Friday, June 22

Da Paolo Pizza Bar, Chip Bee Gardens


It’s been ages since we visited Da Paolo Pizza Bar and I’m reminded of how good their pizzas are. Probably the most popular restaurant along the street, there is a waiting line before 6:30pm on a public holiday evening. And for good reason too.

We ordered a couple of delicious pies - Bosco D'inverno, a white-based pizza topped with truffle mascarpone, mushrooms and truffle oil, as well as a red-based Fiorentina Red Pizza, which boasted a delicious medley of spinach, salami and egg. I usually prefer white pies but this time round, I highly recommend that Fiorentina!

Wednesday, June 20

June DOTM: Rich Chocolate Beet Cake


Ah, a sweet treat for this month’s Dish of the Month. I was intrigued by the idea of making a beetroot chocolate cake as the idea sounded instinctively off-putting and at the same time, deliciously intriguing. I looked around for beetroot chocolate cake recipes and eventually found Anna Olsen’s recipe that promised a fudgy treat.

You can find the recipe on Food Network, but shockingly enough, it has abysmal ratings on that site. Undeterred, I decided to try it out. People in Canada have no love for fudgey chocolate cakes (kidding!).

I’ve tried cakes made with beetroot before, and wasn’t impressed or taken with the lack of flavour. For this reason, I absolutely love Anna Olsen’s Rich Chocolate Beet Cake. Anna’s cake is drop-to-your-knees indulgent - this is definitely not for those who like light airy spongey cakes. A heavyweight on a scale of 1 to Rich. Decadence is thy name and you will be sorry to cross it if you lack the will to take it strong.

I love how easy to make this cake, even Russell got in on the action. One thing to note, I realised my oven is warmer than usual, so I baked this at 170 degrees celsius.

Instead of the chocolate buttercream, I made a vanilla buttercream instead (purely for aesthetics’ purposes HAHA). To be honest, I have never really successfully made vanilla buttercream and I realised the key to a delicious buttercream is patience. My Achilles’ heel.

Here are the recipes, adapted from Anna Olsen and Kitchen Simplicity.

Ingredients 
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup ((750g) unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces 
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup finely grated cooked beets (I used packaged baby beets)
  • 1 ¼ cup hot water
  • Toppings of your choice
Method

Chocolate Beet Cake
  1.  Puree beets in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease one 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour, tapping out any excess.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter has been worked into the flour (it will seem dry and crumbly).
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix in slightly, then mix in the beets. Add the hot water while mixing on low speed, then increase the speed to medium high and continue to mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the batter is thick and fluffy.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spread to level the batter and tap the pan on the counter to knock out any large air pockets.
  6. Bake the cake for about 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 30 minutes then turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour and up to 4 days. 
  8. Make the buttercream and decorate the cake the way you like it. 
Vanilla buttercream
  • 1 cup (227g) of softened butter 
  •  2 cups icing sugar 
  •  2 tbsp milk 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Beat the softened butter for 6 minutes. 
  2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat for another 6 minutes.

Monday, June 18

Father's Day Lunch

Ah, how was your weekend? We celebrated Father's Day with a small do at our place since my in-laws had just returned from the US and we missed my mother-in-law's birthday too. Of course, there is always good reason to partake in some Wagyu MB4 steaks and I made vongole angel hair, my mother-in-law's favourite pasta.




I was most excited for the Chocolate Beetroot Cake that Russell helped me with. It's really good - totally Dish of the Month (DOTM)-worthy. I shall post the recipe soon. 


The glee on this boy's face is totally warranted. 

Monday, June 11

A weekeend at National Gallery

For the following reason, the National Gallery is my favourite museum slash gallery in Singapore. Wide open spaces, kid-friendly play areas and now, pretty decent food options, I'm glad Singaporeans get a free pass to such quality entertainment. We spent a good amount of time at their Children's Festival with our friends, before tucking into hipster healthy plates and tacos. All in all, a good time and the kids rewarded us with a long nap thereafter. #winwin





 


Monday, May 28

Decker Barbecue, Robertson Quay

For some reason, I keep thinking of Decker Barbecue as a "new restaurant" but blogs and articles about this grill restaurant date back to 2015. Perhaps that’s what parenthood does to you, you are stuck in a time warp while the rest of the world whizzes by.

Decker bills themselves as the “Asia’s First Authentic Texas Barbecue” - I can’t refute nor confirm that. According to their website, they have a custom-built smoker from Dallas, Texas that go up to 16 hours. There was much fanfare when they first opened. We were particularly intrigued as KW was grilling a lot too and it would be interesting to see "how professionals do it."

I guess we finally checked out what the hype was after three years.


