Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Do you love to munch on chips but always feel terribly guilty after finishing the entire bag?
Well, fret not, because now, you can simply munch your guilt away with Sun Chips!
Made from mulitgrains, Sun Chips has 30% less fat than ordinary potato chips....
and if you're thinking how bland it must taste, boy are you in for a surprise...
it's actually as tasty as your normal 'fatty' potato chips and it comes in two great flavours: Harvest Cheddar and French Onion. Check out the delicious looking chips:
So what are you waiting for couch potato? Go grab a pack now! And eat your way to a healthier you without the extra calories.
*Available at Carrefour.
okay, okay for those of you who are thinking what the hell am i doing? heh just felt like doing something different. trying out my copywriting skills.. haha
anywayz, no I wasn't paid to 'advertise' their chips at all, in case you're wondering. i just discovered this chips a few days ago when i was checking out the huge selection of chips at Carrefour. I didn't think it would taste much, but hey, it really quite good. Best thing was, it didn't feel too oily and no, there wasn't any guilt after munching on these chips.
chips aside, i realise i haven't been baking or cooking much. and it's all thanks to my new university life. I live about more than an hour away from campus and spend a great deal traveling to and fro everyday so by the time i get back, i'm too tired to do any baking. this sucks. but well, i'm planning this mini tea party with a few friends and I'll definitely take this opportunity to cook and bake loads, to make up for my short baking hiatus. haha. think scones, muffins, and tea? hahaa... i myself am looking forward to it. okay, time to go to school. laterz!
Monday, August 29, 2005
Have you heard people raving about the star above? What about the one below - the famous star:
Yes, you read it correctly, it says Famous Star with Cheese. And famous it is! Why so? Oh please, do I even need to spell it out? I should think this picture would suffice:
Now now now, is that a burger or is that a B-U-R-G-E-R?!
I have a confession to make - I am not a burger person and neither am I a fast food lover.
Carl's Jr. converted me.
This amazing American burger joint that recently appeared on this small little island of Singapore has already made waves; for me and for every other person I know.
Almost all my friends have tried their burgers and had only good words to say, hmmm or maybe it was mostly one word: H-U-G-E.
It is huge. Their portions are huge, their criss cut fries are huge...
and of course their burgers take the burger! They put the burger in its right place. You should know why I keep raving about the huge portion size? That's because at the rest of the fast food outlets here, the meals seem like an X-S to the portions I see being served at Carl's Jr.
Okay I know you're wondering about the price. Sure, it might be a little bit more pricey - about $2 more. BUT you get VALUE. You get a satisfying carbo-laden meal. I should think it best to consume such large sized burgers and fries only after a good run - Just like how I did! haha...
YES, I ran 10km yesterday morning at Sentosa as part of the New Balance Real Run event. It was Awesome. and of course, it gave me good reason to eat Carl's Jnr without feeling guilty!
Now, you've heard me sing praises of Carl's Jr., but there's just one thing I wish they could change... their red chilli cheese fries for instance:
Honestly, you won't think much just by this photo ya? That's because the fries are scrawny! And limp. and the sauce doesn't look too appetising does it? Hmmm okay okay, it tastes okay but I just prefer something which might look more presentable.
At Carl's Jr, the average price of a burger ranges from $4.20 to about $6. I can't remember the exact price but I should think it worth every cent. They have a huge selection of burgers and I will definitely go back to try out the other lovely gems.
Cheers and thanks to whoever that brought Carl's Jr (fourth largest burger chain in US) to Singapore... At least now I know that the burgers are really 'hot!' and not just hot because Paris Hilton ate them whilst washing a car and looking hot.
6 Raffles Boulevard
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
This thorny fruit is by far one of my favourite indulgences.
Also known as the King of all fruits, the durian has its fair share of ardent fans and people who would rather be pricked by its thorns than actually place the 'fragrant' mellow yellow flesh into their mouths.
Naturally, most Westerners are quite adverse to it, for obvious reasons i suppose. The pungent smell of this unique fruit can be quite foreign to some. But i guess it's different when you have eaten it since young and basically grew up in an environment that treats it like a common must-have fruit! Think Goodwood Park's durian cream puffs or Emicake's durian cake. You get my drift I suppose?
