Friday, September 26, 2014

Jalan-jalan Phillip Island

the nobbies phillip island
Phillip Island @ The Nobbies

The main attractions on Phillip Island are basically:

1) Chocolate Factory
2) Churchill Island
3) Penguin Parade
4) Koala Conservation Centre
5) Phillip Island Wildlife Park
6) Nobbies Centre (Seal Viewing)

On our first evening, we went to see the famous Penguin Parade but didn't have time for other attractions cos we arrived at the Island quite late (We had stopped by Rayner's Stone Orchard before heading to Phillip Island cos I wanted to do the fruit farm tour but we missed the tractor tour by 5 minutes and we didn't have the time to wait 45 minutes for the next tour). Photography of penguins are strictly not allowed, so no pictures of the penguin parade except for the souvenir picture at the entrance, where you can take a group photo and they will insert digitally the penguins in the photo.

I didn't really do any research on Phillip Island as we had visited it with my parents in 2009 BUT I was slapping my forehead when we went to the Penguin Parade because apparently there are different packages available for the penguin parade:

1) General Viewing - which is the basic package (Adults $23.80)
2) Premium Plus - which is limited to 190 people and situated at the main path of the penguin and have to be bought about 2-3 days in advance (Adults from $46)
3) Ultimate Adventure Tour -limited to 10 people and accompanied by a ranger at a secluded beach away from main parade ground (for 16 years and above only, tickets from $84.20

We really really should have taken the Premium Plus because the penguins did not come up in mass numbers at the same time, given the cold wind when you are sitting in front of the beach, of course you don't want to be sitting on the front row from 1 hour before penguins are expected to arrive cos you will be freezing by then. The super tiny penguins come up in maybe group of five or four near dusk when it is getting dark, by then I don't think my MIL who is 73 could see the penguins clearly, so too my kids, especially the 4 year old boy cos he is not an observant boy in the first place. We also forgot to bring binoculars :( Anyways, I asked the ranger after about 45 minutes sitting at the 4th row whether they will be expecting more penguins and should I stay as I have with me kids and a senior, she suggested going to the Premium Plus boardwalk  to see the penguins waddling back to their nest.(they open the Premium Plus boardwalk about halfway through to general viewers  45 minutes after the penguins first reach the beach) So we did that. Though it was not like I expected, cos I had initially thought I would see maybe about 20 penguins coming up to the beach in quick consecutive turns, but the view of the penguins waddling besides us at the boardwalk was sufficient enough for my MIL and kids. 

Be sure that you are dressed warmly for the penguin parade cos it gets very chilly by the beach, gloves, long johns, sweater, jacket and snow cap highly recommended during winter. I even brought a few packets of chemical warmer for my kids and MIL just in case they can't cope with the cold weather. 

The next day, hubby didn't want to go to the chocolate factory, churchill island nor koala conservatory centre cos we did that in 2009 and he said it was just ok (But personally I think if you have time to kill before the Penguin Parade and have not seen any koala, the Koala Conservatory is quite ok but the koalas are high up on the trees and you can't really see them up close and Churchill Island is beautiful and has a farm with milking activities at 2.10pm and you can get to meet cattle, horses, sheeps and baby animals).

mana boleh kasi makan kangaroo di melbourne
Kangaroos hopping towards us for food @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park , they were very gentle :)

bercuti ke melbourne
Geese @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park 

We decided to go to Phillip Island Wildlife Park cos my 4 year old wanted to feed kangaroos and The Nobbies cos I wanted to see seals.

