One breakfast staple: Stir-fried Tomatoes and Eggs (YUM)

Stir-fried tomatoes and eggs on toast is one of our favourite breakfast fixes – because it doesn’t require many fancy ingredients (just tomatoes and eggs DUH) and it doesn’t take long to prepare. PERFECT for a lazy cook like me heh.

Also, pairing tomatoes and eggs is such a heavenly combination. Think Juicy tomatoes with soft runny eggs. Simply yummy with rice (for lunch/dinner) or on toast.

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Stir-fried tomatoes and eggs on toast, with baked beans at the side.

Not to mention the high nutritive value of tomatoes and eggs. Did you know that…

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a treasure of riches when it comes to their antioxidant benefits (anti-cancer!!). They contain good amounts of three high-powered antioxidants — Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C. They also contain all four major carotenoids — alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. On top of that, tomatoes are rich in minerals like potassium and manganese, which we often don’t get enough of. For breastfeeding moms, it increases the concentration of lycopene in their milk.

Eggs

Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein. They are regarded as a ‘complete’ source of protein as they contain all eight essential amino acids (which cannot be synthesised in our bodies and must be obtained from our diet). The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. The yolks are sources of cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and lecithin.

Time to start incorporating more tomatoes and eggs in your diet. Here’s the recipe which I tweaked a little from something found on the internet:

Stir-fried Tomatoes and Eggs Recipe (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes (diced into small cubes)
  • 4 eggs (I usually buy organic, lower-cholesterol ones)
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (optional for added flavour)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (or any other kind of vegetable starch)
  • green onion
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar (neutralizes the sour taste of the tomatoes)

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs together and season with salt and pepper. Add the green onion and sesame oil to the eggs and mix well.
  2. Add olive oil to the pan; turn up the heat. Add the egg mixture and break the egg into pieces. Toss and cook until the eggs are almost done (should be less then 2 minutes). Take out the egg mixture from the pan.
  3. Add more olive oil to the pan and stir-fry the tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with rice vinegar and sugar. Cook until you can see the tomato juice run and smell the tomatoes.
  4. Transfer the egg mixture back to the pan.
  5. In a separate small bowl, mix corn starch with slightly more than 1 tsp of water. Add to the pan.
  6. Toss and serve hot. It is ready! 🙂

This dish of tomatoes and eggs is original in taste and flavor (no need for MSG whatsoever), fresh and SO GOOD. Enjoy! x

Explore Indonesia #3: Cultural City of Yogyakarta

About 3 weeks ago, I noticed on the calendar that a long weekend (Easter) was coming up. WHOOOOOP. I casually asked Agent D if we should travel out of Jakarta and to my surprise, he said “Yeah, why not?”. Upon hearing that, I quickly booked our air tickets and hotel (yes, all within a night) to seal the deal.

We settled on Yogyakarta because we’ve heard so much about it from our friends and also because it was just a one-hour flight away from Jakarta. Few days before our trip, I spent some time researching on places to check out in Yogyakarta – primarily that of food and attractions. Here’s what we did. 🙂

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Exploring the old streets of Yogyakarta.

Day 1:

By the time our plane landed in Yogyakarta around 10 a.m., Agent D’s stomach was growling real bad. We had woken up at 5 a.m.earlier in the morning and in our mad rush to the airport, did not have any time for breakfast. Garuda Airlines only offered a puny bun during the flight which was not enough to satisfy a hungry growing boy.

We arranged for a driver to pick us up from the airport and went straight down to Roaster & Bear for brunch. Roaster and Bear is an absolutely lovely two-story cafe lined with glass windows, white walls, and wooden furniture. Their entire theme revolves around bears (as their name says it) — BEARY INSTAGRAMMABLE indeed.

Whilst waiting for our food to come, I went around taking photos of the cafe. Agent D really liked this poster and insisted I take a photo of it (which is really rare, he seldom takes a fancy to cutesy stuff).

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I LOVE YOU BEARY MUCH (AWW).

Alas our food arrived! I told Agent D to wait for a few minutes while I snapped some photos of the food. He obliged with a weak smile but I could tell from the corner of my eye he was just waiting to pounce on the food hehe.

The food was not bad. I liked my pumpkin soup (which had a sweetish tinge) and tuna sandwich. If only the onion rings were more crumbly though. Agent D felt that his scallop pasta would have been much better with fresh scallops instead of frozen scallops. But then again, we would be paying a premium for that.

By the way, food in Yogyakarta is REALLY AFFORDABLE (1/2 the prices of Jakarta and 1/4 the prices of my home country). And this is true even for nice restaurants in 5-star hotels. Here’s a picture of the menu for your reference. 🙂

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Roaster and Bear Menu.

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Just had to take a picture against this cute wall.

After our very filling lunch, we proceeded to Mount Merapi. Translated as “Mountain of Fire” in Javanese, Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Asia. It has erupted at least 68 times since 1548 and the most recent eruption in 2010 left 30 dead. SCARYYY. On our journey there, I prayed a silent prayer that 25 March 2016 was not going to be the next eruption in history. (Apparently, it erupts every 5-6 years which means an eruption is due anytime soon!)

