Lemon cheesecake

Recipe and cake from my baking extraordinaire friend, N. Things go into a bowl, into a cake tin, and an hour later, there’s something delicious to be had.

This recipe uses a biscuit-base, probably the easiest cheesecake base around. Unless it doesn’t have a base, in which your cheesecake is most likely a fluffy Japanese-style cheesecake. For most of the time, I stood around and took pictures. But the recipe looks straightforward, and forgiving (provided everything is measured out right, and directions are followed correctly).

1 cup crushed plain sweet biscuits (We used Marie.)
80 g butter

250 g cream cheese
3 eggs, separated
65 g white sugar
65 mL double cream
zest of one lemon
3/4 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
20 g melted butter
2 tbsp plain flour

Before you bake cake/ Line and, or, grease a cake tin/

Make the biscuit base first.

Hey you, get smashing/ (But more a rolling motion)/ Smash them biscuits good

1. Crush biscuits. Put the biscuits into a clean bag, and use a rolling pin to crush them. Don’t tie the bag up as shown in the picture, if you smash too hard the biscuits puncture through the bag, and you will have a mess. Keep the bag untied, and keep the crumbs and biscuity bits in the bag.

Microwave beams, go!/ Vibrate, water molecules!/ Warm up my butter

Add butter to mix/ Here comes my favourite part/ Mix it ’round and ’round

2. Melt the 80g butter. Mix the biscuit crumbs and butter in a bowl. Press the base mix into a greased and/or lined cake tin. Use the base of a cup or spoon to press it down if you want a smooth and even biscuit layer.

Put the cake tin with the biscuit base in the fridge. Onwards to the cheesecake filling!

3. Preheat to 160 degrees Celcius. Arrange the racks so the cake tin can sit in the middle, and a baking pan of water can fit in the oven with the cheesecake (on a lower rack).

Magic stuff in bowl/ If I didn’t know better/ Sugar and cream cheese

Handy dandy tool/ My buddy the eggbeater/ Whip that cream cheese good

4. Cream the cream cheese, and half of the sugar first. Then slowly add cream and beat until thick. Add egg yolks, one at a time. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.

Even more butter/ Add some flour to the mix/ Even more beating

5. Stirring/beating more slowly now, add the melted butter and flour. Stir to incorporate.

6. Making sure the egg beaters are clean, and free from any yolk, cream cheese mixture or water, beat the 3 whites (in a big bowl) until they are frothy. (This takes less than a minute.) Then add the other half of the sugar.

One tip for one whites/ No oil, and no water/ Will not get stiff peaks

Egg white is protein/ Whipping makes a protein net/ Capture air bubbles

7.  Beat until stiff peaks form.

Add an egg white cloud/ Aeration comes from egg whites/ For fluffy cheesecake

8. Fold the egg whites into the lemon-cream cheese mixture.

gently mixed batter?/ Now plonk into your cake tin/ No ceremony

The less-tasty cake/ Magical transformation/ Ta-da! Tasty cake

9. Pour into cake tin. Hopefully the biscuit base will be a bit more solid by now. Doesn’t matter if it isn’t, but it helps the base stay together after baking.
10. Bake for an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. It is very important that a baking tray of water is in the oven with the cheesecake. Otherwise it will dry out.

Baking does wonders/ Magical transformation/ actually science

Cool before serving. Chill if you can.

Just a little slice/ A proper serve for photos/ Larger serve for me


Name: Tutto
Location: 81 Grattan St, Carlton VIC 3053
Cost: Medium cup $5.50, 3 toppings for $2.50.
Cost rating: 3/5
Taste rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 9/10
Would I go again? Yes.

Unlike the previous Cacao Green and Tutti frutti post , this post will not have nutritional contents or consumer psychology. I can’t find any nutritional information on the Tutto website, but according the owner Tutto frozen yogurt has a third of the sugar of gelati. That seems to be 5-8% sugar (by volume, or weight?)

