Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fine Dining @ Suffolk House....

Browsing through my blog postings  today, I see lots of posts still sitting as drafts on my website storage waiting to be posted. I am just so lazy to write this year since I am into other things.  Here is an interesting post about a beautiful historical building  I visited with my son in September last year which was renovated and has been turned into a  tourist attraction and has a fine dining restaurant there. Here is my write out in my draft done last year.

"Son H was having his usual one day off from work per week and he brought up the idea of going out for lunch with me to this special place called Suffolk House. It is indeed a great house or rather a big mansion to me. It is a historical building said to be build by Captain Francis Light more than 2 centuries ago. It had been restored and is one of the great heritage building in Penang. More info about Suffolk House can be seen here and here."

Here are some pics I took while having my lunch there.........

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kids Can Bake........

It is seems like more than a decade that I had gone back to teaching or in fact in touch with any kids at all after I had been disabled with RA, ( Rheumatoid Arthritis).  Much to my anxieties when my niece and sister wanted me to help out with their child learning centre at KidsComp  which has baking class as one of their many holiday programs recently.

So it is an opportunity for me to get in touch with teaching again or in short as well as with the outside world of kids. My past teaching career was with only kids at school and within the confinement of a music room with the piano,  musical notes and theory as the main subject.  So what am I going to do with kids  as young as six to nine years of age in the world of baking.  I love baking and cooking since I have been confined at home with my music career going down the drain with some badly damaged fingers due to RA.

So with some preparations  my very creative niece  managed to crack her brains to come out with some interesting program that she thought the kids would loved.  We go crazy running about the island looking for utensils that the kids would love to have and needed. My niece had sleepless night looking out for ideas and materials to make the classes as attractive to a child's mind. So I am only out there to help her get the kids to bake and have fun during the long year end holidays.

I have finished 2 classes so far and I am surprised that kids can have so much fun and delight in what you can offer them if you really put your time and heart into it. They were so much fun to be with and you cannot described how much you have shared your  knowlege and skills in baking with them until you get down on your knees to be with them laughing, teaching as well as giving them all your attention to cleanliness and safety. They had so much enthusiasm and they just practically followed what I show them without any questions or doubt. It is such joy to be with them seeing them doing things what adults can do.

Here are some pics to share of my last 2 classes. Just watch their expression and words cannot describe how they felt and how much they could do in the world of baking......

Getting ready to bite into their own cookies......

Niece Lena supervising them.................

Wow, this is fun and hard work said the kids..........

Cutting out baking sheets for lining the baking pan..........

Woooo...these chococlates smells nice to eat................

Looks like I am the only boy chef here but I love it...........

Putting the final touches of chocolate chips on top...........

Brushing pan with melted butter....................

My muffins are ready to bake........

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Belated Birthday Dinner @ Aroi Thai Restaurant...........

The other day one of my dearest friend Adelyn had turned a year older  and we made it an excuse to catch up with her again to have none other than food on our mind. Though everyone was busy working their heads off we still find time to celebrate her birthday though belated. This time we had our get together celebration at a fine Thai restaurant along the busy Burma Road in Pulau Tikus known as Aroi Thai Restaurant.  Here are what we ordered for the 5 of us........

Cha Om... a Thai omelette with Om vegetables.......The omelette was nicely fried with a crispy outer layer with the Om vegetable wrapped in the inner layer. Quite appetizing for those who love omelette but I  would prefer if they add more of Om vegetables for a more crunchy taste to the dish instead of the eggy smell overpowering the sweet smell of Om vege.

Phad Phuk Ruam Mit Moo,....this is our normal Chinese dish of  stir fried mix vegetable dish  of bits of cauliflower, baby sweetcorns, carrots, green leafy vege flavored with slices of chicken breast. Just right for my sensitive stomach which could not take spicy food. 

Pandan Wrapped Chicken....a herbal marinated pieces of chicken thighs wrapped in  pandan leaves and then deep fried in hot oil. The meat was nicely marinated and taste good with the aromatic flavors of pandan in its tender meat. 

Geang Som Pla.......Sweet and sour fish... A very nice spicy dish with a special sweet spicy and sour soup cooked with slices of coconut flesh and coconut water  that is poured over the deep fried fish. The soup was yummy according to my niece Lena and as she almost drank up all the soup to my delight as to its goodness. I  had to be contented with just nibbling on  the crispy fish  and the sweet slices of coconut flesh drowned in the sweet and sour sauce. 

Poo Cha,....a new dish of the restaurant which was not on the menu yet.  It is actually stuffed crabs with crabmeat and minced meat with some herbal ingredients. It was stuffed with too much of  meat which I find  too meaty for my liking. More crabmeat with less minced meat and a more spicy flavor is what I find lacking. Though the meaty fillings was eaten with some sambal belacan provided I would love to have more of the spicyness of pepper or ginger in the fillings. 

