Tuesday, October 21, 2014

See.Taste.Do collaboration with Fragrant Flame Soy Candles on Signature Fragrance

I am pleased to announce the launch of See.Taste.Do Blog’s new signature candle fragrance ‘White Wave’ developed in collaboration with Australian handmade artisan and small business owner, Lisa Zois of Fragrant Flame Soy Candles.

I support local artisans across Australia through my Blog who have unique ideas and have created some incredible things that standout because they are just a little bit different from the rest. I support local artisans across the country particularly if they have launched an exceptional product, deliver excellent customer service and can share their goodies across borders through delivery online. These local businesses deserve recognition and I ensure the good word is spread. If there are new products or services on the market, then I am passionate about giving these new businesses a go.

After months of testing, ‘White Wave’ 100% natural soy candle is the first product launched by my Blog through a partnership with an Australian artisan that I have tried and recommend. Fragrant Flame Soy Candles was selected as my signature scent soy candle supplier because their candles standout. Fragrant Flame Soy Candles standout because they are handpoured (as opposed to manufactured) using 100% natural soy, burns very cleanly (with no or minimal residual wax left after burning) and have a range of pleasant fragrances that resonate and will have you craving for more.

The name ‘White Wave’ has a meaning derived from my Western name, ‘Jenny’ and its fragrance, with a unique fusion of various tropical scents, will take you on a journey to a tropical island with coconut and palm trees, where you soak in the sun, sip a cocktail with pineapple sangria, whilst you close your eyes and listen to soft white waves crash against the warm wet sand…

The fragrance is also a symbol of connecting people by creating things together. Why? This quote from The Blue Man Group has always resonated with me in almost everything I do. I have met so many people and forged lasting friendships in the journey of ‘creating’:

"If you would like to establish a connection with people from another culture, it's always good to offer a few gifts as a gesture of friendship. But, an even better way to forge a lasting bond is by creating something together. Whether it's a meal, an art project or a spontaneous dance party, when you create with others, you create a connection that lasts a lifetime."

The fragrance is not available anywhere else and unique to my Blog developed by Fragrant Flame Soy Candles, which also create a vast array of other fragrances too that you can check out on
www.fragrantflamesoycandles.com. Try Caramel Vanilla and their new Amazon Sugar Apple Fragrance – they’re delicious!

Each soy candle is handpoured into beautiful vintage Mason Jars and decorated in lace and pearls, shabby chic, rustic style in line with the Blog’s look and feel. When the candle has finished burning, the beautiful vintage Mason Jar can be recycled into a vase for flowers and used as décor for your home.

White Wave Soy Candle is a limited edition fragrance until Christmas only and retails for A$35 each (plus $10 with postage and handling in Australia). It has a 70-80 hour burn time. If you would like to purchase See.Taste.Do’s signature soy candle fragrance, email me at

Monday, October 20, 2014

Daisy Dining Daylesford

“Someone from Instagram wants to try my food…and what’s more, she invited me to dinner”, Rachel from Daisy Dining Daylesford relays amusingly to her uncle of a crazy Instagram follower last week, who just so happened to be me.

Yes, I met Rachel from Daisy Dining Daylesford through Instagram. I had planned a trip to Daylesford as I have heard so much about the hot mineral springs in the beautiful country town of Victoria about an hour away from Melbourne CBD. It's funny how you set a goal and you come across things or people unexpectedly along the way.

Daisy Dining Daylesford is a private catering service in Daylesford and you will need Rachel when you get there. When you arrive at Daylesford, whilst there is an awesome fine dining establishment like The Argus, you can’t really have that every night and takeaway places are scarce (or non-existent). Given you are in the country, it seems fitting to try home baked meals made from local produce. Daisy Dining offers high quality privately catered meals for lunch or dinner.

Rachel told me how Daisy Dining Dalyesford was inspired by her mother’s love and passion for cooking and Daisy Dining was born in memory of her. Rachel grew up cooking with her mother who did many cooking classes including Cordon Bleu and Di Holuigue and spent most of her life asking for beef bourguignon and souffles.

