Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blanching Exploration ::: Crispy Baby Bok Choy 小白菜 with Century Egg and Salted Egg

2 handful of Baby Bok Choy 小白菜
3 tablespoons of Onion Oil
1/2 diced Century Egg
1/2 diced Salted Egg
Filter Water
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of cooking oil

1. Wash the Baby Bok Choy and soak it in filtered water for 15mins. As taught by elders this is to freshen up the vegetables.
2. Boil half a pot of Filter Water. Add in Salt & Cooking Oil.
3. Put in the Baby Bok Choy and let it blanch till it all turns bright green then should be immediately scoop it out and drain.
4. It can be immediately placed in a dishing plate, add Onion Oil and mix well add more according to your taste buds.
5. Sprinkle all the diced Century Egg and diced Salted Egg.

It's ready to be serve!

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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Baking Exploration ::: Mini Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

My very very 1st cake baked from our kitchen that has passed.

Attended this recipe baking class at Sugar Inc @ Singapore, to get tips and learn some important notes about cake. Hearing from my friend that it is one of the best place to go to learn baking. Why? Because the clean up, wash up, serve you tea and give you a sample to eat while you're waiting to for your cake to pop out of the oven and cool off before you can pack up and go home.

If you're in Singapore and you would like to learn baking. This would be the place.

Click Here to view Sugar Inc Facebook page

After attending and getting our oven fixed up. This is my first bake after we shift into our newly renovated place. Been ages since I baked!!!! Itchy hands...

After attending and learning. Here I am.. to share the recipe & some of the tips with you.

Mixture A Ingredients:
160g Cream Cheese
20g Whipping Cream
20g Salted Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest

Step By Step for Mixture A
1. Cream Cheese, Butter to be left outside till it is room temperature or Heat in the microwave for 20-40 seconds till Cream Cheese is softened. Whisk Cream Cheese, Whipping Cream and Butter until smooth.
2. Add in Vanilla Essence and Lemon Zest and continue whisking until smooth.
3. Leave it to cool.

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Mixture A+B Ingredients:
100-120g Fresh Egg Yolks
20g sifted Cake Flour

Step By Step for Mixture A+B
1. When Mixture A is cool, whisk in the Egg Yolks.
2. Followed by the sifted Cake Flour until the mixture is smooth.

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Mixture C Ingredients:
180g Egg Whites
1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
90g Caster Sugar

Step By Step for Mixture C
1. In another Mixing Bowl, whip egg whites for a few seconds on low speed. When it looks foamy add Cream of tartar and mix for another few seconds.
2. Add 2/3 of the Caster Sugar and mix on low speed until you can see the visible trails on the surface of the foam. This is to build the structure.
3. Add the remaining of the sugar and whip until medium peak.

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Step By Step for Mixture (A+B)+C
1. Using a Spatula, fold in the upward motion 1/4 of the meringue GENTLY into the Mixture A+B.
2. Slowly 1/4 by 1/4 till all is completed. Do not over fold! Stop when the mixture is evenly coloured.

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Baking needs:
1 litre of Water
Muffin pan (x2)
Muffin Cups
Baking Tray
Baking Wire Rack

Baking & Serving Step by Step
1. Boil water for the hot water bath.
2. Pre-Heat the oven at 170°C.
3. Line the bottom with Muffin Cups and fill them up with the batter.
4. Pour the Boiling Water on the Baking Tray. Place the Baking Wire Rack on top of the Baking Tray.
5. Place the filled Muffin Pan on top and place in the oven to bake in the hot water bath for 20-25mins.
6. When time is up check the cake with a wooden skewer. Insert in the centre of the cake. It should come out fairly clean.
7. Unmould the cake soon after baking to prevent the top from becoming wrinkled. Place on a wire rack to cool.
8. Chill overnight before serving.
9. Dip the knife in hot water before cutting for clean slices.
Optional: Before Serving, dust it with icing sugar to give it a dreamy look!

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List of Tips from this bake
i) Must use cake flour.
Reason: Click here to read "What is cake flour, what makes it different than self-rising or all purpose?"
ii) It's Important to use Fresh Eggs, best 2-3days after you buy from store.
iii) Reason why the Egg measurement is used is due to the variation of size of eggs available in the market.
iv) Medium Peak is when you lift up the tip of the meringue should be able to stand up stiffly with a slight hook at the tip.
iv) If the baking pan has a removable base, wrap the outside surrounding and above the rim with Aluminium Foil as shown in picture.
v) For Mini Muffin size, fill it 3/4 as you can see below is the results of filling it up 1/2 only.
vi) Do not use oven fan mode when baking cakes or muffins, to avoid the cake from being blowed unevenly.
vii) Place the tray at the second lowest of the oven to prevent the bottom from being damp.

