Sunday, April 29, 2007


Made chawanmushi tonight as a supper (yep, still ravenous after coming back from a fantastic hot bowl of Seremban beef noodles at Marine Parade hawker centre... but that's another story). It was quite easy to do - I had some dashi stock on hand, that I had earlier made using bonito flakes. Assemble in a bowl some sliced shitake mushrooms and one peeled prawn, then beat one egg together with some dashi stock, mirin, and soya sauce. Steam on very low heat for 15 min. Real heartwarming savoury snack at night.
Notes to self: (a) do not place the bowl so near the water, (b) cover with baking paper to prevent condensation dripping onto the egg surface and spoiling the silky smooth texture, (c) beat the egg - dashi stock mixture more thoroughly for an even texture throughout.


Made hamburgers for lunch today (another Neil Perry recipe). It was a good meal, slightly on the carnivorous side but that's okay, me and E don't eat that much red meat on a regular basis. I bought chuck steak, seasoned it with sea salt overnight, and handminced it in the morning, then moulded the mince into patties (there is no need to add egg or anything else to make the mince stick together). Grill patties with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and rest them for 5 min after they're cooked to medium (about 6 min total). Soften some cheddar slices on the patties while resting, and fry up some bacon. Toast the buns (i used English muffins because the readymade hamburger buns looked so uninspiring) and assemble the patties, cheese, bacon, cherry tomatos and a dollop of BBQ sauce. Open a bottle of ginger beer with the burgers. Simply heavenly!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Went with some colleagues to Michelangelo's, at Chip Bee Gardens for lunch on Thursday. We had their set lunch - clam chowder, spaghetti with smoked salmon and baby clams, alio olio style, vanilla ice cream and coffee. I liked their spaghetti very much - it was extremely flavourful, with lots of garlic and plenty of baby clams. And on top of that, they were having a promotion: one-for-one set lunch with Amex credit card. At $25 for the set lunch, it's a real steal.

The not so good thing was that I ended up being extremely thirsty later in the afternoon. Wonder whether they put too much seasoning?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Casuarina Roti Prata

Pit stop on today's Sunday expedition, at Casuarina Curry roti prata. Today's roti pratas weren't so good because they seemed to have been sitting around for a while (we went in the middle of the afternoon), but still light and crispy, and beats the Jalan Kayu suspects hands down.

Student Days Fried Rice

All this week, had felt like cooking fried rice, based on a recipe from my uni roommate YL. Making this dish today brought back so many memories, like how we used to eat broken rice because we couldn't afford the more expensive whole grain Thai rice, how we used Spam to fry with the rice because seafood was horrendously expensive in London, and how in a flash of time, it has been 10 years since my first year in university. It is summer in London now, where I'm going back to in 2 weeks time on a working trip, and I can't wait to see my old haunts and do the things that I used to do, like eating a jam-filled donut while lounging on the grass in Hyde Park with a good book, buying lovely jams and biscuits from Marks & Sparks, eating pots of mussels and drinking fruit beer at Belgos...

Anyway, here's YL's fried rice recipe, jazzed up with the addition of prawns, which I can now afford :)
Fry an omelette, Chinese style. Slice the omelette into slivers when cool.
Heat up a generous dollop of oil. Sweat garlic cloves. When brown but not burnt, throw in diced Spam or luncheon meat and fry till fragrant. Throw in prawns and fry till half-cooked, then fry in cooked rice (left overnight in the fridge). Add in mixed vegetables and season with light soya sauce to taste. Eat hot.

Herb Butter revisited

A better picture of my home-made herb butter (see Jan 07 archive for the recipe). Use it as a spread for warm bread, or place a pat on grilled fish or grilled steak for additional flavour.

Neil Perry Cookbooks

E just came back from a working trip to Australia and presented me with Neil Perry's latest cookbook - Good Food, that he bought over there. Neil Perry is an Australian chef based in Sydney, and his The Food I Love was a wedding present from my colleagues. I just love his recipes - beautiful, simple to cook at home, and chock-a-block of wonderful tips for making your food rise above the ordinary. For instance, he strongly advocates the use of sea salt in seasoning your food, and I have to say that it does make the food taste so much better, while being just so simple and cheap to do (NTUC Fairprice supermarket stocks organic sea salt for $2 plus, I bought both the rock salt and fine salt versions). I have never gone wrong yet with a Neil Perry recipe (unlike other recipes out there) - even a simple roast chicken that we did last night, tasted simply wonderful.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Korean Citron Tea

This is a lovely discovery made by my mum - korean citron tea. She bought it at the Korean supermarket at Bencoolen Plaza, but you can get other brands at the NTUC Fairprice supermarkets as well. What I like best about the citron tea is the bits of citron peel in it...tangy and refreshing at the same time.

Turtle Soup Ice Cream

No joke! I saw this flavour by Ben & Jerry's when we stopped at the petrol kiosk yesterday and picked up one tub to try. The description reads "Vanilla Ice Cream with Fudge & Caramel Cashews and a Caramel Swirl". What that has to do with turtles, I'm not sure, but maybe that's supposed to be a genius marketing strategy (it certainly worked on me).

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Fish Head Beehoon Soup

It is actually tremendously easy to make fishhead beehoon soup at home. Nowadays NTUC Fairprice supermarket sells pre-packed fishheads (garoupa, or other types), so just pick one up and bring to the counter for them to chop into small pieces (don't try this at home, it requires super-human strength and technique). You can buy a pack of rice vermicilli (serves 3) at the supermarket as well.

First, marinate the fishhead pieces in chinese cooking wine (4 soupspoons or more if you like your soup potent), finely sliced ginger, salt and fish sauce for a couple of hours.

When ready to cook, (a) prepare some boiling water for the soup and (b) blanch pre-packed rice vermicilli and separate into 2 - 3 bowls. Heat up some oil and fry a few pieces of ginger until fragrant. Fry the fishhead pieces (reserve the marinating liquid) until slightly charred. Turn up the heat to very high and pour in the hot boiling water (N.B. water must be very hot - this is to get that nice "milky" texture without adding milk). Pour in the marinating liquid and allow to boil for a couple of minutes more and season to taste. Scoop the fishhead pieces and soup into each individual vermicilli-filled bowl. Eat!

N.B: For a richer taste, you could boil fish bones for stock and use that instead of water for the soup.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


Long weekends are especially lovely, just like today - it feels like Sunday but it's actually Saturday! I got up bright and early today to make cream scones for breakfast, they tasted absolutely yummelicious!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sublime Tatsuya

Quite on a whim, we decided to go to Tatsuya today for lunch, as we were passing by Crown Prince Hotel today enroute to Paragon. I had the Ladies' Lunch set ($23.80), while E took the Sushi Bento ($26.80).

I had not expected the food to be so incredible (bordering on sublimity) - the chawanmushi was super smooth and lightly fragranced with yuzu, while the sushi was super fresh and even the egg omelette (stamped with the name of the restaurant) was wonderful. The sheer Japaneseness of the place overwhelmed us - we had counter seats so we had front-line view of the food preparation - every ingredient used was imported from Japan, including the spring onions and tomatoes! Though we eventually ended up empty-handed from our shopping trip, that lunch alone made our day.