au naturel

By , July 31, 2008 6:21 pm

i’m talking yoghurt. it’s always flavored yoghurts for me cos the one time i had natural yoghurt, i was very tempted to spit it out but didn’t because i had company and it’d have been plain gross.

dan’s mom was all excited about this new dessert she tried at the organic cafe (@velocity). like many people i know who cook / bake, the first thing that came to her mind was “can i make that at home?”. when i heard it was natural yoghurt, i wasn’t all that excited.. but after a bite – yum… didn’t try the original, but i totally loved the copy 🙂

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scoop of natural yoghurt(any brand)

any amount of any/every fruit

drizzle with honey

serve.

ps: there’s wheat germ in that dessert glass – that’s some serious healthy.

my instant weekend.

By , July 28, 2008 11:30 am

i’m mainly making reference to the instant food i’ve been ploughing through although it’s in part that my weekend seem to have gone by in an instant (doesn’t everybody’s)

there’s the instant noodle variety sorta instant food (which i have to say i make a mean bowl of :)), and there’s also the instant bubur hitam which i’ve already introduced here. in addition, we also went through the instant popcorn and cookies at home and it’s really strange how they all found their way into our larder. 

i wouldn’t suggest it all in one seating like we did cos it’s just totally unhealthy but in my mother’s wise words “do what i tell you to do. dont do what i do.”

my friends asked what flavor popcorn i had and i stood still for a moment wondering what flavor “natural” is. salty. this one left a strange oily/salty film over my tongue. maybe it’s just me cos the rest popped it in their mouths without a word of complaint. or it could also be cos they popped a few and i popped the rest.

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betty crocker instant chocolate chip cookies requires you to beat an egg and 1/2 cup of butter into the mixture before baking. the nestle version is way easier – break into pieces and bake (the square pieces melt into round cookies in the oven). read disclaimer if you’re thinking famous amos cookies. i don’t like chewy cookies so i didn’t like both. but the rest say the nestle one tasted better.

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**disclaimer : instant food requires quick preparation so a packet of say chips or biscuits does not qualify.

i’m happy as a clam :)

By , July 23, 2008 5:44 pm

and of course i do not mean that literally because if i were the clam, i’d be most unhappy with this post.  About eating clams.

you see, i used to not like clams because they look like oysters and cockles and i still have not acquired a taste for those. i was however, required to be polite and drink up the clam soup in front of me at a dinner once in taipei. so i did. and learnt that clams in soup make a very sweet and tasty base. it might have helped that it was really peppery 🙂

in the last two years, i have found that bakerz inn has got a fantastic clam pasta that’s served with chilli padi. it’s one of the few dishes i can wolf down an entire plate of.

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last week, i discovered another great clam pasta dish at sushi tei. it’s called the asari clam and shimeji soup pasta. i’ve had it twice this week because it’s one of those seasonal dishes and may not be on the menu for long -i am extreme that way. 

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these are my current two top clam pasta places – and i have tried quite a few clam pastas since discovering i like them 🙂 the only downside is probably the garlic breath afterwards :p also, i think clam pasta is great diet food (pasta is! it’s the heavy sauces and creams that are ‘bad’). IF you are on a diet, the sushi tei’s version is almost oil free (unless you pour alot of chilli oil on it like i do but i can’t help that i love chilli)

oh and about the difference in clams. strangely, i think the taste of the asari clams reminds me of the ocean while regular clams registers a river.

oh well, i said it’s strange.

the perfect thing to go with rainy mondays

By , July 21, 2008 10:52 am

have i been busy the last week? yes i have. i tried 4 new recipes, non of which i’d recommend. that’s the thing with bad recipes. you put in effort, time and money, only to have the result stare you in the face, daring you to eat another bite. not fun at all 🙁

so instead, i headed to plaza singapura to get the music score for my latest favourite piece. while i’m hard at work trying to master it. here’s the perfect version for your enjoyment on a rainy monday morning:

Chopin’s Waltz in C Sharp Minor Op 64 No. 2

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bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice)

By , July 16, 2008 8:43 am

bubur hitam (i call it that) is a childhood taste to me for the simple reason that i’ve not tasted better bubur hitam in adulthood. in comparison, ice cream for example, isn’t a childhood taste because all the amazing gelati and ‘branded ice cream’ i have since tried, has raised the bar in the ice cream taste buds department. i also strongly think i only had inferior ice cream when i was young.

so back to my bubur hitam. it’s remained a childhood taste because it’s quite difficult to find a good bowl of bubur hitam and it doesn’t help that i’m not inclined to try more stalls after being disappointed once too many times.

some time ago, dan and i were grocery shopping when we came across a ready made packet of bubur hitam. just pour, microwave and serve. he immediately grabbed 2 packets for himself and young to have on the morning show. dan’s adventurous that way.

he came back with rave reviews but i waved it off because c’mon, how good can instant things be. after a few more trips to the supermarket (and on many occasions, he just bought however many packets of bubur hitams on the shelves there were), i thought that it was about time to be more open to new experiences. 

when i finally tried it, i was pretty wowed by this instant stuff –  great taste, texture and thickness! the only downside is that it’s a tad too sweet but i can live with that 🙂 

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i went back to the supermarket to buy the other instant stuff they had – dan grabbed the bobo chacha and i got the tau suan. both of us say just stick to the bubur hitam. i think both cold storage and ntuc has them.

ps: on the topic of bubur hitam, the bubur hitam flavoured ice cream, at island creamery in serene center is some kind of wonderful too 🙂

my sacher torte

By , July 11, 2008 12:43 pm

i succumbed.

the recipe stared pleadingly at me for a few days (it really is quite a simple recipe) and i decided to give it a shot since i’ve leftover chocolate ganache from the previous chocolate cake.

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other than the bad handwriting (i was trying to pipe Sacher Torte on it), and the homemade look because i was lazy to melt the chocolate ganache (that gives it a smoother and more professional looking finish), i think this cake came out quite successfully! even better after a night in the fridge. i sprinkled it with water, microwaved it for 10s on high then served it with ice cream. nothing like the original sacher torte which is great news to me!

i omitted how the original sacher torte tasted in the last related entry : dry -the whipped cream served with it wasn’t for decoration but an absolute necessity; not very chocolatey except for the chocolate coating; has a slight tangy fruity aftertaste that was nice.

here’s the recipe i used! :

preheat oven to 180 C; use a 20cm (8″) round pan – i used 2 so i could get 2 layers and bake it for a shorter time

1 cup plain flour

1/4cup cocoa powder

1 cup caster sugar (i used slightly lesser than that)

100g unsalted butter

2 tbsps strawberry jam

4 eggs, separated

2 tbspns strawbery jam, extra, melted.

1. Sift the flour and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.

2. melt butter and sugar and jam in microwave. add to dry ingredients.

3. whisk in egg yolks. (it’s ok that the mixture gets very gluey)

4.beat egg whites til softpeaks form and fold egg whites into cake mixture with a metal spoon.

5. Bake 50 mins or until skewer comes out clean when inserted in centre of cake. (i baked mine for 20mins cos i used 2 tins)

6. Leave cake in tin 15mins before turning onto wire rack to cool.

7. After cake cools, cut dome off the cake and invert it (i didn’t do this step cos i used 2 tins and they looked pretty even). Brush with extra jam and coat with chocolate ganache (microwave 150g dark chocolate + 1/4cup cream)

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ps: the original sacher torte recipe also used apricot jam instead of strawberry jam. feel free to experiment!

anne frank is such a good read

By , July 10, 2008 11:44 am

even my cat’s in on it!

