Grain Store – Grand Opening

Grainstore1-1Grainstore2-1-1

There’s many things I love about Melbourne. One of which is how new cafes and restaurants pops up everywhere and there will always be something new to try!  Slightly more than a month back, I was invited (with many food bloggers too!) to the grand opening of the Grain Store. Before I got the invitation, I was wowed by the pictures of their interior decoration. So I was super excited to try their food! hehe I do apologise if my photos are a little yellowish! I’m still learning hehe

photo-9-1

I wasn’t sure how they were going to fit so many of us, as we were allowed to bring up to 3 guests with us! But the place was really spacious and had tables all well spread out. The serving style of the evening was tapas which was perfect, so we got to try alot more things in a much relaxed environment! hehe

couscous and quinoa salad on red witlof

The first thing I had that night was a couscous and quinoa salad on red witlof. The freshness and crunch of the salad went really well with the subtle bitterness of the witlof. I definitely wanted more of this! hehe So so so good!

Black pudding on puff pastry

Next was the black pudding on puff pastry. Although I’m not a big fan, the black pudding went really well with the buttery puff pastry!  I have to admit, when it first arrived, I thought it was on a pikelet! hehe Kinda reminded me of bellini (mini pancakes), right? hehe

Potato fondant

This, my dear friends, was one of my favourite of the night. What could be better than a combination of spuds and cheese? Spuds, cheese and cream! hehe These golden and crispy potatoes are cut into cylinders and hollowed and stuffed with cheese! There were DELISH! Definitely wanted more!

Polenta chips

When the polenta chips arrive, I was grinning! One of the my favourite things ever! I’ve been addicted to it since the mr made them! hehe These were really good! Super crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside! Definitely wanted more than one!

Prawns on Crustini

These prawns were so sweet and succulent and went perfectly with the crispy crustini.

Small masterclass

In the middle of our nomming session, we were invited to the back of the kitchen, where all the magic happens! hehe Chef Ingo was going to give us a mini masterclass of how to make beef tartare! Straight away, I turned to look at Melissa (my sister-in-law who was my plus one for the night) and her face immediately lit up! She’s a huge fan of beef tartare, so I knew she would be thrilled!

Beef tartare

Chef Ingo used tenderloin, parsley, capers, french shallots, chives, gherkins, light mayo, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, a touch of cognac and seasoned with salt! For a small dish, it sure has lots of ingredients! hehe It’s no wonder it’s so tasty and it just melts in your mouth! Of course, Melissa had 2! hehe Everyone knew she liked it so they allowed her to have another! So nice of them! She was definitely a happy girl that night (:

smoke salmon on potato crisp

The house smoke salmon  was beautiful and went so well with the crisp and the slight bitterness of the witlof. Yummm!

Ginger Beer

As I was the designated driver of the night, I ordered organic ginger beer. I love ginger beer. It’s my choice of a fizzy drink (as well as lemon lime bitters)! So refreshing and just the right amount of ginger kick! hehe

Pork fritters

Just before we left, they came around with some delicious and mouth-watering pork fritters! OMGNESS. These were just to-die-for! They just melt in your mouth and the crumbs were golden brown and crispy! I’m so glad I stayed long enough to try them! YUMMEH!

Just want to thank the Grain Store for inviting me to their grand opening! I had such a good time and it was great seeing familiar faces too! hehe Absolutely loved the food and I can’t wait to try their breakfast & lunch menu! Definitely have to head down soon!

Disclaimer : I was invited and dined with compliments of The Grain Store for their launch party. 

Sunday Brunch : 8 Days Cafe

8 Days Cafe - Armadale

The phrase ‘8 Days’ have been something that I grew up with in Singapore. If you’re from Singapore, you would know and have read the ‘8 Days magazine’ and also heard (numerous times) their advertisement song. It’s a weekly magazine that include celebrity gossips and reviews of tv shows in Singapore, similar to the Women’s Weekly or New Ideas that we have here (: When I first saw Miss D’s post on the 8 Days Cafe, there was only one tune that came into my mind. Coincidentally, I told the Ho Clan where we were heading to for brunch a few Sundays back, and we all started humming to the tune simultaneously! haha

Our drinks

It was really packed that Sunday morning. Lucky for us the weather was beautiful and quite warm considering that it was the end of Autumn. So we decided to take one of the outdoor tables instead of waiting for a table indoors. The heater was also switched on for the occasional cool breeze, just to keep us warm and toasty! hehe We all ordered our usual hot cuppa of latte (for the Mr), chai soy latte  (for me) and a hot chocolate (for Melissa). But it was not an ordinary cup of hot chocolate. It was a nutella hot chocolate. Yes, you read right. NUTELLA! Every mouthful tasted like you were eating teaspoons full of nutella out of the jar. Super addictive! hehe

We all had a glanced of the menu and knew almost instantly what we wanted. haha Sometimes we are so predictable, I think we could just order for each other anywhere we go. hehe

smoke salmon and leek croquettes

Melissa ordered the smoked salmon and leek croquettes with grilled asparagus and a chilli lime hollandaise. We were all laughing and giggling about the way it was plated, cause at any angle that we snap a shot, it didn’t look right. haha But those croquettes were amazeballs (very appropriate use of words aye? hehe) !

croquettes

The croquettes were soft and pillowy in the middle, and filled with smoked salmon, and really crispy on the outside! Went so well with the chilli lime hollandaise. Gave a tangy kick to the dish. Perfect match!