We rented a jeep and a local guide to bring us around for 1.5 hours (IDR 350K). You’ll see many jeep companies at the base camp all offering the same kind of tours. Pick any one!

It was really fun zipping through the gravel-filled paths, up and down steep slopes, with the wind in our hair. Agent D stood up as our jeep went down a slope and started laughing so hard, he couldn’t stop. Being risk adverse, I decided to stay put on my seat for the whole tour.

Our Merapi Lava Tour consisted of 3 stops — Museum Sisa Hartaku (My Remaining Treasure Museum), Alien stone, and Bunker. Here’s us acting cool with our dashing red jeep.

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Outside Museum Sisa Hartaku.

Museum Sisa Hartaku (first stop) is within an actual house that was partially destroyed by the Merapi eruption in 2010. Everyday items such as bicycles, toys, televisions, furniture and cutlery are on display at the museum. From the items, one can catch a glimpse of the sad extent of the destruction and the impact it had on people’s lives.

 Just look at how the televisions melted because of the hot ash cloud. 😦

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Deformed televisions.

For me, this clock was an especially poignant reminder of the Merapi eruption on 5 November 2010. Due to the intense heat, the hands of the clock  were embedded into the clock surface at the point of eruption. Frozen in time, literally.

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12.05 p.m., Friday.

Along the way, we passed by abandoned dilapidated houses. Our guide told us that a number of villages were affected by the eruption and many houses still remain in ruins to this day.

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The 2010 Merapi eruption destroyed the homes of many.

Alien stone (a HUMONGOUS stone) was hurled out of the crater during the eruption. Not quite sure how it managed to travel such a long distance to land here. But it did. Looks more like a mini stone hill to me. 

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Us with Alien Stone.

Our third and last stop, Bunker, had a lovely view of Mount Merapi. Thankfully it was a pretty clear day and we managed to see the towering volcano in all its majestic grandeur. Agent D and I felt this was the best part of the tour; it reminded us that He who created the mountains – nothing/no situation is too big for him.

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Taking a moment to soak in God’s wonderful creation.

“The mountains melt beneath him
    and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
    like water rushing down a slope.” Micah 1:4

We decided to head to Borobudur next. Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many people come to Yogyakarta with the main intent of visiting Borobudur.

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It was raining cats and dogs when we first got out of the car so we rented 2 big umbrellas from the locals. My jeans were soaking wet 5 minutes into walking towards Borobudur. :/

The monument consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. It’s amazing how the builders of those times put everything together by hand, without any cranes or scaffolding!

I read somewhere that Borobodur was forgotten for hundreds of years, and lay buried under jungle foliage and volcanic ash. Historians deduce that this may have been due to the religious shift to Islam in the 15th century.

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The view from the top of Borobudur.

The rain tapered off towards the end so we managed to take a photo without the umbrellas over our heads. YAY.

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We ended the night with dinner at Stupa Restaurant by Plataran, a 15-minutes drive from Borobudur. The moment we stepped out of the car, we were like WOW. SO PRETTY.

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Dinner with a view.

The outdoor terrace offers breathtaking green scenery of Menoreh hills and rice paddy fields. Digging into our warm food whilst soaking in the view was an awesome experience. Sadly, it got dark soon after and all I could see were some faraway stars. 😦

The food was so-so only (maybe because we ordered Chinese food instead of Indonesian food heh) and a tad on the salty side. The duck was quite tough to bite!

Prices were on the steeper side, but still affordable nonetheless. If anything, go for the view. Its worth it. Here’s the menu for your reference:

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Stupa Restaurant Menu.

Day 2:

Agent D and I were so tired towards the end of day 1 that we decided to take day 2 slower. Our Yogyakarta trip was meant to be a relaxing getaway from Jakarta and the last thing we wanted was returning to Jakarta on Sunday night even more tired than before. SLOW DOWN, DEB. You don’t have to see everything.

We decided to sleep in on day 2 and left for the Kraton of Yogyakarta at 10.30 a.m. It was really crowded (and hot) by the time we reached around noon time.

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Emblem of the Yogyakarta Kraton.

The kraton is a palace complex which is the main seat of the Sultan of Yogyakarta and his family. It serves as a cultural center for the local Javanese people and contains a museum that displays the sultanate’s artifacts. The Kraton’s architecture contains a mix of Buddhist, Islamic and Hindi elements.

There are approximately 2000 palace guards at the Kraton, out of which only 1000ish are active. I ran into a tea lady who is responsible for preparing tea for the royal family at various times of the day. She told me that she’s currently 7o+ years old and has worked at the palace since a very young age; her parents were palace workers too. And so are her children.

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With a palace tea lady. She carries a dagger in front of her chest, don’t play play!

Our next stop was Taman Sari, a short 5-minutes drive from the Kraton. It was built mainly for the Sultan’s pleasure; only females (his MANY wives, NUMEROUS concubines, and daughters) and the sultan himself were allowed to enter the central bathing complex.