All catering is freshly prepared from local, free range and happy farms. All dishes are homemade, from the stock to the crème anglaise. One of our travelling parties had dietary requirements and Rachel was able to accommodate for this.

We had a party of four and we ordered the following (the servings are very generous):

Vegetable Salads with Meredith Goats Cheese

Green Salad with Jonai Farms Bacon

Beef with Holgate Ale

Lamb and Barley braise with Citrus

Bake free range Chicken with porcini and Cool Country Dutch Cream Potatoes

Basmati Rice

Apple and Berry Crumble with Harcourt Apples

My Eton Mess

Pears poached in Vanilla, Cinnamon and Des O'Tooles Honey

Free Range Vanilla Ice Cream.


You can’t fault Daisy Dining’s service. The food is exceptional quality and Rachel delivers all your food to your door piping hot.

Rachel, Thanks for accepting our invitation to dinner. Your food is amazing and your mother would be so proud of you! Well done. It was a pleasure to dine
with you in Daylesford and to try your delicious cooking. We loved it! Jen xo.

Contact: Rachel at www.daisydiningdaylesford.com.au


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Asia Town comes to Sydney for Good Food Month sponsored by Cathay Pacific

David Thompson, Australian born Executive Chef, restauranteur, cookery writer is in town. David is known for his skill and expertise in Thai Cuisine and thanks to Cathay Pacific I had the pleasure of meeting David this afternoon at the Asia Town, a festival of street food held at The Star in Pymont as part of the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month.

David Thompson, who now lives in Bangkok, made his name at Darley Street Thai in Sydney in 1992. He then opened Sailors Thai in 1995. Nahm opened in 2001 in The Haikin hotel in London and received the Michelin star within 6 months. In 2013, Nahm was listed in Asia's 3rd best restaurant and was recognised as one of the Top 50 Restaurants in the world.

3 things I learnt from David Thompson when chatting with him today include:

1) Did you know street food was not the norm in Thailand or the old Siam as it was once called (for those who have seen The King and I musical). Thai people were farmers so usually brought the food, once harvested, back home to prepare and eat. It was not until the Chinese came to Siam that things like, noodles, chopsticks, street-food, spring rolls started to influence Thai food and cuisine.

2) David also predicts that Asian food with its rapid pace in development in quality, variety and fusions and what he has seen living overseas will become even more popular than European food in the coming years. Hmmm... I still like my European food so there should be enough room in the world to cater for both palettes hopefully!

3) Some of the best Asian food is in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's dining scene is rapidly progressing, where quality and various fusions are giving people much more choices in dining experience.

I watched David cook up his stir fried minced beef with chillies and holy basil (neua pat bai grapao). For those who like and can eat spice this dish certainly turned up the heat. Delicious for my palette!

Cathay Pacific are airline sponsors for the Asia Town event held today. If you love taking pictures of your food, you have a chance to win tickets for two to any Asian destination of your choice in Cathay Pacific's vast Asian network. All you have to do is take a pic of your favourite Asian dish or spice then share it with hashtag #tasteasiawithcathay and the destination you would like to visit. That's a tough one but I'd like to visit South Korea, Taiwan, Japan (again), Malaysia, or Hong Kong if I were given a choice.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with some mouth watering pictures from today's Asia Town event held at The Star's Sky Terrace on a gorgeous Sydney Sunday.

David Thompson at his cooking demonstration at the Sky Terrace at The Star in Pyrmont.
The above dish was David Thompson's stir fried minced beef with chillies and holy basil (neua pat bai grapao) that he cooked up during his demonstration at the Asia Town, Good Food Month festival. Very spicy.

Me and the man himself, David Thompson.

