Chocolate Creme Brulee

So, even though I used the exact same recipe as I did the first time, it decided to not set on me – which is possibly the most devastating (I do realize that’s overly dramatic) thing that could happen when working with creme brulee. In fairness, it was probably my fault as I messed with the sugar ratio and texture by blindly adding melted chocolate chips. The only thing left for me to do – aside from trashing it all – was to of course muster all the common sense I had to tackle this issue. So then I thought about all the ingredients I used and figured out which one was most likely the contributing factor. Through trial and error, I finally added just the right amount of egg yolks in the mixture for it to set properly, after reheating everything on the stove and chilling it overnight, (an undesirable and time consuming process that you will now avoid should you ever encounter this problem. You’re welcome.) it resulted in the perfect consistency. I even topped it with some berries just for aesthetics🙂. I’m getting better at this guys.



THE Best Chicken Fingers


Once in a blue moon I cook something amazing that even blows my own mind. Once in a blue moon I’ll share my recipe here, although it’s unfortunate that I can’t take 100% credit for it.

One of my friends, Colin, made something similar a few months back and I couldn’t find the recipe from MensHealth so I just rolled with it, hoping it works out, and did it ever.

Not only is this recipe the best (for real, you won’t need to look elsewhere for chicken finger recipes), it’s dead easy too. All you need to do is take the following ingredients to marinate the chicken strips overnight. Preferably cut the strips relatively thin so that they cook easier.

Dijon mustard (the ones with seeds) – I don’t know how many chicken breasts you’re working with but essentially you want to apply a liberal amount of this baby all over that baby.

Lemon juice. Don’t go overboard. For each chicken breast, maybe 3-4 drops will do.

Dried rosemary. Again, just a little bit ’cause you don’t want it to be overpowering. The dijon mustard is key.

Black pepper. 

4 ingredients people. Unless you want to add a bit of salt, but you definitely won’t need it because the seasoned bread crumbs are so flavourful already.

The next day, take a piece of aluminum foil and fold it in half. This is is more advantageous in serving as a platform for bread-crumbing your chicken than using any other equipment (e.g. cutting board, bowl, kitchen counter) for a couple of reasons. One, it’s disaposable, no washing and no salmonella residue. Two, you can fold the foil onto the chicken to cover all the meaty crevices better instead of, say, using your chicken to dip into the crumbs. And you’re not likely to waste any bread crumbs for that reason. Anyway, I over-analyzed this way too much, but what the fuck else am I suppose to write about? This recipe is too straight-forward.

Stage 2.

Stage 2.

NEXT, prepare a hot pan of vegetable oil on medium-low heat. You don’t want the heat too high otherwise it will burn the outside before it looks inside. It will probably take a couple of minutes on each side.

Serve it with some plum sauce!! SO. GOOD. and tender.


Strawberry shortcake… pizza shaped?


Recipe is courtesy of the foodnetwork.
I went into this thinking it was a cake. After the mixture became more and more dough like I revisited the recipe and the photo resembled a stuffed scone. What do ya know it came out of the oven nothing short of a scone… well except for the shape.

I definitely recommend sticking to an actual cake recipe for strawberry short’cakes’. They’re meant to be simple so don’t try to overcomplicate it. That’s my advice. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still delicious I hardly ever pass up a piece of cake, even if it did turn out a different species.


2012 – Food and more food

I told you I would go batshit crazy eating my way through Brisbane in my last year. All the dishes I’ve posted a photo of below and have tasted it myself were worth every penny. When the new year started, I have been cooking and baking many new things; too frequently I may add (thank god I’m a physically active person. I would look like a whale by now if I wasn’t). I promise you this, I will make at least one new dish every week for the rest of the year. Let it be an appetizer, or dessert. Simple or complex. Side dish or sauce. I will try to incorporate new ingredients and textures along the way. While intensely exploring restaurant food has taught me so much about what I like, it’s time to move that towards the back burner and get my hands dirty.