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Entrance of the Taman Sari.

The central tower in the central bathing complex was used by the sultan to observe his daughters and concubines bathing in the pool. :/

I find it a real pity that the Kraton and Taman Sari have not been well-maintained over the years. Many of the walls had paint peeling off and growing algae, the artifacts did not have proper English translations, and the insides were not well-lit (some areas did not even have lights and we were walking around in total darkness!). Sad sights of once glorious places. If only more effort was put into the upkeep and preservation of both places – I’m sure they’ll be an even bigger hit with tourists.

We din’t stay long at Taman Sari but spent more time exploring the Kampung Taman settlement. I really enjoyed walking around the colourful houses and observing the people’s way of life.

The residents of Kampung Taman are best known for their traditional handicrafts and many of them sell craft and batik from their homes.

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A lady hand-making a piece of batik outside her shop/home.

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Spotted a raccoon snoozing in one of the convenience stores (sorry for waking you up mister!).

I was happily walking around the stores in search for the perfect batik dress when I heard Agent D’s stomach rumble. GRRROOOWWWL. I glanced at my watch and omg it was 2.30 p.m.! Time was flying by so fast. We called our driver and headed to Mediterranea Restaurant for lunch. BEST CHOICE EVER.

Touted as one of the best french restaurants in Yogyakarta and rated #3 of 723 Restaurants in Yogyakarta, Mediterranea truly lives up to its name.

With a homey ambience and small bar, Mediterranea comes off as an unpretentious French restaurant. I felt that even if I folded my legs on the chair and put my elbows down on the table – no would would judge me. The restaurant has nice surrounds for dining with an atrium (a covered garden) out at the back.

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Hungry and tired.

We were both very hungry and over-ordered (again). The food was authentically french and tasted yummy. Best thing yet — the prices. For all the food we ordered, out total bill came up to IDR 289K (S$30)! Very reasonable right. 🙂 🙂

The duck confit with mashed potatoes was our favourite! The duck was cooked just right and was paired together with grilled eggplant (beneath it). The mashed potatoes had bits of risotto in them…SO GOOD.

Both Agent D and myself were in food coma mode after lunch and decided to go back to the hotel. After resting for 2 hours, we freshened up and headed down to Jalan Malioboro for some shopping (what’s a holiday trip without shopping right – much to Agent D’s dismay hehe).

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Jam-packed streets of Jalan Malioboro.

Jalan Malioboro is one of the icons of Yogyakarta. Many small eateries, batik and souvenir shops can be found there. There wasn’t anything much for us to buy (apart from my batik dress) but it was nice to just soak in the atmosphere by taking a slow stroll down the street. Tourists can also opt to sit in a becak (rickshaw) or delman (horse carriage) at night.

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In search of a pretty batik dress.

Dinner was at Hikaru Dining Japanese Restaurant, a cosy Japanese establishment near to our hotel. Juliana was just commenting that I seem to eat all kinds of food in Indonesia (French, Japanese, Western, Chinese, etc) – all except Indonesian cuisine. Haha that is so true. Not sure why I never have a craving for Indonesian food. The only time I eat Indonesian cuisine is when friends come to visit.

The food at Hikaru was decently good for the prices we paid. Their chef is apparently certified by Singapore Health Association (is there such an association in Singapore?!) and they’ve won a number of awards in earlier years. Impressssive.

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Here are some pictures of the interior of the restaurant:

And some photos of our comfort food:

I totally forgot to take a picture of my salmon head soup. Only realised it after I had dug out the poor salmon’s eyeballs and cheek meat (yes, I love fish eyeballs) which didn’t look too appetizing after. Agent D liked his ramen and their baked salmon roll was as good as the one in Sushi Tei.

Day 3:

Day 3 in Yogyakarta happened to be Easter Sunday. I woke up earlier before the alarm clock rang and decided to peer out of the hotel window to see if I could catch the sunrise. A brightly lit cloud amidst a blue unlit sky greeted me.

Psalms 146:6 came to mind: He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– he remains faithful forever.

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Easter Sunday morning. Christ is risen!!!

I went back to bed thereafter only to wake up again at 9.30 a.m. After breakfast, Agent D and I went for a leisurely swim at the hotel pool downstairs. It had been a lonnnnng time since I last swam and after 3 laps, I was kinda panting and had to stop by the side to catch my breath. Sigh time to start exercising again.

As our flight was only in the late afternoon, we decided to go for some SPA pampering at De Wave Spa after checking out of the hotel. I had a 60 minutes full body massage + 20 minutes face massage whilst Agent D went for a 90 minutes full body massage with greater focus on the back. SHIOK.

As seen from the receipt above, the total cost of both our treatments was IDR 220K (S$23). WORTH IT RIGHT?! It is even more affordable than my usual massage package in Jakarta! So happy.:) After our massage, we had a slow lunch at the hotel and then headed to the airport.

