Chocolate Cake

So I'm entering into (Not Quite) Nigella's baking/chocolate cake competition:) Not because I'm a stellar baker, but because droolworthy recipes should really be shared:)
This is my favourite cake recipe at the moment. It’s moist and fudgy, with a dark rich chocolate flavour and is covered with mouth-watering ganache. The recipe can be found here from the Epicurious website and is designed to produce a double layered cake but I usually make two separate cakes (I get twice the amount of icing/decorating fun lol).

Coffee and chocolate mixture

At first I was a bit apprehensive about the coffee content in the recipe, but you really can’t taste it at all in the end product, it simply acts to bring out the flavour of the chocolate:)

Dry Mixture

Wet Mixture

The addition of buttermilk helps with keeping the cake moist, almost fudgy. Another great thing about this recipe for me is that the fat content is attributed to oil and not butter. Firstly, it’s better for our hearts, and secondly, it adds to the softer crumb and overall texture of the cake, which would otherwise be a little harder if butter were used.

Into the oven

I use two 20cm round cake tins and the mixture almost comes to the top of them.

Ready for icing

At this point, the cakes have been baked for just over an hour and have been left to cool completely. The recipe says at this stage you can wrap it up in cling wrap to keep overnight if you want to ice it later, but I never do – by this stage, I’m hungry for cake! Being the time efficient person I am, the ganache has already been made and ready for spreading:)

Chocolate for the icing


The ganache is easy to make, simply heating up the cream, sugar and glucose syrup and then adding chocolate. The recipe also asks for some butter to be melted in afterwards, but I always forget and never seem to notice anything wrong

The first one was sprinkled with cachous. I’m sure other people will think of more creative and exciting ways to decorate a cake, but I love these silver balls – so pretty!

The second cake was topped with little coloured chocolate pieces, what better to dress a chocolate cake than...more chocolate!

Goodness inside

This is a great recipe, being easy to make and utterly delicious. I’ve considered cutting the recipe in half (to only make 1 singular cake), but having 1.5 eggs in a recipe is awkward and there’s nothing like the comfort of knowing there is More Cake, even if we finish this one lol.
I highly recommend this recipe - give it a go:)

Mamak, Haymarket

It’s a shame that quality Malaysian food is so underrepresented at the moment in the diverse world of Sydney food offerings. I fell in love with Malaysian food in …..Malaysia lol. When I was younger I did a 6 week stint travelling through Malaysia/Singapore and even now, I drool at the mention of the food we had there:) Yes, it was a culture shock – I had never before left Australia. Beverages served in sandwich bags with straws, eating on the roadside and a sad, sad tummy for the first two weeks were some of the many things that greeted my arrival into Malaysia… But soon after my tummy grew a spine, I was able to enjoy the tasty food that was on offer and as a result, I’m so appreciative of authentic Malaysian food when I find it in Sydney.

Living in the inner west, my closest Asian food hub is actually Chinatown and when it comes to Malaysian cuisine, my joint of choice is now Mamak.

Chocolate Queen, Daisy Moo, Herr Moutarde and I love this place for dinner but braving the line can be tough – sometimes we’re lucky (10min), but others we’re not (~45min):( I suggest getting there early or hoping you arrive at a changeover period. Otherwise get there at suppertime:)

Drinks (Teh Tarik, Milo Ais)

Teh Tarik is the traditional tea served with condensed milk, while the Milo Ais is iced milo:) Mamak is set up with open kitchen at the front that can be viewed from the street, so as we we wait in line, I usually watching the clever roti maker and also the drink maker – who “pulls” the Teh Tarik with far more patience than I would lol. Both drinks were delicious.

In case you are extra thirsty
Clockwise from top right: Teh Ais (Ice Tea), Limau Ais (Lime syrup with ice and water), The “O” Ais Limau (Ice tea with lime)

Nasi Lemak

The first time I had Nasi Lemak in Malaysia, it came packaged, wrapped up in a banana leaf and attached with string to a plastic spoon. The version here is also served with a little piece of a banana leaf, but not enough to act as complete packaging lol. Overall I was satisfied with this dish; it came with all required ingredients (coconut rice, fried anchovies, peanuts, cucumbers, sambal and the egg) but I must admit it was lacking in a little flavour, and I felt they were a bit stingy with the side ingredients, maybe they were running out?? They usually give out more, as witnessed by another Mamak encounter by the guys at HereComesTheFood. Not that it was a tragedy, we still enjoyed it:)

Chicken Satay
The satay usually takes a longer amount of time to get to you. The chicken is moist and tender, with a slightly smoky flavour. Nothing mind blowing here but delish nonetheless:) There’s also the option of getting beef satay, but we’ve not tried them. The sauce it’s served with is really quite good. I generally have satay in the Thai context, where I find it thick and creamy, with an overwhelming sense of peanuts. The sauce here however is a lighter concoction, a pleasant mixture of peanuts (of course lol), spice and touch of sweetness. I also have to say – the serving of said satay sauce is particularly generous:D

