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

A Sweet Affair

Remember my last visit at Mr Hive’s Kitchne & Bar? Yes. I went back for more. This time I brought my mr and his family for a very special occasion: My in-law’s 29th wedding anniversary! I was so glad I decided to bring them there cause we were pampered from the very moment we were shown to our tables!

As I did let Mr Hive know, when I was booking the table, that we were celebrating a wedding anniversary, we were given a glass of champagne each to start the dinner off! I knew instantly that it was going to be a spectacular night! I couldn’t stop smiling and my in-laws were definitely really happy! (:

Mr Hive’s Kitchen & Bar

Address : 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank Vic 

Phone : 03 9292 8300

Though the service was exemplary for the whole night, the highlight of the evening was definitely when we adjourned to the dessert bar to fix our sweet tooth! I don’t usually have second posts for food reviews, but our experience that night is definitely worthy of my double post! Please do not get me wrong, the food was delicious, but we pretty much had the same dishes as my first visit, so I thought I would just focus on the desserts. Besides, who doesn’t like desserts? hehe Miss D would be with me on this! haha

We were lucky to dine at Mr Hive’s on a week night, so it was quite quiet and there was an empty dessert bar waiting for us! Having never seen a pastry chef plate desserts before, it was a great first experience for the mr and his family as well!

The moment we sat down, we were greeted by the friendly pastry chef – Chef Mario! We looked through the menu and ordered instantly. Then he started plating desserts. It was like watching a cook show right infront of our eyes! Although it was my second time, I still enjoyed it. You could tell he took pride in every single dessert he was plating.

He started plating individual portions of the yoghurt mousse with rhubarb compote and szechuan ice cream. We thought it was for another table, as we didn’t order actually this. Little did we know, it was a complimentary dessert for us as a gift for my in-law’s wedding anniversary again! Are they amazing or what? Not one but two gifts! The flavours just complimented each other. There was the lightness of the mousse with the slight hint of spiciness from the ice cream and crunch of the white chocolate crumble. NOMS!

Then came the apple tart tatin which had another surprise for my in-laws. They not only wrote happy anniversary on the board, but   also came with candles! That really made all of us smile! The tart tatin was perfect. The apples were so well caramelised and the tart was crispy and buttery. It was made to order, so it was still piping hot when served! Together with brandy cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Match-made in heaven!

Chef Mario portioned it and even gave each of us a scoop of ice cream to go with our slice! It was so good, I could continue eating it the whole night! There’s just something about a dessert that had both cold and hot elements. Makes my taste buds tingle (:

Of course, I couldn’t not order the Mr Hive’s chocolate bar when I dine at Mr Hive’s. It’s rich and decadent and the base is crunchy! If you know me, you know I love desserts with different textures. This definitely tick all the boxes! hehe And you know what’s even better?

This.

Chef Mario took the plate before I could, and split it into 5 portions and re-platted them individually with a beautifully quenelled peanut ice cream! In fact, the one that was served with the whole chocolate bar melted slightly, and he threw that away and quenelled 5 more for us! That’s how much pride he takes in his desserts! We were so impressed! hehe

The last dessert we ordered was of course the ricotta cheesecake because my mr’s dad loves cheesecake! Plus it was one of the prettiest desserts I’ve ever seen!

Of course, Chef Mario presented the dessert and then took it and replated it into individual portions again! What’s more amazing is that there were only 4 pieces of cheesecake but he just added another cause there were 5 of us!

How pretty is the individual portions? Every single plate looked like that. How could you not be touched? I couldn’t stop saying “wow!” both verbally and in my head. haha

And just you think there can’t be more. He picks up 5 glass bottles and starts preparing the grand finale! He started squeezing some chocolate milk with milo powder and tops the glass bottles with a salted caramel truffle! Trust me. That’s like the best truffle you will ever have. You bite into it and there’s an explosion of salted caramel in your mouth. LOVE.

I absolutely adore the straws they give to slurp the delicious, thick chocolate milk. I really need to go get some from Wheel & Barrow! hehe (:

So I can definitely say it was a night we will definitely remember! And we left Mr Hive’s with happy bellies!

Happy Wedding Anniversary to my dearest in-laws! It was great to celebrate this special day with the whole family! (: Our compliments to the chef and staff of Mr Hive’s! Thank you so much for making this day even more special than it already is!

