Monthly Archives: October 2012

Endless Fondue – Movenpick Ice Cream

Ever since I started blogging last year :) my friends have been nothing but supportive ~ it’s quite cute actually, they will send me texts when baking supplies go on special at the supermarket and also update me of the latest dessert places in town. Last week I got a SMS from Ozmomo a family friend I’ve known all my life ~ she reported a new Movenpick boutique store had recently opened up in Box Hill and if I wanted to try their chocolate fondue ~ Of course I said “YES” in a heartbeat and very quickly we organised to meet up the following Monday night ~

Did you know that the first Movenpick store opened up in 1948? And it is now actually owned and run by Nestle? ~ I love reading up about a company’s history and how they have become what they are today hehe ~

I was quite  surprised that Movenpick had chosen to open another boutique store in Box Hill, given that their other store is only in Doncaster (my area) which is a 20 minute drive. I assumed that they would want to open up a store somewhere else like Chadstone another very popular area for shopping and dessert stores ~ but I’m not complaining because I find this store to be bigger, cleaner and quieter that the one at Westfield Doncaster shopping centre.

It’s not a very big store, upon walking in there are two large glass cabinets full of ice-cream for customers to choose from then ample seating on the right ~ Being a Monday night it was rather quite and we were basically the only table inside, which is good because we got to choose anywhere we wanted to sit.

Even though we knew we wanted the chocolate fondue ~ I couldn’t help but look at their wide range of desserts displayed on the screen, they had pancakes, waffles, and sundaes! But I had to control myself we are going to get the chocolate fondue instead!

So we stuck to our plan and ordered the Endless Fondue for 2 for $21.95 which had a selection of fruit, waffles and marshmallow. We were then asked to pick two scoops of ice-cream, any flavours that we wanted ~ The girl serving us was very friendly and generous asking us to try as many flavours as we wanted.

Maple Walnut ice-cream :)

There were simply too many flavours to choose from, hazelnut, pistachio, chocolate, and even panna cotta ~ what the Maple Walnut flavour caught my eye and have one little spoonful of it, I knew I wanted it!

Endless Fondue for 2 $21.95AUD

This is our Endless Fondue set for 2 :) you could also get the fondue set for 4 for $39.95 with 2 more scoops of ice-cream and I think more fruit and waffles ~ I know how easy it to to make this chocolate fondue at home, but I think there’s that sense of novelty of having someone do all the cutting and chopping for you :P I feel so bad…I have two chocolate fondue sets lying in my pantry but I’ve never used it before…my bad >_<

Dark Chocolate

We had the option of choosing white, milk or dark chocolate for our fondue ~ and we chose dark chocolate because I didn’t know if milk chocolate was going to be too sweet for Ozmomo and I do like the strong, rich chocolate taste dark chocolate offers :) Even though the chocolate mixture itself was quite nice, I found it to be a little too thick and not as runny as I would have liked, I think it may be because the chocolate was not fully melted or they did not put enough cream.

Maple Walnut Ice-cream, marshmallows and strawberries

The fondue also comes with a range of condiments and ice-cream of course :) As I mentioned before, I chose the Maple Walnut ice-cream and it was super delicious, maple syrup flavoured ice-cream with chunky walnut pieces through it ~ even though it had maple syrup I didn’t find it too sweet or rich but don’t take my word for it :P Cuz i’m immune to sweetness and cake hahaha I found this ice-cream to compliment the melted dark chocolate very well ~

Blackcurrant ice-cream, waffles and banana

Ozmomo decided she wanted something a little more refreshing so chose the black current flavour ~ I had a taste of it and found it to be quite tart but it was good to cleanse and refresh the palate. However, I found the waffles at the back to be quite dense, chewy and slightly stale :( I was a little disappointed because I’ve had the Movenpick waffles at their Doncaster store before and found them to be quite good…not sure if they give customers stale waffles for the chocolate fondue as they think customers wont be able to tell the difference after dipping it into chocolate…

My favourite strawberry drenched in chocolate :P

My favourite would have to be dipping strawberries in to the warm decadent chocolate :) I think chocolate and strawberries are a match made in heaven so perfect together hehe ~ I am now motivated to stop being lazy and dig out those chocolate fondue sets and try making it at home myself!

Overall, I enjoyed the chocolate fondue here at Movenpick, but found the name ‘Endless Fondue’ to be a little deceiving as nothing as ‘Endless’ if you wanted extra bowls of condiments you had to pay $2 per bowl and I’m pretty sure they do not refill the chocolate free of charge. I would come back here with friend as it is a nice place to come here for dessert after dinner and for approximately $10 per person, I think it is still reasonable :)

It was lovely to catch up with you Ozmomo and can’t wait till we do it again ~ have a safe trip to Japan and can’t wait to see photos and hear all about your trip!

Movenpick Boxhill on Urbanspoon

PS. I’m still away with Mr Bao to Sydney and Brisbane for a couple of day :) So please accept my apology for being slow at replying comments, emails, tweets and all ~

Taro or Pork Belly Bao? – Wonder Bao

Do you go through eating phases where you love something and constantly eat it and then get sick of it? Or do you consistently like the same kinds of food? I definitely go through phases… I went through a bagel phase a couple of months ago, then it was this banana bread phase and now I think I’m onto a BAO phase :P Last week, I visited Bao Now, then had lau sha bao at Tai Pan with fellow bloggers on the following Sunday and then the next day (Monday) I met up with the awesome Libby (The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar). I was having Monday blues lol you know the feeling you get after the weekend :P but it made time go by much quicker because I had something to look forward to hehe, as soon as it was time for me to go, I literally ran out the door and rushed to Wonderbao. For Melbourne Readers, WonderBao can be a little difficult to find if you’re going for the first time, it’s on A’beckett St located at the back of an apartment complex, Sarah (Sarah Cooks) is so fantastic she even drew a map and posted it on her blog to make it easier for us to get there, you can find it here. The store itself is very small and have very limited seating, I have heard that it gets very busy during lunch times, so be prepared to have to wait. We were quite lucky and got there when it was fairly quick and scored two seats.

