Banana bread with cream cheese icing

Today I have a guest helping me. So today’s post is brought to you by my talented niece, Saisha!

I had a surplus of over ripe bananas and decided to make banana bread in the Thermomix, and found a recipe adapted from Donna Hay (thank you Robin!). I added extra bananas just because I didn’t want to waste any, and also more bananas, make the bread even more moist.

Ingredients – banana bread
  1. 4 large bananas
  2. 125g butter
  3. 170g brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 80g maple syrup
  7. 255g all purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  9. 1 tsp baking powder
  10. good pinch of salt
  11. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  12. small handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
 Ingredients – cream cheese frosting
  1. 100g cream cheese – at room temperature
  2. 50g butter – at room temperature
  3. 150g icing sugar
  4. good pinch of salt
  5. 1 tbls milk
Method – banana bread
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C
  2. Blitz bananas on speed 5 for 30 seconds
  3. Set them aside in a separate bowl
  4. Add the butter, sugar and vanilla to the Thermomix bowl and mix on speed 5 for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl a few times, till light and creamy
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them on speed 5 for 10 seconds (each)
  6. Add the banana mix with the maple syrup and combine everything on speed 5 for 45 seconds
  7. Pour wet mixture into large bowl
  8. Add all the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatular.
  9. Once all the ingredients are combined, scoop the mixture into a lined baking tin and bake for 90 minutes, or until a skewer/knife is placed in the middle and pulled out clean
  10. Allow to cool and ice with cream cheese frosting

Method – cream cheese frosting

  1. Blitz cream cheese and butter for 30 seconds, speed 5
  2. Add icing sugar and salt and mix for 1 minute, starting speed 3 and gradually up to speed 8 until light and creamy
  3. Add milk and mix 30 seconds, speed 5

Enjoy ! Saisha signing off🙂


Thermomix Adventures – Pumpkin Soup


After months and months of deliberation, I finally caved and bought a Thermomix. It means that I can streamline my kitchen from several appliances (Kitchenaid, blender, food processor) and I’m loving it so far.

Easiest way to tell you is with my pumpkin soup. Now, sure, you can make pumpkin soup the way I have always made it. But if you look at my earlier post, blending it with a immersion blender, purees, and if I wanted that incredibly silky texture you get in restaurants, you sieve it – if you can be bothered.

Or….you can make it all in the Thermomix. One bowl, that chops and sautees the onions, then cooks the pumpkin and then blends it to a smoothness that’s hard to describe. Well, I guess you can see from the photo. It’s really quite amazing. And the addition of raw cashews makes the soup rich and creamy without the addition of any dairy. From start to finish in 20 minutes.

I’m trying to keep all my favourite Thermomix recipes in one place so here goes:


  1. 1 large onion, halved
  2. 1kg pumpkin, skin off and cut in to pieces
  3. enough stock (I used vegetable) to come up to roughly 5cm under the top of the pumpkin
  4. handful of raw cashews
  5. basil (to serve)


  1. Chop onions 5 seconds/speed 6
  2. Add 10ml olive oil and cook 2 minutes/varoma/speed stir
  3. Add pumpkin pieces and stock and cook 15 minutes/100C/speed stir
  4. Check pumpkin is cooked, add cashews and blend 1 minute/speed 5 increasing to 9
  5. Enjoy with a loaf of crusty bread !

Yorkshire pudding

My husband often catches me sitting in front of my oven as I watch my food bake. It’s certainly better than TV. Cookies brown, pork roast crackling goes crunchy, cakes rise. And Yorkshire puddings are one of the most satisfying rises of all, starting out bubbling around the edges, then blooming dramatically into wonderful bowls of crispy dough, the perfect vehicle for gravy.

I tested various recipes, with Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith’s recipes rendering suprisingly disappointing, heavy Yorkies. The recipe below follows Mary Berry’s. The batter is thin but this produces the lightest Yorkies, which work so well with the mandatory roast beef.

I also prefer to make one or two large Yorkshire puddings rather than trying to quickly and accurately pour equal amounts of batter in to 12 muffin tins.


