Saturday, September 2, 2017

Passiontree, Chatswood

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Taro Bingsoo

I'm a sucker for all things sweet and naturally, rarely one to turn down dessert so when I had the opportunity to visit Passiontree, a dessert cafe, to trial some of their desserts I couldn't say no!

Epic Hot Chocolates: White Mint, Campfire S'Mores, Peanut Butter Cuppa, Rose Delight ($9.90)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Marshmallow Crunch Brownies

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Marshmallows aren't really my kind of thing, but when it's sandwiched between a brownie and apeanutty chocolate crakle....that's a completely different story!



You can probably tell from the recipes I post, that I have a bit of a sweet tooth and whilst most of the time I do turn to chocolate when I'm craving something sweet, I also do find that something with a biscuit or wafer is a little more satisfying, perhaps because having to bite through something rather than it melting away makes me feel like I'm actually eating something.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dumplings Taipei, Baulkham Hills

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The are restaurants and cafes which I visit after reading about it online, and there are restaurants I visit out of curiosity just because they are there. Dumplings Taipei fits into the latter category, a small Taiwanese eatery sitting on the junction of Windsor and Old Northern Roads, a junction where the light is pretty much always red- which gives me plenty of time to survey the area and and check out how busy the restaurant can get during the day- always the first sign of a good restaurant!

Given that the next closest place I can get a decent Taiwan beef noodle fix is some 30 or so minutes away in Eastwood, the idea of having one so local was exciting so instead of spending half the day cooking lunch on a lazy Saturday arvo, we took a quick drive to check out this place.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Red Velvet Cake

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I can't really say that I like red velvet cake- to be honest I really don't understand the hype about a plain cake that is coloured bright red- but each to their own! Most of the cakes I make aren't really for myself, so given how popular it is, I it was only a matter of time before a request would come up, so I needed a good recipe to have under my belt.


Whilst most recipes are a similar formulation made up of your usual cake candidates- flour, eggs, sugar, butter and of course red food colouring- I have settled for an oil based recipe rather than a butter one..... because a whole block of butter for the buttercream icing is really way more saturated fat than one needs in a serving (those who have followed this blog for a while will know I'm not particularly fond of working with too much butter!).

I'm a bit skeptical when it comes to 'dump everything in a bowl and mix' recipes as I haven't had huge success with these recipes in the past, but I'm pleased to report this one worked a treat. It was a simple five minute job to whip up, the addition of yoghurt makes for a nice, moist texture and the cake went down well with the family, who also aren't red velvet fans either! I've added a bit of cocoa to the recipe to give it a bit of flavour, but leaving out the cocoa will give you brighter shade of red, if that's what you're after.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Manoosh Pizzeria, Enmore

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Wildfire Pizza ($17)

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no connoisseur when it come to pizza- I can easily count on one hand the number of times I've had pizza this year, and of those times it has either been from one of the major pizza chains or from a pub. So it probably doesn't come as a surprise that Lebanese style pizza isn't something I've tried before, and probably also explains my excitement when Manoosh Pizzeria, kindly invited me to have a taste of their menu!


By title, Manoosh is a pizzeria, but have a just have a quick look at their menu, and you'll find that there's a lot more going on than just pizza. It's our first time here, but we instantly know that they must be doing something right when they've got a table full of restaurant awards and the place is packed full of customers waiting for takeaway orders at noon on a Saturday.

Kibbeh ($9 for half doz) and Sambousik ($8 for half doz)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Chickpea & Cauliflower Soup

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Back in my uni days, weekends were a time for me to get in some more hours of work to earn some money- at one time I was working three jobs, one on the weekdays, one at nights and one on the weekends. When I first started working full time I did try to keep the busy weekends going, making sure I filled my weekends with plenty of activities but much has changed since then, and even though it has only been less than two years since I finished uni, I honestly do not know how I did it!


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Low Fat Hollandaise

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I must admit that I've never really been a big fan of Hollandaise. Knowing that it was just an emulsion of butter and egg yolk didn't excite me all that much, and it really doesn't add all that much for me- to be honest I'd much rather have my poached eggs on toast with just a sprinkle of pepper. It has however grown on me, even if only slightly, a result of living in a household that loves their Eggs Benedict for breakfast. And although I have made a quick Hollandaise on a couple of occasions, I have been on a hunt for a healthier version of this classic sauce.

