Quick Gourmet Meals

When I was just started working right out of university, I remembered feeling really excited about the new life and the freedom it brought. It was the first time I truly lived on my own away from my family, the first time I made my own money and the first time I spent my own money too. It was liberating to say the least. After a couple of years, I then started to get bored with my mundane lifestyle and began to envy people who didn’t have to go to work, namely stay-at-home-moms. I’ll be the first to admit that I used to think SAHMs have the best jobs – they didn’t have to wake up with an alarm clock, didn’t have to endure peak hour traffic, could run their errands (banks, groceries, etc) when everyone else was working and best of all, could have their hair/nails done on weekdays.


Gourmet dessert at home

So, when I got married, I told Saucer that one day, I’d want to be a SAHM too. And guess what? I had a taste of that after Little J was born, and boy, oh boy, was I wrong! On so many accounts I was wrong. Yes, I wasn’t awaken by an alarm clock anymore, but I was awaken by a human clock who blared at random times of the night or the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t have to drive but that’s because I was too busy/tired to get out of house! Groceries were done during the weekend when Saucer was around, so there was at least someone was looking after the baby when the other was pushing the trolley. And manicure? What manicure?

One of the hardest things that I had to accept was that my life was never going to be the same anymore. I used to love cooking very much, and found passion in trying new dishes every once in a while. As with any other hobbies, it requires time and dedication to make it work, both of which have been given to Little J. So I was a bit upset that while I was (trying to be) a good mom, I sort of neglected my duties to provide great meals to the family. I wanted to prepare delicious and healthy meals for the hubby who’s hungry after a hard day’s work but I could only manage sub-par dishes with the limited time and energy I had.


Next day delivery

Recently, someone told me about dish’d! It’s a site that was just launched this year, and create delicious frozen meals with the best ingredients. Of course, I was all up to try them out. Ordering from the website was easy, and best of all, delivery was done the very next day! Frankly I was a little skeptical with the next day delivery, but true enough, a big box of goodies was waiting in front of my door when I got home from work the next day. Very impressive!


Frozen meals with dry ice


Since they’re all frozen meals, they’re packed with dry ice to keep them frozen. I received a text message saying the box was delivered at 12.30pm that day, but I only reached home before 6pm. And the boxes were still nicely frozen with plenty of dry ice intact! I ordered plenty of items so I’m going to go through some of my favourite ones that were tried and tested here.


Seafood Bouillabaisse



I loved the Seafood Bouillabaisse! It was really easy to prepare too – just a few minutes in the microwave is all you need. There were several thickly cut fish fillets, prawns, mussel and vegetables in the soup, making it a complete and wholesome meal on its own. I can definitely eat this on a cold winter night as comfort food! For something that will appeal to both the adults and kids, the Giant Squid Skewers would be a hit. You just need to pop them into the oven, take a nice shower, and come out to a gorgeous smelling kitchen. :)





For pasta lovers, there’s a great deal to be chosen from – from pappardelle, mezzelune, canneloni, medaglioni or tagliolini just to name a few! We tried the Ricotta, Spinach and Lemon Zest Mezzelune and the Basil and Pine Nut Medaglioni. Between the two, I enjoyed the latter more because I love anything with basil, and this combination was really like pesto pasta. Yum!



Apart from complete meals, dish’d also sells frozen seafood items on its own. For example, I ordered the Marinated Scallops because I know how expensive scallops can be and the price at dish’d was really reasonable. Add to the fact that they’re marinated and ready to go, so I was sold! From the freezer straight to the pan, I just needed to sear them for a few minutes while my pasta was cooking. I then mixed the scallops with other seafood and vegetables I had and came up with my delicious version of scallop linguine!


Scallops and prawns linguine

Apart from that, we also had a go at the Cod en Papillote and Squid en Papillote, where the latter had squid rings mixed with tasty vegetables in an equally tasty gravy. We ate this with rice and loved how the gravy complimented the rice so well. Again, they were really easy to prepare too – just place the pouch on a baking tray and place it in the oven. I was really pleased with how the usually busy dinner hours were transformed into a relaxed affair.





