Kampong Glam: eclectic, spirited Muslim Quarter

On day four of our Singapore trip, we went to explore the eclectic and colourful neighbourhood of Kampong Glam. It is named after the Malay words for ‘village’  ‘gelam tree’ (Paperbark tree), since these trees used to grow in the area. This neighbourhood was formerly the home of the Malaysian aristocracy, prior to British colonisation. However, after the treaty was signed it became the designated settlement for the Sultan and his court as well as the Malay and Arab communities. Today it remains the Malay and Muslim enclave a and is known for being a trendy neighbourhood, rich in history and culture.

We arrived in Kampong Glam in the morning to have breakfast. Then visited the Sultan’s Mosque, did some shopping at Bussorah Street and Haji Lane and later returned for dinner and dessert. In my next post, I will detail our visit to the Rocher (Bugis) area, which we also did the same day.

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Tanjong Pagar: Koreatown

Last time I left you we were at the Singapore Zoo (day 3). Well after a big day out,  we decided to do a low key dinner in the trendy in the neighbourhood Tanjong Pagar. This is a historic area within the Central Business District. Its name means ‘cape of stakes’ which references the wooden stakes that held up this former fishing village. Today it is a colourful thriving area where you can find great nightlife at Tras Street, best Korean food in Koreatown, great hawker food at Maxwell Food Centre and Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and amazing views at the Pinnacle@Duxton.


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Chickpea pasta with Cherry tomatoes and Pecorino rind

Today I bring you another 15min meal, which is easy to put together. I used one of my favourite ingredients that I recently discovered, pecorino cheese rind. I remember reading a while ago to keep Parmesan rind for sauce and soup. It’s meant to give great depth of umami flavour.

I try to stick to sheep and goats cheeses since I have an intolerance to cows milk and cheese.  So my cheese of choice is always pecorino, which is a hard Roman sheeps cheese. I buy the imported cheese from Costco, rather than then Australian blends that usually have cows milk in them. I have been saving my pecorino rinds for a while and adding cubes of them to red pasta sauces. I recently found they are delicious to add to fresh tomato or olive oil to coat the pasta. They melt a little and have a chewy texture and nice cheesy taste.

For this dish, I also used Chickpea fusilli pasta, which has extra protein and fibre, then regular pasta and gluten-free. Semolina fusilli pasta would also work fine, which is my usual go-to. I had organic cherry tomatoes, which were so full of flavour. Cherry tomatoes are usually sweeter and delicious then regular tomatoes, but you could always use diced tomatoes instead.  For the vegetables I just used some zucchini and silverbeet, which complement the pasta. You could use your favourite veggie combination to add to this dish or no veggies at all if you prefer.

Chickpea pasta with Cherry tomatoes and Pecorino rind

(vegetarian, gluten free, nut free)


200g Chickpea Fusilli Pasta (I used San Remo Pulse Pasta)

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 zucchini, diced

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, quartered

1-2 garlic cloves (optional)

5x5cm piece pecorino rind, cubed

3-4 silverbeet leaves, spines removed and sliced

Sea salt & Black Pepper to taste


  1. First, boil the pasta water and cook according to packet instructions. To cut down time boil the water in the kettle first. Add sea salt to the water. Drain when ready.
  2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and saute the zucchini, cherry tomatoes, garlic Cook for a few minutes or until they start to soften. Add 1/2 a ladle of pasta water to make a little juicy.
  3. Add the pecorino rind and cook another couple of minutes.
  4. Add silverbeet leaves and allow to wilt, before turning off the heat. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Add pasta to the hot pan and coat with ingredients. Serve immediately.

*Serves 2


Restaurant Review: Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers

Recently we visited one of my favourite restaurants and Brisbane’s first gnoccheria,  Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers. They first opened in Paddington about a year ago and are still one of the best and busiest place to get homemade gnocchi. We have visited them a few times, but I haven’t been often enough since they are usually so busy that without a booking you need to get takeaway. Unfortunately, they are a little too far from my place for UberEats, but Marco orders their food to his work all the time. I actually first came across Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers when they had a food stand in the city. The gnocchi was delicious and the cannoli was so good. So I was thrilled when they established a permanent restaurant.

