an early start to birthday week…

The spoils from the last two days…

First, we have chocolate cheesecake and then banana cake :).  Mum went into baking mood prompted by my bro who is going through a baking phase… I took photos of the process so will post up photos of the recipes….soon :P.  Every time we’ve mentioned we made banana cake the question that returns to us is, “How can you afford to make banana cake?” lols, answer? $4 a bag clearance banana sale a.k.a. God’s favour and blessing :D

And then, to hopefully help me fulfil goal number 8

And meet ‘Hottie’…

Yes, sir… birthday week has got itself to an early but lovely start ;).  Mum’s work friend’s daughter also made these for us to celebrate:

*happy sigh* Now I better get to that assignment which did not get any further than what it was last Friday hahaha

Ciao!

♥ Ames

Mini Chocolate Muffins

Just watched an episode of ‘Good Chef, Bad Chef’ (gotta love afternoon TV) and thought it was time for a food post (aka it’s the weekend for me-ish: interning tomorrow but not too much brain-work required)!

A friend requested some mini cupcakes for her birthday last week so thanks to Google, I found a quick recipe and of course I got my camera out ;).  If you just want the written version, see here but my version with have photos! hehehe

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 1/3 cup CSR SMART

Liquid ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup low fat milk (I used full cream)

Method

1. Lightly grease 2, 12 hole (2 tablespoon capacity) mini muffin trays.  Preheat oven to 200°C conventional or 180°C fan forced.
2. Combine flour, cocoa and CSR SMART together in a medium bowl.
3. Mix the vanilla, egg, oil and milk in a separate bowl.
4. Gently pour the wet ingredients into the dry and lightly fold together until just combined. Over mixing will give tougher muffins.

still a bit lumpy here...

5. Divide mixture evenly between each cup of the mini muffin pans.

6. Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until they spring back when gently touched in the centre. Leave in tray for 5 minutes, then gently remove and cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 24 mini muffins :).

Instead of dusting it with icing sugar, I went all out with colourful icing ^^.

The green didn’t really stand out so she had some Aussie colours :).  Sadly, I had no common sense about the icing (plus I was trying to keep my bro from eating them) so after I decorated them, I placed the cupcakes in the car without refrigerating them… let’s just say I’m glad I took a photo of the finished product before showing her ^^’.

Had some extra batter so…

:).

Happy times ! They were very moist and the peeps enjoyed it… as long as they popped it in their mouths quickly lols.

OK, I’m cooking dinner so better get prepping!

♥ Ames

#47. Co Do and #49. Dong Que

With Semester 1 just around the corner, it was that time of the year to trek in and collect these babies…

My arms felt like they were going to break off, carrying these from the Law School, to the tram stop, on the tram, to the train… thankfully, a ride was available so I didn’t have to carry this load on the 20 min walk from the station…. *shudder* I was smart enough to save one of these as a self-reward though…

I think I may be coming slightly obsessed… lols, oh well, I guess there could be more expensive and worse obsessions…

Anyway, as aforementioned the semester is about to start so I’ve started getting a bit organised around the place and it’s time I start clearing up these pending posts for more exciting things to come… I hate being in limbo about things…kinda like, ‘let your yes be yes, and let your no’s be no’ but ANYWAY…

#47 Co Do

196 Victoria Street,

Richmond VIC 3121

(03) 9421 2418 ‎

From the date that I had down for this visit to Co Do, it must have been in early Jan when my aunty in Sydney had come down to visit.  It was a very warm summer day and I had just trekked into the restaurant having spent a lovely day with Miss Sunshine and got my summer subject reading (how ironic!).  The way to cool down at a Viet restaurant?

Being a newbie food blogger and an oblivious Viet church goer, I don’t remember the name of this drink but it is a sweet one with seaweed, lychee (?) and other assorted chewy things :P.

As stated on their storefront window and other advertising, their specialty is ‘Bun Bo Hue’ which is a special type of soup noodle dish from the region of ‘Hue’ in VN.  Naturally, that was my choice.

This was beautiful :).  Noodles were not too soft, the soup was flavour-some but not too overpowering or salty.  My dad who also ate the same dish said that it was close to being as good as the dish cooked by one of the ladies at church, who is actually from Hue :).

Definitely worth stopping by if you are in Richmond and looking for this dish in particular.  Some of the others had other dishes that were alright too but I was too busy scoffing mine down after I clicked this shot to take any more photos lols.

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

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: standard prices for Viet food – $9-$12 a bowl

—————————————————

#47 Dong Que VN

102 Hopkins Street,

Footscray VIC 3011

(03) 9689 4392 ‎


We’d never tried this place before but after visiting my grandfather who was at the local hospital at the time, we decided to escape the 40 degree heat before venturing back down to Richmond for their Vic St Lunar Festival celebrations.  Anyway, we stepped in here because my father said that there was a restaurant with the same name in Vietnam so if the owners of this place actually thought it could live up to the same standards, it was worth a try.

We ordered from the Signature Dish section:

First up was the Vietnamese Spring Rolls:

I’ve become accustomed now to eating Hanoi Spring Rolls now and don’t really like the regular ones now unless they are missed in with vermicelli noodles so these were definitely something I was keen to try here.  The skin is a lot thicker and chewy-er than the regular spring rolls and they are generally quite crispy on the outside if done well…. and they were here :).  Can’t remember what was in the filling but it was definitely a thumbs up from me :P.

The next one was something neither of my parents (or myself) had tried before- Steamed Rice Paper with Grilled Pork and Rice Cracker:

Definitely not your average Vietnamese dish… it was quite a nice combination though… with the crunchy sesame rice cracker with the silky rice paper on the inside.  The grilled pork was also nicely cooked, not too oily and the accompanying greens complimented everything well.  I should have opened it up to get a photo of the insides…but well, I’m still learning :).

For our last main we had the Grilled Fish Fillets with Rice-Vermicelli:

This dish has the special fish sauce, pronounced ‘Mum’ that is kind of sweet and sour with, as you can see, a fair amount of chilli…thankfully, my chilli tolerance has been increasing so I was able to handle it.

The fish itself was BEAUTIFUL.  It came on a sizzling plate so it was still cooking away while we finished off the other dishes.  The skin was suculent and the flesh was so juicy!

I’ve also taken to ordering avocado drinks at Viet restaurants lols.  This one was good because it didn’t have too much sugar.

All in all, one of the best dining experiences we’ve ever had at a Viet restaurant to date!  Would definitely come back again.

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

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 10/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: standard prices for Viet food – $10-$13 per dish

♥ Ames

Cookies In A Jar

I feel super organised today… ’tis a good feeling when you actually are organised as well hehehe

Gone to the gym, sent a zillion emails, folded a mountain of clean clothes, made a few important phone calls, booked in for a few career fairs, filled up the rest of my last week before uni with lunches, a movie premiere, a haircut (yep, another haircut! I think this is gonna be my short-hair phase year…) and a birthday bash to name just a few… lols, life couldn’t be sweeter!

Except of course when there’s a cookie post to write !! :D

So yes, as expressed last entry, I FINALLY made time to make some cookies!  These holidays have been super busy so to find a spare moment to bake is definitely a luxury I don’t get very often.  One of my piano students (whose mother is a kinder teacher – important point to note because it explains the creativity of this present) gave me this for Christmas:

Such a clever idea!  I love nifty crafty presents :).  So since Christmas is well long and gone, this was one present-opening that was very well overdue.  I’ll have to confirm the exact measurements of the ingredients but as you can see, we have:

  • white and milk chocolate drops
  • oats
  • castor sugar
  • brown sugar
  • self-raising flour

Additional ingredients and instructions below:

I had wanted to photo-document the whole process but that kinda got a bit difficult after I got my hands all covered in the cookie dough… and well, I kinda forgot :D.

So here is the finished product:

I didn’t leave enough gaps in between the balls of cookie dough and since I was in a rush to get out the door, I didn’t have time to do one batch at a time…

Oh well, the verdict?

Everyone loved them and came back for seconds :D.  Most said they tasted like ANZAC cookies, probably due to the oats… thankfully, I was smart enough to grab one to eat for myself before they ran out – they were much softer than ANZAC cookies and had a bit of a chewy-ness with the chocolate drops… all in all, a baking success!  It’s quite a simple recipe so I’m likely to make it again once I get the exact measurements…


Lols, the other 2/3 of the Quotes of Gold loved them too ;).  It’s hard to believe that these two are off to uni this year…time really has gone so fast!  We get on each other’s nerves (one more so than the other :P) but at the end of the day, we’re sisters- sisters in Christ :).  And I love them.

Happy O-week freshers!

♥ Ames

#50. San Cho

298-302 High St,

Kew VIC

(03) 9852 9119

We celebrated the 1st month of my cousin’s little boy, Emmanuel over the weekend and of course, lots of food accordingly :).  Our CNY was a very low-key one so this little relo get-together for the little one made it feel more like CNY for me… plus, a few red pockets never hurt anyone ;).  As much as I loved receiving them, I’m looking forward to the day when I can give out some red pockets of my own if anyone gets my drift hehehe.

As per tradition, all guests were presented with eggs dyed red for the festivities and the choice of eggs are to symbolise new life (?).

Standard cold meat platter… I hadn’t eaten at all before this feast so it tasted particularly good :).

Instead of plain rice, the family hosting the lunch opted for abalone fried rice…I really liked it but didn’t realise that it was to be eaten with the main dishes that came after… and hence, I finished my own bowl before any other dishes came hehehe.

This was a very interesting tasting dish… because the menu was already set, I had no idea what the name of it was but it had an odd taste that took us a while to work out… turns out it had kumquat flavoured sauce… definitely not your usual Chinese seasoning, but interesting…

This was my favourite… again, I’m not sure what it was called but the egg based dish with rice noodles was so silky that I kept going back for more… it was very light too so made it more enjoyable.

Chow with fermented tofu flavouring… nice.

Steamed chicken…. standard I guess.  Was a bit dry for my liking.

Fish!  Not sure what kind… but it was alright.  I was kinda full by the time this came out… *shrugs*

‘Twas a lovely lunch, especially since I got to see my little (2nd) cousin for the first time :).  Probably not somewhere I’d go specifically to again but if I was in the area, it’s somewhere you know can’t really go wrong :).

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

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 7/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: bit hard to say since I wasn’t paying lols

♥ Ames

P.S. I think this will be my last post for a while… I probably shouldn’t have even written this but I’d just resized these photos so I thought I’d indulge a bit before heading full steam ahead for this essay!! Take care people :).

P.P.S. Though I haven’t written up every single one yet, this post also marks the completion of goal #21. from my 101 in 1001 list ! Woot !

Review: Kam Bo

Finally….

1 Mahoneys Road

Forest Hill VIC 3131

(03) 9894 7933

It was my parents’ 26th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago and amongst the little celebrations they had with family, my parents, my visiting Aunty from Sydney and I went out for ‘supper’ at our local and favourite Chinese Restaurant, Kam Bo (I think it’s translated as ‘Golden Treasure’).  Whenever we’re feeling a bit peckish on the way home, Kam Bo’s always a good place to stop by for late night congee :).  However, we had a number of favourites for the special occasion.

But first, the standard complimentary soup of the day:

It was a bit on the salty side but I guess it’s alway a bit hard to get it perfect when making in big batches.

We had Dad’s favourite entree, 2 quails for 4 people:

Always a great way to start a meal here.  It’s nice and crispy on the outside, and juicy and soft on the inside :).  And I love the capsicum and spring onion mix that has been fried with it.   The next one was one of my favourites, Minced Beef with Four Season Beans:

Just a really good staple to any meal here… love the XO Sauce flavour (I hope that is what it is…) and the crunch of the beans.  I could eat just this with rice and be satisfied :).  The last main we had is also one of my favourites (parents weren’t that fussy that nice so I got some say in the menu!):

What is this you ask?? It is the most amazing chicken ribs in the world!!! The batter is made of salted egg and flour and then deep-fried to make this lovely golden colour…. hence this is called Golden Fried Chicken Ribs… or something like that… lols.  I actually couldn’t find it on the menu but we’ve had it a few times so it wasn’t hard for my parents to just request it again in Canto to the familiar waiter :).  Love the place and will likely be visiting there soonish once I start doing late nights at uni again :).

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

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 8/10

Extra note: Other good dishes to try for entree  are San Chow Bow or pigeon (cooked the same way as the quail).  And like I said, congee of all sorts are good for supper :).

♥ Ames

All photos taken on my Canon G11.

#48. Caffe Moravia

662 Burke Road,

Camberwell VIC 3124

(03) 9882 0008 ‎

I know I’ve left out #47, but I’ve been keen to post up this one for a while :D.  And I guess these food blog posts will also be peppered with a bit of my own personal life through it…hope no one minds ^^’.

Date visited: 8th January 2011

My long overdue breakfast date with a blog buddy unfortunately turned into something more like a lunch, since my family had some home issues with the hot water that morning and I mistakenly counted street numbers on the other side of the road, only to realise (too late) that they didn’t coincide with the side where this little cafe was located on.  After U-turning, parking (thank God there weren’t that many cars that Saturday!) and apologising profusely to Ms. MoreBlindDates, we went in!

Still new at this taking-photos-for-food-blogging-purposes thing (and probably still a bit snap-shy in shops) so only one photos of the inside of the cafe.

I was looking for a place somewhere halfway between our own homes for easy commuting and Caffe Moravia popped up on GoogleMaps with a few good reviews, so I thought we’d give it a try.  They served breakfast until 2pm (?) so we were good to go :).  After some intense deliberating, we called over a waiter, only to be told we had to get up and place our orders… meh.  It soon became evident that I’m very new to the whole dining out for breakfast thing, as when asked how I wanted my eggs, I confusingly replied, ‘Ummm… sunny side up?’  Thankfully, the guy at the counter was nice enough to give me the options of poached, fried or scrambled and in my flustered state, I said fried (and mentally kicked myself for not going poached when Ms. MoreBlindDates’ dish came).

Caffe Moravia boasts excellent coffee so of course, as a (newbie) food blogger, I had to try one :).

Ms. MoreBlindDates had a skinny latte (?) and I had a cappuccino (aren’t you proud, Ange?).  Loved the coffee art and despite my cautious attitude towards coffee, I have to say I did enjoy mine :).  It was nice and creamy with just enough froth.  A jug of water and plenty of glasses are free to be taken and used by patrons near the ice-cream cabinet.

Food wise, we both had been eyeing the Egg Benedict ($11.50 on their website, but it hasn’t been updated since 2004 and I’m pretty sure it was about $13.50…?) but since I hadn’t eaten at all yet, I decided to leave that for my guest and have the Moravia Special Big Breakfast (~$19.50?).

Egg Benedict

Before I go on, I should just say that this was my first face-to-face meeting with Ms. MoreBlindDates (and one of the most natural first meetings ever I should say!) and when she heard I was giving food blogging a try, she graciously excused herself to use the bathroom when the food came so that I would feel less self-conscious about snapping photos ^^’.  Hence, she told me to make the point that if you do want to use the bathroom, ask the staff for the electronic password needed for entry at the back of the building.

Ms. MoreBlindDates let me try a bit of her Egg Benedict and I thought it was pretty good…? Definitely a fan of Hollandaise sauce :). I’m not sure what else I can say about this…

 

Moravia Special Big Breakfast

 

My choice really was a ‘big breakfast’.  I guess it was the standard kind of breakfast you would expect, with a corn and cheese fritter thrown in the mix.  The bacon was a bit too crispy for my liking but the lightly toasted sourdough bread made up for it.  Mushroom, tomato and spinach all cooked well and juicy :).

Service was quite quick and the staff left us in peace to leisurely chat for over 1 1/2 hours :).  I’d be happy to come back and try other things on the breakfast menu, especially their pancake stake or french toast, pictured on their website, which both looks enticing.  They have a wide variety of cakes and 20 different flavours of gelato made on premise, along with some interesting-sounding mains (e.g. Scallopine Pizzaiola) that I’d be keen to sample at another time, perhaps for dinner?  Maybe with Ms. MoreBlindDates ;).  ‘Twas a lovely brunch, thank you m’dear :).

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

Overall Food Rating (Dining experience): 8/10

Restaurant Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 7/10

Caffe Moravia

Open 7 Days From 7:00AM to 11:00PM (BYO)

♥ April