chicken & sage chipolatas

Of course, when the menu has bubble & squeak, you know for sure that the Mr would order it! hehe His came with homemade chicken and sage chipolatas and a spicy tomato relish that was so rich in flavour you wanted more! The bubble & squeak had a similar crispy exterior and  a soft and rich potato middle. Delish! (:

side : truffled mushrooms

He also couldn’t resist ordering a side of truffled mushrooms which were so delicious. Not an overpowering taste of truffle oil, and every mushroom were so plump and juicy. It was dangerous though, cause they were all so small, you just want to keep popping them into your mouth! hehe So so good!

smashed avocado with persian feta

Of course, I couldn’t go past the smashed avocado with persian feta. I honestly think these two ingredients are a match-made in heaven. The creaminess of the avocado with the richness of the feta. Can’t get enough! hehe And you would think, how can it get any better? It sure can!

smashed avocado with feta and poached egg

A perfectly poached egg with a molten golden middle! Creating a sauce for the dish. I could really have this everyday! With the occasional bacon. We do need to strike a balance of naughty and nice yes? hehe

our brunch

Our table was filled to all 4 corners and we definitely left with happy and full bellies! (: We will sure be returning back soon especially to get more of that nutella hot chocolate! hehe Do you always order the same things when you head to different cafes? hehe Would love to know your ordering habits! hehe

Hope you all had a beautiful long weekend! We are so blessed to have the sun shinning brightly. Here’s to a short & good week ahead! Remember to always cook and bake with love!  

8 Days Cafe on Urbanspoon

Brunch Date : Axil Coffee Roasters

Axil Coffee Roasters

I adore weekends. I am sure you all do too! But weekends just mean one thing for me : A brunch date with the mr! (: It has become a tradition for us to meet each other, after our work on Saturdays, at a new place to have brunch. Just him and I, a little quality time to ourselves doing what we love best – eating! hehe

My date (:

My date (: I’m very blessed to have him in my life!

Latte

We are really quite predictable when it comes to the drinks we order. hehe The Mr always ordered a latte and me? A chai soy latte of course! (:

chai soy latte

Unfortunately, the chai soy latte didn’t taste like it was brewed from the leaves and spices. It tasted like it was made from the syrup. Which was a pity. But I only have myself to blame, as I should have ordered a cup of coffee at a place that roasts their own beans! The Mr absolutely adored his latte. It was smooth and really robust in flavour. He was close to ordering a second cup but was too full after finishing his food. hehe So I urge you to try their coffee when you’re there!

Our food

As it was really packed that afternoon, it took our food a little longer than usual to arrive. But when it did, it looks so good we couldn’t wait to tuck in! Just love the vibrant colours on the plate. No prizes for guessing what I ordered! hehe

Sweet Corn and Haloumi fritters

To be honest, there were many things I wanted to order when I schemed through the menu, but I just couldn’t resist ordering the sweet corn and haloumi fritters! The thing about corn fritters is it never tastes the same anywhere I go! Some places have them really crispy on the outside, and some places have it a little more like a pancake. This was more like a pancake, and just filled with juicy corn kernels and cubes of cheese! With slightly wilted spinach and rich, buttery avocado and a perfectly poached egg! Everything worked amazingly together, but would be even better with a slight pinch of salt. hehe But still really yum!

ham hock terrine

The Mr couldn’t go past the ham hock terrine, especially since it comes with roasted field mushrooms and two poached eggs! As you can tell, protein is VERY important for the mr. hehe He also added a crispy, golden potato hash to go with his dish! hehe It was so crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside! He was so glad he ordered it! hehe The terrine was moist and just really well seasoned, every mouth was just a burst of flavour, with a kick of spice from the chilli relish! Mmmmm (:

Our drinks

Axil Shop

Love that they roast their coffee beans on site and sell it on site! Just look at the different notes of coffee beans they have! Wish we are able to grind the beans and put them into the capsules so that we could use it in our Nespresso machine! THAT would be dope! hehe We’re definitely heading back to try the other things on the menu and  a nice cup of cappuccino would be my choice of drink!

Hope you all had a beautiful weekend! Can’t quite believe it’s winter in Melbourne already and we received it in true Melbournian style of a long thunderstorm and endless rain. Stay safe and warm for the coming week everyone! Definitely looking forward to my next weekend! Till then. xx

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Axil Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Bosch Masterclass with Chef Ian Curley

Bosch Masterclass with Ian Curley

Good evening dear readers, hope you had a great weekend and you’re all pumped up for the new week! Time really flies, and it’s already mid-week! Before you know it, it’s the weekend again! How good is that? hehe A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to be invited by PHD media agency and Bosch Home Appliances to have a Bosch Masterclass led by top chef, Ian Curley! If you’re thinking that Ian Curley looks familiar, that’s because he’s appeared on numerous TV shows – Masterchef and Conviction Kitchen (just to name a few). I was so so excited when I read that he was going to run the Masterclass, especially cause he’s the Executive chef of The European, a place I’ve been meaning to try! So glad I get to have a first-hand taste of some of the dishes they serve in the restaurant! Up close and personal! (:

Beautiful table setting

We were chauffeured to the venue of the Masterclass and they transformed their showroom into a beautiful dining area! I was mesmerised by all the kitchen appliances that was around me! The state-of-th-art cooking tops, range hoods and the built in … (wait for it)… coffee machine that grinds the coffee beans and makes the froth for you all in a press of a button! Of course, I couldn’t go past the different types of ovens they had to offer! I wanted all of them! hehe

Before I share the amazing night I had, be warned that there are heaps of photos to come and mostly would make you very hungry! hehe Might need to eat after you finish reading this post! hehe But hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did that night! Here we go! (:

Filleting a John Dory

We got into the kitchen (at the back of the show room) and was introduced to Chef Ian Curley! I have to say, he looks so fierce but he’s actually really nice and funny! Insisting we take nice photos of him and make him look skinny! hehe Straight after a short introduction, Chef Ian got straight down to business! He decided to cook us a pre-dinner meal of John Dory with cauliflower puree and braised witlof!

