This dessert was inspired by peach and almond galettes from Coles magazine summer edition. I replaced the peach with nectarines, and couldn’t be bother to cut the pastry into circles.  I didn’t actually plan to make the banana ice cream, but after I pulled the tarts out of the oven, they looked desperately needs some companion of something cold or creamy. Having just finished 2 lt of ice cream the previous week, I tried to find a healthier replacement other than yoghurt. Then, I remember that I bought a bag of over ripe bananas (1 BIG bag for $1.90!!), and froze most of them. And I thought, hmmm,  I came accross a simple banana ice cream recipe on vegan family vs omni world, stonesoup, and a few weeks later on where’s the beef? . I don’t know why it took me ages to make this ice cream, despite all the reviews, maybe I was being too skeptical. It was really easy to prepare, so sooooooo good, and because all the bananas were already over ripe, I didn’t need to add more sugar to sweeten it. Give it a go, highly recommended if you crave for something sweet.

ingredients :

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large nectarine
  • 2 tbsp butter / margarine
  • 2 tbsp almond meal / flake almonds
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup frozen banana
  • preheat the oven 200 c or 180 c fan forced

sliced the nectarine about 1/2 cm thick wedges

in a food processor, blend almond meal (or any nuts you have in hand), 1 tbsp brown sugar, and butter until the consistency resemble a paste

slice the puff pastry sheet in half, cut the pastry into 2 quarters and place on greased baking tray

spread the butter-almond mix on the pastry, arrange the nectarine wedges on top of it

sprinkle with the remaining of the sugar, bake for 20 min or until the pastry puffed up, and turn golden

while waiting for the tarts to cool of, whizz frozen banana in a food processor, if its too dry, add 1 tbsp of water / soy milk, blend until smooth and creamy

(2 Serves)

Call me crazy, but on a very hot and humid day in Melbourne, I craved a hot Indonesian or Malaysian style curry. Maybe because the hot and humid weather represents my homeland? So, I googled some recipes, and decided to settle with this curry recipe. It looks easy, doesn’t have a long list of ingredients, and the chicken can be easily replaced withtofu or tempe. The only problem was to find the same or similar curry powder they strongly suggested. With my fingers crossed tightly, I went to minh phat victoria market the next morning, and found it for a real bargain $2.30 a bag..! yaaayyy..!

I obviuosly replaced the chicken with fried bean curd, add some carrots to make it sound healthier, and cut the amount of oil, onion and garlic (come on, 2 large onion and 8 cloves of garlic!! you must be kidding..!!). I’m going to rewrite the recipe here, because I made quite a bit of changes.

The result? The fried bean curd acts like a sponge and soak up the creamy hot sauce really well. I personally like the texture of spongy and chewy bean curds, I don’t think I will get the same result with regular hard tofu. The sauce was thick, creamy and hot, not for the faint hearted. It really satisfied my craving though. :) Next time, I would probably serve it with some roti. I heat some of the leftover for lunch the next day, and it tasted so much better. So far, this is my favourite malaysian hot curry recipe.

Ingredients :

  • 4 cubes fried tofu / bean curds, sliced
  • 3 small potatoes, diced
  • 1 large carrot
  • 4 tbsp Malaysian curry powder + 2-3 tbsp water, mix into a paste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 handful chopped coriander
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups of water

in a food processor, blend :

  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chili (you can omit this if you don’t like spicy food)

boil the potato and the carrot to speed up the cooking process, because there is nothing more annoying than waiting for the potato to cook, while the other ingredients in the pot already done, even the rice.

heat oil, and stir fry onion mixture about 3 minutes, or until fragrant.

add curry powder, reduce the heat to low, stir fry until the oil started oozing out from it. (I didn’t bother, but it still turned out ok)

add the sliced tofu and vegies, stir to coat them with the curry paste.

add coconut milk, seasoned with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 10 minutes.

stir occasionally, add some water until you satisfied with the consistency.

laddle to serving bowl, top with chopped coriander and serve with rice or roti.

mmmm…shckydatepud..!! :)

In my opinion, they seriously have the best sticky date pudding ever..! for $7.50 we (my hubby and I) got 2 thick slice of pudding, drizzled with warm caramel sauce and 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream. The pudding was really moist and had the right amount of sweetness, therefore the addition of caramel syrup and the ice cream doesn’t make it sickly sweet. We often come here just for the pudding, or, when I don’t feel like something sweet, I usually order some panini or HUGE bowl of soup.  Oh yeah, you can also check Cindy’s review for the panini.

