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Showing posts from February, 2005

Will the Real Pandan Chiffon Please Rise Up?

Sad to say, as a child growing up, I only associated pandan cake as this artifically green and airy sponge cake, with lots of small holes and had a slightly rough texture. Usually, we were given one as a gift, when a friend or relative stopped by. They were usually store bought as it was a lot a work to produce something that could be bought quite cheaply. Most had a slightly chewy bite and would bounce back when pressed. The better ones were just soft and sweet while the bad ones were flavoured with a tad too much coconut or pandan or were not soft enough. Oh by the way, pandan is otherwise also known as "screwpine". The flavour, which comes from the leaves, pairs beautifully with coconut and as such, they enhance desserts with a fresh and greeny fragrance. As mentioned, pandan chiffon cake can be mass produced and was cheap. But because no store-bought variety could be as good as homemade, and much less when it is a favourite amongst my family and J included, it wou…

Really, What is a Meme?

Ok, I do not really care. A clear definition would be nice but heck, when I saw yet another meme, caught on by The Fanatic Cook, I did it anyways, just because I badly needed a distraction from work.

So this time around, the instructions were:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Use what’s actually next to you.

Okay, I looked around my work desk. How neat it was, after I tidied up per strong warnings from my boss about an internal audit to pounce on us anytime this two weeks. Where's a darn book when I need one?? First paper publication I laid my eyes upon was chemicalweek magazine and that do not run pass 40 pages. Frantically, I swept my eyes behind my chair and onto the shelves. Ah! There's one!

"These companies offer insightful advice on the reality of world competition and S…

Dessert Palour for Your Consideration, Please?

After graduating from high school, I had the opportunity to become independent by waitressing part-time at a cafe located downtown. It was truely a humbling experience, having to learn everything from scratch. I found out working was tough and wished I could just go back to school but luckily my best friend, who was working there too, kept me sane! That stint was a blessing in disguise, for I earned enough keeps to have the means to eat more 'upscale' and discovered the most wonderful chocolate mousse cake. Of course 'upscale' is relative but at that point in my life, it meant an establishment with someone showing you the table, a place that charged a service fee, oh, just somewhere different from a food court. Don't get me wrong though, I still enjoy eating at food courts, but to be able to go to an upscale restaurant without my parents really meant a lot to me.

The said cake was found at Marche, a French marketplace-type concept chain restaurant, and can sti…

Love Lunch @ Oso Ristorante

So let's rewind back to V-day. J & I decided to skip the overpriced dinner routine. Instead, we both wanted to try Oso Ristorante for sometime now so why not take advantage of the set lunch?

The trip to the restaurant was rather uneventful but in our hurry, we had left the camera in the car and my poor J had to run back to the car to get it, just so I could take pictures and blog about our experience. How sweet was that? Ok, back to topic. The service was excellent, though not impeccable. The Italiano manager greeted us by name so that was pleasing to our ears. Through the doors of the restaurant sat a nice little bar with a few stools and a small living-room-type-furniture set for people to wait and have coffee perhaps? Once past the bar and inside the restaurant, we were greeted by the friendly chatter coming from all directions. People seemed to know one another and the atmosphere was light and friendly. Despite the small floor-space, there was a wine room and a cheese room. …

Eating @ La Braceria

I know I promised to review Oso Ristorante, where J and I had our V-day luncheon but La Braceria came first, thanks to the introduction by my college pal, Nicole. That's how J and I discovered another Italian gem in the middle of nowhere in the sunny island of Singapore. We went there last Saturday, partly on impulse and partly due to the foodhound in us to find good eats.

La Braceria is located just opposite our current favourite Italian restaurant, Cantina. It offers a slightly more upscale atmosphere with their ironed linens and napkins while Cantina is more casual and family-style. Menu-wise, La Braceria also focuses on 2 things, pizza and grill, whereas Cantina is more of a all-rounder, with offerings ranging from pizza to pasta. As such, it would be unfair, if I compared both of them and that is what I am trying to keep in mind. In any case, this post is not meant to compare, but review La Braceria. We had a little difficulty locating La Braceria, just because I did not hav…

Celebration of Love

14 February 2005 marked the first time I spent St. Valentine's Day with someone special. Yep, for the past 23 years, that day meant nothing much really to me. So I am really glad to have experienced my first special Valentine's Day with J. We did not do anything spectacular or amazingly romantic, but I am just still very happy to be able to spend a whole day with him.

It was a simple affair really, starting with a lovely bunch of flowers from J, followed by lunch at another fabulous Italian restaurant, Oso Ristorante, where we had some good food and one bad dessert (review of Oso to follow, hopefully soon). We had decided to go for the lunch rather than dinner, so that we can skip the exhorbitant Valentine's Day prices that most restaurants adopt to take advantage of the special day.

