Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Victorian Milk Bread

I learnt to bake bread a few years back and attempted the Victorian milk bread a couple of times by manually kneading the dough but without success. A few years later, after finally owning my own stand mixer, I decided to make another attempt on this bread.

Victorian Milk Bread
2 tsp dried yeast (add some milk to it)
1 tsp salt
300g milk
500g bread flour (sieved)
1.5 tbs sugar
(1) Make a well in the flour
(2) Put in salt first followed by some milk. Mix flour in and add milk slowly while mixing flour in.
(3) Halfway through, add in the yeast
(4) Continue to add remaining milk while kneading the dough by hand or by machine
(5) Add sugar
(6) Dough will be wet initially and it is also the indication that the dough requires more kneading. The dough is ready when it doesn't stick to the fingers.
(7) Cover with plastic foil and leave to raise for an hour
(8) Grease a baking tin
(9) Put the dough in the baking tin, cover with a damp cloth and leave it to proof for another 30 minutes
(10) Bake at 200°C for approximately 20 minutes
(11) When the bread is almost done, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for a few more minutes
* Put dough in a small bowl if you want to yield a bigger dough after proofing
* Yeast need sugar to react, therefore, add sugar last and slowly to the yeast
(+) Easy recipe for beginners
(-) Without the use of a stand mixer, it can be pretty tedious when manually kneading the dough
(=) Due to the high humidity in Singapore, the bread does not keep as long as in temperate countries. (=) It can at best be kept for 2 days with the same bread texture and taste
(=) Nevertheless, it is best eaten on the same day!

Apple Crumble adapted from The Sunday Times, Life!

Apple Crumble
For The Crumble
220g plain flour
140g sugar (I used about 100g sugar instead because it's simply too sweet for me)
120g butter chopped into cubes
For The Filling
5-6 Granny Smith apples
4 tbs sugar (I reduced it to 2 tbs sugar since the apples are already sweet after baking)
200ml water
1 tsp cinnamon
(1) Preheat oven to 180°C.
To make the crumble:
(2) Place the flour and sugar into a large bowl and mix well.
(3) Taking a few cubes of butter at a time, rub them into the flour mixture with your fingertips.
(4) Keep adding butter and rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
To prepare the filling:
(5) Peel, core and slice the apples into a large bowl. Sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon. Stir well, taking care not to break up the fruit.
(6)Spoon the filling into an oval baking dish.
(7) Pour water over it.
(8) Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top, spreading it right up to the edges of the dish. Using the flat of your hand, press it down firmly all over - the more tightly it is packed together, the crispier it will be.
(9) Finish off by lightly running a fork over the surface to "crumble" the top.
(10) Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture is bubbling.
(11) Serve with ice cream.
(+) Easy to prepare and assemble.
(-) The quantity of sugar stated in the original recipe yielded a very sweet apple crumble.
(=) A foolproof recipe that is hard to fail and great for beginners!

Happy Birthday To ME!

This is one of my best birthday ever!

It's the first time that my dad sang the Happy Birthday song to me.

It's the first time I had two cakes for my birthday - on the very same day and both cakes were even bought at the same bakery!

Strawberry shortcake (top) and fruit cake (bottom) from Epi D'or

More cake treats from friends at Loola's by Awfully Chocolate. However, It was also awfully sweet and even with the four of us, we were having difficulties polishing it off!

Brownie (top) and hazelnut (bottom) cake slices

Nice lunch treat from The Supportive Spouse at Bedrock Bar & Grill

Medium-done striploin steak set lunch

Then there's the heartwarming birthday wishes from families and friends!

And to top it all off, nice presents too! I know I'm not supposed to show favoritism for one present over the other. But still, this is my favorite!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Royce Potato Chip Chocolate

The word “Royce” reminds me of the branded car maker – RollsRoyce. Hence when I first noticed a shop (quite some time back) in the basement of Raffles City selling chocolates under the brand name Royce, my mind automatically linked the chocolate to some expensive chocolate maker in the United Kingdom. I must have walked pass the shop on numerous occasions but never once did I consider buying the chocolates.

Hence when a friend passed me a (food) souvenir from her trip in Japan, I was like “Oh…I didn’t know Royce chocolate originates from Japan…”.
And that was only the first discovery on my part. I quickly inspected the packaging and wondered out loud “Interesting…potato chips coated with chocolate. Thanks!”
Only to have my friend poked her head over before exclaiming “Oh…I didn’t know it’s potato chips I bought!”
Interesting people huh? J

Anyway, this sweet and salty combination tasted ok. It would be better if they were to either cut down on the chocolate coating or to use dark chocolate instead. However, for the Little One, it’s the perfect 2-in-1 snack. Even with his mouth full of chips, he was still demanding for more “mum mum” with his outstretched, milk chocolate smeared hands. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bosses (黑社会) @ Vivocity

This Chinese restaurant at Vivocity has a unique name, 黑社会. In English, it translates directly to Secret Society. As with the name, the entire restaurant is painted in black, giving it a very posh and somewhat fearsome exterior. I had passed by the restaurant umpteen times but never once did I made it inside. Recently, a colleague informed me that she was there for lunch and that the Chinese ramen is quite reasonably priced at ~$7. With this information, I decided to give it a go.

On a Friday afternoon, this was the few restaurant without any queue. We were shown straight to a round table and there wasn’t many customers inside either. We were served with a very interesting appetizer – deep fried fish skin. It was coated with dashes of salt, extremely crunchy to the bite, not oily at all but can be a little fishy on the taste bud. But when accompanied with the chili, it sort of masks the fishy taste. A plate of this appetizer is priced at $3.80.
A quick glance at the menu revealed that the more affordable dishes were indeed the ramen – starting from $7 onwards for plain vegetable ramen. I ordered the fried chicken ramen which consisted of a huge bowl of plain soup ramen and a small plate of deep fried chicken. Definitely low rating for presentation. Taste-wise, the soup was plain, noodles tastes like instant noodles and the fried chicken has no surprises either. Priced at $8.50, you can definitely give it a miss.
Three colleagues ordered the minced meat ramen (炸酱面) priced at $8 and was full of praises towards the end as they were busy slurping up the noodles.

The crowd in the restaurant only began to grow at about 1pm and it was not hard to notice that quite a few tables ordered dim sum which looks really good. I’ll surely be back again to try both the minced meat ramen and the dim sum. So, till then…

Friday, April 13, 2012

Forest (森) by Sam Leong @ Equarius Hotel, Resort World Sentosa

The Forest (森) restaurant, located at the newly opened Equarius Hotel at Resort World Sentosa (RWS), is co-owned by celebrity chef Sam Leong. The interesting thing about this restaurant is that the entrance to the restaurant is ‘hidden’ behind pebbles decorated, handle-less doors. It was only when I saw hotel staffs exiting from the restaurant did I realized that the restaurant was located within!

On our first morning in the hotel, we decided to give the breakfast buffet a try. There were two sections dedicated to Chinese and Western cuisines. And even so, the selection from each section was pretty much limited. The Chinese section consisted of dim sum (siew mai and steamed pork bun), porridge and wanton noodles. The Western counterpart consisted of bread loaves, pastries, spread selections (assortment of marmalades and cheese spread), yoghurt, fruit platters, fresh juices and milk.

It was only after my second helping that the waitressing staff approached us with more ‘options’ consisting of the ala carte menu and snack-sized varieties that were not available at the buffet table. The ala carte menu offered mainly egg dishes in the likes of egg omelette and egg benedict amongst three to four other offerings. I ordered the former which had mushroom wrapped in omelette and accompanied by two chicken sausages. As for the snack-sized varieties, they came in the form of mini-pancakes, french toast, waffles and chawamushi.
Overall, the food tasted only so-so. However, I did thought of getting a second helping of the chawamushi. Priced at $40 per pax before service charge and GST, you can definitely give this breakfast buffet a miss. I’m sure the Forum at RWS offers better breakfast selections or probably even the other four more established hotels in the vicinity can do better in this aspect.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Malaysian Food Street @ Resort World Sentosa

The Malaysian food street located within the Resort World Sentosa is actually a Malaysia-themed food court.

I’m not sure if it’s representative of the real stuff sold in Malaysia but it sure is so much pricier than the real deal.

