Margaret Fulton's Lemon Cake Recipe

I haven't blogged in absolutely ages... and I am not saying I'm back, I just wanted to share this amazing recipe with my family and friends. What easier way to spread the good news than to write it in my blog - that way I have easy access to this recipe as well whenever I need it!

I had this random craving for Lemon Cake one day, so I looked through my collection of cookbooks on the shelves and got the Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery book out. Sure enough, there is a recipe for a Lemon Tea Loaf! So I combined this recipe with a very simple Butterfrost Icing recipe and voila... yumminess! Enjoy :)

P/S: A few people have also asked me for the Brownie Cake recipe hubby and I recently used to make Micah's birthday cake. I will post that very soon, stay tuned!

Lemon Cake Recipe
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
125g butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Grated rind 1 lemon

Lemon Syrup
Juice 1 lemon
1/4 cup caster sugar

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Rub in butter using fingertips. Mix beaten eggs and milk, stir into flour mixture, then fold in lemon rind. Pour into a greased and base-lined 21 x 15cm tin. Bake in a preheated moderate oven 180C for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

To make lemon syrup, mix lemon juice and sugar together. When cake is cooked and still hot, pour over the top. Allow to cool in tin.

Butterfrost Icing
1 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 icing mixture
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

Beat butter and icing mixture together. Add milk, vanilla essence and salt. Beat further until well blended and smooth.

When cake is fully cooled, spread butterfrost icing on top of cake and serve.

"Pak Loh Bak" Braised Pork Belly Recipe

OK so I have been very slack lately and haven't blogged AT ALL, so let me compensate by posting this recipe for "Pak Loh Bak" which is essentially a fragrant Chinese Braised Pork dish which can also be used to cook Braised Duck. Technically, this is not even my recipe, my dad only just emailed this to me today haha. But I'm so happy with how it turned out, I wanted to make sure I don't lose the recipe and also a few people have asked me to share the recipe already... so OK lah. Here it is!

(This recipe is completely unedited from my dad's original email... because I am a bit lazy... but I am guessing if you're interested you're probably Malaysian currently living away from home and would like to try and make this yourself so you would understand the "rojak" language anyway. If you would like me to revise this recipe into perfect, understandable English then please feel free to write a comment or send me a message and I will translate some of the random words)

Pak Loh Pork Belly

Pork belly sliced into pieces 6 inch long
Hard boiled eggs
1 tsp 5 spice powder
Pounded fresh galangal (lengkuas) fried until brownish.
2 stick cinnamon (kayu manis)
6 star anise
2.5 tbsp sugar
3 to 4 cups water
Dark soy sauce (kicap)

Marinate pork with 5 spice powder and some kicap. Keep for about half an hour.
Slow heat kuali, add sugar and kacau until melt (make sure not burned otherwise your dish will bitter). Add some kicap to the melted sugar and kacau for about 2 seconds and immediately add water into kuali. Increase fire until gravy boil. Add marinated pork, fried pounded galangal, cinnamon, star anise and some more kicap until gravy looks dark. Cover to cook in slow fire for about 45 mins. Once in a while turning the pork and add kicap to darken pork and taste. Scoop away the oil as you cook.  After 45 mins the gravy should be quite thick. Take out the pork.
Add some water into the gravy to boil. Add boiled eggs into gravy and slow boil until eggs look dark. Leave the eggs in gravy. Taste gravy to your liking taste.

Slice pork into smaller pieces and add eggs. Top with some gravy and timun or salad.

Note: I didn't have any galangal nor star anise around so just cooked it without those two ingredients and it still worked and tasted yummy!

Your Private Chef Experience, Melbourne

Last night, I was very fortunate to have been invited to an exclusive dinner party hosted by our friends to celebrate a great milestone for his career. When I say exclusive, I am not kidding - it was a full on "Suit Up!" occasion and they hired a private chef to do all the cooking! They even hired a waitress to serve the food, and they take care of all the cleaning up afterwards. Our hosts didn't have to lift a finger, and we had an epic evening of exquisite wining and dining.

How was I not made aware of such service prior to this? Honestly, I thought private chefs were only available to hire in Bali, lol. I have to admit, a night like this was not cheap. But was it worth it? Read on to find out.....

