Monday, October 6, 2008

A lil' bit of Thai, A lil' bit of Korean

Toufu Salad with a Thai / Korean Twist

Mum's gone all out with her creative juices this week, and the result is an Asian culinary feast. for the eyes and tummy. *slurp*

Salad Deconstructed

Take a traditional malay toufu salad, add some Korean noodles, dangmyeon, to the mix, and any veggie mix of your choice, the more colorful the merrier.

Salad Tossed and Devoured

Pour over some homemade sweet and spicy Thai dressing of lime, mint, sugar, soy sauce and the like, and finally, a snowy sprinkle of chopped peanuts, and viola! Yummy in the tummy!

Close Up Please

Toufu's light and a greater carrier of flavors, hence the sweet and spicy touch of the dressing was brought out beautifully. Paired with the crunch of the farm fresh veggies, juicy and delish!

My Childhood Fav, Promfet ala Mum's Style

This is my childhood fav and staple, pan fried promfet. Mum lightly pan fries the fish, sprinkles some spring onions on top, heats up a mixture of hot oil and soy sauce and pours the sizzling concoction onto the fish and springs. The smell that results is divine, 5 star Chinese restaurant amazing, and the flavors a merriment to the taste buds. She hits the high notes everytime, I tell ya. :D

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Orange Yogurt Cake

Somethin's Bakin' ...

Still on my yogurt mission / obsession, I did a little more baking this weekend, using the same recipe from my Honey Yogurt Rum Cake, subbed the rum for some OJ, the honey yogurt for plain, and added the zest of 1 orange. I also reduced the baking time to 20 minutes, since this was a fairly flat cake and mine's a rather flat oven, which you may have noticed by now.

Sunrise Surprise!

The results suited me better this time round. While the rum version was nicely caramelized, this orangy goodness came out nicely risen and lighter in texture. The orange zest brought along an amazing fragrance and fun bite to the party. Zests always does its job. I love zests. :p

& if I do need to add, the taste was divine! Happy weekend guys! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Breakfast Crepes

Sky High Crepes

Crepes, one of my favorite foods on Earth. I love them plain or filled, with sweet or savory. Give me thin and delicate over their thick and fluffy pancake sisters anytime.

Taking a hiatus from baking cakes this week, but not ready to hang my baking mittens, I decided to give these thin pancakes a go, and prepare some yummy breakfast for the family as well.


Adapted From The Cook's Book
125g / 4 1/1 oz flour
2 eggs
20g / 1T sugar
Pinch of salt
250g / 8 1/2 oz cold milk
40g / 2t melted butter

Drizzle Of Honey
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, whisk into a smooth batter.
  2. Cover & leave to rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
  3. Heat a heavy pan (25cm / 10in will do fine).
  4. Remove from heat and ladle a small amount of batter into pan.
  5. Swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.
  6. Cook for 45 - 60seconds, until the edges turns light brown and start to come away from the pan.
  7. Carefully flip over and cook the other side for 30-60seconds until the bottom is lightly brown as well.
  8. Pile the crepes as they are made and cover with a cloth as the remainder are being cooked.
Crepes Staked Up High, Ready For The Spreadin'

Once the crepes are ready to go, it is a free for all. You can have them plain, covered with yogurt and fresh berries, filled with nutella and bananas...whatever tickles your fancy! This morning, I have dressed mine up simply with honey in one half and jam in the the other.

Wrap & Roll!

Be careful not to fill them up too much, else the crepes will split when you try to roll them up. Carefully fold one edge over, roll, fold the 2 sides over, roll all the way. Easy peasy. :)

It may be breakfast, but who's to say you cannot have them with a big scope of ice cream and chocolate sauce as well? ;)


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lunch For The Blood, Dessert For The Soul

Vegetable Terrine

Baby G and I tried out a new place this week. Well, it is not exactly new, it's been there for a while, I've walked passed the place, looked in with some interest, and walked on by. With a name like "Food For Your Blood Type" across the panels, it was not exactly beckoning a ravenous lunch time crowd.

Then again, it promotes light, healthy, filling fare, which is how a workday lunch should be. So we dived in, gave it a shot, and here is our verdict.

The vegetable terrine sat pretty on the place, alongside some equally veggie mighty salad. It was a cold dish that tasted pretty good, retaining both the fresh colors and flavors of the veggies.

Scrambled Eggs On Toast

Organic scrambled eggs and sweet potato fries. Yummy and yummy. I love eggs, whatever the form, as long as it is done right. And these were done right, although I honestly could not tell the difference from these organic eggs and the normal farm fresh ones we always get. I have not gotten on the organic wagon yet.

Overall verdict was favorable, but with a bill coming to more than S$50, it was not as light on our wallets as it was for our happy bellies.

Curry Dolce At Ricciotti

Life is about balance, maintaining the Ying and Yang of the universe, hence Baby G and I had some good-for-the-soul-desserts that night to counter the good-for-the-blood-type lunch we had. (Notice we skipped deserts at the Blood Type joint.)

Dig In!

Ricciotti has some pretty creative desserts, and we went for the curry dolce, he most unique sounding flavor on the menu. Unfortuntately it did not deliver as we had hoped. The white chocolate ricotta filling was light but tasteless. Sitting on a chocolate oil sugar dough (they should simply call it a disc of chocolate biscuit coz that was what it was and what it tasted of), we could not pick up any spicy kick we were expected, the single curry leave nonwithstanding.

The desserts are delicated created and presented, if only they gave as much thought to the taste as well. Good thing we had pizza for dinner just before!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Honey Yogurt Rum Cake

Honey Yogurt Rum Slice

The ingredient obsession of the moment is yogurt. I am fascinated by how such an uncommon ingredient (common since old French days, unknown to the rest of us), added in the slightest dosage, can alter the taste and texture of the final product so subtly, bringing moisture and tang to complete the composition.

So I tried my hand at making a basic yogurt cake this weekend, with a little help and a lot of useful tips from Chocolate & Zucchini.

Pretty As A Sunflower

Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini
2 eggs
250ml (1 cup) honey yogurt
100g (1/2 cup) sugar
80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon rum

Cooling Down...A Long Wait
  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).
  2. Grease and line a round 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, and rum.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder.
  5. Add the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture, and gently mix together.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake pan.
  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Rest for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.

Rise to Glory!!

The cake looked slightly burnt when I took it out of the oven so I thought it was doomed. Turns out it was the honey working its caramelizing magic. The sweet, thin crust encased a very moist and fragrant crumb, and the combination of honey and rum? Mm-mm-mm! :)

I can't wait to try more yogurt baking next week, I've discovered a new ingredient can't wait to work its magic in everything now. The possibilities are endless! Stay tuned, folks!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Siam Paragon, Central World, Breeze At State Tower

Colorful Rice At Siam Paragon

Today, I did as the Thais do. I hit the shopping haunts of Siam Square, not for want of a shopping spree as much as the need to escape the heat. First up, Siam Paragon. Or more specifically, the food basement.

The great find of the morning: colorful rice. Oh the little things that tickle me. They came in hues of rosy pink, deep-sea indigo, pea-sy green and sunshine gold. They also come in 2 versions, normal and glutinous, and are naturally dyed from plant pigments, no artificial enhancements here. I can't wait to get them home and cook them!

Thai Fried Carrot Cake

Next stop, Central World. They've got a food court set like the ones in Singapore malls, offering similar fare as well. I had the local fried carrot cake, and found their version more gelatinous (think or-luck, or oyster omelette), with a healthy serving of veggies and very spicy chilli at the side. Something I strongly recommend we incorporate into our version.

Desserts At Yaowarat

Done with the food court on the top floor, I ventured to the basement and found dessert at Yaowarat. They've got the usually expensive bird's nest going for Bht100, about...$2 in Singapore?

Bean Curd & Fritters In Ginger Syrup

I opted for something more humane and local, bean curd and fritters (again, just like Singapore's tau huay and you tiao) in ginger syrup. Love the syrup which wasn't too sweet, love the kick from the ginger.

Delectable Desserts

Their food basements here are massive, with local and international delights as far as the eye can see. Here's something very French, very exquisite...I would like to be able to make these some day... :)

Condiments & Small Bites, Breeze

Many Thanks to Lonely Planet for tonight's dinner choice, Lebua at State Tower. We made our way there with hopes of dining at the 63rd floor, world's highest al fresco restaurant, the Mediterranean Sirocco. Alas! To be turned away at the entrance coz the rain has made al fresco dining out of the question.

Fortunately, Sirocco was not the only available dining choice at Lebua. Few feet down at 52nd was Breeze, an Asian restaurant.

Vegetarian Dim Sum Basket

This has got to be the best veggie dim sum I've ever had. 3 uniquely filled and flavored dumplings (mushroom, chives and radish), folded into colorful dumplings, served steaming hot and absolutely delish!

Spinach Tofu & Yee Fu Noodles

The hand made spinach tofu was soft and flavorful, and the yee fu noodle was made with Japanese udon in place of the usual Chinese variaty. Both were good, but my fave would definitely have to be the dumplings, followed by the colorful shot glasses of cordiments and honey walnuts. :P

I've managed to see and taste a lot of what Bangkok has to offer, from simple and hearty street food to classy and tastefully plated fine dining fare. My verdict? This bustling, crazy, hot and happening city is well worth a visit at least once in your lifetime.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chatuchak, Chinatown, Beirut Restaurant

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Hey hey hey! Guess what I've been up to this weekend? I've been up to...Bangkok!

I made sure to arrive on Saturday to catch the renowned Chatuchak Weekend Market. Be there early, I was told, you'll beat the crowd and heat. So I was there at 10, and sure enough, the weekend crowd was barely building up, which was a blessing, coz I managed to navigate the massive marketplace in record 20 minutes.

There wasn't much to see, since shopping's not my thang anyway and the food stalls were barely getting started. I managed to grab a few colorful snaps before I left.

So far, not impressed. Next stop, Chinatown.

Delicate Flower Dumplings

Street markets are found throughout Chinatown, and I found myself drawn to one in particular, enticed by the smell of fried food and steaming dumplings. Magic begins for me here.

I have no idea what the above is really called, I just know it looks as good as it tastes. Made with a swift swoosh of the hand, the lady boss whips up countless sheets of the plain and colorful rice wrappers on a mini steamer, adds a little knob of sweet coconut in the middle, and with a deft sweep rounds up the edges and magically produces the final florets for your viewing and dining pleasure. Truly a feast for the eyes.

Fried Radish, Chives & Yam Cakes

This reminds me of the soon kueh in Singapore, the taste is similar as well. And just as I do back home, I prefer the pan fried version here for that extra crunch.

More Chives Cakes

A squarish, greener variation to the dish, the texture of this cake is thicker, like chewy, fudgy pudding. This is my choice of the lot simply for its funky color.

A Study in Botany


Evening came and I wandered into the Sukhumvit district, coming up to Beirut Restaurant, a Lebanese eatery packed with Middle Eastern expat. This has to be good.

The hummus was good, it usually is, though I especially liked the fragrance of the toasted pinenuts and paprika in this instance.

Falafel Wrap with Fries

In a perfect world, all fries would be thick cut and crinkled. Well, it isn't, but having your Lebanese falafel wrap come with some is close enough.

The Whole Shebang

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oh! Pierre Herme!!

Revelation & Tarte Mogador

I Have Waited 10 Years For This Day. For the One True Master, The Legend and Living Legacy. He is here. He is Pierre Herme.

When Singapore's annual World Gourmet Summit announced PH as one of the hosts of a Master Class, I made darn sure to get my smitten ass a seat there. Oh I am so proud of my entry tag like a chosen one with the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. I was 3rd to report for the class, 1st into the auditorium (elbow shoving some old ladies outta my way -- just kidding), and sat smack in the middle of the very first row with books, notes, camera and undying adoration in tow. And I waited with baited breath for my great idol to make his appearance.

Revelation made by PH Himself

When he finally went up on stage, I was gobsmacked. He was barely 2 meters away! This guy whose biblical "Desserts" and "Chocolate" cookbooks lured me into the pastry world and made it my passion, was before me in person!

With an unassuming air about him, he patiently went through 2 of his latest creations, Revelation and Tarte Mogador. The first one is like a deconstructed mille fille, with olive and tomato as the key ingredients. Ingenious, a dessert version of an Italian salad. He spent more time on this than its chocolate counterpart, no matter, a fascination to behold as the maestro went to work.

Tomato Puff Pastry, Tomato & Strawberry Compote,
Mascarpone Olive Oil Cream, Dried Black Olive

After the class we had a tasting session of both desserts and they were pretty good. It may be my untrained taste buds failing to raise to the challenge, for I could not make out the tomato addition of the puff pastry, nor the unique formula of 3 different and distinctly flavored vanilla beans used in Revelation. Tarte Mogador was rich and deep, but not unlike good chocolate desserts should be.

Disappointed? Not really. For once, really folks, just once, I was not there to eat. I was there to ogle at the one man who steered my life in a different direction, who has given me a passion that enriched my life with both purpose and enjoyment, and meeting him up close (and hogging his attention after the class to shake his hand, bombard him with my kabillion questions and photo taking requests, and finally, securing his autograph on my "Desserts" book) rejuvenated me with inspiration and hope that maybe, just barely maybe, I can make it as a pastry chef one day.

Revelation At Mezza9, Grand Hyatt Singapore

No good PH fan would ever pass up a chance to taste his wares, so the night before the Masterclass, Baby G and I begged and coerced our way with the Maitra d'of Mezza9 to secure a table at the last minute.

Not knowing what to expect in the Master Class, we ordered the most unique sounding item on the PH created dessert menu, Revelation. (And what a revelation it was to see it in the class the next day! Haha, oh my sense of humor.)

