Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Lil Miss Muffin - Baking for a Cause

Homemade Muffins! Homemade Muffins! Homemade Muffins! Muffins by me!

Here's the scoop:
My friend amanda is raising funds for Boys Brigade.
I am baking for her cause and launching a little bakeshop called BAKEAWAY!

Bakeaway! is baking muffins for a cause, so if you love muffins, buy some of these sweetcakes to brighten up your day or someone elses day.

Here's the link to lilmissmuffin where we are selling Bakeaway! muffins for a gooooooood cause!

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Matsuo Restaurant

1 Newton Road
#01-17 Goldhill Plaza
Singapore 308899
Tel: 63562603
(Not open for lunch on Sundays and public holidays)

I’m proud to announce that I have found another Japanese gem. If you didn’t know about this place, you might think it is another hole in the wall restaurant like I did. On the contrary, it is a wonderful cozy corner. It is a really tiny place that can squeeze about 30 people in with people sitting at the sushi bar and having just enough space for the waitresses to meander around the tables, so if you are going to come, I think you should make a reservation.

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Matsuzuhi Bento

I had the Matsuzushi Bento for dinner which was pretty good value for money. For S$25, you get an assortment of sashimi, sushi, California roll, chawamushi, miso soup and tempura! The sashimi was fresh and absolutely delightful I thought I was going to squeal when the swordfish was melting in my mouth. I also noticed the bald-headed sushi chef that was rather cute looking, or rather the best looking sushi chef I have seen in a while. Another thing that I tried in this restaurant was the teriyaki swordfish which grilled gently to attain the charred taste but keeping the fish moist, two thumbs up! And needless to say, there were quick chatting Japanese people sitting at the sushi bar, and hence my Japanese restaurant theory still stands true.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sabai – “mmmmm.. Saaaabai...”

Takashimaya Shopping Center #04-23

I had a woooooooonderful lunch at this Thai restaurant today. When you walk in you are greeting with a simply but elegantly decorated place and as you walk into the restaurant, you will walk past the dessert buffet spread that is priced at $7.50 per person to ensure that you have some sweet memories of this restaurant.

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Yam Som Oo - Spicy Pomelo Salad

When you open the extensive menu, the first two pages will advice you on how to order or what would constitute a typical thai meal and you can choose to follow their recommendation or I’m sure you could ask the staff to recommend something good. the service here was good, prompt, efficient without being intrusive. The menu also goes all out in explaining the meaning of Sabai. The concise meaning of Sabai is a state of wellness, satisfaction and contentment. This is the raison d’etat of the restaurant to create Sabai.

The food is exquisitely executed which you pay a price for. Dishes range from about S$15 to S$30ish (usually the seafood dishes), but from what I tasted and what I have heard from others, there isn’t anything on the menu that might be below par. We started off the Yam Som Oo – spicy pomelo salad, and it was a opener. Upon my first bite, I whispered “mmmm… Saaaaaaabaaaaaaai” to myself, which was perhaps more audible than I wanted, but it was fabulous. The flavours were perfectly balanced and not too spicy that you tongue is rendered void to taste anything. Following that, we had Pahd Tua Pluu – stir-fried mung beans, Kao kluk gapi – fried rice with shrimp paste, chicken, prawns, egg and served with cucumber and green mango slices and lastly we had, Tawd Gratiam prik tai – fried squid with green pepper corns and something else which slips my mind. We polished our plates, it was fantastic! Unfortunately, this feeling of sabai comes at a price that might not leave all feeling sabai-ish, lunch for 3 of us cost just under S$80.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Estivo Gelateria

26 Greenwood Avenue
Singapore 289224
Tel: 64696763

Ice cream is one of my comfort foods. Someone once asked me why I liked it and he said that he thinks it is the colour and the happy feelings that you associate with it because ice cream has often been associated as a treat when you were a child. I don’t know, maybe, I haven’t really thought about it, I just know I really love it, doesn’t matter how hot or cold it is, I’ll still have my ice cream. Eat a little, live a little.

Back to my subject at hand, this colourful gelateria is inviting and they have a quiet open air sitting area outside which I preferred since the air-conditioning was too cold. My favourite flavour here is Cantaloupe (rock melon) which I highly recommend. Other than that, most of the flavours here are fruity – grapefruit, lemon, kiwi, mango, pineapple and such. There is a rather wide range of choices, so there should be something for everyone. I, however only like the cantaloupe and I find the rest too sweet, so maybe you’ll like this place because it was crowded when I was there, but it’s not really my kinda of scoop.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Balestier Hoover Rojak

Blk 90 Whampoa Drive #01-641
(Not Open on Tuesdays)

My mother loves rojak, but i never liked it till i was older and started eating vegetables. Hence in the past when my mother wanted to eat it, i used to say, "YUCK, it just looks like a burnt salad!" However, my eating philosophy has changed a little, taste more things, learn to enjoy more things, and i have now acquired quite an appetite for this 'burnt salad'.

This is my favourite rojak stall in Singapore. The sauce is of perfect consistency, not too thick, not too runny and it is the wonderful kiss of lime in their sauce makes all the difference. In addition to that, along with the usual pineapple, cucumber, turnip, you tiao and tau pok that you have in it, you can have mango slices added. They also throw in a few pieces of jellyfish which gives it an added texture and flavour. It is one of the best on our island, but beware of the bird shit shower that you car might get in the carpark.

*Rojak - Fruit and Vegetable salad tossed in spicy peanut and prawn paste sauce

Monday, March 21, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: Simple Moroccan Chicken

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Serves 4

500g chicken fillet, cut into 2 cm dice
¼ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
¼ cut olive oil
2 onions sliced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
Zest of a lemon
¼ cup sultanas
1 cup chicken stock
50g tasted pine nuts (optional)
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander
Juice of a lemon, plus wedges to serve
Greek yoghurt to serve

Toss the chicken in thr flour. Heat 2 tbpns of oil in a large fry pan over high heat, then cook chicken in batches until golden brown and set aside.

Heat remaining oil in pan. Add onions, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring, until golden and softened. Return chikcen to pan with spices, sultanas and stock. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes until heated through and thickened slightly. Stir in pine nuts, coriander and lemon juice. Serve on a bed of couscous and drizzle yoghurt.

*Recipe taken from: Delicious, Issue 28, June 2004

Monday, March 14, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: Mud Crab Salad with apple and orange

One of my cooking philosophies: Take the time to make your food look good, because that is half of your eating experience. Eating at home doesn’t mean you eat ugly food.

Ingredients for one serving:

1 orange segmented and 3 teaspoons of orange juice
Zest of the orange
1 apple cut into matchsticks
Extra virgin olive oil
Japanese chili pepper
A dash Tabasco Sauce
100g of mud crab meat
Salt and Pepper

Combine in a bowl the orange juice, orange segments, orange zest and apples. Plate the apples and orange segments. Place the mud crab on the bed of apple, sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili pepper and drizzle on the olive oil. Place dashes of Tabasco sauce around it for extra heat if desired. Serve and eat.

Mumtaz Mahal Restaurant - It's almost like being in their home

14 Scotts Road, #05-22/23
Far East Plaza
Singapore 228213
Tel: 67322754

When my cousin said we were going to have northern Indian food in Far East Plaza, I thought she was kidding because I never knew there was an Indian restaurant on the 5th floor, and it turned out to be a nice discovery.

Basket of mixed naan

I wasn’t disappointed and it wasn’t too expensive too. Dinner for 9 of us cost S$160, which works out to about S$15-S$20 per person, which is rather reasonable considering that we were all stuffed after dinner. The following is what we ordered:

Chicken Tandoori
Butter Chicken
Chickpea Dhal
Mutton Masala
Mustard Fish Curry
Fish Masala
Vegetable Curry
Lamb Kebabs with special spices
Okra with capcium
Mixture of naan: fruit, garlic and onion naan

If you are looking for a place with an interesting ambience, this place might be it. I found myself humming and singing the bollywood soundtrack that they had after about half an hour into dinner. The service they give you is pretty good too, it is very homely and they do try to go the extra mile for you. After dinner, they give some cumin, rock sugar and cardamom as breath fresheners, after which they gave us each a scoop of a wonderfully rich mango ice cream. There is a sense of informality and warmness in the service complemented the food creating a really cozy atmosphere. The food isn’t bad too, nothing tasted bad and the butter chicken was consumed so quickly that we had to order two additional portions. Other dishes that I liked and I would recommend are the mustard fish curry, tandoori chicken and the fruit naan.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: Cold Soba Salad with Salmon, Pomelo and Rocket

Ingredients for one serving:

50g soba
6-8 slices of salmon sashimi slices, sliced further into strips
One segment of pomelo (broken up)
Handful of Rocket salad
Toasted sesame seeds


2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil


Combine dressing and season salmon with the dressing, leave for at least 5-10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the other rocket, pomelo and soba then place the salmon strips on top. Chill for about 15-20 minutes. Drizzle the remaining dressing and top of with the sesame seeds.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

En Japanese Dining Bar

207 River Valley Road
#01-57 UE²
Singapore 239917
Tel: 67352212

I stick by my Japanese restaurant theory:

When in a Japanese restaurant and you hear a lot of chatter in Japanese, you are in the right place.

The bad news is when the staff speaks more Japanese than English and you almost have a communication breakdown. Nonetheless, you can resort to pointing and they will rattle the Japanese name of the dish back at you, which I gathered it means that they understand and have taken your order.

Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce

They have a page of daily specials, a regular menu and a set dinner which will cost you S$28 which is inclusive of a mug of beer, two appetizers, two half portion main courses from a choice of five and a dessert if my memory doesn’t fail me. We ordered a la carte from the daily specials, which were interesting and wonderfully prepared. From the daily specials, we had the pumpkin omelette, sour plum and salted fish fried rice and grilled yellowtail with teriyaki. Along with that, we ordered the yakitori platter from the regular menu. The yakitori platter was terrible, the meat was too dry and they served cartilage which I initially mistook for squid, and really nothing impressed. The daily specials however were flavoursome. All the three dishes were good, but I think the yellowtail was the best for its simplicity and being succulent. The total dinner cost was S$60 and it averages at about S$20 per person without drinks.

The service is terribly lacking: the food took too long to prepare that we were starving when the food arrived. We also spilled some green tea on the floor which we needed them to clean up but it took them almost 5 minutes because they did anything even though they would serve the table next to us and almost totally ignore the puddle of tea on the floor. But I guess if I had to choose between good food, bad service and bad food and good service, I have to go with the former and hence, I’ll most probably be back.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Saint Julien: Meet Chef Julien Bompard

3 Fullerton Road
The Fullerton Water Boathouse
Singapore 049215
Tel: 65345947

The French food here prides itself on being classic French and aims to recreate the “Bourgeoise” cuisine of Paris. My lunch however did not feature the heavy sauces that I usually associate French cuisine with, rather it was light which I was rather thankful for, if not I might have just fallen asleep at the desk after lunch.

I had the set lunch or as they term it – Gourmet Déjeuner which is priced at S$52+++

The set menu changes regularly (almost fortnightly), and so if you are curious about what’s on offer, you can check their website: www.saintjulien.com.sg.

European Cheese Platter

For appetizers there was a choice between a smoked salmon, salad and a duck liver which I choose. The duck liver was pan seared and served with a sweet and sour sauce with shallots. The duck liver was good, maybe I’m biased for my love of that food, but it wasn’t overcooked and the sauce and the bitterness from the greens that was served with it was a good complementary. Following that you get a consommé that is stylishly served from a teapot, this however was terrible, the elements of the consommé did not blend well, the consommé lacked depth and I had individual flavours of the soup, tomatoes and tasteless sesame seeds in my mouth. The cod fish that I had after that was redeeming, as the cod was gently cooked, and the tapenade and the medley of vegetables that it was served with brought out the flavours of the cod fish nicely. I finished every bit of my fish, and I was feeling really full, but when my platter of European cheeses was presented to me, my stomach somehow found the space to fit those wonderful tasty morsels.

What I like about this place is that it has rather good service, but they do not serve tap water. They turned their noses on me when I said I wanted tap/normal water with a retort, “I don’t serve normal water.” Other than that, the service was efficient and friendly and it improved after that moment, but I have my doubts on the genuine friendly service that they pride themselves on since a there was a VIP table next to me and so there seemed to be an air of pretence around me. However, that being said, there are other bits of the restaurant that I liked, the cheese trolley that they have implies that they have a pretty good cheese range in relative terms to the other restaurants in Singapore. They also serve you Mignardises (small sweet cake things made out of almond flour) and truffles with your coffee and tea which rounds off the meal rather nicely. They have also started a small section in front of the main dining area of the restaurant and it is called La Tartine, which is a cheese and wine bar where you can get oysters and lots of cheese.

As a personal observation and a friendly piece of advice, if you want to try this restaurant, come here for lunch. The last time I had dinner here, it was really expensive and I think it is probably more value for money if you have a lunch here, and if you really like it, you can try the place out for dinner. Also, make sure you go there prepared to answer if you want sparkling or still, because they will turn their noses on you if you tell them that you just want tap water. It is a sin in this restaurant.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Eastern Restaurant

176 Orchard Road
#01-57 Centrepoint
Singapore 238843
Tel: 67362638

This was an unexpected lunch stop which wasn’t too bad and served pretty decent food. As their name suggest, this place specializes in Eastern Chinese cuisine – la mian, jiao zi and xiao long bao. The food wasn’t too bad, service was a little tardy and lunch for 3 cost S$40.

Xiao Long Bao

I’m not a xiao long bao expert, so in my opinion, I thought it was pretty good, comparable to ding tai fung’s; the soup was tasty, the meat was soft, the dumpling skin was soft and not too dry and the folds looked pretty decent although I didn’t count how many they were, so I would say they were pretty good and very comparable to the good Chinese restaurants. I had the crispy noodles with beef and they also serve hor fun and a range of la mian dishes, and if that doesn’t suit you fancy, there is a range of other dishes that you can order like coffee pork ribs and braised eggplant and have them with steamed with rice. The food isn’t too bad, so it was an unexpected find, but I don’t think I’ll jostle through the orchard traffic on the weekends for a meal here.

la mian – hand pulled noodles
jiao zi – dumplings
xiao long bao – soup mince meat dumplings

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: Snickers Cookies

Snickers were one of my favourite chocolates when I was a kid, but somehow the sweet tooth of mine has faded, but I thought Snickers Cookies might be pretty cool though.

Recipe Makes 54 cookies

1 cup caster sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
18 fun-size Snickers bars, each cut into 3 pieces


Preheat over to 180 degree Celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper

Combine sugars, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla essence and mix until smooth.

Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into peanut butter micture and mix well.

Mould 1 teaspoon of mixture around each piece of Snickers. Place on prepared baking tray, leaving space for it to expand in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on tray. Serve.

* The cookies turned out rather sweet so I think the amount of sugar can be cut by half.
* Recipe taken from: Australian Table, Vol. 6 No. 7, March 2005, p 17