Friday, December 31, 2010

Rounding up 2010

Wow, 2010 has almost come to an end and though Yuan and I have not been deliberately hunting for desserts, I would say this has been a sweet 2010.

For all who have been following our blog, one of our major happenings in 2010 is to get ourselves a house and nothing beats having a personal space to experiment our cooking and baking. Have to say that we are addicted to working in the kitchen.

One of the sweetest things that happened this year was to be able to host both my family and Yuan's family at our place for a post-Christmas celebration.

Post-Christmas Feast

Roasted pork belly, a dish that my dad has been preparing for all major occasions and this time, I have followed through the entire process to make sure I am able to prepare this for Chinese New Year 2011. If you see a post on Roasted Pork Belly soon, it means I have mastered it. If there is no post, the answer is obvious.

Roasted Pork Belly

Baked Salmon with Parmesan and Parsley Crust, the dish Yuan has attempted on my birthday. The difference between his previous attempt and this was that the salmon was baked skin up and that real chopped garlic was used instead of garlic salt. Comparing this with the $79.90 Salmon De Wellington we have ordered previously from Cold Storage, this is definitely a meatier and worthwhile dish to prepare, since 800gm of fresh Norway Salmon from Fairprice costs about $20.

Baked Salmon with Parmesan and Parsley Crust

Hilton Singapore made it to my 2010 must-visit hotel for buffet, roast and pastries. After trying the hotel's Sunday Brunch and the roasts served at the Christmas media event, we have decided to order a Roasted Leg of Lamb ($170+, with 15% UOB discount). Tender despite reheating thrice with no "gamey" smell, perfect with the accompanying red wine sauce.

Hilton Roasted Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Thyme (2.2kg, $170+)

I couldn't resist not ordering a log cake from Hilton, considering how good the log cakes were at the Christmas Media Event. Since lunch was going to be heavy, we have decided to order a non-chocolate and non-cheese log cake.

Orchard Log Cake

Orchard easily made it to our favourite log cake of 2010 for the splendid use of slow-baked apples, caramel nuggets and vanilla calvados mousse. On top of that, Chef Christophe skilfully covered the log cake with sheets of white chocolate and sit the entire log cake on a crisp biscuit with bursting flavours of slow-baked butter and caramelized apples.

Hilton's christmas tiramisu ($6.95 nett)

Apart from the delicious log cake, who can resist not ordering a tiramisu that is shaped like a Christmas bauble.


Rounding up 2010, there are several new appearances when desserts are concerned, namely
1. Kki, where Kenneth presents his concoction of light flavours, both visual and palette pleasing.
2. Jewels Artisan Chocolates, presenting our nation's first chocolatier, Chef Chui Foong who brings about an array of chocolate treats with special mention of her chocolate mousse and chocolate slush.
3. Not forgetting the new icon, the Marina Bay Sands, that houses Daris and Sweetspot.
4. Flor Patissierie, where Chef Yamashita continues to bring about premium Japanese pastries
5. Room with a View, a place where carrot cake lovers would not want to miss
6. Wheat Baumkuchen, a local twist to the classic tree cake

Not forgetting our 10 buffet posts for 2010, highlighting our 3 visits to Triple 3; and visits to Checkers Brasserie, MELT - the world cafe -, Saltwater Cafe, Cafe 2000 and the Chocolate Bar.

LAst but not least, may everybody has a wonderful New Year countdown and Happy New Year to all my fellow readers. Cheers!
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chocolate buffet @ Marina Bay Sands

Dessert lovers will be delighted to know that apart from Fullerton Hotel, there is another hotel offering an unlimited array of delightful treats.

The Chocolate Bar at MBS

Located at the 57th storey of the Marina Bay Sands, at the height of 200 metres, The Chocolate Bar offers a different form of experience in enjoying chocolates and the best part is that The Chocolate Bar is opened 7 days a week from 8pm till midnight.

Chocolate Pistachio & Cherry

Priced at $38++ person (or $55++ with a glass of Champagne), this buffet offers a wide variety of chocolate-themed desserts, crafted by hand with premium chocolate and one will be intrigued by the techniques and surprising companions Executive Pastry Chef Alejandro Luna and his team have adopted to create a palette of extreme flavours.

