Monthly Archives: February 2010

Ah amarone

When D and I were in Amalfi in 2008, there was a tiny little bottle shop where we found an amarone, which we had recently discovered as a wonderfully big wine to have with big flavours, like a juicy fillet steak.  The amarone we found was Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva ‘Sergio Zenato’ – and we bought two of the four bottle they had, one of which we gave to friends as part of a wedding present, and the other, sat in our wine rack for another year until we opened it on the weekend with friends.

Oh. My. God.

It was incredible.  I know very little about wines, but I do know what I like, and this was it. It was a very ripe, raisiny, big-bodied wine with very little acid.  It has the same grape blend of Rondinella, Molinara, Sangiovese and Corvina as the standard Amarone but has longer oak maturation and older vines from carefully selected parcels.

The best grapes are hand picked and left to dry for 5 months. Skin contact fermentation lasts for 30 days. The wine is then aged in medium sized Slavonian oak barrels for two and a half years, followed by one year in bottle.

Why didn’t we buy the other two ??  We have recently found out that this particular wine is made in very small quantities as production is small and with our new wine chiller on order, the next time we see it available, we’ll be snatching up as much as we can.

Jamie Oliver’s chicken caesar salad (actually it’s all about the croutons)

I love Jamie Oliver, in particular, his approach to cooking – using the best ingredients can make cooking delicious dishes easy.  No fuss cooking.

I have incorporated many of his recipes from his Jamie at Home series into my everyday cooking items, and tonight I made his chicken caesar salad.  The chicken and salad is pretty standard, his caesar dressing is not authentic, in that it is a mixture of anchovies, finely grated parmesan, lemon juice, olive oil and creme fraiche but his recipe for making the croutons is seriously genius.

The croutons are simply made by tearing up stale bread and laying the pieces of chicken and bacon over them while in the oven.  This way, the juices, fats and flavour from the cooking chicken and bacon becomes infused into the bread.  After the chicken is cooked, put it aside to rest, and pop the croutons back into the oven to really crisp up.

Makes a normal salad, something special.

Chinese New Year at Jade

Much to my embarrassment, this year, my Western friend had to remind me that perhaps we should go out this Chinese New Year to celebrate by eating.  Shocking, I know.  I was quite keen to go back to Jing again, as D had not yet been, but that was closed for the new year, so we made a reservation at Jade at the Fullerton, which, to my surprise, offered the same buffet-style dim sum.

I didn’t have any real expectations, but I suppose I would have equated it to the level of Jing, and I was disappointed in both the quality of the food as well as the service.  It didn’t seem to me to be of the level I’d expect from the Fullerton.  The whole setup seemed like there was not enough staff to take the orders of patrons and serve as well – all the wait staff looked harrassed and stressed.  There was a very limited dim sum menu, and a fairly extensive non dim sum menu – all the food took a while to come, and was served luke warm to cold and the food itself was quite average.  Add to that, there are two seatings on Sundays, 11.30 – 1.15 and 1.45 – 3.00 which made it an even more rushed affair.

The one good thing was that we were able to order an extra dish which was not included in the buffet – yu sang, or loh hei, a fresh salmon salad made up of ingredients that each represent good fortune for the new  year.  The waitress who served it actually took the time to explain what each meant (which we did noticed was mostly about prosperity) which we happily tossed at the table, making a mess, and celebrating the beginning of the new lunar year.

Nothing much else to say other than Gong Xi Fa Cai ! (and happy Valentine’s Day !)


1 Fullerton Square
The Fullerton Hotel

Tel: +65 6877 8188

Toad in the hole

Tonight, I was in need of some real comfort food.  I couldn’t find my old recipe but I did find the ever-reliable Delia Smith’s recipe of toad in the hole with roasted onion gravy.  Her recipe here for sausages in crispy batter goodness.  We also opened up a bottle of Clarendelle Bordeaux 2004 which we received as a Christmas present.  Definitely benefits from a good “breathing” – gorgeous stuff.

potato gratin dauphinois

You can pretty much serve me potatoes any way and I’ll love them – mash them, bake them, chip and fry them, or coat them in cream and cheese and bake them.  After not having cooked for a week and with a whole Saturday afternoon and evening ahead of me, I decided to make my-friend-Christine-inspired potato gratin dauphinois with truffle oil as a side dish to the free-range chicken I picked up from the butcher downstairs at Great World City this morning, and was roasting for dinner (wow that’s a long sentence).

I was trying to find a recipe for it in the Larousse Gastranomique that D had bought me for Christmas, and was surprised that under the many many potato recipes, there was none to be found for potatoe dauphinois.

So, I improvised, and I have to say that the potatoes beat the chicken by a long shot !

Potatoe gratin dauphinois:

Smash a clove of garlic and pop in into a saucepan of 200ml heavy cream and 100ml full cream milk and heat until there are bubbles around the edges of the saucepan.

Remove the garlic, and add in a cup of grated Gruyere cheese and stir till it’s melted into the cream/milk mixture.  Add in a few drops of truffle oil at this stage.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add some freshly grated nutmeg.

Peel about half a kilo of potatoes (I used Russet), soak them in water so they don’t burn, pat dry, finely slice with a mandolin and add them to the cream/milk/cheese mixture to coat.

Arrange in a buttered gratin dish and top with more grated Gruyere, dot with a bit more truffle oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 1 1/2 hours or until the potatoes are cooked.

Enjoy the smell of your kitchen/flat as it bakes!

a bit of Tex Mex in boat quay

A quick post to note that if you ever are around Boat Quay and fancy some Tex Mex food, check out Dallas Bar and Restaurant.  We only tried the bar food which is pretty standard – BBQ chicken wings, corn and crab fritters (which were crisp and not too greasy at all) and nachos, but we ordered the beef fajitas on the recommendation of the owner, Jason, a fellow Australian, which were just fabulous – tender and juicy beef strips where you can add as much or as little of refried beans, guacamole, sour cream and caramelised onion as you liked, on a warm flour tortillas.  Delicious !  If you want to eat, it’s much cooler upstairs and I did spot baby back ribs on the menu…
Dallas Restaurant & Bar
31 Boat Quay, Singapore 049820
Tel: +65 6532 2131

who’d have thought?…

…that tucked away on the second floor of Palais Renaissance would be the best cafe in town?  PS Cafe at Palais Renaissance has got to be one of the tai tais’ best kept secrets, because honestly who else would go to Palais Renaissance (except perhaps to go to Marmalade Pantry).

I was meeting a friend there who was running late, so I had the luxury of time to settle in and really soak in the ambiance of the place before she arrived.

I was transported into a different world.  A mix of a French bistro (or even Kong in Paris), and an English sunroom where one would drink tea in the afternoon (I think epitomised by the scene in My Fair Lady where Prof. Higgins goes to his mother’s house and finds Eliza having tea there with his mother). Very schizophrenic when I write it down, but the place just … works.

High ceilings, lots of glass, street-cafe furniture, classical music and GREAT tea (and apparently also great coffee) make this a place that I would be happy to retreat to, again and again.  I didn’t get to try any food, but they did have the now-ubiquitous truffle fries on the menu so at least I know I’ll be sure to like one more thing there.

PS Cafe

390 Orchard Road
#02-09A Palais Renaissance

Tel: +65 6887 2207