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If you have ever visited Queen Victoria Market’s Food Hall, I bet you would have come across this store. They have a wide selection of colourful macarons that definitely look enticing enough to eat.

This Cake Store also has a variety of other sweet snacks and desserts to satisfy those sweet tooth cravings.
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I tried their Chocolate Macaron, and shell is slightly too crunchy without that nice chew that Macarons usually have. The filling was quite nice though, but Chocolate anything is usually good.
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I really can’t remember what this one was but the Chocolate Ganache filling was probably a bit too sweet for my liking.
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This Vanilla Macaron was actually pretty nice. Again the shells aren’t really my favourite as they are slightly too high and airy.
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I think this one was Coffee, and that was probably one of my favourite one. The coffee flavour had a good bitterness to it which offset some of the sweetness so it makes it much more pleasant to eat.

Overall, their macarons were a slight letdown. I much prefer Le Petit Gateau’s Macarons to be honest even though they don’t have a wide variety of macarons.

I haven’t tried any of the other Cake Shop offerings but they do seem tempting!

Queen Victoria Market Cake Shop

155 Victoria St
Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Killiney Kopitiam is a Singaporean franchise that has opened up on Lygon St, Carlton. Near to the famous Gelato/Ice-creamery, Il Dolce Freddo. As a Kopitiam, they serve a selection of hot and cold beverages such as coffee, tea, Tek Tarik and Milo and also a nice and decently priced selection of Hawker style dishes, and Traditional Singaporean/Malaysian dishes.

Their Mee Rebus was slightly spicy and had a nice tangy flavour to it, like it should be. However, the sauce was overly running and that was a bit strange to be honest. Killiney Kopitiam’s dishes are probably smaller than most other Malaysian/Singaporean restaurants around Melbourne but because most of their dishes are under $9, it probably is still good value for money.

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I also tried their Singaporean Laksa and that was surprisingly good. The Laksa soup was nice and creamy, with a good amount of spice and coconut flavour. The fresh bean sprouts, chicken, tofu, boiled egg and chopped coriander all worked well together. The bean sprouts and coriander especially made it taste very fresh, which was even more surprisingly because I don’t usually like it with anything.

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To go to a Kopitiam and not order Teh Tarik would be unacceptable for me. Their Teh Tarik was actually pretty darn good, it didn’t have as much tea flavour as Chillipadi Kopitiam but way above some of the other offerings I’ve had around Melbourne.

Overall, my impressions of Killiney Kopitiam are mostly positive. Their food came pretty quickly, and staff were friendly enough. The restaurant also had a nice atmosphere to it, probably because it looked clean for an Asian restaurant. Ha!

I definitely recommend this place for those students around Carlton, or even if you want something different on Lygon St. Even if you’re not around the area, as one of the few Singaporean eateries around Melbourne it probably is worthwhile to visit. You can have a look at the menu here!

Killiney Kopitiam on Urbanspoon

Killiney Kopitiam
114 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053

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Chiffon Cake was invented in America but have remained popular in South-East Asian countries, and extremely popular in Malaysia. The most popular versions are Orange or Pandan/Coconut Chiffon Cakes and are enjoyed by many for its light and fluffy texture. Here is a version of my Pandan Chiffon Cake. Chiffon Cakes sometimes take a couple of tries to get right due to different oven temperatures and the mixing of the meringue and wet mixture so if you don’t succeed on your first try. Please try again!

