Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Ms. Baker bakes once again

Apricot Crumble Cake

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FELIX! Yea, today's my brother's 16th birthday and I baked him an apricot crumble cake. I usually bake a mean chocolate brownie cake but since mum didn't want something too sweet, i settled for this new recipe i found on Delia Smith's site. It's a rather simple recipe and the result is a half-flan, half-cake delight with a sponge base, fruit (apricot) filling and crumble topping. I figure you can use any fruit you want, as long as it's not too wet? I hope to try using blueberries or maybe strawberries next time.

Cake Slice

That's a close up shot of a slice. as you can spot, my mistake - the crumble topping. It's kind of my first time using a crumble topping and i think i didn't get the texture right. it was simply too dry and when i cut the cake, the crumble kept coming off. I should make sure it's lumpy enough before sprinkling it on the cake next time. but other than that, all was good. i'm pretty happy with my first apricot crumble cake and so was my brother. he had 2 slices. i think it'll taste good with yoghurt too...

David Eyre Pancake

this was another new venture i tried out last night. also known as david eyre pancake, i got this recipe from The Food Section. This one's rather different from your usual pan fried pancake... this one, you pop it into an oven and let it bake. i kinda like the result. and topped it off with some icing sugar and lemon juice. yummy. makes for a good breakfast for 2. check out the recipe at the link i provided above.

was surfing the web for more recipes to try and found some promising ones. mother's day is coming soon... next weekend.. maybe i'll try baking something new for mum. i do believe she's had enough of my chocolate brownies! not that they're not to die for.. but she finds it too sweet for her liking. but hey my logic is, if a brownie is not sweet then it's not a brownie! afterall, chocolate's sweet... i hope to one day master the molten chocolate cake though... and yes i would love to use Valhrona chocolate!!! yes yes... dark chocolate's the best.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Veggielicious

Eggplant

look at that rich purple eggplant. i love it's royal hue. it helps that my favourite colour is in fact purple. maybe that's why i like eggplants? okay enough nonsense already. to be perfectly honest, i didn't fancy eggplant when i was younger. maybe it was because of the way they were cooked? somehow over the years, i've come to like them and esp. now... i love them! i think they're best eaten grilled.

speaking of grilled... ah yes, i made a rather healthy veggie sandwich yesterday. you'll more or less figure what i'm talking about as you look at the following pictures. i shall not spoil them with words in between. enjoy looking and await my explanation at the end. =)

Bell Peppers

Colours Galore

Post-grilled Veggies

Sandwich

Closeup Sandwich

hopefully you found it as appealing in terms of colour and freshness, as i did. well i was feeling rather healthy i guess. went for a run in the morning and decided to head out to buy some eggplant, red and yellow bell peppers to concoct my own grilled vegetable foccacia sandwich. i tell you, grilled bell peppers are so yummy. there's a certain sweetness that complements the entire package. i had a great time eating them... together with the eggplant and some oh so lovely feta cheese in that foccacia bread i bought. delicious. i felt so good afterwards! am thinking of making more sandwiches to bring to work for lunch... saves lots of money. maybe i'll get some ciabatta or spelt bread. i love these kinds of breads... much better than ordinary white bread...

okay, digressing a little, i've discovered an increasing liking for jap curry. not sure why. all started with me eating curry katsu don the other day and i think i got hooked since. i just ate beef curry ramen today for dinner and it was so so yummy. it's not so spicy and has a lovely sweetness from it.. comes from the carrots and onions i guess... oh no.. i think i'll be eating jap food more often. i already feel like trying out this udon place i passed by the other day. it's called Sanuki Udon. they hand make theirs. it's at Scotts food court. maybe i'll have that for lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Wholesome Goodness

Jollibean

Soya is in the rage. I'm not surprised. Because it tastes good, and feels good. Whether is it soya milk or tofu, i love them all the same. Tofu's incredibly versatile... that's because it takes on different tastes easily. I've been eating yong tau foo for the past week and I do admit i'm hooked. I still think it's a brilliant idea to offer a huge array of tofu and vegetables and cook them in a simple soup. It might sound a tad boring or tasteless at first but mind you, it's far from that. I always have fun choosing the various ingredients. Predictably, i always go for the tofu first... then i get some lady's finger, green chilli, eggplant, maybe some seaweed or bean sprouts and perhaps a tomato. If you think it sounds rather healthy, well it is. But i doubt i'd ever get bored of yong tau foo. i wonder who came up with it. but the best yong tau foo i've eaten so far has got to be this one at Tanjong Pagar. It's hakka yong tau foo and made in claypot. it's rather expensive but worth every cent. will look for the address and post it up later...

