Friday, October 29, 2010

Melting Moments

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Melting Moments
Home Cooking

Now that MasterChef is over, I hardly ever have MasterChef-induced cravings that force me to make certain food items. This is probably the closest occurrence since then...

I listen to the radio every morning on the way to clinic and B105 are doing this 'Senior Masterchef' competition where listeners are encouraged to nominate their friends/family-members who are mature-aged and know how to cook. One lady was short-listed and she brought in a plate of melting moments. Obviously, because it was on radio I didn't get to see/smell the products but the way the morning crew were describing them made them sound like heaven on earth.

That was a few days ago and I had a craving for melting moments ever since.

Though I have probably got the worst social memory out of everyone I know (i.e. I can remember out of necessity e.g. for study but can barely remember my classmates from earlier this year), I vaguely recall melting moments being one of my earliest cooking attempts. I have no idea how they turned out... and bare in mind that this might not have happened at all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chocolate Yogurt Muffins

Chocolate Yogurt Muffins
Home Cooking

Hit with a chocolate-craving the other day, I was stuck with the problem of 'what can I cook without butter'? Back in my frequent baking days, butter was a staple in my pantry. This was unfortunately, no longer the case and the more I looked at cake and cookie recipes online and in my hoard of dessert books, the more I realized just how essential it was.

Finally, I came across a recipe for chocolate yogurt cake that used vegetable oil instead of butter. I was lucky because mum and dad always keep a huge tub of yogurt in the fridge. The fact that it was lemon creme flavored made me hesitate a bit, but not much.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Luxe on James

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Luxe Restaurant

By the time our Valley wanderings took us to James Street, my appetite was gone completely. We stopped by Luxe hoping it would have some light lunch options.

I spotted some lunch specials on a billboard outside and they seemed decide so we went in.

Luxe is a very contemporary, clean, open-space dining area. It makes me think of the type of places business people go for after work drinks.

The first thing the waitress did was inform us that no lunch options were available. They were only serving out of the tapas menu. Hmm... ok, fair enough.

We didn't mind too much because this was compatible with what we wanted anyway. We kept it simple since there was no room for beverages and just ordered 2 tapas plates to share.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

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Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
Home Cooking

It's been so long since I last put some batter in the oven that I've started doubting whether or not I can bake at all. Is it harder than I remember? Would my new attempts be complete failures?

Well, only one way to find out.

I had originally purchased ingredients for making a brownie (i.e. tonnes of chocolate and butter) but because I just ate some brownie at Flamingo on Saturday, I decided to change tactics.

Our fridge was bulked up with left over sour cream from my chicken pie so when I saw the chocolate and sour cream cake in Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a domestic goddess', I knew it'd be perfect.

ShliX for a pre-summer gelato hit

ShliX Gelato

Imagine being sick and feverish in a sweaty, isolated bed for an entire day. That's me today. Now, picture the exact opposite and that was how I spent my Saturday.

As previously mentioned, I got coaxed into a day time Valley shopping trip. The weather was a-mazing with just the right amount of "I'm getting too hot under the sun". All this translates to ICE-CREAM weather and when we walked by ShliX, there was no way I was going to pass up some gelato.

ShliX is located on Brunswick St and presents as a small, street/edgy gelato store. Apparently they have lunch items too but I've never tried that.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maggie Beer's chicken, olive and lemon pie with sour cream pastry

Chicken, Olive and Lemon Pie with Sour Cream Pastry
Home Cooking

The moment I saw this recipe in the one and only issue of the MasterChef magazine that I bought, I knew I had to make it. I proposed this to Byron as a cooking project but from memory he probably vetoed my suggestion in favor of making curry instead (you'll notice most of the cooking posts are his doing and the majority of those are curries).

Now, many months later, I finally took the plunge and bought the necessary ingredients required to make this pie. Scratch that. What actually happened was that I delegated that financial task to my lovely parents.

Flamingo Cafe

Flamingo Cafe
5B Winn Street, Fortitude Valley

Today I was summoned out to a spontaneous shopping adventure in the Valley. Well, it wasn't spontaneous for Hien, who had been planning to splurge his hard-earned cash for weeks... but it was for me, because I had intended to spend this afternoon studying.

Though I've gradually lost interest in shopping (chronic lack of funds kills the most enthusiastic buying urges), it was a great day out. Nice weather and not too busy in the Valley. I guess it was day time after all. Valley silliness doesn't start till midnight on a Saturday.

We wandered into the alleyway where The Outpost (fashion boutique store) was located. What caught my eye right away was the bright, eclectic-looking cafe behind the clothing store. After a quick browse through the shop, we headed over to check out the cafe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Shop 1A, Market Square, 341 Mains Rd, Sunnybank

Today was a really bad day for being decisive about what to eat. I initially was bent on Vietnamese but the closer we got to Sunnybank, the less certain I was. We ended up trawling through the entirety of Sunny Park Plaza before progressing to faithful Market Square.

I've known about Sakuraya for a while now though it is relatively new. A friend of mine went and said it was expensive so I automatically wrote it off. Since we were right there though, I opted to have a look for myself.

Rather than a paper menu, Sakuraya has a few display meals on their counter with the prices. I decided it didn't seem too expensive because most of the meals were in a set with lots of other dishes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Red Hen

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The Red Hen
63 Hardgrave Rd, West End

I spotted this restaurant in the Entertainment Book and was always curious to try it out. I know some people are of the mindset that Italian food out is a waste of $ because you can make it better at home... but I HAVE HAD good pasta/pizza experiences out of home and I'm open to finding more (even at the risk of getting duds).

After an 'adventurous' drive through West End (wherein I discovered we were travelling the opposite direction to what I wanted on the GPS and then the boys criticized me once again for failed navigational skill), we finally came to The Red Hen nestled among many Vietnamese restaurants. The strip seemed popular and I want to go back to try more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kangaroo Point and Kings Food REVISITED (for a BIGGER feast)

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Kings Food plus night time wanderings
Shop 25, Market Square Shopping Centre, Corner McCullough and Mains Rd, Sunnybank

I was introduced to Kings Food back in March (feels like a million years ago) and blogged it here. I feel like an update is justified especially because my most recent visit showcased much more variety in food. The good thing about somewhere like Kings Food is that the menu is reliable, so that makes my previous review still relevant.

We headed in with a feast in mind and ordered 3 items to share, plus soup, between the three of us.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mundo Churrasco

Mundo Churrasco

I was privileged with the task of helping a good mate of mine find somewhere to host his birthday party dinner this year. After tossing through some mighty fine suggestions (Lefkas Taverna, somewhere I've always wanted to go, just barely missed the cut), we ended up selecting Mundo because he just couldn't get past the notion of a meat buffet.

I've had a few experiences with churrasco before, both in Australia and overseas. The concept originates from Brazil and the idea is you sit at a table whilst waiters come around with giant skewers of grilled meat and they shave some off for you. Churrasco is limitless and is guaranteed to appeal to anyone who enjoys their meat. When I had it in China, there was also a salad bar with greens, desserts and so on but every restaurant is different.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Comfort at My Table

Comfort at My Table

Mochi and I were long due for another catch-up over food. I first saw Comfort at My Table on Urbanspoon and clicked it because of the name. I had forgotten all about it but when I asked Mochi to pick a spot, this is where we ended up.

The little cafe serves up breakfast, brunch and lunch. It's located on Cribb St which is adjacent to Park Rd. From the street, I thought it would be small and cozy but the inside was more spacious.

Maharaja Palace

Maharaja Palace

It's that time of the month again. I can't last more than 4 weeks without getting a craving for Indian food. This time, it was HUGE. Stewing up a pot of curry/dahl at home wasn't good enough. Even ordering a few curries out wasn't good enough. We wanted nothing less than an Indian banquet.

Regulars at Indian restaurants will know that most offer something called a banquet. It is a bit like a 'set meal' and though every place does it differently, the general idea is that you pay according to how many people you have and in return, entrees, mains, sides and (if you're lucky) dessert are all taken care of. Banquet is associated with 'abundance' and 'feasting'. If I want to stuff my face and wobble out with my belt undone, banquet is the way to go.

Taco Night - experimental beef eating

Tacos (and more)
Home cooking

After my stint at Montezumas earlier this week, I swore off Mexican food for at least a month. Oh how quickly we forget. It didn’t take me long to overlook this vow and last night we decided to make some tacos. Originally it was going to be a pot of veggie-packed chili but I chose to complicate things and insisted on a taco night.

We stocked up at Coles and it ended up being quite a lot of groceries. It was pretty obvious at that point that the amount we were going to cook up wouldn’t be a ‘light meal for 2’. When everything was unpacked, Byron wished longingly for a larger stock pot.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Montezumas at Mount Gravatt

Montezumas, Mt Gravatt

I’m undecided about Mexican food. I don’t know what ‘authentic’ Mexican is but what we’re lead to believe (from fast food joints and supermarket products) is that their cuisine is predominantly based on cheese, tomato and wraps. Which isn’t all a bad thing. I’ve never been one to turn my nose up at processed junk food; for health reasons maybe but I can readily admit there’s often a time and place in my life when nothing hits the spot as well as something meaty oozing with cheese.

