Baking: Fresh Fig, Walnut and Rosemary Upside Down Cake – with recipe!

Since I’ve moved to Murrayville, I have been incredibly fortunate to have plenty of neighbours who have fruit trees. And even more fortunate that said neighbours are also very generous. It was because of this that I had my first taste of figs. And boy was I smitten.

I was in a baking phase then so my immediate thoughts were: can I bake with this?

Turns out I can. And boy was it worth it. I brought my first fig cake ever to school and it got demolished by my colleagues in record time.

Fresh Fig, Walnut, and Rosemary Upside-Down Cake

1/2 cup butter (8 tablespoons)
1 cup brown sugar
10 fresh, ripe figs of your choice, tips removed, halved
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped, divided
2-3 tablespoons walnut pieces, or as many as needed
1 cup flour, sifted*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 180c.
2. Add butter to a 9-inch-round baking pan, and place inside of a warm oven until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter. Add figs, flesh side down, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Fill in the nooks and crannies with walnut pieces.
3. In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir.
4. Using a hand mixer, in a metal or glass bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until fluffy. Set aside.
5. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, and beat well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Pour cake mixture evenly over the fruit, and smooth with the spatula.
6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Note: Sifting the flour creates a lighter cake.

So good. You really need to get onto this if you are a fig lover!

Me, I’m going to go sit in a corner with a slice of this cake and dream of an all inclusive holiday. Mmm.

Review: This Cafe @ Launceston, Tasmania

Review: This Cafe @ Launceston, Tasmania

This Cafe
91 George St, Launceston
(03) 6334 7647
This Cafe

I love Tasmania. I always feel sad when people say that they don’t like Tasmania. The reasons that I am given for not enjoying Tasmania are often along the lines of “boring, inconvenient, nothing to do there.” But some of these people also say that there’s nothing to do in Melbourne. Or that I will be bored out of mind living in the country. Well, that’s perfectly alright. While I despair over their ignorance, that means there will be less people crowding and jostling me about while I potter about Tasmania, enjoying every single minute of my stay there.

This post has been a long time coming. I visited Launceston with my family in December, and I did mean to blog about it as soon as I could but all things considered, March isn’t too bad, is it?

The one downside to having left it this long to blog however is the plain and simple fact that I have forgotten what we ate there. But I don’t think it really matters. Because what matters is that these were yummy. These were really good, and I think my dear sister who had nothing but plane food for the past 2-3 days before this meal would tell you that these were really freaking fabulous.

The photos aren’t great, but I was beyond caring at that point. The slight blue-ish hue of the photos remind me of the cold, chilly and rainy summer day we visited. Summer? Where was it? It had been raining the whole day, we had just spent the morning driving up from Hobart and went without lunch because we had been waiting for my sister’s plane to land at Launceston airport. What mattered more was the fact there was food. And by the smell of it, good food.

See, here’s the thing. Eating with family can be a little tricky. They are not quite as ready to try new adventurous things. So picking places to eat at can become a little bit of a headache. And from my previous trip to Tasmania, I had found nowhere good to eat. The last trip I took to Tassie and asked a local where was good to eat, I found myself pointed to a food court with the fast and yucky food.

You will have to forgive the hole in the quiche. I think that was the one that my dad poked with a spoon before I could even say stop. Mum did stop him from eating it tho, with a gentle reminder that I needed photos before he started inhaling the quiche.

But This Cafe, this cafe was quite different. I was happy here. And I think you would be too. My family definitely were, so much so that they wanted to go back for dinner. But they don’t do dinners.

I do want to go back to Tasmania. I can’t get enough of that place. I’m sure there’s good food around, I just need time and food buddies to look for it. So who wants to join me on a trip to Eat through Tassie?

Review: Nyonya Buffet @ Chilli Padi, Melbourne

Review: Nyonya Buffet @ Chilli Padi, Melbourne

Not long ago, the housemate and I were invited along to the taste preview of the new Nyonya Buffet that was recently unveiled and launched on the 23rd of October. But before I dive into the actual food, do you know what nyonya is?

