Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs

Oh no, I have been missing in action again! No, I have not forgotten about PonPeKo at all. I am still experimenting in my kitchen and trying out new cafes and restaurants. I just could not find time to write about them. Or… is it just an excuse for my lack of discipline?

I just did two gym classes and got back home hungry. I have a pack of pork mince and some baby capsicums in the fridge and sweet and sour meatballs suddenly came into my mind. It is easy to whip up and Mr. D will love it as it is a meat dish and it is deep fried too. This dish is sort of a simplified version of Ku Lo Yuk dish.

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Om Nom Dessert Bar

Address: 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia

Opening hours: Breakfast: Daily (7am-12pm), Dinner & Desserts: Mon-Sat (6pm-12am)

It was a Saturday and the four of us (Mr. D, KS, Goon & myself) decided to visit the DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition that was held at ACMI in Federation Square. I came to know this place through KS over brunch. He casually told me that he heard and read that there is a new dessert place at Flinders Lane. I then asked what is the name of the place so that I can have a look at the menu. This is what I usually do whenever someone tell me about a new place that I should try out. I will  type the restaurant name in the Google search bar immediately and check out the restaurant menu. If the items on the menu sounds interesting and pique my interest to taste them, I will add them to my “To Eat” list. It is no wonder why my list is ever growing. I don’t think I could completely tick off all of the listed restaurants by this year without leaving a BIG hole in my wallet. 😦

Anyways, back to my review. After reviewing Om Nom’s menu, I was very much adamant that I have to try it out. Mr. D and I had an early dinner that day and I decided to try my luck on getting a table at the dessert bar at 6.00pm. I gave them a call and we were fortunate to get a table. KS & Goon did not join us as they already had dinner appointment with their friends.

20140426_183344 Banana Flambé

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Bergerac Restaurant

Address: 131 King Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia

Opening hours: Lunch: Mon – Fri (from 12pm)

20140421_210651I think since about 4 years ago I’ve always wanted to visit Bergerac French restaurant but didn’t have the opportunity. I remember that I was reading food blogs, researching for places with tasty food. Then, I stumbled upon this restaurant. What’s so special about this restaurant you say? There were two items that caught my attention when I was browsing their online menu. My favorite Bouillabaisse and Bomb Alaska! Finally, on Easter Monday, my wish to dine in that restaurant has come true.

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Making My Own Pasta

Hello fellow readers, I am back! PonPeko is still alive and eating!

My apologies for not updating my foodie adventures here. What have I been doing? Well, I have been busy visiting cafes and restaurants every weekend, trying out new places as well as exercising. I totally enjoy the privileges of staying near the city as I have many different eating places to choose from. Remember my motto, ‘Eat first, worry later’? I have been practicing the first half of the motto ever since I moved up here. Suddenly it dawned on me that I should start worrying now as I have been putting on weight and my five-year-old jeans is feeling tighter than it used to be. Hence, I signed myself up for gym membership to ensure that I can have the best of both worlds (Yes, I am greedy! :P).

As promised in my previous post, I would like to share with you my pasta making experiments. Homemade fresh pasta has different texture and taste compared to the store bought ones. These are especially apparent when you have them with lighter sauce. You would be glad to know that fresh pasta is not difficult to make. In fact, they are pretty easy and fun to make. It is like playing with play dough :D.

Fresh pasta
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Waratah Hills Vineyard

Address: 20 Cottmans Rd  Fish Creek VIC 3959

Opening hours: Every weekend, all public holidays (except Christmas, Boxing Day and Good Friday) and daily throughout January. (11am-4pm)

IMG_7780Fantastic view.

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Mr. D and I went to Wilsons Promontory National Park last weekend for a short break. It was a last minute decision and fortunately we were able to find accommodation nearby the national park. It was our first visit and we were awed by the scenery. We took the Tidal Overlook Circuit walk at Wilsons Prom and we were greeted by picturesque views. The scenery was simply breathtaking and we were lucky that the weather was sunny and therefore the pictures turned out really well.

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Pasta Machine

♥ ♥ ♥ I’ve turned a year wiser last weekend and I was so blessed to have Mr. D and my friends (Goon, KS, Mei & Sheng) organized a surprise birthday party for me. ♥ ♥ ♥

IMG_2483Gorgeous looking birthday cake baked & decorated by KS.

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Gnocchi Gratinati Con Mozzarella (Baked Potato Gnocchi with Mozzarella)

Gnocchi are considered to be a type of dumpling and they are extremely soft and light. I know nuts about them before I came over to Australia. Two years ago I was at an Italian restaurant at Lygon Street in Melbourne and decided to try the dish with the cute name called Gnocchi Gorgonzola. It was pleasantly tasty. The second time I tried gnocchi was at Sapore, a one hat restaurant at St. Kilda. The gnocchi was absolutely divine. They were lighter, fluffier and softer compared to the ones at the previous restaurant.

I enjoyed gnocchi so much that I decided to make it at home one day. At that time, I was too lazy to make the potato gnocchi myself so I bought the pre-made ones from the supermarket and mix it with my homemade sauce. It was clearly a bad choice as I barely touched the dish. The sauce was OK but the problem lay in the store bought pre-made gnocchi. They tasted appalling and due to the high flour content, they were super tough, gluey and tasteless.

Last weekend, I decided to re-visit my gnocchi dish and this time I did not take any shortcuts. I made everything from scratch and it was extremely fruitful and rewarding. Be careful not to add too much flour to prevent it from being too heavy and hard. The thick and dense tomato sauce combined with the melted cheese enveloped the pillowy soft gnocchi creating a silky smooth sensation in your mouth. The sauce is simply marvelous. Simple yet packed with flavor.

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Italian Breakfast Banana Bread

I absolutely adore banana bread! I was delighted when I found a banana bread recipe while I was flipping through Nigella’s recipe book (thank you Goon!). Initially, I was a bit concern that Nigella added a few teaspoons of instant espresso powder in the banana bread ingredients. I was afraid that the coffee would overwhelm the banana taste but luckily it didn’t. The espresso gives the bread a nice aroma yet not too overpowering and complements really well with the banana taste.

After letting it cool for 30 minute, I couldn’t resist and took a slice. I was so disappointed with it as I couldn’t taste any banana flavor. I was thinking to myself who is going to finish the rest as I don’t like to waste my stomach space on something that taste bad. The following day, I couldn’t find anything in the house for breakfast except for the banana bread that I baked the day before. I was hungry so I forcefully took a slice for breakfast and was glad that I did as it was surprisingly good. The banana flavor intensified over night and it was super moist. I brought some to my workplace to share with my colleagues and they loved it. So, it is important to follow Nigella’s advise, let the banana bread stand for a day after baking! IMG_7638 Continue reading

Salmon Fish Head Bee Hoon (Rice Vermicelli in Fish Head Soup)

In Malaysia, fish heads are frequently used in curries and in stock for noodle soup. I know, some of you would probably feel squeamish about eating fish heads but according to the Chinese elderly, fish heads are actually very nutritious, especially the eyeballs. They believe that eating the fish eyeball will improve one’s vision. I’m not sure how true is that but it doesn’t matter to me. It being nutritious is not the reason I like it. I enjoy fish heads mainly because they are so flavorful. This is especially true for salmon fish head due to its high fat content. Malaysians love their fish head and this is why it is super expensive back home. Fortunately for us, not many people in Australia knows how to appreciate fish head and therefore it is quite cheap here.

Fish head bee hoon is a very comforting dish and it is great in cold weather. The soup is extremely appetizing with slight sourish taste from the pickled mustard green and tomato. The stock has a really nice aroma as the fish head pieces are deep fried first before they are boiled in the water.

IMG_7575Slurp!~

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Profiteroles with Lemon Cream Filling

Profiteroles/cream puffs are the perfect finger food for any parties or any functions as they are simple to make, use simple ingredients (doesn’t require anything fancy) but taste amazingly delicious. I love making these crowd-pleaser dessert whenever I have pot luck or gathering with my friends. The addition of lemon zest into the cream mixture exudes nice zingy lemon aromas that fill your mouth. It is crucial to cook the cream filling mixture until the right consistency is achieved. You can test the mixture consistency by lifting up the whisk over the bowl and the cream should flow down in a continuous ribbon fashion. Mixture that is too runny will make the puffs soggy and if it’s too thick, it’s difficult to pipe into the puffs and. it is also important to take note of the heat when cooking your cream mixture. To obtain silky smooth cream and to avoid curdle, always cook the pastry cream over low heat and stir constantly.

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