Tutto works in the same way as Cacao Green, but with the added option of choosing multiple flavours instead of just one. (I have been able to consistently get two flavours.) Tutto also lets you taste the flavours before choosing. On the day, there was original, lemon & ginger, pomegranate and red bull. Sometimes the flavours will change. The week after had mandarine instead of pomegranate. They were all natural tasting, and the fruity flavours weren’t too sweet. Lemon and ginger had a clean gingery taste, which I enjoyed. Pomegranate flavour tasted of pomegranate too. Red bull is a strange flavour, it’s the same flavour as Red Bull (an energy drink) but contains no actual Red Bull. Compared to the rest of flavours, Red Bull is quite strong. But it wasn’t unpleasant. If you’re one of those strange people who like taste of cough medicine, Red Bull frozen yogurt is up your alley.

As for toppings, I have tried the mango compote, strawberries, rockmelon, green tea mochi, gummi bears, coconut and peanut mix, biscuit crumble and brownies. There are also nuts, Pocky, chocolate chips, chocolate flakes, froot loops, raspberry compote and waffle biscuits.

All the little snacks/ House-made brownies and compote/ Fruit, chocolate, and nuts

Cinnamon biscuit/ Sweet syrupy mango sauce/ Gingery froyo

Mango compote: I thought this would have a really good mango flavour because the fruit flavours of the frozen yoghurt was good. But it was too sweet and didn’t have a lot of mango flavour I had hoped it’d have. But then, it is winter here and mangoes are now hard to come by. It’d be unreasonable to expect compote to made from fresh mangoes (sounds delicious….) so canned mango it is! Canning does some sad things to fruit.

Biscuit crumble: Tastes like crushed cinnamon biscuits. I wish the crumble had larger chunks in it so it would be crunchy instead of a fine biscuit powder.

Strawberries, rockmelon: Diced fresh fruit. Good stuff.

Mochi and gummi/Pomegranate underneath/It would be bright pink

Gummi bears: Gummi bears become hard and chewy when they’re cold. Then get stuck in your teeth. Definately not something I’ll have with frozen yoghurt again. (But I like both frozen yoghurt and gummi bears, mind you.)

Green tea mochi: Soft mochi, but floury. Possibly the wrong rice flour? I prefer the Cacao Green chewy mochi instead of this floury mochi.

Look! It's pink froyo./ Red sauce and red fruit./ Boo, white coconut.

Coconut and peanut mix: Dessicated coconut and crushed roasted peanuts. Toasty and crunchy, just the way it should be.

Rockmelon tastes good/ with lemon-ginger froyo/ I'll keep that in mind.

Brownies: A bit ‘overcooked’ for a brownie. I like them soft and chocolatey on the inside. The texture is consistent throughout these brownies. They’re kinda rubbery and aren’t chocolatey enough.

Nevermind coffee/ Just the shortbread biscuit, thanks./ Sweet crumbly goodness.

Apparently the coffee isn’t fantastic. Unfortunate. However, the biscuit that accompanies the coffee is really good though.  Crunchy shortbread with a nutty mix (coconut, peanut and sesame?) and dried cranberries studded throughout. I wonder if they’d share their recipe with me.

TUTTO Premium Frozen Yogurt & Desserts on Urbanspoon

Red Spice Road 02

Name: Red Spice Road
Location: 27 McKillop St, Melbourne CBD.
Price: The dinner banquet #2 is $65 per person.
Cost: 3/5 (it is a lot of money)
Taste: 10/10
Overall rating: 9/10
Would I come here again? Yes, for special occasions.

I’m back at Red Spice Road, thanks to the lovely SdV. My qualm with RSR is the lighting. (But most people wouldn’t mind the lighting.) It’s dim at night, and lit by red lampshades, which is quite savvy with its audience — younger adults. It’s terrible lighting for food photography. Without flash it’s way too dark to takes pictures without a tripod, and the problem with flash is the nasty glare. One way to bypass the glare problem is to use a diffuser (or a piece of white card to bounce the light onto your food so the glare doesn’t happen. Or to use your handy dandy torch/phone as an alternate light source.

Banquet #2 consists of 3 appetisers, 4 mains (served with long grain white rice) and 1 dessert.
Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes

Delicious betel/ Wait, what? The chicken was smoked?/I had no idea

(Betel leaf appetiser picture courtesy to MT.)

This time the betel leaves were more mature, so they weren’t as tender as the ones in Red Spice Road (RSR) 01. I wouldn’t have thought the chicken was smoked until I went back to RSR website and checked their menu. (The names are long, and sometimes there are surprising ingredients that I had missed.) But to make up for the lack of smokiness, there is clearly kaffir lime leaf in the chicken.

Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes, if it was on a la carte

Toot, under the sea/ That's where I'd like to be, toot/ Collect all scallops

I liked this a lot, as the 10/10 score might have indicated. Usually I dislike fresh scallops (I do like dried scallop, also known as conpoy.) because they’re always a tad overcooked when I order them. Seeing as this is a cheap-eats blog (most of the time), this is hardly surprising. I’ll still eat them if they aren’t chewy.
But chewiness and doneness of scallops is not an issue at RSR. The scallops are juuust done, complete with browning on the toop and bottom for that toasty sweetness to complement the natural sweetness of fresh seafood. Scallop, duck and cucumber is an unusual combination, but it works. The duck wasn’t overwhelmingly duck, there was minimal game flavour and little fat or the darker duck meat so that may have toned down the duck flavour. Cucumber has commonly been used to ‘sweeten’ meats in asian cooking, and has the additional benefit of being a ‘cooling’ food (according to eastern hot-cold food-medicine philosophy) to balance out the ‘heatiness’ of duck.
The little bit of rice underneath of scalllop helps keep the scallop upright, but I wouldn’t have minded if the rice was not there.

Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes

Neatly trimmed lamb rib/ The ultimate finger food/ Don't forget the jam

Lamb ribs, or ribs of any animal, are delicious. The lamb rib seemed to have been braised with aromatic spices (star anise and some other things), then breaded and deep-fried. I would have been happy even with the frying. Frying seems to be one of three themes at RSR, the other two being curry and herby salad. The chilli jam is chilli paste without seeds. The ‘jam’ is on the bottom of the bowl, so people (myself included) might not notice the chilli under the dim lighting and go without chilli jam.
Even without the jam, twice cooked lamb rib is fantastic.

Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? Only comes with banquets.

Refreshing green dish?/ Only compared to curries/ Nooo, disappointment. =(

The colours look good (lots of different green things), but the taste is rather insipid. It didn’t have to be, because all of the ingredients have a distinctive taste. Asian celery is different from the usual fleshy celery, as it isn’t fleshy at all. It has a thin stalk perhaps half a centimeter in diameter, and tastes like a stronger version of the yellow inner stalks of celery but more pungent. I haven’t met a green tomato I did like, they’ve all been watery-tasting. But an upside to this is that it’s flavour neutral among dishes that have a strong flavour, it serves as a palate freshener. But it’d be more refreshing as a vegetarian dish.
But if I was ordering a la carte, I wouldn’t order this because there are plenty of other dishes that are better. Luckily it’s not on the a la carte menu.

Taste: 9.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Sticky pork belly/ Sigh, so juicy and tender/ Occasional treat

I’d order it again because pork belly is done so well here, and it is a tasty treat every now and then. The pork belly is very sweet, but it does have apple slaw and vinegar to counteract the sugar. It is still too sweet for my liking, but this is RSR’s signature dish for a good reason — it’s delicious. The pork belly is braised til it’s tender and the fat is gelatin-like, then deep fried for extra crunch. It’s not greasy in the way underfried things are, and fried pork belly arrives on your table still crunchy.
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes, if it was on the menu. It’s a great stand-alone, so I don’t know it’s not on the main menu.

For warm humid days/ Barramundi green curry/ Summer ain't so bad

Hello green curry and barramundi fish. Two of my favourite foods in one dish.
Barramundi is also known as Asian seabass, and less commonly known as giant perch, giant seaperch, Australian seabass. (courtesy of wikipedia) It has white, soft, flaky flesh with a considerable amount of fat. Not fat in the way salmon is fatty, the barramundi fish’s fat is more evenly distributed and so the flesh is softer. It also seems to have less connective tissue than salmon. Overall, it’s a great eating fish. It can sometimes be muddy tasting, but that’s an issue with its farming.

Green curry mostly has green chillies, corriander, kaffir lime leaves, galangal and other herbaceous-yet-warmly spicy flavours. Despite what connotations the colour green might carry for you, green curry isn’t less spicy than red curry. But it is sweeter and has more kick at the back of the throat. It goes well with fish, but vegetarian green curry is also a satisfying meal in itself. (You have to have eggplant!) Snake beans are okay too, they’re firmer and have more crunch than string beans but don’t evoke the same sense of Spring as string beans do.