We were presented with a very mouthwatering menu carefully selected by our hosts. You can tell based on this menu that our friends have great taste in food. 

While we were having pre-dinner drinks, we were served with some delicious canapes. This meatball was full of flavour and was so deliciously juicy and tender. Gone in 3 seconds! It was like an explosion of meaty goodness in my mouth. So good!

The crab cake was tasty and flavoursome, but I personally would've preferred a more crunchier texture on the outside. It definitely had the right smooth and fluffy texture overall, but it did not have an outer layer of crisp. Still absolutely delicious though!

As we were seated for the start of our 3-course meal, our chef Darryn was busy cooking and plating up our entrees. The scallops were freshly pan seared for just the right amount of time and served while it's still hot.

So our entrees were served, delicious scallops with chorizo and cauliflower puree - my kind of entree! It did not disappoint, the scallops were perfectly cooked and how can we not love chorizo? The cauliflower puree and vinaigrette complimented the flavours of both the scallops and chorizo so perfectly. I wanted more!!! But we had to save room in our bellies for our mains....

And so while we were busy enjoying our entrees, the chef was still working hard in the kitchen getting the mains ready.

I loved just watching him work, and really amazed at how he just fits in and make every one of his customers' kitchens work for him. It really takes a unique skill to still be able to cook well in various different kitchens all the time.

Then the mains were served... and I am salivating just at the thought of that juicy and tender pork belly. Mm mmm!! The pork was soooooooooo good especially with that delicious pear puree. The potatoes were a little bit underdone, I would've liked it just slightly softer and fluffier on the inside but it had a really good crusty outer layer which was great. The pomegranate really held the whole dish together by adding a bit of acid flavour to the whole thing. It was just perfect. So wholesome, delicious, great for a cold winter's night.

Our dinner definitely ended on a high. Chef Darryn's chocolate souffle was absolutely flawless. It had the delicious runny centre and amazing crusty top layer with a little bit of sugar, the ice cream was sooooo smooth and yummy, I really cannot fault this dessert! I pretty much licked my ramekin, well the sides of it anyway, felt wrong to keep licking haha.

So, the verdict. Was it worth the money our very generous friends spent just for one night of exquisite dining? Well, let's put it this way... our friends could focus on just being hosts and having a great time without worrying about preparing, cooking and serving up the food. By the time we finished our meals and had more drinks, the kitchen was absolutely spotless. It was as if cooking in that kitchen never happened! We get restaurant quality food. It was quite an epic evening. So, even though I personally may not currently have the means to host such an epic evening myself, I actually think it was totally worth it. They wanted an epic night at home, they got an epic night at home. We were all truly jolly and had such a great night. It was definitely a night to remember. My photos are proof of that!

If you are interested to look into hiring a private chef yourself, check out - they do everything from gourmet weekly meals delivered fresh to your door, exclusive dinner parties from 2 to 2,000 people, corporate catering and cocktail functions. They do the menu planning, shopping, preparing, serving and even cleaning up!

It was definitely a fuss-free evening for the hosts and someday, with the right occasion, I might host one of these fancy dinner parties with a private chef myself! Hehe.

Chilli Lime Salmon with Gnocchi, Spinach & Olive Oil

I recently discovered that I am actually pretty good at making good food super fast. This dish for example, only took me 15 minutes to prepare, cook and plate up! It is also a great 4 Ingredients dish. It actually looked really good by the end of it, and tasted amazing for something so simple, and the flavours all worked together really well, so I decided no matter how little ingredients are involved or how simple it was, I will blog this. I am sure a lot of people out there can relate to not wanting to spend hours in the kitchen to come up with an impressive and decent meal. This dish is fulfilling, delicious and reasonably healthy so here goes!

Ingredients (serves 2)
1 pre-marinated Chilli and Lime salmon fillet from Coles
250g fresh gnocchi
A handful of spinach
Olive oil

In a pot, bring water to boil. While waiting for water to boil, heat a frying pan, drizzle some olive oil and panfry salmon for approx. 4 minutes on each side. 

(Alternatively for a more evenly cooked salmon that melts in your mouth, you can preheat oven at 190 degrees and bake for 15 minutes)

Meanwhile, add gnocchi to boiling water and let it cook until the water comes up to a boil again and gnocchi starts floating. Drain water, return gnocchi to heat and add spinach and olive oil. Toss for 2-3 minutes until spinach shrinks. Serve immediately with pieces of salmon.

