Friday, May 27, 2005

Olio Dome

Chunky Potato Wedges

Carbs are so my thing. No matter what Dr. Atkins says, I still think carbs are amazing. I love potatoes especially. So versatile, so delicious, it can be eaten with anything. Think mash potatoes and ribs, or baked potatoes with soup, or maybe fries with your burger, or cold potatoes with salad. The list goes on. Potatoes can be turned into any creative dish. I like a good potato gratin. Potatoes are satisfying - it fills you and gives you that 'ahhhh' feeling, if ya know what i mean. That said, allow me to rave about the above wedges for a while.

Those are from Olio Dome. It has been a while since i've laid eyes on wedges. I do miss having wedges in Brisbane. They're so common there... even the fast food places have fries that are quite as thick or close to wedges. It's like a staple there. And it's not expensive as it is here. Anyway these chunky wedges i had were seasoned nicely and served with mayonnaise mixed with mustard and some tomato sauce (which tasted like pasta sauce, maybe they reused left over spaghetti sauce?). Potatoes are comfort foods. and these ones sure gave me lots of comfort.. they were served warm and it the golden brown hue makes you salivate. One portion is really enough for like 3 or 4 persons really. Can't remember the cost, i think it was $5.90.

Olio Dome Tiramisu

Yes, what's life without dessert. And what more, without Tiramisu? Tiramisu ranks as one of my all time favourite "Classic" must-have desserts... together with creme brulee of course. Hmm but I got to say Olio Dome's tiramisu didn't quite sit well with me. But i'll give them top marks for presentation though. I sure did enjoy that roll of delicately crafted dark chocolate. A master-piece in itself. I usually prefer my Tiramisu with more cake than cream. And i like to be able to taste the liqueur. This one was mainly cream.... didn't taste much mascarpone either. Was quite disappointed actually. Looks like i have to continue looking for the ultimate Tiramisu. Still have yet to find the best one. The one at Bakerzin isn't too bad though. But I prefer their Chocolate Amer and Jivara more. Pure decadence. My mouth is watering at the mere thought of it.

Great. Now i feel like having cake. Some good cake. Chocolate cake! okay i better stop before i hallucinate a cake in front ot me. I'm now thinking what to have for lunch....


Olio Dome
1 Raffles Boulevard,
Suntec City,
Tel: 63347555

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The V Tea Room


That's one heck of a brownie. Just look at the way the chocolate syrup is dribbling down the vanilla ice-cream and down the sides of the cake. It's aesthetically pleasing. This brownie resides at The V Tea Room, a beautiful tea place i discovered recently. It opened about 8 months ago and it's doing very well. Usually quite packed on weekends.


They call themselves "The World's Liqueur Teacake Boutique". It definitely does look like a boutique. One with plenty of Venetian influences. They serve various types of liqueur cakes.. from Rum and Raisin, to Bailey's Irish Cream and even Barrel Whisky Mud Cake. They even have Grand Marnier and Kahlua ones. And guess what, yes of course they do serve tea and coffee. But you can request for a shot of liqueur to be added to your tea also. Now that's what i call true style.

I didn't manage to try anything at this place because I had a late lunch. But my friend who did, said that brownie (which you saw up there) was fantastic. I know i'll have to go back there to try it. But what I am eyeing more, is the Bailey's Irish Cream and the Barrel Whisky Mud Cake. After all, Bailey's my fav liqueur and yes I am a chocolate fanatic. Prices tend to be a bit pricey ($15 per slice for the liquer cakes) but I guess that's because of the amount of liqueur they put in? I'll have to try for myself before i comment on them.


But anyhow, just chilling out at the place is good enough. Look at how quaint it is. The decor is meticulously detailed and even the wall paper and the chairs are brought in from Europe. They did put in plenty of effort. Good job. Sorry I couldn't comment much about how the food tasted. But from the looks of it (while i was there, it was so packed that people had to be turned away), it's definitely a must-visit. I promise to try out the food soon and post about it again. Mean time, you can visit their website to get a better feel of their offerings...


The V Tea Room
Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Ave
Tel: 6333-1965

Monday, May 23, 2005

who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Cookie Book

Won't you look at that! I'm the proud new owner of this fantastic looking recipe book! and guess what? it's alll about cookies. hahaaa... i'm sooo happy! my friend gave it to me today and I was practically drooling at the sight of the beautiful yummy pictures inside. and they have recipes for all kinds of cookies!

i've always wanted a cookie recipe book but never got down to actually getting one... cos i thought since the internet has so many recipes, what for waste money ya? But man, i'm so going to use this book alot in the future. There are so many recipes in there that i want to try!

But first, gotta get my mixer! Hopefully soon enough... shall check my bank account first. haha... Thanks colin for recommending the Bosch one! it sure seems durable and reliable... will definitely check it out. After all, KitchenAid is so out of the question for me right now. Wait till i save up enough ya.

Today was a rather lazy day. It was a holiday and i spent most of my afternoon and evening just chilling out with a friend in town. oh.... yes... we went to The V Tea Room. The one i mentioned yesterday. Will post pictures up very soon.

Allrighty, let's hope I don't dream of cookies tonight! well maybe it aint' too bad.. afterall, i guess eating cookies in your dreams won't lead to weight gain? hahaa....

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Cinn Cinn Buns & Nutty Nutz Cookiez

Cinn Buns

Doesn't that look delicious? I don't know about you... but hahaa i love the frosting and the raisins! I do like cinnamon buns alot. Well cinnamon is one of my favourite spices. So when the opportunity came for me to bake these lovely bunch of goodness, I just had to succumb to my addiction yet again. Yes baking. again.

I baked these cinnamon buns for church today. Some youths were raising funds to attend the Hillsongs Conference in Sydney. Yep, so I chipped in and baked these buns to sell. They were sold at $1 each. and guess what? They sold out!!! That's a good thing of course! Not only was it for a good cause... other people could enjoy these lovely buns... i love spreading the love around. Hey, I spent effort and lots of love went into making these buns ya know.

I do have to thank Nic from Baking Sheet of course. She has the most enticing collection of recipes! I always feel inclined to try them out when I visit her blog. Man oh man, and this recipe for cinnamon buns is easy to follow and well, the results speak for themselves. It was my first time making cinnamon buns and I must say, I like the outcome, alot. Well maybe I had some trouble with the rolling at first.. Didn't roll the dough tight enough. But I soon caught on.

Oh one thing though, don't ever ever over work the mixer when using the dough hook to mix the dough together. I made the mistake of doing that and I spoiled my mixer. I was devastated! How am i going to bake again? I can't possibly use my hands all the time... I would die. Well I think i should source for a new one soon. But can't possibly get my dream KitchenAid mixer just yet. I'm just a poor student-to-be! I can't afford one right now.

*Sigh* Can anyone recommend a fairly good mixer to me? Like what brand or model? The one that spoiled was pretty old i guess.. Kenwood... so maybe it was time the mixer broke down. heh.

Anyway, back to my cinnamon buns! i'm definitley going to try this recipe again. And yes Nic was right, it's prefect for sunday brunch!

Cinnamon Bun

Look at the glaze.... love how it flows. I so want to sink my teeth into it. I'm sure the next time I make it, it'll be much better. I know these buns don't really look uniformed enough. Hmm but hey practice makes perfect! =)

and now...

time to unveil the Fantastico Peanut Butter Cookie!!!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Man oh man, i'm glad Nic posted this Peanut Butter Cookie recipe on her blog. I couldn't be happier. I got so addicted to these that i couldn't stop at one. It's sinful (what with the high butter content) but so what! It certainly didn't stop me from enjoying every bit of it.

I used chunky peanut butter and loved the result. Okay, what you get is something very aromatic... well you can smell the peanut butter. It has a very buttery flavour and depending on how much butter or flour you put, it can be crunchy and light or dense and chewy. I made two batches differently and both tasted good.

I'll have to make these cookies again. They're just too good to be true. Delicious and yummy.... goes well with milk... and man... it's so easy to make! please try it if you can. esp if you love peanut butter as much as i do!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

In a hurry for some curry

Curry Favor

As most of you would have known by now, I've developed an affection for Japanese curry. I love the sweetness of it and how it can still have a tinge of spiciness. Of course, the thick paste-like texture appeals to me. Tastes good with rice or udon. Delicious.

Today I checked out Curry Favor, a place that's quite known for it's jap curry. Have heard alot about it but never had the time to actually go try it. But today I finally went with some friends I've not seen in a while. And I must say I lapped up every single drop of the curry. You'll know why when you see the pictures and hear what i have to say about their culinary delight.

Katsu Ebi Fry Curry

This is what I ate: Katsu Ebi Fry Curry ($18.50). The meat you see over there is fried pork cutlet and a large ebi (prawn)... the red thing is some pickled vegetable. And there you have it, can you see the curry spilling out of the lovely 'lamp'-like steel holder? I tried to take this active shot whilst pouring the curry over my rice and meat.

