Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lemon Sponge Cake

Lemons are one of my all-time favourite ingredients for cooking. Fresh and citrusy, they add a lovely zing and fragrance to both savoury and sweet dishes. This afternoon, I baked a sponge cake soaked in lemon syrup as a mid-afternoon snack. Absolutely lovely.

Home Grown Tomatoes

This germinated from one of those seed packs that you can pick up in the market. This particular breed (pear tomato) is about twice the size of a cherry tomato. Allowed to ripen on the vine, it is sweet and sun-warmed when eaten.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Strawberries in Hibiscus and Vanilla Syrup

This is absolutely brilliant - so simple and yet fabulous. I chanced upon this recipe at Chez Pim's blog and it looked so easy that I couldn't believe the rave reviews nor the fact that it was created by a 3-star chef (Alain Passard, no less).

This works like a dream for "normal" strawberries but I imagine it would be absolutely sublime with great strawberries! It's not easy to get dried hibiscus in Singapore but my colleague had just recently returned from Egypt where she bought hibiscus tea for us (according to the label, it's 100% organic and pesticide free dried hibiscus), so that came in fortuitously and I just had to use a couple of the tea bags.

2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Heat the water and sugar, until vigourously boiling. Bring off the heat, add in the vanilla bean (halved), and the dried hibiscus. When fully cool, strain the mixture through a sieve. Add quartered strawberries and stir well. Refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Miss Clarity Cafe

Recently reviewed by Seetoh of Makansutra fame, Miss Clarity Cafe is kinda like a teen hangout in the vein of NYDC and other similar cafes (think bright neon colours! Cartoon characters on the walls! armchairs and board games!) but it actually serves decent food. Chef Jonathan Koh specializes in Southern French cuisine. The menu largely comprises food designed to appeal to teenagers, like burgers, baked rice, pizzas, and spaghetti , but there are a decent number of other choices like the grilled provence lamp chops that we had and angus beef sirloin/ribeye steak. Add $3 to the main course to get a soup/salad (our cream of chicken had lots of chicken bits but too much starch), lemonade or barley, and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
Prices are very affordable since they don't charge for service and GST - our bill for two set lunches came up to $27. Don't come expecting excellent food, but this is a value-for-money place with food of above-average quality.

Happy 2008

A new year, a fresh start. Wishing for more love, more kindness, and more peace in this world.