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If you have ever been in a Korean Grocery store, you might have come across a Hotteok pre-mix pack (Beksul is the one I find). Basically Hotteok is a sweet Korean Pancake, I think there are varieties of these pancakes with different fillings. The one that comes in the pack is a brown sugar filling with chopped nuts and cinnamon. I absolutely adore these and have attempted to make it myself. Either way, it’s pretty simple to make, but the Pre-Mix has a much nicer dough, and I’m unsure of what they put into it that gives it that golden colour.

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This is the other Hotteok Pre-Mix I’ve seen. The Beksul one (Not Pictured Pictured!) is in red packaging and tastes much better, and less salty. As the instructions are all in Korean, I had to go search for a translation. Luckily I found My Korean Kitchen.

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Ingredients

1 Pre-Mix Pack (Contains: Flour, Filling and Yeast)

250 ml Water

Oil (Preferably the spray kind)

Plain Flour

Optional: Extra chopped nuts to add to the Filling mixture

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Method (From My Korean Kitchen)

1. Sieve the premix flour, then add the dry yeast (silver packet) and water, knead it with a wooden spatula

2. Cover the bowl with wrap, and ferment it for 2 hours at room temperature (20-25 ?) The volume of the dough needs to increase by 2 times. I’ve sometimes left it for the whole day just to get the maximum “rise”.

2/ If you like, you can chop some more nuts, we use walnuts but really any nuts will suffice, to the filling.

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3. When the dough is ready, get a couple of spoonfuls of plain flour and place it on a plate. Give the mixture a gentle mix and form 10-20 pieces depending on the size you want. Place each piece into the plain flour so it becomes easier to handle.

4. Widen the dough with your hands and flatten. Place a spoonful of filling into the middle of the flat dough. Seal the dough and shape is like below. Repeat it for the rest of the dough.

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5. Pre heat the frying pan for 20 seconds and add some oil.

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6. Put a couple of the pancakes onto the pan and turn them over when the bottom part is cooked. (Cook them on medium to low heat)

Recommendation from the packet : It is best if you consume all the fermented dough (dough without the filling mix) when you make it. However if you can’t finish it all, keep it in the fridge (if you are going to consume it within 24 hours), otherwise keep it in the freezer, and defrost it well before you use it.

Impressions

What I love above this Pre-Mix is how easy it is to make and so tasty to boot. Eating this warm, will the sugary filling slightly liquid and nutty is just…perfect. It’s delicious on a nice cold winters day, and it’s definitely hard to stop eating it.

The dough is slightly soft, but has a nice crisp texture on the outside, with a sweet and nutty texture in the inside, with a hint of cinnamon. I’ve actually tried this with home-made red bean paste as well, and tastes just as good. So simple to make (Apart from the sticky dough), I can’t see a reason not to give it a try!

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We often go to Phillip Island to bring our guests to the Penguin Parade, but since we’ve seen the penguins so often, it isn’t worth it to buy a ticket for ourselves. So instead, we take a little detour to the main town centre (Cowes) of Phillip Island. One of the few restaurants/things to do at night is the Lone Pine Bistro, and the Phillip Island RSL that are connected.

I was quite surprised that they close early, I think it was 8:30 but the RSL/Pokies still remains open. Luckily we got in time and was one of the last few orders before the kitchen closed.

I ordered the Lamb Burger with Chips and Salad. I was a tad bloated because I ate some Korean Corn Chips (Delicious) an hour or so before, but after tasting this. I couldn’t resist.

I loved the burger, it had a slice of beetroot, well seasoned lamb mince patty, salad and cheese. It was a traditional combination but nicely cooked. The bread was crispy but soft on the inside, and overall the burger just hit the spot. Usually you’d find the burger to be dry, but this one was perfectly cooked.

The salad had a nice tanginess that helped with the fattiness of the chips. The chips required tomato sauce to go down, it was a tad too dry with the potato having that chalky texture. On the positive side, it was nice and crunchy.

