Friday, June 28, 2013

Orange Blackberry Trifle

Nigella Lawson wouldn't be called a domestic goddess for nothing. If you happen to try some of her recipes, you will be convinced that she's more than just a queen of the kitchen. This is why some of her creations are mainstays in my recipe bin. One of them is the Classic Vanilla Bundt Cake. It's a soft, moist and buttery sponge cake. It's my favourite, default base for some of my cakes like this Orange Blackberry Trifle. Actually, Nigella Lawson herself has a recipe for an Orange Blackberry Trifle. But for my version, I adapted the vanilla bundt cake recipe for a more tasty, richer trifle.

 
What you need:
225g butter, softened at room temp
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
200ml natural yoghurt
4 tsp vanilla extract
zest and juice of 1 orange
fresh blackberries
300ml cream, whipped until soft peaks formed
 
How to make:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2. Sift flour and baking soda in a bowl. In an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time whisking each one with 1 tbsp of flour. Fold in the remaining flour. Then fold in yoghurt and vanilla.
4. Pour into the pan or bundt mould and bake for 45 mins.
5. Allow to cool for 15 mins before unmoulding.
6. Cut the cake and arrange some slices on a serving plate. Douse with orange juice. Top with whipped cream, blackberries and orange zest.
 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saboten - The Best Pork Tonkatsu

Japanese Pork Cutlet fried to crispy perfection with tender meat inside is what best describes Saboten's version of Pork Tonkatsu. This is the primary reason why I personally think Saboten's Pork Tonkatsu is the best in the region. Although I've yet to try the other popular ones I'm happily settled on this brand whenever I crave for a Pork Tonkatsu. The bread crumbs is just right in texture and it complements well with the taste of the meat. It doesn't over power nor oily in after taste unlike the typical ones. The meat is very juicy hence, provides an enjoyable bite. It is best paired with a chilled cabbage salad drizzled with a sesame dressing.
Saboten Special Set - for those who want to try different variations 
Tenderloin Set - see the nice golden brown color of the bread crumbs?
If this is not a completely satisfying meal, I don't know what is. 

Saboten 
IMM Mall, 2 Jurong East St 21 #01-19,
Jurong East, 609601

Friday, June 14, 2013

Jakarta in a Day

A hazy day in Jakarta...
  
The infamous traffic that made me panic whether I will make it to my return flight to Singapore or not. I prayed real hard and thank God I managed to reach the airport just in time for boarding! 
After my experience from this trip, traffic in Jakarta is really beyond worse. It's highly unpredictable and terribly bad. I feel sad for the locals who have to endure two hours or more (on average) of traffic condition just to reach their destination on a daily basis. Too much waste of time and energy is an understatement for that.

A restaurant that has a catchy name - Deja Brew ( a play on the word deja vu).
Some of the local foods that my colleagues made me try from this restaurant:
 Rawon Surabaya - similar to the peranakan dish Ayam Buah Keluak
 Sop Buntut - close to Bulalo or Nilaga of the Philippines
 Ayam Bawang - best enjoyed with a squeeze of lime juice
Nasi Goreng Seafood - I surrendered from the hotness of the chili padis that were incorporated into the rice. How I wish my gastric tolerance can take it but my threshold is very low. So, sadly I passed on this one. 
Rice with Tempeh, Salted Egg & Keripik

Except for its high level of hotness, I generally like Indonesian food. They love to use spices and this enhances the taste of the dish to a great extent. The abundance of soupy dish is also something to like about. The Sotos are amazing. For the adventurous foodie, Jakarta is a perfect place to let your palate explore. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Prive Cafe @ Keppel Bay

Countless times we hear it being said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If that is the case, naturally, it must be complemented with real satisfying food choices. Be it at the comfort of our homes or restaurants, we all deserve to wake up into appetizing morning fix. Such is the promise of the breakfast offerings at Prive Cafe in Keppel Bay. 
Prive's Ultimate Brekkie, $20 - 2 eggs (any style), pork sausage, maple-roasted bacon, roasted roma tomato, hashbrown, wholemeal toast, sauteed button mushrooms, salad greens
Breakfast of Champions, $11 - scrambled egg, choice of sausage or bacon and toast
Eggs Benedict, $16 - english muffins topped with ham, streaky bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. This is divine! No matter how sinful it is, you will be left with no choice but to succumb to the goodness of its every bite. I won't mind coming back just for this. It seemed to be popular among diners as we saw a lot of tables ordered this. 

Although it's a bit pricey, Prive Cafe is a fitting choice for a satisfying breakfast meal with a view. It's located in the marina area hence, having a good ambiance while devouring your meal is appealing. One of the turn-offs though is the very slow service. Waiting time is 30 mins or more. Aside from that, some of the food items may not be extraordinary. Nonetheless, it still is a nice place to unwind on weekends. 