163 Grattan St, Carlton
Ph: 9349 4944

I’ve bookmarked this recipe from Cindy’s where’s the beef? ages ago, but only today I got a chance to tried it out. They are really easy to prepare, no chopping required, but tasted soooo yum.. changed the recipe a bit, I used crumbled walnut instead of pecans. Just because they’re on special, and already crumbled, so no further chopping required ($1.79!). I also add worcestershire about 1 tbsp, other than that, the recipe is perfect as it is. Cindy also made the vegan version of it, and they look as good as the vegetarian one.

I served the rolls with some crunchy salad on the side (it came from a bag, straight out of supermarket), and watermelon and feta salad. We’re currently in love with this salad, we probably had at least 3 times this week, its perfect for a hot summer day. sweet, salty, cool, and minty. Even though it’s technically a salad, but we treated it as a dessert, we ate it after our meal.

ingredients :

  • half a wedge of watermelon (about 500g)
  • 100 g crumbled feta cheese (the saltier, the better, more contrast)
  • a handful mint leaves, chopped

dressing :

  • 1 tbsp lemon / lime juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

diced the watermelon 2×2 cm, top with feta, mint leaves, drizzle the dressing over the salad, and mix.

most recipe I found add chopped red onion, but I just don’t like the taste of raw onion.

sweet miso tofu & salad with sesame dressing

This recipe was inspired by vegan yumyum’s smokey miso tofu, I omitted the liquid smoke, because I don’t have any. I could have use smoked paprika, but I’m afraid it will ruin the whole batch of the delicate miso sauce. I also use white miso instead of red, I found red miso taste too strong, although it’s good for soup, but not so much for sauces and dressings. By the way,does anyone knows where to get liquid smoke in Melbourne?

On the side, we had green salad (cucumber, tomato, blanched broccoli) tossed with sesame dressing and dry roasted sesame seeds.

  • tofu with sweet miso sauce :
  • half block of tofu (300g)
  • mix together :
  • 2 tbsp white miso
  • 2 tbsp mirin / white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp hot water

preheat the oven 180C and sliced tofu 1/2 cm thick (I got 10 thin slices out of 300 g), arrange on baking tray lined with tin foil or silicone baking mat (I should get one of those)

brush both sides of tofu with miso, let it sit for 10 minutes

brush top sides, bake for 30 min, the sauce should appear darker and dry, and the tofu slices darkened around the edges.

sesame dressing (for the salad) :

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, dry roasted
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce (depends on the type of soy sauce you have, some are saltier than others)
  • 1 tsp sugar

for drinks, soda milk :

….and this is our current favourite summer drink, milk soda. 1tbsp condensed milk topped with soda water and ice cubes. Creamy and fizzy!

A few days ago, my house mate cooked up butter chicken with her slow cooker, it looked yummy and smelt sooooooo good!! That night,unfortunately, I had to satisfied with my boring looking stir-fried vegies with boiled eggs..  The next day, I tried to recreate the vegetarian version of the creamy-orange looking curry. I searched for vegetarian butter – chicken recipe to find out what’s in the sauce. Most recipes seemed pretty simple, and I can pretty find all the ingredients in the pantry. In the end, I made up my own recipe, inspired by all recipes I found. The end result was a huge pot full of smooth-mild curry, not as sweet as butter chicken curry sauce, but waaay better than any other curries I made in the past. That’s why I decided to post my recipe here. On the side, was jasmine rice, (I know, it’s supposed to be basmati rice, but I didn’t have any) cooked with 4 – 5 crushed cardamom pods.

I reduced the amount of peanut butter (1/4 cup into 1 tbsp) because I simply run out of it, I think the curry would be much creamier if I add more. I also downsized the amount of butter in the recipe, I don’t know why, but I tend to reduce any butter in every recipes I found. One more thing, instead of heavy cream, I used light sour cream.

In food processor, blend until smooth:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (I used keens)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and peper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 medium potatoes (boiled, to shorten cooking process)
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch of green beans
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream / sour cream / coconut milk / soy cream
  • 3 tbsp butter / margarine
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used macro smooth peanut butter)
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes

melt 1 tbsp butter, and stir fry the onion mixture for 3-4 min

add tin tomatoes, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to release some of the onion bits stuck on it, add peanut butter, bring to a boil.

throw in the vegies, add some hot water if its too thick, cook uncovered  for 10 min, season with salt and pepper.

turn of the stove, stir the rest of the butter / margarine, and stir in the cream.

