Monthly Archives: April 2013

Meyer Lemon Tea Cake

Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, and have a sweet floral flavour, without the mouth-puckering tartness of normal lemons. When cooking with meyer lemons vs normal lemons you will need to adjust the sugar of your usual recipes.

Of course when I saw them in my local supermarket I had to grab a bag of them. I’m planning to make all sorts of meyer lemon-y things with it – my first was a meyer lemon tea cake.

My recipe is adapted from Joy of Baking’s Lemon Blueberry Bread – my recipe uses less sugar (and no blueberries!) and the end result is a light, airy, deliciously lemony cake that goes perfectly with a big mug of tea.

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/2 cups (195g) plain flour
  2. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. Grated zest of two meyer lemons
  5. 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  6. 1/2 cup (100g) castor sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  9. 1/4 cup (120ml) milk
  10. 1/4 cup meyer lemon juice

Lemon Glaze:

  1. 3 tbls sugar
  2. juice of 1 meyer lemon

Method

  1. Butter and flour a loaf tin
  2. Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
  3. Rub the zest and the sugar together to release the lemon oils
  4. Add softened butter and beat until light and creamy, about 5 minutes
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg
  6. Mix vanilla extract, milk and lemon juice together
  7. Sift flour, baking powder and salt
  8. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix till just combined or you’ll overwork the gluten in the flour and end up with a heavy cake
  9. Pour batter into prepared loaf tin and bake for 55-65 minutes, when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
  10. Make the lemon glaze while the cake is cooking
  11. In a small microwaveable bowl, stir together sugar with the lemon juice
  12. Microwave for 10-20 seconds or just until the sugar has dissolved
  13. When the bread is done, remove from oven
  14. Pierce the top of the hot loaf with a wooden skewer or toothpick and brush with the hot lemon glaze
  15. Cool loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack

 


The Handburger

Fancy a quick burger in Singapore ? Then check out the Handburger. Nothing fancy, but serves decent burgers, and it’s conveniently in Raffles City, which, for me, means the added bonus of not having to schlep across town just for a burger (and yes, I know in Singapore that’s just a short 15 minute cab ride away but everything’s relative when you live a 5 minute walk away).

It’s Diner-style American fare, and you don’t linger there, you just go to eat.

I’m a burger “purist” – just give me a standard beef burger. In this case, it’s with 100% grass-fed beef, and comes with melted cheese, some lettuce and tomato (ticks the “I am eating vegetables” box) and this insanely good onion jam that brings the whole lot together. The burger buns are made on the premises and has the light consistency of a brioche but without the sweetness.

They have tons of other burger options, from duck to pulled pork or even seafood, if that floats your boat. Oh, and speaking of floats, they have root beer floats, which went fantastically well with my burger 🙂

The Handburger
252 North Bridge Road
#B1-77/78 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6334 4577

Open:
Sun – Thurs: 11.30am – 10.00pm
Fri/Sat: 11.30am – 10.30pm

Quinoea Salad

Quick, healthy and delicious – who could ask for anything more in just one dish ?

Packed with lean protein, you can whip this up for a simple lunch that will keep you satisfied till dinner-time.

Ingredients makes 2 lunchtime servings

  1. 1/2 cup quinoea
  2. 1 cup hot chicken broth
  3. handful coriander
  4. handful flat leaf parsley
  5. cherry tomatoes, quartered
  6. 1/2 small red onion, diced
  7. 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  8. few cubes feta cheese – I used Danish but any feta would do
  9. juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
  10. few tbls good olive oil
  11. few tsp red wine vinegar
  12. salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Bring the chicken broth to boil, add quinoea, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the germ of the quinoea appears
  2. Strain any excess liquid if there is any, fluff up the quinoea in the pot and let cool till warm (just so that it won’t cook the herbs)
  3. Add the vegetables and herbs
  4. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper together – adjust to taste
  5. Dress the quinoea salad and you’re ready to eat !

41 Degrees, Barcelona, Spain

Hands down, the best meal I have had. Ever.

41 Degrees started off as a cocktail lounge, attached to the tapas bar, Tickets, by Adrià brothers, Ferran and Albert. The intimate 16-seater bar then started serving a 41 “course” dinner of amuse bouches.

The meal is a totally immersive experience that I don’t want to spoil for anyone who has not yet been. Suffice to say if you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then it’s an absolute must-visit if you are in Barcelona.

It’s also the closest thing to El Bulli, with owners, cooks and many staff from the famed, now-closed legendary restaurant. (Albert Adrià himself has referred to 41 Degrees as a “mini Bulli”).

Make no other plans for the evening – our dinner started at 8 and we left after midnight. And with an almost ridiculous attention to detail, we didn’t stop grinning at each other the entire evening. Every thing is intended to (and does) surprise and delight every one of your senses.

I heard that Albert is planning to return the space to its cocktail roots, and moving the dining experience somewhere nearby in Barcelon’s theatre district, but bookings can only be made via their website.


Bario Ramen @ Bugis+

So I’ve been slowly working my way through the six “Ramen Champions” at Bugis+. Second on the list (after Aoyama) was Bario Ramen from Tokyo, which serves Jiro style ramen. The Guardian UK recently listed Jiro in its “50 best things to eat in the world” list. “Ramen of the man, by the man, for the man.”

And I think it absolutely delivers on that promise.

The first thing you notice from Jiro-style ramen that differentiates it from other ramen is the noodle. It’s thick and chewy. Piled on top is a mountain of bean sprouts. And the chasu is also not the traditional round thin slices. It’s chunky and meaty slices of tender pork belly. And the tonkotsu stock is rich and flavoursome.

There’s a lot in to the bowl to eat, and Bario offers an almost ridiculous choice to double your noodles.

It’s a go-to favourite of my hubby’s for all the reasons above. For me, the first slurp/spoonful was delicious, but by the third or fourth, I was pretty much done. Perhaps the richness of the stock, or the stodginess of the noodle – it lived up to its infamous resistance to digestion.

And so I continue my quest to try all six chefs’ ramen and make my decision as who would be my ramen champion. Stay tuned for more…and the final verdict.


Carolyn’s Fried Rice

Leftovers. A brilliant way of ensuring you get the most out of everything you have, reducing waste. And I love how many cuisines have developed recipes specifically to use up leftover carbohydrates. For Western cuisines it’s day-old bread – think English bread and butter pudding, Italian panzanella, French toast.

With rice being the staple carbohydrate in Asia, the main dish for using leftover rice is simply frying it with whatever else you have on hand. The basics are you need to add some protein and some vegetables. You can keep it super simple or jazz it up – it’s completely flexible. My recipe below is just an example of what I made last night with some leftover belly pork from a roast I made over the weekend.

A few notes:

You almost can’t make fried rice with freshly cooked rice. There’s something about the way the grains separate to take in all the flavours in the pan rather than going stodgy. I actually spread my rice out on a plate and leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight to really dry out the rice. I’ve also tried the healthier option with brown rice, and it’s an individual taste thing, but I think fried rice just works better with white rice because the rice absorbs the flavours better.

You can also just use soya sauce rather than the mix I used below, although the combination of the three sauces, I think, adds a bit more of a complex flavour to the dish, and I think the fish sauce adds an additional hint of umami to the dish.

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups cooked leftover rice – see note above about drying it out
  2. 1/2 cup leftover roasted pork belly – you can substitute this with any leftover meat or even sausage
  3. 2 eggs – I like my fried rice eggy
  4. 1/3 cup frozen peas
  5. 1 tbl oyster sauce
  6. 1 tbl fish sauce
  7. 1-2 tbl soya sauce

Method

  1. Drizzle a small amount of oil over the cold rice and use your fingers to really separate the grains
  2. Heat your frying pan to high, and fry the meat so that the fat renders
  3. Push the meat to one side of the pan, crack your eggs on the other, and kind of scramble them
  4. When the eggs are about half done, add the rice to the pan over the eggs and mix everything together so the eggs almost coat the rice
  5. Add the peas and mix again
  6. Add the sauce (you can add more or less to taste) and fry till everything is mixed and fragrant
  7. Enjoy !