Friday, October 27, 2017

Starstruck! : A Culinary Evening With Audra Morrice






Audra Morrice first appeared on all our radars as a contestant on MasterChef Australia. She was a finalist in season 4, coming in third, just one cook off away from gunning for the top prize. She has not looked back since then, going from strength to strength. She has quietly built a cooking empire, from penning her own cook book “My kitchen – your table”, to anchoring her own tv show “tasty conversations” to becoming a judge on “MasterChef Asia”, rubbing shoulder with cooking greats like three Michelin starred Bruno Menard as well as celebrity chef Susur Lee.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Urban ventures - Keong Saik Street PARTAY!!!!


A ground-up place making project, Urban Ventures is a project under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Streets for People’s Programme. Under this initiative, URA helps to facilitate and provide support for such community-initiated projects, to create vibrant car-free zones across our sunny island. At Urban Ventures, a portion of Keong Saik road is closed off from cars, repurposing the public space from one for vehicles, into one for the people.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mooncakes Wine Pairing (Paradise Group/Missing Piece)

Its that time of the year again. Every year Mooncakes is a much talked about gifting and celebration occassion. 


This year we have the privilege to bring a special modern pairing to the table. We have done a multi-mooncakes tasting once, that really brought our tastebuds to a numb. The year after we did a mooncake-tea pairing. This piece will talk about how we bring the alcoholics to celebrate this joyous sweet dessert.

As many people will think, mooncakes are sweet and should pair with sweet wines. This however, may not be necessarily be the case as mooncakes now come in all flavours and different skin types.

We have been graced by Paradise Group to provide their handmade mooncakes and Missing Piece's wines from France to do our pairing session. Let's start!



 Pure White Lotus (Baked) with Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Blanc 2016

Firstly, the ingredients in Paradise's mooncakes are not overly sweet like how we had them in the past. As we know people are more health conscious, but in all honesty, I don't think wine and mooncakes are going to be anywhere near reducing your fat count. Just enjoy! More importantly, the flavours and experience is what you will not forget!

The White Lotus paste in the mooncakes are extremely soft and does not stick to your mouth insides. They literally melt and the white melon seeds adds on to the interesting texture of the mooncake. The baked skin is just nice, not too thick and also does not flake off like how some would. Just sufficient amount of fats and oil to stick everything together, healthier version we like to call it.

This hugely aromatic IGP goes very well with a short to medium finish, cutting through the goodness of the fats with its fruitiness. However, it could be slightly overpowering for the ingredients of the mooncake. That said, it will be a lasting wine to have in a mooncake eating session with friends.


Grapes included in this wine are Ugni-Blanc, Colombard, Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Folle Blanche and Sauvignon.

Recommended ageing is 2 years for its freshness to really explode in the mouth together with the lightness and fattiness of the "Lian Rong". However, you will be surprised at the yolked mooncake with the lian rong!



White Lotus Paste with Double Yolk (Baked) with 2014 Domaine de Pellehaut L'Escoubasso 

Just so you know, we don't decide which wines to pair with which mooncakes. It took us quite a while to taste the various wines with the same mooncake and between each tasting we had to drink water and clear the tastebuds before trying out the next wine with the same mooncake. With this Double Yolk, we were pleasantly surprised!


The yolk's saltiness paired extremely well with the sweetness of the L'Escoubasso.We exclaimed in unison and unanimously that this was the perfect match! Escoubasso is Gascon dialect for a conclusion or job done, and also refers to the celebratory meal held at the end of the grape harvest.The freshness of the acidity coupled with tropical honey fruits (peach and apricot, citrus and sweet spice), rich textures and perfect ageing on the less brings this golden wonder to a beautiful finish with the salty yolks! You just have to try this! 

The short finish allows you to go for more each bite and gulp!




That being said, Petit Manseng (one of the key white grape varieties of South West France)  was very well received at the table.



