zumbarons adriano zumbo

I have heard about the wonderful macarons from Adriano Zumbo in Australia for quite a long time. Thus, I took the opportunity to purchase the entire range of macarons (affectionately dubbed “Zumbarons”) from Adriano Zumbo Patisserie when I was in Sydney. smirk

mylo can

Adriano Zumbo is also credited with making the Zonut, and his version of the croquembouche – the Macaron Tower (available in 65 and 95 pieces). He also makes a lot of beautifully quirky and delicious pastries and cakes like the mylo can.

i heart zumbo

He’s been regularly featured in MasterChef Australia and I’ve wondered just how good his macarons taste compared to Ladurée at Champs-Élysées, Paris and Pierre Herme – both of which we tried during our trip to France earlier this year.

passionfruit honeycomb

I actually went to two of his shops, the bigger of which is located at The Star. The shop also doubles as a cafe and carries 12 different flavors of his macarons. I bought a 12-pack which comes in a nice sliding box with one each of the entire Zumbaron range in the shop:

zumbarons

  • salted butter caramel on toast
  • hazelnut praline
  • malted milkshake
  • francesco brownie
  • passionfruit & honeycomb
  • caramelized white chocolate
  • fingerbun
  • berry brulée
  • lime & mandarin
  • caramel au beurre sale
  • salted butter popcorn
  • toasted marshmallow

zumbarons macarons

Adriano Zumbo’s two most popular (famous?) macarons would be the salted butter popcorn (with real popcorn covering the shell of the macaron) and the malted milkshake (a rather interesting blue hued macaron).

adriano zumbo macarons

Each Zumbaron retails for AUD 2.50 and there are *no bulk discounts*. You can get a nice 2-piece box of Zumbarons for AUD 5 and the 12-piece long box costs AUD 30. That comes up to almost RM 8 per macaron!

adriano zumbo

It’s worth every cent though! I had two of them fresh and bought one to eat on the spot too. There’s a sign that says Zumbarons don’t travel well and I made sure to keep a gentle hand on mine since I wanted to bring the 12-piece sliding box with every single Zumbaron flavor I managed to find back for my better half to try.

adriano zumbo star

Adriano Zumbo actually has 40 different Zumbarons that rotates seasonally but those are only available with a pre-order. I visited a couple of his shops and found that the one with the most variety on offer is at The Star at Sydney with 12 different flavors on offer.

salted popcorn malted milkshake

We both liked it and we thought it was way better than Ladurée and slightly better almost on par with Pierre Hermé in France. I particularly liked the salted butter caramel on toast (which actually has toast) and the francesco brownie (which actually has bits of brownie). My dear also liked the lime & mandarin which packs a refreshing, zesty bite.

zumbarons pack

His malted milkshake Zumbaron is pretty good too and the salted butter popcorn is just pure genius with bits of popcorn on the shell – no wonder it’s the two most popular flavors. His macarons are made for the adult palate and doesn’t have excessive amounts of sugar – some of them even taste slightly salty!

zumbaron kit

I also bought a bake-at-home Zumbaron kit so we’ll be making our own salted caramel macarons soon! :)

zumbaron range

You can find Adriano Zumbo Patissier in Melbourne and Sydney. Adriano Zumbo at The Star is their latest exciting concept store and carries their full range of cakes, pastries and Zumbarons. It’s the main one I went to and you can find them at:

Adriano Zumbo Patissier
The Star
80 Pyrmont Street, New South Wales

watsons orchard

Everleigh Farmers Market is an “all weather” market open every Saturday and it’s home to fresh and seasonal produce! There’s so many stores that it’ll take you an hour to walk and every single one has *samples* for you to try, spread out in front!

oranges

There’s these Mandarin oranges grown on a personal orchard. That’s the primary theme of the market – everything there is organic and small batch – mom and pop operations mostly, with a great love of what they’re selling.

billy kwong everleigh

There’s a lot of things to see (and taste) here – especially if you like low-food miles organic produce.

