Friday, 29 July 2011

Ramen Ya

After a month of much needed break, the winter holidays were over and it was back to uni for another hardcore semester, bring it on! Well first day back in uni was always a great time to catch up with friends, I had a 2 hour break so me and Jiamin wanted to grab something quick to eat. We decided to head of to ramen ya as we heard they have some cheap and good ramen.

Ramen ya was situated in a little lane way between the GPO and the new Myers building. I realised that I sort of have a thing for hidden restaurants at alleyways recently, maybe its the 'in' thing now? being hidden and mysterious, not knowing what you're gonna expect? haha life is about expecting the unexpected anyways. So as the name stated, they have a variety of ramens, not only that, they serve bento boxes as well. After deciding, Jiamin decided to get their chef's speciality, the charshu ramen and I got their gyoza ramen. There are 3 different soup base to choose from which was tonkutsu, miso and shoyu.

First impression we got when the dish came was...where's the charshu? There was only a miserable few thin slices, which was disappointing. Jiamin had a tonkutsu soup base and she claimed that it tasted abit weird. But the texture of the ramen noodles was good and for 10 bucks, the ramen was quite a decent size.

I had a shoyu soup base for my gyoza ramen. The soup was alright but it left a little weird after taste in my mouth. The gyoza was good but I think it lacks filling, would love to have more meat in my gyoza. The ramen noodles, again, was good and the dish came together pretty well.

So in conclusion, for 10 bucks you get a pretty good decent size bowl of ramen, would probably come back and try their bento boxes, fingers cross it won't be as disappointing as their ramen.

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Quarter

So Nicole and I decided to have lunch at Degrave's street, and we couldn't decide on which cafe to go for. As we are walking along Degraves, I remembered having eaten at The Quarter before, but I've only tried their breakfast menu and if memory served me right, I really enjoyed their breakfast, so why not give their lunch menu a shot? no harm done right? well we weren't disappointed that's for sure.

Although the place was really small and packed, their service was pretty good. They have a wide variation of food on their menu, which made it even harder for us to decide what to get. In the end I went for their chicken and chorizo risotto arborio rice with marinated chicken fillets, which has spicy chorizo sausage and green peas tossed in a light red sauce and topped with parmesan cheese whilst Nic had their pasta of the day which was penne with seared scallops calamari, black olives and spinach in a garlic and napoli sauce. They both tasted as good as it sounded, although my only complain would be the risotto needed to be cooked just a teewee bit more, and it would have been perfect, but the flavours were all there and tasted amazing.

Penne with seared scallops, calamari, black olives and spinach in a garlic and napoli sauce

Chicken and chorizo risotto

Nic's iced chocolate ~
As for the breakfast menu, I remembered having their Eggs Salmon which consisted of 2 poached eggs with smoked salmon and baby spinach on toasted turkish bread, topped with hollandaise sauce. I had hashbrowns on the side just cause I was craving for them xD My friend had their Spanish eggs cooked Mediterranean style with chorizo which was on special on the day. Breakfast was agreeable with my eggs poached to perfection! Of course no breakfast would be completed without coffee, my friend and I ordered a flat white and a hot chocolate.

flat white & hot chocolate

Eggs Salmon

Spanish Eggs
 Overall, The Quarter offered great food and great service, would definitely come back to tick of the rest of the menu!

The Quarter on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Root Vegetable Cottage Pie, Shepherd's Style

Shepherd's pie is one of those classic dish that everyone just love to eat, and for some reason I was craving for it so why not attempt in making one myself? I gave mine a little twist, by adding one of Melbourne's current seasonal vegetable, the pumpkin! I totally underestimate the time of making this dish, although scheming through the menu it seems easy enough but who knew it took me like close to 2 hours to make it, probably cause I had some distraction from my dinner guests at the time xD but overall, I shall say the dish is a success! Oh one of the comment I've got was that the dish had abit of an Asian taste? although there was nothing Asian in it, so that was interesting feedback, why not you guys try it out and let me know what you think? :)


450g Brushed Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 Medium Parsnip, peeled
500g Beef Mince
1 Small Brown Onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp Fresh Chopped Thyme
1 Medium Carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
1½ cups Butternut Pumpkin, peeled and cut into small dice
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
1½ cups Beef Stock
Melted Butter, for brushing

Serves 4

1. Preheat oven to 190˚C.  Place the chopped potatoes and parsnip in a large saucepan and fill with enough water to cover. Add salt and bring to the boil. Cook until both are tender and good for mashing. Strain the potatoes and parsnip and mash. Add in warm milk and butter(approx) and whisk till mash has a creamy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the beef until browned and just cooked through, breaking up any large chunks. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain the beef from the pan and reserve on the side. Return the pan to the heat.

3. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the carrots and cook for 1 minute, then add the pumpkin to the pan and cook for 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables, cook for 2-3 minutes being careful not to scorch the tomato paste.

4. Add the beef back to the pan and stir well to mix, then add the beef stock, stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook covered, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Pour the mixture into 4 small individual baking dishes or ramekins and prepare the mash. You could either pipe the mash with a decorative pattern or spoon the mash over the filling and using a fork make cross hatch marks or swirls. Brush the top of each cottage pie with melted butter and place on a baking tray and into the oven.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the filling is heated through. Remove from the oven and allow the pies to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.

So in conclusion, thumbs up from my guinea pigs! ;) you know who you are hahaha, yumz~

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Giraffe Cafe

It's been awhile since I've last been to giraffe cafe. I would say that it had to be my favourite cafe to go to for a cup of coffee or desserts back in 2009. The interior of the cafe is adorable and is design to make the customers feel like home, I could just sit there for hours easily. Oh! and hidden around the shelves are little games that could be played such as uno cards and jenga. I remember the time where me and my friend were trying so hard not to lose at jenga cause everytime it crashes, people around us would stare at us and we would just burst into giggles xD lovely memories~

Now on to the food! My absolute favourite from giraffe cafe would be their chocolate pudding. I would describe it as orgasmic. Yeap, heavenly orgasmic, when the cold vanilla ice-cream melts and blend with the hot freshly baked chocolate pudding, prepare yourself for 5 minutes in heaven. Highly recommended!

Besides that, their signature cheesecake was delightful as well, although I wouldn't think I could finish one on my own. I've also tried the chocolate brownie with ice-cream. It was good but it wasn't a standout, and it won't make me scream out for more. Oh! another one of my favourite desserts was pear with Belgium waffles. Deeeeeeeelightful.

Besides their dessert, they do have some savoury dishes as well. I highly recommend their sesame chicken noodle salad, this dish is healthy and fresh, with the dressing on the noodle and salad, its refreshing and you wouldn't have guess that such simple flavours could go so well with one another.

Their cold soba with dumplings was good and is also a vegetarian dish. Their shepherd's pie was pretty good as well. What's bad at giraffe cafe is their pastas :S Tasted abit like it's cooked from a can, but their mushroom risotto was pretty good, not too creamy. Their creamy pumpkin curry was yum, but it tends to get abit too much towards the end, my friend had difficulty finishing a bowl although the portion wasn't very big.

So in conclusion, stay away from their pastas and pleaseeeeee do have their chocolate pudding! You'll regret it if you don't!

Giraffe Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


So the new talk of the town is Luxbites! Yeap the name truly speaks for itself, luxury bites is what this pâtisserie café presents, showering the customers with edible jewel box of colours, flavours and textures designed to delight the eyes, as well as the taste buds. Personally I've been there a couple of times and I am loving their macarons! mainly because they have that precise texture a macaron should have and it's not too sweet as well. They have a total of 16 flavours and so far I've tried 9 of them. Their flavours consists of watermelon yoghurt, mandarin saffron, raspberry and white chocolate, peanut butter & jelly, sicilian pistachio, strawberry cream, oreo, creme brulee, mocha, choc cherry, passionfruit, kaffir lime, chocolate freckle, salted caramel, rose and lychee and last but not least, their signature macaron >> the kaya toast. My favourite would obviously be the kaya toast, with the little nob of butter in the middle presents an exotic malaysian taste fuse with an italain creation...yummmm. Mandarin saffron and peanut butter & jelly was extraordinary as well. A little note on kaffir lime, it sorta tasted like rendang to me :P so you might want to prepare youself while nibbling into it.