It wasn't easy because I was this close to just gobbling up the food! I was rather hungry. Well because one of my friends got caught in a jam and was more than an hour late... so my stomach was screaming for food by then.

I must say the prawn did not disappoint. It was large indeed and sweet and succulent. It was a joy to bite into. Love the crispy breaded crust. Added a certain crunch to it. The pork cutlet was well cooked and went well with the curry. I requested for my curry to be spicy and spicy it was. Just the way I like it. But the good thing is, the spiciness didn't cover all of the Jap curry's natural sweetness. You can still taste a hint of sweetness as you let the curry swirl in your mouth... Only after eating more of it then you'll feel the fiery sting, though subtle. It ain't over powering. This is Japanese curry after all, not indian or thai curry. I love curries! and this place just became my favourite place.


This is cuttlefish roll with cheese ($5.50). If you think it looks good here, wait till you put them in your mouth. My my, i've never ever tasted a combination of cuttle fish and cheese this good. It was VERY satisfying. Ya, i know, it was supposed to be an appetiser but we actually ordered it after we had our curry. My friend had tried it before and strongly recommended it.

All I can say is, I had no regrets making space for these yummy little morsels of pure ecstasy. I don't usually compare something savoury with the term ecstasy but I shall make it an exception this time.. Why so? because these rolls are really worth a try! You cannot afford to not try them! The cheese was still warm when the rolls were served to us. Once in our mouths, it melded with the tender cuttlefish very well. Mind you, the cuttlefish was soft and easy to bite. Not at all elastic. Which was excellent. Cheese and cuttlefish never tasted better together. I was clearly impressed. I don't mind just going back there for these rolls next time! I thought the cheese was only coating the top of the rolls but I was surprised when I discovered that they actually stuffed some of the cheese in the rolls. Amazing stuff. Go try it if you can! please! =)

Well it was a great end to a tiring day. Or rather, a tiring week at work. This dinner really put me in better spirits. We were so stuffed that we actually walked quite a bit to let the food digest better. We walked to the Esplanade and that was when I discovered this gem: The V Tea Room. It opened only about 8 months back. But man, it looked like I just stepped into Little Venice. I'll write more about that later, when I actually do get to drink tea and have cake there. We were simply too full to make a stop.. but i did get to speak to the lady in charge of the place.... Will be going down for a review some time soon. i'll update you guys. Till then.. have a great weekend!

P.S. Happy Vesak Day to those celebrating it! I'm gonna bake cinnamon buns and peanut butter cookies tomorrow night! will post about it when i'm done....


Curry Favor
39 Stamford Road
Tel: 6883-1087

4 out of 5 burps ****


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Chicken Fiesta

Sunday was awesome.

Because I finally got to go kayaking.

It was very sunny when I woke up. Put a smile to my face.

Anyway aside from kayaking, it was a very delicious sunday too.

No, I didn't bake.... i'm on a wee short hiatus. Haha, at this rate, I might as well open an online bakery... which is something I might start with, before opening up an actual bakery. Okay, enough with the talk... Time for some pictures!...

Boon Tong Kee

Had some fantastic Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice for lunch before we headed to East Coast Park. Tender and tasty, it tasted great with the garlic chilli provided. We finished the chicken pretty quick. And since we were in Katong, which is known for great food, I just had to try the egg tart from Chin Mee Confectionery.

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery

It looks very old school and doesn't really sell much pastries, save for some cupcakes and tarts.

Tarts and such

Anyway me and lil sis got one each ($0.60) and man oh man, this must be the best egg tart ever. It's very different from those kind of custard ones. This one was ultimately smooth and had a lovely egg yollk orange hue. Wasn't too sweet either. The shortcrust was perfect. As you can see in the pictures, you'll have to believe me....

Egg Tart
Egg tart close up

After that great lunch, you'd think I'd be satisfied. Haha, well I was... but I couldnt' resist having Kenny Rogers for dinner.

Kenny Rogers

We were pretty tired and hungry after an hour of kayaking and so, had to satisfy our ravenous appetite... I ordered the Lucille set ($29.90), which is basically half roasted chicken, half slab of ribs, 3 side dishes and 2 of their famous corn muffins.

