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A Different Sort of Chocolate Cake

So recently we had our first family holiday. A coupon deal came up and we grabbed a one night stay at a 4.5 star hotel at The Sebel in Mandurah, Perth. To many West Australians, Mandurah is a sleepy little place just on border of metro Western Australia. To us though, it was where we sneaked out for dates when we were in University and when hubby popped the question at the jetty 4.5 years ago. It seems fitting that we bring Asher there for his first night out of home.

Truth be told, it’s because we are “testing out” the waters of bringing Asher out overnight. We thought an hour away means we are far enough to do the testing, but close enough to return home if we get desperate. Thankfully, Asher adapted pretty well. I learned a few things in this short trip.

– It’s ok to bring more diapers. In this case, less is not more!
– I would choose to have Asher’s things in a separate bag next time if we are going for longer trips.
– Collect samples. I brought the samples on the trip for nappy cream, body wash, moisturiser and it worked a treat!
– Bring my baby carrier. I’m beginning to value my baby carrier more and more….
– Hubby and I had dinner at 6pm which is usually the start of Asher’s sleep routine, to counter a very cranky baby in a fancy restaurant, I feed him and managed to put him down for a nap.
– If we really want to have dinner out, make it 6pm and not later! Poor Ash was clearly tired at 7:30 even though he had a nap.

No doubt there will be more thoughts as we begin planning our travel back to SG/KL end of January. Any tips from experienced travellers?

I’m a big fan of Teresa Cutter. It’s my go-to place for treats and other healthy meal ideas. She made healthy food looks AMAZING and so delicious. In fact, I don’t think I have ever had a bad batch of baking from her recipes before. This different sort of chocolate cake is not something I have not made before. Her one- bowl cake is delicious and really, I adapted her recipe to suit us but it’s basically the same.

What I think it’s different in this cake, is the Coconut Chocolate Ganache. Yup. It’s ganache made of coconut cream instead of normal cream. It makes so much sense actually to replace normal cream with coconut.  So handy as I almost always forget to buy cream but I usually have coconut milk or cream in my pantry. First it adds flavour, and 2nd it doesn’t leave me with the “I ate too much ganache” feeling. The 2nd point is dangerous though because it is tempting to polish off a bowl of the ganache. It’s still a treat and it still has chocolate in it. Best of all, my parents in law who does not like dairy loved it!

If you are looking for a christmas treat, this could be an idea!

A Different Sort of Cake with Coconut Chocolate Ganache. (serves 25)
3 cups almond meal
1/2 cup of cacao powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
125ml olive oil or coconut oil
125 ml of almond milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey

Preheat fan forced oven to 150C. Whisk eggs, oil, milk,vanilla and honey together. Pour wet over dry ingredients and fold. Pour into prepared lined baking tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Coconut Chocolate Ganache
250ml Coconut Cream
200grams dark chocolate

Heat cream gently. Break chocolate into cream and gently fold till it melts and turn glossy. Cool before placing on cake.

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The Aussie Classic- Pavlova Success!

Some of you may have read my Pavlova disaster a few years back. Although it was initially a success, I placed cream and fruits on it too early on and it was crushed from its’ weight. It was also pretty embarrassing, since I had to serve this at a Christmas gathering with hubby’s (then fiance) extended family. 

When I looked at the previous post, it came to me that it has been TWO long years since I made pavlova. Given my last attempt, I knew that I just had to make it again and learn from my mistakes.

This time round, we hosted a lunch with some close friends and I chose to make this pavlova from the same recipe again. Gotta love Donna Hay! After whipping the egg whites and spooning it on the baking tray, I was quite worried that the pav will come out flat! The last one, I was able to pile it up higher. Perhaps I should have beat the egg whites a little longer. Since it was too late, I decided to give it a go and bake it anyway.

I left the pav in the oven that night to cool down and only chose to fridge it the next morning. The result was a slightly flatter pav but the same crisp outer shell and marshmallow soft texture inside. I did not repeat my mistakes and chose to put cream and fruits on it just before serving.

