Song Family Blog

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Our Favourite Steak

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There are so many “perfect steak” posts and videos out there on the web, it makes me wonder whether one truly exists. Well, this is by no means perfect or the best, but it is our favourite. I cooked this for Erin on our honeymoon and since then it has always had that special feel to this meal.

We normally use ribeye on the bone. The meat itself is scotch fillet, but with the bone it’s labelled and sold as ribeye here in Western Australia. It’s definitely not a cheap cut, so it’s a meal for special occasions. Australia Day counts right?


We simply use a Masterfoods spicy honey, soy and garlic marinade to flavour/season the steaks. We take the steaks out of the fridge and then cover them with the marinade. We leave it out on the kitchen bench for as long as it takes for the steaks to come to room temperature. This is probably the most important tip to cooking an awesome steak.

I then whack it onto a BBQ that has been heating up for at least 5 minutes or so on maximum heat. This is because when you place your meat on the cooking surface, it loses a lot of temperature very quickly. If the cooking surface is not hot enough, the meat won’t sizzle and caramelise properly as the Maillard reaction won’t occur.

The Maillard reaction occurs when the  proteins on the surface of the meat recombine with the sugars present. The combination creates the “meaty” flavour and changes the color. This occurs most readily between 150-250 degrees celsius. The honey in the marinade also adds some extra sugars for the reaction to occur giving it a better crust and flavour to the meat.


After about 2 minutes which is usually when I see the blood come to the surface of the meat, I flip it tover to get the meat medium rare. I leave it on for usually another minute or two before taking it off the heat as the meat will continue cooking off the BBQ. It is at this point I rest the meat for about as long as I cooked it for. Don’t worry about it getting cold, during this time the meat actually continues cooking and its temperature rises by another 5 degrees or so.

Most importantly during resting, the meat relaxes. While under the intense heat of cooking, the protein strands contract and squeeze out all the water from its cells. When it is rested, the strands relax and take in the moisture almost like a sponge leaving you with a much juicer steak.


Australia Day is definitely a special occasion. There is no place like it. Although it was just Erin and I this year, it was really nice to catch up on some quality time with a special meal. It can’t get much better than an awesome steak, some salad and a beer, shared with your favourite person in the world. Meals like this will always have a special spot in our hearts – and our tummies!


Written by Jun Song

January 26, 2013 at 11:47 PM

Chocolate Chip Pancakes for Australia Day

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Happy Australia Day everyone. For those readers outside of Australia, 26th of January is the date that commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, New South Wales in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. Although today, it’s more well known as a day to relax, spend some time with family and friends and enjoy the fireworks. Sort of like 4th of July in America.

Well this morning Erin and I decided that chocolate chip pancakes would be our new Australia Day breakfast tradition. As newlyweds it’s important to start forming traditions of our own and start creating a vision for our future family rather than being tied down to our existing family traditions. Erin got up extra early this morning to make it for us to enjoy, and boy was it something else!


We used Cadbury cooking chocolate chips that held their form relatively well and were still gooey when we started eating them. My mouth was watering and we were both excited to dive right in. Don’t be stingy with chocolate, get the good stuff. You won’t regret it.


Erin usually likes freshly squeezed orange juice with her regular pancakes but I suggested we try it with the chocolate chips too for a Jaffa flavoured pancake. Turned out absolutely delicious!


I preferred the original chocolate chip for the texture. The batter itself rendered beautifully into a soft and light pancake with a crispy coating from the eggs and sugar. The soft gooey chocolate was so rich and welcoming.


Now for those of you that know me, I have a massive apetite. So imagine the shock I received when I started to feel full just after 2 of these bad boys. I suspect the richness of the chocolate had a part to play. That being said, it was probably a good thing that I stopped at 3 given the sugar content.


Erin’s pancake recipe is definitely something special. Her pancakes are my favourite in the world. It’s very much a cake rather than those runny shake and bake batters. It’s not for every day eating, but rather for special occasions. I think over the past few years, I have associated her pancakes with celebrations and milestones which makes eating them a trip down memory lane. I am very much looking forward to the next round of pancakes as well as the special day that it will bring. Thank you honey for the amazing breakfast. You are incredibly beautiful and talented in so many ways. Here’s to many more Australia Day pancakes to come!


Written by Jun Song

January 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Welcome Home Jubilee

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Everyone has someone they can call friend. Jubilee is no ordinary friend. He was my best man at the wedding, best friend in high school and quite simply one of the best human beings on the planet. He has been away for the past 6 weeks travelling all around North America as well as Singapore and Malaysia.

He was scheduled to arrive at 9:30PM. Erin and I finished trampolining at 9:00PM before I rushed to the airport to see him arrive. Luckily I made it in time with just a few minutes to spare. Saf and Jed were also there to welcome him home.


