Grandma’s Kitchen

By , August 24, 2010 11:52 am

Did anybody read about the food blogger who has “never paid for food in a restaurant ever”? I don’t have that privilege…. but I’ve got Mr Ong that’s alright really. Who said the world was fair?

This is a not so new restaurant at United Square. I gave this place a miss some time back because it looked like it served up food court fare in a restaurant. If I wanted chicken rice/nasi lemak/laksa(there were big pictures at the door), I could head to the foodcourt a minute way on the same floor. 

I’m not sure why we decided to leaf through the menu at its entrance last week, but a well taken picture of a tenderloin caught Dan’s heart eyes. I dutifully trudged along as he enthusiastically made his way in.

The interior was better than I expected it to be (surprisingly comfortable given the wood theme), and I was to find that that was the case with the food too =)

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These are great fried chicken wings – a dusting of seasoning and into the fryer. It came out lightly crispy on the outside and very juicy on the inside.

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I ordered the nasi lemak which was oddly  coconut rice with chicken curry. The curry was of the drier variety with a rather heavy coconut gravy. Personally, I’d prefer white rice with the curry – it was a slight coconut overload. It’s good if  you aren’t counting calories at lunch.

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The Beef Rendang was extremely flavorful with succulent pieces of beef and Dan says, almost the best one he’s had.

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The above is a sirloin steak because the tenderloin was unavailable (you should’ve seen the look of disappointment on Dan’s face). It was surprisingly tender for a sirloin steak so it wasn’t too much of a letdown. The accompanying fries were great too!

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Finally, we had sago gula melaka (again!). This was REALLY good. They are very generous with their coconut cream and the gula melaka was served separately in a little jar so dessert can be as sweet as you want it (or not). I was impressed with the quality of their gula melaka – thick but not too sweet. You’ll have to try it to know what I mean. 

Grandma’s Kitchen might have been so named because Grandmas are never stingy with the quality or quantity of their ingredients =) The prices are slightly higher than at the food court but the service and quality made up the difference.

Definitely coming back and I’ve got my mind on the chendol. Next month!

Blog Theme Change in progress

By , August 13, 2010 4:41 pm

I’m not using this ugly inappropriate-for-my-blog header image, but felt the need to immediately use a new theme because there were problems with leaving comments amongst other problems.

A new header will be up soon!

Perfect Chocolate Macaroons!

By , August 11, 2010 10:33 am

IMG_2353There they are. I think they look lurverly – maybe not as leggy as my previous macaroons but they look store-bought. More importantly, they not only look good, they were yummilicious. Thin crispy shells that cover a soft, and slightly chewy centre with a rich chocolate taste. Using only bitter chocolate worked in combatting the sweetness of the shells. LOVE.

I tried to not be too hopeful after piping out this second batch on a tray. The shiny tops looked promising.choc_mac1Looking at them made my heart sing- smooth, uncracked domes with petite legs peeking out! (I sound a little crazy but attempting anything twice in a day requires a little crazy.)

My first attempt had equal glossy tops but some website said I should bake it at 93deg for 5mins and then 190degs for 8mins. That resulted in a trayful of this :

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Not only that, but I couldn’t remove them from the baking paper at all =( I was about to fold it up and throw the entire thing away, but decided to pop it back into the oven and see if I could create a meringue type cookie. It worked! I got a boxful of these :

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I call them my Ugly Macaroons. These things are cookie-like on the outside and chewy on the inside. Almost like a french macaroon but uglier hardier. Miss J said to keep them for her cos she likes these (and she’d know because I’ve made ugly macaroons before).

Am glad I didn’t give up. Macaroons are about persistence!!!

The only recipe that has worked consistently for me, is the David Lebovitz chocolate macaroon recipe. There is no need to age the egg whites or wait an hour or two after piping before popping them in the oven. Here’re some tips I learnt thru too many trials and errors:

1. Bake at 150deg insetad of 180deg. Small macaroons take about 8-10mins. Bigger macaroons 12-15. Pop it back in the oven if you Really cannot remove from the baking paper.

2. Prepare your ingredients in an airconditioned room. Not sure if that helped but I think working in the natural humidity of Singapore isn’t very good for meringues or macaroons.

3. Do Not overbeat the egg whites – it’s ready once it is glossy.

4. Do Not overfold the icing sugar/ground almond into the egg whites – it’s ready once its texture is like magma/lava.

I definitely prefer baking macaroons to eating them cos they are a tad too sweet for me. But there’s something about making something so pretty that makes me happy. The next two flavors I’m thinking of trying is pistachios and green tea.

Bear with me – my macaroon obsession will pass soon (enough).

My Macaroon Journey

By , August 6, 2010 12:55 pm

So. After tasting those to die for macaroons in Perth, I was inspired to make macaroons again. I went online to search for the nicest macaroon pictures a good macaroon recipe, and decided to make these yesterday.

To cut a long story short, these are how they turned out :IMG_2270

I was a little hesitant about putting them in the oven because the shells weren’t store-bought smooth. But, do I want to give up halfway? No! Good thing I put them in because they grew legs and  cheered me up. 

Then came the cool’em, fill’em, and assemble ’em process.

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When it finally came to the all important taste test (and I was really excited), I bit down and tasted…. alot of sugar.  I thought maybe after leaving it in the fridge for a night to set, it’ll be better.

Earlier today, I took a macaroon out of the fridge and watched it cool as it sat all by its lonely self on a  white plate. You have to understand, I’ve got two dozen macaroons whose fates depended on the result of this taste test.

One more bite. Very crumbly. Not even a little bit chewy. ALOT of sugar.

*sigh* Part and parcel of my macaroon journey. Back to the drawing board.

Brownies!

By , August 5, 2010 9:26 am

I’d like to say that I love brownies but that’s too sweeping a statement because there are so many types of brownies (fudgy, cakey, nutty, dense, light, etc… )and we all have preferences. I love brownies that are a little like a dense cake, doesn’t have nuts and soaks up ice cream. (But that makes me sound fussy….)

It’s a long story as to why I started with making brownies so let’s just say a failed attempt turned me to the world wide web in search of my perfect brownie recipe. The description of this brownie caught my eye. Especially the bits that say it has a wonderfully moist texture, are a cross between “cakey” and “fudgey”, and good to serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Another selling point of this recipe, is that it can be made in just one bowl and doesn’t require egg beaters! Is this God sent or what?! The perfect thing to bake (quickly) when Renee is sleeping. Look how it turned out :

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This recipe is a keeper so I’m sharing it with you! Here’s my modified recipe =)

140grams chocolate, chopped (I used what was in the fridge : nutty Cadbury plus milky Cadbury)
113grams butter, cut into cubes
2tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

**3/4 cup (125 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) I’d include this next time cos Dan said it wasn’t chocolatey enough.

 

 (IMPT: Preheat oven to 175 deg and butter a 8in/20cm square pan)
1. Melt butter and chocolate in a glass bowl (I microwaved on high til butter melted then stirred til smooth)
2. Let cool, stir in cocoa and sugar.
3. Whisk in vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time. Make sure each egg is well beaten before beating in the other.
4. Stir in the flour, baking powder and chocolate chips.
5. Pour into pan and bake for 30mins.

Poke the brownie with a skewer – it should come out with a little batter and a few moist clumps. Do not overbake!

IMG_2240My brownie looked like this when it was just out of the oven. Made a mistake cutting them into such small cubes – it’s not enough to properly put a generous scoop of ice cream on top. Oh well, I think I’ll be making this very soon anyway. 

Oh I also have to emphasize that following the recommended cake pan size makes a difference because it will alter the height of the brownie and change its cooking time.

Last last thing – if you use better baking chocolate (semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate instead of chocolate snacks), I recommend following the original recipe and using a cup of white sugar instead of brown sugar.
 
 Done. Have fun!  

Heart the Sweets in Perth

By , August 2, 2010 11:18 am

I know my blog says “Everybody loves a sweet ending”, but I suspect (almost)everybody loves a sweet beginning and sweet everything in between too! Just like our recent trip to Perth – generously interspersed with many sweet treats!

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Does coffee count? I like my my latte sweet =P And coffee somehow tastes better when it’s cold outside, with a simple muffin(or anything for that matter) to go along.

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And this simple muffin isn’t all that simple – it’s fluffy and light and the epitome of the perfect muffin.

crepesuzette1I have to say that it is worthy of all the praises I’ve heard sung about it! This soft crepe wrapped around nutella, bananas, strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream is the absolute best I’ve had. It was the absolute messiest eat too but so worth it! JC

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A friend staying in Perth recommended this little cafe which has the honor of the best patisserie in town (the patrons there said the same when they spotted me taking pictures!). I think using only the freshest of ingredients and being generous with it gave this place its reputation. You can tell just by looking, that the strawberry tart is going to taste divine, can’t you? (it did) The custard in both the croissant and donut had just a hint of a alcohol in it, giving the simple custard an interesting twist. Soooo good. Oh and we learnt that the best way to eat the donut is to hold our breaths and bite down else the powdered sugar snows on everything. The jam donut was a winner too!! 

This same friend also showed me the best macaroons in town:

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This would give Canele and Bakerz zero business a run for their money if they came to town! But I doubt they will because this cafe is a small setup and obviously run by people who make them cos they love to. At AUD3 PER macaroon, it helped deter me from buying another hundred or so home. It also made me miss making macaroons.

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We couldn’t resist ordering the mille feuille cos it looked so yummy. Dan asked how it was pronounced and the lady said she has no idea. Calls it the milli filli hurhur. Anyhow, this has 3 layers of puff pastry, a butterscotch glaze,a hazelnutty pastry cream and I suspect a thousand calories. I finished everything. Holidays are great. (Thanks Ning!)

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And when in Perth, we always visit the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (this is the Swan Valley outlet) to have their hot chocolate. We’d swipe a handful of “For tasting” chocolate pastilles from the big bowls to give our hot chocolate more oomphf. Might have overdone it this time (it was awfully sweet =p)

Holidays are such a great excuse for pigging eating!

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