Wednesday, June 29, 2005

BQ Korea

BQ Korea

It's Korean food, again.

Yes, this must be the second or third time that I've gone Korean, this month. What to do, I really do like Korean food.

Remember how I mentioned that I would show you how a Bi Bim Bab (beef and vegetable bowl) looks like? Well I finally have a picture of it:

Bolsot Bibimbab
Bolsot Bi Bim Bab ($10.90)

So now you see what I'm talking about? I love the colours of the different vegetables and ingredients (mushrooms, zucchini, radish, soy bean sprouts, eggs etc). It comes with a red sweet/sour sauce that you pour over and mix. Under all those ingredients lies a pile of soft sticky calrose rice. Notice the yolk in the centre? Well they purposely left it half cooked so when you burst it, the yellow goodness will flow out. I love my yolks that way. This bi bim bab smelt as good as it tasted and looked. A definite must-try!

The place where I had this delicious Bi Bim Bab is bQ Korea. It's a new contemporary Korean restaurant that opened a couple of months ago. And I got to admit that they do know their stuff. It's the first contemporary Korean eatery to open in Singapore. Previous Korean restaurants I've visited tend to lean towards the traditional old school kind of ambience. This place, however, reeked clean lines and impressed me with their sleek furniture.

And yes, the co-owner is Korean and they have a Korean chef to cook their dishes. So it's really quite authentic. It's my first time dining here and I think I have found my favourite Korean haven. I'm not kidding.

Ate there with my beloved ex-colleagues from I-S mag. Boy did I miss them so much! Really miss the days where we just sat down during lunch and sometimes after work, to chat, gossip and bitch about anything under the sun!

What better way to catch up than over a scrumptious meal and some drinks eh?

Well back to the food.... Joanne had the Kimchi Donkatsu ($9.90):

Kimchi Donkatsu

I found the dish rather interesting. The pork cutlet came with a kimchi centre. Very unique and it complimented the meat, which was a pleasant surprise.

The three guys all had the personal mini barbecue ($12.90) and here's one of them with the fresh raw beef:

Hungry Carnivore

That's dear ol' Cenydd by the way. Haha... going by his hungry looks, I'm sure you know what happens next...

What's a bbq without fire?

Lighting it up

cool eh? I like the pink 'wax' thingie they used.. and the flame has a lovely orange hue.

Flaming heat

this is how the 'bbq set' looked like... and now, here's Cenydd again, to show you how to cook the beef!


He sure has his eyes set on his beef. What a carnivore!

Beef cookin

Can you see the beef cooking? It tasted yummy. Best to eat it medium rare.

Korean Soju

and of course, we ended the evening with a toast! We had some Korean Soju. It's some grain liquer I think. The alcohol content was about 21%. But heh, I drank very little. I'm quite alcohol intolerant... Prefer Bailey's Irish Cream actually.

The evening was swell and I can't wait to go back there again. This time, I have to try the mini bbq for myself. Thanks Joanne, Cenydd, Lenz and Jan for taking time off to meet up! We should do again, soon...


bQ Korea
(opposite China Square Food Court)
70-74 Telok Ayer Street
#01-01 Far East Square
Tel: 6536-7703

4 out of 5 burps


Snowcapped Muffin Experiment


That which you see above is a clue to my recent muffin adventure which ended like a science experiment gone wrong.

Snowy Marshmallows

I know those snowy marshmallows look innocent but they hide something in them.

Chocolate Centred Marshmallows

chocolate. yea chocolate centred marshmallows. I bought them on impulse a couple of days back with an intention of getting creative again.

I'm sure you've guessed by now what I did next. I tried to make marshmallow muffins.

Before baking

So what I did was to put those small marshmallow pillows into the centre of each muffin batter. And the result was very interesting. It reminded me of Pinkcocoa Tabetai's Volcano muffins.

She too, tried to experiment and got erupted muffins. I sort of guessed this would happen to mine too, but me, being the one with an inventive streak decided to go ahead anyway. and what I got was snowcapped muffins. Yes, if Pinkcocoa got some volcano muffins, well i got snowcapped ones. Imagine Mt. Fuji... see what i mean:

After baking

i wasn't really disappointed actually. if anything, i was highly amused and tickled by this experiment. at least i now know what happens if you actually put marshmallow pillows into your muffins!

Tastewise, it was pretty decent. Except that all the melted marshmallow has surfaced to the top. I used the basic Mix-In Muffin recipe I used previously. So these were moist soft muffins with soft white sticky 'snow' on them. So it tasted exactly like muffins with a sweet tinge to it.

