Grilled Pineapple Dessert

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

Hello Everyone! Pineapples are packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other helpful compounds, such as enzymes that can fight inflammation and disease. They are especially rich in vitamin C, which is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system, and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet.

Firing up the barbie tonight? This may be one of the most delicious ways to eat a pineapple! Try this Grilled Pineapple Dessert for a healthy alternative that’s fast and tasty. The tequila adds a tart flavour to balance the natural sweetness of the pineapple, and the sugar from the caramel. You may also substitute the tequila out for rum instead, or whatever bevvy tickles your taste buds.

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

There was no doubt that I wanted to buy a whole tub of ice cream to pair with this dessert, especially after all the summer heat we’ve been experiencing. But given the circumstances of Enhanced Community Quarantine, my priorities were focused elsewhere. Considering the capacity of my freezer, I first made sure that it was full of seafood that would last us until our next grocery trip, which is every two weeks now to limit the time I spend outdoors amidst the on-going pandemic.

But by all means, feel free to get creative by serving it with ice cream for a warm (and cold at the same time), sweet, tart, and creamy dessert. Take it to another level by topping the dessert off with nuts or granola to add a fun crunch to it!

Grilled Pineapple Dessert



For the grilled pineapple

  • 1 medium-sized pineapple
  • 1 shot tequila (or rum)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg


For the vegan caramel sauce

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 60g unsalted margarine
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

To garnish/serve with

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Handful of granola
  • Ice cream (flavour of choice)
  • Nuts of choice, roughly chopped


  1. Prepare Pineapple: Remove the leafy crown with a sharp knife and cut a thin slice from the base. Slice the skin away from top to bottom, removing any brown eyes as you go.
  2. If you have a pineapple corer at home, use this before cutting your pineapple into rounds. Otherwise, cut the pineapple into 6-8 rounds, and like me, use a round cookie cutter to cut the cores out of each round.
  3. Set aside on a plate and coat with the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Optional, spike the pineapple rounds with a shot of tequila.
  4. Vegan Caramel Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly or until thickened and no longer watery, about 6 to 9 minutes. Keep in mind that the caramel thickens more as it cools.
  5. Grilled Pineapple: Preheat grill pan over high heat. Slightly oil the grill and then carefully place each round into the pan. Cook until grill marks form, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Once done, remove from the pan and transfer to a serving dish.
  6. Serve: Top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, drizzle with the vegan caramel sauce, and sprinkle with fresh mint. Serve with ice cream flavour of choice topped with some roughly chopped nuts for some crunch, if desired. Enjoy!

Grilled Pineapple Dessert


  • You may also opt to drizzle the pineapple slices with homemade salted caramel sauce instead.
  • Any homemade caramel sauce can easily be made ahead; great served warm, at room temperature or chilled with refrigeration. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can warm it slightly to make it more drizzle-able before use.

Grilled Pineapple Dessert


– Ally xx

Breakfast Muffins: Brownie, Salted Caramel & Avocado Gelato

Breakfast Muffins: Brownie, Salted Caramel & Avocado Gelato

Hello Everyone! The title of this post already sounds super enticing doesn’t it? Well brace yourselves, for tonight I will be sharing a cheekily sweet breakfast muffin that borderlines dessert. Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast though? If anyone says that you can’t, unfriend them because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life EVER. For those of you that are just tuning in, I usually upload a recipe to Amcarmen’s Kitchen on Wednesday nights. However, yes I am aware that it is a Monday night (in Brunei that is, for some it may be just the morning of), and the reason for the switch up for this month only is because Muffin Making Monday has returned!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in a post before, but I’ll say it again anyway, I am NOT a huge fan of chocolate. I can already see a few jaws dropping upon reading the previous sentence in pure disbelief. But yes it’s true. I can’t sit down and eat a whole bar of chocolate even if I wanted to. I’d probably get sick after just one bite. Don’t fret guys for there is a however – a slice (or two, maybe more) of a dark, rich, dense, and fudgy with a deep to-die-for chocolate flavour brownie is my exception. Oh and of course, how could I forget my love for the beautiful marriage between dark chocolate and avocado!

Breakfast Muffins: Brownie, Salted Caramel & Avocado Gelato

Therefore behold the Brownie Muffin – combining my Breakfast Muffin series with a favourite dessert of mine! I was going to call this hybrid a ‘Bruffin’ like how Brookies are for Brownie Cookies. Alas, I was disappointed to find that the term Bruffin has already been registered and trademarked for a light and flaky, brioche-like pastry in the form of a muffin! So should I call these Broffins? Sounds less cool than Bruffin *sad face* so I guess I’ll just stick with Brownie Muffins instead of a portmanteau of the two. Check out the original recipe by Shiran over on Pretty. Simple. Sweet.

To take it to the next level, I’ve filled these Brownie Muffins with a sticky and salty caramel sauce so that you’re hit with an oozy gooey treat when you bite (or cut) into them! And of course, you need to complete this breakfast (dessert) with a generous serving of avocado gelato! I sourced mine from my favourite gelato place in Brunei known as Rumah Gelato! Whenever I want my fix of dark chocolate AND avocado gelato, this is where I’m at. I bought a large tub of just the avocado gelato to pair with this recipe, and of course extra to just indulge in happily for the next couple of days.

