Friday, December 31, 2010

Lobster Boil

Thanks to M&T who so kindly hosted New Year's Eve. Great meal - lobster boil with lobsters, shrimp, dungeness crabs, sausages and corn. Yumm. Everything was extremely fresh and we started off the evening with lovely oysters and other appis too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brunch @ Wild Wood Bistro & Bar - Whistler





I always find brunch irresistible.  Wild Wood Bistro & Bar is one of the top few on my list in Whistler.  I crave their banana bread french toast.  It's a really hearty brunch if you order the Wild Wood Giant and a side of banana bread french toast.  :)

Wild Wood Bistro & Bar
Whistler Tennis Club
4500 Northlands Blvd
Whistler, BC V0N 1B4
http://www.wildwoodrestaurants.ca/htm/cafe.html
Wild Wood Pacific Bistro on Urbanspoon

Snowmobiling in Whistler

D wasn't taking any chances this year.  After I cracked 2 ribs skiing last year, he put his foot down and said no skiing this year.  I said ok.  Let's do snowmobiling instead.  I figured since I hadn't been training and keeping in shape - it would be a less painful alternative.  No old aching muscles or lack thereof.
 
Snowmobiling was fun - we did the tandem ride so we changed drivers every once in awhile.  Even though it's motorized, the snowmobile is a 600 tonne machine and takes a bit of muscles to steer it through the snow.   I was aching the next day.

We got tossed off taking a turn too quickly.  There is our guide trying to dig us out.  I was completely thrown off but luckily there was lots of soft white snow to break the fall.


We got lovely views as we started on an early ride and the sun was just peaking through the clouds in some areas - just spectacular.  The air was amazingly fresh.  It is something that I will do again.

Beautiful Whistler Backcounrty
The company provides boots, goggles and helmet if you don't have any.  Dress warm as it is a chilly ride.

http://www.blackcombsnowmobile.com/

Monday, December 27, 2010

Crispy Prawn Chilli

If you haven't tried this chilli - it is to die for. Goes well with meatballs, noodles and most chinese food. The chilli and prawn has been deep fried so that it is crispy and has got a nice bite to it. For those people who never touches spicy things - forget about this. Given to us by K. Thanks!! Definitely a chilli that I'll keep buying. Available from Spice World in Richmond.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bacon Square Burgers

Oooh can u imagine bacon squares that completely covers your burger so that you can get a bit of bacon with each bite you take.
Bacon Square
Freshly ground beef, double ground with roasted garlic, pepper, paprika and other spices. 6 oz burgers with bacon and mushrooms - yummy :)

Kitchen Aid Grinding Beef

Bacon Square Burger


Friday, December 10, 2010

KitchenAid - Finally!


Exploring the Kitchen Aid - finally got it with a couple of attachments - a meat grinder, a pasta maker and a shredder. Time to make some burgers :)
Kitchen Aid

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Singapore Chicken Rice



Singapore Chicken RiceChicken
3.5lbs chicken cleaned
6 garlic cloves smashed
5 stalks spring onion
4 slices (about 1 cm thick) garlic smashed or 50g
1 tbsp salt

Salt the chicken and inside the cavity. Stuff garlic cloves, spring onion and ginger into the chicken cavity and seal with a toothpick.

Bring to a boil in a stockpot with 3 l of water - make sure that the whole chicken is submerged. Once it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for another 30min.

To check if the chicken is cooked, insert a toothpick at the thigh all the way to the bone. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked.

Once chicken is cooked, plunge it into pre- prepared pot of cold water. This is to stop the cooking.

Reserve the chicken soup for the rice and sauces.

Rice
2tbsp chicken fat
2 cups of rice - washed and strained
1 tbsp minced ginger
4 garlic cloves mashed
2 cups chicken soup salted to taste
3 stalks pandan leaf
Heat chicken fat and fry garlic and ginger till fragrant, add rice and fry.
Transfer to rice cooker and add 2 cups of soup.

Ginger sauce
Mince ginger, add salt, chicken soup and sesame oil to taste

Chilli sauce
3 chillis deseeded
Juice of 2 limes
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp chicken soup
Blend.

Sauce for the chicken
2 tbsp Light soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp chicken soup
1 stalk green onion
pinch of sugar
Bring to a boil and pour over chicken just before serving

A word of caution - reduce the garlic used if you're not a big fan of garlic. It gives you bad breath and makes you thirsty :) I love the taste of garlic though so I usually increase the amount called for.

