Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nespresso coffee

Most Singaporeans drink coffee daily however most do not know the difference between gourmet coffee (i.e. top grade coffee) and Kopi? That was what I was to find out from the crew at Nespresso. I was told that there are just 3 simple steps to tell if the coffee was good.


First, look for the hazelnut colored froth, called 'crema'. This froth protects the aromatic richness of the coffee. This froth oxidises with time hence you should drink your coffee before that happens.


Second, smell the aroma. Check if there is a high level of aromatic sophistication. I.e. A combination of floral/fruity notes with roasted, woody or spicy notes. According to Nespresso, these coffee beans which feature high level of aromatic sophistication represent 1-2% of the world's global coffee bean production.

Third, taste it. This part is really based on your preference. But do slurp a good mouthful of coffee so that the liquid coats all the different areas of the mouth and impregnates the taste buds. A gourmet coffee should have a good balance between body, acidity, bitterness and aromatics.


After the introduction, we tasted the 3 pure origin Espressos by Nespresso. The Dulsao do Brasil, Rosabaya de Colombia and Indriya from India. As the name implies, these three blends were made with single origin coffee. Similar to single origin chocolates, you could taste the acidity in the coffee. Essentially this is a sharp sensation, such as that experienced with lemon juice.


As in all tasting, you start with the most mild, which is the Dulsao do Brasil followed by the Rosabaya de Colombia then the Indriya. In general, I think not everyone may enjoy the bitter taste with the sharp sensation, especially for the Dulsao do Brasil and Rosabaya de Colombia which has a lighter body and bitterness. The Indriya would probably be more acceptable taste as Singaporeans are more used to the heavy body and bitterness of our 'Kopi'. Hence the acidity would just supplement the bitterness rather than being overwhelm by it.


I also tried the 3 decaffeinated flavors. Decaffeinato, Decaffeinato Lungo and Decaffeinato Intenso. Essentially this are excellent substitutes for those looking to reduce your caffeine intake. These flavors tasted almost similar to the caffeinated version except that it tend to have a lighter body.

After the session, I did some comparison. I drank a cup of 'gourmet coffee' from a local cafe and I realized that aromatic sophistication is not easily achieved. The coffee which I had has the complexity in taste and acidity however it lacked the crema and aroma which the nespresso coffee possess. On the other hand, the standard coffee shop Kopi typically only possess the burnt smell rather than the aromatic sophistication. Of course, coffee is an individual preference but I hope that after reading my post, do spend some time to appreciate the effort of the coffee brewers.


Lastly we would like to thank Jeremy, Vivien and Merliza from Crowd and the folks at Nespresso for the coffee appreciation session. I personally felt that these session help us as consumers to appreciate the product better and why are we paying more for gourmet coffee.

Don't forget there is a contest hosted by channelnewsasia to win a Nespresso PIXIE machine in its latest 2012 colors. For more information, click here.

Nespresso Boutiques in Singapore
Takashimaya Department Store
Basement 1
391 Orchard Road
Singapore 238873

ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn
238801 Singapore

You can get more information about Nespresso from the following website,
Nespresso website hosted by Channelnewsasia
Official Nestle Nespresso's website

Contact information for Nespresso Singapore can be found here.
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Scones Recipe

After 7 attempts in making scones, this is one recipe which uses very basic ingredients but can get tricky.


Having searched through the net and youtube, some of the recipes gives very crumbly texture while some provides the cake-like, moist texture which Fen likes.

I started with a recipe that uses a lot of sugar with an additional yolk and the resulting factor was what Fen describes as a delicious rock bun. After which, I attempt with another recipe that uses sour cream and instead of mixing it, I whisk it, giving a texture that is similar to a coarse pound cake. Since Fen finds my scones too sweet to her liking, I made one without sugar and that was disastrous, it was incredibly salty. That was when I decided to look for help on youtube. After fixing the composition of flour, sugar, baking powder and butter, it seems that the variables to play with are the wet ingredients, namely the egg and in this case, I used the Meiji Low Fat Milk since I have weird tasting scones after using cream and sour cream and after 3 more attempts, I finally got it...


