Archive for Food & Health

 

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Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

31 August 2015

A few weeks ago, I made something a little special for dessert!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

This recipe was originally a mish mash of several RAW Gluten Free Chocolate Tart recipes that I found on the internet (pure and simple, rawmazing, bare root girl).

But my tart isn’t raw, because I use roasted nuts (they taste better!), I baked the base (roasted nuts and coconut is HEAVEN) and raw desserts use a lot of dates (I hate dates!).

The base is so delicious! Almost like a protein ball crossed with chocolate granola and it holds together really well. You can pick up a slice and it’ll stay in one piece. It is biscuity, crunchy and I have been baking it with sliced fruit on top to make simple fruit tarts.

Enjoy!!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Hazelnut Crust

Crust/Pastry
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoon on cacao powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon on vanilla essence

Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
250ml coconut milk

1 cup of frozen raspberries
1/2 of frozen raspberries (to serve)

*Chocolate Filling Alternative
(I often run out of cacao powder, so I sometimes use this, plus it’s much simpler)
150g of dark chocolate
250ml coconut milk

1) Preheat oven to 180C.

2) Use a food processor to blend the crust ingredients. I don’t suggest using a high speed blender, because you don’t want the crust to be so fine and powdery. I think the crust looks better with chunky bits!

3) Press into a 24cm flan tine, or 21cm spring base tin. Work into the bottom and up the sides to create an even crust lip. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Let it cool.

4) Gently melt the coconut oil (or chocolate) then add cacao and maple syrup. Let it cool.

5) Pour filling into base, spread out the raspberries evenly over the top. It’s OK if they sink into the filling. Put into freezer to set for 2 hours. Leave in fridge to defrost for 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle more raspberries over the top to serve.

I loved the sharp tang of the raspberries with the mellow chocolate filling! But my children found the raspberries a bit too sour and would only eat it if I put a bit of ice cream or maple syrup on top.


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Lamb Pho Soup (for the Slow Cooker)

20 August 2015

Lamb Pho Soup Noodles

I LOVE making this pho soup! And my family loves to eat it!

We eat it with noodles or rice. It is absolutely delicious, warming, hearty, rich and comforting.

It’s quite easy to make too, especially when I use a slow cooker.

In authentic pho, you’re supposed to use beef bones and pre-boil them. But I like to use lamb shanks for my soups, because they are easy to buy, they are a cheap cut, I love the softness and taste of lamb, and there is no “cooked blood” mess to clean up. Plus I don’t have to pre-boil them, which reduces the prep time.

In authentic pho, you’re also supposed to char or grill the onion and ginger. I’ve made the soup without charring, and it tastes just fine, so it depends on how much time you have (or how lazy you are).

Sometimes I make this soup and just serve it over brown rice, spinach, broccoli, thinly sliced carrots, cabbage and cucumber… because I can’t be bothered buying rice noodles + sprouts + mint + coriander to make proper pho.

This is my version, which was created from a mishmash of 3 online recipes, but I tweaked them to make it easier for me.

I tend to throw everything together in my slow cooker in the morning and dinner is ready 7-8 hours later!

Ingredients
Broth Ingredients –
4 lamb shanks on the bone
2 medium onion
1 piece of ginger (10cm)
2 garlic cloves, bruised
1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1 whole star anise
1 large cinnamon stick
6 cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of fish sauce (I don’t like fish sauce so I use soy sauce instead)
1L of beef stock
5L of hot water

To Serve
500g of rice noodles
2 spring onions
150g of bean sprouts
bunch of coriander
bunch of mint leaves
lime wedges
soy or fish sauce
chilli

Method
Char the onion and ginger over a naked flame or pop them under the grill for 15 minutes (turning regularly). I usually pop them under the grill while I gather the rest of the ingredients.

Roughly chop the onion and ginger and throw into the slow cooker. Add garlic, coriander seeds, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

Add lamb shanks to the pan and stir them around a bit to coat with the spices.

Add 1L of beef stock and 5L of hot water. Set on low and forget for 7 hours!

After 7 hours: Turn off slow cooker and let it rest/cool for 30 minutes while you prepare the noodles, garnish and slice vegetables.

Skim off the fat from the soup. Carefully lift out lamb shanks and meat. Shred the meat and keep warm.

Strain all the onions, ginger, garlic, spices from the soup and discard. I just use a fine metal sieve and scoop everything out.

To serve: Reheat the soup. Taste the soup and adjust flavour with more soy or fish sauce. Arrange noodles, meat, mint, coriander, sprouts and spring onions in large bowls, and then pour hot soup on top.

(In the photo above, I bought 300g of beef fillet steak, sliced it thinly, put on top of the noodles (still raw) and poured the hot soup over the top).

Enjoy!

xxx


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A catch up with girlfriends at The Standard, Perth

7 August 2015

My cousin was in town recently (visiting from London) and we organised to catch up with some of our childhood girlfriends over dinner. We decided to go to The Standard in Northbridge.

I’ve been here 3 times already – I really recommend it as a great place to have dinner and drinks!

Each time I’ve visited, I’ve taken my big DSLR camera and taken photos of what I’ve eaten. But each time, the photos turned out looking quite awful because the lighting in the restaurant is low and red in colour. Even with colour correction, I still can’t make the photos look “natural”.

So here is my third attempt to take photos of the delicious food at The Standard!

There were 5 of us and we ordered 5 plates of food to share.

The Standard Perth

First we ordered the Crisp eggplant salad, grapefruit caramel, pea tendrils and chilli ($18).

I really enjoyed the combination of flavours in this salad. I always love coriander and sprouts. The grapefruit caramel was sweet and citrusy and made quite a nice dressing.

I was expecting the eggplant to be a bit more crisp, crunchy and tasty… but it was chunky, soggy and lacking in a flavour that added to the salad.

The Standard Perth

This was my favourite dish on the menu: Grilled Chicken, rice noodles, peanuts, herbs and nuoc cham ($22).

YUM! The wait staff instructed us to shred the chicken apart, pour the chilli all over it and toss everything into a noodley salad.

The chicken was gorgeously marinated with salty Asian flavours. The dressing on the noodles was tangy and fresh. And the chilli brought everything together. It had minced ginger and garlic in it (much like Hainanese chicken rice chilli) and gave the noodles an amazing punch.

I’m a big fan of fresh Asian flavours with grilled chicken and this dish was just superb!

The Standard Perth

My other favourite dish for the evening: Glazed pork cheek, crisp jowl, broad bean and brussel sprouts ($26).

The pork was amazing! So soft, tender, tasty… it was cooked to perfection. The little bits of crispy pork fat that melted in my mouth made it all the more heavenly. The crunchy texture of the crisp jowl balanced the softness of the meat nicely.

The Standard Perth

We ordered the Beef brisket, brioche, pickle, Russian dressing, buttered cabbage ($25).

The Russian dressing turned out to be a creamy, cheese sauce, with a bit of tang to it (vinegar? mustard?).

I was a bit dubious at first, but everything on the plate was full of bold and delicious flavours, that I liked it in the end. The beef was lovely and soft, and the brioche was a nice touch.

I thought this dish was “pretty good” (I prefered the grilled chicken)… but my girlfriends LOVED it. When they ate it, their eyes rolled back and they’d go, “Oh god that’s so goooood!” and all throughout dinner someone would randomly exclaim, “MMMmmmm! That brisket is AMAZING!”

We also ordered Fava chips, mushroom ketchup and aioli ($9) but I didn’t like them, so I didn’t take a photo of it. I just found it too salty and I didn’t like the taste of the fava, which is a broad bean.

The amount we ordered was perfect for us.

I definitely want to go back again to try the Garlic Clams, the Yellow Fish Curry and the Mushroom Doughnuts. And maybe next time I’ll go during the daytime and take some photos of the food in natural light!

It was a fantastic night with good food and good company!

The Standard Perth
28 Roe St, Northbridge, WA
www.thestandardperth.com.au

 


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Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

30 July 2015

Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

I’ve been baking again!

I recently made some gluten-free (flourless) mini chocolate cupcakes and topped them with crushed Oreo icing and a mini Oreo biscuit.

I used my gluten-free chocolate cake recipe because it’s one of the best and yummiest cake recipes I know.

The cupcake was – not surprisingly – moist and delicious. It was a bit like a light, soft, cakey brownie. I reduced the amount of sugar in them since I was going to put an icing topping on them, so they tasted lovely.

Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

I made 16 mini cupcakes for my girlfriend’s birthday party and they were a HIT!

They looked great and had such a big visual wow factor.

I used a silicone cupcake baking tray (instead of cupcake cases) because I love the look of a naked cupcake :)

Mini Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

This is what they looked like in the centre!

Gluten-free chocolate cake recipe
(Recipe makes about 18-20 mini cupcakes)

Ingredients
100g unsalted butter
140g dark chocolate, chopped
60g of brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
140g of almond meal

Oreo Butter Icing
125g butter, cubed and left at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk
4-5 Oreos, finely crushed in food processor

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Spray vegetable oil over a silicone mini cupcake tray, or prepare 16-18 mini cupcake cases.

2. Slowly melt chocolate, butter and brown sugar, until smooth. Then let it cool for 5 minutes.

(You can melt it in a bowl over hot water, or melt it in the microwave. I just melt them in a small pot on the stove, on VERY low heat!)

3. Whisk the egg whites until you can make firm peaks when you lift the whisk up. I use an electric hand mixer.

4. Add the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, then stir in the almond meal. Mix until well combined.

5. Fold in the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, until well combined. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and fill each of the cupcake cases until they are 3/4 full. The cake will rise only slightly.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your skewer comes out clean. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Lift out the cupcakes and put them on a rack to cool completely.

7. Make butter icing by mixing butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer for 5 minutes until thick and fluffy. Use a large tablespoon to scoop in the crushed Oreos a bit at a time. Mix well until you like the colour/Oreo concentration of the icing.

8. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with a mini Oreo on top!

Enjoy!

xxx


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2 Brown Men, Malay Cuisine at Tan’s Food Court

26 July 2015

My dad, my mum and their friends love food. Having all been born and raised in Singapore or Malaysia, they ALL love to cook and eat the food of their childhood. So I consider them to be my local experts at finding the best value and best tasting Singapore/Malaysian/Malay/Chinese eateries around Perth!

The other day my dad took us to Tan’s Food Court, Canning Vale. It is a fairly new food court; I heard there had been a few bumpy starts in the beginning, but it I now officially open with 8-10 new, exciting food court stalls.

There is a stall that specialises in roast ducks and roast porks, classic Singapore/Malaysian style hawker foods, Indonesian food, Vietnamese food, Thai food, dim sum styled dishes, and Indian and Malay hawker food.

Today we tried out some classic Malaysian dishes from 2 Brown Men Indian and Malay Cuisine. Love the name!

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

When we arrived, the food court was almost empty. That didn’t deter us, because there was a queue at the 2 Brown Men shop!

That was a good sign.

Speaking of signs, I took a quick snap of their menu.

(There was lots more on the menu, I just didn’t have enough room to post up the whole thing. I’ll upload it to their Facebook page.)

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

The prices were pretty awesome for Perth’s hawker food standard.

Mamak stlye food is only available from 12 – 7:30pm. Malay cuisine is only available on weekends. And Roti Pratas are available mornings to 12pm and evenings from 4pm – 7:30pm.

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

First up we tried the Mee Goreng Chicken ($9). It was amazing!!

The noodles were dry (no puddles of sauce) and absolutely jam packed with flavour. There was a perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy.

Most mee gorgeng that I have eaten, have a “clean” look about them, as if the noodles were lightly tossed in sauce – like a healthy noodle salad.

But these noodles looked like they have been fried up really well and the noodles have soaked up the sauce, making them super tasty, without being gluggy or sticky. Soooo yummy!

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

Next up, we ordered Mee Rebus ($8.50).

This was so fresh and flavoursome. You could taste the fresh spices and the balance of sweet and sour in the gravy.

All my aunties and uncles raved about how authentic the flavours were. They said, “See how the sauce is rich, thick and coats all the noodles? That’s how it’s supposed to be. If the sauce is thin, soupy or watery, then it’s not authentic. This has been cooked perfectly!!”

And their eyes would roll back and a content smile would spread across their face… and I knew they were reliving some kind of childhood memory of the “good old days back home when a bowl like this would cost them $1.20″.

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

This is always a favourite of mine: Roti Prata ($3)

It had lovely texture; it was crispy and flaky, not too doughy or tough, it was easy to tear and good to eat. It could have been a bit more fluffy, but otherwise it was fantastic value!

2BrownMen Malay Cuisine at Tan's Food Court

Lastly we ordered this for my kids, for their “dessert”.

Roti Tissue ($4.50) is similar to roti prata but it is much thinner and cooked to be very crispy, served as a cone, and covered with melted margarine and sweetened condensed milk (or sugar) on top.

It was crunchy, crispy, buttery, sweet, and a bit salty – ah it was delicious and addictive!

It crumbled and shattered as we broke it apart and within a blink of an eye, it was all gone and the kids were screaming for more!

I really enjoyed eating at 2 Brown Men. Next time I’m dying to try the Nasi Lemak, Mee Siam and Mee Soto.

2 Brown Men
Tan’s Food Court
46/48 Catalano Circuit, Canning Vale
(Corner of Bannister Road and Forum Ave)

2 Brown Men Facebook Page

Enjoy!

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5K Run with a $5 Coffee!

15 July 2015

5 Dollar Run

Haha! Look what I found while I was on my run!

Money! Of the paper variety!

Then on the way home, I took a detour and bought myself a takeaway coffee!

You can probably tell how EXCITED I am by the number of exclamation marks I’ve been using!!!!!

Best! Run! Ever!

Have a fab day everyone!!


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Fresh Handmade Noodles at Kitchen Inn, Kardinya

13 July 2015

Kitchen Inn, Kardinya

Yum! My girlfriends and I met up for lunch at Kitchen Inn, Kardinya.

We ate their famous handmade noodles and it was amaaaaazing!

Kitchen Inn, Kardinya

We ordered the Braised Pork Flat Noodles and a few other dishes, but these noodles were definitely the winner.

They were just so fresh and cooked to perfection!

It made me realise that all the other noodles eating experiences I’ve had in the last few years… just paled in comparison.

The sauce was delicious and tasty. The braised pork was soft and succulent and the mince was very tasty to eat.

If I were at home, I would have licked the bowl clean.

Next time I’m hoping to try the Kolo Mee (Prawn Noodles), Curry Laska Noodles and the Kampua Mee (BBQ Pork Noddles).

Not all at once though :)

 

Kitchen Inn
19/17-23 South St,
Kardinya WA 6163

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Chin’s Noodle House and their Famous Peking Duck

29 June 2015

My sister, who is living in London, was recently back in Perth for a short visit.

Whenever she is in town, she likes to schedule in a very efficient eating tour of all her (our) favourite childhood eats.

And I am always VERY happy to throw my clean-eating, gluten-free, carb-free, pseudo-paleo eating regime out the window and tag along – haha!

This particular day, we had an extended family dinner at Chin’s Noodle House in Leeming.

There were 22 of us all together and we ordered tonnes of our favourite Chinese dishes, including one of our favourites: Chin’s Famous Peking Duck.

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

YUM!! It’s been YEARS since I’ve eaten Peking Duck!

I remember eating it in various Chinese restaurants throughout my childhood. We were always celebrating someone’s birthday, or someone being in town, with a 10 course Chinese banquet dinner.

I never liked the chili crabs, or the garlic prawns very much – Peking Duck was always my favourite.

This dish comes as a 3 Course Meal ($63).

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

1st course consisted of sliced, crispy duck meat served on crepes with spring onions, cucumbers and a special duck sauce.

The duck skin was soooo crispy, with a little bit of tasty fat clinging to the underside of the skin. The duck meat was succulent, tender, and so yummy.

I was in absolute heaven!

Thankfully I was sitting next to my 6 year old son, who merely raised his eye brows at the thought of eating duck skin, so I snatched it up quickly and said something like:

“Aww you don’t like it? Okay Mummy will eat it for you…”

(There was none of that carry-on “Now you know the rules. Just take one bite and see if you like it. It’s really yummy! Come on, just try it. It’s like a mini kebab. This is crispy skin! You like chicken skin, this is kind of the same…”)

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

2nd course was a clear duck soup, with preserved salted vegetables, sliced tomatoes and soft tofu.

So the duck pancakes were good, but this clear soup was even better. I sipped it slowly and ceremoniously, to prolong the flavour in my mouth. It was salty and sour, with hearty undertones from the duck and spices. It was utterly delicious.

My kids loved it too. My 6 year old had 2 bowls of it and demanded more. Too bad buddy.

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

And lastly for the 3rd course, diners get to choose how the shredded duck meat was to be served. You can have the duck stir fried with bean sprouts and ginger, or with dry chilli sauce, or with rice/egg noodles.

We chose Sang Chow Bow, which was the stir fried duck served with lettuce leaves.

Again it was tasty and simply delicious!

We ordered plenty of other food, including roast crispy chicken and plum sauce, sizzling Japanese bean curd with diced chicken, salt & pepper squid, lamb, vegetables and bean curd in claypot, kai lan with garlic sauce and I think I might have missed one or two.

Chin's Famous Peking Duck, Leeming

And lastly, we ordered one of our childhood favourites: Fried Ice Cream!

It’s a ball of ice cream that has been dipped in breadcrumbs and quickly deep fried.

Actually… I have never liked Fried Ice Cream, nor has any of my siblings! It’s just one of those things that my parents, Aunties and Uncles ordered for us, because THEY liked it as kids, so we were made to eat it.

So to continue the tradition, I  ordered it for my kids and suggested very strongly that they should eat it too!

Chin’s Noodle House
51 Farrington Rd, Leeming, WA

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My Favourite Dukkah Recipe

23 June 2015

Dukkah

I love eating dukkah! I sprinkle it on everything.

Dukkah comes from Egypt and it’s a dry seasoning blend made from roasted nuts, seeds and spices. Traditionally Egyptians use fresh bread to dip into olive oil and then into the dukkah mixture.

For me, I use it on my lamb, chicken, salmon, warm salads, eggs and on my avocado on toast in the mornings. I’m totally addicted to it.

I prefer a hazelnut base, but you can make it with pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, pine nuts or macadamia nuts.

My Favourite Dukkah Recipe
(Adapted from this recipe)

2/3 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 180°C. Bake hazelnuts in a tray for 3 minutes until toasted. Then rub the hazelnuts between a tea towel to remove the skins. Coarsely whiz the hazelnuts in a food processor and then transfer to a bowl.

Place the sesame seeds in a frying pan, heat up over a medium heat and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Toss them into the bowl with the hazelnuts.

Then place coriander seeds and cumin seeds in the frying pan and stir for 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, pound until finely crushed. Add to mixture in the bowl. Add the pepper and salt, mix well.

Store in an air tight container.

Enjoy!


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Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

15 June 2015

Over the last few weeks, I have been trying to perfect my baking and cake decorating skills.

I’ve been enjoying myself SO MUCH and I think I’m getting better.

Anyway, I have been struggling to find a truly moist cupcake recipe, with low sugar. So the other day I used an Orange and Almond Cake recipe, and made them into cupcakes. They were simply amazing!

They were so moist, so soft, so fragrant, and SO lovely to eat.

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes

I reduced the amount of sugar in the cupcakes, but I decorated them with a little blob of butter icing.

That little bit of creamy sweetness on top really rounded out the mellow orange flavour of the cupcake.

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes

Omh nom nom!

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes

So moist and so delicious!

Mini Orange and Almond Cupcakes (Gluten Free)

Ingredients (Makes 24 little cupcakes)

1 large orange
100g brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
125g almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder

Butter icing
125g butter, melted
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk

Boil a large pot of water. Clean the orange and place into the boiling water and simmer on low for 2 hours. When done, drain the water and cool the orange to room temperature. The orange pips add a bit of bitterness to the cake, which I like. But my kids don’t like the taste, so I tend to scoop out out the pips for a smoother taste.

Puree the boiled orange (with skin) with a hand blender or in a blender, or in a small food processor. I used my high-speed Nutri-Bullet blender.

Add brown sugar and beaten eggs to the orange puree and give it a good stir.

Stir in the almond meal and baking powder. Pour out into cupcake molds or mini cupcake cases.

I spray cooking oil into two silicone 12-mini cupcake molds and make about 24 mini cupcakes.

Bake at 160°C for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top or skewer comes out cleans!

Mix up the butter icing, and decorate with a little slice of orange.

Enjoy!

xxx


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Gastronomic Happiness at the Taste of Perth 2015

4 June 2015

I was kindly invited to the recent Taste of Perth food tasting event!

Do you remember my post about the event from last year? For some reason I thought it was an INDOOR event, so I wore such an inappropriate outfit and almost froze to death! Anyway I LOVED the food last year and was thrilled to be invited back again.

This time I brought a friend… and I wore more clothes!

My girlfriend and I were given complimentary entry tickets, and we had to purchase our own tokens (called Crowns). We bought $40 worth of Crowns each and headed over to our first gastronomic conquest.

Taste of Perth 2015

Behold the Rotisserie Suckling Pig Slider (with kimchi slaw and kewpie mayo) – $8 from Bib &  Tucker.

Oh my, the idea of suckling pig and kimchi… it was a match made in heaven.

My friend and I both bought this for our entree and it was just amaaaaazing. I wanted to eat three.

Taste of Perth 2015

We both hit up El Publico and I ordered the Pork Belly Taco, featuring grilled pork belly served with roasted pineapple, salsa picante and chicharon – $8.

I didn’t know what half those things were… but it was delicious.

The salsa had a bit of heat to it and bite after bite, the taco was bursting with flavour.

The sizzling fat of the pork belly, the tangy pineapple, the fresh coriander and the hot chilli salsa… it was all such a winning combination!

I think this was my favourite dish for the whole night.

Taste of Perth 2015

My friend ordered the very popular Lamb Ribs, twice cooked and served sticky with sesame, cucumber and lime – $12.

I had a little bit to taste and it was really yummy. It too had crispy fatty bits and the lamb was so soft, juicy and tender.

Taste of Perth 2015

Next up, we went to Nobu and Silks. Their stalls were next to each other and our mouths were drooling from the tantilising aromas.

I was craving some sashimi, so I ordered the Nobu Seared Salmon Sashimi, with chocolate, yuzu karashiso miso, cocoa nibs and friend kataifi – $10.

I didn’t read the small print and didn’t realise there was chocolate with the sashimi? CHOCOLATE AND RAW FISH??

If I had known I probably would have chosen a “safer” dish.

But OMG it was SO GOOD!! I was practically licking the paper plate!

I LOVED the mixture of sweet chocolate and salty miso, and the combination of squishy fish and crunchy kataifi (shredded pastry).

Taste of Perth 2015

My friend fancied some fancy prawns, so she chose the Silks Wok Fried King Prawns with asparagus and chilli sea salt – $22.

She didn’t have enough Crowns to buy it so she had to find a pay station to top up her Crown card.

I didn’t taste it, but it looked really crunchy, fresh, and my friend was pretty happy with it!

Taste of Perth 2015

Lastly, we both bought a Tiramisu from Modo Mio ($8) and we both ordered a coffee ($4) from an espresso truck.

The tiramisu, while it didn’t look very spectacular, was just divine to eat!

We found a table, sat down, enjoyed our dessert and coffee and chatted about our evening.

In total I spent $38. I had $2 left on my card which I donated to a charity collection set up at the exit. My friend spent $54.

If I had purchased my own entry ticket (Silver Package which includes $25 entry + $30 Crowns + my own additional $10 Crowns), altogether my final cost for the evening would have been $65.

It was an enjoyable and novel night out – with great food!

