Philippine Food Festival, Shangri-la Sydney

Spring means new beginnings, stripping the sleeping, dormant self, an awakening.

Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!
Cheers to longer days, sunshine, trips to the beach, and quality time with lovely friends!

And so, I come bursting out of my winter slumber and into the spring sunshine. The last few winter months have been cold, hectic, brutal, and yet the hiatus was much needed. I feel revitalised and energised (and yes, thanks to some flu-fighting medications, lots of Vitamin C, and a newfound sense of mindfulness).

What better way to come back to the blogging scene than to feature a fabulous Filipino food festival at Cafe Mix in Shangri-la Sydney? Thanks to the teams both here in Sydney and in Shangri-la Makati, Philippines, we were treated to an epic banquet of food, glorious Filipino food. There’s nothing more nostalgic than going back to your roots – think rice, pork, fish, vegetables, coconut, ube (purple taro), soups, mango, kakanin (sweet dessert rice cakes), and the star of the show: L E C H O N.

Roast beef and Cebu lechon
Chicharon - two whole bilaos!
Chicharon – two whole bilaos!

For one week only, Cafe Mix at Shangri-la Sydney is dedicating its buffet menu to everything Filipino, thanks to the dream team of chefs from Shangri-la Makati: Rico Celdo Venzon, Athena Blanche Tan Oropesa and Erma Balaquiao Palanca. I felt back in the Philippines again and rightly so… tastes, smells, and sights of the Philippines were everywhere. Dish upon dish upon dish were like hugs from the mother country, and it was so welcoming, so nostalgic, and oh so delicious.

The Philippine Food Festival is presented in partnership with Philippine Airlines and The Philippine Department of Tourism. To honour the 70 years of collaboration between Australia and the Philippines, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney will donate $2 for every person who dines at the festival to Operation Restore Hope.

For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com. For more information, visit www.shangrila.com/sydney.

Thanks to Shangri-la Sydney for the generous lunch at Cafe Mix to try the scrumptious Philippine Food Festival. Trish and Mr J dined as guests of Shangri-la Sydney.

Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: lotus seed, pusit, grilled eggplant, macaroni, tuna
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Entree and side dishes: seaweed and bamboo shoots, embutido (pork loaf)
Steamed fish
Steamed fish
Pochero of mixed seafood
Pochero of mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Grilled mixed seafood
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Ginataang alimasag (crab with coconut cream)
Sisig - freshly made from the sisig station
Sisig – freshly made from the sisig station
Pakbet - mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Pakbet – mixed vegetables with shrimp paste
Cebu lechon - boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don't forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Cebu lechon – boneless roast pork with the crackliest crackling, flavoured with herbs and spices and meat that is oh so tender. Don’t forget the Mang Tomas sauce!
Calderetang dila ng baka - ox tongue
Calderetang dila ng baka – ox tongue
Chicken adobo
Chicken adobo
Kare kare - ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Kare kare – ox tail with peanut sauce, and with a side of shrimp paste
Desserts: leche flan - creme caramel
Desserts: leche flan – creme caramel
Brazo de Mercedes
Brazo de Mercedes
The dessert table
The dessert table
Banana turon
Banana turon
The halo halo station
The halo halo station
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Ube ice cream for the halo halo
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk
Halo-halo: mixed sweets of macapuno, kaong, red beans, sweet plantains, jellies, topped with shaved ice, ube ice cream, ube halaya, leche flan, and drizzled with evaporated milk

The well loved San Miguel Beer
The well loved San Miguel Beer
Tropical Maganda drink - similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass... yum!
Tropical Maganda drink – similar to pina colada, but with rum, Malibu, pineapple and coconut cream. The beach in a glass… yum!

The Philippine Food Festival is on until Sunday 25th September 2016 at Cafe Mix, Shangri-la Sydney. The buffet lunch is available from noon to 2:30 p.m. at $57 per person.  The buffet dinner is available from 6 to 10 p.m. at $82 per person.  For bookings, call (02) 9250 6000 or email dine.slsn@shangri-la.com.

Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Madeleine of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna's friend and Mr J!
Thank you to chefs Rico, Athena and Erma from Shangri-la Makati and Deane of Shangri-la Sydney, with fellow bloggers Anna of Adobo Down Under and Jen of Sweet and Yummie. Oh and our guests Anna’s friend and Mr J!
Continue Reading

Bionade Organic Softdrink & an Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

We’re blessed with beautiful friends who are expecting some equally beautiful babies. I’m surrounded by amazing mothers and mums-to-be, while already being an “Auntie” to a few little kiddies. So this particular afternoon tea baby shower, I pulled out the cupcakes and the flowers and the organic softdrinks to cater for a few of our girlfriends and their little ones.

I was also ecstatic to have been given some Bionade bottled drinks, which went down really well for the ladies who are pregnant and breastfeeding. Since the drinks are non-alcoholic, organic, and really, really delicious, they were the perfect drinks to serve for our chosen “audience”.

Plus, I was running the Nike She Runs 10 km run that night, so alcohol was a definite no-no for me.

My favourite hands down are the Ginger Orange and the Lychee (ok, I’m a fan of lychee martinis, so this was a great alternative).

BIONADE is:

• 100% certified organic in both raw materials and production
• On average 60% lower in calories and sugar than other soft drinks
• Gluten free, vegan & vegetarian friendly
• Non-alcoholic – the perfect drink for kids and family
• Free from colourants, preservatives, artificial flavours or other nasties typically found in other brands on the market
• Delicious, refreshing and thirst quenching
• Available in 5 delicious flavours: Lychee, Elderberry, Herbs, Orange & Ginger AND the brand new Cola flavour being launched end of March.

 

Now that I’ve finished my run, I’m now thinking of maybe mixing the Lychee drink with some vodka and vermouth and make my own cocktail. Yes? Watch this space!

Thanks to Digivizer and Bionade for the amazing samples that I got to share with a bunch of pretty awesome girlfriends.

Continue Reading

Almond Breeze Banana & Strawberry Smoothie

This is my attempt at eating (or drinking?) something sweet, healthy and yet full of flavour.

My welcome to spring and all its colourful beauty.

My ultimate way back to healthy living (after a few weeks of holiday eating, drinking and lack of exercise).

It’s delicious, light, filling and actually satisfies my sweet cravings. Oh, and make sure  you drink from a delicate glass (or in my case, straight from the Mason jar complete with squiggly straw) for a new level of deliciousness.

Thank you to Almond Breeze and Beth & Rachel from Icon International for the lovely Almond Breeze package (and the Bell Mason jar!).

Banana & Strawberry Almond Milk Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

1 small banana
3 medium sized strawberries, frozen
150mls Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla milk
3 ice cubes
Optional: 2 tbsp yoghurt (I used Gippsland berry yoghurt – my breakfast of choice!)

1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

For a cheeky light, coffee shake:

1 espresso cup of coffee (I used my Vella Nero Espresso beans thanks to Bao Town’s recent pop up at Vella Nero cafe in the city)
150mls Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla milk
3 ice cubs

1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Continue Reading