Friday, April 24

Carrots & beets salad + Potato & leek gratin + Awesome ribs

Things have been rather quiet around here, I am back at work and flat out boring with my daily meals since I am a creature of habit. Over the past couple of weeks, my brother-in-law was in town with his family - the first trip since he got married and now my sister-in-law and him have the cutest little 13 month old. 


They have since flown back but last weekend, their port of call was at lunch at our place, and we were just happy to be able to prepare a meal for them. 


A carrots and beetroot salad tossed with parsley, blue cheese and raisins signalled the start of summer. Oh, who am I kidding? It is just disgustingly hot these days. I have never really cared for the raw taste of carrots but dressed in a citrusy vinaigrette, I could eat buckets of this salad. Any salad with cheese and dried fruit just does it for me.


Carbs presented itself in potato and leek gratin with potatoes and leeks nestled in a creamy concoction. It was tasty but woefully watery. Maybe I should have cooked them longer and not rushed them out of the oven.


Of course, the highlight of our meal were THE RIBS THAT KW MADE. Can you feel my excitement? Let's try again: THE RIBS THAT KW MADE!!! Gaw-, slowcooked on the grill for 5.5 hours, they were ah-may-zinggly tender. While I flit from recipe to recipe, KW chooses a few and perfects his craft. You can tell who is the patient and methodological one in the marriage yeah?

Wednesday, April 22

Mochi from Janice Wong, Ion Orchard


Love the packaging and store concept, but sadly the mochi balls failed to live up to expectations. We bought 3 balls - tiramisu, chestnut and popcorn - but they all kind of tasted similarish due to a disproportionate filling of fresh cream.


A mouthful of cream was definitely not what I was expecting (my toenails curled a little) and there was barely any flavour to speak of. That said, the mochi skin was admirably delicate yet chewy at the same time, and the cream filling was feathery light.

Maybe the incredibly beautiful eclairs would be a better bet?

Monday, April 20

#TeamHaagenDaaz

Hello hello, it has been quiet around here. How was your weekend? Mine was good, not particularly exciting but lots of family time, where comfort food and laughter are modus operandi.



We have 5 pints of ice cream at home, including 2 unopened pints of Haagen-Daaz ice cream. As irony would have it, we parked ourselves at Haagen-Daaz for desserts after a lip-numbing but fantastic meal at Imperial Treasure Steamboat.



Tiramisu and Strawberry Cheesecake atop of brownie, and Salted Caramel & Biscuit and Green Tea on a waffle. The brownie and waffle were nothing to shout about but Haagen-Daaz ice cream has never failed us.


And what could be sweeter than desserts? Watching my boys play together.

Friday, April 17

A happy meal


The week started off on an emotionally testing note but I am glad it ended well. We decided to take Russell out for ice cream as the weather was disturbingly hot and we ended up at good ol' Macs. My (deprived) parents had not been to Macs in years and they treated themselves to Chicken McNuggets and a Filet O Fish. It was a Happy Meal, indeed. 

TGIF, folks!

Friday, April 10

Keng Eng Kee Seafood, Bukit Merah Lane 1

Most people would throw huge parties or splurge on expensive dinners for their 60th birthday, but my mother thought otherwise. She wanted tze char, straight up with none of the fuss and frills. My younger sister used this as an opportunity to push for her agenda and the rest of us just rolled along.

I was surprised that walk-ins during Sunday lunch had to be seated at the coffee shop area. Word of caution or friendly advice: Do make a reservation if you want to be seated in the air-conditioned area.


A mixed platter of Sotong Yu tiao, Mingzhu Roll and Prawn Roll showcased the kitchen's proficiency in deep-frying. 

The tightly-detailed Mingzhu Roll looked a dish you would find in a finer Chinese restaurant. Little hammocks of deep-fried beancurd skin stuffed with Chinese mushrooms, salted egg yolk, ham and parsley.

Keng Eng Kee's prawn balls - stuffed with the usual suspects of minced pork, carrots, prawns - took this supposedly homely dish to the next level.

But it was the ghetto Sotong Yu tiao, dough fritters stuff with squid paste, that taught me a lesson in self restraint. Major love, especially with dollops of mayonnaise.


One of my favourite dishes that meal was the meaty and tender Coffee Pork Ribs. I wouldn't immediately think, Ooo, coffee flavour! But the sweetish sticky ribs bore a mellow yet intense flavour that was finger-licking good.


One of their signature items is the Midnight Hor Fun. It was tasty (like most fried kway teow) but I found it hard to find its USP. The raw eggs add a smooth finish to the dish but the hor fun itself wasn't warm enough to "cook" the raw eggs or benefit from its flavour, but at least we were spared the taste of slimy uncooked eggs. Still yummy though there could be other more outstanding carbs.


Assertively flavoured, the tender thin slices of the Claypot Pig Liver would provide offal fans with plenty of joy. 


The Roasted Chicken was the only disappointment of the day. Yes, the breast meat is as dry as it looks. Sorrowfully ordinary, we could not help but wonder why it was one of their most popular dishes. Moving on...


Vegetables dishes, which are usually the forgotten child, are given a fair treatment as exemplified by the Cuttlefish Kang Kong. Crunchy cuttlefish, soppy sweet spicy sauce ladled onto emerald green kang kong. 


CRABS CRABS CRABS!

Dining with two children under three years old makes eating crabs an Olympic challenge. KW scored gold with two legs while I chickened out on the challenge and only had a meaty pincer claw that my dad cracked for me (thanks dad!). The crabs here are superb, albeit more expensive than usual at $65 per kg.


I, however, lapped up the sauces like a parched desert wanderer who had discovered a magical lake. It is pretty much a fact of life that restaurants such as Long Beach or Jumbo exist to serve tourists, while locals score with heartland hideouts such as Keng Eng Kee.

The Chili Crab sauce was more spicy than sweet; though we didn't want to waste stomach space of mantous, they would have been glorious when smothered with globs of the said chili crab sauce.


The salted egg sauce is crazy addictive. A must-order! This was definitely a standout amidst the proliferation of salted egg dishes. I couldn't partake in the crab feast as Russell was drowsy/ clingy/ edgy but whenever I had the chance, I would indulge in spoonfuls of the sauce. Apparently, there are two versions of salted egg crab - the dry and the wet. As you can see, ours was the wet and I dare say this is the better of the two.

Keng Eng Kee Seafood was most recently selected to represent Singapore at the World Street Food Congress. Kudos to them for their food is, without a doubt, worthy of such an accolade. Hello, can someone commission Keng Eng Kee for Singapore Day in London or New York?

Wednesday, April 8

Pizza Fabbrica - Pizzazz along Bussorah Street

Unknown to many and perhaps made aware by myself only recently, I have an unspoken soft spot for the Kampong Glam area. It is genuinely relaxed and laidback with none of that hipster poseur vibe found in the Tiong Bahru area. Alright, some nuances of that can be found along Haji Lane but that is acceptable.


Pizza Fabbrica is a darling find along Bussorah Street. Despite the ubiquitous stark, industrial chic furniture, there is some semblance of personality in the form of customised posters that would not look out of place on behance.net.

There were very minor hiccups with service but there was little to complain about, and one of the staff (who I later learnt is the Managing Director himself) even offered us a table at the quieter section when they saw the Dumpling asleep.


We only had one starter - Insalata Radicchio Gorgonzola e Pere - a radicchio salad neatly packed with gorgonzola cheese, pear and candied walnuts lightly dressed in a vinaigrette. If you want a salad where you can taste the vegetables (as opposed to drenched in creamy sauce - hey, noone is judging), this is it. A light, clean and refreshing start to our otherwise carby meal.

With a copper wood fire oven claiming centerstage in its kitchen, Pizza Fabbrica specialises in thin-crust wood-fired pizzas. But before you think, Yay low carb! Well, "thin-crust" just means you can pack in slices, honey.

The pizza menu is conveniently split into Red and White ("We are Singaaaa-poreee!") and the pizzas we had that day were both respectably charred and cheesy.


From the Red Pizza section, a familiar Pizza Frutti di Mare crowned with fresh mussels, prawns, squid and one lonesome scallop. It is quite a sight to behold, despite what this picture suggests. 


From the White Pizza section, we had the heady Funghi Scarmorza topped with mozzarella cheese, porchini mushrooms, scarmoza and truffle oil (*heart*).

Both pizzas were pleasing but the Funghi Scarmoza was the clear favourite of the afternoon. #TruffleWhore


Because of the Munckin, we also order the Spaghetti alla Carbonara, a gloriously non-creamy version made with pancetta, eggs and light as fairy dust grated Parmigiano Reggiano.


Taking a breather from the carbs, we ordered a grilled beef ribeye and rocket salad dusted with shaved Grana Padano and a drizzle of sweet balsamic glaze. Though we could easily replicate this dish at home, it didn't stop us from enjoying perfectly grilled medium rare ribeye slices that paired so well with sweet sticky balsamic glaze. Those juicy roasted tomatoes were incredible!


More than halfway into the meal, we discovered the restaurant offers rare draught beers - you could imagine how pleased the men were. My father-in-law and KW both enjoyed their respective lager and Hitachi Beer, and this speciality of theirs found its way into a traditional Italian desert - the tiramisu. 

Making my way through the tiramisu, I could not put my (lady) finger on its uniqueness. There was nary a whiff of alcohol, yet there was something compelling about its mellow creaminess.  


I was really looking forward to their saffron panna cotta but alas, they had ran out of it. The Torta al Cioccolato (Home-made Chocolate Cake) took its place as second choice though it fought hard to keep our interest. The chocolate cake boasted a dark ganache-heavy richness - the kind that adamantly sticks to your spoon till you lick it off with considerable force - that could only be matched by a heady scoop of Cointreau ice cream.


Though I eat out alot less often and tend to be more forgiving of new restaurants, Pizza Fabbrica feels like a charming neighbour joint with a little more pizzazz.

Tuesday, April 7

And Mum/婆婆 turns 60!


Happy birthday, Mum/婆婆!