Chicken Fat
1 cup chicken skin and fat

In a heavy saucepan, add 50ml water and heat - about 45 min. Chicken fat renders and water evaporates. Strain.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Pong Tau Hu -Beancurd with Meatball Soup

Pong Tau Hu
Meatballs.  I like meatballs of any kind.  Somehow, this one feels a bit healthier as there is tofu mixed in as well.  This soup is one of my comfort foods which makes me think of home.  It also makes for great winter meals.  It is adapted from a Peranakan recipe to my liking.  Good to pair it with crispy chilli too.

600g minced pork
300g firm traditional tou fu minced
300g prawns chopped

Seaoning
2tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp deep fried garlic
1tsp sesame oil
1tbsp yellow bean paste
2 eggs
1tsp white pepper
1tbsp minced ginger

Mix pork, toufu and prawns together and add seasoning. Mix well.

In a pot, add 1.5 litres of water and bring to a boil. Add 1 inch smashed ginger. I used a small ice cream scoop about 1 inch in diameter to scoop the meatballs into the soup. Keep boiling till meatballs float and continue for another 8 min after. Add the yellow bean paste to taste.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garlic Roast Chicken

Easy Garlic Roast ChickenEasier just to buy a roasted chicken but knowing you can bake one is very satisfying.

Wash and pat dry chicken
Rub 1 Tbsp of salt onto the skin and cavity
Stuff as much garlic as you like into the cavity and seal with a toothpick

Bake at 450 F for 50-60 min. Let it rest for 15min before serving.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pandan Chiffon Cake


Cravings ....

I was looking for a tube pan for the longest time. I happened to mention it to my SIL, C and she said I've got it and passed me 2.

Finally.

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Didn't turn out too well cos I used olive oil and not just normal oil but extra virgin olive oil.  Eeks who knew the taste would be soooo strong.  Nonetheless it looked nice but note to self - use a more neutral smelling oil the next time.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Guess who is on the Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake?

This is one yummy cake - layers of vanilla ice cream separated by a crunchy chocolately fudge layer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Almond Croissants

Everytime we go down to Seattle, we make a stop at Le Panier in Pike's Place market to get chocolate almond croissants. They've got the best croissants ever.... better even than in Paris. I dream of those croissants.

I know whatever I make won't come close to Le Panier but here goes. Croissants are difficult to make so I don't want to attempt making a croissant. I got 16 small croissants from Costco and made the almond cream.

Le Panier Chocolate Almond Croissants
Syrup: dissolve 2 tbsp sugar + 1 cup water and place in a shallow dish

Almond Cream
3/4 cup sugar
145g blanched almonds
pinch of salt
100g unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Combine sugar, almond and salt in a food processor and mix till finely ground. Add the butter and mix again till well blended. Add in eggs one by one and process till creamy.

Preheat over to 350F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Slice each croissant and dip one by one into the syrup. Coat both sides and ends ( should be moist. Spread the inside with 1tbsp of filling and coat the top with a thin layer. Spread slice almonds.

Option: You can put some dark chocolate into the croissant as well.

Bake for 12-15 min until almond cream is set and golden. Transfer to cooling rack - dust with confectioner's sugar if you want but I think it's already sweet enough.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scones - Part II

I love my scones - in a bid to make them a bit healthier, I've played around with America's Test Kitchen recipe for their cream scones. I know they've tested it and all but I do like to cut the butter, sugar and cream to reduce my calorie intake. I have to admit that they don't taste as rich but they are still good :) with less calories!

Simple Scone Recipe
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar ( I reduced it to 2.5 tbsp)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes and chilled
1/2 cup raisins/cranberry/chocolate chip etc (optional)
1 cup heavy cream ( I used 3/4 cup cream, 1 egg + milk if needed to top up to 1 cup of liquid)

  1. Heat oven to 425 F. Adjust the oven rack to the middle. Bake for 12-15 min or till just nicely light brown.
  2. Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor to combine.
  3. Scatter butter on the top and pulse. Mixture should be coarse with a few larger lumps of butter.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and pour in raisins/choc chips etc and mix.
  5. Stir in cream, egg, milk mixture till dough begins to form.
  6. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead until it forms a rough slightly sticky ball.
  7. Knead the dough out into a 2cm sheet and use a cutter to cut out as many scones as possible.
  8. Place the scones close on the baking sheet(so that they rise intstead of spread) lined with parchment paper.
  9. After 12-15min, cool on wire rack for 10min at least before digging in.