Jed being the great brother that he is, took Jubilee’s luggage for him while I simply excused myself to take this shot. Despite the amazing time he had abroad, it looked like he was glad to be home. We made our way back to Jubilee’s car only to find Jubilee hugging his car in happiness. He missed his car, family, friends, his bed, dog and home cooked food the most while away.


Jed actually brought Shelby into the house as a surprise for Jubilee when he got home. They were both so happy to see each other again after being separated for so long. 6 weeks in doggy weeks would be nearly a year and a half!


Jed made us some tea just as Jordan and Leisha walked through the door to join the party. Although they did have something to say about us drinking tea as our choice of beverage to celebrate. We all moved to the living room where Jubilee started telling us some of his tales of travel. He spared no detail as his eyes lit up as he recalled all those good times. He also started unpacking and gave out some presents. In the picture below, Leisha was marvelling at the bath salt that Jubilee packed for her. When Jubilee told her he packed it himself she teasingly called him a liar but really appreciated the thoughtfulness and care that Jubilee put into her gift.


Jubilee was so excited to share his stories and we couldn’t wait to hear more. Time flew by surprisingly quickly as the clock struck 11:20PM without us noticing. We organised to have a photo night where he would share some of the pictures and stories from his travels before we left.


I’m so glad to have him back home while another part of me is sad that your journey ended so soon. Welcome home brother. We’re so glad to have you back home.


Written by Jun Song

January 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Posted in Personal

Catching up with Farah & Dylan

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Living in missional community doesn’t simply mean living together. It has three main components where we live up, in and out. While I don’t have time to explain all in detail, today Erin and I did some “in” time as a couple with our friend Farah. Luckily for me she is an avid Instagrammer which saved me from needing to whip out my X100. “In” time is where we spend time with our family and friends to build relationship. Every relationship regardless of the capacity, is a commitment. Whether that commitment be a cycling buddy, sporting partner or friend, the relationship needs “in” time for it to grow. That’s why it’s so important to be intentional with catching up with our family and friends.

Farah came around with a fellow church leader, Dylan. He is currently studying to become a high school teacher and he leads, as he puts “the best group of year 10s” at South City Church. They didn’t come empty handed as they brought with them some drinks while Erin prepared chicken green curry with rice for us all. While waiting for the rice to cook, I introduced them to our trampoline and the rabbits out the back. We all had a blast doing some somersaults while Dylan went all out attempting to do a backwards somersault. Dinner prepared by Erin was amazing as usual before we spent the rest of the night playing Spaceteam, Munchkins and Taboo.


Written by Jun Song

January 23, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Posted in Personal

Viet Hoa with Wifey

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Viet Hoa on Urbanspoon

Mondays … need I say more? For Erin it is particularly tough as she was to get up at 4:50AM to work out before heading off to work. She’s usually not feeling 100% when she gets home from work so Mondays are the days I make sure she feels super loved. Today was no exception. When she got home from work, I decided to take her out to our favourite place for pho – Viet Hoa.


A bit of backstory about this place, Erin and I actually visited this place on the second day of our marriage before we headed off to our honeymoon. My family took me here when I was younger quite frequently and so the place has a special significance to us. Every visit is a trip down memory lane of all the great times in the past.


We got there for 6:00PM and luckily beat the crowd. Usually by 6:30PM the place is starting to fill up very quickly making it almost impossible to have a conversation. We were greeted by the usual “Please wait to be Seated” sign but were promptly seated by the window within seconds of our arrival.


One thing that always struck me was their selection of sauces and condiments on every table. The small tray was filled with hoisin sauce, chilli sauce, fish sauce (in a Kikkoman soy sauce jug), sugar, pepper, American mustard and salt. To my amusement they spelt fish sauce as “fish sause”.


When I take photos Erin usually let’s me do my thing. I find myself extremely blessed as most partners of photographers usually don’t put up with the camera taking up their man’s attention in their place. So I decided to play with the motion panorama feature of the X100 and get Erin in the shot.


By this point we had already ordered our food. Erin had ordered the Combination Laksa ($12.50) while I ordered my usual Seafood Ho Fan Noodle Soup ($12.50). Service is far from tentative, but you don’t come here for the service. This place is all about the food.


Erin’s laksa came out first which was quickly followed by my noodles. While I can’t comment on the laksa, I definitely have plenty to share about my seafood ho fan.


The noodles arrived in their usual massive bowl with plenty of broth to slurp down later. I usually eat my noodles with fresh bean shoots and mint which the waitress was more than happy to provide for me (at no extra charge).


One thing that was missing since our last visit just over a year ago, was the fried shrimp cracker topping that usually came with the noodles. This was one of my favourite parts of the meal and I had so many fond memories of eating it after it had soaked up some of the delicious broth. Times have changed I suppose. I dumped my bean shoots into the bowl with some torn mint and got ready to dive right in.


