Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A week on

Currently, I'm well into my second week of holidays. It sure feels like I've been on holiday a lot longer...

Anyhow, aside from being good to myself and taking time out during the first week of holidays I started work at Merediths. It is a good place and very different to SkyCity. I don't regret taking the job there at all. It hasn't been easy though. Because I am only there a couple of times a week, it makes it harder for me to pick things up and personally, I find that frustrating. Some may not see that as a problem at all but being a perfectionist and having such high standards for myself, I hate not being able to just 'get it'. So it's def a learning curve for me...I'm back at work again today for the next 2 days. Hopefully what I learnt last week, I haven't forgotten.

So after work last week, I was going to just laze around at home on Thursday. But I got a call asking if I was keen to do some painting. So off I went and spent the day with Rebecca and Kate in the garden painting the day away. It was nice to have some company as oppose to just vege-ing out in front of the tv. Friday included sending dad off to the airport and taking the Dunn girls out for the afternoon. It was awesome...I had a blast and I think the girls did too. Unfortunately, I got sun-burnt!!! Once on Thurs and again on Fri. Come Friday evening and I was rather sore...

I didn't do much during the day on Saturday. Some friends and I went out for dinner at Bracu in the evening, though, and it was good. Us four have spent a lot of dinners together this year and it's nice to enjoy dinner with some other chefs...Jie Min was heading back the following day so we thought it would be nice to have one more dinner before we went our separate ways only to be meeting up again in late Jan.

So, despite keeping busy and out of trouble I have been pretty disciplined in making time for myself. I guess, it's a little easier to make sure I keep this going at this present point in time as it is the holidays. The true test will be if I can maintain it when I'm back at uni. Oh well...I've got a few more months before I have to worry bout it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Photos and more

Well, I am officially done with uni for the year. We finished up with a HUGE deep clean of the kitchen, which took a good part of 4 hours, and then lunch with the rest of the class and our lecturer. It's been a great year and def no regrets for deciding to go back down the road of being a poor student.

Though much of what I did this year in class was repetition of the previous two year I was at uni, there was still loads to learn and repetition was very much welcomed. I picked up new skills and honed the ones I already had. So next year looks to be another brilliant year. But before that comes round, I'm looking forward to the upcoming break that I'll be having.

For photos from the final buffet, head to this website and scroll down to the photos link and enjoy...The photos on there are of the whole buffet but for some shots of my work here they are:

And all those tiny mice and frogs that you see with the labels..it's a joint effort between myself and a friend of mine, Jie Min. We spent 3 days making them out of marzipan. There is a reason why we made them mice and frogs-a little inside joke, you have to be there to get it...but enjoy the photos anyway.

So I start work at this new job next week. I'm both looking forward to it as well as nervous but I guess that's expected when starting at a new job. Anyhow, I do have the next few days off before starting so I'll be enjoying them...however, I do have a yucky cold which came down on the day of our Final Buffet!!

Plans over the holidays? Aside from working, I've just been asked to house sit for a friend's friend. It'll be a nice month of having my own place so I'm looking forward to that. And then I head away to KL, Vietnam and Singapore before I'm back at uni for my final year. (And it will be my last year of uni for a nice little while when I'm done...). Another friend and I will also be meeting up with a lecturer to start discussions rolling for next year's competitions. We will also be getting a one on one masterclass on sugar work. Now that...I'm looking forward to! Should be fun. I'll also be keeping busy making X'mas presents, as I do every year, and that will keep me out of trouble for a few weeks.

So, I'll be occupied but not exceptionally busy...

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I know...I know...I've been VERY VERY slack with updating. Let me try and make it up with this post:

Well it's been a pretty crazy few months since starting term 4. It's gone by with extreme speed, I must say! 3 weeks into the term and we had our first assessment, 2 weeks later it was our final assignment was due in along with having our final theory assessment and the following week we had our final practical assessment. So it's been full steam ahead, as you can see. No complains from me though, that assessments and assignments are over and done with for the year. As much as I enjoy them, they were getting a bit draggy and I was starting to really dread them. But it's done now.

Since we've finished with the business end of the year, we've been starting on some things that need to be done for our final buffet that is being put on next week. A friend and I have been spending all our free time at uni making marzipan animals and a potrait for the buffet. It looks pretty cool, dare I say. I'll post some pictures next week of the buffet when it's all set up.

In the midst of all that, I resigned from Sky City and landed myself a job at a new fine dining restaurant on Dominion Rd, Merediths. The chef/owner is Michael Meredith who was the previous head chef at The Grove.

I'm yet to start work at Merediths but I have officially been offered the job. I'm very much looking forward to it; with much to learn. It's a tiny 28 seater restaurant with an open kitchen, gorgeous interior and toilets are quite spectacualr too! (I know it sounds crazy to be analysing a toilet but toilets are one of the few tell tale signs of whether or not the restaurant is about to go under!).

Everything, with the exception of breads and cheese are all made on site, including desserts! That was just such an awesoem thing for me when I saw that. At least this course will come in very handy for me to put what I have learnt into practise.

However, landing this job meant that I have had to put my trip to Melb on the back burner again. But I'm not too annoyed about it, considering I got a free trip earlier in the year and saw eveyrone I wanted to see then. Granted, it was a very rushed trip but it was still a trip. So it'll just have to be next time...