I was pleasantly surprised with RSL/Bistro food after eating this, usually “pub” food can be overcooked and quite pedestrian. Although this doesn’t stray too far from the norm, what it does, it does well.

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Their Roast Beef and Vegetables dish wasn’t as fantastic as their Burger. Most places cannot serve perfectly cooked carved beef or turkey. I think it’s because they cook the entire beef/turkey/pork and just leave it to “keep warm”. So eventually the meat just loses all it’s juices and overcooks. This is what happened here.

The meat is quite tough, and the gravy tries its best to assist with the dryness, but ultimately cannot overcome the fact that the meat is severely overcooked. On the plus side, potatoes are always good, and the vegetables served are pleasant enough to eat.

I’d be disappointed if I was served this, and it’s a stark difference to how well cooked the Lamb Burger was. I can see why it was disappointing, and it would definitely be difficult to cook the meat perfectly all things considered. Probably would be better if they served a steak but alas this isn’t what they offered.

Impressions

Lone Pine Bistro serves traditional Australian food, they also have a wide range of desserts and cakes. So if you’re travelling to see the Penguins, a stop here for some tucker isn’t a bad idea at all.

Lone Pine Bistro on Urbanspoon

Lone Pine Bistro – Phillip Island RSL
Phillip Island
Phillip Island RSL 225-243 Thompson Ave
Cowes VIC 3922

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I was searching high and low for a nice looking Mocha Cake to bake for my mother. I came across Gourmeted’s Goldilocks Mocha Cake Recipe which looked fantastic. I’ve tried this a few times following the exact method however on both occasions my cake sank like a rock. One my third attempt I thought, why not use the tried and tested Chiffon Cake way. Here is my slightly adapted Gourmeted recipe below. A big thanks to Gourmeted because it’s a fantastic recipe.

Mocha Cake ala  Goldilocks (Gourmeted)
Ingredients

For the Cake:
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules [Nescafe instant coffee recommended]
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
½ cup canola oil
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Mocha Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, soft, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
5 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons amaretto (Or Kahlua)
Tools & Equipment

Stand mixer (preferred) but a hand mixer will be sufficient
1 Chiffon cake baking tin

Preparation

1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 375°F (~160 C)

2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) over low, then medium speed, until creamy and light yellow in color.

3. Dissolve espresso or coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and vanilla in a small bowl, getting rid of lumps while stirring. Pour into the egg-sugar mixture, along with canola oil, and beat until well combined.

4. Remove large bowl from stand mixer (if using one) and sift cake flour and baking powder over it. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl once.

5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks in a medium bowl, and fold into the mocha batter, a dollop or two first to liquefy the thick batter, and then in thirds.

6. Place the batter in the pan. Bake on two racks for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake is done when the tops become golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

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7. Once ready, take out of the oven and cool upside down on a mug. If you want to make the icing, the cake must be left to cool completely.

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8. For the Buttercream: Whisk sugar and egg whites for 3 to 5 minutes in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (water should not touch the bottom of the bowl), until meringue is hot to the touch. The sugar granules will be dissolved and you will be left with a fluffy marshmallow cream-like froth.

9. Remove bowl from heat and beat for 5 minutes with a hand mixer set to medium speed, or pour into a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to mix.

10. Add half of the butter and beat with a hand mixer (or paddle attachment for stand mixer) until smooth before adding the next half to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give it a quick stir. Beat again on medium-high for another 6 to 10 minutes to thicken.

11. Dissolve cocoa and espresso/coffee granules in water, vanilla extract, and amaretto in a small bowl. Pour into the buttercream and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides at least once.

12. Spoon about ½ cup of frosting on top and spread it evenly with a flat metal spatula.Spread a thick layer of frosting over the side, working from the bottom up to the top. Frost the top by placing a mound of icing and spreading it to the side. You can decorate the cake with the remaining frosting as you wish.

