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Thursday, April 28, 2011

It’s a Love / Hate Thing

717 Trading

Address:717 Rating Meter

22 Yio Chu Kang Rd
Highland Centre #01- 01
Singapore 545535


With durians you either love them or hate them. For lovers of durian people seem to be drawn by the pungent alluring fragrance.  A group of friends and I were told of this fabled place quite renown for their top quality fruits, so a field trip was organized and so following our noses we headed to: 717 Trading at Serangoon.

The place is Spartan; a few tables and chairs strewn out the front of the shop. You don't find plush seating or all those creature comforts you tend to expect at other establishments; what you see is what you get, which suits me to a “T” I’m just there to eat durian!

The object of our desire that evening was the Mao Shang Wang, what sets these babies apart from the other popular D24 durians is they are slightly more creamy! 

Ordering a mix of bitter and bitter-sweet durians we ploughed through a total of 16kgs can you believe it. Each bite was savored with kiddish delight and we ate until we could eat no more!

I had to take one photo of the aftermath of my durian adventure, and yes I did eat all of these (and a few more)!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pulled Every Which Way

Sin Ming Bakery / Cookhouse / Whatever

Since coming to Singapore there’s one dish I have craved to be able to cook: A slow roasted pulled pork sandwich! When a primary school friend of mine (Traci) told me of a kick ass site (The Pioneer Woman) I saw the recipe for pulled pork and decided to try it (with a few little variances thrown by me of course).

Most friends who I told about my intention of doing this dish replied to me “What! You’re going to cook a shoulder of pork for how long?”.  The notion of actually waiting for something to cook outside the realm of 3 hours be founds most I think; it’s I would suppose only something the most ardent of us would be willing to endure.

When I read through the recipe I thought to myself, it cannot be that easy! Sure you had to cook the pork for 8 hours but with the list of ingredients I was wondering how much flavor could you actually get.  I was truly mistaken!


  • 1 Large Onion (white)
  • 1 whole Pork Shoulder (2kgs, make sure there is a nice layer of fat)
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
  • 2 cans Dr. Pepper
  • Palm sugar (to taste)

The Chipotle peppers were terribly annoying to find; when you’re out looking for them head over to the Mexican section of your supermarket.  For those of you who don’t have Dr. Pepper in your area you can substitute this with Sarsi or Coke.


  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius
  2. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges. Lay them in the bottom of a large oven proof pot with the bay leaves
  3. Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pot
  4. Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce)
  5. Pour in both cans of Dr. Pepper
  6. Add 2-3 table spoons of palm sugar to the juice and stir in (if the sauce is still spicy add more)
  7. Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven
  8. Cook for at least 7 hours, turning roast every hour during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour
  9. Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve

After all that time in the oven your house is filled with a glorious aroma. In between turning the pork I kept dipping some bread into the sauce.. I was in love.. and it just got better with time!

After 8 hours of cooking I made a pulled pork sandwich comprising of the pork, coleslaw and lettuce in a bun.  Nothing beats a freshly made pulled pork sandwich!

Bon Appétit – Sidney

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Date Night

Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

Sticky Date Pudding


  • 200g pitted dried dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups self-raising flour


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced oven). Grease a 6cm-deep, 18cm (base) round cake pan.
  2. Place dates and bicarbonate of soda in a heatproof bowl. Add boiling water.
  3. Stand for 20 minutes or until tender.
  4. Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs (1 at a time), beating well after each addition.
  5. Using a large metal spoon, stir in date mixture and flour. Stir to combine.
  6. Spoon mixture into cake pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Stand for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack.

Butterscotch Sauce


  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pure cream
  • 100g butter, chopped


  1. To make the butterscotch sauce: Combine sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until boiling.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour warm sauce over warm cake

Bon Appétit – Sidney

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Custard Delight

@ Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

I love custard tarts!  From the longest memory I’ve found the greatest joy diving into custard tarts.  When Chef Sebastien offered to teach me and the chili padi how to make the ever so important “sweet pastry” base I knew that un-ending happiness was only an oven away: you know what they say “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day.  Teach him how to fish, he eats forever”.  The most important component to any tart is always the base, make it too sweet and you’re just eating sugar, make it too buttery and well there’s no need to chew cause you can let it “slide” down.

Sweet Pastry


  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 70g sugar
  • 20g ground almond
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50g egg
  • 230g flour


  1. Mix butter and sugar until creamy
  2. Sift flour and combine with almond and salt and incorporate into  butter
  3. Add egg and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated thoroughly
  4. Store in tightly wrapped cling wrap in the fridge until ready to be used



  • 60g castor sugar
  • 80g eggs
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract


  1. Using a double boiler combine eggs, sugar and vanilla extract
  2. Mix until contents thicken, once thicken take off heat
  3. While mixture is slightly warm gradually mix in soften butter
  4. Place in fridge to cool

Strawberry Tart – Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  2. Bring sweet pastry to room temperature and roll to approximately 6mm thick
  3. Using a pastry cutter, cut pastry and place into pastry tins and refrigerate
  4. Blind bake pastry for 10-12 minutes until pastry is slightly brown
  5. Remove from oven and cool, then remove from molds
  6. Pipe / spoon custard into pastry cups
  7. Fan strawberry and rest on top of custard tart
  8. Place in refrigerator


Voilà, see easy peasy.. Bon Appétit – Sidney

Friday, April 15, 2011

Crispy Porky

Babi Guling

In the words of a balding yellow cartoon character “Mmmm… Hog Fat” that was what came to mind when I was given a parcel of Babi Guling from a friend of mine working in Bali.

Having never tried the dish before I was warned that it was going to be extremely spicy but all I could smell was a divine aroma from the waxed paper container it was wrapped in; I knew it was going to taste wonderful even if I’d be breathing fire!

When in Bali tourists tend to make a B-line to Ibu Oka at Ubud. However under the advice of my chef friend and a few local inhabitants of the Ubud area we  opted for another stall which is near the local Ubud market.

Sow hat is babi guling?  Essentially it’s suckling pork that is mixed and chopped up with a variety of herbs and spices that explode in your mouth.  Because it’s a suckling pig the meat is tender and juicy; ideal for soaking up all the aromatic flavors, combined with the crunchy skin it really is heavenly!

Oh how I wished that I had ordered more of this.  Can you believe that even after 2 days the skin was still crunchy!  All that it needed was a little reheating!  According to the Chili Padi the stuff that we bought was a lot less saltier than the babi guling at Ibu Oka.  Oh by the way.. I didn’t find it spicy at all!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What’s Wrong With You? Chicken?

@ Sin Ming Cookhouse / Bakery / Whatever

To some people plonking themselves in front of the tele is their idea of ‘chilling’; for me on the other hand I find myself most as calm and happy either being out in the sun or being in the kitchen trying to cook up a storm.

So here I found myself in the kitchen armed with a variety of ingredients (mostly left overs from previous days cooking). On hand I had the following ingredients to play with: Marinated beef, asparagus, white button mushrooms, a whole chicken, on the vine tomatoes and rosemary.

Roasted Rosemary & Madeira Chicken


  • Lemon
  • Chicken (whole)
  • Salted Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Madeira Wine
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomato
  • Honey
  • Any other vegetable you would like to roast with


  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees
  2. Clean chicken
  3. Carefully lift the skin of the chicken from the flesh with your fingers and insert generous amounts of butter
  4. Quarter an onion and insert with two stems of rosemary into the chicken cavity
  5. In a bowl soften 50g of butter and mix with 2 tablespoons of honey, a few de-leafed sprigs of rosemary, madeira wine and pepper
  6. Brush chicken liberally with butter marinade
  7. Arrange vegetables in roasting tray
  8. Place chicken in oven and cook for 45 minutes basting chicken with remaining marinade every 10 minutes after the first 20 minutes of cooking


Beef Wrapped Asparagus


  • Asparagus
  • Marinated thinly sliced beef
  • Salt
  • Toothpicks


  1. Lightly salt the asparagus
  2. Take 3-4 asparagus stalks and wrap them in a piece of marinated beef, fix beef in place with a water soaked tooth pick
  3. Cook in oven/oven toaster for 10-15 minutes


Plate you vegetables and chicken on the plate; garnish with a touch of olive oil and volla!

Bon Appétit – Sidney


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