Last but not least, to cap off a great meal, we always leave room for desserts. I had a go at the 2 Love Apples and the Heritage Raspberry and Pistachio Frangipane Tart. The love apples looked really gorgeous! I loved the combination of different textures in this dessert – smooth creamy mousse, juicy poached apple in the middle and crumbly biscuit base at the bottom. Decadent! Saucer, on the other hand, absolutely adored the raspberry tart. Just look at the tart – it’s almost crowded with raspberries on top, giving it a sweet and tart burst of flavour that complemented the pistachio base very well. He finished more than 3/4 of this tart on his own!






Lots of raspberries!

I have to say, after trying out the meals from dish’d, my perception towards frozen meals has changed. I’ve always thought that frozen meals are filled with preservatives, unhealthy and do not taste good. dish’d frozen meals have indeed set the bar high with good quality dishes created by reputable chefs from around the work. With ‘delicious food, ready when you are’ as their campaign message, I am now a happy mom who can devote most of her time to her baby without compromising her duties to provide delicious, healthy food to the family.

If you would like to try out dish’d, check out the awesome introductory offers that are currently running on their website!

Only currently delivering to metro VIC and NSW

  • Introductory offer $30 free plus free delivery (when you spend $50) on your first order
  • Value for money bundle offers for as little as $30


The team at dish’d loves their frozen meals so much that they’d like you to have a chance to try them out for FREE! One lucky winner will get a 1 x $50 dish’d voucher to try out these great dish’d meals in the comfort of his/her own home. Just comment below if you want to win!

*Terms and Conditions apply. Open to NSW and VIC residents only. Giveaway ends 9pm 24 December AEDT”

Claypot Crab Noodles

I was going through the photos in my phone the other day and spotted this group of pictures that I took a while ago. Claypot crab noodles! How could I have forgotten about this? We had this once a couple of years back when we had just arrived in Sydney. Ever since then, we would sometimes reminisce about how delicious the crab noodles were and how nice it would be to have that again. With Little J in tow, it wasn’t that convenient to go Chinatown in the city often, but I found out that a suburb close by sells that as well! So for Saucer’s birthday, I decided to surprise him. :) I told him that we would be going for a delicious lunch that he would love, and he kept guessing and guessing but didn’t manage to get it correct. Since I was the one driving, he had no idea where we were heading to, until we reached King Fook Seafood Restaurant in Carlingford.

Claypot Crab Noodles

Claypot Crab Noodles

Even when we’re there, Saucer thought we were going to have dim sum since we went during lunch time. I told him that he was still wrong. Eventually, I had to let the cat out of the bag when the captain came to ask for our order and I asked him if they were serving the claypot crab noodles for lunch (of course I knew they were). About 20 minutes later, a huge claypot was placed on our table, turning heads from neighbouring tables. They must be wondering, how could 2 persons with 1 baby finish up that massive claypot of noodles? I must admit I was surprised with the portion too, but the aroma was just titillating! I was practically salivating when the captain was busy serving the noodles to us. I could tell that Saucer was pleased too from his beaming face. Mission accomplished. :)


Waiting for noodles to be served


Strands of awesome and delicious noodles


After 2 servings each, still more to go!

Since they’re served on a claypot, the noodles were maintained warm throughout lunch, which kept us wanting for more. The noodles used were the glass vermicelli/cellophane noodles type, which appeared to be transparent – also known as toong fun or tang hoon. In my opinion, these glass noodles are the best for crab noodles, since they can absorb the delicious gravy and juices from the crab and are silky smooth, perfect for slurping them in. To be honest, I actually enjoyed the noodles a lot, perhaps a little more than the crabs themselves, simply because they were just bursting with flavour (especially the ones at the bottom of the claypot). All the gravy and fragrant juices were soaked, making them absolutely addictive. Also, slurping noodles didn’t require the effort of peeling crab shells, that could sway my preference a little bit. :)


Awesome glass noodles

Since we didn’t know the size and portion of the claypot crab noodles when we ordered, we actually ordered an accompanying dish of Signature Home Made Tofu recommended by the captain. Obviously, when we saw the size of the claypot, we regretted ordering this because there was no way we would be able to finish everything on the table! On the bright side, the tofu/bean curd was delicious too. They were topped with spinach and deep fried before they were topped with scallops and mushrooms on top. What a nice combination.


Signature Home Made Tofu


Crab meat Glass noodles

At the end of the long lunch, we (surprisingly) managed to finish everything on the table and stuffed ourselves silly. Luckily, Little J gave us a hand with the tofu too! It was overall a satisfying and enjoyable meal, except for having to handle an active baby who kept trying to climb out of the high chair with crab-stained hands. Shell-less crab noodles next time, anyone?

King Fook Seafood Restaurant
Carlingford Court
801 Pennant Hills Rd ,
NSW 2118

Phone: (02) 9873 6113
Lunch: Mon – Fri (11:00am – 3:00pm)  Sat – Sun (10:00am – 3:00pm)
Dinner: Mon – Fri (5:30pm – 10:00pm) Sat – Sun (5:30pm – 10:30pm)

King Fook Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Easy KL Hokkien Mee

For the longest time, I had been craving for the authentic KL version of hawker-style Fried Hokkien Mee – thick, dark, slippery, sticky noodles with lots of gooey, caramelized gravy and a breath of wok. If you recall, my previous encounter with Hokkien Mee was at Temasek restaurant, which did a terrible job at promoting our Malaysian food. I remember telling myself at that time that I would take it upon myself to cook this dish to my own liking, just so that I did not have to endure second class Malaysian food there again. So when I finally had the time to cook and experiment, I was quite amazed at how easy it was to cook this dish! Don’t get me wrong, of course there are many ways one can cook this dish or even make this dish even better, but if you are a full-time working mother like me, this would be a good recipe as it doesn’t involve much prep work and it really does taste good!


KL Fried Hokkien Mee / Hokkien Char

I actually looked up quite a few recipes online and found that most of them require flounder powder and pork lard. I can’t find flounder/flatfish powder in groceries here, so my recipe had to make do without. As for pork lard, I know it’s an essential item for Hokkien char but it does take time and focus to slowly fry those fatty pork layers so my recipe doesn’t have that too. So, here goes my easy peasy Hokkien Mee recipe, perfect for busy working moms! :)


  • 500g Hokkien noodles (I used the Hakka brand noodles)
  • 8-10 pcs of medium sized prawns
  • 1 pc of fish cake sliced thinly
  • Asian greens – choy sum or bok choy or even lettuce
  • 100g of pork or chicken sliced thinly
  • 2 tbs of cooking oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 3 tbs of cooking caramel (I used Cheong Chan – refer picture)
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 250ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tbs corn starch mixed with 2 tbs water
Cheong Chan Cooking caramel

Cheong Chan Cooking caramel

Hokkien Noodles

Hokkien Noodles


1. Blanch the noodles by pouring hot water onto them and draining it away after one minute. This is so that the noodles would be loose and easy to handle when you cook them later.

2. Heat up wok/pan with oil at medium heat.

3. Add in garlic and fry for about 30 seconds until golden and fragrant.

4. Add in prawns, sliced meat, fish cake and fry for 2 minutes at high heat.

5. Add in vegetables and fry for another half minute.

6. Add in the noodles, then the cooking caramel, oyster sauce and soy sauce.

7. Add in chicken stock and mix well, then reduce heat.

8. Simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce slightly thickens. (You can add water here if you prefer more runny gravy)

9. Finally, add in corn starch + water mixture into the noodles and give it a good final stir. You should see the gravy thicken up and noodles start sticking together.

10. Serve while it’s hot!

Thick and caramelized sauce - slurp!

Thick and caramelized sauce – slurp!

All gone in a matter of minutes!

All gone in a matter of minutes!

Fried Hokkien Mee / Hokkien Char
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Malaysian
Serves: 4
  • 500g Hokkien noodles (I used the Hakka brand noodles)
  • 8-10 pcs of medium sized prawns
  • 1 pc of fish cake sliced thinly
  • Asian greens - choy sum or bok choy or even lettuce
  • 100g of pork or chicken sliced thinly
  • 2 tbs of cooking oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 3 tbs of cooking caramel (I used Cheong Chan - refer picture)
  • 1 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 250ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tbs corn starch mixed with 2 tbs water
  1. Blanch the noodles by pouring hot water onto them and draining it away after one minute. This is so that the noodles would be loose and easy to handle when you cook them later.
  2. Heat up wok/pan with oil at medium heat.
  3. Add in garlic and fry for about 30 seconds until golden and fragrant.
  4. Add in prawns, sliced meat, fish cake and fry for 2 minutes at high heat.
  5. Add in vegetables and fry for another half minute.
  6. Add in the noodles, then the cooking caramel, oyster sauce and soy sauce.
  7. Add in chicken stock and mix well, then reduce heat.
  8. Simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce slightly thickens. (You can add water here if you prefer more runny gravy)
  9. Finally, add in corn starch + water mixture into the noodles and give it a good final stir. You should see the gravy thicken up and noodles start sticking together.
  10. Serve while it's hot!

How to Make The Perfect Cup of Coffee

Everyone loves a good cup of coffee especially when we wake up in the morning. Today’s sponsored guest post brings us tips on making the perfect cup of coffee. Enjoy!


Few things are more comforting than sitting down with a flavourful and aromatic cup of coffee. If you fancy learning how to brew the perfect cuppa, there’s no need to train as a barista. We’ve written a handy guide to help you craft that perfect cup of coffee. Ready? Let’s get started.

Perfect cup of coffee

Coffee beans 101

Not all coffee beans are created equal. Rule number one is that the beans must be fresh, as coffee beans begin to oxidise two weeks after roasting. Fresh beans often look oily and have a powerful aroma. Pay attention to how they are stored and displayed too: beans can only be in open bags if they have been recently roasted (one to three days), otherwise, they must be in airtight containers to maintain their flavour and aroma.

Generally speaking, darker roasts will result in sharp, bitter, and/or acidic coffee. Light coloured beans yield more subtle flavours. Arabica beans are known for their balanced flavour and consistency, whereas Robusta beans tend to produce a higher amount of cream, being ideal for preparing espresso or macchiato coffees. Look for country-specific quality ratings too (AAA, Supremo, Extra Fancy, etc.).

If you enjoy the thick consistency of espresso coffee, you must buy espresso beans. These have been thoroughly roasted so that the inner oil comes up to the surface, giving your coffee that creamy and slightly bitter taste that is so characteristic of an espresso.

Specialty or flavoured beans are the perfect treat for coffee lovers. Almond, vanilla, walnut, chocolate, hazelnut, and Irish cream are the most popular.

Coffee beans

Brewing tips

Brewing is a bit of a science and as every coffee-maker is different, it can take a while to get the balance right. You need the correct water temperature (between 91°C and 96°C for optimal extraction), the right coffee-to-water ratio (7 grams/coffee per 125 ml/water), and the right “pulling” time if brewing espresso (between 20 and 30 seconds). Also, remember that coffee is 95 per cent water, so always use fresh, pure water when brewing. Avoid tap water unless filtered.

Flavour, anyone?

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not add a little flavour to your coffee? There are syrups, extracts, and spices that you can use to enhance your coffee drinking experience. Amaretto extract adds rich tones to a cup of coffee, whereas butterscotch will please those with a sweet tooth. For an exotic cup, try adding a pinch of ground clove, cinnamon, or cardamom to your coffee. Lastly, with Christmas just around the corner, adding an eggnog or gingerbread syrup is sure to get you into the festive mood!

There is an art to making the perfect cup of coffee, but once you’ve mastered it you can just sit back, relax and soak in the aromas of your cuppa.

Giant Pork Knuckle at Bavarian

I keep reminding myself, I have to post this up before October is over, because we had this meal part as part of the Oktoberfest! And boy, oh boy, it’s 31st of October now, I made it just in time. :) If you read my previous post, we had a German lunch a few weeks back during my birthday date with Saucer. That meal must have incited some strange cravings in him because a week after that, he wanted to have pork knuckle again! Lucky for us, Bavarian Bier Cafe was running an Oktoberfest promotion so that was where we headed to. There are several Bavarian Bier Cafe restaurants around Sydney, but we chose the one in Parramatta and we absolutely loved the ambience! It’s located within a fully restored historical church and it’s gorgeous.


