Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We love Pho

I recently posted about phở, my love for it and a certain person who loves phở so much he decided to turn it into art.

Meet Mr. Cuong Phu Le, Asian-Australian Community Cultural Development Officer of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Sydney. Yes he's pictured above in a really cute I love phở shirt.

Those of you who attended the talk at the National Museum would be familiar with Mr. Cuong. I was most certainly inspired by him. You can see how he manages to fuse his interest for food and culture and present it to the lay person on the street with such enthusiasium that you can't help but be infected with the phở love bug.

I was helping out at the talk and managed to snap some shots just for you:

Yes, everyone had a hot bowl of phở at the end. It was quite a big portion and it actually tasted rather good.

I'm sure you're now wishing you had come! Ah well there's always next time. Anyway, the food was just a bonus. The talk was the highlight and it certainly was enlightening.

Just because he is the founder and curator of the I love Phở visual arts exhibition (which I hope makes it to Singapore eventually!), people expect him to know where to find the best phở. It's an occupational hazard! But Cuong doesn't mind it because it just gives him the perfect excuse to go suss out phở everywhere he goes!

He did just that in Singapore as well. I was tasked to bring Cuong around the island to find the best phở.

Okay, maybe not the best one because I got to admit that I myself have not eaten all the phở there is to be found here so I'm not the best judge. But I did do some research and we checked out Pho 24 and Va Va Voom.

Why these two places? Well Pho 24 is actually a franchise from Vietnam. Va Va Voom is a Vietnamese concept eatery I frequent occasionally when I'm craving for a hot bowl of phở. Oh and it was nearby. We were strapped for time that's why!

I don't have photos from Pho 24. I guess I was a bit disappointed that the beef phở wasn't ready when we arrived around 11:30am. They supposedly stew their soups for 24 hours with 24 different spices. Hmmm so maybe that's why their beef soup wasn't ready? We had the chicken phở instead. It wasn't too bad but it was my first time tasting chicken phở so I didn't have much to say.

So off we went to Va Va Voom to fix our craving for beef phở.

This Hue Spicy Beef noodle uses a clear spicy broth and the noodles are the same as the ones used in laksa. They're round, semi opaque and made from rice flour.

I did of course ask Cuong how he liked his beef phở. He did say it wasn't too bad but he wished it had more ginger in it. I never knew that the phở in Vietnam had ginger in it. At least now I know.

Looks like I wasn't the only one taking photos of the food..

Just too bad our tummies weren't bottomless or we could have gone on and visited other Vietnamese restaurants for more phở.

Anyway, do feel free to feedback to me if you are absolutely sure you have found the best phở in Singapore. I'll be sure to try it myself!

And if you're free this Saturday, do head on down to The National Museum at 3pm for a very delicious and enriching talk on "Chocolate in the 18th Century". Regional pastry consultant of Valrhona Vincent Bourdin will be giving the talk.

Here's more info:

An Enlightened Age: Chocolate in the 18th Century
In the 18th century, chocolate's popularity reached across Europe and the Americas. It was a time of great upheavals in society that influenced who got to enjoy chocolate and who didn't, and of advances in technology that made possible the first chocolate bars. In this workshop, learn how the history of chocolate reflects the changes in society in the 18th century.
3 May 2008, 3pm, Salon, $10

Tickets for "An Enlightened Age: Chocolate in the 18th century" can be booked online at www.nationalmuseum.sg (go to Online Booking Page) or at the Visitor Services Counter at the National Museum of Singapore (93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897). Tickets are S$10 each.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Green Tea Ice Cream

Since I'm a huge fan of desserts, it is not surprising when I tell you how much I adore ice cream. Very much a comfort food, ice cream calms the mind and soothes the tastebuds - at least to me it does. What better way to wind down after a long busy day than with a perfect scoop of cold and creamy ice cream.

Sounds like pure indulgence eh? I'm sure it is, but the point is not how much calories you consume but how it makes everything seem better. You can never go wrong ending the night or a meal with a sweet note.

Okay, okay I know I sound like I'm justifying my love for this creamy dessert that most remember better for its sinful fat content than its tempting sweetness. I can't help it! I'm pro-ice cream and I just want to make you realise (if you haven't already) how gorgeous ice cream can be. Especially home-made ones.

Sad to say I have yet to own one of those ice cream machines with a self-freezing unit. I can only dream. For now. Items like these remain a luxury especially since I have to watch my spending and pay off my university loan! So imagine my excitement when my fifth aunt passed me a uber retro-looking ice-cream churner. She found it at Cash Converters and paid only $8 for it. This machine looks more like a toy to me. I have to fill it up with my own ice and add salt to make sure the temperature dips low enough to chill the ice cream mixture as the motor churns the ice cream.