Monday, September 20, 2010

Honey Cake, Katsutera, Castella

I just got a jar of fireweed honey and a whole lot of other thoughtful things that remind me of home....courtesy of D's friends. Honey seems to be the cure all food - mixed with other natural foods, honey can apparently cure arthiritis, lower cholestral, colds etc and I hear honey is supposed to help weight loss too :) So I go in search of a honey cake recipe. I found one on Just Hungry which describes the method in great detail.

Honey Cake
8 whole large eggs (55g each)
300g sugar ( I used 200g)
200g all purpose flour
10oml milk
4 tbsp honey (I used 5 tbsp), plus 1 extra for brushing the cake

BB loves his honey and can't wait to taste the cake.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chocolate, Hazelnut Meringue Cake

Chocolate, Hazelnut and Meringue - what's not to love? I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website and immediately itched to try and make this cake.

For the cake:
10 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 large whole eggs, separated
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate melted and cooled (I used Callebaut)
1 1/2 tbsp espresso or vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp rum (optional)
1/4 tsp salt

For the meringue
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned,roughly chopped
1 tbsp cornstarch
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar


Use a good chocolate as you can taste it in the cake - use about 55-60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate, that should be perfect.  I used a 70% cocoa chocolate and it was too heavy and dense.  The cake keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days - don't worry it so yummy, it won't last long!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-by-3-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment. Butter parchment, and sprinkle with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.
  2. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and skins start to crack, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; rub vigorously with a clean kitchen towel to take off skins. Let cool; roughly chop. Set aside.
  3. Make cake batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and smooth. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, vanilla, and rum, if using; beat until combined. Set aside.
  4. In a clean mixer bowl, combine 6 egg whites and salt; using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Stir one-third of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining beaten egg whites just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make meringue: Combine hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, and cornstarch in a small bowl, and set aside. Place remaining 4 egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean mixer bowl; using a clean whisk attachment, beat on high speed until frothy. With mixer running, slowly add superfine sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Fold in hazelnut mixture.
  6. Remove cake from oven. Using an offset spatula, spread meringue mixture on top of cake, and return to oven. Bake until meringue is lightly browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let stand 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, and release sides of pan. Let cool, about 30 minutes, before slicing and serving.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Nam Hai - Hoi An

7 days of pure bliss.  We flew into Danang, the 3rd largest city in Vietnam which is a hop and a skip away from Singapore.

The airport is rather small but given the boom in the tourism, they are building another terminal to handle the growing number of people visiting this beautiful part of the world.  On the way to The Nam Hai, we saw a lot of construction by some of the big name brand hotels being built along the beach front.  Now is really the time to visit before the hoards and hoards of tourists descend. 

When we arrived, we were whisked to the villa to complete our check in.  While D handled the formalities,  I checked out the gorgeous views ....
The Nam Hai Villa View
View from our Villa
The villa had 2 separate areas - a living area and the bedroom.  Lovely separation of space, however they are not linked so if it rains you need an umbrella.  We had great weather and there was no need for that.  The bedroom has a sunken tub and a raised bed (the bedsheets were a too rough for my taste as I think they were going for a rustic look).  Regardless it is a nice romantic design but not suitable for young kids.
The Nam Hai Bedroom and Living Area
Bedroom on the left and living area on the right
The villas and rooms are built in a U shape so that every villa has a view of the ocean.  There are low walls separating each villa but there aren't any walls at the front.   You get a great view of the ocean while lounging on your patio, swimming or reading under the coconut trees but you don't get much privacy.
The Nam Hai Private Pool with view
Private Pool
There are steps at the end of the pool area leading down to the beach and you can just walk out.  We took quite a few evening walks as it was way to hot to be wandering down to the beach in the afternoon.  
The Nam Hai Grounds
Shady Coconut trees to laze under
Most of the time I was hiding under the coconut trees or on the patio or in the pool reading.  We also went to the spa for massages - a must in Asia!!!  The spa was well designed and the massages were fantastic.  I'm usually allergic to the oil used but no issues here :)  Each room overlooks the large pond and the whole spa has a very zen like feel the moment you step in.
The Nam Hai Afternoon Tea
Daily Afternoon Tea
Each afternoon,  tea is served - same stuff everyday (I hope they change this up).  Brownie really enjoyed his afternoon tea and cappuccino.
The Nam Hai Main Pool
Main Pool 
Somedays, we spent some time at the main pool as well.  They have 3 pools to choose from.
The Nam Hai Main Pool
Main Pool
In the evenings,  we had drinks at the bar that overlooked the pools before heading out to dinner.
The Nam Hai View from the Bar
View from the Bar
For dinner, we usually take off to Hoi An Town.  They close off the streets in the evening so that tourists can wander around.  It is a Unesco World Heritage site as it is a well preserved South East Asian trading site dating from 15th -19th century.  Now it feels very touristy,  restaurants and tailors make up almost every other store.  We had fun tailoring some suits and dresses and wandering the little side streets.