Bosch Masterclass Bloggers Event featuring Ian Curley

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be one of the few bloggers invited to an exclusive Masterclass Event featuring Ian Curley from the European Restaurant in Melbourne. The event was hosted by Bosch Kitchen Appliances and was held in their Brand Experience Centre in Heatherton.

The room was set up very nicely for a cosy, elegant and intimate dinner setting. We were all immediately going around admiring all the shiny and beautiful looking kitchen appliances... the ovens, the cooktops, the fridges... we all wished we had a kitchen like that!

After getting all settled in with a glass of wine in hand, we were all ushered into the test kitchen for our masterclass session. It was a very casual and hands on session. Ian started by demonstrating how to fillet a John Dory and then in just what seemed to be a few minutes later, he was already halfway through demonstrating us how to cook his John Dory dish! We were all very impressed with his skills, and the speed of his cooking. After all, he is pro! Plus, it helps that he was using super efficient tools such as the Bosch hand blender to speed up the process of making the cauliflower puree and cooking the fish on a really good quality Bosch stove top.

Before we know it, (and time seems to fly really fast when you are trying to multitask taking photos and tweeting and learning all at the same time), the John Dory with Cauliflower Puree and Braised Witlof is ready. Our first dish of the day. We did not actually sit down to eat this, as we all then split into groups to the next part of the session which was the "hands on" cooking experience with a mentor in each group, but we were all tucking in whenever we had the opportunity in between again, trying to multitask! The fish was cooked to perfection, and it was just delicious! I have to admit I went back a few times to have another taste, hehe.

I was in Team Seafood Paella with Thanh and April, and guided by one of Ian's assistant chefs Miles we were taught the step by step to cooking the perfect seafood paella. The recipe itself was three pages long, and the list of ingredients seemed endless! But it was so full of flavour, and actually a lot easier to cook and prepare than it looks! The end result... was a beautiful tasting paella with TONS of fresh seafood much to the delight of some of the seafood lovers, and had a really good kick of spice to it.

The best thing about my experience cooking that evening with my team, was that I got to experience cooking using a Bosch Induction cooktop first hand! It was my first time cooking using an induction cooktop so I was very excited, hehe. It was truly amazing. Didn't take long at all to heat up the pots, and yet it's not hot when you touch it! The whole technology and science behind induction cooking is just incredible, and I went home that night already wishing I had one. On my Wish List!

Moving on, Team Crab Linguine were cooking with Ian himself so of course the pasta turned out beautifully! I can't comment much on the cooking experience, lol but I sure did enjoy eating my little bowl of pasta!

Even though I was more than happy to have the opportunity to learn how to cook the perfect Seafood Saffron Paella, I was semi envious of Team Beef Wellington because I have always wanted to learn how to make this dish! The technique of making the perfect pastry, and then cooking the beef just perfectly, I really wanted to learn it and try it! Thankfully, we all got recipes for ALL the dishes so I guess I'll just have to give it a go someday... but Team Beef Wellington did an amazing job. It was just perfect, and I was so happy it was one of the dishes we actually all got to have our own plate and sat down to enjoy it. I'm not sure about the cooking process, but I think they used the Steam Oven to cook it and maybe that's why the meat retained a lot of its moisture?

Last but definitely not least, after we all sat down and had dinner, we were ushered back to the test kitchen where Ian showed us how to make this AMAZING mouthwatering dessert - the Olive Oil, Polenta and Ricotta Triffle. This was quite an interesting sounding dessert, almost savoury to be honest! But it was far from savoury, it was deliciously rich and I just loved how the Olive Oil really brought out the flavours of this dessert. The pastry stick was a simple yet brilliant idea anyone can easily do at home.

After dessert, we all stuck around for a little bit longer as Ian demonstrates how to make the perfect pasta using Bosch Pasta Maker and the kind staff from Bosch also very kindly showed us how all the other appliances worked. I was very impressed with all of them! Even the microwave ovens are not your typical microwave ovens, they have such state of the art features that makes cooking and heating so much better, targeted to different types of foods, and quicker, and they even have a Step by Step setting which allows you to control the power levels for a better end result. Very clever appliances... and I will not do justice to them trying to explain it myself, so you will just need to consult a Bosch specialist near you :-)

Overall, it was a lovely evening full of fun and drinks and good food and great company. Thanks to Bosch for organising the event and I definitely look forward to a lot more events such as this in the future.

Mamma Bake Cupcake Decorating Class

A lot of you may have noticed that I am certainly far from being the best at baking / decorating cakes. As a matter of fact, I almost dislike making desserts. Is that weird? I love EATING them, and when I do decide to make desserts I do enjoy how pretty they look, but if I had the choice to spend 2 hours in the kitchen to cook whatever I want... I would not choose to make a dessert. I am most definitely more a savoury cook.

That is why I've decided that yes, I will go to a Mamma Bake Cupcake Decorating Class hosted by my friend Katherine. I mean, why not? I get to hang out with the girls, and be baby-free for 2 hours, and hopefully learn some useful tips on decorating cupcakes in which I have NEVER had the chance to do... I'm serious! Yes, I'm all food blogger and all but I have never been taught the basics of cupcake decorating! Food blogger fail? I hope not. Well, after today's class I am no longer a failure and actually quite confident with my piping skills thank you very much! :p

I had so much fun during the class today, it was very informal and light-hearted and we shared lots of laughs as we all tried our very best to keep up with Jules (our instructor) and create some magic patterns with the piping bag and various tips. I learnt so many helpful tips today, some were so easy and simple and made so much common sense, we all went "now why didn't I think of doing this before?" or "why hasn't anyone else shown us how to do this?!"

Arranged from left to right my 1st attempt right through to the 5th attempt at piping roses.. lol.
I especially love learning the technique of piping flowers and roses, I have always wondered how people did that! And now I know... (and you will know how to as well if you host a party with Mamma Bake, and I will tell you how at the end of this post). It is actually simpler than it looks!

Mamma Bake prides themselves with using only natural ingredients and teaching us how to make perfect additive free cakes - so they are better for you and your family!

I never would've thought I'd be able to create such intricate looking cupcakes, so I really owe the team at Mamma Bake a huge thanks for teaching me very valuable lessons in cupcake decorating, lessons I will always, always use the next time I decide to bake my own cupcakes. Thanks to Mamma Bake, I think I WILL bake a little bit more often now just to show off my new skills!

To host a Mamma Bake class for you and your friends, log on to for all the information you need. Also, don't forget to Like Mamma Bake on Facebook to see what others have created at their parties!

Week 2: Grilled Cajun Prawns with Sweet Potato Mash & Holy Trinity Veg

This blog post is part of my Jamie Oliver's 15-Minutes, 15 Recipes, 15-Week Challenge.

First and foremost let me just say, this is more like it! This recipe is simple, easy to follow, easy to prepare, delicious and only took me ACTUAL 15 minutes from prep to serve! Yes, I was going as quickly as possible and it got a bit chaotic in the kitchen as I raced to beat time, but I got there in 15 minutes on the dot! If this was a MasterChef pressure test I would've excelled haha.

The recipe required me to firstly start off with boiling the sweet potatoes, so I quickly put a pot of boiling water on, chopped the sweet potatoes skin off into large squares because who has time to peel, chopped them into even smaller dices and off they go into the pot to be left alone for the next 10 minutes.

Then I was off to just toss the raw tiger prawns with olive oil, Cajun seasoning, crushed garlic (I left my garlic whole because I couldn't be bothered crushing them when I can get the same roasted garlic flavour squeezed onto the prawns when served anyway!) and thyme sprigs.. and off to the oven they go in a single layer. Too easy!

Then I was off to chop up the veggies, which is actually pretty simple considering there's only a few green peppers (or capsicum in Australia), some spring onions, celery, fresh red chilli and frozen sweetcorn which needed no prep work! Toss them all in a pan with a bit of olive oil and 1 tsp of sweet smoked paprika, cook through and I'm done!

By this stage, the prawns were not quite ready but the sweet potatoes were, so I quickly drained the water, gave the potatoes a bit of a mash around and added Cheddar cheese. 

