Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Green Tea Red Bean Jelly Mooncake

Green Tea Red Bean Jelly Mooncake

Ingredients (jelly egg yolks):
1/2 tbsp agar agar powder
350ml water
50g sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp instant jelly
2 tbsp evaporated milk
few drops of orange colouring

Ingredients (filling):
250g coconut milk
30g brown sugar
1 tsp agar agar powder
100g boiled red beans - mashed
few drops of pink colouring

Ingredients (mooncake skin):
500g thin coconut milk
90g sugar
8g agar agar powder
few pieces of pandan leaves
100ml thick coconut milk or evaporated milk
2 tsp green tea powder
100g fresh cream

(1) Boil the ingredients for the jelly egg yolk together in a pot

(2) Pour into small rounded ice cube moulds and let it set in the fridge

(3) For the filling, boil all the ingredients together and pour a small amount into cup moulds and let it semi-set.

(4) Put a piece of egg yolk agar-agar into the center of the semi-set filling and pour the remaining filling to cover the egg yolk.

(5) When set, remove from mould and set aside.

(6) For the mooncake skin ingredients, boil the thin coconut milk with sugar, pandan leaves and agar agar powder till sugar dissolves.

(7) Add in thick coconut milk , green tea powder and fresh cream.

(8) Pour some green tea jelly mixture into mooncake moulds and let it semi-set. Place the filling on top of the half set green tea agar-agar.

(9) Pour the balance green tea agar-agar on top of the filling till full

(10) Let it set and chill in the fridge before serving


- If exactly 100g of mashed red bean is used, the filling would remain soft even after setting. However, this creates a different texture from the skin and egg yolk agar-agar

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jolly BBQ 2008

This was my first and last BBQ for the year 2008. Gone were the days when I'll wash down charred black sausages and chicken wings with ice-cold coke, struggling to keep awake throughout the night by stuffing myself silly with whatever cold remnants found at the BBQ pit. Those were the days when my system could still deal with all the fat and cholesterol overload.

Although not formerly announced, I believed the BBQ was held for the following jolly reasons:
(1) In loving memories of Sausage Co - may there be no other comparable sausage shop
(2) A get-together for the Sausage Co team - for a job well done
(3) Post-Christmas, Pre-2009 New Year celebration

There's the usual prawn, squid, chicken fillet, otah, satay affair and of course, "Sausage Co" sausages. But it's quite a huge disappointment for me and Roger that chicken wings were missing from the list.

And for health reasons stated earlier, there's wholesome mushrooms topped with lots of garlic wrapped in aluminium foil as well as dragonfruit themed salad to lighten up on the taste bud.

As with almost all BBQ, the first few barbeque loads are sure to churn out charred, over-cooked, dry food. But with practise, it didn't take long for the 'team' to delivered barbeque perfect food. Such was the case for the mushrooms that I was busy sweeping it off the table that it slipped my mind to photograph it.

Mother Almighty also showed off her culinary skills by whipping up a huge pot of vegetable curry to go with a gigantic serving of fried bee hoon - enough to feed an entire village from Rawanda.

I took over the dessert section by making three types of mooncake themed agar-agars.
Mango Yoghurt Agar-Agar Mooncake
(the filling tasted sour which I believe could be due to the lemon juice but definitely not the mangoes)

Green Tea Red Bean Jelly Mooncake
(this was really fragrant and creamy)

Strawberry Jelly Mooncake
(this was the most refreshing from the lot)

If you can't cook, sew food! - Part 2

My first attempt at sushi making was at a sushi-making class organized by the community centre. My second attempt at sushi would have to be the following:

Inedible it may be but with the promise to last for quite a while...

If you can't cook, sew food! - Part 1

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I read this poem from Ericia's email and although simple, it's beautifully written:

Christmas is forever
Not for just one day
For loving, sharing, giving
Are not to put away
Like bells and lights and tinsel
In some box upon a shelf
The good you do for others
Is good you do yourself...

~ Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas" ~

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Alice In Wonderland

This year, I had a plentiful Christmas. I had plenty of Christmas presents.

Some were downright useless but nevertheless served it's purpose to tickle my funny bone, others were original - filling my tummy with lots of cocoa. I kept all of the non-edible ones while sharing some of those edible ones.

And just when I thought there could be no more surprises, I received a small parcel on Christmas Eve lying on my table. I had to rip it open and to my surprise, it's a hand-made Christmas card from Ericia!

It was so exquisitely made that I had to simply show it off on this blog.

The design is screaming out loud at the theme no matter which side I flip. Great job!

The last time I recall ever making or receiving hand-made cards were during my primary school days. So one can simply imagine the warm fuzzy feeling I felt when I received the card.

Quoting the Mastercard advertisement:

Item: hand-made Christmas card
Value: priceless

Quoting Baby Alicia (who is the first person I showed the card to):

"美美" - which translates to pretty or nice or beautiful or in simple baby terms, anything that is pleasing to her eyes. Mind you, baby only speaks the truth.