Kenny Roger’s Lucille Set
Chicken and Ribs

So me, mum and sis ate that and we lapped up everything. The ribs were fantastic. Remember I mentioned not eating their ribs before? Ya, that's why i ordered it. Yummy. The roasted potatoes I ordered as a side dish was lovely. plainly seasoned with olive oil and herbs, it filled me up well.

I do think this outlet is lovely. They have such cute lamps! See....

Funky lamp
Funky lamp2

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Almond Biscotti

Almond Biscotti

Okay okay, I know I said I would be resting after baking those beautiful brownies and pretzels. BUT...

I changed my mind.

Hey, it's not my fault it rained this morning and I couldn't go to the beach as intended.

The weather was so gray and dreary that I just had to do something!

And so, I baked...

yet again,

and this time, I made something very simple. Something Italian and something that goes well with a cup of espresso or milk.

Almond Biscotti it was.

Rows of almond biscotti

There were many reasons why I ended up making that:
1. I've always wondered how biscottis were made.
2. I had left over almonds from my pistachio cake
3. This one didn't need butter
4. I love biscotti!
5. I was too bored being stuck indoors... and the list goes on.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, the recipe is rather simple. But I actually adapted it from a recipe for Pistachio cherry biscotti. I had no cherries so I just stuck with almonds, and besides, I had a bottle of almond essence. So here's my version of the recipe:

Cheryl's Almond Biscotti

3 cups plain flour
1 cup fine sugar, or less
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond essence
1 egg (to glaze)

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.
2. Get a large bowl and mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.
3. Add eggs one at a time until it forms a stiff dough.
4. Add your almonds (whole)
5. Divide dough into two portions, shape each portion into a long rectangular loaf about 8cm wide and 25 cm long. Brush with eggwash.
5. Place on a buttered and floured tray and bake in centre of oven for 30 minutes
6. Cool loaves on rack, and cut into 1cm thick slices.
7. Return cut slices to oven to dry out for 20 minutes or until the biscotti turns golden brown and crisp.

Brownies and Pretzels


pieces of brownie

My best brownies. Don't they look fantastic? Made them using Hershey's cocoa, and I got to admit, it sure tastes rich and chocolatey. Sometimes when I feel like having a super chocolatey brownie, I add semi-sweet chocolate in addition to the cocoa and coat the brownies with chocolate frosting too. But for today, I decided to stick with traditional fresh brownies.

I think I'm really getting addicted to baking. Everyday I'm scouring the internet and books for recipes I can try and somehow I'm always in the mood for baking. Take today for example. I got home about midnight and instinctively whipped out my flour, cocoa, butter, sugar etc and started baking. Damn, am I infected with some baker virus? hahaa.... okay i'll stop being ridiculous.

I baked some soft pretzels too. Got the recipe from a food blog I was browsing. It's safer to use "tried and tested" recipes I say. Lessens the chance of it being a bad recipe! duh. Anyway this was how my pretzels looked before they went into the oven:

Pretzels before baking

and this was after they came out, 20 minutes later...
Pretzels after baking

soft pretzel

These pretzels are best eaten warm, fresh out of the oven. But you can reheat it the next day if you want. Best eaten with butter, jam or cinnamon sugar. Delicious. This is what i'm talking about. That sense of satisfaction. Though I was tired, I felt happy at the results.

torn pretzel
i tore the pretzel to show you guys the texture. Mmmm....

Baking is rather therapeutic I tell ya. I feel so much better after baking. My brownies and pretzels turned out exceptionally well. And this was my first time making pretzels... I'm so proud of myself!!! =)

Don't mind my excitement. I love trying out new things. I have alot more things I plan to bake. hehee I saw this peanut butter cookie recipe recently and it sounds yummy and funky! might try that out.

I'm so glad the weekend is here!!! Am intending to go to East Coast Park with me sis later on.... We'll be having a picnic by the beach too!!! and yes, i'll be bringing along my delicious brownies and pretzels... haha... you guys wanna try them? then come on down to East Coast Park.... who knows, you might just bump into me. heh. I'm gonna be going kayaking. I can't wait.

Bet my euphoria is getting to you ya? Then what are you waiting for! go bake. it does wonders.... okay, i think that's enough baking for this week. Until next week....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

An Oaty Chocolaty Night

A good baker or cook never follows a recipe word for word. He/She should be able to modify and improvise the various steps, ingredients or methods when neccessary. This is an unsaid rule. I do suppose that's how creativity is cultivated.

Being creative allows you to think on your feet - kinda like mix and match; you see what works and what doesn't, then you go with your gut feeling.

