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Monday, November 28, 2011

Pasta Pillows

@ Sin Ming Cook house / Bakery / Whatever

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Here’s a little something I tried making from one of my various cook books: Ravioli, cute little bite sized pillows of pasta filled with as little or as much ingredient as you can imagine.  I found this recipe in “Your Place or Mine?”; a cook book co-authored by two of MasterChef Australia’s judges: Gary Mehigan and George Colombaris.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Long Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away..

Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

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What do you get when you mix the internet, a bag of candy and a 3 day weekend?  crazy stuff happening in the kitchen!  While surfing the information super highway I stumbled on a zany recipe on one of my favorite sites: The Pioneer Woman; yes the same lady who introduced me the using chipolate peppers as part of a slow cooked pulled pork recipe.  The recipe I took and adapted was for a Milky Way cake, I grew up eating these little bars through my childhood, so why not make a grown up desert out of it!
Before I go on I have to state here that there is a slight difference between the American milky way (which is used in Ree’s recipe) and the European / Australian version of the milky way (which I used).  The American version has included with it a layer of caramel (YUM!) which is similar to another bar that I grew up eating: a Mars bar!

Howdy Y’all

Sin Ming Cookhouse \ Bakery \ Whatever


I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for the longest time: Deep Fried Buttermilk Chicken.  Without a deep fryer I’ve been rather hesitant to try and shallow fry these tasty morsels; however thanks to mom (the ever generous soul that she is) we’ve temporarily borrowed her Philips Air Fryer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Visit to the Star

Star Casino, Darling Harbor

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Adriano Zumbo at The StarZumbo Rating Meter
Shop 1 Café Court, The Star
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont

“So Traci I’m going to be heading over to Sydney, do you want to meet up while I’m back?”
“Sure, let’s ‘Zumbo’!” was the reply and with that, I met up with a fellow cook and backer a the new Adriano Zumbo restaurant at the newly renovated ‘The Star’ Casino.  At the time of our visit the restaurant wasn’t completely opened.. the desert sushi train concept was working but not yet for public use, everywhere we looked we just saw macarons, macarons and more macarons!

Have Kitchen Will Cook

Various Kitchens, Sydney, Australia

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Supplemental to my  previous post of my auditions for MasterChef: Australia the upside to me being there is the opportunity to cook for the family!  Some of you may think that a holiday is taking time away and doing nothing; but for me it was time well spent in the kitchen cooking for those that mean the most to me: Family!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Trip Down the MasterChef Rabbit Hole!

Sydney, Australia

masterchef-logo-
MasterChef; you’ve heard of it right?  You know that cooking/reality show where amateur cooks battle their way though many rounds/episodes of cooking tests until one is left standing at the end of 6 months.  It’s a great opportunity for people aspiring to make themselves know to the big bad world; it’s something I’ve wanted to try, so when the opportunity presented itself to enter I jumped in head first.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Avocado & Cake?

@ Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

A while back I was presented with a slight problem; I had excess avocado!  Instead of making the usual salad or an avocado shake, I wanted to see whether I could use the avocado in some type of dessert and a thought crossed my mind owing back to one lunch outing where I saw a shop making an avocado shake with chocolate topping; why not try making a chocolate cake with avocado icing?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thai Styled “Nasi Lemak”

@ Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

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The Chinese have their fried rice and the Malays have their Nasi Lemak, while searching the internet I found a recipe for what I think would qualify for the Thai version of Nasi Lemak: a simple shrimp paste fried rice accompanied with some sweet fried chicken.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Balls of Morocco

@Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever


After our little excursion to Pasha I felt inspired to try and whip up one of the dishes that the Chili Padi liked so much from the kitchen, the Lahm Kefta Tajine (Slow cooked beef meat balls in tomato base sauce with egg, herbs and spices), sadly though without the Tajine I had to make do with the equipment I had in the kitchen: namely the good old sauce pan and the dry fryer

Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Invitation to Experience “Chillax-ation”

Pasha Restaurant, Bar and Bistro

Address:Pasha Rating Meter
64 Aliwal Street
Singapore
199940
Tel: +6723-7117
I was recently invited to a private food tasting with the entire family to Pasha.  Pasha is a new concept hotel cum bar / restaurant in the trendy Arab corner of Singapore.  Happily nestled between Textile Centre and the Malay Heritage Centre it’s an ideal Oasis for the weary explorer looking to chillax!

Pasha: Look for the white building

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Introduction to Dim Sum

Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant

Address:Wan Hao Rating Meter
320 Orchard Road
3F Marriott Hotel, Singapore
Tel: +65 6831 4615

Question, where do you take a chef to eat when you’ve run out of ideas?  Why not dim sum!  In our attempt to bring to light the concept of Dim Sum (a Chinese dish of small steamed or fried savory dumplings containing various fillings, served as a snack or main course) we sought about a venue; after several failed attempts to find somewhere due to our last minute-ness we were finally able to make it to Wan Hao at the Marriott.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mussel Madness

@ Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

Upon a recent discovery to my local neighborhood shops I chanced upon a place that sells quite a good range of live seafood; yes you heard live seafood for sale just around the corner.  So it was off the Sheng Siong market I went, and what I came back with was an entire kilo of fresh, live green local mussels; slightly smaller than what I used to get back home in Sydney they’re still a nice little treat to eat!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Knuckle Sandwich

@ Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

Nothing beats a roasted pork knuckle.  The crackling of the skin as you cut through it with a knife, the aroma of the caraway seeds roasting away and the melt in your mouth succulent and juicy meat when you put it in your mouth.  I got inspired to make this after watching a German episode on SBS televisions “Food Safari” (though I have to admit, I did alter the recipe slightly.. as you do of course)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kopi-oooooo, no it’s not the Fun Pack Song

@ Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever

IMG_0933 [1024x768]Kopi Luwak Ice Cream
They say that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  When my friend gave me a small quantity of the most expensive coffee in the world (kopi luwak – civet cat poo coffee) well you make yourself a cuppa!  But what to do with the still flavorful used coffee powder?  Why make kopi luwak ice cream dear Watson!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Coffee Anyone?

@Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever


One thing I love ordering at dim sum (if it is available) are the coffee cooked pork ribs.  “Pork ribs cooked with coffee?” I hear you say, yes that’s right the bitter taste of coffee infused with the sweet tasting meat of pork, it just works!
Here’s the recipe for the coffee pork ribs.  I think the next time I cook it I’ll try leaving the ribs long and uncut and also perhaps try BBQing them!

Soft Egg Pillow

@ Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever

When you hear the word ‘soufflé’, one other word immediately comes to mind ‘difficult’, doing just enough to ensure you’ve got all the air in the mixture, then ensuring you’ve got the right temperature and cooking time to make sure that the soufflé cooks thoroughly and that it rises!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Chef Ivy & Co

@ Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever

“I love desserts, I love cooking.. can you show me how it’s done?”  Those were the questions posed to me by a friend of mine a month back, with the promise of having some of the recipes I’ve cooked before (and published here): and the to be our lunch for the day I decided to let Ivy loose in the kitchen.

Prior to the cooking however, we set about sourcing the ingredients.  Spending nearly every second day visiting the supermarket or wet market one tends to take the location of things as second nature; when visiting said establishments with people who don’t frequent such places you’re often seen in a slightly different light, so a mental note for those of you shopping; sometimes you’ve gotta take the time to help those who don’t regularly shop and help educate them on the variances of certain ingredients in the store.

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With the groceries done it came time to prep! Ivy and my new friend Garbor got down in the kitchen.  After a quick explanation of how best to slice and dice the ingredients, the chicken cordon bleu was ready in a flash and we were all set to get a frying!

Once the chicken was fried and the salad was made, all that was left was to sit down and savor our delicious lunch!  Well done Ivy.. told you cooking was easy peasy!

With the main out of the way there was a small question as to dessert.  The dessert that Ivy wanted to make was a chocolate fondant; despite her initial thought that it would be difficult she managed to soldier on and well all that I can say is that the result speak more than what I can write here.

Well done Ivy, knew you’d be able to cook like a pro.  It’s just a reminder to all of us out there that cooking should always be ‘fun’ if you don’t enjoy your time in the kitchen it will be reflected in the food that you dish out.  You don’t have to be a seasoned pro to produce good and tasty food, you just need the passion and the heart to dare to dream to try something new!

Sidney

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meatball Maddness

@ Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever

While browsing through my recipe books I stumbled upon a  recipe for a Greek rendition of meatballs: Yiouvarlakia in Avgolemono Sauce (which basically translates into Meatballs in a Lemon-Egg sauce) and I thought to myself “a lemon-egg sauce? I wonder how that would taste"!”, so off I went to the kitchen to give it a try!

So here is my attempt at the Yiouvarlakia in Avgolemono Sauce recipe that I found in the June 2011 edition of Epicure magazine.

Ingredients – Yiouvarlakia (meatballs)

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 grated onion
  • 300g minced beef
  • 3 tablespoons of uncooked long grain rice
  • 2-3 sprigs of chopped dill
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 700ml Chicken stock

Directions – Yiouvarlakia

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and season to taste
  2. Using your hands or a small ice cream scoop mould meatballs
  3. Heat chicken stock in a pot, once simmering add meatballs, cover and allow to simmer
  4. Once meatballs start to float they are cooked, sift liquid and removed meatballs

Ingredients – Avgolemono

  • 2 eggs
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Directions – Avgolemono

  1. Using a whisk, beat eggs and lemon until frothy
  2. Ladle in meatball sauce into the egg-lemon mixture to temper (this gently heat egg yolks before adding to a hot sauce by adding a small bit of the sauce, this technique prevents curdling)
  3. Heat on very low heat until the sauce thickens
  4. Add meatballs

And hey presto you’re done! You can dress up the meatball soup with a few additional sprigs of dill!

Bon Appétit – Sidney

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What a Nice Rack!

@ Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever

What do you do when you’ve got an ample supply of Rosemary (from your own little spice garden) and a rack of lamb sitting in the freezer?  Why not try a pesto marinade?

Having seen pictures of basil pesto recipes from a variety of sources I thought why not give a rosemary pesto on lamb a try; it should work right?  The fresh piney scent goes really well with a roasted lamb shoulder so why not give this a try.  Cooking I find is more about experimenting with things and seeing how far you can try pushing flavors and textures.  So it was off to the kitchen I went to give this recipe a try.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves and stems
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary plus rosemary sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 500g Frenched rack of lamb

Directions

Seared and Ready for Roasting

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 200°c
  2. Place parsley, chopped rosemary, grated Parmesan cheese and garlic in a food processor
  3. Process to coarse paste. With machine running, gradually add olive oil
  4. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sear the lamb on both sides 2-3 minutes*
  6. Remove lamb from the pan and spread all pesto over rounded side of lamb
  7. Place back in cast iron pan (or baking tray) and roast in the oven for 5 minutes
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C and roast to desired doneness, about 5 minutes longer for medium-rare
  9. Cut lamb between bones into chops

*step is optional.  If you are omitting this step add an additional 5 minutes to steps 7 & 8

In addition to the lamb I oven roasted some South African pears and made carrot puree, let me know if you want the recipe for the carrot.

Bon Appétit – Sidney

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Visit to the Queen

Antoinette – Penhas Road

Address:Antionette Rating Meter

30 Penhas Road, Singapore

Tel: +65 6293 3121

 

Something’s been missing in my culinary life for the past few months, some would say it’s a craze (much like the bubble tea, pork floss and coffee bun fads) but I’ve always been in the hunt of the ideal macaron (and by the way before you correct me on the spelling “macaroon” is the coconut variant).  I use to love the macrons at Canele but when their head chef left so did (sad to say) the standard of their macarons and desserts!

Can’t Keep a Pastry Chef Down!

Enter stage left: Antoinette, a café/restaurant set up by chef Pang from the Les Amis group.  I’m happy to say he’s brought with him the taste and standard that I have been missing of late.  So with my pastry chef friend Sebastien, chef Bansani and the chili padi in tow so began our descent down the rabbit hole!

The interior is a welcome change to ‘cafes’ here in Singapore.  All the furniture is well spaced; no overcrowding, the furniture and fixtures are clean and elegant accentuating the Bourgeois nature of their cakes and pastries.  The set up and display is rather reminiscent of what they have at Canelé their desserts too draw many parallels to what you can find there; but hey what do you expect if the formula for success works why try to change it?  The only real differentiating factor visually are their boxes Smile

I’d tried their macarons on a previous occasion, they were the best (in my opinion) that you can get currently in Singapore; though funnily enough the macaron craze has all but died here now, but it hasn’t stopped me!

Verseille

All lovers of chocolate please fall in line!  This mean desert is chocolate and nothing but, rich and texture filled it symbolizes all things good in the world!

Tarte café Caramel

This take on a caramel tart was my favorite of the day.  The sweet pastry was nice and firm, yet still crumbly, while the caramel mouse with just a hint of coffee was awesome!

Mont Blanc

The mont blanc looked promising but it failed to deliver.  I found the texture and the taste of this dish more hit and miss than pulling me back for more!

Antoinette

This was another beautiful creation; much like the former queen of France herself.  It’s a cake comprised of milk chocolate mousse infused with earl grey, earl grey tea crumble, chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate earl grey cream, and raspberry, it was a shame to sink my fork into it, but when duty calls Smile 

Saint Honore L'amour

Profiteroles swimming in rose flavored cream was divine, topped with a sugared rose petal, a tad bit girly for my liking but I’m willing to look over that for the taste Winking smile

Religiuese Caramel fluer de sel

According to my friend Sebastien the ‘religiuese’ is actually modeled after a nun, and after taking a closer look.. low and behold he was right.  Who’d of thought religion would inspire desserts!  Oh by the way, it tasted awesome!

Le Royale

What do you get when you add chocolate, nuts and praline together? Chocolatey nutty goodness!  This cake was so moreish I was tempted not to share, everything just melted and swam in your mouth!

Antoinette is the place if you want to go to taste and sample good desserts and pastries in a not too cluttered environment.  It’s a place where you come and spend a lazy afternoon in the company of good friends (and a pastry) sitting and watching the world go by.  For those of you who like the convenience of the city, they have opened up their second branch at the Mandarin Gallery @ Orchard.  Let’s hope that they don’t go the way of Canele too soon!

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