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Strawberry and Champagne Cake

Apologies for being MIA lately! Unfortunately life (or more specifically, Uni) has got in the way of blogging again and although I’ve got a backlog of photos and tasty eats waiting to be shared with you all I just haven’t had the time to post them up.

This post is a bit special though, and it’s for my sister Charm who just turned 18 a few days ago but had a bit of a sad, uneventful birthday because it was smack bang in the middle of HSC study time. Not to mention that she has also been sick for the past 2 weeks and I couldn’t even take her shopping to buy a present for her.

So, cake it is! I do love baking cakes for people’s birthdays but I always struggle with coming up with ideas for what cake to bake. I figured something with strawberries since they’re in season and wonderfully sweet at the moment, plus something a little boozy since she is now of legal drinking age! Then I remembered Steph’s gorgeous Pink Champagne and Strawberry Cake and knew I had to do something similar for Charm’s birthday.

The strawberries feature in the cake itself, which has chunks of strawberries scattered throughout the batter, while the champagne (ok so I’m a bit poor to afford real champagne, so technically it’s sparkling wine) features in the buttercream icing. The flavour of the champagne is quite light and just slightly tart so that it offsets the sweetness of the cake, but my family, being Asian and all with an instilled fear of icing and cream in cakes (or is it just my family?), was still scraping the thicker layer of icing off from the top. This was probably due to my crappy uneven icing skills – it’s not as smooth as I would have liked but hey at least the layering of the cakes worked out well and it wasn’t collapsing!

Anyways, happy 18th birthday Charm and good luck with the HSC! We will go shopping, throw a proper birthday party and watch Vampire Diaries (maybe) once it’s all over!

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Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness

Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness just after opening

October is one of my favourite months. Not only because it seems to be full of birthdays, and is only 2 months away from Christmas, but because every year in October the Crave Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF) is on and it’s a month of eating, eating and more eating. This year, SIFF kicked off with a series of BBQ madness events, where themed BBQ events were held all around Sydney to celebrate the barbecue grill. I was up early on Saturday morning to go to the Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness event, held in Church St Mall, Parramatta.

The Love Goddess - Wanitha Tanasingam

The event began at 9am and was an early start for me on a Saturday morning, but Malaysia Kitchen’s ambassador, Wanitha Tanasingam (aka the “Love Goddess”), was there to wake everyone up with her enthusiasm and sheer passion for Malaysian food. Apart from expounding the wonders of sambal belacan, she also demonstrated two dishes with the help of Sara from Belly Rumbles and Lorraine Wearne, the Lord Mayor of Parramatta.

Wanitha and her two helpers: Sara and Lorraine

Wanitha cooked up some sotong bakar, a marinated and barbecued squid, and ayam panggang, a spicy grilled chicken. Some samples of the squid were passed around and this was the perfect thing to wake up my stomach, with the sweet, tender squid being barbecued to a nice char on the outside, and a spicy flavour coming through from the marinade.

Sotong Bakar on the grill

Next up in the demonstration kitchen was the ever delightful Florence Tan, who travelled from Malaysia to attend this event. I’ve seen her on Poh’s Kitchen before and she is just as a lively and bubbly in real life as she is on TV.

Florence Tan beginning her cooking demonstration
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