Sunday, March 25, 2007

Au Jardin

Had a wonderful Sunday brunch at Au Jardin with E today. As expected, the food was absolutely exquisite. This was a semi-buffet style so we took our pick from the spread of delights including vine-ripened tomatoes, marinated scallops, seasonal mushrooms, potato salad with truffles and more… We also had eggs – I had the scrambled eggs while E had the eggs benedict (gosh, this was really good). For mains, I took the penne with lobster and E dug into the beef sirloin. Ended off with mango parfait for dessert. The price was really very reasonable at $58 per pax, considering the quality of the food and the wonderfully romantic ambience in the Botanic Gardens…

Italian Mamma Mia!

Our friend Joanne gave this fabulous Italian cookbook to E as a present... thank you Joanne!
I have already identified several oh-so-yummy recipes including a favourite pesce de zuppa (fish soup) that we savoured to the last drop in Venice .....

Da Paolo La Terrazza

Fridays are my favourite workday ever. For one, the next day is the weekend (Yay!) and for another, I usually try to schedule lunch catch-up sessions with ex-colleagues, current colleagues on Fridays when everyone's in a more relaxed mood, and leisurely lunches are a perfect way to chill out and get into the weekend vibe.

This Friday was no exception - I had arranged to meet my mentee at Da Paolo La Terrazza, at Chip Bee Gardens. I had been meaning to try this branch of Da Paolo out for some time, but always ended up eating at Au Petit Salut (just next door). So since I was feeling a tad over-dosed with Au Petit Salut, no better time than to try Da Paolo.

For the starter, I had the Carpaccio di Pesce Spada - which was thinly sliced raw swordfish salad with sun-dried tomatoes. Great choice! This was totally fresh, refreshing and tangy - a classic and lovely dish for the hot sunny day. For main, I had the homemade pasta with seafood in a tomato-based sauce with white wine. Now, this was a tad disappointing as somehow the home-made pasta lacked the oomph that I had experienced in Biscotti (bangkok) and Third Floor (kl), and to be frank, my own home-made pasta tasted better. Not that it was bad - just that I expected more of it. We ended off by having lemon cheescake and coffee (the coffee was not the best - slightly overbrewed and bitter).

Set lunches are priced very affordably, at $22 per pax. I would come here again to try their Parma Ham salad starter (i pinched some of Joan's parma ham and it was really good too) and for the great laid-back ambience.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Miharu's wonderful noodles

On Monday night, we had dinner at Miharu, a small Japanese noodle bar at the Gallery hotel, Robertson Quay. This place was written up by Sunday Times last year as one of the top 50 eating places in Singapore (not sure I completely agree with all the recommendations though).

Miharu specialises in ramen, and uses specially imported Sapporo Nishiyama noodles from Hokkaido. The place only seats about 20 (including counter seats) and the menu is strictly limited – there are only 6 choices of ramen dishes. E had the Tokusen Miso Ramen – ramen in special miso stock, while I had the cold ramen with the fragrant hot stock for dipping. As expected, the ramen was wondrously “bouncy” and springy. Both of us preferred the cold ramen as you could really taste the texture of the noodles. Even the half slice of hard-boiled egg was cooked to perfection – the yolk was still soft and slightly runny on the inside. My only complaint was that the soup stock was a tad too oily and salty, but apparently you can ask for clear dashi stock to dilute it. Total cost came up to about $30 for two of us, which is not cheap for a simple meal of ramen but then the quality shows.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Cookie Monster

Again, was feeling stressed yesterday, so took to baking and cooking with a vengence. Baked the most basic butter cookies and put them in a nice cookie jar for E to bring to work for his coffee break.

Friday, March 16, 2007

ABÖF Restaurant and Tea Lounge

Last weekend's Sunday Times came with a whole load of coupons for restaurants at Millennia Walk, including this place called ABÖF Restaurant and Tea Lounge. Prior to this, I had already noticed their advertisement (with a review by the Business Times, no less) placed strategically near the lift lobby of Millennia Walk, which we have been frequenting quite often recently.

As we were at Millennia Walk yesterday night to pick up some things of E's, the coupons were the tipping factor that resulted in us deciding to try ABÖF this evening. First impressions were of doubt- there were no customers at all in the restaurant, while BigO directly opposite was full, and the strangely flickering ceiling lights tended to give one a headache if seated directly under them.

But once we started on the meal proper, it turned out that the standard was above average, with some interesting Scandinavian choices. We had a scandinavian soup with meatballs and dumplings to share - this was like a clear and light consumme, very tasty, not sure if it was really authentic though. For mains, E took the Scandinavian roast pork with crackling skin, pitted prunes, baked apple and roast potatoes, while I had the deep fried dory fillet with pink shrimp garnished with caviar. These two dishes tasted similar to what I had in Sweden a few years back, so presumably rather authentic. Overall, certainly a refreshing, light and interesting meal. I would definitely go back again to try their very reasonably priced set dinner and degustation dinner sets. In fact, with the discount coupon we used today, our bill only came up to $29 for two of us (!!!). I was glad that a few more customers came into the restaurant while we were eating, though I guess ABÖF may make more business from the executive lunch crowd.

A nice end to a hectic workday.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Pesto (really home-made)

Feeling rather destructive today, so got down to making pesto. Again, a fantastic recipe from Neil Perry's The Food I Love, which is a lot more simple than it looks.

- 125 of freshly plucked sweet basil leaves, washed and dry
- 2 cloves of garlic
- sea salt
- 2 tablespoon of finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon of pine nuts
- 80 ml of extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper

Pound the sea salt and garlic in a mortar. Add in the basil leaves and pine nuts and pound till creamy. Add in the olive oil (slowly), parmesan cheese, and freshly ground pepper. Season with more sea salt to taste. (I don't pluck so many sweet basil leaves because my plant can't take the stress. So just adjust the amounts accordingly).

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Chocolate Covered Coffee Beanies!

I love chocolate covered coffee beans, they give you such a buzz and you get the best of both worlds, chocolate and coffee. While I used to eat a lot of them when I was living in London, they're not so common here in Singapore. So when I saw these in a shop in Changi Airport enroute to Bangkok last December, I quickly grabbed a pack. These come in different coffee flavours like latte, cappuccino. We got the expresso version!