Considering that this blog post has over 60 photos in total, make sure you grab yourself a cuppa before you proceed.
Caution: very photo-heavy! I did spend almost a year there, after all.
Happened to look through old photos during my Aussie days and noticed that some pictures were still in my pending list which never got to be shared nor published! So here they are.
With my girls Bardha, Laura and Verity on our impromptu sushi night
Erin and Verity helping me bake a delicious chocolate cake!
Why the sudden nostalgic throwback, you ask?
No particular reason, apart from the fact that my family is on a 2 week holiday in Australia now – albeit without me.
I was supposed to go with them, but they made a reasonable point that since I had already spent/experienced a year there, why spend that chunk of money to go back to the same place when I can use it for other purposes or travel to a country I’ve yet to explore?
Made perfect sense, right? Wrong.
Australia wasn’t just another continent I explored to lay my footprints onto.
It wasn’t just another country existing to quench my wanderlust.
It wasn’t just another stamp on my passport. And it certainly isn’t just another spot on the world map where I’d say,”I’ve been there, how about you?”
The intricately spun spider web right outside my residence at uni
A closer shot.
Australia was home. My friends became family to me.
The multi-faceted culture of Melbourne city and the laidback lifestyle back in countryside Gippsland seeped into my veins like duck to water. In that year alone, my far-flung relatives whom I’ve not seen for half a decade became closer to me than ever.
The ever evolving four seasons in a day rendered me so ever-prepared for whatever the weather ambushed me with. They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And adapting to Australia was like second nature to me.
I still fancy an arvo with my mates, having a sausage on a barbie with some vegemite on it 😛
But despite my sentiments, I didn’t end up going due to work commitments.
A silent winter night.
(FYI It isn’t creepy at the residence but this photo is really horror movie material though!)
Meet Antonio, our favorite uni security guard. We still keep in touch via Facebook.
He lost an epic amount of weight since – it was what, 30KG if I’m not mistaken. Good job!
The beautiful red gerberas that my then-boyfriend surprised me with.
I love them!
Having my family right there in Australia as we speak made me feel a little nostalgic, especially browsing through the photos of their having a jolly good time there.
Ergo, the nostalgia led to this flashback post.
I realized I didn’t quite complete the pages of my ‘The Australian Diaries‘ life log. I have two more chapters, but here’s one today before the final one.
The living room is where I usually sit – I hate being all cooped up in my room.
I’m still like that till this very day. I’m hardly ever in my room!
My tiny little room in the student residence!
Excuse the horrid mess. I was crafting an anniversary present for my then-boyfriend.
Seeing that surprised smile on his face was super worth it! 😀
Oh and when in Australia, the vehicle plates intrigued me.
Here, we don’t get to choose our registration number on our cars, the Road Transport Department does. (That’s RTA for you Aussies!) Car registration plates follow a strict, standardized algorithm.
Even if we do get to choose, it’s a pretty limited choice from the rare selection of vanity plates like SUKOM, G1M, BAMBee as they are only launched during special events held in Malaysia and you’ll have to spend thousands of Ringgit on it.
The only cool ones I’ve seen here are WWW, WTF, PEN, DAD or the numbers 8055 which looks like BOSS, KI55 which looks like KISS, MAF14 which looks like MAFIA, PAR15 which looks like PARIS and pardon me for this but.. PEN15 which looks like..
I’ll leave that for you to decipher 😉
Pretty lame, I know. But that’s the way things work here.
But look at some of the cool personalized ones I spotted when in Australia!
IMK1NG? I know you are King.
OBAMA 1? Hello Mr. President!
You’re tasty? I’m Juicy. Nice to meet you.
Looking at all my old Aussie photos made me realize that I finally have the answer to the one question that I keep getting asked all the freakin’ time:
‘Where did you learn how to cook so well?”
I cook well? Really? I don’t think so… my expertise is only in clean meals/healthy food now; only I cook those by instinct. I don’t think I know how to cook anything else by instinct, unfortunately.
I mean, sure, I CAN cook sinful, unhealthy food but only if I follow a recipe book perhaps?
Coming from a person who knew nothing about cooking when I was growing up, I’m surprised I ended up a fairly good cook. Can you believe I never touched neither a frying pan, an oven (or basically any crockery) nor raw food until I was 20 or 21?
But anyway, the answer to the question is – Australia did this to me.
Everything was so expensive in Australia (no thanks, conversion rates!) and I would end up paying 3X the amount there than I would back home.
For example, a packet of Nasi Lemak would cost RM45.
So I did as any human being would when left with no choice. I adapted.
Thus begins my foray of experimenting in the kitchen.
Trust me, it was a lot of trial and error. I cook really random sh*t that comes to mind.
Even till now, I have never used a recipe book in my life!
So when you guys ask me for recipes for the clean meals I post on Instagram, I really only have one answer – there was no recipe to begin with! Unless I create one…hmmm.
Whole roasted chicken with baked veggies on the side.
Back to the story.
So yes, in 2011, for the very first time in my life, I cooked.
Yes, I cooked and I cooked. Sure, I might suck at it being a first-timer, but I still cooked. AND COOKED. A lot. Practice makes perfect.
Here are some of the meals I made when in Australia! Be forewarned that some of it tasted less than desirable.
Excuse the newbie chef. These were all cooked 3 years ago!
Pizza with a lot of nonsense as toppings.
What’s with this picture? I don’t know either.
I think it was just another one of my cooking candids.
Spaghetti bolognaise on study nights.
Erin and I making dinner!
Baked chicken on lazy nights.
Sushi roll nights with Bardha.
Vegetable penne bake!
I don’t know what this is. Some kind of chicken wrapped in lettuce I randomly made.
But we sure enjoyed it. At least I know Verity liked it!
Shepard’s Pie. Don’t chide me for how it looks; I don’t even know how to make it!
Here’s the making of it. I just felt like eating Shepard’s Pie so I just attempted one LOL
Pasta bake! Yum yum.
Credits go to buddyTodd for teaching me to make my first pasta bake!
Well actually he told me he wanted to make it and I said, “OMG let me help!”
And the rest was history.
Behind the scenes.
We made the entire thing from scratch;
all the way from Woolworths to the kitchen and onto everyone’s plates!
So happy it turned out fantastic!
Another dish I’d like to give credit to. A popular Greek dish, the Melitzanes Papoutsakia.
I’m really good at making this now, all thanks to my then-boyfie!
And one time when he was in class, I surprised him by making it all on my own! 😀
Here’s another version that we made together on another night.
Verity and I cooking dinner one night!
To my best memory, I think it was beef stir-fry with white wine!
Lemon spring chicken with noodles.
(What kind of odd combination is this LOL)
Herbal chicken ramen soup I made when the exboyfie was sick.
Baked rice with tuna & vegetables!
Simple breakfast toast with scrambled eggs and beans.
And there will be times where I would miss Malaysian food so much that I’d end up miserably attempting to cook it.
Don’t expect Nasi Lemak or Laksa. Haha! That’s apparently very hard to make… and I’ve never tried!
Maggi Goreng!! My first attempt. I loved it so much that I made another plate.
The Malaysian in me reveled in delight and went to heaven LOL.
Nasi Goreng Ayam Kampung! Not bad right!?
I made it look triangular too.
Apart from cooking, I baked a lot. A whole lot.
I baked so much that my friends and I ended up getting baked by baking a bake-inducing kind of brownie too. For the uninitiated, they are called space brownies, that’s right.
Hey if it’s legal in Amsterdam, it should be legal everywhere in the world too muahahahaha.
Baking my favorite Oreo Cheesecake!
Fresh off the oven! Putting it into the fridge to let it cool overnight.
It was so delicious and all of us finished it in less than a day!
Damn. Looking at these photos makes me wanna bake this exact one again.
I bake cookies too! Excuse the oddly shaped ones as I took them outta the oven too soon.
These were the first batch.
Made a chocolate fudge cake with walnuts.
The making of it was super duper fun too!
It was so fun that our housemate random wanted to join in.
He’s from China by the way! (I forgot your name sorry but I think I have you on Facebook?)
Due to past experience, I fear my hungry buddies whenever I leave something delicious to cool on the kitchen counter. Hence the warning note LOL
All done! It looks so delicious and chocolatey I feel like making this one again too.
My buddies and I cooked a lot more but I reckon they’ve already found their way into individual blog posts in The Australian Diaries.
Oh and apart from cooking, here are some of the restaurants that I didn’t end up blogging about too.
Sergio’s Cake Shop in Sydney!
CouzzieKristy used to work here part-time while she was still a student.
A popular Mediterranean restaurant in Melbourne – Stalactites – along Lonsdale Street.
The interior decor of stalactites filled with, obviously, stalactites!
Lamb Giros Souvlaki and the Mixed Dip (tarama, melitzanosalata, tzatziki & hommus) with Pita.
I don’t remember what the dessert was.
A beautiful restaurant in our guesthouse atop Mount Buller in winter!
Full blog post on our winter trip: here
I absolutely loved my stay at Pension Grimus on the Victorian Alps.
And last but NEVER the least, if it’s anything I miss about Australia the most…
It’s the KFC Double Down.
And that, dearest readers, carries enough weight to abruptly end this post LOL.
Take it from me (and all the Australians!) the Double Down IS GODLIKE.
Actually despite how yummy it was, that was just an excuse. I’m signing off only because I desperately need to hit the sack and that annoying chiming notification telling me my laptop is low on battery.