Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Boss' Cake

Katja, my Principal Investigator, surprised us all one lab meeting morning by bringing a cake that she had baked. Trolei (if I have got the spelling correct), she says, is a local specialty from the German-speaking area of Switzerland.

This was one rich cake full of the flavours of chocolate and hazelnuts. A little like Nutella. A thick slice of this Trolei cake and a cup of tea would certainly perk up any afternoon!

Chew On This: Will pray hard for more baked treats from the boss. I hear she's a good baker!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fish Soup + Braised Pig Trotters Combo!

Sometimes wanting to eat healthily can be challenging.

I was brought to this stall some time back by Ewan when we supposedly wanted to eat something light. In the end, dinner comprised of 1 x curry bun, 2 x fish soup, 1 x chai poh (preserved radish) tofu, 4 x bowl of rice and 2 x Aston's Ribeye Extra Cut!

Wanting to eat something light (again!), we revisited this place last week.

The Fish Soup ($4 for large portion) was still as good as before. A very generous helping of Batang (Spanish Mackerel) fish slices would certainly make any greedy hungry soul happy. The fish was fresh, very smooth and flaked nicely. The soup tasted rich with the goodness of fish bones and ti poh (salted flatfish). The sprinkling of fried shallot, ground white pepper and Chinese parsley further added more flavour.

For something more sinful and equally delicious, the Braised Pig's Trotter ($3 for small portion) was the perfect choice. Braised with spices like cinnamon, garlic and star anise, the meat was tasty with a good soy sauce flavour. It wasn't the most tender but I like the slight chewy bite. The skin is supple, chewy and smooth. Packed with collagen too!

Sharing the sinful pig trotters should be relatively healthy. A natural dietary collagen supplement some more!

Boon Keng Road Fish Head Bee Hoon Seafood Soup
Blk 416 Bedok North Ave 2
Opens: 7am - 12 midnight
Closes: 1st Sunday of every month

Chew On This:

Greedy Eager for more soup, I requested for an additional bowl (FOC). However, it tasted somewhat bland. I guess flavour builds as fish, tomato and other ingredients are cooked/added. This soup tasted better when poured into the original bowl that was then already half depleted.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

BOOMZ-bastic Penyet

The Bawal Penyet ($4.50) here is boomz! A whole pomfret battered and deep-fried till crispy. The batter was flavoured with cumin and tumeric which made every bite delish. The fish was nicely moist without being overly oily. Accompanying the fish was a fragrant chicken rice and sweet-spicy sambal chilli. Eat everything together and boomz.

The Ayam Penyet ($4) on the other hand was disappointing with its tough and dry flesh. :/

The next time I am back here, I'll certainly either hit the Bawal Penyet again or attempt the Sotong Penyet which looks equally yums!

Boombastic Penyet
Stall 29
Blk 503 West Coast Drive
Ayer Rajah Food Centre

Chew On This: Penyet is the Malay word for smash. And most stalls usually take a wooden mallet to gently smash the chicken a little to tenderise it. Thankfully, this stall spared the fish from this mistreatment!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tiger Dishes For Tiger Year!

In the Year of the Tiger, it's no surprise that one beer has roared loudly- Tiger.

To coincide with the Chinese New Year, Tiger beer has come up with recipes that incorporates Tiger beer. I had the pleasure of tasting some of these recipes at an event held at Palate Sensations. Besides, it was lunch time and my current work place was just down the (Portsdown) road. How convenient. Haha.

First up was the Tiger Meatballs Stuffed with Winter Bamboo Shoots and Tiger Beer Sauce. Well it wasn't really tiger meatballs but ground pork and beef. Thank God! The flavours of pork and beef and tomatoes and onions made me crave for some pasta in this dish. I would have preferred chestnuts instead of bamboo shoots though as the latter tends to have a stronger, sometimes briny taste.

BBQ Tiger Beer Braised Baby Back Ribs featured tender pork ribs in a tangy tomato-based sauce made with Tiger beer and spiked with Worcestershire sauce. This one made me crave for a bowl of steaming hot rice!

Clams Cooked in Tiger Beer was an interesting fusion-ish dish. I really liked the broth that had a heady beer flavour and was infused with the oils of the bacon and lup cheong, and spiked with chilli. Time to get some fresh, sweet clams! Better still if they are flower clams. :)

For the fish dish, Stuffed Fish with Prawn Mousseline in Tiger Beer Batter and Spicy Sour Sauce, Gar was used. Looking like a mini swordfish, Gar had a white, almost seabass-like flesh with a delicate taste. The problem was that it had too many bones and even with the chef having removed the main bone frame, I had to eat very carefully. The sauce made of lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic sauce, sugar and coriander was a little piquant but maybe it just wasn't my kind of sauce. The prawn mousseline could have been seasoned more too.

Perhaps, I would suggest using a different fish and even making fish and chips with the beer batter recipe!

Tiger beer was even incorporated into dessert! Banana Fritters with Tiger Beer Batter and Mandarin Beer Jam Jelly. The idea was good. Think goreng pisang drizzled with a jam jelly packed with citrus notes. The taste of beer takes a backseat here. I bet this Mandarin Beer Jam Jelly would go well with scones and pancakes!

