French Apple Tart – Tarte aux Pommes

I made this apple tart last week and it was so good we finished it in 2 days! I just had to share it with you. The original recipe is adapted from The Food Network, you can check it out too! The only difference is that I made the crust by hand instead of in a mixer and did not use Calvados to glaze the apples after. I sliced my apples pretty thin this time, you might want to cut them thicker if you want to have more bite to it, if you slice them too thin they tend to get a bit “leathery” after baking.

I wouldn’t leave the dough in the fridge for too long because if it gets too hard, it’s difficult to roll out and you’ll need to wait for it to thaw before you can work on it so maybe check on it at intervals when it’s in the fridge, as long as it’s not soft, you’re good!

For the pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( I used regular table salt)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ stick of butter (I used 170 grams)
  • ½ cup ice water

For the apples:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples (I used Pink Lady apples)
  • ½ sugar
  • ½ stick cold unsalted butter (I used 60 grams of salted butter)
  • ½ cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons Calcados, rum, or water

Instructions:

  1. For the pastry, I did it by hand but you can also use a food processor following the original recipe! Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 
  3. Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples. 
  4. Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter. 
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. I didn’t have Calvados so I just used apricot jam and water. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Happy baking & stay safe!

Pancakes Please!

I love pancakes, and once you’ve tried pancakes with fresh strawberries and freshly whipped Chantilly cream, there’s just no going back.

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If you prefer taking the easy route and using a pre-mix, whipping up some Chantilly cream will take you no more than 10 minutes, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to make your pancakes from scratch, here’s a recipe that works for me. Bon appetite! :)

Ingredients :

  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (NOT SODA! Orginal recipe uses 3½ teaspoons)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (Original recipe uses 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 11⁄4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

How to :

  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  • Heat a lightly oiled (I use butter) frying pan over medium high heat.
  • Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, brown on both sides and serve warm.

Tips :

  • Wait till you see bubbles popping in the centre before flipping.
  • Do not pat on your pancakes while cooking!
  • You can whip up a whole batch of Chantilly cream and keep them stored in the freezer, they freeze really well.
  • Sift some icing sugar over your pancakes and strawberries, this will help with sweetening sour berries!

The Discovery of Key Lime Pie

A few months back while talking to someone, “key lime pie” came up in the conversation.

I’ve heard of key lime pie before but never tried it, or even seen them on dessert menus here… So being the curious cat that I am, I decided to bake one!

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My first key lime pie and I fell in love with it, everything about it.

It was tangy, it was refreshing, it was just… WOW. I don’t know for sure if digestive biscuits are considered graham crackers, but they work fine for me as a substitute. In fact I always use digestive biscuits when a recipe calls for a graham cracker crust.

Here’s the original recipe from Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant in Miami! Trust me, it’s totally worth the time and effort. I’m definitely baking another one of these soon.

What You’ll Need:
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup Key lime juice (see Tips)
What To Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat bottom of a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar; mix well then press mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate to form a crust; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg yolks and lime zest 5 minutes, or until fluffy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk and continue beating 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in lime juice just until combined. Pour filling into pie crust.
  4.  Bake 10 minutes, or until firm in the center. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack, then cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving.
Tips
  • If you can’t find fresh Key limes or Key lime juice, it’s okay to substitute regular limes, even though it won’t be exactly the same.
  • This is best served very cold, so we recommend placing it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
  • Just before serving, top pie with whipped cream or whipped topping and garnish with lime slices, if you’d like.

Golden Jubilee Saturdays at Absinthe!

If you’re looking for a good spot to catch the fireworks display this year, Absinthe is the place to be!

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Located along the Singapore River, you will enjoy a clear view of the fireworks display from the outdoor terrace!

If you’re around the area at 4:30pm, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the parachuters making their jumps. As dinner begins at 5:30pm, look to the skies for the aerial display. The much anticipated fireworks show will begin at 8pm, and what better way to enjoy it than with a glass of Rosé in hand?

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We have put together an exclusive 5-course celebratory set dinner menu at $50++! The following menu will be available on Saturdays leading up to National Day, 11th, 18th, and 25th of July and the 1st of August 2015.

SG 50++ Saturday

Book online now!

Call 62229068 to make a reservation, or drop an email to reservations@absinthe.sg
See you by the river! xx

A Gastronomical Backlog

When Robin and I spend time together, it almost always means we’re cooking up something in the kitchen. Weekends, especially. Going through my photos from the past month or two, it is evident that I survive pretty much on bacon, eggs and bread or similar spreads.

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“Brinner” = Brunch + Dinner.

Scrambled eggs topped with sautéed tomatoes, bacon and cheese on a toasted english muffin.

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Breakfast.