You see, because butter and egg yolk are both sources of saturated fat (i.e. the stuff that raises your 'bad' cholesterol levels), it's no surprise that the saturated fat content of Hollandaise is quite high- each tablespoon contains about 6 grams of saturated fat. Compare that to the Heart Foundation's recommendation of having less than 7% saturated fat intake per day i.e. around 15g per day for an adult male. And let's be honest- who's only putting a tablespoon of the stuff on their eggs benny?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Travel | Adelaide, 2017

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I don't travel interstate often, so I was quite excited when I had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Adelaide for a friend's wedding (which in itself was exciting enough), to also check out the Adelaide food scene which I had heard so much about over the years. And although we really only have one full day to explore the city (i.e. three meals worth) we made sure we made the most of it!

Fairweather



Due to lack of money and leave, we'd packed in a tight schedule, catching the first (6:50am!) flight in the morning and arriving in Adelaide when it was still breakfast time. With stomachs grumbling and eyes struggling to stay open, we were overdue for a coffee and a bite and wasted no time in finding anywhere in particular to eat and headed across the road to the closest cafe Google Maps could find us.

And this was how we ended up in Fairweather, a small cafe hidden in the back graffiti lined alleyways of Adelaide's CBD. Its location and minimalistic interior has a very Melbourne-esque feel, but its menu is somewhat less hipster and exactly what we're looking for that morning.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Massaman Beef Curry

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You know winter is actually here when you have to set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier in the morning to allow for the struggle of getting out of your warm bed in the morning. And when your walk to work takes about half the usual time because you're power walking to bring your heart rate up.

Ahhhh winter. It feels like you went away not that long ago!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu

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My life truly revolves around food.

Not only do I work in the food industry,  in my spare time I also blog about food, I cook (and bake) as a hobby, I photograph food when I eat out and I even like to spend my evenings sitting watching food documentaries and television shows. Don't worry, I watch other things too, but foodie shows are pretty awesome I must say!


A couple of years ago, my friend got me hooked on a Chinese series by the name 'A Bite of China' which explores the history and culture of food in various different locations within China. Having grown up in Australia, the show really highlighted how little exposure I had to 'real' Chinese food, with each episode showcasing the very unique range of cuisines from the bigger cities to more remote communities within China and the many stories behind the dishes shown.

Whilst we've finished both seasons of the show, it has sparked interest in food documentaries and there's certainly no shortage of similar productions, our latest being a documentary solely on tofu. And being one of my favourite foods, I was most intrigued and particularly keen to try the tofu feasts which are available in some regions of China where diners are served a banquet table full of tofu based dishes- what I would consider as tofu heaven!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bellaccino Espresso Bar, Castle Hill

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Lazy weekends means brunching locally, and although we have a handful of go-to places, recent price hikes and deletion of some of our favourite menu items meant it was time for us to venture out and discover more good eats in the local area.

I'm not usually a fan of cafes which are smack-bam in the middle of busy shopping centres, but the huge $10 breakfast sign out the front of Bellaccino's was certainly enticing, especially given that there were still a couple more days til pay day.

Mocha Frappe ($5.50)

The $10 menu consists of your basic brekkie menu items (think eggs on toast) and even comes with a free drink if you find yourself here on a weekday, but alas we're not, and it's past the 11:30am that the menu runs to. Luckily there's plenty else to choose from on their menu, which is cleverly organised by cuisine.

The coffee is not amazing, and my mocha frappe tasted more like a milkshake than a frappe, but it worked well as a dessert-like sweet finish to the meal.

Vegetarian Big Breakfast ($15.90)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mushroom and Black Bean 'Meat' balls

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Today's recipe is a little different from my usual recipes- I do plenty of veggie recipes, and some recipes which may involve meat, but not so much a crossover between the two like I have today with these mock 'meat' balls made from a combination of mushroom and black beans!

Mock meats are quite prominent in Asian culture, regardless of whether you are vegetarian or not. I can't say I'm a huge fan, especially as I find that they're not do cooked the right way most of the time, but I was keen to try this recipe because it
a) actually looked very similar to meatballs in the picture and
b) I had just fresh mushrooms in the fridge and a can of black beans that were almost reaching their expiry.

So why not?