Here’s 3 of my favorite stalls:

1. Kylie Kwong @ Billy Kwong

billy kwong

Yes, this is also where the famous Kylie Kwong will be every Saturday. I hear she’s here without fail, once a week to tend to the Billy Kwong stall. There are heaps of her fans (mostly, I gather from MasterChef Australia Season Six since she’s in charge of the Immunity Pin now) gathered here and you’ll see Instagram filled with tags every Saturday with photos of her.

kylie kwong

Billy Kwong supposedly sells “Home-Style Chinese Cooking” but I’ll rather call it “Australian-Style Chinese”. However, they do have quite a good Steamed Pork Bun with House Chilli for AUD 8.50. It’s basically a bao/pao that has chilli on top, like how an Australian pie would have ketchup on top. She’ll swap in beetroot puree if you can’t take the heat.

steamed buns

There’s also a special every week and that was Steamed Sticky Rice Parcel with Macadamias, Warrigals, Goji Berries & Roasted Insects. Don’t worry, warrigals aren’t dingos, it’s an Aboriginal word meaning “wild” and refers to a spinach type vegetable with arrow-root like leaves. It’s basically “bak zhang” with insects for the protein instead of meat. This one goes for AUD 9 and I like how there’s roasted insects in them.

kylie kwong everleigh

However, her best-seller has got to be the Steamed Savoury Pancakes with Organic Egg, Saltbush, Caramel-Tamari (AUD 12.50). Saltbush is an Aboriginal native herb/vegetable that also makes a huge appearance in this season of MasterChef Australia.

kylie kwong fans

I came here to get an autograph for my better half and it took me an hour of waiting to get it!

2. Spuds Galore!

potatoes

Have you ever seen so many varieties of different potatoes in one place? They’re all artisan farm-grown organic spuds and there’s more than 12 of them!

  1. Dutch Creme
  2. Kennebec
  3. Ida Rose
  4. Sapphire
  5. Charlotte
  6. Snow Gem
  7. Spunta
  8. Kestrel
  9. Pink Kiss
  10. Emma
  11. Kipfler
  12. Burgundy Beauty

everleigh farmers market

Some of the potatoes are good for boiling (Ida Rose), Charlottes are good for roasting in its skin, Kennebec makes for great chips. I love the idea – different strains of potatoes with different starch content for different cooking purposes!

3. Hand n’ Hoe Organic Macadamia Butter

organic macadamia butter

This is my favorite stall hands down. I’m still kicking myself for not gettng more jars back. The small ones retails for AUD 12 and they have two varieties – Natural Smooth and Roasted Crunchy. Hand n’ Hoe Organic Macadamias is a small Australian family owned business located in the pristine and remote rainforest off the Comboyne plateau in New South Wales. I tasted both and knew I had to get some to bring home.

hand-n-hoe macadamias

All their macadamia nuts are hand harvested, made into butter and vacuum sealed right on their farm, which is also solar powered (!!!). The friendly brothers manning the store says they’re the only family owned macadamia nut farm left in Australia and even though their macadamia butter (100% pure crushed macadamia nuts, no preservatives) is slightly more expensive than store-bought ones, it tastes a lot better too.

macadamia butter

However, you have to consume it within 3 days of opening (since they don’t use preservatives) but that won’t be a problem – it was so delicious that I ate it within 24 hours…and I wish I had bought more! Arrggghhhh….

everleigh market

Everleigh Farmers Market
Every Saturday 8 am – 1 pm
243 Wilson Street,
Darlington, Sydney NSW

affogato

I’m eating the best breakfast I’ve ever had in my entire life with the Sakuma’s and drinking the most delicious affogato on a chilly autumn morning and I’m happier than a pig rolling in the proverbial stuff! smirk

devon cafe surry hills

Devon Cafe is a trendy breakfast spot located at Surry Hills. The shape of the cafe is slightly unusual due to the extensions, and they have parts in the middle where it’s almost al-fresco, except for the camouflage nets thrown over the ceiling in an effort to keep the heat in.

devon sydney

We were seated at the back, where lots of interesting graffiti graces the walls but unfortunately, a member of our party (her first time in Australia) couldn’t really tolerate the cold so we all shifted to a table beside an industrial heater.

chai latte

You can actually see into the courtyard beside the cafe since it’s practically al-fresco, with just netting and fences, which reminds me a lot of the inner-courtyard of Adolf Wagner in Frankfurt. Devon Cafe is listed under Modern Australian in The Good Food guide and they deliver a short and concise but immensely delectable selection of breakfast dishes.

BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA’S (AUD 27)
miso grilled king salmon, smoked eel croquette, 63′ egg, radish petit salid & kewpi mayonaise

breakfast with the sakumas

I asked our very bubbly waitress for a recommendation and she suggested this. I was torn between ordering this or the Eggs Blini and I’m glad I followed her recommendation coz this is one divine dish, as expected from ex-Guillaume chefs.