Both Agent D and myself really enjoyed our time in Yogyakarta and we’re thinking of making another weekend trip sometime within our posting. Next time round, we hope to do more adventurous stuff like cave tubing and abseiling into Jomplang Cave (which I heard is really fun!).

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Us on the plane. Up, up, and away!

Come to Yogyakarta if you’re seeking a short getaway without burning a hole in your pocket. It won’t disappoint! x


Useful Information:

Recommended lodging: Grand Aston Yogyakarta (https://www.aston-international.com/eng/hotel-detail/73/grand-aston-yogyakarta)

Recommended car rental service (comes with driver): Ukhi (http://yogyadriver.com/)

M.I.S.S.I.N.G HOME

YAY for long weekends. Wish there could be more of them. As I wait for Agent D to come back, I’m wondering what everyone is doing back home. Dinner meetups and get-togethers (which I’m missing out on) perhaps? Suddenly, I miss my family and friends. I miss familiarity.

Feelings of homesickness are a weird thing. They hit when you least expect it. I can be window shopping on my own in the mall and in the midst of the crowd BANG I miss home. Or when I’m stuck in traffic (which happens to be really common here in Jakarta!) and BANG I miss my country.

SO…I’m going to upload some photos of my friends and family here. Just because flipping through them makes me happy. (And also because I’m clearing my phone to make room for more space.)

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And I’m so thankful for the few I’ve managed to spend time with in Jakarta, when away from home.

Looking through the pictures makes me excited for my upcoming trip back home. It’s been awhile since I last caught up with everyone. *can’t wait*

Happy Easter everyone and happppppppy long weekend!

And thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for us. Let us not forget the significance of Good Friday.

xxx

Of Demonstrations and Protests in Jakarta

So I was supposed to meet Cindee and Helena for some gold hunting today. Cindee wanted to custom make a gold bracelet for her daughter-in-law and Helena had a good contact. I wanted to tag along to just look-see.

Halfway through our journey, my driver was forced to turn back home because the road we were heading towards was closed.

Whyyyyy?

Because of demonstrations and protests. Apparently, thousands of angry cabbies took to the streets to protest against app-based transportation services such as Uber, GrabCar and Go-Jek.  They felt that their incomes had been adversely affected since the arrival of these ride-hailing apps.

 The result?

Major traffic disruptions, closure of big roads, huge jams, and violence. Sigh.

Really hope this passes soon and life can return back to normal.

If you’re interested:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/22/taxi-protest-causes-traffic-chaos-indonesian-capital.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/indonesia-jakarta-shut-taxi-driver-protest-apps-uber-160322071146744.html

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/protests-in-jakarta-over-app-based-transport-services-such-as-uber-grabcar-and-go-jek

Cafe Series: Coffee Only Please @ Anomali Coffee

My friend, Yonjin, gave me a nice-smelling bag of coffee beans from Anomali Coffee as a parting gift. I got to know her during my Bahasa Indonesian language course at Atma Jaya University and together with the rest, we had loads of fun together as a class. It’s saddening how my course mates, one by one, are leaving/have left Jakarta to return back to their home countries. Now it’s Yonjin’s turn to go back to  korea. 😦

Nevertheless, I’m glad our paths crossed on this side of the world (in Jakarta!). 🙂

As I don’t have a coffee grinder at home, Agent D and I decided to head to Anomali Coffee (Senopati outlet) after church to ask the staff to help us grind the coffee beans. We decided to have brunch at Anomali whilst waiting for our coffee beans. Might as well, right.

The moment we stepped into the cafe, an aromatic coffee scent greeted us. I hope the coffee tastes as good as it smells. The entire cafe is split into two levels — with the first level mainly for drinks and the secondly level for eating-in and drinks. Like most other coffee joints in Jakarta, Anomali’s coffee beans are all locally produced (i.e. from various parts of Indonesia like Bali, Papua, Sumatra).

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Coffee beans on display.

Anomali Coffee seems like a no-frills place; the cafe has a rustic decor with brick/ cement walls, concrete flooring, and wooden-metal tables and chairs. It was pretty crowded when we first stepped in. Thankfully, I managed to find a table by the full-length glass window (loveee window seats) for us.

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Second level of Anomali Coffee at Senopati.

Whilst waiting for our food, Agent D happily read Henry Kissinger’s book on diplomacy, leaving me to admire him the surroundings. Just looooook at how THICK and HEAVY the book is. :/ And he lugs it all around in his backpack, despite me nagging him not to. BOYSSSS sigh.

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Mr. Bookworm.

As Anomali is more of a coffee place, I wasn’t harbouring high expectations for its food (was expecting more of coffee bean’s standard). And…I was right. The food we ordered was not very nice at all. 😦

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Classic Benedict.

The “Classic Benedict” (IDR 55K) was substandard. I guess you pay for what you get (its almost half the price of the poached eggs at Benedict Grand Indonesia!). The salmon was a weird reddish-orangey colour (looked more like Japanese ginger to me). For fear of another episode of food poisoning, I didn’t touch it all. Neither did I eat the salad. The 2 poached eggs on top of the croissant were the only saving grace.

