Monday, February 08, 2010

Hi Y'all! I'm back...from a long, long sabathical!

I know...I's a been a long absence. I must confess...I have been lazy...super lazy and bogged down with other stuff that takes me away from my first loves...FOOD, COOKING & BAKING! In between, I was posted to Shanghai and it's procrastination that finally took it's drastic toll on what I enjoy doing...

As part of my 2010 New Year Resolution...I will endeavor to kick start my dormant foodie blog again...sharing on new makan places, new recipes & interesting culinary tidbits!

Watch this SPACE!

Culinary yours,
Sharon ^_^

Thursday, May 03, 2007

In the Mood for...Mini Mixed Fruits Muffins

It's been a long long while since I last posted a recipe here. I have been a huge muffin fan and here's my take on the good ol' mixed fruit muffins. It is easy to prepare and you can use any sort of dried fruits you have in the pantry cupboard...raisins, sultanas, currants, cherries, cranberries, prune, dates, blueberries, mixed fruit peel...the list goes on and the choice is yours to make.

Mini Mixed Fruits Muffins

Ingredients for Muffin :

200g Plain Flour, sifted
1 level tsp Baking Powder
1/2 level tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
170g Castor Sugar
150ml Full Cream Milk
1 no. Egg, lightly beaten
75g Butter, melted
Zest & Juice from 1 orange
150g Mixed Fruits of your choice

Method :
1. Soak dried mixed fruit in orange juice overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 180 Degree Celsius.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sifted flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
3. In another mixing bowl, mix together the milk, egg, melted butter and zest. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Add in soaked mixed fruits to batter and mix till just moistened. Do not overmix batter.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cases.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 16 - 18 minutes or till skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the muffin.
6. Remove from baking tray and cool on a rack.

* To serve - Warm muffin in a microwave oven on HIGH for 10 seconds.

** Special Mention - If you want that extra zing in your muffins, replace milk with orange juice. For alcoholics out there, soak the dried mixed fruits in a combination of orange juice and rum/brandy for that extra booze...oops! I mean "boost"...!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Speakeasies in Hong Kong - Club Qing...

Club Qing
10F, Cosmos Building
8 - 11 Lan Kwai Fong
Central, Hong Kong
Tel : (852) 2536 9773 (Reservation)
Fax : (852) 2536 9778
Website :
Email :
Open Daily 7:30 - 11:30pm

Tucked away on the 10th floor of a quiet building in the centre of busy Lan Kwai Fong is the elusive and much talked about Club Qing. They have been constantly featured in the Top 3 of Hong Kong's list of Si Fong Choi restaurants. We missed out on a meal here on our last trip here simply because we have forgotten to make an advance reservation - a MUST if you want to savour a meal here as there are only 7 tables available and they are constantly fully booked every night. We decided on and pre-ordered the 11-course Chinese New Year Special Menu (HK$1,500 per head). As we were ushered into the restaurant, it was evident what the theme was as the interior are decorated in the Qing Dynasty theme with various Qing antiques and ornaments on display at every nook and corner of the tiny restaurant. The staff are very friendly and hospitable. Once seated, they take your drink order and at this juncture, the Chef-cum-Owner, Mr Andy Lam make his appearance to welcome you and your guests and do a little quick introduction of himself and his restaurant. Other than Cantonese, he is equally fluent in both English and Mandarin. He will also be constantly making short trips to your table throughout the night to intro each dish as it is presented. Course Number 1...specially selected Longjing Tea, presumably to prepare your appetite for the what's ahead! Next up, we had an assortment of cold fusion appetizers. The Sauteed Bunapi Mushroom with Pureed Black Truffle was an exceptional dish...I guess anything with truffle in it can't go wrong ya! The mushroom was lightly sauteed in butter and garlic and left to chill. It was then topped with a tiny dollop of pureed truffle before serving. The result was a beautifully-balanced dish -- succulent and crunchy mouthfeel and the tantalising flavour of truffle. The Ark Clam with Wasabi Sauce was a little disappointing though I enjoyed the wasabi sauce that went fairly well with the cucumber slices (anyway, I'm being bias here...anything with wasabi will naturally sit well with me!) The Ark Clam was tough and chewy which was a let-down. We also had the Spanish Aubergine marinated in Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce. The Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce was slightly hot and acidic and has a numbing effect on the tongue which also helps to give a different mouthfeel experience. Nonetheless, the ladies in the group were hooked on this sauce. Moving on from appetizers, we were next served with a huge slab of very lip-smacking Braised Superior Fish Maw. The fish maw has been soaked in water to hydrate and tenderise for 4 days and then braised in a broth made from slow-simmering dried scallops and dried shrimps for 4 hours. The texture is so soft, gelatinous and gummy. It was simply heavenly just having a bite and feeling it melt in your mouth. The next dish waiting to be served is the 28-head Japanese Superior Abalone. Similar in preparation to the fish maw, the abalone was braised in its own natural broth for 4 hours and the broth reduced to a thick concentrated sauce and served over the abalone. Simple but delicious. What more can I add. The seventh course to be served is the Deluxe Iron Kwan-Yin Tea which I again presume is the palate cleanser to prepare us for the next delicacy...Double-boiled Superior Sharks' Fin and Cartilage in Chicken Broth...all 3 taels of it (it says so in the menu!) I am not particularly crazy about sharks' fin coz firstly it's cruel to eat sharks' fin (think of all the poor finless sharks left to die on the ocean floor!) secondly, they are just bland in taste. However, I liked the Chicken Broth which was flavoursome and 'rich'! The last dish that came on before the dessert was the Stir-fried Udon with Crabmeat and Crab Roe. If you like you food a light and subtle in taste, you may like this dish because it's just that...good ol' home-cooked stir-fried noodles...what your mum and mine can conjure up easily in our home kitchen. I prefer mine with a little bit of wok hei...or literally wok's breath!! One more course of specially selected tea and we were finally presented with our final course for the night. With the price we paid for this menu, I was half-expecting to be served with double-boiled bird's nest (dessert that came with the HK$880 per head menu!) or at the least Hasma. What we got instead was the Chef's Special which was a Chocolate Moochi with Green Bean Powder and Orange Zest. Not very exciting and taste-wise not very challenging. The group also seemed to agree with me. What did I think of the food? Well, with all due respect, the quality was present, the taste relatively ok but I felt in all, it was an over-priced and over-indulgent meal! We were lucky we didn't suffer from a nose bleed! However, I would like to visit Club Qing again and try out their cheaper menus which include their signature dishes. Maybe my opinion will differ...Try it out and determine for yourselves!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In the Mood for...Warm Sticky Date & Fig Pudding with Creme Anglaise