There are also quite a few good restaurants in Hoi An and we enjoyed exploring the options, Vietnamese fusion, Vietnamese street food and Italian as well as very very good gelato :)
Hoi An
Ancient Town of Hoi An, A UNESCO World Heritage Site
I really enjoyed my stay at the Nam Hai,  the property is really gorgeous,  the service was mostly top notch.  On the second last day (thank goodness),  I got stung by a large wasp while I was having lunch at the hotel restaurant.  What were the chances!!!  I know that the Nam Hai has no control over the wasps but I didn't think the hotel handled it very well.  I was in pain for the next few days but even that didn't put a dent into my holiday.

The Nam Hai
http://thenamhai.com/
http://www.visasignaturehotels.com/hotel-detail/the-nam-hai

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MacBook Pro


Finally finally IT has arrived....

The bears are all over it



Friday, August 20, 2010

Figs, Blackberry, Plums, A Bear and 3 Racoons

Loot from the backyard ... the fig tree outside the bedroom attracted a bear and a family of racoons as well. D tries to get rid of the blackberry bushes and vines as they attract the bears. Warning to those that don't grow up around here - don't try to pet a racoon even though the look so cute. They can be vicious - good to know eh.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Peaches Galore

Couldn't help myself - had to get a tray or 3. It's a short season so eat up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wedding Photography - Bittersweet by Joseph

I had looked at quite a lot of photographers but eventually decided on Joseph.  Even though he had only just started in wedding photography, I liked his style.  I had also seen first hand how he worked at my brother's wedding a couple of months before and was convinced that he would be able to capture all the emotions and the essence of my wedding day.  I wasn't wrong.

I had heard of quite a few horror stories about how photographers loose footage, didn't have backup equipment etc but I didn't have to worry.  Joseph was super professional.

I know that talking about photography but not attaching any of his work is strange but it is hard to showcase his work here so check out Bittersweet by Joseph.

Bittersweet by Joseph
http://www.bittersweetbyjoseph.com/

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bridal Veil - Michelle HuiMin - Wedding Dress

So many good emotions on my wedding day that I'm not even going to try going there.  Just want to say that I loved my wedding gown by designer, Michelle HuiMin of Bridal Veil.  I had looked at many designers and finally decided on Bridal Veil as I liked the clean, simple lines, the gorgeous fits of their gowns and of course the added bling bling of swaroski crystals.

michelle huimin bridal veil
Michelle HuiMin's Wedding Dress 
Don't you just love that big bow?  Somehow it just takes the dress up a notch.

michelle huimin bridal veil
Felt like a princess 
For my evening gown,  I wanted a fire engine red gown for the longest time as I figured I wouldn't wear a red gown to any other event.  In the end though I decided on an off white cream off shoulder grecian looking gown.

Bridal Veil provides a one stop shop for dress, make up, hair, bouquet, car flowers and are linked up with a couple of photographers as well.   I got many compliments on my hair and make up.   Makes it so easy for the bride as I didn't have to deal with too many people plus they were professional and were able to advise on every level.  No regrets :)

Bouquet
Photography :  Bittersweet by Joseph

Bridal Veil 
402 Orchard Road 
Orchard Delfi #03-24/25
Tel: +65 6738 6152
http://www.bridalveilonline.com/

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