Tropical Paradise but no Envy

In my previous blog, I wrote that I was so pleased with de Brueys’ Crème Liquer, Envy.  The one little sip we had at that boutique winery in Mareeba lingered in my mouth with the sweet fragrance of honeydew.

Two nights ago, I craved to get a sip but got a shock when I opened the bubble wrap and found Tropical Paradise instead.

Such a shame, a Tropical Paradise but no Envy.

Tropical Paradise wasn’t even in my tasting list.  I am not a great fan of coconut oil or coconut drink.  Coconut is full of abundance in my home country.

Furthermore, I already have a bottle of New Zealand Wild Clover Liquer with a hint of coconut in my fridge.  That nice after-dinner drink (14%) alcohol is selling at NZ$24 each.  I must have got mine during a food show or market as I still have the cost sticker which said $20 each.

Clover_Cream_Liqueur

Le Brucey’s Crème Liquer (18% alcohol) sell at A$35 each.  We bought a bottle of Envy and another of their Coffee Temptation and carried them so preciously all the way home only to find that Envy was not there !  Some Tropical Paradise took its place.

What a disappointment.  I am now craving so badly for that honeydew taste in my mouth.  If I am a dog (like my Toby), I would have drooled then, at the thought of Envy and not having any made me growl !

p-coffee_temptation

Coffee Temptation is similar to Baileys and it won’t be so bad if that was mistakenly wrapped for someone else.  I could easily grab a bottle of Baileys or our local NZ Canterbury Cream anywhere.

I emailed the winery and they apologized for the mistake and said (in their own words)

Are you back to New Zealand now?

Maybe next time when you come to Australia again, we can give you a new bottle of Envy.

Please feel free to let me know what you think about that.

A nice gesture but for me to receive their offer of a ‘new bottle of Envy’, I would have to fly four hours to Cairns and drive an hour to Mareeba not counting having to take annual leave, the time and the cost involved.

Let’s see if they are kind enough to ship me a bottle or else the mere thought of that smooth honeydew liquer in my mouth (or more the thought of not being able to taste it) may make me drool again.

Me and my love for food.  I often feel irritated if my cravings are not met. 
Are you such a foodie like me? 

via Weekly Photo Challenge – Earth
– Time for Envy to travel in a packet and on a plane and see the Earth (World).

From Vitagen & Yoghurt to reminiscence of Nee Soon (Yishun)

I grew up in Malaysia and Singapore.  I was born in Kuching in the state of Sarawak located on upper part of the island of Borneo.  Sarawak and Sabah are called East Malaysia, separated from Peninsula Malaysia by the South China Sea.  In the island of Borneo, we have Brunei as one neighbour and Kalimantan (Indonesian state) as the other.

borneo

What has all these got to do about yoghurt, you may wonder.

During my childhood, as long as I can remember, we spent a month in Singapore every end of the final school term.  Mum grew up in a farm house in Singapore.  There was no direct bus into her family home and we had to take a 20 minutes or more walk from the bus stop into a ‘jungle’ route (as I called it) before we reached the house.

I hated it.  It was like going back in time, from our big family home (dad’s side) right on the main street of Tabuan Rd, Kuching to this remote village called ‘Nee Soon’.  The farm house had earthen floor on some parts and the rest was concrete.  Outside the house, there were  at least a dozen of rectangular fish ponds though I hardly see any fishes in them, filled with some water.  To me, they looked shallow, not deep.  One day, we heard the adults whispered that our little cousin fell into the pond and drowned.  She was one of the daughters of mum’s younger sister, probably two or three year old when the accident happened many, may years ago.  Since then, the fish ponds were left dry till they were destroyed when the house was demolished.

nee-soon-village-1985

Today, the farmhouse village is gone.  In the late 1980s, they renamed the town Yishun and Grandma’s farm house gave way to blocks of high rise.   She was given a 3 bedroom HDB flat with easy bus access.  I am not sure if she got any other compensation for giving up that huge farm house, the fish ponds, the fruit trees, the outdoor portaloo (toilet) and everything else.

Yishun-SG

Back to the present, I am supposed to share about Yoghurt.

