Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How to make Kambucha (fermented tea)

So in this post I would like to tell you how I make Kambucha tea. I would not say that I am an expert in kambucha making but I've made a few rounds already and it has all turned out alright so I'll share my method with you.

What is kambucha?

First things first, what in the world is kambucha? I was first introduced to kambucha when I stayed with an Air BnB host in Wellington who was into organic whole foods, yoga and healthy living, all the stuff I'm keen on too.

Kombucha is simply fermented sugary tea. The fermentation is from some sort of bacteria or yeast called SCOBY or "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast". The scoby eats the sugar in the tea, transforming it into a fizzy, refreshing and very healthy drink full of probiotic and other goodness that your intestines will love. The closest way to describe the taste is like apple cider, without the alcoholic effects.

What is scoby?

To make kambucha tea, you have to get hold of some scoby for yourself. The easiest way is to ask your friends who are into health foods. I'm sure you will find someone into fermentation in the group. If you really can't find any scoby, you can make your own scoby.  I have never tried so can't help you there. 
Scobys are rubbery, slippery things with brown trails hanging from it. It looks kind of disgusting really :) Think of it as the 'mother alien' making 'alien scoby babies' which are the layers under it. Once you found someone who has scoby, ask them to give you a layer of scoby and you are on your way!
My pet scoby

Preparing the tea

I use 2 jars for the kambucha making process. Use glass jars as scobies don't like metal. Try the second hand shops for a cheaper option or jars can be purchased at a knick knack shop. 

Put around 10 tea bags of black tea into a large jar. My jar is about a foot and a half tall. I add 2 extra bags of green tea just for fun. The scoby needs the caffeine to feed so using pure green tea won't do. Add in roughly 7 table spoons of brown sugar. For my smaller jar, I use 7 bags of black tea, 2 bags of green tea and roughly 5 table spoons of brown sugar. It doesn't matter really how many bags of tea or sugar you add. The scoby will eat whatever you put in.

Add in boiling water and leave it to brew.

Adding the scoby

Once the tea has cooled (you don't want to kill your scoby in hot tea), add in the mixture the scoby was living in, which is the old kambucha. This neutralises the acidity of the tea to provide a better environment for the scoby. It doesn't matter how much scoby you have as it would grow according to the food you feed it. 

I have recently experimented with adding in a few strawberries and raspberries for added flavour. Totally up to you.

Scoby in the jar of tea

Cover your jars with a breathable cloth, date the jar and let the scoby work its magic for 7 - 10 days.

Kambucha in the making

Bottling your Kambucha

Let your kambucha brew for around 7-10 days. The warmer the temperature, the faster it brews. You can test it after 6 days and when you are happy with the mix of sour and sweet, you can start the bottling process. I usually like mine after 10 days. 

You have to save your scoby for the next kambucha batch so scoop your babies into a bowl (remember not to use a metal ladle!) and pour some kambucha in with it. Pour the rest of the kambucha through a sieve before transferring it into bottles.

Plastic or glass bottles are fine. It's just like beer, where it will still fizz in the bottles. I've got a blog post about brewing your own beer too. The kambucha will still brew in your bottles as there are tiny scobies working their magic so the taste might change to a more vinegary taste if you keep the bottles too long. 

Bottled goodness

There you have it. Brewing kambucha is super easy so why not give it a go? 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Gaining Financial Freedom

Over the weekend, as I was browsing through FB before I got out of bed, I came across this post from a traveller who in just 9 months, have gained financial freedom and is travelling the world, all because he took a leap of faith and invested in an online business.

I've always wanted to travel the world and not worry about cost or paying off my mortgage, etc so I thought, if he could do it, so can I!

I've made a commitment to revolve my life and follow my dream. Interested in gaining the same financial freedom? Have a look at this video and see how EASY it is. See you on the inside!

