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Monday, May 21, 2012

Salted Caramels!

I am a savoury person – salt over sweet any day!

I don't like the idea of a sweet element on a savoury dish (although there are some exceptions, i suppose) but i totally don't mind a salty element in a sweet dish!

This lead me to borrow a book entitled 'Salty Sweets' by Christie Matheson from the National Library.
This is the very first recipe in the book and i love it!

When i was still in Sydney and was out with Yuki for lunch one day, we both bought a candy thermometer and this is the first time it has been used and with great success too!

Making candy may seem daunting since one is dealing with super hot caramel and it kinda gets a little fiddly. but it is worth persevering on. This is my first attempt and it is a great success so please do try!

Makes 40-50 pieces

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp unsalted butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
¼ cup water
1 tsp coarse sea salt – whatever you have on hand really.. use all kinds of fanciful salts


Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, then lightly butter the parchment.
Combine the cream, butter, vanilla and sea salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for about 4 minutes, then remove it from the heat and set aside.

In a heavy medium size saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring till the sugar completely dissolves. Once they have dissolved, boil without stirring – swirling the pan occasionally until it’s a light amber colour and the candy thermometer registers 340 Fahrenheit, about 7 minutes.

** I had great trouble with this. If possible, choose a heavy bottom pan with high sides but not too wide in diameter. The mixture will foam up later, which is why we need the high sides, but if your bottom diameter is too wide, your sugar syrup mixture is so low that the candy thermometer doesn't come into contact with the liquid. So i had to keep on tilting the hot pan on its side in order to get a reading on the thermometer. It did work though but it made it more troublesome then it really is. This constant tilting/swirling helped though, as i didn't get any burnt bits at the bottom at all.

Turn the heat down to medium-low, carefully stir in the cream mixture (it will foam up) and simmer, stirring often, until the liquid is at 246 Fahrenheit on the candy thermometer, 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Stir in the *fanciful salt*, then pour the caramel into the prepared baking dish; let cool for at least 3 hours. I really couldn't wait 3 hours, i think i only waited about 2, but it was fine..

Cut in a sawing motion. I tried slicing it like one normally would and it didn't work, it stuck to my knife. So it is very important to slice this in a sawing motion and maybe even oil/butter the knife.

Wrap each in parchment paper. This, i must say is the most tedious step of making candies. It took me a few tries before figuring out how best to wrap it. Since, as you can see, this is quite a wet candy and the liquid seeps out from the ends.

Store in an airtight container and in the fridge to keep them fresh and avoid them getting eaten up by ants!
You can also dip the cooled caramels into melted chocolate and let harden before wrapping.

Since i used coarse sea salt at the end, some pieces of caramel candy had bits of salt in them. I really really liked those, but of course, if you're not as crazy about this as i am, use fine sea salt in place and even reduce the amount of salt to make it more sweet than savoury.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Black Sesame (Goma) Ice Cream

I love black sesame ice cream and it has always been one of the flavours that i really want to try making myself since commercial ones tend to always be too bland, too milky and just really lacking the fragrance of black sesame.


However, one of the major problems i encountered was finding black sesame paste. I have black sesame powder but black sesame paste is an absolute must in getting that beautiful charcoal colour and for the wonderful depth of flavour that only black sesame paste can bring.

So i searched online for other recipes that used black sesame paste and see if they mentioned where they got theirs in Singapore. and i came across a blogger who swears by the black sesame paste (pictured below) and it can be found at Sun Lik located at 33 Seah Street. It is a small baking supplies store and each bottle is 100g and cost SGD$6.80. It isn't cheap but definitely worth it!



It also says to not put in the fridge. It's a very thick and difficult to stir paste so putting it in the fridge will make it even more difficult to work with if it's cold.


50g Black Sesame Paste + 1 tbsp sugar
180ml milk
2 egg yolks
60gsugar (i used raw caster sugar)
120ml cream
1 tbsp Black Sesame Powder (remember to sieve!)


In a bowl, whisk together the black sesame paste and 1 tbsp sugar.
*Well.. if you noticed in the picture, i actually made a mistake and mixed the 60g of sugar into the black sesame paste instead. No worries, no harm done! :)


Heat the milk in a saucepan while whisking the egg yolks and sugar in another bowl.

Slowly, add the warmed milk to the egg yolk mixture and whisk/stir continuously to prevent scrambling the eggs.

Place the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over a low low heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, take it off the heat and add it slowly into the black sesame paste sugar mixture while whisking continuously.

Let the mixture cool while stirring occasionally
*This is the lazy method. The proper one should be to sieve it then place it over a bowl of iced water to reduce the temperature.

Now we sieve the mixture, cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in the fridge for as long as you possibly can, but definitely at least until the mixture is completely cold.

In a separate bowl, combine the cream with the sieved ground black sesame seeds.
*I didn't think of sieving it and it had many many clumps so i went through the mixture slowly and mashed the lumps!

Add in the cream mixture to the cold custard from before and pour into the ice cream machine to churn for 20 minutes.



Friday, April 27, 2012

Dinner at the Soup Restaurant 三盅两件

Recently, me and fish had dinner at the Soup Restaurant and we have not eaten there in a long time, so one day, we decided to try it.

We had a 2 person set meal which consisted of soup, samui chicken, vegetable (we requested the dang gui kai lan), hometown tofu, olive rice and dessert.

It was all great.

First, the chicken came.


It was succulent and delicious with the ginger oil mixture. Yummy! I preferred the chicken breast to the thigh though. The breast was still soft and moist. The thigh however, i felt were a little bloody and tasted too much of raw chicken – though i'm sure it was cooked though. So 10/10 for the breast meat!


Then we had the Hometown Tofu. It was delicious, although i felt the sauce was slightly too salty and the 'skin' of the tofu a little too thick. but nonetheless, i liked it.


The menu actually came with sweet potato leaves instead but upon fish's insistence, we changed it to this Dang Gui Kai Lan instead, and it was a good choice. I really liked the herbal flavour of the dish and the best thing was that it was mostly leaves and they didn't give a whole load of stems, which i wouldn't have liked. This was really nice.


We then had olive rice to go with the dishes. As much as i love olive rice, i think maybe the combination of the samui chicken's ginger oil and the oilness of the olive rice made it a little too oily. It was still delicious, don't get me wrong, but maybe plain rice might be better? Though i know i will always be tempted to order olive rice since i love eating olive rice.

This was a filling dinner. but oh so delicious and satisfying. Can't wait to go back and eat again!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chocolate Ice Cream!

I apologize. I can't seem to find my ice cream scoop and i can't get a decent picture of the ice cream. So trust me when i say this is awesome. Alright? Smile

When making ice cream, we generally have a base custard mixture to which flavours are added in. and this is a really basic recipe for a rich chocolate ice cream.


180ml milk
2 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
70g bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee powder
140ml pure cream
1 tsp vanilla extract


Heat the milk and vanilla essence.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Whisk till pale.

Slowly, add in the heated milk while whisking continuously to prevent cooking of the eggs.

Pour the mixture back into the pot and thicken, while stirring constantly over low heat to prevent cooking the eggs as well.

* Should you accidentally scramble the eggs, either sieve the mixture before continuing or use a hand blender to blend it all together. If this happens, and you were intending on making vanillia ice cream, i would suggest that you change the flavour, as it will have a slight flavour of cooked eggs, but if you changed the flavour to something else, the eggy-ness would not be so prominent.

After the mixture thickens, take it off the heat and let it cool slightly. Then add in the chocolate pieces. Stir to ensure that all the chocolate pieces have melted and are well combined.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and coffee powder, if using. Add into the chocolate custard mixture and stir to combine.

Sieve the mixture to ensure that you get a smooth creamy ice cream.

The mixture should be relatively cool now. If not, place it over a bowl of ice water to reduce the temperature.

Add in the cream. *Should you feel that the mixture is too thick, add a little more cream. I have made adjustments to this in my recipe but feel free to change it to suit your tastes.

Cover the bowl well and chill in the fridge for as long as you can.

Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream machine and let it churn for 20 mins.



**A note about homemade ice cream – From my experience, since this is homemade and it has no weird chemicals and ingredients, this ice cream melts quite fast. So be sure to eat it quick and keep it frozen at all time. Although.. it would make a awesome thick chocolate shake should it melt. hehe.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Nigella's Gooey Chocolate Puddings!