I had my first taste of Vitagen, a cultured milk drink made by fermenting skim milk with billions of live probiotic cultures (good bacteria i.e. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei) to help maintain a healthy digestive system. These were our treats when we were in Singapore and eventually we found we could buy these drinks at home in Kuching too. Yipee !

vitagen.jpg

There was a ‘flash’ Supermarket called Ting & Ting located close to our school where the expats did their groceries shopping.  That was where I bought my first tub of yoghurt.  I was in secondary school.  A small tub of Yoplait cost around ringgit $3.40 in early 1980s.

tingting

Yoplait-Yogurt-Core-Cups

Yoghurts were so much dearer then in Sarawak compared to Singapore or Peninsula Malaysia the main reason being freight as all yoghurts at that time were probably imported.  Today, they are easily available and can be made from home.

yogurt-fruit

Sometime in the early 2000s, we started a Yoghurt Smoothie mobile kiosks selling ice blended drinks, yoghurt, pizzas and other finger foods.  It was fulfilling to see that something you created yourself sprung to life and became the talk of the town.  Someone even asked if our business was a franchise.   At that time, I was working full time or I would have taken the business a step further to create a homegrown franchise !

yoghurtfranchise_.jpg

During that time I was full on reading, researching all about yoghurt and its good bacteria.  Experimenting with the culture, water temperatures to make the best yoghurt.  Yoghurt is healthy eating and we used yoghurt drinks to replace soft drinks, yoghurt to replace ice cream, made ice blended yoghurt smoothies.  In cooking we used yoghurt to replace coconut in curries and substitute for sour cream in baking.

Now back to the present.

I was reading an article saying that rather than use the ‘live’ yoghurt culture or those EasiYo Packs, you could use capsules of probiotic powder to make coconut yoghurt. This luxuriously creamy and tangy yoghurt is perfectly satisfying and makes for a wonderful dairy-free option.

easiyo-products-580.jpg

I will check out on that and will post it as a sequel.  There’s just so many things to write about this wonderful live food.

 

Disclaimer :  Thank you to the various creators of these images. I do not own these images.  The are for illustrations only to support my story.  Please click on those images to take you to the source.

Yoghurt and reminiscence of the past ……….. of little borneo girl.

via Daily Prompt, Time – This week, think about time and portray it photographically.

What is kombucha?

 kombucha

I was attracted by this image posted by Viva NZ.

This drink is called Kombucha.  I have never heard nor tasted it.

I can only recognise the word CHA as in ‘tea’.

Viva wrote that Kombucha is tasty and refreshing on a hot summer day, it’s also packed full of living organisms to help feed and develop healthy gut bacteria. It helps improve digestion, immunity, it eases the symptoms of bloating and can even boost serotonin levels.

It’s a really rewarding process to make at home, and you can do so with a few common ingredients.  Click here to check out how to make kombucha at home.

Further checks on Google Search landed me on Stuff that wrote that the growth of kombucha is fascinating, both as a hot trend in the beverage aisle and in the biological sense, since it is brewed with a live, expanding bacterial culture. The drink, which originates in Asia, has been around for centuries and has long been popular with alternative-health folk.

kombucha1

What is kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea made by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice and other flavourings. It’s often referred to as “mushroom-tea” because during the brewing process the bacteria and yeast grow into a mass that resembles a mushroom cap.

The drink has a slight effervescence and sweet-tart flavour. It often has small remnants of the bacteria mix floating in it, which sounds unappealing but is not much different from finding some sediment in your wine. Kombucha is highly acidic, contains sugar, B vitamins and antioxidants, as well as some alcohol that results from the fermentation process. It has about 30 calories per eight ounces (mainly from the sugar), which is considerably less than other soft drinks.

You can buy bottled kombucha, both pasteurised and unpasteurised, in various flavours everywhere from health-food stores to supermarkets. The drinks have exploded on the market, with Whole Foods Magazine reporting projected sales in the US reaching $NZ637 million by 2015.  (Though I have yet to taste it.)

Is Kombucha really good for you?  Click here to read the article from Stuff.

Are you a fan of Kombucha?  Or are you as ignorant as me?

 

 

Photos and articles credit 

Viva.co.nz

Stuff.co.nz

How much would you pay for your coffee?

The New Zealand Herald reported that the flat white is a Kiwi favourite. My favourite is Cappuccino though at times I could have a Mochaccino or a Chai Latte.  I only go for regular size.

When talking (or writing) about ‘regular size’ I came across this interesting article below.

Coffee shops should stop offering drinks in “regular” size because nobody understands what it means, language campaigners have said.
The Plain English Campaign – which battles against the use of gobbledegook – says cafes should stop offering ”regular” coffees but merely ask customers if they want ”small, medium or large”

Click here to read more from The Telegraph.

The Herald carried out an unscientific survey across central Auckland yesterday to gauge cafe prices for a large flat white. Prices ranged from $3.70 to $6.