The delicious 63′ egg shimmered on my plate and it was the perfect combination of runny and soft textures. A proper 63′ egg has the *same* consistency for both the yolk and white and takes at least an hour to prepare. I’ve seen a lot of local breakfast places attempt to do this with an off-the-shelf vacuum sealer and sous vide combo (about RM 2,000 from your friendly neighborhood appliances store) but they’ve all failed miserably compared to experience and skill with a bain-marie.

sous vide salmon

However, the most wonderful component of the dish was the miso grilled salmon. I have never thought it possible for salmon to taste this good. I don’t even like salmon (and won’t eat it unless it came from Devon’s). The salmon here is sweet and grilled to perfection, before being given the sous vide treatment and it practically falls apart when I gently applied pressure with my fork.

It’s salmon perfection on a plate! The miso gives the entire piece of king salmon a strong dose of umami as well, making you want to eat more. I have yet to find a better tasting salmon and our guide (who has a Norwegian boyfriend who cooks fish well) even said this tastes better than his and she’s not one to give compliments to fish lightly. It’s so tender, moist and flavorful it’s amazing!

The crispy smoked eel croquette was so good I could happily eat 3 plates in a single sitting.

LITTLE LOST BREAD (AUD 18.50)
PB&J brioche French toast, warm banana, nutella, jam, peanut butter ice cream with bacon

little lost bread

This is just awesome. There are no other adjectives to describe it – the PB&J is “de-constructed” e.g. the peanut butter is actually an ice cream, and there’s a dollop of jam as well as a very generous smear of Nutella on the plate and piles of bacon on top.

LAMB SANDWICH (AUD 20.50)
slow roasted lamb garlic confit, roasted capsicum, cheddar cheese, spinach with chips

lamb sandwich

This didn’t go down very well, but the chips are good and the aioli dipping sauce is wonderful.

KAYA TOAST (AUD 13.70)
coconut jam, butter, light soy 63′ eggs, brioche toast

kaya toast

It’s not 100% authentic since the coconut jam is actually mixed with butter but they made it even better and I love the sous vide egg.

devons affogato

I also had Devon’s Affogato (AUD 7) – a wonderful concoction where 3 perfect coffee beans are put on top of two scoops of artisan ice cream, a cup of melted chocolate with a shot of Five Senses single-origin espresso on the side. Devon’s Cafe has a barista on staff and they only use Alchemy beans and Five Senses single-origin coffee. It’s sinfully good.

devon cafe owner

We had a change to speak with the owner and it turns out that the husband-and-wife duo is Malaysian and Indonesian, respectively. However, their chefs are all poached from Guillaume Bistro and their barista used to train others at Toby’s Estate (still have an unopened tin of single origin Ghana drinking chocolate in my pantry by them).

devons magic muffin

Devon’s Cafe is also very famous for their muffins and we had one to share. It’s best eaten while hot – this is Devon’s Magic Muffin (AUD 4). Seriously, that’s what it’s called! There’s neither THC/CBD nor psilocybin inside (you should head to Amsterdam for those, I had a really good magic muffin while I was there) but it’s still magically delicious.

devon cafe

I would seriously recommend a trip to Surry Hills to check out trendy Devon’s Cafe if you’re in Sydney and into a modern twist on classic Australian dishes. It’s near the station and located right on Devonshire Street so it’s hard to miss. The breakfast here is to die for.

Devon’s Cafe
76, Devonshire Street,
Surry Hills, New South Wales

me seafood platter

This is the very first meal I had during my recent trip to New South Wales! We arrived at Sydney in the morning and drove 2 ½ hours to Port Stephens for lunch. I’ve had quite a few seafood platters in Australia and it always has a hot and cold component.

seafood platter cold

I thought I saw a Moreton Bay Bug at the bottom left of the cold platter and I asked about it. The waitress wasn’t sure so she went to ask the cook, who came back with the answer – it’s a Balmain Bug! It’s also another species of slipper lobster and looks a lot like the Moreton Bay Bug but the Eastern Balmain Bug (officially called butterfly fan lobster) is more common around NSW.

fresh oysters

The cold components of the dish are mud crabs, the Balmain bug, plenty of oysters and prawns with a side of salad and fresh fruits. I’ve eaten several seafood platters during my time in Australia and these ingredients are always the same, although sometimes you’ll get a regular lobster as well as the bug.