Snowcapped Muffin

I think I should stop baking like a scientist. But i'm really curious as to how the Malteser Muffins that Chin Ru of Sweet Oven tasted. I'm sure they taste divine. Chin Ru, post up the recipe soon so we all can have a clue on what it tastes like! I will definitely try it out... Speaking of muffins, I was at a cafe and saw them advertising some Cherry Ripe muffins they were selling. Creative huh? I don't think Cherry Ripe is common here (more of an aussie thing), but it's really this dark chocolate with a cherry infused coconut centre. It's yummy. Oh that cafe had mars muffins too! Interesting. maybe i'll go buy some soon and tell of how yummy it is and maybe recreate them myself!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Cook Next Door Meme

I've been tagged, again. This time by Kelli of Culinary Epiphanies and for a different meme. Okie dokie, so here goes!

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
Well I think that would probably be when I was 11 or 12. I actually joined this 'Home Management' ECA (extra curricular activity) in primary school. ECAs were a compulsary thing and well this particular one was very fun and I did lots of cooking and baking for that. I still remember making rock cookies for the first time, even using puff pastry and making my own bread pizza. It was a blast. I loved bringing those goodies home to show off to my family.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
I would say my youngest aunt. She's my mum's youngest sister and she bakes very well. Since I was a wee lil kid, I've always been helping her out in the kitchen when she kneaded dough for bread or measure ingredients for cakes. She's such a darling - used to come to my home to bake up some yummy goodies like cheese-cake pie for my birthdays when I was much younger. I guess I've always wanted to be as good at baking or cooking as she was.

Do you have an old photo as evidence of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
Can't find any at the moment but would definitely post it up if I do find one.

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
That would have to be meringues or macaroons. You see, I've always tried making them but they never work. Egg whites scare me sometimes. Overbeat them, and you get slush. I really wonder how people actually achieve those beautiful stiff peaks. I'd like to blame the humid weather here and my lousy mixer, but well maybe I just have yet to master the art of beating egg whites. Though I have always thought that if I had a KitchenAid Mixer, I wouldn't face such a problem!

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown? The most used kitchen gadget would have to be my baking sheet. I bake cookies alot so yes, I have to have a baking sheet. Though I would love to get a Silpat mat. But I haven't seen it being sold here.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
I am not sure if it's considered weird, but I love mustard and tabasco sauce and I eat it with almost anything. But I still haven't gotten used to wasabi though. I know both are similar in taste but dijon mustard is still my favourite. I love spicy foods and yes, I do put tabasco sauce in soups sometimes to give it that extra kick!

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
bread, chocolate and pasta

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!

Three quickies:Your favorite ice-cream?
Rum and Raisin. But I also love Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunky. Both have to share the title of my favourite ice-cream =)

You will probably never eat?

Your own signature dish?
my brownies

Question added by Zarah: On average, how many times a week would you cook something to satisfy your sweet tooth?

Too many times. About more than 3 or 4 times.

Question added by Cathy: What do you usually eat for breakfast?
I usually eat fruits and wholemeal bread for breakfast. But lately, what I've been doing is blending apples, oranges, and celery with rolled oats and some yoghurt. It might not sound much, but it tastes good and I feel very healthy after that.

Question added by Alice: What are your stand-by dinner options when you don't have the time or the inclination to follow or create a new recipe?
Sandwich. I love sandwiches and they're fuss-free! Cheese-omelette sandwich with mustard, ham or tuna, lettuce, tomato etc... they all work for me.

And, last but not least: Tag three people!
okay, i'm going to tag Colin again. hope you don't mind doing another meme again!
and J, and also COBOYPB of simple joys.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Muffins Galore!

into the oven

Are you seeing brown?

freshly baked choc muffins

can life get any better?

Chocolate muffin
bitten chocolate muffin with lots and lots of dark chocolate

yes it could. and with just one bite of this muffin.

It's no ordinary muffin. It's a chocolate muffin and I call it my chocoholic muffin.

Yes, if you have been reading my blog, you would have been in the loop about my latest muffin craze. The best thing is creating your own. It's really fun to experiment and find out what the end product would be like and whether it would taste totally scrumptious or seriously icky.

rows of muffins

so i was thrilled when I found the perfect basic muffin recipe on Epicurious. It's actually a Mix-in Muffin recipe that allows you to play around with any ingredients you might want to add. It suggests mixing banana with chocolate, or dried apricots with poppy seeds etc.