An overview

Unlike Fullerton's chocolate buffet, the desserts offered by The Chocolate Bar focus more on shooters and individual portions, thereby ensuring each and every single dessert are presented at maximal visual pleasure.

From left to right,
In general, our preference inclined towards the white chocolate creations and we have to admit that the white chocolate mousse is smooth and not overly sweet, making it one of the nicest white chocolate we have came across so far. Moreover, the clever use of mango compote compliments perfectly, making the White Chocolate Cremeux Mango Compote a refreshing and light treat.

White Chocolate Pistachio & Five Spice Pear Baskets is another favourite of ours. Although the thought of putting five spice in a dessert may sound weird but this waffle basket housing the pear and white chocolate pistachio mousse did win our hearts, warranting a second round.

According to the press release, Rosemary Milk Chocolate Cappuccino is a must-try and this is served in a cup with a dash of chocolate powder. This drink is supposed to intoxicate one with the refreshing rosemary-flavored foam which gives way to a satisfying layer of rich milk chocolate mousse.

Caramel Milk Chocolate Tarts

Although the caramel is subtle in these Milk Chocolate Tarts and that the crust is weak in its taste, the way these are assembled does make me savour it slowly. 4 components in total, namely a mini bi-colour macaron, caramel mousse, chocolate ganache and a chocolate tart crust.

Black Pepper Chocolate Mousse Coriander Cream Pineapple

Imagine having your chocolate served with black pepper, coriander, curry or mint, sounds weird but we enjoyed the Chocolate Nougat Curry & Mango Chutney very much. Very similar to eating twisties with a chocolate bar.

“After Eight”, a Manjari Chocolate chocolate mousse, infused with mint, was relatively weak in its chocolate content, making the mousse slightly diluted or rather creamy to our liking. The endorphin surge was just not sufficient.

Strawberry-White Chocolate Ganache Lychee Pannacotta

As mentioned earlier, Chef Alejandro Luna presents white chocolate mousse in a splendid manner, this time nicely infused with lychee. One of my favourites.

White Chocolate Pear Torte

Another favourite of mine, the White Chocolate Pear Torte steals the show for the lightly sweetened dessert and that the pear neutralizes the typical cloying characteristic of white chocolate.

Steam Chocolate "Creme" Banana Chutney

Another interesting highlight of this buffet is the Steamed Chocolate Crème, Banana Chutney, a ganache based dessert that pairs the smoothness of the chocolate – which is steamed with banana leaves - with the bite of banana chutney.

Cheesecake Lollipop

The very first time we have came across a cheesecake lollipop was at Hilton's Sunday Brunch and Marina Bay Sands' lollipop didn't disappoint for its crisp white chocolate shells and its oozing cheesecake filling.

67% and 72% Ganache

Nama chocolate lovers will not want to miss this one. This fits the definition of a good nama chocolate for its rich cocoa content and smooth texture. Enough said.

Warm Chocolate Cake

Thumbs up to the attentive service provided by the staff and Chocolate ice-cream and Warm Chocolate Cake are served to your table upon request. The Chocolate ice-cream is a magnum look-alike and the chocolate outer shells with Valrhona Chocolate Pearls is simply divine when eaten together with home-made chocolate ice cream.

Warm chocolate cake didn't disappoint with its molten core and its slight flaw lies in the subtle burnt chocolate after-taste of the cake.

Outside The Club

Running through the entire list of desserts, this will appeal to desserts lovers for the innovative creations and extensive combination but die-hard chocolate fans will be disappointed as the desserts that left a stronger impression (in our opinion) were the white chocolate ones as mentioned in the post and non-chocolate desserts such as the Churros con Chocolate, Elderflower Macarons, Candied Macadamia Nuts, etc. Although premium chocolates are used in all creations, the resulting texture is creamier and weaker in its cocoa content.

However, we would say it is worth a try, considering the fanciful combination Chef Alejandro Luna and his team have put up and one will be surprised how well these desserts fare.

Lastly, this is also a very good excuse to have access to Sands Skypark. Moreover, The Club at Marina Bay Sands is exclusive to Suite guests and is only opened to the public for the chocolate buffet.

Before signing off, we would like to thank Venetia, Corporate Communications Officer of Marina Bay Sands for acceding to our photography request.

