Monthly Archives: December 2012

JACKPOT’s eating adventures in Hong Kong…

Happy New Year everyone! I didn’t think that I would be posting again until after the new year but I wanted to share with you all lots of wonderful food pics from my recent trip to Hong Kong… and boy did I eat a lot! Thank goodness this was balanced with walking from morning to night constantly each day which meant more eating on my behalf ;P And I can’t think of a better way to close the year than with plenty of drool worthy food pictures for your viewing pleasure. You’ll notice that most the photos are of dessert naturally…I really just couldn’t resist!

I hope that 2013 brings you all new goals to achieve, new challenges and experiences, new opportunities at work and exciting new chapters in your lives and of course…indulging in plenty of wonderful food too ;P

Here are some food pics from my trip from Hong Kong:

Steamed Turnip Cake

Steamed Turnip Cake from a local Hong Kong Cafe in Causeway Bay

Mai Lai Ko

Malaysian Steamed Sponge Cake – Yum Cha Style

Chestnut Sago Pudding

Chestnut Sago Pudding

Turnip Cake

Fried Turnip Cake

Vegetables wrapped with Tofu Skin

Vegetables wrapped in Beancurd Skin

Tofu Pudding with Mango Puree

Tofu Pudding with Mango Puree


Crispy Tofu

Cold Pumpkin Salad

Cold Japanese Pumpkin Salad

Green Tea Icecream

Green Tea Ice Cream served with crispy bread and a heart shaped cookie from Bo-Logne

Omelette with Mushrooms

Japanese Egg Omelette with Assorted Mushrooms

Mango Tofu Sago Dessert

Mango puree, Tofu Pudding & Sago Dessert

Wonton Noodles

Wonton Noodles

Peach Buns

Lotus Seed Paste Peach Buns – soooo goood!

Black Sesame Glutinous Balls

Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls

Pumpkin Veloute

Pumpkin Veloute with Truffle and Mushrooms at St Betty’s, IFC

21st Century Egg

21st Century Egg, Chargrilled Asparagus, Lemon Mayonnaise, Black Truffle and Hazelnut Dressing at St Betty’s IFC

Yuzu and Lemon Posset

Yuzu & Lemon Posset, Raspberry Yoghurt Ice Cream served with a White Chocolate Tuile at St Betty’s, IFC

And some non-food pictures from my trip to Hong Kong:

Lego Snowman


Lego 1

Lego House

Lego House 1

Lego Houses

Lego Tree

Lego Christmas Tree

Until next year!



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Filed under Asian, Cake, Dessert, Dinner, Hong Kong, Japanese, Restaurant, Vegetarian

JACKPOT makes: Healthier Portuguese Tarts

Hello all!

Hope that your week has been going well so far! Have you all got your christmas shopping done yet? Can’t believe it’s only 5 days away from Christmas. I’m sure a lot of you are planning lots of wonderful things for Christmas! This will probably be my last post before the Christmas holidays! I will be on hiatus for a week as I’m going to be overseas to celebrate Christmas with my family. I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas full of plentiful delicious foods, lots of happiness and joy with your loved ones and most importantly indulging in all the wonderful foods on offer…I know I will be doing just that!

I had some puff pastry sitting in my freezer that I had not used yet and I wanted to find a recipe that would utilise this ingredient. I searched online and decided I wanted to make Portuguese Custard Tarts as I had tried a few in various places and really liked them. The best one I tried would have to be the one I tried in Macau who are famous for making wonderful Portuguese Custard Tarts which are fresh and eaten warm. The pastry is crispy and the custard is nice and smooth. I wanted to replicate this but in my own healthy way. I found Not Quite Nigella’s low-fat version of Portuguese Custard Tarts and knew I had to make these (

I followed her recipe but used various substitutions to what I had in my pantry and utilising the ingredients I liked:

Portuguese Tarts


  • 2 egg yolks and 1 whole organic free range egg
  • 1/2 cup of rapadura sugar (this will make your custard look a bit more brown than yellow)
  • 2 tbsp of arrowroot/tapioca flour
  • 400ml of unsweetened soymilk
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • one sheet of puff pastry (I used the Pastry Pantry’s gluten-free & wheat free rolled puff pastry) thawed