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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? (:

Baking In New Zealand : Baklava

Sorry for the lack of posts the past 2 weeks. I just got back from a holiday in New Zealand (: So I am all refreshed and ready to keep the blog going! It was a fantastic trip; spending time with family and eating absolutely delicious food! I couldn’t believe 11 days went by in a jiffy. Time always seems to fly when we are having fun. Will definitely head back for another holiday in time to come!

We were so fortunate that we have family living in Auckland so we were able to live in their beautiful place for the 11 days. Just feel so calm and serene. Love their place! It’s really amazing to wake up to this view everyday.

When I first stepped into the house, there was just one word in my mind : WOW! The one room that I absolutely loved was the kitchen. The oven to be more specific!

Doesn’t it look gorgeous? It’s my dream stove/oven! (:

My cousin had a get together with his friends and he was in-charge of desserts so he asked me to teach him to make a Mediterranean dessert and the first thing that popped into my mind was baklava! It was quite brave of me to suggest that as I have never ever made it before. It was just always on my “to-bake” list! Thankfully, it turned out delicious and his friends liked it. *phew*

Nothing beats the combination of butter, nuts and sugar in between layers of crispy pastry. I remember when I use to live in Brunswick, we were able to buy really delicious baklava. Till this day, I would crave for one and have the urge to drive there to get it!

Making baklava was a team effort though. Needed someone to be in-charged of brushing the layers of filo pastry with melted butter, and other to place the layers of the filo perfectly in-line with the rest, another person scattering the nut and sugar mixture. Just made the whole process really fun! Loved every second of it.

Definitely making this again. Soon 😀

Baklava (Adapted from Gourmet Traveller August 2009)

250g pistachios and cashews, finely chopped

50g caster sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g butter, melted

300g filo pastry

Lemon Honey Syrup

150g caster sugar

75g honey

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Steps :

1) Combine the nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, and set aside. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a tray with baking paper.

2) Layer one-third of the filo pastry in tray, brushing butter between each layer. Scatter evenly with half the nut mixture, then top with half the remaining pastry, brushing butter between each layer. Scatter over remaining nuts, top with remaining filo, brushing between each layer with butter. Refrigerate until firm (15 minutes), then cut through all pastry layers into 4cm diamonds with a sharp knife. Bake until golden and cooked through (about 30 mins). If needed, cover loosely with foil partway.

3) Meanwhile, for honey syrup, combine sugar, honey, lemon rind and 150ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low, simmer until infused (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, stir through lemon juice and set aside to cool slightly.

4) Cool baklava slightly (2-3 minutes), pour over syrup evenly, set aside at room temperature to cool completely (overnight if possible). Baklava will keep in tray, covered, for 3-4 days. ENJOY!

My favourite way to have it is to pop it into the microwave for 10 secs and have it warm! How do you like to eat your baklava? (:

Childhood Memories

Ever had a dish from your childhood that you can remember vividly and you try to recreate it recently? I sure do!

I remember when I was young and I use to head to my 3rd aunt’s house to stay over the weekend. She would call me the day I am heading over to ask me what I would like to have for dinner. The conversation would go like this (direct translation from mandarin) :

Aunt : What would you like to have tonight? (你今晚想吃什么?)

Me : You anyhow cook, I anyhow eat! (你乱乱煮,我乱乱吃!)

That conversation still cracks me up! haha That’s how horrible my mandarin was (and is, sadly), since I was 2/3 years old! But my aunt knew what my favourite dish of hers was and she would whip it up for dinner when I’m over. So what is it? Fried prawn egg! It’s simple but so so delicious! Till now, when there are family potluck gatherings, she would make it for us!

Since we got back from Singapore, we have decided to abstain from meat on Fridays. It was difficult to prepare lunches for Fridays to be brought to work. You won’t want it to be too messy, and you would want something that could be easily eaten using a spoon. So immediately, this dish popped out in my head! So I have been doing trail and error to get the perfect recipe and I think my last attempt was the closest! The secret is to fry it like an omelet and make sure both sides are nice and brown before using your spatula to chop it into small bits of pieces.

