Bloggers' Event @ Okra Restaurant @ Thursday, April 27, 2017

Charlie & Co. dined as guests of Your Social Chef and Okra.
Thursday 20th April



Local gems are here are there, though like a diamond they may be hard to find among all the rhinestones of food porn which look spectacular but taste just like sugar, carbs laden full of artificial colours. From a local gem to hatted restaurant (chef’s hat in the 2016 Gault Millau guide), Okra "blends Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian dishes into an irresistible Southeast Asian fusion menu" and has been featured in The Age Good Food Guide every year since opening 16 years ago in 2001, and it's not hard to see why.

Hosted by the man behind Okra, Lawrence and Mark of Your Social Chef we were introduced to a delicious array of delights that Okra has to offer.


While Okra looks small it's actually much larger than it appears with seats that go right to the back of the long house shaped restaurant, and there's more seats and a function room upstairs.



The function room upstairs.

Casava crackers & sambal chilli sauce 

We started of with casava crackers, similar concept to prawn crackers these were the bomb with sambal! Fiery hot, I may have died a little (though to me toothpaste is hot). They weren't oily which was nice. 



Khanom jeep - steamed chicken dumplings with yoghurt, soy and aioli 


With a silky dumpling skin sitting in a sweet and tangy soup, the creamy topping balancing out the flavours. Small but mighty in flavour the chicken dumplings were a hit! Yes so small, but so awesome!


Sate sapi dan ayam - grilled satay beef and chicken skewers 


Next up were satay skewers, soft tender meat well marinated these were fragrant and paired with a peanut satay. While I can count the number of times I've had satay on one hand, I have to say these are the best ones we've had! They were moist and flavorsome. 
Tangy oyster baked with a tangy salsa 

This dish was on fire! Oven baked (most definitely cooked) oysters, soft little morsels, seasoned with ginger and garlic. Sitting in a soup (much like XLBs) that was both sweet and tangy! As they were cooked they weren't slimy at all, creamy and tangy with lemon they melted on your tongue. 




Yum nua yang - thai eye fillet beef salad


If you don't think a salad can be as good as any protein based main you haven't tried this salad, well dressed and marinated we couldn't help but eat most of this salad! With lime, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, all those thai dressing flavours.

Loh bak - beancurd rolls with five-spice pork

Crispy tofu-ish skinned pork rolls, were indeed crispy and a textural delight! The fried tofu soaked up the sauce and the rolls were served with cucumber and tomato to cut down the meatiness.



Tumis balachan with okra – chilli shrimp paste, fried shallots 


This is Okra's namesake and signature dish, though I can't say I'm an okra fan, as it is quite seedy an slimy! Perhaps if you grew up eating it you'd like it though. 




Pla sam rod - crispy whole snapper with tamarind, chilli, onion and garlic 

While everything was amazing, this one this was the real highlight (of the mains). Fresh snapper with a thai marinade, that contrast of sweet, tangy tamarind with aromatic garlic & onion, though there's so much more to it than just the ingredients listed.

Served with coconut rice it was the bomb! This dish alone sees us returning! Oh and on size, this dish serves at least two. Surprisingly you could order this takeaway too, which we shall do.



Ayam bakar - indonesian style grilled chicken 


Marinated grilled chicken, a pretty healthy choice that doesn't compromise on taste, fresh served with a salad. The only thing it could have used was a squeeze of lime. But other than that it was tender and moist, no chewy bits nor was it dry (like when I make it). One of the best grilled chickens I've had, a classic.


Lamb curry special with homemade roti chanai

In comparison to everything else we had the lamb curry paled, though normally holds its own light, being a classic winter dish. Mopped up with fresh, light and beautiful roti chanai. The flavours hit the right notes, the balance of creamy, spicy without being hot. I loved the eggplant which soaked up all the flavours.


We're on our way to over indulging, though the secret is just to eat a little of everything (except the salad, I totally devoured that), or run. Room for dessert? Always!
Dessert Platter (Perfect Sampling for 3-4 People) 
Sago pudding tapioca topped with gulaa melaka and coconut cream (circle)
Sticky black rice with palm sugar syrup (square)
Durian, green tea, jackfruit and vanilla ice cream

What do you pick when you can't decide? A bit of everything to share! A fusion of a platter with fruits, ice cream and two classics.

Served warm the sticky rice and sago pudding covered in a coconuty caramel custard was creamy and with just the right sweetness, the contrast of textures and temperatures was a delight to the taste buds.

The real highlight was the durian ice cream, made in house unfortunately you can't buy this by the pint *devastated, hook me up if you know a durian dealer* using Musang King Durian this is the real deal. But if durian isn't for you there's a mid-strength green tea, and the classic vanilla.



A burst of flavour and delights summons up our evening at Okra tonight. Small bites with big flavour, everything from entrees to dessert was superb! While prices reflect the area and quality it is well worth the price.

Our recommendations? The oysters, satay skewers, and fish if we had to pick our top three. But lets add the salad and roti to the must try list as sides.

Located opposite the Rivoli Movies near Camberwell Junction, Okra's easy to get to with ample parking. On Sundays Okra offers a Malaysian Hawker style feast, with mains from $13 with a large variety to choose from, almost all the dishes are under $20 too. We can't wait to return soon!

Okra Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


0 comments | Leave a comment


Where do you see yourself in five years? Going to the market in the morning, dropping off the stuff in the kitchen, popping a roast in the oven, going to church and back for lunch with the family, if we're not doing a bring-a-plate to share lunch at church that week. But does a roast really take that long? Aren't you meant to not use the oven without keeping a close eye? 



All questions for the future. For now we've offered to bring cake for dessert. Something easy that you can make the night before, while catching up on the blog. And so we came across Matt Preston's Flourless Nutella Cake! With more than 9.5k reviews and only two ingredients, it's something I've been meaning to try for a while, since I've had the same jar of Nutella for two years XD I might be a sugar addict but I never eat from the jar or lick the spoon.

All you need is 4 eggs, Nutella and an oven! Best to make it before bed so it can chill in the fridge overnight, or at least 4 hours before serving. We went for overnight, as I can't leave it alone, and don't trust my house mates to either (I know who ate my highly medicated tom yum soup guys!)  



Whip up the eggs, yes the whole egg (minus the shell) even the yolks. 
Give it 12 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.




Microwave the Nutella, 10 seconds at a time, stir till melt. It's important that you don't prep the Nutella till the eggs are ready. Why? Because the Nutella will start to firm up again. Also it will look like it has seized - that is normal.



In a second bowl combine Nutella and 1/3 (a third) of the eggs. You don't have to be gentle with the first batch, but with the second and third fold it into the mixture with a dessert spoon.




Gently pour into a 20cm springform tin lined with baking paper. 
Place that on a tray. Bake for 20 minutes at 160 degrees.




Remove from oven. Let it cool on the bench, then moved it into the fridge overnight.




Here's what it looks like chilled the next day.




While you can serve it as is, half the fun is decorating the cake!



As it was summer and strawberries were in season we decorated the cake with strawberries and cream. I'd expected it to be rich, hence the fruit and cream to cut through what I thought would be a dense and rich cake - but I couldn't be more wrong.



Washed, hulled and halved strawberries provided a serving guide, well cutting guide. Do you want one strawberry or two? Serves 8-16 people, or less, but at least 6 I'd say.

The strawberries also worked as a boarder for the cream, whipped till soft peaks formed with two dessert spoons of sifted icing sugar (sifting optional, just make sure there are no lumps).



A two strawberry slice, the first time I made it I accidentally took a nap so the eggs deflated and were twice whipped. As a result the cake didn't rise as high, but tastes the same fudgy but not rich, just like a chocolate tart minus the crust! Therefore the name of the recipe "Matt Preston's Flourless [2 Ingrdients]-ish Nutella {Pie} Cake"! Two ingredients before it's decorated, here you see: Eggs, Nutella, powdered/icing sugar, strawberries and cream. 




Quick (if you don't chill it), easy and cheap it's a crowd pleaser! 

