Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Feastively

Now that the temperature has dropped significantly and the daylight is shorter, it is almost too easy to fall into a bad eating pattern without a second thought. I, for one, am extremely guilty of this and tend to binge on unhealthy food in the form of sugary, decadent cakes or the ever popular bowl of instant noodles.

Jun, the co-founder of Feastively, introduced me to a different world of food delivery which aims to straighten out us busy career minded souls' priorities aka looking after our own well being. Food was delivered straight to my work place and all the contents had been neatly packed, along with a sheet of instructions and a mini ice bag to keep the ingredients cool.

On the left was the bulgogi kit which consisted of a small serve of kimchi, julienned vegetables, marinated beef and rice. The right side holds the ingredients for making chicken korma such as a can of coconut milk, chopped shallots, marinated chicken, a packet of vegetables and basmati rice.

Each box of food was enough to feed two medium sized individuals. Bulgogi kit took me approximately 10 minutes to whip everything together and I even managed to prep an extra serve of steamed vegetables too. Chicken korma took a good 15 minutes as the meat had to be cooked thoroughly and probably best to leave it to simmer in the sauce anyways :p

And voila, food served in the blink of an eye. All in, the prep work was taken out of the entire cooking equation, making it a lot easier for time constricted individuals to prepare a healthy meal. Flavours were good and probably a lot more healthier compared to a regular takeaway or dining out in a restaurant, at a fraction of the price too.

Would I recommend this to someone who's just moved out of their parents nest and have no time/ cooking skills? Yes by all means :)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Strawberry rolls with orange glaze

Bread making is rarely something I succeed, probably due to my lack of comprehension with the techniques involved. Having said that, I do get lucky in certain situations and it does help when I get access to a decent recipe that is foolproof.

Sally's Baking Addiction has recently made its way into my bookmarked list of websites worth a second (or third) scroll through whenever I am in the mood of creating something exciting. This recipe had been specifically selected for someone who loves strawberries and the sweetness that comes with it.
240ml milk
135g caster sugar
14g active dry yeast
115g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
558g plain flour

1. Warm the milk in a saucepan until it reaches a lukewarm stage. Stir in the yeast, followed by the sugar. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes until the mixture starts to froth.
2. Using a standmix with a dough hook attached, beat in the butter until it appears to be uniformly mixed with the yeast mixture.
3. Beat in the eggs and salt.
4. Slowly incorporate the plain flour and set the standmix to a low-medium speed. Once the flour appears to be well mixed in, turn the speed up a little and allow it to mix for a good 6 minutes or so.
5. Cover the dough with a cloth and place in a preheated oven, allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Strawberry jam filling
250g finely chopped strawberries
68g granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornflour

1. Place strawberries in a saucepan, add sugar and heat the mixture until the strawberries begin to ooze its juices out. This might take around 5 minutes at medium heat.
2. Sift cornflour into the mix and quickly stir it to prevent clumps from forming.
3. Set aside to cool.
4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it with a rolling pin to your desired thickness.
5. Spread strawberry jam on the dough and roll it.
6. Slice the rolled dough according to your desired thickness and place in a baking pan lined with baking paper.
7. Allow to rise for another 2 hours.
8. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for around 25 minutes, ensuring to keep it covered to prevent it from browning too fast.

Orange icing glaze
100g icing sugar
20ml orange juice

1. Mix both of the icing sugar and orange juice together before lashing it out generously on the baked buns. Serve baked buns warm.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Blue Chillies, Fitzroy MELB

One of the first few Malaysian restaurants that I have came to known when I relocated to Melbourne in 2015 and also one that I did not manage time for a visit due to its distance. Am very grateful to WL for being such a sport and ferrying me to places that I would think almost impossible to get around to.

Being close by to his workplace, WL is a frequent visitor to the point where even the floor staff can recognize him. Laidback atmosphere and one that exaggerates a warm environment as we slowly enjoyed what's left of a Sunday well spent.

Curry kapitan - I love how well spiced and balanced this dish was in terms of spiciness. A faultless one that pairs well with steamed rice or even a sliver of roti to lap up the sauce.

