Dec 29, 2012

Malaysia Truly Asia

I am back! And I am so sorry that I have not been updating.

From exams to graduations (Yay! I graduated), mini adventures with the family and a long horrendous 8 hour flight (give or take), I am back in my hometown, Kuching aka the city of cats!
I cannot begin to describe how happy I am to be back despite the hot and very humid weather here. I missed being at home. I missed going out with friends. And mostly, I missed the food.

From Day 1 until now, it has been non-stop eating, visiting all my favorite food stops. I have also been keeping a mini food journal on my Instagram, taking photos of what I eat each day. For memory sake.

So here is summary of what I have been up to since being home:

Day 1
Very first meal was Bak Kut Teh. I have not been to this place since I was...well, really young. And I didn't quite appreciate it like I do now. The broth was really light, yet tasty. And along with the bak kut teh, we had bidin/paku-pakis/fern cooked in red wine. (: I was one happy camper.


Later that night, we had pork satay at Hui Sing Garden. My most favorite satay place in Kuching. Every now and then, I would crave it when I am in Melbourne, and will always look forward to the day I get to sink my teeth into it once more. There's just enough fat on the meat so that it's not too dry and tough after being cooked. And when you bite into it, it just falls of the stick so nicely. Along with the satay, dad ordered a plate of crispy noodles, smothered in this light tomato-y sauce. Delicious.


A very satisfying first day.

Day 2
For lunch, mum steamed the char siew pau given to us by our grandmother in Singapore. Our favorite barbecue pork bun from Singapore. There's just a right amount of meat and sauce in the pau. And not a lot of dough too!
And for dinner we went to Sarawak Club. My favorite restaurant ever since I was a kid. This was/is the restaurant that we still go to for any and every special occasion. Birthdays. Family gatherings. You name it. We ordered the butter prawns, bidin, quails and a few more order things but I was too caught up in eating and forgot to take a few photos. So so good. 
Each night just keeps getting better and better.
I have more to blog, but right now I will just leave it here and will be back soon to blog about my next few days in Kuching. Followed by my upcoming trip to Singapore!

Nov 27, 2012

Mango Cheesecake

I'm backkkk! It has been awhile, but my schedule has been pretty hectic lately due to finals so I couldn't really update this blog. But never mind that. I am back and I have a brand new recipe for you!

Just last night, we celebrated my sister's 23rd birthday and she requested for a birthday cake from her little sister. And being the most amazing little sister that I am, who is always incredibly nice to her, I agreed. If you're reading this C, I am just kidding and I do love you from the bottom of my heart. ;)

This year round, she requested for another cheesecake. Not just a plain-old-baked-cheesecake, but a mango cheesecake. Good thing it is summer here in Melbourne where there is ample supply of mangoes!
I baked this cheesecake the night before as I needed the cake to cool down before I assembled the top with slices of mango and poured jelly over it. Sounds complicated, but truth be told, this is an incredibly easy recipe. And I promise you, really really really really really good. 

So, here's what you need to do!

Mango Cheesecake

Crust
180 g "Nice" biscuits (alternatively, graham crackers)
120 g butter, melted

Cheesecake
500 g Philadelphia cream cheese
100 g sugar
100 g sour cream
4 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla essence

Mango puree
1 mango (depending on the size of the mango)

Topping
Mango slices
Mango jelly powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 140ºC and boil a pot of water.
  2. Line a springform tin with baking paper on all sides.
  3. In a food processor, pulse the biscuits until fine, then add the melted butter slowly while the food processor is on a medium speed. Pour out the contents into the springform tin and flatten the crumbs to form a compact base. Place the springform tin in the fridge while making the cheese filling.
  4. In a clean food processor, combine the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla essence. Pulse it until it has just mixed. Then add in 1 egg and pulse it. Do this until all 4 eggs have been added.
  5. In a separate bowl, slice the mango and mash the mango using a fork. You can leave a few chunks for texture.
  6. Fold the pureed mango into the cream cheese filling and pour into the springform tin.
  7. Place the springform tin in the middle level of the oven, and a tray of boiling water below.
  8. Bake for about 2 hours or until it's slightly golden on top and it is still wobbly.
  9. After the cake has cooled, slice the mango and assemble it inside the tin. Following the instructions on your jelly powder box, make the jelly liquid. Then pour a bit of mango jelly over the cake. Let it sit in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.
  10. Tip: If you have leftover mango slices and jelly mixture, cut the slices into chunks and pour it into the jelly. You'll have dessert #2. :)

Nov 13, 2012

Hiatus for another week

It has been awhile since I last wrote on this blog.