White Lotus Paste with Assorted Nuts (Baked) paired with Taylor's 10 Year Old Tawny Port.




The love-it-or-hate-it "Wu Ren"has this extreme nuttiness in this edition. The white lotus paste is wrapped with Walnuts, Almonds, Olive seeds and more! Nut Lovers, you will just go insane with this and it comes with a little tangerine twist to it.

To match such nutiness, we could only try it with Sherry or Port. To make things more interesting, we decided to use a port that is readily available to all who travel (yes! you can get this at airports!). Matching this mooncake with the subtle oakwood, butterscotch and chocolatiness of the port was simple yummy!

Honestly, the Wu Ren is so powerful that only such powerful nutty alcohol can match up. Don't bother eating any other mooncakes unless its Durian mooncakes after you try this, or at least wait about 1 hour.





Assorted Snow Skin Mooncakes with Domaine de Pellehaut Pilaho Rosé
(Matcha with Champagne White Chocolate Centre, Jasmine Flower with Champagne White Chocolate Centre, Pure Japanese Chestnut, and Yuzu with Lychee Martini White Chocolate Centre)


Snowskin mooncakes are so delicate. The ratio of the skin to ingredients to chocolate centers is such a fine delicate balance that just a small mistake can cost the beauty of this style of mooncake to go haywire. This type of mooncakes has been increasingly popular in Singapore with a tremendous amount of variations available. 

Paradise's snowskins have achieved this level with much fragrance also. The flavours are rather safe and traditional yet enough to tickle your tastebuds to be more adventurous. If you are celebrating this with the older folks, yes, get these!

Pairing this delicateness with bubbles/sparklings would be the most appropriate. Try them with a simple Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc simply misses the point. This pairing we used a sparkling rose, with a tender tannin to match the various flavours. 

The best match with this sparkling is the Yuzu with Lychee Martini White Chocolate Centre. This wine with plentiful of bubbles evaporates the sweet fragrance of strawberries and cherries in your mouth. The blend of Merlot, Tanat, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec results in this multi purpose sparkling. The bottle may look cheap but the flavours pack a punch for your buds.



Mini Baked Salted Egg Yolk Custard with Macademia Nuts Mooncake

It is recommended you microwave the mooncakes between 10 to 15 seconds before serving, and be sure to microwave before cutting them to keep the moisture in.When you eat it, its very crunchy and it has the abundance of macademia in the mooncake. Not everyone will like it but we feel it makes a really good variant of the mooncakes of Singapore.

Pairing this wasn't too easy. We feel that it goes best with either a really sweet sparkling or the port/sherry. The saltiness of the mooncake, nuttiness of the macademia and the warm baked skin couples well with either of the two that we had tried earlier. 

We actually took home a couple to try when its cold, going against the advice of the staff, and true enough, when it was cold the flavours of the mooncake really wasn't showing off. Do heed the advice of the staff in future!




The mooncakes are all handmade by the chef of Paradise, even the lovely pigs above. Every velvet carried box comes with a piece of them. 

Paradise Mooncakes are fully sold out as of the time you are reading this. If you have been lucky to have them at home or been given a set, you may consider pairing the wines and feel free to try similar flavours from your wine collection. Do share with us your pairing and recommend them to other readers!



For information on both companies, please see the below:

Paradise Group
https://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/about-us/


Befitting the vast land that it hails from, Chinese cuisine is broad in variety. Coupled with the exodus of the Chinese people to distant lands and assimilation with local culture, this variety has grown even more. But no matter how it changes through the course of history, Chinese cuisine in the right hands still tastes like heaven on earth.

As the hands that rule the wok in our restaurants, preserving such heavenly tastes is the Paradise Group commitment. We want to be an international diners’ paradise for Oriental cuisine – one where gourmet menus meet with good value and tradition meet with innovation.