It tasted a lot like a sweet and cooling salad. That time, I could not make out the puff pastry to be tomato flavored, hence my repeated disappointed the next day when I again failed to do the same. IT was the olives that stood out for me.

Dessert Ispahan
Ispahan ~ Rose Flavored Macaron Biscuit,
Rose Petal Cream With Raspberries & Lychees.
Sorbet Ispahan ~ Lychee, Rose Petal Aromas & Raspberry Sorbet

This was my preferred dessert, mostly coz for the first time, I had macaron that did not do me over with the sugar overdose. It was meltingly fragrant with rose and I could make out the almonds in the taste and texture, and the icy aromatic lychee sorbet complimented the Ispahan and capped the evening for me.

While I take leave to continue swooning, I leave you with the remainder of PH's offerings that night.

More From The Dessert Menu

* Variation Autour Du Marron, Du Fruit De
La Passion Et Du The Vert Matcha *

* Creme Brulee Au Fioe Gras, Compote
D'Airelles Et Poires *

* Tarte Mogador *

* Emotion Satine *

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Me!

Goodness Gracious Glorious Chocolate Cake

It was me Birthday and Baby G, returning from a biz trip in the Philippines, brought me a cake from way back there. :) He does this every year and every year, I'm moved by the trouble he takes. I'm also amazed at his feat. Entrust me with a cake on a flight and we will disembark as one, if you get my drift. :P

And a cake of this caliber, oh my! Dense, heavy, sor-lidly chocolatey, leaving no space for air bubbles, and topped with dollops of whipped cream, not that it needed additional richness, but the cake becomes more luxurious as a result.

It's a Sachertorte, to be more precise, though the hint of apricot jam does not distract the chocolate from doing its job, that is, making this the best cake I've had this year. :)

Happy Birthday, me!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

All Corns Square and Round - Round 2

Corn Bread

True to my word, I tried something different with yesterday's cornbread, this time a sweeter take with bite. I used a different recipe from the same book, my adaptation as follows:

*100g Polenta
* 50g Plain Flour
*50g Sugar
* 7 1/2g Bicarbonate of Soda
*150g Semi Skim Milk
* 30g Unsalted Butter
* 1 Egg
* 140g Plain Yogurt
* 1 Can of Corn Kernels, Drained

1. Sift the day (polenta through bicarb).
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter in the milk.
3. Whisk the wet into the dry.
3. Beat in the egg and yogurt.
4. Mix in the corn kernels.
5. Tip the mixture into a 20-25cm round tin, or cute mini muffin cases.
6. Bake for 30-40mins, till golden brown and passed the inserted skewer test.

Corns A' Poppin'

Poppin' Out For A Walk

These babies passed the skewer test, and they passed the taste test as well. I still love the crunch of the polenta, and with the creamy corn kernels, they make a very enjoyable snack.

The best part of this, as is all my baking experiments, is packing them for family and friends. These sit pretty in the little boxes above and make neat little gifts. Me like.

Poppin' Ready To Eat

Yes I am poppin' mad about these little tykes. Poppin' happy too. :) Try it sometime and let me know if you have a poppin' time as I have.

Corny Poppins Hat

Saturday, August 2, 2008

All Corns Square and Round - Square 1

Buttermilk cornbread

I am fascinated with cornbread, just as I am with zucchini bread and carrot cake. Basically anything dessert that calls for veggies over fruits.

The first time I tried cornbread at an American restaurant, naturally, I was intrigued. It was a cross between the sweet and savory, a table bread and dessert slice. I loved it. And I tried my hands at making some over the weekend.

Squares of Corn

Adapted from The Cook's Book

* 150g / 5 1/2 oz Plain Flour
* 150g / 5 1/2 oz Cornmeal or Polenta
* 4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
* Pinch of Salt
* 50g / 1 3/4 oz Sugar
* 2 Eggs
* 250ml / 8 1/2 oz Buttermilk or Full Fat Milk (It's Full Fat or Nothing!!)
* 2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, Melted

1. Muffin Method, guys. Sift the dry (flour through sugar).
2. Mix the wet (eggs through melted butter).
3. Combine the twine, but just barely.
4. Tip the goodness into an 8" square or 20cm round
5. Bake at 180 degrees for 20-25mins, or until golden and firm to the touch
6. Serve warm

Cornbread Scones

The final product had a thin and perfect crust speckled with the polenta grains. Buttermilk provided for a moist and slightly tangy interior, textured with the coarse grained polenta. I scaled down the sugar, as always, and let the savory undertone from the polenta and buttermilk do the talking. Good one. next time I may try it with corn kernels for added bite.