New domain

Hi Guys,

please update your Urls to http://www.idreaminchocolate.com.au this is my new Url. Please visit. Sadly I can’t get the site redirect to work something on wordpress end will try to get it fix soon.

Julie

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Momofuku Seiobo

I went back to Sydney a few months ago for a work trip. It was great because the number one restaurant I knew I had to go to was Momofuku Seiobo! That night, I’m catching up with my buddy Ms V. The degustation was too steep for our budget so we decided to eat at the bar The bar had a limited amount of seats – only 5; so we decide to turn up early on a Monday night to grab those seats. We arrived slightly before 7 in the evening and they weren’t open yet. By the time we sat down, another couple appeared and there was only 1 seat left.

After dinner – I posted on Instagram and said “felt a little disappointed”. A number of people replied and said they enjoyed their experience at Momofuku but mostly with the degustation option. The food was very good but not too sure if it was worth the money. I guess I just had such high expectations and had been counting down the days to the visit.

I couldn’t see any door signage of Momofuku but Ms V pointed out a big peach so I guess that’s it. We ordered everything on the menu except for the pickles for two. We skipped the alcohol since it was a “school night”, however the sake and choyo offerings were very tempting. Darn, school night! Once we ordered, food started arriving in about, just after 5 minutes.

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First up was fried Brussel Sprouts with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette – $15. It smelt so good despite having fish sauce! I am personally not a fan of Brussel Sprouts so I was surprised that I enjoyed this dish. However, more then half way through this dish, me and Ms V had given up because we realised that the sauce had become quite overpowering the more we ate this dish.

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Confit Chicken Wings $16 – this wasn’t bad but nothing amazing. I could taste the Korean soybean paste in this 🙂

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Pork Buns – $15. The pork was tender and juicy. I knew before-hand that the pork buns had no skin, but it was nothing with an amazing “wow” factor. I did previously made these momofuku pork buns but with the added crispy skin and felt like it just needed crispy skin to bring it to the next level.

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Spanner Crab Roll with Celery Salted chips $22. The bread was very dry and sadly the bread went untouched. The crab filling was a little strong with the mayo but still quite delicious. I couldn’t taste the celery on the chips but still happily gobbled them up because it was so crispy!

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The Spicy Roasted Rice Cakes with Pork $17 was a winner in Ms V’s books. She loved the crispy bits and the tiny hint of spice. I echoed the same feelings. I have attempted cooking the roasted rice cakes (I haven’t blogged about it) from this cookbook but I couldn’t get the roasted rice cakes to crisp up as much as the Momofuku Seiobo version. It is definitely something I will order again if I return for the bar menu.

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The winner of the day in my books was the Pickled Egg $4. There were notes of vinegar and a lovely gooey center. It’s steep at a price of $4 but I was glad that we still got it.

The service at Momofuku was exceptional and we were constantly asked if everything was okay. Although I did overall enjoyed Momofuku, I felt the food was a little mediocre for the price but once again I need to remind myself that it is a bar menu and a fast turn around for service was required. Nonetheless, I am still extremely keen on going with the degustation menu.

The Star 80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont, NSW 2009

Momofuku  Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

Food Republik

Box Hill is full of culinary delights and many are cheap. About a month ago, a new culinary delight joined the town. What is Food Republik? It’s a bit hard to describe, its like a mini food court where you are given one menu and you get to order from many subsidiary restaurants and you receive one bill to be paid at the end.

For Dessert Story, it’s a separate menu but the same bill. The food here is all Taiwanese and its’ meant to replicate “Taiwanese street food”. Restaurants involved in this mini food court includes Toast Box, Crystal Jade, Dessert Story, Taiwan Cafe and a few others.

Since day one, there have been very long lines at Food Republik. Luckily, three out of four visits, I managed to find it without lines! The idea is to go at non-peak hours where entry could easily be made without lines or just a very short line.

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A line forming at 5:30pm

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Making dumplings

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Two Menus – one for dessert story and other for Mains

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The ordering system is similar to Pappa Rich where everything you ordered is noted down of the writing pad. Easy ordering system.

On the first visit I went with Ms Peach Water. Ms PW managed to arrived at 6pm on Tuesday Night and got a table within 5-10 minutes. We knew looking at the overwhelming menu that The Xiao long baos from Crystal Jade are a must order. The Xiao long baos are amazing and very comparable to Din Tai Fung. Thin skin, very soupy and tasty – everything you wanted in a Xiao Long Bao. Only problem on the first visit the soup was a little lukewarm however the visit after when I went with the Mr it was piping hot. The Xiao Long baos aren’t cheap for 8 it’s about $10-$11 but it’s along the same price as the XLBS in Sydney’s Din Tai Fung.

I was feeling really under the weather so I went for the Pork Ball Noodle Soup from Taiwan Cafe – I found this very comforting but sadly the only downside was the soup was a little too oily. Ms PW chose the hot and sour noodle soup which I have been eyeing but sadly could not have!

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Pork Ball Noodle Soup

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Hong Kong milk tea from Toast Box

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Horlicks from Toast Box

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Xiao Long Bao

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Hot & Sour Noodle Soup

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I also went back with the Mr to have Dessert Story. I went for the Taro balls, honey bean, pearls and Herbal Jelly, the hot version from Dessert Story. I know it does not look good and usually the cold version tastes better but it definitely hits the spot when you are still under the weather

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Mr picks the black glutinuous rice with coconut milk which he happily ordered on the three visits we went together. It must be good!


The other time, I came back to Toast Box to have Kaya Toast. Look at that thick slab of toast with Kaya. Oh and those gooey eggs! Love this but the Kaya a bit too sweet for me.

The concept of Food Republik is great but may be worth your while to visit when the hype dies down a little bit. I having been hearing hit and misses from this place.

Box Hill Centro South
Station St
Box Hill VIC 3128

Food Republik on Urbanspoon

SEO Tips for bloggers

These days bloggers rely heavily on search engines to gain traffic to their blogs. I get many questions about SEO from bloggers and friends. Your our own ideas/methods might differ overall SEO is a VERY big topic itself and ever changing. Originally I made a couple of drafts of this topic but in the end I deleted the last draft, it was overly technical for bloggers. I decided to keep it “simple” and explain to you some ways where you can start to do to help gain a bit more of a kick from Search Engines, especially Google.

As a user of a search enginge and a blogger it’s good to keep in mind constantly and put yourself in a position of someone who will use the search engine to search something. How would a user go about searching for something? There tips just provide quick guide for bloggers beginning to improved their SEO, so any non-beginners please turn away :).

Keyword Research

Best realistic about keywords you want to rank for. Most keywords with high volume of hits will be harder to rank for then the lower volume. For example you want your lovely recipe of “smoothie” might have lots of keywords with smoothie however it might be easier to ranked for “healthy strawberry smoothie”

Start to research and collect of list of keywords you want to rank for. I highly rrecommend using the Google Keyword Tool. It also helps to view your stats daily (or weekly) to determine what keywords are hitting your blog the most and using that to your advantage. Look at your current posts – which posts are booming vs which posts are not? You should take advantage of the posts that are getting the hits the most and leverage on that.

Images

Google can’t read images so giving a little text description provides more information on what that image is.

– Don’t ever leave your image tags empty. Always use “alt” to your advantage. A simple img html tag looks like this img src=”laksa.jpg” alt=”laksa”. Google can’t read images so giving a little text description provides more information on what that image is.
– When saving your images be specific and worded it right. Use words like laksa-Mamak.JPG not numbers be specific!

Social Media – twitter, pinterest, Facebook & Bookmarking

These are the obvious answers to drive traffic to your website. As we evolved more and more, Searches Engines especially Google start seeing Social Media as good indicators to rank well in google. Pretty obvious and true!

Title tags

There is no point writing a title of a blog “Yummy Malaysian food at this amazing place” when you don’t even mention the word you are reviewing. Example you are reviewing “Mamak” in the title. As simple as it is Mamak will return much more hits. You can always do a mixture of both in title if you find you still want a creative title – Something like Mamak – really Yummy food! In the end experience what you like best and what you feel comfortable with.

URL

Having the right Url in on your blog posts helps a lot as well. Be specific again when naming URLS. If we have a chicken Soup recipe – it’s best to really just name it that

http:// foodblogger.com/chickensoup

Use Heading and bold tags

Make use of of the headings and bold html codes and use them for the keywords you are aiming for.

