Let’s bake Mooncakes

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It’s that time of year again… buying overpriced mooncakes! Not this year.

Although the pandemic has been a bit stressful and living in Melbourne means we were under some pretty strict lockdown rules, I was pretty happy to hear that those living on their own could nominate a social buddy to come visit… and so I became Lynn’s buddy! One of the first things we decided to do upon meeting after many months of not seeing each other was attempt to make mooncakes.

My mum used to make mooncakes when I was younger, and she still tells me about the trials and tribulations she went through trying to get the mooncake out of the old school wooden paddle. Luckily for us, I managed to procure these plastic moulds from deep within my cupboard (something my mum bought when she decided she had enough of the wooden paddle, but then discarded the plan altogether).

Mooncake2

Sharing my mum’s woes with Lynn, we were both a bit apprehensive about making mooncakes but were determined to give it a go. Upon reflection, the hardest thing about this whole endeavour was getting an accurate ratio of pastry: filling: egg, especially since we had purchased the lotus paste (we did not have the time to make this, although maybe next time?) and the salted egg yolk.

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We were quite aware (and slightly stressed after remembering my mum’s troubles) that the mould that we had wasn’t quite traditional and thus, were very proud of ourselves when we were able to recall high school algebra to determine the perfect weight required for each pastry, filling and egg. This was a particularly rewarding moment for us, as we actually became friends in a shared math class.. 12 years ago!

It was going so well, until we decided to follow a certain questionable recipe that recommended us to egg wash the pastry a couple of times during the baking process. This unfortunate step caused us to lose the detail from our beautiful rose mould, which resulted in a less than desirable pattern, but alas… it still tastes good.

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When planning to make mooncakes, we didn’t realise that it needed to “rest” for a couple of days. We were most sad that we couldn’t enjoy the culmination of our hard work together, so decided to try one straight out of the oven anyway – it still tasted great, although a bit more crispy. I then, painstakingly, hid my share of mooncakes for 3 days before revealing them to family (lest they eat them) and took the photo above.

The waiting game was meant to create a glossier and softer skin, which I think it achieved? It still tasted just as delicious to me, and was devoured quickly by my family!

Snow skin next time?

Big Bang: Honey Butter McNight

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No doubt that we’ve all been trying out new things during lockdown, and I’ve been no different.

I saw this wonderful video from Big Bang: Happy Together years ago, and I’ve been dreaming about Daesung’s Honey Butter McNight ever since. I’ve tried looking for Hotteok (honey pancakes) in various Korean grocers over the years, but was unsuccessful until recently when I stumbled across them in the fridge section in the Korean Grocer that is less than a 1 minute walk from my work (whaaaaat??). Of course, I bought them immediately and made this surprisingly delicious snack.

In the clip, Daesung names this dish ‘Honey Butter McNight‘ due to the taste resemblance to Maccas, and it being a naughty late night snack after going out clubbing. Being in a pandemic (and me never going clubbing usually..), I just had it for breakfast/brunch,  but the combination of the egg and cheese did remind me of a sweet Sausage McMuffin, and it makes sense why people might enjoy this after a night of fun.

If you’re too lazy to watch the video, you can make this with these simple ingreidents:

2 x Hotteok Pancakes, warmed in the pan with butter
Egg, ideally cooked in an egg ring with butter
Cheddar Cheese (or plastic American cheese)
Honey for drizzling inside and on top
Black Pepper, to really give it an extra kick

Stack it all together and you’ve got a really delicious (but unhealthy) snack ♥

If you find hotteok in your local store, I definitely recommend you giving this a shot, because it is just as tasty as the Happy Together crew say it is (be generous with the black pepper!)

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Eat with Melody & Lynn: Random Snacks!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Snack Review post… which is evident, as the above photo doesn’t accurately depiction what food was actually eaten and reviewed! In this special and unorganised edition, I have Lynn guest starring to help me review some delicious snacks we found at her local Asian Grocer.

Lavabites

Unico Lava Bites: Choco Lava and Strawberry ($1 each)

Nothing attracts an Asian like a good sale. As soon as we entered the store, we were both immediately drawn to a basket of these cute boxes, advertised for $1 each.  We took one of each flavour.

Due to the price cut, neither of us really had high hopes of this cookie, but… it actually turned out okay! As expected, the filling was hardly gooey like that of a lava cake. But it did taste like a Hello Panda biscuit, so I consider it redeemed in my books. I really enjoyed the strawberry flavoured cookie, and thought it had a really nice crunch to it.  The chocolate was a little bit more average, but I believe, we still managed to finish both boxes easily.

Chips

Oishi: Ribbed Cracklings in Salt & Vinegar ($?)

This next purchase was Lynn’s choice of snack (mine was the Salted Egg ridges that we didn’t end up reviewing together). I was very excited when I saw these because I haven’t seen them around for quite a while, and so it was like a blast from the past! I love chips, and I’m a fan of salt & vinegar, so these were enjoyable enough. Funnily enough, I’m actually the opposite and not usually a fan of salt & vinegar, so this is probably the only salt & vinegar flavoured snack I have ever actively craved. 

However, they weren’t memorable? How dare you! I don’t remember too much about the flavour, but I do remember that they became a bit addictive once you kept eating them… but aren’t all chips the same??? The individual pieces tasted mostly the same as I remembered. One thing to note, though, was that the packs I used to buy were a mini version so they were way more palatable (as a whole pack) than this bigger pack we got. So even though we shared this pack, the vinegar flavour did get pretty strong and overwhelming for me by the time we finished it. 

Boba

Xiao Mei Brown Sugar Milk Tea Ice Cream ($9.90)

Okay, so I have been seeing these ice cream everywhere online, but I was always too stingy to spend $10 for myself… but with Lynn enabling me, how could I say no? See, the thing is, a few years ago (back when the brown sugar milk tea trend hadn’t even been born), I bought a cheap box of “milk tea ice cream bars” and to say they were a disappointment would be an understatement – the pearls were soggy and the milk tea flavour was weak. So even though everyone has been raving about these brown sugar ones online, I was cautiously optimistic due to having been burnt that one time.

In short, these were delicious. I. LOVED. THEM.  The tapioca balls were still chewy and the milk tea flavoured ice cream tasted really good! It tasted exactly like the brown sugar milk tea drink, plus, it being extra cold made it taste even better. 11/10 FROM ME. The ice cream was quite melted by the time we took these photos, but it didn’t compromise the flavour (maybe it enhanced it??), so no complaints from me!

All in all, we had great fun eating these snacks whilst watching To All The Boys: PS. I Still Love You!

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