{Quick & Easy} Breakfast

Ever woke up in the morning and just feel like something quick and yummy for breakfast? Boy do I have a quick fix for you! Something naughty and nice (or good, but nice sounds better haha) (:

Baked eggs! Bacon and eggs with a touch of cheese. haha Knowing me, it’s not really a touch. It’s more like an overdose of cheese. But well, that is entirely up to you! You can change the amount of cheese you want, and also change what you want in your baked eggs. And the nice (or good) part – avocado on toast! Wish I had some feta. Would be awesome! (: Anyways. Here is the recipe, hopefully you will get your quick fix at home this weekend!

Have a great weekend ahead everyone! xo

PS : I’ve got mixed reviews on the recipe cards, especially the last one I used. I’ve change the font and made it clearer (I hope!) so let me know if this is better! I will be mixing it around, and the recipe cards will only be used for short and quick recipes! (: Enjoy!

Upside Down Mandarin Cake

It’s been so long since I baked anything. And I think my poor Kitchenaid felt really neglected. But the packing, unpacking and moving has made it almost impossible to get any proper baking done. But now that we’ve settled in, I just had to put my little red engine to work and bake something.

It’s the mandarin season right now and I really wanted to use them. I don’t usually use much citrus fruits in my baking, in fact the first time I did and attempted to make a orange and poppyseed cake, it failed miserably. haha So I was really worried and nervous about how this was going to turn out.

Especially making an upside down cake, you never will know how it will turn out or if it will even be successful until you turn the baking tin upside down. I held my breath from the time I placed a plate over the baking tin, and over-turning it. Only after hearing the “plop” sound did I let out a sigh of relief! That turned into a smile or a grin rather, after I lifted up the tin and found a beautiful flower-like arrangement of mandarins on top of a dense but soft buttery cake. Mmm mm mm!

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! Especially since I was never a cake-baking person. I’m more suited to baking cupcakes! So this was a real accomplishment for me. (: *phew*

So head down to the nearest supermarket and get yourself some mandarins! You’ll definitely enjoy this like we did! Especially when it’s warmed and served with a scoop of ice cream and topping with a touch of nutella! NOMS!

Upside Down Mandarin Cake (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January 2009)

Ingredients :

6-7 Mandarins, peels and segmented

226g unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

3 tbs freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/3 cups, plus 1tbs of all purpose flour, sifted

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbs orange zest

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup whole milk

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius. In a large pot of water, boil the mandarin segments for 3 minutes, drain and dry them on some paper towel.

2) Place 113g of butter in a 9-inch round baking tin. Mix 1 tsp of vanilla paste and 1/2 cup of sugar, then sprinkle over butter. Place in the oven until the butter has completely melted. This would take about 7 minutes. Carefully add 2 tbs of orange juice, mix till well combined.

3) Arrange the mandarin segments in a flower-like pattern starting from the middle and spiraling outwards. Set aside while making the cake batter.

4) Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cream zest, remaining butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla paste in a mixer until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add half of the flour mixture, then the milk and the remaining 1 tbs of orange juice. Beat in the remaining flour mixture.

5) Gently spoon the batter on top of the mandarin, and spread evenly. Bake the cake till it’s golden brown and when the cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle. This will take about 45-50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack.

6) Run a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the cake. Place the plate on top and invert the tin. You can let it cool before you eat, or have it slightly warm with a scoop of ice cream! ENJOY!

The Mr absolutely loved the cake ! It’s no wonder how he now has a sweet tooth huh? (:

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar

I was really excited to head to Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar for a couple of reasons. One of which is that I was going for my very first bloggers meet up with Daisy and Julie! The other reason is that I’ve seen the gorgeous desserts that Daisy posted and just couldn’t wait till the end of meal to dive in to the desserts! When you want dessert, you can always count on Daisy cause she’s the dessert queen in my book! (:

So if you know me, you know that I’m definitely not considered as sociable. Comfort is what I thrive in. So meeting up with these awesome food bloggers, you can imagine how nervous I was! But it felt like we already knew each other for a long time. All my nervousness went away instantly the second we met! Which was great! hehe I was actually quite shocked when I arrived at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar because it’s where Maze use to be. I actually didn’t know Maze was gone. Oops. Haven’t been to Crown for the longest time! That’s a real pity, loved the food at Maze. Anywho, back to the yums!

So we decided to order a starter each but share it and a main each. The starters were all really delicious. There wasn’t one that I didn’t like to be honest.

Cured kingfish, finger lime and smoked yogurt. Really refreshing and the kingfish was almost melt in your mouth. A good dish to start with!

Roasted scallop, wild rice and spice! The wild rice was puffed and crispy and added a really nice texture to the really well cooked scallops. I was very happy after having it. haha

I thought the kingfish and scallop was good. But let me tell you. This crispy little pig was AMAZING! There was one for each of us, and I just couldn’t bear to finish it. It was garnished with the crispiest crackling you can get! The only thing we didn’t really fancy was the round veg (we didn’t know what it was haha) that was pickled! But was a fantastic starter, a must have according to me!

I ordered the special of the day : ox cheek. I had to order it when I heard the specials of the week because the night before, Andy from Masterchef made ox cheek for the elimination challenge and it looks so good and I was craving for it the whole night! And it was no mistake! The ox cheek was full of flavour and it was pretty tender. It was accompanied by some chicken liver too and it was really creamy. Loved it!

Daisy chose the panfried snapper and it was really fresh! The skin was really crispy and the fish was really tender and well cooked. Definitely a good choice!

Julie couldn’t resist ordering the tri tip steak! It was tasty but unfortunately it was a little more towards medium-well than the medium that she asked for. So I think it just got a little dry towards the end of the meal.

So after our starter and main, Daisy asked if we could go sit by the dessert bar! And lucky us scored some seats which was really surprising on a Friday night! I was super excited as it would be my first time having the pastry chef plate our desserts in front of our eyes! WHOO! *jumps*

We dessert bar was superb. I just felt like I was back to being a kid again. You not only get to see the chef in action, you are facing a whole wall (or shelve rather) of sweets. Old school sweets.

Chef is plating Daisy’s dessert : White chocolate, mango, basil and coconut.

It’s a really unique dessert, and you’ll have to eat all the different components together. I had the individual parts on their own and their flavours are strong and punchy. But together, the different textures and all the flavours work well together. It was my first time having basil ice cream!

Next up, Julie’s ricotta cheesecake with yuzu, ginger, nuts and seeds.

This was actually my favourite of the day. I love yuzu. Can’t get enough of it. I would definitely head back with the mr and have this again. (:

I was really looking forward to having my dessert : praline souffle with jasmine and coco nib ice cream. My eyes lit up when the chef came up to us with the souffle standing mighty high and he cannelled the ice cream and just stuck it right in the middle. I couldn’t stop smiling.

The night definitely ended on a high when we were given complimentary salted chocolate truffle and salted chocolate milk!

Love the old school milk bottle and the straw! It was really thick and chocolatey. Just the way I like it. Really enjoyed the hit of salt with every bite of the truffle and every sip of the milk!

We were really spoilt that night and were given some old fashioned lollies that were on that magic wall of sweets we were facing.

It was a really great night with the girls, and we have decided to do a fortnightly meet up! It’s great cause we get to try new places together so it’s really exciting! (: So glad we could click and we love the same things! Can’t wait till our next meet up!

Oh yes! and I’m definitely returning back to Mr Hive’s Kitchen and Bar and this time bringing the hubs there cause I’m really sure he will enjoy everything they have to offer! (: Especially since he has developed a sweet tooth of late hehe

ps : if you got the entertainment book, it entitles you to 20% discount, so hurry grab your Entertainment book asap! (:

Garlic and Chilli Clams

Been missing home quite a bit lately and one thing that gives me great comfort is food. Not just any food, but specifically mummy-inspired food! When I do head back for the holidays, I try to have as many meals as I can at home, cause mummy would just make all my favourites. Yup, I’m very blessed (:

So last Friday, when I was walking around Springvale market, and feeling homesick, I decided to make a dish that would make me warm and fuzzy inside. And one thing came to my mind – garlic and chilli clams. Spicy and the broth that accompanies it would be perfect with rice/quinoa and the best thing to have on a cold night!

and it’s really not difficult to make. Could get it from the pan to the dining table in less than 30 mins! We had this with the cheesy butter prawns in my previous post and with steamed jasmine rice, everything was just finger licking good! (I mean it, you need to use your hands to pick the clams up and SLURP! haha) Doesn’t food just taste better when you use your hands?

Garlic and Chilli Clams (Adapted from mummy’s Recipe)

800g clams, cleaned well soaking in cold water for at least 1 hour (changing water frequently)

8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 large chillies, finely chopped

small knob of ginger, slice thinly

1 tbs shaoxing wine

2 tbs fish sauce

1 cup water

2 tbs vegetable oil

salt and pepper, to season

fresh coriander, to garnish

Steps :

1) In a heavy-base wok, heat the oil on high heat and fry the garlic and chilli till fragrant, not till the garlic turns brown and be careful not to burn the garlic or there will be a bitter taste.

2) Add the clams and fry till well combined. Add the shaoxing wine and allow the wine to cook down. Add the fish sauce and season with salt and pepper. Add water and cover the wok, lowering the heat, allowing the clams to simmer for 15mins or until all (if not most) of the clams have opened. Discard those that are close.

3) Serve in a large bowl and garnish with coriander. ENJOY! (: Remember to use your fingers and slurp all the remaining broth that’s leftover once you’re done with the shells! hehe

So what’s the food that comes to your mind when you think of home? (:

Cheesy Butter Prawns : A Family Project

You must be wondering, how is this post a family project. Let me explain.

My whole family is quite hilarious. We set up a group chat on Whatsapp and named it “Super Group” (of course! haha) and have been chatting to each other ever since. The 6 of us are a funny bunch and we chat about everything and anything. We are close like that. (: But the main topic that we usually discuss is of course, FOOD! We are quite a foodie family, I must admit. We enjoy cooking and we definitely enjoy eating. haha

A recent topic has been this particular dish we had at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant when they had a branch at Serangoon Gardens Country Club a few years back. It’s a favourite among the kiddos in the family and we never fail to order them when we are dining there. And now it’s gone, and we have been craving for it since!

Have you ever tried to recreate a dish that you tried at a restaurant/cafe? This was a first for me. My mum did try once a few years back, but it didn’t turn out quite the same, though still yummy. This time, I read up on some recipes online and realise it was the type of cheese we used. We always thought that we have to use the fancy cheeses. Shredded tasty, mozzarella and was pretty close to getting the expensive gruyere  to give it the last shot. But thanks to Bee from Rasa Malaysia, I found out that what chinese restaurants use is actually the slice Kraft cheese! I couldn’t quite believe it. But if there’s someone I would trust, it’s definitely Bee! So I told my mum to try using the slice cheese and being the spontaneous people we are, she made it that very night the conversation took place! haha

I planned to cook it the next day, as Friday was seafood day. Mum gave me feedback the night she cooked it, and told me that using slice Kraft cheese was perfect! It worked out well and tasted very close to the once we had at Jumbo! I got really excited. Couldn’t wait to try it!

Cheesy Butter Prawns (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

500g prawns, leave shells on

30g salted butter

1/4 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

75ml thickened cream

50ml milk

4 slices Kraft cheese

3 heap tsp of corn starch, to coat the prawns before deep frying

vegetable oil, for deep frying the prawns

salt and ground white pepper to season

coriander, for garnish

Steps : 

1) Prepare the prawns, take the heads off and keep it for other use. Carefully slice the prawn into half, length wise, keeping the shell intact and devein. Put the corn starch and coat the prawns well. Deep fry the prawns in very hot oil until the prawns are crispy and the shells have turned orangey-red. Drain and set aside.

2) Heat up a non-stick pan and add the butter. Add the garlic and onion, frying till fragrant. Careful not to burn the garlic, as it will leave a bitter after taste. Pour the thickened cream and milk into the pan, bringing it to boil. Add the prawns and lay the cheese slices on top of the prawns. Cover the pan, leaving the heat on high, and let it simmer for a few minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick, just add a bit more milk, a tablespoon at a time.

3) Take the lid off and stir to combine the cheese well with the prawns. Season with salt and ground white pepper. Dish out and garnish with coriander.

Serve and eat immediately with steamed jasmine rice! ENJOY!

The good thing about leaving the shell on is that it retains more of the cheese sauce which is really delicious and it’s so crispy you can just devour the whole thing! (: Well the mr and I sure did! I foresee us cooking this dish very often from now. haha Think I got to lift more weights to burn those calories off! Luckily, I’ve got a husband who is a Personal Trainer! *phew*

I declare our first family project a success! (:

Brunch Sunday : Chez Dre

South Melbourne is a gem. Its filled with good food, desserts and you can get almost anything you want or need from there. One of the reasons why I love weekends is because I get to spend time with the mr and do what we love. Eat and explore more of Melbourne together (:

Chez Dre

Add : 287 Coventry Street (Rear), South Melbourne, Vic

Tel : 03 96902688

It’s not my first time here at this amazing cafe. The first time I was introduced to this amazing place because of the desserts they offer. They have to ability to draw you in and just go “WAH!” You then want to buy everything that is on display. haha

I wasn’t joking was I? Don’t you just want to buy everything and try them? hehe I had to resist and bought 4 back this time. And they were all delicious! The chocolate tart is the Mr’s favourite, the hazelnut praline crunch was mine! We also had the salted caramel eclair and the pistachio & fig cake (can’t quite remember the exact name! Sorry!) They were all delicious! Want to head back and try the rest! (:

Well. We weren’t there for only the sweets. Our initial plan was to head there for brunch! hehe So we did!

As Chez Dre doesn’t have chai, I ordered a cappuccino instead. I do love a cup of coffee once in a while though I’m usually a chai/tea kind of girl. hehe But their coffee was really good and topping it with the cocoa powder was perfect!

The Mr had his usual latte. I’m always intrigued by the way the baristas draw the art with the milk and froth. It’s really a talent. Been wanting to do the coffee barista course but never got around to doing it. haha

This was the black pudding, caramelised onion and tomato chutney omelet that the mr ordered and it was DE-LI-CIOUS! I knew it was what the Mr was going to order as it had black pudding in it and the mr loves black pudding! hehe Was a really good choice though!

I, on the other hand, have an obsession with corn fritters. And lucky me went on the day that had corn fritters as a breakfast special! hehe So of course, I had to order the special. It came with a poached egg, avocado and a capsicum salsa. It was yummy but the corn fritter was a little more like a pancake and could do with a bit more corn. Everything complimented each other though! So was still delicious and I was very happy! hehe

The egg was poached perfectly and the runny yolk just acted as the sauce for the fritters! I was like a kid receiving candy when I cut into the egg and the yolk just flowed out. NOMS! Couldn’t stop smiling hehe

I have to admit, the portion size is smaller than the other places we’ve had brunch at, but the food was pretty good and everything was cooked perfectly. So we couldn’t really ask for more (although we would love more haha). We will definitely be back to Chez Dre, if not for the food, then for their amazing desserts! (:

What is your favourite dessert from Chez Dre? Would love to know!

Brown Butter Banana Muffin

I do apologise for the lack of photos for this post. It’s gonna be a quick post and I just want to share this amazing recipe that I found from Karen of Citrus and Candy! You see, I had bananas that were over riped and frozen and really needed to use them. I’ve been wanting to make banana bread for the longest time. But I bought new muffins trays from Ikea that makes the muffin stand nice and tall. I couldn’t wait to use them, so muffins it is! (:

I am addicted to using these recipe cards now. So please bear with me for the time being! But I do hope you like the change! Do let me know, would love to hear what you think!

* Note : To make the brown butter : Put the butter in a pan over medium-low heat and leave it to melt. The butter will start to sizzle and splutter as it cooks. Eventually the noise will quieten down and the butter will start to foam up. Keep your eye on the butter as it won’t take long for it to burn. Swirl the pan and you’ll see the foam start to colour and the butter/milk solids underneath will brown and smell nutty. At this stage, take it off the heat and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes. Strain when it has cooled and put it aside for later use.

Yum Cha Addiction

I don’t think I can ever have enough yum cha. I could have it every single day. It’s something I have quite often with my family when I’m back for my break. Yes, we are a family of foodies! hehe

But because it’s a tad expensive here, we restrict it to once a few months. So I treasure these yum cha days even more! Fun fact : Back home, we actually call it dim sum! Never called it yum cha till I got here. hehe But I am always very happy and excited when the mr and I have planned a yum cha brunch!

We usually only go to one place for yum cha but recently got introduced to a new place by Daisy after seeing her instagram photos of the food there. I couldn’t be more excited to give it a try! Can you tell from the grin on my face? haha I think I was a bit too happy that day. and cold!

Wealth Garden

Add : 866 Doncaster Road, Doncaster East, Vic 3109

Tel : 0398407611

Thank goodness the Mr has the same favourite cuisines as I do, so we could both enjoy our food together. To me, there’s nothing worse than being forced to have something you don’t like! Besides, food tastes more delicious when you have it with the person you love! (: Don’t you agree? In fact, the mr loves almost everything at yum cha so we could order everything I liked! hehe I was doing the happy dance inside.

This is a family favourite : fried chinese dough fritter wrapped in cheong fan (rice noodle roll). These were amazing! The cheong fan was so smooth and thin together with the crispy dough fritters, it’s a perfect pairing! It comes with a sweet sauce that you can go with. What I liked about the ones they serve here is they have vegetables (kai lan) wrapped in the cheong fan as well! Makes me feel less guilty when having it. haha

this is one of my absolute favourite dish at yum cha – char siew sou (bbq pork pastry). The pastry was really flaky and the filling was thick and every bite was filled with bbq pork. DELICIOUS!

Fried prawn wantons. Jammed packed with fresh prawns, this is served with a saucer of mayo. Just after these 3 dishes, we couldn’t stop smiling and saying “this is SO GOOD!” haha. Just thinking back, I can remember our eyes lighting up with every bite of the food. NOMS.

Now, this was the king of all dishes. haha In fact, this was the dish that made me ask Daisy for the place she was at! Steamed white radish cake. You can’t really find this anywhere else. The first time I had it was at Kam Boat in Singapore. Usually, its cute into large rectangular pieces and panfried till it’s crispy. The first time I had the steamed version I was a little reluctant and questioned if it would be as nice as the panfried ones. I was proven wrong with my first spoonful! hehe Amazing stuff!

The glutinous rice was really yum as well! I am sure my mum would love this!

 of course, yum cha would not be complete if we don’t have the usuals. They were all really yummy, but they just don’t stand out after having the others. Don’t get me wrong, they were still really good. Especially the siew mai. It was really tasty and generously filled. Having just one would fill you right up!

The century egg porridge was sadly the least of my favourite that day. It was just a little too blend and nothing really special. But I guess once you’ve had porridge from Crystal Jade then it’s quite difficult to find anything better!

Chicken feet is definitely considered a delicacy cause not every one would like it. The hubs is a big fan and couldn’t resist ordering this although we were already quite stuffed! hah But it was a really generous portion and I could only have a maximum of 2. haha So the poor mr had to finish it on his own! Oppsy!

So it’s time for the desserts. Yum cha cannot be considered complete without ordering egg tarts!

Another food blogger, Liz, also saw that I was at Wealth Garden and highly recommended the po lo bun (pineapple bun)! So we had to give it a try! I was surprised that it was filled!

They were filled with a sweet pineapple paste and also had pineapple chunks in them! I was surprised because in Singapore, I usually get the unfilled ones and have a slice of salted butter with it. It’s what my mum and I would usually have when we are having tea at Crystal Jade! hehe

Okay, feel a bit home sick after a post about yum cha 😦

Thank you for driving me all the way here to try this place! (: I think it has become our favourite yum cha place!

PS : Thanks Daisy for the recommendation and Liz too! (:

PPS : Do call in advance to make reservations, as this place fills up really quickly from the time it opens for business! 

Stir Fried Okra (Lady’s Finger)

I never really liked okra when I was young. The only memory I had of okra of is using it during Arts and Craft lessona at school. Have you done those vegetable prints before when you were little? We use to do heaps! And using okra was very popular as it makes pretty flower prints!

(image credit to http://bkids.typepad.com)

So I never really knew how it tasted! Also, the slimy texture on the inside kinda puts me off as well. Always thought it was kinda gross. haha My brother still thinks it’s gross! But he was never a fan of slimy or soft textured food. The first time I had it was in the fish head curry my mum cooked and I loved it! But I didn’t know if I liked it cause of the curry gravy that made it yummy! So mum sitr fried it during dinner one night and I absolutely loved it!

This is my mum’s version of the stir fried okra! Mine looks a little different. haha Hers is still a little crunchier and is less gooey. I think my wok wasn’t hot enough! :O But nonetheless, it was still yummy and the taste was quite similar! So I was really happy with my first attempt of cooking it!

I guess there are many ways you can slice your okra. I prefer mine thin and cut at an angle. But even if you cut it round, it would look nice too! Just that when it’s slightly thicker, might take a longer time to soften. So do take note!

Also, I am really lucky that my dearest mum made me a huge bottle of her own sambal chilli. But if you don’t have sambal in your fridge, just slice up a large chilli thinly and it would work too!

So here’s the recipe for my version of the stir fried okra. I decided to put it in a recipe card for a change! What do you think?

Have this dish with a hot bowl of rice! *slurps* ENJOY! (:

Dessert Story

There’s alot of buzz about Hong Kong desserts in Melbourne of late. And I can never get enough of it! The Mr and I were at Glen Waverley for dinner one night, and we chanced upon it while roaming around the area. We are relatively new to the area, and wasn’t too sure what we could find there. And we found a place to satisfy our sugar cravings!

Dessert Story

Add : 72 Kingsway, Glen Waverley Vic 3150 

Tel : 03 95618884

When we got there, it was super packed and we the last couple of seats available. Thankfully we were a few minutes earlier, because after us was a line of people wanting to get seats! They had outdoor seats, but it was far too cold to sit outside.

The menu was extensive and there were really heaps to choose from, both hot and cold. We were definitely craving (and needing) something hot so we chose a dessert each! Trust me, it wasn’t easy narrowing down our choices because we just wanted to order everything haha. There were some interesting combinations too! Some of which we never heard or seen before.

I ordered the soya beancurd with black sesame paste. It kinda killed two birds with one stone and satisfied my cravings for both desserts. I was a little worried about the combination cause I never heard of it before. It’s usually sold separately back in Singapore. But I decided to give it a shot anyways and no regrets there! The black sesame paste was really fragrant, thick and smooth and not overly sweet. The beancurd was really smooth as well and just melts in your mouth. I do recommend it if you are a fan of black sesame!

The Mr ordered the tang yuan (汤圆) which are glutinous rice balls in a sweet pandan broth/soup. These are filled with peanut and black sesame. Yes, haha we do like black sesame alot. Plus it’s good for you! (:

It was a good balance between the sweetness of the glutinous rice ball and the sweet soup. Makes me miss those I usually get from China Town Food Street and they sell their glutinous rice ball in a peanut sweet soup! Noms!

I have to admit. If I were given a choice between the peanut and the black sesame, I am more inclined to choose the black sesame. It’s funny how my taste buds have changed through the years. I use to only have the peanut ones, but now I will only order the black sesame ones. hehe Although they are both delicious!

We will definitely be heading back to try the other desserts on the menu! They have desserts from both Hong Kong and Taiwan! Can’t wait to try the shaved ice to see if they are like the ones we had in Taiwan! (:

So what are the kind of asian dessert you enjoy? Would love to know if you have a favourite place in Melbourne to have them so I could pop them in my “to-go” list!