Sunday, May 29, 2016

BBQ Meats at Camp Kilo Charcoal Club, Kampong Bugis.

Roasting over a proper fossil fuel - be it wood, or charcoal - is one of the best ways of cooking meat (and other foods). With the right cut of meat, and the right fire or charcoal, the intense heat coupled with the smoke & other aromas from flare-ups from the fat drippings give a wonderful taste that other cooking methods can't match.

Unfortunately, BBQ'ing is also one of the most troublesome cooking methods. It takes a lot of effort to book a pit and start a properly hot fire, which simply doesn't make sense if you're only feeding two mouths. So we were thrilled to find out about Camp Kilo Charcoal Club - a newly opened charcoal-grilled BBQ restaurant at Kampong Bugis!

Camp Kilo Charcoal Club BBQ

It's testament to the Kilo brand that within a week of (official) opening, the restaurant is already full house at dinner. It has a very casual, hip-and-happening vibe, and the dining area is al-fresco (outdoor only). Orders are placed at the counter - menu items will probably change in the future but for now there's Poussin Chicken (young, less-than-a-kilogram birds; $10 for half, $18 for a whole bird), Whole Roasted Pig ($12/100gm), Crispy Pork Belly ($10/100gm) and Pork Ribs ($15 for ½ a slab, $30 for a whole slab).

Camp Kilo Charcoal Club BBQ

There's a complement of side dishes on menu, too - we tried the Brussels Sprouts ($14), which were sweet & spicy, with a hint of bitterness, and crisp from added rice puff balls.

Camp Kilo Charcoal Club BBQ
Camp Kilo Charcoal Club BBQ
Camp Kilo Charcoal Club BBQ

The BBQ meats overall, while being very reasonably priced (I'd go so far as to say they were cheap) and generally very competently cooked, were a little compromised taste-wise. For example, the crispy pork belly was succulent, tender and tasty, but the skin wasn't as crisp/cracking as a Chinese sio bak; The ribs had a terrific house BBQ sauce but could have done with a longer cooking time in a proper smoker. The chicken was perhaps the star of the show: juicy, moist, with just the right amount of char on the skin.

We're also not huge fans of al-fresco dining in the Singaporean heat; but having air conditioning would inevitably mean a hike in food prices, so that's perhaps a reasonable sacrifice to make.

Camp Kilo Charcoal Club is on the ground floor of Kilo's Kallang headquarters - i.e. one of those places in Singapore where you really need a car (or taxi) to reach. Apparently they only open on Fridays (from 5.30pm) and Weekends (from 11am). Reservations accepted for Large groups; Non-Halal.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Tiramisu Hero, Jalan Besar - Terrific Décor, Mediocre Tiramisu.

If there was ever a restaurant/cafe best described as "style over substance," The Tiramisu Hero would be it. Located in the up-and-coming gastronomic neighborhood of Jalan Besar, this cafe specializes in - what else? - Tiramisu. Decor is quirky and homey, and yet somewhat strangely romantic. It's a very nice place to impress a date, or to just relax and spend a couple of hours in air-conditioned comfort. There's even a mascot: His name is Sir Antonio.

Tiramisu Hero Mediocre Tiramisu

The Tiramisu comes in two sizes - MommaHero ($7.50 for normal flavours, $9.50 for premium flavours), and PapaHero ($17/$21) (MommaHero is just about right for one person). There are a dozen or so flavours, some of which are mighty interesting - for example, Milo, Horlicks and even Durian. We play it safe and go for Chocolate and Lemon Lavender.

Tiramisu Hero Mediocre Tiramisu

With so much effort spent on branding, a killer website, and gorgeous decoration, it's a shame then that the Tiramisu itself is mediocre at best.

For starters, both our jars had no booze. Apparently only the original and Baileys flavours come with booze - the other jars are all non-alcoholic. Is it possible to add alcohol to the non-alcoholic flavours? We don't know, because it wasn't clear on the menu and it wasn't suggested by the waitress. But fine, chalk this one down to us not being "in the know."

Secondly, the savoiardi/ladies fingers were exceedingly dry, having obviously not been soaked in espresso/any form of liquid long enough. Or at all. It follows, then, that the fingers had no coffee taste ... or any other taste.

Tiramisu Hero Mediocre Tiramisu
Tiramisu Hero Mediocre Tiramisu

So ... all style, no substance, and a bit of a pricey disappointment, then (The cafe also serves up an assortment of hot dishes, but we didn't try any of them as we were here for dessert).

The Tiramisu Hero is at 121 Tyrwhitt Road; open 11am-10pm daily. Non-Halal.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Beef Chili Recipe (to make Chili Cheese Fries, Fully Loaded Nachos, etc)

Chili Cheese Fries and Fully Loaded Nachos are one of those dish that we order frequently when we're at Carl Jr, Tony Roma's, Morganfield's, Hard Rock Café, etc.

