Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble)

Reading through the past couple of blog posts, I realised that almost every post starts with a description of the weather. How boring is that!

After moving to Melbourne, the weather began to play such an immense role in my mood swings but that does not mean I need to bore you guys all the time. So let’s talk of something different today.

Let’s talk of deliciously wicked silky and smooth Chocolate Mousse laced with spiced rum and then topped generously with buttercrunch toffee crumble. And maybe some strawberries too…..

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

Chocolate desserts also evoke a sense of luxury, a sinful indulgence for the senses. And this chocolate mousse is no exception. But it is sinfully luscious and one to be enjoyed without any guilt because it is made from coconut cream.

My experience with coconut cream has always been savoury. The beautifully aromatic and creamy fish curry from Kerala is what comes running to my mind when I think of coconut milk or cream. And whenever I have had coconut based desserts, I have not really enjoyed it because it has always felt super sweet for my tastebuds.

This recipe comes from @lady.flamingo, also known as The Boozy Baker (now you get the spiced rum!).

One of the recipes featured in the Bank of Melbourne #socialfeeds cookbook 2016. If you are a long time reader of my blog, then you would have heard about this book before, because I have had the privilege and honour of being featured in both the cookbooks bought out so far.

(The featured recipes can be found here and here. You can also download the e-version of the cookbooks here).

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you follow me on Instagram, you would also have seen a post featuring the August edition of Foodies Collective – the Decadent Desserts box. I was privileged to receive one box, filled with the most amazing goodies from some of the best Australian artisan food producers. So I decided to use the award winning Charley’s Mount Edna dark chocolate (has a complex, distinct flavour with whisky notes) for making the chocolate sauce and the buttercrunch toffee crumble from Poetry Fine Foods as the topping.

I highly recommend Charley’s if you can get your hands on it, otherwise any good quality dark chocolate would do. Also if you can’t find the crumble, you can use praline, chopped toasted nuts, whipped cream etc….

Foodies Collective Discovery Box - thespiceadventuress.com

(This recipe can be made 100% vegan by using dairy free chocolate and @lady.flamingo also says that it is a good dessert option for those who suffer from Menieres disease as it is low in sodium).

So let’s hop on to the recipe for this silky and luscious Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse.

Ingredients:

(Serves 6)

Spiced Rum Chocolate Sauce:

  1. 1 can coconut cream (400 ml)
  2. 220gm high quality dark chocolate
  3. 60 gms raw brown sugar (if using white sugar, add half the quantity, taste and add more if necessary)
  4. 1 vanilla pod, split in half and scraped
  5. 2 tbsp spiced rum
  6. 2 clove pods

Mousse:

  1. 2 x 400ml coconut cream cans (chilled)
  2. 120gms cocoa powder (unsweetened)

Method:

To make the chocolate sauce:

  • Melt the chocolate in a microwave or using the double boiler method.
  • Shake the coconut cream can well and pour out the contents into a bowl.
  • Once the chocolate has melted, add a few spoons of the coconut cream into it and mix well to combine. (This is to create a homogenous mixture and prevent the chocolate from seizing which can occur sometimes).
  • Then add the entire chocolate mixture into the remaining coconut cream followed by all the other ingredients listed and mix well to combine. Make sure the sugar gets dissolved completely.
  • Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to thicken the chocolate sauce lightly.

To make the mousse:

  • In a mixer or using a large bowl, whip the coconut cream till you get soft peaks.
  • Remove the cloves from the chocolate sauce and add it slowly to the coconut cream along with the cocoa powder, mixing lightly to combine each time.
  • Whip for a few more seconds till the whole mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  • Spoon into glasses or ramekins; refrigerate for about 3-4 hours till set.
  • Top with the buttercrunch crumble and serve with a side of strawberries.
  • Enjoy!

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

Spiced Rum Chocolate Mousse (topped with Buttercrunch Toffee Crumble) - thespiceadventuress.com

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes)

What’s winter without slow cooked lamb shanks!

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

We love lamb shanks and it is always one of our top picks when we dine out during the colder months. But this time, I decided to give it a go at home because all that you need for this delicious dish is time and patience.