Omelette with tomatoes and bacon. Robin battled jet lag from his flight back from Germany to whip this up for me in the morning, I’m the luckiest girl in the world. ♥

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How do YOU like your eggs?

Left, how I cook my eggs. Right, how Robin cooks his eggs.
Unless it’s a poached egg with smoked salmon and hollandaise, scrambled please. Although I occasionally do throw a sunny side up (with half cooked yolk) into a Spam sandwich…

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Fluffy scrambled eggs any day for me.

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Lazy dinner.

A cold platter spread with meat that Robin flew back from Germany, yes even the bread. Absolutely no cooking involved, just a little cutting and tossing the bread into the oven.

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Dessert.

Robin’s favourite Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes. We took a batch of these to a bbq and they were quite a hit. If you missed my previous post with the recipe for these incredibly yummy cupcakes, here it is :

Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes Recipe

Most of these photos were taken on SaVeri‘s concrete table. If you’re reading this post from Germany and have some time to spare, check out spoga gafa 2014!

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Visit SaVeri’s website to find out more about their products or keep in touch with SaVeri on Facebook

Berries, berries, and more berries!

Some time ago we hosted a farewell party for a friend and when it came to deciding on dessert, Robin said we should bake the berry cake again. Needless to say he ended up with the biggest portion of the cake, saving a small portion for breakfast the next day.

If you want to impress your friends, this should do the trick!

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The first time we baked this was for an Easter party last year, the original recipe is actually for cupcakes, which I prefer more than the cake to be honest. The cupcakes don’t require as much berries and can be shared with more people easily due to their bite size, and they make great take home gifts for your guests if they just can’t get enough. ;)

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Getting berries here in Singapore is mad expensive, and to bake this cake we spent almost $40 on berries alone. *gulps

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You have got to admit though, berries are just so yummy, plus they’re good for you too!

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I managed to find a photo of a batch of Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes I baked back in 2011, and in 2 years I’ve baked this recipe at least 5 times (probably more) and it never fails to impress.

Since it’s the weekend and Robin is away in Germany (again), I thought I’d share the recipe for one of our favourite sweet treats with you! Happy baking!

Recipe for Blueberry Cream Cheese Cupcakes :

  • 2¼ cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 100 grams melted butter (I use salted), cooled
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, slightly whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 grams blueberries or berries of your choice
  • 60 grams cream cheese, cut into tiny bits
  • 2 tablespoons blueberry jam

Instructions :

  • Preheat oven to 200°c.
  • Pour sifted flour and sugar into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Whisk butter, milk, eggs and vanilla together in a separate bowl then slowly whisk into flour mixture until smooth.
  • Add blueberries, cream cheese and jam.
  • Lightly butter cupcake molds if not using cupcake holders, then fill up to 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

The cupcakes taste great on their own, but if you want to frost them for a richer indulgence, here’s how I make my frosting!

  • Let cream cheese soften at room temperature while your cupcakes are baking so it is easier to work with, the amount of cream cheese to use would depend on how much frosting you want to make.
  • Add 1 – 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and icing sugar, combine.
  • You can also add butter if you like! (I do)
  • I don’t use exact measurements for my frosting so just taste along the way and adjust the sweetness to your liking.
  • After cupcakes have cooled thoroughly, you can now frost. If you frost too early, your frosting will melt and get runny.
  • Frost around the edge and add a teaspoon full of jam in the centre.

ENJOY!

MooJaa, Singapore’s #1 Mookata!

Have you been to 25 Keong Saik Road?

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By night, amidst a dark alley of pubs, backpacker inns and little food corners, you’ll find MooJaa, Singapore’s #1 Mookata!

Wait, Moo what?

Some time ago, I was invited to MooJaa to give Mookata a shot! Mookata literally means “pork skillet”,  and if you’re wondering about MooJaa… Well, it’s actually a popular slang word that means “my lovely pig”! I may have been living under a rock when it comes to Thai food, but the concept of a bbq and steamboat at the same time is actually very new to me. Up until now, the only bbq I’m familiar with is Korean. SO, how exactly does this whole Mookata thing work?

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Let’s start with something to drink, shall we? Daddy and I had the Thai iced tea and Mummy decided to give the Lemongrass a shot. I’ve never tried Thai iced tea before so I can’t really tell you if it’s really Thai or not, I did like it though! Kinda like a Thai Teh-peng?

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Forget oil and butter, at MooJaa they do it right with pork lard! Not only does it grease the surface and aid in cooking, at the end you also get a crunchy treat, you know, what we call “la pok”. YUM.

What’s on the menu?

It’s a free choice between Mookata sets, and ala carte dishes. For $39.90, you can enjoy Set Moo or Set Gai that comfortably feeds 2-3 people, depending on how hungry you are. If you’re a meat lover, Set Meat Lover priced at $55 will well satisfy your need for meat. If you prefer to pick out your own set then the Set Buffet is definitely for you! Priced at $32++, this allows you to order anything from the ala carte menu, buffet style! With the exception of a few select items, that is.