vues on the bay

The seafood items in this platter are all boiled and shocked in ice water so it’s eaten cold and I’ve always like the style of this execution. The oysters are a little small in this case, but they’re all local and not flown thousands of miles away coz oysters don’t taste good after a long journey. This was at Vues on the Bay, a very playfully named Australian cuisine restaurant right in the middle of town. Yup, this is the hub of Port Stephens with a wonderful view of the pier.

vues view

Interesting fact: Port Stephens only has one (1) traffic light in the entire township and it’s right in front of this restaurant. The residents petitioned very hard against it since they didn’t want any traffic lights in their town. :)

seafood platter hot

This being Australia, the hot component of the seafood platter has plates laden with thick cut chips, like the ones you’ll get at the local fish and chip shop, and calamari (battered and fried squid). I like how modern Australian cuisine don’t do it in ring shapes but either cigar shaped (very nice) or thick curly (like this one).

I love the calamari here, it’s so fresh that you don’t get the off-putting taste of squid and it’s soft and practically dissolves in your mouth the moment you bite into it.

sandboarding

Have you ever tried sandboarding? It’s a little like snowboarding except you’re doing it on sand dunes instead of alpine slopes. Also, you don’t have the same control a snowboard gives you since a sandboard is literally a skateboard with all the wheels and lower half removed.

sandboarding dunes

It’s quite fun though since the sand dunes in Port Stephens, Australia is very high. You’ll be surprised since there’s not a lot of shadows and contrast in the desert (it’s actually a beach) so it’s hard to tell distance and height. This sand dune we went down on is easily 30 feet high.

sandboarding port stephens

I hear that some children can actually stand up while sandboarding and do stunts. I don’t know how though since you’re not physically attached to the sandboard (unlike a snowboard, so you can do an Ollie, which is just about the only trick I know). Haha!

Check out the video of me sandboarding! I managed to go the furthest. The only way to control your descent is to use your hands to steer / slow down. You can actually carve the slopes dunes if you’re good enough, but the sandboard itself is pretty basic so you need at least one hand behind you to navigate.

sandboard

…and unlike other places where we actually have to *climb* back up the sand dune to do it again, we were on a quad bike expedition (also known as ATVs in the US) so we had the quads to drive back up the sand dunes (as you can see in one of the photos as I forgot to take the protective cover off my head).

It’s a blast, I’ll love to do it again! :)

“A life lived in fear is a life half lived”

strictly ballroom musical

This is the Australian production of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical, which is based on the classic 1992 film (you’ll know it if you were born in the early 80′s – it was the one of the most famous Australian films of all time, up there with stuff like Crocodile Dundee). The latest production is fairly new – the global premiere was at Sydney Lyric in April 2014 and we caught it a couple of days ago.

strictly ballroom tickets

I didn’t realize I’ve watched the original movie and knew most of the songs by heart so when it was described to me, I thought it sounded like a the love child of a threesome involving West Side Story, Romeo & Juliet and Dirty Dancing.

strictly ballroom merchandise

I’m a huge fan of musicals, and caught a lot of them during my 2010 backpacking trip through Europe, starting with Wicked in West End. I even watched Les Misérables in French!

I did not understand a single word. Okay, that was a bit of an overstatement, maybe I understood 7 but it’s definitely something you can count with your fingers.

strictly ballroom sydney lyric

To be perfectly honest, I thought I was in for a slightly dry Australian play but I was keen to catch a musical here, especially a local one.

strictly ballroom australia

As I settled in my seat and took in the gorgeous period posters and large disco ball on the ceiling of Sydney Lyric, I started to get into the interactive elements where your section of the theater cheers for a particular ballroom dancing competition couple. I won’t spoil it for you, but don’t worry, it’s nowhere near the over-the-top madness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

strictly ballroom pose

…and then there was the pivotal scene, a familiar snippet of lyric which was done in conversational spoken word, the part where ballroom dancing movements were taught to the Latino main female lead (which arguably is the best scene in the musical)

If you’re lost, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re *lost*, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re lost, and you turn, and you will find me.
If you’re lost, and you turn, and you WILL find me.
Time after time

The spoken word segued into a beautiful and powerful sotto song from the male lead and I thought to myself “I KNOW THIS SONG!”.

