Bourbon & Coke Beef Short Ribs

Bourbon & Coke Beef Short Ribs

Hello Everyone! Week 3 of Cooking with Alcohol is here and I’ve got a recipe that is sure to knock your socks off! Beef Ribs are without a doubt a favourite of mine – especially is they are Bourbon and Coke braised! I first had a similar dish back when I was still studying in Australia at a Café, or maybe it was a Restaurant – I honestly cannot remember, and I think the place was called New Orleans… Something. Wow, I cannot believe I actually forgot the name of the place! It was actually one of my favourite fix of Southern American food whenever I craved it! I guess the reason why I forgot the name was because I had only been there a couple of times when I lived in the Lower North shore for about a year and a half. My then housemate and I would always walk over to Crows Nest from Cammeray to grab a plate of spicy Buffalo Wings, or this delicious Bourbon & Coke braised Beef Ribs for dins. When I moved out of the Lower North Shore area and to the Eastern Suburbs, I almost never visited Crows Nest after that. Then one day, after a kayaking trip that started in the Lower North Shore. all the way down to the Harbour, and then back up, I wanted to take my friends to that Restaurant and then later found out that it had closed down and another café took over! I was really sad at that time because I was really looking forward to visiting an old favourite. Oh well… Life goes on.

Bourbon & Coke Beef Short Ribs

Wow, I didn’t realise my introduction was going to be that long – and I am going to apologise now because I’m about to take a short tangent before moving on to tonight’s recipe. Now that I think about it, it may not be as short as I think it will be. Oops! Anyway, I was reading through old posts from about a year ago, and I remember mentioning in some that I had been going through a lot of stress, but I could not say the reason why. I don’t know if I officially told everyone what the reason was behind that when it was all clear to actually say it on social media, and on my blog for that matter. If I haven’t, then I’m definitely going to say it tonight as today marked my 1-year worksary! Haha, yes, worksary as my colleagues would say it. On this day last year I started my unofficial first day of work at D’Sunlit Sdn Bhd, Brunei’s leading advertising agency. I say unofficial because at that time, I was under my 3-month probation, and didn’t get my official permit to legally work at D’Sunlit until just a few months ago when I arrived back from the Philippines in August. Don’t get me wrong, I passed my 3-month probation – it was just that the company was excruciatingly sluggish in getting all the paperwork done so I could be official and legal. Anyway, the past is the past! My colleagues tries to surprise me with a worksary cupcake… I mean… I wouldn’t say that they failed miserably – only just a little bit. Let’s just say when something doesn’t seem right, I get a bit nosy haha! So I kinda figured out that they were up to something before they could surprise me because of a few tiny hints. But thank you anyway to Laurence, Wendy, and Tifah for trying *cheeky grin*

One Year Worksary at D'Sunlit Sdn Bhd

Again, I apologise for the short (but long) tangent, so let’s not waste anymore characters and let’s head on to tonight’s recipe! The original recipe can be found over on The Hopeless Housewife. Just a little note: these ribs were packed with intense and bold flavours that really made my family and I go whoa. Pairing it with a smooth cauliflower purée really helped cut the intensity back a bit. Okay, another small (I promise) tangent – my Mom would always see contestants on Masterchef Australia make a cauliflower purée to add to their overall dish; and every time that they did, she would always ask me, “what does it taste like” to which I would always respond, “I don’t know” because I sincerely don’t! I’ve never made it before – not until today that was. When I was thinking of what to pair the ribs with I thought of trying out a cauliflower purée as I recalled this memory.

Bourbon & Coke Beef Short Ribs Ingredients

Cauliflower Purée with Thyme Ingredients



For the bourbon and Coke ribs

  • 3 kg beef ribs
  • 3 & 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 & 3/4 cups bourbon (or a little more if you’d like!)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Coke
  • 7 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt

For the cauliflower purée (original recipe from Once Upon a Chef)

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (don’t worry about keeping florets intact) 
  • 40g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 140C (275F or gas mark 1). Season the ribs generously with salt and pepper. In a heavy oven-proof dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high and sear each side of the ribs until they’ve turned to a nice caramelised brown colour, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the dutch oven and set aside.
  2. In the same dutch oven (do not clean out), add the garlic, sautéing until lightly golden and fragrant. Follow with the onions, carrots, and celery, cooking over medium heat until tender, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, about 4-5 minutes in total.
  3. Add the bourbon to deglaze the pan, making sure to incorporate any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Follow with the Coke, bay leaves, and beef stock, stirring well, cooking until it starts to bubble.
  4. Lay the seared short ribs on top of the vegetables and cover the dutch oven. Place in the oven and cook for about 3-4 hours, until the short ribs are very tender and fall off the bone. If there is a lot of fat on top, use a baster to remove the excess fats. If there is too much liquid, place on range over medium-medium high to reduce the liquid. When it’s reduced, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, when the ribs are nearly almost done (give it about half an hour to go), bring the chicken broth and salt in a large pot to a boil over high medium-high heat. Add in the cauliflower and bring back to a boil.
  6. Cover, and reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower to a food processor.
  7. Add 3 tablespoons of chicken broth from the pot, along with the unsalted butter. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add thyme and process until just combined.
  8. Serve the beef ribs on a bed of smooth cauliflower purée with blanched green beans. Enjoy!

