(Recipe) Chicken & Corn Puree Sauce

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I’ve always had an aversion to corn kernels. You’d see me picking them out painstakingly from any dish that comes with it, or spit them out if I happen to bite into them. Its natural sweetness is something I adore –it’s the texture that irks me. With the use of Bamix Magicwand, the irksome texture of corn kernels breaks down into a smooth puree –and the flavour of corn is intensified. This is by far one of my favourite sauces I’ve made. Do try this recipe and tell me what you think! Continue reading

Gusto Italiano Flavours of Italy Culinary Workshop: Gabriele Piegaia of Burlamacco Ristorante (Recipes included)

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In conjunction with the month-long gourmet programme Gusto Italianoa series of dinners and culinary classes featuring outstanding local culinary stars and renowned Italian restaurants across the island – the Flavours of Italy Culinary Workshops held at ToTT offer gourmands an opportunity to interact and learn from their favourite Italian chefs.

Read about my Gusto Italiano dinner experience at Il Lido here: http://melicacy.com/?p=6194

I recently attended the Flavours of Italy Culinary Workshop featuring Gabriele Piegaia of Burlamacco Ristorante.

Some background info on Chef Gabriele: He started out at Michelin-star kitchens in Italy, namely Ristorante Antica Zecca and Ristorante Antica Osteria del Bai, before arriving in Singapore in 2001. His previous appointments were at Senso Ristorante, Hotel Michael and as Executive Chef at Alkaff Mansion Restaurant before Gabriele decided to strike out on his own. The Tuscan-born chef now shares his native tradition and food as Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Burlamacco Ristorante.

Here are two recipes to share: Continue reading

Singapore-born Contestant of MasterChef Australia Season 4, Audra Morrice, shares her Nonya Chicken Curry Recipe

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MasterChef Australia Season 4 draws on the success of the past series, adding a few new twists and turns along the way while delivering exciting challenges.

Lifetime, a leading channel for women in the U.S featuring high quality dramas, movies and reality series that are inspirational and empowering, is finally lunched in Asia (Channel 514 on Starhub TV).

Lifetime Asia brings the highly anticipated MasterChef Australia Season 4 to our television screens, along with other reality hits including My Life is a Lifetime Movie, The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet, Be The Boss, Dance Moms, and The Week The Women Went.

I had the privilege of meeting up with Audra Morrice, a Singapore-born contestant of MasterChef Australia Season 4, who shared with us her background story and her cooking influences –which revolves hugely around Indian spices and fresh Asian ingredients.

We took a stroll along the streets of Little India, where we discovered new ingredients, and also bagged home ingredients to cook Nonya Chicken Curry. Continue reading

(Mid-Autumn Festival Recipe) Flaky Pastry with Organic Golden Sweet Potatoes by Feng Shui Inn, Resorts World Sentosa

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Mid-Autumn Festival is around the corner. Have you made your mooncake orders, or are you planning to get your hands (and kitchen) dirty and bake some from scratch? If you’re planning on the latter, you’re in luck! The recipe in this post, (tried, tested and triumphant), is nothing like the usual ones stamped out of squarish ornate moulds.

I had the privilege of attending a mooncake-making media workshop held at Resorts World Sentosa’s elegant and luxurious Chinese restaurant, Feng Shui Inn. Emphasising hugely on healthy eating, Feng Shui Inn introduces the baked flaky pastry for the first time, which encases organic golden sweet potatoes for a healthier alternative. It is lower in calories, fat and sugar content.

They have generously provided the recipe so everyone could give them a try. This version is a twist from the traditional Teochew mooncakes that have purple yam as fillings. Continue reading

Fruity Dessert inspired by “Ice Kacang” and “Cendol”, made using the Panasonic Mixer Grinder

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A common sight in the 1960s, the first ice-cold dessert introduced in Singapore was ‘Ice Ball’, which is essentially finely grated ice moulded into a ball by hand, and coated in colourful sugar syrup.

In those days, life was tough. Our forefathers sweated out in the farms, on the fields and, along the docks to make ends meet; all these in hope for a better tomorrow. Without the comforts of the air-conditioned rooms, the ‘ice ball’ was a gift descended from above. Not only did it cool down the warm bodies and aching muscles, the sugar also helped give them keep the adrenalin pumping.

Here’s a video of how this traditional ice-ball desert was made:

As standards of living improved, so did expectations of this humble ‘ice ball’. Later variations include the Ice Kachang, comprising jelly, red beans, sweet corn, attap chee (palm seeds) and drizzled with coloured syrups and condensed milk.

Another widely popular dessert sold on pushcarts during the 1960s is Cendol. Its basic ingredients are coconut milk, jelly noodles donning a bright green hue, shaved ice and palm sugar.

Inspired by these two desserts, I’ve decided to come up with a healthier version that’s refreshing and nutritional at the same time.

I’m using the Panasonic Mixer Grinder for this recipe, which helps to blend the fruits to a smooth consistency in a remarkably short amount of time. Continue reading

(Recipe) Cooking Savoury “Muffin” and Westernised “Sushi” using the Panasonic Awasewaza Oven

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The Panasonic Awasewaza Oven (NN-SV30) is a highly capable and multi-purpose oven, boasting multiple features such as the microwave, steam and grill functions. Without having to look at the user manual, I played around with the oven settings and it didn’t take long for me to get chummy with it. I soon discovered the convenience and ease of creating meals with it, and it has since been incorporated into my daily lifestyle. Continue reading

(Recipe) Cooking Beef Stew using the Panasonic Microcomputer Controlled Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker

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The trivial mention of rice cookers rings bells of convenience, ease and zero intricacy. The first electric rice cooker was first invented in 1945; it is a very basic aluminium pot with a heating coil inside, with no automatic turn-off facility, and required constant monitoring during cooking. The first commercially successful automatic electric rice cooker was placed on the market in 1956, which uses a double-chamber indirect rice cooking method. Initial models did not have a keep-warm feature.

In the last decade, thanks to the ever-advancing technology, higher-end and deluxe models start appearing on the market, characterised by improved and added functions. The electric rice cooker is now a standard appliance in kitchens in most households.

As the modern generation steers away from traditions with novel ideas and cravings for the avant-garde, rice cookers nowadays are not only about producing quantities of cooked rice quickly and cheaply anymore. You can cook stews, soups, cakes, and you can even use it as a steamer if the rice cooker comes with the necessary accessories.

The Panasonic Microcomputer Controlled Fuzzy Logic Rice Cooker (SR-MGS102) awes me with its multiple features. The Pre-Program Control Panel gives you the option of cooking white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, porridge or cake, with more precise cooking alternatives such as quick cook, slow cook and steam.

Here’s the recipe of a beef stew that I made, out of the mere hankering for comfort food. The quick cook function allows me to sauté the onions and garlic like how you would over the stove (except no fire is required here). The depth of the pot also means less splattering of oil. This dish has been stewed for 6 hours (with the help of the 24-hour preset timer, without having me keep an eye of the cooking process), and kept warm overnight till ready to devour. This cooking method yields tender chunks of beef that you can easily pull apart with no effort, and intensely flavoured potatoes and carrots that’s inherited all the natural beefy goodness. Continue reading

Recipes from the Panasonic Cooking Workshop at Onaka

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Honoured to be selected by the panel of judges to be one of the top 10 finalists for Singapore’s Best Cooking Blog in the Singapore Blog Awards 2013, I was also given the opportunity to attend an enriching cooking workshop held at Onaka.

Chefs Jason and Benson demonstrated several recipes utilising appliances sponsored by Panasonic, which include a rice cooker, the Panasonic microwave oven NN-SV30, and the Panasonic mixer grinder MX-AC300 / 400.

In this post, I will be recapping on the recipes we’ve learnt, supplemented by a multitude of pictures for better comprehension. Do try these recipes at home! Continue reading

Recipe: Sesame-crusted Salmon with Spiced Cream Sauce & Sautéed Crushed Potatoes

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Salmon is a primal staple in my grocery list. It’s fast and easy to cook, it pairs well with a variety of flavours, and it’s packed with nutrition.

This recipe is inspired by the cooking demonstration at Onaka, where they did an exceptional job in accomplishing fusion dishes, combining elements of Asian and Western cuisine without complicating matters.

Simple cooking can be equally satisfying if properly executed, and the cooking ware you use is a vital vehicle in transforming fresh ingredients into tasty dishes. You can minimize kitchen disasters with using the right tools. For instance, the Tefal Comfort Touch pans that I trust never lets me down with its long-lasting non-stick quality.

There are three components in this dish; the Tefal Comfort Touch non-stick pan performs well in delivering each component to the desired results. The main component, the sesame crusted salmon, could have lost its sesame crust if not for the non-stick coating on the pan. The side dish requires less oil than usual when using the non-stick pan. Finally, how versatile can this pan be? It can even be used in making a sauce. Continue reading

Cooking with Tefal: Experimenting with Korean Pancake Recipes

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If you’re a fan of Korean pancakes, here’s a basic recipe that you can easily replicate at home and customise to suit your own taste. Adapted from Sarang Korean Bistro’s pancake recipe, I’ve experimented with three variations that I all enjoyed to the last bit. If you’re just like me, who enjoy a modest amount of starchiness with a crisp crust without excessive greasiness, you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.

I’m using a Tefal non-stick Comfort Touch Frypan for this pancake recipe, which I find yields much better results with little effort as compared to regular pans. I don’t have to worry about the batter sticking to the pan, and having problems flipping the pancake. It slides off the pan with ease without breaking apart. This recipe requires just enough batter to fill up the 28cm-diameter pan. You may adjust accordingly to the size of your pan. You don’t want the pancake to be too thick or too thin.

You can experiment with lots of other ingredients, such as Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, caramelised onion, smoked salmon, scallions and kimchi. Continue reading

Sarang Korean Bistro (2 recipes included!)

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Hear the word ‘Gangnam’, and most of us would immediately relate it to the legendary Korean pop-song ‘Gangnam Style’ by the talented Psy, which unquestionably amused hordes and inevitably annoyed some.

In case anyone doesn’t know, Gangnam is the name of one of the 25 districts in Seoul, South Korea. It is the third largest district in Seoul; it is a trendy cosmopolitan city with no short of contemporary bistros.

Sarang, a Korean bistro located at Orchard Central in Singapore, offers the latest food trends from Gangnam, making it available to us within our easy reach. Steering away from the usual Korean dining scene of smoky BBQ houses, Sarang presents a new dining experience –a fusion of classic Korean favourites and contemporary creations.


Folded Egg ($6.50)

What once used to serve up conventional Korean fare has now reinvented itself with a radical makeover, introducing a first-of-its-kind Korean Tapas menu. Continue reading

Express your love this Mother’s Day by cooking a meal (2+1 Recipes included!)

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Expressing your love on Mother’s Day need not involve spending copious amount of money on sophisticated gifts. Surprise your mum with a simple home-cooked heart-healthy meal to show how much you care.

Here are two simple dishes I made, adapting from the recipes I learnt at the Tefal cooking workshop at Onaka Restaurant.

Recipe 1: Garlic Prawns on Toast
Serves 4

Ingredients:
– 20 nos. peeled prawns
– 4 slices of bread
– 1 sprig fresh rosemary
– 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
– 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
– 2 tbsp red onion, coarsely chopped
– 1-2 tbsp of broccoli florets
– 1 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tsp soya sauce
– Salt and pepper to taste

In this recipe, I substituted lime leaves with curry leaves, white wine with sake, and added onion and broccoli while omitting chilli and dressings. I tend to make do with what I have available in the pantry, to reduce wastage and the chances of throwing away ingredients after a solitary teaspoonful.

I snipped off tiny florets from a broccoli for this recipe, which I can later use the remaining broccoli to cook up a comforting pot of creamy soup (check out my recipe here).

I still haven’t mastered the art of baking bread, so I made do with regular store-bought white bread, and used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to remove the centre of 4 slices of bread. Press the cookie cutter all the way down for neatly cut pieces. (It was only after my third attempt that I got it right, since I’ve never used a cookie cutter before! My first two unsuccessful pieces had jagged edges. Still edible.) The remaining borders need not go to waste (scroll down to see what I did with them).

For a healthy meal that everyone in the family can enjoy, choose the right ingredients (olive oil, fresh herbs) and the right cooking method (opt for techniques such as stir-frying as opposed to deep-frying).

Using a good quality pan is also vital for optimal results. I’m using the Tefal Comfort Touch pans in this post, which I highly recommend for its effective non-stick surface and reliable long-lasting quality.

Method:

1. Heat up Tefal Comfort Touch Frypan, add olive oil, sauté the onion till translucent.
2. Add in rosemary, curry leaves and garlic and sauté till aromatic.

3. Add in prawns and sauté. You can add in soya sauce at this point.
4. Add sake and let it evaporate.
5. Season with a pinch of salt to taste, and preferably freshly ground coarse black pepper for the finishing touch.

6. Lightly toast the heart-shaped bread on a pan, lightly greased if you’d prefer more crisp.
7. Plate prawns on toasts and spoon over with the aromatic sautéed particles in the pan.

Recipe 2: Flat Udon with Sautéed Mushrooms
Serves 4

Ingredients:

– 1 packet Shimeji mushrooms
– 1 packet Shitake mushrooms
– 1 packet flat Udon (approx. 360g)
– 20ml mirin
– 250ml chicken stock
– 1 garlic, finely chopped
– 1-2 onions, coarsely chopped
– ½ tsp black pepper
– ½ tsp salt (to taste)
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– A drizzle of truffle oil
– Nori for garnishing

In this recipe, I used flat udon noodles instead of the intended soba. It was negligence on my part that I did not double-check my ingredients before starting to cook. I panicked at the very last minute when I couldn’t find the packet of soba that I thought I had. It was a beautiful blunder nevertheless. Udon has a more starchy nature as compared to soba, absorbing a lot of that flavourful stock. If you prefer a more al dente bite, soba would be the recommended option. Both the Udon and Mirin are bought from Daiso, at an affordable price of just $2 each!

I like the aroma of sautéed onion and garlic, so in this recipe, I sautéed the mushrooms with the aromatics. Also, to make things less complicated, I used chicken stock instead of dashi. Continue reading