Croissant [Bread] & Butter Pudding!

Yes it’s the festive season. Yes it’s nearing the end of 2017. Yes it’s Christmas!

(Well, 2 days ago it was)

I’ve always told my friends that baking wasn’t my thing, and that cooking is much more flexible as you can taste and season your food as you go along. I wasn’t a big fan of measuring ingredients e.g. 50g of butter, 200g of flour etc. Then I realized baking isn’t that tough after making this dish!

Bread and butter pudding is a pudding that is very popular in British cuisine. The concept is to layer slices of buttered bread, scattered with raisins, into an oven dish. A custard made by mixing eggs, cream, sugar and milk, normally seasoned with nutmeg as well as vanilla, is poured over the bread mixture. It is then baked and served with custard or cream.

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I’ve adapted my version from Nigella Lawson’s Bread & Butter Pudding Recipe. Instead of using bread, I’ve opted for croissants as these are packed with butter which will give me a crisp exterior. Oh! Serve with vanilla ice-cream!

Ingredients:
3 eggs
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 cup milk (do not use low fat)
1 cup cream
(1/2 – 1 tsp of vanilla extract)
(Nutmeg)
5 – 6 croissants
50g butter
A handful of raisins

Steps:

  1. Slice the croissants and toast them until slightly crisp. Once the croissant slices are done, tip them into a oven dish along with the raisins.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (356 F).
  3. Mix the eggs, milk, cream, sugar into a large bowl.
  4. Melt the butter over low heat and pour it into the milk mixture while whisking.
  5. Pour the mixture into the croissant-filled oven dish.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Some things to take note of:

  • Vanilla extract and ground nutmeg was not used as I did not have time to get it but these are the must-use ingredients as it really lifts the flavour of the entire pudding.
  • This recipe can be adjusted if you have more people coming for a party e.g. more croissants, eggs, cream etc.
  • Raisins can be soaked in Marsala (like what Nigella did) or rum!
  • Instead of raisins, you can use bananas.
  • Addictive
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Chibing Korean Restaurant

I must say I’m pretty happy with my workplace as it has good food around the area. Chibing Korean Restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes, from appetizers, to chimaek sets, stews, pancakes, all the way to bingsu! It does sound like a perfect 3 course dinner. Chibing is ideal for big groups as their portions are pretty sizeable and can feed at least 4 people per portion (e.g. the stir fried chicken set we had). Top up with some side dishes and bingsu and you’ll be filled up by the end of your meal. You can head there for a light lunch (if you don’t want to head back to office with food coma to come), or dinner, where you can enjoy the full ‘3-course’ meal.

Their Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken comes adorned with lots of vegetables, so you will not feel guilty. Cabbages, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and spring onions are lined up side by side with the chicken right in the centre. The pot is heated up to a point where the staff will help you with the frying of the dish. When everything is mixed well, you can start eating.

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Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken

YES you can add rice when you have cleared most of the chicken dish and YES you can definitely request for cheese to be added. Mix everything together and you’ve got a well seasoned rice with gooey bits of cheese hiding inside.

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Thick Slices of Pork Belly

Chibing does not only have a la carte dishes to offer, but they have their Unlimited BBQ promotion which is about S$20++ for adults and S$10++ for children. For that price you will get unlimited pork belly (pretty thick slices as well), free flow of side dishes, soy bean paste stew (Doenjang-jjigae), rice, and steamed egg. A downside of this promotion is that you have to pay an extra $2 for lettuce and $3 for oyster mushrooms.

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Garlic, Pork Belly, Kimchi

​But I’m sure K-BBQ lovers go there for mainly their meat, and Kimchi is already a free-flow side of vegetables so I don’t think it will be an issue! The lady boss also taught as to place the kimchi towards the end of the grill, where the fat from the pork belly will accumulate and cook the kimchi, giving it added flavour. 3 of us shared 11 strips of pork belly and by the end of the meal we were thoroughly satisfied.

Address:
1 Vista Exchange Green, # 01-43/K4,
The Star Vista Mall, Singapore 138617

Nearest MRT:
Buona Vista MRT Station (EW21/CC22)

Opening Hours:
Mondays – Saturdays: 11:30AM – 10:00PM
Sundays: 11:00AM – 10:00PM

Ayam Penyet

Ayam penyet, which means “smashed fried chicken” in Javanese, is an Indonesian dish consisting of a piece of fried chicken that is smashed on a pestle and mortar to make it softer, and served with sambal, cucumber slices, fried tofu, and tempeh. I’d dare say that ayam penyet is quite a popular dish here in Singapore, with outlets in coffeeshops, malls, and even schools (cue: NUS Science Canteen)! It will definitely be a hit for deep-fried food lovers AND those that love a good sambal.

My previous time at Ayam Penyet Ria was ages ago and it was a hit back then. Fast forward to 2017, it has since opened a number of branches – 2 in Lucky Plaza, and others at Far East Plaza, and Jurong Point.

Lucky Plaza’s Ayam Penyet Ria outlet on the 4th floor was the choice for dinner on a Friday night. Being early is important as within an hour or so, the seats were filled up really quickly – which shows that it is still a favourite!

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General Layout of the Restaurant

I’m quite a skeptical person when it comes to an original outlet having various branches throughout the island as there is a tendency for the quality of the food to deteriorate through the years. However, the food did not disappoint. The fried chicken was crispy, but the meat was a little dry but that could be changed with adjustments to the cooking time! Do take note that their sambal is quite spicy (even for me), so if you’re a moderate spice eater, beware!

To make sure the chicken is moist and juicy after a deep fry, you’ll have to poach the chicken first so that the inside is cooked through. The high heat from the deep fry process is meant to crisp up the meat as a whole, and not really meant for cooking the meat through. So if the poaching process were to be omitted, what you will get is a crispy but overcooked piece of meat. The Ayam Penyet Recipe from Bearnakedfood does this! What the chef also did was to marinate the meat overnight for more flavour and a more tender piece of meat.

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Ayam Penyet (Smashed Fried Chicken) – Comes with deep fried beancurd, cucumbers, tempeh, cabbage, and a dollop of sambal

Next up was Tahu Telor aka Beancurd Omelette, also another deep fried dish. This dish is part of the street food culture in Indonesia and it involves a mixture of beaten egg and tofu that is deep fried, and served with a peanut sauce. I am quite sure that the “high tower” shape is a new addition to this dish as normal tahu telors are pretty much flat. To get this “high tower” shape, just use a mould (it has to be metal of course; used soup cans are great, but remove the labels). I am not a big advocate of deep fried eggs as somehow I find that it takes away the flavour of the eggs. Nevertheless, it was still a great dish!

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Tahu Telor/Telur – Beancurd Omelette

Address:
Lucky Plaza:
204 Orchard Road, #04-25/26 & Level 1,
Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863

Far East Plaza:
14 Scotts Road, #05-22
Far East Plaza, Singapore 228213

Jurong Point:
1 Jurong West Central 2, #B1-06,
Jurong Point, 648886

Nearest MRT:
For Lucky Plaza and Far East Plaza:
Orchard MRT Station (NS22)

For Jurong Point:
Boon Lay MRT Station (EW27)

Opening Hours:
Mondays – Sundays: 11:00AM – 10:00PM

Food Tour (III) Prego’s @ Fairmont Singapore

Our final stop was to Prego’s at Fairmont Singapore. Chef de Cuisine Antonio Facchinetti made it a family-sharing styled lunch/dinner compared to the individual servings we had earlier on. Amazing dishes such as Insalata Caprese (correct me if I’m wrong!) – a dish with buffalo mozzarella that was so soft, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar; Plus my personal favourites, Penne Tartufate – penne with sautéed mushrooms and a truffle cream sauce, pasta was cooked al dente, sauce was not too heavy;  and Prego’s ‘House Signature’ Tiramisu, which was extremely light and had a great balance of coffee and liqueur.

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Insalata Caprese (Vine Ripened Tomatoes with Buffalo Mozzarella)

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Penne Tartufate (Pasta with Sauteed Wild Mushrooms in a Truffle Cream Sauce)

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Cappellacci di Zucca

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Tiramisu

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With Maureen (misstamchiak)

There were other dishes that did not make it into these photo slideshow but they were great as well. I am so grateful to Maureen for organizing this food tour and picking the 10 winners too! Through this food tour I met 9 other foodies that had so much love for food, and the great lengths they go to arranging their food for a photo shot.

Don’t forget to check out the Accor Hotels Food and Wine Festival from the 4th to the 12th of November and there will be a total of 40 restaurants and bars taking part in this festival!

P.S. I ended the food tour at night with a Backstreet Boys concert at the Indoor Stadium. So darn good, as always.

Food Tour (II) Ellenborough Market Cafe @ Swissotel Merchant Court

Second stop was to the Ellenborough Market Cafe at Swissotel Merchant Court. Helmed by Chef Louis Tay, this restaurant aims to serve the best of Peranakan Cuisine, alongside Asian and International goodies. For the AccorHotels Food & Wine Festival, the Cafe will be serving a Tiffin Set for two.

