Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Macarons from Europea

I must confess - not having eaten macarons before and not having a sweet tooth, I didn't quite understand what was the fuss all about. Yesterday, after a visit to the Notre-dame Basilica, I was strolling along the streets of old Montreal when I came across a gourmet boutique shop operated by restaurant Europea. And there in the windows, were these lovely macarons sitting all a-pretty, tempting one to just buy all the different flavours (pictured above: 3 types of chocolate, apple and caramel, lemon, and passion fruit). One bite and I was hooked...light as air, crispy and soft at the same time...I only wished I had enough stomach space for more!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Picnic In Jardin Botanique, Montreal

Bon Jour! I am now in Montreal, Canada on a business trip. As I arrived over the weekend, I decided to take advantage of the lovely summer weather to have a picnic lunch in the Botanic Gardens, which is a well-worthwhile visit. Of course, I was most interested in the herbs and vegetable plants but the poisonous plants were really fascinating too. I find it very interesting how the Jardin Botanique management allow the poisonous plants to be still "within access" of the public, although there are warning signs aplenty. In Singapore, the management would probably be too fearful that someone would eat the fruit and get poisoned for this to happen!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Live Scallops!

I am so terribly happy. When out exploring this afternoon, E insisted on searching for this "live seafood market" that he had glimpsed on a previous occasion. After several false turnings and street directory flipping, we finally chanced upon it. And what a great discovery it was! Small place, with only about 5 - 6 types of live seafood, but all swimming about happily and at great prices - Scallops at $9 per kilo, spotted garoupa at $26 per kilo, huge tiger prawns at $26 per kilo.
We scooped up a kilo of the scallops (there were about 11) and the friendly shopkeepers shucked them for us. Lightly steamed and flambed (we have a blowtorch, bought from Lau Choy Seng in Temple Street) with a slight smokey edge and a squeeze of lemon over it, the sweetness of these scallops was just beyond compare.

Baked Fish With Truffles (II)

Baked fish with truffles in a parcel....as you open up the parcel, the heady aroma of the truffles comes wafting out. This time, I managed to take a photo of it before launching into the attack (see my January post here).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Marcaroni Vongole

I chanced upon fresh clams at the supermarket today and decided to make spaghetti vongole (only, there was no time to make fresh spaghetti so I used dried marcaroni tubes). This is one of my favourite dishes, I do so love the sweet sea-taste of the clams and slurping down the briny juice infused with garlic and white wine.

Recipe from Neil Perry's The Food I Love
-Fresh clams (if you see them moving, they're fresh. Or you can poke them and watch their shells close)
-1 garlic bulb, minced finely or leave it in cloves if you're not a big fan of minced garlic- 50 ml of dry white wine
- 50 ml of extra-virgin olive oil
- italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- dried chilli flakes (pepperoncino)
- sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and set aside. Heat up the extra-virgin olive oil (in a saucepan or a wok, like I do) and sweat the garlic until slightly golden. Add the white wine, pepperoncino, italian parsley and bring to a boil. Add in the clams and cook covered, for about 4 minutes until the shells are open. Half-open clams are fine to eat but throw away those that remain tightly shut as they are dead. Stir through the spaghetti.

You've Got Mail

I just love the thrill of getting a parcel in my mailbox...it's like christmas day come early. Very few things can compare to the sheer romance of getting a special present, just for you, halfway across the world (I was going to use "nothing can compare", but then I remembered a surprise that my lovely husband E got for me from Tiffany's on Monday). Yes, my online shopping purchases from Victoria's Secret arrived yesterday, and oh, the joy of unwrapping the bags!

N.B. Apart from lingerie, it is not well-known that Victoria's Secret sells lovely and unique clothes e.g. shirts, t-shirts, dresses. Clearance prices can be up to 70% of original price, which is when I start buying. www.victoriassecret.com

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Flowering Sweet Basil

My sweet basil plant (the one used for making pesto) has flowered! Basil adds a lovely aroma to food: i use it to make compound butters, as garnishings for roasts, in vinaigrettes etc. I am also contemplating making my own basil-infused flavoured olive oil, now all I have to figure out is whether one should dry out the basil leaves first before stuffing them into the oil.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Prawns with Vermicelli

I discovered this absolutely wonderful recipe for Thai style Prawns with Vermicelli on Ruth' Lau's blog http://www.bimandruth.com/ruth/2006Feb.htm and tried it last weekend. Thai crab with Vermicelli is one of my father's favourite dishes, so I must find an opportunity to cook it for him. This dish is just so scrumptious, and the vermicelli absolutely addictive, best of all, it is super easy to make. Thank you Ruth! I used 1 tablespoon of fish sauce instead of light soya sauce, and as a shortcut for the chicken stock, I used chicken stock cubes. I also added one teaspoon of Chinese wine.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Royce Chocolates

Our newest object of desire: Royce Nama dark chocolates. These chocolates originate from Sapporo, Japan and are like heaven in a bite ... smooth, velvety, rich with a hint of cognac, and totally and utterly addictive. Can't believe that it's taken us so long to discover them. We first saw the long queues at their store at Suntec City last Christmas, but thought that it was a case of typical Singaporean overhype. How wrong we were. The packaging is also very dinky, with each chocolate box wrapped in a little cold-pack of its own. Quick rush out and get some!
P.S. I will compare them with the Charbonnel et Walker truffles when I get around to opening the box.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Mum's Home-Made Raisin Bread

Last week, we bought my mother-in-law a bread-maker. She was very taken by it and ended up baking bread every other day (she used to be a baking hobbyist when her sons were young). Here's a shot of the raisin bread that she baked for us yesterday, which we munched on for breakfast. From now on, it's goodbye storebought bread, hello freshly-baked homemade bread!

Chicken Macaroni Soup

Sometimes, the most delicious things are also the most simple. Chicken macaroni soup is one such heart-warming, soul-comforting delight on a lazy sunny Saturday afternoon.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Oh So Good Roast Chicken

This is almost too easy to be true but oh so good. All you need to do is to pat the chicken dry (so that the skin will crisp), season it inside and out with sea salt for about 20 min, and drizzle just a little extra virgin olive oil over it, before roasting it at 250 deg C for about 25 min. Blast it with the grill for 3 - 5 min if the skin doesn't crisp enough. I find that adding basil leaves to the roasting pan and adding a grind of pepper and squeeze of lemon before serving simply elevates this dish above the ordinary.


Oh, I just feel so cheated by this marketing gimmick! Singaporeans would have seen the massive marketing campaign for this new brand of drinks, called "Anything" and "Whatever". "Anything" is the carbonated version while "Whatever" is the non-carbonated version, and each comes in several flavours (which is not indicated on the can). So guess what I ended up with? Root Beer and Chrysanthemum Tea!!!! I am SO NOT buying this again, I feel totally ripped off. Plus, I like knowing and being able to choose what I eat and drink.