Auguest 2015: Marissa Mai

Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành (Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions)

Hello Everyone! Hope you have a fabulous weekend so far 🙂 If you haven’t heard from me, my name is Marissa and I am a Sydney-based food blogger over at Maiyummy, where my primary focus is on Asian Street Food. This week I am extremely glad to be given such a wonderful opportunity to guest blog on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the first time for a mini collaboration series known as Auguest. Allison first launched the idea of Auguest last month, and I am really honoured to be part of her series, reinventing our local street food cuisines into casual dining dishes. While she was staying at my place, we have cooked up multiple storms in the kitchen together where we both showed each other how to make some delicious Filipino and Vietnamese dishes. Later on today you can head on over to Maiyummy for Allison’s featured blog post.

Before I lead you guys into my secret Asian adventure, I should probably give a bit of an introduction to myself. I was born and raised in Vietnam and came to Australia in 2008 and have been living in Sydney ever since. At first I was really amazed by how diverse and multicultural Australia is, especially in food, language, and music, ranging from a variety of Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Italian, and many more. Back in Vietnam, I could only find authentic local Vietnamese food and some of the popular Asian flavours like Korean and Japanese; but to be honestly the taste is entirely different to what I have been experiencing here in Australia.

Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành (Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions)

I launched Maiyummy and made my first post in June 2015, exactly 2 months ago. A very special thanks Amcarmen’s Kitchen for being such a great supporter and influencer as she continuously motivated me to start up my blog while she was living at my place. We cooked, brunched, and shared our food together, creating memories that will last forever. Even though I am still new to blogging, I cannot thank her enough, and if you have the chance to, please follow her blog, Facebook, and Instagram page for great tips on cooking European food where I learned so much from her. While you’re there feel free to check out all my food adventures over on Instagram.

The recipe that I am going to share with my lovely audience today is a common seafood street food known as Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành, or Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions. Seafood is probably the most common ingredient in Da Nang, a place famous for its coastline, beautiful beaches, and of course a variety of fresh seafood. The idea of this dish originated from this city, and it simple, quick, and easy to cook; it is quite delicate and rich in texture. Not everyone can eat spicy or sour food, but this dish can accommodate the tastebuds of anyone who loves the freshness and the real taste of Vietnamese seafood.

Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành (Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions) Ingredients



  • 1 kg fresh green mussels (or scallops), washed and cleaned thoroughly
  • 100g peanuts, roasted and crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2-3 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 stalk spring onion, sliced
  • Cilantro or coriander leaves
  • Ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Unsalted butter (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and set aside.
  2. Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and place the mussels into the pot for about 2-3 minutes or until their shells open up. Remove from the pot and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Break one side of the shell open and place the mussel onto the prepared baking tray.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat up the olive oil over medium-high and add the sliced spring onions in. Toss them around using a spoon for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and add the fish sauce and half of the sliced chillies to the spring onion mixture. Stir to combine and then equally spoon the mixture over each mussel.
  4. Place them in the oven for about 7-8 minutes, then reduce the temperature down to 150C (300F or gas mark 2) in order for the mussels to cook slowly. Keep checking the oven and check till the mussels are sizzling, then immediately turn off the heat (for a creamier texture, I personally add a little bit of butter on the top of the mussels during the last few minutes of its cooking time before taking them out of the oven).
  5. Remove the mussels from the oven and arrange them onto a wooden board. Garnish with some crushed peanuts and remaining chillies. Serve them with salt, pepper and coriander leaves. Enjoy!

Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành (Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions)

Sò Lông Nướng Mỡ Hành (Grilled Mussels with Buttered Green Onions)



Recipe Copyright © 2015 | maiyummy

PS: This is Allison here writing a quick note to apologise for the late upload – I was busy all day yesterday and didn’t have time to proof read Marissa’s post, do some editing (both photographs and writing) to be able to get this recipe up yesterday. Nonetheless I hope you enjoyed her recipe today and stay tuned for another Vietnamese dish by her tomorrow! xx

Auguest 2015: Brendon D'Souza

Brendon’s Cookies & Cream

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re all having a lovely day wherever you are. My name is Brendon D’Souza and I am a writer and food blogger from Sydney. I’m very honoured to be a part of this Auguest series and have some exciting dessert creations to share with you over the next two posts.