Makes 12 muffin sized Yorkies or 1 greedy large one

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 115g/4oz flour
  3. 275ml/½ pint milk
  4. beef dripping or oil with a high smoking point
  5. salt

Estrella Inedit “the beer created by Ferran Adria”

  We were given a few bottles of this beer as a gift, which we wanted to share with the gift giver, but time just goes by too quickly and we just haven’t been able to synch our calendars. 

So I decided to tszuj up a random lazy Sunday night dinner of just chicken wings, and treat myself to a bottle. 

I’m not even a beer drinker. My experience of Spanish beer is cervezza served ice cold in tapas bars, which are light and wonderfully refreshing with (endless) plates of jamon iberico. 

This beer is more like a German blonde beer, although less cloudy, but with that familiar yeasty and malty aroma. 

What makes it so drinkable is the addition of spices and fruitiness. It’s light, and not so gassy that you can’t drink a bottle easily. 

In short, a winner for me! 

Royal China @ Raffles Hotel

Apparently part of the Royal China restaurants in London means that this is, I think, the only restaurant in Singapore that does crispy aromatic duck pancakes. I’m happy to be wrong so please let me know if you know otherwise. The good thing about Royal China being at the beautiful Raffles Hotel, means a duck that has been braised in aromatic spices like star anise and cinnamon and Szechuan peppercorns, then roasted till crispy crispiness, entirely shredded and eaten in a soft, thin, flour pancake, with hoisin sauce, sliced shallots and cucumber for freshness (unlike Peking duck where just the skin of a roasted duck is served in the pancakes) (which is also delicious but crispy aromatic duck is just super yum), is just a ten minute walk from my flat – yay!

We went this Chinese New Year to celebrate with friends and we also treated ourselves to lobster noodles, a Cantonese special – noodles are meant to represent longevity (but can be eaten and enjoyed any time) and lobster, well, it’s lobster🙂 Braised noodles topped with lobster, shallots and ginger is just such a winning dish.

It’s an odd restaurant set up-wise. High ceilings make it feel like it’s a huge restaurant but there actually aren’t a lot of seats/tables available so best to book as it gets full quickly especially for dim sum on weekends.

Royal China
#03-09 Raffles Hotel Arcade

Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 15:00
Sun & PH: 11:00 – 15:00
Mon – Sun: 18:00 – 22:30

Tel: 6338 3363

Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF) – charming French fare in Singapore

The divine “Black Forest” dessert 

The name of this restaurant is definitely a mouthful. Thankfully, the restaurant with the name of Sir Stamford Raffles’ first wife, has been shortened to a much easier to remember, OCF.

Set in the beautiful Arts House in central Singapore, Chef Jonathan Koh brings sophisticated French dining in the elegant ambiance of the restaurant.

During weekdays, they serve an executive lunch set, which changes according to seasonal produce. You can select from three entrees, three mains and three desserts.

Our amouse-bouche was egg tartare (a combination of all the elements of a classic tartare sauce – think a softly tangy egg salad), ratte potato and smoked trout, topped with Kristal caviar. From our counter seat, we could see the kitchen is relaxed, but focused. An explosion of complementary flavours in a spoonful that really set the tone for the rest of the meal.

Foie gras terrine with heirloom beets and chervil root

Starters was a foie gras terrine, with heirloom beets and wafer thin slices of chervil root and a hint of truffle oil to tie all that earthiness together. The terrine was dense and smooth and rich and so full of flavour, with the fresh chervil root adding a light balance to the dish.

French seabass, artichoke barigoule

Second course was a pan-fried French sea bass, served with the scales still on, with artichoke barigoule (artichokes braised in a white wine broth). The texture of the skin is thicker than you expect with the scales on, but the scales add a crunchy texture which contrasted well with the lightness of the sea bass.

Iberian pork saddle, parsley root, yellos chanterelle

Next up was a true revelation. Iberian pork saddle with parsley root and yellow chanterelles. Looked like beef, smelled like beef, moist and soft and tender like beef, but the flavour of pork. Just simply pan-fried with a thin drizzle of jus, the pork is cooked so that it is juuuuust cooked, which keeps the texture unbelievably tender. This is the dish that I had high expectations for, given that my friend had shed a tear the week before when he had his first bite – and it didn’t disappoint.

