Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Homemade gifts for Christmas are great. They are full of personality and love and you just could not get them anywhere else.
Last year, I made boxes of Nama Chocolate for my pals in the office as Christmas gifts and they loved it. This year, I decided to continue with the practice but instead of chocolate, I made this sweet, creamy and flavourful caramel sauce. Vanilla pod or extract is usually added to make caramel sauce but I chose to use dark rum for the extra flavour and kick.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Panna Cotta literally means “cooked cream” in Italian. The traditional Italian custard dessert originated from the north of Italy and often credited to the Piemonte region, the birthplace of fine Barolo and Barbaresco wine.
The Italian dessert is always compared and some times confused with the French Crème Brûlée.
Both have rich flavour and silken custardy texture but Panna Cotta is made without eggs – just cream. Beyond cream, all you need to make it is sugar, gelatin and vanilla.
Monday, November 25, 2013
What do you usually have when you visit a Thai restaurant or eatery? Besides a good bowl of Tom Yum Goong (Thai spicy prawn soup), olive fried rice is a must-order for me.
There are different types of preserved olives in the market. This Thai-Chinese style fried rice uses salted black Chinese olives preserved in brine, not those Mediterranean black olives you find on pizzas. These canned olives are from China (of course) and can be bought from Thai supermarkets or grocery stores in some of the neighbourhood markets.
The unique flavour of the black Chinese olive gives a twist to the, otherwise, boring fried rice dish.
A perfect one-dish meal!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Having foie gras on your menu adds a class to your dinner and party. My favourite foie gras preparation is very simple - just season the sliced liver with sea salt and pepper, dust it lightly with flour before searing it in a very hot pan.
If I have some leftover or odd-shape foie gras, I make them into mousse. This mousse of foie gras recipe is very simple to make and incredibly delicious. I prepared this as part of a starter trio for a wine dinner last weekend. As I did not have any left over, I used canned/prepared foie gras instead.
Monday, November 18, 2013
I dreamt of opening a restaurant. Yes, that was before. Over the years, what used to be a "life-long" dream slowly died off as I witnessed how the competitiveness of our local food and beverage industry, the manpower shortage problem and the high rental cost forced many F&B outlets to cease operation. I thought this dream would always remain a dream.
But my passion for cooking and wine pairing remains strong. I enjoy cooking for my family and occasional guests and I find it not really that demanding. I might not have attended any type of formal training in culinary arts but I have a deep passion and love for food and I would love to share that with more people. I am confident that my food made with love and heart will put a smile on your face.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The union of Single Malt Whiskies and Indian Cuisine - The Glenlivet presents the Flavours of Kashmir
When I was invited to attend one of the Asian Masters events last week, I was asked to choose from a list of wine/whisky/cocktail dinners. This whisky and Indian food pairing dinner got me excited.
I am no single malt expert and I prefer my glass of wine to whisky
any time most of the time. Of all the different aspects of wine and food pairing that I have come across and read about, wine and Indian food is the most controversial and challenging. Some feel that Australian Shiraz can nicely augment meats and vegetables in the spicy sauces typical of Indian foods but for me off-dry German Rieslings are hands down the best wine to pair with Indian food. Some of my beer friends prefer crisp, ice-cold lager instead to go with Indian food. But whisky? Who would have thought of pairing whisky with spicy Indian cuisine? I would not and it was for this reason that I found this Glenlivet Kashmir dinner interesting and exciting.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
As part of the Asian Masters event, eight of city's leading chefs will be sharing their expertise for preparing some of their favourite dishes that can be easily produced at home. With four demonstrations per day, each lasting an hour, learn from these Asian culinary maestros in the comfort of the well-equipped ToTT Cooking Studio.
Monday, October 21, 2013
This roast whole chicken with root vegetable recipe is easy and economical to prepare and provides a hearty and delicious meal for the family. This is ideal for a weekend dinner when you are too lazy or do not have much time to prepare the meal.
