Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cooking Craze

With the Good Friday long weekend just around the corner, I couldn't resist but sign myself up for a cooking class conducted by a distinguished French chef.

Here's what we will be learning (and I'm drooling as I am typing):

1) Moules Marinieres
Steamed mussels in white wine, cream & fresh herbs

2) Confit de Carnard
Crispy duck leg confit with de puy lentils

3) Coq Au Vin
Chicken braised in casserole with garden vegetables & wine

4) Ratatouille
A healthy & easy stew made with garden vegetables

5) Escargot in vol au vents
Snails cooked in garlic, butter and fresh herbs in a savoury puff pastry case

With the exception of the escargots (which I still lack the guts to try), all the other dishes sound darn good to me! Better still, there will be complimentary wine served during the class.

I can't wait!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spanish invasion

Christmas hit Singapore early this year.

Santa Claus (in the form of Ferran Adrià) is coming to town.

Doesn't he look like Tom Hanks? (complete with high forehead and receding hairline...keke)

Probably one of the most celebrated chefs in the world, this marks Adrià's first engagement in Asia. He will not be cooking but will instead be presenting a special documentary aptly titiled "A Day at El Bulli", offering attendees an insight into his ideas, methods and creativity. Filled with countless behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant and kitchen and interesting anecdotes, this event will make your day at El Bulli worthwhile.

Click below for event details:

Many a food lover have harbored dreams of visiting El Bulli one day. Many describe it as a "once in a lifetime" experience. It thus came as a shock when Adrià announced his intention to close El Bulli from 2012-2013.

Some snippets of El Bulli:
- Decorated with 3 Michelin stars
- Open for only about 6 months out of every 12
- Over the past few years, 2 million people have applied for 8000 spaces available each season
- Perpetually in the World's 50 Best Restaurants every year
- Located in the quaint Mediterranean town of Roses, north of Barcelona,
- Adrià, 47, arrived at El Bulli in 1983, when it was a French restaurant
- Despite its immense popularity, El Bulli and Adrià's cooking workshop in Barcelona are losing half million Euros a year

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wendy's on a Whim

Hubby and I are fans of Chili's. Ever since it opened in Tanglin Mall last year, we've been going there for our fix of nachos (with guacamole dip) and chili almost once every fortnight.

Unfortunately, being Eastlanders, Chili's is quite a far drive away for us and Orchard Road traffic on weekends can be quite a turnoff. We thus have to contend with perpetual Chili cravings all the time.

This week, after a particular draining workday, we experienced Chili pangs again. Out of the blue, Hubby suddenly suggested Wendy's -which is only a stone throw away from my office in Raffles Place. Wendy's doesn't have nachos and isn't a fine dining restaurant but at least it serves chili. Plus we hadn't visited the place since its much publicized opening in Lau Pat Sat.

Even at 9pm, the place was almost full, resembling a typical fast food outlet. The Wendy's mascot is cute but looks a tad out of place with her fire-engine red hair.

I ordered a bowl of Chili, a 3-piece nugget set and a half pounder cheese burger meal (comes with fries and a drink) for both of us. Service was brisk and efficient. Better still, the final bill came up to under 14 bucks- which is really great value.

The Chili served at Wendy's was definitely inferior to the one served at Chili's- but it was a decent substitute nonetheless (and much cheaper at only SGD2.50 a serving). I enjoyed picking out the stewed beans and savoring the richness of the stock.

Hubby's burger came all wrapped up in a silver foil, which made it look like a bar of Willy Wonka Chocolate with a golden ticket hidden within.

The final product didn't look anything like what was featured in the adverts but it was tasty nonetheless.

Hubby thinks that the burger can give Carls Junior a run for its money

Fries were thick and slightly soggy. Even a fry-lover like me had difficulty finishing the whole portion. I wonder if I could have substituted the fries with a baked potato instead. (I heard Wendy's version is pretty good).

We left with a good feeling in our bellies. Whilst Chili's still remains our favorite joint, we do not mind visiting Wendy's again for a quick fix.

