baking fiends unite!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Food review 2008 #06 - Ga Hock Seafood

This was our 2nd visit to this zi-char stall. It's definately not located somewhere I'll consider convenient. If not for my younger brother who brought us there for dinner before, I'll never had the chance to try the food here. And surprisingly, the food's good and prices reasonable! Which explained why we were there for a 2nd time. The shop name is pretty confusing to me. Firstly, it was located at the ground floor of the 福建会馆 and right at the front of the coffeshop, there was a huge signboard which read " CHOON HUP"... but then only during this 2nd visit that I noticed that the stall was named "佳福" (Ga Hock Seafood)...

Anyway.... just outside the coffeshop, there's some parking spaces. The actual dining area is behind the shop. There's a huge area behind which allowed the stall owner to place easily 30 tables! The lighting conditions pretty bad tho'. And that's why the photos that follows are really badly taken. (Yeah rite... giving excuses for pics poorly taken huh? LOL)
We ordered a total of 9 dishes... and here they are :

First up... The claypot braised fish head. The dish tasted just OK to me. Alot of sauce in there for us to mix our rice with. The fish head's quite meaty and the serving of the vegetables in the claypot is huge too. But I'll prefer the sauce to be just a little bit saltier. It'll be so perfect!Next, we had mongolian ribs.... now... tell me, how does mongolian ribs taste like? the name's so intriging that we had to try it! but well.... i'm disappointed... it's just pork ribs fried and then cooked with some sweet n sour sauce. the chef to come up with names of dishes like this!
After the disappointing ribs, we had cereal prawns... now this is GOOD. the prawns were huge and very fresh. It was not overcooked.... my only gripe is that the shells of the prawns were not fried crisp enough that I can chew it up and swallow. The kids loved the cereals but there's some chilli flakes in it, so they were complaining abt the spiciness in the cereals.
Stir fried dou miao ("豆苗"). Not oily and seasoned just nice...simple dish of stirfry with some garlic.... good job! Then we had stir fried curry venison. I loved this dish ALOT. the meat's very tender and the curry's not overpowering. I can still taste the venison beneath the coating of curry. Not too spicy too and it went very well with rice.Deep fried baby squids. The chef did a good job for this dish too. The squids were very crunchy and it's not too small. The fried squids remained crunchy after it turned cold.Braised sea cucumber with duck. This dish came in a claypot. The duck and sea sucumber were cooked just to the right texture. Tho' DH said he'll much prefered the duck to be softer. The sea cucumber were cut in huge chunks... very generous portions. The sauce was cookedjust nice and full of flavours...The grand finale was the chilli crabs! The crabs tasted really fresh and meaty. In fact, the meat had a sweetness to it! They were quite good size crabs. However, I'm rather disappointed by the accompanying chilii sauce. There's no "ommph" to it ... I think 'coz it's not spicy enough to give that extra kick. Also I'll like chilli sauce to have alot of egg bits swirling in it... but there's very little in there. Well, guess the quality of the crabs kinda made up the difference... but if only the sauce was just as good.... I'll be a loyal fan!
The final dish was fried mantou... well, I won't classify it as a dish on it's own... it's more to "mop up" the chilli sauce in the crab dish. But the kids loved it plain as it is... and when I asked them which their fav dish was that evening, they said it's the fried mantou! *rolls eyes*
On the whole, the food served here was good... and for the 9 dishes we ordered, it was under SGD200! Quite a good deal. Sad to say, there's something that really irritated the hell out of me while there. The drink stall that just next to it had the worst service! It was run by a guy and he had a helper, a woman in her early 40's (maybe) and both of them behaved like the whole world offended them! They were very impatient when taking orders and went abt the place with super black-as-charcoal faces! My goodness... I think next time I'll bring my own drinks!

Ga-Hock Seafood is located at 794, Bukit Timah Road. Singapore 678175, tel : 63145725. It's further down the road from the Linear condo and before the shell petrol stn. The place gets filled up very fast during mealtimes. I'm not sure if they take reservations, can call and try yr luck. So either you come early or be prepared to wait for a table.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Birthday... another cake....