So we visited Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers recently on a busy weeknight with a friend, who hadn’t tried them before. We did make a booking, to ensure getting a table. The restaurant is actually very small, with a limited amount of tables outside and some bar stools inside. I have noticed that they seem to have added more tables since the last time I visited, which is good to see. The menu itself is also quite limited since the star ingredient is gnocchi. However there is a good selection of sauces that you can order, so there is something for everyone. I have also noted that they run special sauces for a limited time. Each gnocchi dish does come with a slice of ‘Italian mopping bread’, which you can always order more of. They do offer a few sides, which look like some nice complementing dish.  Additionally, they have a great selection of desserts (which I’ll get to later). I usually don’t comment on prices, but I have to say their prices are very reasonable. Especially since most Italian restaurants in Brisbane charge between $20-30 for a main sided pasta or gnocchi dish.

Since we already had a late lunch we thought we would just share a few dishes. Last time we visited we had ordered the Bolognese, Duck Ragu and Wild Mushroom dishes. The stand out for us was the Bolognese sauce. So this visit we decided we had to order that one as well as a couple others dishes we had yet to try. Those were the Creamy Pesto and Prawn and Cherry Tomato Sauce. The boys love their bread, so we had to order a few more for them, but like I mentioned each dish came with a slice of fresh Italian bread.


Gnocchi with Traditional Slow Cooked Bolognese
Gnocchi with Prawns and Cherry Tomato Sauce
Gnocchi with Genovese Style Basil Pesto


The food was just as good as I remembered. The gnocchi were so fresh and pillowy and the sauces were each so full of flavour and really complemented the star ingredient. You can just taste that it is all freshly prepared with love and using traditional recipes. I can’t say which was my favourite this night since I really enjoyed all of them. I did quite like the butterflied prawns, so definitely will order that one again. Octavia was just loving the Bolognese and polished off most of the dish.


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Turmeric Spiced Couscous Ratatouille with Coconut Yoghurt Tzatziki

What do you do when you’re so hot and hangry and there seems likes there’s nothing to eat for lunch. Well, nothing except some leftover couscous and a few veggies in the fridge. Salad would be my usual go-to, but my little girl doesn’t eat salad. I thought about a warm salad with beans and veggies, but I had no canned beans. So this lunch was created in 15 minutes using whatever I could find on hand.

I spiced the veggies with Turmeric Latte spice blend, which has been neglected lately in back of the cupboard. The Coconut Yoghurt Tzatziki was also a nice refreshing side that helped cool the meal down. Octavia won’t swallow cucumber, so she got yoghurt and with a dash of honey on the side, so everybody wins.

What is your go-to dish that you can whip up in a jiffy in times of hangriness?

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Serbian Slava Celebration

Over the weekend Marco’s sister’s family celebrated their annual Slava. This is a Serbian Orthodox tradition, which venerates the family’s patron saint. We were invited to a family lunch to celebrate the day. This year we are unable to attend their big Slava, that they will host for their friends. The date and day change every year, so if the family can’t make it to the big party, there is always usually a small family lunch.

I have been attending most of their Slava’s for nearly 10 years now and I always look forward to this special lunch. The last time I wrote about this celebration was in 2013 (on Live Blissful), so I thought it would be nice to give you guys a bit of a taste of what it’s all about.

Although I have been attending these celebrations for a long time I really don’t know much about it. I am not Serbian Orthodox and Marco doesn’t really follow the religion either. Similar to being an Italian Roman Catholic,  you are kinda born into the religion, typically baptised when your little and it’s up to the individual to keep the faith going. I usually ask the same few questions every year and then we start talking about what we are going to eat. So I thought I would ask some questions to Marco’s sister, Maria directly so she can explain to you all about her Slava.

  • Why do you celebrate Slava?

We celebrate it because it is Milan’s [my husband] family tradition and a great excuse to get together. Every slava or saint has a little story as to why people started celebrating them. People then like to make a big feast and invite friends and those people they go to slava to during the year.

  • Who is your families patron saint?

Milan’s family patron saint is Saint Theodore. The date of the Slava is by the Orthodox calendar, which can change depending on when Easter will be.

  • What are the rituals that you follow for your Slava?

We make the bread and zito (boiled wheat flavoured with nuts, spices and honey) and take it to the Serbian Orthodox priest, on the morning of the Slava. He blesses the food we made with red wine. After we spending the day with our closest family and friends and remembering the good that the particular evangelist did. 

  • What are some typical dishes served on Slava?

Typical dishes are sarma, pig or lamb on the spit, bob (broad bean paste), prebranac (baked lima beans), punjene paprike (stuffed peppers) or anything really, there are no rules about that. If a Slava falls in one of the fasting periods in the year, the Easter or Christmas fast, then you have to eat and serve only vegan on that day but if not, you can serve anything you like. Our slava is during a fasting period so we can’t use any animal products, except fish. So we make similar dishes but veganised. 