  1. Combine the eggs, sugar, tapioca flour in a small pan/pot and whisk. Gradually whisk in the soymilk until the mixture becomes smooth.
  2. Place the pan/pot over medium heat and stir until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  3. Remove the thickened mixture from the heat and add in the vanilla extract.
  4. Transfer your custard to a bowl and cover the top of the custard with cling film to prevent any skin forming on the top of your custard. Leave this to cool to room temperature.
  5. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  6. Cut your puff pastry sheet in half (vertically) and put one half on the top of the other half.
  7. Roll up the pastry from the short end and roll into a cylinder log. Divide the log into 1cm thickness for each circle (base).
  8. Roll each piece of pastry with a rolling-pin until the circle is roughly 10cm in diameter. Ensure that you keep your pastry nice and thin.
  9. Press your pastry rounds into a muffin tin.
  10. Spoon your custard mixture once cooled into each pastry round until you have used up all your custard mixture.
  11. Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
  12. Transfer the tarts onto a wire rack to cool down.
  13. Best eaten warm. These do not keep well so it is best to be eaten on the same day you make them.

I was happy with the way my Portuguese tarts looked. The appearance resembled a classic Portuguese tart with the black marks on the top of the custard. The flavours of the custard were lovely even when I used a different sugar substitute. My custard may have appeared more brown than the usual looking yellow custard that most of you are familiar with however the flavours and the soft texture of the custard were still reminiscent of the tarts I have eaten before. The pastry itself was unfortunately a bit harder than the normal flaky pastry I remember. I used a different type of pastry and I found this gluten and wheat free puff pastry gave my tarts a much harder texture. When you bit into the tart, the pastry was crunchy rather than being soft and flaky. Next time I will try this again but using a different puff pastry. I also found that these did not store long as the pastry the next day was not the same as what it tasted like when it was baked, so you definitely need to ensure you eat these tarts on the same day you make them. All in all, it was a good experiment and I will definitely be trying some more dessert tart recipes and tweaking them to make them healthier.

Pan Mixture

Pan Mixture 2

Pan Mixture 3

Whisking the Mixture

Whisking the Mixture 2

Mixture Thickening

Custard Mixture

Cling Wrapped Custard

Puff Pastry Halved

Log cut into 1cm circles

Rolled out Circles

Pastry in the muffin tin

Muffin Tin

Cooled Custard

Custard in the Molds

Baked Tarts

Cooling the Tarts

Portuguese Tart

Portuguese Tarts

Portuguese Tarts 2

Portuguese Tart Close Up

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold,  everything is softer and more beautiful.”

Norman Vincent Peale

Until next time! Happy Holidays!





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Filed under Dessert, Recipes, Snacks, Western

JACKPOT eats lunch at: Gowings Bar and Grill

Hello Readers!

I found myself back at Gowings Bar and Grill yesterday for lunch to celebrate Mr FOB’s birthday. I had never tried lunch or dinner here so I was keen to see what the food was like and whether the standard was as good as the breakfast was the last time I visited this restaurant. I was not disappointed and everyone seemed to enjoy their meals. The food was beautifully presented and each plate that came out was full of flavour and each ingredient in each dish complemented each other well. There were light options if you weren’t feeling too hungry where you could opt for an entrée size salad or main size salad or if you were feeling a bit more peckish you could order various meats and seafood from chicken to steak to fish. And if you still have some room, there is always dessert and it’s always hard to say no to dessert especially with the various options available such as Profiteroles, Creme Brulee, Hot German Doughnuts, Cheesecake and plenty more.

So onto the food…

Bread Roll Pepe Saya

My brown bread roll accompanied with Pepe Saya Butter – was very crunchy and a little hard on the teeth but I still enjoyed eating it regardless of this factor

Spanner Crab Cakes

Hot Spanner Crab Cakes with a salad of Hearts of Palms, Aioli & Hot Sauce $19.00

Ms Pen & I were hinting in a not so subtle way for someone to order this starter so we could have a little taste to see what it was like. I really liked this dish as it reminded me of flavours and spices from my childhood growing up. When you broke the crab cake apart you could see all the crab meat inside along with other various seasoning and spices. Although it was fried, the filling was quite light and the salad accompanying the crab cakes gave a nice contrast in flavours and in textures. Definitely something you must order when you visit Gowings.


A shot of the innards of the crab cake…look at all that crab meat…

Clams, Mussels, Vongole, Periwinkles

Raw Live Clams/Mussels/Vongole/Steamed Periwinkles served with a light dressing of Parsley, Coriander Stalks, Rice Wine Vinegar & Lemon $32.00

The birthday boy ordered the above starter to share with everyone. Although I didn’t have any of this I could hear that everyone at the table enjoyed this thoroughly. I liked that the seafood served was fresh and served with light dressing and simple herbs and seasoning to accompany it.