Memories flooded back and I was hooked – all the songs were familiar and I found myself tapping my feet, singing along and wanting to go on the large conga line that formed after the encore with the cast leading members of the public up to the stage.

strictly ballroom stage

It was the best musical I’ve watched in Australia. I wanted to sing, I wanted to tap my feet and I wanted to dance! It made me feel alive and loved every single moment of it!

strictly ballroom props

In that way, Strictly Ballroom lived up to “The story that inspired the world to dance”, at least for me, an a little old lady in her late 60′s, wheelchair bound and breathing oxygen, but clapping her hands happily as the musical went through songs like Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and of course, Time After Time.

strictly ballroom program

I guess if I had one negative thing to say about Strictly Ballroom The Musical, it would be the Coca-Cola advertisements / product placement, which I found to be intrusive and detracts from the entire experience.

…and with that said, let’s move on to:

(let me do the intentional irony smirk first)

smirk

Short mention:

I’m still in New South Wales, having a lot of fun taking photos and videos with my Xperia Z1. I’m staying at Ramada Resort Shoal Bay, which is about 3 hours from Sydney. It’s located in the Port Stephens area and we had a lot of water activities, sandboarding and ATV riding over sand dunes which can be really bad for regular smartphones…

…but not for the waterproof and dust resistant Z1! I did all those activities and just washed my smartphone and it was as good as new! I even took a walkthrough of my wonderful beach facing suite as soon as I got back. Check out the video above, it’s shot in 1080p Full HD. I’m looking forward to the Xperia Z2 coz that has an even higher recording mode – 4K! :)

strictly sydney

I just came back from a night of Vivid Sydney, experiencing lots of interactions, including one that’s inspired by Strictly Ballroom The Musical! It’s called MirrorBall Heart (Installation # 19 – it’s the one with the disco dance floor and a heart with “Strictly Sydney” on it) and it’s just a short walk away from the hotel. Catch up with what I’m doing on my other social media channels:

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

Posted: 8:26 am Sydney time (GMT +2)

boathouse

Little Beach Boat House is a quaint little place just beside the bay at Port Stephens. You can hear the waves coming in at night and the wait staff is a duet of twins! The two Aussie girls look so much like each other that I just had to take a photo of them.

waitress aussie twins

The service is attentive and friendly and they had a special of the day, which I ordered. I actually recorded one of the twins reciting the dish in question so I can remember it, and she kindly obliged. Heh. This is one of the best restaurants in town according to Sharon, who dined with us last night.

popcorn

There was popcorn on the table – a growing trend that I’ve noticed in a lot of restaurants, who serve this in lieu of bread. I think it’s great! The dishes has a bit of a modernist twist in them too, with foams, purees and jelly sauce components on most of the dishes.

Entree

Seared Scallops ($19.00)
Cauliflower puree, chorizo, salsa verde, roasted corn

seared-scallops

This is really good! I like how the seared scallops and chorizo pairs up. Wei Zhi and I ordered different entrees and mains so we could try different things on the menu and this is her order.

Beef Cheek & Potato Croquette ($18.00)
W/ pee puree, binnorie feta & black garlic mayo

beef cheek croquette

I was more interested in beef cheek – a cut which is really flavorful if done right and they do it well here. It’s generously mixed into the crispy potato croquette and a nice touch is the black garlic mayo (the fermented garlic we use to make bak kut teh back home).

turkish bread

Toasted Turkish Bread ($10)
W/ balsamic & olive oil, garlic & herb butter, hommous and olive & feta tapenade

Mains

Miso Glazed Salmon ($33.00)
W/ soy roasted sweet potato, cashews, steamed greens and sesame & rice wine dressing

miso glazed salmon

I’m not a huge fan of salmon but according to Sharon (who also watches MasterChef Australia and offered me some) they did everything right in the “checklist” – crispy skin, no bones, juicy inside.

Seared Veal Medallions ($34.00)
W/ Jerusalem artichokes, baby spinach, green beans and parmesan & sage butter

veal medallions

I’ve cooked Jerusalem artichokes before, which is totally different from the globe artichoke. I ordered a Sauvignon Blanc which goes very well with my fish dish but makes the veal tastes rather bitter.

Barramundi
Saltwater barramundi with roast pumpkin, broccolini, cherry tomatoes, bacon and a pee puree

barramundi

This is my order, the special of the day. I didn’t know it was fried though, since I don’t particularly like grilled fish (any other cooking method is better) but I kept an open mind. I wanted to eat barramundi since Australia is one of two countries where you can find it. I asked the waitress for a wine pairing and she suggested either Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling but “personally I’ll go for the former”.

sauvignon blanc

I took her advice and it tasted great with the barramundi! The Sauvignon Blanc is very sweet and pairs well with the fish. The skin of the barramundi is crisp and it’s a classic white fish which flakes well but has a stronger taste than other popular white fish like cod and John Dory. The barramundi is excellent when eaten with the sweet and smoky roast pumpkin though!

