(Recipe) Bacon & Beetroot Muffin

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This recipe is for the savoury-loving muffin lovers. For the best of both worlds, follow this simple recipe.

Recipe: Bacon & Beetroot Muffin
(Fills up a tray of 10-12 muffins)

Ingredients:

(Dry)
– 300g soft flour
– 100g sugar
– 12.5g baking powder
– 3g salt

(Wet)
– 70g oil (plus extra for greasing)
– 1 egg, beaten
– 220ml milk

(Stir-in)
– 50g chopped bacon (you can have it cooked on a pan till crispy before adding into the mixture)
– 100g fresh beetroot, diced or grated

Method:

1) Pre-heat oven to 200ºC.
2) Sift flour and combine all dry ingredients.
3) Combine all wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Just stir in gently till wet and dry ingredients are combined.
4) Stir in bacon bits and beetroot.
5) Place in greased muffin tins till ¾ full and bake for 25 minutes.

Serve with bacon for extra oomph!

Singapore Food Festival 2015 – What is your family’s signature dish?

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Growing up, my parents hardly ever cook. I always look forward to the feastings during Lunar New Year because it’s the only time my mother actually steps into the heated kitchen and picks up a wok. One of our family’s signature dishes is the Yam, Pork and Sea Cucumber Stew, which she learnt from her mother (my grandmother). And, she’s passing on the recipe to me!

It is a comforting dish that requires just 6 simple ingredients: spring onion, dried shrimps, pork, sea cucumber, yam and oyster sauce. It’s amazing how it’s so flavourful without the addition of salt, pepper or MSG. Oyster sauce is the only seasoning used.

Yam (or taro) is one of the key ingredients. Remove the skin, cut into chunks, and give it a good rinse.

The yam has to be deep-fried before the cooking of the dish begins.

I guess if you deep-fry it, the yam holds its shape and not turn into thick goo by the end of cooking. Also, it speeds up the cooking process later on.

The pork (we use pork belly here) has to be blanched beforehand and sliced. I trimmed off the skin (and made pork crackling with it!!!).

My mum would fry the dried shrimps in a bit of oil till it exudes fragrance, then toss in the sliced pork for a quick fry. The sea cucumber and yam is then added in with some water enough to cover everything, and set to simmer for like an hour or two, till the sauce thickens and yam softens. Simmering for a longer period of time also means the pork becomes meltingly tender.

This is my favourite dish from our family!

Food equates bonding for many of us Singaporeans; there are no other common interests that Singaporeans are more passionate about apart from food. Singapore food is mostly defined by the hawker scene, Singapore dishes such as chicken rice, laksa, chilli crab, fried kway teow, oyster omelette and more (gosh I’m salivating as I’m typing this). Singapore dishes that are closest to our hearts are the dishes that our grandparents cooked for us at home when we were young, which have never seen the public light. Have you picked up a skill or two on how to prepare them, or had since added your own twist to the classic dish? Do you have a burning desire to share your family’s recipes? This is your chance to!

The annual Singapore Food Festival (SFF) is now in its 22nd year, and it is the only food festival that focuses on local flair and chefs. From 17th July to 2nd August 2015, the theme for this year’s festival is “A Fresh Taste of Tradition”, where festival goers will get to revisit traditional local favourites as well as experience modern interpretations on Singaporean dishes. The Singapore Food Festival is holding a contest in collaboration with hungrygowhere: share photos or recipes of your family’s signature dish on hungrygowhere at sff2015.hungrygowhere.com and stand a chance to win SFF event tickets and F&B vouchers! Use the hashtags #SFF2015, #myfamilyssignaturedish and #YourSingaporeFood if you’re sharing it on social media.

For more information, visit www.singaporefoodfestival.com.

Disney on Classic – A Magical Night in Singapore, 16 and 17 July 2015 (Tickets GIVEAWAY + Mickey Mouse Cookie Recipe in this post!)

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Disney on Classic ~ A Magical Night arrives in Singapore for its first ever live orchestral show in Southeast Asia, where familiar Disney favourites are brought to life by the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra. This magical experience runs for two nights only, 7.30pm on 16 and 17 July 2015, at The Star Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are on sale from 29 April at all SISTIC outlets, priced at $120, $85, $65, $55, $35, and $165 (VIP).

Following 12 years of sold out performances in Japan, Disney on Classic ~ A Magical Night is the most successful live orchestral show in the Disney franchise. The Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, led by Disney music maestro Brad Kelley, will be companied by eight international singers and members of The Orchestra JAPAN, will be delivering a full-length concert featuring the most beloved tunes from the famed Walt Disney Studios songbook.

Sing along to songs from classic Disney movies including Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Tangled, Frozen (OMG I SOOOOO LOVE FROZEN), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and more. Scenes from these movies will be projected – larger than life – onto a cinematic screen suspended overhead, accentuated by dramatic lighting and staging effects, creating a spectacular and memorable experience for Disney fans.

For more information, visit disneyonclassic.sg.

The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre
1 Vista Exchange Green, Singapore 138617

Buy tickets through SISTIC Website www.sistic.com.sg or call the Hotline at (65) 6348 5555.

Now, here’s something fun for Disney fans. Those without the Mickey Mouse cookie cutter can use any cookie cutter, this recipe makes delicious cookies!

Recipe: Mickey Mouse Cookies (credit: Eaglemoss)
Makes 9-10 cookies

My Mickey cookie cutter came with the Disney Cakes & Sweets Collection Issue 1, by Eaglemoss (Australia), but Singaporeans can find them easily, try Qoo10!

Ingredients:
– 200g unsalted butter, softened
– 200g caster sugar
– 1 egg, beaten
– 400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
– ½ tsp vanilla essence

What you need:

– Mickey Mouse cookie cutter and embosser
– Baking tray, baking paper
– Oven
– Mixer/whisk
– Cling film
– Refrigerator

Method:

1. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat them until they are just creamy in texture (do not overmix or the cookies will spread during baking). Add the vanilla essence and then beat in the egg until well combined.
2. Add the flour and mix it in until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill it for at least 1 hour.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll it out to an even thickness, of approximately 5mm. (Easier to roll when you dust rolling pin with some flour too)
4. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour, then cut out a cookie and leave the cutter in place.
5. Push the embosser section gently but firmly into the cookie dough to mark the features.
6. Remove the embosser, easing it away from the dough to leave a deep impression on the cookie. Cut out more cookies and mark on the features in the same way.
7. Transfer the cookies to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and chill for at least 30 minutes before baking. (I did not chill the cookies but they were sitting in a cold room, about 15 degrees Celsius, because my fridge wasn’t big enough hehe.)
8. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes until they are a pale golden colour. I baked for a further 1-2 minutes to get a deeper golden colour.
9. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
10. (Optional) Dust with icing sugar.

Another fun way to use the cookie cutter, make ham and cheese sandwich! All you need is the cookie cutter with embosser and a sandwich press. Stack two pieces of bread with ham and cheese in between, push the cookie cutter down, and then the embosser. Place them in a pre-heated sandwich press and it’s done in a minute or two!

GIVEAWAY: 2 pairs of Disney on Classic ~ A Magical Night tickets to be won! Stay tuned to facebook.com/melicacyblog

(Recipe) Air-fryer Sardine Otak Otak

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Otak Otak is a snack widely popular in Singapore’s vibrant hawker scene, essentially spiced fish paste wrapped in banana leaf and grilled over charcoal fire. Here’s a quick and simple recipe for busy home cooks, made without the vigorous flames and without having to pollute your entire kitchen or home with carbon particles.

Ingredients:

– 100g minced fish
– 10g galangal
– 1 tsp coriander powder
– 5g turmeric
– 20g dried chilli paste
– 3 candlenuts
– 2 garlics
– 5 small onions/shallots
– 1 stalk of lemongrass
– 1 tbsp oil
– 100ml Ayam Brand coconut milk
– 1 can of Ayam Brand Sardines in Spring Water
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 2 tsp cornflour
– 2 pieces of kaffir lime leaves

Method:

1. Blend galangal, turmeric, dried chilli paste, candlenuts, garlic, small onions, lemongrass and oil
2. Heat oil and fry the blended ingredients till fragrant. Put aside till cooled.
3. Add in minced fish, sardine, coriander powder, coconut milk, sugar, cornflour, egg and kaffir leaves.
4. Place the paste onto banana leaves and bake in airfryer at 200 degree Celcius for 12 minutes.

I’m using the Philips Avance Airfryer XL, which allows me to adjust to the right temperature, pre-heat, and set a timer. This recipe is adapted from Ayam Brand’s. Have fun cooking!

Each A Cup – Beauty & Wellness in a cup of Bubble Tea

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Homemade bubble tea

A seemingly never-dying craze, bubble tea still garners throngs of supporters since its birth in the late 1990s. The beverage culture originated in Taiwan, a country renowned for oolong, black and green tea. Headquartered in Taiwan, Each-A-Cup is one of the bubble tea pioneers in Singapore that has survived and flourished throughout the years, constantly enticing customers and regulars with new products. They specialise in a large variety of freshly brewed teas, ice blended drinks, smoothies, yoghurt drinks, snow shakes, coffees, and creative juices.

