Strawberry Santa’s and I at an Xmas Picnic

It was a super sunny Saturday as the weather cooperated with us and I, armed with a tray of strawberry Santa’s headed down to Centennial Park for the 2nd Annual Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic. Having recently attended the Sydney Food Blogger Mad Hatter Spring Picnic, I was more relaxed and excited having previously met tonnes of great people, but with such a huge turnout, I unfortunately didn’t get around to saying hi to every one of you.

I brought along huge strawberries on steroids which I had dressed up as little Santa’s – I was afraid no one was going to know they were actually Santa’s as my sister had no idea what they were… but everyone knew straight away hoooray! It only took 10mins to make these – just whipped the cream (I added some peach liquor to the cream too ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and painstakingly placed black sesame seeds as eyes with tweezers.

There was an abundance of food, some with a Christmas theme and some with Christmas colours and others were just plain tasty (my favourite was the greek beef meatballs)! They also held Sydney Food Bloggers Olympics and Kris Kringle.

I had an awesome day filling my belly, met a lot of friendly new people and came home with Boiley a microwavable egg boiler – thanks KK!
A big thank you to Helen from Grab Your Fork and Suze from ChocolateSuze who had co hosted and organized the shindig.

My army of Strawberry Santa’s

Christmas Tree Meringues by Jacq from Penguin says Feed Me

Chocolate Hazelnut Christmas Tree by Lisa Perkovic

Christmas Tree Marshmallows by Steph from Raspberri Cupcakes

These kind of look like holly right?? Made by Helen from Grab Your Fork

Pancakes with Chicken and Kimchi

Keftedes by Demos and sign by Gianna from The Empty Fridge

White Chocolate Wontons w/ pinenut and rosemary praline from He Needs Food

Macaron Christmas Tree by Cleony from I Eat Sweet

Sydney Food Bloggers Olympics

Chopstick Challenge transferring 50 soy beans from one bowl to the other

Taste Test challenge

Kris Kringle

photo credit Simon from The Heart of Food

Merry Christmas everyone!!
Naw don’t we have such a nice food blogging community here in Sydney ๐Ÿ™‚

Sydney Food Blogger Mad Hatter Spring Picnic

So I can be terribly shy, but I worked up the courage and spent 5hours of my Saturday mingling and meeting great new people and making new friends, as well as taking loads of food photos and devouring various goodies, joining 40 or so food bloggers at a "Mad Hatter" themed Sydney Spring Picnic. It was held at Centennial Park on a gloomy looking Saturday, which may have been a blessing in disguise – if it was stinking hot my fresh cream would have melted…

It was a potluck picnic, so I had spent the night before making macarons for the 2nd time – this time I made raspberry, lemon and white chocolate macarons. The first batch I made failed and were overcooked and too crunchy… so I gave them to Helen and she loved them crunchy yay for no wastage. The batches after this were perfect but still lacking the pinkish colour I wanted, perhaps more food colouring next time. To make up for the lacklustre colour I decorated them each with a small edible rose petal. Macarons weren’t enough so I also made a chiffon cake using a blend of Earl Grey and Exotic Fruit tea (both from Taylors of Harrogate) and topped it off with fresh cream and a sprinkling of rose petals.

I had a freakin fantastic time on Saturday, all thanks to all the very friendly food bloggers. A big thank you to Karen from Citrus and Candy and Billy from A Table For Two (you can watch an awesome video of the hats at A Table For Two)
Also, my name tag kept falling off, so if you were there and I didn’t get around to saying hi – my name is Ayana and I was wearing Minnie Mouse ears ๐Ÿ˜€ It was nice to meet you all.

Of course being a food bloggers picnic, you’d expect the picnic spread to be amazzzing – and it was!! Everything was delicious!! Take a look for yourself as you drool over the next few photos…

My dish – Earl Grey tea Chiffon Cake and Lemon, White Chocolate Macarons

Sydney Food Bloggers Spring Picnic

AWESOME Chocolate and Salted Caramel cake by Anna from A Diary of a Ladybird

Mini Burgers and Shortbread Tartlets by Fat Belly Club

Mad Hatter cupcakes from YaYa’s Yum Yums

Kuih by Rosalind from Rasa Rosa

Cake Pops from Sugarlace

Broccoli Muffins from Eat Show Tell
How freakin cute is the lunch box!!!!