Wish you all success in baking! ^_^

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Juice Exploration ::: Tomato + Orange + Carrot Juice

Proportions to make it taste good!
1 part Tomato
1 part Orange
1 part Carrot

Salt & White Pepper to taste

Health Benefit of Tomato Juice
Tomato is a common and popular vegetable that is rich in many essential nutrients and vitamins A, C, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Raw tomato juice is rich in potassium.
List of goodness
reduce the risk of prostate cancer
reduce the risk of rectal cancer
reduce the risk of cervical cancer
reduce the risk of mouth cancer
reduce the risk of colon cancer
protect from getting breast cancer
protect from getting heart disease
protect from getting atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction
protect from getting heart attack
reduce cholesterol levels
regular consumption of raw tomato juice prevents blood clots
strengthens the immune system
prevents hypertension and cataract
benefits for skin
improve one’s eye sight
beneficial for good hair growth
lower blood pressure
prevention of inflammation and pain that is associated with arthritis
helps in strengthening the bones
get rid of the effects of a hangover
prevent constipation problems
prevent constipation problems
prevent constipation problems

How to choose and store Tomato in general?
- Store tomatoes in refrigerator, windowsill, counter-top.
- Choose tomatoes that are bright, even color and firm. Smaller tomatoes have finer seeds.

Health Benefit of Orange Juice
Vitamin B
Vitamin C
Vitamin P
Boosting the immune system
balanced metabolism
excellent blood pressure
lower bad cholesterol levels
bring some relief to those who suffer from arthritis pains
can be used as a part of weight loss program
Prevent Kidney Stones
Prevent Ulcers and Reduce Risk for Stomach Cancer
Protect Respiratory Health
Protect Against Rheumatoid Arthritis
help with lung and skin disorders
helps with indigestion, constipation and all digestive problems
good cleanser of the internal system
calms the nervous system
making it effective in treating nervousness, anxiety and insomnia

How to choose oranges in general?
Choose the ones that has smoothly textured skin and are firm and heavy for their size. It will have a higher juice content, than those that are either spongy or lighter in weight.

How to store oranges?
- At room temperature or in the refrigerator. It generally can last two weeks with either method and retain nearly the same level of their vitamin content. The best way to store oranges is loose to avoid it being exposed to moisture, as they can easily develop mold.
- Orange juice and zest can be stored for later use. Freeze the freshly squeezed orange juice then store them in plastic bags in the freezer. Orange zest that are dried should be stored in a cool, dry place and a must too in an airtight glass container.

Note to take
- Rinse your mouth with water after drinking orange juice as the acidic can weaken our tooth enamel.
- It is recommended to eat a slice of tomato or cucumber after drinking acidic juices.

Health Benefit of Carrot Juice
Vitamin A
Vitamin B
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Vitamin K
Physical exhaustion
improving our eyesight
Functioning of our immune system
Strengthening our bones and teeth
Good cleansing effects
Positive effects on our hair, nails and skin
Important for metabolism
Decreasing bad cholesterol levels in the body
Relieve spasms
Strengthen our blood vessels
Anti-aging properties

How to choose and store Carrot?
- Refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. Avoid storing carrots next to apples and pears as it would speed up the ripening process.
- Choose carrots that are smooth, firm, and crisp, with deep color and fresh, and green tops. Avoid carrots that are split, wilted, have begun to sprout, or have soft spots.

Click here for our blog page Desserts, & Drink for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jamie's Italian now Open in Vivocity, Singapore!

Singapore is fast becoming the restaurant capital of Asia, with a staggering seven entries in the Top 20 of the latest Miele Guide, and restaurants opened by multiple Celebrity Chefs island-wide. The vast majority of these are fine dining (i.e. expensive as heck) though, so it's refreshing and exciting that our latest Celebrity Chef to set up shop, Jamie Oliver, has gone for a more accessible route with an outlet of his flagship Jamie's Italian restaurant chain over at Vivocity!

Jamie's Italian Vivocity Singapore

The best way to describe Jamie's Italian is perhaps "casual fine dining" - fine dining without the pretentiousness or the price. The restaurant has a decidedly casual and yet exciting vibe - you can feel the energy especially when seated right next to the impressive ~30 foot long open kitchen. The chef constantly paces up and down pushing his cooks - it's remarkably similar to watching an episode of Hell's Kitchen. Without all the swearing and banging of tables, of course.

"Communicate with each other!"
"How long?"
"Table 45 is up next"
"I need this urgently"
"Yes Chef!"

It's mesmerizing, and I think the darling gave up trying to get my attention after losing it more than once during the meal.