Mahi Mahi

Mr M’s meal – Mahi Mahi cooked pink and rubbed with Fennel, Coriander Seeds & Rosemary served with a Chopped Salad of Grape Tomatoes, Fennel Confit, Young Coriander MP $34/$44

Mr M told me that he really enjoyed his fish. I loved the use of bright ingredients and fresh vegetables to accompany the grilled fish. It was really well presented and looked like it had been cooked nicely with a bit of char from the grilling. It’s nice to see that even something so simple as a fish can be presented so beautifully on a plate.


Mr Kecap Maniis Boy’s meal – 1/2 Crisp Spiced Duck served with Paris Mash Potatoes, Steamed Warrigal Greens & Salt Bush $44.00


Mr Muscles meal: 1/2 Organic Herbed Chicken served with Paris Mash Potatoes, Steamed Warrigal Greens & Salt Bush $33.00

Mr Kecap Maniis Boy and Mr Muscles both enjoyed their meals served from the wood rotisserie. They both decided to get something different even though they were served with the same sides to see the difference. Both of them finished their plates shortly after it was placed in front of them. Always a sign that it was a good meal.

Rock Flathead

Mr FOB’s meal – Whole Line Caught Rock Flathead served with Lemon and a Caper Butter Sauce $37.00

Mr FOB enjoyed his meal thoroughly however his only gripe was that since it was a whole fish he had to spend time picking out all the bones from the fish.

Chicken Salad

Ms Pen’s meal – White Cooked, Chilled Organic Chicken Salad served with Quail Eggs, Steamed Kipfler Potatoes, Asparagus, Chervil, Baby Cos & a Black Truffle Dill Mayonnaise $28.00

Ms Pen and I were feeling like something a bit lighter especially as the weather was quite hot yesterday so we both opted for salads. Ms Pen opted for the chicken salad and she really enjoyed her meal. The truffle mayonnaise was served separately to the salad so that you could dress your salad with however much sauce you wanted either with only a little of the mayonnaise or poured over the salad quite sparingly. The boys at the table were all eyeing her salad as it contained mini quail eggs. The salad looked light and fresh with simple ingredients. Ms Pen offered me a bit of her salad and indeed it was very light and refreshing with the flavours all complementing each other.

Crab Salad

My Meal – Hand Picked Spanner Crab Salad served with Avocado Mousse, Pickled Asparagus, Mild Jalapeno, Coriander and Sliced Radish $35.00

I really enjoyed my salad and it was exactly what I was hoping for. The crab meat was soft and tender contrasting the crunchy radish slices, the mild heat from the jalapenos, the coriander and the soft and light avocado mousse. The salad was placed on top of sliced avocado pieces which gave it a different texture to the avocado mousse which was a lot smoother and soft once you took in each mouthful. This is a dish that I will definitely order again especially when I feel like something light and not too heavy.

And a meal cannot be complete without ordering some dessert. Mr Muscles knew I wanted some dessert so ordered a Mango Mousse for us to share. We ended up ordering another dessert as the birthday boy whilst not so much into dessert deserved to eat something special for his birthday so we ordered him an apple crumble to share with everyone.

Mango Mousse

Chilled Mango Mousse topped with Mango Jelly, Meringue Drops & Baby Basil Salad $15.00

I really enjoyed the mango mousse as it was really light and airy as a mousse should be. There was a nice contrast with the diced mango jelly and mango pieces on top of the mousse. Mr Muscles didn’t care for the basil garnish so he took that out and put it aside. This is a nice and refreshing dessert if you want something not too heavy and dense for dessert. It also wasn’t too sweet or rich which I liked.

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble Flavours – Sweet & Sour Apple Empanada, Peanut Brittle, Salted Caramel Ice-Cream, Apple Pickle and Caramel Cider $19.00

I only tried the ice cream and a bit of the peanut brittle from this dish but everyone on the table seemed to really enjoy this dessert. It appeared as a deconstructed take on a classic apple crumble but twisted in a way to make it very modern. The ice cream was rich and decadent and usually I’m not a fan of salted caramel but this was really delicious. The brittle was very crispy and light and tore apart very easily. If you are wanting a dessert that is a bit more decadent, this is definitely the perfect dessert to order.

All in all, I was really happy with the lunch we had at Gowings. The restaurant really cares about its plating and presentation and each dish is packed with lots of flavour utilising fresh, organic ingredients. Although the food might be quite pricey, the food does not disappoint. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy their meals. I definitely will be back again most likely for breakfast and lunch to try out all their other menu items.

It was a great lunch with great food and even greater company! Happy birthday again Mr FOB (even though you probably won’t read this ;P)

For details of their breakfast items and restaurant details, please see previous post.

Until next time!




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Filed under Birthday, Lunch, Restaurant, Sydney, Western

JACKPOT makes: Asian Style Pandan Waffles

Hello all!

Happy Friday! Time to embrace the weekend and get some well needed R & R after a long working week..I know I definitely need it!

I thought I would share with you all another creation made in the JACKPOT Kitchen. Lately I have been making a lot of Asian type desserts inspired by my childhood and food I used to eat that my mum used to cook and bake for me as a kid. I share with my mum my trials and tribulations in the kitchen and often she will give me advice on what I have done wrong, what I can do better and ways I can improve it. It’s like having an open recipe book where I can consult on different areas of a recipe and see what else I can do. Thanks mum!

The idea came about due to several reasons:

1. I got an awesome Pancake Waffle Pan from the lovely Ms S for my birthday and had been wanting to test it out ever since I received it…thank you again Ms S! It is definitely the coolest pan I own! Also, I got an awesome Kitchen Aid as well for my birthday so any excuse to use my mixer to mix up those egg whites ;P

2. I love all things Pandan – if you don’t know this already…see previous posts ;P

3. It was an excuse to make and thus eat waffles!

Pancake Waffle Pan

My Pancake Waffle Pan – I love how you can make 7 pancakes or waffles with this pan and the ease of flipping the pancakes with the use of chopsticks. I had a lot of fun experimenting with this recipe. I also loved the fact that you can see all the lines so that the pancake resembles a waffle – the best of both worlds!

Pandan Waffles

Adapted from Cuisine Paradise (


  • 1 cup of white spelt flour
  • 2-3 tbs of sugar (sweetener) – depending on your taste buds you can add more or less
  • 1.5 tsps of tapioca flour (arrowroot) – you can use corn flour if you don’t have this in your pantry
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg – white and yolk separated
  • 100ml of low-fat coconut milk (about 1/4 of a cup) – you can sub soy milk or normal milk if you want
  • 80ml of water (less than 1/4 of a cup)
  • 1/2-1 tsp of Pandan Paste
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil


  1. Whisk together the coconut milk, pandan paste, water, coconut oil and egg yolk in a small bowl until well combined.
  2. Sift the spelt flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and tapioca flour into a large mixing bowl and combine together.
  3. Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl until the batter is just combined (do not over mix the batter).
  4. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar using an electric mixer until stiff peaks are formed. This is usually mixed for around 5 minutes until the egg whites turn a glossy white colour and that once you turn your bowl upside down, the mixed egg whites do not fall out of the bowl.
  5. Fold the mixed whites into the batter until it is just incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into a pancake pen (bottle) so that the batter is easily squeezed out of the bottle. If you don’t have one, you can just spoon your mixture into the molds.
  7. Heat your waffle pan up and lightly grease it so that the waffles do not stick.
  8. Add a small amount of batter onto the molds (it will spread across the mold) and cook until there are bubbles formed on the top. This will usually be about a few minutes depending on the heat. Flip the waffle using chopsticks and let it brown a bit on the other side before removing.
  9. Repeat with the remaining batter until your batter is finished.
  10. Enjoy as is or accompanied with maple syrup, raw honey, jam or chocolate.
  11. Try not to eat them all at once as tempting as they may be!

Flour mixture

Flour Mixture 2

Wet Ingredients


Egg Whites

Egg Whites 1

Egg Whites 3

Stiff Peaks

Mixing Egg Whites into Batter

Making Waffles


* Not bad for my 1st one though a little deformed on the side – still tasted good regardless of this ;P

Waffle 2

* 2nd attempt – much better! look at the lovely golden markings on it ;P

Pandan Waffles

Pandan Waffles 3

Pandan Waffles 2

I was happy with the look of my pancakes as there was a lovely golden brown mark from the waffle molds which contrasted with the bright green of the pandan paste used in the mixture. The only thing I might need to adjust for next time is to add a bit more sweetener. I might try to use raw organic honey or agave nectar or even a bit of pure maple syrup to see what the taste is like. I can’t wait to use my pancake waffle pan again to make vegan buttermilk pancake waffles, matcha pancake waffles and much much more!