Besides their macarons, they have eye popping desserts as well. I've tried Oriental Love which is a coconut macaron with passionfruit curd, pandan cream, caramelised banana and peanut brittle. Might I say when I heard about this combination, I just couldn't imagine how the flavours would blend together but surprise surprise they did! the caramelised banana and the pandan cream tasted amazing with the coconut macaron, although the passionfruit curd and peanut brittle didn't come through as well.

For all those extreme chocolate lovers, I would definitely recommend the supersized macarons. This macaron is MASSIVE! and its filled with different textures of chocolate. I couldn't really remember what those textures are exactly but there's a chocolate ganache inside coated with hazelnut peanut crumbles. I would recommend sharing this with a friend cause with the amount of chocolate in'll feel pretty sick in the end. Just a warning :) haha death by chocolate literally.

yeap...that's just how big the supersized macaron was!

Besides sweets, they do serve savoury food as well. I've tried their smoked salmon, rocket, caper berries and lemon cream sandwich. The bread was well toasted and the lemon cream does bring out the smoked salmon. My friend tried their twice cooked pork belly, endive and star anise apple chutney sandwich, and commented that it was deeeeeeeeeelicious. I couldn't agree more :)

Besides the sandwich, I had a chicken and leak pie as well. This dish wasn't on the menu, it was on their specials for the day, The pastry was baked well, all I would say is that the chicken leak was a little less seasoned but other then that, this was a good dish.

Luxury bites you want, luxury bites you've got! This place won't disappoint you :) I'll definitely be coming back for more yummy macarons!

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Monday, 18 July 2011

Yummy food in the cold!

Me and my family planned a little day trip up to the Mt Buller over the weekend and might I say, we couldn't have chose a more better day! The weather was glorious and sunny on the day, thank God we missed the fog and heavy snowfalls just the day before.

Because of the cold weather, it would seem natural that our stomachs started growling almost instantly we got off the bus from the long 4 hour drive up the snowie mountains, so we decided to grab a quick lunch. We went to Cattleman's and ordered beer-battered Flathead with chips and coleslaw served with a garlic mayo sauce, a Mexican grilled chicken burger and bowl of wedges with sweet chili and sour cream. The beer-battered fish was divine and it was a great meal for a cold snowy day xD the grilled chicken was a tad bit dry and the bun was abit too big? Actually its more like too much bread and too little chicken, huge disappointment :( Wedges was.....come on, wedges and chips would always taste good so yea haha overall I would say lunch was yumzzzzz. We went out to the snow again but after a few snowball fights and some tobogganing we got really hungry again and so we went to grab some buttermilk pancakes topped with juicy blueberries and yeaap...I know this is going to sound ridiculous, ice-cream, which despite the cold, me and my family were craving for :P and might i say, the pancakes were awesomeee.

Ahhhh, great day great fun :) Will most definitely be back in the coming years and hopefully even give snowboarding a try? haha we shall see..

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Crumbed Fish with Wasabi Cream

One of my all time favourite fish to make is crumbed fish top off with a little twist of wasabi cream. This dish has a little Japanese twist to it with nori sheets combined in the crumb to give it a smoke seaweed flavour plus the addition of wasabi in the sauce. It's really easy to make and might I add, delicious as well :)

3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3/4 cup cornflakes
1 sheet nori, torn roughly
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 x 150g pieces firm white fish fillets
plain flour, for dusting
1 egg
1 tablespoon, skim milk
1 spring onion, thinly sliced

wasabi cream
1/2 cup low-fat natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon wasabi (or to your own preference)
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lime juice

 1) Preheat the oven to moderate 180 Celsius. Combine the crumbs, cornflakes, nori and paprika in a food processor and process until the nori is finely chopped.

2) Dust the fish lightly with plain flour, dip into the combined egg and milk, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Press the crumb mixture on firmly, then refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3) Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper and put the fish on the paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

4) To make the wasabi cream, mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Serve with a spoonful on top of the fish and sprinkle with spring onion.

Any side dishes would go well with this dish. Any salads of preference would be fine. I like making mash potatoes and coleslaw to go with this dish.