The above dish is by Chef Benjamin Cooper from Chin Chin & Kong Restaurant in Melbourne, also specialising in Thai cuisine. Will we see Chin Chin in Sydney soon? Hopefully, it seems! This is Chef Benjamin Cooper's Nahm prik gupi with crispy school prawns against Sydney Harbour backdrop. The best of both Melbourne & Sydney fused together.
Ramen Ikkyu chef master cooked me up this delicious ramen to try (sbove). So fresh, soupy ramen noodles. Love it! Thank you Master Haru. Visit Ramen Ikkyu - they are based on 401 Sussex St, Haymarket in Sydney. 

One of my all time favourites. The above dish was cooked up Hung Leung of Golden Century (393-399 Sussex St, Sydney). This is the Signature XO pippies and prawns with vermicelli.

The above dish is the Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake of cuttlefish & beef) by Chase Kojima of Sokyo.

An amazing and rare event where culinary talents gathered to share some of their tantalising and exotic food with the crowd and it surely set the Sydney dining scene buzzing at the Sky Terrace at The Star today. We were lucky to sample some of the finest Asian street food made with passion by the finest chefs in the world.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bowery Lane Spreads Warmth in Sydney CBD

Drawing from inspiration of industrial New York and the owner’s routes from Melbourne, Bowery Lane is a new dining establishment that has opened for a few months now in the Sydney CBD, in the heart of the Sydney’s business district where on a weekday, the streets are filled with professionals rushing around from meetings to meetings, with only time to catch their breath when their grumbling stomachs sends a signal that it is time to stop for lunch. Bowery Lane is located on 1 O’Connell Street in the Sydney CBD and for anyone who knows that part of the city would be familiar the street is dominated by slick looking commercial buildings and office blocks with the odd dining establishment here or there.

I had heard by word of mouth that Bowery Lane was a new establishment in the area offering a different, a rustic and more wholesome dining experience. So I tried Bowery Lane for dinner one weekday evening after work. I also had a chance to get to know Kaz Derbas, co-owner of Bowery Lane who was originally from Melbourne. Kaz told me a little bit about his story and how Bowery Lane was born.

The Space

What I think of a dining establishment usually happens well before I taste the food. When I first walked in Bowery Lane, you will fall in love with the industrial chic and rustic modern interiors. As you step into the establishment, you will notice the split levels. The lower area is dominated by the coffee machine which churns out the morning coffee for the city professional on the constant run. To soften the industrial lines, the back counter is decorated with plants, branches and bird-like nesting places, a clever design reflecting the establishment’s name, ‘bower’ as in the ‘bower bird’. For those who are in tune to nature, the bower bird is renowned for their unique courtship behaviour, where males build a structure and decorate it with sticks and brightly coloured objects in an attempt to attract a mate. The décor behind the lower counter is fitting for its name I thought. My curiosity on the establishment’s interior design certainly attracted my attention.

After spending a few seconds admiring what I just stepped into, a dapper looking man on top of the stairs warmly greeted me with a smile, as if he knew who I was and was expecting me. It was Kaz Derbas, co-owner of Bowery Lane. There was an immediate sense of comfort in this establishment. Kaz showed me to my table. The dining tables are located on the upper floor in the open area that is split into two sections: the charming and cosy booths probably designed to seat 2 people comfortably (ideal for romantic dates) and the remaining dining area for larger groups seeking to catchup around the table for some banter and good laughs. The dining area is lit by faint stains of light from bare bulbs against exposed concrete walls giving the modern interiors an industrial feel with a touch of romantic class.

Given the location of Bowery Lane, it is not surprising that the establishment is filled with professional people in suits, with their jackets off, who had also finished worked for the day and were just chilling out with friends.

About the Owner

I’ve always believed the soul of the establishment doesn’t just reside with the food that you are served. An establishment is as much about and defined by the people behind establishment as it is about the food.

Kaz Derbas, one of the co-owners of Bowery Lane, tells me he has only been in Sydney for about 7 years. You might remember Kaz Derbas’ name being associated with establishments like Vesta Italian in Darling Quarter, Hugos Manly, and Janus, the core person behind the menus and the goodness produced at these establishments.