The Chocolate Bar @ The Club
Marina Bay Sands Singapore
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018956
Tel: 6688 8858

Chocolate buffet is available every evening from 8pm to midnight.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fruit cocktails log

Fruit cocktails log

Many of us probably grew up eating cakes from Angie the choice. I recall Angie's cake to have thick fresh milky cream however their log cake was nothing close to my perception of their cakes. In contrast, it has thick vanilla chiffon and very little cream which most of the family can accept. How often do you see your friends scooping away the cream? The down side is: there is hardly any fruits.

Fruit cocktails log (cross section)

The log cake comes in 3 sizes, 20cm ($37.90), 25cm ($50.90) and 30cm ($75.90).

Though this post comes alittle late, Merry Christmas to all our readers and we hope that everybody has a wonderful Christmas celebration and a fantastic Christmas feast. Do keep a lookout for our last 2010 log cake entry tomorrow.

Angie The Choice
Square 2
Tel: 6258-9898
10 Sinaran Drive
# 01-17 Square 2
Singapore 307506

Visit their website for other outlets and cake list.
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Baked Salmon with parmesan and parsley crust

Baked Salmon with parmesan and parsley crust

This is my first attempt at cooking fish in our new kitchen. Further it is Fen's birthday, so I thought I will prepare something simple and nice for her. Baking/Roasting is probably the simplest way to cook and impress your other half.

2 x 200g Salmon Filet Skinned
Ground Black Pepper
Garlic Salt
50g Cream Cheese
10g Breadcrumbs
10g Coarsely Grated Parmesan
2 tbsp of Parsley

1. Pre heat oven to 200C
2. Marinate Salmon with garlic salt
3. Mash Cream Cheese with Garlic Salt and Black Pepper. Spread over Salmon.
4. Mix Breadcrumbs, Parmesan and Parsley; Spread over cream cheese layer.
5. Bake for approx 15min

After Thoughts
Fen really like it since she loves cheese. However I found it a little saltly due to the cheese. Those who are not a big fan of cheese can reduce the amount of parmesan and perhaps skip the garlic salt altogether. For beginners remember to bake with skin up and grease your aluminium foil.

During this festive period, why not impress your other half with some home cooking. This dish took me less than an hour.

This recipe was modified from BBC food.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Dolce Vita

My birthday meal for 2010 and yes, an entry which I fail to get it published shortly after the meal. Not that the meal was not memorable but rather January has been a busy month (In fact the 1st entry of Jan was actually a Chinese New Year Special).

I haven't been to many Italian restaurants so I can't comment much about the food. All I can say is that I love the ambience of this place and that the service was fantastic with a good selection of food.

For evenings, the interior of Dolce Vita is warmly lit with white ceiling and an open kitchen at the other end of the restaurant. The full height white trimmed window presents a view of the poolside that is set against the stunning views of the Singapore Flyer and Ritz Carlton Millenia. Since it was near Christmas at our point of visit, the entire restaurant was decorated with a huge Christmas tree, a vintage ham cutter and lots of poinsettia.

Tartare di manzo

Tartare di manzo ($28++) caught me by surprise as I didn't know what tartare was. Anyway, this finely chopped raw Angus beef tenderloin surprised me with the absence of the "bloodly" taste. I am not sure how to describe it but I recall voluntering to finish the raw beef with the finely shredded purple potato chips.

Complementary Salmon Appetizer

This was served to everybody prior to the main course and I appreciated the simultaneous serving of the appetizers, main courses and desserts (respectively) to all diners at the table. The warm and attentive service makes me feel like a privilleged diner but yet not feeling stressed at all.

Merluzzo al pesto

Merluzzo al pesto ($38++) was what I have ordered since I was craving for Chef Sandro's risotto. The prime seafood-saffron risotto was not as good as how I wanted it to be but the roasted cod fish (served with sauteed baby spinach and homemade basil pesto) was a delight for the succulent texture. My only complain? The fish is a little salty.

Branzino alla griglia

Branzino alla griglia ($38++) was Yuan's order. A grilled whole sea bass Italian style with baby spinach, sauteed potatoes and natural jus. The fish has been deboned and the meat has been well-seasoned with herbs. The concept is lovely but the meat becomes mashy without the bones, making it a messy affair. Yuan would have preferred the beef tenderloin which one of my friends have ordered and the pan-fried foie gras that came with it was good.