Most of you would be wondering where I'm going with this. Let's just say I had fun last night...

Whilst baking....


Yes, I can't seem to peel away from the old and worn oven that sits in my kitchen. Yesterday's 'adventure' had to do with oats, chocolate, walnuts and raisins.

Nah, I didn't mix them all together...though I somehow did in the end. but that's another story.

I made Flourless Butterless Dark Chocolate Cookie and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. What was the success rate? Pretty high I would say. My 'guinea pigs' (mum, bro, sis) lapped them up in a blink of an eye.

It was my second time using that oat recipe so it was quite a breeze. But it was my first time making the Flourless Butterless Dark Chocolate Cookie and it was a very interesting recipe. As its name suggests, flour and butter was absent. How in the world can a cookie not have flour or butter you say? Kinda like calling a jelly a jelly when there's no gelatine in it ya? Well this one depended mostly on egg whites and confectioner's (icing) sugar mostly.

Cookie batter
flourless butterless dark chocolate cookie

I did like how it tasted though. Like dark chocolate cookies. It was supposed to be crispy on the surface and moist on the inside. Mine was crispy around the edges and delightfully moist in the middle. I had it with cold milk. Ya ya, did the most natural thing and dipped it in milk. Perfect.

cookie with milk

Just then, I had a thought. What if I made mini-cupcakes out of the batter? The batter was more gooey than it was a dough so I gave it a try. I quickly whipped out my cupcake cases (left-overs from making vanilla cupcakes previously, more on that in another post), poured the thick brown batter in and popped them into the oven.

choc cupcake

Result - Phenomenal. It didn't rise as much but the taste was rich and decadent. It attained a moist and dense cake-like textuer that was a pleasure to bite into. Loved how the walnuts added that fantastic crunch. Brilliant. I was glad that I actually improvised. Somehow, I think this recipe works well as a cupcake rather than a cookie one. You'll know what I mean if you ever decide to try it for yourself.

choc walnut cupcake

Next was my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. This one was a breeze. Simple ingredients, simple steps and viola, delicious cookies that are healthy and nutritious!

cookie dough

The 2 batches came out beautiful and yes I had them with milk too. How could I resist the lure of freshly baked cookies? The cookies were a golden brown and had a simple homely feel to it. Very much like an afternoon tea delight or something you'll have during a picnic under the warm sunlight.

cookie pile
oatmeal raisin cookie

I had some dough left and also some of that chocolate batter from my Flourless Butterless Dark Chocolate Cookie recipe. Then EUREKA. (hehe ignore cheesiness here).

oat choc mix

Surely you would have guessed that happened there and then. I married the two together and they became 2 large Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookie. My very own creation!

oat choc cookie

Being very pleased with the outcome, I finished one by myself. Afterall, I did deserve it, after all that hard work.

cookie monster

And so the baker ended up eating a lot of cookies yesterday night. But do I feel guilty? Nah. It's a simple indulgence I have to let myself have. After eating bland food for the past week due to my wisdom teeth extraction. haha.

Anyway those cookies certainly made my day and hopefully they'll have that same effect on you too. So try them out if you can someday and maybe be creative and do what I did too. Trust me, you'll love the outcome. Besides, would Ms. Baker ever lie to you?


Flourless Butterless Dark Chocolate Cookies
(Adapted from Payard Patisserie & Bistro in NY)
*Makes 10 large cookies

3/4 cup fine-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 & 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/8 teaspoon salk
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 large egg whites
2 cups walnuts (7 oz.), coarsely chopped

- Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit, approx 180 degree celcius
- Whisk together cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, and salt in a bowl.
- Combine vanilla and egg whites in a 2-cup glass measuring cup, then slowly add to cocoa mixture, beating at low speed with an electric mixer. Beat batter at medium speed unti lglossy, abou 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts.
- Drop 5 (1/4 cup) mounds of batter about 3 inches apart onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment. (Batter will spread)
- Put baking sheet on middle rack of oven and reduce temperature to 325 degree Fahrenheit, then bake until small thin cracks appear in tops of cookies, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool cookies completely on baking sheet on a rack and peel from paper.
- Increase oven temperature to 350 degree Fahrenheit and bake another batch in same manner. (Reduce temperature again after putting baking sheet in oven)

[Recipe taken from April 2002 issue of Gourmet magazine]

Monday, May 09, 2005

A short discourse on food, men, and me

One question: Do men actually make better cooks/bakers than women?