Very quickly, the fusion of cultures in Tanah Melayu (now known as Malaysia) led to the birth of a unique group. Known as the Baba and Nyonya community to locals, they are also known as the Peranakan. This fusion comes from the marriage of Chinese and Malay cultures, where they assimilate the Malay way of life (speech, dress, and cooking) while still keeping the Chinese traditions alive. The culture is incredibly colourful and there are traces of Dutch, Portuguese, British, Indian and Indonesian influences that can be found within their customs and culture. So how does this translate to food?

I had my first taste of Nyonya cuisine when I visited Melaka (or Malacca). I remember explosions of flavours, of sweet, of sour and of a very colourful culture and rich tradition behind it all. I loved it. So when Li from Chilli Padi had the idea to bring a nyonya buffet to Melbourne, I was very happy. It brought back memories of childhood, it brought back nostalgia. Most importantly, it brought back joy. Now that’s what food should be about.

We arrived at Chilli Padi and my very first sight was of the Tok Panjang which means Long Table Feast. It refers to the long table that the Peranakans prefer to use over the round tables that the Chinese do. (I personally prefer round tables since that way there’s a higher chance of talking to everybody.. but that’s not really the point here!). Soon after everybody had arrived, we took our seats and the feast began.

I do mean it when I say feast. It started with a simple platter of different sauces (shown above) which includes Cincalok Acar, Lobak Chilli Sauce and Sambal Belachan.

Then the dishes started to rain on the table. I’m not going to try and list everything, but will point out some of the highlights. Some of my dining companions have done a very intensive and detailed report on the night, so I will be linking to their reports at the end of this. Meanwhile, here’s my highlights (or lowlights!)

We had rempah udang amongst the starters, and you need to stop and understand the complexity of this dish before you can fully comprehend the nature of it and appreciate it in its entirety. Each green packet you see on the plate is made from banana leaves, individually stuffed with glutinous rice and a spicy prawn sambal. It is then grilled over charcoal. Or at least the traditional ones are. I’m not sure if the ones at Chilli Padi had been. I had some issues with this dish, unfortunately. It looked right, it smelled right but unfortunately while it had all the right flavours, there wasn’t quite enough of it. A more heavy hand with the spicy prawn sambal would have help balance the dryness of the rice. On that note, it was also (unfortunately) a tad too dry.

This was a beautiful dish. The tumeric achat fish was definitely a highlight. The deep fried whiting with bones that I could easily crunch into brought me back to my childhood with startling pace. I remembered how dad used to fry them and watch over us while we (rather reluctantly) ate the lot. Why didn’t I like this as a kid? This was amazing! The salty, sweet, sour and spicy sauce hit every single joy note and by the end of it I was singing. Inside of course.

Another beauty was the Sambal Udang Petai. I remember petai from my childhood days. We call them smelly beans. This dish is made of beautiful prawns tossed in Sambal, or chilli paste along with these green beans and together they made an absolutely mouthwatering dish. Not to mention the generous amount of prawns. I went crazy on this!

We are slightly out of chronological order here – this is a starter dish, called kueh pie ti (top hats) – It consist of pastry cups which are deep fried to be crunchy and crisp. It is then stuffed with shredded vegetables. Unfortunately, this dish also turns soggy pretty quickly, so it is quite a hard dish to serve. Alongside the other dishes, this one paled in comparison. While pretty to look at, it wasn’t quite tasty enough and not quite crunchy enough. Not really sure how to prevent the shells from turning soggy quite so quickly, especially if it’s at a buffet – perhaps a rather risky dish to be trying out.

There were way more dishes like Ikan Assam Pedas and Ayam Pong Tay. Too many to list them all in the one blog post. The curries were incredibly tasty and I really liked them. But what stood out was the Kari Kapitan. Beautifully golden, incredibly tasty and wonderfully fragrant. Another winner in my books which unfortunately has no photo. If you want to know how it looks like, I suggest going down to Chilli Padi and booking yourself in for the Nyonya Buffet!