Tried several Sticky Date Pudding recipes but always find them a tad too sweet for my liking and especially so coupled with the ever rich and decadent butterscotch or caramel sauce...diabetes alert!!! Chanced upon this easy-to-prepare recipe some while ago but somehow never found the time to attempt baking it. The original recipe is for a full 100% date pudding but I happened to be short on dates when the craving came and so decided to improvise and came out with my version with the addition of figs. Beautiful contrasting texture...soft, moist and warm and at the same time crunchyas you bite into the seeds of the fig. The pairing of the pudding with the Creme Anglaise is superb as it is not cloyingly sweet. High Yum Factor!

Warm Sticky Date & Fig Pudding with Creme Anglaise

Ingredients for Pudding :
200g Pitted Dried Dates
100g Dried Figs, chopped
150g Butter
250ml Water
3 nos. Whole Eggs
300g Brown Sugar
175g Cake Flour, sifted
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence/Extract

Method :
1. Preheat oven to 180 Degree Celsius.
2. Cook dates, figs, butter and water in a pot over medium heat until fruits are soft (about 15 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Blend fruit mixture to form a puree and set aside to cool completely.
4. Whisk eggs and half of the sugar for about 5 minutes till thick.
5. Fold in fruit puree and gradually add in flour, baking powder and remaining sugar. Mix well.
6. Line muffin tins with paper cases and fill with pudding batter.
7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes or till cooked.

Ingredients for Creme Anglaise :
250ml Cream
250ml Milk
100g Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence/Extract or 1 no. Vanilla Bean
4 nos. Egg Yolks

Method :
1. Combine milk, cream, sugar and vanilla essence/extract or vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Gradually whisk the mixture into the egg yolks.
2. Return mixture to the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

* To Serve - Warm pudding in a microwave oven, place assorted fruits on the side of the pudding and drizzle with the Creme Anglaise to finish.

** Special Mention - If you want that extra 'hic', er...I mean kick in your pudding, try adding in a tablespoon or two of rum or brandy to the recipe; or alternatively serve with some poached fruits laced with Grand Marnier. The choice is yours!

*** Post-mortem Report - If you are calorie-conscious, you can try to reduce the cream in the Creme Anglaise to 150ml and replacing it with milk. It will have a more watery, milky mouthfeel but not so heavy on your waistline!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fancy a Guilt-free Ice Cream...?

Bugis Junction Food Street, B1
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
Tel: 6333-8458

I was at Takashimaya last weekend and they were having a Food Fest in the Atrium. So...where there's food, you'll get the crowds! Much like what honey does to bees! There were loads of foodstuff available to satisfy all palates...well...almost!! I was dying for something cold when I came across this little corner kiosk selling soft-serve ice cream. This is no ordinary ice cream judging from the very long queue of people waiting patiently to get their hands on one. I thought to can't be that bad with that long queue of people waiting. I later found out that this is Uzumaki Soft Serve Ice Cream from Japan. It claims that it is packed full of goodness like antioxidants, vitamins and cleansing properties and contains almost no fat. It comes in eight flavour variants which include Matcha, Wasabi, Azuki, Sesame, Chocolate & Chip, Blueberry, Tencha Matcha & Seaweed Wasabi. And so I stood in line and waited patiently in the queue for my ice cream. A full 10 minutes of waiting before I came to the top of the queue...during that excruciating 10 minutes I was torn between a choice of either their popular green tea variant or the more exciting and palate challenging wasabi variant. I went the conservative way and decided against the risks. Unlike conventional soft-serves, this was dispensed in an one-shot dispenser. This is a British-patented machine that presses out oodles from pre-packed cups instead of the usual powder and liquid mix. Not only healthy, it is sterile - the ice-cream community made a big deal of this technology when it debuted in 1996. I had mixed reactions when I received my very 'safe' Matcha Ice Cream. At $4.00 a serve, I was expecting a monster of an ice cream but what greeted me instead was a meek-looking, kermit-the-frog green swirl of 'spongey' glob that was weak on substance, taste and texture. Given a choice, I would have preferred it with a stronger matcha flavour and a denser texture similar to premium ice creams. But...that's just my two cents worth! Try it out for yourself and be your own judge.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

High-Altitude Dining Experience @ Mezzaluna...

63rd Floor, State Tower Bangkok
1055 Silom Road, Bangrak
Bangkok 10500
Tel : +66 (0) 2624-9555
Fax : +66(0) 2624-9554

Website :
Email :

You've probably heard of the famous Sirocco Restaurant in Bangkok. The award-winning alfresco fine-dining venue on the 63rd floor of Bangkok's second tallest building, the State Tower. And so..what will a visit to Bangkok be if we missed out on an opportunity to wine and dine at this much-talked about restaurant. E did finally managed to book us a table a week before our trip there. And we came prepared and dressed to the occasion as they have strict house rules with regards to attire. However, with the rain and dark stormy clouds looming above, we had to kiss the opportunity goodbye and settle for the next best. You see, as Sirocco is an alfresco dining, they are inevitably affected by the elements and in this case, the threatening clouds and impending downpour! It was drizzling by the time the lift brought us up to the 63rd floor and we almost couldn't hide our evident disappointment. But there's nothing we can do to beat the elements. The only consolation the Service Staff offered us was for us to take a quick walk out onto the outdoor balcony and have a panoramic view of the mesmerizing nightlights of Bangkok's colourful skyline. The view here is just breathtaking to say the least and not for the faint-hearted nor for those with a phobia for heights! Anyway, back to the burning where did we end up having our meal? We settled for Mezzaluna, another Italian reataurant also located on the 63rd floor but with indoor dining. We were not disappointed too inspite of settling for second best! Both Mum and I decided on the 6-course Degustation Menu which cost a whopping 3800 bahts because we were exhausted just looking through the extensive ala-carte menu. Dad settled on a Pan Fried Foie Gras with Pineapple Jus Reduction for his appetizer which he described as simply shiok! The sauce also complemented the dish well without being too overpowering and acidic. For his main course, he had his eyes set on the Chargrilled Matsusaka Beef with Potato Mash and Baby Spinach. Aiyo! Dad offered me a bite and my eyes just rolled up towards the heavens. This is supposed to be an in-between grade between the famous Kobe Beef and the equally famous and slightly more affordable Wagyu Beef. know why I was in seventh heaven lah! The beef was so well-marbled and tender that it just literally melts away in your mouth! The portion served was big too which explains why my dad was generously sharing some of the beef with the rest of us. But the price tag was equally BIG too at 4200 bahts!!! That's even more expensive than my Degustation Menu put together!! E had a safe choice of Proscuitto with Melon for appetizer which like I mentioned was just safe (to read as OK lah, ordinary...etc) For mains, she had the Grilled Tiger Prawns and Scallops which was a great ala-carte choice as she wanted something light. Both the prawns and scallops were fresh and succulent and grilled to perfection. As for my Degustation Menu, I started off on an Antipasto Plate which consisted of a light assortments of pan fried foie gras, fresh oyster with a dill and lime mayo dressing, crayfish and tomato tian and proscuitto. Not a bad start to whet one's appetite for yummier things to come...Next up, came the Mushroom Cappucino with White Truffle Oil Drizzle. I particularly like the light foamy texture of the soup as you slish it around in your mouth. We had the Gratinated Canelloni stuffed with Maine Lobster next which was pretty ordinary. I was trying to find chunks of lobster in my canelloni but was disappointed when all I got was minced lobster stuffed into the pasta shells. To prepare us for our main course, we were all served a Pineapple Sherbet to cleanse our palates...Mmmm! Dad loved it and was complaining that they only served us one tiny scoop each. It's a palate cleanser not dessert, Dad! And so, we were served the Morelle Mushroom encrusted Lamb Noisettes. The lamb was delicately marinated and encrusted with minced morelle mushroom and baked. It was nicely done and juicy and without the 'lamby' note that some would find offensive in lamb/mutton dishes. It was light (to be read as small portion!) but appropriately so as we moved to the final end of the 6-course dinner. I was almost bursting at the seams already at this point...and there's still dessert to behold! I had the Lemon-Lime Brulee which was an apt finale to a wonderful and satisfying meal. Light both on taste and texture and simply enjoyable. If you next visit Bangkok and you have the $$$ to splurge on makan...consider the Sirocco for its food, picturesque view and unique alfreso dining experience. But if you have the chance, thanks maybe to unforeseen weather changes, don't forget to give Mezzaluna a go while you are there! I don't think you will be disappointed.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Local Thai Dining Experience...

Ban Klang Nam
288 Soi 14 Rama III Road,
Bangkhlo, Bangkhlolame,
Bangkok 10120
Tel : 0-2689-1969, 0-2292-0175, 0-2292-2037
Open Daily 11.00 am - 10.30 pm

Mum, Dad, E and myself popped by nearby Bangkok last week for a weekend of gatronomy indulgences and shopping bliss. We didn't quite shop till we drop but we sure made sure we didn't miss out on any makan opportunities whilst there. The first night E brought us to this local haunt, a 'kelong-style' restaurant nestled on the bank of the Chao Praya River and overlooking the huge Rama IX cable-stayed bridge. The sweeping view of the river and the bridge is magnificent if you can get a table out on the verandah. First on the menu, we had the perenniel favourite, Tom Yam Goong. The tantalising concoction of sweetness from the fresh and succulent river prawns together with the tangy lime juice and a light lashing of coconut milk is enough is whet your appetite. Next came the Thai Otah Otah which was lemak but I felt could do with another pinch of salt or some nam pla to make it even more yummy! We ordered the Stir-fried Bittergourd Shoots with Minced Garlic as we have never tasted this vegetable before. This was an interesting dish as it was a cross between Dou Miao (Pea Shoots) and Fan Shu Ye (Sweet Potato Leaves). It was cooked just nicely without being too overcooked and stringy. Next up, E ordered one of her favourites, Deep Fried River Prawns with Garlic. The deep-fried prawns were fresh and succulent and the garlic nibs fried just to perfection were sweet and aromatic. We were recommended the Steamed Scallops with Minced Garlic. (Ahem...garlic again! Garlic breath aarrgh!) The scallops were thick and chunky and were steamed with just the right timing, making it tender and juicy. However, we felt that it lacked the natural seafood sweetness...maybe a case of frozen scallops as opposed to fresh ones?!? The next dish was also a highly recommended dish...Thai-style Salt Grilled Sea Bass. Fresh whole fish (read scales and guts intact!) packed in sea salt and thrown on the grill. The compacted sea salt layer ensures that the natural sweetness of the fish is retained and helps to evenly distribute heat throughout to ensure even cooking. To eat...simply remove salt crust...peel away the fish skin (scales come off at the same time!)...and enjoy! Simple fare but heavenly shiok! Next up...what is a seafood makan without crabs!? And so E ordered the Thai-style Curry Crabs which is also the restaurant's speciality. The crab was sweet and meaty but I didn't quite like the curry sauce which was a tad too sweet and lemak for my liking. It didn't help that they threw in some fenugreek to spice it up. But...having said all that..E still loves crabs! Finally, to top off the night's feasting, we had a satisfying round of Sticky Rice with Mango. Make sure you pre-order in case it runs of of stock towards the end of your dining experience. That will be such a huge letdown! Overall, the food was good and reasonably priced. Reservation is highly recommended. The Service Staff there speaks basic English and you can even get them to speak to your taxi-driver for routes to get to the restaurant (via mobile phone though). Well, at least that's what E did and it worked out well! I give the restaurant a thumbs up for food, ambience and pricing. Drop by for a meal if you have the time whilst in Bangkok.