To my financial freedom!
ok latest update. The company was going through a merge and my sponsor was busy speaking at the launch of the new merger so I wasn't getting the support I wanted. Have since ceased to try but who knows. I might revisit it in the future. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Spring skiing on Whakapapa, Mt Ruapehu

tried learning to ski for the first time ever 2 seasons ago. Coming from a country that has the same temperature all year round, snow was such an alien concept! 

Started with some ski lessons on Whakapapa Ski Area, Mt Ruapehu. Mt Ruapehu has the largest commercial ski area in New Zealand. As a beginner, I will definitely recommend at least one lesson with a professional as although your partner or friend knows how to ski, they are not trained in teaching. Lots of relationships can be saved with a first ski lesson. 

My hubby is actually quite a patient person so I was lucky in that respect. After 2 lessons at Happy Valley, the beginners area, he took me all the way up to the top to try to gain my confidence. The opposite happened as I cried on the way down cause I wasn't ready lol! Lesson : step by step next time! He persisted and 2 years later, I can finally ski!!

Mt Doom in te background

Spring skiing is pretty awesome on Mt Ruapehu as it has a longer season compared to the south island ski areas. Spring skiing is also warmer but there's still heaps of snow on the ground. Mt Ruapehu is a great place to learn due to a range of beginner trails up on the mountain. I personally love the Waterfall TBar area - perfect for beginner skiers. And how can you beat having Mt Doom as a backdrop??? Scenery of the surrounding Tongariro National Park is just awesome!

Isn't the scenery just gorgeous???

Yup. Make your days count. Live life to the fullest. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Our Wedding Day - Joleen & Jerry Get Married

Weddings... It's always a funny day this one. Butterflies in your stomach and last minute panics with bursts of bridezilla moments. I think I did quite well (well, in my mind at least I wasn't a diva).

The morning started out quite cruisy really. My 3 bridesmaids (maid of honour Melanie, sister Edeleen and cousin Alicia) said they've got everything sorted and I fully trusted them. There's nothing more I could do except to let things go and just enjoy my big day.

We got to Wairakei Resort at 9am so my girls could do some last minute set up with the tree. Mel did my makeup and Jess Wall did my hair. Love both my makeup and hair btw, the girls did an amazing job.

Getting ready...

My handsome Daddy xx
The pics made it look so calm but by the time we got to getting me into my dress, we were frantic as we were running late and my guests had been sweltering for 20 minutes under the hot Taupo sun. At least it was better than windy rain and cold!

We finally got me all laced up and down to my handsome daddy. Oh he looked radiant that day. So happy he's walking me down the aisle xx

We walked in to none other than Ed Shereen's Thinking Out Loud which I so love because of his beautiful lyrics of mysterious ways people fall in love and how they will keep on loving each other till they are 70 (and beyond...). I was gripping my dad's hand very tightly as I was feeling so nervous and excited at the same time.

It was a magical feeling walking down the aisle, passing all my family and close friends, to my handsome husband to be. Quite surreal actually.

Daddy gave me a peck on the check and handed me over to Jerry. It's happening!!

If you are ever looking for a celebrant, I will highly recommend Belinda de Lautour from The Wedding Angel. She will take care of you from the beginning planning stages, and hold your hand all the way until the end. She was so amazing. Made our ceremony so beautiful and personal. I couldn't help it. I teared up and mucked up my makeup after our vows when Belinda was doing the blessing of the hands.

Tearing up *sniff*

Pronounced Man & Wife

We performed a beautiful sand ceremony where we poured two different colours of sand (red representing me and black representing Jerry) to symbolise the coming together of our two cultures and individuals as one - and as the grains may not be separated, so would our lives be intertwined forever.

Sand Ceremony

Mum closed the ceremony with a touching reading and it was all over and done in half an hour. Felt like time had passed so fast! We had some amazingly fun shots with the bridal party by our lovely photographer Krystle from Bespoke Photography. Love love it!


It was on to speeches and a BBQ lunch before the next round of guests arrived at 2.30pm. Jerry's soccer team, my colleagues and friends shared our day with us as we cut the cake, did a yam seng and had our first dance. Thanks to best man Ray for getting Jerry to agree to the first dance!