Thai Fish Cakes by Anita from No Red Meat
(Kitchen-Aid worthy!!!!!)-recipe at her blog


Thank you Bill for encouraging me to go because I had a blast ๐Ÿ™‚

Ace of Cakes (Ayana-style)

Lately before going to bed I’ve been watching an episode of Ace of Cakes because it’s Cake Month on the Lifestyle Food Channel. Feeling inspired I decided to make my very own "one-of-a-kind" cake (but without using motors, power drills and blowtorches).

It was just the right timing as well since Jase’s birthday was coming up. I had been tossing up a few ideas and it came down to either a gun or a ping pong table with ping pong paddles – Ping Pong because we’ve been having intense competitions at Jase’s house and guns because  the boys have been super obsessed with Nerf guns as of late. In the end I decided with the Nerf gun for a bit of a challenge (the ping pong table was way too easy – it would end up just a square with some icing piping)… to be specific the Nerf Maverick.

The Inspiration
Ta daaa
The darts kinda look like fingers with blue nail polish… or hot chips…
"It’s Nerf or Nothing"
Happy Birthday Jase!

It was quite daunting at first, because I really didn’t want to be eating a black and yellow cake and I was so so scared no one else would eat it either. For the base I used a simple two layered sponge cake with cream between them and the yellow icing was a sour cream base and the black icing was butter cream – the black icing proved to be more popular. 

From a recent painful and dangerous Paintball game

Cooking MAMA! 2

Back from playing house with the bf which was fun – I cooked, he vacuumed, I washed up, he did the laundry and made my bath and made the bed and most importantly made me tea XD

Twice Helen and Jase came over and it was so so so much fun cooking for them and um having Nerf wars XDD
One night Bill wanted to host a Pizza party where he had prepared a "buffet" style table with Pepperoni, Pineapples, Crispy Bacon, Red Capsicum, Roma Tomatoes, Cheese and Teriyaki Chicken – this is Bills type of "cooking". Helen also made her Signature Egg Noodles with Egg in Oyster Sauce.
Prior to that we had a homemade gyoza party and I think we went through close to 100 gyozas and 4 salads between the four of us. The gyoza’s were homemade and we also had  ra-yu gyoza’s too which were PINK – they’re just normal gyoza filling but wrapped in a skin which has been infused with ra-yu (Japanese chilli oil).


I love love love gyoza’s
I could eat them everyday

A few of our eats in the past week…
Ruby Red Grapefruit for breakfast
Garlic Mushrooms and Roasted Tomato on a Toasted Rustic Farmer’s Loaf (from Luneburger)

Homemade Bruschetta Entree
Meat and Three Veg
Rib Eye Fillet, Green Beans and Chilli Tomato
Garlic Butter Kipfler Potatoes
Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pie made with last night’s leftovers

Now I’m back to the rents spoiling and feeding me. Tonight we’re having sashimi :9

Cooking MAMA!

For the past week I’ve been playing house with Bill, trial living together and we’ve settled into a nice routine over the past week. But we’re starting to notice things about each other that  we didn’t really care about before such as he likes really flat pillows whereas I need a full fluffy pillow, he’s pedantic about laundry and cleaning the dishes, he probably also finds me putting the toilet seat down annoying.. and constantly hogging the blankets. Anyways he also loves his computer so I’ve been banished to my own area with the computer so I don’t annoy him while he plays games and what not….so I’m finding I have more spare time for myself than I would usually have… which also leads me to cooking more often. It’s one of things I really enjoy about living together is cooking for him ๐Ÿ™‚ though it took some getting used to… the dinners I’ve been making is enough for four people (but we’ve been taking the left overs to work for lunch so it doesn’t work out too badly)

We tried our best to stay in and cook every night… also to save money but that kinda failed… hard.
On Thursday we ate out at Chat Thai (20 Campbell St Haymarket) for dinner. I love love love the Mu Bhing a kind of skewer with char grilled pork omg so tasty!! and we also tried the crisp fried snapper there for the first time – initially we were going to order the Snapper with Red Curry but Bill really wanted Mussaman curry so we ended up ordering the Bpla Lard Prik crisp fried snapper with chilli and it was really really chilli. Most of the desserts were not available so we ended up just getting a small Coconut and Pandan jelly cake… forgot what it’s called.

On Saturday we pigged out and feasted with Helen, Jase and Jamie at the Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont (did you hear they may be getting a $40m facelift?!) on three dozens of Sydney Rock Oysters from Tea Gardens and Pacific Oysters from Hawkesbury?! and we also picked out a huge live male Mud Crab from Christie’s Seafoods. We also bought some Prawn Cutlets and Calamari Rings from Doyles at the Fish Market for our deep fried fix.

Oh and we had KFC for lunch on Monday ๐Ÿ˜€ and I think we’re planning on eating out tomorrow night as well…after we do grocery shopping.

Anyhoo, a few photos of the food I DID make for us…

Let’s Cook!
Really simple home food :)) and easy to make
Penne with Roma Tomatoes Boccocini and Basil, Beef Croquette
Japanese style Curry Rice , Penne with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant Puree
Oyako Don

DIY TanTan Tsukemen Ramen with Chashu
Add noodles, some chashu, watercress and dip it in the tantan sauce!

Also not pictured is a potato bake with the lot – we chucked in chicken, bacon, mushrooms, onions, pasta…

Anyways I’m pooped.. off to bed.

My Kitchen Rules – Ono style

Our family has become slightly obsessed with My Kitchen Rules whether it be because watching train wrecks being averted is thrilling, the schadenfreude in me loves the prospect of the bitchy couples crumbling and of course Manu and his sexy accent. Anyhoo, my Dad also has gotten really really into the show probably because they’re just “normal” people like us? So for my sister’s birthday he basically gave himself a 3hour limit to cook three courses and he also did all the required shopping during the day haha

Ono House


Edamame sprinkled with salt
…so yeh we cheated a little cause all we had to do was boil our store bought Edamame

Crispy Deep Fried Prawn Heads
I love this!! so crunchy and the miso inside the head is so so good.


Preparing the Aburi Salmon and Aburi Scallops

Assorted Sushi Roll
Dragon Rolls Eel with Avocado andย Tempura Prawn, Salmon and Tuna and Kingfish with Crab Stick

Arranging the Sushi Boats

TADAAAA… we had two Sushi Nigiri Boats
Scallops (raw and aburi), Salmon (raw and aburi), Tuna, Squid, Octopus, Kingfish, Swordfish, Prawn


Strawberry Gateau from Breadtop
Again we cheated well… Bill did because he brought it

Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Ice Cream and Cream topped with Forest Berries
our proper dessert entry ๐Ÿ™‚
So it’s not all fancy schmancy but it was really really fun helping, watching and especially eating!! Anyways it’s not like Manu Feidel and Pete Evans needed to be impressed and everyone had enjoyed the food! hooorayy

A few days earlier we had a family dinner for myย Erina’s 20th birthday… she requested Tempura.

Tempura Prawns

Tempura Sweet Potato, Water Cress, and Shitake Mushrooms

Chocolate and Cointreau Mousse Cake from Hello Happy

Valentine’s Day and CNY

Happy belated Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year evellibody!!!

White Chocolate Sponge Cake with Fresh Cream and Strawberries
(yeh yeh shut up you’re right that’s Alannah Hill tissue paper on the table)

So unfair how our offices in China get a week off for CNY  :(( which also means we have to do more work over here as well :((

Anyhoo my family doesn’t celebrate Chinese New Year … for obvious reasons but Helen’s family invited us over for dinner at her place and omg we had a FEAST of Lobsters, two Whole Fish (farmed themselves), Chicken, Pork and more Lobster .
Prior to that we had a Ping Pong match at Jase’s place (losers get hit with a Nerf gun), but even before that I started doing some Valentine’s baking for them…

Royal Milk Earl Grey Tea Chiffon Cake with Strawberries, Blueberries and Fresh Cream
Our family also received some delicious goodies from our family friend… packaged oh so perfectly but unfortunately I could not photograph well…
Chocolate Madeleines
Green Tea Macarons and Raspbery Macarons
There were also Chocolate Macarons… but I ate them… there were 4 of them too  

I’m no Anna the Red… obentou

Excited!! Mum bought Yummy! 3Step Breakfast cook book today so I’m looking forward to eating different breakfasts everyday now!! Usually it’s yogurt and muesli and Orange Pekoe tea I drink on the way to work. Hopefully I’ll be more inspired to cook breakfast too since these breakfasts in the book take 3-10mins max XP Interesting fact… Yummy is a shufu-to-sekiatsusha translating to.. she was a house wife who had a food blog and is now making a living from it!!

Anyhoo I don’t have any related photos to post up and my post will look abit sad without any photos.. so I’ll post up some photos of my obentou I’ve had a work. (Took these on my iphone and no processing so the quality is not that great).

Double decker lunch box wahoo
My favourite rice takikomi
Sweet and Sour pork that didn’t cost me $8 from the food court
  Garden inspired lunch
Chirashi Sushi
Katsu-don with Sesame Beans, Watercress and Cherry Tomatoes
Chicken Tsukune
Spring Rolls and Omelette and Broccoli