Privé, Marina at Keppel Bay

No. 2 Keppel Bay Vista, Singapore 098382

T: +65 6776 0777 F: +65 6376 2830 E: info@prive.com.sg


Monday, June 3, 2013

Tim Ho Wan Singapore

Barely two months since Tim Ho Wan Singapore opened to public, finally the crazy long lines had died down a bit. Hence, we had the chance to visit the restaurant and indulge into a complete dim sum delights last weekend.
To all patrons, please take note.
 
The four heavenly kings also known as the four must try dim sum delicacies  - Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, Vermicelli Roll with Pork Liver, Fried Carrot Cake and Steamed Egg Cake. We made sure that we tried them all.
This is the most popular dim sum of the restaurant - Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. The main reason why a lot of people are willing to endure long queues. Surprisingly, the Singapore version is not exactly the same as the ones we've tasted in Hong Kong a few weeks ago. The bread crust is thinner, less crispy and smaller too. Even the color is more pale. You can refer to my previous post here to see the difference. It was real saddening to discover the taste gap.
 
Fortunately, the Steamed Egg Cake is something to love. It's soft, velvety and sweet. We liked it just right.
The localized version  of Carrot Cake. This is just generally ok, a bit oily though.
The last item in the four heavenly kings - Vermicelli Roll with Pork Liver. This is the only one that I didn't like at all among the four must tries. The metallic pork liver taste is too overpowering. There's this after taste that's too satiating and off. I would prefer the Vermicelli Roll with Ground Pork and Chives over this one. The later has more balanced taste and has a good coriander kick.
Pork Dumpling with Shrimp. This was another let down. My kids, who are big fans of this type of dumpling barely touched the food. They unanimously said, it's not nice. When I cut it open to further scrutinize what's the dumpling is made of since I find the texture too tough, much to my dismay there were pure pork fats in it plus some shrimps. It's not even made of ground pork. Unless my eyesight betrayed me that night, I really couldn't associate it to ground pork.  
 Chicken Feet with Black Bean Sauce, generally acceptable.
 
 Rice with Chicken and Mushroom - there's nothing extraordinary about it. Plain acceptable.
Dumpling Teochew Style - definitely better than the Pork Dumpling with Shrimp.
All the publicity and hype of Tim Ho Wan in print media were shown at the entrance of the restaurant. Unfortunately, based on the two consecutive visits that I had in the restaurant (first in Hong Kong and second in Singapore), I am convinced that there's more to the word of mouth than the actual experience. As with all other famous restaurants that ventured into business chains (read: Din Tai Fung),  the challenge of keeping the quality consistent across the seas is a tough nut to crack. Much more in delivering the expectations that go with the highly coveted culinary emblem of good quality dining - the Michelin stars and in maintaining the heritage taste of its origin. I hope Tim Ho Wan will be able to win over this challenge. Besides, the story of its road to fame from humble beginnings is something really inspiring. 
 
Tim Ho Wan
68 Orchard Road #01-29A
Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839
Opening Hours:
10.00am – 10.00pm
First-come-first-serve basis; no reservations

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mongkok, Hong Kong

Hong Kong has a lot of shopping streets. But Mongkok can be considered the ultimate shopping place to go to. Personally, I call it the shoes haven. Specifically for sports shoes. All the popular brands are here and the prices are relatively cheaper compared to other neighboring countries, Singapore for instance. Aside from sports goods, the popular Ladies Market is also located in this area. All your bric a bracs and souvenir items can be bought here. A word of caution though, as with all other night markets and bazaars, you need to be more discriminating with the quality of the items you're getting. Bargaining is a must too!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Tim Ho Wan @ IFC Mall, Hong Kong

Three looooooong, gruelling hours of waiting time to get a seat at Tim Ho Wan Plaza Singapura in Singapore is really an ordeal. Hence, in our recent trip to Hong Kong, a Tim Ho Wan food adventure is at the top of our must do list. Because we have kids to tag along, as much as I wanted to visit the 1-Michelin starred branch in Sham Shui Po (the original Mongkok branch is already closed), we ended up in the more convenient IFC Mall branch. Not to my surprise, a queue is still visible. Just about 2 hours less than the queue in Singapore. Again, worried that the kids may not be able to endure an hour long of waiting time, I just decided to order for a take out. 


Among all the choices, this is the only item that matters the most - the famous Pork Bun. This is what earned the Tim Ho Wan the fame and the much coveted Michelin star award. So much has been said about this goodie. My personal take on it - it's absolutely good! The texture and taste combination is definitely worth craving for. However, it's not something that I will jump up and down about. I don't think the three hours of queuing is enough to justify the very much hyped publicity of this restaurant. I must admit, it's another one of those over rated and "band wagon" stories. The foods are relatively affordable, but the good quality choices are limited.