The full menu is available for reference on MooJaa’s Facebook page.

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The meat and seafood are so fresh, any fresher and they’d still be alive. Ready to cook!

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While waiting for your food to cook, you can enjoy some fish skin. Eat it crunchy or dip it really quick into the hot soup. It’s awesome either way, but I kinda like to eat them at their crunchiest! Think fish chips! The thing is, usually I get sick of fish skin after a couple bites, but there’s just something about MooJaa’s, we emptied the whole bowl! Well, if seafood doesn’t excite you….

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This one you cannot pass on! I mean it! You cannot go to MooJaa and not try these amazing cheese balls! I’m actually hoping they retail this. I’m such a sucker for cheese stuffed anything. I know you think they look like ordinary meat balls, right? Well, looks may be deceiving…..

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One bite releases an explosion of cheese! You’ve been warned, do take that first bite with caution. Pretty neat huh? Think nacho cheese in a meat ball. :)

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Cooking in progress! Notice how there isn’t any smoke coming up? At MooJaa, Japanese white charcoal is used. This makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable, no smoke in your eyes, no oil spurting, no oil burns and you won’t leave in a sweat!

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Perfectly browned! But before you dig in, make sure you have your dipping sauces ready!

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I’m usually not a fan of sauces, at steamboats, the most I’ve used would be soy sauce but these 31 ingredient sauces are absolutely delish! So good I had a couple of refills, these sauces are home made with the freshest ingredients weekly, so you know you’re getting the very best. I heard these sauces will actually be made available for purchase!

Psstttt : The fish skins go really well with the sweet and sour seafood sauce!

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The cherry on top has got to be the soup at all steamboats. A combination of meats, veggie juices and what have you, we drank the soup dry!

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Thanks for the invitation to taste test MooJaa, Shaun! We had a great meal!

With affordable prices, a cosy ambience, quality food with a great taste, I’ll definitely be back for seconds! (And thirds?) MooJaa also has “private rooms” should you prefer a more intimate gathering with your family and friends. The only concern my parents had was the “night life” that goes around at Keong Saik since the place is littered with bars. You definitely wouldn’t want to expose the kiddies to girls clad in barely there shorts with ciggies and beers in their hands, so lunch might be a better idea if you have older folks and young tods in your party!

Make MooJaa your next go-to place with your best buds!

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Think you can eat fast? MooJaa has a challenge for you!

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Check out MooJaa on Facebook for more details! xx

…Of Bees & Honey

If you’ve noticed the side bar recently, you’d have noticed a HoneySpree logo! So what’s HoneySpree about? HONEY! Of course!

I’m sure most of you are familiar with shopping sprees, right? Well this is the same, but with honey!

Meet my friend Beth, the woman wonder behind HoneySpree. She’s like a Winnie the Pooh, who turned me into a Winnie the Pooh. But I’m not complaining, afterall, we could all use some guilt-free sweets in life, especially if it comes bundled with health benefits! :)

HoneySpree recently held a little party at Preparazzi, where they served up lots of yummy, “honey-infused” nibbles!

My favourite? Definitely the foie gras. :D

And…. honey pancakes! ♥

What better way to enjoy honey than with some gourmet tea? Honeyspree’s Honey(Tea)Sers are organic and caffeine-free, what a clever, quirky name!

I’m currently loving the Citrus Burst Rooibos blend cos I personally loveeeee Rooibos tea. I usually add the Creamy Clover Honey and some fresh lemon juice for that extra punch!  It’s the ultimate refresher! Try it! It perks you up immediately, and it helps when you’re feeling under the weather.

If you’re not a citrus lover, try the Manuka Honey with ginger, or the Cool Mint tea blend. Spicy, smooth, ice cold, there’s definitely something in store to please your taste buds! :)

I’m sure most of you have seen some of my pluggies, right? For the love of honey and bees, I’ve made some baby bee pluggies exclusively for HoneySpree!

These are no cookie cutter bees. Made without the use of molds, each baby bee is handmade with love from scratch! They are tiny, adorable, and they don’t sting, all they want to do is sit atop your phone.

Purchase them exclusively on HoneySpree! Retailing at $9.90 each and available in limited quantities so make sure you grab your little busy bee before they sell out.

I’m very happy to have HoneySpree as a sponsor, and I can’t wait to share more honey-infused recipes and all the different things you can do and make with honey! Meanwhile, why don’t you hop over to HoneySpree and pick up some honey for yourself and your loved ones? Or read my previous post on Honey Pancakes made with the Creamy Clover Honey!

Have a great weekend ahead! xx