Eating Singapore 2019 #WeekendCooking

Warning: This is a post full of photos!

Because Singapore is a country full of amazing things to eat. Not just the local food but cuisines from all over the world. And Singaporeans love to eat.

Something that has been very popular in Singapore over the past couple of years or so isĀ the well-known hotpot chain from China called HaiDiLao. It’s known for its amazing service especially when you have to wait for a table (which we didn’t). While waiting for your table, they provide all kinds of snacks and fruits and drinks. And at some outlets you can even get a manicure while you wait. The service inside the restaurant is great too – for instance, they provide bags for your phone, cribs for your babies, and if you are dining alone, you can be seated with a large stuffed toy.

And you have to get the hand-pulled noodles just so you can watch the guy do his noodle dance!

 

 

 

 

A lovely salad from PS Cafe at Ann Siang Hill.

 

 

I have loved these egg tarts from Tong Heng for years. And now they’ve gone all fancy!

 

 

 

My friend took me to Hans Im GlĆ¼ck, aĀ Munich burger chain that’s surprisingly popular in Singapore. They have a great meat-less (and also meat-y) burger menu. I got a beef burger and my friend got a burger with an olive patty. My side of choice was a German cabbage salad which was delicious.

 

 

 

Ramen is everywhere in Singapore. And this chain, Hototogisu Ramen, is from Japan. It has a Michelin star! Each outlet in Singapore seems to have a unique ramen – this one at Great World City has an oyster broth which was so delicious and briny.

 

 

 

 

I happened to find online a local izakaya, a few minutes from my in-laws’ place in the east of Singapore where we were staying. I adore izakaya style food, which are a lot of yakitori (grilled skewered meats) and other snack-like foods for eating while having drinks. This one, called IZA, has some more “Singapore” style dishes like a otak tamago. Otak is a spicy fish paste and tamago is the Japanese word for egg. So it’s an egg omelette wrapped around a spicy fish paste. Quite good. They also had a nasi lemak onigiri. Onigiri being a rice ball, this one grilled. And nasi lemak is a local coconut rice dish, often eaten at breakfast time, and it’s served with fried fish, (sometimes fried chicken), cucumbers, and delicious spicy sambal.

 

 

 

Another local flavour, this time from an ice-cream place. This is Creamier and it’s located in an old army barracks area that’s turned into art galleries. The ice-cream flavour is ‘white rabbit’ just like the White Rabbit candy I loved as a kid. White Rabbit candy is a milk-based candy that’s wrapped in an edible rice paper. I also had a kaya toast flavour – kaya toast being a toasted bread with coconut jam and butter inside. The ice-cream even had bits of toasted bread (or at least it tasted like toasted bread!) within.

 

 

One of the best eclairs ever. It seriously even beats the one from Bouchon. This is from Rive Gauche.Ā 

 

 

One of the most popular things to do in Singapore in 2019 was to visit the new Jewel at Changi Airport. It’s really just a mall but it has some unique places like the gorgeous waterfall and the country’s first ever Shake Shack. Now I know that Shake Shack is an American thing but it also just recently opened in the Bay Area in Palo Alto and we hadn’t been to it yet. So here we were in Singapore eating at an American chain. And it was, well, underwhelming. The burgers were not bad but I wasn’t a fan of the soft bun. Also I am not fond of crinkle cut fries.

 

 

Local kueh bought by a friend who invited us to their lovely home. All kinds of yummy coconuty and steamed goodness.

 

 

We last had some awesome Thai food in Los Angeles but I’m always up for more. This is in the Golden Mile Complex, a slightly more gritty shopping centre in Singapore that is full of Thai eateries and shops. I was excited to see green mango salad, which I can’t seem to find in the Bay Area.

 

A favourite local breakfast is at one of the kopitiams like this Killiney kopitiam.Ā  They have a variety of dishes like noodles but my favourite is the kaya toast set with tea and soft-boiled eggs.

 

 

I was dying to have nasi Padang, which is a plethora of dishes one can pick to have with your rice. This is at Rumah Makan Minang in Tampines. And it was so good. We had sayur lodeh (a coconut gravy with vegetables like cabbage, carrots and green beans), beef rendang (a dry spicy beef curry of sorts), begedel (fried potato patties) and a tofu tempeh dish. Their green sambal is unique and very tasty. And strangely reminded me of tomatillo salsa.

 

 

Roti prata is a must-eat breakfast for me.

 

 

Satay! We ate so much satay over our three weeks. This one was the best – from Haroun Satay.