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Chicken Involtini.

Agent D’s “Chicken Involtini” (IDR 60k) wasn’t fantastic either. 😦 The mashed potato was a tad too bland and the rolled up chicken was on the salty side.

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Chicken Fried Rice.

As usual, we ordered 3 mains to share between the two of us. Agent D says Jakarta portions are waaaay too small. Our third main, Anomali’s “Chicken Fried Rice” (IDR 50K) was probably the most redeemable dish. The fried rice was spicy but tasty and had nice crunchy fried shallots mixed inside. YUM. Hmm perhaps they should just focus their menu on Indonesian cuisine.

On to our meal highlight…Anomali’s c.o.f.f.e.e! Agent D and I ordered a “Hazelnut Latte” (IDR 38K) and “Irish Banana Nut” (IDR 44K) to share. The weather was scorching hot so we had our drinks iced.

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Hazelnut Latte and Irish Banana Nut.

Coffee verdict? The “Hazelnut Latte” was not too bad but the “Irish Banana Nut” tasted artificial (I should have known better).

That said, I went home to make myself a cuppa coffee with my newly-grounded Anomali coffee beans and it was pretty good stuff. If you ever make it to Anomali, I’d say go for their espresso. It’ll def perk you up! 🙂

 

Anomali Coffee
Jalan Senopati No. 19 Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan

 

Overnight Oats: Easy, Healthy, SO GOOD

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Overnight oats: wholesome and yummmmmy.

I’ve noticed that overnight oats is all the rage these days — from instagram posts and pop-up stalls all over. I always thought there was some complex process involved in making it (fermentation perhaps?!)…UNTIL Sarah corrected my misconception and told me it was super duper easy!

So I decided to try it out and true enough, it didn’t take me more than 5 minutes (!!). The night before, I simply added the oats, milk, and toppings into a glass jar and put them into the refrigerator. I rolled out of bed the next morning and TA-DAH!…a delicious and wholesome breakfast was ready. 🙂 TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Why didn’t I discover the wonders of overnight oats earlier (thanks Sarah!!).

Here’s some easy step-by-step instructions for making overnight oats in a jar:

1. Add a serving of rolled oats (about 4 tablespoons) into a glass jar. Some recipes recommend adding 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for more nutrition (omega-3s and protein).

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Rolled oats in a glass jar.

2. Add milk to the glass jar, ensuring that the oats are well-covered. I usually use full cream fresh milk but soy milk, almond milk, chocolate milk, etc works too. The milk will get soaked up by the oats overnight.

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Milk added to rolled oats.

3. Add toppings to the milk and oats. For my no-frills overnight oats, I simply add toasted muesli/granola (a blend of nuts, seeds, raisins, dried banana, grated coconut and dried mango) bought off the shelves. Additional toppings include fresh or dried blueberries, raspberries, banana, apples, grapes, greek yogurt, plain yogurt, etc (the list is endless!). You can add the toppings either the night before or the next morning – depending on how soggy you want them.

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Two different types of muesli/granola added to the rolled oats.

4. Pile on a sweetener (optional). My favourite options are manuka honey, blueberry jam and kaya (which reminds me of home). I’ve also tried pineapple jam which my mom bought for me. Other sweeteners include maple syrup, peanut butter (sinful), nutella (doubly sinfulll), etc.

5. Refine the overnight oats with spices like vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon, etc. I do not have any spices at home so I usually skip this step.

Place the lid back on and pop the glass jar into the refrigerator. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours so all the milk can be absorbed. Now all you have to do is get a good night’s rest and breakfast will be waiting for you the next morning! 🙂 Remember to shake everything up in the jar with the lid on before digging in.

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Enjoying my overnight oats in my half-awake state before rushing off to church. YUUUUM.

Agent D swears by eating cooked oats every morning before going to work. Prior to my wonderful discovery of overnight oats, I always had to wake up slighly earlier to boil water and cook his oats on the stove. After having it cool down, I’ll then add milk, honey, muesli/granola and fruits. The entire process takes me about 15 to 20 minutes.

As of now, I’m looking forward to sleeping in more (Agent D can simply get his ready-to-eat breakfast from the fridge himself!). Whooooop.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone! xx

Cafe Series: Benedict for All Poached Egg Lovers

Another establishment by the UNION group, Benedict is a gourmet café serving all-day brunch (think eggs benedict and the likes). I’ve been to Benedict about 4 times so far with Agent D/ friends and last Friday was my 5th time – primarily to take advantage of their ‘Quick Lunch’ special from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.

The restaurant cafe is of a nice cozy size and comes complete with a mini bar and live kitchen. Its semi-rustic décor exudes a homey and vintagey feel. There are sofas at the side where you can just sink into with a book. I like the fact that the restaurant bothers to put different arrangements of pretty flowers on the tables. Really brightens up the place!

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Display shelf separating the smoking and non-smoking section.

Being an all-day brunch place, one can find all kinds of eggs cooked in various styles on the menu – scotch eggs (so gooooood), eggs in jars, poached eggs (super duper runny), sunny side up eggs, etc. COMFORT FOOD i.e. my kind of food.

Eggs aside, the menu also offers a good range of Western cuisine, Mexican cuisine as well as Asian-Western fusion cuisine (which I really like!). All their cakes are homemade. 🙂

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Homemade cakes on display.

When I first went with Agent D, we ordered an “Eggs Benedict Florentine” (IDR 85k), “Japanese Benedict” (IDR 80K) and “Power Berry” (IDR 50K) to share. Agent D was still hungry after that (not surprising haha) so we ordered a “Korean Bowl” (IDR 90K) which turned out to be somesort of  fusion bibimbap. After wiping out everything, I was 110% full and Agent D told me he was only at 80%. Whyyyyyyyyyy does he not grow fat while I’m putting on a double chin. Life’s unfair.

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Florentine Benny, Jap Benny, and Power Berry.

I really enjoyed the “Eggs Benedict Florentine” – the challah bread was soft and fluffy, the poached egg was cooked to runny perfection (the moment my knife cut into it, everything came oo000zing out), and adding tobiko (flying fish roe) on top of the hollandaise sauce was THE BOMB. I liked the sauteed spinach in between, which seemingly neutralized all the other high-cholesterol-unhealthy-stuff.

The “Japanese Benedict” was another heavenly combination of poached eggs, shiitake rice (at the bottom), well-seasoned chicken hamburg, sauteed horenso, and hollandaise sauce. The ingredients worked well together and balanced each other out just right. Again, the side salad was probably meant to reduce all the fats and cholesterol heh.

Our “Power Berry” smoothie had hazelnut milk added into it which amazingly worked! I convinced myself that it was a…erm…”healthy” drink since there were so many berries blended into it. Like real haha.

All my good friends can attest to this — I’m a pretty boring person when it comes to food. Once I find something that I like at a particular place, I’ll order it again and again. And again. And again. No spirit of adventurousness whatsoever. :/ So…for my next few visits to Benedict, I did not take any more pictures. Why? Because I ordered the same few things. 🙂

So anyway on Friday, Ivana and I decided to check out their Quick Lunch promotion. You can see the options offered from the menu above (1 main + 1 dessert + 1 drink = IDR 120K). VERY WORTHWHILE. Perfect for a $$$-saving person like me. *YAY*

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Hungry happy diners.

I opted for the “Bucatini Carbonara” whilst Ivana got herself the “Korean Bowl”. My “Bucatini Carbonara” tasted okay, nothing out of this world. Apart from the usual crumbled bacon, the chef also added pork belly. I absolutely loveee pork belly, especially the fats in between. The fattier, the better. Agent D always frowns at me when he seems me devouring the juicy fats haha.

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Bucatini Carbonara.

Ivana’s “Korean Bowl” (the same one that Agent D ordered last time) consisted of fried chicken, chilli fried rice, 7 minutes soft egg, cauliflower, and furikake. According to Ivana, it was quite nice! I remember it being a little on the spicy side from last time.

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Korean Bowl.

For our complimentary desserts, I had a “Ban-A-Tella Crumble”, which is esentially a BANANA and NUTELLA crumble tart (duh). It was pretty decent – well I guess it’s hard to go wrong with moist banana and nutella. Can’t beat my favourite banana pie from Dona Manis Cake Shop back home though. :/

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Ban-A-Tella Crumble.

Ivana’s snickers cheesecake was a surprisingly nice combination! The cheesecake was moist and light; the snickers (on the top) and cookie base (at the bottom) made it less jelak. The taste of snickers brought back memories of my school days where I used to buy snickers/mars bar from the vending machine almost every day. My kind of energy boost in those days.

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Snickers Cheesecake.

All in all, we had our tummies filled well without burning a hole in our pocket. I heard from B1 that Benedict’s “Banoffee pie”  (one of my FAVE UK desserts) is really good stuff! Sadly, it wasn’t on the menu on Friday. That’ll be my next conquest!

Benedict
Grand Indonesia East Mall LG
Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1
Jakarta Pusat 10310

Sightings in Jakarta and Food Thoughts

I always felt that time flew by especially fast when I was teaching back in my home country.

Oh dear it is week 6! The children’s exams are next weeeeek?!! NOOooooooooo.

Like whaaaat it is the 9th week of term already and next week is the holidays?!

I never expected to feel this way in Jakarta though. And I’m surprised I actually do. (Before coming to Jakarta, I had this vague image of myself sitting in a rocking chair and twiddling my thumb all day long whilst waiting for Agent D to come back home.)

I guess keeping myself busy and filling my schedule with routines (Monday bible study, Tuesday volunteering at Kampung Kids, Thursday cell group, weekly brunch meetups, etc) really helps. 🙂 So anyway…it has been 4 weeks since I started volunteering at Kampung Kids again with Dianne. We’re getting to know the kids better and I always look forward to seeing the little ones every Tuesday!