Anyway what's the deal about this fabulous fruit you ask? Well try opening one:
now, tell me what do you see? For durian lovers like me, i see something almost lyrical. I can smell the durians right here, as i type these words. I can taste it in my mouth while i stare at the pictures.
durians just don't taste like fruit! i mean, the custard-like consistency begs for attention whenever I pick one seed up. It doesn't taste like mango, rambutan or apple for that matter. I guess one can categorise it under the 'exotic fruit' section.
Mind you, durians can double up as a weapon, given its thorny exterior but i really much prefer to open them and reveal their glory.
okay okay, i'm not really a durian fanatic but pardon my sudden thorny enthusiasm - i have a valid reason:
after sociology lecture, me, cherlyn, matt, jeremy and mark went to Toa Payoh to have durians. We actually planned this durian 'outing' last week. Been looking forward to today all week. and yes, we did enjoy ourselves tremendously. you can tell from matt and cherlyn's faces over here:
Pure ecstacy you say? I say 'aye'! and well here's cherlyn and me going 'bonkers' over our delicious durians:
look at our wide smiles... need I say more?
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Remember the soya sauce pork I mentioned about in my post about the food cooked for my 21st birthday soiree? Yes, the delicious one cooked by my dad. I didn't have a photo of that. But I do have a photo of this lovely chicken version of it here.
I just had to post it up. And if you think it looks yummy, well it tastes even better. Think sweet and salty. That's the amazing thing about soya sauce. It goes well even with a honey base. Come to think of it, I have to start pestering my Dad to pass down his culinary secrets to me. He's such a great chef, it'll be a pity if I let it go to waste. But ahem, he's not exactly the most patient person around. I just hope I learn fast. I am keen on learning how to make ayam buah keluak and devil curry like he does! I need to master more asian recipes.....
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Chicken Gordon Bleu
Have a look at that photo above.
What do you think it is?
Don't you think it looks vaguely interesting and delicious at the same time:
that's a closer shot. check out the ham and cheese. can you smell the aroma permeating through your computer screen?
If you thought that was good, try imagining what this would taste like:
have you guessed?
Can you feel it in your mouth? Yes? No? Want more? Sure....
Chicken baked rice
Now... you are so gonna hate me for doing this aren't you?
But please, have patience and enjoy the food porn while you can...
All right all right, I had better stop being so evasive about these gorgeous dishes. Sorry, but I was simply in a playful mood. haha...
Anyway, yes, I discovered this gem of a cafe recently through a friend's recommendation.
Miss Clarity Cafe is THE latest hot spot in town where you can dine at prices so reasonable your jaws might drop. Plus, they have free wi-fi and they don't mind if you chill out and study there with your laptops.
They serve a range of western and asian cuisine. Opened in June this year, Miss Clarity Cafe is run by a family who's quite adept in the F&B business. The chef himself used to work at Raffles Grill. Impressive eh? The amazing thing is that they don't even have service charge. But trust me, you'd def. wanna leave them a tip because they have such a personable way of serving.
The time I was there, I ended up chatting with Nora, the lady boss and her chef son and even her waiters - who were actually her nephews.
Why name it Miss Clarity you ask? Well that's the name of one of Nora's niece.
Okay I think I've digressed enough. Back to the food!
Yes yes, that which you saw at the top of the blog, that's Chicken Gordon Bleu, breaded chicken stuffed with ham and cheese. Can you guess how much it costs?
You wouldn't believe it if i told you.
It set me back only by a mere $5.50. Without svc charge too mind you! I mean, given the neat presentation and quality of the food, you would have expected to pay at least about $12 won't you?
But you see, that's the wondrous thing about this cafe. They don't aim to suck your pockets dry. All they want to give you is a satisfying meal which actually tastes and looks good.
If you do decide to drop by, don't leave without trying their Chicken Ballotine. It's chicken stuffed with mushrooms. It tastes great. Oh, and yes, their baked rice. You saw the amount of chicken in their baked rice didn't you? Yes, that wasn't a photo trick - there really was that much of chicken in that dish. It was yummy!
