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I’ve slightly changed this wonderful recipe taken from The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham. I didn’t add any decorations or icing to this cupcake and simply let the almonds and berries shine through. It’s basically a muffin disguised as a cupcake with all the icing added to it. I really liked this recipe, because it isn’t too heavy and feels less rich even though it still uses butter. I’ve added the decorations and frosting recipes for those that want to try it, but sometimes simplicity is best.

Brittany’s Fuss Free Muffin Cupcakes
– The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook (Jennifer Graham)

Raspberry, Almond and Yoghurt Cakes
Makes 24

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter
2 cups natural yoghurt
4 eggs
2 2/3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 cups almond meal
1 2/3 cups castor sugar (used 1 cup)
500 g frozen berries (used mixed berries)
1/2 cup flaked almonds

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Leave to cool a little, then pur into a bowl with the yoghurt and eggs and whisk until thoroughly combined.

3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and almond meal. Add castor sugar and combine.

4. Make a well in a centre and pour in the yoghurt mixture. Fold in gently using a rubber spatula,; do not over-stir, the mixture should be quite lumpy. Add the raspberries and fold in to just incorporate.

5. Spoon mixture into pans, filling each about three-quarters full. Sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top of the cupcakes. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when pressed. Should be slightly browned.

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6. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Decoration
Ingredients
1 cup icing sugar
Food Colouring: Brown and Yellow
24 White Sugar medallions
Piping Bag
Star Tip #9
1 Cup Vanilla Buttercream (Page 142)
Gold Glitter

Method

1. Sift icing sugar over the cooked cupcakes.

2. Add one drop of brown food colouring to ten drops of yellow food colouring to make a gold colour. Place an unused absorbent kitchen cloth onto a piece of greaseproof paper, and pout the gold colouring onto it, letting it absorb evenly. You can now use the cloth as a stamp pad. Stamp a gold letter B onto each of the sugar medallions (You may need two quantities of the gold food colouring)

3. Pipe a small swirl of buttercream in the centre of each cupcake. Place a medallion on top of each swirl and sprinkle with gold glitter.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients
200g softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 cups icing sugar

Makes: 4 cups of frosting (24 cupcakes)

Method
1. Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add milk, vanilla extract and half of the sifted icing sugar, and beat for at least 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if the mixture is too dry or extra icing sugar if the mixture is too wet.

2. If you wish to colour and/or flavour the buttercream then this is the time to do it.

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Impressions

What I liked about this recipe is the crunchiness from the slivered almonds on top, and the moist almond meal inside but also the sourness of the berries shines through. I used a mix of raspberries and blueberries that gave it that sweetness and sourness, as not to make it too sweet when you’re adding sugar to it anyway. The yoghurt gives it a denser texture but it makes it more moist. I think if it just used butter, the recipe would come out dry and unappetising. Another fantastic recipe from this recipe book.

 

 

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Madam Kwong in Box Hill is one of the very few Malaysian restaurants around these parts. Not only that, it’s one of the very few authentic Malaysian restaurants around. Having opened not that long ago, this small shop is seemingly always filled with people. Probably because of the lack of seating, but also frequented by Malaysian Australians. You can tell just by hearing their accent! I digress. From what I’ve been told, the food they serve here is Penang style cuisine which I’m actually more used to since my parents are from Northern Malaysia.

What they also have retained from Penang is their smaller portions. It’s not exactly small but for the price it leans towards being expensive compared to other Malaysian restaurants in Victoria.

I ordered the Nasi Lemak with Beef Curry. I actually really loved the curry, it was just creamy enough but not overwhelming and had also just enough spices and hit of chilli. I really couldn’t ask for a better curry to go with my Nasi Lemak. What they lack here though is a sambal of sorts, they included the preserved vegetables (behind the rice) but sambal is almost a necessity for Nasi Lemak so that in itself was slightly disappointing. However they do make up for it with generous serving of beef. They add all the other common sides, egg, cucumber, nuts, anchovies and scented rice. Overall, I was still pleased with the dish and at least the curry made up for any shortcomings.

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Madam Kwong’s Char Kway Teoh is packed full of flavour. You can really taste the heat of the wok come through and of course you can’t have a Char Kway Teoh without a bit of spice. We asked for spicy, it was, sort of. Not as spicy as I would have liked though. The noodles were seasoned and cooked well, with all the things you’d come to expect with this dish. A satisfactory dish I would say!

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What I was very disappointed with was their “Ice Kacang”, and I use quotation marks with that because I really don’t know what we were given. I mean it meets the literal definition of Ice Kacang (shaved ice and beans) but it was basically sugar syrup and ice. It needed a serious tablespoon of brown sugar syrup, a bit of condensed/evaporated milk and thinly shaved ice. It actually tasted like those snow cones that come with just cordial/liquid sugar flavourings and ice but not even as good as that. It was also extremely small for the price. Wouldn’t order it again.