I launched my website Brendon The Smiling Chef in 2012, posting simple recipes that I had cooked for dinner. I developed skills in food styling and photography through internships and writing and editing roles at Green Lifestyle, Grapeshot, Australian Catholics and Youth Food Movement Australia and started to apply these skills to my recipe posts. This year I plan to make a few exciting changes with the website and include a restaurant review section called “Smiling & Dining @” which features reviews that I publish at Zomato While you’re there feel free to check out all my foodie adventures in Instagram at @brendonthesmilingchef.

Brendon's Cookies & Cream

I met Ally a few months ago at a food blogging seminar held in Sydney and she told me all about her passion for exploring cultures through food, which is something that I too love! We caught up a few weeks ago for a fabulous cooking day where she showed me how to make some delicious Filipino recipes (Which you can check out at Brendon The Smiling Chef next week). The recipe that I’m going to share with you today is a bit of an invention that I have drawn from my experiences of growing up here in Australia. Like Ally, I too am a bit of a third-culture foodie. My family are Indian and are originally from the state of Goa which sits on the West Coast of India. Goa is largely influenced by the Portuguese, who colonised the region in around the 16th Century, so our culture, customs and cuisine are surprisingly similar to Europe. I was born in Bahrain and lived there for two years before we migrated to Australia in the mid-nineties.

Growing up in Western Sydney, I was surrounded by a wealth of multicultural diversity and from a young age I was introduced to the cultures and cuisines of the Philippines, Southern America, Malta and Vietnam to name a few. Despite all this I have to admit that as a child I was very embarrassed about being Indian. It’s one of side-effects of growing up in Anglo-Saxon society. I saw myself as different from all the other kids at school. I had black hair, brown skin and brown eyes rather than blonde hair and blue eyes. Now that we’ve all grown up, a lot of my friends have said that they experienced these feelings too! I would cringe when I opened my lunchbox to find the beautiful Goan prawn curry and rice that mum had packed for me. What would the other kids think? We never really ate much Indian food at home when we were younger because my sister and I, being True Blue Aussies, didn’t like the pungent spices used in most of our cooking. They were too hot for our tiny tastebuds to handle. In these instances, six-year-old Brendon would drag a chair to the kitchen and reach for a jar of tomato paste sauce to put together my version of Spaghetti Bolognese; 1 kilogram of beef mince with 1 jar of tomato paste, yes paste (#IcantbelieveIdidthat), stirred through.

Brendon's Cookies & Cream

The 2000’s came along we noticed a number of American food products appearing on the supermarket shelves including Pop Tarts, Oreos, and Krispy Kreme Donuts. My favourite was Hershey’s Cookies ’n’ Creme bar, (or the Mars® counterpart Dove), a dreamy combination of white chocolate with tiny chocolate cookie pieces. It was ever popular among my Filipino friends. They had experienced this delight for years because it was sold in all the Filipino grocery stores. We saw it as a luxury because it was so new! It became one of my favourite flavour combos and, to nine-year-old Brendon’s delight, even started appearing in ice creams and cheesecakes!

I was playing around with the idea of reinventing Cookies and Cream and turning it into a sophisticated dessert. Chocolate chip cookies would definitely feature because who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie? A white chocolate and vanilla bean ganache could represent the Cream and a 70% dark chocolate ganache would balance the sweetness. It had been a while since I’d tried to make macarons from scratch but I thought it would be nice to have some chocolate almond cigars to add another texture and flavour to the dessert. We made up the recipe for these while referring to the Master Adriano Zumbo’s for rough measurements. They weren’t as smooth on top but they made delicious chewy cookies.