Once again, I was very inspired to go out and try food from some of the best eateries in town. Next on my list is El Publico, Mary’s and Nobu.

Thank you for the fab night Taste of Perth and I’ll be seeing you next year!

 

 


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Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

29 May 2015

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

In my quest to develop my cupcake-making skills… I made some vanilla cupcakes topped with salted caramel popcorn this week.

Much to my children’s delight, I didn’t hold back with the sugar and butter.

I must say, they looked pretty amazing in the end!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Popcorn

I did a lot of careful research and chose a vanilla cupcake recipe, a salted caramel popcorn recipe and a caramel frosting recipe… from three different sources.

Unfortunately I’m not going to share the recipes with you, because I wasn’t 100% happy with any of them in the end. However, I completely accept that my technique and execution was probably a bit off too!

The cupcake recipe I used was much too sweet and a little bit dry. I want my cupcakes to be much more fluffy and moist. They turned out so plain (and boring) that I decided to scoop out the core of each cupcakes and fill it with a bit of caramel frosting.

The caramel frosting, while it had a lovely texture, it was just way too sweet!

The salted caramel for the popcorn wasn’t smooth. The sugar crystalised as the caramel cooled, so it looked grainy. Probably not enough butter? It also made the popcorn go a bit soggy. I’ve made delicious, crunchy caramel popcorn before, so I know I can do it – I just need to find the recipe.

In fact, it was ALL SO SWEET, that even my kids couldn’t eat a full cupcake each.

I pretty much used 1 cup of white sugar for the cupcakes, 3 cups of icing sugar for the frosting and 1 cup of brown sugar for the caramel.

Yikes! That’s a terrifying amount of sugar!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Vanilla Cupcakes

So now that I look at these cupcakes… even though they look absolutely stunning and much like the ones I see in the shops, I don’t think they are worth it. I don’t feel good about making something so unhealthy for my friends and family.

I’ll be looking for much healthier options and substitutes now.

But at the same time, I’m still hoping to make them look amazing.

My quest continues!


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HBF Run for a Reason 2015

25 May 2015

So… I wasn’t really planning to do another running event this year!

I was just planning to work towards running longer distances and to increase my running stamina.

But the team at HBF asked me if I’d like to join in the fun at the HBF Run for a Reason and to do a bit of social media for them.

I accepted eagerly and committed myself to both the 12km distance and er… learning how to run and take photos at the same time??

Surely there’s an app for that.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

So this was me, the day before the event, picking up my participant running pack at the HBF Event Centre at the Perth Arena.

I asked a HBF Volunteer (a girl on her morning tea break) to take my photo… and I was trying to think of some clever way I could change the word REASON with my silhouette.

But all I could think of was TREASON and RANSOM… and decided they weren’t very appropriate haha. So I was just went with a kind of generic “Y”.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

On the morning of the run, I drove to my local train station and caught the train into the city. Participants were allowed free public transport all day. It was fast and easy.

There were thousands of other participants using public transport too, so the atmosphere of the city was buzzing with excitement.

The only downside of the early morning start was that it was so freaking cold!

I think it was 7-8C?? Thankfully the event had a special service where you can wear a jacket or jumper to the event, wear it for the 30-45 minutes while standing around soaking up the pre-event entertainment, and then leave it hanging on the railings at the start line, where it will be donated to charity!

For me, I clung onto every last bit of warmth from my jacket and waited till the *very last minute* to donate it.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

And we were off!

Unfortunately when I tried to run and take photos, they turned out terribly blurry.

So this is my “stand still and get into people’s way” photo.

 

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

One of the things I looked forward to during this event… was to run through the Northbridge Tunnel (1.6km).

I have never done it before and it was just one of my little running aspirations for my own city. Yay!

Again, I had to stop and take this photo, because I definitely couldn’t run backwards and take snaps.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

The whole event was dotted with photographers, TV cameras, cameras on cranes, camera drones… it was all quite exciting!

I spotted two of Perth’s coolest photographers (David Chong and David Broadway) camped by the side of the road. Ok yes, they were my mates, so I slowed down to take a photo of THEM at work.

In fact, I doubled back so I could do a silly slow-motion run for them to photograph.

I pretty much knew then, with all my stopping to take photos antics and uploading to socal media… that my running time for this event was going to be very average! Oh well!

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

The day cleared up and the sun came out.

It was such a beautiful day for a run next to the river!

HBF Run for a Reason 2015

I sprinted towards the finish line, but 10 metres before I crossed it… I stopped to take a photo haha!

Aaah in the end, it was so much fun. I really wasn’t concerned about my running time at all.

I was surrounded by so many people who laughed, cheered, skipped, sang. There were people in all shapes and sizes, young and old, all going different speeds, all getting out there, being active, raising money for a good cause – it was a really enjoyable day and a fantastic event to be a part of.

HBF Run for a Reason 2015
After the event, I was invited over to the corporate sponsor’s area for a VIP breakfast and massage.

That was veeeeery nice indeed! Thank you HBF!

For those interested in my running details…

I did a 12km running event in September last year (after I had a flu) and my running time was 1 hr 30 mins.

For this 12km run, including all my stops, my time was 1 hr 31 mins (which is a pace 7:35 min/km) – how funny!

Usually I run at a pace of 6:00 min/km, so it should have taken me 1 hr 12mins. So I have a small part of runner’s pride in me that is annoyed that these times are set in stone on the internet as my “official times” but as I said, I’m not too fussed about it.

In fact, I’m keen to do it again next year with my kids! And maybe we’ll dress up!

See you there next year :)

xxx


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Running in the cold

15 May 2015

Activewear
Hi everyone! How’d your week go?

I’ve been doing a bit of running in preparation for my 12km running event; fitting in a 5km here and a 10km there.

I’m a bit nervous about the event, even though I know I shouldn’t be. The competitive part in me thinks that I should SMASH all my previous running records, but the sensible part in me thinks I should just have fun, keep fit… and don’t hurt myself :)

Anyway, I want to talk about this jacket.

It’s a thick, fleecy jacket from Jeanswest’s activewear range. I’d say that it’s more of a coat, than a regular sports jacket (which is usually made from a thin and breathable fabric).

What makes this jacket different is that it has a really nice knit texture on the outside, so it looks stylish and versatile enough to wear over other casual wear outfits, like jeans and a t-shirt. It’s also warm, light and soft, so it feels lovely on the skin.

It’s soooo much nicer than the fleecy hiking jacket that I wear (from Mountain Design!), which is not particularly very insulating, nor is it very stylish haha!

Have a fab weekend!

xxx

Wearing:

Knit Fleece Jacket from Jeanswest
Sports Bra from Lululemon
7/8 Leggings from Lorna Jane
New Balance Sneakers from ASOS


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Learning How to Make Pretty Cupcakes

14 May 2015

I have always wanted to be able to make kick-ass cupcakes!

I guess you could say, it has been one of my “personal goals” for a long time.

Sure, it’s not saving the world. It’s not learning a new language. But cakes can be expensive these days, and I’d love to be able to make gorgeous looking cakes or cupcakes for my friends and family.

Yes I know I have been making cupcakes for years (especially since having kids), but they never turn out consistently pretty. Which is why I want to up my skill.

Here are some of my baking notes:

Mother's Day 2015

I made some cupcakes for Mother’s Day on the weekend. They looked really cute!

I tried out a new recipe, but in my opinion, they tasted too dry.

I also think that I didn’t put enough batter in the cupcake case, so there’s too much of the case showing.

And next time I won’t make fondant shapes to go with a batch using sprinkle decorations.

Oh AND I think I’ll try piping the frosting next time. This flat-style just doesn’t cut it.

Vanilla Cupcakes

My second batch!

This is the first time I’ve tried piping with a proper piping bag and tip. It was quite easy and fun!

But I didn’t make enough frosting to cover all the cupcakes. So after I covered 3 cupcakes, I realised that I had to pipe less frosting, oops!

The cupcake recipe was only so-so. Still not completely happy with it.

Do you have an AMAZING cupcake recipe you can recommend to me?

I also experimented with the baking time, just so I could get that lovely golden brown top. But at the same time I may have dried out my cupcakes.

AND I used the wrong baking pan, so the cupcake cases folded in a bit and make them a little wonky – not a perfect circular shape.

Haha it sounds like I’m totally trashing myself!

But I don’t think I’m being negative. I’m being critical, taking notes and being mindful of how to improve next time.

I’m a bit like that with my kids. I tell them to – Research, set goals, work on skills, re-evaluate, improve, and practice, practice, practice!

Be thrilled by the learning journey, be determined to improve and celebrate the sweet success at the end!

If that sounds like a Tiger Mum, then so be it :)


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Run for a Reason!

6 May 2015

Run For A Reason 2015

If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@karenlycheng), you probably know that I’ve signed myself up for another running event, yay!

The HBF Run for a Reason is on the 28th May, offering 4km, 12km and 21.1km (half marathon) distances. They are raising funds for five charities, which is kind of cool – the Cancer Council WA, Diabetes WA, Heart Foundation WA, Lifeline WA and Telethon.

I was very tempted to sign up for the half marathon distance!

That would be an awesome challenge for me. I have no doubt that I could do it. I just need some training :)

But I knew my husband was going to be overseas and insanely-busy with his work during the first half of this year, and I wouldn’t be able to fit in all the training and juggle all my family/work/friend commitments.

So 12km it is!!

At the moment, my weekly fitness regime consists of a weekly 5-8km run, 1 netball game and 3 cross-training/weights/yoga/core workouts. I haven’t really pushed myself past a 12km running distance. But I have about 3 weeks to go, so I should be all good.

I’m looking forward to running through the Northbridge Tunnel, running along the river, enjoying the beautiful city, supporting some great causes and reveling in the atmosphere of the fantastic event!

 

 


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Fine Dining at No. 4 Blake Street, North Perth

30 April 2015

My husband and I celebrate our 13 Year Wedding Anniversary this year!

To mark the occasion, I wanted to have a fine dining experience… somewhere really, really special.

I chose No. 4 Blake Street, because I had heard so many positive things about their dinner menu. Plus I sampled a few of their dishes at the Taste of Perth Food Festival last year, and really enjoyed their food.

The degustation menu is $110 per person, with additional wine matching options – $70pp for the Classic Selection, and $110pp for the Cellar Reserve Premium Selection.

Since my husband and I don’t drink alcohol (him for health reasons and me for allergy reasons) we decided to just order the degustation dinner.

I was soooo excited!

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

We arrived at 6:30pm and were the first guests to walk through the door. The decor was modern, sophisticated and elegant. There was still light outside, streaming in from the big windows, and it was just lovely to see the colours in the restaurant change.

We were told that the dinner menu is tweaked every day, depending on the seasonal produce, or from feedback from the customers, or from whatever creations the chefs decided to add to the menu that day. I loved this idea! It sounded so exciting!

(I have to note, my husband is allergic to shellfish and we requested non-seafood meals for him, hence all the photos!)

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

AMUSE BOUCHE – Slow cooked black angus tendon, red bean puree, beef jus.

Anything crumbed and fried is a winner in my books. That beef tendon melted in my mouth and was utterly gorgeous.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

HOUSE BREAD – House made sourdough, served with smoked pork fat, fennel and spinach butter and black garlic butter.

We loved the bread! And the fermented butters were just divine.

I thought the pork fat (looks like ice cream in this photo!) would be delicious too, I mean, who doesn’t love some pork crackling?! But it tasted very weird and we didn’t like it at all.

When the waiter came to gather the plates, he asked us how it was.  Although I was trying to be polite, he probably saw my apologetic expression… so I told him the truth: That it wasn’t my cup of tea and I didn’t like it. He was so gracious and kind about the feedback, telling us that the chef had previously used duck fat but it melted too quickly on the plate. It was a very interesting snippet of info which led us to talk about the solidification of fats and lipids in cooking, human digestion and fad health diets (such riveting conversation, I know).

Anyway, I really appreciated that the friendliness and professionalism of the staff.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

ENTRÉE ONE – Charcoaled smoked tail of marron from Manjimup, marron claw flesh and shell emulsion, avocado puree, grapefruit supreme, coconut water blanket.

In terms of flavour, this dish was my favourite! The flavours were just so delicate, fresh and heavenly… and it all worked together so well.

There was a kind of coconut jelly over the top which gave it a fish eye lens visual effect… it was quirky, creative, so interesting and absolutely delicious.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

ENTRÉE ONE (non seafood) – Home made chorizo salame and house soured cream, matching preserved heirloom carrots, fresh lebanese cucumbers, baby radishes, carrot puree, soft herbage.

This was my husband’s favorite dish too. He couldn’t stop exclaiming how amazing it tasted.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

ENTRÉE TWO – Rabbit bacon with rhubarb and pinenut: pickled rhubarb matches rhubarb gel spaghetti and rhubarb puree, on a bed of pinenut paint and sponge with toasted pinenut to finish.

We were so intrigued by the name of this dish that we stopped the waiter to explain what he meant by “rabbit bacon”. He told us that the rabbit meat was cured in three different ways (hence the meat was in three different colours), made into a terrine (er, a French style meat loaf?) and thinly sliced to look like bacon.

It was a pleasure to eat. The combination of textures was so interesting – the soft sponge, the crunchy pinenuts, chewy rhubarb gel, the meaty rabbit. It what a wonderful dish.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

PASTA – Italian Carnaroli rice cooked with cauliflower puree, served with cocoa dust and charred cauliflower and burnt rice crisp

I love cauliflower anything, and this was a lovely dish, full of flavour and richness. The rice crisp gave the risotto a nice variation to its texture. The cocoa dust was unexpected, but a very delightful combination.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

MAIN ONE – Sous vide Rankin cod wrapped in fermented cabbage leaves, accompanied by braised witlof with a touch of anchovy emulsion, over slow cooked lentils from de puy, garnished with black fennel frond.

I really liked the witlof, but wasn’t too crazy about the fermented cabbage. The puy lentils and cod were cooked to perfection.

MAIN ONE (non seafood)- Slow cooked beef accompanied by caramelized onion lentils, charred onion petals and beef jus.

I forgot to take a photo of my husband’s beef dish!

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

MAIN TWO – Sous vide South Hampton homestead chicken roulade accompanied by parsnip bark and parsnip puree, puffed buckwheat and buckwheat jus.

By now, I was getting a bit full. This chicken dish was tasty and the flavours were well-rounded, in a warming good-for-your-soul kind of way.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

CHEESE COURSE – House made queso fresco infused with liquorice, served with fresh figs and fig blanket over a soil of almonds and olives, matching pistachio sponge and smoked tomato gel, finished with toasted walnuts.

Wow. This was so interesting and different. All the bits and pieces sounded delicious, but unfortunately I didn’t like the “olive soil” and so I pushed everything around the plate (like a naughty 3 year old) and ate everything separately. It was presented like a beautiful artwork on my plate, which I really admired.

I don’t usually like to eat cheese after my dinner. I like to go straight to the sweet stuff.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

PALATE CLEANSER – Compressed pineapple infused with mint, matching lime sorbet and goats curd snow.

I pretty much licked this plate clean. Never met a sorbet that I didn’t like! Goat curd snow? Love the description haha!

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

DESSERT – Kefir gel served with home made banana ice cream and banana brulee, with hazelnut meringue and hazelnut soil, finished with burnt miso.

Again I almost licked this dessert plate clean. I loved the weird and wonderful combination of everything – burnt miso with banana?Amazing!

I enjoyed everything, except the banana ice cream – I found it to be too sweet. I was so full that I couldn’t eat it and left it on the plate.

No. 4 Blake Street Restaurant

PETIT FOURS – Sesame and lime macarons, cheesecake.

Unfortunately I was so full that I only took a few nibbles of each item on this dessert plate. They were so well presented.

DONE! Phew what a journey.