Monday, April 17, 2017

Crab Carnival 2017 at The Morrison, CBD

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I'm a huge fan of all things seafood, and if there's one type of seafood that I don't see enough of on restaurant menus it would be crab. So when I heard about the Crab Carnival at The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room with a complete menu dedicated to crab, I knew I had to visit. The Crab Carnival runs annually for roughly a month between March and April, and involves not only crab dishes, but also crab drinks and events (hermit crab racing anyone?)

Oysters ($4 each)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grilled Miso Eggplant (Nasu Dengaku)

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If you've been following my Instagram, you may have noticed I've had a bit of a baking itch lately, jumping at every opportunity to practice my cake making skills (and running into a lot of failures one the way). For those weekends where I can't an excuse to bake cake, I like to experiment with different foods in the kitchen, and my idea of fun is any recipe that's completely new- the more unique and complex, the better of course!

As much as I love spending my weekends on these food experiments, when it comes to taste, sometimes simple is best and that certainly is the case with this delicious miso eggplant dish. I had my first taste of miso eggplant in a Japanese restaurant last year and was blown away by how amazing a simple dish of grilled eggplant with miso sauce could taste.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Custard Chiffon Cake v2

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It's not often that I make a recipe more than once of twice, and even less often that I post the same recipe twice on this blog, but this Custard Chiffon Cake is so good it really deserves a second mention. I've gone on about how much I love this before and it has since become a family favourite, a simple cake I can whip up relatively quickly which doesn't need any icing or any decorating- it tastes best by itself.

The only thing I hate it having to wait for it to cool before I can take it out of the tin!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

An Evening in The Rocks Tour

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I had my fair share of odd jobs back in the good old uni days, but one of the most fun and memorable jobs was when I guided tours of international students through The Rocks- an area I wasn't particularly familiar with myself, but a little bit of reading up helped me sound like an expert in front of groups of students most of whom probably had only been in Sydney for no more than a couple of weeks.

So when I was invited to an evening tour of The Rocks, it certainly brought back many good memories. Quite unlike the tours I ran however, this one was certainly much more professional and well planned, guided by a group of very staff who were much more knowledgeable in the area than me.

Tuxedo Bar

Image Supplied

We started at Tuxedo bar, Sydney's first bar completely dedicated to Espresso Martini's. It's not exactly an easy find- you won't see any large bright signs guiding you in- but once you do eventually make it into the entrance, you'll find yourself into a warm, inviting space, located within the former Cadbury chocolate factory.

Any type of cocktail is the perfect way to start the night, but Tuxedo's Espresso Martini is especially delicious. There's about 6 different variants of the espresso martini on the menu- it never gets boring!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Matcha French Toast

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If you're a fan of matcha, and live in Sydney, you'll no doubt have heard of Cafe Oratnek (or Cafe Kentaro) in Surry Hills and their matcha lattes, lamington, tiramisu, donut etc etc etc.

Actually no. 

Let me try again. If you're a fan of matcha, you've probably visited Cafe Oratnek and tried them all.


Unless you're like me of course, and tend to like visiting after the hype has died down, once everyone's moved on to visiting other new and exciting places, in hopes of there being less of a crowd!

So I did eventually visit this cute little cafe, although I still didn't avoid a bit of a wait around the busy lunch period (but I guess that's a sign that it's actually good!). And I did manage to try their delicious looking Matcha French Toast, which was every bit as amazing as I had imagined it to be!

Cafe Oratnek's version is quite a unique creation-  thick slices of rye sourdough dipped in a matcha egg batter, served alongside a creamy dollop of matcha cream, strawberries and banana chips, all sprinkled with a layer of matcha coconut.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Tawandang, Chatswood

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I thought I had posted about Tawandang a couple of years ago but looking through my posts apparently not, so here we go!


If you've ever been to Chinatown, chances are you've probably walked past Tawandang although you might not have noticed it. It was pretty hard to miss for myself, as my bus stop was right across from the restaurant when it opened, but otherwise you'd be forgiven for thinking it was just your average Thai restaurant. It's not until you read their menu and realise that it's so typical afterall- offering not only some more traditional Thai dishes, but also their almost signature dish of German Pork Knuckle. How's that for something different?

According to their own description, the German component of the restaurant comes from the fact that they are no only a restaurant, but also the first Thai - German micro-brewery in Thailand. I'm not too big on beers so no comment on the drinks, but the food alone is well worth the visit.