I took this opportunity to get creative and came up with this:

Carrot Raisin Muffin
carrot and raisin muffin with cinnamon and nutmeg

It does look healthy but mind you, it tastes good as well. I liked how the cinnamon and nutmeg came through. To make these, simply add grated carrot (about 1 carrot or 1/2 cup), dessicated coconut (1/2 cup), ground cinnamon and nutmeg (add however much you want) to the basic muffin recipe.

Actually there was also anothe reason for all these muffins!

There were more than 4 tubs of sourcream sitting in my refridgerator and I was trying to put them to good use. Why do I have so much sourcream you ask? Well, the youth ministry I'm in actually had a stall at this youth fun fair thing last week and we sold baked potatoes. And apparently they had bought too much sourcream. They had about 10 tubs of sourcream left and well seeing I could well make use of these creams in my baking, I took some home and viola, I had a very muffin-ed saturday morning yesterday.

I was to meet my two best friends Lina and Shiv for dinner in the evening and I brought some muffins along too. These girls loved the chocolate one so much that I regretted not bringing more for them. haha.. nevermind girls, you'll be having cupcakes next week ( i promised them chocolate cupcakes.. haha).

Anyway if you wanna make those chocolate muffins, simply add some cocoa powder to the basic muffin recipe and chopped dark chocolate. I didn't really note down the measurements, but hey, you can't go wrong with chocolate can you? The more, the merrier! But I did do something special and put a chunk in the middle of each of the muffin. That's makes it even more delicious because when you bite into it, the soft chocolate makes your heart flutter.

Just a sidenote: There are many types of muffins around but this muffin recipe gives you rather moist and light muffins (i think it's because of the sourcream).

Saturday, June 25, 2005

IMBB #16 - Eggs

The theme for the sixteenth IMBB (Is My Blog Burning) for this month is eggs and kindly hosted by Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant I was really excited when I found out because eggs definite is one of my most favourite ingredient. It goes well with anything! and it's so essential in baking especially.

But my IMBB entry won't have anything to do with baking. In fact, I was checking out recipes and thinking about what I should cook up but eventually decided to just come up with something of my own. I literally just rummaged through my fridge and cupboards for ingredients I could use and just 'invented' this dish as I went along. It's pretty fun. Well I won't reveal the end product just yet. So just follow me through the steps:


Get some tuna (1 can, about 180g) and drain the brine. Boil two eggs till cooked. Chop some scallions and some cooked corn. I boiled my corn whole and took out the kernels with a knife. Alternatively, you can get some frozen ones from the supermart. Include some cheese too.


Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mash them up nice and good. Next, add some sour cream to the mixture and a little mayonnaise. This is to ensure it combines well. Add a dash of pepper and ground oregano if you like. This recipe is free and easy, so please just add your favourite seasonings or spices. Anything goes! Once you have your 'mixture', set aside.

rice crepe

Now, it's time to make some crepes. These are different from normal crepes. This one is made mostly of rice flour. So thus, you end up with rice crepes. Get a cup of rice flour and mix it with 4 tsp all purpose flour and 1/4 tsp salt. In another bowl, mix 3 eggs, 1 and a half cup of water and 1 tsp vegetable oil. Let it stand for about half hour.

Grease an 8-inch (20cm) nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. Now get your mixture and sitr well. Pour some batter into the pan for each crepe, about 1/4 cup (50ml) and let it cook for a minute or two. You will know when it's ready when the top is try. Now stack your rice crepes on a plate and cover with a damp tea towel.

Once you're done making the crepes, get your mixture and put some on your crepe. and wrap it up nice and good like this:

rolled up

tadah! Okay, you can't see much colour from here, but wait till I cut it into half:

rice crepe with cheese, egg, tuna and corn
Rice crepes with egg and tuna stuffing

... and there you have it. A tasty treat that you can bring with you when you're on the go! These are so easy to make. Rice crepes stuffed with tuna, egg, cheese and corn. A brilliant combination.

I really love crepes and of course, we all know crepes need eggs. I got this simple recipe for the rice crepes from Food Network. What was interesting is that they named it Singapore rice crepes. Now how cool is that? I'm from Singapore but I've never ever heard of rice crepes. They taste like the skins used for Nonya Popiah though. Anyway like I said, eggs are crucial, especially when making crepes, pancakes, cakes, and all. I won't know what to do if chickens/ducks stopped producing eggs! nightmare. and we won't have meringue or creme brulee!

All righty, I'm sure you all know how much I love eggs now don't you? Well I'm really glad this impromptu recipe of mine worked out. My sis loved it so much that she ate two whole rolls all by herself! I will definitely make them again next time.