The plate was clean by the end of it.  You can only imagine how happy and proud I was!

Success can be obtained by failing. Failing is not to be feared but to be embraced as each failure brings us closer to success.

4 Egg whites
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1 tsp of white vinegar
3 tsps of corn flour

1) Preheat oven to 150C. Line baking tray and draw a 7inch circle on it.

2) Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat will till glossy and stiff. Sift cornflour and fold through vinegar.

3) Spoon meringue mixture onto baking paper. Place in oven and reduce temperature to 120C. Cook for 1 hr. Turn oven off and leave it to cool overnight in the oven.

4) To serve topped with freshly whipped cream and fruits. Serve immediately.

Picnic Fun- Smoked Salmon and Garlic Teriyaki Chicken Sushi

So AR realized that I have been really tense recently. Work was getting waay into me. He suggested that we head to rural Western Australia, around 45 minutes drive from the city for a picnic. He even offered to make sushi and prepare dip and carrot sticks for the trip! He knows that sushi is my comfort food. I can have it any time of the day! How impressed I was!!

Except that it took him 30 minutes to cut the vegetables up.

And I got impatient.

So I got my hands into rolling the sushi, thinking that he will be done soon and will take over.

But I ended up rolling them all!!!

He was sweet though. And even packed a magazine for me to read during the picnic. Did you notice that he even packed soya sauce? He took the WHOLE bottle! =)

And all the lovely vegetables that he cut up for me to munch on (he also cut the veges for the sushi).

And the wonderful waterfall that we saw. 

I am very blessed with a caring and loving hubby (just not when he spent 30 minutes cutting vegetables!!!! ;P)

Sushi (I think we made more than 60 small size sushi-around 5 rolls. It was our lunch the next day too!)
3 cups of sushi rice (cooked using the instructions on the packet)
around 1 tablespoon of sugar
2-3 tablespoon of rice vinegar
150 grams of smoked salmon 
1 cucumber, 1 carrot and 1 avocado sliced longitudinally.
2-3 crab sticks defrosted
you can use mayo but I am on a health kick so no mayo for us.
5 pieces of sushi grade seaweed 

Garlic teriyaki chicken- cooked 100 grams of chopped chicken thigh with garlic and teriyaki sauce.

Season rice with sugar and rice vinegar. Taste to check seasoning. 

Place seaweed on sushi mat. Place around 2-3 tablespoon of rice on it. Flatten it using wet hands. It should fill around 3/4 of the seaweed. Swipe wasabi longitudinally. Place veges and smoked salmon/chicken on it. Roll sushi up. Making sure to tighten the roll as you go along. Cut sushi using a sharp knife. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.

Christmas Dinner- The Australian Classic Pavlova!

Oops.. this post is way overdue but I have no idea why time passes sooo quickly as one gets older. Darn!

on Christmas day, we were invited to a lovely family potluck dinner. It’s quite a mix and match-with people bringing all kinds of food (i.e. steamed yam cake, sticky date pudding muffins, prawns, bee hoon, fried rice, glutinous rice, sausages…etc). Not forgetting the classic….Baked Ham with a Chinese twist (honey 5 spiced baked ham!)

What I enjoyed most? Looking at the children’s faces as they open their presents.

My contribution? Classic Australian Pavlova of course. In all honesty, this was the first time I made a pav so I was really nervous about it. Especially after seeing the great pav of Have your cake and eat it too and Lyrical Lemongrass. Still, I wouldn’t say my first attempt is an absolute failure…

Pav was sitting sooooo pretty in the oven when I removed it the next morning. And the itcy hands of mine decided to assemble it 1 hr BEFORE the the dinner.

First lesson learnt– Having abit of patience and cutting fruits into smaller pieces AND placing less fruits on pav reduces the chance of it being smashed..

Second lesson learnt– There is a reason why it is best to assemble the pav just before serving!

Third lesson learnt– *knock daphne’s head*- pav, cream and heat doesnt go together. The fridge is your best friend at that point.

Forth Lesson learnt– Thou shall not transport pav with toppings. Keep them seperate. Be prepared for a destructed pav if you do so.

Well well, at least the pav was crisp on the outside and mashmellowy on the inside.

Apperance doesnt matter as much right?


4 Egg whites
3/4 cup of caster sugar
1 tsp of white vinegar
3 tsps of corn flour

1) Preheat oven to 150C. Line baking tray and draw a 7inch circle on it.

2) Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat will till glossy and stiff. Sift cornflour and fold through vinegar.

3) Spoon meringue mixture onto baking paper. Place in oven and reduce temperature to 120C. Cook for 1 hr. Turn oven off and leave it to cool overnight in the oven.

4) To serve topped with freshly whipped cream and fruits. Serve immediately.

Crepes Florentine

One of the things I love about Australia is the cafe culture. I have grown to love the coffees and good food. It’s a very relaxing to be able to sit in your favourite cafe, looking out to the sunshine, sipping a cup of freshly made cappuccino, reading a magazine or newspaper and digging in to your plate of breakfast or brunch.

Somehow, I consider crepes to be “cafe food”. Crepes Florentine is inspired by Eggs Florentine-a classic breakfast. My vision of it is thin crepes covering eggs florentine. Rather than poached eggs, I was thinking of wet scrambled eggs with lightly beaten eggs (so that the whites is still showing) with bites of crumbed feta cheese through it.

By now you are probably familiar with “Daphne’s moments” in the kitchen. Which really means “mistakes that shouldnt have been made” or a simple “DOH”. Well, this time round, my mistake was to add 2.5 cups of flour into the mixture rather than 1/2 cup of flour. You can imagine how puzzled I was when I had really STICKY dough rather than a smooth crepe batter!!!!

What happened was that I made a batch of cookies just before making crepes florentine and that recipe called for 2.5 cups of flour. I was probably still in “cookie mode” rather than “Crepes florentine” mode resulting in a dough like mixture rather than smooth batter.

The optimistic me went “doh” and chunk out the batter, oping to try again than to add 4 times the amount of milk to make the dough into batter (that means 36 crepes!!!!).

So finally, I had smooth batter..and the cooking process begin.

Or rather..the flipping process.

See what I mean?

Doesn’t that bring back memories?

But finally, I did it!! A nice looking crepe!


Cafe food at the comfort of your home. Bliss!

Crepes Florentine

1/2 cup of flour
200ml milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon of butter melted

eggs florentine
1 tablespoon of butter
3 eggs
3 cup of baby spinach leaves
20 grams of crumbed feta
sea salt and cracked peper
(optional-rashers of bacon)

1) Crepe Batter-Whisk milk, egg and butter in a jug. Sift flour in bowl. Make a well in the middle. Add wet ingredients. Use a whisk to stir, gradually drawing flour to make a smooth batter. Cover and set aside or 30 minutes or so.

2) Make crepes- heat crepe pan or non stick frying pan. Add oil or brush the pan with some more butter. Ladle a generous scoop of batter into the pan. Swirl it till it cover the base. Cook for around 2 minutes before turning it over. cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat for 5-6 more crepes.

3) Using a small pan, quickly melt a tablespoon of butter. Saute spinach. Set aside. Lightly beat eggs. Pour into pan and scramble lightly. Add spinach. Crumbed feta over it. Spoon mixture onto each crepe. Serve! (if using bacon, saute bacon with spinach).

Waroona, Western Australia

Waroona is a little town situated 1hr 30 minutes away, south of Western Australia. AR being the sweet guy that he is, decided that we needed to get away for a few days just to recharge ourselves. While the recent trip to SG/KL was excellent, it was jam packed with activities and appointments that we barely had a rest. Thus, this trip was suppose to be a relaxing one.

1) Blue Wren Park

Waroona 2
AR found this quint little Bed and Breakfast place. Our hosts, Geoff and Carol welcomed us with a delicious Devonshire tea. I have a soft spot for English tea like that. It’s so heart warming! The scones were delicious and the tea warmed us up immediately. Everything was homemade and fresh in this place.

2) Lake Clifton Tavern

Waroona 3

After a short rest, we headed to Lake Clifton Tavern for dinner. Thursdays are $10 steak nights so no prices for guessing what AR had. This place is owned by Geoff’s son and served fairly decent price meals. I had the corn beef + baked potato. Now, the corn beef was abit too salty for my liking (but corn beef is suppose to be salty…) but I love love love the gigantic potato with cheese sauce! The steak was reasonable, nothing special but it was a good meal .

3) Preston Tea

We headed to town the next day. Well, the town consists of one street but it was fairly busy. We stopped by this tea place and had lots of fun smelling the different sorts of tea available. Too bad they didn’t offer a tea service. I bought the French Earl Grey and AR wanted the Rosie Wong-which is a blend of flowers and herbs.

4) Hundt’s Gallery

Waroona 4

I can’t stop raving about this place. It is a show room for small art pieces with a cafe attached to it. We had lunch there and almost didn’t want to leave. AR had the vegetable lasgna-simply divine. It was chocked full of sweet potato, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese! I had the sweet potato and pumpkin soup which was just lovely for a cold wintery day (idea for lunch one day!). My only complain was that the mocha had more chocolate than coffee in it.

5) Thrombolites

We drove to Lake Clifton and admired the view of Thrombolites.

Waroona 5

“Thrombolites are a particular form of microbialite (rock-like structure built by micro-organisms) that have a clotted internal structure. The word thrombolite is derived from the same root as thrombosis which means clot.”

Amazing stuff huh?

The only thing was that the tide was high so we could barely spot any thrombolites! LOL

A HUGE HUGE bonus though, we saw kangaroos hopping around!

6) The Cream Shed

Our highlight! We watched cows being milked and cream being made! Look at the tiny calf! Even more amazing was Frank-the farmer. He was wearing bright RED shorts on a cold winter day!!!

Waroona 6

The calfs were so adorable! We were given a chance to help out in the farm which was really nice of Frank. He has owned the property for 35 years! Look at the view he wakes up to every day.

7) Dinner at The Mediterranean Restaurant

Waronna 7

Fine Dining at the Mediterranean was a lovely treat at the end of the day. Lovely warm ambiance greeted us as we entered th restaurant. We were guided to our seats which was near the “fire place”.

We started off with their bread + pesto butter. I do wish they could cut the bread in smaller pieces. As the bread was on the tough side, it was difficult to tear/use butter knife to cut it. The pesto taste was subtle.

Main courses of AR’s lamb shanks and my duck. We agreed that our meals were tasty but it did not blow us away. One thing I was impressed was their presentation. They served AR’s sweet potato mashed in a sesame coated puff pastry casing. Something that I will definately try in my little kitchen soon.

The dessert was chocolate pudding with pistachio center. The molten chocolate pudding was a delightful way to end the meal. Again, it was good but not amazing.

Something did irk me at the restaurant. They kept placing cold jugs of water on their grand piano! Why would did do that to such a beautiful piece of instrument?

8) Breakfast at the Blue Wren Park

Waroona 7

Ah. I enjoyed waking up to a full set of breakfast and not having to do any washing up. We ate our breakie with a lovely view of the park. Fresh fruits, yogurt, 4 different sorts of cereal/muesli, toasts… seriously pampered.

9) Good hosts

Geoff and Carol are such lovely people. We wanted to purchase a small wedding certificate holder but they refused our money and offered that as a gift instead! They were really attentative throughout our stay and we had great conversation with them. From sparkling juice to chocolates in our room and even a mini tea service there…seriously… we felt pampered. Will definately be back when we need a short break.

Thank you Geoff and Carol!