Category: Yak Yak Yak

It’s Tea Time!!

By , May 31, 2011 3:46 pm

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Need I say more? Fabulous tea time food…. although some may say it’s fabulous anytime food. I personally prefer toasted bread of the thinner variety (ie: ya kun type toast), but there’s been times a nice crusty toasted thick bread has changed my mind (ie: chin mee chin type toast). The above is obviously neither (Killiney), but right now the bread is secondary because I’m craving any good ol’ half boiled egg =)

Enjoy your teatime!

Cake decorating classes by the maker of THIS cake!

By , April 14, 2011 2:55 pm

Yes, this is a cake, and everyone on it is edible. It is made by my friend who isn’t a professional baker. Some days when I’m in need of a dose of humility, I go to Facebook and look at the cakes she bakes. It’s hard not to feel jealousy admiration for someone who can teach herself to create such pieces of art =p

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So anyhow, I was tweeting for help on cupcakes last week and this friend replied to say that she is starting a little class on how to make and decorate cupcakes. I was immediately intrigued – you mean I can actually try to make the stuff she does? Of course I’m going!

She sent me a class brief and yesterday, I turned up at her doorstep at 9am. Together with 3 other ladies, we had a blast of a morning icing little cupcakes and making fondant figurines.IMG_5514

The above was a sample of things to come – we would be making garden themed cupcakes (Even I didn’t think we’d be starting with an Angry Birds cake) She first demonstrated how to make the cupcakes, and while they were in the oven, showed us how to make a batch of buttercream. We then divided the buttercream and everyone coloured a batch.

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Then we learnt how to pipe icing onto our cupcakes (This is the grass version) :

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Afterward, we learnt how to make figurines with fondant/gumpaste. That was really an eye opener for me because I have NEVER worked with fondant/gumpaste before.

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That’s the caterpillar in making =)

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An edible arts and craft session!!

I was skiving documenting the class, and thinking to myself it’s crazy the amount of work that goes into making these things. By the end of the class, we each got a box to bring our cupcakes home in so that we can show off  share how fabulous our cupcakes looked.

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What I really liked about the class was that it was very hands on, and that it was an intimate class of 4 – everybody got to ask many questions. What’s more, she was very generous in sharing everything she knew, and no question was too basic or irrelevant. I think when passionate bakers teach, they really dish out on invaluable tips and advice instead of hoarding it.

Her name is Audrey Leung and if you feel like admiring beautiful cakes, you can check out her facebook page here. As these classes are a hobby for her, she is flexible with class plans and size. Get a few friends and go for a lesson together – either learn everything in a day, or spread them out! You can write her at audrey@smartsensecovers.com 

I’m not sure I am cut out for fondant modelling, but maybe one day, I can do this :

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One can hope right? =)

Modesto’s Set Lunch!

By , March 31, 2011 10:14 am

After re-reading that last entry about fantastic pizza at Modesto’s, we decided to head there again for lunch. I’ll have to take back what I said about it being too pricey.

Modesto’s at Orchard offers a great set lunch! The food is fab and even more fab, is that it’s at $11.99 – includes a drink, a soup/salad and a main course.

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Pick the soup – their mushroom soup is not of the canned and watered down variety. It is of the authentic, taste the grounded fresh mushrooms with every spoonful variety. The bonus with picking the soup, is that their bread basket has soft and warm focacia bread with crusty sides. In short, the perfect accompaniment to the soup.

Of course if mushrooms aren’t your thing, then get the salad =p

As for the main course, you can pick a wood fired pizza or any classic pasta (with penne or spaghetti). I picked the same chicken sausage pizza and it is as good as I remembered it to be. Dan picked the bolognese pizza (his first) – very yummy!

I’ll admit I was initially worried that quality will be sacrificed as is sometimes the case with set meals… pleased to say – not here! Definitely my recommendation for lunch =)

Jack’s Place (yes really!)

By , February 25, 2011 10:22 am

Yeah, you read right. Jack’s Place. Why am I writing about Jack’s Place? It’s been around forever – ok maybe not forever but since 1967  IS forever to the younger readers.

