Bali 2014: The trio’s first adventure abroad!

Me and one of my BFFs Gilbert at the Bajra Sadhi Monument

For a 3-day trip, my visit to Bali last February was quite possibly one of the most exhausting trips abroad I have ever had. I think it even beats that time I went to the US and had to battle some jet lag plus sleep deprivation thanks to a delayed flight and a tight touring schedule. Our itinerary had us jetting from one side of Bali to the other on a mission to maximize our stay. Then there is of course the inevitable sleeplessness that comes with travel adrenaline (amounting to approximately less than 12 hours of sleep in 4 days), and the fact that I had to lug around my camera gear that weighed a ton in sweltering Balinese heat. By the end of our trip I was so tired I was dreaming about my bed as I slept in the plane on our flight back. I think all three of us were, for that matter.

So I suppose your question now would be: Was it worth it?

Hell yessssssss! 

I remember arriving in Bali half-groggy from my airplane nap and a little drunk on the excitement of what was to come. Since our flight was at 4AM it was early in the morning when we arrived, which meant we had a full day ahead of us to frolick under the hot Indonesian sun. But first, we were in need of a little freshening up. A little facial cleanser and mouthwash never hurt anyone, agreed?

Our driver Mr. Karyu of Bali Agung Tours was already waiting to drive us to our hotel when we exited the airport. Since this was the first time ever I traveled without family and with friends only, I was pretty darn psyched. And what’s even better is that I got to travel with my two besties in the world, Gilbert and Marga! I don’t have any words to describe how happy I was that this trip turned into a reality. All those times we spent talking about going on a trip together were just daydreams until we finally buckled down and booked our flight! Now we must make it a yearly thing hehe!

Where we stayed in at Denpasar wasn’t technically a hotel. Called Nakula Familiar Inn, the place was more akin to a bed and breakfast than anything else. It felt like an oversized residential lot where the owners decided to build additional smaller living quarters to rent out to tourist right beside their own. You are literally living in the owner’s backyard. And of course that also means it’s a rather cozy location to live in. 

Ibu Adi (roughly translated that’s something like Madame Adi) is the owner of Nakula Familiar Inn, and she was such a nice and accommodating lady who personally made sure we got settled into our room well. What I love about this place, aside from the fact that it is super affordable it was a little unbelievable, is that it’s clean and very basic. It has all that you need in a room you will use for sleeping and bathing in (yes there is air-conditioning), and it is spacious! The bedroom is big, the sheets are clean, the bed is comfy and I slept like a baby the three nights we stayed here, plus the bathroom is decent. (Though it is not the best-looking bathroom, I must say.) There’s even a vanity table which was mostly used as a food and water table by us. 

I forgot to mention there’s wifi, which works excellently when you sit out on the porch.

Once we washed our faces, brushed our teeth, and got a little food into our systems, we were good and ready to go. I got lots of pictures you guys, so you best settle into your seats.

Now before we proceed to part one of my travel diaries, I would just like to say that if you’re looking for beach locations you won’t find it here. I enjoy a good beach trip to, but this one was more of a cultural discovery sort of trip, filled with interesting monuments and a few jaw-dropping temples. If you’re interested in that sort of thing then I invite you to read on.

Continue reading about my Bali adventure! >>

Easy Nasi Goreng at home

It’s been several weeks since I started prepping for a series of travel diaries featuring Bali, Indonesia, and I’m happy to say that apart from the video I’m just about ready to write about it now. My friend Gilbert would be dancing in his seat right now after reading that phrase because I’m a bazillion months late in sharing our travel story with you, and he has been expecting this post to go live for quite some time already. Better late than never I guess?

So get the blog into the vibe of an Indonesian/Balinese exploration, I wanted to share a recipe for Nasi Goreng. It’s practically the national rice dish of Indonesia after all. Most Asian countries would have one or two rice dishes to identify them by and for Indonesia it’s Nasi Goreng. We ate this dish a bunch of times during our meals while we were in Bali, and while this recipe isn’t an exact replica of those you can eat pretty much everywhere in Indonesia, it’s still a yummy version of the dish.