The noodles were soft and chewy, just how I like them while the broth was refreshing as ever. One thing to note about the dish is that there seemed to be less noodles than in previous times. If I had to give a percentage, I would say almost 20% decrease in noodles since last year. Luckily they weren’t as stingy with the bean shoots. Also the seafood was lacking but I was glad to see they had deveined the prawns before cooking them.


One of the benefits of brining Erin out to have noodles is the entertainment value. Erin is by no means lacking in skills with chopsticks, but the way she uses them always gives me a laugh. Especially considering we were eating out. Usually I am the one that would be doing something silly. She insisted that she lifted the noodles out of the bowl so she could place them into spoon before proceeding to eat from said spoon. The splatter from this exercise was also considerable.


It didn’t take long for us to finish our meals. While the service isn’t terrible, it is far from friendly. The waitresses however are very quick and competent. It was disappointing to see the serving sizes decrease as well as the omission of the fried shrimp cracker, but all in all the taste that I grew up loving was still there. Next time I will be sure to ask for extra noodles and see if they have any of the shrimp crackers for the garnish. Erin thoroughly enjoyed her laksa but I can’t really comment any more than that.

If you’re looking for some tasty pho that is reasonably priced, look no further. Don’t come with the expectation that your waitress will be your best friend, just expect them to be quick and attentive. Also, make sure you get there early as by the time we left at 6:30PM, it was already getting full and noisy.


Written by Jun Song

January 21, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Posted in Food, Mondays, Personal

We Love Sundays

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It’s not often you get time to just chill with people you love and care about. That’s why Sundays are so special to us. Nic and Kat were away on holiday so Erin and I brought church to our place for a brunch. This was followed by games of Dominion in which I managed to win both of my games.


Nic and Kat actually dropped by because they needed to pack for Mandurah so it was great to see them for a while. Aliyah was playing with her camera while Nic was showing her how to use the different settings. Joanne got her a new case for the camera so Aliyah got a chance to call her and thank her personally which was very loving.


Afterwards Jeremy came over for some catching up with trampolining, Munchkins as well as showing me how to properly operate a steady cam. All in all it was an awesome day of catching up with loved ones.

Written by Jun Song

January 20, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Posted in Personal

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Catching up with Sarah

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Sarah was back in town after being away for months in KL. She’s been an amazing friend and source of inspiration over the past year and a half as we worked together on Dragon Fly as well as some consulting for the studio. It explains why I wasted no time in making sure that I was able to spend some time catching up with her at C15 Espresso in Applecross.


The cafe itself has a beautiful interior that is flowing with natural light as well as warm incandescents hinting the warmth. They had an amazing assortment of pastries, cakes and other baked goods lining the shelves of the display cabinet. It was also surprisingly busy for 3:30PM.


I got there just before Sarah did and was greeted by a warm smile just after I took this picture. She looked amazing. It was a while since I last saw her but she was radiant and smiley as ever. Now some friendships require a lot of maintenance. The best thing about it was that I felt like we picked up exactly where we left off from our last conversation. We filled each other in on what was going in our lives, some of the things we struggled with as well as offering insight every now and then.


As the time drifted along, we started talking about what makes us who we are as well as what motivated us. I honestly didn’t expect to have such a deep and meaningful conversation on this particular catch up but was pleasantly surprised. I found that conversations become far more meaningful when both people are actively listening as well as asking the right questions. What is the point of a conversation in the first place?

I think it depends on the situation. At a party for instance, I would mainly participate in small talk as a social lubricant to plant a seed for a more significant relationship in the future. The conversation’s objective would be to find out about the person I am speaking to and make them feel like they are important to me – which is why I would be talking with them in the first place. When we share conversations with people we meet for the first time, we normally share the good things about our lives.

On the other hand, for a catch up like today, the relationship already exists. The objective of the conversation was again finding more about Sarah but this time it was with intentions to help and serve. I definitely felt the same being reciprocated. When we share conversations with people who love and care for us, we will not only share the good things, but also share some of the struggles we all face. We trust these people with our insecurities and make ourselves vulnerable.

As a proud male, I liken the idea of making myself vulnerable to standing with my legs wide open for a kick in the nuts. All open for judgement, condemnation which ultimately leads to fear of rejection. When I make myself more vulnerable to the people around me, I find it makes me more accessible as well as subconsciously giving them the permission to safely do the same.

This is where the magic happens. When we make ourselves vulnerable (rather than being egotistic), we create a safe place where trust can be built which lays the foundations for the relationship to grow deeper. As we find ourselves accepted from our friends in all of our flaws and weaknesses the fear of rejection fades away while making way for trust and love to fill it’s place.

It was an absolute pleasure catching up with you Sarah. Thank you for being the amazing person you are. Until next time, all the best.


Written by Jun Song

January 18, 2013 at 6:58 PM

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