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Hee Pioh Soup

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Stir-fried Chincalok Pork

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Lady’s Fingers with Sambal Belachan

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Ikan Assam Pedas

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Turmeric Rice

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Pièce de résistance: Durian Pengat drizzled with Gula Melaka

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Assorted Nyonya Kueh

 

Soup:
Hee Pioh Soup, also known as Meatball and Fish Maw Soup. As clear as it seems, every spoonful gives a burst of intense flavour.

Main Course:
Served with a main staple of Turmeric Rice, you’ll have Stir-fried Chincalok Pork, Ikan Assam Pedas, and Lady’s Fingers with Sambal Belachan. My personal favourite was Ikan Assam Pedas – fresh fish, and the broth was a fine balance between sour and spicy.

Dessert:
Assorted Nyonya Kueh. We were very lucky to be served an additional bowl of Durian Pengat which is topped with a drizzle of Gula Melaka (this will be on the a la carte menu during the festival). Sinful but oh so good.

South Union Park

Hidden in the residential areas about a 7 minute walk from Kembangan MRT station, you’ll find situated in a corner a nice little bistro that sits about 50+ people comfortably. I learnt from Danielfooddiary that they opened in March last year and how the chefs were trained in fine-dining techniques and modified their dishes for a casual dining experience.

Scotch eggs are commonly part of picnic menus over in the United Kingdom and the sausage meat is normally seasoned with herbs such as sage (sage+pork are great buddies), thyme and parsley. Over here at South Union Park, it had an oriental feel to it because there were hints of lemongrass and ginger which were pretty new to me but still tasted great! (And the eggs were cooked well, with a runny centre!)

This would definitely be a recommended dish – Squid Ink Risotto ($26). Risotto cooked al dente, topped with generous portions of well-cooked squid, prawns, and clams. The slight citrus hit would be due to the grated lemon zest which does lift the whole dish. The best thing about this dish is the absence of a fishy taste. My past experiences with squid-ink related dish has been nothing but fishy, but not this time.

Another dish that is a must try would be Poutine ($12), a ducky, cheesy, potato-y bowl of goodness. Just think fries with duck gravy and melted cheese – that’ll get you drooling.

We decided to order one of each dessert – Brownie ($9), topped with a generous scoop of salted caramel ice cream, candied walnuts, and butter scotch; Passionfruit Carrot Fondant ($14), with frozen yoghurt and a carrot ginger purée; Roasted Pineapple & Coconut Parfait ($11), with butter cookies, coconut, and oat granola; Banana Chocolate Parfait ($8), with banana & chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and candied walnuts. (Photos of both parfaits are not displayed here, but it was delectable!)

The brownie is shown above, while the fondant is shown below.

Brownie was served warm with a soft interior. It was a combination of great textures – the nuts, the soft salted caramel ice cream, the warm brownie, all enveloped by gooey butterscotch.

The Passionfruit Carrot Fondant had an unique taste – an interesting amalgamation of flavours and ingredients such as a carrot ginger puree! I wouldn’t call this dish an acquired taste, but a one that plays with your tastebuds! The fondant was cooked perfectly, with a molten centre, similar in principle to that of a chocolate fondant.

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And here’s us, with our satisfied faces after a wonderful meal. Staff were all very friendly and ready to help. I’m definitely coming back because they change their menu every 6 months! So head down to South Union Park to give the dishes a try!

Check them out at instagram here!

Address:
101 Jln Kembangan,
Singapore 419139

Nearest MRT:
Kembangan MRT Station (EW6)
The bistro is a 7-8 minute walk from the station.

Opening hours:
Closed on Mondays
Tues – Thurs: 5.30PM – 10:00PM
Fri: 11:30AM – 10:00PM
Sat: 9:00AM – 10:00PM
Sun: 9:00AM – 9:00PM

90 minutes for lunch? Let’s go!

What do you do if you only had 90 minutes for lunch? You’ve got to sit down quickly and clean out the food! (Nah, just kidding. Please don’t eat too fast, and chew it well before you swallow it.)

Enough talk and let’s go straight to the food.

If you love Korean spicy rice cakes (tteokbokki) and hotpots, why not combine them into one? Dookki Restaurant is the place to go! Situated at the basement of Suntec City, it is a few units away from Ya Kun so you’ll not miss it!

Dookki restaurant is quite popular so you have to be prepared to wait for your table. Most importantly, make sure EVERYONE from your group is there and ready to enter the restaurant. Rest assured, the staff is really efficient in making sure you have a table and are seated comfortably.

Once you’re seated at your table, and when the waiters/waitresses have taught you how to handle the hotpot, off you go to the buffet section! They have 8 varieties of rice cakes, and they come in different shapes, lengths and sizes! My personal favourite? The sweet potato rice cake. Keep your eyes peeled for a purple rice cake!

When you’re done choosing the rice cakes, get yourself some sausages, seafood, spam, and vegetables (this is to make you feel less guilty when you’re gobbling down all the processed meat). Please take the mung bean sprouts as they go really well with the sauce and adds a crunchy texture to the dish.

Of course, what’s tteokbokki without its sauce? Concoct your spicy sauce with the 5 recipes displayed at the sauce corner. OR, if you’re into spicy foods like me, go all out (add more of the flame sauce).

Just behind the sauce corner are dishes of fried food. These are all meant to be put into the pot when the sauce is done so don’t forget it! My favourite would be the fried ‘kimbap’. Instead of ‘bap’ or rice, they wrap noodles with seaweed, dip it in batter and deep-fry it. An absolute joy.

Once your sauce is ready, add the stock along with the sauce and this is what you should get, as shown above. Let it bubble before adding all your ingredients in. Give it a good mix and you should get what I got below. The sauce will definitely thicken so it is up to you to pour in a little bit more stock if you find it too thick for you. Oh, before I forget, they serve “eomuk”, or commonly known as fishcakes on skewers! These are pretty reminiscent of Korean dramas – how they savour every single stick and wipe it clean.

Lastly, top up approximately $10 for a cheese ring if you’re an absolute cheese fan. I was impressed at first but I realized the ring was not attached to a heat source, thus the cheese hardened when it cooled down. So the trick is to eat it all up (i.e. wrap it in rice cakes or anything) before it hardens! It is totally fine if you skip this order. At $18.80++ per person, I don’t see why you shouldn’t go for this buffet!

 

Address:
3 Temasek Boulevard, #B1-107,
Singapore 038984

Nearest MRT:
City Hall Station (NS25/EW13)
Promenade Station (CC4/DT15)

Opening hours:
Mon – Fri
11.30AM – 10.30PM

Meat overdose at Brotzeit’s

So you think you’ve had enough of meat? Nooooope. Not until you head to Brotzeit for their platters. The Brotzeit Platter, a platter that “represents the Best of Brotzeit” is a platter that is guaranteed to meatify (I believe there’s no such word, but it’s alright.) your 5 senses including your tummy as well.

In the photo, from left to right, you have a variety of sausages which include grilled pork sausages, spicy chicken, cheese, thüringer (the spiral sausage) and garlic pork, followed by a crispy roasted pork knuckle, ending with honey Bavarian pork ribs. This platter (S$98) also comes with three side dishes: potato salad, fries and lastly my favourite, sauerkraut.

The star of the platter is right smack in the middle: the pork knuckle. It is beautifully roasted with its crispy outer layer and a juicy interior. Cutting through the crispy skin is like music to my ears and it opens up into the tender meat. Dip it in some wholegrain mustard and indulge in savoury porky-ness. Some people might find the knuckle too oily because of all the fats. It is normal to fill “gelat” or feel uncomfortable with that amount of fats. That’s what the sauerkraut is for! It helps to cleanse your palate and allows you to continue eating (it works for me).

However, the pork ribs were just above average. It did not have the “WOW” factor i.e. falling off the bone, extremely tender. The seasoning was alright, but I felt that it did not penetrate the meat as how it should be. But the platter as a whole was pretty good! Take care to not drink too much beer at the start if not you WILL be full very quickly. I should have ordered the schnitzel instead of the ribs, but that is for another time!

Address:
126 East Coast Road,
Singapore 428809
(When you are walking out of 112 Katong, walk towards the main road. Brotzeit will be across the road on your right.)

Nearest MRT:
Dakota Station (CC8)
Follow signs for “Blk 99” and take buses 10/16/32. These buses will stop opposite 112 Katong. You can’t miss it!

Opening hours:
Mon – Fri: 4PM – 12AM
Sat: 10AM – 1AM
Sun: 10AM – 12AM

Penne Bolognese: In less than 30 minutes!

In less than 30 minutes? Pasta bolognese? Yes it’s possible! The most important step before cooking is to prepare all your ingredients – “Mise en place”, a French term – which means “everything in its place”. You won’t have to worry about not preparing your vegetables, or taking meat out of the fridge.