Joh dory with cauliflower puree and braised witlof

Of course, in true chefy fashion, Chef Ian filleted the Joh Dory infront of us, in the matter of minutes might I add! Just amazing!

filleting the John Dory

ingredients used

Lucky for us, everything was prepped so we don’t have to do the chopping, but just the cooking, plating and of course, eating! hehe The best part of all!

Seasoning the fish

The fish was seasoned just before it’s being cooked in a hot pan!

Plating the dish up

While the fish was pan-frying, Chef Ian started to plate the dish up : the cauliflower puree with cauliflower florets, pine nuts, muscatels and capers. I love how it could do that with his eyes closed and it still turned out looking like an art piece!

work of art

How amazing does that look? and that’s just the beginning!

the favourite ingredient of the night : bottarga

To add extra oomph to the dish, bottarga was grated onto the dish! It’s Chef Ian’s current favourite ingredient at the moment! hehe I could definitely understand why! When I saw the bottarga, the only person that I thought of was the Mr, cause he LOVES fish roe! hehe

We were then split into groups to cook different dishes and lucky me was grouped with Miss D (Never Too Sweet) and Agnes (Off The Spork) to make some amazing Beef Wellingtons! By no means was this dish quick and easy, but all the components of the dish just made this dish TO-DIE-FOR! We girls definitely did a great job! hehe Although most of the hard work was already done for us. haha

ingredients for beef wellington

We were introduced to the ingredients needed for the beef welly and look at how beautiful those eye fillets were! The rest of the ingrdients are : dijon mustard, proscuitto, salt, mushroom duxelles.

sealing the eye fillets

sealing the eye fillet (both sides)

The eye fillets had to be seasoned with salt and coated with olive oil before putting into the hot pan to get sealed on both sides! It was important to oil the meat instead of the pan so that it doesn’t smoke out the kitchen! hehe A very good tip when you cook your steaks at home too! (:

Eye fillet sealed

Once the eye fillets are sealed (nicely golden brown too!), allow them to rest on a tray and then smear a thick layer of dijon mustard and a whole heap of mushroom duxelles!

eye fillets smothered with dijon mustard and topped with mushroom duxelles

wrapped with proscuitto

It’s then wrapped with a beautiful piece of proscuitto and then instead of the usual puff pastry, the European uses brioche instead as it gives a lovely soft texture! The brioche was then brushed with egg yolk to give it a nice colour!

Wrapped with brioche and egg washed

Beef wellingtons about to go into the convection and steam oven!

The beef wellingtons were then placed in the convection and steam oven! How awesome does that sound?? The oven has a steaming function that would bake the brioche as the usual oven function bakes/steam the beef so that it will be juicy and tender! I definitely want one!

Baking in the combi steam oven

The combi steam oven doing it’s magic for 12 minutes! While it’s baking, we went over to the other groups to have a sticky beak! hehe Boy was I glad we did, cause the smell that was filling the kitchen was making my tummy grumble!

crab linguini

One of the groups made crab linguini and we were just in time to taste the dish! One of the tips that were given to us was to only add the basil leaves just before serving the pasta just so it is able to have the added freshness!

Chef Ian plating the crab linguini

Topped with bread crumbs and shaved bottarga

Before serving, they crab linguini was topped with breadcrumbs and shaved bottarga! Love the addition of the bread crumbs. It added an element of crunch to the dish! (: So so tasty! My belly was definitely happy after I finished a whole plate!

Crab linguini

After being satisfied by the bowl of deliciousness, my greedy belly led me to the next group. They were cooking saffron seafood paella!

Rice absorbing all the goodness

The short grain rice are absorbing the goodness of the stock, capsicum, saffron and chorizo. hehe I couldn’t wait to dig in to this dish!

All the seafood going in!

Especially after I saw the amount of seafood that is going into the dish! I’m sure you would want some of this too! Just at this time, the beef wellingtons were ready to come out of the oven and be plated!

Beef wellingtons done!

While they were resting, we made the button mushroom garnish.

mushroom garnish

It was a delicious mix if button mushrooms, fresh peas, pearl onions, lettuce, brussel sprouts leaves and bacon! YUMMERS!

Slicing the beef wellington

Within a circle of pea puree lay the button mushroom garnish, a teaspoon or two of mushroom broth and some mushroom froth. Then the beef wellingtons were sliced into half and served!

