May May

Restaurant Review
Pork belly rice bowl thingy with wasabi something (SGD18)

Braised Pork Belly Rice Bowl (SGD18) with green tea (can’t remember the price)

What: Modern Asian CBD resto with fairly expensive food (mains start at SGD12 bucks) that is actually worth it. Also they have a lunch special – if you add SGD3 you get a drink and salad.

Pros: The restaurant is beautiful – my lunch mate and I were surprised and concluded it would make a lovely intimate wedding venue. It’s filled with light, it’s clean and crisp and I’m even into their unexpected marbled tables. The rice bowls (she had Butter Poached Cod (SGD18) and I had Braised Pork Belly (SGD16)) were delicious and fresh and the hefty meat serving made me happy.

Cons: Their Liu Shia Custard Donuts AKA salted egg yolk donuts (SGD7 for three), though beautiful, were fairly ordinary and a bit too sweet. Skip them!

Verdict: I think it’s a good place for an overdue Friday lunch catch-up or a lunch meeting with clients.

Details:
May May

65 Tras Street
Singapore 079004
+65 6221 4698

The Bakehouse

Restaurant Review

What: A newly-opened whimsical cafe housed, somewhat unceremoniously, at the base of the Park Hotel and next to Ikea.

Pros: The staff are fantastic, the decor is charming and for the most part I really liked my food (coffee, ham and cheese croissant and the choc tart get full marks).

Cons: It’s small so it may be tough to get a seat and I didn’t really like their lemon tart – it was all curd and too light to pack a punch.

Verdict: Oh I loved it! I want to go back and eat ALL THE THINGS.

Details:
The Bakehouse by Carpenter and Cook

321 Alexandra Road #01-14
Singapore 159971
6250 0040

Just eat the goddamn pudding

Baking, Thoughts

Bread pudding!

Bread pudding!

I have what you can call an interesting relationship with food.

As a kid I basically ate everything which meant I was a little soft around the edges.

This meant A LOT of teasing in primary school and as I grew older, I grew heavier. Finally, in high school there came a year where I ate very little and exercised very much.

That year changed my relationship with food – it became an enemy and something to fear. Weirdly enough I also started thinking about it a whole lot more – despite not consuming very much.

Fifteen years later I still have a very intense relationship with food but don’t think I will ever fall back into the pit of unhealthy deprivation. I eat specific things that I think are healthy and nutritious and give me a lot of energy. I also make sure I have an allotment of chocolate everyday for, you know, #health.

Still sometimes, when I want to make and eat a desert all these old feelings of trepidation rush back – is this is a good idea, will there be too much, do I really need these extra calories, but I CAN’T BE EATING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST FOR FIVE DAYS!!!!

This past weekend all these confusing feelings and thoughts flooded my brain after I decided I had to make bread pudding (I mean I had a leftover baguette, what’s a girl to do?). That was when I had a bit of a “check yourself, before you wreck yourself,” moment.

Eating a bit of bread pudding is not going to kill me. It might even make me happy (in that moment, I know food is not the solution to all things). And while I don’t advocate eating cake and bread pudding and generous mouthfuls of refined white sugar everyday, it’s important to let myself eat the things I want and love, sometimes.

It’s irritating, but also true, that moderation might be the only way to approach food and also life.

*The bread pudding I linked to is the recipe I used and it was GORGEOUS. Skip the sauce though – eat with maple syrup/honey instead!

Butter Cake with Coconut Lemon Curd

Baking, Recipes
Cracked Cake! Not to be confused with Crack Cake...

Cracked Cake! Not to be confused with Crack Cake…

The motivation behind this cake – was a donut.

The motivation behind the coconut lemon curd – was a lack of tastiness.

Let me rewind.

So, Saturday last week, I awoke, slightly worse for the wear after… let’s call it, an enthusiastic Friday night.

The only solution was – brunch. And grocery shopping. Because I had to make food. And get on with my day. Because no matter how you feel – you gotta get shit done. Coz you’re an ADULT. See here for inspiration.

So, in my mind I had a game plan. I was gonna go, get the freaking groceries and get a donut from Starbucks. A glazed old-fashioned donut with a cup of black coffee. And life would be beautiful.

After getting all them groceries and ambling over to Starbucks, the semi-polite barista informed me they were out of donuts.

WHAT???

Since my entire plan for happiness, that Saturday, was precariously hinged on whether I not I ate that donut, I left said Starbucks knowing that all hope was lost.

I had nothing else to do but make butter cake.

Also I bought a lot of eggs. Butter cake requires many eggs.

All the batter

All the batter

I would like to tell you that after I hate-baked this cake I discovered that it was quite dry. This may be because I baked it like 10 minutes more than the recommended time. The batter was still jiggling – OK? The only thing I could do – obviously – was to then make lemon curd to go with it.

The curd!

The curd!

When life gives you lemons…

Butter Cake
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature – I used salted because I didn’t have unsalted. Don’t judge.
1 + 2/3 cup / 200gm all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup / 200gm castor sugar
4 eggs
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsps yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

Grease a loaf pan with butter, line with parchment paper, and grease that. Foolproof dudes. Use this method when baking.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together, stir in the salt.

Use an electronic mixer, unless you want to hate your life, to cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow in color.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Add in the vanilla extract and mix well.

Fold in the flour. I did this by spooning the flour in and making a “figure 8” shape with my spatula. Mel told me to do this. It worked.

Add in the yogurt and mix.

Pour mixture into the baking pan and smooth down with a knife.

Bake until golden brown and no longer jiggly! About 40 minutes. Use a cake tester to see if cooked.

Reading this recipe properly now, I realize I baked it at the wrong temperature, so 40 minutes might actually work.

Coconut Lemon Curd
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately the juice of 1 lemon)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (approximately the zest of 1 lemon)
1/3 cup / 70gm sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup / 60g unsalted butter, cubed
4 Tbsps coconut milk

Measure out the lemon juice, zest and sugar into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.

Whisk egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until frothy and add the hot lemon mixture slowly. Whisk continuously to combine. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve.

Return to the heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.

Remove from the heat and add the butter cubes, whisking until fully combined.

Finally, add the coconut milk and whisk to combine.

Set aside to cool. Should keep in the fridge for about a week.

*Butter Cake and Coconut Lemon Curd from Rasa Malaysia.

A slice of buttery goodness

A slice of buttery goodness

Funny thing about this cake and lemon curd was, I really thought it was just kind of blahhhh but my flatmates ate it all. I guess one person’s butter cake can be another person’s chocolate chip cookie.

I make ugly food & it TASTES SO GOOD: Vol III

Baking, Cooking, Recipes, Thoughts

Hi friends! I’m back with the third installment of ugly food I cook and for some reason, you can’t get enough of!

I cook a couple of times a week and many times I look to the Internet Gods for guidance, advice and of course – recipes.

This installment is the longest I’ve ever done and features heavily on desserts… Clearly I need to stop pretending I live in a cold country and need sustenance in the form of sweet treats.

Because I live in Singapore and my ass needs sustenance in the form of raw green things. And some lean protein. But you know #details

SO. This time around I changed up the format. See the pretty pictures first and the ugly AND REAL pictures later.

You guys like reality? Right?

Classic Lemon Bars – Joy The Baker

This dessert, like so many others, was born out of a frenzy of denying my body sugar for days. Actually it might have been 24 hours. But as they say, same-to-same. I found the lemons in my fridge, stole my flatmate’s flour and baked these babies up. They might look questionable but I can actually say I pretty much ate ALL of this, by myself.

Healthy Quinoa Chicken Curry Bowls – Pinch of Yum

I always REALLY regret making Indian-fusion food or anything with the word curry in it. Why? It’s always insipid and then I crave my Mom’s food and then I crawl into a fetal position and cry. True story.

Ginger Walnut Chocolate Blondies – Joy the Baker

I have featured these babies before here, but before the editing and amateur “food styling” I attempted, they looked like this. They tasted friggin AMAZING though.

Goat Cheese and Blackberry Jam Grilled Sandwiches – Aamupalalla

I saw this grilled cheese, I had some left-over goat cheese, Hoi had just given me a mini-pot of strawberry jam – and I knew, it was meant to be. Stinky, cheesy and yummy, this baby was intense. Would I make it again? No. But do I regret it? No.

Chicken Shwarma Nachos – My Name is Yeh

I made these nachos for a girlie dinner and it went down like a hit. Looking back at these pictures makes me realize though that man – I have got to learn how to style food! Or accept that having a food blog might mean not eating the food you present on the blog. ANYWAY, this was very tasty and Molly Yeh’s original post on it is beautiful. I recommend taking a look.

Oatmeal raisin cookie baked oatmeal – Two Red Bowls

I saved the best, err ugliest, for last. A questionable textured breakfast that tasted pretty yummy, this baked oatmeal looked like the stuff of breakfast dreams, but in actuality looked CRAZY TERRIBLE. UGH.

I swear my food tastes good.

Lazy Woman’s Chocolate Chip Cookies AKA Blondies

Baking, Recipes
Tower of delicious-ness

Tower of delicious-ness

I know y’all, it’s Salad Mondays, I promised you a nutritious recipe of salad goodness that would inspire you to take on the world and your week.

But ALAS. It’s not to be because although I have a salad to present to you… it looks like this:

2015-01-31 14.26.22

In case you actually want to know what this is, it’s leftover chopped romaine, baked salmon with a simple lemon-garlic-oil dressing. Actually its crazy tasty. Just not very photogenic.

This past weekend I went to a barbecue and of course I had to take something because I have a food blog. If I didn’t take anything that would make me A) lose credibility and B) an asshole.

But I really didn’t want to take a potato salad, which is basically the easiest thing you can make for a group, and I didn’t want to make brownies because I recently have had some bad luck baking brownies. They’ve just been underdone and potentially salmonella causing.

What I really wanted was chocolate chip cookies.

What I really didn’t want was to spend my Saturday watching my oven.

Then I had a brainwave. Ages ago, when I was attempting to win host-of-the-year with my bruschetta bar themed brunch, I made this crazy easy batch of blondies for dessert. They took 5 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to bake and my guests kept raving about them like no other. I, on the other hand, was on the fence about them. They seemed so normal.

BUT they had chocolate chips and were easy so I thought – why not?

This time I decided to kick it up a notch. I started with browned butter and added some crystallized ginger for some kick (I’m totally lying, I have a bag of leftover crystallized ginger that I bought, like, 3 months ago that I can’t finish).

It turned out so amazing and so soft that they were demolished at the barbecue.

The next morning I woke up wanting more and made a whole new batch, sans ginger and with coffee stirred into the batter.

My body protested these bad decisions but my mouth did not. Coz DAYAMN.

1/2 cup / 113 grams butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bittersweet is fine)

Add-ins (optional):
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped + 1/4 tsp ground ginger OR 1/2 Tbsp ground coffee

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.

Generously butter an 8 by 8 square baking tin.

Cut the butter into even pieces and melt in a small saucepan over a medium fire. I suggest you whisk it so that it melts evenly.

Do this until the butter is light brown and smells nutty. This didn’t actually happen with me, but this is what the internet told me would happen. Mine just got very dark yellow and smelled quite good and coz I was scared of burning it, I stopped.

Wait for butter to cool till warm. Beat in the sugar until smooth.

Beat in the egg and vanilla. At this point, if using coffee, this is when you stir it in.

Stir in the flour and salt.

Stir in the chocolate chips and, if using crystallized ginger, this is when you stir it in.

Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. I personally prefer 25 because otherwise I find the middle is a tad runny.

It’s SO good guys. I’m like swooning just writing this.

*Adapted from smitten kitchen.

Ginger version

Ginger version

llaollao

Eating Out, Flash Restaurant Review
I recommend choosing your own concoctions - priced from SGD4.90 to SGD6.90

I recommend choosing your own concoctions – priced from SGD4.90 to SGD6.90 – also sorry random lady!

What: A Spanish frozen yogurt franchise that’s hit Singapore’s dessert scene with a bang. The evidence for their success? The crazy-ass long lines. Also it’s pronounced yao-yao. Blame the Iberians.

Pros: Yummy frozen yogurt (apparently the process starts with greek yogurt) with especially yummy jam based toppings.

Cons: The wait – 20 mins minimum. And really if you think about it, how different can frozen yogurt really be?

Verdict: I like it, but I would say go with a group of friends to pass the long wait time and/or it’s a really hot day.

Details:
llaollao – many outlets but I visited
68 Orchard Road
#01-22A, Plaza Singapura
Singapore 229239

Nutella Banana Crumble

Baking, Recipes


Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I have been spending these past two weeks avoiding anything sweet.

Because A. My friend is getting married and I don’t want to look fat in the pictures.

And B. I pulled my back and can’t workout and I don’t want to look FAT IN THE PICTURES.

I am aware that it is not my wedding.

I am aware that gaining a bit of weight is not that big a deal.

I am also aware that looking like I’m fat in these pictures will do nothing for my self-esteem or street cred.

Are you aware that being overweight can lead to a variety of different health complications?

Yeah you know don’t you. So stop judging.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I’ve been avoiding things that are sweet. Because desserts and anything chocolate, specifically, are my kryptonite.

So week one wasn’t that hard. Especially when I was at home, on MC, all like I need to eat healthy! Not crappy!

Week two was still doable – at work, but you know, bit difficult with the daily 3 o’clock boredom hunger pangs.

So what happened, in the middle of week two (I’m lying it was like Tuesday), was that I came across the one dessert recipe for which I ALREADY had all the ingredients for. Even if that meant stealing Hoi’s bananas. Which I did.

***

3 ripe bananas
200gm/whole jar Nutella
3 Tbsps/40gm unsalted butter
2 Tbsps/30gm brown sugar
1/2 cup/ 60gm all-purpose flour
2 Tbsps/20gm ground almonds
2 Tbsps oats (accidental but happy addition)

Heat the oven to 180C/350C.

Slice the bananas and evenly scatter them in an 8 inch round baking dish/something similar.

Spoon Nutella over, making sure to evenly layer it over. This is where you can use your individual taste to determine if you’re going to use that whole jar. DO IT.

Mix the dry ingredients with the butter until it resembles a mealy crumble. It’s okay of there are still bits of butter, that’s how the crumble form.

Top the Nutella layer with the crumble layer evenly. AGAIN.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bananas are bubbling. You’ll be able to see this from the side.

***

OH! And about the taste – it’s chocolatey and banana-ey with a hearty crumble. Basically totes perfect breakfast/tea/comfort food.

*Adapted from Deerest Deer.

Chocolate Chip (and then some) Cookies

Baking, Recipes

Chocolate Chip (and then some) CookiesIt’s been awhile cool kids!

This is because I haven’t been cooking anything particularly photogenic. Ok I lie, I have been, I’ve just been too lazy to actually photograph ANY of it. Please don’t make me.

I did however find the time to finally make these cookies that I promised I would make the day I saw them on i am a food blog.

This recipe is unique because it’s sort of a normal chocolate chip cookie but then it’s not because it’s got BLUEBERRIES in it and there’s COCONUT in it and OATMEAL and CHOCOLATE (ofcourseduh) – that I had to make it and see if all these things make it a superior cookie.

So I’m gonna level with you. It wasn’t a superior cookie. In fact the blueberries didn’t pop (in the flavor sense) in the way that I thought it would.

But guess what? It was a delicious, wholesome cookie, that really hit the spot. It tasted like childhood (at least, white people’s childhoods) and goodness.

Which is why I would make it again, and swap out the dried blueberries for raisins and white sugar for brown. But see, I would make it again.

New Mixer from my brother!

New Mixer from my brother!

These cookies – and everything I cook henceforth – was made possible by this amazing mixer gifted to me by my brother for my recent birthday 😀

Makes 18 medium sized cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried blueberries

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and mix well. Beat in the vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Add in the rolled oats, coconut, chocolate and blueberries. Stir until combined.

Form the dough into small balls and squish them into the shape you want your cookie to be – they will not spread much.

Place them on the baking sheet. Make sure they are well spaced.

Bake until golden brown about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for five minutes before cooling on a wire rack/tray.

Chocolate Chip (and then some) Cookies

*Adapted, barely, from i am a food blog.

**These taste better the day after baking or the day after that 🙂

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Baking

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

It’s cupcake time at DiniBlini and you know what that means – it’s birthday time.

This time it was the birthday of my longtime friend and apartment mate – Melissa.

I have known Melissa since I lived with her sister, my good friend Priscilla, while we were all doing our undergrad at McGill.

All those years ago, I really only knew her as my friend’s sister, that girl who really liked watching The Hills.

She would come over once a week, without fail, to watch the show that marked the beginning of MTV’s transformation into a reality TV black hole.

I really didn’t know much about her except that she was reserved, wore really big sunglasses and suffered from a bad case of resting bitch face.

Fast forward to now, some eight years later, and I live with her halfway across the world.

All the things I thought defined her are still true (she still suffers from chronic resting bitch face, has quite big sunglasses, enjoys her alone time) but I also now know she is kind, considerate and has a wicked sense of humor.

I’m so happy that she is now my good friend and I wanted to make something she would enjoy for her birthday.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Cue this mess (and it really was A MESS) of cookies and cream cheese.

Melissa’s favorite ice-cream was cookies and cream.

Unfortunately, it really isn’t mine.

SIGH.

But I made these cupcakes anyway. And surprise, surprise.

They was good.

Cake bit
24 Oreos, you will halve them – see recipe for exact method
16 Oreos, chopped into small pieces (almost bits or pebble size)
12 Oreos, chopped into halves, for garnish (optional)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
8 Tbsp butter
8 oz. cream cheese (1 Philadelphia pkg)
2 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 175C/350F degrees.

Line two muffin tins with 24 paper muffin cups.

Using a knife split the first 24 Oreos in half. Leave the cream filling attached to one side. Place those halves, with the cream filling side up, at the bottom of each muffin cup. Set aside.

Place the cream-less halves into a Ziploc bag. Seal tightly and bash with a rolling pin until a fine powder. I used a peanut butter jar. You will sprinkle this “cookie dust” on the cupcakes at the very end.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In another larger bowl, mix together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. If you’re using a mixer it will take you 3 to 4 minutes. If you’re using your hands you better just resign yourself to pain.

Add in egg whites, one at a time, mixing after each addition to combine.

Measure 3/4 cup milk another bowl. Add sour cream and vanilla to milk and whisk to combine. It will be a bit lumpy initially.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix.

Add milk mixture to butter mixture. Mix.

Mix in 16 chopped Oreos.

Divide batter among prepared muffins cups (pouring it on top of the Oreo halves), filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake in preheated oven about 24 to 26 minutes until the toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean(ish).

You may take them out of the pan after resting 5 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Frost with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sprinkle with cookie dust!

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
Mix the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. If you’re doing this by hand, it won’t become fluffy if using a mixer it should take a minute.

Stir in sour cream and vanilla.

Add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth, light and fluffy. Again by hand, just do it till it’s not lumpy. With a mixer, it will take 3 minutes.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Look at that MASTERPIECE.

*Adapted from Cooking Classy.
**Photography by Hoi Yee (paper_shins).