Breakfast Muffins: Brownie, Salted Caramel & Avocado Gelato Ingredients

Rumah Gelato's Bravo Avocado



For the brownie muffin batter

  • 113g (4oz) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 113g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For the salted caramel sauce

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup double cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp sea salt rocks
  • Avocado Gelato or any of your favourite flavours that tickle your tastebuds


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease a 6 hole muffin pan with butter. Set aside.
  2. Brownie Muffin Batter: Place the chopped chocolate and unsalted butter cubes into a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Heat in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, salt, and set aside.
  4. Using an electric handheld mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar on high speed until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed down to low and slowly add in chocolate and butter mixture, whisking until just incorporated.
  5. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling each case to about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out with moist crumbs and not dry.
  7. Once done, transfer to a wire rack and let them cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow muffins to cool completely on the wire rack.
  8. Salted Caramel Sauce: In a small saucepan, melt the sugar over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Once all the sugar has melted, watch your caramel carefully, swirling the pan occasionally.
  9. As soon as the sugar turns amber in colour add the butter and whisk vigorously until all the butter has melted.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream while whisking vigorously until the cream is incorporated well, and then whisk in the sea salt rocks.
  11. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small decorating tip with the caramel sauce. Insert the tip into the top of the muffin, pushing about an inch into the muffin. Squeeze the filling into the muffin. If the filling starts to leak outside of the hole, stop.
  12. Serve with ice-cream or gelato with the flavour of your choice, and drizzle more of the salted caramel sauce atop. Enjoy!

Breakfast Muffins: Brownie, Salted Caramel & Avocado Gelato

Breakfast Muffins: Brownie, Salted Caramel & Avocado Gelato

You can store these Brownie Muffins in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Make sure to let them reach back to room temperature before serving. I personally would prefer to warm them up in a steamer (the oven or microwave usually dries it out even more) because I’d rather have a warm, fudgy, and gooey muffin than a room temperature one *cheeky grin* but like I said, it’s just my personal preference.

Before I wrap up tonight’s recipe, here’s a key extract from Shiran:

Timing is everything: The right baking time is always the most crucial part of making brownies. It only takes a couple of minutes to turn them from rich fudge brownies to a dry chocolate cake. When done, brownies should appear baked on the outside, but the center should still be soft. You’ll need to bake them only until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with very moist crumbs, not dry.
— Shiran from Pretty. Simple. Sweet.

Breakfast Muffins: Brownie, Salted Caramel & Avocado Gelato


– Ally xx

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake

Hello Everyone! Today is a special day, and that special day is my birthday! For those who want to know, I am 24 years young today, and another year wider, I mean, wiser, but not another year taller unfortunately. It’s been 4 years since I last celebrated my birthday in Brunei with my family, and friends I grew up and went to high school with. It’s been that long because for the past 4 years I’ve spent my birthday’s in Australia, with my friends from uni. I didn’t really plan anything special, I just organised a dinner party at Villa Mauri last Friday night with some friends; exchanging conversations, laughter, and of course, no gathering is complete without some dirty talk! We’ve all not changed one bit 🙂 I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank those who came that night, and also thank everyone else who has greeted me so far. I am so blessed to have family and friends from all over sending love my way. I know, that sounded a bit cheesy.

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my high school friends at Villa Mauri (November 6th, 2015)

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my work friends at 
Patisserie (November 9th, 2015)

I baked this cake yesterday afternoon for my birthday dinner tonight with my mom and my sister. Seriously, I cannot stress out how much I hate frosting – it take so bloody long for me to get it perfect. Well, not so much perfect, but for me to get it to cover the cake. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or I should blame the climate, but the buttercream is runny to begin with, so I put it in the freezer to stiffen up a bit before I frost. Then when I start frosting, it quickly becomes runny again to the point that I have to keep placing the cake in and out of the freezer multiple times before I can get the frosting to somewhat cover the cake. But anyway, after much frustration on the eve of my birthday, I managed to get a decent looking cake up I guess (so over it right now – so over baking cakes altogether).

Actually, I think I know the reason (maybe not really) why my frosting was runny. I had a look at the ingredients photo that I took and saw that I had icing sugar in it. At first, I thought that that might’ve been the reason, but when I looked at the original recipe, there was no sign of icing sugar. So why did my frosting go wrong?! 😦 Not enough butter?

24th Birthday Celebrations
Birthday with my family at home (November 9th 2015)

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make a cake like this for a while; as in the whole salted caramel with caramel popcorn on top kind of cake. I was blown away when I came across it over on La Pêche Fraîche – so beautiful and well photographed. So don’t forget to check out the original recipe over on her blog; she has adapted the different components to making this cake from various recipes (all links have been acknowledged below). Plus, her’s looks much more beautiful, and somehow taller than my cake *cries*.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake Ingredients



For the yellow butter cake (adapted from Joy of Baking)

  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 4 large free range egg yolks
  • 2 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the salted caramel (adapted from FoodSwoon)

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream (adapted from FoodSwoon)

  • 350g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • Half of a batch of salted caramel, cooled, the rest reserved for drizzling (see recipe below)

For the salted caramel popcorn (adapted from the Kitchn)

  • Popped popcorn from about 1 & 1/2 bags of popcorn
  • 130 grams unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Big pinch salt, plus a little for sprinkling