Cookbook Meme

Cookbook Collection

There's this cookbook meme which has been going around on food blogs all over and Sylvie from Soul Fusion Kitchen has also tagged me to get in on the action. So here goes my answers to the five questions.

1. Total number of (cook) books I’ve owned: Okay don't seem shocked but I have as little as 12 cookbooks. And half of them are hand-me-downs from my parents. Thing is, I'm only a student who's 20, going on 21 and well cookbooks aren't the cheapest things to buy. So technically speaking, my collection is still growing, slowly. Until I have a steady income, I shall continue to rely also on Epicurious and Food Network for the bulk of the recipes I try. =)

2. Last (cook) book I bought: I actually bought two secondhand cookbooks recently, from someone who had hardly used them. One's called 'Healthy Eating' and the other, 'Sensational Vegetable Recipes'. Published by bay books, under the 'Confident Cooking' selection, the recipes in these cookbooks have been double tested by a team of home economists.

3. Last (food) book I read: It isn't really a book, but rather, an e-book. I'm not sure if it counts, but I'll put it down here anyway. It's a delectable e-book I found online. Titled 'Chocology - The Swiss chocolate industry, past and present', this book can be downloaded free and it's actually a pdf. You can actually order it online for free too.

4. Five (cook) books that mean a lot to me:

- Generation to Generation: A heritage of recipes.

Generation to Generation cookbook

This book means alot to me because I was actually part of the team who produced it. When I was still a Mass Communication student at Ngee Ann Poly, I took this bookwriting and publication module which gave us the rare opportunity of actually publishing books for not-for-profit organisations. And this recipe book was a project by some church who had enlisted us to produce this cookbook from scratch and it would contain recipes by their congregation. It was a great pleasure to be able to write and help with the food styling for this cookbook. I learnt alot and I will treasure this book forever. Most of the recipes are actually nonya ones and I got to interview the cooks and talk to them. Very memorable. And mind you, every single photo in the book was taken by my fellow student photographers who used a digital SLR and the quality and concept was superb.

- Practical cookery: Baking (published by Parragon)

Baking cookbook

Believe it or not, this was the first cookbook I bought. It was a few years ago I think. That was when I started to bake pretty often and wanted to try out more recipes. Because the thing is, my dad doesn't follow cookbooks (he learnt all his cooking from watching his mum when younger) and my mum dislikes cooking. So our shelves hardly had any cookbooks. This one I bought really spurred me on and got me going on the baking craze.

With such a small collection of cookbooks, I only found two that actually meant something so I'll not name five, as requested. I'm not sure about the rules of this meme but I do hope it's okay!

5. Which 5 people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?

Fat Fingers
Sari Party Girl

so what are you waiting for guys, get going with this meme now! =)
p.s. if you've already done it, let me know. thanks!

Friday, June 24, 2005

A birthday cake to die for

Close-up of Devil’s Food Cake

Are you drooling that? Care to know what's that? Here's a clue:

Unfrosted Devil’s Food Cake

That's one layer of the cake, unfrosted.

Devil’s Food Cake

and this is after I've put the 2 layers together and frosted it.

I'm sure you would have figured out what cake this is by now. It's a dead giveaway.

It's sooo obvious it's chocolate.


It's not just any chocolate cake.

It is Devil's Food Cake. Oh yes siree.. and... it doubled up as a perfect birthday cake.

Birthday cake

Don't you just wish you could have a slice???

Slice of Devil’s Food Cake

well you could.

but you would have to bake it yourself though.

I really have to say that this is really a birthday cake to die for. My friend Francis celebrated his birthday yesterday and I wanted to do something. And since baking is kind of what I do best, I decided why not bake him a cake? And I did. I was actually deciding between a chocolate mud cake, a 'i died and went to heaven' chocolate cake, and this devil's food cake.

In the end, I went with the devil's food cake. Me being the fickle person, I asked my good friend Dot to choose one, and turns out that her choice was perfect. Haha... this is indeed one sinful cake. But who cares? You gotta indulge sometimes don't you?

This devil's food cake is one of the easiest cakes I've made and it looks brilliant. yes it's decadent and seriously chocolatey but heh chocolate is GOOD for you. Like all foods, eat with moderation and you don't have to worry about the flab. Just a slight digression... Dark chocolate is the way to go I say. Valrhona dark chocolate rocks big time. And chocolate is God's greatest gift to mankind. So please do not deprive yourself of this food fit for the Gods.