Beef Wellington

Fresh horseradish was grated onto the finished beef wellingtons just before being served! hehe How pretty does that look? So many components and trust me, everything works magically together! The eye fillets were cooked perfectly  medium as well. hehe I have to say though, I do prefer the flakey puff pastry but the soft brioche was a delightful difference! hehe Just like my buttery puff! hehe

Saffron Seafood Pealla

Next up, saffron seafood paella! (: Don’t you just want to dive into this pan of deliciousness?? When it was placed on our table, everyone just went “WAH” simultaneously! There was so much seafood, the rice wasn’t even visible at first look! hehe Our kind of paella. haha

close up shot of the seafood paella

We quickly snapped some shots and dugs our (clean) spoons in it! The flavours just burst in our mouths! It was so good and the seafood were all cooked really well! Plump and juicy! (: individual portions

I was already stuffed by the time I finished my wellington. So I only had a small portion! Had to leave some space for dessert! hehe For a moment, I sound like Miss D! haha

Pinot Gris Cold Pressed - Yering Station

After having the paella, we were invited back into the kitchen to have some dessert! Of course, there was a sweet dessert wine to go with it – Yering Station’s Pinot Gris Cold Press! SO SO GOOD! Really need to head to the vineyard to buy some of these to stock up! I personally love sweet wine that’s why Moscato or Reisling is usually my choice of wines. hehe I took the smallest sips so that it could last longer! hehe

plating the desserts

While we were busy enjoying our meal, the chefs were busy plating the dessert : olive oil polenta & ricotta trifle! To go with was a stick of puff pastry (YAY!) and some candied walnuts (I wanted to sneak the whole packet home haha). It was my first time having a polenta cake and I loved it! Wasn’t too sweet and added a bite to the dessert. I’ve been a huge fan of olive oil cakes of late, so this was definitely making my belly happy! hehe

Olive oil polenta ricotta trifle

I just kept digging and digging into the glass and it felt like it was never ending! At this point, I knew I was filled to the brim and definitely a happy camper!

Chef Ian making pasta

Before the night came to a close, Chef Ian wanted to show us how easy it was to make pasta from scratch and also how quick and simple a spaghetti marina could be! He whipped out the Bosch MUM86 Professional with a pasta maker attachment and started rolling out the pasta dough that he’s made prior.

Cooking spag marina

In a matter of minutes, he was able to fire up and plate an amazing bowl of spaghetti marinara! Too bad we were all really stuffed, or else I would have loved to have a taste!

spaghetti marinara

I definitely had so much fun during this masterclass! All the different techniques learnt and the delicious food we got to try and attempt cooking. Definitely a night to remember! (: Thank you so much Bosch and PHD agency for this amazing opportunity! Would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Chef Ian Curley and his team for holding such a fun masterclass! I enjoyed every minute of it!

take-home goodies

To make the night end on a even sweeter note, Bosch has generously given each of us a goodie bag filled with amazing gifts! One which I have been eyeing for the longest time : the stick blender! WOOOHOO! (: Now I can make soups, mayo and sauces in a whizz! Thank you so so much Bosch Home Appliances for everything and for the beautiful night! Couldn’t ask for more!

Hope you enjoyed the post! Sorry about the photo bomb hehe I’ve got the recipes of all the dishes that we tasted that night, so if you would like any of them, please feel free to drop me a comment with your email and I will send them through to you asap! (: Have a wonderful night ahead and I hope that your Thursday would be a happy one!

Always remember to cook and bake with love!

Disclaimer : I was invited to this Bosch Masterclass with Chef Ian Curley as a guest of  PHD agency and Bosch Home Appliances.

Babi Guling

Babi Guling

Good evening dear readers. So sorry for the lack of posts of late! Been really busy at work, and will crash the moment I hit the beds! But tonight, to make up for it, I’m going to share a recipe that would make you salivate from start to finish! Babi guling! I’m not sure if you have had this before, but let me tell you, it’s something you definitely want to try!

babi guling in Ubud

The first time I had babi guling was in Ubud when the Mr and I went for our honeymoon! (: It was highly recommended by a close friend, and the moment we tried a mouthful, we understood why. It was absolutely delicious. The meat was so tender and melts in your mouth. The skin was so crispy! Just the way we love our pork! hehe While walking to the shops after our delicious meal, we were lucky enough to see one of the suckling pigs delivered to the shop on top of a man’s head! hehe Love to see things that we don’t get to see everyday. Made our trip more memorable! The suckling pig was roasted to perfection! We were so tempted to have another plate just looking at it! hehe

Babi guling out of the oven

My memories were triggered when I was watching MKR and the winning team made their version of babi guling. It looked so so good and I was hoping they would post their recipe on the MKR website. Thankfully, they did! The mr requested for me to make it a few weekends ago and I happily and most willingly did! (:

spice paste - base gede

When I made the spice paste (base gede), I knew immediately it was gonna be really good as it smelt really close to the one we had in Ubud! I got more and more excited as the spices were blending as the smell of the aromatics just filled the kitchen. I couldn’t wait to get it into the oven and bake it! hehe The only thing that I would do when I make it again is to marinade the pork with the spice paste for at least a couple of hours, so that it would flavour the meat more!

Babi guling - sliced

Other than that, everything was perfect, from the crispy skin to the tender meat. Absolutely divine! We just wanted to finish everything, but had to leave some for lunch the next day! hehe So do give this a try, it’s no surprise why Dan & Steph are the winners of MKR. Their recipe was spot on and definitely a keeper! heh Please don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of ingredients! It’s really worth the trouble of finding them all!

Babi guling - Served

Babi Guling (Recipe adapted from MKR)

1.5kg pork belly, rind scored

2 1/2 tbs olive oil

300ml coconut milk

100g bean shoots

2 tsp kecap manis

A bunch of bok choy, boiled and drained

2 tsp shallot oil

Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

Spice Paste (Base Gede)

Juice of 1 lime

4 long red chillies, deseeded

1 stalk of lemongrass,  white part only, bruised and finely chopped

4 green spring onions (white tender part only) roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic

2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 cm piece of galangal, finely chopped

1 tbs ground tumeric

1 tbs ground coriander seeds

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbs palm sugar

2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp shrimp paste

1/2 tsp salt

Sambal (For the bean shoots)

4 green spring onions (the green part)

2 small red chillies, deseeded

2 cloves of garlic

 1 cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 lemongrass (white tender part only), bruised and finely chopped

2 fresh lime leaves

1/2 tsp shrimp paste

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 tbs vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of ground black pepper

Spice paste rubbed on pork belly

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 240 degree C.