Get yourself on Google Plus and use the Author Rel

It is very important to be on Google Plus, google owns it of course! Not only that but having a google plus account allows your google plus profile to appear in search engines. The benefits of this is a highly click-through-rate onto your blog and claiming originally content. For the latter it’s very helpful very someone has taken your content, it helps give google an indication where the original came from.

I am not going to get into how to set up an author profile (using rel=author tag) since it’s quite technical but here are some tutorials online to get you start.
Google tutorial
Search Enging people tutorial
Problogger tutorial

Other things:

– Internal link between your pages constantly
– Page load is important, have a good loading time don’t overload yoursite with ads. Ads and too much images slow down the website site!
– Ads that also dominating the first half of your page isn’t a good sign for Google.
– Get yourself google Analytics, it’s free so why not!
– If you have wordpress (only for self-hosting), download this plugin called All in One SEO.

I might continue with this series once in a while! Let me know if you want to know anything!

South American Spiced Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Before going away to Perth, I lost sleep over this recipe. It appeared in my mind on the night before we were due to fly off. Mr told me to quickly write down the details. I was very eager to trial it right there but had to wait until when I got back from my two interstates trips. Funny how creativity comes at random times.

The idea is to merge two recipes. One, I have cooked before which was the buttermilk roasted chicken. I really liked the buttermilk roasted chicken but I knew it could be lifted with more flavours. Another was a whole chicken roasted with a South-American twist from Delicious magazine. I had this on the list to cook a while ago but haven’t got around to trying it. The latter was a bit of work due to the whole chicken. I worked on the recipe and refined it until I was quite happy with it :). You know me, I like to test a recipe at least twice before putting the I Dream In Chocolate stamp of approval ;).

The recipe is quite simple, all you have to do is marinate the chicken overnight. The next day, just pop the chicken in the oven and soon enough dinner is ready! I also tried coasting the buttermilk chicken with breadcrumbs. You don’t have to do this but I do recommend it. The breadcrumb part does makes the chicken taste better. There are quite a number of ingredients in the recipe but most of these stuff should already be in your pantry, hopefully! This is probably the next best thing to fried chicken. There is never a replacement for fried chicken but who says you can’t cheat a little with more health benefits?

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Whisk buttermilk with everything except the chicken and breadcrumbs in a measuring jug

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Place the chicken pieces with buttermilk in a zip lock bag

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After 24 hours, place chicken on a roasting rack. The top two rows are without breadcrumbs, and bottom row with.

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Final result :). I served the chicken with the Mexican corn recipe I used from Iron Chef Shellie

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen/Nigella Lawson and Delicious Magazine

Serves 3-4 people with sides

1 1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
2 tablepoons of any white drinking wine
2 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of extra virgin oil
1 tablespoon of cumin
1/2 tsp of oregano
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 tablespoon of seat salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of black pepper
750 – 850 grams of chicken. In this recipe I used 6 chicken thighs about 780 grams in weight*
1 cup breadcrumbs (optional)

*I would normally use chicken thighs for this recipe but it would work great with drumsticks, marylands, chicken wings or drumlets. Avoid using chicken breast as it gets too dry. Just adjusted the timing of the cooking if you use different cuts of chicken.

1. Whisk all the ingredients except for the chicken and breadcrumbs in a measuring jar.
2. Pour marinate into a large zip lock bag.
3. Add the chicken pieces and close the zip lock bag. Gently move the chicken around until it’s well coated.
4. Placed chicken into the fridge for a minimum for 24 hours and 48 hours at maximum.
5. After 24 hours preheat your oven to 190 degrees. Oven temperature varies, so please adjust temperature accordingly.
6. While the oven is warming up, remove chicken from the zip lock bag and discard buttermilk. If adding breadcrumbs, place breadcrumbs on a plate and coat both sides of the chicken well.
7. Place chicken on a roasting rack and add a tinge of paprika, salt and pepper on top. You don’t need a roasting rack but if you usually just use a tray, make sure you flip the other side of the chicken about 15 minutes midway through cooking.
8. Roast chicken for about 30 minutes or until cooked thorough