30 July 2008

IN SEASON !

Durian season is here again - cheap and good! As old saying goes "Pawn the sarong and eat durians". To us Asians, the fruit is as good as gold. As dusk fell whole stretch of Geylang Road is dotted with fruits stalls and pedestrians. Traffic congestion is common all year round with bargains on offer - good food and human flowers, which Geylang is famous for.


The flesh of 3 durians were used to make durian mousse cake.

Sponge Cake :
6 medium eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup fine sugar
1 1/4 cup plain flour
60 gm melted butter

Heat oven. Whisk eggs and sugar until thick and pale and tripled in volume
Stir in melted butter slowly until thoroughly mix
Sift flour and gently fold through flour using a metal spoon
Bake until cake is springy and come away from sides of tin
Cool and brush crumbs from cake

(Sponge cake receipt was referred from Donna Hay modern classics book 2 bought by DH from Sydney)

Mousse
1 small packet whipping cream
Flesh of 3 medium durians (mesh with hands)
1 leaf of gelatine (melt in 2 tbsp hot water)

Whip cream till thicken
Pour cold gelatine slowly as cream is whipping
Mix cream with durian flesh thoroughly
Leave in the fridge for 1 hour

Assemble cake - Cut sponge into half and spread thick layer of mousse in the centre of cake. Cover cake with durian mousse with palatte knife and smoothen mousse. Decorate cake as wish.


The cake was delicious - creamy, fluffy and soft. The fragrance of the durian lingered in your mouth after cake was consumed.


29 July 2008

TONIC SOUP FOR BONES & TENDON

Ingredients :
Eucommia Bark (du-zhong)
Lingusticum Wallichil (chuan-qiong)
Yu-Zhu
Codonopsis Root (dang-shen)
Astragaius Root (bei-qi)
Red Dates
Dried Longans
Wolfberry Fruits
Sweet Date



Ecommia bark (du-zhong) is the bark of plant. It can strengthen the muscles, bones, back and knees, lower blood pressure and help relieve giddy spell by regulating the liver and kidneys.


Yu-zhu is effective in nourishing the yin and lungs, promoting secretion of body fluids and enhancing immunity. As it contains vitamin A and mucilage, it can help the skin become smooth and fine.


Condonopsis root (dang-shen) nourishes vital energy, revitalizing blood and strengthening the body. It engenders fluids and supresses heat thus it is good for your complexion.


Astragalus root (bei-qi) can nourish the vital energy and improve anemia. It helps in reducing edema, and is often used for healing of wound after an operation.


Use pork bones for this soup. Combine all ingredients and simmer over low heat for 3 hours.

Long-term consumption of this soup helps to strengthen bone, tendon and improves health.

27 July 2008

EIGHT TREASURES HERBAL DRINK

This is a cooling tea which helps to detoxify and cleanse your body system.

Ingredients :
Carrot, sugar cane, celery, water chestnuts, corn, lemon grass, ginseng roots and sweet dates.


Prepare all ingredients and boil for 1 hour. Add honey to sweeten if necessary. Best to drink it without sugar.

26 July 2008

CZ'ZAR

The restaurant is situated at such an obscure spot that hardly anybody would notice. We intended to dine at Crystal Jade and happened to pass by and decided to dine here. The display on the side table resembled bread loaves at a glance but on closer look they are ....

It was paper wrapped ginseng chicken. Unlike the usual wrapped chicken which were chopped into small pieces, this was served whole. The chicken was marinated and wrapped together with  Chinese herbs and baked. The chicken was tender and juicy and full of herbal aroma.


The fried rice in XO sauce was full of wok hei. The rice was fried with seafood and very tasty.


The hot-plate tofu was served sizzling hot. The tofu were deep fried and cooked together with seafood and minced pork, with a lot of eggs.


The longivity mien shien was dried and tasty. It tasted like bee-hoon. I like the crunchy taste of the beansprouts fried together.


CZ'ZAR Singapore Inspired Cuisine
#01-37 Great World City
Tel : 58362520

23 July 2008

LOTUS ROOT & BLACK BEANS SOUP

Both the lotus roots and black beans nourish the blood.


Ingredients : lotus roots, black beans, red dates (without seeds), scallops, escargots, oysters, abalone, sun-moon mollusc, shark bones, longan.

Scrub the mud off the lotus roots and rinse.
Cut into sections.
Scald the pork and chicken breast in boiling water for 5 mins.
Rinse and drain. Bring water to boil.
Add all ingredients, cover pot and boil over high heat for 20 mins.
Bring heat to low and simmer for 3 hours.
Season with salt.

Cut cooked lotus roots into slices. Heat cooking and sesame oil till boiling and mix in soya sauce. Serve lotus roots with sauce.


Sun-moon mollusc enhance circulation of Qi and remove bruises.


Dried fish maw/bladder is rich in proteins and collagens. Frequent consumption helps nourish the body and improve skin textures. Blanch the fish maw in hot water before cooking helps to eliminate the fishy taste.

22 July 2008

CLAY POT


If not for the increase in gas price, I would normally use clay pot to boil soup. Soup boils in clay pot help to preserve the taste and flavor. The pot has high heat resistance and can cook over medium-low heat for a long period of time. They have good aeration but low heat radiation, therefore suitable for cooking long-boiled soup.

To preserve the life-span of the pot :

Soak the new pot in rice water (rinsing water) for 1-2 days to let the water blocks any small cracks or holes at the surface of the pot; or

Oil the outside of the pot and fill pot with warm water. Leave it overnight and bring to boil over low heat. Cool and pour away water and pot is ready for use. This is to prevent pot from cracking easily.

20 July 2008

LEMON GRASS

Weekend is Family Day - we go out for dinner at least once a week and also a resting day for the family chef.

The food we had for the evening was Thai food in a restaurant in Siglap which we had not tried before.

Ice water and a basket of kerapok were served upon seated.


The Thai honey chicken was served with pickled papaya slices. The chicken pieces were crispy and coated with honey sauce. The taste was sourish sweet when eaten with papaya slices.


Green curry chicken was too thick for our liking and it was like drinking full-cream milk. The lemak was overpowered by too much coconut milk. Ample pieces of chicken and brinjal balls.


Tom Yam clear soup was served individually in a bowl instead of in a claypot. The soup was not spicy but  sour and lemony.


Soft shell crabs were not crispy and lack the aroma of curry leaves.


More vinegar should be added to the vermicelli prawn served in aluminum pot.

The garlic fried baby kai-lan order was missed out. Overall the food was considered mild for Thai food.

Lemongrass Thai Restaurant Pte Ltd
899 East Coast Road
Tel : 64431995

ASSAM PRAWNS


Prawns are affordable during normal day but not during the festive season - Chinese New Year where price can reach skyhigh. The pedas used for this dish is the same for assam dish and only  pineapples and tomatoes are added to enhance the dish.

19 July 2008

TOMATOES WITH GUAVA


We consume a lot of fruits and vegetables - in salad as a complement to most meals. Bought 2 big guavas to eat with sweet-salty plum powder and to use some for salad.

Cut tomatoes and guava into slim wedges. Cut away the seeds from the guava. Mix the fruits with a dash of pepper and salt, add in preserved olive leaves and mustard sauce. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Guava is a valuable source of vitamins A, B & C, nicotine acid, phosphorous, potassium, iron, folate and is high in fibre. Most of guava sold in Singapore is normally the ones with white flesh and those with pink flesh is hard to come by (very fragrance and sweet).

17 July 2008

WATERCRESS SOUP


During the hot season coughing with phlegm is very common and this soup is good to get rid of heaty cough.

3 bundles of watercress
chicken stock (boiled from breast meat)
1 pc dried octupus
1 pc dried duck gizzard
12 red dates (remove seeds)
1 honey date
1 small pc dried tangerine peel

Soak watercress in water, wash and drain
Pluck the watercress, separating the leaves from the stems
Bring chicken stock to boil
Put in watercress stems, octupus & gizzard and tangerine peel
Cover pot and leave to boil for half an hour over high heat.
Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the leaves and red & honey dates
Continue to simmer soup for another 2 hours
Add seasoning and taste

16 July 2008

WATER CHESTNUT SWEET SOUP


12 peeled water chestnuts
2 eggs
2 tbsp cornflour
4 oz rock sugar
1500 ml water

3 pandan leaves (tie together)

Wash water chestnuts. Drain well. Grate into puree with grater.

Add 2 tbsp of water into cornflour. Mix well. Whisk eggs.

Simmer rock sugar in water and pandan leaves until dissolved.
Add water chestnut puree. Simmer for a while.
Fold in cornflour solution gradually and stir well.
Bring to boil and remove from heat.
Add whisked egg and do not stir still egg mixture is cooked.
Mix well and serve.

15 July 2008

ASSAM STING RAY


An appetizing dish which my family loves. The sourness and tangy flavour of the dish increases their appetite.

2 pieces of sting ray, pineapple slices,
7-8 lady fingers (slice into half),
2 tomatoes (cut into wedges) and
1 purple brinjal (slice diagonally)
2 fresh chillies (remove seeds and leave whole)

Assam Gravy -
1 soup bowl of assam juice (1/2 pkt of assam and soak in water)
1 stick lemon grass (use only the top part) and smash it flat
6 dried chillies (soaked and squeeze dry)
8 fresh chillies (remove seeds)
1 medium anion (slice thinly)
4 garlic (smash)
1/2 piece yellow ginger
1 small piece belachan

Marinate sting ray with salt and sugar
Cut all vegetables and set aside
Strain assam juice and throw away seeds
Squeeze dry dried chillies (with Scott hand towel)
Pound both dry & fresh chillies, together with garlic, ginger and belachan until fine.
Fry anions until transparent and soft in hot oil using small fire.
Add in chilly paste and fry till fragrance.
Pour in assam juice and add in fish.
Boil for 10 mins and add in vegetables.
Cook till vegetables are soft and add seasonings.

13 July 2008

BRUNCH

A popular eating place with crowds streaming in as early as 7 in the morning. Good breakfast place selling porridge, laksa and nonya kueh.

Pandan sponge cake, kueh dadar, kueh kosui and oneh oneh. The gula melaka stuffing in the oneh oneh was a lump of brown sugar and not of melting consistency. The sponge cake was not fragrant and spongy. The kueh dadar and kueh kosui was so so.


The aroma and taste of the laksa resembled those sold during the old days. The coconut milk is full of coconut fragrance without strong spicy aroma. The milk is diluted enough to allow one to slurp up the soup without worry of cloak arteries.

The laksa reminded me of the days during the sixties where hawkers hawked their laksa by balancing on a bamboo pole, with a wooden box to hold the pot of stock heated over a small charcoal stove on one end, and the other end held a basket with noodles, condiments, bowls and spoons. The cost per small bowl of laksa was only 10 cents during those days.


The bowls of porridge were accompanied by plates of raw yue sang, which was fresh and firm and tossed with oil and soya sauce, topped with ginger strips, spring anions and sliced fresh chillies (@ $5 per plate).


Pork innards porridge piping hot filled with minced and sliced pork, livers and small intestines with a beaten raw egg.


Century egg porridge - pork, century egg pieces and beaten eggs.


How can without fried crullers to eat with the porridge

11 July 2008

UNHEALTHY BUT DELICIOUS !

Two curry noodle stalls, at the Bedok Bus Interchange Food Centre, are competing against each other and claim to be the original Hock Hai curry mee from Hong Lim Food Centre, based on their sign board. This stall was manned by a couple previously and the quality of the curry was thin and tasteless as compared to the other stall, at the opposite row (back to back) manned by few assistants in black t-shirt. It also featured photos of the boss with TV stars that had patronized the stall.


The quality of the curry noodles in this stall has improved since the change of management. It is now operated by a lady with a male assistant. The curry lemak is thick and full of flavor. The quantity of the ingredients (chicken, potatoes and fish cakes) are plentiful.


We ordered the Herbal Mutton Soup a few stalls away. The mutton soup is full of herbal taste and the texture of the mutton is tender.

10 July 2008

WATER CHESTNUT CAKE

This was a very common dessert during the 60s. I remembered my mother used to steam this cake as a snack for the family. The texture of the flour during that time was not so fine and the cake turned out to be grayish in color and do not look appetizing.


The flour is produced in China and nowadays come packaged in a nice colorful box. A box of 0.25 kg flour can produce 2 middle-size tray. The cake is very simple to make. You can use half the quantity of the flour.

Half packet of chestnut flour
3-4 water chestnuts (peeled and mashed into medium pieces)
250gm sugar and
1000 ml cold water

Mix flour and sugar together. Add in water and mix with hand till batter is smooth and without lumps. Cook over medium fire till some batter starts to turn opaque. Keep on stirring, if not the batter will stick to the pot. Change to small fire and keep stirring until mixture thickens and becomes opaque. Pour in the water chestnut and mix well. Pour mixture into baking tin and steam for half an hour till cake is firm. Cool and put in the fridge.


Cut cake and serve cold or fry the cake in a pan (glaze pan with just enough oil) till sides are crispy. Dim sum restaurant serves the cake fried.

09 July 2008

SIMPLE MEAL

A well-balance meal is necessary to ensure good health. I have been cooking for my family since marriage. As I am working full-time the dishes that I prepare for dinner daily is very simple and do not involve too much time. The latest we have dinner is at 8pm. Normally there are 3 dishes plus a soup, which for us is a must.

Sweet-Sour Fish


Fried Choy-Sum



Avocado, Egg & Tomato Salad

07 July 2008

WINTER MELON SOUP

Wash and dry melon. Cut across top of the melon, about 3" from the stem. Retain this portion as cover. Remove seeds and piths from the inside.


4 mushrooms (soak and dice)
100 gm lotus seeds (soak and break into half)
Handful of snow fungus florets
2 dried scallops
2 slices ginger (skin remove)


Prepare ingredients and put together into the melon. Pour hot chicken stock into melon till 3/4 full. Replace top of melon. Steam melon and its contents for about 2.5 hrs or until melon turns soft. Add seasoning. Use spoon to scrape the wall of the melon carefully to serve the soft melon flesh with soup.

05 July 2008

CHUEN CHUEN


Variety of food establishments setup along Upper East Coast Road (Siglap) explains the hustle and bustle of the place. Cheun Cheun Cafe is a new set-up after the death of bistro cafe. Even though it was on a week-day, the lunch-time crowd filled the place. The place is not big, dividing into 2 eating sections - indoor and outdoor. The outdoor comprises a narrow stretch of corridor with 2-3 table settings.

The type of food served is similar to Hong Kong cafe style, set and al-la-carte.

The raw fish salad served with enormous amount of raw vegetable which overpowered the taste of the fish. The temperature of the fish was not cold enough and smelled fishy. The portion is quite big compared to other places.




The chicken rice set was just enough for one person (Set B). It consists of a plate of chicken, a plate of vegetables and a bowl of plain chicken soup. The chicken meat was tender and delicious when eaten with chilly and ginger sauce. The chillies and ginger were blended very fine without seeds and not fibrous.


The Portuguese style pork cutlet set portion was a bit too much for 1 person. The cutlets were crispy and juicy. The gravy was thick but quite spicy.

The lunch cost $20.30 plus milk tea and ice lemon tea.

Chuen Chuen Restaurant
17 Upper East Coast Road
Singapore 455208
Tel : 64453164