Friday, December 30, 2005

Melbourne, Australia part ii

I'm not much of a breakfast person really, but in Australia, there're many reasons to get up early and head on out for a hearty breakfast. One good reason being, getting up early gives you the whole of mid morning to walk off that breakfast, in search of lunch.
Sausages, Mushrooms, Bacon and Eggs on Toast
Poached Eggs on English Muffins with Mushrooms, served with Hollandaise Sauce
Double Stacked Fluffy Pancakes with a mixed Berry Compote, served with Double Cream
We had breakfast at this place just outside of the South Melbourne Market.
There are several cafe's in and around the area for good eating.

The last time I went there, we had breakfast at this little cafe that serves organic food.
The pancakes were deliciously. Maybe it's true that organic food taste better. Maybe.
Organic Pancakes with Burnt Orange and Blueberry sauce topped with Mascarpone cheese

Poached Eggs on Toast with Mushrooms and Chorizo Sausage.

We stayed home for lunch that day because my sister had to hurry on home and get ready for her graduation. And that is the story of how I cooked my first chinese stir fry.
My mom really should have more faith in me. She asked if I had added any water and some cornflour to thicken the sauce when I finished cooking it. yeesh.
I guess I passed the test when no one complained. Or maybe my parents were really hungry, and were hankering for anything chinese.

Chinese Stir-Fried Beef

Graduation Night!
Good Job Lynn!

Graduation Night

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hazelnut Crunch Chocolate Cake

I'm beginning to enjoy making cakes alot these days. It's something that I've always wanted to go into, but never did found the time or reason to.
A whole slew of birthday's this december gave me good reason to begin working on cake decorating techniques.
It's alot different from your bake-in-a-pan goodies like brownies and crumbles.
There's the fragile layers of sponge cake to deal with, making sure the cuts are satisfactory, filling the cake evenly, and glazing or covering it properly.

Here's what I've learnt so far:
Off-set spatulas are the second best tools (The first are your hands).
Go for longs ones. They help with lifting fragile layers of cake. I've learnt never to lift the layers with your hands. Gravity makes short work of the thin rounds, and the sides break off when you attempt to lift them up.
Off-set spatulas make short work of glazing a cake too.

Cutting even layers of cake gets easier with practise. Or you could use a nifty cake layer cutting thing. It's a frame that's 10 inches wide, with a metal wire across it that is height adjustable.

The freezer is your best friend. It makes glazes set quickly, so that you can transfer the cake to a cake board.

Overfilling a cake causes the filling to erupt around the sides, breaking through the glaze. A bumpy bus ride dosen't help also.

Now, I just need to work on covering the sides properly. Especially with whipped cream.

I give you, the Hazlelnut Crunch Chocolate Cake.

Hazelnut Crunch Chocolate Cake


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The feast of two kings and a queen that was inspired.

The planned Christmas Dinner went well.
It never would have been possible without Jeremy's help, my "other half" in my culinary dreams, and our passion for good food.
The plan was simple. He makes the appetizers and main courses, I make the dessert.

You'd think that after preparing a meal of a Rocket Salad with Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta Cheese and grated Parmesan Cheese, Bruschetta, Roast leg of Lamb with Thyme and Garlic, Roast Beef that has been massaged with Dijon Mustard, wonderfully moist Mashed Potatoes, a Strawberry Soup with Orange and Rosemary Sorbet and Tiramisu, you'd be tired, and full.

Well yea, we were all full, but why waste the leftover tiramisu (All four slices)?
There's something about digging into food that's left in its pan, and just talking.
Good times guranteed.

It's late into the night, we're hungry again, and that's when the feast begins.
Left over eggwhites from the tiramisu were fried with mushrooms, and I got the bright idea of frying camembert cheese. My sister says it's wondeful, when dipped in batter and fried, but I thought I'd just coat it with seasoned flour. I thought I had fully understood frying, after all those months of working the frialator at work. But double coating camembert cheese for frying, is not good. I can't wait to try it battered. Or breaded.

The overflow of feasting carried onto the next night. My wonderful friend Teri, took Jeremy and I, for good old "Zhi Char" food in Chinatown. We had Chee Cheong Faan, Minced Pork and Liver Porridge, Stir Fried Baby Calamari with ginger, Slice Fish Noodles, Fried Prawn Paste Chicken,
Fried Kai Lan vegetable with garlic (and MSG, ack).
Oh, and it dosen't end there.
After dropping Jeremy off at the army camp, we decided on going to Liquid Kitchen, this snazzy watering hole along Upp. Thomson Road for a Chocolate Fondue. It had your usual Marshmellows, Strawberries, kiwis, and grapes, which I thought was rather odd, but it worked.

It also dosen't end here.
The next day for dinner, we headed to the American Club where we shared a large Nacho Machos ( Tortilla Chips with jalapenos, tomatoes and green peppers, mozzarella cheese, and salsa and sourcream on the side), and a Bacon Cheese Burger with fries on the side. I'm talking about a real burger. Not marinated pieces of cardboard, microwaved, dressed up with garnishes and disguised as a burger.
All this washed down with a chocolate milkshake.

I thought it'd end there, and we'd wrap up the night with a movie. It's a shame it didn't work out, but we had gelatos. There's this gelato joint called Gelatissimo, and I had a hunch it was Australian owned. And it is.
The service was excellant. I believe the staff were trained, or rather, they were actually interested to serve you. It was a good experience, albeit a short one. Ordering and receiving the Lemon and PassionFruit Gelato was a breeze. Good on them for good service. It's so hard to get good service these days.

Too bad I didn't get time to take pictures, but I had a blast this past few days.

Maybe the feast that started with left over tiramisus' and eggwhites will continue over the next few weeks.
I keep telling the two: "We'll stop in February, when Teri goes back to Perth."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Melbourne, Australia

I thought I'd actually have more time in Melboourne, but it turns out, I've been sleeping in Singapore time, and waking up in Australian time. That means I managed an average 6 hours of sleep each time. So much for wanting to post on the Ipoh trip while I'm in Melbourne.
It'll come, soon.

So I've been eating, alot, this past week, and I have to say, sandwiches are just about one of my favourites. It's essentially a meal on it's own. A whole meal, between two slices of bread. What you can have in between is only limited by your own imagination, and you can take it wherever you want. Neat, hey?
I had one with Alfalfa, lettuce, tomatoes, turkey and sour cream in Melbourne.What a lovely odd combination, eh?

Oysters Kilpatrick

Mussels cooked in White wine

Double Chocolate Tart

Pavlova with Burnt Orange & Passion fruit sauce

This was some of the food we had at the Waterfront - Seafood Grill, Sushi & Oyster Bar. It's a nice little place on the banks of the Yarra River, within the Crown Casino Entertainment Complex. It's a really popular place, and there's always a queue. One thing I suppose they could improve on, is to at least, not let the pre-cooked food be seen. Well, it wasn't exactly in full view of the general public, but I was looking into the kitchen, and there were stacks of fish fillets, whole fishes, etc. They could have shattered one's world, who once taught that everything was cooked to order. Well, not everything is pre-cooked, and not every restaurant pre-cooks their food. It depends on the owner/s or chef's. I am, pretty dissapointed that Waterfront pre-cooks their fish. I don't mind waiting 20 mins or so for a baked whole flounder.
Oh well.
Anyways, It's pretty pricey, as with all fancy schmancy restaurants who provide good service and are located on prime locations.

A funny story about the Pavlova. I was scooping out the meaty bits of the passion fruit, and I began trying to seperate flesh and seed, spitting them out. Lynn, my wonderful sister gave me a funny look, and said that you can eat the seeds.
It was my first time having passion fruit. Oh well.

Consider this part 1 of 2, or more if I'm lazy.

Christmas is round the corner, and there's so much to prepare.
There's the cookies, caroling practise and the gospel for caroling on saturday, Birthday Cup Cakes for a friend (Yes you! Clayton!) on friday, possibly some Christamas Bars on Christmas morning, and the to be, awesome dinner, Christmas Night.

Have yourself a merry little Chirstmas, and be glad, cause Christ the Saviour is born.
Hope, is at hand, because God, is with us.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Saint Kilda / Fitzroy Street

I was walking down the all too familiar wooden plank, that takes me to Fitzroy Sreet and it feels like I'm just leaving home to get dinner.

I've been in and about the St Kilda area a couple of times from my previous visits. It's a nice little community, packed with bars/bistros//lounges and restaurants.
Just next to the Metropol Apartments are a couple of bars, and restaurants.
Fitzroy Street, just round the corner, will leave you dawdling up and down the street.
There are many places to choose from.

And if you can't decide, there's always more at Acland Street, a ten minute walk away or a 5 min tram ride.

Meat Lover's Pizza
I decided on a meat lover's pizza at Topolinos, to go.
It's an Italian joint that serves, well, typical Italian food. Pastas, Risottos, Lasagnas... you get the idea, hey? It does have a very large selection of Pizzas though. Twenty-nine varieties to be exact. Undoubtedly, there's also your surf and turf, which in my opinion, is very Australian.

The best place to have Italian food- as any self respecting Italian will tell you, I believe-, is at Lygon Street. Otherwise known as Little Italy. I've walked by once during my last visit, and charming Italian men, both young and old, greet you from their trattorias. It's a nice area, but a tad bit to expensive for those who have their purses strings tighten.

Oh well, tomorrow is a new day, and we'll see what it brings.
I'm torn between Hot Chocolate at Cocoa's or Bratwurst with sauerkraut at Queen Victoria Market.
In anycase, I get to drive tomorrow.

Aussie Aussie Oi! Oi!

So there's 20 minutes left before I board a plane to Melbourne, and there's a wireless network available, what do I do?
I am so blessed to be enjoying all of this right now.
Here I am with high fliers, in the First Class Lounge of Singapore Airlines, enjoying a nice breakfast (they have a food station, serving wonton noodles! A la Min, to boot!) ending it off with Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie (hey, so what if it's only 8:50am right now, it's night time somewhere else in the world), and typing this entry on a Powerbook. And for a week long, I'm sure I'll be off in search of great food, and hitting several establishments that I've planned to check out. There's opportunity for me to drive, and there's all of God's glory in nature to take in while I'm there.
How sweet is that?

The question is, does this make a person truly satisfied?

There, I said it. It's relative I guess, happiness that is.
I'm sure there's someone who wants to be in my moccasins right now.

It's interesting to note that from a survey, Nigeria was voted the Happiest Nation on Earth.

I'd reckon that the Kingdom of God will be the happiest place. Ever.

Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Heaven will be a perfect place.

Anyhow, I have to leave now.

Ps: The Ipoh post is coming soon. Really. I'll have more time In Aussie.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

It's a wonder how something so simple and basic can turn out into such decadence.
This chocolate cake is just a creamed butter and sugar type of cake, with eggs beaten in one at a time,
chocolate stirred in until just incorporated, and flour gently folded in.

With such basic ingredients that can be found in any well stocked pantry, you simply can't skimp on quality.

It's only 5 ingredients, and that's where you're gonna need to draw the goodness from.

Valrhona is my choice of chocolate, and for this number, Valrhona Guanaja (70%) was used.

I particularly like President's Unsalted Butter. It's a high quality butter made from pasteurized cows milk and a product from France. It has a slight hint of sweetness, which won my affection some time back.

Vanilla Sugar
It's always a good thing to have a stash of vanilla sugar in your room (or kitchen).
It came in handy this morning.
It's basically vanilla beans kept in an airtight jar with castor sugar, and it makes a great decor piece.

With all that is said. I want to leave you with one thought.
"It's sooooo seeeeem-ple! You use goood quah-lity ingredients, you get goood quah-lity dessert! Enjoy!"

The Truth Is Out...

Yes, it's true. Betty Crocker is not a real person.
She's the creation of Corporate America.
More of it in this site.

What about Sara Lee, you ask?
She's real alright, but not quite in the business.
More on her here, and here.

If you ask me, I think Julia Child is the real "Betty Crocker" or "Sara Lee".

Bon Appétit.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Essentially known as a delicate shortbread.
Affectionately known as, buttery greek goodness. Or so I call them.
In the Oct/Nov issue of Vogue Entertaining + Travel (Australia) (Yes, I read Vogue magazines. How awesome am I?), Tessa Kiros chooses to share her wonderful greek recipes that she has collected over time. I'm really glad she did.
J from Kuidaore, made some Chocolate Chip Butter Balls in her Comfort Baking post a couple of weeks back, and I couldn't stop thinking about how good they'd be in my mouth, where they belong.
So much so that I inwardly squirmed with glee, when I read that the Kourapiedes were described as "melt in your mouth".
And they did.
The powdered sugar didn't overwhelm, and the mixed spice (the culinary geek in me thought it would be more exotic with mixed spice.) provided a nice accent.

I meant to post this way earlier, but I got caught up with all the preperation for my trip to Ipoh.
Was the food any good there?
I can only say this, the food is "sooooo good!"

I'll post more on it later.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Psalm 104

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.

O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

On the way to Lorne, Victoria, Melbourne

2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent

Trip to Australia, flying over Indonesian Islands

3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

4 He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants.

5 He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.

6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.

7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;

Somewhere over Nevada

8 they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.

9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.

11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

12 The birds of the air nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.

13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:

Vineyard, Victoria, Australia

15 wine that gladdens the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains his heart.

A pretty tree in a friend's
2 hecatres backyard, Austin, Texas, USA

16 The trees of the LORD are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17 There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the pine trees.

18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the coneys.

Twilight in Arizona, USA

19 The moon marks off the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.

20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.

21 The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.

22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
they return and lie down in their dens.

23 Then man goes out to his work,
to his labor until evening.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Another view of The Grand Canyon

24 How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.

26 There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

27 These all look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.

28When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.

29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.

30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works-

32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD.

35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Praise the LORD.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I realized that I had a list (does 2 items constitute a list?) of gifts to bake today.
And I had fun with them. Don't I always? Baking is fun.

Anyway, I made 2 squares of pizza dough for a dear sister in Christ, Juliana, a batch of Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins for my neighbours, at my mom's request (but with pleasure) and Bocconotti Dolci for homegroup.

I'm too tired to post the recipes, so I'll just leave you with pictures. First.

Pizza Dough: The First Rise

I had some extra pizza dough, and I was getting hungry. So hey, why not?
I popped open a can of tuna, put them in a bowl, added some black pepper, basil and oregano. I folded the dough over a teaspoon of tuna and when I removed them from the oven, I had no idea what they were. They kinda popped open when they were baking, so I thought it appropriate to call them Tuna Pops. Yea I know, it's cheesy, but they were filling dough. (Geddit geddit? Filling... Dough... Oh nevermind.)

Tuna Pops

My mom wanted pizza with the works, but there weren't any mozzarella cheese and I didn't want to make some sauce for a 4 inch pizza.
It's amazing what you can find at the far corners of a fridge.
There was a tiny block of cheddar and Spaghetti Sauce in a Can.(Gasp! Sauce in a Can! Are you serious?!)
Aw heck, it's for a 4 inch pizza, I can live with using Spaghetti Sauce in a Can. (You hypocrite, you!)

Here's my niece, Cheyenne, hamming it up for the camera.

Yea, she liked it.

The Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins for my neighbours.

Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Muffins

I was watching Avventura on Discovery Travel and Living and when the ever delightful David Rocco fussed over the Bocconotti Dolci(Sweet Mouthfuls), I knew I had to try them. Traditionally, it's made with a grape jam and chocolate filling, but I used a mixed berry jam instead. I have no idea how the texture is suppose to be, but they turned out to be like biscuits with a sweet center.
Bocconotti Dolci

I was still in a gift giving mood, so I had them all wrapped up to be taken to home group.

Now isn't that pretty?


Thursday, October 27, 2005


It was the first thing I've ever baked, and I've grown to find that I love a fudgy type of brownie. The cakey, or chewy ones are okay I guess, but it's the moist fudgy ones that I find myself going back to.
Mmm, yes...the intense chocolatey interior... that kinda melts in your mouth when you take a bite out of it...

Moving on,

The best thing about brownies? They're so simple to make, and easily customised.
You can fold in nuts, raisins, bananas, chocolate chips, apples, strawberries or blueberries, swirl in some caramel, cream cheese or mascarpone, spike them with coffee or booze, or just have them straight up with chocolate.

Whatever it is, they don't take more then 5 mins to make, if you have everything in the cupboard already, and they take about 20 mins to bake.

Here's a recipe that I enjoy.

Fudgy Brownies
5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3 oz. (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour

Note: Combining 2 kinds of chocolate gives it a more intense sophisticated flavour. You can mix up the proportions in any amounts. As long as you have 7 oz. of chocolate, it's all well for the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350ºF / 175ºC.
Butter an 8-inch square pan and line it with buttered parchment paper.
Melt the butter and Chocolate over a double boiler, and then set it aside to cool slightly. You can cool it down in a ice bath if you're in a hurry to dig into the brownies. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract and salt. The mixture will turn grainy. Don't worry about it, it's fine. Whisk in the egg and egg yolks one at a time, making sure it's well blended each time. Finally, fold in the flour.
I had bananas hanging from a shelf and I thought I'd fold 2 in. I mean come on, bananas and chocolate. How can anyone resist?
Slice the bananas vertically first, then horizontally. Then, slice them lengthwise to get quarters.
Fold them into the brownie mixture.
Scrape the gloop into your prepared pan, jiggle it about so that the mix fills the corners, pop it in to the oven, and wait patiently.
I love how the smell of baked brownies diffuse into the air. I know they're almost ready when I can smell them from my room. Take a toothpick, and test for doneness. If it's wet, they aren't ready. If moist crumbs come out, you're good to go.
Let it cool slightly in the pan, and then turn them out into a wire rack.

Grab a fork, and dig in. Or if you have some ice cream(I made some dark chocolate ice cream for SHF#13 the week before, but I didn't have time to finish it. Oh well.), scoop yourself a generous amount, pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy!

Brownie à la mode

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The One That Failed

If it's one thing I've learnt, Always, make frozen desserts ahead of time, and serve them only when people are visiting. It's less of a hassle, to serve it from home, I'd reckon.

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake I made for youth didn't freeze in time, and to top it off, I brought it over to a friend's place.

We ended up scooping the peanut butter chocolate mousse into pretty glasses, cutting up wedges of crunchy chocolate layers and plonked them into the glasses.
The crust alone was a treat. It's a disc of cornflakes in chocolate, sitting atop an oreo cookie crust.

So much for a nice slice of Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake

Anyways, here are some old photos. Just because.

Tuna Mushroom Calzone

I folded my first Calzone at work. I'm glad I learnt how to make these little gems.
You make them the night before, pop it in to the oven, and have an awesome breakfast the next morning.

Lemon Squares

I was really broke, and I had run out of chocolates.
The solution?
Bake with fruits! Well, the cheaper ones at least. Like lemons, oranges, apples, etc etc.

I had fun with these Lemon Squares. The recipe looked boring, and I thought I might add some Lemoncillo. It added the right amount of zing to the already tart squares.

Orange Cheesecake

Another one I had fun with. I kinda winged it on this one.
About 2 oranges, freshly squeezed for its juice, a splash of cointreau, some grated orange zest, a dollop of sour cream, and about 500 grams of cream cheese. Oh, and some sugar.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cookies and Cream, like you've never had

We've all had ice cream. Be it a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie™ or a scoop of Vanilla flavoured Häagen-Dazs.

Here's another awesome way to enjoy ice cream.
Make your own!
And to kick it up a notch, bake a batch of Chocolate Chunk Cookies, break it into small pieces, stir it into the custard, and enjoy your very own Cookies and Cream ice cream.
Don't just buy oreo cookies. It's easy, I know, but baking cookies aren't all that hard.

Make the ice cream

French Vanilla Ice Cream
(adapted from Baking at home with The Culinary Institute of America)

3 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Cups Sugar (Divided Use)
1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise
6 Large Egg Yolks
Makes about 1¼ quart

Prepare an ice bath, Combine the cream, milk, 1½ cups of the sugar, and the vanilla bean in a heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Whisk together the egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup sugar in a bowl until thick and pale yellow.
Gradually add about one-third of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly.
Pour the tempered mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a spoon. (About 180°F / 82°C).

Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Set it in the ice bath. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the custard.
Stir the custard every few minutes until cool.

Refrigerate the custard for at least 4 hours or up to overnight before freezing in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Pack the ice cream into containers and let ripen in the freezer for 3-4 hours before serving.

If you do not have a ice-cream machine, you can still smoothen the custard by hand, or a mixer.

Basically, to turn the custard into ice-cream, you want to beat the ice crystals out of the custard and incorporate air into the custard so that in grows in volume.
The result you want is to have a soft and creamy frozen dessert with a light texture and barely perceptible ice crystals.

Smoothening without an ice cream machine.
Pour the custard into the bowl that works with a mixer. Let the custard harden slightly, and then, pop the bowl in to position, and beat with a paddle for ~ 5 minutes.
You can taste the custard at this stage, and you’ll find the custard rough. That’s the ice crystals, and we don’t want that. No sir, we don't.

Repeat the process until you’ve achieved a smooth and creamy custard.

Make the Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
(adapted from Baking at home with The Culinary Institute of America)

Flourless cooking Spray for greasing. *(Alternatively, you can use non stick parchment paper/baking sheet, etc)
2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 Cup/226g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup granulated Sugar
¾ Cup tightly packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla Extract
2 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Pre heat the oven to 375°F/ °C. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light in texture and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract. Blend until incorporated. On a low speed or by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula, mix in the sifted dry ingredients and the chocolate chunks. Scrape down the bowl as needed to blend evenly.

Use 2 serving spoons to drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. If desired, slightly flatten the cookies before baking. In batches, bake until the cookies are cracked on top but still slightly moist, rotating the pans as necessary to bake evenly, 14 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Make Cookies and Cream like you've never had

Break the cookies in to smallish chunks. Churn the ice cream till smooth. Pour in the gems and let it mix throughly.

Pack in to containers and let it ripen.


Personal Notes: I used a ice cream scoop instead to portion the cookie dough. It's more consistent, in terms of portioning the dough. Well, whatver makes you happy.
Oh, and if you can afford it, use good quality chocolate.
I used Valrhona, 55% cacao. No regrets there.
Ripening time depends on your freezer, and the containers that you've packed them in.
The bigger the container, the longer it will take to freeze.

Monday, October 03, 2005

There's Something Wrong In The World Today

In the news today: Bali, rocked by several explosions; at least 25 people, including tourists killed.

It almost seems normal to read about another bomb attack these days.
Suicide bombers, bent on destruction, believing that they've done good for their god.
It scares me.
I would die today, for my beliefs, and what's to stop them if they too would die for their beliefs?

It's hard to believe that there's even hope for mankind today, when everything seems so bleak.

Well the good news is, there is hope. His name is Jesus. Check Him out.

This isn't exactly a foodie post, but nonetheless, important.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

An evening with Jeremy

I've been wanting to go to Corduroy and Finch for some time now, and I finally made plans with Jeremy. It's a pretty nice place. The high ceiling gives it a bigger feel to the otherwise small place, and more tables on a loft adds more real estate.
I love how they've allowed their wares to be part of the decor. Copper pots and pans hang over head from a shelf, stand alone shelves sport various culinary wares. Bottles and cans of Gourmet food items line the shelves, and the one against the wall goes up to the ceiling. The deli takes center stage and is helmed by a deli guy and a cashier. "Corduroy and Finch" is spelt out proudly on the wall behind the cashier. Nice.

We were seated further in the cafe, where the "Food Aquarium" seperates the kitchen. It's actually a walk-in chiller, and on one occasion, a chef popped in to grab a lemon. I like how they offer the impression that they have nothing to hide. No System D's in progress (taking the easy way out in a situation. ie: Dropped a bread? No problems, brush it off and serve.), I'm sure, with their transparency. After all, German Chef Ralf Spika, with two michelin stars to his name, is the resident Chef.

Overall, it was a nice dining experience, with its dimmed lights in the evening. It was further enhanced, service wise, when our waiter turned out to be this guy we knew from secondary school.

Bavarian Pot

Tafel Spitz

German Potatoes with Chives

Creamed Truffle Spinach

We had the Bavarian Pot, consisting of a trio of German sausages, a thick slice of pork with a rind that melts in your mouth and accompanied with sauerkraut and mash potatoes, the Tafel Spitz (veal) with a mix of vegetables and mashed potatoes, German potatoes with chives, Creamed Truffle Spinach and an Onion bread served with home made whipped butter.

After all that, it boils down to this. That one last dish. The one that will leave you with a lasting impression. The one that I can't walk away from.

We shared a Chocolat Hazelnut Crunch and The Corduroy and Finch Trifle experience.

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch
A Simple Chocolate Mousse with a hazlenut crunch bottom. Simplicity at it's best.

The Corduroy and Finch Trifle Experience.
Hmmm. Yum.

Warm and sour mixed berry jam, cold and creamy vanilla ice cream, toasted hazel nuts, garnished with a pistachio tuile, strawberries, a gooseberry and a sprig of mint.

We ended the evening at Park View Square.
It's a neat place to be in at night.
We talked for a bit, contemplating the future.
The plan: To study in The Culinary Institute of America in New York, Hyde Park. Work a year after our studies. Live the life, travel and experience. And eventually, hopefully, open a restaurant. And if God willing, we can start some sort of ministry in the restaurant, breaking the stereotype, that the kitchen is a cesspit, full of foul mouthed, alcoholic drug users.
Cheers to that.

Water Fall at Park View Square

Contemplating the future
Corduroy and Finch
779 Bukit Timah road, 5¾ miles
Singapore 269758
Tel: 64638038
Corduroy and Finch