Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Caffeinated Pleasure - Liberty Coffee

Upon the post on Liberty Coffee Facebook fan page sometime in November last year (2012), it was official that they won the votes for the Best ( and the most frustrating ) Guerrilla Cafe' category on Alternative food awards by 8 days magazine, they announced not to open their door that week in attempt to win the award again this year. I had to smile reading the post. I like that someone has got a great sense of humor.

Operated by husband and wife, Terence and Pauline, Liberty Coffee is a wholesale of in-house roasted specialty globally - sourced coffee beans. They also operate the coffee tasting bar, by appointment. Only occasionally that the coffee house will be opening its door to public, hence justified the award.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Shepherd's Pie - great comfort food

Although it's next to nothing, my knowledge to British cuisine I do know one hearty, protein filled and satisfy all time beloved by British - Shepherd's Pie. Inspired by my new cookbook - Jamie's Great Britain by Jamie Oliver, I probably will be cooking and writing about British dishes in the next couple of posts.

Shepherd's Pie traditionally made with lamb. The American version made with beef is sometime called Cottage Pie. In Jamie's book he introduced recipe with veal. Naming and type of meat aside, Shepherd's pie is essentially a casserole that lined with cooked meat and vegetable ( the idea was to create a new dish from leftovers), topped with mashed potatoes and then browned in the oven.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thai Tom Kha Soup with Noodle - a quick weeknight meal

I have been thinking of sharing with you some Thai food recipes but it was difficult to make my mind up of which dish to go first. A perfect reason to keep postponing, isn't it? 
Just until recently I was asked by a lady whether I mind sharing with her some Thai food recipe. Of course not. I'm more than happy to share a few. So now the time has come to select one, here we go. Thai food is neither easy nor difficult to make. Some are easier to make than other yet equally tasty. Here, I will start with not just any dish, but my all time favorite Thai soup called Tom Kha.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Caffeinated Pleasure - Fancy a Catpooccino?

How extreme could one goes when it comes to being an adventurous eater? At this very second, I could think of one gentleman who hosts my all time favorite TV show, Bizzare Foods on Travel channel, Andrew Zimmern. You might be nodding along with me right now, oh yes, he pushes it to an extreme. He travels the world in search for regional cuisines some of which considered to be strange, exotic or, most of time, disgusting to some people. Lizard sake in Japan, deep fried fertilized duck egg in the Philippines, cow's heart in Morocco, Mopane warms in Namibia, you name a few, without hesitation, Andrew eats them. He, in a way, is my idol when it comes to traveling and having courage to try new and or unusual cuisines. I consider myself adventurous but just an amateur comparing to Andrew. I have ( made myself ) tried a few, Tarantula spiders, red ants along with their larvas and some fried bugs on the trip to Cambodia, occasionally  some unusual meat, some stinky cheese and tofu etc. For sure I wouldn't start my day with those exotic items. I will be so content with just some eggs and a good cup of Joe. Speaking of which, an opportunity came knocking last month for me to taste and try what I  heard about, for the first time, many years back in New York City, Kopi Luwak.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Caffeinated Pleasure - Order it like a pro

Don't recall since when I started to develop a love for coffee. It could possibly be when I was trying or should I say - suffering pulling an all nighter, with a great hope to finish assignments when I studied in Architecture school. That was probably it. I'll say it close to 20 years since then. Wow, time flies!
Of course at first I started off with those instant coffee, readily available in our family kitchen counter back then. The main purpose, I'm afraid, was not to enjoy it but aimed for the keeping me awake effects which sometimes worked, another not. I will spare you stories of chaotic, tragic moments when I  woke up at a drafting table at 3 am and found out that there were another 5 hours worth of work to be done but I only had another 3 hours left before I needed to wrap up and head to school ( looking like a panda ) My oh my, what a life.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Treats in scoops @ Tom's Palette

Here we go again, coming down like there is no tomorrow. It was a new discovery to me that in Singapore, the rainy season started around September, well may be October if we are lucky and goes on until January next year. I should rephrase it, here in Singapore has quite a uniform temperature ( hot!! ), with no distinctive seasons. I think the best way to define the differences of climates through out the year is to do it in comparative form. So, that would be - Hot - Hotter and Hottest months and Wet - Wetter and Wettest months. Voila!
One of many great things of living in a hot climate city is that it gives me a perfect excuse to indulge myself in my favorite food - ice cream. Is ice cream considered food?  I'll vote Yes! It is frozen dairy deliciousness :) To have ice cream only in hot days, now, that might not always true for me actually, while living in New York and Shanghai, even on cold winter days I had no problem stepping into an Ice cream parlor ( all suited up in winter gears ) for a scoop or two as if it was not cold enough outside. Still remember wonderful trip with girl friends 15 years ++ back in Italy, everyday we had gelato while watching those bello(s) walked by.
In Singapore, We have tried many Ice cream brands, intentionally skipped those international franchises and focus on local ones. My favorites so far are Gelateria Italia, Scoopz, Seven Heaven, Udders and our latest find, Tom's Palette.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let's get it Straits - Casa Bom Vento

Not realizing that it would take us couple of hours to finish our "Monkey business" at Forrest Adventure, Bedok reservoir, it was already almost 3 pm and the two monkeys were exhausted but happy and very hungry. There is a restaurant/cafe , Wawawa, located within the park which serves a Cafe/ Bistro style cuisine. We felt like having something hearty and a bit more comfort so decided to venture out elsewhere.
Headed toward the East, soon enough we reached Joo Chiat road, another upcoming food street in Singapore. On Joo Chiat road lies rows of shophouses for stores, restaurants, bars and even some "special" hotels. There you could find a local bicycle shop, money exchange, food center with a French name - Le Petit Paradis, a cafe with a Japanese name - Mooshi ( Mooshi ) and chocolate specialty shop within , a cupcakes shop and more. It took us just a few minutes to spot restaurant with a Portuguese name, Casa Bom Vento - the House of Good Winds , where we settled there for lunch. At Casa Bom Vento, their specialties are fine Eurasian and Peranakan cuisines.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew with Couscous - Deliciously easy to make

As a continuation of my post on Moroccan Spices Mix earlier, I thought, might as well sharing with you a simple recipe of the Moroccan spiced Chicken Stew.
First time I had Moroccan food was when I lived in New York many years back. I remembered a very complex  taste of it. Moroccan cuisines are mixture of African, Middle Eastern, Arab, Mediterranean influences. Chicken, lamb, beef and other meats are widely used for dishes along with bread and salad. Couscous is a delicacy enjoyed by locals until now. A cup of mint tea is usually drunk to end the meal.
So what we do here is a simple chicken stew and couscous that I used Moroccan spice to jazz it up. Best part of all is that it is very simple and you could easily prepare this for a weekday dinner.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Moroccan Spices Mix - a little some Zing!

Also this was one of the night I would typically be looking forward to. It was when our group of friends from university gathered over at one of our friend's place whenever she came back to Bangkok. Best part of all that we might not have realized, it has been 20 years already that we known each other. Time flies, isn't it. Though this trip was slightly different as our lovely host, she actually moved back to Bangkok for good along with her husband and (not so) little kitty.
Like every time, we would do it in a pot luck style, everybody brings a little something to share. Though the high light of the night would be my friend's home cooked meal that we are all always looking forward to. Myself is one great admirer of her home cook. The other night she happily fed us with chicken stew and couscous that was quickly whipped up after returning from her busy day. In my opinion, couscous can be a little too dry at time but because it was served with a more soupy base dish so it was just perfect together.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Crispy Mixed Nuts Cookies - Crunchy Munchy!

Typing on the keyboard full of crumbs while I was also munching on these delicious crunchy cookies. I personally not a big fan of crispy kind, but these are results of me and my sister baking session at home on the past weekend.
We altered the recipe to tone down the sweetness and this time we found the balance of tastes, slightly sweet, salty and buttery with the crunchy texture of all nuts in them. As these ones have less flour in proportion, more on nuts and that is one of my weakness, I'm on the third one now and seems to keep going. I was surprised also how easy it is to make them. My sister is kind enough to let me share her recipe with you. Let me know how you like them when you try the recipe.

Get ready for your crunchy munchy time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Satisfied - Konaya Curry Udon & Tempura

It became our ritual now that every time I pop into Bangkok, me a my lovely friend will catch each other for an extensive lunch and tea at least once if not more while I am there. We met at the recently opened community mall right around my neighborhood. With a coupon print out in hand, we were expecting to have a feast at a discounted price in the restaurant there specialized in beef, beef and beef. As it turn out we showed up just a day short of 20 days too early. Fail from using the coupon and our stomach were groaning, immediately my friend mentioned, Konaya! We were there once before, their udon was quite good, and myself as a big Japanese curry fan, burst back, Let's go!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A slight hint of comfort - Putien @ Kitchener Road

And who knows where did she originally from...I was briefly told about our ancestors migration story, until now I wasn't sure where exactly was our root. All I know is growing up in a half Chinese family, food is a big deal. " Have you eaten yet" was my grandmother's way of saying hello when I visited her. And don't you dare answering " No, I haven't ", I promise, that would be the beginning of a big feast to come.
I was too ignorant to learn, Teochew dialect Chinese is used in our family. This might be a small clue that tells me that my ancestors were probably from somewhere South of China. Although I have just a few simple words of Teochew Chinese that my grandmother said often remain in my memories, the granny herself and the taste of her food, on the other hand, were subconsciously embedded in.
Just last weekend, I stepped into this restaurant that gave me a nostalgic moment of her.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Off the beaten track - L'etoile

A cute handmade table number tag
Several times we walked pass, cycled pass this small cute corner cafe right within our neighborhood, after heard that they have just introduced a new All day breakfast type of menu this summer, we decided to pay a visit during brunch on Saturday
L'etoile is situated in a two-storey shophouse at the junction of Owen and Dorset road near by little India area. As its location is off the beaten track, it is perfect place to chill and relax on any given afternoon. L'etoile means star in French. This cafe is inspired by an indie cafe in Japan and has French influence in it. With high bay window gives the cafe light and airy atmosphere dinning hall on the ground. The second floor, was surprisingly large dinning room with series of window covered with laced curtains give the room a softer feel.It was packed with diners that time of day so we settle ourselves on a comfortable couch by the window downstairs that turn out to be a good spot to enjoy watching people and activities that were going on outside.

Pick-Me-Up @ Group Therapy

It was one of those morning when anticipation set in and things flew fast. Next thing I knew I was already behind to catch the High Tea with the group. While rushing out luckily spot the taxi, believe it or not, there are plenty of them on the street but I find it is hard to flag one down here in Singapore. This one stopped so I was happily hopped in. Somehow the traffic was jam than it would normally be during that time of the day. Then came the A-HA moment, it was just a few days before the famous Formula One starts, most of the streets downtown were closed off to be transformed to racing track. After 30 minutes, I finally reached the up and coming Duxton road. Not very difficult to notice ( if you are looking ) a humble simple blade sign on the second floor was telling me I was at the right building. The entrance on street level is simple with the small indication for me to proceed upstairs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chili Con Carne- always better on the second day

Have been hopping in and out Mexican restaurants quite often lately and my darling happens to love one of Hernan Cortez's captains' dish - Chili Con Carne. For about a week now that I was on a hunt for a recipe, for ONE recipe. To my surprise, none of recipe are the same. The variant recipes provoke dispute among aficionados, which is probably why chili is a frequent dish for cook offs. Chili in the traditional  recipes are made using mainly chili peppers, garlic, onions, cumin along with chopped beef. Beans and tomato were added later to the recipe on which created different opinions and preferences.

So after all the readings and researching I decided to create my own version.With chocolate in it. Oh! did I mention chocolate!? This version of chili has mild spicy end note, with reminiscent of Mole, the flavors are rich, mellow and deep. Here we go!