I am still making the trip back to KL in Jan. It's a month long trip with 2 weeks of it spent in Vietnam and Singapore. My friends and I are doing a trip to each others countries and they will be spending 2 weeks after Vietnam and Singpore in KL with me. We are all looking forward to it...however, I'm not looking forward to the pounds that I will pack on from that month long food-filled constant-eating trip!!! Oh the sacrifice...

With this new job, I will also be having Xmas and New Year's off! A rare occasion and one that I'm looking forward to. It's because the restaurant closes over that period, so I get time off...Otherwise, I would've spent another Xmas and New YEar staring at pots and pans and stoves-though, I really shouldn't complain...it's part of the industry and I knew that before I got myself into it. But I will def savour this time off over New Year and Xmas.

Besides, work and uni there hasn't been much else happening. I'm still on a break from ministry. I'm still not sure when I will get stuck into it again but it is being considered at the moment. It's been hard to take a break but I know that it was needed. It's often even hard to think about it but it needs to be done. So we'll see what happens when the new year rolls round.

Well, that's about it for news for now. I hope it has made up for the lack of posts over the last month and I will endeavour to put a few more posts up when holidays roll round in the next week or so.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Turning 22

Another year, another birthday and another year older! I had a great birthday this year. It's not often that I do anything in the form of celebrations but this year I decided to have some friends over for my birthday. My actual birthday was pretty low key but I did have 2 birthday dinners-one, a surprise and the other I cooked.

For the surprise dinner, my friends from uni spoilt me with an 8 course meal!!!! I was SO stuffed (excuse the pun). It was awesome though...

Then for the dinner I cooked, I had about 15 ppl over and dad and I made quite a good amount of food. It went down well and everyone seemed happy. All in all it was a brilliant nite and a great birthday.

*Being able to have so many ppl over wad due to the fact that mom was away in Melb for a BSF retreat!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Road trip

My recent road trip down country was def a much needed break. We had a great time starting with lunch on the Thurs at Tauranga then spending the rest of our weekend in Taupo and the Whakapapa ski field. Enjoy the photos...

Views from the bach we stayed at

Some shots on and from the ski fields

A shot from the car

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I'm halfway through my 2nd week of holidays at the moment and it's ok. I worked 3 days last week and 2 this week. It was originally 3 days this week as well but because it has been extremely quiet I managed to weasel my way out of work today. Rather nice actually considering I had a mountain of things to get done before I headed down country for a proper hoiday.

Tomorrow, myself and 3 other friends are heading to the snow in Taupo. (Well, we are hoping that the snow cover is still good). We will be driving to Taupo via Tauranga where we will be having lunch at a hotel that my friend works at. It's been a long time since I last saw him so it'll be a nice catch up. This trip will be filled with eating, drinking, skiing and just plain chilling.

I think all of us deserve this time away. We all spent the last term doing ridiculous hours at uni training for compeitions and decided that we'll make sure we have a good time away before term started back on Monday. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

On other news, it's been decided that I will be having surgery to try and fix my wrist. Not the best predicement but hopefully it'll be fixed once and for all. This means that plans for my Melb trip are still up in the air as a dates has yet to be decided upon.

Physically, I'm definitely less drained. The slightly slower pace of the past week has helped despite being at work. However, emotionally and mentally I am still rather exhausted and raw. I am doing better compared to the past month but still a fair way to go before I am even near 100%. The good thing is that I do have a very strong support system here and I am very grateful for that.

Anyhow...I will be taking heaps of photos while I am away so look out for this space!

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Well, well, well....it's officially the end of the insanity of my 52-day week!

As you would have read from the previous posts, the past 52 days have been go, go, go. Do I regret any of it? No. I know what the Hospitality industry brings in terms of social life (or rather lack of), sleepless nites, crazy hours of being in the kitchen. But when you are both a student AND working in the industry, it is doubly mad.

Culinary fare
Well, as you'd expect...I think it could have been better. But such is the result: Kitchen came away with a silver (and this DOES NOT mean we came second!) and FOH also came away with a silver. We all were hoping and thought that we did well enough to come away with a gold but much to our disappointment...
My team mate got selected for the spot of Junior Chef of the NZ Culinary team. Since this will be read by the world, I'm going to reserve my judgements about it on this post.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, both the training as well as the competition and am def doing it again next year. I know you may all say that I'm mad and crazy but nothing new there! It was a good experience with good training from our tutors and all credit to them that I want to do it again. If you remember, I said a long time ago that I vowed never to compete again after a bad experience in 2005. But I have since had my mind changed.

Here are photos of our food from the day:

Fruit wood Smoked Salmon on Apple Cucumber Slaw, Kumara & Savoy Fritter with Horseradish Creme Fraiche

NZ Beef Sirlion filled with Bone Marrow, Spinach, Parsley accompanied with Parsnip Puree, Brocollini, Braised Portabello & Dauphine Potato with Red Wine Jus

Blood Orange Bavarois, Chocolate Beignet with Passionfruit sauce and Salt Caramel

Industry placement
I hated the first week! I was so bored I was literally climbing the walls. Each day was such a drag and I was wishing I was somewhere else every minute. The second week, was a little more interesting. I actually had things to do and all in all a better time. I guess, they were happy enough with me...they've asked me to come back during Xmas to give them a hand.

I'm officially on holidays at the moment but it wouldn't be Jean if she actually took the holiday, would it?! Well, I'm actually being better these holidays. I'm only working 6 days as opposed to the usual 10 days. AND, I am going away for some of the holidays too. So I'm not all naughty...