Slow cooked duck rendang - I am obsessed with duck and again, was not disappointed with what was presented on our table. After being slow cooked. the duck meat became extremely tender and flavourful, all while still retaining it's shape. Highly recommended in my books.

Belachan spinach - shrimp paste is traditionally used to cook this dish and yes, it was delicious. Spinach leaves still retained its vibrant green hue and has taken on slightly spicy aroma from the roasted shrimp paste used.

Pandan crepes filled with coconut soaked in gula melaka and vanilla ice cream - A little reserved in terms of the coconut filling but still tasty nonetheless. One of my favourite Malaysian treats despite all the sugar that it comes coated with.

Blue Chillies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, June 16, 2017

Mama Manoush, Fitzroy MELB

Exactly a week ago, I hopped into an unknown van that brought me to a quieter side of Fitzroy, slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the main street. Said bully A actually behaved himself and ensured I did not make any attempt at jumping off the van in mid traffic.

Despite having had a good feast that day, fatigue got the better of me, resulting in a collection of terrible pictures of the night :/

Chicken wingettes - marinated in Mama Manoush's special herbs and spices, coriander and fresh lemon juice. Zesty and fresh dish to start the meal with.

Makanek - mini seasoned lamb and beef sausages topped with fresh lemon juice. Sausages were well seasoned but aside from that, a little dry if consumed without any accompaniments.

Falafel - chickpea and beans mixed with herbs and spices, lightly fried. I am a big fan of falafel and would have liked a little more beans mixed into it. I do like my falafel to be extra packed with green goodness tho.

The meat lovers platter - definitely out of my comfort zone when it comes to ordering middle Eastern dishes. Always good to come with people who know what they want to order and being me, I would play along :p Marinated lamb and chicken breast came served with salad, chips and dipping sauce.

Kafta calzone - reminded me of Jack the halloween pumpkin hehe. Very rustic in appearance and filled with a deliciously marinated sausage coated with a thin spread of tomato chutney.

Overall, not a bad day it was despite the less than desirable photos I took that day. A second visit may be necessary to do this place justice :p

Mama Manoush Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Malaysian Garden, Clayton MELB

A few months ago, I stumbled upon this place as I searched for restaurants that are still operating in Clayton pass 9pm. It was late and I needed to feed JB who unfortunately, had issues with his driver's licence, a self caused stress matter that could have easily been avoided :p

Having already ate that day, I had a drink whilst I watched him devour his meal. Ever since then, JB has been frequenting the restaurant and vouched for it whenever we met up and only recently did I decide on visiting this for a meal.

Plenty to choose from the menu and being a fan of noodles, I opted for noodle type of dishes. Costing slightly more than a few other Malaysian establishments I have set foot at, I prayed hard that it would live up to expectations.

Char kuey teow - a staple that I often have whenever I don't feel like having something soupy. WL liked how the noodles had a good hit of "wok heat", a term used to described noodles prepared in an extremely hot pan, creating a drool worthy fragrance. Wouldn't mind a second plate of this:)

Combination yee mee - another dish that did not disappoint. Flavourful gravy, generous amounts of seafood and meat pieces and crispy strands of noodles, ready to absorb every last drop of gravy.

Ais kacang - I liked how there are various condiments in the bowl but sadly, the coarsely shaved ice let the overall dish down. Sweetness was to my liking tho!

Malaysia Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dead Man Espresso, South Melbourne MELB

Alas, a Saturday whereby I get a blissful day off away from paperwork. Does not happen often but when it does, the first thing that pops to mind would be going to places I rarely go to due like markets or cafes that don't open on Sundays.

Equally glad that with more company surrounding the brunch table, I get to snap more food pictures and also taste more:) Midway through 2017, could not have asked for a better turnout for the year.

Small cafe with limited seating area, possibly requiring some patience especially during peak meal times. Nevertheless, efficient and friendly service.