 

My family is part Teochew (also known as Chiu Chao), as in some of our ancestors originated from the Chaozhou prefecture of China. And we love Teochew food like braised goose and orhnee, a delicious yam paste dessert served sometimes with pumpkin or gingko nuts like in the photo. This was at Paradise Teochew at Vivocity.

 

 

See what else I’ve eaten in Singapore over the previous years’ visits:

Weekend Cooking: Eating Singapore partĀ 1

#WeekendCooking Eating Singapore: Whitegrass atĀ Chijmes

Eating Singapore: Set lunch atĀ Grissini

Seafood high tea at The WestinĀ Singapore

 

 

 

Weekend CookingĀ at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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#WeekendCooking Black Sesame Ice-cream recipe

I’m back again with another ice-cream recipe!

This one was the husband’s idea. I was just asking him what ice-cream flavour I should make next and he said black sesame. If you’ve not had it before, it sometimes can be found at Japanese restaurants and Japanese supermarkets. And it’s always black sesame, not white sesame.

Black sesame ice-cream is not pretty. In fact, it looks a bit like cement. But it is very delicious. It has an almost nutty flavour, without the nuts of course.

It was a bit harder to find a black sesame recipe and to be honest, after trying a coconut ice-cream recipe online that did not work at all, I’m wary of online ice-cream recipes. So far the ice-cream recipes I’ve used are from David Leibovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop, or adapted from there. And once you get that custard recipe down, you can try experimenting with different flavors, and that is what I did here.

I did check out recipes online for how to get that sesame paste and while some of them recommended making your own, I didn’t have a food processor and wasn’t quite sure that my immersion blender would do a good job with grinding up the sesame. So instead I went to my local Asian supermarket and looked for black sesame paste. It wasn’t the kind recommended by blogs like Just One Cookbook who used a Japanese brand.

What I found was a Taiwanese-made paste and for some reason, several different kinds of sesame powder. Apparently black sesame drinks are a thing in Taiwan (and it seems in Korea too). In Singapore you can find a hot Chinese dessert that is called Black Sesame Soup, where the sesame is ground fine and often thickened with rice. Black sesame paste is also found in sweet rice flour dumplings called tangyuan. And looking up black sesame recipes, I found this intriguing Black Sesame Porridge recipe, made with rice and black sesame.

And here is my Black Sesame ice-cream recipe

4 tbsp Black Sesame powder
3 tbsp Black Sesame paste
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
5 egg yolks
120g brown sugar
Big pinch of salt

Warm the milk, sugar and 1 cup of the heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Stir in the Black Sesame powder and salt. Do not boil.

Place remaining 1 cup of heavy cream in large bowl (I use a big pyrex measuring cup). In a medium bowl, whisk yolks. Slowly pour some of the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them. And then add the warmed egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan.

Keep stirring over medium heat until the custard forms. The custard should coat your spatula and I test this by running my finger down the spatula and if that little line my finger makes remains, you’re all done. Remove from heat.

Pour the custard into the cream. Usually I put a strainer over the cream and pour it through but I wasn’t sure if that would sift out the black sesame! So I skipped that bit.

Stir in the Black Sesame paste, making sure to scrape the bottom.

You can cool this in an ice bath or cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge. Chill it thoroughly for a few hours at least. And then follow your ice-cream machine’s instructions.

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

#WeekendCooking Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love chocolate chip cookies. I have tried several chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years. One of the best I’ve ever had is this one from Serious Eats – it makes for an amazing (seriously AMAZING) chocolate chip cookie – but sometimes I feel the need for an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just trying to trick myself into thinking it’s a healthier cookie.

But I do also like that chewiness that oatmeal cookies have.

Anyway, the first time I made this recipe, the cookies spread a bit too much so I adapted the recipe slightly. Please refer to King Arthur Flour for the original recipe.

  • 227g (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 220g light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 50g whole-wheat white flour
  • 170g All-Purpose Flour
  • 120g quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon regular table salt
  • 300g semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 325Ā°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
  5. Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ to 2″ between cookies.
  8. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. 
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven, and when they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.

 

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Homemade chocolate ice-cream #WeekendCooking

 

Ok so this KitchenAid Ice-cream mixer attachment is some of the best $45 ever spent.

Last time I talked about my very own gula melaka (palm sugar) coconut ice-cream recipe 

And here’s something else I made, chocolate ice-cream.