18 Raffles Quay
Unit 46, Lau Pat Sat Festival Market
Tel: 62258335

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Buffet Bliss

I almost forgot how a good buffet should really taste like.

That is, until I went back to The Line for dinner last week.
(the restaurant is currently offering a 38% discount for advance reservations via their website. Click here for details)

It was like a jolt back to reality.

This is how ALL buffets should taste.

Fresh seafood generously laid on a bed of ice
(oysters, giant prawns, scallops and mussels)

Fat slabs of sashimi (tuna, salmon, swordfish) with killer wasabi to match

Mouthwatering antipasti and cheese platters

Scrumptous salads that don't taste like grass

Carbs (roasted potatoes) too good to resist

Mashed potatoes that make my heart sing.

Gratifying pastas smothered with shavings of grated cheese

A delectable spread of Indian delights like Tandoori Chicken and Naan

Prata good enough to rival Jalan Kayu's (I kid you not)

An array of delectable dim sum (char siew bao, siew mai, har gaw and the usual suspects) which I regrettably chose to skip because I'm not a dim sum fan

Deep fried crispy baby squids. Love at first sight and first bite.

Yorkshire pudding and roast beef with brown gravy. A perennial British favorite. Heavy but satisfying.

A close up of the spongy yorkshire pudding which goes wonderfully with the mashed potatoes and reminds me (for some weird reason) of Popeye's biscuits. Click here for Gordon Ramsey's recipe.

Glorious sticks of satay (beef, chicken or mutton) which were a crowd favorite. The accompanying peanut sauce is to die for.

Freshly baked pizza

Herbal prawns- a must-try. The prawns were huge and their meat sweet and succulent.

My very own personalised kway teow "ta" topped with enoki mushrooms, dumplings and quails eggs. The combi almost killed me..too much chilli!

Dessert was an equally lavish affair. Even the thought of it is making me salivate.

Ladies and gents, I present to you the Ultimate Crepe. Prepared ala minute.

Bursting with the goodness of Nutella

The final product. Doesn't it look like a huge thosai? Eat it on its own or with a generous ladle of mixed fruit. Either way, it tastes delicious.

A chocolate fondue tower to oogle at. A kid magnet.

A bouquet of marshmallows for your thoughts?

Ice cream lovers- rejoice!

If you still have space, don't forget to try The Line cake. Its not named after the restaurant for nothing.

Other droolworthy desserts (which I was too full to try)

For me, a slice of kueh lapis with a cup of hot tea is a must-have before I consider a meal complete. The Line's version did not disappoint. The funny chocolate cake beside it however was dry and unappetising.

Fruits for good health (because mom said so)

All in all, it was a very enjoyable dinner. Service was friendly and good (I like the fact that there's a service staff stationed beside almost every dish to ensure that a certain level of quality is maintained at all times). Food was excellent. Although the 38% discount did defray some of the cost, this is still not one meal you can afford to eat everyday.

I'm already looking forward to my next visit!

The Line
22 Orange Grove Road
Basement, Shangri La Hotel
Tel: 62134275

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Today's Trivia

Everday, I try to learn something new.

Today, I thought I'd share what I've learnt -FAT is the new sixth sense!

Click here for details

Makan Drama Festival by Action Theatre (18-28 March 2010)

How often does one come across a local play which mixes the love of art with the love of food? This is one opportunity not to be missed!

SYNOPSIS (taken from SISTIC website)

Indulge in a scrumptious double bill of two brand new Singapore plays by two of the country’s most celebrated playwrights! Cravings and Perfecting Pratas are the theatrical main course of Makan Drama Festival, an inaugural theatre event inspired by Singaporeans’ greatest loves – food and eating! They will be performed in The Room Upstairs, an intimate theatre in a beautifully restored pre-war bungalow amidst tropical garden in the heart of Singapore’s civic district. Your ticket to this double bill will also entitle you to free admission to all outdoor performances during the Festival. These include standup comedy about Singaporeans’ culinary obsessions, performance poetry of food-themed poems, dramatized readings of fresh-off-the-oven plays, fun talks by thespians and drama gurus, musical excerpts from Hokkien Mee – The Musical plus a brand new devised play Eat Here or Ta Pao?