 

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As you can see I didn’t do the icing this time around. I have done it previously and it is indeed delicious. I used Kahlua instead of Amaretto but I believe Amaretto gives it a nice almond flavour to it.

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Impressions

This  Mocha cake… I’m just going to call it a Mocha Chiffon Cake is beautifully soft. I put it only for roughly 30/35 minutes, just done and it is as moist as ever. If you’re a fan of Chiffon Cakes, and want a slight coffee hit. This is for you! I think if you try the Gourmeted way, you may still find success, it’s just that I used a hand mixer on my previous two attempts. My planetary stand mixer works wonders with egg whites and is excellent in producing stiff peaks so that could be the reason why I found success on my third attempt.

This is slightly smaller than my Orange and Pandan Chiffon Cakes, as it only uses 6 eggs, but it’s still quite nice as you can see. It’s just a tad shorter. I might try a Black Sesame Chiffon Cake sometime because I seriously can’t get enough of Black Sesame.

 

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Cinta Raya is a newly opened (a year or so) Asian Restaurant that primarily serves Chinese/Malaysian cuisine. I believe it started off with more Asian-wide varieties of food, however they went through a change and now it serves mainly Chinese and Malaysian dishes. I too questioned why they had Vietnamese food on their menu, but now they they narrowed their focus, the food has turned out for the better. They are located in Scorseby, not too far away from Knox Shopping Centre and close by to a Woolworths and a few Asian Grocers. So if you’re exhausted from all your grocery shopping, you can take a short walk to Cinta Raya to serve a wide selection of Chinese/Malaysian dishes.

I ordered their Curry Laksa, and it was quite nice, slightly milder but rich enough. I found you could taste the spices through the soup so not too mild, but it’s not packed full of flavour. They include eggplant which adds a different taste to the base but also texturally it’s pleasant. I’m not sure if they still serve it with broccoli and carrots, but I thought it was an odd choice of vegetables to add. Definitely not your standard Curry Laksa ingredients, but nonetheless it was nice with all the tofu and chicken. Overall, it was nice, nothing standout and no disasters which is good. Portion size is also quite good, nothing to complain about.

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Their Seafood Hor Fun was quite good too, I think mainly with Hor Fun noodles they need to have a bit of that “Wok Flavour”, slightly charred and fried before adding in the egg sauce. This does just that, and it has all the usual ingredients you would fine in a Hor Fun. Well, apart from the broccoli and cauliflower. I haven’t been there too recently, so this might have changed. Overall, the egg sauce was quite good, definitely one of the better cooked dishes around town.
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At Cinta Raya, they also have a selection of main dishes you can order from. We ordered the sweet and sour crab dish. I found these again to have a good balance of flavours, not overly sweet and nicely cooked. The meat wasn’t overcooked at all, so I would order this again if I had the chance.
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We ordered the deep fried chicken pieces. I’m surprised it wasn’t drenched it oil, they managed to lightly (as light as you can imagine from deep frying that is) fry it with a nice thin crisp batter surrounding it. I think it’s pretty much your standard Chinese dish, and well, you can’t really go wrong with deep frying.
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I love this Balachan Chinese Spinach dish. They sauce is so good, it packs a good heat to it but not overly spicy. You get a nice tangy, sweet and sour flavour to the sauce with the spice that adds another element to the dish. I’m a big fan of this, and it’s just vegetables!

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We ordered their soy sauce duck dish with mushrooms and vegetables. I found the sauce to be a tad too salty for my liking, it was also not that great that the duck was a bit too tough and chewy. Duck should never be overcooked, it needs to be moist and tender. A  slightly disappointing dish to be honest.

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They used to serve complimentary Red Bean soup when they newly opened, however it appears they have stopped providing this, I’m not sure why. I found it to be slightly too sweet, and it masks the red bean flavour a bit. However, it was pleasant to be served this, it was like eating home cooked food.

