Tanjong Pagar

Tanjong Pagar was a historic centre for Singapore's Chinese community. It is now a cosmopolitan area within walking distance of the CDB with a wide range of old and new shops. It is a good place for a lunch time meal with office workers, a post work hangout area for pubs and fine dining and a pleasant place to explore cafes and eclectic shops on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mushroom brushetta

What will a quick 10 min mushroom dish be?

Mushroom brushetta may I suggest. This simple dish can be a quick meal or a starter at a dinner party. It can be prepared easily in advance.

- Mixed mushrooms
- Shallots
- Garlic
- White wine
- Thyme
- Parsley or other herbs
- Baguette sliced
- Lemon

1) Dice mushrooms
2) Chop shallots and garlic finely
3) Pick out thyme leaves
4) Chop parsley
5) Toast the baguette in oven for a few mins
6) Fry shallots and garlic gently in olive oil till translucent.
7) Add mushrooms in with thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
8) Add a splash of white wine. The mushrooms will soak this like a sponge.
9) Once mushrooms soft. Add a tiny bit of lemon in to lift the taste and parsley.
10) Put mushrooms on the baguette

I think this would taste good with goats cheese as well.

My brother suggested aged Pinot Noir (6-7 years) with some acidity to go well with this dish. Pinot Noir has the earthy flavors to match the mushrooms. The acidity will be good to cut through the goats cheese. This means the wine selected cannot be a new world wine as the wines from the new world are generally fruity.

For more wine tips go http://www.wineandonly.info/

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pomegranate, orange and walnut salad

I had 2 friends over for dinner last night.

It was a simple, steak, potatoes and salad dinner. Something quick for a weekday night with a bitte of Shiraz kindly brought over by a friend.

We happen to be an extremely greedy bunch and chomped up all the food before we took any pictures… Again…

I can only promise pictures next time.

But here is a recipe for a delicious and refreshing salad. The troublesome bit is the pomegranate. But it gives a fabulous lift to the dish

This serves 4 for a salad side ( I suspect it would serve 5-6 but we are all extremely greedy)

Pomegranate (1/2 if big)
Oranges (2). I happened to be able to get pink flesh oranges for these which are so sweet and delicious! I don't think these ones were blood oranges but blood oranges will taste fab for this dish
Green Apple (1)
Walnuts (100g)
Baby Butterhead Lettuce (2)
Marjoram ( Optional, I think thyme, mint will also go well with this dish)
Red wine vinegar
Olive Oil

1) Roast walnuts for 5 mins in oven. I feel that this gets rid of some of the bitterness of the skin.
2) Cut pomegranate into thick wedges. To get seeds out of pomegranate, I fill a bowl of water and tear the seeds out of the wedges in the water. The seeds generally sink and the cork like part of the pomegranate skin usually floats. This separates the seeds from the rest of the fruit.
3) Cut skin of orange. Segment the orange flesh.
4) Peel green apple skin, then slice green apple in thin long pieces. Put the sliced strips in a bowl of water to prevent it from turning  brown. I like green apples over red ones in this dish as it has a bit more acidity that complements the sweetness of the pink oranges and pomegranate.
4) Roast walnuts for 5 mins in oven. I feel that this gets rid of some of the bitterness of the skin.
5) Chop off bottom stem of butterhead. Wash individual leaves in a bowl of water and then dry it in a salad spinner.
6) Pick off the herbs.
7) Prepare dressing in a screwtop bottle. I mix 1 part red wine vinegar to 3 parts oil and honey to taste. I probably won't do more than 40 ml of dressing otherwise salad will be too soggy.
8) Get a large bowl, put the lettuce leafs in there. Pour half dressing at bottom of bowl and mix leaves with dressing
9) Put rest of ingredients in the bowl. Pour the amount of dressing you want and coat the rest of the ingredients with dressing by mixing. In tossing ingredients, one must be gentle so that the herbs and leaves won't be broken by the tossing motion.

An important rule- only dress the salad before serving!! Otherwise, salad will go soggy.

If you want to make the salad a meal and want to add some meat/seafood and carbs, I suggest adding prawns and couscous.

Try it and tell me what you think.

My brother suggested what will go well with it would be a Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc. It has to be from Tasmania as flavours are not too grassy and not too mineral compared to the ones from New Zealand and France. To see more on his thoughts on wine, go to www.wineandonly.info

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quick tomato pasta (15 mins)

I had to whip up a quick meal tonight with what I had in the fridge and had no time to defrost anything. I was also too lazy to go to the supermarket.