For the complete programme, double click the below pic:

CRAVINGS: Written by Chong Tze Chien, prize-winning playwright of PIE and Furthest North, Deepest South, Cravings is a hilarious play that also takes a delicious dig into couplehood and marriage. This refreshing comedy drama is about a young husband who craves for a candlelit dinner and a passionate evening with his own wife - after having "lost" her for 9 full months during her pregnancy with their first child. Their hilarious “obstacles” include the nosy in-laws with their very own cravings!

PERFECTING PRATAS: by Desmond Sim Perfecting Prata by Desmond Sim, award-winning writer of Drunken Prawns and Autumn Tomyam, tells a comic yet moving story of a teenage Chinese-Indian boy who sets out to learn how to make perfect roti pratas from his Chinese father in order to impress his girlfriend. Smartly integrating food, humour and hearty moments, the play addresses what it takes to blend and balance opposing flavours in food and life. Directed by Life! Theatre Award winner Samantha Scott-Blackhall, this tasty double bill stars a cast of veterans as well as newcomers including Jo Tan, Edward Choy, Tony Quek, Fanny Kee, Mervyn Goh and Issac Ong.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Soy Bean Tales

Hubby is in this fitness craze now so I've been eating quite abit of soy-based products lately in a bid to maintain an equally healthy lifestyle.

Its been 2 weeks and my fixation with the humble soy bean continues...

If I were to rank my top 3 favorite soy-based products, they would comprise of the following (in order of importance):
1. Beancurd tarts from Le Cafe Confectionary- which I blogged about earlier
2. Beancurd juice
3. Tau Huey

Last week, I had the good fortune of picking up some invaluable Tau Huey making skills from an uncle. Making it was such a cinch and so much fun that it would be a crime not to share the recipe.

300g soy beans (soaked for at least 4 hrs in room temperature water)
6 knotted pandan leaves
3 tablespoons corn flour
1 tsp lactone
100 g rock (or normal) sugar

Contents (A)
1. Blend 100g of beans and 450ml water at high speed till well combined.
2. Strain the blended contents through a coffee sock or porous linen bag and collect the liquid in a pot, leaving the soy residue in the bag. Squeeze the residue for more liquid. until no more liquid can be extracted.
3. Put the dry soy residue back into the blender, add 450ml water and blend at medium speed till well combined.
4. Strain the blended contents again through a coffee sock or porous linen bag and collect the liquid in a pot, leaving the soy residue in the bag. Squeeze the residue for more liquid. until no more liquid can be extracted. Discard the residue.
5. Repeat Steps 1-4 two more times such that all the strained liquid is consolidated into one pot.
6. Place 2 knotted pandan leaves in the pot of liquid and bring to a boil. Stir continuously to prevent liquid from coagulating and getting burnt. Once liquid is boiling (there should be lots of small bubbles rapidly forming), off the fire immediately
7. Use a spoon/skimmer to dish out the bubbly scum on top of the boiled liquid. Throw away the scum and the knotted pandan leaves. Thereafter, put the pot of liquid aside.

Contents (B)
1. Mix 1 tsp of lactone and 3 tablespoons cornflour with 200ml of room temperature water

Contents (C)
1. Boil 300ml of water. When boiling, add 400g rock sugar and 2 knotted pandan leaves and stir continuously. When sugar has fully dissolved, off the fire immediately and discard pandan leaves.
2. Cool liquid and store in a bottle.

1. Pour Contents (A) into a thermal warmer. Then pour (B) in. No further stirring required.
2. Place a cotton cloth between the pot and the lid of the thermal warmer for 10 mins. Then remove the cloth, put back the lid and leave the liquid to stand for 30 mins. Do not shake the pot. and do not open the lid to check on the contents during these crucial 30 mins.
3. Tau huay should have set and is now ready to eat!
4. Scoop tau huay in a bowl and drizzle with a few spoons of Contents (C) (depending on desired sweetness)


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