Friday, October 5

Anniversary Lunch at Cure, Keong Saik Road

Whenever our birthdays or anniversary rolls by, I dread it as much as I look forward to it. On one hand, it's a joyous occasion but the stress of finding the "right" place proves loathsome. I wish I had a trusted guru that just whispers the name of a restaurant into my ear and we live happily ever after. Well, my guru turned out to be Google and after googling a few places, I picked Cure at Keong Saik and left the decision at that. Yup, no further googling, reading of blogs, and scrolling of Instagram.

Our past anniversary meals at Odette, Jaan and Spago have proved memorable, so I will admit I had some expectations for Cure. The food at Cure is extremely competent, but the portions were dainty - somehow I managed to leave the restaurant hungrier than before.

The interior of the restaurant is dark and clinical. Much like the service, which was professional and sterile. It made me think that when you are a restaurant that tries to be a cut above the rest, you've got to take it beyond the food and drink; you aren't just in the food & beverage scene, you are in the game of hospitality. All in all, there was something missing from our experience. And really, it isn't just about the food anymore.


Sourdough Bread

We kicked off the meal with some lovely sourdough bread paired with velvety churned butter. They were warm, chewy and crusty - you could not ask for more. But you should because them dishes is as dainty as they come.   


Chicken Skin
Parmesan, Anchovies


Beetroot Burrata Dumpling

The snacks provided upfront were tasty morsels that set the right note for the meal ahead. 


Foie Gras Custard
Cherries, Gingerbread

For our starters, my foie gras "creme brûlée" was flawless. It was a dish around the palm of my hand and I still shared a couple of spoonfuls with KW.  That's me, the selfless giving wife. 


Goats Cheese Pasta
Summer Tomatoes, Black Olive

KW's goat cheese tortellini was a stroll through the tomato fields of summer - I hope this line doesn't cost me a spot on "Shit Bloggers  Say" meme.


Chargrilled Beef Strip Loin 
Potato, Smoked Bone Marrow


Smoked Pork Loin

Again, our mains were pitch perfect. Just a wee bit dainty, if you know what I'm saying.


Chocolate
Irish Coffee, Connemara Whiskey

Dessert was a no-brainer for me. Once I see chocolate and coffee, I'm sold. I wouldn't say it was mind-blowing but undeniably very enjoyable. 


Brillat Savarin
Apple Chutney, Sourdough

Likewise, KW enjoyed his stinky cheese option very much. Sourdough crackers were the perfect vehicle for a creamy rich hunk of cheese that married perfectly with sweet sourish apple chutney. 

Wednesday, October 3

The weekend we celebrated KW's birthday + Oct's DTOM: Lobster Risotto

Another risotto?

Haha, yes. When I asked KW what he wanted for his birthday meal, he was pretty decisive about what he wanted - "lobster risotto" and "a dish involving portobello mushrooms." Very specific. As requested, I crafted a menu of portobello mushroom and shallots crostini, a kale and sausage salad (the woeful plating is all on me) for extra protein and greens, and of course, the said lobster risotto.

I have to admit that I used to find making risotto pretty intimidating but it is rather versatile, and more importantly, forgiving. In fact, I had to stop cooking halfway as my-laws were running late and the risotto didn't suffer any damages. Don't skimp on the saffron as it creates the most vibrant happy-yellow. To jazz up the shelled lobster meat, I coated them with some brown butter 'cause brown butter makes my world go round.

We topped off the meal with a lovely mango and passionfruit cake from my in-laws, much to the boys' delight.

Happy birthday, my better half!





Ingredients
Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • a pinch or two of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup arborio rice (also called risotto rice)
  • 4 cups scallop or any crustacean stock
  • Healthy pinch of saffron
  • Fresh parsley or thyme - your desired garnish

For the Brown Butter Lobster
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 400g-500g cooked lobster meat

Note: Please feel free to make your own stock. I prefer a crustacean stock for this risotto to bring out briny, seafood-y flavours. I came across Woh Hup's Concentrated Scallop stock in the supermarket and felt it created the pleasing aroma I was going for.

Instructions
  1. Prepare the stock as per the packaging instructions, and add the saffron threads. Make sure the stock stays hot throughout the preparation of this dish.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the lemon juice, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.
  4. Add the wine and stir as the wine reduces (cook for about 5 minutes until the wine reduces). Turn the heat to medium-low and add the rice. Toss the rice in the onion mixture until it's coated and move it around the pan for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the hot stock about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and waiting until the stock is absorbed by the rice until you add another 1/2 cup. Repeat the process above until all the stock has been added and absorbed by the rice and a creamy sauce has formed, stirring constantly throughout.
  6. For the Brown Butter Lobster: Melt the butter in a light-colored, high-sided large frying pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will begin to foam. The color will go from from yellow to golden-tan to a toasty-brown. Once you smell that nutty aroma, immediately take the pan off the heat. Add the lobster meat, and toss gently to combine.
  7. Serve lobster with risotto, as well as your desired garnish.

