Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Meme on 'Childhood Food Memories'

How does this meme work?

If you are tagged, here's what you do: Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog's name in the #5 spot; link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross-pollination effect.

1. Eternity
2. FoodCrazEE
3. Jan's Kitchen
4. Play-play in the kitchen
5. She Bakes and She Cooks

My top five childhood food memories:

#1: Fishball noodles
I can still remember the mornings where my dad would bring me to the hawker centre for a bowl of fishball noodles before dropping me off at the childcare centre. I must have been 5 or 6 at that time. Always used to look forward to that hot bowl of egg noodles with springy fishballs. might not be much, but it sure was enough for me at that time.

#2: Sambal belachan
My dad's peranakan and naturally, sambal belachan is a common sight in our home. I grew up eating loads of chilli and fondly remember eating sambal belachan with almost anything. Dad always makes his own. He's a fantastic cook. For the uninitiated, sambal belachan is kind of like a chilli paste, made with red chillies and belachan (fermented shrimps). Belachan is known to be pungent. But I sure didn't mind eating it! it's a must have in any peranakan household. What can I say. I just simply cannot do with out my chilli.

#3: Hainanese 'rice crispies'
Okay, I really don't know how to term these crunchy hainanese snack. I know I've been calling it 'hor gong' since i was a kid. My maternal grandma is Hainanese and she is a great cook. Everything she whips up is always so delicious. Yes she can cook good hainanese chicken rice. But if you ask me, i'll always remember her for her Hainanese 'rice crispies' thingie. Every Chinese New Year, she'll distribute to all her 8 daughters (my mum included) tin cans filled with tonnes of that 'hor gong'. I know most of you are clueless as to what I'm actually referring to. I'll try my best to explain it. It's basically made using dried rice. She accumulates the rice throughout the year by drying out left over rice on a pan. After they've dried up, she'll keep them and use her stash to make these rice snacks during Chinese New Year. She mixes it with honey, ginger, and peanuts. I don't have the recipe and I don't know how she makes it. Maybe I'll pop by her place this coming New Year to check it out and post pictures when I do!

#4: Curry
I take to curry like fish to water. I can gulp it down neat, or have it with bread, rice, noodles, etc. I was weaned on curry. Dad cooks curry all the time and he trained me since I was a wee little kid. I can never resist his Devil Curry, Assam Curry, Chicken Curry, Fish Curry. Not forgetting Ayam Buah Keluak. His curries are simply the best. I wish I could one day be as adept as he is when cooking Peranakan dishes. Must master how to get that 'rempah' (spice paste/curry base) right!

#5: Butter cake
It's the simplest things in life that really get to you. Way before I started baking, I knew about the wonders of butter cake. In primary school, we always had these food and fun fairs where we each contributed something to sell and raise funds for my already quite well-to-do convent. Every year, I would proudly lug a container filled with individually wrapped slices of butter cake, some infused with lemon or orange. No, I didn't bake those cakes. I was only a kid! Dad baked them. It was one of the rare times I see him bake. Boy were those cakes yummy. Rich in butter and fluffy, biting into it was pure delight. Ah I can so remember those days. I would be so curious and watch him mix the batter and stand by the oven, waiting for the cake to bake. I miss his cake. Should ask him to bake it again soon!

And there you have it, five of my fondest childhood food memories. Sorry I don't have any pictures. You'll just have to imagine! :)

I will now pass the baton to
Kitchen Crazy Daffy and Tressa

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Fishermen's Wharf

Fish n Chips at Fishermen’s Wharf
Cream Dory Fillet - Fish n Chips

There ain't nothing like some fish n chips and a night out with friends you haven't met in ages.

Those fish n chips you see there weren't that great - alas, i've tasted better, but hey, for the ambience and huge space to fit an army of people, that's quite good already.

Fishermen’s Wharf - Ambience
Spacious and lovely ambience at Fishermen's Wharf

Had gone to the flea market at Home Club down at Riverwalk where Ronald and Amalina had a stall. Of course, their posse came to give support and it was great meeting up with them! They're actually my former classmates at Ngee Ann, while I was pursuing my dip. in Mass Communications. I almost forgot how fun these bunch of people are. Laughed my head off that evening at their crazy antics and camera whoring tendencies.

Heinz Malt Vinegar
Malt vinegar for you?

But of course, back to the food.

I actually expected more from Fishermen's Wharf, what with their claim of having the Best Authentic Fish n Chips. I was a little disappointed by what I was served. Or maybe it's because I chose the dory fillet. It wasn't bad, just mediocre. Their chips weren't much of a satisfaction too, considering that they're supposed to be freshly cut. Anyway i tried eating it with the malt vinegar given, not too bad i say. Hmmm I think the only time i'll be going back to this place is if I need a large space to fit that many friends. And perhaps I'll try the other offerings they have like the Scampi Fritti, or Danish Meatballs, maybe they'll be much better. Or I could always choose different fishes like Sole, Cod, or even Monk Fish.

Anyway were are some of my friends with their fish n chips:

Sterling and Ghimz with Fish n Chips
Sterling and Ghimz working their fish n chips with such intensity

Ronald with Fish n Chips
The self proclaimed 'Gorgeous one' a.k.a. Ronald, trying to look as good as the Fish n Chips

Oh yes, squeezing lemon onto your fish does wonders to it, I say! There you go, my sunday evening out with some of the 'funnest' people around. Cheers guys!


Fishermen's Wharf
27/29 New Bridge Road
(Next to The Riverwalk & Clarke Quay MRT station)
Tel: 6438-8991


Friday, October 21, 2005

SHF #13 - The Dark Side

unfrosted dark chocolate coffee surprise cake
Guess what cake i am?

Dark is good, I say.

Give me the darkest possible...

Make that extra dark, no wait, give me dark, and black and bitter...

Mmmmm.... I can simply go on and on and on about this dark desire of mine.

If you've been a regular reader, I won't even need to elaborate and you'll get my point.

I've always loved chocolate, and especially dark chocolate. The darker the better... Okay, to be specific, the higher cocoa percentage the better, but that means it'll be slightly bitter but hey I like my chocolate that way! That's proper chocolate.

So imagine my excitement when I found out that this month's theme for Sugar High Friday was Dark Chocolate! Hosted by Lovescool, this month's edition is one that I knew I can't miss.

I was rummaging through my recipe books and recipe file, hunting for a perfect recipe to try. In the end, I settled for something quite unique, a new recipe i've never tried before. Since today's Thelma's birthday and we were going to meet up with some friends, I thought I'd bake a lovely cake for her. I'm using this cake as my SHF entry. Killing two birds with one stone, no?

frosted with nutella

So I ended up baking a Dark Chocolate Coffee Surprise Cake. This is kind of like a coffee cake, with dark chocolate chunks. I frosted the cake with a bit of nutella because I'm not sure if it'll be too bitter for her liking. Personally, I would have liked it just as it was, afterall I do love dark chocolate don't I? hahaa well but I really hope Thelma likes it! Oh yes, and I named it surprise cake because I think the chunks is kind of like a surprise... You'll only know that the cake is peppered with choc chunks only when you bite into it. I actually used a cupcake recipe and simply baked it as a cake. I did have some leftover batter which I used to bake some cupcakes for my family.

dark choc coffee cupcakes
closeup cupcake

All right, I've offically crossed over to 'The Dark Side' and I'm loving it! ;p

slice of dark chocolate coffee surprise cake
a slice of the cake

*P.S. Thelma loved the cake! and so did the rest of my friends. :)

Dark Chocolate Coffee Surprise Cake

200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
375g flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
200g butter
250g sugar
2 eggs
5 tbsp milk
7 tbsp cold strong coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree celcius
2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, then the milk and coffee and mix well.
4. In a seperate bowl, mix the dry ingredients - flour, cocoa, baking powder.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in dark chocolate pieces.
6. Pour batter into a round cake tin (approx 9 or 10 inches), and bake for about an hour.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Gateau Princesse

Gateau Princesse

My new found friend Florence (Bliss in the Kitchen) from France was so sweet to enclose a recipe she got from her mum's aunt when she sent me her BBM package. It's called Gateau Princesse and it's supposedly an apple cake. Hmmm however mine turned out like apple pudding. I'm not sure if it's because I read the recipe wrongly. The steps were quite vague and I just went along with whatever baking instincts i had. I liked how it turned out though. It was a nice warm dessert to have in the morning. Apples are good. . . especially those cooked warm in pies or puddings eh?

Here's the recipe, courtesy of Flo...


Gateau Princesse

4 apples
6 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
6 tbsp milk
125g butter (melted)
2 eggs
a pinch of salt

1. Peel and core apples. Cut them into quarters and slice thinly. Set aside
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and melted butter
3. Pour in the eggs, one at a time, and the milk, until smooth.
4. Put in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree celcius.

*Note: I used brown sugar instead of normal white sugar. The recipe didn't say whether to lay the apples layer by layer, so I simply mixed the whole lot with the mixture. I used Royal Gala apples.

Eating up my BBM package

Closeup of Valrhona Chocolate

I tasted France in more ways than one and it's all thanks to the totally creative and ingenious Blogging By Mail idea thought up by Nic of Baking Sheet. It's thanks to this 'event' that I have had the opportunity of tasting food from around the world. My previous package was from the States and just recently, from France.

I've not yet told you guys how the chocolate, tea, jam and chestnut spread tasted. So here am I, with the full intention of letting your tastebuds imagine what these delights taste like. So enjoy!

Ahhh I'm sure that brown photo up there caught your eye. I don't need to describe it, but all I can say that it's phenomenal. It's dark chocolate! 66% at that. . . with hazelnuts. . . lots of it. chocolate is my best friend.

Tea from France

Here's how the tea looks like. Okay I'm not really sure what tea leaves these are, but the packaging printed something like chamomile, lime, mint and orange... in french, well at least that's what I think it said. Did use babel fish to translate! Anyways this tea is delightful. Refreshing and perfect for a relaxing afternoon chilling out at home. Flo sent a huge pack, so I'm not too worried about finishing it soon. There's plenty to last me for the next month or so! And it helps that I love tea.

Lovely Strawberry preserve

Strawberry preserve with rose petal - even the name sounds utterly sweet and quaint. Ate it with some bread for breakfast a couple of days ago and it was lovely indeed.


Finally, the chestnut spread. This is the most interesting of the lot. I've never tasted this before - but I like alot! It's sweet, and thick. Okay i'm trying to figure out how to describe it well. Let's see, it tastes a bit like red bean paste, or should i say chestnut paste? There's this rustic feel to it. Man, you have to try it for yourself to know what i'm talking about. It's simple and it's sweet - i have a sweet tooth so naturally i liked it. Just found out I can actually buy it from Carrefour here in Singapore. So that's good i guess... maybe i'll go get me more!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blogging by Mail 2 - All the way from France

BBM package from France

This package got me relatively excited.

It was sitting on my desk when I came home from school today and it didn't take me long to realise who it was from.

The french words were a dead give-away! I knew it had to be from dear Flo of Bliss In The Kitchen, my BBM2 sender. She had emailed me a couple of weeks ago to ask what I might want from France and this sweet dear sent me a whole bunch of lovely goodies! Check them out:

BBM2 Contents

Plenty of tea (La Bonne Verveine), chestnut spreads (La Creme de Marrons de l' Ardeche), Strawberry with Provins rose petals preserve (La Coufiture de Fraise aux petales de roses de Provins), Chamomile tea and Valrhona chocolate, and last but not least, her homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Biscottis.

Can you imagine the big smile on my face? It certainly made my day. Considering that I had a long day at school and was feeling extremely exhausted. Somehow, this package cheered me up so. I loved her biscottis and couldn't stop eating it. I had to quickly put it in a jar and keep it away, lest I finish it too quick. I'm so gonna have it with coffee first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks so much Flo! They're really gorgeous... love the chocolate bits. Yes, I'm such a chocoholic.

Here's how the biscottis look like:

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

They're really huge! But I'm not complaining... Cos that means I get to eat more of it. =p

Chestnut Spread

Ahhh... the chestnut spread! I've always heard about these and have yet to find some in Singapore so I was pleased to find it in the package. I'll definitely try these soon and let you guys know how it tastes like. Yummy...


VALRHONA. It just had to be it. These french chocolate make me go weak in the knees. I fell in love with valrhona ever since I tried it at some dessert place. It was some molten chocolate cake I had I think. And it was made with Valrhona. Anyway I'm not going to gobble down this bar anytime soon. Plan to save it for another time. Maybe when I feel like indulging. After all, it's not everyday that I get Valrhona chocolates in the mail. Oh Flo, really, thank you so much!

There you have it... Flo's Blogging By Mail package all the way from France, to Singapore. Amazing huh? I've never visited the place before but I would have you know that it's one of the cities I do hope to go to one day. I want to enrol into Le Cordon Bleu or the French Culinary Institute and take up a degree in patisserie. That's just how crazy I am about baking! But first I must save up. And learn the french language. Well I actually studied it for 4 months once, but i've since forgotten how to use it. haha but i do intend to take it up again. When I do, Flo, I'll definitely practise my French by writing French emails to you. hahaa.. or maybe write some posts in French!

And... that's a wrap! Until next time, au revoir!

P.S. Head to Samantha's (The Samantha Files) for the round-up of the second edition of Blogging By Mail and if you want to sign up for the next one, you can do so at Cathy's (My Little Kitchen).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Four dishes, one baker, twelve hours, and then some.

My brownies again

Here's a slice of brownie for you, my beloved readers.

Okay okay, i know you can't taste it or smell it, but well you could always imagine!

Terribly sorry for the lack of posts. Been a busy bee as usual.

And... especially since I volunteered to cater food for a mini-event hosted by Amplify on Saturday. It was for about 40pax and I spent the entire friday night/saturday morning churning out 4 dishes, here's the menu:

1. Brownies
2. Onde Onde
3. Kueh Salat
4. Croquettes

Now now, ain't I crazy? To attempt all four by myself in one night? It was tiring - try standing for 12 hours straight in the kitchen, slaving over the hot stove, oven etc. hahaa almost suicidal no?

But I must say, it's been a real experience. Have never cooked so much at one shot for so many people. It was a true test of my skills and endurance and I'm so glad I passed!

Everyone loved the food... no complaints whatsoever. Isn't that great? It was certainly telling of my culinary skills. :)

Anyway here's some photos for you, it might give you a better idea of what food i churned out! enjoy... (P.S., recipes at the bottom):

mashing sweet potatoes
mashing up sweet potatoes for my Onde Onde

Gula Melaka
Gula Melaka (brown sugar) to fill the Onde Onde

Gula Melaka Centre
Here's how you stuff the dough with gula melaka in the centre

Onde onde – before cooking
There you go: an onde onde all rolled up!

Lots of onde onde
My onde onde, after cooking and coating them with grated coconut

These onde onde are amazing, and I love the fact that they have that orange glow. Used the same recipe I came across while watching 'The Cook, His Food and The Dishy Nyonyas' on Arts Central eons ago. I like this recipe; it's very easy to follow.

coconut milk
Pouring lots of coconut milk - this is for the top green custard-like layer for my kueh salat

Glutinous rice
Steamed glutinous rice - this makes up the bottom layer of the kueh

Traditional Nonya Kueh
A sea of green - you can only see the top layer of my kueh salat in this shot

Kueh Salat
My kueh salat - the 2 layers are quite distinct here

It was my first attempt at making kueh salat, a typical nonya snack and I'm so glad I pulled it off! I do admit it's a bit tricky, making the top layer especially! But i love how it turned out. It's one of my most favourite kuehs and I'm delighted that I can now make my own anytime...

Mashing potatoes
mashing up potatoes for my croquettes

YES, most of my time was spent mashing up these potatoes for my croquettes. There were 2 kg worth of potatoes mind you! My arms felt so strong after. haha. Check out my previous croquette post for the recipe and step by step photos. Here's the completed croquettes, post frying.

More of my potato croquettes

There was plenty of filling left over so I rushed out to buy some 'popiah' (spring roll) skins to wrap the stuff in. I can't bear to be wasteful!

Spring rolls
Looks good eh? well it tastes even better.

So there you have it, my first attempt at 'catering', alone. The kitchen was in such a big mess after! But well, i managed to clean everything up.

Would I do this again? Yes I would, but I guess I would start in the morning so that I can end by the night, next time. But right now, time to hit the books again... can't compromise my studies can i? hahaa... till next time then!

Kueh Salat

Bottom layer:
400g glutinous rice
200ml thick coconut milk with 100ml water
2-3 pandan leaves
some blue food colouring
a pinch of salt

Top layer:
6 eggs
800 ml thick coconut milk
200g rice flour
320g sugar
50 ml pandan juice
some green food colouring
a pinch of salt


Bottom Layer:
1. Soak glutinous rice for 2-3 hours. Drain.
2. Steam the rice on pandan leaves with a pinch of salt for 15-20 minutes or till tender.
3. Remove from heat and add in coconut milk. Mix well with a wooden chopstick.
4. Then sprinkle some blue food colouring all over the rice (optional).
3. Transfer back to heat and steam for 10 minutes further or till cooked.
4. Lay a banana leaf on the bottom of an 8 inch square tray. Place steamed rice in the tray and press down firmly with a banana leaf on top to compact it.
5. Return to steamer and steam for another 5 minutes. The bottom layer has to be hot when the top layer is poured on.

Top Layer:
1. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl lightly with a fork. Mix in the rice flour. Strain.
2. Cook coconut milk, pandan juice, sugar, salt and green food colouring over low heat. Keep stirring and add in the egg mixture. Stir continuously over low heat, until mixture thickens.
3. Pour the yellow mixture over the steamed glutinous rice in the steamer slowly. Steam for 15-20 minutes or until set
4. Cool the kueh before cutting.

*Note, i didn't have banana leaves, so I used normal grease proof paper instead. works fine.


Onde Onde

350g glutinous rice flour
250g sweet potatoes
3 tbsp pandan juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 & 1/2 tbsp water

Other ingredients:
200g gula melaka
1 grated coconut

1. Cut the gula melaka into small pieces.
2. Cook and mash sweet potatoes.
3. Sieve glutinous flour into a large bowl.
4. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and pandan jice.
5. Mix well and knead into dough
6. Form dough into marble sized balls.
7. Make a hole in the center and fill withe some pieces of gula melaka
8. Make it into a small ball
9. Boil water and put the boils in to boil
10. Take the balls out when they float to the surface
11. Add salt to the grated coconut and mix well
12. Roll the cooked glutinous balls over grated coconut and serve

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cailler Chocolates

Cailler Hazelnuts

I used to be quite the chocoholic.

Okay, who am I kidding.

I still AM one.

But my taste for chocolate has evolved. Hmmm... is that the right way to put it? I don't know! However, I have an affinity for dark chocolate especially.

And my current favourite is Cailler's dark chocolate. What in the world is Cailler? Well I don't think it's available here but I happen to have a very thoughtful aunt who was kind enough to buy back some amazing chocolates from Switzerland when she was holidaying there.

Cailler Noir

Now this is what i'm talking about.

Noir. Life can't get better than this! Anyway this one she bought has bits of caramelised cocoa beans. Lovely. Man, I think I went on a chocolate high after consuming these chocolates. Erm, no, I didn't finish ALL of them, in case you were wondering. hahaa.. here's a closeup shot of the Cailler Noir:

Closeup Cailler Choc

Check out the cocoa beans!

Geez, what would I do if the human race never discovered the wonders of cocoa beans? We'll be so deprived.

Ahhh that said, I feel like having chocolate fondue all of a sudden! I'm thinking of the awesome icecream ball one served at Haagen Daz. Man! Or I could always drop by Miss Clarity Cafe - yes they have chocolate fondue too! They serve fruits, with some amazing melted chocolate. Shucks, I'm not doing myself any good with all this chocolate talk. I am craving for waffles all of a sudden. I better stop here! Time to dream of food in my sleep... Zzzzz......

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Veggies & Fish

dory flesh

Check out that tender flesh above.

Guessed what it is yet?

Easy peasy, no?

It's fish of course. Dory to be specific. One of my favourite fishes.

and here's another of my favourite type of foods:

stirfry vegetable

don't you think the orange and green goes well together? Well, I do!

I love veggies and I love fishies, as you can tell:

Grilled Dijon Mustard Dory

okay, enough of my fish/veggie babble...

That combination of fibre and protein was my lunch a couple of days ago. It was lunchtime and I was rather ravenous as usual. Since I was at home, I decided to cook my usual fish and veg fare. For those who think that's boring, I would beg to differ! haha... it really depends how you cook it I guess.

This dory was marinated in dijon mustard, paprika and black pepper. It turned out quite spicy but hey that's the way I like it! The vegetables were kind of impromptu. I opened the fridge and there was some chinese cabbage, carrots and tomatoes. And whatddya know... I chopped them up in quick time and started to stirfry them in the wok... not before adding garlic of course.

I know it seems a bit weird, to pair up grilled fish with vegetables. Not that western and not that asian either eh? I think it's a mix of both. I love western cuisine but sometimes I think that there's just not enough fibre in it. Don't get me wrong, I love my carbs (think bread, pasta, potatoes), but I do think there should be a balance. Okay I hope i make sense! :)

Anyway I've been eating out too often, what with my long hours on campus; that's why I try to take every opportunity I have to cook at home, when I'm actually at home.

Oooo I'm going to help cook some food for a small event next weekend. I can't wait to get started on it. Will post pictures after... Till then, cheerios!

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