Thursday, January 14, 2010

Selamat Datang from Penang!

Last November hubby and I were lucky enough to jet off to Penang for a few days of R&R. Those of you familiar with my blog know that we're newlyweds and we really didn't get that honeymoon (it's coming US & Paris) so to get away for a few days was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I've never visited Malaysia let alone Penang so really didn't know what to expect and apart from Singapore (which is very Westernised), the whole Asian thing was very new to me. Taking off at 5am in the morning on an Air Asia X flight (again I've never done the whole discounted airline so I was interested to see what it was all about) I felt reassured (I hate, hate, hate flying) after the big boss came over and had a chat to me!!

So how was the flight - PERFECT! There was not a thing wrong with it at all. I managed to pack some Entourage DVD's and watched Season 5 all the way there and we were also given food and drink so the time went by quite quickly.

Landing in Kuala Lumpar on the other hand was quite an experience and getting on a coach to Penang, well, that took it to a whole other level. I thought it would be a great idea (me & my great ideas) to travel to Penang by coach to see the "country side" but by the 3rd hour I was ready to kill someone! Don't get me wrong there was nothing wrong with it & had we done an over-nighter in KL the coach ride may have been pleasant but after 5hrs on a plane and another 5hrs on a coach and then an hour to our hotel (yes it was almost 12hrs of travelling time) we were over it before it even began. Even hubby who is Mr Cool, Calm and Collective started snapping at every opportunity!!

When we arrived at the hotel all I could remember was my cousin Grace's words "You're going to love it - think of it as a tropical oasis of pampering and shopping" and I immediately felt a sense of calm.

The Hard Rock Hotel opened late September on the famous Batu Ferringhis beach strip. The official opening actually happens next month and if I could recommend anywhere in Penang it would definitely be here. You see a lot of the hotels in Penang have been around for years and are quite dated with most needing a refurb. The Hard Rock on the other hand is immaculate (being new of course obviously helps), the staff ever so helpful and the food delicious. You can do whatever you want there from watersports, relaxing, eating, drinking, pampering, visit their museum and even shopping has been taken care of. Whatever you want is right at your fingertips and if need be you don't have to leave the hotel at all.

But in saying that, here are some of the things we got up to on our romantic getaway:

Relaxing by the pool, reading my fave Aussie mags!

Relaxing some more - getting a parafin pedicure on the beach - bliss

Shopping at Gurney Plaza, where I picked up a Charles & Keith bag & Gucci sunnies for AUD$140

Walking down the main strip of restaurants and night markets.

The night markets strip, dead by day pumping by night!

The Hard Rock Hotel's Pizzeria on the beach - so yummy!!

The Eden Seafood Restauran which has to be seen to be believed

Lobster ready to eat!

My $104 lobster straight out of the fish-tank!

Bon Apetito!
So would I go back? Yes, in a heartbeat but probably not in November as it's a little too hot and very stormy which doesn't allow you to venture out and do much. All in all though it was exactly what we needed and what we'd hoped for "A tropical oasis perfect for relaxing, shopping and enjoying each other's company - without any interruptions."
Have you been to Penang? What did you think of it & would you recommend it to anyone else - I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)
Disclaimer: Belinda travelled to Penang with the help of Tourism Malaysia, Air Asia X and the Hard Rock Hotel, Penang.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My husband - Il Pizza Maestro

It finally happened my husband, the office working, football watching, "food expert" (or as I like to refer to him Perth's answer to Matt Preston) cooked me dinner tonight!!! It doesn't happen much and the last time I remember him cooking all on his own was when he proposed to me. Since then he gets in the kitchen and helps out here and there but never does something all on his own. Today though, success in the form of a mozzarella, tomato, ham and basil pizza.

I have to to say there's nothing nicer than watching a man in the kitchen cooking up a storm. Not only do you get a break in the kitchen you tend to enjoy it (the meal)more too!

So here it is the proof in the pudding, or in his case the pizza:

Hubby taking the pizza out of the oven!

Ready to eat

Have you got a pizza oven? What are some of the pizzas you've come up with? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

My big Holiday Adventure

Woohoo - We've done it! Yep we finally booked our dream holiday to the US and Paris and I'm so, so excited I can hardly breathe!!!!

Hubby & I have been planning this for more than two years and with all the craziness that's been happening it sort of slipped away from us for a while, but not anymore - it's happening!!!

OK so where are we going I hear you ask - first stop Sydney (but just for an overnighter) then off on the Qantas A380 to Los Angeles. From LA we then do five nights in Cabo San Lucas Mexico eeeeeeeeeee (I so can't wait for this), then from Mexico we do three nights in LA, four nights in Vegas, three nights in Miami and wait for it two and a half weeks in New York, New York woohooo!!! From New York we fly to Paris and spend one whole week there to which we come home via Hong Kong for a four day visit and then fly back to Perth.

All up it's a six week holiday & although not very long for some it's still my DREAM HOLIDAY and I can't wait!!!

Have you had a dream holiday, where you counted down the days til take off? What's your dream destination? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking in Choos :)

P.S FYI - My dream destinations: NYC, Mexico, Paris, Greece & Brazil - hey three out of five aint bad!!! P.P.S - 159 days til takeoff!!!

Times square - New York on New Year's Eve
NIVEA Presents the Times Square New Year�s Eve Celebration

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Little Caesars open in Leederville - woop woop!!!

A few weeks ago Theo Kalogeracos - brainchild of Little Caesars Mundaring opened up his second Pizzeria replacing Retro Betty's in Leederville (another big TICK for Leederville - it's slowly but surely becoming the foodie haven Perth's been missing). And after three weeks of indulging I thought why stop now and went back for a my Little Caesar's fix!!

You can spot Little Caesars a mile away - the queue of people lining up all the way down the street or the alfresco diners sitting on upside-down black buckets usually gives it away!!But what makes Little Caesars so unique are the types of pizzas Theo & his team come up with day in, day out. On any given day you can find a pizza with pumpkin, lamb & yoghurt, prawns & prosciutto, chocolate and toffee, with each one absolutely delicious in their own right.

On this occasion I could not wait to sink my teeth into the Jane's Addiction (prawn & proscuitto) which was the very first pizza Theo introduced me to back in June at the Good Food & Wine Show.

This delicious combination of garlic cream sauce, prosciutto, prawns, wild rocket pesto and mozzarella work together beautifully - making my taste-buds jump for joy with every bite!

Have you been to the new Little Caesars? What do you think of it? Do you love it as much I do? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)

Diving into the Jane's Addiction

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions or as I like to call it This Year's Goals

So every year I take the time to write a few New Year's Resolutions (or as I like to refer to them "This Year's Goals") and sometimes I keep them and sometimes, well they don't last the distance. This year I've culled them down from 10 to 5, so here goes:
1. Lead a healthier lifestyle. This includes cutting out junk food and cooking tasty, nutritious meals, limiting my alcohol intake & exercising (more than I do now which is nada).
2. Make more money. The last couple of years have bean quite crazy in terms of spending our cash flow, so hopefully this year this is the year we can generate more wealth and cut down our debt.
3. Learn French. I've wanted to do this for a while now and with our impending holiday in Paris not too far away I've got even more of an excuse to learn the language of love.
4. Spend more time with family and friends. They're the ones who matter most.
5.Volunteer. Again, I've wanted to do this for a few years but have not had the time - this year I'm hoping to make the time and volunteer as a mentor at my local high school.

So there that's it. What about all of you? Do you have any New Year's Resolutions your hoping to keep? Or do you not bother with resolutions at all? I'd love to hear from you - Cooking In Choos :)

My family & I celebrating New Year's in style!


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