Friday, August 30

Guo Pei // Empress at ACM

Hey there, TGIF! A couple of girlfriends and I visited the exhibition Guo Pei: Chinese Art & Couture at Asian Civilisations Museum. The beads, the pearls and the embroidery... It was East meets Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Absolutely breath-taking and on till 15 Sept so go see it!

Afterwards, we had dinner at Empress, which falls under the Prive Group. I love the space - it is airy, spiffy and overlooks the Singapore River. Great space for entertaining friends or for special occasions. I wouldn't say it has the best Chinese food in town but it was a fun relaxing restautant and service on en point.


The girlfriends found the deep-fried and shredded duck rather off-putting but I didn't mind it. It was a potentially heavy salad but the addition of pomelo and nashi pear cut through the greasiness of the duck.


If you like crunch in your salad, this broccoli / broccolini salad would please. In full modern-Asian mode, this salad had a zesty chili-calamansi vinaigrette, which might throw some people off. I liked that they serve the dressing on the side, which allowed you to control how much sawww-ce you want in your salad.


I was surprised by these mantou buns, as I was expecting chili crab sauce served with mantou buns. These little pucks of joy were quite yummy and 100x less messy than the original chili crab. I like. 


To be honest, I never thought much of mapo tofu. Gunky, insipid and downright a waste of calories... THIS WAS NOT. There's a tingly lip-naming sensation with every bite and I was quite happy to just down this with some refined carbs. 


Speaking of carbs... Comfort food alert! For maxima satisfacion, I smothered the vermicelli with mapo tofu and inhaled it. You are welcomed!


While the bitterness of the green tea mousse might put some off, I absolutely adored it. One of my pet peeves about matcha products is the overt milky content which utterly defeats the purpose of having matcha. Those who find this too tongue-curling should sweeten up the mousse with coconut sorbet and chunkily mashed red beans. 


Now we know Prive does a mean sticky date pudding and this was no exception. Spiked with longan bits for a smidge of differentiation, this moist spongy mould of liveliness scored high in my books. You really can't go wrong with gula Melaka. 

Monday, August 26

A Tail of A Graduation Dinner

We had a cause for celebration this weekend - that's always a reason to plan a dinner gathering in my world - and though it isn't my story to tell, it involves a well-earned graduation. When I asked KW what he wanted for his graduation dinner, he replied "Oxtail - it's what you have always wanted to try anyway..." AWWW, thanks bae.

Yes, oxtail has always been a childhood favourite of mine. Of course back in the 90s, growing up in a Chinese family, western stews meant one pot wonders with frozen vegetables. Today, the grown-up version of oxtail involves browning, freshly diced vegetables and plenty of red wine.

Alongside those tasty oxtail hunks (recipe HERE), we had stacked potatoes (recipe HERE), arugula salad and cauliflower puree (recipe HERE). A special call-out to cauliflower puree - that chef-y accompaniment is really easy to make! You will be seeing more purees in the future, I'm quite sure of that.


I also wanted to try something different - a plated version, as opposed to family style. And it was fun challenging myself and doing 2 versions. 

Desserts-wise, we polished off a few devilishly yummy sticky date pudding (I used this recipe from RecipeTinEats). I love love love sticky date puddings and it is definitely one of my top 3 desserts alongside tiramisu and lemon meringue tart. The fact that I can make it at home now just makes me even more confident of my life choices. 

Monday, August 19

AUG DOTM: Cold Sichuan Noodles & Honey Harissa Broccolini

Just 2 ridiculously easy and stinkin' delicious recipes for you. Please file this under "Too hot, can't function but still need to eat."

Cold Sichuan Noodles 

Ingredients (Serves 6)

For the noodles: 
  • 300g chicken breasts 
  • 1L chicken stock (you can use bullion cubes)
  • 250g dried flour noodles 
  • 1 seedless cucumber, julienned 
  • 2 cups bean sprouts 
  • 1/4 cup peanuts 
  • Handful of sesame seeds
For the sauce:  
  • 8 tsp sugar 
  • 4 TBSP sesame oil 
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 8 TBSP rice vinegar 
  • 8 TBSP light soy sauce 8 tsp chili oil 
  • Salt to taste

  1. To poach the chicken breast, fill a pot with chicken stock. When the water comes to a boil, add the chicken, and bring to a boil again. Immediately cover the pot, shut off the heat, and let the chicken sit in the water for 20-22 minutes. Do not over-cook the chicken breast. 
  2. Cool down chicken and shred it. 
  3. Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Taste and season accordingly. Some like it hot, some like it vinegarish. 
  4. Roast peanuts and finely chop them; blanch bean sprouts.  
  5. Cook noodles for 3 mins. Drain and dunk into ice water. 
  6. Mix noodles and chicken with sauce. 
  7. Assemble the noodles, shredded chicken, julienned cucumber, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts.
  8. Enjoy! 
Note: If you're not ready to eat them right away, mix in about 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Leave in the fridge.

Honey Harissa Broccolini 

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
  • 500g broccolini
  • 2 TBSP EVOO 
  • 2 TBSP honey 
  • 2 tsp harissa 
  • Salt & black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix marinade, taste and season accordingly. 
  3. Brush on marinade on broccolini - I found hands to be more effective than brushes.
  4. Spread the broccolini on oven tray and roast for 15-20 mins.

Thursday, August 15

Taco Party Woot Woot

Hola! We had friends over the long weekend and in a bid to keep things simple, we had tacos and quesadillas. These were friends KW has known since they were kids and it was just lovely to have old friends over.

Chicken Quesadilas

Chermoula Fish Tacos with guacamole and sour cream 

Mexican Street Corn - Elotes

While this is not a traditional recipe, I thought it was yummy enough to share it. I took some liberties with cheese as I couldn’t find queso or comte here. I substituted the Mexican cheeses with Parmesan and the end result was bang-on tasty - I had an entire corn myself HA!

Mexican Street Corn - Elotes 

  • 6 ears corn 
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup sour cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup parmesan 
  • 4 tbsp smoked paprika or chili powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder and lime juice; set aside.
  3. Place corn husks directly on the oven rack and roast until corn is soft, about 25-30 minutes. You can remove the husks if it creeps you out.
  4. Peel down husks and spread with mayonnaise mixture. Be generous.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with chili powder, parmesan and cilantro. Sidenote: I hate cilantro but they make the dish so pretty!

Tuesday, August 13

Celebrating National Day

Why hello there! We just got off a fabulous (and fabulously hot) 4-day weekend, thanks to National Day. We kicked off the weekend with a trip to Jacob Ballas Children's Garden. Really lovely space though I think the boys would have preferred more play to “nature gazing.”

And yes, I deliberately twinned them. Last week, I spent a good 15 mins scrolling my own Instagram history and realised how much I love it when the boys twinned. Funny enough, they love wearing same outfits too.

In the evening, we had our parents over (both sides) and cooked up a decidedly un-Singaporean meal. I had major steak cravings and KW’s Wagyu MB4 never fails to delight.

I made a cold Sichuan noodle dish as I wasn’t in the mood to deal with fire (have I mentioned it had been fabulously hot?). It’s such a refreshing carbs dish that won’t weigh you down - unless you decide to have thirds. Sides-wise, we had our steaks with charred and crispy honey harrisa broccolini. Addictive!

To be honest, most of us didn’t even watch the parade even though it was playing in the background. But we did get patriotic with this lovely pear and yuzu birthday cake that my mother-in-law brought. The boys sang a birthday song and blew out the candles. We also wiped out a few durian and ondeh ondeh potongs.

Happy birthday, Singapore! There’s so much to gripe about (well, mainly the weather) but so much to love too x