Brendon's Cookies & Cream Ingredients



For the white chocolate and vanilla bean ganache

  • 100ml pure cream
  • 200g white chooclate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp glucose syrup

For the bitter dark chocolate ganache

  • 100ml pure cream
  • 150g dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids)
  • 1 tsp glucose syrup

For the chocolate almond cigars

  • 1 free range egg white
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 150g almond meal
  • 2 tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder

For the chocolate chip cookies

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)



  1. White chocolate and vanilla bean ganache: Place the cream and white chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and stir to combine. Heat for 30 seconds on medium then give the bowl a stir with a spatula. Continue to heat and stir the ganache in this way until smooth. Alternatively you can place the chocolate and cream into a heatproof glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted. When smooth, add the vanilla bean paste and the glucose syrup and stir until smooth. Allow to cool completely. Transfer the ganache to a disposable piping bag, seal the end with a rubber band and place in the fridge until cold but pliable.
  2. Bitter chocolate ganache. Place the cream and dark chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and stir to combine. Heat for 30 seconds on medium then give the bowl a stir with a spatula. Continue to heat and stir the ganache in this way until smooth. Alternatively you can place the chocolate and cream into a heatproof glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted. When smooth, add the glucose syrup and stir until smooth. Allow to cool completely. Transfer the ganache to a disposable piping bag, seal the end with a rubber band and place in the fridge until cold but pliable.

Chocolate Almond Cigars

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C (300F or gas mark 2). Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Place the egg white into a clean stainless steel or glass bowl free from grease or dirt. Whip to soft peaks using clean electric beaters. Add 1 tbsp of castor sugar to the egg whites and beat for 20-30 seconds or until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to add the sugar in this way until you have a glossy meringue. Sprinkle the almond meal and cocoa powder over and fold using a spatula to form a smooth batter.
  3. Transfer the batter to a disposable piping bag, twist the opening to enclose the filling and carefully cut off the tip of the bag to create a hole 2cm in diameter.
  4. Pipe 5cm cigars onto the baking sheet. You will need about 8 for this recipe. Allow them to rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cigars have risen. Remove the tray from the oven and allow them to cool. When cool, take your piping bag with the white chocolate ganache and pipe a line down half the cigars. Sandwich with another cigar on top.

Brendon's Cookies & Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Place the butter and sugar and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy. Alternatively use electric hand beaters. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir to form a smooth dough. Add the chopped chocolate stir to combine.
  2. Roll out 12 cookies using 2 tsp cookie dough for each. Place them onto the prepared baking tray leaving about 3cm between each cookie for spreading. You will only need a small amount of the dough for the recipe but I’ll show you what you can do with your leftovers in my next recipe. Wrap the leftover dough tightly with cling wrap and place in the fridge.
  3. Place the baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cookies have spread. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. Crumble 4 of the cookies to form cookie crumbs.

Plate up the dessert

  1. This is where the fun begins. Feel free to let your imagination run wild. Sprinkle the cookie crumbs across 4 serving plates. Pipe some white chocolate ganache onto each of the serving plates. Then rest a cigar along the ganache. Divide the chocolate chip cookies among the plates. Make a 1cm hole in the piping bag with the biter chocolate ganache and pipe them around the plate. Serve.

Ally and I had lots of fun with the plating. Check out our attempts.

Brendon's Cookies & Cream

Brendon's Cookies & Cream

Recipe Copyright © 2015 | brendonthesmilingchef

Happy cooking and keep smiling,

Brendon D’Souza 🙂

Auguest 2015: Jialng Mew

Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns)™

Hello everyone, it’s Jialing again, with my second/final recipe for this week. It’s been a pleasure sharing my recipes with you, and I hope to do it again in the future, but in the meantime, feel free to add me on Instagram – @jialingmew. Also, check out Tuesday’s Chicken Pastel Mini Pot Pies if you haven’t already 🙂 Today’s recipe is another one of my Filipino favourites, but this time based on a sweet treat called Polvorón, which is made with powdered milk and toasted flour and wrapped in colourful cellophane.

Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns)™

I’d previously tried to bring packs of polvoron back to Sydney with me after a trip back to Manila so that my Australian friends could try it, but was told at Sydney Airport Customs that it was on the permanent confiscation list, because of the powdered milk. But fortunately, Australia is not doomed to a polvorón-less fate! The ingredients are actually all very easy to find, and had I realised at the time that they were so simple to make, I wouldn’t have had to go through all that trouble with Customs.

Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns)™

To be quite honest, although I had made polvorón before, a very long time ago, I sort of had to make up this recipe as I went along, adjusting the proportions using some educated guesswork. Traditionally, polvoron is shaped with a special metal tool – that I did not have access to. So I was stuck with the option of cookie cutters, which of course, were nowhere to be found (and probably would not work out at all, looking back in retrospect), and finally, shaping them by hand. I then had one of my pressure and stress-induced moments of genius, and polvorón cake pops happened! Luckily it worked out (better than expected, actually), so I didn’t have to come up with a different recipe, and I can quietly sit down to calmly write about this experience. The recipe can easily be adjusted to make more (or less), which is a bonus! So we all lived happily ever after ❤

Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns)™ Ingredients



  • 1 cup chocolate chips or melts (I used 1 cup each of dark and white chocolate)
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Additional toppings (i.e. crushed nuts or cereal, desiccated coconut, sprinkles, cocoa powder, etc)


  1. Using a frying pan or wok, toast the all purpose flour gently on low-medium heat, stirring the flour constantly until it is very lightly browned throughout, about 10-15 minutes. You should notice a change in the aroma of the flour, though the colour change will be very slight, so keep a watchful eye on the pan! Do not overheat, as the resulting taste will be bitter (a helpful tip is to keep a small bowl of all-purpose flour nearby so you can keep checking the colour difference). Once flour is toasted, remove from heat and pour into a large heat-safe mixing bowl.
  2. Make the polvorón mixture by adding the powdered milk and white sugar to flour, stirring until well combined. Add the melted butter and continue to stir (or use hands) until the mixture resembles wet sand, and holds when pinched. At this stage, you can eat some of the polvorón mixture (highly recommended – it’s divine) and add more sugar or powdered milk to your liking. If the polvorón mixture is too dry, add a teaspoon of melted butter.
  3. Using your hands, firmly pack a small amount of the mixture into a 1-inch ball, rolling in between palms to shape. Set completed ball aside on a baking paper-lined plate or small tray, and repeat until the rest of the mixture is used up (should make around 16-20 balls).
  4. Using toothpicks or BBQ skewers (I used BBQ skewers, and cut them in half), very slowly and carefully insert pointed end about 2/3 of the way through each ball. If the ball cracks, gently press around cracked areas and reshape around the inserted skewer. Place the polvorón pops in the fridge to harden while preparing the next step.
  5. Melt chocolate using a double boiler method, being careful not to allow any steam into the chocolate. Alternatively, place into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 15 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals, until chocolate is fully melted (please note that you may need to adjust intervals according to your microwave).
  6. Place bowl of melted chocolate on a clean surface, and pour selected toppings separately into small bowls or dishes arranging work surface so that all the bowls and dishes are all adjacent to each other.
  7. Remove polvorón pops from the fridge, and dip one at a time into the melted chocolate mixture (the chocolate will start to set once removed), then immediately into the toppings. Transfer back to the tray and continue dipping and coating the remaining pops.
  8. Serve immediately, or store in a container and keep refrigerated until needed. I’m not exactly sure what the shelf-life of these is, but I’d recommend eating them within 2 weeks – if you can even resist eating them for that long #polvoronparty #theend

Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns)™

Polvorón Pops (Popvoróns)™

Recipe Copyright © 2015 | jialingmew



Auguest 2015: An Introduction

Auguest 2015: An Introduction

Hello Everyone! Yes, I am aware that I said today I would get right back into Review Sundays since I did a post on the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award last week. However, since it’s August and I’ve got some exciting content for you guys this month, I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain what will happen on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the upcoming month!