 What we came for

The high ceiling, the spacious dining area, the beautiful stained-glass windows, the hanging lights, the soft music in the background, they all just made the dining experience so much better. I just loved the extra room we had between tables, that pushing in a pram was a breeze. In fact, Little J fell asleep just before our lunch so having him sleep in the pram next to us during the whole time was just blissful. :)


Restaurant within a church

For starters, we had one of their specialty, the Haus-Made Bavarian Pretzel with Butter. Now we have been used to the American version of Auntie Anne’s pretzels back in Malaysia, which are soft and fluffy with a multitude of toppings. However, the German version of pretzels is completely different in terms of texture. It has a hard exterior with a chewy inside, and is loaded with plenty of salt on the surface. It definitely took some getting used to, but I eventually got to liking it. Saucer, however, didn’t think the same, so I ended up eating half of his too! :)


Haus-Made Bavarian Pretzel with Butter (AUD$4.50)

A visit to a German restaurant won’t be complete without a dose of the German beer, so that’s what we had. A pint of the famous Franziskaner German dark beer, which was really smooth and easy to drink. I am not a fan of beer but even I could not resist having a few good sips of it. It was just really refreshing and went really well with what we had that day.


Franziskaner Draught beer (AUD$12)


Bavarian Tasting Platter (AUD$30)

I had the Bavarian Tasting Platter on a separate visit with my colleagues before, but decided to put the picture here for completeness sake. As you can see, the platter had small portions of different items – pork belly, pork schnitzel and some sausages. While I loved having small portions of different things to sample, I found out that I preferred having one large portion of something I liked, better. That was why I didn’t order this again during my lunch with Saucer.


Roasted Pork Knuckle (AUD$34/AUD$28 during Oktoberfest)

Not long after we were done with the pretzels, what greeted Saucer made his eyes shine. It was the enormous full-sized Roasted Pork Knuckle in all its crispy glory. I loved how the skin was evenly roasted with cracklings all over it, unlike the one we had at Lowenbrau, where some bits were under roasted and tough. Without even trying, I could tell that this was going to be awesome! Saucer attacked the pork knuckle straight away, and starting nodding his head in approval. It was like eating a giant piece of ‘siew yoke’!


Amazing pork crackling


Sinful bites of awesomeness, just like ‘siew yoke’

As for me, I thought, what is German cuisine famous for? Other than pork knuckle, there is of course the sausages! I ordered the Giant Bratwurst, which was an extra long sausage made purely of pork. It was perfectly char grilled, and served on a garlic roll with a side of chips. I always thought having just a sausage for a main meal would never be filling enough, but I was wrong. This was more than I could stomach, and we even had to pack some of them home. The bratwurst was thick, packed with flavour, moist and bouncy. The bread roll, though, was a tad too dry for me. But I did enjoy the thick fries on the side.


Giant Bratwurst (AUD$22)


Perfectly char grilled pork sausage


Thick-cut fries with dips

Overall, we had a great lunch at the Bavarian Bier Cafe not just because of the food, but because of the amazing ambience. It was so pretty that every now and then, I looked up from my meal and just admired the surrounding environment. Of course, it did help that I didn’t have to tend to a baby who was napping away peacefully. :) With such a memorable dining experience, we would definitely be back whenever we craved for some pork crackling!


Beautiful dining environment


Bavarian Bier Cafe at Parramatta

Bavarian Bier Cafe
2-8 Phillip Street,
NSW 2150 Australia.
Tel No: +612 8836 1400
Website: www.bavarianbiercafe.com
Business Hours: 11am to midnight daily

Bavarian Bier Cafe on Urbanspoon

Another Year Wiser

About 2 weeks ago, I was reminded by the fact that time waits for no one, and without realizing, I was another year older wiser. I really do believe that time seems to fly much faster when you have a baby! Every day is just a mad rush in the morning and right after work. The only solace I have is actually during work in the office, where I have my own me-time, doing my own thing, without having to constantly look up to see where Little J has gone to, or whether it’s time to prepare his food, get him to nap, etc. I can do things according to my own schedule, not his, and it’s liberating, for that 8-9 hours a day. Right after work though, it’s a continuation of my hectic rush of picking him from child care, preparing dinner, feeding him and myself at the same time, doing the dishes, preparing his bath, milk and finally putting him to bed. Repeat this every day and night, and without you knowing, a week has passed, and then a month and now, a year!