  1. Yellow Butter Cake:
    • Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease 2 x 8.5-inch pans with a little bit of butter.
    • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the plain flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
    • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes altogether. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the egg yolks in and beat for a further 2 minutes. Add in the milk and vanilla, stirring gently to combine.
    • Add in the dry ingredients all at once, and stir gently until the batter comes together. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
    • Set the cakes aside to cool down completely before frosting.
  2. Salted Caramel:
    • Heat the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt together over medium-low in a small saucepan . Whisk at the beginning until they dissolve. Once dissolved, leave the mixture to caramelise into an amber colour.
    • Once amber, remove from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter and cream. Be careful of any splattering that may occur. Whisk until completely smooth.
    • Set aside to cool down before using it.
  3. Salted Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream:
    • Place the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat on low until it reaches to about 115C/240F.
    • Meanwhile, as your sugar+water mixture is slowly heating up, place the egg whites in a large bowl and start to beat using a handheld electric mixer. Beat the eggs until soft peaks start to form. Then, slowly stream the water+sugar syrup into the egg whites with the mixer still going.
    • Beat the meringue until cooled to about body temperature, and then beat in the butter about 2 tablespoons (30g) at a time. Continue whipping the buttercream until it is silky before adding half of the caramel mixture in.
    • Set aside in the fridge until it is time to frost your cake.
  4. Salted Caramel Popcorn:
    • Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1/2) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
    • Place the popcorn in a big bowl and make sure not to include any unpinned kernels.
    • In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar, and salt until they begin to caramelise. Whisk well to combine, and then add in the baking soda. Quickly pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss well to coat.
    • Scrape the popcorn  out onto the baking tray and lightly sprinkle with a touch of salt. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the caramel is completely dry and crunchy. Once done, set aside.
  5. Assembly:
    • Stack your cake on a cake stand and frost it with the buttercream. Drizzle the remaining caramel on the edges of the cake and then top the cake with a mountain of caramel popcorn!
    • Serve, share, and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Popcorn Layered Cake


– Ally xx


In Asia Restaurant & Bar

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! I think I will keep the introduction short today just because you’re about to dive into a 2200 word review below and I’m already tired of typing and spinning words out of my brain at this hour of the night. Seriously though, if university essays were this easy to write in less than 4 hours, I’d never hate writing essays (most probably)…

About three months or so, I actually don’t remember, I attended a talk organised by General Assembly on the Business of Food Blogging. It was there that I met Brendon D’Souza from brendonthesmilingchef, and he was indeed a happy smiling chap. Last week he invited me and a few other bloggers for an Instagram Meet Up at In Asia Restaurant and Bar in North Strathfield. He told an interesting story about how he came to know about this restaurant; basically he and his family were driving along looking for a place to hold his graduation dinner. They came across In Asia and I think he pretty much fell in love with the food here and even said that the Popular Popcorn Parfait dessert sold it for him. He met the owner of the restaurant and talked about organising a food blogger’s event to basically build up a social media presence of the restaurant. I’m really glad that Brendon organised this event because it was definitely a great experience for not just me, but for everyone else who was a part of the night. I met a lot of other food bloggers, and shared a few laughs over the night as we all started getting a bit tipsy from the drinks.

Let’s get straight into their menu and what I thought of their awesome dishes:

Vodka, fresh strawberries and limes, with candy floss ($16.00)

I remember seeing one of the blogger’s ordering this drink across the other table. Rachael and Angela, who were seated in front of me, bolted over to take a picture of this very photogenic drink that looked like a fluffy unicorn. I wasn’t bothered to get up, only because I was sitting on the inside of the booth(?), not sure what kind of seating it was, but it meant that I had to ask people to get up for me, slide over, and then get out. When the girls returned, we decided to all order a cocktail each and share so that we could get a taste of what In Asia had to offer. I really liked this drink, mainly for the fairy floss and vodka combination, but you can’t really go wrong with strawberry and lime.

Baileys, Frangelico, Kahlua, cream, chocolate syrup, and Toblerone shavings ($16.00)

This was something that I’ve not actually seen before elsewhere, but then again, I’ve only been to how many bars in my life? Yeah, not a lot. Anyway, this was by far my favourite cocktail of the night; alcohol and chocolate? Don’t mind if I do! I’m not a heavy drinker myself, but I’d definitely have 2 or 3 more glasses of this. For me, I couldn’t really taste the alcohol, but that’s okay because it tasted more like a chocolate drink to me, and I like that!

Bacardi, Soho Lychee Liqueur, fresh lychees, and lime ($16.00)

I am currently obsessing over lychees so this drink was also a favourite of mine that night. Loved the sweetness of the lychee paired with a tangy lime. I very much enjoyed this drink and would definitely come back for more of this… And the two above as well *cheeky grin*

with chilli purée and lime sauce, fresh pear ($15.00)

I love love love love LOVE scollops. Have I told you how much I really love scollops? Well, as you can tell for my love of scollops, it is without a doubt that this was my favourite entrée of the night. The scollops were cooked perfectly and surprised me with that great kick of heat. I say surprised because I wasn’t expecting it to be that big of a kick to my mouth. I found it quite spicy to my liking at first, but loved it as I had more of it. The pear was a nice touch of freshness to the dish as well.

with pickled papaya, fennel, cashew nuts, and crispy pork crackling ($15.00)

I honestly cannot remember what my tastebuds were going through when I had this dish. I mean, it was not a bad dish, but I feel like I didn’t have an overwhelming reaction towards the dish like I did with the other entrée dishes. The calamari was cooked well, and the salad was dressed nicely too. I like how they’ve added the crispy pork crackling in the dish for that added crispy element, but they were all gone before I could get any onto my plate (yes, most of the bloggers who I shared the dish with picked most of the crackling out)!