I am due to see the specialist again on Tuesday. My wrist is slowly on the mend but too slow to make anyone happy! So hopefully, when I see him on Tues he'll have a better solution idea for me. It's just getting so annoying...It's been sore for over a year now!

So what do I do with myself now? Well, it is very much an anti-climax now that everything is over and there is no big thing happening in the next month or so. Uni will not be the same; considering I spent 12-13 hours at uni for majority of the week last term and will only be there for the usual 4-6hours next term. I guess, I'll just have to try and enjoy the slow pace for a little bit.

In between doing a million things over the past month, I've been able to find some time to do some reading. The current book I have been given to read has been fun, enjoyable, interesting but yet challenging, hard and often I just felt like not wanting to read it anymore. I was handed this book because all the characters in the book have funny little things about them that when all put together, become me! And just being able to see that really has been helping with the searching and questioning I have been doing lately. Not far away from finishing it now...

Well, I'd best be off! Adieu

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What was and is to come

So the insanity and lack of sleep continue....

We've finished up our 2 week Shop Production and it was a blast despite the early hours. It was 2 days each at 4 different sections producing various pattiserie items to be sold at the uni cafe. Here are some of our goods:

French Pastries

My Masterpiece-a spur of the moment inspiration

Another moment when my brain was working-Fruit flan lined with strawberry, kiwifruit & apricot

More French Pastries

So besides my normal timetabled classes, I've also been spending a lot of time training for the upcoming Culinary Fare @ Greenlane Showgrounds. Myself & another girl are competing in a team skills competition-Toque d'Or (Golden Hat). We will be competing against 11 other teams and some of us have put or names forward to be eligible to be nominated to join the NZ Culinary team. And no surprises, I have put my name forward...Whoever that is selected will have to opportunity to join the other chefs on the team to compete at International level. How cool?!

We are now just over a week away from Competition day. We will be competiting at Hall 5, Logan Campbell Centre, Greenlane Showgrounds, Sep 3 from 12-4pm. Your presence will be greatly appreciated. Let me know if you are interested to come and I'll hook you up with more details.

Other things that are happening in the crazy life of Jean include 2 weeks of industry placement as part of my course. I have been placed at Rocket Kitchen in Penrose. I'm not really looking forward to it nor do I have any hopes of having a blast. The cool thing is I only have to complete 50 hrs in comparison to my classmates who have to complete 80 hrs. This is due to the ridiculous amount of hours of training that I will be putting in for the competition. SO, there are some benefits to my lack of sleep over the past month!

On a more serious note, in general things have been rough. At the moment, I'm doing a lot of searching and questioning. I've noticed that recently I've started to react & respond differently to situations/things. I'm sure it is a good thing; being more aware about myself but coz it is uncharted territory, I'm not quite sure how to handle it. Possibly being in the unknown and out of control adds fuel to fire.

It's been a rough few weeks. But hopefully, once things start winding down it'll get a bit better....

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Stupidity beyond comprehension

'Insane' best describes the current state of my life. At the moment, I'm in week 3 of a 52 day week. I'm hanging in there but at times....I don't do so well.

Anyway, so my insane life has involved uni, work, competition training and several functions that I have to and will be catering for. This week, for example, involves me being at uni 7 days. Esp with it being competition season, I'm bolted to the kitchen for hours at a time and missing meals. Apart from having enough time for 1 meal a day most days, we also have a very sleep deprived Jean.

I don't think I've ever been more sleep deprived in my entire life. For some bizarre reason, I thought I was in Melb today. And while training and receiving feedback from my lecturer, I kept thinking "You sound very Kiwi. Constantly saying 'aye'. It's feels like a while since I heard that accent...". Mind you, I was in NZ, at uni but for some weird and wonderful reason, I thought I was across the Tasman!!!! Just as well I didn't open my big gob and make myself look like more of a fool than I already am..... *sigh* (Just thought I'd share my stupid moment of a lifetime.)

To keep me mentally on to it and my mind off competition thinking, I've been loaned a fiction book. It's been a rather enjoyable and hilarious read actually. However, it's been a challenging and hard read at times too. I was handed this book to hopefully help me see me and understand me a bit more. (If that even made any sense).

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I know for the past year or so I've been rather with keeping up to date on my blog. Unfortunately, blogging does require a little too much brain power for my rather meagre brain. Therefore blogging has become an activity that happens only on odd occasions.

I'm currently coming to the end of what was suppose to be a 3 week holiday in between semesters. However, as most of you would have already guessed by now...Jean didn't have much of a holiday. Over the 3 weeks, I worked a total of 2 weeks full time whilst house sitting the entire time.

I had a great time house sitting. It's the second time I've house sat at this particular house-the first time over last X'mas and New Year. It was really awesome to have my own space and be able to have people round at my own discretion. No parents nagging and I could choose to go home whenever I wanted. Travel time to work was significantly reduced, which made it a lot better.

Besides from working, I did do a lot of eating. Actually...WAY too much eating. I'm going on an official fast when I start back at uni on Monday. The 'foursome', as I call us (myself and 3 other friends from uni enjoy our food a lot), spent a lot of time together over meals-cooked by ourselves or out at restaurants. We also spent quite a lot of time at the place where I house sat just chilling with card games, board games etc. Definitely helped to have stuff to look forward to doing after having been at work.