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Their cendol was indeed better. The cendol (green jellies) seemed fresh enough, not rubbery or hard. The jellies had a delicacy to it. It was quite creamy with the coconut milk and brown sugar and very sweet. I think they added too much coconut milk for my liking but it wasn’t in anyway bad like their Ice Kacang was. Would I order it again? Hmm, probably not. Again portion size is to be considered for the price, I wouldn’t. Straits of Malacca and ChilliPadi Mamak do it better and bigger.

Impressions

I liked their food, there isn’t too much variety on their menu but what they serve in terms of hot food is tasty and that’s all that really matters here. The desserts, and even their Kuehs’ I find them to be on the sickly sweet side but I guess some people like it that way. They also are partly a grocery store (well they sell a few grocery items) and frozen dim sum dishes so even if you may not fancy their food, if you’re in the need of a few Malaysian ingredients this may be very well be the place to stop at.

Madam Kwong's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Madam Kwong’s
1025 Whitehorse Rd
Box Hill VIC 3128

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My first sighting of Beef Wellington was on Masterchef Australia. It looked so golden and delicious but not too scarily difficult to actually make yourself. I love anything with pastry so meat plus puff pastry is my ideal meal. One thing to note is if you love a more generous serving of the mushroom mixture to go around the beef, I’d say double the mushroom mixture ingredients and you may also need a few more slices of the prosciutto to cover it as well. The shallot and red wine sauce from the BBC Good Food with the Beef Wellington is an amazing combination. I highly recommend it. Check out Gordon Ramsay’s BBC Good Food recipe below!

Beef Wellington with Red wine & Shallot sauce (Gordon Ramsay)

Cooking and Prep Time 1 hr – 2 hrs / 20 minutes (Sauce)
Serves 6 / 4 (Sauce)

Ingredients (Beef Wellington)
1kg/2lb 4 oz a good beef fillet
3 tbsp olive oil
250g/9oz chestnut mushroom, include some wild ones if you like (I used Portobello mushrooms)
50g/2oz butter
1 large sprig fresh thyme
100ml/3.5 fl oz dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
500g/1lb 2oz pack puff pastry, thawed if frozen
a little flour, for dusting
2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water

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Ingredients (Shallot & Red Wine Sauce)
250g shallots, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
sprig rosemary
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml red wine
400ml beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
knob of butter

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Method (Beef Wellington)
1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Sit the 1kg beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper.

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2. Roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.

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3. While the beef is cooling, chop 250g mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.

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4. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 50g butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with 1 large sprig fresh thyme, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture.

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5. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over 100ml dry white wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.

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7. Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay 12 slices prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.

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8. Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet.

9. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.

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10. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.

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Method (Sauce)

1. Sauté the shallots in a medium saucepan with the oil over a high heat for about 3 mins until lightly browned, stirring often. Season with ground black pepper and add the garlic and rosemary. Continue cooking for a further 3 mins, stirring often to prevent the shallots burning.

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2. Pour in the vinegar and cook until evaporated away to a syrup, then pour in the wine and cook until reduced by two thirds or until it thickens.

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3. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds again, to around 250ml. Remove the garlic and rosemary. Add a little salt to taste and finally ‘monte’ (whisk) in a knob of butter. Add any juices from the steaks just before serving.

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Notes

  • Please allot enough time for chilling. It helps with the rolling of the beef and so you don’t have a very wet base when you bake the pastry in the oven
  • The mushroom mixture can be doubled as it’s a very thin layer around the beef
  • I recommend finding less salty prosciutto as it can be quite overpowering with the seasoning of the beef and mushroom mix.

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On our first half day to Vancouver, just minutes away from our hotel we found Ramen Sanpachi. We arrived after lunch peak so seating wasn’t an issue and after eating predominantly French and Western cuisine for a week or so we were craving something a bit asian. Luckily, around Robson Street, and the West End there are plentiful Japanese eateries around to choose from.

Ramen Sanpachi as the name suggest, serves up ramen with your choice of soup base. It’s something I’ve never really found back in Melbourne apart from one or two restaurants from my recollection. They have six different soup stocks; Miso, Shoyu, Spicy, Shio, Yatai and Tonkotsu.

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I ordered the Gyoza and Ramen with Miso base for something different. I didn’t feel the soup base tasted like Miso but seemed more of the generic ramen soup stock with a tad sourness. It’s a large serve, and luckily I was in a group because I couldn’t finish the Gyoza all by myself. The ramen was nicely cooked, not too soggy and and just enough bite to it. I didn’t really have an opinion either way with this dish, it was neither spectacular or disastrously bad.

