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Ikea Food Restaurant/Cafe, Logan City

I love Ikea and the store I go to is the one in Logan City!  I love Ikea for their Swedish furniture - so modern and stylish yet cheap.  After hours and hours of walking around admiring their show rooms  I start to get real hungry and all I want to do is sit down for a good meal.   The food there is cheap for the price (under $15) and it tastes alright but I think the desserts there are pretty sweet!    I like having coffee there since I get it for free since I am a 'Ikea family member' which  allows me to have discounts on weekly items and deals on meals!

I only been to the Ikea Restaurant/Cafe for lunch.  I have yet to eat anything from the breakfast or dinner menu.  I have yet to try Bistro or purchase their items at the food market.

This is what I had a few weeks ago.  Fish and chips with a daim cake and a free coffee!   I think I paid about $10 altogether for this plus the free coffee.

Daim,  Almond tart with Daim - brittle butter almond centres with a milk chocolate coating.  It's nice and crunchy but way to sweet for my tooth!  I remember it was about $2.95 under the family member discount(?)  Normally its $3.95

Salt and pepper squid (under $6 i think>) and chips (extra $) on the side.  It looks dry but it was pretty okay.

What I had earlier this week:

Chicken breast with vegetable pasta.  I like this and it costs me $7.95.  The chicken was somewhat dry but oh well I get what I pay for :P.

Stuffed salmon fillet with chive and dill sauce with vegetable medallions with chive & dill sauce. $11.95!  This was so yummy!!!!  The medallions were delicious and the salmon was cooked right.  Fresh too.

I am at Ikea to only shop and if I am hungry I will get something to eat here.  It looks like hospital food but for the price you can't really complain!   The service is quick - you wait in line like a canteen and out you go with the food.  Finding a spot to eat is kind of hard if you eat around lunch time.  You have to clear your utensils and dishes yourself since they do not hire cleaners.  

I will recommend it if you are okay with cheap food :P.

Ikea Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Agave Mexican Bar and Grill, Fortitude Valley

Last night we celebrated a friend's birthday at Agave Mexican Bar and Grill at Fortitude Valley.  It's one of a few Mexican restaurants in Brisbane and I think this one is great for the food and for the price (cheap $$) but the service wasn't great.  It was so hard finding the place - we were doing laps and laps around Fortitude Valley but it was worth it when we finally found the place.   My partner and I were invited to join in a Mexican birthday celebration.

Atmosphere:   This place is huge!   High ceilings and concrete walls.  Strong bold colours, nice brown floors and warm lighting.   Now because we had reservations for a group we were seated down very quickly in the bench seats.  The bench seating can be convenient for the restaurant (squash as many people in) but when you are wearing a mini skirt + heels and seated in the middle of the seat it can be quite hard and awkward to get out! I tried 3 times to get out of my seat but failed :P.  So I had to get all the people to slide out so I could get out.  If you are booking for a group reservation wear pants!

Menu, dj area and singer

The highlight of the restaurant is the singing amigos in his outfits (he at least changed 2 times when I was there) and singing familiar Mexican songs.  He got the ladies going and I really enjoyed watching.  Such different culture.  I enjoyed the live music.  It can be really noisy that you can't really hear the person next to you but it's okay because this is what I expect from a restaurant like this and especially from latin culture - they know how to party, dance hard and love their music!  They love music!

I really recommend to book because this place can be really packed especially on a Friday night.   If you don't I think you would be waiting a long time for your seat and probably your food.  Or maybe have to divert to the outside seats!

Benching seating inside

Service:  Okay the service.  The service varies a lot between restaurants and it depends on the nights and how busy or quiet it is.  I really don't want to give negative feedback but I am just giving my opinion.  The service wasn't the best because we were missing 3 orders from what we ordered initially (huge group) and the host that was hosting the celebration had to pay for the orders that were missing!  We were informed from another waitress that 'someone else might of ate it' and he really insisted on this excuse!  I really thought this wasn't good enough at all!  It could be miscommunication between the chefs/cooks and waitresses but wasn't happy that people in our table were still waiting and waiting for the orders while everyone else was enjoying their food.

Food:  The food was great!  It was so cheap from other Mexican restaurants I have tried and it tasted as nearly as good as 'my latin mother's' cooking!   So it must be authentic!    I think the food was packed with a lot of meat (so full after eating a chicken enchiladas $18.90) and all the food was plated up really nice and neat and came out quick! (besides the orders that were missing).

Some of my foods my neighours were having for the night.

I think this is the beef burritos my friend had for 14.90. This is a SNACK not a meal.
Okay this is really a snack because my friend ate this down in 5 minutes!  She said it was nice, crunchy and hot!  Could be bigger :).

This is my chicken enchiladas for 18.90
This is my main meal for the night - chicken enchiladas.   It was okay and what I expected.  Not a punch but bland and cheesy.   Just add taco sauce?   The cheese was good,  the chicken was way too much and loved how they packed a lot of fresh crispy lettuce.  I finished half.  I think two people can finish this together.

My partner had: King Prawn Diablo – grilled king prawns with smoky chipotle sauce and served with mexican rice $23

I was so envious when the waiter came along with the King Prawn Diablo my partner ordered.   He said he was in 'heaven'.  It was nicely grilled (you can taste the smokiness of it), the sauce was creamy and the side of Mexican rice was perfect!  Nice smokey flavours and a bit spicy.  He said for the price it's very worth it and very cheap!  He would come back for the same dish again.

Mocktails - $7.  Fresh and sweet!

Overall:  Overall I had a great night out with my Mexican 'family' and Agave made it nice with food and the live music.  Though, the service was quick and efficient the missing orders put them down.  It was horrible which the host had to end up forking out more money!   I really hope this is a one off thing because I really like the place.

Don't think Mexican food is like Oldepaso (from the box).  I read a lot of bad reviews about this place and other Mexican places that 'there is no flavour' or 'no punch' or 'kick' because I think these people eat from the box :).  Add taco sauce?  I don't know why these people that give such bad reviews when they have not yet tasted a REAL MEXICAN's COOKING?   I have a lot of times and this what you would expect!  Like seriously?  It's mild to hot and it depends what you guys order really!   

Parking:  Hard to find the place and parking it's packed!
Family friend:  No.

Atmosphere:  8/10 Noisy, busy and live entertainment.
Food:  8/10 Quick, packed and hot!!!!!!!!!!!!
Price:  9/10 Cheap for the food.
Communication and service:  5/10 'Missing food' and loss of communication. Host had to pay over $50 of more food to cover the missing food.  Horrible.  Hope this is one off.

Though there were mishaps I would come back and order their other seafood dishes.  However, I am really let down, very let down that the host had to fork out so much money to replace the orders

I don't know.  Tell me when you go there in a big big group.....if there are missing orders and you had to pay extra to replace them.....

Good food but the service not very good.  

Agave Mexican Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


Kid Friendly: Pork or Chicken Fried Wontons

Last week I had the chance to teach the children how to make 'fried wontons' (with a simple pork and chicken filling) - from what ingredients to use, mixing and putting the mixture into wonton sheets and showing them the frying method.  This part an adult has to do - after all I was teaching children that are 3 years of age.  They enjoyed this experience and to me they have learned so much from recognizing and naming the ingredients, embracing my culture and having to taste their own food rather than picking these up from the Chinese restaurant or in frozen packets.

Now because I didn't want to overwhelm the children with too much ingredients I just used the minimal! Having the other ingredients does not really mean that the taste will be bland.  It was really good!

Kid Friendly: Pork or Chicken Fried Wontons
We made about 50 on these wontons with minimal meat inside.  If you make leftovers then freeze.  If you want to make just chicken then omit the pork and double chicken the amount and vice versa.

What will you need:
  • Approx 150 grams of minced pork
  • Approx 150 grams of minced chicken
  • 1/2 tbs of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbs of minced ginger
  • 1 - 1.5 tbs of soy sauce
  • 1 tbs of rice wine vinegar
  • pepper to taste
  • wonton wrappers (i used the white you can also use the yellow egg wrappers)
  • bit of cornflour and water to paste around the edges of the wontons to enclose the filling.
  • vegetable oil for frying


  • Have all the ingredients laid out and have the ginger, garlic in whole because this way the children and identify what is what and have them to smell and ask them what does this smell like.  Show them the cut up version which will be put into the mixture.

  • Then divide portions up into their own mixing bowls and add all the ingredients together and have them to smell each first and get them to mix and describe how it feels and looks.  The mixture should be sticky and pasty looking.
  • Next have the wonton wrappers already peeled for the children (do this beforehand) and show them how.  
  • Lay the wonton wrappers on a flat surface and fill the middle of the sheet with a tiny filling of the mince mixture (just under half a teaspoon) and with water mixed with cornflour  brush the edges of the wrapper.  Enclose the filling by taking the bottom of the wrapper to the top of the wrapper and seal.

  • I skipped pleating part cause it seems a bit too challenging for their little fingers.  The children showed me that they could dip the finger into the bowl and brush it around the edges and fold it up to enclose the filling.  You can really make any shape!

  • With an adult, heat oil (about 1 inch in a wok) until hot.  Fry about 8 wontons at a time until brown and turn it a few times about for 2 to 3 minutes.  
  • Drain on paper towel
  • Serve with soy sauce and eat immediately!

I am sure you will love watching your children concentrate and focus on this easy cooking activity and that they learn that not everything comes out from frozen packets or take away from a Chinese restaurant.


We snack on: Mochi

My partner and I love snacking on Mochi so much!   Mochi is a glutinous Japanese rice cake that is filled with sweet fillings and paste.   I think we might of gained a bit of weight here and there.  I love these tiny desserts but it's kind of tempting when there is more of it when you just want to have one!

The flavours from the top to bottom:  sesame, taro, green tea,  ?, and peanut.  I have no idea what is the second last one (this was my least favourite).

Should try making these one day but you can get a whole tray for this for around $7AU depending which asian market you get it from.  This tray I got from Sunnybank.


Wonton Noodle Soup

Wonton noodle soup - my favourite and especially one of my partner's favourite meals.  We always tend to go out for wonton noodle soup during this cold weather because I cannot make it!  Well actually too LAZY to whip something like this up when you can buy a bowl for under $10.

On the weekend I challenged myself and cooked wonton noodle soup for the first time.   The filling is somewhat like the fried dumplings I usually make (mixture of chicken and pork) but this time I added juicy banana prawns (bought these at woolworths for about $12 for a kg - on sale).  It adds a nice texture to it when cut up real chunky!  I do not like ordering a wonton soup when I find only mince pork in it!   A soup wonton should use the egg wrap (yellow skin wrap) cause it doesn't break when cooked.   The broth I make is simple chicken stock and shitake mushrooms with some seasonings and lots of ginger.  It takes about an hour.... I know I am lazy I can't wait for hours to make a broth.  The greens I use is just bok choy and for the dipping sauce I usually make is the ginger chilli soy sauce to go with the meal. 

All these things that you need I reckon you could all get from an Asian supermarket!  It is a lot of processing but it is so satisfying that you put all the hard work into (and know what you put in it) what you made.  If you are cooking for people I think you should get them to help out making the wontons.  Makes life easier.

I usually make a lot of wontons so the ingredients below may not be accurate to serve an accurate amount of people.  If you have any mince mixture left over freeze it and make wontons later if you need them.  Or you can make more wontons and freeze it (make sure freeze the wontons seperately when layered because it will stick and clump together).

Soup Broth
- 1kg chicken bones
- 3/4 cup of shredded shiitake mushrooms  (rehydrate with water as packet instructions)
- 2 litres of water
- ginger chopped
- garlic whole 
- 1 star anise (optional)
- few cloves (optional)
- salt and pepper
- dash of soy sauce
- dash of sesame oil


- 150grams of pork mince
- 150grams of chicken mince
- 200grams of any kind of prawns peeled and diced into small pieces
- 1tbs of light soy sauce
- 2tbs of oyster sauce
- dash of seasme oil
- 1tbs of rice wine vinegar
- 1 ginger peeled and minced
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- strands of green onion chopped
- 1 cup of chinese cabbage chopped (optional)
- 1 cup of water chestnut chopped (optional)
- 1 packet of square or round shaped egg wonton wrappers (we use half)
- water
- 1 packet of egg noodles (would serve 4 people)
- 1 bunch of bok choy roughly cut into 20cm pieces.


Soup broth: Put all ingredients together in a large pot and simmer for 1 hour.  Season to taste.

Wontons:  For the wontons add everything in a big mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.   Add the meats and prawns in first, then the condiments and seasoning.  The mixture should be sticky.

How to wrap your wontons.  Look at this video - it shows the most easiest way to fold.  Keep wrapping until you have enough to serve how many people you want. I like to fold mine in the tortellini way using just under a teaspoon of filling.  My partner attempted to wrap one (guess which one it is lol).

Wonton soup: What I like to do is transfer enough soup into a smaller pot from the original pot and cook the wontons.   This is because then you won't have broken wraps that might fall of the wonton in the soup and this way you have more fresh soup when needed. You can freeze the stock and freeze left over wontons.
  • Cook egg noodles as per packet instructions.  I used fresh fried noodles so all I had to do was immerse the noodles into boiling water and swirl it around for 1 minute or less otherwise it will go mushy.  Divide the noodles into separate bowls.
  • Set aside about 8 (or more) wontons per person.  Freeze left overs.
  • Boil about 3 litres (or less) of the soup broth into another pot.
  • When the broth comes to a rolling boil add the wontons and cook uncovered and when it floats, the wontons are ready but do check for its readiness by cutting a wonton in half.   It takes about 3 minutes to cook and this all depends how much filling you put inside the wontons.   Make sure have all fillings equally to cook properly and at the same time.  Add the bok choy and heat through for 2 minutes.  
With the divided bowls, ladle soup and bok choy over the noodles and add about 8 wontons in each bowl.  Serve immediately!


    Vietnam Corner BBQ Restaurant Sunnybank Plaza

    Vietnam Corner BBQ is one of the main restaurants I end up going to at Sunnybank to pick up a nice hot cheap meal (I know I love cheap and filling).   I have been to this place several times even though the restaurant does not really serve most Vietnamese food that even really taste like it but I digress.  I only come here for one dish!

    Vietnam Corner BBQ Restaurant

    (07) 3344 2233
    Shop 140 Sunnybank Plaza Shopping Centre
    Brisbane, 4109

    Atmosphere:  I would say the atmosphere is pretty nice.  It's well lit and has not cheap feel like a Vietnamese restaurant.   With Vietnamese restaurant you would be pretty much sitting on flimsy chairs that feel like they are about to break but with this restaurant they have nice sturdy chairs and tables.  The menus are right at the front door (and specials hanging on the walls) with the condiments that you would have to serve yourself.  This place is pretty busy around lunch and dinner time filled with mainly families.  It's a family friendly restaurant - there is lots of space to move around.

    Service:  Service is okay.    The main thing is that I get my meal on time because I don't like waiting for food.   Food comes out efficiently and it has been consistent.

    Food:  Okay to the food.  The food could be better...I mean they should live up to being a Vietnamese restaurant but if I wanted authentic real Vietnamese food I would just walk over to Market Square to Pho Hien Vuong Restaurant but I really come here for the "Roast Duck Wonton Noodle Soup" which is just a egg noodle soup with roast duck and really really good wontons. 

    Look how heapful this bowl looks for just $13?  Okay this was the first duck dish I tried here and one of the cooks made a mistake by putting a bit too much duck in the bowl!   I had a hard time trying to finish it but it was a good value meal.  After going there again and ordering the same dish....it wasn't as plentiful with the duck!  Oh well it was good though :).

    The wontons at Chinese restaurants I found is that they have nice prawns inside it and really chewy but with the Vietnamese style wontons they are usually filled with a peppery mince flavour and no seafood.  This is why I come back here to Vietnam Corner because of their wontons cause the restaurant is pretty much run by Chinese.

    I ordered a "Vietnamese Coffee" which was a major let down and it cost under $5.  Too much of a powder taste.

    Other dishes I had here:

    Combination Broken Rice - not bad!

    Wonton Noodle Soup - Love the wontons

    Overall Rating:  Good and reasonable price!  The food has been consistent here besides the duck wonton noodle soup.  Love the atmosphere, very modern and inviting.  A nice place for families with children since they have big space to move around.  Parking is not a problem really around the place.  The quality of the food is good and the price corresponds to it. 

    A 7.5 out of 10 for me! :)

    Vietnam Corner BBQ Restaurant on Urbanspoon


    My Tho Vietnamese Noodle Bar, Shop 49 Inala Town Centre

    My Tho Vietnamese Noodle Bar, Shop 49 Inala Town Centre 
    Open 7 Days
    Monday - Friday: 8.30am to 8pm
    Saturday: 8.30am to 4pm
    Sunday: 9.30am to 5pm
    Phone: (07) 3162 7979

    I have been holding back writing a little review on this little dine in and take away restaurant tucked away back in the food court inside Inala Plaza.  I have been to My Tho Noodle Bar at least 10 times since it opened last year.   Business has been so well for this little place and during lunch time its packed and customers don't even mind eating out in the food court.  I have been to nearly every restaurant in Inala and in my opinion offers the best Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and hu tieu mi tho thap cam (combination egg noodle soup) here. 



    It's a small place with a few tables and has a pretty mediocre environment like most Vietnamese restaurants.   White tiled walls with a hint of blue.   There is a lack of space but I don't really mind going around tables and seats.  Above you will see the main dishes that they serve from their Vietnamese noodle soups to combination rice dishes.  It's pretty busy around lunch time so you will have to wait for a seat or you can eat out in the food court.   I was there on Sunday in the late afternoon and of course there were only about 6 people there.

    Service:  Service is efficient and the ladies that serve are very polite and can get whatever you need.  Most importantly they smile! :).   They didn't rush me in ordering but I knew what I wanted.  It took 10 minutes and the food was piping hot.  There is always condiments on the table and fresh chilli.  Also the ladies will serve you some complimentary tea.

    Food:  Okay down to the food.  The food is great and I had no problems.   The food and the service is what keeps me going back to eat a cheap filling meal.  I have only ordered the special Vietnamese beef noodle soups and the combination noodle soups.  I found that the soups were not too salty or sweet.  I have yet to try the other dishes on the menu.  I just love the egg noodle soup and Vietnamese beef noodle soups too much!

    On the Menu above:  My Tho Style Combination Noodle Soup, Steamed rice with crispy chicken, egg noodle with seafood (dry or soup), egg noodle soup with steamed duck,

    The dine in / takeaway serve mainly the  hu tieu my tho hoac mi (clear rice noodle or egg soup), pho bo (beef rice noodle soup), banh canh (starch noodle soup), rice vermicelli dishes and the broken rice dishes. Prices range from $8.00 to $10.00 a dish.  They did have a price hike in some of their main dishes. The prices do correspond to their quality and quantity to the dishes so I don't mind paying more.

    Hu tieu my tho thap cam nuoc (my tho style combination rice noodle soup)

    The photo above is the combination rice noodle soup and is my favourite (next to the pho).  I think at this place it offers more pieces of meats and seafood in the dish.  They even have a few juicy scallops put in, quail eggs, fish cake, thinly sliced liver, peppery minced meat, BBQ pork, squid over your choice of thin egg noodles or fresh rice noodle soup.  You can have this dish dry but I always go for the soup variety.  Soup dishes are always served with garnish of bean sprouts, green herbs and a wedge of lemon or lime.  I just love the Chinese chives in the dish.  At some places the noodles can be a bit mushy but I found here the noodles has been consistent and the same - fresh and not slimy.

    Overall Rating:  Overall this place is pretty cheap for what they offer.  The menu is solid and the food has been consistent, service is quick but the decor is mediocre which I don't mind.  After all I am there to eat a cheap meal after a long day busy shopping for groceries.   I know it is a small place but families can come here and eat and always can eat in the food court.  I am going here again next week for another bowl of their soups!

    I forget to mention that parking is sure not a problem but very busy during the lunch hour.   They do serve drinks and they haven't said anything about me taking a McDonalds coffee into the joint :).

    I rate the place 8/10 because its cheap, the service is fantastic and the quality of the food is fantastic.

    My Tho Vietnamese Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon


    Passion fruit Mousee Cake

    Passion fruit Mousse Cake

    I attempted to make this Passion fruit Mousse Cake by Do What I Like on the weekend and I have to say it was pretty good yet the chiffon cake was dry?  I think because I blasted my oven on full force fan or may be I didn't measure the ingredients to the exact amount.  Or maybe time had surpassed and I forgot? 

    I didn't have fresh passion fruit so I used the canned passion fruit pulp that you can get at Woolworths and I didn't have other fresh fruit on hand so I used some grapes lol.   It was okay.   But I reckon that having fresh mangoes or strawberries or even kiwi fruit be so much better to compliment the passion fruit flavour!

    What it looked out when it came out of the spring-form pan

    That's what it looked like the next day.  The cake takes a lot of time.  You have to bake chiffon cake first, let it cool pretty much the whole day, then cut it into 3 layers (in my case only 2) and then you have to make the mousse then assemble the cake, chill for 2 to 3 hours and then make the glaze and chill.  After that decorate.  I just whipped up cream and covered the sides of the cake and decorated it with toasted slithered almonds.   It takes a lot of effort and now I know why cakes like this are pretty expensive. 

    The mousse tasted really good - light and creamy.  The sponge I have to work at :)

    I am still practicing cake making every single weekend so maybe next week I probably make a chocolate/coffee mousse cake.  I think that sounds a bit better.


    Coffee Chiffon Cake

    Coffee Chiffon Cake

    I love chiffon cake and this is the 7th time I have made it.  Two out of five times it was a success!  This one "Coffee Chiffon Cake" is by far is the best chiffon ever!   I found this recipe on My Food Affair and I was surprised that I didn't need any kind of milk especially coconut milk!  I was very happy with the outcome of the cake and it was so light, fluffy and very moist.  I baked it for about close to one hour (just in case) and I tested it with skewer and it came out clean for the first time!

    I am so naughty, I didn't really follow the instructions (oops) but with the egg mixture part I just tipped everything in (all the dry ingredients mixed together first) and mixed it well with a whisk.   And with the egg whites folding into the egg yolk part, I mixed it through with clean hands instead of a spatula or a whisk.  I wanted to be careful that I don't lose any air and still mix the egg yolk and egg whites mixture properly.

    This is how it came out like:

    It came out very nice, tall, airy and fluffy.  

    You can eat this cake plain but I dressed mine up by making it a 3 layer chiffon cake with layers of freshly made custard and coffee whipped cream!

    I am still practicing decorating skills but it still tasted pretty good.  It wasn't too bitter and not very sweet.

    Coffee Chiffon Cake
    adapted by Just Baking from My Food Affair

    Pan: 22cm stainless steel angel food/chiffon cake tin (do not use non stick - it will not work). Do not grease since you already have a sufficient amount of oil in this recipe.

    4tbs of instant coffee
    2/3 of hot water
    6 egg yolks at room temperature 
    1/2 cup of vegetable oil
    2 tsp of vanilla extract
    1cup of caster sugar

    2 1/4 cups of CAKE flour (if you only have plain flour and want to make cake flour - for every 1 cup of plain flour take out 2 tbs and replace with 2tbs of corn flour)
    1tbs of baking powder
    1/4 tsp of salt

    1/2 cup of caster sugar
    6 egg whites at room temperature
    1/2tsp of cream of tarter

    If you want to decorate your cake like mine:

    go to custard recipe for a custard layer

    or you want a coffee whipped cream you will need:

    400mls of cream
    4 tbs of powdered sugar
    1tbs of instant coffee


    1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 160 (fan forced)

    2. Dissolve coffee in the water in a cup.  Then transfer this to a bigger bowl together with oil, vanilla, egg yolk and sugar.  Mix well with a whisk.

    3. Sift together baking powder, cake flour (if making cake flour incorporate the corn flour and plain flour together first) and salt.  Add to the coffee mixture and mix well with a whisk.

    4. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tarter with an electric mixture until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat until you get stiff peaks.  To check the egg meringue shouldn't slide out of the bowl if placed over your head :P.

    5.  Gently fold the egg whites into the coffee mixture in three batches.  Blend thoroughly but do not over mix.  I gently fold the mixtures with either a whisk or with clean hands.

    6. Transfer the batter to a chiffon cake pan.

    7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (Do not open the oven when its baking!)

    8. Remove the pan from the oven and invert it over a cooling rack onto its feet. Let the cake cool completely.  It will take about 2 to 4 hours to completely cool.

    9.  When the cake is completely cool, carefully run a knife or spatula around the sides of the cake to loosen it before inverting onto a wire rack.

    Coffee Whipped Cream

    1. Whip the cream, sugar, coffee until stiff.  Do not overbeat because the cream will split.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.  I usually whip the cream while the cake is baking.

    2.  Slice the cake into 3 equal layers and spread the filling on each layer.

    Decorate your cake with chocolate bits or nuts.  Whatever you feel like.


    How to make fresh custard

    I would have to say fresh custard is always better than the powdered custard.  I find fresh made custard is more yummy and comforting but the powdered stuff tastes like plastic!  When you will have a taste of this custard,  I don't think you will ever buy the powdered stuff ever again.  This recipe is so quick and easy.

    You will need:

    3 egg yolks
    1/2 cup of caster sugar
    2tbs of corn flour
    250ml of cream
    170ml of milk
    1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

    In a saucepan, add egg yolks, caster sugar and corn flour.  Mix well.  Then add the cream and milk and mix til smooth.  Put the pan on medium high heat and beat til it thickens and boils.  Do not over beat cause it will curdle.  Remove from heat and add in the vanilla extract and mix.   Transfer into bowl and cover with cling wrap to prevent from skin forming.

    Braised Tofu and Vegetables

    Braised Tofu and Vegetables
    Tonight I cooked something meatless - Braised Tofu and Vegetables.  It was such a light and lovely meal!  The tofu was so beautiful - crunchy outside and moist inside.   I am trying to cut back by eating less meat and more vegetables in my diet.  Instead of eating white rice I had some spaghetti coated in a bit of garlic chilli oil.   It was a delicious combination.

    Serves 2


    400grams of fresh regular tofu
    1/2 cup of vegetable oil
    1 bunch of any greens like bok choy, choi sum into 10cm lengths
    1 clove of garlic crushed and sliced in thinly
    1 cup of mushroom slices
    1 small carrot cut into slices
    some water
    2 tbs of light vegetarian soy sauce (or just light soy sauce)
    2 tbs of vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce (or the normal oyster sauce)
    pinch salt
    shallots to to garnish


    Cut tofu in small small squares approximately 2 to 2.5cms and transfer on a plate
    Heat the oil in a work or a large heavy based pan on high
    Slide or tip the tofu gently into the pan sideways with a knife (I find this easier because the oil will splatter if you place a square tofu in the oil one by one!)
    Turn the tofu until its golden brown on each side and then drain on paper towel. Set aside
    Pour off any excess oil from the pan and leave about 1TBS and reheat on high.
    Add the garlic til golden (not burnt) and quickly add in the mushrooms and saute.  Set aside with the mushroom juices in another bowl
    Add the carrots and a bit of water and cook (don't let it over cook) and then add the green vegetables.  Remove and set aside.
    In the same pan, add the sauces, some water (if you want a thin sauce) and stir.   Carefully place the tofu pieces into the pan and coat with the sauce.  Add all of the vegetables and cook for a further 2  minutes.
    Salt to taste
    Garnish with shallots and serve immediately over hot jasmine rice (or spaghetti in my case)


    Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies {revisited}

    Thin an Crispy Oatmeal Cookies (with a hint of saltiness)

    It has been since 2009 I made these delicious Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies and while I was baking the chiffon cake (previous post), I wanted to fill up the second shelf in the oven with these cookies.   I had all the ingredients I needed plus the load of butter in the fridge that was sitting there for weeks.

    These cookies are great if you are into a crispy edge, crunch and a moist middle.  However, when reading the ingredients on Cooks Illustrated it says to use 14T of butter and when I converted it to grams it ended up to nearly 200grams of butter which is a bit much?  But I digress :).  I don't care cause butter sometimes makes food taste good :).

    14t equates to approximately 200grams.  For conversion go here

    I made about 24 to about 28 cookies off the Cooking Illustrated recipe and this time my cookies are a bit more flatter than the last ones I made in 2009 which were a bit thicker.  If you want the cookies to be real thin you would have to press the dough ball down further to about 1.5cm (not 2cm) and with a fork (I find it better) and bake for a further couple of minutes.

    Cookies can last for three days in an air tight container and still maintain their crispness the day after - that's if the dough ball is pressed down pretty thin before baking and baked a bit longer.

    You can add raisins, choc chips or nuts if to give it a bit more variety.
    Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies
    by Cooks Illustrated

    • 1 cup flour
    • 3/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 14 T unsalted butter, softened, but still cool (65 degrees)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl.

    2. In standing mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again. With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth, 10 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oats and mix until well incorporated, 20 seconds. Give dough final stir with spatula to ensure no flour pockets remain.

    3. Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 T, then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart, 8 dough balls per sheet. Using fingertips, gently press ball to 3/4 inch thickness.

    4. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, edges are crisp, and centers yield to slight pressure when touched, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack;cool cookies completely on sheet.

    Poh's Orange Chiffon Cake {inspired}

    My Chiffon Cake inspired by Poh's Orange Chiffon Cake Recipe

    Chiffon cake.  I love this cake but every time I attempt to make it again it makes me nervous.  The reason?  Well I have had epic failures baking the chiffon cake.  How many failures?  FIVE times.   During these five times the chiffon cake either collapsed or was really wet inside.  When making this cake again today,  I thought to myself if I fail once again after five times I will really throw out that chiffon cake tin and scream my lungs out.   I was persistent to be successful this time - I measured correctly and took care with the way I folded the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture.  I really suck at baking but I felt so much victory today because of this cake! :).  Thanks to Poh's Orange Chiffon Cake" recipe I am pretty happy.

    While watching the segment  I noticed that she did a couple of things quite differently from the written recipe.  She tipped her egg yolks in the flour mixture instead of the beating the egg yolk with sugar til light and fluffy (like a commenter on the board noticed).  Also when she 'folded' both egg and egg white mixture she mixed it gently with a whisk (to incorporate more air) not a spatula.  I did these two steps and my chiffon cake turned out airy and moist and did not collapse.  It did rise more than other times I baked chiffon cake!  I was a very happy girl today.

    Cake wasn't high since I used a 25cm tin instead of a 22cm tin

    I used a 25cm angel cake food tin that I bought from Matchbox in Brisbane for around under $30.  They didn't have any smaller so I opted for the bigger cake tin.   This is why I think my cake didn't rise to a complete height.

    Finished product

    Also instead of using Poh's ganache recipe (I am not a very big chocolate fan on cakes), I opted to dress up the whole cake with whipped cream, toasted desiccated coconut and used macadamia nuts instead of hazelnuts.

    Cutting in three layers was quite hard.

    Since my cake wasn't at full height cutting it in three layers was quite hard!  It wasn't as straight as Poh's but nevertheless it wasn't quite noticeable :).  It did give the cake extra height but I wished that I could of made more whipped cream to make the cream layers thicker! 

    The verdict?  It was so yummy!  The orange citrusy flavour went well with the coconut!  It was very light and airy.  I am so going to make this again in a few more weeks and make other flavours like durian :) hehe.

    Poh's Orange Chiffon Cake



    Serves 8-10
    • 5 egg whites (at room temperature)
    • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, sifted
    • 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
    • 5 egg yolks
    • 5 tbs (100ml) coconut milk
    • 4 tbs (80ml) vegetable oil
    • 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar, extra
    • 4 tbs (80ml) orange juice
    • 1 tbs finely grated orange zest
    • 150g plain flour, sifted
    • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder, sifted
    • pinch of salt
      Roasted Hazelnuts
    • 150g hazelnuts
    • 400ml pouring cream
    • 3 tbs icing sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or natural vanilla extract
    • 150ml pouring cream
    • 200g good quality dark chocolate chopped or broken into small pieces


    1. Preheat oven at 170°C (160°C fan forced).
    2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition until you achieve stiff peaks. Set aside.
    3. In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks with extra caster sugar until thick, pale and fluffy. Add coconut milk, vegetable oil, orange juice and zest, flour and baking powder, and whisk until combined. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture three batches.
    4. Pour into a 22 centimetre angel cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes on the middle shelf, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the oven on to roast the hazelnuts.
    5. When cake is out of the oven, immediately invert the tin and leave the cake in the tin to cool completely (about two hours).
      Roasted Hazelnuts
    1. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for seven minutes, or until the skins are splitting and flakey. Remove from the oven and pour into the middle of a clean tea towel, wrap up and gently rub the skins off. Place the nuts on a chopping board and chop to desired texture.
    1. Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until stiff, be careful not to overbeat as the cream will split. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.
    2. When the cake is cool and ready to be assembled, run a knife around the edge and base of the cake and invert to release. Slice the cake with a sharp chef's knife into three equal layers. Spread half of the filling and a third of the chopped hazelnuts on each layer.
    1. Bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat, add chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and well combined. Place the cake on a wire rack and, using a spatula, spread the ganache evenly over the top and side of the cake and sprinkle with the remaining chopped hazelnuts.