I agreed with Coffee expert Tom Handiside, a manager at Italian espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco, who said bigger was not necessarily better.  A good flat white shouldn’t be more than 200ml, he said.

“The best flat whites come in smaller cups and that’s because the coffee and milk blends nicely in a smaller serve.”

How much would you pay for your morning fix?

Do you go for a small, regular (medium) or large?

Is cider an alcoholic drink?

Image credit Sarita S

Image credit Sarita S

The term cider is generally used for fermented alcoholic drink in most part of the world.

There are two types of cider, fermented (hard cider which is actually apple wine) and unfermented (soft cider which is raw apple juice).  The labelling of apple cider and apple juice is a tricky one and in most places, there is no legal standard.

My favourite cider is Rekorderlig Cider (Mango-Raspberry flavour).   Rekorderlig proudly touts via its website that it was created ”with the purest spring water” although the dictionary defines cider as made from fruit juice especially apple.

Sources found that their apple and blackcurrant flavour has a whopping 51 grams of sugar per 500mL bottle (about 12 teaspoons of sugar per bottle).  That is nearly as much as what is in 500mL of Coca-Cola.

So perhaps if you enjoy any drink or food, just let your taste buds go wild for that moment while you savour.   Do not read the labels or count the calories but please eat and drink in moderation.

Does cider sound like an alcoholic drink or a health drink to you?

rekorderlig

References
The difference between Apple Cider and Apple Juice?
When cider isn’t really cider at all.
17 Surprising Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

New Zealand Wines

New Zealand wine is an experience like no other.
Every glass is a world of pure discovery.

– quote The official website of New Zealand wine –

New Zealand wine industry

New Zealand is a premier new-world wine country, producing award-winning wines that reflect the clean air and sunshine. Top quality wines are exported to cellars worldwide.

Best known internationally for sauvignon blanc, New Zealand also has a growing international reputation for pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and methode traditionnelle sparkling wines.

Most of the country’s more than 500 winemakers are boutique, small scale operations producing low volumes of niche varieties.

NZ wine regions
New Zealand has 10 major wine-producing areas. The leading wine regions include Auckland, Gisborne, Wairarapa (Martinborough) and Hawke’s Bay in the North Island, and Marlborough, Central Otago, Canterbury in the South Island.

The grape varieties, soil structure and mini-climates in these geographical areas are varied, producing a broad spectrum of wines.

Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay are New Zealand’s two premium wine-growing regions.

Varieties produced include:

  • sauvignon blanc – Marlborough
  • pinot noir – Martinborough, Central Otago
  • cabernet – Hawke’s Bay, Waiheke Island
  • chardonnay – Gisborne
  • pinot gris – Martinborough, Central Otago

New Zealand also produces outstanding Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines.

– extracted New Zealand Food & Wine –

new-zealand-wine-regions

I love our wines and enjoy a small glass with meals most nights.

I normally drink white (Sauvinon Blanc) in summer and red (Pinot Noir, which is my favorite of all wines) in winter.  There are many good brands that I enjoy.

I have a full wine rack at home.  Does that make me an alcoholic?  It just shows (that’s what I tell myself, believe it or not) that I am a wine lover and someone that appreciates wine and the finer things in life.  When drinking at home, I do not usually spend more than NZ$15 per bottle.  When B.Y.O. to fine dining restaurants, I love to bring along a bottle of good Pinot Noir average cost around than NZ$25.  Corkage is around $5 to $10 per bottle in most restaurants.  If you were to order a decent Pinot Noir in restaurants, the cost is at least NZ$50 and up.  The best Pinot Noir are from Central Otago selling from NZ$25 and up in supermarkets and easily from NZ$70 per bottle from restaurants.

A glass of red wine is a fabulous way to de-stress not to say the health benefit that goes with it.  Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage.

Let’s take a look at my favorite brands.  I am only showing you the mid range.  The advice is to drink affordably and in moderation.  Enjoy a drink as a form of entertainment, socializing and networking.

Never drink to drown your sorrow.  It will only be a temporary relief because sorrows know how to swim and dive.  They may submerge but will emerge again.

Are you a wine lover? Or do you prefer beers? What are your favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick Your Potion – Coffee or Tea or Both?

I love my tea and coffee.  My favourite coffees are cappuccino, mocaccino and macchiato.