It's not because I don't want to.

It's because I do not have time due to finals.

Yes I know this blog has been dormant for quite some time now, but it has to remain on hiatus for another week, until my final paper on the 19th.

Till then, I hope the posts have been giving you some inspirations for baking or even suggested a few yummy places to visit while you are in Melbourne!

I promise that I will blog more after the 19th.

:)

Oct 17, 2012

Breakfast Thieves

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

At least that is what I've heard.

Honestly, I rarely have breakfast. Only on weekends. Where I actually make a point to get up early, get dressed and go out for a nice big meal.

And it does help if the day happens to be bright and sunny. Oh how I love spring. Minus the pollen. And occasional insane winds.

But, I digress.

Back to my initial point of this post. 

A short while ago, we headed on down to Breakfast Thieves at Fitzroy.

I did not do any research of this place before we went for breakfast. Thankfully my sister did and reviews weren't the most helpful. Some people enjoyed it. Some didn't.

Personally, I liked it and I will definitely go back.
We could not get a seat inside as it was pretty packed already. Shocker. Honestly, the exterior looked huge. How deceiving.

I do not have any pictures of the inside, but from what I saw, it was very spacious. Definite bonus in my books. I hate crowded areas.

Unfortunately, I forgot/didn't have the chance to take a photo of the menu.
But! You're in luck. They have the menu on their website.
Or you can just click here if you're feeling a little bit lazy to type in their web-link and search for the menu.

Among the few dishes we tried were...
 The Robin Hood which is a "tea-smoked ocean trout served on baby endive, edamame beans, tempura enoki mushrooms, organic quinoa, baby radish & poached egg".
I must say, it is pretty tasty for a salad dish.
The Leprechaun: "Crisped sweet corn and basil spiced fritters on homemade baked beans with a side of smashed avocado toast & poached eggs".
I have no idea what is up with the names.

This wasn't a bad dish. But I would have preferred the baked beans to be a bit more cooked. And I still prefer Pillar of Salt's version of corn fritters.
Don't get me wrong. These were pretty darn good. Crispy on the outside. Fluffy on the inside. But it wasn't as moist compared to Pillar of Salt. And not as corny.
Now, there is always, and I mean ALWAYS room for dessert. Even IF it is breakfast. And trust me, you will WANT to try this.
I present to you:
The Sweet Brioche Pain Perdu. This was definitely the highlight for me. At first when I saw that this dish had rhubarb in it, I was thinking "yuck". Never tried it. But it just doesn't look..yummy. But it went perfectly well with this dish. The sourness of the rhubarb cut through the sweetness of the dish. A perfect balance. 
The brioche was still fluffy on the inside. Pears were poached well. The walnuts were caramelized beautifully. And the panna cotta. Oh my goodness. It was divine. Amazing. Stupendous. Whatever adjective words you can come up with. It was simply amazing. 

This dish is probably the main reason why I would go back again to Breakfast Thieves.
I don't care how full you are at the end of the meal.
You really MUST try this dish.

Shop 1, 420 Gore Street
Fitzroy
VIC 3065
(03) 9416 4884

Breakfast Thieves on Urbanspoon

Oct 14, 2012

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe

This Japanese fusion cafe has been opened for quite some time already and we (my sister and I) have been meaning to try it out after hearing a few of our friend's go on about it.

So we headed down to Purple Peanuts on a beautiful spring Saturday. And we went back a week later.

Yeah...Twice in 2 weeks. We liked it that much. :)

Among the dishes we have tried so far are:
Prawn salad with soba noodles
Really really tasty dish. And very light. So if you aren't extremely hungry, you should definitely give this a try!
Fried prawn and spicy salmon sushi roll
When I say spicy salmon, I really mean spicy salmon.
 Sukiyaki beef
 Braised pork belly

What I really like about the dishes is that they are pretty much your typical Japanese dishes, but less heavy/rich.

Like the Sukiyaki. Instead of a very thick and starchy gravy, it was a light and really tasty broth. Which was what I wanted considering the second time we went back it was a wet and cold day. 
There were only a few seats indoors but plenty of tables outside. So if you want to sit inside, be sure to go there during off-peak hours. Or Saturday when Collins Street isn't extremely occupied.
I was very fascinated at how they could make a bunch of wires look somewhat pretty. The owners kept the decorations to a minimum, but it still looked pretty.

