Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grazing Through Savour 2012

One of the newest and most exciting food event concepts for this year is Savour. Occupying the entire F1 pit, this 3-day event features Michelin-starred chefs, well-known chefs in Singapore, cheese/coffee/wine/bread/cooking workshops etc. This cow trotted down on the Friday evening and again the next day afternoon. And here are my moo-meries.

Hungry, as usual, we decided to grab a quick bite and headed straight to the booth of perhaps the biggest name of the event- 3-Michelin-starred Alain Passard's L'Arpege.  

This is his Sweet and Sour Tomato with orange blossom. Tangy, sweet and really fresh-tasting heirloom tomatoes. The course sea salt really brought out the flavours of the tomatoes! 

The Chaud Froid of Egg with maple syrup and xeres vinegar was deceptively simple. Initially, I thought it was underwhelming. But soon the hot and cold contrast and the savoury-sweet-tart flavours tingled amidst the creamy texture.

Then I turned up at Air France's pavilion. Air France was the official airline sponsor of Savour 2012 and they were celebrating the launch of their new A380 Singapore-Paris route.

Available for tasting that evening were the wines served onboard Air France's Business Class. Pity I wasn't able to sample them fully due to time constraints. Oh by the way, I learnt that champagne is available across all seating sections onboard Air France. Even Economy Class passengers get to enjoy bubbly! Yay.

Next, I attended a Nespresso Coffee Atelier event. I think Nespresso has made coffee machines chic and sexy! The handy capsules also make it convenient and easy to operate. Just plonk one capsule into the slot, close the cover, press a button and ...

Viola! Fresh espresso comes streaming out.

Check out the 3 layers. Apparently a good coffee has these 3 layers when freshly pulled. The top crema is also a sign of quality. 

Akin to tasting wine, we were encouraged to slurp to introduce air and propel the coffee to the back palate. But moost be careful. Hot espresso! Different parts of the tongue are more receptive to different flavours.

 After tasting through 4 out of the 16 Grand Crus, we were give an additional capsule which has cherry coffee. This was combined with vanilla ice cream for a delicious affogato. Such a simple dessert! :)

Tasting 5 espressos within 30 minutes at 8pm+ got me a bit worried. Moohehehe. But surprisingly I didn't struggle to get to sleep that night. Apparently with the smaller volumes of espressos, they contain less caffeine than a regular mug of coffee!

Ok, it's time for moo-re food! Next we checked out Bo Innovation's Alvin Leung's Molecular Xiao Long Bao. This looked nothing like a xlb. Had a texture of nothing like a xlb. But tasted exactly like a xlb! The gel skin encased a pork broth and biting into that strip of ginger completed the xlb taste profile. Intriguing to experience but I certainly would prefer a non-molecular xlb on a more regular basis. :p

The Har Mei Lo Mein with har mei oil and powder was pretty tasty albeit a wee bit dry, and was packed with the umami-ness from the dried shrimp oil and powder. I could eat a BIG bowl of this! Moohaha. Hey, I haven't seen the words "Lo Mein" since Cornell days!

To end the night (before chomping down Popeye's fried chicken at the Singapore Flyer later), we tried Mexican Chef Enrique Olvera's Vuelve a la Vida shrimp, scallop and octopus, with chipotle and coriander emulsion. It was fresh, tangy burst of flavours. 

A quick stop at the Wine Theatre for a Spanish wine class. We both think the ang moh presenter could be a Hugo Boss model. LOL. Sorry moost be the wines. Moohahaha. 

Day 2 was a different scene. Bright and sunny, it was better to see things and people.

We visited the Gourmet Market in the cooling air-con comforts of the F1 building.

Fans of Almaviva can get the 2008 vintage here.

An attractive display of fishes. With a sashimi counter, people were buying sashimi and enjoying it with wines and other gourmet food.

I was over the moon (hahahaha!) when I spotted Beemster's XO cheese. I first discovered them while working at a fair in Raffles Town Club. The 26 months matured XO cheese had a rich, nutty and complex flavour.  

Ok, those squeamish about raw animal parts and baby oink oinks should skip the next pig-ture.

Green Grocer had a very interesting array of cuts. I have had beef tongue but not lamb tongue. Wonder how the latter tastes like...

Then it's back out in the sun for some food. Good thing there's ice cold beer! This Russian brew wasn't very tasty but given the heat, it was mooch welcome.

Here's Gunther's Carpaccio of Wagyu Beef tartare-style, crispy potato. Very delicate tasting. Got to eat this quick before the super crispy potato at the bottom becomes soft.

 Moo-ving on the another tartare- a cooked one. We tried St. Pierre's Emmanuel Stroobant's Beef Rossini 72-hour braised US prime beef short rib tartare with iced foie gras meringue and black truffle tuile. I like the gentle beefy flavours and really tender small chunks of short ribs. Beef + foie gras + truffle = quite hard to go wrong!

For dessert, we opted for Chez Dominique's Potato and Malt. Fronted by Chef Hans Valimaki, this Finnish restaurant served up one very intriguing dessert that looks like a potato. Crack through the white chocolate shell and the inside reveals a potato ice cream that is both savoury and sweet. Nice textures too.

Moo thoughts on Savour. I like the concept and the feel of the event. The opportunity to try the signature dishes of many famed chefs in one place is great! If only the food prices were scaled back a bit. Portions were small, it's self-service and disposable plates/bowls were used after all. The other thing being the duration of the sessions could have been longer. I mean with the choice of so many classes to attend, an array of booths to visit and a good number of wines to taste, one can't and should not have to rush through it all....especially on a weekend.

Thanks to Nespresso, CROWD and Savour for inviting me over.

30 March - 1 April 2012

Chew On This: Savour 2012 featured 15 award-winning chefs, including chefs from the world’s top 100 restaurants and Michelin-star recipients, and 50 of their signature dishes to sample from $6–$21!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Erdinger Shares The Art of Pouring

Now moost people think that pouring beer from a bottle into a glass is simple. Well it is...but there is actually an art to it.

Watch as Oliver Helbig, Asia Pacific Representative for Erdinger Weissbier, demonstrates the art of pouring the perfect Erdinger beer.

1) Rinse the glass with iced water to remove any residues/impurities.
2) Hold the glass slightly at a slant.
3) Slowly pour in the beer down the side of the glass until about 1 inch of beer remains in the bottle.
4) Gently swirl the bottle to mix the remaining beer with the yeast at the bottom.
5) Pour remaining beer into glass.
6) Enjoy. :) 

It is a simple but important tip to get the yeast out of the bottle and into the glass for the best flavour and enjoyment. Erdinger uses the top fermentation process and fresh yeast is added to each bottle before the beer is matured for 3-4 weeks in their controlled warehouse.

In accordance to the Purity Law, Erdinger is made using hops, malt, yeast and water (drawn from their own deep springs!).

Then it was time for moo to try my hoof at pouring.

Here's my first attempt! Not too bad I suppose. I love the Erdinger Dunkel for its creamy, rich flavour. Yums.

I also got a chance to pull an Erdinger Weissbier from the tap. They even had a chart showing the various markings. Woe to whoever obtains a "bad" score! Moohaha.

Some yummy morsels to go with the beers. :D

The event was hosted at Switch- a new live music venue by the Timbre group featuring both English and Mandarin tunes.  

Oh and since Oktoberfest is still a long way, do check out Maifest happening 4 & 5 May, 7pm-11pm at Clarke Quay! Free admission and sampling of Erdinger Pikantus- a dark bock beer specially brought in for Maifest!  

Thanks to Erdinger and Word of Mouth Communications for the invitation.

Chew On This: Stand to win one of 5 pairs of all-expense paid trips to the home of Erdinger- Erdig, Germany! The Art of Erdinger contest is open to all and runs from 1 May to 31 July 2012. All you need to do is purchase $25 worth of Erdinger in a single receipt and submit your best piece of art depicting yourself with Erdinger. Moore details here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lured By Dry-style Bak Kut Teh

Lured by the dry-style bak kut teh and spurred on by a wet evening, I went to try Old Street Bak Kut Teh.