Pandan Chiffon Cake
Ingredients

7 egg whites
100 g sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

7 egg yolks
60 g sugar

190 g flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

80ml vegetable oil
140ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp pandan extract

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160/170 degrees Celsius.
2. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
3. Add the vegetable oil, coconut milk, extract, egg yolks and sugar into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
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4. Whip the egg whites and once it starts to bubble add the cream of tartar.
5. Keep whipping until the mixture is nearing soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar with the electric mixer is still running and until hard peaks form.
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6. Add 1/3 of the meringue into the wet mixture until the thick mixture softens. Then slowly add in the rest of the meringue until just combined. Do not overmix!
7. Pour into the cake pan (one made for upside down cakes – it has a hole in the middle)
8. Place in the oven for 30/40 minutes. If the top of your cake gets brown too quickly, lower the oven temperature to around 150. To see if it’s done, you can use a skewer and poke it through the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
9. Remove from the oven when done, and flip it upside. If the cake as risen higher than the cake pan’s height, use a mug and rest the middle cylinder on top.
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10. Allow the cake to cool until room temperature.

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Impressions
What I like about this recipe is how light the chiffon cake is. When you take a bite, the cake just melts in your mouth. Not to inflate my ego or anything but I found it better than those purchased in my local Asian Grocers. This recipe isn’t too sweet, but still has that nice and subtle pandan flavour. You can always increase or decrease the amount of pandan extract you put it, as well as the coconut to whatever you prefer. That’s the fun thing about making things yourself, you can make something just to your liking.

If your chiffon cakes sinks slightly when cooling, that’s fine. All cakes shrink slightly when cooled. If your cake shrinks too much, this may be a result of over mixing for the batter or the meringue. Or even under mixing for the meringue.

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I find that if you use a good stand mixer, it’s much easier to make the meringue and definitely more consistent than using a hand held mixer. It’s also less troublesome to try pouring sugar into the egg whites if you use a stand mixer (I know, I’ve tried)

All in all, Chiffon cakes can be slightly difficult but once you get the basics down, you’ll find it isn’t so hard after all.

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I’ve always walked passed Dae Jang Geum in Chinatown but never had the temptation to go in. I couldn’t really gauge the popularity either because it has stairs going up. One day we suddenly though why not, I’ve always liked Korean cuisine. I’ve dined in a couple around the city (mostly Korean BBQ) but I’m not sure why I don’t jump at the chance to try another place.

Dae Jang Geum when you finally walk up all the steps is surprisingly large. I was taken aback at how many tables they had, and a large kitchen. So I’m presuming they must get a lot of customers during the night. Their Lunch menu is has quite good variety of Korean food, from Teriyaki Chicken, Bulgogi, Soup, rice and noodle dishes.

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My first picture is the Bulgogi Set Menu that I ordered, and I quite enjoyed it. It is again, surprisingly filling. The rice that they give you is in these seemingly small stainless steel bowls but actually they had packed all the rice in tightly.  The beef was nicely flavoured and cooked well. The chinese cabbage and capsicum made the dish overall enjoyable.

The Chicken Teryaky with vegetables is definitely not like the usual Japanese Teriyaki you’ll find. This was more akin to a Sweet and Sour Chicken dish, without much of the sour. So it was slightly disappointing, but still decent enough if you like a sweet sauced dish to go with your rice.

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Dae Jang Geum also provides an assortment of sides, with the usual kimchi, fresh salad and a sweetened sliced cold potato dish (pictured at the back).

Might I add I also had a chance to try a bit of the Spicy Beef Soup and that had a fantastic punch to it. It felt so homely, having soup and rice. Homely, certainly isn’t a bad thing. Not at all.

Dae Jang Geum’s lunch experience is mostly positive. The staff are quite friendly and efficient, and the food arrives quickly (Maybe we ate before peak hour but nonetheless is was good). Although their restaurant lacks much natural lighting, it is still a welcoming atmosphere. Would I come here again? Yes definitely, there are plenty of other dishes to try for lunch and we haven’t even attempted to try their Korean BBQ.

Melbourne Dae Jang Geum Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Dae Jang Geum
235 Little Bourke St
Melbourne VIC

03 9662 9445

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Mochi is a Japanese treat that is made from glutinous rice flour and is usually slightly chewy and soft with an assortment of fillings inside. In most offerings, red bean paste is used. Although more commonly known as a Japanese food, it is known to be popular in other Asian countries with their own twists or variances.