We spent quite some time at the Wildlife Park, it has changed quite a bit since 2009, with different types of kangaroos in different parts of the park. The geese which was quite aggressive from my memory was also less in numbers and did not greet the visitors hungrily for food from the entrance much to my relief. There were also other animals like the wombat, echidna, reptiles, fruit bats, tasmanian devils, koalas, variety of birds and emus that we try to avoid cos we are too scared to feed them!

melbourne holiday cuti cuti
Kangaroos @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park - the grassland was expanse

phillip island with kids
Wombat @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park

Echidna @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park

Next stop was the Nobbies to see the seals (the first picture at top of post) the place was really beautiful but we didn't manage to go walk down the boardwalk to the beach nor did we get to see the seals cos the seals were at the rocks far out at the ocean and our teeny weeny binoculars are not strong enough to see that far. Sadly, all three cameras that was supposed to feed views of the seals on the rocks at The Nobbies Centre were not working.. ho-hum.. and the seal cruises were not running on the week that we visited Phillip Island :(  Oh well, it was time to say goodbye to Phillip Island and head to Melbourne CBD..

bercuti ke melbourne dengan anak kecil
Feeding the kangaroos @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park

melbourne jalan jalan anak kecil wisata
My happy kids getting what they wanted, close up encounter with kangaroos @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park

melbourne phillip island with kids wildlife park
The gentle kangaroos @ Phillip Island Wildlife Park

 You might also like:

jalan-jalan australia
Lake Mountain Ski Resort (Post in Malay)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Make muffins with leftover buttercream frosting

what to do with extra buttercream frosting
#bakingexperiment leftover buttercream frosting used to make banana muffins!

So, I had over ripe bananas sitting on the kitchen counter and I thought that I should make muffins since no one is going to eat those bananas. Then I realized I don't have enough butter and as I looked around my fridge I saw leftover buttercream frosting that's about 3 weeks old. I took it out to soften and tasted it. The leftover buttercream tasted fine as good as the first day haha so I thought since buttercream frosting is essentially butter and sugar (both used to make muffins) why not just use the leftover buttercream frosting to make banana muffins? Man, I would throw out the leftover frosting anyways rather than let my child pick on it with a spoon so why not just try and see if it will work?

So, I went ahead and googled for banana muffins recipe and decided to use this recipe from as a guideline before just winging it.

delicious buttercream frosting recipe
This was the vanilla cupcakes that lead me to make the buttercream frosting in the first place.

First of all, let me just be clear that my frosting recipe is not the really sweet one, my buttercream frosting recipe is a simple one as such:

1 cup salted butter
2 cups sugar
4 tbsp light cooking cream
3 tbsp vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together until fluffy.

So, then I had extras that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be using to frost cupcakes in the near future so I used the leftovers to make banana muffins and hey even though I won't say that it is the best banana muffins ever, it is edible, it allows me to make use of my leftover frosting and it is still moist. 

recipes with leftover buttercream frosting
#bakingexperiment banana muffins with leftover buttercream frosting

So, my leftover frosting banana muffins recipe became as such:

1 cup frosting 
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
2 long ripe bananas (I used Del Monte)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup and 2 tbsp cake flour
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semisweet choc chips

*note that the sugar used is only 2tbsp because the frosting is already mostly sugar

How to make the muffins:

1. Beat the frosting, butter egg, sugar and vanilla extract together.

2. Add in the mashed bananas.

3. Separately in a dry bowl, mix your flour, salt and baking powder to ensure that the baking powder is evenly distributed and will not give a bitter taste at random bites of the muffin. Then fold in the flour mixture into the batter. Remember FOLD in don't whisk yeah?

4. Fold in the choc chips.

5. Pre-heat oven to 175C.

6 Original recipe calls for 25 minutes in the oven, but maybe I was using smaller sized muffin cups cos mine was cooked in under 10 minutes.

leftover buttercream frosting
The end product: banana muffins with leftover buttercream frosting

Was it delicious? I thought it was but my two boys didn't like it..  this was just an experiment to show that yeah you can do something with leftover buttercream frosting instead of just letting it sit in the fridge for days (or in my case weeks) or in the freezer for months.. feel free to experiment with your own recipe.. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jalan-jalan Melbourne: Yering Gorge Cottages, Silverwater Resort & Makanan Halal Phillip Island

best stay in yarra glen
Cuti-cuti Melbourne, Yering Gorge Cottage @ Yarra Glen

Jotting down our accommodation for Yarra Glen and Phillip Island trip and also halal food options on Phillip Island. Maybe the information will be helpful to some :)