Satay Sauce


One of the things I adore in Malaysian cuisine is the liberal use of peanuts, and with rojak, there is an abundance of this lovely sweet and tangy peanut sauce (not the same as the satay sauce however) – its’ sooo good! The Mamak version of this salad comprises of this other peanut sauce with fried tofu cubes, sliced cucumber and jicama, some prawn fritters and of course, half a boiled egg. It was delicious, with the combination of flavours and textures working together to produce a gorgeous dish I could have eaten All By Myself lol. In Malaysia we also had versions which included fruit like Mango and Pineapple.

Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken)

We found no fault with these hot crispy pieces of chicken, they were fantastic. Firstly the pieces were Huge, not to mention piping hot. The chicken was tender and moist on the inside with the most crunchy, slightly spiced outer. I was quite impressed at how un-oily they were, deep fried and drained to perfection:)

Sambal Udang

I haven’t tried every single thing on the menu yet, but this is my favourite dish by far (so far). The sambal is simply gorgeous:) Warning however, it’s fiery, in that addictive/burning your mouth kind of way. It’s devilishly spicy, with a hint of lime and goes beautifully with the fresh meaty prawns.

Onto the Roti!

Roti Canai

Plain roti served with 2 curries and sambal:) Of the two curries, I prefer the milder one, which is sweeter (bottom right). The darker curry is much saltier with a hint of fish. The roti was delicious – crispy on the outside and light and airy inside.

Roti Planta

Daisy Moo’s favourite when we were overseas which means she now consistently orders it now lol, This roti is layered with “Planta”, which in Malaysia, is the dominant margarine brand, made by Unilever (who make our Flora). Unlike what it would sound like, the roti isn’t usually too greasy, I don’t think there’s actually that much of it in there, with the extra fat simply adding a touch to the mouthfeel and bit more flavour:) That being said, the last few times we’ve been there, it has been a little on the oilier side (shimmering oily…). I’m still trying to deduce which of the numerous roti makers is the heavy handed one…

Roti Telur

Herr Moutarde’s standard choice. We find this roti quite variable. Sometimes it’s much too dense, with an overpowering layer of thick egg, which I find not so satisfying, but at other times it’s lovely, with thin eggy layers interspersed with light layers of roti. The first time ChocolateQueen ordered this she was quite disappointed. Try your luck I guess?

Roti Tisu

The pretty dessert roti:D This roti is thin and crispy, with a layer of sugar syrup used to set it into it’s distinctive cone shape, served here with ice cream. Two words: Crunchy, Sweet. Interestingly they provide forks for this but I find these a bit ineffective lol.


Cendol is a mixture of starchy, pandan flavoured noodles served with coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. At Mamak they serve this with shaved ice. The flavour was lovely; I really enjoy coconut flavoured desserts, and the sugar syrup was sticky and rich:)

We’ve only managed to have dessert here once (usually too full from dinner), and our enjoyment of the desserts with shaved ice was extremely hindered by the fact that most of the ice shavings were melted by the time they got to the table:( In this case, it made for a very watery cendol soon after serving as the remaining ice rapidly melted. Otherwise, as said before, the flavour is authentic and quite enjoyable.

Cendol Noodles

Ice Kacang

Another popular Malaysian dessert, which consists of various toppings laden atop condensed milk drenched shaved ice. The Mamak version has red beans, grass jelly cubes, a pink syrup and creamed corn.

Again, the same problem as the cendol – lack of ice shavings, excess water…flavour dilution…

Ice Kacang mix

So the desserts (apart from the dessert roti) may not be the best this place has to offer, but I think the rest of the menu more than makes up for it:)

If you haven’t tried Malaysian cuisine ever, Mamak is a great place to start. I’m a regular visitor and always leave a satisfied customer. I must add that the staff are great (not always the case in Chinatown) and the interior is comfortable and not too budget/cramped but beware – you will most likely face that queue to get in, but please, don’t be deterred:)

15 Goulburn St
Haymarket, Sydney
Open 7 days
Lunch: 1130am to 3pm
Dinner: 530pm to late
Phone: (02) 9211 1668


The gorgeous Reemski from I Am Obsessed with Food has tagged me! The idea is to share 6 things that people may not know about us and then tag 6 others to continue the share fest:)

Six random things about me:

1. I have extremely flat feet, which contribute to a characteristic waddle. As a consequence I dislike all feet in general…so No Foot Massages please…

2. I may have a slight weakness for cheesy pop music, which is exacerbated by random listening while driving and manifests as repetitive singing of catchy tunes with my own original lyrics…