Thing is, most people my age (fine fine, do I Have to spell it out?? *grumble* 30s) have a precious memory or two from their youth in Jack’s Place. At that time, it was THE place to go. I have two precious memories there.

One of them, is of a group of us (upper secondary I think) throwing peas around the restaurant at Bras Basah. *hangs head* I know. Very childish and irritating. It was the only one time we went there did it. It wasn’t exactly affordable fare for us too and we had to save up to eat there. I think they were glad we didn’t patron the place frequently although our school was just across the road.

Another memory, is of my father – he brought my sister and I to Jack’s Place at Ang Mo Kio for lunch once. Come to think of it, that might be the only memory I have of him… Oh well, better than none?

Anyhows, I seldom go to Jack’s because there are too many choices of too many new restaurants. But Dan likes Jack’s Place. He likes that their oysters are always fresh and their steaks always dependable. Having those two things at a meal always makes him a happy man.

I recently discovered that their teriyaki chicken is really good –

IMG_3919The chicken was, as advertised on the menu, succulent pieces atop white rice. They forgot to mention that the chicken will be browned to a slight crisp. I think more people would order it if they knew. Other than that, it’s a very simple dish. Chicken, carrots and peas with teriyaki sauce over rice. Fills you up, is healthy, tastes good even after you’ve fed your baby and it has been sitting out for awhile(not many dishes can lay claim to that!)

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This chicken pasta is a winner with my mother who likes cream pasta (I’m not a fan). She likes that the pasta isn’t too al dente, that it’s tasty, not nauseatingly creamy, and that the chicken is the same good chicken over at the teriyaki dish minus the teriyaki sauce. 

Their menu is available online – nothing to hide when you’ve been around for so long. I’m guessing Renee will be eating there in future too =)

Simple pleasures.

By , February 24, 2011 3:53 pm

When we were in Europe for our honeymoon, one of our favourite things to do was to have a coffee at any quaint looking sidewalk cafe, and people watch. Our coffees usually came with a little something sweet on the side – a little cookie, a slice of biscotti, and very frequently, a caramelised biscuit (that was the name on the packaging).

They are two brown pieces of biscuits visible through a red and white plastic packaging. I found its taste to be extremely satisfying with a coffee or tea. Light, crunchy and the perfect blend of brown sugar and cinnamon. I liked it so much I actually looked forward to it as much as the coffee whenever we stopped at a cafe, and would even be a little disappointed when I didn’t see the familiar red and white packaging by the side of my coffee cup.

One day while we were in Prague (I think), we went to a supermarket and guess what we chanced upon in the confectionery aisle? That’s right – THE caramelised biscuits!! Yay!! I bought a few dozen packets and only stopped because Dan my voice of oppression reason said there wasn’t any space in our luggage.

When we returned, I made sure to eat the biscuits very slowly, because I’m obviously not going back to Europe anytime soon to shop for biscuits, right?

Then one day, we were at a supermarket(Cold storage or NTUC) and guess what we chanced upon in the confectionery aisle? That’s right – THE caramelised biscuits!!

How often do we go afar to find something good that is right at home =P

I still buy them to have with my coffee/tea – simple pleasures.  

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Pineapple Tarts for 2011!

By , January 26, 2011 5:08 pm

Just read from the papers that many people are attending classes this year to learn how to make their own new year goodies. I also read that the hot favourite is the pineapple tart. Feeling a wee bit smug that I got a 4year head start hehe

I’m still using the same recipe as the first year  (you can replace the cornflour with plainflour because I learnt that doesn’t make much of a difference), and I forgot this, but I even have my own pineapple tart video which showcases my awkward kitchen moves. (Please don’t judge the pineapple tart by my moves – they really do turn out yummy!!)

With a baby at home this year, it’s slightly difficult to spend an entire day in the kitchen. So, we spread it out into many days and did stuff during her nap times. 

Day 1 : My helper grates 2 fresh honey pineapples and mixes it with two packets of readymade pineapple paste. She stirs it all over a fire til it dries out – about 2hours (I know!!!) The finished product is a paste that has a very authentice homemade flavour and isn’t as sweet as the commercial ones.

Day 2: We roll them into balls like the below and keep it in the fridge. 