I am a lover of chocolate but also, I am very particular about chocolate. As you probably may have guessed, I don’t like milk chocolate much. Chocolate to me must be dark and delectable. It cannot be too sweet. I like nuts in chocolate, but usually only hazelnuts.

So maybe that’s why I didn’t immediately turn to chocolate ice-cream as the first ice-cream to try. I have had quite a few chocolate ice-creams that just haven’t quite fit the bill. Too sweet or too milky.

This one, recipe from David Leibovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop is indeed perfect. Rich and creamy. Just the right amount of chocolate-y. Not too much that all you can eat is just one spoonful.

It uses both cocoa powder and chocolate, so use good ones!

 

He does, also have a different version of chocolate ice-cream on his blog, one adapted from Jeni’s Splendid. I borrowed her cookbook recently and have been intrigued by her way of making ice-cream, which involves a cornstarch slurry and no eggs.

Have you made ice-cream that way before?

 

 

 

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#WeekendCooking Pai Bao

Oddly, this is not a bread I’ve really seen in Singapore. This ęŽ’包 is a bread that originates from Hong Kong. But we Asians like our bread to be super soft, and while Singapore doesn’t have Pai Bao, the old-school bakeries has very soft white bread.

Also there is that love for condensed milk, which is swirled into coffee and tea.

And so this is a recipe that combines the sweetness of condensed milk with the soft Asian-style bread.

Adapted from Christine’s Recipes

(makes two loaves)

370g all-purpose flour
65g sugar (I used brown sugar)
5g salt
12g milk powder (this helps with the milky flavour)
6g instant dry yeast
1 egg
200ml milk (I used whole milk)
120g tangzhong*
35g condensed milk
35g unsalted butter, softened

*The tangzhong is made from 25g of flour and 1/2 cup of milk, which you cook over a low heat, stirring regularly. This mixture will thicken. You’ll know when it’s thick enough when your spoon leaves “lines” as you pull it through the mixture.

 

I used a breadmaker and simply added all the ingredients and let the machine knead and do the first rise. In the original recipe it says to let rise for about 40 minutes.

I divided the dough into six portions but didn’t realize that this was for two tins! Instead of splitting it into three portions each, I put all six portions in my own loaf tin. Oops….

Anyway, so the instructions are to roll out the dough until it’s about the length of your loaf tin, then fold in half and roll it all the way down. Don’t forget to seal it by pinching. Do that for all your portions and then place three in each tin.

Cover with cling wrap and let rise until it almost reaches the top of the loaf tin.

Christine’s recipe has egg wash but I brushed milk on the the surface instead.

I baked it in a 350F oven for about 35 minutes.

 

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#weekendcooking – another month, another funfetti cake!

My boys’ birthdays are within less than a month of each other.

So we have birthday cake after birthday cake!

This year, both of them wanted funfetti cake. (see my 8yo’s cake here)

Here’s his order

Second layer on!

The first time, I used a Smitten Kitchen cake recipe (which was adapted from the Molly Yeh recipe) but I wasn’t happy with the way the cake turned out. It was a bit denser than I would have liked. I realize that with funfetti, the cake can’t be airy and light like a chiffon, as the sprinkles will just all fall to the bottom – they need to be suspended in a relatively heavier cake. But I was on the lookout for a different cake recipe. And decided to try this one from Salt and Baker. As usual, I reduced the sugar.

The funny thing is I didn’t have enough icing sugar yet it worked. The recipe called for about 6-7 cups of icing sugar but I only had about 4! The consistency was fine as it was and didn’t need any more liquid so I didn’t add any milk or cream.

I’m going to have to say that this was a more successful funfetti cake than last month’s!

 

#WeekendCooking Funfetti birthday cake

 

 

Sprinkles sprinkles everywhere!

That seems to have been the theme for my now 8yo’s birthday cake.

This was his request…

 

 

And so I set off to try Smitten Kitchen’s Confetti Party Cake recipe. I did make a slight change as I  substituted whole milk yogurt thinned with a bit of whole milk in place of buttermilk though and as usual reduced the sugar slightly and increased the salt. The thing with funfetti cake though is that it’s not a light fluffy kind of cake as I’m guessing it needs some density in which to suspend all those sprinkles. And that really is quite a lot of sprinkles!

 

With the chocolate buttercream, I used the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, again reducing the sugar and increasing the salt. I also used a mix of regular cocoa powder and the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder

 

 They were very pleased with the cake and my 5yo has asked for the same cake but with vanilla buttercream for his birthday in a couple of weeks!

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs