a whiplash and some soothing gel
the coconut butter thins... were cruel this week. Spread too much and browned to quickly...
Yet another disheartening week... *feels the fresh burn of a whiplash mark on an old scar*
Visit Jayne's The Barefoot Kitchen Witch for the recipe.
Soon the sun had set over the graying horizon. Evening set in, and a cloud of dark shadow spread over the lateral contours of the earth's surface. Lamps and lights of all shapes, sizes and functions were switched off in a bid to vote for Earth. From the magnificant Sydney Opera house, to the Parisian Effiel Tower, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. The world become shrouded in a mist of perpetual nightfall for a magical hour.
And as the bright lights went off over my head, I retired into the comforting lair of my dark surroundings. Rubbing at the aches and pains in the absence of the public eye.
Yet, thru the night, my light was always beside me... I just had to open my eyes to see him. In him, I feel no aches.. just an undying surge of bliss.
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love
A Kaleidoscope of ColorsHow many of us have taken forgranted the occurance of colors in our food? How many of you fall out of love with eggplant at the sight of it's garby and murkish tones?
As Pablo Picasso would have transferred great works of art with his brush from palate to canvas, chef's now share their inspiration from kitchen to plates using the freshest of ingredients in the most vibrant array of colors to entice and draw the drooling stares of the hungry diner.
So as you sit in your local restaurant, or hawker centre, take the time to enjoy the composure of a dish, and allow the kaledoscope of rainbow colors unravel before your eyes.
presenting my tribute to colors... taken at the positively 'well-known' Privé bakery and cafe. So for all those who had guessed that that hunk's naked body in the previous post hailed from Privé, you're absolutely spot-on! Aptly named in my opinion, since Privé in french would actually mean deprive, saving for a lot of explanation on the poor service even in the late hours of the afternoon. Tsk tsk.
The meal was a breeze, not literally of course since we were housed in a tinted glass house shading us from the merciless sun. And as the conversation flew in between the courses, diving between the latest gossip and annoying interrogative questions, I sat and soaked in the atmosphere. The contradictory energetic vibe yet lazy drawl of the domain. Service in my opinion could indeed be turned up a notch.. but don't mind me.. I'm just sitting across the hallway staring at the case of sweet delights seducing me with their thick layers of chocolate and luscious meringue piled high...
Just for a moment.. it felt like it was back to the days in Australia. Just you and I. except that you weren't here. I'm wondering if things would work out.. i wish they would...
Leave unsaid unspoken
Eyes wide shut unopened
You and me
Always between the lines
Between the lines
Eye-candy Friday!No prizes for guessing where this hunk is from!
Just a little slice of eye candy for all before the weekends arrive...
what's installed? foodie outings and more tuition! haha. I ''love'' my life...
note to myself: poppy seeds! *chanting*
Burgers and Posh Nosh Desserts
Cravings are really rare guests for me, and when they come knocking, it's usually hard and fast... almost a little savage if you ask me. Ignorance would probably lead to a full-blown emotional landslide. So when my brain thought 'BURGERS', i listened with the attention of a meerkat guarding it's burrows.
First mention of burgers lead me to Smok'Inn Frogz Kitchen which I had raved upon after my late night rendezvous at the place for a quick birthday treat. And with no regard for the nagging urge to try out relish for it's wildly priced burgers, I made sound choice of picking the former instead.
Armed with my camera this time, i was better prepared to capture the ambience of the place. Laid back, heavily populated with caucasians (mostly rowdy from overdosage of beer) and just casual. Bf and I ordered the Grilled Salmon ($18) and the Beef Burger with Cheese ($12); again.. these were gargantuan in portions, but still good down to the minor details. The lightly toasted buns were excellent and I happily devoured it together with the melted cheese and moist beef patty. Caramelized onions, CHECK! Chunky steak fries... Crisp on the outside, revealing their moist innards only as you bite into one. I was in love with these. My bf's grilled salmon on the other hand was a major disappointment. Overcooked, and majorly overpowered by the tomato chutney sauce? ; it's price tag was unjustifiable. Advice for future patrons: stick to the burgers and steak sandwiches and maybe the fish and chips. oh yes.. and do grab a beer!
