March 31, 2012

Recipe: Strawberry Tart

1 box of strawberries, hulled and cut into 4 slices (I used Korean ones)
A tablespoon of jam or marmalade, mixed with a teaspoon of water (for glazing)
1 sweet short crust tart shell
1 cup of pastry cream

Sweet short crust pastry

  • 250gm plain flour, sifted
  • 125gm salted or unsalted butter, chilled, finely chopped
  • 80gm icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 egg yolks
  1. Mix flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Whisk egg yolks then add to flour mixture. Mix with hands until it begins to form large clumps.
  3. Knead gently to bring together. Form into a flat disc for a round tart. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours. (Can keep in fridge up to 3 days)
  4. When ready to use, remove from fridge let thaw for about 10 mins. As the dough can be crumbly, place the disc in a 8 to 9 inch tart pan directly and press down into the edges and sides to form the crust.
  5. Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes or longer, then prick the bottom all over with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake in a 205°C oven for 5 mins, before reducing to 180°C for 15 mins or till golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before adding the filling.

Pastry Cream recipe

  • 300ml milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50gm white sugar
  • 20gm all purpose flour
  • 20gm corn flour
  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan and scrape the vanilla seeds in, throw in the pod. Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat.
  2. Concurrently, beat the sugar and eggs till pale, thick ribbons in a large bowl. Add the flour and corn flour and gently stir in.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk into the mixture, whisking as you go along until it is all combined.
  4. Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring consistently until it thickens. Remove from heat and cover with a layer of cling wrap to prevent a skin from forming till ready to use. Makes enough for 1 tart.

When everything has cooled, fill the tart shell with the pastry cream and arrange the strawberry slices in a circle starting from the outside and build your way in. Place 1 full strawberry in the middle and glaze with a pastry brush. Voila!

Sasha’s Berry Special 2nd Birthday

The pumpkin is officially 2 tomorrow and to usher it in, we held a small party at home today with a Strawberry Shortcake (SS) theme. Decided to keep things small with mainly the cousin gang and a few good friends but still the house felt crowded with all the little kids.

I made this invite and Ma, Lita and Wendy helped to decorate the house, mummy even bought SS files to paste on the walls.

Cake was from Prima, I went with a vanilla sponge and added the fresh strawberry filling. We’ve been wanting to cater from Sakunthala’s for a while now and since the majority of guests were ‘mama’, it was the perfect time to do so. For the kids, we prepared hot dogs, vegetarian pasta and fish fingers with fries.

In honour of the theme, I attempted to make a strawberry tart to add to dessert and it turned out pretty but I’m not sure about the taste though! I was told it was nice but I think I need to make it again so I can judge for myself. I used fresh vanilla beans for the pastry cream and made the crust from scratch, recipe to follow.

Call me a slack parent but this time round, I didn’t really plan any games, counting on the kids to entertain themselves. Blame it on birthday fatigue after Nat’s birthday! I only prepared some colouring sheets for a contest and bought some tattoos and sparklers and that was about it!

Got Rena and Adrian to judge and Sarah and Nat were the shortlisted winners. I had Strawberry Shortcake compact mirrors as a prize but it caused some whining among the little girlies who didn’t get one!

I got to meet Khayshaa again, she’s grown and she looks so much like her big brother. She’s so light and was drooling all over!

The birthday girl herself was a little overwhelmed when it came to the cake-cutting, she was most shy! But she managed to blow out her own candles, she’s been practicing!

Next up, Nick’s birthday!

March 30, 2012

F is for...

...Friday night at Fat Boys.

I’d heard some rave reviews for this burger joint and designated it for our F date, opting to check out their Joo Chiat outlet with the boy after work. I swung by his office first, to visit Joanne too and we gave her a lift home before heading to Joo Chiat.

I opted for the Wimpy burger comprising a beef patty, bacon, fried egg and cheddar cheese. Ordered some chilli and caramelized onions on the side and was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish my burger, but I did.

Actually, I didn’t find it that great, pretty basic and the bacon was hard. It came with a side of fries and an old lettuce leaf and slice of tomato. I think I much prefer the Miss Piggy burger from Berg’s and will try to drag the boy there one day.

I would go back again though to try the other items on the menu like the fish and chips, and macaroni and cheese. They have kids meals so maybe can go for lunch after an East Coast morning.

After dinner I managed to persuade the boy to drive to Aljunied in search of a Phoon Huat outlet, I was on the hunt for fresh vanilla beans. We got a little lost and gave up as it approached the store's closing time, only for me to realise on the way home that we were soooo near, I had walked in the wrong direction when I got off the car!

March 26, 2012

Coffee shop French fare

Had to run an errand in Middle Road and met Joanne for lunch at Queen Street.

I had been meaning to try Le Cuisson, a French food stall in a coffee shop which I knew was in the area and I found it eventually. They had been featured in the papers some months ago and the owners are ex-chefs from DB Bistro at MBS.

Prices were a bit higher than I expected, Joanne had a steak for $18 and I had a tomato soup for $5 and a mushroom pasta for $8. The steak was a big portion and the sauce and pomme puree was delicious. Best pureed potatoes I've had in recent times and would go back just for it!

The pasta was a little bland, there was a poached egg served on top but a little undercooked for my liking. The soup was nice and creamy, and had some texture to it because of parmesan bits and tomato seeds. I would go back to try the other dishes, the menu changes often enough. But the coffeeshop was really warm with poor ventilation so note to self, wear sleeveless next time!

March 25, 2012

Happy birthday Sarah!

Sarah turned 5 on the 21st but the Danams held the party at home today, with chicken rice delivered from Loy Kee.

There was a princess theme going on, and pink and black colour scheme and Flea made collages of Sarah to adorn the walls.

Nat and Sasha had the beginnings of a cold so we tried to separate them from the rest where possible…they were being shy and antisocial anyway so it wasn’t actually very hard. Sasha especially is very independent and doesn’t play with the rest.

There was a magician in the form of Mr Rabbit, along with a balloon artist so the kids were entertained and had all sorts of requests for their balloon sculptures.

Cake was a pink princess confection in the number 5. The Spicy Girls were out in force to pose with the birthday girl. Gosh, I can’t imagine how havoc they will all be when they hit 18!

We dropped Kevin and Gigi off at Membina and spent the afternoon there. Caught bits of the F1 race at Sepang, it was a washout.

When we left, we forgot Sasha's pacifier and when me and her tried to get into the lift to retrieve it, the doors suddenly closed on us and hit Sasha in the process. Got shouted at by the hubby for not being more careful, but in my defence, the doors had just opened hence I didn't expect them to close so soon. Sasha wailed of course which didn't help diffuse her daddy's anger.

Poor bub hit her head again at AMK when she leaned back on the sofa's wooden armrest...I've lost count of how many time's she's hit her poor pumpkin!

March 24, 2012

Happy birthday Wendy!

It was Wendy’s birthday today and we took her out for lunch at Sakunthala’s at Race Course Road, along with Ma and Lita so it was the first time we were utilizing all our 7 seats.

We had ourselves some masala chicken, pepper mutton, fish head curry, fish cutlets, chicken 65 etc….yums! Although, I think the cooking standards at their other outlets are better but the service was good.

The dopes came to pick Nat and me up for Chinese class after that, they have a temporary new ride while their car is being serviced…a Grand C4 Picasso.

While the kids learnt Mandarin, Kevin drove me and Swana to Great World City where I bought a polka dot top from Dorothy Perkins, heh heh.

After class, we detoured to Duxton Hill so I could try a slice of cake from Flor Patisserie. They supposedly have the best strawberry shortcake and I thought I could try one slice first before deciding to order for Sasha’s birthday.

A single slice cost $6.20 so I decided to just get a small whole cake for Wendy. It was $24 for a tiny thing, but it was GOOD!!! Very light and fresh, you don’t feel guilty eating it!

March 23, 2012

Restaurant Week: The Moluccas Room

Met JGR for lunch to celebrate Rena’s birthday in advance and we agreed to check out The Moluccas Room at MBS during Restaurant Week since we wouldn’t need to travel too far from work.

The reviews on Hungry Go Where were positive but I should have checked the Dining City reviews when Restaurant Week started because they were not good and we had a less than ideal dining experience.

Rachel had forewarned the portions were small after dining there last night and we were prepared to add on some ala carte dishes to the set menu.

It started off promisingly enough, between us we tried both the chicken satay and bergedel with truffle for our appetizers. The 2 sticks of satay came simply plated on a leaf with no accompanying sauces, but they were tasty enough and slightly bigger than your regular satay. The bergedel was a pleasant surprise, could detect the truffle taste in the croquette and it came with some simple greens and gulai tasting sauce.

However, things started going downhill after this. 3 of us ordered the steak, one medium-well for Rena, one medium-rare for Germaine and one well-done for me. 2 of the steaks were served first and the waitress told us it was the medium-well and the well-done one. When we asked which was which, she wasn't sure and had to go check but upon cutting, they both appeared to be medium-well but I decided to just accept mine instead of insisting on a well-done one.

When the third steak came, they told us it was medium-well but Germaine who was waiting for her main had ordered medium-rare. They took it back and a while later, came a well-done one! She insisted on having her medium-rare steak and the manager/waiter didn't look too happy but eventually the correct one was served. 3rd time's a charm!

The steaks themselves were actually okay, quite a thick cut but it could have done with an additional side instead of just some strings of beans and what appeared to be the same gulai sauce as the bergedel.

Speaking of sauce, we added a citrus coconut chicken curry from the ala carte menu but it too tasted very similar to the gravies of the steak and the bergedel and the portion was undeserving of the $27 price tag...I could have bought 3 whole chickens with that, instead of the sausage-sized chicken roll we received.

Later on, a staff member came over to apologize for the mix-up for the steaks and offered to waive the cost of 1 set. Fair enough and it was appreciated on our part. We waited a while for dessert and when none was forthcoming, we had to remind the waitress to serve it.

There was a choice of mango or soursop sorbet or vanilla ice cream. Nothing to rave about, a very tiny scoop, about half the size of a regular ice cream scoop accompanied by a small gula melaka macaroon.

Overall, I think the restaurant has quite a way to go in terms of service standards, it was mostly indifferent and you don't get any sense of warmth..their staff could do with more training. The portions don't justify the prices, based on the ala carte dishes we tried...not likely to visit anytime soon!

Rena and I were coincidentally wearing blue and white, so matching!