In recent times, Each-A-Cup has undergone a facelift, rebranding itself with a vibrant orange-coloured logo that appears to be the illustration of the top view of a bubble tea cup, a view that bubble tea drinkers are well acquainted with.

The new direction for this bubble tea joint is largely defined by a lifestyle concern for health and wellness, hence a strong focus on drinks with beauty and health benefits. Drinks under the Energy Burst category, such as the Azuki brown rice milk tea, pack in vitamins that deliver that much-needed shots of energy; the series of flavoured coffees and specialty teas under Mind Booster are stimulating and sustain alertness throughout the day; Weight Lite drinks such as Golden Buckwheat tea with Katen and Aloe Vera and a range of fruity teas offer sweet, guilt-free drinks for those watching their weight; under the Forever Young category, the range of green teas and Chamomile milk tea brim with antioxidants for optimal health and well being; Daily Dose drinks like the Yakult Apple Jelly Green Tea or Honey Kanten with Ai Yu are zesty beverages that help strengthen the immunity system.

Some will be happy to note that several drinks such as the Golden Buckwheat tea and Rooibos tea are caffeine-free, ideal for children and those allergic to caffeine.

Here’s my attempt on the Yakult Lemon Green Tea with a minty twist.

Ingredients needed:
– Freshly brewed Jasmine Green Tea
– Yakult
– Fresh green lemon juice (they squeeze it using a lemon extractor machine)
– Desired sugar level
– Ice
– (My own addition: fresh mint leaves)

Premium tealeaves and tapioca pearls used by Each-A-Cup are sourced by its headquarters in Taiwan from high-quality Taiwanese companies. Replicating them is nearly impossible even if you have the complete recipe, unless you have connections with these Taiwanese suppliers.

For more information about Each-A-Cup, visit www.each-a-cup.com.

(Recipe) Home-cooked Laksa, two versions: simmered in gravy and dry stir-fried

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Laksa is known to be tedious to prepare. The key to a great laksa is in the gravy, which is made up of a medley of spices and aromatics, blended into a paste. In the olden days, they use the mortar and pestle to crush and grind the ingredients, but now with new technology and kitchen gadgets like the food processor, less effort is required. Here’s the recipe for the spice paste as well as a laksa leaf-infused noodle that you can make at home from scratch, for modern day homecooks like myself.

Scroll to the bottom for the dry stir-fry version. Continue reading

(Mother’s Day Special) Yummy Hampers for Mummy

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Rather than splurging on fancy dinners or lavish gifts this Mother’s Day, there are gifts that warms the hearts and tummies of mums, like the hampers from Italian organic brand, Alce Nero, and local food company, Ayam Brand. The all-in-one cooking hampers contain almost everything you need to prepare a heart-warming meal for the most important woman in your life.

Available exclusively on HealthyGourmet.sg, an online shopping portal, the meticulously assembled hampers come with specially devised recipes on top of the food products, showing you how to use the products in simple step-by-step instructions.

Packaged with a quality casserole dishware from Neoflam, an international kitchenware company, mums will be thrilled by the fine addition to her kitchen gadgets.

The Ayam Brand ‘Local Delights’ Hamper is packed with Ayam Brand Nyonya Curry, Ayam Brand Coconut Cream (270ml), Sardines in Water (120g), Baked Beans (425g), Sliced Peach (410g) along with the casserole dishware and recipes.

The hampers will be available till the end of May 2015, exclusively on healthygourmet.sg.

(Recipe) Homemade Black Sesame Noodles with Seared Salmon and Peanut Sauce

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If you have been following me on Instagram, you are probably aware that I’ve been experimenting a lot with the Philips Noodle Maker since a few months ago. I started with the simple “egg, water and flour” noodle and whipped up many successful noodle dishes from this one simple type of noodle – many of which inspired from local hawker fare, and some are personal tweaks from the recipe book that came with the Philips Noodle Maker – but I never felt extremely proud of any of my creations and neither will I claim credit for the wonderful recipes that the recipe books have provided. The dish of black sesame noodles with peanut sauce is one of my most satisfying creations.
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(Recipe) Homemade Noodles with Stir-fried Minced Pork & Long Beans

