Friday, December 19

Dancing Crab » Louisiana Seafood, Grandstand

Dancing Crab is a, for lack of a better word, fun place to dine at. Hands-on, apron-clad action that awaits you as King Neptune's army are served up by the bags full. It is a great place to leave all table manners at the door and momentarily forget that mankind created cutlery to differentiate us from our primate relatives.

We got a Combo Bag #1 with a Sri Lankan crab, prawns, potatoes, clams and sausages in herb butter sauce. Now I’m not qualified to tell you if these were the best crustaceans but they were well-cooked (i.e. not overcooked) and we enjoyed picking through everyone of them.

The herb butter sauce was deliciously addictive. We should have ordered a few plain rolls or bought for own from nearby Giant Hypermarket for some serious dunkin' action. I scooped the sauce onto every that crossed my lips, even drinking it straight out of the bowl. Yummers.

I have said repeatedly that deep-fried oysters are one of those things I rarely have but can't resist ordering if I ever see it. And these served on the oyster shell for maximum kitsch factor did not disappoint.

Packed with lumps of crab meat within a crisp batter, the crab cakes for me are an absolute must order. And it was nice of the kitchen to cut them up for us as they knew we were probably sharing them.

The lobster rolls at Dancing Crab are supposedly one of the best in town - and at $30 a pop, considerably reasonably priced too. The kitchen was slightly too liberal with the mayo but nothing a squeeze of lemon could not overcome.

Thursday, December 18

Sweet treats from Starbucks

I usually go for the savoury options at Starbucks (egg white wrap, followed by spinach quiche) but i n a twist of festive fate, I wound up sharing six different sweet treats with the colleagues in two days. Doesn't help to have a Starbucks open right across your office building, I tell you. 

I will say Starbucks has a pretty decent line-up of desserts. Out of the 6 items we had, the only thing I didn't enjoy was the Peppermint Chip Cheesecake.

(L-R) Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack 
and Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

(L-R) Donut, Peppermint Chip Cheesecake, Yuzu Yogurt Cheesecake, 
and Molten Chocolate Cake

Here is the honour roll:

  1. Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake - I love the denseness of the cheesecakes from Starbucks and this decadent dreamy slice was undercut with a tart raspberry swirl. 
  2. Yuzu Yogurt Cheesecake - Yuzu is really having its moment these days and Starbucks is quick to capitalise on this with a citrusy, tangy slice that would please most. 
  3. Molten Chocolate Cake - Spongy with knock-out molten-y insides. A very commendable molten chocolate cake given its price point and accessibility. 
  4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Stack - Layers of peanut butter mousse, chocolate fudge, crushed biscuits and topped with peanuts and toffee sauce, this brick of a dessert would single-handedly spoil your appetite for the next meal. 
  5. Donut - I probably feel at best neutral about the donut since I am not a donut person. It reminds me of our local you tiao (dough fritters) with a sugar glaze. 
  6. Peppermint Chip Cheesecake - Given how much I enjoyed the other 2 cheesecakes, I got to say this Christmas concoction is lost on me. Too much of a good thing, perhaps. 

Wednesday, December 17

Things I Do For My Kid: Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Sometimes I find myself uncharacteristically supportive of the Munckin's childcare activities. Art auction? Bidder and won 3 art pieces that we have yet to find space to display. Knuffle Bunny Musicial excursion? Blocked off on my calender and applied for leave. Bake Sale for senior citizen home? Would 2 dozen muffins be enough?

Yes, I think it would be the Working Mum Guilt that makes me go, "Yay yippee yay yay!" when it comes to supporting the Munckin's school activities. I mean, I was never this enthusiastic about fundraising and bake sales when I was the one schooling.

When the teachers asked if we could volunteer food and services for their Christmas Eve picnic, I gleefully signed up to make cupcakes AND volunteer as a chaperone. Yes me, the person who never enjoyed the company of children and never wanted kids before I met KW.

Of course, realizing the horror of what I have done, I decided I needed to practice making those damn cupcakes - something I don't even enjoy on a normal basis.

And thankfully, the oracle Internet is flooded with cupcake recipes and permutations, so I used Sally's Baking Addiction for the Very Vanilla Cupcake base and Joy of Baking for the cupcake buttercream frosting.

Ta-dah! Not bad for a first attempt Eh?

I think they need more work in the decor department but otherwise, I think we are set for Merry festive season.

Monday, December 15

Move over Korean Fried Chicken

'Cause Indian Fried Chicken is here to stay

Friday, December 12

Horlicks Blondies

Blondies are wolves in sheep's clothing. Sure, compared to macarons and pastries, they are pretty simple to assemble and bake but getting the timing right is such a b*itch.

I have always wanted to try making Horlicks Blondies but the only recipe I could find was that of the Brewer's Blondies, and to be honest, that recipe lacks any Horlicks kick.

I think I only got it right on my third try. The first couple of times turned out ok and my colleagues ate everything up because 1. the meeting dragged on for too long and 2. people here are peckish in general. However, on my third try, I was finally satisfied with the consistency and interestingly, it was because I made the switch to make it in a cake loaf pan, instead of the usual 8x8 or 13x9 baking tray.

I wouldn't say the Horlicks flavour is terribly pronounced but it does give the blondies a deeper, more intense flavour. So here is my recipe, which was adapted from the well-regarded Brewer's Blondies.

Horlicks Blondies 
Adapted from Brewer's Blondies by Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes 8-10 blondies or feeds 3-4 colleagues

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Horlicks powder
  • 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1-inch cubes (I prefer salted butter to cut down on the sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed granulated white sugar
  • 1 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup cashews or walnut, toasted and crossly chopped
  • 1/2 cup malted milk balls (Whoppers or Maltesers), coarsely chopped (optional, I didn't add them)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an aluminium foil loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and Horlicks powder together.
  3. Using an electric beater or mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until completely combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two batches and beat until combined.
  5. Add in the nuts, chocolate chips and beat until just combined, about 5-10 seconds. The batter will be thick like cement paste.
  6. Turn the batter out into the prepared pan and lightly press it evenly into the pan.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remember underbaking is wayyy better than overbaking.
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the blondies cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it. Best served with ice cream (oh yeah).

Wednesday, December 10

Xmas gifting wish list

I am usually not one big on birthday or Christmas presents, and "Receiving Gifts" is definitely not my top love language. However, I have come across any online shops offering knick-knacks and good-to-haves (versus must-haves) that are incredibly tempting - especially those from online local shops that offer free or extremely affordable shipping.

Here is my take on better gifting this year (well, to me, at least HAHA):
1. A lovely silk cotton printed scarf by Matter Prints
2. Get Shit Done Notebooks from Naiise that appeal to my 12-year-old sense of humour
3. A pretty side table for god-knows-what from Tinge
4. Tongue-in-cheek Luncheon meat print also from Naiise
5. Watering cans from Poketo, which I might use as a glorified teapot
6. Uma by COMO... Or a beach holiday with my two little ones next year =)

Monday, December 8

Lifehacker tip for dinner - Salad Bar Pasta

I get it.

1. It's Monday - who the heck wants to return from a long day at work only to face the chore of making dinner and doing the dishes?

2. Sure, Singapore is blessed with coffee shops and food courts, but after an indulgent weekend, the last thing we need in our systems in some MSG-laden dish.

3. Hey, Presto Pasta to the rescue! But when you are cooking for one or two, why would you need a whole bag of spinach, an entire block or cheese, a hunk of chicken and a bottle of sundried tomatoes - only to leave them languishing in the refrigerator afterwards?

Enter the Lifehacker tip for quick pasta dinners - the Salad Bar Pasta.

  1. Head straight to the most convenient Cold Storage that has a salad bar. 
  2. Pick your toppings to go with baby spinach, sans dressing - I like black pepper chicken, sundered tomatoes and feta cheese.
  3. Pay for the salad.
  4. Cook up your pasta (assuming you already have some at home) according to the way you want it.
  5. Enjoy your ingenious creation and lap up the praise.  
Hope this lessens the Monday Blues!