Dessert was chef’s “Black Forest” – black cherries and balls of chocolate ganache on a dense layer of cake, topped with a crisp layer of caramel with cocoa nibs, served with vanilla ice-cream and luscious salted caramel cream.

The wait staff are friendly and competent, and maĂ®tre d’, Nova, will happily talk you through all the food, and will also share his crazily detailed knowledge about the selection of wine offered.

OCF are opening up another restaurant at Boat Quay with a different menu to cater for the lunch crowd, and so lunch at the current location will stop (good to know why – they struggle getting good staff, and don’t want to spread themselves too thin). No firm date given yet but will be close to Chinese New Year (end Feb 2015). I’ll definitely be visiting them again before they close to catch the lunch menu.

Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt

The Arts House
1 Old Parliament Lane
Singapore 179429

Tel: 65 6333 9312

Lunch from 12:00 to 2:30pm
Dinner from 6:00 to 10:30pm

Classic Chocolate Mousse

Adapted from Bon Appetit (where their picture is SPECTACULAR and just wants to make me dive right into the photo with my mouth open), this is not for the faint-hearted or diet-conscious eater. Nor is it for someone that wants a “quick chocolate mousse” – it takes several processes to get this divine dessert, just right: decadently chocolately and rich at the same time as being lighter than air. I reduced the coffee because I want the coffee to boost the chocolate flavour, and I found that at 1/4 cup, it almost overpowered the chocolate flavour. I also doubled the salt from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 because I think salt makes desserts and other sweets taste better.

Ingredients makes six small teacups/ramekins

  1. 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream (you can use cooking or whipping cream)
  2. 4 large egg yolks
  3. 1/8 cup espresso or strong coffee, at room temperature
  4. 3 tbls sugar, divided into 2tbls and 1 tbls
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped
  7. 2 large egg whites
  8. 1/4 cup whipping cream to serve (optional)


  1. Beat 1/2 cup cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill
  2. Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large metal bowl
  3. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water and cook, whisking constantly until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume (about 1 minute)
  4. Remove bowl from pan
  5. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth
  6. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until room temperature
  7. Using an electric beater with clean, dry beaters, beat egg white in another medium bowl on medium speed until foamy
  8. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 tbsp sugar
  9. Increase speed to high and beat until firm peaks form
  10. Fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 additions
  11. Fold whipped cream into mixture just to blend
  12. Divide mousse among six teacups or 4-oz. ramekins
  13. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours
  14. DO AHEAD: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead; cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving
  15. Before serving, whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form; dollop over mousse

Quinoa bake with spinach and ricotta

As we head in to the festive season, I find that I need to balance out the indulgences of this time of year, with home cooked, healthy (at least semi-healthy) meals.

Packed full of goodness, and also gluten-free (for any of you who are gluten intolerant), this baked quinoa “pie” with spinach and feta is as comforting as it looks. Hot from the oven, the quinoa are almost pillowed amongst the ingredients, adding a lightness that you wouldn’t get if I omitted them. I only need to cook for two, so I made enough for four, split the mixture in to two small pie tins, and will freeze the other portion for a time when I need something easy, quick and delicious. All I have to do is warm up and eat.

This recipe is really versatile – adding in ham or bacon would work too.

Ingredients (for one large pie to feed four or two smaller pies)

  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  3. 200g feta (you can also substitute ricotta or even cottage cheese)
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. Splash of milk
  6. 1 cup of grated parmesan, divided in to two portion
  7. salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F
  2. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until tender and the germ is visible
  3. Stir in the spinach leaves as you fluff the quinoa – the residual heat will wilt the leaves
  4. Crumble the feta in and mix
  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a splash of milk and one portion of the parmesan
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper – don’t over-salt as the cheeses will already add some savouriness to the dish
  7. Loosely spoon the quinoa mixture into your pie dish, pour over the egg mixture and combine the two in the dish
  8. Flatten the top and sprinkle the second portion of parmesan over the top
  9. Bake for 30-35 mins until the top is golden
  10. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy hot !

