Tuesday, May 27, 2008

High-tea at Carousel & Cookies from Sis

I am on leave for FIVE FULL days. Ooohhh the luxury of it. Met up with Mel today to catch up on a few months of news. We went for Hi-tea at the Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts. The spread wasn't fantastic today. We had a little morsels of everything... we of course skipped those that we can easily get outside. I had the Chix Char Siew Bun, among other things. The kind that I always see at those Hong Kong Bakeries... or that fascinating windows of Dim Sum place at Lau Pa Sat. It's interesting to see what people enjoyed eating... but we didn't think about taking pix of the food. One cos I've been there several times, before and after the renovations. Two, cos we were too busy talking and stuffing our mouths. That's the only thing that stuck in my mind. The bun has got a nice buttery skin... more like a pastry than a bun. Layers of flaky buttery skin and then sweet, brown chix char siew fillings. Yum!

Anyways, Mel has good and bad news for me.... [Kavs, you have to ask her yourself.] But all I can say is... no worries, I will hold the fort in Singapore as loong as I can.

On another note...Sis read the entry on Princess' cookies [Not surprising...]. So she made me cookies too. Hehehe.... and was bugging me about getting her fame on my blog too. Not that it'll much of a fame. She said that she used the Neiman Marcuss recipe. First thing that came to mind was that really expensive department store in NYC. And I was like.. I didn't know that Neiman Marcus sells chocs or has got anything to do with food!! Because of the work we do, Neiman Marcus is always associated with Fashion Items or Luxury Accessories. So I decided to venture beyond... yup yup. True enough, they have Gourmet Food sections.

So here's the cookies from Sis....

Kavs read my blog too and got worried when I mentioned about being busy busy after the BKK trip. Thanks Kavs for thinking of me eventho you are halfway across the world *HUGGSSZZZ*

Another highlight for today was that Mel & I trooped all way to Tudor Court to check out the Hediard Store there. Hail from the land of Fine Cuisine, I was intrigued when they first open their doors in Singapore. We were too full after the High-tea to consider a small bite of something sweet at their cafe (the dessert at Carousel wasn't fantastic). So we feast our eyes on the items on the shelves. I couldn't think of anything to buy. So we contemplate on jams... sooo many different fruits, all jammed. All in large jars, which will take us forever to finish... the fact that Mel shops for one... and I for two. We didn't take pictures either cos we were self-conscious and the store was REALLLYYY small.

Mel stared for the longest time at a huge canister that is labelled "Assam". I suppose she was thinking why would a French gourmet store choose to sell "Tamarind" [which means Assam in Malay]. And then, our Secondary Four Geography lessons came to mind, complete with Ms Shanti's face. [Kavs can relate to that one...] She'll be pleased to note that we remembered. "Assam" is tea... definitely from the namesake region in India. With its sloping grounds and sunlight and rainfall, a perfect place to grow tea.. etc etc etc.

I bought the cheapest thing I could find in the store - Guimauve. I chose lemon... I don't know why I did. But I just did. It tasted a bit chemical-like to me. There was Violet flavour & another in green... but I chose Lemon. I still don't know why. And when I paid at the cashier, there was no fancy nice box or ribbon. The cashier didn't even offer me a bag. Hmph! So much for a fancy gourmet store. I was too shy to ask for one and anyways I'll probably discard the bag after a day.

I thought I remembered that it does not use gelatin. But when I checked C&Z recipe page again, I realised that I remembered wrong. I don't eat gelatin unless I know the animal origin... so the rest of my gourmet purchase was discarded. . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cookies from Princess and Items from BKK

While dad was in hospital, we kinda took turns arranging lunch or dinner for whoever is waiting at the hospital (usually Mum). There was fried pasta and Chilli-tuna-mayo sandwich and potato chips from me (not both on the same day of course...), sis brought black-pepper beef and rice (which I missed out) and nasi lemak (which I brought the left-overs home)... of course there was plenty of packed rice from the food court downstairs and from 3rd bro's school canteen. Princess... made choc-chip cookies.... Chewy, decadent and just soo yummy. I ate five at one go. I brought it to the office and they were enjoying it too.... gonna have to ask her for the recipe. She was actually returning my Tupperware that she brought home and she filled it up with cookies. And I thought that it is really the kind of cookies that you say Thank you with. It's yummmmeeeeee. Really gotta ask her for the recipe.

And then there are the items from BKK. I managed to drop by the supermarket!!! Yeay!! I love supermarkets. Esp. huge ones with wide aisle and high ceilings and tall tall shelves. Like Giant. In BKK there's Big C. F agreed to go cos we couldn't find that Banana Honey Chips that the office gals loved anywhere on the streets. Of course we paid Supermarket price... but what the heck... I managed to grabbed a tin of Cocoa that I thot was v v v interesting. I just chucked it in our trolley knowing that I will definitely use it someday. Closer inspection detailed that the Cocoa... (indicated as Cacao on the tin) hails from the land of Tulips. . .

And we have leftover THB. I know I said that we ran out of THB on our fourth day in BKK. Clever me put aside THB 1000 in case we were asked to pay for airport tax. Even after numerous advise from frequent travellers that we will not be asked for it. Anyways... that means that we have some moolahs to spend at the airport..... prior to the trip I was aggravated by the fact that I cannot find Holy Basil at the market. And what is really the diff between the two (Holy basil and basil). No one in the office can answer me... and I was too lazy to investigate further. Anyways, found a teeny can of it for THB50 at the airport and it is from the Blue Elephant Cooking School.....*put on haughty-tottie look here* Only one of the highly-acclaimed cooking school in BKK. So simple-me got excited... Geez, it's just Basil for goodness sake... I knowwww.... but me likey. OK.

To date the Cacao is still untouched... but of course sans the platic wrapping, inspected every square inch of it. Used two piece of the basil.. to add aroma to my fried rice (i used the Kua Curry paste to fry the rice... ) heheh....

Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie

Just last Saturday, NL decided that it's cake eating day and set off during her lunch break to venture the Pâtisserie that we unearthed while sourcing for restaurants for clients. Fun job I have huh... yeah, the job hazard is that we craved for food that we were sourcing for.

So before we sent NL on the mission, we took turns browsing thru the website to decide what we wanna eat. AK was very firm on her choice - Strawberry Short Cake. I want a Straberry Shortcake... without even looking at the website. I couldn't decide between Gateaux Chocolat and Tarte Citron. I decided that I wanna try a Lemon Tart. I know it may sound lame... but what with all the Daring Bakers' Challenge and their qualms on (baking) a lemon meringue pie/ tart. Gotta gotta gotta try one. Here's the order for the day:

Tarte Citro for moi
Macha for NL (check it out... the cake is the same colour as her tortoise)
Strawberry Shortcake for AK and KT
And... something else for KT.. with loads of Strawberry on it...

And they all come in individual boxes... or rather NL asked for the cakes to be packed seperately... so that we can all indulge in our little corner. And they arrived just as how it was pictured in their website....I was just sooo amazed. I've never really had a cake/ pastry and being well-informed about it way before sinking my teeth in it.... except for those that I baked.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bostini Pie inspired cupcakes & Kua Curry Grilled Chicken

Left Mum at the hospital waiting for dad's ops. Dad met with an accident on the day we returned from BKK. Came home to cook dinner for F before he leaves for night shift. His working hours are crazy... morning at Changi, night at Alexandra. Poor F. The least I could do is feed him well. Heheh...

While waiting for F to come home, thot I blogged a bit more....
I read about the Daring Bakers' Challenge... about them making the Bostini Cream Pie. Smally-mally Boston Cream Pie. It inspired me to make something similar... but not really close to it. What the ...??? Ok OK... I made cupcakes topped with icing and chocolate ganache (Ga-nache... not Ga-NA-CHEE... NL told me how to pronunce. heheh).

It's basically Martha's cupcake and frosting recipe. Kak N taught me that I should beat the egg whites seperately to get a lighter, not so weighed down cakes. And then I poured the Choc Ganache from my previously posted Choc Tart recipe but minus the butter.

But remember to allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting it. And allow the frosted cakes to chill in the fridge before pouring the warm ganache. It's a three-step deco process... but trust me. After that the bite into the completed cupcakes is ooohhhh soo worth it.

Also, since F is such a chicken fan. Yup.. anything chix is F's favourite dish. Fried, grilled, simmer in sauce... he up for it. As long as it is chix. I've been collecting chix recipe. I looove grilled chix more than anything else. Plus it is healthier than fried. So, in the anticipation of our upcoming BKK trip, I borrowed The Big Book of Thai Curries by Vatcharin Bhumichitr from NLB. I have to confess, I made the paste like a week before we left for BKK. I made too much and kept the rest in the fridge. Two weeks after our return, bought really cheap frozen chix wings from Giant the other day. 2kg for $7.60. I took two packets. Now I have 4kg of chix wings in the fridge.... so i decided to make grilled chix wings. Yummy!!!

Kua Curry Grilled Chicken

Recipe for the Kua Curry Paste.
It says in the book that it makes roughly about 14 tablespoons (now... I didn't noticed that fine print when I was making the past in the beginning....)

10 small dried chillies (i used normal bird-eye chillies)
5 large dried chillies (skipp....)
1 tbs sea salt (errmmm... I used normal table salt)
20g shallots
50g garlic
1tbs finely chopped galangal
4tbs finely shopped lemongrass
1tbs finely shopped kaffir lime peel
1tbs white peppercorns
1tbs finely chopped fresh tumeric (if unavl, use the same qty of ground tumeric) ... i used ground tumeric

Abt 1 kg chix wings + 3 tbs of the above paste + 100ml of thick coconut milk (i used the ones in the box...)

1. Heat up some oil and fry the paste till fragrant
2. Add in the coconut milk and same qty of water
3. Simmer for a few minutes and add in your chix
4. Simmer till chix is half cook
5. Meanwhile, heat up the oven
6. Grill chix until nice and brown (basting it with the gravy every now and then)
7. Once done, heat up the remaining gravy until nice and thick (until it becomes like a paste....kinda remind me of the Rendang's gravy...). You can place the thick gravy on the side when serving the chix..in case you wanna use it for extra ooomph!!