On reminiscing his boyhood days with Middle Eastern and South American heritage growing up in Coburg in Melbourne, a keen sportsman in athletics, and the son of father who would give his loved ones the biggest hugs and kisses that would scare off Kaz’s nieces and nephews, Kaz told me his love for food had its origins from helping his family’s dining establishment after school where he learnt to make pizzas and Italian food and where meal times involve food being shared around the table.

“There is a sense of warmth and connection with people when food is shared around the table”, Kaz told me and this is where the idea of the shared plates on the Bowery Lane menu came from.

Having once been involved in a family business in Melbourne, he decided on a big move to Sydney for a change.

Not surprisingly, we ended up discussing (debating) the ‘Melbourne versus Sydney’ food scene and dining experience. Melbourne feels more “warm, eclectic and European” Kaz says. Although I’m Sydney born and bred, I’ve just returned from a visit to Melbourne, and dare I say it, I’m with Kaz on that one. Sydney could do with more high quality brunch places. It’s slowly getting there. But what Melbourne doesn’t offer so much, like the beaches and the outdoor life, Sydney makes up for with its beautiful harbour and seaside pockets.

Bowery Lane was born after and inspired by a trip to New York. Named after 'The Bowery' which was the oldest thoroughfare on Manhattan Island. When the Dutch settled Manhattan Island, they named the path ‘Bouwerij’ road, the word being an old Dutch word for 'farm' because it connected farmlands and estates on the outskirts to the heart of the city in today’s Wall Street and Battery Park area. This reflects the establishment’s food that is crafted from farm-fresh local and seasonal ingredients. It could also be a metaphor for bringing a bit of Melbourne’s rustic warmth to Sydney.

With 12 chefs in the Bowery Lane kitchen and in operation for only two months, “we need more space”, Kaz says, a sure and promising sign that this little establishment is becoming a huge success with Sydney siders.

When I asked Kaz, who is on a constant look out for inspiration too after also just returned from Melbourne ‘café hopping’, the best advice he would give after being in the food industry over the years, he replied, “Follow your heart” and do what feels right.

The Bar

The bar was my favourite area of the establishment. The back wall display pops with colour from the wine and spirit bottles that were neatly lined up against the neon industrial lighting. There was a sense of masculinity and certainty in this space that assured me (or certainly left that impression) that I would be served some of the finest cocktails in Sydney. The bartender served me a fine ‘Mai Tai’. He explains to me it’s a Hawaiian cocktail that featured prominently in America in the 1950s and 1960s. You may remember Elvis and Blue Hawaii?


What We Ordered

Normally how I order my dishes for dinner is I work backwards. I start with looking at the dessert menu and see what can fit around that. So once I had my eyes on dessert, we ordered the mains. Dessert, we didn’t really ‘choose’ as Kaz suggested we have to try the Strawberry Shortcake and the Jar of Cookies and Cream. I will have my eye on the Ice Cream Sandwich on my second visit.

For mains we decided to go with the Yamba Prawn Sliders ($16) and the shared plate of Pork Collar and scratchings with apple parsley and fennel salad and spiced pear chutney ($46) with a side dish of Baby Cos of peas, bean and mint ($9). The servings are large and more than enough food for two people. All of it was wholesome, fresh and delicious ensuring by the end of the meal I was happily rolling out.


Desserts at Bowery Lane are irresistible and not to be missed. We had the Jar of Cookies and Cream with honeycomb, vanilla and dark chocolate ($13) and the Strawberry Shortcake with vanilla bean ice cream and macerated berries ($13).

As I leave Kaz says "please come back anytime. My home is your home".

I like the spirit, style and warmth at Bowery Lane and all of the food served. Despite my sweet spot for desserts, the shared plates is the name of the game here.  

Bowery Lane is a high quality establishment, providing a pleasurable dining experience. It has the big thumbs up for me. I can’t wait to go back.