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Day 3 (one day before actual baking): Prepare the dough because they have to be refrigerated before use. This year, we made two batches of dough. One is the original pineapple tart dough and the other the jam cookie dough.

Baking Day : 

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I press the dough into a flat sheet about 1/2cm thick and then use a small cookie cutter, which is slightly bigger than a 50ct coin to cut the dough. (I like my tarts bite sized – feel free to use a gingerbread cutter if you are so inclined =p) Then I glaze them with egg yolk before plopping a ball of pineapple paste on top of each one. Before baking, both trays look identical.

After baking, the tarts with the original recipe turned out like this :

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Pretty aren’t they? =D I like how they retained their shapes and look so perfectly baked. I even take the trouble to “dress” them individually :

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The batch with the jam cookie dough turned out like this :

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Not so pretty =( They have expanded in size and are roughly 1.5 times bigger than what I had originally cut out. It made the ball of pineapple look very miserly and they don’t fit into the red wrappers because they are plus sized.

Wasted? Let’s just say they disappeared alot faster than the pretty ones. Everyone loves this cookie dough! They are less crumbly than the original recipe and isn’t the melt in your mouth sort. The original recipe is more the ‘traditional’ melt in your mouth tart. It’s all down to personal preference I guess. I was intending to make more original recipe pineapple tarts but looks like I’ll have to defer to consumers’ preference and make more jam cookie dough tarts.

Tips for the pineapple tarts with the jam cookie dough : Use 20g lesser sugar than required so that you can put more pineapple paste on top and still it wouldn’t taste too sweet. Finding the balance is key here! The pineapple paste should cover 3/4 of the cut out dough (because the dough expands after baking).

Good luck with your tarts!

Home Grub!!

By , January 7, 2011 1:39 pm

I wanted the first food post for 2011 to be special, and I’d say home grub is special because it is yummy, it’s available anytime and because The Man prepares it =)

THE PRE PARTY PLATTER!!

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This explosion of colours is bound to impress any guest =) The biggest plus is that this platter is easily assembled – you just need the ingredients on hand and of course some flair with decorating. It is also a very healthy platter : Tomatoes; strips of carrot, celery and cucumber; cocktail nuts; raisins; cranberries; sliced mushrooms; vegs sprinkled all over; salami and cheese.

On the side, Dan also prepares crackers to go with the cheese and salami (it’s such a wicked combo!). For a bigger group, he usually gets dips (from Cold storage) and nacho chips too.

It’s really nice to sit around this platter and slowly pick everything off it while catching up with friends/family. Dan’s choice of beverage for the platter is red wine/champagne. Yes, he does enjoy his food and wine 🙂

THE BEST TENDERLOIN!!

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I honestly think Dan makes very good steak (Don’t tell him I said so, but I was 3/4 won over during our dating days the first time he prepared me a good steak!) I’m not alone too – everybody who’s tried the beef he prepares thinks so whether it’s panfried/barbequed/roasted. It must be his affinity with steak… or just that he’s had sooooo much of it.

A Fairprice Finest recently opened near our hood so he buys the tenderloin from there and requests for the meat to be cut about an inch thick ($6.70/100gm – way more affordable than eating out!). He prepares a salad on the side Jamie Oliver style (ie: without washing) and drizzles the salad dressing over some leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and raisins.

Back to the ‘star’ of the dish: As the pan is heating up, Dan seasons one side of the beef with a little salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, he cooks it with a teaspoon of olive oil and waits for the side of the steak to show a 3/4 ‘cooked’ line. He then flips it over and expertly gauges the doneness of the steak to perfection. After he removes the steak from the pan, we wait for 2mins for the meat to ‘settle’ and then drizzle this over :

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$44.90 for 250ml felt very expensive until we saw a 100ml bottle going for $55.90. But it is a very good investment because it makes every dish taste like restaurant takeaway. *slurp*

You might wanna try firing up the stove and impressing your friends/(potential) partner/ family cos Dan will testify that it works!

Vitamin Water!