Serve with rice or naan.

Happy belated New Year everyone..! I Just got back to Melbourne last week from holiday, and this blog already looks a bit ‘dusty’.. :)

Holiday made my blogging mood a bit low, besides I didn’t do much cooking back home. Anyway, I’m back in Melbourne now, and just got my mojo back.. thanks to the trip to Royal Botanical Garden. (I promise, I will be back there for a picnic!).

Just some of the pictures taken with my hubby’s SLR camera (sooooo much better than my blurry phone cam and pocket cam)…. :

stop, and smell the flowers..

Love the pond <3

dandy-lion

chocolate cake@ the terrace

Of course, after all the walking, we deserve a chocolate cake and some coffee.. :) we stopped at the terrace, tea room at the garden. The cake was okay, not as rich and chocolate-y as vegie bar’s, the cake was a bit on the dry side, but the amount of frosting had saved it. The coffee was good, but not great either, however, the prices are still on the normal range. But with the view to the garden, everything tasted better anyway. Well, looks like the botanical garden will be our new little ‘escape’ place for us.

My housemate got a new heavy bottomed grill pan that weigh 1,000 kg, (well, not really). It look awesome, so I can’t wait to test the pan. I had 1/2 block of tofu in the fridge, so I decided to make tofu satay. Most recipe required marinating the tofu for at least 2 hrs. I just couldn’t be bothered to marinate, so I just make up the recipe myself. This recipe is so so simple, no marinating required (Life’s too short to marinate anyway). The smell of smoky caramelized kecap manis when I grilled these skewers were divine! The slightly charred bits was the best part of the tofu. On the side, I made some Suhana’s acar timun (pickled cucumber and carrot relish), as this is the ‘proper’ side dish for Indonesian  satay.I should’ve left the relish to sit for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavour develop, but, again, no time for that!

ingredients :

  • 250 g firm tofu (half a block), diced ~2cm
  • 2 tbsp kecap manis + 1 tbsp vegeteble oil (you can marinate the tofu in this mixture)
  • thin bamboo skewers

satay sauce :

  • 125 ml coconut milk (1 small can)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp kecap manis
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan, stir fry the tofu around 2-3 min or until you sure they can hold their shape on grilling process, set aside to cool in a plate.

meanwhile, heat the grill pan

heat coconut milk and peanut butter in a small pot, mix, add soy sauce and kecap manis, stir thoroughly until slightly thicken and glossy, turn off the heat, add the sesame oil, taste ~yummm~ (try to resist the urge to eat them while waiting for the grilled tofu!)

thread the tofu cubes to the skewer 3-4 cubes per skewer, (I cut the skewer in half to fit the grill pan), brush the tofu skewers with kecap manis + veg oil mixture, and grill them, cook one side for 1 – 2 min, brush with some more sauce while grilling.

grill until the kecap manis caramelized and slightly charred.

serve with stemed jasmine rice and the relish.

drizzle,- or blob- (if the sauce is really thick) the satay sauce on top of the skewers.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been spending our Saturday running around -amazing race style- doing inspection marathon. What a stressful activity! with all the adrenalin,finding the right address, got lost, got pissed, arguing about which way to go, catching another tram to the next house / flat..pheeww..! Each inspection only lasts 15 – 30 min, and if the property located in popular suburb and close to public transport, there always at least 10 people looking as well. I found that inspection is kinda funny in a way, you can see in people’s eyes, when they see another couple arrived at the property, they look slightly pissed. And they try to limit interaction with each other, I think, in their mind would be sort of like “hmmm, we’re competing for this house.., better avoid eye contact!” (or, maybe not, I probably just imagining it).

Last Saturday, we went out around 9am, fully charged with coffee, and half a croissant (we share 1 croissant, we’ve got nothing else at that time). About 3 hours, 3 properties and 2 blisters later, (I stupidly wear my new shoes – NEVER wear new pair of shoes for inspection marathon, stick to your havaianas) we were famished and cranky.

We decided to go to A1 bakery, because other breakfast places must be really busy at that time, and we didn’t have any energy left to wait longer. It was quite busy when we got there, but luckily, there were still some empty tables around. The scene was different form other cafes we usually go to, most of the customers are families, or locals. We ordered the same stuff, spinach and cheese pastry, $3.50 each (how uncreative, I know, but low blood sugar level shut down our creativity). while we’re waiting for our pastry reheated, we couldn’t resist to buy the baklavas ($1 each, but if I bought $5, I always get 1 extra :) ). I ended up eating the pastry, and saved the baklava for dessert. My hubby, has interesting way of eating them, he had 1 bite of pastry, and then 1 bite of his baklava, and his pastry again..weird! his tastebuds must be soooo confused..  The spinach and cheese pastry were really good, stuffed with generous salty chunks of feta, and fresh spinach, wrapped in crisp golden pastry. The spinach and cheese pastry was a huge triangle, sliced in three smaller triangles.The amount of cheese was just right, not overpowering the spinach, yet still satisfying.

The baklava – sheets of filo pastry, nuts, drizzle with syrup, and sprinkled with crushed pistachio. Very sweet, rich, and sticky (in a good way). I try to be good, and resisted the temptation to buy baklava to take home, because we still had some tiramisu left in the fridge. (I wil post the recipe later). On the way out, we saw a couple sharing a huge plate of pizza, automatically we exchanged glance, and telepathically said “we got to try that one!”

A1 Bakery – 645-645 Sydney Road, Brunswick, (9386 0440)

My other half, is lucky enough to study at a uni that only a stone throw away from a cheap pizza place – Lucky Coq, he went there quite a lot, I even have to remind him to limit his pizza intake to twice a week. I’m worried he might get a pizza overdose, i.e. fat. hehe.. The pizza here are soooo cheap, at lunch (12-4pm) and dinner time (7-11pm), they only cost $4. One day, we decided to meet there for dinner, I think it was on friday night, a couple of week ago. We arrived around 7 and it was already crazily busy!Packed with hip and trendy people, there was even a velvet gate outside the door, the music were loud, some people even hanging around on the bar waiting for a table. We almost gave up, but I, (travelled all the way from east brunswick, catching a tram and train on peak hour, got of at richmond, and catch another train..) refused to give up! We finally got a seat just next to the kitchen window, not the best spot! The pizza took about half an hour, and we had to buy  drinks to distract ourselves from hunger, our drink cost more than the pizza, ($8 each for corona, and a riesling). Our pizza finally arrived, I had melanzana (eggplant) and he had salmon pizza. The pizza were good, the crust were chewy, not too thin, and they were quite satisfying. I actually took pictures of them, but they were sooooo bad, because the place was really dim, and our pizza were half eaten – messily.So, for the sake of this blog, (hehe, don’t you love it when you have an excuse to eat out?), we went back there on lunch time the other day.

This time, instead of picking me up at the station, we decided to meet lucky coq. Being a person without a sense of direction, it was a disaster! I was lost, it’s really embarassing, I mean, I went to chapel street quite a lot, but somehow I’m still lost! from the station, I walked opposite direction where I should’ve walk, further away from the place, urrgghh, it was frustating! A few angry-desperate text messages and directions later, we finally sat happily in quite empty Lucky Coq- I think it was around 3.30 pm. Anyway, all the lost drama aside, lets move on to the pizza. I had potato and taleggio pizza ($4), and this time, it only took a few minutes for our pizza to arrived.yaaaayy..!!

The topping was quite simple, potato, rosemary, and taleggio cheese. The potato slices were a little to thick, it fell apart when I tried to lift a slice of pizza t my mouth. But, I found a better way to eat it, I mashed the potato first with the fork. The cheese were quite strong, but really really good, it goes well with the simple topping. You can see from the picture, the greasy goodness glistening on the topping. (NOT healthy but so good!!).

Meanwhile – sorry for vegetarians – on the other side o the table, he had morrocan lamb pizza, with rocket leaves and sultanas (he’s still in transition to be a vegies, I choose not to push him into it, as it’s a personal lifestyle choice, but mostly, he eats vegie food). He thought it was quite good, but likes my pizza better, I guess it’s the taleggio. All in all, it was a better experience, we left happy and satisfied, besides, what could possibly goes wrong with $4 pizza? :) I will definitely going back to try their dessert pizza.

Lucky Coq – 179 Chapel St, Windsor 3181 (95251288)

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