Browse Month by December 2010
Food

The Greatest Beef Salad. EVER.

Apron Wisdom #3! The part of my blog that is dedicated to the wonderful foodies out there who cook the most amazing food. I am slowly making my way round all your blogs – you have a wealth of knowledge for a very clueless chef (a.k.a. ME) to learn from! I frequently hunt through your archives in a stalker-esque manner and can never decide what to try. So if you have any simple (note emphasis on simple) recipes to recommend, do drop a line and let me know!

Anyway, this time, I have decided to make LeQuan’s Beef Salad. It looks so delicious and yet unbelievably simple to make. Please visit her blog for the original recipe and say hi to her because she is the loveliest. Plus, she has tons of other recipes and interesting stories that are just fun to read. Check out her blog at luvtoeat.wordpress.com.

Ingredients
1 lb sliced beef
Chopped garlic for frying
Olive oil
Iceberg lettuce
Sliced cucumber
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced red onion

Beef Marinade:
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp sugar
4 tbsp light soy sauce

Dipping Sauce:
Juice of 2 limes
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper (I used coarse ground because that’s all I had)

Method

  1. Marinade the beef with the corn starch, sugar and soy sauce and leave to one side.
  2. Lay out pieces of iceberg lettuce, sliced cucumber, tomatoes and red onion on a plate. Beautiful.

    Vegetables
  3. Next make the dipping sauce. I had every intention in following the recipe exactly, which consisted only of lime juice, salt and pepper. But it was too sour for me so I added the other ingredients. I am an avid lover of garlic, so if you don’t like it much you might want to put less.

    Dipping Sauce
  4. Put some olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic until light brown. Then add in the marinated beef. Fry until cooked.

    Frying Beef
  5. When done, place beef on top of the vegetable salad you previously arranged. To eat, just pick up bits of salad and beef and dip into the sauce.

    The Greatest Beef Salad

It was the most appetizing salad in the world, I couldn’t get enough of it! The tanginess of the lime makes all the difference. And once you’ve eaten it, you’ll continue to crave it and want more. I had it for dinner and couldn’t stop thinking about it when I went to sleep. I’m going to have it again, and again, and again. And, again! I practically licked the plate clean. That’s how much I love it. Thank you LeQuan for this delicious recipe!

Next time I might just use one lime though. I thought it wouldn’t be enough but two was too much! Just stick to the recipe Sharon, is that too much to ask?

I made some pasta to go with the beef salad. I tried to make up my own recipe for it but it turned out to be rather scrummy. Plus, I overcooked the broccoli that I mixed into it so it all fell apart. Still edible but nothing to rave about.

Scrummy Pasta

Anyone have any good (fast and easy) pasta recipes to recommend?

Travel

A Mango Love Affair

I love mangoes and all things mango-flavoured – mango juice, mango cake, mango candy, mango ice cream, mango jello, mango macaroons – well, you get the idea. One time I even ate 30 mangoes in one week! By the end of it I thought I was turning into a Giant Mango. So of course when I was taken to a shop in Hong Kong dedicated to mango desserts and all things mango, there was no stopping me from indulging myself. The one I went to is called Hui Lau Shan and you can find them all over the city. It was mango heaven. Mango pieces in a mango-ey syrup with mango ice cream and glutinous rice balls. What more could a mango junkie ask for?!

Mango Dessert

They also had really gorgeous peach pudding with an oozing sweet yoghurty thing.

Peach Pudding

When talking about mango, one is not a true mango lover if one does not talk about mango from the Phillippines. I can’t wait to visit that country to try their fresh mango. As yet, I’ve only had their dried mango from friends who made a trip there. They don’t bother with souvenirs anymore, food will do. I was delighted to find some packs of Phillippines mango the other day. Aside from the fact they are outrageously pocket-burningly expensive here, they were so delicious I practically inhaled them. Western dried mango is nothing but a tasteless, shrivelled up, tough-to-chew piece of leather.

Phillippines Mango

Then of course, there is a favourite mango story.

I was going through the most stressful few weeks, struggling to finish what was my non-thesis. I’m so glad I’ve left writing research and literature reviews behind me, for now at least. I was buried in what felt like a tsunami of papers, typing frantically away at my computer while killing whole forrests in the process. For weeks, my family had to put up with a little grouchy brat who could not even crack a smile. Then this came…

Mango Hearts

I felt so loved. Then I also felt very sorry for being so unlovable. It took two mangoes and two hours to cut out all those heart shapes.

Just doing my part to spread a little mango love =).

What’s this? Never tried mango? Get your butt over here right this instant, I’ll have to sort you out.

Food

Swiss Roll Bombe

Here goes another post in Apron Wisdom, where I learn to cook from others much better than me. I saw a post that I really really liked by Jess at j3sskitch3n.blogspot.com. It was her Swiss Roll Bombe. I craved it so much I kept going back to that post, just to look at it. Here’s her photo that I pinched off her site. This is what it’s supposed to look like. Does that look scrumptious or what?

Swiss Roll Bombe by Jess

Swiss rolls encasing Haagen Daaz Mango & Passionfruit and Chocolate Midnight Cookies ice cream. How could anyone NOT love this? After another million times of staring at this photo, I decided enough was enough. My cravings were taking over me and I have to make this now.

I pretty much followed her recipe almost exactly. I’m terrible when it comes to following instructions.

Ingredients (I doubled the ingredients to make more cake)

3 eggs
110g castor sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp sifted plain flour
1 tbsp boiling water
Strawberry jam for spreading
Ice cream

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric beater. Jess says to beat it until it gets to the “ribbon stage”. I couldn’t tell if it was.

    Beaten Egg, Sugar and Vanilla Extract
  3. Then fold in the sifted flour and boiling water.

    Folding in Flour and Water
  4. Place greaseproof paper in a pan and spread batter evenly.

    Batter in Baking Tray
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until centre is springy to touch.
  6. Once baked, turn the cake out onto towel and roll it up with the towel going in. Leave to cool on a rack with seam side down. I turned the cake out onto a piece of greaseproof paper instead. I’m not sure if that was very wise.

    Rolled Up Cake
  7. Unroll the cooled cake, spread the filling and roll it up again. So far so good.

    Spreading Filling and Rolling Swiss Roll
  8. Cut the roll into pieces of equal thickness.

    My Swiss Roll

And this was as far as I got. I mean seriously. Something went hideously hideously wrong somewhere. This is unlike any Swiss Roll I have ever seen. It is not fluffy, it does not look good, and why was there a thick clump of goo at the bottom?! I was sure it was cooked alright, because if I left it in any longer it would’ve gone solid.

This had nothing to do with the recipe, by the way. I completely blame it on my method because I have never in my life been able to fold anything in when it comes to making batter. I suggest you head over to Jess’s blog to learn how to do it right.

So much for satisfying my cravings. Next time, I shall just buy some Swiss rolls and fill it with ice cream.

Photography

Old And Rusty

I love old and rusty things and I really don’t know why. I just do. I always wonder what the story behind it is. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a curious person and want to know everything. One time when I was about 12, I found a box of matches (that was very well hidden I have to say). I had to know how to light it. So while everyone else was busy around the house, I lit match after match until the whole box was gone. No one saw me so I thought I was safe. Then my mom shouts, “What happened to all the matches?!” And I realized in my joy of a new discovery, I had left a neat pile of used burnt-out matchsticks in the kitchen. When will I ever learn to remove the evidence. I was always told “Don’t you know curiosity killed the cat?” And I will retort, “That’s why a cat has 9 lives!” Honestly. You would think they were smart enough to know that.

Maybe that’s what it is. Or I suppose it feels like there is a secret behind something old and ancient. Then I see a lock on it and I feel even more intrigued. It’s almost as if the centuries-old secrets were forbidden.

When really it’s just a rusty door of an old shed. But I can’t help but imagine things when I take photos.

The Lock

Food, Travel

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

The food by world-renowned French chef, Joël Robuchon, is probably the best food I have ever eaten. No surprise, since his restaurant in The Landmark boasts 2 Michelin stars, among the 25 others he has from his restaurants in other major cities of the world.

They start you off with the best bread in the whole world. I had to restrain myself because they let you have as many as you want. I knew there was more food coming, so I had to strategize and save some room to maximize the amount of food I could fit into my tummy. I know that sounds incredibly greedy. But as much as I would love it to be or think it is sometimes, my stomach is not a bottomless pit. So I just had a couple of tiny croissants. And I mean tiny.

Mini Croissants

I have never been more in love with croissants.

Then they gave us what they call ‘palette cleansers’. I can’t remember what it was really called. It was warm, creamy and had a bit of a coffee taste to it.

'Palette Cleanser'

After the ‘palette cleanser’, they served us artichoke soup. I wish I had a photo of it now but I was preoccupied with trying to swallow each spoonful. I couldn’t say I didn’t like it in a sophisticated restaurant like this now, could I? I’ve just never had artichoke before and I think it’s somewhat of an acquired taste.

But the starters were absolutely genius. We had the King Alaskan crab wrapped in crispy noodles with mango purée and thai green curry sauce, and duck pâté. I wasn’t too fond of the pâté but the crab was simply gorgeous.

King Alaskan Crab
Duck Pâté

Now for the main. We had cod, salmon with mango pieces and, if I remember correctly, something like raw minced beef. They serve it all with mashed potato on the side. And it is the most thick and velvety mashed potato you will ever taste. I just have to learn the secret to making it. I had the cod, and it was simply beautiful. I have never tasted fish THIS good!! With each bite it was like I died and went to heaven.

Fried Cod With Sauce
Salmon With Mango and Mashed Potato

The mashed potato are the two scoops on the side. See how thick, velvety and creamy it is?

I can’t quite remember exactly what the next dish is called. And I think it’s potato on top, or maybe cheese. But it’s raw minced beef underneath I think. I remember thinking there is no way I could ever eat raw beef.

Minced Beef Topped With Potato

And now to indulge in dessert! I ordered passionfruit pudding with pieces of mango and clementines topped with homemade mango ice cream. But they also had a little dessert trolley loaded with everything any person with a sweet-tooth could possibly love. My stomach felt like it was going to explode and I was still trying to stuff my face with dessert, cake, pies and pastries.

Passionfruit Pudding With Mango and Clementine
Assorted Dessert
Pies And Pastries

And if you love your wine, there’s always a great selection of every cheese possible.

Assorted Cheese

And as a goodbye, they leave you with strawberry macaroons accompanied by gold-dusted chocolate pieces and sugar-coated gummies.

Strawberry Macaroons

It was a hugely satisfying and lavish lunch with superb food and great company. I had the best time, even if I had a slight disagreement with the artichoke soup. It was a great atmosphere and the service was fantastic. Slightly embarassed to be snapping photos of the food in the restaurant, but I couldn’t help myself. I just had to chronicle the wonderfulness that is Joël Robuchon’s food. There is no rival.