Yes, bolognese sauce can be done in less than 30 minutes. I would say it’s a little like Nigella Express. With the right ingredients and proper steps, you don’t have to slave over the stove for hours and hours. There are many variety of meat sauces but of course the authentic one comes straight from Italy. Italian chefs have shown the proper way and the original recipe for the bolognese sauce and I wouldn’t dare to offend them!

My recipe is catered for convenience and families that would want a quick but really delicious meal.

Ingredients:

  • 600 – 800g of minced beef
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large red onions (or yellow, whichever you prefer), finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 – 3 pieces of anchovy fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle of Prego® Traditional Pasta Sauce
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes, reuse to add one can of freshly boiled water
  • Pasta of your choice (I used penne here. Traditionally, tagliatelle is used.)
  1. An important point to take note of when cooking minced beef, a tip I learnt from great chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, is to never put your mince in a cold pan. ALWAYS make sure your pan is really hot before adding your oil and adding the mince just before the oil starts to smoke. Also, try to use a deep-based pan for the mince.
  2. When you’ve done that, let the heat come back up and then start stirring the mince to break it up. Let all the water evaporate so that you can start searing/browning the meat.
  3. Once the meat is browned (take note of the crackling sound in the pan). Add the cumin powder, chilli powder and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and mix everything together.
  4. Add the finely chopped onions, crushed garlic, grated carrots, and continue mixing.
  5. Empty the bottle of tomato sauce as well as the tinned tomatoes, and also a can of freshly boiled water.
  6. After stirring for a couple of minutes, add the cherry tomatoes last. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. By now, you should already have a pot of salted boiling water to prep your pasta. The cooking time should be approximately 2-3 minutes less than the instructions on the packet (I will explain later).
  8. Drain the pasta when done, not before saving a cup of pasta water, and pour it into the bolognese sauce. Mix well!
  9. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, al dente or more than that, serve it from the pan or in a glass dish.
  10. Garnish with sprigs of coriander leaves/cilantro and julienned chilli.

[Notes]

A deep-based pan is important as you will be handling a substantial amount of liquid as well. For this recipe I used a wok as it IS deep and quite big as well. It is important to get it really hot as you don’t want to boil the meat. You want to caramelize the meat – gives it extra flavour.

Pasta choice is entirely up to you. I chose penne because the meat sauce can get trapped inside the holes thus making every bite a pleasure!

When cooking the pasta, you must know that there will be additional cooking time in the bolognese sauce. If the instructions on the packet says 11 minutes, and you cook it for that long, your pasta will be overcooked and might turn soggy. That is why you cook it 2-3 minutes less than the original so the pasta will be just nice when the dish is completed.

It is also not a crime to use pre-made sauces from the supermarket. They add so much flavour within a short time. However, to balance it out, I add a can of tinned tomatoes, some water, and occasionally a teaspoon of sugar to make it gentler on the palate.

In this recipe, I have added 2-3 pieces of finely chopped anchovies as it gives the dish a greater depth. People might hate anchovies, but after chopping them and simmering, they just melt away, leaving no trace. At. All.

Give this a try, and I would really, really appreciate any comments! Comments about the recipes, food, or even ways to improve my blog!

 

Avocados

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Ingredients:

3 Avocados, mashed
1-2 shallots, finely chopped
Zest of a lemon
Juice of half a lemon, can be adjusted
Olive oil to adjust the consistency
Salt
Pepper
A tinge of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy
Coriander

*This recipe isn’t too difficult because ANYONE can do it. (Note: I said do, not try. Very Yoda-ish I know.)

1. So start off by opening up the avocados using a sharp knife. Insert the knife lengthwise and cut around the seed (you’ll find that your knife is unable to slice through the entire fruit because of the seed)

2. Scoop out the meat with a spoon into a mixing bowl. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent it from turning brown.

3. Season with black pepper and salt to taste. Add the lemon zest and a tinge of cayenne pepper.

4. Add extra virgin olive oil and start mashing.

5. Finely chop some shallots and add it to the mix. Continue mashing.

6. Coriander, in my opinion, is a MUST-ADD as it seems to bring the dish to a higher level. Finely chop the stalks, but the leaves can be coarse. Or even better, snip it into the mix with scissors!

7. Spread the mash onto toasted bread. I only had wholemeal bread, but I would really recommend a good sourdough (toast it and drizzle a little olive oil).
P.S. To make it a salad, you can skip the mashing part and add chopped cherry tomatoes!