Here are the parameters I have changed and I have added my personal observations for reference.
  • Baking powder, I started off with 1.5 tbsp baking powder (likely to be a typo in that recipe) and it has a strong aftertaste so either you use self-raising flour or 1 cup plain flour (120gm) with 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Egg, omitting this ingredient will give you a crumbly texture (that you cannot even hold the scones with your fingers, it just breaks apart). Ultimately, egg is a binder in baking
  • Milk, the ingredient that makes the scones moist; however, we add this ingredient by teaspoon. If the mixture is too wet, reduce by a teaspoon, if the mixture is too dry, increase by a teaspoon. The resulting dough should be good enough to knead and not extremely sticky.


  • Kneading the dough makes it moist and chewy while omitting this step results in a crumbly texture (depend on individual's preference). I made this conclusion as my 6th attempt involves in splitting my dough into 2 portions, with only one portion kneaded.


  • Chilling the scones prior baking at 200°C, seems to allow the butter to harden a little before "shearing" it, this step seems to keep the scones in shape rather than flattening to look like a cookie. I started chilling them after my 3rd attempt and since then, they remain in shape. It could also be due to the oven temperature as prior to my 3rd attempt, the bakings were done at 180°C.


  • Cooling the scones by sandwiching with a clean cloth, seems to retain the moisture of the scones. At least, this is what we see in most youtube recipes.
So having said that, here is the recipe I settled down with and I would say it is reproducible.

Recipe (For five to six 5-cm scones)

Ingredients needed:
1 cup (120 gm) plain flour
1/8 cup (40 gm) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
50 gm salted butter
1 beaten egg (approximately 50 gm)
25ml Low Fat Meiji Milk (approximately 5 teaspoon)

1. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar and baking powder.
2. Rub in the butter into dry ingredients until coarse crumbs is obtained.
3. Stir in beaten egg (leave some for glazing).
4. Add milk and stir to combine (see above notes).
5. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four to five times.
6. Using a lightly floured round pastry cutter and cut the dough into rounds.
7. Place the rounds on baking pan (either greased or lined with baking sheet).
8. Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg (Optional: egg/milk mixture can be used).
9. Chill the scones in the refrigerator for an hour.
10. Bake for 12 minutes at 200°C.

- Ending Note –
I think the most important step is when adding the wet ingredients. I.e. Egg and milk. If we exclude eggs, it will be coarse and breaks easily. As for milk, just add enough for you to knead. if it is too wet, there is no way you can knead and the scone will not stay in shape. It will probably sink and look like a cookie.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Scones from TWG Tea Company

Fen seems to be determined to try every possible scone she can find and having being at Orchard the previous evening, she couldn't resist the temptation to swing by the TWG Tea Salons located at ION Orchard and Takashimaya.

True enough, her scone radar sounded and she picked up a pack of 4 raisins scones for the following day's breakfast. Priced at $14 nett, each scone costs $3.50 and is much cheaper than having them dine-in for a pair of scones served with TWG tea jelly and whipped cream cost $9++.

TWG scones

Having purchased scones from several places, all hotels (so far) provide complementary jam and hotels such as Regent Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore and The Fullerton Hotel provide both clotted cream and jam. I thought this little gesture does make a difference for a tub of clotted cream sold at Cold Storage costs a whopping $9+ and can only be kept in the fridge for 4 days upon opening.

TWG scones

Fen warmed up the scones and having bought Regent Hotel's blackcurrent scones the previous day, we had these with the hotel's leftover clotted cream and jam.

There is a strong buttery fragrance and is comparable to the ones we had from The Fullerton Hotel. Texture-wise, it is much denser but stickier than the humongous one purchased from Raffles Hotel. Depending on individual's preference, this is ecommended for those who prefers their scones to be on the dense and coarse while for both Fen and myself, we would prefer the blackcurrent scones from The Regent Hotel for a stickier and more moist texture.

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
Takashimaya Department Store
B2, 391 Orchard Road
Singapore 238873
Operating hours: 10am to 10pm
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Win a Nespresso PIXIE machine in its latest 2012 colors

Nespresso - digital engagement campaign

From now till 9 April 2012, 1 of 3 lucky persons will be able to walk away with the award-winning Nespresso PIXIE machine in its latest 2012 colors. On top of that, the first 10 people submitting correct responses to each day’s quiz stand to win a $100 Nespresso voucher each.

