Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wrapping up 2012...

To some in the internet community, blog posts on invited tastings are bias and we guess that our readers are disappointed with the lack of posts and that the recent entries were all invites. Hence before we publish our next two posts which covers the media event for the Chinese New Year specials, we thought that it might be good to share with you some of our foodie experiences which we did not blog about as a wrap-up for last year.

Our bundle of joy arrived in April 2012 and life is never the same again. Priorities have changed and thoughts of shutting down the blog has been going through our mind again and again but because of the rapport we have built through the years of blogging, we have decided to attend some of the media events to relish the good old days of phototaking and catching up with some of the chefs. 

We do dine out but time spent in the restaurant is precious when our baby is soundly asleep and as he grows older, he starts to be curious with the surroundings and wanting a share of our meals. Hence, we have decided to use the camera for his candid moments and enjoy our food when he is settled.

Being parents, considerations such as the restaurant being child-friendly, space for strollers to park and nappy changing stations within a mall became our considerations rather than good food, ambience and novelty. Crystal Jade, Ding Tai Feng, Swensens and Starbucks became the most frequent visited eateries for this year with occasional indulgence at Dolce Vita, il Cielo, Tonkichi, Cherry Garden, Ruth Chris Steak House, Coffee Lounge, Chatterbox and Mandarin Court.

Anyway, we shall sum up some of our experiences in the mentioned restaurants and for those which are not covered, we realised we didn't take any photos so we shan't bore you with our words.


First up, Chef Omar's signature Tomahawk from il Cielo was an eye-opening experience, not forgetting Hilton's Executive Chef Sandro grilling the meat on a special hot plate, that was specially hand-carried from Italy. The ambience of the restaurant is lovely with a semi al fresco concept to the hotel's swimming pool. The entire restaurant feels like a comfy attic that uses wood and glass as its concept. The only frustrating thing is the ballroom between the lift lobby and the restaurant which can be crowded at times whenever there is a wedding banquet.


Celebrating my dad's birthday at Mandarin Court was another memorable moment for our family. The weekend buffet, priced at $48++ per pax (additional $10 per pax on public holidays), has an extensive menu that is not only limited to dim sum (18 varieties) but also more than 35 dishes to choose from. Some of our personal favourites includes Traditional Pig Trotter Vinegar, Crispy Squid coated with Salted Egg Yolk, Pan-seared Sliced Sea Perch in Superior Sauce, "Wu Xi" Roasted Pork Ribs, Poached Spinach with Trio of Eggs, etc.


For a restaurant with its buffet menu unchanged for so many years, we agree with their followers that it has a special niche on its own. Goodwood Park's porridge buffet remains one of my top favourite and it is no surprise we went there twice this year. That was one of my cravings when I was pregnant. I recalled Yuan was starving with me that morning for my check up. The second visit was a lovely birthday celebration with my dearest colleagues.


I was curious about steakhouses and I proposed to visit Ruth Chris or Morton's. The steak is of no doubt good but also pricey. If memory didn't fail me, T-bone and Porterhouse are from Australia and the other signature steaks are imported from the US. The uniqueness in their steaks lies in cooking their steaks in a broiler at 980°C so that the juices remains on the meat, rather than dripping onto the baking pan. In addition, the steaks are served on plates heated to 260°C so that one can enjoy the beef hot and sizzled in butter.

Ruth Chris' petite fillet

We have both our petite fillet and ribeye served medium and surprisingly, Yuan's ribeye was close to medium well, not sure if this is due to the heated plate. Ruth's Chop Salad was good but the Au Gratin was ordinary. Anyway, Yuan will have a separate post on their signature's cheesecake and some of the sweet treats we had during Christmas.


Anyway, dining-out aside. Nothing beats wrapping the year with us working in the kitchen for the first time after our boy is born. While Yuan whipped out my favourite Baked Salmon with parmesan and parsley crust, I attempted two new dishes, namely the Parmesan Spring Chicken and Pork Chops with Caramelised apples and onions.

The rest of the items we have prepared for that afternoon includes Marks & Spencer's Rosti and Breaded Cod, Waitrose frozen vegetables mix and rice prepared using chicken broth, capsicum and McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix.

Parmesan Spring Chicken


Parmesan Spring Chicken (for 8 chicken fillets)
3 Egg White
100-120gm Parmesan Cheese (We use Perfect Italiano)
8 Chicken Fillets
Black pepper
Mixed herbs or Rosemary

1. Marinate chicken fillet with grounded black pepper and mixed herbs, set aside
2. Dip chicken fillet in egg white
3. Coat the chicken fillet with parmesan cheese
4. Pan-fry the coated chicken until brown and crisp

Comments: We felt that this is a nice variant from the regular oven-grilled chicken thighs we have prepared previously for our gathering. The parmesan cheese forms a nice crust and additional saltiness to the overall taste.

Pork Chops with Caramelised Apples and Onions


I first tried this recipe posted by Martha Stewart but realised the chicken broth makes it no different from grilled pork chops with herbs. Subsequently, I replaced the use of chicken broth with apple juice and caramelised the apples and onions with sugar after finding this recipe from BBC good food. Seems to be better.

2 bone-in pork chops (preferably 3/4 inch thick)
Mixed herbs or Rosemary
Black pepper
25gm butter
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 large white onion, sliced
125ml apple juice
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Sprinkle generously with herbs and pepper on both sides
2. Pound the chop with the meat hammer or the back of the knife to make it tender
3. Sear and brown the pork chops (about 2-3 minutes on each side)
4. Swirl the butter into the pan
5. Add the onion and apples
6. Saute until the onion slices are lightly caramelized and the apples have begun to soften
7. Sprinkle sugar over the onions and apples
8. Stir in apple juice
9. Return chops to the pan and simmer the pork chops for about 12-15 minutes, turning halfway through and covering the chops with the apple mixture
10. If the apple mixture needs a little thickening, transfer the chops to the warm plate again and simmer the mixture on high for a few minutes to reduce

Comments: Caramelised apples and onions are nice condiments and being slightly sweet due to the use of apple juice and sugar, we thought it is easier to prepare than char siu.

Alright, guess I will stop writing here and leave the sweets for Yuan to continue.

Happy New Year to everybody.


OZsupplier said...

doing a great job, keep up the work going.

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