Bourbon & Coke Beef Short Ribs

Bourbon & Coke Beef Short Ribs

Bourbon & Coke Beef Short Ribs


– Ally xx

ps: just before I end things (yes, I saved this for last because the introduction was getting a tad bit too long than usual – I mean, sorry if my life got a little bit more interesting this week hehe), I wanted to say that on Sunday our beloved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited the Sultanate for 3 days, and his first stop when he landed was to meet the Filipino Community in Brunei. The event, which was held at the National Indoor Stadium housed more than 6,500 Filipinos, out of the 23,000 residing in the Sultanate, greeted President Duterte that night. My Mom, my sister, and myself we’re among the 6,500:

President Rodrigo Roa Détente visits Brunei Darussalam

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken

Hello Everyone! I really want to start of with a Green Day classic, but I realised just how lame it is and how overdone the joke is in the past years. For the non-Green Day fans or just those that have been living under a rock, Green Day released a song on their 2004 American Idiot album, a song titled Wake Me Up When September Ends – and I was going to go on this tangent about how it’s already October and that I wasn’t woken up when September ended. I told you it was lame *cheeky grin*

Anyway, mini tangent aside; as per usual, a new month calls for a new theme on the blog! This month, I will be sharing recipes that incorporate the use of alcohol into the dishes. Okay, how I came up with this theme was because I have a full bottle of Jack that has been sitting in the living room collecting dust for almost 3 years now, and I also brought back a bottle of red wine from my recent trip to the Philippines. For those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that I am not a drinker – so why do I have these beverages lying around the house if I don’t drink? Well, I mean the fact that my bottle of whisky has been sitting around for years speaks for itself. I don’t even know why I bought it in the first place; the only reason I could think of was so that I could use it in my cooking – and here we are now! I guess, with these two alcoholic beverages, you can tell when the month is going to predominantly feature *cheeky grin*

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken

Tonight’s recipe was one that I whipped up a while back, during the long weekend in the middle of September. I brought it for lunch in the office the next day back, and my colleague asked me what I had brought in for lunch today. I replied “Bourbon and Maple-glazed Chicken with Chunky Mash and Pan-fried Asparagus.” She then laughed and continued to say “it sounds so Masterchef – like usually if you ask any locals what they had for lunch, they will just say ‘Buttermilk Chicken’.” I too laughed when she said that, referring to the fact that one would normally have a simply-named dish for lunch, but not me apparently. My lunch’s name was Masterchef worthy hahaha – yes, just the name, the overall dish is still maybe a bit too simple for Masterchef level. Maybe if I cooked it in liquid nitrogen to give it the Heston Blumenthal touch then I could be in it to win it… As if hahaha! Anyway, the original recipe for tonight can be found over on Simply Recipes.

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken Ingredients



  • 6 pcs chicken whole legs, cleaned thoroughly
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or about 2-3 tsp of dried rosemary)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon whisky
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Prepare the chicken by placing them skin side up in a oven-proof dish. Set aside.
  2. Bourbon Maple Glaze: Heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high and melt the butter until melted. Add in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, and then add the diced onions, cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes further.
  3. Add the bourbon whisky together with the maple syrup, tomato paste, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and bring the glaze to a low simmer.
  4. Coat chicken with glaze and roast: Pour half of the glaze mixture over the pre-prepared chicken and toss to coat well. Place in the oven, and then roast the for about 30 minutes, then turn the chicken over and roast for a further 12-15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Lower the heat or remove from the oven if the chicken whole legs start getting too dark.
  5. Simmer remaining glaze until thickened: Meanwhile, as the chicken roasts away, simmer the remaining sauce in the medium-sized saucepan until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a spoon. Once done, remove from the heat and then set aside. Tip: if it is taking too long for the sauce to reduce, pour it into a wide shallow pan and bring to a boil. The wider pan will make sauce evaporate more easily.
  6. Coat cooked chicken in glaze: When the whole legs are done, remove from oven and dip them into the saucepan with the reduced glaze.
  7. Serve on a bed of chunky roasted garlic mashed potatoes and some pan-fried baby asparagus stalks – of course, whatever you fancy with your chicken will do the trick. Enjoy!