I have to say though, one of their decos really freaked me out.

The crazy looking octopus sitting on top of their fridge.
It gave me the creeps. Imagine having your lunch and when you look up, you see this huge, ugly/scare-looking octopus staring at you. Not a pleasant sight.

Overall, loved the food. Good and fast service. Will definitely be going back again to try some of their other dishes.

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe
620 Collins Street
Melbourne
VIC 3000
(03) 9620 9548

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sep 23, 2012

Moelleux au Chocolat

Moelleux au Chocolat. Chocolate fondant. Chocolate molten lava cake. Whatever you want to call it, this is definitely the dessert you want when you have a terrible chocolate craving.

And this is a very simple recipe.

I still remember the days where my moelleux was a complete disaster. It never ever had a gooey centre and always just came out as a simple plain chocolate cake. Not good. At all.

So how did I finally succeed in making this beautiful dessert? Keeping the batter in the fridge for at least an hour before baking!
Moelleux au Chocolat
(makes about 4)

60 g sugar
2 eggs
2 eeg yolks
100 g unsalted butter
100 g dark chocolate
50 g plain flour
cocoa powder for dusting

  1. Lightly brush ramekins (150ml - 200ml) with melted butter and dust with cocoa powder. Place ramekins in the fridge while making the batter.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once it's melted, take off the heat to cool.
  3. Place sugar, eggs and extra yolks in a bowl and whisk until pale and creamy. Then whisk in the butter and chocolate mixture.
  4. Fold in the plain flour.
  5. Divide equally among the four ramekins.
  6. Place ramekins back in the fridge for at least an hour.
  7. Bake: Preheat oven to 190˚C. Once the oven is heated, take the ramekins out of the fridge and place it in the oven immediately. Baking for approximately 15 minutes.
  8. Once a cake layer is formed, take the ramekin out of the oven and turn it out onto a plate immediately. Serve with ice-cream.
Now doesn't that look amazing?

Sep 19, 2012

Pillar of Salt

SPRING BREAK!

To kick things off, J, M and I went out for breakfast at Pillar of Salt in Richmond.
I have heard and read really great reviews of this place, especially the corn fritters.

I love corn fritters.

The best corn fritters I've tried to date, was at Mister Close. That was, until I discovered Pillar of Salt's corn fritters. Corn-fritter-heaven.

It was slightly crisp on the outside, but incredibly moist on the inside. And when you eat it, it just kind of melts in your mouth. Yeah, my description could use a little tweaking, but you just have to try it to fully understand what I am going on about.
And on the side, there was smoked salmon and salad. You could add the poached egg for an extra $2. Yeah. $2 for an egg. But, it was poached really well. Once you cut into the egg, the yolk started running.
Another famous dish at Pillar of Salt, was the breaky omelette, which was essentially an omelette with wilted spinach and feta on sourdough toast.
The omelette was well-cooked. It was still slightly runny on the inside, or that could be due to the feta. But, this is probably the one dish I wouldn't order the next time I go back. Just because I am not a huge fan of feta. Still, it wasn't a bad dish. And if you do like feta, you probably would enjoy this dish.

Lastly, we also tried the green eggs and ham.
When I first saw this, I was...skeptical.

I have never seen a hollandaise sauce of this colour. So you can probably understand my confusion. The green eggs and ham is similar to any other poached eggs with bacon, brioche and hollandaise. However, they tweaked the sauce a little. It is actually a "herby apple cider hollandaise". And instead of the bacon, they served smoked ham with it.

Eggs were perfectly poached once again. And I like the matchsticks of granny smith apples they served with the dish as it cuts through the richness of the sauce.
Perfect start to the long-awaited break.

Pillar of Salt
541 Church Street
Richmond
3121 VIC
(03) 9421 1550

Pillar of Salt on Urbanspoon

Sep 9, 2012

Blueberry, Ricotta and Almond Muffin

My love for blueberry and almond muffin first started when I came to Melbourne. There's this shop at my uni that sells really yummy muffins. Not too sweet and very moist.

Instead of just having blueberry and almonds in the muffin, I wanted to try this particular combination. Blueberry, ricotta and almond.

I was pleasantly surprise. The ricotta made the muffin more moist and it was less sweet than the usual muffin. Which is good since I don't like my desserts to be too sweet.

When you eat this muffin fresh out of the oven, you can still taste a bit of the ricotta cheese. Less so after a few days though. Still, it was delicious.


