Friday, 31 December 2010

The Best of 2010 for the Chronicles of Ms I-Hua

It's that time of the year (or end of the year, I might say!)... I can hardly believe it... 2010 has come and gone so quickly, faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

The Sphinx, The Pyramid and the Asian Girl
At the start of 2010, the Boy, Madam Mummy, Big Sis and I had just returned from our glorious Egypt trip! We went, we ate and we conquered the knowledge and history of the ancient Egyptian past. You can read all about it here (9 days split into 13 parts)...

Monday, 27 December 2010

Lobster Risotto Recipe

Lobster Risotto... sounds superbly grand does it not?

"What did you have for dinner last night? I had a delicious fried rice!"

"Oh, you know, I had the usual. Nothing fancy..."

"C'mon, what did you have?"

"A lobster risotto, that's all!"

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!!

Happy Yuletide season to all my lovely readers! I hope you have had as much fun as I have in reading my posts (as I have in eating on your behalf!)

Last night for Christmas Eve, the Boy cooked up a romantic dinner for two... and I've got the pictures below!

Many thanks for sticking by this blog through its infrequency in postings... and here's to many more food related (and some other reviews) posts in 2011!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

International Incident Colour Party - Tomato Salsa Verde - Aiiiiii!!!

This is the last International Incident Party of the year!! Considering I am fairly new to this food party, I've had a hell of a fun time putting up my posts for the Lavender Party and the Salt Party!

Thank you again Penny for being such a great host in 2010! Here's to another fun filled year ahead of us! (it is nearly Christmas and I'm easily excited so please bear with my over excessive use of exclamation marks!!!!!)

The theme for December is Colour! And I had been really eager to bake a number for this... I was tossing between macarons, cake pops (which I tried and failed), and even a yule tide log!... BUT... seeing as my last two IIP posts were related to desserts and seeing also that the Australian Christamas Parties usually revolve around the BBQ... I thought to myself, "Heck... let's do a traditional salsa verde!"

It's healthy, it's easy, and it's bloody tasty *ahem* You can also eat it anytime, anywhere, with anything (I do... I LOVE IT!)

So here's my Colour Party post! Enjoy :)


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Q Eleven Breakfast Review @ South Melbourne (Market)

Sometimes one just can't decide what to eat for breakfast. Sometimes one is just driving aimlessly up and down the inner suburbs of Melbourne on a Sunday morning. Sometimes, one can't find any good places to eat at.

Sometimes... one does! That's how we found Q Eleven at South Melbourne (Right in front of the market!)...

Monday, 13 December 2010

CSR Bake A Difference - Honeycomb Cake - A Malaysian Recipe

I first heard about this wonderful charity drive from Penny at Jeroxie.com, and decided to jump aboard this wonderful sweet wagon of goodness! Check out Penny's recipe here.

CSR Bake a Difference is a wonderful event that encourages everyone to bake their Christmas presents this year instead of buying them and donate the money they save to Mission Australia through http://www.csrbakeadifference.com.au/.

The great thing about this is that CSR Sugar will match each donation dollar for dollar up to $100,000 so there’s the potential to raise $200,000 that will go directly towards helping disadvantaged Australians!!!

If you’d like to make a donation, all donations need to be made via the CSR Bake a Difference website, or you can simply go to the Donate page here and follow the instructions.

I'd been hankering to bake a cake for a while now and I really wanted to try the Boy's family's "secret" Honeycomb Cake recipe. This cake is also known as Kek Sarang Semut (Ant's Nest Cake) in other parts of the world...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Old Town Kopitiam Mamak @ QV, Melbourne (An Asian Snack Food Tasting)


I have been very slack with putting up this post. So slack that I've been letting it slide since September... So here it goes...This is quite a visually long post :P

Thanh decided to host a Asian Snack Food Tasting at Old Town Kopitiam Mamak in QV... and it was also my first time meeting Agnes and Thanh in person (Twitter really does not count) :P Now this is a branch of Old Town Kopitiam located in Chinatown (and I'm quite sure of the one in Malaysia)... and this outlet caters for those wishing for a taste of Mamak (that just sounds wrong)...

Click here for their menu, as it is quite different from the menu at Old Town Kopitiam in Chinatown...

Friday, 10 December 2010

Luxbite Review (Macarons and other desserts) @ Toorak Road, South Yarra

I first heard about LuxBite on Twitter when the two owners Yen and Bernard were talking about macarons. After following them (on Twitter, I'm not a stalker!)... I discovered that they were opening their store in South Yarra... as of this week, this has come to fruition... the outcome?