Bowery Lane
1 O’Connell St, Sydney
Mon-Wed: 7am - 10pm
Thur-Fri: 7am – Late
Sat: 5pm - Late02 9252 8017

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sydney Dance Company Louder Than Words performance

I went to the preview of Sydney Dance Company's Louder Than Words performance at Sydney Theatre over the weekend with a friend who I met in jazz classes at Sydney Dance Company. 'Scattered Rhymes' a performance choreographed by Rafael Bonachela, Sydney Dance Company's Artistic Director as part of the Louder Than Words season is a reflection of the sheer joy and physicality of movement, action and dynamism. Whilst I have taken dance classes at Sydney Dance Company and elsewhere, I actually have not seen a performance live on stage and to the high standards delivered at the Sydney Theatre on Saturday night.

Each dancer's movement was so fluid and effortless. Their body movements had the power of athletes, but told a story and were softened and synchronised through the use of poetry and musical vocals. You will feel the energy of the dancers poured into the performance on stage.

You will hear capella vocals and wonder how that came about. The story of Rafael Bonachela's inspiration for choreographing the dance is interesting. Rafael has always loved the voice, and incorporated the purity of the capella voice (inspired by his days as a choirboy in church in his childhood days), poetry and dance into the choreography. Rafael's thinking centred around how a contemporary dance piece might evolve from a short piece of music with stylistic reference to 14th century religious choir music and the poetry of Petrarch about unrequited love. Rafael played with small fragments of ordinary speech as a commencement point for creating movement and response.

Rafael, in his choreography, wanted to find a movement language in response to the poetic structure. The dancers were asked to respond to individual sections of poetry, to create movement phrase that would contribute to a physical language of the poetry. It was like a dance sign language. Go and see it. Louder Than Words is showing at the Sydney Theatre 4-18 October.

Website: www.sydneydancecompany.com

Sydney Dance Company is also running a competition of striking your loudest pose by hashtagging #SDCLouder. This is our entry - haha! Loads of fun when we choreographed our own energetic bollywood routine for a Christmas function held at the Sydney Opera House a couple of years back! Our inspiration was cricket - Australia vs India! Called the 'Cricket Bollywood' routine. If our pose is not loud enough, the audience certainly were! You can watch it on You Tube. Glad they enjoyed it. Ah, the memories. So much fun!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ready to have intelligent conversations? TEDxMelbourne | 10 October 2014

TED events have always been about discovering groundbreaking ways to interpret our environments while employing open ideas and themes. 

Melbourne welcomes the 5th annual TEDxMelbourne to the stage. TEDxMelbourne is known for its carefully selected speakers and strategically curated environments.

The event’s theme Off the Grid means unrecorded, untraceable through normal means. On October 10, TEDxMelbourne offers an environment stripped of the typical coercions and governance society builds around us everyday.

The theme targets the City of Melbourne as it was designed on a structural grid. We dare to reflect on Melbourne’s grid design in a literal sense and how it has governed our behavior in a metaphorical sense.

Each TEDxMelbourne speaker harnesses an intangible, an idea, and brings it to life through the power of storytelling, but not just any kind of story. Every story is an extension of who the speaker is and how emotions like pain, joy, excitement, inspiration, curiosity, and wisdom have shaped who they are today.

This event boasts renowned speakers like Dianne McGrath, Dr Cathy Foley, Max Walker, Ant Williams, Ken Cato, Marshall Thurber, Michelle Gallaher, Torb Pedersen, Victor Rosenberg, Andrew Gason, and Sandy McDonald.

If there are some names you don't recognise so we encourage you to visit http://tedxmelbourne.com/speakers/ to understand how powerful our speaker line-up is.

This is one experience that is absolutely priceless and will stay with you forever. The cost to bring this event to your doorstep is $125 for students and $145 general admission.

This year, you will learn how truly transfixed you are by your environment. Clear your mind, body, and soul - TEDxMelbourne would like to take you Off the Grid for the entire day.

Tickets: http://bit.ly/1tPlxuy

 Only days left to buy tickets

Event Date: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm, 10 October 2014