By , December 3, 2010 2:42 pm

You must have heard of Glaceau’s Vitamin Water by now (their launch was held last week at Ion Sky). They are so popular, their facebook page has over 2million fans – I’m sure having many Hollywood celebrities photographed with Vitamin Water in hand has helped sales =P 

But what exactly is vitamin water? It is fortified water that has more vitamins in it than your regular soft drink. While I wouldn’t replace my regular vitamins with vitamin water, here is why I would choose vitamin water over other soft drinks.

You know how some days you just want something cold and sugared or coloured?  I’ll have to admit I have more of those moments than I should (plain water is still your best bet). What I do, is that I pick something that doesn’t do too much damage in the calorie department. Green tea for example, has about 24kcal/100ml. Vitamin water has 18kcal/100ml. Plus vitamin water has more flavours and even some vitamins. You see how easy a choice it is for me?

I also like the write-up of every flavor – it spells fun and trendy and who doesn’t like that?

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Ok and I’ll admit to the very cool bar fridge they sent to our household, stocked with vitamin water of every flavor. You’ve gotta love that. My friends come over and naturally head for that fridge – we’re down to too few bottles in too short a time. Need to stock up!

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You can get vitamin water at all leading supermarkets =)

The Sticky Chewy Chocolate Place

By , October 13, 2010 5:18 pm

Yeah, that’s what I call Swensen’s. Doesn’t matter it is 6 syllabus more than Swensen’s. It’s a name that stuck from teenage days cause the sticky chewy chocolate was our only reason to go (restaurant prices too high for the poor student). I’m not sure why I haven’t been back until recently but good thing I did – learnt that their menu is rather good!

We’ve been back 3 times in 2 weeks and Dan always orders 2 main courses :

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Their fillet mignon tastes a tad gamey for me, but has a wonderful texture – tender and juicy.

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The grilled barramundi (which we had Every visit) was always fresh and always cooked just right. The fish flakes off with a prod of the fork. Yum!

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This is the wagyu fried rice. I’ve been craving lotsa rice lately so this satisfies my palate. Not WOW but good. We also tried their fish n chips (yay), chilli fish pasta (nay) and lamb chops (yay).

The menu also boasts milk shakes of many many flavors. I didn’t order any because I was supposed to be on a no dairy diet. But I did sneak a spoonful of The Sticky Chewy Chocolate.

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(Here’s an obligatory picture from Swensen’s website)

Before that first bite, I was a little reluctant to find out if my tastebuds, now having been exposed to atas good ice cream, will find The Sticky Chewy Chocolate not as good as I remember it to be. (When you are young, ALL ice cream tastes good).

It Is as sticky and chewy and chocolatey as I remember it to be. So familiar! *sigh*

You’ll always have a special place in my stomach =)

Final Macaron Post

By , September 2, 2010 11:24 am

You guys must be sick of macarons, but indulge me just one final macaron post.

Presenting the Green Tea Macarons!

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Green tea powder isn’t readily available in most supermarkets, and I only had two sachets of green tea powder from a green tea loving friend who bought them from Taiwan. Lucky that was all I had because if I had put more, the taste of green tea might be overpowering. I paired it with bitter chocolate ganache and it was quite the winner with me my friends.

I overwhipped the egg whites which explains the uneven height of the macaron so nay to how it looks. But still, yay to its taste!

NB: I substituted 1 tbsp green tea in place of 3 tbsp cocoa

This next picture, is of my attempt at making the Pistachio macaron.

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The same mistake – overwhipped egg whites 🙁 I knew the texture when wrong when the macarons did not settle down after piping, but maintained the shape of how it was piped out. The unevenness was even more obvious after it set in the oven. Like this :

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For this macaron, I grounded whole pistachios instead of using almonds. Couldn’t taste the pistachios much – it just tasted sweet. So I thought I’d use more pistachios with buttercream for its filling.

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It was….. still too sweet. Macarons are generally too sweet for my liking which explains why my fillings must either be bitter chocolate or VERY lightly sweetened cream cheese.

So nay to taste and nay to looks for this macaron. *sigh

Please feel free to drop ideas of ‘bitter’ flavors other than coffee, chocolate and green tea. It will be much appreciated!

Ok. No more macaron entries for awhile!

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