Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I had a marvellous lunch today at Akane, which is located in the Japanese Association at Adam Road. Akane is well known in the Japanese community and its chef, Nogawa-san is one of the most highly regarded japanese chefs in Singapore.

Our high expectations were not disappointed. Me and some other gal pals all ordered the Akane Gozen ($25), which had a little of everything - sashimi, simmered vegetables (pumpkin, bamboo, yam), deep-fried fish, miso soup and pickles. It was simply exquisite - simple dishes, beautifully cooked to perfection, high quality at an affordable price. I was most pleased !! at being able to have freshly-ground wasabi to go with the sashimi (most restaurants use powdered coloured horse-radish, not the real thing.

Indeed I must find another excuse to go back to Akane again!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Egg Cake

This is a very traditional steamed cake which is also awfully easy to make (you do need a electric mixer though).
3 eggs
180 g plain flour
180 g fine sugar
2 tablespoons of 7-up/sprite/ice-cream soda/100 plus (very important! do not skip.)

1) whisk the eggs with the sugar on "high" setting till creamy white and tripled in volume, about 45 min.
2) add in the flour and mix evenly, another 5-10 min
3) mix in the 7-up (and squeeze in some pandan leave juice if it is available)
4) pour into metal mould
5) steam for about 35 min

That's it! Easy-peasy and doesn't need an oven. This used to be very common in Singapore but we don't see it that often nowadays. Brings back lots of childhood memories...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cheese Fondue

We decided to have a light and easy-to-prepare lunch of cheese fondue today. I used ready-prepared swiss cheese fondue mix (available at the cheese section of Cold Storage), though it is easy enough to prepare your own as well.
Rub a clove of garlic around the fondue pot, melt the cheese, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve with crusty bread and a nice glass of white wine. Absolutely lovely and just hits the spot on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I love Nandos Chicken!

My absolute favourite fast food is Nandos chicken! In my opinion, KFC can't hold a candle to it. Of course, the secret is the flaming hot peri-peri sauce - spicy, tangy, and oh so delicious!
Sadly, the Nandos franchise has not made it to Singapore yet, so the few times that I managed to eat Nandos chicken were in Australia and in Kuala Lumpur. However, I did manage to buy a bottle of their peri-peri sauce (HOT flavour) and I have been using it to cook Nandos chicken at home (not quite like the real thing, but close).
Add a generous dollop of the peri-peri sauce, marinate the chicken pieces (drumsticks and wings preferred) overnight, and then grill for about 20 - 25 minutes, turning once halfway through. I also use the sauce as a dip - so much better than plain old Maggi SOS chilli sauce. Quite by accident some time ago, I discovered that Mustafa sells a good range of the Nandos sauces, so no fear of running out of supply! Check out the Nandos website here:

Monday, January 15, 2007

The French Stall

Dinner tonight at The French Stall, which is at the junction of Serangoon Road and Sturdee Road North. This place is quite well known, for no-frills french food served at affordable prices, or french food "hawker" style if you like.
E and I ordered different sets - (a) french onion soup, beef with black pepper sauce, dark chocolate cake, and (b) tomato soup, pork chop, and caramel brulee. The food was rather decent, though I think there could be a wider variety of mains, and quality was not that fantastic. Couldn't really tell what made it French too. Overall, it was an interesting dining experience eating by the roadside, with decent food at reasonable prices.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


To go with nice bread, one must have lovely butter. I was inspired enough by my bread-making attempt to try creating my own herb butter although in the past my friend had always told me how messy and time-consuming it was.
Well surprising enough, it was very easy... I did everything in a bowl, with a mixing spoon so there were no random food processor parts to wash up. Used dried basil as well, saving the trouble of chopping up all the fresh herbs. Here's the rough recipe:

-one small clove garlic, finely chopped

-150g unsalted butter

-one teaspoon dried herbs

- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

- freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste (half a lemon should be more than enough).

Mash everything up! Then spoon it onto aluminium foil and roll up into a log shape. Refrigerate and cut into discs for serving when firm. A lousy photo here, taken with the handphone.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Abalone and Fish Porridge

The ultimate comfort food...a hot steaming bowl of porridge! I used silver fish (smaller version of ikan billis), dried scallops and cuttlefish to prepare the porridge, and threadfin fillet thrown in at the last minute. I usually don't cook the abalone but just ladle the bubbling hot porridge over it, so that the abalone slices stay tender and sweet. This is a truly expensive comfort indeed.

Comfort in Cooking

When I'm stressed, I usually cook as a form of release. Today, I did quite a lot of messing around in the kitchen, as my grandmother was admitted to hospital this morning after a stroke. She is in stable condition now, and we hope she makes a good recovery.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Simply Bread

Egged on by E today, I decided to try baking my own herb bread. I scoured through a few recipe sources and finally decided to adapt one from that American classic cookbook, Joy Of Cooking, with lots of dried basil thrown in.

At first, I thought that it was an unmitigated disaster... the proportions of flour seemed wrong, there was too much water, and my bread refused to rise! In desperation I chucked it into the oven to bake and lo and behold it started rising! In half an hour, I had something which looked like it came out of the oven at Cedele Depot or Simply Bread! Having tasted it - my verdict is....

SIMPLY YUMMY! It tastes fragrant with lots of "basil" kick, and texture is like baguette. We shall have it for sunday morning breakfast tomorrow.

Here are some photos, quality not very good cos it was taken with a handphone camera.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The cheaterbug's guide to potluck

If you're stumped for ideas on what to contribute for a potluck party, try making konnyaku jelly. It is superbly easy.
1) Find a suitable mould - plastic container or jelly cups would do fine.
2) Fill up the mould with canned fruits or diced fresh fruit e.g. mango, kiwi, pineapple are good choices. Personally I find that using good quality fresh fruit makes a real difference as canned fruit versions are all too commonplace.
3) Prepare the konnyaku jelly using pre-mix powder, easily available in the baking section of all supermarkets.
4) Pour the mixture into the mould and chill overnight.
5) Turn the mould upside down when ready to serve and gently squeeze the jelly out. Ta da!

Lunch at Au Petit Salut

Lunch at Au Petit Salut, a wonderful Southern French restaurant at Chip Bee Gardens (just behind Holland Village) today. I had been there a couple of times before, but as E had never eaten there, and today being a public holiday, it was an easy decision to make. We had the set lunch menu at $22+++ per person. I do apologise for the lack of photos, but the camera is temporarily out of action!

Starters: Half dozen baked Burgundy snails with tomato and garlic butter
Mains: Pan-seared "onglet" beef with confit shallots and french fries; Home-made Chicken "cordon bleu" with ham and cheese stuffing and french beans
Desserts: Petit Pot Au Chocolat with fresh whipped cream

On the way back to the car we passed by Da Paolo Gastronomia, a gourmet shop, and discovered them making "homemade" pasta! $2.50 per bundle for basic egg pasta, or $3.50 per bundle for herb pasta / spinach pasta / squid ink pasta. This has given me more inspiration for making more types of pasta - so far I've only attempted egg pasta and cracked black pepper pasta.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Baked Fish with Truffles

We cooked baked fish with truffles today, for a New Year's Day lunch with family. It is very simple - rub a good-sized whole fish (I used threadfin bream) with some sea salt, add a few drops of truffle-flavoured oil, and a few slices of truffle. Wrap the whole thing up as an aluminium foil package, and pop in the oven at 250 deg C for about 15 - 20 min depending on how big the fish is.
We first ate this dish in a small restaurant in Rome, and it has become one of our favourites when we want to "pamper" ourselves but do not feel like cooking something too elaborate.
However, I am on the verge of running out of truffles and still have not discovered where to buy it in Singapore!
Unfortunately no photos as all of us were in such a hurry to attack it that we forgot about the photo taking....