With our tummies laden full of carnivorous fantasies and well wishes, we droved down to Peaberry and Pretzel in search of some sweet endings to the meal. Traversing across the twists and turns of the tiny passage way guiding you thru shop after shop of food churning establishments, we pushed the sliding door aside and stepped into the warmly lit domain with fleur de lis inspired prints over the walls.
A cup of coffee... Just what I needed to soothe those nerves. And made using roasted peaberry beans, that probably explained the smoothness and incredible depth of the coffee. Acidity balanced with a tinge of wellrounded sweetness. Probably one of the better cappuccinos I've had. Current promotions seem states that for 2 coffees ordered, the second one would come at a price of $2.90 (U.P. $4.90)... Now that's a steal.
We also ordered the dessert platter for one ($14). Don't let your head betray you into thinking that this would be able to feed just one, because, 3 would have satiated and probably heavily sedated with the proportions served up. Basically comprising of all the desserts of the day in smaller cups and serving sizes, we were presented with an array of sweet indulgences, some hot and some cold. As a few of the desserts arrived in long stemmed martini glasses whilst the others appeared in shorter whisky glasses, I was immediately attracted to the structural appeal of the dish. Who could have though that $14 would buy you such a variety? Starting from the top, we had the Traditional Tiramisu, Strawberry Tiramisu, Blackforest verrine, Raspberry Panna Cotta and finally the Warm Apple Crumble with Vanilla Bean Ice cream.
The Tiramisu.. mediocre, could have used a more generous splash of liquid gold, but the crunchy pearls were a welcome addition to the entire dish. The strawberry tiramisu was much better with the homemade strawberry sponge fingers looking like a fluff of pink haven as you dug your spoon thru the sweet layering of berries and mascarpone to the middle. Would have been better with a little white rum possibly? But kudos to the chef for the use of incredibly sweet blueberries and strawberries for decor. The Blackforest verrine, featured kirsch soaked cherries, alcohol kissed chocolate sponge, velvety chocolate mousse completed with a chocolate ganache coating topped with croquante and more cherries. Definitely a dark horse, and not a favourite amongst the two blackforest haters like us. Pity though as construction of the dish was pretty well done. The Raspberry Panna Cotta immediately reined as the winner with my boyfriend as he happily lapped up spoonful after spoonful of the luxurious dessert. Claiming that it reminded him of jelly, I was appalled. Perhaps too much gelatine was used in its making. But oh well, you had to be something great to make my boyfriend eat his desserts. And last of all the Warm Apple Crumble, that for me was ultimate comfort food. Rolling tidbits of crumb strewned over warm apple fillings and topped of with a generous scoop of vanilla bean icecream. I dug in like a hungry ghost despite the buttons bursting around the middle. Darn my gluttony.
Overall, desserts were enjoyable but mediocre. Bang for buck and great for sharing!
TWD: and my heart sank...
as did the crumb toppings in my Blueberry Crumb CakeAfter a gruelling 56 cycles, finally.. my turn at picking a recipe for TWD. My choice... indefinitely something that showed off a bit of my character. Simple on the outside, with crunchy, interesting, itsy bits of crumb toppings on the surface. And a whole lot of purple depth splashed on the insides... the Blueberry Crumb Cake it was. Nothing fanciful, just a sturdy cake to go with a cup of afternoon tea.
