Friday, December 31, 2010

French buttercream for macarons and cupcakes

Oh wow, and it's now the last day of 2010. Thank gosh. I must say that it hasn't been a very good year for me...but oh well, as long as I'm well-fed (too well-fed in fact), healthy, alive, I really shouldn't be mumbling or grousing much...

2010 has been a tremendously busy year for my oven, and sadly, it finally gave up on me (or was it the other way round hmmmm...), so we replaced it with a new one! I must say that I'm falling more and more in love with the new one day by day. It takes only 10 minutes pre heating time (compared to 20-30 minutes for the ol' one!), the temperature is reasonably correct (the ol' wonky one was off by 10 degrees higher!), oh oh oh, new things always seem so much better, shinier and prettier, don't you think so? (:

Coconut mango passionfruit macarons

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wild Honey (revisited)

Wild Honey seems to be a popular dining place among my friends and family members. I've been back there twice since my last post. I met my cousin and a girlfriend for dinner and the three of us ordered four sets. Ooooo, greedy.

the Basque; the Belgian

Monday, December 27, 2010

Madeleines and macarons

Well, here I am again. It's not that I bake every other day, just that it's coming to the end of the year, and I would really really like to clear my backlog so I won't keep having a long list of backlogs that get posted like months later...and I'm proud to say I've clear like pretty much of my backlogs with the frantic postings I do lately. ;) I'm already posting stuff that I've baked in December! *gasp*

Two weeks ago, I baked some macarons and madeleines for the colleagues and packaged them up in small party favour bags. I made - Brown butter cinnamon praline madeleines, chai chocolate macarons and coconut macarons with a mango passion fruit filling. I've decided to split the pictures up in two posts cos I'll be including recipes for some items...

Chai macaron shells with cinnamon chocolate ganache

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas...not.

It's Christmas day today. Although it's the season of joy and giving, however, my Christmas this year started out on the wrong foot. I lost my mobile phone just two days ago (an iPhone 3G) while out shopping in town. My girlfriend had asked if I could help her bake some macarons for some Christmas parties that she was attending. I was more than happy to help her out cos my mind was full of reds and greens...

The lovely girlfriend of mine treated me to lunch, I passed her the macs, and then we decided to take a short walk around the mall. My suggestion (it was a mistake). I should have gone home instead of dawdling around.  She left first after accompanying me for a while as she had dinner plans, so I walked around on my own for like ten minutes. After which when I realised my phone was gone. It was either carelessness on my part, or a pickpocket. But either way, my phone was gone. Sigh. It all happened within minutes. I immediately retraced my steps and got a shop employee to help me ring my mobile. It was switched off already. :(

I had to report to security, rushed home to locate the serial number, then head down to the police station to report the loss. Sigh. My dad was furious, so I doubt I'll be getting myself another iPhone soon...And to think I was so dependent on it. I used it for checking mails, tweeting, facebook-ing, the games apps for entertainment and the camera apps for fun's sake. It was even my alarm clock. It's only an object I know, but I really feel a pang of loss for the phone, which I've had for all of say a year? Sigh.

Boxes of macarons

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brandy caramel vanilla poached pears tart

I realised that I'm a simple girl. Erm, I meant I have simple tastes, not that I'm simple simple. I mean, gimme any common fruit and I'll be happy. While I do love my berries (raspberries especially!), and sweet juicy cherries, these fruits arent' cheap in Singapore as we import them from other countries. However, I do love my apples, oranges and pears too. Though seen as everyday fruits, I believe that simplicity works wonders for these sturdier fruits that keep well even after a few weeks in the fridge.

Poached pear tart with brandy caramel sauce

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bibimbap (비빔밥)

It could be the Korean lessons I'm taking. Or it could be the cold weather. But I seem to crave Korean food very frequently these few days. The ultimate craving being for good ol' simple 비빔밥 - Korean bibimbap. 비빔밥 literally translates into "mixed rice" - a bowl of rice topped with a variety of vegetables (meat optional) and red pepper paste sauce. Add a fried egg and sprinkling of sesame seeds and you're good to go. The ingredients are all mixed together right before consumption.

There are several names for the humble Korean dish, the ones I'm more familiar with are 양념비빔밥 (Yangpun bibimbap) - the ones most commonly shown in Korean dramas where the Koreans dump a whole load of leftover stuff into a kick ass metal bowl and start mixing everything before digging in with a spoon; 돌솥비빔밥 (Dolsot bibimbap) - served in a hot stone pot, where the bottom layer of the rice becomes delicious crispy rice bits and just plain ol' 비빔밥.

비빔밥 lunch bentos

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mango passion fruit panna cotta verrines

I'm a huge passion fruit lover. Singapore's a tropical country with loads of fruits available at all times of the year as we import a lot of fruits from all over the world (from neighbouring Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and China to further countries such as USA and Australia etc). Ironically, I think I started noticing passion fruit only when I was studying in Australia. As I do my own groceries when I was studying there,  I noticed immediately when the wrinkly brown fruits started appearing at the fruit stall. I remember buying pre-packaged packs of six/eight passion fruits and scooping out the yellowy pulp and eating it with my granola and yogurt for breakfast.  The sour-y tang of the passion fruit, and the crunchy bite that the seeds always perked up my simple breakfast meal.

I've been on the look out for passion fruit puree for the longest time ever, and when I finally bought a tub of frozen passion fruit puree, I was so excited at the possible desserts I could make - macarons, ice creams, mousses etc etc. After browsing through all my bookmarked recipes, I finally settled on making mango passion fruit panna cotta verrines, inspired by Vi's (L' Atelier Vi) version here.

Mango passion fruit panna cotta verrines

Paradise Dynasty

I kept seeing the advertisements for Paradist Dynasty's famed xiaolongbaos. The bamboo basket filled with  eight xiaolongbaos in rainbow hues against a black backdrop was seriously everywhere. In the newspapers, on the Internet, magazines etc. It was like a sign. I knew somehow that I would definitely be trying those devilish morsels that were seducing me right from their unattainable position in the ad pages.

Paradise Dynasty

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rabokki (라볶이)

I must thank my Korean housemate, Woo Aa, whom I stayed with for the three years that I was studying in Brisbane. She being Korean, introduced me to the Korean dish, 떡볶이 (ddeokbokki). Or to be specific, her aunt did. I remember the first time I tried the dish, it was cos her aunt from Korea was visiting, and one of the dishes that her aunt cooked was ddeokbokki. Her aunt offered us roomies some to try, and me, seeing that it was red (woohoo! red to me means that the dish is spicy - i love spicy food), I didn't think twice before putting a piece of the foreign looking ddeok into my mouth.

I've never looked back since that first bite, and probably never will. I fell so in love with the dish that I shamelessly asked Woo Aa's aunt for her recipe. During the span of my university education in Brisbane, I made this dish frequently (often during winter cos the hot dish is so apt for the cold weather). My cousin, who came over a few semesters later, was also as in love with Korean food as I was. Guess what cuisine we ended up cooking most of the time whenever we were over at each other's place? :)

On a side note, I'm actually learning Korean now with a couple of my girlfriends. We've just started and I must say it's a bit hard! I can't wait to become adept at the language properly though, cos it will be so fun to actually understand the Korean dramas better. Haha. That and it's always interesting to learn something new.

떡 (ddeok) - Korean rice cakes

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

群众 (Qun Zhong eating house)

Some time back, my girlfriend brought the few of us pals to this really yums eating place at Neil Road. It was simple, fuss-free, authentic northern style Chinese food at its best. One bonus point is that it was also cheap. :)

The place is reputed to be quite crowded at peak times (and also a bad service reputation to go along too). My girlfriend who brought us there said that there's always a long queue, and the place is frequented by a lot of Japanese people most of the time too. I arrived around 6-ish pm, I walked there after work as it is quite near my work place at Tanjong Pagar. I think I was the last of our group to arrive, and my friends were saying that the uncle wouldn't give us a table as not all of our party was present (whoops, sorry pals!). But thankfully, we only had to wait a while more before a table was available and we were ushered straight in.

Pictorial menu

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bourke Street Bakery's Ginger Brulee Tarts

I used to hate ginger. No, really. It's true. I avoided gingery items like the plaque. The word ginger, to me, connotes something that is thoroughly repellent. But now that I'm older (and wiser), my taste buds have somewhat changed and gotten the chance to mature (or so I would like to think). I anticipate trying out new flavours, and revisiting older (otherwise hated) flavours.

Ginger. Hmmm, I can't exactly pinpoint when I started liking it again. Perhaps it's the local teh-halia (ginger milk tea), or the spicy gingery soup eaten together with tang yuan (glutinous rice balls), or ginger tea, or the ground ginger I've started using in some of my bakes. Whatever it is, while ginger is not my favourite-st spice, I can gladly say that at least I like it now. In small doses.

When I saw the recipe for Bourke Street Bakery Ginger Brulee Tarts, I knew immediately that I want it. And want it soon. Ginger custard? That sounds right up my alley! I got myself a blowtorch recently (oooooooh, think of the possibilities and fun I can have now...;) heh.), and I knew that the first thing I wanted to make was those Ginger brulee tarts.

Filling the pre-baked tart crusts

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The Sister had dined at this Japanese buffet previously with her boyfriend, and I remember that she couldn't stop waxing lyrical about the food. A few weeks ago, when we were craving Japanese, she immediately suggested Irodori. Good food. And at affordable rates too. Those were the words that prompted Daddy to make reservations for lunch at the place.


Thursday, December 09, 2010


I wanted to do something special for myself in November (my birthday month). Flipping through all of my newly bought Chinese baking books, I finally settled upon the Ailette. I was drawn in with the words "caramelised bananas" and "caramel mousse"...

Caramelising the bananas

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cedele & Obolo

It's been almost two weeks since I last blogged. My my. Time really flies. I was busy training for the Standard Chartered marathon. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays were spent in the gym with my girlfriend, while Tuesdays and Thursdays were filled with dinner meetings. Weekends were left for baking and relaxing and family time. Thus, the long absence.

Thank gosh the run is over now. I'm happy that I completed my first half marathon, but disappointed that I didn't perform as well as I wanted. The first 12k was a breeze and I thought, hey, I can actually do this! Then right after that, my knees starting aching and I couldn't run even when I felt physically fine (darn my old knees)! I spent the most of the next 9k walking, pausing every now and then to apply the heat rub cream. :( It's okay, I've already made an agreement to join next year's race with one of my girlfriend! Cool. Another year to train. :)

Anyway, first post will be on my second meeting with Evan, and we decided to do brunch and desserts on the same day. Ha! A girl just after my own heart (though my waistline begs to differ cos it's expanding at an exponential rate...).

We met at the Cedele in town, and had a late brunch/lunch first to start off the day. Evan ordered the Big Breakfast set, while I ordered the Poached eggs set. My eyes couldn't be persuaded to move past the words "pancakes" on the menu, and we decided to order a plate to share. Ah. That's the joy of eating with someone who loves food just as much as I do. ;)

Big breakfast set; Pancakes; Poached eggs set
Banana cinnamon pancakes with sausages
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