“You should eat a waffle! You can’t be sad if you eat a waffle!” 

Lauren Myracle

Enjoy the weekend everyone!




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Filed under Asian, Breakfast, Dessert, Indonesian, Pancakes, Pandan, Recipes, Snacks, Waffles

JACKPOT’s Purple Sweet Potato Madness

Hello dear readers!

Hope the week has been going well for all of you! Close to Friday already…meaning the weekend is just around the corner!

Last weekend I was in Bankstown and spotted some lovely looking purple sweet potato and I knew immediately that I would have to buy some. I used to love eating sweet potato cut into pieces and steamed for my lunch that I thought I would now try and create various food creations using purple sweet potato as the main ingredient (and mostly because I have probably been watching too much US Masterchef and have been really addicted to the challenges of the mystery box and creating all these dishes using items provided to you.)

So thus began my adventures of creating multiple dishes utilising the sweet potato flavour. I began by cutting the skin off the sweet potato yielding only the lovely purple skin and flesh of the sweet potato and then cutting them into chunky pieces to be steamed in my steamer for around 40-45 minutes. After the sweet potato has been steamed, I used a fork and mashed up the sweet potato until it is relatively smooth (don’t worry if it’s still chunky with some pieces in it).

The question though was what was I going to create with my sweet potato now that it had been steamed and mashed up.

I decided to go with 3 dishes:

1. Sweet Potato Chips (oven baked for 45 minutes with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil)

2. Klepon (Indonesian dessert using glutinous rice flour and palm sugar then coated in freshly grated coconut) – I changed this around and just used the glutinous rice flour, the sweet potato and a filling of coconut sugar (I also made ones without any sugar inside of it so you could really taste the sweet potato itself)

3. Purple Sweet Potato Mantou (A Chinese style bun utilising yeast and flour) – I used white spelt flour combined with the purple sweet potato


Sweet Potato Chips


  • Purple Sweet Potato peeled and sliced very thinly (you can use as much sweet potato as you want depending on how many batches you are going to make)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Peel your sweet potato until all the outer skin has been peeled off.
  3. Slice your sweet potato into very thin rounds so that they can crisp up in the oven
  4. Lay each slice on a baking tray lined with baking paper ensuring to leave a space in between each chip
  5. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil
  6. Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes ensuring that you continually turn the chips over so that it is evenly baked on both sides.
  7. Once you have taken the chips out of the oven, cool them on a wire rack and then store in an air tight container.
  8. Makes a good snack that you can take to work or garnish on your salad.

My sweet potato chips needed to be baked longer as I divided my batch into a second tray on the bottom of the oven which meant that my sweet potato chips were not cooked evenly and the bottom tray was not as crispy as the top. Next time I may bake it for longer but on a  lower temperature and keep switching the trays from top to bottom so that they cook evenly between each tray. I like the fact that it is a simple snack that you can make to bring to work or to have at home when you are feeling peckish and want something healthy and light.

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips 1

Sweet Potato Klepon & Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Balls


  • Purple Sweet Potato steamed and mashed (around 400g)
  • 1 cup of glutinous rice flour (may need to add more to get the right consistency
  • 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Coconut Sugar for the filling (if making Klepon – can be substituted with Palm Sugar which is the original ingredient for the filling)
  • Grated Coconut (optional)


  1. Combine your steamed mashed sweet potato with the glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour and water until it forms a dough that does not stick to your hand. If it is too sticky, add more glutinous rice flour but if it is too dry, add more water until you get the right consistency.
  2. If you are making Klepon, you will need to grab a bit of the dough and flatten it into a circular disc and then add in the sugar in the middle then seal it and roll it into a ball with the palm of your hands. Repeat until the dough is finished.
  3. If you are making just normal glutinous rice balls with your sweet potato mixture, grab a pinch of the dough and roll them into small balls. You can make your glutinous rice balls whatever size you like. I usually make an array of different sizes.
  4. Boil some water in a pot. Wait until it is boiling then drop in your glutinous rice balls into the boiling water. Once they float to the top, they are ready to be scooped out and put into a soup (such as a ginger soup – see my previous post on glutinous rice balls with sweetened ginger soup) or eaten as is if you are making klepon.
  5. For the Klepon, once the glutinous rice balls have floated to the top, you retrieve them out of the water and immediately roll them in freshly grated coconut. As I didn’t have any on hand, I skipped this step and just ate it as is.

