Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Finally Something...

Much has been said about Joo Chiat's seedy street and burgeoning Vietnamese community. Hearing quite a few raves about the Vietnamese food (in particular the pho) there, I decided to take a bit of a pho trail. 

The first visit stop was forgettable. The broth was wayyyyy too sweet for me to remember anything else.    



Thankfully, the second shop I checked out on another visit turned out to be mooch mooch better! The Pho Bo (Beef Noodles; $5.50) was a comforting bowl of skinny kway teow in a light beefy broth with a light herb accent and thinly sliced onions. A raw veggie plate with bean sprouts and basil accompanied the pho. Two types of beef were served- sliced and braised brisket (good beefy flavour!). I like the fact that no tenderisers were used so the beef was a bit tougher but without the artificially tender/soft texture I find a turnoff. :) 

For something spicier, try the Bun Pho Hue (Vietnam Soup Noodle; $5.50). The soup was more intensely flavoured yet with a nice balance. The ingredients were similar to the Pho Bo with the exception of the sliced sausage-like discs. Seems like some sort of chicken and green peppercorn sausage that was springy and tasted great with the soup!

To cool off, the metal mug of Iced Tea ($1) was pefect- a light brew of green tea, hardly sweetened and with gentle tanins (siap siap-ness).  

I will return to check out the other Vietnamese eateries along Joo Chiat the next round and if nothing works, at least I know I still have Quan An Vietnam Eatery.
  
Quan An Vietnam Eatery
233 Joo Chiat Road
Opens: 11am to 2am 
Tel: 6348 1208

Chew On This:  
..for a refreshing, healthy dessert if jambu is your kind of fruit!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Simple, Tasty and Healthy Cooking at Home!


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Did you manage to guess what healthy dish my family was cooking in the previous HPB post?

It’s seafood soup! :D

Cooking healthily does not mean having to eat bland food. It simply means making better choices of what ingredients and what methods of cooking to use. 

I am happy to share this easy-to-do one pot dish (so no need to do too much washing! Moohehe).

Seafood Soup Recipe (Serves about 4 pax)

Ingredients

1)      About 350g fish bones
2)      6 slices of young ginger each about 3-5mm thick (washed)
3)      8 medium-sized prawns (shells and legs removed but heads left intact)
4)      16 slices of fish (I used batang aka Spanish mackerel) each about 1cm thick
5)      2 tomatoes, sliced into wedges (washed)
6)      2 bunches of spinach (washed and cut)
7)      250g Beancurd sliced into large cubes
8)      Ground white pepper
9)      Low sodium soy sauce
10)   2 Litres of water
11)   Sesame oil
12)   Huatiao Jiu (Chinese cooking wine)

Steps

1)      Heat a dry pot on medium heat for about 1 min.
2)      Add in ginger slices to the pot, ensuring they do not overlap each other.
3)      After 1 min, flip the ginger slices over and toast the other side for another 1 min.
4)      Add in 2 litres of water, prawn shells and the fish bones to the pot and bring to the boil.
5)      Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for an hour with the lid of the pot slightly ajar.
6)      Remove the prawn shells, ginger slices and fish bones.
7)      Add in tomato wedges and increase to medium heat.
8)      After 10 mins, add in beancurd and fish slices.
9)      2-3 mins later, add in the spinach and prawns and cook for another 3-5 mins.
10)   Season the soup with a dash of low sodium soy sauce, ground white pepper, sesame oil and Huatiao Jiu to taste.   
 
Boiling is a healthy way of cooking as it does not require oil. It also produces a delicious stock from the natural flavours of the ingredients used.  

Fish bones and ginger give a really tasty stock without the need for adding powdered soup stocks and artificial flavour enhancers.

Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet provides vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients, not to mention colour! Here, spinach is rich in iron, vitamins A, C, E and calcium. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, and potassium etc.

Prawns are a low-fat, low-calories good source of protein (beating good ole chicken!). They also contain omega-3, selenium and zinc among other healthful goodies. 

Enjoy a satisfying bowl of seafood soup at home. Cooking it at home means I know and can control exactly what goes into the dish and ultimately my family’s stomachs. 

We enjoyed this with a bowl of brown rice. On that topic, my family has been eating brown rice at home for the past 8 years or so. A common misconception is that brown rice is hard and un-palatable. We add a bit more water to it when cooking and it turns out very nice. We have grown to love its chewy bite and slight nutty flavour. Besides having a better texture and taste, it also provides moo-re dietary fibre, manganese, potassium and vitamin B!  :)

Hope you will enjoy this recipe and dish at home with your family. Cooking healthily can be easy. Just be mindful and use healthier options along the way. It’ll soon be second nature to you!     