Fortunately I had the following ingredients: (portions I used)
- Baby Tomatoes (1 packet about 200g??)
- Lemons (1)
- Smoked Salmon (150g)
- Spring onions (1 bunch, this all depends on what you like, other herbs like dill, parsley or basil will do well)
- Thyme

I also usually have these staples
- Shallots (one small so that taste is not too strong)
- Garlic (one large or 2 small cloves)
- Balsamic vinegar (to taste)
- Pasta

Some extras:
- Anchovies ( just to add an extra dimension, it may not be necessary. Other things that may taste good with this dish are capers or olives)
- Parmesan ( I personally prefer parmigiano reggiano shaved fresh but I didn't have any in my fridge…, I wonder if pecorino will taste good with this.)

This gave me enough to do a quick tasty pasta. What I love about this dish is that the only thing that needs cooking is the pasta. I have seen many variations of pasta of this sort before, so this recipe has been adapted from what I have seen…

1) Chop up shallots and garlic finely.
2) Put a bit of salt in the garlic and mash it into a paste. I find that this reduces the strong taste of raw garlic slightly
3) Half all the baby tomatoes. Good tomatoes for this dish is essential. I get mine from Tiong Bahru market. Most tomatoes in Singapore are crap.
4) Zest one lemon. Cut a quarter of lemon
5) Chop herbs. Thyme does not need to be chopped, just pick it.
6) Cook Pasta to Al Dente.
7) Mix the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, anchovies in a bowl.
8) Add olive oil generously.
9) Add Salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, lemon to taste. Mash all the items in the bowl. The lovely juices of the tomato will mix with the other ingredients.
10) Add herbs in. We add herbs in after mashing so not to crush the herbs.
11) Add the still warm drained pasta to the bowl of ingredients.
12) Add the Parmesan in.
13) EAT!

This healthy dish can be done in 15 mins, trust me! Best of all not much washing up.
Sorry I have no pictures. I was starving and ate it all before thinking of the blog. I'll try to add the pictures next time.

Can someone take the pictures of my cooking for me as I always forget.
Any suggestions on what you would make with what I had?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rong Xing Yong Tau Foo

Having Elsa in childcare finally frees me with some time to do some things!

And I'm not just talking about cleaning up my house, I'm talking about getting hawker food in the Tanjong Pagar Hawker Market in Blk 5.

Anyone who knows this place well knows that it is ridiculously difficult to maneuver during lunch with a baby. So finally is my chance...

I like good yong tau foo but it's not easy to find this. While many think yong tau foo is a healthy dish, it is only if you don't eat the fried stuff. I love fried food in yong tau foo.

There are 2 popular yong tau foo stores here supposedly run by two different sisters.
I only got this story from here http://ieatishootipost.sg/2011/05/rong-xing-yong-tau-foo-at-first-there.html#more

Anyway, it's not of too much importance to me. I just want to eat.

The one I went to has the above sign so that you guys don't get the two mixed up.

The soup base is not bad. It is sweeter than the average bland yong tau foo stores I go to in many hawker centres and food courts. Also the variety of fried yong tau foo was quite good.
But I like the one in Golden Shoe Hawker centre on level 3 much better despite the fame of this place. The yong tau foo in Golden Shoe has a much richer broth and also they have onion oil and sesame seeds there.

I think this is better than average but I'm not sure what the fuss is about.

I'm not a hawker food specialist admittedly. I only like something as much as my taste buds tell me. In this case, it says value for money and quality as a lot of good hawker food is. But it doesn't draw me back over and over again. I don't dream of it.

Location: Blk 5 #02-04

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rhone wine dinner 14/4/2012

My guests and I were too busy chomping, drinking and laughing to take pics.

But at least memories remain…

Cost us much cheaper than in a restaurant.

Pizzeria Mozza (MBS) and Andy Warhol

Pop Art and Pop Culture.
Isn't that what defines Andy Warhol and Pizza.

I think both experiences complement one another.
At least that is what I felt having pizza after seeing the Andy Warhol exhibit at MBS.

I went with Elsa and my brother to see Andy Warhol. Elsa fell asleep in my pouch half way during the exhibit so I doubt she got the full impact of it. I definitely enjoyed it especially with the art pieces he produced in the last decade of his life. It really made me see how the impact of color changes your perception of a piece of art.

If it's anything, the pizza for lunch made the day even better.

Some say Pizzeria Mozza is over priced. Mozza was worth my every cent.

Meat Pizza

First of all, if you observe the above picture, the pizza crust is absolutely beautiful. The base is thin and crisp. This is not like a biscuit which you get in skinny pizza but has a bit of bread texture of which you can see from the risen sides. The tomato sauce is rich and flavorful making one think of summer.

With the meat pizza, the savory saltiness of the meat accentuated the richness of the tomato sauce.

Roasted tomato and burrata

I liked this pizza even more than the meat one. First, the roasted tomato intensified the sweetness of the tomato and also the richness in texture. The creaminess of the burrata melted in my mouth. Words just cannot describe how good this is.

Caramel ice cream with marshmallow sauce and salted peanuts

I know salt on caramel is a much used and loved concept. There was a twist to this as they used salted peanuts instead of having the salt in the ice cream. I loved the marshmallow sauce with its fluffy texture. My only complaint- I want more marshmallow sauce. I love good homemade marshmallows as they taste so much better than the commercial stuff but its almost impossible to get.

Still dreaming about the pizza…

Location: 2 Bayfront Avenue The Shoppes @MBS, #B1-42/46
Price: $35 per person (3 of us not including Elsa of course)
Contact Number: 6688 8522

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Share Tea

It was raining, I had Elsa in my pouch and bags and umbrella in another hand. I have no idea why I even attempted to get a bubble tea but I did.

I managed to fumble for my cash to get an oolong milk pearl tea. I could taste the oolong tea but it was a bit too bitter for the sweetness level I chose (30%). I wish that all bubble tea drinks purpose an ideal level for each of their different teas or at least get their counter staff to recommend.

I still prefer Woobee. The sugar at Woobee just makes the bubble tea there richer in texture that I don't get in the other bubble teas.

Location: International Plaza level 1

I think Meii Sushi has closed down

It seems that Meii Sushi has closed down as I saw a sign outside that says that the space is renting out...

Granny's Day Out

I went to Peninsular Plaza today with Elsa. I know its a strange place to go with a baby but I was looking for drawers for Elsa.
I was unsuccessful in finding drawers but I chanced upon this vintage clothes shop.

One thing that I like about this shop is that it is actually in an older building. The escalators were old, the place smelled old. This is not in a trendy part of town like Tanjong Pagar or Haji Lane. 

Also, there were some things I wanted to buy. 

Location: 3 Coleman St 03-25 Peninsular Plaza
Opening Hours: Mon- Fri: 1pm- 8pm; Sun & PH: 1:30pm- 6:30pm
Contact Number: 63369774

Monday, April 9, 2012

Simply Salads

Wanted a quick lunch and I often crave for salads. Why? I think it's just a pure desire to clear out my system sometimes.

So I was pretty happy to see a new salad place just opposite my place especially since there aren't any other salad joints in the vicinity.

Pumpkin Salad and Beef Salad

I know the above picture really looks messy.
That is because this salad bar has ready made salads at the bar instead of creating it only when you order. In my opinion, this does not make a fresh crisp salad the way I like it.
The pumpkin salad was tasty enough as pumpkin baked in advance does not go soggy in the bar. However, the lettuce and raw vegetables in the beef salad have gone soggy with the dressing.
This place has broken the number one salad rule- only add in the dressing before the customer is going to eat it.

Also, strangely enough the counter staff asked me if I wanted to add sauce when the salads already had sauce.

What I can't complain about is the price- $6.50. The meal wasn't measly in size and it filled me up. For that price, I may still go back if I just want a salad.

Location: Orchid Hotel

Bubble Tea at Orchid Hotel

I wanted a quick lunch and grabbed a salad next door to this joint.
I call it Bubble Tea at Orchid Hotel because I can't find a English name for this. My bad Chinese means I can't read the Chinese characters on this bubble tea shop. Can someone help out?

Lemon Tangerine tea

Anyway, I got a lemon tangerine tea. This is my second time in this place, the first time I tried a milk tea. Both times, I could not taste any tea.
In fact, I call this lemon tangerine water.

Location: Corner shop at Orchid Hotel

WIld Honey at Scotts Square

The Tunisian

This was marked out to be one of their specials. The picture isn't very good but if you were there, you would be able to see that the tomato sauce is quite watery. Basically, I wasn't very impressed by the dish. It was quite bland and the spices didn't stand out. 

If you have ever eaten at Kazbah in Sydney that does Middle Eastern breakfasts, this pales in comparison.

If this is one of their specials, I'm only expecting the non specials to be worse.

The place is decked out quite nicely. Unfortunately, the food doesn't match up. I find this quite common in places in Singapore. Disappointing. 

Website: http://www.wildhoney.com.sg/10/index.htm
Location: Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Rd #03-01
Contact Number: 66361816
OPening HOurs: Mon- Fri: 9am -10pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 1030pm

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Majestic Restaurant

Majestic hotel is a lovely eclectic hotel is also well known for the chinese food in the restaurant.

I have heard plenty of good things about this place but have not had the chance to try till recently.

There is both ala carte and degustation. The degustation menu we picked was the $88++ for 6 courses.

Before the degustation, we decided to try the roast pork that we heard was good in the Majestic.

Roast Pork

The roast pork was quite disappointing for $12. It was not crispy enough. I found the roast pork at Vivocity crystal jade much better

Fried prawn coated with salted egg

Course 1: Fried prawn coated with salted egg yolk served with mixed fruit salad

It was nice with sweet and savoury overtones. The fruit salad was sweet and the salted egg yolk was savoury. The prawn was nicely fried with a thin batter to it. As the prawn was fresh, it had a crunch to it when I bit into it. However, I must say I like the original salted egg yolk prawns better as this dish lacked the unami sort of flavour that the original dish has.
It is a twist to the original. A nice start.

Course 2: Double boiled shark's fin soup with sea treasures and black truffle

This was quite good. The soup was clear and light with a delicate flavour without being bland. The meat in it was still tender and tasty. I think truffles should never be used in clear soup dishes though as I could not taste the truffle at all in the dish.

Course 3: Peking duck skin, pan seared foie gras and fried crab claw with sake and spicy chilli sauce

Fried Crab Claw

I think the peking duck skin is a waste. It is just a skin slice with sauce. The crab was tasty and robust with sweet and salty flavours.

Foie Gras with watermelom

The real surprise here for me was the foie gras. I saw it come with the watermelon and my heart sank. However, it ended up being a fantastic combination. The sweetness of the chilled watermelon really complemented the richness of the foie gras. Also the chilled watermelon added a refreshing dimension to the foie gras and did not overwhelm the creaminess of the foie gras. The foie gras was also cooked very well. It was seared to achieve browning and crispiness on the outside. The heat was also sufficient to make the inside melt.

Course 4: Braised South African whole abalone with homemade beancurd and garden greens

This was a typical Chinese dish. It wasn't a stand out. The beancurd was very smooth. The sauce was a bit to salty for me.

Lamb and carrot cake

Course 5: Grilled rack of lamb in honey and wok fried carrot cake

I had a rare tummy ache at this stage and could not eat the carrot cake cos it was too oily. Which is an absolute pity!!
I did have some lamb though and it was cooked very nicely. It was still pink and tender in the inside. I don't quite like the honey sauce which I feel overpowered the lamb.

Course 6: Choice of dessert- almond cream with egg white

I could not enjoy myself too much at this stage due to my stomach. I had a warm dessert as a cold one wasn't a wise idea.  Didn't really fancy my dessert. I may have enjoyed the durian Mao Shan Wan mousse or fried durian ice cream better as choices. I did end up stealing a taste of both from my friends and didn't think they were great.

Overall, this place had its hits and misses but its not a bad place to have modern Chinese.
The other place I have been before that is quite good as well for modern Chinese is Jade at the Fullerton.
However, I don't think neither places are really as good as modern Chinese could be. This is a fairly new genre that still needs to grow, I would love to try Bo Innovations in HongKong. Anyone tried it before??

Location: New Majestic Hotel 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road
Website: http://www.restaurantmajestic.com/
Contact Number: 6511 4718
Price: About $110 for this particular meal

Plain Vanilla at The Plain

There was a cake shop- Plain Vanilla that was putting up a showcase of cakes at The Plain today.

I could not stay long enough to sample them but did they look good.

Don't tell me you are not drooling.

Location: 34A Lorong Mambong Holland Village
Website: http://www.plainvanillabakery.com/