Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Colourful Thai Beef Salad - Love Local Flavours

I thought I'd share a tasty little salad I made last night, it was super colourful although food styling is clearly not my strong point!

I was inspired by a delicious salad I had for lunch and decided to make one for dinner too.  As I've said I am keen to learn more about Asian flavours while living here and this dressing is a pretty wonderful balance..

Thai Beef Salad: [For 4 People]
Time: 30 minutes, ish :)


2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp finely chopped palm sugar [we used Gula Melaka!] Brown sugar will work too.
2 Tsp sesame oil
2 Tsp finely grated ginger
1 Tsp light soy sauce

2 garlic cloves
50g toasted peanuts or groundnuts
2 chillies [to your heat desire!] de-seeded, cut lengthways
4 kaffir lime leaves [ we used frozen] remove center vein then finely chop.

Rump steak - approx 650 g

200g tomatoes [ we use little ones like grape]
1 cucumber [we use Japanese or Lebanese ones] but any is fine :) cut into ribbons
1/2 red onion - finely sliced
1/2 a red cabbage - finely sliced
1 bunch of Thai basil - leaves picked and torn [Non Thai basil is also fine]
1 bunch coriander - leaves picked [I only used half of this as find it can be overbearing]
1 bunch mint - leaves picked


  • Whisk together first 6 ingredients.
  • Pop the steak into shallow dish and drizzle half of the dressing over it, turning to cover it all. Cover the steak with cling wrap and pop it into the fridge for at least 10 mins.
  • Preheat a bbq or char-grill pan on high, cook the steak 2-3 minutes on each side for medium [or to your liking] Pop aside, cover and rest for ten minutes.
  • Place tomato, cucumber, onion, chili, mint, coriander, basil, lime leaves along with the remaining dressing in a large bowl and toss together.
  • Slice your steak up along the grain nice and thinly, place on top of your salad and sprinkle with the toasted nuts.
  • Tah Dah. Enjoy with a fruity beverage. 

Yum! I hope you enjoy it :) You could add and change around the salad bits, beansprouts or carrots would be a tasty addition.. also sugar snaps. Anything fresh, colourful and crunchy.

K x

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Islamic Arts Museum - Malaysia

Today along with some new friends I visited the Islamic Arts Museum and was very impressed with the textiles in particular. It was built to foster a better understanding of Islam through the arts and it has done a beautiful job.

One floor is the architectural hall which has detailed miniatures of some of the world's most famous mosques. Then two floors of colourful treasures and some of the most intricate textiles, ceramics, manuscripts, artifacts and woodwork I have seen so I thought I would share a few of my favourite finds.

It is amazing to look closely at these pieces of work knowing most of it would be handmade, the detail is just incredible.

Some of the techniques used are batik [very traditional in Malaysia], embroidery, beading, sewing and incorporating gold threads to adorn clothes and other textiles.

Then there were the ceramic tiles, the floral motifs and the blue hues were gorgeous. They had sketches of how these patterns would have been drawn and hand painted on. Incredible works of art that show what is possible without machines and printers.

Hope you find these as inspirational as I do! I kept imagining these tiles in a kitchen.... or bathroom. I have a little collection started and am hoping to find some in Malaysia to add to it.

K x

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chow Kit - Wet Market Maze Rookie

One thing I am really intent on doing while we are living in Malaysia is to learn how to cook and create Asian cuisine. I already use a lot of the herbs, spices and flavours of Thai and Vietnamese in particular but would love to learn how to balance flavours and become more knowledgeable on the produce.

I will take some classes but I thought the first step would be to go check out the wet markets, these are undercover and divided into fresh produce, meat and fish amongst other paraphernalia. I had read about a few before venturing out and decided Chow Kit was the big one worth exploring. Me and James went there at the weekend and it was a heady, cultural and sensory experience.

I'll set the scene.. It is about 35 degrees, as humid as you can imagine and the smell is an unusual mixture of produce, people and a faint scent of something burning. People are yelling in Malay, Chinese and all sorts of languages we don't understand so we imagine they are making fun of the tourists and laughing at how they will charge us more. Even if they do, it is the cheapest place I have ever shopped.

We wander through the lanes that intertwine like a maze, often not knowing where we will end up. one minute you are scurrying down cramped alleyways then it opens up to a big open market. The produce comes straight from the farms and is covered in mud, the fish section is just like an old fashioned mongers with white tiled areas and ice everywhere. [It was at this point my feet were getting splashed and I wasn't breathing due to the smell!] Such a rookie.

It was fabulous, frightening and fun all at the same time. I won't lie, there were a few confronting things such as cow's heads and parts of animals that you don't usually see but it is a great experience and a cheap and local way to shop. 

For anyone who used to go to France as a kid, it reminded me of the big markets they have out in the open that smelled of cheese and fish. Except an Asian version with the humidity of the equator swirling around you and less  garlic on string. 

The colours were intense and it was a joy to photograph, I'd like to go back with my SLR and take some better shots but these give a pretty good impression of the atmosphere.

Have a great weekend!

K x

Monday, March 16, 2015

Colour Collaborations - Love At First Shape.

I came across these artists in this month's issue of Frankie and I have become a bit obsessed with how amazing they are, together and individually.

They are Mina Hamada and Zosen Bandido. Artists in their own right and now together painting amazing, crazy and colourful murals in Japan, Europe and America.

They tend to paint them in run down areas, hoping to create a conversation and make an impact to the area. I wish this was in my neighbourhood, it is AWESOME! They paint bright and fun critters, shapes, patterns and anything that pops into their super imaginative heads.

I tried to pick a few but they are all just so wonderful. So I didn't, all the colour is good for you.

Some of Mina's work on paper, acrylic and wood. Um, yeah. LOVE at first shape.

My oh my, I hope you have dreams that look like these! I will be trying my very best. :) Now where are my paints...

K x

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pasar Seni Wanders

Hey colour lovers,

I thought I would share a few images from my wanders through Central Market, in the heart of KL. It is a permanent undercover 'Pasar' meaning market, selling lots of trinkets, fabrics, wooden things and a fair bit of tourist 'tat' but some interesting shops and worth a walk through. I ate at the food court on the top floor and had some tasty satay..

I then went in search of a wet market but instead found flower garland stalls and drank a strange coconut drink which led me to a giant fabric house which I will save for another time...

How lovely are these floor tiles..

I wish I could share the smell of these little flowers, they are truly glorious. I think they are jasmine but the man who was making them told me they are called 'Mellow' and are used mainly for prayer. I have hung them up in the living room to brighten up the space!

Have a great weekend!

K x

Monday, March 9, 2015

Publika - The 'Manhattan' Of The Malls


1 week into Malaysian life and I am still feeling rather lost, hot and impatient but in time I know this will change. It is an incredible city with lots to explore but wow it is so hot, all the time! For anyone who knows me will know I get very hot without really trying.... so the air con is very welcome!

They are obsessed with shopping malls, they are enormous and diverse. Publika is a large one that is nicknamed 'Manhattan' and amongst other things it hosts spaces for up and coming designers which is great. 

'Bringing art to life, Bringing life to art. Publika's anthem. 

I found a little shop called 'Designation.co' which is the first 'pop up' of it's nature in the area and sells beautiful handmade products from local designers including these geometric designs by NALA and the pretty awesome socks by Medium Rare. 

Other fun and interesting shops were.. Bits and Pieces, Dude and Duchess, The odd loft, Locus by Isofu, Outdated, Galeri Chandan and a pretty good Daiso...

I was lucky to catch the last of the CNY decorations, the colours were intense and amazing, and for a contrast below this was a view from one end of the mall.. it makes for an impressive backdrop especially when the sun is setting.

One thing they know how to make are cocktails! They are on most menu's are are made with delicious fresh fruits and have a generous measure... I had a G & T that may have been one of the best, there was a list of 'side orders' to choose to have with your gin.. I went for apple, mint and lime and it was Tasty. This was at The Bee, a cute trendy little cafe, bar that hosts gigs and we stayed to watch a comedy gig by Time out KL which turned out to be very funny. The food was also really good..

So they say not all malls are made equally, I am not sure where I sit on this yet but this certainly is a different style mall to the ones I know of... with individual stores and lots of potential. I shall be back, even if it's for a G&T at The Bee...

K x

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Asian Adventures


So the day came to leave Sydney, it was a scorcher of a day and we hung out at Bronte until an epic storm rolled in and nicely started Autumn for us which felt like a nice way to say bye for a bit.. there were tears of laughter and sadness. So long friends and the ocean, just for a while.

It is very strange to go from knowing a city where everyone speaks and understands your language to having no idea where I am in the world, literally. I feel very lost and it is quite strange. Everytime I leave our new apartment I wonder how I will get back to it which is both exciting and terrifying. Thank goodness for Google maps and a taxi app that I can trust. Of course in no time this will be fine but right now it's all a bit scary! 

My first solo lunch I ordered a laksa which turned out to be bigger than my head and hotter than the sun but I guess I better get used to heat and spice! 

Things I have noted so far...

No one walks, anywhere.
Pavements are a hazard [due to above]
Personal noise is higher than I'm used to
Coffee is not always good but I'm on the search..
Things take a wee while....
They share my love for fruity icy drinks, fave so far is watermelon, lychee, lime. YUM.

The food is amazing and very cheap and everyone is super friendly. I have already found a few potential creative spaces to get involved in and it seems there is a lot going on in this area. So far so good. 

Big love from the hazy skies of KL.

K x