What goes best with red bean? Grean Tea.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Belachan2 and have made my usual  changes to the recipe to suit my own tastes.

Green Tea Mochi with Red Bean Filling
Ingredients
1 cup glutinous rice flour
1/2 tsp. green tea powder (for baking)
150ml water
1 tbs sugar

Red bean paste for filling (Recipe below)
Black sesame paste for filling (Recipe below)

Cornstarch for dusting (microwave cornstarch for 2 mins, let it cool completely before using) – Or you can light heat up the glutinous rice flour in a pan for a couple of minutes (don’t burn) and let it cool to room temperature.

Method

1. In a glass bowl, combine flour, green tea powder and water. Stir to mix well. Then add in the sugar, stir til sugar dissolved.

2. Cover with a plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and stir well. Return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir-well and check for doneness. If not, put it back for another 30 seconds, be careful not to burn it.

3. Flour the working surface with cornstarch and use a spoon to drop a ball of mochi on top and quickly cover it with starch. Divide into 8 or 10 pieces. Wrap the filling inside and cover with more cornstarch. Shape into balls and ready to serve.
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Red Bean Paste (From JustHungry)

Ingredients
2 cups washed azuki beans
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

Method
1. Soak the beans in cold water to cover for 24 hours.

2. Drain the beans and put them in a pot with water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, boil for a minute then drain the beans. Rinse the beans briefly under cold running water and drain again. Put the beans back in the pot with fresh cold water, bring to a boil, then drain and rinse again. This twice-boiling gets rid of much of the surface impurities and makes the an taste cleaner.

3. Put the beans back in the rinsed pot, and add enough water so that it comes up to about 2cm/1 inch above the beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a low simmer. Add water if it boils away. Skim off any scum on the surface. Cook until the beans are completely cooked and falling apart. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.

4. Put the pot of beans back on medium-low heat. Add the sugar and salt in 3-4 batches, while stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula to distribute the sugar and salt evenly. When the sugar melts, it will exude moisture, but if it seems a bit too dry or sticking to the pot, add a little of the reserved cooking liquid back in. Continue cooking while stirring occasiontaly, until the sugar is completely melted and absorbed into the beans. This step takes 10-15 minutes.

5. At this point the beans should be soft enough to mash easily with the side of your spatula. You can also use a potato mssher. Turn out onto a plate to let cool.

Rice Cooker Method (not exact)

1. Add around 250g washed azuki beans into a rice cooker
2. Fill the bowl with water until it covers all the beans
3. Let it cook in there for a couple of hours or until the beans start to soften
4. In the middle of cooking in the rice cooker, add sugar (up to you) and add a a couple of pandan leaves for flavour.
5. Once the beans are soft, you can either mash them together with a cooking utensil until smooth. If you want a really fine paste, you’ll probably need to put it through a sieve a couple of items or try a food processor.

Black Sesame Paste (Not exact)
Ingredients
100 g Black Sesame Powder
2 tbs Icing Sugar
1 tbs Butter/Margarine (Soft)

Method

1. Add all the ingredients together, you can use a whisk or a fork to mix until it forms a paste.
2. If it doesn’t mix properly, add slightly more margarine/butter and mix. Similarly, if it isn’t sweet enough for your liking, add more until it suits you.

Impressions

This recipe is fantastic if you like soft and slightly chewy Mochi but my first warning is if you cannot eat them all in the day (how can you not?) then it usually hardens overnight. There are a few recipes that won’t do this but I find them to be more dense and tougher to eat.

My second warning is that, the rice ball after heated up is extremely sticky. So add the flour to your hands, and on the plate/table. You’ll get the hang of it after a couple of tries but flour up each time as otherwise it can be a total disaster when you try putting in the filling. You can always eat the disasters so that’s a plus anyway. This is always my go to recipe and although I said it was tricky, it is a very simple process.

Mochi’s are like the Macarons of the East. The filling and the rice ball is all up to you! Enjoy!

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