And that’s basically what Montezumas is. I’ve been several times now and I usually go for one of the combination meals. As the name suggests, this is a plate with a few items on it and it’s great for the undecided.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Turkish belly dancing to cure the wet weather blues

Mado Cafe and Restaurant

What a newly appointed license-holder doesn't need is non-stop raining and the resultant slippery roads. I managed to slip into the back of a ute and while their car was fine, the front of mine got a bit squished.


I wasn't really in the mood to go out for dinner last night but because Hien volunteered to drive, I took the opportunity to tag along and be a passenger (very grateful).

Stormy skies at Southbank

We were wet, muddy and in my case, also cranky so we were undecided on where to go. After choosing Southbank parklands as the destination of choice, we circled for ages to find a park.

China post 6: Trans China at the EXPO

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2010 World Expo in Shanghai - food from across China and elsewhere in the world

One huge factor behind why we chose to go to Shanghai this year was to visit the World Expo. I find that no one really knows that I'm talking about when I mention it. Maybe Expo is one of those things that's huge in the host country but nowhere else. In any case, Chinese people are going bonkers over it and there are huge crowds flocking the pavilions daily.

Sea of people waiting to get in

We were told that there's no way you can have a 'thorough' experience at the Expo in just one day. Some said it would take months. Well we only had one day allocated so we decided to compromise but not going inside any pavilions that required queuing up.

Instead, we focused on the architecture (nothing short of breathtaking) and food (der).

China post 5: Riverside

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On our last full day in Shanghai, mum decided we should travel out a bit to do a day tour. She had a friend with a car and we all took a ride to Zu Jia Jiao, which is a small tourist village about 1-2hrs out from Shanghai.

Looks like a painting

It’s a tourist site labelled ‘ancient village’ because that’s the appeal of the town. You pay a small fee to get in and once inside, are surrounded by old architecture and old streets.

This is a river city, by which I mean several small to medium-sized streams run through the city and boating down these streams is a popular mode of transport. There are also ancient-style bridges crossing the streams for pedestrians.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

China post 4: The Shanghai city streets - vendors and hole in the wall eateries

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Shanghainese Street Food

Given the cost:enjoyment analysis we put our dining experiences through, I'd have to say that Shanghainese street food delivers.

Breakfast is served

We reserved this for breakfast time where dad would march out at dawn and select a few items from the different vendors available (and there are always many available) before coming back and sharing his bounty.

China post 3: Traditional and gourmet – dad shows us Chinese fine food

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Chinese delicacies

This trip was the first time dad and I went back to China together. He was determined to show me some traditional gourmet Chinese food.

When I go to Shanghai, I’m attracted to ‘trendy’ chain restaurants that are furnished nicely and have big photo menus with English descriptions. Dad knows this and said he wanted me to try stuff that I would not order myself.

Mum took us to a restaurant called Shanghai Number 1 (which raised my expectations somewhat).

I love these kinds of restaurants in China because the menus are huge. This one was extra awesome because it had texts about the history of Shanghai with accompanying photos.

China post 2: Out in the country

My quick farm stay and good, old-fashioned cookery

There’s an island off Shanghai called Chong Ming that’s recently had a bridge and underwater tunnel constructed onto it so there’s direct transport to the mainland. The island is less ‘developed’ than Shanghai city and as a result, much of the export is agricultural. There are built-up areas that represent the ‘city’ of Chong Ming and if you diverge further out, you’re immersed by fertile farmland.

China post 1: The mile high food club

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Plane Cuisine

I’m starting my holiday posts with a bit about what I ate on the way there. My opinion about plane food has always been ‘keep that away from me’. Usually, I’m so nauseous I can’t even stand the smell of hot food on the plane.

For some reason, on the way to China this year, I had a HUGE appetite. Dad was sitting beside me and time after time, I was finishing my meals before him. I say ‘on the way to’ because on my return flight, the old air-sickness kicked in and I could do no more than open a few biscuit packets and shove dishes around on the tray.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Back in the AUD

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I flew home yesterday and got back to clinic today. Due to not being able to sleep on the plane and then being too excited last night, I have gone for about 60 hours without sleep so far. The plan was to take a nap when I got home but why is it that I'm always DYING FOR SLEEP during the day and as soon as I'm in bed, I get distracted by the millions of things I have to do? Like... update my blog.

First glimpse of Queensland through the clouds

I'll separate my China trip into a few sections that are more FYI then specific restaurant reviews. My goal is to make things interesting, talk about food, a bit about culture (according to mum and dad) and maybe give you a few ideas if you're heading to China any time.

I managed to spend the whole holiday loading my guts with edible goods (of course, now I'll pay for it :P).

Lots of good times spent drinking...(btw that's a 1L stein)

... and eating (well technically sipping here)...

If nothing else, I took a stack of piccies so it makes for nice eye candy.

Enjoy my posts as they come. I'll then get promptly back to further Brisbane reviews.

PS I still hate flying.