The recipe is really simple and as I mentioned, these lamb shanks only need time to get tender, juicy and fall-off-the-bone. So slow cook it on your stovetop or braise in the oven, or perhaps put it all into your slowcooker just before heading out for work. And when you return, you will have the most delicious, indulgent lamb shanks that can be served with couscous and a simple green salad. Feeds a crowd!

And if you are a curry lover, you will be mighty pleased with the flavours of these slow cooked lamb shanks. The addition of garlic, chillies, paprika and tomatoes lend rich earthy undertones that make the dish an ultimate comfort.

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

On the weather front, Melbourne is grappling with the change of seasons. Spring should be here soon but winter does not want to leave us yet. So while some days are warm and sunny, others are bone chilling freezing. So check out the forecast and get these lamb shanks on to enjoy it best before winter fades away….

And do tag me using #thespiceadventuress if you make these slow cooked lamb shanks; it’s always a joy when you share your photographs with me.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 lamb shanks
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Stuff Mums Like, so find the full recipe here. 

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

July Favourites

A roller coaster of a month peppered with both good and bad!

July left me drained, tired, overwhelmed for most of the month but ended with a bang, which overshadowed all the unpleasant things that happened over the initial days.

My little boy gave his first public guitar performance at the recently concluded Springvale Snow Fest. He has been taking guitar lessons for the past 2 years and though he has performed in his school, this was the first time he is playing for such a large audience.

So proud and chuffed that he took on the challenge and grabbed the opportunity that he was presented with. It’s not every day that we get opportunities, so when we do, we must be able to embrace it whole heartedly.

His musical journey has just started and we truly hope that he continues on this path that brings much joy to him as well as everyone who listens to his music.

Adi's musical journey - thespiceadventuress.com

Coming back to food, these chicken omelette sandwiches were made and consumed quite a bit during the busy working days. Super simple and makes a delicious lunch box option!

Chicken omelette sandwich - thespiceadventuress.com

Blame it on my Mallu genes, nothing gets me more excited than fish curry and rice. And the Chettinad style fish curry is pure magic on your tastebuds. Spicy, tangy and mouthwatering, I made these with Spanish mackerel cutlets. Enjoyed it with some steamed white rice….food coma!

Chettinad fish curry - thespiceadventuress.com

And here’s a list of everything else that has inspired me over the last month….

Are you truly happy? A recent Harvard study has revealed the single most important factor for happiness.

7 ways to be a Parisian chic! This is what I want to achieve for myself….

The luxurious Alex Perry collection from Linen House. Can I have one of each?

Kitchen tips! Cleaning your oven with baking soda and vinegar; time to ditch those nasty chemicals.

Maldives is a hot shot tourist destination but there are a few things to be aware of before planning a vacation. Here’s what you need to know!

Kisume is the hottest restaurant in town right now. I just can’t wait to try out the food…

I love salads, especially when delicious and pretty like this one and this one.

Nashville hot chicken! Drooling…..

How delicious does this burrito bowl look? The perfect weekday dinner…..

A recipe for all the gochujang lovers!

Bbq pulled pork rolls. Enough said.

I have found my perfect summer party dessert.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad

I know, that’s a long title!

It’s really hard to name a dish that is an amalgamation of so many different ideas, so I decided to just state what it is rather than a coin a word or phrase. But you must agree; it does read like a dish out of a fancy restaurant menu.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

I love to visit and browse around artisan food stores, especially those that stock small batches of ingredients or products by local food producers. One such amazing place I discovered last year was Craft & Co. I was invited to their annual Christmas Market, which was an amazing experience as I got to learn about so many unique handcraft food products and also have a chit chat with their makers.

Now this can be a highly inspiring experience, something you will not get when you buy a product off a supermarket shelf. When you have a chat with these food producers, you will be amazed at the passion they have for their products. Sometimes it’s just one product; for eg: a lady might be selling jam but then that would be a recipe that she has perfected over many years, completely handmade and bottled. She would use the best quality ingredients when in season and make small batches. And make it again next year when the particular fruit is back in season. That’s how food used to be generations ago…..local and what’s available in season.