Today's my mom's b'day. We celebrated as a family for her on Sunday, where we dined out for dinner. But it's her actual Birthday today, so I had to bake her a cake. Her fav is butter cake, so here it is! :P

This is a prune butter cake covered wif choc ganache.. the white bits are not dessicated coconut but shaved white chocolate, as for the choc balls at the edge, they are varlhorna chocolate balls which i love! Tried my best using whatever decorating stuff I had at home to dress up the cake. Hope she'll like it.

This is the cross section of the cake... the texture is fine and the sweetness just rite. Glad mom liked it.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chocolate chips flaxseed muffins

After I placed these muffins in the oven for baking, I logged on to my blog and saw Ching's tag. It was for the Breast Cancer Free Mammogram Movement.

I thought it was such a co-incidence as I had read thru' some sites looking for a flaxseed muffin recipe to work on. It was repeated in many sites that flaxseed is a very good ingredient to incorporate into our daily diets. One of the many strengths of this grain is that it actually helps to reduce tumours. Breast tumours are mentioned in many instances too.

I bought this pack of flaxseeds thinking of incorporating more fibre in my family's diet. But I had not done much research about it, until I was ready to bake something with it that I realised that it needs to be grounded to release the oil and maximise the benefits of eating this grain. So then my grand plans for the bakes got stalled as I only have a small chopper in my kitchen that will not be able to grind anything. I had to bring this pack of flaxseed to my ma's to get it grounded. Furthermore, I cannot just grind the whole pack until I was sure that it can be used up in one go. Ground flaxseed will loose it magical powers if kept for a long time... so only grind what you need!

ok... back to the muffins.... I chose this recipe which was very simple. I made some modifications to the recipe. Here's the recipe for you to try out if interested.

What you need
  • 130gm ground flaxseed
  • 102gm plain flour
  • 50gm brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 (one quarter) tsp salt
  • 70gm dark choc chips
  • 306gm milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Some walnuts as toppings
What to do
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar, flaxseed and salt together. Then add in the choc chips and mixed it well.
  • Add the vanilla extract to mik and mixed it well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients to the dry and mix til just combined.
  • Spoon batter into muffin cups. Top with walnuts.
  • Bake at 150C for 35mins.


Your support much appreciated!

Ching had tagged me to this urgent request. Of course, I'm more than happy to help. Breast cancer affects women of all ages, so I'll definately chip in to help spread the word.

The Breast Cancer Site is counting on everyone's help to generate 8 milion clicks so that the sponsors will part with more $$ to give out free mammograms to the poor. So, PLEASE go to this site and click on the pink button as many times as you can. A little help goes a long way!:)


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mango Mousse Cake

Due to the Zoo trip, I only managed to reach home in the late afternoon. Luckily I had the foresight to bake the sponge cake the night before! LOL... anyway it was really a rush job putting the cake together.

Today's my Father's B'dae. I decided to bake him a mango mousse cake. I seldom do mousse cake as fridge space is pretty tight at my parent's, so having the cake chilled till ready to eat is quite a challenge.

The cake was still not fully set by 8pm. The center portion was still liquidy when cut. However, reviews were quite good. But I got feedback of adding more cubed mangoes in the mousse. Well... there's always next time!


Food review 2008 #05 - Forrest @ OrchidVille

We had an outing to the Singapore Zoo today and to settle our hungry stomachs, we dropped by the nearby Mandai AgroTechnology Park for lunch. I had reviews from a forum abt a restuarant located there. It's called Forrest @ OrchidVille.

Visited the website of this restuarant the night before and really liked what I saw. It looked interesting. So there we were ard 2pm.

However, I wasn't too impressed with the interior after I stepped in. It looked rather different from what I saw in the website.

Next the food.... As there's only 5 of us, 2 being my kiddos, we did not order much food. Also been snacking during the zoo visit that made me felt rather full. We finally decided on 4 dishes.

First up.... 蒜泥白肉 (pork slices with garlic sauce). This dish was highly recommended by the forumers so it's a must-try for me. The dish tasted ok... but it wasn't up to my expectation. The portion was rather small tho'. The sauce wasn't too heavy on the garlic taste, as it's mainly chopped garlic mixed with a sweet/sour sauce.
The next dish was mushroom with seasonal green veg. This dish tasted average...altho' the veg looked and tasted rather fresh... the sauce was too starchy for my liking but it went well with rice.

Another speciality of the restuarant was fried chicken wings. When we asked how big the portion will be for the small and the medium, the serving crew told me that small would mean 6 pieces while the medium, 9. We had in mind that 6 pieces would mean the 3-joints of a chicken wing... but we were surprised to see that it was only either the mid-joint with the tail end or the drumstick! So we had only 3 wings with the tailend and 3 drumlets. The fried wings tasted good! the crust was crispy and the flesh juicy. Just that we felt abit shortchanged. Finally we had seafood fried rice. This dish is delicious too. The rice was well-fried and the ingredients generous. There were prawns, egg and crab meat in it. I meant real crab meat. All of us enjoyed this dish.

After the meal, we walked around the place abit. Since it's located at OrchidVille, there was actually retail of orchids... potted and cut ones. The boss of the orchid nursery gave us a short intro and lesson in orchid growing, and I had a good time photographing the beautiful flowers.

My verdict of this place? Well, I won't purposely make my way there... and if I were to go to the zoo or somewhere nearby, I won't be visiting this same restuarant again unless someone specially requested for it.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Food review 2008 #04 - Sik Wai Sin Eating House

This nondescript eating place along Geylang Rd had been my late grandma's favourite eating place for a very long time. And we did not get to know abt that little nugget of info until tonite!
Both my mom and bro had tried the food there before. My mom was brought there by my aunts (and therefore, got to know the piece of info mentioned above). As for my bro, I think he went there with his makan khakis.

Both had good reviews of the place. And since it was one of my late grandma's fav eating place, I knew it should be serving really good authentic Cantonese dishes! After having my meal there, I should really say it did live up to it's good name.
We started the meal with 2 soups. One of it is the herbal black chicken soup and the other, watercress soup. Both soups are very very good! Those were what I call "老火汤“(soups that had been boiled for at least a good 2-3 hours to achieve a very thick broth). The watercress soup tasted very sweet. There were some chunks of pork in the soup, otherwise, there's no trace of any herbs in it. The portion of watercress in the soup is very generous, and of course, boiled to perfection. The other soup, the herbal chicken soup tasted very much like what my mom brewed at home... yes, the beautiful taste of home-brewed soup! However, the dang-gui taste is missing, or rather, I do see that herb in the soup, but the taste is not apparent at all. However, other than that, this soup scored well in our family used to Cantonese double-boiled soup. There was a whole black chicken in the soup... and every single drop was devoured!Next up, we had steamed fish head. This fish head was done differently from what my mom did at home (she followed the Loy Sum Yuen's version). When the dish was first laid on the table, the thing that caught my eye was the load of fried pork lard sprinkled on the fish head. Frankly, nowadays, pork lard is practically "extincted" on this little island. Everyone had more or less adopted a healthy eating habit and pork lard is not so common and accepted in our diets now. However, no one can deny the fact that food cooked with pork lard does impart a special flavour that is not replaceable... back to the dish.... the main ingredients, besides the fish head, was "min si jeong" or "tao jeong" or preserved bean paste. It's the yellowish kind of bean paste and besides that, the generous sprinkling of fried lard and some chilli as garnishing. As the fish (song yu) is a freshwater fish, there's a "muddy" taste that no everyone will take a liking to. And in this dish, the "muddy" taste is absent! The chef did a very good job with it and maybe... just maybe, those fried lard pieces helped eliminated it! :PThe braised tofu with prawns blew me away too! The prawns were really huge. There were only 6 prawns in the dish tho'... so if you have a group of 10, someone will have to share those prawns... hehehe....As the prawns were huge, I had some reservations if the prawns would be overcooked. It really surprised me that the prawns tasted really crunchy and fresh... it's not overcooked at all. The tofu pieces were deep-fired first and then braised. It managed to absorb the flavoursome sauce. This is definitely a winner!A veg dish came next. It's sambal kangkong. I was pretty impressed with this dish too. The kangkong was stirfried and yet it still have a crunch to it. The sambal was just nice, not too spicy and I was able to enjoy chewing ont he dried prawns in the sambal. It maybe a tad oily for some.... but I really did not mind. LOLThen we had bitter gourd with pork ribs. This dish was not that good. It tasted just average. The bitter gourd pieces were rather well cooked, but it was abit too soft and mushy. Could be that it's overcooked.And another veg dish came next. This is just plain stirfried kailan. The veg was crunchy and fresh. I thot they would just come drenched in oyster sauce... but no... it was rather well done here. The sauce is a combination of different marinates that I wasn't able to decipher... a simple dish, nevertheless, it was really good."KooLoo York" or sweet and sour pork, as it's more commonly known. This is also one of the chef specialities and it did not disappoint. The pork was fried and crispy... the sauce was coated evenly on every single piece of the pork. I dread those sweet and sour pork dishes where it came all oily and drenched in sauce. Not in this case. There was narly a single drop of sauce on the plate after it was polished off.Finally, The last dish for the meal..... sesame ginger chicken. I had forgotten what was the dish that we ordered and then saw pieces of ginger in the dish, which I mistook for garlic! So I took a bite and then I KNEW... LOL... anyway, this dish rocked too! The chicken pieces were first deep-fried and then stirfried with some ginger and spring onions. The sauce is supposed to be sesame, but it was rather subtle. I tasted some maltose in the sauce tho'. It was a pleasant dish... but by then we were too full to be able to enjoy it properly.Overall, it was a very pleasant surprise for me. I had no idea how good the food may be altho' I had good reviews of the place.

Initially, I had problems locating the place! There wasn't accurate directions to the place and geylang was such a busy place to start with. We had a hard time locating a parking lot. The shop was really very plainly and simply renovated (or lack of! LOL)... You would not know it's such a good eating place, if not for the crowd gathering outside. Do go early if you plan to eat there as the place was a full-house by 7pm. And of course, the parking problem.

As for the service... there was no menu to speak of! We could only talk to the more senior staff there in charge of taking orders to figure out what's on offer. We were a big group of 15, and there was no table big enough to accommodate all of us. So we had to split into 2 tables. Other than that, it was a typical coffeshop setting but the service staff were rather attentive and reacted fast to our requests.
Since we were in Geylang, after the dinner, we adjorned to the next street for some desserts! We had none other than the king of fruits! Yes, it's DURIANS!
Note : Sik Wai Sin Eating House is located at 287 Geylang Rd, it's along of the main rd, between Lor 11 and 13. You cannot make reservations, so it's on a first-come-first serve basis. It's non-airconditioned and the biggest table they have is for 10pax. The shop space is pretty small, can only accomodate 14 tables max. Do go early if you want a table as the parking is hell.... and ard 6.30pm, crowds starts packing in... full house in no time.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Feeling corny

It all started when I was trying to pass time whilst waiting for my DD to finish her class. So I found myself wondering abt the aisles at a hypermart. Even tho' my initial intention is just to get some apples to munch on, but well, I ended up checking out many other things! LOL...
I picked up a can of corn kernels and then started to dream abt corn muffins! It's been some time since I last made some "Kenny Rogers" corn muffins and I've always wanted to try it with the canned corn instead of frozen ones. I found the frozen ones turned out very dry after baking. So in the shopping basket it went. :P

The muffins were good as expected... what can go wrong with honey, cornmeal and lovely corn kernels... and of course, a good recipe.

1 can of corn kernels measured 2 cups after draining out the brine. So I'm left with 1 cup of corn after baking the muffins. I decided to make a loaf of bread and incorporate the corn into it. So I looked thru' some blogs and settled on the milk loaf. Happy Homebaker has a translated version of the milk loaf, and good reviews too, so I took that recipe and ran! LOL....

I made some minor modifications to it...

What you need
  • 1 egg
  • 145gm milk
  • 25gm sugar
  • 5gsm salt
  • 38gm butter
  • 250gm bread flour
  • 4gm dried active yeast
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels

What to do
  • Add the ingredients in the order as listed above into the breadmaker, except for the corn.
  • Set the breadmaker to the sweet function, crust to light and selected 700gms as the dough weight and let it run.
  • After 20mins of churning, the breadmaker beeped and I added the corn kernels in.
  • After 2hrs 50mins, the bread is done!
The bread turned out really good... soft and airy. Everyone loves it... and so, it's a definate keeper! It looks like a very versatile recipe too... can imagine experimenting with chocolate, wholemeal or some other variations.