There’s plenty of flavour in this curry. Some restaurant use herbs frugally or rely on premade pastes, which is fine as long as the end product is tasty. But sometimes I want the real deal, and here it is.
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes, if it was on main menu. But there is another beef cheek main, as a massaman curry.

Doesn't look like much/ But it holds up to 'spoon test'*/* I made that up now

Crush stuff with your spoon/ See photo for description/ Light pressure only

My, oh my. Slow cooked beef cheeks. Everybody loves slow cooked food. Beef cheeks are something different. The cheek is an underused piece of meat, slightly chewy, lots of flavour and has collagen laced throughout, making it the more delicate version of stewing beef. The beef is so tender you can mash it with the back of a spoon, see second beef cheek picture for a demonstration.
I couldn’t tell you anything about the hot ‘n sour salad that the picture above couldn’t tell you. All of my attention was at barramundi green curry and beef cheeks. If I had to pick only two mains, I’d choose the green curry and beef cheek. If I could only choose one, I may possibly spontaneously combust.

Lastly, dessert.

Would I order it again? Yes.

Miniature dessert/ This is all you really need/ Only a taster

At this point of dinner, everybody was bursting-at-the-seams full. But I have another space allocated for dessert. Don’t ask me where it comes from.
The passionfruit and peanut praline (sprinkled on top on the passionfruit cream) becomes a crunchy, tangy cream (yellow), the puffed wild rice is sprinkled on top, and the coconut ice cream (white) crenelle sits on top.The passionfruit cream is a cross between fruit gel and cream, as the cream does not dilute the passionfruit. It’s zingy and full of passionfruit flavour. To balance the tartness of passionfruit is the texture of cream, and the coconut ice cream. The consistency of puffed rice makes things crunchy. To me, puffed rice doesn’t quite give enough crunch by itself but there’s still the peanut praline. I’m amused by the novel puffed wild rice. I wonder how they do that.
The serving size may seem small, but by the end of the meal, you wouldn’t want to anything larger than that.

In addition to that:
PEACH ON THE BEACH (42 Below vodka and peach liquer layered with poached peaches, pineapple and cranberry juice) ($30)
Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? No.

Peach on the Beach jug/ Fruity girly cocktail/ Best consumed with friends

Wait, what? They were poached peaches? I thought they were from a can. But I like canned peaches, so I can forgive them.
Peach on the Beach doesn’t taste particularly alcoholic or mind-blowingly delicious, and I suspect there isn’t much alcohol in it. (I also have two subjects with decreased alcohol dehydrogenase function who can attest to this by their lack of ruddiness — simply put, my lovely girlfriends were not red in the face as they would have been with any other glass of alcoholic beverage.) It tastes of peachy fruit punch, while delicious, not particularly exciting or refreshing. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty (in pink) fruity girly drink.

That concludes my review of dinner banquet #2 at Red Spice Road.
Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon


Name: Passionflower
Location: Shop 2, 168 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD
Price range: $5-48. Yes, forty-eight dollars.
Cost rating: 1/5
Taste overall: 4/10
Overall score: 3/10
Would I come here again? No.

Passionflower is overrated. I am not a fan of Passionflower. I have not yet met a place that I disliked as much as Passionflower. Go spend your $5 (minimum $5) on some other place like New Zealand Natural or Baskins 31. Even better, take your $5 and play icecream roulette at your local asian grocer that stocks cheap icecreams with names in languages you can’t read. For those who are fans of Passionflower, my apologies for raining on your parade. But I will list reasons why I dislike this place.

Why is it overrated, you may begin to wonder. I found it severely overpriced. I mean $8 for a scoop of icecream (that seems to taste of Peters Vanilla) in something that tastes like Nescafe Instant coffee with added grit at the bottom? Or pancakes that seem to be reheated hotcakes from the supermarket for $14? Or $12 for three small scoops of icecream? (Scoops are the size of a lime, roughly 7cm in diameter.)
If it is so pricey, then surely there must be good service, presentation, novelty in the exotic asian flavours and excellent icecream to be had.
Service is appalling. We’ve all heard horror stories about the waiter from hell, or the head of house with the rare ability to quadruple-book dinners, or the Typhoid Mary-esque chef with gangrene (to complicate matters, and for narration.) Then be assertive and call the wait-staff to serve you, one may suggest. Attention is the least of their problems. There is no greeting, not even a nod or glance to acknowledge your existence.
“Hi! A group of thirteen?”

