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.

img_0488

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

img_2154

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!

Chocolate truffles

It’s my very first attempt at making a dessert, especially one that I like: chocolate truffles!


I got this recipe from a part of Raymond Blanc’s Café Crème recipe, under the “ganache” section. Ganache is usually made by boiling cream and adding the chocolate of your choice to it, stirring until you get a smooth mixture!

The recipe I used is 300g of semi-sweet chocolate chips (an alternative means of chocolate), and 300ml of double cream. I used chocolate chips as the chocolate bars were slightly pricey for me. But the best chocolate to use would have to be at least 60% dark or more. This is definitely worth a try as you can always add liqueur to the mixture as you see fit.

Comments are always welcome!

 

[Edit]

This recipe, in my opinion, is quite flexible. I’ve added Bailey’s Liqueur into my chocolate mix before I chill it and tastes pretty good too! If you’re extremely adventurous, I would recommend infusing the cream with rosemary (for a start) and then removing the herb before adding chocolate in!

Kimchi Chigae

I was looking back at some of my recipes and I realized that this one deserves a better photo than the previous one! So here’s an update on my version of kimchi chigae a.k.a. kimchi stew, adapted from Maangchi.

Kimchi Stew is a warm, spicy and a bubbling pot of kimchi goodness. It comes with a great combination of meat and vegetables so you can guarantee that it’s pretty healthy, although I wouldn’t recommend it eating everyday! It is absolutely normal to perspire profusely while eating this dish because that’s how it is!

IMG_1540
As mentioned earlier, the recipe is an adaptation from Maangchi’s recipe and it is not at all difficult to follow.

*Just a word of caution, the ingredients might be a deviation from the ‘proper’ kimchi stew.

Ingredients:

  • 500-600g of pork belly
  • 4-5 stalks of spring onions
  • 2 medium-sized onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 heap tablespoons of kimchi
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of hot pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 tablespoons, or more, hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 packet of enoki mushrooms

How?

  • Prepare and clean the ingredients beforehand, that includes the stock.
  • For my version of kimchi stew, I used a hotpot as it maintains the temperature.
  • Arrange the ingredients in the hotpot in ANY way you like – plus points if you make it look photogenic.
  • Pour the stock in and let it bubble away slowly.

Maangchi’s recipe calls for an anchovy stock to be made but I used a pork-based one, which is also very easy to make. It’s just 500g of pork ribs into a pot of boiling water and let it boil on high heat for about 10-15 minute before bringing it down to a simmer.

Like what Marco Pierre White said, “Cooking is a philosophy..” So do not be dictated by what the recipe says. If you want to make it spicier, add more red pepper powder. Cooking this dish in a hotpot makes it easier for everyone to share and it sort of becomes like a steamboat-style kimchi stew!

Porky goodness

The original plan was to prepare bo-ssam, or usually translated as boiled pork wraps. It’s a traditional Korean recipe, with boiled pork, hot red spicy oyster radish, and subtly flavored fermented shrimp wrapped in a crispy pickled cabbage leaf (Maangchi). So, it’s essentially a pouch of spicy, sour, salty, porky and kimchi goodness! However, due to the lack of time, I settled with just making the boiled pork! The recipe is taken from http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/bo-ssam and it is very easy to follow as well!

A few things that I left out:

Doenjang (Korean fermented soy bean paste) – Because there was no more stock at the Korean supermarket! 😭

– In place of Doenjang, I added some soy sauce instead.

Hazelnut coffee powder

– I added instant coffee (I used Nescafé, but any instant coffee would be okay I think.)

So give it a try! I guarantee that it’ll be a good experience!