Chew On This: Join in the Let's Cook Healthy Together Contest now and stand to win $3000 worth of NTUC vouchers! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fantastic Italian Makan!

Many people have said good things about this place- from its food to its decor and even the folks who run the restaurant. Today, I too, am one of them.

Valentino was located at Rifle Range Road until it shifted to its new premise at Turf Club not too long ago. My sister strongly suggested a visit there after she had a good experience. And the rest as they say is...

Lunch. Moohahaha.

Check out the charming interior. A nice mix of elegance and rusticity with homely Italian touches.

Small private rooms are also available. They look nice and cosy!

Anyway, on to lunch. Warm bread with an olive oil and basil dip was a good start to the meal. 


The Linguine al Granchio ($25.90) was fantastic! The wait staff suggested Tagliatelle so we had ribbons of squid ink pasta tossed in a creamy tomato sauce with chunks of crab meat. The sauce was hearty and rich but balanced. The lovely crab meat was succulent and delicate. Two hooves up!


One of the specials of the day during my visit was this Linguine with Mussels, Clams and Botarga ($42.90). Both the shellfishes were small but plump and sweet. The simple tomato sauce mixed with the flavours of the clams, mussels and botarga, a cured fish roe, was wonderfully sweet, tart and savoury. 


Risotto ai Fruitti di Mare ($24.90) also turned out well with al dente rice grains cooked in a flavourful seafood broth with very fresh prawns, squid, scallop and clams. I'm guessing there was a little wine in here too.  


We also tried a pizza, one of Valentino's signatures- Parma Rucola Porcini Pizza ($23.90). With a thin crust topped with tomato sauce, rocket leaves, parma ham, shaved cheese and porcini mushrooms, it was hard not to like. But still, I think the pastas outshone it.

I ended my lunch with a Negroni ($16.50)- a classic Italian cocktail or gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. The small ice cubes meant that I could not slowly sip this as they melted rather quickly. :(

All in all, I really enjoyed the food here and will be moost happy to return again for some Italian loving! 

Ristorante Da Valentino
200 Turf Club Road
#01-19
Te: 6462 0555

Chew On This:

A bag hook made of a bent spoon. Such a clever idea! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Crab Feast at Plaza Brasserie


If your like crabs cooked in many styles, check out Plaza Brasserie's Sumptuous Crab Feast.


From Singapore's beloved Chilli Crab...


...to Nonya Curry Crab- flower crabs doused in a tasty sauce that was moore Indian than Nonya to me but nonetheless delicious.


Diners who enjoy the fragrance and flavour of butter should try the Butter Crab. These mud crabs were stir fried in a sinfully rich butter sauce with curry leaves and red chilli. Finger-licking good.


Not to be out-sinned was the Stirred Fried Crab with Egg Yolk. The pasty savoury salted egg yolk sauce clung onto each piece of crab and had a nice spicy kick. :)~


For something unique, opt for the XO Sauce Crab. The XO sauce with dried shrimp and scallops added a seafoody depth to the crabs.

Oh and did I mention that all the above crabs are available on the buffet? Crabby people can whack to their hearts' content! 


Other buffet favourites are also available. How about Roast Pork Laksa?! I threw in 2 slices of roast pork into the laksa for a meatier fix. Moohehe.


I also enjoyed the Drunken Prawns with the gentle, herbal broth and meaty prawns. Yes, you can also throw in roast pork.  Yes, you can lah! :p

How much is the price of this buffet?

Monday to Thursday dinners: $52 adult; $31 child
Friday to Sunday dinners      : $55 adult; $33 child

Certainly not bad especially for those who can eat lots of crabs!

Thanks to Karen of PARKROYAL for the invitation and for hosting this hungry moo.


Plaza Brasserie
PARKROYAL on Beach Road
7500 Beach Road
Tel: 6505 5710

Chew On This: Hurry cos the Sumptuous Crab Feast ends 31 August!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Join HPB’s Let’s Cook Healthy Together Contest!

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Cooking healthy with the family has moo-re benefits than just a healthier diet. It can also be a fun bonding time for the whole family! Imagine learning a trusted family recipe from grandma or experimenting with a new recipe together as a family. I have fond childhood memories of cooking my first mushroom omelette with an aunt, making mee hoon kway from scratch and baking cakes with my family. :)

I like that cooking at home gives greater control over what goes into the food and eventually the stomach (very important for someone with 4 stomachs! Moohehe). Amounts and type of oil and salt can be moo-derated, and quantities of meat and veggies can be adjusted. Say bye bye to measly 2 leaves of chye sim or overly oily/salty dishes! Y-A-Y. 

From 13 August, the Health Promotion Board is organizing a Let’s Cook Healthy Together contest to encourage moo-re families to lead healthy lifestyles by cooking together at home. I think it’s a fun idea!
All you have to do is simply:
-          - Round up 2-4 family members.
-          - Cook a healthy dish together!
-          - From 13 August to 16 September 2012, snap and submit 2 photos- a fun moo-ment cooking with your family and the final dish.
-          - Submit the recipe with the names and NRIC numbers of your family members involved in the cooking.

-        From 11-21 September 2012, get your family and friends to vote for your dish
Stand to win attractive prizes with the first prize of $3,000 worth of Fairprice vouchers and a cooking class for a family of 4 at Cookery Magic! Winners will be announced on 28 September.   

Here’s a photo of Cow Peh, Cow Bu, Cow Mui and this Hungry Cow cooking together on a Sunday evening. Guess what healthy and tasty dish we are cooking? All will be revealed in another blog post coming to you soon courtesy of HPB and this cow. :p 

Contest details are also available here and check out HPB’s Facebook to join the contest!

Chew On This: contest for a healthy and fun time with your loved ones.



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Surprising Dad at Tung Lok Classics for his 60th Birthday!


3 days after mum's birthday comes dad's birthday. And this year, it is his big 60th! Huat ah.

So....time for another birthday surprise! Moohehe.

That time JB, now (no, not Batam lah!) Tung Lok Classics at Chinese Swimming Club after a good makankakis dinner there quite some time ago. A small section of the restaurant was partitioned off for our 5 tables of relatives, friends, neighbours and dad's long time buddies.

Usually celebrating birthdays within our family of four, the birthday boy of course did not suspect anything. LOL. He thought he was going with mum to just meet sis and I at the restaurant for dinner.

The look on his face when he opened the door and saw all that people in there is deeply etched in my memory. My dad is not the smiley kind of person. His "natural" face colour is black but that night, he was beaming the whole time....even until we got home and were watching TV. It was a very, very happy, satisfied feeling in me seeing my dad this happy. :D

Anyway, on to dinner! We opted for a fixed set menu and added in one of dad's favourites.

Roast Suckling Pig! This was excellent- crisp, flavourful skin with just a wee bit of fat under the skin.


Next was the Simmered Shark's Fin with Fish Maw Bisque & Crab Meat. I wasn't a fan of this but something warm was comforting to the tummy.


The Steamed Live Prawns with Egg White & Minced Garlic Sauce were pretty good. The medium-sized prawns were halved and steamed simply with garlic, soy sauce and a dash of cooking wine. Below them was a layer of soft steamed egg that glided down the throat with ease.


I really liked the Steamed Pating Fish with Minced Ginger & Spring Onions! The flesh was fresh, a bit fatty and the minced ginger complemented it very well. D-licious!


The Roast Sakura Chicken with Salt & Pepper was alright and decent but I think the pating fish won my heart.


At this point, our piggy friend from course number 1 showed up again. This time, all chopped up and without much skin. We da bao-ed some of this and made porridge the next day! Moohehe.


Course number...wait ah. *Scrolls up*

...7 was the Braised Homemade Beancurd & Snow Fungus Topped with Conpoy Crisps. I enjoyed the comforting dish of tofu and mushrooms in a tasty gravy. Best eaten with rice.

Speaking of rice, the Yuan Yang Glutinous Rice with Preserved Meat was yummily infused with the fragrance of waxed meat. If one isn't full at this stage, this would be the perfect anchor.

Chilled Dessert with Snow Lotus and Sun-Dried Tomato turned out to be a refreshing dessert with the interesting addition of sun-dried tomato that gave it a tangy note.


The feast ended with Tung Lok's signature test tube juice! Can't remember when was the last time I held a test tube already. Moohehe. #byebyelabdays

I was really happy with the whole dinner and the food overall was very good! :)

Blessed 60th Birthday, Pa! You are blessed with Jesus' favour and love. May you be like a tree planted by the river, whose leaf does not wither. Whatever you do prospers.

Tung Lok Classics
Chinese Swimming Club (other branch at Orchard Parade Hotel)
#03-00
21 Amber Road
Tel: 6345 0111
Opens: Monday to Saturday 11.30am-3pm; 6pm-10.30pm
            Sunday & P.H.          10am-3pm; 6pm-10.30pm

Chew On This: From Mondays to Fridays, they serve up an unlimited dim sum option at $24.80++ per pax for lunch!