Chicken Tikka Masala – Taj Mahal in New Farm. The most tasty and affordable Indian restaurant I know of!

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“Lucie”, from Le Bon Choix – a French patisserie. Strawberry fillings with coconut base.


Amandine Poires – Chouquette in New Farm. Another well established French patisserie


Pesto scrambled eggs on house cured salmon with chili jam – Little Larder in New Farm. Excellent breakfast overall but the chilli jam was to die for!


Poached egg on toulouse sausages and sweet potato hash cakes with tomato jam – Gunshop Cafe in West End.


Potato and feta hash cakes with herbed sour cream, spinach and bella rossa tomatoes – a Gunshop Cafe breakfast classic!


cranberry and macadamia, poached blackberries, fresh strawberries and yoghurt – Comfort at my Table in Milton. Cutest breakfast cafe in Brisbane!


breakfast bubble and squeak with bacon bits, caramelized onions, spinach and chilli oil – Anouk in Paddington. An extremely memorable dish. Definitely wasted no time inhaling all of it


avocado and roast cherry tomatoes on toast with goat chevre, rocket, dukkah and fresh lemon – Anouk in Paddinton. Cal ordered this and I had a bite, it was delicious!


I believe these were baked Turkish eggs that Quynh ordered – Anouk in Paddington. Everything at this place is made with the freshest ingredients and never a disappointment!


Was not able to get through a day without coffee this year. Now I know what it’s like to get hooked on coffee


Always enjoyed visiting the fine food stores in Brisbane. Found some interesting products…


A whole shelf devoted to Olive oils


Probably one of the best combination of salads I’ve never had at this quaint cafe called Three Girls Skipping beside my work. One was potato, another was couscous and lastly a leafy tomato balsamic. So good.


scallops, pumpkin chips and wagyu beef. Public in Brisbane. Not many people know about this tapas place but when you’ve discovered it, you’re in for a treat!

Duck egg baked in toast sprinkled with shaved truffles - Public in Brisbane city. Such an interesting dish. I have had duck egg in the past but not presented like this!

Duck egg baked in toast sprinkled with shaved truffles – Public in Brisbane city. Such an interesting dish. I have had duck egg in the past but not presented like this!

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field mushrooms on goat cheese, caramelised onions and puff pastry – Gunshop Cafe in West End. This gem of a breakfast cafe can always be found with a line up out the door!


Rhubarb, aperol savin dessert – Public in Brisbane city. Was worth every penny. Sweet and slightly sour combination served with creme fraiche to neutralize the perfect flavours.


Although I didn’t taste this dish nor was it found in Brisbane, I was still very impressed by its presentation. Poached pear, yoghurt and… some other stuff. I strive everyday for healthy breakfasts like this


Making Pho – Video Blog

This is my first guest and video blog! I made pho with a friend a couple of months ago – I know, too much slacking off, not enough blogging. But I am back in the blogging world now. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese rice noodle soup and one of my favourite dishes of all time. It takes hours to make the broth but if you’re patient enough, the longer it stews, the more flavour you’ll get.
Without further ado, here’s Quynh’s pho recipe!


Pot big enough for 3 kettle full of water
Knives to cut meat
Chopsticks to eat with
spoons for soup tasting

Ingredients for soup:
Beef bones
Pork bones
Star anise
Cinnamon sticks
Pho seasoning packet
salt and sugar
beef stock/chicken stock

Ingredients for Pho:
Beef brisket
veal meaty cut
Beef balls (not the testicles)
Vietnamese basil
Bean sprouts
Onion/spring onion
Hoisin sauce and/or chilli sauce
I attempted to film the entire process of the experience but only wound up getting a short clip of the part where we had to boil the beef and pork bones in order to clean it. I swear I was prepared and my camera was charged! But the battery died anyway and left me astray. Luckily I used Kim’s SLR to shoot the rest🙂

Lots of ingredients!