So here’s the recipe! Hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

Fried Prawn Egg (Adapted from My Aunt)

300g prawns, deshelled, deveined and cut into small pieces

2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

4 eggs

1 tbs olive oil

3 tsp fish sauce

3 tsp sesame oil

white pepper, to season

spring onion, chopped, to garnish (optional)

Steps :

1) In a small metal bowl, season the prawns with 1 tsp of fish sauce, 1 tsp of sesame oil and pepper. In another bowl, crack the eggs in and season the egg with 2 tsp of fish sauce, 2 tsp of sesame oil and pepper.

2) Heat a flat, non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and fry till fragrant (careful not to burn them). Add the prawns and fry till they are brown and caramelised on the outside. Add the egg and spread it around the frying pan evenly.

3) Turn the heat down to medium and allow it to brown on one side then flip it to the other side, and allow that to brown too. This should take about 3-5 mins (on each side). You may check the progress by gently lifting up the sides with a spatula.

4) Once both sides are nice and brown and crispy, the fun (and distressing I might add) part begins. Use your spatula and randomly chop the omelet into small pieces. Allow it to fry for a further 3-4 mins then serve!

Serve this with rice or quinoa. Enjoy! (:

This is the mr’s portion haha in a “Light My Fire” lunchbox! Doing our bit for the environment! hehe

So dear readers, what is one childhood memory you can’t forget? Would love to hear it!

ps: so sorry about the quality of the photos. They were shot by my iphone4s. Been a bit lazy getting my camera. 🙂

Mummy’s Claypot Rice

When I first came to Melbourne about 8 years ago, I didn’t know how to cook at all. The only thing I actually knew how to cook was fried rice, and it was horrible. haha. So you can imagine, 1 month before I came here to study, how hectic it would be in the kitchen as mum tries to teach me some basics. So for the first year, I survived on a cyclical menu of decently flavoured fried rice, spaghetti and different simple stir fry. And of course, lots and lots of trail and error. haha

I have to say, all the experimenting spurred my interest in cooking and of course baking. Each time I head back during my long breaks, mum would teach me a few new dishes to cook. I keep the recipes in a notebook, just in case I forget them. (: It’s like a mother-daughter bonding session. Absolutely love it. I know i’ve said it before, but she is my inspiration in the kitchen.

One dish that I absolutely love is her version of claypot rice, with a twist! If you’re thinking, “I don’t have a claypot and I have to get one”. This recipe is for you! Cause it’s cooked in the rice cooker!

I know most people have claypot rice for the crispy and charred parts at the bottom of the claypot, I do have to warn you that this recipe doesn’t have the crispy bits, but it is definitely as yummy! So don’t dismiss this dish just cause it’s missing the crispy bits (although I know how important that is for an authentic claypot rice) but this is really a quick fix for a claypot rice craving!

Mummy’s Claypot Rice

Ingredients:

1 cup of rice

2 chinese sausages, sliced

2 chinese liver sausages, sliced (optional)

5 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced

250g chicken thigh, cut into chunks

10 pieces of chinese cabbage, cut into big pieces

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 tbs oyster sauce

1 tbs shaoxing chinese wine

1 tbs dark soy sauce

1 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

50ml water

ground white pepper, to season

2 tbs thick dark soy (caramel thick sauce)

spring onions, chopped (to serve)

fried shallots (to serve)

Steps :

1) Rinse the rice and add water (according to the cooking instructions behind the packaging) and take out 2 tbs of water. Leave it aside.

2) Place the chinese sausage and liver sausage in a bowl and steam for 15 mins. Drain the oil and leave it aside.

3) In a heavy based frying pan, heat the vegetable oil and fry the garlic till fragrant, careful not to burn them. Add the mushrooms and fry till fragrant. At this time, start cooking the rice in the rice cooker.

4) Add the chicken pieces and brown them. Add the sauces, pepper and shaoxing wine and 50ml of water. Add the chinese cabbage and allow it to simmer for 20 mins and make sure the liquid is almost completely reduced. Add in the chinese sausage and liver sausage. The rice should be almost done, pour the mixture onto the rice and give it a good stir. When the rice cooker clicks, leave it in the “keep warm” mode for another 20-30 mins.

5) Just before serving, pour the thick dark soy over the rice, top with spring onion and fried shallots. ENJOY!

Even without the crispy bits, this is one solid claypot rice that reminds me of home (:

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