To participate, click on the link below

Good Luck!!!
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Raisin and plain scones from The Fullerton Hotel

Scones @ The Courtyard, The Fullerton Hotel

The scones from The Fullerton Hotel outshines the rest for the the entire scone is glazed hence giving a more crisp and fragrant exterior than the rest. The other feature is that the texture is a little sticky, though Fen disagrees with me on this aspect. In fact, Fen felt that setting aside the glaze, it is pretty similar to the humongous scone she had from Raffles Hotel.

For me, I would say that the overall is quite similar to Goodwood Park Hotel. These scones are available for takeaway at $2+ from The Courtyard compliments with the hotel's clotted cream and mixed berries jam.

After eating several scones from the local hotels, I gathered that Fen likes her scones to be moist and sticky texture. Among the few she has tried, the ones that left an impression were the Blueberry Scones from The Regent Singapore and the Raisin Scones from Carlton Hotel.

While she is craving for her scones, I am trying to look for a recipe and strangely, my first attempt in making them turn out to be sweet and Fen described to be closer to a rock bun or a sugar-crusted cookie. In addition, judging from the photos posted for the recipes I have searched, the scones look very different from the ones served in the hotel. Is there any kind souls out there to enlighten me with some tested plain scones recipes?

The Courtyard
The Fullerton Singapore
1 Fullerton Square Singapore
Singapore 049178
Tel: 6877 8129
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Scone from Raffles Hotel


This is probably the largest scone which we tried. In terms of texture it is slightly dry. Taste wise, it does not really stand out from the series of scones which we ate. This huge scone cost $4+ and will certainly fill your tummy. Fen was kind of disappointed when the buttery scent was not strong enough and it does not come with clotted cream (for takeaways) to increase the moistness of the scones.

Ah Teng's Bakery
Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road
Singapore 189673
Tel: 6412 1816 (Main Reservation line, request to be transferred to Ah Teng's Bakery)
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Plain, Blueberry & Cranberry Scones from Goodwood Park Hotel

Not only does Fen craves for scones, she was hinting me to bring her to the Taiwan Porridge @ Goodwood Park Hotel. Yup, the buffet is still as good as before but it didn't stop there. Right after lunch, she headed straight to L’Espresso, hoping to take-away some scones for her recent addiction.

Scones @ L'Espresso, Goodwood Park Hotel

We were there slightly before 2pm and the staff were setting up the high tea buffet at L’Espresso. Sold at $2.70++ per piece, there were plain, cranberry and raisin scones available for that day and we took away 4 scones for the following day's breakfast.

The staff packed the scones with jam scooped from the buffet bar, butter and whipped cream but alas, the cream melted into liquid before we can put them back in the fridge. So unlike the previous take-aways, Fen had her scones with butter instead of clotted cream.

The buttery fragrance of these scones were of no doubt and shares similar texture to the plain scones Fen has bought earlier from The Regent Singapore. Texture is on the firm and fluffy side and the winning factor of these scones lies in its rich butter content. Among the three flavours, the blueberry scone is the most outstanding one for it is more moist than the other two.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Tel: 6730 1743
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Plain Scones & Raisin Scones from The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

The afternoon tea at Chihuly Lounge has received many positive reviews and the hotel's scones is said to be an all-time favourite. As what we have always described for our past experience in The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia, the service the hotel provides is top-notched. Emails are responded promptly, the staffs process the order with a smile on their faces with the orders packed nicely in hotel's paper bag.

Scones  @ Chihuly Lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia

The scones can be pre-ordered and take-away. Available in two flavours, plain and raisins, the scones are sold in a box of 4s, priced at $8+. In addition, the scones are served with Hédiard jam and clotted cream.

Compared to the other scones we had lately, these are clearly smaller in sizes. In terms of texture, it is slightly on the smooth and sweeter side. Fen finds the overall not as sticky and "cake-like" as the ones served at Carlton Hotel and Regent Hotel while I would prefer it to be more buttery.

Chihuly Lounge
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039799
Tel: 6434 5288
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Butter Scones & Blueberry Scones from The Regent Singapore

Scones from The Regent Singapore

Fen has been on a scones spree after trying the fabulous ones at Carlton Hotel lately and from my understanding, she used to frequent Sweet Secrets Pastry Shop for her scones fix but according to her, this pastry shop seems to be closed for good (at least the Bishan, Holland Village & Great World City outlets are no longer around).