Flourless it's also gluten free for your celiac/glutard (2) friends! Though I wouldn't have any glutard friends. XD No I'm not making this dairy free, don't ask things like that. I'm American, the basis of our cooking is sugar and butter, replace sugar for cream in savory foods.


Here's the recipe, copy and paste from Cookaroo, with a few edits. 

Matt Preston's Flourless [2 Ingrdients]-ish Nutella {Pie} Cake
Serves 6+

4 Eggs (use large eggs, or 4 small eggs + 1 more egg white)
250g Chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella is the most popular here)

Utensils
- Two large bowls
- Microwave jug
- Springform pan + oven tray
- Electric whisk/beaters

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade, fan forced setting. Line a 20cm springform tin with baking/grease-proof paper. If it doesn't stick to the tin, use the stick of butter as a glue stick.
  2. In a large bowl break all four eggs and whisk with a hand-mixer. You want the eggs to become completely pale and frothy and quadruple in size which will take about 10 - 15 minutes of constant whisking. You can add vanilla extract if you like.
  3. Meanwhile in a microwave jug, microwave 250 grams of chocolate hazelnut spread (half my 500g jar), 10 seconds at a time. - Do not do this till the eggs are ready. Why? Find the picture on this note above.
  4. Add a third of the frothy eggs into the Nutella and stir until completely incorporated.
  5. Fold in the rest of the eggs very carefully so that you don't completely loose the air. Use a dessert spoon, fold, fold fold.
  6. Gently pour it into your springform tin, placed on a tray (otherwise have fun taking it out later), reduce heat to 160 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove and cool completely. Refrigerator for at least four hours before serving.
To Decorate 
- Fresh Cream
- Strawberries/Raspberries
- Powdered/Icing Sugar



Questions & Answers

How sweet is it? Not anywhere as sweet as I thought! My asian friend approves.

What's the texture like? Bouncy like thick custardy jello/firm. Pudding?? Pie filling!

Do you need the eggs to be room temperature? No, it doesn't make a difference.

Do I really need to serve it chilled? No, but it won't be the same. Also you can't have the cream on top, because the heat will melt it into a puddle.

How much strawberries and cream did you use? Less than a punnet for strawberries. Cream? Not sure, I whipped it all up and mixed the remaining strawberries and cream that weren't used for the cake, to be served with ice cream.



Let me know what your thoughts are if you do make this cake! Have you experimented with other cakes that use only a handful of ingredients? Let us know in the comments below. 

Join us next time for our three ingredient cheesecake!


0 comments | Leave a comment

6 Restaurants & 4 Cakes @ Saturday, March 18, 2017



Monday 20th March


A day working from home, as we try to aim for Mondays means lunch on Main Street! $15 Lunch at Mother Dough. We had the mussels & cherry tomato linguine. Seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic. The mussels were fresh and juicy, average sizes, while the pasta was a bit chewier than I prefer, but fine apart from being too salty for me.  



Matt Preston's Nutella Pie-ish Cake

  • Chocolate but not very sweet
  • Not overpowering sweet - asian friend. Not anywhere as sweet as I thought! 
  • Fresh strawberries brings it to life, as all 3 components compliment each other
  • Bouncy texture like thick custardy jello/firm. Oh yes it reminds me of pie!
Experimenting in the kitchen we made a three ingredient cake! Well two, but we like to add vanilla, even though it seemed to make no difference in this recipe... To share a recipe my rule is that it has to be just right, and made at least twice. This one's ready. 


Tuesday



It's $16 pizza night at Sugo! Delicious and reasonably priced we can't wait to return!


Over to the Astor we saw a movie set during the war, tis alright and depressing, no dress or hair porn though. No where as uplifting and amazing as 'Hidden Figures' the last movie we saw. As depressing as the choc top was disappointing, with the stale cone.

Wednesday

A revisit to Huxtaburger Hawthorn, it's completely different from last time where service wasn't great and it was ran by asians. Think of the city kfcs that only hire international asians.