Pauls Yoghurt

YOGHURT. it's a miracle creation. full of calcium and a great healthy substitute for ice-cream. I used to hate the taste of plain natural yoghurt and always had to mask the sourness with honey. but now i'd rather much prefer plain yoghurt on it's own. That's because some brands have it so sweet. The funny thing is, they always state there low fat.. but the sugar content is sky high so it makes no difference i say. My favourite brand of natural yoghurt has got to be Pauls. it's amazing... but it's weird cos recently it's quite hard to find. not sure why.

oh while we're on the topic of calcium rich foods, i have to rave about Feta cheese. yea bought some today to complete my grilled vegetable foccacia sandwich. yea... grilled eggplants, red and yellow bell peppers for lunch. i took pictures. will post them later... i gotta go now...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Amalfi

Went to an amazing Italian restaurant to review their food for Think Magazine, a magazine i freelance for. I've taken the liberty of including my review in this post together with pictures. pardon the low res. quality... forgot my digital camera so i took the pictures with my trusty Nokia 7610. Enjoy!

amalfi


Suffice to say, Italian cuisine has become more of a lifestyle than anything else. Every corner you turn, there’s definitely a pizza or pasta place for any person craving for something hearty and filling. With so many Italian eateries popping up faster than you can say ‘mozzarella’, it’s no doubt we’re spoilt for choice. But Italian is as Italian gets. It’s easier to pass off as a pseudo Italiano outfit than to actually carve a name for being an authentic Italian restaurant. Amalfi belongs to the latter category.

Touted as an Italian pizza place, the classy restaurant has a wood fire oven which is used to cook their thin-crusted pizzas. We’re talking about quality here, so you can say good bye to those soggy pizza bases that comes topped with even meagre ingredients. At Amalfi’s, you’re definitely getting what you deserve; that is, great, unadulterated, pure Italian cuisine.

amalfi


Having chosen the Amalfi’s Beef Carpaccio ($14.90) as my antipasto, I was sure I’d come to the right place. Not only was the carpaccio fresh and tender, it was dressed with a wonderful combination of Worchester, mayonnaise and tuna sauce. The capers added a twist to the pleasant dish. It helped that the thin tenderloin slices came in the right size and texture. The Bruschetta ($6.90) was my next choice and I loved the simplicity of it. It wasn’t overwhelming at all. In fact, the tomato concasse on the crispy toasted bread slices oozed with such sweet juiciness that I simply couldn’t help finishing it in a few seconds. Served with garlic and basil, the bruschetta is an understated delight.

bruschetta

As a fan of lasagnas, I had to try their Lasagna Al Forno ($14.90). Might I say, this lasagna is in a league of its own. I can honestly say that I’ve never tasted lasagna this good. It’s definitely a classic. The baked pasta was incredibly soft yet firm enough to hold the entire dish together. The Bolognese meat sauce was tasty but not too overpowering. Topped with a fair bit of parmesan cheese and b├ęchamel sauce, this lasagna sent me on a high. This layered package seems to blend so well together that you can’t find anything nasty about it at all. It’s best eaten warm though. You wouldn’t want to have hardened cheese. Amazing stuff.

lasagna


If you’re a cheese person, you have to try their Gorgonzola pizza ($16.90). Topped with mozzarella, blue cheese and gorgonzola, this is honestly a back to basics kind of pizza. It comes with a tomato base and the crust was ultimately crispy, just the way I like it. This is how all pizzas should be! They were rather generous with their cheeses too.

gorgonzolapizza


Amalfi’s salads are pretty impressive too. I got a taste of their Cilantro con carne salad ($16.90) and liked what I saw. Served with grilled egg plant, garlic and coriander, the seared beef that same with it was chewy and fresh. The sweet onion gave it a certain zing. It certainly helps that their dishes are so well presented. At least they made an effort to give an artistic edge to all their dishes.


