Friday, 25 February 2011

Cookbook Challenge (Love) - Flourless Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

4th Theme for the Cookbook Challenge is Love. Honestly I was a bit stuck with this theme. How am I going to link the food with Love? Something which I love eating? A dish which uses a ingredient which I love? 

I started seeing others who written about the meal they cooked for Valentine day. I didn't cook anything special. Just steak with 2 sides which all the ingredients were purchased from the Farmers Market the day before and yes I did try new recipe for the 2 sides but I didn't manage to take any photos. So fail big time :-( 

Then it occurred to me, I haven't got the chance to blog about the birthday cake which I made for myself. It was the 1st time I used the recipe. It's a bakecook which I seldom used. I used my birthday present to make the cake which I loved! The present was from my lovely husband. Should fit in the theme right? Or it's still consider cheating??

Mr. kept requesting me to bake my own birthday cake a week or two before the actual day. That is actually pretty unusual! Being together for more than a decade, he had never made such request even for his own birthday. Smell something fishy!!!

A few days before my birthday, I accidentally saw Mr. checking out the KitchenAid website. A stand mixer as gift??? That was my guess as he knows that's one of the many kitchenwares I wanted to add to my kitchen but price was holding me back.

Two days before my birthday, Mr started to hint me about the gift. He even allowed to let me search the house and I can open it if I find it. But he never expected me to find it in less than 1 min!!! Although the house area is pretty big but areas to hid something from each other is pretty limited.

With just a big box + super heavy, I knew it must be the KA stand mixer!!!! Yeah!!! Finally I own it!!!! Plus I love the bright red colour!!!



As there's isn't any discount, Smatchbox gave a free cookbook and offered Mr. the latest edition KitchenAid cookbook. I had flipped thru the book but hadn't got around to try it. What surprised me was it didn't contain much baking recipes at all! A handful of bread making recipes and rest were mostly cooking recipes.

It didn't take me long before having a play with the new toy. On my birthday eve, I baked a tray of chocolate cupcake for work. I was falling in love with my toy. I was learning about my toy.


On my birthday, I started immediately baking my birthday cake once I got home from work. I even managed to document the process.

Cake for the occasion : Flourless Hazelnut Chocolate Cake
Bakebook : Crave a passion for chocolate
Author : Maureen McKeon


300 g chopped dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter
7 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
115g caster sugar
80g ground hazelnut

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Butter a 23cm (9 inch) springform tin or deep round cake tin and line in with baking paper.

Melt chocolate and butter gently in a heatproof bowl over hot water, ensuring that the base does not touch the water.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks for 1-2 mins, or until pale and thick and ribbons form when the beaters are lifted out of the mixture.

Using clean beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar, then continue beating until the mixture is stiff but not dry.

Combine the egg yolks and melting chocolate mixture and beat gently. Using a rubber spatula, fold half the meringue into the chocolate mixture, then return this combined mixture to the remaining meringue. Add the ground hazelnuts and fold in gently until combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50-55mins, or until the cake comes away slightly from the side of the tin. Allow to cool completely in the tin before turning out.

The cake actually raised a lot during baking. Lucky I laid the baking paper above the tin height as you can see from the photo below. But it started to sink once I took it out from the oven. What did I do wrong?? Over mixed?


It looked all fine when I turnover the cake. Yes it looked ugly but it taste really nice. It was still moist inside :-)


We had it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just the way we like it.


Cookbook Challenge (Rice/Noodles) - Chicken Briyani

3rd Cookbook Challenge theme is rice or noodle. I kept pestering Mr. to pick a recipe from the pile of cookbooks I owned. In then end, he chosen a dish which I had cooked and even wrote before. Does it still considered a challenge??

This time, I did follow the recipe pretty strictly. Included all the herbs even though knowing Mr don't like them. I did went through the end product and try picking all the herbs out.

As usual, I didn't use any tomato puree. I used a lot more tomatoes instead.

I didn't colour the rice and still wondering why the rice turned out brown.

Maybe because the shallots were burned?

Every time I cook, I spend ages in preparation. Just like baking, I like to wash all the ingredients and chopped them up, placed them into individual bowl/plate, placed them all next to the stove before turning on the heat. Totally opposite from Mr.

This time I managed to shot more photos during the cooking process.

Frying ginger, garlic and chillies. I added red chillies this time to more it more spicy.

Waiting for the tomatoes to break down. It did take a while.

With the chicken pieces added in.

I did have it in on the stove for a while to thicken the gravy. Knowing Mr. loves the gravy, I did increased the liquid ingredients amount.

Frying ginger and garlic for the rice.

Added in the pre-prepared shallots.

With all the herbs and rice without liquid

Liquid added in. I cooked the rice on the stove instead of rice cooker. I had never done that before. No idea what trigger me to give it a try. Lucky it turned out fine.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Cookbook Challenge (Citrus) - My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake

I should be working on my 3rd or 4th cookbook challenge but I'm so disorganise that I only manage to finish the 2nd challenge. But it's better to be late than never right? Hopefully I can catch up, work on the 3rd challenge next week and 4th the week after. Wish me luck!

The theme for the 2nd challenge is Citrus. I love this theme because I jus simply love lemon and lime. Do you know I can actually eat fresh lemon and I enjoy it. Especially when having fish and chips, I can squeeze the juice onto the fish, peel away the skin and eat the pulps away.

For this challenge, I chosen My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake by Nigella Lawson How To Be a Domestic Goddness. I'm visiting a ex-colleague tomorrow and felt this will be a great gift. Not nice to turn up empty handed.

