Autumn’s Sights, Smells, Tickles & Tastes

What a gorgeous day, what a gorgeous place, what a gorgeous experience. What can I say? Nature is beautiful, this country is beautiful, autumn is beautiful. I just wish I shared it with my loved one but he had a work-do just a few steps away from me! So we’ve come to an agreement to return again hand in hand, maybe also with a tartan mat? 2 flute champagne glasses, some strawberries, sammies? That is only IF the weather behaves for us. The trip to experience nature was truly an experience, zero degree temperatures, fog, icy winds, frozen facial muscles that compromise speech! YES, I couldn’t even buy my ticket at the counter because I couldn’t talk! My facial muscles went numb. The ticket lady must have been ROFL watching me massage my face before I could say a word! Even I found it ridiculous… I was so embarrassed.
I enjoyed a 3 hour walk around this beautiful grand park, going through windy paths, enjoying tropical flowers, getting the life scared out of me by Mr Lion Seal from America! Didn’t realise they were so daring. This one came right up to the fence, where I was stood only inches away from it trying to grab a photo when it popped up grunting in front of me. Scared the life out of me!!! Anyway, moving on…
We went hunting for a Vietnamese restaurant called Good Morning Hanoi but went around gallivanting for about 1 hour when we gave up because we found this little gem instead. Din Tai Fung’s got good reviews from a number of bloggers that I follow so we decided to try it out. The interior was lovely, with an open kitchen where you can see the chefs mould and make the dumplings.
The menu’s very Chinese but with a Korean twist for example, there’s a Kimchi Xiao Lung Bao which is very weird. Their dumplings were a must when visiting the restaurant, so we ordered Xiao Lung Bao which they’re famous but the prices were a bit steep which I was gutted about and the variety of dumplings were very limited as well. The rest were steamed buns and just food. We also ordered the egg and shredded pork fried rice and lemon chicken. The quantity was a bit small for the prices, the chicken dish was quite not very impressive and the dumpling skin were starchy, chewy and thick, the filling was oily and the soup inside was oily and too thick. I’ve had better Xiao Lung Bao in Singapore. The presentation was beautiful though, looks exactly like the Xiao Lung Bao in Singapore. Not sure if another visit is warranted.
Better luck at home though, it’s somehow always better when you cook and eat what you want and how you want it. For breakfast, we had delicious warm oats with banana and milo sprinkles, left over chic-ku-teh soup with tofu and cabbage, fresh cucumber and cherry tomato salad on the stove(?). Definitely did the job with thawing a cold body after a chilling day at the grand park! Yum!

And now for some sweet endings, since we’ve finished our jumbo pack of NutriGrain cereal bars, I decided to make some granola slices to use up some food in our cupboard. This big golden slab had all the goodness I could find in my cupboard.
Instant Oats
Goji Berries
Pumpkin Seeds
10 Grain Cereal Powder
Sesame Seeds
Dessicated Coconut
Organic Coconut Oil
Golden Syrup
Mix together the seeds, raisins, oats, goji berries, dessicated coconut, coconut oil, golden syrup, cereal powder and water together until thick but still mould-able. Press down onto a baking pan lined with baking paper. Put in the oven on a 180degC heat and bake for 30min.
In the meantime, combine date paste, dessicated coconut and water till well combined and thick paste.
After 30min, take the oat mixture out of the oven and spread the coconut and date paste over the top evenly. Put it back into the oven for another 30min.
Remove and enjoy!!!! Best warm too… I love the smell of the coconut oat slices when it’s in the oven, and couldn’t wait to have a go at it once out of the oven. I sliced them into blocks and devoured all the edges because that’s my favourite part – the overbaked, slightly dark brown, crunchy edges. I simply love them. They were crunchy, fragrant and sweet but moist at the same time. We are enjoying it with banana and yoghurt for breakfast this whole week… Ohh help me!!