  • Do you hope that your kids will continue celebrating your Slava?

We hope Stefan continues to celebrate with his own family when he is older. The girls can too if they wish, there are no specific rules about that.

  • Can Marco and I pick a Saint and start our own Slava or is that against the rules?
You can pick up a Slava. I think it would be great to keep the tradition going. Marco’s slava is St Luka, that Victor’s father (Marco’s grandfather) used to celebrate. Zoran (Marco’s uncle) in Serbia celebrates St Luka as the oldest son and Dusan (Marco’s cousin and son of Zoran) will continue on. Victor (Marco’s father) could have here but he never really thought about it. It is on 31st of October and it’s called Luke the Evangelist in English, you can search it up
  • How many other Slava’s do you attend during the year? 

We attend a few in a year, almost all our friends celebrate a Slava. The slava outside the fasting period is usually the best. 


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Restaurant Review: PappaRich, Garden City

Since I got back from holidays I have still been craving Singaporean food like crazy. I love the flavours and variety of the cuisine. Kway Teow, Laksa, Satay, Nasi Lemak, Roti, Kaya, Kopi…all so good. So when I discovered a new Malaysia restaurant serving all of my favourites I was over the moon. PappaRich recently opened a restaurant at Garden City Shopping Centre in Brisbane.

Pappa Rich is a Malaysian chain restaurant. They have locations in Wintergarden (Brisbane CBD) and Gold Coast. They have more locations across many cities in Australia, New Zealand, United States and Asia. Although PappaRich is a chain,  it doesn’t serve mass produce food. From what I could gather,  they are consistent with their quality and authenticity of Malaysian cuisine and the food is all cooked freshly on site.

The menu consists of multiethnic dishes from Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cuisine “with a twist of South East Asian flair”. So there are many of the classic dishes that I saw in Singapore, which also features all of these cuisines. The menu is broken into breads (eg. kaya toast), dim sum, noodles (eg. fried noodles, noodle soups), rice (eg. Hainanese Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak), roti (pastry with curry), satay (sticks), sharing (meat and vegetable mains), vegetarian, signature dishes (best sellers), desserts (eg. puddings, iced kacang), and beverages (eg hot or cold teas and coffees).


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Chinatown: preserving the heritage of yesteryear

Our next destination in Singapore was the vibrant, historical (and touristy) district of Chinatown. This was actually one of the places I was most excited to visit. That is because we were visiting close to the time of the Chinese New year and this is the year of the dog (Octavia’s favourite animal). I was also excited to try some good-quality Chinese food and visit the old temples.

Chinatown is historically a Chinese ethnic-centric area in the Outram district. It was actually named ‘Chinatown’ by the British. However, it was originally known as Niu che shui (Mandarin), meaning “bullock water-cart”, because the water supply was primarily transported by animal-driven carts in the 19th century. Chinatown features post-war historical shophouses, street hawking scenes and markets of yesteryear and is the only district in South East Asia that houses three different religious places of worship (Hindu, Muslim and Buddist). Although it is a very touristy place, where you can find plenty of souvenirs, it is also a part of the city where the heritage of yesteryear has been well preserved.


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Valentines Day: Double Shot Espresso, New Farm Park

Happy Valentine’s day friends! I hope you had a wonderful day and spent it with someone you love.

Did Valentine’s Day sneak up on you this year? It snuck up on us. I was aware it was coming but I didn’t get a chance to organise anything special for the day. Instead, we decided we would go out for brunch as a family. I actually wanted to start doing brunch somewhere different every week with Octavia (and Marco when available) and post my experiences on here, so this was the perfect opportunity to start today.

We decided to visit the cafe Double Shot Expresso in New Farm. This is one of my favourite areas of Brisbane and it has many lovely cafes throughout this affluent neighbourhood. What I really liked about this cafe was the almost alfresco dining and the extensive brunch menu. They also have an amazing array of sweets and pastries in their cabinet. If you have a canine companion you are also welcome to bring them along as well. Our dogs are no cafe-friendly dogs, but Octavia got a kick out of seeing some canine customers.