Even by this stage, the prawns were not quite done but I can start plating up! I chose to "plate up" on a chopping board because it looks really nice that way and it's large enough to fit everything! I served up the mash, scattered the veg on top, chopped up some lemons into wedges, grabbed the prawns from the oven and served them up last.. and VOILA! All done! 

The prawns were finger lickin' good, so delicious and so naturally tasty with just a bit of Cajun flavours. Everything else went so well with them. So pleased with myself, so pleased with Jamie. Until next time!

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Week 1: Sticky Kicking Chicken with Watermelon Radish Salad & Crunchy Noodles

This blog post is part of my Jamie Oliver's 15-Minutes, 15 Recipes, 15-Week Challenge.

To kick off my Jamie Oliver challenge, I've decided to try a seemingly simple dish which required very common ingredients which I mostly already have in my pantry. The recipe itself looked simple enough, consisting of three main components - the meat, the salad and the dressing. I made sure I read the recipe over and over again many times to familiarize myself with the processes to make sure I work as quickly as possible.

Not surprisingly, it did not take me 15 minutes to come up with this meal. Let's try just over an hour. Of course it is easy for Jamie to do this, he preps like a machine and he tends to make a mess in the kitchen which other people would probably end up cleaning up after. I tend to tidy up as I cook, and I do not chop up ingredients at the speed of light - although I have to say I am not the slowest cook either. So, as Jamie would suggest, I would suggest having ALL the ingredients prepped and ready in front of you before you start timing yourself. But really what's the point of that, I have a handful of other dishes up my sleeve that are just as tasty and requires far less effort to prep.

Here are a few comments on what I think of each component of this dish:

The chicken is absolutely beautiful and the simplest of all to prepare and cook. I will definitely be cooking up this chicken again and again. All it takes was to rub Five Spice Powder, Salt and Pepper onto the chicken thigh fillets, grill them, and then return to pan and add sweet chilli sauce and sesame seeds. So simple and delicious!

P/S: The roast potatoes in the photos are not part of Jamie's recipe, I just decided to add them to complete my version of the meal.

The salad had an interesting combination of flavours. I like the use of watermelon in the salad, I'm not a big fan of radish but it seems to go well with the salad. I enjoy the rice noodles as it numbs the spicy kick from the dressing, but I do not like the fried and crunchy version of the rice noodles. Rice noodles when cooked to a crunch does not deliver the right type of crunch in my opinion. Sure, it looks good on top of the salad as a garnish but had a rough chewy texture that almost makes it inedible. Next time, I will probably substitute that crunchy rice noodle with a packet of pre-fried crunchy noodle for salads.

The dressing had really strong intense flavours of ginger, garlic, coriander & spring onion, with a combination of different sauces to give it some balance in flavour. I added some sugar into the dressing even though the recipe did not list sugar, but I kinda prefer a dressing that had a slight sweetness to it especially when it was so spicy and kicking. I like the dressing, but next time I will definitely reduce the amount of ginger and garlic - it was too intense!

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Jamie Oliver's 15-Minutes, 15 Recipes, 15-Week Challenge

Over the next 15 weeks, I will be featuring my take on 15 recipes from Jamie Oliver's "15-Minute Meals" cook book. If you are like me, you love to cook but time is always against you. That is why I have purchased Jamie's cookbook and hoping to be inspired to try new dishes that are delicious, healthy, and especially simple, easy and quick to make. 

I will be reviewing his recipes and sharing with all of you 1) How easy is it to make yourself at home aka did it really take 15-minutes give or take? 2) How commonly sourced are the ingredients features in those recipes aka can I realistically make this dish on a regular basis using ingredients that are easily available from my local supermarket? 3) Most importantly, how DELICIOUS is this dish? I will be rating those recipes out 5 stars based on my personal preference for taste.

I will NOT be publishing Jamie's recipes in this series due to copyright reasons, however if the recipe is available online on his website I will definitely post a link. I would also like to maybe invite you to take up this challenge with me! Grab a copy of Jamie's book (currently On Sale at Big W for only $28 instead of RRP $49.99), let's try these recipes together, and then exchange our opinions and share it with all the other readers!

So, if you trust my judgment and humble cooking capabilities at home to be able to provide a series of recipe reviews that will be relevant to you, please stay tuned!

