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Spicy Prawn Spaghetti

Since I didn't go grocery shopping I had limited ingredients to really whip up anything!!! I remembered I had prawns in the freezer and spaghetti stored in the pantry so I whipped up this delicious spicy prawn spaghetti!! It only takes about half an hour to whip up ...its quick, easy and very tasty!

This will serve about 4 people

Spicy Prawn Spaghetti

You will need:
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 pack of thick spaghetti
  • 20 prawns (divide 5 for each person)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 - 2 tbs of sambal oelek relish
  • 1 - 2 tbs of tomato paste
  • pepper
  • herbs (mint, parsley, basil etc)


Firstly in a pot, cook pasta according to directions or until al dente and drain

In a pan, add olive oil, garlic and onion and saute. Add prawns. Cook the prawns until it changes colour. This will take about 1 minute each side. Remove the prawns. You do not want to over cook them.

In the same pan, add the spaghetti, sambal oelek relish, tomato paste and pepper. Mix through until the sauces coat the spaghetti. And add the prawns to heat through again.

Divide spaghetti and 5 prawns on each plate. Garnish with herbs and serve immediately


Eid-Al-Adha Celebration

A couple of days ago I was invited to a lunch celebrating Eid-Al-Adha عيد الأضحى which is in Islam - Festival of Sacrifice. The day is elebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eid_al-Adha). And I think they sacrifice a goat too during that celebration.

Going to the lunch was a pretty good experience for me. I was greeted by Muslim women - some wearing hijabs and some wearing traditional Indonesian outfits. The food was so different I needed to try every bit of it! The food looked different from what I cooked and surprisingly it wasn't really spicy at all! I really enjoyed the Beef Rendang which wasn't too spicy and the beef was so tender and juicy! Since it was halal it was so fresh!! And I had a lot of other things but I don't know what their names were lol.....I had the women that cooked the food repeated the names of the food again and again but still I forgot! lols.

Some pics (taken with my really old point and shoot camera):

The food inside. There was more outside!

Beef Rendang. I think this was the best out of all the dishes I tasted.

Coconut chicken. And see the white parcels? Those are rice blocks. You cut them up into cubes and you eat it with beef rendang. But I rather it with just steamed rice.

Cold jelly cup. This was just plain milk mixed with palm sugar and canned fruit like lychee, logan, jellies etc.

Assorted cakes - cassava cake, glutinous peanut rice cake, pancake with peanut chocolate paste and pandan cake which I am familiar with.

This is spicy fish with peanuts. Pretty fishy and salty!

Overall, I had a good day and it was a good experience too see how Muslims celebrate their religion. Lots of food, drink and conversation. I enjoyed it. At the end of the lunch the woman gave away pretty much all the food! That was a bonus! I didn't need to cook on Friday night! I think I am going to make the Beef Rendang it tasted pretty good!


Che Choui (Banana Coconut Tapioca/Sago Pudding Dessert)

 Hello! Thank goodness it's a Friday!! I was meaning to post this up the other day but I was too busy getting ready for the Britney Spears Australian Circus Tour the other night and too tired to do anything afterwards! I had a wonderful night! I got the ticket from my long time friend as an early xmas present! She's such a sweetie! As for now as a small thank you gesture I made her: Che Chuoi (Banana Tapioca/Sago Pudding Dessert) and a dozen of the Porteguese Custard Tarts.

Che Chuoi or Banana Coconut Tapioca/Sago Pudding Dessert is a popular Vietnamese dessert usually sold by street vendors in Vietnam as a cool quick snack. Here you will find this dessert in front of the counter at most Asian grocers. You will find these fresh warm desserts on Saturday morning but then when cooled it will set and go thick instead of a smooth runny consistency like custard when hot. The dessert is usually sprinkled with granulated roasted peanuts and roasted sesame seeds. Other toppings may include sliced mango, pineapple or fresh fruit but personally I just like it simple!!! You don't want to mix too much stuff in it otherwise you can't taste the main ingredient - the bananas. The ingredients are minimal. You only need a few.

Che Choui (Banana Coconut Tapioca/Sago Pudding Dessert)
Serves 6 to 8 people.

Ingredients (you can get these at the local Asian Markets e.g. Inala, Sunnybank or even Woolworths! Sago is in Woolworths in the pudding/canned fruit aisle)

  • 1 cup tapioca pearls (or sago too)
  • 1 to 2 cups for water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of white sugar
  • drop of vanilla essence
  • 1 can (400g) of coconut milk
  • 3 bananas sliced side ways (you can use any banana's but lady finger's are preferred)
  • extra water


The first step is to place the tapioca pearls in a bowl or plastic container and cover with water for at least 1 to 2 hours. It should double in size and fluffed. After 2 hours, in a pot add a bit more water and cook the pearls on med high heat. It should look transparent and feel jelly or gummy. Don't over cook cause it's still going to be cooked in the coconut milk.

the tapioca pearls should change from solid colour to transparent and double in size.

the tapioca pearls cooked - should look transparent and feel gummy

Secondly, mix in the coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and put low to med heat until you see bubbles coming up. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Then add the sliced bananas into the mixture and cook for another 5 minutes or less until you smell a banana aroma. Be careful not to break up the bananas otherwise the pudding will look mushy. Leave for about 15 minutes.

Lastly, leave to cool and eat warm sprinkled with peanuts and sesame seeds.

You can have it cold as well. It's refreshing and cool for summer. I like ladle the pudding into individual plastic Chinese takeaway containers and pop them in fridge for 2 hours. When cooled the consistency of the pudding gets thick soft jelly like consistency and not runny when hot.

cold Banana Tapioca Pudding Dessert topped with peanuts and sesame seeds.

Easy wasn't it? You should try it! I know most Asian desserts look ugly but hey it tastes great! Better than a chocolate bar!


Kim Lan Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant @ the Valley, Brisbane

Kim Lan Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant @ the Valley Brisbane is one of the best Vietnamese / Chinese Restaurants I have ever been to. My first step into this cosy little restaurant was back in the old days while I was still a student attending QUT. Every single Friday my friend and I would treat ourselves to cheap and tasty meals here. We made it a permanent ritual. It's not far away from the City (5-8 minute bus ride) and within student budget, we could order a main meal and a dessert! I think costing me about under $13 at the time. They always keep their prices low to suit everyone! The restaurant is only about a 5 min walk from Brunswick Station too! So it is pretty convenient.

The restaurant is tucked away in the inner street.
photo courtesy of truelocal.com.au

When you walk inside, you will feel a nice relaxed atmosphere, turquoise walls, traditional paintings and onto the side a big mirrored wall so you can check yourself out (lol) while waiting to be served and your order to arrive. You can either buy your drinks but often they will give a complimentary black tea or cold water. Which is great! Music played in the background would be typically Chinese music (I have never heard any Vietnamese) like Jay Chou, Twins, and Andy Lau. The service is efficient and friendly. Ever since dining in this restaurant there is no problem of service. Well except one waitress that worked there who was pretty impatient and never smiled but the good thing is that she is not there no more!

I usually order the barbeque duck or pork with steamed green vegetables on the side with soy however, the pho and the deep fried ice cream always gets me!

Best Pho in the Valley!

This is the best pho in the valley! It's pretty almost like the Thanh Phu's Pho. This one is a lot deeper in flavour and darker in colour and it's usually loaded with more broth. Served with the meal is the usual - fresh garnishes like thai basil, mint and lime. Sauces include fresh chili, hoi sin and chili sauce. I would be so full after this meal but.....I always have room for this delicious fried ice cream with my favourite topping - Caramel! When served it's hot, buiscuit-y, coconut-y and crunchy. One bit into it you will find yourself indulging into the caramel saunce, into the warm sweet top layers with the rough crunch and then slowly devouring into the cold vanilla ice cream. Oh I am in heaven!

Best deep fried ice cream

I am thinking going back here again. I haven't been since finishing university! I know a long time ago. The food is cheap, the service is quick, the music sounds good to my ears and they have the best fried ice cream and pho here!

If you want to get here I recommend to catch public transport because if you are thinking of just going to dine don't drive the car cause there is no free parking unless finding off street parking which will take ages to find! Park is I .. think $10 to park at the parking lot since I last been there.

Overall rating:

Affordability: CHEAP!
Eftpos/Credit card: Mastercard, Eftpos, Cash, Visa

Food: 8
Ambience: 6
Service: 8.5
Value: 9

Open: 7 Days Lunch and Dinner
Menu costs: Mains under $20
Takeaway: Yes

Shop 5, 12 Duncan St, FORTITUDE VALLEY, QLD, 4006
Phone (07) 3852 1878

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Thanh Phu Restaurant @ Darra, Brisbane

Thanh Phu Restaurant at Darra, Brisbane has got to be one of my favourite family owned restaurants for Vietnamese cuisine! It's pretty convenient since its just about a 2 minute walk from Darra Station and right next to an ATM. It's placed next to the local Vietnamese dvd store and the cheap hairdresser. You can't miss it. Car park can vary sometimes. It's pretty small because people come in and out from the laundromat. There is parking available across the street and off side car parking is available.

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Thanh Phu Restaurant, Darra

The thing I like about Thanh Phu is the friendly service they offer. The food is good for value, the waiters are friendly and most importantly the food comes out efficiently. While you are waiting the owner would come out and have a bit of chat. And after being a loyal customer he will talk to you more and maybe take off $1 off the order lol. Not much but at least it keeps people happy!

The entrance (main area) and the room next door

There are two parts of the restaurant. One is the main dining area around 15 tables (? I don't remember) for customers and there is one next door which consists a small room usually seated with old Vietnamese men prying out on attractive girls that walk towards the restaurant. Who knows? lol. I think it's a special booking room if you want to have dinner away from other customers. However, I always see old Vietnamese men drinking iced coffee and playing cards and they all look out of their area to see who is the next customer lol. What can I say? It's a pretty sociable restaurant!

When you walk inside you will notice the reception immediately with the golden cat greeting you on the way in. The interior and decor is reasonable with traditional paintings of Vietnam girls and the back wall backed with a huge mirror giving the illusion that the restaurant is big. The one thing that stands out is the large carved map of Vietnam hanging adjacent to the reception showing the Northern, Central and Southern Vietnam. Of course there will be music playing in the background and what is it you ask? Typically Paris by Night (vietnamese music variety shows on dvd).

The place can be busy and sometimes quiet. I noticed that the place has an eye for Westerners that come in and enjoy food that I can make at home easily like the famous rice paper rolls. I don't know but Westerners really do enjoy wrapping up rice paper rolls hehe. I remember seeing this large tradie man eat a full course meal and the waiter said "moite don't you think you have enough to eat" worried that the customer might of over eaten lol. This customer I will see all the time in this restaurant. A loyal customer I suppose.

The food that my partner and I usually order is :

  • Phở (Beef Noodle Soup),
  • Hieu Tieu Thap Cam (combination noodle soup) and
  • Cơm tấm (combination rice).

The photos below are taken from the restaurant itself! Looks good doesn't it?

I have got to say this is the best Beef Noodle Soup. It's not too too salty like the others I have tried from other places. The one in the photo is just a normal beef noodle soup that only has the beef slices and balls in it. You can order Special Beef Noodle Soup (Phở đặc biệt') that consists of chewy tendons, meat balls, brisket and tripe. Usually pho is served with garnishes such as fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, chili and lime. You can also add some hoi sin sauce into it as well. Yummy.

The photo below is called Cơm tấm is basically broken rice which has a weird texture....grainy and chewy and not sticky like normal rice. However when served on a big platter with fried pork, egg, vegetables, shredded pork fat and tofu fish cake or pork meat loaf you will be in heaven! Sweet chili dipping sauce is on the side so you can pour over the grilled pork, egg and rice. Eat in combination with the vegetables and the grilled pork. Very tasty! Notice that there is a fork in a photo and not a chopstick? Well you don't eat this food with chopsticks only the fork and the spoon :).

Lastly and not least is my favourite noodle dish of all time (well next to pho lol). This is called Hieu Tieu Thap Cam or Combination Noodle Soup which is a clearer soup than pho and much lighter. I unfortunately tried to make once but turned out to be a noodle soup disaster! So I rather go out and pay under $10 for this dish to satisfy my craving. You can either have the soup with hieu tieu noodles (thin noodles they are not vermicelli noodles or the cellophane noodles), with thin egg noodles or you can have a combination. I like mine combination!

The soup tastes a bit sweet and savoury at the same time. The photo below is combination noodle soup (seafood and meat). It's surrounded by herbs, loaded with noodles, floating crunchy pork fat (the flavour pops open in your mouth), fish cake slices, bbq pork slices, 2-3 prawns and fried minced pork. Mmmmm. This is the best combination noodle soup in Darra. The one at Kim Thanh (which I will review next time) wasn't as nice as these noodles....

I like to finish all my dishes here with their infamous Vietnamese Iced Coffee or young coconut juice.

I have always been going to Thanh Phu not because of it's food but importantly it's service and smile. That what gets me back! I am thinking of going there again soon!!! I haven't been there for months~!

Overall rating:

Affordability: CHEAP! Anyone can afford this kind of food. Good for value, traditional and delicious!

Food: 8
Ambience: 7
Service: 8.5
Value: 9

Open: Lunch to Dinner
Menu costs: Mains under $30
Takeaway: Yes

136 Darra Station Rd,
Darra, QLD 4076


Phone: (07) 3375 9999

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Vietnamese Chicken Congee

Congee is a rice porridge and comfort food (usually eaten for breakfast) is commonly eaten in Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Burma and India just to name a few. It is also called Poor Man's Food or Sick Man's Food is because you only require about 6 parts water and 1 part of rice and may be eaten when one is sick since it is easy on the digestive system.

Each Asian country has its own variations when cooking rice porridge. Congee made in different countries use different type of rice with different amounts of water resulting in a thicker or looser type of congee consistency. Popular flavourings consist of salt and pepper, garlic or ginger, fish sauce and pickled stuff. In Vietnam, rice porridge is simply called cháo cooked with sometimes pandan leaves, garlic and sometimes ginger. The popular kind of cháo in Vietnamese culture is when they add pig or duck's vital organs such as heart and liver. I just prefer cháo cooked just cooked chicken. In China, they like their congee with salted duck egg, one century duck egg, tofu and other fermented foods.

My mum and dad used to make chicken congee when I was sick and it did make me feel a lot better and recovered. And if it was the main meal of the day mum would add special types of food into it like the chicken/pork organs and to give it more of a bulk and colour mum would add in mung beans.

Today I will be showing you how to make my version of Chicken Congee or Chicken Rice Porridge

Vietnamese Chicken Congee


For the broth/stock
  • 2 to 3L water (i added 4 because i like my congee loose)
  • 1/2 kg of chicken pieces (thighs/drum sticks etc)
  • 1 piece of ginger peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped

For the Congee

  • 1 cup of jasmine rice (rinse and drain well)
  • fish sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes (optional)

  • shallots
  • fried onion
  • fish sauce or soy sauce
  • pickled stuff
  • mint, thai basil leaves (any herbs)


Firstly in a big stock pot, put the garlic and ginger in a 4 litres of cold water and boil and them let simmer. Add the chicken to cook for about 20 minutes or under cooked through. Check it but taking one chicken out and cut through with a knife. When it's cooked remove the chicken. I like to put cold water over the chicken to stop the cooking process because you do not want to chicken to dry. Leave to cool and shred meat and off the bones and leave aside. Put the stock onto medium high.

The next step is to rinse and drain the rice. Then add the rice into the stock and cook until rice is broken. This will take 2 hours to cook. Add 3 to 4 squirts of fish sauce (depending on you), salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the congee into soup bowls and top with the shredded chicken, herbs, shallots, pickled stuff and the fried onions. You can add an additional squirt of fish sauce if you like :).

That's my version of congee. Hope you enjoy! Maybe next time I will make century duck egg with congee :).


Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup

I looked through my old photos and came across my food photos of a particular dessert which is popular throughout Vietnam. It's called Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup or in Vietnamese - Chè Trôi Nước. It can be unfilled coated with coconut or can be filled which can vary. It can be either red bean paste, mung beans, taro, rock sugar, or black sesame filling. The ones I made a couple of years ago contained an easy peanut butter sesame filling. Yes, it was a strong peanut butter taste, it's quite sweet but I love it!! These dumplings can be served hot or warm. When eaten warm, it's chewy and it bursts out with the filling in your mouth and the warm ginger caramelly syrup just tops off the flavour. It can be topped with sprinkles of toasted sesame and some coconut milk. Very delicious.

sticky rice balls in ginger syrup

Get someone to help you since it is quite hard work if you are making a lot! I used my little sister to help me and in return she had some of my dessert lol. This is going to take you about an hour or so because of the steps --- the rolling of peanut butter filling balls, the making of the glutinous rice flour and coconut milk dough and filling the balls with the filling. And then cooking it. Sounds long but worth it at the end. Oh yeah, you can easily buy glutinous rice balls in ginger syrup (usually with mung bean paste) at Inala or Darra on Saturday morning for about $2 or so. But you only get like 3 big balls with mung bean paste and the rest are small unfilled balls. It's worth the value because think of what the person has to go through making the end product for only $2? :)

Peanut Butter filled Sticky Rice Balls in Ginger Syrup
Makes about 20 balls serves about 4 people depending how much they eat :PThis is my version I have alternated to suit me :) and I have made more than 20 balls. You can buy all the ingredients at your local Asian supermarket. You can also find these ingredients in you Coles or Woolworths Asian aisle.
You will need:

Glutinous Rice Balls
  • 4 tbs of crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 tbs of icing sugar
  • 5 tbs of roasted sesame seads
  • 1 pkt/ 400grams of glutinous rice flour
  • 1 can of coconut milk

  • 1 piece of julienne ginger (cut in match sticks)
  • 100 - 150g of brown sugar
  • 1 orange or lemon peel (optional)
  • 4 cups water


steps 1, 2, 3

1. In a bowl mix up peanut butter and icing sugar. Roll in small ball pieces. Use water so the peanut butter won't stick to your hands. After rolling into small balls you then roll it into the toasted sesame until well coated and then chill til firm. This will make it easier for you to handle and won't be sticky. This is the filling for your sticky ball.

2. The next step is to mix the flour with the coconut milk to form a soft dough. Now I never measure the quantities so the consistent should be of play dough. Slowly mix about a 1/3 of the coconut milk gradually into the flour and mix until you get a play dough like consistency. If the dough is not pulling together slightly add more coconut milk until you get a soft dough.

3. Now with the dough, take a little in your hand and roll it into a ball double the size of the peanut filling. Indent it with your thumb. Now place the peanut filling in the centre and pinch to enclose the filling. Then gently roll the ball between your hands until it forms into a ball making sure the filling is enclosed. Repeat with all of the ingredients. If you find that you have a lot dough left over just make it into smaller balls with no filling.

steps 4, 5, 6, 7

4. The next step is to cook the rice calls into boiling water . Drop each on carefully...they will sink to the bottom but then after about 5 minutes the balls should rise and float to the surface. You know this is ready.

5. To prepare the syrup, you just need to boil the ginger, brown sugar and mandarin orange peel together until the sugar is dissolved. Boil it on 4 cups of water.

6. For the syrup, in a pot dissolve water, sugar, ginger and peel until it goes all syrupy.

7. Finally, ladle balls into small bowls with the syrup and serve with toasted sesame seeds and drizzle with coconut milk

Note: to best store is to leave it out never in the fridge because what you would find is that even though you will get a nice cold syrup the balls will harden and it will not taste really good! Store them in an air tight container and consume them in 1 to 2 days.

Marco Polo Dining Cellar Martini Bar @ Brisbane

I spent my Sunday night at Conrad Treasury Casino not for the gambling lol but for the exquisite food and since my grandma is a platinum member of Conrad, I simply became her guest. This allowed me to access all the white gold suites and lounges in the casino that non-members couldn't. Boy was in for a fun ride :). Drinks and food on the house! Hanging around with my grandma was so fun!

At 6pm we headed to Marco Polo (international cuisine) which is claimed to be Brisbane's best five star restaurant. Evidently the sign pretty much said it all. It achieved Best Restaurant in Australia Accomodation Division for Excellence. The entrance boasted a huge wine cellar with over 300 wines on the menu behind an enormous glass window. I took a step back. Of course I didn't order since I do not drink wine. While grandma was having a quick chat with one of the friendly well groomed waiters I peeped inside the area and admired how beautiful and contemporary the restaurant felt - quiet chatter among guests, warm dim lights, contemporary decor, creamy, red and chocolate colours, and the pretty moss green fabric chairs and matching wall backing.

We were seated down by an exceptional and skilled waiter, had a quick chat and took our orders. I had a look at the dining menu and the food was basically Asian and European. The Asian food I can pretty much whip it up by myself at home however looking at the price at the Peking duck (with pancakes and shallots) was $130 between two people. Did I have a heart attack or what? Probably because I can buy a whole Peking duck at Sunnybank for $25. That food is for the high rollers! lol. Well I have to try this Peking duck next time when I am earning a 6 figure income to see if it's worth the price :) or maybe when I have a big win? lol

Flipping through the menu there were traditional food that you would find at other award winning restaurants. The first food on the list that caught my eye for my main course was the Sesame King Prawns with chili and honey glaze for $32. For the dessert I ordered Marinated Lychees in Iced Jasmine Tea with Mint Sorbet for $14 since I wanted something fresh, cold and sweet. Now I didn't order an entree since I knew I would be so full that I couldn't eat my dessert!

The food came about 15 minutes later after having a complimentary warm bread and garlic butter. Pretty efficient service!

Sesame King Prawns with chili and honey glaze for $32.

The Sesame King Prawns with chili and honey glaze was enormous! Plated was 4 crispy battered king prawns, with a side of salad and slices of mango covered with a tangy sweet kind of dressing. I ate the the whole lot well besides the heads and tails lol. It was pretty good although I would like to see more dressing from the glaze a bit more and maybe add one more prawn to live up to the price :).

Next was the dessert Marinated Lychees in Iced Jasmine Tea with Mint Sorbet. Oh now I was excited! I initially thought the whole dish was going to be in one big bowl with lychees and sorbet but it was presented on a long plate and each piece of dessert was placed beautifully on it's own. Now I didn't expect a creamy coconut jelly thing (left in photo below) but my goodness it tasted just perfect - not too too creamy and not overly sweet. The mint sorbet was nice and refreshing! The downside of this dish was the lychees.....it tasted like it was from a can of lychees that I would buy from the local Asian markets for $2.50 a can or from a lychee tea drink. Overall the dessert was good mixed with the creamy coconut milk jelly and the tang of the passion fruit sauce.

Overall the experience at Marco Polo was a good one. Next time when I come back I will try their Seafood range and maybe order and side or two? :)

Overall rating:

Affordability: Okay if you were on my wage - I would be going once a month. But if you are a high roller :)..you can devour this kind of food every week. It's pretty expensive.

Food: 8
Ambience: 8
Service: 8
Value: 5

Open: 6pm-late, seven days.
Menu costs: Entree $21-$27; mains $22-$41; and dessert $15-$19.

Level 2, Treasury Casino
Queen Street
Brisbane QLD 4000


Tel : +61 7 3306 8744
Fax : +61 7 3306 8687
Website: Marco Polo Dining Cellar Martini Bar
Marco Polo Dining Cellar Martini Bar on Urbanspoon


French Sweet Bread

After having sweet bread last week made by the local Vietnamese bakery at Darra (Brisbane) I was craving for some more. I wanted to make a normal type of sweet bread that's wasn't too hard to make. So where do I find such a recipe? On google of course......derr lol.

I googled "sweet bread" and Blue Barn Bulletin came up as the most popular searches for sweet bread. It was french sweet bread. I thought okay then let's try it. I had all the ingredients in my pantry read to mix up! I didn't have a bread mixer I just kneaded the dough manually by hand and like her, I doubled the ingredients up to make more. I like to use all the space in my oven when it's on. It's such a waste of energy to leave empty spaces in the oven while just cooking one thing! I let it rise for about an hour and then about half an hour again when the dough was in it's plats. I baked it at 170C and for about 25 - 30 minutes. It was browning early. I guess it was probably my oven.

When it came out it smelt delicious even though it looked like it was too too brown lol. I only had it in for 20 minutes. But that's okay, next time I have to keep watch! I didn't tell you that I did add sultanas and coconut just to be creative! I left 2 breads plain. It was good but I think I will put more another 1/2 cup of sugar and some vanilla essence in next time because I am such a sweet tooth! I guess this bread is not suppose to be too too sweet hey?

French Sweet Bread
adapted from Blue Barn Bulletin

Makes TWO loaves(?) / plats. DOUBLE INGREDIENTS TO MAKE FOUR like me :)

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I omit the salt unless using unsalted butter, then use 1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 cups flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Dissolve yeast in water. Heat milk to lukewarm. In a different bowl, combine egg, sugar, cinnamon and salt, if using.
2. Add yeast, milk and 4 Tablespoons butter and mix again. Add flour gradually till it can be gathered into a soft ball. Blend in remaining flour with fingers.

3. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Use remaining butter to keep fingers from sticking. Don't use any more flour.
4. Place in lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled. Punch down and knead a few times. Divide in half, then divide each half into 3 pieces and roll each piece between hands into a long rope.

5. Braid ropes from middle, pinching ends together. Form into ring if desired, place on oiled baking sheet.
6. Cover and let double. Bake at 350º F for 30-45 minutes.

ooppss a bit brown!! but still tasted good! doesn't taste burnt thank goodness! hehe......it smelt divine! It was so yummy with butter and jam :).

Thanks to Blue Barn Bulletin for sharing this wonderful recipe :)


Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

I love custard. I love love love custard! It's my favourite dessert. I love it warm drizzled over apple pie, cold over fresh fruit and I love it in tarts. There is this little food shop at Market Square(?) at Sunnybank. It's located in a Chinese (High Fresh) supermarket underneath Little Taipei (geez what happened to that place?) and this little shop sells these delicious baked or steamed dumplings and these yummy puff pastry egg tarts! I remember how my partner and I would travel 30 minutes out just get half a dozen or even a dozen of these tarts along with other little dumpling things. What I love most about this little shop is that you can tell the owner loves his job! Much passion and love goes into what he makes and I guess that is why a lot of customers come back for more and moree! I have no idea if that shop still exists there anymore.

fresh from the oven :)

I googled "pastry puff egg tarts" and Portuguese Custard Tarts came up. I guess this was the tart recipe I was after. The pictures looked like the tarts that I was eating before so I pretty much used this recipe from this site by Arianne Spratt. Okay so you didn't have to use loads of eggs so that's a plus for me since I hate using so much yolks from the eggs and I don't know what to cook with the egg whites! And this recipe compared to other egg tart recipes I looked at contained water. I gave the recipe a try and it turned out pretty good! The colour of the custard wasn't really really yellow because of the minimal amount of egg yolks and it wasn't runny at all. When I ate into the tart ....oozes of custard exploded into my mouth and the crunchy pastry was really really really gooooddd. Overall, this recipe was easy to follow and pretty easy to make. Ohhh and it wasn't just right...not too sweet!

Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)
adapted by Arianne Spratt from ten.com.au

Serves 6 or one lol
Makes 12 custard tarts


  • 200g puff pastry sheets (I used 2 sheets pin rolled out - save the dough don't throw away :) )
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 200c.
Cut pastry into 10cm rounds with a round cutter and push gently into 12 muffin pans. Prick bases all over with a fork. Place in the fridge while you make the filling.
Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes or until the mixture is slightly syrupy.
Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste with a little of the milk. Add the egg yolks and whisk until combined. Add remaining milk, vanilla and the sugar syrup.
water, cornflour til smooth then add the egg yolks
Return to the pan and stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens. Cool.
spoon cool mixture
Spoon the mixture evenly into the pastry cases and bake for about 20 minutes or until the custard is slightly browned.
Cool and serve. (cool and serve!! i bit into when i took it out lol I couldn't wait hey? LOL)

Notes: This is my (Arianne's) version of the yummy tarts that originate in Portugal. Note that they are supposed to be quite caramelised on the top – they aren’t burnt!!

my baked Portuguese custard tart straight from the oven!


Pork Broth with Soft Rice Noodles

*adapted from Luke Nguyen's Vietnam's Hieu tieu suong heo recipe

Hey guys! How was your weekend? Mine was so busy :). I feel like such a house wife these days lol. My dream hehe.

I watched Luke Nguyen's Vietnam instead of the re-run of Glee last Thursday night. One recipe that really got me watching was his "Hieu tieu Suong Heo" which is just Pork Rib Broth with Soft Noodles. Sounds bland but it's so so so yummy. I know it was really hot on the weekend but I made it anyway. All ingredients you can get at any Asian Markets ...my favourite is Inala lol and then my second favourite are Sunnybank asian grocers.

I did not use pork ribs and the squid (cause i know it will stink the house lols) instead I just used pork bones (with the marrow mmmm) and pork shins.

Yum yum yum

Pork Broth with Soft Rice Noodles
serves around 6

You will need:

  • 5 liters of water
  • 1 kg pork bones with marrows and some not
  • 1/2 kg of pork shin (chop in large chunks)
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 6 tbs fish sauce (or more if you like salty)
  • 2 tbs whole black pepper
  • 1 tbs finely diced garlic (in this case I used 6 cloves minced)
  • 1/2 red onion chopped

  • 2kg soft fresh noodles

  • garlic chives
  • mint
  • bean sprouts
  • shallots
  • fried onions
  • lemon or lime
  • chilli and fish sauce (as the main sauce)

In a large mixing bowl incorporate pork bones, pork shins (cut into large chunks), 1tbs salt, 2 tbs sugar, 3 tbs fish sauce, chopped red onions, minced garlic. Marinate for 2 to 3 hours. Or you can marinate over night for a deeper flavour.

Next in a large stock pot, add the marinated pork mix, pepper and then add in the 5L of water.

Bring the pot to boil, skin off impurities for 10 minutes and so. Keep an eye on it until the broth is clear. Reduce heat to low simmer and place on lid. Cook for 2 hours. Still keep an eye on it for anymore impurities that come to surface. Add the remaining fish sauce, salt and sugar. And importantly, taste if the broth is salty enough for you. For me, I did not add anymore salt/fish sauce cause it was already nice and salty for me. Depending on your tongue hey lol.

In another large stock pot, bring to boil water and blanch each portion of noodles for 10 secs and drain.

Take out pieces of the shin meat and cut in bit sized pieces and then add to each bowl and then cover with the hot pork broth.

Then to each bowl add bean sprouts, chives, mint, fried onion, chilli and squeeze lime or lemon on top. Make fish sauce and chilli for dipping the meat.

If the stock is bland still I recommend you to add chili fish sauce into it or just ad a bit of hoi sin into it. Sounds like pho now lol. I like the blandness....it's more healthy that way I guess lols.


Easy Cinnamon Rolls / Scrolls

I finally made cinnamon rolls or scrolls whatever you call them. I was suppose to make these last week but I was so busy with so much things! Anyway this cinnamon scroll was so delicious, moist and sweet I wanted to eat more but after eating the first roll I was so full I couldn't force anymore into my mouth lol.

This recipe does not require over night proving or even an hour proving. It takes only 30 minutes to prove but since I was in la la land at the time when I left my dough to "double in size" I think it double halfed? lol. And for this recipe you don't need a tray to roll it out and all the other time consuming bits. I am lazy I like things to be made quickly. I used muffin cake tins too for these cause I hate the mess when it's all in one pan. It's all nice and individual and was easy to come out of the muffin holes. They look like muffins but who cares it tasted good :). The rolls smelt so nice coming from the oven and it was lovely with cream cheese frosting on top. You don't have to do this but it's just an extra bit of something :). I deserved it lol.

before going into the oven. yeah ugly but who caresss lols

Here is the recipe as follows. It will take approximately 2 hours including the proving time.

Makes 12

You will need:

For the rolls
  • 1/4 (55g) unsalted butter room temperature and softened
  • 3/4 cups of milk
  • 3 1/4 cups plain flour sifted
  • 7g (pkt) instant yeast
  • 1/4 white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 cup of brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 tbs ground or crushed cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (115g) of butter softened at room temperature

- Optional extras: raisins, walnuts, canned apple, canned apricot in halves

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese (the cold one in the cheese aisle)
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 vanilla extract (a drop)
  • 1/8 tsp of salt

In a small saucepan heat milk until you see bubbles. Immediately remove from heat and add the butter into it slowly stirring until all the butter is melted. Leave it to cool.

In a large mixing bowl add only 2 and 1/4 cups of the sifted flour, yeast sugar and salt and mix well. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add water, egg and the cool butter/milk mixture into the bowl. Work it with a spatula. Then add the remaining sifted flour 1/2 cup at a time working it with spatula. Work it with the spatula until you see a dough form into a soft doughy ball. Turn the ball onto a lightly covered floured surface and knead until smooth. The consistency you are going for should not be too sticky and not too firm either.

Leave the ball in a big bowl with a moist towel over it and prove it for about 30 minutes. It should rise and double in size. Then after 30 minutes take the ball out of the bowl and punch air out of it and let it rise again for another say 10 minutes. In that 10mintues, in a small bowl combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon.

When the dough is ready, roll out the dough on a floured surface. Get it in a nice rectangle shape (12 (30cms) x 9 (12cms) inch). Does not have to be perfect. Now spread the dough with the butter, sugar and cinnamon mixture. I did not use all of the mixture. It was a bit too much. You can add raisins, walnuts or apple at this stage. Then carefully roll up dough slowly and cut the roll up into about an inch to an inch and half thick or 12 equal sizes.

Now place the cut side up in greased muffin cups. Cover and let it rise for another 30 minutes. Prehead oven at 190 degrees. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from muffin cups to cool.

out of the oven. smells divine. i am in heaven lol. Looks dry but it is nottt :P. It has this nice crispy (or crunchy) texture. Divineee divinneee

I recommend to store it in a air tight container up to 2 days. If more it will go hard! When you want to eat it pop it into the microwave for 10 seconds only! YUMMM....out it comes warm and chewyyY!

EXTRA FATTYNESS::: For the cream cheese frosting:
Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Now spread the frosting on warm rolls before serving. YUMM!

topped with cream cheese frosting. yummm. the sweet bread wasn't too dry or doughy...just right!

I tried to give half of these to my neighbours but they weren't at home. Too bad now lol

I recommend this recipe to anyone that wants something warm and sweet. I am not a very good baker but this time round I got it right!! The roll tasted like it was from a bakery! lols. *tear drop*


Vegetarian Patties / Cakes

Hi guys! Sorry I haven't updated for so long. We had a huge storm here and it cut out the telephone line and so I was net free for about 3 to 4 days! It was the most stressful days of my life lol. No jokes hahaha.

Anyway, I like to share a simple recipe to you without the meat and fat! I made these "vegetarian patties" on a Friday afternoon. I wanted something healthy, fresh and crunchy and something with flavour and I came up with this without the meat :P. I didn't use exact ingredients. Thought when I tried to form the mixture into patties it kind of crumbled a bit. I found that when I fried them in the pan it holds shape anyway and it was nice and crunchy.

For about 8 small Vegetarian Patties you will need:

  • 1 medium sized potato washed and peeled
  • 2 medium carrots washed and peeled
  • 1 zucchini washed and peeled
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of cumin and some paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 2 cups of bread crumbs
  • olive oil

  1. Firstly wash all your vegetables and grate them into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Then squeezed out excess liquid from the vegetables. Squeeze as much as possible to prevent it from being too wet and hard to form patty shapes.
  3. Then season with salt, pepper and paprika and cumin. Taste accordingly.
  4. Add the egg and mix through the mixture. This will help stick the veges together and make it easy to form the patties.
  5. In a fry pan add the oil and wait til it heats. Sprinkle bread crumbs over a large plate for coating the patties.
  6. Form the mixture into small shaped round patties and coat generously though the bread crumbs
  7. Lay the patties into the fry pan and fry each side until golden brown
  8. Repeat process until mixture is all used up
  9. You can cut them into quarters and serve them with salad
  10. Enjoy :)


Custard Fruit Jelly Cup Dessert

This is my fruit jelly custard cup. Pretty colourful hey :). It is so yummy, smooth, refreshing and sweet. I made about 6 of these with only one sachet of jelly crystals, some canned fruit salad and custard. It is so easy to make and trust me it is a hit! You will be wanting some more but somehow there is no more left cause you forgotten that you have eaten it all in one go lol.

To serve 6 or one :) you will need

  • 1 packet (usually 85g) of strawberry / raspberry / port wine jelly crystals
  • small can of fruit salad (drained) or you can chop up your own fresh fruit
  • 600ml carton of custard
Optional: you can put strawberries / walnuts / toasted coconut on top to serve. Whatever suits your fancy.

  1. Firstly make the jelly according to the packet instructions and then set aside to cool.
  2. Then divide the fruit among 6 small glasses and then pour the jelly over the fruit
  3. Put the glasses in the fridge for about 4 hours or until it is set.
  4. Then pour the custard over the top of the jelly. Refrigerate for another 3 hours.
  5. Then to serve put nuts or strawberries over the top and enjoy :)

(update: 8th Nov 09)

This is what I made the other day. Layering madness! I still used ONE 85g packet of jelly. It was very yummy and sweetlicious :)