Bourbon & Maple Glazed Chicken


– Ally xx

Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY

Cuckoo Callay

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Now, I’ve been back to the places twice already, once earlier on this year in February for my last brunch with friends in Sydney before I left to go back to Brunei. The other time I went here was with my family towards the end of May this year to try out their new menu, and to obviously take them to a favourite café of mine (yes I really liked this café from the very first visit I made with my friends). Anyway, the dishes that you are about to see below are a bit muddled in a sense that you will see dishes from their Bacon Festival which launched in the second week of February. The festival lasted for about 6 months I think, and is now no longer on their menu, but don’t fret! They have a whole new menu out and I will also be looking at a few of those dishes in today’s review.

Cuckoo Callay

Firstly, the Bacon Festival; sadly over, but the deliciousness will forever remain! Though I’ve been following the café on Instagram for a while back then, I never really found the chance to pay a visit. When they launched their bacon festival, I made it my mission to go at least once before leaving or else I’d miss out on the festival forever! It was such a great sunny fall day spent with very close uni friends. It was my second last day in Sydney at the time and therefore my last brunch as well before I went back to Brunei. I mean, clearly seeing that I’m back in Sydney, it wasn’t actually my very last time – I just said that at the time because I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the June graduation sessions, and if I didn’t that meant that I’d be away from Sydney for 9 months until November 2015. I’m glad that I was able to graduate in June, so really I wasn’t gone for too long, but I do only have 2 weeks left in Sydney before I leave for good *sad face*

We decided to all order a dish each, and share amongst the 5 of us so that we’d be able to get a taste of everything bacon! Also to note down, all their bacon goods are free range and sourced from Australian pig farmers by Black Forest Smokehouse.

Cuckoo Callay - BACON DAWG
BACON DAWG: Maple glazed bacon sausage with gruyere cheese sauce, tomato and quince relish, crackling, and dill mustard pickles ($16.00)

My least favourite from the dishes that we ordered and only because I don’t like mustard or pickles, so dill mustard pickles? No! Otherwise if I can recall, my friends quite enjoyed this dish, but it wasn’t their top pick amongst the other dishes. I did love the sausage as it was juicy and succulent, as well as the crackling though, well what I could get of it I suppose since we were all probably going for it!

BACON ALL THE RULES: Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, bourbon bacon, bacon steak, bacon sausage, and bacon-crumbed poached eggs served on sourdough ($24.00)

This dish, though nothing special for me personally seeing as I could whip up something like this at home myself, was a good dish. It was jam packed with meat, eggs, and toast; a classic hefty breakfast. I know this is probably something you probably wouldn’t comment on, but the eggs we’re cooked perfectly with an oozy, runny yolk. I’m commenting on the eggs because you would not believe the many places I’ve been to that say poached eggs and the yolk was a disappointment – basically overcooked. Cuckoo Callay did not disappoint!

DON’T GO BACON MY HEART: Beer candied bacon and popcorn chicken burger served with beer and tomato chutney, mustard aioli, and ‘slaw on brioche ($19.00)

I don’t really remember if I liked this dish or not – then again I guess not being able to remember a dish means that it didn’t have an impact on me. I don’t think it was bad, but it didn’t impress either. As long as there was bacon, but not just any bacon, beer candied bacon!

Cuckoo Callay - BACON, GET IN MA BELLY
BACON, GET IN MA BELLY: Pork Belly with sticky sweet chilli and fennel seed sauce with bacon, caper, coriander, and lime salad ($20.00)

This was my second favourite dish from the festival. The pork belly was chunky and crispy which was well accompanied by the sticky sweet chilli sauce/glaze it had. The squeeze of lime over the pork belly was a nice hint of freshness along with the capers and coriander. I don’t really like the taste of coriander so I just picked the capers out and ate those 😛

Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY
YA BACON ME CRAZY: Buttermilk waffles with house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup, and chocolate coated bourbon bacon ($20.00)

MY FAVOURITE DISH OF THE BACON FESTIVAL! I love bacon, I love waffles, I love caramel, I love cinnamon, I love ice cream, and I love caramel cinnamon ice cream. Altogether? Heaven. Need I say more? Well, I guess the only things I can say negatively about this dish was that the waffle was a bit soft for my liking. I’m all about the crispy waffle! Otherwise, a superb dish.


I have no words for this, well I do but it’s going to be very biased. For starters, I’ve never had a Bloody Mary before so I was definitely taking a chance on this drink. But bacon makes everything better right? I’m afraid to say not in this case. One of my friends even made the comment saying that, “it tastes like cold pasta sauce” and after that comment, I could not get the image of drinking pasta sauce out of my head. I told you it’d be biased, but for Bloody Mary drinkers, this would probably be heaven for you guys.