The chicken is crispy on the outside, juicy, flavourful and tender inside. Besides saving time, there are good reasons to roast the whole chicken on a bed of carrots, potatoes, celery and onion. The steam from the root vegetable keeps the chicken moist while the juice and oil from the chicken add much flavour to the roasted vegetable.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Paccheri Pasta stuffed with Mortadella & Mushroom served on Dolce Latte E-Fondue, lemon flavouring & Galliano L’Autentico
In this recipe that Chef Anna Borrasi demonstrated during the "Flavours of Italy Culinary Workshop" held in ToTT store last month, mortadella ham was sliced thinly and rolled with fillings of porcini mushrooms and mascarpone cheese mixture and stuffed into the paccheri pasta.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Seared Smoked Scamorza wrapped in Parma ham served on Chiodini sauce & Coffee-flavoured Galliano reduction
Ham and cheese is such a classic combination that has been used in hundreds of recipes. The reliable combination was given a classy and modern twist by Chef Anna Borrasi in a recipe that she demonstrated during the "Flavours of Italy Culinary Workshop" held in ToTT store last month.
Italian smoked scarmorza is wrapped with Prosciutto and pan seared. The saltiness of the parma ham fortiﬁes the ﬂavours of the scamorza cheese and makes both taste even better. The use of deep and intense expresso liqueur, Galliano Ristretto, in the sauce adds richness and a burst of flavour and gives the dish a new array of aromas.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
By now, many of you would have known that I love pork belly. When I was cracking my head thinking what dish to cook for this month's Little Thumbs Up (LTU) and the Asia Food Festival (AFF) events, the image of fatty belly kept appearing in my mind! So I thought this Japanese Kakuni braised pork belly would be the perfect recipe to submit to both events.
Kakuni (角煮) literally means "Square Simmered" in Japanese. Personally, I feel that the Tau Yew Bak that most of us are very familiar with is easier and more straight forward to cook compared to this Japanese version which requires the belly to be browned before being simmered/braised twice for a total of 3-4 hours. First in plain water with ginger and spring onion and then in soya sauce, mirin and sake mixture.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Yes, I admit I have a weakness for pork especially the pork belly. My love for the fatty belly cut is evident and shown in many of my favourite recipes like the roast pork belly, Dong Po belly, Sous Vide Pork Belly Porchetta, Mirin Sake Belly and many others.
So after the successful char siew attempt few months ago, I decided to use the belly cut to make Char Siew that the kids adore so very much. No change to the recipe, just substitute the shoulder cut with pork belly stripes (skinned). The half-fatty and half-lean caramelized Char Siew is by far my most satisfied attempt.
You have to try it.
Update: For the latest and my favourite Char Siew recipe, CLICK HERE.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Last Wednesday evening, we attended a very interesting wine dinner at Flutes @ National Museum organized by the Appetite magazine. Kenny Leong, Wine Editor at Appetite magazine, and his team tasted about 100 Chardonnay before picking their top 10 for the night's blind tasting.
Chardonnay is the most popular and diverse white wine grape and it is grown in virtually every wine-producing region in the world. It is one of the principal grapes used to produce Champagne and is second, only behind Pinot Meunier in plantings within Champagne. If you are new to white wine and are confused with the different white wine varietals, chances are you would be served a glass of Chardonnay when you order a glass of House white wine in a restaurant. That’s how common it is.
Friday, September 27, 2013
I have mentioned in my earlier post that the family enjoys Hokkaido cupcakes and wife has been baking the original version regularly and lately she tweaked the recipe to come out with the green tea version.
When I told her that I had not submitted any pandan recipe for this month's Little Thumbs Up event, she immediately suggested to bake some Pandan Hokkaido cupcakes.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
This series of "Flavours of Italy" culinary workshops is part of the line up of Gusto Italiano which celebrates and showcases the food, culinary talents and produce of Italy from Sep 1 - Oct 3.
I was glad to be invited to be part of this cooking workshop by executive chef Anna Borrasi of Etna Italian Restaurant. Hailing from Napoli, Italy, Chef Anna is the only female group executive chef with proven expertise in Italian cuisine in Singapore.
Monday, September 16, 2013
I am not a beer person and certainly not a beer expert but this INEDIT brew gets my nod.
My makan kaki Andrew introduced this beer to me during one of the Jumping Table dinners. When he brought this beer over to me in a white wine glass, I was like "Huh? They don't have proper beer glasses in the restaurant?" and he explained that the INEDIT beer was specially crafted to accompany food. It offers a similarly food-friendly character to wine and therefore best to be served in wine glasses. I was impressed with his knowledge and could not wait to taste this special beer.