with roast coconut, crushed peanuts, ginger, chilli, lime, and caramel sauce: 2 pieces ($12.00)

As soon as this dish hit the tables, I was flabbergasted by its presentation. Loved the shot glasses. Moreover, I was impressed with the flavour combinations in such a little piece of betal leaf wrap. You’ve got the roast coconut, crushed peanuts, together with the ginger and caramel sauce I presume, that is topped with the tender, melt in the mouth poached prawn topped with roe and a tangy hit with a thinly sliced piece of lime, all wrapped in a peppery betal leaf that gave a nice fresh crunch to everything. It was a bit of a guessing game on how many bites you should take with this; it feels a bit big for one bite, but not big enough for two if you get what I mean. I tried two bites, but then you’re left with just the coconut and peanuts at the bottom without the prawn for your second bite. So I just went for it in one bite for my second serve. I find it quite expensive though because that means that one betal leaf wrap if $6.00; it’s quite a spectacular dish, but I don’t know if I’d pay that much for it.

with wasabi mayo and sweet chilli sauce

I had a look back at their main menu and didn’t see this dish so I can’t say how much it’d cost you to order this. There’s nothing much I can comment on this only just because it’s salt and pepper calamari; I mean you can practically get it anywhere you go. Nothing special, but I did like the tender calamari, however not a big fan of wasabi myself.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - SALAD: TEA SMOKED DUCK BREAST
with roasted rice, chilli, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, and tamarind dressing ($22.00)

I felt like it’s quite similar to a Thai dish known as Nam Tok in terms of flavour, but anyway this was a very innovative dish and the flavours were a nice accompaniment to the duck. I actually wouldn’t have been able to tell that the duck was tea-smoked, but nonetheless, the duck was delicious and I wanted more!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - STIR FRY: WAGYU BEEF
with asparagus, shallots, and onion with hoisin sauce ($28.00)

Again, this was nothing special for me because I know how to make a mean beef stir-fry myself. I mean, it’s a good, simple, and humble dish, but nothing really as innovative as what I’ve already covered from this point on their menu.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - MAIN: CRISPY SKIN SALMON
with IN ASIA’s spiced Kumara mash, cashew nuts, sweet potato chips ($27.00)

I wasn’t a fan of this dish for several reasons: firstly, I thought that it was a curry-based dish because of the ‘sauce’ and then I was surprised when I re-read the menu again at it was actually kumara mash. In my opinion, it was a bit thin for a mash. I like my mash creamy no doubt, but this felt like it took creamy to a whole other level. Secondly, though the salmon lived up to its crispy skin, it was however overcooked to my liking; it was a bit dry on the inside for me. The only thing I liked on this dish was probably the sweet potato chips. Sorry!

with tamarind sauce, pumpkin mash, and navel orange

This I liked better than the salmon dish, and I loved the pairing of the duck with the navel oranges. Though the skin wasn’t as crispy as I thought it would be, it was still a very good dish, and that’s also mainly because I love duck no matter how it’s cooked (just not overcooked of course). You may have noticed as well that there is no price – same what I mentioned above for another dish, I couldn’t find it on their actual menu so sorry to say I can’t make out how much this dish would cost if you want to order this dish.

with grilled pear, black sesame, pickled radish, and ginger ($28.00)

This dish wasn’t actually on the pre-planned menu that the restaurant had for us. One of the girls, as she called herself, “that annoying person who just doesn’t like seafood”, ordered this off the menu as the owner of In Asia suggested that she did as he felt bad for having pretty much a seafood-heavy planned menu for the night. I am actually glad that she got to order off their menu and shared a little bit of her food with everyone else because this was a really REALLY lovely dish. The wagyu beef was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The grilled pear, I mean, where do I even begin with this pear? It was so good and paired so well with the beef. It was a match made it heaven.

with crispy panko egg and sweet tamarind sauce ($23.00)

This was another dish that was ordered off the menu, and yet another great dish that made me happy that she doesn’t like seafood. This was actually my favourite main dish of the night. The pork belly was crispy and sweet, and that panko egg was just lovely. I honestly wanted more of this dish, but since we were only sharing, it made me sad that I could not have more that night. I would definitely recommend this dish if you’re ever thinking of dining here. It is a must! I would definitely go again if it weren’t so far from where I live!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MONKEY SNICKER
with banana pudding, passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut, and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

Finally on to dessert! This was probably not one of the best desserts of the night just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other dessert that you’ll see below, both in terms of presentation and flavour. This didn’t really wow me that much I’m sorry to say!

In Asia Restaurant & Bar - DESSERT: MRS B'S FIRST KISS
with organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried, palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet ($14.00)

I apologise in advance because I cannot comment on the flavour of this dish, and I will tell you why. So when the desserts arrived at the table, everyone went nuts for this dessert, as well as the one below because of their spectacular presentation. It was almost too beautiful to eat! So I got my pictures, and then I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I thought, okay I’ll go to the bathroom quickly since the other bloggers were still busy taking pictures of the desserts. Came back about 2 or 3 minutes later and this dish was completely demolished. Lesson of the night? Hold it in, no matter how urgent it is. It’s not worth it especially if dessert is concerned and you’re sharing one dish with about 12 other bloggers. I was so sad!

with IN ASIA’s crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn, and caramel jersey cream ($14.00)

Okay, at least there was a good quarter or so of this dessert left when I came back from nature’s calling. Thank goodness because this dessert was the absolute bomb. I loved the flavours and different textures that you got in each mouthful of the dessert, and I didn’t think that grilled corn would be such a great compliment to the overall dish. The presentation was on point as well. Well done In Asia for this dessert!

