Thursday, 31 March 2011

Cacao Macarons


Even since falling in love with LuxBite's macarons, I also started buying non LuxBite's macarons when I come across to give it a try.

Mr. and me were at Doncaster Westfield few days ago and saw Cacao store which not only sell chocolates but also macarons. We bought 4 in a box and took it home. It happen we had a few LuxBite's macaron which were bought on weekend. So we decided to have them together to have a comparison. But we only managed to get thru 1 each.


On the left is LuxBite Salted Caramel and on the right is Cacao Salty Caramel.

We were pretty impressed by Cacao's macaron shell. It was crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. But the filling was disappointing, the name says it all. It should be salty but I didn't taste any salt in the filling nor the shell at all. Did the chef forgot about it? The caramel do taste creamy. A lot more buttery when compared to LuxBite, I can even smell the butter! Definitely like LuxBite Salted Caramel more than Cacao reason being LuxBite is saltish enough, not too much nor less. Mr. likes Cacao shell as the sugar bring in a bit of crunch when you bite into it.

The other 3 flavours which we got at Cocao were Mint, Passionfruit and Hazelnut Praline.


Mint shell was pretty and shiny as it was sprinkled with sparkling powder to beautify it. The filling was actually white chocolate infused with mint? It smelled and tasted like spearmint but chocolate and mint didn't blend together. On the 1st bite, I taste the mint and follow by the white chocolate. Taste was totally independent of each other. Towards the end, it was just too sweet for me to handle. Can macaron be too sweet? I know it's suppose to be sweet especially it's made up of so much icing sugar but this is the 1st time I felt it sugar overloaded just by having 1 macaron.


The colour of Passionfruit macaron shell was nice as well. Not too bright but it does looks like a ripe mango rather than a passionfruit pulp. As for the filling, it was chocolate with passionfruit taste. This flavour didn't work for me at all! Can't really taste the passionfruit nor really smell it. :-(

I had both the Mint and Passionfruit flavour while Mr. had the Hazelnut Praline. I was still at work when he had it. Therefore I can't really write much but he did say it was pretty good.

Hunt for macaron continue.......

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Cookbook Challenge (Outdoor) - Whole Grilled Fish with Curry Paste

5th Cookbook Challenge Theme is Outdoor.

Dish chosen : Whole Grilled Fish with Curry Paste
Cookbook : Holiday
Author : Bill Granger

I had always wanted to try this recipe ever since I got this book but I have no idea why I waited so long. In fact when I saw the 5th challenge theme, this dish popped up immediately. Barbecue/Grill definitely link to outdoor.

This recipe stated it serve 4. But with only 2 of us, we didn't had any problem finishing up the whole fish. We love seafood maybe that's why. Plus I didn't serve it with rice as suggested. I roasted some potatoes and pumpkin with home grown rosemary instead.

1.5kg Whole Snapper, cleaned, gutted and scaled - I'm not sure how heavy this snapper was. The picture looks strange too because I had all the fins cut off.

2 tablespoons Red Curry Paste - This is the curry powder used to cook fish. I have another curry powder specific for meat and it's the same brand but packaging in green instead of yellow. I'm not too sure what's the different between the curry powder for fish and meat but was told by my FIL I should have both in my kitchen. I just follow his instruction.

1 Lime, sliced, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil (or other light-flavoured oil)
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

To Serve
Steamed Rice
Lime Wedges

Using a sharp knife, make four or five diagonal cuts in each side of the fish. Push the lime slices into the cavity of the fish.
I also placed some lime slices in the diagonal cuts.

Mix together the red curry paste and lime juice and spread over both sides of the fish. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes. - I used more than the suggested lime juice. I didn't manage to marinate for at least 30 minutes. I was running a bit behind time.

Arrange two large pieces of foil slightly overlapping on your work surface and drizzle with half the oil. Put the fish in the middle of the foil, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining oil. Wrap the fish up well in the foil, then wrap another layer of foil around it.

Preheat your barbecue or chargrill to medium-high. Cook the fish 7-8  minutes on each side, or until the flesh shows white and firm through the cuts you made. Serve with steamed rice.
The weather wasn't suitable for barbecue therefore I popped the whole fish into the oven and finish it off by grilling it.


This is a really simple recipe. Most important is the freshness of the fish. It wasn't too spicy nor too sour even though lime was used. Both of us enjoyed this a lot and it was something different from my usual way of cooking fish.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Hare and Grace

It was Friday, Mr. just finished his week of night and was awake when I got home. Me in the mood of spending some quality time together while Mr. was feeling of heading into the city. Withins minutes, we were both dressed and on our way to the city. Without any reservation on hand, the planned was to walk around and check out some restaurants and were hoping it won't take us to long.

On the way, H recommended Hare and Grace after I requested some suggestion on Twitter. Knowing H, we knew we won't go wrong with her suggestion. Off we go to Hare and Grace after we parked our car. It was a pretty decent walk and discovered the other part of the city which we rarely explore.


Guess who I saw once we stepped into the dining room???? Adriano Zumbo!!!! It was the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival so it wasn't surprise to see him in Melbourne. I'm able to recognise him as I being catching his Zumbo show on SBS online for the past week. No, I did not ask for a autograph or a photo as I felt it's very rude to interrupt him and his friend. He definitely deserved some privacy.

Back to the food. We spend quite a bit of time deciding whether to go for 3 course banquet menu which cost $90 pp. Mr. was interested in trying the steak grill and he also questioned about the 3 course banquet potion. The waiter told us Chef is pretty generous and doesn't allow us to walk out without feeling full. After much hesitation, we went for 3 course. Save us the trouble of picking what to eat. Sometimes it's good to just sit back and relax and let someone do the thinking for you.


We started the meal with bread and butter. I love the butter as it's really light and sprinkled with hazelnut powder. I'm guessing the butter was pre-whipped. It's different from all the other restaurant I being so far.


We had 3 dishes for entree.

1st entree was Braised Red Peppers in their Juice

This dish surprise us. It was really refreshing and light. I was served cold and red pepper was sweet. It's not a dish either of us will chose so both were happy the chef picked it.

2nd entree was Braised Pork Ribs

The meat was braised for a long time because it just melt in your mouth. Do find this dish a bit heavy to be a entree. Flavour was nice but strong.

3rd entree was Scallops Garlic Aioli Herb Breadcrumbs

We had 2 scallops each and it was our favourite dish of all! The herb combination wasn't overpowering, breadcrumb was crunchy and scallop was fresh and cooked beautifully.

At this point both of us were feeling full which was unusual. We were struggling to finish 2 mains and 1 side.

1st Main was Roasted Founder Milk - Fed Mussels Potted Shrimps

This dish tasted light with a hint of milk in the gravy. All the seafood was really fresh.

2nd Main was Braised Beef, Beef Tongue with Vegetable and Mash Potato.

I don't really remember the taste of this dish. I should have kept notes using my iPhone. But this dish left a deep impression on Mr. He even wanted to go back and try their steak. I do remember it's another dish that melts in the mouth. The beef tongue had a pretty firm texture, it was my 1st time eating beef tongue so not too sure what to expect.

Side was Beetroot, Green Strawberry Salad
Beetroot, green strawberry saladHare and Grace, Melbourne CBD

It was my 1st time eating a unripe strawberry. It was very crunchy but also sour! As for the beetroot, nothing special just normal beetroot.

Up to this point, we were very happy with the meal and definitely enjoying. Can't wait for dessert to be served. We were served with 2 desserts.

1st was Lemon Liquid Tart Sesame, Lemon Passionfruit Juice

2nd was Blackberry Trifle Tahini Custard Macerated Sponge


Both desserts were so beautifully presented! We don't even want to dig into the dish. BUT when we had our 1st mouthful, we were very surprise and very disappointed :-(

In the end, I was the only one finishing both dessert. I reckon I had more than 80% of them. Mr. found the lemon tart too sour. I felt it was meant for someone who loves eating fresh lemon pulps like me. As for the "tart pastry", it wasn't really a pastry made from flour and butter. I think it's made of sesame and it taste bitter if you had it by itself. I wasn't a fan of the "tart pastry" and left it out.

Mr. didn't like the blackberry trifle as well. The sponge was soaked with really strong hard liquor(suspect vodka). As Mr. practically doesn't drink at all, the strong liquor smell and taste turn him off. I can only taste the alcohol and nothing else :-(

Although the dessert was a letdown, I believe we will return and try other dishes and desserts. Service was fantastic and we were very well taken care off. The waiter was definitely right. We left with such a full tummy which will explode any min.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Paella in the Park - Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2011

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2011 had started 5 days ago. After staying here for 5 years, we finally got our act together and attended some of the events. Today is Day 6 of the festival and I already managed to squeeze in 3 events (planning to write all). But there isn't any plan to attend more till the end of festival.


Paella In The Park was the 1st event we attended. It was held at Bridges Reserve in Coburg last Sunday 3rd March 2011. Mr. loved Paella and it had never occurred to me to give it a try cooking in my own kitchen yet. Just felt it's a dish not easy to master.

Melbourne was blessed with fantastic weather during the weekend. The day was hot, sunny, clear blue sky without a single cloud in the sky!!!! In fact I found myself with a tanned line that evening by just sitting in the sun for 2 hours.

Without entry fee required + nice weather + outdoor venue + live entertainment, it was a very family friendly event. The crowd was already building up when we arrived at the venue with H, our new found friend + makan kaki.

There were quite a few stalls set up but all by Spanish Gourmet Caterers. This was the 3rd time that I came across to them. 1st was the Suzuki Night Market at Victoria Market and 2nd was Johnston Street Fiesta. There were a few varieties of paella available :  Squid Ink, Pork and Mushrooms, Chicken and Chorizo, Vegetarian, Seafood all selling at $10 per plate.

Lucky there were 3 of us, we were able to split the job of getting the food. Each of us with a paid coupon in hand, queuing at individual stall line to buy our chosen paella.


With team work, we were able to combine the jointed effort and tasted all 3 different paella side by side. My attentive Mr. got me and H a glass of ice cold Sangria each.

DSC04584 I got the Seafood Paella.

DSC04587 Mr. Vegetarian Paella.

DSC04589 H got Chicken and Chorizo Paella.

Make a guess which one stand out the most. It was the most unexpected Vegetarian Paella. It was sweet. We got another plate to share after finished all 3. The most disappointing was the Seafood Paella. Couldn't taste the "sea" in the rice till you take bite on the mussel. As for the Chicken and Chorizo, it had the strongest taste of all. Think it's because of the chorizo. Overall, it wasn't too bad.

With our full tummy, we found a nice spot in front of the stage and waited for the live performance, Flamenco to start. Spotted a coffee stall next to the stage and bought a cup of coffee to try. We were hoping for Spanish coffee but it only served Italian coffee. The nice coffee did make up for it.