Britney $14

Grilled chicken, avocado, aioli, cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Delicious as always though Betty's is on par, perhaps better than Hux?
Beauty & The Beast - Girl's Night Out Event

Checking out the showbags. Sadly no program/postcard/flyer or any relevant merch, but there's food (stuff you can buy at Safeway) and some sachets of beauty samples and eyeshadow. Kinda disappointing after the amazing one at the last event we attended. Granted it was years ago (we saw the Devil Wears Prahran) - oh I just realized we saw that back home. I suppose it's more guy friendly? :P We were hoping for cookies/macarons and little edible treats.

The movie was great! Not as stunning as the french one, but magical in its own way!  We loved the dinner song and Gaston in particular, his best man/servant. LeFou is the original Elder Cunningham and Olaf the Snowman! The beast looks more like a goat/Krampus than lion... 

1597 was when shakesphere published romeo & juliet, though there's a 1750s roccoco style castle. Set during the Georgian era but after Victoria with Shakespeare (these two do boarder each other). At the castle time froze but the village people, some of them were related to the cursed servants? Why did the enchantress live as an outcast in the village?

It was set in France, they moved to the country because of the plague in Paris, though back Belle's family appear to have been poor. That or attics are as expensive as they are today in the city. 

The ball at the start was stunning! With all the powdered white wigs, so when the curse broke they were white but for the end party they wore black wigs??

Overall it was great and the beast gets a song too! They bonded over their love of books, being mother-less and Belle being the only girl in the village who could read, also her desire to travel. Highly recommend! We loved H has Belle, who's just as bright and brave!

Quotes
She's the prettiest girl in town, that makes her the best! XD
Screw your courage to the sticking-place - Gaston/Lady mb

Plot Summary

Thursday

The ABCs of time management. Gosh I wished we did this stuff at school! Sure I can plan, but then I get overwhelmed or one thing runs late making everything else late. Eg. Someone got hit by the train, even though I was to arrive at the theatre 30mins early but didn't make it till intermission. Trains were frozen, boom gates down and cars were at a stand still. No one was going anywhere tonight on this side of the city.



Me - I have a cape!
Him - Don't you already have one?
Me - Not one that's a blazer hybird. And it was $50 on sale.

One of the last ones I tracked when I saw the post, posted 20mins ago. It was meant to be as there was only one in my size in the city! Don't you love it when that happens?

Tip - If you see something you like go try it on and be certain of your size. Then add it tp your bookmarks tab, use java to email you when the page/price is edited. Using this I rarely ever pay full price. 



"...when they are pulling your teeth out it sounds like chicken bones snapping and you can hear the crackle of the tooth giving way and splintering. They grab your head and they really pull hard. It's all manual and very physical. A horrifying experience to say the least!"

". At one point the nurse was holding my head in place while he went to town with the pliers/cracker thing."

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2014/05/23/the-survival-guide-to-getting-your-wisdom-teeth-removed

I chickened out and moved it to next month...



Instead of the dentist we had dinner at Angliss.


Friday



So close but so far, I'm starting to think it's display only...

Meetings, a stop by goodwill, to the closed bookshelf at the tram, to the house to make a cake (well pie, nutella pie), cleaned then to dinner. We were going to a bar but it was dark, loud and overwhelming so we took a stroll and picked somewhere random. Discussions of which point when it [life] all started to go downhill.



Work in progress, twice in a fortnight, that's about as much cake as I can handle. :P



My first HSP (because they don't make them in kid size servings, like that size at LOTF, but I hate fake meat). This one's $15 from Hellenic Bite, meat (chicken and lamb) on chips with garlic, bbq and chili sauce. It was delicious! We also had a $6 salad which was average and not particularly recommended with Coles on the same block (their potato salad is the best). It was very hot inside the eatery, oddly so.

Saturday





Too many events, too little time!

10.30 for 11am start. Damn I thought it started at 10.30am, as it clashes with my 11am. On the way we discovered a book exchange, in the beauty garden. Ironic location isn't it?  XD No beauty and the beast books though. Fruit and hot dogs for brunch? Something the boys would like, and not the usual cakes it was a bit on the diy side. Over to a makeup demo, 3 looks 15 mins each using 5 or less products. Chatting up a model on her fav off duty pieces, relating to the audience though the limited travel wardrobe. Too mainstream for me.
Lunch at Rice Workshop. Teriyaki chicken ramen $10.50. The broth was rich and creamy. Most of the chicken wasn't chewy. Springy noodles maggi sized though not taste.
Good basic if there's no ramen places in the area.