I took a sip and liked it immediately. It had beautiful fruity floral characters with a sensation of fresh yeast and sweet spices. I thought in some ways the INEDIT is similar to Hoegaarden, it has a thin mouthfeel, creamy and long finish. A wonderfully refreshing beer.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Satisfied with the texture of the Pork Cheek Confit that I cooked 2 weeks ago, I bought more pork cheeks from my butcher last weekend. This time I used the trusted Sous Vide Beef Cheek recipe, which I have been using regularly, to cook the pork cheeks with some modification.
Monday, September 9, 2013
I am surrounded by Indians at my work place. Many of my Indian colleagues pack lunch to work and every time I walked past the pantry area during meal time, I would be greeted by the amazing aroma of curries and spices. And I enjoy it! I do not understand much about the Indian heritage and culture but I definitely love Indian cuisine. From the North to the South, from Naan bread to Basmati rice, from chutneys to papadums, from Tandoori chicken to Masala beef. I love them all! I am always fascinated by the way different spices are combined in Indian dishes and how they amazingly bring out the fragrance and flavor of the meat or vegetable used.
So when there was an invitation to the award-winning Indian cuisine restaurant Yantra for a media tasting event, I readily accepted it!
Saturday, September 7, 2013
If you love to cook and love Italian cuisine, these Flavours of Italy Culinary Workshops are perfect for you. Eight of city's leading Italian chefs will be sharing their expertise for preparing Italian dishes that can be easily prepared at home.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The family enjoys Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes. Wife has been using the recipe shared by my "Big Big Sister" Sonia from Nasi Lemak Lover on numerous occasions now. Last week, she wanted to try something different and added some green tea powder to make this green tea Hokkaido cupcakes.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I was talking to my favourite butcher at Tiong Bahru Market about the different cuts of pork and how to best cook them when he took out a bag full of pork cheeks and asked me to try them. He suggested braising them in soy sauce the traditional Chinese way but I had other plans in mind.
Yes, I was planning to sous vide them the same way I sous vide my beef cheeks but changed my mind almost immediately when I saw the pile of pork fat behind the counter. I immediately asked for 2 kilograms of the glorious fat. Yes, I was going to prepare pork cheek confit for our Sunday dinner!
Saturday, August 24, 2013
I first had this cold starter dish as part of a Omakase meal when my group of makan buddies introduced me to Meii Sushi (Check out Urbanarchiver's review here). Chef Hong served the cold Tamago Onsen dish topped with Uni, Ikura, Yamaimo (Japanese Yam), wasabi and seasoned with just soy sauce.
Simply mix all the ingredients with the soft boiled egg and you will be treated to a very refreshing starter with different layers of texture and flavours. Once in the mouth, you could taste the soft, pillowy sensation of the uni, the burst of the ikura, the crunchiness of the Yamaimo so well combined with the delicate egg white custard and creamy yolk with the kick from the wasabi and the umami flavour from the soy. Heaven.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Wife made buttermilk biscuits for our breakfast last Sunday. If you have been following this blog, you would have read my previous recipe post on buttermilk biscuits by Clinton St. Baking Company.
The main difference between these buttermilk biscuits and those that I posted previously is the use of yeast. The texture of those no-yeast biscuits are more dense. Not better or worse, just different. Try both and let me know your preference.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Wagyu is the undisputable Rolls Royce of beef. It offers unrivalled rich, buttery flavour, melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and juiciness. The top tier league of Wagyu cattles are raised in regions all over Japan like Kobe, Matsusaka and Miyazaki. To maintain and promote the very high standard of Wagyu, the National Competitive Exhibition of Wagyu (Zenkoku Wagyu Noryoku Kyoshinkai), called the "Wagyu Olympics” is held once in every five years to select, judge and award the best Wagyu in Japan. Miyazaki beef won the top-most accolades in five of nine categories in this Olympics for two consecutive contests (2007 and 2012), and is recognized as the most superior beef in Japan and a well-known prime label overseas.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
I was not planning for a restaurant review when I stepped into Ju Bao Hong Kong Cuisine. It was National Day and we were all hungry after a tiring morning. We had to queue, “bash” and wriggle our way through waves after waves of human traffic before catching a glimpse of KaiKai and JiaJia at the River Safari. Lesson learnt: DO NOT visit the Zoo on a public holiday.
Okay, no more queuing, pushing and squeezing. By now, I just wanted to have a decent lunch before we headed home for our National Day celebration. Not familiar with the area and totally clueless about where to have a proper lunch, I sent out a SOS message to my Makan Kaki group. Within seconds, suggestions flowed in! This is much better than using the HungryGoWhere portal and I totally trust the recommendation of this group of Makan Gurus! I confirmed the address, set up my GPS and we were on our way to Ju Bao Hong Kong Cuisine.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
It was Singapore's 48th Birthday yesterday!
There was no better way to celebrate our food-loving nation's Independence Day than with lots of good local food, lovely wine (not local! :D) and great companions.
And oh yes, everyone was in the national red and white.
Happy Birthday Singapore!
Friday, August 9, 2013
To me, what makes or breaks a good egg benedict is the hollandaise sauce. A good hollandaise sauce cannot be too cold, or to hot. It has to be just right to pull the whole dish together.
Hollandaise is an egg sauce derived from one of the seven mother sauces in classical French cuisine. It should be light and frothy like chiffon, lemony, well seasoned, and the colour of a newly ripe banana. It should run over the eggs gracefully and not stick to on top or coagulate. For its flavour, you want to taste butter first, then yolk. Sinful but so yummy.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
They tell me 40 is the new 30. They are just being nice.
Actually, I do not really care what people say or think about my age. Age is just a number. I mean some people marry, gain weight, lose hair, become complacent, or turn permanently rigid as early as their late 20s and some look absolutely stunning in their combat military physique at age 50 or beyond. Age is a mindset and you are never older than you feel.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The end of July is approaching.
So what so significant about this month end? That our National Day is just 10 days away? I am turning the BIG 40 two weeks from now? My mid-year performance review with my boss is due tomorrow? (This should be of the least significance?! Haha!) My tenure as the host of this month's Little Thumbs Up (LTU) event comes to an end tomorrow.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Wife loves scones, any kind of scones. This ginger scone is her contribution to my LTU blog event. The use of ginger ale and candied ginger give the scone a gingery kick! The flaky layers make the scones so tender and light. Spread with butter and jam, we could not stop eating them for our Sunday Tea.
Just 4 ingredients, this recipe is so fast and easy. You should try it!
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Along with cigars, the Mojito is one of Cuba's most famous exports. Its name comes from the African word "mojo", meaning to cast a little spell. The advantage Mojitos have are the simple-yet-tasty ingredients: rum, sugar, lime juice, mint and soda water.
One of my favourite beverages, I make Mojito at home regularly. The combination of sweetness, refreshing citrus, and mint flavors complements perfectly the potent kick of the rum. A perfect cocktail drink in our hot humid weather.
Monday, July 15, 2013
The Baroque style of architecture, decorative art, music, literature and philosophy flourished throughout Europe from the late 16th to the early 18th century. It is characterized by exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, exuberance and grandeur.
In the same baroque era, the pleasures of a formal dinner reached new gastronomic heights with the discovery of different and exotic foods and spices, and the creation of new recipes. For the first time in history, the dining room became a clearly defined space within a house strictly for the enjoyment of food. A place where the pleasures of the table was shared with one's lovers, friends and family.
Inspired by this style and philosophy, the Bar-Roque Grill, the latest addition to the vibrant Singapore dining scene, opened its door for the first time just 2 weeks ago. Located at the corner of Amara Hotel in the up-and-coming hipster zone of Tanjong Pagar, the Bar-Roque Grill is the brainchild of Chef-owner Stephane Istel, formerly the Executive Chef of DB Bistro Moderne @ MBS by Daniel Boulud, and co-owner Kori Millar, the former General Manager of Sky57 @ MBS by Justin Quek.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Five years ago, we were very blessed to go from a family of four to five. Ashton completed us.
We had Ashley and Audrey before Ashton. Raising a boy is a totally different experience for us. Not better or worse, just different. While the 2 girls are calm and compliant, Ashton is cheeky and loves to entertain. During dinners, he is always the one who makes funny faces, cracks jokes and imitate some funny TV characters and we always have great laugh with him around.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Braised pork trotter bee hoon (rice vermicelli) was one of the many dishes that I grew up eating frequently at Grandma’s place. This traditional Hokkien bee hoon is comfort food, homely and simple, but with great flavour and taste. Grandma loved to cook this for our Sunday lunch as a one-dish meal with a hot sweet dessert (usually sweet potato and ginger soup) and I could have 2-3 bowls of the bee hoon at one go.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
I am finally back to our
sunny hazy island after almost 3 weeks! Through Facebook and the many whatsapp messages, I came to know that Singapore and Malaysia were covered by a thick blanket of haze 2 weeks ago and the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit several new record high!
My family and I were lucky to have escaped that. Although I could still feel some discomfort in my eyes and throat the moment I touched down two days ago, I was told that the worst was over (hopefully) and last weekend was the sunniest for the past weeks.
While recovering from the jet lag, I am also cracking my head over the dishes to cook and post for this month's Little Thumbs Up (LTU) event which I am hosting. With the harsh weather condition still lingering, I thought it would be a good idea to have some clear sweet potato ginger soup to kickstart the event.
Monday, July 1, 2013
For thousands of years, from ancient Indians, Chinese, Arabians to the Romans, ginger has been used as a spice and a medicine. Although it is commonly described as a root, it is in fact a rhizome, a stem that grows out from the plant underground, and from which small roots will sprout, as well as new green shoots.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Lately, I got into a Char Siew craze mode after seeing and salivating over some really nice pictures on the Instagram although Char Siew has always been on my list of Top 10 food in Singapore. To fix my Char Siew craving, I usually visit the 2 stalls in Tiong Bahru Hawker Center (＃02-60 Tiong Bahru Lee Hong Kee Cantonese Roast and #02-30 忠于原味 Wonton Mee). Not for the health conscious, their perfectly caramelized Char Siew with the layer of fats that dissolves instantly in your mouth are to die for. I am quite sure over these years, the 2 stalls have made big contribution to my current borderline-high cholesterol level! Lol!
Monday, May 20, 2013
Last evening, I travelled through time to the golden era of Cantonese Cuisine and tasted some forgotten Cantonese dishes of yesteryear from the 50s and 60s specially created by Masterchefs Sin Leong and Hooi Kok Wai.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Mushroom has been a much-loved natural food since time immemorial. Wonderful, highly versatile and enjoyed by almost everyone, it is often forgotten that mushrooms are fungi. Technically, mushrooms are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus typically produced above ground.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Watercress is an excellent source of the antioxidants vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin K, an essential micronutrient for bone health. I found out from the web that it is also a rich natural source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid nutrients that are gaining attention for their ability to protect vision and support cardiovascular health.
I enjoy watercress soup since young - the chinese version which is a clear soup cooked with pork ribs and dried red dates. The old folks believe that the soup has a "cooling" effect and this was one of the daily soups that grandma would cook for our dinner besides lotus root, ABC soup and many others.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I have not been writing much about the wine that I drink for a long while - more than 5 months to be exact, since last November. That does not mean I have not been drinking but I was too lazy to take pictures of the wine after every drinking session. In addition, for the past months my focus for this blog had been on the "Chef" more than the "Sommelier" part as I whipped up dishes for the year-end parties, Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day etc.
But a recent comment left by Ju (The Little Teochew) on one of my earlier wine of the week posts reminded me that I have been neglecting the "Sommelier" part of my blog and urged me to keep it active.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Whenever available in a fine dining restaurant, I will order a good bowl of lobster bisque to start the dinner for I love the richness of the seafood broth and the sweetness of the vegetable that go into the smooth and creamy bisque.
Although a huge fan, I have never thought of making lobster bisque at home as lobster just does not fit into the budget of home cooking unless on special occasions. But after I had discovered the stall selling fresh crayfish in our neighbourhood market, I told myself I had to cook my favourite lobster bisque at home using the smaller but equally tasty crayfish and I did just that last weekend.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wife loves lamb rack and has requested this for her birthday dinner last week. I had already planned to make the Scallops with sweet corn puree and quail eggs as starter for the dinner and wanted to keep the main course simple, at least to keep the cooking process simple on that day itself. As such, the thought of using the sous vide method to cook the rack of lamb came to mind.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Gordon Ramsay is one celebrity chef whom I admire very much. Not so much for his TV programmes, as I find him speaking too fast on TV, but for his cooking skills, ideas and attention to detail. I am also very impressed with his drive and ambition - rising from a 17-year-old kitchen apprentice to a 3-star Michelin Chef today.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
You're the sunshine in my morning
and the bird that sings my song.
In this life when I am troubled
it's you who keeps me strong.
You're the wind beneath my wings
as this eagle takes to flight.
You're the stars that brighten up my sky
in the darkness of the night.
You're the mother of my children
and the air that gives me life.
My truest friend of all...
my heart, my soul, my wife.
Happy Birthday, my dearest.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Starting from this, I will be posting a few more wordless posts to cap off this series of travel posts covering our Tasmania trip last December. Enjoy the photos!