It's has been so long since i last blogged. I seem to have a tendency to stop blogging once i'm back in Singapore and this time, i'm back for good.

A few weeks ago, Shermay's Cooking School was having a sale on Valrhona Chocolates. I went and picked up some items and finally used the chocolates in this terribly deliciously sinful chocolate pudding last night! Fish declared it the best chocolate dessert i've ever made. :D


This is very simple to make and the end result is a thick gooey rich brownie-like liquidy chocolate goodness!

None of us could finish the pudding in one sitting, so we waited till it cooled, covered with cling wrap and stored it in the fridge. We ate it again tonight for dessert, cold from the fridge, it was still as awesome! No longer gooey, but it has become a damn delicious cold dense chocolate cake!

Ingredients (This recipe is taken from Nigella's How to Eat)

125g best quality dark chocolate (i used Valrhona's 65% dark chocolate)
125g unsalted butter
3 large eggs
100g sugar (The original recipe called for 150g, but i left that it was too sweet)
35g plain flour
butter and flour for ramekins


Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over simmering water.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour.


When the melted chocolate cools and is not too hot, add it gradually into the egg mixture. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Grease and flour the ramekins.

*Nigella said to use 4 ramekins, but i didn't have enough for 4 ramekins, i only had 2 ramekins, so i filled them quite full and pour the rest into a larger ramekin. It is very rich and i do doubt that most would be able to finish it all in one go, so i'd say to reduce the amount in each ramekin, i think it would fit 4 ramekins, 1/2 full.

Nigella states that these have to left to cook at the last minute and served almost immediately.

Into the oven they go! According to Nigella, for 10-12 minutes.

I placed them in a little longer, around 15 minutes. You will still get a nice gooey centre but the sides would have been cooked into a dense brownie fudgy sponge. The tops would be cracking and the edges would look set.

Serve this with a jug of cold cream for your guests to pour into the hot hot delicious chocolate pudding!


We truly enjoyed this and i hope you will too! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crouching Tiger Hidden Bacon! – Inspired Bacon Bread w/ Black Pepper!

I decided to bake bread again today. I don't know why, just felt like it.

I decided to make bread and incorporate bacon in it.

So i took the recipe i used for the fluffy dinner rolls and changed it up a little.


What i did different this time:

1. Instead of making 14 balls about 54g each as i did to make simple dinner rolls, i made them into approximately 100g portions, so i got 7 buns.

2. After portioning them out and rolling them into balls, i rolled them out into a long oval shape.

3. On the oval piece of dough, i sprinkled some freshly grounded black pepper and then place a piece of bacon on it. I removed the rind and excess fat on the bacon. The rind would not be able to crisp up and would be tough and chewy if i had left it in. Slicing off excess fat also meant that if you should eat the bread cold, the fat doesn't become chewy, cloying and off-putting.

4. After i layered the black pepper, bacon and more black pepper, i rolled it up, from one end of the oval to the other. Press the seam down to seal and place the seal side down on the baking paper, this ensures that the seam does not pop open during the dough's rising and baking process.

5. Instead of buttering the tops of the dough, i used an egg with 2 tsp of water mixed together and brushed it on instead. Milk with the egg or just milk would work as well. I think both the egg and milk imparts fragrance and a slightly sweet flavour as opposed to the butter.

6. I did accidentally use more butter than the recipe called for, but it seems like it turned out well.

7. I tried to measure the amount of flour i used this time. In addition to the additional 3/4 + 1/2 cup of flour. I think i used an extra 1 1/2 cups. The dough i realized, is quite forgiving. With 1 cup of additional flour, it already came together very well in the mixer and wasn't sticking. When i transferred it to be kneaded by hand, it didn't stick to my hand as well, but there was just a slight sticky feel to the dough, so i added another 1/2 cup of flour gradually. But i should suppose that it would be fine if i had not added that extra 1/2 as the dough was already quite elastic and soft.


I think the bread turned out great! Just 2 things i might do differently in the future:

1. Give the bacon a slight wash and dry. Although i felt that it was ok, fish felt that there was something about the flavour of the bread nearest to the bacon. I couldn't think of what it might be and hui didn't mention anything about it, but i think next time i would wash the bacon to get rid of the slight slimy layer on the bacon.

2. Add cheese! I think this would work well with a layer of cheese and it would make a very nutritiously balanced bread (i think). And i might change it to ham next time as well. Some good quality ham from a good butcher.


3. Oh and.. these bread really do expand, so i might not squeeze all the bread into one tray next time. Although the flavour wasn't affected and they do tear away nicely.

And i realized that the expiration date on the bottle of yeast isn't accurate. I just realized that mine expired March 2010. and i'm still using it right now and it rises perfectly! I store mine in the fridge. but if you're ever not sure, be sure to just test it to make sure it foams. We don't want any disappointment now.. do we?

Please try it! and let me know how you go with it!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Fluffy Dinner Rolls!

Yum! This dinner roll recipe is from Betty's Kitchen on youtube.

This makes an amazing dinner roll! You have to try it!

I used my KitchenAid to make this but you can definitely make it by hand.



2 ¾ to 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (I'm actually not sure how much flour i used at the end)
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 package (2 ¼ tbsp) active dry yeast
70g butter, softened
2/3 cup warm milk
1 egg (at room temperature)
melted butter, enough to brush tops of rolls


In your mixer bowl, add in and mix well 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 1/4 tbsp of yeast.

Add in the softened butter.

After this, gradually add in the warm milk and beat for around 2 minutes or till thoroughly mixed.

Add in the egg and 1/2 cup of flour and mix till it's a thick batter.

Slowly add in more flour while beating it continuously with a dough hook.  

Beat it till it forms a smooth and elastic dough.

**This is actually why i don't know how much flour i used eventually because i just kept adding till i felt it was the right consistency. I stopped when the dough stuck slightly to the bottom of the bowl while beating.

**I also don't only knead using the KitchenAid, i always finish it by hand to ensure that i reach the right feeling of the dough. This comes with experience but it is definitely doable. In Chinese cooking books, you knead till you attain 3 types of brightness: your hand, the table/bowl that you are kneading in and the dough itself. What this means is that the dough is no longer sticky, so your hands and table/bowl is clean and in a way, shiny. Your dough should also be smooth and elastic, not sticky.

After kneading, place the bowl in a greased bowl and cover with cling film to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. (Since i always bake at night and it's not very warm here, i preheat my oven for around 5 minutes to get it slightly warm then switch it off and leave the bowl in there to rise.)

After rising and doubling in size, i divided the dough into 14 portions.
*I measured the dough so that i could get equal portions. Each piece of dough was around 54g, but that would differ according to your individual dough.

With each of the portions, roll them into a nice smooth ball.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place them about 2cm apart to give them space to rise.

Cover with cling film and leave to rise for another hour.


Taking melted butter, brush the tops of the dough. I also sprinkled a bit of coarse salt on the tops to give it a little salty burst.

Bake in a 200 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the tops are a nice brown colour.


Enjoy them warm with more butter!



P.S. The funny shape of the insides of the dough is because of the way i rolled them into balls. But they still taste amazing!! Smile

Thanks Betty!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Easy Drink! – Sprite w/ Lingonberry Jam

We bought a bottle of lingonberry jam from Ikea a while back and have not used it very often since. but i do love lingonberry, so i had a sudden inspiration to try this out one day and i love it!


Just take a glass of sprite or lemonade and add as much or as little jam into the drink.

Using a straw, stir and get the jam mixed well.

You have to drink this with a straw to suck up the little berries at the bottom!

Yum yum yum. i love drinking this as opposed to plain sprite or lemonade.

Try it one day! It is this simple to jazz up a drink!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Yalla's Prune and Vanilla Yogurt!

I don't usually like to eat yogurt, but i found this little treasure at the Eveleigh's Markets @ Redfern.


(Picture taken from

This is so good and creamy and delicious!

The prunes add an unexpected flavour which is not at all common and the prunes are a generous amount, not a puny sized topping.

I really love their dips as well as their yogurts and i will be so upset when i return to Singapore and not get to eat this anymore. Sad smile

So i'll just be getting myself some and eating away while i'm still here. 14 days to go.

I hope they will be considering expanding their business overseas though.

I just finished a small tub of this and i still have a big tub of vanilla yogurt to enjoy.

But just letting you guys know that this is an amazing product and grab it when you see it, cause it's awesome.