cilantrosalad

Amalfi’s desserts didn’t fail to please either. Their Chocolate Profiteroles ($6.90) were out of this world. The cream was fresh and light while the chocolate ice-cream was irresistible. I found their Bavarese Cheesecake ($8.90) rather unique. It’s not as heavy as the ones you have else where. There’s almost a milky taste to this one. You don’t feel sick after having too much of it. Definitely a must try.

profiteroles

You’ll be pleased to know that Amalfi also has an al fresco area where you can choose to dine by the beautiful Singapore river along Clarke Quay. Be sure to bring along a date to complete the delectable evening. You really don’t have to travel all the way to Italy to taste real Italian food you know?

profiteroles

_______________________________________

So there you have it... my dining experience at Amalfi. I'll surely go back there some day. Just discovered I have so many more 'best eats' to share. They come with pictures too. well thanks to my habit of shooting almost everything i consume. will give you an insight on best places to have authentic singapore food. speaking of singaporean food, I just came across yet another amazing food blog today called Ono Kine Grindz. It's by a Hawaiian native if i'm not wrong. well what's interesting is that he's been to Singapore and loves the food here. Well Singaporean food is good, so I can see why. Not only is the food here to die for, there's just too many to choose from! it's really a food paradise. believe me, i know. okay, it's getting late... i'll post more stuff another time. tataz.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Posh Dining

What defines fine? When is food fine? What in the world is fine dining? It's posh food, to be honest. I define it as food that is served on a spotless white porcelain plate with the dish placed artistically in the middle. I have always found it very swanky and some how am not quite used to eating such food. maybe because i hardly eat at such expensive restaurants. Not that I don't appreciate such food. I guess it's always nice to bite into high quality gourmet food once in a while eh? Anyway I shan't blabber on too much with the philosophy of fine dining. Let me show you what I had at Cafe Society the other day:

seafoodtrio

Presenting the 'Trio of Seafood". It's basically a combi of pan seared scallop, sesame crusted tuna and pan fried garlic prawn. This was the first dish served. May i just add that this dish was brilliant. Gave the whole meal an advantage. I was incredibly pleased with the freshness of the scallop and the prawn. I loved the seared tuna too. well considering i'm a fan of sashimi and all. love raw fish. and there wasn't any fish smell or taste at all. there you have it, 3 tastes of heaven.

foiegras

Can you guess what dish this is? Clue: it's not cheap and well geese are tortured. it's a dead giveaway. yea that's pan fried Foie Gras for you. It's cooked with old port wine sauce. they served it with some lovely filo pastry. I have a confession to make. that was my first ever foie gras. what a dud huh? have never tried foie gras until now. but i adore it. just a bit icky about poor geese being stuffed and tortured though. heh.... i like the rich texture of it. the sauce added a much complimenting sweetness to the salty liver. bravo chef.


portobellosoup

ah soup. there's nothing like a warm creamy soup i tell you. this one was the "Cream of Portobello Soup". i'm guessing it was made with the huge portobello mushroom. I think. well there were pieces of mushroom in it. there's something about this soup which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. it's a soup that i'd imagine myself eating on a cold rainy day with lots of foccacia bread. if overseas, maybe during winter, by the fireplace. too bad there ain't no winter and no fireplace here. heh no way am i eating it by the stove!

quail

quaint isn't it? it's like a small bird. well it is a small bird. that's pan fried quail... infused with truffle oil and drizzled with old port wine sauce. flesh was tasty, right down to the bone... okay the next word i'm gonna use to describe is gonna sound rather kitschy but i have to use it! this quail is cute! by cute i mean the size. maybe i'm too used to eating bigger birds? i don't know. i do know that i love quail eggs too.. simply cos of their adorable size too. okay i think i'm probably insane. nvm. anyway the quail was sitting on this lovely pumpkin mash with some grated carrots and vegetable. excellent combi. love it.