I added more lemon and poppyseed into the basic recipe. So it can also be consider as Lemon Poppyseed cake. I have never came across poppyseed till I stayed in Aust. Bought a pack of poppyseed and kept it the pantry but never managed to use it till now. Poppyseed is actually banned in Singapore, I had never seen it available. In fact, a SG blog which I followed experienced Central Narcotics Bureau knocking on her door and confiscated all her poppyseed. Is it really necessary? It's for own consumption anyway.


Did a taste test just now when it had cooled. Smell lemony but find it a bit dry. Quite crunchy on the outside. Taste a bit like pound cake, guessing due to the amount of butter used.



My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake

240g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sugar , plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
210g self raising flour
90g plain flour
23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and lined

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar, and add the lemon seat.
Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of flour for each.
Then gently mix in the rest of the flour and,finally, the lemon juice.
Sprinkle with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 1 hour. (mine was done before 1 hour)
Remove to a wire rack, and let it cool in the tin before turning out.

For lemon poppyseed cake, add the juice of another half lemon and a tablespoon or two poppyseeds. I added two tablespoons.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Three Bags Full

Three Bags Full
60 Nicholson Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

We visited Three Bag Full on Melbourne Cup day after our monthly marketing at Victoria Market. During the visit, we were seated directly under a huge painting and behind the painting lies a story. Apparently the owner discovered a really old 1930's Melbourne Cup tipping graffiti on the wall during renovation and I was amazed that it was very well preserved. We even had the honour of viewing it.

As usual we started off by satisfying our caffeine addiction. They definitely served good coffee.


Mr. and me both aren't coffee drinker till we walked passed Jasper coffee at Fitzroy on Brunswick Street few years ago. The strong and fragrant coffee smell actually attracted us to walk in and purchased a cup of mocha. We enjoyed the coffee so much that we ended up buying some coffee beans, a stovetop espresso maker, a electric milk frother to whip the milk and a thermal mug. It was full on from then and no turning back. We are so spoiled till unless we know it's going to be good coffee if not we won't even bother paying to get some.

Mr. had the Egg Benedict with Smoked Salmon. The eggs were poached to our liking and the hollandaise sauce was very different from the others. It's not overpowering and doesn't feel sick when had it too much.


As for me, I had the Ricotta Hot Cake with Poached Pears, Berries and Rhubard. It was my 1st time having ricotta hot cake and also rhubard! It's also a dish I wouldn't create in my own kitchen because I'm not confidence to. Not knowing what to expect, I actually enjoyed it a lot. Did felt there was too much ricotta cheese and left some aside. But guess that's just me not having the habit of taking much cheese.

ricotta hot cakes

Did noticed the crowd started streaming in even though it was a great day for sleeping in! It didn't take long for all the seats to get occupied.

We are starting to adventure into breakfast and hope we can cover more new cafes this new year.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Papaya Pog Pog

Papaya Pog Pog
12b Balmoral Ave
Springvale 3171

Papaya Pog Pog Thai Restaurant

Papaya Pog Pog is our current favourite Thai restaurant. I discovered this place quite some time ago on Kat's blog and took up the recommendation and gave it a try. Next thing we know, both of us fell in love with the food they served. It the only Thai place we visit for the past months when we have craving for spicy, sour, sweet Thai food.

Yesterday we bought another 2 friends, R and K with us to Papaya Pog Pog. More people = more tummy space = more variety of food :P

Started the dinner with Thai Fishcake. Not very sure is it homemade or store bought but all of us enjoyed it. It actually tasted very similar to Otah which available in Singapore/Malaysia.


R being visiting different parts of Thailand for the past years for vacation. I ended up asking her whether she find the food served original. Although I being to Thailand twice but that's almost 10 years ago. Honestly speaking I can't remember what authentic Thai food taste like. But she actually find them very authentic. 

R even attended Thai cooking lesson on her most recent trip and bought back a cookbook with her. We are still trying to organise a time slot and try cooking Thai food in my kitchen. 

It was my 1st time trying the Vegetable Green Curry. **Sorry for the blur photo


This curry wasn't very spicy but I was rather surprise by the sweetness. R told me it's suppose to be sweet. I don't recall finding green curry sweet at other Thai restaurant. It's very appetising  and nice to go with white rice. Plus there's a huge variety of different vegetable in this dish.


Thai Fried Rice, Chicken smell so fragrant. All 4 of us can smell it once it's being served on the table. This dish is definitely fried using a very hot wok because you can actually taste the "wok hey".

We also ordered Fried Quail which was very crispy and still juicy on the inside. I can even chew on the bones that's how crispy it was.


Tom Yum Soup which we ordered medium spicy. It's spicy, sour and full of flavour. Love it! It's a must have on every visit. At the bottom of the bowl, I always find lots of coriander roots



Another must have is Pad Grapow. We usually ordered pork but yesterday we had chicken. It's a very simple dish but Papaya Pog Pog did it perfectly, full of flavour. Mr. and me always order a serve each so that we won't fight over it. I did try creating this dish at home but there's always something missing. Maybe because my stove fire wasn't big enough.

Pad Grapow on Rice with Fried Egg  Individual served of Pad Grapow

The last dish was Nard Nar which we discovered during our last visit. A dish which is very similar to Hor Fun but taste very different. It's another dish which you can taste the 'wok hey'.


All of us also had a Ice Coffee each. The coffee is a killer! It's strong but not too sweet.

Thai Coffee

We all enjoyed the dinner a lot and we definitely over estimated our tummy space as we almost couldn't finish all the food ordered. Almost rolled out of the restaurant after the meal.

Pat Thai (Prawn)

The other dish which Mr. and I tried during one of our visit was Pad Thai. But we find this dish  a bit disappointing. It was too dry to our liking and too oily. Or  was it suppose to be dry??? Or maybe I should give it another try just incase it was a miss previously? Should I??