I won't justify the question with an answer. Let's just leave it open-ended... and unanswered.

The reason why I suddenly thought of that was because of some comments I read on some blogs just now.

People always tell the ladies that if they can cook well, pleasing the guy shouldn't be no problem and of course, 'oh what good wives they'll make'.

I do think that's a chavinistic opinion. But that's just me. It's quite unfair really, to place the 'job' of providing cooked food on the table, on the women. Okay, before I sound too feminist here, let me just say i'm trying my best to be objective here.

I have girl friends who have also commented that you hardly see girls who actually don't mind being in the kitchen cooking or baking and actually enjoying it. No wonder most cooks are guys you say. That would always remind a mystery I guess. Most michelin star chefs are guys too, have you noticed? I say it's either the people who suss out these guys are biased or there really are more men who don't mind slaving over the hot stove and oven all day long.

Nah, I'm not going to go on questioning the ability of these guys. Instead, I will let you in on a secret. Okay, maybe not a secret but rather, a peek into what makes this baker in me tick.

I admit, I LOVE food. I live, breathe, eat, smell, food. Food is my life. I cannot survive without food (scientifically and emtionally speaking). Food is more than a neccessity. It's an entire craft in itself. heck, I even think of food as an art. it's fragile, versatile, adaptable... and god knows how many billions and trillions of recipes there are out there. So many food from so many different cultures from so many countries over various continents. You've got vegetables, fish, meat, fruits, beans, roots, dairy, etc. The list goes on.

You could say i have PASSION for food. pure, unadulterated passion. the sort of passion that supersedes the superficial purpose of just making food look good. it goes beyond that. I do love every process that goes into making, or rather, creating a dish. I like seeing the ingredients at their pre cook stage, a.k.a. raw. I like the process... the chopping, the cutting, kneading, stiring, waiting, frying, steaming, grilling, boiling... and so on. And I like the decorating part too. Nothing beats having your meal served to you on a nice pretty plate and placed neatly like how an artist paints his picture with his palette of paints.

Food preparation can be delicate. Take the creme brulee for example. Much effort is needed to achieve that smooth velvety creaminess that allows the custard to slide down your throat slowly and gently. and also, what about the top most caramelised sugar 'crust'. you use a blowtorch to heat the sugar so it'll harden and form a 'glass' over the lovely custard. Perfecto. I am forever in awe of a who ever makes a good creme brulee.

Then there is the baking and cooking aspect. Okay, both are kind of the same. But a little different. Baking, to me, holds a lot more satisfaction. Why so? because i love looking at pretty things. I'm your typical sunshine, spring, countryside girl. I'm a sucker for good looking tarts/cakes/puddings etc. Stuff that you can't bear to actually destroy with your fork and put in your mouth. Yes, that's Ms. Baker for you. I do have a soft spot for desserts especially. Love making them just as much as I love eating them. It's a 2 way thing. I appreciate such foods. I like a good molten chocolate cake because of the art of encasing the warm chocolate in the middle, I recognise a good apple pie when i see one - with the perfect crust and moist apples, I appreciate the hard work that goes into ensuring a souffle looks and taste like one. yea... and so on and so forth.

Fact is, I can go on rambling on and on and on right here, about food. Anything about food, i can talk relentlessly. That's just how much it means to me. I don't think I'm a glutton, but I do know that i like to try as much food as possible... i'm adventurous, and I wish I could try every single cuisine possible before my life on earth ends.

You might wonder how i became a baker or a cook. How i ended up loving the heat the generates from the oven, the flames that lick, the cuts I get and the injuries (yea i'm quite careless sometimes. just grated some of my skin while trying to get lemon peel the other day! ouch). Well that's because I figured that if i love eating that much, i might as well learn how to produce what i eat. Ultimately, home cooked food is the best because I can 'play' with it as much as I want to. I can modify recipes to my liking and I don't have to pay through my nose (no service charge, tips, or what have you... ) I don't mind the hard work, as long as I have my cake and eat it too. Believe me you, I too have my dreams of marrying a chef. hahaa don't all girls wish that? it'll be cool, to not lift a finger and have food served to me however I like whenever I like no matter what time of the day.

hahaaa.... okay okay, i'm just kidding. that's just not me. I've always been the one who loves giving than receiving. I rather cook/bake for people than have them do that for me. So I guess the love of my life in the future will be a very lucky guy indeed huh? You think so? I'll not be so self gratifying by answering that. I'll just say that I will continue baking/cooking for the rest of my life even if it just for myself.

