Sunday, August 28, 2005

Gâteau de Chocolat café et rum

We had a games night after cell group yesterday. The first couple hours of solemness quickly shifted to a few more comprising of fellowship over dinner and then whacky and brainless fun as we played some cheapass games that Cheryl bought, namely the "Big Idea" and the "Unexploded Cow". Both were much easier to catch on compared to "Munchkins" and we all had a good belly workout as we roared with laughter as we strategized and ganged up on some players. It was really a fun night!

For dessert, I brought a chocolate mocha rum cake, adapted from a recipe by Tamasin Day-Lewis. The smell of rum permeated through the room although the cake was under covers. Dense as it might seem, the cake was surprisingly light and moist. The use of ground almond added a slightly mealy texture so the cake did not feel like lead in my stomach. I used my fine 70% Valrhona chocolate and the sweetness was just right. My only gripe, if I really have to find out, was that I was not able to serve it warm, which I am sure would be perfect with a good-sized scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

The smallish 8" cake yielded 12 nice after-meal portions, just enough to have only a slice each, although Harlim wished there was extra as he oohed and ahhed over each bite, after which when he was done with his, started eyeing on PY's cake as she was slowly savouring her share. It was hilarious! I will definitely definitely be making this again.

Chocolat Cafe et Rum Gateau

for the cake
6 oz min. 70% chocolate
4 tbsp freshly brewed strong mocha coffee
2 tbsp rum
7 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup freshly ground blanched almonds
6 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted

for the frosting
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp rum
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Make the cake
- Preheat oven to 180C. Butter and flour an 8" round cake pan.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler with coffee and rum. Then remove and allow to cool.
- Cream 6 tbsp sugar with butter until light and fluffy. Then add in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well with each addition. Lastly, add in the vanilla extract.
- Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peak stage. Then add in the last tbsp of sugar and beat until firm peaks are formed.
- Blend the chocolate mixture into the creamed butter and sugar with a rubber spatula, then stir in the ground almonds. Fold in a spoonful of egg white, followed by a spoonful of flour. Continue until all is blended in.
- Scrape mixture in the cake tin and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. A skewer should come out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn the cake out to cool on a rack.

Make the frosting
- Melt the chocolate and rum in a double boiler until satiny smooth.
- Remove from the heat and beat in the butter, a tbsp at a time. Stand the bowl over iced water and continue to beat, otherwise the butter and chocolate will separate. If that happens, add a bit of cream and continue to whisk. The mixture should come together again. Spread the icing over the cake.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Chai Kee Fish Soup

Yesterday turned out to be a really relaxing day as I took the day off to cater all my various appointments. Midday came and I found myself with a couple hours to kill and so I wandered the vicinity of Chinatown.

Lunch was a simple affair of Teochew-style fish soup bee hoon at Hong Lim Food Complex. I have past by the food center a few times, noticing the fish soup stalls tend to be quite busy. There were 3 stalls selling the dish but really, the crowd dominated at only 2. I love fish soup noodles as it is light and healthy. Luckily for me, I need not make a difficult choice between the two as one of them had the day off. So it was down to "Chai Kee".

For a mininum order of S$4, you get a piping hot bowl of fish soup served in a jiffy.

The soup was delicious in an unusual way. I suspect the broth was made from a combination of pork and dried fish when the usual way is just using really good amounts of dried fish. But what was rather disturbing was the bits of things that looked like fat, which I had to mentally block them whilst eating.

The chor bee hoon, or thick rice noodles, was smooth and al dente and there was a handful of bok choy added in the name of good health.

They were really generous with the fresh fish as I counted at least 12 thick slices of fish fillets! But alas, I think the fillets were overcooked. The fillets also tasted over-seasoned (to mask the fishyness?) as I saw no need to further dip each slice of fish in the soy sauce provided. But I really do get a kick out of the spicy soy sauce so I was rather disappointed I can't do it then else I will die of sodium overload!

Although the fish soup was delicious and satisfied my tummy, I have to admit I am still disturbed by the fatty-thingies-lookalikes. In the meantime, the fish soup over at Maxwell Food Center still holds its current leading position.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dine & Dish #4 - I am better than Rachel Ray!

I have to admit, I have not watched Rachel Ray in action on "$40 a day" before, but I do understand the concept behind it and I really have to give it to Becks and Posh for thinking of such a unique theme for the Dine & Dish #4 event.

US$40 translates roughly to about S$66. Food is cheap and good and varied in Singapore so even as I start my day with just $66 tucked in my wallet, I eagerly wonder what I will end up eating for the day.

Luckily for me, Ya Kun had just opened a branch at my work place so breakfast was not a problem. I got a traditional breakfast of softboiled eggs, best eaten with soy sauce and white pepper, accompanied by char-grilled toast spread with butter and topped off with a sprinkling of coarse sugar and all washed down by a cup of strong, local coffee sweetened with condensed milk, all for merely S$3.60! I had forgotten to take a picture (yeah I am a terrible flogger!) so I had to lift one off their website.

Near lunchtime, I was craving some Japanese soba so I went to Ichiban Boshi. They had a wide selection of food, both on the menu as well as the conveyor-belt. I got a cold cha-soba and salmon sushi off the conveyor (both S$1.90) and ordered a sake head miso soup (S$3.50) and their delicious chawanmushi (S$4.20). The food, while not excellent, was satisfactory and not to forget, did not burn a hole in my pocket as the total bill came up to S$14.50.

Come dinner time, I pondered over what to eat. I had read about another French creperie from Brittany that sprouted out in the suburban area. Now, while I am not so much of a thick pancake fan, crepes I love! I was eager to check this one out as I needed to find competition to the only other authentic creperie I know of. So off to Le P'tit Breton I went.

I started with an order from the savories - a galette with goat cheese (S$6.90). I was taken aback at the plain-looking, white lump of goat cheese sitting in the middle of my crepe. It stared back at me, every bit as lonely as the picture depicted (shaky hands = blurry picture; sorry about that). The batter should have been more evenly spread out as a good portion of the crepe from the edges turned all crispy. A good crepe in my opinion, should remain thin yet chewy throughout the entire disc.

After the somewhat disappointing savory galette, I looked forward to the dessert crepes. In my opinion, a good sweet crepe requires minimal dressing so I usually go plain with just powdered sugar and squeeze of lemon. But surprisingly, there was no such option so I decided to go for strawberries and sugar (S$6.50) instead. Hmm, if anything, this item redeemed a bit of dignity for Le P'tit Breton. Made more evenly, the crepe was more chewy and there was just enough strawberry halves to make it through with every bit of crepe. Though the strawberries were a little tart, it was nothing that the generous sprinkling of powdered sugar could not fix. Dinner cost me S$15.40.

Feeling rich still, I decided to go get another round of sugar high, this time back at Bakerzin.

A suprise awaited me as I found out a new menu had been introduced! Right on the first couple pages, there was an option to go for desserts, tapas style. After much hmm-ing and ah-ing, I finally went for a selection of 3 desserts (S$9.50). From left: raspberry panna cotta, lychee espuma, hot chocolate shooter with housemade chocolate ice cream. I must remember to stick to their specialty French cakes in future.

The panna cotta was cloyingly thick and much too sweet; the bit of raspberry puree, though tart, was not enough in quantity to neutralise my glucose-induced shock. The lychee espuma was interesting but I did not feel justified paying for what was mostly foam. Lastly, the hot chocolate was rich but nothing spectacular. In fact, the ice cream did nothing except to make the entire drink lukewarm.

Feeling somewhat a bit low from the highly anticipated sugar high, I left for home, jingling change from my day. When I calculated I still had S$20.30 left, I thought, "Dang! I am better than Rachel Ray!" and instantly, I felt better.

Hope everyone else enjoyed being Rachel Ray for the day!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Going Nuts at Bakerzin

Last Friday, after watching a candy, or more specifically, chocolate-laden movie - "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", I was very in the mood for some sweets myself. Somehow, pretty French cakes called out to me but alas, Canele was a bit out of the way then. But luckily, there was a Bakerzin in sight.

Just a bit of background (which I admit I took off its website), Bakerzin used to be called "Baker's Inn". Its founder is very much influenced by the French culinary culture, as one can tell from the tantelizing spread on the cake counter but apart from quality French cakes, there are also pastries and bread plus some food like sandwiches, salad, etc, for the slightly more hungry folks.

Before that night, I've been to Bakerzin only once and had their classic and famous warm chocolate cake (not bad) and a Coeur Noir (layers of dark chocolate mousse and sacher sponge, with brandy cherries and hazelnut dacquoise at the base).

That night, the usual made-to-order desserts off the dine-in menu did not appeal to me a slight bit so I headed straight to amazing array of eye candy (pun intended) in the front counter. The pretty cakes did nothing but stirred up trouble for my already-naturally-indecisive self.

Finally, after much deliberation, I got the "Fraisier - almond sponge soaked in strawberry liquor, layered with pistachio butter cream and fresh whole strawberries" (S$5.50). J would tell you I chose it because I have a thing for artificial green coloring but that aside, look at the big luscious strawberries amidst all that cream! Does it not look tempting to you and scream "Why do you hesitate? Get me now!"? Well it did to me and so I was glad I made the choice. The sponge was moist and I never knew two nuts could blend so well together! Bites with strawberries cut the creaminess and were even more delicious! I could not get enough and when the last bit was gone, so did my original intention of sharing one dessert! I had to get another to satisfy that sugar monster I woke up from its sleep.

I had my eye on the "Mont Blanc - Chestnut chantilly cream with meringue and raspberry jelly" (S$5.50). J is not much of a chestnut fan but gamely went for it too. The chestnut cream wrapped up a meringue center, which I found to be a bit bland on its own. But accompanied with the cream, it was better. I never knew chestnut could taste so delicious as a dessert! I had only eaten chestnut on its own - roasted. Here, blended in a cream form, I detect a slightly grainy texture, not that its bad, and felt that the cream was just sweet enough and did not overwhelm the flavour of the chestnut. Though that was my first experience with the Mont Blanc, and I cannot comment on its authenticity, I have to admit it was an excellent dessert too! If I have to find fault, it would be that Bakerzin could be more generous with the portion. Compared to the Fraisier, I found the Mont Blanc to be almost about 1/3 smaller.

But this visit revitalized my interest in Bakerzin once again. That day I went "nuts" so who knows what I'll be having next. A really sweet ending to my day and I'm looking forward to my next sugar rush. As there are several locations throughout the island, Bakerzin would be more accessible compared to Canele. I am glad the fare is decent enough so if I find myself craving for some French dessert, I can count on Bakerzin.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Does My Blog Look Good In This?

It's the time of the month again where foodbloggers of the world compete to win the most delicious shot of the month. Hosted by Andrew from, his blog is also a regular read for me. The competition is tough; I am glad I am not a judge. Check out the entries; You'll agree with me.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Real Food sure, but not daily

I had the chance to lunch at Real Food Daily (RFD), this fairly new, self-claimed to be at least "80%-organic" deli/cafe last week. The venue was great as it was located along a trendy night zone. It also had a homey and welcoming fronting but I had to look up at the signboard to make sure I was at the right place.

The menu was extensive and all hand-written on a large chalk board and categorized mainly into - salads, appetizers, lunch/dinner and daily specials. Off the salad menu, I ordered the "Fins - seared tuna with green beans, eggplant, red peppers and rosemary vinegrette, served with bread" (S$21.95).

My companions ordered equally intriguing dishes such as "Greens - organic spinach with avocado, orange and mushrooms with maple vinegrette" (S$16.75) and "Tahini soba - soba noodles with tahini dressing and golden tofu" (S$17.75).

Service was attentive and we were served lemon-scented ice water very quickly and those were constantly refilled throughout our stay. However, a few moments after I placed the orders, I was informed that they had ran out of yellowfin tuna for my salad but at the same time, the server offered no alternatives. I asked if the tuna could be replaced by another sea creature but the server had to check with the kitchen. A few minutes later, the owner (I'm presuming) swung by my table to check if wild salmon would be okay with me. "Sure" I replied as I never had wild salmon before so I was really looking forward to that, "but dressing on the side please", I repeated.

The food took a long time; about 10 minutes, we were served the "Greens". After another 5 minutes or so, the "Tahini soba" came along. My salad came last, about another good 10 minutes after the soba. And what do I see? A dressing-drenched salad! But I was hungry and the rest were waiting to tuck in so I ate without complaining. My salad was great - a generous portion of greens but the salmon came in bits and pieces. The taste was good, though it was just as any salad should be. I ate each bite trying to note the slightest difference between organic and non-organic produce. But sadly I could not.

I'm sure organic products are much more expensive but for me to eat organic daily will really be too expensive for me to justify! But I suppose RFD has its own core support; probably the health conscious or environmentally folks but sorry to say, I am definitely not their target audience and this visit failed to convert me either.

But if you are in the area and want a quiet place to have a light snack and drink, there are some delicious looking baked products like brownies and apple crumble to go with a cup of tea or coffee. Those are reasonably-priced, just like any downtown cafe.

Real Food Daily
5 Mohamed Sultan Road
#01-01 Singapore 239014

Saturday, August 13, 2005

SHF#11 - Double Layer Chocolate Cake

I cannot help but want to participate in Sugar High Fridays. It is the baker-wannabe in me to pounce on every opportunity to get my hands dirty with flour, eggs and sugar.

Now into the 11th edition, the must-have ingredient is coffee, as chosen by host Ronald of Love Sicily. But I was so busy for the past week I had to abandon my initial choice of the Opera and made the Double Chocolate Layer Cake instead. I had printed and kept that recipe for ages and long forgotten about it until I read about it again, on Lex Culinaria.
As the recipe calls for more than a cup of coffee so I thought I may just as well use it to make the cake and bring the tempting and deliciously-sinful-looking cake to my lucky bunch of college friends this evening. But the frosting recipe that came along with it sounded extremely rich so I chose to use this instead.

Keeping in mind the preference of most Singaporeans, I reduced the sugar by 1/2 a cup. From experience, Singaporeans tend to scrape off most of the frosting (crazy I say!) anyway so I wanted to reduce the recipe. But I sort of messed up a little and the frosting was very watery. To save it, I added cocoa powder and more icing sugar to compensate. I do not know how it would turn out tomorrow but it sure was good then - I had to stop myself from licking the frosting bowl clean! And I must also apologize for the grainy picture; my phone was acting up just now but I shall be updating this post with more pictures, whole and sliced, by tomorrow latest. I promise, so stay tuned! (to be continued..)

Ok the revealing moment. In general, non food critics thought the cake was more of a dark chocolate cake and it was well-received though all of them could not relate to the frosting. They thought the frosting was too sugary and failed to complement the sponge.
In my opinion, the addition of coffee really enhanced the resulting deep dark color. The cake layer was delicious on its own, slightly dense but wonderfully moist; it borders gingerly between a cake and a brownie.
I have to admit the frosting did taste very sandy, much to my dismal. The irony is, I do not think the cake could stand on its own. Frosting adds a much needed dimension to the overall enjoyment of the cake so I could find myself cutting up a bit of cake and scrapping a bit of frosting before each spoonful went into my mouth.
Overall, it was still good cake and the great company I had elevated my enjoyment. Of course, I will be first to admit, there is definitely room for improvement. Things I would do differently in future: I will continue to cut back on the sugar content in the cake by 1 whole cup and while I would not write off the frosting recipe, because in most likelihood, it was due to my own experimenting, I would probably try another not-so-rich ganache topping the next time. For good old butter-based frosting, only God knows how I long to find a good recipe for a creamy and smooth frosting and it seems like my search is not over yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Canteen Part 2

Yep, we went back to The Canteen again last Thursday. J could not let the promotion pass so we tried our luck and managed to get a seat in the deli area.

This time around, I ordered the Crispy Norwegian Salmon ($19) , a pan-fried fillet served with shellfish essence and J, the duck confit (S$22), a duck thigh cooked slowly in its natural fat and served with fries. We also got the local special - Philip's Hokkien Mee (S$16), which claimed to be an all time favourite, essentially a braised thick egg noodles served with prawns, scallop & squid and accompanied with calamansi & chili paste.

I could obviously tell which is a more expensive fish; the salmon was about 1.5 times thicker than the cod I had previously and seared just on the outside, leaving the insides pink and raw. But in this case, it was too raw. Imagine only about 2mm per side of salmon was cooked, out of a 30mm piece of fish. But what was panfried was well-seasoned and crispy.

J complained the duck leg was really good but perhaps The Canteen could use bigger ducks?

Lastly, the hokkien noodles tasted quite delicious but nothing extraordinary except better quality seafood was used. But they were also swimming in oil though J wished it was broth instead but fat hope I told him!

Finally, we got the chocolate Cake ($12), which is oven-baked made to order, served with vanilla ice-cream & caramelised bananas. The cake was oozing with a lava center but because the cake was really shallow, and the sides also don't seem to hold i.e. mushy looking, it looked just a tad underbaked and about to fall apart.

The second visit to Canteen really brings home the conclusion that Canteen is not a place I will go out of the way for. It just ain't worth it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ramen Ramen

I had a craving for some ramen last Friday so I finally got to try Ramen Ramen, which was featured heavily just earlier this year because the owner was an engineer turned ramen cook. Ramen Ramen boasts fresh home-made noodles, and a specially-concocted soup base made from a rich Tonkotsu (pork broth) soup that takes up to 20 hours to brew. Reading other online reviews warned me not to venture beyond ramen.

I had the miso veggie ramen and it arrived in a large white bowl, piping hot, with two pieces of seaweed. First look, there was a decent amount of vegetables comprising of cabbage, carrots, snow peas and corn. But I also thought my miso ramen looked suspiciously thick and white, not how I recognise a miso-based soup, so I questioned the server. As I had suspected, the soup base was not simply miso but rather, miso added into the tonkotsu soup. Sigh... if I had wanted tonkotsu, I would have asked for tonkotsu veggie ramen. Anyway, the noodles were the straight kind and just al dente enough to my liking. But the veggies could do with a bit more of a QC - some parts of the cabbage were obviously browning. The broth, considering it was a tonkotsu broth, could really be thicker and more flavourful. I'm reminded of this really amazing bowl of ramen while on trip to Tokyo last year. My colleague brought me to a roadside stall and stacks of bowls were waiting to be filled. But each one had some sauce sitting, together with a disgusting layer of lard, whitened by the cold temperature, but it made one undescribably fantastic bowl of ramen! Ok, I digress. Anyway, the miso paste separated from the soup and was all that remained at the end of my meal. I'm a soup-kinda girl :)

J had the Ramen Ramen Ramen, which was the really basic - ramen that came with a few thick slices of cha-shu and half a stewed hardboiled egg.

Ramen Ramen also charges $1 per person for green tea. Although there is unlimited refills, they would only do so when requested. This experience and the food were not compelling enough for me to return especially. Looks like I will have to continue to keep a look out for other ramen places so that when my ramen craving kicks in again, I could try them.

Prima Deli - Only if you really need a cake

It was also my cousin's 21st birthday last Sunday and he ordered a x-large birthday cake from Prima Deli, a chain bakery. I must say, while the cake looked perfect, it was perfectly symmetrical and up to a point whereby it looked just artificially perfect. I for one, prefers a original, rustic type of look. Cutting it up, the cake was just as I expected- too much cream. It was a coffee-walnut layer cake, all coated with a layer of ganache. Unfortunately, the cake did not taste too good. A couple of bites and my entire mouth had a sickly and oily coating. Bleh! Give me some time and I'll bake a better cake anyday.

Happy Birthday Grandma!

The weekend came and past with lots of good eats and joyous occasions. There's more to come but I'll start updating with my grandma's birthday celebration. My dear old grandma will be celebrating her 70-something birthday this coming Wednesday but we decided to celebrate in advance last Sunday since it's easier to gather most of us during the weekend.

J and I went over to Grandma's after church. That day was the first day he met my maternal side of the family too. At that gathering, I was reminded just how strongly my mother resembles my grandma and in turn, me after my mom. There are obvious common traits that all 3 of us share. We seem to like fussing over people, taking care of their needs first and not really bothered with our own, making sure others are comfortable. Sometimes I think it can be a bit suffocating for the rest of the people, which was why the entire family did not let Grandma know we were coming over, else Grandma will cook up a storm! So each of us took care of a little bit of the celebratory meal.

My youngest aunt brought fried fish fillets (think fish and chips without chips) with thousand island cream sauce, and second uncle's family brought lontong, a traditional Malay dish which are essential compounded rice cakes, made by steaming the rice in cases weaved together using screw pine leaves. The lontong was served with sayur lodeh, or Malay mixed vegetable curry, which consisted of cabbage, long beans and fried tau kwa (firm soybean cake) cooked until very tender in coconut sauce, and hard-boiled eggs. The secret to a good lontong is actually the gravy from the curry vegetables. But for a delicious gravy, you need a powerful rempah, which is a ground mixture of fresh herbs and dried spices, often consisting of some five or more items. The ingredients and their proportions of a good rempah are often held in secrecy by top chefs. Ironically, the rempah was made by Grandma herself and given to 2nd uncle last week! But the lontong was so delicious and I had quite a bit of it. Sorry I forgot to take pictures :(

Anyway, my family's contribution was the all-important birthday cake. For Grandma, who is diabetic, I made a traditional pandan kaya layer cake, substituting the sugar required with Equal.

The kaya layer did not firm up as much as it should be but I reckoned it could be the substitution of agar powder with gelatin and perhaps the use of Equal. I dyed some of the dessicated coconut red and sprinkled the words "happy birthday" in Chinese characters :)
Nonetheless, the cake was well-received by the adults as it was not too sweet and the kids just ate without comments. I thought the cake was just so-so; I could improve on the sponge layers (could be lighter and thinner) and kaya custard layers (could be thicker and firmer). I'll probably try another recipe (if I can find it) or this one again, without any changes, before I decide if it is worth keeping.
Anyways, Grandma was so happy to see everyone and her ever-there smile on her face was enough to make me happy and all my efforts into making the cake just seem to go away.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The "Grown-up" Canteen

I chanced upon the announcement a week ago, that in celebration of its 4th anniversary, The Canteen was offering 50% off their a la carte menu. Part of the Les Amis group, The Canteen is indeed one on the lower-tier and less formal than the rest. But do not immediately think " tuckshop style" or even the "self-serve" cafeteria style because The Canteen is nothing like that. Since Les Amis does have a certain reputation for good food and dining experience and since I have been longing to try another new place, I did not hesitate to make a reservation for J and myself. Reservations must have been going like hotcakes because I was reminded twice that they would need the table back by 8pm. We do have the bad habit of not taking enough time to enjoy each bite of food so I don't see the timing to be an issue even for our 6:45pm reservation.

On that fateful evening, we were even slightly later and got there slightly past 7pm. The restuarant was half empty. We learnt that walk-ins were welcomed, but seating was in the deli area. Our eyes twinkled together, thinking we could then come back on Thursday again if the dinner was good.

To start, J had the mushroom friscasee ($13). The portion was rather small, consisting of mixed greens on the side, mushrooms (I could detect only 2 types - button and shiitake) sauteed with bacon and topped off with a poached egg. J thought it was tasty but could not get over the small portion. Too bad I did not have enough stomach room to order a starter because the office had a mini-celebration at 5:30pm for our boss' birthday.

For my entree, I chose the baked black cod "florentine" ($26). The dish came in a cute mini claypot that kept the entire thing hot for a long time. The sauce was really flavourful with generous sprinkling of black olives, a rather stingy amount of wilted spinach and bits of chunky tomato. I really wanted some pasta or bread to soak up the sauce! The cod was fresh, but a tad slightly overcooked for my preference. Nonetheless, it was still good.

J had the steak frittes ($23). The rib-eye was grilled to order and while it was done right (medium for J), it was not a really excellent cut as there was lots of tendons and gristle. The fries looked very much like MacDonald's and I thought thick-cut seasoned fries would be a grander and more befitting for Les Amis group. No complains about the salad - ordinary but the dressing was rather nice. Just a bit sweet and sticky such that not much dressing could drip and mess up the plate.

For dessert, we chose the souffle with grand marnier ($10) and the apple parcel ($8) , ordered in advance because they required a bit of preparation.

The souffle was what it should be, light but seriously lacking in the Grand marnier flavour. I could only detect a strong eggy taste and the serving of vanilla icecream screamed pathetic! I took a couple of bites and decided I was done.

The apple parcel was interesting in its presentation. Filo pacel bag was very crispy but on its own, it was bland and floury tasting. I needed some liquid to balance the dry texture and to breakdown the floury taste. That's where the vanilla sauce and ice cream came in important. But again, the portions were a little on the small side though the amount of apple compote was more reasonable but still, no detection of Grand Marnier, which the apples should have been sauteed with. The lychee icecream on the side was again, too small in portion but was definitely one of the better ones I had tasted.

Though I must admit that the food was served in a timely manner, I could not help but feel a bit rushed knowing that we have a "deadline" to meet. Otherwise, the food was reliably good, the service attentive and knowledgeable. All those mean that The Canteen remains on my "return" list but how soon? Not compelling enough without reason i.e. the 50% promotion. Perhaps we will return again tonight.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

EomEoTE # 9 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of "Fire"

Harry Potter was bored in his room one day and decided "Heck! England is too boring for me now!" So closing his eyes, he decided to head to wherever his fingers landed on his map. Peering through his fingers, he got excited when he saw he was to go to the foreign land of Mexico. With his trusty Thunderbolt, he was there in no time.

Harry was fascinated with his new surroundings and wondered around until he lost track of time. Only when his stomach started to grumble, he knew it was time for supper. He had to find some food to re-energise himself so he could continue his adventure. In the busy street filled with many various food stalls, Harry did not know how and where to start. Suddenly, at the corner of his eye, he spied something being flipped in the air. It was an old weather-beaten lady flipping a pancake. "Hmm, wasn't that Rick Bayless guy introducing some Mexican pancake thing a few days ago on Food Network?" Well, curiousity got the better of Harry and he went over and made his order for "One tor-ti-la please"

The old lady chuckled at the sight of a "white" boy with a weird accent but went ahead to make his order. She laid a piece of freshly made and soft flour tortilla onto a plate and scooped up some precooked mixture of scrambled eggs and vegetables. There were pretty speckles of red in the mixture and the whole thing was topped off with a creamy green paste (guacamole) and chopped tomatoes (fiesty salsa). It looked so appetizing, or rather, a very hungry Harry took a huge bite of it. Oops! Harry was not used to the fiery from chili peppers so he had to look quickly for something to quench his burning tongue. The old lady, who seemed to have been preparing for it, handed Harry a globet of milk to quench his fire. Relieved and looking rather sheepishly, Harry returned the empty goblet and his tortilla meal to the lady, hopped onto his broomstick and vowed never to return until he was sure the old lady could not remember him anymore.

* how embarrassing - Thanks to Gavin I corrected my spelling of goblet*

Monday, August 01, 2005

IMBB #17- (not so) tasteTea: Rosehip and Hibiscus Tea Cupcake

I so wanted to make the Japanese green tea sponge cake with a light whipped cream filling with red beans when I saw the theme. It was a dessert I enjoyed at the Sun Moulin cafe in Singapore but I could not find powdered macha in time. Sorely disappointed at myself for my last minute preparation, I was literally tearing my hair out trying to think of something sweet to make for this event. Seeing the abandoned pack of rosehip and hibiscus tea (this was a mistake buy - the tea turned out very sour and none of us liked it but could not bear to throw it out), I decided to make use of it, to see whether it could redeem itself.

Since my brother's classmates were in the house studying, I thought of making cupcakes as a treat. Since they were individually sized, it would also be convenient to eat. Using the vanilla cupcake recipe I had success with before, I adapted it somewhat, to accomodate the theme. I substituted 1/4 cup of milk required with a concentrate made from 2 of the teabags, and replaced the cup of granulated sugar with equal amounts of brown sugar and molasses sugar. Although the tea was sour, I did not add additional amounts of sugar because I figured the frosting could balance things out. Wrong! Fresh out of the oven, the aroma was somewhat lacking and even though the toothpick test was passed with flying colors, the texture was not crumbly, like cake, but rather, it looked somewhat dense, like texture of the Japanese sponge cheesecake. The tea was overpoweringly sour so without the frosting, the feedback was that more sugar would be appreciated please! I also added some tea dust into the frosting so you get nice speckles throughout. Overall, cupcake was just all right, nothing spectacular to share so no recipe will be included :)