Blueberry, Ricotta and Almond Muffins
(makes about 12-16)
adapted from Cakeb00k

Topping
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tbsps of unsalted butter, chilled and diced

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and using your fingertips, rub the butter, flour and sugar until it becomes crumbly.
2.Place the bowl in the fridge while making the muffins.

Muffin
250g ricotta
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cups brown sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 cup blueberries

Tip: If you are using frozen berries, you can take it out of the freezer and lay it out on paper towel to thaw. Or if you're feeling a little lazy, then frozen berries are fine.

1. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla essence and melted butter together.
3. Fold the flour and salt into the wet ingredients.
4. Next, fold in the ricotta and blueberries.
5. Divide the batter equally into the muffin tray and sprinkle the topping over the batter.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes.
7. Take it out of the oven and let the muffins cool before eating.

Enjoy!

Sep 8, 2012

Shoya

My second most expensive dinner to date in Melbourne. I shall blog about the first another day. :)

I have never been to Shoya but have heard some pretty good reviews about this restaurant. Especially their lunch since the food is delicious at a slightly more reasonable and affordable price.

R and V on the other hand are pretty regular customers. So much so, that one of the waiters that night recognized R!

Seeing that I have never been there while they had, V and I left R to order. And I was glad I did because every dish I had that night was delicious.

Nama Shii Hotate
Quail egg coated with mashed scallops and top with a piece of shiitake mushroom that is deep fried. 
A Shoya special.
Omakase
Definitely a must for sashimi lovers.
Jidori Kara Age
Deep fried chicken.
Wagyu premium.
Served with foie gras and truffles in a truffle sauce.
Sounds heavy, but surprisingly, wasn't.
Tempura Moriawase
Prawns and assorted vegetables
Green tea ice-cream
Just to be clear, I am not a green tea ice-cream fan. Neither was V. But this is the one place we would go back to for green tea ice-cream. Actually...this might be the only place where I will have green tea ice-cream.

Adding on to the yummy food, the service was really good. We had a very attentive waiter always making sure that we had whatever we wanted. 

Definitely a place I will go back to. Probably during lunch that is. Cause my wallet wouldn't be able to handle another dinner. ;)

25 Market Lane
Melbourne
VIC 3000
(03) 9650 0848

Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Aug 22, 2012

Dead Man Espresso

C: " Fitting name. There will be one dead person by the end of this brunch. "

And not in a dead-because-the-brunch-experience-was-incredibly-awesome. More of dead-because-omg-they-are-so-slow-i-am-so-hungry-i-will-kill-someone.

Maybe (just maybe) I am being over-dramatic and maybe it was just a bad day for them, but this definitely was not the best brunch experience for me.

I mean, do try out this place. You might be luckier than we were.


From the outside, it looks massive and really modern. But inside, it is small, rustic and somewhat cozy with all the wooden table tops and decos.



I have read heaps of amazing reviews of this place and it really got my hopes up. Heard the coffee was great (which it was) and food was delicious (beg to differ).

For coffee, you had a choice of their house blend (Seven Seeds) or guest blend (Market Lane). Thankfully it was nice and hot.

As for the food, now that is a different story.


I was debating between the ever-so-popular BLT - pork belly and spinach puree on brioche with a side of gazpacho or the herb and potato rosti with poached egg, avocado and Istra bacon (or smoked salmon, whichever you fancy). A and I had it with the Istra bacon. C had the smoked salmon.


C and I thought that the potato rosti was over-the-top salty, while A's was bland. Also, it was probably overcooked because it was really tough. When we (yeah, 3 of us ordered the same dish) cut into the rosti, we noticed it wasn't light and fluffy on the inside like most blogs described it. R ordered the special omelet with zuchinni and toast on the side. He left half of it. Wasn't sure if he liked the dish or not.


To top of the not-so-impressive food, service was...slow. Very...very...slow.

It took forever for A to get his filtered coffee. Maybe...30 minutes? Seriously. 30 minutes for filtered coffee?

And by the time C and I finished our coffee, our food still hadn't arrive. From the time we ordered to the time where we got our meal, it was probably a good 30 minutes wait. It didn't help that we were starving and our coffee took awhile as well.

So, will I go back? Probably not.

But that's just me.

Dead Man Espresso
35 Market Street
Melbourne
VIC 3205
(03) 9686 2255

Dead Man Espresso on Urbanspoon