Ultimate wish: A bakery/eatery/restaurant of my own right smack in London or anywhere in the UK. Where people actually would come down just to taste my food. Heheee... hard luck you say? we'll see we'll see. i aspire to be anthony bourdain, nigella lawson, jamie oliver, etc etc. hmmmm just maybe not martha stewart. she's been to jail hasn't she? i really can do without the jail part.

Ha. okay, don't mind that lame comment.

anyways, I wanted to bake cookies today but had no time. Because I tried making some mochi which didn't turn out well. Because the recipe sucked! It was a microwave type recipe. Should have known better than to trust it. Well at least now i know. As much as I hate failing a task, I will try again one day. when i find the right mochi recipe. meanwhile, I'm eyeing on that flourless, butterless chocolate cookie from Gourmet magazine. maybe i shall try that tomorrow... we'll see... hopefully i'm not too tired! After all, baking is my hobby as of yet, it's not yet become my full time job! though i'm sure it'll be in future...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Nutty Mother's Day

It's a very nutty Mother's Day this year.

Pistachio Cake Batter

Wonder what that is? It's cake batter. Pistachio cake batter to be specific. Wanted to bake something for mum on this special day and chanced upon this recipe online a few weeks back via The Food Section. It's actually a recipe from the London River Cafe. The recipe can be found in their cookbook, Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe.

Nope, I've never visited the London River Cafe. I do know that there's a River Cafe here in Singapore but not really sure if it's affiliated. Maybe it is...

Anyway this recipe is really easy but expensive. That's because shelled pistachio nuts cost more. I bought 250g for about $9. My ingredients came about $20 in total... But that's because I bought extra unsalted butter (for my chocolate chip cookies to be baked soon) and flour.

Try out this recipe if you like nuts as much as I do. Hmmm but you won't really taste any nuts while eating it, besides the topping of course.

here's the finished product plus topping

Pistachio Cake Closeup
a closeup shot - can you see the lovely shiny glaze on the pistachio?

Cake slice1
Cake slice 2
Cake slice 3

Tada! Sorry for the sudden influx of pistachio cake photos. I just had to put them up. Especially those cut slices. I wanted to capture and show you guys the lovely hue of the pistachios and the colour of the cake.

The topping really completes the cake, not just in terms of aesthetics. It gives the cake that extra zing. The taste I mean. The lemon glaze gives a tangy tart feel to the cake while you bite into it. Very refreshing. I'm going to eat it with yoghurt later. It looks as if it would go well with yoghurt.

Just to let you know, mum did like the cake and so did both my younger bro and sis. They liked it so much and now there's only about half left. Well I do have a hungry family i guess. Or maybe just one with a huge appetite. Like me.

Yes yes, i'm sure most of you are eager for the recipe. So here goes:

Pistachio Cake
by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
from Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe

2 1/4 sticks Unsalted butter
1 Lemon
1 Vanilla bean
2/3 cup Blanched almonds
3/4 cup Pistachios
1 1/4 cups Superfine sugar
4 Eggs, organic
1/2 cup All-purpose flour

1 Lemon
1/2 cup Pistachios
1/4 cup Superfine sugar

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Grease a 12 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4-inch loaf pan with 4 tsp of the butter and line with baking parchment.

Soften the remaining butter. Finely grate the lemon peel. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Finely grind the almonds and pistachios together.

Beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon peel and vanilla seeds, then fold in the nuts and sift in the flour.

Spoon the batter into the pan and bake for 45-60 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan, then turn out.

For the topping, grate the lemon peel and squeeze the juice. Halve the pistachios. Mix the lemon juice with the sugar, boil until reduced to a syrup, then add the peel. Stir in the pistachios and pour over the cake.

Recipe reprinted with permission. Copyright 2004 Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.


Do take note:

* 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter is = 1 block unsalted butter or approx 250g
* Since vanilla beans aren't a common sight in Singapore, I used vanilla essence. it'll work fine
* Didn't know where in the world I could get organic eggs so I used normal ones.
* For those in Singapore and have difficulty getting shelled pistachios, go to Phoon Huat.
* I couldn't find a pan of the required size so I just used one that i had at home. Just make sure that when you pour your batter, it doesn't touch the brim. As long as it's half or 3/4 full, it's fine.


I'm really glad I got to try out this recipe! Been wanting to bake this cake but kept delaying it because I couldn't find shelled pistachios... I'm glad it turned out fine though. Definitely one of my favourites. Reminds me of the hazelnut torte my aunt made last time. Lovely. My aunt is an excellent baker. In fact, when i was younger, I used to help her out in the kitchen when she was baking bread/cakes etc. You can say I have some good 'baker' genes. Pardon my corny reference. It's late.

Ms. Baker will get some shut-eye now... zZzZzZz........

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Sugar, spice and everything nice

Brewerkz Ribs

I got to admit, having sore gums is as bad as it can get. Don't believe me? Try looking at pictures of food at a time when you know you can't have them even if you wanted to or heck, even if someone buys them for you.

Being a person who lives to eat, might I say, the past few days have been rather torturous for me. It doesn't help seeing others eat delicious food that you know you can't have. But hey, why am I complaining so much? I should treat this as a detox period aye? After all, I've been eating only weetbix with milk, yoghurt, tofu, porridge, cottage cheese & blended fruits for the past two days.

I'm starting to get whiny. I do need my meat, I do need my sugar fix. It's kind of pathetic that all I can do is to stare at pictures and imagine the taste. So there's your explanation as to why there are these two gorgeous looking wonders in this post today.

Strawberry Shortcake

This is the best Strawberry Shortcake I've ever tasted. It's from Bakerzin. Yea, the place that is known more for their desserts rather than the food. It's my number one place for desserts. I've tried almost all of their cakes/pastries. And trust me, they are to die for. Please don't forget to try their warm chocolate cake while you're at it. Why? Because there's a molten chocolate centre that's why. After one taste, you'll be thanking me.... I do think I'll have to make another trip down to Bakerzin soon to spoil myself silly. Maybe after my gums have healed. Ooooo I'm gonna dream about those cakes tonight! Don't worry, I'll definitely post up pictures when I do drop by.

I won't call myself a carnivore but I do love a good rack of ribs. Funny thing was, I always preferred a huge chunk of meat right smack on my plate sans the bones. But of late, I've found myself going crazy over ribs. So much so that I've been on a hunt for the best ribs in town. The ribs you see right at the top of this post is from Brewerkz. Yes that microbrewery down boat quay... at Riverwalk. I'm not much of a beer fan but I recommend their ribs. One of the best ribs I've tasted. The meat is succulent and tasty and it's a dream to eat. That's because the flesh doesn't stick on the bones. It falls right off the ribs as easy as can be. And they serve amazing mash potatoes with it. Yes, that's what those two white blobs are. If I'm not wrong, you can choose fries/wedges instead.

Another good place to have your ribs is Billy Bombers. I've only been to the one at The Heeren down at Orchard Road. Don't have a picture of it. But I do intend to go down there again for some chomping and will take pictures when I do. In any case, their ribs are also a must try. Okay i've talked about where the good ribs are so now I would have to give my 2 cents worth on where not to go for your ribs.

Country Manna. Don't go there if you don't want to be disappointed. I made the mistake of going there for some ribs when I had a craving for one. I should have seen it coming. The place was rather empty. Anyway there wasn't much meat on the ribs and it wasn't as tender as I would have liked it. I was not happy at all. Seeing that the price didn't fit the standard. But I have to give them credit for the ambience:

Country Manna

They just have to work on their ribs. I do hope that the ribs isn't the only lack-lustre item they have on their menu. Until I've tried their other items, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

I know Tony Roma's and Kenny Rogers both sell ribs too. But I've never tried Kenny Roger's ones. Tony Roma's I've tried but that was ages ago when my dad worked there. Yea, he would bring home ribs and macaroni & cheese sometimes and boy were they delicious! I hope they still are. I've got some vouchers and maybe I shall drop by one of these days. Heard they have this pretty innovative onion basket thing...

Kenny Roger's may sell ribs but I believe they're more famous for their roasted chicken and I'm a huge fan, as you can tell:

Kenny Rogers

This set costs only $10.90 and it's a real bargain I think. A quarter chicken with 2 side dishes and their signature corn muffins. As always, you can see the macaroni cheese there. I'm a sucker for that delicious gooey treat. Well I do love cheese you see. I do think that Kenny Roger's has a good thing going. They're stilll doing pretty well. I'm glad. I hope they'll keep it up. This one was eaten at their new outlet at Marina Cove down at East Coast Park. That was after a good run on a sunday evening. Now you know why it was so satisfying. =)

Okay, I think I'm feeling rather full now, after looking at all those pictures. =p I think I'll stop here and go on day dreaming about more ribs and mmmm cakes.

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