Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bar & Billiard Room, Raffles Hotel

i ate so much
14 Oysters
Alaskan King Crab, 3 claws, 4 legs
2 baby lobsters
4 grilled king prawns
3 steamed cold prawns
assorted pastries and desserts
i am so full
going to bed now

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Interesting Chocolates

My colleague just brought these chocolates back from Brunei - product of a very famous 6-star hotel there. Look at the descriptions of the chocolates, especially the close-up shot. Now we know why chocolates are reputed to have aphrodisiac properties.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Feet

We went on a mini-discovery to the sembawang hot spring this afternoon (yes, the one and only hot spring in Singapore). The place is kinda surreal...surrounded by military fences all around and with very civilised, utilitarian paved concrete and taps gushing hot sulphury water. Picture tells a thousand words. 'Nuff said.

Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce

E suggested this morning that we should have Japanese soba noodles for lunch. That was fine, we had the noodles, but we ran out of the bottled dipping sauce many months ago. So feeling creative, I gathered all the japanese ingredients in the kitchen and mixed up my own dipping sauce using mirin, japanese shoyu, dashi stock (shaved bonito flakes boiled with water), miso paste, and some finely grated young ginger. We were surprised at how "authentic" it tasted despite the lack of dried seaweed and finely chopped spring onions as garnish.
Later, I recalled that there might be a recipe for soba dipping sauce in my japanese cookbook and did a quick check. lo and behold, I actually "accidentally" got all the ingredients correct with the exception of the miso paste. Will post up recipe in future after I measure the amount of ingredients to use - this morning's attempt was just thrown together based on gut feel of the right amounts.
N.B. It is a good idea to serve the grated ginger and spring onions on the side so that it can be added to taste, if you have fussy people eating. Wasabi paste can also be added to the dipping sauce (again, serve the wasabi on the side).

Adam Road Prawn Noodle

We were in the Dempsey Road / Botanic Garden area yesterday so popped by the Adam Road hawker centre. This hawker centre has a number of famous stalls, including the nasi lemak and prawn noodle. Having eaten nasi lemak from the famous stall before and feeling rather "jeelak" yesterday, we decided to go for the soupy prawn noodle instead.

At $5 a bowl, with 3 humongous prawns and one pork rib, I thought that it was very value-for-money. Prawns were extremely fresh, crunchy and sweet (at least for such big prawns, the bigger they get, the less flavour they have). Unfortunately, I thought the stock wasn't that fantastic - it was quite good, but not concentrated and flavourful enough from boiling lotsa prawn heads and shells. I would have expected more of such a highly rated stall with a half-hour long queue. Also I thought I detected a hint of rock sugar, which I don't like in soups - hey, if you can get sweetness from the natural ingredients, why add sugar, right? E tells me that the stock used to be better though.

Flowering Cactus

This 20-year-old cactus (which is taller than my husband, who stands at 1.75m) has been flowering a few times in the past year (once just before we got married, another time 6 months later, and this latest yet another 6 months later). Everytime there are about 2 to 3 blooms. It is apparently very rare for cacti to flower so this hopefully augurs something auspicious.

picture taken using E's cameraphone so i need to wait for him to teach me how to upload it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Easy Peasy Rice-Cooker Chicken Rice

I "invented" this one-dish meal when studying, out of (a) desire to eat claypot rice and (b) need to ensure that food was easy to cook and that there were not so many dishes to wash up. Here's how it goes:
  • marinate chicken pieces (about 400 g for two pax or adjust accordingly) in light soya sauce (3 tbs), dark soya sauce (1 tbs), and chinese wine (1 tbs) for about 15 min
  • prepare some sliced garlic, dried shrimp (2 tbs), sliced shitake mushroom (about 3), and sliced chinese sausage (lap cheong, about 1)
  • fry the garlic, dried shrimp, lap cheong, and mushroom in some oil until fragrant.
  • Turn the heat to very high, throw in the chicken pieces and fry rapidly for 1 min, just to seal in the juices but not to cook the chicken.
  • Put everything in the rice-cooker, over the uncooked rice and water (add 1 more tbs of light soya sauce and 1 tsp of dark soya sauce), and follow the normal procedure for cooking white rice. The rice will take about 10 min longer than usual to cook.

Bon appetit! You can also add some Chinese cabbage on top of the rice for some crunch and if you're too lazy to cook another vegetable dish. Try to use chicken wings or thighs to cook this dish as the meat is more tender and juicy, and more oil will go into the rice.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Homemade Pizza

Home-made pizza for lunch today. Looks ugly but tastes yummy. I made the dough, and topped it with tomato paste (you can also use spaghetti mix out of a jar), ham, porcini mushrooms, sundried tomatos, anchovies, and topped it with shredded mozarella cheese. The advantage of making it yourself is that you can make the crust as thin and crispy as you like, and add lots of exotic toppings without breaking the bank. Total cost price for three medium pizzas, $8 (excluding the cost of labour of course!).

Pizza Dough:
150 g plain flour
7 g of yeast, mixed with 90ml of lukewarm water (the yeast is the most important ingredient - do not kill your yeast by having the water too hot)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
Mix the flour with the yeast mixture, sugar, salt and olive oil. Rest for 30 min, covered. Roll out dough into round flat pancakes, turn up the rim with fingers. Makes about 2 small-medium pizzas, thin crust.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lazy Hainanese Style Chicken Rice

Many eons ago, I once attempted to cook hainanese style chicken rice from scratch, i.e. boil the chicken stock, cook the rice with chicken stock and garlic. But it didn't turn out that well, because you do need tons of concentrated chicken stock and fat to give the rice the requisite amount of oomph. Also, you would end up with the dilemma of either overcooked chicken and tasty rice, or tasty chicken and bland rice (unless you are willing to sacrifice one whole chicken just on stock alone, which as a poor student I was not......imagine paying 5 pounds per chicken just to cook it for soup!)

Nowadays I just use the ready chicken rice mixtures in jars, that are so readily available in the supermarket. It tastes good, I add in some pandan leaves to give the rice fragrance, and the chicken is cooked to perfection. It takes only 10 minutes to prepare everything, including the chicken (cooking time is longer, but you only need to watch the chicken now and then).

N.B: I also discovered that the pre-mix chicken-rice mixture makes an excellent soup base / addition for instant noodles.
N.B II: I also have my own recipe for rice-cooker claypot-inspired chicken rice, which I am very proud of, and I think it tastes wonderful. Will post up recipe another time. Desperation (to eat chinese food in angmoh land) drives one to new heights of creativity!

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Bird In the Hand is Worth?

Interesting pub that we dropped by for lunch in the Wycombe area, on our last day in the UK. I ordered their home-made burger, which was a tad on the salty side. But a hearty meal nonetheless!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Too much indulgence

Lunch today at a lovely and cosy little place near Eton college. i had pan fried calves' liver with pancetta in red wine jus. Back in London, this was followed by a shopping jaunt in Harvey Nichols where I bought some foie gras and relish, and another happy hour in Harrods food hall buying Charbonnel et Walker champagne truffles. Dinner was at the seafood counter in Harrods - grilled king prawns with tomato salsa and lemongrass rice. Yummy, too much indulgence today. My only redeeming feature was that i did not buy the 59 pound (gulp, $180) black winter truffle.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Roast Duck from Four Seasons, London

I am now in London feeling very excited but tired and trying to clear work in Singapore at the same time. Had a busy day and started work from the time that we touched down at 6am (London time) till now 10.00 pm London time. As a reward, i decided to have the famous roast duck at Four Seasons in Bayswater, London. This is supposedly the best in the world.

My verdict after not having tasted it for 7 years? Good... but not superb leh. Also extremely fatty and on the cold side. Maybe things taste better when you're a poor student deprived of Chinese food?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


In my opinion, steamed flower crabs are one of the best things to eat in the world. These are very clean crabs which don't need much scrubbing (a simple rinse will do) because they live in water, not mud. Their meat is simply so sweet that no additional flavourings (salt, soya sauce, ginger, garnishes) are needed at all. Of course E being the lovely husband that he is, always peels the crabs for me... so I just eat... haha. Good Labour Day dinner!