My husband and I talked and laughed throughout the whole night. Of course, we mainly talked about the food: the combinations of food, the cooking techniques, the funny posh wording of the food, guessing the ingredients and describing the flavours.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

I have to admit that whenever I have a “fine dining” experience, I always feel a bit intimidated by all the over-the-top fanciness, snobbery and high brow French words. But I didn’t feel that here. It felt down-to-earth, friendly, warm, and I loved that they featured local produce. We joked around with the staff, who was very gracious, polite, quick to correct his mistakes, and easy going enough to realise that we were just engaging in some foodie banter.

Over all, it was a fascinating and fun gastronomic experience.

Even though I can honestly say that some ingredients of some dishes didn’t suit my taste, we applaud the chef for designing such a considered, creative, modern and incredible menu.

I definitely recommend it for a super-special occasion!

Click to add a blog post for No4 Blake Street on Zomato


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Chocolate and Raspberry Cake (Gluten Free)

16 April 2015

Chocolate and Raspberry Cake (No Flour)

I’ve made this chocolate cake many times before; it’s flour free and gluten free.

It is simply amazing, moist, dense like a brownie, but it still has a soft, cakey texture.

This time I threw in some walnuts and raspberries (the last crumbly bits at the bottom of the freezer bag!) and I served it up as dessert at a dinner party we hosted.

The raspberries and walnuts made it just divine!

Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

Ingredients
100g unsalted butter
140g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
70g of brown sugar
3 eggs separated
140g of almond meal
1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries, defrosted slightly and separated

Toppings
vanilla ice cream
icing sugar
pistachios

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.

2. Slowly melt chocolate, butter and brown sugar, until smooth. Then let it cool for 5 minutes.
(You can melt it in a bowl over hot water, or melt it in the microwave. I just melt them in a small pot on the stove, on VERY low heat!)

3. Whisk the egg whites until you can make firm peaks when you lift the whisk up.

4. Add the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, then stir in the almond meal and walnuts. Mix until well combined.

5. Fold in the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, until well combined. Pour into cake tin. Sprinkle the raspberries evenly over the top.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until your skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for another 10 minutes. Turn the cake onto a plate to cool completely.

7. Add toppings and serve immediately!

Enjoy!!!

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

(This is what the inside of the cake looks like.)


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Sprolo, South Perth

2 April 2015

Sprolo, South Perth

I met up with my girlfriends for coffee and brunch at the much talked about cafe in South Perth, Sprolo.

I discovered that the word “Sprolo” turned out to be a completely made-up, combination of the words “espresso” and “YOLO” (you only live once)… which I thought was kind of cool.

The cafe was big, spacious and airy, with big glass windows and lots of natural light. There were lots of cafe table seating, high bar tables, and a little corner for kids (toy box, chalk board, mini chairs and a mat).

The food menu was quite simple and light – toasts, fruit breads, muffins, cakes, croissants, salmon bagels, salads, and waffles.

Sprolo, South Perth

I was actually dying to try out their Traditional Singaporean breakfast – which consisted of soft boiled eggs, eaten with a bit of white pepper and dark soy sauce, sour dough toast, and homemade kaya (coconut egg jam) – $12.

At first my heart sank at the thought of paying $12 for eggs, jam and sliced bread. This would cost what, $4 in Singapore?

But I had to remind myself that it’s completely normal these days to pay more for artisan, organic and homemade foods – so shut the hell up and just get over it Karen!

Besides, it made me feel happy that I was supporting a local business and concept (as opposed to spending $12 at McDonald’s!).

Sprolo, South Perth

The sourdough was fresh and crunchy. I don’t usually eat bread nowadays. And when I do, I always prefer to eat wholemeal, multigrain and rye. So tucking into a few slices of white bread, was very unusual for me. Thankfully, it was totally worth the indulgence! YUM!

The kaya was homemade and delicious. The soft boiled eggs were just lovely too.

Sprolo, South Perth

I’ve been back to Sprolo two more times, since my first visit and taking these photos. I really enjoyed the spaciousness, the light, and the ease in which I can pop in at any time and I’m pretty much guaranteed to get a table (I really don’t like queuing).

Oh and the coffees are great too!

Sprolo Espresso
138 Canning Hwy
South Perth WA 6151
Monday to Saturday 7am – 4pm
Sunday 8am – 2pm

Sprolo on Urbanspoon


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Best Value Japanese Bento in Perth: Kahmon

16 March 2015

For our recent dinner date night, my husband and I decided to do something a little different. Instead of going to a noisy, busy, trendy, hipster restaurant in the city, we felt like trying out a hidden “local gem” for a fabulous, cheap and cheerful meal!

We were told about a little Japanese Take-Away Restaurant that was south of the river, Kahmon in Shelley.

I’ve heard about this place before! A number of people have told me about it; it is quite popular with the locals; it is next to a Chinese noodle lunch bar that sells excellent Nasi Lemak and Chicken Rice; and it’s under new management by people we know!

That was enough for us to pay them a visit.

Kahmon Japanese Take-away, Shelley, Perth

We traveled deep into the suburbs and arrived around 6pm.

Even though it was the size of a take-away shop, the place had an inviting, cozy feel to it. It felt more like a homey cafe. It felt like we went over to our friends’ house for dinner!

There were also proper table and chairs, nice crockery, nice cutlery, woody furniture, stylish cushions, and free green tea!

Kahmon Japanese Take-away, Shelley, Perth

The menu was nice and simple. Bento boxes were priced between $9.50 – $13.50. There was also curry (with rice), udon (noodles), don (rice bowl) and simple side dishes on the menu.

I sat there wondering whether I would be biased about my review of the food, because I know the owners, and I silently prayed that the food would not be terrible and mediocre – omg what would I say to them?

By the time we ordered, there were lots of people coming into the cafe to pick up their takeaway orders. That was a good sign.

There was also another family group who sat down at the table next to us.

Kahmon Japanese Take-away, Shelley, Perth

I ordered the Prawn Katsu Bento Box ($13.50) and Miso Soup ($2), which arrived promptly and without any fuss.

It smelt great. I was so hungry that I wanted to scoff the whole thing down, but I took some time to take some close up photos first.

Kahmon Japanese Take-away, Shelley, Perth

The prawn katsu was delicious!  It was crispy, crunchy, fresh and full of flavour – yay!

The salad was lovely too. They used a mayo dressing in the cabbage instead of the regular tangy dressing and it went well with the crunchy prawns.

I ate everything! Including all the white rice! So naughty of me.

I liked that they served a bit of seasonal fruit with the box. It finished off my palate very nicely.

I can’t believe it was only $13:50!

Kahmon Japanese Take-away, Shelley, Perth

My husband ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry ($11.50). I’m not a fan of Japanese curries, but my husband loves the stuff and he said it was great.

I stole a piece of his chicken katsu – because my weakness is deep fried chicken – and it was very yummy and fresh.

I think someone on the next table ordered Karaage (fried chicken nibbles) and I swore that I’d order that the next time.

Overall, the food was great, menu was simple, the prices were so affordable, the service was friendly, the atmosphere was lovely… it all speaks for itself, so I don’t think I’m being biased. I certainly haven’t been able to find simple and tasty Japanese Bento lunches for this price, which is why I rate it Best Value Japanese Bento in Perth!

Kahmon
Shop 5, 114-116 Barbican St, Shelley

Lunch: Tue – Sat 12pm – 2pm
Dinner: Tue – Thurs 5pm – 8:30pm and Fri – Sun 5pm – 9pm

Kahmon on Urbanspoon


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Maple Plum Crumble

21 February 2015

Plum Crumble

I bought a large bag of beautiful, dark red plums from the fruit markets, but when I got home, they turned out to be quite tart. No one was very keen to eat them, so I decided to put together a delicious plum crumble for my family.

The plums were pretty sour, so I had to use a few spoonfuls of maple syrup to sweeten them up.

Crumble
100g of plain flour
50g of diced butter, at room temperature
50g of rolled oats
50g dessicated coconut
50g slivered almonds
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)

Filling
10 medium sized plums, stoned (about 10)
2 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 green apple, finely diced
1 vanilla pod (seeds) or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Set your your oven to 160ºC/350ºF.

