Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The journey thus far

Can't recall when was the last time I have dedicated a blog post to my daily living. Have been in Melbourne for more than a few months now and admittedly, have settled in comfortably with the help of close friends. Was not easy initially but then again, challenge accepted!

I have tried macarons from various shops and so, do continue scrolling down to find out my views!

French fantasies ~ little dry for my liking but it does come in a very pretty package:)

Chez dre's macarons were humongous and I had my doubts. Thankfully, they proved me wrong and boy, was it a treat to sink my teeth into them:)

Cacao's macarons have always been on my favourite list. Tried one of their cakes on a lazy weekend afternoon and loved it too!

Fireworks in Melbourne ~ craziest day to walk into the city but we braved the crowd and watched the fireworks cast it's magic in the skies. Here's to a new beginning!

My purple eye look ~ smokey meets natural. Trick is to not overdo the colour.

Eye brows fixed at benefit. What do you think?

Smokey eye look with copious amounts of gel eyeliner. Magic!

OOTN ~ Zara dress, Topshop skirt, Forever New belt, Guess watch

OOTD ~ French Connection cardigan, French connection denim dress, Uniqlo shirt, Forever New belt, Mimco iphone5 case.

Old Kingdom, Surrey Hills MELB

So after scrolling through my 2015 pictures folder, it dawned on me that I have been engrossed in eating Chinese food a lot this year and mostly picking up a duck dish along the way. Strange how this happened as I am usually very conscious of what I eat every week and try my best to change up my weekly routine.

We were recommended this place by a friend and figured, why not? After all, everybody loves a good peking duck (especially moi haha) but be warned that bookings are essential or be prepared to face disappointment.

Peking duck usually appears on a set menu where diners will get the traditional duck pancake as entree, followed by a serve of duck soup and finished off with either a noodle or rice dish. The duck pancake comes with paper thin wrappers, slices of fresh cucumber and spring onions and slices of crispy duck skin (sometimes accompanied by a thick chunk of duck meat). Wrap everything together with a dollop of hoisin sauce and it's heaven on your palate.

I have sampled peking duck from Beijing before and to be honest, have yet to find a place that can rival the ones over there but heck, there are so many places to choose from if you are craving for this dish:)

Deep fried tofu served with broccoli ~ arrived piping hot on our table so be warned not to get too excited! Crunchy outer layer enclosing the silky, soft tofu texture. Simplicity goodness:)

Salt and pepper deep fried soft shell crab ~ I have a weakness for soft shell crabs regardless of which cuisine it is used in. This one had the right amount of seasoning and crunchy to my liking. We wanted to order the salted egg version but sadly, that was sold out. A must try if you love soft shell crabs as much as I do.

Old Kingdom on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ocean King, Glen Waverley MELB

I like the idea of having a sit in meal at a Chinese restaurant and being surrounded by family and friends. Yes, this is the lifestyle that I grew up with, where every little occasion is celebrated with a lavish spread of food. Although I do not have the luxury of being with my family and close friends much these days, I still do look forward to having a good meal at a Chinese restaurant.

Ocean King pretty much sums up what I would experience during the festive seasons. It is packed full of people on most days and without any reservations, be prepared to wait.

Roast duck, pork and barbequed pork ~ This is the dish that is always sold out by 8pm daily and we were lucky enough to get our chopsticks on it that day. The duck meat was extremely succulent and complimented the crisp texture of the duck skin. Roast pork had a nice crackling taste to it and I preferred their version over other places as the fat layer was not as thick. Hence, it did not make me feel extremely unhealthy post-dinner haha:)

Stir fried chinese broccoli ~

Steamed fish with ginger and shallots ~ having fish for any function symbolizes good fortune and thus, a necessity. It is also a healthy option compared to other dishes so why not?:)

p.s, there's nothing to shout about service so do not expect much. You are there just for the food, remember?

Ocean King on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coco Lounge restaurant, Glen Waverley CBD

Brekkie to start the day and of late, I have been sampling more variations of the humble egg for breakfast. I usually opt for eggs benedict or the classic brekkie and at times, had a sweet option to begin the day. Indulging in breakfast is one thing but to waste all the hours I have slaved at the gym is another thing:/

So anyway, service here is pretty efficient and friendly. We arrived at around 9.30am and boy, was the place 80% packed full of customers.

2 up ~ scrambled eggs on toast.

Hickory dickory hock ~ smoked ham hock, aged cheddar, spiced tomato and dark ale relish.

Eggs begs ~ 2 poached eggs, bacon, avocado salsa, hollandaise on toast ~

Omelette with potatoes, bacon and onions ~ would have liked my omelette to be a bit more fluffy but that's a minor issue. Kept me fueled throughout the day so happy days!:)

Coco Lounge on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 12, 2015

Beef wellington recipe

Almost a month late to post this and I did contemplate if it's even worthwhile to do so. But if I don't, I'll probably forget what I have cooked last Christmas. December is a magical time of the year and what better way to end the year than being surrounded by your loved ones. Hence the need to cook something fancy and cross your fingers that it will turn out alright.

Been meaning to tackle making beef wellington for a long time but due to lack of commitment, I frequently push that thought out of mind. Recipe wise, it's not complicated as long as you pay attention to seasoning, quality of ingredients and most importantly, timing. My piece of sirloin steak was not cheap and should I overcook it, it would have been a very depressing Christmas.

A decent sized sirloin steak
2 sheets of puff pastry
200g of mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic
6 pieces of Prosciutto
70ml white wine

1. Generously season your steak with salt and pepper. Don't be stingy here.
2. Blitz mushrooms until it resembles semi-chunky crumbs (not a paste).
3. Melt butter in a pan, add your garlic and rosemary. Allow garlic to brown slightly then incorporate mushrooms. Continue to cook until mushrooms have lost most of their moisture and truly resembles crumbs at this stage. You may then add in your wine. Cook mushrooms until the wine has evaporated. Remember, you do not want a soggy dish. Voila, that's your mushroom duxelle.
4. While mushroom duxelle is cooling, heat a pan on high heat and drizzle with olive oil.
5. When the pan is smoking hot, place your sirloin steak on it. Allow about 3 minutes on each side, depending on the steak's thickness. Be careful not to overcook. Once completed, take out to cool.
6.Thaw your puff pastry sheets and neatly align the prosciutto on it before smearing on a layer of the mushroom duxelle.
7. Place the cooled steak on the mushroom duxelle and tightly wrap it with the puff pastry. Take your time.
8. Clingwrap the entire roll and refridgerate overnight.
9. Heat oven to 220C. Egg wash your wellington and feel free to dress it with leftover pieces of pastry.
10. Place wellington in the oven over a tray to prevent the juices from making the pastry soggy. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 180 and bake for a further 20 minutes.
11. At this stage you may serve it or preferably, allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bistro Guillaume, Southbank MELB

To say that I am obsessed with French desserts is an understatement. The last time I have been to France was when I was probably 6 or 7 years old and at that age, all I wanted to do was run around and play hide and seek. Fast forward time, my appreciation for dainty French bites bloomed and without a doubt, going there would be on my bucket list.

But seeing that France is a zillion miles away, the next best thing would be to inhale as much French inspired goodness that I can get here. Macarons and croissants, big ticks for those! And so, perhaps I should start exploring the savoury part of France instead?:)

Conveniently located in the casino, we decided to try this place out as the prices look decent and for a special event, why not?

Tuna nicoise ~ I have came across this term a few times whilst reading up about France but never did have the opportunity to try it out myself. Found it refreshing and light, paired well with the smear of olive spread at the bottom for an added salty component.

Chargrilled king salmon, confit of leek and fennel, olive tapenade and lemon vinaigrette ~

Beef daube ~ aka beef cheek in red wine jus. The robust alcoholic content of the jus was pretty evident even with the smallest drop of it but it did compliment the earthy flavour of the beef.

Leg of duck confit with peas, shallot and lardons ~ duck flesh was so soft and tears away from the bone so easily. I am not a big fan of peas but couldn't resist it's freshness against the smoked lardon taste. Quite a light main to enjoy with a glass of white wine:)

Raspberry macaron ~ upon reading the dessert menu I queried if this would be at least decently sized so that it would reflect the price that I am paying for it. Thankfully, it was good. I am sure there are other places that serves up better macarons but nevertheless, the pleasure of sinking my teeth into a large macaron is irreplaceable:) Raspberry coulis was not too tart nor sweet and yes, they did use fresh raspberries in the macaron.

Passionfruit creme brulee ~ this one is for the people who love sour desserts. Ok, it's not exactly unbearably sour. I just like my desserts sweet haha. Creme brulee had a smooth texture and the passionfruit flavour covered the egg-y taste of it brilliantly.

 Chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream and voilet tuile ~ Fondat was gooey on the inside and cake like on the outside. Salty, sweet and bitter collided on this plate and I think, this is definitely a winning combination:) A must try if you love chocolate and warm types of dessert!:)

Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 5, 2015

Newton Circus, Box Hill MELB

I can still vividly recall rocking up here semi dazed from the scorching hot weather and plonking myself at a table right underneath the aircon. A staff member was considerate enough to bring us some water to cool down and as soon as we settled ourselves down, we jumped right into the ordering bit. The menu consisted of a few traditional favourites in each category and the dessert menu changes on a daily basis so you won't know what you're getting until you get there;)

Chicken nyonya laksa ~ this shrimp and coconut broth was very satisfying despite it being a 40C day outside. The bowl of noodles also consisted of the typical ingredients that one would normally see; bean sprouts, tofu puff, fish cake and shredded chicken meat. A must try if you love spicy food:)

Singapore Hokkien prawn noodle~ surprisingly, this rather simple dish was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. After having a few spoonfuls of the robust flavoured nyonya laksa, I assumed that this might be a little too bland and was I wrong. The noodles were "wet" so I could assume that they have been prepared in broth to soften them up. However, this was not a soggy dish and if you feel the need for a little more kick, feel free to mix it with some of the chilli paste provided.

Bu bur cha cha ~ something I have not had for a long time. For those unfamiliar with this, it is prepared from boiling an assortment of tubers (sweet potatoes, yams etc) and sago before a certain amount of coconut milk is incorporated into it. Not everyone's cup of tea but certainly something I grew up with so this was indeed a pleasant reminder of my past.

Newton Circus on Urbanspoon