Cinta Raya doesn’t stray too far from the normal Malaysian/Chinese cuisine, but what it does do, is cook delicious food for everyone to enjoy. It’s a popular restaurant, be warned, it is a small place. It can only fit under 10 tables, so either get it quick or you just might have to wait. Both their lunch and main meals are great, with a few low notes, but overall, I’d give Cinta Raya an overwhelmingly positive review.

Cinta Raya Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Cinta Raya

1381 Ferntree Gully Rd
Scoresby VIC 3179

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If it wasn’t for those “Deals” websites, I probably would never dine at Marquee Restaurant. Well, I wouldn’t say never but not in the foreseeable future perhaps. I think I’ve heard of Marquee before, but I seldom ever go to Toorak  so it was never on my list of “must do’s”

However I took up one of those deals where you could order a certain value of food for a discounted price. Marquee offers around four different courses, from Tastings, Entrees, Mains and Desserts. Primarily Marquee Restaurant serves European food, with a large mix of French dishes.

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We first ordered from the Tastings menu with their Roasted Scallops with garlic and truffle butter wrapped in puff pastry. I love scallops, and pastry so this was always going to go down well with me. The scallop was perfectly cook, not tough or chewy at all. It simply melted alway in your mouth, as best as a scallop could do anyway. The garlic and butter add the nice flavour to the dish and with the crunchy and thin pastry on top it works nicely together.

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These little burgers from the Tastings menu are Petit Wagyu Burgers with quail egg, baby beetroot, lettuce and tomato relish. This tiny things were so cute, just look at them! Almost too lovely to eat, almost. I loved these little burgers, they were absolutely delicious, with the ooze from the egg yolk making the burger moist and the wagyu wasn’t try either. I loved it.

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We ordered an entree too, this was the Hand-made crab and salmon raviolo, tomato consommé and baby basil cress. This was a bit disappointing to be honest, the crab and salmon filling in the raviolo was kinda bland and almost tasteless. Even the tomato consomme didn’t help with the flavour. Overall, I couldn’t find many redeeming qualities in this dish at all.

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One of the mains we ordered was the Baby snapper fillet with smoked prawn bisque and grilled prawns. The snapper was nicely cooked, and the spinach had nice tangy flavour. The sauce was quite good, a tad on the salty side though. The seafood was supposed to be the highlight or the centrepiece of the dish, however, the prawns were somehow bland and lacked prawn flavour. Overall, it has some good points but would I order this again? Probably not.

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I’ve always heard good things about Duck and Orange together. So I was so excited to order the Honey glazed duck breast on confit duck leg with chive mash and orange and balsamic jus. This was so good. The duck was amazing, so delicate and soft, just perfectly cooked and just melts away. The orange peel was slightly candied, and added a really nice different taste to the duck. I loved the balsamic jus too, I don’t think I’ve actually ever had jus before but my golly was it strong and tasty. Slightly salty, sweet and all things good. As you may know, I love potatoes, so the mash will always end up on a positive note. Overall, I loved this dish. The duck and the jus made this dish.

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I wanted a lighter dish to end my night at Marquee, so we ordered the Eton mess with strawberries, chantilly cream, smashed meringue, ice cream, strawberry coulis and mint. I quite liked this, the meringue was nice and crunchy but light, and with the strawberry coulis (it’s just a jam) it was tasted quite fresh and summery. The slightly sour strawberries worked well with the sweetness of the coulis and sweet meringue, and the cream added a nice richness but not overpowering. Overall, it was good, but not a “must order” dessert.

Impressions

Marquee Restaurant offers a nice selection of dishes, with plentiful that are tasty and satisfying. Would actually make me want to go there full price now that I’ve tasted their food. If you go to Marquee Restaurant, the duck is a must. I fine the prices to be on average slightly pricey, but I think that’s just the norm with these kind of restaurants. Marquee would now be on my list of places to dine on special occasions so I’m definitely glad to have dined here.

Marquee Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Marquee Restaurant (Menu)
445 Toorak Road
Toorak VIC 3142

Tuesday – Saturday 5pm – late

T: +61 3 9827 7938

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