Archive for November, 2011

Triple Chiffon Cake weekend

I have been in a baking mood ever since I returned from Norway. I have this desperate desire to replicate the lovely croissants I had there, but you know croissants, they aren’t exactly the easiest things to make. I did try once, half-heartedly with numerous short cuts and obtained croissant-shaped stones as a result.

I am heartened to know that 2 French bakeries are opening in Singapore very soon. One is Paul Bakery and the other is Maison Kayser. Maison Kayser is to open by end of November 2011 at the new Scotts Square, while Paul Bakery is slated to open by Christmas 2011 and is located on the 3rd floor of Takashimaya, where the old Coffee Club used to be. It seems like just when I am craving so badly for these French/Danish pastries, out pops all these European bakeries. BreadTalk will have to pull something out of its sleeves if it wants to keep its market share!

Anyway, not being able to bake croissants (for now) doesn’t stop me from baking something else. I was perusing one of my favourite baking blogs and I decided to bake this Earl Grey Chiffon Cake. It turned out pretty okay considering that this is my 1st Chiffon cake. The Earl Grey taste was faint, the cake wasn’t sweet enough, but the texture was light and airy, which is what a Chiffon cake ought to be. There were splotches of white, which meant that I hadn’t incorporated the egg whites in properly. It’s always a difficult decision between wanting to be as as quick as possible so as not to over-deflate the egg whites, and yet having to thoroughly mix them so that there are no detectable clumps of egg white in the cake.

Flush with “success”, I decided to bake a 2nd cake, a Milo Chiffon cake! I got bolder and made some tweaks to the recipe even though everyone knows that for baked goods, recipes have to be followed to a T. I know that, but I just CAN’T! Anyway, I paid the price for omitting the baking powder and putting in more Milo powder than called for. The cake had a distinctive Milo taste, but was denser than the Earl Grey Chiffon cake. In fact, it kind of had the texture of kueh.

The perfectionist in me said, TRY AGAIN. So I did. I baked a Third cake. An Orange and Chocolate Chiffon cake. I dutifully included the Baking Powder again and I whipped the egg whites stiffer than the 2nd try. I even added chocolate chips into the batter although I had this feeling that they would sink to the bottom. True enough, the cake emerged with a chocolaty bottom. Because of that, it was sticky and I had a hard time scraping the cake out of the baking tin. Texture-wise, it was also light and airy, but somewhat crumbly. I have no idea why it is so and I can only think of baking it longer the next time. I liked the taste of this cake the most, and if given the time I would even make an orange syrup to go with it. Ah well, next week then.

Now what do I do with all those cakes???

1-Caramel Dessert Boutique

*Invited Session*

1Caramel (25)

The cake says it all. Welcome to 1 Caramel! Don’t you just love all the cutesy little clown faces and the adorable lion? If only someone would buy me this birthday cake instead of a boring old chocolate cake! I feel happy just looking at this.

1Caramel (23)

With a name like 1 Caramel, it’s not difficult to guess what they specialise in. Sweet treats galore, they have stuff like Baked Alaska, Mille Feuille, Earl Grey creme brulee and even 5 types of soufflé! This picture here is of the Raspberry lychee rose pannacotta with lychee-lemon compote. You have to try this exquisite little thing. Somehow it’s the perfect combination and I really love the rose and fruity taste.

1Caramel (20)

Baked Alaska – The only other time I’ve seen this in a Singapore menu was at The Ship.  Pretty good. The meringue was sitting on top of a decadent piece of brownie. It was an acquired taste for me, having meringue together with brownie. The macaron on the side was really nice! I wouldn’t mind having seconds!

1Caramel (19)

Each of the desserts can be ordered individually at $14. Or you could mix and match 3 – 5 desserts for between $16 – $24. Assiette means plate in French. I’d definitely recommend the panna cotta, Earl Grey creme brulee and the Death by Chocolate at the very least. I tell you, you have to believe them when they name their chocolate cake so. It takes a while to even swallow one mouthful because it is so rich.

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More dessert pictures further down in the post. 1 Caramel doesn’t just serve desserts, they also specialise in brunch menu items. Don’t ask me how they got into this combination, but it just seems to work.

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1Caramel (4)

Traditional Eggs Benedict with smoked Salmon $14 – This is really good. This is like the perfect combination. Poached eggs with salty smoked salmon on a toasted English muffin. I don’t think I can ever eat plain eggs Benedict again.You should check out Mr Keropokman’s photo of the ooooozy yolk. Mine glopped all over the place so I shan’t torture you with the photo.

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Grand Salads Bistro

*Invited Session*

Just before my Norway trip, I received an invitation to check out Grand Salads Bistro. It’s not often that you find a cafe touting healthy food so I was really excited to know about the existence of this place. Grand Salads Bistro is located in the Buona Vista area. Have you heard of Fusionopolis? Well Grand Salads Bistro is located at the Solaris building, which is an extension of Fusionopolis. It’s near the one-north MRT station.

If you think that Grand Salads Bistro sounds familiar, it’s because of the Grand Salads bars located in Suntec City and AXA Tower, all owned by the petite and soft-spoken Israeli Michelle Kanner. Grand Salads Bistro offers salads and sandwiches on weekdays to the lunch time office crowd. However, on the weekends, which was when we were there, the bistro focuses on brunch/lunch items.

The brunch menu isn’t very extensive but we managed to each find something that we liked. The food is prepared by Michelle herself together with her helpers. The portions aren’t large, big eaters may need to order side dishes to share. You won’t find any deep fried food or oily food here. The dishes don’t make you feel like you’ve sinned. Instead, you get the light hearted feeling that you’ve done something good for your health for once.

Grand Salads Bistro - (3)  .Grand Salads Bistro

I really really really love the decor of Grand Salads Bistro. It looks like some New York styled deli! The place is bright and the high ceiling gives the feeling of great spaciousness. It helps that the bistro overlooks a lot of green shrubs.

Grand Salads Bistro - Cappucino and Latte

One latte and one flat white $4.90 – Nice coffee that came with a biscotti each

Grand Salads Bistro - Anti-Pasties Platter Set B

Bite selection of Mini Sandwiches, Veg & Dip, Quiche and Olives $12.90 – Love the vegetable quiche. We were thinking of whether to order a quiche on its own or via this platter here and quite regretted not getting a bigger quiche even though the accompaniments were tasty. I think most Singaporeans would not be accustomed to eating olives, prunes and chickpea puree aka hummus for breakfast, but it is a refreshing change. I love olives dearly, and I can’t understand why the Partner doesn’t, even though he loves olive oil. But whatever he doesn’t like, is a extra bonus into my mouth. Yes that little bowl there is a bowl of garlic. We polished it off wholesale.

Grand Salads Bistro - Buenos Dias

Buenos Dias (Mexican Breakfast) $12.90 – Traditional Mexican omelette with tomato, mushroom, onion, peppers and cheese, with premium veal sausage. The veal sausage we were told was organic and imported from New Zealand. You can’t find this sausage in Jason’s supermarket! Really tasty, juicy and cooked with just a tinge of char. Grand Salads Bistro should consider having a sausage dish on its own! Omelette was also nice and light tasting with all the diced veggies in it.

Grand Salads Bistro - Homemade Fruit Pickle

Michelle’s really into making her own fruit chutney. I can’t remember what they all are, I think grapefruit was one of them, and of course the garlic in the jar on the right. If you’re nice, she might just give you some to try!

Grand Salads Bistro - Pickled Grapefruit

You either like it or you don’t! I loved it, sour zing and all!

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Updates on 365days2play

I’m back in Singapore ladies and gentlemen! I’ve been back from Norway for a week already and this is my first post post Norway! It’s funny how I managed to find energy to publish something nearly every single day while overseas, yet I go a whole week without writing anything once I’m back in Singapore. It really reinforces the idea that when you’re on a roll, don’t allow yourself to lapse! Not even once!

BTW, if you’re wondering where the Norway and Denmark posts are, they can be found at http://life.365days2play.com. It’s still work in progress in regards to the theme and layout, but I should get that sorted by the weekend. I’ve decided to allow https://365days2play.com to focus on food related blog posts while http://life.365days2play.com will be where you can read about my ramblings on life and travel. I feel like I have so much more to talk about than just food, but I didn’t want to have to subject my food only readers with my travel exploits, so with the new website, I get to enjoy the best of both worlds. YAY!

Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway)

I was glad I took the Flåm Railway in the end. The truth be told, I was kind of worried about taking this train ride. I have a thing about trains travelling along mountain cliffs. The sight of the sheer drop makes me scared! The last train ride I took was for the journey from Sydney City to the Blue Mountains. Everyone was obviously oblivious to the DANGERS of which were supposedly so apparent to me.

The Flam Railway train ride is touted to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world and is the 3rd most visited tourist attraction in Norway. However, it is also the steepest standard gauge railway in Europe and travels up 863 metres in the 20km journey. In order for the train to scale this height in such a short distance, there is even this 180degree turn within a mountain, I’m like WHAT THE HELL IS THAT??? But in order for me to visit Flåm, I would have to take this train ride to get back out!

Turns out, I was not scared in the end! I’m quite surprised and the Partner was quite surprised too! So much for making a mountain out of a molehill. I guess I was just too busy snapping picture after picture that I had no time to be scared. Also, it helped that the train was travelling at a pretty slow speed, slow enough to make my brain think that it was safe. The gradient wasn’t apparent to me at all, and even the 180 degree turn would not have been noticed had I not read about it earlier. And also, at the steepest of parts, there were railings for protection. On second thoughts, these railings appear to be made of wood…

So the moral of the story is, in order to enjoy the dramatic scenery, one has to first scale the steep mountain.

Flam Railway scenery (3)

The Flåm station at the start of our journey

Flam Railway scenery (2)

Only 8 passengers in the entire train. The perks of travelling off peak! I had the whole carriage to myself and in fact I was basically moving left or right depending on where the scenery was.

Flam Railway scenery (7)

Can’t remember what the name of this road is. It’s a popular cycling route during the summer. The Norwegians love to tell you how many hair-pin turns there are. “Hair-pin” is like their favourite word, and the more there are, the better!

I have to remind you that despite the safety record, a bus once toppled over while travelling on a road with these hair-pin turns enroute to Milford Sound in NZ. I took that bus ride a number of years back (b4 the accident) and it was pretty terrifying for me. See, I’m not making a mountain out of a molehill!

Flam Railway scenery (4) Flam Railway scenery (5)

One has to get used to the sounds of the gushing water when living so nearby.

Flam Railway scenery (10)

Flam Railway scenery (8)

The Flåmsbana actually makes a 5 minute photo stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall! In the summertime, 2 maidens magically appear to serenade the tourists. These photos just don’t do justice to how wonderful the feeling was to be able to view the waterfall up close and to enjoy its misty spray.

Flam Railway scenery (9)

The train and other tourists waiting patiently. The other tourists on the ride weren’t particularly enthusiastic about the waterfall. After a couple of photo shots, they retreated to the warmth of the train carriage. Can you spot the rainbow? Bet they missed it.

Flam Railway scenery (13)  Flam Railway scenery (11) Flam Railway scenery (12)

And finally, after 50 minutes, we arrive at the Myrdal Station, 866.8 m above sea level!

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