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

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop

Hello Everyone! Finally we are back on track with Review Sundays! It’s been a while hasn’t it? Anyway today’s review will be on a popular Italian Restaurant on the little streets of Liliw, well known as the shoe and flipflop capital of the province and the Southern Luzon area. The first time I visited Liliw was back in 2010 if I am not mistaken. My cousin introduced this place to me while my family and I were visiting his place in Lucena. I don’t remember how many pairs of shoes I bought for myself, but I’m guessing that we had at least 3 or 4 pairs of shoes/flipflops each between the 4 of us for under ₱1,500 (approx. AUD$44)! After shoe shopping, we’d head on over to Arabela for lunch. This has since become a must do every time we come down to Lucena to visit my cousin and my family; in 2010, 2012, and our recent March 2015 trip. Since our last visit in 2012, Arabela changed the look and colours of their interior from, if I’m not mistaken, pastel green to orange. They still kept their low ceiling which is what I love about this place – it makes me feel tall! People who are just a tad bit taller than me would have to bend over while walking around the restaurant, and be cautious when standing up from their table if they have forgotten how low the ceiling is.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
Just for a reference, my sister who is standing up straight is about 5’2″

But before I begin, here’s a little history on Arabela:

Bobby and Antonette Camello, husband and wife, owners of Arabela, named after their two daughters: Ara & Bela, started in 2002 with literally two tables. Back then, the two tables were not intended to be used by customers, but instead used for selling pasta dishes & pastries to buyers within the neighbourhood. The couple were then inspired to set up a formal food business as they gained an increasing number of customers that keep on coming back. The business, transformed into a coffee shop/restaurant, opened in October 23, 2003 with 5 tables, a seating capacity of 15 persons, and a capital of ₱100,000. From there it grew beyond the owner’s expectations, and today Arabella can accommodate up to 40 persons with an array of dishes to choose from – steaks, pizza, pasta, pastries, coffee, blended drinks, and more. Arabela has earned its publicity through word of mouth and personal blogs on the internet which were all unsolicited. To date, they have been able to maintain their character and uniqueness – the ambience and of course the good food.


An array of fresh fruit shakes, smoothies, and drinks to choose from on their menu; I went for the ripe mango fresh fruit shake and it was very refreshing even though it was a rainy day.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - FRESH SALAD: CEASAR SALAD
Romaine leaves with bacon (₱200.00)

This was also a starter dish that we shared amongst ourselves alongside the four cheese pizza. A good dish, but again nothing too special – nothing quite stood out to me to really praise the dish for it great flavour.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PIZZA: FOUR CHEESE XL
Mozarella, red cheddar, romano & parmesan (₱325.00)

A great dish to kick off our feast at Arabela, but in my opinion there wasn’t anything special about the taste, I mean it’s just a four-cheese pizza.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - PASTA (PASTA IN WHITE SAUCE): FETTUCCINE WITH HAM & MUSHROOM

This was a dish that my cousin ordered, and when it came to her, she showed the plate to me and gave me a sad look – I understood her pain. It was a massive deep dish, that made the pasta look tiny and underwhelming. I’m not sure if it filled her up, but it certainly wouldn’t have filled me up! Even though I didn’t taste this dish, it looked quite plain.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): FISH IN WHITE WINE
Dory fish fillet cooked in white wine sauce serve with pasta (₱220.00)

From the menu, my mom wanted a pasta dish, and knowing her preferences, I ordered this for her. She prefers olive oil-based dishes as well as fish – so this was the perfect pick for her. At first glance, it almost looks like they overdid the garlic just a bit too much; garlic slices tossed through the pasta and minced garlic on top of the fish? Yeap, that’s quite a bit! Other than that, the fish was cooked well, still moist on the inside, but again nothing quite special.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (OLIVE OIL): VONGOLE
Clam in olive oil with garlic (₱230.00)

This was the dish thAT I had, and at first I didn’t want to order this dish because I can make a good vongole myself; but nothing else in the menu stood out to me. Vongole for roughly AUS$6.00? That’s value for money there as the dish had a generous amount of baby clams! Taste was good, but again nothing too special for me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (TOMATO BASED): SHRIMP POMODORO
Pieces of shrimp with pomodoro sauce (₱230.00)

This dish I only got to taste a bit of, and I can’t remember what it tasted like so I asked my sister. She said that it was a bit salty for her liking (she finds everything she eats salty anyway so it’s hard to trust what she says), and that she didn’t like the biscotti because it was too thick for her liking (I liked it).