Tiger beer's tagline for the season is "In the Year of the Tiger, may your glass always be full." I like the optimism. Time for a top-up!

Thanks Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore and Denise of Bates 141 for the invitation.

No tigers were harmed in the blogging of this post.

Tiger Beer CNY Dishes Tasting @ Palate Sensations
Aden (off Portsdown Road and opposite Colbar)
1 Westbourne Road
Tel: 6479 9025

Chew On This: For some of the above recipes, check out or you could always drop me an email for recipes that aren't available on their website.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chinese New Year Dishes @ Concorde Hotel

Here's a sight enough to roar in the festivities of Chinese New Year. Yu Sheng (literally raw fish) is a raw fish salad enjoyed during the Chinese New Year and is an unbelievable mix of colours, flavours and textures.

What sets this Yu Sheng apart from the rest is that this is a Peranakan Yu Sheng. It was my first time hearing of a Peranakan version. But boy did I enjoy this!

Normally I'm a little overwhelmed by the strong pickled ginger in most Yu Sheng but had no problems with this one. Instead, the unusual and alluring appeal of the dressing bound all the ingredients nicely. The dressing consisted of plum sauce, sambal belachan, lime juice, chopped lime leaves, rojak flower and coriander. A pretty exotic mix! And it all worked very well with the tangy plum sauce providing the backbone, the sambal belachan giving just a gentle heat and the lime leaves leaving a fragrant citrus aftertaste.

Jellyfish, raw salmon and ikan parang were used for this Yu Sheng.

Another almost customery dish at Chinese dinners, the Shark's Fin Soup with Fish Maw and Crabmeat, was delicate on its own and better perked up with vinegar and pepper. The crabmeat was sweet and the fish maw yummy though I would have preferred bigger chunks of both for better texture.

Ho See Fatt Choy with Cabbage is one of my favourite dishes. The best I have tasted was still my late grandma's. Unfortunately, I found the one here to be too subtle for my personal liking. I very much prefer the robust-tasting version full of the goodness of dried oysters, dried scallops, dried Japanese mushrooms, chicken feet and black moss. But I guess for some who may not be used to the full-bodied versions, the lighter-style here may appeal.

Goose-lovers should look out for the Goose Braised with Chinese Herbs. The meat is rather lean and a little chewy but if you, like me, enjoy meat with a little bit more chew/bite, this would be perfect. A thin layer of fat under the smooth skin is a good pair with the meat.

The Slow Baked Sesame Pork Rib Coated with Coffee Caramel was delicious! Sticky, sweet and with just a hint of coffee bitterness, it is good with rice. Best eaten using bare hands or fork and knife! Leave the chopsticks aside.

Now's a good time to pick up the chopsticks again. The Poached Red Garoupa Fillet with Jin Hua Ham tasted fresh and the thick fillet was firm yet flaked nicely. The Jin Hua ham added just a slightly salty-savoury touch to the fish.

Vegetables were kept simple with the Nai Bai with Wolfberries. Simple and good.

As per the norm of serving a carbs dish as the last savoury dish of the meal, the Fried Rice with Waxed Meats arrived. The rice had the gentle fragrance of the lotus leaf it was wrapped in and also the flavours of the waxed meats and fried shallots. For me, the flavours could be bumped up a notch by adding a bit more salt and using more waxed meats (specially the pig liver lup chiong!).

Dinner ended with Mango Pudding with Walnut Cream...

And Pan-Fried Nian Gao (New Year Cake)! Still my preferred way of eating nian gao. :)

The above dishes are just some of the goodies available as a buffet spread at Spices Cafe. For more details and pricing, do check out here.

Thanks to Evelyn Neo of Concorde Hotel for the invitation and for hosting me.

Here's wishing everyone a Blessed, Prosperous and Happy New Year!

Spices Cafe
Concorde Hotel Singapore
Lobby Level 3
Tel: 6733 8855

Chew On This: Receive a complimentary platter of Salmon & Ikan Parang Yu Sheng when you dine in for dinner! Check website or call Spices Cafe for details.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Pretty Good Claypot Rice

One pot dishes can be so appealing sometimes...especially when it's dark, fragrant and comes topped with chicken, lup chiong (Chinese sausage), shredded salted vegetables and bits of salted fish!

Drizzle in your desired amount of dark soy sauce and shallot oil, mix and it's ready! The rice was nice and firm, with crispy parts that were just slightly charred. It added a lovely smokiness. The chicken pieces were well-marinated with sesame oil and the lup chiong provided some sweetness. I found the shredded salted vegetables a good touch though I would have also preferred some green leafy ones. The pieces of salted fish were flavourful and punchy but could have been in smaller bits to enhance each mouthful of rice.

Overall, a pretty good claypot rice! Apparently it's quite popular and queues are known to build up so do call in advance to place your order.

New Lucky Claypot Rice- sounds just in season! Huat ah!

New Lucky Claypot Rice
Blk 328 Clementi Avenue 2
Tel: 6778 7808
Opens: 12noon - 1.30pm, 5pm - 8.30pm
Close: Wednesdays