Torta die Mele

In a way or another, I had birthday celebrations in 3 of the restaurants of Mandarin Oriental last year, namely Cherry Garden, Melts - the World Cafe - and Dolce Vita. The hotel does serve a complementary chocolate praline cake for dine-ins.

Apart from the chocolate praline which I have shared among my friends, we have ordered two recommended desserts, namely the Torta die Mele and the Italian tiramisu.

This slow baked golden apple with puff pastry is something that I will order again for the strong fragrance of the caramelized apple. Unlike the regular crisp pastry, the puff pastry tart shell is soft and when eaten together with the calvados ice-cream and Tahitian vanilla sauce, the overall combination with the alcholic kick was simply ectastic.

Italian homemade tiramisu

Italian tiramisu is a simple espresso soaked sponge with mascarpone cheese filling, coated with dark chocolate. Simple as it looks and the overall combination was well-liked by Yuan.

I am eyeing at this place once more for our 11th anniversary.
YUAN, saw my hint?

Dolce Vita
Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
5 Raffles Avenue
Marina Square
Singapore 039797
Tel: 6885 3551

Operating hours
Lunch - Noon to 2:30pm
a la carte Brunch (Weekends) - Noon to 3pm

Dinner - 6:30pm to 10:30pm

For my own information, this post was only typed on 17 February 2011 but I have decided to publish it on my birthday itself.
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This is an invited tasting and personally we are glad to accept it. In normal circumstances, we wouldn't have visit French bistros on our own accord as we fear for our pockets.

A newcomer at Duxton Hill, L'Entrecôte is a single main course bistro that brings in the L'Entrecôte's signature Steak Frites. Apparently this is a Parisian gastronomic concept first established some eighty years ago and Singaporeans are privilleged to enjoy this imported time-tested recipe, brought in by two accomplished restaurateurs, Olivier and Loic and rest assured this is the same recipe as the one found in London and Paris.

Apart from the one main course concept, the other unique factor of L’Entrecote is that they do not take reservations, so if one arrives at L’Entrecote and that there is no table free at that time, they have a great seating area outside to allow one to enjoy a glass of wine whilst waiting.


The elongated bistro may appear to be cramp and lack privacy as the tables are placed very close to each other but upon taking a sip of a complimentary glass of Kir, a refreshing white wine lightly sweetened with blackcurrant liquor, one will naturally unwind.

High ceiling of L’Entrecote

From the vintage mirrors lining the walls to the wooden banquets and the unique paper tablemats from France, the set-up is designed to mimic a traditional French bistro. In addition, the key highlight of this place lies in a light well near the end of the bistro, which is simply captivating, be it during the day or night.

Steak Fries

The only main course offered in this place is none other the legendary Parisian steak and fries. We were sold by the combination of the slight tangy sauce, fries, the salad (served with mustard dressing and walnuts) and the complimentary glass of Kir.

The entrecôte steak is doled out in two servings with the second kept warm on burners. The refill of fries are served hot too. The highlight of the entire steak lies in the secret sauce, poured generously over the trimmed and tender slices of steak.

Vacherin du Bistro

Other than the single main course offered, L'Entrecôte also features a range of entrées and a 15-strong dessert menu. We took Chef Olivier's recommendation; and Vacherin du Bistrot, a delightful combination of meringue, vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce, deserves a thumb ups for the melt-in-your-mouth meringue and the hot chocolate sauce neutralizing the sweetness splendidly.

We have never expect ourselves to enjoy this place so much. For such a huge serving, the pricing of the steak and desserts is reasonable. Moreover, friendly staff and its fantastic ambience sums it all up. Sure glad to know about this place and one can be very sure we will come back again.

Many thanks to David from ATE consulting for the invitation and due to the lighting and space constrain, the photos posted on this blog were provided by L'Entrecôte.

L’Entrecôte – The Steak and Fries Bistro
36 Duxton Hill
Singapore 089614
Tel: 6238 5700

Operating hours
Noon to 10:30pm (Mon to Fri)
6pm to 11pm (Sat and P.H)
Closed on Sundays
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

D24 durian Christmas log cake

Ever since we started the blog and have tried Goodwood Park durian creations, we have been returning for more. Consistent has always been in all our Goodwood Park's durian entries and their signature log cake makes no exception.