On another note altogether, yesterday's birthday celebration centred not only on the cake but this:

Huge Spread of Food

don't looked shocked. There were about 6 of us there to finish it all. So it isn't so bad. But the food was good. seriously. We ate at Lau Pa Sat where the good satay is. There's like more than 14 satay stalls and the owners have no qualms harrassing you, trying to get you to buy from their stall. We also had chicken wings, sambal kangkong, sambal stingray, and yes a fruit salad to wash all the oil down!

And of course we were stuffed but still had space for the cake. Everyone loved the cake so I guess this recipe's a definite keeper. Might bake it again for another friend's birthday which is coming up in about a week's time! I was certainly very satisfied. I was actually worried it might not taste as good as it looked. But hell ya, I worried for nothing. Evil or not, Devil's Food Cake rocks my world, and everyone else's.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My famous Chewy Centred Chocolate Chunk Cookie

Chewy Centred Choc Chip Cookie

That which you see up there is what I'm known for. Of all my years of baking, I must say that everyone who has taken a bite out of that cookie has only good words to say.

Before you think I'm blowing my own horn, let me just say that when I do something, I put in huge amounts of effort to make sure it's the best I can do. So, admittedly, that process has gone through a lot.

Of course there are times where I try different recipes and customise them but these cookies, oh yes, these cookies have stood the test of times. I've baked them as gifts for friends and family, for my own consumption and also, to parties. And they're a hit. A huge hit. And why am I talking about these cookies now?

Because I want YOU to be able to share these amazing wonders with your own friends and family. Heck, it's as good as the ones made by Famous Amos I say, trust me. Even my own friends tell me that I make good competition. So watch out 'FA', wait till I open a shop of my own, then you'll see!

So without further ado, here's the recipe. I usually make mine chewy because it's delicious that way. Most people make crispy ones, that's why these ones are my trademark chewy centred chocolate chunk cookies. Don't bother about chocolate chips.... chocolate chunks is the way to go! Yes?


Chewy Centred Chocolate Chunk Cookie

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 degree celcius.
Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
Mix the rest of the dry ingredients and add in chocolate chunks.
Use a tablespoon to drop cookie dough on to a greased baking sheet.
Bake for approx. 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Once done, let it cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

*What makes the cookies chewy is the cornstarch. Omit the cornstarch and replace the baking soda with baking powder if you want to make crispy versions.
**Cornstarch is the same as cornflour. It's just the way they're called. In S'pore, it's cornflour.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

Pancakes are one of my favourite breakfast foods. There is seriously nothing like warm, freshly cooked pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and with pure butter spreaded on to it.

The best thing about pancakes, is that it's also easy to make. But I gotta tell you, the secret to good pancakes is really the batter (duh...) and the consistency of it.

If you get it right, you get this:

Buttermilk Pancakes - closeup

I purposely shot one very close-up, with a torn piece. Note how nice and fluffy it is? And the thickness is just right. I got to admit that previous pancake recipes I've tried, didn't ever quite turn out like these.

I've always wondered how MacDonald's get their hotcakes looking so lovely and yummy. But now I know why. I have found out the secret ingredient! Okay, maybe it's not so secret, maybe everyone else knows except for me. Maybe I've been the only one kept in the dark. Alas, it doesn't matter any more! Because I know the 'secret'. =)

Look at the batter and tell me what you see:

Buttermilk Pancake Batter

It ain't no ordinary batter, mind you. It might look normal, but it really isn't. It's magical! It gives you nice golden brown fluffy pancakes that can rival any others. What's the 'secret'?


No, not milk added with butter. But actual buttermilk! Buttermilk is actually the liquid left after butter is made from cream. But the ones supermarkets sell are cultured ones, at least the one I bought was.

Anyway, I was very happy with my pancakes today. I am definitely going to be using this recipe very often. I can't remember where I got it. It's one of those printed recipes I put in my recipe ringbinder. Besides, it's so easy, it took me only a few minutes to mix my batter and another 10 to 15 minutes to cook them. Quick and easy. I ate them after my 5km run this morning and boy was I satisfied.


Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together first three ingredients. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk well.
Heat a nonstick pan/griddle until drops of water sizzle when sprinkled on to the surface.
Pour batter onto pan in whatever size or shape you fancy. When bubbles form and edges look slightly dry, use a spatula to flip the pancake and cook for another 30-60 seconds, until second side is evenly browned. Makes about 6 pancakes.

*any remaining batter can be refridgerated overnight and the recipe can easily be doubled

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Cafe Society

A couple of months back, I posted a review on Cafe Society, based on a previous dining experience there. And I just went back there to have dinner with my aunt yesterday. So here's a more up-to-date review of this 'chic, contemporary, European-style bistro':

On first glance, Cafe Society gives you a somewhat haughty impression. The exterior looks good, the name sounds quasi-casual-posh, and it's situated at a prime area. But after actually dining there, you'd think otherwise.