beefmedallion

yes yes, this one is the meaty prize winner. the grilled beef medallion with sherry jus. beef was cook just right... medium rare and it was very tender. came served with some mushrooms and asparagus and mash potatos. oh and i do think the sherry jus was justifiable. i made sure I coated the potato and the asparagus with it before i ate it. it was a perfect sauce for the juicy meat. yummy.


cremebrulee

last but not least, dessrt. can you guess what's that? yesss it's vanilla creme brulee. gosh, the moment i saw this, my heart just fluttered. sinful but to die for. in case you were wondering, yes i finished everything on the plate. including the little wonton looking package there. it looks ordinary on the outside but trust me, you wait till you hear what's in it. the core contains banana and DARK chocolate. yes robust dark chocolate, my utmost favourite. what can i say. there simply is nothing better than a 'killer' dessert to end your meal. like i always say, i can live without the main course but i can never do without dessert! no matter how full i am, there's always place for dessert. i am such a dessert person.

there you have it, my 6 course meal at Cafe Society. if you think the food looks and sounds good? wait till you see the place. the ambience is top notch. it has a chic, contemporary yet european kind of setting. you'll understand when you see it. because the place was the former Parliament House. and i ate my meal in the Justice Chambers. amazing huh?

anyway, i just discovered that i haven't baked for quite some time. the last time i did, was during chinese new year when i made my ever so popular chocolate chip cookies. they're a hit with everyone. my cousins almost finished the entire bottle that time. this one is the chewy type. i prefer a nice chewy cookie to a crispy one. i feel like making them soon. maybe i will for my brother's birthday which is 2 weeks away. allrighty... i'll be checking out new recipes to try soon and will post more pictures up when i do get down to baking again. gosh i miss baking.... have been too busy of late.

oh that reminds me, today's LifeStyle section of Sunday Times featured Anthony Bourdain... hehe my favourite chef!!! he's coming down here for the World Gourmet Summit soon... damn... if only i could meet him. He was schooled at NY's CIA (Culinary Institute of America), the place which i would love to go study at!! if i had money, i'd go to the CIA or Le Cordon Bleu to study patisserie. wait i don't know if i spelled that right. heh. anyway ya, i want to learn french cooking too! and pastry making. anything to do with baking or cooking. yea duh. those are culinary schools!

Well i guess that can come after i'm done with my uni studies. ya, going to start school in August... majoring in Sociology and possibly also Philosophy. Not sure yet... will be studying in NUS arts and social sciences faculty. well i guess it ain't so bad. i originally wanted to go to uni of liverpool (got offered a place). but alas do i have the cash? no. so i'll just have to make do! okay i'm digressing aint i... anyway maybe after i get my bachelor's degree, i'll go to a culinary school. i still remember i always told myself, i'd either be a writer or a chef. or both when i grow up. maybe the latter will come true in due time. we'll see we'll see.....

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Epitome of Food

Gelare Waffles

Won't you look at that! Are you drooling already? It's gorgeous isn't it? It's waffles from Gelare's by the way. I had it yesterday. Tuesdays are half-priced waffles day - the best day to have this fantastic waffle with ice-cream. I love the person who created waffles. In fact, I love the person who concocted chocolate too, and yes not to mention, ice-cream. and heck, i want to worship the person who thought of a great way to consume chocolate. yes, via FONDUE. Especially the one from Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar at the Esplanade. won't describe it. i'll let the picture speak for itself:

Chocolate Fondue

Okay, you must be thinking what a pig i am heh? Well for one thing. I love everything there is to love about food! Come on, tell me, what's there not to love? Besides, i'm an adventurous eater. I'm keen to try out new stuff all the time. Since this is one of my first few posts on my spanking new food blog, i thought i'd give a glimpse of the person i am. so i thought what better way to start the ball rolling by showing some of my favourite foods! yes in case you're wondering, these pictures here are taken by me, with my trusty Nokia 7610 camera phone. amazing quality eh? well i'm known for snapping shots of my food before i tuck it. ask all of my friends, they think i'm freakin' mad. maybe that's just cos they've never come across a person as passionate about food as me.