Following the video, we combined the meat and the veggies together in that huge pot with lots of water and let it simmer on low – medium heat. Then the other ingredients were added. We adjusted the flavours intermittently after tasting.

Adding spices! Flavour intensification startssss now

Cinnamon sticks

More chicken stock

I have no patience… so I take lots of photos to pass the time

I like being useful! Even if it was just cutting up some onions. Quynh is cutting up thin slices of veal and it will cook in the soup right away once it’s served.

2.5 hours later, the wait is over and we can eat! =D

To serve, we garnished the soup with basil leaves, some lemon juice, veal slices, red onions, no I did not forget the noodles (how embarrassing would that be), bean sprouts and hoisin sauce and chillies for even more flavour! The beef balls are always the first ones to go. Chewy beefy goodness yum.

I accidentally rubbed my eye after touching the chilli and had to wash it out, ice it, repeat it for almost half an hour. First experience ever, that shit burns.

Bon appetite! I’m off to the store to invest in a 20L pot. : )

By the way, Japan grows the best rice! My parents bought a sac of rice at a supermarket in Tokyo to bring back to China. Totally not a joke...

Eating out in Shanghai and Japan

This summer (Canadian summer, Australian winter. Just to be clear🙂 ) I decided to take a trip back to the motherland and spend some quality time with family. During holidays like Chinese New Year, and special occasions (i.e. me visiting, ha), by far the most common “activity” Chinese people partake in is dining out; and I had a lot of family to see. Their lifestyle revolves much more around food than what I’m used to. But then I started to understand how it’s not easy to resist the urge to eat when there’s damned good food every street you walk down and every corner you turn. Not just the type of cuisine, but the type of Chinese food all the restaurants offer boggles my mind. So needless to say, I spent a LOT of time eating these past 3 weeks, which I did not have the slightest issue with. Eating and bonding, what can be better? There’s always room for delicious food. I decided to put together a little gallery for some of my dining experiences while I bounced around Japan and China. Keep in mind that these were just a small percentage of what I ate.  It was undoubtedly the greatest food journey of my life.


Bye bye #2 On My Bucket List

I just want to cheerfully announce that I am now able to scratch/cross out/check off-whatever you want to call it-the 2nd thing on my bucket list! It may not seem like a big accomplishment but there’s this feeble warm and fuzzy feeling on the inside that lets me know I am taking small but necessary steps. The only time I have ever had a macaron was when I was down in Melbourne last year; and it is without a doubt THE food city of Australia. Every few steps you take, something delicious slaps you in the face. Every corner you turn, almost guaranteed you’re heading down another food alley of awesomeness.

My first thoughts on macarons:

1. “It looks plastic.”

2. “Why isn’t macaron spelled with double ‘o’?” (…I’m such a spelling freak. I’m still bothered by people who cannot tell the difference between words like their, they’re and there. But if I correct them I’m the asshole.)

3. “There are too many colours and flavours… great, now I’m going to spend forever here making a decision. It’s not a life changing decision…just pick something… wow I really do have a problem”

I chose vanilla.

Despite my first impressions on this little gem, I’m pretty sure an orgasmic food bomb went off in my mouth as I bit into it. From that moment on, I wanted to try as many flavours as I can and make my own someday!

Then I came back to Brisbane without the first clue on where to find macarons. Aside from Starbucks but I don’t exactly want to pay an astronomical amount for just one. Until recently, my friend Jackie told me there’s a guy in the city every week on market day that sells them! And to the city I went…

Coconut macaron

Oh, what’s this? Pistachio macaron? Why not!

I loved both flavours and all the other nutty ones! Although the fruity ones were worth a try, they were too sweet and not as refreshing. In case you guys are wondering why I specifically wrote coconut macaron on the list; it’s because I love coconut. There’s no story behind it. I’m sure the title of my blog says how much love I have for coconuts. Did I have high expectations before trying the coconut macaron? Yes, I have been anticipating it. Did it meet my expectations? You bet!