Just this Tuesday, we saw a really cute mobile kerupuk/ keropok store on a motorbike outside the kampung’s entrance. The kerupuk/ keropok packets were stacked really high and we were amused by the sight of it! Just as I took out my phone to snap a picture, my driver (who is usually very serious and seldom smiles) ran in front of the bike and struck a pose, pretending to be the kerupuk/ keropok man. I told him his clothes were too nice for a “penjual” (seller) and we laughed. It was nice seeing the lighter side of him beneath his tough and stout exterior.

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The past 2 nights, I have’t been cooking dinner (which is REALLY RARE and yes, VERY AWESOME). As I mentioned in my earlier post, we usually eat in for weekday nights. Agent D had dinner appointments and I went along with him (I jump at every chance to take a break from my kitchen hehe).

On Tuesday, we had dinner at Cassis Kitchen – a restaurant I’ve always wanted to try. Prices were pretty steep for Jakarta standards (my roasted black cod was  IDR 255K!) but the ambience was lovely and the service was really good! Throughout our time there, we kept getting free items that were on the house to try. As we were with Agent D’s friends, I resisted whipping out my camera to take pictures of the place and food. :/

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The only picture that I got – huge candy floss that was on the house. *tooth decay*

Today, Agent D’s friends suggested to have dinner at AMKC Atelier – coincidentally another place I’ve been wanting to try ever since my banana friend, Sasha (B1) told me about it. AMKC is the brainchild of Adhika Maxi and Karen Carlotta, the husband and wife team behind UNION. The food was okayish good but the desserts were SO GOOOOOOD.

We shared the Choco Banana Rum and the Martabak cake – both were fantastic. The choco banana rum tasted like the good ol’ lana cake; the chocolate was very moist and rich (I like!!) and the banana-rum combination perfected it. Strangely, the martabak cake tasted like…the real martabak complete with chocolate, cheese and peanuts. It was a cake like no other, sweet and salty coming together.

SADLY, I didn’t manage to take photos again. I’ll def be dropping by AMKC Atelier to have another go with their cakes. I’m not done with them yettttt.

Good night, world. xx

Restaurant Series: Enjoying Food in an Art Sanctuary

I first read about ARTOTEL (Thamrin) from a magazine and thought it was a pretty cool concept —  an art-inspired boutique hotel featuring original works of ART by emerging local artists. What a great platform for Indonesian artists to showcase their art (mainly contemporary) to both locals and tourists! There and then, I made a mental note to visit the hotel sometime soon.

Sometime soon came in the form of yesterday afternoon when Agent D and I decided to check out RoCA Restaurant housed inside ARTOTEL for lunch.

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Exterior of ARTOTEL.

Our driver doesn’t work on weekends so we cabbed there from church. Once our taxi turned into Jl. Sunda (a small road), we spotted it at once. In fact, it’s actually quite impossible to miss. The exterior is wayyyy too eye-catching. Because RoCA Restaurant is located within the hotel, it is open 24 hours. Awesommme. Now you know where to GO-JEK your supper from should you feel hunger pangs at 12 a.m. (ESPECIALLY applicable to us because Agent D ALWAYS gets hungry close to midnight).

This same scenario plays out time after time. He’ll flash me his most pitiful face and say in a really sweet voice, “Dearieee, I’m H-U-N-G-R-Y.” And then with the sweetest smile, he’ll go on to ask, “Pleasssse can you cook me something. Anything simple, hot and soupy maybe.” Not agggaaain. (In case your were wondering, this happens very frequently. Something like EVERY OTHER NIGHT.) Despite my immense inertia every time it happens, I’ll usually find myself rummaging through the fridge, cutting some veggies, and cooking him a pot of noodles (when actually I really just want to continue chilling in bed / lounging on my sofa at that unearthly hour). :/

The pictures below show last Friday night’s situation when Agent D started getting hungry 15 minutes to midnight. I’m not quite sure how Agent D manages NOT to put on weight (he gets hungry despite eating 3 BIG BOWLS of rice for dinner) + fall asleep with a full stomach.

OOPS sorry for sidetracking. Back to RoCA Restaurant…As I was saying, the lobby of ARTOTEL is not very big and you’ll see the restaurant once you step in.

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“This world is but a canvas to our imagination”.

The restaurant’s design is quirky and loud. The entire place oozes with artsy-fartsy vibes and the colours give off a very happy feeling. I LOVE the cement walls, which reminds me of my bedroom back home.

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RoCA’s longish interior.

I really liked that the smoking area was separated from the main area by glass doors (most restaurants in Jakarta have their smoking areas within the same four walls as the non-smoking areas).

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Outdoor smoking area is behind the glass.

The seats were comfortable and with the full-length glass, sunlight was able to stream in and brighten the entire atmosphere. It seemed like a nice place to just read a book or work on the laptop. More pictures of the ceiling painted in loud funky colours:

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Before eating. Mandatory table photo.