Chez L’Amis Jean

Oh that cote de boeuf !

Wow, that previous post was a ramble – which needs to be quickly replaced with FOOD.

The photo of the food in this incredibly busy and cramped restaurant came out pretty horribly – the light was so dim and the place literally had barely any elbow room at all. But that’s not at all a reflection of the foodfoodfood of this wonderful bistrot.

Chez L’Amis Jean is in Paris, and it’s very firmly in the anti-Michelin realm of Parisien eats. Rather than three waiters per table, it’s three waiters for the entire restaurant, and I kid you not, when I say it’s cramped, believe me. Essentially the restaurant is one long banquette, with lots of little tables that are joined to make one long table. Each party is sat opposite each other, and as you are seated, the table is pulled out so that one of you can sit before being wedged in. Don’t drink too much water if you’re sitting inside🙂

The good thing about this cozy atmosphere is that you almost feel like you are at a wedding. You get to know the people sitting on either side of you, and everyone’s friendly and just happy to be inside (and on the night we were there, out of the lashing rain outside) with the warm hospitality of the staff.

And despite it being insanely full, the waitstaff were all blazingly efficient and always, always (and I truly adore this part) able to pause and wish you “bon appetite” with a smile – they truly want you to enjoy your food here. From the start, as you are waiting for your table, they serve up sharing boards of charcuterie. While you sneak looks at other tables to see what looks good (don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this), a large shared terrine with a big knife is presented to you to “have some”. It’s little touches of warmth and generosity like this that for me makes this such a memorable restaurant.

Ruiz au lait with praline and salted caramel

Not only is the food phenomenal – classic French bistro at its best, but the portions are enormous.

Knowing the portions were big, didn’t deter us from ordering what we wanted though – luckily we were happy to wander around the close-by Eiffel Tower after to walk some of our dinner off. Tres romantic !

We started our gargantuan meal with soup de Parmsan. A large bowl with crispy bacon bits and delicately sliced chives is filled in front of you with a creamy, rich, cheesy soup from a large(r) tea pot. Ridiculously delicious, and followed with the cote de boeuf – thick juicy slices of rib-eye, cooked on the bone, with generous shavings of black truffles. mmmmm…And because we truly have eyes bigger than our stomach, we ordered dessert ! Which was rice pudding served with praline and salted caramel. Rich, creamy and decadent, it was a perfectly balanced dish to balance out our dinner. Again, LARGE, again, superb.

They almost had to roll us out of there ! If you do want to go (and if you are in Paris, I really think you should), two things I would strongly recommend. First, make a booking, or don’t even bother to turn up. Secondly, go hungry.

Chez L’Amis Jean
27 Rue Malar, 75007 Paris, France

Phone:+33 1 47 05 86 89

Instragram is killing my blog…

Instagram is killing my blog.

The whole reason why I started my blog was so I could jot down all the amazing food I’ve eaten and the wonderful places I’ve experienced. I find myself going back to reference my blog to walk down memory lane, and also to look up my recipes that I haven’t made for a while, but keeping up to date is falling by the wayside. I even thought that my love of all of your gorgeous photography would inspire me to use my camera more, and, you know what ? The iPhone takes pretty decent photos (albeit not so great in dim lighting), without the hassle of having to pack another thing in my already-heavy handbag. Just snap and post. Easy.

The other reason I’ve been so slack is that our Mac, which is probably 6 years old, made navigating around the Mac s-u-p-e-r  s-l-o-w, and it finally died which gave me a good reason to rush out and buy a new one – so now I have no excuses !

I have recently felt, though, that there is something missing in my life, and I am going to admit it now – it’s that little thrill of accomplishment that I get when I hit the “publish” button. I know, some people climb mountains, conquer their fears, try new things. Cut me some slack here, whilst blogging certainly isn’t as mentally or physically challenging, it’s something that I find myself smiling every time I am writing – it honestly gives me joy, and that’s good enough reason for me.

I know some of you also have had challenges in keeping up with blogging – any other suggestions you have or experienced that can help to maintain this renewed vigour that I’ve found ?

ps – and if you are on instagram, let’s connect ! @carolynmfchan