A group of thirteen people. You need space for thirteen people, maybe in two lots due to seating arrangements and availability of free seats. When the staff had finally comprehended the situation and discussed it between themselves, we had arranged the tables and chairs ourselves. Good job.

Presentation of food is actually quite good. The three scoops of icecream appear in a martini glass. I’d rather have a real martini though. The ‘Masterpiece’ dessert (pictures below) is visually appealing. The tables and chairs are a sleek silver, and the seats are a stripey black and silver. The place looks good, and so does its food.

Novelty asian flavours. There are asian flavours, such as black sesame, pandan, red bean, durian and taro. Novelty? Not really. I could get any one of those icecreams from around the corner in Chinatown. So, for the ordinary person who doesn’t go pillaging asian grocers for strange adn wonderful things, Passionflower might offer exotic flavours. (I think people should visit speciality grovers more often. You never know what you might find.)

Delicious icecream. I would disagree. The taste is very bland and too diluted in the wide expanse of creamy filler to actually be a flavoursome icecream. The texture is also subpar. I believe they need to reset their freezers to be actually negative 20 degrees celcius, for the icecream is already near drinkable by the time it reaches your table. It is way too soft and ‘warm’. I love ice cream, and I can go into the merits and downfalls of different icecream preparations with you if you are willing to lend me an ear to gnaw on. But in short, their icecream is a disappointment.


Unexpectedly/ Peanuts and rice balls were best/ Nutty cocktail

Price: $12
Contains: Black sesame icecream, a pink icecream, peanut powder, glutinous rice balls coated in a mixture of toasted black sesame, roasted peanuts and sugar.

Disappointing icecream aside, the glutinous rice balls with the nutty coating is tasty. They need to have a separate dish with just that on it.


Neat presentation/ Um, green tea and vanilla?/ Equates to geisha?

Price: $12
Contains: Green tea icecream, lychee-rose icecream, coconut icecream, diced canned peaches.

I liked the look of this the best. I didn’t taste any of the icecreams, but I certainly hope that the green tea icecream didn’t taste like the green tea mousse.


Choco martini/ Seems like the safer option/ But unexciting

Price: $12
Contains: Chocolate icecream, vanilla icecream, and something else.


Espresso, icecream/ All-rounder tasty dessert/ How can it go wrong?

An affogato should be a scoop of icecream with a shot of espresso coffee on top. It’s a fantastic dessert. According to the person who had this, the icecream was too milky and tasteless, the coffee tastes of instant coffee and the bottom of the glass had coffee grounds. Anybody who has had any experience with a coffee machine will be able to tell you that obtaining a coffee-tasting coffee from a coffee machine is as simple as pressing a button. How can you screw up an espresso? I can see how some espressos are worlds better than others, but it is difficult to get a bad espresso provided your coffee machine is calibrated.


Easy on the eyes/ Tasteless beyond redemption/ Masterpiece, my foot

Price: $25 (+$2 surcharge for banana, banana production is still hurting from floods in Queensland)
Conatins: Two rolls of chocolate crepe with banana inside, mini pancakes with jam and cream, green tea mousse, coffee mousse, a wafer boat with three scoops of icecream: taro, vanilla and another purple one with seedy bits in it.

I feel incredibly cheated. If this was a fantastic platter, then I’d be happy to chip in for the $27, but it isn’t. I should go get a platter of desserts from Hanabi on King St, for roughly the same price and mark it as the bar. The standard that every other place must follow in order to charge $27 for a platter of desserts.

Chocolate-banana crepes: The crepes are okay, they are soft and chocolatey, almost rubbery. Somehow they lack the caramelised panfried ‘baked goods’ taste about them. It’s the banana that gets me riled up. I am sure that the banana used in the crepes are not the usual kind of banana we grow in Queensland. They taste like the imported sugar bananas, and when the crepes are unravelled, the looks remarkably like sugar bananas. (I have eaten my fair share of sugar bananas in my life. I am quite sure I can spot them in a banana cake mixed in with Qld bananas. They have a distinct taste and smell about them.) So, why charge the extra $2 for bananas that aren’t even affected by the cyclone that tore up banana plantations in Queensland? To me, that’s just dishonest.