Saturday, September 29

Fragrant Hot Pot, 313@Somerset


Love this place. Came twice in a row. The first time was with a group of mala-loving colleagues.  Second time round, I introduced it to KW and even Russell managed to have some. Admittedly, the best thing about mala is having a bunch of homies who are willing to savour/suffer every bite of the way with you.

Wednesday, September 26

Baked Matcha Cheesecake Bars

While it might appear so, baking with matcha is definitely not a phase. If I ever had a bakery, I think it would be primary made of treats made with lemon, tea and coffee. Mmm... 

Last weekend, I thought of taking a break from making a mess in the kitchen, but with two hours to kill before dinner, I could hardly bear the thought of sitting idle. I should probably learn to take a chill pill, but at least, my nerves beget something scrumptious. For more information about baking with matcha, check out my post on Matcha Brownies



Ingredients
  • 75 g butter
  • 1 ¾ cups digestive biscuits
  • 260 g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g double cream
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup matcha powder
Note: Before baking, fill the roasting pan with 1/2-1 inch of hot water and place it in the oven throughout the bake. Be careful or you might spill and give yourself first degree burns. 

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
  2. Coat your baking pan with butter or line with parchment paper.
  3. Crush up the cookies weither with brute force or the food processor.
  4. In a bowl, combine cracker crumbs and melted butter.
  5. Put 4. into your baking pan.
  6. Heat the cream cheese in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  7. In a bowl, whip the cream cheese and sugar.
  8. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well. 
  9. Add flour and matcha and mix well.
  10. Add cream a third at a time and mix well.
  11. Pour the mixture into the baking pan. 
  12. Adjust the oven temperature to 175C and cook for about 25 minutes. Again, I find my oven to be hotter than average so I baked them at 160C.
  13. Once the cheesecake is done in the oven, turn the oven off and open the door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for about 1 hour, as sudden changes in temperature may cause cracking.
  14. Best to chill over night before serving.

Monday, September 24

Native Flowers & Orchids

This weekend, instead of making a mess in the kitchen, I decided to channel my creative juices into flowers. Made a couple of floral bouquets for my mum and mother-in-law's concert performance 🌼🌿🌸




My mother-in-law's favourite brand. I saved the ribbons from all the gifts she got me.

Wednesday, September 19

Sept DOTM #2: Mushroom Risotto

The second DOTM is the ever-comforting mushroom risotto. With the constant ladling and stirring, some might find it tedious or laborious to make a risotto, but I love how therapeutic it can be. This is a lovely basic risotto recipe. If you don’t like mushrooms, I suspect you could even replace it with your protein or vegetable of your choice. I have plans to make a squid ink and saffron version hopefully sooner rather than later.

Enjoy!


Oh, we had wagyu steaks with our mushroom risotto. Not trying to steal any spotlight away from the risotto, but it was too good to not post. I married well.


Ingredients
Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • a pinch or two of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup arborio rice (also called risotto rice)
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley or thyme for garnish
Instructions
  1. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the lemon juice, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.
  4. Add the wine and stir as the wine reduces (cook for about 5 minutes until the wine reduces).Turn the heat to medium-low and add the rice. Toss the rice in the onion mixture until it's coated and move it around the pan for about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the mushrooms.
  6. Add the hot chicken stock (or vegetable stock) about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and waiting until the stock is absorbed by the rice until you add another 1/2 cup. Repeat the process above until all the stock has been added and absorbed by the rice and a creamy sauce has formed, stirring constantly throughout.
  7. Serve immediately with shaved Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped thyme or parsley.

Monday, September 17

Sept DOTM #1: Truffle Kombu Angel Hair

Settling on one Dish of the Month (DOTM) wasn’t easy. It was a toss up between the Mushroom Risotto and Truffle Kombu Angel Hair... so you lucky folks, you are getting not one, but two DOTMs. Woop woop! 

It’s stinkingly easy - well, on hindsight. However, while preparing the dish, I was anxious as hell, as the dish tasted so blaaaaaaand while I was making it. Finally, I threw caution to the wind and seasoned the pasta generously. Do that, you won't regret it. I always run into last-minute scrambles so I love how this recipe can be made in advance, sitting pretty in the chiller while you make a mad dash for the other ingredients.

Ingredients 
Serves 10-12
  • 30g kombu 30g 
  • 500g angel hair pasta 500g 
  • 1/3 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup truffle oil 
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 15g chives 
Method
  1. Boil kombu for 20 minutes till it's al dente. Drain and slice into slice strips. 
  2. Cook the pasta
  3. Toss in the rest of the ingredients and chill for around an hour. 
  4. Serve and enjoy.