Overall the food was nicely presented and pleasing to the eyes. Service was good too with not too much waiting and  served with a smile. The nicely lit up spaces of warm lightings making the ambience cosy and relax.  We really had a great night there feeling our tummies to the brink and have no more space for any desserts but seeing that we are still spending our time chatting for an extra hour after dinner the owner was kind enough to give us a plate of mango glutinous rice with coconut milk on the house.

Mango with glutinous rice and coconut milk..............

5 of us having a good time...........................

Aroi Thai Restaurant is located at:

391 Jalan Burma
10350 Pulau Tikus

Tel: 04- 2276771

Lunch: 11.00 am - 2.30 pm
Dinner: 6.00pm - 10.00 pm

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lunch @ Buono Pizza Bar n Ristorante..............

In my recent holiday break to the Lion City State, I had my first taste of a very nice authentic Italian Cuisine in a quiet suburbs of Serangoon Gardens. Even my poor Singaporean cab driver could not find this  place refer to us in the news and food  magazines as he does not have a GPS. Later we hailed another cab with GPS and we managed to find it nestled among a housing estate on a corner of a row of sleepy  shophouses.

We do not know what to order at first and finally on the recommendation of the nice waitress  we try a few of their famous and popular dishes.

For appetizers we had huge bouquet of  Portbello mushrooms covered with awesome cheese sauces that trigger your senses with its creamy flavor and sucullent mushroom on every bite. It is served with a portion of fresh garden salad.

Then follow by creamy mushroom soup with garlic bread.

Their thin and crispy yet soft on the edges homebaked  Buono pizza is not to be missed. Topped with thin slices of pork sausages, mushrooms , rocket salads and mozzarella cheese on a bed of cream sauce.

Their special of the day was Beef Cheek Stew , the best I had ever tasted. The beef  was so tender and in fact you dont have to chew on it as it just disintegrate in your mouth in flavorful sauces. Come served in large portion on a hot earthern claypot.

For pasta the seafood linguine drowned in mussels, clams, squids, prawns  and crayfish in rich flavorful and savory sweet tomato sauces made it a  delight to your tastebuds. Wrapped in foil it is served hot and kept warm while you go for a second helping.

The seafood Risoto in rich creamy tomato sauces  is  well done and not too overpowering with its rich flavorful sauces. It tastes sweet and not sour like some othe tomatoes based dishes.

Lastly  the Truffle Ravioli like our chinese wonton wrapped in truffles was really good too. Drown in rich creamy white sauces the ravioli was of the right texture and bite.

With such nice food and ambience in a quiet place any Singaporean or food lovers would go the extra mile to have a good meal.

Here is the friendly Italian Chef cum owner Mr Salvatore Buono with me......

Location of Buono Pizza bar is no 23 Lichfield Road, Serangoon Gardens......

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Snow Skin or Ping Peh Mooncakes.....

Snow Skin mooncakes are mooncakes that have an outer layer of soft gluey skin that are made from cooked glutinous rice flour called Koh Fun in Chinese. Mix with some icing sugar, shortening  and water it will turn into a snowy white, sweet and soft dough that is delicious to eat it on its own.

Making snow skin mooncake is actually the easiest among all the other types of mooncake as you need not baked the mooncake and it tastes as good as the baked ones. Snow skin mooncake must be refrigerated and only to be served when needed unlike the baked ones that can be kept in an airtight container for longer period.

There are a few variations in making the snow skin mooncakes, but the basic ingredients are  cooked glutinous rice flour and  shortening which can be bought in some grocery shops and baking goods supplier.

Some recipes use condensed milk instead of icing sugar to sweeten the dough. Flavorings and color can be added to enhance the taste according to your preference or to compliment your fillings. For example if your fillings is pandan lotus paste you can add pandan juice or essense to your skin or if your fillings is durian paste lotus you can add durian essence.

Last week I made a small batch of  chilled mooncakes in mini sizes ( in fact I made all my other moonckakes in mini sizes this year much to my delight) as it is easy to pop into the mouth and looks dainty.

For those who cannot get a recipe, I have one here to share....

Snow skin ingredients:- (makes about 24 mini mooncakes or 8 big ones)

230g Koh Fun
80g shortening
360g icing sugar- sifted
230 ml iced water
Coloring  of yr choice
A few drops of essense for flavoring 


Mix Koh Fun and icing sugar in a bowl. Rub the shortening into the Koh Fun and icing sugar til it resemble breadcrumbs. Add  iced water , coloring and flavoring if used and knead to form a ball of dough. 

Cover dough with  cling wrap and let it rest for 15 mins in the fridge before using. Prepare and weigh fillings proportionately.

Fillings:- about 400g lotus paste or red bean paste.

Weigh the fillings according to the size of your mould first. To do this first get a ball of fillings and press into yr mould and flatten. Take out and weigh that filling. If  that moulded fillings weigh 170g for example, used 70g for skin and 100g for fillings.  For my mini ones I use 20g for skin and 40g for fillings. It is up to your preference whether you like your skin thick or thin. Adjust it proportionately. 

Then place a ball of skin between 2 plastic sheets and roll it into circle. Wrap the skin over each ball of filling and press into the mould.  Place the mooncakes in container and chilled it in fridge until ready to be served.