There were some ups and some downs with the dishes that we had over the night, but I can safely say that the positives overpowered the negatives greatly. There was really only one dish that was a let down for me, and the others that had minor issues based on just my personal opinion and palette is nothing major to say that it was a bad dish. I’d rate the food of the night a solid 9.5 out of 10; the food really blew me away and clearly the definition of modern (kind of, sort of fine dining) Asian cuisine. For me, it’s sort of somewhere in the middle like it’s not casual but not extreme fine dining either. Not only did the flavours and textures impress me, the presentation of some of the dishes, mainly the entrées and desserts, really blew me away. The service was great as well, though I wasn’t sure why it took quite possibly close to 30 to 45 minutes for the light menu (which were the tea smoked duck salad and the barbecued calamari salad) to come out to the table after entrées – I wasn’t complaining though because I had a pretty hefty entrée to begin with. I’d give the service an 8 or possibly 9 out of 10 anyway. Now, value for money – the dishes here are pretty pricey to be honest but I guess you can say that you actually do pay for what you’re getting. If you’ve got the money to spend, definitely spend it here, otherwise it’s not really a place you can just rock up to if you don’t have the money or for a casual dine.

In Asia Restaurant & Bar
181 Concord Road
North Strathfield, New South Wales
Australia, 2137

– Ally xx

Crispy Fried Leche Flan

Hello Everyone! Firstly, I would just like to say to you all that I am back in Sydney! Currently staying at a friends place while waiting for my Mom and two younger sisters to arrive in Sydney on Saturday morning before we start our Australian tour!I’ll be showing them around Sydney, and then we will be off to Melbourne, Brisbane, and then back again for my graduation ceremony in mid-June! Now because of all our travels, I will momentarily cease Review Sundays, only because I don’t have any places in my folders to write about, and also because there is a possibility that I won’t have the time (or most likely won’t be bothered) to write reviews on places I’ve visited on this trip, during the trip. Once I’ve settled back down from my 1-month vacation, then I will get back into Review Sundays; but don’t fret, I will still be uploading recipes twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays as I’ve cooked up a whole lot of dishes while I was in Brunei to prepare for this vacation period of mine.

Crispy Fried Leche Flan Process

Anyway, today’s recipe is a little twist on what I have been making for a while now – mainly for lunch/dinner parties, or during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Or sometimes, I make it upon the request of my friends for their birthdays (Jialing especially) or just whenever they want me to make it for them when I invite them over to my place. During my recent trip to the Philippines, I encountered ‘Crispy Fried Leche Flan’ on two different menus. I thought long and hard about the possibility and HOW they are able to deep-fry a soft, smooth, and silky custard – at one point I thought, battered flan? Anyway, weird techniques were going through my mind and it killed me not knowing how it was possible – until I ordered it that is. I did not expect it to be wrapped spring roll style; such a clever idea! The first time I had these babies was at Catalino’s Restaurant (Villa Javierto) in Lucena City. I was so amazed by the lovely golden brown, crispy spring roll pastry complimented by an oozy, smooth flan filling with a side of soft caramel dip. It was like love at first bite with these I tell you. Never have a ever heard of crispy fried flan until this very day at Catalino’s; and I was even more excited to see it on Mesa’s menu in the city! However, as I probably mentioned in that blog review, Mesa’s crispy flans did not live up to the hype of my first experience. To quote my blog review, I said that theirs were “small, not so crispy rolls of flan that didn’t quite taste like flan in my opinion and more like steamed egg”.

Ever since my trip to the Philippines and encountering these beautiful rolls of delight, I knew I had to take it to my kitchen and whip up a batch of these. At first I was unsure of how it was they managed to handle and wrap soft flan; I thought that they needed to go into the freezer first and once frozen you could handle them easily. My mother showed me otherwise; she handled the slices of flan with great care, and was very gentle with them when wrapping them. The trick to get them nice and crispy is basically the same with the plantain rolls I posted roughly a month back; by freezing them overnight and frying them straight away with no defrosting required.

Leche Flan Ingredients

Crispy Fried Leche Flan Ingredients

PS: Before I start with the recipe, I just want to point out that I showed these images to one of my friends prior to writing this post because I told her about how I made crispy leche flan. She wanted to know how it was possible and so I showed her how it was done. Her first reaction to the side of caramel dip – “IS THAT FISH SAUCE?” I seriously could not stop laughing.


  • 1 recipe Leche Flan (Crème Caramel)
    • 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
    • 1 can (395g) condensed milk, at room temperature
    • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
    • 6 tsp caster sugar
    • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Large springroll wrappers


  1. Make a batch of leche flan prior to starting this recipe. Make sure that you refrigerate them for at least 6 hours before working with them. You can find the recipe linked above in the ingredient list. Instead of using small round moulds, I suggest you use square moulds (or in my case I used oval because that’s what I had) and cut them into thick rectangular strips. Do not discard the caramel sauce, instead pour it into a sauce dish and serve alongside the crispy fried leche flan rolls.
  2. Place the slice of flan on top of a spring roll wrapper and fold, locking the wrapper on each side. then place in a container and repeat until all the slices of flan have been wrapped. Freeze overnight.
  3. In a small (or medium, depending on how many you’re going to fry) pan, heat the oil over medium-high. Make sure it is quite hot before adding the wrapped flans in. Fry until the wrapper turns golden brown.
  4. Serve hot during dessert or meryenda, with ice cream on the side if you wish. Enjoy!