all right, i had better stop digressing. yes, my fav foods. i think sugar is my greatest downfall. i ADORE desserts. gotta have them. there's always always space for dessert even after a full meal. it's my weakness. i have a sweet tooth, i admit that. i am a chocoholic too.. there. i've confessed my darkest sin. and oh yea, i love all carbs. i love to rip up some bread, dip it into curry, i have my cake and eat it, i love potatoes, pasta, ice cream, waffles and heck the list goes on and on. i guess i do make up for it with exercise. believe me, i have to, or else i'll be a freaking blob. that's one huge reason why i can never stay in Australia. I lived there for 2 months when i was in Brisbane for an internship 2 years back and i gained 10kg. Blame it on the Tim Tams i say.

oh, and i'm one person who would rather spend money on food than on anything else. weird huh? but like i said, i can't live without yummy food. i'm always on the look out for the best food. my friends know who to call if they want to find a fantastic place to have their lunch dinner, supper what not. so yep, i guess i'm a qualified food 'expert' or gourmet, to put it in nicer terms?

i have no idea what made me love food so much. not that i was starved when i was younger. i just always knew i would someday find a calling in the food industry. how i don't know. i always tell people, the two greatest love and passions of my life are Food & Writing. yea, just so you know, i'm also an aspiring journalist. Studied mass communication and am currently freelancing for a mag and the national newspaper. waiting for my big break. was hoping to get a job at a food publication but to no avail. thus my food blog! =) anyways, gosh i can just go on and on and on about food all day long and not stop. okay i shall try to be less rambly. and oh before i sign off, i have to rave about Fish & Co's seafood platter. i know it might not be top notch but i love it anyhow. it has that hearty feel to it. the way it's served in a pan and how you can see all the seafood dumped together. YUMMY.

Seafood Platter

as you can see, they've got prawns, dory, fries, mussels and squids. it's not the best and freshest seafood i've tasted but somehow, this one just wins me over with the ruggedness of it all. not sure if you understand what i'm trying to say. but i think when you're hungry and craving for something, it will taste good no matter what... unless it is really substandard food.

anyhow, speaking of substandard food. the other day, i dined at this amazing place called Cafe Society which is by Boat Quay and mind you, it was far from substandard. it was by far the best meal i've eaten so far in terms of quality wise. i'm thinking foie gras, quail, creme brulee. yes yes, okay i'll post pictures up another day so look out for it! ... gotta run... before i start to drool on my keyboard.

So Stew Me

Chickpea Stew
Chickpea & Carrot Stew

I love stews. why? because they're so easy to make? you cook some aromatics, add some lovely sweet vegetables like carrots and dump more ingredients and spices, add water, close the cover and let it simmer till cook. you can do loads of stuff in between.

and today i decided to try out Kitchen Chick's chickpea & carrot stew recipe also known as Tagine Bil Hummus. gosh i love chickpeas and this recipe is simply so easy. well i adapted it a tad bit. added some corn and celery. i adore celery. it's just so crunchy and fragrant. anyway this stew will be my lunch for the next few days. i had a taste just now and it's so delicious. it's tasty and spicy yet hearty at the same time. not to mention, healthy too! yep, gonna be eating in to save some cash. till my pay check comes!.

gonna be trying more recipes and posting some up so stay tuned...

will be adding links of all my favourite food blogs pretty soon. till next time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

it's all about the food

as Anthony Bourdain said, "at the end of the day, it's all about what's on the plate". couldn't i not agree more?

food, to me, is essential. it's the start, the middle and the end. it can make or break your day. it can kill you or it can make you go on a high. whatever it is, food is a must have.

having adored food since god knows when, i've decided to come up with my own food blog. and it's aptly named. that's because i love to bake and i love cooking as well. a person who bakes is a baker and a person who cook is a chef. i wonder who came up with the titles. but to me, a baker and a chef is simply an artist. food is their craft and well as long as they whip up something delicious, they deserve a big hug.

i've come across various food blogs and i was inspired to make my contribution on the world wide web. thus this blog. i've been blogging for years and found that most of my posts were actually about food. i have descriptions of my meals, what i baked/cooked and pictures of food. so i thought why not have a blog totally devoted to food?

this being my first post, i'd like to say hi to anyone out there reading this. i'll have lots of exciting foodie stuff to share so do keep a look out!

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