The Gyoza was nice and crispy on the outside, had a gingery meat filling inside. The pastry to filling ratio was what I preferred as I don’t like my gyoza/dumplings to be too meaty.

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We also ordered the Spicy soup base for Cha-Shu. I actually really loved the taste of the spicy stock base, it wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy but just gently tingles your tongue and adds something extra to the stock which is lacking in the Miso. Maybe adding Togarashi to the soup would have made it better but this by itself was quite delicious.

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Also ordered was the Spicy Ramen which has a similar taste to the Cha-Shu ramen with Spicy soup stock and has basically all the same ingredients, corn, slices of pork, Japanese mushrooms. Again, the spicy stock makes the dish. It’s probably because you hardly get that back in Melbourne but might be very common in Vancouver.

Impressions

Ramen Sanpachi isn’t the tastiest Japanese restaurant I’ve dined in but I didn’t mind the food. As mentioned before, it’s above good. Nearly great, but not quite there. They serve large dishes that would most definitely satisfy you on a cold day and well for the price I believe it’s reasonably priced. There are probably better Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, but I wouldn’t say no to eating there again.

Ramen Sanpachi on Urbanspoon

Ramen Sanpachi

770 Bute Street
Vancouver BC V6E1A6

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Whenever I go to Flemington, I usually go to Chef Lagenda or ChilliPadi. For some reason Laksa King never crosses my mind, even though when they were in their old location we used to go there all the time. We ventured here once again to give it another go. I always found Laksa King to be the one more popular with the general public, it always seems to be full around lunch time.

Their Chicken Curry Laksa above, is well known, but also very similar to Chef Lagenda. Many would know the story behind it. Compared to some other Laksa’s both Laksa King and Chef Lagenda lean on the creamier side. I used to find it too creamy, however, on my last outing, I actually didn’t mind it for a change. It also had a nice hit of spice to it.  I prefer Grand Tofu in Glen Waverley for my Laksa fix, it’s spicier and less creamy. However, this is just fine once in a while.

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Thai Fried Rice is a surprisingly common dish in many Asian eateries. Laksa King’s version isn’t too shabby. It has a nice hit of chilli to it, and has that slight tom yum flavour, which gives it a nice sweet and sourness. The prawns were also perfectly cooked. The wok flavour really makes the dish. Overall, it’s one of the better Fried Rice’s around and I wouldn’t mind eating it again even if it’s on the oily side.

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Ah Char Kway Teow. You can’t be a Malaysian restaurant without this. You also can’t have a tasty Char Kway Teow without the devilishly delicious fried pork fat. I know, that sounds hideously disgusting but if you have ever tried it, it just adds something special to it. It’s just crispy, fatty goodness. Obviously, I wouldn’t eat this all the time, nor would I eat all the pork fat in the dish but one or two pieces with the noodles just hits the spot.

One thing I didn’t like was that the fried pork fat wasn’t even crispy! What was the point, it was a total disappointment. The Char Kway Teow was delicious apart from that. It had that special wok flavour and had just enough heat. Again, it was on the oily side, however you don’t order this expecting something healthy in the end. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised and wouldn’t mind ordering it again.

IMG_0288We saw people ordering Ice Kacang and it looked huge and delicious to boot. It’s like this large tower but it was so difficult to mix. Since the ice was quite hard, all the ice basically falls on the table. You basically have to dig sections out and mix it in your own bowl. Note to Laksa King, get wider bowls please.

Compared to my all time favourite Ice Kacang from Chillipadi Mamak, this is nearly as delicious but both are very different in taste. Laksa King’s version uses brown sugar syrup heavily as you can see it has a golden brown colour to it. Chillipadi uses a mixture of rose syrup and condensed/evaporated milk. I think any Ice Kacang with nuts added to it is a plus. It isn’t the same without that crunchiness. Although different, it wasn’t overly sweet and had all the other ingredients added to it, such as jelly, palm seeds, corn and lychee.

Impressions

I’ve mentioned Laksa King numerous times, but first time I’ve actually given it a review. They serve predominantly Malaysian cuisine and don’t skimp on flavour. YMMV, but with the dishes above, most were winners in my book.

I know Laksa King caters more towards the Western flavours and demographic but it still retains the Malaysian flavour which is what most people seek.

Laksa King on Urbanspoon

Laksa King
6 – 12 Pin Oak Crescent
Flemington VIC 3031

Phone: 03 9372 6383

Lunch
Everyday 11:30am – 3pm

Dinner
Mon – Thu 5pm – 10pm
Fri – Sat 5pm – 10:30pm
Sunday 5pm – 10pm

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