We started off with coffee of course, which was quite good. We are a little picky with our morning cappuccino, so it was nice to be treated with a nice one. Marco ordered the Eggs Benedict special with bacon, I had the Caramelised spicy mushrooms with poached eggs and sourdough and Octavia had the fresh baked croissant. All the dishes were nice and definitely above average in care that it took to prepare and generous in size. Marco really enjoyed his dish. I didn’t mind mine either, as everything was cooked well. I just wish I knew the mushrooms were going to be spicy and sweet. I should probably have checked what seasoning they were going to use before ordering since I made noodles the night before with sweet chilli sauce. I probably go with something else next time. Octavia really enjoyed her butter but did not want to eat her croissant. I don’t know what her problem was because it was delicious. It wasn’t the perfect French croissant but it was warm, with soft layers of flakey pastry and had a nice savoury flavour. So it was a pleasant experience at Double Shot Espresso so I would recommend them for a well made, satisfying breakfast or brunch and great coffee.


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4# Life Update: meeting plans and goals

Hi guys, hope you’re having a great weekend. How is everyone going with their New Years resolutions?

At the beginning of this year, I announced my New Years Plans and Goals. I had three major plans for this year:

  • travel to Singapore
  • getting my driving licence
  • go back to university.

Well so far, so good. I have already gone and returned from my trip to Singapore. I am currently in the middle of organising my photos and writing my travel series for this trip. My most recent posts were my Singapore buys and experiences in Little India. The next two posts will be about China Town and the Singapore Zoo, so stay tuned.

If your interested in some of my other travel stories I have updated my Travel Adventures page. I have made some colourful tabs so you can click on them to find the posts that are associated with each country.

I have also added a Travel Series page with all my trips chronically ordered. From here you can select by the trip, to see all posts in that series.



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Little India: colourful, bustling and spicy

This is my first post for my travel adventure series to Singapore. As I mentioned, I had ten wonderful days in this amazing island nation. I only got back last weekend, so I’ve still been unwinding, getting back to our normal routines.

This was my second visit to Singapore. I think the last time I actually spent time here was eight years ago. So it was lovely to revisit this country (and city). Singapore is actually tiny in comparison to other countries. You can drive from one end to the other in less than an hour, depending on the traffic of course. Ten days may seem like a lot of time to spend in such a small place. However, there is just so much to see and do here. I tried to make sure we saw most of the major neighbourhoods, sectors and sites. I’m sure there are plenty more things we could see or revisit the next time we return. There are definitely plenty more places to eat and foods we that didn’t have the time or appetite to try. This is because this tiny country has a lot established culture and cuisines. Nearly every Asian countries food is represented, as well as different cuisines within their cultures. That’s not including all the other ethnicities from the Middle East, Europe and Africa. It’s just an amazing mixing pot of people from a variety of cultures, religions and walks of life, who all live in harmony.

For this trip, I organised an itinerary that kept us busy for the whole 10 days from morning until night. To make commuting more convenient we decided to book two hotels. Our first hotel was the One Farrer Hotel & Spa in Little India. I was really happy with this accommodation. The staff were lovely, the rooms were large, beds comfortable and facilities were gorgeous. So it was a nice surprise when we arrived from our eight-hour flight.


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Vegan Ricotta and Veggie Lasagne

All this recent celebrating has left me feeling heavy and tired. It all started with Marco’s birthday Feast of the Seven Kingdoms, continued with Christmas, New Years and Serbian Christmas. All that delicious food was meat and dairy heavy, which are the two things that I don’t run well on. They were also not great for eating during the heat of summer. So as part of my New Years goals, I am going to start eating lighter. I still wanna enjoy my favourite homely dishes, but I need to modify them a little.

This lasagne is a quite light and guilt free. It has no dairy and is packed full of protein and flavour. Tofu has been used in place for real Ricotta. I adapted the ricotta recipe from Chloe Coscarelli’s Rockin Ricotta. The blend of ingredients doesn’t have that typical soy flavour. It tastes light and bright. There is no need for cheese substitutes either.

Feel free to make alterations to the lasagne sheets or vegetables. Gluten-free pasta can be used instead if semolina pasta doesn’t agree with you. Shredded carrot, shaved broccoli or baby spinach would all work nicely.

I made this dish for my daughter and her little cousin, who is seven. Octavia gladly gobbled it up because lasagne and tofu are her favourites. My niece, however, isn’t a big fan of tofu, but she still gave it a try. She was very happy with it. The only thing she complained about was the mushrooms, but since there weren’t many she agreed to eat them. I admit it’s not the prettiest lasagne, but if the kids liked it, mission accomplished.

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