Crispy Fried Leche Flan


– Ally xx



Hello Everyone and hello to an all new Review Sunday! I’ve visited Pastabella twice now; the first time was for Marissa’s birthday dinner at the beginning of this month, and the second time was two nights ago when I caught up with my friend Rowena from back home. Both times did not disappoint; the food was absolutely amazing and the dining experience was taken to the next level with great company.

Pastabella is an Italian restaurant that is all about fresh house-made pasta and wood fired pizza. Now it may not have the best looking ambience in comparison to the other cafés and restaurants on the same street, but it had a homely feel to it. The inside space was like sitting down in your own dining room, while the outside space felt like your backyard or patio area.

There is this man, a cheerful guy he is, who I believe may quite possibly be the owner of Pastabella, greeted us with a smile, a cheeky joke and a laugh, which I thought was quite pleasant because it set the mood for us. I absolutely hate it when you’re greeted with snotty and unpleasant waiters/waitresses, but no, none at Pastabella! You could easily joke around with this man as well and he even returned the favour. When he served us, he asked “who ordered the spachatella?” I raised my hand and he placed the dish in front of me. He then asked “and who ordered the gamberi?” I mean, I was with one other person at that time so it was obviously Rowena’s dish. Nonetheless I responded by saying “I think someone inside ordered this” while I tried to point through the glass windows at a table inside. He the responded by saying “oh okay” and took about two steps away from our table, then quickly turned around, laughed, placed the dish in front of Rowena, and said “she’s a cheeky one isn’t she?” Golden. There were many other funny encounters but I’ll end up writing a whole paragraph or two more about that!

House-made fettuccine pasta with mushroom, bacon, and shallots in a fresh creamy sauce ($18.00)

This dish was quite similar to their carbonara, minus the mushrooms of course and add the egg. I had a little taste of this from my friend’s plate and I quite enjoyed how the cream sauce was nice and relatively thin, but still very flavoursome.

Famous Italian dish of house-made spaghetti pasta with bacon, shallots, egg, and cream ($18.00)

Carbonara is like a classic favourite of mine, but I always try to stray away from ordering it for two reasons mainly. The first is because I can make my own carbonara and secondly, for me I find that carbonara anywhere is the same. When this came to our table though, I have never seen anything like it! When I say that, I am actually referring to it’s presentation. I’ve had my fair share of carbonara’s and never have I seen it being served with a raw egg yolk sitting on a bed of pasta. It tasted amazing! The sauce was rich and absolutely divine, but I probably would struggle to eat a whole plate of it just because the richness and creaminess gets to you at a certain point.

House-made fettuccine pasta with tiger prawns, rocket, garlic, and olive oil, cooked in a white wine sauce with a dash of chilli ($22.00)

I had a little taste of this off Rowena’s plate – the tiger prawns were cooked to perfection. Plump, juicy, and soft; nothing of that rubbery texture that I’ve had at a fair share of other places. This dish here was perfection. The pasta was cooked well and I remember Rowena saying that she gets skeptical when dishes say ‘chilli’ but they don’t live up to that level of spice that she expects. This dish did not disappoint her tough! To quote her, “they used legit chillies”. I felt though that those who cannot take the heat will complain about the ‘dash’ of chilli – did not feel like dash! But I’m not complaining; I love the spicy kick!

Traditionally cooked risotto with mixed seafood in our traditional napolitana sauce garnished with fresh parsley ($26.00)

This for me tasted really good; the seafood was cooked to perfection and flavours were on point. But like other marinara dishes that I’ve had, I feel like they all taste the same.

A traditional Sicilian style pasta cooked with fresh cream, sprinkled with roasted pistachio nuts, and topped with pecorino cheese ($25.00)

I was intrigued by this one because never have I ever had a pasta-pistachio combination before. I love pistachios, and I know they have a very distinct taste to them as well. This pasta tasted so great! The pistachios really enhanced the flavour of the dish and was finished off nicely with pecorino on top. It was something that I’ve never tasted before, and I couldn’t even compare it to any other dish in terms of flavour.

In my opinion, the pizzas that we ordered were nothing really special that would make me want to go all the way back here for more. Don’t get me wrong, the pizzas were good, but it’s more like there are other pizza places that are nearer to where I live that are just as good.

Pastabella - PIZZA: ITALIANA
Napolitana & mozzarella cheese base with eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, artichokes, olives, and garlic ($23.00)

Signature Pastabella sauce, grilled chicken, mushrooms, and olives ($20.00)

Banana and custard pizza, drizzled with a delicious caramel sauce and lightly sprinkled with icing sugar ($14.00)

After a filling feast, we just had to have dessert, and we definitely made the right choice. Wood fired dessert pizza with a custard-base sauce, fresh bananas, and caramel sauce – what a combination! Though I love the taste of fresh bananas, I probably would’ve loved them to be fired in the pizza oven for a few minutes to caramelise. I bet that would be AMAZING.

Banana, passionfruit and custard pizza, sprinkled with icing sugar ($15.00)

I know, you’re probably thinking that this is exactly the same as above but with passionfruit instead of a caramel sauce. Well you are totally right! But this was supposed to be a dessert pizza with peaches and passionfruit instead of banana. To my dismay, they had run out of peaches that night, and they asked if banana was okay. Well, I couldn’t do anything about it, so I just agreed to it. Not disappointed on the taste though because it was just as good as the last time I had their pizza alla banana dessert!

I definitely recommend this place if you want to spend a quiet date night with friends or even your special someone. There’s just something about ambience that makes you feel right at home, and eating great traditional pasta and pizza with good company that makes Pastabella a great dining place.

So based on all that, I’d say that this place is a definite 9.5 for food (just a slight disappointment that they didn’t have peaches for the passione di frutti dessert pizza we ordered), ambience probably 8, and service an easy 10. Value? I’d probably give it an 8.5? The portions were decent for the price in my opinion!

89 Glebe Point Road,
Glebe, NSW
Australia, 2037

– Ally xx

Double Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

Double Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

Hello Everyone! Before I dive into today’s recipe, I just want to let you know that I may not be posting up a recipe next week Tuesday as I will be away from Saturday to Tuesday evening (I say ‘may’ only because depending if I can write up a post in advanced or even write one the night I get back, but may be to tired for that). This also means that Jialing and I won’t be having our fortnightly Muffin Making Monday because well, Monday I will be on a road trip back to base camp. I will be heading to the Red Centre of Australia exploring the rugged outback beauty and taking in all the richness in Aboriginal culture. For a person who loves adventure but hates camping, it’s going to be an experience, and I don’t know whether I am looking forward to or will regret looking forward to a weekend of 38-42 degree celsius weather over at Alice Springs/Uluru…

Double Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

Anyway, you’ll probably hear more of that on next week’s post I presume, so let’s get back to the point of tonight’s post. So as you know from my previous post, Jialing’s actual birthday was on Tuesday. On Monday she came over and baked herself some birthday cupcakes, gluten free chocolate cupcakes I believe. Anyway, as usual, I didn’t want to just sit around and watch her bake, so I decided to bake too! Just something simple to kill time and something that I could easily take to work because I wasn’t keen on having them all to myself – and so I decided on baking some cookies. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to make at first, until I stumbled upon Martha Stewart’s recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies. It was so convenient because I practically had every ingredient in my pantry, except of course the chocolate and I was a little short on cocoa powder as well. When I got to the chocolate/lollies section at Coles, I was unsure of what chocolate to get for the cookies. The original recipe uses milk chocolate, but I personally don’t really like milk chocolate – I like them dark… Just like my men (just kidding)! If you know me, I never fail to finish a sentence, be it my own or a friend’s, like that! Just as how I finish a sentence breaking out into a song if the first part resembles lyrics to a song I know. Anyway, got side tracked there, as I was browsing through the dark chocolates, I came across Lindt’s Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate. I knew instantly that these bad babies are going into my cookies. And I’m glad I got them! They did not overpower the double chocolate flavour of the cookies, but instead they gave just a subtle hit of saltiness and oozy gooey caramel. Soft and moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside. I am actually salivating now just typing that!

Double Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies Ingredients



  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 200g Lindt Sea Salt Caramel dark chocolate (or any other kind of chocolate), 100g coarsely chopped, 100g cut into chunks
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)*

*The original recipe adds 1/2 tsp of salt, but because I am using a chocolate that already has sea salt in it, I lessened the amount of salt a little bit – or I guess depending you can ignore the salt completely. My cookies did not turn out to be very salty in the end anyway.


  1. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside.
  3. Melt coarsely chopped chocolate together with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. Stir to combine the mixture.
  4. In a large bowl, add the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and the chocolate mixture. Using a handheld electric mixer, mix on medium speed until well combined combined. Then reduce the speed to low and gradually mix in the flour mixture. Once combined, fold in chocolate chunks using a spatula.
  5. Scoop the batter onto a baking tray lined with baking paper (as Martha’s recipe goes, I used an ice cream scooper to measure out my cookie batter). Leave about a 2-cm gap between the cookies as they will flatten out while baking in the oven.
  6. Bake until cookies are flat and the surfaces begin to crack (about 15 minutes). Once done, remove from the oven, lift the baking paper from the tray and transfer the cookies to a wire rack. When you remove the cookies from the oven, you will notice that they are a bit soft – this is normal as they will start to firm up when they cool down. So be careful to not assume they are underdone and risk over-baking them.
  7. Let them cool for about 5-10 minutes. Cookies can then be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Double Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

Double Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Cookies

I mean, just look at that caramel goodness trying to peak through the cracks! As I mentioned above, I brought these bad boys into work the next day and they were a crowd pleaser! My boss Max (who by the way, just got back from Bali that day and said he’d have half because he’s on a “diet”), had a whole cookie to himself and was practically having foodgasms. I don’t blame him, they were THAT good. Everyone in the office loved it, but not enough for a second helping, or maybe because they were just so sinful, they couldn’t bring themselves to have another – except for my community manager James. He was quick to ask for another cookie before he stepped into a meeting, and before I left for the day.

If you want to attempt making these cookies – I HIGHLY recommend the sea salt caramel by Lindt! Even if it’s just eating them on their own. Too good!