At Sacca's Fruit World we found $6 trays of strawberries! 8 boxes, so around 75c each. On their way out, still good for jams and smoothies. We sorted, washed, cut and froze them. Got a large pot of the first round ones.



Up to Camberwell from the french fete, for the kids it wasn't my thing. It's your first started food festival with a petting zoo, games, auctions/raffles, food, music and the likes. No snow cones sadly, but there was a pre-wrapped bake sale. I was hoping to get an assorted plate of classic Australian party food but they didn't have that. We Had the jam drop cookies, too soft and retro inspired with the custard yellow. I was after chocolate crackles, real rum balls and honey joys. But they didn't have any of that, unless you're after enough to serve a family of 10.

Back at the house to pack before going out to a concert, we crashed. Turns out I can't do a morning and evening event on the same day... and lesson learnt: always choose music over fashion.

Sunday
6.30 start, leaving at 5.45am we made it! The moon was still in the sky, peaking 28 at 5pm?! Peaks are normally 10am. We volunteered, meet some awesome people and had a lovely view of the school from across the river! Lots of parrots/love birds and pretty little birds. at the end of the line we have magpies and noisy minors, sometimes pigeons


As we were close by, by north taking a fork in the road we visited my favorite cake shop, green refectory. Look for lonely hearts $2, yesterday's cake. Tastes just fine, even better at $2! When does it happen? I'm not sure, normally it's just muffins, but today there were three slices! We bought two pavs and a mars bar cheesecake to share, as we're going home


To the left is St Vincents, so many colourful dresses! Alas the one I like wasn't my size. A fancy one though just $12. We didn't get a picture as it was too crowded. Apparently people steal from goodwill, as the dresses were tied to the rack! Also of interest was this cookbook/picture book! We used to love Huey, sadly that was until we met him.


How was your week?


0 comments | Leave a comment

VAMFF Fashion Week - Myer Runway 2017 @ Thursday, March 16, 2017

Friday 17th March


As part of fashion week Myer held a runway featuring the latest trends and Autumn/Winter '17 collection from the brands they stock. Tickets were $15 and supposedly redeemable, though we never found out how. Though the event was well worth $15 as there were a few activities as well as just a show, also there was a make-up demo voucher redeemable later on from YSL.

Everyone was seated on the front row, though we almost got the perfect spot, weren't fast enough. Also the lady next to me took up half my seat, as she couldn't help it - there's a reason on American flights you can the option to buy two seats for a person!

Pre-show there was coffee, soda and water going around. Out front there's hair and make-up stations, though we didn't find out about this till we got there, so didn't have a chance to check it out. Nor did we have time after (we had an opera show later that night).
Practical? No, it's all for show. It might be winter, but it is hot in here! No tights.



We love cape-y coats! This one's $400+ from Cue. 



Housewife gone wrong.



Metallic pleats from Portmans are very popular at the moment. 




Lovely details! But for winter?



Inspired by the Soviet Union XD




Some of our monochrome favorites.



After the show we made a bee line for ice cream from Pipelot! Because there is always time for ice cream, and we were one of the first few there, the line got crazy very quickly. In the corner you could get your nails done by Guess x I Scream Nails. Such lovely colours, no pictures as we were out of time.


I love showbags! Would I be here if there wasn't one? Nope. I love miniature perfume samples! While it has been a month since I received this bag/oddly orange and so not classic/timeless box it was in, I can say I have redeemed the make-up session with YSL for a DMV photo, which we arrived two minutes after they closed...




Did you attend fashion week? What's your weakness? Showbags or drinks?


0 comments | Leave a comment


Wednesday 16th March

Front row on the runway, we're loving all the shoes! Everything nice feels like plastic to me. Btw how do you clean flurry shoes? Set on the Next Runway was the UK Show (hence the unusual diversity in skin colour), in the great outdoors! It's five degrees warmer than outside in the hall and so we were glad to be outside. A warm but gloomy day - my kinda day! There's been a heat wave lately.

My favorite item? A navy blazer with white lines. Something practical. I've never bought anything I've seen on runway, I've been inspired by a couple headpieces though. Wedding runway is what I really love.

We came upon the UK Show on tickettek and were delighted to discover it was free! We rarely buy tickets for runway, preferring the performing arts, also I don't get as much value out if it as others. There were also other runways that you could get tickets for if you know someone.

The cheapest runway tickets are $65 though with Optus $45, and there would be other clubs offering discounts too. Only the premium shows have showbags, even at $40 I didn't find it worth it as I wouldn't use most of the products. But if you love runway and the products $30-40 is my ideal price.




The UK show was interesting, while I've never been to the UK I was under the impression that they had asians and Muslims too and not just people who are either black or white? Though we all know runway/media represents the ideal and not the average. After all if you were happy with the way you are, we can't sell you things that will make you "runway ready".




Front row on the runway, first and second row received different showbags, the second smaller and I'm not sure what's inside. We loved that there was two different bags, one for her and one for him! He rarely ever gets anything in the bags :P As they're always for girls.

My perception of Next? Another H&M.




What an awesome idea to spice up a denim jacket! Pins, sequins, pompoms and cheap beads. It's amazing how something so easy can we so awesome.
Fairy floss! In a few shades of purple, I do love purple!
Those three girls spent the entire evening taking pictures of themselves and each other. Though the event was designed to indulge camwhores. I'm surrounded by girls kissed the air and a sea of cameras. I've yet to take many pic as I'm not a selfie person and was deeply offended yesterday when the camera guy at Ted's asked if I mainly took selfies, as my primary use for the camera. 



Trending - Monochrome 


Something strange, new and wonderful I discovered is that I don't experience outfit envy at mainstream events. Sure I love your dress, but on you and not me. I'm more of a ballgown kinda person.



While we had a glimpse of the next big thing, 360 camera for now they're settling on gifs/animations, though I still prefer polaroids. I feel so lost, I was born in the wrong century and have nothing in common with anyone around me...

Plenty of photo ops with swings, a mirror room, tinsel background. A beer bar, the professor's second favorite. We didn't get into the VIP one this year, but I'm working on it! I mightn't like fashion nor approve though we love being invited places!



The official coffee sponsor, powering the event.

Priceline's four shipping container pop up has transformed into a building! Inside you could get your hair or makeup done, and a new photo area with prints! The latest trends is a roving camera but before that gifs, I prefer Polaroids. Unlike last year there were no showbags, only premium runway ones. So if you're in it for the freebies it's probably not worth going. 

Outside there's $2/$5 cash only vending machines. Being 8pm when we got there a lot of things were sold out. There was mainly nude by nature products and two french ones. There was Neutrogeana sunscreen too! At $5 everything was of good value.



The main venue, though there were shows outside and in the car park too.





There were two food trucks, the majority of which are more expensive than in-stores, convenience fee. Burgers and Vietnamese tonight. Skipping dinner for now we went straight to dessert with a $22 platter from Burch and purchase.

Two tubes (smaller than normal) a cake pop and wheel. Loved the ginger and passionfruit tube! A classic and best seller. The cake pop was a pop of salted caramel encased in a ball of white chocolate. Though the highlight and event exclusive was the B&P x Lavazza Coffee Wheel: coffee marshmallow and hazelnut cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies, dipped in Lavazza Prontissimo crunchy milk chocolate.



In this picture there is a screen, live from the show inside.




The gardens of fake grass was a very nice touch and upgrade from last year (just concrete blocks), simple but cheap deco - milk crates with plastic the tops lit inside with battery operated twinkle lights! Damn overhead street style lighting meant stupid yellow glow. This is why you go early and make full use of natural lighting.


What's new? Seating. Live screening on facebook. Priceline's vending machine.
What's gone? Free showbags from Priceline. More interactive activities.
When's the next show? September MSFW at City Square.

Did you go to fashion week? What were your highlights?


0 comments | Leave a comment

Previous Posts ~