I also had 2 assignments that were meant to be done over these 3 weeks but they were left to the absolute last minute. Naughty me! I had 4 parts to be done and I must say...I managed to get them all done over 2 days. Not sure how good they are but they got done!

So it's back to uni on Monday and I'm SO looking forward to it. I was quite over holidays after the first week. I know you think I'm crazy but I think we established that a long time ago! We start on our bread module, which will go for about 4 weeks. I'm so excited and can't wait. This term is also the start of competition season for me. I will be competing in the AUT Toque d'Or team. It's a National competition that is being held at the ASB Showgrounds in about 7 weeks time. I am excited yet nervous bout it. I guess the prospect of the competition being 7 weeks away and that we haven't had any training nor have I met my team is rather nerve racking for someone like me.

Hopefully we'll start training the minute we get back. That'll definitely make me feel a little better. I'm gonna try to make it 2 trainings a week as oppose to 1 a week...Sounds like the Jean you know?

These past 2 months have been going a little better for me. I think the trip to Melb early June was something I really needed. And for it to happen despite all the hoops I had to jump through is truly a blessing. I came back from that in higher spirits. I'm definitely still far from feeling 100% but I'm getting there. Let's hope that it only gets better from here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


It's still rather surreal to think that I was in Melbourne just last weekend. I guess, the thought of me ever being able to head back across the ditch seemed like such a feat. And for it actually happen under such amazing circumstances is, for me, a true miracle.

Since this trip was confirmed, I was bombarded with many questions esp the one that went, "What's it for?". Before the trip, only a handful of people were told as we were told that it was confidential. But now, I can tell then world........

About a month-and-a-half to two months ago, myself and 3 others were privileged enough to be asked to represent AUT and NZ at 2 of the Australian Good Food & Wine Shows-Melbourne & Sydney. And without a doubt, we all said, "YES!".

Basically, it was an all-expenses-paid-for trip across the ditch. We would be employed by Tourism NZ over the 4 days to give them a hand at the shows.

Last year, Tourism NZ took an exhibit to Australia but they did everything themselves, including the food prep. Unfortunately, because they do not normally work with food they got a little too involved in the food prep and in turn their customer relations was compromised. SO they decided to approach AUT to see if they would be interested in working together with them. And I'm sure you know what their answer was...

So the exhibit they took across this year was a slightly revamped version of last year's. The way it was set out was so they it would be like a walk through NZ and sampling wines from the different regions. As you entered the stand, you would pass through Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Nelson/Marlborough & Waipara Valley/Canterbury. At each stand you would sample the wines from the specific regions and there would be food to accompany the wines.

The food available for sampling were NZ beef, NZ smoked salmon & NZ blue cheese. Each day, we put together approx 6000 pieces of canapes featuring the beef, salmon & blue cheese. I am now officially off blue cheese, smoked salmon & beef for at least the next 2 months! (I used to love 'em all).

So last Thursday, Daniel & I started our day bout 3.30am with last minute packing and off to the airport we went. We checked in at 5.30am and were off the tarmac at 7.30am. We arrived Melb Airport at 9.30am local time and got to the hotel bout 10.45am. It was off to get a quick lunch at a bakery just a few doors up from the hotel. Then it was off to work. Daniel was off to the Sofitel Hotel kitchen with Chef James Thomson and I, to the Exhibition Centre to help with setting up the stand.

At about 3pm, I went back to the Sofitel kitchen to give them a hand with prep-ing for the show as they were running rather behind. I really enjoyed being there and just being to see another hotel's kitchen and to compare it with Sky City's. We finished up bout 6pm and headed back to the hotel we were staying at for a briefing. That finished up about 7.45pm. By that time, Daniel and I were starving and were dying for some food. Though we were extremely exhausted, food was what was on our mind. So we headed up the road to my favourite Vietnamese restaurant. Boy, was it good...

We headed up to Daniel's room, had a nice wind down with a glass of wine each and then bed! By the time we got to sleep it was probably bout 10.30pm Melb time. SO we were up for about 21hrs!!!

The next 3 days went like this: Up at 6am, breakky at 7am and out the hotel door by 8am. We were at the show from 8am to 5pm. On Fri and Sat nite, I caught up with some really good friends and I had a blast. Sunday evening, Daniel & I went to St Kilda and had dinner at Di Stassio. Now, I had some real good meals and some bad ones and Di Stassio falls into the 'bad ones'! (Cuisine Magazine needs to check out their sources and where they get their restaurant reviewers from).

Mon and Tues were probably the most crazy days I had in Melbourne.

I started off Monday with a quick trip up to Melbourne Uni to get mom and dad their much loved uni t-shirts & jumpers. Then it was back to the city to get some bank matter sorted out. That took a little longer than I wanted it to but oh well. I had brunch with Daniel and then I had to nip out to the S.E. suburbs to visit my school.

My second mom, Bronwyn (aka Mrs O), was just classic. (She was my maths teacher in YR 10 & 12 and we got on like a house on fire while I was at PLC. We have kept in touch since and I was always introduced to her friends as her extra daughter). She was ready and waiting at the reception to take me round. It was like I was her long lost daughter and we were seeing each other for the first time. I spent about and hour and a half there. Mrs O made the biggest deal of all that I have been doing and even got my photo taken to be put into the next issue of PLC in Print (the school magazine). It was lovely to see everyone that I wanted to and thought it was extremely rushed I'm glad I did it. And Mrs O, you were so sweet and thanx for the guided tour!

Then it was off to my guardians. I spent the evening with them over dinner that I cooked. It was something that I used to do for them so this was no exception. It went down well, esp with the kids so that was good. The kids can be fussy eaters. After dinner, they dropped me off at BUGS. This was the gym club where I started my coaching career. BUGS is very dear to me and I'm so pleased that to know that I will always have a spot there for me whenever I'm back for good! I was great to see everyone and that BUGS was still going strong.

Tues involved a catch up with Katherine. We headed off to the zoo bout 9.30am and left bout 12.50pm. It was a lovely few hours we spent together catching up and enjoying the animals. Back at the city, we caught up with a friend that we hadn't seen in a long while too. After that quick catch up, we went for lunch at a Thai restaurant near the hotel. Lunch was really good-both food and the company. Then, a mad dash down to the supermarket to get the essentials-Doritos & Kettles chips-and a mad dash back to the hotel to grab my bags and head off to the airport.

We checked-in nice and early and it was another last catch up with another friend that was much like a sister to me while I was at school. So, I made that catch catch up last as long as I could and then I had to go through customs. :(

Off the tarmac we went and arrived back in Auckland At 12.15am on Wed morning! What a crazy trip!

- In many ways, I never left Melbourne. So many things are still there and the same. I still know the city as well as when I left (though I was a little rusty). I still love the place as much as I did.
-But in many ways, so much has changed. The girls I used to coach have all grown up that I didn't recognise them. It took a lot of prompting from the other coached and a lot of concentrating before I realised it was them. Mrs O's younger daughter is now in Yr 12. I remember the day I met her-she was in Yr 6!
-When I do leave, it will be hard-a lot harder then I first thought. Now, Auckland is home. My family is here, support system is here, friends are here, life is here. And without my friends at cession, I don't know where I would be now. But Melb has and will always have a special place in my heart but I know that it will be extremely difficult to say good bye when I do move.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Asia DownUnder

I've kept this real quiet for a while now coz I think it's rather embaressing and it's been made into a bigger deal than it really is. However, I know that most would disagree with me. And I know that if I didn't say anything, especially to those living offshore, when they eventually found out I'd get a complete bollucking.

So, here goes...If you remember me telling you about dad and myself winning a joint award, our local TV 1 got hold of that story and decided they wanted to feature us on one of their programs-Asia DownUnder. Well, they did the filming last Wednesday and it will be screening this coming Sunday, June 2.

If you are at all interested, tune in to TV 1 @ 8.30am on Sunday. For those not living in NZ, you are able to watch it on their website. If you are watching on the website, give it a few days to a week for them to upload it.

Hope you enjoy it... :)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Melbourne, HERE I COME!

I'm going!!!! I received a much awaited email on Thursday saying that they have approved my visa application for my trip in 19 days (and counting) time.

I'm so excited...This is truly an answered prayer. Thanx for all your prayers too.

I really can't believe it. It still feels so surreal. Never really thought this day would come.

I don't think it'll hit m til I actually get on that plane and it leaves the tarmac.

It's gonna be an extremely crazy and busy 5 days filled with very very hard work and a truck load of fun! I can't wait...

Now I just have to hang out til May 31...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Celebrating my 100th post with some masterpieces

I'm half way through my 2nd term at uni and it's been going well. I've been surprising myself with what I am now able to do more and more as we tackle new recipes. Must say, I am definitely a little more patient now when it comes to attempting new pastry recipes.

So to celebrate me finally getting to post number 100, here are some of my latest masterpieces...Enjoy!

My gingerbread house:

Fully iced fruit cake:

Mazipan roses:

Friday, April 27, 2007

Once in a lifetime

I still can't believe I'm writing this post!

Yesterday, myself and another girl from class were asked to stay back after class coz our lecturer wanted to have a chat with us. My immediate thought was, "Oh crap! What have I done now....". But I was wrong!

We were hand picked by the uni to go to Australia (either Melb or Sydney) for 5 days in June. ***Unfortunately, that is all I can say for now because we have been told it is confidential.

I guess the reason why I am so stoked is the fact that I was hand chosen but also that it is praticaly a free trip! All expeneses paid for-accomodation, flights, meals, transportation even $400 just for helping out. I get a free trip to Melb and an extra one for the year...

However, the only thing stopping me from going is a lovely thing called a visa. As most of you know, I was not allowed back into Asutralia for 3 yrs since the day I left. Even though my 3 yrs are up, there is still this seed of doubt that I may not get it approved. So I would really appreciate your prayers about this...

Aside form really wanting to go back to Melb and see my friends, this trip is also a once in a lifetime opprotunity and may open doors for me for when I eventually head back to Melb to settle.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Off duty

This has been long time coming. As of May, I am officially relieved from chow duty. I am excited, apprehensive, relief all in one. It's something that has been on the agenda for a while but couldn't really happen as at the time, cession had just made their big move to our own building. And the last thing chow needed was to start from scratch with a leader saying goodbye. So we decided that we would hold off on the decision for me to let go of that position til later.

"Later" eventually came a few weeks back while Melissa, Juanita & I met for a leadership development session for me. It actually happen so quickly that I wasn't really sure if I was comfortable about the decision we made. But since then, I am quite happy with our decision.