Mini pancakes with jam and cream: Wait for it, I nearly have no words for this. Pancakes taste like supermarket pancakes, simply reheated and replated. I understand that a restaurant doesn’t do everything from scratch, there simply isn’t enough time to. But to replace a product that is simple to prepare, quick to cook with a vastly inferior product to fill out a dessert platter is unacceptable. To add to the insult, the jam presentation leaves me wanting. Surely, using a spoon to get a neat dome of jam is easy enough? The cream is aerosol-can cream. Whipping cream and piping it out is not a gigantuous feat either. Whipped cream is used in so many of their platters and desserts that surely having a delicious cream is a good investment for them. I cannot comprehend the reasoning why anybody would place these terrible pancakes, jam and aerosol cream onto a dessert platter and see that is it accceptable. I am disappointed.

Green tea mousse: The little shotglass it comes in is cute. It is a pity about the taste. The consistancy and flavour of the ‘green tea’ ‘mousse’ is not dissimilar to tasteless wasabi made from a powder. The floury texture, the green colour, the powdery taste with no discernable flavour about it, that is Passionflower’s green tea mousse. In addition to this, the bottom of the shot glass is filled with cake crumbs. Why cake crumbs? Why not a piece of cake?

Coffee mousse: The coffee mousse was better than the green tea mouse. It didn’t taste of real coffee, but at this point, I didn’t have much hope for it. Nothing to say about this one except that it was average.

Wafer boat icecreams: The scoops are all small, as I had said earlier. The wafer boat is a nice touch. I like the wafer boat. It was drenched in icecream by the time to finished it though, so it was like eating soggy weetbix. All the icecreams at PF are creamy, and diluted in their flavours from the overly milky formula. Let that be a warning to you. The vanilla icecream is a disappointment. It’s not bad in itself, but as an iceccremery, I expect their vanilla to be better than your average Peters Vanilla icecream. It isn’t. The mysery icecream with seeds isn’t too bad, but it doesn’t taste of much. The seeds offer texture, but I find that there were too many seeds. I’ve heard glowing reviews for their taro icecream, and while this was my favourite icecream flavour out of the three, their taro icecream doesn’t deserve an eulogy.

All in all, the Masterpiece is a disappointment and I wish for you to consider eating at other icecream places.

Passionflower on Urbanspoon

Yukimi Daifuku

Yukimi daifuku is a famous brand of mochi icecreams. Icecream mochi has a different sort of mochi, it’s more a wrapper for the icecream rather than a chewy glutinous delight on its own. Not that icecream mochi isn’t enjoyable, but the texture is different.

Cost: $11.90

Contents: 21 individually wrapped yukimi daifukus.

Would I buy it again? Yes.

Moon-viewing mochi/ Moon rabbits pounding mochi/ And churning ice cream?

There are three flavours. Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Vanilla is good. Strawberry is the artifcial strawberry taste, much like Strawberry Big-M. Chocolate was disappointing, with a Chocolate Nesquik taste.

Taste: 3/5 inidividually, but mochi icecream is generally is 4/5.

The chewy mochi skin is good with the yielding icecream inside. But they are still delicious, and there is only one substitute; that is the larger yukimi daifuku in the two-pack.

Cacao Green VS Tutti Frutti

Name: Cacao  Green
Location: Swanston St/Lonsdale St (285 Swanston St
Melbourne, 3000)
Price range: $6.5-12 frozen yoghurt (Junior sized tub with three toppings is $7.50. )
Overall score: 9/10 for frozen yoghurt, though it is a bit dear

Name: Tutti frutti
Location: QV Urban Market
Price range: $1.50/50g, by weight only
Overall score: 6/10 for frozen yoghurt, but luckily for Tutti Frutti its charm point doesn’t lie in its frozen yoghurt

Cacao green and Tutti Frutti are both frozen yoghurt places, both claiming health benefits from their products. The aim of this review is to compare and contrast Cacao Green and Tutti Frutti.

Nutritional Value:

Tutti Frutti has 16-20g sugar per serve  (depending on flavour), is fat-free for almost all of their flavours, and contains an average of 420kJ. The catch is, the serving sizes listed on TF’s website is a 89g serve. Let’s make all of this mathematical garble speak the same language. In 100g of Tutti Frutti frozen yoghurt, there is 18-23g sugar, fat-free (or negligible), and contains 470kJ.
Comparing this with Cacao Green, which do specify a serving size in their nutrition tables (100g), Cacao Green is low-fat, has 22g sugar on average, and contains 470kJ per serve.

So for the same serving size, they are pretty much the same in terms of fat, sugar and energy content. They both claim their probiotic yoghurts have health benefits. Cacao green has the additional point for being organic yoghurt. Tutti Frutti takes a different approach and offers more flavours.

Service, Flavours and Toppings:

Let’s start with the simpler review: Cacao Green. Cacao Green is straightforward. You go in, look at the price board overhead, make an order, maybe add some toppings if you feel like it, pay at the counter, wait along the streetway to decrease traffic inside, and recieve your mountain of frozen yoghurt.

The fro-yo machine/ Slick and sophisticated/ Sounds like a car ad

Cacao Green has 4 flavours: Original, Matcha (Japanese green tea), French strawberry and chocolate.
Original is tangy, and yoghurt-y. I’m not even sure whether it has an additional flavour to it. It’s tastes zingy and fresh.
French strawberry is a gentle strawberry flavour, it’s not artificial-tasting as I had expected it to be, or tasting of ‘french strawberry yoplait’ flavour. Strawberry is pleasant, but not the greatest strawberry flavour I have ever encountered.

Left: Original/ Blueberry compote, cheesecake/Right: Plain strawberry

Matcha is a fragrant delicate flavour that seems to be popular with the asian youth. Sometimes matcha-flavoured things are overly sweet or are poor imitations of green tea flavour. But at Cacao Green, matcha-flavoured froyo still retains its delicate notes. Some may find it too delicate, especially as the fro-yo is cold and numbs your sense of taste, but it does offer an unobtrusive background note.

Japanese matcha/ The haiku is Japanese/ A recurrent theme

I have not yet tried chocolate fro-yo.
Toppings include: chopped fruit, mochi, chocolate, cheesecake chunks, nuts and berry compotes

Chocolate or diced nuts?/ Diced fruits for your fruity fix./How about mochi?

CG Flavours: 9/10. I would love the strawberry flavour to be reformulated to be a sharper tangier flavour, but that is my preference for strawberry-things. It’s still tasty!
CG Toppings: 9/10. The cheesecake is disappointing. Just pop down to the supermarket and purchase a cheesecake there.  But there is always the added bonus of convenience.

Now to Tutti Frutti. The reason why I deem Tutti Frutti (now refered to as ‘TF’) to be more complex is because there is a lot to be reviewed here.
TF is a self-service franchise. You pick a paper tub to collect your fro-yo, have a field day on the 6 flavours available to you, go wild on all the toppings, weigh and pay. The best thing about TF, apart from the self-serve and freedom to have whatever you want in whatever quantity, is the way it appeals to consumerist psychology. It suggests you should have a certain sized portion, and subtly hints that you should have more of everything. So really, it’s the worst thing about TF if you’re bean-counting. The way it does this is a marvel and a half. Allow me to expand on this observation:
1. Larger tubs are at eye-level, hence more likely to be taken. Larger Tubs leads to Larger Serves.
There are two sizes of tubs at TF: Large and small. Large is green, and small is orange. The green tubs are placed on the top dispensing rack, as well as the middle one. These two racks are at eye-level, and are more likely to be taken than the smaller tub, orange, which is waaay down at the bottom. Also, everybody else has fallen for this and has  green tub, so you too feel compelled to take a green tub.
So what if I take a larger tub? I can control my portions. I don’t doubt your sensibilities in portion size, my friend, but portion size is a large factor in determining how much you eat. The same idea transfers over to Bigger Trolley: Buy More Things, or in this case, Bigger Tub: Dispense more Froyo.