They also have the soup version Bak Kut Teh ($5.50) which was pretty good. Not herbal, this style exuded plenty of white pepper and garlic. The pork ribs were nice and tender too. :)

I like eating braised Tau Kee ($3.50). Soft sheets of fried beancurd skin with rice is almoost always good.

A dish of Kai Lan ($5) to add a veg component to the meal.

And a bowl of sweet Bean Curd ($1.50) aka tau huay to end the meal. This had a slight almond flavour and is the "normal" style, not the Lao Ban pudding-like versions that seem so popular nowadays. 

Hey oh wait. Where's the Dry-Style Bak Kut Teh? I only realised that I forgot to shoot it when doing up this post! -.- Moohahaha.

So without a photo, just bear with me while I describe it. The Dry-Style Bak Kut Teh ($6.50) comes in a claypot with pieces of lady's fingers and red chillies tossed in dark soy sauce. The interesting part of it was the small strips of dried cuttlefish that added depth and a lovely punchy flavour.  

BKT is pure comfort especially on cold, wet days. If Singapore ever snows....I know what I'll hug a big bowl of.   

Old Street Bak Kut Teh
129 Upper Paya Lebar Road,
Opens: 7am-1am daily

Chew On This: The food took a while to arrive so maybe it's wise to order tau huay or chin chow to eat while waiting!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kway Chapppp!

Participating in the NUS Food Hunt a few weeks ago saw this cow and Calvin Timo run from hawker stall to hawker stall ordering pre-assigned dishes. As our team was a non-competitive one, we decided to try to cover as much stalls as we can but without the mad gobbling down of food and insane rush.

One of my favourite food from that hunt was this kway chap from Garden Street Kway Chap. The pork belly pieces were braised till tender while the intestines were infused with the flavour of the braising liquid. The sheets of rice flour were quite smooth and were soaked in a tasty broth of delicate herbal notes.

Simple yummyness.

Garden Street Kway Chap
Stall 21
Serangoon Gardens Food Centre
Opens: 8am-3pm
Closed: Mondays

Chew On This: Apparently the owner of this stall has been selling kway chap since the 1950s. And now that his son has taken over the business, there will be continuity! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blessed Birthday, Hungry Cow!

Ok, it's the time of the year when there's a sudden flurry of well wishes via Facebook, SMS, Whatsapp and now Twitter! It's moo birthday lah. Moohahaha.

This blog (not the blogger) turns SIX!

I decided to cook for the family. Nothing like a meal made with love for the people you love. :) But hor, a lot of people find it strange that the birthday boy is doing the cooking. LOL.

I had visions of this earlier in the day. Powerful memory snapshots of a slab of meat sizzling away on a griddle.

So I headed to Mmmm! at the nearby Changi City Point and got some US Berkshire aka Kurobuta Pork Collar....

...and of course some beef- Australian Wagyu Striploin Marbling 5. This one was from Margaret River which was special because we visited there 2 years ago.

After some tender loving care on the cast iron griddle, the pork was awesoommmmme! Cooked to medium doneness with a slight pink in the middle, the flavours were clean and rich. Very juicy! Almoost made me start a new blog called The Hungry Pig.

The striploin on the other hand was good- had a nice chew with rounded flavours but I have to admit. That slab of pig won hooves down.

Opting for a fuss-free meal due to time constraints (yes, cooking after a full work day can be challenging), I put together a dinner plate containing a piece of the pork and beef, mixed salad with balsamic vinegar, grilled abalone mushrooms (hiding behind the salad mound) and boiled red-skinned potatoes tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley. All I needed was a pot and a griddle pan. Yay!

With the tasty meats, we had a bottle of Palitalia Barolo DOCG 2004 ($168 from the hungry cow). Yes, it's a little known fact but I do sell wines on the side. Moohehe. Let me know if anyone is keen okie? :)

The Barolo is said to be the king of Italian wines and this particular one has an intense aroma of cherries, plums and a floral note. On the palate, it is rich, full and smooth with a nice mineral structure and finish. Definitely a good wine with steaks and grilled Kurobuta pork! Drinking nicely now but I reckon it will also keep nicely for another 8-10 years.

My birthday cake came in the form of a key lime pie lovingly made by moo sister. I cook, she bakes, we all eat. Moohehe.

I want to take this chance to count moo blessings and be grateful for what has been given to me.

A big hello and thank you to all who have sent their best wishes! I'm truly blessed to have lovely family, friends and mystery ninja supporters. Moohahahha. Thanks for sharing this moo-ment with me and for your company in this journey called life. :)

Chew On This: Cos life should be celebrated.

Monday, April 09, 2012

MEDZS Opens at Millenia Walk!

With their first outlet at the basement of the rather quiet Orchard Central, MEDZS might go unnoticed by many....which is a pity as the casual Meditteranean themed restaurant is spacious and pretty chill out.

MEDZS has recently opened its second outlet at Millenia Walk. This 250-seater boasts mainstay items as well as new dishes. I hear some at a slightly higher price point than the Orchard Central outlet but there is still no service charge here. Only GST.

The Escargo Aioli ($16) came with a very rich, creamy, garlicky sauce. You won't taste the escargo but you'll probably be licking the pick. Moohehe.

Fried potatoes are always a good thing and the Rosti with Cured Salmon ($10) here works. This dish calls for beer (yay!)....we will come to that in a bit.

For meat-on-a-bone lovers, try the Lamb Shank ($21.90). It was meaty and substantial. Though I found the flavour of lamb to be a tad on the strong side and perhaps it could have been stewed longer, it was decent overall. The mashed potatoes were yummy!

Seafood lovers can opt for the Kakavia ($18.90). While I usually prefer my seafood with lighter seasonings (think Teochew steamed fish), I like the saffron cream sauce that smothered the mussels and salmon pieces. The fish was cooked remarkably well, being moist and tender.

Unfortunately the Octopus Paella ($14.90) didn't appeal to me much. It was underseasoned and lacked taste dimensions. Perhaps an oversight by the chef.

What I moo-ch prefer was the Pork Belly ($13.90). Streaked with a bit of fat, it was unctious and flavourful in its own jus.

The last savoury dish we got to sample was the Cyprio Pork & Coriander Burger ($15). A pretty juicy pork patty with the citrusy accents from the coriander.

For dessert, I recommend going for the Baklava Ice Cream ($6.80). The flaky layers of filo pastry were fragrant and sweet. Chopped pistachios gave added texture. All one needs with this is a good strong cup of tea!

The other dessert we tried was the Lychee Rose Panna Cotta ($5.50) which was perfumed and sweet.

Now we come to my favourite part. LOL.

Some people's idea of heaven might just be this. Kee chiew! Moohahaha.

MEDZS has an attached bar called 5% Bar (which I guess is the average alcoholic strength of a beer) with over 100 labels of premum and craft beers! Woohoo!

The Benediktiner ($14), a wheat beer from Germany, is a good way to start any evening. It is absolutely refreshing!

As the evening progressed, so moo-st the beers. Try the Hobgoblin ($18)- a delicious creamy beer from England with toasted, coffee flavours.

Then we hit the Hobgoblin's abang- the King Goblin ($22) for an epic finish. Full-bodied yet smooth and rich, this 500ml bottled beer is a perfect (and very happy) way to end a night. :)))

Without wanting to risk sounding like an old TV advertisement....But wait, there's more!

Sensing that we still had space for some nibbles, Chef Mus Anesrif brought out some moo-re food! Moohehe.

Lamb Sausage Pizza!

Fries & Wedges with Curry Mayo!

Pork Belly & Prawns!

I don't think these were even actually on the regular menu. Nonetheless, they were all really nice with the beers. Thanks, Chef Mus!

Thanks to MEDZS and Racheal of Brand Cellars for the invite and for hosting this two-legged beer-loving wagyu cow.

Millenia Walk
Tel: 6337 7507
Opens: Fridays to Saturdays 11.30am-1am
Sundays to Thursdays 11.30am-12am

Chew On This: Now and get 25% off your total bill until end of April! Citibank cardholders get the same discount even after April. Sweet!