This classy looking outfit sits opposite Boat Quay, overlooking the Singapore River. Serving both Western and Asian food, they also have an alfresco dining area and a bar on the second floor. It occupies the building otherwise known as The Old Parliament House. This was where court sessions were held and one of the judges' chambers is now being used for private parties and functions.

I have to admit that the place looks rather splendid and half the time, i was simply appreciating the architecture whilst waiting for my food to come.

Café Society’s Kitchen
The kitchen area

We sat indoors, by the kitchen. It's a pretty cool concept. I like to see the chefs hard at work, slaving over the stove, preparing my dishes. Not that I don't appreciate it, of course I do! It's just highly stimulating to be able to know what's going on with your food.

Grilled Haloumi Cheese Bruschcetta with grilled marinate vegetables and blueberry reduction ($13)

For starters, we had the grilled haloumi cheese bruschetta. Now, these were such small beauties that I almost couldn't help cooing over them and calling them cute. The grilled marinate vegetables used were eggplant, yellow bell peppers and sundried tomatoes. I am not sure what marinate they used, but it sure tasted good. Too bad the haloumi cheese was a bit too tiny (just about the size of my pinkie fingernail)but i guess bruschettas are supposed to be small measured. Now, that's not all. Their blueberry reduction was superb, it was a little sweet and tangy. I thought it was balsamic vinegar at first, well maybe they added a little. But really, eating the bruschettas with the reduction was a good idea and the taste that permeates through is delicious. Too bad there were only 5 portions.

Smoked Duck Risotto
Smoked Duck Risotto with basil and parmesan shavings ($26)

As I have never eaten risotto, I decided that it was high time I actually tried some. So I ordered the smoked duck risotto. From my point of view, it was tasty and very filling. As a cheese lover, I have to say I really dig this risotto. They put the right amount of cheese and cream and wasn't too thick or thin. I like the consistency. It tasted much like salted porridge actually. But I adored the presentation. As you can see, they put a sprig of thyme in the middle and decorated the risotto with slices of smoked duck. They mixed some chopped duck and carrots in my risotto too. I was rather full when I finished it, but very happy indeed.

Crab Linguine
Crab Linguine sauteed in olive oil, garlic, basil, chilli, topped with parmesan shavings ($25)

My aunt chose the crab linguine (thanks to my persuasion) and she was glad she did. This delicately flavoured pasta isn't too heavy and yet the taste was full-bodied. They were very generous with their sun-dried tomatoes and it certainly went well with the whole dish. It was almost tangy, savoury and heavenly. A beautiful main course indeed. The basil came through and it was a pleasant dish indeed.

Trio of Desserts
Trio of desserts - (from top) Mango Mousse, Chocolate Trifle, and Summer Berry Cake ($14)

A meal isn't complete until we have dessert. So we tried the trio. The trio consists of three different slices of cakes as you can see above. My favourite is the summer berry cake, it's not too heavy and rather refreshing, definitely a berry good cake. The trifle was nice but maybe I was simply too full from the risotto, and that's why I found the top chocolate layer too dense. Mango mousse was fluffy and light too, yummy. And yes, we cleared all three cakes.

Crème Brulee
Vanilla Creme Brulee ($9)

My only gripe for the evening was the creme brulee. Now, as this is one of my favourite desserts, I'm quite picky about the standard. So I was highly disappointed when I found it a challenge to break the layer of caramelised sugar - it was too thick. And when I actually broke it, guess what???

I found white sugar crystals. Lots of it. Apparently the chef didn't caramelise the sugars properly. Either that or he doesn't know how to use a blowtorch. And to think I thought their creme brulee was quite good(based on my previous creme brulee experience when i ate there previously. Secondly, the creme was not up to scratch. It was too soft, like eating melted cream.

I had half the mind to go up to the chef (i was sitting by the open concept kitchen remember?) and enquire about the standard of his creme brulee. I'll just say one thing, if not for the creme brulee, I would have been very pleased with my experience at Cafe Society last night. But I guess I'll be fair and pass off this disappointing creme brulee as a one-off incident that hopefully won't happen again.

On a whole, I think I wouldn't mind coming back to Cafe Society, but maybe I won't order the creme brulee again. I really don't want to be wasting my money. Besides, the service was quite all right, but it could be better.