Boathouse ’3 Pigs’ ($36.00)
Crispy pork belly, pork schnitzel, prosciutto, parmesan, chorizo, corn cob, bacon mayo & apple jam

boathouse 3 pigs

This is probably the restaurant’s flagship dish. It came on a huge wooden platter and has 3 (three) different pork items on it, including a crispy pork belly the size of a small steak! It’s beautiful and the apple jam has been jellyfied, giving it a bit of a modernist twist.

little boat house

The dinner at Little Beach Boat House was great, and the company better – we talked late into the night about everything, and I learned a lot about the Port Stephens area too. Tourism New South Wales and Tourism Australia picked up the bill (thanks Duglass and Sharon) and we all had a bit of fun with the friendly twin waitresses who look so much alike! :)

twin waitresses

I’m still at Port Stephens, heading back to Sydney later! I’ll be here until next week and you can follow what I’m up to on my other social media channels coz I got an AUD 2 per day data plan!

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

Posted: 8:53 am Sydney time (GMT +2)

australian 400 work visa

I’ve got my Temporary Work (Subclass 400) Visa from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of Australia and I’ll be there for about a week! :D

Australia has gone paperless in their visas though, I wish they still issued proper ones. It costs AUD 185 (about RM 555) to get this class of visa. I had a study/work visa when I was in uni – had to apply for it and there’s a limitation of 20 hours per week. It came just like my student visa (like a US 10 year visa or the front page of your passport) – there’s a photo and the description and it fills up the entire page. It’s awesome if you like to collect passport stamps and visa.

I’m flying to Sydney in an hour! I have Internet access so you can follow me and see what I’m up to in New South Wales for my 7 day working holiday! :)

P/S – There’ll be a lot of interesting things for those interested in MasterChef Australia!

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

cooking kangaroo

This is perhaps one of my greatest culinary achievements. I did this in Melbourne during my last day there. I wanted to cook a full course dinner with kangaroo roast as the flagship for my loved one and here’s the recipe for everything!

raw macadamia nuts

I bought everything at Coles Express in Melbourne CBD.

coles receipt

The grocery shopping bill came out to AUD 70.19 (about RM 221) so that’s how much it costs.

raw kangaroo roast

There are five (5) courses to the dinner:

kangaroo roast dinner

Italian Salad with Fresh Garden Greens and Honey Balsamic Dressing
This is the starter (of sorts) – gotta have foliage in the diet.

Roasted Stuffed Chicken with Gravy
I’ll call this the appetizer since that was how we ate it.

cooking seafood

Sixthseal’s Seafood Supreme (TM) with cream, white wine and garlic – prawns, Tasmanian mussels, bacon, cheese, exotic mushrooms and macadamia nuts with traditional bread
This is the best dish I came out with, according to Ling, and I’m quite proud of myself. It tastes really great! I think it deserves that (TM) bit. ;)

Herb & Garlic Kangaroo Roast
This is the main dish – the one I slaved over for hours, coz I wanted her to try kangaroo meat.

kiwiberry cranberry fondue

Kiwiberries + Raspberries with Caramel and White Chocolate sauce
I’m quite proud of this dessert too!

That’s the menu for the night and I started out by preparing the salad.

Italian Salad with Fresh Garden Greens

coles-salad

It’s a bit of a cheat since it came in a ready made bag but I can’t cook everything from scratch. Haha! Even the sauce came in a miniature bottle that was right beside the salad. It’s “sweet, crisp leaves balanced with shredded radicchio and a hint or aromatic parsley”.

coles italian sauce

I just put the entire contents of the bag into a salad bowl and poured in the 125 ml honey balsamic dressing. It’s store brand but quite good. Ling actually ate a lot of this.

italian salad

I didn’t.

Roasted Stuffed Chicken with Gravy

roast chicken

This is her suggestion coz she thought I’ll take a long time with the kangaroo roast. She was right. We bought 1/2 a stuffed chicken. It comes in a bag and you just need to chuck the bag into the oven and heat it up.

microwave bag

The bag works to keep the moisture in. I kept the bag to use for my kangaroo roast too.

stuffed roasted chicken

It’s pretty good since you can’t very well go wrong with a pre-cooked item from Coles. The stuffing was salty, the meat was tender and it’s delicious coz we were so hungry at that point. I was still slaving over the kangaroo roast at this point.