Deadman's eggs benedict - hash cake with smoked pulled pork, seasonal greens and chilli hollandaise. Not a dish I would recommend for big eaters albeit being deliciously well seasoned.

Chai latte - my step down approach towards caffeine on the weekends.

The Reuben - salted beef grilled sandwich with sauerkraut, swiss cheese, horseradish cream and thousand island dressing served with pickles. First time having a reuben sandwich and it has won a spot in my tummy. Packed with acidic sauerkraut which is good for digestion, it took down the bold, meaty beef flavour by a notch, all slightly enhanced by the sharp cheese aroma.

Deadman chicken burger - buttermilk fried chicken with slaw and pickles. Chicken was a little burnt around the edges. A shame as it would have made the burger quite tasty overall. A pretty standard burger loaded with the usual condiments.

  Dead Man Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 5, 2017

Uncle Collins Street, CBD MELB

A week ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited by Uncle Collins Street to sample a few items on their menu, all centered around Vietnamese cuisine. Located close to the end of Collins Street, a few blocks away from the Parliament station, the restaurant exuded a warm, relaxed atmosphere, perfect for winding down after a long day at work or even for hosting a small celebration.

The menu may seem a little intimidating initially but there are always staff members available to answer any food related queries, of which, I gladly took on board. All except the fact that I shouldn't get too excited ordering more than one dish listed under the Big Guys section for the sister and I. You will see why after scrolling through the pictures.

Raw kingfish, longan, sesame, wasabi peas, soy with a coconut and tamarind foam. I loved how fresh and vibrant the flavours of this dish paired well with the subtle kingfish. I am not a fan of fishy tasting seafood and if you are like me, do give this a try. Lots of added crunch and spice from the wasabi peas and pieces of longan, seasoned beautifully with a drizzle of soy.

Peach and palm iced tea - because any alcoholic beverage is a no no until the weekend for me. Quite a refreshing little number tho.

Clarence river school prawns, silken tofu, white fungus, garlic shoots and cured egg yolk. Another delicious little number, boosting simplicity at it's finest. Again a clever play on Asian flavours, given a brilliant twist by incorporating the crunchy school prawns, soft tofu and bouncy white fungus texture.

Braised beef short rib bao with morcilla and flavours of bun bo hue - the meat alone verged on the saltier side of the scale for me but after sandwiching it with the shredded salad into the pillowy soft steamed buns, it was definitely a taste to remember. The meat was indeed juicy and glistened temptingly under the restaurant's dim lighting. Worth ordering a couple more buns just to lap up everything on the plate!

Bo luc lac, shaking porterhouse cubes with confit onions, smoked tomato salsa, garlic and watercress - the sister and I had this with a bowl of steamed coconut rice and after we finish the entire dish, it dawned on us how filled we were. That aside, this is a well presented dish, balanced in terms of vegetables and meat portions. Meat was cooked medium rare, cherry tomatoes slightly blistered and inviting; fresh herbs carefully placed atop the dish for added aroma.

Master stock crispy pork hock with banh hoi, lettuce wraps, fragrant herbs and nuoc cham. On of my favourite dishes for the night and something that I will have again (but with more reinforcements). The pork hock was so beautifully cooked that I find it hard to find any faults with it. Well, except that it makes me wish I could stomach more of it! Soft, succulent meat locked in by a crunchy, well caramelized. We were served lettuce to wrap this fella with a bit of banh hoi (vermicelli noodles) but heck, I could eat this on it's own. Highly recommended.

Strawberry tart with black vinegar curd, basil meringue and pistachio ice cream - Desserts were fashioned around the concept of a lighter way to end a meal, albeit still banging on a good flavour profile. Loved the buttery tart shell that pairs well with the cooked strawberry pieces, sweet basil meringue and pistachio ice cream. Sadly, I had to share this with my sister.

The sister and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here and wouldn't be surprised to find ourselves heading here again for dinner. Not stinging on flavour and value, owners Rene and Dai should be proud of how far they have traveled in their restaurateur career because darn, it is one of the better ones I have been to in Melbourne ;)

  Uncle Collins Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato