Thursday, July 09, 2015

DIY Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

One of my favourite food is spaghetti bolognese. Just love the scrumptious combination of garlic, minced beef, aromatic veggies and tomato sauce. But I often get disappointed with versions (and portions) when ordering this pasta so I often whip up my own at home. Moohehe.

The recipe is simple and typical of my cooking style- flexible, so feel free to improvise. Also, I usually cook a big pot of the sauce before dividing it up into smaller portions for the freezer. These smaller portions are handy for a quick meal anytime! 

Here's my recipe, which involves quite a bit of wine. Moohehe.

- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 star anise
- olive oil
- herbs (eg basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme etc; dried or fresh)
- wine (red or white)  
- minced beef
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped (can use chilli padi for moore kick)

1) Heat olive oil in a pot.
2) Add in chopped carrots and celery and stir-fry for a minute
3) Add in chopped onion and stir-fy for about 2 minutes before adding in chopped garlic and star anise. Cook until vegetables are soft.
4) Make a well in the center of the pot by pushing the vegetables towards the side before adding in the minced beef to brown.
5) When minced beef is browned, add in chopped fresh and canned tomatoes, and red chilli.
6) Enjoy a glass of wine before adding the rest of the bottle into the pot. Scrape any browned bits that form in the pot and dissolve them into the wine.    
7) Let sauce simmer in the pot, uncovered, until it becomes thick and sauce-like. Have another glass of wine in the meantime. Moohehe.
8) Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. I often add a bit of fish sauce too, for added depth. :p
9) Enjoy with your favorite pasta and glass of wine!

Disclaimer: The above recipe is NOT authentic and cooking it for Italians might cause a riot but relac lah. It is just a recipe I personally enjoy and rather than wasting time debating on authenticity (eh who created pasta ah? The Chinese? Marco Polo? Lui Tuck Yew?), I mooch prefer to have fun, savour hot food and imbibe vino in good company. Just don't tell Nona I added fish sauce.

The Hungry Cow

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Bubbly Kway Chap Hawker Brunch!

I do enjoy a nice decadent Champagne brunch but why only restrict bubbly brunches to five star hotels and posh nosh like raw oysters, eggs Benedict, lobsters and grilled meats, as fabulous as they are? Bubbly brunch with kway chap at a hawker centre also can! Moohaha.

Met up with Sha and Jan at the relaunched hawker centre near Bedok Interchange for a brunch featuring my favourite kway chap in the east. And brought along a lovely Seppelt Salinger Vintage Cuvee 2008 bubbly to stoke the alkies and to also make this crazy hot weather moore bearable! This Australian sparkling wine made in the methode traditionelle (same as Champagne) from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, was delightful with fine bubbles, aromas of citrus, bread and nuttiness and a nice length.

The Kway Chap here was scrumptious as usual with well-braised innards, pork belly etc and smooth sheets of kway accompanied by a piquant chilli sauce. Perfect with a chilled glass of the Seppelt bubbly. ;)

Now if only the weather was less hot and humid...

Hai Fa Guo Zhi
Blk 208B New Upper Changi Road (near Bedok MRT)
Opens only from morning to lunch while stocks last.
Closes on Thursdays

Chew On This: The bubbly and glasses were brought by moo so please don't ask which stall to order it from! Moohehe.    

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Catching Up at The Catch

Living in the ulu east of Singapore, it is always a delight when a friend suggests to meet up at an eatery near my place. Near my place you say? Yes! Moohehe.

Seeing that I now have moore time and less money, I figured I might as well take a leisurely walk to The Catch, a seafood restaurant nestled within a cluster of prisons. It was a catch up with foodie friends and that can only mean one thing- a great yummy time!

I didn't know my friend who made the reservation was a VIP here. All the staff seem to know her and she knows the menu inside out. Jokingly, we thought she was doing the PR for the restaurant! Moohaha. But nope. She's a regular here lah so we left the ordering to her. :)

La La Boiled in Chinese Wine ($14 for small portion; the above was about 1/5 of the small portion) featured clams in a delicate and appetising broth of Chinese wine, ginger and strips of black fungus.

The Deep Fried Cuttlefish with Pepper & Salt ($8; foreground) were tasty pieces of firm cuttlefish tentacles battered and fried to a golden brown although the "oil taste" was a tad heavy. In the background, the Crispy Brinjal with Salted Egg Yolk ($6) beckoned with their crisp exterior and moist interior. Both would be great with beer! :p

We also tried the Marble Goby Deep Fried with Superior Soy Sauce ($6.80/100g) which was excellent. The fish was perfectly fried and its flesh fragrant from the deep frying and the accompaniments. Now if only the bones were fried until crispy so they can be eaten...

Originally wanting to order Flower Crabs, we opted for the Mud Crab Steamed with Chinese Wine & Egg White ($6.80/100g) as the former was unavailable that evening. I am not a big crap crab person but did enjoy its clean, sweet complementary flavours. Reserving some of the egg white, we separately ordered a plain wok-fried bee hoon to soak up all those lovely juices.  

I was intrigued when told that the mee pok is a moost try here. Instead of the common bak chor mee version, it appeared as Braised Noodles with Seafood in XO Sauce ($28 for large portion). The depth of flavour was solid in this one! I could inhale the whole plate but had to restrain or risk ruining friendships. Moohaha.

As a second carbs dish, we had the "Yuan Yang" Poached Rice with Seafood in Superior Broth ($24 for small portion). I didn't take a photo but posted an Instagram video here. See and hear the puffed rice sizzle upon hitting the hot soup!

Lastly, we had the Signature Roast Chicken Stuffed with Glutinous Rice ($45) which needed to be ordered a day in advance. The meat was a little dry but its taut glistening skin and flavourful glutinous rice stuffing made it scrumptious nonetheless. Glutinous rice after two carb dishes plus a bowl or white rice. Ok, I think that's why the Titanic sank. #itwasnoticeberg LOL

An organic Gerard Bertrand Autrement Sauvignon 2012 from the South of France boasting citrus notes and medium acidity was the night's tipple.

With good food and a unique location (moohehe), The Catch is certainly a good catch! Hey by the way the owners are seafood suppliers hor, so you can be guaranteed of fresh seafood.

The Catch
27 Cosford Road
Tel: 6546 2155

Chew On This: Feel free to BYO. Corkage-free!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen Opens at Marina Bay Sands

I was running 10 minutes late for dinner and was terrified that Gordon Ramsay would make me an idiot sandwich. Moohaha! But thankfully that wasn't on the menu at his newly opened restaurant Bread Street Kitchen at Marina Bay Sands.

Bread Street Kitchen, his first restaurant venture in Singapore, is a casual duplex with a balmy waterfront-facing dining space with a bar on level one and a moore intimate private dining area on basement one.       

Here's moo take on the experience at the media diner.

We started from the "Cold Starters" section of the menu, A take on the Italian classic, the Roasted Veal Carpaccio, Dill Pickles, Quail's Egg, Tuna Dressing ($26) was delightfully scrumptious with thin, lightly chilled slices of veal still spotting a blushing pink accompanied by a balanced slightly acidic tuna sauce.

The Spicy Tuna Tartare, Chilli, Garlic, Sesame Oil, Wonton Crisps ($19) had a touch of local flavours that were familiar and easy to relate to while the Potted Salt Beef Brisket, Grain Mustard, Piccalilli, Caraway Crackers ($19) boasted bold flavours with a punchy mustard note. The beef brisket was coarse and a tad dry. Piccalilli, essentially pickled vegetables similar to achar, cut the richness nicely.

Then suddenly there was a flurry of excitement which drew my attention to the other end of the table. Standing there was the man himself who came to check on how dinner was progressing. It was surreal being in the same dining room as Gordon Ramsay and the fact that he "complained" that it was far too quiet at the table probably reflected how mooch we were in awe (or some said terrified) of him. Moohaha.

Mooving on to the hot starters, the Flatbread, Butternut Squash, Taleggio Cheese, Mushrooms, Pine Nuts, Basil Pesto ($20) was simple and enjoyable with a medley of sweet, meaty and herb flavours.

The Tamarind Spiced Chicken Wings, Spring Onions, Coriander ($18) drew mixed reaction at the table. Some felt it was slightly bitter while others said the tamarind was indiscernible. I agree with the latter but looking past its name, I did enjoy this tasty dish which somehow reminded me of a cross between Marmite chicken and Japanese curry. Moohehe. Except of course this wasn't a fusion dish at a cze char stall but Gordon Ramsay's restaurant.

 Then Miss Tam Chiak flashed. Ahem. Not what you're thinking lah!

The mains landed on the table and presented themselves. The Slow-Roasted Dingley Dell Pork Belly, Spiced Apple Puree ($28) was my favourite among these. Leaning towards the well, lean, side, it had a good bite and was still tender and flavourful. Its skin was crisp and almoost crunchy. The dish went well with the pretty safe spiced apple puree but it worked.

The Traditional Fish & Chips, Crushed Peas, Tartar Sauce ($26) was disappointing. The fish was meaty and moist but the crust could be moore crispy and without that heavy, oil flavour. The Lamb Chops ($48) were simple and cooked perfectly though nothing terribly exciting.

Sides were also available. The Macaroni Cheese with Garlic Roasted Crumbs ($16) was creamy and rich with pasta that retained their texture. Spiced Honey Carrots were like delectable sweet orange sticks of Christmas spices.
Roasted Black Cod with Crushed Potatoes, Salted Capers, Artichoke, Red Wine and Lemon Sauce ($44) was one of my favourite main courses. The fish skin could do with a better crisp but the flavours of the dish as a whole all came together beautifully.

Order up drinks from their bar which can whip up off-menu specials such as this Shiraz-based giant of a cocktail. This is what I will have if I limit myself to only one drink. Moohehe.

Desserts were served in a combine platter for our tasting purpose. Beginning from left to right: The Monkey Shoulder Cranachan Cheesecake with Roasted Balsamic Strawberries ($18) was creamy and rich. My personal favourite was the Coffee and White Chocolate Parfait with Poached Blackberries ($18). Boasting varying textures and flavours, it had oomph while being balanced. The Chocolate Fondant with Salted Caramel and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream ($20) was a classic pairing of chocolate and mint. Like the chunky bits of chocolate in the mint ice cream. The Pineapple Carpaccio, Passion Fruit, Coconut Sorbet ($15) would be great for someone who enjoys ending the meal on a refreshing, lighter note. 

Then just when we thought it was over, the Treacle Tart ($18) appeared because Gordon said that "this is the dessert to go to bed with". It was my first experience with Treacle Tart. Very homely; sweetness was quite intense with a slight caramelised sugar flavour.

Photo with Gordon Ramsay (priceless). 

I am seldom star struck but I guess having watched one too many episodes of MasterChef, MasterChef Junior and Hell's Kitchen, I couldn't help but to beam like an idiot at this photo opportunity. Moohehe. 

Thanks to Amy Kim and Sara Varela from MBS for the invitation, and to Camemberu for that photo with Chef Gordon.

Bread Street Kitchen
Bay Level, L1-81
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Tel: 6688 5665

Chew On This: Watch out for a brunch menu soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pan Pacific Singapore's Sausages (Always) Rock!

I like sausages and the number one brand that comes to my mind is Pan Pacific for their quality. Their sausages are almoost always tasty, textured and with a snappy skin. Besides buying their sausages from the supermarket, one can also enjoy them by dining at Pacific Marketplace from 5pm to 10pm.

So here goes the sausage fest! Moohehe.

For a delicious snack, the Phyllo-wrapped Pork Bockwurst Sausage Roll served with Apple and Thyme Chutney ($14) featured smoked pork sausages wrapped in flaky phyllo pastry. The accompanying apple and thyme chutney provided a touch of sweetness to elevate this tapas dish.

The Homemade Liverwurst served with Sourdough & Cornichons ($12) was also moreish with its savoury, earthy pate-like flavours. Cornichons (I had to Google this) are tart pickled gherkins.

The Würstelplatte (Sausage platter; $24) was visually a bit disappointing as the word "platter" gave me an impression of a big, hearty..well.. platter. Good thing the various German sausages impressed with Pork Bratwurst, Veal Bratwurst, Münchner Weissewürste, and Nürnberger served with mesclun salad, toasted rye bread, and German potatoes or mashed potatoes.

Bangers and Mash offers a comfort that can only be matched by a cold pint of ale. Moohehe. Pacific Marketplace's English Bangers and Mash ($24) are served with green peas, mesclun salad, country gravy and English mustard. These bangers were supple and juicy.

For a dose of greens, try the Nicoise Salad ($11). I like that the slices of tuna were just seared on the outside. The greens were reasonably fresh and dressed with a light Dijon Vinaigrette.

Also, I moost add that their breads are awesome! I bought a few home for breakfast the next day and the famooly enjoyed them. :)

Thanks to Celine and Wen Xian of Pan Pacific Singapore for the invitation.

Pacific Marketplace
Level 1
Pan Pacific Singapore
Tel: 6826 8240

Chew On This: Pan Pacific Singapore's quality sausages are handcrafted by their Master Butchers using selected meats and do not contain preservatives, artificial colours or flavours.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Tip Top Curry Puffs

Curry puffs are one of my favourite guilty indulgences. The heady mix of spices, fried pastry and crispy crimped edges combine to hit a comforting spot no other local snack can. When this cow was mooch younger, it was not uncommon for me to inhale 3 or 4 large ones in one go. Moohehe.

Tip Top sent moo a box of their curry puffs for a taste. After a quick reheat in the toaster, I found myself chomping on their Chicken Curry Puff (fragrant spice mix with chunky pieces of potatoes and chicken), Sardine Puff (a tinge too sweet for me but was moist and full of sardines and onions), and their latest flavour- Nonya Beef Rendang Puff, which contained a spicy and sweet filling of beef rendang.

It is interesting to get moore options with curry puffs these days and thankfully flavours are kept quite familiar. But I think I still like the original chicken one best as it was what I grew up eating. Novelty vs Nostalgia. Moohehe.

Thanks to Maureen and Tip Top for sending these over.

Tip Top
722 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 (several other outlets including Raffles City Shopping Centre and Changi Airport Terminal 2 & 3)

Chew On This: Established since 1979, Tip Top uses a blend of 18 specially handpicked spices for their curry puffs.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Birthday Makan

I woke up one moorning to the aroma of ginger being stir-fried in sesame oil and felt extremely blessed and thankful for all those who love me and for all of God's goodness in my life. My moother prepared a simple bowl of mee sua with hard boiled eggs. No meat, No seafood. Just a splash of (Hua Tiao) wine. Moohehe.

It was my birthday. Even though mee sua is not a birthday tradition in my famooly, that bowl was heartwarming and reminded me that often, the simplest things in life bring such honest joy. :)

Instead of eating out this year, I opted to have a shabu shabu dinner with the famooly at home. It was immensely gratifying and I bet I'll be craving this in the months to come.

Dinner was also set with the League and we had bak kut teh at Ng Ah Sio at my request...

...before heading across the road to Grub Noodle Bar for a frosty pint and some nibbles. Moohehe.

Chew On This: Cos memoories are meant to be savoured.