Saturday, 30 May 2015
So I haven't posted for awhile...and that's mainly due to the fact that my Jakarta chapter is coming to a close and I have been busy packing up, finishing up work and getting ready for the move. I'll be heading back to Bali for a new job and a more laid back lifestyle. It's a big relief to be getting out of the city. I have struggled personally to adapt to life here and the opportunities for being in the outdoors and fresh air has meant that my health has suffered too. So I turn the page on the Jakarta chapter and look forward to the next chapter in Bali. I will pick up my old blog that I used when I lived in Bali previously and you can read about my new adventures there at http://thebalisideoflife.blogspot.com/
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Something about infrared films, that turn the most grabbiest of street scenes into something much more dream-like and fantastical. Jakarta streets are never dull, there is always some seller pushing his wares, stopping the traffic or setting up shop. Food for sale varies from across the archipelago and there are always a never ending stream of customers. Of course, street food is not for the faint of stomach, Jakartans have been eating street food all their lives so they have a natural immunity. I, on the other hand, am too scared to partake, basically because I often get Jakarta Belly even after eating in restaurants. However, I have it on good authority that street food is some of the most tastiest around. So, if you have a cast iron stomach, take your pick and get a real taste of Jakarta, and maybe a bit more than you might have bargained for!
Sunday, 1 March 2015
As I live so close to Ciputra World shopping mall, I tend to go there a lot for to do my grocery shopping. I thought I had checked out almost all the eateries it had to offer at this point and then realised that I had bypassed The Good Food Dept, a few times and forgotten about it nestled away in a corner of the mall. I popped in today for a visit.
The place is bright and airy, with a smoking section out in a separate area, that has huge windows and has the feeling of being on a balcony.
The menu has a good selection, offering something for everyone. One of the challenges I face being married to an Indonesian is that often when we go out and eat, he wants rice and I want salad. Not everyone offers this range but The Good Food Dept does. They have pizza, pasta, burgers, salad and some local favourites like nasi goreng. So, we're both happy with the choices. I opt for the Big Caesar Salad and am delighted when it arrives because it is a very generous portion with grilled chicken, avocado, romaine lettuce and three slices of toasted bread. The salad is really good and satisfying, with just the right amount of dressing. I order a classic lemonade to drink, and it tastes delightfully good and homemade. We did order spring rolls to start with and although I took a photo of them, the picture was slightly blurred due to my hurry to taste them! They were also very good with a sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce. Hubby ordered his nasi goreng kampung and was very content with his choice. We finished up with two cappuccinos, and as two very satisfied customers. I will definitely come back here to try something else on the menu and of course to allow both of us to be able to order to their hearts content.
The Big Caesar Salad
Sunday, 15 February 2015
So recently I was recommended to avoid eating eggs. Easy peasy you might say until you look carefully into how many things we eat actually have egg as an ingredient and well, suddenly it ain't that easy. Of course the most devastating food item that has egg in it would have to be cake. Therefore, you cannot imagine my sheer joy at discovering EarthSprout, a vegan baker right here in Jakarta. Hello cake again! They offer cakes and cupcakes as well as cookies and a raw cheesecake. I decided on the banana cinnamon cupcakes and the chocolate chip cookies. Other flavours were red velvet and chocolate mint. Six cupcakes were Rp. 150,000 and the chocolate chip cookies were Rp. 80,000. I didn't even have to leave the house to get them as they were delivered right to my door. I tried the cookies first. They were delicious, soft and slightly chewy but not too sweet. Chelsea from EarthSprout who organised the order for me kindly sent me three extra cupcakes so I got to try the chocolate mint and red velvet too! So nice of her.
The banana cinnamon was deliciously moist (even straight from the fridge) and the banana cinnamon flavour was perfect.
The red velvet had a subtle chocolate flavour, was wonderfully moist and flavourful.
The chocolate mint had a deep chocolate flavour with a lovely mint after taste. It was soft and delicious.
I couldn't find anything to fault any of the flavours and was perfectly satisfied with all the cupcakes. My husband enjoyed them so much that he said there really was no need to order cakes made with egg ever again.
Of course, treats that taste this good are not just for vegans but for the health conscious too. So if you fancy something extremely sinful but still lets you feel like a saint...place an order with EarthSprout!