Pictured is the Kobis Lemak. Unfortunately slightly one dimensional and not very exciting. My housemate liked it, however. So always bear in mind that reviews such as these are subjective.

Thank god for palate cleansers! After awhile, all the coconut heavy curries tend to weigh heavy on the palate. So out came the Ju Hu Cha and I couldn’t help but marvel at how different nyonya cooking is , even with vegetables! The vegetables were tender and the dried cuttlefish throughout the dish added depth, texture and flavours to the dish. Another highlight.

Dessert was three different courses. It consisted of Bubur Cha cha, Cheng Tang and Kueh Bengka. Of the three, the most notable was the kueh bangka. The bubur chacha wasn’t rich enough for my liking, most notably, it lacked the sago pearls that I always add to mine. The Cheng Tang wasn’t sweet enough and even with the addition of the goji berries, the white fungus and other usual components of the cheng tang, was still quite bland. (I’ll make my version to show on the blog some time soon!). But the kueh was good. So good I had to steal another slice. Mmmm.

I’m hungry just writing this post up!

Thank you Robert and Li for your generosity and your invite. I will be back again to try the nyonya buffet once more!

Nyonya Buffet @ Chilli Padi

Location: Chillipadi Melbourne Central
Time: Sat and Sun 12 and 1.30 for lunch and 6 and 7.30 for dinner.
Cost per head: $45pp

Booking is essential

What my Dining Companions had to say:

The Chronicles of Ms Ihua
Pepper, Salt, Sugar, Spice


(03) 9663 5688
Shop Oe7 Menzies Aly Little Lonsdale St
Melbourne, 3000
Web: Chilli Padi

Chillipadi on Urbanspoon

“Oh Darling, you look absolutely Delicious!”

We take a quick break from reviews, recipes, and talk about amazing travel places to have a look at …..more food.

But this time, food in the fashion world.

In an article recently published by, a total of 28 different pieces of clothing made from different food and ingredients were showcased.

Fashion, that is edible. How incredibly amazing is that? Click through to the article to see all the photos but here are a few of my favourites:

This is made from beef jerky! BEEF JERKY!

Take your love for cupcakes to a whole new level

Do click through to the Original Article. There are some pretty amazing work of arts there.

Think I could rock up to a dinner party wearing one of these?

All photos belong to their respective owners. claims no ownership on any of the above pictorial content
Header pic by:

Hanaichi, Queen Victoria Building

A friend pointed this out to me one day, saying that it was pretty good Japanese food that was cheap too. Cheap and Japanese food in the same sentence? I’m so there.

Simple decor, with a simple menu. Looking around, I was given the impression that this particular outlet (since I can’t really speak for the rest of the chain) seemed to be geared towards students in the city and the office workers from the nearby buildings. As I sat there waiting on the arrival of my dinner mates, I noted a large number of office workers wolving down their food, no doubt rushing to go back to the office to finish that last bit to the overdue project. The food that was ordered definitely came fast, and I was rather amused by the little paper bowls it came in. Armed with our disposable utensils, we sat down to our dinner and I took my first bite of the offerings at Hanaichi.

We ordered Katsu Curry and Beef Yakiniku Don. They were 6.50aud per bowl, if I remembered correctly. And to be honest, they were both very average. I personally thought that they were too salty (but then we all know that I tend to think most things too salty…) while my dinner mates thought the dishes too greasy. On the tasty scale? Not bad, not awesome either.

For the speed and the price, it’s definitely a bargain. But I don’t really think I’ll be back there anytime soon. Not unless of course I was after Japanese fast food. (Though to be honest, if we were going to start introducing Japanese fast food, can we please bring in Mos Burger?)

QV Square, Lonsdale St,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9662 9409‎