So as mentioned above, I was able to revisit Cuckoo Callay a second time with my family when they came to visit. The bacon festival was sadly over (I think the weekend before they arrived actually), but they had a whole new menu out for everyone to enjoy! Before I get into the food, I need to tell you a story about what happened at the café; it’s nothing bad, in fact it was hilarious and I will never forget this story. Anyway, when our dishes came to our table, I of course, whipped out my camera and started taking photos of the dishes. Moments later, I’d say about less than 5 minutes later, our waiter (a charming and cheerful lad I might add), returned to our table and said quite loudly and playfully, “Why haven’t you guys started eating?! Is there something wrong with the food?!” followed by a small giggle. I replied, “I’m taking pictures!” to which he then responded, again playfully with a hint of sympathy, “Oh okay, so everyone has to wait I see”. My Mom then said, “She has a food blog” to which he then gave that raised-head ahhhh expression, and then walked away. It was quite hilarious! I’ve taken so many pictures of food before at cafés/restaurant, but never have I ever been why I’m not eating my food. Well honey, if you just wait for me to be done with my pictures, I’ll gladly eat the food!

Anyway, below are just a few of the dishes you can find at Cuckoo Callay:

GEORGE’S GORGEOUS COUSIN (vegetarian and gluten-free): Marinated avocado and thyme infused confit heirloom tomatoes on sourdough, goats curd, house made basil pesto, lemon herb gremolata, and a 63degree egg ($17.00)

My sister Angela had this dish and I of course had a little bite of it so that I could at least write about the taste of the dish. What I really loved about this dish was the marinated avocados; I mean avocados alone are already just good nought for me with a crack of sea salt and black pepper, but these were simply divine. I can’t quite make out what they marinated the avocados in, but they tasted a bit tangy? Anyway, they tasted so good that I think I might’ve had a bit too much of the avocados than I was offered to have!

Cuckoo Callay - PURPLE RAIN
PURPLE RAIN (gluten-free): Beetroot cured salmon, organic quinoa, chargrilled broccolini, sugar snap peas, avocado, kale, chilli, feta, toasted almonds, and 63degree egg ($21.00)

This was the dish that I had and though the avocados weren’t marinated, I still believe that I made the right choice in ordering this for myself. The dish was packed with lots of flavours and textures, and the runny yolk from that 63degree egg just tied the whole salad together. The cured salmon was something new for me in a sense that I’ve never had beetroot cured salmon before and though it was nice, nothing can compare to Devon Café’s cured salmon for me!

Cuckoo Callay - WE FOUND MARY'S LAMB
WE FOUND MARY’S LAMB: 16 hour slow cooked Moroccan spiced lamb, Israeli couscous, chermoula marinated eggplant, minted yogurt, and pistachio ($22.00)

My youngest sister Alyssa ordered this dish, well more like I ordered the dish for her since she had no clue on what to order. The lamb was very tender and really had that Moroccan flavour packed in it. I really liked the Israeli couscous for the way it looked only because I don’t think I’ve ever seen couscous so big and so round! Besides those two elements, everything else on the dish tied nicely together.

Cuckoo Callay - EGGS ON TOAST
EGGS ON TOAST: soft scrambled ($9.00) with extra marinated avocados (+$4.00)

My mom, though she enjoys food a lot, isn’t much of a big eater and so I ordered a simple eggs on toast with marinated avocados for her. You can choose how you want your eggs, whether soft scrambled, 63degree, or fried, and what extras you would like to go with it from crispy bacon, beetroot cured salmon, duck sausage, to grilled haloumi, marinated avocados, etc. Take your pick really to whatever suits your tastebuds. Anyway, of course before ordering this dish, I had no idea how good the avocados were, so after tasting them from my sister’s dish, I was quite happy with the decision to get extra avocados for my mom’s dish only because it meant that I could have more avocados *insert evil laugh* Anyway, what else can I say? The scrambled eggs were light a fluffy, the way it should be and toast is toast.

One thing that I noticed with Cuckoo Callay’s menu (both for the bacon festival and their new menu), is that they are very creative with naming their dishes; even my Mom found it very amusing! Overall, both dining experiences were delightful, and both the company and the quality of service was on point. If I recall, we had to wait a while for our dishes during the bacon festival, and that was only because the café was jam-packed with a lot of customers. We even had to wait 45 minutes in line to be seated, but altogether worth the wait I must say. The festival did not disappoint! Value for money? Like I mean it’s definitely worth your money in comparison to other places that I’ve been too. My Mother on the other hand, of course having just arrived from Brunei where you can probably get a similar dish for half the price, found it quite expensive. However, before she and my sisters left to go back to Brunei, she did comment on how yes eating out is definitely more expensive in Australia, but you get double the portion than you do back home. I’d give value for money an 8/10. The food probably a 8/10 as well; some minor issues due to personal taste, but nothing bad or mediocre about the food to give it a lower rating.

Cuckoo Callay
Newtown Railway Station
Shop 324B Erskineville Road
Newtown, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx