20 April 2018

Greek Yogurt Marble Butter Cake

I haven't been attempting much new bakes recently, choosing to stick to the same old trusted recipes again and again. I blame it on the weather which is crazily hot and most days I'm simply brain dead from the heat! Also don't have the mood to do any food styling or photography :(

I digress.

But when I saw an IG post by HoneyBeeSweets.sg on a Greek Yogurt Bundt Cake that she baked few days ago, I simply couldn't resist trying it out. Actually it was because I have a tub of Greek Yogurt that's near expiry :p

I have mentioned before that I'm not a fan of butter cakes nor pound cakes as they are more dense and dry in texture. Surprisingly this cake was not as dense or heavy as the usual butter cake and it was quite moist, probably due to the addition of greek yogurt in the batter. The chocolate paste added a contrasting taste to the butter cake which I like.

Was supposed to wait till the next day for the buttery flavour to develop but I couldn't resist taking slice after slice when the cake barely cooled down. Enjoyed more slices with a hot cup of tea for breakfast again. #fatdieme. Baked two loaves and gifted the remaining, as I've already satisfied by my cravings :)

This recipe is certainly a keeper! 

Greek Yogurt Marble Butter Cake
(makes 2 loaves using 7x24cm rectangle cake pan, or 18cmx18cm square cake pan, or 20cm round cake pan)
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 30g hot water
  • 3 tbsp fresh milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 225g Greek yogurt
  • 400g cake flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp fine sea salt
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs (65g egg with shell)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Line the cake pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 170 degree celsius, top & bottom heat.
  2. Mix cocoa powder with hot water, stir till a smooth chocolate paste. Set aside.
  3. Add lemon juice to fresh milk, mix and let the mixture curdle, about 5 mins. Then add the mixture into the greek yogurt. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  5. Cream butter and caster sugar using paddle attachment of electric mixer on medium high speed, till light and fluffy for about 5 mins.
  6. Turn speed of mixer to low, add the eggs, one at a time, switch to medium speed and beat till well-incorporated.
  7. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
  8. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the yogurt mixture.
  9. Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter and mix well with the chocolate paste to form a chocolate batter.
  10. Fill the cake pan with main batter till 1/3 height, add dollops of chocolate batter and swirl the chocolate batter into main batter using a toothpick or cake tester. Add more batter till the next 1/3 height, add dollops of chocolate batter and swirl the chocolate batter into main batter. Finally fill the cake pan with the remaining main batter, add the remaining chocolate batter and swirl into the main batter.
  11. Bake the marble cake batter for about 50 mins at 170 degree celsius. 
  12. Once baked, remove from oven and let the cake cool down completely before unmoulding. 
  13. Store the cake in an airtight container, the cake tastes better the next day.

01 April 2018

Butterfly Pea Flower Nasi Lemak

It's been more than three months since my family relocated to Chonburi, Thailand. Although I mentioned that I would resume my blogging once we settle down, the truth is, I've been procrastinating. Yes, I have visited some interesting places, dined at some lovely cafes and restaurants and been cooking a lot, but simply couldn't find the mojo to write. I really have a lot of backlogs. Urgh.

So yes, I'm forcing myself to kickstart with this piece! Initially thought of starting with a Thai recipe since I've been cooking more Thai food, but on the other hand, I've also been cooking SG local dishes due to our cravings :p

Frankly this is my first time cooking a whole set of Nasi Lemak from scratch. In SG it's simply too convenient and relatively easy to find reasonably good Nasi Lemak; plus I'm lazy lah! But now that we are away and it's not readily available anymore, I start to miss it.

My Nasi Lemak set consists of Butterfly Pea Flower Coconut Rice, Tumeric Chicken Wings, Nyonya Achar, Tempe, Sweet Sambal Chilli, Ikan Bilis with Peanuts as well as hardboiled egg. I separated the process into different days so that it's not too rush. Spent a day making the Nyonya Achar, another making the Sweet Sambal Chilli and marinate for chicken wings and finally ready to cook the rice, fry the wings, assemble and eat!

How does my Nasi Lemak set look? Love the addition of butterfly pea flower tea to the coconut rice, it gives the rice a lovely bluish hue and somehow the whole set looks much more sexy, exotic,  appealing :p

Here are the recipes, with reference from several sources, such as Nasi Lemak Lover, Noob Cook, LadyHomeChef (hosted under Miss Tam Chiak).

Butterfly Pea Flower Coconut Rice
(1 cup of rice, serves 2A1C)
  • 20 pcs dried butterfly pea flower
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  1. Infuse the dried flowers in boiling water till the flowers are fully bloomed, around 30mins.
  2. Set aside 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp infused butterfly pea flower water
  • 1 cup Thai Jasmine rice, washed and drained
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 pcs lemon grass, lower portion, smashed
  • 3 pcs pandan leaves, tied into a knot
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 pcs shallot, slightly smashed
  • 2 slices galangal
  1. Add coconut milk, sugar and salt to a small pot, bring to boil till sugar is dissolved.
  2. Off heat, add lemongrass and pandan leaves to the coconut milk and let them infuse till mixture is cooled down.
  3. Stir in the infused butterfly pea flower water.
  4. Place rice into rice cooker, add the coconut-butterfly pea flower mixture (together with the lemongrass and pandan leaves) and stir to mix well.
  5. Add shallot and galangal, and set the coconut rice to cook.
  6. After rice is cooked, let it rest for 10 mins before fluffing the rice.

Tumeric Chicken Wings
(serves 3)
  • 6 chicken wings
  • 3 pcs shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp shallot oil
  • Cooking oil for brushing
  1. Pound shallot, garlic and coriander seeds in a mortal into a paste.
  2. Add turmeric powder, curry powder, salt and shallot oil and stir till well-mixed.
  3. Place chicken wings and marinate paste into a ziplock bag.
  4. Seal and rub the marinate till each piece of chicken wing is well-coated.
  5. Marinate for at least 4hrs or overnight in fridge.
  6. Remove from fridge 30mins before cooking to bring the wings to room temperature.
  7. Place the chicken wings in the basket of an air-fryer, brush cooking on both sides of the wings.
  8. Air-fry for 15 mins at 180 degree celsius, turning over once after 8-9 mins.
  9. Best serve hot. 

Nyonya Achar
(makes 5 jam bottles)

  • 2 small cucumbers (about 450g)
  • 1 small carrot (about 200g)
  • 100g cabbage leaves
  • 200g pineapple flesh, cut into small pieces
  • 40g skinless peanuts, roasted and pounded
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  1. Cut the cucumbers into 3-4cm sections, cut each section into quarters and slice away the seed block. Next cut the cucumber into thin strips. Add 1 tsp of sea salt to the cucumber strips and toss to coat well. Set aside for 1hr. After 1hr, squeeze out the excess water from the cucumber strips, pat dry, spread them out on a flat tray and air-dry for 1hr.
  2. Cut the carrot into 3-4cm sections, then cut the carrots into size of matchsticks. Add 1 tsp of sea salt to the carrot sticks and toss to coat well. Set aside for 1hr. After 1hr, squeeze out the excess water from the carrot sticks, pat dry, spread them out on a flat tray and air-dry for 1hr.
  3. Cut the cabbage leaves into bite-size pieces. Add 1 tsp of sea salt to the cabbage pieces and toss to coat well. Set aside for 1hr. After 1hr, squeeze out the excess water from the cabbage pieces, pat dry, spread them out on a flat tray and air-dry for 1hr.
  4. Place the cucumber strips, carrot sticks, cabbage leaves and pineapple pieces into a large glass bowl and set aside.
  • 7-8pcs shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 pcs candlenut
  • 3 pcs dried chili, soak in hot water till soften, remove seeds and cut into small pieces
  • 3 pcs big red chilli, remove seeds and cut into small pieces
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, lower section only, sliced thinly
  • 5 slices galangal
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp shallot oil
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Place the shallots, garlic, candlenuts, dried chilli, red chilli, lemongrass, galangal and shallot oil into a blender, blend into a smooth paste.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a pan or wok, add the rempah paste and turmeric powder and stir-fry till paste is aromatic.
  3. Add the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to the paste and bring to simmer.
  4. Remove from heat, let the rempah paste cool slightly and add the rempah paste into the mixing bowl of vegetables. Add the pounded peanut and sesame seeds. Stir to mix everything well.
  5. Let the achar cool down completely before bottling. Divide the achar into glass containers (prewash with boiling water) and store in fridge. Let the achar pickle overnight for flavours to develop before consumption. Bottled achar can be stored in fridge for up to 4 weeks, but best eaten within 2 weeks.

Sweet Sambal Chilli
(makes 1 jam bottle)
  • 8 pcs shallot
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 15 pcs dried chilli, soak in hot water till softened
  • 4 pcs big red chilli
  • 3 pcs chilli padi
  • 1 tsp belachan, toasted
  • 1 tsp shallot oil
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil 
  • 100g Gula Melaka
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Remove seeds from the dried chilli, red chilli and chilli padi and cut them into small pieces. Retain some seeds if wish to have a more spicy sambal.
  2. Place the shallot, garlic, chilli, belachan and shallot oil into a blender and blend till a smooth paste.
  3. Add cooking oil into a wok, then add the rempah and fry on medium low heat till the sambal is cooked and aromatic (turns from bright orangey red to dark red).
  4. Add gula Melaka and sea salt and mix till gula Melaka is melted.
  5. Let the sambal cool completely before bottling.

Tempe - store-bought (I lugged back from SG) and freeze. Simply deep-fry or air-fry till golden brown (around 10 mins at 180 degree celsius).
Ikan Bilis and Peanut - store-bought. I air-fry them around 15 to 20 mins at 160 degree celsius, till golden brown.
Hardboil egg - place egg into water (fully covered) and boil for 10-12 mins.

To serve, simply assemble all the ingredients onto a serving plate.

I must say I super love my Nasi Lemak set, it's visually appealing with myriad of colours and tastes totally tantalising! So does my HB and kiddo. (The kiddo only ate the coconut rice, chicken wings and egg))

The coconut rice is fragrant but not too oily or overwhelming. I chose to air-fry the chicken wings as it's more convenient, less oily and cooks more evenly. This chicken wing has a kampung feel to it, like those sold at Malay stalls. Super love the sweet, spicy and tangy achar, so aromatic and flavourful with the spices. Homemade achar seems to taste "fresher". And the sweet sambal chilli, super like it as well, only thing is, I retained a bit of chilli seeds and the sambal is a tad too spicy for me. But the HB says it's just nice.

Very pleased with my first attempt, and this shall be on my regular menu probably once a month =D

10 February 2018

Croissant-making with Bakerz@Work Academy

Back in October last year, I attended a Basic Croissant Workshop at Bakerz@Work Academy. I've always been curious about croissant making; heard that the process is very difficult and tedious. Since my family loves croissant especially the kiddo, I decided to go for the one-day hands-on workshop to experience the art of making hand-rolled croissants.

The workshop started at 10am and ended at 5pm with an hour lunch break. Class size was small with six students and the "classroom" is a comfortable commercial bakery kitchen. The Chef-Instructor was Chef Kel who is very friendly, patient and very willing to share his experience and tips about making croissants in home kitchen.

During the workshop, we learnt about dough composition and lamination techniques, yeast fermentation, gluten development and flavour formation. Chef Kel would go through each topic with theory, followed by demo and then we proceeded to hands-on with supervision and guidance.

Tadah, proudly presenting my first-ever hand-rolled or hand-laminated croissants! They were certainly a far cry from being perfect, but I was already very happy and satisfied with the results. I mean, I could actually make my own croissants now!

That was me, super excited to have finally reached the stage of proofing for my hand-laminated croissants.

Although it's a little daunting at first, trying the grasp the techniques of folding and rolling, but as we proceeded, we began to get the hang of it. It was helpful that we worked in a buddy system where we reminded each other the steps; and Chef Kel was around to render assistance whenever we were stuck and unsure.

Some might feel that all the work that took one whole day just for what? Eight Croissants? Is it worth it? To me, totally! It felt satisfying being able to churn out homemade artisan croissants using the best quality ingredients and serving them to family members. Freshly baked croissants made with love tasted extra yummy :)

Actually the whole day process can be separated into two or even three days so that it's not so tedious. With careful planning and time management, it's not difficult after all. Patience is the key to croissant making as a lot of time is spent waiting between the proofing, folds, rolling and especially if our home kitchen is hot without air-con, the dough has to be put back to the fridge/freezer more times as it turns soft very quickly.

Chef Kel also showed us the process of making Pain Au Chocolat using a laminate machine. Wow, using a machine makes the rolling job a breeze and the layers are more uniform and neat! See how nicely the layers of the Pain Au Chocolat turned out? Beautiful!

I'm afraid it would be almost impossible to achieve such uniform and distinct layers using hand-rolled method, but it's not possible to buy a commercial machine at home lah.

When making croissants, there will be leftover dough after cutting and shaping the croissants but they don't go to waste at all. We can either keep the dough as old dough for making sweet breads/buns, or add on to the next batch of croissants or make them into Monkey Bread, by cutting the dough into small pieces and toss them with sugar, chocolate chips, dried fruits, nuts, cheese etc. These were really yummy!

Here were the works of the six students who attend this workshop. Mine's forth from the left. All in a day's work.

All in all, I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone who wish to learn how to hand-roll croissants and make their own croissants at home. It's advisable to attend a hands-on workshop to learn the technique and get a feel of the entire process. I can confidently say that the recipe and techniques taught here is foolproof. And after practising croissant making a few times and familiar with the technique, it became easier and manageable, and being patient and meticulous is more crucial in ensuring success in croissant making.

Here's sharing my practices so far :)

Practice I

My first practice one week after the workshop. For this very first practice, I must say it was not easy at all since I was working in a hot kitchen without air-con, unlike the workshop where the classroom is fully air-conditioned. There were some frustrations as the dough got soft very quickly and had to go in and out of the fridge and freezer many more times than expected.

Nevertheless, managed to complete the croissant making. The croissants didn't turn out great but hey I was just happy to be able to try it at home. And must keep reminding myself PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE.

Practice II

A batch I thought cannot make it and wanted to give up halfway as I didn't thaw the butter properly and parts of it broke during lamination resulting in many butter patches. Proceeded half-heartedly anyway, and the croissants were poorly cut, shaped and rolled.

They still looked like croissants and tasted ok, but the crumbs look terrible. A reminder to self, every step in the croissant making is important.

Practice III

My third practice before my kitchen was closed for my relocation.

Took the time to ensure that each step was followed through meticulously and exercise more patience when it came to resting the dough in the freezer/fridge in between folds and rolls.

Was quite happy with the results, the crumbs turned out nicely, although the shaping and sizing still needed improvement.

Practice IV

My first practice after shifting to Thailand. Glad that I managed to find pastry butter and T45 flour for making croissants at a baking supplies shop in BKK.

A good chance for me to test my oven for baking croissants as well, as this oven at my rental house is an analog one instead of digital which I'm used to.

Tried my best to be patient and rest the dough well between the folds and rolls; the croissants didn't turn out as well as Practice III. Could probably proof 10-15 mins longer, but I was rushing to go out to pick up my kiddo from school ("rushing" is a no-no in croissant making! Could have placed the croissants in the fridge for low temperature proofing while I was out).

Although not totally satisfied, was happy that I could continue to practise on my croissant making here.

Practice V

My latest practice which was just last week; this batch I really took the time to rest the dough well in the freezer/fridge each time, and took extra care to roll properly.

Just when I thought it's going to be THE perfect batch, alas, life is not perfect.

Crumbs turned out beautiful I believe. But somehow all the shapes came out different, some lopsided and some plain ugly, only the shapes of one or two could make it.

Not sure what went wrong? Was it the weather which was really hot and humid and I over-proofed croissants, was it because I didn't rest the dough enough between the folds and rolls? I think during the final rolling, although I rolled the dough to about 3-4mm thickness, somehow after cutting, it became 5-6mm thick, resulting in bigger croissants. Probably due to the size, it affected the proofing?

Oh well, all I can say is, every croissant making is a new learning experience, and I shall continue to strive for the best possible homemade croissants!

06 February 2018

New Country, New Beginnings 2018

Sorry for neglecting my blog for so long!

I don't even know how I should start this post. Had taken a hiatus from blogging since December last year;  not by choice, but rather due to some family matters. And one of the key happening is, my family has relocated from Singapore to Pattaya in Chonburi, Thailand due to my HB's job assignment, for a period of two years.

It has been a roller coaster ride thus far, from recce trips to school selection to house hunting, to packing, settling admin issues, managing interim living in SG. And finally the shift here, interim living once again; delays in our cargo, more admin procedures... it has been mentally and physically draining for the past 2 months, with a couple of emotional outbursts and breakdowns.

Frankly there is a lot on my mind about this relocation, yet I couldn't bring myself to recall them as it's too mentally exhausting to do so. Well I did whine a lot on my personal FB the past two months! LOL :p Therefore I'm going to leave it as that, less my mood gets affected again.

On the brighter side, there are a lot of things I would like to share as well, about living life in a different country, about the environment, lifestyle, weather etc; about the interesting places I visited, the nice food and eateries I tried... I guess just so many that I don't know where to get started! In time to come, I'll blog about them for sure, such as lovely cafes, interesting shops, markets, spa, places of interest etc.

Anyways I have started cooking on a daily basis and has been posting photos regularly on my FB and IG, it's just that I haven't pick up the mojo to edit photos, write recipes and blog. As it is, it's so tough writing this particular piece to kickstart my engine! Once again, I have to pick up from where I left off and re-start my blogging regime again!

Till my next post! Stay tuned!

24 November 2017

Bouquets of love, care, appreciation and gratitude from Floral Garage Singapore

[ Collaboration with Floral Garage Singapore ]

Was feeling  quite stressed up and low-spirited recently, so when Floral Garage Singapore offered to send me some fresh flowers or gift basket, I couldn't say no. First of all, who doesn't like receiving flowers? Moreover, I think some lovely flora would certainly lift up my spirit!

Floral Garage is a 3 year-old floral and gifts company, ran by a team of passionate floral hobbyist turned professional florists, with a mission to provide quality and affordable products so that the meaning of love, care, appreciation and gratitude can be conveyed through the simple gesture of gifting.

The company offered a wide range of products such as flower bouquets (signatures include Freestyle, premium freestyle, Vegetable), hampers with flowers (chocolate, fruit, baby, CNY, Get Well Soon etc) , gift baskets, condolence stands, congratulatory stands, terrariums, party stuff and more! Customers can even request for customised bouquets!

As I browsed through the website to select the product I wish to receive, I was literally spoilt for choice. It's my secret wish to receive a huge bouquet of flowers, wait, the terrarium would be a nice touch of greenery for the house.... oh, the vegetable bouquet, the foodie/cook in me couldn't resist it! And the Winter Collection! Remember the Korean drama, Goblin: The Lonely and Great God? The cotton flower bouquets look similar to the one in the drama! The collection is on sale now!

Being greedy, I selected 2 items in the end =D

I still wish for some flowers to perk me up, so selected this sweet little flower arrangement, Simple Gesture.  Love the pinkish and dreamy combination! Admiring the flowers while having a cuppa tea certainly makes me feel so much better!

I believe home-cooks or foodies would love this edible Vegetable bouquet! It comes in 3 sizes, small, medium, large and the large one has an option to include a bottle of wine. I opted for the small bouquet which includes broccoli, bellpeppers, eggplants, carrots, radish, lemons and leeks. Certainly a very practical and fun gift as the vegetables can be cooked and eaten after I finish admiring them :p

There are several delivery timings to choose from and I opted for the timeslot 10am to 2pm. By 11+am, my 2 gorgeous bouquets have arrived to cheer me up :)

In fact, the company has several options, such as Same Day Delivery, Standard Delivery, Specific Time Delivery or Self-Collection. Check out their website (https://floralgaragesg.com/delivery/ ) for the various options and their charges.

Thank you to Floral Garage Singapore for the wonderful bouquets! I'm having a gathering over the weekend; the flower arrangement would be just nice as a table decoration, and the vegetables? They would be included in my menu ;)

Do check out Floral Garage Singapore for your upcoming gifting thoughts :)

Floral Garage Singapore
Website: https://floralgaragesg.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FloralGarageSG/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/floralgaragesg/
Address: 756 Upper Serangoon Road, #03-34, Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre, Singapore 534626
Email: service@floralgaragesg.com
Call: +65 6282 2813
What's App: +65 9387 8871

22 November 2017

Creamy Tomato & Basil Chicken

[ Collaboration with Healthy Gourmet Singapore ]
Dish 1 -  Vanilla Custard & Strawberry Jam Tarts

The second dish that I created is this Creamy Tomato & Basil Chicken using Alce Nero Organic Soft Whole Wheat Flour, Organic Chunky Tomato Puree as well as Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Healthy Gourmet Singapore.

Can't decide between a tomato-based chicken or creamy chicken? How about combining them? Sometimes I find tomato-based a bit too tangy for my liking and cream sauce a bit too rich. Surprisingly, the combination of tomato puree with cooking cream worked so brilliantly together;  both tastes balanced each other such that the dish was not too tangy and not too overwhelming for the palate. The addition of basil also added a refreshing aroma and further enhanced the overall taste.

During busy days, this one-pot dish is definitely a time-saver as it's quick and easy to cook and versatile to serve as well; it goes well with bread, pasta, rice, salad or just on its own.

And doesn't it look christmasy as well with its vibrant colours? Try out this dish for the upcoming Christmas holidays!

Creamy Tomato & Basil Chicken

  • 6 chicken thighs, halved
  • 3 tbsp Alce Nero Organic Soft Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Alce Nero Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bottle Alce Nero Organic Chunky Tomato Puree
  • 1 chicken stock cube or sea salt to taste
  • 15g sweet basil + extras for garnish
  • 10 cherry tomato, halved
  • 100-150ml cooking cream
  1. Place the chicken thighs into a ziplock bag with sea salt, black pepper, mixed herbs and whole wheat flour, seal and toss to coat well. Let the chicken marinate for 30 mins.
  2. Add olive oil to a casserole or pot on medium heat and fry the chicken thighs for 5 mins on each side till golden brown and crispy. Remove from casserole and set aside.
  3. Drain excess oil from the casserole, leaving about 1 tbsp. Heat oil using medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and sautee till onion is fragrant and translucent.
  4. Add tomato puree and chicken stock cube/sea salt, bring the mixture to boil.
  5. Add cooking cream and stir till well-mixed.
  6. Add fried chicken thigh, sweet basil and cherry tomato, turn heat to medium low and let the chicken and sauce simmer for 15 mins till chicken is fully cooked.
  7. Garnish with some sweet basil and any other herbs of choice (such as parsley, celery leaves). 
  8. Best serve hot, with pasta, bread, rice, salad or on its own.

Once again, appreciate Healthy Gourmet Singapore for giving me the opportunity to try out their in-store products. Hope I'll have a chance to work with them again.

Healthy Gourmet Singapore is an online grocery store committed to bring in all-natural and contaminant-free products with no harmful chemicals and additives, to consumers who share the same belief about sustainable farming practices and respecting the environment and our body through the right food choices.

Brands that the webstore carry include Alce Nero, Belvoir Fruit Farms, NOMU and Ortalli, and range from cooking ingredients such as condiments, pasta, sauces, spices, to baking needs such as vanilla paste, chocolate and jams.

Check out their website at http://shop.healthygourmet.sg/

20 November 2017

Vanilla Custard & Strawberry Jam Tart

[ Collaboration with Healthy Gourmet Singapore ]

Last week I was blessed to receive this bundle of organic, delicious and healthy products from Healthy Gourmet Singapore!

Healthy Gourmet Singapore is an online grocery store committed to bring in all-natural and contaminant-free products with no harmful chemicals and additives, to consumers who share the same belief about sustainable farming practices and respecting the environment and our body through the right food choices.

Brands that the webstore carry include Alce Nero, Belvoir Fruit Farms, NOMU and Ortalli, and range from cooking ingredients such as condiments, pasta, sauces, spices, to baking needs such as vanilla paste, chocolate and jams.

I had the privilege of selecting any items from the store to create dishes with them; was literally spoilt for choice as there were so many items that I wish to have!
Since Christmas is a month away, I decided to create a simple dessert and another one-pot dish which could be put together easily and yet visually appealing for the upcoming festive celebrations.

Presenting my first dish, Vanilla Custard & Strawberry Jam Tart, created using Alce Nero Organic Soft Whole Wheat Flour, Alce Nero Organic Demerara Crystalised Brown Sugar, Alce Nero Organic Strawberry Jam and NOMU Vanilla Paste.

Personally I don't have a sweet tooth and I also try to cut down on sugar intake and use more healthy ingredients for my bakes. This is the first time I introduce whole wheat flour and demerara brown sugar in my bakes and the result turned out great!

The whole wheat flour, brown sugar and vanilla paste were used in the tart pastry, and the vanilla paste and brown sugar were also added in the custard. To create more depth and layering in the tart, I filled the tart shells with strawberry jam before topping with vanilla custard.

I must rave about the NOMU Vanilla Paste as well! I'm very particular about vanilla paste and extract and use only the best quality ones (certainly no essence which is basically chemically-derived). NOMU Vanilla Paste contains pure vanilla seeds combined with cold pressed Vanilla Extract, and it's bottled in a dispenser pump which is such a brilliant idea! Mess-free and so easy to use; I'm totally in love with the product.

Love the different textures created in this tart.

Rustic crunch from the tart shell, natural fruity sweetness from the strawberry jam, creamy and lovely scent from the vanilla custard, fruity tang from the fruits and finally mint leaf to refresh the palate.

I used strawberry jam for the layering this time, in fact any other jam flavours are fine. As for the toppings, any fruits would do, I selected raspberry and blueberry as they look so christmasy together. The mint leaf created a stunning colour contrast to the tart and I always like to add it to bakes as they are so refreshing.

The tart shell and vanilla custard can be made a day in advance.

After baking the tart shells, just store them in an airtight container. For the vanilla custard, I filled it to a piping bag and store in the the fridge. The next day, simply assemble, decorate and ready to serve.

Vanilla Custard & Strawberry Jam Tarts
(makes 16 tarts, using 6cm fluted cutter/3.5cm base tart case)

(A) Tart pastry/shell
  • 150g Alce Nero Organic Soft Whole Wheat Flour
  • 30g Alce Nero Organic Demerara Crystalised Brown Sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp NOMU Vanilla Paste
  • 1 tsp fresh milk
  1. Sift flour into a large bowl, add sugar and mix well.
  2. Add cold unsalted butter cubes. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add egg yolk, vanilla paste and fresh milk to the mixture, use a scrapper to help with the mixing.
  4. The mixture will come together and thereafter, use hands to form the mixture into a dough.
  5. Knead the dough gently into a ball. Place the dough between 2 pieces of plastic sheet.
  6. Roll the dough to about 4-5mm thickness and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.
  7. Remove the dough from fridge. Dust a baking mat (and rolling pin) with flour, use a fluted cutter to stamp the dough.
  8. Use a metal scrapper (dust with flour) to lift up the cut dough.
  9. Place the cut dough over the tart case and gently press it downwards.
  10. Using finger tips, gently press and mold the dough into the tart case. Use a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart pastry.
  11. Bake the tarts at 180C, fan mode for 15mins. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. After the tart shells are cooled slightly, remove them from the tins and let cool completely before assembly. *if assembling tart next day, store the tart shells in an airtight container.
(B) Vanilla Custard
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 20g Alce Nero Organic Demerara Crystalised Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp NOMU Vanilla Paste
  • 4 tsp corn starch, sifted
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Add fresh milk and sugar into a small pot.
  2. Place the pot into a large, shallow pan/pot with barely simmering water. This is the bain marie method, to create a gentle and uniform heat for cooking custard. Keep stirring the mixture till everything is melted and well-mixed.
  3. Add sifted corn starch. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will thicken slowly.
  4. Add the egg yolk and keep stirring till well-blended, the mixture will further thicken into custard.
  5. Add 1 tsp vanilla paste and mix well.
  6. Stop cooking once custard is creamy and gooey. Cover the surface of the custard with a clingwrap and let the custard cool for 10-15 mins,
  7. Sift the custard for a smoother texture (as they may be some fine lumps and grainy bits in the custard).
  8. Cover the surface of the custard with a clingwrap and let the custard cool down completely. 
  9. Fill the custard into a piping bag. Set aside. *if assembling the tart next day, store the bag of custard in the chiller.
(C) Assemble
  • 16 tart shells
  • Vanilla Custard
  • Alce Nero Organic Strawberry Jam
  • 16 pcs raspberry
  • 16 pcs blueberry
  • 16 pcs mint leaves 

  1. Fill each tart shell with 1 tsp of jam.
  2. Pipe the vanilla custard to fill the tart shell.
  3. Top with raspberry, blueberry and mint leaves.
  4. Ready to serve.

Don't these tarts look lovely? They are great for Christmas parties, or in fact any tea parties.

Overall not too sweet and full of natural fruity goodness too. My kiddo already gave stamp of approval :)

I'm already thinking of making them again for an upcoming gathering.

Stay tuned as I used the remaining ingredients from Healthy Gourmet to create another simple one-pot dish!

Premium quality clean products from Sasha's Fine Food

Collaboration with Sasha's Fine Food

Back in August, I had the great privilege to partner with Sasha's Fine Food to create dishes with their premium quality products. Check out the dishes:
Dish 2 - Asian chicken skewers with peanut sauce
Dish 3 & 4 - Teriyaki salmon, Chirashi Sush

Sasha's Fine Food is an online F&B company that sourced ethically produced goods with preference to free-range, organic and/or fair trade food and drinks, and at the same time avoiding foods with unacceptable or unhealthy addictive. There's a wide variety of produce available in the webstore, from meat and fish to dry goods and groceries, dairy to beverages.

And in October, I was once again blessed to collaborate with Sasha, this time with an even larger batch of produce - Stir-fry beef from Hellaby New Zealand, Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand, Cold Smoked Salmon from Aoraki Smokehouse New Zealand as well as various cuts of local chicken which are hormone and antibiotic free from Southern Malaysia.

I had a blast cooking with all these premium quality products, and below were some of the dishes I cooked.

Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowl - using Hellaby Stir-Fry Beef from New Zealand

This has been on my to-cook list for some-time. Love the combination of the sweet and succulent beef with spicy tangy kimchi and the runny yolk! 

Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowl

470g stir-fry beef
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp cooking rice wine
2 tbsp pear puree
2 tbsp Coke Zero

1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seed
1 tsp gochujang
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks spring onion, finely chopped
1 stalk coriander with root, finely chopped

Simply marinate the stir-fry beef overnight, quick fry over a very hot grill pan and serve with kimchi, rice and poached egg.

Baked Chicken Thigh and Potato - hormones free, antibiotics free chicken thigh

This is such a quick and easy one-pot dish, great for busy days. Simple yet wholesome and tasty!

Just toss chicken thighs, potatos, carrots, onion, garlic along with olive oil, thyme, salt and black pepper, arrange in a casserole and bake for about 60-70 mins.

Serve with rice, pasta, salad or even on its own.

Chicken Cordon Bleu - hormones free, antibiotics free chicken breast

This is yet another dish that I wanted to try for the longest time. And surprisingly it's not as difficult as I thought. I made small rolls so that it's easy to eat and even the kiddo loved it.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 small chicken breast
4 slices ham
4 slices cheese
Salt & pepper
Corn starch, egg, panko breadcrumbs

Use a meat tenderiser to flatten the chicken breast, marinate lightly with salt and pepper on both sides, place a slice of ham follow by cheese, roll up into a log, clingwrap and place in chiller to set. Before cooking, coat with corn starch, egg and finally panko breadcrumbs. Deep-fry the chicken roll on low heat till light brown. Remove from heat, rest for 5 mins, then deep-fry in high heat till golden brown. Drain, slice into pieces and serve with honey mustard sauce.

Honey Mustard Sauce
10g butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
2 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp honey

Melt butter in a pan, add flour and stir to make a roux. Add milk and cream and bring to boil, then add fresh thyme, wholegrain mustard and honey to taste.

Chicken Teriyaki Onigirazu - hormones free, antibiotics free boneless chicken thigh

My kiddo and I love this Japanese-style "rice sandwich" as it's quick and easy to put together and very convenient to eat. Simply marinate the chicken thigh with teriyaki sauce, air-fry till cooked and assemble with seaweed, japanese rice and some vegetables like cucumber and carrots.

Lemon Garlic Herb Butter Bake Salmon - Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand

This was the first time I tried baking salmon with herb butter and I must say it was really tasty!

The herb butter was so fragrant and the salmon was so sweet and tender!

Add minced garlic, chopped herbs like parsley, thyme & dill, lemon juice, salt & pepper to unsalted butter, mix well, spread on top of salmon and veggies, bake and ready to eat!

My son who's a salmon lover couldn't stop raving about how tender and juicy the salmon was.

Tobiko Mayo Salmon - Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand

This was specially prepared for the kiddo as he loves salmon, Japanese mayonnaise and tobiko! One portion of this and he was totally satisfied, and he already requested me to make it very often for him.

Making it was such a breeze as well. Mix Japanese mayonnaise with tobiko, spread the mixture generously on top of the salmon, and air-fry till golden brown.

Air-fried Salmon with Mango & Pomegranate Salsa - Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand

Was feeling the heat one of the days and didn't have much appetite so made a fruit salsa to go with air-fried salmon (seasoned with sea salt and black pepper).

Who knew that this combination worked so well together? Totally refreshing!

Smoked Salmon Tartine - Cold Smoked Salmon from Aoraki Smokehouse New Zealand

Last but not least, a dish that I have to rave about! This gorgeous smoked salmon from Aoraki Smokehouse tasted so smooth and tender with subtle smokey and salt taste that I felt like eating it everyday!

Served them on toasted sour dough bread with cream cheese & dill as well as avocado yogurt and greens.

Once again, shout-out and big thanks to Sasha's Fine Food for giving me this opportunity to try the lovely produce and hope to work with her again in the future!