Sixthseal’s Seafood Supreme (TM) with cream, white wine and garlic – prawns, Tasmanian mussels, bacon, cheese, exotic mushrooms and macadamia nuts with traditional bread

seafood recipe

My proudest dish! I must tell the entirety of this story.

garlic prawns

We bought garlic marinated prawns from Coles – it comes in a package so we didn’t need any other sauces. We were just there for a day and didn’t want to buy large bottles of seasoning.

bacon

I also went to the meat counter and got a rasher of bacon. It’s huge! The bacon measures 1 1/2 feet long and several inches wide – there’s a photo of me holding it later. I wanted the rinds to cook with.

macadamia

Macadamia nuts were from the raw produce section. It’s raw nuts at AUD 33.98 / kg. That makes it AUD 7.56 (RM 25) for the handful of a few nuts I grabbed! I calculated, that’s RM 1.30 per nut. :x

exotic mushrooms

The mushrooms came in a pack that that was labelled 3 gourmet mushrooms – there are two familiar ones (they aren’t “exotic” to Asians) but the orange fungi is new to me.

cheese

I went to the cheese counter and chose bocconcini – a mild mozarella type cheese that you keep submerged in liquid. It would be really hard to find this here but I ate bocconcini for fun as a snack when I was studying in Melbourne.

bocconcini

The best thing we saw was the Tasmanian mussels!

tasmanian mussels

It was marked down to just AUD 0.50! That’s a 92% discount! It was such a good bargain that I wanted it for my seafood bonanza. It’s the best buy of the trip – there’s always price cuts but this just takes the cake.

traditional bread

The traditional bread is supposed to go with this dish to wipe up the creamy gravy (and also to go with the kangaroo roast). There are no preservatives and it’s very good bread – artisan bread handmade using kibbled wheat. AUD 5.50 (RM 17). It’s not cheap, this 800 gram loaf of traditional bread.

seafood ingredients

The ingredients!

seafood stew recipe

I sliced up the bacon rinds and fried it for a bit before dumping in the rest of the bacon.

bacon rinds

I then added in the mussels with all the cream, garlic and white wine marinate…

mussels

…and then the prawns with it’s own garlic marinade.

prawns

Awesome stuff!

cooking seafood stew

A wonderful smell was starting to waft out and this was when I threw the raw macadamis nuts in.

seafood stew macadamias

Added the mushrooms and cheese last and let it simmer for a bit.

adding bocconcini

It’s delicious! I cooked a mess…

adding mushrooms

…but Ling plated it so nicely it could be a restaurant dish!

sixthseal seafood supreme

Ta da!

seafood bread

It tasted wonderful – sweet and salty, with lots of seafood and delicious liquids for the traditional bread to soak up.

Herb & Garlic Kangaroo Roast

kangaroo mini roast

I had a lot of trouble with this. I set the oven wrongly and the bag nearly caught on fire (which has the potential to trip the fire alarm, causing a huge fine).

kangaroo roast

Luckily, she smelled something burning and I sorted it out.

eating kangaroo

I wouldn’t want to go through the arduous process, but it was 3 am when this was finally ready.

kangaroo meat

It’s worth the time and the blood, sweat and tears I put in though – it’s cooked to perfection!

roasted kangaroo

Ling tried it and had several more pieces, she said it tasted like liver. Oh well, at least she’s tried kangaroo meat now.

me bacon

I liked it – I ate quite a fair bit of the kangaroo roast. It’s gamey and flavorful, with chewy meat. I’m glad we didn’t cop out and go for kangaroo burger patties or kangaroo steaks – a kangaroo roast is the proper way to eat kangaroo meat. Lovely stuff!

Kiwiberries + Raspberries with Caramel and White Chocolate sauce

kiwiberry

This is the dessert I made for her – kiwiberry is a small fruit that looks like mini kiwifruit and tastes like kiwifruit but it’s much sweeter. You can just pop it into your mouth to eat it without peeling anything.

kiwiberry-chocolate-dip

The raspberries are fresher too and I mixed both fruits into a glass (don’t have a parfait server).

chocolate caramel dip

I had two dips of caramel and white chocolate and I spooned each in turn into the fruit mixture to create contrasting textures.

kangaroos

It was so good we finished the fruits the next day by dipping it straight into the leftover caramel and white chocolate dip. :)

kiwiberrry cranberry

I had fun cooking for her. It’s a nice change, and it’s kind of her to rinse the plates before I loaded the dishwasher coz I was bushed by then. She got to eat kangaroo meat and it was an awesome way to spend the last night in Melbourne together. It’s a lovely end to a wonderful trip!