Deliciously creative macarons!!!!!
As I happened to be in the area on Tuesday, I decided to pop by for a visit and buy some macarons.. I had been lusting after their speciality macaron since they entered the Melbourne Macaron competition in NGV in November... the Kaya Toast!!!
The interior of the store is beautiful and quaint! I love those vintage chairs they have and the colour schemes seem to bring out the brightness of the colours of the macarons on display!

As an opening special, they had the Mango Pavlova... I got mine as a complimentary :)

Isn't it just beautiful!!!

Now to the beautiful macarons... they had a few flavours, I think about 11 or 12.. and I bought only 8 flavours.. regretting that now.. should have bought all!!!

As you can see from my greediness.. I bought one of each of the delectable goodies... They look very christmasy as well...(especially the watermelon yoghurt!)

We tried the chocolate and cherry (the one with the seasalt!)...which was good, but not as rich as they one I've had from Lindt (and given that, it was Lindt, the chocolate had better been good, which it was!)

We also had the raspberry and white chocolate and strawberry and cream which was pretty normal and didn't scream in my mouth like some of the other flavours.

The Boy ate up the black sesame... which I had a nibble off... not a fan of black sesame and I only bought it for him!
What I absolutely loved were the peanut butter and jelly (PB&J), the watermelon yoghurt and of course, the Kaya Toast!!!!!!!

The Kaya Toast even had a tiny piece of smooth butter in the centre of the filling... It was the best.. the flavour was intense and it was much nicer than a real kaya toast... seriously... just think of 2 really rich and crunchy kaya toasts and compressed that down into a bite size morsel.. that was what the macaron was.


Would I come back for more? HELL YES! I still want to try the 3 flavours which I missed out on (passionfruit,pina colada and white peach and ginger)

Was it worth the price? For $2.50 each (I paid $19 for the 8 macarons).. the price was on par with everyone else..


*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality

Food/ Cuisine: Dessert
Dining Style: Cafe
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 8/10 (DELICIOUS MACARONS!)
Restaurant ambiance: - (I can't rate this as I didn't actually eat there.. but it was very pretty!)
Service/ Attitude: 8/10 (I had a lovely chat with the owners. They are super friendly!)
Value for money: 8/10 (as I mentioned, same as everywhere else)

Address:
38 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC 3141
Tel:(03) 9867 5888

Website: http://www.luxbite.com.au/

How to get there:

View Larger Map

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Monday, 6 December 2010

Fried Radish Cake - Chai Tau Kueh (Chai Tow Kway) Recipe

I've always loved Chai Tau Kueh and there aren't many places where you can find this delectable dish. I'm of a Hokkien background and for some reason, I know this dish as Kueh Kak. The Boy however is Teow Chew (and insists that this is called CTK), so CTK is what we will go with. Apparently is a teow chew dish, and he is in the process of experimenting with this dish until he gets his grandfather's recipe right.

In the meantime, this is the Hawker style version (which you can apparently get in Muar [a town in Southern Malaysia]).

There are many versions to this dish (and we've tried a few), and you can put as many or as little ingredients into it as you like, provided you follow the same basic recipe, which would churn out a dish that looks like this. Still fantastic tasting on its own, without all the other elements to make it look pretty (and sometimes you don't have to :] )

Vegetarian Chai Tau Kueh

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Cafe Vue 401 @ St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Hello all! I apologise on my M.I.A status for the last week. It's been a crazy year end at work (and still is), and by the time I get home, all I want to do is go to bed (sometimes with no dinner!) Gasp... 

It's also the time of the year of social gatherings and Christmas celebrations... so here is a much belated post on our visit to Cafe Vue 401 on Melbourne Cup Day :)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Seek Your Ultimate Pleasure with Magnum Temptation

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang

When  Magnum first asked me  to write about my most indulgent fantasy, I couldn’t decide on the topic! I mean, first of all it’s about indulgence and secondly, it’s a fantasy! Oh, where do I begin?!

I was torn between a dream vacation, the house of my dreams, a wedding, a gastronomy holiday (where we’d fly to the UK and visit The Fat Duck and then to Spain and dine with Ferran Adrià at El Bulli)!

And there you have it, when you put those two words together for a foodie, ‘indulgent’ and ‘fantasy’, that is what you’re going to end up with, a ‘round the world gastronomy’ trip, dining at the finest restaurants and meeting the famous celebrity chefs.