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (CREAM BASED): SIRLOIN FETTUCCINE
Strips of sirloin in fettuccine sauce (₱210.00)

I ordered this dish for my other sister because I’ve never heard of sirloin fettuccine before. I imagined a nice char-grilled sirloin steak, striped and tossed through a classic fettuccine in creamy white sauce – but no, it looked like boiled(?) strips of sirloin garnished on top of an ordinary plate of fettuccine.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK PORK 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱200.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (BABY BACK RIBS): BABY BACK BEEF 2PCS
Served with mixed vegetables and mashed potato or rice (₱230.00)

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - HOUSE SPECIALS (ANGUS BEEF): MESS OF SIRLOIN
Served with rice and mixed vegetables (₱200.00)

The three dishes that you just saw above I cannot comment on the taste just because my uncle and my cousins had these dishes. I saw the disappointment in my cousin’s face when his food arrived to the table – two tiny pieces of ribs for a person who could probably eat a whole rack of ribs for a meal. He had to order another rib dish to feel satisfied enough. But just by looking at the three dishes above, they don’t really look that appetising to me.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: CHOCO LAVA

Probably my favourite out of the two desserts we shared – the cake was definitely molten and very rich in chocolate goodness.

Arabela, Camello's Bakehaus & Coffee Shop - DESSERTS: RED VELVET

I am a huge fan of red velvet; I even made this cake for my birthday last year and it’s not that I’m being cocky or anything, but mine was definitely better. This cake was a bit dry and crumbly for my liking and the taste was average. The thing that was appealing about this was the design on the plate that surrounded the cake, or as my mom referred to it “the placemat.”

Most of the pasta (and even meat dishes) portion sizes were really small; maybe I’m just used to seeing bigger portions of food having lived and dined in and about Sydney for the past 4 years. Then I look at the price and I thought, yes, it makes sense now why the portions are relatively small – think approximately $3.00-$6.00 Australian dollars on average per meal from this restaurant.

You may have also realised that I’ve said for many of the dishes above that they weren’t anything special in terms of overall flavour; I don’t want this post to appear biased and end up being a comparison between Arabela’s menu to others that I’ve had in Sydney because in my eyes, Arabela cannot compare. So I’ve asked my sisters and my mom to give a fair and honest rating for the food, and they gave an average score of 4.6 out of 10. My mom said: “[the food is] very simple, nothing special, but for local Filipino’s, it’s probably something special for them because Arabela is the only of its kind within the area.” Which is very true because from what my cousin has said, a lot of the foreigners come to dine at Arabela, and every time we’ve been, we’ve had to queue up for a table. Ambience though is a sure 8/9 out of 10; like I mentioned above I find the low-ceiling concept quite a unique dining experience. Service: 8/9 out of 10 as well. Value for money is arguable in terms that for us it is affordable, but for an average Filipino on an average/below average income, this place is probably too fancy for them.

Arabela, Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop
503 Rizal Street
Liliw, Laguna
Philippines, 4004

– Ally xx

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - ENTRÉE: King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado, Jelly, Ikura, Chives

Devon Café (Devon by Night)

Hello Everyone! And a very Happy New Year to all! I trust everyone enjoyed celebrating in one way or another. I spent the whole day sitting out in the sun with friends as we waited for midnight to strike. Watching the fireworks display by the Harbour Bridge was an amazing experience, and also such a tiring day of waiting really.

Anyway, hopefully I can keep this going as long as I have visited enough places and have the time to write up my dining experience. I feel like it’s been a while since I did a review – well that’s because it has been a while indeed! So, starting this New Years, I will be uploading a review every Sunday on top of 2 recipes a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So I’ve been to Devon Café a total of 3 times now this year; twice for brunch and once for their dinner service. The both times that I went for brunch I ordered the same dish, and so did the one other person I went with, so I thought doing a review just on the one dish from their brunch menu was a bit meh. I had the Eggs Blini by the way which you can probably already tell because I had it twice (within two weeks) was so good and also apparently was the most Instagrammed dish from their menu at the time.

Anyway, the last time I visited Devon Café was actually in August of this year. Yes, that means that the food that you see in this review may not even be on their menu anymore as I am aware that menus here in Australia tend to change depending on the season. Therefore, the food that you see here are from their winter menu, and I have not been back to know whether their menu is different for the now summer season.

