Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dinner at Wahiro

E took me out for dinner last night to celebrate my birthday. We decided to spend it at Wahiro, a tiny but very good restaurant in Katong Mall that always seems to be packed to the gills with Japanese clientele, and has received many rave reviews. We ate there once before for lunch, and had a good impression of the food, so it was timely for a return there for dinner this time round.

We took the Kaiseki menu - 8 small and exquisite dishes priced at $68 per pax. Kaiseki menus change according to the seasons, as Japanese chefs prepare the food using what is fresh and in season at that time. So what we ate would be the Winter Kaiseki (I think). N.B. As I was writing this post I checked the Wahiro website and they’ve already changed the kaiseki menu, which looks totally yums too.

We started off with an absolutely marvellous starter of Hotate (raw scallop) salad. The scallops were just so unimaginably sweet, juicy and tender that both of us were in ecstasies about what was to come next. The next course, a clear soup with "dumplings" of minced prawn / shitake mushroom and lotus root was oddly "Chinese tasting" and not really spectacular. Third dish - assorted sashimi of tuna and two other types of fish that we couldn't identify. As expected, it was good, fresh and sweet. I was raving about the fourth course - slowboiled bamboo shoot with bonito flakes. This was supposedly a Wahiro specialty and indeed well-deserved! The bamboo shoots were so exceptionally sweet and tender that I couldn't help raving about it with every mouthful I took (although in my recollection, Ikukan does a really mean grilled bamboo with miso paste too... but that's another story). This was followed by a lovely mushi sushi - rice with ikura (salmon roe), which I love for its burst of saltiness in your mouth as you bite into it. The rest of the courses (seaweed wrapped broiled salmon with mini taro ball) and fried rice cake were so-so, plus, we were a bit stuffed by then. I was looking forward to the Yuzu sherbet but it was not to be, so we took our usual matcha ice cream and black sesame ice-cream (good, but not as good as Zipangu).

Overall, a really good experience which left me hankering for more Japanese food.

The day didn't end on this high note though - I got stomach upset almost immediately after I stepped out of the restaurant (nothing to do with Wahiro), it was food poisoning from lunch. And then after getting home, I was hunkered up against the computer working till midnight (this is a busy busy time in my work). Hmm....could almost forget the Ohmigod moment that I officially turned 30.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Poached Pears

Made poached pears today for dessert. A terribly simple recipe, from my favourite cookbook The Food I Love by Australian chef Neil Perry.

Mix 500ml of sweet white wine, 100g of caster sugar, 350 ml of water, zest of 1/2 lemon, and heat up slowly until sugar is dissolved. Add 4 pears in and simmer for about 15 minutes until soft but still firm. Cool in the poaching liquid. Drain the pears and cut to serve, with a scoop of fruit sorbet. Yums!
N.B. Do not use the Chinese pears (or li). Must use angmoh pears for this dish.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Green Tea Ice-Cream (homemade, sort of)

I espied this in the supermarket a few months back and bought it - instant japanese green tea ice cream mix! Now, for someone who likes instant gratification, this is really cool stuff. It had been quietly sitting in the cupboard these few months until today I decided that it was opportune to activate it (we are running low on ice-cream in the freezer).

All the instructions were in Japanese, so I just hazarded some smart guesses on how to make it
-mix milk and one egg yolk
-add in the instant mix and beat with electric whisk
-freeze for at least 3 hours

It took less than 10 minutes in all to do everything, and the end product tasted really rather nice! Lovely and creamy, though i think there is still some way to go if you compare to the real home-made stuff. gadget on my list, a mini ice-cream maker?

The Lazy Cook's Saviour

I have to admit that very often, I am quite tired and lazy to spend too much time and effort cooking. So when I feel like that but don't want to eat out, I turn to the trusty Yong Tau Foo stall in our supermarket. All you need to do is to select what you like - fishballs, chilli, tau pok, and buy rice vermicilli and Kang Kong vegetables to supplement. Then cooking just becomes a matter of boiling the chicken soup stock, blanching the rice vermicilli, and thowing in the Yong Tau Foo and Kang Kong to cook. Healthy, tasty and easy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


T.T.E. stands for Time To Eat. Yeah, I am a true blue Singaporean adding to the acronym soup!
We've now honed it down to 30 minutes from the time we get home to sit down to dinner after preparing and cooking (microwave dinners don't count). We do things fast because we prepare dinner as a team, E prepares the food while I do the execution (frying and so on). It also helps to plan meals in advance so that minimal preparation, fuss, and cooking time are required e.g. we use the grill, have steamed fish, cook a soup in the slow-cooker. And the food still tastes yummy, and most importantly, it is healthy and we don't get sick of it.... banzai for homecooked food!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Almond Jelly

Made almond jelly for a small lunch gathering at our place today. The mould is really pretty - passed to me by my mother-in-law who seldom bakes / makes desserts nowadays.

Third Floor Restaurant

If Zipangu wasn't enough indulgence, on the day after our marvellous dinner we went to Third Floor Restaurant, which is at JW Marriot KL. Third Floor Restaurant had rave reviews in all the eating guides including KL's Best Eats and Malaysia's Best Restaurants. So we just had to try them out for lunch, couple of hours before our bus ride back to Singapore.

Funnily enough, Third Floor Restaurant isn't at the third floor of JW Marriot, but rather on a mezzanine level between the second and third floor. The decoration of the restaurant was minimalist, bordering a little on the stark and austere side - think all black and white. But the food! Was so good! We both ordered the set lunch - pumpkin soup, assorted mushrooms and truffles fettucine, seared salmon with champagne sauce, and creme brulee with berries. The mushroom fettucine was simply OUT-OF-THIS WORLD good, the earthy and heady aroma of the mushrooms wafting through with each mouthful we took. The creme brulee was smooth, silky, sweet and liquor-infused.

Affordable decadence indeed, at 68 ringgit per person. Must go must go must go!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dinner at Zipangu

While in KL last Sunday, we decided to treat ourselves to a good dinner, at Zipangu which is the resident Japanese restaurant in Shangri-La KL. I had eaten there (twice!) before, and had very good memories of the food there.

It was in fact much much better than I remembered....we decided to order one sushi set and one beef teppanyaki set. The sushi set came with dobin moshi (teapot soup), salad, foie gras with wintermelon, tempura, mixed sushi, miso soup, and ice cream. The mixed sushi was wonderfully top made, with rice that didn't disintegrate when we picked it up with our chopsticks (you know what i mean), and wonderfully fresh, sweet and meltingly tender raw fish / scallop. Ahhhhhhh. The teppanyaki set was just as good, with tenderloin grilled to medium perfection... juicy and sweet.

And the ice cream!! We chose one black sesame ice cream and one green tea (macha) ice cream. It was sooooo good. The green tea ice cream had enough oomph and fragrance without being overly sweet.

Although this place is rather pricey, so only for special occasions.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Holiday in Kuala Lumpur

Me and E are in KL for a long weekend. Needed a holiday because work will be piling up very soon, so wanted to recharge and refresh before that.
We've checked ourselves into the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, KL. It is a GORGEOUS hotel! The room is spacious and the bathroom is the size of our master bedroom. Gosh! I am typing this post now in their club lounge, where there is complimentary all-day pastries, snacks, fruits and drinks, and Internet access. Should do this more often.... :-)

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Pineapple Tarts for Chinese New Year

Out of all the sweet snacks and munchies that one eats during Chinese New Year, I have an especial partiality for pineapple tarts. For the past few years, I have been buying home-made ones baked by a friend's mother. But this year, as he is not in Singapore, I was faced with the option of buying the mass-produced ones from the supermarket. Bleaurgh.
So I decided to make my own and enlisted the help of my mother-in-law. It is quite simple if you buy the ready-made pineapple paste instead of stewing your own. Just prepare the shortcrust pastry, using lots of butter and cut out the tarts before scooping the pineapple filling onto them. Bake at 200 dec celsius for 10 minutes and enjoy! We spent only about 1 and a half hours yesterday afternoon to make 120 pineapple tarts.