Monthly Archives: October 2012

On Vacation…

I’m not actually going back to Pulau Pangkil, but we’re off to the UK and Spain for a break, so I’ll be back in a few weeks. Please excuse the silence and stay tuned for Spanish food updates and a post on Heston’s the Fat Duck Restaurant (can’t wait !)

 

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Leftover chicken and vegetable pie

I finally treated myself to a Le Creuset french oven which I’ve been wanting for ages, and of course had to cook with it the day it got delivered. I have a smaller pot but wanted something with a bit more room (to cook more food).

I was planning on making a slowly braised beef stew but had leftover chicken from the previous night, so decided to make a similarly comforting chicken and vegetable pie.

I get so much satisfaction from something as simple as the pure weight of the pot while cooking, and the way the heat is so evenly distributed.

Anyway, my recipe for the pie below. Of course you could do this in any pot you have.

Ingredients for a large pie to feed 4-6

  1. 1-2 sheets of shortcrust pastry – to make a base that will fit your pie dish, I have a 28cm pie dish that needs 2)
  2. 1-2 sheets puff pastry
  3. 4 rashers streaky bacon, diced
  4. 1 large onion, finely diced
  5. 1 large carrot, cut into 2cm chunks
  6. 1 cup frozen peas
  7. leftover chicken meat, removed from the bone and shredded
  8. 8 baby potatoes, halved and cooked
  9. handful of tarragon leaves, chopped
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 2 tbls plain flour
  12. 1/2 cup white wine
  13. 1 cup chicken stock
  14. salt and pepper to taste
  15. 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Begin by making the base. Line your pie dish with the shortcrust pastry and blind bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool
  2. Fry the bacon lardons in a little olive oil until they are brown and crispy. Remove and set aside
  3. Fry the onions on low heat in the bacon fat until translucent
  4. Add the carrots, cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, until the carrots have softened
  5. Add the peas, chicken, potatoes, tarragon and bay leaves
  6. Turn up the heat, add the white wine and cook till the alcohol cooks out and the wine is more or less gone – you just want the flavour of the wine
  7. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken mixture and cook out the flour for 3-5 minutes on medium heat
  8. Add the chicken stock and stir – it should be the consistency of thin gravy. This will thicken as the pie cooks
  9. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  10. Remove from heat and let cool slightly (this helps to prevent the base from getting soggy)
  11. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  12. Assemble the pie – pour the chicken filling into the prepared and cooled pie base, cover with a layer of puff pastry, cut a few slashes in the puff to allow steam to escape while the pie cooks
  13. Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg to give it that lovely colour when the pie cooks
  14. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown

Blue Ginger

Assam fish head curry

My family’s roots are Peranakan, and I am always in search of good nonya food – Straits-Chinese food heavily influenced by Malay cuisine and their wonderful spices.

Blue Ginger has been around in Singapore for many years – I vaguely recall eating there years ago when I was in my mid-20s but in those days, drinking was far more important to me than food. It’s not that alcohol has become less important, it’s just that these days food is of equal (dare I say if not more) importance.

We went recently with my visiting mum, who is ever-wanting yet one of the fiercest critics of Peranakan restaurants, and it passed with flying colours on all counts.

They have a simple menu with classic Nonya dishes, like fish-head curry (in either a rich coconut or more sour tamarind base), Ngo Heong – homemade rolls of minced pork and prawns seasoned with five-spices, wrapped and deep-fried and beef rendang – braised beef in rich coconut milk spiced with ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves till tender

Deep fried eggplant with a fresh chilli paste and sweet soya sauce

There were two standout dishes we had – assam (tamarind) fish head curry and the sambal terong goreng – deep-fried eggplant.

The fish head curry came in a complex broth that was a perfect balance of sweet and sour, with the red snapper steamed to perfect tenderness. Give me just that and a large bowl of rice, and I would be a happy girl.

But a girl’s also got to eat her vegetables, and although not the healthiest dish, the eggplant slices were flash fried so almost crispy on the outside but still juicy and moist inside, and smothered in a luminous fresh chilli paste and sweet soya sauce.

Spicy ? Hell, yeah ! But that’s what it’s all about.

It’s a small restaurant, and not surprisingly, very popular, so if you want to go, either for lunch or dinner, I’d strongly recommend booking ahead.

Blue Ginger
97 Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore
Tel: +65 6222 3928

Open 7 days
Lunch : 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner : 6.30pm to 10.30pm


L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

The awesome amuse bouche – foie gras custard with a port wine reduction and a parmesan cheese foam

I have to be totally honest, I went to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon with no expectations other than I was going to get a pretty great meal – after all, this legendary French chef has been awarded more Michelin stars than any other chef in the world.

Yellow tail tuna tartar with spicy tomato coulis

Being unable to find the right exit from the carpark at Resorts World wasn’t a good start. And then completely losing our bearings once we were in Resorts World didn’t help. The place is just a huge, poorly signaged, kids-running-everywhere-shouting-and-screaming, un-airconditioned mess to people who were both hungry and lost.

We finally found the restaurant tucked away from the melee these. On the right, the full-on Joël Robuchon dining experience – luxurious neutral coloured interior, high-backed chairs, straight-backed waiters, and on the left, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – like some evil twin with completely stark, black and red interior, super dim lighting, lounge music and high bar and counter seating, looking in to an open kitchen.

(I think we chose the better of the twins)

We sat at the counter and ordered from the tasting menu – which basically meant we could sample more dishes. I won’t go into too much detail other than:

King crab on thin layers of turnip with a sweet and sour sauce

THE GOOD:

  • Being able to watch how the kitchen operated was an absolute joy. The attention, skill and precision of the staff as they created the dishes was marvellous and as always it is a real treat to be able to watch them prepare your food
  • The amuse bouche – meant to tantalise and stimulate your senses, giving you a small taste of the meal to come. And it sure delivered on all of the above with a foie gras custard port wine reduction with parmesan foam
  • The souffle – couldn’t have been more perfect
  • The stunning presentation of the food
  • The relaxed atmosphere – makes dining so much more fun

Soft boiled egg with chanterelle mushroom and parsley fricasee

THE NOT SO GOOD:

  • The secondary waitstaff – you really expect them to be able to serve the right food and drinks to the right people
  • The rest of the food we ordered. Not that it was bad, it was just disappointing after that amazing amuse bouche. Many of the dishes we had sounded traditional but ended up being fusion and just confused, with so many flavours we had to keep eferring to the menu to remind ourselves what we had ordered

Beef and foie gras burger with caramelised peppers

OVERALL

I might be tempted to visit Joël Robuchon next door (although it might be a bit too prim and proper for us – we tend to get a bit loud after a few drinks) – I don’t think we’ll be rushing back to L’Atelier again in a hurry.

Hot kirsch soufflé with almond sorbet

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Sentosa Gateway  Resorts World Sentosa – Festive Hotel Singapore, Singapore 098269
Tel: +65 6577 7888

Open: Daily 6.30pm – 10.30pm


Detox Salad with Tahini Dressing

One of the many upsides of doing a detox apart from feeling full of energy is that I swear you almost glow from the inside. OK perhaps it’s because I eat more non-detox food than I should, so when I am eating a diet of whole food, full of vitamins and nutrients … it shows more ?

I am convinced that I feel and look better because of all the wonderfully nourishing foods that are in this salad. Chickpeas provide zinc and folate for healthy skin, and the almonds and avocado provide heart-healthy, skin-moisturising mono-saturated fats. Beauty in a bowl !

Ingredients for two

  1. 2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, washed
  2. 1 small zuccini, sliced
  3. 1 small red capsicum, sliced
  4. handful of raw almonds, dry toasted
  5. 1 avocado
  6. 100g chick peas, cooked
  7. Tahini – see recipe below

Method

  1. Grill the zuccini slices
  2. Arrange salad in bowl and dress with tahini, thinned with water to desired consistency

Tahini

lightly dry toast 100g sesame seeds and grind finely in a food processor. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, 1 small clove of garlic and a pinch of salt and blend well.


Rustic blueberry tart

Who doesn’t love decadent sweet treats ? Choc Chip Uru’s wonderful blog Go Bake Yourself is pretty much full of chocolately goodness and it’s always such a delight to visit and escape in all that sugary goodness. Everyone should take a peek into her happy happy life at least once (I challenge you not to go back after one visit) – I can guarantee if you are having a bad day you’ll feel better after.

And guess who was lucky enough to be able to write a guest post ? Yes, yours truly ! You can check the post on Uru’s blog and I’m reposting it here because I actually really love this tart 🙂

Ingredients serves four
  1. 75g unsalted butter – melted
  2. 90g caster sugar
  3. 80 ground almonds
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  5. pinch salt
  6. 1 sheet of puff pastry
  7. handful of blueberries (I use frozen but you can use fresh)
  8. additional sugar for sprinkling
  9. Optional: clotted cream or good vanilla ice-cream to serve
Method
  1. Mix together the sugar, ground almonds, vanilla and salt
  2. Add the melted butter and mix well to combine
  3. Take the sheet of puff pastry and cut into quarters
  4. Lightly score about 1cm around the edges using the edge of a pointed knife
  5. Spread the almond mixture evenly over the pastry within the scored area
  6. Place the blueberries on the almond mixture
  7. Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 15-20 minutes until the puff pastry and almond mix are golden brown
  8. Serve hot with a dollop of cream or good vanilla ice-cream