Having only heard of the chicken rice ball but never tasted one before, the Supportive Spouse got me a plate of 5 balls accompanied by deboned chicken.
The portion was really small and I didn’t even bother asking the Supportive Spouse the amount he paid.

It tasted….like how chicken rice is supposed to taste. Nothing special really.

I think I’ll rather pay more to dine in the restaurants at Resort World Sentosa.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pan Pacific Hotel 海天樓 @ 37th Floor

This is my first visit to 海天樓 in the Pan Pacific Hotel located on it's 37th floor. It will be closed after 15th April 2012 and will be relocated to the 3rd floor of the hotel, so this would be an absolute must go before it shifts out of it's current location and missing the great view!

There's a choice to have an ala carte buffet from it's lunch menu which contains about 60 odd dishes, some of which each table is only allowed to order 2 and some of which each patron is only allowed to order once, otherwise, everything else is unlimited as long as you are still hungry!

Very high quality food and absolutely worth the money!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ah Ling's Birthday

This was the second birthday celebration in our group of four this year. And somehow, starting from 2012, our birthday celebratory budget just got bigger!

On this very special day for Missy Ling, we invited her for lunch at the Jumbo Seafood Restaurant @ Riverside Point.

Besides the compulsory Sri Lanka chilli crab accompanied by buns (albeit steam buns this time as a healthier option), we also ordered scallop in yam rings, stir-fried broccoli in oyster sauce and chicken/salted fish fried rice.

The chilli crab was Fresh. Spicy. Big. The gravy, however, was a bit too thick and gluey. And since when did they changed their presentation to be in the form of a wok? I still prefer the simple plastic plate.

The scallop in yam ring was Nice. Normally, for this dish, I would expect to see a large deep-fried yam ring filled with a combination of stir-fried cube-diced vegetables, seafood and cashew nuts.

After the nice luncheon, we decided to resume the customary birthday cake cutting ceremony by presenting Ah Ling with a salted caramel chocolate panna cotta from Starbucks.

Happy Birthday Ah Ling!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can I Eat This?

An interesting 'product' from Taiwan!
At first glance, you'll think you know what this is.
It sure looks like what it's supposed to be.
But isn't those cute little mashmallows?!?!?

Loola's by Awfully Chocolate

This was our ad-hoc, unplanned, last-minute attempt to have a post Valentine's Day lunch together, alone. My treat! :)

Ideal venue would be some place with a nice scenic view and not overly crowded with throngs of tourists. And not being the adventurous kind to roam the 'wilderness' of our little island city, we settled for the Esplanade.

We ventured to the restaurant on the second level (facing the escalator) as it offers a great view of the Singapore river and in my umpteen times there, there were already quite some changeover of restaurants in its place. SoI gathered it's either the price or the food. But whatever the case, we just wanted a nice, quiet lunch.

The restaurant is called "Loola's by Awfully Chocolate" and it has a very 'raw' touch to the decor with the exposed pipings on the ceiling and the concrete finished flooring. Even the waiters and cooks look like trainees from Shatec. However, one quick glance at the menu contradicts all that with it's pricing. But honestly, what am I expecting from a restaurant at the Esplanade?

We ordered a bread and salad entrée followed by a whole grilled chicken.

It turned out to be fruit salad which was not our original intention. But it was our fault anyway and it tasted alright so no damaged was done.
The bread entrée was unexpectedly awesome! It was made up of varying kinds of small bread, European style and toasted slightly prior to serving. There really was no need for all the fancy dips. A good bread just needs a spread of butter on it or even nothing at all!
The grilled chicken looked, well, like how it's supposed to look and smell. But I was slightly disappointed to have the waiter serve us both chicken breasts leaving behind the succulent thighs. However, unknown to us, there was a tiny surprise hidden just behind the golden brown skin - slices of ham! This was a bit too much meat for me but nevertheless, it added a slightly different twist to the othewise, predictable grilled chicken. The portion was big enough for four person. So we ended up bringing the remaining of the unfinished grilled chicken home.
Will I be back again? It will be a plain and simple "Yes" - just for the bread entrée! :)