I did a little research and according to my fried Wiki this dish was created by an Indonesian, though it is also a staple in both Malaysia and Singapore. Literally translated it simply means “Fried Rice”, and just like any other fried rice dish it’s easy to put together and a tasty addition during any meal!
Get the recipe! >>

Biscoff and autumn are a nifty combination

I’ve sung this song a million times before, but it’s simply inevitable that I feel this way around this time of the year. I can’t help it! I can’t quite hold back the green-eyed monster when all the beautiful orange-hued photos with scarf-wearing people in them begin popping up everywhere. I can’t help wishing that I live in a place where I can take Instagram photos of my boots nestled beneath a mountain of crunchy orange leaves; a place where the breeze is crisp and cool all-day long once the -ber months hit.

Well I could spend all my energies wishing for autumn to magically fall upon this country, but unless I move to a different part of the globe it just will not come true. It’s kind of sad. Autumn is awesome, as I’m sure most of you will agree. For the time being I have to satisfy myself with looking through fall photos on the web, or at the very least baking fall treats in my kitchen. 

In my opinion, nothing quite produces orange-coloured baked goods like pumpkin. (Sweet potato comes at a close second, as this equally yummy recipe proves.) But the thing is, we’re not too big on pumpkin in our desserts over here. Sure we have it occasionally, but after my last can of pumpkin puree months ago my brothers have urged me not to buy another anytime soon. The only pumpkin they want to eat is cooked in coconut milk with other vegetables for dinner.

Despite that, all the pumpkin desserts I’ve made so far have been well received: the pumpkin tart, the cream cheese-filled muffins, the super yummy pumpkin cake roll, even the coffee-spiked pumpkin breads. But as my brothers have informed me, their favourite was the loaf with the cookie butter swirl.

This recipe is a throwback one from my archives, and frankly it has not made its appearance on the blog because I am unsatisfied with the photos. I had planned to redo this but I haven’t had much time on my hands lately thanks to the events I need to attend. It’s always the case during the latter part of the year because people seem to be in a rush to squeeze in a ton of things before the year ends. But in the spirit of autumn I decided I still needed to talk about how smitten we all were by the Pumpkin-Biscoff Loaf!

Get the recipe! >>

A Two Broke Girls Kitchen Experiment, Part 2

All right! I hope you didn’t think I was going away quietly after that first not-quite-a-copycat recipe. Since realizing that Max’s version of the cupcakes from Two Broke Girls are in fact most probably chocolate, I told myself I really needed to make a chocolate-based cupcake just to compare it to the previous “white cake” version I made. I was supposed to write about this a little earlier but I’ve been feeling a little exhausted lately. It’s probably because I’ve been pushing myself too much and resting too little. I really need to take it easy and unwind this weekend!

Anyway, going back to this version of the Spring Break Cupcakes recipe, I have to say searching for the recipe was the easy part. I quickly found one that made sense to me and just reading through the recipe I was already sure it would yield wonderful cupcakes. It was the buying of the ingredients that took me forever! Somehow I just could not get my hands on some stout beer. I honestly didn’t think Guinness would be so elusive. (Or so popular that it would always be out of stock in the supermarket!) When I finally FINALLY found Rustan’s Supermarket restocked, I grabbed four cans right away. Needless to say you’ll have to expect more stout beer goodness soon, and it won’t just be desserts. ;)

I’m not a beer drinker at any capacity so I’m no expert on the subject, but I have drank regular beer before and I have to say I was a bit surprised by the boldness of stout beer. It demands your attention at first sip and holds it for a little bit until it is satisfied that you will remember its name. Or it might just be that it’s my first time getting a taste of stout beer that I find it to be a bit stronger in taste than I’m used to. Which is why it’s absolutely perfect to pair with chocolate. Thanks to that boldness in flavour, the Guinness has no problems making itself known in the midst of all that deep delicious chocolate cupcakey-ness going on.

Soooo ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Beer-batter Cupcakes 2.0, the chocolate version.

Get the recipe! >>