(In effect, portions are relative. We have no natural grasp on absolute numbers, or absolute portion size. But we are very good at determining relative numbers. (This explains why we find it much easier to decide which suitcase out of a 30kg and 35kg suitcase is heavier, but still haven’t a clue whether the suitcase will pass weight limitations at the airport.) There is also a famous psychology experiment conducted with popcorn to illustrate the point that Larger Portions=Larger amount consumed. Four groups of people were invited to a movie. One group was given a small bag of fresh popcorn, one a large bag of fresh popcorn, one a small bag of stale popcorn, and the last group, a large bag of stale popcorn. In short, when you’re given a huge portion of something, be it a bag of fresh popcorn, or a bag of stale popcorn, or a giant trolley, or paper tub, you will feel compelled to consume more of it. Regardless of whether it tastes good or not.
If you made it here, thanks for reading my rant about experiments. Another experiment which involved popcorn is the ‘Bad Popcorn in Big Buckets: Portion size can influence intake as much as taste” article.  (I used my university’s subscription to access full-text. I realise that I now read journal articles for work and leisure. Neeeerd.) Actually, that might be the article I spoke of before. The additional point I wanted to make was that people who habitually eat at movie theatres, will eat more popcorn when they are given popcorn. It’s a habit, it’s hard to kick, even when the popcorn has been stale for a week. The real kicker is, the habit kicks in only when they are watching movies in a dark room, similar to the environment in movie theatres. It doesn’t kick in when the room is brightly lit. I hope you found this as interesting as I did.)

2. There are 6 flavours to choose from, instead of 1.
Given more choice, it is much easier to deliver a larger serve to yourself. In another study, 2 groups of people were told to eat as many M&Ms (except they weren’t told they were M&Ms otherwise it would seem to be a product placement) as they felt would satiate them for the time being. The group with the bowl of M&Ms in one colour ate fewer candies than the group whose bowl contained different coloured M&Ms. Colours produce the illusion of choice, even though they all taste the same.
Also, the handles for the machine are not made for precision. I tried to dispense a small smount of each, but the machine handles are heavy and insensitive, so I did end up with 230g. (Which is small compared to everybody else’s self-administered serve)

So many colours/ So, can you taste the rainbow?/They are not Skittles.

3. Freedom to pick any/all toppings
Some toppings don’t weigh very much, such as almond flakes, but some can weigh a lot, such as chocolate-and-chocolate-biscuit sticks. But most of them don’t weigh much. I enjoy the freedom to mix everything together for the ultimate knobbly fro-yo concoction.

Go on, I dare you/ Curiousity calls you/ Take all the toppings!

The flavours which I’ve tried are
Vanilla: Tastes like vanilla shots you get when you order syrup with coffee drinks. Or cheap vanilla essence.
Chocolate:Tastes like concentrated ovaltine without the malt, or like nesquik. It’s a dark brown, which is a colour I associate with dark chocolatey flavours, but alas it’s just a concentrated shot of nesquik.
Green tea: A stronger green tea flavour than most. More like the hard candy green tea flavouring than the delicate green tea in biscuits and milk candy. If you like that concentrated matcha flavour, you might like this one.
Taro: I haven’t ever liked taro-flavoured anything, and I won’t be making an exception here. It tastes like the burnt bits scrapped off toast.
Blueberry: This was my favourite out of the 5. Tastes like blueberry yoghurt flavouring.
Original was out of service, and needed to be topped up.

Fro-yo melts quickly/ Watery puddle of yog/ Looked better frozen

As an overview, I prefer the flavours at Cacao Green to TF. I also prefer the frozen yoghurt consistancy of Cacao Green to TF, it doesn’t become watery. I like both places’ toppings. I would go to CG for their frozen yoghurt and the entire experience, but to TF for the novelty and for the multitude of toppings. Eat TF for the toppings. You have my permission to forgo most of the fro-yo at TF and have a (dis)proportionate amount of topping with it.


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Daiso red bean yokan

Yokan is a thick jelly dessert, often with red bean paste or other bean pastes dissolved through it. Daiso is the equivalent of the $2 shop, but based in Japan. Here, all items are $2.80 and are vastly superior to things in the $2 shop. (Where things aren’t always $2. What is up with that?) I enjoy shopping at Daiso, as much as a person can enjoy shopping for useful knickknacks and trying not to spend more than intended. There is some good stuff to be had there.

Unfortunately, the yokan from Daiso aren’t particularly good.
Usually yokan will melt in your mouth and be refreshing to eat. This one isn’t. It is thick and unyielding. It’s doesn’t melt, and it is way too sugary to be enjoyable for me. Even with a mug of tea. The saving point is the whole red beans throughout the jelly, and the novelty. Overall score, 2/10.