Treat from Uncle Edwards

Despite the downright depressing global economic outlook, Uncle Edwards still gave all of us a buffet lunch by the sea at the SAF Yacht Club.

The food fare was simple but nevertheless, tummy filling.

The non air-conditioned restaurant offered a vast view of the sea but the afternoon sun was scorching hot that day. Nevertheless, I could imagine the venue to be a great place to sit back and enjoy a chilling cocktail while the sun sets over the horizon.

Merry Christmas Uncle Edwards!

Monday, December 22, 2008

1 + 1 + 1 = 3

Following the invitation for Ericia to co-author this blog space, I found yet another individual who likes to dabble with new recipes in his free time.

Do tab your spacebar to welcome the third co-blogger - Mike!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Xmas cookie part 2 - Pistachio Lemon Drop

Got this simple recipe from my new Martha Stewart Cookie book. I'll definitely be trying out more cookie recipes from the book. :)

Pistachio Lemon Drop

1 large egg white
pinch of coarse salt
1 cup toasted salted pistachios, finely chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

(1) Preheat oven to 160°C

(2) Put egg white and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment andmix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

(3) Reduce speed to medium

(4) Mix in nuts and brown sugar, then flour and lemon juice

(5) Using a 1.25" ice-cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2" apart.

(6) Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 - 12 mins.

(7) Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

The cookes are slightly too sweet for my liking and they are extremely chewy!

Xmas cookie part 1 - Tis the season for pineapple tarts?

Having had a high success rate in baking pineapple tarts, I decided to make some as part of a christmas cookie gift.

Previously, the pineapple filling was self-made and it tasted great. This time round, to save some time and effort, I bought a packet of ready-to-use pineapple fillings from Sheng Shiong at about $5.

Open Pineapple Tarts

Ingredients (pineapple fillings):
4 Malaysian pineapples (grated)
350g yellow rock sugar
2 cloves (optional)
1 tbsp maltose (optional)

Method (pineapple fillings):
(1) Cook grated pineapples in a stainless steel pot

(2) When most of the water has dried off, add sugar, cloves and maltose

(3) Keep stirring again when water has almost dried off

(4) Maintain low heat till mixture is thick and gluey

(5) Leave to cool completely before using

Ingredients (pineapple tart):
400g top flour
1/2 tbsp milk powder or vanilla essence
40g sugar
250g salted butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 egg (for glazing)

Method (pineapple tart):
(1) Cream the butter and sugar till light

(2) Add in the eggs and cream or a while

(3) Add in sifted milk powder and flour

(4) Place the dough in the chiller till firm before rolling it and cutting with cookie cutter

(5) Glaze with egg

(6) Top with pineapple filling in the centre

(7) Preheat oven for 10 mins at 200°C

(8) Bake in oven at 180°C for ~ 15mins till light brown

If you have the time, do try to make the pineapple fillings yourself. The ones I bought from Sheng Shiong is way too sweet and after baking, it became a little too hard when biting and also sticks to the teeth. Definitely a no-no for elderly with dentures.

Anyone who knows where to buy good quality pineapple fillings, do let me know. Thanks!

Indian Vegetarian Lunch

It's been quite a while since I last tasted an Indian vegetarian meal. So after exploring Mustafa on a rainy afternoon, I made a quick dash across the road to a nearby vegetarian self-serve restaurant.

The food listings on the menu were almost foreign to me having had close to zero prior experience in authentic Indian cuisine except for the knowledge of naan and bearing in mind that roti prata does not originate from India.

Feeling slightly adventurous, I ordered the South Indian Set and just as a backup, I proceeded to order the Garlic Naan Set as well.

Both set lunches came with the main course accompanied by several small bowls of gravy. In the end, what started with just a simple vegetarian lunch ended up in a tedious mathematical attempt of permutation and combination of rice, naan, cracker and gravy to find the best match.

In the end, after having my tongue numbed by the spicy gravy, I could only offer the following comments:

- the thin crackers seen in the extreme right side of the South Indian set is definitely my favourite. It goes well with any of the gravy and even on it's own!

- the murky looking sauce seen in the extreme right side of the South Indian set is actually red bean soup. I quite liked it as it's not as sweet as those sold in the dessert shops.

- the garlic naan was quite a disappointment to me as it resembles just a stab of thick dense bread with no garlic or toasted bread fragrance whatsoever. I always had nice savoury memories of the bread and thought it was such a basic primary source of carbohydrate in the Indian's diet that it just simply can't go wrong. I was wrong though...

- the rest of the gravy are not so fantastic either

For sure, I'll not be returning to the same restaurant and as a rule of thumb, I'll definitely be consulting my Indian friends before I go on my next Indian food 'adventure'!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So long, Sausage Co....

Sausage Co. is the first reason for starting up this blog space.

On this very day, arrangements were made to gather the entire family at the shop for their last lunch at Sausage Co.

We practically cleaned out the remaining stock of Bockwurst before we proceeded to attack the Bratwurst. :P

Through Sausage Co., I learnt that if one dares to dream and dreams hard enough, the dream would surely materialize. Regardless of the outcome, the learning process and experience is uniquely yours and yours only to keep .

When one customer assumes and asked, "Where is the location of the new shop?"

another complained, "My heart is broken"

and a third jokingly commented, "I feel like crying whenever I eat the hotdog because they are made with love"

You'll know it's all worth it... :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sausage Co Countdown: 7 more days to go.......

Sausage Co. will be closing down on 22 November 2008.

It had already served hotdogs for a solid 18 months, braving the thinning crowds and the consecutive closing down of neighbouring shops at Icon Village.

Compared to 18 months ago, the speed of serving up piping hotdogs was greatly improved, skills of toasting the buns and grilling the sausages were honed, rapport built with the regular customers, menu improved, shop front customized and even my mother learned to take orders in English!

On this very fateful day, 7 days before the official closure, I made my way down to the shop. I had to have my two favourite sausages: Bockwurst with salad & Bratwurst in a bun.

So much was learned, the efforts and hard work were all worth it! :)

I'm truly proud of my mother and brother!

Nah....Could Be Better

There was a time when the mere mention of Jack's Place brings back fond memories of savoury beef steaks. Back then, it was a luxury to dine in such a restaurant and the impression remains with me till recently.

So while I was scouting for a casual lunch venue one fine Saturday, it came as an extravagance when a suggestion was made to lunch at Jack's Place. I was still resisting the idea until I glimpsed at the menu and it came as a surprise to me that the price is actually quite affordable.

I was full of anticipation after I gave my order and couldn't wait to relive the fond memories of the juicy steak....

When it finally came, I was all armed with my knife and fork. The moment my teeth sank into the piece of meat, I was like "wait a minute....". The second and third mouthful only confirmed my doubt.... I have had better ones....

I'm still not sure if one's taste bud evolves with age? Like the concept of money, when it used to be a great deal to be able to save $50 in a year, it is now barely sufficient to even last me for a week.

Gone were the days....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice Restaurant

Let me just cut to the chase for this blog entry.

Go try the boneless Teochew duck rice at Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice Restaurant located at 38, South Buona Vista Road.

You won't regret it!

Tortoise/Turtle Hunt @ Chinese Garden

On Deepavali, instead of touring the nicely decorated festive lightings at Little India at night, I decided to pay my first visit to the Chinese Garden.

It was drizzling lightly when I got there and it was pretty much what I had in my mind - the impressive pagoda, the calm lake, the pavilions, the nicely trimmed bonsai, statues of ancient heros and everything oriental.

What I did not expect to find was The Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum. For a mere $5, I entered the world of more than 200 turtles and tortoises from no less than 60 species.

Shokutsu 10 Osaka @ Jurong Point

There's a newly opened secluded section in Jurong Point call Shokutsu 10. From the name alone, you might have already guessed that it's dedicated to anything Japanese. But what specifically?

Yep, it's food alright! :)

It's easy to miss this section of the crowded shopping complex with it's numerous shops and roll-cart stalls lining the shopper's walkway if not for the huge crab display.

It's only a small corner really and there's only about 6 Japanese restaurants at the moment. But what fascinated me and had me happily clicking away at my camera were the large and colourful food displays outside the restaurants. And it seems like there are already plans to further expand this section of the shopping complex to accomodate more restaurants or shops!

Being the greedy Singaporean, my family chose the largest restaurant - Kuishin Bo. It's a buffet restaurant with nice, spacious seatings but a long queue.

The buffet spread has not so much variety and the food tasted okay. More interesting for me would be the dessert section where I find the tiny cakes and doughnuts adorable and simply irresistible!

As baby Alicia would have put it :"Mum Mum Mum Mum Mum...."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Celebrating Deepavali @ Bollywood Veggie

Bollywood Veggie is a farm cum restaurant located in the Kranji countryside. I'm guessing the name was founded based on the cuisines served in it's restaurant which are mainly curry based vegetable dishes.

The place has became more well known to both locals as well as foreigners compared to a year back - perhaps due to the hype created by the government when they announced their plans to transform the Kranji countryside into an agriculture cum entertainment centre (whatever that means...???)

The restaurant have a fixed menu as well as seasonal dishes based on the farm's harvest. The food might not be that fantastic but they are truly unique (check out the dishes I had) and definitely healthy (harvest from it's very own organic farm!).

Aloe Vera Brew - with home grown Aloe Vera

Banana Curry

Rojak Chicken Curry

Grilled Brinjal