Thursday, September 29, 2005
my freshly baked breakfast with delicious maple syrup. it can't get any better than this!
A few days ago, I woke up in the morning, feeling very hungry. I was looking forward to breakfast and stepped into the kitchen in hope of finding something delicious in the refridgerator. Okay, that is a habit of mine. Haha, I'm very much of a breakfast person as most of you would know by now. Thing is, sometimes my mum goes to the market early in the morning and buys breakfast; or my dad would bring home food the previous night after his night shift.
Alas, there wasn't anything in the fridge. There wasn't anything appetising. And so, I immediately searched for this popover recipe that Nic of BakingSheet tried a few months ago. I remembered taking note of it and had every intention of baking it for breakfast one of these days. Her popovers were lemon-scented though. I made mine plain. You should know why:
Predictable of me eh? Plain popovers drizzled with chocolate syrup. I also had some with maple syrup.
The thing about popovers is that it looks a bit like muffins but it isn't. It actually tastes like pancakes; well the ingredients used are similar. Mine didn't puff up as much as Nic's:
I guess that's because I forgot to take her advice - she actually poked her popovers halfway through the baking process to let out the steam, thus causing it to be hollow in the middle and crispy on the outside. I'll remember to do that next time.
Anyway, my popovers didn't turn out too bad. Here's how it looks on the inside. I do think popovers make a brilliant breakfast - at least it did the trick for me.
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
melted unsalted butter for brushing the popoever pan
1. Sift together flour and salt.
2. Whish together eggs and milk in a small bowl.
3. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and mix the batter till smooth.
4. In a preheated 450 Fahrenheit / 240 degree celcius oven, heat a six-cup popover pan or six 2/3 cup custard cups for 5 minutes, or until it is hot.
5. Brush the cups with melted butter and fill them half full with the batter.
6. Bake the popovers in the middle of the 450 Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 Fahrenheit / 190 degree celcius and bake the popvers for another 20 minutes or until they are golden broan and crisp.
Makes 6 popovers
Saturday, September 24, 2005
I know I haven't been posting as regularly but I can't help it because I'm so swarmed with school work and what not. There's so little time to do what I want, and that includes baking and cooking!
But I seized the chance to cook for Grace when she came over to my place to study that day.
As you can see from the above, she looks happy with the lunch I cooked just for her!
Here's a candid shot of her enjoying the food.
Well she did like what I whipped up. So that's a good sign I hope? haha.
Here's a closer shot of the lunch I cooked: Grilled Dory Fillet with Buttered Potatoes and Scrambled Eggs. It isn't much, but it's not too bad, considering that I did it impromptu. Didn't follow any recipe, just went with my culinary instincts!
And of course, I won't be known as the baker who cooks, if i don't bake my signature brownies for my guest eh?
There's no better dessert than freshly baked chocolate brownies with bananas, and drizzled with chocolate syrup. How's that for an end to a home cooked lunch?
Grace liked the brownies, as you can see. What's there not to like about anything chocolate?
Couldn't resist taking a last shot of the brownies.
Ahhhh I love baking!... and cooking. what would I do without a kitchen? What would I do without friends I can bake and cook for! This is the life. I know it's crazy to be whipping up something in the kitchen when I should be glued to my books. But hey, we gotta destress ya? And my way of destressing is being in the kitchen, messing it up, and coming up with culinary delights.
That said... it's time for me to go back to my assignments! Will post more after I meet my deadlines! Till then...
*A few of you requested for the brownie recipe I used. It's actually a Hershey's recipe I tried years ago and have stuck with ever since. It's reliable and oh-so-delish. Hope you guys like it! Here's the recipe:
Hershey's Best Brownies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa or HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts(optional)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
2. Place butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until melted. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa; beat until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat well. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost if desired. Cut into bars. About 36 brownies.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
If you know me well enough, you should know how inclined I am towards all things British.
So you could figure out my excitement when I passed by this little eatery called 'Chippy' at Far East Plaza's Level One a few days ago. I noticed it from afar, because of the huge British flag pasted all over their shop.
Well, it turned out that it was indeed a lovely surprise when I looked at their menu. Two particular items caught my eye: and here's the first one:
That's Beer Battered Fish, all 12 pieces of it. No i didn't actually count them. The portion size was stated on their signboard. It costs only $4.45. Now, that's quite reasonable I think. Here's the Cheesy Curry Chicken ($3.45), which also came with a cheese dip:
Pardon my poor photo quality. Didn't bring my Canon digicam so I had to make do with my Nokia.
I do think that the food served was really worth it. By the time I was done, I felt so stuffed. Thank God I was sharing the food with a friend. And it helped that I had kickboxing class after... so I didn't feel too guilty. haha...
But honestly, I do think that the quality of the food I had was pretty good. The fish was delightful and didn't have a fishy smell. They even had battered chips to go along. Brilliant. The chicken was spicy but the highlight was of course the cheese dip. Oh yes, you can ask for varying spiciness for the chicken. I didn't really taste any curry.. it was really more towards spices. I'll definitely go back there... I want to try their 15 cm cheese sausage with caramelised onions, oh and also, their fried mars bars. Sounds intriguing eh? Well you won't know till you taste it.
Just one downside though... there isn't much space to sit and eat. It was pretty weird sitting right in front of the shop, chomping down the food. Most people just order take away. Well yes, their shop is named Chippy's British Take-away after all. Man do I miss British food! London... wait for me... i'll be there really soon. I can only hope and pray...
Friday, September 16, 2005
'Li Bai' mooncakes from Sheraton Towers Hotel Singapore.
A few days ago, dad brought home this box.
I don't need to state explicitly its contents, do i?
It should be obvious enough... after all, the moon is shining soo brightly~
haha... yes, mooncakes it was...
ALL 4 of them. The traditional baked ones... with lotus paste and single yolk.
There's something about mooncakes that's just so nostalgic.
I remember when i was younger, I looked forward to the Mooncake Festival. That marks the start of mooncake eating and lantern burning. wait, no, I wasn't that destructive. The lanterns were beautiful - those candle lit ones. Even if they did burn, they burnt by accident. I do however, recall burning leaves. Okay all you environmentalists, please don't panic... they were dried dead leaves.
Enough about burning. This festival is all about mooncakes. Now, there's many stories surrounding mooncakes. Some involves this 'Chang Er' lady who supposedly flew to the moon after drinking her husband's elixir of life. Yes, she became a permanent resident on the moon. She probably beat Neil Armstrong to it. Well we never know... since there wasn't any flag there when he landed.
Other stories include how people hid messages in the mooncakes as a means of communication during war. Whatever it is, I'm just glad mooncakes exist. The look darn good and the ones my dad brought home tasted really yummy:
For those who don't know what goes into mooncakes, well here's a lowdown...
That orange core which you see there is actually egg yolk. not just any egg yolk, but salted ones. They add a rather savoury taste which blends well with the lotus paste's sweet undertones. I have not tried making my own mooncakes - hopefully I can learn from someone soon.
These days, there are also more contemporary mooncakes available. Some include ice-cream mooncakes, oreo, chocolate, strawberry and liquer mooncakes. It seems that nothing is ever impossible when it comes to food experimentation. I do like the snow skinned ones too. But haven't gotten a chance to eat some good ones these year. Snow skinned ones are best eaten cold.. and i think they're made using a different flour for its outer layer.
Anyway, sunday is the 'official' day where the festival begins. And somehow i don't know why, but the moon is really big and round during this time. freaky huh? well i guess maybe it's astronomy too. There's also an ancient myth that if you point your fingers at the moon, you're ears will get cut off. Haha... imagine the crap people used to believe.
Oh well... it might not have been crap to them.... as always, different cultures and races have different beliefs and legends. That's what makes our world so interesting. I love the diversity of it all. That's why I'm going to major in Sociology. Yes yes, and I'm so going to take modules under sociology of food. Ah huh... there is such thing as food sociology. okay, that's just so me, isn't it? What can I say... food is my passion after all!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Finally. After a month of not baking, I just had to do something. I felt something was missing. I missed the smell of freshly baked cookies and the satisfaction of baking a batch of good brownies and so on.
So during the weekend, I sneaked away from my books and went to bake something quick and easy - Peanut butter cookies.
I know I did bake some a few months back but this time, I used a different recipe, one which required refridgeration. I thought it was pretty interesting and thus, gave it a go.
The end result was rather yummy - that is, if you love peanut butter as much as i do. I love the crumbly texture. It can be quite heavy (imagine how much butter goes in!) but I guess it was a timely bake, because I ran a half marathon (21.1km) two days ago and these cookies were perfect before and after runs... gave me all the energy I needed.
Oh and if you were wondering how to get the stripey indentations, well this might explain it better:
that's right.. all you need is a fork! cool huh?
Anyway I love these cookies. Goes well with a hot cup of cocoa... Mmmm and I tell ya, the aroma of these cookies is to die for. Amazing stuff.
Now, I am itching to bake some cupcakes using the Magnolia Bakery recipe! ahhhh... i can't wait for the weekends... it's now the only time i have to bake. I miss my freedom to bake as and when i can!
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter two baking sheets.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside.
3. In a large bowl of electric mixture combine the melted butter, sugars, peanut butter, egg and vanilla extract. Beat just until well blended. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
4. Refrigerate cookies until dough is stiff enough to shape into balls, about 2 hours. Using a tablespoon scoop out dough and with wet hands shape into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart of baking sheet. Using the tines of a fork or a cookie press lightly press on the ball of dough to slightly flatten and make an indentation.
5. Bake until bottoms are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cookies cool briefly on the pans. Using a wide flexible spatula transfer the warm cookies to a rack to cool.
Makes about 36 cookies.
*Taken from Williams-Sonoma Cookie cookbook.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
me and my ballotine ... chomp chomp chomp
I told ya.
I warned ya didn't I? About how I just can't keep away from my most favourite cafe.
For those who are sick and tired of hearing me rave about Clarity Cafe; I'm sorry but I hope you understand! Besides, I would never want anyone to miss out on anything this good.
Yes, that's me in that funny looking picture, devouring my chicken ballotine. I might sound like a really boring person now eh? Going back to the same place, eating the same food again and again.
Allow me to defend myself.
This time, I had many others to share in my love for the food at Miss Clarity Cafe:
Now now, can you see dear Jules and Char attacking the ballotine?
Not convinced yet? Check this out:
the one and only ballotine
Well, there was a valid reason why I was back at the cafe again.
Us Amplifiers (people form the Amplify ministry) were celebrating the birthday of our dear friend, someone who goes by the name of Charlene a.k.a. Char.
This time, I shall allow you to continue drooling over your keyboard and not interrupt... enjoy!
Miss Clarity Cafe's Burger special
Pork Piacatta - with fruit compote and parmesan layer
Chicken Gordon Bleu
Breaded Dory Fillet
Hmmm and for those who are curious just how many people were there; here's an idea:
You saw right, we filled up about 3/4 of the place! My goodness, this is the second time we had a birthday celebration here. I do think that this will be a 'ritual' from now on. Wait till Mel has her birthday this coming october! hahaa...
anywayz, Happy Belated Birthday Char! Stay pretty and young always. You go girl!
Girl power rules... can i hear all the girls shout out an 'aye'? :)
I do adore every single person in this lovely ministry which goes by the name of Amplify. I don't know what I'd do without these cool babes! Here's some of us:
Bottom row (left to right): Jules, Char, Me, Joel
Top row (left to right): Thelma, Daphne, Lydia, Dot, Mel, Sylvia
Like I always believe... Good food is best enjoyed with people you love and adore. Love ya all!
PS. Dear readers, I am glad that most of you actually went down to the cafe after reading my posts about the place. I am sure you all enjoyed the food thoroughly. It's really nice to be able to share something nice with the rest of my fellow countrymen. haha. anyway I do frequent the place alot, so if you ever see me, do come up to say hi! I actually met one of you while I was here today. I think your name was Jane. It was lovely meeting you!
And oh yes, people, you know all the good food you've savoured and seen pictured in these posts on Clarity Cafe? It's all cooked by Jonanthan, the extremely gifted chef. Amazing huh? Bravo I say. I really don't know how he manages, especially with the sudden surge in avid fans like me.
food is more than just the sum of all ingredients i would conclude. it includes passion, drive, skill, emotions and patience. i am evermore so inspired to start up my own bakery in the future. That reminds me, I haven't baked since I started Uni. That's very sad. I will have to make up for it real soon... oven, watch out for me...
Monday, September 05, 2005
Check out that plate.
No wait, check out the remnants on the plate.
To whom does it belong you wonder eh?
haha... isn't the answer so darn obvious.
yes yes it's me all right. My plate. after what i'd call a HUGE feast fit for starving people. Except that hmmm we weren't a bunch of starved people.
Who's the we? That's me and the bunch of my beloved family of friends from Amplify Ministry, SJC Connectors and John 10:10. Yea, we were in Johor Bahru (JB), Malaysia for the weekend.
We were there to conduct a spirit-filled retreat for some of the confirmands there. The retreat was held at the Sacred Heart Church. It's an annual routine. We always always have a HUGE supper at the near by hawker centre (at Taman Sri Tebrau, around Jalan Keris) after the first day. and here you can see the lovely Lydia a.k.a Auntie Dee, or the one with the saccharine sweet singing voice (she's one of the singer in the music side) and her crayfish:
yep, Crayfish. Butter Crayfish to be specific. That was the highlight of the day!
Jules and Grace going ga-ga at the sight of the mountain of butter crayfish
I'm sure you can see how enthused we are about butter crayfish. It's really that good! And really really cheap. It's like half the price of what you have to pay back in Singapore! check out more crayfish shots:
can you see the roe? - this particular photo was taken by Clarence.
ahh... the one and only oily, fattening moutain of pure buttery crayfish... who can resist? I know I can't....
and here's the next highlight, oatmeal prawns:
Now, you see the oatmeal bits there? We finished almost all. Very very oily but heh, it's just comforting to know that oats is healthy, no? =p
Oh my oh my... look at that meat above. Delicious looking ya? Well it was superbly yummy as well. They're pork ribs without the bones i think. The marinade makes it so scrumptious. awesome
prawn paste chicken
and yes we had some prawn paste chicken and sambal kangkong to go with the crayfish, prawns and pork. Now, can you guess how much we paid for all that? there was about 9 of us at that table, so after splitting the cost, each person had to pay only about 23 ringgit. That's like about 10 SGD. Now, is that cheap or is that CHEAP?! i love JB! I love the food, the seafood... amazing.
Did I forget to mention that a total of 40 of us were there? For the retreat? And about 3/4 of us occupied like 4 tables at the place to feast. And here's one of the table:
They look happy don't they? Of course they would. Their food came first. The rest of us were practically drooling whilst waiting for our own food to come.
Anyway, here's some of their food:
There were alot more other food but we were all so busy eating and my hands were so oily that I didn't want to risk dirtying my camera.
On Sunday, we headed down to City Square for dinner before going home and I just had to eat the cakes at Secret Recipe.
For the uninitiated, Secret Recipe is known for their cheesecakes. It's a Malaysia company and they have outlets in Singapore too. My favourite is the chocolate banana cake. Chocolate and bananas are like husband and wife, they look and taste good together!
In case you're wondering why I had to have the cakes there instead of waiting till I come home to Singapore. Well, the reason is simple. When faced with food cheaper than what you pay in your home country, would you want to give up that opportunity to eat more for less? haha.. okay now i'm starting to sound really cheapskate. heh it's not my fault that i'm a student who ain't that rich (ahem, considering how much money goes into my food endeavours).
The cakes at Secret recipe costs about 5 ringgit a slice there, which is about 2.50 SGD but here, whoa, they are going for 5 SGD per slice. so now you get the equation? hope you do. haha. anyway here are the cakes:
chocolate banana cake
So I suggest that if you happen to be really free one fine day, why not just go across the causeway and drop by the nearest mall: City Square and stuff yourself crazy.. and do some shopping too? It'll be a great way to destress I would vouch. But of course, you would have to exercise if you want to keep your flabs at bay. I actually ran 8km after I got home from JB last night. Well it's partly because I have to train for my half marathon this sunday... and it so happens that running is a good way to burn those calories ya know. that's the secret. =)
Friday, September 02, 2005
Their famed chicken ballotine
Most of you might have read my previous post about Miss Clarity Cafe a few weeks ago.
And I know for a fact that alot of you actually went down to try out their food after hearing me rave about it - so much so that they were sold out before it was time to close!
How did I know? Well some of you actually told them about this blog o' mine and of course, the owners knew it could be none other than me (i mean, who else could be this crazy about their cafe than their biggest fan, no?).
Pardon me while I continue raving about their homely cafe a bit more will ya?
I went back to the cafe to have lunch yesterday and was bowled over yet again.
These people never fail to please. Why do I say that? See for yourself my friends:
yes, I had my steak medium rare... Mmmmm!
Mind you, seldom do I make this claim: The food at Miss Clarity Cafe is of a standard that NO words need to be spoken when presented. I know of some places where the food looks pretty but medicore in taste. But the food at this cafe, oh boy, it's addictive. And don't you think my photos of the dishes speak volumes? You don't need to describe it, you just need to bite, savour and experience it!
psst... I tried their sirloin steak for the first time. To be honest, I'm not really much of a steak person but theirs was fantastic. I had mine medium rare and yes I had to chew quite a bit but hey it was worth it - the meat was fresh and delicious.
Bread and butter pudding - freshly baked on the day i went!
Ain't I so glad I discovered this lovely haunt. Well it was actually a recommendation from a friend. Since then, I've just been telling all my other friends about this amazing cafe.
You know what? This is by far, my most favourite cafe in town. That I can safely say. I really am impressed by how well they maintain the quality of their food.. oh and I love the variety they have. The chef creatively changes the presentation and side dishes regularly. So one day you can order the ballotine, and have it served with grilled potatoes, but come back another time, and you have mashed potatoes or broccoli with carrots. You get my drift.
Another must-try is their tiramisu and their mango island drink.
The tiramisu isn't overbearing at all. It has just the right amount of cake, and cream.
By the way, all their cakes and pastries are baked by a pastry chef who comes by a few times a week. So what you get is really good stuff. Trust me, you'll love me for recommending you the bread and butter pudding. It just calls out to you!
mango island - mango with vanilla ice-cream. perfect for a hot day!
Alrighty, now now, I think I didn't mention before, but the cafe is closed on Sundays. Heh I didn't know until I actually turned up one Sunday and found it closed.
Just to let you know, the cafe would be adding some new dishes to their menu really soon so don't forget to check it out again, even if you've gone there before. See, I told ya it's addictive. I think I'm officially a Miss Clarity Cafe addict, however corny that sounds. Go ask my friends. They can attest to that!
Miss Clarity Cafe
5 Purvis Street (the lane directly opposite the new NLB at bras basah)
Open 7am to 11pm
Closed on Sundays