And so, I wake up one morning and decide on the spur of the moment that I was to fly to France and taste desserts by the legendary Pierre Hermé, King of Macarons. When I got there, the macarons were growing from the beautiful trees all the way down the avenue of Champs-Élysées. I plucked them and ate them as I was walking, enjoying the colours and taste of the macarons which were truly magical. Unknown to myself, I had arrived on Macaron Day (hence the trees were decorated with edible macarons in honour of the day)!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

International Incident Salt Party - Fleur De Sel Caramel 'Sneakers'


It's that time of the month again for another International Incident Party post! This time, the key ingredient was to be Salt...

The Boy and I cracked our heads and nearly gave up.. throwing our hands up in frustration as we couldn't decide on a Salt recipe...

He finally decided on a Salted Caramel theme, but he couldn't decide on whether it'd be plain caramel, peanuts, or ice-cream.

So we decided to do all three!! I welcome you to our very own version and play on the 'Snickers' to our Fleur De Sel Caramel Sneakers (with its own shoe-string caramel!)

Friday, 19 November 2010

Melba's Breakfast Review @ Langham Hotel, Southbank

Boss lady (she hates that term) was going away on maternity leave... and we requested to go to Melba's for the breakfast buffet! Yayy! I was being regaled with tales of yonder (last year where they ate so much they had to be wheeled back to work)...

So I wake up in the morning (not feeling at all like P Diddy)... and arrived at Langham Hotel at around 7.00am... this was so that we could eat for a full 2 hours before going into work (indeed, we did not have lunch that day... nor dinner)...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Izakaya Den Review @ Russell Street, Melbourne

After the Taste of Melbourne this year, a bunch of bloggers and twitterers decided to pay a visit to Izakaya Den as they performed so well in the event.

The wonderful ingénue (she might choke on this a bit, so I'll add, for good measure, chotto!) author behind the blog of Blah Blog Blah did really well in organising the get together (given that I have never met her prior to this [face-to-face I mean]).

Together with a few others from blogs such as I Eat Therefore I Am, Jeroxie, Off the Spork and essJay Eats, we made a Motley Crue of food enthusiasts ready to tackle on this new frontier (okay, we had a little bit to drink prior to dinner... just a tiny bit!)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Hako Review @ Flinders Lane, Melbourne

HR ladies to eat, away we go!
KM was leaving and we had decided to pop over to Hako down the road for a farewell lunch. Busting My Chops had recommended the place as she recalled it as being worthwhile and reasonable for the price...

When we got there, we were greeted warmly and showed our seating. The place was already beginning to bustle with the lunch time crowd. We were clever and pre-ordered before hand via their online booking and by researching their menu.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Paramore - Melbourne Concert Review @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

It's been a while since I did one of these. But I had so much fun and such a great night that it'll be a waste if I didn't share my experience on this. So taking a break from food (blasphemous I know!), I shall do a quick recap of the Paramore concert that took place in October :)

On the 13th of October (yes I know, this is slow)... Paramore performed at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl... Now I have to admit, I'm a new fan... I only discovered them (as I'm sure many of their new fans have also had the same discovery) on the Twilight OST...and I fell in love with their music!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Pope Joan Breakfast Revisited @ Brunswick East

"Can we go to Brunswick please???", I kept asking the Boy... petulantly pouting my lips and doing my best cutesy voice...

The Boy, "Why? Is it because you want to eat at Pope Joan?!"

Me: *blinks innocently*

The Boy: "Oh, alright!"

Me: *smiles mischievously*

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Milkwood - Brunswick East - Breakfast Review @ 120 Nicholson Street

The sign for Milkwood is nondescript  
As we were all staying over at Ms Tinymouse's house for our girly weekend, we were asking the boys to come join us for brekkie...

Being near to Brunswick, the Boy suggested we try Milkwood. Milkwood is owned by ex-owners of Cafe Rosamond Diana Korndoffer and Alex Patterson

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Spice Temple Review @ Crown Casino, Melbourne

The entrance to Spice Temple is right next to Rockpool Bar & Grill 
"SPICE TEMPLE IS OPENING!!" The Boy excitedly kept me up to date with the going-ons with the set-up of the restaurant. He'd check the Rockpool blog nearly daily to tell me how close they were to the opening day.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Spooky Hollow: A Hallowe'en Special



Happy Hallowe'en (or Halloween)!!! Welcome to Spooky Hollow... where nothing is quite what it seems!

video


For Hallowe'en, the Boy decided to make something extra special for my blog readers (and tweetpeeps)... He planned this entire thing up himself. The result being something quite beyond my imagination and wildest nightmares...