We stayed at Yering Gorge Cottages for our Lake Mountain Resort trip cos we did not want to stay in Marysville. Yarra Valley was very picturesque and we did not regret the stay. Although the view from the cottage is not as what we envisioned, (we had assumed that we will be overlooking never ending greens with cows grazing haha) it was still nice enough, there were greens and you can't miss the kangaroos! You can't feed them though cos they are wild kangaroos and not used to humans feeding them but they pretty much keep their distance.   

accommodation in yarra glen lakemountain
Outside the cottage

where to stay in yarra valley
Our view from the cottage at Yering Gorge, in the evening kangaroos will be seen all around

Yering Gorge Cottages was pretty quiet, the first day came with complimentary wine (which of course we didn't drink :P ) chocolates, a huge breakfast basket with loads of jams, butter, muesli, bread, another huge basket of fruits a big bottle of fruit juice and a milk. Wow!

lake mountain melbourne marysville yarra
Yering Cottages : Kitchen and Dining

jalan-jalan melbourne yarra valley
Cuti-cuti Melbourne: Yering Cottages

where to stay near lake mountain resort
Cuti-cuti Melbourne: Yering Cottages 

best place to stay near lakemountain resort
The bathroom with a tub and separate shower @ Yering Cottages

It's pretty much very well equipped, iron, a small laundry stand, heated beds and individual heaters in the room. It was very comfortable in winter. The laundry and dryer facilities are at the Yering Room, a short walk away. 

Yering Gorge is about 75km away from Lake Mountain Resort around 1h 15 minutes drive. No halal food options nearby, you gotta drive about 30 minutes to get to a halal restaurant which is either:

1) Gulistan (Afghan restaurant) at 768 Station Street, Box Hill North open 6.00am -11.00pm call +6139890 8808 to confirm opening hours.

2) Persian Flavours at 338 Springvale Road, Forest Hill , open for lunch and dinner call 03 9878 3087 to confirm opening hours.

silverwater resort phillip island review
Stay in Phillip Island: Silverwater Resort

stay near phillip island
Silverwater Resort; Phillip Island

Day 3 in Melbourne was Phillips Island and we decided to stay at Silverwater Resort (it's our second time here, the first time we came in 2009 it was quite new and we really liked the place, so, for sentimental reasons, hubby wanted to stay here again) we were given a high floor to get a nice view but since MIL is with us we had to request for an apartment change to a ground level so that MIL don't have to climb the stairs. We ended up with an apartment that faces the playground. Oh Well..the kids loved it cos they can just run to the playground from the verandah and there's a field at the back where you can see cows grazing in the morning.

self-contained apartments phillip island
Stay near Phillip Island @ Silverwater Resort

san remo stay
Kids playground at Silverwater Resort

The beds are not heated, there are no individual heaters in the rooms but the apartment does have reverse cycle air conditioning. The only downside is, you can't turn it on in both the rooms and the living room at the same time. If you turn on the reverse air conditioning in the hall, the rooms gets cold and if you turn it on in the rooms, the hall gets cold. Wifi did not work for a long time and when we did get connected, the connection was very very slow. Since we only stayed one night, we didn't bother complaining though we did call up reception 3 times to ask for the password. Shouldn't that have given them a hint? But, all they ever did was sound exasperated that we did not find the paper that has the wifi password that is supposed to be on the table where the TV is. There was no such paper.

cuti-cuti phillip island
Silverwater Resort @ San Remo

At Silverwater we did not really cook as there are halal food options on Phillip Island, which is just a short drive away.  

