Corn & Okra Fritters with Smoked Salmon

Corn fritters. Who doesn’t like them? Whenever I go for brunch, I will first look out for corn fritters on the menu and if there isn’t any then I will venture out to try something else! That’s how much I like corn fritters. Nothing better than having something crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with corn kernels bursting in your mouth with every bite! mmmm.

Corn fritters at Replete Providore sparked my obsession with fritters (:

The best corn fritters I had was at Replete Providore in Hawthorn and I couldn’t get enough of it after that! I can proudly say Replete Providore sparked my addiction to corn fritters (yes, it was THAT good!)! They serve theirs with bacon, sour cream and tomato-chilli relish which was sweet and tangy which I love!

But cause I made these on a Friday, and it’s meatless Friday. I had to use something else besides bacon. So opening the drawers in the fridge, I found my last packet of smoked salmon! The first was used to make the tomato and cream smoked salmon pasta a week ago! *PHEW* Lucky I had a packet left, as I was sure the saltiness of the smoked salmon would be perfect with these fritters!

 Instead of layering it with sour cream and the tomato-chilli relish, I thought I made it less sinful (just a tad bit) by mixing plain greek yogurt with the aubergine (eggplant) and chilli pickle I bought from a little store at Mount Dandenong a while back.

It was perfect! Creamy-sourish-spicy and added just a little touch of sweetness with some sweet chilli sauce as garnish.

These fritters were crispy and I added cheese to it so it was cheesy in the center. Everything you would want in your breakfast. The addition of okra was surprisingly good because it added an extra crunch. Just love different textures in my dishes! hehe So if you’re a corn fritter lover like me and wanna try whipping this up, here is the recipe! (: I’m very sure you will love it! Cos the mr and I both did!

Corn & Okra Fritters with Smoked Salmon (makes 5 relatively large fritters, serves 2)

 12 pieces of okra, sliced

1/2 cup of corn kernels, roasted in the oven and cooled down

1/2 cup + 2 tbs plain flour

1/2 cup chredded tasty cheese

4 mini bocconcini, sliced thinly

2 tbs grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup whole milk

1 egg

freshly ground black pepper, to season

fresh coriander, for garnish

2 tbs sweet chilli sauce, for garnish (1 tbs for each stack)

vegetable oil, for frying

aubergine & chilli pickle yogurt dressing (optional, recipe to follow)

100g smoked salmon

Steps :

1) Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat while preparing the fritter batter.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combined the okra, corn kernels, the cheeses, salt and pepper and mix it well. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon/spatula. Add the milk and egg and mix until there are no dry flour left in the bowl.

3) Once the oil is hot enough (test this by dropping a little of the batter into the oil, it should bubble vigorously), drop 2 heap tablespoons of batter into the oil and flatten it with a wooden spoon. Make sure it’s not too thick, or else the middle might be raw after being pan-fried.

4) Fry the batter one at a time, or at most 2. Fry each side for 2-3 minutes or until each side is a beautiful golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

5) Serve with alternate layers of fritters, yogurt dressing and smoked salmon in a stack and top with a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce for each stack and fresh coriander. Make sure you serve the fritters warm/hot!

Aubergine & Chilli Pickle Yogurt Dressing

2-3 heap tbs of aubergine & chilli pickle (or any relish you have in your pantry)

4-5 tbs plain greek yogurt

Step :

Just mix the pickled relish and the greek yogurt together till well combined. Chill in the fridge till ready to be used!

oh yes, if you don’t have the aubergine and chilli pickle, you can use any relish you want and use plain greek yogurt or sour cream instead! The beauty of making your own breakkie at home – use what you have at home and let your creativity run wild!

Enjoy! (:

Lemongrass Beef Rice Vermicelli Salad

As you all know, the holidays are here and because of that I get to spend more time with the hubs and also have more time and energy to spend making things in the kitchen! And I have to admit, I’m loving it! (: Not needing to rush the cooking process to get food on the table after work and cooking the same dishes over and over again. No more clock-work, not for the next 2 and a half weeks anyways!

Remember the lemongrass beef vermicelli salad we had at MissChu’s a few days back? The mr loved it so much, he asked me to try and make him some for dinner a few nights back. And so I did! Looking for recipes to help me make some lemongrass beef and off to the market I went and straight back into the kitchen.

So glad I did give this a shot. It was so so good, the Mr said he doesn’t mind having it every day! hehe I decided to just make up my own dressing for the salad, according to what I thought I tasted. haha Thankfully, it turned out really well. Sour, sweet and just a tad bit of spicy! So do give it a try! It’s really something I wouldn’t mind having every day and you could easily change the protein! I’ve tried it with chicken and it was super yums as well! Might try it with prawns or a firm fish as well. hehe but if you like red meat, can never really go wrong with beef! (:

This was the chicken thigh fillet version. Works equally well! (:

Lemongrass Beef Rice Vermicelli Salad

For marinade (adapted from epicurious.com)

1 stalk fresh lemongrass, finely chop the tender part (about 6-inches of the bottom)

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs light soy sauce

3 tsp caster sugar

2 tbs vegetable oil

1/2 tsp sesame oil

500g beef scotch fillet (or other proteins you like)

Preparation :

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and marinade the steaks in a large ziplock bag or container. Place it in the fridge and allow it to marinade for at least 2 hours. The longer you marinade, the tastier it gets!

For the dressing :

4 tbs sweet chilli sauce

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1 tbs fish sauce

For the salad :

150g dried rice vermicelli (the thicker ones)

25g bean shoots/sprouts (blanched and cooled)

150g mixed salad leaves (washed and spun dry)

1/4 cup coriander (wash well and spun dry)

1 lebanese cucumber (deseeded and thinly sliced diagonally)

2 tbs fried shallots, for garnish

Steps :

1) In a large bowl, soak the noodles in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain noodles and blanch it in hot water. Careful not to leave it too long in the boiling water, as it will turn too soft (1 min max). Still want the noodles to have a bit of a bounce. Run the noodles under cold water to stop them from cooking further. Set aside while preparing the beef.

2) Preheat the oven at 200 degrees celcius. Heat a non-stick pan on high heat and sear both sides of the scotch fillets. Place them on a baking rack and bake them for 10 minutes. While waiting, prepare the salad dressing.

3) For the dressing : Mix all the ingredients together until well combined and sugar has dissolved completely. Taste it and you can adjust the amounts of vinegar or sugar depending on your personal taste.

4) Take the beef out and place it on a chopping board and let it stand for 3-4 minutes. Slice diagonally.

5) Plating up : Place the salad leaves and half of the coriander at the bottom of the bowl. Then pour the dressing a tablespoon at a time, mixing and coating the salad leaves well (about 1-2 tbs). Top the salad leaves with the noodles and the sliced cucumber. Place the beef on top of the noodles, garnishing with the rest of the coriander and the fried shallots. Drizzle another tablespoon of dressing over the top and serve.

ENJOY! (:

The Mr definitely enjoyed his salad, look how clean it is! hehe (:

So here you go, an asian spin to the usual salad just so you got more options now! hehe Hope you all will like it as much as we do!

Coffee Hit : Famish’d

The holiday food adventures continues! The Mr brought me here after our wonderful lunch at MissChu for some digestive – coffee and cakes. Just what we needed to complete our lunch. There is ALWAYS space for dessert, or some kind of sweet, regardless of how full you are. haha Trust me!

Famish’d

Address : 130 Little Collins Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Tel : (03) 90040322

Website : http://www.famishd.com.au

Opening Hours : 7-4pm

 Love the decor of the place. You feel a kind of comfort I can’t really describe. Everyone is so friendly there and the Mr said that they actually address you by your name when you’re a regular. Adds a personal touch to your visits here and definitely allows you to be more comfortable while dining there. How fabulous is that? To me, great service is everything!

Famish’d is actually known for their salads. It’s almost the same concept as Salad Stop in Singapore, where you can actually design your own salads, and pick your combination from a whole huge range of different ingredients. Or pick from daily salad special which are the hot favourites! How exciting is that? And now that it’s winter, they offer a soup special daily with freshly baked bread! YUMS! I am definitely returning back on an empty stomach to try their salads and soup!

But for this visit, I was there for some sweets and a good cuppa coffee using St Ali coffee beans.

When I saw what they have to offer, I just instantly picked these two cakes : citrus & poppyseed and orange & almond ! The cakes had a burst of flavour the second it touches your tongue and they were so moist. It’s a slightly denser cake, but I actually like dense cakes. haha Feel like they have more bite to it!


Word.

We both had lattes. Just that the mr ordered their large. And their hot drinks all came with a meringue that will filled with a surprise. It’s filled with chocolate chips! I have no idea how they make it, cause you don’t see the chocolate chips till you bite into it!

I do apologise that I didn’t get a shot of the chocolate chips in the meringue. I got too excited and it was too delicious, I finished it in 2 quick bites. haha I guess I just have to head back to have it again!

 I can’t wait to head back to try the food they have to offer. I have a good feeling they will be yummy! (: So if you work in the city and want a healthy and hearty lunch or even just a cuppa and something sweet, why not drop by and satisfy that hunger!

Sour Cream Maple Banana Cake

What’s your favourite childhood cake that you still can’t get enough of now? For me, the banana cake from the neighbourhood bakery would be the clear winner! The moist and soft texture of the cake, and every bite is just full of banana-y goodness! I’ve made a few banana cakes before but nothing came close to those I had when I was back in Singapore. It either came out too dense, or too burnt or too dry.

I came upon a recipe from Meeta of What’s For Lunch Honey? while blog hopping and saw a recipe I just couldn’t resist trying out. I wasn’t sure if it would turn out like those from back home, but it was definitely worth a shot! Especially since it’s also an upside down cake, and I’m kinda into that now, after making my upside down mandarin cake. haha

The recipe calls for maple syrup. I walked the aisles of the supermarket and contemplated on the maple flavoured syrup, as I never really wanted to spend almost $10aud on a bottle of pure maple syrup. But I decided to spoil ourselves and got a bottle of the real stuff and boy was I glad I did. It adds a unusual nutty flavour to the cake, which was perfect! The sour cream made the cake really soft and moist. And nothing could beat the smell of banana cake baking in the oven. It fills the whole house with the yummy aroma which makes you wanna dive your fork into it immediately once it’s taken out of the oven!

 I felt that this cake was a slightly healthier version as it has way less sugar and butter as compared to the mandarin one (well, I would like to think that! haha). Though they were both really yummy, this just brought me back to my childhood, and felt like I was back in Singapore for that 30 minutes of tea time. haha Yes, yes. I have to admit, I am really home sick. But I’ll be fine. (: Nothing a banana cake couldn’t fix!

So thank you so much Meeta, for sharing this awesome recipe. It’s definitely a keeper, and my mum has made me promise to make this for her when I get back at the end of the year! (:

Sour Cream Maple Banana Cake (Adapted from What’s For Lunch Honey?)

Ingredients : 

5 ripe bananas (3 for the base of the tin, and mash the other 2)

100g unsalted butter, plus extra to butter the tin

9 tbs maple syrup

200g dark brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

300g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

200g sour cream

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius and butter a 20 x 20 square tin well. Pour 5 tablespoons of maple syrup into the tin and swirl it around to make sure the base of the tin is well coated.

2) Slice 3 bananas into half length-wise and lay them, cut side down, in the tin.

3) In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla paste and the mashed bananas. Mix until well combined. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture with a spatula, then stir in the sour cream.

4) Carefully spoon the mixture into the tin, making sure the bananas at the base do not get displaced. Bake for 45 mins, then open the oven door and place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the tin so that it doesn’t get burnt. Bake it for a further 5-10mins until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the middle of the cake.

5) Take the cake out and poke the top all over with a fork. Spoon the last 4 tablespoons of maple syrup over the top and allow it to be soaked through (about 5 mins).

6) Use a knife to run through the sides of the tin, careful not to cut into the cake, then place a large plate over the baking tin and carefully over-turn the cake. Voila!

7) Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. ENJOY!

This is one recipe I can be certain everyone would enjoy! Especially those of you who are like me, who absolutely loves banana cake! The old school bakery ones! NOMS!

{Quick & Easy} Smoked Salmon Pasta

Aren’t there days that you just want to whip something up in the kitchen as quickly as possible? We came back way past lunch time and just needed to get some food in our system. So I looked into our fridge and found a packet of smoked salmon. Perfect! (: I got the dish plated in less than 30 minutes! Talk about quick aye?

Cream and Tomato Smoked Salmon Pasta (serves 2)

100g smoked salmon

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 onion, finely chopped

6 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

2 tbs tomato paste

50ml dry white wine

100ml thickened cream

50g butter

salt & ground black pepper, to season

chopped parsley & chilli flakes, to garnish

100-125g dried pasta (cooked according to the packet, drained and set aside)

Steps : 

1) Place a heavy-based pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the garlic, onion and sundried tomatoes and fry till the onions soften. Careful not to burn the garlic, as it will turn bitter.

2) Add the white wine and cream and allow it to come to a boil. Add the tomato paste and mix till well combined. Pour the pasta into the pan and mix it well, making sure the pasta is coated well with the sauce.

3) Take the pan off the heat, and put in the smoked salmon. Fold the salmon into the pasta and bring it back onto the heat for a further 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4) Serve and garnish with parsley and chilli flakes. ENJOY! (:

Easy peasy, quick & easy!

MissChu’s Tuckshop

It’s the holidays! (: After 10 weeks of work, the 3 weeks of break is exactly what I need. One thing that has been on my agenda is heading to the city to meet the mr for lunch after his work! It’s something I use to do when I was studying, but now that I started work, it’s difficult (actually impossible) to head to the city during the weekdays to meet him. That’s something I really miss!

Love their delivery bicycle! Definitely environmental friendly!

A friend of mine, Felicia, brought me here a while back to try their rice paper rolls. Believe it or not, that was my first time having a rice paper roll. I never really thought they tasted good. In my mind, it was something cold, dry and not very pleasant. But my first bite into these scrumptious rolls changed my mind instantly! So much so that I got totally hooked onto them and would crave for them every now and then. More now than the latter to be very honest!

The Mr knows I love their rice paper rolls, so he would, the sweet person he always is, buy me some for lunch the next day. But it’s never really the same, having it the day after as compared to those freshly made. So we decided to meet at MissChu’s for lunch and try the other things they have to offer as well.

Love the concept they use, reminds me of queueing up in a school canteen! We place an order on the order list and pay at the counter and the food got to our table in no time! We sat on tables and chairs that are made from milk crates. How old school is that? Absolutely loving it!

We ordered the green mango & tiger prawn and the roast duck & banana flower rolls. The roast duck & banana flower is my favourite! It’s generously stuffed with roast duck and the addition of banana flower is just perfect. I highly recommend it! Even though it costs $1.50 more than the others, it’s definitely worth it!

The main difference when you eat fresh at the tuckshop is the soft rice paper skin that tend to get a little hard when you keep it overnight. So I recommend that you buy it and eat it within the same day! You won’t be able to resist the urge when it’s infront of you anyways! hehe I am sure of that!

Another of our favourites was the lemongrass beef (eye fillet) vermicelli salad! This was simply delicious! It’s not the usual leafy salad you get, and you will actually be full (and happy) after eating this! The dressing makes your taste buds come alive, with the sweet-sour-salty component to it. Just makes you want more after each mouthful!

The beef fillet was very well seasoned and tasted absolutely delicious! Was a generous portion once again, and was plenty of beef to go with the vermicelli noodles. We couldn’t have enough of it. NOMS!

The wagyu beef pho was pretty yummy too. Though compared to the other items we had, this didn’t really have the wow factor to it. But I guess, there isn’t really any other ways to serve a pho is there? The soup was really good though! Clear and really tasty. I could slurp a whole bowl of the soup! hehe

The Mr and I were both really happy by the time we were done and our plates & bowls were all really clean! Could not happier with our meal. Our bellies were definitely satisfied! Can’t wait for more lunches with the mr in the coming 3 weeks! (:

Brunch : Snow Pony

If you haven’t already notice, brunch is one of my favourite meals of the day. And with foodie friends like Daisy, my list of  “to-go” places for brunch is ever growing. haha Not that I’m complaining! (: I have to thank her actually! Cause I have more choices for brunch now a days! Especially with the new Entertainment Book, we actually get discounts at some of the new places! Snow pony was one of them. And boy were we super happy with our choice of heading there for brunch.

Snow Pony

Address : 95 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, Vic 3103

Tel : 03 98138911

Website : http://www.snowpony.com.au

The first thing you see when you get there is a huge pony standing tall right outside the cafe. Pity I didn’t snap a shot of the pony, as it was so cold, I just kept my hands in my pocket the whole time we were waiting for our seats. Yes. There is an endless queue at the door of Snow Pony. So get there early and put your name down as soon as you step through those doors! Don’t say you’ve not been warn! hehe The wait is definitely worth it!

I love that they have a different menu for each season. Definitely will be back before it changes cause the Winter menu is awesome! (: We were sitting right smack in the middle on the bar seats, and that was great! Kinda like having the center of attention, and a great spot to people watch. haha Not that we do it, really.

Don’t you just feel happy with orange roses shining and smiling at you? (: I was happy! Even happier after I had the yummy food in my belly! hehe But of course, we started the meal with a hot cuppa!

The Mr had his usual (large) latte and I had a chai soy latte. The latte was really good but that was no surprise because the beans were from Proud Mary! My chai soy latte, however, was quite a let down. There wasn’t much chai taste to it. Was like a whole cup of hot soy milk with cinnamon powder.  It looked really good though!

Having said that. The food definitely didn’t disappoint us at all!

I ordered the McPony’s. How cute is the name? Absolutely loving it. It’s like tastier and healthier muffin that you would only want more by the time you’re done!

It’s a toasted english muffin stuffed with ham (off the bone), emmental cheese and creamy dreamy eggs! Never had scrambled eggs in a muffin before. It was really good! And wasn’t soggy at all!

The Mr ordered the Smashed Avocado with thyme buttered mushrooms, marinated feta , torn basil on multigrain toast. This was to-die-for!

Everything just went perfectly together! Absolutely loving the marinated feta! We couldn’t stop going “wah!” after every mouthful. Have to thank Peach Water for recommending the dish! Definitely heading back to have this the next time! (: I’m salivating just seeing the picture! hehe

You must be wondering, how could I be full just having the McPony’s. Of course, I had other plans in mind. *evil laughter* haha Miss D has highly recommended the Toasted Banana Bread here. And as I have previously explained, when Miss D highly recommends a dessert, you have to give it a try!

The 2 thick slices of toasted banana bread was served with maple syrup mascarpone, fresh banana, berry compote and crushed pistachios. I’m a real sucker for banana bread. So I definitely couldn’t resist ordering this.

Doesn’t it look amazing? You just want to dive your fork into it and have a huge mouthful! When it arrived infront of us, you could immediately smell the aroma of the dense and moist banana bread. Nothing is better than that I reckon! I also highly recommend this dish!

The Mr and I definitely enjoyed our brunch here at Snow Pony. It’s a cosy cafe and everyone is very friendly. Good food and food service. Definitely will be back for more! (:

PS : Do note that this place only takes cash! So head to the ATM before having brunch!