SBS Cooking Titles - Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong 2 + Giveaway

In the second installment of this SBS TV series acclaimed chef, Luke Nguyen, ventures deeper into the Greater Mekong region to discover the food cultures of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Luke Nguyen is a chef and owner of Sydney’s award-winning Vietnamese restaurants, Red Lantern and Red Lantern on Riley. He is also a bestselling author.

Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam Series 1, Series 2 and Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong are also available on DVD.

This series not only has mouthwatering recipes, but also offers a great travel experience for the viewer. I personally enjoyed how I was taken on a journey across these South Asian countries just in the comforts of my living room! I also enjoyed how Luke chose some odd locations to demonstrate his cooking in the series, it was very entertaining to watch him try and cook and defy Mother Nature. In one of the episodes, Luke sets up his cooking station (portable gas stove) right at the beach when the tide was actually coming in, so Luke frantically tries to finish cooking his dish before the tide got too high! It was very funny, he got soaked and water was splashing onto his ingredients!

Luke overall is a very entertaining presenter and I really enjoyed watching every episode of the series. I loved how he made his dishes seem so easy to cook (and yes they were pretty easy!) but with a great range of amazing ingredients which makes those amazing  flavoursome dishes Luke is famous for.

Luke begins his culinary journey in Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, with its bounty of hidden foodie gems. He then journeys north to Laos’ ‘food capital’, Luang Prabang, before travelling south to the fishing mecca, the 4000 Islands. Luke crosses the Mekong River into Cambodia, beginning in the ancient city of Siem Reap, where locals teach him how to cook traditional Khmer dishes. He then travels south to the bustling capital, Phnom Penh, where he gets a new take on street food. Heading further south, Luke explores the seaside towns of Kep and Kampot, famous for their crab and pepper. Finally, Luke returns to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. He seeks out the foodie wonders of border town, Chau Doc. He cooks with his parents on a houseboat in Cai Be, and explores the coconut islands of Ben Tre.

Presenting the best in local and international cuisines, SBS is home to a who’s who of the food scene – along with Peter Kuruvita, Maeve O’Meara, Tetsuya, Matthew Evans, Adriano Zumbo and many more, Luke Nguyen is just one of the SBS chefs and personalities whose great shows are available on DVD.

Visit to see the entire SBS Food DVD range and enter the competition to win the entire collection of 34 DVDs!!

DVDs are available at Dymocks and Sanity stores nationwide (RRP $29.95).

Giveaway: I have 15 x DVD packs consisting of Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong Series 1 & Series 2 to giveaway to 15 lucky readers! All you have to do is tell me:

“Why would you like to have Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong 1 & 2?”

So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment and don’t forget to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win! Please submit all entries for this giveaway before the 31st of March 2013.

This blog post was sponsored by Nuffnang. Terms & Conditions apply.

Brandy Creek Wines & View Cafe, Drouin East

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than to head over to a winery and enjoy some amazing tapas with a few of your girlfriends, overlooking the vineyard with great views of the countryside... well, that's what I did today! Brandy Creek Winery is located approximately 40 minutes from where I live in Berwick, so I suppose that would make it a 1 hour and 15 minute trip for anyone who plans to head over there from Melbourne CBD. Trust me, the long drive is worth it, and this place has been known to attract people from all over Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs. It has been featured on popular Melbourne travel and food shows, and I cannot believe I have never been here before today!

Between us 5 girls, we ordered quite a few tapas dishes from their menu. Everything sounds good, and I am sure everything would taste good! It was difficult to commit to just the ones we planned to order and not get tempted to order a few more, but we had to be sensible and not go down that path of overindulging... although I think we definitely had a good go at letting ourselves indulge just a little bit more than a normal day!

We started off with the Garlic Bread and although it's just garlic bread, please do not miss out on THIS garlic bread! It was served with freshly roasted WHOLE garlic cloves that must've been roasted with butter because it came oozing out so beautifully when squeezed onto the toasted bread... and when you rub a little bit of sea salt onto it, it was just absolutely perfect!

The Chorizo was awesome combined with the salsa sauce that actually had a bit of a zesty spice kick to it, the grilled Calamari were soft and beautifully cooked, the meatballs had amazing flavour and so soft and tender, and the Lamb Ribs were melt in your mouth! Literally fell off the bone, it was so good.

