20 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas!
Ephesians 5:2 NIV
Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us
Wishing you all a merry and jolly Christmas! May the star in you shine bright and true. Love your love ones and cherish the people around you, remembering to say to them as often as you can, that they are fondly remembered today and all the year round.

Here's hoping that this greeting finds you and your family well. In whatever you do during this festive holiday season, keep save, enjoy it, be rejuvenated by it and I hope not over-indulge in food and drinks.

Let your faith founded in Christ Jesus lead you to a place of peace, a place of rest, for in Him is the source of all your blessings (Matt 6:30).

Margaret + Simon

My Christmas video for this year is "This Is Christmas" by Kutless

17 December 2015

Where are you Christmas?

Getting into the Christmas festive mood as the days progress closer towards Christmas Day, may be tough going for some or many of us. There is so much to do before then and you may begin to wonder where Christmas is.

Hope this music video "Where are you Christmas?" by Faith Hill, help set the mood.

14 December 2015

Christmas? What does it mean?

Well, it's that time of the year again.

It's the Christmas season, where you'll find people in a festive but hurried mood, to get all their Christmas planning and shopping done before Christmas day. For most, it is always a happy and fun time where there is a gathering of family and friends over food and drinks. It can be a joyful or stressful time.

But in all that is happening around us, during this season, what is the meaning of Christmas? Have we forgotten its meaning or do we still remember the message of Christmas?

I thought I google this to see what I may find. The answer may just surprise you.

This video is one of the interesting find, if you ever wonder what Christmas is about in a nutshell. Made by Dan Stevers, it illustrates the miracle of Christmas in a fun and poignant way. Trust you'll enjoy it.

Have a merry and jolly Christmas!

06 June 2015

2015 Good Food and Wine Show

The Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show is held at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, from the 5th - 8th June 2015. This show is not the same as the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival which is also happening this month.

There are hundreds of stands on display, by well-known as well as boutique exhibitors, showcasing their gourmet food, wine, micro brewery products and kitchen utensils.

Love wine? If you like me like wine and hope to get a couple of bottles from the show, it may be worth your while to head first to the merchandise store just as you enter the exhibition hall and purchase a wine glass.

Take the glass with you as you check out each wine exhibits and there are quite a number of them from the Yarra Valley, Victoria to the Barossa Valley, South Australia. There are even a couple of stores with wine varieties from New Zealand, France and China. So if you like what's on display, ask and you'll get to sample their wine varieties on offer. You not only get to keep the glass as a souvenir, but you'll help reduce the number of small plastic cups that are used to serve the wines.

Beside wine, there are many other exhibits. One of the favourite exhibits is cheese, from mozzarella to cheddar to brie. You might just discover a new favourite from one of these stands. Fancy some sweets or candy? There is a stand from the Sovereign Hill Candy Store, served by ladies in period costumes. Jams! Ask the girls in their Frenchy uniform from St. Dalfour.

OzHarvest Melbourne is the official charity partner for the show and it has a store to share their story about what they do. Basically, OzHarvest rescues surplus food every day and delivers it to local charities for hungry people, in need of quality food and nourishment. Did you know $8-10 billion worth of food goes to waste each year?

Apart from the food and the wine exhibits, there is also a line up of renowned local and international chefs cooking shows where they get to share their gastronomic creations at the Good Food Theatre.

The two international chefs cooking shows we attended for the day was the popular British TV star Ainsley Harriott and Spanish chef Miguel Maestre. The local chef/cook is the Australian TV chef Silvia Colloca, from the cooking series ‘Made in Italy’ in 2014 on SBS.

You might just be inspired by them, just enough to consider or even attempt to make restaurant like quality dishes at home. If you do, you might even impress your friends and family. Now how did Silvia prepared that sausage pizza?

After the show, we visited the Bookworld Stand for the opportunity to meet with Silva Colloca, to take a couple of photos and have a copy of her cookbook signed!

Yeap, it's another great day at the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show!