2) To make spice paste, process all ingredients in a blender to form a smooth paste. Reserve 1/4 cup for the sauce.

3) Lightly prick the meat side of pork with a sharp knife or skewer and rub in spice paste in a thick layer. Roll lengthways and secure at several intervals with butchers string. Place in a baking dish. Rub salt into skin.

Spice paste and pork belly

Spice paste evenly spread on the meat side of the pork belly

All rolled up!

4) Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 175 degree C and cook for a further 1 hour 15 minutes or until tender and cooked through. Remove from oven. Rest lightly covered with foil for 30 minutes.

Babi guling - ready to be sliced

5) To make sauce, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add reserved spice paste. Cook for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in coconut milk and juices from rested pork. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

6) To make sambal, process all ingredients until smooth.

7) Cook bean shoots in a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain and set aside. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan. Cook sambal until fragrant. Add bean shoots and toss to combine. Stir in kecap manis.

8) In the same pot of water, boil the bok choy until tender, drain and place in a bowl. Add the shallot oil and toss it well.

8) To serve, slice the pork into 1-inch pieces and serve on hot steamed jasmine rice with the sambal bean shoots, bok choy and lots of sauce.

Babi guling with sambal bean shoots and sauce

ENJOY! (:

Babi guling - Served

So dear readers, hopefully you’re not too hungry after reading this post! But do give this a go as you would definitely not regret it! Especially if you and your loved ones are meat lovers. This is definitely a dish for you! (: Hope all of you had a good (and delicious) weekend! Here’s to a good week ahead!

PS : The sauce is so good, even my mr who usually isn’t a fan of sauce couldn’t stop pouring over his rice! hehe

Remember to always bake and cook with love!

The Little Ox

The Little Ox

Ever since moving to this side of town, we’ve been trying to look for good brunch places to dine at on weekends. A month back, while looking for places to celebrate my birthday, I found some gems and visited Merchants Guild with Peggy and her cutie pie, Paige! hehe But there were a few more than caught my eye and we took the opportunity to head to one during the Anzac Day holiday – The Little Ox!

The Litte Ox - Interior

A beautiful interior, at a corner of New Street sits The Little Ox. Its situated in the middle of the estate and definitely a place that many people come by for both a food stop and a coffee stop! When we got there, there was a long line, and I thought that we probably had to wait for a long time for a table. I found out when I walked closer that the people were queueing for take-away coffees! Thankfully we grabbed the last table available outside before the real queue set in!

Our drinks

We ordered our drinks before deciding on what to have for brunch. We all had our usuals! Chai soy latte for me, Melissa had her hot chocolate fix and the mr had a latte. As it was Anzac Day, our drinks came with a small Anzac cookie and it was so good! Not too sweet, and had a touch of rosemary! So interesting! Definitely gonna try that the next time I whip up some Anzac cookies. hehe Unfortunately, they forgot to put on for the mr. haha I shared half of mine! (:

Corn fritters

If you know me well, I will never be able to go past corn fritters as long as it’s on the menu! My favourite by far, are the ones from Replete Providore. This one has definitely come on par! It was crispy and every bite was filled with juicy corn kernels! This was topped with bacon and smashed avocado which I adore! The tomato relish was tangy and cuts the richness of the dish as a whole which was perfect.  Are you salivating while reading this? haha Cause I am! hehe There was also the option of having a poached egg and of cos I wanted one on mine. Cause who wouldn’t right?

Golden lava goodness

I was so glad I did, cause the egg was poached to perfection and the yolk acted as a sauce for the dish! Now, I’m sure you are salivating! Look at the molten egg yolk! hehe Absolutely YUMMOLICIOUS!

beetroot smoked salmon gravadlax

When Melissa and I saw the menu while the Mr was looking for a park, we knew what he was going to order. The Mr LOVES his rosti or hash and this has his favourite beet root as well! A clear winner! (: I love how the salmon has the slightest shade of pink! When the plate arrived, it looked like an art piece with pretty colours none-the-less! The salmon was cured beautifully and had the right amount of saltiness. It went so well with the capers and pickles, and the earthiness of the beets. The potato roesti was crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Just the way the mr loves it! If you look close enough, you would see some housemade chicken, thyme and pine nut sausage! It was so juicy and tender, and tasted delicious!

Soft omelette with mushrooms, feta and basil

Melissa decided to have the soft omelette with sauteed mushroom, feta and basil. I think out of all the dishes we had, this didn’t have as much wow factor as the rest! But it was still delicious and flavoursome! Maybe if she added the leg ham, it might have added a oomph to it. hehe

Definitely a place we will be heading back especially since it’s quite near to home! (: Especially for more corn fitters!

The Little Ox   on Urbanspoon

Hope you all had a great weekend! and to all Mothers out there, hope you all had a fabulous Mother’s Day!

Quote

I got lots to be thankful for. Without my mum, I won’t be who I am today. (: Love you Mummy!

Prawn Aglio Olio & A Wine Giveaway {Winners Announced}

Prawn aglio olio with Taylors Estate Pinot Gris

Good evening my dear readers! (: I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend especially if you had a long one because of the Anzac Day holiday. I’ve got some exciting news to share with all of you! (: A week back, I received an email from  Taylors Wines who wanted me to do a wine giveaway on my blog. Of course, I said yes! hehe I was also so lucky to received not one, but two bottles of Pinot Gris to taste! How generous are they? Couldn’t be happier!

Pinot Gris came in the mail

Before I go into more details of the wine and the giveaway, I would like to tell me my thoughts about the Pinot Gris! Pinot Gris has always been one of my favourite type of wine. hehe I had a glass before bed one night, and really love how clean and crisp it tasted with tones of pear and apple. I knew instantly what would pair with it perfectly – seafood. My dearest husband read my mind, and made an amazing prawn aglio olio with pan seared scallops for dinner the following night!

Prawn aglio olio with seared scallops paired with a glass of pinot gris

He even used some of the wine in the sauce and it was so good! I wanted more (: The prawn and scallops were so sweet & succulent, it just complimented the wine perfectly.

Prawn aglio olio with seared scallops

Prawn Aglio Olio with Pan Seared Scallops (The mr’s original recipe, serves 2)

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

3 small chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped (you can increase or reduce the amount of chilli depending on how spicy you like your dish to be!)

2 tbs fresh basil, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine (I used Taylors Estate Pinot Gris)

2 tbs olive oil (plus an extra tbs for the scallops)

Salt & pepper, to season

12 prawns, peeled and cut into chunks

6 scallops, left whole

Pasta of your choice

Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to garnish

Steps :

1) Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Strain and run under cold water so that the pasta will not stick together. Set aside while cooking the sauce.

2) In a heavy based pot, heat the olive oil on medium fire and fry the garlic and chilli till fragrant.

3) Add the prawns, and fry till it’s coloured and no longer translucent. Add the chopped basil and white wine. Allow this to simmer for about 5 minutes.

4) Pour the pasta into the sauce and mix it well. Set aside, and keep it warm.

5) Pat dry the scallops and season with sea salt. Heat a non-stick pan on low-medium fire and add 1 tbs of olive oil. Place the scallops into the pan and flip every 30 seconds. Repeat each side for about 3 times, or until the scallops have a nice golden brown sear.

6) Place the pasta on a plate and top with 3 scallops per person. Garnish with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve with a glass of Pinot Gris. ENJOY!

Prawn aglio olio with seared scallops

And now, the part that you’ve been waiting for so patiently…. the giveaway! (:

Taylors Wines is a family-owned wine company, in South Australia’s stunning Clare Valley, that was born from a passion of producing exceptional,  hand crafted wines. They are “Bringing great wines to life” and would love to give two lucky readers two bottles of their beautiful Taylors Wine –  Taylors Estate Pinot Gris 2011 and Taylors Estate Shiraz 2010.

Taylors Estate wines

How do you win these amazing wines?

To enter this giveaway:

  • All you have to do is to leave a comment at the end of the post to let me know : What is your favourite wine and what do you like to pair it with? 
  • Open to Australian residents only! (So sorry!)
  • Please make sure you’re of a legal drinking age and be able to provide a proof of age (it is needed to be sent to the company before they can send you the wine)
  • The winners will be drawn on the 5th of May 2013, Sunday at 10pm (Melbourne time).
  • You may reenter daily, one entry a day (YAY!)
  • Winner will be picked via random.org and announced on this blog and notified via email

Good luck and have a great week ahead! (:

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

This is a sponsored post by Taylors Wines. I tasted the Pinot Gris with compliments of Taylors Wines, however, the review, opinions are honest and based on my personal taste and preference. The recipe is a Food Made With Love original.

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And the winners are….. Diana and Coco!! (: Congratulations!

Winner - Number 4

Diana

Winner - Number 13Coco

Congratulations you two! (: Will be dropping you an email or a reply soon! Hope you enjoy the wines! hehe Have a great week ahead! xx

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Update : Unfortunately, I can’t get hold of Diana and Ross (who was picked after not hearing from Diana) so I had to pick another winner! Congrats Zoe!! (: Hope you will enjoy this wine with Jeff!

New winner

comment number 20

Turning 27 (Part 3) : Merchants Guild

Brunch at Merchants Guild

Yes, my birthday celebration continues! (: This time with my favourite mother and daughter team : Peggy & Paige! hehe While researching for where to dine at, we decided to head to somewhere close to both our homes, so I went through my list and decided on Merchants Guild! The weather was beautiful, so we took a nice stroll there to have brunch.

Merchants Guild

Address : 680 Centre Road, Bentleigh East

Website : http://themerchantsguild.com/

my lunch date

If you follow me on instagram (@lianneelow) you would see alot of photos of Paige just cause she is so gorgeous! (: Doesn’t she just melt your heart? I was so so lucky to be able to have brunch with her and her beautiful mum on my actual day. As the Mr had work that day, Peggy was so sweet to spend the day with me. Thank you again!

Chai latte

We started our brunch with chai lattes. I love it when cafes serve their chai lattes in a pot! It was richly spiced and something just so comforting about it. I’m not sure how many times I’ve said it, but I do love my chai lattes! hehe Especially if there it is served with a side of honey. Mmmm (: I could drink it all day I reckon!

Eggs benedict

There were many attractive things on the menu, but I decided to stick to the all-time favourite of mine – eggs benedict! At Merchants Guild, they actually change the flavour of their hollandaise and that day, it was a herb hollandaise that was thick and delicious, but not overly rich.

Roasted potato bubble & squeak

Peggy ordered the roast potato bubble & squeak with smoked trout with a side of horseradish cream, cornichons and poached eggs. It was so delicious and when I tried it, I knew that the Mr would definitely love this! He’s a huge bubble & squeak fan, so much so that he requested I made it for him for brunch. The smoked trout pieces were mixed into the bubble & squeak and the horseradish cream had a subtle spiciness! Yummilicious!

Buckwheat pancakes

Both of us were drawn to the buckwheat pancakes on the menu, so we had to order a serve to share. They were so good! Thin pancakes topped with grilled pears that were so soft. The chocolate fudge was so rich and decadent, tasted like nutella! So so good! It was drizzled with a whiskey maple sauce that really had a kick to it. We couldn’t stop saying “so good!” haha The roasted hazelnuts added a crunch that gave the dish more textures. Absolutely loved this!

Cutie pie

Thank you again for the company and for the treat (: Definitely had a great time and you both made my day! Great food, awesome company, happy bellies and endless smiles! 27 is gonna be a great year I’m sure! hehe Definitely gonna bring the mr here to try the food, and no prizes on guessing what he will have! hehe

Remember to always cook and bake with love! (:

Merchants Guild on Urbanspoon

Turning 27 (Part 2) : Little Hunter

Little Hunter

When I was planning where to head for dinner with the Ho Clan for my birthday a few weeks back, I happened to read a post by Miss D’s post on Little Hunter and I knew instantly where I wanted to go! (: I have to say, Melbourne is full of surprises! Ever so often, you would hear about a gorgeous new cafe or restaurant and thus my ever growing list of places to try! hehe Little Hunter was no doubt one of them! Especially when Gavin Baker (was a sous chef at Fat Duck, London) and Pete Evans are the talents behind this grill house. I definitely couldn’t wait! (:

Little Hunter

Because we were celebrating, the Mr ordered a bottle of Goaty Hill Riesling 2012. Riesling has always been one of my choices of wines when dining out, as it has sweet fruity tones and this had flavours of citrus and green apple. Really smooth and crisp! hehe How cute is the print on their wine glass? I couldn’t stop snapping photos of it. haha There were a few communal tables and also booth seats! I wish I knew, cause I would have definitely requested for one. hehe I’m not sure about you, but our table is always a tad bit small for the amount of food we order. haha Oops! That’s definitely not a bad thing though hehe

Garlic pull apart bread with chicken skin butter

Our meal begun with a complimentary serve of pull apart bread and chicken skin butter. Yes, dear readers, you’re not seeing things! I did say chicken skin butter! This is a delicious little pot of gold! I know it sounds like something that might be heavy and overly rich, but it tasted nothing like that! It was smooth with little bits of golden crispy chicken skin pieces and just melts the moment you spread on the warm bread. It was some tasty, tasty (and did I say tasty?) butter! We definitely wanted more! The bread was soft and just full of flavour. Just a great way to start the night!

Beef on toast

We decided on three entrees and one of them were ‘beef on toast. It was a layer of beef carpaccio, over a layer of smooth and rich chicken liver parfait and when you reach the bottom, there was a crispy layer of crusty crouton. The dish is dressed with a mixture of gherkins and chives and the acidic mixture cuts through the richness of the dish. It was so good and I just wanted more!

Pork crackling

The mr would never miss the chance of ordering a serve of pork crackling if it’s on the menu! This was so crispy and crunchy and addictive! We just kept popping them into our mouths! They were beautifully seasoned with paprika and cheddar, and served with a smooth apple sauce. I just love the combination of pork and apple sauce, a match-made in heaven (:

Cured kingfish

Our last entree was the cured kingfish.The fish was so fresh and had a subtle sweetness. Every mouthful had the popping of fish roe and a slight spiciness of the roast peppers. Not only was the flavours beautiful, the plating was impeccable. Like art on a plate! Edible art of course. hehe

Ribeye steak with bone marrow

As Little Hunter was a grill house, we had to try the steaks on the menu. Each of us ordered a different cut of steak and I have to say, they cooked every cut to perfection! The Mr ordered the Robbin’s Island waygu ribeye with bone marrow (he loves marrow!) and beef fat butter. The meat was melt in your mouth and just full of flavour! And how sexy are the grill marks? Just love the criss-crosses that gives a nice char flavour to the steak as well! NOMS!

Blackmore waygu flank

Melissa ordered the Blackmore wagyu flank with cajun flavours and avocado. I would never have thought that avocado goes well with steak, but it did! The flank, though not the usual cut you would order, was cooked to medium rare and bursting with flavour! Definitely a happy belly there (:

Cape grim fillet mignon

I couldn’t go pass the Cape Grim fillet mignon! This melt in your mouth cut was coffee and wood smoked and really didn’t need anything at all. Every mouthful just melted in my mouth. I was definitely the happiest girl that night!

Our sides for the night

With all the meat we were having, we had to order some sides to balance it out. We had the Little Hunter fries which was chunky and crispy. And grilled cabbage! This was no ordinary grilled cabbage, it was one that packed a punch! The sweetness of the cabbage was counter balance by the saltiness of the anchovies and blue cheese and the tanginess of the hazelnut vinegar. I’m not a huge fan of blue cheese, but this was YUMMILICIOUS! Love the crunch of the toasted hazelnuts too! This is one side you don’t want to miss!