settlers melbourne

This is the final post about the last day of our Melbourne trip! We spent one more day in Melbourne after coming back from Phillip Island to see the Penguin Parade. The Nobbies (Seal Rocks) was awesome and so was Swan Lake Guest House.

dog

Here’s a random photo Ling took of me at Phillip Island. That bitch (it’s a female dog!) belongs to the car rental company’s owner, a friendly one, wagged her tail and came up to me to be petted. :)

melbourne city

We had a iVenture Card which allows us to choose 5 different things (anything from Puffing Billy to admission to Eureka 88) and we realized that we couldn’t utilize it fully due to a lack of time. I wanted Ling to browse around Queen Victoria Market so that’s where we went after checking into Citidines on Bourke Street.

queen victoria market

Unfortunately, it had just closed! Ling had a craving for fish and chips and I wanted to bring her there for some proper ones but since that plan was scuttled we headed to Maccas instead.

mcdonalds melbourne

Maccas is the local slang for McDonald’s and I eat at different ones all over the world – from McDonald’s in Korea to McDonald’s in Germany (where they serve beer). It’s a favorite haunt of mine from back when I was studying in uni due to their ever changing menu. It was called New Tastes Menu back then and I had written quite a lot about it.

tastes of america

Salads Plus was their new initiative the last time I was in Melbourne in 2003 and this time it was Tastes of America. This is what I love about the McDonald’s in Australia. You can actually eat there every week and have something different from a limited time menu.

california chicken

We had the California Chicken (AUD 5.95) – pretty much the only thing we can eat since she doesn’t take beef. The other two versions are Smoky Texan (Angus Beef) and New York Classic (also beef).

maccas cali chicken

The California Chicken burger is a chicken patty with sweet chilli lime and summer mayo. I never quite got what summer mayo means. smirk

california chicken burger

It’s pretty good though – I love the crisp lettuce in Australia, it’s very different from the limp ones over here.

cuisipro decorating pen

We also browsed around cooking shops – we share a common interest here – and I bought a Cuisipro decorating pen for AUD 20. I want to use it for plating when I cook for her – you can write stuff using gravy or chocolate, and Ling promptly *stole* it coz it’s too awesome! -_-

city circle tram

Hopped on the free City Circle Tram and ended up at Crown Complex. There’s flames in the evening but it was still early so we walked around instead.

qv market

Ling + HB in Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne!

the travellers

The Travellers! That’s what these wire frame art is called. It chronicles Australia’s history and the first one is called:

gayip

Gayip. It represents the Aboriginal period before the settlers came during the convict period (1788-1888). Australia used to be a penal colony e.g. a place where English prisoners were shipped to. The Prime Minister when I was studying then proudly traced his heritage to his grandmother, who was a convicted thief.

melbourne chill on

Chill On Ice Lounge & Ski Lodge is an overrated tourist trap.

ice lounge melbourne

You dress in cold weather parkas and go into a -10 Celsius room made entirely of ice. There’s a free cocktail served in a glass made entirely of ice!

chill on ice lounge

That was pretty good but there’s nothing much to see inside. You can’t take photos either, but there’s buttons to press for posed photos.

chill on melbourne

None of them turned out well though so we didn’t get the photos. Admission is AUD 30 per person (!!!) – we just wanted to use up the iVenture Card and this was one of the places which accepts it.

eureka melbourne

The next destination is the Eureka Skydeck 88. It’s located on the 88th floor – thus the name, and it’s the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere with an observation deck at 285 meters.

eureka skydeck

This was pretty nice – you get an entire 360 degree view of Melbourne from the observation deck. There are avid photographers camping with kitted out dSLRs with huge lenses to take photos of the grand view.

eureka skydeck 88

It’s quite nice, especially at sunset. :)

skydeck 88

You can see one side is still bright, while the other is getting dark.

skydeck melbourne

We spent quite a while there before going to Coles.

lord of the fries

Lord of the Fries! Haha! I love the reference (it’s a rather dark book).

coles

I had promised to cook her dinner before going back – a complete course with kangaroo roast as the main dish. We had a lot of fun in Melbourne – our first trip overseas, but definitely not the last. I’m going to write about the kangaroo meat dinner tomorrow before we head off for more lovely memories together on her birthday weekend! <3

happy

I love you dear! It’s always a pleasure being with you and I would like to spend each and every moment of my life with you in the future. *hugs*

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