Photos from the West Coast

I was clearing some photos on my phone today, and found all these photos from my trip to the West Coast of the USA in 2013! For some reason, not all my photos were there but here are some of the nicer ones that I've managed to find and import into my laptop. On this trip, I went to San Francisco, Yosemite National Park and Monterey, California. Unfortunately, however, my Yosemite photos are missing from my phone so I guess this will be a (somewhat awkward) collection of part 1 and 3 of my trip! Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_0330

IMG_0339

A distinct feature of San Francisco is its hills - there are hills everywhere, or slopes - whatever you'd like to call them. I'm just thankful that my parents decided to rent a car for the trip, although climbing these hills on a daily basis would do wonders for my fitness (albeit temporary).

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Made a trip to Blue Bottle Coffee, but unfortunately this was before I got into coffee...

IMG_0412 Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset IMG_0442 IMG_0439

City lights bookstore! If I'm not wrong, it has appeared before on a buzzfeed list of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, and I'm really glad to have been to at least one of them so far. Hope to go to more in the future!

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Day trip to Stanford University.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_0539 IMG_0566

Bits and bobs -

IMG_0665 IMG_0820

Monterey Days

IMG_0985 IMG_1015 IMG_1030 IMG_1032

 

 

Visited the loveliest crepe shop - if I'm not wrong, the name was crepes of brittany and the crepes were fantastic. One of those things when you just remember how amazing the taste of it was but you've forgotten too much to be able to put it into words.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_1122 IMG_1125 IMG_1129

 Other things

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_1133 IMG_1166 IMG_1168

 We celebrated my sister's birthday in Monterey, and my mom baked a lovely cake!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_1314

The beautiful house that we stayed in -

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 Oh, how I wish that I could go back there sometime soon. It's such a beautiful place. I've recently been hit with a bout of wanderlust - maybe it's seeing people travelling everywhere and the pictures that make me just want to go somewhere. I just finished a month-long internship at a law firm (which explains the lack of bakes recently), which was a great experience and I met some awesome people. But I kind of want to take some time off and fly somewhere and um, eat. Or explore. Something, anything.

When in Rome {Sights}

A series of photos from my trip to Rome last December! We stayed in a boutique hotel, with tumblr-worthy lights and all that, and amazing service too. It was within walking distance to some of the major tourist destinations such as the Pantheon, and the Spanish Steps. Funnily enough, my family and I walked down the Spanish Steps while we were exploring the nearby area on the first day without knowing it! Only when we were walking away we say a signboard detailing the history of the Steps right next to it.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

We made a trip to the Vatican City, the smallest state in the world.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Taking a walk to the Colosseum - an approximately 2km walk from our hotel.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The red and blue balloons you see in the picture were part of a protest that we saw on the way there. It was quite something - there were so many people, all holding signs and shouting and there was the occasional news reporter and TV guy.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The Colosseum

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_3788 IMG_3789 IMG_3790 IMG_3794 IMG_3796

And other things.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_3919 IMG_4004 IMG_5124

 

Observations:

  • Rome is the land of selfie sticks. We encountered people trying to sell selfie sticks to us almost everywhere we went. We declined, of course.
  • Everywhere pretty much looks the same - in a good way, of course. The architecture in Rome is beautiful.
  • There's a church round almost every corner.

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset This recipe has been a personal favourite of mine for years now.

But over the years, the cookies have evolved from a melty mess to cookies that stood up straight in the oven, withstanding the 190-degree oven temperature. While I am still trying to find out how to achieve that perfect round cookie shape that is just right, I think I have found a way to salvage their shape. And if anything, these cookies taste just as good as ever.

Cheesecake is one of my favourite things of all time. There's something simply magical about cream cheese that I can't quite explain - that beautiful balance between tangy and sweet; the texture that can be whipped and transformed into something as bewitching as a cheesecake. Or these cheesecake cookies. Oreo cheesecake cookies.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

I practically grew up on Oreos. Cookies and cream was (and still is, one of) my favourite ice cream flavour and for six consecutive years, I had island creamery's Cookies-and-Cream flavoured cake for my birthday cake. Loaded with Oreos, it was the best thing ever. Give me a tub and I could single-handedly finish the whole thing. Sorry not sorry.

These cookies are loaded with Oreos as well; the batter to cookie ratio may be a little imbalanced but who could complain about more Oreos?

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies Recipe adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 113g butter, room temperature
  • 90g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 200g white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125g all-purpose flour
  • 12 oreos (add more or less if you wish!)

Steps:

  1. Take your butter and cream cheese out of the fridge to soften! Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius.
  2. Using a paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well-combined.
  3. Add the sugar and vanilla extract, mix again until well-combined.
  4. On low speed, add the flour and mix until the flour is just incorporated.
  5. Mix in the Oreos using a spoon/spatula. Try not to eat the dough! This cookie dough is especially tempting given that there are no eggs in the batter, but try, ok? (read: eat limited tablespoonfuls.)
  6. I used a tablespoon to scoop balls of dough onto my baking sheet, before baking in the oven for about 12-15 minutes (I put mine in for 14). Basically, until your cookies brown a little around the edges.
  7. Cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy!

[note: my cookies did not seem to be flattening, so at about the 10th minute I used a small fork to press them down, giving the cookies a nice fork-shaped imprint on the top of each cookie!]

IMG_6410