Short Mach

After indulging on all the delicious and rich food, the Mr needed a digestive ; a short macchiato. It’s a new ritual of his after being introduced to him by his Italian weightlifting buddy! hehe and He’s loving it (:

Frangipane

Of course, desserts are a must to have a complete meal. haha Well, at least it is for us it won’t be complete without something sweet! hehe I knew exactly what I wanted, and I took charge of ordering the desserts to share. haha As we were already quite full, we ordered two for the three of us! First up : the Frangipane ! I loved how it looked! Just looks like a fried egg on the plate! hehe Instead, it’s meringue with a delicious and tangy passionfruit curd and a refreshing peach sorbet! So so good! The frangipane cake was slightly dense (though still light) but I personally love dense cakes so I was one happy girl!

Double chocolate mousse

The double chocolate mousse was one so rich and decadent! Absolutely loved it! It has an airy layer of white chocolate at the bottom and dark chocolate on top. The coffee cream went so well with the chocolate (almost similar to a tiramisu, but richer), with the bite of the cocoa nib brittle! Loved every single bite!

Ho Clan

So that concludes our beautiful meal! (: Just want to thank the Ho Clan with all my heart for making the night a fab one – filled with good food, good wine and lots of laughter! (: Love you both!

The mr and I

Happy weekend everyone! (:

Remember to always cook and bake with love! 

Little Hunter on Urbanspoon

Lord Of The Fries Feast

LOTF Feast

A couple of weeks back I was invited by Kathryn of Keep Left PR and Lord Of The Fries to try their limited edition Eco City burger and the other things on their menu, and I could never turn down burger and chips, if you ask me! Thanks to Kathryn I was able to bring the mr and the sister-in-law along and we were so excited! hehe I’ve always loved the chips at LOTF and their endless choices of sauces to go with! What I love most about LOTF is that it is 100% vegetarian!!! How brilliant is that? From their burgers, hotdogs, chips to their sides! Plus they have vegan options and gluten free options too! It’s really nice to have an option for vegetarians and I know for sure that my cousins, who are vegetarians living in New Zealand, absolutely love this place!

LOTF Chadstone

There are currently 7 stores around Melbourne and most of them are around the city. Fortunately, there is one near us at Chadstone and we were greeted by the friendly manager, Gary. He explained to us the concept of the menu and told us the specials they had on as well. After discussing with the Ho clan, and taking Kat’s recommendation of mini burgers, we decided to try one of every flavour on the menu! hehe I know, we are such gluttons! But we couldn’t really decide on what not to order.

Lord of The Fries

Add : Chadstone Shopping Centre, near cinema complex

Chadstone 3148

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

Our full table

As the dishes arrive, we realised how much we actually ordered! Though we were really thankful that the burgers were mini! hehe How cute do they look? Love them! Their buns were soft and everything was fresh! This was a full table, but we had more burgers coming our way! hehe

LOTF mini burgers

My favourite of the lot was the parma burger with the LOTF chick’n patty, bacon rashers, napoli sauce, cheese and onion. It was delicious and honestly tasted close to a real burger! The Mr loved it so much he ordered a big one for that and was totally stuffed after! haha

Parma big and mini

Big Mark was really good too! It had the LOTF beef patty, cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce and the Lord’s sauce! So good! NOMS!

Big Mark

We were so giggly about this cause Lester’s dad is called Mark. haha So we were saying to each other “Have you tried pa yet?” haha Oops! Such fun we have hehe

Eco City burger

Of course, I had to order the Eco City burger. That’s the whole reason why we were there in the first place! hehe It had a LOTF potato patty, beetroot dip, crunchy lettuce, pickles, aioli and mozzarella cheese! I’m not a big fan of beetroot, but this dip was delish! I do prefer the “meat” patties as compared to the potato patties, as it’s a little too soft for a burger. But it was fried till crispy and soft in the middle so was still delicious! hehe A pity it was only till the end of March, so it’s no longer available. But do try the parma or the Big Mark!

sides and chips

This ladies and gentlemen, is a table filled with the chips and sides we ordered! The past few times I had their chips, the only sauce I would order is the french canadian and is the one and only sauce I recommend to my friends when they try LOTF! But I decided to venture out and try the other sauces they had to offer. We had a new favourite! The parisan – aioli garlic mayo. OH-EM-GEE!!! It was SO GOOD! hehe And a hot favourite with other customers as well!

Tuscan - Sauce of the month

The sauce of the month was Tuscan, and we decided to give that a go too! It was a yummy combination of sundried tomatoes and basil!

Gary making the Egyptian

Gary even offered to make one that wasn’t on the menu – the Egyptian! It was his own creation and boy was it good! He said that is was something he came up with when customers was asking him for something not too spicy but still had a kick! It was delish! The jalapenos definitely gave the sauce a kick and it was one of our favourite sauce of the afternoon! hehe I even told him that he should include that in the menu!

Our favourite side was the nuggets! hehe Melissa couldn’t tell it wasn’t real chicken to be honest! hehe We couldn’t stop popping the nuggets into our mouths even though we were all super duper full! hehe The onion rings were crunchy and was made with real onion, none of the mushy stuff you get elsewhere. YUMM!

LOTF

So do head down to LOTF and try their burgers, chips and sides! They have hotdogs too, though we didn’t get to try them I am pretty sure they are yummy! hehe Coincidentally, the sauce of the month of April is Singapore : Sweet chilli and sour cream ! So head down and try it soon! hehe

100% Aussie Owned

100% Aussie Potatoes

100% Vegetarian

100% Hala + Kosher

100% DELICIOUS!

Just want to thank Kathryn of Keep Left PR for organising our visit to Lord of the Fries (Chadstone)! We had an amazing and yummy time! (:

PS : I was invited by Keep Left PR as a guest to visit Lord of The Fries. Thank you once again for this opportunity!