3. I burst into song spontaneously throughout the day… it’s a blessing and a curse

4. I tend to speak at breakneck speeds, feel free to ask me to slow down if this happens to you lol

5. My favourite colour is pink

6. I have a cat called Juno, who we named long before the movie of the same name came out, and is also much cuter lol.

So continuing with the tagging chain, I choose:

· Shellie from Iron Chef Shellie
· Linda from Tender Crumb
· The team at Eat Like A Cow
· Lee from The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry
· Helen at Tartelette
· Susan from Chocolatesuze

No obligation to participate, but it's fun/interesting to read about other bloggers:)

Now I’m also obligated to fill everyone in on The Rules:
- Link to the person who tagged you
- Post the rules on the blog
- Write six random things about yourself
- Tag six people at the end of your post
- Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
- Let the tagger know when your entry is up

Guylian Café, Circular Quay, Sydney

The story of Guylian (as I read from the wall of the café) is romantic. Belgian chocolatier Guy Foubert marries his true love Liliane and they set up a little chocolate factory in their home making truffles and pralines for local chocolate shops – they name the chocolates “Guylian”, a combination of both their names. How cute! Sorry, I’m a sucker for things like this…

So anyway, Goldilocks, Lady S, Chocchip, Daisy Moo and I are out for a quick morning tea to savour our last moments of freedom before we are all consumed by exam panic.

Seeing as we all love chocolate, the Guylian Café offers up a perfect destination. It was a bright day, nice and warm; we sat outside and the table was surrounded by summer dresses:)

Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

Lady S had this yummy creation, which was served warm and gooey. Despite having a raspberry inside, it was quite rich, and she didn’t manage to finish it. Not that it went to waste, the rest of us were more than happy to help:) Everyone who has seen this photo has commented on the supposedly ‘evil’ face that the white chocolate flakes make, and his Guylian ‘bib’ lol. I think it’s hilarious.

Waffles with fruit and chocolate

Daisy Moo, Chocchip and Goldilocks all had the waffles - safety in numbers?. You can get 3 types of chocolate served, each with varying amounts of cocoa and all three of them had the “Asian”, which was 56%. I had a taste, it was really good. Daisy Moo commented that her chocolate had a red tinge to it – fruity??

Enjoy in

I had this pink beauty, which had a raspberry and hazelnut mousse on the outside, which enclosed a chocolate centre, all atop a crumb base and covered with raspberry jelly. Divine.

We had a looksee inside:

Goodies for sale

The fabulous chocolates

Goldilocks bought a couple and ate them before we even left, they were that good:)

Another dessert option

I’m trying this one next time I go:)

I really wanted this in miniature form, but couldn’t find it on the menuL doesn’t it look fabulous? I was salivating as I read the description lol.

Praline Cream Liqueur

The trademark seahorses, filled with chocolatey alcoholic goodness.

Apart from Antwerp, Sydney’s the only place that has a Guylian Café – how lucky are we? Eating delicious desserts 2 steps from the Opera House, with awesome company and views from the Harbour – is it really a surprise I had a lovely morning?

Guylian Café
East Circular Quay
Shop 10, Opera Quays
3 Macquarie St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
Phone: (02) 8274 7900

Thai Pothong, Newtown

The household hasn’t been out for a collective dinner for too long. Following some thai food nostalgia moments (initiated by Sindel and mainly about Thai Pothong’s Four Season Tofu), we all make our way to Thai Pothong.

There are so many Thai places on King St, but Thai Pothong is in my top 3, for multiple reasons:

1. They can always take large last minute bookings because of their huge space
2. The food is yummy!
3. The waiters/waitresses/waitstaff are fabulous
4. We play the ‘serve ourselves rice game’ when we’re there lol. More about this later.

As per usual, I make a last minute booking (don’t want to wait on a Friday night) and we are seated in the back section - a great view of the amorous paintings lol.

Entrée time!

Miang Goong

As soon as our Thai Pothong plan was hatched, Herr Moutarde had declared he was having Miang Goong. These pretty little things are served on an edible Betal Leaf and contain a prawn, some crunchy toasted coconut, bits of red onion and sweet chilli jam, topped with a cashew nut and some caviar. They can be a bit messy to eat, but are sooo good! The combination of flavours and textures is lovely.

I love communal/sharing courses and the entrees at That Pothong are perfect for it.

Four Seasons/Three Flavours Tofu (Tao Hoo Se Rod)

This dish was always known as Four Seasons Tofu but when we went back, it had been renamed Three Flavours Tofu and had switched from the regular to specials menu. Things Change… Never mind…. Sindel ordered this without hesitation lol. The tofu is quickly fried – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a sweetish, sour and slightly spicy red sauce drizzled on the top. had to have a piece!

Vegetable Curry Puffs (Garri Puff)

I am never one to turn down curry puffs. My standard “can’t decide what I want” drama for the night was that I couldn’t choose an entrée. The only thing that I felt strongly towards was the Four Seasons Tofu and I knew Sindel was already ordering that:) Daisy Moo offered me a way out – she wanted 2 entrees! I immediately took ownership of one – these curry puffs lol. They were fresh from the fryer (crispy!) and the filling was potato and veggies, served a clear vinegary/tangy sauce that had bits of cucumber and red onion in it. Yum!

Fish Cakes (Tod Mun Pla)

Daisy Moo ended up ordering these, which came with the same sauce as the curry puffs, except with added crushed peanuts.

BBQ Octopus (Plamoukyang)

Unlike indecisive me, Chocolate Queen knew she wanted octopus from the start. The octopus had a smokey flavour and the sauce that came with it was surprisingly hot (chilli, not temperature). Chocolate Queen preferred the other entrees to her own, but I found these quite good, and happily ate the rest lol.

Sindel is a vegetarian (seafood and eggs ok) so I was really glad with this range of entrees – it meant we could all share:)

Mains Time:
Snapper With Coconut Milk & Chilli Sauce (Pla Lad Prik)

Daisy Moo and Sindel shared this gorgeous fish. It was deep fried (hmmm another deep fried dish lol) and topped with a tasty sauce. The fish was tender and flavoursome and despite the bright colour, the sauce wasn’t overwhelming. I think I’m going to have this next time. I snuck in this shot before the efficient waitress could carve him/her up:)

Green Curry (Gang Keaw Warn)

Chocolate Queen had the Green curry, which is made with chicken. She thoroughly enjoyed it:) My favourite part about this curry is that they put in little baby eggplants. Like the other curries here, the sauce was thick and packed with flavour.

Herr Moutarde had Red Duck Curry, which despite only having a ‘mild’ chilli rating, set our mouths on fire lol. Lucky we all like spicy food. The duck was tender and although it really was devastatingly hot, I’d still order it again. I couldn’t get a decent shot of it though, the lighting conspired against me lol.

Panang Duck Curry (Gang Panang Red)

I chose the Panang Duck Curry. The sauce was thick, nutty and creamy!! I love this dish:D

At Thai Pothong, they serve you unlimited rice from ornamental looking, silver rice holders, which look like big trophies to me lol. They sit at the end of your table and the instant you reach for a rice refill – a waiter pops out of nowhere to serve you rice! Many a time, we’ve tried to serve ourselves, waiting until no waiters are in sight…but we Fail Every Time. A game we have never won…

Thai Pothong
294 King Street
Newtown, 2042, NSW
Phone: (02) 9550 6277
Fax: (02) 9519 8050

Cheesecake Brownie

If there is one brownie recipe you try, make it this one – you’ll never look back:) I am by no means a pro baker and even I managed to make this mouthwatering recipe! I found this recipe during a trawl through the Taste Website.

Starting the base

The usual suspects in an indulgent bakery treat – fat, sugar and eggs. I use a regular electric hand beater and the sheer amount of sugar meant I was standing there for a very long time…wishing I had one of those fancy ones that mix All By Themselves.

Putting together the brownie mixture

It really was a simple brownie mix, because after all that initial beating, all I had to do was add some melted chocolate. Licking the melted chocolate bowl is good...

So then it was time to make the cheesecake bit.

Time to pull out another mixing bowl

While mixing the eggs, sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract together, the dietitian within me started screaming. I shuddered when I realised the recipe had effectively amounted to almost ½ kilo worth of fat, most of which was saturated.
For the record, I bought extra light cream cheese and always advocate the use of margarine instead of butter when cooking, so while this brownie was indeed energy dense, heart damage capacity was still significantly reduced:)

Assembling the brownie

Putting it together was quite easy. Most of the brownie mixture was spread on the bottom and then layered on top with the cheesecake. The remaining brownie mixture is then swirled through the top. Size wise, I used a shallow rectangular baking tray (about 20cm long) and it was fine.


The recipe asked for raspberries on the top, but our fridge offered up strawberries and our freezer had a box of frozen blackberries, so I used those instead.

It’s baking time!

I found that it took a little bit longer to bake than the recipe stated, not long, only about 15 min which I guess is due to oven differences.

Time to eat!

An apology for the poor, poor shot above, it does no justice to the recipe at all! Impatience may have led me to prematurely slicing and eating before adequate cooling :S

But wow was it fantastic! Even in theory, a slice with brownie AND cheesecake was always going to be good, but this exceeded my expectations. The whole thing was gone within a few hours, and no, it wasn’t entirely due to myself, I must give credit to Daisy Moo, Chocolate Queen, Herr Moutarde and Sindel for their time and effort lol.
Sindel and I had a moment when we thought we might actually be drooling – classy…

Anyway, the recipe was found here


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