Birthday cake

Since my birthday fell on a weekday, Saucer and I decided to take the day off, send Little J to child care as usual, and have a day out, just the two of us! Yes, we have to resort to taking our annual leaves to have some alone time, now that we have Little J in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, nothing in the world makes us happier than he does, but once in a while, we need to have some adult time with each other too. And so it started with us watching a movie together in the cinemas. Gosh, almost forgot how that felt like! :) Then, we took the train to the city, and had lunch at Lowenbrau Keller at The Rocks. Being the birthday girl, I had my meal there for free! So generous of them indeed.


Schweinshaxn / Oven-Roasted Pork Knuckle (AUD$36)


Crispy pork knuckle skin

Upon the waitress’ recommendation, I had the Oven-Roasted Pork Knuckle that came with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. The pork knuckle was huge! The skin was mostly crispy (except for some parts on the sides which were still chewy and rubbery) but we thought it was overly salted. Yes, I know that we have to salt the skin to get it to be crispy but I would expect the chef to remove most of the salt once it’s done. Other than that, did I mention that the portion was really huge? It was full of meat and even after 20 minutes of eating, Saucer looked at my plate and said, “It looks like you didn’t even touch the dish!”.


Jägerpfanne /Charcoal-Grilled Veal Backstrap (AUD$31)

Saucer, on the other hand, ordered something different. We were well aware of the fact that German restaurants are usually good for pork knuckles, sausages and beer, but since we’re already having 2 out of the 3 specialties, he decided to go with the Charcoal-Grilled Veal Backstrap. It was served with home made egg noodles, mushroom sauce and melted cheese in a cast iron pan. When the dish came, I have to admit that it didn’t look all that appetizing because everything was mixed up into a mush. But it did smell amazing because of the cheese, and Saucer liked the veal too. So I was too quick to judge. But would we order this again next time? Probably not. We prefer sticking to the old favourites. :)


Saucer and his dark beer


Lowenbrau Dunkel (AUD$12)

Having pork knuckle in a German restaurant without a beer seemed like a crime, so we ordered one. The Lowenbrau dark beer was surprisingly very smooth and easy to drink, even for my standards. In fact, it was the perfect drink that day since it was quite warm in the afternoon, and the cold, smooth and refreshing beer was what we needed.


Pork knuckle and I

In the middle of our meal, I was faced with yet another surprise with a 2-person band walked to our table and asked if someone was celebrating her birthday today. I nodded embarrassingly and they broke into a Happy Birthday song complete with 3 cheers. :)


Saucer and his veal

After our long and filling lunch, we took a walk around Circular Quay and visited the Museum of Contemporary Arts for the first time. It was quite impressive that such a large and spacious building in prime location is used to appreciate modern arts with free entrance. We then walked to the city to get me my birthday present but the item that I wanted was out of my size. :( I guess I will have to make do with a belated birthday gift.


Home-cooked dinner by Saucer

When it was time to head home, we took the train back and Saucer insisted to do some grocery shopping before picking Little J up. The sweet man wanted to make me dinner for my birthday! It was nothing fancy, but just knowing that he put in the effort to make my day special was enough to make me gooey inside. After dinner, we completed the celebration with a birthday cake. I insisted on waiting until Little J was back to cut the cake, because it wouldn’t be complete without him in the picture, would it?  We had a pretty tear drop shaped cake from La Renaissance, a famous patisserie in The Rocks. It was a mixed berry mouse cake encased in almond sponge and topped with glazed berries. Tasted as good as it looked too! Yum!


Pretty birthday cake – Larme de Gaugin from La Renaissance Patisserie


Mixed berry mousse, encased in a decorative almond sponge and topped with glazed mixed berries

Last but not least, a family picture for the album. We managed to take this self-timer shot after less than 10 tries, which was quite an achievement seeing that Little J is always so fidgety. My birthday celebration overall – it was nothing fancy, no romantic candle-lit dinners, no late-night movies, none of that. But we have our little bundle of joy with us, and that makes a whole lot of difference. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way, this year, and for many years to come. :)


A picture of us <3