We walked past their newly opened Chatswood branch a week ago and would almost have missed it were it not for their big 3rd anniversary banner with their 50% off their pork knuckle dish offer. I was immediately sold and we wasted no time in making a booking.....two consecutive days in a row!

Going by the restaurant's history, which makes up the first spread of their menu, the restaurant has been quite successful not only in Thailand, but also with its branches in Singapore and now two in Sydney. Whilst the Chatswood branch is not nearly as large as their Thailand branches (which apparently seat 2000+ diners!), but it does span across two levels and is much larger than it first appears. Make sure you ask for a seat upstairs, as it's a lot more spacious and comfy!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen)

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As I mentioned in my last post, I still have a couple of summer recipes up my sleeve which I'd love to share with you, and although the majority are salad recipes, summer food doesn't only have to be salad!

One of my favourite ways to cool down in summer is with cold noodles, with Naengmyeon, or Korean cold noodles, being my go-to in summer. I always have mine served with plenty of ice, so it's perfect for those 40+ degree days.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quick Chicken Laksa

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With the scorching summer behind us and Autumn bringing in much cooler (albeit wet and humid) weather, it's time to crank up the stove and welcome some warmer Autumn dishes. I've still got a handful of summer salad recipes up my sleeve, but I thought I'd give the blog a break from salad, and share this delicious laksa recipe instead.

Perhaps more of a winter sort of comfort-food, but hey- it's not salad!


I'm usually the type of person who prefers to make everything from scratch, but this is one of the few recipes which I haven't even wanted to try making completely from scratch. Why would I need to when my trusty go-to brand of laksa paste in this recipe gives me exactly the results I'm looking for?

The recipe is quite simple- blitz together some onions, mix it with the laksa paste, then boil it with plenty of coconut milk and you've got yourself a tasty laksa base which you can add your noodles and other ingredients to. The only time consuming part is pureeing the onions, but apart from that it's super simple and quick!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Korean Soy Beans

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There have been many a times when I've dined in Korean restaurants more for their side dishes than the items ordered off the menu. In fact, the highlight of one of my favourite Korean restaurants was not any of the items on the menu, but the Korean soy bean side dish served before the start of every meal.

Sadly, the restaurant is not longer running, and I have yet to find another replacement which even serves this soy bean dish at all, so I turned to the internet to find a recipe to replicate this at home.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Yuzu Crab and Apple Coleslaw

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I didn't used to be much of a salad person.

Which probably has something to do with the fact that we almost never have salads in our family, with the exception of our KFC nights, where we'd get Coleslaw as one of the sides, along with the chips, coke, potato & gravy etc. It was the only salad we actually enjoyed, and that was more because there was so much sauce it didn't feel so much like eating raw vegetables.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 | Water Chestnut Cake Recipe 馬蹄糕

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Happy Chinese New Year!


This is why I love being Chinese. Not even a month since New Years and we're celebrating again!

Being in Australia, and away from the majority of our relatives, Chinese New Year is not a huge thing for us, but we always do try to celebrate it, even if it only really involves the mandatory red pockets from our parents in the morning, and a nice Chinese New Year dinner at night.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Dining & Co., North Ryde

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When dining out, I tend to prefer visiting places with good reviews but every once in a while I do come across some surprisingly good eateries which are well hidden from the internet. Such was the case when I visited The Dining & Co, a little cafe hidden away in the quieter suburban streets of North Ryde (a stone throw away from my karate classes infact!).

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cakes of 2016

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As I mentioned in my first post this year, as much as I want to introduce a bit of nutrition onto this blog, I will still be posting some sweet treats. Because yes, they can be had- in moderation.

And because we really struggle to finish full sized cakes between our family of four, I find birthdays a great excuse to bake cake without having to worry about how I'm going to finish it off!


2016 was a bit of an exciting year for me, in that I think I've finally started to get the hang of decorating cakes. Not to a professional level by any means, but for the first time in my life, I achieved straight and slightly smooth sides on a cake and I could almost get away with saying that these cakes were purchased and not homemade. Almost.

These were originally going to be a separate post each, but it's 2017 now and it'll probably be 2018 by the time I get around to writing about each individually, so here's a little bit of indulgence in one post!

My coconut lemon cake was the first of attempts and far from perfect. The butter cream curdled multiple times on me and I had to use chocolate everywhere to cover the cracks but it was definitely a good learning experience. The combination of the coconut poke cake layers and lemon curd filling were deliciously good match, although much too sweet.


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