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Here’s a simple but nutritionally balanced noodle dish comprising meat and vegetables, inspired by Dan Dan Noodles. The egg noodles are homemade using the trusty Philips Advance Collection Noodle Maker, comprising of just plain flour, water and egg. Many homemakers are turning to making their own pasta and noodles from scratch for health reasons, and Philips has made it so easy for all of us. I’ll be sharing more recipes that highlight the versatility of the noodle maker in upcoming posts, but first, this is one recipe that I always stick to for a quick and delicious meal.
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(2 Recipes) Cooking with Lipton Tea: Tea-smoked Prawn with Avocado Salsa; Mint Tea-smoked Cod Fish

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Lipton has made its mark in the beverage market, statistically being the world’s most preferred brand of tea. Since its founding in 1890, Lipton has expanded its repertoire of tea from just the Yellow Label to now specialty infusions, green tea, black tea, specialty flavoured tea and hot instant milk tea. Tea is made for drinking, but as the culinary scene matures, we have seen the increasing usage of tea leaves in cooking. Tea leaves, when used in cooking, add a unique dimension of flavour and subtle aroma to food.

Here I’ll be sharing two recipes featuring two variants of tea leaves. For the first recipe, the Tea-smoked Prawn paired with Avocado Salsa, I chose the classic Lipton Yellow Label Tea. As Lipton’s flagship product, Lipton Yellow Label is made of the finest blends of Ceylon and Kenya. The signature aroma is one that most of us are familiar with due to its widespread popularity. Using this classic blend gives this dish the aroma of tea without additional flavouring that would have otherwise mask the pristine taste of prawn. Continue reading

Cooking with Dancing Chef’s Pineapple Rice Paste and Tom Yam Paste

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It used to be almost impossible for busy executives to cook a decent meal at home, especially after a toiling day at work, much less restaurant/hawker-quality Asian cuisine. The amount of time one needs to spend on prepping the ingredients is enough to deter. Now, with the aid of Dancing Chef, you can flaunt an impressive spread, ready in a flash.

Dancing Chef was my best friend when I was based in Melbourne for a month, homesick and craving for Asian cuisine. The brand carries a range of easy-to-use Asian cooking pastes and stir-fry sauces encompassing the tastes of Thai, Chinese, Singaporean and Indonesian cuisines. It’s good to know that the pastes embody only natural ingredients, with no added MSG, preservatives, artificial flavouring or colouring. The basis of a cooking paste involves the chopping, blending and pounding of ingredients, which Dancing Chef has got it covered. You can make your own paste from scratch (which I have done before), but it takes lots of effort and time (though I would say it is worth it if you have time to spare).

So with the convenience of Dancing Chef’s cooking pastes, all we need to do is add in a few key ingredients such as fresh meat and vegetables, cook for a few minutes and the meal is ready to be enjoyed. With the cooking pastes, you can rustle up the meals easily, quickly and consistently. The cooking pastes also presents as a base for further enhancement, where you can allow your creative flair to shine by adding your own unique touches. Continue reading

(Recipe) Sticky Prune Cake

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Today, I will be sharing a Sticky Prune Cake recipe taught by a culinary-trained friend, Nicholas, who is well versed in Italian cuisine just as he is passionate in baking.

This recipe is a classic, dug out from Nicholas’s old trainee recipe book back in his culinary school days. It requires minimal kitchen appliances, few ingredients and zero baking experience. Trust me when I say this recipe is simple to follow, because baking and I are foes. If I can do this, anyone else can. Just follow the steps carefully. Continue reading

Cooking with Sustainable Seafood (3 Recipes included)

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Following my post on the Sustainable Seafood Festival that’s happening from 8 to 15 June 2014 (read the post here: http://melicacy.com/?p=7320), this post will be dedicated to all the home cooks who want to play a part in supporting the sustainable seafood movement. Learn how to “pick the right catch” and create delicious ocean-friendly dishes. Continue reading

Recipes from Chef Cat Cora’s Cooking Demonstration at Resorts World Sentosa

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It was much to fans’ exhilaration when Chef Cat Cora came back to Singapore early last May to see the launch of the new lunch menu at Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora. I happened to be one of that lucky fangirl who got to meet her in person and had an opportunity of attending her cooking demonstration.

I will be sharing two of her recipes in this post, one of which is part of the new 4-course lunch menu at Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora. Continue reading

(Recipes) Cooking with Perfect Italiano this Festive Season

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Frantically looking for recipes to impress your loved ones this festive season? Perfect Italiano Food Fixes in 15 shares a 5-Course menu from appetiser to dessert, featuring appropriate Perfect Italiano cheeses to match each dish.

Each of the 5 dishes featured on the website (http://perfectitaliano.com.sg/foodfixesin15) comes with a 15-seconds video to demonstrate just how simple the recipes are. Continue reading