A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink which is traditionally prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. The name comes from the Capuchin friars, referring to the colour of their habits.  - Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia -

A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink which is traditionally prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. The name comes from the Capuchin friars, referring to the colour of their habits. – Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia –

A mocaccino, also called caffè mocha, is a chocolate-flavored variant of a caffelatte.  It is basically espresso made with milk.  -  Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia -

A mocaccino, also called caffè mocha, is a chocolate-flavored variant of a caffelatte. It is basically espresso made with milk and chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. – Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia –

Latte macchiato (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlatte makˈkjaːto]) is a coffee beverage, which literally means stained milk. This refers to the method of preparation, wherein the milk gets "stained" by the addition of espresso. Related drinks[edit] It differs significantly from caffè latte firstly in that espresso is added to milk (rather than milk to espresso), secondly that it features more foam, rather than simply hot milk, thirdly in that often only ½ (or less) of an espresso shot is used, and fourthly in that it is often a "layered" drink, rather than being mixed as in a caffè latte. Simply, in a caffè latte, the emphasis is on the coffee, while in a latte macchiato, the emphasis is on the milk. The macchia is the little "spot" of crèma left on top of the milk to clearly distinguish that is a latte macchiato and not a caffè latte, where the espresso traditionally has been added before the milk, hence having no "mark". Conversely, caffè macchiato, another similarly named beverage, is actually espresso "stained" with a small amount of milk. - Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia -

Latte macchiato is a coffee beverage, which literally means stained milk. This refers to the method of preparation, wherein the milk gets “stained” by the addition of espresso.It differs significantly from caffè latte firstly in that espresso is added to milk (rather than milk to espresso), secondly that it features more foam, rather than simply hot milk, thirdly in that often only ½ (or less) of an espresso shot is used, and fourthly in that it is often a “layered” drink, rather than being mixed as in a caffè latte. Simply, in a caffè latte, the emphasis is on the coffee, while in a latte macchiato, the emphasis is on the milk.  – Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia –

I love both sweet tea (Chai Latte, Masala Chai and Bubble Tea) as well as all sorts of Chinese Tea. Jasmine is my top pick. For English Tea, I love Earl Grey.

Chai Latte a spicy drink of black tea with cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, and star anise added to steamed milk  - Image credit Jorgy's Cafe -

Chai Latte a spicy drink of black tea with cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, and star anise added to steamed milk
– Image credit Jorgy’s Cafe –

Masala chai  is a flavoured tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Originating in India, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses.   -  Wikepedia The free Encyclopedia -

Masala chai is a flavoured tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Originating in India, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses. – Wikepedia The free Encyclopedia –

Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea, is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in Taichung, Taiwan, during the 1980s.  It has a lot of various flavours and served with sago pearls - Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia -

Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea, is a Taiwanese tea-based drink invented in Taichung, Taiwan, during the 1980s. It has a lot of various flavours and served with sago pearls – Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia –

Chinese tea is a beverage made from the leaves of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) and boiled water. Tea leaves are processed using traditional Chinese methods. Chinese tea is drunk throughout the day, including during meals, as a substitute for plain water, for health, or for simple pleasure.  - Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia -

Chinese tea is a beverage made from the leaves of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) and boiled water. Tea leaves are processed using traditional Chinese methods. Chinese tea is drunk throughout the day, including during meals, as a substitute for plain water, for health, or for simple pleasure. – Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia –

 

Chinese tea is a beverage made from the leaves of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) and boiled water. Tea leaves are processed using traditional Chinese methods. Chinese tea is drunk throughout the day, including during meals, as a substitute for plain water, for health, or for simple pleasure.  - Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia -

Chinese tea is a beverage made from the leaves of tea plants (Camellia sinensis) and boiled water. Tea leaves are processed using traditional Chinese methods. Chinese tea is drunk throughout the day, including during meals, as a substitute for plain water, for health, or for simple pleasure.         – Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia –

I usually go for the sweet stuff in the morning for breakfast and Chinese tea or a plain Earl Grey (no added milk or sugar) with my meals especially after a big feed.


Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?

via Pick Your Potion.

I missed out on Wordless Wednesday

Image

So I can say a few words as today is Thirsty Thursday, a new weekend is about to start.

beerspeights

Speight’s began commercial life as a Dunedin brewery and in recent years has built its image around ‘Southern Man’, a rough-hewn Kiwi joker living in the South Island.

To read more, please click here to read all about New Zealand beers.

Showcasing local Kiwi beers

Earlier this year, I created a new category DRINKS hoping to blog and showcase local wineries and write all about wine, beers and drinks of all sorts, alcoholic and non alcoholic.

Today, my single paragraph wine draft sits comfortably in my draft folder though not forgotten.  By the time that draft gets published, I would probably have drank a dozen bottles of Pinor Noir more.

