(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.

Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory at 313 Somerset

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Originating from Seoul, Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory opens its first outlet in Singapore at 313 Somerset, bringing Korea’s “Chimaek” chicken-and-beer pairing culture to our shores, serving up a slew of fried and roasted chicken coated in garlic, chilli and cream-based sauces to accompany malty libations. With over 100 outlets across South Korea, this fried chicken restaurant, its popularity and success is self-evident.


Chir Cream Beer ($13.90 for 350ml/$18.90 for 650ml)

Inspired by the hippest trend in Korea’s drinking scene, Chir Cream Beer comes with house-whipped cream atop bubbly beer. Continue reading

(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.

LaBrezza, The St. Regis Singapore

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Saffron Panna Cotta ($16) – served with caramel sauce almond, orange tuilles and sweet dried fruits

The St. Regis Singapore embraces a new Chef de Cuisine, Luca Moioli, who will be holding the culinary reins at the hotel’s in-house Italian restaurant, LaBrezza. The completely refreshed a la carte menu is aptly balanced with a mix of classic Italian fare – original creations from his hometown, Sarnico, in the region of Lombardy – and his own signatures that are expertly crafted with contemporary touches. Continue reading

Jack’s Place’s revamped restaurant outlet at Paya Lebar Square

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Jack’s Place is a brand close to the hearts of many Singaporeans, some of whom are loyal patrons from way before there was an influx of western cuisine restaurants (back then there were no Michelin-starred restaurants or celebrity chefs), some of whom (I happen to belong to this group) started dining there as children where their parents used to date, whose parents would then share with their kids the fond memories of their dating years, which often take place at Jack’s Place.

For those who don’t know much about the history of Jack’s Place, it began in the 1960s with Mr Say Lip Hai, who learnt how to prepare Yorkshire pudding and roast beef when he was a cookboy with the British troops. After learning the skills, he opened his first restaurant called Cola Restaurant and Bar in 1967, catering mostly to the British and Commonwealth troops and their families, and those residing in the Sembawang neighbourhood. In 1968, a huge opportunity came his way. A British housewife approached him after tasting the steak he prepared, to start a catering business in her husband (Jack Hunt)’s pub in Killiney Road, which led to the birth of Jack’s Place Steak House where Mr Say was in charge of the whole kitchen operation. In 1974, Jack Hunt sold the business to Mr Say and relocated back to England. Today, the company comprises the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Say family.

Celebrating its 49th anniversary this year, one year shy of the big 50, Jack’s Place is taking gradual steps to refresh and revamp its outlets with a new look, beginning with its newest outlet at the comparatively new Paya Lebar Square. In succession, renovation at all 17 outlets is targeted to complete in two years. The revamp involves the concept of Jack’s Place (or rather, an addition of a new concept), the décor, ambience, and as might be expected, an updated menu. Noticeable changes include the replacement of the iconic green and white checked tablecloths with the new silk-screened tailor-made wooden tables.


Fire Steak ($29)

What many of us are most concerned about is the food. Signature staples like the steak on hotplate will stay. Huge sighs of relief, yes? Catering to modern day diners, the presentation of some items will be updated, such as the Fire Steak, now served on a white plate.
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(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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Ginzawa Japanese Restaurant at Palais Renaissance

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Palais Renaissance, positioned at a quieter corner along the bustling stretch of Orchard Road, has a new addition to its dining offerings. Ginzawa is a new Japanese concept underlining traditional Japanese fare with modern twists, and encompassing multiple facets of Japanese cuisine from kaiseki and seasonal omakase to lunch set dons and chirashis.


Deluxe Tempura Moriawasu ($35) – Anago Ippon Age, Uni Tempura, Amaebi Hotate Kakiage

The menu consists of sections dedicated to steamed, grilled, sushi and tempura dishes. Also available are seasonal offerings that allow the chef to showcase his creativity and culinary techniques. The man behind these dishes is veteran Chef Donny Tan, whom has accumulated over 30 years of culinary experience at Japanese restaurants in the US, Europe, Japan and Singapore. Continue reading

Saveur Art @ Ion Orchard -Affordable French Dining

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Dining at the higher floors of Ion Orchard is often regarded as a lavish affair, encircled by elite brands that contribute to the upscale reputation of the mall. One would imagine to be paying at least $150 each for a meal at a French restaurant, especially at Ion Orchard where rental rates are expected to be extremely high, but Saveur Art @ Ion orchard contradicts just that.


Salmon Confit ($11) – with marinated ikura, cauliflower, horseradish

Saveur’s first foray into the Singapore food scene was a huge hit; it extinguished the intimidation of French dining and made it affordable to the masses. The Saveur Group’s latest venture, Saveur Art, is an upscale version of Saveur, starring a different set of menu exclusive to this outlet. Saveur Art features deluxe ingredients such as white and black truffle from Alba, Italy, langoustine and wild game like pigeon, without the exorbitant pricing. It also carries a larger range of wines compared representing different regions of France, which also includes two dealcoholized white and red wines. Fervent fans of Saveur can still find their favourite items like Angel Hair Pasta and Duck Confit at Saveur Art, albeit with slight twists. Continue reading

“The Best of Thai” at Escape Restaurant & Lounge, One Farrer Hotel & Spa (2 to 16 April 2015)

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One Farrer Hotel & Spa in Singapore collaborates with Guest Chef Aek Charttrakul and his team from the Thailand Culinary Academy to present “The Best of Thai” from 2 to 16 April 2015.

Before I begin with the food, I have to say that I am very impressed (unexpectedly) by the overall feel of his hotel, having stepped foot here for the first time. This relatively new five-star hotel, located away from the bustling city centre, strikes one as being built to anticipate the arrivals of diplomats and VIPS at first glance. As you enter the hotel, you are welcomed by a sense of sophistication. Art pieces grace the spacious lobby, with soothing music playing in the background.

At Escape Restaurant & Lounge, white linen tablecloths give the restaurant a clean and classy look, albeit too formal for buffet pleasures I feel, but nonetheless comfortable. The theatrical open kitchen grants diners unobstructed views of chefs in action. The crowd was a little sparse on last Friday evening, which was good for me because I enjoy the quiet peace and less people swarming around the buffet line, but I don’t think the restaurant will enjoy such peace for a long time, especially when more people start knowing about what a gem this place is.

Plain white plates are glued into sculptures of art and hidden away in display cabinets, replaced by various shapes and sizes of ornate dinnerware that are totally “instagram-worthy”. This is where you can truly show off your incredible food plating creativity. Continue reading

Joël Robuchon Restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore

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Joël Robuchon, a renowned culinary figure whom has accumulated a total of 25 Michelin stars in different parts of the world including Singapore, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, London, Macau, Monaco, Paris and Tokyo, whose restaurants are on the top of every gourmand’s checklist, is a man of firm principles when it comes to French cookery. Speak to him about “molecular gastronomy” and expect a long face.

Seen as a stern and austere man, who allows no inferior work to leave the kitchen with his knowledge, those who have secured a position in his kitchens ought to be no less than the top of the line with great ambitions and talents. I can imagine the workspace spiralling into a frantic pace with each visit he makes, but his very appearance is also what many would eagerly anticipate –a rare occasion to meet the culinary legend that we worship endlessly. Even the staunchest fan may not have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of him.

I felt so privileged to be able to meet him in person, two years ago, when Resorts World Sentosa organised the RWS Food Affair, in which the RWS Celebrity Chefs Dinner brought together six prominent chefs including Joël Robuchon.

Dining at Joël Robuchon Restaurant may not be that far-fetched a dream. While it can cost up to an intimidating $500 per person for dinner, fans can get a taste of Joël Robuchon’s culinary finesse for just under $60. Turn to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, a relaxed concept adjacent to Joël Robuchon Restaurant underlining a heightened level of interaction between chefs and diners with just a (wall-less) counter separating the kitchen and main dining area. Lunches are priced at $48, $68 or $108 per person, and dinner at $68, $98 or $138. The a la carte menu also offers tasting portions.

I headed to Resorts World Sentosa with great anticipation that Saturday afternoon, all eager to be impressed all over again at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon where I visited two years ago, only to find out that I have gotten the date wrong. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon was closed; it is only open for lunch on Sundays (operates for dinner from Thursdays to Mondays). Joël Robuchon Restaurant on the other hand opens for lunch on Saturdays (operates for dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays). I was dressed for L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and underdressed for Joël Robuchon Restaurant, and so was my dining companion. The front of house crew were gracious and ushered us to the seating area without any air, while a table at the swanky Joël Robuchon Restaurant was being prepared for us. I took awhile adjusting to the situation, having to strip off the casual persona and gradually starting to believe that I’m going to dine at Joël Robuchon Restaurant. Lunch at Joël Robuchon Restaurant is far more affordable than dinner, starting at $78 to $118 per person. The versatile menu allows diners to compose their own meals by picking and combining items from a list of appetisers, mains and desserts. For instance, the $118 per person meal includes the Amuse-Bouche, choice of 1 appetiser, choice of 1 soup, choice of 2 main courses, choice of 1 dessert, and coffee or tea served with petit four. Dinners are priced at $228 to $428 per person.

Quoting Joel Robuchon, “Innovation, Modernity and Tradition are the three words that inspired me to create this menu…” “You can adapt as you wish by choosing one, two, three or four services, depending on your appetite, your desires, and discover a multitude of flavours.”
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Afternoon Tea Set ($28++ for 2 pax) at O’Coffee Club

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O’Coffee Club launches an Afternoon Tea Set priced at just $28++, offering great value for money spent. The three-tiered set, filled with an array of sweet and savoury treats, is designed to feed 2 guests generously, allowing room for a 3rd friend to share the enjoyment. Served between 3pm to 5pm daily from now till 30 April 2015, the Afternoon Tea is available at selected outlets (Millenia Walk, Paragon, Raffles City, Wheelock Place, Wisma Atria and Changi Airport Terminal 3). That said, there might be plans to involve its other outlets.


Red Berry Tea (U.P $7.20)

Also included in the Afternoon Tea set are hot beverages, pick any 2 from O’Coffee Club’s range of premium coffees such as latte and cappuccino, or from a selection of gourmet Gryphon teas.

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