For the special occasion, I also made a chocolate cake, exactly based on this recipe. But I served it with Alice Medrich’s low-fat rich chocolate glaze/frosting. The cake itself was utterly de…

Tagged! Music Meme

As I was surfing the various foodie blogs this past week, I noticed the Music Meme going around. While I dread being tagged myself, to have to answer those questions, yet another part of me wished very hard that I was tagged, just so I know at least somebody out there is reading and enjoying my entries, just as I enjoyed many others.

Thanks to Nic, I can be assured of my foodie position in cyberspace. Without further ado, here goes:

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
Not too much, about a gig or so. Mostly my brother's though. I used to download more music back when I was in college, but after I started working, I began to listen mostly to CDs.

The CD you last bought?
Mama Mia! from the ABBA collection. I saw the musical when the Australian group came to Singapore last September.

What was the last song you listened to before reading this message?
Chinese New Year festive songs.

Write down five songs that you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
1) Britney Spe…

SHF #5 - Hundreds and Hundreds of Layers: Layering the Tradition

It's here again! This time around, SHF#5 is hosted by A La Cuisine!. When I saw that the theme was "puff pastry", I immediately hope that store-bought versions of the challenging pastry would be allowed. Phew! And it was. That, definitely made my life and SHF#5 more possible. I had contemplated on making my own, just for a wee while, but in view of the Chinese New Year festive season, I barely had any time to do so. So I used the easy way out. Egg tarts are usually found in Hong Kong dim sum carts and traditionally, shortcrust pastry has always used as the "cup" base to hold the custard-y goodness. Of course, creative entrepreneuers started introducing different types of crust/bases and the Portuguese version was born. The Portugese egg tart has a puff pastry crust, which I like, and a really broiled-looking topping, vastly different from Hong Kong style, which is smooth and shiny on top, like the one I had in Chinatown. So I thought, why not combine a bit of b…

Eating out @ Au Petit Salut

Let's turn back time to Chinese New Year Eve (8th Feb), when both J and I had half the day off in view of the traditional Chinese reunion dinner that most Chinese families partake later that night. J and I took advantage of the opportunity to meet for lunch and decided on Au Petit Salut, where I had a business luncheon once a few months back and was raving about it because I thought the restaurant offered unpretentious French food at a value for money if you went with their lunch special menu. Really, a 3-course meal + choice of coffee or tea, will set one back for less than $26. Besides, the service was attentive and food was served within a decent time. I also like the option of dining al fresco, on the quaint porch with the many rows of bungalow houses adorning as backdrop.

So off we went to the quaint stretch of eateries at Holland Village, where Au Petit Salut is located. After our orders were placed, the bread basket was served. Nothing extraordinary, typical French white bag…

Prosperity, Come!

In light of the Chinese New Year festive season, I made a pineapple cake. "Why the association?" you may wonder. Well, to the best of my knowledge, the tradition of pineapple being eaten during Chinese New Year, mainly in the forms of pineapple tarts, or encrusted pastry, originates from the Mandarin pronounciation of the word "pineapple". It is called "huang(2) li(2)", which, by a play on the pronounciation again, sounds much like "wang(4) lai(2)". That, literally means the title of my post - "Prosperity, Come!"

What did I have to lose, whether I believed in that folklore or not? The pineapple cake was delicious! If eating it resulted in prosperity for me, that would just be an added bonus. So, despite your background and beliefs, no harm inviting prosperity to go your way too...

Prosperity Pineapple Cake

- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2/3 cup, granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 rese…

Birthday Ham & Cheese Muffin

It was a combination of a few factors - leftover ham that I reckon would turn green in a couple of days, freshly bought block of cheddar cheese, and a lack of savory breakfast for a while now, that propelled me to make these muffins.

More than breakfast, it doubled its duty as a special birthday muffin too, looking cute with a pink candle sticking right in the middle, as we sang my sister a birthda song. She had returned from her wild night of partying with her friends to celebrate her 21st birthday, just in time for the freshly baked muffin. While she had not tried them yet, I think she would enjoy this a great deal.

Ham & Cheese Muffin

- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped ham
- 1 generous cup of fresh grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 200C.

In a big mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and sugar. Add in grated cheese and ham and mix well.

In a separate bowl, ligh…

Cashew Cookies for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (CNY) is fast approaching, on the 9th February to be precise, and what I would immediately associate with this occasion, other than the obvious entry into a new Luna calendar year, are 1) red packets and 2) yummy goodies!

On 1), this is one occasion that single folks, for once, are lucky to be recognised as such and would be able to receive them. To find out more about the story behind the tradition, you can click here.

Moving onto the more important point 2). My understanding is that Chinese expect their children to eat as many cookies, oranges and orange-inspired dishes as they can stomach, to get their bodies prepared for the sweetness that the New Year will bring! Oranges because they symbolize good fortune as they are sweet and one of China's most abundant fruits. Cookies for CNY - the more common varieties are almond, cashew, cornflakes and pineapple tarts. Reason for my choice recipe is simply because I have spare capacity of cashew nuts and stores carried …