Monthly Archives: October 2013

Salt Tapas & Bar

Dukkah crusted Tasmanian trout with Israeli couscous in a cucumber, tomato and dill broth

Salt Tapas & Bar at Raffles City is a place to sit back and relax and enjoy lots of little (or larger) plates of tapas with a modern Australian influence. They have a lunch menu on weekdays – where you have a selection of entrees, larger plates and sides.

I started with slow-cooked octopus with celeriac, apple, saffron rouille and dried black olive. The octopus was sweet and tender with no hint of toughness that can sometimes come with octopus (I watched a Greek cooking show where they tenderise the octopus first by bashing it repeatedly on a rock until its “soapiness” is released on the rock. Apparently in commercial kitchens they do this in a cement mixer !). The celeriac and apple were finely julienned and provided a crisp freshness to the rich saffron rouille.

Slow-cooked octopus with celeriac, apple, saffron rouille and dried black olive

For my main I had dukkah crusted Tasmanian trout, Israeli couscous, cucumber, tomato and dill broth. This is the first time I’ve had Israeli couscous and it’s delicious. It has a very satisfying springy, chewy texture that I equated to the tapioca balls in the Taiwanese “bubble teas”.

The trout was perfectly cooked so it was still pink in the centre and that broth it came swimming in – absolutely divine. It really brought that entire dish together with the acidity from the tomatoes and was so fragrant from the dill. And the dukkah crust on the trout gave the dish a lovely nutty flavour and texture.

You can also order a la carte during lunch but I was in a “can’t decide” mood and the only thing I ordered off the lunch menu was a side order of Jamon Iberico. Not because I felt I needed it because the portion sizes are pretty generous here. Just because I could.

Salt Tapas and Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
No 252, North Bridge Road

Tel: +65 6837 0995


A Simple Snack

Sometimes the simplest things are often the best

I’d run out of the night before’s roast beef to make beef fajitas, and with just a single wrap and a few slices of Monterey Jack cheese, I decided to go simple.

I think the ratio of cheese to wrap was possibly swaying towards the cheese, and it made a molten mess as it melted and oozed out the edges and into the frying in the pan.

The cheese, which I think has a wonderful texture suited to fajitas, but not too much taste when in the fajita, somehow becomes very intensely…cheesy…for want of a better word, when it fries. It also gets all crispy, giving each mouthful an extra satisfying crunch.

Any suggestions on why the change in flavour is so great ? Or am I just late to the game in realising everything does indeed taste better when fried ?

 


Deliciously Crispy Roasted Kale Chips

It may look like a salad but this simple recipe provides you will a satisfyingly crunchy and healthy snack.

Simply strip the leaves off the tough stalks and roughly tear up into large bite-sized pieces. Toss in a little olive oil, season with a good sprinkle of sea salt, and roast till crispy in a 180C/350F oven for 20 minutes.


Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

Thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction, I found the most amazing recipe for the super-chocolately chocolate cupcakes. Sally has kindly done all the hard work, testing various recipes, before landing on this as the best recipe.

The cake is not overly dense, yet super moist. The icing thicker than buttercream. And the combination of these two is truly sublime. I found Valrhona chocolate powder in my local cake shop (Sia Huat on Seah Street) which I think made them even more decadent.

I added an extra pinch of salt to both the cake mix and the icing because I personally love that salty/sweet combination. And I needed an extra 5 minutes in the oven for them to be perfectly cooked.

Ingredients makes 12 cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  2. 2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  4. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 2 large eggs, at room temperature*
  9. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  10. 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. 1/2 cup buttermilk*
Dark Chocolate Frosting
  1. 2 and 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  2. 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  4. 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each time. You may also melt the butter and chocolate over low heat on the stovetop. Stir until smooth and set aside to slightly cool.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, toss the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth.
  5. Add the cooled butter/chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat until everything is added. Stir until just combined; do not overmix. The batter will be very thick like pudding.
  7. Divide the batter between 12 liners in your cupcake pan.
  8. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  9. For the frosting: Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside.
  10. With a handheld of stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy – about 2 minutes.
  11. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too dark. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  12. Frost cooled cupcakes and top with dragées or chocolate chips if desired.

Notes

*Room temperature eggs are required for this recipe. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, put them in a glass of warm water for 5-10 minutes.

*Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you do not have buttermilk, make your own by mixing 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.