I've been using the machine a couple of times and with each try I got more confident and finally I decided it was time to try making an ice cream that I really love and have been craving for - Green Tea Ice Cream or should I say, Matcha Ice Cream:

One thing I've learnt through making my own ice cream is how simple it really is. The best thing is of course the ability to add more of the things I want! And of course to cut down on the sugar. It might seem contradictory but I don't really like my desserts to be too sweet. I'm not saying it should be bland. All I want is for the said dessert to be sweetened with just the right amount of sugar so that the intended flavour still comes through. Too much sugar just kills it.

For this ice cream, I used David Lebovitz's recipe from Perfect Scoops. I am a fan of his and I thought that if I wanted to make a good ice cream I should of course consult his recipes first, especially since they're known to produce the best results. This recipe uses a custard base and instead of the 3/4 cup sugar it called for, I added only 1/4 cup.

The result was good. I added more matcha (green tea powder) of course. I really love the green hue. The recipe makes for a rather creamy version of green tea ice cream. Next time I make it I'll probably add less cream. I realised that in order for the green tea flavour to come through, it shouldn't be overtly creamy. Hmmm I'm not sure if I make such sense! I guess it's mostly because green tea is afterall a delicate flavour and putting too much cream would only mask the tea. Okay my analysis ends here. I'll leave it up to you to decide when you do try the recipe which you can find HERE.

Oh and before I forget, here's how the retro ice cream machine looks like:

Okay, it's more a toy than a machine I think! The dark yellow motor sits on top of the bucket and swivels the metal container (there's a paddle inside too) so the mixture gets chilled as it's churned. I think it's way cool. Haha I feel like I really did make the ice cream - all my blood and sweat! More satisfying I guess, than dumping the ingredients in a huge self-freezing power machine. Ah well this will do for now, until I save up enough to get a real solid one!

Next up, salted caramel ice cream! I hope. IF I have the guts to try. It just sounds so tricky! Well if you have any good ice cream recipe for it or any other flavour at all, you're welcomed to email it to me!

Friday, April 18, 2008

PS. I love you

lf you don't like chocolate and cheese, you'd probably be bored by this post. Or you'd think that I'm just being biased because I happen to adore both said foods.

On the other hand, it might just be that I'm in love and you can't fanthom why. To some, it might seem trivial, but to me, it's the world.

Love happens when you discover your soulmate, or in this case, my soulthing! Hmmm or shall I say the dessert I've been dreaming about. I've found THE dessert and it's right smack in the middle of Dempsey, Singapore's latest culinary dream

I won't deny the fact that this is only the third time I've been to Dempsey. Until this year, I was still as student with a fixed allowance that would never suffice a meal at this delicious but a tad expensive classy gastonomical enclave.

Even if you're not familiar with the Dempsey Hill area, you would have heard of PS. Cafe. This well known cafe-style restuaurant sits right smack in the middle of the Dempsey area and has a beautiful ambience that reeks casual chic. Friends of mine who've been there rave about their desserts. This place has been one of THE places I knew I had to visit. I was elated when I found out my new foodie friend also wanted to go there. Trust me, had you been there and saw the excitement on our faces, you would have thought we had won the lottery.

Anyway, we went there on Wednesday and we were kind of lost at first. I forgot to take down the address and I didn't think there was a need to make reservations seeing that it was a weekday night. Nevertheless, we found the place, more so because the door we entered led us to this array of pure saccharine delight:

8 pretty cakes in the row - this has got to be PS cafe. It might have been my first time, but somehow I just knew this was going to be one helluva delicious night. Come on, don't tell me cakes don't tempt you? Okay, maybe I just love my desserts too much!

So we reached at 7pm and thankfully there were seats for Elsie and I. But here's the catch - we had to vacate by 8:30pm because there was a reservation at that time and they could only give us the table till that time. We didn't mind because we were really hungry.

The waiter saw me taking photos and told me it wasn't allowed. But they were really sweet - they told me I couldn't take photos of the food but I could take a photo of my friend and pan it down to the food so I would get a shot of the food still. Hmm... interesting. Well that's what I did... And Elsie took some shots too. Some photos you see here were taken by her.

Here's some shots of the interior:

I really like the red 'menu' wall where they scribbled all their new menu items. I was soooo tempted to get that dark chocolate banana cheesecake.

But we settled for something else eventually. And there were NO regrets.

Taking heed of many of my friends' advice to focus on desserts, I thought that it would be a better idea to just share a main course, allowing the limelight to shine on the desserts at the end. And that's what we did.

Oh and I would really like to give credit to whoever wrote the menu descriptions. Vivid and visual writing sure makes one drool and convinced. I was convinced the moussaka (SGD$22) was good, just from the item description which looked more like a 150 word bio than a one-liner that I'm so used to seeing in your typical restaurant menu.

Kudos too, to the chef who delivered. The moussaka was exactly as described and we loved it so much that I made sure every morsel was in my mouth. I'm afraid I didn't take a better shot of it, but here's just a version of what it looks like... well partially, after we scooped it out of the deep round baking dish:

That's Elsie, enjoying her portion :)

You'll see alot of her in this post. Remember what I told you the waiters said? Yes, I really took them seriously and 'pretended' to shoot Elsie while secretly taking shots of the food.

Sounds desperate but I really couldn't do without photos can I? How then would I be able to share with you dear reader the fantastic desserts?

May I now introduce to you the star of the night, the one who stole the limelight: Mr. Double Blackout Chocolate Cake (SGD$13.90). Drizzled with chocolate sauce and frosted with what must be the perfect dark chocolate fudge icing and served with a simple vanilla icecream, THIS dessert nearly knocked me off my seat. Trust me, it was so good until we nearly cried. I kid you not. I was smiling to myself and with enough forkful, I just beamed and beamed and kept repeating how this must be the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe. But I still stick by my tastebuds. There's just something about this cake that's so sexy and so irresistable. It's the perfect cake to have when you're feeling down. I think any depressed person will snap out of their depression if given a slice of this cake. The cake was moist and not too sweet, and the chocolate sauce was more like melted chocolate, which is fabulous because I don't really like those artificial chocolate flavoured syrups.

The cake was so good that we neglected the other dessert a little. Okay, maybe we sort of nearly forgot about Mr. Carrot Cake (SGD$8.90). The carrot cake was good too, and it was a good pairing we felt. I don't think I could have done with two heavy cakes. Mr. Carrot Cake helped provide that balance we needed. Here's Elsie consoling Mr. Carrot Cake, trying to convince him that we loved him just as much:

There's one thing I'm curious about though. I just wonder who in the world came up with the recipe for the chocolate blackout cake. Or better yet, who was the pastry chef. I even told Elsie that I would marry the person who could make me that cake for the rest of my life. Hahahaha... Hopefully I will find a person like that some day. I am dramatic am I?

Soon enough, 8:30pm came and it was just nice. By then, we were done with our food and dessert and all set to leave. We decided to head off to Jones the Grocer to chill for a bit.

A friend had told me about the cheese room and I had to go see! So Elsie and I went into the freezing room at Jones the Grocer and got a Cheese 101 lesson from the Cheese Guy in charge for that night. I believe his name was Jan? I can't remember! Well we shall call him the cheese guy then! He was nice enough to let us try a couple of cheeses. All tasted really good and each had its own characteristics. I was pretty impressed. A slight warning though - if you really hate the smell of pungent cheeses, do not go in there. The smell can be quite strong. That said, it really dissipates after a while - I think that's when your nose gets accustomed to the smell.

Can you see the cheese room at the corner? It's a bit small, but hey, it's something! It's the first time I've ever been in a room with so many cheeses. Both of us were pretty intriguied and decided to get ourselves a cheese platter (SGD$19.50). The platter came with a nice wedge of quince jelly and 3 different cheeses: a brie, a blue cheese and a sharp cheddar like cheese.

And they served it with crackers and some figs as well. I must say, the quince jelly they gave really matched well with the cheeses. It provided an opposite tinge of sweetness that balanced out the sharp and sometimes salty cheese taste.

I was really into the whole cheese tasting thing, and here's proof:

I looked so serious! Elsie was trigger happy and decided to take more shots of me in my cheesey happiness with a really cheesy smile and cheesy pose with some yummy brie:

Yep that's brie I was spreading on the crackers. I think I could get the hang of cheese tasting. I love the idea and it's amazing how much depth there is to various cheeses depending on the type of milk used to the subtle changes that come with the addition of herbs, fruits or spices.

That night was super fun and after we were done with the cheeses (no we didn't finish all, we're not gluts! I packed the rest home for further tasting) we explored the rest of Dempsey. We ventured into House and I was seriously enthralled. I didn't know Dempsey was this beautiful. Have I been living under a rock?!

Perhaps! But it's okay because Dempsey's going to be seeing alot of me, and of Elsie! We're going to eat the whole of Demsey a little at a time. We are already planning on going back to PS. Cafe, this time with reservations so we don't need to rush through our desserts!

I want to try the sticky date toffee cake! And the flourless orange cake and the berry chocolate cheesecake and the brownies....... yes the list goes on. PS. Cafe, watch out, you're going to see alot of me, and Elsie of course!

Here's one more for the cameras - can't you tell how happy we were? Well I think our tummies were happier. This was the highlight of my week. Good food never fails to perk me up. And thanks Elsie for being such great company! It's always good to have a foodie friend who doesn't fuss about calories and gamely agrees to try anything! That's the way it should be. Food is all about exploring, not limiting; tasting and not just eating.

I love Dempsey and I adore PS. Cafe and of course Jones the Grocer. The cheeses are still in my fridge and I'm going to savour them slowly, a little at a time.

Cheers to good food and great company!


PS. Cafe
28B Harding Road
Phone: 9070 8782/ 6479 3343
(Check website for opening hours)

Jones the Grocer
#01-12, Blk 9, Dempsey Road
Phone: 6476 1512

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Vintage India

Samarkand prawns

I think my life is kinda delicious. No, make that scrumptious, or better yet - fingerlickin' good!

My job revolves around food, my interests are culinary and ever so appetising, and sometimes, I dream about food! Even in ministry, I'm all about food, especially with our cafe Eden.

And of course, this blog makes sure I never forget what I've eaten and the recipes I've tried.

Then there are times where I get to taste new things at new places.

Perhaps I should add another 2 words to my blog name: she bakes and cooks and she eats ALOT. haha.

So you know that I eat and I enjoy my food and will always be here to introduce to you only the yummiest things. Today I have some place new to talk about.

Vintage India at Dempsey Hill. They invited me for lunch recently and I have to say that the challenge was more to do with getting there. It's just too bad I don't drive. So I had to take a cab up.

Most of you might have been to Dempsey at least one or have heard about the enclave. The restaurants lean more towards fine dining and are perfect for dates. Vintage India is no different. The ambience is impeccable and it's not difficult to feel like royalty when you're dining there. You'll know what I mean when you see the interior shots I took. But first, let's talk about the food shall we?

I tried two starters that were cooked in the tandoor, the Samarkand prawns and the Adraki Panje.

The prawns were really big. Why, that's because they used jumbo prawns and stuffed it with minced crab meat and nuts. Very satisfying I'd say. The stuffing went well with the crustacean. Something different for once, but a bit surprising too. I never thought prawns could taste as good this way.

Ah then there's the lamb chops which I love:

Adraki Panje

The highlight was the spices. The oh-so-tender chops were marinated in indian spices and herbs, which added to the smoky and delectable flavour. This is a clear favourite.

Vegetarians do not fret because Vintage India has their non-meat specials which taste just as good. And I do mean that - even I was equally surprised. Their Malai Broccoli was lovely. I've never ever eaten broccoli this way. The chef had marinated the florets in fresh cream, and white pepper and roasted it in the tandoor. You'd expect a dried-out broccoli but no, that didn't happen, instead, we were presented with a tender, warm yet slightly juicy broccoli which had the right amount of spice. Now if only I had a tandoor at home too!

Murg Makhani

With such delish starters, I knew the main courses were definitely going to be good and I'm glad I was right. There were two gravy dishes - the Murg Makhani and Fish Malabar curry. Murg Makhani's actually butter chicken. Prepared with a butter based gravy, the Murg Makhani was a sure winner. Buttery is good and goes well with me. Butter always adds a tasty edge to any dish. Loved the gravy and was glad I had garlic naan to mop it up.

The Fish malabar curry is prepared with coconut milk and spiced with a variety of spices. The fish was really fresh and did not have that fishy taste which I so dislike. I'm not sure if I'm just easy to please or if the food was really good. Perhaps I'll just stick to the latter because I have eaten some very bad fish curry and hated it. I am just happy to report that Vintage India sure knows how to cook a good fish curry.

Fish malabar curry

Our table also had some pappadums:

And you can never really go wrong with garlic naan. Garlic is one of my favourite aromatics and this naan was super.

For dessert, there was Malai Kesar Pista Kulfi (saffron flavoured Indian ice cream made with pistachios and milk) and Ras Malai (cottage cheese dumplings dipped in milk and garnished with dry fruits.

Ras Malai

Malai Kesar Pista Kulfi

The Ras Malai had an interesting texture. It tasted like sweet sponge and was quite light. The kulfi was good too - I could taste the saffron and other spices.

And as promised, here's how the interior looks like:

Fit for a Raja don't you think?

Vintage India is a great place to dine at especially if you're looking for good Indian food with a grand ambience. It also helps to know that their chefs are all from India and each one specialises in certain dishes to ensure quality.

Dempsey hill sure is a classy food paradise and Vintage India just upped the hill's cool factor with its exotic appeal.


Vintage India
10 Dempsey Road
#01-21 Dempsey Hill
Phone: 6471 3100
Lunch: 12pm - 230pm
Dinner: 6pm - 1130pm

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

For the love of Phở

The one thing I miss about school is cheap food - especially the food sold in NUS's business canteen. Though I'm from Arts, I think in my entire 2 and a half years there, 75% of my meals are from business canteen.

It is clearly because of the good food at that canteen. Perhaps I'd be more specific. Most students rave about that Western stall, but as for me, I'm crazy about something more Asian. I do love the honey roasted chicken at the Western, but I dare say it's the Vietnamese stall that I've grown to love. They serve good phở, both spicy and non-spicy. Their portions are also pretty generous. Perfect to slurp down on a cold, rainy day. Oh here's the best part - one bowl costs only $2.50. I dare say it's the cheapest phở you can ever find in Singapore! I might have a photo of it in my laptop somewhere. I'll post it up if I can find it.

Phở is one comforting dish that never fails to soothe my nerves. It's calming aroma is so distinctive. I can only imagine how the real deal tastes like. I would love to visit Vietnam someday and taste authentic street phở.

I cannot recall when I had my first bowl of phở, but this I know: the first time I tried it, I fell in love with it. I love the basil and fresh beansprouts it's usually served with. Some places serve the vegetables separately, leaving you to put it into the broth when you're ready to eat it - I prefer it this way because it ensures that the vegetables stay crisp. A healthy dish that warms even the coldest soul, phở is an amazing dish and one of Vietnam's greatest gift to the culinary world.

As much as I love phở, I've got to admit that I know very little about it, save for the fact that it's from Vietnam and that it uses rice noodles and is usually served with beef. How shameful eh? Most of the time we just eat without thinking and appreciating the history that lies behind these foods.

Nonetheless, it is never too late to be enlightened. If you're a fellow phở-lover like me who wants to find out more about phở, then I think you'd want to be at the National Museum of Singapore this Friday (11 April) at 7pm.

Phở-expert Mr. Cuong Phu Le will be here to give you a deeper insight to the well-loved noodle dish at a one-hour workshop entitled "The Story of Pho, the Story of a Nation". Mr. Le is an Australian citizen of Vietnamese descent and is also one of the world's leading experts on Phở.
Hailing from Saigon, Mr. Le still travels to Vietnam regularly and he's also the person behind a multi-disciplinary project called I LOVE PHO. In this project, Phở will be examined and interpreted through literature, visual arts, film, performance, a food festival and symposium.

Who knew phở could stir up so much passion? To find out more about Mr. Le, read Chubby Hubby's one-on-one interview with the Phở 'professional'.


The Story of Pho, the Story of a Nation
Learn the history of Vietnam’s most well-known and unofficial national dish. Further, learn how this simple beef noodle soup represents and reflects Vietnam’s unique culture and heritage both in Vietnam and abroad. Understand how pho has travelled around the world with the Vietnamese diaspora and has, more than anything else, become a symbol of Vietnam. Salon, 7pm, $10

Tickets for The Story of Pho, the Story of a Nation can be booked online at www.nationalmuseum.sg (go to Online Booking Page) or at the Visitor Services Counter at the National Museum of Singapore (93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897). Tickets are S$10 each.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Two Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes

Do you still remember those days back in primary school where we had to learn all about the 5 human senses in science class?

There's the sense of touch, smell, sight, hearing and of course taste.

I was one of those students who would stop to think of how miserable it'll be to be lacking from one or two of those senses. A discussion of whether it is worse to be blind or deaf would then ensue.

Funny how we didn't discuss the possibility of being deprived of the remaining 3 senses. But now when I think about it, I believe I would probably be crushed if I had lost my sense of taste.

You would know. You read my blog and you are well aware of how much I love food. I enjoy my sense of taste. I truly appreciate my ability to taste and differentiate between sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter. But it's weird though, when I think of it now. How often do we stop to think of this amazing organ of a tongue we have. Not only does it enable us to speak but also to taste.

Why am I suddenly ruminating about the sense of taste? It's probably also due to the fact that I'm currently reading this book by Dina Cheney, entitled Tasting. Okay it's one of those enlightening informative DK books but it's really good. My boss lent it to me a while ago and it sure is useful. The book basically explores the sense of taste and how we can enhance it, truly appreciate it and utilise it for what it's worth. To put it simply - savour, instead of gulping or swallowing ; take your time with small bites instead of rushing.

These days, I try to stop and taste more. To slow down instead of gobble. Trust me, it does work and you'll feel better about it. When you taste, you avoid senseless eating. You eat not because you are bored but because you want to savour that taste. And speaking of taste, perhaps I'll talk about one of my favourite taste - Tangy.

I love tangy foods. It verges on being sour and a tad sweet, it gives you the best of both worlds. It's the perfect balance! And one of my favourite tangy dessert is lemon poppy seed cake. The bonus is the crunch that comes with the seeds. You can't ask for anything better! With this cake there's no pretense, there's no cover-ups and there's no superficiality. What you see is what you get: a tangy light cake that goes well with tea. or coffee if you prefer :)

Recently, I put my poppy seed stash to good use and tried out two different recipes for good measure. The first involves heavy cream for that lovely rich crumb that's not too heavy. Then there's the other recipe that involves yoghurt - this cake was denser, but tasty nonetheless.

Here are the photos for the first cake:

I stumbled upon this recipe while reading Greedy Goose last month.

This cake is what I'll call a rustic cake. It's not fancy, there's no frills - what you have is texture, and a homemade flavour. I've tried other poppy seed cake recipes but none have given me results quite like this one. The base recipe's usually a butter cake but there's always something missing. And I think I found it in this recipe.

For this recipe, you don't put the lemon juice in the batter. It goes on after you bake it. Yes, you read that right. The cake becomes a sponge, absorbing the tangy goodness and drinks it up like a dry sponge would. I think this method works brilliantly.

Friends who've tried this cake seem to like it. Good, so that means it's not that I'm being biased because I made it! haha.

Now, for the yoghurt version. It all started because I had a huge tub of yoghurt at home and wanted to use it to make something. So I started googling 'yoghurt cake'.

The results?

I'll show it instead:

You can see the difference. It isn't as crumbly as the first one, but it's satisfying nonetheless and yes it's healthy! Perfect with vanilla ice cream.

Lemon poppy seed cake is one cake that deserves more recognition. With warm chocolate cakes and brownies stealing the limelight most of the time, it's hard for poppy to stand out. But hey, at least one thing's for sure, it sure is tasty, in a tangy crunchy sort of way.

This year, I will focus more on rustic and non-chocolate :) You could say I'm exploring taste and taking it to a new level. Don't get me wrong - I still love my dark chocolate. But sometimes, you got to go out there and taste the world, out of your comfort zone!

And that's just what I'm going to do.


Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake
(Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
from Greedy Goose.

200g sifted cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
227g unsalted butter, softened
240g granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3cup heavy cream

For the syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf tin and dust with flour.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the poppy seeds and whisk to combine.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter with a paddle attachment till it is very creamy, about 2 mins.
4. Add the sugar and beat at medium-high speed until very light, about 4 mins.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
7. Add the flour at low speed in three additions, alternating it with the cream in two additions. Mix only until the flour is incorporated.
8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
9. Bake for about an hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
10. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 10 mins.
11. While the cake is cooling, make the syrup.
12. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat till the sugar dissolves.
13. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
14. Poke the cake all over at 1-inch intervals with a bamboo skewer and then brush it with half the lemon syrup.
15. Let the cake stand for 5 mins, then invert the cake onto the wire rack and poke the bottom all over with the skewer.
16. Brush the bottom and sides of the cake with the remaining syrup.
17. Turn the cake upright on the rack and let cool completely.


French Style Yogurt Cake (with Lemon & Poppy Seeds)
from Alpine Berry who adapted Orangette's recipe.

3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line with a parchment circle and butter the paper.

In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, sugar, and lemon zest with a wooden spoon. Mix in eggs (all 3 at once is okay).

Add the flour, baking powder, and poppy seeds. Mix until flour is just incorporated.

Add the oil and mix well. The batter will look curdled at first but it will come together.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until your cake tester is clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Allow cake to cool in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes.

Gently remove cake from the pan and set on a rack to cool completely.

Combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

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