Small menu big flavours!

With a small and consise menu it only offers 7 types baos and 3 gua baos to choose from. We decided to get two gua baos and two sweet baos to share :) We actually started off with the sweet baos lol as we had to wait for the gua baos to be made.

Sweet baos $1.7AUD

Nai wong bao! The bao with an Chinese egg custard filling :) It been my favourite since I was a little girl ~ my family doesn’t really like it so I don’t get to order it much >_< thank you Libby for ripping it apart so nicely for me to take a photo of the filling hehe the bao itself was warm, soft and lovely everything a good bao should be. While the filling was nice with the traditional ‘nai wong’ flavours, I didn’t find anything too special about it and would have liked it even more if the filling was a little big warmer

Nai Wong Bao (Egg Custard) Bao $1.7AUD

I’m not sure if Taro baos are traditional as I have actually never had one before, and LOVED IT! The taro filling was so delicious! I really like taro flavoured desserts, but I can be quite picky and I hate that artificial taro flavouring that some places uses, especially the ones they use to flavour bubble milk tea. It’s simply not the same as using real taro puree, you immediately tell that WonderBao used ‘real’ taro to make the filling. Hmmm a bit hard for me to describe the taste of the filling, because unless you’ve had taro before it’s quite a unique taste. Either way it was very yummy so go try and let me know what you think :D I also think it’s a bargain for only $1.7AUD for a sweet bao ~

Taro Bao $1.7AUD

Moving on to the savoury gua baos, if you’re not sure what a gua bao has been described as a Chinese sandwich or Taiwanese burger. It is made with the same dough as the steamed baos, however, it is shaped differently and the filling is not enclosed inside. I say Momofuku’s David Chang has definitely helped popularise this type of bao with his famous Pork Belly Bao that he sells at his Momofuku restaurants. I’m still salivating over the one I had in NY *NOMZ*

Fried Silky Tofu gua bao $3.8 AUD

Starting with the vegetarian fried silky tofu gua bao, the filling included  a piece of fried tofu inside the bao then topped with pickled mustard, coriander, sweet soy sauce and crushed peanuts. I took a bite and immediately thought of Taiwan! Everything about it :) The flavours were so familiar to me ~I really liked the flavours of the pickled mustard and crunch from the crushed peanuts. However, though it needed a little bit more of sweet soy sauce as the fried tofu was quite bland and the bao does not have a lot of flavour.

Braised Pork Belly gua bao $3.8AUD

I’m pretty sure the pork belly gua baos have become the signature bao to get when you come to WonderBao ~ Libby had tried the Roast Pork Belly last time, so we opted for the braised, which had the condiments as the fried silky tofu except with the addition of the pork belly. I love love love the braised pork belly, it was well marinated and braised until it’s soft and tender :) I think WonderBao has got the flavours spot on for this pork belly gua bao ~ poor Mr Bao has been left out from all my bao eating events lol so once again I bought him one take away and he also said it was his favourite. Highly recommend it!

Homemade Soya milk $2.8AUD

It is so traditional to have Soya Milk when you eat baos hehe it was quite warm that day, so we both got a cold homemade soya milk ~ It was lightly sweetened and I thought it was quite refreshing but it was a little bland not sure if it was because there was too much ice and it diluted the drink. Libby did mention that the hot drink had a stronger soya taste ~ I think I’m gonna try the hot one next time :)

Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork) $2AUD

I got also bought Mr Bao a Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork) to try, sorry about the bad pic I took it in the carpark before Mr Bao literally shoved the whole thing into his mouth :P

I also managed to snatch it away from him after he took a bite to take this photo, he said it was nice but it wasn’t outstanding because the filling wasn’t very flavoursome. I think he’s just use to the baos that we get when we go have yum cha :)

I’m really having trouble deciding whether I like the taro bao more or the pork belly gua bao more…they were both very delicious…but being a sweet toothed person lol I think the taro bao still wins, just because I’ve never had one before and I’m addicted to the filling! I definitely enjoyed WonderBao, unlike Bao Now they take a much more traditional approach with their baos, I think its always nice to have freshly steamed baos with familiar fillings that we have grown up eating :)

Wonderbao on Urbanspoon

PS. I’ve gone on a sweet trip with Mr Bao to Sydney and Brisbane for a couple of day :) So please accept my apology for being slow at replying comments, emails, tweets and all ~

Chocolate Mousse Bao – Bao Now

“Baos” are you familiar with them? Have you grown up eating them or are they a new concept to you? ~ I know for my Asian especially Chinese Readers baos are probably nothing new to them ~ because we eat them all the time especially when we go to Yum Cha, it’s basically a staple to have Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork Bun). For my lovely Readers who are not familiar with Baos, they can be described as Chinese steam buns with a filling which can be either savoury or sweet.

In the past month, two stores specialising in Baos have opened up in Melbourne, Bao Now and Wonder Bao. I’ve been meaning to go visit, but I have been so time poor lately, that I have been making more lunch time runs and recruiting colleagues to go eat with me and put up with me taking a million photos of their food :P

Last week the blog victim was Yue, my amazing colleague ~ you might remember him from this post, where I made him a chocolate cake for his birthday in June ~ I’m the only girl in our team and the youngest, so this poor guy has to look after me all the time and put up with all my whinge and rants :P oh and he’s always having to eat or reject my baked goodies too hahaha

Anyhow, last Friday I persuaded Yue to rush out during our lunch break, cross the river to Bao Now on Hardware Street, for Melbournians it’s just right opposite Hardware Societe to make it easier for you guys to find it ~ It was a relatively warm day and rather quiet at Bao Now, which was nice because that gave me the chance to take my time in deciding what to order and take some photos ~

I really like the simple decor of Bao Now with a huge map on the wall describing the baos. They don’t have many seats inside the store, but have  a few more tables outside. Looking at their menu they currently have 3 types of baos – steamed bao (savoury or sweet) and lettuce baos (san choy baos), for those who aren’t fond of baos they also have rice bowls ~

It was a little hard for me to take photos of the actual baos as they were in the glass cabinet and there was a lot of steam :( so I’m sorry for this blurry picture ~ I thought the Bao deal to be very reasonable for $9 you get 3 baos and a drink  (ice tea, soft drink or water), uh oh dilemma do I get 2 sweet baos and 1 savoury or be good and get 2 savoury and 1 sweet?

I think the waitress saw how distressed I was and offered to give me a free Nutella bao if I got another savoury bao as she said the Nutella baos were a little smaller than they should be :) *HAPPY* So I ended up with a cheeseburger bao, buffalo wing bao, vanilla custard bao and a NUTELLA Bao!

Savoury baos

Starting with the savoury, I thought the cheeseburger flavour was really unique! It tasted very much like spaghetti bolognaise but in a Chinese steamed bao hehe I bought one takeaway for Mr Bao to try (I know how ironic Mr Bao eating Bao LOL) and he really liked it, basically had it one go and said he could have a couple more of these! Only complaint was the size being a little small hahaha. Sorry I don’t have a decent photo of the cheeseburger bao :P so decided not to upload hehe

Buffalo Chicken Bao $3 AUD

Now to the buffolo chicken wing bao it was soft chicken meat in a Tabasco sauce, both Yue and I really enjoyed it, but I would have preferred it even more if it was spicier, while he thought it just needed to be a little less sweet.

Thai chicken and Buffalo chicken Lettuce Bao $6.8 AUD for 2

Yue also got the 3 bao deal but instead he got 2 lettuce baos and a mexican pork bao. He was super kind to let me try all of his baos hehe we both really liked the thai chicken bao as had a green curry taste which went really well with the lettuce :) The buffalo chicken filling was similar to the one in the steam bao but flavours were pronounce here as the lettuce had a rather light and bland taste :) I really like the idea of lettuce baos though because sometimes you just want something like and lower on carbs that’ll be perfect ~

Mexican Pork Bao $3AUD

He then got the Mexican pork which reminded me of the typical chai siu bao, but obviously tasted nothing like it as it was Mexican hehe :) However, I found it quite bland and the ‘bao’ to really overtake the flavours from the filling.

While I was taking a million photos, suddenly a man came up and said “I’m sorry but would you be Daisy from Never Too Sweet?”, I was immediately shocked that someone recognised me! That turned out to be one of the owners of Bao Now, Ricky ~ he said he recognised me from my Twitter display picture hahaha note to self…remove all photos of myself from all social media platforms. Ricky was very nice and asked us for feedback and suggestions. I told him honestly that I thought the buffalo chicken wing bao could have been a little bit spicier to make it tastier, while Yue suggested a Korean inspired lettuce bao as he just returned from a holiday in Seoul :P Ricky then told us that they were still experimenting with the filling and found that the bao itself had a strong over powering taste, I would describe it as the ‘yeasty’ taste hehe and because of this the filling had to have strong flavours to cut through the bao.

Vanilla Custard $2.8AUD

Back to baos ~ Now please excuse my ugly fingers in these photos, lol I wasn’t sure how to take a good photo of the filling in a timely fashion so Yue didn’t have to wait so long to eat, he doesn’t hang out much with food bloggers, so I felt bad if I made him wait for ages lol anyhow time for the sweet baos, starting with the vanilla custard bao, I immediately thought of the ‘lai (nai) wong bao’ you also get at yum cha which is a bao filled with egg custard :) it’s one of my favourites. But this Vanilla custard bao was nothing like the traditional lai wong bao, instead the filling reminded me of the filling you get in between vanilla slices, that kind of vanilla custard ~ I quite enjoyed it but think I prefer the traditional egg custard more.

Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache Bao $2.8AUD

This was their slightly smaller than normal Nutella bao ~ I was so excited about trying this bao because I’m addicted to Nutella, Yue and I shared it but found that it doesn’t really taste like Nutella, it was more like chocolate filling with some crunchy pieces. Ricky then tells us that this bao actually has a chocolate ganache and hazelnut praline filling ~so not exactly Nutella but still yum!

Chocolate Mousse Bao $2.8AUD

I actually didn’t order the chocolate mousse bao but Ricky was so generous and said he would like to give us one to try because he would really like our feedback and I think because he knows I’m a dessert-freak :P It turned out to be the highlight of this lunch ~ it was my absolute favourite, the bao was obviously soft and fluffy in texture and then the chocolate mousse would ever so gently ooze out. It wasn’t overly sweet, it had a rich chocolate flavour but still had the lightness of chocolate mousse! I’m definitely coming back for more! Thank you Ricky!

Iced Barley Green Tea $1.5AUD

Oh wait how could I forget about the ice tea that came with the bao meal ~ there was a choice between XXX we both really enjoyed the tea and found it to be very refreshing and definitely quenched our thirsts :) I’m really getting into iced teas lately with the warm weather coming ~

That’s not it with the baos, I actually went back a couple of days later with Kirk because he literally lives 1 minute away and I really didn’t like some of the photos from last time I so being the responsible food blogger I went back :D And to my surprise they had the brand new butter chicken and BBQ pork!

Butter Chicken Bao $3AUD

BBQ Pork Bao $3AUD

I found the butter chicken filling to be on the sweet side which counteract with the bao quite well and the BBQ pork was nothing like what I expected it to be, because it was not the traditional char siu bao , the BBQ was more the American/Westernised Barbeque sauce taste, it was definitely different and even though it was nice, I think I still prefer to the buffalo chicken bao the most!

How Bao Now got their idea ~

Overall, I really enjoyed Bao Now and it’s unconventional twist on the very traditional Chinese baos ~ I appreciate their effort and creativity for stepping outside the box and introduce something new to the Melbourne food scene ~ it was a little sad to see quite a few Caucasian customers (Sorry not trying to discriminate)  walk in, have a look and then walk out. I think the concept of eating bao’s is still quite new but I’m sure once you try these baos you will want to come back for more!

Daisy, Yue and Kirk @ Never Too Sweet paid for all food and drinks except for the chocolate mousse bao and Nutella bao :)

Bao Now on Urbanspoon

Macaron Class – The Olive Tree Cooking School + Giveaway *Winner Announced*

Mr Bao infuriates me! Why you ask? It’s because he’s always complaining that he’s ‘baked out’ that I bake too much and too frequently and he’s always forced to eat it… then I’ll get annoyed and give all my baked goodies to friends and colleagues who actually appreciate it. But then he’ll say ‘hey…how come I don’t get any cookies…you’re not even going to leave me one slice?’ ARGH I can never win :P But there is one thing that he likes…and he’s always going on about how it’ll be wonderful if I could make them at home… and that’s MACARONS!

Yup the very much loved French little meringue biscuits the one and only ‘macaron’! I’m gonna accuse him of being a ‘trend follower’ because I was the one who introduced him to macarons (he’ll argue and say he introduced me instead). It started last year when I bought him La Belle Miette macarons, then it was La Maison Du Chocolat in HK and Laduree in New York. We have gone on bit of search for the best macarons :) I have done a lot of research and have read lots of books, blogs and magazines about making macarons at home…but I never had the courage…there are quite a few components and steps to make them…and if you make a mistake during one of steps, there really is no turning back. Anyhow, back in April this year, I found a really good Living Social voucher which offered a 4 hour macaron class at The Olive Tree Cooking School for only $59 per person. I immediately bought two vouchers and decided to bring Mr Bao with me, so he will also know how DIFFICULT it was to make them at home! Even though we bought the tickets in April, because of the popularity of the macaron classes and with the voucher, classes were booked out till August lol so I kind of forgot about the coupons until a week before and made sure Mr Bao took the day off work :) The Olive Tree Cooking School is situated in Frankston, a coastal suburb of Melbourne, for most people who do not live in this area, it’ll probably be at least an hour long drive. I’m quite familiar with the area, because Dad use to take me fishing here ~ so even though it was bit of a drive there Mr Bao and I didn’t really mind. We already made plans to walk along the beach and eat at the local Italian restaurant there after the class hehe Our class started at 10am, so we quickly made breakfast at home and then rushed into our car, traffic was quite good so we got there early at around 9:40am. We drove past the cooking school once, as its on the main Nepean Hwy, so just keep an eye out, if you’re coming from Frankston city centre, Olive Tree cooking school will be on your left and will have white walls. We were a bit surprised to find that the cooking school also doubled us as a lovely double storey house, we saw the front door but wasn’t sure how to get in, then we were greeted by the CUTEST dog I have seen! He was like this huge white ball of fluff hehe ~ His name is Bear a Samui! I really wanted to take him home! He didn’t bark at us or anything, very quickly, a lovely man wearing a chef’s jacket came over and opened the door.

Thanks Garry for sending me this picture :)

That is Garry Cowled ~ who is the instructor for the day, he has over 40 years of experience working as a chef and teaching at TAFE and other food related businesses.

Hi Garry :)

Because we were a bit early, I had the chance to talk to Garry one on one, I even told him about my food blog and asked if he would mind if I took photos and maybe did a post about it. Garry was so pleasant about it all and said as many photos and questions I like :D As you can see, Garry has also won many awards, most notably the Culinary Olympics in Germany where he participated and cooked on behalf of the Australian team. Even with all this experience Garry remains one of the most down to earth Chef I have met :D he is so passionate about cooking and also teaching others how to cook. Very quickly the other student arrived as well, poor Mr Bao was the only guy in the class hehe, Garry is so generous that he has given me permission to share his macaron recipe ~ I will be sharing the recipe as well as other bits and parts of the lesson in this post .


Recipe – Salted Caramel Macarons from The Olive Tree Cooking School  Ingredients
Macaron Shell  – Italian method
200 grams almond meal
200 grams pure icing sugar
160 grams aged egg white (2 x 80 grams, approximately 4 eggs)
200 grams caster sugar or granulated sugar
50 mls water
Gel or powder colour for macaron shells

Tips 
– Almond meal can be moist to try it out, spread out on a baking tray for several hours
– To age egg whites, separate the day before and leave on the bench covered to reduce moisture in egg whites. This will help them whip much better

Method – Macaron Shell
1) If egg whites have been in the refrigerator, leave out until room temperature.

2) Place almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until incorporated be careful not to over mix as oils from almonds may make mixture clump together.
3) Pass almond and icing sugar through a drum sieve and mix thoroughly with 80 grams egg white, until it becomes a paste and leave to one side.

4) Place the water in a small stainless steel saucepan and add sugar. Start boiling process washing the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush but NEVER stir, as this will create sugar crystals forming on the size of the pot. In the mean time, place the other 80 gram of egg whites into an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. You can also add the colour to your macarons at this step with the sugar syrup. Using a sugar thermometer to monitor the sugar syrup once it is at 110 °C, turn the electric mixer on and whisk egg whites until stiff peaks.


5) When the sugar syrup reaches 118°C, quickly dip the saucepan into cold water to remove latent heat Pour in a gentle stream into the egg whits without hitting the whisk.

7) Continue whisking until just cool – approximately 7-8 minutes.

8) Fold the meringue into the almond mixture in a couple of additions. The amount of folding will depend how high you want your macarons to rise. They more you beat the more your macarons will rise. The less you beat the mix the lower the rise. It would be approximately 25 to 30 folds until the mixture is glossy and will run off the spatula or run back into itself.

9) Using a 1cm (size 10) piping tube, pipe onto baking paper lined or Silpak and pipe to the size of a twenty cent coin (Aussie dollar :P)

Our macarons don’t look too bad!

10) Using some force bang the tray against the kitchen bench top to flatten macarons shells and leave until touch dry. May take longer in humid weather.

11) Preheat oven to 135°C fan forced, bake for 16 minutes, test before turning the oven off by gently touching and if the macarons can be gently removed from the baking paper, if still soft and sticky return back to over for an extra 2 to 3 minutes.


12) Cool on trays before lifting off and pairing them ready to be filled.

Tip
- Piping the macaron shells is probably the most difficult, try not to apply too much pressure
– Make sure the shells are touch dry before they are baked to avoid cracking
– Every oven is different, you may need to change the temperature to bake the macaron shells

Salted Caramel Ganache
150ml thickened cream
25 grams Copha
125 grams sugar
40mls water
250grams milk chocolate – finely chopped
80grams unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Method

1) Place the copha and cream into a small pot and place on the heat to boil.
2) Pour the water into another small pot. Pour the sugar over and place on the heat, boiling the sugar to caramel stage. For maximum flavour heat sugar until it is a golden brown but be careful not to burn.
3) Gently pour the boiling cream onto the caramel, being extremely careful as it will foam very quickly. Mix together.
4) Pour the hot caramel over the chocolate and stand for one minute before mixing thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

5) When the caramel chocolate mixture has cooled blend in the softened butter and salt with a wooden spoon or a stick blender.
6) Cool thoroughly before beating on a mixer with a beater attachment until creamy and glossy.

Assemble macaron
1) Once salted caramel ganache is cool and pliable, it can be transferred into a clean piping bag once again with a 1cm (size 10) nozzle.

2) Pair and line the macaron shells to make it easier to pipe the filling, put a nice dollop in the middle of one shell and very gently place the other shell on top and twist together.

Tip
– Do not forcefully push the two macaron shells together as it can break the shell or too much filling will come out the sides
– Try not to under fill or over fill, you want enough filling to see and taste but not too much that makes the macarons sickly sweet.

Voilà! Salted Caramel Macarons!

Sorry I was too busy eating the Salted Caramel Macarons so this is actually a picture of the Chocolate Peanut Butter macarons my bad! :P

Mr Bao and I had a BLAST at The Olive Tree Cooking School :) We both thoroughly enjoyed the macaron class and from Mr Bao’s smile on his face…I think he was very happy and satisfied with his first ever batch of macarons! Garry was a fantastic teacher he was down-to-earth, friendly and very experienced. I also liked his casual approach to making these delicate meringue biscuits, he made me feel confident that I can also make these macarons when I get home and all ingredients he used were easily attainable at the supermarket.

All students were given a $20 discount next time we booked a cooking class and because I enjoyed this class so MUCH I have decided to give away both Mr Bao and my voucher to ONE lucky reader :) So you can also book a class and learn how to make macarons!!! Macaron classes currently run on Monday nights and Saturday morning, but Garry said he is happy to run more classes if there is high demand and also provide a discount for groups of more than 6 people :D

To enter this little giveaway:
– Leave a comment and tell me if you’ve tried making macarons at home before and was it a success? :)
– Giveaway ends on the 31st of October
– You may reenter daily, one entry a day
– Winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on this blog and notified via email
– Open only to Victorian residents (Sorry!)

The winner :) 

And the WINNER IS Jenny from Ichigo Shortcake :) YAY! Congrats!

Good luck everyone ~ and hope you will also try making macarons at home soon! It can be quite difficult the first time but I think with some practice we can all be macaron masters :)

The Olive Tree Cooking School
623 Nepean Highway
Frankston South VIC
Australia
Garry Cowled
Phone. 03 9708 8110
Mobile. 0427 966 007
mail@olivetreecookingschool.com.au

This is not a sponsored post, this is a personal giveway to my Readers:)

Daisy and Mr Bao @Nevertoosweet personally paid and attended this macaron class 

Pulled Pork Brioche – Lil Boy Blue

I know I’ve complained about the cafes around my area and that there’s nothing good…but thanks to Winnie (Eat Play Shop) and Ashley (I’m So Hungry), they have introduced me to a hidden gem in one of our neighboring suburbs and that is Lil Boy Blue in Kew :)

Sorry about reflection!

I have seen the pretty photos Winnie and Ashley had posted on Instagram and read their posts and knew I wanted to make time to go try Lil Boy Blu.  Because it’s quite close to our place, we didn’t have to get up extra early to miss the morning brunch crowd ~ instead Mr Bao and I slept in until 11:30am last Saturday and slowly made our way to the cafe! YAY! I really needed a sleep in with everything that I have been doing lately.

It’s quite easy to find Lil Boy Blue, we just headed down the Eastern freeway, got off at Chandler highway then once you were on High St you keep going down and it’ll be on the left hand side, but it is quite easy to miss it, so I suggest you turning your GPS on or ask someone to keep an eye out for you :) Mr Bao had to slam on the breaks when I yelled out “STOP it’s here! it’s here!”, I think he was ready to kill me because other cars behind him also had to break hahaha my bad my bad…I’ve never been good at giving directions… I’m much better as a driver than an instructor.

Lil Blue Cafe is not only a cafe it is also a fully licensed restaurant and is open from 8am all the way through to 10pm Tuesday to Saturday and open from 8am to 4pm on Monday and Sundays. So perfect for people who want to do late brunch because they don’t need to worry about the kitchen closing at 3pm, like most popular cafes ~ they had a good size menu with brunch items, followed by salads, small dishes, mains then concluding with desserts ~

When we walked in, it was quite full and the waitress said we could either wait for a table or sit at the end of the communal table, we were happy to share a table so sat down at the end.

Then I immediately recognised the girl sitting at the end of the table as the one and only Sarah from the amazing ‘Sarah Cooks’ blog! I’ve been following her blog for a while and she has got to be one of the most talented cooks around! A couple of years ago she even went on a mission to cook every single recipe from Nigella Lawson’s “How To Eat” book now that’s definitely dedication :) You can check it out here ~  I really wanted to rush up and say hi but Sarah was with her parents and I didn’t want to scare her…so I waited patiently…

Hello Sarah!

I waited until Sarah posted a photo of Lil Boy Blue’s carpet ornament on the wall, yup I confirmed it was Sarah so I quickly left a comment hahaha as soon as Sarah saw my comment we said hi :) YAY! It was definitely a lovely surprise to bump and meet into Sarah like that ~ Hopefully next time we meet, we’ll have more time to chat hehe I’d love to pick your brains about roasting pork belly!!!

Flat White $3.5 AUD

Anyhow, getting back to the food and drinks lol Mr Bao ordered a flat white and described it as smooth and silky but with a flat body and resembled a bit like Hong Kong Style milk tea, I had a sip and don’t really know where he got the HK Style milk tea part from but hahaha it was nice and light with floral notes I think LOL I’m really no expert ~

Mocha $3.50 AUD

My mocha wasn’t as rich in chocolate as I would’ve liked, it was more like a latte with a little bit of chocolate and sprinkled with cocoa powder on top ~ but still nice and helped wake me up a little :)

Pulled pork brioche bun with mustard pickles, truffle pecorrino and wilted spinach $12AUD

I already had my mind and heart set on the pulled pork bun, because Winnie had ordered it and said it was delicious ~ I have been craving pulled pork for such a long time! It seems to be the IT thing to eat in the States…but some how Australia hasn’t really jumped fully onto this bandwagon yet :P You can find it in some places, but it’s still not very common. I  love pulled pork, because it’s so delicate. But Mr Bao said he wanted it, so I didn’t want to order the same thing, so I let him order it ~

Only after one bite Mr Bao was already in LOVE with this brioche bun lol he said it was so soft, buttery and simply SCRUMPTIOUS! He kept making those annoying and disgusting noises hahaa I had to snatch the brioche away from him just to have a bite! And I couldn’t agree with him more! It was so delicious hehe before I could even take another bite…he had another took it back and polished it off in literally one go…Giving me a smug look he said ‘I’m still hungry…’, I simply rolled my eyes, to be fair though the brioche buns weren’t really that big and could probably be considered as sliders :) we flipped through the menu, and kept tossing between all these different items on the main course section…but they were all too big and heavy even for the insatiable Mr Bao. So in the end…he decided he’ll simply order ANOTHER ‘pulled pork brioche bun!’ :P

Poached and crumbed eggs with roasted trio of mushrooms, solders, salsa verde, picked capsicum and goats curd $18AUD

I think because Mr Bao had two pulled pork brioche buns lol I didn’t feel like eating any more meat ~ so got a veggie breakfast, a nice combination of eggs, mushrooms, capsicum and goats curd.

The poached and crumbed eggs were cooked wonderfully with a runny yolk ~ I had to take a yolkporn picture of it :D it went so well with the salsa verde and mushrooms. I particularly liked the goats curd that was so soft and crumbly and literally melted in my mouth :)

Pikelets with poched beurre bosc pear, cinnamon ice-cream and almond praline $12AUD

I’m sorry to eavesdrop Sarah :P but I saw that you ordered this and also heard you say the cinnamon ice-cream was really good, so I couldn’t help but order one to try myself ;) so glad I did! It was so so so yummilicious! Everything just went so well with each other and seriously the cinnamon ice-cream just perfected it!

Mr Bao and I really enjoyed Lil Boy Blue and so relieved that it’s quite close to home ~ I am already planning my next visit and I’m just gonna get desserts :P I have so many I want to try! The turkish donuts, strawberry shortcake, panna cotta and chocolate taste board! I am now recruiting other sweet lovers :) If you’re interested send me a tweet or email hahaha and I’ll meet you there :D

Lil Boy Blue on Urbanspoon

Keanu Reeves – The Lake House, Daylesford

Have you watched the movie ‘The Lake House’, with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock? It’s a love story of two people who met through replying emails they found in the mailbox of a lake house. They fall in love with each other through exchanging letters, but there is actually a two year time difference between them and Keanu Reeves dies before he is able to meet Sandra Bullock  >_< don’t worry it’s a happy ending because Sandra Bullock was able to save Keanu Reeves in the end and they walk happily towards the lake house :D

Source: Wikipedia

This isn’t a movie review hehe but when Mr Bao asked where I would like to go for our annual anniversary meal (sorry I’m very slow with my reviews), I immediately chirped ‘The Lake House’! He looked at me funny and said “what house?”. Then I went on this rant about the amazing restaurant in Daylesford, that was recently features in Masterchef Australia :P Mr Bao wasn’t fussed, his only request was, “I have to be satisfied and feel full, I don’t like going to fancy places where I leave still feeling hungry” hahaha I had to laugh at that ~ Yup Mr Bao sure eats a lot!

Just a quick overview, The Lake House is a well-established 2 Chef hat restaurant in Daylesford, a town about 1.5 hours away from Melbourne. It is known to be ‘the’ place to relax and rejuvenate, with many spa and massage resorts. I first heard of The Lakehouse, when the contestants from Masterchef, visited and I was immediately mesmerized by the beautiful scenery :)

We did have some issues with booking a table, Mr Bao was supposed to book two weeks in advance… but he forgot and finally when he tried to book a table, they could only put us in at 2:30pm…We were tempted to change the date and just go another time, but then decided we might as well go to Daylesford early and just walk around the town. So on a relatively sunny Sunday ~ Mr Bao and I left Melbourne at around 11:30am and we expected to arrive at around 1pm. Luckily on our way to Daylesford, The Lake House called and said there were some cancellations and we could change our booking to 1:30pm. That just worked out perfectly for us!

After a pleasant drive, we finally go to The Lake House and it’s actually quite easy to find as there are signs specifically for it ~ we parked our car and walked right into the restaurant. I really like ambiance of The Lake House, with lots of sun light and fresh air :) We were immediately led to our table at the back with a wonderful view of the lake outside ~ It’s just so romantic hehe I can understand why people would want to get married here.

The staff were attentive and nice but lacked a little friendliness, they took our coats and gave us the menu. We had already had a peek at the menu online and knew we wanted to grab the 3 courses meal and keep things simple which was $96AUD per person. They also had the tasting menu with 9 courses, but it just seemed too much for us :) We didn’t order any wine either because we had to drive ~ damn next time we’ll stay over night and just cab here.

Olives and Grissini sticks

Once we sat down comfortable with the menu in our hands, the waiter immediately brought over a little plate of olives and grissini sticks ~ neither of us are olive eaters, but Mr Bao gave it a shot anyway and simply said ‘hmmm very olivey’ not sure what that means :P the grissini sticks were lovely though slightly salted and oh so crunchy!

Bowl of bread

While we were fussing over what to order for our entree and mains, a lovely basked filled with freshly baked bread was brought to our table. It was stated in their menu that the bread is freshly baked twice a day on premises, and you could as soon as you held a piece in your hand :) I’m not really much of a bread eater but can never resist freshly baked bread with French butter and sea salt ~ Yum! Mr Bao really liked the baguette and even asked for seconds hahha I was tempted but wanted to save space for the other delicious dishes yet to come.

Slow 63 degree egg, soft polenta, mushrooms, curd, smoked mushroom consomme, porcini pangrattata

We had 6 options to choose from the Entree menu, but the 63 degree egg immediately caught my eye so I got that ~ There were two elements of this dish, egg, polenta, mushroom and curd was served on a large plate while the smoked mushroom consomme and porcini pangrattata was served on the side in a little glass.

I thought this was a very delicate dish especially with the slow cooked egg and soft polenta. I really enjoyed the flavours and textures of the dish and could definitely eat many spoonfuls of the mushrooms and curd, but Mr Bao didn’t really like the texture commenting it was just too ‘mushy’ for his liking. While we found the smoked mushroom consomme to be slightly salty but overall, I really liked my entree ~

I knew Mr Bao was going to choose this as his entree as soon as I saw it on the menu :) Japanese or Japanese-inspired food is his favourite and he actually wanted to go to a Japanese restaurant for our anniversary but lol I coerced him to come here instead. He really liked the combination of flavours with his entree especially the mackerel saying it was cooked ‘impeccably’ which is hard to get and very often mackerel we’ve had have been overcooked. I had a taste too and thought the wasabi and edamame went very well together and liked how the wasabi wasn’t over powdering the other less dominant flavours :)

Terriyaki glazed mackerel, wasabi, edamame

There were another 6 main courses to choose from, but I immediately ruled out three lol simply because I don’t eat Rabbit, Kangaroo nor did I want a vegetarian dish hehe so I only had the choice of beef, seafood and duck :) Mr Bao and I discussed it and decided seafood’s probably not the best option since we both have eczema, so I got the beef ribs and he chose the Roast Duck ~

Pastured beef – 12 hour rib smoked tongue, sweetbreads, roast winter vegetables, yorkshire pudding

I love fine dining not just because of the food itself, but also because of how nicely everything is plated…it really is a piece of art ~ when the waiter placed my main course in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice how small and cute the yorkshire puddings were hehe ~

The beef rib was so soft and tender basically melt in your mouth, the roast winter vegetables were lovely with a slightly tangy sauce. Mr Bao didn’t seem to like the little shallot ~ but I was impressed with the yorkshire puddings they were still slightly warm, soft but not doughy :D

Roast Duck – pomegranate, dukkah crusted ‘bisteya’, carrot, citrus pickled eggplant, grains

I’m actually quite surprised that Mr Bao ordered the duck, because his parents are always telling him ‘no duck, its poisonous for your skin’ but I guess it was our anniversary and he just wanted to ignore it all hehe ~ but then I already warned him that he may not like this dish cuz he doesn’t like the other elements – pomegranante, carrot or eggplants…but still he ordered it against my recommendation :P Once again plated beautifully, and even though the duck was cooked to perfection, still slightly pink Mr Bao took a bite and didn’t like the sour taste of the pomegranate nor the carrots. I on the other hand really enjoyed his dish and thought it was lovely and the sourness really just gave it a tang ~ so we ended up basically eating each others dish instead :)

Roast Pumpkin – so delicious!

I am obsessed about pumpkin! I can eat it everyday, any time for breakfast, lunch or dinner :P So when the waiter asked if we wanted to add any sides, I immediately ordered the pumpkin, even though Mr Bao wanted the mash potato ~ wakkaka too bad! I know you are going to  think I am exaggerating…because how delicious can roast pumpkin with butter be… but trust me! These roast pumpkin were so so so DELICIOUS! Mr Bao had to fight with me to get a few pieces lol I basically ate the whole thing myself ~ talk about simple pleasures hehe!

Kookaburra!

We took our time polishing off the main dishes, then we saw one of the waiters walk out to the balcony and feed one of the kookaburras that had flown and stopped on the bench, Mr Bao thought it was really cute and decided to go outside and take a photo with it :) Pretty close up shot hehe ~ Mr Bao and I did have a mini argument though hahaha he kept arguing it was an Owl when CLEARLY it’s a KOOKABURRA!

‘Violet Crumble’ – textures of chocolate, winter violets, honeycomb

INSERT PIC – ‘Violet Crumble’ – textures of chocolate, winter violets, honeycomb

Now to Desserts :)  I thought I would have trouble choosing from the dessert menu, but it was easier than I expected hehe ~ I was only really tossing between the ‘Violet Crumble’ or The Winter shared dessert for two. I was very tempted to get the shared dessert for two as the lovely female waiter said that it had small samples of desserts that were not on the menu. But I figured only having little bites of desserts wasn’t going to satisfy my ginormous sweet tooth :P Furthermore, she wasn’t able to tell us more about the desserts that we were going to get… so I decided to go with the ‘Violet Crumble’. It reminded me so much of the Violet Crumble I had at Adriano Zumbo’s dessert train in Sydney, they even looked a little similar hehe ~  The dessert had a few components, first was the chocolate parfait, then a piece of chocolate cake and topped with ice-cream,  little bits of honeycomb and edible flowers :) I really liked this dessert especially the different textures of chocolate. But would have liked a little more ‘honeycomb’ as this was supposed to be a ‘Violet Crumble’ interpretation ~ And the edible flowers hehe so pretty! Does anyone know where I can get them?

Red wine pear, gingerbread pain perdu, creme cassonade

Mr Bao wanted to order the selection of ice-cream and sorbets, which I’m sure was going to be delicious but that wouldn’t be very adventurous would it? :P So I kept going on about the red wine pears and saying ‘You know you like pears, you are always complaining that I don’t know how to poach them, it’ll be delicious’. Sure enough Mr Bao was convinced and got the red wine pear :) I had a lot of trouble taking a good photo of this ~ because the ice-cream was melting so quickly! The red wine pear were so tender ~ not too soft but just right :) While the other elements the creme cassonade and the gingerbread pain perdu when eaten together really resemblances Christmas pudding .

Tea to help with digestion ~

Even though we didn’t have wine we did order tea to finish off this wonderful long but delicious meal :) Not sure what tea served us but it was exactly what we needed to kick start our digestion process so we can eat even more later on in the day.

Both Mr Bao and I had such an amazing time at The Lake House, we enjoyed all the dishes, the flavours and combinations along with the portrait-like surrounding. So glad we chose this place for our anniversary dinner and would recommend anyone who is going to Daylesford to definitely visit The Lake House. I think I’m gonna try the Tasting Menu next time I come and maybe try and ask if I can order more desserts :P

Lake House on Urbanspoon

Famous Laksa – Laksa King

Hello everyone ;) I’m sorry if you have noticed the irregular posting of new posts ~ I have been so busy lately that I’m starting to lose control of everything >_< I even tripled dated myself the other day…I definitely like being busy…but sometimes I think I just overcommit myself to everything.

Anyhow, I’ve noticed my blog posts are getting longer and longer lol I hope my lovely Readers don’t mind all my mindless mumbling and rants :P Because I am so time poor and kinda exhausted I have a short and sweet post that has been in my draft folder for quite some time now, and that is Laksa King in Flemington for their famous laksa!

Menu on the wall :)

Laksa King is very famous in Melbourne and is constantly ranted number 1 under the ‘Cheap eat’ section in Urbanspoon. They have even expanded from a tiny small store to a nice new refurbished restaurant. There are many reasons why I describe Laksa King’s laksa as ‘famous’ and most definitely not authentic ~ and that is because I have received mixed reviews of Laksa King. I find most of my friends from Hong Kong LOVE Laksa King and rave on about the broth/soup. While some of my Malaysian/Singaporean friends do not agree and say the laksa here has too much coconut milk and is not really authentic. Either way, Laksa King is still one of my favourite places for laksa!

Just in case you didn’t know what laksa was ~ they have it in the menu hehe wow they’re not humble at all hahaha calling themselves ‘King of Laska’! I’m a fan of curry laksa and not so much of asam laksa as I find the soup/broth too sour ~

Laksa King entree $14.5AUD

Mr Bao and I came here on a work night, so as usual we were famished after work hehe ~ so we quickly ordered a Laksa King entree which had little samples of a few things. A tiny garden salad, two mini spring rolls, lobak and dumplings. We really liked the spring rolls and lobak (kinda like spring rolls but filling is different and made with bean curd skin instead, my Malaysian/Singaporean please correct me if I am wrong :) ) as they were piping hot and were so crispy. We weren’t fond of the dumplings though, they had really thick and doughy wrappers which became a little soggy when eating them.

Chicken Curry Laksa $9.8AUD

I obviously had to order my favourite ‘Curry laksa’ :) I opted for the chicken as I don’t really like the weird meats they sometimes through into the combination curry laksa hehe ~ The broth has not changed even though it had probably been 3 good years since I’ve come to Laksa King. The soup was still rich, aromatic and delicious! I love how spicy the soup is but is then combined with a good amount of coconut milk :D

It also had a combination of egg noodles and rice noodles (Vermicelli), I haven’t figured why curry laksa have a mixture of both noodles ~ but I like the different textures it provides. It also has pieces of chicken breast, eggplant, fried tofu and fish cakes. Very reasonably priced too for only $9.8 ~

Assam Laksa $11.5AUD

Mr Bao ordered the Assam Laksa instead ~ it uses a different soup altogether from the Curry Laksa where the soup is a lot sourer and and does not have any coconut milk. If you haven’t had this before, I think the closest thing I can use to describe this would be the sweet and sour soups you can get in Chinese restaurants. Mr Bao enjoyed it so much, he was tempted to get another bowl… but I stopped him because I had dessert planned out at another place which was Little Delights which has now closed down :(

Three Colour Drink $4.9AUD

I think the curry laksa soup is quite addictive so I drank a lot of it, which can be quite spicy :) So we washed it all down with a Three Colour Drink each! It had a good combination of chendol, red bean and coconut milk and not a lot of crushed iced, which is good because I don’t like places that load the glass full of ice >_< Perfect to end this yummy dinner ~

Good Value Banquet $26.8AUD

I’m definitely coming back and next time I wanna try the Good Value Banquet, for $26.8 you get a taste of everything and even Mango Pudding for dessert :P Or try to come between 5pm and 6:30pm because the 10% discount is kinda attactive too! But even without the discount I think Laksa King is definitely a great place for cheap and delicious dinners ~ I’m going to let you be the judge whether you like Laksa King or not but :) but they sure are famous and their popularity hasn’t died down yet :D

Laksa King on Urbanspoon

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