I was getting quite over feeling so pressured about chow paperwork each week. The challenge of 'running' chow was gone. It became more of a job. So I guess it was a wise decision.

SO what will I be up to now? I've been put in charge of anything food related for he slightly larger scale events that cession runs-things like Sunday nite cafes and marriage course meals etc etc.

This is probably a little more up my alley. I'm looking forward to a few years of being part of this ministry. After that, we'll see what happens. The first event I have to organise is already fast approaching. No rest for me...beter start planning! :)

Long overdue

Yes...I have been slack-not updating etc. Unfortunately, I just seem to be getting busier and busier each year. I know that often it is by choice but sometimes I really don't understand how I can be busier and more swamped with paperwork when I seem to not have taken on anymore. ANYHOW...

SO this post is definitely long overdue. About late mid March, I received a rather unexpected call from my Program Leader (AUT) at a very peculiar hour of the day-8pm! I answered the call in a rather worried voice as Glenys informed me that she had a back log of stuff to do and I was on that list of things to do. I'm thinking, "Oh crap! What have I done wrong now to receive a phone call at this hour?!". But much to my surprise, it was actually to inform me that I had won an award for the previous academic year that I was enrolled at AUT. And to add to the surprise...dad won the award too! Yes, we were joint receipients of this award! A first for AUT...

So off I went home and told dad about it. He was quite pleased, too. And her I was thinking that was that and looking forward to the awards ceremony.

Then the next day, I received another call from Glenys saying that news got round AUT and dad and I were making local celebreties of ourselves-AUT communications dept wanted to do a write about dad and I winning this award. So I said ok. I guess it wouldn't do any harm.

Long story short, we had an interview and photos taken. Here are some photos and a link to the article.

*I tried to put on some photos but I think the files were too big to be able to uploaded. I'll try again later. Enjoy the article anyway.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

3 years on...

Boy does time fly...

As of Monday, March 26, I have been in NZ for 3 yrs. I just don't believe it! I made it. I survived, still alive and sane (depending on what your definition of sane is). As of this date too, I am allowed back in Australia!!! Hurray...

I guess, I can't honestly say I have had such a testing year til now. So much has happened and still is happening. I graduated (this I never thought will happen) with a diploma, started working full time, competing at Nationals, finding out that I have a stuffed up tendon and am now back studying full time (glutton for punishment is what you call this!). In the midst of all that, the church I'm part of relocated and we now have our own building. This meant setting up new systems- still an ongoing process of trials and errors, building new relationships with other tenants that share the building, bigger and crazier, more exciting events.

The biggest journey I have been on this last 3 years is the journey of discovery; discovering who I am, why I function the way I function, how to make me a better me, who is God in my life, why is God in my life. I often still don't understand me. But it does amaze me that there are other people around me that get me more than I do. It's like I'm this book that you can read page by page. Hhhmmm....

So how does being a graduate feel? Rather surreal actually. It feels bizarre to be out in the working world. Getting up each day and going to work. When you are little, you seem in so much of a hurry to grow up but when the time comes to do just that you only wish you could turn the clock back. Having said that, it has been good to have started off my career at Skycity. To have that on my CV for future job applications will be of great help. I have learnt a lot through working there and interacting with people who work there.

Being chosen to compete at Nationals was just an amazing experience. Definitely one that I do not regret. Made friends and learnt heaps. What else could you ask for. Gave me a different understanding of competitive cooking, a new found respect. It was a very tiring 3 days of competition, a feeling I had never really experienced before and never have since. Maybe I will feel it again when I compete again...

cession is still going strong. I am still enjoying being part of this community (cession would be the one thing that keeps me from going back to Australia). As I said earlier, we now have a place to call our own. It was a very exciting time. Kinda scary in a way too (for me anyway) but definitely looked forward to. On the chow front, kitchen facilities are at times rather testing but we cope. Creativity and innovative spirit is put to the test. But no matter the situation, the meal still arrives at the servery, piping hot to feed the hungry crowd. Mission accomplished! :)

So how is being back at uni? Good and bad. Good coz I still enjoy learning. I enjoy the different kind of relationship I now have with the lecturers. More like friends than student-lecturer. Good coz I have a new found respect for pastry. I'm not as bad as I was/ I thought I might. Bad coz I am poor again! It's not the same without my old classmates. bad coz I can never switch my brain off. It is constantly running with the million things I have to do. Bad coz I am back to having double digit weeks, with days off few and scarce. Do I regret my choice? No. I'm glad I'm doing what I am doing now.

On another note, the injury to my right thumb tendon is official screwed. I've been on 2 types of anti inflammatories, 1 round of cortisone, (not enough rest), countless physio sessions and we are now looking at surgery! Yea, I'm pissed off and annoyed. I've been in a freaking splint on and off for 10 weeks since end of Oct and then permanently for the last 4 weeks. It is a pain in a butt. Every time I think it's getting better, it doesn't. Just chop me hand off, somebody.....

Anyway, so what does this next year have instore for me? Buggered if I know! I guess, what I hope from it is that my citizenship application goes through (I am yet to finish the application and post it off), make a much needed trip back to Melb to see everyone and do a big catch up, pass uni and probably the most important thing is to know me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What kind of doughnut are you?

I found this off Ryan's blog as I was wondering through cyberspace....