Yam Seng!!!

Our guests xx

Check out all our pics here...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pre-Wedding Pics in Taupo

It's been ages since I wrote in this blog. A lot has happened since 2012!

Jerry finally proposed at 23:05 on the 23.05.15 (on my birthday) at the lovely Chateau Tongariro.

I said YES!

At first I wanted to do our pre-wedding pics in KL but I didn't think Jerry would like being in a suit for hours in 30 degrees much. We decided to take our pics in Taupo instead with the lovely Krystle from Bespoke Photography as our photographer.

Loving her photos xx

View the rest of her pics here...

In front of Taupo's Floatplane

At the Taupo Harbour

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hilton Lake Taupo here I come!

The power of the Secret and the Universe definately works. All the signs were there. At the door when Julie and Penny said put your business card in there are plenty of goodies to be won to Shona rubbing her luck off me (coz she's been winning lucky draws at the last few events).

The best prize was a night's stay at Hilton Lake Taupo, overlooking the magnificient lake and mountains of Taupo in the background. Hilton GM Clinton reached into the bucket, I channeled my energy and visualised him picking my card. Sure enough, a DGLT card with the Taupo macron was chosen - whose could it be? Mine, Christine, Ness?? Clinton looked at me and said my name. Yes. The power of the Secret does work.

Thank you Taupo Chamber of Commerce and thank you Clinton, my favourite person in the world.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Malaysian Prawns in Taupo

Saturday 3 September 2011

Bought a GrabOne deal for half price on the Huka Prawn Park in Taupo but found out later that locals get half price anyways so felt slightly cheated but nevertheless.. since both of us have not been to Prawn Park, I thought it would be great venue for a date.

Saturday came and we were there on the dot for the hourly guided tour around the centre. Check this out - the prawns here are actually - wait for it - MALAYSIAN prawns. What the hell right??? Steal our prawns and make it a tourist attraction hmpph!!! But they're doing a great job at breeding them so they're forgiven.

Macrobrachium Rosenbergii otherwise known as Giant Malaysian River Prawn

The species is called Macrobrachium Rosenbergii (Giant Malaysian River Prawn) and was chosen because they are good for commercial production. Basically because they breed fast and grow big - can be harvested at 8 months. Our guide told us that their largest prawn was named “Horse” - an amazing 68cm. He died of old age at 2 years old.

Old Horse

Coming from tropical waters, the prawns won’t be able to survive in the cold Taupo waters so the park uses the nearby geothermal water to heat up the fresh Waikato River water up to 20c which they then circulates throughout the ponds. Their bill would be $40000 each month if they used electricity to heat the water up!

Our first stop was the educational tour through the Nursery & Hatchery where more than one billion babies are born each year. There are quirky signs placed at the various stages of their growth. A male stud has SEVEN girlfriends who spawn up to five times per year - a 50-gram female can produce up to 50.000 eggs. Had fun hand feeding the baby prawns – very geli and they bite.

How true


Our guide showed us how to fish for prawns too. You need to be VERY VERY patient to fish for prawns which I am NOT. Draw in the line THREE minutes after you feel the first bite coz they want to take the bait away, run and hide, then only start eating. It was torture waiting.

This is how you do it...

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Another popular attraction is “Shawn’s Walk” which incorporates an Interactive & Educational Hatchery Tour where guests can stroll through the park experiencing Shawn’s Jumping Rocks, Riverside Nature Walk which includes feeding wild trout and a Geothermal Foot Bath where visitors can soak their feet and enjoy fantastic views of the Waikato River.

Quick before I get wet!

I was getting hungry so we headed to their Riverside Restaurant where you can sample their whole prawns and other prawny dishes. The place was filled with Asians! Hahah. Goes to show how adrenaline seeking we Asians are :P

Prawn platter

All in all, quite a good date. And the number of prawns we managed to catch – ONE.