Anyway, having tried the scones from Fosters - An English Rose Cafe, she was sorely disappointed as it lacks sticky, cake-like texture she is looking for as the former was dry and tasted closer to a rock bun. So given she has intense cravings for certain food these days, she reserved some butter and blueberry scones from SomethingToGo at The Regent Hotel to be collected after work.

Each scone costs $2 nett and a pair of scones will be packed with a serving of strawberry jam and clotted cream. While the butter scones were of a firmer texture, the blueberry scones were fabulous. The natural sweetness of the blueberries, coupled with the soft and light makes her cravings even stronger than before.

Anyway, for those who are keen, these scones as mentioned in our last year post are also served in the High Tea Buffet available at The Tea Lounge from 1:30pm to 5:30pm on weekends.

The Regent Singapore - A Four Seasons Hotel
One Cuscaden Road
Singapore 249715
Tel: 6725 3243

Operating hours - 9am to 9pm (daily)
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Durian Fiesta 2012 at Goodwood Park Hotel

The hotel's ever-popular Durian Fiesta is back and this year's new highlight is the Durian Banana Chocolate Mousse Cake, containing caramelized banana chunks with thick D24 durian mousse, chocolate sponge and chocolate mousse. Priced at $10.80+ per slice or $58+ for a 1.3kg whole cake.

Durian Banana Chocolate Mousse Cake

What I liked about this newcomer is the generous portion of thick D24 durian mousse. However I feel that chocolate and banana are both strong flavours and do not really go well with durian. Perhaps, it may have been better with just chocolate mousse. Having said that, I must say that the chocolate banana cake is nice on its own: Rich chocolate mousse and caramelised banana.

Another newcomer for this year is the Durian Macadamia Nut Crumble Tartlet, which is said to boast an addictive nutty crunch on top of the luxurious durian mousse. Priced at $10.80+ for 2 pieces or $28.80+ for 6 pieces. This is a must try for the Macadamia nut fans, generous topping of Macadamia nuts ensures that your every bite will feel a nut. Macadamia nut complements with durian as it is not a strong flavor and adds a crunchy texture to the durian purée.

We were very honored to receive a complementary box of Durian Combo, allowing us to try the Durian Banana Chocolate Mousse Cake, Durian Macadamia Nut Crumble Tartlet and also last year's newcomer, the Durian Cappuccino Cake. Of course, this combo also includes the hotel's signature Durian Mousse Cake and Durian Puffs.

Among the 5 durian variants, Durian Cappuccino Cake, a combination of vanilla sponge crumbs with layers of rich cappuccino mousse, D24 mousse and chocolate sponge, caught my attention. The slightly bitter cappuccino mousse is moist and already good on its own. The taste is enhanced when mixed with durian. Those who loved the bitter sweet durians would love this.

Durian Cappuccino Cake & Durian Macadamia Nut Crumble Tartlet

Durian Mousse Cake and Durian Puff have been the hotel's signature and it has won the hearts of any durian fan for the velvety mousse filled with pulp. Think there is no need to further elaborate on these all time favorite.

Signatures Durian Mousse Cake & Durian Puffs

Apart from the durian pastries available at the Deli, a range of durian pastries can be savored at the dessert buffet at Coffee Lounge from 26 May 2012 to 31 July 2012 @ $32.80++ per person (Dessert Buffet with Durian Pastries only), @ $26.80++ per person (Top-up with any a la carte main course order) or $48.80++ (Taiwan Porridge a la carte buffet with Dessert Buffet).

Selection includes the Durian puff, Durian Mousse Cake, Durian Cappuccino Cake and the all-new homemade Durian Pengat with Glutinous Rice and Gula Melaka. Special live station highlighting the Durian pancake and Mini Chocolate or Vanilla Waffle Cones filled with Durian Mousse are also available to satisfy the durian lovers.

Last but not least, do not missed out the "Mao Shan" Power Puff (@ $16.80+ per piece) which is only available from 1 to 30 June 2012 from noon to 7pm.

For take-aways, all durian pastries are available from 1st March 2010 to 31st July 2012 at the Deli.

For more details, refer the promotion page of Goodwood Park Hotel.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road
Singapore 228221
Tel: 6730 1867 / 1868
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cupcakes from Plain Vanilla


Having tasted twelve cupcakes recently, we decided to try the cupcakes from Plain Vanilla Bakery just for comparasion. We tried the following flavours:

Red velvet - crimson coloured light valrhona cocoa cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting
I found the cream cheese frosting too sweet otherwise it is a nice light cake.

Cinnamon brown sugar - Cinnamon brown sugar cake with cinnamon frosting, dusted with cinnamon sugar.
Normally only the frosting would contain cinnamon, for this cake, cinnamon was in both the cake and the frosting. I really liked it on the first bite but it is a little too sweet for me to finish one on my own.

Dark chocolate ganache - dark chocolate cake smoothered in bittersweet chocolate ganache and dipped in valrhona cocoa nibs
Personally, this is Fen's favourite among the 4. The moist chocolate cake coupled with the crunchy cocoa nibs provides a nice contrast of texture. At the same time, cocoa nibs being slightly bitterish makes the overall not very sweet. The chocolate ganache used in the topping further moistens the cake, providing a smooth aftertaste on the palate.

Strawberry white chocolate - vanilla cake with a centre of fresh strawberries topped with white chocolate frosting.
The vanilla cake reminds me of the finer variant of the Sara Lee pound cake. With slices of strawberries in the centre of the cupcake, the overall taste is a mixture of sweet and tang. However, like the cinnamon brown sugar and red velvet, the frosting is way too sweet to Fen's liking.

Plain Vanilla Bakery
34A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village
Singapore 277691
Tel: 6465 5942
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Gravity Bar Afternoon English High Tea


Starting 27 February 2012, Carlton Hotel launches English High Tea at Gravity Bar. The elegant three-tier English High Tea features sandwiches, tart, madeleine, cheese cake and scones made specially by the hotel's new Executive Pastry Chef Alex Chou Tze Jen.
*Do note that the above picture shows 2 servings of the three-tier English High Tea set.


The highlight of the high tea is the warm and delicious scones. Slightly crisp on the top and soft on the inside. It has a rich buttery smell and cake like texture as oppose to some others which crumbles easily. The scones are best eaten with Carlton's homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream.


Pastries include the Pistachio Cherry Madeleine - moist pistachio cake with a dollop of sweet, fresh cream in the middle along with a cherry. This is my first time eating Madeleine this manner and the combination of pistachio, cream and cherry was really good. The cheese cake has a very smooth texture and a crumbly base. The blueberry fruit tart is not too be missed. Its crust is so thin and crisp and compliments well with vanilla custard cream and sweet, juicy blueberries.


The third layer contains 4 different varieties of sandwiches made with fluffy white and whole meal bread. The 4 flavors are chicken, smoked salmon, tomato basil and egg mayo.


Gravity Bar is a nice place for a laid back afternoon. The carpeted flooring and sofa seats gives it an additional homely feeling.

Last but not least, special thanks to Ms Leung Yi Wen, Marketing Communications Manager for the invite and warm hospitality.

Gravity Bar English Afternoon High Tea
Daily, 2.30pm to 5.30pm
$35++ per set
For a limit time only, each guest will receive a pair of complimentary mini scones to take home

Exclusive for Citibank and UOB Cardmembers
15% off English High Tea Set till 31 May 2012

Gravity Bar
76 Bras Brasah Road
Singapore 189558
Tel: 6311 8839
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Twelve Cupcakes

Twelve Cupcakes

Cupcakes seems to be in trend recently, be it wedding favors, baby shower or as gifts. Helm by celebrity couple, Jamie Teo and Daniel Ong, Twelve Cupcakes have opened 3 outlets since starting business last year.

We bought 3 cupcakes to try for ourselves why Singaporeans are so crazy about these cupcakes. The flavors which we chose were:
(1) Red Velvet - Vanilla Cream Cheese on a Classic Red Velvet Cupcake
(2) Chocolate Chocolate - Chocolate Cream Cheese on a Moist Chocolate Cupcake
(3) Salted Caramel

Overall, these 3 cupcakes were as described in their website: soft and moist. What I like about these cupcakes is the use of cream cheese as opposed to icing sugar. The taste was also not overly rich or sweet. One complain which I have is that these cute little cakes are relatively expensive for their size.

Twelve Cupcakes
101 Thomson Road
United Square
Singapore 307591
Tel 6256 8130
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