drown in chocolate, not love.


Here's my last installment for the chocolate series! So let's keep this short and simple.

Why the separatist movement? Well, let's just say the onset of summer in full blast just makes chocolate a very daunting ingredient to work with. We're talking about 46 degree Celsius heats here yar? *drats*

So here you guys go. My grand finale of Hazelnut Mocha Cake. Do spare a moment to read this if you've got hazelnuts and chocolate lying around dormant in your pantry. This might just entice you. And a note for you guys, this cake definitely taste better the next day!


Mocha Hazelnut Cake
makes one 8-inch cake

150g plain chocolate
4 tbsp strong black coffee
175g softened butter
175 g caster sugar
5 eggs lightly beaten
100g ground hazelnuts
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder

  1. Butter and line a 6 inch cake pan and preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  2. Melt the chocolate and black coffee in a double boiler till completely melted.
  3. Beat the softened butter and caster sugar till light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mixing well in between each addition.
  5. Fold in the ground hazelnuts.
  6. Sift the self raising flour and baking powder in a bowl and fold it into the mixture.
  7. Lastly, fold in the chocolate into the batter.
  8. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50mins.

100g plain chocolate
50g butter
3 tbsp strong black coffee
4 tbsp double cream
50g icing sugar
50g toasted hazelnut, toasted and chopped (optional)

Melt all the ingredients above ( apart from the hazelnuts) in a double boiler and cool before spreading it on to the cake. Hazelnuts can be used for garnishing purposes.


TWD: Lots of ways Banana Cupcakes


One speckled banana sprawled hurt and neglected on the side counter. Who can refuse it's call to be used in the event of its short ripened life? Having almost been thrown into the dustbin for a case of old age, I was fortunate to be there, to hear its silent beckon during the weekly clear out sessions. A rescue was mandatory and in the end of it all, paid off well....

I don't know whether you guys noticed, but I'm not so much a big fan of bananas as a fruit given its correlation to certain painful competitive events in my younger days. Think about tortured lungs, throbbing thigh muscles and endless degree of slopes (yes, cross country runners did have a thing for eating bananas before a race). But once the lovely fruit has been incorporated into a mixture of brown sugar, coconut milk and toasted coconut; it's hands-up for me all the way!

This week, Kimberly of Only Creative Opportunities has chosen A lot of Ways Banana Cake for TWD. I merrily halved the recipe to yield 12 cupcakes instead of a 9 inch cake only. To someones benefit too!

Somewhere along the way I managed to make a boo-boo but I'm relieved that all turned out well in the end. I'm sure that many bakers have the same experience with me. It's the part where you have placed the baking tin the oven and patted yourself on the back; you proceed with clearing out the used utensils and realise that there's still sifted dry ingredients in the bowl that you have forgotten to incorporate into the mixture. DARN IT! In a frenzied state, you consider swiping out the batter from the baking tin and doing a final mixture, only to be hindered by the lovely bubbles rising on the surface of the batter. You cross your finger and pray for a good ending, a upheaval of regret within.

All's well that ends well. I adore the crunchy bits throughout the cake acquired from the toasted shredded coconut. Thanks Kimberly for picking out this week's recipe!


A lot of ways banana cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
5/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
80g butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/8 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana (preferably speckled and ugly)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a bowl.
  3. Beat the butter till creamy. Add in both the sugars and beat till smooth.
  4. Add in the egg and the vanilla and beat in to incorporate.
  5. Mash the banana with a fork in a small bowl.
  6. Lower the speed of the mixer and add in the smashed banana and beat till well mixed in.
  7. Add the flour mixture and coconut milk alternatively into the creamed mixture in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Portion off 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner. Bake for 20mins till golden brown.
  9. Stir in the shredded coconut in the final stage.

Season for Chocolate


Third time in a row. I surprise myself with my dedication to the whole chocolate therapy idea. People who think they know me very well would deny my abilities to stick to a plan or ambition for very long. Well, I guess we've an exception here since chocolate being full of phenylethylamines convinces the brain that its happy doing all the extra work.  

This time my shifty chocolate cravings manifested in the shape of... chocolate pancakes! And I was sent on a wild goose chase for a perfect recipe constrained by my meagre pantry stock and blurry eyed hunger pangs in the morning.   Throwing in a tblspoon or two of  rolled oats into the mixture, it gave me reason to believe that this morning indulgence was a tad healthier.

I couldn't be happier.

Chocolate Pancakes for one lonely girl
makes 3 pancakes

7 tblspoon all purpose flour
1 tblspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tblspoon sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tblspoon rolled oats (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 egg lightly beaten
2/3 tblspoon cooking oil

  • Whisk all the dry ingredients in one bowl
  • Pour the buttermilk, egg and cooking oil into the dry ingredients and stir till dry ingredients are no longer visible.
  • Leave mixture for 5mins on the counter to thicken.
  • Heat up the well-oiled griddle. Cook 1/4 cup batter. Cooking 2-3 mins on one side before flipping and cooking for another 2 mins.
  • Enjoy your pancakes any style you like. Think BIG!!! whipped cream, strawberry preserves, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, fresh berries and clotted cream or just a simple knob of butter.

oodles of noodles


Welcome to the Madinat Souk - Madinat Jumeirah, where the vibrancy of an authentic Arabian market comes to life with bazaar like shopfronts featuring all kinds of knick knacks and precious finds.

Oh give me a break... have you even seen a REAL Souk before? Trust me.. it never looks as manicured as this, with outrageous furniture shops selling the most intricately designed stools with price-blinding spells to match? The heat and the bustle generated from buyers seeking a good bargain expelled only by the strong waves of cool air generated from the nearby air con generator. Sorry to burst your bubble fellas.. but if you want to see a genuine souk, you're in the wrong place. Unless of course you're relatively aware of the extent of this con job and are solely there for the purpose of filling your empty belly. Then this place does have its charm over its diners.


Today, let's talk about the noodle house. Introduced as a casual dining place cooking up a storm with it's fiery rendition of South East Asian dishes. The noodle house offers diners an unpretentious and comfortable yet chic atmosphere to dine in whilst keeping their eyes on the grill through the open kitchen concept.


Firstly, the quarter roast duck. Arrived in measly portions with glistening crisp skin nonetheless. No qualms that this duck was roasted perfectly, I just wish the staff were a little more heavy-handed with the pancakes though.


We decided to give the Wasabi Prawns a try as well given that it was sold as a new recipe contributed by our very own Sam Leong (maestro behind restaurants such as Jade and My humble house) during his short visit as guest chef to Dubai.
We were sorely disappointed with it's lack of finesse given that the prawns lack the same firmness and freshness as the ones served in Duck King. Presentation left much to be desired for as well.


Moving on, the salt and pepper calamari was acceptable with the sweet chili dip providing some high ground for the dish.

and finally the laksa... the highlight of my mundane week. A spoonful of creamy coconut richness and a good measure of good spirit thrown into the mixture. It's miraculous how some foods just evoke a happy feeling in your heart yes?

What is your happy food then?


The noodle house
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road
Timings: Daily: 12.00pm to 12.00am
Normal operating hours during Ramadan
Tel: +971 4 3666730

I think you're cheating on me.

my green tea yogurt with fresh kiwi, cashew nuts,
crunchy chocolate pearls and homemade granola!

And as the temperatures soar to an intolerable high in the mid-forties region, and beads of sweat collect on your brow bone almost immediately after you've stepped out of the comforts of the roaring air conditioned room. I can't help but feel a well of dread and peaking annoyance build up within me. It's no wonder people tend to flare up more easily during summer.

What better way to cure the onsets of high temperature then with a cup of cool, tangy yogurt! Pink Berry is one of the many brands of frozen yogurt franchises popping up in the heat of summer in Dubai. Having its roots in Los Angeles, California, Pinkberry was the brainchild of two Korean Americans, Shelly Hwang and Young Lee. Now with 73 stores under its helm, Pinkberry sets out to conquer the international market as well, setting foot in Dubai with its first outlet in Mall of the Emirates.

So if you haven't tried it yet, why not take a break from the summer sales rack trashing event and head down for a cup of frozen yogurt.

Don't worry, I won't tell ice cream that you're cheating on him. *wink*

Mall of the Emirates
Ground Level, North Galleria
Swirling daily: 9am-12am

Picking Shoes


New Fred Perry Shoes to replace my old flame, the radically snug river island ones that I acquired about 3 years ago. Never to be superseded by any other despite my incessant hankering after white shoes of all kinds. Until now of course...

My gaze shifted quickly to the white figure parading the shelves. This was it, love at first sight. Slipping it on my bare feet, I adored the gentle carressement of its touch. I needed no reassurances, no deep pondering moments. It was a painless, heart-led choice.

I deserve it. A little self justification going on here. Please bear with me.

Someday I will come across some radiant choice in life as evident and as prominent as this one. What it may concern, that remains a mystery.

In the Making: Oven Heaven


Trepidation, anxiety, zeal and a spritz of hope. The current mixture to our project 'Oven Heaven'.

I'm praying that my shipment clears customs without a hitch. But some how I have my doubts.

Now I've got deal with conditional release requests for shipment to be signed where inspection of my deferred consignments will be carried out at my warehouse.

I wish I had a runner. During my recent visit to the Karama Dubai Municaplity office, I took a quick peek at the crowd in the room and realise that I was the only non-Indian. Having the food control department staff pointing to your name on the trade license and asking you 'so, who's your boss?'  is a rather awkward experience.

erh... 'I am?'

More updates soon.

TWD: Tarte Noire

Part Two of my Chocolate Therapy

This week's TWD choice of Tarte Noire as chosen by dharma girl of bliss: towards a delicious life contributes to part 2 of my chocolate remedy session. The recipe can be found here!

What more can I say, chocolate shortbread tart dough filled with ganache (flavored with a little hazelnuts that I allowed to bob around in the pre-boiled cream for a little). Unfortunately the presence of the hazelnut failed to shine thru and I was left with... nothing short of a chocolate symphony; a cure for heart sore (oh yeh.. it's still there).

More chocolate pieces to come, I assure you. I would be glad to hear some suggestions for chocolate recipes from you guys though. Anyone?


Sushi with a side of Manga


'Would you like a side of anime with that order of ebi tempura, ma'am?', BOY, would I have not been surprised to hear that line coming from the waitresses (clad in school girl uniforms complete with scarf and a braid of pink extension in their hair to resemble Japanese school girls from anime).

In terms of novelty factor, Manga Sushi leads the way in the Japanese food scene within Dubai. Breaking through the dime in dozen syndrome with its unique dining concept, complete with special uniforms, anime drawings splattered all across the walls and even the owner's personal collection of manga at the diners' fingertips.

Quirky factor aside, Manga Sushi delivers in terms of consistency of its food. Neither can you rate it extremely good nor drag it down in a bottomless pit of rants and disapprovals. The Spider (soft shell crab tamaki) served in either 3/6 pieces was mediocre, if not a little lacklustre with the absence of vinegar in the sushi rice prodding me towards a slight irritant state. That aside, the soft shell crab on its own was done quite well. Equally run-off-the-mill was my order of Ebi Tempura, it's batter not reaching the light frothy state that was enough to will me into submission. But I must admit to having slightly pampered taste buds. And in this case, it just wasn't enough.

All in all, Manga Sushi has personality, and that probably serves as its' only draw factor for patrons to return back for more. If you're looking for quality Japanese food, perhaps you would like to give Kiku a try instead. *twiddles thumbs*

Manga Sushi
Beach Park Plaza Centre, Jumeirah, Dubai
Opening times:
Sun-Wed 11am-11.30pm; Thu-Fri 11am-1am
Tel: 04 342 8300

eat, drink and socialize


It's not often that I get a strong hint as to which restaurant I want to dine in. Blame it on my easy-going nature and lack of decisiveness, it can truly be such a frustrating event with friends sometimes. However, due to my building anticipation that resulted ever since seeing the construction panels surrounding the mystery space opposite our usual haunt Eric Kayser in Dubai Mall; I was itching to try Social House.

And upon my return from my short trip back to Singapore, I had the opportunity to pick out the lunch venue for the afternoon. "I want to go to Social House", I blurted; these words carrying an odd ring to it with a tinge of authoritativeness usually not present in my voice. *shrugs* Even I scared myself.

So.. social house it was.

All was in perfect order and I relished in the photo opportunity having fallen immediately in love with the high open ceilings and drop lights complete with the high shelving showcasing brilliantly marketed products meant to promote the fun-loving nature of Social House. Until.. I got a warning from the manager that other customers were not pleased with my spam of photography. I was deeply shocked since I did make a conscious effort to leave these people out of my shots, still I abide by the rules and placed my camera down like a docile little lamb, not without a silent resentment in my heart nonetheless.

The food on a whole was excellent and my bibimbap was gorgeously flavored with a tinge of curry powder (non conventional but still a good twist on the usual), extremely flavorful and addictive even to the last bite. The cappuccino on the other hand was disappointing despite my suspects of a joint venture with provision of coffee from Brunetti.


Special mentions goes out to the dessert. A warm banana tart with chocolate and caramel drizzle served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Delicious in all ways given the crisp buttery puff pastry, the caramelised bananas in the center accentuated by the coolness of an accompanying bite of ice cream.

All in all, Social House is definitely not a fad and with its unique blend of cuisines from all over the world delivered in an appetising fashion. I'm pretty sure that the large crowds that have gathered in the restaurant are here to stay, at least for some time to come.

Social House
Dubai Mall

Opening Hours
Sun – Wed: 8am – 11pm
Thu – Sat: 8am – 12am

Call : +971 4 339 8640
Fax : +971 4 330 8185
Email : enquiries@socialhouse.com

Food for the upset.


I'm upset.

This calls for chocolate therapy.

And not in its simplest form as I would normally have it ( I suspect my preferences changed based on the availability of good chocolate in the house. Someone.. give me la maison or Jean Paul Hevin please!!!); I decided to take a more precarious path with the addition of a wee bit flour, sugar and eggs. And viola, a sweet treat to wheel the blues away.


Remedy for the heartsick
makes 1 chocolate roll

1/3 cup cake flour
1/6 cup cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs (separated and at room temperature)
1/4 tsp cream of tar tar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla paste/powder

1) Butter and line a 9 inch square pan. Preheat the oven to 165 degrees celsius.
2) Sift 1/3 cup (45g) cake flour, 1/6 cup (15g) cocoa powder and 1/8 tsp salt in a bowl.
3)Beat 3 egg yolks and 1/4 cup granulated sugar till thickened and pale in color. About 3 mins.
4) Scrape the sides of the bowl down and mix in 1/4 tsp instant coffee and 1 tsp of vanilla.
5) Set aside.
6) Beat 3 egg whites and 1/4 tsp cream of tar tar until foamy. Slowly add in 1/4 cup granulated sugar bit by bit whilst still whisking. Beat on high until stiff peak.
7) Gently fold in the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in 3 additions.
8) Fold in the flour mixture with a light hand until the flour mixture is no longer visible.
9) Scrape the mixture into the pan and bake for 20mins.
10)Cool the cake on a rack for 25mins before unmoulding.

Chocolate Mousse filling
makes enough for the chocolate roll and for the heartsick to snack on.

4 oz semisweet chocolate
1 cup cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp sugar

1) Double boil the chocolate, 2 tblspoon sugar and 1 tbsp unsalted butter until melted and well combined.
2) Add egg yolks, 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp cream. Whisk to combine over low heat for about 2mins.
3) Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10mins.
4) Whip the remaining 3/4 cup of cream till stiff peak.
5) Fold in whipped cream into chocolate mixture.
6) Fill the cake as desire and roll it up using parchment paper as backing.