The Planning
The Materials



There are several recipes already published on the world wide web, but in your interests and convenience, we meshed them all up to get our own recipe (as usual), but if you really want to see other recipes online, feel free to serve and plunder as you wish :)



Recipe for Meringue Mushrooms
Ingredients:
2 Egg Whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup super fine sugar (caster)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (melted)
Cocoa powder                                                                                   
(Makes 25-30 Meringue Mushrooms)

Method:
Preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Mix egg whites in a bowl on medium speed. once they are very frothy, stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar. Continue beating the eggs until soft peaks are formed. Increase to high speed and gradually add the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks are formed.

Spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag and start forming the mushroom caps and stems. For a more descriptive method, read this.

Bake the meringues at 100 degrees Celsius for about 60 minutes. Once done, the meringues should be hard and dry to touch.

To assemble the mushrooms, make small incisions on the base of the mushroom caps. Paint the base of the mushroom caps with the melted chocolate (using a pastry brush). Dip the top of the mushroom stems in melted chocolate, and attach it to the hole made on the mushroom cap. 

Place on a baking tray to set. Once completed, lightly sift cocoa powder on the tops of the mushrooms.



Recipe for Meringue Ghosts:

Ingredients:
2 Egg Whites (~ 60 grams)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup super fine sugar (caster)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns (for the eyes)                            
(Makes 12 Meringue Ghosts)

Method:

Preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Beat the egg whites on a low-medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until soft peaks are formed. Adding the sugar slowly, continue beating the eggs until stiff peaks are formed. Beat in the vanilla extract. (Should be a smooth, non-gritty consistency).

Transfer meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe (with even pressure) a 2 inch high mound of meringue onto a baking mat (or sheet). For tips, click here and here.

Carefully press two peppercorns into each meringue ghost for the eyes. Alternatively, you could use silver candy sprinkles or chocolate chips.

Bake the meringues for approximately 60 minutes or until they are dry and crispy to the touch. Remove the meringues from the baking mat (so that they unstick from their spot) and transfer onto a separate baking paper or re-use the mat. Once they are dried, use immediately or store in an air-tight container.


Recipe for Trees:
Ingredients:
Grape Stems
Dark Chocolate (melted)
Dried seaweed (Soak in water to revive)

Method:
To get the grape stems, buy a bunch of grapes, pluck all the grapes out and cut the grape stems to form "trees".

For an amazing recipe for a different kind of edible tree, click here.

Melt the chocolate and using your fingers, coat the grape stems with the chocolate to "paint" it. (Note: I find that it gives a streakier effect (Tree bark-like) rather than dipping it whole into chocolate. Alternatively, you could use a small pastry brush)

Drape the seaweed on the edges of the grape stems to give it an eerie look.

Using the remainder of the melted chocolate, stick the base of the grape stems onto a board (we lined ours with aluminium foil).



Recipe for Edible soil
 Ingredients:
120 grams of Nutella
80 grams of tapioca maltodextrin                                                      
(Ratio: 3:2 (Nutella: Maltodextrin))

Method:
Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture has a soil-like texture.

Once the texture has been achieved, pass the mixture through a fine sieve to lighten the texture.

Scatter the soil on the pre-prepared board.


Recipe for Purple Swamp:
Please view my post on Lavender Sorbet recipe.


In the middle of the board, cut out a small square opening). Line the board with aluminium foil. Using the remainder of the melted chocolates (from above recipes), paint the edges of the board with it.

Line a deep roasting tray with black cloth and place a scoop of dry ice in the roasting tray.


Assemble the ingredients onto the board. Place the finished board on a wire rack, taking care to decorate as you go.



For the smoky effect, we used a mixture of Papyrus essence (from our Egypt trip) and hot water (not boiling) and poured it into the sides of the tray as well as into the cut-out opening of the board (use a funnel for the cut-out to prevent splashing onto the board).


The essence of the papyrus really added an amazing dimension to the whole effect of Spooky Hollow. The papyrus has a sweet, heady, woody scent.


This was the most fun we've had in a while and I hope you enjoyed it!

Happy Hallowe'en!!

The entire Spooky Hollow project was conducted by the Boy (minus my purple swamp). I contributed to the naming of the ghosts (Curly, Wonky, Sharpie, and friends!).

The Boy was inspired by Heston Blumenthal's Gothic Feast and Nicolas Poelaert's forest floor.

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