As for dessert, don't fret, they have some amazing stuff that will leave you speechless:
The chocolate fondue costs only $10. and their bread pudding:
It costs only $2.80. I didn't try the pudding but my friends who did, well they loved it so much that they keep going back for more!
I do think that this cafe wouldn't be seeing the last of me. I know that for a fact!
Miss Clarity Cafe
5 Purvis Street
Open 7am to 11pm
Friday, August 19, 2005
Some of us local food bloggers (or floggers for that matter) got mentioned in an article about the food blogging community this tuesday in Strait's Times Digital Life.
Seems like we're making a mark in the blogging community, no?
My... it's been four months since I started this food blog. Time zooms by ya? But not to worry, I promise to continue whetting your appetites and try to hypnotise you people to lick your screens.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Singapore is known for being the 'buffet' island. Everywhere you go, there's bound to be plenty of buffets offered at various restaurants.
What are buffets for, really?
Are they here so we can stuff ourselves crazy, give my tummy a hard time and then spend more time in the toilet trying to expunge the unforgivable amount of food just consumed?
Most of the time, we tend to think more of making our trip worth it, eating your worth basically.
Alas, it's all wrong. Buffets are here to give you more variety. Meaning, you can try different dishes at a seating, maybe at a much smaller portion.
Before you fall asleep reading on my discourse on buffets, i'll simply go on about a buffet I went recently.
A dim sum buffet to be exact:
clockwise from top left: xiao long bao, chee cheong fun, tau sar pau, and some 'muah chee' like balls stuffed with black sesame paste.
clockwise from top left: siew mai, chicken wrapped with dried beancurd skin, har gao and some crystal dumpling stuffed with chives
As you can see, there certainly was variety... and we ate more than what you see in the pictures. Didn't take a pic of the yummy mango pudding, and authentic gui ling gao (herbal jelly)
I do think that one shouldn't eat too much buffet dinners. I think it best to left the buffets to mid-day or morning.
This dim sum buffet I had was actually brunch to me.
It was a breakfast buffet promotion that Yum Cha Restaurant was having. It costs about $9.80++ for an adult to have a filling 'breakfast' cum 'lunch' from 8am to 11am, Mondays to Fridays. Weekends and Pub Hols, you have to pay about $13.80++. It's pretty worth it I think. And the quality of the dim sum wasn't too bad. My only gripe was that the 'carts' took a really time to get to our table because we were sitting at the corner of the restaurant.
Please do take note that this promotion is only on until the 9th of September. So hurry ya? haha...
oh, yes, and this is how the place looked like:
I love yellow walls. They're the same hue as my room!
Yum Cha Restaurant
20 Trengganu Street
#02-01 (Off Temple Street)
Monday, August 15, 2005
freshly cooked croquette
Amplify ministry, of which I'm a member of, played host to the first combined SACCRE youth rally last saturday and i was roped in to cook something as part the refreshments.
It's almost natural for me to suggest brownies.
Someone else was already going to bake that.
So I decided, why not try cooking something savoury this time? Besides I had this croquette recipe I've been wanting to try out.
And so, I did!
I know you're now wondering how it turned out. Well, what do you think?
cross-section of croquette
The croquettes were a big hit! So much so that they were wiped out pretty fast. Some of my friends didn't have a chance to try them. I'll definitely make more next time!
Anyway I do like the way my croquettes turned out. And it's all thanks to Alice Lim, of whom the recipe belongs to. Remember about my post of my involvement in publishing a cookbook during my mass comm. days? Yes, it was entitled, "Generation to Generation - A Heritage of Recipes. It's basically a compilation of recipes by some church-goers of thie Paya Lebar Methodist Church that we assisted. I haven't had a chance to try out any recipes from the book, until now. And I got to admit that the success of these croquettes just makes me want to go back to the book and try the rest of the recipes!
I'm sure you're also wondering how croquettes are made.
It's quite simple really. Let me show you how:
Croquette making: step 1 (make a hole/depression in potato mixture)
Think of it as something akin to those chocolate Kinder surprise eggs. You have a chocolate 'shell' and a toy 'centre' yea? Well croquettes are actually made of potatoes and filled with savoury 'insides', which in this case, happens to be pork. I'm sure you can substitute them as you which, especially if you're not supposed to eat pork. It's quite flexible. I'm even thinking of stuffing them with cheese the next time I make them!
Step 2: Put in filling
Step 3: Wrap potato mixture over filling, into an oblong shape
Here's how the filling looks like: pork, prawns, onions, etc.
Prepared croquettes, waiting to be coated in breadcrumbs and fried!
Time to fry them croquettes.
Fried croquettes, waiting around for their fellow 'men' to be cooked!
Lovely golden brown croquettes all packed up, ready to go...
Now, I think it best to cook the croquettes just before you serve. That ensures the crispy-ness of the outer 'shell'. But of course, if like me, you're strapped for time, then you can make them before hand, but preferably on the same day. Good thing about these croquettes is, you can prepare them a day ahead but fry them only on the day you'll be serving them.
Croquettes reminds me of 'bergedel', this other similar Malay food that uses potatoes too. But I do believe croquettes originated from France, at least that's what the Wikipedia entry on Croquettes states. It was introduced to the Netherlands in the 20th century and has since become a popular snack. You know it's popular when McDonald's sells them in the form of McKrokets - a burger with a large disk-shaped croquette in place of the normal meat patty!
500g potatoes, steamed, skinned & mashed
2 tbsp butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
6 tbsp rice flour, dry-fry till light for 5 min
3 tsp condensed milk
1 egg yolk
300g minced pork
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
150g prawns, chopped
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp water
salt to taste
Mix the cornflour and water together and set aside
Add the butter, salt, pepper, milk, yolk and rice flour to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Set aside.
Prepare the croquette filling: Heat the remaining butter and fry the onions till soft. Add the pork and prawns and fry till it is almost dry, then add sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add the cornflour mixture to thicken. Set aside and leave to cool
Take some of the potato mixture, approximately the size of an egg and make a hole in it. Then put in 1 tbsp of the filling and wrap the potato mixture over into an oblong shape. Repeat until all the potato mixture and filling is used up.
Coat each croquette lightly with egg white, roll in breadcrumbs, and deep-fry. If your frying pan is large enough, 4 croquettes can be fried at a time.
Note: Croquettes may be kept in an airtight box in the refridgerator for up to 4 days without frying.
*The baker: I think it best to boil the potatoes rather than steam them - it's alot faster.
The recipe didn't state its yield but I doubled the recipe and got about 50 croquettes. So I guess this recipe makes about 25.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Don't you think those fingers look beautiful?
I love the feminine waves of this biscuit. But that's not all. It's really the light buttery taste of viennese fingers that make me crave for them. Especially those coated with chocolate:
So understandably, I had to make these fingers for myself after checking out the recipe in the 'Biscuits, cookies & brownies' book published by Periplus. The book was a gift by Jules and Darren on my birthday recently and the pictures looked so inviting that I just had to bake something from there.
Mine turned out pretty fine except that I didn't have a 1cm piping nozzle. I used a much smaller one and got miniature Viennese fingers.
I think I have to make a trip to Phoon Huat to get myself new baking equipment soon!
That said, I think I have to make these fingers again. They're so yummy especially with the dark chocolate!
100g unsalted butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 and 1/2 tsps vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
100g dark cooking chocolate, grated
Preheat oven to moderate 180 degrees celcius. Grease baking tray and line with greased baking paper.
Beat together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add yolks and vanilla essence and beat well. Add flour and stir until all ingredients are combine and batter is smooth
Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with fluted 1cm piping nozzle. Pipe mixture into wavy lengths (approx. 6cm) on prepared tray.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer biscuits on a wire rack to cool.
Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl and dip half of each biscuit in the chocolate. Allow to set on greaseproof paper
Friday, August 12, 2005
my SHF entry for the month: mocha bars
I miss baking and cooking! Ever since school started this week, I haven't spent quality time in the kitchen with my oven, mixer and what not!
I think I'm suffering from a baking-deficit disorder. heh... and I haven't even had time to come online.
Only realised this morning that today was the deadline for SHF #11! Imagine my surprise. But thank God I had actually bought fresh baking ingredients yesterday as i was already planning on baking something for my dearest friend Dot. Yes, her birthday's tmw! Happy Birthday to you dear Dot!!!
Anyway, this month's SHF is hosted by Ronald of Lovesicily, and he chose coffee as this month's theme.
Since I was already planning to bake something chocolatey for Dot, I figured why not just throw in some coffee and come up with Mocha Bars!
I don't know about you, but there's just something about the marriage of both coffee and chocolate that really appeals to me. They just taste so good together!
I actually found a recipe for 'Chocolate Espresso Bars' in my Williams-Sonoma 'Cookies' cookbook. But seeing that I didn't have any instant espresso powder at hand, I thought it wouldn't make much of a difference if I substituted it with instant coffee powder. And so that was what I did. and viola, there popped up Mocha Bars from the oven.
Dot's gonna be tasting this tomorrow and I hope she likes it! I actually made a mini-cake outta it. For the frosting, I used modified another of my favourite recipe from somewhere (can't remember!). The recipes can be found below....
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp instant coffee powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 unsalted butter
60g semisweet chocolate
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Mix the first 5 dry ingredients well and sift it; put aside
Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool.
Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a bowl until well mixed. Slowly stir in the melted chocolate mixture and add in the vanilla. Mix well and add in the flour mixture. Make sure the batter is well blended.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Pour mocha batter in to an 8-inch well greased square baking pan. Bake until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the centre springy to the touch, approx. 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
1 and 1/8 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 and 1/2 tbsp. cocoa
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 and 1/2 tbsp. hot freshly brewed coffee
1 tsp. vanilla essence
Mix both icing sugar and cocoa. Sift together in a bowl and stir in butter, then coffee and vanilla. Mix well until frosting is smooth.
Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake. Refrigerate if desired. Cut mocha bars into desired size.
if you're wondering how it tastes like, well maybe it'll be best if you bake it yourself because I'm quite certain that my comments would be biased because I love mocha! hahaa... but well, if you really have to know, these mocha bars tasted phenomenal! I could taste both the chocolate and coffee in each bite. But for those who don't really want the coffee taste to be masked by the chocolatey frosting, then by all means, serve them 'naked' sans the frosting.
Friday, August 05, 2005
Been extremely busy at uni, what with the orientation activities we've had this entire week so I apologise for the lack of posts these days.
Anywayz, I'm back in business! Finally settling into uni life, lectures start next week. In the meantime, I'll continue to bake/cook at every opportunity. My newfound friends and I are planning on a potluck in the coming week. So, look out for that post.
Allrighty, I think I owe all of you the Blogging by Mail update. I did say that I've already received Stephanie's blogging by mail parcel the day before my birthday.
Here's what she gave me:
Plenty of candies from U.S.A, all of which cannot be found here, except for Nerds.
Doesn't the bubble gum look darn unique? It doesn't come in uniformed rectangle strips. Instead, it's kinda shredded in a way. I couldn't try it because I wear braces, but my two siblings definitely enjoyed it alot. Who wouldn't? Since bubblegum can't be found in Singapore.
Sweet Stephanie went all out to treat my tastebuds to a very sweet encounter. She made multi nut brittle, as you can see from the above picture. Gotta admit that was my favourite. I love nuts and yes, I adore caramel. Yum..
I think this is the molasses sponge candy. Well it was the only softer candy she included in the package.
She also sent me a couple of other 'hardtacks' that she made from scratch! I was really impressed. I'm not really sure which was which. But if I'm not wrong, the dark brown one was root beer, the second, cinnamon, and the green one, mint. Not sure about the red one though. I didn't eat it yet but my brother said it was cherry. The candies are still sitting in the container I transferred them into. I think they could last a long time. I'm not really a hard candy person but I must say that I'm really in awe at these sweet treats Stephanie has produced. I haven't tried making these kind of candy yet but it sure sounds really difficult.
Thanks so much Stephanie for sharing your candies with me! I really love them. It certainly was a delight to open the parcel on my birthday.