I really enjoyed my version of Klepon and my sweet potato glutinous rice balls. They were a lot more dense due to the sweet potato but it tasted very healthy and nutritious. I loved the purple hue once you bit into the glutinous rice ball. The coconut sugar in the Klepon gave it a nice liquidy brown filling once you bit into it and contrasted the bright purple colour of the sweet potato glutinous rice ball. Also, I didn’t miss the freshly grated coconut on the klepon and even prefer it without the coconut.

Jackpot NOTE: You can freeze the glutinous rice balls and put them into the freezer to eat later on as all you will need to do is boil them again in water.

Mashed Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato Mixture

Making Klepon

Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Ball


Klepon inside

Purple Sweet Potato Mantou


  • Purple sweet potato steamed and mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Cup of white spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp of yeast
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 40ml of water
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil


  1. Whisk the yeast and water together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and sugar until incorporated together
  3. Mix in the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix together until it becomes a dough. Knead the dough with your hands or with a mixer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add in the coconut oil into the dough and keep kneading until the dough does not stick to your hands.
  5. Place your dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let it rest for about 20-3o minutes.
  6. The dough should have risen a bit whilst rested.
  7. Take out the dough from your bowl and punch it to get the air out and knead it further for a few minutes.
  8. Roll out your dough with a rolling-pin on a wooden board lightly dusted with flour into a rectangle shape.
  9. Roll up the dough so that it forms a long cylinder.
  10. Cut the cylinders into equal portions to make little rectangles of mantous
  11. Place the mantous in a lined steamed lined with baking paper and let it rest for another 5-10 minutes before steaming.
  12. Steam the mantous for 10 minutes.
  13. Enjoy whilst it is steaming hot still.
  14. You can store these in the fridge or freezer if you want to eat them later. You just need to reheat them in your steamer or in the microwave with a cup of water.

I was really happy with the way my mantous came out. The inside was not dry at all like some steamed mantous can be and it was quite moist due to the use of the steamed sweet potato. I used a bit more sweet potato and hence my dough did not rise as much and so I ended up with really small mantous.  Next time I will try this recipe again and try to use more flour if I use more sweet potato so that it is more balanced. I will also try it without as much sweet potato to see the difference. Whilst my mantou do not look as visually appealing as other mantous, the flavours were all there and the texture was spot on so I will need to work on the presentation of my mantous for next time.

Mashed Sweet Potato

Yeast Mixture

Flour Mixture

Flour Mixture with Yeast Mixture

Sweet Potato Mixture with Flour

Sweet Potato Dough

Sweet Potato Dough2

Sweet Potato Dough 3

Dough Rolled Out

Cut Dough


Mantous 2

Mantous close up

I think I’m definitely sweet potato’ed out! Time to move onto my next mystery ingredient…I wonder what that might be…

“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.”

Julia Child

Stay tuned!





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Filed under Asian, Dessert, Health Food, Healthy, Indonesian, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian, Western

JACKPOT makes: Homemade Steamed Taro Buns

Hello all!

I thought I’d share with you all my recent creation in the kitchen. The idea and inspiration for these steamed buns dates well back in time to when I was a little kid. I used to love all steamed buns (baos), mantous, and steamed cake and cupcakes as a kid that whenever I was treated to any of these delicious morsels of food, my eyes would light up immediately and I would always ensure that I savour each bit of food by breaking it apart into small pieces and eating each piece slowly. Growing up in an Indonesian household, steamed buns and cakes were quite the norm with mum always creating something new in the kitchen. As the years passed by, my love of all things to do with steamed buns and cakes continued to grow and blossom as I would often eye out all the asian bakeries to see what baked and steamed goodies they would have in their windows each day. This involved me frequenting Chinatown on the weekends with my family as I gawked at all the lovely cakes and desserts. As I grew older, I knew that I could not indulge as much in these cakes and desserts as my metabolism was not as great as when I was a kid who could eat literally anything, so instead, I stuck to just gawking and peering into the bakeries and cake shops to get my dessert fix in my mind.

Din Tai Fung which have many branches in World Square, Star City and Westfield Sydney do a taro bun which they hand make themselves from the bao dough to the taro paste. Often on my cheat days, I will go and purchase a steamed taro bun from here and devour it whole wishing it was slightly bigger and often wishing I had bought 2 or 3 more (yes…I am really that greedy with my dessert ;P).

I decided to see if I could make my own taro bun by making the dough from scratch and the taro paste from scratch as well. I used a basic bun (bao) dough recipe and made my own taro paste using taro that I steamed myself sweetened with honey and a bit of coconut oil to make a paste out of it. The flour that most places use to create these steamed buns is a Hong Kong bao flour (makes the bun white) however I did not have this in my pantry so settled with white spelt flour instead (hence why my buns look a bit more brown than white).

Home made Taro Paste

  • Steamed Taro
  • Organic Raw Honey
  • Water
  • Coconut Oil

Steamed Mashed Taro

cooking the taro paste

Cooking the Taro Paste 1

Home Made Taro Paste

Steamed Taro Buns

  • White Spelt Flour
  • Yeast
  • Baking Powder
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Coconut Oil

Flour & Yeast

Kneading the Dough 1

Kneading the Dough

Wrapped Dough

Risen Dough

Taro Paste

Making the buns


bun 1

Steamed Bun

Steamed Bun 1

Steamed Taro Buns

Inside of the bun

Inside of the taro bun

Steamed Taro Bun

And because I had left over dough and a bit of the taro paste left…I made a mega taro bun…alll for me…

Large Taro Bun

I was very happy with my first attempt at steamed buns. I will definitely try to make these again but with various other variations in the filling such as sweet potato, pumpkin, mung bean, red bean, lotus seed paste and black sesame. You could also probably change the dough skin to other flavours such as green tea, pandan or purple sweet potato. Can’t wait to try this again! I really liked that I knew what was being put into the dough and the paste. As much as most of the bakeries and cake shops display such lovely cakes and buns, I rarely know what ingredients they use to make their desserts so in this way, all the ingredients that I put in can be tweaked to what I like and how I like to make my food.

Until next time!



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Filed under Asian, Dessert, Healthy, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian

JACKPOT eats breakfast at: Gowings Bar and Grill

Hello dear readers!

Anyone feeling the Monday-itis this morning? I certainly am! This weekend feels like it literally passed me by and it’s already Monday again! I miss by bed and during this change in weather…nothing would feel better than lazing in bed and keeping warm under the bed sheets…guess I can just dream about it for now…

Yesterday morning, Mr Muscles had told me he was taking me to breakfast…i.e. a new place that we both could try and that I could blog about of course! Mr Muscles had heard a lot about this place called “Gowings Bar & Grill” situated in the old Gowings building in the city opposite Myer. So previous to him telling me that we were going to go to breakfast at this place, I decided to look up the menu and read up on people’s reviews. The menu looked quite extensive and there were many options to choose from ranging from sweet to savoury and many other things in between. Unfortunately however, I could not find any blog reviews on breakfast at this place. Most people had done many reviews on having dinner at this restaurant. I’m more a breakfast person than I am a dinner person so I was still quite keen to try out their breakfast menu.


Gowings Bar & Grill is situated in the QT Sydney Hotel building. The atmosphere and decor of the building as soon as you step inside the 1st floor of the building provides a quirky and modern feel. You instantly feel like you have transported yourself into a club/cabaret style place. Gowings Bar and Grill presents itself as a “European style brassiere with an edgy contemporary design”. The website says that the restaurant offers “the freshest produce from Australia’s best artisan providores”. As you walk up the stairs to the restaurant, you instantly see into the big kitchen with the chefs cooking the meals and preparing the food. The restaurant is quite big with simple but contemporary furniture. The staff were attentive and quick to come to the customers’ aid where necessary. Also, I found that the food came out very quickly as there was not a long wait time even for things such as baked eggs. I’m not exactly sure how busy this restaurant gets as we only came for breakfast. I would assume that during lunch and dinner, would be when their most busiest times were. We booked breakfast for 8:45 and there were only a few customers at the restaurant at the time, and most were hotel guests.

gowings 1

gowings 2

Gowings 4

Gowings 5

Gowings 6


Menu 2

Menu 3

The Menu

There were so many options to pick from for their Breakfast menu that Mr Muscles and I had a difficult time deciding what to eat. The waiter came around I think twice to ask us if we were ready to order and we were still undecided (I curse my libran traits for being so indecisive even when it comes to ordering food) To eat sweet or savoury? To eat healthy or slightly more indulgent? If only my stomach could fit in more food I would have ordered so many more dishes. This just means that I will have to go back and try other things. On this occasion however, I had over indulged in too much dessert the day before so I was not feeling like anything too heavy (Yes my sweet tooth made a big appearance on saturday and now I am in much regret for eating too much dessert…must cut back…soon ;P). The blueberry spelt flour pancakes had my name written all over it but unfortunately my mind had concurred already that I should not eat any more sweet stuff due to my over indulging. The worst part about it was the customer sitting next to me ordered these said pancakes and all I was doing during breakfast was eyeing her food…terrible I know! I decided to go for the healthier option ordering the Organic Yoghurt Hit which came with Granola, Oats and Almonds and marinated poached plums. Mr Muscles on the other hand was feeling quite hungry and as usual ordered a savoury dish. He ended up choosing the Wood-Fired Clay-Pot Free Range Eggs served with Sourdough Bread and because he was feeling extra hungry he also ordered a bagel on the side as well.

Green Tea

My usual green tea (organic tea hand-made by Penelope Sach) $5.50


Mr Muscles usual coffee $4.50

Pepe Saya

Pepe Saya Butter

Mr Muscles had ordered some toast and a bagel so the restaurant had given some Pepe Saya butter to accompany the bread. Mr Muscles could not have been happier. He had heard so much about this butter and couldn’t wait to try it on his bread. He kept raving on about it so I assumed that the butter was good ;P

Yoghurt and Granola

Organic Yoghurt Hit – Topped with Spelt Toasted Granola, Oats, Toasted Almonds and Marinated Plums $9.00

Bowl of Muesli & Yoghurt

Marinated Plums

The yoghurt and granola were just what I needed that day for breakfast. It was light and not too heavy and the poached plums were nice and soft against the crunchy toasted almonds that were sliced and slivered. The granola tasted strangely familiar and I pinpointed it to be the same granola that I had eaten at Sonoma cafe previously before. I assume that they source their granola from here. The portion size of this breakfast item was on the smaller side and for people who want something light and refreshing for breakfast. The yoghurt was placed below the granola in the bowl so as you delved further into the bowl you would get a good mix of yoghurt and granola. As usual, I found many sultanas in my granola which I ended picking out and putting it on the side of my plate. I still have quite the aversion to sultanas and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.

Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs 1

Sourdough Toast

Wood-Fired Clay-Pot Free Range Eggs – Baked on Cannellini Beans, Pancetta, Shallots, Parsley, Tomato served with Sourdough Bread $17.00

Mr Muscles really enjoyed his breakfast as he loves baked eggs. The sourdough toast paired really well with the baked eggs dish as you could dip your bread into the tomato mixture. With each spoonful, there was a lovely combination of flavours from cannellini beans to pancetta to tomato to the soft liquid like eggs. There are many other egg breakfast items to try and Mr Muscles has already said that we would be visiting this restaurant again for another breakfast in the future. I saw on the menu that they do a 64 degree biodynamic egg served with a warm brioche and a 3 Free-Range Egg White Omelette served with Asparagus, Kale, Swiss Chard and Shiitake Mushrooms cooked in Flax Seed Oil. Definitely a lot of items that I will have to try on my next visit ;P Also I noticed that there was a selection of warm mini pastries that you could have for breakfast that included a fruit sweet cheese Danish style pastry, a custard duck egg tart, croissant, pain au chocolat, custard fruit brioche served with butter, marmalade and jam. If only my stomach could fit more in…that assortment of pastries sounds so delicious!


Hand made Bagel (Natural Leavened Stone Baked Bread) $6.00

Inside of the bagel

Inside shot of the bagel

All in all I really enjoyed breakfast at Gowings Bar & Grill. The menu clearly showed that the restaurant uses really good ingredients and there is a wide variety of food items to choose from. The restaurant also do lunch and dinner so I will be keen to go back to try their lunch and dinner menu on my next visit.

Gowings Bar & Grill

QT Sydney

49 Market Street,

Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 8262 0062


Open Breakfast 6.30am – 10.30am | Lunch from 12 noon | Dinner from 6pm | Bar 12 noon – 12 midnight

Until next time!



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Filed under Breakfast, Eggs, Fruit, Granola, Health Food, Restaurant, Sydney, Toast, Western, Yoghurt