The first day after check in, the plan was to eat lunch at the Chocolate Factory's restaurant on Phillips Island, go to the Wildlife Park then head for penguin parade. But we got to the restaurant kind of late and were told that yes they serve halal food but the kitchen is closed (those intending to eat at Chocolate Factory's restaurant please check the hours beforehand else you get disappointed like us but 12pm -3pm is a safe bet cos I saw a sign that says "Curry lunch 12pm-3pm).

penguin parade makanan halal
Makanan Halal @ Phillip Island ; Jeronimos

halal restaurant phillip island
Inside Jeronimos @ Coowes

So, we headed to Cowes to find halal food. Luckily, I did a bit of research beforehand so we knew Jeronimos at Cowes (right at the end near the beach area) is halal. The address is 11 Thompson Avenue, Cowes, Victoria. Right opposite it is Burger Edge (with halal options) I wanted to buy a burger at Burger Edge, just to give it a try, but the lady behind the counter said their beef and chicken are halal but not the lamb and I can't remember what else, so I gave it a miss.

makanan halal phillip island
Halal Options @ Burger Edge, Cowes; Phillip Island

Food at Jeronimos was average but hey with lack of options we can't be choosy. Kids had pizza, hubby had chicken parma, me fish and chips and bryani with lamb for the MIL. After that it's straight to penguin parade! Wildlife Park has to wait till the next day since we had to be at the Penguin Parade at about 1 hour or 45 minutes before  sun set.

philips island halal
Halal pizza @ Jeronimos; Phillip Island

makanan halal philips island
Chicken Parma @ Jeronimos; Phillip Island

filip island halal
Fish and Chips (halal) @ Jeronimos; Phillip Island

Hopefully, next post I will update on what we did at Phillip Island. Till then!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cuti-cuti Melbourne, Campbellfield, Healesville Sanctuary,Lake Mountain Ski Resort (Day 1 & 2)

holiday lake mountain ski resort melbourne snow
Cuti-cuti Melbourne @ Lake Mountain Ski Resort

Hello!! It's been a while since I last updated the blog, I foresee that I won't be very actively blogging this year since dah jadi part-time driver dah for my kiddo hantar pergi balik sekolah.. jam kat Kota Damansara tu.. Ya Allah macam nak pengsan! Tapi sekarang I dah pandai amik jalan jauh sikit tembus Persiaran Mahagoni + Jalan PJU 5/1, baru join balik jam @ Persiaran Surian tu.. jauh memang jauh tapi cepat sikit (sikit je tak banyak, entah2 pakai minyak lebih haha).

But.. busy2 pun nak jugak update entry pasal cuti ke Melbourne last august! Sebab kalau tak update the memory will be lost nanti all the details lupa :) manalah tahu ada rezeki boleh pergi lagi hehe.. 

We touched down at Melbourne at wee hours in the morning so terpaksalah duduk hotel yg berdekatan yg murah dan juga ada shuttle yg boleh fetch kita awal pagi tu sementara tunggu car rental ofis buka.. Best Western Airport Motel & Convention Centre jadi pilihan.. oklah untuk beberapa jam berehat, dapat tidur, bilik ada heater, nasib baik bawak maggi goreng untuk anak2 makan sebelum tidur :)

cuti-cuti melbourne
Halal Thai Restaurant @ Campbellfield

halal nuggets melbourne
Halal Super Chicken and Seafood @ 333 Barry Road

10 am lepas dapat kereta kita bertolak ke Campbellfield untuk breakfast dan juga halal meat sebab cadang nak duduk Yarra Glen 2 malam untuk ke Healesville Sanctuary & Lake Mountain Ski Resort. So, halal restaurant takde yang berdekatan di Yarra Glen tu.. paling dekat about 20km away, jadi nampak gaya masak di cottage saje ye.

Sebenarnya ada 2 options to get halal meat enroute to Marysville / Yarra Valley, you either go Broadmeadows Shopping Centre or Barry Road @ Campbellfield, tapi tengok review of Broadmeadows macam neighbourhood dia kurang sesuai and also because nak beli halal sausage and nuggets untuk bebudak ni @ Sultan Halal Meat @ Campbellfield :)

halal food melbourne
Panic Pizza @ 335 Barry Road, Campbellfield

jalan-jalan melbourne
Halal Panic Pizza @ 335 Barry Road, Campbellfield

First stop makan! The stretch @ 333 Barry Road, Campbellfield tu berderet-deret makanan halal, cuma ada yang belum buka  jam 11 pagi.. yang dah buka, Panic Pizza, Super Chicken and Bizzler Takeaway, ada jugak kedai grocery store  middle eastern tak  silap I, sempat beli tahina kat situ.. Makan kat sini, MIL makan kebab, anak2 I belikan nuggets, chips and donuts @ Super Chicken memang kenyang!

halal butcher melbourne
Sultan Halal Meat @ 362 Barry Road, Campbellfield, Victoria

Drive tak sampai lima minit sampai ke 362 Barry Road for Sultan Halal Meat, dapat lah beli daging untuk masak 2 hari :) I beli jugak hot dog (its called sucuk) tapi anak2 tak suka, rasa lain banyak spices and more meat, they tak accustomed to the taste lah..

jalan-jalan melbourne
Healesville Sanctuary

Before check in cottage, kita singgah ke Healesville Sanctuary sini I tak amik gambar sangat.. sebab.. disappointed haha.. I ingat dia macam Lone Pine Sanctuary @ Brisbane, tapi dia more or less zoo yang agak sederhana besar ( I target zoo kecik je cos MIL tak boleh jalan jauh) daaaaan yang paling disappointing adalah kangaroo tak boleh feed *sobs* tapi yang best nye ada playground with sand.. so.. anak2 I happy lah main pasir.. 

By the time keluar Healesville Sanctuary dah about 430pm, kena cepat2 check in cottage so boleh solat zuhr and asr b4 maghrib.

lake mountain snow equipment hire
Renting snow equipment @ Lake Mountain Ski Hire (yes they have toddler size!)

The next day, after a hearty breakfast, we set off to Marysville to hire snow equipment and to check whether we need snow tires for the day or not. Harga sewa water proof jacket, pants, boots, gloves and toboggan about AUS16 for kids and adults I tak ingat.. tapi kita spend about slightly less than AUD200 for 3 adults full snow equipment, 2 kids boots, and a day pass to Lake Mountain Ski Resort. Actually,  yang snow hire ni kita pergi to the first one that we saw, bila drive through Marysville sebab nak cari FoodWorks (grocery store) nak beli carrot untuk hidung si Olaf, nampak lagi banyaaak kedai ski hire, harga lebih kurang or murah sikit.. 

@ Food Works belilah a few packs of Potato Chips (Smiths cheese and onion Ya Allah sedapnya) chocolates and drinks sebab takut driver ngantuk drive pusing2 round the mountain... 

jalan jalan melbourne snow
Lake Mountain Ski Resort :)

nearest snow in melbourne for kids
Lake Mountain Ski Resort 

The drive up was ok not too bad.. and finally sampai dah @ Lake Mountain Ski Resort.. yeay!!!Sejuuuknye... Kita tak naik atas2 lah, snow trail ke, ski area ke.. kita just stick to snow play area je untuk budak2 cos MIL pun ikut sama.. itupun sejuk sangat and in the end MIL duduk @ cafe je while we played with the kids for about 2 hours. I cuma pakai tudung biasa (ful snow gear but no snow cap), sejuknye tak boleh tahan! But it was really really fun! Especially tobogganing with the kids. It took a few tries but the kids got the hang of it really fast :) Then of course we did an Olaf and a snowball fight :) The kids didn't want to go back but we couldn't keep MIL waiting by herself for too long. Below are pictures of the kids having fun : 

main salji di australia
The snow play area @ Lake Mountain Ski Resort ( you gotta go higher for ski trails and summit lookout)

jalan-jalan australia
Climbing up!

salji melbourne snow ski
Going down!

ski australia
Adik's steering!

build snow man melbourne
Our very own Olaf!

The kids had fun and so did the mother :p basically we chose Melbourne cos Umair wanted to build a snowman (Frozen influence) and since August is the only free date we have for a holiday.. Australia is the nearest place to go for a winter holiday in August. Thanks to Umair, we created a lovely family memory :)