Cafe Society
1 Parliament Lane,
Old Parliament House
Tel: 6338 7857

3 and 1/4 out of 5 burps


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Corn Crostinis and then some

Row of corn crostini
simple but yummy corn crostinis made by my fifth aunt

Last sunday, I was at my grannie's place and we had a mini celebration of sorts. It's her 70th birthday this week and so, a few of my aunts got together, cooked up some dishes and brought to her place to makan (malay for eat).

My fifth aunt made some delicious corn crostinis, char siew, and durian swiss rolls. When I saw the crostinis, I immediately whisked some away and took a few shots, and that's what you are staring at now. It's her own creation so I don't have any recipe. But if i'm not wrong, she did tell me that she used corn, mushrooms, carrots, coriander leaves, and cheese. I'll check with her and post it here soon. But here's an even closer shot:

Corn Crostini
can you see the corn, mushrooms, coriander and carrots?

Now, I'm not sure if most of you know this, but I have 7 aunts on my mum's side and the coolest thing is, they ALL can cook and bake darn well. Maybe it's in the genes. Afterall, my grannie is a great cook (I love staying at her place cos I get to eat her delicious food!). But I think, something went wrong when she 'made' my mum.

My own mother simply CANNOT cook for nuts. She hates cooking, dislikes being in the kitchen and dreads having to provide us with lunch or dinner. I still cannot figure it out. That's why I'm always complaining to my cousins how jealous I am of them.

Oh how I envy how my other cousins get to enjoy wonderful food everyday while I have to make do with my mum's rather bland and icky cooking. I know I sound rather mean here, but it's the blatant truth and my mum knows it. She knows she can't cook and she doesn't bother trying. Haha, but oh she loves to eat.

I guess one of the reasons why I love cooking and baking so much, is because I want to be able to produce my own meals and not having to depend on anyone (like my mum). I enjoy good food and I love it when I am successful in my culinary attempts. I also thank God that at least my dad is a wonderful cook. I totally dig his Peranakan dishes and basically anything he whips up. His birthday is coming up soon (this friday!) and I intend to show my appreciation by cooking something for him, but I have no idea what. Anyone knows of a sure-fire dish to win his tastebuds? =)

Anyway, I do think I can credit my cooking and baking abilities to my aunts, especially my youngest aunt whom i'm the closest too. I visit her place ever so often and whenever I do, I'll assist her when she's baking bread or making some chiffon cake. I love her poppy seed chiffon cake!!! It's the best. And her bread? She doesn't buy bread, but bakes her own... so whenever I pop by, they'll always be loaves in the freezer and I love eating them for breakfast.

All right, enough rambling for now. I can simply be thankful that my grannie's, my aunts' and my dad's cooking genes were passed on to me! at least I know I won't have to make do with instant noodles and starve if there's no one at home....

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Blueberry Corn Muffins

Blueberry Corn Muffins

It really is a shame that here on the tropical island of Singapore, berries are an uncommon buy. Sure, durians, mangoes, lychees, and papayas are easy to get. But berries....

Berries are something else.

I love berries. That's why I wished I lived elsewhere where the climate is colder and berries are as common as apples.

I do think berries are lovely. They're beautiful fruits that come in colours that represent summer and they're a delight to eat. You simply pop one into your mouth, bite into it and feel the juice spurting out and making contact with your tastebuds. Awesome.

Why am I talking so much about berries? Well, that's because I finally bought some, after a long time. Blueberries, to be specific.

I was at Carrefour when my eyes caught sight of this $3.99 sign just above the boxes of blueberries. I thought I saw wrong.

But when I looked closer, it turned out that they were indeed for sale at $3.99. Okay, I know, they're still pretty expensive but hey, it's better than their usual price of $6.90. And one box is only like 6 ounces... which isn't much. It's gives you only about 1 cup.

So I bought a box and for the rest of the day, I was trying to figure what I could make of them. Then it hit me:

Cross section of muffins

Blueberry muffins! I wanted to make a pie, or some blueberry buckle cake but I realised I didn't have enough berries. So I searched for a recipe and found one on Martha Stewart Living.

The recipe looked easy enough and so I attempted to try my luck with some Blueberry Corn Muffins

Fresh out of the oven

My first attempt, and i was pretty satisfied. Don't they look lovely fresh out of the oven? The smell was wonderful. There's nothing quite like it.

Okay, I didn't really follow the recipe per se. I made a few changes, but it turned out yummy so I guess all's well. But I do have one gripe though, each portion was simply too small. haha... so I can understand why the recipe was meant for huge muffins, 6 of them. This recipe yielded about 16 small muffins as you can see there.