We were so eager to tuck into our food that we forgot to check whether the photo turned out okay. And my eyes were closed. *sobs*

Both Agent D and I ordered a pasta each and a sandwich to share. I ordered the “Prawn Spaghetti Aglio Olio” (IDR 87K) which was pretty good (I guess it’s actually hard to go wrong with aglio olio). The combination of olives and tomatoes added a different but nice flavour to the aglio olio. I personally do not really like olives and was glad the taste of olives wasn’t too overpowering.

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Prawn Spaghetti Aglio Olio.

Agent D ordered the “Chicken Spaghetti Basil Pesto” (IDR 79K) which was not bad too. They were quite generous with the chicken chunks and the pesto sauce was not too salty.

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Chicken Spaghetti Basil Pesto.

The “Grilled Chicken Panini” (IDR 85K) came with french fries and salad on the side. We specifically told the waiter not to over-grill our bread (we don’t like it crispy and black!) and it came nice and soft. The sauce inside the panini was a little on the spicy side but overall no complains!

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We felt that their portions were smaller than usual. But then again, it could have been because we were both feeling particularly hungry that afternoon. 🙂

I particularly liked their “Iced Lychee Green Tea” (IDR 35K) because it was at just the RIGHT level of sweetness (without adding the syrup given) – not tasteless or overly sweet as most iced teas are. Oh, and you can choose between green or black tea. Simply refreshing on a hot afternoon day.

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Iced Lychee Green Tea.

I’m thinking of booking a staycation at ARTOTEL on one of the upcoming long weekends (their room rates are cheaper than the branded hotels). Will write about it if I ever do!

RoCA Restaurant
ARTOTEL Thamrin
Jl. Sunda No.3, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat,
Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10350.

Family Day + Watching Movies in Jakarta

Instead of sleeping in on Saturday, Agent D and I went down for Family Day 2016 at his workplace. It was a morning of fun and games (some of which were retardedly cute! I couldn’t stop laughing at Agent D), coupled with entertaining performances and food. The event was a nice platform for me to get to know Agent D’s colleagues better and their spouses too.

I caught sight of a photo booth at the event and my eyes lit up at once. “Pleaaassse can we take a photo?” I asked Agent D. He signed in resignation and allowed me to drag him to the booth. Sadly, Agent D doesn’t quite enjoy taking photos as much as I do (I jump at any opportunity to take photos heh).

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Agent D and I at Family Day 2016.

‘Twas was a sweltering day and I think I got 2 shades darker. :/ (Note to self: HAVE TO pack sunblock in my bag for future outdoor excursions.) In Jakarta, I seldom find myself outdoors; I usually go from mall to mall in a car/ taxi. Even if the mall I want to go to is within walking distance, I usually cab because there are no proper walking pavements/ cars don’t always obey traffic lights which is hazardous/ the air is not too ideal for walking.

Later in the evening, Agent D and I decided to catch Kung Fu Panda 3. It had been some time since we last caught a movie together and I was glad he suggested it.

By the way, movies in Jakarta are REALLLLLY AFFORDABLE. Both weekday and weekend standard tickets are 1/3 the price (!!!) of that in my home country. And the cinemas are really nice and clean as well.

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Standard weekDAY movie ticket costs IDR 30K (about 3 dollars back home).

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Standard weekEND movie ticket costs IDR 50K (about 5 dollars back home).

In Jakarta, it is possible to get a luxurious cinema experience without burning a hole in your pocket. WHOOOOP. Cinema XXI offers Premiere movies which are akin to sitting in first class (versus economy class) in an aeroplane. Here are some of the deluxe features:

  • Exclusivity – Exclusive access to premiere lounge/ restaurants and each theatre only has 20-30 seats.
  • Great service – Personalized concierge experience when purchasing tickets, waiters on stand-by inside the theatre ready to take food or drinks orders.
  • Comfort – Reclining seats with foot rests and blankets (THE BEST PART).

Blitz Megaplex has velvet suites where one can even watch movies on private big BEDS, complete with pillows and blankets. Both Cinema XXI’s premiere tickets and Blitz Megaplex’s velvet suites tickets cost about the SAME PRICE as a standard ticket back home (i.e. they’re really not that expenive). SO…if you’re living in Jakarta/ here for the weekend, you HAVE TO watch a movie at one of these places for the experience.

Anyhow…back to  Kung Fu Panda 3. Both Agent D and I found it better than the previous installment but still not as good as the very first one. It didn’t require any brain power (which was good because we were both brain dead post dinner), and was very good-humoured and colourful. We both had a good laugh watching it and I was glad Agent D was able to relax for a while. 🙂

Today after church service, Agent D and I decided to check out the restaurant at Artotel, a boutique hotel at Thamrin. I’ll blog more about our dining experience there tomorrow!

Blessed Sunday lovelies! ❤ ❤ ❤

PS: I’m so glad Sundays are also my cooking rest days. DONT HAVE TO COOK YAYAYYYYYY.