03 April 2015

Easter 2015 - The Father's Love

At Easter we marvel at the wonder of a God whose love is so powerful and deep that He would give his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. Abraham through Isaac (Gen 22:1-19), is probably the only one in scripture who comes close to understanding how God the Father feels to sacrificing his own son. Christ at the cross is a point in human history that without a doubt shows God's love for us all.

The apostle Paul says it like this in Romans 8:32 (NIV)
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
I pray that this Easter you come to a fresh revelation of how wide and deep is His love for you. Touched anew by His love we would come celebrate Jesus resurrection this Easter Sunday and experience more of His grace and His finished work (John 19:28-30 NLT) in our lives.

15 March 2015

I Met A Celebrity Chef - Rachel Khoo

Rachel Khoo who? Well she first came to our notice in one of the TV lifestyle channel "The Little Paris Kitchen" which is also the name of one of her cookbooks the TV series was based on. The show was filmed in Paris, one of Margaret's favourite cities.

Watching cooking shows is one of our past time activities and Rachel's show is one of our favourites. Not that we try cooking every recipe but occasionally we do experiment with one or two interesting and easy ones.

There were a few things about the show that caught our attention; there was Paris, an Asian looking British girl cooking French food in Paris, always in a different dress for each recipe, easy going charming personality and there is also her laughter.

It was in one of her episodes in her second TV series "Rachel Khoo's Cosmopolitan Cook" that prompted me to check her blog. That's when we found out that she is in Melbourne.

So we found ourselves queuing up with many others early on a Sunday morning at the Avoca Hills Bookstore, for Rachel Khoo book signing and hopefully a photo opportunity with her.

One never knows what friends one could meet while patiently queuing up to the book store. There is Karina who hoped to have her cookbook autographed before she has to leave to get to her office by 12 noon. It's a working day for her. There is also a lady who wanted two books autographed; one as a present for her daughter and the second one for her to keep. There is another girl who never queues for anything, but this one is different, this one is Rachel Khoo.

Finally when we got into the book shop, we found that there was still a queue to the table where Rachel is. We could not yet see her, but the laughter we heard told us that she is indeed here.

We had a short chat with her telling us about her losing her little apartment cum restaurant in Paris, where she did her Little Paris Kitchen TV series, three years ago. The landlady wanted it back.

Then the photo opportunity we hoped for. Thanks Karina!

With all the excitement of meeting her, book signing and photo taking I do not think we said thank you to Rachel for her signing our cookbooks.

Rachel, if you are reading this blog page, Thank You!!

Tip from Rachel's kitchen.
"I always believe that failures are part of the process. It's how you deal with them that will eventually influence whether you succeed or not."

19 February 2015

Chinese New Year Night - 2015

It's 2015 and according to the Chinese astrology, it is the year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram. Many Australians celebrate the Chinese New Year, to mark the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year. It is not a nationwide public holiday in Australia.

The New Year celebrations can last for about 15 days and most Chinese Australian families like many others around the world, would spend Chinese New Year by gathering together for a festive meal. It is still common practise for children to receive red envelopes (Hong Bao, Ang Pao, or Lai See) with money in it.

It was dinner with some close friends on Chinese New Year night at the popular Tao's Restaurant, with a East meet West fusion menu. For its Urbanspoon rating click here.
Being a new year, one of the other attactions of the restaurant for the night is the Chinese Lion Dance, a form of traditional dance in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume, always accompanied by loud drums, cymbals, and gongs. It is a loud noisy performance with a rhythm to it.

We were all looking forward to this, reason being, the lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune. Hence you see the restaurant and dinners "rewarding" the lion with an Ang Pao. The more difficult the challenge the lion has to face to retrieve the Ang Pao, the greater the reward should be.

As interesting and exciting as the lion dance may be, the night would only be deem a good night for me is the food that's served.

In this, I was not disappointed. The following photos are some of the Chinese New Year set dinner dishes that was served.

Beautiful flavours complementing each other and excellent presentation. It is true that food is first tasted with the eyes, at least it is for me in this occasion.

The restaurant itself is quiet (that is, after the lion dance performers has left) with subdued background music and the staff friendly and attentive.

It is not my first time to the restaurant and it will not be my last.

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