Unfortunately... my attempts didn't succeed my 5 mins at fame. Instead of churning out a delightful confection with a somewhat similar resemblance to the Dorie's picture perfect crumb cake. A hideous monster with uncooked bottom, browned sides and non-existant crumb toppings greeted my sight. What a bummer... funny thing that the recipe worked out fine about a week ago on my first attempt. *shrugs*
Despite it's less than perfect composure, the boyfriend commented that it was alright, followed by a consolation hug; which I recieved with much neediness of course. Unwilling to face the remanents of my immense failure, off it went to another destination to be consumed by unsuspecting and perhaps guests who are much less judgemental. Life can be so hard sometimes... guess the cake accurately displayed my emotional status for these days. Just a little crumbless...
For a closer look at how the actual version should look like, do visit the TWD blogroll! Meanwhile, here's the recipe for you guys!
Blueberry Crumb Cake
Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: from My Home to Yours
For the Crumbs:
5 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts*
For the Cake:
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
2 cups plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/4 orange
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter at room temp
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate until needed. (Covered well the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 tsp of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled — it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients.) You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Pull the crumb mix from the fridge and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces. There’s no need to try to get even pieces — these are crumbs, they’re supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.
The Cake Slice: Triple Lemon Chiffon Cake
When life gives you lemons, you give them a lemon chiffon cake.
And that was exactly what we, the cake slice bakers did with this month's entry. The triple lemon chiffon cake, recipe taken from Sky High. The very name of this cake imparts a summery vision, of rolling green pastures and beautiful daises and sunflowers providing a riot of colors to the lush background. And so was the cake, a vision in its own rights... Soft springy lemon chiffon cake, tart lemon curd fillings and a lemon meringue frosting (i replaced this over the original lemon cream frosting as the weather was rather unforgiving that day). So that's a triple flip for all lemon lovers out there! Don't advice anyone to sink their teeth into their glorius confection if you ain't have a penchant for lemon though. Lemon fans, this one is for you!
You Found Me
When no one else was lookin'
How did you know just where I would be?
Yeah, you broke through all of my confusion
The ups and the downs
And you still didn't leave
I guess that you saw what nobody could see
You found me
After all this time, a very different pair stands before the world. Slightly a little worn from struggles, a little bruised from the fist fights, a little more parched from the squabbles, yet still, very much in love.
I've always thought about the difference between 'being in love with someone' and to 'love someone'. The former usually exists in the courting days, when one fluctuates between a state of infatuation and deep forlorn of being lonely. The latter on the other hand is on the other hand more chameleon like, adapted to various situations. Whatever it is... he makes me both want to stay in love and to love him with all I've got.
So what is it like to really love a woman? as summarised in Bryan Adam's spanish inspired ballad.
'To really love a woman
to understand her
you’ve got to know what deep inside
hear every thought
see every dream
and give her wings when she wants to fly
and when you find yourself lying helpless in her arms
You know you really love a woman '
that's what loving a woman is about. But I would reckon it gets 10 times worst if you're tasked with the responsibility of loving a woman like me. Especially the part 'lying helpless in her arms', meaning a tickle attack coupled with a tau-pok tactic from me... resulting in a laughing meek lamb in my arms. Kudos to Babe.
So to 'reward' him for his efforts.. or rather our efforts at hanging in there without getting at each others throats first for the last 18 months, I made a mini gift for him. And though small in size and value, It speaks volumes! Homemade granola to go with your favourite bowls of yogurt. I'm praying that you'll like it.
Easy Homemade Granola
recipe adapted from 'BAKED - new frontiers in Baking' by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
This granola is great for snacking on it's own, and for layering in fresh fruits and yogurt parfaits.
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup dried black raisins
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius. Line a baking sheet with parchment
- In a large bowl, toss the oats with cinnamon and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla till completely combined.
- Pour the honey mixture over the oats and use your hands to combine them. Gather up some mixture into a fist. Repeat till all the oats are coated in honey.
- Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly with a few clumps here and there for texture.
- Bake for 10mins then remove from oven and using a metal spatula, flip the granola over. Sprinkle the cashews over the granola and return to oven.
- Bake for another 5mins then repeat the same steps of flipping the granola then sprinkling the pecans over. Return to oven.
- Bake for another 10mins then remove from oven. Let cool completely before mixing the raisins in. Use your hands and transfer the granola to an airtight container where it would keep for a week.
and with this gift... I'm just hoping, with the teeniest light in my heart that perhaps I have finally found that 'someone' who makes my life complete.
Happy 1.5 year anniversary Babe.
What's for dinner?
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
My love affair with bread started in the later years. With my knowledge on rustic breads and traditional european breads in a gradual expansion mode. It was only a matter of time that my eager hands were put to work in an urge to master or rather, lick the thick layer of foam off the surging art of bread-making.
My personal preference for crusty wholesome loaves lead me by the nose. Experiments in creating my own sourdough levain soon ensued. Baby Belinda was the project. Consisting of a nurturing colony of bacteria in a jar that required consistent feeding everyday for an entire week before the bubbly mixture was ready for use in bread baking was indeed a mildly fascinating process for me. With Dan Lepard peering down my shoulder everyday as I cradled, strained and stirred baby Belinda, the sourdough culture grew strong and steadily, and increasingly acidic everyday. She huffed and puffed and bubbled to extraordinary heights as measured on the scale i drew on the glass jar using a temporary marker. That was my strong baby girl... And after some 6 days of constant feeding, she was finally ready for her final destination.
My onion and bay loaf.
The bread ending on my dinner platter the very next night. Grilled to crisp perfection with a fluffy crown of poached egg and a side of sauteed wild mushrooms and parsley. If I ever had the choice of 'alone food'; this would be the perfect candidate...
Onion and Bay Loaf
adapted from Dan Lepard's ' The handmade loaf'
For the Onions:
280g white onions, diced into 1cm pieces
280g whole milk
3 bay leaves
For the Dough:
100g strong wholewheat flour
400g strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 tsp fresh yeast, crumbled
250g milk from onions
150g white leaven
280g cooked onions
- Place chopped onions, milk and bay leaves in saucepan and bring to boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool for about 30mins. Pour through strainer to seperate onions from milk. Keep the milk for use in the dough.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk the yeast with the 250g milk in which the onions have been cooked. Beat in the leaven until the mixture is smooth and finally add the onions and stir. Pour the wet ingredients in with the flour and stir till you have a sticky dough. Scrape any dough from your finger and cover and leave for 10mins.
- Rub corn oil on your work space and keaned the dough on the welloiled surface for 10secs, ending with the dough in smooth round ball. Return to bowl and leave for 10mins. Remove the dough and knead once more again, returning the shape to a smooth round ball. Place it back in the bowl and leave in somewhere warm for 1 hour.
- Line a deep 20cm bowl with flour rubbed tea towel, lightly flour the work surface and shape the dough into a ball. Place the bal of dough seam side upwards into the cloth and cover it with the corners of the teatowel. Leave the bowl in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until loaf has doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 210 degrees celsius and upturn your load on to a floured baking tray. Spray the surface of the dough with a fine mist of water then place in the oven to bake for 20mins. Reduce the heat to 190 degrees and bake for a further 30mins until the loaf is a good dark brown color. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Monday draws to a close again. The next issue of TWD ensues... This week featuring the french yogurt cake chosen by Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction. Do visit her blog for the recipe.
As with the strange twist on my version's name, let me explain.. *taps foot* Nothing against the original published version on the book. But with the blue moon arisen above my horizons, I surely had to put my creativity to work. And alas... the pistachios stood like green magnets shining in awesome spectacle in my fridge. I gave in, swopping the fine almond flour for finely grounded pistachios instead. A cumbersome effort that was well worth the extra washing. The tender sprouting greens and incredible nutty aroma of the batter was right up my alley! With a gentle sprinkling of rosewater in place of the vanilla extract, I swear i could just feel a live persian dance in my kitchen.
And what better way to end off the entire mystical journey then a generous coating of warm apricot glaze and a shower of crushed pistachios... Now that's what I call a match made in heaven.
Stay tuned for next week recipe's of Blueberry Crumb Cake as chosen by ME!!!
Katy Perry - Thinking of You
Just a random post telling you guys how much I love this songstress's style! 80's pin-up girl..
Thinking of you is one my favourite song of hers. I'm sharing it here and I reallie hope that you guys enjoy it as well!
Comparisons are easily done
Once you've had a taste of perfection
Like an apple hanging from a tree
I picked the ripest one
I still got the seed
You said move on
Where do I go
I guess second best
Is all I will know
Chorus: Cause when I'm with him
I am thinking of you
Thinking of you
What you would do if
You were the one
Who was spending the night
Oh I wish that I
Was looking into your eyes
You're like an Indian summer
In the middle of a winter
Like a hard candy
With a surprise center
How do I get better
Once I've had the best
You said there's
Tons of fish in the water
So the water's I will test
He kissed my lips
I taste your mouth
He pulled me in
I was disgusted with myself
You're the best
And yes I do regret
How I could let myself
Let you go
Now the lesson's learned
I touched it
I was burned
Oh I think you should know
Looking into your eyes
Looking into your eyes
Oh won't you walk through
And bust in the door
And take me away
Oh no more mistakes
Cause in your eyes
I'd like to stay...
A Slice of Humble Pie: Pâtisserie Glacé
All it took was one earnest look and a question so profoundly simple that it spawned off an urge so disconcerting that I was scurrying to the dessert counter the very next afternoon.
" Have you been to Pâtisserie Glacé yet?"
After seeing the numerous reviews done by my friend and 'cake-consultant' here. I was aware yet oblivious to the fact that such a humble cafe residing in the undisturbed catacombs of Chinatown Plaza could be churning out such fantastic confectioneries that would even put big shots like Canele and Bakerzin at the edge of their seats.
And now. Having tasted them, the bars have risen. Honed and supported by the Japanese Community, it wasn't surprising to see a constant flow of Japanese nationals with their thick flowy japanese accents in tow.
The Opera, slightly on the dry side, could have done with a bit more drenching of coffee syrup on the jaconde sponge, still, the reminiscent flavor of thick coffee clings to the palate with every forkful. Each bite, a little more addictive than the last. The strawberry hills, an ingenious creation featuring a buttery tart crust, custard cream, soft sponge, strawberry slices and fresh cream; for me, was just a combination of everything I liked about desserts. Light and refreshing yet carrying the buttery intensity with its solid crust, I was left intrigued and yearning for more. My boyfriend on the other hand thought it was slightly confusing with its different textural contrasts.
All in all, I must admit that the Pâtisserie Glacé isn't exactly a gem in the rough; but more like a round brilliant cut diamond packaged in a velvet box, hiding in the inner pockets of a young gentleman's jacket. just waiting for the question to surface...
" Have you been to Pâtisserie Glacé yet?"Pâtisserie Glacé
34 Craig Road
#01-10 Chinatown Plaza
Fresh BakesAnd as you can see my banal efforst to get the bread to look the slightest bit like a plait. I blame it on my inexperience in the subject of hair-braiding of course since I was more prone to pulling the pig tails of my pre-school classmate rather than offer to help re-braid her messy plaits.
Let's talk about hair. To start with, I've never had long hair as a little girl. Looking at magazines overcrawling in ladies with impeccable dress sense, flawless skin and thick tresses. I often find myself admiring these women and their incredibly beautiful manes. And as I grew older, (specifically after my ordeal with nanyang primary school which had a strict ruling of no hair below the school collar. haha) opportunity finally knocked on my door. However, as quickly as the initial notion of having long hair clinged on, it rapidly dimished as well as soon as the cool air stopped circulating my neck area. Then, I knew that maintaining long tresses, especially in the tropics was going to be a pain-in-the-ass.
Since then, my hair hasn't changed much. Fluctuating between the skimpily thinned down and almost a little limpy version to the thick helmet like structure that sticks to my head when it thickens. Although my persistance wanes in the aspect of ever reaching a longer stage, i still look to those magazines and give a sigh of envy. Once in a while at least...
Back to the lemon poppy seeds plaits. These were wonderful. Lemon scented with the crunch of poppy seeds, they were a joy to nibble on with a generous coating of butter and jam. Just the way I like it.
Lemon Poppy Seed Plait
adapted from Don Yong's 'Bread Winners'
Bread Flour 150g
Plain Flour 200g
Milk Powder 12.5g
Bread Improver 4g
Instant dry yeast 5g
Butter 20g (softened)
Lemon flavor 2.5g
Poppy Seeds 12.5g
- With an electric mixer and a dough hook, mix all the dry ingredients together for 1 min under low speed. Add egg and water and mix on low speed for another min. Increase to medium speed and develop dough for 3 minutes. Add butter, lemon, flavoring and poppy seeds. Continue mixing until dough has completely developed ( passed window pane test)
- Round up the dough and leave in an airtight container for 1 hr until double in size from rising. Divide dough into 50g pieces and round up dough and allow to rest for 10min.
- Flatten dough pieces and mold the dough into strings that are thicker at the edges. Join 5 strangs of dough from left to right and plait.
- Prove the plaits in a warm place for about 1hr and brush with beaten egg over the surface gently and sprinkle with more poppy seeds over. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees celsius for 20-25 mins.
National Museum of Singapore & Novus Cafe
Escaping into the shadow of coolness of the museum and away from the blistering heat of the afternoon. I was awarded with an even more pleasurable find within the white ominous building that had always caught my eye on car journeys down orchard road. The National Museum of Spore, as spectacular and masculine a building as it looked from the outside, was a rioting spectacle on the inside as well.
With white washed walls and broody shadows casts over the towering double decks of the main foyer, it certainly was a photographer's haven. My judgement only bolstered by the numerous amounts of people I spotted with DSLR bags slung on their shoulders whilst cautiously bending over the posts to capture a good shot of the domed ceilings and the beautiful stained glass panels.
The empty walkways with doors alongside to the numerous galleries and exhibition halls were void of any decoration, yet they speak volumes thru its intricate designs and architecture. All this space.. my thoughts start drifting to a wedding along the aisles. *shut*
The exhibition galleries, all excellently planned and thoughtfully laid out was fun to navigate. Special respects going out to all the project managers and planners involved. If you haven't made a visit down to the museum yet, its prime time to consider doing so now. f.y.i; all NUS students get in for free, otherwise, the fees will be $5 and $10 for students and Adults respectively. Of all the galleries, the one that stood out to me the most was the History Gallery. Being provided with a listening companion each; an automated device that stores information on the artifacts as well as videos and listening aids; the journey through the immense gallery showcasing the history of Singapore from its founding days to the present was made much more interactive. But be prepared to spend a whole afternoon here if you're patient enough to listen to every detail of course.
Thirsty? Tired? The presence of the Novus Cafe within the compounds of the National Museum provides for the needs of the tired individual or hungry little ones. With a menu boosting of healthy classics like roast beef sandwich, muffins, pizzas, and your usual poisons such as milkshakes and coffee/tea; this a one stop cafe for both the sophisticated adult and tweenies alike.
I quickly developed a strange liking for this place. Not sure if it was the high ceilings, or perhaps it was the textured muted browns all along the walls interupted by rays of sunshine poking thru the tall windows and arched elongated doors. High tables and comfy lounge chairs lined the sides of the table with cushioned bean bag like sofas sprawled over the middle section for families, usually in tow of a pram. My ears twitch at the sound of the clitter clattering of the porcelain plates behind the counter followed by the trickling sound of cold hard ice cubes tumbling into a tall oldfashioned glass. I was enthralled by the mini-orchestra movement.
Our refreshments were quick to arrive. A warm toasty Blueberry Muffin, his Vanilla Milkshake and my skinny cappuccino.
And as we nibbled and slurped our way thru certain nirvana. Enjoying the cool wisps of air flowing thru the bottom of our feet. We watched as the lady opposite the room calmy lifts her pencil to sketch the scene in the room.
During my brother's recent short stay in Singapore, he would frequently complain about the bread available in Singapore. Once, he was offered a sandwich made using white bread from sunshine. After taking his first bite, he was utterly disgusted. I suppose it is his accustomisation to the bread served up in Australia that has cause his evolution of taste buds for 'artisian bread'. Whether it is bread for sandwiches or the muffin tops for your eggs benedict down under, good bread is always used. Sour dough, foccacia, rye bread, wholemeal, ciabatta; all these are found in every nook and cranny within the sprawling cities. Cafes thrive on businesses based on catering sandwiches for the working class. Steak sandwiches with gravy, even these are served on a toasted wholemeal slice with leafy greens sprouting the sides of the plate. Here in singapore, it's a totally different market altogether. White bread commonly available in the market are filled with commercial ingredients, additives and a whole load of bread softeners to keep the loaf soft for a longer period of time.
Personally, I haven't been eating white bread for a long long time. Sustaining myself on wholemeal loaves and multigrain bread most of the time. So when i took my own bite (out of disbelief that it could garner such a cinematic reaction from my brother), i too was revolted by the artificial taste of the bread. What exactly are we feeding our children?!
saying so.. it would then be a crime not to bake my own loaf of bread to appease my appetite which was currently suffering from the betrayal of authenticity of the white bread. In a moment.. HEY PRESTO! here's your fresh wholemeal bread... and as good as it was on its own with it's crusty edges and chewy yet tender centre, it was even better with a generous spread of butter and a slot of blueberry jam. This.. is what i called real bread.
Now.. if only i can get my leaven to start working its magic.. it's been almost 24hours and nothing is happening!!!
recipe adapted from happyhomebaking
(makes a 20cm round bread)
150g bread flour
150g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
- Place bread flour and wholemeal flour in a mixing bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
- Place all ingredients in the mixing bowl (except the butter) and using your mixer's hook attachment, allow the machine to knead the dough until it passes the window pane test.(about 10mins). Round up the dough on your oiled counter top and cover it with cling wrap and leave to proof at room temperature. The dough will rise till it's about double in bulk, about 1hr.
- Knock out the dough, making sure to get the air out, then give a few light kneading. Gently flatten the dough and shape into a smooth ball. Place dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a damp towel or plastic bag and let it proof for another 30mins. Note that this time round, instead of cling wrap, you should cover the dough with plastic bag, as the cling wrap may stick onto the dough and prevent it from rising properly.
- Preheat oven to 180 degC. Dust with some wholemeal flour and make 2 long slits on the dough with a sharp knife. Bake for 30mins until the crust turns golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
Boy.. the process of making this cake brought back gushes of memories. Not anything that I should be proud of at all, but still, I had bravely walked thru the tortorous phase of my life. A whiff of whisky from the opened bottle, the many glasses of whisky sours downed in a moment of sorrow and anguish. The thought of all the foolish acts I had put myself thru in those months of emotional struggle all seem just a little childish now... oh well.
This week's recipe as chosen by Lyb of And I do the dishes is the Chocolate Armagnac Cake, a.k.a, the cake that got Dorie fired? but why?! i suppose anything with that much alcohol in it would taste divine! *twiddles fingers*
In my own twist on the recipe, I swopped the Armagnac for Whisky instead as obviously the former was much harder to lay my hands on. And also, I changed the prunes for raisins instead. Both tweeks turned out pretty fine in the resultant product. Almost liked a light chiffon cake with the benefits of the whisky in it. *hic*
After stashing that one little slice as seen in the photo above, it was then a quick pack up for mum's office where the rest of the colleagues get to enjoy the rest of the alcoholic cake. haha.
To get to the point, I loved it, and i reckoned everyone else did. *double hic*