While there were so many products on display, I was quite drawn to Red Rock Olives. Excellent quality olives and olive oils but what really caught my attention was the ‘olive salt’. Now I had never heard of an olive salt till then and I was so intrigued by how it would taste.

The lady at the counter (sorry dear, I forgot your name though I remember your beautiful smile) sensed my interest and encouraged me to try some. She asked me to dip a sourdough piece first in olive oil and then a bit of salt before tasting. It was quite different to anything I had tasted before; at first, you get the hit of salt which then gives way to the tangy familiar taste of olives. It’s subtle but it’s there….

So I bought two bottles of Red Rock olive salts, the ordinary olive salt and the chilli infused one. The ordinary one was part of a giveaway I did last Christmas and the chilli infused one, I kept for my personal needs.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Even though I have used it so many times before, I somehow never managed to do a recipe for the blog. And since it’s a product I really enjoyed using, I thought of sharing it with you guys. This post is not sponsored, just me telling all of you about this amazing product. And if you are visiting the Grampians, do visit Red Rock; I have heard it is a stunning place.

Today’s recipe is actually a super simple one in spite of the long name. I used salmon fillets and marinated it with some of the olive salt, sweet paprika, olive oil and then pan fried it. The couscous salad is again a no brainer, but a delicious one since it works as a salad and side. Great option for lunch boxes!

The butter sauce is not strictly necessary but I wanted to add more flavour. Again, extremely easy….

The whole dish comes together in under an hour, and works perfectly as a midweek dinner.

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Note – The olive salts (and other olive products) can be purchased from the Red Rock website. And of those who cannot get their hands on this, you can still make this dish by using any sort of marinade or dry rub for the salmon.

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

  1. 6 salmon fillets (with skin)
  2. 1 ½ tsp Red Rock olive salt
  3. 1 tsp sweet paprika
  4. 2 tbsp olive oil

For the butter sauce:

  1. 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 2 garlic cloves; finely chopped
  3. ½ large red chilli (less heat variety)

For the couscous salad:

  1. 1 cup cooked couscous
  2. 1 medium red onion; sliced
  3. 6 cherry tomatoes; halved
  4. 6 baby radish; sliced
  5. 1 small Lebanese cucumber; sliced
  6. A handful of green olives; chopped
  7. 1 medium yellow bell pepper; sliced
  8. A handful of capers
  9. ½ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  10. Juice of ½ lemon
  11. Salt; to season
  12. Freshly cracked black pepper; to season

Method:

Salmon:

  1. Make sure that all the fish bones are removed, wash and pat dry.
  2. Add the olive salt, paprika and olive oil to the salmon; rub well all over and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a pan and pan fry the salmon fillets in batches. Since you have already added oil to the marinade, extra oil is not needed but you can add more depending on the type of pan you are using. Also fry skin side first to get really crispy skin.

Butter sauce:

  1. Add the butter, garlic cloves and chillies to a cold pan and place on low heat. Let the flavours infuse into the butter slowly so make sure it’s on the lowest heat.
  2. Remove when the butter starts to take on a light brown colour.

Couscous salad:

Prepare the couscous as per packet instructions or you can follow this method which works for me every single time.

  1. For 1 cup couscous, use 1 ½ cups water. Bring the water to boil, season lightly with salt and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the water starts to boil, add the couscous, mix well and take off heat. Keep covered for 5 minutes. Open the lid and gently fluff the couscous using a fork. Transfer to a flat plate or container to cool the couscous faster or the ambient heat can overcook.
  2. Once cooled, add all the veggies to the couscous and refrigerate till it’s time to serve.
  3. Just before serving, add the lemon juice, parsley; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss well.

To serve, spoon a portion of the salad on the plate, place a salmon fillet and drizzle with a little butter sauce on top. Tuck in!

Pan Fried Salmon (with Olive Salt), Garlic Butter Sauce and Couscous Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail

I do not follow seasons when it comes to cocktails. And whenever we make at home, it’s usually based on the stash that’s available in the bar cabinet. When I dine out at restaurants, then I would pick a cocktail that sounds interesting or different, something I have never tried before.

Tea based cocktails are really amazing and I have tried out quite a few different ones over the last couple of years. One of the best I have had was at Monkey King; wish I could get the bartender to share that recipe with me.

Inspired by all my past experiences with tea cocktails, I thought it’s time I did one too. And that’s how this Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail happened.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

Sweet Tea cocktails are very famous, especially in the Southern regions of US because it is essentially, a summer drink. It is light, refreshing and very simple to make in large batches, hence very popular for summer backyard parties.

There are many variations but essentially the drink contains tea, citrus, sweetener and good quality bourbon.

But for today’s drink, I tweaked it slightly by using an iced tea recipe (from this cookbook) that I use often which has spices like cinnamon and star anise for that extra punch. And both these spices work like magic with both tea and bourbon.

The Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail is extremely simple to make. The tea infusion can be prepared ahead and chilled, a time saver if you are making large batches for a party. Good quality bourbon…don’t compromise on that because it does make a difference to the flavour.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups water
  2. 2 tbsp black tea leaves (or 2-3 tea bags)
  3. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  4. 1 star anise
  5. Peel of 1 medium lemon
  6. Sugar, to taste
  7. Orange juice
  8. Bourbon
  9. Star anise, for garnish
  10. Orange slices; for garnish
  11. Ice cubes

Method:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and take it off the heat.
  2. Add the tea leaves to the water along with the lemon peel (remove using a peeler), cinnamon and star anise. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea and allow to cool. Refrigerate in a closed bottle until use.
  4. To make the cocktail, add a few cubes to the glass and fill half of the glass with the tea infusion. Add 15 ml orange juice and 40ml bourbon. Stir and taste; add more orange juice or bourbon to suit personal taste.
  5. Garnish with a star anise.
  6. Cheers!!!

Note: If you want a non alcoholic version, mix the orange juice with the tea infusion to taste. Serve in a glass filled with crushed ice.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review

It’s hard to miss The Public’s Corner because of its strategic location, right on Lonsdale Street near the stairs leading up to the council office and library. It’s probably one of the busiest and vibrant areas of Dandenong.

There was another restaurant operating at the same location earlier, which I have been to so I was a bit curious when I saw the new signboard. So decided to try out the place for a weekend brunch, to find out if it was just rebranding or has the menu/food changed.

The décor and ambience of the restaurant has not changed much, but the menu has gone through some changes definitely. While many of the dishes from the old menu remains, there were quite a few new ones added. And there’s also a revamped drinks menu which was great to see.

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

So for drinks, I got a glass of the Leopardwood Shiraz (Heathcote, VIC) and Sam got the classic Mojito. Nothing much to write about the wine except that it was a pretty decent one. Sam felt that the Mojito lacked balance in terms of sweetness and the staff said that she could provide with some sugar syrup but he opted to have it as such.

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

For starters, we got the Saganaki with sautéed figs and pita. I have had Saganaki before, prepared it a couple of times too so there were high expectations. But this one didn’t match up, found it a bit too salty and hard. The pairing with figs was delicious but the best part of the dish was the pita….so fluffy and soft. I would order the pita again, perhaps with some dips.

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, I got the Lamb Loin Chops served with mixed grains, chat potatoes, roquette, roasted capsicum and feta. Before I get onto the taste, let me tell you that the portions offered here are huge so account for that when you place the order. Getting back to the dish, I enjoyed the chops a lot; the meat was cooked well and the sides tasted delicious. I would have preferred some sort of jus or sauce though or perhaps mashed potatoes instead of chat for that creamy element to the dish. Otherwise a really nice one….

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The second mains we ordered was the 12 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder served with mashed potatoes, topped with greens, feta and jus. The meat was so tender, juicy and fall off the bone and the accompaniments matched perfectly. I felt that the meat could have been seasoned more but then that’s a personal preference. This was the perfect weekend indulgence!

The Public’s Corner (Dandenong, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Overall, The Public’s Corner is a nice place to meet up whether it’s for a working lunch, quick coffee date or a relaxed dinner. The food is not the best you will have, but it’s good, value for money with great service on offer.

 The Public’s Corner
Shop 1, 225 Lonsdale Street
Dandenong. VIC 3175

Phone no: 03 9794 6697

Timings:

Monday: 7am – 3pm
Tuesday: 7am – 3pm
Wednesday: 7am – 10pm
Thursday: 7am – 10pm
Friday: 7am – 10pm
Saturday: 8am – 10pm
Sunday: 8am – 10pm

The Public's Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo)

Tacos are delicious morsels, packed with flavour and these fish tacos are no exception!

Crispy slivers of barramundi with sweet n’ salty pickled onions and carrots, finished off with jalapeno mayo to spice things up a bit. An easy dish to put together that brings the whole family around at the dinner table.

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s been a little crazy out here, with all of us getting sick and that paired with the start of the school holidays, when every routine gets unfollowed. A death in the family further put me back on spirits so there’s been very little work that I have actually been doing. Top that with the early winter sunsets, I hardly get to shoot any food if I haven’t prepared it on time.

I made these tacos for a client, so thought this was a good time to share it with you especially if you live Down Under and have hungry kids all day at home. Tacos are one of my favourite things to make in the kitchen because even though there is a bit of prep involved, it’s easy and everyday ingredients that can be put together really quickly.

You could use any white fish for this recipe; buy whatever is in season and locally available. We are lucky to get local and really fresh barramundi out here so that’s why I have used it. But any white fish with a relatively firm flesh can be used.

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

I always have an assortment of pickled veggies in my refrigerator; it’s just a convenient, affordable and simple way to add oodles of flavour to your food. For these tacos, I have made pickled slaw using carrots and onions with whole spices for that extra hint of flavour. And the jalapeno mayo, which is the simplest thing to make. I have grown quite fond of homemade mayo, it’s such an easy job once you begin to do it regularly and so much healthier than the bottled stuff. So do give it a try if you have never made it before.

Ingredients:

  1. Wheat tortillas
  2. 1 large carrot; julienned
  3. 1 large red onion; julienned

Find the full recipe here…..

 

Fish Tacos (with Pickled Slaw and Jalapeno Mayo) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood..

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review

It’s quite strange that very few people write about food/restaurants in the suburbs.  Especially in Melbourne, I have noticed that the reviews are concentrated in and around the city or in picturesque slightly far flung areas like Yarra or Mornington. But there are hardly any coming out of the suburbs, where eating out at your neighborhood restaurant is the reality for most residents.

We have always enjoyed discovering restaurants in our suburb as well as the neighbouring ones. It’s often word of mouth or random experiments, some of which turn out to be an amazing find and some others not so pleasant.

And that’s how we ended up at Peking Land. A new South Indian restaurant had opened in Rowville, and we noticed Peking Land during a visit to the other restaurant as both occupied neighbouring spaces. So one weekend, when the Asian tastebuds needed to be satisfied, we decided to try out the place.

Peking Land has a huge space so most days, you can get away without making a booking unless they have an event going on. But it still would be wise to give a call to find out before walking in. I also noticed they have some great deals for takeaways and you can find all that information near the cash counter.

The décor is classic Oriental; deep red upholstery against dark wood furniture with Chinese lanterns and dim lights. Despite the familiarity, the place does invoke a sense of luxury and exotic.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Getting to the drinks and food, I was quite surprised to see an extensive wine, beverage and cocktail list. It’s hard to find in the suburbs especially in restaurants from the Asian subcontinent so it was definitely welcoming.

We decided to get a bottle of Murray Street Barossa Shiraz 2012. And boy, one of the best Shiraz we have had in a while! Rich yet smooth on the palate, it paired beautifully with all the dishes we ordered for the day. Peking Land also had some interesting cocktails on the menu, which I definitely plan to try out next time….

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

We began the meal with two types of dumplings. The first was steamed Cantonese style dim sims with a pork filling and the second was pan fried dumplings with pork and prawn filling. Both were really delicious and the Cantonese style dim sims were quite new to me in terms of taste and texture.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The next dishes to arrive were the soups. One of the main reasons we tend to visit  traditional Chinese restaurants is for the soups, especially during the colder months. So today, we had the hot and sour combination soup and the chicken mushroom soup. Both were equally amazing, warm and delicious.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

And for mains, we had Chicken Fried Rice with Salted Fish with Phoenix Nest. It was the first time we tried out this particular style of fried rice. The dish was recommended by the staff and though Sam was a little hesitant seeing the ‘salted fish’ in the description, it turned out to be an amazing dish. It does not have the classic salted fish taste at all but there’s so much flavour than your regular fried rice. Do give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Phoenix Nest is a dish I have had before in India. Basically, its sautéed combination of chicken, beef, roasted pork and king prawns with wok tossed vegetables served on a crisp potato nest. While in India, the flavours are Indo Chinese, this one is pure Cantonese. So good with the fried rice….

Peking Land (Rowville, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Overall, a great place to stop by for traditional Cantonese style cuisine. We will definitely be going back again…

Peking Land

1089 Stud Road, Rowville
Victoria 3178

Phone no: 03 9764 9388

Timings:

Monday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Tuesday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Wednesday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Thursday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm
Friday: 12-3pm, 5-11.30pm
Saturday: 5-11.30pm
Sunday: 12-3pm, 5-10.30pm

Peking Land Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

June Favourites + Winter school holidays

A fabulous new month is here and we are freezing Down Under!

Bone chillin cold days, huddled inside layers of clothing….I have never been a winter person at all. But opposed to my earlier years here, I am now better equipped to handle it now which has actually made this winter season rather interesting.

Earlier in the month, we visited the Van Gogh and the Seasons Exhibition at NGV. Curated by Sjraar van Heugten, independent art historian and former Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, this event is exclusive to Melbourne and is the largest collection of Van Gogh artworks to ever travel to Australia.

The exhibition was a profoundly emotional and overwhelming one. Never has an artist moved me so much…each painting spoke to me deeply as if Van Gogh was trying to tell me something personally. It’s a beautiful experience, one the whole family can cherish. So make sure you don’t miss this opportunity since the exhibition ends by 12th July, 2017.

Van Gogh and the Seasons Exhibition - thespiceadventuress.com

Another iconic place I visited last month was the State Library of Victoria. It was my first time and I wonder what took me so long to visit this place, given the fact I am a book nerd. But better late than never! It’s a massive space with so much history, architecture, rare artefacts, books that one visit simply wouldn’t do. This time, I visited with my bunch of friends who are book lovers too and we did our first book swap meet. Next time, I am planning on taking a guided tour to understand more about this iconic library.

My photographs don’t do any justice, but still a few clicks from that visit….

State Library of Victoria - thespiceadventuress.com

State Library of Victoria - thespiceadventuress.com

Our winter school hols began with the Skate, Slide and Chill at Common Man, South Wharf. Melbourne has been transformed into a winter wonderland this year with plenty of activities to get the kids outdoors during the holidays.

It was so much fun to chill out at Common Man, where the boys had a session on the ice rink followed by loads of toboggan sliding. And all that skating left us hungry and famished, so the little fella warmed himself with some hot chocolate, while we sipped on Absolut cocktails and a plate of steaming hot dimsims.

Get more details about the event here.

Skate, Slide and Chill at Common Man - thespiceadventuress.com

Absolut Cosmo Spritz, Skate, Slide and Chill at Common Man - thespiceadventuress.com

And finally, these salmon kebabs were a huge hit on the blog last month. Have you tried it out?

Salmon Kebabs - thespiceadventuress.com

Also leaving you guys with my favourites from other creatives in the digital space…..

This lady knows fashion and she has some great tips for those who are seeking to break into the industry.

Mental Load and Gender Wars! Finally an article that has spoken the woman’s mind when it comes to household chores.

Her food photographs have always inspired me, especially this one.

Another inspiring food photographer with this fabulous recipe.

Need to learn how to make gnocchi just to make this plate of deliciousness!

Another goal for the year is to learn to bake these gorgeous dinner rolls.

Do you love bulgogi?

This soup has a chilli chia seed tempering. Fabulous, isn’t it?

Drooling big time over this spicy mutton curry.

This pickle has a deep emotional connect with me and my childhood.

This Mojito and this Martini.

And for my friends who are basking in the sun at the moment; this summer salad.

I am definitely making this when summer arrives here again…

Monkey King (Melbourne CBD) – a Review

Books are a very special and integral part of my life; it has been so ever since I can remember. At all phases of my childhood, I have been a book nerd seeking to escape into another world through words and characters.

In the past four years of living here, I have slowly formed a small gang of friends who appreciate books and reading as much as I do. And finally, earlier in the month, we decided to have our first ever book swap meet. It was to be a pretty informal affair, just a handful of us meeting in the city to swap some of the books from our collections. And we also decided to make a visit to the State Library Victoria; what better place for a book lover, rite!

Time must never be a parameter when a bunch of women decide to meet so the plan was to catch up in a central point before heading to the library. And since I arrived in the city without having any lunch (just an excuse), I decided to join up with another GF. So randomly, without any clue whatsoever about the place, we landed up at Monkey King inside Melbourne Central. And before we knew it, others joined and soon what was supposed to be a quick lunch turned into a slow, relaxed and delicious lunch affair.

Monkey King is relatively new to the Melbourne Central food scene. As I understand it, the restaurant is going through some changes so the space is divided into a bar and restaurant, and they operate separately in spite of being in the same space.

Industrial chic, boho with contemporary Asian influences, the décor and ambience of Monkey King is definitely worth mentioning. With beautiful art murals and interesting accessories, the space is lavish and welcoming; definitely a respite from the crowds.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

I was quite impressed with the bar menu, especially the cocktails. There were a range of tea based cocktails, with really interesting flavour combinations. You could also consult the bartender and come up with your own cocktail creation which can then be named after you.

Before we get into the food, here are the cocktails we tried out;

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Cucumber and Rose Tea Tom Collins; a perfect afternoon drink created from a blend of Gin, Gifford Lychee Liqueur, fresh lemon juice, rose syrup topped with soda. It was refreshing, delicious and that hint of rose was just amazing.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Hibiscus and Peach Bellini; a blend of West Winds Gin with lemon, peach sugar, hibiscus syrup topped with sparkling wine. Again a refreshing drink perfect for long chatty afternoon with friends.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Peppermint Tea Mojito; with Mt Gay white rum, lime and an in house peppermint tea syrup. A beautiful ombre drink again perfect for the afternoons.

So as I mentioned, Monkey King currently operates another restaurant inside its space called Bao & Co. As the name suggests, the menu focuses on different style of bao which is essentially Chinese style steamed buns with a variety of fillings. It’s a simple and small menu but we sampled quite a few dishes to reach the conclusion that this was an amazing place to return to.

We ordered different style of bao along with a few sides and here’s what we had;

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Wasabi Barramundi Bao – crispy barramundi, seaweed, dill, wasabi mayo with pickled vegetables all encased in the softest bao. Damn delicious and highly recommended!

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Crispy Fried Chicken Bao – chicken, pickle, coriander, carrot, cucumber, red cabbage with chilli mayo. This one was fabulous especially with bits of crispy chicken against the freshness of the vegetables.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Veggie Lover Bao – with a vibrant, refreshing mix of veggies, the vegetarian version of the bao is equally delicious as its non vegetarian counterpart.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Papaya Salad – we could all go back just to eat this salad. Carrots, chilli, green papaya, crushed peanuts, fried shallots with cherry tomato; this salad was bursting with delicious flavours and made the perfect side to the bao.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Crunchy seasoned wedges – perfectly seasoned and crispy wedges yet soft and fluffy inside.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Edamame Bean – Boiled green soybeans with sea salt. One of the healthiest yet really delicious snack to munch on.

Monkey King, Melbourne - thespiceadventuress.com

Veggie Spring Rolls – crispy rolls with delicious mixed veggie filling; it was freshly made and that made all the difference.

And as always, we left no room for dessert but there were quite a few sweet bao versions to try out; maybe next time.

Monkey King

Melbourne Central Shopping Centre,
68 Menzies Alley,
Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone no: (03) 9066 0207

Website: http://www.monkeykingbar.com.au/

Timings:

Monday: 11.30am – 11.00pm
Tuesday: 11.30am – 11.00pm
Wednesday: 11.30am – 11.00pm
Thursday: 11.30am – 3pm; 4pm – 1am
Friday: 11.30am – 3pm; 4pm – 1am
Saturday: 11.30am – 3pm; 4pm – 1am
Sunday: 5.00pm – 10.00pm

Monkey King Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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