I came up with this idea about a month ago or so while I was in the shower – well actually, the idea already existed, but I used that as a base and put a food blogger twist to it.  Before I get into it, I should probably make mention that I did not misspell August in the title of this post – and yes you read it right as ‘Auguest’ and here is why:

The idea is based on a famous YouTube celebrity known as Tyler Oakley. If you don’t already know him, you can look him up on YouTube, especially his ‘Auguest’ collaboration videos. In a nutshell, two years ago he started something known as ‘Auguest’ where for everyday (maybe just weekdays I can’t remember) in August, he uploads collaborations with other well-known YouTubers. So therefore, my idea for content this month will be based on the concept of collaborating with other foodie friends and/or food bloggers and have them guest blog on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the month of August.

How this will work is that for example, today’s content on my blog would feature a post/recipe written by another blogger, while their post/recipe on their blog will be written by me. Then next week, another blogger will be featured on my blog, and so on. I thought that this would be a great way to get in touch with other food bloggers as well as a great opportunity to network and produce some really cool content for our blogs/websites. It didn’t quite work out as I hoped it would as I initially wanted to feature at least 12 different bloggers on my blog. It was actually quite difficult to find bloggers who were interested in taking part, and also it was a bit difficult for me to organise with so little time on my hands. I do hope to make this a yearly thing, so I hope that it will actually work out the way I had initially envisioned it!

I still have 4 foodies/bloggers that will be guest blogging on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the rest of August. The theme of this year’s collaboration will be ‘Back to your Roots’ – cooking up dishes from your own cultural background and basically food that you love eating. In addition, I will still be writing reviews on Sunday’s from next week onwards – so don’t miss me too much! And I will still be writing, on the other blogger’s page so you can still head on over to their blog, when the post goes live to have a read 🙂


– Ally xx

I wanted to keep this to last because I didn’t want the beginning of the post to start of with a whole chunk of rant that has nothing to do with the actual post. Just think of this a bonus material on the life of Amcarmen’s Kitchen when not actually in the kitchen.

So, I just wanted to let you all know that I am back in Singapore (arrived just a few hours ago) and boy was it hectic! First off all, the baggage belts in the Sydney Airport this morning were all down for some reason – like actually across the WHOLE airport, which meant that baggages had to be manually transported from the check-in counters to the aircraft. I thought, okay maybe the flight might be delayed for a bit since they needed to do this. When I boarded the plane and was waiting for take off, they made an announcement that not ALL baggages were loaded into the aircraft that I was on because of that whole system being down and they didn’t want the flight to be delayed. They said that the baggages would be loaded onto the next flight out of Sydney to Singapore which was 3 hours behind the flight I was on.

When I got off the plane, I waited for about 10 minutes at the baggage belt after passing immigration, HOPING that my bags travelled with me. Ground staff then started approaching people saying that what was already on the belt were the bags that the aircraft was able to carry and that no new bags were being placed on the belt for collection. I could’ve sworn that I saw less than 50 bags on the belt. Terrible! And they were all priority bags for suites, first, and business class people. So after that I had to queue up at the lost and found with practically half of the other passengers who didn’t get their bags as well. Good thing I was able to beat a few people and was kind of sort of at least in the first quarter of the line, but I swear the line did not even move for like 20 minutes. Anyway, I got out of the airport 2 HOURS after my flight landed – I blame Sydney Airport for such unnecessary hassles.

Good thing I have extra clothes and underwear packed in my hand carry, and an extra $120 to compensate for the troubles. I overheard a lady saying that she had no clothes at all because they were all packed in her check-in baggages – and she leaves the next morning to another destination. I feel sorry for those who are in that situation and hope that they get their bags soon! And I hope I get mine tomorrow morning as well!