Jamie's Italian Vivocity Singapore Open Kitchen

Moving on to the first of our starters, then, the Crispy Squid ($11.50). This squid is battered and deep fried perfectly and is nice and crispy. Some might find it a little lacking in seasoning; understandable given Jamie's focus on simplicity and healthier recipes. After all, the typical East Asian deep fried squid dish usually calls for a heavily seasoned batter (prime example being the Chinese/Taiwanese salt and pepper laden batter).

Jamie's Italian Vivocity Singapore Crispy Fried Squid

Our Baked Mushrooms ($12.50) are also relatively lightly seasoned; in my opinion the light seasoning approach works better here as it allows the mushrooms to take center stage. Would definitely order again.

Jamie's Italian Vivocity Singapore Baked Mushrooms

Moving on to our main courses - Jools' Favorite Sicilian Tuna Fusilli ($21.00 for full-sized portion). The tomato-based sauce is slightly spicy and tangy and complements the tuna well. Fusili is a great pasta choice as the many 'ridges' hold the (relatively watery) sauce much better than a 'smooth' pasta would. I'm not entirely convinced about the breadcrumbs though - they add an interesting crunch to the first few mouthfuls but quickly soak up the sauce and so the crunch disappears. Definite must-order if you're a tuna fan.

Jamie's Italian Vivocity Singapore Tuna Fusili

Brixham Bay Crab Risotto is $19.00 for the small portion pictured below; $28.50 for full size. I thought that the rice was cooked very well - with firm, individually distinct grains held together by that starchy reduced stock without being hard. However I also thought this was a very one-dimensional dish - crab is after all a very delicate tasting meat, and with the very strong flavour from the risotto, it simply fades too far into the background. I would have preferred an accompaniment which either provides some textural contrast or can hold its' own in the flavours department.

Jamie's Italian Vivocity Singapore Crab Risotto

At just about $75 for two people, it ends up to be a very reasonable and accessible celebrity chef restaurant, and we'll certainly be back again. Service is pretty good - their aim is to provide a fine dining experience after all (so expect little touches like everyone on the table is served at once, etc). One little snafu - our waitress forgot to send our main courses to the kitchen so we ended up waiting 45 minutes for our mains; but that's totally forgivable as we visited during the training soft launch.

Jamie's Italian is on the first floor of Vivocity - along that stretch of restaurants facing Sentosa Island. Non-halal.

All photos taken with iPhone as I didn't have my camera with me :(

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King - The King of Tonkotsu Broths in Singapore?

It's sometimes said that location doesn't matter if the food is good enough - People will make the trip regardless of how far away or inconveniently located a restaurant or food stall is. Chef Keisuke Takeda seems to have taken this mantra to heart in opening his Tonkotsu-specialty outlet next to Orchid Hotel near Tanjong Pagar MRT, instead of a shopping mall like practically every other ramen shop in town. Forget about coming here by public transport if it rains as you'll be in for a very wet walk.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King

Ramen Keisuke has several outlets open in Singapore, and interestingly each shop focuses on a particular type of broth. A while ago we visited his outlet in Millenia Walk, which specializes in Prawn (now discontinued) and Crab broths. This outlet, as its' name suggests, is his Tonkotsu flagship - serving nothing else but the porky creamy soup.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Order Slip

You get free flow bean sprouts and hard boiled eggs to eat before (or with) your ramen; these eggs are plain and unflavoured, though. You also get to crush your own sesame seeds to add into the ramen which is supposed to enhance the aroma and flavor.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Black Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen

The Black Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen is basically the shop's plain Tonkotsu broth with added chili and black garlic. We order ours with 'the works' - soft boiled flavored egg, seaweed and two large chashu slices. Interestingly, Keisuke boosts the flavor of the (already very flavorful and porky) broth with bits of chicken fat instead of pork fat. Whichever is better probably boils down to personal preference - we very much liked the chicken fat. We didn't like the excess sodium content - this is a salty bowl of soup.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Tonkotsu Ramen

Surprisingly the regular Tonkotsu Ramen doesn't suffer from the same sodium overload; so you get the same flavor profile without spice and without a need to drink 4 glasses of water afterward to wash down all the salt. You also do get the same chashu which is disappointingly dry and tough.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Ajitama Half Boiled Egg

Overall we did thoroughly enjoy the two bowls of ramen. Those bigger eaters and gym nuts among you might also enjoy the free flow of boiled eggs. It's a small restaurant - no more than 30 seats - so expect some queues at peak times. Non halal.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King
Orchid Hotel
1 Tras Link
Near Tanjong Pagar MRT

Our Ramen Rankings:
Superb!: Ippudo & Santouka
Delicious!: Nantsuttei, Tampopo & Keisuke Tonkotsu King
Solid: Shin-Sapporo, Keisuke, Gantetsu, Gensuke, Riki, Ikkousha & Bario
Below Average: Marutama, Menya Musashi & Menya Iroha