Review – Sin Vida

It’s always a challenge when you need to find a venue for a function that ticks all the boxes. Some of the requirements include; is the food good? Is it easy to find? Is there parking available? Can they cater for large groups? Are they flexible? Is it going to be fun?

Sin Via 3

Well, Sin Vida delivered the goods!

Firstly, the booking process was a cinch. I went to their website online (and drooled over the menu) and made my request through the online booking system. Shortly after, I was greeted (which sounds so much sexier in Spanish ‘hola amigo’) by a very helpful team member, Ed, who went above and beyond to make this function a hit.

Ed suggested since there was a large group of us, to have a set menu, or what they call ‘La Fiesta’. We got a selection of their favourite dishes, and it meant everyone got to try a bit of everything.

I can’t believe I haven’t yet mentioned the Sangria! Anyone who knows me, knows I love Sangria, I even pride myself on my own recipe. I may have to have words with the barman, because his is better!Sin Vida 2

SO what did we eat?

– Guacamole and Sin Vida Corn Chips (corn chips were outta this world!)
– Quesadilla de Chorizo
– Quesadilla de Papa
– Chicken Wings
– Lamb Tostada
– Seven Chilli Goat
– Sides of Tortillas

I cannot wait to go back, because their tacos also sound to die for!sin vida 1

The details
Sin Vida
Address: 12/100 McLachlan St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Phone: (07) 3625 0298

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Mel makes a cake

Once upon another life, I used to be a keen baker. Now, I find myself trying to find ways to make healthy food delicious, so it’s very rare that you see me bake something comforting and not so healthy, like a cake.

Or like a chocolate and red wine cake with raspberry buttercream.

Decadent? Yes. Rich? Yes! Do I have any regrets? Absolutely not!

So you must think I’m crazy to add red wine to a perfectly good cake, or some would say I’d be crazy for using the wine on such thing! But it really REALLY works. The wine gives it such a silky, luxurious and moist texture you just can’t beat, (well, you can…with beaters!). The inspiration came from the friend I made this for, whose favourite thing in the world is red wine, and when I was thinking about which kind of cake to make I just kept coming back to ways I could incorporate red wine!

The original recipe I based this on suggested raspberry buttercream on the inside, and chocolate buttercream on the outside, which you can absolutely do. I felt as though this made a lot of raspberry buttercream, and was enough to cover the entire cake. If you want to do the chocolate buttercream on the outside I would definitely halve the raspberry buttercream ingredients (then again, it depends on how much you like in between each layer of cake!).

Ingredients:Untitled design (8)

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups castor sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (240ml) sweet red wine
  • 200g salted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup (120ml) raspberry puree (from about 1/2 cup of raspberries pureed in a food processor)


1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and combine.

3. Add eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Slowly add wine. Mix well.

5. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely.

While cakes cool, make icing/s.

7. To make the raspberry buttercream, beat the butter until smooth.

8. Add 2 cups of icing sugar and beat until smooth.

9. Add raspberry puree and beat until smooth.

10. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

15. When the cakes are cool, put the cake together. Remove the tops of the cakes with a large serrated knife so they are flat.

16. Place the first layer of cake on cake stand. Top with half of the raspberry buttercream and spread into an even layer.

17. Add second layer of cake and remaining raspberry buttercream and smooth into a smooth layer.

18. Top cake with remaining cake layer.

What’s the most indulgent cake you have made?

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Sunshine Coast eats

One of my favourite places in the world is the Sunshine Coast. It may be because it has the perfect temperature all year round, is absolutely beautiful to visit, or because all my family live there! So you can imagine I spend a fair bit of time there.

As the Sunshine Coast is only an hour away from Brisbane, its the perfect distance for a day trip or a weekend away. Not only is there plenty of amazing beaches, but the food scene is everchanging, and I have recently found a couple of absolute gems that I want to share with you!


The Shak Organic Cafe & Wine Bar – Buderim
An all round excellent venue. This small eatery is located on the main street of Buderim, and brings a different vibe to the otherwise buzzing cafe scene of Burnett Street. All the food is locally sourced and organic. They cater for all food needs as well. The coffee is excellent and they have an extensive juice/smoothie list, which I plan to work my way through. Last time I visited I had the smoothie bowl with granola and seasonal fruit. I have never had a smoothie bowl before so I was pleasantly surprised, even though I did imagine the smoothie to be much thicker. My breakfast date had a ‘dude breakfast burger’ which looked as impressive as it tasted. The jus from the succulent pulled pork was divine!


Greenhouse Cafe – Caloundra
One of my favourite cafes I’ve been to yet! If you follow us on Instagram you’ll notice that I frequently visit this cafe. Once again, all the food is locally sourced, organic and hands down awesome. Most of their menu is vegan, dairy and gluten free for that guilt free treat. They also have their own Kombucha brew on tap. I ordered the vegan nachos, they were light and full of flavour! I would never have thought of not only substituting sour cream and cheese with cashew cheese, but adding fresh grated beetroot and carrot as well as coriander. It surprisingly still had a lovely Mexican feel to it. Once again I left completely satisfied and I’m already planning my next trip back!


Harvest Breads Cafe – Cotton Tree
Harvest is the kind of place you just end up going to on a Sunday morning. Their breakfast and lunch menu is extensive and they can always cater for any needs. They do food and coffee extremely well without trying ‘too hard’. They are known as a bakery cafe and if you want to get your hands on one of their extremely tasty loaves of bread you must get in quick. They tend to sell out early.

My mum and step-dad come to this place a lot, so I have had the pleasure of trying a few items on the menu. If fritters are your thing, this cafe is for you! Whether you are in a rush and need a quick meal on the go, or you would like to take in the lush scenery that is Cotton Tree, I’d recommend this café in a heartbeat.


Rick’s Garage – Palmwoods
Ok, so this one doesn’t really make the healthy list, but it’s too good not to include. Tucked away in Palmwoods, a 15 minute drive from the coast, you’ll find this 50s inspired, rockabilly burger diner. Live music and entertainment are things you’ll find here regularly, but the reason you’ll come back is the burgers. The menu isn’t extensive – nor need it be – simple burgers done well make a happy Mel. Do you know what makes this place even better? Hot chips. I kid you not, these have to be the best hot chips on the whole coast. I’m not the only one who agrees! Listening to a local radio station they had a poll about where the best hot chips are and it was unanimous that Rick’s Garage took out that award! Go on, give it a go, you won’t regret it!

What’s your favourite cafe/restaurant on the Sunshine Coast? – I’d love to try it!

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Hot Cross Bun -off

Ok, things have been a bit quiet for us. Mel has been gallivanting around Europe and I’ve just been busy.

We’ve still be eating and cooking through, don’t worry.

In fact, we had a Hot Cross Bun-off this week. We each chose a different recipe and cooked up two flavours, then took them in to work for our colleagues to vote on.

Mel is into more traditional flavours, while I’m keen to mix things up! She did a batch of original and a batch of ginger/cardamom. I did chai/raisin and cherry/chocolate.

If I’m honest, I’d call it a tie. Our work mates devoured the lot and sent us both emails proclaiming our hot cross bun making talents. I’m happy with that.

Where could we improve for future bun making?

I went with a River Cottage recipe (no surprises there!) and was very happy with the texture. I was disappointed that the cross mixture was far too runny no matter what I did, so I didn’t have a lot of control with the piping bag (I won’t be following the River Cottage instructions for that bit next time – do they have different flour in the UK?). I’d also add more chai spice mix and raisins to my chai/raisin combination. I’d also planned on using dried cherries in my cherry/chocolate batch, but I couldn’t find them anywhere – I ended up improvising with frozen cherries and my oven. However, I was generally pretty happy with the results.

Mel chose a recipe from SBS food for her base and, despite saying that any time she has tried to make bread it hasn’t worked out, she was pretty happy with her end result – even if they were a bit on the over-cooked side. She said she’d add more ginger to her ginger an cardamom combination and keep a closer eye on the buns during the cooking process.

We then started coming up with some ideas for next time.

I’m going to do a kids’ version with mini M&Ms and coloured crosses. I also suggested Mel could do a dark chocolate and chilli batch to make them spicy.

Mel is going to attempt a strong ginger flavour, with fresh minced ginger.  she might also try a salted chocolate batch, yum!

I’ll leave you with this thought though – ginger and wasabi hot cross buns. I’m going to try making them! Anyone keen to try?

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