Next time I make these, I'm gonna do the jumbo size. =)

Oh, and if you read the recipe, you would notice that they asked for yellow cornmeal. Now, I couldn't find any and I was lazy to go hunt other supermarkets, so I did a substitution. I went to the cereal aisle and got myself a box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. I'm sure you'd know what I would use it for.

I mashed and used my rolling pin to turn those corn flakes into something similar to cornmeal. I did succeed. After a few minutes of 'hard' labour, I got my one cup of fake cornmeal. And amazingly, my muffins turned out perfect. I don't know how different would it have tasted if I had used real corn meal. But well, I dare say this 'cornflake version' was good enough for me. And i supposed it's a lot healthy? From what the box claimed, corn flakes had plenty of vitamins and all that. Haha...

Anyway I love these muffins and I'll be sure to make them again, well of course, when the berries are least expensive!


Blueberry Corn Muffins

1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugarplus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
3 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (pounded cornflakes would do just fine)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries

1. Heat oven to 375°. Place a Silpat (French nonstick baking mat) or parchment paper on a baking sheet; place six 2 3/4-by-2-inch pastry rings on it. Cut parchment paper into six 10-by-3-inch strips; use them to line molds (paper will extend above rims).

2. Place softened butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and honey in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs; beat 1 minute more.

3. Whisk flour, cornmeal, and baking powder together in a medium bowl; add to butter mixture in mixer bowl. Beat until combined. Slowly pour in milk, beating on low, until just combined. Fold in blueberries. Divide dough among molds (do not pack too firmly; each will take about 1 cup). Brush tops with cold water; sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over each.

4. Bake until tops are browned, centers are set, and a cake tester inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes. Tie kitchen twine around muffins to hold parchment. Serve at once.

Taken from Martha Stewart Living

Friday, June 17, 2005

SHF #9: Tantalizing Titillating Tempting Tarts

Kiwi Tart

Are you seeing GREEN yet? Cos that's one Very Green Kiwi Tart that will blow your mind. This is my first time taking part in SHF and I was rather excited. Mainly because tarts are one of my favourites. I just love how the shortcrust pastry crumbles in your mouth when you bite into it. Perfecto.

Very Green Kiwi Tart

Anyway, you can actually substitute the kiwi with other summer fruits such as peaches and strawberries, or why not a mix of all - i'm sure the colours would be oh-so-lovely.

Jarrett of life in flow is the host of this month's SHF and of course, the tart theme couldn't have come at a better time. This is only my second attempt at baking a tart and I must say, I think I am getting the hang of it. I loved how well the pastry for this kiwi tart turned out. It disappeared really quick, thanks to my hungry siblings!

Fast Disappearing Kiwi Tart

Not only was this tart easy to make, it sure does look darn pretty. It's something I'd bake for a party. I guess I have Epicurious to thank. They do provide amazing recipes that work like a dream.

This kiwi tart recipe called for some refrigerated pie dough. I didn't have any so I made mine from scratch and have included the recipe here too. Check it out.


Kiwi Tart

1 (9-inch) round of refrigerated pie dough (from a 15-oz package), thawed and unrolled or unfolded
6 oz cream cheese, softened slightly
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 firm-ripe kiwifruit, peeled and thinly sliced

Special equipment: an 8 3/4- to 9 1/4-inch tart pan (1 inch deep) with a removable bottom; pie weights or raw rice

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

Fit dough into tart pan, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang inward and press against side of pan to reinforce edge. Lightly prick bottom and side of shell with a fork.

Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until edge is pale golden, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden all over, about 5 minutes more. Cool shell in pan on a rack, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together cream cheese, sugar, milk, zest, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spread cream cheese filling in cooled shell and top with kiwi slices.

Cooks' note:Tart can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered.
Bring to room temperature before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

GourmetQuick Kitchen
April 2005 © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.


Press-In Crust

This crust requires no rolling; just blend the dough, and press it into the pan. Chill and bake the crust, then fill it with creamy lemon curd for a delicious tart.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for fingers and measuring cup
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Pulse flour, butter, sugar, and salt only until moist crumbs form.

2. Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up side of pan.

3. With a floured dry-measuring cup, press edge of dough firmly against side of pan, pushing down with opposite thumb to level top of crust flush with rim.

4. Freeze until firm, 10 to 15 minutes; prick all over with a fork. Bake at 350° until golden, pressing with a spoon if it puffs up, 25 to 30 minutes; cool completely.

*Note* They didn't specify which kind of sugar so I decided to go with confectioner's sugar a.k.a. icing sugar


* The round-up of SHF #9: Tantalizing Tillating Tempting Tarts can be found at life in flow *

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