With this vision, today we celebrate the many flavours of Chinese cuisine with ten distinct restaurant concepts, with over thirty restaurants islandwide, revolutionary in their arena. To maintain the excellence in what we give to our customers, we believe in always improving, enhancing and creating to give exceptional value in every of our restaurant concepts for the ultimate in experiential enjoyment.

Aiming at a sensorial experience, every of our brand immerses the diner in an atmosphere that captures the many interesting points of Chinese culture. From the majestic backdrop of a dynastic era to the infectious charm of a traditional inn, Paradise brand elevates appreciation of Chinese culture, primarily through its dishes.
Besides offering diners with a whole array of restaurant choices, the Paradise Group decided to pool all of this together by offering the best of their culinary offerings as ONE with the introduction of our catering business called One Paradise.




Missing Piece

Finding underrated wines is more than just a past time for owners, Calvin and Holly. After moving back from France, they began to introduce wines from lesser known appellations and countries into Singapore. Even though it started off as sharing new and exciting wines with friends around them, their wines of Domaine de Pellehaut from Côte de Gascogne has now found its way onto the menus of restaurants and bars around Singapore. 

Missing Piece also carries Armagnac, and wines from Corbieres, Languedoc Roussillon.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tiger Beer - it don't matter if you're black or white


This is a review of Tiger's latest brew: the Black and the White. Look away now if you're under 18 years old of age or if you frown upon drinking

Before I start, let me first qualify myself. I’m a beer drinker, on a scale of 1 to 10, my love for beer is a 11.  I was pretty much stoked about the Black and White Party, held to celebrate the launch of Tiger black and Tiger White.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Le Binchotan: French- Japanese Tapas @Amoy Street

Chef Atsuhiko Hagiwara together with Chef Jeremy Chiam created a fascinating menu with a creative touch. Combined with the creative cocktails by Sugar Ray Ruban, designed to go with the tapas, it is a certain plus for a dining experience.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oktoberfest 2016 with Erdinger @ Suntec City!

O’zapft is‘!

 

We have once again come to the part of the year where beer is the highlight. Yes it's Oktoberfest and its quite a relief if you can't fly over to Munich's Theresenwiese, we have one that is close to home. Though not as big scale, it definitely has the mood!
For the FIRST time, Erdinger Oktoberfest will be held over 3 major shopping centres in Singapore! Not only do they try to replicate the feeling of being in the actual Oktoberfest, the beer, food, music, costumes are all in place.

Now the main thing of Oktoberfest is the beer.


For the virgin beer (or even alchohol drinkers!) Alkoholfrei simply means "free of alchohol".

Some translation

Dunkel - "dark" - Dark beer

Weissbier - "Wheat or commonly known as White beer"

The first three from left to right is what you commonly get in the supermarkets and over the counters.

Highlight of the Oktoberfest is always the Oktoberfest Limited Edition beer.

The Oktobefest beer was quite light bodied, medium carbonation and fruity; pale golden amber and had a short finish with medium creamy off-white foam head to the beer. Surprisingly short but it goes really well to cut into the saltiness and the high-fats of typical beer food. Other than on the grounds, you can find this in the supermarkets at limited stock. Ladies, we are sure you will like it!

And did you also know that Erdinger is bottle-fermented, like champagne, where the beer matures in the bottle instead of the fermentation tank. Bottle-fermentation gives Erdinger its distinct fresh malty taste.


 

Erdinger has also made arrangements for food from Pasarbella, Indochine, Balaclava.








We recommend that you have the roasted pork belly and the chicken wings together with the beer!



Besides drawing shoppers to Oktoberfest, Erdinger is also making a concerted effort to bring the festival to the masses by introducing Singapore’s first-­ever Erdinger BARcycle!

A mobile counter-­top bar that brings the party right to where one’s at, the Erdinger BARcycle is equipped with a beer dispenser that offers complimentary tasting portions of all four varieties of Erdinger beer. The one-­of-its-kind mobile bar will be quite literally a moving experience, as it travels along a designated route, picking up party-­goers along the way*. The Erdinger BARcycle sits a maximum of 15 persons and is complimentary to public who meets the legal drinking requirements. *you can log on to www.erdingeroktoberfest.com.sg for more details on BARcycle routes and locations.

