Tag Archives: foodismyhappyplace

Salmon and brown rice pie

All I wanted to do was to change the name of my blog, including the URL. It seemed simple enough at the time but WordPress won’t let me delete the old one, so until I figure it all, out I’m duplicating my posts on both URLs, so apologies if you are receiving notifications twice – I promise I’m looking in to it !

Back to food though, it rained most of yesterday in Singapore – very odd, as usually the tropical storms here are torrential, but last, at most, 30 minutes, then the clouds seem to magically disappear, exposing the warm blue sky again. I’ve been here for five years now yet I’m still surprised that it can be grey and wet outside and still 30C/86F. But while I am cool and dry in my apartment, it makes me feel like it’s winter, and I feel the  need to eat some warm comfort food.

So I decided to make a salmon and brown rice pie. Feel free to substitute with tuna, white rice, even pasta – this is a very versatile recipe.

Ingredients makes enough to feed six hungry people

  1. 3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
  2. 1/4 cup quinoea, rinsed
  3. 2 cups water
  4. 450g tinned salmon (I had red but you could also use pink)
  5. 1 tbs grain mustard
  6. 1 red onion, finely diced
  7. 1 cup plain yoghurt
  8. 1/2 cup sour cream
  9. 1/4 cup milk
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese plus another 1/2 cup for topping
  12. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Cook the rice first. Add the water to the brown rice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 25 minutes
  2. Add the quinoea, give a quick stir, and cook for a further 20 minutes
  3. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  4. Mix the cooked rice with the the rest of the ingredients except the cheese for topping and breadcrumbs
  5. Line a deep, 11″ pie dish with the salmon/rice mix and press down lightly
  6. Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together and scatter over the salmon/rice mix
  7. Add a couple of blobs of butter on top to help it all brown
  8. Cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown
  9. Let cool slightly before slicing up into wedges and serve warm with a fresh green salad
  10. It’s filling, but don’t despair – you can eat it the next day – it’s still yummy cold from the fridge
Advertisements

Lobster night at Blu, Four Seasons, Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives

Sardinian style marinated lobster, tomatoes, onions and olives

Work has finally died down to a point where I have my weekends back (yay!) and I’m writing my posts a bit backwards, so this post is from our recent trip to the Maldives.

There were four restaurants at the Four Seasons featuring various cuisines from Arabian, to Chinese, to Italian and a simple grill.

Blu was our favourite restaurant I think simply because it was where we started many of our evenings, enjoying cocktails at the bar. Sipping your cocktails with the Indian Ocean in front of you, surrounded by decor that exactly matched the perfect blue of the ocean is the only way to go daahlings 🙂

Chilled pea and mint soup with lobster

On Monday nights Blu serves a lobster degustation menu. We figured that lobster when you’re on an island in the middle of the ocean might, just might, be kind of spectacular.

First course was a lobster salad with Sardinian style marinated lobster, tomatoes, onions and olives. I often find lobster can be heavy and even tough, but this was poached perfectly so that it retained the sweetness and the flesh was light and tender.

Second course was a chilled pea and mint soup with lobster. Beautifully presented at the bottom of a chilled martini glass, the soup is poured over the lobster at the table. The freshness of the pea and mint soup was refreshing in the relative humidity of the evening.

Lobster with reginette pasta, asparagus puree and thyme

Pasta was next with lobster with reginette pasta, with an asparagus puree and thyme. The pasta was perfectly shaped to hold the delicate tomato-based sauce,

Lobster gratin with parmesan and black truffle sauce, wilted spinach and baby carrots

The main course was a half lobster gratin with parmesan and a black truffle sauce. It almost seemed a shame to top off a fresh lobster, served in it’s half shell with parmesan but with classic flavours like that, it was the killer dish of the evening.

Coconut risotto with passionfruit puree and shaved chocolate

Dessert was a coconut risotto with passionfruit puree and shaved chocolate. The combination of the creamy, rich, warm risotto and the tartness of the passionfruit with the melted chocolate was both surprising and delicious.

The food at all four restaurants was just delicious, mainly because they served beautifully fresh seafood, usually very simply prepared. Add the warm hospitality of all the staff, and dining out each evening was just such a joy.


Waku Ghin’s signature sea urchin with botan shrimp and Oscietre caviar

Tetsuya Wakuda is one of my favourite chefs from my visits to Tetsuya’s in Sydney – back in Rozelle and also when it moved to Kent Street. I have always admired his ability to pair pure and distinct flavours so beautifully. I finally got to go to Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands this week, and what a treat it was.

Your meal is served primarily in small 8-seater rooms in front of a teppanyaki grill and with your personal chef for the evening. Counter seating is always my preference – it gives you an opportunity to talk to the chef, see the produce, watch him cook, and also sneakily take a peek at what others are ordering to inspire you to try new things.

With a set 10-course degustation menu, you don’t get the chance to do the latter, but we did get a preview of the first course from the other couple who were seated in our room and who had arrived before us. By the third course, the team at Tetsuya had deftly managed to catch the four of us up so we were all served the remaining savoury courses at the same time.

Chilled white asparagus soup with white miso and Oscietre caviar

We started with a chilled cream of white asparagus soup with white miso cream and Oscietre caviar. What a way to start a meal. The soup was so silky and so full of flavour of the delicate white asparagus you really wished there was more (that was the common theme for all the dishes during the evening, actually).

Second was Waku Ghin’s signature dish – marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and Oscietre caviar, stunningly presented in a half shell of sea urchin. To be eaten with a mother-of-pearl spoon, you are recommended to eat every mouthful with a bit of all three, and with each you get the sweetness of the prawn and sea urchin and the explosion of saltiness from the caviar. This has got to be up there as one of my favourite dishes ever.

Slow-cooked John Dory with roasted eggplant

Third course was slow-cooked John Dory with roasted eggplant and a chicken stock reduction. Our chef explained to us how they made the chicken stock and the laborious and complex processes to ensure only the clean flavour of the chicken was extracted and reduced. An odd pairing with fish and eggplant, and I think the chicken stock reduction tied the dish together well.

Australian abalone with fregola, rocket, seaweed and tomato

Next up was fresh Australian abalone, simply seared on the teppan and served with fregola, tomato, rocket and seaweed. This was about as rare as I have ever had abalone, miles away from the more chewy abalone you usually get at Chinese banquets. This was fresh and succulent and sweet and presented in this way almost was like eating it straight from the sea.

Braised Canadian lobster with tarragon

Braised Canadian lobster came next, quintessentially French-style, in a stock made from the lobster shells, finished with butter and tarragon. Again, the lobster was cooked so that it was just to the point past being raw, allowing the sweetness and the tenderness of the lobster to shine.

The beautifully marbled Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll

Two beef dishes followed. The first was charcoal grilled fillet of Tasmanian grass-fed  beef with Tetsuya’s own-brand wasabi mustard. The chef seared these in front of us on the teppan before slicing them into bite-sized pieces of beef so tender you felt that you could cut it with a butter knife. Nothing fancy here, just a fillet of beef on your plate and tasted great with or without the wasabi mustard.

Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll with wasabi and citrus soy

Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll from Shiga Prefecture came next. Just looking at the gorgeous marbling on the raw beef filled the room with oohs and aahs. I think it was because we knew that that marbling would be melt-in-the-mouth flavour once cooked. It was served with freshly-grated wasabi, fried garlic slices, thinly sliced Japanese negi and a citrus soy dipping sauce. Similar to the fillet, I tried the beef on its own and then with a little bit of all the condiments and in this instance, the inclusion of everything made the marvelous wagyu sing in your mouth.

Consommé with rice and snapper

Final savoury dish was a consommé with rice and snapper followed with a palate-cleansing cup of gyokuro, tea made from green tea that has been grown in the shade. A touch of yuzu zest to the consommé lifted the dish making it a clean and refreshing end to the meal. And the tea, which was brewed with water at just 40C had a distinct savoury, seaweed flavour. Absolutely perfect example of umami.

Selection of exquisite petit fours to end a perfect meal

We were almost sad to be moved out of our private dining area to a more traditional dining area to eat have our final two courses of dessert – mostly because it was an indication that the meal was coming to its end. I have to be totally honest and say that Tetsuya’s desserts have never wowed me the same way his savoury dishes do, and this was no different. We were served a cold soup of strawberry with lychee and coconut and what turned out to be my birthday cake, a milk chocolate cake with caramel and citrus. Both were delicious – as were the petit fours, but my memory of Waku Ghin is firmly, and happily, within the walls of the private dining room.

Waku Ghin
Casino Level 2
Access lifts located:
B1 & Opposite ArtBox at Level 1
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 8507

Open for lunch on Fridays 11.30am – 1.30pm
Dinner two seatings 6pm and 8.30pm


Hoorah – I’ve found the best dim sum in Singapore!

Roasted belly pork

I have been on an ongoing quest to find the best dim sum in Singapore since I arrived here five years ago. And for sure, there are plenty that I haven’t visited, but I don’t think I need to look much farther than Lei Garden on Orchard Road.

Prawn rice rolls 

The quality of the food there is exceptional. With dim sum, there always has been a few things which showcase the true skill of the chef. One is the dumpling skin/rice rolls. These are made by hand – I’ve watched chefs do this and the speed in which they roll out individual dumpling skins (and if you think that they can serve up to 700 of just one type of dumpling in one seating) is a delight to watch. So to be fair, anything they can produce like that is amazing, but we are spoiled creatures of choice, so thick, doughy dumplings are indicative of a lack of true skill. The rice rolls at Lei Garden are thin and smooth and so slippery you could almost swallow each mouthful without chewing.

In fact, everything they do with flour – be it rice or wheat, is light and airy and just makes you want to order more (which is exactly what we did).

Their char siu buns were fluffy pillows of soft, steamed buns filled with sweet barbequed pork. And they really select the best pork – their roast pork is probably the best I’ve had in Singapore. The belly pork has the fat thinly and evenly layered and the skin is divinely crisp.

Pan-fried radish cake

Their radish cake – finely shredded radish and rice flour, cut into squares and pan-fried was not oily, but crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft inside.

I’d suggest making a reservation because it was full by midday on a Saturday and it’s not a huge restaurant. The quest is never over, but for now, I’m absolutely thrilled that I can get the same quality of dim sum that I have missed so much from Sydney.

Lei Garden Orchard
#03-00 Orchard Shopping Centre
321 Orchard Road
Singapore
Tel: 6734 3988

Open for lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm
Dinner: 6pm – 11.00pm