While the Durian Profiterole Christmas Tree ($68+) caught the attention of many, it is expensive when the portion and weight is factored in. Moreover, based on what we have seen on the display upon collecting the cake, the former has shrank in its size.

Durian Log Cake

Having a gathering of 10 people, a log cake ($58+) sounds more gentle on the pocket and having left at room temperature for more than 4 hours, the cake is nicely thawed and the vanilla sponge intertwined with durian mousse won the hearts of durian lover.

Comparing this with the durian mousse cake, this has more cake content, slightly coarse to hold the structure of the log but the ultimate winning factor lies in the creamy D24 durian mousse. No doubt, a signature of all times.

All Christmas delights are available from 1st Dec 2009 to 26th December 2010 at the Deli. Do note that the last order date is 23 December 2010.

For more details, refer the promotion page of Goodwood Park Hotel. Order form is downloadable from here.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Tel: 6730 1867 / 1868
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Mango and Yoghurt Log Cake

To most, log cakes are often chocolate and it has become a boring flavour if it is going to be the same every year. As I always mention in my previous posts, I prefer to order my pastries from hotels for their reasonable pricing, prompt services and also the new flavours introduced every year.

This Christmas, Shangri-la combine these Yuletide traditions with fruity flavours, introducing new flavours such as Chestnut and Apple Log Cake and Mango and Yoghurt Cake. Judging from my pool of friends, apart from chocolate being an all-time favourite, mango seems to be second to most liking.


Basically, this cake has 3 major components, yoghurt mousse, mango mousse and vanilla sponge. While the mango mousse wins everybody's heart, the yoghurt mousse, though moist and soft, fall short on its flavour. Most commented that the mousse was bland and is akin to eating plain cream.

Priced at $48+ (i.e. $51.35), I would say this can be considered as a good non-chocolate log cake is relatively hard to come by.

The Line Shop
Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore,
22 Orange Grove Road,
Singapore 258350
Tel: 6213 4377
Dining Website
Electronic version of Indulgence

Do note that the last order date is 22 Dec 2010, and the form is downloadable from here.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Strawberry Napoleon


Came across several Napoleons (i.e. Flor Patisserie, Patisserie Tony Wong, Zoe Patisserie and Patisserie Glace) but most of the time, the puff pastry is thick to withstand the pastry cream from softening the pastry; or that the filling catches the bulk of the attention.

As for this one from Something To Go, the puff pastry is easily the thinnest we have come across so far.

Priced at $28 nett for a 500gm, this is available off the shelf and I would say the pastry remains light and crisp until the cake is cut (i.e. puff pastry became soggy after several minutes upon cutting). Custard is of the right viscosity, not cloying nor overly sweet and the strawberries make it a light and refreshing treat. From a 5-star hotel, the price is reasonable and is recommended provided you have people to finish everything in a go.

The Regent Singapore - A Four Seasons Hotel
One Cuscaden Road
Singapore 249715
Tel: 6720 8000

Operating hours - 9am to 9pm (daily)
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Strawberry Mousse Tarts

In my previous post on ToTT, I vaguely mentioned my interest in baking tarts and getting tart rings was a headache for me so for those who are looking for 3-inch tarts rings with a height of 1-inch, ToTT does carry these tart rings (8cm x 2cm). Alternatively, Lau Choy Seng do have the copper ones (Cat. # 26-35S-CR71) of the same dimension.

Do note that the recipe is taken from Tartlette’s Strawberry Lime Tartelettes and Raspberry Mousse Tartelettes ; and I have made some amendments and mix & match the components. There are a few things which we have observed after baking 3 batches of tarts.

- Short notes on the almond short dough -
I have difficulty rolling the dough proper after chilling it for 1 hour, overnight and 2 nights respectively. After chilling for 1 hour, the butter was still very soft and hence, I spread the dough onto the pastry cutters. For my second attempt, the overnight chilling helps but after rolling the dough, it became soft and (without dusting of flour) I end up pressing in the dough. Finally, decided to chill the dough overnight, roll the dough and then chill again for one more night. With some dusting of flour (which helps a lot), I managed to cut out 3-inch rounds and fit them at the bottom of six 3-inch tart rings; and press in the dough to form the sides of the tart shells.


Other mistakes I have made was not to blind bake and over bake it for an additional 10min. Together with the use of cake flour (not sure), I end up with an extremely hard tart crust.

I used cake flour in my first two attempts and plain flour in my third attempt; and I am not sure how important gluten is in the context of making tart shells. After experiencing problems of rolling and molding the dough onto the tart rings, I realize it might be due to the type of flour used. Apparently, all-purpose flour has moderate gluten content while cake flour has little gluten content. To cut things short, gluten is formed when wheat flour is mixed with water and this forms a network of elastic strands which traps and holds air bubbles. During baking, these air bubbles expand and as the moisture evaporates, it coagulates and stabilizes the structure. On the other hand, chilling relaxes the gluten and helps the dough to roll out better and not becoming tough.

For those who are keen to read more, here is the link that talks about the chemistry of baking.


Blind baking firms up the pastry base, making it a little crustier and stronger; it also prevents the crust from puffing while cooking. I did experience huge air pockets when I didn’t blind baked, leaving less room for the tart filling.

- Short notes on almond cream -


This is pretty foul-proof, just mixing all the ingredients in order. The only thing we notice is that, the tart shells cannot be filled to the brim as the core remains molten after baking for 20min.

So the morale of the story is not be to greedy.


- Short notes on Strawberry Diplomat Cream Mousse
Note that the original recipe calls for Lime Curd Whipped Cream .

Since we wanted to have some experience in making mousse, we replaced this component with the diplomat cream mousse (recipe from Raspberry Mousse Tartelettes ). As the tart is topped with sliced strawberries, we replaced raspberry jam with strawberry jam.


On our second attempt, Yuan poured the sugar, egg and egg yolk mixture directly to a saucepan and end up with scrambled eggs. At that time, we didn’t have any jam and hence we replace the vanilla extract and strawberry jam with 1 tablespoon of rose water. Somehow or rather, after stirring continuously and folding in the cream, we ended up with a rose flavoured egg custard, which goes pretty ok with the tart crust and almond cream.


On our third attempt, we whisked the mixture over a water bath and added the jam. The original recipe requires to whip heavy cream to stiff peak but for convenience, we skipped the whipping and folded in Sweetened Whipped Light Cream and the resulting factor is acceptable.

Recipe (For 6 -7 8-cm tarts)
Almond Short Dough: (half of Tartlette’s original recipe)
Ingredients needed:
95 gm plain flour
10 gm cornstarch
45 gm icing sugar
65 gm unsalted butter
18 gm almond powder
A pinch of salt
1 egg

1. Sift the flour with the cornstarch and icing sugar
2. Add the almond powder and rub in butter with fingertips until coarse crumbs is achieved
3. Add the egg and the salt
4. Mix using a spatula (do not over mix as texture will toughen)
5. Wrap the dough using a cling wrap and refrigerate overnight
6. Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic or parchment papers
7. Preheat oven to 175°C
8. Dust some flour and cut out six 3-inch rounds
9. Fit in the cut dough inside six 3-inch tart rings to form the base of the tart crust
9. Press in some dough at the side of the tart rings, patting the dough with fingertips
10. Blind bake for 10 minutes and allow it to cool completely


Almond Cream: (quarter of Tartlette’s original recipe)
25gm softened butter
25gm sugar
25gm almond powder
1/2 egg
12.5ml heavy cream

1. Place the butter, sugar, almond powder and egg in a large bowl and whisk until smooth
2. Fold in the cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Divide the cream evenly among the rings and bake it for 20 minutes at 175°C
4. Allow it to cool completely


Strawberry Diplomat Cream Mousse: (half of Tartlette’s original recipe)
3/4 teaspoons of gelatin
1/2 tablespoon of cold water
125ml of full cream milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean extract
1/2 egg + 1/2 egg yolk
25gm sugar
13 gm cornstarch
1/6 cup St. Dalfour strawberry jam
1/2 cup Qwip Pasteurized Sweetened Whipped Light Cream

1. Add gelatin to the water and set aside
2. Whisk sugar, egg and egg yolk together
3. Add the cornstarch and vanilla extract and continue mixing till it becomes a smooth paste
3. In a saucepan, heat the milk on medium heat until boiling
4. Add the heated milk slowly to the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling
5. Place the egg mixture back over a water bath and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly
6. Once the mixture has thickened, add the jam and cook for another 30 sec
7. Remove the mixture from the heat and add in the gelatin, stir until it dissolved
8. Cling wrap the bowl to prevent the formation of a skin as it cools to room temperature
9. Fold in the whipped cream into the mixture and spoon the mousse immediately onto the tart crust (baked with almond cream)

- Ending Note –
I have to admit that I like the tart crust and almond cream and that this recipe is foul-proof and easy to follow. For the remaining almond short dough, we put it in a waffle maker and it turned out to be crisp biscuits so do bake the remaining dough and it is good on its own.

Although Tartlette’s recipe did call to “seal” the crust by spreading a thin layer of jam to prevent the pastry cream from softening the crust over time. We skipped this step as we didn’t want it too sweet and our guinea pigs were ok with the slight softening of the almond cream. Nevertheless, the tarts remain delicious despite being in the chiller for 2 days.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gingerbread hands-on @ ToTT

Apart from the retail store, ToTT offers cooking classes in two formats, demonstration and hands-on. The 64-seater demonstration studio has televisions and cameras placed above the front counters allowing participants to get up close while the hands-on studio has 12-counter to provide an intimate learning experience. Details and pricing can be seen on ToTT's website.


Received an invitation to attend a cooking class of my choice and being newly set up in 23 October 2010, the selection is pretty limited at the moment. What caught my attention was a baking hands-on and since Christmas is coming soon, Yuan and I have decided to learn how to make Gingerbread snowflakes and men.


The chef that taught the class was Chef Celeste Chew who has attended various culinary and baking courses in famed culinary schools, such as Culinary Institute of America, French Culinary Institute, Le Cordon Bleu, Bally Maloe in Ireland and Tante Marie for Spanish cuisine. A chef with lots of experience and for those who are keen, the profile of the chefs are available on ToTT website.


The cooking studio is well-furnished with sufficient ovens and mixing bowls within reach. Apart from sharing tips and learning, it is a good opportunity to have a feel of some of the kitchen appliances and accessories before purchase.


The maximum capacity of each hands-on class is 12 (i.e. 6 participants and 1 guest can be brought along) and hence allow direct interaction with the instructor. Each pair is assigned to a counter, fully equipped with cookware and kitchen utensils, allowing ample space to work around.


In general, the class is conducted in 3 segments, namely cutting the dough, preparing the dough and icing the cookies. Each segment has a brief introduction of handy tips and ingredients, followed by a demo and lastly allowing the participants to have some hands-on.


Often, the introduction and demo is done at the front desk; and with a crowd of 12, everybody including children do have a clear view of what is going on.


Hands-on session gets tricky when participants get confused with what to do or disorientated in the cooking studio. Hence, Chef Celeste made her rounds to ensure that all her participants can follow and work on their own at ease.


At $118, it is an enriching 3 hour session where we get to make and ice gingerbread folks and snowflakes. Of course, recipes are provided and the finished products can be bought home.

- Our thoughts -
Considering that this is one of the first few classes to be conducted at ToTT, hiccups are inevitable. While the instructions and pointers are explained clearly during the introduction and demonstration, it can be alittle chaotic during the hands-on. For instance, participants are not familiar with where some of the utensils or bakeware are kept and the operations of ovens and electric stand mixers. Apart from that, Chef Celeste has been very concise with her instructions and sharing with us some of her experience to overcome the regular mistakes or difficulties when handling the dough and baking cookies.

- F.Y.I. -
For those who are keen with ToTT's baking and cooking class, the ToTT cooking studio will be ushering in the festivities with a series of exciting cooking classes—not just for yourself, but for your family and other halves as well.

For Chinese New Year, chefs are arranged to come in for traditional goodies like pineapple tarts and dumplings, as well as dishes like fish maw soup, coffee pork ribs and yu sheng. As for Valentine’s day, a whole series of “Cooking to Seduce” meant for couples come in handy for those who want to impress their other halves. Some well-established culinary personalities who would be helming these classes include “Spice Queen” Chef Devagi Sanmugam and 2am:dessertbar’s very own Derrick Wong.

Many thanks to Danielle and Sihui from ate consulting for the invitation to ToTT and an opportunity to attend the Gingerbread hands-on class.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ToTT store

After several attempts of cooking and baking in my kitchen, I looked at my empty kitchen, pondering where to purchase my bakeware and kitchenware. Particularly for baking, I realize different pastries require different bakeware.

Tarts is something that I have been wanting to learn and after looking through the internet for some recipes, I realized I needed pastry cutters or tart rings of a specific dimension. I thought these things were easily available considering my workplace is near Chip Bee Gardens with Poon Huat, Pantry Magic and Shermey's Cooking School within reach. I was wrong completely.

Pretty insistent on baking the tarts on that very day, I realize google wasn't of much help in identifying bakeware shops in Singapore and I only managed to call Sia Huat, Lau Choy Seng (劉再成), Spotlight and Ikea. Boy, I was so disappointed. Although Lau Choy Seng has what I want, I have two problems, first they close early (at 6pm) and second, these things aren't cheap.

In the end, I have decided to get a set of pastry cutters at $42 in one of the shops at Chip Bee Gardens and end up baking tarts of varying sizes that very night.

I don't know how many fellow newbies have faced this problem, at least, I did and when I got an invitation to visit ToTT Store and to attend a cooking class of my choice on the very next day after baking my first batch of tarts. I really appreciate this Kitchen Wonderland that houses a cooking school, a bistro and a retail area that stands at a massive 36,000 square feet.


Judging from the tone of my writing, one would have guessed that I have managed to get what I want at half the price and what surprises me further is that the similar set of pastry cutters I have gotten was sold for less than $30. You can imagine how excited I was after getting my tart rings and yes, I did make my tarts of the same size which will be published soon.


With a 20,000 square feet of retail space, one can imagine the amount of items sold here and having featured in the newspapers recently, one can expect a huge range of kitchen products and essential tools to aid one's cooking, baking and hosting endeavours.


With such a comfortable shopping environment, most would be wondering the pricing of the items and for those who have read my introduction, the pricing of the items are reasonable, if not cheaper than the major retailers.


My regular readers would have noticed us purchasing plates, cutlery and props to take photos of the take-aways. Since we do not have our own kitchen last year and that we are not buying in bulk, we tend to get these items from major departmental stores, ending with a huge burn in our pockets. As for Daiso, although the items are priced at $2, the plates aren't very suitable for photography, be it the size or contours.

So, when we saw such huge collection of plates, you can imagine the twinkle in our eyes. I was exhilarated when I saw the price tags.


The items available are so extensive that you can find almost anything of varying sizes and the clear signage of each section makes it easy to navigate. Ample space between each section makes it relaxing to browse through the items.


When you have everything under 1 store, it makes things alot more convenient. Not only do you save time, you also save money on transport and if you are a ToTT member.


The Bake & Go corner at ToTT is another highlight of ToTT. Often, parents are faced with a dilemma to get a baking oven for their children, in particular when they are introduced to cooking shows or Home Economics lessons. Somehow or rather, it seems to be a dream for most to have a personal baking experience.

No? At least, this is applicable to Yuan, he has baked 5 batches of cookies ever since his ribbon cutting ceremony for the oven and he enjoyed every single one of them.


Anyway, back to Bake & Go, this corner allows visitors and their children to experience the entire baking process without the fuss of cleaning up. Guests can purchase a can of dough at the corner, add in the cookie fillings, cut the dough into shapes, pop them into the ovens provided and enjoy piping hot cookies in 30 minutes.


As seen from the photos, ToTT is set to become a lifestyle destination for anyone that is interested in cooking, baking and hosting. As mentioned, there is a cooking school and bistro within the premises; and we will blog on our hands-on cooking experience in the next post.

Lastly, we did dine at the bistro but due to time constrait and our poor tummy, we have set our cameras aside and dig in. The bistro is headed by Chef Xu Tianmu with Chef Sam Leong as the consultant chef. Food-wise, they are rather decent and the concept is pretty similar to Ikea. The Poached Salmon and Chicken Leg priced at $7.90 each were decent in portion and taste. Durian Fritter might be a highlight to some and I enjoyed the Mushroom soup thoroughly.

Time to sign off as I am going to search for more recipes before dragging Yuan to sign his card for more bakewares and kitchenwares.

ToTT Store
896 Dunearn Road
Sime Darby Centre
Singapore 589472
Tel: 6219 7077

Operating Hours (for store):
10:30am to 9:30pm (Mon -Sun)
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