  

Games are also available. Be you or your friends be happy from the hoppy beers, or be plain happy about everything, these games are bound to entertain! See which of you can hold the mugs of beers the longest or hit the hardest!



Erdinger will also be collaborating with bars and pubs across Singapore in fringe Oktoberfest celebrations, offering promotional prices on specialty brews. Do look out for these promotions or ask the bartenders at bars which serve Erdinger!


Details of Erdinger Oktoberfest 2016

21st Sept to 2nd Oct
Suntec City, Suntec Plaza, 3 Temasek Boulevard.

3rd Oct to 11th Oct
Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Seng Street.

19th Oct to 28th Oct
The Star Vista, B1 Star Plaza, 1 Vista Exchange Green.

You may log on to www.erdingeroktoberfest.com.sg for more information.



About Erdinger Weissbräu – a traditional world-famous brewery
A rich heritage of brewing tradition combined with an innovative production process marks a key cornerstone of Erdinger Weissbräu, one of the largest German private breweries. Founded in 1886 by Johann Kienle, Erdinger is based in Erding, a picturesque town near Munich in the heart of Bavaria, Germany. The company, which got its name in 1949 after it was acquired by Franz Bromach, remains a family-owned enterprise currently helmed by Franz’s son, Werner Bromach. Today, Erdinger stands out as a clear market leader in the German Weissbier market with a production of more than 1.7 million hl and a retail network stretching over 90 countries worldwide. Connoissuers of beer worldwide have come to regard the name Erdinger Weissbräu as a hallmark of quality and fine taste. It is focused solely on brewing Weissbier, a Bavarian specialty, of which there are seven successful varieties – Weissbier with fine yeast, Weissbier Kristall, Weissbier Dunkel, Weissbier Alkoholfrei, Weissbier Pikantus, Erdinger Champ and Erdinger Weissbier in cans. 

Originating from Erding in Bavaria, the name Erdinger has stood for genuine and uncompromising enjoyment for over 120 years. Brewed in high-tech facilities using only the best natural ingredients, every bottle of the world’s most popular wheat beer is brewed and filled at the original brewery in Erding under strict quality control, before being sent to over 70 countries worldwide.

Not in the mood yet? Below is the video from the Munich Tourism to highlight 2016 Oktoberfest's opening day!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hajime by Singapore's First Tonkatsu Chef


www.hajime.com.sg


When we first arrived at Hajime at myvillage, we were rather excited as we were about to taste Singapore's first Tonkatsu chef's food. Though there has been the buzz about the stars around Singapore, we were pretty happy to taste Chef Tan-san's food again. This is not his first foray into serving Tonkatsu to Singaporeans after his hard work in learning the skill in Japan after all. Some of you might know him to have been the chef at Tampopo too. With 25 years of experience, Chef Tan-san does deserve a salute! Do hold your judgements of your past tastings at Tampopo too, it might pleasantly surprise you, leaving you going home really full!
  

We hardly see anywhere that roast their Edamames. Most have it boiled or steamed and then salted. At Hajime, we have a little of that feeling that it was just done not too long ago (indeed just at the back of the kitchen) and then eating it really warm, crunchy, smoky fragrance and enhanced flavours. Wet wipes will come in handy for this. Do bring your own.


The Gyozas are based on a traditional recipe. Very tasty when paired with the  Japanese La-yu oil mixed with Shoyu, great proportioning. This dip is rather special as it is mixed in house by the chef and you will find yourself dipping more and more into it. Before you know it you might just order another plate of bottom-crispy-top-tender gyozas!


The special thing about Hajime is that they are one of the few places where the food is breaded only when ordered. The Ebi-frys have this extra crunchiness to it with this extra heart put into the food.