Today, reading Don Charisma’s opinion on beers (please click here to check out his opinion) gave me the ‘push’ to write about this topic.  It has nothing to do with that wine draft as this blog is about beer not wine.  I believe in ‘men as to beer and wine as to women’ (please click here for the full story). 

New Zealanders have always had a reputation for being a nation of beer drinkers. The country’s beer consumption is dominated by pale lager and two breweries, Lion Nathan and DB Breweries, control about 90% of volume sales.

Introducing some of the main brand of New Zealand (Kiwi) Beers.

 

beerexportgoldExport Gold (DB)  

This is a medium-strength lager that its brewers describe as having ‘a pleasant, slightly fruity flavour, balanced by delicate late hop characters and a crisp clean bitterness in the finish – like your girlfriend’. It also has a sub-brand called Export 33 with the promise it’s brewed 33% longer to give 33% more flavour.


beerspeights

Speight’s (Lion)

Speight’s began commercial life as a Dunedin brewery and in recent years has built its image around ‘Southern Man’, a rough-hewn Kiwi joker living in the South Island. Its main brand is Gold Medal Ale, a favourite among southern students, but its range includes Old Dark, Distinction Ale, Porter, Pilsner, Pale Ale, Harvest Gold and Speight’s Summit, a lager brewed with natural ingredients.

beertui

Tui (DB)

The Tui Brewery was established in 1889 in Mangatainoka, in the Wairarapa region. Though it was taken over by DB in 1969, the brewery still trades on the beer’s history and shows the brewery building in its advertising which usually features beer-drinking lads and scantily-clad young women. Main brand is a 4% dark lager, Tui East India Pale Ale.

beermonteithMonteith’s (DB)

Monteith’s was a family-owned brewery servicing the West Coast of the South Island until it was bought by DB. While beer continues to be made at the Greymouth plant, it’s also brewed at other DB centres in Auckland and Timaru. Main brand is Monteith’s Original but it has a range of other labels including Golden Ale, Radler, Celtic, Black and Pilsner.

beermacgoldMcCashin’s (Lion)

Mac’s Gold is a popular Kiwi lager that was launched in 1981 by independent brewer Terry McCashin. Since then, the brewery has added Black Mac, Mac’s Real Ale, Mac’s Extra and a Special Light.

beersteinlagerSteinlager (Lion)

Steinlager was New Zealand’s most exported beer in the 1980s. Today, its Steinlager Classic brand is seen as a leading Premium Lager while its chemical-free Steinlager Pure has become popular among those who prefer a natural beer.

beerdbDB Draught (DB)

For blokes over 50, this has been a mainstay mid-strength draught beer, found on tap at many hotels throughout New Zealand.

Lion Red (Lion)beerredlion6

This has been Lion’s number one tap beer for many years – a mid-strength draught that has aligned itself to New Zealand’s rugby league teams through sponsorship.

 

 

 

 

 


Which of these brands do you drink, mate?

References
Introduction to New Zealand Beers by NZ Holiday Travel

Quick & easy way to make your own cafe-styled coffee

I am a foodie and I love being in the kitchen.

I have lots and lots of recipe books but they are as good as new.  I love buying them and perhaps may read them once over and then there they sit in the bookcase.  I am attracted to the colors and pictures of food and am a collector of recipe books.  I love to cook but I never cook with a recipe book opened in front of me in the kitchen.

I like to do things quick and simple, not too fussed about details or step by step instructions as in following a recipe.  I gave up using my coffee machine finding it too complicated and all the washing after use for the sake of only a cup of coffee.

Prompted via Daily Prompt: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well, I am sharing with you my quick and simple way of how to froth milk with a coffee plunger.

First I make my coffee.  I use either coffee powder or the three in one ready mix.  Mix with a quarter full of hot boiling water and stir.  Secondly, pour about one third of a cup of milk in the plunger glass and pump it up and down to get a good amount of froth.  Remove the plunger and heat the milk in the plunger glass in microwave for 20-30 seconds and the milk froth will be stabilized.  (I used to heat the milk first before plunging and found it to have the same effect so either way works.)  Lastly using a spoon to hold back the foam pour the warm milk into the coffee, scope the foam into the ready made coffee and top with chocolate or cinnamon.

For more interesting coffee, you may add a teaspoon of liqueur or coffee flavours like hazelnut, vanilla or caramel.

I just thought I’d share my method of making milk froth without a fancy machine or the hassle of washing the whole set of coffee machine.

Be your own barista and enjoy a homemade cup of
cafe-styled coffee, quick and easy !

coffee