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - ENTRÉE: Prawn and Scallop Wontons
ENTRÉE: Prawn and Scallop Wontons
Scallop and Prawn Ceviche, Crispy Wontons, Green Mango, Peanuts, Nahm Jim ($18.00)

When the waiter first came to our table with these, I actually thought he got our order mixed up. In my head I was like “these aren’t wontons are they?” I was actually hesitant to have him place the dish on our table and I think he could tell that I was confused. I asked “are these the wontons?” He assured me that they were, AND then I saw him carrying the other plate that had the wonton wrappers. Yes I know, not quite how I’ve known wontons to be served, but nonetheless these tasted amazing! I really loved the freshness of the prawn and scallop ceviche paired with the kick of spice from the nahm jim sauce. Not to mention the crispy wontons that added that extra crunch to the dish!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - ENTRÉE: King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado, Jelly, Ikura, Chives
ENTRÉE: King Salmon Sashimi, Avocado, Jelly, Ikura, Chives ($15.00)

Enticingly fresh salmon. What more can I say? This dish was spot on for me!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - MAIN: Chinese Egg Custard, Shiitake, Fungus, Yellow Needle Flower, Chinese Fried Bread and Perigord Black Truffle
MAIN: Chinese Egg Custard, Shiitake, Fungus, Yellow Needle Flower, Chinese Fried Bread and Perigord Black Truffle ($29.00)

This dish gave me some mixed feelings – well, now that I think of it, the flavour didn’t quite sit well with me even though I think my other friends enjoyed it. I found the mushroom taste to be a bit too overpowering for me, which was probably the main reason why I didn’t not enjoy this dish. Also, the Chinese Fried Bread was not at all crispy, at least not as crispy as the ones I’d get back home. Their bread also didn’t look that fresh.

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - MAIN: Aunty Yulia's Short Ribs
MAIN: Aunty Yulia’s Short Ribs
Slow Cooked in Indonesian Sweet Soy with Spicy Tomato and Basil Relish ($28.00)

This was probably the highlight of all dishes. The short ribs were cooked to perfection; falling off the bone tender and packed with that delicious kecap manis flavour. The relish was a nice refreshing touch to the palette and that him tot spice really gave it that kick it needed. I highly recommend this dish if it’s still on their menu!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - DESSERT: Matcha Fondant (Green Tea Molten Lava Cake)
DESSERT: Matcha Fondant (Green Tea Molten Lava Cake)
with Vanilla-bean Ice Cream, Honey Dew Balls and Pistachio Crumb ($13.00)

This dessert I believe is actually one of the main reasons why I wanted to go to Devon by Night. I saw it all over Instagram and I said to myself that I NEEDED to go here just to be able to get my hands on this dessert. The last time I had a green tea molten lava cake was 2 or 3 years ago at Tokkuri. That I loved, but I think now THIS I love more! The perfect consistency and paired with other flavours and textures that really enhanced the dish. The lava was thick and rich – just absolute yum! A definite must try!

Devon Café (Devon by Night) - DESSERT: Fried Ice Cream Bao with Dark Chocolate Sauce
DESSERT: Fried Ice Cream Bao with Dark Chocolate Sauce ($7.00)

This was the day that I broke my fried ice cream virginity as well – and I am glad that I lost it to Devon’s Fried Ice Cream Bao! Such a clever and innovative way of fusion cooking; serving fried ice cream in a bao. The only let down with this was that they served it with a dark chocolate sauce – don’t get me wrong, the sauce was perfection, but I was expecting a kaya (coconut jam) sauce instead, as from what I’ve seen all over Instagram. I seriously believe that it would’ve tasted a hundred times better! I’m probably being biased here since I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but KAYA?! My fellow kaya-loving friends/followers will be able to imagine magic happening in their mouth just thinking about this flavour combination.

Devon Café is quite a popular breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner spot to both the locals and the tourists. So if and when you get the chance to Sydney, or are currently residing in Sydney, this should be in your places to eat in Sydney list. A MUST! They’ve recently opened a new branch in Waterloo on Danks St. which I was able to visit with two other friends for a nice brunch just this week actually. Unless their menu has changed at the original Devon Café, their menu is quite different so I will be doing a review on them too! Soon I hope!

Devon Café
76 Devonshire Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2043

– Ally xx