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wanted to attach this picture with my last post but thought it inappropriate given the tone of the entry. he Is very adorable isn’t he 🙂

on a more serious note, i completed the book today. her last entry was a rather long and agitated rant about contradictions. to be more accurate, how contradictory her inner self is from others’ view of her. it was followed by “ANNE’S DIARY ENDS HERE”.

reading the Afterword made me very emotional. knowing how 7 of the 8 people hiding in the annexe died was heartbreaking. remembering phrases anne has written like “I want to go on living even after my death”, and “You’ve known for a long time that my greatest wish is to be a journalist, and later on, a famous writer. In any case, after the war I’d like to publish a book called The Secret Annexe”.

if she only knew how she has lived on.

the diary of a young girl Anne Frank

By , July 9, 2008 12:00 am

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i bought this book when i was in amsterdam and have since been trying to read it very very slowly. everyday that i pick up the book, i return to this place that anne frank writes about-a secret annexe in a factory where they are hiding in constant fear of being found out. admittedly, i didn’t like her very much when i started the book but that’s testament to her brutal honesty in relating how she feels. as i read on, i realise that it is this very trait that allowed me to see how admirably she has grown. 

i’m reluctant to reach the end of the book because i know that someone eventually turned them in and that she died a short month before the liberation.

i’m dreading her last entry.

there were many times she spoke of despair, but as many entries rang with hope and optimism. this is my favourite – her thoughts when she was looking out of an open window over a large part of Amsterdam, dated Wednesday 23 Feb 1944:

“The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity.

As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.”

sacher torte

By , July 7, 2008 10:40 pm

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before i’m accused of lying by omission, i’ll first confess that i did not bake the above. I’ve seen the recipe for “Sacher Torte” in my favourite baking book, but have not tried it because it requires for me to separate 4 eggs and it just sounds like alot of work eggs.

when i was in vienna, our tour guide specifically pointed out a certain hotel sacher – the birthplace of sacher torte. i’m not quite sure what i got excited over (just recognising a name or maybe that i could make that), but insisted that we try it. y’know, just so i’ll know the difference between how it shd taste vs how mine will taste (when i make it).

its introduction reads very grandly : “The Original Sacher-Torte is not just a piece of culinary history, but also a major export product and an economic factor. More than 360,000 cakes are sold in Austria and abroad every year. The cakes are still produced by hand today, just like they were in the 19th century. The recipe of the the Original Sacher-Torte has remained a well kept secret of the Hotel Sacher to this day.” here’s more of its history.

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so understandably, after reading all the materials and reviews on it while waiting for the cake to arrive, we were quite ready to be wowed. the taste? most diplomatically – not to our tastes. our conclusion is that to build up expectations is a really dangerous thing.

i’m now half hearted about baking the sacher torte cake with the recipe i have at home. on one hand, i think that since i know how the original tastes (and am not a fan), maybe i should skip. on the other hand, they claim to have guarded the recipe safely, so maybe better copies were made. hurhur

we’ll see.

amsterdam!

By , July 5, 2008 9:47 am

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in olden times, availibility of water is of foremost importance when planning a new settlement. that importance must’ve been passed down thru time, embedded in human’s dna so that people find comfort and maybe a sense of security from looking at water.

wow that stuff i just made up actually sounds like a sophisticated reason for why i love water pictures so much.

anyway.

amsterdam is the capital of the netherlands. many people incorrectly call this place holland because although it IS holland, it’s just no longer officially called that. the football team is called holland tho 😛  

the ‘clean’ side of town offers clogs, cheese, tulips, and windmills. the naughtier side offers legal places called coffeeshops where cannabis/weed/marijuana/ganja (whatever you call it) can be bought and consumed. the other naughty attraction is the red light district where women rent rooms to conduct their business and we get to look in at the women in their barely there outfits thru big glass windows if erm… business isn’t in progress. it was quite eye opening and my eyes really opened when i saw a lady with boobs the size of my head. she is regular sized otherwise. i’m not exaggerating.

we also visited the anne frank musuem (did you know that the anne frank diary is the most translated book in the world after the bible?) and snuck a picture in there altho it’s not allowed and dan was worried i’d get us thrown out :

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