– Ally xx

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep this short and to the point today, to compensate for a rather long post yesterday. Also only because I don’t have an amazing back story to tell! I mean, it’s just Salted Caramel Sauce really. Don’t forget to check out the original recipe at American Heritage Cooking where dubbed the BEST Salted Caramel Sauce.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients



  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup double cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt rocks


  1. In a small saucepan, melt the sugar over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Once all the sugar has melted, watch your caramel carefully, swirling the pan occasionally.
  2. As soon as the sugar turns amber in colour add the butter and whisk vigorously until all the butter has melted.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream while whisking vigorously until the cream is incorporated well, and then whisk in the sea salt rocks.

Now, the salted caramel in this recipe was used for Lydia’s birthday cake (which I did a post on yesterday). If you are making this sauce to keep for other recipes, set the sauce aside to cool for 15 minutes prior to pouring it into a glass jar, that has been sterilised, to cool completely. You can then refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 weeks, but remember to warm it up before using.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce


– Ally xx

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Hello Everyone and welcome back to reading another blog post! So this recipe was actually made (and consumed) yesterday, but I would like to take this opportunity to tell you all what the cake was for. Basically last week when Jialing and I were having our lava cake bake off session, Lydia asked if I was free next week (which was yesterday), to make a chocolate cake for her birthday (which is today, Sunday). So first off, Happy 21st Birthday once again to my housemate and friend, Lydia! So on Thursday, I was going through chocolate cake recipes to make, and I came across this one on Taste. Chocolate and Salted Caramel – the ultimate flavour sensation! Jialing, and most specifically the birthday girl, were happy with this selection. So Saturday morning, Lydia and I met up with Jialing at Kingsford, had a gigantic lunch, and then headed over to Maroubra Junction to do our grocery shoppings, and also of course cake ingredient shopping. While shopping – may I just point out, we saw a tub of ready made salted caramel. We debated over whether we should just buy one, and I made the call to just make our own caramel – I mean why not? We were already making the cake from scratch!

Got home and immediately started on the cake because we knew it was going to take a while. Of course, Lydia was on dry ingredient duty, Jialing took over the wet, while I helped Lydia with the dry. Popped the mixture in the oven, and then it was onto the salted caramel. Seriously, so many problems with this, but nonetheless, it tasted #amazeballs. Also, while I was working on this, Jialing and Lydia started to prep the frosting for the cake. Also, somewhere in-between all that, Vidhya, our acting supervisor (not really) sat around and watched the chaos unfold in the kitchen – okay she did help a little bit as well before going back to sleep again (after having just woken up from her slumber). It was then more or less time to take the cakes out of the oven, left to cool, and then assemble! We assembled the first two layers and then, disaster struck. Our top layer wasn’t cooked all the way through so we had to pop it back into the oven. Once we got it out of the oven, we still had to wait for it to cool down. While that was happening, we left everything to where it was and headed out to get a take out dinner. We were so engrossed in our cake making session that we totally forgot about dinner! So went to the Indian place nearby and got dinner for 6 – by then Abdullah, Marissa, and Vidhya (when she woke up) joined us.

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

We then assembled the cake. Once that was done and over with, we had Vidhya distract Lydia so that we could put candles on her cake (which by the way she was not expecting). It was hilarious because whatever Vidhya needed doing was basically a one-man job turned two/three person job just to keep Lydia distracted and away from the dining room for a bit. When she finally walked back into the dining room, she was SO happy and even had a little jump/skip when she saw the candles on her cake. Priceless moment. We then took photos, sang happy birthday, had more housemates join us, ate cake, drank wine, and had a good time. So yes, if you took the time to read all that, thank you! And if you are just here for the recipe, fear not, it begins here…

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake Ingredients

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake Ingredients



For the cake

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 & 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 395g can caramel*
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp if using concentrated extract)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp sea salt rocks
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Sea salt rocks, to decorate (optional)

For the chocolate frosting

  • 400g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cocoa powder, sifted

*If you read all of the above before scrolling down to the recipe, I actually made my own salted caramel which I will be uploading the recipe to tomorrow (hopefully), so stay tuned for that!


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease three 9″ round disposable aluminium tins (we didn’t have cake pans to work with so we bought these instead, and since they came in a pack of three, we made a three-layer cake instead).
  2. Sift flours, sugar, cocoa, baking of soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Add in the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and 1 cup cold water. Combine using a spatula. Then, using and electrical mixer, beat the mixture over medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand in pans for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, gather ingredients for your salted caramel while waiting for your cakes to cook (if making from scratch).
  5. Chocolate Frosting: Whisk the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl until the cocoa powder has dissolved. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the melted chocolate, then cocoa mixture until combined.
  6. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes. Then, transfer the base of 1 cake to a plate. Spread with 1/3 of the caramel. Top with another cake layer and spread with 1/2 of the remaining caramel. Repeat layering with 1 cake layer and remaining caramel mixture. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top and sides of cake with chocolate frosting. Serve!

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Layered Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

You can’t really see the layers of caramel in-between because while we were assembling we realised that the top layer wasn’t cooked all the way through. So while waiting for that to bake away in the oven, on top of getting take out and eating dinner, the caramel that was on the other layers of cake either seeped into the cake or dripped over the sides. Sad times, but still oh so decadent in flavour!

Happy Birthday Lydia

Once again, Happy Birthday Lydia! ❤


– Ally xx