Now this is the main thing that we were here for. The promised premium ingredients was really presented by the pure juiciness in the meat and that freshly breaded crumbs just made us went silent. There was the premium pork loin or the miso fillet.

The rice was also as promised the premium Niigata rice. The miso sauce is imported from Nagoya, blended with a little dash of red wine to make it really Hajime's special.

The Tonjiru soup is prepared using the Tonkotsu broth, simmered for 12 hours, with Japanese pork, carrots, radish, burdock roots and a hint of Yuzu, a special touch by the chef. This is akin to how you add lime to Vietnamese Pho. That nick kick and fresh finish!

The cabbage dressing is the Wafu dressing, much lighter than some other places where it allows the star player on the tray to be even more refreshing. This in Chef Tan-san's words is to cater to the Singapore market where healthier food has become a much concerned topic at the table.

How to tell if the Loin cut meat is really premium and if it is perfectly done? We were taught that there should be three parts to the meat when you see its cross section. The pink meat, the fats and then the cooked brown meat. This is a sign of well cooked and not overcooked meat.

When you have your meal here you will realise the fillet is not as dry as what you would expect it to be. The fats are also well proportioned, with the great selection that the Chef has chosen from the meat to use for this dish.

One thing that most people will miss is actually the pickles. Do try them together with the cabbage and the meat whilst eating. These are made in house 






Bringing the two worlds of Tonkatsu and Ramen together, Chef has also introduced a Ramen for those who prefer noodles to rice and it is also a creation by Chef Tan-san himself, not found in Japan. This might taste unfamiliar to those who love Japanese ramen, nonetheless wholesome and tasty. 

Similarly the Tonkotsu broth is simmered for 12 hours, not purchased from factories, and has no MSG in it (though the unami taste is strong) With a light touch of some chilli oil, it really made the dish quite interesting and balanced.

Nama Noodles (prepared by a Japanese company in Singapore to ensure freshness and also authentic Japanese flour) are used and they are cooked quite al-dente slightly to the softer side. The broth is not too watery and not too creamy. 

The Tonkatsu served is a fillet. As you can read above, this really brings the two into one amazing dish.


Not to mention how full we were already by now, we were served the  Katsu Don.

Interestingly, the Katsu is not prepared the usual way that the egg and the katsu is prepared together. Somewhat deconstructed, the egg is now on top of the Katsu after it has been prepared separately. The Niigata rice first fills the bowl, followed by a careful layering of seaweed to sit the Katsu on it, then layered by the egg and sauce "patty" over the Katsu. The picture below shows this art of work so clearly. The crunch in the Katsu can still be felt as you progress with the meal. Indeed a lot of heart went into preparing this style by Chef Tan San.

The best way to eat this, we feel, just take your spoon and dig all the way to the bottom from the top and have a bit of every thing in one scoop and just gobble it down!!!! YUMS!


We will definitely be back again to eat at Hajime. There is so much more to sample and savour. Hajime is indeed a value for money place within myVillage. With the comfortable seating, it definitely is a draw to come here away from the noisy crowd at Serangoon Gardens.

Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens
1 Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9
Singapore 556679

Mon to Fri:
11:30am to 3:00pm
6:00pm to 10:00pm

Sat, Sun & PH:
11.30am to 3:00pm
5:00pm to 10:00pm

Last order at 9:30pm
- See more at: http://hajime.com.sg/#sthash.1IMExIM7.dpuf

Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens
1 Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9
Singapore 556679

Mon to Fri:
11:30am to 3:00pm
6:00pm to 10:00pm

Sat, Sun & PH:
11.30am to 3:00pm
5:00pm to 10:00pm

Last order at 9:30pm
- See more at: http://hajime.com.sg/#sthash.1IMExIM7.dpuf
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens
1, Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9, Singapore 556679
Mon to Fri: 11:30am to 3:00pm and 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 11.30am to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Last order at 9:30pm


 
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