Interestingly enough, the Beer Battered Barramundi came out in one big fillet so you had to cut it all up to share, which in my opinion retains the juiciness of the fish as opposed to deep frying little finger sized bites. It was crispy, fresh, delicious, fantastic! The Roast Pork Belly ticked all my boxes, definitely crispy crackling and super soft melt in your mouth pork meat, combined with an amazing apple sauce. The mussels had great flavours and just the right amount of creaminess, not too rich. The Crispy Duck was just that little bit overcooked but still retained a soft texture and skin was definitely crispy and the accompanying sauce provided just the right amount of sweet acid to balance out the fattiness of the duck. The Potatoes were okay, roasted well but I am not a super huge potato fan anyway so I find it hard to get too excited over potatoes.

Just when we thought we have had enough food, the waitress brought out the desserts menu. So we had the very Decadent Chocolate Truffle Cake, which was indeed decadent! It was deliciously rich and flavoursome. My personal favorite was the Vanilla & Citrus Crema Catalana served with Passionfruit, sooooo good! The toffee on top was deliciously crunchy and the custard was delicious!

The Creme Caramel ice cream had crunchy AND sticky caramel toffee all over it so it was a delightful ice cream to enjoy! The Portugese Custard Tart was a classic, very good. The Churros were still very warm and dipped into a gooey and also warm chocolate dipping sauce, heaven! Finished everything off with a cappuccino... what a delightful experience!

Service here was great and prompt. It was a busy afternoon, but they were all very organised and the food came out in a timely manner. We truly enjoyed ourselves, and I am already planning to go back very soon for one of their Paella or Churrasco Nights, which they are also famous for.

All in all, we paid about $40 per person which included all the food shown above AND drinks! Not bad for an indulgent lunch I say!

Brandy Creek Wines & View Cafe on Urbanspoon

Chinese Styled Steamed Fish Recipe

First and foremost, a very Happy Chinese New Year to all my lovely readers who are celebrating this wonderful festive season. I have just gotten back from my 1-month trip back to my hometown in Sarawak, Malaysia and it was my first Chinese New Year back in Malaysia in 8 years. It was great to be part of the crazy festivities again. Lots and lots of fireworks, very noisy, plenty of great food, catching up with all the family members and friends I have not seen in a long time, also got plenty of sleep while I was there, thanks to the grandparents always happy to look after their grandson so I can sleep in.

Although it was great to be back in Malaysia, I am also happy to finally be back in Melbourne. There is no place like home. My mum came back here with me, and she is staying for a month, so lucky me I get help around the house for yet another month! Woohoo!!

We celebrate Chinese New Year for a total of 15 days, so right now we are still celebrating! Last night, we went to a CNY Potluck Gathering Dinner at a friend's place and mum and I cooked up this dish which I am about to share the recipe for, as well as the Fried Meehoon dish.

I love steamed fish. It is so easy to prepare and cook, and it takes less than half an hour, and it is so delicious and healthy. You can use this recipe to steam any white fleshed fresh fish you like - but for this particular recipe I have used a whole Snapper. Alternatively, you may use the Tilapia, or Barramundi, or Trout, or my personal favorite "Patin" but unfortunately you can only source Patin fish from South East Asian countries eg Malaysia and Indonesia, as they are mostly bred in fish ponds / farms.

A photo of Steamed Patin Fish I had while I was back in Malaysia, sorry for the lower quality photo taken with my phone. This was obviously only half a fish as it is quite large! Love Patin fish, as it is very juicy and tender and the fatty bits just makes the fish very flavoursome! Too bad they don't sell it here in Australia... :(
One whole Snapper fish
1-inch cubed ginger, julienned
4 Shitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
2 tbsp Kacang Kuning Manis (Sweet Yellow Beans)
2 tbsp fish sauce
Coriander leaves to garnish

Place fish in a steaming dish and drizzle fish sauce all over it.

Evenly spread the Kacang Kuning Manis onto the fish and sprinkle over the mushroom and ginger slices.

Steam for approximately 15 minutes on high heat, then turn off the gas and let it continue to cook in steamer for another 10 minutes.

Serve immediately, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with plain white rice and other dishes.