2. Whiz the flour and butter together in a food processor (with pastry blade) until it resembles breadcrumbs. Toss in oats, coconut, almonds, sugar (if using) and whiz until just combined. Set aside.

3. Chop the plums into chunky slices. Arrange in a large pie dish (25cm diameter). Finely dice the apple and sprinkle on top, along with the vanilla and maple syrup. Give the fruit a good stir with a big spoon.

4. Heap the crumble evenly over top of the fruit. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot, with ice cream, yoghurt or crème fraîche.

Super easy!

Enjoy!
xxx


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Anzac Slice Recipe for School Lunchboxes

9 February 2015

ANZAC Slice for School Lunch Boxes

OK so I woke up one morning and realised that I didn’t have any bread in my pantry for making my kid’s sandwiches!

In fact, I didn’t have much of anything in my pantry! It was one of those weeks. I did have flour, oats, coconut and lots of nuts and seeds though.

So I decided to WHIP UP an ANZAC Slice for my kid’s school lunch box. The recipe is actually for making ANZAC biscuits, but – sheesh – who’s got time to roll them into little balls and flatten them into biscuits?!

I just tipped the whole mixture onto a baking tray (with baking paper) and WHAM WHAM WHAM, I flattened it out with my hands haha.

I didn’t even use a mixing bowl; I just used a large saucepan for melting butter and mixing dry ingredients!

Anzac Slice

Ingredients
125g butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of golden syrup (or honey works fine too!)
2 tablespoons of water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
* optional 1/2 cup of pepitas

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line 1 baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, golden syrup and 2 tablespoons of water together over a medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda. The liquid should froth up a bit.

3. Add in the flour, oats, coconut and pepitas. Stir well until all combined.

4. Tip the mixture onto the baking tray and baking paper. Press the mixture together, and flatten and shape it into a large rectangle (or square) with your hands or using the back of a spoon.

5. Bake for 15 mins or until golden brown.

6. Remove from oven and use a sharp knife to cut into pieces. Allow to completely cool before putting into lunch boxes.

Enjoy!


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May Street Larder, East Fremantle

3 February 2015

May Street Larder

I was invited to the launch of May Street Larder, a brand new cafe in East Fremantle, by the same people who founded the beachside restaurant Bib & Tucker : Eamon Sullivan (the Olympic swimmer) and chef Scott Bridger.

The cafe is focused on clean, healthy eating – right up my alley! Think raw, vegan, organic, paleo dishes with lots of salads and superfoods – but with a few kitchen favourites like slow cooked pork, slow cooked lamb and house smoked salmon. Yum!

They make everything from scratch (or sourced locally) using old-style cooking techniques, like fermenting, pickling and preserving, but with a modern twist. I saw homemade pickles, jams, breads, tomato sauces, sweets, sodas, honey, cured meats and smoked fish.

May Street Larder

I turned up to the event early and managed to snap a few photos of the interior before the guests arrived.

The cafe was lovely and spacious! There were lots of tables and seating, and even a little lounge area with a cute couch and lounge chairs for maximum chillaxing.

May Street Larder

There was tonnes of natural light streaming in from the big windows, bouncing off the subdue colour palatte and casting a modern freshness into the space.

May Street Larder

I loved the eclectic mix of antique collectables, natural surfaces, and random kitchen objects with old-world details.

May Street Larder

During the launch, the kitchen offered us a special kind of menu sampler, where we could mix and match various proteins and salads. They had all the food lined up at the counter, we could select what we wanted and it would be piled onto our plate – mess hall style! This is not the usual menu and eating format though.

When it was my turn to choose my food, I apologised FIRST to the waitstaff (which is never a good sign for them, I’m sure)… then I asked them *ever so* politely if I could have TWO plates and if they could arrange TWO meals nicely, so I could photograph them. Or maybe I could arrange it myself? With a spare fork? Could you please get a spare fork for me? Can you put that piece of trout just off the centre of the plate? Can I have THAT potato instead of this one, because that one looks nicer? Oh you put too much green on the plate, it looks off-balanced, could you take some off?

I’m sure she was thinking – CURSE THESE BLOODY FOOD BLOGGERS!

Thankfully Scott, the head chef, realised what I was trying to do, so he cut in and worked his cheffy magic. He plated it up beautifully! Thanks Scott! The dish looked great – balanced, not too fussy, neat but still with an accidental cool to it, haha!

I chose the house smoked trout and some kind of kale salad and root vegetable… Not sure exactly what I had, but it tasted really good! So fresh, tender and “clean”.

May Street Larder

This was my second plate.  The slow cooked pork and CRACKLING was amazing!!

The roasted veggies were lovely too.

May Street Larder

May Street Larder is the first and only place in Perth to offer CocoWhip. It’s made from natural coconut water and a coconut probiotic (that’s it!), and churned into a creamy, silky, smooth, cold, kind of soft serve. It tastes a bit like a mild coconut sorbet, but much lighter, smoother, and with significantly less sugar than any sorbet I’ve ever tasted.

It’s sugar free, 99% fat free, gluten free, dairy free and lactose free. It’s also served with goji berries, cacao nibs and a lupin granola.

It’s the hippest little vegan soft serve I’ve ever seen!

May Street Larder

Big thanks to Eamon and Scott for the invite.

I’ll definitely be bringing my girlfriends back for brunch!

May Street Larder
155 Canning Hwy (Corner of Canning Hwy and May Street)
East Fremantle
Open for breakfast and lunch.

You can find them on May Street Larder Facebook


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Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

26 January 2015

I made a Vietnamese-style rice noodle salad for an Australia Day BBQ with friends! Nothing says Australia Day like a table full of cuisines spanning from all over the globe!

Australia Day 2014

I served the salad with crushed peanuts on the side, as I wasn’t sure if there were kids at the party with nut allergies. I also left out the chilli because I wanted it to be kid-friendly.

There is a LOT of slicing with this recipe!

In fact, there is so much slicing that I wouldn’t have made this salad if I did not have my julienne peelers.

My julienne peelers look like simple potato peelers, and they cut vegetables into fine matchsticks at a quick swipe of my wrist! I don’t think my salad would have looked the same if I had “finely sliced them into matchsticks” with a knife. I don’t have enough patience!

I bought my peelers in Asia (3 different sizes at $3 each). Unfortunately I can’t find any Australian stockists of julienne peelers… so I found these similar Titan Peelers (from the US) which ship to Australia for free – you might have to wait a few weeks for the delivery though! Same goes for these Zyliss Julienne Peelers or Tovolo Julienne Peelers.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

250gm of rice noodle, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, drained
1 large cucumber, remove seeds, finely sliced
1 medium carrot, finely sliced
1/4 of a small white cabbage, finely sliced
1/4 of small lettuce, finely sliced
1/4 of small red onion, finely sliced
big bunch of coriander, pluck leaves and chop roughly
1/2 cup of mint, chopped roughly
3 cups of bean sprouts
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, roasted, chopped roughly
1/2 cup of Asian fried shallots

Dressing
1/4 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons of ginger, grated
2 teaspoons of finely chopped chilli

1. Mix dressing ingredients together.

2. Toss all the noodle ingredients and vegetables in a very large bowl. Keep aside a small bunch of coriander and mint for garnish. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly.

3. Place noodle salad in a nice serving dish. Scatter garnish, fried onions, crushed peanuts on top and serve!

Enjoy!

xxx

 


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Sticky Date Pudding Recipe

19 January 2015

Stick Date Pudding

This sticky date pudding is an euphoric, eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-your-head-delicious indulgence :)

I have been using this recipe for the last 10 years and it’s an absolute winner every time. It’s so simple to make too.

I haven’t made it the last few year though, because the recipe asks for a lot of sugar, and I’ve been trying to cut back on making super-sweet desserts for my family. However last week I pulled out the recipe from my archives and made it with NO ADDED SUGAR.

It still tasted delicious! Especially when we ate it, hot, with a *small* dollop of ice cream.

I’m not sure where the original recipe came from, as I scribbled it down many years ago.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Sticky Date Pudding

200g chopped pitted dates
1 1/4 cups of water
1 teaspoons of bicarb soda
60g butter
3/4 cup of castor sugar (or use none at all!)
2 eggs
1 cup of self raising flour

Caramel Sauce
100g brown sugar/maple syrup/honey/rice malt syrup (or use none at all!)
100g butter
1 cup of cream

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Combine dates and water in a medium sized saucepan, bring to boil, remove from heat, stir in the bicarb soda and stand for 5 minutes.

2. Add butter (and sugar, if you’re using it) to the date mixture and stir it until the butter has melted. Blend/process until smooth (I use a hand blender). Leave the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

3. While waiting for date mixture to cool, grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.

4. Beat the eggs into the date mixture, one at a time. Then fold in the sifted flour. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 50 minutes.

5. While waiting for pudding to bake, make the caramel sauce by gently heat the butter and cream (and sugar, if you’re using it), without boiling, and stir for 3 minutes.

6. After 50 minutes, take the pudding out and pour 1/2 the caramel sauce all over the top and put the pudding back into the oven for 10 minutes.

7. Serve the pudding – warm – with the remaining sauce and ice cream!

* I make the whole mixture in the large saucepan. No need to transfer into a mixing bowl – it saves washing up!

* One time I made this sticky date pudding with no added sugar, but smeared a 2 tablespoons of maple syrup over the top as a sweet glaze. I found that it was just enough to add a lovely sweet-stickiness to the pudding.

* By the way, dried dates (even the organic types) are 68% sugar. Even though it’s a natural sugar, that’s still a huge amount. So if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, maybe you should make yourself a banana bread?


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My Summer Workout!

15 January 2015

My Summer Fitness Workout 01

For my 25 Day Fitness Challenge in December, this was the workout routine that I frequently used.

I compiled the workout from several lists that were passed around instagram; it seemed that people were tweaking the list slightly (to suit themselves) and sharing it with others. So yep, I took the liberty to tweak it myself too, swapping some exercises with ones that I prefer to do.

This workout really gets my heart rate up!

My arms, legs, back and core feel amazing! My whole body feels tighter, stronger, and leaner for doing them.

At first I started off doing HALF the amounts.

But since I’ve been doing them for 3 weeks, I can I do them all, 3 times, no problem. I do them every day or every second day now.

My kids love to join in too – which is annoying because I have to wait for them to keep up, but it’s also kind of cool because I feel that I’m passing down some good habits for their future.

Feel free to save the image to your phone and refer to it any time you have a spare moment (which is how I first got started with it!).

You can follow me on instagram and grab the photo from there to – @karenlycheng

Enjoy!

xxx


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To To Vietnamese, Perth

7 January 2015

To To Pho

Vietnamese food is one of my favourite cuisines in the world. And no matter what the weather is like outside, I just *love* catching up with my girlfriends over a hot bowl of Vietnamese beef pho!

I have a few favourite Vietnamese restaurants that I like in Perth. One of them is called To To, in East Victoria Park.

The decor is modern and quite classy… that is, it doesn’t have plastic tables and chairs, and plastic plants! The place is pretty noisy, cramped and the service is not that great though. During peak hours, you could be waiting outside for 15-30 minutes to get a table too.

But it’s unfussy, quick and easy. And most importantly, the food is pretty great.

Actually, I’ve been coming here for YEARS and I only ever order the Cooked and Raw Beef Pho and Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls… so I don’t know about the rest of the menu!

To To Vietnamese
875 Albany Hwy
East Victoria Park, WA

To To Vietnamese on Urbanspoon


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25 Day Fitness Challenge – Done and Dusted!

30 December 2014

Running and Pink Nails

(Me pausing mid run to notice that my nails match my shoes haha!)

This December, I gave myself a kind of challenge where I had to do some kind of exercise every day, for 25 days.

You can read what I got up to during my whole 25 Day Fitness Challenge.

Monday – Day 22
Netball game. We played against a newbie team and we lost by 2 points. We were all “off our game” and we made a lot of silly mistakes. Honestly, I think we were all in party mode and ready for Christmas! Oh well, the other team were a bunch of lovely girls, we were happy for them and it was a great workout for everyone!

The best thing about playing netball every Monday night is that it’s a fantastic way to start my week.

Tuesday – Day 23
My kids and I spent 4 hours at the beach, where I did some light swimming in the surf. Although I didn’t do anything extremely active all day, I was really tired and lethargic from sitting in the sun. I did a slow jog in the evening.

Wednesday – Day 24
I did my routine of strength and floor exercises in the morning. I can now do 20 push ups and 10 burpees! My arms are starting to look hot!

I spent the whole day on my feet, cooking and cleaning. We hosted Christmas Eve dinner at our house, for my family.

Thursday – Day 25
We went to my sister-in-law’s house for Christmas Lunch. I felt pretty crappy after all the over-eating, so I smashed out a 5km run in the evening and felt soooo good.

So that’s my 25 days done and dusted!

I’m so happy that I did it.

Most of it was relatively easy, because I had announced it to the internet haha! I felt accountable and that I needed to stick to my word! I had very few excuses after that, hence I just got on with it. That was really my whole plan – and it worked :)

I was aiming to do at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise each day – which to me, meant that my heart rate had to go up, I had to sweat, I had to push myself, and I had to feel my muscles burn. In my mind, the idea of “vigorous exercise” meant running, cycling, pump classes, weights sessions, strength exercises, netball, or swimming.

But realistically… some days were hard for me to fit in THAT kind of exercise. I was busy, I had a lot on, I was stressed. Exercise was the LAST thing I wanted to do at the end of the day.

So instead of vigorous exercise each day, sometimes I did a light yoga stretch session, or took a gentle walk in the park.

As long as I set aside some time each day to move and stretch, I felt that I stayed true to my challenge :)

For the new year, I am definitely going to continue with my challenge and keep myself active every day.

Wishing you all the best for your new year goals!


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25 Day Fitness Challenge – Day 8 to 14

15 December 2014

Workout!

As I’ve mentioned before, I have dedicated the month of December to getting fit again. For 25 days, I’m going to try to do some kind of vigorous exercise each day.

See all the past activity for my Fitness Challenge here.

This is what I’ve been up to this week:

Monday – Day 8
Netball game. Super high intensity workout!

Tuesday – Day 9
Went for a quick 3.5km run around the block.

Wednesday – Day 10
Strength and floor exercises. Lunges, squats, burpees, planks, mountain climbs – the lot!

Thursday – Day 11
Weights workout. Just used 3kg dumbbells and tried to target my upper body.

Friday – Day 12
We left for a camping trip, so I missed out doing exercise for today. But if you count frantically running around, trying to pack camping gear for 5 people for 3 days, then I was burning calories ALL FREAKING DAY!

Saturday – Day 13
Sand boarding, climbing up sand dunes, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding! We had the best time!

Sunday – Day 14
Played beach cricket and went for a jog on the beach (this was a killer!).

Writing it all down like this has been great for me! It’s nice to know that I’m pretty active each day, yay!


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Simple Baked Salmon with Lemon and Butter

13 December 2014

Baked Salmon

Simple Baked Salmon with Lemon and Butter

I love cooking simple, fresh, and healthy meals! Using fresh salmon, a couple of ingredients (mostly from my garden) it is one of the easiest dinners that I make. It’s also one of my family’s favourite dinners.

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Rub the base of an ovenproof dish with a bit of butter. Lay the salmon fillets on top.

3. Place lemon slices and slices of butter over the salmon.

4. Throw some vegetables (tomatoes and mushrooms work really well). Sprinkle a bit of fresh thyme or chives on top.

5. Pop into the oven for 13-15 minutes until the salmon is to your liking. I like mine to be a little raw in the middle.

6. Serve with steamed vegetables like baby potatoes, broccoli, long beans and asparagus.

Baked Salmon

This was dinner for my husband, 3 kids, my father in law and me!

Then we each had a bowl of fruit salad for dessert.

Healthy and yummy!