Friday, 13 February 2015
When you live somewhere like Jakarta, for me, it's a daily struggle. I come from a small seaside town in North Dublin. I'm used to blue skies, fresh air, green rolling hills, rocky cliffs, lighthouses, fields, well you get the picture. Needless to say, most of those are pretty hard to come by in Jakarta. So why do I do it? Well, a part of you imagines it's not actually as bad as it is, a part of you is a slave to the money and a part of you reminds yourself that this is only a stop gap in a greater plan. I digress, because the main reason for this post is to share with you something that helps my life be a little easier here in Jakarta. Enter Beauty Barn Indonesia and their delightful products. I first discovered their products through my workplace, where I was given a small little bottle called Breathe Easy. When you live in a generally smoggy city, anything that helps you breathe easy is going to be welcome. Breathe Easy from Beauty Barn Indonesia is a mixture of essential oils that you can drop on your pillow and it helps clear your head and as I have discovered helps me have a very peaceful nights sleep. The scent is very calming and even just an inhalation from the bottle is enough to bring about a much calmer state of mind. Today, I came across Beauty Barn Indonesia having a promotion at Senayan City and came across their Tummy Mix, another blend of essential oils that helps with stomach upset. So apart from the often lack of fresh air, my other struggle here is with Jakarta Belly. Yes, I suffer terribly with stomach problems here, even though I try to eat mostly at home now. I think it has more to do with the water though that is used for brushing teeth or washing vegetables. After buying Tummy Mix today, I straight away rubbed some on my tummy as I am just coming through another bout of stomach upset. There was a nice warming sensation and I definitely felt a calming of the stomach cramps I have been experiencing. Being a blogger, I also received a very generous gift bag, which included a Lip Balm, Fever Down and Soother Ointment. The lip balm was nicely scented and very soft. The Fever Down also smelled deliciously soothing. It's specifically to help with lowering a fever in children. Although I didn't have a fever it made me want to just put some on simply for the scent. The Soother Ointment is for any skin problems such as rashes, bites and burns. It smells quite strongly of lemongrass, which I don't mind and rubs on easily to the skin.
Beauty Barn Indonesia's products are available in a number of locations around Jakarta. They also have a website where you can get more information on their products. For me I certainly know that I will be breathing easier tonight with a few drops of Breathe Easy on my pillow!
Monday, 9 February 2015
If you haven't been to GB Bistro in Senayan City and ordered the Bratwurst, then you are seriously missing out! This is a great place to eat, with a cosy pub vibe due to its warm wooden interior and sofa booths. The menu has a good selection of food ranging from fish and chips, pastas, soup and roast chicken. I cannot talk about the other dishes on the menu because I have fallen quite desperately in love with the bratwurst and can only seem to utter that word when asked what I want to order. It is two delicious, large sausages with onions on top, a choice of potatoes (well it has to be mash, doesn't it?) and red cabbage. It really is home on a plate for me. I find the whole combination just so heartwarming and like I could be sitting in my mum's kitchen enjoying a home-cooked meal. They don't serve it with sauce, but I always ask for some black pepper sauce on the side and it just takes everything up a notch. It's funny how food holds so many memories for us and how different foods remind us of a certain time or place. Sausages = Ireland, always have and always will. Just so good that I can find somewhere here that reminds me of that. If sausages are in any way your thing, I'd stop by here. You won't be disappointed!
Sunday, 18 January 2015
I'm no macaron connoisseur. Brownies, yes. Macarons, no. To be honest, they are not something that I have ever really felt a deep seated desire for when I'm craving some serious sugar. I'm more of a gigantic slice of cake or a fat brownie than a dainty macaron. Hey, I'm Irish and grew up with a grandmother who believed in doorstep slices of cake, always ate creamy Irish butter, loved her meat and potatoes and lived to be 92. That says something to me. I can't imagine what she would have thought of me putting a bright green macaron in front of her for dessert. She probably would have given a hearty laugh and told me to take it away as that possibly could never be described as a dessert. Yes, her hearty ways are deep in my veins. Hence, I have never inclined towards the dainty macaron simply because I would feel like I needed to eat a dozen of them in order to feel like I'd actually had a regular dessert helping. Me chomping down 12 macarons surely cannot be an attractive sight. However, for some reason while in Lippo Kemang mall, I happened to pass a small booth that had what can only be described as a rainbow of macarons on display. They looked so pretty and so inviting and they seemed to be calling out to me to give them a chance and indulge (yes, food speaks to me - other people are dog whisperers, horse whisperers, I was given the gift of being a food whisperer, the food tells me when it wants to be eaten, it's a terrible burden, really!) So I bought a box of 10 for 100,000. Not cheap. One tiny macaron = 10,000 meaning 4 would be 40,000 and for 40,000 somewhere else I could get a big slice of cake. There was a range of flavours but I opted for Baileys, peanut butter, coconut, red velvet and Oreo. I'm not big into fruity flavours. If I want something that tastes like a banana I will just eat a banana. That's just me. It applies to almost all fruit except lemon and lime, for obvious reasons. Lemon desserts are some of my favourites. So I took home my little box of not so multi-coloured dainty discs and gave them the taste test. Flavours were good and strong. They all tasted the way they should except maybe the Oreo, which I found a bit bland. My favourite was the Baileys, followed by the red velvet, then peanut butter, coconut and finally Oreo. The consistency is still weird for me. There is the crunch on the outside and the softness in the middle which although interesting cannot compare to a beautifully made sponge cake. Will I go back for more? Yes perhaps next time I am there I will break out of the comfort zone and try some fruity flavours. However, nothing compares to a large slice of cake or a fat brownie...