This is also known as a great super bowl or party snack. The Beef Chili can be made ahead of time and place in the freezer or fridge. When it's the day you want to enjoy it you can warm it up and it'll be ready for the final presentation touch up to make Chili Cheese Fries, and Fully Loaded Nachos.

Serves 4 pax
Beef Chili Ingredients
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 diced Yellow Onions
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 teaspoon White Pepper
500g Ground Beef
1 cup of Kidney Beans
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 tablespoons Garlic Powder
1.5 cups Beef Broth / Chicken Broth
1.5 cups of Tomato Paste / Pasta Paste
1.5 tablespoons Flour

1. Heat the pan with Vegetable Oil.
2. Saute the Yellow Onions with Salt, Sugar, Pepper until soft/transparent for approximately 2 mins.
3. Add Ground Beef, Cayenne Pepper Powder, Cumin Powder, Dried Oregano, Garlic Powder and cook until the beef is done and no pinkish beef can be spotted.
4. Combine Flour with Broth / Chicken Broth.
4. Add Kidney Beans, Broth mix, Tomato Paste / Pasta Paste and bring it to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 to 40mins, occasionally stirring to blend, which will thicken the mixture.

Chili Cheese Fries
460g Frozen Fries (adjust to the volume to be consumed)
220g grated Cheddar Cheese / Monterey Jack Cheese (Optional)
1 cup Sour Cream
Pickled Jalapeno Pepper (Optional)

1. Deep fry Fries and season with Salt.
2. Heat oven to 200°C Top Broiler mode.
3. Place Fries in bottom of Glass Baking Dish, top with Beef Chili and sprinkle Cheese.
4. Bake for 5mins or until the top are slightly browned.
5. [Optional] Remove dish from oven, garnish with Pickled Jalapeno Pepper, Sour Cream and serve immediately.

Fully Loaded Nachos
500g Nachos (adjust to the volume to be consumed)
220g grated Cheddar Cheese / Monterey Jack Cheese (Optional)
1 cup Sour Cream
Pickled Jalapeno Pepper
Black Olives
Corn Kernels

1. Heat oven to 200°C Top Broiler mode.
2. Place Nachos in bottom of Glass Baking Dish, top with Beef Chili, Pickled Jalapeno Pepper, Black Olives, Corn Kernels and sprinkle Cheese.
4. Bake for 5mins or until the top are slightly browned.
5. Remove dish from oven, garnish with Sour Cream and serve immediately.

Click here for our blog page Cooking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cow Tongue and Cheap Sashimi - at Sandaime Bunji!

One of the reasons that the darling and I are such huge Japanese food fans is the sheer variety of cuisine from the various parts of the country. Today, we visit Sandaime Bunji, which originates from Sendai (sort of halfway between Tokyo and Hokkaido), and specializes in two decidedly non-mainstream dishes: 牛たん ('Gyuu-tan,' charcoal-grilled ox tongue) and わら焼きかつおたたき ('Warayaki Katsuo Tataki,' Skipjack Tuna seared over a rice straw fire).

Sandaime Bunji Gyuutan Grilled Ox Tongue
Yes, there is a tuna loin in the midst of that fire.

We decided not to order the straw fired tuna at the last minute, opting instead for the irresistibly-priced six types of Assorted Sashimi (s$15.90, promo price). There's a small caveat - each diner must order a drink - but otherwise it's an absolute steal for hefty, chunky slices of fresh, raw fish. There's even two cubes of 大トロ ('Oo-Toro,' fatty tuna belly)!

Sandaime Bunji Cheap Sashimi

Of course, we made sure to try the restaurant's other specialty - 12P 牛たん Dinner Set ($42.90). The dinner set comes with 12 slices of charcoal-grilled ox tongue, a clear ox tongue soup, vegetables (seaweed & bean sprouts), appetizer (pitan tofu) and a bowl of mixed rice and barley.

It's a hearty meal, and a very ... interesting one. Ox tongue has a strong, distinctly beefy flavour, but with a uniquely smooth texture and a somewhat chewy bite. Taste and flavour-wise it was nice, but in our opinions when tongue is served this way, it loses heat too quickly and so the latter half of the meal felt like eating cold beef. Definitely a dish that you should wolf down as quickly as possible.

Sandaime Bunji Gyuutan Grilled Ox Tongue

Our other main course for the night - the Unagi Dinner Set ($19.90 for the full/large size) - comes with the same accompaniments as the cow tongue, plus chawanmushi (steamed egg custard). It's remarkably value for money, considering that the unagi alone probably costs just as much if you buy it from Meidi-ya or Isetan or any other Japanese supermarket.

Taste-wise - it was above average but not mind-blowing. The eel was obviously cooked beforehand and only finished on the grill - therefore not having enough time over the coals to get a really nice char on the edges. Still a satisfying meal nevertheless!

Sandaime Bunji Unagi River Eel

So while we weren't blown away by the ox tongue, we were pleasantly surprised with the very reasonable prices of the other items on the menu - especially the Unagi - and can totally imagine coming back again if/when we're in the area. Note that the Sashimi bowl is a promo price, and the waiter didn't know when the promo ends.

Sandaime Bunji is at #01-14/15, Millenia Walk, Singapore. Reservations probably not required. Non-halal.

Monday, May 2, 2016

New York Cheesecake Recipe

It's a's's's in between light and's's incredible..

Base Crust Ingredients:
160g Digestive Biscuits/ Caramel Biscuits / Graham Crackers
50g Melted Butter.

Step By Step
1. Line the baking pan with baking paper.
2. Dry Blend the biscuits to fine powder.
3. Melt Butter in a sauce pan and melt it over low heat, stirring it constantly.
4. Evenly mix the ground biscuits and Melted Butter.
5. Press it tightly into the baking pan.

There is another interesting crust base to share..
Marie Biscuit Base Crust Ingredients:
250g Marie Biscuits
100g Melted Butter
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
6 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
4 tablespoons Golden Syrup

Step By Step
1. Line the baking pan with baking paper.
2. Dry Blend the Marie Biscuits to fine powder.
3. Put Butter, Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Golden Syrup in a sauce pan and melt it over low heat, stirring it constantly.
4. Evenly mix the ground Marie Biscuits and Liquid Mixture.
5. Press it tightly into the baking pan.

Moving on to the Cheesecake batter.

Cheesecake Ingredients:
500g Cream Cheese
50g Butter (Optional)
150g Sugar
200g Greek Yogurt / Sour Cream
1 tablespoon Cornstarch (Optional)
3 Eggs
1 teaspoons of Vanilla Paste
2 teaspoon of Lemon Juice

Step By Step
1. Layer the pan with baking paper. Tightly wrap two layers of Aluminum Foil around the outside of the pan covering bottom and sides.
2. Pre-heat over at 170°C. Place a larger tray into oven and carefully pour approx 1L or 2L of boiling water into the pan.
3. Beat Cream Cheese until creamy approx 2-3 mins.
4. Add in Sugar and continue beating for approx 1 min.
5. Add in Greek Yogurt / Sour Cream for approx 2-3 min.
6. Add Eggs and Vanilla Paste and continue beating until well combine. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowls to ensure there are no lumps of cream cheese.
7. Split or spoon the Cheesecake batter evenly.
8. Put the Cheesecake in the water bath oven to bake for 1 hour or until center are almost set or the top is slightly browned.
9. Cool in pan on wire rack.
10. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
11. Serve plain or with fruits and whipped cream or caramel sauce or melted chocolate.

Some Extra Tips Below:
- Important that all ingredients are close to room temperature to avoid lumps in your cheesecake.

Click here for our blog page Baking Classes for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Swiss Gourmet Specialties: Raclette at Home (no raclette heater)!!

Switzerland's top two cheese-related gourmet specialties are, without a doubt, fondue and raclette. Most of us here in this (South East Asian) neck of the woods should be very familiar with fondue, but chances are that raclette remains a bit of a mystery. Raclette is both the name of the dish, and the name of the cheese used; i.e. you use raclette (the cheese) to make raclette (the dish). A little confused? Well, it looks something like this:

Raclette Heater
Image courtesy of Ono Kako

To be a little more accurate, Raclette (the dish) is made by heating a whole semi-circle of raclette (the cheese), scraping off layers as they melt, and eating the melted cheese with boiled new potatoes, cornichons (small pickled gherkins), pickled pearl onions, and charcuterie (various cold meats).

If, like 100.00% of the Singapore/Malaysia population, you don't have a dedicated raclette heater, you still can sample this Swiss specialty, though - just use a toaster or your oven's broiler function! Something like this:

Oh, before we forget, Raclette is normally eaten with cornichons and pickled pearl onions - the tartness of which provides a refreshing respite from the richness, earthiness and saltiness of the cheese and cold cuts.

Cornichons and Pearl Onions
Image courtesy of French Revolution

Anyway, the entire dish is uick, easy, and very satisfying! For the charcuterie, we mixed some salami, pastrami, Aussie prosciutto and black forest ham, but it really is entirely up to you. We bought the raclette cheese (in slices) at the amazing Huber's Butchery. Don't get intimidated by the really strong smell - the taste is actually rather mild (compared to the real pungent ones like Stilton). Enjoy!