know his real name, but he does look like a "George" to me = )

So, my parcel arrived earlier than expected...which makes me a happy bee!


Anyway, I was sooo excited and couldn't wait that I immediately opened the box! 


It was safely and beautifully packed...and guess what, my smile was just ear to ear!


I couldn't believe this 17-piece set I have been eying upon for more than a month is finally here...with me...in my hands!


It shall be named Lady Guinevère


My first cuppa! Aaahh! Now this will most certainly make my daily tea time more enjoyable!



Wait...

there's another royalty ought to be introduced.

Lady Isóbel...


This high tea stand is etched with the traditional Old English Rose and a touch of gold that makes it look so elegant and classy, like a real royalty!


Now I feel like having a tea party!



Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Dear blog,

(photo: Botswana, Africa)

I am in so much distress right now, I need to escape. Somewhere. Some place that will make me forget the unwanted. I don't need any addictive substance, just some decent place with the right people. I'm willing to give up my mobile, and the internet just to be at peace. I don't care if I have to climb another mountain or do another scary jump off a cliff! I'm up for a BIG adventure, and if it means conquering my own fears, I shall be at the forefront!


Monday, 30 May 2011

Neverland

Because you never fail to struck me with awe...



never want me to leave...



never make me sad


never want me to feel alone


never fail to keep the calmness in my heart


never selfish of your time


never treat me as a second option


never forget what we've shared...




Friday, 27 May 2011

A dream to meet the maestro

He has always been the talk of the town-the one that brings about real magic on stage. But I never really paid too much attention on him...until I discovered his version of Sous le ciel de Paris!


With all his glory...
André Rieu
gallant 
and most exceptional musical maestro
I know.


Accompanied by a brilliant orchestra
dazzling in elegance,
create a captivating performance anyone will absolutely adore!


Classic, magical, alive in beauty and splendor
I cannot wait to be enchanted!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Missing my third home...

A day wouldn't be complete without a little dancing! In Costa Rica, good times are best shared with Latin music and cracking moves! Happy moments captured in this video with my host family. Note: I'm sooo uncoordinated here, and fully aware of it. Just enjoying the moment = )

video

My first approach to cumbia...

I am incredibly stunned on how I just couldn't get the steps right when they are so damn easy! Trying to contain my laughter as I knew I looked this bad! I was enjoying, anyhow! hahahaha


video


However, I managed to do better in Merengue this time!

video

Sunday, 15 May 2011

So you think you can sing?

Anyone can sing! Not everyone can manage to be good at it though, but everyone has the ability to. There are some who wish they had "the voice"...like someone right here. But you know what they say, it only takes practice...although it may be tougher for me...but you'll never know! Haahahaha!

video

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Say it...with macarons = )

Delicate eggshell-like brittleness from the outside, 
soft meringue feel inside, 
velvety creme center...
then leaves a touch of chewiness that melts in your mouth.

The bells are ringing,
angels singing...
Halleluia! Give me some more!!!

I've discovered these heavenly treats about two years ago, when I ventured the La Renaissance Patisserie at The Rocks-right within the pulse of Sydney. Specializing in the ever brilliant French cakes and pastries made with excellent technique and irresistible goodness, La Renaissance brought me to a place I have never been before...Paris! 

My main purpose was to hunt for a Mother's Day present for mum. But coming out late from work with the evening darkness fast approaching, time was totally out of my grasp! Shopping centers have ended the day's work, so I was left with one last hope...to buy a cake. 

To my surprise, the tiny cafe was soo packed and almost about to explode with the hustle and bustle of customers all desperate to get their orders through. Intriguing enough, I took my chances until I managed to squeeze myself in! 


As the crowd gradually eased out, I found myself standing in front of the most magnificent creations I've never seen in my life! Like unique pieces of art exquisitely crafted by geniuses, these remarkable masterpieces are nowhere near the ones I came across before! Just when I thought Red Ribbon was the best, I'd probably be deemed "clueless". Well, I am indeed from the province, and my step into this world of discovery has only just begun! 

It took me ages before I finally made up my mind on what to get. The lady behind the counter was...should I say, trying to keep her patience intact! So, my gorgeous present was finally in the bag...when I could not help but notice these...


Upon curiosity, I picked a couple of flavours--rosewater and pistachio. These round treats were strangers to me until I made that first bite.
For a moment, I felt so levitated.
 I could not fathom the excitement that filled my senses with such delight! 

I fell in love...

The city buzz did not interfere. It was a quiet time with my sweet fantasy.


I've got to say, even Lindt's "Delice" didn't quite get there. I may not have tried any other macarons but my experience from La Renaissance told me, that was how they MUST taste like.

I've seen Masterchef contestants go through hell in making these.
But with egg whites, caster sugar, and almond meal...what else could go wrong???
A sous chef once told me, the actual cooking of macarons in the oven is the critical point. You have to do it right otherwise it's make or break!


If macarons take perfection by experience, what about Adriano Zumbo's macaron tower?
I have not had the guts to make macarons just as yet...but I sure am waiting for the right time to walk into Zumbo's magnificent realm in Balmain!

All I need is time...time to save up. Since it'll be a trek to go up there, I will not allow myself to leave the shop without a whole box!!!
  

These are my melting moments.






Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Love...in bite sizes = )

They say when you feel something special, the poet in you comes out naturally. Not for me! Haha! Well okay, maybe sometimes. But poetry ticks all the boxes for me. Like Shakespeare or any other poet, I've always wished we spoke the same lingo from their era. Genuine, sophisticated, like drama brought to life, and brilliant---music in one's ears!
These are a few pieces I have molded in a contemporary style. Hopefully there will be more to come soon...


Much joy, much laughter
Nothing else could have been better
With your love so tender.

          ~~~

Your smile, your kiss
your embrace...
I would not want to miss.

          ~~~

Love that's tender, love that's true
it could be cheesy
but hey, that's me and you!

          ~~~

Millions of words out there
I chose three
YOU, I, and the LOVE we share.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A life changing experience...

This is a video of our volunteer project in Costa Rica that my friend Harry has created. I have fallen in love with this place, and the people. A promise I've made, no matter what I will find myself back here...in the future.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Because nothing beats homemade!

Subtle, smooth and creamy + sweet and tart berry


Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis

~~~~


The perfect thirst quencher for a beautiful warm weather...
My homemade Lemon Lime & Bitters = )