You Are a Powdered Devil's Food Donut

A total sweetheart on the outside, you love to fool people with your innocent image.
On the inside you're a little darker, richer, and more complex.
You're a hedonist who demands more than one pleasure at a time.
Decadent and daring, you test the limits of human indulgence.

Friday, March 02, 2007

What is going on?

I've been putting off writing this post for a little while now. Not because I can't find the time or couldn't be bothered but because it's a hard post to write. I'm not as worried about the big wide world reading about me and my life but more worried about the fact that by the time you finish reading this post, those close to me will know what's been happening in my life over the past few weeks. I guess, it's a case of being afraid to let others near me....

(Advance warning: if you do choose to read on, please do not be offended. It purely reflects me and what's been going on in my head.)

A lot of this may not make much sense but so I can try make sense of things, here goes:

Lately, I've been feeling a strange distance with people. It feels like there's a wall being built around me and it's getting higher and higher, bit by bit everyday. It may well be something I'm doing consciously or unconsciously. It seems very hard trying to connect with others, even feeling rather uncomfortable. Trying to start conversations aren't too successful, they just seem to dissipate into nothing-ness. I'd much rather be on my own, away from crowds.

Last Sunday was the 1st Sunday I'd miss church in a long long time. When it was decided that we where going out for dinner that nite with the family, I was pretty bummed. I don't like missing church and it's so much apart of my Sunday routine that it didn't feel right. But when Sunday came round and we headed out for dinner, I actually really enjoyed being away. A sense of being able to breath again, I guess. A sense of relief, of fresh air...

I'm finding it hard to trust people again. Not that the trust has been abused or they have been in trustworthy but I'm just finding it hard to open up and let people know when I need help or am nor doing too well and just want a chat. Again, this wall.

I guess, being back to uni without my usual bunch of friends is rather surreal. I'm still trying to get used to it. By trying to deal with this, I've just found it easier to make myself this lil box and stay in it.

The frustration of 'searching' for God is ever growing. It just seems the more I look the harder it gets. I often ask myself, "Why bother?". It just feels like I'm back at square 1. All the 'work' and 'effort' I put in before just seems like a waste of time. It all came to nothing...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Runaway Vacation

At 3.31pm on Friday arvo, I officially finished full time work at Rebo. I was on leave...

On Saturday, the plan was for Becs and I to head down to Tauranga. However, on Fri evening our plans changed in a matter or minutes (10 mins to be exact). The plans went from a day trip to Tauranga to a weekend roadtrip to Tauranga & Taupo with no real plans for accommodation or food except for lunch at a hotel where my friends worked in Tauranga on Saturday.

It was by far the craziest thing I'd ever decided to do in such a short period of time!

So we set off towards State Highway 1 at 10.15am. It was mostly a pleasant drive to Tauranga via Matamata. The first leg of the trip (to Matamata) took about 3hrs. After a quick dunny stop and getting ourselves a map we headed towards Tauranga. That took another hour or so.

I really enjoyed lunch. It was great to have a catch up with my uni mates after such a long time. Unfortunately the rain decided to join us and we had to make a quick dash into the dining hall as we were sitting on the deck enjoying the 5 mins of sun.

We got a quick tour of the kitchen and the rest of the hotel and then I bid adieu to my friends and we headed towards Taupo. Now...neither Becs nor I expected this drive to take 2 whole hrs!!! We seriously thought it would only take half that time. Oh well...It was still a great time we had together.

As we drove my 'Sponge bob' into Taupo, we headed to a backpackers that Becs knew about in hopes for a spare room for the nite. Unfortunately, (we kinda expected it) they were booked out. Our next plan of action was pretty much walk into any backpackers that we next came across and see if thy had any spare rooms. WE got lucky this time. The next one we walked into said "Sure! We have 1 room left". So we made the necessary payments and 'moved' in for the nite.

After settling in, we headed for the waterfront in search of our next meal. As we strolled down the street, I spotted a very flash looking bottle shop called Scenic Cellars, Trinity Hill and as you'd imagine I dragged Becs in so that I could have a nice look around. I was extremely impressed! Their range was just absolutely fab-the French, Italian & local wines were just absolutely top of the range. However, I did sense Becs' boredom starting to really boil so I asked what time they closed and said I'd come back later.

So we continued on our search for the nite's grub. We passed many cafes, pub restaurants and restaurants. Most didn't tickle our fancy but we eventually settled on Thai. Dinner was lovely-one of the better Thai meals I've had. I generally find most Thai meals here way too sweet and the main flavours drown by the sweetness. As an end result...a confused meal-was that the main course or dessert?

Anyhow....after dinner, it was a lovely stroll down the other side of the road by the actual waterfront. We took some photos:

As the sun sets...

As we took the last few photos we wanted, I dragged Becs back into the bottle shop. This time, I went in asking for exactly what I wanted; a bottle of Sauterne & a bottle of Chianti Classico. Having just rattled off this, sounding like I really knew what I was talking about we were taken down to the cellar. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I'm so glad dad said to get these wines....It was beautiful! It was split levelled and probably twice the size of the Depot if it were all combined and made into 1 level. It smelled of the wooden boxes that the wines came packaged in, just gorgeous. And the selection got better as we walked down the stairs. I was in heaven-well not literally but you get my drift. We spent another good 30mins down there as the sales lady showed me a few other bottles. The Sauterne was a definite but I was undecided on the red. Alas, after much debating with myself, I decided on a bottle of Brunello & a bottle of Nebbiolo.

I sensed that Becs' excitement levels were continuing to dwindle so up we went back up the stairs to the cashier and paid. Then it was off to the scenic lookout for a few more photos.

Sunset in Taupo...

This, we just had to take. How can you not?

The rest of the nite was pretty low key. It was back to our room, 2 rounds of Rummikub and then we hit the sack at 9.30pm. I was knackered! Having done majority of the driving, I was definitely ready for bed at 9.30pm.

The next day, we were up about 8am. Had a shower and packed. We were out of the backpackers bout 8.45am and headed to the bungy area for a nice morning stroll and more photos.

At 9am on a Sunday morning, who would have thought that there were people crazy enough to bungy off this platform?! But we witnessed it...

After our stroll, we headed back to the waterfront for brekkie. It was a plate each of pancakes, fried eggs, bacon & hash browns with a glass of juice and a coffee. Not a bad brekkie. Sure lasted us a LONG while.

It was back on the road and towards Huka Falls after the huge brekkie. It was my first time to the falls and it was a bummer that we couldn't stay longer to do some of the walks. Oh well, there's always next time. I truly love the sounds of water breaking, beit on the beach or at the falls. We were also graced with the presence of the jet boats.

The rapids as they slowly head for the edge and become the Falls

Huka Falls

Huka jets

All adventures must come to an end and this was ours. We both had to get back in time for church commitments so this trip was short. SO we headed back up State Highway 1 towards Auckland. We did make some stops along the way for petrol (Putaruru) and to replenish our famished souls (Hamilton). We arrived safe and sound back in Auckland about 4pm-ish.

All in all, a great lil' adventure. Would I do it again? HELL YEA! Still by far the craziest thing i have ever done but dare I say, I had a blast...So, thanx Becs for the great idea.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An evening at Long Bay

Last nite, Rebecca and I headed to Long Bay beach for fish & chips. It had been a long while since I was last at Long Bay and it is def my favourite beach. We had a lovely dinner and relaxing evening to end my working week...

Our fish & chips dinner from the local takeaway joint in Torbay.

These sea gulls decided to grace us with their presence & sing to us. We even received an encore!

As the sun sets....

Friday, January 12, 2007

A post of sorts

My first official post of the New Year....I've been pretty slack with postings lately. Oh well....wouldn't be the first time! Anywayz, so what's been the haps?

X'mas eve service was a rather quiet affair as most of the community had already headed away for their holiday or had family get-togethers. The highlight of the service would definitely have to be smelling the fresh bread cooking away in the corner with the intent of using it for communion. However, it didn't work and we had chocolate as a substitute......

The following week included working both stat days and moving to Sandringham to house sit. For 2 weeks, I had an entire 2 bedroom Victorian house to myself. A lovely backyard ready with rows of lettuce, herbs & fruit for me to harvest and have for many dinners to come. A magnificent kitchen filled with an awesome larder and well stashed cupboard with good equipment. The lounge decked out with a plasma screen. This was all mine for 2 whole weeks. Oh, and it was only 10 mins from work! It was fab to be able to get home before 4.15pm. I had never had that treat before. No traffic too!

I left today to head back home to my parents. I will definitely miss having a place to call my own. I wasn't quite sure just how much I'd enjoy being alone but I must say, I HAD A BLAST! It was great just to have my own space, esp after a long mad day at work. I'm gonna find it hard to be back at home again but I'm sure I'll cope...So if anyone needs a house sitter, I'm offering my services!!! :)

As for what I was up to for New Year's, I pulled an extra long shift on New Year's Eve only to get 4 hrs sleep and head back to work again the next morning. I didn't get a sleep in til the following Sat as I was on morning shifts. It was a hard week but hey...the pay cheque looked good.

As I count the weeks down, we are getting closer and closer to Feb 19. The day I start back at uni! I'm really looking forward to it...(as I'm sure you already know. Sorry to bore you). It's also getting closer to the week I'm' taking off from work before I head back to uni. I've got many fun things planned already but it does include a cortisone jab to start the week off though.

It has come the point where I need to get the jab coz my wrist just isn't getting better. Hopefully I won't be in too much pain!

For the past 2.5 months I have been rostered on what dad and I call 'honeymoon' shifts-Mon to Fri, 7am-3.30pm. Why honeymoon? Because these shifts are virtually non-existent to any chef in the industry esp for a commi....I've been really stoked to have all my nights & weekends free but above all, it's just been great to be in a routine and be able to plan ahead! I'm glad I've been able to prove myself to deserve these shifts. Let's hope it stays this way til I start uni. That'll be brilliant!

Well, I'm not one that likes New Year's resolutions...actually I hate them! Who ever achieves/keeps to the resolutions made?! Probably close to no one!!!! But I don't mind the idea of having some things in mind to aim towards; more like goals. So here are some of mine for the year:
  1. Get back into some sort of routine with scripture reading and other reading. I've been falling seriously behind since starting full time work. Just being so tired physically and mentally, the last thing I want to do is read.
  2. Get active! Again, due to full time work I have had no motivation (apart from the ever increasing kilos) to go for walks or runs or swims. At the moment, I'm looking into some dance classes but before that trying to fit in at least 1 run/walk a week.

SO here's to 2007.....Let it be an awesome year!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Look

I finally got round to changing things round on my blog. I know it is still a little bare....In time, I'll get it back up to scratch.

Til then.....