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Cafe Issus

Centre Place in Melbourne is well known as Melbourne's best hidden secret! A place to be "unseen" to be "unfound" and to be "undiscovered" is where I found this little place, Cafe Issus. I've been to Cafe Issus a couple of times now and I would say its a good place to have brunch. I've tried both the lunch and breakfast menu and they were both equally pleasing. Service at Issus was slow and the place was pretty small and crowded but overall, I do enjoy the atmosphere and enjoy every moment of being a part of Melbourne's best hidden secrets!

First of all I would talk about the breakfast menu. I've tried the big breakfast and their eggs royale/benedict with sausages. I really liked the eggs royale, my eggs were poached to perfection and the smoked salmon was fresh. If you're looking for something sweet, the pancakes was delightful as well.

The BIG Breakfast!

Eggs Royale

Eggs Benedict with Sausages


I actually like their lunch menu better than their breakfast menu. One of my favourite dish was their chicken skewers. The chicken has been seasoned well, only downfall is they put way too much roquette on the dish and as you all know roquette has a particular bitter taste which tends to become unpleasant when we eat too much of it. One of my friends actually described it as thought he was munching on weeds which I found quite funny but true at the same time xD Next is their zatars. My favourite would be the chicken zatars, which is a lebanese flat bread filled with chicken breast w tzatziki and saganaki cheese. The chicken has been flavoured well and the zatars lightly  toasted. Their side salad changes from time to time having once with chickpeas with roquette and another with bacon and baked potatoes with rocket. I can't really remember the name of this pasta dish but I think it was pasta with chorizo and if memory serves me right, it was quite yummy as well! I would highly recommend their seared prawns with linguini with pan seared prawns with fresh tomato, basil and chilli tossed with roquette. This would be my sisters favourite dish from Isuss.

Chicken Skewers

Chicken Zatars

Chorizo Pasta

Seared Prawns with Linguini
 Overall, service might be slow but the foods good and hey, what more could I ask for? :)

Issus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Heart-warming Leek & Potato Soup

It has been cold and windy these past few days in Melbourne, and what better way to warm the body up then whipping up some warm winter soup! I made leek and potato soup which is one of the simplest and tasty soup of all time. My version of leek and potato soup is a more healthy version, substituting cream with milk, and tastes as nice as the real version, so we won't feel that guilty when we go back for second or even third servings! oh yum yummy yum~


2 leeks, white part only, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1kg potatoes, chopped
1.25 litres vegetable stock
1/2 cup skim milk

Method of Cooking

1) Lightly spray a non-stick pan with oil. Add the leek and garlic, and 1 tbs of water to prevent sticking, then cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes, or until leek turns golden. Add the cumin and cook for 2 minutes.

2) Put the potato in a large pan with the leek mixture and the stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Cool a little, then purée with a stick blender or processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

3) Stir in the milk and heat through before serving.

To go with my soup, I prepared some garlic bread. First I roasted some garlic in the oven for 30 minutes. Its important to cover your garlic with some aluminium foil to prevent it from burning. I then drizzle some olive oil on my bread and grilled them. Spread the soft roasted garlic on the the toasted bread and sprinkle some parsley and oregano and there you have it! Authentic yummy garlic bread!
So there you go guys! a quick an awesome soup to give anyone a warm and fuzzy stomach :)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Poached Eggs, Royale style

Daddy's finally here! So for his first morning here, I thought I'd whip up a quick aussie styled breakfast, eggs royale which is essentially english muffin top with salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.

So I started of with preparing my poach eggs first. I like to poach my eggs using cling wrap to secure and maintain the round oval shape of my eggs. It is very important to brush some oil on your cling wrap before cracking your egg in because it would prevent the eggs from sticking when you remove the cling wrap for serving. Time duration for cooking the eggs is just 3-4 mins in boiling water, quick and easy!

Poached Eggs

To go with my poached eggs, I sautéd some spinish and mushrooms in butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Got some english muffin toasting and with my smoked salmon ready, it was ready to plate up! Oh by the way, its really important to get fresh smoked salmon for this dish as it just takes the dish up to a whole new level. I didn't really had time to make hollandaise sauce but I will attempt it soon when Ive got more time.

And soooo voila! the finishing dish!

Ahhhh~~ thats goodness right there ;)
 Hope you'll had a nice day!