Monday, June 29, 2009

my gardening project.

You're currently looking at my new project.

Yep. D bought me this for my birthday in advance. My very own herb garden. Thanks D!

It's going to be a whole lot of work but hopefully I'd be able to pick fresh parsley, dill, basil or fennel from the garden in the future.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

easy peasy potato salad.

I finally made it to my pasta and risotto make-up class after 6 months today. Class was fun and I did learn a couple of new things but I'm probably going to stay away from pasta for a while. Anyway, I couldn't have a proper dinner after all the food during the class and since Mum needed something to eat, I whipped up a simple potato salad.

Potato Salad (serves 2)

5 medium sized potatoes
8 small pink radishes, thinly sliced
3 tbsp light sour cream or crème fraîche

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1½ tsp lemon juice
chives, chopped
mint leaves, chopped

  • Boil potatoes in salted boiling water under tender.
  • Run the boiled potatoes under cool running water and remove the skin. Cut the potatoes into large cubes.
  • Mix the sour cream with the olive oil and lemon juice. Coat the mixture evenly over the potatoes.
  • Add the sliced radish, chopped chives and mint leaves and mix well.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

hotcakes for breakfast.

You won't usually find me in the kitchen on a Sunday morning because they're always spent with the family scouring around the island for good food. Since Dad didn't seem well enough this weekend to spend his day outdoors, I decided to make breakfast for once.

Whilst thinking of what to prepare, I recalled the ricotta hotcakes that I had at Bill's when holidaying in Sydney more than a month back. I've always wanted to try making them because D liked them so much.

Bill Granger's famous recipe calls for the all essential ricotta but I couldn't find it at my friendly neighbourhood store. In its place, I added dried cranberries. I also added a little bit of maple syrup to the batter just to give it the fragrance and a tiny bit of sweetness to its otherwise, sugarless batter. Instead of milk, I used buttermilk as I've read that it makes the hotcakes taste better. As a result, the baking powder had to be replaced with baking soda to neutralise the acidity in the buttermilk. I also smashed a Cadbury Crunchie Bar and mixed it together with butter as some websites had suggested, to make the butter for the hotcakes. Bill's hotcakes recipe is a great base and I say, be creative with the ingredients. Most likely, you won't go wrong.

Cranberry Hotcakes with Chocolate Honeycomb Butter & Maple Syrup (makes 8 hotcakes)


handful of dried cranberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
¾ cup buttermilk
4 eggs, seperated
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
butter, for cooking

To serve
chocolate honeycomb butter
maple syrup
bananas, sliced (optional)
dried cranberries (optional)

Chocolate Honeycomb Butter
150g unsalted butter, softened
50g Cadbury Crunchie Bar, smashed

  • Prepare the butter first. Mix the softened unsalted butter with the smashed Crunchie Bar and store in the refrigerator. If you like a bit of crunch when eating the hotcakes, smash the Crunchie Bar coarsely.
  • Place the maple syrup, buttermilk and the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and combine well.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and add to the buttermilk mixture. Mix until combined.
  • Place the egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites through the batter in 2 batches.
  • Fold the dried cranberries into the batter gently.
  • Lightly grease a non-stick frying pan with a little bit of butter and drop approximately 3 tbsps of batter per hotcake into the pan (I used a small non-stick pan usually used for frying sunny side-ups). Cook over low to medium heat until both sides of the hotcakes turn light golden brown.
  • Transfer to a plate and assemble with sliced bananas, dried cranberries, the chocolate honeycomb butter and a splash of maple syrup. Be careful not to drench the hotcakes with the syrup as the butter already gives it quite a bit of sweetness.
Bon Appétit!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

the queen and her mangosteens.

The Queen & Mangosteen
#01-106/107 Vivocity
1 Harbourfront Walk

Tel : 6376 9380

When D told me about a new gastropub which opened near his work place, I was psyched! One reason was because I had not been trying any new places recently. More importantly, I was drawn to its name. If what The Queen & Mangosteen was doing was to attract their customers with their catchy name, it certainly caught me. It took me awhile to figure out the reason for its name and when I finally did, I thought it might have been because mangosteens were considered the queen of fruits. That was until I found out that mangosteens were a favourite with Queen Victoria. I never knew that there were mangosteens over in the UK.

The Queen & Mangosteen is a new British gourmet pub set up by the people behind the Highlander Bar and The Pump Room. I've tried the Irish pub grub but going British was new for me. After a crazy week at work last week, D decided to pay a visit that was overdue. It was a pretty enjoyable experience since I needed a relaxing time off and that's what I got. Whilst Singapore isn't the most ideal place to go al fresco,
it was nice to sit outside and overlook the waters dividing the main land and Sentosa.

It wouldn't really be fair for me to give a real assessment of the food they served because I dropped in only for a late afternoon snack. That being said, I did think that there were hits and misses in the food we ordered. Ordering from the 'nibbles' section of the menu, we made a beeline for the Mixed Seafood Deli Board which consisted of Beer Battered Fish, Chilled Prawns, Crayfish and Fried Whitebait that came with a variety of dipping sauces such as curry tartare sauce. I loved the presentation of the dish. The seafood was rather fresh but I thought the batter for the fried items were disappointing. While the accompanying sauces were tasty, the batter on the fish and the whitebait were too thick for my liking. It's frustrating that I still can't find people in Singapore who do fish & chips like the ones at Cicerello's in Perth.

I liked the Mini Hamburger & Chips which followed. The burgers were fuss free with just a slice of tomato, some mayonnaise and a thick patty sandwiched between 2 mini buns. I think the patties had both beef and pork in it because there were really juicy. I liked that they toasted the buns because it created a really nice texture when eaten together with the thick juicy patties. I also loved the chips as they were crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside. I would have cleared the whole bucket had I not feel guilty about the carbo overload.

D also ordered us a jug of Pimm's & Lemonade, a British cocktail most well known to be served during the Wimbledon in summer. Pimm's is a gin-based alcoholic beverage which has 25% in alcoholic volume and most commonly served with lemonade which is how it's served here. Just to spice things up a little, the beverage also has cubes of strawberries, orange peel and cucumber in it. I'm not sure if one can find this drink any place else here but this was a first time I'd seen it on a local menu. I'm not usually much of a drinker so I would say it was out of the norm that I was sipping alcohol at 4 in the afternoon. I did find that it was refreshing and rather suited for Singapore's hot and humid weather so it's definitely in my list now. Trust me when I say my list isn't very long.

I wouldn't say the food's authentic British pub grub and neither do I find the food mind-blowing. To be frank, I wasn't impressed when I visited The Pump Room because I was expecting to have food like I had in an Australian café. However, I won't be so quick to rule out that I won't be returning because I think there was enough to warrant a return visit some time again. Plus, I want to try the mains on the menu. In particular, I want to have the Bangers & Mash which I have read good reviews about.

Did I also mention that I absolutely heart their cute coasters?