Located in a tiny nook at Robertson Quay, Decker Barbecue is a t-shirt-and-shorts kind of place, replete with awesome and quick service. They sell their meats by weight, which means you could be easily fooled by the price per 100g and costs escalates really quickly.

We had their brisket, buffalo chicken and spare ribs. Unfortunately going during lunchtime meant the burnt ends weren't ready yet.


I’m going to start by proclaiming the brisket as life-changing. It was gloriously fatty in a melt-in-your-mouth way and I could not stop raving about while tucking in. I had recently made brisket myself and it in no way tasted like this. I even kidded to KW that I would get him a real professional smoker till he gently reminded me of Amazon’s shipping cost. Point taken. We ordered seconds within minutes and I would return just for the brisket.

I have to say the rest of the meal was so-so.

The ribs were irreproachably tender and flavourful but I pretty much prefer the ribs that come out of KW’s Weber. And I’m not saying this because I’m legally bonded to him.

For our sides, we had our obligatory greens - a kale & tahini salad and red cabbage coleslaw - both of which were serviceable, providing much respite from impending meat sweats.


There are pretty much 2 groups of mac & cheese fans - the first who can't get enough of creaminess and the second who appreciate a crunchy panko topping to cut the creaminess. I actually always make sure I add more panko to my mac & cheese, so no prizes for guessing which group I belong it. Their mac & cheese was creamy to the point of being too jelat. To my surprise (well, more like horror), the boys loved it, lapped it up and asked for thirds.

The jalapeno cornbread was tasty enough albeit on the dry side.


You can't really go wrong with buffalo wings but these came from some skinny chickies. A meatier cut would have really kicked this up a notch.


I don't mean to brag but after seeing “how the professionals do it,” I’m glad we can easily whip up moreish grub at home. That is, apart from the life-changing brisket. AHHH, I can still remember how good it is!

Monday, May 21

놀러와 - Come N Joy, Millenia Walk

In all honesty, I wasn't expecting much from Come N Joy. The restaurant usually sports a sparse lunch crowd (not sure about their dinner crowds) and that didn't particularly incite much confidence. Doesn't help that the name sounds kind of "???" too. However, the friend had the Entertainer app which meant a 1-for-1 offer and that prompted us to try out Come N Joy.

Happy to report the food is actually really good!


Their gimbap was wholesome and tasty, packed with beef, carrots, cucumber. The ratio of rice to condiments was a pleasant 20:80. Gimbap is an overlooked cousin of sushi and this version will easily make converts out of non-believers.


The chicken took a while to arrive and when it did, the server candidly told us to be careful as it was hot. HE WAS RIGHT. While I'm super thrilled that the chicken was freshly made, do not pick up the chicken with your bare fingers as they will burrrrrrrrn.

The Lemon Cheese Chicken, an in-house signature, sounds like a monstrosity but it was in fact really good! Deep-fried chicken tossed with lemon sauce, then topped over with melted cheese... It was crunch, creamy, lemony, cheesy - weird flavour combinations that sounds odd but oddly enough works!


We ordered the Soy Garlic Chicken, which was crazy satisfying too. Sweet, savoury and of course, indulgent. What I liked about the chicken here is the generous sizeable pieces.

An unexpected great find - will come back again real soon with KW and the boys!

Wednesday, May 16

Mother's Day Dinner + May DOTM

Mother's Day this yer was remarkably ..... low key. We had my parents and in-laws over for dinner on Saturday and that was it. It didn't even "feel" like Mother's Day on Sunday and I was wondering why Sushi Tei was soo crowded till my own mother reminded me it was Mother's Day. Thanks mum! *back to stuffing my face*

Perhaps I have finally grown out of the Hallmark festivities or just suffering from post-staycation blues. Either way, I hope you celebrated it the way you wanted - as a mother, with a mother or just at home binging on salted egg fish skin. No judgement.

I did receive a couple of handmade gifts from the boys. It's amazing how my cold cold heart warms so easily at the sight of these totally un-Instagramable gifts. Ah, my boys... They make me question my sanity and worth but yet, they fix everything too. 

So... we hosted dinner and I made a few dishes - roasted pumpkin with mixed greens, japchae for my gluten-free-ish mother, and a slow-roasted beef brisket that was spent a better part of the day in the oven. 7.5 hours to be exact.


Total disclaimer: I'm not going to take any credit for the recipe and you can find it here.

The funny thing is while our parents enjoyed the brisket, I found very quickly that brisket is really not a cut of tea. Though the beef was tender and the flavour was bang-on, I missed the fat that had rendered out by the end of the cooking time. If you like the lean texture of brisket, you will enjoy this dish. For me, I'm just waiting for KW to fry up those Wagyu MB4 steaks we have in our freezer.